Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Jaredite Chronology – Part I

There can be no exact figuring of the chronological events of the Jaredites; however, enough information is available in the ancient text to arrive at some assumptive dates. We do know, for instance, that the Jaredites left the Great Tower somewhere around 2116 B.C., approximately 227 years after the Great Flood. Using that figure as a starting date, we can speculate on the following with some degree of accuracy:
2116 - Jaredites departed from the Great Tower and Camped in the Valley to the north where they gathered wild animals, fowls, bees, etc. They built or fashioned barges, crossed many waters as they wandered in the wilderness;
2114 - Arrived and made camp at the seashore of the Great Sea, an area they named Moriancumer;
2110 - After 4 years on the seashore, they began building or fashioning barges;
2109 - Set out across the Great Deep in these barges;
2108 - Landed in the promised land. The Brother of Jared had 22 children. Considering one born about every 2.5 years, and that two-thirds of the children were born after landing, there is a span of 38 years for child-bearing, another 40 years for aging. If he was 28 when leaving Mesopotamia, this would make him about 106 years of age when he dies after about 78 years in the land of promise (however, he might have been older, based on previous Patriarchical aging);
2098 - Orihah, youngest son of Jared, born;
2055 - Orihah anointed king at the age of 43. He has 31 children and lives an “exceeding many” days, perhaps 120 years
2028 - Orihah begat Kib in his old age, probably around 70;
2003 - Kib becomes King when he is about 25, making Orihah about 95. Has a son named Corihor, when he is about 26
1976 - Corihor has a son named Noah;
1971 - Corihor rebels when 32 years old against his father, who is about 58. Corihor travels to Neho and has sons and daughters in exile. Corihor draws many to his banner until he has an Army;
1970 - Corihor attacks and captures Kib, the king, who is now about 59 years old. Kib lives in captivity until he is very old, perhaps about 90;
1963 - Kib has a son named Shule in his old age, perhaps when 65;
1938 - Shule is about 25 when he defeats Corihor, who is about 63. Shule restores Kib to the throne when Kib was about 90;
1936 - Kib grants the kingdom to Shule, who becomes king at about 27. Shule reigns, has many sons and daughters. Corihor, now 67, repents and is restored by Shule;
1926 - Corihor’s son Noah, rebels when he is about 52, Shule about 39, and Corihor (Noah’s father) about 84;
1924 - The land divided into two kingdoms, Noah, who is about 52, and Shule, who is about 39. Shule captured and taken into captivity by Noah;
1913 - Shule’s sons kill Noah, set Shule free, and restore him to his throne when he is about 50, Corhor, the son of Noah takes over the other kingdom;
1910 - Shule slays Corhor in battle when Shule is 53. Nimrod, Corhor’s son, gives up the kingdom to Shule, which reunites the Jaredite nation.Shule has many sons and daughters in his old age;
1865 - Omer reigns after his father Shule;
1853 - Jared rebels against his father when about 20 years of age, and draws many away to the land of Heth. Omer is about 45 years old;
1850 - Jared captures Omer in battle and places him in captivityOmer spends half his days in captivity;
1838 - Omer’s sons, Esrom and Coriantumr raise an army and give battle to their brother, Jared; they defeat the army and spare Jared’s life. Omer restored to the throne at about the age of 60;
1808 - Jared, at about 50, becomes sorrowful at no longer being king. His daughter suggests a plan regarding secret combinations, and a plot is hatched in which she dances before Akish, who is about 25, who is then convinced to kill Omer in exchange for her hand in marriage. Jared and Akish create and restore the secret combinations of old and plan to destroy the kingdom and kill Omer. Omer, who is around 90, is warned by the Lord and flees with his family to the area of Cumorah and the land of many waters where the Nephites would later be destroyed ;
1800 - Jared is named king when he is about 58;
1798 - The secret combination spreads throughout the kingdom. Akish kills Jared and becomes king, then imprisons one of his sons, but another son, Nimrah, is angry and gathers men to him and flees to Omer and dwells there. Akish has other sons and daughters who win the hearts of the people;
1770 - Akish’s sons start a war with their father, Akish, who is now about 75;
1765 - This war lasts many years and nearly destroys all the people of Akish’s kingdom, leaving only 30 people alive plus some who had fled to Omer’s kingdom. Omer is reinstated as king over all the land at about 100 years of age ;
1762 - Emer, Omer’s son, is made king;
1760 - Omer lives two years in total peace, then dies at about 105 years;
1703 - Emer reigns for 62 years amidst a revitalization of the kingdom in wealth and posterity. Coriantum, Emer’s son, made king at about 60, and builds many citiesHis wife dies childless at the age of 102. Coriantum marries a young maid and has many sons and daughters, living until 142 years;
1623 - Com, Coriantum’s son, becomes king and reigns for 49 years;
1574 - Heth kills Com and becomes king at about 40 years of age. People become wicked and secret combinations are revived;
1573 - A great famine occurs, many people die, including Heth, and fiery serpents enter the land and kill many animals, chasing them southward. Some animals escape death by crossing into the Land Southward—people kept from chasing after them;
1540 - The famine finally ends, rain falls and fruit is available in the north countries;
1537 - Shez, Heth’s son, and the only one of Heth’s household not killed in the famine, becomes king at about the age of 35, and works to rebuild the kingdom. Peace and righteousness reign;
1527 - Shez’ son, also called Shez, rebels against his father, but is killed by a robber. Shez lives to an exceeding old age, and builds many cities and the people again spread over the land;
1408 - Shez dies around the age of 120;
1407 Shez’ son Riplakish becomes king. He taxes the people heavily and imprisons them for non-payment;
(See the next post,” The Jaredite Chronology – Part II, for the last half of this assumptive chronology of the Jaredites)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Heartland’s Four Corners Claim

In discussing where Lehi landed, some theorists hold the opinion that North American Heartland was not only the place, but that  the four corners of the United States was the exact area of the Land of First Inheritance and the home of the Nephites. As one states: “Some fail to understand or note the distinct land changes that occurred during Christ's sacrifice. The covenant people of the lord (native Americans) the seed of Lehi/Joseph, had their land (current 4-corners area and south) completely destroyed and mountains became valleys. It seems as though a quarter of the US was under water before Christ sacrificed himself.”
    The four corners, of course, is where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet in the American Southwest. This area, covered with shallow cliffs and profound erosion create monumental landforms all along the Colorado Plateau. The entire area is unique to the sandstone geology of the Four Corners.
    In fact, maps from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate that most of the rock layers around Four Corners were deposited during the so-called Age of Reptiles (Dinosaurs). These rocks are claimed to have formed from fine sediments eroded off older rocks and subsequently deposited by wind and water. Geologists also claim that the Four Corners region sat along the western shore of a shallow sea that split North America in two, with the sea advancing and retreating.
Top: The high desert plain of Mexican Hat region of Utah in the four corners; Bottom: The region of Shiprock in the four corners area of New Mexico

According to geologists, the shallow sea alternately advanced and retreated during the time of the dinosaurs. Around the end of the Mesozoic, today’s Rocky Mountains began to rise. Land that was once seafloor is now elevated far above sea level and consists of high desert that stretched across much of Arizona and Utah, and into Colorado and New Mexico along the Colorado Plateau and its numerous canyons.
    In addition, as ancient tectonic plates were subducting or diving under the western margin of North America, a major mountain-building event occurred inland as the Earth’s crust was pushed up by the forces beneath it. This is known as the Laramide Orogeny, which in addition to the Rocky Mountains, caused the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, which is the rise east of the Great Basin and sandwiched between this Basin to the West, the Sonoran Desert and Mexican Highland to the South, and to east the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and northeastern Colorado, and the Great Plain.
    The fact that the Great Basin was an inland sea is certainly understandable give the history of Noah’s Flood. Thus, after the receding flood waters eventually broke through and formed the Grand Canyon and other remarkable sights in the southwest, Moroni states that “after the flood waters receded off the face of this land” it became a choice land. This evet is scientifically and factually recorded in our book "Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths."
    The event generated deformation or buckling of the Earth’s crust, uplifting mountain ranges, forming basins, and creating widespread volcanism in the western United States. The deformation caused by the Laramide Orogeny uplifted the Rocky Mountains far inland from the subduction zone boundary. This formed the Colorado Plateau, covering the sections known today as the Uinta Basin, Monument Valley, Canyon Lands, Cathera Valley, Navajo Lands, Plateaus of Utah, and the Grand Canyon,
    The area of the Four Corners Platform is made up of Bluff, Navajo, Entrada and Dakota Sandstone and is referred to as the Grand Staircase. It is an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon to Escalante, and into the Grand Canyon. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps, such as the Kaibab Plateau, the Vermillion Cliffs, White Cliffs, Gray Cliffs and Pink Cliffs, with the various layers divided into a five-layer cake of Earth history.
Blue: Mexican Hat; Red: Ute Mountain; Orange: Canyon Lands, Arizona; Green: Shiprock
The land today covers 130,000 square miles and is a giant high desert, mostly flat plateaus largely made up of desert, with scattered areas of forests. In the southwest corner of the Colorado Plateau lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The Plateau has numerous domes, hoodoos (tall thin spires, balancing rocks), fins (vertical lips), reefs (multi-step cliffs), arches, river narrows, natural bridges and slot canyons. The Colorado Plateau also includes ten higher fault-separated plateaus, which range from 4,900 to 11,000 feet elevation, though they are not mountains but flat tablelands between various canyons.
    It is important to know that there is no indication that mountains fell and others rose to a great height in this area as described in the scriptural record. In fact, there are no tall mountains in this area of the Great Plains at all and that is why it is called a plateau.
Top: Ute Mountain on the high desert plains in southern Colorado; Middle: A scattered group of sandstone buttes on the high desert plain in the canyon lands of northern Arizona; Bottom: A single butte on the high desert in the 4 corners region of New Mexico

In addition, we need to keep in mind that the Land of Promise described in the Book of Mormon was not within North America, since little in what is now the United States matches Mormon’s descriptions of the Nephite lands—tall mountains “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23) being just one of them. Another is calling the “mouth” of the Ohio River the “head” of the Sidon River in order to flow toward the south rather than flow toward the north as Mormon describes. 
    Others , to name a few, are: Do not have four seas, one in the north, one in the south, one in the west and one in the east (Helaman 3:8); not an island (2 Nephi 10:20); No small and narrow neck of land that is the only land connection between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32); No two unknown animals referred to as the Cureloms and Cumoms (Ether 9:19); No two unknown grains known as neas and sheum (Mosiah 9:9); No cure for killing fevers (Alma 46:40); No roads and highways that went from city to city, land to land and place to place (3 Nephi 6:8); No Nephite temple like Solomons (2 Nephi 5:16); No stone walls around the land (Alma 48:8); No buildings of all kinds (Mosiah 8:8); No matching climate to Jerusalem (Mediterranean), and Lehi did not land on the West Sea (Almas 22:28).
    On the other hand, the Land of Promise in that area of Andean Peru, western Bolivia, and Ecuador, not only have mountains “whose height is great,” but meets all the above and dozens of other descriptions in the Book of Moron.
    Thus, when Hagoth's ships went north to a "land which was northward" we see that movement into Central and MesoAmerica, and from there as we have discussed many times, an expansion into what is now the U.S. was a final step for the Nephites and Lamanites to eventually occupy the entire Land of Promise as Prophets and General Authorities have discussed in talks and writings over the years and as Joseph Smith verified with the brief story of Zelph (bones found on Naples-Russel Mound 8) and the Prophet Onandagus.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part X

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “Comment: “I have found that people who convert to Mormonism are largely from nominal Christian, or un-churched households looking for hope. Since Mormons are not permitted to read material critical of the Mormon beliefs, the LDS church or Joseph Smith, they simply never come in contact with the truth and consider the Bible a corrupted book, with its true message restored by Joseph Smith Jr., “The Prophet” in their own “Bible” MaryLee B.
Response: First of all, the LDS Church promotes learning with three universities (Provo, Utah; Rexburg, Idaho, and Laie, Honolulu County, Hawaii) with a total enrollment of almost 51,000, in which Religion is one of the subjects studied, including the Bible, both Old and New Testaments.
    There are also 390,000 students in over 170 countries in the world attending free seminary classes each day, which is a four-year religious education program for youth, ages 14-18 years of age, and volunteer teachers meet, each weekday during the school year, to study the Holy Scriptures including: The Bible (Old and New Testaments), the Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants. In addition, there are also 350,000 students in over 2,500 locations attending Institute of Religion classes world-wide, with an objective to help young adults 18-25 years old, as well as adults attending, understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ, qualify for the blessings of the temple, and prepare themselves, their families, and others for eternal life with their Father in Heaven, in which students can be nurtured by the Spirit through classes and activities.
    Plus all members of the Church are encouraged to read and learn from the best books about all about the sciences, human disciplines, and achievement, as well as human history through all periods of time. Lastly, there is no requirement to avoid any literature such as anti-LDS writings. In short, we are free to read and study knowledge as we choose.
The LDS Church is one of the most educationally-oriented Church known—it encourages study, learning, school through college attendance, and teaches both sectarian and church subjects at all levels of its colleges, and promotes learning at all times

Second, there is no ban on any type of reading material for LDS, and the Bible is one of the four standard works of the Church, with constant study throughout the Church for two of the four years (Old Testament one year, New Testament one year) in Primary (3 to 11 years of age), Sunday School (all ages 12 and up), and Seminary (14 to 18 years of age), which covers every member.
    Third: Unlike some Christian religions, we do not center our entire learning on Paul’s writings, but on all the gospel, from Moses writings through all the Patriarchs and Apostles to John (Genesis to Revelations of the King James Version), including all of the modern-day prophets.
    Fourth, and perhaps the most important to your comment, Latter-day Saints consider the Bible to be the Word of God as long as it is translated correctly (obviously having gone through hundreds of rewrites by scribes down through the ages there are known errors of both doctrine and transference, and numerous Christian Bible scholars from all religions have listed most of these in various books and studies). Joseph Smith corrected some of these errors as time permitted, which is found in the work “The Inspired Version,” however, the standard King James Version of the Bible used by most Christian Churches is the Bible the LDS Church uses and authorizes.
Fifth, The Book of Mormon is not a Bible and has nothing to do with the Bible per se, and stands as a separate book of writing by different prophets called in a different part of the World by the Lord covering a period of time from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D., and is called in the LDS Church “A Second Witness of Christ,” and centers around the exact same gospel found in the Bible.
    As is stated: “And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope" (Romans 15:12). And “there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). And “in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10).”
    As Christ, himself, said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
Comment #2: “I read your book on “Scientific Fallacies,” and while it is a marvelous and very exact and helpful work, I still do not see why a combination of evolution and creation cannot be the way God used to create man through a series of steps that are stated in evolutionary terms” Dr. Thomas C. E.
Response: If you are like a friend of ours, an active member of the Church, who is a gynecologist and familiar with the steps of growth of the fetus, etc., he bases a similar belief on that knowledge from seeing fetus of humans as well as animals being much the same. In any event, I think the answer lies in the First Presidency letter “The Origin of Man,” found in the Improvement Era, Vol 13, November 1909, pp75-81, and signed by the Presidency Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund, which is too long to quote in total here, but should be read by and understood by every member, and all mankind.
One of the quotes is: “The omnipotent Creator, the maker of heaven and earth–had shown unto Moses everything pertaining to this planet, including the facts relating to man's origin, and the authoritative pronouncement of that mighty prophet and seer to the house of Israel, and through Israel to the whole world, is couched in the simple clause: "God created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27; Moses 1:27-41).
    The article also states: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." In these plain and pointed words the inspired author of the book of Genesis made known to the world the truth concerning the origin of the human family.
    Moses, the prophet-historian, "learned," as we are told, "in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," when making this important announcement, was not voicing mere opinion, a theory derived from his researches into the occult lore of that ancient people. He was speaking as the mouthpiece of God, and his solemn declaration was for all time and for all people.
    Another quote: “It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was "the first man of all men" (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race.
    It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father.
In a letter of the First Presidency of Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley (Improvement Era, 28, pp1090-1091, September 1925), it is stated: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. By his Almighty power God organized the earth, and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist co-eternally with himself. Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother, is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.”
    In a letter to Samuel O. Bennion, February 26, 1912, Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund and Charles W. Penrose stated: “Our Father Adam—that is our earthy father—the progenitor of the race of man, stands at the head being 'Michael the Archangel, the Ancient of Days,' and that he was not fashioned from earth life and adobe but begotten by his Father in Heaven."
We could go on with such writings, but it has always been the fundamental doctrine of the theology of the Church and every prophet and First Presidency have said the same. It was Marion G. Romney, responding to a question on the beliefs of the General Authorities in 1973, that said it best when a student asked, "Are the General Authorities of the Church in one accord on the subject of evolution?" Elder Romney replied: "I don’t suppose that any two minds in the world understand exactly alike any statement on any subject. 
    The General Authorities of the Church are, of course, like all other men, different in their personalities. However, on the fundamentals they are in accord, and one of those fundamentals upon which they are in accord is that Adam is a son of God, that neither his spirit nor his body is a product of biological evolution which went on for millions of years on this earth…the truth I desire to emphasize today is that we mortals are in very deed the literal offspring of God. If men understood, believed, and accepted this truth and lived by it, our sick and dying society would be reformed and redeemed, and men would have peace here and now and eternal joy in the hereafter.”
    I will just add my own testimony to that, for whatever it might be worth to you, that I have not one iota of doubt in my entire being that the man Adam came into this world, as one did in other worlds, a fully developed being and was not the product of biological evolution in any way and that there never has been a biological evolutionary process in the development of any member of the human family here or elsewhere.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part IX

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “What do you think of the new resource at http://bookofmormoncentral.org?” Adam.
Response: A brief summary inspection and reading shows a very strong connection with FairMormon, which is a new name for FARMS, etc., and states in their blog: "Most of the articles are from FARMS, the Maxwell Institute, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, BYU Studies, and BYU Religious Education" which is a very strong association with the Mesoamerican theory, model and belief system. Only time will tell if they follow that path or actually develop something new that is more closely aligned to the scriptural record.
Comment #2: “I’m having a hard time reconciling the population numbers of the Jaredite and Nephi people, when an anthropologist, A. L. Kroeber calculated that only 8.4 million existed for the total population of the Western Hemisphere when the Europeans arrived” Janice W.
Response: Population figures would be hard to come by for the pre-Columbian western world when no such statistics were kept in any form. However, as long as we’re throwing out the names of “experts,” Father Bartolome de Las Casas estimated that 40 million native Americans had perished in just two generations after the Spanish arrived in the New World. Henry Dobyns estimated that 90 million existed around 1500 A.D. William Denevan’s 1976 volume, The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, places the number at 57 million. The Inca Empire of Andean South America is said by numerous scholars to have included more than 16 million people at the time of Pizarro entered with his 168 Spanish soldiers in 1532.
From our point of view, it seems that smaller numbers are probably more accurate than larger ones since, at least in the area of the Land of Promise, for 1000 years or so, the Lamanites were in a constant civil war that had to have decimated their numbers. The numbers covered in the scriptural record seem to fit into these smaller numbers, with 230,000 plus women and children being killed at Cumorah to end the Nephite nation after some 70 years of almost constant fighting, and the couple of million others who we can add up to have been killed over a period of time; and the Jaredite numbers seem to bear out a population at one time of around 6 to 8 million.
Comment #3: “Thanks for this series. I was reading Potter's book and when I got to the part where he was explaining his version of the narrow neck I stopped reading it and never finished. But I do appreciate his work in Arabia” erichard.
Response: I agree that Potter's work in Arabia is excellent, it is a shame he did not put out the same accurate information regarding Peru.
Comment #4: “I am curious. Can we determine from the term “angel” applied to Moroni that he did not receive exaltation since he has already been resurrected? For example, Doctrine and Covenants says that Abraham has been exalted. If you know of any official statement that has been made regarding the eternal destination of Moroni” Sean W.
Response: First of all, Mark E. Petersen, referred to Moroni as “an angel of God, a messenger from heaven, with a physical reality,” and also “a resurrected person of flesh and bones, emerging from the eternal veil and paying repeated…visits to Joseph Smith” (Conference talk, “The Angel Moroni Came! October 1983)”
Secondly, Angelic messengers bring knowledge, priesthood, comfort, and assurances from God to mortals. However, when priesthood or keys are to be conveyed, the ministering angel possesses a body of flesh and bones, either from resurrection or translation (such as Enoch and his people). Spirits can convey information, but they cannot confer priesthood upon mortal beings, because spirits do not lay hands on mortals (D&C 129).
    Third: “"There are two kinds of beings in heaven who are called angels: those who are spirits and those who have bodies of flesh and bone. Angels who are spirits have not yet obtained a body of flesh and bone, or they are spirits who have once had a mortal body and are awaiting resurrection. Angels who have bodies of flesh and bone have either been resurrected from the dead or translated."
    Fourth, Moroni, known as the Angel of Revelation, was given a specific charge to watch over and guard the plates he hid up, as well as other protective assignments regarding this Western Hemisphere. Obviously, he knew when he hid the plates that the Lord would prepare a future prophet to translate it, the process guided by himself commencing in 1820 with Joseph Smith.
    In art, Moroni is often depicted blowing a trumpet, a musical instrument that symbolizes his role announcing revelations about the church. Many Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temples feature statues of Moroni blowing a trumpet. The statues are gold no doubt because the plates that Moroni showed Joseph Smith and helped him translate were gold.
Comment #5: I read ‘Nephi in the Promised Land’ and read it through since it made more sense to me than "Mormon and Moroni" (Mesoamerica focused), which, in its turn, made much more sense to me than promised land = entirety of the Americas, which was my running assumption until I came across that book. I'm not sure if I would have read "Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica" if those two books had not jump-started my curiosity on the topic.
"Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica" is a very intimidating-appearing book, though (perhaps paradoxically) it was actually quite easy to read and re-read
” Michael R.

Response: You might find the second book "Who Really Settled Mesoamerica," of equal interest since it brings Central America into focus as to the time and circumstances in which that area was settled by Nephites (around 50 B.C.), with the first half of the book about the Jaredites and how they got to the Land of Promise and where they landed.
Comment #6: “Do you think Moroni stayed around the hill Cumorah for the next few years so he could bury the records there? And if not, where would he have gone?” Markum T.
Response: We have answered this before, but quite some time ago and the question seems to persist. With 230,000 to 300,000 or more dead and unburied and their stench permeating the air around Cumorah, coupled with the disease from the polluted land and ground water, leading to such things as typhus and verruga (a deadly Andean disease spread by sandflies mentioned in great detail in the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica), would have become a threat to anyone remaining in that area.
    When Ammonihah was destroyed, it was left desolate for many years for that very reason (Alma 16:11). Obviously, Moroni would not have gone southward since he wrote that Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites until they were all destroyed (Mormon 8:2), nor would have gone east into the Amazon jungle where a single person would have great difficulty surviving the wildlife.
    The only direction open to him would have been northward, toward Colombia and beyond. It took something like 36 years between the last battle at Cumorah and when we know Moroni completed his record. In 36 years, he undoubtedly was long gone from the area of Cumorah, necessitating his hiding of the records far from that battlefield.
Comment #7: “I was just wondering. Has there been any research done in the area of the land of Promise to see if we can do any matching up of cities? I know we probably will never see a sign that says.. "Welcome to Zarahemla". But is anyone looking? This is probably in the book somewhere” Mr. Nirom
Response: There are a lot of archaeologists working in Andean South America and have been for more than a hundred years; however, to my knowledge, none are LDS. Still, I think the matching of a few are obvious. But it seems that LDS archaeologists are working in Mesoamerica, perhaps because that is the only area BYU archaeology has ever worked in and LDS archaeologists generally are from BYU.

Friday, June 26, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VIII

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “If I have read your Book of Mormon correctly, it seems there were more than one prophet in the days of Lehi. Why more than one? You only have one today” Jesse B.
Response: There are almost always more than one prophet on the earth at one time. Currently, there are 15 men on the earth set apart as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. What makes the President of the Church unique is that he is the only man on earth who has authority to exercise all the keys of the priesthood, even though those keys were given to him when he was first ordained an apostle. However, today's organization of prophets is much different than in Lehi's day. 
Elijah was called to preach repentance to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reigns of Kings Ahab and Ahaziah
In the Old Testament (Lehi’s time), there was no "President of the Church." The presiding priesthood authority under the Mosaic Law was the high priest of the Aaronic Priesthood (2 Kings. 22:8; Nehemiah. 3:1). Since the ecclesiastical institution of the time was governed by the Aaronic Priesthood, these prophets (most of whom had been obtained the Melchizedek priesthood through personal righteousness) were not ecclesiastical administrators in the same sense that they are today. Rather, they received mandates from the Lord to perform specific prophetic functions.
    In the Old Testament it speaks of a band of prophets meeting Samuel, who prophesied with the other prophets (1 Samuel 10:10-11). These prophets had specific assignments (callings). As an example, the prophet Jonah was commanded of the Lord to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh. Lehi was commanded to prophecy to the Jews regarding their impending destruction and to call them to repentance. 
    Other Old Testament prophets were given special callings to counsel the king in conjunction with their responsibility to cry repentance to the people, such as Jeremiah in Lehi’s day (as well as Samuel, Nathan, and Isaiah). They may have been the major prophets of their day but they were not the administrative leaders of the religious organization under Mosaic Law.
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” Amos 3:7

It should always be noted that the justice of God requires that he warn the people before they are destroyed. Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, “Turn ye from your evil ways” (2 Kings 17:13).  In the case of the Babylonian captivity, the Lord sent several prophets to warn the people. Lehi, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Nahum, Urijah (Jer 26:20-23), Zephanaiah and Obadiah were probably all contemporaries, and all but Obadiah and Nahum are known to have prophesied specifically about the destruction of Jerusalem.
Comment #2: “Where is your narrow neck of land?”
Response: Because of the very makeup of the western Andean area, between the mountains and the sea being a narrow strip in the south and much wider in the north, with the Gulf narrowing it to an area about 25-30 miles between the gulf waters and the steep Andes of Guayaquil separating Ecuador and Peru, actually cutting off land movement and mountains, the nature of the land has always been considered divided in these two large areas.
    Even today, with the Andes up all along the eastern edge of the western shelf, the inhabitants consider south America divided in two halves: The Western area which is Ecuador Colombia, Peru, western Bolivia, and Chile separate from the rest of the continent that is east of the Andes.
Left: The Land of Promise as an island in South America. The Narrow Neck of Land is that area to the east of the Gulf of Guayaquil between the West Sea and the East Sea. When the land came up as the (red line) Andes rose (to a height which is great), the narrow neck remain between the West Sea and the tall Andes Mountains

In the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, we find that they are referred to as the Land Northward and the Land Southward. The native civilizations were most developed in the Andean region, where they are roughly divided into Northern Andes civilizations of present- day Colombian and Ecuador, and the Southern Andes civilizations of present- day Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
Comment #3: “I read a paper from one of the professors at BYU named Clark who said he was convinced that the reference to a north and a south sea was ‘devoid of any concrete geographical content’ (his words), and claims that all specific references to seas in the Book of Mormon are only to a west and east sea. He also feels any model, such as yours, that shows a north and south sea is doomed to fail” Pete A.
Response: John E. Clark is a professor of archaeology in the department of anthropology at BYU where he received both is B.S. and M.A., though obtaining his PhD at Michigan. He wrote in his book: The Book of Mormon and Archaeology (New World Archaeological Foundation, BYU, May 25, 2004) in addition to your comment, that “we cannot dismiss the reference to these seas out of hand.  If they are metaphorical, what was the metaphor? (p 65).
    As a Mesoamericanist, specializing in the Olmec culture, it is only reasonable for him to try and eliminate, downplay, or put in question a north and south sea, since Mesoamerica only has an east and west sea. He also wrote: “Conceptually, beyond each wilderness lay a sea, south, north, west, and east.  Thus the land was conceived as surrounded by seas, or floating on one large sea” (p 65), though we do not agree with his “conceptual” comment, as though Jacob did not know what he was talking about, or Nephi either who wrote it down, that the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20), which fits his picture quite well.
    Mormon also understood this when he talked about the Nephites expanding from sea to sea (Helaman 3:8).
    This is not the first time we have disagreed with Clark regarding the scriptural record, and it is not likely to be the last. Unlike most theorists, especially those of Mesoamerica, we stand behind and support totally the scriptural record and do not adjust the clear and concise descriptions to meet one’s beliefs, opinions, or models to relegate Mormon’s writings to asking meaningless questions and comments.
    Unlike Clark, we do not look at the scriptural descriptions as metaphors, i.e., not literally applicable. Nor is there any reason to believe such writing is metaphorical, figurative or symbolic in any way.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VII

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: Do you have a time line of when the events in the first part of Nephi’s life would have occurred?” Roberta M.
Young Nephi

Response: Assuming that Nephi was about 25 when leaving Jerusalem, he would have been born about 625 B.C. (622)—using the date in the scriptural record for when Lehi left Jerusalem, though historians place the first year of Jedekiah’s reign in 597 B.C., not 600, which is shown in parenthesis in the following dates.
    Roughly, Lehi left Jerusalem in 600 B.C. (597); arrived in Bountiful after eight years in the wilderness, in 592 B. (589); probably took upwards of 2 years to build the ship, and another 2 to 3 months to sail to the Land of Promise, arriving at landfall around 590 B.C. (587). Lehi probably died in about two years, and Nephi took those who would go with him northward, arriving at the place they called “Nephi” (City of Nephi) around 588-587 B.C. (585-584). The city of Nephi was probably begun around 586 B.C. (583), the city of Shilom probably around 581 B.C. (578).
    When Nephi later speaks of commencing the second set of plates, it is 30 years after leaving Jerusalem, which would place the date about 570 B.C.(567). He probably died around 550-540 B.C. (547-537) at the age of 75 to 85.
    Please keep in mind these are just about all estimates. We have no scriptural evidence of most of this.
Comment #6: “Why do you think the Inca claimed Tiwanaku or Tiahuanaco was built by the Gods?” Harry C.
Response: When the Spaniards arrived, one of the questions they asked after seeing the magnificent ruins at Tiahuanado was who built it. While it was the habit of the Inca to lay claim to everything of any value as being Incan, especially since they claimed to be the oldest civilization of the Andes and always claimed any others were little more than ignorant savages, yet knowing they could not build such edifices as these ancient ruins if pressed to do so by the Spanish, so not willing to state it was someone else, they said it was built by the Gods.
    Since the Inca were the gods, they could still claim they were the oldest civilization and therefore the ones that built everything of any value. The interesting thing is, when the Spanish pressed them into service to build things, their work was so inferior the Spanish eventually began building their own edifices in the Andes.
Comment #4: “You claim the Nephites were on an island, but how would they have known this after just arriving?” Dean H.
Response: We are not the ones claiming that—Jacob claimed it and Nephi agreed, writing it down on the plates. But it should be kept in mind that when this was said, it was 30 years after they left Jerusalem, having been in the Land of Promise for at least 20 years and much would have been known by then.
Comment #5: “I saw this drawing of a Nephite fort, showing the “place of entrance” mentioned in scripture as the only place the Lamanites could gain entrance. Do you think it is authentic?” Randy D.

Submitted drawing of fort

Response: Clearly the artist designer of this fort has no idea what he is dealing with. First, place a few archers near this entrance, and within a very few volleys, you would have no one alive in the towers. Second, the short walls shown at ground level is not what the scripture describes, for they were so high, the Lamanites could not loft any rocks or arrows over them. In this fort, every man at the walls is within easy arrow range and completely exposed from the chest up. For this type of entrance concept, let me show you a fort so designed in Peru.
1-Note the height of the outside walls around the fortress; 2-Note the narrow and singular opening that allows only two warriors should to shoulder to enter this “place of entrance”; 3- Note the high walls on either side of the inside of the entrance; 4-Note the safety of the height where warriors, back out of view, could throw down rocks, bounders, even shoot arrows into the long opening

Comment #6: “Was the Land Northward part of the lands of Lehi’s inheritance, or were they separate and part of the Jaredite inheritance?” Bea T.
Response: Mormon makes it clear that the lands of the Nephite (Lehi’s inheritance) included both the Land Southward and the Land Northward, when he said, “And the three hundred and forty and ninth year had passed away. And in the three hundred and fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided. And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward” (Mormon 2:28). This shows that the “lands of our inheritance” has reference to the Land of Promise, both the Land Southward and the Land Northward.
Comment #7: “What is wrong with Sorenson’s view that ‘Language and archaeological studies assure us that there were inhabitants in coastal Guatemala soon after 600 B.C., but the number could have been low. The fact that the Olmec (Jaredite-related) tradition was then in the final stage of disintegration meant that the remnants living in the area of Lehi's landing would have been disorganized, not about to challenge mysterious newcomers. Laman and Lemuel's ambition (we might compare them to Cortez) could well have thrust the immigrants into dominance and led the locals to recast their views to agree with the story told by the immigrant rulers, effectively making the newcomers into a replacement for the former Olmec chiefs they had been serving. The rapid expansion in numbers of Lamanites, suggested in the Nephite record, had to owe more to a scenario like this than to an unlikely dramatic biological expansion and ecological florescence by Laman, Lemuel and company’?”
Response: It is pure speculation without a shred of corroborative evidence, comment, suggestion or inference at all in the entire scriptures, either in Nephi’s account or that of the Jaredites. Sorenson has a tendency to make things up that are not in the scriptures (other cultures, Jaredite influence on Nephites, extra people among Lamanites) when it suits him and question those things are in the scripture (horses, metallurgy, etc.) when it doesn’t suit him. 
Comment #5 “I find it interesting that Hugh Nibley says in his collected works “Remember, Mosiah had to move out. There is no revelation, no prophecy. The lights went out, and it was time to move on.” What exactly does he mean by that?” Cindy M.
Response: Unfortunately, we cannot ask him. Nor can we say what he meant. Obviously, he was referring about Mosiah moving out of the city of Nephi. However, regarding there being no revelation or no prophecy, we read in Omni that Amaleki, an eye witness to these events, wrote: “Behold, I will speak unto you somewhat concerning Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord should also depart out of the land with him, into the wilderness—And it came to pass that he did according as the Lord had commanded him. And they departed out of the land into the wilderness, as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord; and they were led by many preachings and prophesyings. And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:12-13).
    That all sounds like a lot of prophesying and preaching and revelation. What Nibley meant by this appears to be unknown. However, you might want to keep in mind when reading Nibley, that most of his published works are a compilation of brief, previously written articles, and when put together in one format, often sound disjointed because they were not originally written as a single article.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part VI

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:
Comment #1: “How far would a day’s travel in Lehi’s desert trek have been?” Karla N.
Response: Lehi's party is described as moving through the desert for a few days (three or four, one would estimate) and then camping "for the space of a time" (1 Nephi 16:17). This is exactly the way the Arabs move. Caravan speeds run between two and one-quarter to three and nine-tenths miles an hour, thirty miles being, according to Robert Ernest Cheesman, military officer, explorer, and ornithologist, who was the first man to map the Arabian coast, "a good average" for the day, and sixty miles being the absolute maximum.
"The usual estimate for a good day's march is reckoned by Arab writers at between twenty-eight and thirty miles: in special or favored circumstances it might be near forty." On the other hand, a day's slow journey for an "ass-nomad," moving much slower than camel-riders, is twenty miles (William J. T. Pythian-Adams, "The Mount of God," PEFQ (1930), 199).
    Yet, according to James K. Hoffmeier, Professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology Trinity International University, Oxford University Press, Oct 6, 2005, Ancient Israel in Sinai: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition) states that travel in the Bible and in other Near Eastern texts is measured in terms of the number of days of travel required to cover the distance (Gen 30:36; Ex 3:18; 5:3; 8:27; Num 10:33; 11:31; 33:8; Deut 1:2; 1 Kings 19:4; Jon 3:3-4). In the 19th century, explorers who traveled on camels in the desert terrain of Sinai and adjacent territories, attempted to determine the distance one could travel in a day—H. Clay Trumbull calculated that 15 to 18 miles approximated the distance.
A more recent study based on texts from across the ancient Near East from the second and first millenniums was made by the historical geographer Barry Beitzel who made this observation “The evidence is generally uniform and mutually corroborating that one day’s journey in the ancient world incorporated between 17 and 23 miles.”
    In 1819 John Burkhardt traveled by camel—at a human’s walking pace—from Cairo to Gebel Musa in eleven days, and Robinson described the pace of travel and their Bedouin who accompanied them as “They walked lightly and gaily by our side; often outstripping the camels for a time and then often lagging behind; they seldom seemed tired at night. They typically traveled ten to twelve hours, at a pace of about two miles per hour.
    In fact, it was anciently understood that the measure of a day’s travel originated in the distance a caravan could travel. And the pace of a donkey and/or camel caravan would not be greater than that of a human, because the pack animals were carrying trade goods, and the caravaneers would walk alongside the animals or lead them—which means that if a day’s journey is based on the distance traveled by a caravan, then it also represents a distance that humans could cover in a day of walking.
    Therefore, a day’s journey represented a fixed and understood distance—this distance could vary somewhat depending on the caravan train, thus when the wilderness itineraries mentioned a three-day journey (Exodus 15:22; Numbers 33:8), or an eleven-day journey (Deuteronomy 1:2), a specific distance was intended.
    An early second-millennium text from Mari, for instance, suggests that a caravan could move around 22 miles per day in desert environs, which corresponds with ethnographic evidence gathered from camel and donkey caravans, which travel between 16 and 23 miles per day.
Comment #2: “I’ve heard that George Washington was Bulletproof. What does that mean—did he wear armor?” Cynthia T.
Response: David Burton, founder of WallBuilders, an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage, wrote a book called The Bulletproof George Washington (WallBuilder Press, 3rd ed, Dec 19, 2002), in which he outlines several attempts at Washington’s life by Indian riflemen during the French-Indian Wars. His book received 91% 5-star ratings from over 95 readers, and is well known for his accuracy with history and his unvarnished presentation of those facts.
In one instance, he writes: “As details of the battle emerged, it turns out that either George Washington was extremely lucky, was bulletproof, or was being supernaturally protected. One Indian warrior testified that he had shot at him 17 times. He exclaimed that “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet!’ Another Indian, Red Hawk, had shot and missed him 11 times. He had not missed a shot before, and became convinced that Washington was being supernaturally protected by the Great Spirit.
    In 1770, fifteen years after the battle, an old Indian told Washington that he had sought out to meet him. He had been fighting in the battle that day, and he had told all the Indians with him to shoot at him, and make sure that he died. When they all missed, he told them to stop. That evening, he predicted that Washington would never die in battle, and would be “the founder of a mighty empire.”
    It is a very worthwhile read—many ratings call it a must read.
Comment #3:: “I have heard that there were some white-skinned people in South America. Is that true?” Tre H.
Response: According to the American author and one of the premier swashbuckling explorers of Peru, Douglas Eugene “Gene” Savoy, (“Found! The Legendary Cloud Kingdom,” Argosy Magazine, Feb 1971, p55). These so-called “Cloud People” are a white race that have lived in the East Wilderness area as long as those who memorialized Indian history could remember—a fact recorded by the Spanish chroniclers.
    It might be of interest to know that in 1969 Savoy built and captained the Kuviqu (also known as the “Feathered Serpent I”), a totora-reed raft of ancient design, along 2,000 miles of ocean coastline from Peru to Mesoamerica in an effort to prove that Peruvians and Mexicans could have maintained contact in ancient times and that the legendary heroes Viracocha and Quetzalcoatl—an idea Thor Heyerdahl championed—were one and the same.
Gene Savoy’s Kuviqu or Feathered Serpent I

Soon afterwards he captained the “Feathered Serpent II,” which he sailed from the United States to the Caribbean, to Central and South America, and finally to Hawaii, to study ocean and wind currents. In 1997 he sailed a 73-foot wooden catamaran from Peru to Hawaii in a dramatic effort to demonstrate that ancient Peruvians could have sailed the open seas.
Comment #4: “While today the areas of Rimac, Chancay and Lurin are considered part of the Greater Lima area, what makes you think that was the case in the time of the Nephites?” Gerald P.
Response: Because three major rivers come together in this area, it is likely it was combined, providing one basic agricultural area as generally occurred in antiquity. In his book, The Ancient Civilizations of Peru, J. Alden Mason states: “The valleys of Chancay, Rimac, and Lurin fall together culturally—and probably historically—and are considered as forming the Central Coast culture” (Penguin, London, 1957p83). It also stands to reason that the size of Zarahemla as the capital for a nation numbering at least a million or so people, would expand over more than a single or couple of ancient sites.