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New World Animals In The Book Of Mormon


Sargon

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I was recently watching "Journey of Faith: The New World" (which I highly recommend along with the first JoF). I noticed that many beautiful scenes of the Central American jungles include shots of birds, animals, and insects that flourish there.

The Book of Mormon has been criticized for not making any mention of common animals which are native to those jungles, such as jaguars, monkeys, and snakes, while mention of horses and other Old World animals make it into the text.

As a believer in the Book of Mormon, I present this question to you for your thoughts:

Where are the New World animals in the Book of Mormon?

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The funny thing is, people will overlook things that are close to them. This is why a tourist almost always knows more about Seattle than people who have been living there all their lives. What seems ordinary becomes invisible. Notice the Bible does not mention many animals common in Biblical areas, such as elephants.

OTOH, I can see Book of Mormon authors being almost obsessed with exotic animals from what must have been an almost mythological past.

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All by itself, I don't think it's a big deal that the Book of Mormon doesn't mention native animals. cjcampbell has a good point. It only seems problematic to me when the unmentioned native animals are stacked next to the animals that are mentioned: horses, elephants, oxen, flocks (of sheep?), goats. The same goes for plants; the BoM doesn't name corn, the staple of the indigenous diet, but names wheat and barley instead.

Seems pretty weird to me.

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The Book of Mormon has been criticized for not making any mention of common animals which are native to those jungles, such as jaguars, monkeys, and snakes, while mention of horses and other Old World animals make it into the text

There were poisonous serpents mentioned in Ether 9:30-33.

What are cureloms and cumoms? They were useful apparently. Llamas and other South American camelids? I'd say the BoM does mention some native animals.

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Notice the Bible does not mention many animals common in Biblical areas, such as elephants.

Well, then I can no longer believe in the existence of elephants. I won't believe it if you can't prove it with the Bible.

[/fundamentalist]

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Notice the Bible does not mention many animals common in Biblical areas, such as elephants.
Well, then I can no longer believe in the existence of elephants. I won't believe it if you can't prove it with the Bible.

While not mentioned in the BoM, I have a testimony that they had monkey butlers.

:P

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Snakes are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon? Are you sure about that?

My mistake. As others have pointed out, snakes are mentioned in Ether.

Come to think of it, I can't think of many animals mentioned at all in the NT. There is the donkey Jesus rode on, and the beasts in John's vision.

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All by itself, I don't think it's a big deal that the Book of Mormon doesn't mention native animals. cjcampbell has a good point. It only seems problematic to me when the unmentioned native animals are stacked next to the animals that are mentioned: horses, elephants, oxen, flocks (of sheep?), goats. The same goes for plants; the BoM doesn't name corn, the staple of the indigenous diet, but names wheat and barley instead.

Seems pretty weird to me.

I think it does name corn, but some of the other common crops of Mesoamerica certainly aren't mentioned, like squash.

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The same goes for plants; the BoM doesn't name corn, the staple of the indigenous diet, but names wheat and barley instead.

Seems pretty weird to me.

Incorrect. Does it make you feel less weird that it's actually listed first?

Mosiah 9: 9, 14

9 And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land.

Mosiah 7: 22

22 And all this he did, for the sole purpose of bringing this people into subjection or into bondage. And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds; and even one half of all we have or possess the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us, or our lives.

I'll be the first to admit, however, that corn does not equal maize. Corn's primary definition was as a seed or grain of a plant - especially an agricultural plant. So the mention of corn in the Book of Mormon doesn't necessarily mean it's referring to maize, though it may.

Edited to add the definition from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

1. A single seed of certain plants, as wheat, rye, barley and maiz; a grain. In this sense, it has a plural; as, three barley corns make an inch. It is generally applied to edible seeds, which, when ripe, are hard.
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All by itself, I don't think it's a big deal that the Book of Mormon doesn't mention native animals. cjcampbell has a good point. It only seems problematic to me when the unmentioned native animals are stacked next to the animals that are mentioned: horses, elephants, oxen, flocks (of sheep?), goats. The same goes for plants; the BoM doesn't name corn, the staple of the indigenous diet, but names wheat and barley instead.

Seems pretty weird to me.

Well, the English insist on calling wheat 'corn.' Anyway, there being no word for 'corn' in Reformed Egyptian, perhaps Mormon used the word for 'wheat' instead, figuring it was good enough. In fact, Nephi, seeing corn, might have called it 'wheat' and all of his descendants called it that right up until the end. That could be true for a whole lot of things. Reformed Egyptian is an Old World language which would not have words for any plants or animals native to the Americas. So Mormon and Moroni might simply have substituted instead. And where they couldn't find an Egyptian word that was close, they said something like 'curelom,' which could not be translated at all. Thus, 'deseret,' which we were told means 'the honeybee,' is used to illustrate a concept or item which could not be translated into Reformed Egyptian. Real honeybees, of course, would have simply been called 'honeybees' in the Book of Mormon, not 'deseret.'

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There were poisonous serpents mentioned in Ether 9:30-33.

What are cureloms and cumoms? They were useful apparently. Llamas and other South American camelids? I'd say the BoM does mention some native animals.

Which, if no English word for them existed, would have had to remain untranslatable. If Joseph Smith had never heard of llamas, how would he translate them if they were in the Book of Mormon? 'Cureloms' seems good enough. Over time the word might simply have become 'loms, and finally llamas.

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Which, if no English word for them existed, would have had to remain untranslatable. If Joseph Smith had never heard of llamas, how would he translate them if they were in the Book of Mormon? 'Cureloms' seems good enough. Over time the word might simply have become 'loms, and finally llamas.

Yes, but if you accept a Mesoamerican Geography (which I believe is the last stand for LDS apologetics where it concerns Book of Mormon Geography), then what are llamas doing in southern Mexico ca. 600 BC (or even ca. 2200 BC)?

My understanding is that llamas, while they had a greater range 25,000 years ago or so, by the late third millennium, they were certainly extinct in Mexico.

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Was it ever mentioned that a pottery was found in southern Arizona with large wheat cornels in it? They are hard as Red Winter wheat, has a larger than normal protien content and could save the world if anyone other than my family had it to grow. :P

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