Sunday, December 31, 2017

Baalbek and Tiahuanaco – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the the parallel of construction of Baalbek in the Old World and its striking resemblance to the historicity of a site of Tiahuanaco in the Western Hemisphere of Andean Peru, which has become known as the “Baalbek of the New World.” 
    It should be noted that this area of Tiahuanaco was the capital of an empire that extended into present-day Peru and Chile, and to show how important the complex was, it is believed to be one of the most important cities of ancient America. In fact, Andean legends claim the area around Lake Titicaca was the cradle of the first humans on Earth. According to the myths, Lord Viracocha, the creator God of all things, chose Tiahuanaco as the place of creation. It is unknown how old these ruins are, but some researchers suggest that they extend far back into B.C. times.
    Even today, like Garcilaso de la Vega in the 16thcentury, professionals wonder how such blocks were quarried with no metal tools, how they were transported to the building site by a civilization claimed to be without the wheel, and how they were assembled to form the piers and docks that once existed.
The high artificial hill, built on stone foundations to which Garcilaso refers has been determined by modern technology to be an entirely man-made earthen mound, faced with a mixture of large and small stone blocks. In fact, ground-penetrating radar has revealed not only an underground pyramid at the site, but also numerous “underground anomalies” suspected of being monoliths and an underground tunnel.
    According to Ludwing Cayo, director of the Tiahuanaco Archeological Research Center, the site will be undergoing further investigations and has scheduled excavations to begin shortly and continue over a five-year period on the pyramid at Kantatallita area of Tiahuanaco, located 44 miles west of La Paz in Bolivia, and in its height, covered 373,000 square miles, with “a legacy of impressive stone monuments such as Kalasasaya, the semi-underground Templete, sculptures of prominent figures, the Gate of the Sun and ruins of palaces, along with numerous blocks of stone scattered about weighing hundreds of tons.”
    The question plaguing scientists is how did these huge blocks of hewn stone get scattered about in such disarray? Did some tremendous geological cataclysm tumble these gigantic monoliths into this horrible disorder? And if so, what catacalysmic event would that have been?
    According to Alan L. Kolata in The Tiwanaku: Portrait of an Andean Civilization, “During the time period between 300 B.C. and 300 A.D., Tiwanaku is thought to have been a moral and cosmological center for the Tiwanaku Empire, and one to which many people made pilgrimages. Researchers believe it achieved this standing prior to Tiwanaku expanding its powerful empire” (Wiley-Blackwell, New Jersey, 1993).
    Then there is the ceremonial center with its pyramids, temples, stone idols. The characteristics of construction are unique and splendid, with planners and architects having singular drawing of simple lines designed lavish temples; the engineers calculated the inclinations of the walls, and with an excellent urbanistic technique created superficial and underground networks of channels to eliminate the rainwater. Masons sculpted stones of excellent design, metallurgists made plates for the iconographic bas-reliefs, managing to cover monuments with golden metals, which sparkled under the sun; and the priests oriented the temples astronomically with amazing precision. A multitude of men cut the stone in distant quarries and transported it to this complex resulting in a radiation of culture, a concentration of knowledge and location of science—the influence of Tiahuanaco is noticed in its monuments of Peru, Ecuador, and communities of Marajó Island at the mouth of the Amazon River. The seal of this culture is also found in ceramic or metal objects manufactured by the communities of northern Chile, northern Argentina, Peru, and eastern Bolivia. Its culture was considered the most important of the pre-Columbian period in Andean territory, achieving not only great advances in science and art, but created an exceptional technique of cultivation in ridges for the flat lands and on platforms or terraces for the slopes. Undoubtedly, it exerted a powerful influence on other cultures.
    The various buildings in the complex are known as the Kalasasaya ("Place of Vertical Stones"), the semi-Subterranean Temple, a so-called "Palace," and the Akapana Pyramid. This subterranean Temple is one of the most amazing sites yet uncovered, which is one of the most finished architectural realizations of the era of splendor, and is more than 6 ½ feet below the level of the surrounding area, almost quadrangular in shape, and made up of walls with 57 sustaining pillars of red sandstone and ashlars of the same material. These walls are decorated internally by 175 nailed heads, mostly worked in limestone, each one different from the others. The drainage system in this subterranean area is made by channels made of stone, with a perfect slope of 2% that still works today, and flows into a collector.
    Embedded in the floor of the temple was the largest anthropomorphic piece, known as monolith Pachamama and has been transferred to the city of La Paz to fix it in the square next to the stadium Hernando Siles. Today it has been returned and installed in a museum built especially for tourists to appreciate it. This piece has a height of 24-feet and an approximate weight of 20 ton. In addition, the monolith known as the Templete "Monolito Barbado" or "KonTiki Wiracocha" (Lord of the Waters, with beards, and dressed in a long skirt) sculpted in sandstone, which is accompanied by two other minor stelae, all excavated in the same site.
    In addition, a few minor buildings are also present in this complex, and many of the building blocks are estimated to weigh close to 200 tons. The Akapana Pyramid is a step pyramid, and, like the Great Pyramid, is aligned perfectly with the cardinal directions. It was originally covered with smooth Andesite stone, only 10 percent of which is still in sitü. The ruinous state of the pyramid is due to stone pirates who have carried off the stones for building materials in the nearby city of La Paz.
    The conventional practice of dating Tiahuanacu is based on carbon dates of numerous examples of pottery, small statues and other artifacts. An obvious fact ignored by orthodox archeologists is that it is common for late arrivals to be awed by old ruins (attributing their origin to gods or giants); who then incorporate those very images in their own pottery, textiles, etc. It may be a colossal mistake to fuse the cultures into one, skewing dates of the megalithic stone ruins to match those of later artifacts.
    According to Alden J. Mason in The Ancient Civilizations of Peru, “as a result of these problems, several major archeological authorities describe the dating of the buildings and sculptures at Tiahuanaco as "insecure" (Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1968).
    The point is, like Baalbek in Lebanon, the complex at Tiahuanaco is relatively unknown—who built it, when it was built, and what specific purpose the region served is all unknown to modern man. The fact that it dates to the Nephite period, and has the semblance of ancient and advanced construction, lends credence to the story of the Book of Mormon and the Land of Promise being in this general area of Andean Peru.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Baalbek and Tiahuanaco – Part I

Baalbek is a two-thousand-year-old temple to the Roman god Jupiter, son of Saturn, that sits atop three thousand-ton stone blocks in Lebanon. It is considered one of the most mysterious ruins of the Roman Empire period with stones about forty times heavier than the pillars of Stonehenge.
These blocks originated in a nearby limestone quarry, where a team from the German Archaeological Institute, in partnership with Jeanine Abdul Massih, of Lebanese University, recently discovered what they are calling the largest stone block from antiquity, weighing one thousand six hundred and fifty tons and matching those that support the temple.
First discovered in the early 20th century and shown in this photo from the Oregon State University archives

The history of this three-million-pound megalith is mostly unknown—nobody seems to know who cut the stone, or why it was cut, and what caused it to be abandoned. The site is named for Baal, the Phoenician deity, though it was known as Heliopolis to the Romans. Dell Upton, the UCLA architectural history department Chair, states that “Baalbek has become a very accommodating screen upon which to project strikingly varied stories,” and the site has become “a metaphor for the role of imaginative distortion in architectural history.”
    The parallel of Baalbek in the Old World has a striking resemblance to the historicity of a site in the Western Hemisphere, namely Tiahuanaco in Andean Peru, which has become known as the “Baalbek of the New World.”
    Tiahuanaco (Tiwanaku) is a prehistoric ruined city, complete with a harbor located in the Bolivian Andes along the Peruvian border about 15 miles from Lake Titicaca, which salt water lake once extended to the city. At 12,500 feet above sea level, it is often asked by archaeologists and historians alike, why would a seaport be built more than two miles above sea-level?
    When the Spanish conquistadors reached the south of a lake in the altiplano, they were amazed to see the ruins of an abandoned city completely built of great stone masses and strange sculptures. Immediately they called a native and the conquerors tried to ask him by signs what that city was called. Noting that the aborigine always said "Thia wañaku" they adopted the word "Tiawanaku,” however, the Indian was actually saying “it's the dry riverbank” in his Aymara language—“thia,” "ribera" and "wañaku," “seca,” was not naming the city in ruins.
Tiahuanaco entrance gate, today called the “Gate of the Sun.” Nobody knows who built it or exactly how long ago it was constructed, as well as the complex behind it, which the Inca told the Spanish had been built long ago, long before the Inca

The port area of Tiahuanaco (once thought to be a separate ruin) is known as Puma Punka ("Port of the Puma" or “Door of the Puma”). In fact, on the rock cliffs near the piers and wharfs of the port area are yellow-white calcareous deposits forming long, straight lines indicating pre-historic water levels. These ancient shorelines are strangely tilted, although once they must have been level. Although the lake averages between 460 and 600 feet in depth, the bottom tilts sharply toward the Bolivian shore, reaching its greatest recorded depth of 920 feet off Isla Soto in the lake's northeast corner. This, of course, gives rise to the belief that at one time this area was at sea level and was raised through an extreme cataclysmic event to its present height. 
    This also gives understanding to the Incan legend of antiquity regarding Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo rising from the sea in this region of Tiahuanaco. This also lends understanding to the discoveries in 1980 by Hugo Boero Rojo, Bolivian author and scholar of pre-Columbian cultures, regarding the finding of archaeological ruins beneath Lake Titicaca about 50 to 65 feet below the surface off the coast of Puerto Acosta, a Bolivian port village near the Peruvian frontier on the northeast edge of the lake. According to Boero Rojo, “We can now say that the existence of pre-Columbian constructions under the waters of Lake Titicaca is no longer a mere supposition or science-fiction, but a real fact. The remnants found show the existence of old civilizations that greatly antecede the Spanish colonization. We have found temples built of huge blocks of stone, with stone roads leading to unknown places and flights of steps whose bases were lost in the depths of the lake amid a thick vegetation of algae." Rojo went on to add that “these monumental ruins as being "of probable Tiahuanaco origin.”
    It might also be noted that in August 2000, England’s BBC announced the discovery of ancient ruins 100-feet beneath the lake, and confirmed that a temple had been discovered by following a submerged stone road. The discoveries are believed to date back 1,000 to 1,500 years ago, and are credited as pre-Incan confirming that the level of the lake fluctuates periodically. Support of this, of course, is found in the scriptural record, which states: “And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned” (3 Nephi 8:9).
    Today, the complex consists of an unwalled western court a central unwalled esplanade, a terraced platform mound faced with stone, and a walled eastern court. In this area, close to the marks of ancient shorelines, are buildings and wharfs constructed of enormous stone blocks, though today they are scattered here and there like so many matchsticks, except that these little items weigh variously between 100 and 150 tons—one block weighs an estimated 440 tons!
    The eastern edge of the Puma Punku is occupied by what is called the Plataforma Lítica, a structure consisting of a stone terrace that is 22 by 127 feet in dimension. This terrace is paved with multiple enormous stone blocks, containing the largest stone slab found in both the Puma Punku and Tiahuanaco site, measuring 25 ½  feet long, 17 feet wide and averages 3 ½ feet thick. Based upon the specific gravity of the red sandstone from which it was carved, this stone slab has been estimated by C. Ponce Sangines to weigh 131 tons (Acerca De La Procedencia Del Material Lítico De Los Monumentos De Tiwanaku [About the Origin of the Stone Monuments of Tiahuanaco]. Publication no. 21. Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Bolivia, 1970).
    Soon after the Spanish conquest, Garcilaso de la Vega noted that “We must now say something about the larger and most incredible buildings of Tiahuanaco. There is an artificial hill, of great height, built on stone foundations so that the earth will not slide. There are gigantic figures carved in stone…these are much worn which shows their great antiquity. There are walls, the stones of which are so enormous it is difficult to imagine what human force could have put them in place. And there are the remains of strange buildings, the most remarkable being stone portals, hewn out of solid rock; these stand on bases anything up to 30 feet long, 15 feet wide and six feet thick, base and portal being all of one piece…How, and with the use of what tools or implements, massive works of such size could be achieved are questions which we are unable to answer…nor can it be imagined how such enormous stones could have been brought here” (Royal commentaries of the Inca & General History of Peru, Part I, Harold Livermore trans from 1616 original, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1987). 
(See the next post, "Baalbek and Tiahuanaco - Part II," for more on these similarities of construction)

Friday, December 29, 2017

Looking at Early Church Comments – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding Lucy Mack Smith’s aged commentary of events and conversation that took place some 20 years or more before her writing them down that were submitted by a reader who conflicted with our comment in an article about Joseph Smith not using the term “Cumorah” before the hill in Manchester, New York, became so known by early members of the Church. 
    As for the site that the reader listed in the comment, we have critiqued this subject numerous times (Letter VII and Oliver Cowdery's flowery rendition as he “waxed poetically” on what happened and what was felt by people during that final battle at Cumorah, which is not contained in any writings of Joseph, any Church documents, or the scriptural record, but only reflects his opinion as he stated in a series of letters with W.W. Phelps). Before responding or going further with Oliver's comments, you might want to look up on this blog and see what we have very extensively detailed on the subject.
The hill Cumorah (foreground). To the west is the West Valley, a small area about one to one-and-a-half square miles in size, where Oliver Cowdery claims the entire final battle took place between the Nephites and the Lamanites. One mile to the west another ridge runs parallel with the hill Cumorah, leaving what Oliver claimed was a beautiful vale between, and the site of the entire battle. According to Oliver Here, between these hills, the entire power and national strength of both the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed. However, considering there were 230,000 Nephites in this battle and a significantly larger number of Lamanites (Mormon 6:7-8), there is no way the battle could have been fought in this small valley as Oliver claims, saying: In this valley fell the remaining strength and pride of a once powerful people, the Nephites

The height of the hill is so low, only about 105-feet up a very gradual slope, it certainly would not have provided any hiding places (at ground level you can see through the trees and the area is far more open than it appears in these aerial photos) for Mormon, Moroni, and the other 22 survivors to hide as indicated in the scriptural record (Mormon 6:11)

Just one comment about Oliver's information, he claims (and the pictures of  the site you referenced show the area) that the entire battle of some half million or more people fought and died in a single valley (on the west of Cumorah) and that would have been impossible when we compare the small size of the valley and the huge numbers of men involved, plus the scriptures claim the Nephites were encamped “about the hill Cumorah” (Mormon 6:4)—keep in mind that the word “about” in the 1828 dictionary with which Joseph Smith was aware, since he used it in the teachings of the School of the Prophets, is defined as: “literally, around, on the outside; Around; on the exterior part or surface.”
    Thus, it should be understood that the Nephites were encamped all around the Book of Mormon hill Cumorah and that is where they fought, i.e., “around the hill,” not just on one side as Oliver so eloquently claims. Much of Oliver's facts were not accurate, that is, not found in or verified by the scriptural record, but added by him as we have described in previous articles, and his overall writing of this subject was mostly his own opinion. It is not accepted as Church doctrine, or official Church wordage of the Cumorah battle.
    In addition, to clarify the idea of Church Records regarding Joseph Smith, it should be kept in mind what as printed on Church website under “Sources Used in This Book” describing the current published “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith” the third and fourth paragraphs: “The way in which these sermons were recorded is very different from the way sermons were recorded for later Presidents of the Church. Church Presidents who came after Joseph Smith used scribes to record in shorthand their addresses to Church members. When electronic recording devices, such as tape recorders and motion picture film, became available, these were used to record the precise words delivered by Church leaders. During the lifetime of Joseph Smith, however, shorthand was not in widespread use. Therefore, the sermons he delivered were recorded imprecisely in longhand, generally by scribes, Church leaders, and other Church members. Almost all of Joseph Smith’s addresses were given extemporaneously, without prepared texts, so the notes taken by those who listened to him constitute the only record of the discourses. While some lengthy reports of his addresses exist, most are summarizations of the messages delivered by the Prophet. Unfortunately, there is no record for many of the discourses given by Joseph Smith. Of the more than 250 sermons he is known to have delivered, reports or notes taken by scribes or others cover only about 50 of the sermons given.”
    This is not to lessen what we have, only to understand much is summarization, as all writings tend to be that were written “after the fact,” as was the information Lucy Mack Smith is credited with writing—the overall information is accurate, exact details were often questionable since they were based on memory.
    Also, under the “Rules of Transcription” in “The Joseph Smith Papers” project, the following is stated: “Text transcription and verification is therefore an imperfect art more than a science…Even the best transcribers and verifiers will differ from one another in making such judgments. Interested readers may wish to compare the transcripts with the images of the documents on this site to understand how these transcription rules have been applied.”
    This is not stated here in brief to suggest in any way the inaccuracy of Church history or any document in that historical record (or doctrinal information within the Book of Mormon), but only to point out what is taken for granted today, and therefore used as judgment as in your presenting Lucy Mack Smith’s comment, were not arrived at in the past as we understand they are today. Almost all such records of the past dealing with side issues (i.e., geographical locations, what some claims another said, etc.) were reliant on memory, and memory is faulty at best (this is true even when reading old journals).
    This is one of the reasons so many people have spent their entire careers at BYU and elsewhere in pouring over these ancient documents to make certain we have as accurate an understanding of the past as possible. But unless one pours over original documents, vets through investigation the process of documentation and pathway to current knowledge, it is unwise to use past quotes, other than the actual scriptural record, as support for a viewpoint. This is especially true when one gets that information from a theorist (one promoting a viewpoint), which is a major problem today that we have in understanding the past.
    As B. H. Roberts in 1909 wrote: “the generations who succeed us in unfolding in a larger way some of the yet unlearned truths of the Gospel, will find that we have had some misconceptions and made some wrong deductions in our day and time. The book of knowledge is never a sealed book. It is never ‘completed and forever closed;’ rather it is an eternally open book, in which one may go on constantly discovering new truths and modifying our knowledge of old ones” (B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, 3 vols., Vol 3, pp503-504, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1909). 
    We can say now that this observation pertains equally today to our continuing efforts to know the Book of Mormon better, both through study and also by faith.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Looking at Early Church Comments – Part I

A reader of our blog made the statement in answer to one of our articles that “Lucy Mack Smith quoted Joseph using Cumorah before receiving the plates,” as quoted on page 104 of Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, found in Chapter 23: “Joseph Obtains the Plates,” which she dated as September 20, 1828, though the date was later crossed that out and 1827 entered. This was a small part of a conversation between Joseph and his father, while in his mother’s presence.
Joseph Sr., and Lucy Mack, Smith

However, it should be noted that in her work, Lucy Mack Smith also writes numerous full word-for-word exact conversations between people that were held in which she was not present, such as those of her husband and neighbors, between he and people who called upon him, between he and Emma, Joseph’s wife, or actions taken between Emma and Joseph many miles away, and what people specifically did once she was gone from their presence, as well as her own conversations, word for word, with various people and family members 20 years earlier.
    As an example, Lucy writes of this event where Joseph in despair complained to she and Joseph’s father that “I have taken the severest chastisement, that I have ever had in my life,” and Joseph Smith Sr. became irritated thinking it was another attack from a neighbor, Joseph replied: “Stop, father, stop. It was the angel of the Lord—as I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are, the angel of the Lord met me and said, that I had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth; and, that I must be up and doing, and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do,” and seeing that his father was still concerned, Joseph added, “give yourself no uneasiness concerning the reprimand that I have received; for I now know the course that I am to pursue; so all will be well.”
    It would also not be uncommon for a person to insert a descriptive word that later became known (the name of the hill where the plates were uncovered) when reciting such a conversation from memory for better clarification. Thus, “as I passed by the hill where the plates are,” could well have become “as I passed by the hill of Cumorah, where the plates are.” This obviously would be how the information would be remembered and better understood. As an example, in the same written account, in the following sentence to the above, Lucy wrote: “It was also made known to him at this interview, that he should make another effort to obtain the plates on the 22d. of the following September; But this he did not mention to us at that time.” Nor did she know of it at the time—it was something that became known later that, in retrospect, or speaking after the fact, as she was doing nearly 20 year later, she inserted for additional information and clarification.
    Now, most people have difficulty remembering exactly a conversation held in their presence a few days earlier, but this conversation, held in 1827, was not written down until 1845. Meaning no disrespect to Lucy Mack Smith, remembering a word-for-word conversation uttered by someone else, no matter its importance, eighteen years later seems a little unrealistic, especially to base an entire idea on it that a descriptive word was used that is not known to  have been used by Joseph at any other time.
    It should also be understood that the past was very different than from today in such matters as recording information. According to Church historians like Willard Richards, Orson Pratt, and B. H. Roberts, there seems little doubt that the methods employed in the 1830s and 1840s lacked such capability for exactness when recounting events. In addition, it has often been stated that early Church histories did not include the name "Cumorah" originally, but sometimes were added later for clarification once the hill became so known. In fact, numerous items have been added by Historians to histories, documents, etc., in order to clarify and make their understanding more clear to later readers. An example of this is found in the several journal descriptions of the finding of the Zelph skeleton during the march of Zion’s Camp. The current edition of the “History of the Church,” suggests a first-hand account by the Prophet Joseph wherein he said that by way of revelation he learned that the bones belonged to a “white Lamanite” named Zelph who was a warrior under the prophet Onandagus who was “known from the hill Cumorah or eastern sea to the Rocky mountains” and that he was killed “during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites” (HC 2:79).
    This account, however, is not a first-hand report from the Prophet. In typical 19th-century fashion, the official “history” comprised details from a variety of journal entries but was written as if Joseph, himself, were authoring the history. Willard Richards, who was responsible for compiling the events into one narrative, made some alterations that affected how future generations understood the details of the event. Of the seven accounts of the event only one mentions “Cumorah” while the other five do not. By the time our current version of the compilation came to be, some details that are not supported by all of the six accounts were included into print. Wilford Woodruff’s statement that mounds in the area had been built “probably by the Nephites and Lamanites” became an implied certainty when Richards left out the word “probably.” The mere “arrow” of the three earliest accounts became an “Indian Arrow,” and finally a “Lamanitish Arrow.” The phrase “known from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains,” became “known from the Hill Cumorah” or “eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains.” The statement that the battle in which Zelph was killed occurred “among the Lamanites” became “with the Lamanites.” Some of the accounts claim that the Zelph bones belonged to a man of large stature, whereas other accounts claim that he was “short” and “stout” (Deseret News, “Faith,” December 27, 2010).
    As for the value of all these reports, and the final claim by some current theorists that the Zelph event proves the Book of Mormon occurred in the Heartland of North America, the Apostle John A. Widtsoe remarked, “This is not of much value in Book of Mormon geographical studies, since Zelph probably dated from a later time when Nephites and Lamanites had been somewhat dispersed and had wandered over the country” (Improvement Era, July 1950, 547).
    As for Brigham Young’s reaction to Lucy Mack Smith's history, it might be of note that she failed to mention in her writings some 25 years later, when she was 75, about Joseph’s First Vision, a significant error that Brigham Young felt could be used by critics of the Church to discount the event. When Orson Pratt took one of the finished copies of her manuscript to England and published it there, and its widespread use Brigham Young felt it full of errors, even though Orson Pratt had issued a statement in 1855 claiming that he believed Lucy's manuscript 'was written under the inspection of the Prophet Joseph Smith (however, from evidences since received, it is believed that the greater part of the manuscripts did not pass under Joseph’s review, as there were items which are ascertained to be incorrect—Deseret News 5, 21 March 1855, 16). Later, Orson Pratt himself pointed out that he had erred in suggesting the manuscript had been completed prior to the death of Joseph Smith.
    Brigham Young began to complain about errors in Lucy's history almost as soon as it was published in 1855, and instructed church historians to begin working on a corrected version, and assigned George A. Smith and Elias Smith to begin working on corrections in 1856, with Elias still working on them ten years later. It was finally published in 1902 by President Joseph F. Smith, a descendant of Lucy Mack Smith. The revised publication was based on the corrections by George Albert Smith and Elias Smith, but it is not known exactly what the changes were that were made, nor do we know the relationship of the 1954 edition mentioned in the letter to the original or to the 1902 version (Preston Nibley edited a version, but we are not sure if it is the one mentioned or not).
    According to Lavina Fielding Anderson in “Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir,” (Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001), “About ten percent of Lucy’s original material was omitted, much of it personal family references and Lucy’s original preface.
    Nothing stated here is meant to criticize Lucy Mack Smith, she was a great and elect lady, we are just stating factual data to keep in mind when evaluating such matters.
(See the next post, “Looking at Early Church Comments – Part II,” for more information on Lucy Mack Smith’s book and comments about what Joseph Smith said)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Unknown Cureloms and Cumoms- Part II

Continuing with the two animals found in Ether as described by Moroni for an even greater understanding of them as being more useful to man than the horse and donkey and as useful as the elephant. 
    It might also be of interest to note that some of the extinct llamas were considerably larger than today’s living forms. One type stood seven feet tall at the shoulder, and another species six feet. Not only is there good evidence for the co-existence of American llamas and man, but also that these animals could be domesticated (Kurtén, Björn; Anderson, Elaine, Pleistocene Mammals of North America, New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, p. 307; Donald K. Grayson, "Late Pleistocene mammalian extinctions in North America: Taxonomy, chronology, and explanations," Journal of World Prehistory, Springer Netherlands: 5 (3): 1991, pp 193–231). 
    It was stated by anthropologist Ricardo Latcham that New World camelids (the llamas) were domesticated in pre-Columbian times (Ricardo E. Latcham, “Los Animales domésticos de la América precolombiana,” Museo de Etnologíay Antropología de Chile 3 (1922)). Archaeologist Jane Wheeler claimed that the domestication of the llama goes back several thousand years (Jane Wheeler, “Evolution and origin of the domestic camelids,” Rocky Mountain Llama and Alpaca Association ILR Report 8 (2003), pp1-14). This would put it in the time of the Jaredites in America.
Even today, the Llama can be trained to do numerous things, like pulling carts, being ridden by an adult rider, packing large loads, etc. Overall, it fulfilled the purpose to the early Peruvians up through and including the Inca period similar to the roll the Buffalo fulfilled for the Plains Indians in North America, only far more valuable since the Llama and Alpaca were domesticated

As far as being an especially useful animal, consider the uses for which the llama has been used by man. As stated by Walker et al., “It is easy to realize the importance of the llama to the indigenous Indian, as he utilizes it almost 100%, from its smallest hairs to its most insignificant droppings. Jerked llama meat nourishes the Indian; its woven fleece keeps him warm; its hide is made into the crude sandals with which he is shod; its tallow is used in making candles; braided, the long hairs serve him as rope; and the excrement, dried, constitutes a fuel” (Ernest P. Walker, et al., Mammals of the World Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1968, 1377). Additionally, the llama makes a very good guardian of flocks, and its pelt is used for blankets and outerwear. All these items make the llama an extremely useful animal for man, in fact, it would, indeed, be difficult to find a more useful animal to man than the two mentioned here, the llama and the alpaca.
Llamas are beasts of burden, and can carry large loads as well as assist in hunting, being quiet, docile, with soft-padded feet making them quiet; they have also been used as military pack animals, as well as animals in combat situations

Llamas are native to altitudes of 9,000-14,000 feet on the altiplano of the Andes Mountains of South America. They are naturally adapted to mountainous terrain and have extremely low impact within that environment. They are very efficient browsers eating small amounts of many varieties of forage (they eat only 5-10% the intake of a horse or mule) and are able to sustain themselves in the backcountry without supplement or heavy impacts. They have relatively low water requirements and can go for extended periods without water. In addition, they have a soft, padded hoof which gives them superior traction and negligible impact on trails and vegetation over which they traverse. 
    Llamas are very hardy and strong and can carry loads on or off trail at the highest elevations. Their low-key disposition makes them safe and easy to handle, while their intelligence and individual personalities blend them into the social structure of an outing.
Their gait is evenly matched to that of the average person or hiker and their quiet demeanor is an asset both on the trail and in camp. These qualities offer wilderness users, hunters and the military a pack animal that fits easily into their existing routine, preserves the aesthetics of their experience, and at the same time extends their range and comfort without attracting attention to themselves or their presence and without having to bring extra food for the animals. They allow children, seniors, and people with disabilities to more easily access destinations beyond road corridors. Trail maintenance crews, fire fighters, photographers, fishermen, hunters, climbers and others requiring additional capacity find llamas to be an ideal solution. Impacts are spread more evenly throughout the backcountry without the degradation caused by conventional pack animals. This provides an enhanced experience for those who follow.

    Llamas have proven to be highly effective pack animals for use with hunting. Their low maintenance requirements, self sufficiency, quiet demeanor, and ability to work off trail are all assets for hunting. Their load capacity of 80-100 pounds on or off trail allows setting and supplying remote camps as well as hauling meat from successful hunts in those areas. A llama doesn't require much--two to three pounds in the way of supplemental feed or equipment so virtually all their carrying capacity is used to haul hunting payload. Llamas are able to forage for all their own feed and to work at full capacity with intermittent availability of water. They are able to stay picketed in camp without oversight for extended periods. This simplifies campsite requirements and expands the range of suitable sites.

    Llamas have been used as pack animals since the very beginning of their relationship with humans. A llama can carry up to 400 pounds, requires less maintenance than a horse, can forage for itself, and can even stay at camp with nearly zero oversight for hours at a time. Llamas are also intelligent creatures with a fierce protective streak, especially against predators. For this reason, the animals have often been trained to replace sheep dogs for safeguarding livestock against carnivores like coyotes and wolves.
    Llamas travel quietly as their padded hoof creates no loud hoof strike and their only vocalizing is occasional soft humming, “They are non-reactive around meat and the smell of blood and they can efficiently carry meat from rough, remote kill sites. One hunter can easily load multiple llamas and subsequently handle them packing in a string. Ease of handling and quiet demeanor allow hunters to scout and hunt with llamas in tow without scaring or spooking their quarry. The llamas’ acute vision, hearing, and sense of smell can be valuable assets in spotting or locating game for observant hunters employing them in their hunt.

    Lastly, their fleece has been shorn for thousands of years. In addition to its phenomena performance and comfort, llama fleece is one of the most sustainable and low-impact products on the planet. It’s a product with far-reaching benefits—for the world, for conscientious consumers, and especially for the growers and artisans of the Andes. In addition, alpacas have even finer fleece, though llamas are larger than alpacas, the latter produce more wool per animal than llamas, although some llamas, such as the Argentines, are known to produce a much denser fleece more closely related to alpaca density.
    Alpaca fiber has a lot of crimp and is known to be coveted for its use in clothing. Both llamas and alpacas can produce suri fiber, a type of wool that is pencil-locked to the skin. Although llamas were not originally bred for wool production, through selective breeding (artificial selection), the llamas have a soft single fleece type coat that is free of guard hair and is used to make garments and used in textiles.
    Simply put, nowhere else in the entire Western Hemisphere, if not the world, can we find two animals that would have been unknown in New England America in 1829, that are as useful to man as the llama and alpaca of Andean South America.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Unknown Cureloms and Cumoms- Part I

In the entire Western Hemisphere, only two indigenous animals meet the requirements set forth by Moroni as he abridged the Jaredite record, known as the Book of Ether in the scriptural record. But before introducing those two animals, circumstances have set forth the criteria by which we need to judge what animals fit the requirements of the two Moroni mentions. First of all, Moroni abridged the record down to a single sentence about the animals: “And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms” (Ether 9:19).
Now, we know how useful horses and donkeys would be to a new society having immigrated to a new land, with the need to plant, build and survive—and especially elephants that could with their brute strength be indispensable in building. So we are looking for two animals that provided more of ancient man’s requirements than horses and donkeys, and equally that of elephants.
    So these two animals needed to be:
1. Animals that were unknown to Joseph Smith in 1829 when he translated the Plates. At the time, Joseph Smith would have been unable to even make a guess at the animals, having no knowledge of them whatsoever that he could not even make a guess to present for a spiritual acknowledgement.
2. Animals that were indigenous to the area of the Land of Promise.
3. Animals that were brought to the Land of Promise by the Jaredites.
4  Animals that were domesticated for Jaredites use, and then reverted to a wild (feral) state after the Jaredites and before the Nephites, and then be domesticated by the Nephites.
5. Animals that were extremely valuable for the use of man to be compared equally with elephants and superior to horses and donkeys.
6. Animals that served as beasts of burden (horses, donkeys and elephants), pack animals (horses and donkeys), transportation (horses, donkeys, and elephants), food—meat supply (horses, elephants), fur or skins (horses), leather (horses), clothes, (horses), sure-footed (donkeys), farming (donkeys, horses and elephants), brute force (elephants), and protection (elephants).
7. Animals that provided milk and wool products for daily living.
8. Animals that were used for gardening and agriculture, such as plowing, planting and harvesting.
    In searching all of the Western Hemisphere for two animals that match the above as closely as possible, only those of Andean South America could be seriously considered--two animals, that were unknown in the United States until the 20th century, more than 100 years after Joseph Smith translated and published the Book of Mormon, before becoming known.
Probably the most useful two animals to man overall in the entire Western Hemisphere that would meet these requirements would be the Llama and Alpaca of Peru and Chili, along with their wild variants, the Vicuna (Vicugna) and Guanaco.
    According to the Penny Magazine, “Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge”, The Monthly Almanack (No.434, Charles Knight, London, January 5, 1839), when the Spaniards first invaded Peru and Chili, they found the llama domesticated and used as a beast of burden its flesh and wool being also in great demand—it was, in fact, at once the camel and the sheep of the Peruvians—it was their only beast of burden, its flesh was eaten, its skin prepared into leather and its wool spun and manufactured into cloth. It carried ore down from the mountains, as much as 150 pounds per animal at the rate of 15 miles per day over rugged mountain passes. According to Gregory Bolivar, in his day three hundred thousand llama were employed in the transport of the produce of the mines of Potoni alone, and four million killed annually for food. They were also ridden for four or five leagues a day by the Spanish, and were considered by the Spanish as of great use and profit to their masters, for their wool was very good and fine, particularly of that species called alpaca, requiring little expense to keep, could go four or five days without water, and their flesh was considered as good as any sheep of Castile. Its wool immediately attracted the attention of the Spanish and Europeans and the animal’s wool and produce was imported into those areas as quickly as possible, with the English especially appreciating its flesh and the French its wool, particularly the silk-like alpaca wool.
    Though domesticated longer than practically any other animal in the world, the llama has languished in relative obscurity until recently. The last thirty years have seen the rediscovery of this most unique animal in its native South America. Native to the high puna of the South American Andes, Peru, Chili and Bolivia form the heart of this region with portions of Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador forming the periphery. The llama is one of the four species known as New World camelids, which inhabit the region. The other species are the alpaca, the guanaco, and the vicuna. All four species are thought to have originated from a common North American ancestor who is also the supposed predecessor of the African and Asian camels; however, in South America, the two main animals, the domesticated llama and alpaca, dominate the Andes.
    The llama and alpaca of the South American Andes form the ancestry of the guanaco and vicuna, which adapted to the harsh climate, sporadic moisture, high elevations, large daily temperature fluctuation, and unpredictable food supply of the region. Domestication of these two species is thought to have given rise to the llama and alpaca, with the llama originating from the guanaco and the alpaca from the vicuna, which marked the beginning of a high dependence on these animals by the early Peruvians of the Andes, dating well back into B.C. times. This dependence was somewhat analogous, though to a lesser degree since buffalo are not domesticated, to the dependence the Plains Indians of North America had on the bison, which provided the base needs of the native cultures.
    Domestication allowed the llamas’ additional use as a beast of burden as well as selective breeding for specific traits. The llama's adaptability and efficiency as a pack animal in the mountain terrain of the Andes made it possible to link the diverse altitude zones and to cover the great linear distances of the region. The llama was bred specifically to produce a large, strong animal for the packing function. The alpaca was bred to accentuate its naturally finer wool. The harvest of this fine wool served as the base for a significant domestic textile market.
    The pivotal role that llamas and alpacas played in the Andean culture and economy naturally elevated them to a highly regarded status. Husbandry and management practices were very sophisticated for that period of history. The reign of the llama and alpaca in the Andean region ended abruptly in the early 1500s with the Spanish conquest of that region of South America. The Spaniards initiated their colonization with the systematic destruction of the llamas and alpacas and replaced them with their own domestic species, principally sheep. The European stock displaced the native camelids from every part of the region save the highest reaches of the puna where the foreign stock had no chance of survival because of the harsh climate.
    Exiled to the upper regions of their natural territory, the llama and alpaca languished as second-rate citizens while the sophisticated husbandry and management systems, were lost amid Spanish prejudice, arrogance and misunderstanding. The wild vicuna and guanaco were hunted to the point of extinction for their fine pelts and to eliminate competition with domestic stock. The llama and alpaca became animals of the poor and formed the base of a subsistence culture for the natives of the high puna.
    Rediscovery of the alpaca's fine wool by the international textile market in the late 1800s led to a higher level of interest in the alpaca, in turn leading to increased management, research, and selective breeding. The llama continued its obscure existence until about 30 years ago. The Andean countries, especially Peru and Bolivia, have, of late, recognized the importance of native camelid species in their cultures and have begun to restore them to their rightful place as the preferred inhabitants of their varied landscape. The alpaca has led in this resurgence because of its desirable fiber. Strong world demand has fostered growth of an economically significant industry and, more importantly, has caused these Andean countries to recognize all the camelid species as unique to their region and as a part of their heritage.
(See the next post, “The Unknown Cureloms and Cumoms- Part II,” for an even greater understanding of the two animals Moroni described as being more useful to man than the horse and donkey and as useful as the elephant)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Limhi’s Expedition Passing Through the Narrow Neck of Land

Certain attitudes of theorists often amaze us as to how they arrive at non-scriptural support of their of pre-determined locations for the location of their Land of Promise. One, which occurs from time to time, is this belief that Mormon’s “small” and “narrow” neck of land must not have been as narrow as stated in the scriptural record since Limhi’s 43-man expedition (Mosiah 8:7) to find Zarahemla ended up in the Land Northward among the remains of the kingdom of the Jaredites (Mosiah 8:8). Obviously, in traveling that far, they would have passed through the Narrow Neck of Land (Alma 63:5; also 50:34; 52:9).
When entering into a restricted line-of-sight area, such as a canyon, mountain pass, etc., one’s view to right and left is considerably restricted and often it cannot be determined what is beyond what can be seen

However, as David A. Palmer (In Search of Cumorah, Horizon, Springfield, Utah, 1981, p50) states that in this expedition reaching “Ramah/Cumorah, they must have been unaware that they passed through the isthmus,” meaning through the narrow neck. John Clark, discussing John Sorenson’s Tehuantepec theory, says that, “the narrow neck had to be wide enough that people on the ground such as Limhi’s group could pass through it without realizing it” (FARMS Review:  Vol 16, #2, p1-54). Sorenson himself wrote of “their route…took them through the ‘narrow neck of land’ without their even realizing it, and brought them to the final battleground of the earlier people, the Jaredites,” and also that the narrow neck “had to be wide enough that Limhi’s explorers could pass through it without even realizing that it was an isthmus” (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1985, p14; 16-17).
    Another point to make is that Sorenson argues that “it would be unreasonable for Limhi’s explorers, desperately searching for rescue for their enslaved people, to continue far beyond where they thought Zarahemla would be,” and also states: “so by the time they had gone, say, twice as far as the normal distance to Zarahemla, they must have wondered about their position and probably would not have gone much farther.” Now, this leads to a total misunderstanding on the part of Sorenson, as it does with numerous other theorists, and that is this expedition was not moving in a more or less straight line away from the city of Nephi, nor did they know how far they had traveled since they were lost and were wandering about as it is stated: “And they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days” (Mosiah 8:8). When people are lost and wandering around, they do not know how far they have traveled, other than in time, and have no knowledge of the distance they had gone away from their starting point, obviously because they do not know where they are.
    Yet, as though trying to tell us that lost people knew where they were, Sorenson goes on to claim: “If it is on the order of 180 miles from the city of Nephi to Zarahemla, it would be strange if the explorers pressed on for hundreds or thousands of miles beyond that. Sorenson suggests that at most they would have gone about twice again as far—say around 200 miles north of Zarahemla. Even if we double this estimate again (likely a huge overestimate), it leaves the land northward only 400 miles north of Zarahemla.”
    Again, the point is, these people did not know where they were, did not know how far they had traveled from the city of Nephi, did not know if they were in the realm of the Land of Zarahemla, etc., etc., etc. In fact, when they finally reached the Land Northward and found the Jaredite remains, they thought they had finally reached the city and area of Zarahemla. As it states: “Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla; but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness. Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was covered with dry bones; yea, a land which had been peopled and which had been destroyed; and they, having supposed it to be the land of Zarahemla, returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon” (Mosiah 21:25-26, emphasis added).
    The point is, theorists forget or overlook what the scriptural record tells them and begin making up their own understanding and definition of events, typically to fit their own ideas of distances, to which Sorenson’s entire ten pages on this matter are devoted as he tries to justify an extremely limited Land of Promise when the scriptural record does not validate his speculations.
    However, the major point here is that all these theorists want to use this expedition to prove their point about the width of the narrow neck and the impossibility of Limhi’s forty-three men rescue mission not knowing they had passed through the narrow neck of land in their lengthy trek and thus, according to them, the narrow neck could not have been very narrow.
    The problem is at least two-fold: 1) Assuming the Limhi expedition did not know they were traveling through a narrow neck of land, and 2) Assuming the Limhi expedition would have seen that they were traveling through a narrow neck of land. That is to say, first, the scriptural record does not tell us whether or not they traveled through a narrow neck, whether or not they saw they were traveling through a narrow neck and knew it, or whether they were totally unaware that they had traveled through a narrow neck, which they would have had to do twice to get into the Land Northward and then travel back into the Land Southward. Thus, an assumption is made about the narrow neck the scriptural record does not answer or suggest.
    Second, the scriptural record does not provide us with enough information to know whether or not when one, not knowing there is a narrow neck of land, passes through the narrow neck that they would know it from sight, i.e., actually be able to see and know that they were doing so. Thus, an assumption would have to be made that if they had no prior knowledge of a narrow neck, and their view of the terrain to east and west was impaired that they would still know they were passing through the narrow neck.
    By way of a personal example, I have driven all over this country and elsewhere, and often in areas I have never before been. Without consulting a map of a larger area, I have often driven through areas with mountains, cliffs, uplifts, etc., on both sides of the road that did not afford a view to right or left, sometimes for several miles, and when I had passed through, had no idea what was to the right and left beyond my line of site.
When passing through areas where vision is restricted to right and left, it is not always possible to know what lies beyond one’s line of sight; in such cases, vision can be restricted to anywhere from a few hundred yards to a mile or two and no further

When Limhi's expedition passed through the narrow neck, it is far more likely they could not see beyond their line of march, since they were not looking for view of the topography, but were seeking a pass or opening through which they could travel toward what they would have thought was a known area (Zarahemla) that could be reached along their line of march. As an example, southwest of St. George, is an area called the Arizona Strip through the Virgin River Gorge (called the Veteran’s Memorial Highway today) that takes U.S. Route 91 (Interstate I-15) from Utah through to Nevada on the way to California. It is 29 ½ miles long (with about 12 of those miles in canyons where cliffs rise on both sides of the highway).
Left: Original roadwork through the gorge in the early 1970s; Right: the road today. Note how difficult it is to see to the right and left of the road since vision is blocked by the surrounding cliffs and mountains
It was originally built in 1973 through roadless terrain, however, it was always passable on foot through a winding gorge area, paralleling where the Virgin River flowed southwestward (this was originally one of the two routes along the Old Spanish Trail from Southern California to the Four-Corners area, and called the Arrowhead Trail until the 1920s). At the Nevada side of the gorge, is an area called “The Narrows,” with limestone cliffs on both sides as high as 500 feet above the highway, and on the Utah side is an area called Black Rock Gulch before breaking out into a flatter area (to give you an idea of the rugged terrain, this 12-mile stretch was the most costly rural construction of the entire interstate road system in the U.S., costing $49 million per mile).
    I have traveled through this Gorge at least fifty times, and though it is considered the most scenic route in all the state and region, I still have no idea what lies just a scant mile or two on either side of the route beyond the cliffs since there is no way to glimpse it during those 12 miles. There could be a deep canyon, a winding river, an ocean, a valley, or just a long series of mountain peaks, and I would not know it since there is no possibility of a line of sight view of what lays beyond the cliffs along the road.
Left: DeBoque Canyon; Right: Glenwood Canyon; both in Colorado along I-70). Note the lack of line of sight to either side of the road

The same might be said of both DeBegue Canyon and Glenwood Canyon in Colorado, which when driving through these canyons along the Colorado River, it is almost impossible to know what is beyond the cliffs and mountains on either side of I-70.
    There is no mystery in this, merely a lack of knowledge on the traveles’ part as to where they were and how they were going to get where they wanted to go, or even where the place was they were trying to reach--after all, it had been three generations since Zeniff led his colony out of Zarahemla to the City of Nephi. 
    When Ammon, taking a different route, traveled from Zarahemla to the city of Nephi, he was lost and wandered about for forty days, the same for Zeniff and his group originally. When you are reliant upon finding a pass to get through mountains, etc., it is not always a simple matter. Travel in virgin lands is more of a happenstance than planned achievement, as most explorers report. It is far different than our form of travel today. They didn’t have topical maps, aerial views and satellite photos to consult to know what was around them.
    To believe someone traveling through a narrow pass (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 2:29; 3:5) is automatically going to be able to see in both directions to right and left is typically unrealistic as is knowing they were traveling through a narrow neck of land without prior knowledge of the terrain.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sailing up the St. Lawrence River

For those who still continue to claim that sailing from the Atlantic to Lake Ontario via the St. Lawrence River was possible prior to the Canadian Royal Army Engineers digging canals and locks to bypass rapids and shallow waters, perhaps the following might be of interest. 
   First of all, some thoughts to keep in mind would be that from the Atlantic Ocean across the Gulf of the St. Lawrence and the river’s estuary is 433 miles. The St. Lawrence River at the Gulf of St. Lawrence is at sea level and rises over the 310 miles upriver to the outflow of Lake Ontario where the elevation is 243-feet. Thus, the river rises 243-feet in 310 miles, and any sailing ship in 600 B.C. "driven forth before the wind," or in the 1700s (were it possible) would be sailing against the winds and against a very strong current flowing downriver at more than ¾ of a foot per mile, which by the way is the only drainage of the entire Great Lakes and surrounding area to the sea.
In addition, between Montreal and Lake Ontario is 189 miles, today requiring seven locks to lift ships 243-feet up to Lake Ontario. In addition, from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, it requires eight locks to lift ships 326-feet between lakes.
    Historically, in the 11th century, the Norse were the first to explore the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and not until the 15th century did the Europeans do the same, with John Cabot, Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real, and Alonso Sanchez sailing within the Gulf. Then, Jacques Cartier in 1535 became the first European explorer known to have sailed up the St. Lawrence River. He sailed past the area of Stadacona (Quebec City) and clear to Hochelega (the island of Montreal).
    Cartier named both the river and the area along the river’s bank “The Country of Canadas” from an Iroquois name for the two big settlements along the river—Canada, originally pronounced “Kaugh-na-daugh," comes from the Iroquois word “kaná:ta',” meaning “settlement,” “village,” “town,” or “land,” in Iroquois and in Mohawk means “town”. More accurately, it means “collection of huts,” according to Cartier (Bref récit et succincte narration de la navigation faite en MDXXXV et MDXXXVI, a work published in 1545, which recounted Cartier’s second voyage to the St. Lawrence Valley region and detailed his interactions with the local Iroquoian peoples, though the book was most likely written by Cartier’s secretary, Jehan Poullet).
    The first colony along the river was built at what is now Quebec, and later one at what is now Montreal. Once again, the St. Lawrence was considered two rivers, the St. Lawrence ending at Montreal, and then beyond Montreal, beyond the Lachine Rapids, it was called the Ottawa River, because it could not be used, and therefore not seen, as one river. This meant that Montreal was the jumping off place for exploration of the North American interior, first pioneered by French explorer Samuel de Champlain.
    Cartier was the first European to have seen the rapids in 1535 when he sailed up the St. Lawrence, believing he had found the so-called “Northwest Passage.” The first European known to have traveled beyond the rapids was Champlain along with Êtienne Brûlé in June 1611, both exploring upriver on foot. While Brûlé went on to live upriver among the Algonquin, Champlain would not venture further upriver until May of 1613.
    In 1680, Dollier de Casson, Superior of the Sulpician Seminary in Montreal, tried to dig a 5-feet deep canal around Montreal. This project was not completed until 144 years later, in 1824.
    By 1758, charts of the river from the Gulf to Quebec were made, allowing the British to sail upriver from Fort Louisbourg, on Cape Breton Island, to capture Quebec in 1759. As stated in history, “Because of the virtually impassable Lachine Rapids, the Saint Lawrence was once continuously navigable only as far as Montreal.”
    It should be noted that in the late 1790's the movement of grain from Upper Canada to the Montreal area began and the usual method of transport was to build a large raft or ark of logs which was loaded with grain and floated downstream on the Ottawa River. On arrival in Montreal the rafts were broken up and the lumber sold. No records have been found to show what proportion of the grain survived the journey but it is presumed that these ventures were limited to periods when water conditions on the river were favorable.
    No real progress in improving navigation was made until the U.S. War of Independence made better transport along the river a military necessity for the British Government who were by then in control of Canada. The building of canals and other improvement works were undertaken by the Royal Army Engineers during the period 1779-1783, at a time when the main type of boat in use was the bateau, which had earlier displaced the canoe. 
    The bateau was a fairly heavy-built boat much stronger than a canoe and having a shape somewhat similar to the present East Coast dory although a good deal larger. The common type of bateau was about 35 to 40 feet long with a relatively narrow beam of about 5 feet 6 inches. The boat had a flat bottom and heavily raked stem and stern with flared sides. Construction was quite simple and the boats were built with whatever lumber came to hand, tamarack being a common material.
    Thwarts were provided for the crew of about 12, and these boats were rugged and could run the rapids quite successfully, and being of simple construction were easy to replace if lost. Going upstream a bateau was rowed and portaged and had a deadweight of about 3 ½ tons, with a slightly greater load for downstream passages.
The canals and channels, the latter being distinct from canals as they were part of the existing waterways, were deepened and bounded by rock walls, built by the engineers and were designed to accommodate these bateaux and were 6 to 7 feet wide with a depth of about 2 ½ feet. The first series of channels was built along the north shoreline of the Lachine Rapids but did not appear to have been too successful as records show that many voyages were started from Lachine, as cargoes were taken overland from Montreal to that point.
    In 1825, the Casson Canal, later known as the Lachine Canal, was dug, requiring seven locks, and provided the first sailing vessel able to maneuver around Montreal. In fact, before the canal was dug, these rapids represented a considerable barrier to maritime traffic, causing any use of the river past Montreal to be portaged (goods and boats carried overland around the 3-mile long rapids).
    However, even with the canal, the difficulty was such that it was usually more convenient to ship goods by rail to Montreal, where they could be loaded at the city's port. Even today, Montreal remains a major rail hub and one of Canada's largest ports for that reason.
Prior to the first set of locks at Quebec City, even the small, flat-bottomed boats large enough to carry people and supplies did not pass beyond this area; but once the locks were built at Coteau-du-Lac, these small boats flowed past in large numbers

With the enlargement of the canals, trade rapidly increased, which is seen in the statistics but even after the improvement, transporting a cargo from Montreal to Kingston, at the edge of Lake Ontario, was a major undertaking. The bateaux and the later Durham boats, were usually taken upstream in "brigades" of five or more so that, when the occasion arose, the crews would be able to assist each other.
    The brigades were sometimes assembled at Lachine, their cargoes having been brought from Montreal by road and at other times towed and rowed through the Lachine channel. At Cascades Point about three quarters of the cargo of a Durham boat was unloaded and carted to the head of the Cedars rapids. The boat was then locked through the Cascades and Split Rock canals and dragged up the Cedars rapids where the cargo was reloaded. The boat then passed through the Coteau lock and into Lake St. Francis. At the Long Sault rapids above Cornwall the process was repeated after which the boat could be sailed to Kingston at the entrance to Lake Ontario (where it had to be lifted by locks).
    The point is, of course, that actual records of what took place along the St. Lawrence River between 1600 and 1824 show that no ocean vessels move up or down the St. Lawrence River until the canals and locks were built. In fact, before the locks, even at Quebec were built, flat-bottomed Bateaux boats did not move up and down the river. For any suggestion that Lehi sailed up the St. Lawrence in 600 B.C. to reach the Great Lakes and the theorists' West Sea is simply ludicrous and flies in the face of factual information of the river as recorded in both historical data and official government records dating to the first discovery of the river to the present. In fact, even during the critical War of 1812, when the canals and rivers around the U.S. Canadian border were under full usage to move men, equipment and supplies by both the British and U.S. governments, ships of any size simply could not move up the St. Lawrence River beyond Montreal and men, equipment and supplies had to be portaged around the Lachine Rapids. 
    In fact, during the years 1814 and 1815 naval building was going on at a furious pace on both sides for control of the all-important Great Lakes and ultimately the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. All the guns and rigging equipment for the vessels built for the Royal Navy at Kingston were transported by barge to Montreal, unloaded, portaged around Montreal, and then loaded on the Durham boats and sailed from there to Kingston. The cost of this was extremely high, the 32-gun frigates were made in England and one reaching Montreal were portaged and then reloaded and shipped via the canals from Montreal to Kingston. The transportation of these unwieldy items was a difficult and enormously expensive undertaking costing over $50,000 per ship set (James Gilmore, “The St. Lawrence River Canals Vessel,” Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, SNAME, Transactions 1957, pp111-161). If there had been any other way to get supplies up the river from the Atlantic to Kingston at Lake Ontario, it would have surely been utilized since for the British, the control of North America was at stake.