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Monday, February 13, 2017

A Few More Paragraphs from "Thorns of Glory"

 Feb 13, 2017


Lest some have forgotten, the new volume of The Tennis Shoes Adventure Series is very much underway. Estimates of completion or release? I dunno. But I gotta get 'er done soon to feed my family. I'm not saying the picture below is an accurate representation of uniforms, weapons, horses, or other images from Cumorah. Or even that it accurately represents what I describe in "Thorns of Glory." But hey, having a cool picture is better than having NO cool picture.
The following scene is written from the point of view of Marcos:
Young Commander Moronihah's voice rang like an alarm. "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!"

Officers echoed this command all along the fortification line. The air whipped around me—the snap of bowstrings, the whirl of slings, the launch of atlatl darts. Torches carried by the advancing soldiers—flames that had been bouncing toward the wall—began to drop, roll, and extinguish in the dirt. Many were retrieved by fresh warriors and seemed to miraculously reanimate. Enemy soldiers were dying, but the relentless onrush of torches created the illusion that Moronihah's defense was having no effect at all. Even as the Tarantula Division reloaded and fired I perceived the first shades of dread darken their eyes. Two young warriors could not contain themselves: "They're not stopping!" "Nothing stops them!"
Endless torches poured over the lip of the ridge, an infinite flood of fire surging toward the Nephite fortifications. I'd told Moronihah that the enemy likely outnumbered him three- or four-to-one. I'd known I was deliberately underestimating their strength. Was I trying to bolster his hopes? I couldn't define my motive. Anyway, the reality of my distortion was quickly being exposed.
A volley of return fire whistled overhead, thudding against the wall, many arrow and atlatl tips set alight. A strange crack and pop also impacted the fortifications, causing an explosion of fire unlike any burning arrow or spearhead. The residue splashed onto unprotected faces and bear skin of the Nephite soldiers, inducing screams of panic. One of these munitions missed, lobbing over the top of the wall, rolling harmlessly to a stop ten paces behind me. It was a rounded clay ball, surely flung by a slinger, a tiny flame spitting from a hole in the top. I braced myself, aghast to think the Teotihuacanos had invented a kind of 20th century shrapnel-filled grenade. After several beats the flame fizzled; the ball lay dormant. It hadn't been designed to explode spontaneously. These hollow globes—tennis-ball sized—combusted on impact, like a water balloon, its contents spreading orange and yellow swaths like Molotov cocktails. I marveled. Did the Nephite army employ such a weapon?
An arrow threaded the embrasure a few feet to my left, piercing the stomach of the Nephite archer stationed there. He howled and fell. I grabbed up his bow and snatched an arrow from his nearby stockpile. I nocked and fired, nocked and fired.
The Tarantula Captain's young voice was firm and steady. "Keep firing! Keep firing!"
Atop the wall, I heard one of Moronihah's officers: "Kill every cockroach of Lord Fireborn!"
Cockroaches versus tarantulas—the irony flitted across my mind. Within minutes these roaches would overwhelm the arachnids. Many of Teotihuacano's flaming arrows struck stone or plaster or skidded into the mud, but the clay grenades were brutally effective. Wood easily caught flame wherever it had been left exposed, especially along the highest ramparts. I watched a Nephite soldier whose uniform was splattered by flammable liquid frantically twirl and spin, but such movements transformed him into a human torch. He flung himself into the air, still alight as he hit the ground, squirming in agony. Comrades threw blankets on him, but gruff-voiced officers shouted to "Leave the dead to die!" Their efforts were turned to smothering the growing fires along the burning ramparts. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Addendum to "Changing Paradigms and the Book of Mormon"

I'd tried hard to convince folks to abandon this LDS blog site and move over to www.foreverLDS.com, but my efforts have seemed in vain. Oh well. I suppose I should continue to post in both places. 

For those who listened to my latest LDS podcast on "Changing Paradigms and the Book of Mormon" on www.foreverLDS.com, I realize we discussed a lot of stuff. We focused on several paradigm shifts since the volume was published. But I actually forgot to mention my favorite piece of evidence for the old paradigm that when the Nephites and Lamanites first arrived, the land was empty of people. 

I highlighted several places in The Book of Mormon where it strongly hints that Lehi's ship dropped anchor in an area already populated. But for my favorite bit of evidence from the scriptures that reveals others living in the vicinity of where Nephi and Laman established their kingdoms, read Jacob Chapter 7. This is where Jacob confronts an "anti-Christ" named Sherem. The first couple verses speak of a man named Sherem arriving among the Nephites and teaching that there was no Christ. Now, keep in mind, Jacob is a "first generation Nephite"--straight off the boat, so to speak. Yet its apparent he has no idea who Sherem is! If Sherem was a Lamanite, for example, it seems common sense that Jacob would say, "And he was the grandson of my brother, Laman." Or if he was a member of local community, that Jacob would say, "And he was the son of Zoram." Sherem is a complete stranger. This is a fun bit of evidence in support of the fact that when Lehi landed, there were indeed others living in the New World with no relationship whatsoever to Lehi's family. And likely no relationship to Jaredites or Mulekites. Sherem was just a denizen of the area. When I first pinpointed this evidence, I thought I was the first one to notice it.
John Sorenson, PhD beside Olmec Head in 1984
I've since learned that scholars have been pointing out this particular piece of evidence for many decades ago, all the way back to John Sorenson and his seminal work Ancient America and the Book of Mormon, and David Palmer, whose book focusing on the Hill Cumorah was initally inspired by Sorenson's unpublished manuscript. Maybe this concept was discussed by LDS scholars even earlier! The next Book of Mormon podcast on ForeverLDS will discuss a possible paradigm shift that I think IS unique to me. Maybe not. If others thought of it first, I wouldn't care. The more the merrier. I'll post soon this LDS podcast soon, so listeners can ponder the matter for themselves.