Hi Don! This is Laura Jones responding. I mentioned the Hancock book - one thing I found very interesting about it is that the ancient peoples were very focussed on the heavens, we are taught these days that astrology is superstitious, but they lived by it, I guess everyone knows that the Sphinx and Egyptian pyramids are a certain orientation in line with heavenly constellations. This is also true of the Latin American structures and Nascar figures, and in fact all around the world, now that we have computers to do these very complicated calculations the ancient peoples did on their own some scholars have worked to discern the relevance of these things. I really didn't need the details when I read the book, but for instance the holy sites on Easter Island, the Egyptian pyramids and Angor Wat in Cambodia, and I think some other place now under water, these are all calculated a certain number of degrees around the earth, certain numbers with special significance are used, it's tremendously interesting, although I have misgivings about Hancock who opines that the ancient peoples were looking for Gnosticism - or trying to pass it on to us, I forget exactly. This doesn't cut it for me, they worshipped God, not some philosophy, and not one of the best. However, on the west coast of South America there is a huge figure carved in the limestone palisade that we call the "candelabra" although it is not that but a representation of a heavenly constellation which would have appeared in the heavens right over the carved figure at a certain significant date in the people's tradition. And it can't be seen from just any angle, but only from a certain approach by sea. AmazonDotCom says the book is on its way, so when it gets here I will copy out what might be relevant and send it to you and you can see if it fits with your information. Maybe, Aymaras, someone in your area has taken an interest in these Andean buildings and figures, etc. They really are quite remarkable, and I think very important because these ancient peoples have something to say to us today, especially because we have become so secularized. Here is a note from the Jerusalem Bible that might be related, it goes with a mention of these ancient people who are mentioned in a number of places in the Bible as being giants or godlike, Dt. 2:10. I'll let you look it up in your own Bibles rather than copy it out. Here is the Jerusalem Bible note: "The Anakim, like the Emim, Rephaim, Zamzumin and Zusim, were the remnants of the prehistoric inhabitants of Palestine and Transjordania, cf. vv 20f and Gen 14:5. They were associated with the legendary Nephilim, Nb 13:33 and Gn 6:4, and were supposed to have built the megalithic monuments, cf. Dt 3:11." Maybe if some of those people came to America, they might have spoken another language than Hebrew, I mean the names, although given the Hebrew plural endings, do not sound essentially Hebrew to me. Especially Zamzumin and Zusim, I note that Aymara does have a very distinctive sound to it, I mean like Titicaca, anyone would know that's not from a European language, for instance. So what about these names, do they fit with anything else? I mean if they came and landed and built the remarkable buildings, etc, maybe they would want to carve that "candelabra" at the place where the constellation was on a certain date to commemorate when they made landfall.
Can anyone make any response about those stone walls with those huge perfectly chiseled and fit stones? And no one knows how they got them so high when (so we are told) they did not have wheels? The buildings are important because they were used for religious purposes. Maybe Aymara are a little embarrassed about that because they practiced human sacrifice, but for them it was not murder, I mean in Homer's Iliad we have a human sacrifice, Abraham apparently did not think it was inherently inadmissible, it was for them a way of returning to God his most precious gifts. If we don't want to do it that way today, no problem, but we should recognize that for those people it was an act of reverence and gratitude, and no doubt they thought the people sacrificed would be very grateful to go to God - actually, since they were selected for their perfection, the perception probably was that they would not have to go through all the tests, etc., "crossing the River Styx" as the Greeks called it, I don't know the name of the river the Egyptians depict in the scenes from their Book of the Dead, but probably when they chose someone to be sacrificed this was a very great honor and God would readily receive this person. This seems to be the case with that mummy found in the Andes, I forget the name, but she was especially beautiful and perfect. Also those Nascar figures - they seem to have used the hot air balloons the archaeologists finally noticed depicted on their pottery to view them, undoubtedly this was some kind of religious ritual - not like the way we used hot air balloons to cross the English Channel or some such! By the way, one possibility about the stones could have to do with the height of the Andes. The Himalayas go down into the ground several times as deep as the are high above it which results in this mass deflecting a vertical compass from the true. The Tibetans are able to make use of their remarkable environment - well, this Swedish visitor, or maybe Danish I forget, became very good friends with the monks and so they invited him one day to see how they moved a gigantic bolder that it took 6 yak to haul into place, up to a building they were building at the top of a vertical mountainside. When the yak got it on the platform of whatever the monks assembled with their instruments and all and when they sang and played their instruments, the huge bolder rose into place. I don't think there is any reason to doubt this, because of the fact that the tremendous mass of the Himalayas can obstruct gravity. The Andes are the next tallest mountains in the world so no doubt this is true of them also. All these things bespeak a superior cultural development, whether they were achievements of people already here, or "newcomers" from the land of Jerusalem!
I found Don's latest on critics of the book of Mormon very interesting. I mean, Edgar Cayce saw things that happened at other times and places, I don't see why Joseph Smith couldn't. God is certainly at liberty to raise up prophets when and where he wants to, when he has something to say to the people. And I don't think he is going to be exactly all that happy with them if they refuse to listen.