Mormon Quotes

Tapirs

Michael R. Ash
In conclusion on this first issue, if real Israelites had lived anciently in the Americas and had left records in Hebrew about their lives, the tapir would easily—perhaps likely—have been included into the word "horse." If 6th century B.C. Egyptians, or people who wrote with an Egyptian script, had lived in the Americas and had left records, they easily could have included the deer, tapir, and perhaps other animals into their expanded definition of "horse." Both peoples would also likely have referred to Mayan palanquins or travois‑type devices as "chariots."
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
Non‑LDS archaeologist, Michael Coe, in his book Breaking the Maya Code, claims that in the Mayan Yucatec language the term "tzimin" would classify either a "horse" or a "tapir." Tzimin originally meant "tapir" but was expanded to include the "horse" when the Yucatec speaking natives discovered a need to label the horse. Once again we could ask how the Book of Mormon can be rejected for suggesting the Nephites had done the exact thing we find in the history of Yucatec‑speaking Mayans.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
While some species of tapir are rather small and look like pigs, the Mesoamerican variety—Baird's Tapir—can grow to be nearly six and a half feet in length and can weigh more than six hundred pounds. A modern government report indicates that "the tapir is docile toward man and hence management of the animal is relatively easy. An indigenous person describes the tapir as follows: "The animal is very sociable. Taken as a pup, one can easily tame it; it knows how to behave near the house; it goes to eat in the mountain and then returns to sleep near the house." Tapirs were frequently eaten and, because of their strength, they may have been used as beasts of burden on a small scale. Charles Darwin wrote that tapirs were kept tame in the Americas, though they did not tend to breed in captivity. This fact might explain the relatively infrequent mention of "horses" in the Book of Mormon.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
In my opinion, a more likely candidate for the Nephite loan‑shift "horse" would have been the Central American tapir. Tapirs are one of only a few odd‑toed ungulates—a family that includes the horse, zebra, donkey, onager, and the rhinoceros. These large grazing animals have common traits, including an odd number of toes on each hoof, a large middle toe, and a relatively simple stomach (as compared to other grazing animals like cows who regurgitate their cud for digestion).
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
"Ox" or "oxen" is mentioned six times in the Book of Mormon (Ether 9:18; 1 Nephi 18:25; 2 Nephi 17:25; 2 Nephi 21:7; 2 Nephi 30:13; Mosiah 13:24). Some critics charge that this is an anachronism because, they claim, an "ox" is a castrated bull — something that would be impossible to find in the wild (see 1 Nephi 18:25). Ox, however, also refers to members of the subfamily Bovinae, in the Bovidae family, which includes Asiatic buffaloes, African buffaloes, cattle, and bison. A glance at a good encyclopedia will reveal the listing of other "wild ox" such as the yak, banteng, and the wild North African ox. Some LDS scholars have suggested that the Book of Mormon "ox" may refer to the tapir, camelidae, or perhaps bison.
Michael R. Ash, Animals in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
So while the jaguar is the most common battle‑beast associated with Mayan war palanquins, we see that the warlike god Xolotl is associated with the jaguar, the tapir, the dog (which we find in religious symbolism on wheels), and the devouring of the sun (which is also associated with wheels). The interconnectivity with the battle beasts and palanquins suggest possible (albeit tentative) connections between the Book of Mormon's statements of preparing horses and chariots.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
According to the Spanish chronicler Sahagun this animal‑god, Xolotl, is described as having a "large snout, large teeth, hoofs like an ox, a thick hide, and reddish hair"—a pretty good description of a tapir. Dr. Seler explains that along with the dog, Xolotl's role of lightning beast is shared by two other creatures in the codices: the tapir, and the jaguar. These animals appear with the hieroglyphs jaguar and kan, meaning corn or yellow. The root xolo, yellow in Zapotec, occurs in both the words for dog and tapir, and according to Seler, it is repeated in Aztec in the name of the god Xolotl.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
Typically a battle beast statue accompanied the king atop the palanquin. The most common battle beast was the jaguar—which was a symbol of war—but other creatures, monsters, or gods were also associated with the battle beast and war palanquins. Among the ancient Zapotec gods, for instance, was Xolotl—the "lightning beast." Perhaps coincidently, his image was often associated with the setting sun being devoured by the earth (reminiscent of what we find in religious wheel symbolism). He is also associated with war. While most scholars believe that he is symbolized by a dog (and it is typically the dog that we find on the religious wheeled figures), the eminent non‑LDS scholar, Eduard Seler, believes that Xolotl is more closely associated with the tapir.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
Perhaps deer or tapirs pulled wheelless chariots. We know, for instance, that the American Indian travois (a kind of sled) was pulled, not only by horses, but also by dogs. Maybe King Lamoni used a deer or tapir‑drawn travois to cart his supplies while traveling. The mass Nephite movement to Zarahemla certainly suggests that chariots were used to carry supplies rather than soldiers.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
But if Nephite chariots were not wheeled (and it's possible that they were), why are chariots mentioned in conjunction with Nephite "horses"? First, Nephite chariots (wheeled or not) may have been pulled by deer or tapirs (which may have been included in the Nephite term "horse"). Several ancient Eastern and Near Eastern pieces of art and petroglyphs depict chariots drawn by deer. Early Hindus had chariots pulled by deer. We find deer‑pulling chariots in Asian art. The Greek goddess Artemis supposedly rode a chariot pulled by deer.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
After defeating the Gadianton Robbers the Nephites returned to their homes—every man with his "flocks and his herds, his horses and his cattle" (3 Ne. 6:1). It seems that Book of Mormon horses may have been considered to be something like cattle. As noted above, tapirs were frequently eaten in ancient America.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Michael R. Ash
Israelites often distinguished animals based on the type of foot and what the animal ate. This generally played a role in determining if an animal was "clean" or "unclean." If we use the Law of Moses as a guide, tapirs and horses are very closely related—and in a significant way. While there is no clear consensus as to what dietary rules were known and/or applied in the land of Israel just prior to Lehi's departure, it is possible that the Nephites were obligated to live—or were at least familiar—with some of the dietary restrictions and may therefore have included tapirs in the horse family. And while they may have categorized the tapir in the same family as the horse, it is possible that they might not have had dietary restrictions on eating animals is this family.
Michael R. Ash, Horses in the Book of Mormon
Jeff Lindsay
The tapir in Mesoamerica is sometimes called a "cow." In fact, the national animal of Belize, Baird's tapir, is known in Belize as the "mountain cow." It is not a cow, of course, and is actually more closely related to the horse. Interestingly, Wikipedia reports that in Lacandon Maya, Baird's tapir is called cash‑i‑tzimin, meaning "jungle horse."
Jeff Lindsay, Book of Mormon Problems: Plants and Animals
Jeff Lindsay
Could "aluph" also describe a tapir?
Jeff Lindsay, Book of Mormon Problems: Plants and Animals
Jeff Lindsay
If Mormon wrote a word for "swine" to describe something that we might call a peccary or tapir today, then I believe the translation would give us the word "swine", especially if Joseph had no word in his vocabulary for peccary or tapir.
Jeff Lindsay, Book of Mormon Problems: Plants and Animals
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
Perhaps the reformed Egyptian word for "horse" was expanded to include other animals that were in some way horse‑like. The most likely animals to have been included in the expanded definition of the Book of Mormon "horse" are the deer and the tapir.
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Loanshifting: Is the horse referred to in the Book of Mormon actually a deer or tapir?
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
The only clue to the role of the "ass" in Nephite society comes from Mosiah 12:5 and Mosiah 21:3, in which those in bondage bear burdens like "a dumb ass." Other mentions occur in 1 Nephi 18:19 and Mosiah 5:14, while Mosiah 13:24 is a quotation of the Ten Commandments. "Ass" has been suggested as a loanshift for the tapir, which many have described in decidedly horse‑like terms.
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Book of Mormon anachronisms: The ass (donkey)
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
In addition, some modern tapir enthusiasts indicate that tapirs are likely unsuitable for raising in herds (not being herd animals, they tend to fight), but [P]eople in the tapirs' native countries will keep individuals to fatten them up for food, though...some are pretty tame and others can be extremely dangerous...They're big, heavy and strong, have powerful jaws and teeth, and they can move very fast."
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Book of Mormon anachronisms: The ass (donkey)
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
A modern government report indicates that "the tapir is docile toward man and hence management of the animal is relatively easy. An indigenous person describes the tapir as follows: "The animal is very sociable. Taken as a pup, one can easily tame it; it knows how to behave near the house; it goes to eat in the mountain and then returns to sleep near the house." It would seem that at least a limited role for the tapir is not out of the question, either as a food source (tapirs make up between 7‑10% of the diet in rural Amazonia) or as a potential beast of burden on a small scale (given their strength). Charles Darwin even noted that tapirs were kept tame in the Americas, though they did not tend to breed in captivity.
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Book of Mormon anachronisms: The ass (donkey)
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
Dr. Verrill, a well‑known (non‑Mormon) archaeologist describes one of these figures as "'so strikingly and obviously elephantine that it cannot be explained away by any of the ordinary theories of being a conventionalized or exaggerated tapir, ant‑eater or macaw. Not only does this figure show a trunk, but in addition it has the big leaf‑like ears and the forward‑bending knees peculiar to the elephants. Moreover, it shows a load or burden strapped upon its back. It is inconceivable that any man could have imagined a creature with the flapping ears and peculiar hind knees of an elephant, or that any human being could have conventionalized a tapir to this extent.'
Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Book of Mormon anachronisms: Elephants
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