Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Sunday, February 03, 2008

This is Not Spinal Tap ( and Ask Dr. Joseph Allen)

by Sariah S. Wilson

So yesterday my chiropractor told me I had the back of a 60-year-old (and I am not 60 years old).

Seven years ago I injured my back while exercising. I was given muscle relaxants and painkillers and sent on my merry way.

I've had continuous back problems ever since then. I accepted it as normal, since back problems run in my family.

My mother currently has a bulging disc in her neck and been in incredible amounts of pain. She'd been getting relief from a certain chiropractor, and she thought that I should get my back looked at. I didn't do it until last Monday when I injured myself while exercising (which is such a good argument for not ever exercising again, don't you think?).

It turns out that from that initial injury I apparently messed up my L5 vertebrae and it is not in the right place, which has caused all my ongoing back problems.

The chiropractor had me get some X-rays this last week, and when he looked at them it turns out I also have a 20 degree scoliosis curve (which is not great but low enough that they're not going to do anything about it) and some major neck issues.

The normal cervical spine (your neck part) should bend at 43 degrees in toward your jaw. Mine is -10. Yes, that is a negative ten. My mother's is a zero, and she is having huge issues there. Mine goes ten degrees more past hers. This means I am in for a lifetime of pain, apparently. The doctor wanted to know what kind of accident I had been in to make this happen. No accident happened. I'm just really lucky as it turns out.

So I've made an appointment to go see an orthopedist. My chiropractor doesn't know, and I'm sure he'll be against it. But if someone's going to put me in traction, it's going to be the guy who went to medical school and did his internship and residency at a hospital. I'm sure the chiropractor knows what he's doing and I appreciate the holistic approach to healing, but in this case I want to play on the safe side.

It was nice to show my mom the X-rays to prove to her that it really wasn't my fault in high school that I couldn't stand up straight.

And on a totally unrelated note, In college we used to play this "I Never" game. It's where everyone gets ten beans and the person at the end with the most wins. You have to say something you've never done, and if anyone else in the circle has done it, they have to put a bean in. I used to own in that game because being the oldest child in a very large family, we didn't do much. One that I could always say was that I've never been out of the country. Not even to Mexico despite the fact that I lived in Southern California.

No more! I'm going on a cruise this Saturday with my bending-wrong neck and curved spine and misplaced vertebrae to Honduras and Belize and Guatemala and New Orleans (not technically a country, but a whole new experience for me). On this trip I will get to spend a lot of time with Dr. Joseph Allen, as we're getting a personal tour with him. I'm so upset about leaving my baby. I try not to think about it because it makes me feel slightly hysterical (okay, a lot hysterical). But I didn't plan this trip. It was given to us as a gift, and it's the sort of situation where how can you say no to this once in a lifetime opportunity? So yay for my sister who is flying out from Utah to come this next week and take care of my kids. I'm sure everything will be fine, but I am a huge worrier. And the baby has taken this opportunity to come down with a cold so that I will feel even worse. It's hard to be excited about and dreading something at the same time.

But back to Dr. Allen - as we'll be having a lot of one on one time, I'll have the chance to ask him questions. So if anyone has a cultural scriptural question they've always wondered about, Dr. Allen knows a lot. I'm not interested in anti comments (so those'll get deleted because I can be the tyrant of my own comment section) but if anyone has serious questions about locations or anything like that in the Book of Mormon, let me know in the comment section and I'll be sure to ask him!


At 2/03/2008 2:10 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

I have a question. I'm a big fan of Book of Mormon archaeology, and I've been reading a lot for my next book. But I've never seen anyone address the fact that in 3 Nephi "the whole face of the land changed". When people speculate on the locations of Book or Mormon cities, most of the geographic clues seems to be from Alma and Mosiah--before the face of the land changed. So, how do Book of Mormon archaeolists explain that?

Also: hooray for ditching the chiropractor in favor of a real doctor! In the eighth grade I broke back getting bucked off a horse on a scout activity (T5 and T6), and have visited a great many doctors for it. There was a while there that I regularly saw a chiropractor--and what a bunch of quackery.

At 2/03/2008 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are some thoughts based on the work of a number of LDS scholars, geologists, historians and even metorologists on the subject of the destruction which I find helpful not only in pinpointing likely Book of Mormon geography, but also in understanding the intended meaning of the Book of Mormon recorder who described the destruction.

I reccomend using restrint when constructing a picture of the destruction at the time of Christ’s coming to the Nephites. The fundamental features of the land were not transformed. It was the intensity of nature's rampage that impressed the Nephite recorder, not the novelty of the phenomena (3 Nephi 8:5-7). All these kinds of destructions had happened before in Book of Mormon lands, but never with such terrifying effect.

The toll of the damage announced by the voice of the Lord mentions 16 cities by name (see 3 Nephi 9:3-10). Three of those places are identified elsewhere in the volume as located in the land southward. it is logical that the other four cities listed with them were also in that area. Nine cities are listed together in verses 8-10, one of which definitely was in the land northward; those named with it were probably also in the north. Six cities were destroyed by fire. eight places were buried in the earth or had the earth fall on them, but only one sank into the sea (Moroni, known to be near the coast). Zarahemla and other cities that had been burned were soon rebuilt on the same location as before (4 Nephi 1:7-8). Basic geographical reference points such as the narrow neck of land, the hill Cumorah/Ramah and the River Sidon continued apparently unchanged.

It should not be too surprising, the sorts of natural forces unleashed in the fateful three hours are familiar in Mesoamerica--the zone of intense earthquake activity along the edge of the Pacific basin which also triggers scores of volcanoes scattered from southern Mexico, through Guatemala and further south into Honduras all the way to Nicaragua--many of which have been active within historical times and some, particularly near Antigua the former Guatemalan capital west of Guatemala City (entirely destroyed in 1773 and again in 1917) and highland Guatemala and Guatemala City. Plumes still rise from Guatemala City volcanoes daily.

Thunder was also listed as contributing to the deformation of the face of the land (3 Nephi 8:17) which is rather odd. However if you read the journal entries of Don Joseph Munoz regarding the 1793 eruption in the volcanic Tuxtla mountains you get a picture of how the Book of Mormon recorders may have thought about the thunder and its ties to the destruction of the land. Don Munoz wrote that the volcanic activity began with the gathering of large clouds over the mountains (pre-eruption gasses nearly always trigger this atmospheric response which later end in fierce lightings and even fireballs of lighting that appear like an out of control UFO and are the cause of devastating fires). Munoz recorded that he heard "grand thunderclaps, but underground. It sounded like all the artillery in Vera Cruz going off." In this particular eruption there were over 400 underground "thunderclaps" recorded, many of which were heard many hundreds of miles from the eruption.

Nearly always, mud slides and lands slides are triggered by the torrential rains that accompany eruptions--caused by the emission of gasses into the atmosphere. It appears that the cities buried in the depths of the earth (3 Nephi 9:6,8) would have resulted from slides, as well as from volcanic ash fall.

If Jerusalem was located on the shores of Lake Atitlan (Alma 21:1) which nearly 30 LDS scholars agree is the likely location, it should be noted that the level of this lake has fluctuated as much as 40 feet due to subterranean shifts in the volcanic material that plugs its exit, according to geologists. Earthquakes and/or eruptions could have stirred the base of the lake to make water "come up into the stead" of Jerusalem (3 Nephi 9:7).

It is likely that the fault running from El Salvador, through highland Guatemala (Guatemala City and Antigua) and north into Chiapas (Southern Mexico) was involved in this massive eruption and earthquake activity that lasted for about 3 hours.

David Woolley

At 2/03/2008 5:46 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Have a great trip! Sounds like a great opportunity. (Travel always makes my creative juices flow, no matter where it is I go.)

About a year and a half ago I spent almost two weeks away from my kids on a trip to Israel. WAY cool trip, but it was several times longer than we had ever left the kids before (even in the capable hands of Grandma), and I was pretty hysterical for a while about my youngest (who was 3 1/2--not exactly a baby).

It's a mommy thing, but I'm sure you'll manage to enjoy yourself even with the separation!

At 2/03/2008 10:26 PM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

I'm so jealous! I was born in Guatemala and haven't been back in more than 25 years. I'd really like to go back one day. Have a great trip, and don't worry too much about baby.

At 2/04/2008 12:06 PM, Anonymous Jennie Hansen said...

Enjoy your trip Sariah. It should be a great adventure and beneficial to your future writing endeavors.

David, I am impressed by your great response to Rob's question.

At 2/04/2008 2:00 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

There are times for holistic and there are times for medical. I've done both and have derived a lot of benefits from both.

Sariah, have a wonderful trip! I'm just a tiny bit jealous but I'm pushing it down in favor of wanting to congratulate you. :)

At 2/18/2008 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any accident which results in jury should be treated seriously and the recipient should always be seen by a medical professional as soon as possible. In particular if people suffer injuries to the head or brain they should immediately to a professional and also if someone suffers a spinal injury they should be careful as this can result in serious injuries in the long term. If you or someone you know receives a spinal cord injury they should see a doctor immediately!!


Post a Comment

<< Home