WE STAND AMAZED
I must explain that the below is just as I received it from Elder LeRoy Tolman sometime between 1976-1978 while we both served as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Arizona Tempe (Spanish) Mission. I have taken "some liberties" in correcting punctuation, but have not done much more than that.
Cecil T. Champenois, Jr.
Read Alma 17
"South of the Marcona Iron Mines, forty five kilometers on the Inter-American Highway, stands a small Indian fishing village, which has existed in one form or another ever since the Indians came to Peru. The people of this village do little work, and have no need for it. The climate is mild. It is never hot or cold. Rain is unknown. The sea provides their living, mostly from shellfish, which they pick off of the rocks. Near this village in the beach sands is an old Indian graveyard; wind erosion is uncovering and recovering it."
"Here, George Starkey, our machine shop foreman, uncovered a bundle containing many arm bones, but no skulls or other parts of the skeleton frame. Later, among [this] same dead, we found many small stones about the size of ping pong balls, and the stone ends of war clubs. These findings stirred our interest to look further."
"We next found in the hills between the mine and the Indian village a pasture, of several thousand acres, with cattle grazing as far as the eye could see. Herders attended each group of cattle. From their camp, an Indian boy of twelve ran out to us with a pocket full of stones like those we found in the graves, and his sling of David, with which to throw the stones at us. His instructions were to chase us away. We talked him out of this."
"He told us that the ocean fog hung on these hills several months of the year. The condensation from these fogs at this elevation was enough to wet the ground and start a green growth of sage, grass, and lambs quarter. This pasture only lasts a few months of the year. We asked him what they did for water. He said a half a day's journey away was a water hole."
"Later, we found the water hole, from which trails radiated in all directions, as the spoke from the hub of a wheel. This water is sweet, and is the only water in a barren desert; in fact, the driest desert in the world. Here, all life must come for water, including the people of the little fishing village, which is called Lomas."
Now, open your Book of Mormon to Alma, Chapter 17, read the story of Ammon again.
Did Lamoni live in Lomas? How did Lomas get its name? Is this the pasture on which King Lamoni's cattle grazed? Is this the water hole by which the Lamanites waited to ambush and scatter the herds of the King? What about the arm bones? Could the ping pong sized stones we found in the graves and which the boy had be the same as they used in their slings? Are these stone-headed war clubs the same as they used against Ammon? In short, is this the place?"
Notes were handwritten at the end of the page of this copy I had received from Elder Tolman that state the following:
Found among Abinadi Tolman's important papers. He wrote on it:
"Save, very choice".
"Sent to Abinadi Tolman from his friend & relative, Otto L. Hunsaker, who had moved to South America to work. I'm not sure but I would estimate this to be around 35 years ago - probably in the 1940's."
"Ila L. Jenson"