Friday, October 24, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part V – “Arise and Go Down Into the Ship”

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions found in the Book of Mormon concerning the Land of Promise. In this post, let us look at Nephi’s comments about building his ship and the Lord directing Lehi when to commence the voyage.
    It was the Lord who told Nephi to build a ship (1 Nephi 17:8) and how it should be constructed (1 Nephi 18:1) and that it was not to be built after the manner of men (1 Nephi 18:2).
Ancient Ship hoisted and braced above the slipway so construction on the hull could he accomplished 
    In building his ship along the seashore at Bountiful, we might understand that it was built on some type of slipways (called “ways”) in order to move the finished ship from where it was constructed into the water. Normally, ways are arranged perpendicular to the shoreline (or as nearly so as the water and maximum length of vessel allows) and the ship is built with its stern facing the water.
    Anciently, these slipways were made of stone or wood, but modern slipways are built of steel or a reinforced concrete, and extend well below the water level (taking into account tidal variations). The vessel is built upon temporary cribbing that is arranged to give access to the hull's outer bottom, and to allow the launch ways to be erected under the completed hull. When it is time to prepare for launching a pair of standing ways are erected under the hull and out onto the barricades. The surface of these ways are greased (Tallow and whale oil were used as grease anciently during the time of sailing ships, which allowed it to “slip off the ways”). 
Top Left: Remains of an ancient rock slipway; Top Right: Remains of an ancient wood slipway; Bottom: Slipways in Tel Dor in Israel that date from the time of Abraham 
    How the Lord instructed Nephi to build his slipways to launch or move the ship into the water is not recorded, but there are signs of ancient ways along the Wadi Dharbat at Khor Rori, about 15 miles east of Salallah, the area Lehi likely called Bountiful
The area of Khor Rori where Nephi likely built his ship. Yellow Arrow: the ancient city of Samhuram, which was built about 300 years after Lehi left; Red Arrows: the present sand bar which did not exist in 600 B.C. and the Wadi Dharbat had access to the Arabian Sea; Blue Arrow: The likely cliff where Nephi’s brothers threatened to throw him into the sea; and Green Arrow: The location of the slipways Nephi probably built, their remains can still be seen today 
Ancient slipways along the Wadi Dharbat at Khor Rori, where a ship was built in B.C. times 
One of the mountains overlooking Khor Rori and the area of Lehi’s Bountiful. Perhaps it was here Nephi received instruction on building his ship (1 Nephi 17:7) 
    When the ship was completed, they packed it with their provisions and boarded (1 Nephi 18:6) and “put forth into the sea,” no doubt sliding it down the ways by brute force. It is also obvious that when they put the ship into the water, there were favorable winds that moved them down the wadi and into the sea. At this point, the current from the Wadi Dharbat carried beyond the breakers and directly into the sea, making it easy for the ship to gain momentum from the winds. Today this sea is called the Sea of Arabia, in Roman times it was called Mare Erythraeum (Erythraeum Sea), and it was named the Irreantum Sea (Many Waters) by Lehi upon first seeing it. And indeed it was “many waters,” for the Sea of Arabia is part of the Indian Ocean, which is part of the Southern Ocean, which to the west is part of the Atlantic Ocean and to the east is part of the Pacific Ocean—these oceans are free-flowing seas open to one another and encompasses the largest continuous flow of seas in the world, connecting almost all of the major bodies of water on the planet.
    Sailing from the Wadi into the Sea of Arabia would have been without incident since the continental shelf is narrow along the coast, with no coral reefs and land deposits cover the major part of the continental slope to a depth of about 9,000 feet.
    The winds are also favorable for such sailing six months out of the year, with the Northeast Monsoon blowing from the northeast and flow out from land into the sea from October through May—a time with little rain.
Graphs showing that (top left) the monsoon winds blow inland during six months of the year and (top right) out toward the sea the other six months (yellow arrows show where Lehi's Bountiful and their embarkation point was located). Obviously, when “the voice of the Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down into the ship.” (1 Nephi 18:5), it was no doubt after October, when the winds shifted and blew out to sea, and even later when the Somalia Current shifted to blow southward 
    Once into the Sea of Arabia, Nephi’s ship would have picked up the monsoon winds, which are some of the strongest winds on the planet, blowing at a constant 30 miles per hour, and beginning in October moving southward toward the Indian Ocean.
    While the Monsoon Winds shift to blow toward the southwest in October, the Somalia Current (which is driven principally by the 30 mph monsoon winds) and the 186 to 343 mile-wide anticyclone known since 1876 as the Great Whirl transport of the Socotra Gyre massive vortex  (which, according to the Journal of Geophysical Research of Oceans, has intense surface currents, which are even more intense because of two or three flanking cyclones that accompany the Whirl at least seventy percent of the time—which begin a month before and lasts for a month after the monsoon) are still moving northward in the Arabian Sea. It might be noted, that during some years, the Great Whirl has been noted to increase in size from 200 miles to over 1000 miles between June and September.
    However, in December the Somali Current reverses its direction and flows southward and increases in velocity, while the Great Whirl (actually two eddies) begins a slow migration to the north as a result of advective effects (advection of vorticity or vortex stretching), eventually combining, then dissipating and eventually disappearing altogether after its 166-day existence from May to November each year (though sometimes longer); however, there is still some movement of outside currents to the northwest and a little conflict of currents where the Indian Ocean meets the Arabian Sea; consequently, it is most likely that Lehi did not embark from Bountiful until January, if he was to miss these northward moving currents altogether. For it is in January when all currents are flowing into the Indian Ocean Gyre and moving in a southwest, then south, then southeast circular direction.
According to COADS (Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set) of the RSMAS Technical Report [2004], the Samolia Current, despite the change in monsoon winds off the southern Arabian coast beginning in October, does not fully flow southward until December; Blue Arrow: October flow of the Somalia Current is still moving northeast; Brown Arrow: November flow of the Somalia is mostly reversing, but the southern portion is still moving northward; Red Arrow: December flow has the Somalia Current all flowing southward, but beyond that the Indian Ocean flow is still northward; and Green Arrow: January flow shows all currents of Somalia, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean flowing southward 
    One of the points of all this is that these winds and resulting currents off the Arabian coast where Lehi’s ship would have traveled limited direction of sail of a deep sea sailing vessel dependent upon the wind, only to the southward, and also to show the folly in Lehi’s time to trying to sail when the winds were not just right. Hence, once again, Lehi was told by the Lord when to embark—“and the voice of the Lord came unto my father, that we should arise and go down to the ship” (1 Nephi 18:5)—which they did the following day (1 Nephi 18:6).
    Another point is that these monsoon winds, which do not move eastward around India, would by necessity blow—or drive—a sailing ship dependent solely upon the wind, toward the Socotra archipelago of four islands to the south, 240 miles from the Arabian coast (and 150 miles east of the Horn of Africa). It is around this point that a recorded incident occurred--but first, Nephi and his brothers and the others would have had to get their "sea legs" and learn how to handle a large sailing ship.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Mormon that should help on to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part IV – Forts and Resorts

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about the land he knew so well, and lived in all his life, that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. And while we were on the subject of building with stone in the last post, let us take a further look at that with the subject of the forts and resorts Mormon tells us that Moroni built. 
    As an example, Mormon writes that Amalickiah, after obtaining leadership of the Lamanites, “did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities” (Alma 48:5), and Mormon also wrote regarding Moroni that he had “kept his men round about, as if making preparations for war; yea, and truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort” (Alma 52:6).
Ancient stone walls in Andean Peru built well into B.C. times still stand today and are part of the numerous ruins of the Nephite period
    The casual reader, and even some Theorists, tend to read these two statements and pay them little mind—certainly they do not understand them fully. As an example, if any time is spent on the word “resorts,” it tends to be with the understanding of today’s two meanings of the word: 1) “a place that is a popular destination for vacations or recreation, or which is frequented for a particular purpose, or 2) “the action of turning to and adopting a strategy or course of action, especially a disagreeable or undesirable one, so as to resolve a difficult situation.”
    Neither, of course, lends any meaning to the phrases in the scriptural record. However, if we turn to the meaning of the word Joseph Smith would have known, as found in Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, we find the meaning of resort as “other means of defense.” While that is not completely clear, we have the exact meaning from Mormon himself, when he said Moroni was “erecting small forts, or places of resort” (Alma 48:8).
    Thus we find that a “resort” as Mormon used it was a “small fort,” typically understood as an “outpost” or an area away from the main camp or fort—usually “at a distance from the main body of an army.” Such places are used for early warning systems where soldiers on guard can warn of an advancing threat or army approaching. Such warnings are seen in the scriptural record (Alma 49:1; 50:5). In fact, King Noah, much earlier than Moroni, and living inside Lamanite territory, built watch towers so he could be warned of approaching Lamanite forces (Mosiah 11:12; 19:6). Even Alma had some type of warning system when he was “apprised of the coming of the king’s army” (Mosiah 18:34).
    These resorts were different than forts Moroni built. Where forts were large and housed many men and much equipment, resorts were very small, with the purpose of providing surveillance of a valley, canyon, river, or military movement points. Moroni built these forts of security and fortified others (Alma 49:13)
Peruvian Andes are full of isolated outposts built up on the mountain sides or peaks that overlook valleys and canyons that lead to ancient cities—the perfect places for observation and early warning
    When Mormon wrote: “they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort,” suggests that the Zoramite defectors Amalikiah put in charge of the Lamanite army understood where these warning outposts were so they could avoid going in areas where a Nephite warning could be raised regarding their approach.
    It also appears that all the Nephite cities in the Land of Zarahemla, and probably elsewhere, were fortified as defensive posts against Lamanite attacks (Alma 50:10; 51:27; 52:2, 17; 53:7; 55:27), some of which were eventually captured by the Lamanites. Such fortifications would have been quite strong and difficult to defeat, for when the Lamanites dide overwhelm a city (Alma 51:25-26), they were secure inside those fortitified areas against the Nephites who attempted to recapture them (Alma 51:27).
    Where cities were not as strongly fortified, Moroni placed a greater number of men (Alma 48:9), thus he fortitified and strengthened all the land that was held by the Nephites. And most, if not all, Nephite cities were walled (Mosiah 7:10; 9:8; 22:6; Alma 50:5; 53:5; 55:20; 62:20-22; Helaman 1:21; 13:4; 14:11; 16:1), many of which were made of stone (Alma 48:8).
    Forts are mentioned in the record where battles and fighting took place (Alma 49:19; 51:27) and fortifications erected (Alma 50:10), as well as fortified cities (Alma 55:26) especially in those parts of the land which were most exposed to the Lamanites (Alma 62:42)
    Based on the overwhelming indication that nearly every Nephite city was walled, and those walls could be stood upon (Helaman 13:4; 14:11; 16:1-2, 7), these were not wooden stockade or polled palisade type wooden walls, but something sturdy and substantial where a man could climb upon and stand while delivering a lengthy address to the people below.
Samuel the Lamanite standing upon the city stone wall and preaching to the Nephites. He would not have been able to stand upon a stockade or wooden wall like the ones shown as suggested by some Theorists
    Nor are these a singular wall, but written in the plural of a single city suggests walled all around (Alma 62:23; Helaman 1:21). The terms wall and walls are also used to describe those that contained the prisons (Helaman 5:27). Now these walls trembled, as if about to tumble to the earth (Helaman 5:31), which is not describing a wooden fence, but a stone wall, for “it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled” (Helaman 5:32). Wooden stockade walls or polled fences do not tremble or tumble, as in “and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder” (Helaman 5:33), and certainly if they were of wood, the fire that encircled them about would have caught hold, but “neither did it take hold upon the walls of the prison” (Helaman 5:44). We find that prison walls shook mightily and were rent in twain so that they fell to the earth (Alma 14:27). One could hardly write this regarding a wooden fence—this is all applicable to stone walls.
Ancient prisons were all made with stone walls, some cut right out of existing stone and others erected  of stone
    In addition, stone walls were erected to keep the Lamanite forces from gaining a foothold in the north, as shown when Moroni was “building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land,” some of these walls would have been defensive positions stretching across the land to stop Lamanite advancement. We see this in some of Moroni’s work when he “fortified the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi” (Alma 50:11), and also when his son, Moronihah did “fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day's journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country” (Alma 4:7).
    Thus, it would seem likely that the Nephites built their fortifications out of stone—not only cities and walls, but their forts and fortifications. Naturally, some outer defense strongholds were made of wood (Alma 50:2), especially those of a temporary nature, but even in the description these are outer fortifications meant to keep an enemy from approaching “the walls of the city” (Alma 50:5). And these were “also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8).
This small, stone-walled outpost “resort” was built on the side of a mountain, difficult to reach, hard to be surprised, and sturdy against attack, with a view of the valley below and the approach to a major city area
    Certainly any early warning outpost would have been built of stone to defend its small garrison against any approaching force. To think that these resorts, or small forts, would have been made of wood is simply to ignore the reality of warfare.
    Thus, any effort to locate the Land of Promise today would have to include the remnants or ruins of stone fortifications, walls and outposts in whatever area one might think the Land of Promise was located. To ignore this important fact is to ignore all that Mormon wrote about the walls and stonework he describes.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Mormon that should help on to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part III – Walls of Stone

This continues from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about the land he knew so well and lived in all his life that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
    As an example, Nephi tells us that Moroni built “walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8). Mormon then adds, “And in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites” (Alma 48:9), to make sure we knew he was talking about military and defensive fortifications. Mormon then tells us that Moroni “was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians” (Alma 48:10).
    There is no question that Moroni understood the importance of high walls as seen when he cast up dirt to shield his men, “which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them” (Alma 49:2, 4). Obviously, their stone walls would have been high enough to accomplish the same objective. Nor were their stone walls merely piled rocks on top of one another as is found in the Great Lakes and Eastern U.S. area as some Theorists claim, for they do not provide much, if any real defense against a charging horde of soldiers.
When stones are merely stacked upon one another as these found in the Great Lakes and Eastern U.S., they can only be so tall like these medium sized rocks (brown arrow), before they topple. Even with larger rocks the height is very limited (white arrow), which is about 40” in the photo. If you are firing a rifle from behind such a height, you can achieve some defense, but a charging army before the age of gunpowder could easily scale such heights as though they were hardly there
    Nor were these stone walls a short-use objective, for the Lamanites were continually attacking the Nephites over several generations spanning hundreds of years. Naturally, Moroni understood his objective, for he knew the importance of stopping the Lamanites from gaining any advantage. As seen when the Lamanites tried to attack Ammonihah, for “the leaders of the Lamanites had supposed, because of the greatness of their numbers, yea, they supposed that they should be privileged to come upon them as they had hitherto done; yea, and they had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness” (Alma 49:6-8), like Moroni had prepared his army previously (Alma 43:19-20).
    So when Mormon tells us: “And being thus prepared they supposed that they should easily overpower and subject their brethren to the yoke of bondage, or slay and massacre them according to their pleasure. But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them, in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites, to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni” (Alma 49:7-8), we should recognize the type of thinking, preparation, and building Moroni would have done when he erected “walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8).
The walls claimed by some Theorists to be Nephite in the Great Lakes and eastern U.S. area are far from the type Moroni had the Nephites build. In fact, with time, they provide no defense whatever. Note the crumbled rocks that have fallen (blue arrow), and the type of construction you have when stacking stones (yellow arrow), or the instability of stacked stones (red arrow), and how over time the wall (blue arrow) is non existent. Note that in all cases stacked stones provide little if any defense against charging forces before guns were invented
    To better understand these walls, we need to know more about Nephi and what he knew about Jerusalem before leaving with his father into the wilderness. First of all, Nephi well understood Jerusalem. He wrote: “I came out from Jerusalem, and mine eyes hath beheld the things of the Jews…I, of myself, have dwelt at Jerusalem, wherefore I know concerning the regions round about” (2 Nephi 25:5-6). Before Jerusalem was built, a city named Jebos was located there, and it had fortified walls—remains of this wall are located above Hezekiah’s Tunnel and can be seen today. King David extended these walls, which were located on a low hill, outside the walls of today’s Old City area. Solomon after building the first temple, extended the city walls even further in order to protect the temple. During this time the city walls extended toward the northwest part of the city, the area where today the Jewish Quarter is located.
Top: The current wall was built on top of Solomon’s wall of dressed stone (red arrow); Bottom: The remains of the 2700 year old Hezekiah’s Broad Wall, which was uncovered in the excavations after the six-day war in 1970—its width of 23 feet is shown between the yellow arrows
    Almost 400 years before Lehi, Solomon built his wall around Jerusalem, and 100 years before Lehi, Hezekiah’s “Broad Wall” was built over the Central Valley and up onto the Western Hill to enclose homes in the part of the city that expanded when the Assyrians invaded Israel to the north. Many people from the northern kingdom of Israel fled their country and moved into Judah and Jerusalem in order to escape the Assyrian invasion and Hezekiah protected them with this wall that was 23-feet wide, 27-feet high, and 213-feet long.
Left: Another wall (yellow arrow) built in the 8th century B.C. that ran along the eastern flank enclosing the Gihon Spring. At least 16-feet tall, it enclosed the old Canaanite city of Jerusalem, including two towers built to protect the water supply; Right: Jerusalem during Solomon’s time with several city walls encircling it—all of these existed in Lehi’s time and would have been known to Nephi
    Naturally, then, when Nephi lived at Jerusalem in Lehi’s house outside of the city, he would have been familiar with these walls, how they were built, their size, importance and purpose. When he taught his people “to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15), one might consider this teaching that carried down through the construction trades of the Nephites for centuries.
    In fact, when Nephi says, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine” (2 Nephi 5:16, emphasis mine), it could only mean he built that temple out of stone, since not only was Solomon’s temple built of stone, along with his own palace and city buildings, but that he sent away to Lebanon to acquire builders who knew how to build out of stone, suggesting that only a stone temple would be sufficient for the Lord. When Nephi says he built a temple like Solomon’s we might understand that it was built of stone.
    It is also understood that he passed this ability and knowledge onto his people. “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands” (2 Nephi 5:17).
This is the Jerusalem Nephi would have known. Note the height of the wall surrounding the temple grounds (yellow arrow). The outer wall is 27-feet high (red arrow). Note the numerous houses to the left of the city (white arrow) where people (farmers and landowners) lived “at” Jerusalem but not “in” Jerusalem at this time. Later the walls would be extended to include many, if not most of these properties
    Naturally, it is understandable that the Nephites built out of stone. Moroni says he built fortifications out of stone “all round about the land” (Alma 48:8).
    Consequently, if you are going to look for an area that is the Land of Promise location, then it should contain evidence of stone buildings, temples, palaces, and other such constructed buildings. Stone, after all, lasts a very long time and only in Andean Peru and Mesoamerica do we have such edifices that match the building capability described by Nephi and Mormon.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Mormon that should help us in understanding where the Land of Promise was located)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part II – Seeds from Jerusalem

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about his land that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of the Land of Promise. 
    As an example, Nephi tells us that his father lived at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4), where he  had his house (1 Nephi 1:7), and when the Lord told him to “take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:2), he “left his house, and the land of his inheritance,” and all his wealth (1 Nephi 2:4), but took “all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind” (1 Nephi 8:1), and did take “seed of every kind that we might carry into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:11), and eventually onto the ship Nephi built (18:6).
Nephi’s crops grew exceedingly and provided an abundant harvest in the Land of Promise
    When they reached the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:23), Nephi tells us “that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance” (1 Nephi 18:24). Obviously, Lehi was a farmer, at least growing sufficient foods for his family who lived outside the city of Jerusalem, for not only did he had abundant seeds of every kind on hand when the Lord told him to flee into the wilderness (there was no corner store to go and buy them), but when they reached the Land of Promise, he and his sons knew how to plant and harvest crops.
    Modern man, however, when reading this account of Nephi, tends to pass over this event as a matter of no importance. Yet, as every gardener knows, you need to provide the right conditions for good germination and healthy growth of seeds, especially those that have delicate root systems. As an example, according to the ACGA and the Gardener’s Supply Company, planting seeds successfully requires the right soil and temperature, length of sunlight, consistent moisture, correct humidity levels (distance from oceans, etc.), air circulation, and correct amount of fertilizing. As an example, some seeds germinate best at a soil temperature of 60ºF while others at 85ºF, but still others require a temperature of about 78ºF. To make sure seeds being sold today are placed in the correct environment, seeds packets list on the back conditions for optimum germination, as well as showing a map of the zones in which the seeds can be planted.
Every kind of seed requires a specific soil type, temperature, precipitation and climate, and this information is listed on the back of every packet of seeds sold
    In addition, soils are very different from one another, since they are made up of ground rock particles, grouped according to size, based on sand and silt in addition to clay, and organic material such as decomposed plant matter. Each component, and their size, play an important role. For example, the largest particles, sand, determine aeration and drainage characteristics, while the tiniest, sub-microscopic clay particles, are chemically active, binding with water and plant nutrients. The ratio of these sizes determines soil type: such as clay, loam, clay-loam, silt-loam, sandy, sand-loam, as well as temperature and water retention (how much drains steadily through the soil via gravity and end up in the aquifer, and how much of it is retained, away from the influence of gravity, for use of plants and other organisms that determines soil health).
    In addition to the mineral composition of soil, humus (organic material) also plays an important role in soil characteristics and fertility for plant life. Soil may be mixed with larger aggregate, such as pebbles or gravel. Not all types of soil are permeable, such as pure clay.
This hydrologic soil group knowledge shows planters how some soils hold water because they impede downward movement, others drain slowly to quickly so that the right soil is chosen for the type of seed planted. 
    Thus, the kind of soil and soil groups are extremely important in the planting of seeds for crop growth since seeds grown in one local rarely do well in another local, even with modern techniques and knowledge. This is why seed packets have zone maps and recommendations listed for where the seeds contained will grow. It is not like every seed will grow in every location—there are Plant Hardiness Zone Maps, temperature considerations, soil conditions, fertilizers—all leading to a better understanding of soil surfaces and deeper profiles.
Top: Soil characteristics map for planting various types of crops; Bottom: A soil grouping map showing the soils and soil groups for planting
    Even today, with all the advances of seed planting, including modern fertilizers, knowledge and techniques, the back of every seed packet you buy has not only instructions on when and how to plant, but lists where the seeds should be planted. Generally, every farmer purchases seeds grown in his local, but sometimes that is not possible, such as in the case of Lehi--so farmers (or planter) need to compare their planting area climates with the climate where a plant is known to grow well. This is simply because seeds developed in one climatic zone do not do well, or grow at all, in another climatic zone.
    As an example, zone maps in the U.S. are more easily drawn for the eastern half of North America since that area is comparatively flat, so mapping is mostly a matter of drawing lines approximately parallel to the Gulf Coast every 120 miles or so as you move north. The lines tilt northeast as they approach the Eastern Seaboard. They also demarcate the special climates formed by the Great Lakes and by the Appalachian mountain ranges.
Color Chart Reference of the climatic zones of the U.S. Note the numerous different zones and sub-zones, even in the flat lands of the eastern half of the country
    In the west, these various zones are far more difficult to determine because the elevation changes the climate and the soils, temperature, and precipitation. In the east, however, these various zones are more stable, yet do change because north and south movement alters the climate and thus the climatic zone—which determines where seeds will and will not grow. The pilgrims found this out when they tried to plant seeds from a more northern climate of England and the Netherlands in the soils of New England, even though both were in what is called a Temperate Climate (as opposed to a Mediterranean Climate).
    Early pioneers (those who come into a country or land with which they are not familiar), such as the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth early in the 17th century, or Lehi and his colony that came to the Land of Promise in 600 B.C., all faced the very same problem with feeding themselves—either hunting, fishing or planting. And since hunting and fishing becomes scarce over any length of time, and certainly does not provide long-term healthful development or encourage large colony growth, planting is how all new emigrants existed in areas where others did not provide previous crops and available food. Every pioneer, among other things, brought seeds with them for planting. Many struggled, some failed to make it, because their seeds grown one place did not do well or grow at all in another place.
    Many factors like weather, winter highs and lows, as well as elevation and precipitation, determine western growing climates in the Western U.S. Weather comes in from the Pacific Ocean and gradually becomes less marine (humid) and more continental (drier) as it moves over and around mountain range after mountain range. While cities in similar zones in the East can have similar climates and grow similar plants, in the West it varies greatly. For example, the weather and plants in low elevation, coastal Seattle are much different than in high elevation, inland Tucson, Arizona, even though they're in the same climatic zone, but not the same weather zone.
    Again, the point is, since seeds grow best in the same climate in which they were developed as well as the same elevation, soils, temperature, and precipitation they were developed, it is important to understand the climate factors in which Lehi’s seeds were developed—Jerusalem. As has been mentioned here many times, Jerusalem is a Mediterranean Climate (not a zone). And outside the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, there are only five such climates in the entire world, and only two in the Western Hemisphere—southern California and coastal central Chile.
The four areas outside of the Mediterranean where a Mediterranean Climate exists. Note only two are in the Western Hemisphere 
    This area of Chile, which is around the 30º south latitude, is also the exact same area where the winds and currents coming from the Indian Ocean end up before turning back from the Peruvian Bulge into the Pacific and westward across toward Australia in the circular South Pacific Gyre (for a complete explanation of this, see the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica).
    So if one is going to believe Nephi, that his seeds brought from Jerusalem grew exceedingly and provided an abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24), then we need to look for an area in which the same climate, soil, temperature, precipitation and growing conditions exist in the Western Hemisphere—either southern California (not Baja) or La Serena, Chile, and only the latter has the matching soil (Red Mediterranean), soil group, rain fall, temperature, plants, and overall climate as well as the numerous other conditions mentioned by Nephi and Mormon (for more on this, see the post in this blog of April 24, 2014, “Is the Chile Landing Site a Myth?—Part IV”).
Top: 30º south latitude Coquimbo Bay where winds and currents drop to almost nothing, where a landing could be effected in 600 B.C.; Bottom: La Serena, adjacent to the coast, where Mediterranean Climate agriculture has always flourished
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Mormon that should help one to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part I – The Cure for Fever

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about his land that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land, we should consider in detail his clear and obvious meaning and not just skip over them. Nor can we ignore them or claim they are unimportant merely because they do not support a personal view or opinion or agree with one’s model of the Land of Promise location. 
    Many of Mormon’s descriptions may seem unimportant and of little value in searching for a land until we consider the full effect and meaning of the statements Mormon made—specifically how they impact a land and what that would mean in our looking for a geographical match.
    As an example, Mormon tells us the Lamanites “came down” from the Land of Nephi into the Land of Zarahemla, such as stated in “Now, if king Amalickiah had come down out of the land of Nephi, at the head of his army, perhaps he would have caused the Lamanites to have attacked the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah; for behold, he did care not for the blood of his people. But behold, Amalickiah did not come down himself to battle. And behold, his chief captains durst not attack the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah, for Moroni had altered the management of affairs among the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them” (Alma 49:10-11).
    In fact, Mormon uses this “came down” from the Land of Nephi into the Land of Zarahemla 24 times in the book of Alma alone. Obviously, then, we need to recognize that the Land of Nephi was at a much higher elevation than the Land of Zarahemla, and any place we claim to be these two lands, the one must be higher over a large area from the other—significantly higher for Mormon to continually mention it.
Top: The Upper Mississippi, and (Bottom) Lower Mississippi and all along its course is a flat land without a single hill worthy of mentioning. There is no way the Mississippi could have been the location of a significantly elevated land as Mormon describes of the river Sidon
    Thus, when Meldrum in his
Heartland model claims the Mississippi River was the Sidon River, and that his Land of Nephi was to the South of his Land of Zarahemla, it is not at a greater elevation to match Mormon’s description; nor is the area in southern Iowa at a higher elevation than upriver where others claim the city of Zarahemla was located across from Nauvoo. Because of this one fact, these two areas immediately become suspect when one claims they are the Land of Promise. What about Mormon’s description of a higher Land of Promise and coming down from it to do battle in the Land of Zarahemla? Are Meldrum and others simply ignoring these several comments by Mormon?
    So let’s take a look at some of Mormon’s other and sometimes minor descriptions, but ones that give us a clearer understanding of the topography and therefore the geography of the Land of Promise. And in so doing, see whether or not a claimed location could match the area Mormon describes.
As discussed in a recent post, the roads and highways (3 Nephi 6:8) that should be noticeable today in any claimed location of the Land of Promise. Not just roads, but a complete system of ancient "roads" and "highways" that went "from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place"  in the Land of Promise. That one item alone would eliminate anything in North America and Malay, leaving only Peru, and to a lesser degree, Mesoamerica, and an even lesser degree Central America, the latter two having some roads, but hardly the amount Mormon describes as does Andean Peru.
    So what else did Mormon mention? A rather interesting one is mentioned in Alma. In fact, when Mormon abridged the Book of Alma, he apparently condensed some interesting information regarding the problem the Nephites had with “fevers” during certain times of the year. Writing about “there were many who died,” he goes on to state, “And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land -- but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40).
    So in the last centuries B.C., what fever might we be talking about? In the ancient middle east, two fevers were common, typhoid and malaria, and elsewhere, a third fever was known, which was yellow fever. However, typhoid, which is caused by a bacteria, does not have a plant or herb cure, and is treated with modern antibiotics which kill the Salmonella bacteria. Prior to the use of antibiotics, the fatality rate was 20%. Death occurred from overwhelming infection, pneumonia, intestinal bleeding, or intestinal perforation. Yellow Fever is a virus and even currently, there is no cure for it—once a person has become infected, the only thing to do is wait for the body to kill the virus.
On the other hand, malaria, which is a parasitic infection spread by Anopheles mosquitoes, is neither a virus nor a bacterium—it is a single-celled Plasmodium parasite that multiplies in red blood cells. Like yellow fever, the prevention of malaria is in eliminating the mosqitoes that cause it. However, once infected, the cure or treatment is only found in the cinchona plant or tree.
    Anciently referred to variously as “Marsh Fever,” “tertian ague,” “acute fever,” and “Roman fever,” the latter was a particularly deadly strain of malaria that affected the Roman Campaigna, and the city of Rome throughout various epochs in history, especially during the sultry summers, where 30,000 died each year. William Shakespeare knew enough about it to mention it in eight of his plays. And for thousands of years, traditional and herbal remedies were used to treat malaria. During the Middle Ages, traditional treatments included blood-letting, inducing vomiting, limb amputations and trepanning: drilling or scraping a hole in the skull). Some turned to witchcraft and astrology. As for herbal remedies, physicians and surgeons as well as folk-healers administered ineffective and often deadly herbs, such as the toxic plant Belladona (deadly nightshade).
    It might be of interest to know that malaria, or “fevers that kill” were not referenced in the “medical books” of the Mayans or Aztecs, while the origin of Plasmodium falciparum in South America shows an old beginning according to archaeological and genetic evidence (Erhan Yalcindag, et al, Multiple independent introductions of Plasmodium falciparum in South America)
Perhaps the most famous case of malaria was that of Alexander the Great who, according to some experts, died of fever in 323 B.C., two weeks after sailing in the marshes to inspect flood defenses (Jonathan Thompson, Disease, not conflict, ended the reign of Alexander the Great). And while the plague of Athens in 430 B.C. is blamed on typhoid fever, this is an epidemic disease and is spread from person to person, while malaria is not, for it can only be transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes.
    It was malaria that was described in 2700 B.C. in ancient Chinese medical writings. Malaria was commonly recognized in Greece as early as the 4th century B.C., and it was the Romans who attributed malarial diseases to the marshlands and set in place a system of draining their swamps.
    Malaria is among the oldest of maladies, a widespread and potentially lethal human infectious disease. At its peak malaria infested every continent, except Antarctica, and even by the close of the 20th century, malaria remained endemic in more than 100 countries throughout the tropical and subtropical zones, including large areas of Central and South America, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. The latest statistics show that 207 million cases of malaria were reported in 2012, which killed as many as 789,000 people.
    The seriousness of malarial fever has always been well understood. It was the most important health hazard encountered by U.S. troops in the South Pacific during World War II, where about 500,000 men were infected. According to Joseph Patrick Byrne (Encyclopedia of Pestilence, Pandemics, and Plagues), "Sixty thousand American soldiers died of malaria during the African and South Pacific campaigns." Before that, malaria decimated the armies of both the North and South during the American Civil War.
    After the link to mosquitoes and their parasites were identified in the early twentieth century, mosquito control prevention measures such as widespread use of pesticide, swamp drainage, covering or oiling the surface of open water sources, indoor residual spraying and use of insecticide treated nets was initiated.
However, the treatment and cure was found only in Prophylactic quinine—the only natural cure in the entire world until the 20th century. Quinine, of course, comes only from the natural ground up bark of the cinchona tree—a tree found only in the area of Andean Peru and Bolivia. This quinine was the first and only effective treatment for malaria until it was synthesized in the middle of the 20th century.
    So one would think, that after Mormon tells us that the fever that killed many Nephites was not so deadly “because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases,” we need only look to where the quinine-producing cinchona tree grew during Nephite times to see where the Land of Promise would be located.
    This cinchona tree and its herbal produced quinine was known to the ancient Peruvians of the Andes dating back into B.C. times, where the cinchona tree grew only in Andean Peru until the Dutch pirated cuttings out of South America in the 19th century and planted them in Indonesia. Up until then, quinine was available only to the Peruvians, who used it for the cure and treatment of fever by grinding up its bark and producing the bitter crystalline compound.
    It would seem, then, if one is going to claim a place as the Land of Promise, one might want to consider the fact malaria is a deadly fever, and is the only fever that can be treated or cured by herbal (plant) means, and that herbal cure is quinine, which is the only cure for malarial fever (and numerous other ailments), and is indigenous only to Andean Peru. No other herb or plant contains quinine, and only quinine has been found to cure or effectively treat malarial fever.  Thus, Mormon’s description of an item in the Land of Promise can only be found in Andean Peru.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Mormon that should help on to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Amazing Prophet Mormon and His Abridgement

The Prophet Mormon was an absolutely amazing individual—a child prodigy, a skilled military commander, a great historian, a powerful prophet, a man among men, and a loving father and son. He was neither crafty nor devious and had no guile, but consistently expressed empathy and compassion for his fellow man. He was surrounded all his days by wickedness and abominations, but in his writings, Mormon expresses an eternal outlook that made him cheerful, resilient and optimistic in the gospel.
Even when knowing the Nephites had passed their day of grace, both temporarily and spiritually because of their wickedness (Mormon 2:15), he still thought in some way in their deadly struggle for survival that he could gain an advantage over the Lamanites (Mormon 6:4). Despite their wickedness, he had led the Nephites many times in battle and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies (Mormon 3:12-13). Yet, despite his great love for his people, he stood aside and refused to lead them when the Lord commanded (Mormon 3:13). It was his greatness that allowed him to be chosen by the Lord to edit the writings of the Nephite prophets—a work that made staggering demands on him.
The Nephites held a massive number of voluminous records (Helaman 3:13), including the small and large plates of the Nephites, and were so extensive that four times Mormon felt compelled to declare that he could not write "the hundredth part of the things of my people" (WofM 1:5; Helaman 3:14; 3 Nephi 5:8; 26:6). Mormon had not only to choose what doctrines of the gospel to include in that hundredth part of history, but also to decide which historical episodes would best illustrate the Nephite’s relationship with God. The result is a dazzling spiritual treasure because its editor was a divinely inspired spiritual giant.
Mormon is amazing because of his production of The Book of Mormon, not only in his abridgement of thousands of records, but his insertion at times of further explanation, such as the legal system (Alma 11:1), monetary system (Alma 11:5-6), and Land of Promise geography (Alma 22:27-34). This work was the consecrated and successful mission of his life. While he labored all his days, from the age of 15 onward, to save the Nephites, both from Lamanite destruction and their own folly, his greatest labor of love was the editing of what he knew would be the scriptural record of the thousand years of the Nephite nation (3 Nephi 5:14-16) to be read by a far future people (3 Nephi 30:1-2).
    Any reader of the Book of Mormon today must be amazed by the choice of subject Mormon thought to include in his extensive abridgement. It also seems well worth our while to pay attention to those choices and try to fully comprehend what significance they had in Mormon’s time and for our time today. While the basis of the entire work is to be a second witness or testimony of Jesus Christ, it also contains doctrinal understandings and historical events that aid us in our understanding of our own age and problems--individually, collectively, as well as nationally (Helaman 5:2-3) and worldly.
    For those who have a desire to know of the geographical setting of the land in which Mormon lived, labored and fought, and the geographical setting of the entire Land of Promise, who better to glean information from than the one man that we know of who lived, walked and fought throughout the entire width and breadth of the land. After all, Mormon was born in the Land Northward, lived in the Land Southward (Mormon 1:6), knew of the land and how the Nephites had built numerous buildings all over the land (Mormon 1:7), and saw how the Nephites had spread over the land and “were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.”
When Mormon was 15 years of age, there began to be a war again between the Nephites and the Lamanites. “And notwithstanding I being young, was large in stature; therefore the people of Nephi appointed me that I should be their leader, or the leader of their armies”
    Mormon led Nephite armies in battle from the waters of Sidon in the far south (Mormon 1:10) to the Land of Many Waters (Mormon 6:4) in the far north. He knew of the small or narrow neck of land since he led the Nephite armies in their retreat to this area, negotiated a treaty with the Lamanites for this area (Mormon 2:28-29), declared it the boundary of the Nephite lands and fought several battles around it (Mormon 3:5-7).
    Mormon included many descriptions of small, but important facts about that land, many of which have been written about in this blog several times over the past four years. He also inserted his own thoughts regarding the topography and layout of the land, and it is toward this end that this blog is generally pointed. Where was the Land of Promise and what scriptural evidence did Mormon leave us to show us the way to knowing that land has been the major topic of over 1500 posts during these past four years. In fact, there are so many such evidences or descriptions that Mormon provided us that finding the location of the Land of Promise is not as difficult as so many Theorists, bent on their own personal view, try to make it seem.
    However, we need to glean from these small, and often seemingly insignificant descriptions to see them in the light Mormon intended. That is not to say Mormon was trying to describe his land to us (except for Alma 22:27-34), but to place the events of which he wrote in the setting of his land he knew so well. Some of these comments or descriptions are quite illuminating. However, Mormon had to pick and choose what he wrote from the enormous material at hand, and often condensed such descriptions to simple and seemingly insignificant statements or asides.
In fact, when Mormon first introduces himself, he writes: “And there had many things transpired which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvelous; nevertheless, they cannot all be written in this book; yea, this book cannot contain even a hundredth part of what was done among so many people," and also stated "But behold there are records which do contain all the proceedings of this people; and a shorter but true account was given by Nephi. Therefore I have made my record of these things according to the record of Nephi, which was engraven on the plates which were called the plates of Nephi. And behold, I do make the record on plates which I have made with mine own hands. And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon, the land in which Alma did establish the church among the people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression” (3 Nephi 5:8-12).
    Consequently, since he could write “this book cannot contain even a hundredth part” of what was written, we might want to consider those things he did mention and what there significance might be to our understanding this land upon which Mormon lived.
    Toward this goal the next several posts are dedicated—for us to read what Mormon wrote and picture his points in the land upon which he lived. One of these descriptions was covered earlier, regarding the roads and highways he wrote about that ran extensively throughout the Land of Promise (3 Nephi 6:8). However, others are not quite so obvious, and one must read the description and consider its meaning, such as the one we will discuss in the next post.
(See the next post regarding “Mormon’s Abridgement,” for one of the descriptions Mormon wrote about that can help us understand the location of the Land of Promise)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Regarding the Location of the Land of Promise

In the last two posts we have discussed Mormon’s description of the Nephite roads, and in the post before that, Jacob’s comment that the Land of Promise was an island. In both these areas, the point is that in looking for the location of the Land of Promise, there are certain descriptions within the scriptural record that would aid in that effort. In fact, there are many others, and they are not arguable factors, for the scriptural record bears witness to the fact that the Land of Promise had these characteristics, structures, or facts associated with them to which any location suggested to be the Land of Promise must now, or in the past, contain.
As an example, the roads just mentioned. One cannot claim Mormon did not write about roads that ran from city to city, from land to land, and from place to place throughout the Nephite nation (3 Nephi 6:8). Nor can one claim there would be no vestige of these roads today since the existence of ancient roads is well documented and easily seen in the Old World dating before Lehi, therefore, any location claimed to be the Land of Promise should show signs of these ancient Nephite roads.
The same is true of the earlier post about Jacob saying, and Nephi writing, that the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20). So one claiming a location today is the site of the ancient Land of Promise must show that now or in the time of the Nephites, the area was once an island. Nor can one say, as a recent comment on that post was made by a reader that “I see no reason to believe that Jacob or Nephi knew whether or not their isle was isolated by water on the north. If Nephi and Jacob were speaking of their home in the cape region of the Baja peninsula, it makes sense that they would describe their land as an isle.”
If one is going to use the scriptural record as the criteria for the understanding and descriptions of the Land of Promise, one cannot pick and choose which parts they are going to agree with and which parts they are going to reject—if that were done, then almost any place in the Western Hemisphere could be claimed for most any place can be shown to fit at least some of the descriptions mentioned in the scriptural record.
    This rejection or pick-and-choose type of thinking goes along with the idea that one is going to accept those parts of the gospel they agree with and reject those parts they do not. “I agree that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but Thomas S. Monson is not.” Or, “I think the Book of Mormon is true, but I do not believe in the Joseph Smith story.” Or, “I like the Word of Wisdom, but don’t agree with paying tithing.”
Of course, people learn to crawl before they walk, to walk before they run, etc., and one can accept parts of the gospel at first and grow into the rest as their understanding matures. But to decide that this scripture is correct and this one is not correct is not a growing process, but one of arrogant rejection. It sets a person above the prophet who wrote it. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). It would seem that what prophets write in the scriptural record is going to be more accurate than what this person or that person agrees with or disagrees with—no matter their argument or rationale.
    While reasoning and intelligence, of course, are helpful at times in understanding a scripture, it is not reason or intelligence that causes a person to flat-out disagree with a scripture. That is like John L. Sorenson who decided in his study of the scriptural record when formulating his Mesoamerican Theory that Mormon writing about cardinal directions did not mean what he said, i.e., north was not north, east was not east, etc.
     We have to keep in mind that when the Lord speaks to us, he does so in our language. In fact, Nephi made this very clear when he wrote: “For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (32 Nephi 31:3, emphasis mine).
Thus, it would be inconsistent for the Lord to allow Joseph Smith, through the Spirit, to translate north, south, east, and west, when they did not mean the cardinal directions we know them to be. As an example, “north” has a specific meaning in English, as does “northward,” both words used by Mormon, or translated by Joseph Smith as Mormon’s meaning—these two words do not mean “east” or “west” as Sorenson would have us believe, since Mormon writes of a north-south running Land of Promise, and Sorenson tries to get us to understand it is really an “east-west” running Land of Promise.
    The translation would also not say “island” when something else, like “peninsula” was meant, etc. Jacob said an “isle,” a word in 1828 New England English is the same word used today as “island,” and is defined in Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language as “A tract of land surrounded by water” or “a detached portion of land embosomed in the ocean.” Neither of these definitions could apply in any way to an isthmus (Mesoamerica) or a peninsula (Baja California, or Malaysia).
    Somewhere along the line, one becomes a believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ; somewhere along the line, one accepts what is written in the scriptural record as it is written; somewhere along the line, one becomes a defender of the word. Until then, a person for one reason or another feels he can pick and choose what is truth from the scriptures and reject those parts that do not agree with him. Recently, a friend of mine died who had been a doctor, a faithful member of the Church, and a faithful servant; however, he had this conviction that man evolved through evolution and disliked and rejected any officer, no matter how highly placed, any writing, scripture, sermon or talk that disagreed with him on this matter.
    However, truth is truth. What is written in the scriptural record, as Peter said, is not for private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20)—that is, when Jacob says it is an “island,” it is not up to someone to decide Jacob was wrong or that he meant something else. When Mormon writes about north and northward, it is not up to someone to decide that he really meant something else, like “west” or “westward.”
    As we wrote in our post three weeks ago, “an island, that is an island, is an island.” Jacob told the Nephites that they were on an “island,” Nephi wrote down that they were on an “island,” Joseph Smith translated that they were on an “island,” and the Spirit verified the correctness of “island.” In the mouth of two or three witness the truth will be established.
As one sage said, “For though I can move my finger to point out an object, it is out of my power to open men's eyes that they may see either the fact that I am pointing, or the object at which I point.” When the scriptural record states clearly “island,” what kind of arrogance allows one to say, “I see no reason to believe that Jacob or Nephi knew they were on an island.”
    Well, to each his own.
    The point of this blog is to take scripture and show how it relates to the Land of Promise so described in that scripture. If Jacob said an island, then the writer of this blog accepts that and uses it as a criteria to locate where that Land of Promise once might have existed. When Mormon writes about a north-south oriented Land of Promise, then the writer of this blog looks for a north-south Land of Promise. When Mormon also writes about an extensive Nephite road system that went from city to city, from land to land, and from place to place, then the writer of this blog looks for somewhere where the remains of such a road system might once have existed.
    If one is not going to do that, then what is the point in the scriptural record regarding using it to support a location for where it took place?
    In the ensuing posts on the subject of descriptions about the Land of Promise made by Mormon and others in the scriptural record, we will attempt to show those points often missed or ignored by Theorists who evidently would rather promote their model than make sure it is correct and in agreement with the writings of the prophets who lived there, walked the land, fought battles there, and described parts of it or wrote about it.
    Obviously, one might think his understanding of a scripture is more correct than what is written here—and that is any reader’s option. But the point we are trying to make here is that when the scriptural record says something that is quite clear, then that description needs to be considered and understood in light of the location one chooses to place their Land of Promise within.
    If the scriptural record says an “island,” then during the Nephite era that area had to have been an island. To make light of, to disagree with, or try and change the meaning of a word or statement is within anyone’s purview, but it is neither scholarly nor honest when trying to truthfully find answers to such inquiry. If Mormon writes about an extensive road system that evidently covered most of the Land of Promise, then one would be benefited in his search to look for such remains as might be expected and history shows does exist elsewhere (numerous ancient roads in many Old World countries show that roads last a long time and should be found today where they once existed). It benefits no one for a person to try and explain away these clearly stated descriptions because they do not agree with their own model.
(See the next post about “The Amazing Mormon and His Abridgement,” for a better understanding of Mormon’s efforts to abridge the record, and then the subsequent posts that discuss what existed in Nephite times in the Land of Promise that should be considered part of any current inquiry to such a location)