Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XVIII

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This eighteenth question is directed to Phyllis Carol Olive and her Great Lakes Theory as well as Rod L. Meldrum and his Heartland Theory.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    18. “Where are the fault lines and mega earthquake activity in the Great Lakes or Heartland area lands of promise of the type that have been estimated at around 9.0 to 11.0 in magnitude that led to a “great quaking of the whole earth” as described by Nephi?” (3 Nephi 8:12).
    First, this was not just a local event for there was “great and terrible destruction in the land southward” (3 Nephi 8:11), and even “more great and terrible destruction in the land northward as the whole face of the land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12).
    Second, mountains fell to become valleys, and valleys rose to become mountains, whose height is great (Helaman 14:23)
Black dots represent seismic activity across the United States. Note the lack of any activity southeast of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (red arrow) and the very small amount in the Ohio and Heartland area
    Third, earthquakes east of the Rocky Mountains are too small to be felt or to cause damage, and most earthquakes large enough to be felt are still too small to cause damage. Damaging earthquakes east of the Rockies are rare, and of those few that do damage buildings or other man-made structures, most cause only slight, localized damage with few injuries.
    Fourth, in the last 200 years that earthquake info has been kept, only six earthquakes have been recorded anywhere in New York state, and none around Lake Erie, and all so moderate that the worst damage was old, brick chimneys knocked over.
Red Arrow is the location of Olive’s Land of Promise in western New York and into Pennsylvania; Linden Fault Line is to the east where Olive places her Sea East, and the Adirondack Mountains far to the northeast
    Fifth, the only major fault line in all of western New York, the Linden Fault, just east of Batavia, and extends through Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming and Alleghany counties (to the east of Olive’s East Sea). There are also numerous minor fault lines in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, an area north of Albany between the St. Lawrence River and Vermont border—placing it nearly 200 miles from Lake Erie and far to the northeast of Olive’s Land of Promise.
    Sixth, while some moderate earthquakes have been felt in New York state, these were not around the Great Lakes in western or upstate New York. One earthquake of low intensity was felt around Lake Erie in 1857, in which a man was reportedly knocked off his chair, with rumbling noises heard for a full minute.
    Seventh, there was a magnitude 5.5 earthquake felt along the Atlantic Coast from southern Maine to central Virginia and westward to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1884, in which some chimneys were knocked down and walls cracked.
    Eighth, in 1925 a magnitude 7.0 earthquake was felt in eastern Canada, with its epicenter in Quebec, Canada, with New York state experiencing some intensity IV effects, and in 1929, Attitica New York experienced some chimneys knocked over and cemetery monuments fell or were twisted. And in 1931, an earthquake in Lake George knocked over chimneys, twisted a church spire, and caused a small landslide on McCarthy Mountain. In 1944, another earthquake knocked over chimneys with wells in St. Lawrence County running dry, and the tremor felt over a large area as far west as Michigan and Ohio.
A map of the seismicity in the New York area. Note that lack of even earthquake tremors in the area around Lake Erie—Olive’s Land of Promise. Also note that most of the activity in New York is north in Canada, or in the east toward the Atlantic 
    Ninth, the largest earthquake in Ohio ever recorded was only magnitude 5.4 in 1937 where a schoolhouse was cracked, chimneys broken or twisted, and the shock felt for several miles. Other quakes were 1884, 1901, 1986 and 2011, all 5.0 or under.
    Tenth, according to the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, Michigan experienced only one earthquakes in its history, 1947, magnitude 4.6; Iowa one quake, 1905; Missouri two quakes, 1812 and 1895, magnitude 7.5 and 6.6; Pennsylvania three quakes, 1984, 1994, and 1998, 5.2, 4.6 and 4.4 magnitude; Tennessee has had two quakes, 1865 and 1928, 5.0 and 4.5 magnitude. By comparison with these Great Lakes and Heartland areas, Utah has had three quakes, of 6.6, 5.6 and 5.6 magnitude in 1934, 1959 and 1992—and California has had an amazing 115 earthquakes recorded during this same period.
A six minute long 9.0 Earthquake that struck off the coast of Tohoku, Japan, 80 miles from the city of Sendai, on 11 March 2011 
    Eleventh, in order to account for the extensive and widespread damage described in 3 Nephi, some seismologists have put the earthquakes Nephi describes as being in the 9.0 range. It might be of interest that such a megathrust earthquake hit Japan (Higashi nihon daishinsai) in 2011, with 15,887 dead, 6,150 injured, 2,612 missing, and 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, 272,788 buildings half collapsed, and another 747,989 partially damaged, with severe damage to roads, railways, collapsed dams, etc.
    Twelfth, such earthquakes occur in subducted zones, at destructive plate boundaries where one of these tectonic convergent plates moves under another tectonic plate and sinks into the mantle as the plates converge. Since 1900, all six earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 or greater have been megathrust earthquakes—no other type of known terrestrial source of tectonic activity has produced earthquakes of this scale.
Thirteenth, the Great Lakes and Heartland land of promise areas falls in about the middle (yellow arrow) of the North American Tectonic Plate, which stretches from the Pacific Coast to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, it would not be possible for a tectonic plate subduction to occur anywhere around these two geographical areas, making megathrust earthquakes (9.0 or greater) impossible for the Olive or Meldrum's areas.
    So we ask again, “Where are the fault lines and mega earthquake activity in the Great Lakes or Heartland areas of the lands of promise of the type that have been estimated at around 9.0 to 11.0 in magnitude that led to a “great quaking of the whole earth” as described by Nephi?” (3 Nephi 8:12).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XVII

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This seventeenth question is directed to all those Theorists who have a model for their Land of Promise and claim it to be scripturally accurate.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    17. “Where is the great temple tower that Noah built, that was tall enough for him to climb up and look out over the land and see the Lamanites in far off lands approaching?” (Mosiah 11:12)
The type of stone construction found at Sacsayhuaman. When the Spanish saw these walls and the tower built out of oddly cut and angled stone set without mortar that even a knife blade could not penetrate, they thought it the work of the Devil
    First, during king Noah’s evil tax (Mosiah 11:3) and build (Mosiah 11:8-11) programs in the City of Nephi, “he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about” (Mosiah 11:12).
    Second, a tower of that height would not have been built out of wood, but something quite sturdy, like stone. It is easy for Theorists to claim that it was wood and, therefore, would not have lasted, but a tower of that height out of wood would have been wobbly and unstable and doubtful a tower men would have been stationed on to watch for Lamanite approaches to the city.
    Third, the purpose of the tower, after all, was to give warning. It would have been constructed as sturdy as they could make it in order to have watchmen upon it day and night in case of a Lamanite attack.
A drawing made from the Spanish chronicler’s description of the city of Cuzco when the Spanish arrived, each building reconstructed on its still-surviving foundations. Note the white arrow in the upper right, showing the round tower on the hill overlooking the city (National Geographic December 1973)
    Fourth, when Gideon was chasing king Noah to slay him, Noah “ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple” suggesting it was some type of refuge and not just a wood structure (Mosiah 19:5).
The view from the Temple atop the hill overlooking Cuzco. From the tower next to the temple, the two distance valleys (yellow arrows) beyond Cuzco could be seen
    Fifth, “and the king cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanites were within the borders of the land” (Mosiah 19:6).
    Sixth, when the Spanish arrived in the city of Cuzco, they saw a huge temple complex built up on a plateau beyond the city, and next to this temple was a round tower built of stone and more than 100-feet tall, and 80 feet in diameter with a thatched roof over the top open floor where a person could stand and look out over the city and valley below.
The tower base at Sacsayhuaman above Cuzco. When the Spanish arrived this was a five story tall tower, which figured prominently in the bloody battle between Inca leaders and the Spanish conquistadores in 1536. Eventually the Spanish tore down the tower, believing it to be the work of the Devil
    Seventh, the tower area was called Muyuqmarka or Muyuq Marka (in the Quechuan language), but sometimes it is written as Muyucmarka and even Moyoc Marca. This is a small Inca ruin consisting of three concentric circular wall ruins that used to be a tower located inside Sacsayhuamán. Though, Muyucmarca is the name of the place, not the tower. Three water channels were constructed, which were probably used for filling a reservoir in the center of the sites.
    Eighth, this tower was built by the temple in the City of Nephi, the latter being the temple Nephi built that was patterned after Solomon’s Temple “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).
    Ninth, also next to the temple was a series of labyrinthal underground caverns cut into the rock interconnected through subterranean channels, an imperial residence, with lavish inner chambers and a series of warriors barracks. The Spanish claimed that in its entirety, the inner fortress could have housed as many as ten thousand people under siege.
    Tenth, this tower next to this temple and inner fortress was been built out of as sturdy rock as were the adjoining buildings.
Eleventh, according to modern thinking, Sacsayhuaman was supposedly built by the Inca and completed around 1508. Depending on who you listen to, it took a crew of 20,000 to 30,000 men working for 60 years. Here is a mystery for the chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega (left) was born around 1530, and raised in the shadow of these walls, and played within the walls as a child. And yet he seems not to have had a clue as to how Sacsayhuaman was built. He wrote: "....this fortress surpasses the constructions known as the seven wonders of the world. For in the case of a long broad wall like that of Babylon, or the colossus of Rhodes, or the pyramids of Egypt, or the other monuments, one can see clearly how they were executed...how, by summoning an immense body of workers and accumulating more and more material day by day and year by year, they overcame all difficulties by employing human effort over a long period. But it is indeed beyond the power of imagination to understand now these Indians, unacquainted with devices, engines, and implements, could have cut, dressed, raised, and lowered great rocks, more like lumps of hills than building stones, and set them so exactly in their places. For this reason, and because the Indians were so familiar with demons, the work is attributed to enchantment." The point being, if Garcilaso did not know who built it, nor any of the Inca he grew up with or the adults he knew, how can it be said that Sacsayhuaman was finished in his lifetime. Obviously, the answer lies in the fact that the structure was far older than that, so old no living Inca had any memory of how it was built or by whom, or of anyone in their memory who knew.
Top: The three zig-zag walls guarding the temple site and fortress at Sacsayhuaman; Bottom Left: Stones cut in rounded fashion to prevent anyone climbing up wall corners; Bottom Right: Note the carved stones that fit without mortar. So perfectly cut and fit, not a knife blade or slip of paper can fit between the joints
    Twelfth, while many of the structures themselves have long been torn down, the walls still remain of these fantastically constructed stones that weighed many tons (some hundreds of tons), with carved corners, needing no mortar, that have withstood at least two thousand years or more of earthquakes and upheavels. In fact, archaeologists tell us that the walls of Sacsayhuaman rose ten feet higher than what we see today, with that additional ten feet of stones torn down by the Spanish and used to build the cathedrals and casas of the conquistadores.
    So we ask again, “Where is the great temple tower that Noah built, that was tall enough for him to climb up and look out over the land and see the Lamanites in far off lands approaching?"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XVI

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This sixteenth question is directed to John L. Sorenson and all other Mesoamericanists who love to tell us about their Isthmus and two seas, but neglect the mention or concern themselves about the north and south seas mentioned in Helaman.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    16. Where are the four seas in your Mesoamerican model that Helaman tells us existed in the Land of Promise?” (Helaman 3:8)
    And the followup questions, 16A. Where is the Sea that Divides the Land, Ether mentioned?” (Ether 10:20).
    First, following a period where there was no contention between the Nephites and Lamanites, there began to be much contention and many dissensions (Helaman 3:3), and during this time “there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land.”
A representative Land of Promise as an island showing Helaman's four seas in the cardinal compass points mentioned in the scriptural record (Helaman 3:8), which are basically opposite one another
    Second, Helaman tells us:And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east“ (Helaman 3:8).
    Third, this description is in conjunction with Helaman describing how scattered throughout the entire Land of Promise Lehi’s children had now become “from the land Southward to the Land Northward.”
    Fourth, to make sure his future reader would understand the enormity of the Nephite accomplishments and their expansion, Helaman adds, “But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work” (Helaman 3:14).
    Fifth, Helaman goes on to talk about the prosperity of the Church and the Nephite nation (Helaman 3:25).
    Sixth, it is only a side note that Helaman left us about the seas, however, it is meant to show that the Nephites had expanded throughout the Land of Promise from “sea to shining sea,” both from north to south and from east to west, and from this we can understand that there were definitely four seas, one at each cardinal point of the compass.
A representative Land of Promise with four seas basically opposite one another in the four cardinal positions, and also showing Ether’s sea that divides the land
    Seventh, in order to satisfy Helaman’s language, these four seas must be basically opposite one another—from the sea north to the sea south, from the sea east to the sea west—and be large enough to warrant them being used as terminous points to the Nephite expansion.
    Eighth, when coupled with Jacob’s statement in 2 Nephi 10:20, that they were on an isle of the sea, these four seas again suggest to us that the Land of Promise was an island; however, that has been pointed out in other posts—here we are involved with the four seas that Helaman tells us basically surrounded the Land of Promise; one in the north, one in the east, one in the south and one in the west.
    Ninth, regarding the "sea that divides the land," Ether tells us that near the narrow neck of land, there was a sea. "And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land" (Ether 10:20).
    Tenth, this sea is not named, suggesting it was not seen as a different directional sea (east, south, north or west), but a locational area, i.e., this sea (or waters) divided the land.
    Eleventh, and since the only division of the Land of Promise ever mentioned in all of the scriptural record is that area between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, and that the Land Southward (land of Nephi and land of Zarahemla) were "nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward" (Alma 22:32), obviously, there was a body of water separating the Land Northward from the Land Southward, and this is that waterway Ether mentions dividing the land. 
    So we ask again, “Where are the four seas in your Mesoamerican model that Helaman tells us existed in the Land of Promise?” (Helaman 3:8), and "Where is the sea that divides the land?"

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XV

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This fifteenth question is directed to all Theorists who claim Lehi landed in their pet model area of the Land of Promise, and that it matches the scriptural record. 
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    15. “Where is the indigenous natural cure for fever found in the natural plants of the Land of Promise in your model as Alma tells us the Lord provided for the Nephites?” (Alma 46:40)
Fever (Malaria) Endemic World Map, showing in dark red those areas where spraying during outbreaks is one of the emergency control measures to curb the spread of malaria
    First, Alma tells us that “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).
    Second, fever that kills people is generally considered to be malaria, a malady brought on by climate and the presence of standing water and Anopheles mosquito-borne parasitic protozoans (Plasmodium).
Third, malaria remains the most significant parasitic disease of humans, with 219 million documented cases annually, claiming over 770,000 deaths each year. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions in a broad band around the equator, including Sub-Sharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
    Fourth, while there are some preventative medications available today for people traveling where malaria exists, during Nephite times, there was only one cure for this fever and that came from the bark of the cinchona tree, which contains quinine. This tree, by the way, is indigenous to, and grew only on the slopes of the Andes mountains, mainly in Peru.
Cinchona pubescens or Quina is a genus of about eight species in the family Rubiacaea, native to the tropical Andes forests of Western South America. The bark of this genus is the source of a variety of alkaloids, the most familiar of which is quinine, an anti-fever agent especially useful in treating malaria, and known as medicinal plants
    Fifth, in the early 1600s, local Quecha Indians in Peru were seen using ground bark from a tree they called Quinquina (“bark of barks”), a term from which the later term quinine derived. Some of the ground bark was sent to Rome by the Jesuits to have tested against malaria. The cure worked so effectively, that the powder became known as Jesuit Powder. Soon Europeans were exporting the seeds and bark from the tree in such huge amounts that it became one of Peru’s most valuable natural exports.
Left: Quecha Indians teaching Jesuits about the Cinchona tree bark who had used the bark (right) to successfully treat shivering and fevers for a very long time
    Sixth, until the Dutch stole some seedlings and planted them in Indonesia in the 19th century, Andean Peru was the sole source of quinine in the world. By 1938, 80% of the world supply came from these Indonesia cinchona farms; and since 1945, when synthetics were developed because Japan controlled almost all the quinine in the South Pacific during World War II, cinchona trees have become less important.
    Seventh, however, during Nephite times and for centuries later, the cinchona tree and its bark existed only in the Andean area of Peru where it was well known to cure fever among other maladies by the local Indians.
    So we ask again, “Where is the indigenous natural cure for fever found in the natural plants of the Land of Promise in your model as Alma tells us the Lord provided for the Nephites?"

Friday, July 25, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XIV

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This Fourteenth question is directed to all Theorists who claim Lehi landed in their pet model area of the Land of Promise, and that it matches the scriptural record.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    14. “Where are the two unknown grains that were planted in the City of Nephi area by Zeniff that are mentioned along with corn, wheat and barley?”
LtoR: Corn, Wheat, and Barley
    First, Zeniff makes it quite clear what they planted, “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land” (Mosiah 9:9).
    Second, it might be assumed that when Zeniff led “as many as were desirous to go up to possess the land,” he took with him not only people, but all the supplies that would be needed, including seeds from Zarahemla.
    Third, these seeds grew abundantly, not just the first year, but even twelve years later, and were a source of the Lamanites to steal their crops and “glut themselves with the labors” of the Nephites (Mosiah 9:11-12).
Fourth, the seeds Zeniff and his people brought from Zarahemla included two unknown grains called Sheum and Neas—nor did Joseph Smith have any knowledge of these two grains and was unable to label them with any known names, thus used the names from the Nephite record.
    Fifth, they must have been important crops since they were mentioned, both by Zeniff, and later by Mormon in his abridgement, and were likely well-known to the Nephites of the time as well as to Mormon some 600 years later. Thus, it might be understood that these two grains were as much stables to the Nephite diet as were corn, wheat and barley.
    Sixth, based on all of this, it also might be assumed that these two grains had some special or unique properties about them, such as being a healthy food staple, sturdy growth, high nutritional value, or easily stored, etc.
    Seventh, these two grains must be located, now or during Book of Mormon times, in the Western Hemisphere, and be able to be grown in locations where corn, wheat and barley can be grown abundantly.
    Eighth, from today’s perspective and knowledge, there are two very important grains indigenous to the Western Hemisphere that had a long history of several thousand years and have re-emerged in the past two hundred years to become “the current darling of the health food scene,” called quinoa (referred to as the mother of all grains) and the other is kiwicha (referred to as the King’s grain), both indigenous to the high plains of the Andes, and grown since at least 2000 B.C. in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile, and is referred to today as “The Miracle Grain of the Andes,” and Global development experts call it a “superfood “one of our most important weapons in the fight to end world hunger.” In fact, dieticians are calling these grains the “super superfoods,” and said to be better for you than wheat, rice and barley.
A Quinoa field in western Bolivia; Peru, Ecuador and Chile have also seen an explosion in world popularity of quinoa in the past six years, which has quadrupled prices at retail outlets
    Ninth, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) and kiwicha (pronounced kee-wee-cha), have been grown in the Andes for 4,000 years, clear up to and including the Inca Empire period, and almost as widely used throughout the Americas as corn. After the Conquest, however, it fell into disuse and only recently has it been reintroduced outside the Andean area where the high plains natives lived on it for centuries.
Top: Colorful Quinoa fields; Bottom: the Kiwicha plants. Both provide edible seeds of superior nutrition
    Tenth, in all the Western Hemisphere, there are not two other grains of any import, that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith in 1830 that would fit the value of these two grains planted by Zeniff along with his corn, wheat and barley, deserving attention and repetition by Mormon. These two grains are found in Andean South America, have grown since Jaredite times, and continually down until the time of the Conquest, and have been revitalized in the past two hundred years to become two of the most important grain crops in the world.
    So we ask the question again, “Where in Mesoamerica, the Heartland, Great Lakes, Baja California, or other model, are the two unknown grains that were planted in the City of Nephi area by Zeniff that are mentioned along with corn, wheat and barley?"

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XIII

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This Thirteenth question is directed mostly to John L. Sorenson, but also to all Mesoamericanists who claim Lehi landed along the Pacific Coast of Guatemala in Mesoamerica.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    13. “What makes you think the seeds from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24), a Mediterranean Climate, would have grown at all in 600 B.C. in Mesoamerica, along the coastal area in the vicinity of 14º north latitude, Guatemala, which is a hot and humid tropical climate?”
    First, Nephi makes it clear that upon landing, the first thing they did was pitch their tents, then plant their seeds they brought from Jerusalem, which produced an exceeding and abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24).
    Second, on page 138 of Sorenson’s book, An Ancient America Setting for the Book of Mormon, he writes: “Lehi and his party launched their vessel into the Indian Ocean from the south coast of the Arabian peninsula. The same winds no doubt bore them on the same sea lanes that Arab, Chinese and Portuguese ships used later, touching India and ultimately the Malayan peninsula. From that point Nephi’s ship likely threaded through the islands of the western Pacific, then across the open reaches north of the equator to landfall around 14 degrees north latitude.”
    Third, 14º north latitude is along an area of coast between the mouth of the Rio Nahualate at the town of Nueva Venecia where highway 5 ends, and the town of El Semillero Barra Nahualate, which is where highway 27 ends along the coast (the rest of his comment is also questionable and will be dealt with at a later time.)
Mouth of the Rio Nahualate, not far from Lehi’s proposed landing site. This is a hot and humid tropical climate zone where temperatures only fluctuate between 86ºF and 88ºF all year long, and certainly not conducive to planting a crop of Mediterranean Seeds that produced an exceeding and abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24)
    Fourth, this area is a tropical climate zone, including tropical storms, humidity and rain. These Guatemala lowlands have daytime temperatures reaching 100° F and nights rarely dropping below 70° F, with temperature fairly uniform throughout the year. The two seasons, are the dry season (summer—November through April) and the wet season (winter—mid-May to October or November), with the coolest months (only time to visit) in December and January.
    Fifth, according to the worldwide Permanent Agriculture Research Institute, Mediterranean Climates are found in specific areas around the world: “western Australia, western South Africa, the ring of countries around the Mediterranean Sea (Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, etc), coastal Chile, and central California. (Notice they all have the ocean on their west, which keeps their winters mild.) “Mediterranean” means that during a large part of the year there is little or no rain, and since this arid condition is among those that can really benefit from permaculture practices, it is conducive to the benefits of winter gardening.
World climate zones with only five such Mediterranean climates in the entire world outside the Mediterranean Sea area; only two are in the Western Hemisphere—one in Chile (30º S. Latitude) and the other in Central California
    Sixth, climate, from the ancient Greek klima, meaning “inclination,” is commonly defined as the weather averaged over a long period and takes into consideration air mass, precipitation, and temperature. In planting, climate is one of the more important factors to be considered, and before all the modern technology of chemical, managing and harvesting, anciently seeds grew in the climate from which they had been grown, i.e., tropical seeds grew in tropical climates, desert seeds grew in desert climates, subarctic seeds grew in subarctic climates, humid subtropical seeds grew in humid subtropical climates, highland seeds grew in highland climates, and Mediterranean seeds grew in Mediterranean climates—there are three climate zones: tropical, temperate, and polar; with five climate types (tropical, moderate, continental, polar, dry, and a unnamed sixth, which is where highland climate plants survive). In addition, these five types are broken down into 12 specific climates on the earth, and there are numerous sub-climate conditions for planting (as an example, a Dry Climate can be sub-divided into “dry arid,” and “dry sem-aird.”)
Every seed packet sold has a set of instructions as to where, when, and how to plant, including pictures of local or nation-wide planting zones so you can find the area best suited for the seeds grown inside the packet
    Seventh, even today, seeds for flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc., are sold to be planted in specific climates. While today, with advanced technology and knowledge, it might be possible to grow a seed from one climate to another, in 600 B.C., that would not have been possible. The Pilgrims found in the 17th century that their seeds from Holland and England would not grow in Plymouth, New England, and they would have perished as a colony except for the help of local Indians who fed them and then helped them learn how to plant in the local soils seeds that would grow there.
    Eighth, the area at 30º South Latitude, where Lehi landed, is the only Mediterranean Climate in the Western/Southern Hemisphere, the only other one in the Western Hemisphere is in Central California in the Northern Hemisphere. These Mediterranean climates are classified under the Köeppen climate classification system as “Cs”—the “C” stands for warm temperature climates, where the average temperature of the coldest months is 64° F. The “s” stands for a dry season in the summer.  In the winter the Mediterranean climate, is mild and moist.  During the summer it is very hot and dry. The annual temperature range is between 30° and 100° F.
    Ninth, coastal Guatemala has a tropical rainforest type climate that is hot and wet all year, with temperatures remaining in the high 80s, while Mediterranean Climates are characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.
Planting maize (corn) within velvetbean mulching in the lowlands of Guatemala. Once the velvetbeans reach 8-feet in height, the Kekchi slash the growth with machetes and chop it up into fine mulch through which the maize grows
    Tenth, wheat, barley and other European-type grains do not grow well in Guatemala—their principal crops are coffee, sugar, bananas, and cotton, followed by hemp, essential oils, and cacao. By comparison, Guatemala produced 15,459,000 tons of sugarcane compared to 1,109,000 tons of corn. But even corn, the largest produced grain in Guatemala, reaches only about 30 bushels per acre, while by comparison, corn in the United States averages 123 bushels per acre. Though Guatemala is the fastest growing market for wheat in the region (importing 424,000 tons annually), Guatemala produces only about 5,000 tons of wheat annually, and is the only wheat producer of any kind in all of Central America region.
    Eleventh, according to the Food Security Outlook updates, Guatemala is considered a grain reserve deficient country, with grain reserves almost constantly depleted and food security conditions over much of the country considered either “stressed” or in “crisis” state. Nor is it believed that current harvests will cover the food consumption deficits of households, and food reserves dangerously low.
    Twelfth, while Sorenson claims (pg 139) that “the experience of pioneers suggests that first success for an imported crop does not necessarily mean continued vigor for it,” in order to claim that “flourishing plants don’t always yield good seed in turn,” to make room for the loss of wheat and barley in his Mesoamerica Land of Promise (where it does not particularly grow), he then finally states,” what happened later to those plants from the seeds the Lehi party carried across the ocean is not stated,” in order to lay claim that “by 130 B.C. “corn” (this is maize)—a native plant of America—had become the leading crop in the land of Nephi.” It is interesting that Nephi tells us exactly what happened to those Jerusalem seeds, and the seeds produced by their first planting when he writes after separating from his brothers and founding the city and land of Nephi: “and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance” (2 Nephi 5:11). Evidentl Sorenson missed that scripture.
Coastal Guatemala near the 14º North Latitude where Sorenson claims Lehi would have landed
    Thirteenth, it is obvious, even from Sorenson’s own writing, and all reports of Guatemala agriculture now and anciently, that wheat and barley would not grow in Guatemala to any degree, certainly not as Nephi tell us it did in his Land of Promise.
    Fourteenth, even after four hundred years, wheat and barley were growing exceedingly in the Land of Promise, as was a new crop, corn, and two other grains unknown in 1830 to Joseph Smith, called neas and sheum (Mosiah 9:9).
    So we ask again, “What makes you think the seeds from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24), a Mediterranean Climate, would have grown at all in 600 B.C. in Mesoamerica, along the coastal area in the vicinity of 14º north latitude, Guatemala, which is a hot and humid tropical climate?"

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XII

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
    This Twelfth question is directed to John L. Sorenson, and every other Mesoamerican Theorist who claims ttheir model is the location for the Land of Promise that matches the scriptural record.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    12. “Where are the two animals in Mesoamerica the Jaredites brought to, or domesticated from, those animals they brought to the Land of Promise? (Ether 9:19).
Two unknown animals linked with these more common beasts of burden, the horse, ass, and elephant
    First, these two animals were so different from anything Joseph Smith, a farmer, knew or understood and for which he had no name other than those used by the ancients, that he could not come up with a representative name, so he simply used the Jaredite name for them.”
    Second, Moroni, in translating Ether’s writings, names several animals, including horses, asses, elephants, and the unknown cureloms and cumoms, which it is said were useful to man, “and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms. This suggests that these two unknown animals were very useful to the Jaredites in their daily living.
    Third, since the elephant is a beast of burden, it is likely these two animals would also have been, especially in light that the other two  beasts of burden, the horse and ass, are also mentioned in the same sentence.
Fourth, an elephant provides carrying power, such as a pack animal, can be ridden, its hide is thick and durable and is used for various clothing and materials, and its meat eaten. Thus, these two unknown animals should also have a wide range of uses, both living and harvested, such as food, clothing, etc.
    Fifth, since we are talking about animals dating back a few thousand years, they should have some recognizable wild and domesticated history, as well as be or descended from some type of animal(s) that existed 1) on the Ark, and 2) date to Mesopotamia from which the Jaredites originated.
    Sixth, these animals should be connected to a Scientific classification recognizable within the beast of burden classes, such as horse (Equidae), cattle (Bovidae), elephant (Elephantidae), camel (Camelidae), etc.
    Seventh, these animals should be well known for their value to man and how ancient civilizations, as well as present, use them for a major part of their rural needs.
    Eighth, these animals would have been unknown in the U.S. in 1830 (Joseph Smith’s time), specifically in the northeast where Joseph Smith lived, despite his being raised on a farm.
    Ninth, by today’s classification, these two animals should be considered indigenous to the Western Hemisphere.
    Tenth, contrary to John L. Sorenson’s claim that the Jaredite elephants became extinct in their day, and that the cumom and curelom were also extinct before Moroni’s day is not founded on any comment in the scriptural record—merely an excuse for his not knowing any current animal in Mesoamerica to match these descriptions, especially in the case of the cumom and curelom, for no such unknown animal can be found anciently in Mesoamerica.
    Eleventh, however, in Andean Peru (including Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador), there are two animals that match Ether’s description that date back thousands of years to Jaredite times and have always existed in that area—the wild vicuna and guanaco, from which the llama and alpaca have been domesticated. These are camelids, part of the Family Camelidae, as are all camels, and may well have been developed from the camels known to the Jaredites anciently.
The Llamas are used as pack animals, can be ridden, are docile, and easy to handle
    Twelfth, these Andean camelids are extremely useful to the peoples of the Andes, both anciently and today, providing meat, wool for clothing, can be ridden, used as pack animals, pets, guard “dogs”, easy to handle, and eat only about 5-10% of the amount of horses, can go long periods without water, and travel long distances. While the llama is mostly a beast of burden, the alpaca is groomed for its excellent wool coats which are superior to sheep’s wool, with each animal producing more than a sheep.
The Alpacas are bred for their coats of wool as well as their meat.  There are various types of coats, thickness of wool, and color, and can be used for clothing, blankets, coats, shoes, and numerous other items
    Thirteenth, Llamas are members of the camelid, or camel, family, and were first domesticated about 4,000 years ago in the Andean highlands. They are hardy and well-suited to harsh environments, are smart and easy to train. A Llama will weigh between 280 to 450 pounds and can carry about a quarter of their body weight, so a 400-pound male llama can carry about 100 pounds on a trek of 10 to 12 miles with no problem. They live about 20 years, are vegetarians and have efficient digestive systems. They are social animals and prefer herds. They do not bite, but will spit when agitated. The current population of llamas and alpacas in South America is estimated to be more than 7 million, and there are about 158,000 llamas and 100,000 alpacas in the U.S. and Canada today.
    Fourteenth, the llama and alpaca, though known since the late 1800s internationally, basically continued their obscure existence until the latter part of the 20th century, especially in the U.S. where a few llamas were not introduced until after 1930, but in any numbers not until the 1970s. By 1980, the demand outstripped supply and there was a two-year waiting period to obtain any llama import. The first llama to arrive in New York was on the Dakota Ridge Farm in 1990.
    So we ask again, “Where are the two animals in Mesoamerica the Jaredites brought to, or domesticated from, those animals they brought to the Land of Promise? (Ether 9:19).