Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part XI

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 Eleventh question is directed to Rod L. Meldrum, who not only champions the Heartland Theory, but excludes all other land from being the Land of Promise that is outside the United States.
    The question to ask is quite simple and strictly scripturally based:
    11. “What makes you think the Land of Promise is only the United States when Nephi records that he saw ‘a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land’?” (1 Nephi 13:12)
Christopher Columbus set sail on his first voyage, which ended with his discovery of the Bahamas (present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic), where he met the Arawaks, Tainos and Lucayans indigenous natives of the islands
    First, the seed of my brethren means the Lamanites. The many waters are those oceans separating Europe from the Western Hemisphere. And most importantly, the man went “even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.”
    Second, given the universal accepted understanding that Columbus was “that man,” we have to accept the fact that he visited Lamanites, i.e., descendants of Lehi, who were at the time of Columbus (1100 years after the last of the Nephites) were scattered over a much larger area than contained in the scriptural record but still considered “the land of promise”! If one does not accept this, then one is limited to areas for their Land of Promise to those areas where Columbus landed, i.e., Caribbean Islands, Bahamas Islands, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and South America.
    Third, Columbus, of course, never set foot on what is now the United States (or Mexico or Mesoamerica). His first voyage was to the Bahamas (Haiti and Dominican Republic), and the north shore of Cuba, his second voyage was to the Lesser Antilles, Montserrat, Antigua, Saint Martin, Saint Croix; he saw but did not land on the Virgin Islands, and sailed to the Greater Antilles landing on Puerto Rico.
The only landing Columbus made on what is now considered a continent was that in Venezuela, South America. Here are shown Columbus’ four voyages
    Fourth, on the third voyage, Columbus sailed to Trinidad and then to the Gulf of Paria and the mainland of Venezuela in South America, explored the mainland, including the Orinoco River, then to Tobago and Grenada, describing these lands as belonging to a previously unknown new continent. 
Sixth, his fourth and last voyage was to Santo Domingo, Jamaica, then to Central America, arriving at Guanaja in the Bay islands off the coast of Honduras, then landed at Puerto Castilla near Trujillo, Honduras, exploring the coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica before sailing to Panama.
    Seventh, while the United States (and all of the Western Hemisphere) is part of the Land of Promise, which extended far beyond the small area of land the Jaredites, Nephites and Lamanites controlled as written in the Book of Mormon period, i.e., about 2100 B.C. through 421 A.D., it was not the location of the Nephite Nation.
Eighth, those thousands of emigrants who went north “to a land which was northward” in Hagoth's ships landed to the north of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, i.e., Central American, Mesoamerica, etc., and eventually traveled into what is now northern Mexico and finally the United States.
    Ninth, the specific parts of the land that Meldrum loves to point out—the area of the New Jerusalem, will be in what is now North America, in the state of Missouri, which has significance to the Lord since it was the area of the original Garden of Eden.
Tenth, when Moroni told Joseph Smith that the ancient record was about a people who lived “on this continent” anciently, he was referring to the continent of America (North, South and Central America) which was known not only in Joseph’s time as one continent, but all the way up to the Second World War period.
    So the question again is: ““What makes you think the Land of Promise is only the United States when Nephi records that he saw ‘a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land’?” (1 Nephi 13:12)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part X

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 tenth question is directed to Joseph Warren Grammer and his Great Lakes Model for the Land of Promise found on his Book of Mormon Evidences website, showing his fourteen chapters regarding Lehi’s Land of Promise location. An entire 14 chapters written on a model that, using his descriptions, the location simply would not have been possible for Lehi to reach in 600 B.C.
Grammer uses two maps to show how easily he believes it would have been for Lehi to sail from Arabia to the St. Lawrence River and up it to Lake Erie—which shows one of the serious problems when people start looking at maps and not following the scriptural account described by Nephi of his voyage—A small amount of research would show that the St. Lawrence River was not navigable by ship until the 19the century when channels were dug around the Lachine Rapids
    The question to ask is quite simple, given the circumstances of the St. Lawrence River prior to 1850.
    10. “How did Lehi sail up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario when the St. Lawrence has always been a shallow series of rapids around the island of Montreal that required a 10 mile portage around the area, and unpassable by boat or ship of any kind until a channel (Canal de Lachine) was dug around Montreal in the 19th century?”
The Lachine Rapids were impassable anciently as they are today. Brave souls in jet-powered boats conduct tours of the rapids today, and others in kayaks, canoes, and special rubberized boats brave the rapids, but no ship of any kind has ever made it through them
    First, as early as 1689, attempts were made by the French Colonial government and several other groups to build a canal that would allow ships to bypass the treacherous Lachine Rapids. After more than 130 years of failure, a consortium that included young Scottish immigrant John Redpath was successful. Work on the canal began on July 17, 1821, that extended over 9 miles, had seven locks, each 100 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 5 feet deep. Its inaugural sailing was in 1824 and opened to traffic in 1825. In 1840, the canal was deepened to allow heavier ships to pass through and hydraulic power was introduced to the industries located on its banks.
    Second, through the enlargement of the canal in 1850, its use changed from solely a means of avoiding the Lachine rapids to that of an industrial region within Montreal and made the city a major port and industry.
Top: this 1700 map of Montreal, the Island of Montreal is surrounded by lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and impassable rapids; Bottom: The Lachine canal in 1920, passing through the southwestern part of the Island of Montreal, running from the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis, through the boroughs of Lachine, Lasalle and Sud-Quest. On this land before the canel was a lake named Lac St Pierre. The canal allowed shipping for the first time all the way from the Atlantic to Lake Ontario
Top View of the Lachine canal (painting) 25 years after completion in 1850; Bottom: View of the canal at its height in 1956
    In 1959, the Lachine Canal was replaced by the St. Lawrence Seaway, which was constructed to facilitate large quantities of ships.
    Of course, a follow-up question would have to be:
    10a. “And just how did Lehi get his ship up the Niagara River, over the Falls, and into Lake Erie which they claim was the West Sea where Mormon tells us Lehi’s ship landed?”
    Third, any sailing between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie would involve a ship climbing 326 feet in elevation and negotiating the Horsehoe Falls, and fighting a strong counter current of three feet per second river flow.
The Niagara River flows from Lake Erie, down the Niagara Falls and into Lake Ontario, a drop of 326 feet. The Red Arrow points to the Niagara Falls, an immediate change in elevation of about 180 feet. Further north, or toward the top lies Lake Erie
    Fourth, since it was impossible for any ship to sail from Lake Ontario into Lake Erie, the Welland Canal was dug in the early 19th century—a twenty-seven mile long canal with eight locks, allowing a ship to not only rise the 326 feet elevation to Lake Erie, but also to bypass the numerous Falls and Rapids all along the Niagara River.
In Order to get ships from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie today, the 27-mile long Welland Canal was dug in 1824-1830, (red arrow, top map) with 8 locks, and extended in 1833, and restored in 1932, from Port Weller in Lake Ontario to Port Colborne in Lake Erie
    So, the question is “How did Lehi sail up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario when the St. Lawrence has always been a shallow series of rapids around the island of Montreal that required a 10 mile portage around the area, and unpassable by ship of any kind until a channel (Canal de Lachine) was dug around Montreal in the 19th century?” and the follow-up question “And just how did Lehi get his ship up the Niagara River, over the Falls, and into Lake Erie which they claim was the West Sea where Mormon tells us Lehi’s ship landed?"

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part IX

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 ninth question is directed at Joe V. Anderson, a Mesoamerican advocate for the Land of Promise, in his writing on the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum website, entitled “Columbus in the Promised Land,” in which he makes the claim that his eight “mandatory criteria for location Book of Mormon lands” must exist, and concludes that “Any proposed Book of Mormon geography that does not meet all of the above criteria cannot be the land of the Book of Mormon.”
    So the question to be asked is:
    9. “What makes you think that the written language now called the Maya glyphs, which is found in Guatemala, etc., has anything to do with either of the written languages used by the Nephites, i.e., Hebrew or Reformed Eqyptian?”
    First, we have sufficient copies of both the Reformed Egyptian translated by Joseph Smith and also knowledge of ancient Hebrew to show that the Maya language is neither related, resembles, or could possibly have descended from either. 
Top: Reformed Egyptian, as written by Joseph Smith, given to Martin Harris who was instructed “to take them to some of the most learned men of this generation and ask them for the translation thereof”; Center: A portion of the Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Caves; Bottom: Maya Glyphs. It simply is not rationale to say that the latter glyphs grew out of either Reformed Egyptian or Hebrew, thus rendering the Maya written language inconsequential to a discussion about the Book of Mormon
    Second, the Lord, in his wisdom and foreknowledge, told Mormon, “having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni” (Mormon 6:6, emphasis mine). Understanding this, Moroni also buried his record (Mormon 8:4). Obviously, any written record found would have been destroyed by the conquering Lamanites who hated all things Nephite (Moroni 1:2).
    Third, wickedness prevailed in the last days in the Land of Promise (Mormon 1:13), there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land (Mormon 1:19), where the Lamanites sacrificed Nephite women and children to their dumb idols (Mormon 4:14-15, 21), and not only were the Lamanites at war with the Nephites for almost the entire 4th century A.D., but after annihilating the Nephites, “the Lamanites were at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8).
    Fourth, these wars between the Lamanites continued through the entire period of Moroni’s writings, some 40 years at least, “with no end in sight.” This means that the Lamanites were embroiled in a lengthy war that lasted more than one hundred years, from 327 A.D. through to 421 A.D., and evidently increasing in fierceness (Moroni 1:2) far beyond that point. It is hard to imagine that 1) anything Nephite would have survived, and 2) the Lamanites would have had any interest, let alone time, to be involved in the finer cultures of life, such as writing, keeping records, drawing pictures, glyphs, etc.
Once again, do you see any semblance of any kind between (left) Reformed Egyptian, or (center) Ancient Hebrew, with (right) Maya glyphs?
It should also be kept in mind that each of these languages are read in a different direction. Reformed Egyptian from left to right, Ancient Hebrew from right to left, and Maya Glyphs read two columns at a time, top to  bottom. It is hard to see how the latter language could have evolved from either of the first two
    Fifth, in all reality, there is no way of knowing, outside the Book of Mormon itself, whether or not ancient Western Hemisphere societies actually had written languages. No hard evidence is available (surviving books, writings, etc.,) that can accurately be dated to the Nephrite period (other than some glyphs carved in stone and their dating is often in question).
The oldest discovered glyphs so far in Guatemala, a line of ten very crude glyphs on a wall, date to a building constructed in 100 B.C., though the writing is claimed to be about 200 B.C., and consists of abstract shapes with their meaning obscure. It is also claimed that earlier writing dates to about 400 to 300 B.C. in Oaxaca—all inscriptions on murals in buildings.
However, the earliest possible codex (book) would have been developed no earlier than about 600 A.D., some 200 years after the Nephites were destroyed, since according to Burns (2004) it is understood that the Maya developed their huun-paper (from their bark-cloth tunics) around the 5th century A.D. However, according to Thomas Tobin, “researchers today must rely on what are often no better than educated guesses in order to reconstruct the practices of the ancient Maya scribes.” In fact, the Dresden Codex, one of only four surviving Mayan codices is believed to have been written just before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, and is believed to be a copy of the original, written 300 to 400 years earlier, and believed to be the oldest book written in the Americas—making it written about 800 to 850 A.D. according to Anthony F. Anzovin, Empires of Time (2000). This, of course, is 450 years after the last Nephite, and some 10 generations after the last Lamanites of the Book of Mormon period.
    It might also be of interest to know that the ten main Aztec Codices were all written in the mid 16th century or later, making them post date the Spanish arrival. The most famous, that of Ixlilxochitl, was written in the early 17th century, nearly 100 years after the Conquest.
    So the question is asked again: “What makes you think that the written language now called the Maya glyphs, which is found in Guatemala, etc., has anything to do with either of the written languages used by the Nephites, i.e., Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian?"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part VIII

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 eighth question is directed at numerous Theorists who have placed their Land of Promise models in Mesoamerica, Great Lakes, Heartland, Baja California, et al.
    8. “Where is the island in your model that Jacob claims they were upon in the Land of Promise?” (2 Nephi 10:20)
    And the follow up question, 8b. "Where is the "Sea that Divides the Land" as mentioned in Ether 10:20?" 
    First, not long after establishing the City of Nephi and Jacob being consecrated a priest and teacher (2 Nephi 5:26; 6:2), Jacob’s words are recorded by Nephi, which make it very clear that the Land of Promise, in which they lived, was situated on an island (2 Nephi 10:20).
A representative island, as Jacob describes, with a Land Southward and Land Northward Mormon describes, and with the four seas Helaman describes
    Second, this island, including the Land Southward and the Land Northward, was surrounded by seas (Helaman 3:8).
    Thirdly, there is little chance that either Nephi or Jacob had much opportunity to travel around their new home to determine it was an island first hand—most likely, the Spirit told this to Jacob since he had thus been told by the Spirit that those Jews left in Jerusalem had been carried away captive (2 Nephi 6:8), and also an angel spoke to Jacob telling him Christ’s name (2 Nephi 10:3).
    Fourth, at this time, Nephi assigns his brother, Jacob, to speak to the people (2 Nephi 6:4) using Isaiah as a text, in which Jacob preaches about Israel being gathered in (2 Nephi 10:7), mentioning from the isles of the sea (2 Nephi 10:8). At this point, Jacob reminds the Nephites that they are upon an isle of the sea (2 Nephi 10:20), as are others on isles of the sea (2 Nephi 10:21).
“For the Lord has made the sea our path and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20)
    Fifth, an island, by its very nature, is a piece of land embossed in the ocean, surrounded by water. It is not a peninsula, nor an isthmus, but an island.
    Sixth, according to Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the word “island” in Joseph Smith's day was not used in writing, since it was a combination of two phrases, and not a word at the time. The word “isle” was used since that was the correct word for “island” during the time Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon.
    Seventh, Mormon describes the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, referring to the entire Land Southward, as nearly surrounded by water except for the small neck of land that led into the Land Northward (Alma 22:32).
    Eighth, nor can we use Sorenson's argument that the ancient Hebrew used the word "isle" to mean something other than an island, for whatever the word, symbol or glyph in Reformed Egyptian that was used to write what Joseph Smith translated as "isle," the translation took place under the direction of the Spirit and the word "isle" was used by Joseph, which in his day, meant an "island." Thus, Joseph interpreted the word to mean "island," the Spirit acknowledged the correct meaning of "island," and "isle," or "island" is what the scriptural record reads.
    So we ask again, “Where is the island in your model that Jacob claims they were upon in the Land of Promise?"
   As for the "sea that divides the land," it is the seaway between the Land Southward and the Land Northward at the narrow neck of land, just as Ether suggests in his comment in Ether 10:20.
In this island example, the area of water between the Land Northward and the Land Southward is the "sea that divides the land." In the Andean Peru area, this sea is the Bay of Guayaquil, which divides Ecuador from Peru and creates an inlet of the sea and divides the north land from the south land except for a narrow strip of land to the east--during Nephite times, this bordered on the Sea East, today the tall Andean Mountains, still creating a narrow corridor between the lands

Friday, July 18, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part VII

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 seventh question is also directed to Rod L. Meldrum, who has written extensively about his Heartland Land of Promise to the exclusion of all the rest of the Western Hemisphere outside the boundaries of the United States. And also to Phyliss Carol Olive, another champion of the Great Lakes Theory. The question has to do with their location of the Land of Promise, and the simple, but oft described feature of Lehi’s inherited land and that is the River Sidon. 
    7. “Since the Sidon River, mentioned 37 times in the scriptural record, is described as having its headwaters in the mountains between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:27) and that this river ran by Zarahemla (Alma 2:15), (which would be north of this wilderness strip, where exactly is this only river mentioned in the entire Book of Mormon located in your heartland model since almost all rivers east of the Great Lakes flow eastward, and those south of the Great Lakes flow southward and the Sidon River, according to Mormon, flows from the south to the north?” 
    First, the River Sidon is the only river mentioned by name in the entire scriptural record, and is mentioned as having a current strong enough to carry thousands of dead bodies its entire length to the sea (Alma 3:3). The only other rivers are those associated with the Land of Many Waters (Mormon 6:4) in the far north country of the Land Northward.
According to the Buffalo River Area of Concern (AOC) Boundary Map, the Buffalo River flows from the east to the west into Lake Erie—not south to north 
    Second, Buffalo Creek, which Phyllis Carol Olive claimed was the River Sidon, for much of its length is what is called a wadeable stream, that is small, shallow stream or creek that is part of the EPA Wadeable Streem Assessment, which claims that 90% of perennial stream and river miles in the US are wadeable streams. Hardly a type of river that would float dead bodies to the sea.
    Third, for most of its length, the Buffalo Creek runs westward and empties into Lake Erie and is described by the Department of the Interior as a creek that “flows out of the east.” In addition it is not listed in the compilation of eastern rivers that flow northward.
Buffalo Creek (River) is not even mentioned in the list of northward flowing rivers, and as can be seen is basically a shallow, wadeable stream 
Buffalo Creek at Bullis Road in New York. As listed, this is a wadeable stream, not a river, and can be seen as both shallow and little movement
Buffalo Creek, which freezes over during the winter is mostly a wadeable stream with little depth and certainly not capable of floating thousands of bodies down to the sea
Buffalo Creek near Porterville at Two Rod Road—no bodies could float along this creek. It’s bed is solid rock precluding it would have been deeper in the past.kk According to Great Lakes Theorists’, the distance from the river’s head is 12 miles to Zarahemla, and 20 miles beyond that to the West Sea, for a total of 30 miles; however, the actual distance from Porterville to where the creek empites into Lake Erie is 25 miles, and closer to 30 because of the winding river—and the entire distance is almost due west. Thus Buffalo Creek could not possibly pass Zarahemla running northward as Mormon describes 
    Fourth, the Buffalo River Area of Concern (AOC) is located in the City of Buffalo in Western New York State. The river flows from the east and discharges into Lake Erie near the head of the Niagara River in the West. The Buffalo River Area of Concern “impact area” extends from the mouth of the Buffalo River to the farthest point upstream at which the backwater condition exists during Lake Erie’s highest monthly average lake level. The impact area is 6.2 miles in length along an east-west line.
    Fifth, there are three major streams in the watershed that create the AOC “source area”: Cayuga Creek, Buffalo Creek and Cazenovia Creek. The total drainage area for the Buffalo River watershed is approximately 440 square miles. The Buffalo Creek itself has headwaters to the east and flows to the west.
    Sixth, at Gardenville, New York, the NOAA and NDFD shows a depth chart of 0.82 feet for Buffalo Creek (8/10ths of a foot) in its westward flow to Lake Erie 8 miles away as the crow flies, about 12 miles by river. From about two miles east of Elma, through West Seneca and into Buffalo, the Creek flows 16 miles due west to where it empties into Lake Erie.
Top: Cazenovia Creek, a very shallow creek flowing toward Buffalo Creek; Bottom: Cayuga Creek, a shallow creek (less than 1 foot deep) that runs parallel with Buffalo Creek and merges about 4 miles from Lake Erie 
    Seventh, four miles from Lake Erie (7 miles by river), the Cazenovia Creek flows into the Buffalo Creek. Prior to that, the Cazenovia flows along a parallel course with the Buffalo Creek for several miles.
    Eighth, the Cayuga Creek flows into the Buffalo Creek about three miles to the east of the Cazenovia Creek merging. All three of these creeks flow in a more or less parallel course, and each is about the same size.
Ninth, it is interesting that nowhere in scripture is another river or water source mentioned flowing near, parallel, into or across the Sidon River. In fact, in this area where Buffalo Creek runs westward for several miles toward Lake Erie, there are seven other major creeks of similar size, length and direction, all within a few miles of another running more or less parallel courses—and not a one of these qualifies as a River running south to north. 
    Tenth, in fact, of the 19 rivers in the U.S. that flow south to north, only five are located close enough to the Great Lakes to be considered, and two of those flow for less than 20 miles, and one flows 39 miles, which leaves only two: 1) the Genesee River, which begins in the Allegheny Plateau, dropping an average of 40 feet per mile with three waterfalls at Rochester, New York, on its 144 mile length to empty into Lake Ontario. The problem with this river is it is too far to the east for the Heartland or the Great Lakes models, and would not have passed through the Land Southward (in fact, some Theorists claim this was the Sea East).
The Genesee River flows northward and empties into lake Ontario, far to the east of the Great Lakes Theorists’ Land Southward and the areas of Zarahemla 
    It might also be noted that this river is too far to the east of the Great Lakes Theorists’ Land of Promise, and they refer to it as the Sea East.
Top: Upper Falls on the Genesee River; Bottom: Middle Falls of the Genesee River, which form nearly a back-to-back series of waterfalls with the Upper Falls 
Top: Lower Falls of the Genesee River—note the shallow depth where these fishermen are located; Bottom: Last falls before the Genesee River reaches Lake Ontario 
    The only other River than runs northward is the Monogahela River in central Virginia, far to the south of the Great Lakes Land of Promise.
    So the question is asked again: “Where is the Sidon River in the Great Lakes Land of Promise? Obviously, none of the possible streams/creeks/rivers, as shown above, qualify for that erstwhile river mentioned 37 times in the scriptural record."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part VI

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 sixth question is also directed to John L. Sorenson, and all those Mesoamerican Theorists who claim the Land of Promise was located in Mesoamerica:
    6. “With Moronihah’s army along the western borders and Lehi’s army along the eastern borders, where they thought the Lamanites would attack, how did both Nephite armies get over the Sierra Madres mountains in time to head Coroantumr’s Lamanite army heading for Bountiful up the center parts of the land?”
The Mesoamericanists’ Land of Promise has the Sierra Madre Mountains knifing through the entire length. To the right above is the Land Southward, with these mountains making movement north and south across the width most difficult
    First, Moronihah thought any Lamanite attack would come not toward their stronghold Zarahemla, but in the borders of the land as had happened in the past (Helaman 1:26).
    Second, Moronihah had stationed his army along one border and stationed Lehi and his army along the opposite border, not believing the Lamanites would try a central attack, which is exactly what Coriantumr, a Nephite dissenter did (Helaman 1:17).
    Third, the Lamanites were not frightened according to Moronihah’s beliefs of an attack along the west or east borders, but they had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla, and were marching through the most capital parts of the land, slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds (Helaman 1:27).
    Fourth, after capturing Zarahemla with ease, Coriantumr became convinced he could capture all of the Nephite lands (Helaman 1:22) clear to Bountiful and set out for that city (Helaman 1: 24) through the center parts of the land (Helaman 1:25).
    Fifth, and now "Coriantumr did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla, but he did march forth with a large army, even towards the city of Bountiful; for it was his determination to go forth and cut his way through with the sword, that he might obtain the north parts of the land" (Helaman 1:23).
The Sierra Madre runs parallel to the coast, making any movement inland a difficult climb or search for some type of low-lying pass; Once over the initial mountains, the army would be faced with a series of mountain ridges to climb up and down in order to get to the center of the land to try to join forces with the eastern Nephite army and stop Coriantumr
    Sixth, with great speed, Moronihah dispatched Lehi and his army to head off Coriantumr from reaching Bountiful (Helaman 1:28). And Lehi was successful in his racing his army northward and cut off Coriantumr before they reached the land of Bountiful (Helaman 1:29).
    Seventh, the Lamanites, encountering Lehi and his army, began to retreat back towards the land of Zarahemla; however, Moronihah and his army cut off the Lamanites in their retreat (1 Helaman 1:30).
    Eighth, trapped between both Nephite armies, “the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites” (Helaman 1:31).
    Ninth, Coriantumr was slain in the battle and the Lamanites surrendered (Helaman 1:32). Thus Moronihah took possession of the city of Zarahemla again, and caused that the Lamanites who had been taken prisoners should depart out of the land in peace, which ended the forty and first year of the reign of the judges (Helaman 1:32-34).
The Sierra Madre covers most of southern Mexico (Sorenson’s Land Northward) and all the way in to Guatemala (Sorenson’s Land Southward). These mountains would have presented a difficult obstacle to both Moronihah’s and Lehi’s attempts to climb to cut off Coriantumr in his race from Zarahemla to Bountiful up the capital or central parts of the land
    The problem with all of this when we place these events in Mesoamerica is that both Nephite armies would have been stationed in the lowlands near the coasts where Lamanite advances were possible, since the Sierra Madre Mountains run the complete length of Mexico through Guatemala to Honduras, with only two low-lying passes over which armies could have marched being one the Chivela Pass, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Mesoamericanists’ Narrow Neck of Land), which would have been too far north, for Lehi headed Coriantumr before he reached the land of Bountiful (Helaman 1:28-29), and the other pass is in Honduras, far to the south.
    So, the question again is “With Moronihah’s army along the western borders and Lehi’s army along the eastern borders, where they thought the Lamanites would attack, how did both Nephite armies get over the Sierra Madres mountains in time to head Coroantumr’s Lamanite army heading for Bountiful up the center parts of the land?"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part V

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 fifth question is directed to John L. Sorenson, and all those Mesoamerican Theorists who claim the Land of Promise was located in Mesoamerica:
    5. “Using your model of the Land of Promise, what makes you think that the beleaguered Nephite Army, having retreated all across the entire Land of Promise from the Land of Zarahemla (Mormon 1:10) clear to the Land Northward before an overwhelming Lamanite army they had seldom been able to stand against in battle, would suddenly decide to stop and fight a final battle when they could have continually retreated northward into Mexico and the area of present day United States?”
If Mesoamerica was the Land of Promise, then it was foolhardy for Mormon to stand and fight a battle against overwhelming odds when he had all of Mexico and North America into which he could have kept retreating
    5a. In addition, a follow-up question would be “Why did those who escaped from this battle at Cumorah travel south (Mormon 6:15), into Lamanite-controlled land rather than flee northward into Mexico and the U.S.?”
    First, the Nephites had been retreating toward the north countries (Mormon 2:3) before the Lamanite forces for most of the time between 327 and 385 A.D.--a period of 58 years!
    Second, Even where they heavily fortified themselves in cities, the Lamanites overran them and drove them out (Mormon 2:4-5).
    Third, it became one great revolution throughout all the face of the land between the Nephites and the Lamanites and Robbers (Mormon 2:8).
    Fourth, thousands of Nephites were killed in these battles by 344 A.D. (Helaman 2:15).
    Fifth, as a result of these battles, the Lamanites continued to drive the Nephites northward (Mormon 2:20).
    Sixth, after some severe battles where the Nephites proved stalwart and held their ground, the Lamanites and Nephites divided the land between them in 349 A.D., with the Nephites getting the Land Northward and the Lamanites obtaining all the Land Southward with the narrow pass the dividing line Mormon 2:29).
    Seventh, after a ten-year hiatus, the Lamanites attacked once again. Mormon gathered all his people into the City of Desolation, near the narrow pass and defeated the Lamanites over the next two years, leading to the Nephites attacking the Lamanites and suffering a major defeat (Mormon 4:2).
    Eighth, thousands were slain on both sides during the next several battles (Mormon 4:9), and the superior-sized Lamanite forces drove the Nephites out of the City of Desolation, captured many women and children and sacrificed them to their idols (Mormon 4:15, 21).
    Ninth, the Lamanites drove the Nephites out of their cities and the Nephites retreated northward, taking all the inhabitants with them that they could gather in (Mormon 4:23).
Tenth, after a successful stand, another Lamanite attack in 379 A.D. drove the Nephites backward, and “whastsoever lands they had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in, were destroyed by the Lamanites and their towns and villages and cities were burned” (Mormon 5:5).
    Eleventh, by 380 A.D., so great were the numbers of the Lamanites, that the Nephites could no longer make any stand against them, and “they did tread the people of the Nephites under their feet” (Mormon 5:6).
    Twelveth, the Nephites again took flight northward “and those whose flight was swifter than the Lamanites’ did escape, and those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites’ were swept down and destroyed” (Mormon 5:7).
    Thirteenth, the Nephites were continually “marching forth before the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:1), and it was at this time that Mormon decided to make a stand at Cumorah (Mormon 6:4), where he hoped to gain some advantage over the Lamanites, though he knew it would be the “last struggle” of his people (Mormon 6:6).
    Fourteenth, by 384 A.D., all the Nephites were in this Land of Cumorah, which lay within the area Mormon described as a Land of Many Waters, Fountains and Rivers (Mormon 6:4).
    Fifteenth, the Lamanite army was so large, far more numerous than the Nephite army, that the Nephites experienced that “awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked” (Mormon 6:7) as the Lamanites approached.
With their backs to the wall at Cumorah, they still could have continued to retreat northward. There was clear passage along both coasts, and the central area is mostly high plateau flat land, easy to travel across
    At this point, two unbelievable things happened: 1) The Nephites stood and fought, knowing they had no chance against such superior forces, knowing they, their wives and children would be cut down and, no doubt many sacrificed to dumb idols, and 2) those few who chose to run, headed south—into heavily controlled Lamanite lands. Yet, to their backs, lay thousands of square miles of country in which to flee, in which to try and save themselves and their families.
    There is no rhyme or reason to such an act. No military leader (or any person) would voluntarily sacrifice his entire army if there was a possible means of escape.
    So we ask again, “Using your model of the Land of Promise, what makes you think that the beleaguered Nephite Army, having retreated all across the entire Land of Promise from the Land of Zarahemla (Mormon 1:10) clear to the Land Northward before an overwhelming Lamanite army they had seldom been able to stand against in battle, would suddenly decide to stop and fight a final battle when they could have continually retreated northward into Mexico and the area of present day United States?”and also, “Why did those who escaped from this battle at Cumorah travel south (Mormon 6:15), into Lamanite-controlled land rather than flee northward into Mexico and North America?"