The important thing to keep in mind is that prior to 3 Nephi Chapter 8 (34 A.D.), the area to the east of the Andes was underwater as most of the Continent was just below the surface—in fact, much of the Amazon Basin is still just underwater, especially at certain times of the year
Note: It should be kept in mind that these references are from geologists who talk in millions of years, but when overlaid with the Lord’s time as dictated to Moses in Genesis and the Pearl of Great Price, equate to a very short time and quite recently.
Thus, the continental Shelf raised as the result of plate-tectonic forces that resulted in the orogenic, or mountain-building activity that produced the Andes, in a short time and recently. With the Andes “popping up” this also tilted the western slope of the continent from the Andes toward the Pacific Ocean, causing the continental divide and numerous rivers emptying into the Pacific while others emptied into the east, mostly through the Amazon Drainage Basin.
When the Lord told Samuel the Lamanite to return to Zarahemla and speak the words he would put in the Lamanite’s heart (Helaman 13:3), Samuel climbed upon the Temple walls where Nephite arrows and stones were unable to strike him, and stretched for his hand, saying: “Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people…(Helaman 13:5)…”Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name” (Helaman 14:2)…”And behold, again, another sign I give unto you, yea, a sign of his death. For behold, he surely must die that salvation may come; yea, it behooveth him and becometh expedient that he dieth, to bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, that thereby men may be brought into the presence of the Lord” (Helaman 14:14-15)…”behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead” (Helaman 14:20)…”And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
Now these signs and many others will be given “to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” (Helaman 14:28).
Thus, the Lord told Samuel to prophesy that at the time of Christ’s death, and during the three hour period mountains would tumble and fall forming valleys, and during the three day period, valleys would raise up and become mountains, whose height is great!
Many people, even Latter-day Saints, have difficulty accepting that prophecy of the Lord through Samuel. 'How could huge mountain ranges rise up to great heights in just three days?' they ask. Much doubt is expressed because of the public belief, fostered by godless men in science who claim the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, and that it takes millions and millions of years for mountains to form, that fosters a reluctance to accept the fact that the Lord said this would happen…
And very obviously, it did!
And in a very short time!
And at the time of the Lord’s crucifixion!
We have written in this blog several times the science behind how this happened, even the steps of the mountains coming up and the speed at which they did and how it happened. The point is, the Lord said it would happen and obviously it did.
The map above is based on Alma 22:27-34 in which:
1. Land of Nephi and Land of Zarahemla Separated: [The Land of Nephi] which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west…(Alma 22:27a)
2. Wilderness Extended up and Both Seashores “Roundabout”: …and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west -- and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided” (Alma 22:27b)
3. Lamanites Occupied the West and East Wilderness: These areas are where the Narrow Strip of Wilderness, running from the east sea to the west sea (Alma 22:27) curved up, or continued “round about” (which means “curving” northward along both seashores, thus the Lamanites lived in tents in those continuing wilderness areas (Alma 22:28a).
4. Land of First Inheritance: This is the area where Lehi landed, which Mormon addresses as “in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28b, 29a).
5. Sidon River: The river has its head (beginning or source) in the narrow strip of wilderness just below where the arrow points on the map and runs northward through the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:29), curving toward the Sea East and emptying into that sea before the destruction in 3 Nephi 8. Today, that river has four different names and eventually runs into the Amazon River.
6. Land South, Land North: When the Gaddianton Robbers were threatening the Nephites, the governor ordered them to congregate in an area, south of the Land Northward, yet when the Robbers came out of the mountains in the land Southward (3 Nephi 3:24), they took possession of the land South and the Land North (3 Nephi 4:1); Moroni named “all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south -- A chosen land, and the land of liberty” (Alma 46:17, emphasis added), and Helaman mentions the Land South and the Land North (Helaman 6:9), because the northern part of the Land Southward (the Land of Zarahemla where Mulek landed) as the Land North, and the the Land of Lehi, where Lehi landed) as the Land South (Helaman 6:10).
7. Land of Gideon: This land of Gideon was in a valley, also called Gideon, where they build a city called Gideon, which was east of the river Sidon (Alma 6:7)
8. Land of Bountiful: This land was north of the Land of Zarahemla and south of the Land of Desolation—on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful (Alma 22:29)
9. Narrow Neck of Land: This small or narrow neck was located between the Land Southward and the Land Northward—there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward (Alma 22:32). It was also the only land area between the Land Southward and the Land Northward, for the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded with water except for this narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32). Note there is no other exception to the Land Southward being surrounded by water—there is no separate narrow passage mentioned in connection to this
10. City of Desolation: The Jaredites built a great city by the narrow neck of land” (Ether 10:20), and that city was named Desolation, as Mormon places it when he said, “And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the Land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5), and then named it, “the Lamanites did come down to the city of Desolation to battle against us; and it came to pass that in that year we did beat them, insomuch that they did return to their own lands again” (Mormon 3:7).
11. Hagoth and the Sea that Divides the Land: In the area where the narrow neck is located, the Gulf of Guayaquil cuts in and forms a large sea that divides the Land Northward from the Land Southward, leaving only about 26 miles of land between the Gulf waters and the Andes Mountains now, and what was the Sea East before 3 Nephi 8. Ether tells us that the Jaredite city was “by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20), thus this sea was associated with the narrow neck of land.
12. Hill Cumorah, Land of Many Waters, Land of Desolation: We already know that the Land of Desolation was north of the narrow neck and the Land of Bountiful (Alma 22:31), and that the bones (Alma 22;30) of the dead Jaredites that were never buried (Ether 14:22), and that area was “so far northward” (Alma 22:30), and that the hill Cumorah (which was the same as the hill Ramah where the Jaredites were also destroyed (Ether 9:3), was in the Land of Many Waters where the hill Cumorah was located (Mormon 6:4).
(See the next post, "Visual Map of Alma 22:27-34 and Other Scriptural references - Part II: The Mountains," for an explanation of the Andes coming up and the height of mountains of both the Land of Promise and the Eastern U.S. for a comparison of mountains in the Heartland, Great Lakes and Eastern U.S. Land of Promise theory locations)