Friday, September 24, 2010

The So-Called H38 Virus – Part I

One rather arrogant blogger has made quite an issue out of what he calls the H38 Virus—Helaman 3:8, about the Land Northward being the main issue of the Land of Promise and the four seas he claims surrounded it. This scripture illustrates a serious migration event that took place in about 46 B.C. Following the peace Moronihah had established between the Nephites and the Lamanites 5 years earlier, and following a year-long war with the Gaddianton Robbers who had tried to take control of the government by assassination, many Nephites in the Land Southward, where these events had taken place, decided to emigrate to a more peaceful area to the north in the Land of Promise.

First, it should be remembered that about 10 years earlier, another serious migration took place with 5400 men, plus their wives and children—possibly 25,000 people—set sail in Hagoth’s ships over a three year period to a “Land Which Was Northward” (Alma 63:4). In addition, during this time, “many people went forth into the land northward” (Alma 63:9). Thus, the Nephites in this ten year period were involved in emigration.

Now, in 46 B.C., “there was much contention and many dissensions” in the Land Southward, following these years of bloodshed and disruption (Helaman 3:3). So “there were an exceeding great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth into the land northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3). These people did not just go through the narrow neck of land and into the Land of Desolation, but “they did travel to an exceeding great distance…that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers” (Helaman 3:4).

It should also be kept in mind that the Land of Promise encompassed two land masses that were connected by a narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32), with the land Southward of this narrow neck, which included the Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla and Bountiful, was nearly surrounded by water except for this narrow neck (Alma 22:32), obviously, causing there to be a sea to the west, a sea to the east, and a sea to the south. Up until this period of time, the Land Northward had not been occupied by the Nephites in any numbers, so there were large tracts of land to the north that were part of the Land of Promise and, therefore, part of the Nephite’s land of inheritance or land of promise.

So, during this ten-year period (55 B.C. to 46 B.C.), probably as a result of the previous extensive wars and all the contention in the Land Southward, tens of thousands of Nephites traveled into the Land Northward “to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3). As a result of this migration, the Land of Promise began to fill up and, Mormon, abridging the record some 400 years later, and reading all the Nephite records which were particular and very large (Helaman 3:13), of which Mormon could only write a “hundredth part of the proceedings” (Helaman 3:14) of the Nephites, made it clear to the future reader that Lehi’s descendants filled up the Land of Promise from the north sea to the south sea (that is, from the top of the Land Northward, to the bottom of the Land Southward) and from the east sea to the west sea (a narrower distance, but including the breadth of both land masses), or, in short, covered the entire earth of the Land of Promise which was an island (2 Nephi 10:20).

The H38 Virus, as mentioned earlier, is one Theorist’s attempt to claim the Land Northward was really the focal point of the Book of Mormon, and that Helaman 3:8 shows that the Land Northward was surrounded entirely by water, including a north sea, south sea, west sea and east sea. However, at no time do the scriptures single out one part of the Land of Promise and separate it from another part. The Land of Promise was an entire land mass as described in Alma 22, and included two distinct areas that were kept separate by the Lord, leading the Jaredites to the northern land and the Nephites and Mulekites to the southern land, which was connected by a narrow neck of land.

(See Part II of “The So-Called H38 Virus,” to get a clearer picture of this issue that has led to a North American Theory without scriptural justification)


  1. But the land northward is surrounded by water.. just like the land southward is surrounded by water.. except for the narrow neck of land which connects the two. And the entire "land of promise" is also surrounded by water.

    One thing I do have to say in favor of the H38 Virus is that he does require that there be a north, south, east and west sea. And if you look at the many models presented.. it clearly removes them off the table of acceptable theories.

    But to accept this theory as "the one".. I think we do need to know more about the author. His name is Arlin Nusbaum, MS. According to his website it says:

    He was raised in the LDS church in a family of twelve, and is a seventh generation Mormon. While away at college he experienced the power which the Book of Mormon has to convict its readers and bring them to Christ. During his mission he saw others experience the same thing.

    Only later did he and his wife Tammy discover that the church which they loved, cherished and served was not compatible with the teachings in the Book of Mormon (particularly the baptizing of children).

    Arlin believes God purposely chose Joseph because of his tendency to be swayed by men (and women), the fruit of which was meant to prevent Book of Mormon believers from relying on its messenger more than its message. He also knows God won't allow proofs of the Book of Mormon to come forth until it is separated from the Mormon Church, in the eyes of the public.

    His only negative comments about the Andean Theory is that he says the "Great Seas" did not directly border Book of Mormon lands. and the Hill Cumorah in Western New York was THE PLACE WHERE THE FINAL BATTLES OCCURRED.

    He goes on to state:

    We believe ancient Book of Mormon lands are here in Western New York between Palmyra and Erie, PA. and The entire field of Book of Mormon geography hinges on Cumorah and nothing else. Either Cumorah is in Palmyra, or it's not--not one in Mesoamerica and another in Palmyra--not a second hill called after the first.

    One can see that if Arlin has his blinders on and can not see Cumorah in a place other than in New York.. he will automatically dismiss all the other evidence that is out there.

  2. Thank you. There are a lot of holes in his theory which is covered in the next three blogs. I will just mention a few here:

    1. There is no indication the Nephites moved inland from a sea to settle the Land of Promise initially. There is not even a hint of such a thing, and there is no way to get to that area by sea, yet one is led to understand from the scriptures that Lehi landed on the shores of the Land of Promise and settled right there--Alma (Mormon) says as much when he gives the location of their land of first inheritance in Alma 22.

    2. There is no place in the entire eastern United States where a land is totally and completely surrounded by water within the confines of the Land of Promise distances outlined in scripture. Nor any place that ever was an island as Jacob describes.

    3. The Andean area was completely surrounded by water according to geologists--that is not in doubt (only the time frame--which my fourth book "Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths" deals with).

    His comments about my map is disingenuous since he chose to take it out of context and remove it from the overall map showing the island of South America anciently, and try to show that my model is not surrounded by water.

    That type of deliberate misleading is completely inexcusable by any scholar, researcher or theorist, no matter his views.

    I might also add, that the Hill Cumorah, as shown in the BOM was in the land northward so far north, Mormon says, it was in the Land of Many Waters. His, and all other Great Lakes/Heartland theorists, place the Hill Cumorah in the Land southward, far to the east of all other places out of necessity, since they cannot move the hill where Joseph found the plates.

    If, after reading all four parts of my posts on the H38 Virus, you have any questions or disagreements, let me know.

    Again, thanks for your comments. I enjoy the challenge of answering them... :)

  3. P.S. By the way, he states that "We believe ancient Book of Mormon lands are here in Western New York between Palmyra and Erie, PA."

    I might add that models of the Land of Promise should not be open to people's beliefs. The Andean location came about not through a belief, but by reading and researching every location word in the Book of Mormon. I went through a couple of dozen of the large BOM print books, marking them up and following up on each statement.

    The Andean area was a result of scripture and its research, not a belief I had before, during or after. My personal beliefs are not involved within the writing of my books on this subject--that is why everything is so thoroughly footnoted. After all, I grew up in the church thinking, as most people said, the Land Northward as North America, the Land Southward was South America, and the Narrow Neck of Land was Central America.

    When a friend gave me the book "Ancient America and the Book of Mormon" by Hunter and Ferguson back in the late 1950s, I became quite excited that the Land of Promise might be elsewhere than what everyone said. So I took it upon myself, over about a 22 year period, to research every white in the scripture (as my only source of information) and tried to piece what Nephi wrote in our modern world.

    When anyone starts out saying they believe something, it is suspect to me, because a person's beliefs tend to color what they learn, understand, and claim.

    Anyway, just a thought.

  4. Del,

    I have seen many beautiful maps made by people to depict "their" land of promise. They show the locations for all the cities, and rivers, and hills which then paints a picture in ones mind.

    I have seen a few maps that you have done but nothing as elaborate as some of the others.

    I was just wondering if you have ever made one and would be willing to share.. even though we know for the most part there are some things that would not be 100% accurate?


  5. The best map along this line I have is of the area of Fist Landing, the City of Nephi (Lehi-Nephi), and of Zarahemla. It also shows the Narrow Neck of Land, and the general area of Bountiful and City of Desolation. However, except for the City of Nephi and Zarahemla and the narrow neck, the rest is speculative but generally could be considered somewhat accurate.

    The problem is, despite what everyone loves to do to promote their model, there is not enough scriptural information to show where cities were in relation to each other (except north of, etc.), so any placement is merely someone' soveractive imagination. We can pinpoint the City of Nephi because of Noah's towers mentioned in scripture beside the temple, and when the Conquistadores first arrived in the Cuzco valley, they saw two towers of great height on top of the hill overlooking the city where Sacsayhuaman (temple) is today. The base of the main tower can still be seen. The other was in the city proper and since has had a Spanish building (church) built on top of the foundation dating to about the 1600s.

    As for Zarahemla, the ruins of Pachacamac along the coast just south of Lima, Peru, is that area because we know that it was the capital city of the Nephite Nation in scripture, and also historically from the time of the conquistadores was known anciently as the seat of the kingdom, the religious capital of the land, and one in which pilgrimages were frequently made to, even into the 20th century.

    Those are pretty much understood and provable. There is also the Great Wall of Peru which Moronihah built to defend against the Lamanites after they had overrun Zarahemla and the southern half of the Nephit lands which matches what is called the Great Wall of Peru discovered by Shipee and Johnson in 1931 from the air.

    Other than those areas, we only know of a general location for Bountiful and city of Desolation, and we know of a place called the Land of Many Waters which corresponds with an area in northern Ecuador by that same name on old maps of today. Any other location is purely speculative and unprovable by scripture.

    As a result, I have never bothered with such fantasies. There is a place called Kuelap in Peru which is just fascinating, but I can find nothing in scripture that might suggest such a place in BOM times, though the fortress is a magnificent place of antiquity and obviously built by the Nephites.

    As for other maps, I have questioned several of those who have made them and each says it is "their best guess." I never guess about the scriptures. Whatever I do, is factual.

    Sorry I can't help you more.