Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Fallacy of Extremist Theories—the Baja California Theory, Part VI

Continuing from the last five posts regarding the lack of qualifications that Baja California has for a Land of Promise that matches the scriptural record, Rosenvall’s so-called Land of Many Waters, comes under suspicion.

First of all, when Baja and Mexico were joined, this area was the Sonora Desert and the dry lagoons mentioned in the last post were filled with water draining from the Colorado River flow; however, after the collapse of the San Andreas-Elsinore fault zone complex, the flow of the Colorado emptied directly into the low area now forming the Sea of Cortes and the lake beds dried up with only occasional filling from rainwater, and as part of the lower Colorado River floodplain. The same is true with Lake Hanson, just southwest of Salada.
Left: Lake Hanson in the wet season—the lake is never more than two feet deep; Right: Lake Hanson as a dry lake bed for most of the year

The peninsula is covered with mountains (sierras), with broad valleys lying between the mountain peaks. Water runs down the slopes of the mountain ranges into the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortés. Due to its geological formation and to long-lasting droughts, Baja California has no large rivers. Springs are scarce and offer little water.

In fact, according to geographers and the Baja California and Baja California Sur Chambers of Commerce, the Peninsula lays claim to only two permanent rivers, the Colorado (north) and the Mulegé (south), but both claims are tenuous. The Colorado is a "Baja river" only in the sense that it forms the boundary between the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora. Draining 260,000 square miles of the western US along its 1,450-mile course, the mighty Colorado cut the Grand Canyon out of rock, and deposited vast amounts of silt and mud into the upper Cortes. However, it has been dammed and utilized for human purposes to the point that it is now a mere trickle of its former self by the time it reaches the Cortes.
As for the second river, the Chamber of Commerce of Mulegé would have you believe that a river courses through the town. In fact, they claim that “The Mulege river flows through the valley and into an estuary which flows to the sea, edged by huge palm trees, orchards and fences where bougainvilleas of all colors tangle,” but the "River Mulegé" is actually a brackish arm of the Cortez, although it does receive small amounts of fresh water from springs above a dam. Other than these, Baja has no rivers, and there are only about six small streams that reach salt water on a more or less permanent basis.

In addition, there are only two sizable lakes in Baja. Laguna Salada and the Laguna Hanson, which is less than a mile across and is shallow and muddy. There are a number of ponds so small that they are not even graced with names.

This is hardly the area Mormon described as “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:4). Many, of course, is not one lake bed and one river, or a couple of isolated lakes that are mostly dry beds for most of the year. In addition, “fountains” refers to the source of numerous waters, rivers, streams, etc. That is, a fountain is where water originates, like a spring that bubble up, only in this case, large enough to feed many rivers and many waters, such as lakes.

(See the next post, “The Fallacy of Extremist Theories—the Baja California Theory, Part VII,” for more on what is not found in Baja California that is mentioned in the scriptural record)


  1. Like Jen said yesterday, there is no land of many waters in northern Baja that matches Mormon's description. This is a landmark he knew, visited, and was quite familiar with--so much so, that he chose it for his final battle before he marched his troops there. And as you have pointed out, a "fountain" is the wellspring or headspring of water sources, that is, he used the plural term, i.e., waters, rivers and fountains, clearly telling us that this was a veritable water paradise--not a bunch of boulders, sand, desert, and trickling streams.

  2. Okay, but you just finished saying that the Colorado River is now only a small trickle of what it was before it was all dammed up in the USA. Could not the Colorado River delta have been in the time of Mormonn the land of many waters, rivers, and fountains?