Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Baja Choice Above All Other Lands?

David Rosenvall writes in his website that “Three other areas of evidence are also basic. The first is the implication of the Lord’s words to both the Jaredites and the Nephites that they had been sent to lands which were “choice above all other lands of the earth.” This direct and unambiguous statement, by its very superlativeness, would exclude most locations on the earth and include only a few. It is essential, therefore, that the justification for any proposed location should include evidence of a highly desirable climate, plants and animals, and the obvious advantages of the proposed environment over other locations.”

So let’s take a look at each of these statements Rosenvall makes about the Land of Promise and compare it against his Baja model.
1.” Choice above all other lands”

Baja California is divided into two distinct parts, Baja and Baja Sur, both states of Mexico, and are both similar in most ways with a few exceptions. First, the northern part, Baja California, which is divided from Baja California Sur (like Virginia and West Virginia—there is no East Virginia) along the 28º north latitude, just south of Rosenvall’s narrow neck of land. In the far north, from Tijuana to Mexicali, live 75% of the people because the climate there is Mediterranean; however, as you go southward, the temperature rises and the terrain becomes more rugged. The beaches are magnificent, from Rosarita to San Felipe and Ensenada are paradisiacal—however, get away from the beaches and the climate is harsh, rugged and rocky. The central and southern sections are home to remote and extremely desolate deserts which include substantial mountains, large sand dunes, towering cacti and dormant volcanoes projecting an almost alien landscape.

Climate and Vegetative regions: Green: Mediterranean Climate; similar to southwest U.S. and southeastern California (light green high elevations with coniferous forests); Blue: Hot and Arid; a “true desert” with desert-type plants (light blue area much drier and more sparse); Red: Tropical hot and humid; more rainfall, still desert, but with more densely-packed plants

2. “A highly desirable climate”

Like any desert, the climate is dry, with annual rainfall averaging 9-inches around Tijuana and 11-inches around Rosarita—with less rainfall in the interior. In the northeast and the south, the climate has wide temperature differences between the hot days of over 100º F. and the very cold nights. The center of the state is cooler, with cold winters (when most of the rain falls) and cool summers. In the south, the weather is tropical, hot and humid. The east coast is hotter than the west, and in the extreme south it receives about 10 inches of rain. The entire peninsula has little water and often is faced with year long or multi-year droughts where rain of less than 1-inch falls. While most people enjoy the coastal areas where 95% of the people live (other than Mexicali area), with its mild climates at certain times of the year, inland is another story where temperatures rise and no water exists. In the extreme north and the extreme south the climates are more tolerable, but still hot.

3. “Plants and animals”

Most of the plants throughout the peninsula are succulents. There are more varieties of succulents here than anywhere else in the U.S. Mostly desert, the Sonora covers 100,000 square miles, about 70% of the peninsula. Creosote bush and bur sage dominate the peninsula’s interior, along with numerous varieties of cactus, mesquite, paloverde, elephant trees, the boojum (cirio), cardon and saguaro—all desert flora related to the cactus family. While desert plants can be beautiful at times, this is still a harsh desert and hardly could be considered “choice above all other lands.” As for the animals, the largest are Big Horn sheep, then mule deer and pronghorns, occasional mountain lion, and a very high number of coyote. In addition there are rodents, birds, and countless snakes. However, there are no wild or domesticated animals “that are for the use of man,” on the peninsula. In fact, the only place where any kind of useful animal pre-dates the Spanish is in the Andean area of South America in the llama and alpaca, and their wild cousins, the vicuna and the guanaco.

4. “And the obvious advantages of the proposed environment over other locations.”

As has already been pointed out, the entire peninsula of Baja is not an environmentally desirable place. The weather is hot, the temperatures extreme, the soils salty and toxic, and everywhere there is very limited to non-existent water.

In one’s wildest imagination, this land, Baja California, north and south, is far from meeting even Rosenvall’s conditions as listed earlier.

(See the next post, “Is Baja Choice Above All Other Lands? Part II,” for the other criteria Rosenvall has set for the Land of Promise, including the scale (size) of the land)

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