Saturday, May 7, 2011

The H38 Map of the Land of Promise – Part I

In order for any map of the Land of Promise to seriously be considered, it must match all the scriptural record relating to the geography of the Land of Promise as stated in the Book of Mormon. It must also be apparent either now or at sometime in the past, and its confines in agreement with the scriptural record and Mormon’s writings.

The following map, touted by Arlin Nusbaum who developed his critical and extremely flawed H38 Virus concept, runs contrary to the list of numerous scriptural references.

1. Driven forth before the wind. Getting to his Land of Promise in Nephi’s ship, the Lehi Colony was “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 8:8-9) and “sailed again towards the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:22) and “after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:323). Upon their arrival they “went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23). While it may seem a mundane point, how did Nephi’s ship reach any of the seas of Nusbaum’s map? As has been pointed out numerous times, no approach existed from the ocean/sea to either Lake Ontario (his Sea North) or Lake Erie (his Sea West) or the ancient (now nonexistent) Lake Tonawanda (his Sea South), or the ancient watershed he calls the East Sea. How he claims the Lehi Colony reached his area of the Land of Promise hundreds of miles inland is unknown, but obviouisly he has ignored Jacob who said, “we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).

As can be seen from this map, there was no movement up the St. Lawrence River to the Great lakes because of two distince navigation blocks that were not bypassed until the 19th and 20th centuries. Obviously, there could be no sea path to the area of “First Inheritance” described in Alma 22:28.

2. Jerusalem seeds grew in abundance. “And it came to pass that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance” (1 Nephi 18:24). Jerusalem seeds came from a Mediterranean Climate, and the Great Lakes area—western New York—has far too frigid of a climate for such seeds to grow at all, let alone exceedingly.

3. His Land of Nephi does not border the East Sea (Alma 50:8).

4. His Land of Zarahemla is basically east rather than north of the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:27-29) with no narrow strip of wilderness between them that ran in a straight line from the Sea West to the Sea East (Alma 22:27).

4. He has an area labeled “Lamanite Lands of Possession” to the south and east of the land of Nephi, yet there is no such phrase or land mentioned in the scriptural record in the south except the land of Nephi. “on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance” (Alma 22:28)—even where they first landed and dwelt was called the Land of Nephi.

5. His map ignores the fact that the Land of Nephi ran from the east sea to the west sea: “the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west” (Alma 22:27).

6. His Land Bountiful does not border on the West Sea

7. It is not possible to land a ship “driven forth before the wind” in his West Sea (Lake Erie)—it is a lake with no navigatable outlet to the sea. Yet, the area of Lehi’s landing, “on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28) would have had to be reached by the ship Nephi built.

(See the next post, “The H38 Map of the Land of Promise – Part II,” for the rest of these points of inconsistency, and also to understand the fallacy of his Ripliancum)


  1. It's too bad Mr. Nusbaum did not have time to address your misrepresentations of his work before retiring, I would have loved to have seen his reply. I think I may be able to address much of what you misrepresent. First of, it's quite apparent you did not actual study his model. The errors you claim to have found were already addressed. Second, you ignore the greatest strength of the increasing number of models based in western New York - "Land of Promise." Whereas you can't show a single BofM prophecy being fulfilled in S. America, we document every land prophecy, and show where and how.

    Anyhow, getting back to the obvious errors in your review of Mr. Nusbaum's model, his magnificent concept of the so-called "H38 Virus" was based on Helaman 3:8 which describes the LAND NORTHWARD as being surrounded by four seas. He reviewed all BofM models and found that non of them had this configuration except the area of western New York.

    Error #1 Wind routes are a poor excuse for where Lehi's boat went. Nusbaum repeatedly stressed the following factors to refute those using such criteria: BofM lands were "hidden" not on normal wind routes and required the LIAHONA to reach them. BofM lands were not adjacent to the "GREAT DEEP" that they crossed; it was never referred to again as being one of the bordering bodies of water.

    Error #2 Nusbaum made it clear that the St. Lawrence water way and the Niagara Gorge were all passable during the time of Lehi, that it was the coming of Jesus that lifted the land in fulfillment of BofM prophecy and the falls of Niagara remain as a testament of that event. Indeed it is strange that you missed this point entirely. He had many pictures of Niagara when it was dried up that showed precisely how the rocks were split in half causing the falls.

    Error #3 He never called a water shed the EAST SEA. He did however identify the Genesee River/Gorge as it which is commonly called the "Grand Canyon of the East." I'm surprised you missed his pictures of that.

    Error #4 Weather. I recall quotes that Nusbaum found from 200 years ago by some Jesuit priests serving in western New York who reported there was no snow or ice in the winter time. Even today western New York is know for its abundance of fruit crops. So the climate even today is quite conducive to much produce. He also provided evidence of ancient apple and cherry trees there in western New York.

    Error #5 His LAND OF NEPHI did border both seas. As shown on the map you provide, the LAND OF NEPHI was both west and south of the LAND OF ZARAHEMLA, which was another important feature of BofM geography he said other modelers had missed entirely.

    Error #6 There is a NARROW STRIP between the LAND OF NEPHI and the LAND OF ZARAHEMLA which ran east and west and is still there and is called the CATTARAUGUS RIVER. Nusbaum referred to this line of demarcation as the LAMANITE LINE OF POSSESSION which was not his term but is found in Alma 50:13.

    Error #7 His LAND OF BOUNTIFUL does border the WEST SEA which is evident even on the map you provide. What you failed to grasp was the fact that Mormon did not have satellite maps and described things as they looked from eye level. From EYE LEVEL, the NIAGARA GORGE and RIVER are quite wide.

    And btw, Nusbaum identified to natural harbors along the WEST SEA - the one where Lehi docked and the other where Hagoth built his ships.

    Error #8 Ripliancum. Nusbaum rightly identified LAKE ONTARIO as RIPLIANCUM pointing out that anyone standing in the LAND NORTHWARD and looking out at LAKE ONTARIO would not have seen an east, west, or north border, it would have seen to go on forever.

    Error #9 Land sizes. Nusbaum was the first to use the 1.5 day width measurement to describe the entire width of BofM lands and not just the NARROW NECK. He provided pictures and documentation describing the area in western New York, including the difference between NARROW PASS and NARROW NECK.

  2. Error #10 LAKE TONAWANDA - Was larger during BofM times but did not completely cover their lands and Nusbaum provided archaeological evidence and pictures dating to that time.

    Error #11 Western shore of Lake Ontario. Nusbaum never claimed the western shore was BofM lands.

    Error #12 Not hemmed in. In theory a Lamanite could have built a ship and sailed via the EAST or WEST SEAS and made it to the prized LAND NORTHWARD but Mormon never said the Lamanites did that. The NIAGARA RIVER/GORGE on the west and the GENESEE RIVER/GORGE on the east were far too steep for foot armies to cross.

    Error #13 Size of Lake Tonawanda. Nusbaum provide maps of the Lake from two hundred years ago and they clearly showed that during BofM times, the lake was did look as he described.

    Error #14 Statements of Church Leaders. Nusbaum respected the official church statements of where the final Nephite battle was - Palmyra, NY. He cited the many prophets and apostles, official church statements, etc. that confirmed there was a. ONE CUMORAH, and b. the final Nephite battle was in western, N.Y. and since Omer a Jaredite passed by "where the Nephites were destroyed" it is clear the Jaredites lived near Palmyra, they never living outside of the LAND NORTHWARD!