Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Sea Did Lehi Cross? – Part II

Continuing with the list of inaccurate items written by a Heartland/Great Lakes theorists, we find:

6. “The idea that the “west sea” of the Book of Mormon is the Pacific Ocean has, nevertheless, persisted in localized Central American, South American and exaggerated hemispheric settings for the Book of Mormon.”

One of the reasons it has persisted is that today we know that such a course would be the only way for a sailing ship “driven forth before the wind” to have reached the Western Hemisphere from the south Arabian Peninsula in 600 B.C. In fact, experienced seamen as late as the 1500s found this to be true for any deep-sea, ocean sailing vessel.

7. “Mesoamerican setting advocate John E. Clark writes that ‘all seas that bordered New World Book of Mormon lands “had to be the Pacific and Atlantic oceans…’ This statement is without clear scriptural support.”

There is no statement in the scriptural record that says the sea Lehi crossed in the ship Nephi built, was the Pacific Ocean—nor any other ocean. First of all, such a term would have been unknown to Nephi or any Book of Mormon writer at any time in their history. The name Pacific was not identified with that ocean until the last week of November, 1519, by Ferdinand Magellan. However, there is clear scriptural support about where they sailed upon leaving the Arabian Sea. Nephi makes it quite clear they were “driven forth before the wind” all the way to the Land of Promise. We now know from 20th-century winds and currents research, that the only direction they could have reached the Western Hemisphere from Arabia was across the Pacific in what is today called the Prevailing Westerlies and the West Wind Drift of the Southern Ocean, which moves eastward around the globe.

8. “Citing Alma 22:28, Clark alleges that “Lehi arrived from the Old World across the west sea”. Great Lakes, and American Heartland setting advocates point out that this verse (cited by Clark), does not in fact say that Lehi voyaged across “the west sea”. Clark alleges that the designations of west and east seas in the Book of Mormon “…are tied to…original arduous journeys across oceans and the receding direction of their [the voyaging immigrant’s] forfeited homeland.” But LDS scripture does not clearly identify “the waters of the great deep”, “the great waters” or “the many waters” that Book of Mormon peoples voyaged across, with either of the seas immediately west or east of the lands of Zarahemla and Nephi.”

Jacob, who was on the ship that brought the Lehi Colony to the Land of Promise, and was part of the landing, makes it clear that the Land of Promise was upon the sea they sailed upon to reach it. He said, “The Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20). No matter how you cut it, the statement is simply too clear to alter, change, or disregard. Inarguably, Nephi’s ship set out upon the sea called Irreantum along the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. That sea, called today, the Arabian Sea, is the northern part of the Indian Ocean. Now once upon the Indian Ocean, the winds and currents blow ONLY to the east in what is called the Prevailing Westerlies which drive the current that is called the West Wind Drift. That means they went eastward from the Indian Ocean along this strong current that circles the globe. This means they entered the Pacific Ocean, which currents eventually turned them northward up the western coast of present day South America where the currents and winds stopped blowing at the 30º south latitude (as Williams wrote down). Based upon currents and winds that would “drive a ship before the wind,” there simply is NO OTHER WAY to reach the Western Hemisphere starting out from the southern tip of Arabia!

The rest of the list will be continued in the next post.

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