Monday, April 30, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XIV—Covino’s “Facts”

Continuing with Covino's book and his free download of so-called "facts" that he claims are inarguable, we here finishing off Fact #13 with our final two points:

Fact #13: "The land of Nephi is south of Zarahemla, Mos. 9:14, 21:25; Alma 50:7. Bountiful is north of Zarahemla, but you must go north from Zarahemla to get to Nephi...

Covino says you have to go north from Zarahemla to get to Nephi, but neither the scriptures nor his map shows that

...hence Lemhi [Limhi] sends people north to get to Zarahemla but did not find it, they found a remnant of the Jaredites, hence you can't get to Zarahemla from the land of Nephi by only going north, Mos. 21:24-26. This is why Lemhi [Limhi] in Mos 22:11 "bent their course after going around Shilom. Also the land of their first inheritance the land of Nephi (Mos 9:1) had to be south of everything else. The Nephites hold back the Lamanites on two fronts south of Zarahemla and Bountiful, Alma 50:7-8, 11."

(Points one through four of this response were in the last post)

Response: Fifth: The statement "Also the land of their first inheritance the land of Nephi (Mos (9:1) had to be south of everything else." This is scripturally correct, and Mormon gives us a better description: "Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west in the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore" which tells us that this area of first landing was along the West Sea as almost everyone agrees; however, Covino's map shows it far to the south of the South Sea.

 Though west of the Land of Nephi, Covino places the landing site far along the South Sea coast, contrary to the scriptural description since his West Sea is to the north of the Land of Nephi

The problem is, Covino's map shows the Land of Nephi stretching from the East Sea to the South Sea, contrary to the scriptural record. In Alma 22, Mormon tells us that this first landing (Lehi's landing) was along the West Sea--actually in the west along by the seashore--and also that the Land of Nephi stretched from the east sea to the west sea, but Covino has the Land of Nephi stretching from the East Sea to the South Sea, with the West Sea to the North, and has the Lehi landing taking place to the south along the South Sea. This can hardly be considered a map that matches the scriptural record.

Sixth: The concluding statement "The Nephites hold back the Lamanties on two fronts south of Zarahemla and Bountiful, Alma 50:7-8, 11." First, these scriptures do not say "south of Zarahemla and Bountiful." Second, the Lamanites at this time (72 B.C.) were living along the East Sea coast in the Land of Zarahemla, north of the Land of Nephi. Moroni decides to drive them back into their own land and does so (Alma 50:7), then he also drives the Lamanites living along the West Sea coast in the Land of Zarahemla back into their own lands south of the narrow strip of wilderness. Obviously, and throughout much of this period of time, the Lamanites encroached along both sea coasts into the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27-28), but Moroni drives them back into their own Land of Nephi. Since the narrow strip of wilderness that separated the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27) with the Land of Nephi "running in a straight course from the east sea to the west" (Alma 50:8). All across this narrow strip of wilderness, the Nephites and Lamanites had a common border, however, until the defector, Coriantumr, attacked up the middle, the Lamanites tended to restrict their incursions into Nephite territory along the eastern and western seacoasts. So, yes, the Nephites basically carried on their defenses in the east and west, but not in the middle of the land until Coriantumr attacked (Helaman 1:17-19).

In Alma 50:11, it states:  "And thus he cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon -- the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure." This does not suggest that the Land of Bountiful bordered on the Land of Nephi in any way. To even suggest this is downright disingenuous. Therefore, Covino's point, "south of Zarahemla and south of Bountiful" is not mentioned or inferred in the scriptures since the Land of Zarahemla is south of the Land of Bountiful and alone borders along the Land of Nephi. It is completely misleading to claim these two fronts were also south of the Land of Bountiful--everything taking place in the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla are south of the Land of Bountiful. This scripture is merely stating that the Nephites controlled all the land north of the Land of Nephi, from the Land of Zarahemla clear northward beyond the Land of Bountiful.

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XV" for the last of Covino's unarguable "facts" that he claims proves his theory and map, in which he starts out: "The Narrow Neck of land only fits these scripture descriptions if a land mass exists as described in this book," which will be shown to be absolutely false)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XIII—Covino’s “Facts”

Continuing with Covino's free download of so-called facts" he uses to support his book and claims, which he considers to be inarguable, the first 12 "facts" were listed in the previous posts. Here we continue with #13 onward:

Fact #13: "The land of Nephi is south of Zarahemla, Mos 9:14, 21:25; Alma 50:7. Bountiful is north of Zarahemla, but you must go north from Zarahemla to get to Nephi, hence Lemhi sends people north to get to Zarahemla but did not find it, they found a remnant of the Jaredites, hence you can't get to Zarahemla from the land of Nephi by only going north, Mos 21:24-26. This is why Lemhi in Mos 22:11 bent their course" after going around Shilom. Also the land of their first inheritance the land of Nephi (os 9:1) had to be south of everything else. The Nephites hold back the Lamanites on two fronts south of Zarahemla and Bountiful, Alma 50:7-8,11."

Response: First of all, the name of the king is Limhi. Second, let's take this so-called "fact" one issue at a time.
1) "The land of Nephi is south of Zarahemla."  While this is true, Covino's map does not show this. It shows that the Land of Nephi is to the east of the Land of Zarahemla--in fact, the actual eastern boundary of the Land of Nephi extends 2350 miles to the to the EAST of the eastern boundary of the Land of Zarahemla, with only a 450 miles common boarder to the south, with an entire sea (West Sea) stretching 1000 miles along the northern border of the Land of Nephi. However, the Land of Nephi "was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla..." (Alma 22:27) [underline mine]. It is not possible for this narrow strip of wilderness to run from sea to sea separating these two lands on Covino's map! As for his references, Mosiah 9:14 states: " For, in the thirteenth year of my reign in the land of Nephi, away on the south of the land of Shilom, when my people were watering and feeding their flocks, and tilling their lands, a numerous host of Lamanites came upon them and began to slay them, and to take off their flocks, and the corn of their fields" and his reference Mosiah 21:25 states: "Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla; but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness" neither of which has anything to do with the border between the lands of Zarahemla and Nephi. Now Covino's reference of Alma 50:7 states quite the opposite of what his map shows: "And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his armies should go forth into the east wilderness; yea, and they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands, which were south of the land of Zarahemla." Just to make sure we do not get misled here, the scriptures tell us that the narrow strip of wilderness, which divided the Land of Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi, ran from the the east sea to the west sea, thus, the east wilderness of the Land of Zarahemla was on the East Sea (not possible on Covino's map) and that this east wilderness was north of the East Sea and the eastern border of the Land of Nephi (again, not possible on Covino's map). Of course, to understand this, you need to quote Alma 22:27, which Covino conveniently leaves out of his reference.

2) "Bountiful is north of Zarahemla, but you must go north from Zarahemla to get to Nephi." This is a contradiction in terms, but also is not found on Covino's map. That is, Nephi is not north of Zarahemla on his map, nor is it referenced as such in the scriptural text. Mormon, writing in Alma 22, tells us that north of the Land of Nephi is the Land of Zarahemla, with a narrow strip of wilderness between them, each running from the sea to sea. Then he states that north of there is the Land of Bountiful, and north of there is the Land of Desolation, with a narrow neck of land between (Alma 22:32, and north of the Land of Desolation is the Land of Many Waters, etc. (Alma 22:27-34; Mosiah 8:8; Mormon 6:4). Thus you cannot go north from Zarahemla to get to Nephi--neither the scriptural record, or even his map shows this possible.

3)  "Hence Lemhi (he means Limhi) sends people north to get to Zarahemla but did not find it, they found a remnant of the Jaredites, hence you can't get to Zarahemla from the land of Nephi by only going north." To support his point, Covino quotes Mosiah 21:24-26, which states: "But when he found that they were not, but that they were his brethren, and had come from the land of Zarahemla, he was filled with exceedingly great joy. Now king Limhi had sent, previous to the coming of Ammon, a small number of men to search for the land of Zarahemla; but they could not find it, and they were lost in the wilderness. Nevertheless, they did find a land which had been peopled; yea, a land which was covered with dry bones; yea, a land which had been peopled and which had been destroyed; and they, having supposed it to be the land of Zarahemla, returned to the land of Nephi, having arrived in the borders of the land not many days before the coming of Ammon." This scripture, of course, says nothing about any course from the City of Lehi-Nephi in the Land of Nephi for the party to find Zarahemla--only that they failed to find the City of Zarahemla and found instead the old Jaredite lands. The point is, Covino's statement that "you can't get to Zarahemla from the land of Nephi by only going north" is without merit, scriptural reference, or by any other reason found outside his own mind. Even his own map shows the only way to get to the Land of Desolation from the City of Lehi-Nephi is by going northward. Evidently, Covino assumes that because Limhi's expedition couldn't find Zarahemla, that Zarahemla was not in the direction they traveled; however, such an assumption is without merit. None of this party had ever been to Zarahemla, and were third generation Nephites born and raised in the area of Lehi-Nephi. None of Limhi's people had ever been to Zarahemla and in a Land that stretched from sea to sea, passing by the City of Zarahemla without knowing it would not be difficult.

4) "This is why Limhi in Mos 22:11 bent their course" after going around Shilom." Unfortunately, Covino conveniently leaves out the reason for bending a course in this passage. Five verses earlier, Limhi's Captain of the Guard (Gideon) outlines a plane to escape from the city of Lehi-Nephi and the Lamanties, and tells him: "Behold the back pass, through the back wall, on the back side of the city. The Lamanites, or the guards of the Lamanites, by night are drunken; therefore let us send a proclamation among all this people that they gather together their flocks and herds, that they may drive them into the wilderness by night" (Mosiah 22:6).

Now, the city of Lehi-Nephi evidently faced northward (toward the City of Zarahemla), and Gideon tells him to go out the "back wall," which faced away from Zarahemla, and go through a secret "back pass" and out the "back side of the city" and then, outside, they would "bend their course" back around the city and Lamanite guards, and head northward toward Zarahemla--a course Ammon fully understood since he had just recently come from Zarahemla.

(See the next post, " Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XIV," for points 5 and 6 of the rest of Fact #13)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XII—Covino’s “Facts”

Continuing with Covino's book we come to his free download of so-called "facts" that he claims are inarguable. The first 9 were covered in the previous posts. Here we continue with #10:

Fact #10: "The land of Bountiful is south of the land of Desolation which is the furthest land north and touches the east and west seas, Alma 22:29-31, 33. Similarly, the land of Nephi goes from the same two seas, Alma 50:7. They do not overlay each other since they co-exist simultaneously having the same two seas mutually."

Response: In this last convoluted sentence, we can assume Covino means the two lands both extend from the east sea to the west sea, are separate lands but exist next to one another. In any event, there are several points that can be made from this so-called "fact."

1) Despite Covino's statement, his Land of Bountiful does not extend to the Sea East, only to the Sea West which, as can be seen from his map, is basically south of nearly the entire stretch of land;

2) There is a narrow neck of land separating the Land of Desolation on the North and the land of Bountiful on the South. Their map does not show this (Alma 22:29-30,32). In fact, the scripture says, "Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful" (Alma 22:31), and "it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea: (Alma 22:32); however, on their map, there is no dividing line between the Land Northward and the Land Southward from the east to the west sea--there is a dividing line that runs north and south. Thus, according to the scriptural record, the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful are separated from south to north by a narrow neck of land, with the Land of Desolation on the North and the Land of Bountiful on the south--however, Covino's map shows this separation from east to west, and the dividing line between the two lands covered over 500 miles--hard to cover in a day and a half journey;

3) The border between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation is shown on Covino's map as covering some 2200 miles or more in opposition to the scriptural record of a narrow dividing line;

4) The River Sidon on Covino's map runs to the north of the city of Zarahemla, and the entire land of Zarahemla despite the scriptural record saying it runs to the east and through the Land of Zarahemla from the south wilderness (Alma 22:27,29; 50:11);

5) There is no mention of the Mississippi River (which divides his Land of Bountiful its entire length from north to south) in all of the scriptural record, though it is 2348 miles long, second largest river after the Missouri (2341 miles long, 500,000 square miles draining area), in the United States (which is also not mentioned in the scriptural text, though it is in Covino's Land of Bountiful also and Land of Desolation), and its drainage area covers 31 states, 1.25 million square miles--about 40% of the United States.

Left: Mississippi River; Right: Missouri River, combine for 4689 miles of river through Covino's Land of Promise with no scriptural mention

On the other hand the Rio Grand or Rio Bravo river--Covino's River Sidon--is 1896 miles long, only the fifth largest river in the U.S., and its watershed covers only 182,000 square miles, yet the River Sidon is mentioned continually in the scriptural record, but the Mississippi and Missouri (running a total of 4689 miles in length through his Land of Desolation and Land of Bountiful) are not mentioned at all. Hardly makes any sense at all;

Fact #11:  "The land of Desolation and the land of Cumorah were in the same place north of Nephi, Bountiful, and Zarahemla, Onmi 22; Alma 22:30; 46:17; Hel 3:3-5; Mos 8:7-11."

Response: First of all, Omni 1:22 only states "...and their bones lay scattered in the land northward," which is hardly a reference to the Land of Desolation or the Land of Cumorah, but the overall area north of the Narrow Neck of Land. Secondly, the Land of Cumorah was really in the Land of Many Waters, which is described as being far north of the Land of Desolation. But they were both north of the lands of Bountiful and Zarahemla.There is another point of discrepancy in Covino's map, and that is his Land of Bountiful runs far to the east (about 1000 miles) of his Land of Zarahemla. And his Land of Desolation is about 800 miles east of his Land of Zarahemla though the scriptures point out that it is northward (east is not northward, and not "north of Nephi, Bountiful, and Zarahemla").

Fact #12: "The south and north seas are not the east and west sea, Hel 3:8; 11:20."

Response:  While this is absolutely true, Covino's map does not show this. In fact, his map shows the East Sea separated from the west sea by only about 160 miles with no Land of Zarahemla or Land of Nephi between them as the scriptures point out. In fact, the Land of Nephi stretches from the west sea to the east sea, as does the Land of Zarahemla, AND the narrow strip of wilderness that runs between them from the east sea to the west sea. However, none of this is shown on his map--nor does he have a North Sea on his map.

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XIII" for more of Covino's so-called "facts" that he claims proves his theory and map, but so far has done just the opposite)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XI—Covino’s “Facts”

Continuing with Covino's book we come to his free download of so-called "facts" that he claims are inarguable. The first five were covered in the previous posts. Here we continue with Fact #6:

Fact #6: "The land of Desolation is north of the Missouri river at that location in America, History of the Church, vol II, p 445, and to the narrow neck of land where the east and west seas meet at the lands of Desolation and Bountiful Alma 50:34. The land of Cumorah and Desolation are the same place. Hel 3:3-6; Alma 22:29."

Response:  Alma 22:29 talks only about Bountiful. Evidently, Alma 22:30 was meant. This scripture tells us that the Land of Desolation went so far north, that it came into another land--"it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed" which is another land north of the Land of Desolation. Helaman 3:3-6 says the entire land northward was referred to as desolate because of the wars that took place there among the Jaredites, but does not call it the Land of Desolation. On the other hand, Mormon 6:4 refers to the Land of Cumorah being so far northward that they "did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites." Thus, Cumorah is referred to as being in a land of many waters, or in the Land of Cumorah. In any event, the area or Land of Cumorah, is a very small area compared to the overall Land of Desolation, which is quite large--they are not the same place.

Fact #7: "Mulek and the Jaredites landed in the United States and Lehi landed south of there, Joseph Smith, ibid, and Hel 6:10; Alma 22:30."

Response:  First of all, Helaman 6:10 does not say that at all. Helaman wrote: "Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south." There is no mention of the North American continent, or the United States, etc. In addition, the Land North is not the same as the Land Northward, which has been pointed out by scripture in these posts numerous times. Secondly, Alma does not say that, either. Mormon wrote in Alma: "And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing." When comparing Omni 1:17 we realize that the people of Zarahemla landed where Mosiah found them (in the Land Southward)--this comment is meant to say that it was the place of first landing for the people of the bones (the Jaredites). Thirdly, for a ship "driven forth before the wind," it would be impossible to reach the United States sailing from the Arabian Peninsula in 600 B.C.

Fact #8: "The people of Zeniff went back to the land of Nephi and found it. The land of Shilom and the land of Nephi (meaning the area around their respective cities within the larger land of Nephi) are the exact same place, Mosiah 11:13."

Response:  No, they are not the same place. To say they are is like saying the state of Iowa is the exact same place as the United States. In the Book of Mormon, the Land of Nephi was a very large area that stretched from the west sea to the east sea. Within that land was an area called the Land of Shilom. There was also an area called the Land of Shemlon (Mosiah 11:12) within the Land of Nephi, as was the Land of Jerusalem (Alma 21:1), and the Land of Middoni (Alma 21:12) and numerous other lands. It is not true that the Land of Nephi around the City of Nephi and the Land of Nephi overall were separately called. Alma 22:27 tells us that the Land of Nephi "was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west," however, in Covino's map, there is no such possibility--at best, according to their map, the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla were between the Sea West and the South Sea. In addition, the distance on their map between the City of Zarahemla and the City of Nephi, is 1100 miles as the crow flies, about 1500 miles by land. It is ridiculous to claim that they have a map that is accurate when it does not even agree with simple scriptural points!

Fact #9 "Zarahemla is west of the river Sidon and south of Bountiful, and north of Nephi, Mos 7:6; Alma 6:7; 27:5; 46:22; 50:7; Ether 9:31."

Response: This is absolutely correct. However, their map does not show this. First of all, they have the Land of Nephi actually to the east of the Land of Zarahemla. But more importantly, they have the Sea West to the north of the Land of Nephi, and they have the Land of Zarahemla to the east of the West Sea, and the City of Nephi 790 miles due EAST of the Land of Zarahemla--all of this is in  contradiction to the scriptural account! They also have the Rio Grande, which flows north to south into the Gulf of Mexico, as the Sidon River, which flows from the south wilderness northward past the city of Zarahemla, or from south to north. It is completely disingenuous to claim a map should show something, then present a map that does not follow other descriptive scripture as well.

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XIII--Covino's "Facts" for more of the numerous so-called "facts" Covino claims proves his theory and map)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part X—Covino’s “Facts”

Continuing with Covino's free download of so-called "facts" that he claims are inarguable. The first two were begun in the last post. Here we continue with Fact #3 onward:

Fact #3: "The prophets have declared the Hill Cumorah in New York to be the very one and only one where Moroni buried The Book of Mormon and that is also the same place where the last battles of the Jaredites and Nephites took place, History of the Church, 1948 ed., vol 2, pp 79-80. Also see Doctrines of Salvation under Cumorah."

 The Hill Cumorah in upstate New York is a very low lying hill, and in Joseph Smith's time was denuded of vegetation. Hardly a place where Mormon, Moroni, and some of his generals could have looked down upon the ensuing battle encompassing about a million warriors on both sides.

Response: As stated in the last post, Elder Widtsoe said, "the Prophet Joseph Smith translator of the book, did not say where, on the American continent, Book of Mormon activities occurred." Elder Widtsoe further observed that the hill from which the Book of Mormon plates were obtained by Joseph Smith as Cumorah. This is a fixed point in the Book of Mormon later history. There is a controversy, however, about the Hill Cumorah--not about the location where the Book of Mormon plates were found, but whether it is the hill under that name near which Nephite events took place. A name may be applied to more than one hill; and plates containing the records of a people, sacred things, could be moved from place to place by divine help." One might also want to read the complete information leading to the final 1948 edition of the History of the Church to find that an early church historian working on the record during Joseph Smith's life eliminated such wordage from the record (which was recorded by only one of six men who recorded it), then a later historian added it in.

Fact #4:  "The New Jerusalem, the land Bountiful, the Garden of Eden, and Adam-ondi-Ahman are all in Missouri, Waiting for World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff," p 305; President Romney in a 4th of July speech from 1976, 3 Ne 11:1 and as detailed by Joseph along with many more scriptures."

Response:  There is total agreement on the New Jerusalem, Garden of Eden and Adam-ondi-Ahman were (or will be) in the state of Missouri. However, the line to this area of the Land of Bountiful is less in agreement. In fact, the reference to 3 Nephi 11:1 is disingenuous since it says nothing of that area, only that: "And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place." This can hardly be a scriptural reference to this statement of location. Two other points can be made: 1) Woodruff's comment was stricken from the Church record by Joseph Smith's personal scribe and appointed Church Historian, 2) This particular volume cited is a single book condensed by Susan Staker from the 9 volume Woodruff diaries, in which she took his personal narrative and condensed it into one readable volume along with prefatory information, annotation, and appendices. This is hardly proof of anything since it is unknown what she left out or might have altered in her writing.

Fact #5: "Brigham Young said the Gadianton robbers were in the Rocky Mountains, in a speech at the St. George Temple dedication. Search St. George Temple dedication on line from April 7, 1877. This proves where they lived since spirits live where they used to live while alive."

Response:  First of all, the Temple dedication was held on Friday, April 6, 1877, with the dedication prayer offered by Daniel H. Wells as part of the 47th Annual General Conference of the Church, which covered April 6, 7, and 8, and was held in the temple. On that day, four months before his death, Brigham Young, in a talk held in the Temple at St. George, Friday Morning on April 6, 1877, had only one reference to "robbers" and none to Gadianton Robbers. He said, "But in aiding and blessing the poor I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of a set of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves, and give one-tenth to the poor."  According to the record, Brigham Young did not speak on April 7 or 8. However, on January 20, 1861, 16 years earlier, in a talk delivered in the Salt Lake Tabernacle (not St. George), Brigham Young did say: "There are scores of evil spirits here--spirits of the old Gadianton robbers, some of whom inhabited these mountains, and used to go into the South and afflict the Nephites. There are millions of those spirits in the mountains" which suggests that Satan, and his minions, will be found where the Saints dwell.

Secondly, we have no idea where the spirits live once they leave this earthy life. Whether they stay in the same location, are assigned other areas, or move about is unknown. All we know is that they are either in Spirit Paradise or Spirit Prison, and those in Spirit Paradise are busily engaged in preaching the gospel to those in Spirit Prison. Such a flat-out statement as "This proves where they lived since spirits live where they used to live while alive" is completely disingenuous. That some people, belonging to the Gadianton Robber clan lived in the Rocky Mountains does not mean that was the only place they were during Book of Mormon times, nor their going "into the South to afflict the Nephites" preclude the Nephites from living anywhere to the South of "These Mountains"--which, according to geology stretch basically from the Aleutian Islands to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America as part of the "everlasting hills" we so often speak and sing about in the church today.  In addition, the Rocky Mountains alone, stretch over 3,000 miles from the northernmost part of  British Columbia in western Canada to New Mexico in the United States. So the Nephites were south of there, for "they came down out of the mountains."

Thirdly, Covino's reference is far off and was not part of the St. George Temple dedication or the conference held there in April 1877. Nor did Brigham Young claim the Robbers were in the Rocky Mountains, but in "these mountains," and that "some of them were there," obviously meaning that many others "millions" were elsewhere, and that the Nephites were "south of there."

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part XI--Covino's "Facts" to see more of how Covino twists the facts to try and make them agree with is beliefs.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part IX—Covino’s “Facts”

Continuing with Covino's book we come to his free download of so-called facts that he claims are inarguable. They begin below with our response.

Fact #1: "One of the first things Joseph Smith published when he took over the newspaper was to publish information as to where the Jaredites lived and arrived, northern United States, along with where Lehi landed, current day Southern Panama, T&S 3 (May, June, and Sept., 1842) Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor were also editors of the paper at that time."

Response:  Actually, the reason Joseph Smith took over the publishing of the Times & Seasons was: "In the spring of 1842, in consequence of too many errors appearing in print, the Prophet Joseph Smith took over the editorship [of the Times & Seasons periodical] and announced his personal responsibility for the contents of the paper." Now, with that in mind, Joseph Smith stated, "the Book of Mormon land southward is located in Central America (Middle America), which would be from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec...south to Panama or at least Costa Rica," which, as the prophet pointed out, fits the description in Alma 22:32 as the land that is nearly surrounded by water." (This was the result of his studying a new book by explorer John Lloyd Stevens Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, 1841. (T&S October 1842). Since Joseph turned over the paper to Elder Taylor on November 15, 1842, we can look at his statements during the period from May to November of that year. During the time of his editorship, Joseph made the following comments:

1. The Nephites lived about the narrow neck of land, which now embraces Central America.

2. "Since our Extract was published from Mr Stephens' Incidents of Travel, &c., we have found another important fact relating to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Central America, or Guatemala...is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south.--The city of Zarahemla---stood upon this land as will be seen from the following words in the book of Alma: (he then quoted Alma 22:32), then added, "We are not going to declare positively that the ruins of Quirigua are those of Zarahemla, but when the land and the stones, and the books tell the story so plain, we are of the opinion that it would require more proof than the Jews could bring to prove the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb to prove that the ruins of the city in question are not one of those referred to in the Book of Mormon" (T&S vol 3, 22 September 1842).

3. "When we read in the Book of Mormon that Jared and his brother came on to this continent from the confusion and scattering at the Tower, and lived here more than a thousand years, and covered the whole continent from sea to sea, with towns and cities; and that Lehi went down by the Red Sea to the great Southern Ocean, and crossed over to this land, and landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien [Isthmus of Panama]..." (T&S vol 3, 22 September 1842)."

Again, as has been previously written about in great detail, the knowledge of Joseph Smith's time was that both North and South America (including Central America) was considered one continent--what we refer to as the Western Hemisphere today. Any statement about "this land" referred to the continent (North, Central and South America).

It should also be noted that there is not one single mention that the Jaredites landed in the United States (or even North America) as Covino claims in his Fact #1. Thus his statement: "where the Jaredites lived and arrived, northern United States, along with where Lehi landed, current day Southern Panama" is both false, and extremely misleading--as is his statement about Lehi landing in Panama. Joseph Smith did not say Lehi landed there. What he said was the Nephites lived in the area from Panama to Guatemala, and that Lehi landed somewhere south of the Isthmus of Darien (Panama). Obviously, we know that Lehi's landing site was south of where the Nephites lived (Land of Zarahemla) and south along the coast of the Land of Nephi, which would place the landing site, according to their map, somewhere in northern South America (probably Colombia)--not in Panama.

The Isthmus of Darien is the old name for the entire country of Panama. So south of Darien would be in at least Colombia, South America, or further south

Fact #2:  "Joseph Smith gives us the only information on the capital of the Jaredite nation in Wisconsin, T&S "Truth will prevail" vol III, No 16, June 15, 1842."

Response:  Using Covino's reference in the Times & Seasons, the only mention of the  Jaredites landing area (after quoting much of Ether, Chapter 1) is found on page 820, as part of the story about the "Traits of the mosaic Hisotry" and two books found among the Aztaeca Nations, one in Mexico and one in Ontario, New York, which covered the coming to America of a people and states: "whilst these records, both of them, sanction the testimony of the scriptures in regard to the flood, the tower of Babel, and the confusion of languages, the tradition and hyeroglyphics [hieroglyphics] of the Zaltees, the Colhuacans, and the Azteca nations, in regard to the confusion of languages and their travels to this land, is so like that contained in the Book of Mormon, that the striking analogy must be seen by every superficial observer."

The book found in Mexico claims "In regard to the confusion of languages it is said of the above nations, that there were "fifteen heads, or chiefs of families, that were permitted to speak the same language." The book found in Ontario county, New York, stated, "Again, those nations of families, embodied themselves together and traveled they knew not where, but at length arrived in the country of Aztalan, of the lake country of America." Thus, two books, one found in Mexico, the other in New York, comment about a group of people after the confusion of tongues arrived in America. The final comment by the editor was: "The coincidence is so striking that further comment is unnecessary."

This can hardly be considered that "Joseph Smith gives us the only information on the capital of the Jaredite nation in Wisconsin."

Such scholarship is disingenuous at best, for it fallaciously tries to impart an attitude and statement of Joseph Smith not stated by him. The fact that he quoted it in the T&S article ought to suggest to the most inexperienced reader that Joseph Smith was showing how references to people mentioned in the Book of Mormon might well have been listed in other works.

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two continents? Part X--Covino's "Facts" for more of the numerous so-called "facts" Covino claims proves his theory and map)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VIII

Continuing with Covino's book and Elieson's map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses.

Comment: "Joseph Smith and other prophets of our day have all written and or spoken in conference about where the Nephites, Jaredites, and Adam lived. When they speak, it is the word of God, To suggest otherwise is practically sacrilege, yet many have disagreed with our prophets."

The author and his wife on the hill overlooking the valley of Adam- ondi-Ahman. Behind them is where Adam blessed his family

Response: There is no question among Latter-day Saints that Adam lived in the area of present day Missouri once leaving the Garden of Eden. This area, where he gathered his family before his death is known as Aam-ondi-Ahman, which is located along the east bluffs above the Grand River in Daviess County, Missouri. However, the term "where the Nephites, Jaredites lived" is a disingenuous term added to a known fact about Adam, and are not linked with Adam, certainly not by General Authorities and Prophets. In fact, John A. Widtsoe said, As far as can be learned, the Prophet Joseph Smith, translator of the book [of Mormon] did not say where, on the American continent, Book of Mormon activities occurred. Perhaps he did not know."

It should also be clearly understood that the church does not endorse any single geographical model for Book of Mormon events. Writing in 1890, President George Q. Cannon explained that "the First Presidency have often been asked to prepare some suggestive map illustrative of Nephite geography, but have never consented to do so. Nor are we acquainted with any of the Twelve Apostles who would undertake such a task. The reason is, that without further information they are not prepared even to suggest. The word of the Lord or the translation of other ancient records is required to clear up many points now so obscure."
 Left to Right: John A. Widtsoe, George Q. Cannon, Wilford Woodruff, and Joseph F. Smith

That the First Presidency declined to undertake any suggestive map is significant since that group included not only the Prophet Joseph Smith's nephew, Joseph F. Smith, but also Wilford Woodruff, who had participated in Zion's Camp and had known the Prophet Joseph Smith since the early days of the church.

President Joseph F. Smith was once asked to approve a map purporting to show exactly where Lehi and his family had landed in the Americas. He declined, saying that the Lord had not yet revealed it.

Speaking to the Saints in the April 1929 General Conference, President Anthony W. Ivins stated: "There is a great deal of talk about the geography of the Book of Mormon. Where was the land of Zarahamla? Where was the City of Zarahemla? and other geographic matters. It does not make any difference to us. There has never been anything yet set forth that definitely settles that question. So the Church says we are jut waiting until we discover the truth...We do not offer any definite solution. As you study the Book of Mormon keep these things in mind and do not make definite statements concerning things that have not been proven in advance to be true."

In 1903, President Joseph F. Smith taught that regarding Book of Mormon geography, the question, for instance, of the location of the city Zarahemla "was one of interest certainly, but if it could not be located the matter was not of vital importance, and if there were differences of opinion on the question it would not affect the salvation of the people; and be advised against students considering it of such vital importance as the principles of the Gospel" and cautioned them against making questions of Book of Mormon geography "of equal importance with the doctrines contained in the Book."

In a letter written by Elder Joseph Fielding Smith to Fletcher B. Hammond, who argued emphatically for a Central American location and had sent Elder Smith a copy of his findings, the apostle explained, "I am sure this will be a very interesting although I have never paid any attention whatever to Book of Mormon geography because it appears to me that it is inevitable that there must be a great deal of guesswork."

John A. Widtsoe considered the Cumorah question an open matter worthy of further investigation. "As far as can be learned," Elder Widtsoe wrote, "the Prophet Joseph Smith, translator of the book, did not say where on the American continent Book of Mormon activities occurred." Elder Widtsoe further observed that the hill from which the Book of Mormon plates were obtained by Joseph Smith is definitely known. In the days of the Prophet this hill was known among the people as Cumorah. This is a fixed point in Book of Mormon later history There is controversy, however, about the Hill Cumorah--not about the location where the Book of Mormon plates were found, but whether it is the hill under that name near which Nephite events took place. A name says one, may be applied to more than one hill; and plates containing the records of a people, sacred things, could be moved from place to place by divine help."

Eight months after the publication of the Book of Mormon, an Ohio reporter described the teachings of Oliver Cowdery and his companions as they stopped in Ohio on their way to Missouri: "This new Revelation, they say is especially designed for the benefit, or rather for the christianizing of the Aborigines of America; who, as they affirm, are a part of the tribe of Manasseh, and whose ancestors landed on the coast of Chili 600 years before the coming of Christ, and from them descended all the Indians of America."

Other early reports state that Orson Pratt and Lyman Johnson preached that Lehi landed in South America and that the final battles of the Nephites commenced at the Isthmus of Darien and ended in New York.

Thus we can see that the early Church leaders did not consider North America the only location for the Book of Mormon Land of Promise and, in fact, spoke of it throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. So when Covino says, "When they speak, it is the word of god. To suggest otherwise is practically sacrilege, yet many have disagreed with our prophets" I wonder if he really means it because they did not speak of an areas as shown on his map!

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents?Part IX" for more on Covino's book and the website material)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VII

Continuing with Covino's book and Elieson's map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses.

Comment: "The Nephites did not live in Central America other than shorty after they arrived here; they lived primarily in Bountiful and Zarahemla."

Response:  This is not  correct. The Nephites, of course, that we know in the Book of Mormon did not live in Central America. However, to say they spent almost all their time in Zarahemla and Bountiful is inaccurate. Shortly after landing, maybe within a year or two, Nephi leaves the land of first inheritance and travels to a location his people called the Land of Nephi. This would have been somewhere around 585-580 B.C. The Nephites lived in that spot until about 200 B.C. when Mosiah was instructed to leave and traveled northward to a location where they found the city of Zarahemla. This means the Nephites lived in the Land of Nephi for almost 400 years That is about 40% of the entire time they spent in the Land of Promise.


For the first 550 years, the Nephites were never in the Land Northward

After that, they remained in Zarahemla until about 350 A.D. (expanding into Bountiful somewhere around 100 B.C. or a little earlier). Thus, they lived in Zarahemla and Bountiful from about 100 B.C. until around 350 A.D., when they lived entirely in the Land Northward, vacating the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Bountiful when they were driven out by the Lamanites.

Comment: "This [Book of Mormon] is the record of the Nephites and their journeyings and not an analysis of the archaeological findings left by the apostate Lamanites, Jaredites, or some other unknown group which others haveused as a basis for their geography."

Response:  Actually, the Lamanites and Jaredites occupied lands in the Land of Promise that were identical to the lands the Nephites occupied in various stages. Any artifacts left by the Jaredites or Lamanites would have basically mingled or merged with those of the Nephites. The most obvioius, however, would be the buildings of the Jaredites and the Nephites. We learned in the Land Northward, Limhi's people "traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beats, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been people with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel" (Moiah 8:8).

We also know that just south of there, in the Land Southward, Nephi taught his people how to build very impressive buildings (2 Nephi 5:15-16). There was a temple in Bountiful (3 Nephi 11:1), and temples and sanctuaries and synagogues throughout the land, which were built after the manner of the ews (Alma 16:13; 26:29). We should keep in mind that the Jews did not build with wood,but built their temples out of rock and stone. Also, the Nephites in the Land Northward built their buildings out of cement, and built temple, synagogues and sanctuaries and all manner of building (Helaman 3:9,14).

The point of all th is is simply that any book about the Land of Promise must include the artifacts left behind by these civilizations, i.e., the Jaredites and the Nephites--and not just shards of vases, jewelry, etc., but buildings, temples, sanctuaries and synagogues in both the Land Southward and the Land Northward, built out of stone as did the Jews. We have no record, of course, that the Lamanites built anything, but of the Jaredites and Nephites, built extensively and in materials that would have survived over the centuries. For any writer of the Nephite history to be taken seriously, they must address these structures left behind, or his work will neither be complete, nor his maps and locations correct, for the Jaredites and later Nephites left the remains of extensive building, vast cities, roads, and many other things that would still, at least in part, be clearly evident today.

Nor can we say that Hugh Nibley would be correct in the Nephites not building important edifices, nor can we agree with him that they build out of wood, having palisades for walls, etc., and only mounds of heaped earth as a record of their passing. Such foolishness is to demean the Lord's people and lessen their abilities, which are extensively mentioned in the scriptural record.

Our final point--archaeology should never be used as the basis for the Land of Promise location. Nor should we rely upon statements given by modern man. The only true basis for this should be the scriptures themselves,the words of these ancient prophets,and the descriptions left for us by Mormon, who wrote for a future people which, of course, would be us living today!

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VIII" for more on Covino's book and the website material)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VI

Continuing with Covino's book and Elieson's map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses, continuing with the last comment regarding Hugh Nibley.

Response: At the same time, Nibley was not convinced huge artifacts of buildings typified the Nephites. In a 1972 Ensign article, he wrote: "The archaeologist finds virtually nothing of the remains of the primitive Christian church until the fourth century, because the true church was not interested in buildings and deliberately avoided the acquisition of lands and edifices that might bend it and its interests to this world. The Book of Mormon is a history of a related primitive church, and one may well ask what kind of remains the Nephites would leave us from their more virtuous days. A closer approximation to the Book of Mormon picture of Nephite culture is seen in the earth and palisade structures of the Hopewell and Adena culture areas than in the later stately piles of stone in Mesoamerica."

That, too, is an interesting view of Hugh Nibley. I wonder what he might have thought of the "primitive" Church in Kirtland and later in Nauvoo with their magnificent temples, or the early church in Salt Lake building the fabulous Tabernacle,  the beautiful Assembly Hall, and magnificent Temple? It seems to me that the Church in modern times has been very busy building edifices to the Lord, as no doubt the early Nephites were--certainly the Jews in Jerusalem built a mighty temple in Solomon's time. Consider Nephi's words: "And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Sololmon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Sololmon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine" (2 Nephi 5:15-16).

Evidently the Nephites were very busy building structures out of stone, iron, copper, steel and precious ores.

As for the palisade structures of the Hopewell and Andena culture areas, perhaps we should consider at least one comment in the Book of Mormon. When Samuel the Lamanite returned to the city of Zarahemla, "And now it came to pass that there were many who heard the words of Samuel, the Lamanite, which he spake upon the walls of the city." It seems it would have been extremely difficult to stand upon a palisade structure of the Hopewell and Adena culture. Not only did Samuel stand upon the walls of the city but evidently at quite some elevation for the archers could not hit him with their arrows.

Also consider, that both Nephi and Sam grew up around Jerusalem. Their father, Lehi preached in Jerusalem. Certainly, Nephi knew and understood rock masonry and the structures of the city of Jerusalem, and obviously knew of Solomon's Temple, no doubt having visited it, for he was able to make a comparison between how it was constructed and how he constructed his temple in the Land of Promise. Consider, too, that Nephi knowing of the temple at Jerusalem said of his own temple: "I Nephi, did built a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon...the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon."

In this, as in all situations when deciding between scripture and man's ideas, I will take Helaman and Npehi's words over those of Nibley. However, people like Covino and other theorists, evidently prefer those words of man over those of the scripture.

Comment: "Many try to prove the Book with archaeological findings. That only proves a people lived at a place, not who they were. As more archaeological evidence and DNA is uncovered, more of this version of the geography has been vindicated and exonerated."

Response:  I agree that archaeological findings are no substitute for what the ancient prophets wrote that we have now as scripture. On the other hand, I also believe the same about DNA. First of all, as has been written here before, DNA is not a proven science no matter how much scientists want us to believe that. The errors abound in such work and have been written about by scientists for years. Secondly, when the Lord changed the Lamanite and Ismaelite skin color, along with those who joined them, He did so through the same methods he created all mankind, of which DNA is a part. Obviously, to change a skin color (or any other physical character of the human body), He used, in part, what we call DNA. Stated differently, the Lord changed the DNA of the Lamanties and all those Nephites who joined them, thus producing the dark skin and whatever characteristics that were involved. "And he caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them" (2 Nephi 5:21).

Understanding that, there is no way any DNA record of Lamanite descendants today have any bearing on any group of Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere--for who today can fine a pure Lamanite? There has been enormous intermarrying with European, Asiatic, and other races and groups and people over the 1500 years since, that DNA could not possibly show anything at all worthwhile. Who would you trace a changed DNA to? In all the generations from 400 A.D. to the present, how much would the DNA change? Any one who relies on DNA to try and prove anything of the Book of Mormon is simply using data that has absolutely no value whatever.

(See the next post, "Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VII" for more on Covino's book and the website material)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part V

Continuing with Covino and Elieson map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses.

Comment: “In personal discussions with many of those opponents [of their map], they have all failed when confronted with several of these facts and they have been shown how and why their layouts do not work.” 

Response: An interesting comment, since the map shown by Covino and Elieson is so far off the scriptural account, it is hard to imagine how it could be defended since it violates almost every description the scriptural record makes of the Book of Mormon geography.

Let’s take the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation to start with.
The Land of Zarahemla ran to the north “even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful. And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed…thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful…now it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward” (Alma 22:29-33).

Now this is not rocket science.

There was a narrow neck of land that separated the Land of Bountiful from the Land of Desolation. However, their map shows a line some 2000 miles across, running both east and west and later north and south.

This narrow neck hemmed in those in the Land Southward from the Land Northward—that is, the Lamanites were hemmed in on the south so they could have no more movement (or possession) northward—a common understanding from several scriptures. However, along this 2000 mile line, attacking armies of Lamanites could break through to the north at any time.

The city of Mulek (off the tip of Florida) and the city of Bountiful (in the state of Missouri), on their map, are about 1400 miles apart. Yet, when the Nephites were trying to win back the city of Mulek from the Lamanites, they created a strategem to lure the Lamanites out of Mulek. They marched to the city of Bountiful, then the Lamanites hurried back to Mulek when they realized they had been duped with two armies in pursuit. There is no way this happened over a 1400 mile distance one way, then back again. These distances shown on the map are not at all consistent with the scriptural record (Alma 52:19-29).

Comment:” It is not possible to read The Book of Mormon and follow these maps and not realize it is true and everything fits perfectly.”

Response: As has been shown through this and the last few posts, nothing in their map fits perfectly with the scriptural account.

Comment: “The 'Book' [is used] to show The Book of Mormon geography along with prophetic statements. Once the prophets have spoken, there are no other options, and they have.”

Response: No prophet has ever made a conclusive statement about the location of the Book of Mormon and the Land of Promise other than it was located in the Western Hemisphere—and the Church does not even go that far. There are no “prophetic” statements about the location of the Land of Promise. And if the prophets had spoken prophetically about the Land of Promise location, the Church would certainly back them up, but the Church makes no stand whatsoever where the Land of Promise was located. For any historian or scholar of the Book of Mormon to suggest otherwise is completely disingenuous and fallacious.

Comment: “Many now have agreed with it [their map] and most members who look at the limited Mesoamerica ruins now recognize that they are not Nephite ruins as Hugh Nibley has also always said.”

Response: An interesting comment about Nibley, who, throughout his lifetime believed otherwise, as his defining statement on Book of Mormon geography, published in 1957 states: “It is our conviction that proof of the Book of Mormon does lie in Central America. (An Approach to the Book of Mormon, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 6:442). See also the Millennial Star 124, November 1962, 276; and “Some Fairly Foolproof Tests,” Since Cumorah, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 7:231, and numerous other sources. On the other hand, Nibley was never convinced the stately ruins found in Mesoamerica were made by the Nephites.

(See the next post, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VI” for more on Nibley’s view on this matter, plus more on Covino’s book and material)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part IV

Continuing with Peter Covino, Jr’s map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses. Indeed, we are dealing here with some fanciful and outlandish ideas about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. In the last post, we showed how their very own map includes the sinking of 8 cities not mentioned in scripture, and a land sinking that does not cover the sunken cities mentioned in scripture. This post continues with that idea of the cities that were sunk.

Comment: “The Land of Nephi…where did it go?…and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder. And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.…there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed…And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed…And many great and notable cities were sunk…And behold, the great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned.…and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof…3 Nephi Chapter 8 & 9.” [In a box below this statement] “There also came up a land out of the depth of the sea…Moses 7:14.”

Response: The first part of the above statement was covered in the last post. But as a footnote, we should add that in the scriptures quoted, and in all of 3 Nephi, there is no mention—not a single indication—of any land being sunk. Only cities are identified. Now obviously, the land immediately around the city would seem to have been sunk with the city, buy if a land, say like the Land of Nephi, the Land of Zarahemla, the Land of Bountiful, etc., would have been sunk, one would think it would have been included in the descriptions in 3 Nephi. But the Land of Nephi is not mentioned as being sunk, nor is there any indication, suggestion, intimation, or any clue at all that this happened--instead, Covino goes to archaeology that shows sunken structures in the Caribbean Sea as his source. Archaeology is good to support scriptural events, but should not replace them. Again, as others like to do, Covina is adding something into the scriptures that is not there!

The second point is with Moses 7:14. Why this was included in the manner it was is hard to imagine. The obvious use of this was to show that land that came up had to do with the land that was sunk described above. The point here is, Moses 7:14 has nothing to do with the Nephites, the earth’s changes during the Savior’s crucifixion, or anything else regarding these events. The question “The Land of Nephi…where did it go?” and this Moses scripture make it seem like they are supportive of one another.

Actually, Moses 7:14 has to do with the time of Enoch and states: “There also came up a land out of the depths of the sea, and so great was the fear of the enemies of the people of God, that they fled and stood afar off and went upon the land which came up out of the depth of the sea.” Verse 12 deals with “Enoch continued to call upon all the people save it were the people of Canaan to repent.” Verse 13 starts out with “And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them…” Obviously, without question, the idea that a land came up out of the depths of the sea during the pre-Flood era of Enoch, the 4th great grandson of Adam, who lived three generations before Noah, can have no reference to the Nephites or what happened to the Land of Nephi. Obviously, there can be no reason to include this scripture other than what appears to be an attempt to manipulate the unwary reader.

Map showing site locations (black lettering added from the composite map, and red lettering and boundary line added to show the location of South America and the Caribbean Sea

Comment: “There are those who have tried to say that this Book of Mormon map is incorrect. They miss quote the contents of this book and assuming that their analysis is more correct. I suggest you look at the facts list which is a FREE download at this site and see for yourself.”

Response: The Free download of "facts" will be dealt with in future posts. For now, there can be no question Covino and Elieson’s “the Book of Mormon map” is incorrect. It is flagrantly incorrect. Take the following points:

1. The West Sea is to the east of the Land of Zarahemla, especially that part of the land where the city of Zarahemla resides (present day Mexico). The scriptures are clear that the Land of Zarahemla runs from the west sea to the east sea, placing the city of Zarahemla somewhere in between. A flagrant disregard for the scriptural record.

2. The Sea West is to the South of the Land of Bountiful, and the Land of Bountiful does not border on the Sea East (13). Both of these points are in opposition to the scriptural record. In addition, the Sea West is to the North of the Land of Nephi. Again, this is in opposition to the scriptural record.

3. Mormon tells us Hagoth built ships along the west sea and launched them into the Wet Sea (Alma 63:6 7). This would be impossible according to Covino’s map since no ship launched into his West Sea could go further north than the Land of Bountiful (which was south of where Hagoth built his ships (Alma 63:5)

4. The Narrow Neck (15) is not attached to the Land Southward. Nor could Limhi’s 43-man expedition gone that way on this map, which would be in the complete opposite direction from the City of Nephi than the City of Zarahemla. An odd course for those trying to find Zarahemla. The Narrow Neck is also 160 miles across and 500 miles long—hardly matching the “small” and “narrow” descriptions Mormon used.

5. The City of Moroni location (23) does not match the scriptural location: “the city Moroni; and it was by the east sea; and it was on the south by the line of the possessions of the Lamanites.” for it is about 2000 miles inside Lamanite land (present day Puerto Rico), not by the border of Nephite land.

6. Despite the fact that the area of first landing was the only place the Lamanites occupied until they moved northward into the Land of Nephi, this map shows they occupied a land 1400 miles across from west to east, which has no supportive suggestion in scripture.

7. The scriptures clearly point out that there was a narrow neck of land (15) separating the Land Southward from the Land Northward, and that this narrow neck could easily be defended against the Lamanites approaching from the south. It is also the boundary of the later truce between the Nephites and Lamanites in Mormon’s time, yet this map has no specific separation from these two lands, with a boundary between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation covering approximately 2000 miles, from the Rocky Mountains to the tip of Florida.

8. The scriptures clearly point out that the separation of the narrow neck of land between the Land Bountiful in the Land Southward and the Land of Desolation in the Land Northward ran in an east-west direction, yet this map has such a line running the length of Florida, about 600 miles in a north-south direction.

There are numerous other inaccuracies in this map, but space here is limited. See the next post, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part V” for more on this and other statements about the Covino-Elieson map)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part III

Continuing with Peter Covino, Jr’s map as shown on the Alpha Publishing website entitled Book of Mormon Geography:

Comment: “Other maps use conjecture or suppositions but not actual facts.”

Response: Conjecture means to guess, make assumptions, and speculate. Suppositions means basically the same thing, including work on beliefs and possibilities. It seems a very large assumption or supposition made by Covino is that the entire Caribbean Sea was once a land mass and above water in Book of Mormon times. This means that it would have had to come to the surface sometime in the A.D. period, yet there is no record in geology of such a happening, or even an inference. The Caribbean Plate (a rather diminutive part of the tectonic jigsaw that is the Earth's crust) works like a teeter-totter, with the West Indies islands on one end, and the Panama to lower Central America on the other end—when one comes up, the other goes down—at no time is there any evidence anywhere that both were above sea level at the same time. Thus, that is quite a supposition. Also, it might be said, that it is uncertain what Covino considers “actual facts” in light of those comments made on the last two posts showing how nothing in his map agrees with the scriptural record regarding the geography of the Book of Mormon. It should also be noted that the fault lines along the plate boundary are strike-slip faults, meaning they move horizontally (side past side) and not up and down.

The western portion of the plate is occupied by Central America. The Cocos Plate in the Pacific Ocean is subducted (drives down) beneath the Caribbean Plate, just off the western coast of Central America, which means that the western portion of the Caribbean Plate is being raised (Central America) and forms the volcanoes of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Cost Rica, also known as the Central America Volcanic Arc—what we see above sea level as the land from Guatemala to South America.

Comment: “There are those who have tried to say that this Book of Mormon map is incorrect. They miss quote the contents of this book and assuming that their analysis is more correct.”

Response: We are making no attempt to assume our map is more correct, nor are we miss quoting the contents of their map. What we are doing is comparing their map as it is printed with the best record we have of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise geography, and that is the scriptures themselves, and those who wrote about that geography on its pages. As has already been shown, nothing about the map so far covered, suggests any comparison at all to the scriptures.

Comment: “The land of Nephi [is] mentioned 41 times before 34 A.D. and never after that. The Land of Nephi…where did it go?”

Response: According to their map, the Land of Nephi—the entire Caribbean Sea (1,063,000 square miles)—was sunk beneath the surface of the ocean at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. There are two points to be made here: 1) The last mention of the Land of Nephi was made in 30 B.C., 71 years before the catastrophe Covino claims dropped the Land of Nephi into the Caribbean Sea. The only reason it was mentioned at this time was because both Nephi and Lehi, sons of Helaman, were preaching among the Lamanites there. After converting many, the storyline moves to those converted Lamanites who came down into the Land of Zarahemla to preach among the Nephites. About this time Helaman returned from the Land Northward to Zarahemla. Later, Samuel the Lamanite came (presumably from the Land of Nephi) into the Land of Zarahemla to preach. During these 71 years, the Lamanites were more righteous than the Nephites and there were no incursions from the Land of Nephi into the Land of Zarahemla—the story line surrounds the evil nature of the Nephites. In fact, we now learn of the Robbers and their battles with the Nephites. In the latter part of this period, there was great peace in the land, but later they divided into tribes. Then came the destruction of the land. After Christ’s visit, there was about 200 years of peace throughout all the land. In about 327 A.D., a war broke out between the Lamanites and Nephites. All this fighting was in the Land of Zarahemla and later in the Land of Bountiful until a treaty was obtained, dividing the land at the narrow neck. The next period of fighting was in the Land of Desolation, north of the narrow neck. All the rest of the fighting takes place in the Land Northward—the city of Zarahemla is not mentioned after about 36 A.D., and the land of Zarahemla not mentioned after 34 A.D. until 322 A.D. by Mormon. While Covino claims this is grounds to say the entire Land of Nephi was sunk into the ocean and never heard from again, there is no scriptural evidence to suggest such a thing.

In addition, if there was no Land of Nephi, where did the Lamanites come from with such numbers to battle Mormon's army when Mormon was still in the Land of Zarahemla until about 327 A.D.?

Consider, 2) the lack of mention of any land being sunk. Cities are mentioned—Moroni, Gilgal, Onihah, Mocum, Jerusalem, Gadiandi, Gadiomnah, Jacob, Gimgimno, were all sunk, but others were shaken until they were destroyed (3 Nephi 8:14), others were covered with earth, such as Moronihah, and still others burned, like Zarahemla, Jacobugath, Laman, Josh, Gad, Kishkumen, and still others suffered “exceedingly great” damage, though they remained (3 Nephi 8:15). In all, we know of nine cities sunk into the depths of the sea—hardly a sufficient number for an area 1,063,000 square miles as Covino claims. It should also be understood that “there was a more great and terrible destruction in the Land Northward” (3 Nephi 8:12)—what could be greater than 1,063,000 square miles of land sunk into the sea according to covino? In addition, there were “rocks rent in twain, broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams an din cracks upon all the face of the land” which means the land had to remain on the surface for it to be seen.

Yet, in the area of the map that was sunk, are also placed the cities of Mulek, Lehi, Morianton, Gid, Aaron, Nephihah, Ismael, Midoni that would have had to have been sunk, yet are not listed in scripture. That is eight cities supposedly sunk, but not mentioned as being sunk! This is so inconsistent with his own hypothesis that it is beyond understanding.

It seems obvious that any idea that the entire Caribbean Sea (1,063,000 square miles) came up to cover only nine cities, yet encompass the entire Land of Nephi, is utterly untenable. Especially when we realize that many of these cities that were sunk were in the lands of Zarahemla and Bountiful.

(See the next post, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part IV,” for more of Covino’s comments regarding the map and location of the Land of Promise, and our responses to those claims)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part II

On the website, Book of Mormon Geography, the following statement is made regarding the value and correctness of their map:

Comment: “All others [maps] run into a problem sooner or later that can not be explained or resolved and are only postulations and are in contradiction to the prophetic statements and flow of events.”

Response: First, the part about prophetic statements was responded to in the last post. Second, regarding other maps running into a problem sooner or later—perhaps we should dwell on their map, which spans two continents and covers an area about 3000 miles north to south and 2200 miles east to west.

• The Narrow Neck of Land. Shown as the Florida Peninsula, it is 500 miles long and 160 miles across. It is about 50,000 square miles, and its mean elevation is one hundred feet, with its highest point 345 feet above sea level. This so-called narrow neck is surrounded on three sides, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, with absolutely no land connection to the south. It is believed that the peninsula was inhabited continuously by the Paleoamericans from about 2000 B.C. to about 500 B.C. when a relatively uniform Archaic culture began to coalesce into distinctive local culture--yet, the Nephites did not even know this area existed until somewhere around 150 B.C. or later. It should also be kept in mind that the southern portion of this peninsula is nothing but an uninhabitable swampland filled with fierce Alligators, though no mention of such is mentioned in the scriptural text.

The point is, there is no way to cross from the Land Southward to the Land Northward, even with Covino’s extension of land throughout the Caribbean. Neither does his narrow neck connect the Land of Bountiful to the south with the Land of Desolation to the north. In a roundabout manner, he does have both these lands extending from the Rocky Mountains in a curve into the peninsula, but these two specific lands are to the east and west of one another. It seems to me his map “runs into a problem sooner” than later—in fact, in the very first explanation.

• The Land Southward. Covers 21 states, and portions of another 5, includes the entire area of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, all the islands of the West Indies, all of Mexico and Central America, and about all the ocean on the east between North and South America. This makes the Land of Nephi some 2,800 miles in width and about 950 miles north to south. The Land of Zarahemla about 600 miles across and 725 miles north to south, but the Land of Bountiful about 1500 miles in width and about 1000 miles north to south. This makes the entire Land Southward about 6,250,000 square miles, which is about one-third the size of the entire United States.

In search of Zarahemla, Limhi’s 43-man expedition would have traveled some 4100 miles in a direct route, and probably 4500 miles in their wandering—a round trip of between 8200 and 9000 miles (which is equivalent to back and forth across the United States three times from ocean to ocean) in trying to find the city of Zarahemla—nor would they have ever crossed through the narrow neck of land in doing so. This also means when the Lamanites came down from the Land of Nephi to do battle with the Nephites, it took them 1000 miles of travel to reach the border of the Land of Zarahemla, and another 700 miles to reach the city of Zarahemla—or 1700 miles to do battle. So when Coriantumr made this trip, he covered the 1700 miles so swiftly, he caught the Nephites along the way and in the City of Zarahemla completely by surprise (that's like marching from Salt Lake City to Pittsburg).

In addition, the Land of Nephi on his map is actually as much as 2000 miles to the east of the Land of Zarahemla. Also, the Land of Desolation is actually to the east of the Land of Bountiful, which on his map also runs 1300 miles to the east of the nearest border to the Land of Zarahemla. This means that when Coriantumr came into the center of the land and marched through the most capital parts of the land on his way to the city of Bountiful, he would have traveled some 2900 miles.

The Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi are NOT almost completely surrounded by water on his map, though the scriptures tell us it was (Alma 22:32).

I’m not sure how many disagreements with scripture Covino believes it is okay to have and still be the most correct map made—but so far we have not found one iota of agreement between his map and Mormon’s description of the land.

(See the next post, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part III,” for more comments and responses to the statements made on the website including more evaluations of their map)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part I

On the website, Book of Mormon Geography, the following statement is made:

“The Book of Mormon geography lands and map with DNA evidence; definitive truth, is a scripture based Book of Mormon geography book and is not limited to Mesoamerica or some very small isolated land at the Great Lakes or the central USA. This book locates everything from the narrow neck, to Zarahemla, from Cumorah, to the Land of Promise, Bountiful, and more. All are located with maps in this true version of the information with evidence and DNA info."

This "correct Book of Mormon geography evidence" was written in the book “A Promised Land, the Land of Promise,” by Peter Covino, Jr. "from the basic information given to him by Virginia Elieson and personal study.”

Map of yet another North American model. Copyright held by Book of Mormon Geography and Alpha Publishing. Note the area of the Caribbean Sea

The article goes on to make several claims. We will address those under the term “comment” and our reply under the term “Response.”

Comment: “With the many theorys about the location of the Book of Mormon lands, it is interesting to note that this map is the only map that hung in the offices of the church for over 20 years.”

Response: The fact that a map hung in the Church offices does not qualify it as the site of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. Many pictures hang in the Church Offices and elsewhere in Church locations that depict an idea, a person, or a location that are artists’ renditions, not actual images. This does not disqualify them for their significance. A picture of Christ is significant, however, there are dozens of different images in those pictures and not all can be what Christ actually looked like.

Comment: “Just as all religions can not be right, so all setting for the Nephites can not be right. This is the only geographical setting that actually works while you are reading and following the Book of Mormon and is in agreement with what the prophets have stated.”

Response: A Prophet’s statement may or may not be accurate when they are speaking for themselves. In a recent General Conference, we were reminded of a talk about defending the Salt Lake area from federal troops given by Brigham Young in a morning meeting with the Saints. However, in the afternoon session he corrected himself, saying “This morning you heard from Brigham Young, this afternoon you will hear what the Lord wants said” and completely reversed his earlier comments. We should always keep in mind that the Church has never made any statement regarding the location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise—nor has any Prophet, General Authority, or official when speaking for the Church. I know of no prophet, nor does anyone else once we get past the rhetoric of such claims, that has ever stated where the Land of Promise was located other than simply making a comment or suggestion. In a meeting with the Prophet Joseph Smith, Frederick G. Williams, a former ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, editor, justice of the peace, and early leader in the Church, including a member of the First Presidency from 1833 to 1837—when Joseph Smith was the prophet, and was also the prophet’s personal scribe, wrote down during a First Presidency meeting that Lehi landed along the 30ยบ South Latitude in Chile. While this does not mean anything more than a note made on a paper during a meeting, it certainly stands as high as any other General Authority’s comment about location. The trouble with this kind of information is that members pick and choose which they want to believe and reject opposite views also stated by Church leaders.

Comment: “President Joseph Fielding Smith said, It is preposterous to believe that the Nephites did not live in the United States.”

Response: No disagreement. The Nephites lived throughout the Western Hemisphere. General Authorities have often commented that the American Indians, in North, Central and South America, are Lamanites. Joseph Smith said that Zelph, a while Lamanite General, lived in the area of west-central Illinois, and that the Prophet Orandagus was known from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Neither of these ideas conflict with the fact that the actual land described in the Book of Mormon was not located in North America. We cannot escape the fact that a large number of Nephites, including their women and children, sailed north from the Narrow Neck of Land in the first century B.C. in ships built by the shipwright Hagoth. They went north from a southern location—and we can see their workmanship throughout that northern movement from the Andean area of South America, through Central America and into the area of present day United States.

Comment: (in speaking of their map of the Land of Promise) “All others run into a problem sooner or later that can not be explained or resolved and are only postulations and are in contradiction to the prophetic statements and flow of events.”

Response: First, no map of the Land of Promise should rely solely on prophetic statements. In fact, every map of the Land of Promise should start and end with the scriptural references, descriptions, and understanding. Modern-day prophetic comments (prophetic requires a revelation) should be used to better understand, but never to substitute or replace scripture. The Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow—He will never supplant a scriptural doctrine unless so-stating, such as in the change in the restriction on the priesthood a few years ago.

(See next post, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part II,” for the rest of this response to the last comment, and several other statements made on the website, including a full review of their map of the Land of Promise, including a response to their DNA stand)