Sunday, July 29, 2012

James Warr and his Mormon Geography in Central America-Part II

Continuing with Warr’s counter, but not-so-accurate, claims regarding a Land of Promise in South America:

Warr: "However there are a number of major obstacles to the theory [about South America]. First, if we can move oceans and continents to suit our theory, there are no limits to what could be proposed."

One does not move continents and oceans in describing the Land of Promise. What one does is rely on the records of geologists, plate tectonics, Earth movements and similar criteria that is basically accepted by scientists both of the past and of today. This information differs only in the length of time of the Earth’s existence. In my book, Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths, a case is made against the Big Bang Theory, Universe Expansion, and both C-14 and Long Term time clock dating theories. In that work it is shown that the Earth is only about 13,000 years old or so, a fact, by the way, that Willard Libby, inventor of the C-14 Carbon Clock, found his clock showed, but decided to ignore.
Most Scientists accept the theory of Continental Drift. Whether this happened, and in this manner, is unknown. However, Scientists agree that there has been and is currently a drifting of continents, and at different stages continental shifts, movements, subductions, and collisions have occurred over time

Warr: "Second, most of the geographic references were made by Mormon 350 years after the changes which took place at the time of Christ" 

While Mormon abridged the entire record, the original words and terms were written by the early prophets whose names are listed in their books. Occasionally, Mormon injected his own words into the record, such as in Alma 22:27-35. Again, while Mormon lived about 300 years after the destruction that “changed the land,” he had all the records of the Nephites, which Helaman claimed were “many” (Helaman 3:13). Mormon, unlike many of today’s Book of Mormon historians, did not write from opinion, but had all the records to refer to when he abridged the writings, including the Spirit to guide him in this work. While he obviously could not know from his own experience the differences brought about by the destruction of the Land of Promise around 33 A.D., he had the writings of those who lived through that period and the writings and descriptions of the land of those who lived before and those who lived after. 

As an example, we cannot really knon from our own perspective what once existed where the Bonneville Salt Flats are now located, or what Zion National Park once looked like, nor can we see the Inland Sea that once occupied the Great Basin. 

Temple of Aeolus, now known as Angels Landing, Zion National Park, located in southern Utah. Photo is a stereogram taken in 1872 of the 1208-foot tall rock formation. The entire area sits at 5790 feet elevation, with its slot canyons, soaring towers, monoliths and scenic sandstone

However, we can fully understand from written history what all these areas were once like and more-or-less what caused their current appearance.

Warr: "There was still a narrow neck during his time and some of the last battles were fought there.

Oh, contraire. After the destruction in 3 Nephi, which depicts the tremendous changes to the Land of Promise, there is no further mention of 1) the East Sea, 2) the east seashore, or 3) the Narrow Neck or Small Neck of Land. The term “narrow neck” or “narrow neck of land” is mentioned only once, in Alma 63:5, and the term “small neck” or “small neck of land” is mentioned only once in Alma 22:32, both of which reference the small area between the Land Northward and the Land Southward. Those terms are not used after 3 Nephi, or the time of the destruction during the crucifixion of the Savior. Mormon writes of the battles around the City of Desolation, beginning in 361 A.D. (Mormon 3:7), and two years later the Nephites left that area to battle the Lamanites (Mormon 4:1), but the Lamanites in that battle drove the Nephites back and took possession of the city of Desolation (Mormon 4:2). Other battles took place near there, such as the city of Teancum, and eventually, the Nephites were driven out of the Land of Desolation entirely (Mormon 4:19). But there is no mention b y Mormon in all of these ensuing battles that they took place in the narrow neck of land.

The term Narrow Pass is mentioned twice in Alma (50:34 and 52:9), and once in Mormon (3:5), and a narrow passage mentioned once in Mormon (2:29), all of which refer to the pass or passage between the Land Southward and the Land Northward.

Warr: "Third, there is no geologic evidence that the Amazon basin was underwater during Book of Mormon times, or for that matter, any time during recent geologic history."

Once again, this is simply not true. See the previous post on this subject. One note not included in that post is that every year, over 155,000 square miles of the Amazon Basin is covered by water and results in the most extensive system of riverine flooded forests on Earth. This occurs because the Amazon Basin is basically flat and low-lying, floods occur every rainy season. Much of this land is still at sea level or just below and the water can rise up to fifteen feet above its normal height, and the the water level rises by 30 to 45 feet. Tens of millions of acres of rainforest are covered by water as the flood advances. Eventually, "as the Amazon Basin floodwaters drain into the Atlantic Ocean, the water levels begin to fall and the forests "rise" again from the water." In fact, the land is so flat and some below sea level, that the Amazon River is as wide as thirty-five miles in the Basin, and 200 to 300 miles wide near its mouth.

Warr: "Fourth, the Andean chain of mountains are too massive and elevated to allow for a narrow neck, even if we were to lower the continent by a thousand feet."

The height of the Andes Mountains has nothing to do with a narrow pass, narrow neck, or anything of the kind. Either Warr is blowing smoke, or does not understand the geography of the Andean area. As shown in the following diagram taken from Satellite photos, a narrow neck between the Land Northward (Ecuador and part of Colombia) and the Land Southward, (Peru, and parts of Bolivia and Chile) do not require a pass or narrow neck through the Andean Mountains!

Bay of Guaraquil and the Narrow Neck to the WEST of the Andean Mountain Chain

In this drawing, note that the Andes runs north and south as does the Narrow Neck of Land. The width of this narrow neck is about 26 miles across to where the Sea East once was located, and now the location of the Andes Mountains "whose height is great." The bay, or gulf of Guayaquil cuts into the Andean shelf, or land west of the Andes, providing a narrow neck to the east in which is located a north to south running pass, called the Pass of Huayna Capac in which an important Inca battle took place  in a stand against the invading Spanish Conquistadores.

Warr: "Fifth, it doesn't match the criteria for Book of Mormon lands listed in the text."

Well, now that is interesting. In my book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, there are 65 distinct statements, descriptions, and comments in the scriptural record that directly relate to and are found in the Andea area—many of which are not found anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, such as the the cureloms and cumoms, neas and sheum, and the cinchona tree which provides the only source of natural quinine for fevers (malaria) prior to the 20th century, not to mention the  numerous stone walls, buildings, temples, magnificent road and highway system, etc., as well as many other matches. Numerous articles have been written and posted here on the subject of these numerous matches. Obviously, Warr is not very familiar with the Andean area of South America.

Warr: "Sixth, Joseph Smith's opinion in the Times and Seasons (Vol. 3, #22) indicating that the land of Zarahemla was in Central America would tend to eliminate this location."
Much has been written about what Joseph Smith said on this and many other subjects. Dr. John L. Lund claimed that "According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the city of Zarahemla was located south of the Rio Grande in Guatemala and Central America." This claim rests entirely on several articles appearing in the Times & Seasons newspaper during the fall of 1842, a time when Joseph Smith was in hiding from the law for a crime he did not commit.

According to Rod L. Meldrum, in an article written in March 2012, that “while Joseph Smith's name appeared on the end-plate of the paper as being its editor, as was customary at that time, there is no historically verifiable evidence that he participated in the writing, publication or printing of these specific articles or edited these editions whatsoever. Official Church historians know this fact, along with the fact that every single article proclaimed by Lund to be written by Joseph Smith was unsigned and that their authorship is historically unknown. Lund claims that "new research has confirmed that Joseph Smith was indeed the author of this and several other articles proclaiming the lands in Central America and Southern Mexico were the lands of the primary American events in the Book of Mormon." However, what Dr. Lund does not disclose is that the new research he is referring to... is his own, and is based solely on comparing word usage of several early brethren of the Church. It is simply an attempt to link the articles in question to the Prophet Joseph, because these few unsigned and unknown authored articles make up the last remaining historical hope for Mesoamerican theorists to shore up their collapsing speculations that Joseph Smith was abandoning his earlier revelations wherein he indicated a North American setting.”

The point here is, trying to link Joseph Smith or early Church brethren to a factual statement on the location of the Book of Mormon lands is not creditable, since not one of these men ever made such a declaration as a fact or stand of the Church, though several did offer their own opinions on the subject--one of which is that Lehi landed at the 30º south latitude in Chile.

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