Friday, June 28, 2013

Answering More Comments from the Website – Part II

Following are more of the comments that have been sent in to our website that we are answering here:
Comment #1, “I ran across this map recently, but have no idea of any article that was once attached to it. The map shows an interesting idea about Mexico and Mesoamerica, as well as all of the United States area, showing a large, overall Land of Promise. I was wondering if you have seen it and what you think of it” Clark G.
Response: The map you sent is one of several presented by Wheeler Research on a “Restored Israel” website, which includes the subheading: “An LDS Perspective On the Restoration of Israel, Scriptural Science, Prophesy, and the Building of Zion.” The best I can uncover is that the author of all this is Tom Wheeler, a BYU graduate, but since his name does not appear on the website, this might not be accurate. The problem with the map is that it establishes a major issue with a cutaway of northeastern Mexico, which he claims is an Ancient Extension of the Gulf of Mexico, which, as far as my research has uncovered now and over the past, never existed. At one time, a significant body of water (referred to as the Central American Seaway) separated the continents of North and South America, allowing the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans to mix freely through what is now Panama. Beneath the surface, two plates of the Earth’s crust were slowly colliding, forcing the Pacific Plate to slide under the Caribbean Plate, which movement eventually forced some areas above sea level—specifically that area of lower Panama about 3 million years ago. Granted there is a difference between geological dates and those of the biblical record, however the point is that there is no record at any time of a waterway cutting into most of northern Mexico and forming a much larger Gulf of Mexico as Wheeler claims. He has created this huge gulf in order to create a narrow neck of land between Mexico and the U.S., the latter being his Jaredite lands, from around the Rockies to the Atlantic Ocean. Unfortunately, he gives no support to this gulf, its opening and or its closing, and as a problem for him, there is a great deal known and understood geologically about this entire area and nothing so far in print to agree with his point of view. Until that can be resolved, and shown to be accurate, there is no reason to pursue such a map or all the other claims he makes.
Comment #2: “I saw the attached map where the line between Bountiful and Desolation was 50 miles and covered in 1.5 days” Killian.
A line from Buffalo, New York, to Consesus Lake, one of the Finger Lakes just east of Geneseo, New York. This area has no narrow pass, no defensible area, and can easily be skirted to the east of the lake between the other several Finger Lakes. Also this so-called "Sea East" does not run completely along the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla and cannot be said to nearly surround the Land Southward
Response: The reference to which you refer is taken from the "True Book of Mormon Geography" website and found under the heading of “Line Bountiful: Line Defined” in which it refers to the boundary line between lands, i.e., between Bountiful and Desolation, obviously referring to Alma 22:32. I am always surprised to find people saying how far a day and a half journey was for a Nephite. Mesoamerican Theorists claim it is about 144 miles, with John L. Sorenson citing how far certain Indians have been known to run. However, two things need to be kept in mind: 1) Mormon is using this example for a future reader to understand the distance across the narrow neck of land he is describing, and 2) Mormon knows this will be read by a future reader in some distant generation and society, and uses a typical man walking at a typical gate, otherwise the example is meaningless.
Consequently, how far can a typical man walk in an 18 hour period with a 12 hour rest during darkness? While the average man can walk about 3 miles an hour (one mile every 20 minutes), that pace cannot be maintained for very long. The simple answer is merely to go out and see how far you can walk for four or five hours straight without a break. Most men can cover about 3-4 miles the first hour, 2-3 miles the second hour, 1-2 miles the third hour, and barely a mile the fourth hour, for a maximum total of 7-10 miles before giving out. When pacing yourself at about a 2 mile an hour gate, most men can cover 10 miles in five hours, but give out after that. 
When I was in the military, we had forced marches, 20-mile marches, 50-mile marches, etc. And even in top shape, walking on level ground, marching in route-step, with ten minute breaks every hour, the best record in the units I dealt with was approximately 15-20 miles for 10 hours. When moving across uneven ground, that distance dropped to about 10-15 miles in 10 hours, and across low hills, around cuts, stands of trees, etc., the pace dropped to about 10 miles in 10 hours. Of course, Herculean efforts are always recorded, miraculous achievements known, records achieved, but average men in average conditions—which would have been the objective of Mormon’s example—are far from record breaking.
The Boy Scouts have a 50/20 walk event, where there is no sleeping break—just stopping occasionally for meals usually delivered by others. The walks are generally on roads, typically level ground or low hills, and you walk at your own pace, though generally you stay in groups. On the two done in my area recently, the first one only two teenagers finished out of the 48 (14 years to adult) that started, and in the second, only four finished. All the others dropped out after ten, fifteen, twenty miles, etc. Of the 6 that finished in the two events, only one was an adult, the others were 16-18 year old teenagers, including two girls. But even at 50 miles in 20 hours, the finish rate was 7%--hardly what might be considered a typical accomplishment.
Of the 6 that finished in the two events, only one was an adult, the others were 16-18 year old teenagers, including two girls. But even at 50 miles in 20 hours, the finish rate was 7%--hardly what might be considered a typical accomplishment. 65% never made it past the half-way point
So the next time you read about the narrow neck of land that a Nephite could cross in a day and a half journey, consider going out and verifying if that distance they claim is even reasonable. Of course, you might run across the person who determined the fifty miles above, who says: “The width of Book of Mormon lands at Bountiful and Desolation was therefore 50 miles. If the width of the Land Bountiful in your  model is more or less than 50 miles, it's wrong. The width of the rest of Book of Mormon lands could be more, less, or the same.” My answer, as always, is go out and do it, then tell me it was that width!
Comment #3: “I was reading Dr. Joseph Allen’s book “Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon,” in which he said, “Bruce Warren, coauthor of the Messiah in Ancient America, discovered that Ixtlilxochitl made an error in calculation that placed the creation of the earth at 4825 BC and the flood date at 3109 BC.  For the sake of this study, I will place the 3114 BC date as representative of the flood. I have not been able to reconcile the 2350 BC flood date, which scholars derive from the Bible, with archaeological reports or with Book of Mormon and Mesoamerican histories.” I assume you have an opinion on this” Hernando Z.
Response: What I find interesting about this time of reasoning is the willingness of Book of Mormon scholars to take the word of Ixtlilxochitl or some other historian over that of Moses and the Lord.  The Flood occurred in 2344 B.C. according to Genesis and the Book of Moses, and there is nothing anyone can do about changing that fact for the Lord told it to Moses, and Moses wrote it down chronologically. Perhaps it would be wise for Allen to reject archaeological reports and Mesoamerican history in favor of the Biblical dating system of the Flood as the Lord told it to Moses.  As for Book of Mormon history, there is no mention of the Flood by date, and only twice is the word flood used at all: 1) Alma 10:22, referring to the Flood in the days of Noah, and 2) Ether 13:2, that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land, it became a choice land above all other lands.  Thus, one can hardly have any difficulty with Book of Mormon dates and the Flood.  That there would be problems with Mesoamerican history and the Mayan calendar may be true, but that has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon history.  And the fact that these two don't jive ought to be another proof that the Lehi Colony did not land in Mesoamerica; however, with these Theorists, when questionable historical data disagrees with the revealed word of God in the Book of Mormon or the Bible, they will take so-called Mesoamerican history every time, which should cause a person to ask "why"?

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