Thursday, June 13, 2013

Criteria for the Book of Mormon Lands – Part III

Continuing with the list of 16 items that an article sent in to us states that the Land of Promise location must meet, the first twelve were covered in the last post, with number thirteen beginning below:
 (13)  Must be in the Western Hemisphere but where Joseph Smith could not have known about in 1829
Response: Knowledge of the Peruvian Andes was not available in America New England until much later than Joseph Smith’s time. He did, however, learn of Mesoamerica and the ruins there later in his life. The first LDS to see the Andean area was Parley P. Pratt, who traveled there in 1852, but did not stay long because of Chilean internal wars, and never visited any of the ruins along the coast.
14)  The winter climate must be bearable enough for Lamanite combatants to wear loin-cloths and shaven heads (Alma 3:5, 20-25)
Response: The scriptures quoted make no mention of winter months. In fact, there is no indication anywhere in the Book of Mormon regarding winter time or summer time. There is a mention of “the heat of the day” in Alma 51:33, but most anywhere in the Western Hemisphere is going to be heat during the day during many months of the year, at least from the northern United States to the middle of Chile in South America. There is also a mention of “some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land” (Alma 46:40), which suggests a summer time, but no mention of weather conditions relating to clothing or attire.
Lenape (Delaware) Indians of Canada wore loincloths; Center: Shoshone Indians of Wyoming wore loincloths; Right: Apache in Arizona wore loincloths. The weather seemed to have nothing to do with the wearing of loincloths
The fact that the Lamanites wore loincloths is not unique in the Western Hemisphere—almost all North American Indians wore loincloths in one way or another, and some in cold weather, like the Sioux in the Dakotas (see earlier posts on this subject). Mesoamerican Theorists like to insert “winter” into this subject, though it is never mentioned in the scriptural record, because it validates their tropical model location. However, the fact of the matter is, armies have since time in memorial attacked in the spring and summer months, and settled down in the winter months for the Spring thaw. The Book of Mormon repeats over and over again, that the wars or battles between the Nephites and Lamanites occurred in parts of the year, and after fighting, the Lamanites retreated back into their lands to the south—typically a description of fighting in summer and holing up in winter. Had Napoleon and Hitler been smart enough to do that, there would probably be no Russia today.
(15)  The land must show evidence of substantial gold and silver in the Land of First Inheritance, the Land of Nephi, the land of Zarahemla and the land of the Jaredites. (Helaman 6:9)
Response: In all the Western Hemisphere, gold and silver (and copper) deposits are the highest in the countries of Peru and Chile. Mesoamerica is far down the scale. As an example, Peru produces 170 metric tonnes of gold per year, compared to Mexico (mostly in the north) with 60 tonnes (Chile produces 40 tonnes). Guatemala is not even listed. In silver, Peru is the top producer in the world with 124 million ounces, which accounts for 18% of the world’s silver production, Mexico is second with 105 million ounces; Chile is fourth with 51.5 million ounces; Bolivia is fifth with 42.6 million ounces, and Guatemale is not listed (Andean land of promise area combined has 228 million ounces, Mesoamerica less than 110 million ounces). And in Copper, Chile is the largest producer in the world with 5.3 million tonnes, which is about 35% of the worlds copper production; Peru is third with 1.3 million tonnes; and Mexico is 18th, with 129,000 tonnes. Again, Guatemale is not in the top 50.
(16)  An Agricultural Base to support several millions of people, Columbus having visited the area.(1 Nephi 13:12)
Columbus first set foot on the mainland of South America during his 3rd voyage. Not until his 4th voyage did he stop in Central America. He never set foot in North America or in Mesoamerica
Response: First of all, Columbus never visited Mesoamerica (Mexico or Guatemala). His furthest north landing in Central America was during his fourth voyage in which he landed in Honduras and Nicaragua in 1502 and called the area Honduras (depths) because of the deep waters off the north coast. Columbus also visited Costa Rica (1502) and Panama (1502) and the mainland of northern South America (1498). However, the main thing is that the conquering Spanish under Cortes landed in Mexico and Honduras; Pizarro in Peru and Chile; Alvarado in Guatemala and Peru; Belalcazar in Ecuador and Colombia; Cordoba in Yucatan—indicating these were the areas where the most damage to the indigenous natives (Indians) occurred (2 Nephi 1:11).
As for an agricultural base, the Andean region from Chile to Colombia, produces large quantity of agricultural foods. Chile is 5th in the world in production of plums (Mexico 23rd,), Chile 7th in world in grape production; Chile 10th in Apple production (Mexico 20th Peru 44th Ecuador 76th); Mexico is 5th in orange and citrus production; Ecuador is 4th in banana production (Mexico 9th); Chile 31st in Apricot production (Mexico 51st, Ecuador 61st, Peru 64th); Bolivia is 10th in Soybean production; Mexico is 10th in tomato production, Chile is 17th, Colombia is 36th, Guatemala is 44th; Peru is 3rd in Artichoke, Chile is 10th, Mexico 22nd; Mexico is 10th in onion production, Peru 23rd, Chile is 34th; Mexico is 4th in maize production; Mexico is 4th in sorghum production; Mexico is 30th in wheat production; Ecuador is 7th in cocoa bean production, Colombia is 8th, Mexico is 9th producing about 1/3 as much as Ecuador; Peru is 13th; Colombia is 3rd in coffee bean production, Mexico is 7th, Guatemala 8th, Peru 9th, Honduras 10th, Ecuador 17th, Bolivia 33rd; Chile is 9th in fish production, Colombia 11th, Ecuador 14th, Mexico 36th, Peru 48th; Mexico is 6th in sugarcane production, Colombia 7th. The point of all of this is to suggest that the Andean region of South America produces more food, despite its small size per country, than the area of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras (Meseamerica).
The problem with this list is that it does not include numerous scriptural record criteria, that are not found in Mesoamerica or North America, but found in Andean Peru, such as:
1. Two indigenous animals equivalent to elephants in use that would be unknown to Joseph Smith in 1828 (Ether 9:19);
2. Two indigenous grains that would be equivalent in use to corn and wheat that would be unknown to Joseph Smith in 1828 (Mosiah 9:9);
3. A metal used for decoration not known to Joseph Smith in 1828 (Mosiah 11:3);
4. Indigenous herbs and plants used to cure fever not known to Joseph Smith in 1828 (Alma 46:40);
5. Gold, silver and copper as a single ore (1 Nephi 18:25);
6. An area where seeds from Jerusalem would grow abundantly and produce abundant crops (1 Nephi 18:24)
7. A vast area connected by roads which led from city to city and region to region and to all places of the land (3 Nephi 6:8);
8. A land where high mountains exist (Helaman 14:23), and where seams and cracks exist in solid masses of rock above and below the earth (Helaman 14:22);
9. A land with four seas surrounding it now or in the past (Helaman 3:8);
10. A land where the earliest development was along the southern coast and gradually moved northward (Alma 22:28-30);
11. Defensive stone walls built, and fortified walls across the land to stop an enemy force from the south (Alma 48:8; 52:6; Helaman 4:7);
12. A land where advanced textile, metallurgy, and gold and silver coined money was used in B.C. times (Alma 1:29; Helaman 6:13;12 Nephi 5:15; Ether 10:23; Alma 11:4)
More could be added, but the point is, there are numerous scriptural descriptions that are not consistent with Mesoamerica, Mexico or anywhere in the United States, and most found only in the Andean area of South America.
(See the next post, “Criteria for the Book of Mormon Lands – Part IV – Understanding the Nephite Monetary System,” which was the 8th criteria mentioned earlier)

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