Sunday, October 13, 2013

Problems With Joseph Allen’s Map and Matching Points – Part II

Continuing from the last post with the fourth and fifth points of Joseph Allen’s so-called matches to the scriptural record of Mesoamerica as the place for the Land of Promise:    
    4. The historical evidence from the area must provide valid findings that dovetail with the customs and traditions associated with the peoples and dates of the Book of Mormon.
    Despite all the confusion about historical evidence and its so-called proofs, the only information about this period of time in the Americas is found in legends and myths. No writing has survived, no current people can be shown to date to that period other than the possibility of Lamanite descendency, etc., and the knowledge claimed to exist came from memories over a thousand-plus years later, after the events described. In Andean South America, the legends speak of four brothers with sister wives, etc., which is closer to the scriptural record than anything in Mesoamerica.
    5. The geographic configuration of the area must resemble an hourglass as a reflection of two land masses and a narrow neck of land (an isthmus) dividing the two. The hourglass must be on its side in a horizontal position to justify the Nephite cardinal directions of “northward” and “southward” associated with the two land masses.
It is hard to see an hourglass shape in Mesoamerica, which is one of the comments or likenesses of Allen’s list
    Now this is the one that Mesoamerican has stumbled over since its first being presented as the Land of Promise in the middle of the last century. Mesoamerica is neither shaped like an hour glass, nor tilted in the correct directions. While these Theorists have written scores of pages about why the directions do not match the scriptural record, they cannot get past this one glaring problem with their model. Mesoamerica runs east and west, not north and south and no amount of explanation can change that simple fact. Take for instance, Mormon’s description in Alma 22 of this northward running Land of Promise which begins with the Lamanite lands in the south and runs to the Land of Desolation in the north, beyond the narrow neck of land:
1. Lehi’s landing was along the seashore of the West Sea south, in the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:28);
2. The Land of Nephi (Lamanite lands) ran from the the West Sea to the East Sea (Alma 22:27);
3. Land of Nephi was divided from the Land of Zarahemla to the north by a narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27);
4. North of the Land of Zarahemla was the Land of Bountiful (Alma 22:29);
5. North of the Land of Bountiful was the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:30-31);
6. Between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation was a narrow strip of land, narrow enough that it could be crossed by a Nephite in 1 ½ days (Alma 22:32);
7. Northward in the Land of Desolation was the area of the Old Jaredite Lands (Alma 22:30);
8. North of the Land of Desolation was the Land of Many Waters, which also included the Land of Cumorah, and the Hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:4)
    So how is it Allen’s map (and the models of all Mesoamerican Theorists) show Desolation to the west of Bountiful, and Bountiful mostly to the east of Zarahemla, and since the narrow neck of land lies between Bountiful and Desolation, why does Allen’s map show this narrow strip of 1 ½ day journey to the south of Bountiful, to the south of Zarahemla, and to the west of Desolation?
Consequently, in Allen’s map, Bountiful is to the east of Desolation, contrary to Mormon’s description, and if you went north from Bountiful, you would be in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, though the Pacific Ocean is due south of Mesoamerica, Allen calls it the West Sea, and calls the Gulf of Mexico the East Sea, though it is due north of the land area. And looking at the narrow neck of land, it is supposed to be a day and a half distance, and lies between Bountiful and Desolation, but Allen’s map has it lying between and extended Land of Desolation (not described this way in the scriptural record) and a land which would have to be the Land of Zarahemla, not Bountiful. Also, it would not take anyone a day and a half to cover 12 miles. Walking at the slowest pace of one mile an hour, it would take only one day to cover 12 miles.
    Now anyone who has studied these Mesoamerican models knows that John L. Sorenson spent some time trying to explain away the incorrect directions between Mesoamerica and the scriptural record. Others had lent their hand in trying to explain this huge divergence from what Mormon wrote. All settle on the fact that, according to the Theorists, the Nephites did not know their cardinal directions. However, that argument is disingenuous since Mesoamerica, which is almost due east and west, the sun would have risen in the east and set in the west, so no matter what anyone else can say about it, Lehi, Nephi, Sam, Zoram, and their wives, all from the Jerusalem area, were familiar with the fact that the sun rose in the east and set in the west.
    No attempt to change this fact is possible, nor can it be argued, as Sorenson does, that the sun would have been at a different angle during some of the year because anywhere from about 30º North Latitude to 30º South Latitude will have the same basic swing of difference in the rising and setting of the sun—and within that distance falls both Jerusalem (32º N), Mesoamerica (15º N), and Andean Peru (10º S). In fact, Mesoamerica is only about fifteen degrees different than Jerusalem, which is about the same difference between Billings, Montana, and El Paso, Texas; or between Logan, Utah, and Brownsville, Texas. Obviously, the sun between Mesoamerica and Jerusalem would not have been so different that a compass direction would have been difficult. Consequently, Sorenson’s argument, and that of Mesoamerican Theorists, is simply not valid.
    It is this type of changing and ignoring the scriptural record in favor personal belief or historical thought that marks the Mesoamerican Theorist in trying to defend their model. Their arguments simply fall far short of the facts involved.
    It should also be kept in mind that the Nephites would have needed to know the correct time of the year for planting and harvesting, and would have built some type of solar or lunar observatory as has been found in both Mesoamerica and Andean Peru. Consequently, we are not dealing with ignorant savages here, or unlearned races such as Sorenson points out in his many arguments on directions, but we are dealing with an advanced culture throughout the Book of Mormon.
The ancient Andean observatory at Chankillo in Peru, displays solar horizon astronomy, which uses the rising and setting positions of the sun to determine the time of year—these could easily be used to compare with sun movement in Jerusalem where Lehi’s family were farmers and dependent upon the movement of the sun

(See the next post,” Problems With Joseph Allen’s Map and Matching Points – Part III,” for more of Allen’s comments regarding his premise of the Land of Promise being in Mesoamerica)

No comments:

Post a Comment