Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Zeroing in on a Theory – Part II

Continuing from the last post with more of the points that are absolute musts for a Land of Promise model and its adjoining theory to be accurate. The previous post covered the first eight points that match the scriptural record and cannot be discarded, ignored, or explained away. In addition, any Land of Promise must contain the following additional areas as described in the scriptural record, which are also inarguable since they are clearly stated, and cannot be ignored, even though there is only one place in the Western Hemisphere where they can all be found:
9. Two animals that were unknown to Joseph Smith, that were “useful to man” as the elephant (Ether 9:19). No animal in the entire Western Hemisphere outside of the Andean area of South America has two such animals that are indigenous and that correctly fit that description.
    10. Two valuable grains that were unknown to Joseph Smith that were on a par with corn, wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9). This would be grains that were not only healthy, but contained quality nutrients as the other three. Again, only one place in the Western Hemisphere is known to have had such grains in Nephite times.
    11. Plants and herbs used for medicinal purposes, specifically one that cured fever and kept people from dying with fever (Alma 46:40). Fever deaths, of course, are the result of malaria, simply called “fever” anciently, and only one place in the entire world where an indigenous plant grows that produces a cure for malaria and that is the cinchona tree in Andean South America, which produces quinine from its bark. Obviously, no other model anywhere in the world outside of Andean South America could meet this requirement.
    12. Walls of stone. As found in Alma: “And also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8). Since these were defensive walls that were built to defend the country against Lamanite attacks, they would have been built well, and not merely stacked rocks which could be knocked over, but sturdy construction to withstand an army’s concentrated assaults. Such walls would be found even today, certainlyh intact and obviously showing their sturdy and defensive use as are the walls in Andean Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.
    13. Roads and Highways. “And there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8). Obviously these were not just a few simple roads, but highways that led to numerous cities and places within the Land of Promise, and can be found in Andean South America, from Ecuador to Chile and throughout Peru.
    14. A climate that matched or very similar to Jerusalem, including temperature, precipitation and soils where seeds from Jerusalem would have grown and produced an exceedingly large and bountiful harvest (1 Nephi 18:24). Only two such climates exist in all of the Western Hemisphere--Southern California in the north and 30º south latitude in Chile in the south.
    15. At the time of Alma in the last century B.C., a major river ran from the south to the north, from the narrow strip of wilderness between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi, past to the east of the city of Zarahemla, and emptied into the sea. This river was wide enough and had enough downward flow to carry hundreds of bodies along and deposit them in the sea (Alma 44:22). Such a river exists in Peru that actually runs north, while those in Mesoamerica run contrary to their model's north.
    16. The land had to have been able to be reached from the southern Arabian coast in 600 B.C. in a weather ship “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 18:8-9), that is, the currents and winds had to drive the ship from the Arabian coast to the final location of the Land of Promise. According to the scriptural record, this was non-stop (1 Nephi 18:21-23).
The winds and currents move a vessel along the route shown. Once past the 30º south latitude in South America, the current picks up again and is pushed westward back out into the ocean by the Peruvian bulge and into the South Pacific Gyre toward Australia. A ship “driven forth before the wind” would not have been able to reach further northward to Central America
    17. Copper ore containing both gold and silver “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25). This was not individual ores, for Nephi words it as a single ore containing all three of these precious metals. Such deposits are frequent to the Andean area.
   18. A land where earthquakes occur (3 Nephi 8:12). This was not a small earthquake where the epicenter was in an isolated area, for there was an “exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth (3 Nephi 8:12). South and Central America have such earthquake areas in what is called "the rim of fire."
    19. A land northward filled with many waters, rivers, and fountains existed (Mormon 6:4); these fountains were the sources of the waters of this land. Such an area is found in Ecuador and on ancient maps, called "the Land of Many Waters."
    20. A land where a recent range of mountains arose suddenly (Helaman 14:23). These are not hills, or low mountains, but mountains that Samuel the Lamanite called “whose height is great.” Such mountains are only found in the Andean area of South America in the Western Hemisphere.
   Other things that also had to exist to match a Book of Mormon Nephite culture:
   1. A highly religious civilization where temples, priests, and religious centers existed, and people traveled great distances for special religious meetings;
2. A highly developed civilization with large cities, palaces, kings, and a large and formidable military;  
    3. An agricultural base, irrigation capabilities, and evidence of large fields of crops to feed and support several millions of people;  
    4. Artisans and highly skilled craftsmen capable of working with all manner of wood, and iron (2 Nephi 5:15) that could build temples, palaces, and large city complexes (Mosiah 11:8-9);
    5. Highly skilled workers in textiles, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, and precious metals (Alma 1:29);
6. Highly skilled masons who could work with stone and build stone walls capable of defense against an enemy (Alma 48:8);
    7. Sea ports where the Nephite ships could dock and buy, sell and trade (Helaman 3:14).
    8. Use of thin sheets of gold, like in a book, around 600 BC (2 Nephi 5:29-30);
    9. Practice of circumcision, which would have been under the Law of Moses  (2 Nephi 25:24);
    10. The use of slings as a weapon were used in the land (Mosiah 9:16; 10:8; Alma 2:12; 3:5; 17:7; 43:20; 49:20
    This list is not complete, but it is meant to show that in the scriptural record, there are numerous descriptions and items that would be expected to be found in the history of any Land of Promise location. If a suggested model location cannot meet every one of these items listed here, then it cannot claim to be the location of the Book of Mormon. It might be of interest to know that the Andean area of South America meets every single one of these criteria as well as all the others stated in the scriptural record.

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