Monday, January 6, 2014

So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part XI

Continuing from the last ten posts, listing actual statements and descriptions in the Book of Mormon and how any Land of Promise model should match all of those listed in that scriptural record.
    Earlier posts in this series have covered 1) Mountains, “whose height is great”; 2) Two unknown animals; 3) Two unknown grains; 4) Plants that cure fever; 5) Land of promise as an island; 6) The four seas surrounding the Land of Promise; 7) the Climate where Lehi’s seeds grew that he brought to the Land of Promise from Jerusalem; 8) Roads and Highways; 9) Driven before the wind; 10) Lehi’s Course to the Land of Promise; 11) Both Gold and Silver and Copper; 12) Hagoth’s ships went northward; 13) Forts, fortifications and resorts; 14) Fortified wall; 15) Narrow neck of land; and 16) Defendable narrow pass or passage, 17) the sea that divides the land, 8) All manner of buildings, 19) Great temple tower, 20) Directions of the Land of Promise, 21) All manner of ore, 22) Land of Many Waters, 23) Abundant crop growth, 24) No other people in the Land of Promise, and 25) Use of silks and fine-twined linen.
Another scriptural description is that of metallurgy. Just after Lehi landed, Nephi tells us that they “did find all manner of ore” (1 Nephi 18:25), which included iron (Mosiah 11:3), and later, after separating form his brothers and establishing the city of Nephi, he tells us “I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15). Soon after the Nephites made “machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war” (Jarom 1:8), as did the Jaredites before them who not only hammered out gold into thin sheets for writing, they had “breastplates, which are large, and they are of brass and of copper, and are perfectly sound“ (Mosiah 8:9-10; 28:11). They also made small things of metal, “ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with” (Alma 31:28). In fact, “they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.” (Helaman 6:9).
Left: An intricately worked gold piece dating to about 100 A.D., was discovered in Peru at the base of an eroded mud-brick pyramid. Other items were 19 golden headdresses, various pieces of jewelry, and two funerary masks; Center/Right: Chavin metal work dating to the last millennia B.C.
    Thus, since this metallurgy covered at least two thousand years, we should find in the Land of Promise today some remnants, such as in burial chambers, etc., of this ancient metallurgy. Which, in Andean South America, we do. According to Aldenderfer, Speakman, and Popelka-Filcoff, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, in their report “Four-thousand-year-old gold artifacts from the Lake Titicaca basin, southern Peru, claim that “South American metal working seems to have developed in the Andean region of modern Peru, Bolivia and Chile,” with gold and copper being hammered and shaped into intricate objects, particularly ornaments.”
    In fact, it is widely reported that the metallurgy of the Andes outclassed most Old World accomplishments, using skills and techniques not known in the Old World until long after the period of use in America. Recent finds show that the Andean people were smelting copper for over a thousand years before the Spaniards arrived. Even today, according to the GSA (Geological Society of America), Peru is the leading producer of gold in Latin America, and the world's leading producer of silver, the world's second leading producer of copper, behind Chile, which produces five times more than any other country, and one-third of the world copper.
Ceremonial knives, such as those above (lower left) were plentiful around 300 B.C. along the Peruvian coast; also ceremonial masks were very common in the ground throughout Peru
    According to the Institute of Anthropological Investigations Pueblo Libre, Lima, Peru, the country’s importance in Pre-Columbian metal producing extended to centuries in the past, including metallurgy, alloys, metalworking and fabrication, and mirrors (for more on this, see Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica). And according to Scattolin, Bugliani,  Cortes, and Calo, metallurgy in South America dates as early as 1955 B.C., and by 200 B.C., metallurgy is thought to have spread throughout the entire Andean area of South America. In fact, according to Cooke, Abbott, and Wolfe in Science 301, 2003, “The Andes represent the largest source of mineral wealth in the Americas and the birthplace of New World metallurgy, appearing millennia prior to colonial contact
    On the other hand, the emergence of metallurgy in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica occurred relatively late in the region's history, with distinctive works of metal apparent in west Mexico by roughly 800 A.D., and perhaps as early as 600 A.D., and that in Guatemala even later, basically around 900 A.D. In fact, metallurgy in Mesoamerica is reported to have developed from contacts with South America. North American metallurgy also dates to the later A.D. periods, and according to Rapp, Gibbon and Ames in Archaeology of Prehistoric Native America, “Archaeological evidence has not revealed metal smelting or alloying of metals by pre-Columbian indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande; however, they did use native copper extensively. Neither of these two areas, obviously, qualify for the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, as does Andean South America.
    Yet another description of the land would be in the earthquakes mentioned. When the disciple Nephi describes the destruction in the Land of Promise at the time of the crucifixion, he writes: “that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder” (3 Nephi 8:6), and adds that “there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12).
A great and terrible storm racked the Land of Promise for several hours, such as had never before been seen on the land
    In fact, the quaking of the earth caused “the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough” (3 Nephi 8:13), with “many great and notable cities were sunk” and others “were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth” (3 Nephi 8:14), and “the damage thereof was exceedingly great” (3 Nephi 8:15), and “thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth” (3 Nephi 8:17). These earthquakes resulted in “the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:18).
    “And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease -- for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours -- and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:19), and the darkness was “thick upon all the face of the land, and there could be no light because of the darkness, neither candle or torches” (3 Nephi 8:20-21), and the thickness of the “mists of darkness” blocked out the sun, moon and stars (3 Nephi 8:22), which lasted for three days (3 Nephi 8:23).
When a light waves encounter an object, they are either transmitted, reflected, absorbed, refracted, polarized, diffracted, or scattered depending on the composition of the object and the wavelength of the light. First of all, in the pictures above of only one volcano eruption in Chile, South America, note the thickness of the cloud as it spreads (top left), and from a distance, the cloud increases in size (top right), still from a further distance the cloud begins to darken the area around it (bottom left), and after 11 days, the cloud has absorbed light and within the cloud, almost impossible to see (this single cloud darkened the skies as far away as Australia, more than 7000 miles away)--consider what numerous volcano eruptions would do
    We have written earlier in numerous posts about the reasons for this darkness, and how earthquakes and volcano eruptions create such a mist of darkness, that it seems likely these mists resulted from such seismicity. While Great Lakes and eastern U.S. theorists reject this idea because they have no volcanoes and earthquakes there, no other explanation fits the destruction and method described than heavy earthquake action and volcanic eruptions. In fact, descriptions of such are considered to be from continual earthquake shaking and numerous volcanoes erupting at the same time.
    Thus we should find a place for a Land of Promise where numerous volcanoes exist (or existed) and where earthquakes are or were frequent. There are three such areas in the Western Hemisphere that fit this descriptive requirement and that is coastal California, Central America and Andean South America. Of these three, only Andean South America has sufficient volcanoes to produce the destruction in all the Land of Promise as the scriptural record suggests. There are only 7 major volcanoes in Mexico, 4 in that part of Mexico which is in Mesoameirca, and 11 major volcanoes (over 10,000 feet) in Guatemala (with another 11 under 6,000 feet), compared with 169 volcanoes in the Andean area of South America.
124 of the Andean volcanoes are in the areas of Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia, northern Chile and northern Argentina. 74 of these are over 20,000 feet, another 20 over 19,000 feet, and another 25 over 17,000 feet (119 over 17,000 feet)
    Obviously, then, any true Land of Promise must match all of the descriptions listed in the Book of Mormon—it is not a pick and choose arrangement in selecting those that agree with your point of view, but must match all of the descriptions, beginning with these first 27 covered in these eleven posts.
(See the next post, “So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part XII,” for more of these descriptions as listed in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon)

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