Tuesday, January 7, 2014

So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part XII

Continuing from the last eleven 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, 25) Use of silks and fine-twined linen, 26) Metallurgy, and 27) Volcanoes and earthquakes.
In this final post in this series, there are several items not specifically listed in the scriptural record, or have not specifically been found in the Western Hemisphere. One of these is that of wild and domesticated animals found in the land. Mentioned in the scriptural record: "that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men” (1 Nephi 18:25). Moroni wrote in Ether: “And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms” (Ether 9:19), and in Alma we find that the Lamanite king had horses and chariots (Alma 18:9), as did the Nephites (3 Nephi 3:22). In addiition there are numerous comments about "flocks" and "herds," which in 1829 meant: "A Flock--a company or collections: applied to sheep and other small animals. A flock of sheep answers to a herd of larger cattle. But the word may sometimes perhaps be applied to larger beasts, and in the plural, flocks may include all kinds of domesticat4ed animals." So obviously, the Nephites had such animals, though they were not found in the Western Hemisphere during the time of the Spanish conquerors--but then, they only saw and occupied a very small portion of the land.
When the Spanish arrived, according to a three-part article entitled El imaginario del conquistador espanol, “The conquistadors found new animals species, but reports confused these with monsters such as giants, dragons, or ghosts.” Unfortunately, Spain received this information with skepticism, believing the conquerors' imaginings were fictitiously exaggerated to impress the Crown with their accomplishments. Then, too, Spain was interested in gold, and the conquistadors with accumulating wealth, the new animal species found went unnoticed after time and all but forgotten.
In fact, what the conquistadors might have found, but didn’t find in the Andean area, will never be known. One reason is that the Spanish occupied only about 5% of what is now Ecuador and Peru, and mostly traveled on a magnificent interlinking road system that was more extensive than that of the Romans. What may have existed beyond sight of the roads was never seen, let alone identified or evaluated. If it wasn’t made of gold, it held only minor interest to the invaders, and none at all to the common soldier, who was more intent on staying alive and returning to Spain a wealthy man. The priests who traveled with the Spanish invaders were intent on forcing a religion upon the populace and causing them to learn the conquerors' language. A few chroniclers traveled extensively, but what we really know about the Andean area is what later chroniclers, most born after the conquest--some to the conquerors and native women, had to say about what they saw in the land.
We have written extensively in these posts about elephant and horse remains found in Andean South America and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere, some of the discoveries dating back decades, but never seeing much print in national media or accepted archaeological reports since no historian believed anything existed of value in the New World but gold and other plunderable natural resources.
The point is, unlike the previous 27 points illustrated here in the past eleven posts, this one is not likely to be of much value since nowhere in the Western Hemisphere is it accepted that such animals, both wild and domesticated, existed as are point out in the scriptural record. The vast majority of members and critics alike believe there were no such animals in the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The fact that remains have been found, and found many years ago by archaeologists, has never been allowed to rise to the mainstream level and still today not accepted as proof (see our previous posts on this subject).
Some of the wild animals indigenous to Andean South America: Top Lto R: Andean Spectacled Bear; Ocelot; Cougar; Middle LtoR: Jaguar; Opossum; Chincilla; Bottom LtoR: Coatimundi, Guanaco, and the Vicuña—these latter two are the progenitors of the Llama and Alpaca, two unique animals to Andean South America
While we have written about the Llama and Alpaca in an earlier post in this series, it might be of interest to add: "the Llama (Lama glama) is a South American relative of the camel, though the llama does not have a hump. These sturdy creatures are domestic animals used by the peoples of the Andes Mountains. (Their wild relatives are guanacos and vicuñas). Native peoples have used llamas as pack animals for centuries. Typically, they are saddled with loads of 50 to 75 pounds. Under such weight they can cover up to 20 miles in a single day. Pack trains of llamas, which can include several hundred animals, move large amounts of goods over even the very rough terrain of the Andes. Llamas contribute much more than transportation to the human communities in which they live. Leather is made from their hides, and their wool is crafted into ropes, rugs, and fabrics. Llama excrement is dried and burned for fuel. Even in death, llamas can serve their human owners—some people slaughter them and eat their meat." It is not difficult to see why Moroni wrote that these two animals he called the curelom and cumom “were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms" (more useful than horses and donkeys.
Left: the Llama; Right: the Alpaca, which was raised for its extraordinary fiber for clothing. These animals, and their two wild ancestors shown above (Guanaco and Vicuna) are indigenous only to Andean South America, as is the Spectacled or Andean Beara
Once again, in the book “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica,” these 28 items, along with numerous others, taken directly from the scriptural record, show a unique match between the scriptural record and Andean South America as the location of the Land of Promise.
In addition, there are such things as slings mentioned repeatedly in the scriptural record as an important weapon among the Nephites, which existed in ancient Peru in profusion. There is even a national holiday-event today to celebrate the sling. There is also the unbelievable irrigation systems of the Andes, a product of biblical times as well as modern, and while not unique to, but certainly an integral part of, the Lord’s people that makes the “desert blossom as the rose.” Another point found in Andean South America from ancient mummies uncovered, is that these people practiced circumcision—something basically unique to the Law of Moses, which the Nephites practiced (1 Nephi 4:15; 2 Nephi 5:10; Alma 25:15; Helaman 13:1).)
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. Nor can clever historians make claims that actually change the scriptural rext or its meanings in order to make a point match their model. The scriptural record was written in "plain and simple language," and "in our language for our understanding." So no matter who says what and when in modern times, unless we are talking about a direct revelation presented to and approved by the membership of the Church, the scriptural record holds sway over all opinions, writings, beliefs, and opinions.
We have written posts in the past outlining the 65 different criteria needed to match all of Mormon’s descriptions and those of the scriptural record, and though only mentioning thirty here, the complete list can be found in the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica. It seems obvious if one is to place the Land of Promise somewhere, it would have to be a place where these 65 criteria exist now, or did at the time of the Nephites—any place without these descriptions simply cannot be claimed as the Land of Promise.
The point of all of this, and of all of our articles in this blog, is simply this—if it does not agree with the scriptural record, then it is not the place of the Book of Mormon.

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