Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is the Chile Landing Site a Myth? – Part IV

Continuing with Dan R. Hender’s article about the Lehi’s landing site at 30º south latitude and his belief that it is not correct and more of myth than truth. Following are more of his opposing points: 
    Hender: “This Chilean landing site places Lehi's party in an arid climate, as we know it today.”
    Response: Not true. 30º South Latitude is, as it has always been and as we know it today, is a Mediterranean climate exactly like the one Lehi left in Jerusalem. In fact, it is the only other place in the entire world that matches perfectly the six parts of a Mediterranean Climate with the Mediterranean area of which Israel is part. In fact, though there are five Mediterranean Climate zones outside the Mediterranean Sea area, only the one in Chile matches all six of the parts of such a climate (climate, plants, temperature, soil, soil group and rainfall). It also has the same ore and metals, and has/had the geographical setting of the scriptural record descriptions.
Left: Matching Climate Locations, showing 12 locations around the world that are either Mediterranean climates themselves (Jerusalem, Chile, southern tips of Africa and Australia, and Southern California), or otherwise associated with different Theory Models of where the Land of Promise is supposed to have ben located. Note only one place matches all of the climate criteria with Jerusalem—that of 30º South Latitude, La Serna, Chile, in Andean South America; Right: A comparison between the five major areas considered to be the Land of Promise and showing 15 descriptions stated in the scriptural record. Note, only one location matches every one—Andean South America
    Hender: “They would be south of any forested lands…
    Response: Again, this is not true. For those unaware, at the 30º south latitude of Chile, it is home to the second largest temperate rainforest in the world, and the most biologically diverse, as well as some distinctive local trees found only in small pockets in the country’s unique ecosystem. According to Chile’s forestry service, Conaf, today about 18% of the country is covered by native forest, with much more having existed before man arrived. While a beautiful hardwood is endemic to central Chilean forests, an area not far from Lehi’s landing site, called the canelo, whose bark, leaves and roots have medicinal properties, and is sacred to Chile’s largest indigenous group, the Mapuche, and to the south of Lehi’s landing area the land is full of forests and trees.
Just to the south of La Serena and covering much of the land southward, are Chilean forests, such as this one, and are home to some of the world’s oldest tallest, and most exceptional tree species
    And while we’re at it, we might suggest that Chile is one of the fastest rising fruit exporters in the world, a more than $4-billion industry, exporting millions of tons of apples, cherries, nuts, avocados, and blueberrie, and along with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, South Africa and Peru supply about 50% of the non-banana fruit imported into the U.S. annually. In fact, much of the Western U.S. winter fruit comes from Chile.
    Hender: “…having to cross over a 1000-miles desert lands northward to arrive at such in Bolivia and Southern Peru. This includes the 600 mile Atacama desert known as the driest desert and land on earth.”
    Response: As explained earlier (see maps last post), there is no time Lehi or his company, nor Nephi later, and those who went with him, would have crossed the Atacama Desert in their trek northward. This desert is along a 600-mile strip of coastal land. Directly to the east, and paralleling this desert, is the altiplano, a 600-mile-long high plain where there is plenty of water, grasses grow and animals roam.
Hender: “I work at Dugway Utah in the middle of the Western Utah Desert south of the Great Salt Lake and bordering the Salt Flats.”
    Response: There is no connection, comparison or similarity between Dugway, Utah, and La Serena, Chile, but since you bring it up, let’s take a look at the summer and winter temperatures: La Serena has a cool desert climate, and in the summer months there is an absence of precipitation, but with abundant morning cloudiness and drizzles. These dissipate around noon, giving way to clear skies and warm 72 °F days. Compare this to Dugway, Utah, whose summer temps average 74º in May, 85º June, 95º July, 92º August, 81º in September. Winter temps in Dugway are 26º November, 18º December, 16º January, 23º February and 29º March, while in La Serena, the winter temperatures range from 45ºF to 61º, and being located in a coastal zone the minimums and maximums are moderated by the maritime influence and the temperature of the cold Humboldt Current.
Left: Llama running wild in the hills outside La Serena; Right: Horses in Skull Valley
    Hender: As I drive Skull Valley each day there is life everywhere, sagebrush, grasses and noxious weeds all over the place and even some native scrubby scrub-oak trees. It is open range and deer, wild horses, antelope and rancher's cows graze on this western desert land. Birds and insects are everywhere. There are a number of ranch houses, a Goshute Indian reservation, and a one time Polynesian settlement town called Iosepha, not to mention Dugway Proving Grounds out here.
    Response: I have never been to Skull Valley or Dugway, so I am reliant upon posted pictures of the area; however, I believe these are representative of the referred to area. I have taken pics of La Serena and the Valley at 30º south latitude along the Chile coast and placed them beside some from Dugway and Skull Valley. I am not sure why you want to compare the two, but it would seem that La Serena’s Mediterranean Climate is obvious when compared against Dugway’s Desert Climate.
Photos (below) of 30º south latitude La Serena and Valley area (on left) and photos of Dugway and Skull Valley, Utah (on right)
    Hender:“The Atacama is not a 'living desert.' It is a dead, dry land for hundreds of miles and shows no signs of any such thing as previously being forested or having had abundant animal life.”
    Response: Granted. It is a unique desert. But while parts haven’t seen a drop of rain since recordkeeping began, there are animals and more than a million people who live there in coastal cities, mining towns, and fishing villages. There are also farmers who grow olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers with drip-irrigation systems, culling water from aquifers in the northern area of this desert, and toward the eastern foothills, Aymara and Atacama Indians herd llamas and alpacas and grow crops with water from snowmelt streams. Others harvest water with nets they use in thick fog banks that roll in off the Pacific Ocean.

Photos showing the Atacama Desert in bloom, and the other is a Llama living on the Atacama
And snow on the Atacama at San Pedro de Atacama in the southern region of the driest desert on earth.
Harvesting water from snow banks that roll in over the Atacama
    Once again, however, the point of this is that while the Atacama could have been skirted by Nephi and those who went with him, there was no reason for him to travel along the coastal route when the inland altiplano would have been much easier and provided more protection from being followed, and led directly to the area where Nephi settled at the northern end of this altiplano.
(See the next post, “Is the Chile Landing Site a Myth? – Part V,” for Hender’s reasons why he says “it does seem to me that the Chilean Landing Site is not correct and more of myth than truth,” and our response and clarification as to why Chile was the site)


  1. Again.. we have to be reminded.. Nephi still had the Liahona that could have easily told him where to go.

  2. Funny how everyone seems to forget this all important point.