Monday, April 28, 2014

Is the Chile Landing Site a Myth? – Part VIII

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 is the continuation regarding the paper about Lehi’s landing written in the hand of Frederick G.Williams discussed in the last post] 
    Continuing the comment on the last post:
    To understand the importance of Frederick G. Williams’ notation about Lehi landing at 30º south latitude along then Chilean coast of South America, we have to consider that in 1864 (and especially in the 1830s when it was considered written), the area of Coquimbo and La Serena, Chile (30º South Latitude), were still basically unknown in America.
As an example, thirty years after Williams wrote that statement, in December 1870, at a time when Peru, Chile and Bolivia were moving closer to war (since early the year before), President Ulysses S. Grant (left), in his State of the Union Address in Washington, had not even been able to get his Secretary of State to hold a conference with these neighboring countries and Spain. He hoped that: “The allied and other Republics of Spanish origin on this continent may see in this fact as new proof of our sincere interest in their welfare. Or our desire to see them blessed with good government, capable of maintaining order and of preserving their respective territorial integrity.
    At the time, the U.S. had little connection with these different Republics, since they had been under Spanish rule for several hundred years, and America had been embroiled over a Civil War and all the internal problems leading up to and following the conflict. Besides several lengthy statements pointed toward England and their involvement in that conflict, Grant did say, “The time is not probably far distant when, in the natural course of events, the European political connection with this continent will cease. Our policy should be shaped, in view of this probability, so as to ally the commercial interests of the Spanish American States more closely to our own.”
    In this 1870 Address, Peru was mentioned only once, with Ecuador and Chile only twice each, while Caribbean and Central American areas were mentioned several times. As an example San Domingo (now the Dominican Republic) was mentioned eleven times. Obviously, in late 1870, America was just beginning to look to the South, yet, even then, that look was directed to the Caribbean, along with Venezuela, and Panama. In fact, extradition treaties had only that year been enacted with the northern republics—Peru and Chile were still out of mind.
    As late as 1900, with the Panama Canal still 14 years away from use, western South American countries were reached via “sailing around the Horn” (Cape Horn, Tierra del Fuego of southern Chile), and from there it was easier to sail directly to Europe than to Washington or New York. France and Europe, even Japan and China, had far more involvement in Andean South America than did the U.S. When these American republics needed help, they looked to France and “Latin Europe.” As late as the mid-twentieth century in the U.S. there was a trend to classify all of the territory south of the United States as “Latin America,” or the “Caribbean,” and not particularly by individual country.
As late as the early 20th century, the clipper routes, which carried much of the world’s trade, sailed from Europe around Cape Horn to Asia, Australia, Japan, etc., but not up the West Coast of South America--not even to San Francisco
    So how interesting is it that Frederick G. Williams, counselor and scribe to Joseph Smith (D&C 90:19), or the prophet himself, knew anything about 30º South Latitude along the west coast of Chile? Odd, that that very spot was chosen, which supported the same climate as Jerusalem, a fact that was not known and understood until the late 20th century. Interesting that a place as unique as that was written down by Williams that matches every description of the scriptural record like no other place in the Western Hemisphere, yet Theorists quibble over whether or not it was a revelation, when the issue should be the remarkable location chosen.
    Hender: “B. H. Roberts points to another record source of such a statement. It is in the writings of Orson Pratt (Pratt's Works, edition of 1851, "Remarkable visions," p. 7). Elder Roberts concludes from this and the previous sited quote, that Lehi did land in Chile in his book "A Book of Mormon Study," page 253. It seems from these sources that it was the logical and reasonable assumed truth that Lehi landed 3000-4000 miles south of the Land occupied by the Jaredites.”
After landing, Nephit makes plates and writes upon them, and Lehi before his death blesses his children and family. When Lehi dies, Laman and Lemuel feel free to carry our their threats against Nephi and the Lord warns him to flee into the wilderness
    Response: Why don’t we keep things straight. Lehi landed 30º south latitude in Chile. However, after Lehi died, probably only a handful of years after landing, Nephite states: “I, Nephi, did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren…their anger did increase against me, insomuch that they did seek to take away my life“ (2 Nephi 5:1-2). The Lord then tells Nephi to flee into the wilderness, and take all those who would go with him (2 Nephi 5:5).
    Now, if Nephi traveled northward to the area of Lake Titicaca and Cuzco, where factors discussed in these posts for the past four years, and covered in detail in the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, places them, then they traveled about 980 miles, far shorter than the distance they traveled from the Red Sea across to the area they called Bountiful (1350 miles). From this point, say around 560 B. C., until Mosiah is told to flee the city Nephi founded, around 200 B.C., the events described take place within a very small area, maybe a hundred square miles or less. Then from Mosiah’s time (200 B.C.) until Mormon’s time (350 A.D.), nearly the entire record (Mosiah through 4 Nephi) takes place in an area between the City of Nephi location and the city of Zarahemla, a distance of a few hundred miles (about the distance of St. George to Logan, Utah). In Alma, much of the events take place near the city of Zarahemla, or along the East Sea, from the City of Moroni to Bountiful, again a distance of a few hundred miles.
The point is, at no time does the scriptural record take place in the Andean area 3000 to 4000 apart. If we look at the three places of landing along the West Coast of South America, or the West Sea (Lehi, Mulekites, and Jaredites), the overall distance (though the first two had no contact with the Jaredites) is about 2500 miles, with the distance between Lehi and the Mulekites about 1500 miles, and the distance between the city of Nephi and the Mulekite landing about 280 miles, and between the city of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla about 60-70 miles.
    Once again, most of the events in the Book of Mormon take place in a reasonably small area, about the same as Salt Lake City to Spanish Fork at any given time. When the Lamanites came down to do battle in the Land of Zarahemla, they were traveling a distance of around 50 to 60 miles. Seldom, as an example, do they move as far as from the city of Nephi to the city of Zarahemla—only once in the entire record; and even then we have no idea how long it took them to reach the city since they were battling through the center of the land, i.e., not along the coasts where the Nephites stationed their two armies.
    Hender: “And thus Elder Roberts concludes that it was totally impossible for the Jaredite domestic animals to be those found by Lehi's landing party.”
    Response: Offering no disrespect to Elder B. H. Roberts, that while a 3000 to 4000 journey for animals would be improbable, three things need to be kept in mind: 1) The journey at its longest would have been about 2500 miles, of which we have much evidence today (probably unknown in Roberts day) of animal migrations of that distance and more in a single year—year after year; 2) These animals had about 1000 years to roam or drift from the Jaredite lands to the point of Lehi’s landing; and 3) This was all done under the direction of the Lord, who got the animals and snakes moving in the first place (Ether 9:33).
    After all, for the person who created the heavens and all that is in them, and worlds without number, moving a few animals across the land so they would be positioned where Lehi landed would not be a very difficult thing.
(See the next post, “Is the Chile Landing Site a Myth? – Part IX,” 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)

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