Saturday, September 20, 2014

Comparing Various Lands of Promise With the Scriptures – Part VI

Continuing with the list shown in the last five posts (and below) of the various scriptural record descriptions of the Land of Promise and how any model must meet each and every one of these descriptions listed by Mormon. To make sure there are no foot-loose approaches to the scriptural record used here, as sometimes found in such lists of other Theorists, we list the full scripture, the existence or lack of existence in other models (under “elsewhere”), and the existence in the Andean South America area. Keep in mind that, unlike other lists from other Theorists, who take a few items that favor their particular model as their list, the following list of 31 items is taken directly from the scriptural record and nothing is left out from the record that is a direct description of the land and what was found on it as described by Nephi and Mormon.
A Chart showing 31 major points of the Land of Promise in the scriptural record, all of which match Andean Peru and how so few other areas have any or much in the way of these descriptions. Those marked in yellow were covered in the previous posts
    • Scripture: And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8), see also 2 Nephi 10:20-21: “And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren” (emphasis mine).
    Two factors are involved here. As Jacob says they were on an isle of the sea, that is, an island in the middle of the sea, and Helaman says they had seas in all four directions. This sounds like the Nephite Land of Promise, at least during Nephite times prior to the destruction covered in 3 Nephi, was an island. And not just an island, but an island in the midst of the sea over which they had sailed from Bountiful. Note there is no mention anywhere of sailing up any river, or into any lake, or inland from the ocean--but "for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea." Since this is the first description given of the overall Land of Promise, one might want to start their search of the promised land with this fact in mind. The Nephites were on an island, and that island was in the midst of the sea over which they had sailed from Bountiful.
    Elsewhere: None of the other areas are islands. Baja and Malay are Peninsulas; Mesoamerica is an Isthmus; Heartland is a very large land area within another, larger land area; Great Lakes is a land area scattered among ancient lakes and rivers. But none can be conceived of as islands.
    Andes: The Andean area of South America was at one time before the uplift, according to geologists, an island, and even now, the western lands (west of the Andes) is separate from and different from the eastern South America areas of Brazil and Argentina in their early development. Geologists claim three seas separated the lands east of the Andes from the west: the Pebesian and Paranense seas, along with the north, east and south portal seaways, which isolated Chile, Peru, western Bolivia, Ecuador and southern Colombia from the rest of the continent, which was mostly underwater except for the Brazilian and Guayanan shields at the time of Nephi.
    • Scripture: It appears that for most of the Jaredite history, they had metal and were involved in metallurgy. Ether tells us: And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work” (Ether 10:23). Somewhere between 588 and 570 B.C. Nephi wrote: And 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). About 160 years later, Jarom added, “And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in 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), and finally, about 370 years later in 29 B.C., Helaman wrote: “And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and 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).
    The point is, metallurgy was an obvious profession among the Jaredites and Nephites, covering nearly a 2500 year period, and evidence of such should be found today of such activity in the Land of Promise.
    Elsewhere: As for the Heartland and Great Lakes, Rapp, Gibbon and Ames (Archaeology of Prehistoric Native America: an Encyclopedia, 1998), “Archaeological evidence has not revealed metal smelting or alloying of metals by pre-Columbian indigenous peoples north of the Rio Grande.” There were copper tools among the Woodlands and Great Lakes peoples, but these were made from cold-hammering surface copper left from the ice age glacial retreat, and not from smelting; however, gold, silver, and iron were not found to have been in use according to S.R. Martin (Story of Ancient Copper Working in Lake Superior Basin, 1999), though according to M. A. Levine (Journal of Archaeological Science, 2007) metal ore was present. In Mesoamerica, metallurgy has not been found to have been in use until 900 A.D., though some feel it was as early as 600 B.C. (at least 200 years after the demise of the Nephites and some 1200 years after the end of the Jaredites). A rare find on the island of Espiritu Santo off the coast of Baja California showed iron knives, iron nails and a copper ring dated to between 1180 and 1260 A.D., but nothing has ever been found earlier, and nothing on Baja itself.
    Andes:  Karen Olsen Bruhns in Ancient South America, Cambridge World Archaeology, Cambridge University Press (1994), writes: “The exploitation of metals as primary materials for objects has often been considered to be on e of the hallmarks of civilization. In South America the origins of complex metallurgy (that is, the use of metals as something more than a special, more malleable kind of rock) can be traced to the central Andean republics of Peru and Bolivia. The later metallurgical traditions of Ecuador and Colombia are almost certainly derived from the Peruvian one; Central America and southern Mexican metallurgy is clearly borrowed from Colombia” (Chapter 11 “Metallurgy,”p 174). She goes on to say that “abundant ozide and sulfide copper ores, deposits of cassiterite (tin oxide), silver ores, and gold.”
    Here, the first “worker’s tool kit was excavated” dating to 1800 B.C., and “technological innovations included welding and soldering, the fabrication of three-dimensional objects by joining preshaped metal sheets, and the making of gold alloys,” around 1000 B.C. to 600 B.C.
    Also, according to Aldenderfer, Craig, et al, in their “Four-thousand-year-old-gold artifacts from the Lake Titicaca basin, southern Peru” (2008), metallurgy developed in South American in the Andean region of modern Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina with gold dating to 2155–1936 B.C. and copper to 1432–1132 B.C. Scattolin, Bugliani, et al report that this metallurgy “was spread throughout Andean societies by the Early horizon period 1000-200 B.C.” In fact, two areas developed alongside each other–one in northern Peru and Ecuador, and another in the Altiplano region of southern Peru, Bolivia and Chile. According to R. W. Keatinge (Peruvian Prehistory, 1988), various slag heaps of ore and smelting areas. Extensive use of "portable" smelting kilns in the vicinity of Puma Punku, Bolivia, and at three additional sites in Peru and Bolivia to manufacture, in situ, "I" beams as connectors to large stone blocks during the construction process represent a seemingly anomalous function for metal smelting. The reported chemical analysis of these metal pours is 95.15% copper 2.05% arsenic, 1.70% nickel, .84% silicon and .26% iron.
    Thus we find that only in Andean South America, in all of the Western Hemisphere, was metal being worked as much as two thousand years before the time of Christ.
(See the next post, “Comparing Various Lands of Promise With the Scriptures – Part VII,” for more comparisons based on the original chart shown at the top of this post and the scriptural references cited)

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