Sunday, September 21, 2014

Comparing Various Lands of Promise With the Scriptures – Part VII

Continuing with the list shown in the last six 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 careless 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 behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23). Nephi verified this destruction at the time of Christ’s death (1 Nephi 12:4), suggesting its importance and very noticeable results with “mountains tumbling into pieces.”  So Nephi tells us at the time of the crucifixion, existing mountains tumbled into pieces and disappeared, and Samuel the Lamanite tells us other mountains rose, whose height was great.

Elsewhere: As seen from the map (left), there are no mountains of any height in the central and eastern U.S. For the Heartland: Missouri’s highest summit is Taum Sauk Mouintain at 1772-feet; Illinois highest summit is Charles Mound 1235-feet; Ohio’s highest summit is Campbell Hill at 1550-feet; Iowa Hawkeye Point at 1670-feet, and Indiana Hoosier Hill at 1257-feet. For the Great Lakes: highest summit in Pennsylvania is Mount Davis at 3213-feet way to the south; Bald Eagle Mountain is closer to their Land of Promise at 2008-feet; Highest summit in New York is Mount Marcy, far to the northeast, far beyond their Sea East; or Slide Mountain at 4180-feet, in the Catskills, far to the east of their Land of Promise, with the Adirondack Mountains the closest to Lake Erie at nearly 300 miles distance and far to the northeast of their Land of Promise.
    The highest peaks in Mexico are located near Cordoba, which is north of Veracruz and inland from Zalapa, which would be in the Land Northward, north of Sorenson’s Land of Cumorah (actually west on his map) and beyond most of the Mesoamerica land area. There is Pico de Orizaba at 18,491-feet and further north is Popocatépetl, close to Mexico City, at 17,802-feet—both are individual peaks; there are 15 peaks over 10,000 feet total, only four over 15,000 feet. The tallest mountain in Guatemala is Montana Siete Cruces, Solola, at 10,449-feet. Actually, there are five other mountains that are above 10,000 feet, and 14 others in the 9,000 foot range.
Top: Sierra Madre Range Guatemala; Center: Cerro Cotzic, San Marcos, 2nd highest mountain in Mexico; Bottom: The highest mountain summit in Baja California is 10,157-feet and hardly distinguishable along the backbone range of Baja. Note, while the elevation of a range may be high, there are no peaks that stand out (called prominence) to suggest a feeling of mountains “whose height is great”
    Andes: In order to determine mountains “whose height is great,” we should consider two factors: 1) height of the mountain peak, and 2) the peak’s prominence, i.e., what is the difference in height between the peak and the surrounding mountain tops, hills, or land (Prominence is the elevation difference between a summit and the highest point (saddle) that separates that summit from any higher summit). That is, a peak of 18,000 feet is indeed high, but a prominence of 500 feet or less may not allow the peak to be distinguished among the mountain range since it would only be 500 feet higher than its surrounding range, which would hardly qualify for a mountain "whose height is great"; on the other hand, a shorter mountain peak of 15,000 feet with a prominence of 7,000 feet would appear very high.

Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile have 115 peaks with a prominence of more than 16,200 feet, and 55 peaks with a prominence of more than 19,600 feet. These individually towering peaks would be very noticeable from a very long distance and obviously appear as mountains “whose height is great.”
    Compare that with Mesoamerica which has 16 peaks with a prominence of over 19,600-feet, and 27 peaks with a prominence of over 16,200. However:
    * Only five of those in Mesoamerica would be in the Land Bountiful and Zarahemla, 3 in the Land of Nephi, and the other 19 in the Land Northward
    * In the entire Eastern U.S., only two mountain peaks are listed in the top 50 U.S. peaks, one is Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, with an elevation of 6,288-feet, and a prominence 6,138-feet, and the other is in North Carolina, Mt. Mitchell with an elevation of 6,699-feet, and a prominence of 6089-feet
and neither of these are located in any Land of Promise model.
The Andes Mountains have 72 peaks over 20,000-feet in height, including Aconcagua at 22,835 (with a prominence of 22,831 feet), the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, and many of these peaks stand out as being very high because they are not hidden within the mountain range (there are 102 peaks over 19,700 feet in height—all have a prominence of at least 1300 feet or more)
    While rivers may change their flow from earthquakes, upheavels, etc., and waterways disappear from land formation of plate movement, mountains, once formed, retain their height and location unless the Lord intervenes as he did in 3 Nephi, toppling mountains that became valleys, and creating mountains, Samuel the Lamanite said, “whose height is great.”
Even within the various Andes ranges, individual peaks stand out, suggesting mountains “whose height is great”
    This, by the way, is the one issue that no Theorist can eliminate with a lengthy dissertation or clever manipulation of facts and words. Samuel’s comment was a sign to the Nephites (Helaman 14:23) of the future death (crucifixion) of the Savior that would “bringeth to pass the resurrection, and redeemeth all mankind from the first death—that spiritual death; for all mankind, by the fall of Adam being cut off from the presence of the Lord, are considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual” (Helaman 14:16). Samuel went on to preach the importance of the death and the signs that would be given in the Land of Promise, as to its occurrence in Jerusalem, one of which was “and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great.”
    For this sign to be of any value, it had to be broadly seen and understood, like the three days of darkness (Helaman 14:20), highways broken up and cities destroyed (Helaman 14:24). In fact, Samuel did not just prophesy of this in Zarahemla and to the Nephites, but after he had finished delivering his message, “he did cast himself down from the wall, and did flee out of their lands, yea, even unto his own country, and began to preach and to prophesy among his own people” (Helaman 14:7)--in the Land of Nephi.
    Thus, for this sign to be of value, it had to have happened at least in the Land of Zarahemla and in the Land of Nephi where Samuel prophesied of it, and since the destruction also occurred in the Land Northward (3 Nephi 8:12), we might also suggest that the darkness, destruction, and the mountains rising also occurred throughout the entire Land of Promise so that all could know and understand that the signs had been given of the Savior’s crucifixion and the fulfillment of his mission to bring about the atonement and the salvation of all mankind.
    Obviously, then, there can be no doubt that these mountains rose, “whose height is great” throughout the Land of Promise, where all the Nephites and Lamanites could see and bear witness of the truth of Samuel’s prophesies and of the end of the Savior’s earthly mission.
(See the next post, “Comparing Various Lands of Promise With the Scriptures – Part VIII,” for more comparisons based on the original chart shown at the top of this post and the scriptural references cited)

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