Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part II – Seeds from Jerusalem

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about his land that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of the Land of Promise. 
    As an example, Nephi tells us that his father lived at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4), where he  had his house (1 Nephi 1:7), and when the Lord told him to “take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:2), he “left his house, and the land of his inheritance,” and all his wealth (1 Nephi 2:4), but took “all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind” (1 Nephi 8:1), and did take “seed of every kind that we might carry into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:11), and eventually onto the ship Nephi built (18:6).
Nephi’s crops grew exceedingly and provided an abundant harvest in the Land of Promise
    When they reached the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:23), Nephi tells us “that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance” (1 Nephi 18:24). Obviously, Lehi was a farmer, at least growing sufficient foods for his family who lived outside the city of Jerusalem, for not only did he had abundant seeds of every kind on hand when the Lord told him to flee into the wilderness (there was no corner store to go and buy them), but when they reached the Land of Promise, he and his sons knew how to plant and harvest crops.
    Modern man, however, when reading this account of Nephi, tends to pass over this event as a matter of no importance. Yet, as every gardener knows, you need to provide the right conditions for good germination and healthy growth of seeds, especially those that have delicate root systems. As an example, according to the ACGA and the Gardener’s Supply Company, planting seeds successfully requires the right soil and temperature, length of sunlight, consistent moisture, correct humidity levels (distance from oceans, etc.), air circulation, and correct amount of fertilizing. As an example, some seeds germinate best at a soil temperature of 60ºF while others at 85ºF, but still others require a temperature of about 78ºF. To make sure seeds being sold today are placed in the correct environment, seeds packets list on the back conditions for optimum germination, as well as showing a map of the zones in which the seeds can be planted.
Every kind of seed requires a specific soil type, temperature, precipitation and climate, and this information is listed on the back of every packet of seeds sold
    In addition, soils are very different from one another, since they are made up of ground rock particles, grouped according to size, based on sand and silt in addition to clay, and organic material such as decomposed plant matter. Each component, and their size, play an important role. For example, the largest particles, sand, determine aeration and drainage characteristics, while the tiniest, sub-microscopic clay particles, are chemically active, binding with water and plant nutrients. The ratio of these sizes determines soil type: such as clay, loam, clay-loam, silt-loam, sandy, sand-loam, as well as temperature and water retention (how much drains steadily through the soil via gravity and end up in the aquifer, and how much of it is retained, away from the influence of gravity, for use of plants and other organisms that determines soil health).
    In addition to the mineral composition of soil, humus (organic material) also plays an important role in soil characteristics and fertility for plant life. Soil may be mixed with larger aggregate, such as pebbles or gravel. Not all types of soil are permeable, such as pure clay.
This hydrologic soil group knowledge shows planters how some soils hold water because they impede downward movement, others drain slowly to quickly so that the right soil is chosen for the type of seed planted. 
    Thus, the kind of soil and soil groups are extremely important in the planting of seeds for crop growth since seeds grown in one local rarely do well in another local, even with modern techniques and knowledge. This is why seed packets have zone maps and recommendations listed for where the seeds contained will grow. It is not like every seed will grow in every location—there are Plant Hardiness Zone Maps, temperature considerations, soil conditions, fertilizers—all leading to a better understanding of soil surfaces and deeper profiles.
Top: Soil characteristics map for planting various types of crops; Bottom: A soil grouping map showing the soils and soil groups for planting
    Even today, with all the advances of seed planting, including modern fertilizers, knowledge and techniques, the back of every seed packet you buy has not only instructions on when and how to plant, but lists where the seeds should be planted. Generally, every farmer purchases seeds grown in his local, but sometimes that is not possible, such as in the case of Lehi--so farmers (or planter) need to compare their planting area climates with the climate where a plant is known to grow well. This is simply because seeds developed in one climatic zone do not do well, or grow at all, in another climatic zone.
    As an example, zone maps in the U.S. are more easily drawn for the eastern half of North America since that area is comparatively flat, so mapping is mostly a matter of drawing lines approximately parallel to the Gulf Coast every 120 miles or so as you move north. The lines tilt northeast as they approach the Eastern Seaboard. They also demarcate the special climates formed by the Great Lakes and by the Appalachian mountain ranges.
Color Chart Reference of the climatic zones of the U.S. Note the numerous different zones and sub-zones, even in the flat lands of the eastern half of the country
    In the west, these various zones are far more difficult to determine because the elevation changes the climate and the soils, temperature, and precipitation. In the east, however, these various zones are more stable, yet do change because north and south movement alters the climate and thus the climatic zone—which determines where seeds will and will not grow. The pilgrims found this out when they tried to plant seeds from a more northern climate of England and the Netherlands in the soils of New England, even though both were in what is called a Temperate Climate (as opposed to a Mediterranean Climate).
    Early pioneers (those who come into a country or land with which they are not familiar), such as the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth early in the 17th century, or Lehi and his colony that came to the Land of Promise in 600 B.C., all faced the very same problem with feeding themselves—either hunting, fishing or planting. And since hunting and fishing becomes scarce over any length of time, and certainly does not provide long-term healthful development or encourage large colony growth, planting is how all new emigrants existed in areas where others did not provide previous crops and available food. Every pioneer, among other things, brought seeds with them for planting. Many struggled, some failed to make it, because their seeds grown one place did not do well or grow at all in another place.
    Many factors like weather, winter highs and lows, as well as elevation and precipitation, determine western growing climates in the Western U.S. Weather comes in from the Pacific Ocean and gradually becomes less marine (humid) and more continental (drier) as it moves over and around mountain range after mountain range. While cities in similar zones in the East can have similar climates and grow similar plants, in the West it varies greatly. For example, the weather and plants in low elevation, coastal Seattle are much different than in high elevation, inland Tucson, Arizona, even though they're in the same climatic zone, but not the same weather zone.
    Again, the point is, since seeds grow best in the same climate in which they were developed as well as the same elevation, soils, temperature, and precipitation they were developed, it is important to understand the climate factors in which Lehi’s seeds were developed—Jerusalem. As has been mentioned here many times, Jerusalem is a Mediterranean Climate (not a zone). And outside the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, there are only five such climates in the entire world, and only two in the Western Hemisphere—southern California and coastal central Chile.
The four areas outside of the Mediterranean where a Mediterranean Climate exists. Note only two are in the Western Hemisphere 
    This area of Chile, which is around the 30º south latitude, is also the exact same area where the winds and currents coming from the Indian Ocean end up before turning back from the Peruvian Bulge into the Pacific and westward across toward Australia in the circular South Pacific Gyre (for a complete explanation of this, see the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica).
    So if one is going to believe Nephi, that his seeds brought from Jerusalem grew exceedingly and provided an abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24), then we need to look for an area in which the same climate, soil, temperature, precipitation and growing conditions exist in the Western Hemisphere—either southern California (not Baja) or La Serena, Chile, and only the latter has the matching soil (Red Mediterranean), soil group, rain fall, temperature, plants, and overall climate as well as the numerous other conditions mentioned by Nephi and Mormon (for more on this, see the post in this blog of April 24, 2014, “Is the Chile Landing Site a Myth?—Part IV”).
Top: 30º south latitude Coquimbo Bay where winds and currents drop to almost nothing, where a landing could be effected in 600 B.C.; Bottom: La Serena, adjacent to the coast, where Mediterranean Climate agriculture has always flourished
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Mormon that should help one to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

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