Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part XI – Whose Height is Great

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about the land he knew so well, and lived in all his life, which are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
    In an area we have discussed many times, but is a scriptural description so ignored by other Theorists it needs constant reminding, Mormon, in his abridgement, quotes Samuel the Lamanite, a unique prophet the Lord called from among the Lamanites in the Land of Nephi to travel northward to the Land and city of Zarahemla to call the Nephites to repentance. Samuel arrives in Zarahemla about six years before the birth of the Savior and nearly 40 years before the prophecy about his crucifixion.
    Samuel, of course, is the prophet who prophesied about the destruction and changes that were to take place in the Land of Promise at the time of the Savior’s death, in which he said that “there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
    We have discussed mountains several times in these posts, since the significance of Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy is connected to the crucifixion of the Savior and the words Samuel is given by the Lord to speak about it. However, despite this very clear knowledge that the Land of Promise would have very tall mountains, numerous Theorists have neglected this point completely in trying to convince people as to the correctness of their Land of Promise model.
    Now the thing about mountains is that, unless the Lord has a hand in it, they do not change much over a couple of thousand years. That is, they don’t disappear from view, or become a lot smaller than they were. So what should we make of a land that would have mountains “whose height is great”? If these high mountains existed in 34 A.D., would they not still exist today?
    So what makes a mountain high?
    In a discussion on this question recently, a Theorist with a model in a land where its mountains are not considered very high claimed that “height” is in the eye of the beholder, i.e., a mountain is high because it appears to be high.
    Well, by any standard, two things make a mountain appear high: 1) its elevation, and 2) its prominence, the latter being the height of the mountain’s summit by the vertical distance between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit—it is a measure of the independence of a summit. That is, the optical illusion of a mountain’s prominence can cause it to look higher than it is.
Top Left: Mt. Whitney at 14,491-feet, has a prominence of 10,071-feet, making it look high; Top Right: While Volcan Itaccihuatl in Mexico, with a higher elevation of 17,159-feet, but only a 5,118 foot prominence, does not look as high; Bottom Left: Mt. Hood in Oregon has an elevation of 11,239-feet, and a prominence of 7,679-feet; Bottom Right: While Mt. Jefferson, in Nevada, is higher at 11,941-feet, but has a prominence of only 5,861, and does not look as high
    However, the elevation is still the key factor since people know what is actually higher, which can be measured and understood as such in a person's three-dimensional world. Sometimes it requires changing ones position and, therefore, his perspective, and other times the sheer size will make it clear.
The perspective of both viewpoints shows in each case, the mountain in the foreground to be taller or the same height than the one in the distance; however, in both cases, the far mountain is the highest by a considerable distance. And once we change our perspective (move to another location) we can easily see the difference
    The point is that elevation is always the determining factor in a three-dimensional world. You can tell when mountains are of great or unusual height by comparison to the land and scenes around them. A mountain that looms over a valley, a range that gazes down upon a city, a peak that overlooks a large basin—all can be seen as tall or short.
When seen in connection with scenery of known size, such as cities or valleys, mountain height is easily recognized
    Another thought to consider, is why did the Lord tell Samuel to say mountains “whose height is great”? What is the significance of such a statement? Wouldn’t high mountains or just mountains have been sufficient? After all, when mountains fall and others rise, that should be a sufficient sign since that is not something anyone has ever seen in nature before or since. Yet the term “whose height is great” was used, evidently because of the sheer size of the mountains that rose out of valleys were of unusually great height.
    Yet, not a single mountain east of the Rockies in the U.S. is in the top 200 mountain heights in all of North America, nor is a single one in the 200 highest mountains in the United States. And in the area of the Great Lakes where Phyllis Carol Olive (and others) place their Land of Promise, the highest peak near Lake Erie (her West Sea) is Campbell Hill at 1,550-feet elevation, then there is Little Mountain at 1227-feet, and Gildersleeve Mountain at 1163-feet. None of which would even really qualify as a mountain, let alone a high one, and certainly not ones “whose height is great.” In New York, Mount Marcy is only 5,344, which is far northeast of her Land of Promise (northeast of Lake Ontario), and all the peaks in Pennsylvania are outside her Land of Promise, near the West Virginia/Maryland border: Mount Davis 3312, Herman Point 3035, Schaefer Head 2949, Bald Knob 2930, Round Knob 2792, and Round Top 2785. Even so, not one of these mountains could qualify, under any stretch of the imagination, to be considered mountains "whose height is great," yet these Theorists seem not to care and champion their model despite this glaring inconsistency with the scriptural record.
    As for the heartland, besides Ohio and Pennsylvania already listed, the highest peaks in Meldrum’s Land of Promise are Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri at 1772-feet, Buford Mountain at 1739-feet, and Profit and Bell Mountains at 1703-feet; Illinois is Charles Mound at 1233-feet; Indiana is Hoosier Hill at 1253-feet; Michigan is Mount Arvon and Mount Curwood, both at 1978-feet, and Summit peak at 1959-feet; Minnesota is Eagle Mountain at 2300-feet; Lima Mountain at 2238-feet, and Pike Mountain 1949-feet; Wisconsin is Sugarbush Hill at 1939-feet, Rib Mountain 1923-feet, Lookout Mountain at 1919-feet, and Kent Lookout at 1903-feet. Again, not one of these mountains--the highest elevations in these states--can qualify for a true mountain, let alone with "whose height is great."
    The obvious point is that when Meldrum and May make claims about the Heartland, or Olive and others make claims about the Great Lakes, they are all ignoring Samuel the Lamanite’s comment regarding the mountains in the Land of Promise: “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).
    Now it is one thing to ignore a scripture here or there, but when that scripture is the direct revelation of the Lord, such as Samuel’s, one might want to reconsider their stance. After all, Samuel, who came north from the Land of Nephi, said that after his initial failure in preaching to the Nephites he was about to return to his own land when “the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart” (Helaman 13:3). In fact, Samuel added when speaking to the Nephites, “Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people…” (Helaman 13:5); “thus saith the Lord…” (Helaman 13:11); “It shall come to pass, saith the Lord…” (Helaman 13:18); “And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things” (Helaman 14:1); “thus hath the Lord commanded me, by his angel, that I should come and tell this thing unto you” (Helaman 14:9); “[I] have spoken unto you the words which the Lord hath commanded me” (Helaman 14:10).
    What more in the matter of importance in looking for the location of the Land of Promise would one need than direct revelation from the Lord on a subject of such noticeability and inarguability?
    After Samuel told the Nephites of all the signs that would accompany Christ’s death in Jerusalem, he pointedly told them “And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said unto me” (Helaman 14:26), the latter statement he repeated twice more in the following two verses, and added twice in conclusion “thus saith the Lord,” (Helaman 15:16-17). Therefore, it seems worthwhile that when Samuel prophesied of mountains rising out of flat ground that would reach a great height, we ought to believe him and understand the significance of this in our search for the Land of Promise. For surely, any location of the Land of Promise must contain mountains “whose height is great.”
Left: Mesoamerica’s highest peaks; Left: Mexico’s Mt. Popocatepetl; and Right: Guatemala’s Molcan Tajumulco. Both of these mountains give the impression of being high and are high
    As can be seen, Mesoamerica has tall mountains—Mexico’s highest peak is Popocatepet at 17,802-feet, with a prominence of 9,910-feet, and Guatemala’s highest peak is Molcan Tajumulco, in San Marcos, at 13,845-feet with a prominence of 13,058—in addition, the area of Andean Peru has 102 mountains over 19,000-feet, and 70 mountains over 20,000-feet, and 8 mountains over 22,000-feet, which are mountains that anywhere in the world would be considered "whose height is great" far beyhond anything else in the Western Hemisphere. By comparison, the middle and eastern U.S., comprising the Heartland and Great Lakes models, are relatively flat.
Picacho del Diable is the highest peak in Baja, California, only 100 miles south of the U.S. border and far to the north in their "Land Northward"
    In addition, Baja California’s mountains, which are much lower than those in Mesoamerica, but far higher than the Eastern U.S., are the Sierra de San Pedro Matir, with Picacho del Diablo the highest peak on the entire peninsula at 10,517-feet, with a prominence of 2,120-feet (22 mountains in Mexico are higher and only 6 are lower), and the Sierra de Juarez mountains with the highest point Blue Angels Peak at 4,551-feet. These mountains are in the far north, the latter along the border with the U.S., with none in the Land Southward as indicated in the words of Samuel to those in the city of Zarahemla.
The Heartland of the U.S. is mostly flat; Top: The flat land around Lake Michigan, which is around Jerson in Meldrum’s Heartlant model; Middle: A view of the area in Meldrum’s Land of Zarahemla; Bottom: Looking out over Ohio where Meldrum has his Land of Bountiful
The Great Lakes area Olive’s suggested land of promise is basically flat; Top: Looking toward Lake Erie in the far distance; Middle: Finger Lakes area;  Bottom: From Carlton Hill in western New York looking north and south
    In searching for a location of the Land of Promise, along with the other descriptions described in the scriptural record covered in the last ten posts, that area should have mountains “whose height is great.” Only two areas in all of the Western Hemisphere within the areas of Land of Promise models have truly high mountains, and only Andean Peru would be considered to have mountains "whose height is great."
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Book of Mormon prophets that should help us to understand where the Land of Promise was located)


  1. This is great information and really makes your point. Kind of hard how people who support other models can continue to do so unless they simply disregard the scriptures entirely on this matter. There is one point I think you neglected or forgot to include and that is the mountains of Baja California. I assume they have mountains down there.

  2. Ooops...I meant Malaysia, not Baja. Sorry about that

  3. see answer in post above this one....