Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part XIII – We Did Find Upon the Land of Promise

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Nephi wrote about the land he knew so well, and lived in almost all his life, that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
    Nephi wrote, upon landing in the Land of Promise after their ocean voyage in the ship he built, “and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land. And 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. And we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:23-25).
    In the area of their first landing, along the west sea coast (Alma 22:28), Nephi tells us they found:
    1. An area a short distance from the sea where they could pitch their tents and settle down;
    2. A climate and soil that would grow their seeds from Jerusalem exceedingly and provide an abundant crop;
    3. A forest, large enough where both wild and domestic type animals were found; and
    4. All manner of ore, including gold, silver and copper.
    So let’s take a look at these four statements one at a time:
    1). The landing site of Lehi’s ship along the coast would have to be in a location where they could achieve a landing, i.e., they would need a bay or inlet of some type where the waters would shallow out and waves and currents would be minimal, allowing for people of all ages to disembark from the ship and reach shore.
In a humorous image found on one of the Church websites is this painting of Lehi’s ship pulling up at a wharf (red arrow) when they landed in the promised land. Naturally, there would have been no prepared landing facilities other than the natural conditions of the location, and that would have required a bay (such as shown) where the ship could get close enough to land for men, women and children to wade ashore without strong waves or currents disrupting the effort
    In addition, the landing site would have to have been immediately near an area for living and planting, for Nephi said they “went forth upon the land,” which does not mean they took a journey, traveled or went inland any distance—forth merely means “forward.”
    Consequently, they went forward on the land, i.e., from their ship they went onto the land, where they pitched their tents. It should also be considered that Lehi and Sariah were quite old by this time, and during the period of the voyage, Nephi describes them as “and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds” (1 Nephi 18:17), and also “they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust” (1 Nephi 18:18). We might conclude from this that because of Lehi and Sariah’s age and condition, both getting from the ship to the land would have been some chore, as well as preclude any distant travel before settling down as some Theorists have claimed.
    Thus is should be obvious that Lehi and his family and those with him settled very near the landing site. Mormon seems to make this clear when he said, “and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.” (Alma 22:28).
    2). Nephi says the next thing they did after pitching their tents was “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).
    Any area that seeds from one place would grow well in another, far distant place with the limited technology of planting and growing bare seeds in 600 B.C. would have to have a similar, if not exact, climate as where they were grown. We find this factor important even today with seeds, as have all pioneers over the centuries before and since Lehi. Generally, agriculturists talk about the same or very similar climate, which includes soil type, soil group, soil structure (which has a major influence on water and air movement, biological activity, root growth and seedling emergence), and soil health (sustaining plant productivity and diversity), along with precipitation and temperature, which is weather averaged over a long period.
Climates of the World. There are four Mediterranean climates outside the Mediterranean Sea (blue arrow) region shown by (red arrows)—two southern tips of Australia, southern tip of Africa, Central Chile, and Southern/Central California
    Thus various regions in the world are classified by climate into several categories: Tropical (tropical wet; tropical wet and dry), Dry (semiarid; arid), Moderate (Mediterranean; Humid subtropical; Marine west coast), Continental (Humid continental; subarctic), and Polar (Tundra; Ice cap; highlands; non-permanent ice), making up five tropical categories and 13 specific climates.
    For seeds, before the age of modern knowledge, agricultural techniques, chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers, along with crop rotation (crop rotation was unknown until the Middle Ages, when farmers began planting a rotation of rye or winter wheat, followed by spring oats or barley, then letting the soil rest and leaving it fallow during the third stage; later a four-field rotation was pioneered by farmers in the 16th century and popularized by the British agriculturist Charles Townshend in the 18th century. Geroge Washington carver studied crop rotation in the U.S. teaching southern farmers to rotate soil-depleting crops like cotton with soil-enriching crops like peanuts and peas). But in Lehi’s time, such farming techniques were unknown and centuries away from even being tried, let alone understood.
    Consequently, the only sure way to grow seeds successfully before all this knowledge and understanding began to dawn on man, planting seeds in the same climate, soils and region where they grew was essential. Thus, when farmers migrated, they purchased seeds in the new area, or undertook several seasons of growing seeds that would sprout and provide crops in the new area.
Thus, to identify a location of the Land of Promise, we need not only find the same climate as that of Jerusalem—which is a Mediterranean Climate—where Lehi’s seeds were grown (1 Nephi 18:24), it would also have to be quite close to where they landed and pitched their tents (farming fields are obviously adjacent to where the farmer lives).
Other location climates are Great Lakes (red arrow) Humid continental; Heartland (green arrow) Humid subtropical/Humid continental; Baja California (blue arrow) Semi-arid in very far coastal north; and Desert (BWh) middle to southern peninsula; Mesoamerica (brown arrow) Tropical wet, and includes monsoon and savanna; and Malaya (black arrow) Tropical wet
    3). After pitching their tents and tilling the ground and planting their seeds, some of the party would have found time to journey around their new land. Nephi tells us “we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men” (1 Nephi 18:25).
    The word “journey” that Nephi uses means “the travel of a day,” “travel from place to place” also means “to travel somewhere” and can mean “hike, trek, tour, rove, roam, and make one’s way.” Thus, this journeying was one of discovery of their surroundings, part of which was the discovery of a forest, large enough to have all types “beasts of every kind,” both those that had been domesticated at one time (cow, ox, donkey, horse, and goat), as well as wild goats and all manner of wild animals that were for the use of man.
Any early journeying around would likely have been for the purpose of hunting and securing food for their immediate needs. It may have been during these hunting trips they encountered the forest with beasts of every kind, some of which they would have brought back for domestic use, others killed for food--it would have been at such times they learned about their surroundings
    This forest would also have been comparatively near their landing site and where they pitched their tents and planted their seeds—at least within the distance of a day’s walk or journey. Thus, wherever Lehi landed, there had to have been a bay of sorts, a climate conducive to the growing of seeds from Jerusalem (which were grains and fruit of every kind), and a forest large enough for both domestic and wild animals to roam.
    4). All manner of ore, including gold, silver and copper (1 Nephi 18:25).
    Again, near where Lehi landed, Nephi tells us they found “all manner of ore,” thus we should find in the vicinity of their landing site many types of ore, as well as specifically, “gold, silver and copper.”
    Thus, in the direct vicinity of Lehi’s landing site, these four areas should be readily be located, four areas that are most likely going to be existent today, since regional climate, agricultural factors, major forests, and ore, including gold, silver and copper, tend to remain in existence over long periods of time
(See the next post for the follow-up and significance of these points that should be found in the immediate location of Lehi’s landing site; this means the exact area compared to the rest of the Land of Promise)


  1. I think it's also telling what Nephi left off the list of things he found: other people. Many insist that there were others upon the land of promise already, who were subsumed by Lehi's descendants. They tell us that we can't impose our modern sensibilities upon Nephi and assume that if there were other people then Nephi would have mentioned them. However, Nephi made this laundry list of everything they found--ready soil, beasts, animals, ores, etc. Since he made this record several years after having arrived and was listing everything helpful and of use they found, I find it a difficult position to hold that he would mention everything except the most conspicuous of all: other people.

  2. I couldn't agree with you more.