Monday, June 8, 2015

Andean Peru is Not a Theory-Part III

Continuing from the last two posts regarding the difference in Andean Peru from all the theories regarding the placement of the Land of Promise proposed by various theorists, and the understanding of the “facts” behind these locations, as opposed to other’s “theories.”    As discussed earlier, there is a difference between a “theory,” a “fact,” and “speculation,” and “belief” (see Part I). What we have for the most part in regard to the location of the Land of Promise is a bunch of “theories,” that is, “ideas used to account for an opinion or viewpoint or position, which typically, but not always, leads to the investigation of that idea or opinion.” As opposed to having “facts,” that is, “something that is indisputably the case; a piece of information used as evidence of a reality or a certainty.”
Part of the problem we have on this subject is that theorists regarding the location of the Land of Promise seldom are interested in facts—rather, they rely upon their intuition, their opinions, their personal viewpoints and, what they believe, is their unique understanding. Thus, they rely more on their internal belief system rather than on the “factual” knowledge of those who lived through the events described and provided us with the descriptions needed for us to better understand and grasp the conditions of their landscape—their home.
    Mormon, when he abridged the scriptural record of Mosiah through 4th Nephi, often (as did his son who abridged Ether) inserted personal explanations for the future reader to better understand the conditions of the landscape over which the events flowed that he abridged.
As an example, in the 22nd chapter of Alma, Mormon decides to insert a lengthy explanation of the area over which the Lamanite king ruled, and the people to whom he sent a proclamation (Alma 22:27). In that 543-word insert, Mormon proceeds to explain the land the king controlled, where that land was in relationship to the Nephites, the land the Nephites controlled, and the position of those lands compared to each other.
    Now, it should be kept in mind that Mormon knew he was writing to a future reader, knew that reader would not know of these lands or their position to each other, and set about to explain that so the future reader could picture in his mind the layout of the land and where the Lamanites were located and where the Nephites were located.
    In doing so, Mormon tells us that the Land of Nephi, which the Lamanites controlled, was in the far south of the Land Southward, which ran horizontally from the east sea to the west sea. Moving northward from there was a narrow strip of wilderness that also ran from sea to sea, then northward was the Land of Zarahemla, also running from the "east to the west sea," which the Nephites controlled. To the north of that was the Land of Bountiful, also Nephite controlled, and northward of that was the narrow neck of wilderness that was the only land between the Land Southward and the Land Northward, which the Nephites controlled and could keep anyone, such as the Lamanites, from getting behind them and into the Land Northward.
    Mormon goes on to tell us that the Land Northward, also controlled by the Nephites, was made up of the Land of Desolation, thus the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful were separated by this narrow neck of land which was the width a Nephite could journey across in a day-and-a-half.
Now we should recognize the difference between Mormon’s “facts” and John L. Sorenson’s “speculation,” when the BYU dean of anthropology claims the Land of Promise really did not run north and south, but actually almost east and west, and that Mormon used a different directional system than we use today—what he called “Nephite North.”
    It seems absolutely amazing and without any justifiable purpose to try and make one think Mormon, who was writing to a future people, would use a directional system that would be different from that used by the rest of the world, different from that used by the Hebrews and Jews down through time, including today (though he tries to show that word meanings were different in the ancient past, long before Lehi’s time), and that which is commonly accepted by just about every people on the face of the planet. It also seems even more unreasonable that Joseph Smith, in translating Mormon’s words, would not understand through the means at his disposal (Urim and Thummim, seer stone, etc.) the true meaning, or that the Spirit, which is a testifier of truth, would allow the wrong meaning to be inserted by Joseph into the record.
    Consequently, we need to remember what we are dealing with in the scriptural record, who wrote it, who translated it, and what acknowledged its correctness, before we start off speculating on matters of grave importance.
    Again, looking at truth, let us consider a few examples:
    Fact: Nephi built a ship that was “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 18:8,9), that is, subject to winds and the currents the winds create, as he sailed to the Land of Promise. Driven Forth means a “drift voyage,” subject to winds and currents.
Speculation: Lehi sailed eastward from the Arabian Peninsula toward India, Malay Peninsula and Sumatra; then through  Indonesia to the South Pacific, then island-hopped across to Mesoamerica.
    Fact: Winds and currents from the Arabian Peninsula do not flow eastward, but move southward into the Indian Ocean, then southeast in the Indian Ocean Gyre, then the West Wind Drift and Prevailing Westerlies of the Southern Ocean toward the Drake Passage, then up the Humboldt Current along the west coast of South America to where the winds and currents die down and allow for a landing at 30º South Latitude, Coquimbo Bay, La Serena, Chile.
    Speculation: Lehi landed along the west Guatemala coast of Mesoamerica.
    Fact: Winds and currents would not take a vessel “driven forth before the wind” to this area. All wind and current maps show that to be impossible for a “drift voyage.”
    Speculation: Lehi sailed south from the Arabian Peninsula, then around the African Cape of Good Hope to the Atlantic, across to the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi River or up the Atlantic coast and passed Nova Scotia to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, then up the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario and then to Lake Erie.
Yellow Arrow: Sailing up the St. Lawrence River would be a difficult task for a drift voyage sailing ship “driven forth before the winds” since this would be against currents and winds; this would have been true for the Mississippi River (White Arrow), since both rivers have blockages tht would not allow a sailing ship further than Baton Rouge on the Mississippi And La Rachine Rapids on the St. Lawrence. In addition, there was no way sail up from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie would be a vertical climb of 326 feet; today there are 15 locks between the St. Lawrence and Lake Erie to enable shipping to get up the difference in elevation
    Fact: Even during the Age of Sail when very experienced mariners made the attempt to sail from Indonesia, through the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, found the going extremely dangerous. The Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 named it the Cape of Storms (now the Cape of Good Hope)—a headland where numerous ships have been sunk, causing the nickname “Graveyard of Ships,” because of the dangers Portuguese navigators had to overcome when trying to round the into the Atlantic. It became a graveyard of ships—more than 3000 were sunk there not to round the horn.
    As can be seen, speculation has a hard time standing up in the fact of factual information.
(See the next post, “Andean Peru is Not a Theory-Part IV,” for more information on how Andean Peru is not one of the many theories that is based primarily on speculation, personal viewpoints, and opinions, but rather on the facts as stated in the scriptural record.

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