Monday, October 5, 2015

Why Wouldn’t the Nephites Know East?

Since our last few posts have stirred an interest in the azimuth reading of the sunset and sunrise between various models, let’s take a look at this issue a little closer. 
    First of all, by way of reminder and placing 12 cities in three models in comparison with Jerusalem, we get a clearer view of the closeness of some of these locations that would not have required a second thought—that is, they are so close together as viewed along the azimuth setting, that in 600 B.C. would not have appeared any different than what they had been used to in an eastern sky.
As the chart shows, a person standing in any of these locations would see the sun rising along the degree point listed (as seen on a compass)
    Thus whether in Jersualem or La Serena, Chile, the sun rises within one degree of either location. Since there are 360-degrees in a (horizontal) circle, the difference in a view of the sun is insignificant. As an example, at the equator, each degree of latitude is 69 miles, and a degree remains fairly constant from the equator to the poles; however, the variance in longitudinal lines is dependent on the latitude since these lines converge at the poles.
    The azimuth line, which is measured in degrees on the compass, with the degree along the horizon from north to south, which over a year’s time would show the progression of the winter and summer solstices. For a significant difference noticeable to the human eye, it would have to be at least 5º. Of course, the closer the figures are to Jerusalem the more identical it would appear in the course of the sun’s movement and bring an appreciable consciousness of that difference. But first, we have to keep in mind that the perspective of the objects, depends entirely whether or not an object looks big or small in at the distances involved. With the sun, 92,960,000 miles from earth, the perspective over that distance would not notice a degree or two.
Depending on perspective of objects, the sun could look like a marble (left) or a small ball (middle), or a large street bulb light being hauled in a wagon
    Consequently, the Ohio/Great Lakes area is 4 to 5º off from Jerusalem, while the Mexico/Guatemala is only 3 to 4º off, with La Serena, Chile, but one degree off compared to Jerusalem. However; none of these differences would have caused a Nephite landing in one of these areas to be concerned about where the sun rose and set, which would be to the east with a very close setting, making John L. Sorenson’s complete theory of having to have a back to the sea to know east nothing but a fallacious and futile argument.
The sun going down in two settings approximately two degrees apart at a distance looking across the ocean. Without instruments, the Nepnhites would not have known these were not basically identical to the locations they had known in the past in a different location—that of Jerusalem
    Thus, one degree at Jerusalem would be about 60 miles, while one degree at Guatemala City would be about 65 miles, and one degree at Le Serena would be about 60 miles. This means that on a 90º azimuth, the difference between Jerusalem and Guatemala City would be approximately four degrees or 260 miles; while the different between Jerusalem and La Serena at 60º azimuth would be one degree at 60 miles. Stated differently, looking across millions of miles of space in an alignment, you see the sun rising in the east 260 miles off a compass point in Guatemala City (Mesoamerican city of Nephi), or only 60 miles off that compass point in La Serena (Lehi landing site) as compared to Jerusalem.
    Now in the course of the year, as the sun moves toward the winter and summer solstices, it does not rise in the exact same place two days in a row until it reaches the solstice (furthest point before returning).
    Now while these solstices that show the extreme winter and summer swings of the sun, and the equinox showing the day and night periods vary along the suns yearly path, they are relative similar in their locations to any 600 B.C. measurement.
The Summer solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s summer, with the sun at its highest elevation, marking the onset of summer, at the time of the longest day and longest night. This is around June 21 in the northern hemisphere and December 22 in the southern hemisphere. At this time, of course, daylight is continuous in the polar regions, which allows Sorenson to claim that those living in the extreme northern latitudes would have different views, words, and understanding of directions—this is also arguable, however, the point is the Land of Promise was not placed in an extreme northern or southern latitude and so Sorenson's point is a moot one.
    The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight – except in the polar regions, where daylight is continuous, from a few days to six months around the summer solstice. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates differ from winter solstice, however, and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth's elliptical orbit.
    This also, by the way, makes another point we have written about in the past and that is the distance of narrowing between longitudinal lines as one travels across the Pacific Ocean at the equator, as many Mesoamerican theorists claim.
    The problem few consider is that the curvature of the globe in a horizontal direction narrows longitudinal lines considerably and make an equatorial area crossing (Arabia, past India, through Indonesia, and then from island to island across the Pacific to Mesoamerica) a travel distance along the horizontal (latitudinal) plane of 13,530 miles.
    However, by dropping down to the Southern Ocean before making the crossing, the distance would be considerably less. Along a straight horizontal plane, that distance at 55º south latitude would be 3,230 miles, or 7,300 miles less (shorter) than going straight across the Pacific around the equator (Coquimbo travel: Salalah eastward from 55º W. longitude to 70º E. longitude is 85º at 38 miles per degree, or 3230 miles).
In addition, when figuring in the vertical drop from Arabia to the Southern Ocean, the curvature of the ocean currents would drop the ship to 110º W. Longitude, not 55º, thus the distance along the horizontal plane would be only 1520 miles, or an extreme 9,010 miles shorter for the Southern Ocean route (55º W. longitude to 70º E. longitude is 40º at 38 miles per degree, or 1520 miles, making a 9,010 shorter mileage than Sorenson’s line of travel)
    The point of all of this is that when Sorenson or any other theorist begins making claims about this or that part of their theory, we need to look at the reality of that information or idea. The sun rises in the Guatemala area (Mesoamerica) pretty much where it does in Jerusalem from a boots on the ground compass heading) and even if Lehi were to somehow have managed to land there, there is no way the compass directions would have needed to be changed according to the rationale Sorenson uses to justify the skewed land of promise directions by nearly 90º or any at all, since as shown above, they are very closely aligned to the sunrise and sunset that would have been viewed by them.
    Another point is that when we look at a map of the world and start plotting reasonable courses across the oceans or land, we need to understand the curvature of the planet and how that effects distances on the ground. From Salalah, Arabia, to Guatemala (Sorenson’s location of Lehi’s landing site), is about 13,530 miles; however, a route down to the Southern Ocean and across to the landing site in Coquimbo, Chile, which matches the scriptural record, is only about 4520 miles overall).
(These figures are for illustration purposes only--exact distances would be impossible to determine since a sailing ship is subject to movement within currents. Exact figures would differ only slightly but not effect the point of the illustration of the extreme shorter distance of travel for Lehi going along the Southern Ocean to the Western Hemisphere landing than crossing the Pacific Ocean at the equator as Sorenson claims)

1 comment:

  1. The Lord could not only direct the pointing of the spindles, He could direct the direction the wind would blow from and thus manipulate the track of the ship to avoid other lands and hazards until they reached their destination. Winds must be the primary way He drove the Jaredite barges as they were not equipped with sails. Would you direct me to your page where you say that the city of Nephi was where Guatemala City is today as you reference above? I'm very confident it was on the south shores of Lake Titicaca (Teohuanaco?) and Nephi's Temple was likely the ruins of Punta Punku which was constructed of curious workmanship.