Monday, November 16, 2015

What Did Nephi Mean “We did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents” – Part II

Continuing from the last post, which showed that one of the two Mediterranean Climates in the Western Hemisphere, California, would not have been the landing site for Lehi’s Land of Promise. That leaves us only with the second and last Mediterranean Climate in the Western Hemisphere, coastal central Chile. 
Like Los Angeles in southern California in the north, which lies at 30º North Latitude (as does Jerusalem), Coquimbo Bay and La Serena in the south, lies at 30º South Latitude, along the coast of central Chile. As stated earlier, these are the only two Mediterranean Climates in the Western Hemisphere. Since Southern California does not qualify for matching hardly any of the scriptural record descriptions, that leaves only Chile as the Mediterranean Climate where Lehi would have landed.
    In looking at this location, we can see that the three things Nephi mentions about the site are found here. After landing they:
1. Went forth upon the land and pitched their tents (1 Nephi 18:23);
2. Tilled the earth and planted their seeds they brought from Jerusalem (a Mediterranean Climate), which grew exceedingly and provided an abundance (1 Nephi 18:24);
3. They found a forest nearby filled with beasts of every kind, both domestic and wild (1 Nephi 18:25);
4. They found nearby all manner of ore, including “both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25) in a single ore.
    This ore was not only close by, but readily available to the discerning eye, of which Nephi made “plates of ore” upon which he engraved the “record of my people…and the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and prophecies of my father” and his own prophecies (1 Nephi 19:1).
These items, then, would have to be available for any landing site to be considered where Lehi landed:
1. Immediately location to pitch tents
2. Ground readily available for tilling and planting
3. A Mediterranean Climate suitable for growing the seeds brought from Jerusalem
4. A forest nearby large enough to be filled with both domestic and wild animals
5. Ore of every kind, and plentiful amounts of gold, silver and copper found in single ore that would be visible to the naked eye.
    While Nephi makes these points quite clear, every theorist who has written about a landing site ignores these things being close by to the landing site, probably within a day or two walk of the landing site, and certainly the place the tents were pitched would not have been far at all, perhaps less than an hour away from the place where they disembarked from the ship—after all, both Lehi and Sariah were “stricken in years” (1 Nephi 18:17), old enough for Nephi to fear for their health and lives during the voyage across the sea—in fact, the Great Lakes, Heartland and eastern U.S. theorists all claim that after reaching the coast of the U.S. that Lehi’s party would have had to travel overland quite some distance to reach the locations claimed to be their Land of Promise.
The Lachine Rapids have existed alongside present day Montreal since the time of the forming of the St. Lawrence River, and always was and is today impassable by any boat more than a canoe or kayak. In the early days of sailing, boats were built to bypass the rapids, but none ever succeeded
    When you factor in that the St. Lawrence River was blocked to ship traffic at Montreal by the Lachine Rapids, and the Mississippi River was blocked to any kind of shipping northward of Baton Route by rapids and shallow waters, and that all internal waterways were far to shallow a very short distance from their sea mouths—the Corps of Engineers has dredged and dug channels and built locks to open these internal sea lanes to shipping traffic since the 18th century—they are claiming that Lehi and Sariah could have walked hundreds of miles to reach the location of their claimed area of First Inheritance.
    As for the Mississippi, it might also be of interest to know that when the French first arrived in Louisiana in 1699 A.D., approximately one-third of the state was covered in prairies, mostly in southern Louisiana that have now been destroyed by modern man. These prairies were formed by hundreds of miles of rivers and bayous moving southward from the Baton Rouge area, which criss-cross the state (bayou comes from the Choctaw Indian word “bayuk,” meaning a small, slow-moving stream, which is often labeled a “river” on modern maps, but in fact were and are merely bayous, or slow-moving streams). All of these brought sediment southward which is why the area of the Mississippi mouth is a delta of hundreds of islands, most barely above or just below the surface—today the river carries an average of 436,000 tons of sediment each day.
The Mississippi Delta—a myriad of thousands of small islands of a changing river mouth where it empties into the Gulf of Mexico
    Anciently, geologists claim this delta was formed by deltale lobes, covering thousands of square miles and switching locates every 1500 years. Today, at New Orleans between Governor Nicholls Wharf and the sharp bend near Algiers Point, the Mississippi is nearly a half mile wide and 191 feet deep, but at Baton Rouge it is only 50 feet deep and shallows beyond that. In fact, today, the Army Corps of Engineers has to maintain a 9-foot shipping channel form Baton Rouge to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to move barges up and down the Mississippi; and from Baton Rouge to New Orleans the channel maintained is 45-foot to allow ocean-going vessels access to ports as far upstream as Baton Rouge. Beyond St. Louis, there are 29 total locks and dams to aid in movement up and down the river.
Top: Towboats push and pull barges up an down the Mississippi River today; Bottom: These barges are very shallow draft as can be seen by this one in dry dock
Top: The towboats are workhorses and are the main vessel on the Mississippi involved in shipping; Bottom: They are also very shallow draft as shown by this one sitting on the ground 
    Anciently, the Red River where it joins the Mississippi had white-water rapids, which the French called Rapides. The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp wilderness in the United States, and anciently, all the sediment deposits moving southward from all these shallow rivers and bayous created the land area now known as the state of Louisiana, all of which has caused the Army Corps of Engineers to build an elaborate levee system to protect Louisiana and other states within the Mississippi Valley from flooding of the shallow Mississippi. In the early 19th century the Corps dug channels, created levees, built dams, spillways, and other management processes to make the Mississippi and some of its tributaries suitable for sailing; however, from the beginning, only shallow-bottomed craft, like the early paddle-wheelers could move up and down on these waters. Today, shallow-bottom tugs, barges, and other such craft still ply the rivers, but no ocean-going vessel can reach above Baton Route now, or in the past.
Obviously, the reason they do not pay attention to Nephi’s statements at the close of Chapter 18 is because they do not match their pre-determined landing site and Land of Promise model.
Yet, how can you claim a model that ignores the descriptive information Nephi gives of where he landed?
    So what did Nephi mean when he wrote: “We did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents”? He meant exactly what he said, that the winds and currents took him to the Mediterranean Climate in Chile where his seeds from Jerusalem would grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop; that where he landed was an area ideal for settlement very close by where they pitched their tents and his elderly and infirmed parents could easily walk to and settle down; where a large forest was nearby where wild and domestic animals co-existed together; and where ore of all kinds existed, and gold, silver, and copper was readily available in a single ore, just like he tells us in 1 Nephi 18:23-25.
    How many places in the Western Hemisphere match that landing site? Only one!

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