Monday, November 9, 2015

What It’s All About? Part I

There is one critically important question regarding all the various ideas about the location of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise: 
"Does anyone (especially theorists) really consider the scriptures first before picking or choosing a location for their Book of Mormon Land of Promise model?"
The Mayan ruins of TulumMayan territory extended 125,000 square miles across what today is Southern Mexico (including the Yucatan), Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador 
    It is obvious there are certain appealing aspects to some areas—such as the magnificent ruins found in Mesoamerica that are claimed to have dated, more or less, to the Jaredite and Nephite period (of course, that is in serious doubt once carbon dating is understood). There is the hill Cumorah in upstate western New York. There are the myriad of animals in the Malay Peninsula. There is the peninsula shape “nearly surrounded by water” of Baja California. There is the parochial status of the Church today in the “Land of the Free,” that befits the parameters of a land of promise in the heartland of the United States. There is the singular impressive Mississippi River reminiscent of the River Sidon;. There is evidence of a writing system in Central America.
    Each of these and a handful of other points can be made about different locations to try and prove a geographical setting for the scriptural record.
    However, the Land of Promise that Mormon describes is a lot more complete than a handful of criteria typically listed to support this or that model and location. We have often seen upwards of six or eight criteria listed by different theorists, even as much as ten, however, most of these are often “soft” or changeable points, like two societies are constantly at war with one another. While that is a match to the scriptural record, it is possible to apply such to most any area since early neighboring societies were typically at war with one another.
    Another point is a written language. Though that is a match to a scriptural point, for it to matter and be compared, the language would have to be traced to either Hebrew or Egyptian, which no ancient language in the Western Hemisphere as yet been linked. Still another criteria would be a narrow neck of land, however, though the word “narrow” has caused a great deal of differing opinions, from a few feet across to 144 miles wide, and though it is linked with a travel distance of a day-and-a-half, that, too, has caused differing opinions, as well as topographical issues like a narrow neck or a river can be altered over time from changes in earth movement.
Left: Gold, silver and copper in a single ore; Middle: The llama (alpaca not shown), two animals extremely valuable to ancient man; Right: Quinoa (kaniwa not shown), two super grains superior in ways to wheat and barley
   The point of an actual criteria that is both scriptural-based and location-specific, would be things like finding metallurgy (the correct or matching ore), two unknown animals of great worth to man, or two unknown grains on a par with wheat and barley. Those types of things can be pin-pointed to a specific area and to a specific time and not easily found just anywhere. The same is true with a plant that is used to treat killing fevers, or a climate that matches that of Jerusalem.
    Nor does a single, or a couple, or even a handful of matches mean much when there are so many descriptive scriptural references given in the record. As an example, here are listed forty (40) scriptural references to such criteria that should be found in the Land of Promise—not just some of them, but all of them!
1. The cureloms and cumoms unknown animals (Ether 9:19);
2. Neas and Sheum unknown grains (Mosiah 9:9).
3. The unknown ore Ziff (Mosiah 11:3);
4. All manner of ore (1 Nephi 18:25);
5. Gold, silver and copper as a single ore (1 Nephi 18:25);
6. Growing of wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9);
7. Working in metal ore and precious metals (2 Nephi 5:15);
8. Coins (Alma 11:3-20);
The fortress of Ollantaytambo--one of many fortresses and small outpost resorts found all through the Andean areas of Ecuador, Peru, western Bolivia and northern Chilealmost all built for defense and an early warning outpost system, what are called "outposts"
9. Forts and resorts (Alma 48:5, 8);
10. Plants and herbs to cure fever (Alma 46:40);
11. The Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20);
12. Climate to grow seeds from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24);
13. The great defensive wall built by the Nephites (Helaman 4:7);
14. Circumcision or the Law of Moses (Helaman 9:21);
15. Mountains whose height is great (Helaman 14:23);
16. Four seas (Helaman 3:8);
17. Winds and currents leading to the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 18:8-9);
18. A narrow neck that is really narrow—day-and-a-half journey to cross (Alma 22:32);
19. A defensible narrow passage within the narrow neck of land (Alma 50:34);
20. High quality textiles, including fine-twined linen and silk (Alma 1:29);
21. All types of buildings (Mosiah 8:8);
22. Noah’s tower next to the temple (Mosiah 11:12);
23. A land that is north-south oriented (Alma 22:27);
24. Sidon River flows northward past Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27);
25. Walls of Stone around various lands (Alma 48:8);
26. Advanced civilization to north where Hagoth’s ships sailed (Alma n63:4);
27. Roads and highways from land to land and city to city and place to place (3 Nephi 6:8);
28. Land of volcanoes and earthquakes (3 Nephi 8:12);
29. Land of many waters, rivers and fountains (Mormon 6:4);
30. Sea that divides the land (Ether 10:20);
31. Landing site for Nephi’s ship with adjacent matching climate, forest, and ores (1 Nephi 18:24-25).
32. Nephi’s landing site on West Sea, southward in the Land of Nephi (Alma 22:28);
33. Nephi’s landing site on the sea over which they traveled (2 Nephi 10:20);
34. Plants and roots for medincinal cures (Alma 46:40);
35. A hill in the north lands where records or treasures were believed buried (Mormon 1:3; 4:23; 6:6);
36. A land where seams and cracks in the rocks and mountains can be found significant enough to be mentioned in religious and secular history (Helaman 14:22; 3 Nephi 8:18);
Top: The Inca warrior armed with a sling that did so much damage against the Spaniards and their horses, felling a horse with a single stone; Bottom: Modern Ch'iaroje, an annual ritual battle among Checa y Quehue communities, who fight in a war game using the ancient weapons of slignshots
37. Use of sling and stones for weapons (Alma 2:12; 3:5; 17:7; 43:20; 49:20);
38. Skeletal remains of great battles (Mosiah 8:8);
39. Culture and society dominated by religion (Mosiah 25:18-19, 24);
40. The long, narrow plain or valley between Zarahemla and Bountiful up which Coriantumr raced in his attempt at conquest (Helaman 1:27).
(See the next post, “What It’s All About-PtII,” for this continuing list of Andean Peru matches to the scriptural record that no other claimed Land of Promise can claim)


  1. Excellent research but in all of your scholastic ventures into the location of the places described in the book of Mormon you seem to fail (maybe you discuss it somewhere) to understand or note the distinct land changes that occurred during Christ's sacrifice and his arrive on the land of 1st inheritance. The covenant people of the lord (native americans) the seed of Lehi/Joseph, had their land (current 4-corners area and south) completely destroyed and mountains became valleys. It seems as though a quarter of the US was under water before Christ sacrificed himself.

  2. We have written about this in the past. However, since the Land of Promise described in the Book of Mormon was not within the U.S. as such, but in the area of Andean Peru, the changes in the U.S. did not affect anything in the scriptural record--we have written numerous times about how the catastrophic occurrences noted in Nephi, Helaman and in 3 Nephi did affect the Land of Promise in that area of Andean Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc. (BTW, while you mention "mountains became valleys" you neglect to mention that valleys became mountains, "whose height is great" and the significance of that, which is not the four corners, which is a very flat area). The fact that the Great Basin was an inland sea after the Flood of Noah and eventually broke through and formed the Grand Canyon and other remarkable sights in the southwest is also recorded in our book "Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths."

    As for these lands to the north, we have also discussed in our blog and books the fact that when Hagoth's ships went northward to a "land which was northward" we see that movement into Central and MesoAmerica, and from there as we have discussed, an expansion into what is now the U.S. was a final step for the Nephites and Lamanites to eventually occupy the entire Land of Promise as Prophets and General Authorities have discussed in talks and writings over the years and as Joseph Smith verified with the brief story of Zelph (bones found on Naples-Russel Mound 8) and the Prophet Onandagus.