Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part II

Continuing here from the last post about finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise and the third point regarding where Nephi landed and what they found there.
Obviously, and again this is a point seldom mentioned in other theorists’ writings, Nephi tells us what he found adjacent to his landing site. That is, he makes it quite clear that there were several things located at the place of his landing—not to be confused with what was found and accomplished after Nephi separated himself from his brothers. Thus, we need to find a landing site that has all the points Nephi tells us were at the landing area he saw and wrote about.
Top: The Bay of Coquimbo, the “calm waters” where Lehi landed; Bottom: The area of La Serena, a Mediterranean Climate where seeds from Jerusalem would have grown “exceedingly,” and provided an “abundant” harvest 

3. Where he landed and what he found there. 
    In looking into this, we need to keep in mind that Nephi told us very specifically that when they reached the Land of Promise, seven very important things were done or found, and the order in which they were listed: “And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land;
(1) and we went forth upon the land, and
(2) did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land. And it came to pass that
(3) we did begin to till the earth, and we began to
(4) 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 it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as
(5) we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were
(6) 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
(7) did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper. 
    Therefore, without argument or other qualifications, all of these things should be found in the location of Lehi’s first landing site, the area Mormon refers to as the “place of their father’s first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28).
    Perhaps the most important thing associated with this area is the climate, since it is what is called a Mediterranean Climate and matches the climate of the Mediterranean Sea and that of Jerusalem. This becomes critically important when we realize that Lehi brought with him “seeds of every kind from Jerusalem.” As Nephi put it, as soon as they landed: “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, emphasis mine).
Seeds in 600 B.C. and for more than two thousand years afterward, had to be planted in the same area or climate from which they were originally grown. Without this advantage, seeds did poorly and sometimes took several years to adapt to a new climate through several very poor harvests 

    This tilling and planting was not done later, or elsewhere. As every immigrant group knows and adversely learns if they did not know in advance, the survival of any new colony in an unoccupied area is that of immediate planting and harvesting—to us today, it is often difficult to understand how important planting and growing food was anciently. Today, if we are hungry, we can go to the supermarket or a restaurant and get anything we want to eat. We do not have to grow it ourselves, and we don’t usually worry that we will starve if our harvest is poor. We do not have to work outside, in all kinds of weather, digging in the soil, planting, weeding and watering. Life was very different for Lehi’s colony, as it was even into the 1600s, over 2000 years later.
As the Pilgrims learned at Plymouth, their seeds from England, a completely different climate, did not grow sufficiently to provide a sustainable crop. Had it not been for the indigenous Wampanoag Indians, most would have starved before they could have found ways to plant. In fact, it was the Wampanoag who showed the Pilgrims how to plant by combining various crops in simple lots to grow together (especially corn and beans, squash and pumpkin, with corn shading the others and lower leaves keeping out weeds and the ground moist), who used fish to help fertilize the planting lands.
    For people like Sorenson to claim the Lehi colony planted seeds grown and prepared in a Mediterranean Climate would have grown miraculously in a tropical climate in Guatemala or southern Mexico and provided an exceeding harvest and abundance crops is spoken like today’s city dweller. Today, Monsanto, the agricultural biotechnology corporation, analyzes data in conjunction with the genetic properties of their seeds, combines all this information with climate predictions for different parts of the world, and delivers precise planting instructions—literally scripts—to iPads connected to planting equipment in the field so that seeds from one area or climate can grow in another.
Through modern technology, seeds are developed that can grow just about anywhere, but in earlier ages, this was never the case—seeds grew in the same locals where they were developed, and climates were all-important 

    In addition, modern genetic engineers have developed huge gene pools and genebanks for all kinds of seeds so through this modern technology they will grow in different climes and conditions. They also today use hybrid seeds, GMOs, heirloom seeds, cross-breeding, development of new plant varieties and their ultimate seeds, and seeds with greater vigor and uniformity—all of which make modern planting and harvesting possible almost anywhere, but this was not the case in earlier millennia.
     Also when Sorenson writes (p139) that subsequent crops usually do poorly, it is just the opposite. The first planting of seeds from one climate into a different climate typically do very poorly, but as they adjust over seasons to a new climate, new soils, new precipitation, etc., they can (but not always) adapt—it is just that if your life depended upon the crops for food the first two or three years, you would probably starve. Sorenson also claims (p139): “What happened later to those plants from the seeds the Lehi party carried across the ocean is not stated.”
However, that is not true. Nephi makes it clear that the subsequent planting “and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance” (2 Nephi 5:11). And about 300 years later, their seeds produced from one crop after another, were still doing well (Mosiah 9:9).
    The point being, and this cannot be over-emphasized, in 600 B.C., Lehi’s seeds brought from Jerusalem would have grown only in two places in the entire Western Hemisphere—Southern California, and La Serena, Chile, which two have Mediterranean Climates, the only two such climates in this Western Hemisphere. There is no possible way those seeds could have grown in the landing area assigned by Sorenson and Mesoamericanists Garth Norman, Richard Hauck and Joseph Allen, etc., all claiming Lehi landed at or near the shores of Izapa, an archaeological site near the city of Tapachula on the border of Guatemala and Mexico—an area of jungle with a Tropical climate, where it is very hot and humid, and wet year round with rains from May to October, where coffee, rubber and cacao grow, but not such things as wheat, barley and other seeds brought from Jerusalem.
    Even Sorenson acknowledges (p184) that wheat and barley would not have grown in the area of his Land of Promise in Mesoamerica, and then tries to change the name of the grain used by the Nephites. The point is, that no grain grown in Jerusalem in 600 B.C. would have grown in Mesoamerica in Lehi's time and no trying to change what seeds were brought can change that--besides, we know what seeds were grown in Jerusalem in biblical times and in Lehi's time from historical records and archaeological work done there and they would not have grown in Mesoamerica--even today, with all the advancement in planting and harvesting techniques, those grains do not grow well in Guatemala and have great difficulty over time.
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part III,” for the continuation of this third step—Where Lehi landed and what he found there)

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