Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part IX

Continuing from the last post in which Jacob’s pronouncement of the Nephite Land of Promise being an island in the midst of the sea. 
    We can verify that by Mormon’s comment about the great expansion into the Land Northward. As he put it: “in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers. Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land“ (Helaman 3:3-5, emphasis mine).
To inherit the land suggests that this land in the Land Northward had not yet been settled, in fact, the first movement into this land of Desolation and further north had only been entered six years earlier when “In this year (54 B.C.) there were many people who went forth into the land northward” (Alma 63:9).
    But when the large migration mentioned in Helaman 3:5 took place, Mormon tells us the Nephites multiplied “and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8.
    Such a statement would only be possible if the land was basically surrounded by water. It would be like a U.S. historian saying that Americans began to spread across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico. While Mesoamerican and other theorists want to limit this understanding so it does not conflict with their Land of Promise models, there is no other way to read this statement except to say that the Land of Promise in Jacob and Helaman’s time was basically surrounded, or had large enough bodies of water in each of the four compass directions to make the statement of an “island” and “four seas” meaningful. Mesoamerica, as an example, is not surrounded by water—it has two coast lines of water, the north and south (Sorenson’s east and west), which makes the statement meaningless regarding Mesoamerica. The heartland of America, Meldrum’s Land of Promise, has water only in two directions, east and south; the Great Lakes, Olive’s Land of Promise, has seas in only one direction, east, unless you include the Great Lakes, then you add another direction, basically west, and in a stretch, north. But none of them, including Malay, Baja California, etc., has more than three, and Central America has only two.
    Thus, each model leaves the theorist with the need to alter the meaning of the scriptural record in both Jacob’s statement and Helaman’s statement, in order to fit their model into the Land of Promise.
    So, if one is going to find the Land of Promise, they need to identify an area that was an island in Jacob’s time and had four distinct and large seas in Helaman’s time—and none of the models suggested by either Mesoamericanists, Heartland, Great Lakes, Eastern U.S., Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Baja California, Malay, or eastern Africa, can qualify. The only area suggested to-date is Andean Peru (below), which was surrounded by water from pre-Jaredite times up to the time of the Crucifixion and the rising of the Andes Mountains as Samuel the Lamanite foretold (Helaman 14:23).
Three independent seas anciently had direct access to the Atlantic Ocean before South America rose to the surface as a continent: 1) the Pebesian Sea, with an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean to the north, and ran along the eastern edge of the Western Andean Shelf before the Andes rose majestically as Samuel the Lamanite predicted; 2) the Parananse Sea which was the northern inland portion of 3) the Paranan Sea that had an outlet to the south into the Atlantic Ocean. There was also the Amazon Sea, which was an inlet of the Atlantic that later, as the eastern coastal area tilted upward from the tectonic plate collision in the west along the Coastal Thrust Front brought the continent upward to the surface. Prior to that event, the Guiana and Brazilian Shields in the east were simply large areas of exposed Precambrian crystalline igneous and high-grade metamorphic rocks that formed tectonically stable areas and were the nucleus of the continent. As the eastern coastal area tilted upward, these two shields rose to form the highland eastern coastal ranges, with the Chaco Foredeep and the Benni Foredeep both elongated sediment-filled sea-floor depressions bordering the island arc and orogenic belt during uplift.
    There were three upland areas that make up the Guiana (Guayanan) Shield in the east: 1) The Guiana Highlands; 2) The Tumucumaque Uplands, adjacent to Guiana; and 3) The Chiribiquete Plateau that runs along the northern and western rim of the overall Shield, and cover today’s eastern half of Venezuela, Guyana (British), Suriname (Dutch), French Guiana, and Amapa (Brazil). Between the two Shields (Guiana and Brazil) ran the East Portal Seaway (Amazon Sea), with the North Portal Seaway to the north (Pebesian Sea) and the South Portal Seaway (Paranan Sea), which would be where the Parana River now flows into the Rio de la Plata estuary between Uruguay and Argentina on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
When the eastern coastal Shelf tilted upward, bringing the continent to the surface, the rush of the Parananse Sea into the Paranan Sea and then out into the Atlantic caused the opening in the eastern coastal seashore, with at least four rivers, including the Uruguay and Parana Rivers and the Rio de la Plate estuary in its wake 

    The point being, that much of South America was under water, and all geologists agree it surfaced at the time the Andes rose. Of course, science using a 4.55 billion year old Earth, claim this happened recently, but still millions of years ago. On the other hand, with the age of the Earth shown by Moses in Genesis and the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, we bring that event much closer to the present—in fact, with the understanding in Helaman of Samuel’s prophesying that at the time of the crucifixion valleys in the Land of Promise would rise up into mountains “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23), fits these two events together and shows how the Andes came up in a matter of a few hours. Naturally, science does not accept this, but then the Lord works in ways science has yet to accept.
    It might be of interest that while this eastern part of South America, the six countries to the east of the Andes, called the countries of the Plains, with the exception of Venezuela, are those that lie wholly along the ancient part of the continent that was once underwater, other than the two shields and eastern highlands mentioned above, the fact of this lowland that was underwater can be shown even today, with the Orinoco Valley, like the Valley of the Amazon to the south, slopes slightly toward the east, and is separated from the Amazon only by the low Parime Mountains (believed by the Spanish as the home of Lake Parime, the legendary city of gold, El Dorado).
Red Arrow: Mouth of the Orinoco River; Yellow Arrow: Mouth of the Amazon River; Green Arrow, where both the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers meet

    In fact, in the western part of the valley, toward the source of the Orinoco River, it is not separated at all, the water at some seasons flowing from the Orinoco into the Amazon, and at others from the Amazon into the Orinoco, through a river that connects them. The Orinoco valley does not have forests, like the Amazon, but its plains are grassy, and called llanos. South of the Amazon, the La Plata Valleys are really one great plain, also covered with grass, though this is coarser called pampas, with the plains reaching from the Andes to the Atlantic, except where the scattered ranges of the mountains in eastern Brazil rise from them. In all three valleys, there are two season, wet and dry, and even today, during the west season the entire areas is a flood plain since the land is barely above sea level to begin with.
    As for the problem with Land of Promise theorists, as we have suggested throughout the history of this blog is in people having a pre-determined idea in their minds where the Land of Promise was located before they ever started out to write about it. Then, in so doing, have to find scriptures that validate their model and either ignore those that do not, or find a way to alter the meaning of the scriptural record that does not agree with their point of view so that it does. Thus Sorenson creates a totally new directional system for Mormon’s simple north, south, east and west; Olive ends up with a map with almost every major land area in the wrong place according to Mormon’s simple directions and descriptions; Meldrum with his Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers all running in the opposite direction from the scriptural record of the Sidon River, with Bountiful east of Zarahemla, Lamanite lands to the West of Zarahemla (no Sea West or Sea East), and Sea South to the east of Bountiful, and no mountains “whose height is great” to be found anywhere in the Great Lakes are Heartland models.
None of these areas, of course, qualify for Jacob or Helaman’s statements, nor Mormon’s numerous descriptions as each is simply stated in the scriptural record. Only that area of Andean South America, including present-day Ecuador and part of southern Colombia, Peru, Western Bolivia, and northern Chile (with a small edge of Argentina) forming this area along the Western Shelf of South America (sometimes referred to as the Andean Chain). For more information on this, see our book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica. 
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part X,” for Amaleki’s comments about the placement of the city of Zarahemla and Mormon’s description of the location of the Land of Nephi, the narrow strip of wilderness and the Land of Zarahemla)

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