Saturday, November 5, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXVII

Continuing with more of the scriptural record statements that lead us to a clearer understanding of the location of the Land of Promise, for there can be no question that any Land of Promise must have all these descriptions Mormon and Moroni left us, must be reachable by ship “driven forth before the wind” by an inexperienced crew, and qualify for an island as Jacob said, or existed at the time of the Nephites. 
In this particular article, we take a look at the “seeds of all kinds” that the Nephites brought from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 8:1; 18:6, 24). In fact, these seeds, when planted, “did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance” (1 Nephi 18:24); and when planted again, Nephi says, “for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance” (2 Nephi 5:11).
    Now all countries and areas that border on the Mediterranean Sea have what is called a Mediterranean Climate. That includes Israel in the eastern Mediterranean, and more specifically Jerusalem. Therefore, the seeds they brought from Jerusalem and planted in the area of their First Landing, would have had to have had a very similar climate, including temperature, precipitation, soil, soil group, and overall weather, for in 600 B.C., long before modern agriculture knowledge and techniques, seeds seldom grew anywhere but within the same climate in which they were produced—in fact, to acclimate a seed to a new area could take several years of poor growth, if at all. Even today, most horticulturists talk about as much as seven years for full acclamation, meaning the seeds will grow as good in the new climate as they did in the old climate in the seventh year.
    There are 13 climate zones in the world, with different parts of the planet having different climates. Some parts of the world are hot and rainy nearly every day and have a tropical wet climate. Others are cold and snow-covered most of the year, having a polar climate. Between the icy poles and the steamy tropics are many other climates that help make the Earth a unique planet.
    In fact, average temperature and precipitation are important features of a climate, as are the day-to-day, day-to-night, and seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. For example, San Francisco, California, and Beijing, China, have similar yearly temperatures and precipitation. However, the daily and seasonal changes make San Francisco and Beijing very different. San Francisco’s winters are not much cooler than its summers, while Beijing is hot in summer and cold in winter. San Francisco’s summers are dry and its winters are wet. The wet and dry seasons are reversed in Beijing—it has rainy summers and dry winters. On the other hand, central and southern California have a similar climate to Jerusalem distinguished by warm, wet winters under prevailing westerly winds and calm, hot, dry summers, called a Mediterranean Climate, which is characteristic of the Mediterranean region and parts of California, central Chile, South Africa, and southwestern Australia.
Crops that grow exceptionally well in a Mediterranean Climate have not historically done well in other climates without an acclamation period or the aid of modern technology

    According to S.P. Sinha Faguni Ram, in “Climate and Weather,” “Plants grown in the Mediterranean rarely grow in regions other than those with a typical Mediterranean climate. The olive tree, Olea europea, of the Eastern Mediterranean, is a small, slow-growing tree, and would rarely grow in other than a Mediterrnean climate, that is why olive oil is pre-eminently a product of Spain, Italy, Greece, North Africa, Portugal, southern France, and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as the Mediterranean areas of Australia and South America” (Commercial Geography, Mittal Publications, New Delhi, 1993, p164). Even today, we are told, “Seeds of Mediterranean herbs struggle in other climates, especially those with humid wet seasons (summers)” 

The Yellow areas around the Mediterranean show the Mediterranean Climate locations. Note the far right yellow in the Palestine/Israel area 
    In fact, the Mediterranean boasts a history of the great civilizations of the world, and not only is it partly because of the ideal climate for living, but also for growing foodstuff all year round. This climatic influence is apparent in the mental outlook, both of individuals and nations, where agriculture has developed first and foremost where early man developed grasses into “improved” cereals (pp316, 318), and the oils necessary for food development.
    In fact, according to Piero Lionello, Department of Science Technologies, Biologic and Ambient, University of Salento, Lecce Itally, in The Climate of the Mediterranean Region, “Such focus of international climate research on a relatively small region can be explained by three fundamental facts—its specific phenomenology, the well-developed cultural background of most Mediterranean countries, and the important social-economical-environmental impacts of climate variability and change.”
    We also find that the Mediterranean Climate is the smallest climate in the world, found only in five areas outside the Mediterranean: California, Western Cape in South Africa, part of central Chile, in South Australia, and a corner of Western Australia, as well as in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
    The value of Mediterranean foods has been known for a century, with “Mediterranean diets having been found by scientists to prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases” (Sacks, Trichopoulou, Drescher et al. “A Cultural Model for Healthy Eating,” 1995)
    According to Joan Tous and Louise Ferguson, in Meterranean Fruits, and the World Heath Organization, “Besides olives and olive oil, other Mediterranean crops, such as mandarins, figs, loquats, persimmons, pomegranates, pistachios, carob pods, and cactus pear, have received little attention up until now but are being re-emphasized today in areas with Mediterranean climates for diversification and revitalization of local agriculture.
Also grapes, almonds, Tree nuts, hazelnuts, grains, legumes, fruits (pomegranates, apricots, and mandarin citrus), and vegetables, are included in the Mediterranean foods, and are important in many Mediterranean countries: Spain, Portugal through Southern France to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East through Morocco and Tunisia to Egypt of the Mediterranean, as well as California, Australia, and South America (ASHS Press, Arlington VA, pp 416-430, 1996).
    According to R. Mohamed, M. Pineda, and M. Aguilar, “Antioxident capacity of extracts from wild and crop plants of the Mediterranean region,” National Institute of Health, “There is an increasing demand for natural antioxidants to replace synthetic additives in the food industry. The present work examines the potential of some wild and cultivated plants from the Mediterranean region as sources of natural antioxidants.”
    According to “Stablizing the Climate with Permanent Agriculture, Permaculture Activist, Spring, 2011, “Mediterranean climates can feature carbohydrate crops like carob, dates, and chestnuts. Protein sources include avocado, almond, and pistachio. The olive is of course among the world’s finest oil crops. This is also the only region with an oak (Quercus ilex) that is functioning as a proper crop.”
    According to Norm Deno, in “Seed Germination, Theory and Practice,” on planting Mediterranean seeds in other climates: “Smoke treatment often helps germination of plants from Mediterranean-climates as many species from California, Chile, Australia, South Africa and the Mediterranean region.  Smoke treatment is still experimental, and you may have to try different dilutions.”
    Consequently, we find that not only are the seeds “of all kinds,” of plants from a Mediterranean Climate, like Jerusalem, beneficial to man in an enormous array of foods, but there are only two locations in the entire Western Hemisphere where a Mediterranean Climate exists that could have produced Nephi’s exceeding growth of his seeds and produce an abundant crop.
Red Arrows point to the two Western Hemisphere Mediterranean Climate zones; one in central and southern California, the other around 30º South Latitude in El Serena and Coquimbo, coastal Chile

    What’s more, when Nephi fled from his brothers and traveled northward, his seeds from the Mediterranean Climate of his previous crops, grew in abundance once again. So we need to have an area where not only is there a Mediterranean Climate in the area of First Landing, but at least an extension of that climate in a far northern area to which he fled. And we find this in the Chile to Peru coastal belt, where the winds and ocean currents help extend this upward movement of the Mediterranean Climate to his second area, what became known as the city of Nephi.
Left: Mediterranean Climates, in South America, many of these characteristics extend northward through the Cuzco area, including (Right) the soil and soil group, for a modified Mediterranean Climate
    Thus, to match this scriptural criteria, Lehi’s landing site would have to be either in Southern California or Central Chile. No other areas match the very clear description of seeds from Jerusalem being planted in the Land of Promise. By way of comparison, the climates of Mesoamerica, Heartland and New York State in the U.S., Malaysa proposals simply do not meet this most important criteria.
    We can, of course rule out California, if for no other reason than the winds and ocean currents move to the south past that area, not the north, thus, the secondary planting would not have been effective.
    Obviously, any true Land of Promise must match all of the descriptions listed in the Book of Mormon—it is not a pick and choose arrangement in selecting those that agree you’re your point of view, but must match all of the descriptions listed.
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XXVIII,” for the continuation of this series and how any Land of Promise location must match all the scriptural references)


  1. I wonder how the proponents of other models respond to this point: that seeds from Jerusalem in the Mediterranean climate zone would not grow well or at all in the climate zone of their models?

  2. Question though. At some point Nephi took his family and friend 1000 miles to the North to the city of Nephi. That climate would not have been like the place where he landed. So would the seeds therefore have taken some time to get going at the new location? As this article points out I think that would be the case. What do you think?

  3. I don't know much about Climates but the world map above which you have used before suggests that latitude is a key issue. Missing from the world map is possible Mediterranean climates on the East Coast of the Americas. Your new South American map here shows abundant Mediterranean climate sites on the East Coast. However I am unaware of any Book of Mormon geographies claiming an East Coast South America landing. It would be nice to see a similar map for North America since the Heartland advocates claim a Florida landing with latitude similar to Jerusalem. They further claim the possibility of an Atlantic crossing using the 2010 Phoenicia Expedition recreation of a 600 BC ship incapable of tacking making such an Atlanic crossing as supporting evidence. That would satisfy your requirement of “driven forth before the wind” and like Nephi all the crew could do is stear with a rudder. I have applied the "high tech" method of laying string on a world globe and found the distance Nephi would have to sail to Florida around Africa and across the Atlantic is about the same distance as your Pacific crossing. So my question is could Florida fit the Climate and possible landing site requirements?

    1. After all the information that has been published on this site I don't see how any thinking person could even consider the North American model.

    2. The primary problem with an Atlantic crossing is that you have to go around Africa, which would not be simple, or easy (or possible?) with a ship simply being driven before the wind.

  4. Questioniterry: In an upcoming article "Growing Seeds in the Land of Promise Part V,” we will be discussing this very question. For now, there are two types of Mediterranean Climates listed on the Köppen Climate Classification system: 1) Csa, which is the climate we talk about 99% of the time and the one that matches the Mediterranean Sea, including Jerusalem, and 2) Csb climate, which is also Mediterranean Climate. In both cases, the “C” stands for “temperate” climate, the “s” stands for “dry summer” and the “a” stands for “hot summer.” The “b” instead of the “a” stands for “Warm Summer” and a Csc classification would be the second “c” a cold summer (exist in high0-elevation areas adjacent to coastal Csb climate areas, where the strong maritime influence prevents the average winter monthy temperature from dropping below 0 C. This climate is rare and predominantly found in climate fringes and isolated areas of the Cascades and Andes Mountains, as the dry-summer climate extends further poleward in the American than elsewhere.
    For additional information, the Köppen climate classification was developed based on the empirical relationship between climate and vegetation. This type of climate classification scheme provides an efficient way to describe climatic conditions defined by multiple variables and their seasonalities with a single metric. Compared with a single variable approach, the Köppen classification can add a new dimension to the description of climate variation. Further, it is generally accepted that the climatic combinations identified with the Köppen classification are ecologically relevant. The classification has therefore been widely used to map geographic distribution of long term mean climate and associated ecosystem conditions. Over the recent years, there has also been an increasing interest in using the classification to identify changes in climate and potential changes in vegetation over time.

  5. (cont)
    In addition, it so happens that basically all Mediterranean climates exist on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of 30º and 45º, and are in the polar front region in winter, thus having moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather. Summers are not and dry, due to the domination of the subtropical high pressure systems, except in the immediate coastal areas, where summers are milder due to the nearby presence of cold ocean currents that may bring fog but prevent rain.
    In the north, around Cuzco, because of the high altitude and “b” and “c” conditions, you have a unique Mediterranean Climate amongst the high Andes, not unlike that found in San Francisco, California and Seattle, Washington (b) or Cochamarca, Peru (c) or Balmaceda, Chile (c).

    DeVon. Again, the upcoming article about seeds will cover your question, as well. However, I must apologize. The map of South America showing Climate was not the Climate map, but a precipitation map—sorry, we have numerous maps like this and I simply made a mistake putting up the wrong map. There are no Mediterranean climates of any type on the east coast of South America (or anywhere else). Since I cannot post la map on this comment second, see an article following the Part 5 mentioned above and I’ll include it a long with an answer to your Florida question.