Monday, December 26, 2016

Buildings Are Not Enough

When we look at the ruins of building sites in a suggested Land of Promise location, the mere fact that there were buildings built there is not the end all of the remnants of the Nephite nation. That is, the Nephites didn’t just build buildings, say like the Jaredites. The Nephites build forts and fortresses to guard themselves against their bitter enemy, the Lamanites, who sought the conquest of the Nephites for nearly a thousand years.    As an example, the ruins we find in southern Mexico, the Yucatan, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras (Mesoamerica) were not built for defense, despite the fact that Mesoamerican theorists like to claim they were. There were few high walls, close compact buildings that provided security, lookout towers, etc., to suggest such a condition.
    Take, for instance, a few of these areas so prominent in the Mesoamerican pantheon of ancient buildings:
“The Castle” at magnificent Chichén Itzá, in the Yucatan of southern Mexico, was one of the largest pre-Columbian cities of the Mayan, but as can plainly be seen, was not built with any defenses in mind--buildings at the site are wide open without walls or defenses to guard them against attck

    Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities, with the relatively densely clustered architecture of the site core covering an area of nearly two square miles. Smaller scale residential architecture extends for an unknown distance beyond this. The city was built upon broken terrain, which was artificially leveled in order to build the major architectural groups, with the greatest effort being expended in the leveling of the areas for the Castillo pyramid, and the Las Monjas, Osario and Main Southwest groups—certainly not an indication that the builders feared being attacked by a hereditary enemy that was constantly bringing them to war to defend themselves.
The ancient Mesoamerican ruins of Teotihuacán (near Mexico City), 100-700 A.D.,  home of the site of many of the most architecturally significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas—again, this was certainly not built with defense in mind--the streets and buildings were wide open and unprotected

    Teotihuacán was one of the most powerful cultural centers in all of Mesoamerica, its influence not only covered all of the region around about, but far beyond. It was a large city, anciently boasting some 25,000 inhabitants, it was ultimately abandoned around 650 A.D. after a devastating fire razed the entire city. Located 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán is one the archaeological sites with the longest history of exploration in Mexico. The site sprawls over a large area without any thought to defense or protection, without exterior walls and without any type of means of defending itself against attack.
Tikal in Guatemala, the most prominent Mayan ruins, 700 B.C. to 900 A.D., though built during the Nephite era, it shows no signs of defense in its construction and the site is completely wide open and unprotected

    Tikal, perhaps known anciently as Yax Mutal, is located in the rainforest of Guatemala. It is one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centers of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization, and is located in the the archaeological region of the Peten Basin in what is now northern Guatemala.
    Tikal was the capital of a conquest state that became one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. Though monumental architecture at the site dates back as far as the 4th century B.C., Tikal reached its apogee around 200 to 900 A.D. During this time, the city dominated much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily, while interacting with areas throughout Mesoamerica, such as the great metropolis of Teotihuacán in the distant valley of Mexico. There is evidence that Tikal was conquered by Teotihuacan in the 4th century A.D.
    On the other hand, despite wars and conquests in Mesoamerica, like just about any region in the world, the huge difference is that the Nephites built and fortified their cities against attack where Mesoamerica obviously did not. Take for instance, Capt. Moroni, who “had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8), And “in their weakest fortifications he did place the greater number of men; and thus he did fortify and strengthen the land which was possessed by the Nephites” (Alma 48:9). And also, “For they knew not that Moroni had fortified, or had built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about; therefore, they marched forward to the land of Noah with a firm determination; yea, their chief captains came forward and took an oath that they would destroy the people of that city” (Alma 49:13).
and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8)

    In addition, we find that “the Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance, because of the highness of the bank which had been thrown up, and the depth of the ditch which had been dug round about, save it were by the entrance” (Alma 49:18). Moroni “also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies” (Alma 50:10). Moroni was also busy “fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites, between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi,” (Alma 50:11).
    At one time, Amalickiah, the defecting Nephite turned Lamanite, “took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications” (Alma 51:23). And speaking of the Nephite cities, “all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni” (Alma 51:27). These fortifications had a debilitating effect on the Lamanites, for “they abandoned their design in marching into the land northward, and retreated with all their army into the city of Mulek, and sought protection in their [former Nephite] fortifications” (Alma 52:2). In speaking of the Lamanite entrenced in the former Nephite forts, Mormon writes: “Teancum thought it was not expedient that he should attempt to attack them in their forts” (Alma 52:5). And at one point Moroni “sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful” (Alma52:9). He also told him to “fortify and strengthen the cities round about, which had not fallen into the hands of the Lamanites” (Alma 52:10). Teancum also “made preparations to make an attack upon the city of Mulek, and march forth with his army against the Lamanites; but he saw that it was impossible that he could overpower them while they were in [former Nephite] fortifications” (Alma 52:17).
    Defense was so important to the Nephites, who did not start wars, but fought to defend themselves, their families and their possessions, that Moroni “”did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites (Alma 53:7). He also caused captured Lamanites to “labor in strengthening the fortifications round about the city Gid” (Alma 55:25). Even the Lamanites caught on to the importance of defending themselves within their captured Nephite cities and “the Lamanites had, by their labors, fortified the city Morianton until it had become an exceeding stronghold” (Alma 55:33).
    In Helaman’s letter to Moroni, he wrote: “I found Antipus and his men toiling with their might to fortify the city” (Alma 56:15). Another example is that “the people of Antiparah did leave the city, and fled to their other cities, which they had possession of, to fortify them” (Alma 57:4), and Moroni did “strive to strengthen and fortify our armies” (Alma 60:25). And “this was done to fortify the land against the Lamanites” (Alma 62:13). And finally, “Moroni had fortified those parts of the land which were most exposed to the Lamanites” (Alma 62:42).
    In the twenty-two verses quoted, the term “fort” is used 4 times; “fortifications” used 8 times; “fortify” or “fortified” used 13 times; “stronghold” used 13 times, and “resort,” meaning small fort, used 3 times.
When the Nephites built, they built their cities, temples, and forts behind walls of stone that can be found scattered all over Andean Peru in hundreds and hundreds of ancient sites

    Thus, the fact that Mesoamerica has ancient buildings, the fact that they were not built or fortified to withstand an enemy attack or to protect the occupants should suggest that Mesoamerica simply does not match the scripture description of the Land of Promise.


  1. When looking at the ancient buildings in south america compared to those in mesoamerica, it is very compelling that the book of mormon lands were in south america.

  2. In 2004, I went to Cancun on vacation. At the time I believed Mesoamerica to be the Book of Mormon lands- even thought I never could quite feel right about the compass being moved 90 degrees. I was very excited to visit Chichen Itza and Tulum and thought i might feel a connection with those Book of Mormon lands. As we visited, I told my wife that I was disappointed and somehow just didn't feel that these were the Book of Mormon lands. Perhaps they were built later I thought. Maybe the Book of Mormon lands were further west in Guatemala or north toward Mexico city. 10 years later I was thrilled to read Del's work and learn that the South American Andes area were the actual Book of Mormon lands and that it was the Nephites and converted Lamanites that went north on Hagoth's ships that settled Mesoamerica. Now it finally all made sense to me after 15 years of study. Interesting how the nephites built different kinds of buildings during peace- when they didn't have to spend most of their time building defensive structures.

  3. Funny, I had the exact same feeling at Chichen Itza many years ago, and all through the many sites in the Yucatan.