Monday, February 13, 2017

Answering a Reader’s Eastern U.S. Model – Part VIII: The East Wilderness

Continuing with David McKane’s unending comments on our blog and his maps and claimed area for the Land of Promise in the Great Lakes area.
Another problem with McKane’s map is that he has the East Wilderness, which Mormon tells us was full of Lamanites and were driven out by Moroni’s army. “And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his armies should go forth into the east wilderness; yea, and they went forth and drove all the Lamanites who were in the east wilderness into their own lands, which were south of the land of Zarahemla" (Alma 50:7).
    The problem is that McKane’s east wilderness is the size of the entire northeastern United States, including the states of New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, an area of about 196,120 square miles. Can anyone imagine how difficult it would be for any size army to force those Lamanites out of that size of a wilderness and drive them back into the Land of Nephi?
Moroni’s armies drove the Lamanites in the East Wilderness into the Land of Nephi, which was south of Zarahemla

    Now this distance on Mckane’s map, from western New York to northeast Kentucky is about 500 miles as the crow flies—one can only image the impossibility of any army rounding up and driving over 500 miles a group of the enemy from a wilderness area that measured almost 200,000 square miles. Really, who is kidding who?
    Another problem with McKane’s explanation is that he claims “Some Jaredites did live in the land southward and the land southward was a major hunting area for the Jaredites. But the north countries were the most populated areas for the Jaredites.” Now as a support for this statement, McKane lists Ether 9:32, which he states: “And it came to pass that there were many of them which did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the Land Southward” (emphasis his). From this, he claims that “some which fled into the land Southward” were Jaredites.
    However, that is not what the record says at all. In a revealing example of his not reading carefully, nor any concern for accuracy, one can only wonder at McKane’s purpose in making such statements—is it lack of understanding or that he thinks no one is going to check up on his scriptural reference by reading what was written before this verse (remember, the original writing had no verses, no sentences, not even paragraphs or punctuation).
The Book of Ether clearly states: “And there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla. And it came to pass that there were many of them which did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the land southward. And it came to pass that the Lord did cause the serpents that they should pursue them no more, but that they should hedge up the way that the people could not pass, that whoso should attempt to pass might fall by the poisonous serpents” (Ether 9:31-33, emphasis added to show Mckane’s quote).
    There can be no doubt, but which McKane conveniently ignores, that it is the animals that "some escaped into the Land Southward," not Jaredites.
    Such writing and reporting is not only unscholarly, it is downright sloppy and totally misleading, bordering on outright fabricating! It does not tell us that people traveled into the Land Southward, but that animals traveled into the Land Southward. This is verified in Alma, when Mormon in his insert states: “Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food” (Alma 22:31).
In another glaring misunderstanding and misuse of the scriptural record as well as a lack of knowledge of both ancient Hebrew customs and an ancient natural tendency of most nations, is found in his comment: “And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle” (Mormon 6:2).
    First of all, it was always the custom of the Hebrews to announce attacks or battles in advance, typically by a formal letter, including the invitation to battle. Even today, Israel issues warnings to Arab nations and groups around them of any pending attack they are planning. In fact, throughout history Israel was under Halakha obligation to “leave one  side open” when attacking a Gentile city to allow civilians the opportunity to flee the city. Israel’s “unprecedented efforts to avoid civilian casualties,” has led to the understanding that “during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”
Dropping leaflets of a pending bombardment attack

    At one time there were “Rules of War” which forbid a nation from initiating an “unprovoked attack.” On the seas, notices were given to unarmed ships that they were to be sunk, giving people enough time to get into lifeboats. Even in World War I, Germany gave a notice to other nations that as of a certain future date, her submarines would sink ships of both belligerent and neutral countries without further warning. In fact, people throughout the world were shocked that Germany would sink passenger ships belonging to neutral countries—and the sinking of the Lusitania with loss of 1198 innocent lives prompted involvement of neutral nations into the war. Even today, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter is to prevent pre-emptive attack and explicitly to limit the use of force in self-defense to those circumstances in which an armed attack has actually occurred. Under this logic, it would be unlawful to engage in any kind of preemptive action.
The way in which warnings contribute to this protection by providing them an opportunity to protect themselves from impending attacks.This is what led to the outrage in America of Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and for Pres. Roosevelt to call it "infamous." The idea of sudden, unprovoked, sneak attacks has always been extremely frowned upon by military forces and civilians alike for millennia.
The way in which warnings contribute to this protection is by providing civilians an opportunity to protect themselves from impending attacks, such as fleeing the war zone.
 In fact, obligation to give warnings prior to attack is one of the precautionary measures military forces are required to take under the law of armed conflict. In this way, warnings contribute to this protection of the civilians is by providing them an opportunity to protect themselves from impending attacks. Perhaps the most indelible picture of formal eighteenth century warfare that has survived is Voltaire’s story of French and British officers at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745 bowing politely to each other and each inviting the other side to fire the first volley, thus starting the carnage that was to follow. 
    The Brussels Declaration of 1874, stated in Article 16 that “if a town or fortress, agglomeration of dwellings, or village, is defended, the officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, do all in his power to warn the authorities.” The Hague Regulations of 1899 Article 26, requires an attacking force to give advance notice of an attack. Additional Protocol II of 1977, in the Customary International Humanitarian Law states that the obligation to issue a warning prior to attack also applies in non-international armed conflict. 
Israeli tanks roll into Lebanon on June 6,1982 after a prolonged announcement of the pending attack of Operation peace for Galillee, intending to destroy military infrastructure on the Lebanese-Israeli border, which has been used by terrorists to attack Israeli communities adjacent to the border 

    During the operations in Lebanon in 1982 and 1996, warnings were given by Israel to the civilian population of southern Lebanon prior to attacks. An obligation to give warnings prior to attacks appears in many military manuals, including the most recent. In the US Army’s Operational Law Handbook, published in 2010, provides: The general requirement to warn before a bombardment only applies if civilians are present.” In all, at least 31 nations have laws and signed treaties requiring they provide warning before attacking.
    However, today, of course, both WMD and terrorism pose threats unanticipated by traditional international law, making, for all practical purposes, rendering the UN Charter framework obsolete.
    The point is, Mormon’s writing to the Lamanite king was not a request to enter a Lamanite-controlled land as McKane claims, to which there is no scriptural suggestion, but to invite the Lamanite king to a battle, providing advance notice, and requesting he honor such an agreement to allow the Nephites the time to gather together all their forces together into one fighting force before the battle (Mormon 5:4). Obviously, divided as they had been was not in keeping of seeking some time of an advantage for his people as Mormon hoped for (Mormon 6:4).
(See the next post, ”Answering a Reader – Part IX,” for more information on David Mckane’s model around the Great Lakes-Heartland of his Land of Promise and our responses to his comments on our blog, and the location of the hill Cumorah from Mormon’s description)


  1. Del, In an effort to preempt a rant about you deliberately misrepresenting his position, you wrote "Lamanites" where you meant "Jaredites". [quote]“And it came to pass that there were many of them which did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the Land Southward” (emphasis his). From this, he claims that “some which fled into the land Southward” were Lamanites.[end]

  2. Thank you. Appreciate the correction.