Saturday, April 29, 2017

Why Has No Evidence of the Nephites Been Found? – Part IV

Continuing from the previous article regarding the reason why proof of Book of Mormon archaeology is not apparent, but that it exists. So what has been found?
     In addition to Noah’s Tower, what about the plants and herbs mentioned in the healing of Nephites? “And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40).
    Now, anciently, the word “fever” when connected with the death of the patient almost entirely referred to what is now called “malaria.” Non-killing fevers subside or abate after time, but malaria, which is a disease spread by mosquito, in which a protozoan, Plasmodium, multiplies in blood every few day, is a widespread and potentially lethal human infectious disease and quite deadly, as Mormon describes.
Areas of the world where malaria has been a major disease and in many cases, still is. Note that Malaria transmission does not occur in Baja California or anywhere in the United States, which suggests these areas do not qualify for the Land of Promise per Alma 46:40

    Its only effective treatment comes from the bark of the cinchona tree, which contains quinine. Even today, cinchona trees remain the only economically practical source of quinine. However, under wartime pressure of World War II, research towards its synthetic production was undertaken. A formal chemical synthesis was accomplished in 1944 by American chemists R.B. Woodward and W.E.Doering (“The Total synthesis of Quinine,” Journal of American Chemical Society 66, p849). Since then, several more efficient quinine total syntheses have been achieved, but none of them can compete in economic terms with isolation of the alkaloid from natural sources.
    The word “malaria,” of course, was unknown in Joseph Smith’s time and did not come into use until the mid 18th century: from Italian, from mal'aria, contracted form of mala aria “bad air.” The term originally denoted the unwholesome atmosphere caused by the exhalations of marshes, to which the disease was formerly attributed. Thus, to curb “malaria,” the Romans drained the many swamps that existed within the city area to reduce the “horrible fumes.”
Top Left: Cinchona tree only grew in Andean Peru until the 1850s; Middle: The bark was stripped; Right: then dried; Bottom left: Then broken down, and Right: finally crushed into a powder

    While the indigenous early Peruvians found the bark of the cinchona tree ideal for treating fevers during B.C. times, such was unknown to the rest of the world until Spanish missionaries found that fever was treated in Peru with powder crushed from the Peruvian cinchona tree. The use of the “fever tree” bark was introduced into European medicine by Jesuit missionaries in the early 1600s, and Francesco Torti wrote in 1712 that only “intermittent fever” was amenable to the fever tree bark. This work finally established the specific nature of cinchona bark and brought about its general use in medicine.
    What is important to know is that until the Dutch stole the secret of making quinine from the Peruvians in 1851—until then, the cinchona tree and quinine were found only in Andean Peru.
    Thus, Peru is the only place in the world where an herbal plant grew that cured or treated killing fevers as Mormon describes. “...but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40).
    It is interesting that no theorist, historian or Land of Promise promoter has bothered to consider the reality of this and recognize that only Andean Peru meets this most important description for the location of the Land of Promise.
    Another area of interest is that of highways and roads, for Mormon made it clear that the Nephites had “many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8). This suggests a very extensive and complete road system with highways and secondary roads that were built throughout the Nephite nation. Such roads, if at all built with solid material, which the word “highway” suggests, would still be visible today at least in certain areas of what had been the Land of Promise. Since there are only two locations in the entire Western Hemisphere that has roads dating back to B.C. times visible today, Andean Peru and Mesoamerica, that should at least eliminate North America, Baja California, Malay, etc. It seems noteworthy that Heartland, Great Lakes and Eastern U.S. theorists never mention that idea of roads as a means of verifying their models. It should also be noteworthy that of Mesoamerica and Andean Peru, only the latter has roads of high quality, differentiating between main “highways” and secondary “roads.” Yet, one cannot deny their existence, and their matching the description written by Mormon 1600 years ago. So why do we not consider that as evidence of the Book of Mormon?
Left: Llama; Right: Alpaca

    Another example is the Llama and the Alpaca, that match so well the two animals the Jaredites brought to the Land of Promise and called the curelom and the cumom, as Moroni wrote: “And they also had horses, and donkeys, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms” (Ether 9:19). In fact, one would be extremely hard-pressed to find any two animals that match the description of being “useful unto man” as the elephant? So why do we not consider these two Andean camelids as evidence of the Book of Mormon?
    Or the two unknown grains the Nephites had and called the neas and sheum, as Mormon stated: “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land.” (Mosiah 9:9) Again, one would be hard-pressed to find two super grains like quinoa and kiwicha found in and indigenous to Andean Peru, with a long history dating back into B.C. times, that have so much value and were extant during Nephi times. So why do we not consider these two Andean supergrains as evidence of the Book of Mormon?
Top: Harvesting Quinoa; Bottom: Abundance of Quinoa seeds in Andean Peru. The growing global demand for quinoa by health food enthusiasts isn't just raising prices for the Andean "super grain" and living standards among Bolivian farmers. Quinoa fever is running up against physical limits. In fact, Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean highlands since at least 3000 B.C., growing natively from Chile north to Colombia. It grows best at high altitudes in climates with cool days and even cooler nights

    Of course, for Lehi’s seeds to have grown in 600 B.C. that were brought from Jerusalem to the Land of Promise and very successfully planted, they would have needed a like climate to Jerusalem in which to grow in the Land of Promise. As Nephi states: “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). So since Jerusalem has a Mediterranean Climate, and there are only two such climates in the Western Hemisphere, and only five in the entire world outside the Mediterranean region, one need only look to see where such seeds would have grown—and in the Western Hemisphere that would be only in California or 30º South Latitude in coastal Chile. So why do we not consider this Mediterranean Climate at 30º South Latitude in Chile as evidence of the location of Lehi’s landing found in the Book of Mormon?
    Not only do we have numerous instances of Book of Mormon evidences found in the area of Andean South America, but that most of them are only found there—so why is it we are not claiming that Andean Peru is the Land of Promise, and discounting all these other areas which simply do not have any of the evidences Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni describe as being in the Land of Promise? Certainly the archaeological evidence is overwhelming available. But looking for it in North America, Mesoamerica, Malay and elsewhere will not find it—only in Andean South America.


  1. Very good points. If there really were good responses to these points from the proponents of other models surely we would hear these responses.

    Instead, they just ignore these points and continue to harp on what they think proves their model.

    It takes faith to believe the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient record. And it takes faith to believe the Andes rose after the death of Christ and the Nephite Isle became part of a larger continent.

    But in both cases the evidences are there, just not the absolute proof.

    Here is a video showing problems with the dating claims of scientists:

  2. Del,

    Interesting study by Jerry Grover he's just released. He did a thorough study of Book of Mormon words using Sumerian as the basis of interpretation. He comes to the conclusion that cureloms and cumoms were probably llamas and alpacas, based on the Sumerian roots in the two words, the existing possible candidate animals, and the time period in which those two words entered the English lexicon. It's a nifty piece of supporting evidence for your claims. Here's the link. Overall fascinating stuff, you just have to fight through some mesoamerican bias--well a lot, actually.

    1. He also comes to the conclusion that Amaranth was one of the grains. Another match to your assertions. Although, he settles on jalapenos (?!) for the other one.

  3. Wonder boy- very interesting article about possible origin of various Book of Mormon words. Thanks for sharing.