Monday, July 24, 2017

How Theories Get Started – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding how theories get started despite the facts surrounding a theory so often show just the opposite of what the theorists are trying to claim. As mentioned in the previous post, the theory of the Great Lakes being the Land of Promise runs into trouble immediately with Samuel the Lamanite’s prophecy that the Lord put in his heart for him to teach the Nephites in Zarahemla, and then later the Lamanites when he returned home.     From the last post statement regarding geological terms, and the quote began, which also states:
“Two million years ago, the snow and ice that had been accumulating in monstrous quantities in the northern hemisphere became, in some places, two miles thick; the tremendous pressure of its weight caused the ice to flow, forming a massive continental ice sheet. During the Ice Age, glaciers invaded all but a small area of New York state.”
In fact, regarding the Great Lakes, glacial lake plains are generally flat, such as the Erie, Ontario, and Huron Plains that border Lake Erie from Buffalo, New York, to Cleveland in Ohio. This lack of topography results from silt and clays filling in the lake’s deep beds and the shallow parts having their edges reduced to slopes.
    As an example, the Erie Plain consists largely of sediment laid down by a series of proglacial lakes that existed between 25,000 and 11,700 years ago and has remained as such ever since as can be seen today, and were created by glaciers of the Wisconsin glaciation or last ice age. The plain was covered by the waters of several glacial lakes that once occupied the Lake Erie basin, with the sediments deposited in these lakes from the surface material of the plain forming the glaciolacustrine deposits consisting largely of interlaminated clay, silt, and fine sand that overlie glacial till.
    Continuing with the Western Museum and Science Center article: “Due to long-term temperature changes, the southern edge of this glacier retreated and advanced several times, scraping, pushing and dragging huge volumes of rock and soil. Stream valleys deepened; others filled with glacial debris. Colossal boulders were picked up and deposited many miles away. Glacial runoff streams deposited piles of smaller, sorted sentiments like sand and gravel.
Map shows when the retreating ice margins (white area) were well to the south of Lansing, the land sloped away from the ice, and thus water was not ponded in front of it, causing meltwater streams to form, washing sediment out, away from the ice.  The sand and gravel, which these streams could not carry, was laid down as outwash (green area), in broad, flat outwash plains; the original advancing Ice Lobes seeking out the lowest preexisting spots on the landscape, are shown by number: 1-Superior; 2-Chippewa; 3-Green Bay; 4-Michigan; 5-Saginaw; 6-Huron-Erie; thus showing the entire area was mostly flat plain as it still is today

“Mounds of glacial debris called drumlins have a characteristic steep north slope and gentle south slope, and are common in the northern Finger Lakes region. Eskers, kames and kettle holes are other glacial formations that can be explored and studied at Mendon Ponds Park in southeastern Monroe County.
    “Western New York's sparkling lakes, drumlin hills, deep gorges, raging waterfalls and broad fertile valleys owe their beauty to these geologic beginnings. The preglacial Genesee River once had two branches that converged in Livingston County and flowed north to join the east-west flowing Ontarian River, whose valley eventually became the Lake Ontario basin.
“As the Ice Age waned and the glacier retreated, great piles of rock and soil, called moraines, dammed the southern ends of many valleys. Vast amounts of water poured off the melting glacier and collected in these valleys, forming, among others, Western New York's beautiful appendage-like Finger Lakes. Twelve thousand years ago, the Genesee River's northward trek was blocked by the Valley Heads moraine near Portageville, Allegany County, and forced over the rocky Letchworth Plateau, beginning an erosional process that would create the two gorges and broad valley now found in Letchworth State Park. The Rochester gorge and waterfall had similar beginnings” (Western New York, “The Land Before Time,” Genesee Country Magazine, Rochester Museum and Science Center).
    The point is, all this weight of ice and glaciers and the scraping as it receded, left the entire area thousands of square miles making up the area proposed to be the Land of Promise, very flat, with a few hills, called drumlins, of which the hill Cumorah is one, that rise barely a hundred feet pock-marking the landscape. If the people who claim and write about western New York being the Land of Promise would be honest with this, they would see it is impossible to justify this area as the Land of Promise since it simply does not fit even this brief description of the land Mormon so clearly describes.
Go in any direction from the Lake Erie-Lake Ontario area, traveling into New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc., the so-called Nephite and Lamanite lands of this theory and you see not mountains, “Whose height is great, but flat land as far as the eye can see

Not only is this land extremely flat now, with a gentle slope toward the lakes, but it was always such dating back to the first ice lobes that flowed into it because of its flatness. There were no mountains of any kind before the crucifixion, and none since.
    Yet, this Theory persists!
    In another example, Joseph Smith never stated exactly where The Book of Mormon took place, however, they all believed that The Book of Mormon took place over all, or at least part, of the Western Hemisphere so any and all Indian cultures in North and South America (the Hemispheric geography theory), were Book of Mormon peoples. In fact, all the statements made in Joseph Smith’s lifetime are consistently located all over the Western Hemisphere, and not secluded to one area over the other. On the other hand, none were even considered to be outside the Western Hemisphere. Throughout the history of the Presidential and General Authority comments about the subject, not a single one can be found that suggested Lehi landed outside the Western Hemisphere, such as in Africa or Malay (Indonesia). 
    In this and the last century numerous leaders and prophets have made it crystal clear that this Western Hemisphere is the North and South American continents, and that this is the (overall) Land of Promise of the Book of Mormon. In fact, according to Tyler Livingston’s research, between 1830 and 1844, of the 37 comments made by Joseph Smith concerning Book of Mormon geography throughout his life, all support a Western Hemispheric setting. Not only that, but he allowed several opinions of North, South, Central, and Hemispheric geography of The Book of Mormon to be published, taught, and re-published without any correction. The provided facts show that 14 dealt with Mesoamerica, 12 with North America, 1 with South America, and 10 with Hemispheric America (both North and South America).
    In fact, Livingston concludes with “the evidence points in the direction that Joseph Smith did not know the exact area of The Book of Mormon. And just like today, both the Prophet , and the Saints were allowed to speculate on these locations without any correction.
In addition, Moroni, when telling Joseph Smith of the plates, told him “there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants” (Joseph Smith History 1:34, found on the Church website,
(See the next post, “How Theories Get Started – Part III,” to see how theories become entrenched in our daily thinking without their necessarily being consistent with the scriptural record, but simply someone’s personal and speculative viewpoint)


  1. In fact, the ice age occurred after Noah's flood. To put a date on the thing it happened just after the time of the flood of 2344bc to about 1000bc. Records in Europe date the time that the ice finally melted off of Ireland. the reason this is critical to understand is because the Jaredites could not live in North America at that time. Instead the Lord brought the Jaredites to Ecuador which just happens to be on the equator.

    Since most members don't believe in Noah's flood along with the profs at BYU of course believing such a thing to them would be nonsense. The lack of mountains in the area of where the plates were found is a much better criticism of the North American model that members can understand.

  2. Del- I think you are missing a word in your sentence that starts "in fact, according to Tyler..."

  3. I was born in upstate New York 30 minutes from the Hill Cumorah and grew up in Michigan. I never saw a mountain until I was 19 and entered the Provo Utah MTC.

    I went skiing 5 times growing up (or at least thought it was skiing until I actually went skiing in Utah after my mission) at a place called Mt. Brighton. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Mt. Brighton: Mt. Brighton is a ski and snowboard area in Brighton, Michigan, that opened in 1960. As no hills large enough for commercial skiing or snowboarding exist naturally in Brighton, Mt. Brighton's slopes are man-made and reach a maximum height of 230 vertical feet.

    There are areas of higher elevation in Michigan but nothing that fits the Book of Mormon description in my opinion.

    There are several other references to Mountains in the Book of Mormon as well- referencing the gadianton robbers living in the mountains etc. any location being claimed as the Book of Mormon lands needs to have mountains if it is to match the scriptures.

    3 Nephi 8 talks about a great mountain coming up and the whole face of the land changing. It is interesting to look up the location of the Andes mountain range and see that it covers pretty much "the whole face of the land" of the proposed promised land- from Chile through Peru and on up through Ecuador.

    Other models need to ask themselves- where are the mountains? Where is evidence of the cities broken up, burned, or buried in water? Where is evidence of many level highways which were broken up? All are In the Book of Mormon: all are found in Peru.

  4. David: Thanks for the headsup, I need to fire my proof-reader (me). And thanks for the info on the mountains. I never lived in that area, but have been there enough to know of your comments--whenver I travel in the U.S. I look at the terrain with the Book of Mormon in mind, so far, nothing east of the Rocky Mountains can be said to fit or even come close.