Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part I

It is interesting how often some theorist or another comes up with an idea that they think is valid and, at least to them, sounds plausible, but in reality either does not agree with the scriptural record, or the science of the period, or usually both. Unfortunately, because they are unaware of the glaring fault(s) of their theory, or ignore them in favor of their opinions, they promote it, sometimes with such vigor, as to convince others of the error or fallacy who expect scholars to write accurately about the scriptural record.
    As an example, take the Mesoamericanist Jonathan Neville’s response to Mormon’s comment that the border between the Nephites and the Lamanites being the “narrow strip of wilderness” and both the land of Zarahemla (Nephite territory), and the land of Nephi (Lamanite territory) were “nearly surrounded by water.”
A tiny island, surrounded by water. According to the 1828 dictionary, “island” is an absurd compound of “isle” and “land,” that is, “land-in-water land,” or “ieland-land.” There is no such legitimate word in English—the word was “isle,” meaning “A tract of land surrounded by water”

However, despite the word being defined in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language as “a tract of land surrounded by water,” Neville makes the absurd comment: “It says water, not ocean or sea. Therefore, the border between them had to be water, with a “small neck of land” between them.  Only a river can be both “water” and a “narrow strip of wilderness.”
    Now, all isles or today “islands” are surrounded by water, the idea that the word “water” signals a small river instead of a sea or ocean is downright erroneous and shows a lack of knowledge. This is especially true when considering Jacob’s statement: “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance [Palestine]; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis added).
An island surrounded by water,which is an ocean: on a large scale, Greenland is surrounded by water, as is New Guinea, Borneo, Madagascar, Baffin and Sumatra; on a less grand scale, an island is Honshu, Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), Victoria, Ellesmere, and Sulawesi; on an even smaller level, an island is Hokkaido, Sakhalin, Hispaniola, Banks, Tasmania, Sri Lanka, and Devon—which are all islands of varying sizes (Australia, of course, is not an island but a continent), and they are in the midst of the sea or ocean, not connected with a river
  
Therefore, it is crystal clear that the water Mormon tells us surrounds the Land Southward except for a narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32), was a sea as Jacob informs us (2 Nephi 10:20).
    However, Neville goes on to claim: “The rivers in North America (the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Allegheny Rivers) are a perfect fit. And the small neck of land between them—where the river border ended—is not far from Cumorah, which helps explain why Cumorah was strategically important.”
    In fact, there are other glaring errors in Neville’s brief statement (seven in all), but before breaking down Neville’s errors, let’s take a look at Mormon’s comment about this, which is: “nearly surrounded by water,” that he inserted into Alma’s record as part of describing for his future reader the appearance and outline of the Land of Promise.
    In the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the word “surround” means “to encompass, to environ, to inclose on all sides.” Environ means “to surround, to encompass to encircle, to inclose.” Encompass means “to encircle, to surround, to inclose.” Inclose (enclose) means “to confine on all sides, to encompass.” Consequently, if the land was completely surrounded by water, it would have been encompassed all around by water; the water would have enclosed, cut off, been a barrier, to the extension of the land.
    Rivers do not surround land, they cut through land. As an example, despite all the inland waterway systems in the U.S., the only state surrounded by water is Hawaii—and not by rivers, but by an ocean. The great Mississippi River does not enclose land, it runs through the land. Rivers can be easily crossed and seldom provide an impassable barrier, which is the meaning of being surrounded. And in this case, the only thing that kept the entire Land Southward from being completely surrounded, was the small or narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32).
    This is consistent with Jacob’s comment made in (2 Nephi 10:20), which in turn is consistent with the statement made in Helaman as he described the seas surrounding the entire Land of Promise: “they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8, emphasis added).
    With this is mind, let us take a look at Neville’s earlier statement, one part at a time:
1. It says water, not ocean or sea.
    This is an erroneous comment, leading one to think inaccurately of the scriptural meaning involved. In the 1828 dictionary, using the word meanings known to Joseph Smith within New England at the time, we find this about the definition of water: “the ocean, a sea, a lake, a river (any great collection of water).” Note that the first two definitions are “ocean” and “sea,” making these two definitions the preferred explanation of the word “water.”
Top: Neville’s Land of Promise he claims is surrounded by water; however water does not nearly surround the Land Southward, or any other major land mass; Note: Neville has enlarged the Mississippi by rate of flow, not by size, to make it look like it is a larger body of water and is quite misleading; Bottom; A normal map of the Mississippi River Drainage Basin, showing the relative size of the rivers. Note the difference between the actual map (bottom) and Neville’s inflated map (top) which is totally misleading in the size of the Mississippi River to support his point of being surrounded by water

It should be kept in mind that the Mississippi River has always been basically the same size though it has slightly changed course numerous times. It should also be noted that Neville’s graph shows flow rate (8500 m3/s equals eight thousand five hundred cubic meters per second [593,000 cubic feet], making it the 15th largest flow rate in the world [Amazon River flows 7,380,765 feet per second or about 14 times greater than the Mississippi]. The point is, both his map and his statements are totally misleading and not at all accurate.
2. Therefore the border between them had to be water.
    The border between the Land Northward and the Land Southward was land—a narrow neck of land. The “narrow strip of wilderness” (water is never considered “wilderness”). There is no mention that the “border between them” was water. The scriptural record states: “the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land…which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round-about on the borders of the seashore” (Alma 22:27). In describing this land the Lamanite king controlled (the Land of Nephi), it was divided from the Land of Zarahemla, by a narrow strip of land—not a narrow strip of water or river.
    Later, when talking about the Land Southward (Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla), Mormon states: “and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32). That narrow neck was “only the distance of a day and a half‘s journey for a Nephite on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea” (Alma 22:32).
    In neither case, the narrow neck or the narrow strip of wilderness is there any water involved, thus there are no rivers, and Neville’s comment about “Therefore the border between them had to be water” is meaningless and totally misleading.
The (green circle) narrow neck of land was only about a day-and-a-half journey for a Nephite to cross

3. Only a river can be both “water” and a “narrow strip of wilderness.”
    Water is simply never referred to as a wilderness, nor specifically as a narrow strip of wilderness, such as a river. In the 1828 dictionary, wilderness is defined as “a desert; a tract of land or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, whether a forest or a wide barren plain. In the United States, it is applied only to a forest. In Scripture, it is applied frequently to the deserts of Arabia. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness forty years.”
    A river cannot be both a waterway and a narrow strip of wilderness. There was a narrow strip of wilderness—land—between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, not a river or waterway. Even today, “wilderness” means “an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region,” which does not describe a sea or river, but a wasteland such as bush country, outback or hinterland, and could include desert, forest, mountains, jungle or badlands.
    In the Book of Ether, wildernesses and areas are referred to specifically: Wilderness of Akish, Plains of Agosh, Plains of Heshlon, Valley of Gilgal, Valley of Corihor, Valley of Shurr; in the rest of the book, wildernesses are either given a name (Hermounts), or a directional designation (East Wilderness, West Wilderness or South Wilderness).
    Now it also might be of interest to know that the word “waters” is used 8 times in Ether, and the word “water” is used 10 times, and in every single case, the word “water” or “waters” refers to the ocean or sea. In addition, there is a single instance where the word “waters” is associated with a name, “the Waters of Ripliancum” (Ether 15:8), but it is unknown what this was other than what the word means “large, to exceed all.” Thus it might be concluded that the word “water” or “waters” is not used in connection with a river anywhere in the book of Ether.
    The word “water” or “waters,” not counting baptism and spiritual examples, is mentioned 78 times in the Book of Mormon: 45 of those refer to ocean or sea; 3 times to the Flood, for a total of 48 regarding oceans or seas. 9 times as the Sidon River and 9 times for “river of water,” making 18 overall with the word “river” describing the water, making 66 overall. 5 times for the Land of Many Waters, which was lakes, rivers and fountains. 6 times for waters of Sebus, which is an area for watering animals, and once for “land of pure water.” In all, then, referring to the use of the words “water” or “waters” that are not also described, all 48 usages refer to sea or ocean. Never once is the word “water” or “waters” used to denote a river without also mentioning either the name of the river or calling it a river.
    Thus it cannot be concluded that when a word (water, waters) is used, that it can be applied to whatever a theorist wants it to be, but has to be applied to how it is used and its main reference throughout the scriptural record. Consequently, it should be concluded that the use of the word “water” or “waters” is meant in the Book of Mormon to mean ocean or sea.
(See the next post, “Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part II,” for more on the Land of Promise being nearly surrounded by water except for a narrow neck of land, and how theorists ignore the plain and simple language of the scriptural record or try to make Mormon’s words mean something other than what they do)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Things That Are Known – Part IV

Continuing from the previous post regarding one blog author’s views of those things that are “the facts that we can easily deduce” about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise.
• The fifth point the blog author claims, #5, as indisputable is his statement: “The head (source) of the river Sidon is in Lamanite territory.” This is an outright error since we do not know if the source or head of the Sidon was in Lamanite territory. We only know that the head was in the narrow strip of wilderness that lay between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27).
    As stated earlier, this is an outright error since we do not know if the source or head of the Sidon was in Lamanite territory. All we do know is that the head was in the narrow strip of wilderness that lay between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27). But we do not know if this narrow strip should be considered Lamanite territory or Nephite territory or a “no man’s land” in between. Thus, we cannot say that either the Lamanites or Nephites controlled or occupied this narrow strip of wilderness.
While the (red circle) head of the River Sidon was in the narrow strip of wilderness that separated the Land of Zarahemla and the Nephites from the Land of Nephi and the Lamanites, we do not know if it was considered in one of these two lands, or just an ambiguous wilderness between them

The point is, faulty reasoning and slip-shod reporting, and the misuse of words makes an issue sound different than they really are based upon the actual information Mormon gives us. To insert our own thinking into his narrative or using a poor choice of words is bound to get either us or someone else thinking and moving down the wrong path to a conclusion that is likely not going to be correct.
    What we do know is that the Land of Nephi, which bordered on the east sea and the west sea was divided from the Land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and roundabout on the borders of both seashores (Alma 22:27). So, for the most part, and based solely on what Mormon tells us, this narrow strip of wilderness is not occupied by either Lamanite or Nephite, is not controlled by either group, and is simply an area through which people travel from one side or the other, i.e., from the Land Southward to the Land Northward or the other way around.
    It was, and served as a buffer zone between the two lands, probably involving some high mountains, cliffs, steep river canyons, etc., making it both inhospitable as well as a barrier for the most part except where natural passes existed.
    While we do not know this for certain, the circumstances suggest such a situation of impassable land except perhaps in certain places, certainly along both seashores, since from these points the Lamanties seemed to have launched most or all of their attacks against the Nephites. This suggests that in one mountain peak or area lies the head of the River Sidon, somewhere between Nephite and Lamanites lands in the narrow strip of wilderness.
• The last of the indisputable items, #4, that the author claims is that “Zarahemla is west of the river Sidon.”
The Sidon River is east of of the City of Zarahemla, on the borders of the land

Again, while this is a correct statement, it has little or no conclusive value, which can be seen from numerous theorist’s comments about the river Sidon running past the city of Zarahemla; however, we do not know how far west the city is from the river, or how far and exactly in what exact location lies the river Sidon.
    First of all, just using the term Zarahemla, we can interpret this to mean that the river is west of the Land of Zarahemla, though the blog author might have meant west of the City of Zarahemla. If land is meant, there is some credibility of the statement, but if the city is intended, that is like saying Salt Lake City is west of the Mississippi River—it is a true statement but of real no value in determining or suggesting distance, since Los Angeles is also to the west as is Des Moines, Iowa, Portland, Oregon, and El Paso, Texas. Such a directional statement only has meaning if the two places are relatively close together and do not cover a great length. Thus, when people see this statement, they tend to think that the river runs right past the city, as the Mississippi River runs right past Nauvoo. However, the Sidon does not run right past the city of Zarahemla, for Mormon describes the river as being in the eastern borders of the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15) in the Valley of Gideon, evidently in the Land of Gideon to the east.
    The point is, the river Sidon does not run by the city of Zarahemla as many theorists claim, but by the borders of the Land of Zarahemla.
• Another point the blog author makes, though it is not in his list of indisputable items, is the so-called fact that “There is a wetland called Ripliancum in the Land Northward along the east coast north of Desolation.”
    The problem with this is there is no way to verify that this is correct, and it most probably is not. Ripliancum, which interpreted means “large, or to exceed all,” is mentioned by Moroni as a collection of waters, i.e., the Waters of Ripliancum. This could mean a huge lake, a series of connected rivers, or a series of waters that come together as an ocean. Not only does Mormon not inform us of this, there is nothing to suggest one way or the other except that we know there was a Sea North (Helaman 3:8).
    It is possible these two (Waters of Ripliancum, and the North Sea) are the same thing, but again we do not have sufficient information to make that claim, even though it seems to bear itself out. That is, there is a sea to the north, the entire Land of Promise is an island (2 Nephi 10:20), and Ripliancum is in the north and is larger or exceeds all—what body of water is larger than an ocean?
While a wetland can be large, it would not be considered “the Waters of Ripliancum,” meaning a waterway that “exceeds all,” when the Land of Promise was an island, in the midst of the sea over which they traveled, thus surrounded by water

Now this blog author goes on to claim this Ripliancum is a wetland, which is not a word found in 1828, but today means “land consisting of marshes or swamps; saturated land.”
    A swamp is a place where the plants that make up the area covered in water are primarily woody plants or trees, such as mangroves or cypress trees. A marsh, on the other hand, is defined as having no woody plants. The non-woody plants would be saltmarsh grasses, reeds, or sedge. While there is nothing in the scriptural record to suggest this is the case, or that Ripliancum is a wetlands, march or swamp, all we know is that when the two Jaredite armies reached Ripliancum, they pitched their tents and on the morrow came to battle (Ether 15:8).
    It is interesting to think of pitching tents upon the spongy ground of a swamp or marsh—it is something one is not likely to do for such areas are teeming with snakes, mosquitoes, flies, and scorpions, not to mention bobcats, wolves, cougars, plus having little sound footing for movement, or for fighting if the need arose.
    So far, all these items that the blog author claims are either outright incorrect, partially accurate but totally misleading, or in only three cases, correct.
    The last point to cover in the blog author’s introductory remarks is that “Immediately to the north of the narrow neck is the "land of Desolation" or the "land Desolation" is the last great battle field of both the Jaredite and the Nephite nations.” Actually, this is wrong also, since the last battlefield of both nations was around the hill Cumorah, which the Jaredites called Ramah, and which, according to Mormon was located in the Land of Cumorah within the land of Many Waters” (Mormon 6:4). This land is also described as “so far northward” and “far to the north” which would not allow a Desolation location.
    The point is, that when people without experience in writing about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, or those with personal opinions, beliefs, or theories have not bothered to relate various scriptural references to each set of circumstances and locations, begin writing about plotted locations, we need to be very cautious in accepting what they write, even if it sounds legitimate.
    As this author points out in his initial statements: “The most logical place to look for information regarding the Book of Mormon geography is the Book of Mormon text itself—yet few people do that even though they claim to do so. It is interesting that the author seems to fall into his own trap, for it is clear he has not bothered to really check out his own views and compared them to the scriptural record as pointed out in these articles.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Things That Are Known – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding one blog author’s views of those things that are “the facts that we can easily deduce” about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. Facts, of course, are “indisputably the case,” that is, “without questions and factual,” i.e., “a thing that is actually the case rather than interpretations of or reactions to it.”
    The desert into which Lehi first retreated and in which he made his first long camp has been known since Old Testament times as the wilderness par excellence. Today, this region is called a desert, but Thomas Edward Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia who was commissioned by the British government to take a survey of the entire Negev Desert) and Sir Leonard Woolley, the British archaeologist, both preferred to call it the Wilderness of Zin (En-mishpat  or Wilderness of Kadesh, meaning “holy place,” which was where the Israelites stayed following their Exodus from Egypt and wanderings through the desert), bordering on the north of the wilderness of Paran, and on the west of the Arabah, that wadi route between Jerusalem and the Gulf of Aqaba.
The Wilderness of Zin, part of the Negev in southern Israel, and sight of most of the work done by T.E. Lawrence 

Now it should be noted that to qualify for a “wilderness,” the area need not be uninhabited—only permanent dwellings must be absent, and no cultivation or other permanent settlement exist, thus we find that: “the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore. And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them” (Alma 22:29).
    Now, having shown the blog author’s errors with two of his list of so-called easily deduced factors of the Land of Promise, let us take a look at another on his list, #7, regarding “some of the facts that can easily be deduced:,
• There are seas on both the east and the west of the land.
    While this statement is correct, it is woefully incomplete, and allows for some theorists to call the Land of Promise a peninsula (Mesoamerica, Baja California, Florida), tending to give an erroneous impression of the makeup of the Land of Promise. This land was not an isthmus (a word never used in the scriptural record), but an island, (2 Nephi 10:20) that was in the midst of the sea over which Lehi traveled being surrounded by water except for a narrow neck between the Land Southward and the Land Northward (1 Nephi 22:32).
    The problem, such misuse of words tends to be accepted by most people as a “fact” because of the way a theorists use their words, and not recognized as “Belief,” “opinion,” or plain old “fiction.
    Now, for the record, there were season the east and west, and such is a true, factual statement; however, as given, it is both misleading and inaccurate since it lends to the belief or assumption that no other seas existed around the Land of Promise. However, as a matter of fact, we are told there are four seas (Helaman 3:8), which tells us there is a north and south sea as well as an east and west sea.
Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5)

When Helaman describes the expansion of territorial occupation in the Land of Promise about 46 B.C., following a heavy immigration into the Land Northward, a movement began around ten years earlier in 55 B.C. during the time of Hagoth’s heavy shipbuilding (Alma 63:5) and, evidently culminating in Helaman’s time, three peaceful years after a lengthy and devastating war, as he states: “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8), thus showing the expansion direction of the early Nephites, who landed in the south and along the west and moved northward and eastward.
    Thus, Helaman is drawing attention to the fact that in the Land of Promise, the people were spreading “from the Land Southward to the Land northward,” and that spreading was from sea to sea, i.e., from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.”
    So Helaman states it clearly that the Nephites had spread “from the Land Southward to the Land Northward,” and “from the sea south to the sea north.” That is, starting in the Land Southward, which is where they were located for the first 550 years in the land, into the Land Northward, which was a new area of settlement evidently just recently opened up as Alma draws our attention to this same migration (Alma 63:5-9).
    How far northward did they go? Clear to the Sea North, evidently as far as they could go in that direction. So they were being measured from one sea to another, from the sea in the south to the sea in the north. And to make sure we understand they were filling out the entire Land of Promise, which was an island, he adds that they were also filling out the land from the sea in the west, to the sea in the east.
    As redundant as we have made this, it should be noted that very few theorists give any credence to this statement in Helaman since it does not match their Land of Promise models.
    However, we already know from Mormon’s insertion that the Land Southward was surrounded by water except for a “small neck of land” (Alma 22:32), and Mormon adds this statement in Helaman to show that the entire Land Southward was filled with Lehi’s descendants, i.e., the Lamanites in the south of the Land Southward (south of the narrow strip of wilderness) and the Nephites in the northern part of the Land Southward, the major lands of Zarahemla land Bountiful and the other, smaller lands within them.
Consequently, in those ten years, the Nephites embarked on a huge migration policy of transplanting thousands of Nephites from the Land Southward into the Land Northward, so much that they filled up the entire land, from border to border, or from sea to sea. As a result, the terminology the blog author used, “the Land of Promise having a west and east sea,” is not only inconclusive, it tends to create the wrong understanding of the Land of Promise.
    His statement should have been: “There are seas all around the land of promise,” or “There are four seas, one in the north, one in the south, and one in the east, and one in the west.”
• Continuing with his list, the fourth one to be discussed, or #6 on his list, states: “The narrow neck of land is toward the north.”
    Again, while basically correct, this is misleading. The narrow or small neck of land is located to the north of the Land Southward, but we cannot determine from what is written where it is in the middle of the overall Land of Promise, i.e., that the lands southward and northward are equal distance apart, or whether the Land Northward is smaller than the Land Southward, making the narrow neck more to the north than the middle—a feeling the author’s statement leads one to think.
    The first mention of this neck of land is found in Alma 22:32, where Mormon, in his insertion, states for our clarification: “And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32, emphasis added), and is the only place in the entire scriptural record that calls this neck “small.” All other instances refer to it as a “narrow” neck of land.
It is critical to know that this “narrow neck of land” is the only land connection between the Land Southward and the Land Northward, as Mormon makes it clear that this Land Southward was entirely surrounded by water except for this “small neck” (Alma 22:32).
    In addition, we also need to know that this “small” or “narrow neck” can be crossed in a day and a half journey of a Nephite (Alma 22:32), and since Mormon singled out a Nephite instead of a more broad sense (man, person, individual), we can assume that he meant a Nephite as opposed to a Lamanite, who, as a man of the forest and desert, may well have been able to cover ground more swiftly, such as did the American southwest Indians (like the Apache) move far more swiftly on foot than did a white settler, etc.
    Another thing to keep in mind about this “small,” or “narrow neck” is that it was the only connection between the Land Southward and the Land Northward and as such would have had a “narrow pass” or narrow passage” within it, leading between these two major land masses of the Land of Promise. This is borne out by four references in the scriptural record (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 2:29; 3:5).
    Thus, we can see that we have no idea how far to the north was the narrow neck of land, only that it separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward, and it being “toward the north,” which is an arguable way to state it since the leaves the neck anywhere to the north of Zarahemla. A better way to state this would have been: “The narrow neck of land was located between the Land Southward and the Land Northward.”
(See the next post, “Things That Are Known – Part IV,” for more on the distances involved in Alma’s escape and how theorists use this erroneous information as their basis for determining overall distances for the Land of Promise)

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Things That Are Known – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding theorists use of the distance in Alma’s escape as a basis for determining overall distances for the Land of Promise.
Now the blog author being discussed here draws his conclusions of 24 miles per day travel based on his understanding of biblical travel, as Sorenson does based on his facts regarding Mormon pioneers, and Guatemalan drovers herding pigs. Other Theorists have done the same, including Hugh Nibley, but all these writers should keep in mind that biblical travel is across the land mostly from the area of Galilee in the north to the area of the Negev and the Gulf of Aqaba in the south. For those unfamiliar with this area, it is mostly flat, involving easy, level walking, and covers a distance of about 170 miles along the coast and a full 263-mile-length from north to south along the east border (Jordan River, valley and the rift), and only 114 miles in width (10 miles width at narrowest point). There is one mountain range that runs north to south through the middle of the country, with an elevation of 2500 feet at Jerusalem, so most of the travel is along the coastal valley or Jordan River Valley. The point being, what a group of people could cover in Israel is in no way indicative of what a group of people could cover in the Land of Promise since, without knowing where that is located, what type of topography, travel landscape, or terrain people would have to cover.
    This alone should make the point of travel time and distance a meaningless yardstick, yet every Theorist insists on using it.
    This author goes on to use the terminology of Mormon describing Coriantumr’s approach to Bountiful after leaving Zarahemla when it is written: “And now he did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla, but he did march forth with a large army, even towards the city of Bountiful; for it was his determination to go forth and cut his way through with the sword, that he might obtain the north parts of the land. And, supposing that their greatest strength was in the center of the land, therefore he did march forth, giving them no time to assemble themselves together save it were in small bodies; and in this manner they did fall upon them and cut them down to the earth” (Helaman 1:23-24).
After attacking and defeating Zarahemla, Coriantumr headed up the center of the land (there was a coastal road and an interior road through the mountain valleys)

This change in venue of Coriantumr, now marching up the center of the land instead of along the coast, was a huge mistake on his part, for as Mormon tells us: “But behold, this march of Coriantumr through the center of the land gave Moronihah great advantage over them, notwithstanding the greatness of the number of the Nephites who were slain. For behold, Moronihah had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the center of the land, but that they would attack the cities round about in the borders as they had hitherto done; therefore Moronihah had caused that their strong armies should maintain those parts round about by the borders” (Helaman 1:25-26).
    We need to keep in mind here that Coriantumr is not attacking cities as he travels up the center of the land, (those were on the east coast, including Moroni, Lehi, Morianton, Nephihah, Omner, Gid and Mulek, which had been attacked in other attempts) ), but he is marching northward through the rural strength of the Nephite nation toward Bountiful. Stated differently, if Coriantumr had stayed along the coast where he had been when attacking Zarahemla, and marched northward from there, he could not have been entrapped by the armies of Moronihah and Lehi, each coming from the coastal lands where they thought the Lamanites would be attacking.
    The point is, there is no way we can come up with a distance factor from the information of Alma’s travels. We don’t know how far from the city of Nephi he started out (Land or Waters of Mormon) and how far he was from the city of Zarahemla when he concluded his 21 interrupted days of travel. We don’t know what kind of terrain they covered, nor can we judge the energy in which the people, fleeing before Noah’s guards, then the Lamanites, exerted in their flight. We don’t know if this group were mostly young, had a lot of young children, or old and more feeble. At best, it is a very poor yardstick in which to judge the distance—and the only one available to us. So to claim the Land of Promise was about this distance by that distance, is downright foolish and certainly unscholarly.
    Continuing upward on the blog author’s list to #8 (see previous post), regarding the meaning of the word Wilderness.
• The claim is that in the scriptural record “wilderness,” as it is used in the Book of Mormon, usually refers to mountainous areas and lands that are higher in elevation. The Lamanites (at least the more “idle part”) preferred to live in the mountains, hunting beasts for food, whereas the Nephites preferred to live in the lowlands and raise their own animals.”
Hugh Nibley tells us that “wilderness does not necessarily mean an uninhabited wasteland,” yet the above statement is taken from the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, known to Joseph Smith at the time of his translation; nor does it mean only a desert, or only mountains, as some theorists claim—but an uninhabited land, where man might be, but not in permanent dwellings
 
One of the mistakes most Theorists make about the Book of Mormon is the meaning of words we know today that mean one thing but that meant something else in earlier times. Nor should we think that changing the meaning of words is new and unique to this discussion for it has been going on forever. Take, as an example, in the past few years:
Nice – used to mean “silly, foolish, simple”
Silly – once meant something worthy or blessed
Awful – used to mean “worthy of awe;” spectacular, amazing, magnificent
Wench – meant children of either sex
Clue – meant a ball of yarn
Myriad – once meant 10,000; MM in Greece meant 100-million
Naughty – originally meant having naught or nothing
Spinster – was once meant as an occupation, a person who spun
Flirt – meant to “flick,” as in flick open something
Hussy – meant “housewife” or “mistress of the house”
    Or take just in recent years the changes we have seen:
Grass used to only mean the stuff you mow with a lawnmower
Bad used to describe someone who had done something wrong, today it means “good”
Gay used to be merry or happy
Backlog used to mean the biggest log in the fire; now means a reserve of work
Thongs was a word for flip-flops footwear, today it means underwear
Cell used to mean jail, today it’s a phone
Cloud used to mean water vapor suspended in the sky; today means an internet storage area
Catfish used to mean a fish with whisker-like barbels; today it’s a person who sets up a false personal profile on social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.
    Few would argue, of course, that the British and Americans have different ways of saying the same thing. Take, for instance:
The question then arises, what difference in word meanings might exist in the scriptural record during Joseph Smith’s time as he translated the plates into his knowledge of English, and how those words are used today.
    Which brings us back to the use of the word “wilderness” by the author of the article under discussion. Beginning with Hugh Nibley (Lehi in the Desert Part II), who said: “From 1 Nephi 8:4 and 7, we learn that by wilderness he means waste, i.e., desert, and not jungle,” to this author’s certainty that “wilderness” meant “mountains.” However, Nibley is misusing the scriptural verse to verify his view which is inaccurate, for the two verses have to do with a dream or vision of Lehi regarding the Tree of Life, and does not relate to the wilderness into which they would be traveling.
    Nor does the word “wilderness” today mean any specific type of terrain, such as desert or mountains, etc., but any number of sites according to the U.S. Wilderness Management or Bureau of Land Management, who lists wilderness areas as: creeks, canyon, cliffs, washes, mountains, river canyons, springs, plains, forests, table top, plateaus, valleys, hills, volcanic islands, even lakes, swamps and marches. Thus, we can conclude from this that the Lamanites that lived in tents in the east and west wildernesses were in a mountain terrain where they like to hunt.
    Thus, we see that in the 8th and 9th of this author’s “facts that we can easily deduce” are not only wrong, but cannot be determined easily at all.
(See the next post, “Things That Are Known – Part III,” for more on the distances involved in Alma’s escape and how theorists use this erroneous information as their basis for determining overall distances for the Land of Promise)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Things That Are Known – Part I

In reading a blog recently, we came across the statement in one article, “Here are some of the facts that we can easily deduce” regarding the Book of Mormon, in which the author proceeded to list these nine items, such as 1) “Lehi’s family arrived on the west coast,” 2) “The land of Nephi is south of the land of Zarahemla,” 3) “The River Sidon flows from south to north.”
The rest, which are questionable, or far less accurate, are listed below, which give pause to consider, that if we accept arguable surface information as fact, then indeed we will likely have difficulty understanding the words of Mormon and others in the scriptural record:
4. Zarahemla is west of the river Sidon.
5. The head (source) of the river Sidon is in Lamanite territory.
6. The narrow neck of land is toward the north.
7. There are seas on both the east and the west of the land.
8. Wilderness as used in the Book of Mormon usually refers to mountainous areas and lands higher in elevation.
9. The overall size of the lands around Zarahemla can be approximated.
• Let’s take the last (#9) of these first, for this is an area of guesswork that permeates its way through most theorists’ views and forces one’s thinking into limits that may be far from accurate. As an example, all theorists’ views of creating distances in their models for the places mentioned in the Land of Promise, are dependent all or in part on the events describing Alma, and his 450 converts, eventually escaping to Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi.
    This event is shown in the scriptural record as taking 21 days of actual travel. Consequently, it is believed that if the distance from the City of Nephi to the City of Zarahemla can be deduced by Alma’s 21-day travel experience, then other dimensions can be deduced in distance and/or time. Of course, it is never mentioned that if Alma’s travel experience does not really tell us the exact amount of days, and therefore assumed miles, then other distances cannot be determined in this manner.
    So the importance of this is to determine whether or not the 21 days represent a “known” distance, or one that can be deduced. As John L. Sorenson stated in his book An Ancient American Setting for the book of Mormon, under the heading of “The Book of Mormon Mapped,” p 8, “The crucial information in the record for determining dimensions is how long it took people to get from one place to another.” He then goes on to say, “Consider the distance between the city of Nephi and the city of Zarahem.”
    This is where the difficulty begins since the scriptural record states that Alma and his party did not begin their 21-day trip from the city of Nephi, but from the “the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon” (Mosiah 18:30), which were in the “borders of the land” (Mosiah 18:31).
The problem lies in the fact that we do not know how far away, or in what direction, this area (the Waters of Mormon) were from the city of Nephi. This area, which “was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land having been infested, by times or at seasons, by wild beasts” (Mosiah 18:4), would not have been too close to the city of Nephi, being infested with wild beasts. Since “many as believed went thither to hear his words” (Mosiah 18:6), suggesting that people in the city of Nephi went to the Forest of Mormon to hear Alma’s preachings (Mosiah 18:7), where they were eventually baptized in the Waters of Mormon  (Mosiah 18:16). A Church was set up (Mosiah 18:27), ordained priests (Mosiah 18:24), which all was done at Mormon (Mosiah 18:30).
    Now, while Alma and his 450 converts were at Mormon, or the Waters of Mormon, king Noah sent an army to destroy them (Mosiah 18:33), but Alma was apprised of the coming of the army and he with all his flock took their tents and departed into the wilderness (Mosiah 18:34).
    This began the 21-day journey that ended up in Zarahemla, and it began here at the Waters of Mormon, in the borders of the Land of Nephi, an unknown distance, and in an unknown direction, from the city of Nephi. Yet, theorists have loosely or specifically said, that this journey began from the city of Nephi. Thus, the rationale for this type of thinking is based on an erroneous understanding of Alma’s list of travel days when he and his converts escaped from king Noah and the Lamanites and the place of its beginning.
    However, that is not all. The scriptural record also tells us that Alma and his people “arrived in the land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 24:25). It does not say they arrived in the city of Zarahemla, but in the land of Zarahemla, which might well be some distance from the city, since the land of Zarahemla covered a large area as the scriptural record clearly shows. Thus, Alma’s 21-day journey began at a location an unknown distance from the city of Nephi, and arrived at a location in 21 days that was an unknown distance from the city of Zarahemla. Consequently, any measurement between two unknown points is suspect to begin with, let alone should be the basis of an overall mileage and therefore distance understanding of the Land of Promise.
Note that the 21 days begin at the Waters of Mormon, not the City of Nephi, and end at the Land of Zarahemla, not the City of Zarahemla

In addition, the scriptural record lists twenty-one days of travel, scattered over an extended period of time, for Alma and his people in traveling from the area of the land of Mormon—which is located at an unknown distance from the city of Nephi (Mosiah 23:1) and Zarahemla, at which the author figures would be 500 miles distance, traveling at 24 miles per day (actual distance, 504 miles). Sorenson, on the other hand, figures 21 days at 11 miles a day or 231 miles. However, Sorenson suggests that they went “at ordinary speeds” (p9).
Yet, the scriptural record tells us that Alma was told by the Lord to “haste thee and get thou and this people out of this land, for the Lamanites have awakened and do pursue thee, therefore, get thee out of this land” (Mosiah 24:23)—so we might assume that these last twelve days (Mosiah 18:25) were spent traveling in haste, not at an ordinary speed.
It should also be understood that Sorenson judges his eleven miles a day based on “Mormon pioneers driving ox teams across flat Nebraska who averaged 10 to 11 miles a day, and also that Guatemala drovers traveled 90 miles in 8 days taking a herd of pigs to market” (p8). The problem with both of these figures is that there was no motivation in either case for speed from fear of capture and death.
    However, Alma and his people are hiding and running during these actual travel days that were taken in three specific times with weeks, maybe months or a year or more between rest stops. First of all, this fact alone would throw off any general mileage assumption, since lengthy travel (21 days straight) is not going to cover the same distance as reinvigorated people after a very length rest, and also probably cause people to move quicker (cover more distance) when escaping from an immediate threat rather than a long-term threat.
    As an example, when traveling from San Diego, California, to Parowan, Utah, a near equivalent distance of 518 miles, let’s put this in modern circumstances. And let’s say that the boundary of Utah represented a safety goal (net) as surely the Land of Zarahemla border did to Alma upon reaching it. Now, if someone was to say that on the eighteenth day they reached Utah, a travel distance of 438 miles, we can either interpret that as meaning they reached their destination (Parowan) or reached the border (Virgin River Gorge).
    In the scriptural record, Alma’s arrival in Zarahemla is listed only as: “And after they had been in the wilderness twelve days they arrived in the land of Zarahemla; and king Mosiah did also receive them with joy” (Mosiah 24:25). Now this does not tell us that 1) Alma arrived in the City of Zarahemla—but that he arrived in the Land of Zarahemla, nor does it tell us 2) King Mosiah welcomed them on the 21st day of travel. This welcome could have been days later or at any time. Remember, this is an abridgement of Mormon of the original record written by Alma.
    In our scenario, the distance from the Virgin River Gorge border of Utah to Parowan is another 78 miles, or at least three more travel days of 24 miles per day. Now we know that the River Sidon in the east is located along the borders of the Land of Zarahemla and evidently the Land of Gideon. But we have no idea how far in distance that is. In fact, we have no idea where in the Land of Zarahemla Alma entered that land, or crossed the borders out of the Land of Nephi and entered the Land of Zarahemla, or how long it takes to traverse the narrow strip of wilderness situated between these two lands (Alma 22:27).
(See the next post, “Things That Are Known – Part II,” for more on the distances involved in Alma’s escape and how theorists use this erroneous information as their basis for determining overall distances for the Land of Promise)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Expanding Zarahemla After the Destruction – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding the ancient complex now known as Lima (Huaca Pullcana) to the ruins to the south of this area (Pachacamac) and closely surrounding area. In the heart of Lima in the district of San Miguel is the Parque Leyendas. that contains remnants of the largest pre-Columbian city in Central Peru. There are 14 large pyramidal structures and at least 50 smaller buildings remaining despite destruction by urban sprawl. Archaeologists estimate that the archaeological complex covered more than four million square meters. The grandest of these pyramids located within the park are the Huaca Cruz Blanca, Huaca La Cruz, Huaca Tres Palos, Huaca San Miguel, Huaca Middendorf and the Huaca La Palma.
The Lima Culture—Blue Dots: The original settlements of the Lima; Yellow Dots: Eventual spreading into the Rimac Valley; Green Dot: the Lima Administrative, economical and religious activities center, which contained impressive huge monuments, numerous pyramids, palaces, temples, administrative centers, an ancient wall, roads, residential areas, water reservoirs and irrigation channels (today in the Parque de las Leyendas in Lima's district San Miguel)—in the past, the area of Zarahemla

Pyramidal structures that date back to the Lima, sometimes called the Maranga, culture, are Huaca San Marcos, Huaca Concha, and Huaca Potosi Alto. Scholars, scientists and archaeologists have visited the site since the 1870s with formal excavations starting in the 1920’s by Jacinto Jijón y Caamaño.
    The area containing the city was occupied from 600 BC until the Incan period around 1532 AD, when it was deserted after the Spanish conquest. What remains now, was formally preserved in 1960 and made a part of Parque Leyendas in 1964.
    In addition, these early Lima Culture engineers developed one of the finest network of irrigation channels ever seen anciently, and the oldest in the Americas. A team of researchers working in the Andean foothills of Peru has unearthed solid evidence of canals confirmed to be at least 5,400 years old. The find is the oldest of its kind anywhere in South America, ranging from 2.5 miles to six miles in length and designed to slope downwards, relying on gravity to send water from an upper stream to the crop fields below, with each irrigation system having its own specific hydrology or water balance.
An irrigation channel made of rough stones or river rock with a terraced bank and secondary rock walls to eliminate erosion

Some channels were made of rough stone and burned clay, others were made of cut angular rock brought from nearby hillsides and put in place.
    The evidence shows an early cognizance of flow rates, canal cross-section technology, and slope dependence in surveying and installing small gravity contour canals. There is no evidence in the study area of a centralized bureaucracy to manage the supply of water to the canals and of mechanical devices to control flow rates.
    These findings also suggest agricultural produce was as important as marine foods in the rise of early civilization in the coast of Peru between 5,500 and 4,000 years ago. In some cases, such as with Huatica and Surco, the latter one of the most ambitious of the canals, which supplied water to the many chacras or fields lying between the Rimac River and Armatambo on the ancient road between Maranga and Pachacamac, were in fact pre-hispanic irrigation canals. It was only the passage of time had conferred irregular features on them becasue native trees such as the guarango would root themselves in the banks to lend these canals the aura of authentic rivers.
Somewhere around 100 AD, there was a strong rebuilding effort in the various Lima Culture pyramids and settlement complexes. The area of Lima in the Rimac and Lurin Valleys corresponds nicely with the Greater Zarahemla center and Nephite capitol

By 200AD the Lima Culture was flourishing with hundreds of structures, in what is now the metropolitan Lima area, scattered alongside an extended network of canals. Many of these irrigation courses still exist and supply water to some of the most beautiful parks in Lima, though in the main the canals are invisible to the casual viewer as they now lie underground. The magnificence of these huacas (wak’a, meaning revered place), was reflected by the configuration of a monumental architecture, along with several small clay structures and huts, courtyards and patios of the overall enclosure. It was built with small adobe bricks wrought on a continuous base of blocks and remodeled during the three centuries of the Huaca existence (James Higgins, Lima: a cultural history. Oxford Oxford University Press, Oxfordshire, 2005, p18).
    Currently the Pucllana Archeological Zone spreads over 37 acres and is divided into two well-defined sections. One is of pyramidal structure, in a terrace formation, which is over 75-feet high and constitutes the ceremonial sector. There, they performed activities related to the religious cults to worship their gods.
    The administrative center was located on the other section—the area of public squares and ramps. It is formed by interconnected precincts with benches, courtyards and passageways, where architectural evidences show that walls were plastered and painted in yellow ocher. This is where public and political matters, trade activities, as well as storage, ceremonies and summons used to take place.
    What did these ancient Peruvians trade? What did they store? Without doubt it was their elegant ceramics of symbolic character, representing figures of interlaced snakes or fish shapes in red, black and white. Also knitted fabrics made out of cotton and Peruvian camel (llama and alpaca) wool, simple but well manufactured, in white, brown and beige colors. Craftsmen would also contribute with basket making and fishing nets, but mainly they traded and stored the food and agricultural products grown in the valley.
The Lima Valley, a flat basin between hills and mountains

The flatland of the Rimac valley, surrounded by tall hills and mountains, offered a great variety of crops such as corn, beans, lima beans, peanuts, squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, “lucuma” and “pacae” (local fruits) and chili pepper, among others. The ocean provided them with different fish species including sole, flounder and silversides, all kinds of seafood such as scallops, clams, mussels and crabs. The pastures of its slopes gave home to deer, herds of llamas and alpacas as well as guinea pigs and ducks.
    The name of the huaca comes from the Quechua, “puclla,” meaning “game,” which in its entirety can be translated as “a place for ritual games.” It served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast around 100 AD. With the intended purpose of having the elite clergymen (whom politically governed several valleys in the area) express their complete religious power and ability to control the use of all the natural water resources (saltwater and freshwater) of the zone, a Great Pyramid was constructed in the Huaca.
The outer wall of Pucllana, at one time plastered and painted yellow ochre

As a whole, the structure is surrounded by a plaza, or central square, that borders the outer limits, and by a large structured wall dividing it into two separate sections. In one section there were benches and evidence of deep pits where offerings took place. The other section is an administrative area, which contains various small clay structures and huts made of adobe–with some walls still standing–whose function seemed to be to act as the courtyards and patios of the enclosure which is over 1650-feet in length, 330=feet in width and 72-feet in height.
    Now the city of Zarahemla, the single most prominent city mentioned in the entire scriptural record throughout the Land of Promise, was burned during the great calamities that struck at the time of the crucifixion (3 Nephi 8:8,24), which was at the time that mountains collapsed into valleys and valleys rose to become tall mountains, “whose height was great” (Helaman 14:23).
    Peace quickly spread throughout the land over the next ten years and more, as “the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land; yea, insomuch that they did build cities again where there had been cities burned. Yea, even that great city Zarahemla did they cause to be built again” (4 Nephi 1:7). Thi continued over the next two hundred years, with the Nephites all at peace with one another and rebuilding their nation; they multiplied immensely, and had become exceedingly rich (4 Nephi 1:23).
    Now, with wealth, peace and time (two generations from the time of Christ had passed away), and with a desire to build up their land and country once again over two hundred years, we can understand that the rebuilding of Zarahemla, the nation’s capitol, would have included larger complexes of buildings and large, impressive buildings.
    The results of which have been found and uncovered in the area of Pachacamac northward into the Lima and Chillon basins or valleys, at about this same time by the people of antiquity.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Expanding Zarahemla After the Destruction – Part I

At the time of the destruction that hit the Land of Promise during the crucifixion, Zarahemla was a thriving city complex, having grown in size and scope over the centuries since Mulek and his party first landed along the coast (Omni 1:15-16). It might be of note that the story of Mulek and the city he founded, later called Zarahemla by the Nephites, began where the Old Testament story of Zedekiah ended. Amaleki writes that Mulek, the son of Zedekiah and heir to the throne of David, came “out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon” (Omni 1:15; 2 Kings 25:1-7).
At Pachacamac, just south of Lima, Peru, the ancient city was built along the coast, where the magnificent complex now stands

These so-called “Mulekites” settled along the coast where they first landed (Omni 1:16), and eventually built a city, though exactly what kind is not recorded. However, by the time of the destruction some 650 years later, after the Nephites had occupied the city for about 250 years, it had become a “great city.” The disciple Nephi said of the city: “they were heard to cry, saying: O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and then would our brethren have been spared, and they would not have been burned in that great city Zarahemla” (3 Nephi 8:24, emphasis added).
    Even the Lord called it a “great city” when he said, “Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof” (3 Nephi 9:3, emphasis added).
    Obviously, the complex known as Zarahemla had been extended and added to, built up and around, and increased as the Nation’s capital since the time of Mosiah until it must have filled much of the area around the original site established by the Mulekites. As we find in the record at the time of the events: “And the city of Zarahemla did take fire” (3 Nephi 8:8). And also, “Many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate” (3 Nephi 8:14).
    Obviously, we have not been told of the Lord’s purpose in leading this remnant, including Mulek, a surviving heir to David’s throne, out of Jerusalem to be reunited with another chosen remnant, the Nephites. However, the limited account of their escape from Jerusalem and journey to the promised land clearly shows that it followed a divine plan (Omni 1:15-16). In fact, as is well known, the city Zarahemla, founded by the Mulekites, became the capital city of the Nephites from about 200 BC when it was discovered by Mosiah to the time of the last great wars with the Lamanites that began around 327AD (Mormon 2:2), more than 500 years later.
    Then the devastating events took place in 34AD as described in 3 Nephi 8:5-19, when “the whole earth became deformed,” when Zarahemla was burned to the ground, and all its inhabitants killed in the fire (3 Nephi 8:8;24). Somewhere over the several years following 35AD, during the reconstruction of the land when the Nephites “did build cities again where they had been cities burned” (3 Nephi 9:7), that great city Zarahemla was rebuilt again (3 Nephi 9:8).
    It is interesting to note, that in the fifth century AD, in the area of the western central coastal region of what is now Peru, the Lima valley inhabitants started the construction of the Huaca Pucllana (Huaca Juliana), a remarkable site already with numerous buildings in an overall complex.
Top: The outer walls, and Bottom: the Inner structure, of the pyramid complex known as Huaca Pucllana, a great adobe and clay pyramid built atop seven staggered platforms located in the Miraflores district of central Lima
 
Anthropologists claim that two important reasons inspired the group of sacred priests, who, they also claim, were the governing rulers at that time in the Lima area. The first reason given was their need to express their religious authority. The second reason given was directly linked with the control of the hydrological resources stemming from the water canal system, on the left bank of the Rimac river (Quechua “rimaq” meaning “speaker, speaking,” leading to it being called El Río Hablador—“the talking river”).
    This pre-Columbian and pre-Inca network of irrigation channels, believed to date back to the Wari Culture or before, assured the area of a steady flow of water from the mountains. Known locally as “mamanteo,” (meaning suckling), the system funneled water from highland streams into the mountain itself where it percolated through cracks and natural aquifers over months to emerge in springs and natural reservoirs. The early inhabitants of the land built channels to bring the stored water from these catchments to the large valleys below in an overall inter-basin system.
The ancient inter-valley irrigation system of the three valleys or basins (red circle) in the area of Nephite Zarahemla is being resurrected today by Peruvian hydrology engineers to bring additional water to the desert coastal cities. These three areas: Chillon, Rimac and Lurin are all connected, though separate watersheds

It is also believed that a common irrigation technology had developed continually from early foundations and provided the economic underpinning of all the societies involved in construction of the canal systems. It is interesting that careful studies of the adobe bricks used in some construction of the region showed different “makers marks” indicating that different ancient worker crews from different areas worked on the same projects throughout the area. It is also understood that the establishment of an optimal system design for the irrigational channels in terms of maximum canal flow rate and minimum construction labor expenditure required that the labor used remain controllably small while completing the project as rapidly as possible.
    To achieve this, evidently a team of water management specialists were directing the project and continually exercising their hydraulics and engineering skills, thus to the city craft specialist involved in metalworking, ceramics, textile production, and support of force, there should also be added a specialty group involved in the design and direction of large hydraulic and irrigation projects under the command of a central authority (Charles R. Ortloff, “Ancient pre-Columbian Peru, Bolivia, and Mesoamerica,” Water Engineering in the Ancient World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, p82).
Huaca Pucllana of the Lima Culture dating around 100 AD, the time in which Zarahemla was being rebuilt after being destroyed by fire; today, the remains of the building or pyramid dominates the area

Therefore, Huaca Pucllana, a great adobe and clay brick pyramid built without mortar on seven staggered platforms, located in the Miraflores district, was an important ceremonial and administrative location. Built by the Lima Culture, also known as the Maranga Culture, which overlapped the surrounding Paracas, Moche, and Nazca civilizations, it was located in the desert coastal strip of Peru in the Chillon, Rimac, and Lurin River valleys.
    It should be noted that the Lima civilization was known in part for its ceramic artwork, consisting of styles such as Maranga and Interlocking patterns, which show the influence of the nearby Moche culture, as well as changes in style suggest Wari Empire influence.
Ancient irrigation canals built by the Lima culture and extended by the Wari and Ichma, and much later, by the Inca, brought water anciently to the dry desert areas between the mountains and the coast in the Chillon, Lima and Lurin basins

Being surrounded by desert, Lima needed to channel water from surrounding rivers in order to cultivate their soil for agricultural purposes. This resulted in the construction and maintenance of an extensive irrigational system, redirecting canals, and method of terracing. The Lima civilization constructed many temples known as wak’as, which are still preserved throughout the city of Lima today. Since these archeological sites are buried within modern-day Lima, it is difficult to access the archeological remnants that still exist without disrupting the city, with other major population centers of ancient Lima located at Huallamarca (Wallamarka), Cajamarquilla, and Pachacamac (Pacha Kamaq). 
    This Lima civilization constructed the first channels from the Rimac River to irrigate the dessert lands at the outskirts of Callao and the eastern parts of the valley. Even today parts of these channels still exist, showing this irrigation system was an outstanding achievement of engineering for that time. To maintain the channels and ensure an equal distribution of the water among the people obviously an advanced social organization was required.
(See the next post, “Expanding Zarahemla After the Destruction – Part II,” for more of the connection between ancient Zarahemla and today’s Lima to Pachacamac region)