Monday, June 4, 2018

Answering a Heartland Theorist’s Erroneous Claims – Part VI

Continuing with more of this reader’s comments and our responses regarding his disagreement with our article on the events surrounding what Joseph Smith did and did not testify about. The reader’s comments are in italics following (•), and our response is in regular type:
•“The claims at the end of this video are pretty dishonest as the land of America has wonderful soil to plant seeds,”
An official Department of Agriculture Map shows that the percentage of area used for crop production is low in the areas (of the Nephite lands) around the lower Great Lakes area, as well as watershed area is low, and it is very low in fertilized land, high in forest lands, and that the further west one goes the better the soil and growth potential

Response: The claims of the video have nothing to do with good soil for planting seeds, but that soil has to do with soil classification as determined by soil scientists (Department of Agriculture), such as soil group which refers to the different sizes of mineral particles in a particular soil and the runoff potential and infiltration rate with water transmission, such as sandy soils have low runoff and high infiltration; clay soils have the highest runoff potential and very low infiltration rate. The soil type has to do with kind of soil (clay, sandy, loamy, silty, peaty, and chalky). If you were a farmer, you would know how important that knowledge is, including the 12 soil orders, where a healthy plant or seed can grow. As they well know, certain seeds grow in certain soil types and certain soil groups and not in others, even though all the soils are healthy soils. In addition, the temperature (soil warm enough for seeds to germinate—each type of seed has a different optimum temperature at which seeds germinate), moisture (the Available Soil Moisture [ASM] determines the rate at which seeds germinate, and can also lead to root rot, etc.), precipitation (rainfall effects both seed germination and seedling development—everwet areas to infrequent rainfall areas have different impact on different seeds, affecting their germination and growth), and weather (Seeds generally "wake up" and germinate when soil moisture and temperature conditions are correct for particular seeds to grow—rainfall effects soil conditions, and colder or higher latitudes have less sunlight which alters growing patterns).
    In northern latitudes the kinds of seeds that will grow “exceedingly” and provide and “abundant” crop are very different than the type of seeds that grow in arid lands or lower latitudes, and even in tropical mid-latitudes. While crop and plant seeds will grow almost anywhere (other than in the arctic and Antarctic), seeds require a climate that is conducive to their type of growth requirements. This was especially true before the use of modern agriculture technology, which is now employed in seed production and growth.
    As an example, there are warm-loving crops, cool-loving crops and cold-loving crops, but almost no very cold loving crops. As long as their seeds are planted in the conditions conducive to their growth, they will typically grow well. If you plant seeds that do well in colder weather conditions in warmer climes, they turn bitter tasting, or bolt to seed rather than produce edible parts. As an example, in cold climes, spinach, leeks, collards, parsnips, lettuce, cabbage, turnips and chard grow well; in warm climes, cucumber, gourds, melons, peppers, southern peas, summer squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes grow well; and in hot weather climes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, watermelon, peanuts, black-eyed peas, soybeans, okra, and eggplant grow well. However, in very cold climes, like Canada, only 7% of its total land area is suitable for farmland and growing crops.
    Also, before the development of special wheat varieties for growth in Canada and the high latitudes of the U.S., most grain crops limited to Alfalfa, barley, flax, oat and rye. In western New York, hay is the main crop, corn, soybeans, wheat, sweet corn and oats; however, wheat and barley were not grown anciently (Nephite times).
    It should be noted that on the back of every packet of seeds are recommended growing requirements—all seeds require conditions conducive to that particular seed.
The Hardiness Zone map of the U.S. Note the much colder climes (blue and green) of the Great Lakes and Heartland areas where only certain types of seeds will grow, to that of Southern and Central California, which is a Mediterranean Climate where far more plants and crop varieties will grow
As an example, the USDA Hardiness Zone for planting in Ohio is 5 and 6, in western Pennsylvania 5,6 and 7, western New York, 5 and 6, in Indiana 5,6,12 and 13, in Illinois 5 and in western Iowa 4. The point is, all around the lower Great Lakes, the planting zones (what seeds, plants and crops will likely thrive at a location); while that of Southern California (Mediterranean Climate) is 16 (north) and 20 (south). These are very different classification, and the one in southern California, which is Mediterranean Climate matches that of La Serena, Chile and also that of Jerusalem.

•“to build wood houses, which the Nephites said they built and everything needed for the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations”
Response: They also said they built out of cement, which would have taken some type of solid structure in which to apply the cement coating, such as rock, stone and adobe. Wood is essential, but in the Middle East is used sparingly for some framing, for roof beams and roof supports, for stairs, and other minor, but important structural items.
    The kind of building Nephi (Sam and Zoram) would have known coming from Jerusalem, would have been cut and dressed stone, which as far back as about 1000 B.C., the Israelites used in which to build their houses, palaces, synagogues and temples. No buildings in ancient Israel, with which Lehi and his family would have been familiar, was made of wood—that was the construction technique of the Europeans for individual housing, settlements and villages. Not the Middle East.
•“as evidenced by the massive amount of archaeological evidence.”
Response: The massive amount of evidence for ancient building sites in the Americas is found in the rock and stone, as well as adobe ruins, found in Andean South America and in Central and Mesoamerica. This type of building is consistent with the ancient buildings of the Middle East, from which the Jaredites, Lehi and Mulek came, and especially in Jerusalem where Lehi, Nephi, Sam and Zoram would have been most familiar. We have written in our blog ( many times about this, and how the ancients there did not built with wood except for framing, roofs, stairs, and roof support beams (which is what causes stone buildings to burn and collapse from fires). The ancient evidence of building in the Americas is found in stone and adobe, not in wood. In fact, Mormon tells us this when he states: “he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8). Obviously, stone was a building product of the Nephites.
•“The sooner Latter-day Saints all come back to what Joseph Smith testified, not what Frederick G. Williams, Wilford Woodruff or anyone else opined on,”
Response: We agree that members, and particularly Land of Promise theorists, scholars and historians should pay less attention to what Church leaders have said, and more to what is written in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon. As for Joseph Smith, he testified often of the plates, of the First Vision, of the Godhead, of Moroni’s visits, of the translation process, and of the overall gospel and its doctrines. He testified of the existence of the ancient civilizations described in the Book of Mormon, of Lehi, Nephi, and those whose events are within described. However, when it came to the modern world and where the Nephites were, he said many things, but did not testify of any landing site, location, or where the events of the Book of Mormon took place, other than in the Americas. He had opinions, from the plains of the Nephites in the U.S. to the ruins in Central America, but never testified of those locations.
    Unfortunately, today’s theorists go to great length trying to say Joseph and Church leaders have “testified” of where the Nephites specifically were located; however, the Church and its leaders have made it abundantly clear that the Church and its leaders have never made any official (or even unofficial) claim as to the location of Book of Mormon events. Other than Oliver Cowdery in his “Letter VII” to W.W. Phelps, which is little more than romantic, metaphoric prose, for there is nothing in the scriptural record to support such detailed comment as any comparison between the two will show.
The most important reference work regarding the Land of Promise is found in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon, written and abridged by people who lived there, and in Mormon’s case, fought a lifetime of wars from one end to the other, and read all that was written by all the previous prophets and writers of the record. What anyone else says, other than through official Church statements is of little value against what Mormon has left us

•“but what Joseph Smith and the Lord both testified of, the quicker they will come to the truth of Book of Mormon lands being in the U.S.A.”
Response: As stated above and throughout, the Book of Mormon lands were not in the U.S.A., and except for some theorists, is not promoted by the Church or Church leaders in any official statements; however, that the entire Western Hemisphere, particularly the North and South American continents (once known as a single continent), is the Promised Land and Zion, has never been in doubt. Because of this, evidence of Nephites and Lamanites should be found throughout this area.
•“Please stop going out on the branches of false theories and teach the truth.”
Response: False theories should always be eliminated. However, just because someone wants to or chooses to believe in a location of the Land of Promise covenanted to Lehi and his posterity, does not make it so—not unless it agrees in every whit with the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon. The Heartland theory, and the Great Lakes theory, simply do not.
    The problem with theorists, scholars and historians working on the location of the Land of Promise is that so many of them begin and end with a specific place in mind that simply does not agree with the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon. So in order to compensate for that, they rely heavily on comments of modern Church leaders and misinterpret or misrepresent their comments and opinions as Church doctrine when it is not. That is why we rely on the scriptural record and not man’s comment by those who did not live at that time and could not know anywhere near as much as those who lived during Nephite times and wrote about it, such as Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni. Theorists would do well to restrict their geographical understanding of the Book of Mormon to the scriptural record and not to others—such as the Heartland and Great Lakes theorists who have developed maps of Book of Mormon lands that simply do not agree with the scriptural record and descriptions Mormon gave us as we have shown in numerous articles and maps.

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