Monday, August 27, 2018

In Search of Cumorah – Part VII

Continuing with the 12 points or criteria used in the scriptural record to describe the physical arrangement and facts surrounding the scriptural hill Cumorah (Jaredite Ramah) as described by Mormon and others. The first five points were covered in the previous post, we continue here with point #6:
The Lake District with lakes, rivers, streams and estuaries surrounding Cerro Imbabura

6. Land of Many Waters, rivers and fountains (Mormon 6:4);
    The area immediately around Imbabura is called “the Lake District,” and in a country of abundant water resources, this area is popularly known as the Province of Lakes because it holds more water reserves than any other province in the country. It is also an area of natural beauty that extends northward and westward into the northern jungle, which is often referred to on the west as “The Esmeraldas,” a lush, labyrinth of vegetation and water, estuary-filled streams and rivers, a region of mangroves and flooded tropical forest with wild and remote inland areas often accessible only by canoe along its many small and large waterways.
Some of the many rivers and streams that make their way through “the Lake District” and the Esmeraldas in the vicinity of Imbabura

7. Large area to support hundreds of thousands of Nephite and Lamanite warriors (Mormon 6:5; compare 5:6)
    The area around Mount Imbabura is part of the Chota Valley, and certainly capable of supporting hundreds of thousands of people, with fresh, clear, drinking water from nearby lakes (Cuicocha, Quilotoa, Imbacocha, Pinan, Hyaguarcocha, Cristococha, Mojanda, Caricocha and El Cajas to name a few), rivers (Mira, Chota, Ambi, Llurimagua, Taguando, Urcuqui, Itumbe, Chorlavi, Pimampiro and Jatunyacu to name a few) and streams, and a land so fertile both at the base of the mount and for some distance up its slopes that numerous crops could have been sewn and harvested, providing abundant grain for food during the four years the Nephites were there drawing in all the Nephites for battle.
Even today, this area of extensive croplands appear as a patch-quilt of farmlands, abundantly providing for the entire region

8. Large enough for a battle involving at least 230,000 Nephites and perhaps 300,000 Lamanites (Mormon 6:7-8)
    The entire Chota Valley and the surrounding plains around Mount Imbabura was of sufficient size for a major battleground involving hundreds of thousands of people. The Valley’s mere size stretches through three provinces: Imbabura, Esmeraldas and Carchi.
The plains around the Cerro Imbabura is by far large enough to have had upwards of half a million warriors engaged in battle

The lakes, rivers, and streams around Imbabura might well have provided some advantage to Mormon’s army as the Lamanites attacked in full force with their overwhelming numbers that when “they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers” there was plenty of room for fighting.
9. Large enough for 24 survivors to hide for the night (Mormon 6:11)
    One of the problems with the hill Cumorah in New York would be for any survivors to have survived upon it in the face of 300,000 or more crazed, blood-thirsty warriors looking to kill any Nephite. But at Imbabura, the mountain is sufficiently large that any number of survivors could have found hideouts from any number of Lamanites looking for them.
The view from the mount would show the entire battlefield of hundreds of thousand dead strewn over the countryside

10. High enough to see tens of thousands of dead bodies (Mormon 6:11)
    The summit of Mount Imbabura is about 5,00 feet above the surrounding valley,whose elevation is about 10,000 feet. It has high altitude meadows above the tree line where cattle graze today, deep crevices, and rocky slopes providing plenty of cover for hiding or just not being observed.
11. Located in a volcano and earthquake land with tall mountains (Helaman 14:23) 
    The Land Northward had more damage from earthquake and volcano eruptions (3 Nephi 8:6,12,17,20).
    Mount Imbabura sits at 15,000 feet elevation, with a 5,00 foot prominence above the surrounding valley. The mount is on the Ortavalo-Umpailá fracture zone, one of the deep seismically active fracture zones in Ecuador and northern Peru (eight of which are in Ecuador), and is full of deep fissures caused by cracking and slitting. In the valley around is a large caldera, as well as the Cotacachi volcano (Mount Shim) nearby.
12. The non-scriptural but reasonable fact that the mountain would have held spiritual and ritual significance to local residents.
    Keep in mind that more than a couple of hundred thousand people died in 385 BC, and a million or more 1000 years earlier around this mountain in two major battles about, with the dead bodies left to rot on the surface of the land. In addition, this mount and area was the scene of a tremendous, unparalleled Lamanite victory over a 1000-year-long hereditary enemy, as well as the site of thousands of Lamanite dead.
Even the Inca, 1000 years later were making pilgrimages to the site and conducting ritual ceremonies there

There can be no question that this mountain would have been revered by the Lamanites for centuries afterward, and no doubt become a site of religious and ritual significance for many generations. It is not a stretch to think that this memory continued down through the passage of time in numerous factual and fictional stories surrounding the mysticism that would have built up about it in word-of-mouth passage from general to generation.
    Today, Mount Imbabura holds such a local image to all the people of the region, as mentioned earlier.
    Where the Hill Cumorah of the scriptural record is will no doubt be a debate that will go on for some time; however, whatever location one chooses to place it in, the site should meet these eleven scriptural criteria as well as the twelveth criteria of a lasting monument to the death of so many hundreds of thousands of people and the site of the final Lamanite victory over the Nephites.

No comments:

Post a Comment