Sunday, September 9, 2018

Have They Found Where Battles Were Fought Around Cumorah? – Part XI “The hill in the Ecuadorian Land Northward”

Continuing from the previous post regarding artifacts and forts in the ancient Iroquois and Onondaga lands of western New York and whether or not the scriptural record verifies the location of the Mesoamerican hill Cumorah.
    In the only complete and clearly understood relationship of the Jaredite city of Moron, their hill Shim and the hill Ramah [Cumorah] in direction of one another, Moroni tells us in his abridgement of Ether’s writings that: “wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent” (Ether 9:3).
Relationship of the Jaredite landing site (Santa Elena), their city of Moron, Mount Cotacachi (hill Shim), Mount Imbabura (hill Ramah/Cumorah) and the placed called Ablom
Now, in this brief statement in Ether, eight important points are made:
1. He traveled many days [away from Moron]
2. And came over
3. And passed by the hill Shim
4. And came over
5. By the place [Cumorah] where the Nephites were destroyed
6. And from there eastward
7. To a place called Ablom
8. Which was by the [East] seashore
    That is, after having his kingdom overthrown by Akish and his followers (Ether 9:1) King Omer was warned by the Lord to depart out of the land (Ether 9:2-3), and left his capital city of Moron with members of his family that had not sought his overthrow (Ether 9:2).
    While the scriptural record does not say in which direction he traveled, it does show that he did not travel eastward until after he had traveled “many days.” So he either traveled south, west or north. Now, the city of Moron was in the south, probably in the center of the land where the Jaredites originally migrated up into the highlands after their original landing.This is seen in the statements “he had gathered together an army he came up unto the land of Moron where the king dwelt“ (Ether 7:5, emphasis added), and also, “in the first year of Lib, Coriantumr came up unto the land of Moron” (Ether 14:11, emphasis added), which suggest that the city of Moron was in the highlands, above the surrounding lands.
    To begin with, it would appear that the initial leg of Omer’s journey was of some distance for it is the only one that mentions taking “many days.” That would probably eliminate traveling westward because of the close proximity to the coast, or southward, because of the close proximity to the narrow neck of land, thus Omer, no doubt traveled northward.
The route to Shim and Ramah from Moron on the way to Ablom 

Second, after traveling “many days” northward, Omer came to and passed by the Hill Shim. That is, he came to the hill Shim, not upon it, and then passed by it, not around it, on his way to the Hill Ramah (Cumorah). Thus his travel was more or less straight, as it passed by the hill—what altering of his course was involved is not stated, though we can assume the terrain did not allow for a true straight line of travel as it rarely does. But since his eventual path was to the east seashore, it might be understood at this point, since there is a break in the travel mentioned, that Omer turned somewhat eastward.
    Third, Omer passed by the hill Ramah (Nephite Cumorah), which appears from the statement to have been fairly close to the hill Shim. Now, as he passed the hill Shim, he turned more directly eastward, suggesting he was on a straight path, as much as the terrain allowed, and when passing Cumorah, his course bent toward the east in which direction lay Ablom.
    Fourth, at the hill Ramah, Omer turned east and traveled eastward to a place known to the Jaredites as Ablom. One can only wonder whether this area was called Ablom before Omer reached it, and if so, why, since there is no record of Jaredites being in this location before Omer’s time; or did the name Omer become so named by Omer or after his time and Moroni simply put that name into the record ahead of where it actually occurred for clarification.
    Fifth, Ablom was by the seashore of the East Sea. The journey described in the scriptural record taken by Omer to escape those who sought his life in Moron, suggests that it was some distance away from the capital as indicated by the “many days” or travel..
    Sixth, at this place called Ablom, Omer and his family pitched their tents and settled down.
While the scriptural record tells us that Omer went east from the hill Shim, the Meoamerican model of the Mt. Vigia as the hill Cumorah, it forces Omer to turn west past the hill Shim and eventually turn around and head back east after reaching Vigia, i.e., Ramah (Cumorah)

One of the many problems with this Mesoamerican theory of Mt. Vigia, is found in John L. Sorenson’s work where he places these Tuxtlas Mountains right on the coast of the Sea East, which would allow no room for Omer to turn eastward and head for Ablom by the coast (John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1984, initial maps of Mesoamerica, Map 2, p11; Map 3, p20; map 4 p24; Map 5, p37).
    Another problem with this hill Vigia in Veracruze, it is located to the west of the hill Shim (Catemaco), thus causing Omer to turn west after reaching the area of the hill Shim to continue toward the hill Ramah (Cumorah) now claimed to be Mt. Vigia, not east. By the time he reached the hill Ramah (Vigia) he would have had to turn back and retrace his steps eastward to reach Ablom by the east sea.
    So, if neither the New York hill Cumorah nor the Mesoamerican Mt. Vigia can match the scriptural record, then where else is there to look?
    Certainly not in the Heartland or the eastern U.S., for there are few hills of any size located there except along the Atlantic coast, particularly in North Carolina, far from the suggested Nephite lands and nowhere near the Jaredite lands claimed to be in North America near or in Canada. And all these hills and peaks are part of continuing mountain ranges, such as the White Mtns (New Hampshire); Green Mtns (Vermont); Berkshires Mtns  (Massachusetts); Adirondack and Catskill Mtns  (New York); Allegheny Mtns (Pennsylvania); Appalachian Mtns (Pennsylvania to Georgia); Blue Ridge and Black Mtns (North Carolina); Smokey Mtns (North Carolina and Tennessee); Ouachita Mtns (Arkansas and Oklahoma); and do not have stand-alone mounts or separate hills such as Shim and Ramah/Cumorah are described. As an example: “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:4, emphasis added). Nor are most of these mountain ranges found in lands of many waters.
    That leaves an interesting site in northern Ecuador, a mount called Cerro Imbabura, of which we have often written in this blog as being the Hill Cumorah. This stand alone mount sits between the two ranges, dominating the center of the interandean basin that bears its name. In addition there are numerous notable lakes, including San Pablo, associated with Mt. Imbabura, Cuicocha, situated in the crater of Mt. Cotacachi, and Yahuarcocha, located next to the city of Ibarra, to name just a few, as well as numerous rivers, streams and small lagoons.
    The general terrain of this region can be characterized as rugged and complex, consisting of a mix of rolling hills, precipitous slopes, deeply incised valleys, and erosional gullies. The climate is temperate, with variations dependent upon altitude; rainfall is seasonal but generally abundant. The volcanic ash soils of the region are naturally fertile and have sustained high levels of agricultural productivity for millennia. The principal drainage within this region is the Chota-Mira River, which forms the dividing line between Carchi and Imbabura provinces.
Top: The 200 BC, site of Quitoloma near 13,327-foot high Mt. Pambamarca, north of Quito in northern Ecuador; Bottom: Showing the remains of the West Gate of the fortress 

There are 106 fortresses or pucará (hill top forts) throughout this northern area of Pambamarca that predate the Spanish, and are referred to as the “Pambamarca Fortress Complex” because of their vast number—only 27 other pucará or forts are found in all of Ecuador, and those in the south. This area boasted the most ferocious warriors that had a long history of war among themselves, who were very accomplished and ferocious fighters. These northern highland chiefdoms, north of Quito, were collectively called the Pais Caranqui (Caranqui Country), and had a long history of warfare in the area. Later, when the Inca attempted to conquer them, they met strong resistance all along the borders north of Quito over a thirty-year period before the final battle at Caranqui facilitated their eventual defeat and incorporation into the Ina Empire.
    However, long before the Inca, and before those who directly preceded them, there were ancient people, identified by anthropologists into separate cultures based upon different pottery types. These so-called “cultures” of the Andean area preceded the Inca and known variously today as the Muisca, Chavin, Paracas, Lambayeque, Chimu, Wari, Chachapoyas, Moche, Chinchas and Nazca in the south, as well as the Tiwanaku, who were from around Lake Titicaca. Anciently, there were the Norte Chico civilization or the Caral Supe, an ancient complex society that included as many as 30 major population centers in what is now the Norte Chico region of north-central coastal Peru. The Chavin have been dated to Nephite times, and the Valdivia in the north long before that, and in all that time, one place in all the land stood out as a special place of spiritual prominence, respect and sacred memory. A hill currently identified as the hill Cumorah.
(See the next post, “Have They Found Where Battles Were Fought Around Cumorah? – Part XII,” for more information on this single mountain and why it is considered today to be the hill Cumorah of the scriptural record)

1 comment:

  1. When you try to superimposed Omer's travels in Mesoamerica, you forgot to keep with the "new" cardinal directions, which Mormon apparently used. So if you want him to initially go "north," he needs to literally go west, then when he turns "east" toward the sea, he needs to literally go north. That would lead him up the coast somewhere? Nowhere near Cumorah.