Sunday, December 23, 2018

Comparing Mesoamerican, Heartland, and Andean South American Lands of Promise-Part IX

Continued from the previous post regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the Mesoamerican and Heartland models of the Land of Promise listed by Michael De Groote, as appeared in the Deseret News. We continue here with the Weaknesses of the Mesoamerican and Heartland models with #1 through #2 in the previous post and continuing below with #3:
3. A West Sea
The Narrow Neck of Land has a west side on a West Sea. The border by the West Sea is where Nephi and Lehi and their party landed. If the West Sea is one of the Great Lakes, [one] wonders how Lehi sailed to it from Asia.

Both the Mississippi and Ohio rivers required locks, built by the Corps of Engineers to allow ocean sailing ships to navigate the length of the rivers—something that was impossible before the 19th century AD

Response: As we have pointed out here in this blog many times, there was no way for any sailing vessel prior to the 19th century AD to reach any of the Great Lakes from the Ocean, whether the Atlantic via the St. Lawrence River or the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi (and the Ohio) River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers widened, dredged and deepened most of the inland rivers from the Atlantic Ocean inland and the Mississippi River northward from New Orleans.
    In fact, although its work on fortifications was important, perhaps the greatest legacy the early Corps of Engineers bestowed to future generations was its work on canals, rivers, and roads. America was a young nation, and rivers were its paths of commerce since they provided routes from western farms to eastern markets and for settlers seeking new homes westward beyond the Appalachian frontier. The rivers beckoned and enticed, but before the work of the engineers, treacherously destroyed travelers and shippers whose boats were punctured by snags and sawyers or stranded by sandbars. Both commercial development and national defense, as shown during the War of 1812, required more reliable transportation arteries. Out of those unruly streams, engineers carved navigation passages and harbors for a growing nation (“A Brief History,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters, Washington D.C.)
The restored U.S.S. Niagara, which had originally been built, with five other gunboats, in the sheltered bay formed by Presque Isle at Erie, Pennsylvania in 1813, during the War of 1812 with England—it was faster than bringing a ship from the Atlantic up the St. Lawrence, and then taken apart and transported overland to Erie

In addition, as has been stated many times, there was no way for any sailing ship in 600 BC, or for the next 2400 years, to reach Lake Erie, the Great Lakes model West Sea, in order to land there. The same is true of the Heartland model, for no ship could have landed anywhere along the Mississippi north of Baton Rouge where severe rapids made it impossible for a sailing ship to move further up the Mississippi River. Nor can the Heartland theorists claim, as does Rod L. Meldrum, that Lehi landed along the western coast of Florida and then Lehi and Sarah, both old and feeble at the time (1 Nephi 17-18), travel overland more than 400 miles to the area of Mobile, Alabama, where Meldrum places his Land of First Inheritance. 
    Meldrum also claims that the lower Mississippi was his West Sea; but the river was never larger/wider than it is now, just that it flowed along different courses over the centuries, and would not qualify for a “sea.” And in using the Atlantic for the Sea East, then his Land of Nephi would be some 900 miles across, far too wide of a Land of Promise for the descriptions Mormon gives us.
Mesoamerica. While this Land of Promise has two seas, the Sea East is the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea West is the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 140 miles at its narrowest through the Isthmus of Panama. However, Mesoamerica has no Sea North or Sea South, a requirement shown in Helaman 3:8. Nor is there a Sea that Divides the Land.
South America. As an island (2 Nephi 10:20), the area of Ecuador, Peru, Western Bolivia and most of Chile were at one time this island, at least until the destruction that took place at the time of the crucifixion, when “the face of the whole earth became deformed” (3 Nephi 8:17). Therefore, there was a North, South, East and West seas. In fact, Jacob tells us that when they sailed in Nephi’s ship, “the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), making the entire Land of Promise, both the Land Northward and the Land Southward, connected by a “small or narrow neck of land,” an island, and therefore completely surrounded by water. Thus, the Lord led the across the sea to an island that was in the midst of that same sea.
4. Climate
"Where is the snow in Zarahemla?" Sorenson asked. "Where is the snow in the Book of Mormon? Where is the cold in the Book of Mormon? Not a single word that indicates anything other than warmth and even tropical heat."

Response: The word “heat” is mentioned only once in each of 1 and 2 Nephi, neither of which refer to the climate of the Land of Promise. It is also mentioned three times in Alma, once regarding the sickness of Zeezrom, once regarding the generic planting of seeds, and once “which was caused by the labors and heat of the day” (Alma 51:33). In 3 Nephi, it is mentioned once regarding the fervent heat at the coming of the Savior in his glory. 
    It is also mentioned only once in Mormon, again regarding to the fervent heat of the Lord’s coming. Regarding the climate, there is only one incident and it is found in “there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate” (Alma 46:40).
Tropics in mauve, subtropics just above and below the mauve  belt

As for subtropical, which Sorenson mentions, all lands between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are considered subtropical. Even southeastern New York is subtropical, as is southwestern Oregon, northwestern Tennessee, and all of California.
    However, the idea of climate is not the issue in deadly fevers, but what tropical and subtropical climates create: mosquitoes. That is, it is the mosquito, not the climate, that causes the deadly fever of malaria. The thing is, there are more mosquitoes in Minnesota, a cold-weather country snow averages between 31 inches in the southwest and 70 inches in the north, than many other tropical lands, because of the amount of lakes and open water. While heat is necessary for mosquitoes to spawn in standing water, it does not mean the area is free of snow other times of the year.
    Thus, when Mormon writes “which at some seasons,” meaning that it was not mosquito or fever time all year round. Obviously, we could be looking for lands that are both wet and tropical in the summer and cold and snowy in the winter. The fact that cold, snow and ice are not mentioned in the scriptural record has no meaning, since heat, temperature and even climate are mentioned only in the one instance when Mormon was talking about the herbal cures for fever.
Mesoamerica, Central and South America all have climates that produce mosquitoes. However, only one area produces herbal remedy for fever or the deadly malaria, and that is Peru, with its cinchona trees that produce quinine—the only place in the world quinine was found until the 17th century when the Dutch took the Peruvian cinchona trees and transplanted them in Indonesia.
(See the next post, “Comparing Mesoamerican, Heartland, and Andean South American Lands of Promise-Part X,” for more regarding the Deseret News article about the pros and cons of Mesoamerican as opposed to the Heartland models and South America)

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