Friday, February 8, 2019

Is the Land of Promise in South America Scriptural? – Part I

It is amazing how theorists of varying locations, such as the Heartland or Great Lakes in North America, can be so sold on their ideas without frequently claiming specific scriptural references to their ideas and speculations, and then claim our writing of South America is not scriptural. Here is a written comment we received recently. In order to show the attitudes these theorists so adamantly express, we have listed his first comment below for you to judge along with our response:
    He wrote: “Your South American belief is not scriptural. It is your belief and theory.”
    Our response: On the contrary, all our discussion is based on the scriptural record of Mormon and the other ancient prophets found in the pages of the Book of Mormon. Take for an example:
1. (Helaman 14:23) Mountains whose height is great. In the Land of Promise following the crucifixion (about 43 AD). The Heartland has no mountains; In fact, the nearest mountains to the area of Zarahemla, Iowa, and Nauvoo, Illinois, are the Rocky Mountains, beginning in Colorado. To the East and Southeast of the Heartland area, are the mountains near the east coast and not within the Heartland model, that barely exceed 6,000-feet, while the Rockies reach 14,000-feet, but are mostly 12,000-feet.
The Andes Mountains of South America are truly mountains, “whose height is great,” and the only such mountains in the entire Western Hemisphere

However, in Andean South America, which has one of the longest and most complex ranges of mountains on the planet, and the second highest range of mountains in the world (after the Himalayas in Asia), has 61 mountains over 20,000 feet; 100 over 19,500 feet; 125 over 19,000 feet, 215 over 18,000 feet, etc.
    We repeat: The Heartland has no mountains, it is entirely on flat Plains, and the closest mountains to the Heartland Land of Promise is some distance away and do not measure over 6,000 feet. So where is your match to the scripture—South America certainly matches the scripture!
2. (Alma 46:40) Plants and roots in the land that cured fevers. The cure for fevers that kill people, as Mormon describes, is quinine, found naturally only in the bark of the cinchona tree, a tree that was indigenous only to Andean South America—and grew nowhere else until the Dutch stole the plants from South America in the 18th century and transplanted them in Indonesia. During the time of the Nephites and for more than 1000 years after their demise, no such plants and roots existed anywhere else in the world—and definitely not in the U.S. that cure or even treat such malaria fever.
    In addition, South America is known as having the most natural cures for all sorts of maladies and diseases than anywhere else in the world—the Heartland has no such reputation.
3. (2 Nephi 10:20) The Land of Promise was an island in the midst of the sea. Jacob, speaking to the Nephites during a two-day conference in the Temple in the city of Nephi, told the gathered Nephites that they had not been forgotten by the Lord, though they had been driven out of Jerusalem, “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; 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.”
    That is not all, Jacob went on to say: “But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren. For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also” (2 Nephi 10:21-22, emphasis added).
The Heartland is now and always has been a series of flat plains from north to south and from east to west. While there are hills and rivers there are not now nor never have been any mountains or islands within this heartland

Now, there are no islands in the Heartland to justify such a statement, nor is the Heartland model upon a coast nor was the area of the Heartland model city of Nephi at any time, but certainly not when Jacob uttered these words. However, all of western South America along the Andean shelf was an island at one time. Thus, the South American area fits the scriptural record, but the Heartland does not.
4. (1 Nephi 18:8,9) Driven forth before the wind towards the promised land. Nephi’s ship was a wind-driven vessel, meaning it was a sailing ship, subject to the flow of winds and wind-driven currents. The west coast of South America is reached by direct and very pronounced winds and currents that are today used by numerous international sailing regattas, etc. They are fast moving currents and powerful winds.
    The Heartland cannot be reached by sea. However, to compensate for this, the Heartland theorists claim Lehi landed along the Gulf shore of norther Florida, which requires the rounding of South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope, which we have written about the dangers of such a voyage that ancient mariners avoided like the plague—the area called the Graveyard of Ships in the region of its discovered in 1497 by Bartolomeu Dias who called it Cabo das Tormentas, meaning the Cape of Storms (later called the Cape of Good Hope so as not to discourage later mariners from sailing there—a location where there are over 3000 ships at the bottom of the sea).
5. (Ether 10:20) Sea that divides the land. Moroni states in his abridgement of the Jaredite record that the Jaredites “built a great city by the narrow neck of and, by the place where the sea divides the land.”
The Sea that Divides and Land and creates a Narrow Neck of Land

The 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, available to Joseph Smith (he incorporated it within the curriculum of the School of the Prophets) the word divided meant: “to part or separate an entire thing; to part a thing into two or more pieces.” This fits the Gulf of Guayaquil in South America, which separates the land to the north from the land to the south, creating a narrow neck of land to the east of the Gulf. No such area exists in the Heartland, and only problematically in the Great Lakes.
6. (2 Nephi 5:16) Built a temple like Solomon’s temple. In fact, “the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.” Such fabulous temples, palaces (Mosiah 11:9), sanctuaries and synagogues (Alma 16:13) are found all over Andean South America, not a single such building has ever been uncovered in North America, and especially in the Heartland.
7. (2 Nephi 5:15) Iron and steel. Nephi taught his people to work in iron and steel. (Jarom 1:8) The Nephites built machinery and used iron and steel. There is no iron and steel found in ancient North America, and especially not in the Heartland area. However, metallurgy of iron and steel existed in Andean South America anciently.
8. (Ether 10:23) All manner of metals. Jaredites had gold silver, iron and all manner of metals, and cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore of gold, silver, iron and copper. While copper was used in North America, it was natural copper (not dug out of the ground) that was hammered and shaped—they did not smelt ore or cast metals. However, metallurgy in the Americas was first accomplished in Andean South America around 2000 BC and was a major center of metallurgy throughout the centuries even until the time of the Spanish invasion. Anciently in Peru and Ecuador, ancient artisans smelted ores, obtained and cast metals, with “their production one of eh great achievements of the peoples of ancient Peru.”
Ancient Peruvians accomplished backstrap weaving, sitting on the ground much like they still do today

9. (Ether 10:24) Fine-twined linen and silk. The Jaredites had “silks, and fine-twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves. The Nephites (Mosiah 10:5) had “all manner of fine linen, and cloth of every kind.” (Alma 1:29; 4:6) The Nephites had an “abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.” In fact, the Nephites “did toil and spin, and did make all manner of cloth” (Helaman 6:13). Interestingly enough, in all ancient America, textiles originated in Andean South America, and their weaving and work with fabrics so astounded the invading Spanish, they considered Peruvian silk work with that of the finest in Europe. No such fabrics have ever been found anciently in the Heartland or anywhere in North America other than coarse material or animal hide clothing.
10. (Mosiah 8:8) Jaredite buildings; (Mosiah 11:8) Nephite buildings. Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings. There are no remnants of buildings, major city complexes, or anything like the scriptural record of the massive Jaredite buildings or the numerous Nephite cities.
(See the next post, “Is the Land of Promise in South America Scriptural? – Part II,” regarding a question a reader sent in questioning the scriptural relationship with our theory and our response.


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  2. Some guy on the Facebook "South American Book of Mormon Geography" group made this excellent version of the comparison list:


  3. Brethren,

    I Love, Love this comparison chart, its clean, consice and brings me joy. I feel its the fastest way to introduce the SA model to people search for truth so far.
    I have just emailed this link to my family, this link should be included on every posting. Use this as the introductory tool to first time visitors and I bet your sites growth will accelerate. If it were me I would push this chart to the masses by all mediums that are available and post it as a focal point.

    Del you're much smarter than most and I think some people get lost with your excellent detailed description. A tool like this is the perfect bridge for that gap.
    I'm still ready for Dels Discoverys BOM tour. From the Sacred valley to Mt Imbarra. I have set aside 19 days. =)