Thursday, June 13, 2019

Was There Really an Alternative Course for Lehi to Take? – Part III

Continued from the previous post, regarding the answers to a Reader’s questions about Lehi sailing to the Land of Promise.
Reader: “At the time, the Nephites had a trade network, and after they were all killed that trade network vanished. Known by the Indians there is a trail that comes out of Mexico, going up through the old trade network, also known as the warriors trail.”
Response: First, the Great Indian Warpath, also known as the Great Indian War and Trading Path, or the Seneca Trail, was that part of the network of trails in eastern North America developed and used by Native Americans which ran through the Great Appalachian Valley.
Examples of the Warrior Path or the native American footpaths in the eastern U.S.

The system of footpaths (the Warpath branched off in several places onto alternate routes and over time shifted westward in some regions) extended from what is now upper New York to deep within Alabama. Various Indians traded and made war along the trails, including the Catawba, numerous Algonquinian tribes, the Cherokee, and the Iroquois Confederacy. The British traders' name for the route was derived from combining its name among the northeastern Algonquian tribes, Mishimayagat or "Great Trail", with that of the Shawnee and Delaware Athawominee or "Path where they go armed," hence, the “Great Indian Warpath.”
    Secondly, this path exists, even in part, today. It did no fade away after the Nephites were gone, and was still operating and used by the native Americans at the time the Europeans arrived and later. It was a continuation of the  animal trail used by early animals to get to the salt licks in the region, especially by the buffalo in the valley of Virginia. When the Europeans arrived, only smaller villages and settlements of different tribes occupied the valley, which was used as a hunting ground, a travel route, and a warpath between the two great clusters of Eastern Indians in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    In the north, the line of the Seneca Trail formed the boundary of "the frontier" by the time of the  French and Indian War  (1756–63). When King George III issued a proclamation in 1763 forbidding further settlement beyond the mountains and demanding the return of settlers who had already crossed the Alleghenies, a line was designated roughly following the Seneca Trail.
    In the South, the Great Indian Warpath began at the Gulf of Mexico in the Mobile area and proceeded north by northeast, bisecting another trail known as the Upper Creek Path, and crossing the Tennessee River near Gunterville. It then followed the same route as the Tennessee River  to the foot of Long Island on the Tennessee, intersecting another path, the Cisca and St. Augustine Trail, which ran from the area of St. Augustine Florida to that of Nashville.
The Ancient Catawba or Cherokee Trail, which was not only an ancient native American trading route, but was a trading route for settlers between the back country and the Carolina coast 

The most prominent, and perhaps the most ancient of these old pathways across the country, was the old Catawba or Cherokee Trail, leading from the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida areas through Virginia and Western Pennsylvania, on to Western New York and Canada. After crossing and uniting with numerous other trails, the principal one entered Fayette territory, at the State line, at the mouth of Grassy run, a tributary trail, called the Warrior Branch, coming from Tennessee, through Kentucky and Southern Ohio, came up Fish creek and down Dunkard, crossing Cheat River McFarland's. It run out a junction with the chief trail, intersecting it in William Gans' sugar camp, but it kept on by Crow's mill, James Robinson's, and the old gun factory, and thence toward the mouth of Redstone, intersecting the old Redstone trail from the top of Laurel Hill, afterward Burd's road, near Jackson's, or Grace Church, on the National Road.
    This Cherokee or Catawba Indian trail, including its Warrior branch, is the only one of note which traversed the country northward and southward. Generally, they passed eastward and westward, from the river, to and across the mountains. All of this is outlined in order to show that these trails—footpaths really—have no bearing on the scriptural account of the roads and highways the Nephites built. Mormon stated that “There were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8), which cannot be compared with ancient Indian footpath trails that are not believed to go back anywhere near the time of the Nephites. After all, the Nephites “cast up,” which has the meaning of “to turn upward,” i.e., build upward, and “to construct by digging,” i.e., to lay a foundation to build upon.
    The Nephites cast up roads and highways—a footpath is neither a road nor a highway. The definition of “road” in 1828 was: “An open way or public passage; ground appropriated for travel, forming a communication between one city, town or place and another.” The definition of “highway” was “A public road; a way open to all passengers; so called, either because it is a great or public road, or because the earth was raised to form a dry path. Highways open a communication from one city or town to another.”
    Finally, if the Nephites had a trade network with anyone other than themselves or the Lamanites, it is never mentioned or implied in the scriptural record.
Reader: Then considering the American Rosetta stone found, it make more sense they were in north America, and found the cure by trade.” 
Response: We have no idea what is meaning here. What cure? There is no American Rosetta Stone and to suggest there might have been is an extremely broad reach in face of the fact that such an object is unknown among the most experienced athropologists, archaeologists, and linguists.
Reader: “The big clincher for me for North America and not South America, is the amount of time they had, they would not have been able to build cities of stone in South America, and dig all those ditches and cities in north America at the same time.” 
Response: First of all, the Nephites were in the Land of Promise for 1000 years, and it is unbelievable how much can be accomplished in that amount of time. Take, as an example, the United States has been a country for 243 years, only about one-fourth as long, and look at the progress from colonial America with a few miles of cobblestone streets to today’s space-oriented America with 47,000 miles of concrete freeways.
When parts of South America were submerged, there was an island along the West Coast referred to as the Andean Shelf—this is the land the Nephite were in and the land promised to Lehi by the Lord 

Secondly, the land the Lord promised to Lehi was not North America, but a portion of South America, which was an island (2 Nephi 10:20) along the Andean shelf at the time of this promise. The people described in the Book of Mormon were not throughout the Americas, but in a specific area. Lehi’s promise was “a land of promise” (1 Nephi 2:10; 5:5), the use of “the land of promise” is generally used to mean a larger and more generic area, but “a land of promise” refers specifically to the land granted in the Lord’s promise to Lehi (2 Nephi 1:5).
    That the ditches, etc., would have probably been dug by the Lamanite descendants who ended up in “the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4, emphasis added). Even Joseph Smith referred to this land as the “Plains of the Nephites” (History of the Church, vol.2 pp79-80). In any case there is no mention of Nephites in North America.
Reader: “Considering the full population in the end, and the amount of war they tolerated as input they would have had a hard enough time to push up the dirt and make walls without moving stone.” 
Response: First, the idea that the Nephites did not use stone is contrary to Mormon’s words of description when he said, “Yea, 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, emphasis added). 
    Secondly, the Nephites had 200 years of peace and righteous living to begin their last 400 year period in the Land of Promise (4 Nephi 1:2). They rebuild their cities that were burned and built other cities (4 Nephi 1:7), and Mormon tells us that “the people multiplied and were spread upon all the face of the land, and had become exceedingly rich” (4 Nephi 1:23), and during all this time there were no Lamanites or –ites of any kind, but the people were one (4 Nephi 1:17).
    It would have been amazing what such a society could have accomplished in those 200 years.

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