Friday, July 19, 2019

What Matches the Scriptural Account? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding a comparison between the various theories and the descriptions Mormon left us.
    The problem with almost all theories about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise today are not based in full on the hundreds of descriptive information Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni give us in the scriptural record, but on the opinions and assumptions of Man.
The Nohoch Mul pyramid, part of the Mayan ruins at Cobá archeological site

Mesoamerica. After all, the Mesoamerican theory matches several descriptions given in the scriptural record to describe the Jaredite kingdom and Nephite Nation. There is a narrow neck of land; a Land Northward and a Land Southward; a large, northward-flowing river; high level of civilization; buildings and cities of an advanced people, as the Jaredites and especially the Nephites would have been; large masses of people; large wars; big agricultural base for the economy; roads, temples and towers; etc.
    However, it does not have four seas (Helaman 3:8), and the two it does have are oriented in the wrong location; was never an island (2 Nephi 10:20); has no sea that divides the land (Ether 10:20); no metallurgy; no smelting of gold, silver and copper, nor digging it out of the ground (2 Nephi 5:15; Ether 10:23); no large settlements of cities with buildings (Mosiah 8:8); no highways and roads that “led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place (3 Nephi 6:8); and the list goes on.
    As for the North American (Heartland) and Great Lakes theories, there are also some matches, such as having four seas; there are ancient forts; it is a land blessed above all other lands; the Gold Plates were found buried in the New York Hill Cumorah.
    However, North America does not have truly four directional seas—North, South, East and West (Helaman 3:8); these areas do not have two unknown grains (Mosiah 9:9); and two unknown animals (Ether 9:19); neither area has a “temple like unto Solomon” (2 Nephi 5:16);  the Heartland Theory does not have a north flowing Sidon River; the Heartland does not have mountains “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23); neither had metallurgy other than copper (Jarom 1:8); neither were ever an island (2 Nephi 10:20); there are no hills south of the Heartland Zarahemla to match Mormon’s description showing the Land of Nephi was at a higher elevation than the Land of Zarahemla; and the list goes on.
Moroni carrying the plates in a knapsack over his shoulder to where he eventually buried them

It is interesting how theorists get caught up over a single issue. Take, for example, North American theorists who believe it would have been difficult to impossible for Moroni to have carried the plates upon which Mormon and he had engraved their abridgements of the Nephite and Jaredite records. Because of the great distance involved, and the weight of the gold plates to have been carried by Moroni all the way from Mesoamerica, they say, shows conclusively that the Land of Promise was in North America because of its nearness to the New York hill Cumorah.
    Or the Mesoamerican theorists who claim that there are at least 15 types of script, of writing in Mesoamerica, thus, Mesoamerica was the only region where indigenous people  who had a written language, like the Nephites. According to John L. Sorenson, “the only thing that is different about them is the characters."
    The fact is, the former involves the unknown factors of when the plates were placed in the New York hill Cumorah, and where the plates were from 421 AD to 1828 AD. While Moroni said he was going to finish his work on the plates “therefore I will write and hide up the records in the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not” (Mormon 8:4). In fact, we don’t even know how long it was between when Mornoi wrote that and when he hid the plates “in the ground,” which was after 421 AD.
    In addition, as to the latter, no writing sample has been found in Mesoamerica dating before about 1000 AD, and certainly those that have been found have no semblance to either Reformed Egyptian or Hebrew, showing no evidence such languages were ever connected.
    Also, Rod L. Meldrum says that North America i.e., the United States, is the Land of Promise because the scriptures tell us "It is a nation 'above all other nations,' and a 'mighty' Gentile nation. Well, what other nation are they talking about here? I don't think that they are talking about Guatemala here."
    It should be noted that the information about the Land of Promise being a blessed region was originally stated by the Lord, “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:20). And what land had the Lord prepared for Lehi?
After the flood waters had receded it became a choice land, unoccupied except for whom the Lord would bring to dwell upon it

It was a land prepared “from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof” (Ether 13:2). This was given to Lehi “is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord” (1 Nephi 1:5).
    While North American theorists want to limit this land to just what is the United States today, it obviously was meant originally to cover a much larger area. As an example, when Nephi was given a vision of Columbus: “I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12). Since Columbus never set foot on, or even knew about, the area now known as the United States, or even the entire area of North America, and visited only islands of the Caribbean, Central America and South America, one cannot dismiss those areas as being part of the Land of Promise.
    The point of all this is to show that when one begins searching for a Land of Promise, one needs to take into account all the scriptural references to the location—not just the ones that agree with their theories or viewpoints. While most theorists list between five and ten major categories for such matching, they miss the overall value of their comparison. For every point a Mesoamerican, Heartland, or Great Lakes theorist make in support of their theory and location, just as many or more areas can be shown in the scriptural record that disagrees with such an area.
    In determining an area, we have to find a place that matches all the criteria and descriptions set forth in the scriptural record. In fact there are many areas these theorists never mention that are in the scriptural record and part of locating the Land of Promise: Circumcision (1 Nephi 4:15; 2 Nephi 5:10); Cure for killing fevers (Alma 46:40); stone walls around the cities and the border of the land (Alma 48:8); Growing wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9); fine-twined linen and silk (Alma 1:29); land of earthquakes and volcanoes (3 Nephi 8:12,17,19); Terraced irrigation (similar to Jerusalem).


  1. "land of earthquakes and volcanoes (3 Nephi 8:12,17,19)"

    While those verses definitely describe earthquakes, they do not exclusively describe volcanoes. Volcanoes are often deduced or implied, but never specifically described by the text. Those three verses name:

    Tempest (the main descriptor of the event)
    Lightenings (like was never before seen in the land)
    Quaking of the Earth

    I know that it is argued that only volcanism could have created that lineup of descriptive words, but that is not necessarily true. Requiring volcanoes for a model to be true only BECAUSE is exists in said model is no different than somebody requiring hurricanes because they feel that better fits the descriptive words and they prefer it for their model.

    Interestingly, volcanic regions in the Andes are north of Bountiful and south of Nephi. Nephite held land was interestingly located on the Peruvian flat slab seduction zone, and volcanoes are absent there.

    That is probably why the destruction was specifically said by Mormon to have been worse to the south and to the north. That makes sense and could definitely imply volcanism to the north and south of the primary Book of Mormon lands, but again events are not specifically described as volcanoes.

    While I believe volcanoes were active where they are found (Ecuador, far southern Peru, Bolivia), I feel volcanos can't be "required" according to scriptural description.

    Only requirements: earthquakes, tempest (extreme storm), whirlwinds that suck people away, extreme lightening (electrical discharge) and thunderings, fire (cause not specifically indicated), flooding, and extreme landscape changes (specifically said to have been caused by tempest, quaking, whirlwinds, lightening). Aftermath is smoke or "vapor" of darkness.

    I believe volcanoes were a part of what happened, but the scriptures do not require them, so a model should not require them. Just my feeling on "requirements."

  2. The terminology used in the scriptural record is “shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder” (3 Nephi 8:6). Also: “and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12). In addition, the statement: “And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough” (3 Nephi 8:13). And also: “many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth” *3 Nephi 8:14). And showing the separate factors involved, “And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth” (3 Nephi 8:17). Also: “And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:18). “And the quakings of the earth” (3 Nephi 8:19).
    While I agree that the word “earthquake” is no found in the scriptural record, we should keep in mind that such a word was not known in either ancient Hebrew or Egyptian. Yet, the word “quake” and “quaking” are—5 times in 6 verses while describing the destruction and what caused it. Now having lived in Southern California the first 65 years of my life, and living through dozens of earthquakes, that is exactly how one would describe a serious earthquake if they did not know the word “earthquake,” which Mormon would not have known.

  3. I think you misunderstood my comment. Yes 100% earthquake is required by the text.

    Volcano is the word not specifically described. I don't expect ancients to use the word "volcano" but saying that volcanoes are "required" for the land of Promise setting is based on assumptions about what "might have" caused the vapor of darkness.

    You could claim that earthquakes and volcanoes go hand-in-hand (particularly in the case of catastrophic tectonics) but the text does not describe anything that can ONLY be caused by volcanism, therefore, it isn't a requirement.

    Earthquake = absolutely (required by the text)

    Volcanoes = maybe or likely (thus, not required by the text)

  4. So... out of all the things possible... that could, or would, or should cause a "vapor of darkness"... what would that be?

    20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;

    21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;

    22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.

    23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.

    So... name the possibilities of what could possibly cause what these people experienced.

  5. Volcanic ash seems a logical assumption.

    But notice that it is always described as "vapor" and "mist". Look up vapor in the 1829 dictionary, and it's similar to today. It's described as mist or airborne liquid (vaporised). That says a lot about why fires would not light in the darkness, if the air is saturated with vapor. The ash plumes from far north and south may have blocked light, but there are no volcanoes on the Peruvian Subduction Slab, which includes the land of Nephi, Land of Zarahemla, and Land of Bountiful.

    Again, volcanoes are a guess and an assumption based on what we know in our own experience, but nobody in the last 2000 years has experienced anything like the tempest that they did. We can't require a guess when setting standards for the Land of Promise. That's all I'm saying. There is no definitive description of volcanoes- only a guess of what we think fits.

    An example of what I mean:

    Two animals unknown to Joseph Smith is REQUIRED because the Book of Mormon mentions Cureloms and Cumoms.

    We have a very educated GUESS that they are llamas and alpacas.

    But we can't then say that Llamas and Alpacas are required by scripture to be in the land of Promise.


    Why does nobody focus on two of the major, repeated elements that are attributed to the change in landscape? Lightning and whirlwinds. If you have lightening and whirlwinds that are contributing to a change in the land, that is incredibly powerful and indeed would leave most of the land desolate, as described.

  6. Check out this video by "The Thunderbolts Project".

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  8. While neither Andrew Hall or the Thunderbolts Project have everything figured out, the evidence for arc blast storms is extremely compelling. An electrical imbalance caused by an outside perturbance (for example, a massive CME from the sun), could cause an incredible tempest that includes all the elements described in the Book of Mormon, including fires that destroy cities where there are no volcanoes (Zarahemla). But no modern man has witnessed such a CME, so our uniformitarian minds either refuse to consider what it would be like, or can't comprehend the extent of such a disaster.

    Christ, the Creator, died. It was no mere earthquake or volcano that reacted. A continent moved in reaction, the sun likely flared, and "exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land" scarred the Earth and left plasma burns in stone that can be seen to this day.

    Supersonic winds surrounding those arc discharges would take everybody and everything in their path. The land would be left desolate.

    While the shaking was felt in the old world, it was the new world (Promised Land) that took the brunt of the storm. Why? Could it be because only half of the planet takes the brunt of a massive flare or CME impact (there would be a safe side for the few hours of impact). Why did the sun hide it's face for three hours from the old world's point of view when Christ died? Incoming?

    Make no mistake, the sun can send us back to the stone age in a matter of minutes. Scripture suggests these same types of things will happen again.

    I'm not saying this is exactly what happened, but we need to stop thinking only in terms of what we've seen, and stop making "Land of Promise" requirements based on guesses. We can't pick and choose what we want from 3 Nephi 8. Like with Noah's flood, we need to take the writer's word for it.

  9. "we need to take the writer's word for it." Tom Durrant
    Exactly. We need to take Joseph Smith at his word,"the Book of Mormon is the most correct book." Not only doctrinally but, we need to take the Book of Mormon prophets at their word regarding the features and history of Lehi's promised land. They described the land they lived in and the history of its inhabitants. They were men of God and had seen the land and its people in visions. This is what led me to Del and his work. I was challenged in my belief regarding Mesoamerica, although the person who challenged me is a believer in the Heartland model. Dels modus operandi of taking the Book of Mormon literally is what has kept me studying the Andes model.

    1. The "Most correct Book" does not really say things accurately according to Mesoamerican theorists on many points. As experts they will explain what it really means.

      And it is hopelessly saying things inaccurately according to North American theorists on almost every point.