Saturday, August 17, 2019

Land of Promise Features that Cannot Be Ignored—Where are they in Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes? Part VIII

Continuing with comparing the scriptural record descriptions and consider where these points are in either of the more northern theories claimed by theorists.
Neas and Sheum
In Mosiah we find that when Zeniff and some Nephites left Zarahemla and returned to the City of Nephi and the City of Shilom, they planted several grains, two of which Joseph Smith, who grew up on a farm and planted and harvested many crops, did not know the name, and could only refer to these two grains as Mormon had before him, as neas and sheum.
“And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land.” (Mosiah 9:9).
Now, since the Nephites planted these seeds with corn, wheat and barley, it is likely they were grains, like the others, and would have been super-grains on a par with corn, wheat and barley as Mosiah stated. So in the Land of Promise, we need to find two super grains that were as important to the Nephites as corn, wheat and barley.
    First of all, the Land of Promise could not have been in North America, since during the Settlement Period (1800-1840), Joseph Smith did not know what they were, and America during the colonial period was a farm-based country involved primarily in agriculture, especially in the outlying districts, such as western New York, where mixed-framing was practiced. Their products included wheat, barley, corn, oats, rye and other grasses, as well as buckwheat and flax, potatoes and plants. In addition, each family generally had fruits and vegetables in small kitchen gardens which eliminated any demand for large-scale production of these crops (Eli Bierman,, “Food Production in New York 1790-1860,” Feeding New York, December 2010).
    Secondly, the Land of Promise could not have been in Mesoamerica, since the plants they have are maize (corn), squash (gourds) and beans (incufing pinto)—this triad of products is called the Three Sisters. In Mesoamerica, maize (corn) has always been the most valable for the survival of the people of Mesoamerica; this is reflected in their origin myths, artwork, and rituals. The Maize God is depicted throughout Mesoamerica in stone figurines, carvings on altars, and even on temples, further signifying the importance of maize to the Mesoamerican peoples. In addition, plants in Mesoamerica included chili peppers, and several fruits, cotton, and cacao for chocolate.
    Since the Nephites planted these seeds with corn, wheat and barley, it is likely they were grains, like the others, and would have been well known in the area in which they were planted and grew. Yet, when it came to Joseph Smith translating the two Land of Promise super-grains, he had no idea what they were and could only come up with the names the Jaredites used.
    Now, in all of the Western Hemisphere, the plants Joseph Smith would not have known in the agricultural Americas, equivalent to wheat, corn and barley, can be found in South America. Here, two extremely important super-grains are the  Quinoa and Kiwicha, which are indigenous in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia that date back thousands of years in the Andean area.
There are many large fields of quinoa and Kiwicha fields planted all over Andean Peru, and considered there as the superior grain over corn, wheat and others

While Quinoa is relatively unknown even today in the United States, it is now recognized as one of the healthier foods in the world, and has been recognized by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations who named the year 2013: “The International Year of the Quinoa” because of its worldwide value to nutrition as an easily-prepared, nutrient-rich food. In fact, quinoa is rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids, making it one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
    Kiwicha, also known as “mini quinoa,” is a small pseudo cereal noted for its dense nutritional content.  Kiwicha has been farmed in Peru and other areas of South America for over 4,000 years and was widely used as a subsistence crop before the Spanish conquest whereby consumption of kiwicha was banned and was instead used to construct animal statues for religious ceremony.
    In recent years there has been a renewed interest in kiwicha for its health and nutritional benefits. It is considered an anti-aging food due to its cumulative anti-carcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-oxidant, and anti-lipidemic properties. Kiwicha contains all 10 essential amino acids, making it an optimal plant protein for vegetarians. It is also high in the amino acid lysine, distinguishing it from other grains which typically contain very little lysine and need to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein. In addition to being gluten-free, it is high in fiber, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.
    In addition, Kiwicha contains phenolic acids, carotenoids, and flavonoids which impart antioxidant properties. It also contains squaline, an organic compound found in some plants, which acts as an anti-cancer agent and may be cardio-protective as well due to its ability to lower LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. A half cup serving of cooked kiwicha provides 125 calories, 4.7 grams protein, 2 grams of fat, 23 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.5 grams of fiber.
No wonder Mosiah singled out these two super-grains, neas and sheum.
We have written much in this blog about the mountains, “whose height is great,” so will cover only a short explanation here since no list could be complete without mentioning the problem of mountains as they are described in the scriptural record, lacking in both North America (Heartland and Great Lakes) and Mesoamerica theories.
    During the first century BC, we learn that in the eighty and sixth year, the Nephites did still remain in wickedness, yea in great wickedness, while the Lamanites did observe strictly to keep the commandments of God, according to the law of Moses. And…in this year there was one Samuel, a Lamanite, came into the land of Zarahemla, and began to preach unto the people. And…he did preach, many days, repentance unto the people, and they did cast him out, and he was about to return to his own land. But behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart” (Helaman 13:1-3).
    Samuel went on to say: “Your days of probation are past; ye have procrastinated the day of your salvation until it is everlastingly too late, and your destruction is made sure; yea, for ye have sought all the days of your lives for that which ye could not obtain; and ye have sought for happiness in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness which is in our great and Eternal Head” (Helaman 13:38).
    Finally, Samuel, speaking what was in his heart that the Lord placed there for the purpose of instructing the wicked Nephites, “Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name” (Helaman 14:2). The sign Samuel gave was: “In that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead” (Helaman 13:20).
The Andes mountains are obviously observable as they dominate any skyline in Andean South America, even modern cities with skyscrapers. Surely their sudden rise served the purpose as a sign unto the Nephites

Samuel then said among other signs: “behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great (Helaman 14:23).
    Now from this we learn that the Lord told Samuel to prophesize what was in his heart, and then placed there the words he wanted the Nephites to hear (Helaman 13:5), which Samuel dutifully spoke. Among several examples or signs of what would happen, Samuel described the change in terrain, from the fall of existing mountains into plains, and the former plains to rise into very tall mountains “whose height is great.”
    In order, then, to find the Land of Promise, we need merely look at the mountains in each of these areas.
    North America: In the area of the eastern United States, the highest mountain is 4,000 feet (6,000 feet along the coast), but that is really not in the Heartland or Great Lakes area claimed to be the Land of Promise. In those areas, the land is basically flat, and described as the land of the plains, which is the surface area of several extensive plains of fertile land and low, rolling hills.
    In Mesoamerica, the tallest mountain peak is 14,440 feet by comparison. And like the Rocky Mountains, those in Mesoamerica are not impressive mountains, but continued high ground with occasional peaks.
The Andes cover thousands of square miles with hundreds of tall peaks and a constant reminder of their great height

On the other hand, in South America, the Andes, which are series of mountains, have 101 over 19,700-feet; 70 over 20,000-feet; and 8 over 22,000-feet. In addition, the range is 4300 milers long, 20 to 430 miles wide and runs through seven countries.
     Obviously, no better sign could be given to the Nephites throughout the Land of Promise than the rising of these mountains “whose height is great.”
(See the next post, “Land of Promise Features that Cannot be Ignored—Where are they in Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes? Part VIII,” for more scriptural record descriptions of the land of Promise that do not match  Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes)

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