Thursday, February 6, 2020

Direction of Flow of the Sidon River

It is astounding how theorists claiming a location for their model of the Land of Promise argue among themselves as to that location, claiming their opinion is superior to someone else’s opinion or belief. Since Mesoamerica and now the Heartland/Great Lakes models are considered the primary locations and each believes they are the only locations to be considered. Naturally much discussion and  flows between them as to how they are right and the other is wrong.
    Take the ongoing battle between Mesoamericanists and Heartland theorists today, trying to use every point at their disposal to strengthen their own claim and delegitimize the other’s point of view. One of the weapons in this battle is over the River Sidon and the Narrow Strip of Wilderness.
    This difference between the Mesoamerican and Heartland theorists revolves largely around the meaning of the phrase “head of the Sidon,” which is mentioned in connection with both Manti and Nephihah. If “head of the river Sidon” means the source of the river, then the river would have to flow “north” from Manti past Zarahemla (Alma 2:15). This interpretation also means the river could not flow “south” through the land of Nephi as Heartland and many North American theorists claim. This is a fact based on the mountains of the river’s source is located in the elevations south of Zarahemla, in the direction of the Land of Nephi, for the Nephites had to go up to Nephi and Lamanites had to go down to Zarahemla.
The “head” or “headwaters” or “source” of a river, which is where the river begins, and from there flows into the valley below on its way to a lake or sea

First, we need to recognize that the head of the river Sidon is located in the Narrow Strip of Wilderness, as Mormon makes it quite clear when describing the Land of Promise, and places the Nephite lands as opposed to the Lamanite lands, in which the narrow strip is located between them (Alma 22:27). The head of the river Sidon is also located near Manti, which is up in the mountains south of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27).
    Second, let us consider the meaning of the word “head” in relation to a river. In 1828, during the time Joseph Smith was translating Mormon’s words and descriptions, the word “head” meant: “The first place; to originate, to spring, to have its source, as a river; the principal source of a stream; as the head of the Nile” (Webster, 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language).
    Today, this description is exactly the same, namely: “The part most remote from the mouth or opening into the sea; as the head of a bay, gulf or creek; to originate; to spring; to have its source, as a river; the source, or headwaters, of a river or stream is the farthest place in that river or stream from its estuary or confluence with another river, as measured along the course of the river.”
    Since this concept of a “head” not being the “beginning or source” of a river, as touted by Heartland theorists, let’s take a look at the meaning of these words:
Source:  means the beginning or start, and is the spring or fountain from which a stream of water proceeds, or any collection of water within the earth or upon its surface, in which a stream originates. This is called also the head of the stream. We call the water of a spring, where it issues from the earth, the source of the stream or rivulet proceeding form it. We say also that springs have their sources in subterranean ponds, lakes or collections of water. We say also that a large river has is source in a lake. For example, the St. Lawrence has its source in the great lakes of America.
River Source: also called the headwaters, means the river source and the beginning of a river. Often located in mountains, the source may be fed by an underground spring, or by runoff from rain, snowmelt, or glacial melt.
River Course: means the path of the river. It is the original point from which the river flows. It may be a lake, a marsh, a spring or a glacier. This is where the stream starts. The source is the farthest point of the river stream from its estuary or its confluence with another river or stream
Mouth: means the part or channel of a river by which its waters are discharged into the ocean or into a lake. The Mississippi and the Nile discharge their waters by several mouths within aw delta, into the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea.
Head of a stream: means the source or headwaters of a river or stream and is the furthest place in that river or stream from its mouth, estuary or confluence with another river, as measured along the course of the river 
Tributary: means the source is the farthest point of the river stream from its estuary, mouth, or its confluence another river or stream, such as where the Ohio River flows into the Mississippi River.  The farthest stream upriver is called the head-stream or head water. There is sometimes disagreement on which source is the head water, hence on which is the true source. Headwaters are usually in mountains. Glacial headwaters are made by melting glaciers.
The head or source of a river as well as the mouth or delta of a river, is clearly shown and understood by just about everyone except theorists who want to push their individual point of view 

Thus, the source or head of a river is where a river begins, and the river mouth is where the river joins the sea. The mouth may be in the form of a river delta, a landform where is formed by sediment carried by the river being deposited in the wilder mouth.
    There simply can be no argument about what the word “head” means, though Heartland theorists rant and rave over the claim that “head of a river” does not mean what everyone else knows and understand it to be. Consequently, it cannot be said, as Heartland theorists claim, that the head of a river is the confluence of rivers, such as the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River at Cairo, on the border of Illinois and Missouri, south of Nauvoo (and the settlement named Zarahemla in Iowa). Thus, the head of the river these theorists claim is the Sidon (confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers), is 272 miles south of their Land of Nephi and city of Zarahemla.
    Obviously, this principal source of a stream or river is going to be elevated from the land through which it flows, and as the Sidon ran past the Land of Zarahemla, and Zarahemla being lower in elevation than the Land of Nephi, and the head of the river Sidon was located south of Zarahemla, it logically had to flow northward.
Buffalo Creek, a narrow, shallow meandering stream, runs northward; Buffalo Creek runs westward from the east

While this matches Mesoamerica’s claim, it does not match the flow of the Heartland model using the Mississippi River, nor does it match any flow of a river in the Great Lakes model. As for the Great Lakes theory, Phyllis Carol Olive asserts that the headwaters of Buffalo River (Sidon) were at one time fed with additional water from a lake that is now extinct; however, as we have written about many times, the Buffalo River basically runs westward for almost all its course, and not northward, as any map will show.
The Mesoamerican River that run north, however, to Mesoamerican theorists, cardinal north is their east—so these two rivers should run east, not north, on the Mesoamerican model

Consequently, between North American and Mesoamerican theorists, only Mesoamerica has a river that flows north. And that claim is fraught with difficulty. As an example, Mesoamerican theorists claim either the Grivilja River or the Usumacinta River were the River Sidon.
    Now, both these rivers flow northward on a map, however, based on the Mesoamerican theorists change in directions where the northward Gulf of Mexico is referred to as the East Sea, waters flowing directly into that sea would have to be flowing east on their model—they can’t have it both ways.
    Consequently, both the Mesoamerican and North American theories regarding the river Sidon do not match Mormon’s descriptions of that river. On the other hand, in Andean Peru, the river considered to be the Sidon flows northward, past the Land of Zarahemla, as Mormon describes.
Buffalo Creek is a shallow meandering stream, far too shallow and small to match the numerous descriptions in the Book of Mormon

According to the U.S. Geological Survey the nine-mile long Buffalo River, referred to as the Upper Buffalo River, is fed by three creeks named Buffalo, Cayuga, and Casenovia, all three small, meandering streams. Buffalo Creek originating in Holland and flowing northward to Elma, New York, where it turns west and becomes Buffalo River from the confluences of two other creeks. The Buffalo River runs almost due west for about nine miles before turning north for a mile and emptying into Buffalo Harbor near Niagara River on the northeast shores of Lake Erie.
    The point is, Buffalo River runs only about nine miles, and all but the last mile, runs due west. Buffalo Creek, which runs north, is really just a small meandering stream far too small and shallow to match Mormon’s descriptions of the river Sidon. Thus, neither the North American model theories or the Mesoamerica theory can meet the simple, but all-important descriptions of the river Sidon as described in the Book of Mormon.

1 comment:

  1. Before I discovered the Andes as the lands of the Book of Mormon I carefully studies the Mesoamerica model. I thought it was probably correct- after all, someone had to create the Mayan ruins and Joseph Smith had shown some interest in the findings in the area. But there were quite a few things that just didn’t make sense-the change in directions being at the top of the list. I couldn’t get comfortable with the cardinal directions being twisted even though Lehi and Nephi clearly knew how to tell directions and Nephi had the Liahona in the promised land. I couldn’t get the different seas to match up with the simple scriptural explanation of a sea north, south, east, and west. I couldn’t make sense of how the rivers direction was not rotated like everything else. All this was before Del had started his blog.
    Some years later I had been impressed with George Potters work on Lehis trail from Jerusalem to Bountiful. I wondered if George ever researched where Lehi went next. At the time he had just started his work on this but had published a paper indicating he thought Peru was the promised land. This was intriguing but I found his arguments to be anecdotal and lacking in logic and accurate scriptural representation. I searched to see if anyone else had a Peru “model” and came across Del’s blog 2 or 3 years in. I was amazed to find everything to be logical and 100% consistent with the text of the Book of Mormon. And I no longer had to tilt my head 90 degrees to get the map to march the Book of Mormon and cardinal directions!