Monday, June 29, 2020

Heartland’s Four Corners Claim

In discussing where Lehi landed, some theorists hold the opinion that North American Heartland was not only the place, but that  the four corners of the United States was the exact area of the Land of First Inheritance and the home of the Nephites. As one states: “Some fail to understand or note the distinct land changes that occurred during Christ's sacrifice. The covenant people of the lord (native Americans) the seed of Lehi/Joseph, had their land (current 4-corners area and south) completely destroyed and mountains became valleys. It seems as though a quarter of the US was under water before Christ sacrificed himself.”
    The four corners, of course, is where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet in the American Southwest. This area, covered with shallow cliffs and profound erosion create monumental landforms all along the Colorado Plateau. The entire area is unique to the sandstone geology of the Four Corners.
    In fact, maps from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate that most of the rock layers around Four Corners were deposited during the so-called Age of Reptiles (Dinosaurs). These rocks are claimed to have formed from fine sediments eroded off older rocks and subsequently deposited by wind and water. Geologists also claim that the Four Corners region sat along the western shore of a shallow sea that split North America in two, with the sea advancing and retreating.
Top: The high desert plain of Mexican Hat region of Utah in the four corners; Bottom: The region of Shiprock in the four corners area of New Mexico

According to geologists, the shallow sea alternately advanced and retreated during the time of the dinosaurs. Around the end of the Mesozoic, today’s Rocky Mountains began to rise. Land that was once seafloor is now elevated far above sea level and consists of high desert that stretched across much of Arizona and Utah, and into Colorado and New Mexico along the Colorado Plateau and its numerous canyons.
    In addition, as ancient tectonic plates were subducting or diving under the western margin of North America, a major mountain-building event occurred inland as the Earth’s crust was pushed up by the forces beneath it. This is known as the Laramide Orogeny, which in addition to the Rocky Mountains, caused the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, which is the rise east of the Great Basin and sandwiched between this Basin to the West, the Sonoran Desert and Mexican Highland to the South, and to east the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming and northeastern Colorado, and the Great Plain.
    The fact that the Great Basin was an inland sea is certainly understandable give the history of Noah’s Flood. Thus, after the receding flood waters eventually broke through and formed the Grand Canyon and other remarkable sights in the southwest, Moroni states that “after the flood waters receded off the face of this land” it became a choice land. This evet is scientifically and factually recorded in our book "Scientific Fallacies and Other Myths."
    The event generated deformation or buckling of the Earth’s crust, uplifting mountain ranges, forming basins, and creating widespread volcanism in the western United States. The deformation caused by the Laramide Orogeny uplifted the Rocky Mountains far inland from the subduction zone boundary. This formed the Colorado Plateau, covering the sections known today as the Uinta Basin, Monument Valley, Canyon Lands, Cathera Valley, Navajo Lands, Plateaus of Utah, and the Grand Canyon,
    The area of the Four Corners Platform is made up of Bluff, Navajo, Entrada and Dakota Sandstone and is referred to as the Grand Staircase. It is an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon to Escalante, and into the Grand Canyon. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps, such as the Kaibab Plateau, the Vermillion Cliffs, White Cliffs, Gray Cliffs and Pink Cliffs, with the various layers divided into a five-layer cake of Earth history.
Blue: Mexican Hat; Red: Ute Mountain; Orange: Canyon Lands, Arizona; Green: Shiprock
The land today covers 130,000 square miles and is a giant high desert, mostly flat plateaus largely made up of desert, with scattered areas of forests. In the southwest corner of the Colorado Plateau lies the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The Plateau has numerous domes, hoodoos (tall thin spires, balancing rocks), fins (vertical lips), reefs (multi-step cliffs), arches, river narrows, natural bridges and slot canyons. The Colorado Plateau also includes ten higher fault-separated plateaus, which range from 4,900 to 11,000 feet elevation, though they are not mountains but flat tablelands between various canyons.
    It is important to know that there is no indication that mountains fell and others rose to a great height in this area as described in the scriptural record. In fact, there are no tall mountains in this area of the Great Plains at all and that is why it is called a plateau.
Top: Ute Mountain on the high desert plains in southern Colorado; Middle: A scattered group of sandstone buttes on the high desert plain in the canyon lands of northern Arizona; Bottom: A single butte on the high desert in the 4 corners region of New Mexico

In addition, we need to keep in mind that the Land of Promise described in the Book of Mormon was not within North America, since little in what is now the United States matches Mormon’s descriptions of the Nephite lands—tall mountains “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23) being just one of them. Another is calling the “mouth” of the Ohio River the “head” of the Sidon River in order to flow toward the south rather than flow toward the north as Mormon describes. 
    Others , to name a few, are: Do not have four seas, one in the north, one in the south, one in the west and one in the east (Helaman 3:8); not an island (2 Nephi 10:20); No small and narrow neck of land that is the only land connection between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32); No two unknown animals referred to as the Cureloms and Cumoms (Ether 9:19); No two unknown grains known as neas and sheum (Mosiah 9:9); No cure for killing fevers (Alma 46:40); No roads and highways that went from city to city, land to land and place to place (3 Nephi 6:8); No Nephite temple like Solomons (2 Nephi 5:16); No stone walls around the land (Alma 48:8); No buildings of all kinds (Mosiah 8:8); No matching climate to Jerusalem (Mediterranean), and Lehi did not land on the West Sea (Almas 22:28).
    On the other hand, the Land of Promise in that area of Andean Peru, western Bolivia, and Ecuador, not only have mountains “whose height is great,” but meets all the above and dozens of other descriptions in the Book of Moron.
    Thus, when Hagoth's ships went north to a "land which was northward" we see that movement into Central and MesoAmerica, and from there as we have discussed many times, an expansion into what is now the U.S. was a final step for the Nephites and Lamanites to eventually occupy the entire Land of Promise as Prophets and General Authorities have discussed in talks and writings over the years and as Joseph Smith verified with the brief story of Zelph (bones found on Naples-Russel Mound 8) and the Prophet Onandagus.

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