Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Major Mountains?

Hugh Nibley wrote that “The Book of Mormon mentions the rising and sinking of the land, forming new "hills and valleys" (3 Nephi 9:5-8)—with no mention of major mountain ranges.” (Nibley p 267)

Mountain peaks are measured not only by elevation (height above sea level), but also by prominence, that is, the prominence of a peak is the height of the peak’s summit above the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit.

In Central America only two mountains with prominences over 10,000 feet exist, and only one is in Mesoamerica, Volcan Tajumutco, San Marcos, Guatemala; only one 7,000 feet, Volcan Tacana, only four are 6,000 feet, and one 5,000 feet, all in Guatemala. The highest elevation is Tajumutco at 13,845 feet, with Tacana at 13,343 feet, and half a dozen at 12,000 feet.

On the other hand, there are peaks in the Andes with more than 20,000 feet of clear prominence, with the tallest peaks in Peru being Huascaran at 22,205 feet, Yeruypaja, 21,709, Coropuna, 21,083, Cuzco, 20,945, Huandoy, 20,852, Ampato, 20,702, Salcantay, 20,574, Huancarhuas, 20,531, Pumasillo, 20,492 , Solimana, 20,068; plus there are 16 peaks in Chile over 20,000 feet; plus one in Ecuador—all from 20,000 feet to about 23,000 feet. Chile has 25 mountain peaks taller than the tallest in Central America; Ecuador has 11 peaks higher, and Peru has 16 peaks higher. In all, there are 102 mountain peaks in the Andean area that exceed 6,000 meters (19,700 feet)
So when Nephi says there shall be mountains carried up (1 Nephi 19:11), the disciple Nephi said, a great mountain will rise over the city Moronihah (3 Nephi 8:10), and when Samuel the Lamanite says “there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great" (Helaman 14:23), one can only wonder what Nibley is referring to when he says “with no mention of major mountain ranges.”

Of course, it should be understood that Mesoamerica, as stated above, does not really have much in the way of mountains, let alone tall mountains “whose height is great.” So to qualify Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise, Nibley and other Theorists claim the scriptures say nothing about tall mountains, which is yet another disingenuous approach to the scriptures to prove an erroneous Mesoamerican model.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Were the Jaredites First After the Flood?

The Book of Mormon does not tell us about anyone other than the Jaredites, Nephites, Lamanites or Mulekites in Lehi’s Land of Promise. Whether or not the ancient prophet writers deliberately left out the mention of others is unknown, however, it might be concluded that they wrote about Lehi’s Land of Promise in specific and detailed terms, including where they left from (Nephi’s directions leading to the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula), how they got there (“driven forth before the wind”), what they found there (animals and precious metals), and how they settled the land (Lamanites to the south, Nephites to the north), and that the land was divided into two distinct areas, (Land Southward and Land Northward), and the promise given to Lehi and his posterity that the land was theirs forever if they remained righteous. And for nearly a thousand years, they were basically a righteous people.

Therefore, it can correctly be concluded that no others were present in the Land of Promise other than those mentioned. Even in Nephi’s vision, when he saw “multitudes of people yea, even as it were in number as many as the sand of the sea” (1 Nephi 12:1), and that the “multitudes of the earth gathered together” (1 Nephi 12:13) in the Land of Promise, and that “the seed of my brethren,” the Lamanites, “did overpower the people of my seed,” the Nephites (1 Nephi 12:20), and he saw “many nations and kingdoms” (1 Nephi 13:1), and that the Gentiles were divided from the Land of Promise by many waters (1 Nephi 13:10), and the voyage of Columbus and his landing among the Lamanites (1 Npehi 13:12), and many others coming to the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 13:13-14), and that these Gentiles eventually set up their own nation (1 Nephi 13:19).

Nowhere in Nephi’s vision did he see anyone in the Land of Promise not of Lehi’s lineage until the coming of Columbus.

However, despite the plainness of Nephi’s vision and of the promise made to Lehi about keeping his land secret from other nations and peoples, Hugh Nibley writes:

“It is nowhere said or implied that even the Jaredites were the first to come here, any more than it is said or implied that they were the first or only people to be led from the tower.” (p 251)

While Nibley's second comment cannot be contested since we know nothing else about the people of the tower but the Jaredites, there is no implication that anyone else was led away, or that if some were, that they were led to Lehi’s Land of Promise. We do know from the Book of Mormon and from Isaiah that other groups of the house of Israel were led away (1 Nephi 19:10; 21:1), but Jacob tells us they were led to other isles of the sea and not the one to which the Nephites had been led (2 Nephi 10:20-21).

Regarding Nibley's first point, following a discussion about the Lord leading the Jaredites "into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth" (Ether 1:42), the Lord tells the brother of Jared that they should go forth into the wilderness, "yea into that quarter of the land where never had man been" (Ether 2:15).

While Mesoamerican Theorists must create additional people in the Land of Promise to validate their model, other than those mentioned in the scripture, there is no indication of any type from several writers that such was ever the case. To counter this lack of mentioning other people, Mesoamerican Theorists try to belittle the prophet writings as Sorenson does on page 84 of his book:

“Consider for a moment those historians' position as they tell us about the early Lamanites. They wrote from the narrow perspective of their besieged little colony. Their understandable frame of mind would have seen all people with whom they came in contact "out there" as "Lamanites," for in the Nephite scheme of thought at the time, who else could those dark-skinned lurkers in the forest have been?”

Shame on all who write about the Book of Mormon and try to change scripture or belittle the prophets who wrote them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Country of Bountiful?

One can only wonder why, but Joseph Allen, in his book “Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon,” wants to make Bountiful the chief area of land in the Nephites’ Land Southward. On page 243 of his book, he writes:

“Bountiful, in the Book of Mormon, was not only a city and a state, but also served as an umbrella over the entire Land Southward and thereby functioned as a country. For example, the land of Nephi, the land of Zarahemla, and the land of Bountiful were all lands or states within the country, or general area, of Bountiful.”

The importance of Bountiful was its strategic position as a buffer zone” to keep the Lamanites, Gadianton Robbers, and Dissenters from occupying the land northward (Alma 50:32; 51:30; 52:9).

Except for that, there is no mention of Bountiful in connection to its importance as long as the Nephites occupied the land of Zarahemla, and is first referred to as the land inhabited by wild animals (Alma 22:31). On the other hand Zarahemla was:

• The capital of the Nephite nation (Helaman 1:27)
• Where the 7 churches were established by Alma (Mosiah 25:19)
• Where Nephite liberty was first established (Mosiah 29:44)
• Where Nephite liberty was defended by Moroni (Alma 46:12, 24)
• The area from which the word of God spread forth (Alma 5:1)
• Where the Chief Judge and governor lived (Alma 30:29)
• The area which supplied the Nephite armies in the field (Alma 57:6; 58:3)
• The area which prisoners of war were sent (Alma 57:11, 16)
• The area of main importance in the scriptures until it was lost to the Lamanites

In addition, when Mormon was eleven years old he lived in the land northward and his father brought him into the land southward. Note his words: "I was carried by my father into the land southward, even to the land of Zarahemla" (Mormon 1:6). There is no mention of Bountiful or the land of Bountiful even though they had to travel through that land (Alma 22:31) to reach Zarahemla.

The point is, so many people writing about the Book of Mormon want to include their own ideas, thoughts and interpretations into the scriptures when they are not warranted. Claiming Bountiful was the name of the country in the Land Southward is just another way to try and confuse scriptural meanings so additional changes, alterations, or interpretations can be included that are even more disingenuous, such as land directions.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Interpreting Directions in the Book of Mormon

F. Richard Hauck, in his book “Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon,” tries to alter the meaning of scriptural references made by several prophet writers. Hauck says on page 25:

“The Book of Mormon contains a variety of terms relating to directions and geographic locations that can be interpreted with various meanings.”

Various meanings? Scriptures use the terms north, south, east, and west numerous times to depict the following understandable directions and directional names:

Direction: north 24 times; south 22 times; east 30 times; and west 29 times. In each case, the use of the direction is specific and exact. In addition, the term "in the south" is mentioned once, and "in the north" is mentioned 3 times.

Seas: Sea North 1 time; Sea South 1 time; Sea West or West Sea 12 times; Sea East or East Sea 6 times. In addition, there is mentioned 3 times the term "east to the west sea, and once the west sea to the east.

Land: Land North is mentioned 4 times; Land South is mentioned 5 times.

Wilderness: East Wilderness is mentioned 7 times; South Wilderness is mentioned 3 times.

Winds: East Wind is mentioned twice.

Valleys: West Valley is mentioned once.

Country or Countries: North countries 5 times; South Countries 1 time.

Borders: South borders is mentioned once.

Scriptures use the terms northward, southward, eastward, and westward numerous times to depict the following:

Direction: Northward 9 times; Southward 4 times; Eastward 3 times. The term "on the northward" is mentioned twice.

Land: Land Northward 31 times; Land Southward 15 times; and the "land which was northward" is mentioned 4 times.

Country: The country which was southward is mentioned once.

Not in one single case does the term used seem ambiguous as written, nor does any directional use convey numerous meanings. Northward is, after all, northward. It was meant that way in the scriptures, for north and northward are used to describe the same movement as in Bountiful being north of Zarahemla (Alma 22:23, 29), and Bountiful was northward of Zarahemla (Alma 63:4).

The terms of direction are only confusing to those who try to use these cardinal compass points to justify an oblique land of promise, such as Mesoamerica, which is about 90º off of the cardinal compass points of north and south. It is also interesting that on the inside cover map in Hauck’s book, he shows the South Sea and the West Sea as being the same Sea, with the South Sea north of the West Sea. This is the type of disingenuous confusion Mesoamerican Theorists use to support their inaccurate models.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Did Sorenson Read the Scripture?

Considered to be the guru of Mesoamerican theorists and, therefore, the man supposedly most knowledgeable about the scriptures and the location of the Nephites’ Land of Promise, it is interesting how often he seems to have neglected to read more than one scripture on a subject, if at all. As an example, on page 139 of his book “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” he wrote:

“The experience of pioneers suggests that first success for an imported crop does not necessarily mean continued vigor for it. What happened later to those plants from the seeds the Lehi party carried across the ocean is not stated.”

However, the Book of Mormon scriptures tell us exactly what happened to those plants from the first seeds planted. The first crop, of course, grew exceedingly and provided an abundant harvest (1 Nephi 18:24). Soon after, Lehi died and Nephi was commanded to flee. He took his journey into the wilderness for "many days" (1 Nephi 5:7) to a place they called the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:8). In this new place they planted their seeds AGAIN, and had another abundant crop.

“And we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance” (2 Nephi 5:11).

Over one hundred years later, Enos writes about the bounty these seeds were still producing (Enos 1:21), and more than three hundred years later, when Zeniff returned to the Land of Nephi, he planted wheat and barley, obviously some of the original type of Old World seeds Lehi brought from Jerusalem. The scriptures tell us they grew abundantly (Mosiah 9:9).

Thus, Sorenson’s statement that what happened to the seeds is not stated is grossly incorrect. As are so many others these Mesoamerican Theorists make regarding the Land of Promise when trying to justify their model based on the scripture. For a better understanding of this, read “Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican & Other Theorists,” in which there are over 500 pages written regarding almost 200 inaccurate or questionable statements made that are not consistent with scripture.

By the way, of this crop Zeniff planted, Sorenson adds on page 28):

"The 'wheat' and 'barley' said to have grown in the land of Nephi, if taken at all literally"

Which is merely another disingenuous statement to alter scriptural meaning, since wheat and barley would not have grown, if at all, let alone abundantly, in his Mesoamerican model—but in the Land of Promise, they grew in abundance.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Nephite Sacred Record

Since the mid-20th century, Mesoamerican Theorists have been skewing and altering the sacred record of the Nephites in order to fit the text into their Central America models. Six basic methods have been used by these and other Theorists to prove their points:

• Use scripture incorrectly;
• Use scriptural reference as though it supports the point being made when it obviously does not;
• Make statements that cannot be supported by scripture;
• Use scripture out of context;
• Use a scripture to make a point when another scripture counters that point;
• Alter, change or try to suggest that a scripture might be wrong.

There is no excuse in writing an article or a book about the Book of Mormon and change the scriptures.

This third book in the four-book series shows how these Theorists, use all six of the above methods to try and prove or support their view about Lehi's Land of Promise. While intellectual people may disagree on matters of observation, evaluation, and interpretation, there is no room for the rampant misuse of scripture in order to prove a point of view. Difficulty will always occur when a person, scholar, or scientist begins with a “point of view” then goes about trying to prove “it” at the expense of the clear and precise language of the scriptures.

Taking two of the most prominent books on the subject, and a scattering of other author’s comments, the critique in this work shows how far afield they have strayed from the actual scriptures.

The words in the Book of Mormon should never be used except as they were written, within the context in which they were written. Perhaps we should have Nephi's attitude: "For my soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them, and writeth them for the learning and the profit of my children," (2 Nephi 4:15) and "my soul delighteth in plainness." (2 Nephi 25:4)

This work is dedicated to Nephi’s plainness, and to a correct understanding of the scriptures he and others have left us about the location of, and their society in, the promised land.

The above is the back cover of my newest book, “Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican and Other Theorists,” which is the third book in the 4-book series. The next several posts, will cover some of those inaccuracies showing how scripture is misused, misunderstood or altered by these Theorists to meet their pre-determined model.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Barrier of the Humboldt Current

The Humboldt Current has its beginning from a welling up in the Antarctic area and moving northward along the west coast of South America. This current, also called the Peruvian Current, is the north-moving extension of the West Wind Drift which is blown clockwise around the globe by the Prevailing Westerlies, sometimes referred toi as the Roaring Forties, and is occasionally suggested by anthropologists as being an inviting highway for eastbound migrations across the Pacific.

This circumnavigational current is part of the well-known gigantic circulation of surface water in the southeast Pacific and is a cold ocean current drifting east towards Tierra del Fuego and southern Chile, where part of the water passes south of the Americas through the Drake Passage and into the extreme South Atlantic Ocean while the other part, blocked by the projecting tip of the South American mainland, is forced in a big circular movement up along the Chilean coast and becomes the Peruvian or Humboldt Current.

Any wind driven vessel running along the northern half of this West Wind Drift and Prevailing Westerlies current would automatically be turned north into the Humboldt Current and sail upward, along the west coast of Chile until it reached the 30º south latitude, where the current and winds drop to nothing, allowing the vessel to be driven into shore at an area today called Coquimbo Bay (see March 13, 2010 post “Where Did Lehi Land?”)

This Peruvian or Humboldt Current, which sweeps along at a considerable speed, continues up the shoreline of Peru then is shoved outward by the extension of land in a great sweep due west and into the South Equatorial Current. Weather-driven craft that are “driven forth before the wind,” not landing along the coast of Chile or Peru, would become trapped in this current and on the ocean side automatically conveyed from South America westward to Polynesia, or on its inland side, into the South Equatorial Current and driven swiftly back across the Pacific toward Indonesia.

This Humboldt Current slows along its ocean-side as it moves up the coast because of an increasing set towards the west of an upswelling off both Chile and Peru. If a weather-driven boat does not set to shore along this point, where the winds and currents die down to allow inland movement, it will be swept further westward along the current as it moves northward and finally, trapped by the current's westerly march into the Pacific.

It is possible to reach the Ecuadorean coast along this current between May and November when it forces its way far up the coast before it is driven west by the Nino Current. However, from December to April, the warm rain-accompanied Nino dominates the entire coast of Ecuador and inhibits northward travel by sea from Chile-Peru. Thus, a trip that typically takes six days by sail with the wind and currents could, if going against these currents, take as much as 15 to 20 days, and sometimes as much as 70 to 80 days to fight its way into Ecuadorian waters. Under normal conditions, it would not be possible to sail this current north to Mesoamerica. Only a narrow-draft coastal vessel hugging the shore could make such a voyage.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Evidence of the Sweet Potato

There is a category of important crop plants which has aroused much speculation and vigorous dispute among Pacific ethnologists because the species included cannot have reached Polynesia merely by the usual marginal diffusion from Melanesia, but speak for direct relations with early America. The principal of these species is the sweet-potato. The sweet-potato, or batata (Ipomoea batatas) belongs to the Convolvulacaea, or Morning glory, family. Genetic studies by Sauer and Tioutine shows that related plant species make it probable that the relationship between the sweet-potato and Ipomoea fastigiata—a wild species of tropical America—is closer than that of the other species in this genus.

The sweet-potato was unknown to Europeans (like the regular potato) until the discovery of America, but before that time according to Dixon was already widely distributed among the aborigines on the Polynesian islands. In post-Columbian times it has become an important food crop in most warm countries.

Hornell wrote that: "Botanists are agreed that America is the area within which the sweet potato was first brought under cultivation. One consequence arising from this conclusion is that the problem of the means whereby it became diffused throughout the island world of Oceania has given rise to great controversy."

A prominent botanist like Merrill, who opposed the view that there was any diffusion of culture plants between the Americas and any part of the outside world prior to the advent of Columbus, still made a specific exception with regard to the aboriginal agriculturists of the Polynesian island world. “They did introduce into Polynesia one important food plant of American origin, the sweet potato, and spread it from Hawaii to New Zealand well before the advent of the Europeans in the Pacific Basin” and he stated that he had “found no references that lead me to believe that the sweet potato reached any part of Papuasia, Malaysia, or tropic Asia, before the arrival of the Europeans.''

He further states that "the sweet potato was spread from South America and not from Central America or the Antilles.” He also pointed out that the sweet potato belongs in a culture complex that operated by vegetal means of reproduction, that is, by cuttings of plants or tubers, and not by seed reproduction, and under ordinary means is multiplied entirely by plant division. Stated differently, the sweet potato could not have migrated on its own by wind or currents from South America to Polynesia except by man carrying it. In fact, botanical analysis and native tradition concur to show that the principal domesticated plants in Polynesia have been carried to these islands by man, partly on his original migration into the ocean, and partly during subsequent centuries of inter-island trade and activity.

Thus an indigenous South American plant not grown elsewhere prior to the Europeans entering the Pacific, found its way from South America, specifically the Andes of Peru, to Polynesia by man’s deliberate introduction. It would seem very likely that Hagoth’s emigrants in the ship that went west and down to Polynesia would have carried such plants. One thing is certain, the sweet potato did not reach Polynesia from Mesoamerica!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Corianton’s Resupply Ship

It has been suggested by Mesoamerican Theorists that Corianton sailed north to resupply those emigrants who had gone north into the Land Northward (Alma 63:10). The question might be asked, why would Corianton, or anyone else, take supplies to those who went into the Land Northward beyond the narrow neck of land? Obviously, they could have taken all the supplies they needed as they traveled overland into the Land Northward since the Nephites in that land filled it up from sea to sea (Helaman 3:8). Besides, ships cannot take supplies inland where these Nephites were near the Land of Many Waters (Helaman 3:4).

If, however, these 5,400 men, plus wives and children, who went to “the land which was northward” (that is, a land which was beyond the Land Northward), went by ship as is clearly stated (Alma 63:4-7), then it would be understandable they were limited as to the amount of supplies, i.e., tools, instruments, animals, etc., they could take on the ships Hagoth built. It would also be understandable they would need additional supplies brought to them to build a new civilization in a land previously unoccupied so far away.

We also know there were two distinct emigrant movements at this time. The first occurred around 55 B.C. (Alma 63:4), which was associated with movement over the Sea (Alma 63:6), and the second, spread over the intervening years between 54 to 46 B.C. (Alma 63:9; Helaman 3:5), which was associated with movement by land (Helaman 3:3-4). It would not seem reasonable that these two emigrant movements—occurring about 9 years apart—were to the same general areas, especially the way they are described in the scriptures covering these events.

Corianton obviously went to an area where he was not available to be recalled to take over the most important duty of keeping the sacred records (Alma 63:10-11), which seems to negate the Mesoamerican Theorist’s claim he was in the Land Northward. There seems little doubt he sailed by ship to the same location as those who left by ship ahead of him for the purpose of taking additional supplies immediately needed in a land beyond the Land of Promise. Had he merely been in the Land Northward, which had contact with Bountiful and Zarahemla, word could have been sent to him to return for this duty. So why wasn't he called home by his prophet-father to take over the most sacred and important responsibility of the records? Because he was not in the Land of Promise at all, no more than those 20,000 or more emigrants that sailed north in Hagoth’s ships.

Thus we have two Nephite settlement areas, one north of the other. This clearly suggests that the southern Nephite settlement, the Land of Promise, was in the Andean area of South America, and the second, the one that arrived in the north via Hagoth’s ships, would be the Nephite settlement in Mesoamerica.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moving 400-ton Stone Blocks in 600 B.C.

In a recent article sent to me by a friend entitled “Built on Granite,” it begins “Operating the controls on a mining crane, Justin Marks, 55, hoists a 10-ton block of granite from the Dixie Quarry and gently places the blue-gray stone on a semi-tractor trailer bound for a manufacturing plant a few miles always in Elberton, Georgia.” (name changed)

I thought this story was interesting about a company founded in 1889 when a granite quarry opened 10 miles west of town, which was the distance the stone was moved from quarry to manufacturer. Interesting because if was the same distance the early Peruvians quarried and moved stone blocks around Lake Titicaca to build temples.

About 2500 years earlier, as mentioned in my last post, ancient Peruvians moved their 400+ ton stones to the magnificent site at Akapana, Tiahuanaco, during the first century B.C., to build temples, the largest of which measured 650 by 600 feet and ascended 50 feet (five stories) high.

And they did it without cranes or semi-trucks and trailers.

In 1540, when the Spaniards came, followed by the Christian priests, they learned from the local Indians that these ruins were there long before the Inca civilization came to power in the area, approximately 100 years earlier. After looking over the magnificence of these ruins, the size of the stones quarried 10 miles away and moved there to build the awesome temples and buildings, these men of learning doubted that the local Indians could ever have been capable of the craftsmanship and engineering such massive structures required. Legends began to be spread by the missionaries that the structures had been erected in the distant past by giants, or was the work of the Devil.

As a result, the Spaniards tore the buildings down, destroyed the temples—leaving the massive stones to lay where they fell in a jumble along the ground, to later be broken up by the railroad in the 1920s for road base for their tracks.

The story of Tiahuanaco would have been lost to modern knowledge had it not been for the Book of Mormon and the story of Nephi and his building a temple like unto Solomons, and teaching his people how to work with wood and metals beyond modern science’s understanding of this ancient past. Nephi knew how to molten ore to fashion tools capable of such building when the rest of the world was still using stone obsidian and copper for their tools.

Without the Book of Mormon, this ancient culture of the Andes, and the later one of Mesoamerica, would have been lost to history. And the deeds of the Nephites and their fabulous accomplishments, many unequalled anywhere in the world outside Egypt, would have been merely the ruins we now see and of which most of the world has no understanding.
Ancient quarries found in Peru

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Mound Builders of the Great Lakes

According to the sciences involved, the area of the Great Lakes had a climate change around 4,000 B.C. which caused the region’s weather to become much like it is today. From that point on people moved into the region and were basically nomadic wanderers, frequently moving according to weather and in need for game and harvesting.

The first mound building began in the Great Lakes region. These were earthen mounds that were built on top of a burial site. In southern Ohio, south of the Great Lakes region, the Hopewell culture built some impressive mounds. These
mounds were built in a variety of geometric shapes including squares, circles and crescents. The earthen walls, at the edge of the mounds, would be up to 12 feet high, while the mounds themselves would be as large as 10 meters. Today one of the largest concentrations of these mounds, in Ohio, has been turned into a national historic park.

Dr. Timmins, an expert in this area, believes that mound builders, in places like Hopewell, inspired people in the Great Lakes region to create their own mounds. For example the Norton Mound Group, in Michigan, was built somewhere between 1 and 200 AD. The largest of these mounds is 4.8 meters high, about half the size of the largest of the Hopewell mounds. However, these were trifling. “By Ohio Valley standards these are unremarkable if not picayune,” says Dr. Mason, an author and researcher in this area. “Nevertheless, they are the result of a lot of work.”

However, burial mounds are not unique to the Great Lakes or Ohio and Mississippi valleys. They were known all over the world. Often called tumulus, which is a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Tumuli are also known as barrows, burial mounds, Hügelgrab or kurgans, and can be found throughout much of the world. A tumulus composed largely or entirely of stones is usually referred to as a cairn. Of the 24 listed sites of burial mounds in the world, none are found in the Middle East, the area of the Israelites or Jaredites, or even in Egypt—those background areas of the Nephite ancestors.

It is interesting that these Great Lake theorists like to take one passage or concept from the Book of Mormon and build an entire location theory around it at the expense of ignoring so many other scripture references regarding the Land of Promise. Because the hill Cumorah of Joseph Smith’s day was in upper New York State, these theorists claim the Book of Mormon land of promise must be in that same area. However, absolutely nothing of the entire Great Lakes area matches the scripture of the Book of Mormon geography without a great deal of changing, extravagant interpretation, or outright ignoring what else is written.

It is belittling to Nephi and the Lord to think that the best instruction the Lord could give and that Nephi could build was an earthen mound on top of a burial site.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Were There Other People in the Land of Promise?

Mesoamerican Theorists, beginning with Hugh Nibley and then John L. Sorenson among others, have always claimed that there were other people in the Land of Promise with whom the Nephites intermingled. This is a major claim by these Theorists because it is necessary, they believe, to have other people since others existed in their Mesoamerica. Yet, this flies in the face of scripture. Lehi made it clear there were no others before them (other than the Jaredites), so to counter this, Hugh Nibley and others have claimed that the scriptures are incomplete, and that LDS people are naive when reading them to believe the scriptures are complete in any way regarding this issue.

However, we have Lehi, Ether, Moroni and Mormon to lay claim that there were no others in the Land of Promise when Lehi landed. This continent, the Western Hemisphere, Lehi was told would be kept from the knowledge of other people.

George Q. Cannon suggests that Lehi gave the true explanation of the reason why this continent should be concealed from the knowledge of other nations. “We see how it is today. This continent is so desirable that there is a steady stream of people flowing to it from all countries. They are filling up the land, and the Lamanites, who have occupied it under the promise of the Lord to their father Lehi, have been crowded back from both oceans until they have but small spots to live upon in the center of the land, and even these are coveted by the people of other nations who have come here.

“This would have been the result long, long ago had the world known of the existence of this continent; but the Lord concealed it, and guided those only to it whom He desired to occupy it, so that all His promises concerning it might be fulfilled. Lehi told his children, that if those whom the Lord should bring out of the land of Jerusalem should keep His commandments, they should not only prosper here, but they should be kept from all other nations and have the land to themselves; there should be none to molest them, nor to take the land away from them; but they should dwell safely for ever. It was the failure of the ancestors of the Indians, or Lamanites, to do this, that brought upon them and their children evils under which they at present suffer.

“Lehi, before his death, told them, by the spirit of prophecy, what their fate would be if they fell into unbelief and rejected the Lord. He said the Lord would bring other nations unto them, and He would give them power; they would take away from his descendants their lands, and they would be scattered and smitten. We have only to look around us to see how completely and exactly his predictions have been fulfilled. And as these predictions have come to pass, so will others also come to pass respecting the nations of the Gentiles that will occupy this land; they would not be permitted to utterly destroy the descendants of Nephi or the other children of Lehi; and if they, themselves, did not repent, and keep the commandments of the Lord, destruction would also fall upon them.”

It would appear from this and the scriptures themselves that the Land of Promise had been kept free of other people since the Flood (Ether 13:2), and only those led here by the hand of the Lord (which were the Jaredites, Nephites, and Mulekites) were to possess it until their unbelief, then other nations would be led here. How much clearer can it be? Lehi landed on an isle (2 Nephi 10:20) unoccupied by others, and no others are recorded as arriving in this land of promise until Columbus brought the Europeans, which was the vision given to Nephi before ever reaching the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 13:10-19).

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Science and the Book of Mormon

To understand the geologic, archaeological, and anthropological time surrounding the Book of Mormon, one needs to understand how science has conditioned the world to think hypothesis, theories and supposition are factual and unchallengeable, specifically in areas of radiocarbon dating and long period time clocks, geologic epochs and the geologic column, the Big Bang singularity and the red-shifted expanding universe, and in universal and organic evolution—-while at the same time, understanding the evidences for a short term formation of the earth, a world-wide flood, and the division of the earth.

As an example, science claims the earth is 4.55 billion years old, therefore, in their minds and understanding, cataclysmic events, such as the results of the Flood of Noah, earth divisions, continents moving, and land surfaces appearing, if they happened at all they say, were spaced over hundreds of million to billions of years.

With this conditioning, researchers into the geography and location of the Land of Promise disregard South America as a landing site and location because of its current extensive size. Yet these same sciences also claim that South America, east of the Andes, was under water in ancient times, and that Colombia was not connected to Central America. Consequently, if we understand the Age of the Earth as the Lord told Moses, and is described in Genesis and the Pearl of Great Price, we get a better understanding of what Jacob described as the Land of Promise being an island (2 Nephi 10:20).

While there is a 6,000-year-old written history depicting events relevant to this knowledge, scientists reject the information outright; however, in understanding this early text, one can come to a better, much clearer understanding of the location of the Book of Mormon. One thing is certain in all this ancient knowledge, this world is not 4.55 billion years old as scientists like to claim, though some of the materials used in its formation may well be that old or older. However, the organization of this planet as a whole took place in a relatively short period of time and has existed in its present form for far less time than science wants to believe.

In coming to an understanding of these two very important points—the Age of the Earth and the location of the Land of Promise, I recommend my two books 1) Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, and 2) Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths, be read together. Only in this way can a person overcome the imbedded false teachings of those who reject scripture and God and try to convince the world past events happened by chance, and that South America has always looked as it does today during the age of man.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Debacle of the Great Lakes Theory

According to archaeologists and anthropologists, the first settlements of any kind in the Great Lakes area was “Around 1,000 A.D., when something new began appearing in the Great Lakes area—the first year round villages. Before that time, people migrated every few weeks or months in order to be in the right place to harvest plants, hunt game, or seek shelter from the winter. Now [in 1,000 A.D.] people were making the decision to stay put.”
Imagine, 1500 years AFTER the Lehi Colony reached the Land of Promise, the Great Lakes region was being settled for the first time in year round villages. And what kind of villages? They were “oval or rectangular houses” in “sites that were small, housing 200-300 people each,” and that “each village would have three or four houses that were 20-30 meters long.” And to build these longhouses “poles would be driven into the ground and the frame covered with animal skins. A hearth would be in the middle and there would be a hole at the top that would allow smoke to escape. Palisades were built around these villages. These were walls constructed of large wooden pikes, which would have surrounded the houses and made them more defensible.”

And just how does this coincide with Nephi’s description of the Land of Nephi in about 570 B.C., more than 1400 years BEFORE the archaeologists time frame for the building of the first permanent sites in the Great Lakes area?

“And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2Nephi 5:15).

By the time the Great Lakes were first being settled with permanent villages of any kind, the Nephites had been annihilated for over 500 years!

In addition, the Great Lakes show no ruins or evidence of any kind of structures of any magnificence of any type, at any time in their history, that might suggest a Nephite-style ability as Nephi writes, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple, and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things…but the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine” (2 Nephi 5:16)

Certainly there are magnificent evidences of such construction dating to the appropriate time frame in the Andes of South America, specifically in Peru, and also, a little later dated, in Mesoamerica. But there is absolutely nothing of the kind in the Great Lakes, described as the Lower Great Lakes area of Southern Ontario, New York State, Lakes Erie and Huron. There are ancient burial mounds to be sure, but then there are similar burial mounds in Ohio, and down the valley of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing, however, that could even be considered equivalent to the magnificent buildings Nephi describes constructing, and teaching his people with the art of doing so.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Magnificent Fitting of Stone Walls

Notice my height compared to the size of the stone behind me

When I was a young man, the stone walls found in Peru that were so perfectly joined without mortar that one could not stick a piece of paper or knife blade between them, elicited a great deal of interest. Books were written about these walls, coffee table picture books were sold everywhere. Scientists marveled at the archaeological significance of the work, and engineers were awed by the construction of these huge stones. I recall specifically that there was more than one work about how aliens had used sound waves to carry the blocks from distances to their construction sites and carved them into perfect fit with advanced technology.

Obviously, there needed some explanation of a work that baffled the best and brightest of our professionals. How could any prehistoric society using stone or copper tools, carve such perfect fits in huge stones that weighed many tons? No one had a plausible answer. Even today, decades later, this achievement still baffles the best and brightest, even with such advanced technology as we have today.

While the stone work in Mesoamerica is magnificent and shows a prehistoric expertise unequalled almost anywhere—it does not come close to the stonework of the ancient Peruvian, which was built as much as a thousand years prior to that found in Mesoamerica.

Who built these magnificent walls and buildings in Peru? Who had the knowledge of math and construction techniques in the prehistoric world to accomplish such things? These are not just stone carvings of tremendous sizes, large carved heads, or the fabulous, but small-stone stacked blocks of Mesoamerican temples. In the cases of the oldest Peruvian stonework, they are accomplishments of the most advanced builders, masons, and carvers—their like with anything less than modern equipment and tools, unmatched anywhere in the world, even today. Some of the stone blocks weighed 440 tons (equivalent to 600 full-size cars), other stones even larger, with most between 100 and 150 tons. At Tiahuanaco, these huge sized stones were quarried and brought from ten miles away.

But within the “Nephi code,” that is, the writings of Nephi, we find plausible answers. For Nephi had more than just prehistoric stone and copper tools (1 Nephi 17:9), was tutored and instructed by the Lord in building techniques (1 Nephi 18:1-3), and taught his people how to build buildings, work with wood, iron, and ore (2 Nephi 5:15). He built a temple to rival Solomon’s, considered one of the great works of that era (2 Nephi 5:16). Is it any wonder the Nephites could have built this magnificent stonework “not after the manner of men” found all over Peru and the Andes?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Winds and Currents Drive Sailing Ships

Anyone who knows anything about the Sea, knows that weather ships were driven by winds and currents, and could only go where winds blew them and currents took them. In fact, these wind and sea currents were so important to early seamen that when Matthew Fontaine Maury joined the United States Navy at the end of the 18th-Century, he made his influence felt on navigation all over the world by writing a book that became the foundation of the science of oceanography. In this work he began a practical study of winds and sea currents, and as late as 1951 his charts and science were still in use.

To further show how important winds and currents are even today, despite our enormously powerful shipping capabilities, naval oceanographers use a wide range of technical measuring devices to map the ocean’s currents. Subsurface sifting sondes are set at different depths and are left to drift with the currents for months, even years. Emitting acoustic signals that can be heard for a long distance, they regularly submit their “reports” on where a current has brought them as well as at what speed. Gliders, which are equipped with a small rotor driven by batteries, float along prescribed depths and regions measuring the directions of currents and their speed as well as temperatures, salinity, diverse trace substances, oxygen, and carbon dioxide in the water to aid in understanding currents.

At defined intervals these resurface, transfer their data to satellites, then disappear once more under the water. Observatories and moorings are set down on an ocean floor bed in order to make continuous measurements of the currents. These too are often left alone for weeks or months. In addition, satellites provide a world-wide picture of what is happening on the surface of the oceans. All of this, of course, suggests how important ocean currents are, even today.
Consequently, for Mesoamerican Theorists to try and tell us that Lehi sailed against winds and currents across the Pacific to land in Mesoamerica, it shows how enormously ignorant of ocean and currents they are. When Nephi tells us his ship was “driven forth before the wind” , we ought to believe him and see where winds and current would have taken him from the south Arabian peninsula into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, which they called Irreantum--many water, then across the Pacific to the Western Hemisphere. The graph below shows these currents, with South America to the far right and New Zealand to the far left. Note the direction the currents flow.
Image: Provided by Oceanweather, Inc., showing the wave height and wave (current) direction. Note that the waves in the upper area, where Mesoamerican Theorists claim Lehi traveled from west to east, actually move from east to west. However, in the bottom of the picture, where Lehi traveled, the 25 to 30 foot swells move from west to east at a speed of about 25 miles per hour along the West Wind Drift

Sunday, March 14, 2010

They Died Trying

On October 31, 1527, Hernando Cortez, by order of King Charles V, directed Alvaro de Saavedra to set sail with three ships and 120 men across the Pacific from Zacatula, Mexico, to the Philippines, with the intent of uniting the American continent with the islands and open up a trade route between them. It was Spain’s fourth voyage to the Philippines, but the first from the American west coast.

However, when Saavedra tried to make the return trip in 1529, from the Philippines to Mexico, he was unable to do so. He quickly learned that the winds and currents that easily brought him to the Philippines from Mexico were now working against him and he could make no headway. Three attempts failed, and Saavedra lost two of his ships and was killed trying to force his way into the winds and currents. The remaining ship returned to Spain by traveling westward with the winds through Indonesia and across the Indian Ocean and up the Atlantic Ocean to Spain.

It is not difficult to see why Saavedra could not make it back across the Pacific from the Philippines, as Cortez had ordered. He simply could not get his ship traveling faster than the winds and currents moving against him. In this we can see how difficult, if not impossible, it would be for the Lehi Colony to travel from west to east across the Pacific as Mesoamerican Theorist claim.

To further illustrate this point, if a ship could make 50 miles in a day, and sailing on a current moving from east to west across the Pacific at 40 miles per day, the vessel would cover 90 miles in a day (50 +40 = 90). However, a ship making 50 miles in a day traveling against a 40 mile per day current, would make only 10 miles in a day (50 –40 = 10). Now if that ship were traveling less than 50 miles a day, say 40 miles a day, it would make no headway (40 –40 = 0), and if the vessel were traveling at 30 miles a day against a 40 mile a day current and winds, it would lose 10 miles in a day (30 -40 = -10). This is why saying a ship could sail from west to east across the Pacific against both currents and winds is foolhardy. Which is exactly what Saavedra learned. No matter from where he tried to make the return voyage, he could not make any eastward headway, and failed.

Another example, this an actual sailing voyage from South America, showed that a ship leaving Peru to Tuamotu in Polynesia took 50 days, moving at 40 miles a day with a 40 mile per day current. However, a reverse voyage against winds and currents, was found to be impossible since the vessel would make no headway at all (40 miles a day sailing, minus the 40 miles a day of opposing current, equals 0 miles per day net). This is why the early Spaniards could not make the return voyage from the Philippines to Mexico, or travel from Polynesia to Peru. Obviously, if the ship made less than the current, say only 30 miles a day from Tuamotu to Peru, it would lose 10 miles each day of sailing and be driven in the opposite direction along the current away from South America. This is what happened to Saavedra and drove his ship upon shoals of Papua.

As late as the 17th-Century, those who tried to sail against winds and currents across the Pacific, as Mesoamerican Theorists claim Lehi did in 600 B.C., often died trying.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Where Did Lehi Land?

The winds and currents from the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula ends, miraculously, at the 30º south latitude along the Chilean coast at an area now called the Bay of Coquimbo, which is exactly centered at 29.88°S, in the semi-arid region of Chile. At this point, the winds and sea currents slow to almost nothing, making landfall a simple manner. And the bay itself is a large, halfmoon inlet that provides safe harbor for ships, even today.

Situated 7 miles southwest of La Serena, Coquimbo Bay is among the best sheltered coves in Chile. And La Serena, itself is referred to as the Mediterranean of South America, and weather-wise is much like San Diego, California was at one time, an undiscovered paradise. This port at Coquimbo benefits from the natural protection of the bay and provides ideal mooring in "quiet waters" which is the original meaning of Coquimbo.

Coquimbo, as the site of First Landing, fits all the requirements of scripture. It is located right on the divisional area between the desert and the fertile valleys, with the bay itself once a garden spot. While southern Chile is always wet, the central part, (north and south of the 30º South Latitude) is dry with some rain, while northern Chile is the driest desert in the world.

At Coquimbo is the Mediterranean Climate, the place where grains and fruits grow, and a bay that is within a feeble current (Humboldt or Peruvian Current) along the coast where the winds and sea currents slow from over 25 miles an hour to Zero, then north of it, picks back up again to as high as 25 miles an hour where the current bounces off the Peruvian bulge and sweeps upward and west across the Pacific.

The shore water here is shallow and the land beyond the bay is terraced upward. While today this area is less than ideal, it was once the garden spot of the Mediterranean climate. The province of Coquimbo covers an area where the farmer and the miner meet. Here rain falls sometimes if not often and there are several rivers flowing through fertile valleys. Behind the sea-facing barrier there are gardens and orchards, where melons, peaches, reddish pineapples, grapes, pears, cucumbers and cabbage grow. The bay itself offers another and equally amazing contrast. It is a wide semicircle of blue water locked in the arms of the mountains, sentinelled by red rocks at the two ends. In the evening everything is softened into a series of pastel shades that have a lot of charm.

Coquimbo Bay Today

While Nephi does not wax poetic about their site of First Landing, he does describe it sufficiently to understand that it was 1) a beautiful spot, 2) had enormous natural resources, 3) had the climate in which his Jerusalem seeds grew abundantly, and 4) possessed fertile soils. All of this matches Coquimbo and the valley beyond the bay where a ship "driven forth before the wind" from the south coast of Arabia would have easily arrived.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Plain and Simple Truth

Some Theorists writing on where Lehi landed, have chosen to take them across the South Pacific, after passing through Indonesia, claiming they stopped at numerous islands enroute, naming their stops Jewish names that survive today in various forms. Despite all the winds and currents to the opposite, they blithely claim Nephi’s ship maneuvered its way through straits so narrow even today with mechanized vessels, is considered extremely dangerous. How Nephi guided his ship “driven forth before the wind (1 Nephi 18:9), that is, a sailing ship dependent on the winds and currents, through some of these remarkably dangerous waters of cross-currents, eddies, shoals, etc., is never mentioned or even considered. They look at a map and simply draw a line across it.

However, the Nephi Colony, totally inexperienced as deep sea mariners, are taken across waters in a direction (west to east) no other weather vessel is ever recorded as traveling against winds and currents. Still, despite all this, these theorists would have us believe that the Lehi Colony stopped in several places to replenish their stores and provisions, without a single word recorded by Nephi. Now, consider the mental makeup of Laman and Lemnuel and the sons of Ishmael, who continually sought Nephi’s life. At one point, tied him up and were going to kill him but relented only because they thought they were going to drown in a storm (1 Nephi 18:15), and “they knew not whither they should steer the ship” (1 Nephi 18:13).

Now, if the Lehi Colony landed on any one of the south sea islands these theorists claim, would not Laman, Lemuel and the other rebellious souls, who then would not need to know “whither to steer the ship,” simply kill Nephi? Or refuse to reboard their ship? Why bother with continuing to a place they knew nothing about when they were in paradise? Throughout the history of Europeans sailing through the South Seas (from east to west), numerous sailors jumped ship to remain in this paradise. The entire story of Captain Bleigh and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty, typifies this point. Yet, even beyond this, one would think these wayward sons and families would have caused some difficulty for Lehi and Nephi, for they had continually done so over an eight year period of desert travel which was dutifully recorded by Nephi, even to his preaching by the Spirit to his brothers.

Yet, not one word is recorded of any difficulty. No. Not one.

Nephi merely writes: “And it came to pass after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23).

Theorists should stop looking at a map and deciding where the Lehi Colony went because they can draw a pencil line from point to point without any supporting evidence of winds, currents, condition and type of their ship, attitudes of the occupants, and how they could have arrived at their destination. They also should stop thinking that Nephi did not tell us where he sailed from, where he sailed to, and where he landed. It is as plain as can be.

This is the course the Lehi Colony took across the Southern Ocean as shown extensively in "Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica." This matches all winds, sea currents, and smooth sailing out of the sight of land on a "fast track" of the West Wind Drift and the Prevailing Westerlies to the Land of Promise.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And Then There was One

My most favorite picture of all Book of Mormon paintings I have seen is this one showing Moroni mourning the death of his father, Mormon.

“The Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more” (Mormon 8:7) and “the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed” (Mormon 8:2) and “I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone” (Mormon 8:3)

Despite the need for Mesoamerican theorists to claim the Nephites were not wiped out and that many survived the battle described by Mormon and Moroni, in order to justify their Central American model, the Nephites as a people and individually were destroyed in the Land of Many Waters in the Land Northward. Those who escaped that battle that saw 23 Generals, each over 10,000 Nephite warriors, plus their wives and children, perhaps a total of one million people all killed, were tracked down and killed.

Moroni understood this, and this picture by Walter Rane, clearly depicts Moroni’s statement that “I even remain alone.” For nearly one thousand years the Nephites had been promised that if they fell from righteousness, they would be wiped out, just as the Jaredites before them. As Coriantumr was the last Jaredite standing, Moroni became the last Nephite standing as he clearly recorded.

It is a shame that Mesoamerican theorists must cloud the issue of the “clear and simple truths” of the Book of Mormon in order to justify their erroneous location for the Land of Promise.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Clues Suggest the Land of Promise was an Island

Nephi tells us the Lord leadeth away the righteous into precious lands (1 Nephi 17:38), and that Lehi was to inherit a choice land (1 Nephi 5:5), a land more choice than all other lands (1 Nephi 2:20). This was to be Lehi's inheritance for his family (1 Nephi 5:4).

We know this land of promise was many days journey (1 Nephi 18:23) by ship (1 Nephi 18:8) across the many waters they called Irreantum (1 Nephi 17:5). Wherever this land was, it had to be isolated from other places, and unknown to the world, for Lehi says his land of promise was to be kept from other peoples at that time (2 Nephi 1:8), because if others knew of this land, they would overrun it and there would be no place for his family (2 Nephi 1:9).

Eventually, the Lehi Colony landed on the promised land (1 Nephi 18:23), and found beasts in the forest of every kind—cows, ox, ass, horse, domesticated and wild goats, and wild animals—and also found gold, silver, and copper (1 Nephi 18:25).

Nephi, recording the words of his younger brother, Jacob, who he had called to be a teacher over the people, says “we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20). Based on an 1828 dictionary of American Language, isle is defined as: “a tract of land surrounded by water, or a detached portion of land embosomed in the ocean.” Jacob continues on to mention that others are on isles of the sea (2 Nephi 10:21). He adds, “wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren” (2 Nephi 10:21).

Since Jacob says, “wherefore it says,” he must mean that he had something in his possession that was written, no doubt the brass plates, from which he was quoting or to which he was referring. Nephi, himself, in quoting Isaiah who was looking forward in time to the Nephite migration, verifies that they were on an island when he said, “Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea” (1 Nephi 22:4), which suggests that the brass plates indicated that the ten tribes as well as the Nephites had been led away onto islands, but “whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away” (1 Nephi 22:4).

That is no one at Jerusalem knew where they had been led. Neither did anyone else. Consequenty, if we are going to look for a land where Lehi landed, we ought to seek out a location that either is, or was in 600 B.C., an island. We simply cannot ignore those scriptures that disagree with our premise or predetermined location.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why No Written Language in Peru

The Nephites wrote a reformed language of Egyptian characters on the sacred records, but were more familiar with their own Hebrew language (Moroni 9:32-34). They kept many written records (Helaman 3:13), but knew that if the Lamanites got their hands on those records, they would destroy them (Mormon 6:6), thus Mormon hid them up in the hill Cumorah, which was situated in the Land Northward, which was the land of his birth (Mormon 1:6). In 600B.C., Nephi tells us the record he wrote on the Plates was in the language of the Egyptian (1 Nephi 1:2), and 1000 years later, Moroni tells us that same language, though altered, was still being used on the plates (Mormon 9:32), and that “no other people knoweth our language” (Mormon 9:34).

Thus, when the Nephites were completely wiped out around 400 A.D., (Mormon 8:2,5,7;Moroni 1:2), what records were not hid up unto the Lord, were destroyed by the Lamanites, leaving no written record of the Nephites in the Land of Promise.

However, around 53 B.C., at least one ship left Hagoth’s shipyards along the West Sea at the Narrow Neck of Land heading in an unknown direction (Alma 63:8). Since others were known to head north, and south would have been toward Lamanite-held lands, the obvious course would have been west. Currents in that area would take ships toward Polynesia, and as Thor Heyerdahl showed, also to Easter Island.

Interestingly, there is a written script that showed up in archaeological work on Easter Island, called Rongorongo, the only written language in Oceania. This hieroglyphic script has remained a mystery since its discovery in 1860 by the first European missionary to work on the island, a French lay missionary named Eugène Eyraud—-who reported in a letter to his superior that he had seen there "in all the houses" hundreds of tablets and staffs incised with thousands of hieroglyphic figures.

Many attempts have been made to decipher the inscriptions, including Jaussen, Roussel, Metoro, Barthel, Mulloy, Skjølsvold, Smith, Carroll, Fischer, Thomson, and a plethora of others. But after many hundreds of attempts, perhaps thousands, the rongorongo script remains untranslatable. Might this be because the rongorongo script, like the “Reformed Egyptian” of the Book of Mormon, requires a gift of translation as Ammon told king Limhi regarding the seer Mosiah using the “interpreters” or urim and thumim to translate Ether’s record (Mosiah 8:13).

For over a hundred years, controversy has raged over the meaning and source of these enigmatic characters. Theories abound about the tablets and their text, with scholars disagreeing to even the nature of the writing on them, but the tablets as yet have never been deciphered. As Moroni said, “no other people knoweth our language.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

Many Roads Were Built

During a time of peace and prosperity in the Land of Promise, “There were many highways cast up (built), and many roads made, which led from city to city, and form land to land, and from place to place” (3 Nephi 6:8)

According to Saunders in “Monumental roads,” the Peruvian Road System of antiquity “must rank alongside the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian Pyramids as one of the greatest achievements of any ancient civilization.” This vast communications network covered about 24,000 miles, running for more than 14, 290 miles directly through Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. Generally, these roads were 36 to 82 feet wide, and were greatly superior to anything built in Europe at that time.

These roads through the Andes were built long before the Inca, by a pre-historic civilization dating well into the first millennium B.C. When the Spaniards came, the Inca were using the roads to travel throughout their Empire, and as a result, the conquistadores called the road system the Inca Roads, a title which has been handed down for nearly 600 years. However, these roads were built long before the Inca who told the Spanish conquerors they “had been built long before the Inca arrived.”

According to the Spaniards who first saw them, this road system was superior to anything they had ever seen. Built in a country of harsh weather, extremely difficult topography, very tall mountains, deep canyons, wide rivers, and deserts (some of the driest in the world), these roads had tunnels that cut through mountains of solid rock, rope bridges that ran across deep ravines, canyons and rivers, and at the same time, had level road areas that remain level even today.

Some roads were causeways 60-feet wide across swamps and water courses, had rock walls to delimit the roadways. The builders hauled cut stone for miles to pave the roads and build the steps over hills and mountains in such a way that they have survived, pretty much intact, for more than 1000 years in one of the worst earthquake areas in the world, and in both damp coastal areas, high arid altiplano valleys, and freezing, snow covered mountains.

Photos Courtesy Rutashsa Adventures