Monday, March 19, 2012

Zarahemla in Iowa? Part III

Continuing with Eric Checketts comment on an earlier blog about present-day Zarahemla in Iowa, the following covers another of his points of disagreement:

He wrote further: “So Joseph Smith had already instructed the Saints to call the town 'Zarahemla' before the Lord instructed as much in D&C 125, so what? That's the entirety of your argument?”

This was not the crux or entirety of the argument against Zarahemla not being in Iowa, or even the U.S., but simply a brief comment to address Rod Meldrum’s position that because the Lord named this area Zarahemla across from Nauvoo in D&C 125, it did not mean that it was the location for the Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon. The fact that Joseph had considered the name of Zarahemla two years prior to the Lord telling him to name the area that, should suggest that the Lord was not revealing this area as the Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon. Very likely, the Lord was simply acknowledging Joseph’s previous decision and having him go ahead with the naming and development of the area. After all, the Church had purchased a lot of land in Iowa, and only a small area across the river in Illinois.

On the other hand, there is no indication, suggestion, or hint that this area to be named Zarahemla was the site of the Book of Mormon. Neither the Lord nor Joseph Smith gave any indication that this area was the location of the Book of Mormon Zarahemla. Not a hint, not a clue, not a comment.

Since neither the Lord nor Joseph Smith made such a connection, it seems odd that an historian would make such a giant leap in his thinking and claim this area of Montrose (Zarahemla), Iowa, was the site of the Book of Mormon Zarahemla, is very dubious—especially when one tries to correlate any of the other descriptions of the entire area of the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, including the City of Nephi and the City of Zarahemla, to this area in the Iowa-Illinois area.

Flat Ground South of Montrose: Left: between Keouk and Warsaw; Right: further south toward Meyer

The images above show the extremely flat topography of the land south of the area of Montrose-Zarahemla. Unlike the scriptural account, outlining the higher level and mountainous region to the south of the Book of Mormon Zarahemla, this area in Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri is extremely flat, with no headwaters of the River Sidon available for comparison. Having driven through this area several times, the land is as flat as a pancake—you can see in any direction for miles and miles, without a hill in sight.

As a result, we can see that around Montrose-Zarahemla in Iowa: 1) there are no ruins to equate to the major Nephite capital of Zarahemla; 2) the river to the east of this area (Mississippi) is far too wide and too deep to allow an army to ford anywhere around there; 3) the land to the south of this area is flat, with no hills, let alone mountains; and 4) there are no headwaters of the river to the east of this area like the River Sidon. There are other disqualifiers, but these four should answer any comment about the area of Montrose, Iowa, across from Nauvoo, Illinois, as being the Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon. The idea is absolutely ludicrous, and no matter how knowledgeable, how astute, how sincere someone might be in placing the Nephite capitol city of Zarahemla in this area is beyond imagination.

However, Eric Checketts goes on in his criticism by stating: “Your comments seem directed at the work of Rod Meldrum, so you must be at least vaguely familiar with his research. Meldrum often points to the fact that JOSEPH KNEW about the Nephites and the Lamanites, and that he was intimately acquainted with their culture, customs, and their LOCATION.”

Actually, Joseph had a great knowledge of the Nephites long before he obtained the plates. Moroni schooled him so effectively, Joseph held his family spellbound with the stories, descriptions, and culture of the Nephites in the Smith family home evenings according to his mother, Lucy Mack Smith. Notwithstanding this, there is absolutely no record anywhere of Joseph ever saying where the Nephite capitol was located, or even where the Land of Promise was located. In all the discussions recorded in the journals of associates of the Prophet, there is not a SINGLE comment he made to any of them about the location of the Book of Mormon sites, especially that of Zarahemla.

(See the next post, Zarahemla, Iowa? Part IV, for more on Eric Checketts article disagreeing with an earlier blog about Zarahemla, Iowa, not being the location of the Zarahemla of the Book of Mormon)


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  2. Zarahemla Iowa is the one. There is even a temple foundation on it. Nobody knows how the Mississipi river looked like 2000 years ago. This letter does not have a stand.

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