Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Zarahemla in Iowa? Part IV

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, the way I see it, the fact that Joseph named the town 'Zarahemla' and then the Lord gave His own nod of approval for the name, only strengthens the argument that ancient Zarahemla was located in what is modern Iowa.”

It seems that Mr. Checketts would be better off if he would question Meldrum’s idea and placement of the Nephite city of Zarahemla in Iowa, than defend it since there is very little that recommends an Iowa setting. Let’s take these items one at a time:

Zarahemla was the Nephite capitol city, was first built by the Mulekites (People of Zarahemla) prior to Mosiah finding them earlier than 130 B.C. No doubt the increase Nephite population added to the size of the city and its method of construction over the next 600 years. The city was partially destroyed by fire around 33 A.D., but was rebuilt during the period of great singular achievement of the Nephites after the advent of the Savior.

Mormon, who was born in the Land Northward around 310 A.D., was taken to Zarahemla when he was about eleven years of age. While in the capitol area, Mormon was appointed the leader of the Nephite armies in 327 A.D., and there commenced a great war between the Nephites and the Lamanites and the Nephites began their retreat toward the north countries. The city of Zarahemla was evidently vacated by the Nephites around 327-328 A.D. This is the last written about the city of Zarahemla which, it is assumed, fell into the hands of the Lamanites who eventually controlled all of the Land Southward.
This city of vast size and dimensions, the capitol of the Nephite nation numbering in the millions, was likely destroyed by the Lamanites, or just allowed to fall into disrepair and ruin somewhere between 350 and 400 A.D. From that time until 1780 A.D., when the area of Montrose, Iowa, was first settled—a period of just over 1400 years—the area of southern Iowa is believed to have changed very little.

Today, Iowa is in the center of the area referred to as the Midwest by the U.S. Census Bureau. It was part of the Sauk Indian Nation from the 1780s onward, and specifically the location of the Cut Nose Village. The first white man to settle there was a French Canadian in 1799, and the area came into the possession of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase of 1810. The first home was built there in 1832, the U.S. military built a fort there in 1834 for three companies of Dragoons, Mormons moved into the area in 1839, and the Mormon Trail was established there in 1847. Montrose was established as a town in 1854, and incorporated in 1857. Montrose was an important river town during the 1850-1870s, a port of Mississippi River boats, bringing numerous immigrants to the area, and the home of many factories.

Now if the area of the Book of Mormon Zarahemla was in this location, on the northern edge of present-day Montrose as Meldrum claims, it seems unlikely its location and ruins would not have been discovered. If not by the Indians, locals, and settlers, certainly by the Mormons who understood the significance of the term Zarahemla, and Section 125 of the Doctrine and Covenants, given in 1841.

Yet, to date, despite Meldrum’s book and studies, no evidence of the ancient city of Zarahemla has ever been found on the basically undisturbed landscape over the past 1400 years since the Nephites abandoned their city.

Where, in fact, is the huge, tall wall upon which Samuel the Lamanite stood, as depicted in this image. And where is the stone structures of Zarahemla? In Central America, Teothuacan, believed to have been built in 100 B.C., and the tower base in Sacsahuaman in Peru, believed to have been built around 500 B.C., and also in South America, at Tihuaunacu along the Peru Bolivian border, believed to have been built around 300 B.C., and the Parthenon in ancient Greece, built around 440 B.C., are not only still standing today in one form or another of their original splendor, but have weathered the mighty winds, storms, and ruination of the ages. Again, one can only ask, where are the ruins of the great Nephite nation and the city of Zarahemla, claimed to have existed in southeast Iowa, built around the same time?

As an example, the upper right image is that of a tower base in Peru, above Cusco, in the ancient ruined city of Sacsahuaman. According to a drawing made by the Spanish conquerors when they arrived, this base had a tall tower upon it that overlooked the valley below. The tower was described as being about seven stories high with a flat top and an overhead roof, open around for viewing—obviously for an ancient lookout since the view covered all entrances into the valley below. However, the Spanish destroyed the tower, but today, five hundred years after the Spanish destruction, and about 1500 years after its construction, the site is still obvious to any observer, covering several acres. Surely, some ruins of Zarahemla would be visible in the area of Montrose, Iowa, if that were the site of the ancient Nephite capitol.

But, alas, no ruins exist in Meldrum's area of this 1830s Zarahemla.

(See the next post, Zarahemla, Iowa? Part V, 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)

No comments:

Post a Comment