Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Lehi Landing Site in Baja California Sur—Part I

When Baja California Theorists begin talking about their proposed site for the Land of Promise, perhaps we should actually take a look at the area. For those who have never been to the Baja California Peninsula, or never beyond Tijuana, Ensenada or Mexicalli, some pictures of the Peninsula might be worthwhile. Those who vacation on the coastal playgrounds of the Peninsula are rarely aware that the Peninsula is not as beautiful, mystical or inviting as they might think (unless you really like barren deserts), and certainly not consistent with the record described by Mormon, and found within the scriptural text.

According to Mormon's descriptive insertion, the landing site of the Lehi Colony, the "Land of their Father's First Inheritance," which became the Land of First Inheritance for the Lamanites, was south along the west coast: "on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore" (Alma 22:28).

Using Baja California, and inserting the landing area that matches the scriptural record, we then look at the map location, and the topography of that area through the images below:

Top Row Map: Proposed Landing site of the Lehi Colony in Baja California Peninsula. Next two rows, the type of topography, plants, and desert that surround this area, both along the coast and slighty inland. Obviously, this is not a type of climate and location that would grow seeds from Jerusalem "exceedingly" and produce an "abundant" crop

As the old addage goes--a picture is worth a thousand words. People can make any claim they want, but these pictures show a barren, inhospitable desert land around the Baja Theorists' landing site for Nephi's ship and the first colony home. No seeds from Jerusalem would have grown anywhere around here, let alone along the coastal area proposed for Lehi's landing site There are no water sources here, no streams, rivers, ponds or lakes from which the Colony could have even survived with drinking water. The nearest fresh water is over the mountains to the east, near the East Sea.

Along the southern west coat of Baja California Sur, about where the Theorists' proposed landing for the Lehi Colony would have been, this is the land of First Inheritance: Top: Coast and inland, showing nothing but desert all the way to the mountains; Middle: Showing the coastline, again, nothing but desert as far as the eye can see; Bottom: Showing a short distance inland (left pic shows coast in far background)--again, nothing but desert. The Lehi colony would have starved landing here--nowhere to plant seeds from Jerusalem that were used to a Mediterranean Climate

As can be seen, the southwest coast of the Baja peninsula is essentially one long sandy beach interrupted occasionally by promontory headlands. There are steep drop-offs, rip tides, undertow and sneaker waves that make the coastal area dangerous. The southern parts of the state have a dry, desert climate with maximum temperature exceeding 104º F. in the summer and the minimum less than 32º F in the winter. In the region of Los Cabos along the southern tip, the climate is hot, only slightly humid and affected by hurricanes.

Deserts and xeric shrublands (requiring a small amount of moisture), such as found here, receive an annual average rainfall of ten inches or less, and have an arid or hyperarid climate, characterized by a strong moisture deficit, where annual potential loss of moisture from evapotranspiration well exceeds the moisture received as rainfall. These deserts and xeric shrublands occur in tropical, subtropical, and temperate climate regions. Desert soils tend to be sandy or rocky, and low in organic materials. Saline or alkaline soils are common. Plants and animals in these desert and xeric shrublands are adapted to low moisture conditions, and hyperarid regions are mostly devoid of vegetation and animal life, and include rocky deserts. The Sierra de la Giganta, with its xeric flora, is one of the mountain ranges in the Baja Peninsula, which would be along the east sea coast of the proposed Land of Zarahemla, which extends for almost 900 miles along the entire Peninsula.

Looking across the Sea of Cortes at the Sierra Giganta mountain range running along the east coast of Baja California peninsula along the east sea shore of the proposed Land of Zarahemla. It rises abruptly directly from sea level and presents a spectacular sight from the shore like a gigantic wall--but certainly would not provide anywhere for cities to be built along the east coast.

(See the next post, "The East Sea Coast where Moroni Built Cities," to see how ridiculous the idea of a Baja California Sur setting for the Land of Promise really is)

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