Friday, October 31, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part XII – They Did Multiply and Spread

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about the land he knew so well, and lived in all his life, that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
    Mormon, in his abridgement, quotes Helaman about the Nephites emigrating into the Land Northward about 46 B.C. He writes: “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8).
Earlier, Mormon wrote: “And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers. Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land” (Helaman 3:5) The latter is an obvious comment about those that traveled into the Land Northward, but three verses afterwrd, Mormon inserts the fact that they spread across the land once again—only this time, he is referring to the entire Land of Promise, for he says: ”[They] did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.”
Nephites spread into all parts of the land, both in the Land Southward and in the Land Northward
    Now Mormon uses the term “spread forth into all parts of the land” when referring to the Land Northward, but used the term “cover the face of the whole earth” when referring to the entire Land of Promise. Obviously, Mormon is telling us that when the Nephite emigrants went into the Land Northward, they spread across the entire land—the entire Land Northward; then makes sure we know that he is telling us that the Nephites overall, then, had spread over the entire face of the Land of Promise, both in the Land Southward and in the Land Northward. And to make sure we understand this, he adds, “from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.” That is, all four quarters of the Land of Promise that the Nephites controlled were now not only in full possession of the Nephites, but that they were physically occupying the entire land.
    Consequently, here we see the truth being stated from four sources, the truth of the Nephites living on an island and that it was surrounded by seas at each compass point—Jacob says, Nephi writes, that “the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), and Helaman wrote and Mormon recorded in his abridgement, that the Land of Promise stretched “from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8). 
    So if we are going to find a location of the Land of Promise, we need to find an island in the midst of the ocean, surrounded by water in all four directions, and unattached to any other land. We need to look for this since Jacob, Nephi, Helaman and Mormon all described their Land of Promise in those terms.
Baja California and Malaya are both Peninsulas, and Mesoamerica is an Isthmus. Neither of these three match Jacob’s description of being on an Island
    This alone should eliminate Mesoameria, which is not now nor ever was an island surrounded by four seas; it should also eliminate Baja California and Malaysia, which are peninsulas, and are not now nor ever were islands (Baja California, by the way, anciently was attached to the Mexico mainland before the earthquakes occurred that separated the peninsula and created the Sea of Cortes); it should also eliminate the Heartland, since that is an interior of a continent, and is not now or ever was surrounded by four seas within the continent; and it should also eliminate the Great Lakes, for though there are large lakes in the area, they are not seas—and certainly not connected to the sea over which the Lord made their path, nor is it embosomed in the midst of that sea over which they traveled.
The Heartland, Great Lakes, and Eastern U.S. Land of Promise models all are inland and are contrary to Jacob’s description
    It is obviously understandable that Theorists, bent on proving their personal opinion of the Land of Promise location, ignore many scriptures that describe the land because many of these descriptions do not verify or support their personal views. However, as Peter said, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20), does not give us the right to pick and choose to determine what we will support in the scriptural record and what we will not or reject when it comes to verifying our choice of the Land of Promise location.
    So what does “knowing this first”mean?
    "Knowing this first" (γινώσκοντες) means that we must recognize this truth is of primary importance. The literal translation of the following clause is simply that this means all scripture—not a specific scripture or prophecy, i.e., "that all prophecy of Scripture is not; all... not" (πᾶσα... οὐ) being a common Hebraism for none, οὑδεμία; but the verb is not ἔστι, "is," but γίνεται, "becomes, arises, comes into being." The word for "private" is ἰδίας, "special," or commonly, "one's own" (see 1 Peter 3:1, 5; 2 Peter 2:16, 22; 3:3, 16, 17). The word rendered "interpretation" (ἐπιλύσεως), is found nowhere else in the New Testament. Consequently, along with its context, this shows us that no prophecy of Scripture arises from the prophet's own interpretation of the vision presented to his mind; for it was from God that the prophecy was brought, thus “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).
This should suggest to us all that any scripture, by whatever prophet written, is neither privately determined by them (we cannot pick and choose what is truth and what is not), nor open for our own interpretation of it (we cannot decide the scripture means something other than what is says). When we combine this understanding with these prophets “who were foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:10-12), prophets write and speak the truth for our edification and understanding.
    This should not only apply to Mormon’s compass as being the same as our own compass, or Jacob’s statement of the Land of Promise being an “island,” but for all descriptions Mormon wrote and provided for us, for he wrote for a future generation. President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Each of the major writers of the Book of Mormon testified that he wrote for future generations,” and Nephi said: “The Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved, and handed down unto my seed, from generation to generation” (2 Nephi 25:21), with Jacob adding, “For [Nephi] said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation” (Jacob 1:3), and Mormon wrote:
Yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel” (Mormon 7:1), and Moroni, the last of the inspired writers, who actually saw our day and time, said, “Behold, the Lord hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among you,” and also “I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Mormon 8:34-35).
    Nor can we claim that there were problems in the translation, for speaking of Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “[God] gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon” (D&C 20:8), and we find “That God does inspire men and call them to his holy work to this age and generation, as well as in generations of old” (D&C 20:11), and finally the scriptures, “which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them” (D&C 20:10).
    Thus, we need to read the scriptural record as it was written and translated, and not try to find errors, differences, alternate meanings or different understanding than what was actually written and intended, for the prophets knew what they wrote and knew what they wrote was for a future generation--a future people.
    Consequently, when Mormon writes that the Nephites “did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8), we need to believe him. And we need to understand that the term “from the land southward to the and northward” means the entire Land of Promise, and that the term “began to cover the face of the whole earth” means that part of the earth being discussed, which is the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon.
We also need to understand that the scriptural record means exactly what it says—if it meant something else, it would have said something else. After all, the Lord is not a God of confusion; nor is he the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). According to the Apostle James, “confusion” (Ἀκαταστασία) is in direct contrast to the "peaceable" composure of true "wisdom" that comes from above and has God for its author; that is, unlike confusion, “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
    Thus, to lay claim that when Mormon said north and northward, he really meant something other than what we understand, as Sorenson championed and Hauck, Norman, Poulsen, Miner, etc., claim; or that Jacob really didn’t mean they were on an island upon the sea over which they traveled, as he said they were, as Meldrum, Porter and May with their Heartland theory; Hedengren and Brandley claim with their eastern U.S. theory; or Holley, Olive, Aston, Coon and Curtis claim with their Great Lakes theory—who all have inland models in opposition to Jacob’s words—or that they were on an isthmus as Clark, Allen, Peay and Kiester claim; or a peninsula as Rosenvall and Anderson claim with their Baja California model, and Olsen claims with his Malay theory. Those who wrote the scriptural record meant what they said--not what men today claim they meant.
    None of these ideas accept the pure knowledge of Jacob, Nephi, Mormon and the others who have told us flatly that the Land of Promise was an island, and that island was in the sea over which they traveled. After all, Nephi built the ship and steered it and traveled over that sea, and Jacob, though young, was with him, and both knew they were on an island in the midst of that sea.
    This is not the opinion of the author. Any disagreement with this is not with the author—but with Jacob, who said it, Nephi who wrote it down, Mormon who abridged it, Joseph Smith who translated it, and the Spirit, which verified its accuracy.
    Consequently, to find the Land of Promise, one needs to start with what these ancient prophets wrote and told us about it, and then agree with their comments, and then look for a place that matches their information and descriptions--not just those points we agree with, but everything they wrote.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Book of Mormon prophets that should help us to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Answer Regarding Mountains in Malaya

Since pictures do not post on the answer section below, I am posting the answer to the Malaya question here:
    Thank you for your comment. As for Malaya, I sometime forget about that area since it is such a minor view regarding the Land of Promise and has so many problems of not matching the scriptural record. However, not to neglect it entirely, the highest point in Malaysia is Mount Kinabalu (Gunung Kinabalu), but it is on the island of Borneo, what is called East Malaysia—not on the actual Peninsula, which is the location of Olsen’s Land of Promise. On the Peninsula, there are numerous mountain ranges running parallel form north to south, with the main range Titiwangsa Mountains, which divides the peninsula between the east and west coasts. Mount Korbu (Gunung Korbu) is 7162 feet in height, and is located in the north-west portion of their Land Southward. A little to the south and east is the highest point on the Peninsula, Mount Tahan (Gunung Tahan, which means “enduring mountain”), with an elevation of 7,175 feet and a prominence of 7,020 feet.
Top Mojunt Korbu; Bottom Mount Tahan 
    The highest point in adjoining Thailand (on the peninsula) is Khao Luang peak at 6,010 feet, and the Nakhon Si Thammarat Range at 5,840 feet, with Ulu Titi Basah at 5,030 feet. None of the mountains on the entire peninsula are impressive, since they are all roughly abut the same height in appearance with no truly high peaks among them compared to the rest of the range of mountains.
The Malay Peninsula, with the mountain range in the distance in the top two photos and the Malay lowlands in the bottom photo 
    As can be seen from these photos of the Malay Peninsula, both of Malasia and Thailand areas, the landscape does not lend to a comment about mountains “whose height is great.”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part XI – Whose Height is Great

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about the land he knew so well, and lived in all his life, which are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
    In an area we have discussed many times, but is a scriptural description so ignored by other Theorists it needs constant reminding, Mormon, in his abridgement, quotes Samuel the Lamanite, a unique prophet the Lord called from among the Lamanites in the Land of Nephi to travel northward to the Land and city of Zarahemla to call the Nephites to repentance. Samuel arrives in Zarahemla about six years before the birth of the Savior and nearly 40 years before the prophecy about his crucifixion.
    Samuel, of course, is the prophet who prophesied about the destruction and changes that were to take place in the Land of Promise at the time of the Savior’s death, in which he said that “there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
    We have discussed mountains several times in these posts, since the significance of Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy is connected to the crucifixion of the Savior and the words Samuel is given by the Lord to speak about it. However, despite this very clear knowledge that the Land of Promise would have very tall mountains, numerous Theorists have neglected this point completely in trying to convince people as to the correctness of their Land of Promise model.
    Now the thing about mountains is that, unless the Lord has a hand in it, they do not change much over a couple of thousand years. That is, they don’t disappear from view, or become a lot smaller than they were. So what should we make of a land that would have mountains “whose height is great”? If these high mountains existed in 34 A.D., would they not still exist today?
    So what makes a mountain high?
    In a discussion on this question recently, a Theorist with a model in a land where its mountains are not considered very high claimed that “height” is in the eye of the beholder, i.e., a mountain is high because it appears to be high.
    Well, by any standard, two things make a mountain appear high: 1) its elevation, and 2) its prominence, the latter being the height of the mountain’s summit by the vertical distance between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit—it is a measure of the independence of a summit. That is, the optical illusion of a mountain’s prominence can cause it to look higher than it is.
Top Left: Mt. Whitney at 14,491-feet, has a prominence of 10,071-feet, making it look high; Top Right: While Volcan Itaccihuatl in Mexico, with a higher elevation of 17,159-feet, but only a 5,118 foot prominence, does not look as high; Bottom Left: Mt. Hood in Oregon has an elevation of 11,239-feet, and a prominence of 7,679-feet; Bottom Right: While Mt. Jefferson, in Nevada, is higher at 11,941-feet, but has a prominence of only 5,861, and does not look as high
    However, the elevation is still the key factor since people know what is actually higher, which can be measured and understood as such in a person's three-dimensional world. Sometimes it requires changing ones position and, therefore, his perspective, and other times the sheer size will make it clear.
The perspective of both viewpoints shows in each case, the mountain in the foreground to be taller or the same height than the one in the distance; however, in both cases, the far mountain is the highest by a considerable distance. And once we change our perspective (move to another location) we can easily see the difference
    The point is that elevation is always the determining factor in a three-dimensional world. You can tell when mountains are of great or unusual height by comparison to the land and scenes around them. A mountain that looms over a valley, a range that gazes down upon a city, a peak that overlooks a large basin—all can be seen as tall or short.
When seen in connection with scenery of known size, such as cities or valleys, mountain height is easily recognized
    Another thought to consider, is why did the Lord tell Samuel to say mountains “whose height is great”? What is the significance of such a statement? Wouldn’t high mountains or just mountains have been sufficient? After all, when mountains fall and others rise, that should be a sufficient sign since that is not something anyone has ever seen in nature before or since. Yet the term “whose height is great” was used, evidently because of the sheer size of the mountains that rose out of valleys were of unusually great height.
    Yet, not a single mountain east of the Rockies in the U.S. is in the top 200 mountain heights in all of North America, nor is a single one in the 200 highest mountains in the United States. And in the area of the Great Lakes where Phyllis Carol Olive (and others) place their Land of Promise, the highest peak near Lake Erie (her West Sea) is Campbell Hill at 1,550-feet elevation, then there is Little Mountain at 1227-feet, and Gildersleeve Mountain at 1163-feet. None of which would even really qualify as a mountain, let alone a high one, and certainly not ones “whose height is great.” In New York, Mount Marcy is only 5,344, which is far northeast of her Land of Promise (northeast of Lake Ontario), and all the peaks in Pennsylvania are outside her Land of Promise, near the West Virginia/Maryland border: Mount Davis 3312, Herman Point 3035, Schaefer Head 2949, Bald Knob 2930, Round Knob 2792, and Round Top 2785. Even so, not one of these mountains could qualify, under any stretch of the imagination, to be considered mountains "whose height is great," yet these Theorists seem not to care and champion their model despite this glaring inconsistency with the scriptural record.
    As for the heartland, besides Ohio and Pennsylvania already listed, the highest peaks in Meldrum’s Land of Promise are Taum Sauk Mountain in Missouri at 1772-feet, Buford Mountain at 1739-feet, and Profit and Bell Mountains at 1703-feet; Illinois is Charles Mound at 1233-feet; Indiana is Hoosier Hill at 1253-feet; Michigan is Mount Arvon and Mount Curwood, both at 1978-feet, and Summit peak at 1959-feet; Minnesota is Eagle Mountain at 2300-feet; Lima Mountain at 2238-feet, and Pike Mountain 1949-feet; Wisconsin is Sugarbush Hill at 1939-feet, Rib Mountain 1923-feet, Lookout Mountain at 1919-feet, and Kent Lookout at 1903-feet. Again, not one of these mountains--the highest elevations in these states--can qualify for a true mountain, let alone with "whose height is great."
    The obvious point is that when Meldrum and May make claims about the Heartland, or Olive and others make claims about the Great Lakes, they are all ignoring Samuel the Lamanite’s comment regarding the mountains in the Land of Promise: “there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
    Now it is one thing to ignore a scripture here or there, but when that scripture is the direct revelation of the Lord, such as Samuel’s, one might want to reconsider their stance. After all, Samuel, who came north from the Land of Nephi, said that after his initial failure in preaching to the Nephites he was about to return to his own land when “the voice of the Lord came unto him, that he should return again, and prophesy unto the people whatsoever things should come into his heart” (Helaman 13:3). In fact, Samuel added when speaking to the Nephites, “Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people…” (Helaman 13:5); “thus saith the Lord…” (Helaman 13:11); “It shall come to pass, saith the Lord…” (Helaman 13:18); “And now it came to pass that Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things” (Helaman 14:1); “thus hath the Lord commanded me, by his angel, that I should come and tell this thing unto you” (Helaman 14:9); “[I] have spoken unto you the words which the Lord hath commanded me” (Helaman 14:10).
    What more in the matter of importance in looking for the location of the Land of Promise would one need than direct revelation from the Lord on a subject of such noticeability and inarguability?
    After Samuel told the Nephites of all the signs that would accompany Christ’s death in Jerusalem, he pointedly told them “And behold, thus hath the angel spoken unto me; for he said unto me” (Helaman 14:26), the latter statement he repeated twice more in the following two verses, and added twice in conclusion “thus saith the Lord,” (Helaman 15:16-17). Therefore, it seems worthwhile that when Samuel prophesied of mountains rising out of flat ground that would reach a great height, we ought to believe him and understand the significance of this in our search for the Land of Promise. For surely, any location of the Land of Promise must contain mountains “whose height is great.”
Left: Mesoamerica’s highest peaks; Left: Mexico’s Mt. Popocatepetl; and Right: Guatemala’s Molcan Tajumulco. Both of these mountains give the impression of being high and are high
    As can be seen, Mesoamerica has tall mountains—Mexico’s highest peak is Popocatepet at 17,802-feet, with a prominence of 9,910-feet, and Guatemala’s highest peak is Molcan Tajumulco, in San Marcos, at 13,845-feet with a prominence of 13,058—in addition, the area of Andean Peru has 102 mountains over 19,000-feet, and 70 mountains over 20,000-feet, and 8 mountains over 22,000-feet, which are mountains that anywhere in the world would be considered "whose height is great" far beyhond anything else in the Western Hemisphere. By comparison, the middle and eastern U.S., comprising the Heartland and Great Lakes models, are relatively flat.
Picacho del Diable is the highest peak in Baja, California, only 100 miles south of the U.S. border and far to the north in their "Land Northward"
    In addition, Baja California’s mountains, which are much lower than those in Mesoamerica, but far higher than the Eastern U.S., are the Sierra de San Pedro Matir, with Picacho del Diablo the highest peak on the entire peninsula at 10,517-feet, with a prominence of 2,120-feet (22 mountains in Mexico are higher and only 6 are lower), and the Sierra de Juarez mountains with the highest point Blue Angels Peak at 4,551-feet. These mountains are in the far north, the latter along the border with the U.S., with none in the Land Southward as indicated in the words of Samuel to those in the city of Zarahemla.
The Heartland of the U.S. is mostly flat; Top: The flat land around Lake Michigan, which is around Jerson in Meldrum’s Heartlant model; Middle: A view of the area in Meldrum’s Land of Zarahemla; Bottom: Looking out over Ohio where Meldrum has his Land of Bountiful
The Great Lakes area Olive’s suggested land of promise is basically flat; Top: Looking toward Lake Erie in the far distance; Middle: Finger Lakes area;  Bottom: From Carlton Hill in western New York looking north and south
    In searching for a location of the Land of Promise, along with the other descriptions described in the scriptural record covered in the last ten posts, that area should have mountains “whose height is great.” Only two areas in all of the Western Hemisphere within the areas of Land of Promise models have truly high mountains, and only Andean Peru would be considered to have mountains "whose height is great."
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Book of Mormon prophets that should help us to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part X – And They Took Their Course Northward

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon wrote about the land he knew so well, and lived in all his life, that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
As an example, he tells us in Alma that a man named Hagoth, evidently a shipwright by profession, built many ships in a shipyard near the narrow neck of land “on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation” and launched his ships into the west sea (Alma 63:5). Obviously, this was a profitable business for Hagoth as well, perhaps, as others, for in Helaman we find that the Nephites, among other things, were involved in “shipping and the building of ships” (Helaman 3:14).
    Since the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20) and surrounded by water with people spread over the “face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east”  (Helaman 3:8), it seems likely that a lot of business was conducted on the sea lanes about the Land of Promise.
In addition, the story of Hagoth suggests that the business of emigration was also profitable, for “many of the Nephites did enter in and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children” (Alma 63:6). The number of people these vessels carried is not recorded, but Mormon does tell us that the ships were “exceedingly large” (Alma 63:5)
    In condensing what seems evident was a much longer discussion by Alma regarding Hagoth and his ship building enterprise and the emigrant business, Mormon merely writes: “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6).
    At this point it seems worthwhile to ask ourselves “If the space on the plates were scarce, why did Mormon include the brief story of Hagoth?” What is it about that story, covered in just six verses, that was important enough, and obviously more important than many others, to include in the scriptural record? In its brevity, it would seem to have little significance, so why did Mormon include it?
    To consider an answer, we need to understand what it is about the story that makes it significant. First of all, it is about immigration. Mormon tells us that “in the thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4). In and of itself, that does not appear significant—after all, he tells us that “it came to pass that in this year there were many people who went forth into the land northward” (Alma 63:9), just five verses later, and then shortly afterward, seems to repeat himself when he tells us that “And it came to pass in the forty and sixth year…there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3). It is true that these latter two events are eight years apart, but when condensing some 900 years of history, eight years is insignificant, so why mention five different times in the space of a paragraph or two that people emigrated northward, evidently three different groups by ship and two different migrations by land?
    Might not he be talking about two different locations and two different types of emigration?
    1. Alma 63:4 – 5400 men, plus their wives and children (probably 20,000 to 25,000 people) left Zarahemla for a land “which was northward;
    2. Alma 63:6 – Many of the Nephites did board Hagoth’s ship with much provisions, including women and children, and took their course northward;
    3. Alma 63:7 – The following year this ship returned and many more boarded with their provisions and set out again to sail northward;
    4. Alma 63:9 – Many more people went forth into the Land Northward;
    5. Helaman 3:3 – An exceedingly great many departed out of the land of Zarahemla and went unto the Land Northward.
    It is interesting that in the case of the last event, the purpose of the emigration is to inherit the land. Inheritance is not mentioned in the other four instances. So what does it mean to inherit the land? Hundreds of years earlier, Lehi left his “land of inheritance” (1 Nephi 2:4, 11; 1 Nephi 3:16), which was also the land of his sons inheritance (1 Nephi 3:22; 17:21) to go into the wilderness and eventually to a new land that would be their inheritance (1 Nephi 13:30; 2 Nephi 1:5, 8-9; 3:2; 4:11; 10:19), which is the Land of Promise.
Now, up to this time, the Nephites had only occupied the Land Southward, from Zarahemla to Bountiful, but here we find them moving into the Land Northward, which, according to Mormon (Alma 22:33-34), was all considered the Land of Promise. Therefore, it only makes sense that Mormon is telling us that an “exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land (Helaman 3:3), was a large number of Nephites who had been living in the Land of Zarahemla, and who decided to emigrate into the Land Northward to claim that land as their inheritance within the Land of Promise.
    However, the 5400 men, plus women and children, who went north by ship, evidently did not travel into the Land Northward since they were not inheriting the land. They must have gone elsewhere—to a “land which was northward,” to another, unattached land, where they settled and were “never heard of more” (Alma 63:18).
    It should also be considered that seldom do people emigrate by sea from one part of their country to another—they usually go inland, by foot, wagon, or whatever. When sailing to emigrate, it is almost always to a land that is not connected to the one from which they leave--or a great distance away. In addition, it would rarely be financially worthwhile to take a ship when traveling from one area to another that could be reached directly by land.
Emigration by ship is generally to a far off, or unattached land; emigrating within the same land is almost always done overland
    Obviously, then, Mormon included the story of Hagoth to show that a significant number of Nephites emigrated to another land, one that was northward. In addition, he also tells us that other Nephites, at least one ship full, took a different course—thus those headed in either direction were never heard from again. Consequently, it seerms we can understand from Mormon’s brief inclusion that there were Nephites who went to another land which was northward, and another group that went elsewhere—to Polynesia? Obviously, if you don’t sail north, and south would be against winds and currents, the most likely course would be westward from the west sea. And in the area of Peru, westward sea lanes would take a sailing ship down into Polynesia as Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki drift voyage showed.
    Now, a course northward beyond the Land of Promise would have taken the emigrants in Hagoth’s ships to a land for settlement that should show us today such Nephite-style buildings and accomplishments as the city and temple Nephi, and later other Nephites, built. That means that there should be two places, one north of the other, where two ancient civilizations during Nephite times would show types of civilizations described in the scriptural record. In the Western Hemisphere, there are only two such areas—Andean Peru and Mesoamerica.
    In addition, the one to the south, in this case Andean Peru, should show a more ancient civilization than the one to the north, in this case Mesoamerica. And this is what is found with archaeological carbon-dating ruins of both civilizations.
    So if you are looking for the location of the Land of Promise, Mormon’s descriptions throughout the scriptural record show exactly where Lehi landed and where the Nephite nation was located.
    You really need look no further.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Book of Mormon prophets that should help us to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part IX – The Sea That Divides the Land

Continuing from the last post regarding the many descriptions Mormon, Ether and others wrote about the land they knew so well, and lived in all their lives, that are vital for us to consider when claiming a current location of that land. 
    As an example, Ether tells us that the Jaredites “built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20).
    So what land was divided?
Top: An example of the two land masses of Mormon’s Land of Promise description; Bottom: Where the Narrow Neck, Desolation, Land of Many Waters and the Narrow Neck would be located in the example
    Mormon describes two specific land masses in the Land of Promise. One he referred to as the "Land Northward" (Alma 22:31; Mormon 2:29), which contained a land called "Desolation" (Alma 22:30) and also the "Land of Cumorah," which was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains (Mormon 6:4). The other or second land mass Mormon called the "Land Southward" (Alma 22:32; Mormon 2:29), where "Bountiful" was located in the far north.
    Between these two lands Mormon tells us was a small (Alma 22:32) or narrow (Alma 63:5) neck of land—it being the only land keeping the entire Land Southward from being surrounded by water (Alma 22:32). Thus, this narrow neck was the only land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, and within it was a narrow pass or passage, which ran between the Land Northward (Alma 52:9) and the Land Southward (Mormon 2:29; 3:5), and ran by the sea that was on the east and on the west (Alma 50:34).
    Now this narrow neck of land was by the sea that divided the land (Ether 10:20).
    In addition, there were seas to the north and south, and to the east and west (Helaman 3:8) of the entire Land of Promise, from the Land Southward to the Land Northward (Helaman 3:8), and these seas surrounded the entire Land of Promise since Jacob tells us, and Nephi confirms it, that their land was an island (2 Nephi 10:20)
    So what sea divided the land?
    Since we are dealing here with an island that has two major land masses, one to the north and one to the south, with a narrow neck of land in between, and the sea that divided the land was by this narrow neck of land, the only option is that this land’s division was some type of bay, gulf or inlet where the sea separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward.
    In 1828, the word “divide” meant to “part or separate,”  or “separate into two parts,” and has the same meaning today. Thus, the Land of Promise was separated into two parts, the Land Northward and the Land Southward, connected by a small neck of land (Alma 22:32).
    Consequently, Lehi’s Land of Promise was not only an island, but one with two major land masses divided by a large waterway that ran on either side of the narrow neck that connected the land masses.
An example of Mormon’s descriptions, with (top) two land masses connected by a narrow neck of land with (bottom) a sea that divides the land
    If we take Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Ether at their word, then we have to recognize a shape of the Land of Promise somewhat similar to that above. The problem is, that most Theorists champion an area (Mesoamerica, which is an isthmus; Baja, which is a peninsula; the U.S. Heartland, which is an extensive plain with no seas or mountains; or the Great Lakes, which is a land of lakes and rivers, but no seas or mountains)—none of which are or were two land masses separated by a small neck of land—and does not match the prophets’ descriptions.
    This, then, leaves one with the problem of either Mormon and the others did not know what they were writing, or Joseph Smith did not know what he was translating, or the Spirit was willing to let the scriptural record be fraught with errors. Or, one can recognize and accept the fact that the prophets knew what they were writing about, Joseph Smith knew what he was translating, and the Spirit verified the accuracy of the translation.
    You choose.
    Thus, we can read Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Ether and accept their writing the way it was written, Joseph Smith’s accurate translation, and the Spirit’s verification of the correctness of the scriptural record. In doing so, we have a Land of Promise that looks somewhat like the example island above.
    These are, in fact, the only two choices available.
    What is not a choice are dissertations like that of John L. Sorenson in trying to convince us that the Nephites did not mean our north, south, east and west, as Mormon wrote it, but that they had a compass system nearly 90º off from ours, allowing an east-west Mesoamerica to replace the north-south Land of Promise; neither is it a choice to follow Wayne May and Rod Meldrum’s inland (Heartland) location by claiming Lehi sailed up the Mississippi River, or the choice of Phyllis Carol Olive (and others) who claim Lehi sailed up the St. Lawrence River to the Great Lakes, when every water-resource scientist of flood extent and river depth knowledge know those waterways (and all eastern US. inland waterways) were blocked by shoaling, shallow water, impassable rapids, etc., so that a vessel could not sail inland any distance until after the U.S. Corps of Engineers dredged and opened them up to ship travel in the 18th and 19th centuries.
    Even today hopper dredge wheelers are maintained by the corps of Engineers and operated 24/7 to keep these normally shallow waterways that have been dredged and deepened at acceptable depths for ship traffic, with annual dredging schedules calculated for fiscal years well in advance. These specialty ships are built to provide maintenance dredging, and research and development to maintain knowledge of the latest dredging principles, technology, and design along the U.S. inland water system.
Water, silt and sand is pumped from the bottom of the Mississippi River and discharged from an outlet in the bow of the hopper dredge Wheeler
    In fact, from 1824 through 1936, the country was primarily involved in “single-purpose navigation projects” of dredging, clearing, removing jetties, digging canals, and building locks and dams—one of these was the Lachine Canal around Montreal to bypass the impassable Lachine Rapids and connecting the St. Lawrence River to Lake Ontario in 1825, the channel between Quebec and Montreal in 1851, and the dredging and locks built along the St. Lawrence Seaway, which allows ships to travel from the Atlantic all the way to Lake Ontario, a route impossible before this work was commenced. In fact, seven canals had to be dug to complete this seaway: Lachine, Soulanges, Cornwall, Willaimsburg, Farran Point, Rapide Plat and Galop Canals. In 1936, this single-purpose switched to multi-purpose projects, including continued dredging as well as building new waterways, canals, and inter-waterway links.
    When one looks on a map for a route, neither rapids or shallows, nor the difference in elevation, which ultimately requires locks, are evident. However, when trying to sail up a river or along an inland waterway, rapids, shoals, shallows and elevation are all extremely important.
    As an example, the nine mile-long Cedar Rapids on the St. Lawrence has the fastest current in the river (nearly 30 mph), with the first mile filled with treacherous reefs, whitecaps and whirlpools. Not until 1843 did the first ship (the specially rapids-designed steamboat Ontario) successfully descended the rapids, though the precision required was the result of many years of experience; however, no other ship attempted the dangerous descent for 15 more years. In addition, the Lachine Canal, which was built to overcome the first obstruction to navigation on the St. Lawrence route, is nine miles long and has five locks with a total rise in locks of 46 feet in elevation. These rapids have never been descended by any ship, even those specifically designed for that purpose, and many were lost before the canal was dug.
Top Left: The steamboat Ontario attempting to make a descent over the Cedar Rapids; Top Right: A boat trying to pass over the Lachine Rapids near Montreal, which had to turn back; Bottom Left: The Point Cascades along the St. Lawrence; Bottom Right: The Cornwall Rapids. All of these obstacles to navigation had to be overcome for ship travel to extend from Montreal to Lake Ontario. By the mid 1800s, special ships were built (“Rapids Runners”) to pass over the rapids—few were successful
    Nor was the experience on the Mississippi River much different. Passage northward beyond New Orleans was impossible for any kind of ship other than a flat-bottomed paddle wheelers, and those could not get beyond Baton Rouge until the river was dredged in the 1800s (see other posts on this issue).
    The point of all this is, theorists, for one reason or another, latch onto a specific area that they feel is the Land of Promise and from that point on, only look for verification of that location through the scriptural record, science, or historical means—usually using whatever source agrees and supports their viewpoint and rejecting or ignoring all others. When the scriptural record does not agree or support their view, they spend considerable effort in trying to show why the scriptural record is wrong and they are correct.
    However, to find the correct location for the Land of Promise, one must use the scriptural descriptions as they were written and translated without trying to alter them or change their meaning. These past several posts have attempted to show how and why that needs to be done.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Book of Mormon prophets that should help us to understand where the Land of Promise was located)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mormon’s Abridgement Part VIII – The Lord Has Made the Sea Our Path-Part II

Continuing from the last post with the many descriptions written about the Land of Promise by those who lived out their lives there and knew it so well, and specifically Nephi’s descriptions of their setting sail in the ship he built. 
   The last post ended with a discussion about the impossibility of sailing eastward against the monsoon winds and currents that blow off the southern Arabian coast, and how these monsoon winds and currents blow off the Asian mainland across India, the Bay of Bengal and Indonesia. Also on how sailing ships in the early 1500s could not sail eastward across the Pacific and the failure of Cortes’ ships sent under the command of Saavedra could not return to Mexico from Indonesia—the exact course Sorenson and others claim Lehi took.
Saavedra could not return to Mexico from Indonesia after being sent there by Cortes because of the opposition of the winds in the Pacific. He not only was killed trying, but his ship had to sail in the opposite direction--west--and across the Atlantic to return to Mexico
    Here we continue with the last post by stating that the point of this is that Mesoamericanists, like John L. Sorenson, can claim Lehi sailed in that direction (east through Indonesia and across the Pacific), but the monsoon winds would have kept him from reaching Indonesia, and if for some reason he was able to get there, the same winds that stopped Saavedra from returning back across the Pacific would have kept Lehi from reaching the Americas as well. All of this merely illustrates the reality and folly of trying to trace a desired course across a map. The point is, these monsoons create such strong weather and wind patterns that no sailing ship dependent upon the wind would be capable of sailing against them in any way, especially in 600 B.C., and even more espeically by an inexperienced crew who had never before been to sea.
    Thus it is evident that the only course Lehi’s ship could have taken was southward off the Arabian coast--in the direction the winds blow. Such limitation for sailing ships persisted clear up to at least the 12th century, when braces began to be added to turn the yard in the horizontal plane, so the sails could be adjusted to take advantage of the wind when not blowing directly from the stern. This allowed for “tacking” (sailing into the wind--a fete in early sailing ships that took a great deal of skill) or “jibing” (sailing away from the wind), freeing ships from being dependent on a following wind, and allowing them to head up to 90º into the wind. That is they could sail “close hauled” to the wind—10º to the right (starboard) or left (port) of the wind when it was blowing from the direction the ship’s path or course.
A two masted vessel tacking (into the wind) and jibing (running away from the wind). Top: The pink area is the “no go” zone, the direction where no sailing is possible even tacking—it is “too close to the wind.” Close-hauled, 10º right or left of the wind is the best that can be done, and that takes a very experienced sailor; Bottom: when tacking into the wind, the ship runs a zig-zag course from a port tack to a starboard tack, etc., which results in traveling almost twice the distance
    Since Nephi describes his ship as “driven forth before the wind,” he was operating with a fixed sail, like those of the early 14th century (the Cog, Redonda, etc.), which were subject to the direction of the wind, and sailed with the wind behind them (“running with the wind”). This was the earliest ship sail design (13th and 14th century) and had a square or rectangular sail, held in place with a horizontal spar (the “yard”) and attached to the mast in a fixed position. 
Full-rigged sailing ships during the Age of Sail “running with the wind” shown here coming directly at you when the wind was in your face. On a fixed-sail sailing ship that is the only course it could take
    At the time, square-rigged sails had the advantage of providing stability on large ships and in heavy seas, and they remained the main type of sail on European vessels until the last days of sail. This caused ships to sail the winds and currents until steam engines were invented and ships were finally free to move upon the waters in any direction and at any time they chose.
    This leaves Lehi’s ship with two alternative directions to take in order to reach the Western Hemisphere and the Americas. He could travel with the winds and currents into the Southern Ocean and head east, or he could have entered the Aguihas Current south of Madagascar and headed west for the cape of Africa to attempt a westward course around the Cape and across the Atlantic. However, this latter course, that Meldrum and other Heartland and Great Lakes Theorists claim Lehi took, has two distinct disadvantages: 1) the currents around the cape are difficult at best, and disastrous for a sailing ship at worst—it was not called during the Age of Sailing the “graveyard of ships” for nothing; and 2) as stated earlier in these posts, Lehi landed on the west coast of the Land of Promise and that Land of Promise was an isle in the midst of the sea (2 Nephi 10:20).
    The West Coast.
    The latter problem alone should disqualify any idea of Lehi heading into the Atlantic. However, let’s look at the difficulty of trying to round the Cape of Agulhas, the southern most point of Africa and the dividing line between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, a point about 90 miles east of the Cape of Good Hope.
The Cape of Good Hope (green arrow) and the Cape of Aguilhas (red arrows) where two oceans meet (white circle)—it was originally called “Cabo das Tormentas,” meaning the “Cape of Storms,” where “killer waves” roll out of huge swells moving northward from the Southern Ocean across the sailing lanes around the Cape, creating enormous storms, extremely rough waters, eddies and cross-currents
    Luis de Camoes in his epic poem  Os Lusiadas (first printed in 1572) wrote about the Flying Dutchman, a sailing ship crewed by tormented and damned ghostly sailors who were doomed forever to beat their way through the adjacent waters without ever succeeding in rounding the headland of the Cape because of the threatening storm cloud, represented by "Adamastor", the Spirit of the Cape, the hideous phantom of unearthly pallor, which was a symbol of the forces of nature Portuguese sailors had to overcome when trying to round the Cape of Storms. In the 1865 opera L’Africaine about Vasco da Gama trying to round the Cape, Giacomo Meyerbeer has the slave Nelusko sing a song about Adamastor while he deliberately steers the ship into a storm and it sinks. Adamastor appears in numerous writings, including those of Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, etc., and in works of Phantom of the Opera, Billy Budd, Le Comte de Monte Cristo, and others.
    The point is, the dangers are extreme where the warm, swift, and strong traveling Agulhas Current reaches its termination between two subtropical gyres, creating unusual conditions for inter-ocean exchanges of water kinematic masses and kinetic energy between them, the latter being the highest fluctuating current in the Southern Ocean, creating huge mesoscale eddies.
    At the same time, the cold Benguela Current moving up from the south collides with the Agulhas Current, forcing the latter’s retroflection (turning back on itself). This current has a transport of 100 Sverdrups (1 Sverdrup is equivalent to 1 million cubic metres per second, which is 264,000,000 U.S. Gallons), and more than twice that of the Kuroshio Current—it travels at such speed, the momentum of the current overcomes the vorticity balance holding it to the topography and the current leaves the shelf. By comparison the Indian-Pacific Ocean throughfare is 12 Sv, Humboldt (Peruvisn) Current is 18 Sv, Benguela Current 18 Sv, Gulf Stream is 32 Sv, Kuroshio Current 48 Sv, Antarctic Circumpolar Current (Southern Ocean) 125 Sv, reaching 135 Sv through the Drake Passage, and the Florida Current at 150 Sv.
    Again, the point of this is to show that while Portuguese sailing ships found their way around the African cape, it took many years and the loss of many ships—it is a dangerous route, especially for sailing ships dependent upon the wind and currents. However, even if Lehi had gone this way, he would not have landed on the west coast of the Americas, which should eliminate this route entirely from consideration.
    Consequently, Lehi’s route would have taken him south and then eastward into the Southern Ocean. This is the only natural flow of ocean currents and winds from the Indian Ocean because of the spin of the Earth, the flow of the oceans, and the winds that drive them.
Top: Black Arrow: Lehi’s course beyond Socotra and past Madagascar; Purple Arrow: Picks up the Indian Ocean Gyre; Blue Arrow: Enters the Southern Ocean; Green Arrow: Turns northward on the Humboldt Current; Yellow Arrow: Lands at 30º south latitude; Red Arrow: The South Pacific Gyre, if ship continues beyond 30º south latitude, the Peruvian bulge forces it out into the South Pacific Gyre and back toward Australia
    This is a simple course, one determined by the Lord when he organized the planet and its various land masses, where the currents and winds have moved the same throughout the history of the Earth. It is the only current of its kind because of the absence of any land masses in its entire circular passage around the earth.  Indeed, as Jacob said, “the Lord has made the sea our path.”
    Thus, Nephi’s ship sailed where the winds and currents took him. And from the Arabian coast that would have been south, into the Indian Ocean Gyre (pronounced JIGH-er), then southeast with that current and wind force to the Southern Ocean, which turned the ship to the east in one of the fastest and direct currents on the planet, and picked up the speed of these high winds (Prevailing Westerlies) and fast seas (West Wind Drift) that completely circumnavigate the globe. Once reaching the South American continental shelf and being turned northward up the coast by the Humboldt (Peruvian) Current where the wind and current slows to almost nothing around the 30º south latitude and a landing could be achieved. It would have been a frightening voyage, one that certainly would have cowered Laban, Lemuel and the sons of Ismael into submission, and resulted in a peaceful, non-eventful voyage of which Nephi makes no detailed mention and Jacob merely states “the Lord made the sea our path.”
    Once again, if one is going to look for a location for the Land of Promise, it needs to match the descriptive information found within the scriptural record left us by Mormon, Nephi, Jacob and others. This information cannot be ignored, and in this case, the natural conditions of the winds and ocean currents cannot be disregarded, for when Nephi tells us his ship was "driven forth before the wind," we need to understand where those winds blew and what winds blew toward and to the Western Hemisphere from southern Arabia. And we need to make sure that the ocean currents would have taken a ship “driven forth before the wind” to the spot of the site one thinks is where Lehi landed. These two issues are critical. And lastly, that site had to have been an island in B.C. times.
It is also important to understand, as these past few posts have shown, one cannot just point to a map and say, “That is where they landed,” then trace a line on the map and say, “This is how they would have gotten there.” In reality, one needs to figure out where they traveled, for Nephi tells us how he traveled and we can look up and study where that would have taken him. Then, and only then, can we say, “This is where the Land of Promise is located.”
    Unfortunately, most Theorists do the opposite.
(See the next post for another of these Land of Promise factors described by Book of Mormon prophets that should help us to understand where the Land of Promise was located)