Monday, February 29, 2016

Both Gold, Silver and Copper

In a comment received a while back, there was a question in some reader’s minds that a certain terminology did not have any underlying significance, and as one put it: “I've always disagreed with Del's “one-way” interpretation of the ore verse. It's not at all clear to me (although it is to Del) that the 3 ores *must* be combined. However, rules of English grammar demand no such interpretation. Del might be right, but from the syntax it can also just be interpreted as a list. Again, multiple interpretations are possible” Tyrus.
Response: First, let me respond to the English grammar part of the comment above. The way this is written, “And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper” (1 Nephi 18:25), is totally improper English. The word “both” in 1828 as it does today, means “two.” In fact, today’s Oxford Dictionary lists the meaning of “both” as taken from Middle English (from Old Norse) báthir as: 1) used to refer to two people or things, regarded and identified together; 2) used before the first of two alternatives to emphasize that the statement being made applies to each (the other alternative being introduced by “and”). And Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language states that “both” means “two.” Therefore, English grammar does demand some type of explanation or interpretation, since it is incorrect as it standsthree items on the list following "both." Therefore, we are left with the choices of 1) accept that Joseph Smith, or the Spirit, or Mormon made a mistake; or 2) Decide why it was so written and the reason behind it. Also, the “syntax” (grammar sentence construction) cannot just be interpreted as a list, since grammatically it is incorrect. So it can be interpreted as an “incorrect” list, which brings us back to choice #1 above, which in my way of thinking is totally unacceptable. Thus, what would three following "both" mean?
    Secondly, in answer directly to the comment that “it is clear to Del.” Perhaps an explanation as to why it is clear might be of help. The statement in question has to do with gold, silver and copper, and in the 47 places in the Book of Mormon where gold, silver, etc., is mentioned, only once is gold, silver and copper combined. In 17 cases, Nephi, Jacob and Jarom mention gold, silver and precious ores—only one of these combines gold, silver and copper in a geological terminology that suggests they are of a single ore (1 Nephi 18:25); Mormon mentions gold with other ores 25 times, but never with silver and copper. Moroni mentioned gold 5 times, but also never with silver and copper. Therefore, only once are the three ores mentioned, and not only are they mentioned in the geologic term of a single ore, but that location is only indicated in one, unique area (area of first landing) of which Nephi leaves and the record never touches on again. The single ore concept is not a matter of opinion grabbed from a “cloud” and run up a flagpole to see if anyone salutes it, but is a term that is consistent with geologically stating that very fact. It is also mentioned just once, and in a location never again visited in the scriptural record, and in a place we know today to have several such mines that have found gold and silver and copper in single ore—while not unusual, it does not exist that way in very many places in the Western Hemisphere according to current mining maps.
    It is also interesting that the terminology used, and only in this one case does he qualify these ores, as “both” (a term meaning two) and then follow with three ores, which is, again, a geological terminology, of “both gold and silver and copper” which means literally, both “gold and silver” and “copper,” a very unusual manner of speaking outside the geological world.
In all other cases the ores are merely listed as in the case of a list of numerous items. Nephi, himself, uses the several terms elsewhere as anyone of us normally would, without combining ores, when he said, “wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores” (2 Nephi 5:18). But in this one particular case, the gold and silver are combined, and the copper is separated, which we have explained several times from a geologic or smithing point of view—to a professional who works with these ores, it is common practice to combine precious metals and list them separately from non-precious metals when found in a single ore.
    By the way, in using “of this, and of that” speaking in terms of the multiple us of the word “of” is strictly Hebrew, where in English, we would say, gold, silver, copper,” not “of gold, of silver, of copper.” So it can be suggested that the translation here of these items is strictly according to how they were written.
In its purist form, the goldsmith works with gold, the brightsmith or silversmith works with silver, or a metallurgist works with both along with other metals; and a brownsmith or coppersmith works with copper. As an example, while a goldsmith specializes in gold, he also is a metalworker, meaning he may well work with other precious metals in addition to gold. I have two close friends (who are brothers) who have fashioned several special-design rings for my wife in their jewelry business—working with gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, jewels and stones.
    While metalsmith is a term meaning one who works with all or most metals, the term has loosely been used in archaeology to describe those who worked ancient with both precious and non-precious metals. As an example, the metallurgy connected with ancient Peru involved several different precious and non-precious metals.
    For those of you who think I have only one way of looking at something, I might suggest that when I arrive at a conclusion, it is after months, sometimes years studying the process of meaning as well as the arts involved, such as, in this case, the smiths involved, those who work with precious metals; geologists who work in the fields of discovery of precious metals and other ores, etc. With today’s resources, there are any number of sources easily available for a treasure trove of information and knowledge. Within my family and close circle of related contacts, I have professionals in geology, goldsmithing, silversmithing, wordsmithing, international banking and monetary funding, medical doctors, construction, building (stonework), psychology, inventor, agriculture, attorney, etc., all of which have been used over the years in study and field work of my writing. I am not suggesting I know any more than the next guy, but I do suggest that when I state a view on this or any other area, it is well thought out, well documented by either experts or professionals in the field, and supported by numerous points.
    My problem is in people who come up with a flippant or off the cuff comments or opinions not backed up by anything other than their personal view. While all people have the right to have any opinion or view they choose, it might be wise to have an opinion based upon more than an unsupported thought. We get letters and comments all the time, some from people who have spent next to two seconds coming up with their belief, comment or disagreement. It is difficult, sometimes, to respond to comments that are hardly even thought out, when the information they are disagreeing with has been considered from numerous views by at least several people over sometimes many years, those who make their living and professions in the field, and those who have actually worked with and done the things being described.
    Don’t get me wrong, I welcome any and all comments and early-on with this blog made a pledge to answer any and all questions.
So, on this comment or difference of opinion, we come down to the bottom line, which is that we are back again to the two choices, that either Joseph Smith, the Spirit or Nephi made a very obvious mistake in grammar; or that the list as given is correct and decide why it is correct. For me, I will never choose the former until all the possibilities of the latter have been investigated.
    It might also be of interest to note that native copper was man’s first copper ore. Native copper is often alloyed with gold, silver, lead and mercury. Copper is widely distributed in nature. The metal is easily oxidizable and also easily reduced. It therefore occurs both as native copper and in its numerous compounds. Native copper is commonly, if not always, of secondary origin, either deposited from solution or formed by the reduction of some solid compound. Pseudomorphs of copper after cuprite are well known. W. S. Yeats has described pseudomorphs of copper after azurite from Grant County, New Mexico. W. Lindgren states that the vein of metallic copper at Clifton, Arizona, appear to have been derived from Chalcocite. The greatest known deposits of metallic copper are found in the Lake Superior region. The largest single mass of native copper ever found was discovered in the Minnesota mine, Michigan, in February, 1857. It was 45 ft. long, 22 ft. wide and 8 ft. thick. It weighed 420 tons. It was 90 per cent, pure copper and contained an appreciable amount of silver.
The Elqui-Coquimbo Mine in Chile (where Lehi landed) is a large Copper mine with gold and silver
    Silver and gold are often produced as a bi-product of copper refining” (Tom Chandler, Handy & Harman, Production Metallurgy and Management 1974-1980), and that generally speaking, because of the low profit margins now in copper (which is pretty low-grade these days), the byproduct of gold and silver within the copper ore pays for the smelting and allows for a profit. And, also, thanks to the introduction of pyritic smelting, low-grade pyritic-copper ores are profitable to mine even if they do not have gold or silver combined. In addition, complex ores of copper, lead, and zinc sulfides are more costly to treat, but this expense may be more than made up for by their gold and silver contents. Sulfide ores of copper are almost invariably leached near the surface, except where the former surface material has been removed by rapid erosion or glaciation. Many copper ores, however, contain other metals that are not so easily leached as copper. As a result, many valuable deposits of copper sulfide ore have been discovered by downward exploitation of oxidized gold and silver ores. In regions where copper ores abound areas richly stained with iron are generally considered worthy of exploration in a search for copper. On the other hand, deposits of copper have been found below outcrops that show very little iron oxide. These outcrops, however, are generally silicified and kaolinized. Most of the large copper sulfide deposits in the United States show three zones: a leached zone near the surface, an enriched zone below the leached zone, and a zone of lower-grade primary ore below the enriched zone. In the unaltered primary portion of the ore body the copper compounds are mainly sulfides, but arsenides and antimonides are also known. In the leached goethite gossan zone the copper occurs as carbonates, sulfates, silicates, oxides, native, and more rarely as phosphates, arsenates, antimonates and vanadates.
    The point is, there not only is a science to precious and non-precious metals, but a way of listing and speaking about them. Mormon's description of "both gold and silver and copper" is correct only from a metallurgy point of view. In any other way, the sentence is improper grammar.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Meaning of Nethermost: Connecting the Dots in South America – Part II

 Continuing from the last post regarding the importance of crop growths and harvests in the time of the Nephites and the true meaning of Zenos’ allegory of the tame and wild trees.
    The prophet Zenos, like Zenock, Neum and Ezias, was an Old Testament prophet not mentioned in the Bible, but introduced to us in the Book of Mormon from the Plates of Brass.
The first mention of Zenos we find in Jacob Chapter 5, was written on the Plates of Brass and was part of the original writings of what we now have as the Old Testament. He would have lived sometime between Abraham (Helaman 8:19) and Lehi, about 1900 to 650 B.C.
Top: Nephi and his brothers return with the brass plates acquired from Laban in Jerusalem; Left: Lehi immediately read them and made great discoveries; Right: They were written in Egyptian on plates (sheets) of brass 
    Although specific dates and details of Zenos' life and ministry are not known, he was apparently a descendant of Joseph of Egypt and his writings were on the Plates of Brass taken from Jerusalem to the Americas by Nephi about 600 B.C. There is some consideration he might also have been a progenitor of Lehi, since the Disciple Nephi claims “because they testified particularly concerning us, who are the remnant of their seed” (3 Nephi 10:16). Zenos spent time "in the wilderness" (Alma 33:4), and in his “fields” (Alma 33:5), and also preached "in the midst" of the "congregations" of God (Alma 33:9). Some of his enemies became reconciled to him through the power of God (Alma 33:4), but others were visited "with speedy destruction" (Alma 33:10). Finally, he was slain because of his bold testimony of the coming of the "Son of God" (Helaman 8:19).
    Now, having placed Zenos in a time frame and stated his qualifications as a prophet of God, let us consider what he said about the vineyard and determine the carefully worded parable of the events and their meaning. Taking first, the word “nethermost” and also the word “hid."
The Shemen (tree of oil) as the Olive Tree was called in ancient Israel, and is from a primitive root word meaning “to shine,” i.e., Shemesh “to be brilliant”
1. Jacob 5:13. “And these will I place in the nethermost part of my vineyard, withersoever I will, it mattereth not unto thee; and I do it that I may preserve unto myself the natural branches of the tree; and also, that I may lay up fruit thereof against the season, unto myself, for it grieveth me that I should lose this tree and the fruit thereof.” 
    Explanation: Let’s take the first sentence: “And these will I place in the nethermost [nether=lowest; nethermost=lowermost or furthest down] part of my vineyard, withersoever [to whatever place] I will, it mattereth not unto thee [it matters not to the servant where the master places the branches].”
    Now, to the meaning of nethermost. What does “nether” mean? In the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, “nether” means “lower, lying beneath or in the lower part,” “belonging to the regions below,” “in a lower place” “lower in position” “bottom” “situated down below” “the nether regions situated down or below.” The word is taken from Middle English (earlier from Old English) “neothera, meaning down” (akin to German “nieder,” meaning “down,” and from Indo-European base form of ni,”meaning “down”? Thus, the nether part of something is the lower or bottom part of it. So what does “nethermost” mean? It is an adjective, meaning it describes a noun or something attributed to it.
Olive trees hid in the nethermost part of the vineyard 
    Thus, nethermost means “farthest down,” “bottommost,” or “lowermost.” “nether” then means to be located beneath or below, lower or under, “the bottom or lower regions of the earth.” In addition, the comparative suffix (the following part) describes the extent of the “nether” thus, nethermost, means the furthest down, the lowest possible, at the very bottom.
    So, the nethermost part of the master’s vineyard would be the lowest part of the vineyard, that part that was furthest away from view.
2. Jacob 5:14: Now the next verse states: “And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard went his way, and hid the natural branches of the tame olive-tree in the nethermost parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another, according to his will and pleasure.”
     Explanation: Let’s take this first sentence here: “And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard [the master or owner of the vineyard] went his way [went where he chose], and hid the natural branches [where no one knew where he put them] of the tame olive-tree in the nethermost [the lowest or furthest away] parts of the vineyard, some in one and some in another [in different locations], according to his will and pleasure [as he chose].
    Thus, no one but the owner of the vineyard knew where he put the branches, for they were far away in an area no one knew about, and at a distance from everything else that no one would discover them. He also did not put all the branches in the same place, but placed them in different locations in this hidden, far away place.
    Now comes the interesting part of this. To the Lord of the vineyard, or the owner or master of the vineyard, which interpreted is God (Jehovah), his vineyard is the Earth, and he views it from afar, or in modern terminology, he views it as though from a far away satellite—or as a globe in space.
The world as viewed from space, or as it might be seen from the heavens 
    We also need to keep in mind, at the time of Zenos to Jacob, the world had no knowledge of the Western Hemisphere, or of Australia, and, in fact, almost everything they knew about was above the equator, meaning the northern hemisphere (north and eastern quadrant of the globe).
    Except for Africa, nothing south of the Equator was known to the world in B.C. times and for about 1000 years after that except for those the Lord had led to the “isles of the sea.”
Note the land south of the Equator, specifically the Western Hemsiphere, the Lord’s vineyard, where the lowest place, or nethermost part, is not only in South America, but in the lowest part of it 
    In the nethermost part of the vineyard, the Lord hid the transplanted branches where only he (the master of the vineyard) knew they were hidden. When looking at the globe above, it is not difficult to see the Lord’s perspective as he put the words in Zenos’ mouth about his planting a branch in the southern part of South America, hidden in the “nethermost” part, which would appear from his distant heavens as the bottom or lowest part of his vineyard (world) further south or "lower down" (nethermost) than any other inhabitable part of the world.
3. Jacob 5:19. The allegory continues with: “And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Come, let us go to the nethermost part of the vineyard and hehold if the natural branches of the tree have not brought forth much fruit also, that I may lay up of the fruit thereof against the season, unto mine own self.”
    So the owner of the vineyard goes down to the furthest part of his world and sees how the transplanted branches are doing.
    Now consider that the owner of the vineyard, i.e., the Lord of the Earth (Jehovah), who had hid away this branch (Nephites) from the House of Israel in the nethermost (furthest away place) part of the vineyard (world), had made this known to Lehi through his vision that his land to which Lehi had been led, was hidden from the world, and none should be brought into this nethermost part of the vineyard “save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:6), for this part of the vineyard was consecrated “unto him whom he shall bring” (2 Nephi 1:7), and shall be free from others, “a land of liberty” where they will be safe and “unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever” (2 Nephi 1:7). And “it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” for Lehi’s seed (2 Nephi 1:8). That is, this nethermost part of the vineyard would be reserved just for this branch until the branch no longer warranted the privacy (promise).
4. Jacob 5:20. “And it came to pass that they went forth whither the master had hid the natural branches of the tree, and he said unto the servant: Behold these; and he beheld the first that it had brought forth much fruit; and he heheld also that is was good.”
    So the owner of the vineyard went to that furthest away part of his world where he “had hid the natural branches of the tree” to see how his people were doing.
    And so we see that the master of the vineyard was vigilant in overseeing his transplanted branches, and when they did not perform as needed or expected, as we find in this allegory on the second visit of the master (Jacob 5:38-39), other means were implemented (the gentiles were led to the land), which is another purpose and part of the allegory. But for this part, we can see where South America is the only location where the Land of Promise fits Zenos’ allegory as the nethermost part of the vineyard.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Meaning of Nethermost: Connecting the Dots in South America – Part I

In a recent discussion with a friend, we were talking about Jacob discussing the prophet Zenos’ “Allegory of the tame and the wild olive-tree,” meaning Israel and the Gentiles. It was interesting and quite insightful his take on the meaning of the nethermost part of the Vineyard, and also the idea of hiding the branches. 
However, before discussing that, we need to keep in mind when reading most of the scriptural record that we are dealing with a Nephite (and any Old and New Testament period) society that was agrarian, i.e., agricultural; a rural, pastoral, country farming society—a people whose very existence depended on growing their own crops and providing their own food through the cultivating of land, planting and harvesting for their own wealth, sustenance and survival. This is absolutely necessary if we are going to fully understand the meaning of their writing from their point of view.
    While we all know this when brought to mind, what we often forget is the importance of such understanding when it comes to absolute survival. That is, without supermarkets, grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, refrigerators, and all the other things that modern man not only takes for granted, but never even thinks about, meant survival in the ancient era of the Nephites. A poor crop, drought, famine, crop destruction, and other natural and man-made calamities could make the different between surviving and starving in their ancient world.
Zenos saw in the olive tree, which was a major component in the culture and rituals of Ancient Israel and the economy of its inhabitants throughout history, a comparison with mighty Israel and her future and the workings of the Lord with His people as the Lord of the vineyard
Therefore, prophets, officials, and others often talked in terms of crop planting and harvesting, as did the prophet Zenos, an Israel prophet not mentioned in the Bible but quoted in the Book of Mormon in Nephi, Jacob, Alma, and by Amulek, the Disciple Nephi, and Mormon.
    His parable or allegory (a story with a hidden meaning) comparing the house of Israel to a tame olive tree and the Gentiles to a wild olive tree constitutes the longest single chapter in the Book of Mormon, as found in Chapter 5 of Jacob. His allegory refers to major events in the scattering and gathering of the house of Israel, and is couched in a story of a vineyard, its owner and the servant who takes care of it.
    On the Agrarian side, the story has to do with the land owner directing his servant to try and save an olive tree for the harvest so that he might have a good crop of fruit to store away for the winter. On the spiritual side, the story has to do with the Savior trying to save the gentiles from their ignorance of the Lord by grafting limbs and branches from wild trees to graft to tame trees in hopes of saving those who knew not of the Lord, their God.
    It is couched in the planting and harvesting of fruit trees, which every listener in that day would have fully understood, but not necessarily be appreciated today, since modern man, if a current food source is not available simply goes and shops at another. But to the Nephites, crop failure meant possible starvation of self and family, since no crop meant no food stored away for the winter months when crops did not grow and there were no harvests. They fully understood if the harvest in the fall did not meet their needs, their food stores during the winter would be less, since they were unable to “lay up” (put away) the harvest of both the fields and the trees and vines so they would have food when the fields and trees were not producing, i.e., a good harvest in the fall would allow them to eat through the winter months and survive until the Spring harvest.
    As an example, various herbs and legumes were harvested in the spring, but the most important spring crops were cereals—barley and wheat. Pentecost, which was celebrated around mid-May, was called “the Feast of Harvest” (Exodus 23:16). After Pentecost, most of the harvest was fruit—grapes, olives, dates, figs, pomegranates and numerous fruits, seeds and vegetables of lesser importance. Barley and wheat were planted in the autumn and ripened in spring. Barley matured faster and would be harvested sooner. The first fruits of grain offered during the Festival of Unleavened Bread would have been barley. “In the early stages of the Israelite settlement the most important cereal was barley…because of the necessity to settle fringe areas and barley’s tolerance of harsh conditions.”
Thus, the Spring harvest was larger and more important in terms of dietary calories, making the spring grain harvest of barley and wheat “the main food staple of the ancient Israelite.” E.P. Sanders offers a more detailed estimate: “Grain constituted over fifty percent of the average person’s total caloric intake, followed by legumes (lentils), olive oil, and fruit, especially dried figs” (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE-66 CE, 1992, page 129).
    Since fruit has a higher moisture content than grain does, the fruit harvests may have been larger in bulk and weight. Most of the dietary importance of the fruit harvest came after "Tabernacles," when olive oil was produced.
    The autumn festivals came after the summer harvest, a less-important harvest. But the fall festivals were associated with greater rejoicing (Deuteronomy 16:23-25). Why the theme of rejoicing? The conclusion of a wine harvest is an appropriate time for festivities.
“Sukkot,” the Feast of the Tabernacles was the seventh and final feast given to Israel and observed in the fall during which many Jewish families constructed a sukkah, a small hastily built hut in which meals were eaten throughout the festival
    But another reason may be that Tabernacles celebrated both the spring harvest and the summer harvest. Note the mention of both grain and grapes in verse 13: “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.”
    Egypt’s irrigated vegetable gardens could be compared with Canaan’s hilly terrain and seasonal rains, implying that vegetables were less common in Canaan (Deuteronomy 11:10-11), causing vegetable to be among the least esteemed foods of the time (Proverbs 15:17). In fact, the Bible has few references to gardens, cultivated vegetables and wild plants. “The small number of references to vegetables and the low regard in which vegetables were held suggest very strongly that vegetables…did not constitute an important part of the Iron Age diet in Eretz-Israel.” So, looking at the major crops after Pentecost, we find grapes were the first major crop to ripen: “In a good year, when the [grain] yield was great, threshing and grape picking overlapped.” That would be in June, technically in spring, since summer did not officially start until the solstice, June 22.
    The importance of grapes and olives is illustrated by the fact that the Essenes had wine and oil first fruits festivals similar to the biblical first fruits offering for grain. These festivals also indicate the relative timing of these crops. The new wine festival came 50 days or seven weeks after Pentecost. Until new wine was offered, no one could drink any of the new juice. Fourteen weeks after Pentecost, shortly before the Feast of Trumpets, was the new olive oil festival. No one could use new olives until some oil had been offered.
    The grape harvest was usually completed before Tabernacles, but most of the olive harvest came after the autumn festivals. Thus, in ancient Israel in Zenos' time, the primary harvest season extended from April to November. This harvest period might be subdivided into three seasons and three major crops: the spring grain harvest, the summer grape harvest and the autumn olive harvest. These harvests have a general correspondence with the festivals. Some grain might be harvested after Pentecost, threshing and grape-picking might overlap, and the olive harvest came both before and after the Festival of Tabernacles.
“The amount and distribution of rainfall together with soil conditions limit the area in Eretz-Israel where wheat is cultivated to the coastal valleys, the Valley of Jezreel, the Upper Jordan Valley, and the Beth-shan Valley, where the Israelites did not conquer at first (Judges 1:19). In the northern Negev, wheat does well only in rainy years, which are not frequent” and ripens later than barley and, according to the Gezer Manual, was harvested during the sixth agricultural season, yrh qsr wkl (end of April to end of May).”
    Where the climate is warmer, as in the Shephelah and the Jordan Valley, crops mature earlier than in regions where the climate is cool, as in the Judean hill-country and the Galilee.” In Galilee, for example, part of the grain harvest would be completed after Pentecost, especially in years in which Pentecost came as early as mid-May. Even though all the crop might not be harvested by Pentecost, Pentecost celebrated the entire grain harvest, including the small amount of grain to be harvested shortly after the festival.
    Thus we can see the importance of harvesting to Israel during the time frame being discussed, i.e., Zenos' allegory and even that of the Nephites when Jacob reiterated it.
(See the next post, “The Meaning of Nethermost: Connecting the Dots in South America – Part II, to see how the Jews saw harvesting and, therefore, the importance of Zenos’ allegory and the hidden meaning of the allegory in regard to the Nephites)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part V

Continuing from the previous post on why the Nephites knew they were on an island, and our responses to the several comments sent to us on this by a reader. In the last post, the comment the reader made was:The Mediterranean climate you mention would have been very different when they first landed under your theory with the absence of the Andes mountains,” which led to a response in regard to understanding of earthquakes: 
    Reader: “Plus, Nephi points out that their crops grew "exceedingly" and "in abundance" which sounds like they grew even better than in Jerusalem.”
Left: Exceedingly Abundant corn crop in Jerusalem, Israel; Right: Exceedingly Abundant corn crop in La Serena, Chile; both Mediterranean Climates
    Response: Jerusalem crop production is considered, especially in Old Testament times, as a highly productive growing area. Another way to interpret what he wrote is: 1) The Lord blessed them with abundant crops that were essential for their survival for there were no other ways to secure food; 2) Nephi knew that planting seeds in other areas might not always allow for good yields, but that he was surprised they did so well in a transplanted period.
    Reader: “If the Nephites had fled 1500 miles the Lamanites would have found them. But Nephi made swords, knowing the Lamanites would come back, which they did. Even though they traveled "many days" to separate themselves, they still must not have been all that far away.”
    Response. First of all, I’m not sure of your point here. Nephi would have known the Lamanites would follow and eventually find them for he had visions of the wars between his people and those of his brethren, as did Lehi before him.
I doubt it was a matter of hiding, but of: 1) Going where the Lord told him through the Liahona, and 2) hoping the greater distance might discourage immediate following and give them time to get settled, build fortifications and weapons, which is what seems to have happened. As Nephi stated: “And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people” (2 Nephi 4:14).
    Secondly, the distance from La Serena to Cuzco is 1526 miles, which is about the distance from Jerusalem to where Lehi turned east, away from the Red Sea. It would seem that Nephi might have entertained the hope that the Lamanites might not follow, at least for a time, for they had been safe from pursuit that far south along the Red Sea from those in Jerusalem who wanted to kill Lehi.
    Reader: “Coquimbo is about 1,500 miles from Cusco, which is another almost 1,500 miles from your narrow neck.”
    Response: 1526 from La Serena (Coquimbo Bay) to Cuzco, and about 1496 miles from Cuzco to the Narrow Neck. However, at no time once Nephi got that far north, to Cuzco, was a trip undertaken from there to the narrow neck—almost all travel as pointed out earlier in this series was done in much closer or shorter distances. Only Limhi’s 43-man expedition made that length of a trip and that was because they were lost for some time and had no idea where they were, but kept hunting until they found what they thought was Zarahemla (the destroyed buildings of the Jaredite people).
    Reader: “It took about 20 days to get from Nephi to Zarahemla. With families and animals going through the wilderness you could only cover 10-15 miles per day at the most (probably 200-300 miles). Bountiful was probably a similar distance or less from Zarahemla so at the very most it would have been 500 miles or so from the land of Nephi to the narrow neck.”
Response: First of all, you have your distances mixed up. The distance from the City of Nephi to the City of Zarahemla is unknown, but whatever it was, the distance from Nephi to Bountiful is in no way suggested so it cannot be determined to be 500 miles or any other figure based on the scriptural record. Secondly, we do not know the distance from the City of Nephi to the City of Zarahemla—that is never given. We know that it took 21 days for Alma and his people to get from the Waters of Mormon to the Land of Zarahemla, but not how long to get to the City of Zarahemla for that destination is not mentioned. Third, as for the 21 days of travel, this travel was under extreme conditions of fleeing and we cannot know how far they traveled under such fearful conditions—it is likely they milked every minute of possible travel time, knowing they were running ahead of Noah’s armed guards initially, then from the Lamanites. Again, they would have traveled as fast and as far as they could each day under those circumstances.
They also made that trip in three increments and would have been well rested before each of the three legs traveled. All we can definitely say is that it would have taken about 21 days to travel the distance from the Waters of Mormon to the Land of Zarahemla.
    Knowing  how many miles they traveled would be an assumption, but we can come up with a fairly close figure. Because of the stress of the danger involved, they would, as said earlier, traveled every daylight and twilight hour available to them.
    Based on the summer solstice (December) in the area, which is 12 hours 50 minutes of sunlight, but 13 hours and 37 minutes of civil twilight, which provides sufficient light when the sun drops down below the horizon (and rises above it) where sufficient light is available for travel; or 14 hours 8 minutes of astronomical twilight, when the sun drops down (and rises) to a level between total darkness and sufficient twilight where travel is possible but difficult.
    Under the circumstances of their flight from danger of capture and probably death, it is likely that Alma and his people traveled well into astronomical twilight, giving them about 14 hours of travel, which could have been more based on the available moonlight. However, taking 14 hours, moving at 3 miles an hour (one mile every 20 minutes under high adrenalin conditions, in three incremental movement periods, beginning each one well rested), would amount to 42 miles per day for a possible 882 miles covered.
    Since the distance from Cuzco (City of Nephi) to Pachacamac (City of Zarahemla) is about 685 miles, it is possible they could have made this in the 21 days under the conditions cited. In fact, they would have been able to do it averaging 2.4 miles per hour during those 21 days (that is about 32 miles per day). Remember, this was not a regular, routing journey as Mormon describes in Alma 22:32 in crossing the narrow neck of land,but a condition where Alma and his people are fleeing from those who at best would enslave them and at worse, kill them.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part IV

Continuing from the previous post on why the Nephites knew they were on an island, and our responses to the several comments sent to us on this by a reader. In the last post, the question the reader asked “The Mediterranean climate you mention would have been very different when they first landed under your theory with the absence of the Andes mountains,” which led to an understanding of earthquakes, continuing here: 
Consider that the average earthquake is from 10 to 30 seconds (a minute is extremely long for an earthquake), plus a few readjustments in the earth following, called “aftershocks,” with the devastating quake in Christchurch, New Zealand, February 2011, that was a 6.3 but produced accelerations in excess of 2g with the strongest shaking lasting for less than10 seconds, with the usually wobbling continuing for another 10 seconds or so. The great earthquake of San Francisco of 1906 lasted between 45 and 60 seconds. The 9.0 earthquake in Japan lasted about the same length. The Sumatra earthquake in 2004, measuring 9.2, triggering the Indian Ocean tsunami, also has the longest recorded rupture (about 800 miles), and released something the size of a 100 gigaton nuclear weapon, 99.725% greater than the largest weapon ever deployed by the U.S.—a 25 Mt (megaton) bomb. The 6.7 Northridge (Los Angeles) earthquake in 1994 lasted 8 seconds and was felt as far away as Las Vegas and Baja California, and was the largest major earthquake to strike an urban area since the Long Beach earthquake in 1933, which was a 6.4 lasting 10 seconds. The second largest earthquake ever recorded, the 9.2 Alaskan quake of 1964 lasted 240 seconds (4 minutes), with the largest earthquake, near Valdivia, China in 1964, a 9.5 quake lasted about 10 minutes, perhaps the longest earthquake ever recorded.
    With this in mind, consider what the disciple Nephi said of the devastating earthquakes during the crucifixion: “And it came to pass that thus did the three days pass away. And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed from off the face of the land, and the earth did cease to tremble, and the rocks did cease to rend, and the dreadful groanings did cease, and all the tumultuous noises did pass away” (3 Nephi 10:9, emphasis added).
One can hardly imagine the devastation brought about by three days of earthquakes before the shaking stopped and the earth ceased to tremble.
    During these three days, mountains fell, in some places into level valleys, while in other places, level valleys rose up into mountain ranges “whose height was great.” There is simply no way to know what part of the Andes, if any, were high mountains before this time, what mountains fell and where, and which were the ones that rose to great heights—we only know that it happened. And since its purpose was to be a sign: “another sign I give unto you, yea, a sign of his death” (Helaman 14:14), and that sign was for the purpose that “many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” (Helaman 14:28). Thus the signs of the mountains would certainly be seen throughout the Land of Promise, and so all would have an opportunity to know first hand of the wonders of God and believe. This was no minor event, nor one hidden in a corner of the land, but something widespread so much so that none could deny its occurrence.
     Secondly, Mediterranean Climates (for the purpose of growing plants) is far beyond the outside climate (temperature), but includes soils, soil types, soil erosion and rejuvenation, mineralogical composition, coherence and permeability, etc., also the oceans involved, high pressure cells, natural vegetation types, location on a continent, latitude, being on western side, irregularity of rainfall, and numerous other factors with which the height of mountains have absolutely no relationship.
    Reader: “The sudden appearance of the Andes during the destruction would have caused a major change in climate.”
    Response: “Not necessarily, depending on where the mountains were before, and what their height might have been, and how they affected the winds coming off the Humboldt Current, which has nothing to do with the mountains, but with the Antarctic currents that flow northward along the coast of Chile, Peru and Ecuador. The highest point in the Mediterranean Climate Los Angeles Basin is 3,111 feet, which is Sandstone Peak in the Malibu Canyon/Santa Monica Mountains area, with an average of 1266’ to 3010’ mountain heights throughout the entire region—it is interesting that the Judean Mountains heights of Mediterranean Climate Israel is 3280 feet, almost identical to Los Angeles.
Mountains only half the height of the present Andes are still considered to be quite high in terms of their effect on climate and weather conditions
    It should also be noted that the height of the mountains in both places, as in Chile and Peru, does not affect the Mediterranean Climate of the preceding valleys, but affects the lack of moisture beyond the mountains in the regions to the east, causing deserts, jungles, etc.
    Reader: “Having the same soil/climate as Jerusalem would not have been necessary…
    Response: A Mediterranean Climate, of which there are only a few in the world, is not dependent upon very high mountains like the Andes; in fact, in no other place where a Mediterranean Climate exists do we find extremely high mountains affecting a climate condition. Where I come from, in Southern California, one of the five Mediterranean Climates outside the Mediterranean Sea area, has very low hills cupping the Los Angeles basin. However, you err in the point of the seeds and how they react to different climates in the ground. Up until the 19th century, seeds simply did not grow anywhere other than where they were originally produced. It took, through modern technology and knowledge (experimentation) that if a seed was to be destined for another place, it had to be systematically grown over several stages in a development process toward that climate. Even today, with all that we know, a seed will take a few years to develop to the point where it can produce natural crop results in an entirely different climate than what you see it approved for on the back of the package.
    Reader: “…since they were mostly growing corn, wheat and barley, which can grow in many different areas and climates/soil types.”
    Response: Today, with modern knowledge, one can grow a lot of things in a lot of areas; however, in the ancient past, seeds grew where they were developed; if tried to grow elsewhere, it would take a view years of constant adjustment while the seeds became accustomed to the change in their origin of soils, temperatures, precipitation, etc. As for corn, to come to harvest quickly corn requires warm temperatures, rich soil, and even, regular watering. Too cold or damp soil inhibits seed growth; is susceptible to frosts; poorly draining soil; soil with cutworms, aphids, beetles, moths, earwigs, armyworms, etc., bird activity, tough soil that doesn’t allow deep watering, soil has a phosphorus deficiency, problem with overhead irrigation (too much rain), weeds growing wildly nearby, irregular watering, poorly drained soil, unsteady temperatures, late freezes, and a number of other problems face growing corn—especially in new environments that are not that well known. In fact, some corn varieties simply do not grow in some environments, and the only cure is to take out that variety and plant another.
    As for wheat, it prefers cool weather, neutral soil, with warm, dry weather for ripening. Alter that sequence and you get poor yields. There are different seeds for growing seasons—in Mediterranean Climates, it does very well, but in too much heat, too cold weather, unless you have a variety of temperature seeds, wheat is not so easy to grow and produces poor yields.
Barley is one of the oldest grains (member of grass family) and currently is fourth most produced in the world (136 million tons, covering 219,000 square miles)
    As for barley, the elevation of growing is very important, as is the temperature, and has poor tolerance to acidic soils, and can be over-watered and does well in highly arid areas, such as dry deserts. Barley also has too many disease problems for most growers to handle—and is not particularly grown in South America or does well there.
    Once any of these grains are settled in an area, they will eventually do well and grow abundantly; the problem is getting them started in soils, temperatures, and conditions not natural to them or their seed origin. I know it is difficult for the non-agriculturist today to think seeds would have trouble growing anywhere, but take away our modern knowledge and technology and we would be back in the days of pilgrims as we tried to grow seeds in areas where they did not originate, even though that growing change was slight.
(See the next post, “Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part V,” for more on why the Nephites and particularly Jacob knew they were on an island”)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part III

Continuing from the previous post on why the Nephites knew they were on an island, and our responses to the several comments sent to us on this by a reader. 
    Reader: “As far as other people being there, there are many verses that suggest this is entirely possible if you pay attention to the context. Not definitively, but possible.”
Response: In order for any part of the scriptural record to be considered “possible” that others were in the Land of Promise, i.e., that land being described directly in the scriptural record, one must ignore other passages to the contrary. It is not our role to ignore one passage in order to make another mean something it does not outright say. As an example, it is not a stretch to suggest that there was no Sea East or Narrow Neck of Land after the crucifixion, since neither are mentioned any more in the scriptural record. The lack of mentioning could suggest they were changed after the destruction in 3 Nephi. But to suggest that there were other people in the land because the numbers don’t add up otherwise is to ignore direct statements that there was no one else there, and that not a single passage suggests there were. No matter how hard you pay attention to the context, nobody is mentioned or suggested in any way. You simply cannot add something where not only is it not mentioned, but several passages show that no one could have been, from Ether 13:2 and Lehi’s promise to his children, including the vision given to Nephi of Columbus and the gentiles. One might suspect that if others were involved, they would at least have been mentioned or in some way suggested in the passages about those people mentioned.
Unfortunately, beginning with Hugh Nibley and later John L. Sorenson, the area of Mesoamerica, when using academic criteria and 17th century writings supposedly “remembering” thousand-year-old histories, show a diffusion of peoples in Mesoamerica, that the Mesoamericanist is obliged to include them within their Land of Promise models. These models include Jaredites surviving the final wars though the scriptures say none did; of lengthy Mulekite interaction with Jaredites, though they could not understand the language and needed Mosiah to interpret it for them; of Lamanites mixing with other people not otherwise mentioned in the record in order to bolster their numbers, even though their larger numbers are easily understood by the record itself.
    Reader: “Even the verses leading up to 2 Nephi 1:8 (quoted above) say that the those brought from other nations would be brought by the hand of the Lord and that the land was covenanted to Lehi's seed "and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord."
    Response: If you read the passages you mention and the others about these “other people” you will find that it stated all these events “in the future tense,” i.e., after Lehi arrived. Those who came after Lehi are clearly defined in Nephi’s vision; and Lehi makes it clear that none would be coming soon because of the displacement of his own seed, etc. “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8)—kept as yet, means no one has come yet!
Lehi also said, “And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9). “and there should be none to molest them” is pretty clear! Not until Mormon’s time (Mormon 2:15) did the Nephites reach a point where they lost these rights.
    Reader: “At the time Lehi stated this, there were already at least two other groups there (or arriving shortly)- the Jaredites and the Mulekites. Obviously Lehi's seed was not promised the entire land to themselves.”
    Response: At the time Lehi stated this, it would have been about 10 to 12 years after Lehi left Jerusalem, making it 590-588 B.C. (Actual time per Zedekiah’s reign: 587-584 B.C.). By this time, the Jaredites were all gone and Coriantumr would have been wandering his land, eventually heading into the Land Southward. Mulek and his people would still be on the high seas if his group went through the same process that Lehi did (with the exception of the weddings), which was an 8 year period in the wilderness and at least one to 2 years building a ship. If it took Mulek’s group that long, Mulek, who left Jerusalem 10 to 11 years after Lehi (the former in the first year of Zedekiah’s reign and the latter in the last year). Since Jerusalem fell in 587 or 586 B.C., Mulek would have left the city sometime between 586 and 588 B.C., which would place him in the Land of Promise at the very earliest at 582 and the very latest 576 B.C. Either date, would put them in the Land of Promise a few years after Lehi’s statement.
    Reader: “The land was kept secret to those that the Lord didn't intend to lead there, but not a secret to everyone.”
Response: It was a secret to everyone. No one came unless the Lord brought them, for Lehi said, “I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:6, emphasis added) as well as “and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:5, emphasis added), and “Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring” (2 Nephi 1:7, emphasis added), showing the Lord would lead anyone coming here and that at Lehi’s time, it would be in the future. The Lord made it clerar no one else had arrived, new about it, or was already there “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8, emphasis added).
    Reader: “You are spot on about the promised land being more than the United States.”
    Response: As we have said from the beginning, the land promised is the entire Western Hemisphere, though that portion covered in the scriptural record is only one island—an area along the western shelf of the present South America continent.
    Reader: “The Mediterranean climate you mention would have been very different when they first landed under your theory with the absence of the Andes mountains.”
    Response: First of all, for some reason, though we have written to the contrary numerous times, some of our readers are under the impression there were no mountains in Andean South America prior to the crucifixion. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a vision Nephi had before even reaching the Land of Promise tells us there were mountains there when the destruction in 3 Nephi began: 
I saw a mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise; and I saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all manner of tumultuous noises; and I saw the earth and the rocks, that they rent; and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw the plains of the earth, that they were broken up; and I saw many cities that they were sunk; and I saw many that they were burned with fire; and I saw many that did tumble to the earth, because of the quaking thereof” (1 Nephi l12:4); and Samuel the Lamanite, speaking from the city wall of Zarahemla the words the Lord put in his mouth regarding the destruction to take place at the time of the crucifixion: “there shall be great tempests, and 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).
    Obviously, the Land of Promise described in the scriptural record underwent a complete change in topography. For those who have been through a serious earthquake, you know how damaging a few seconds of shaking can do.
(See the next post, “Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part IV,” for more on why the Nephites and particularly Jacob knew they were on an island”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Clarification for Another Reader – The Isle of Promise – Part II

(Continuing from the previous post on why the Nephites knew they were on an island. The last post ended with the comment of a reader: 
    Reader: ”Secondly, Jacob would not have known if they were on a literal island.”
    Response: Let’s take a look at what the scriptural record says, not what a person wants to claim. Speaking to the Nephites in the temple on the second day of a conference, Jacob tells them what the Lord has assured them:
Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God“ (2 Nephi 10:19).
    (Note Jacob says “sayeth God unto me” so obviously the Lord is telling him this. Evidently the Lord wants Jacob to understand where they are so he can tell the people [Amos 3:7 tells us that the prophet is the first to know from the Lord])
    And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off…”
    (This was the main issue and what he is addressing himself to so the Nephites can “lift up their heads”)
    “…nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance…”
    (Another point the Nephites were complaining about—the land of their inheritance, as it was to every member of the House of Israel, was the land promised to the Twelve Tribes in Israel)
    “…but we have been led to a better land…”
    (A better land than Israel and Jerusalem)
    “…for the Lord has made the sea our path…”
    (This would not have been any surprise to any Nephite present—all would have been told and know of the adventure of leaving Jerusalem, building the ship, and sailing across the oceansince this is at least 30 years since leaving Jerusalem, and at least 20 years since setting sail, there would be several adults in the audience who were children on that voyage, children of Nephi, Sam and Zoram, now in the mid to late teens or even early 20s)
    “…and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).
    (Nor would this have been any surprise to any Nephite present. They knew where they were and it would be irresponsible to think that a people in a new area would not have explored their surroundings. They came from the west coast where Nephi landed, to the east coast, where Cuzco (City of Nephi) would have been with a Sea East just beyond their location. They would have traveled up the eastern seacoast for some time before reaching the place they stopped and pitched their tents and built their city. At the time of this conference in the temple, the city had been built and the temple had been built, and the crops in and probably harvested, etc. There would have been plenty of time for exploration by at least some.
But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea…”
    (Those scattered from the House of Israel and led away and were lost to the rest of the House of Israel)
    “…wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this…
    (Jacob is referring to Isaiah’s writing of which all would have been familiar, and he is referring to other isles than the one theythe Nephiteswere on)
    “…and they are inhabited also by our brethren” (2 Nephi 10:21)
    (Now how would Jacob know this unless the Lord had told him?” Men, all men, need to be careful that they don’t fall into the belief that they know as much as, or more than, the Lord, or his prophets to whom he speaks.)
    However, Jacob is not finished. Here he goes on to make his point:
    “For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also.”
    (This is what the Nephites were complainingor worried about, and the point of these passages, to which Jacob adds):
    “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (2 Nephi 10:23).
    Jacob then goes on to preach his entire purpose—for the Nephites need to choose God over Satan. It also should be noted that Jacob uses the term “an isle of the sea” in vs. 20—that is, a single island for the Nephites; but in vs 21 he uses “isles,” and mentions that there were others and these plural islands were where the rest of those led away would be found or located.
    Reader: “Under this theory, the first landing site in Coquimbo, Chile is about 3,500 miles from the top of the land northward. There is no account of Nephi or Jacob or anyone in their group ever traveling that far.”
    Response: First of all, it is 3,995 miles from La Serena, Chile (Coquimbo Bay), to Cartagena, Colombia. Exactly where the top of the Land of Promise was located is anyone’s guess, but may have been no farther north than Cali, Colombia (3347 miles), or to Bogata, Colombia (2790 miles), or perhaps only to Guapi, Colombia (2284 miles). The size of the Land Northward seems to lend itself to the lesser distance than the greater one. Secondly, Nephi tells us that they crossed the oceans in “many days” (1 Nephi 18:23), a distance of at least about 9,000 miles, yet he also says they traveled for “many days” after separating from his brothers who sought his life (2 Nephi 5:7), a distance of unknown length. At no time in the scriptural record can we determine how long a period of time and a distance was meant by ”many days,” the term meaning, no doubt, anywhere from a handful of days to months. Third, according to Paul R. Cheesman, (“Lehi’s Journeys” BYU Religious Studies Center, Professor emeritus of ancient scripture), when traveling from Jersualem to the Arabian Sea, the distance would have been a little over 2500 miles.
    Consequently, it cannot be said no one traveled that far in the scriptural record. In addition, when determining travel distances in the Land of Promise, the distance from the Land of First Inheritance (landing site) to the Land of Nephi should be discounted, since once Nephi separated himself, the record has to do with basically the area between the City of Nephi and the City of Zarahemla, then later from Zarahemla to Bountiful and finally from the Narrow Neck of Land to Cumnorah, and in those sequences, the distance of travel would have been far shorter.
    Reader: “Had they gone north, they would have run into the Mulekites, or at least found the remains of the Jaredites like the people of Limhi did.”
Response: I’m afraid I miss your point here. Nehi traveled from Coquimbo Bay to the area of Cuzco (using modern terms), a distance of about 1526 miles. Mosiah traveled from Cuzco to Pachacamac (Lima), a distance of about 685 miles; Pachacamac to Cajamarca (Bountiful) 505 miles; Limhi’s 43-man expedition traveled from Cuzco to Cumorah, an assumed distance of about 1155 miles. While these are long distances, they are singular events. The vast majority of the travel cited in the scriptural record is like when the Lamanites came down to battle the city of Moroni, Lehi, Morianton and Nephihah—these were much shorter distances. Most of those distances would have been like from Cuzco to the city of Moroni, about 100 miles, across the narrow strip of wilderness to the Sea East coast, and then up the coast to Lehi, Morianton, and inland to Nephihah, the latter about 190 miles distant. The other travel distances are pretty much missionary work, and involved in going on foot from one city to another. That would not have been any more than early missionaries traveling by footmy great grandfather, Porter DowDell, was called on a mission in the early 1840s in Alabama. They walked all over the state, as an example from Hunstville in the north to Montgomery in the central part is 191 miles; from Birmingham to Columbus is 192 miles, and Tuscaloose to Mobile is 195 miles; all within the probability of Alma's missionary jaunts and the sons of Helaman, etc.