Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part IV

Continuing with the understanding of the paper on which Frederick G. Williams wrote that Lehi landed along the Chilean west coast at 30º South Latitude. It should be noted that theorists who champion other sites, such as Mesoamerica and the Heartland and Great Lakes, take issue with the Williams’ note, though they have no explanation what prompted it and why it was circulated about the early Church.     
Frederick G. Williams made more notes than just the landing site of Lehi. Above are characters that Williams copied from the Book of Mormon, suggesting he was prone to make notes of what was discussed in the First Presidency meetings and pertaining to the Church at the time

Many might reasonably question why the Williams statement was given such importance when numerous theories were being introduced at the time. The answer to that question becomes more apparent when we realize that Williams was the Prophet’s scribe during the years between 1833 and 1837, and because the proposed landing site of Lehi was found on the same sheet of paper with a known revelation regarding John the Beloved. Thus, many Saints believed the proposed Chilean landing site must have been a revelation as well.
    It is interesting, however, that critics like to point out that this was not a revelation, and we certainly have no axe to grind on that point since it was never acknowledged as such by Joseph Smith. Yet, that does not change the issue at hand. 
    How did these three men know about the 30º south latitude landing site matching the Book of Mormon description given by Nephi in Chapter 18, verses 23-25? 
     In addition, what was it doing written on that sheet of paper at all? What brought about the decision of Williams to write this statement down that Lehi landed at 30º south latitude along the west Chilean coast?
    It is interesting that critics of this statement never address that fact, only the “hysteria” that led to people thinking it was a revelation. But when you eliminate the revelation idea, you are still left with a statement written by Williams on a sheet of paper with other important information connected to his role as the scribe and 2nd counselor in the First Presidency. It is interesting that no one wants to address this issue beyond the question of whether or not it was a revelation.
    The fact remains, it was still an item of discussion between the First Presidency that prompted Williams to write it down in the first place. It is also of note that the revelation on the sheet of paper about John the Beloved was received in 1829 before Williams even joined the Church. Therefore, the paper with the heading "A Revelation Concerning John the Beloved" appears to be nothing more than a note penned by Mr. Williams in reference to the earlier revelation,  possibly during his hours spent in the school of the prophets.
    While this is of import, it does not change the fact that Williams wrote these four things on the sheet of paper, all issues that would have been discussed in some official capacity. The fact that Williams’ proposed landing site of Lehi eventually found its way into print should also be of interest since it was given some status of importance at the time.
Franklin D. Richards and James A. Little were the first to publish the Williams statement in A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel in 1882. The work was titled Lehi’s Travels. A Revelation to Joseph the Seer. Now, since there was no title given on the original paper by Williams, both the title and the additional phrase, "A Revelation to Joseph the Seer" was simply added by either the authors or the publisher. However, while that seems likely, we cannot rule out that Williams’ himself let it be known to others who carried the information forward that this information was of serious consideration in whatever meeting Williams was in where this was discussed, and as the personal scribe of Joseph Smith, it may well have been from the prophet that the information originated.
    It should also be of note that critics of the statement have gone to great length to discredit its value and importance. Their statement: “It is interesting to note that the statement by Williams was not included in the 1857 edition of the Compendium which was much closer to the time the statement was made and began to be circulated throughout the Church. If this had been an official revelatory statement given to the Prophet for the benefit of the Church, surely it would have been included in the earlier edition.”
    The problem is, the value of the statement is not in whether or not it was revelatory (though one can only wonder where these men in the 1830s came up with such a thought), its importance is that it was made and written down by a counselor in the First Presidency, personal confidant of Joseph Smith and his personal scribe and physician. Thus, the source of the statement was not just a member with a wild idea, but someone of some importance and calling in the early Church.
To bring this again into focus, the sheet of paper containing the reference to John the Beloved was clearly labeled "A Revelation concerning John the beloved." The section of paper containing the Lehi’s travel statement had no title or header calling it a revelation or anything else, and was found on the sheet that had been separated into four sections by a line drawing. The top section contained a copy of the revelation pertinent to John, the second had "Questions in English and Answers in Hebrew," and the third section had writings titled "Characters on the Book of Mormon." The Lehi statement was found at the bottom of the page in the fourth section. There was no reference to authorship or headers of any kind in this section. It should be of interest that at least two of these four items would be directly associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith: 1) the Revelation, which he received, and 2) Questions in English and Answers in Hebrew, would be an area of Joseph’s expertise, for who else at the time in this group spent their time studying Hebrew other than Joseph Smith? Now it also seems that the third area, “Characters on the Book of Mormon,” would be connected to Joseph, since he above all the others would have been the leading expert on such matters pertaining to the Book of Mormon.
    Thus, it might be said that Joseph Smith was definitely connected to the four statements on the sheet of paper. So whether we want to call something a revelation, or revelatory, we ought to be asking ourselves:
1. Where did the information, unknown to these men and just about anyone else in the area, come from? 
2. Where did the statement originate? 
3. Who would have known about that particular landing site? 
4. Why would it have been written down at all? 
5. Why written  on that particular sheet of paper?
    While it is true that no basis for it being considered a revelation to Joseph could ever be justified, according to Williams’ great, great, grandson (who, by the way was connected to FARMS and the Mesoamerican theory for the Land of Promise), Orson Pratt did make the following statement: “As near as we can judge from the description of the country contained in this record {Book of Mormon} the first landing place was in Chile, not far from where the city of Valparaiso now stands,” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, 11, Feb, 1872, p325).
    It is also interesting that this following statement made by some of the critics of the location: “Even though no information about the physical geology of Lehi’s landing site is ever given in the scriptures, those who were following the journey of Lehi eastward from the Arabian Peninsula may have still found the Chilean landing site plausible.” 
    It should be noted that in the 1830s onward, the total lack of information about the west coast of South America to the average person in the eastern United States would have been almost non-existent. Other than U.S. Navy vessels, no American ships sailed those waters at that time. The plausibility, therefore, would have been simply that the early members had no idea where Lehi landed and one place would have semed as good as any other at the time.
In any event, the theory that Lehi landed in Chile continued to persist. In fact, Orson Pratt found the theory so appealing he successfully perpetuated it for many years and unabashedly proclaimed "the western coast of South America" to be the site of Lehi’s landing” (An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the Late Discovery of Ancient Records, 3rd American ed., New York, 1842, p18).
(See the next post, “Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part V,” for more information regarding how the Book of Mormon Land of Promise geography came about).

Monday, January 30, 2017

Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part III

Continuing with the understanding of the paper on which Frederick G. Williams wrote that Lehi landed along the Chilean west coast at 30º South Latitude. It should be noted that theorists who champion other sites, such as Mesoamerica and the Heartland or Great Lakes, take issue with the Williams’ note, though they have no explanation what prompted it and why it was circulated about the early Church. 
   As these theorists conclude, “Therefore, the proposed Chilean landing site may have simply come about when those who were studying out the directions given in 1 Nephi attempted to follow the journey from the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula eastward to a plausible landing site in the new world.”
Top: What would have appeared to those in the frontier lands of New England in 1830 as a most direct course to take to the Western Hemisphere; Bottom: In picking Chile, this would have appeared to be the most direct courser; however, with the “Direct” course more appealing, why would they have even considered going further south to “Chile”?

    Response: In the 1830s, there is no way anyone in the United States, especially anyone not connected to international sailing endeavors, could possibly have believed that winds and current would have taken a ship from Arabia to South America. This would especially be true of Frederick G. Williams, who himself had been a pilot on a schooner on Lake Erie in 1815, and would have understood the principle of currents and wind driving sailing ships. He was, after all, smart enough regarding such matters as to have been picked by Admiral Oliver Perry to pilot his flagship during the war with Britain in 1812 along the lake, which he knew well.
    However, in the 1830s, winds and currents coming off the Arabian Peninsula in the Indian Ocean would have been unknown in the United States to an average person, and, in fact to anyone who hadn’t been there, and maritime sailors lived and associated around the ports they frequented, not inland hundreds of miles on what was then called the frontier, near Indian lands.
    In the area of what became Cleveland, that Williams would have known, and the area where the Irish were heavily entering, looking for work along the docks of Lake Erie, ports and landmarks along the west coast of South America would have been particularly unknown.
    This area at the time was reacting to a economic boom that hit in 1830, initiating a full decade of prosperity that was blemished only by the Panic of 1837.
In 1836 gas lighting was installed in Montreal streets, and the port along the lake, hence the docks, bustled, providing more jobs for the men with the brogues. Other laboring jobs opened up also, as the business district, which still fronted on the river, became a thriving center of forwarding and commission warehouses, in addition to the ship chandler's storehouses that seemed to be everywhere. It was menial work, but it also meant that more Irishmen had a chance at stability. As the 1830's progressed, some Irishmen even made it up the hill to the city proper, where they found jobs in the building trades, usually excavating foundations or carrying materials.
    The 1830's saw the Irish firmly entrench themselves in Cleveland. They began to occupy both sides of the Cuyahoga River, from the mouth of the river up to and a little beyond what is now Detroit Avenue. They also began careers as businessmen. Patrick Malone opened a butcher shop and John Murphy petitioned for a license to operate a public house.
    Not to be outdone, Thomas Maher opened a greengrocers shop. No tycoons in the lot, but upwardly mobile men, to be sure. This was the attitude and people that made up the area where Frederick G. Williams spent some of his young adulthood following the War of 1812 when he piloted ships across the Lake from Montreal to Detroit and Cleveland.
    As for Detroit, by 1821, the fur trade was still a key export, but it was starting to decline due to over hunting. The Erie Canal was completed in 1825, and a wave of German immigration to Detroit was beginning. Between 1825 and 1830, the population of Detroit increased by 50% to 2,222. Irish immigration also hit Detroit, settling in an area they called Corktown. During 1832 a cholera epidemic devastated Detroit, and by 1836, a stage coach line opened between Detroit and Chicago.
    Across the Lake, Montreal was incorporated as a city in 1832, and its growth was spurred by opening of the Lachine Canal, which brought shiploads of people and goods south along the St. Lawrence River, opening up the city as a major distribution center rather than a mere trading post. The area thrived on the shipment of wool from the various flocks, which were shipped to France, as well as huge lots of fur brought in by fur trades in the area. 80,000 natives (Indians) lived within a short area of Montreal and came to the town for trade and other economic activity, especially the annual fur trade where they could get better prices than from the outlying traders (voyageurs).
Port of Montreal in 1830, where Williams had served as a pilot in a run from Montreal to Detroit and Cleveland

    Montreal had a large number of Scottish immigrants, as well as ones from Italy and Eastern Europe, and  by 1852 was a city of some size, and entered its Golden Age in 1861 to 1930.
    It was in 1830 that Williams joined the Church, along with his wife, Rebecca. He had given up his life on the sea in 1815 after marrying Rebecca Swain, in favor of homesteading, which he later gave up in favor of medicine, teaching himself to be a doctor. By 1825, ten years and four children later, Williams was practicing medicine and doing quite well. When the Erie Canal was finished, guns from Admiral Perry’s gunship were strung along the route every ten miles and Williams was asked to fire one of them in a repetitious salute its entire length in honor of  opening the Canal its entire length.
    The point of all of this is to show the fine, upstanding, hard-working and intelligent character of Frederick G. Williams. At no time was he given to wasting time or “doodling” away his life. Whatever he put his mind to, he worked hard to achieve and eventually did, whether as a ship’s pilot, farmer, or doctor. He was very well respected, and when he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1826—a town of a thousand residents at the time—he quickly became a beloved doctor, friend and confidant to Joseph Smith, and four years later joined the Church. Three years after that, he was called into the First Presidency, where he served as Second Counselor, as well as secretary and personal scribe and physician to Joseph Smith. In fact, Joseph and Emma named their sixth child Frederick Granger Smith in honor of Williams.
    Those in discussion on the matter of his note believe Williams, and the others, evidently settled on Chile as a landing site; however, as stated earlier, in doing so, he just happened to hit the one spot along the South American coast that so happened to have all the ingredients of matching the scripture—a fact that simply would have been nothing other than an extremely lucky guess, a one in a million chance.
    Undaunted, or probably not even aware of the connection, the theorists claim this destination simply caught hold and lasted for generations. One can only wonder why that occurred since very few, if any members at the time would have known anything about South America at all, and until 1844, when Stephens and Catherwood’s book, Incidents in Travel, showing drawings of the ruins in Central America (Mesoamerica) reached Joseph Smith, they knew nothing of any ruins anywhere in the Western Hemisphere that dated to the Nephite era.
The idea that it was mere chance that Williams wrote down 30º south Latitude along the Chilean coast is not only remarkable in its matching of events, but that anyone in the Church at the time gave it much credence (no one would have known anything about the area). Still time has proven that it was not only a brilliant choice, but one that matches the scriptural record perfectly.
(See the next post, “Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part IV,” for more information regarding how the Book of Mormon Land of Promise geography came about).

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part II

Continuing with the understanding of the paper on which Frederick G. Williams wrote that Lehi landed along the Chilean west coast at 30º South Latitude. It should be noted that the “ocean's continental shelves are narrow, averaging only 120 miles in width. An exception is found off Australia's western coast, where the shelf width exceeds 620 miles.
     It should also be noted that the Indian Ocean is the warmest ocean in the world. Long-term ocean temperature records show a rapid, continuous warming in the Indian Ocean, at about 1.3–2.2°F, during 1901–2012. Indian Ocean warming is the largest among the tropical oceans, and about 3 times faster than the warming observed in the Pacific. Also, that the Indian Ocean’s currents are mainly controlled by the monsoon.
Two large gyres, one in the northern hemisphere flowing clockwise and one south of the equator moving counter-clockwise constitute the dominant flow pattern. Note the directions shown in the circles

During the winter monsoon,  currents in the north are reversed, and blow inland instead of south into the Indian Ocean and ultimately into the Southern Ocean. In fact, it was as early as the first century A.D. that sailors and mariners first became aware of these monsoon winds as discussed in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, an Alexandrian guide to the world beyond the Red Sea, showing that Roman and Greek sailors were aware of these currents and winds.
    In a paper entitled Did Lehi Land in Chile? Frederick G. Williams III, a professor at Brigham Young University and a great great grandson of the former Williams and namesake, tried to piece together his great grandfather’s reasoning on the matter (BYU Department of Spanish and Portuguese). Whether such a thing is ever possible can ultimately only be considered speculation, especially when having nothing else to go upon but the written note stated in the previous post, and tries to use his statement to support his own belief in a Mesoamerican Land of Promise. 
    He speculates that since Chile is thirty degrees south latitude and Jerusalem is at approximately thirty degrees north latitude, both sites would have had a similar climate and may be why that destination was chosen. However, this is not accurate, since only western shores have a Mediterranean Climate, never eastern shores, and such reasoning could cause one to think that such a landing could have occurred at Porto Alegre, on the Atlantic Ocean shore which is also 30º south latitude—but then why not Ensenada in Baja California which is 32º north latitude, the exact latitude of Jerusalem? Or why not Jacksonville along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, which is 32º north latitude? Or why not New Orleans in the Gulf which is also 30º north latitude?
Köppen Climate Classification System

    Since Mediterranean Climates were not known in the 1830s, and the Köppen climate classification—one of the most widely used climate classification systems in existence—was not published until 1884 by Russian-German climatologist Vladimir Köppen, and which was altered with several changes to the classification system in 1954 and 1961. Actually, not until 1980 was the system totally refined. Thus, we find today that only five Mediterranean Climates exist outside of the Mediterranean Sea, and only two in the Western Hemisphere: one in the north around central and southern California, and one in the south, at 30º south Latitude along the Chilean Coast as Frederick G. Williams noted in the 1830s as Lehi’s landing site.--what an unbelievable stroke of luck that he would choose the only Mediterranean Climate in all of the Western Hemisphere where Lehi could have landed--and tht climate is what produced the abundant harvest (1 Nephi 18:24) Nephi writews about of their seeds brought from the Mediterranean Climate of Jerusalem.
    Not only is the climate such to have allowed the seeds Lehi brought from Jerusalem to have grown exceedingly and provided an abundant harvest, but this particular landing spot has all six of the circumstances needed, and the four that Nephi specifically writes about and would have had to exist for a landing to have occurred.
As winds and currents slow down at the 30º south latitude,  Nephi could have steered his vessel out of the fast-moving gyre current and drifted into the Bay

1. Winds and currents die down to almost nothing as winds moving south from the equator collide with winds moving north from the Antarctic, causing both to bounce upward, leaving a void along the coast at that point, allowing a previously 25mph wind to subside to almost nothing where Nephi could have steered his vessel into shore.
Coquimbo Bay today, a completely protected harbor in central Chile, one of the few along the entire west coast of South America

2. A bay large enough for protection from the winds and sea currents to allow a vessel to land its occupants safely. In fact, the name Coquimbo Bay means “peaceful waters.”
3. Once landed, this beach and land adjacent to the bay was a perfect location for “we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents (1 Nephi 18:23); and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23), including a fresh water river that empties into the bay.
4. This settlement area today is a thriving city called La Serena, with soils, soil groups, precipitation and temperature like that of Jerusalem for growing seeds from Jerusalem (1 Nephi 18:24).
5. Next to this area is a huge forest, the largest rain forest in all of South America, large enough that both wild and feral animals could co-exist as Nephi claims (1 Nephi 18:25).
6. Also adjacent to this area are some of the largest and extensive gold, silver and copper mines in all of the Western Hemisphere, as Chile and Peru so happen to be one of the largest producers of gold, silver and copper in the world (1 Nephi 18:25).
Now the question that no one ever asks about this Williams’ note, is how could he possibly have known that this landing site was the perfect match, better than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, including Mesoamerica, and most certainly the Heartland or Eastern United States, of the scriptural account of what Nephi tells us they found where they landed
(1 Nephi 18:23-25).
In some manner, Williams, probably along with Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon discussed this landing site, which prompted Williams, the scribe of the group, and a close friend and confidant of Joseph Smith, to write down what was said—but how would any of these three have known about the 30º south latitude landing site so perfectly fitted not only to land a ship in along the west coast of South America where there are very few harbors, but for all the factors Nephi wrote about the landing site to have existed there. It is not as though the entire west coast of Chile or South America is conducive to landing a sailing ship in 600 B.C., in fact there are very few such landing sites along the entire coast of South America—much of it is cliffs and impossible to have landed a ship.
    While theorists with other axes to grind ridicule the Williams’ note as not being a revelation, we continue to ask how these three men knew of this area in the 1830s while spending their time in western New York around Lake Erie? 
    Who could have suggested such a perfectly fitted site?
    It is remarkable that this place was chosen to be discussed among these men. It is the only place along the entire west coast of South America where 1) a ship could be landed in the time frame of the Nephites, 2) was close enough to a settlement area where the aged and infirmed Lehi and Sariah could have managed to walk to, 3) had fresh water, 4) had a protected bay, 5) had a climate where seeds from Jerusalem would have grown exceedingly and produced an abundant harvest, 6) had a forest nearby as Nephi states, 7) where gold, silver and copper were located in great abundance.
    It is not easy to pick such a matching spot in an area unknown in the United States at the time, especially to such people as Williams, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
(See the next post, “Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part III,” for more information regarding how the Book of Mormon Land of Promise geography came about).

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part I

One of the very first theories regarding the geographical location of the Book of Mormon came from a lone statement by Frederick Granger Williams who, sometime between 1833 and 1837, wrote down a comment about Lehi’s party landing at 30º south latitude along the western Chilean coast. Williams’ statement, which had no header or title, was written on a sheet of paper that had three other important facts and information written upon it in his own hand, including one revelation that Joseph Smith received.

Williams’ statement was brief and clear: “The course that Lehi traveled from the city of Jerusalem to the place where he and his family took ship, they traveled nearly a south, south east direction until they came to the nineteenth degree of North Latitude, then nearly east to the Sea of Arabia then sailed in a south east direction and landed on the continent of South America in Chili thirty degrees south Latitude” (Frederick G. Williams III, Did Lehi Land in Chile? LDS Archives, MSD 3408 fd 4 v, S. L. C., Utah, p1; Chile is spelled with an ”i” in the original statement).
    This statement, written as much as 180 years ago, contains specific detail that should be of interest to every member, since at the time, what would have been known of the world’s oceans, landing sites in the southern Hemisphere of the Americas, would have been relatively unknown to someone living in the north-eastern United States. There can be no question that this detail gives the statement a certain air of believability. The beginning directions of “south-southeast” (1 Nephi 16:13) and “nearly eastward” (1 Nephi 17:1) are given in the scriptural record, but the others: “nineteen degree of North Latitude,” sailing in a “southeast” direction, and landing “thirty degrees south Latitude” are those Williams’ wrote without any suggestion from the scriptural record, or any other belief in Land of Promise location at the time.
    First of all, there is no reason to choose the Continuing “19 degrees north latitude,” as the turning point in Lehi’s travel to Bountiful. There is nothing out of the ordinary along that point of the Red Sea that could possibly have been known to Williams, Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon (First Presidency) that woulde have given rise to picking it. Yet Williams emphatically stated the nineteen degree of North Latitude. 
     Even in 1833, when the First Presidency was formally organized, the Quorum of the First Presidency was responsible for directing the kingdom of God on the earth )D&C 90:12-16). It was the Lord who emphasized the significance of the First Presidency when He declared, “Whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those, the First Presidency, whom I have sent, whom I have made counselors for my name’s sake unto you” (D&C 112:20).

Now we cannot say with certainty that Williams’ writing was the result of a discussion in the First Presidency, a statement that Joseph Smith made, or any interaction among the three men; however, the fact that it was written on the sheet of paper it was, which contained other semi-official writings, should suggest it was of some import to Williams’ when he wrote it down. Also, when considering that Williams’ also served at the time as Joseph Smith’s personal secretary or scribe, it might carry even more weight. 
    But the main point is, why was it written down at all? 
    What would have prompted Williams to write about where Lehi landed? And in such detail as to indicate a specific latitudinal point? While most Land of Promise theorists, whose views disagree with that statement, try to pass the writing off as doodling, it is far too specific in its content to have been mere foolish and meaningless scribbling on a sheet of paper that had such other matters of import on it.
    There is no suggestion being made here that this statement was some official declaration of the First Presidency, but it certainly seems to have been something being discussed by them at one point in time. Why it was under discussion we may never know, but something more than mere scribbling lay behind Williams writing that very clear and specific statement down, with at least the first half of it absolutely correct.
    Many theorists with a different location in mind, have tried to pass off William’s writing as meaningless. However, it might be understood with paper less available in 1830s than it is today, and people having less idle time on their hands than now, it seems unlikely that Williams, Joseph’s scribe and Second Counselor in the First Presidency, was idly scribbling on a sheet of paper that had previous writing on it of some official significance. It seems far more likely that what he wrote was a matter of some import to those men at the time.
    It should also be remembered that in the 1830s, South America was not well known to hardly any Americans, especially men living in the areas where the Church was located. This was not a sailor’s seaport, or a locartion where mariners congregated, not had Sidney Rigdon nor Joseph Smith ever been to sea, or would have known much about it, let alone in such detail as to know where one of the very few bays and landing sites existed along the western South American coast, as exists at 30º South Latitude.

While it is true that about 25 years earlier, Frederick G. Williams was hired at the age of 25, because of his knowledge of the waters of Lake Erie, as a pilot for Oliver Hazard Perry’s flagship in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. It is also true that before that, he served as a pilot for a ship that regularly crossed the Lake from Montreal to Detroit; however, there is no record he ever went to sea, since his involvement was strictly on the lake adjacent to where he lived. As a result of this service and his service during the Tecumseh War, Williams settled in Warrensville, Ohio, which is now Cleveland, Ohio. This land had been purchased and presented to officers of General George Washington for their services during the Revolutionary War instead of pay in money. At that time congress was not in position to vote, pay money or collect it. This was called the great Western Reserve of the Ohio Valley—an area of 3.3 million acres in what is now northeast Ohio that was reserved for Connecticut by an act of Congress in 1795, part of which was given to the state’s citizens as compensation for damages suffered in the Revolutionary War, and part of it was sold to the Connecticut Land Company in which Frederick Williams’ father and uncle were investors.
    Apparently early theorists assumed the directions given in 1 Nephi were not just the direction they maintained while they were traveling on foot but may have been intended to include the general direction they traveled even after they set sail. Therefore, in their assumptive efforts to follow the journey to a reasonable conclusion, they simply decided the sailing party continued eastward across the Pacific to a what seemed to them a likely landing site.
    However, the final piece of information given in the Williams’ statement indicates that Lehi and his people sailed in a south east direction away from the Arabian Peninsula and landed in Chile along the western borders of South America. Now, since traveling southeastward, as described in the comment by Williams, would have taken them in a direct course toward Australia, and beyond toward the Antarctic, they would, of necessity, have had to turn due east at some point to reach the west coast of Chile at thirty degrees south latitude.

It just so happens that along that course, which would have been unknown to Williams, or Joseph smith and Sidney Rigdon at the time, the natural winds and currents of the Indian Ocean, in what is called the South Indian Ocean Gyre, flow counter clockwise in a great oblong circle, causing any ship moving to the south to curve eastward along the southern arm of the gyre where it picks up the Prevailing Westerlies and the West Wind Drift of the Southern Ocean, taking a ship south of Australia and New Zealand and easterly across the Pacific toward the Drake Passage, where the Humboldt Current (Peruvian Current) flows north along the westward coast of South America until it hits the Peruvian Bulge and heads back out into the Pacific on the northern arm of the South Pacific Gyre, a counter clockwise current that would take the vessel (if it didn’t land along the coast) back across the Pacific toward Indonesia.
    None of this, of course, would have been known to Williams, Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon in 1833-1837, or for many years—not until South American waters became better understood. As an example, today we know that the strongest westerly winds in the middle latitudes can come in the Roaring Forties, between 40 and 50 degrees latitude. The Westerlies play an important role in carrying the warm, equatorial waters and winds to the western coasts of continents, especially in the southern hemisphere because of its vast oceanic expanse; in fact, in the Southern hemisphere, because of the stormy and cloudy conditions, it is usual to refer to the Westerlies as the Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties and Shrieking Sixties according to the varying degrees of latitude (Stuart Walker, The Sailor’s Wind, W. W. Norton & Company, 1998, p91).
    This, of course, would have been the course Lehi traveled from the winds and currents flowing southeast from the Arabian Peninsula. In fact, no other course would have been open to him!
(See the next post, “Evolution of Land of Promise Geography – Part II,” for more information regarding how the Book of Mormon Land of Promise geography came about).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Where Do We Find Accurate Dates? – Part VIII

Continuing with Joseph L. Allen’s descriptive information in his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, that poses as Land of Promise discussion but really is meant to solidify his Mesoamerican model, and continuing with his comments: “Mulek landed in the Land Northward, which was the area of the heartland of the Jaredites.  Sometime later (the Book of Mormon record does not say what year), a group of the descendants of Mulek went into the wilderness in the Land Southward and settled in a place they called Zarahemla.”
It is surprising how many fail to read Omni and the prophet Amaleki who tells us where the people of Zarashemla (Mulekites) landed, and it is not in the Land Northward, but, according to the scriptural record, which states that after Mulek and his people left Jerusalem: “they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16).
    However, because of Allen's Mesoamerican model requiring a people to be in the Land Northward other than the Jaredites around 600 B.C., Allen is willing to go against scripture and say the Mulekites landed in the Land Northward, in the heartland of the Jaredites. It has already been mentioned that if this happened, it is likely that a small band of non-militaristic Hebrews would have been wiped out by the fierce, "large and powerful" Jaredites, men who were strong and warlike who, within a short time of this event, killed several million of their own in a bloody civil war. 
    Secondly, Amaleki makes it quite clear where the Mulekites landed. Perhaps as an eye-witness to the events, we ought to pay attention to his account: "And they were admonished continually by the word of God; and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness, until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla. And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla." Amaleki goes on to tell us specifically that the people of Zarahemla "came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.  And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth" (Omni 1:16).   
This simple statement shows that Mulek landed in the land where Mosiah found them (Land of Zarahemla) and they (Mulekites) had dwelt (lived) there (in the Land of Zarahemla where Mosiah found them) from that time (time of their landing) forth (until that time when Mosiah found them).
    More of Allen: “The landing of the Mulekites would have been along the Gulf of Mexico.”
    It would have been extremely difficult for a sailing ship to maneuver against opposing winds to cross the Atlantic from anywhere around Jerusalem, Africa, or out of the Indian Ocean.  Leaving the Mediterranean, as ships did around this time, took them south toward Africa and along that continent—not until the 14th-century, did Portuguese sailors venture out into the Atlantic for a wider swing around Africa, and not until Columbus in 1492 A.D., did anyone realize they could cross westward from the area of the Canary Islands—and even then, they would have been driven into the Caribbean islands long before knowing another land (Mexico) lay beyond.
Yellow Line: The line of islands from off Florida all the way south to Trinidad and South America kept Columbus from reaching Mexico or Mesoamerica, diverting most vessels that reached this land initially to the South as Columbus’s four voyages went. Today a ship's captain would know there was land beyond these islands, but that would not have been understood by Phoenician pilots in 600 B.C.

Not even the explorer Columbus ever found Mexico in four voyages in which he sailed all over the Caribbean, as far south as north-eastern South America, and as far northwest as Honduras.
    On the other hand, if Mulek's route was similar to that of Lehi, out of the Indian Ocean, the winds would have taken him pretty much along the same path as Lehi, and that could not possibly have been into the Gulf of Mexico, let alone into Mesoamerica. 
    Allen: “From there, compelled by the necessity of establishing themselves in a propitious spot and perhaps harried by their enemies”
    Speaking of the Mulekites, Allen makes this wild assertion that they had enemies in the land.  Then he goes on to say that this conclusion is consistent with the Book of Mormon, wherein the people of Zarahemla went into the South Wilderness and settled along the Sidon River. While it is true that Zarahemla is near (west of) the Sidon River, nothing else is remotely correct with Allen’s assertions about the Book of Mormon. There can be no conclusion that the Mulekites moved once they had landed (Omni 1:15), nor can there be any conclusion that they had enemies of any kind. The wars mentioned by Amaleki were civil wars since they were accompanied by serious contentions (Omni 1:17), much like the history of Lehi's sons. And as to establishing themselves in a propitious spot, it would seem that the Lord brought Mulek into the place where Mosiah and the Nephites would eventually find them for the Lord guided Mosiah's movements until he came into Zarahemla (Omni 1:13). 
    Allen: “In correlation with other documents, the above-mentioned migration possibly may have been as late as 1300 AD.”
    The other documents, of course, are the Mayan Calendar, Ixtlilxochitl’s writings, etc. There is no mention in the Book of Mormon that the Mulekites were involved in any migration once they reached the Land of Promise—in fact, Amaleki tells us that the Lord led them into the Land of Promise exactly where Mosiah found them and they had lived there ever since landing. To make up some other landing site is contrary to the record and what an eye-witness has said, which should preclude any comment about a Mulekite migration.
    Allen: “Although a few archaeological sites depict a decline in civilization at 350 AD, many other  sites in Mesoamerica show a continued and dramatic growth over the next 400 years”
During the last 100-plus years of the Nephite nation, during this 400 years of growth Allen mentions, the Nephites and Lamanites were heavily involved in war; and any lulls in that war were spent in building up defenses--it seems in light of this that no national growth would have taken place

    Since the Nephites were wiped out before this 400 years of dramatic growth, one can only wonder what type of dramatic growth could possibly take place when the entire Land of Promise was in a state of siege and civil war during the 4th century A.D., with the Lamanites chasing the Nephites northward and finally annihilating them. To consider that the Lamanites, in this state of debauchery could be building, trading and involved in commerce with one another while at the same time involved in a constant state of civil war among themselves for at least 40 years (Mormon 8:8), is hard to imagine; and Nephni tells us from his vision that these wars lasted for many generations (1 Nephi 12:21).
    Allen: “Because the archaeological record shows a high amount of trade activity between Mexico City (Teotihuacan) and Guatemala City (Kaminaljuyu), and including points in between (Oaxaca/Monte Alban), the wicked 350 AD Nephite culture was simply in the way of trade and commerce. The annihilation of the Nephites at 385 AD does not seem to show a major impact on the rest of Mesoamerica.  From 350 AD to 900 AD, a vast amount of building and commerce activity occurred in Mesoamerica. 
A state of constant war existed between the Nephites and Lamanites for almost all of the 4th century A.D., and a state of Civil War existed among the Nephites after that for at least 40-50 years, but probably much longer

    It would be interesting to know who Allen thinks was building after 350 A.D. onward, and who was doing trading and commerce. The Nephites were the people who were involved in shipping and trading, in commerce and building, not the Lamanites. In addition, how could it be possible for the annihilation of the Nephites not to have any impact in the Land of Promise when Moroni tells us between 385 AD and 421 AD, the land was in constant civil war, with the Lamanites warring against each other with the whole face of the land one continual round of murder and bloodshed, with no one knowing when the war would end (Mormon 8:8). This hardly sounds like having little impact, or like a time for building and flourishing in trade and commerce.
    Perhaps, as aforementioned, Mesoamerica is not the land Lehi landed upon, and his later descendant Nephites lived upon for 1,000 years.
    It should be perfectly clear that the writings of Joseph L. Allen and those of his associates regarding the Land of Promise being in Mesoamerica is full of erroneous assumptions, speculations, and counter ideas from what is written in the Book of Mormon regarding the Land of Promise. Yet, Allen, like so many other theorists, has their following—people, for some reason or another, want to accept what Allen writes without checking it out against the plain and simple truth of the scriptural record. Certainly, Allen’s dates are far off the mark from what the Lord dictated to Moses.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Where Do We Find Accurate Dates? – Part VII

Continuing with Joseph L. Allen’s descriptive information in his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, that poses as Land of Promise discussion but really is meant to solidify his Mesoamerican model.
Still hammering away at dates, that confuse any issue, Joseph L. Allen states: “The date of the arrival of the Jaredites is based upon 1) the dating of the great tower (Tower of Babel) and 2) the archaeological and traditional evidence coming out of Mesoamerica in relationship to the first settlers. According to Ixtlilxochitl we learn that 416 years elapsed from the time of the flood until the confusion of Babel and the first settlers arrived in Mesoamerica 520 years later.”
    If we are going to accept the Lord's dates as Moses wrote them down in two documents which testify of each other, then Ixtlilxochitl's dates tell us that the confusion of Babel occurred in 1927 B.C., and the Jaredites landed in the Land of Promise in 1823 B.C.  These dates are close, but off from those submitted earlier, i.e., that the Jaredites landed around 2100 B.C., which would have been mid-way through the period of Peleg’s life, in whose time the “earth was divided,” thus leading to the building of the Great Tower, confusion of tongues, and exodus of the Jaredites. The dates that Allen uses simply do not match the time frame of the events we know took place around the same time as when the Jaredites would have left Mesopotamia, and arrived a few years later in the Land of Promise.
    Continuing with Allen: “Traditional statements place the dating of the Jaredites at about 2200 BC.  However, since no dates appear in the Book of Mormon regarding the arrival date of the Jaredites, we are left to choose between the archaeological dates of the Old World and the Spanish Chronicle dates of the New World.”
    Not so.  We are left to choose from the Biblical dates, which place the arrival of the Jaredites sometime around 2100 B.C., give or take a 100  years (2200 B.C. to 2000 B.C.)  Having to choose from other sources that are not scripture, and rate them over scripture is foolhardy.  The Lord knew what he was talking about when he dictated the history of the world so Moses could write it down.
    Continuing again with Allen: “Ixtlilxochitl said that the first settlers, who came from the great tower at the time of the confusion of languages, wandered for 104 years before they settled.”

If this is true, then the Jaredites wandered for 104 years between their original home (Mesopotamia) and the Great Sea that divided the land.  This would place the landing date of the Jaredites pretty close to 2100 B.C. as outlined elsewhere in this work.
    Again quoting Allen: “If the Jaredites arrived in Mesoamerica around 2700 BC then by 2500 BC we can expect to see the beginnings of legitimate civilization centers.  Early settlement patterns along the Gulf of Mexico and Oaxaca support that expectation.” 
This is the reason Allen is so bent on ignoring the dates the Lord dictated to Moses, for those dates (flood in 2344 B.C. and Jaredite arrival around 2100 B.C.) do not fit in with his Mesoamerican model. Now, if the Lord is correct, and Moses wrote down what he was told (has there ever been a prophet that did not?), then the Jaredites indeed reached the Land of Promise around 2100 B.C.  So who was settling in Mesoamerica around 2700 to 2500 B.C? Certainly not the Jaredites. In fact, both those dates fall before the Flood, according to Moses dates he received from the Lord.
    Allen: “The archaeological sites of San Lorenzo, La Venta, and Tres Zapotes in Veracruz, Mexico, tell the story of the classical period of the Olmecs. This period lasted roughly until 600 B.C. when their civilization began to decline. 
    Using Allen's dates, he is stating about a 300-year period of decline for the Jaredites (600 BC to 300 BC).  However, Ether makes it very clear that the decline of the Jaredites from success to annihilation took only one generation—during the lifetime of a single king—Coriantumr.  And it would be hard to say that the Jaredite civilization declined toward the end. They were heavily involved in war for the last 50 to 100 years of their existence, a war which saw millions die, a war which killed women and children, a war whichaccording to Ether, who was an eye-witnesstook the life of every Jaredite except himself and Coriantumr, all within a few years.  A civilization that numbered in the millions wiped out in a very short time frame, hardly agrees with Allen's decline of the Olmecs.
    Allen: “By conducting a generation count in the Book of Ether, we are justified in saying that events stated in Chapter 5 correspond to the early part of the above date, probably in the 1300—1200 BC time period.” 
Insisting on using Ixtlilxochitl’s erroneous dates that the Jaredites landed before the Flood in 2700 B.C., using the 30 generations of 50 years per generation, the entire Jaredite time frame would have covered only 1,500 years. 1,500 years from 2700 B.C., brings us to 1200 B.C.  That means the Jaredites were wiped out around 1200 B.C.  Since this is hardly possible (Coriantumr would have had to live another 650 years after the final, great battle), it seems using a generation count does not seem to verify Allen's premise.  
    There are 30 generations mentioned from Jared to Ether (Ether 1:6-32). In this account, there are three generations, Ether (Ether 1:6), Aaron (Ether 1:16) and Morianton (Ether 1:23) that are listed as a descendant rather than a son; however, two of these, Ether (Ether 11:23) and Aaron (Ether 10:31) are listed as sons and not descendants later in the record. This leaves only one generation gap and that is of Morianton who was listed as a descendant of Riplakish both early and later in the record (Ether 10:9).  
    However, it might be assumed that Morianton was Riplakish's son, since Either was quite specific about naming every generation, and two of the three descendants in that geneaology turned out to be sons anyway. Thus, we can use the 30 generations Allen uses.  
    Now, doing a little arithmetic, Lib was the 16th generation from Jared, and it is his day that Allen considers was probably in the 1300-1200 B.C. time period. So, taking 2700 B.C. as a start date (however, Jared was married and had some of his family by this time), for Lib to live in 1300 B.C., 1,400 years would have had to pass.  That makes each generation averaging 87 ½ years, a figure that is way out of line even in that era. If Lib lived in 1200 B.C., then each generation would have averaged 93 ¾ years, an even more improbable figure. Taking this further, 30 generations between 2700 B.C. to 300 B.C. as Allen suggests, would average out to 80 years per generation. Taking Allen's premise further, if 16 generations lived from 2700 B.C. to 1300 B.C. averaging 87 ½ years, then the next 14 generations, living from 1300 B.C. to 300 B.C., would have averaged about 71 ½ years. Few arguments can be found to support such long generational periods. Today, we consider a 20 year or 25 year generation.  However, if the Jaredites landed in 2100 B.C., which Biblical dates seem to justify, then 16 generations later, averaging 50 years per generation, we arrive at 1300 B.C.  And in using 2100 BC to 600 B.C., 30 generations would also average 50 years per generation, a far more reasonable generation time frame in the era being discussed.
    Allen: “In 1 Nephi 1:4, we are informed that Lehi lived in Jerusalem when Zedekiah was placed on the throne as king of Juldah. 
The scriptures does not tell us that Lehi lived in Jerusalem. The actual scripture quoted states:  "For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days)..."  (1 Nephi 1:4). While Allen might not find much difference between the word in and at, Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English language shows that in Jerusalem would mean inside the walled city, while at Jerusalem would mean living out in the nearby or surrounding countryside. This difference has led to the possible understanding of Lehi's occupation which Nibley and the Hiltons have so effectively expanded upon. But regardless of the discussion on Lehi's occupation, the misuse of a word that determines meaning when quoting a scripture is a sign of sloppy research and writing and poor scholarship!
    It seems amazing that a scholar of Allen’s reputation, who has a company that takes members and people on guided tours of the so-called Mesoamerican Land of Promise, is going to be so far off on the very dates he discusses, writes about, and covers in his tours. One would think that it would be important to get the dates correct.
(See the next post, “Where Do We Find Accurate Dates? – Part VII,” for more of Allen’s descriptive information that poses as Book of Mormon discussion but really is meant to solidify his Mesoamerican model)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Where Do We Find Accurate Dates? – Part VI

Continuing with Joseph L. Allen’s descriptive information in his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, that poses as Land of Promise discussion but really is meant to solidify his Mesoamerican model. Note this completely unreliable and non-scholarly approach to justify his 3000 B.C. Flood dating: 
    Allen: “Ten generations are mentioned in the Bible from Adam to Noah.  Ten generations are also mentioned in the Bible from Noah to Abraham.  The life span recorded in years prior to the flood is much longer than those recorded after the flood.  If we allow Noah to be the chronological midpoint between Adam and Abraham, place Adam at the traditional 4000 BC mark, and have Abraham living around 2000 BC, then the flood (Noah) midpoint is approximately 3000 BC.”
This type of thinking is neither scholarly nor serves a purpose and only clouds the issue of the dates given us by the Lord through Moses (left), who was shown a vision by the Lord in which he beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are and which were created (Moses 1:7-8), and in a second vision, he was shown the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold...and he beheld the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not (Moses 1:27-28).
    He was given a particular revelation, only an account of this earth and the inhabitants thereof give I unto you, the Lord told him (Moses 1:33,35).  Finally, the Lord told Moses, I will speak unto thee concerning the earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak (Moses 1:40).  With that preparation, the Lord spoke to Moses of the period of time that we find recorded in the Biblical Book of Genesis. Unlike the attitude of scholars, even religious ones, who have “almost cheerfully gone about the business of discrediting and destroying confidence in the historicity and authenticity of Genesis” (W. Cleon Skousen, The First 2,000 Years, from Adam to Abraham, Ensign Publishing, Salt Lake City, 1953, p13).
    Take as an example, Professor of Old Testament Language and Literature Frederick Carl Eislen, Dean of the Garret Biblical Institute, and Executive Secretary for the Board of Education of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who died in 1937, who once wrote:
    "If anyone is in search of accurate information regarding the age of the earth, or its relation to the sun, moon or stars, or the exact order in which plants and animals first appeared, or the rise of civilization, or the origin of languages, and races, and similar questions, he should go to the books embodying the results of scientific and historical investigation and not to the book of Genesis.  So far as the scientific or historical knowledge in the latter is concerned, it is of little more value than that contained in similar stories among the other nations.  In any consideration of the historical value of the patriarchal narratives it must be kept in mind that, whatever the origin of the book of Genesis, these stories were handed down for several centuries by word of mouth; which means that they were exposed to all the dangers which ordinarily threaten narratives thus transmitted. As a result it becomes impossible to regard the patriarchal stories as historical authorities in the proper sense of that term.”
However, we know from the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, that Moses received this information in vision and directly from the Lord
    Genesis was actually dictated to Moses by the Lord. As the Lord told Moses: “And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning the earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe” (Moses 1:40-41).
    The Lord told Moses the dates, times, sequences, and periods as the prophet wrote them down.  It can hardly be intimated that Moses made an error in giving those living before the flood longer lifespans than those living after the flood.  That's the way the Lord told it to him and that is the way Moses wrote it down.  Thus, the dates shown in the Bible are correct, and Noah did not appear chronologically in the middle (time wise) of those 20 generations as Allen suggests, but in the chronological time frame the Lord told Moses.  The Flood was not at the midpoint or 3000 BC, but occurred in 2344 BC as stated  in the scriptures.
    Continuing with Allen’s remarks, he writes: “If we look at Ixtlilxochitl's dating, which also is not totally reliable because of inconsistencies, we arrive at the following.”
    First, Ixtlilxochitl's dating may well be unreliable, but the dating in scripture—especially the Pearl of Great Price—is not in question and certainly cannot be considered, "also not totally reliable" as Allen intimates.  On the other hand, since Ixtilxochitl's dating puts the Flood at 1716 years after the creation of the world, only 60 years different than Moses who stated the time as 1656 years. Thus Ixtlilxochitl's date is within 60 years of the actual event. However, one should not become over confident about Ixtlilxochitl's dating statements, for some are considerably off of other known dates. Because Ixtlilxochitl obtained his information from ancient records, stories handed down from generation to generation, and from earlier Mayan legends and myths, some dates may well be more correct than others. The date of 1716 years from the creation to the flood came from ancient Tolteca history.
    Allen continues with his writing: “Bruce Warren, coauthor of The Messiah in Ancient America, discovered that Ixtlilxochitl made an error in calculation that placed the creation of the earth 4825 BC and the flood date at 3109 BC. For the sake of this study, I will place the 3114 BC date as representative of the flood.
    Isn’t it interesting, despite the Lord telling Moses the accurate dates, and even a Mesoamerican author, Ixtlilxochitl was within 60 years, Allen decides that the Lord, Moses and even his own Mayan Ixtlilxochitl have the incorrect date, and rejects those in favor of the Mayan Calendar and an author of an obscure book about the Mayan god Quetzalcoatl.
The interesting thing about all this is the willingness of Book of Mormon scholars to take the word of Ixtlilxochitl or some other Mayan historian over that of Moses and the Lord, except when the two agree, then they look for another source to use.  But regarding the Flood, it occurred in 2344 B.C. and there is nothing anyone can do about changing that fact for the Lord told it to Moses, and Moses wrote it down chronologically which is referenced in both Genesis and in the Pearl of Great Price.
    Another Allen comment is: “I have not been able to reconcile the 2350 BC flood date, which scholars derive from the Bible, with archaeological reports or with Book of Mormon and Mesoamerican histories.”
    Perhaps it would be wise for Allen to reject archaeological reports and Mesoamerican history in favor of the Biblical dating system of the Flood as the Lord told it to Moses.  As for Book of Mormon history, there is no mention of the Flood by date, and only twice is the word flood used at all: 1) Alma 10:22, referring to the Flood in the days of Noah, and 2) Ether 13:2, that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land, it became a choice land above all other lands.  Thus, one can hardly have any difficulty with Book of Mormon dates and the Flood.  That there would be problems with Mesoamerican history may be true, but that has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon history. And the fact that these two don't jive ought to be another proof that the Lehi Colony did not land in Mesoamerica.
    Not willing to give up on his difference of opinion, Allen adds: “In the future perhaps this dilemma might be solved.”
There is no dilemma when you start with the Book of Mormon and relate all to it.  When you start with a land, archaeological finds and pre-determined attitudes and models, you are likely going to run into problems that create dilemmas--and especially when you don't start with what the Lord has said. His dates of the time of the Flood are irrefutable and despite Allen’s efforts to change them, are strong enough to withstand any such scholarly approach at changing the word of the Lord.
(See the next post, “Where Do We Find Accurate Dates? – Part VII,” for more of Allen’s descriptive information that poses as Book of Mormon discussion but really is meant to solidify his Mesoamerican model)