Wednesday, May 31, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part III

More comments from readers of this blog: 
    Comment #1: “I ran across a place in Peru I have never heard about and don’t recall you have ever mentioned. It is called Vinicuna and supposedly near Cusco. Do you know about it and what is it?” Donnie K.
Response: Vinicuna is Quechua meaning “Rainbow Mountain.” It is southeast of Cuzco, and located above a 14,000 foot valley inhabited by llama and alpaca herding communities, along a trail known as “the road of the Apu Auisangate,” and beyond a 16,000-foot pass—it is part of the Ausangate mountain of the Vilcanota mountain range. It is near the Ausangate Glacier, the highest mountain in the Cusco region at 20,945 feet. Ausangate mountain itself is considered a holy mountain (or mountain spirit) by local Peruvians and is the deity of Cusco. Since pre-Inca times the mountain has been a place of worship and offerings and this tradition continues today. By description, it is surrounded by a splattering of neon reds, electric yellows, and soft blues, and definitely appears as though it shouldn't exist in reality, and is often referred to as “the rainbow that fell to earth.”
    Actually, Rainbow Mountain is a slab of shifting color: pinks, greens, greys, and yellows struck into a bank of rock protruding upward from the Earth. This famous rainbow hump is part of a whole stretch of colored mountains, in shades of rose and blonde. The entire range can be seen from a ridge overlooking the entire spectacle. While no such place is mentioned, along with numerous others, in the abridged Nephite record (and possibly they did not know it was there since it is difficult to get to up in the mountains in a near hidden location that takes a full day walking to get to from the Cuzco area), it is one of the great sites of Andean South America. If you are planning to go down there, put this place on your list to visit—it takes at least two days by trek, and up to six, depending on what tour of it you take—but it is a “challenging” hike (take a horse to it, though somewhat expensive).
Comment #2: “When I see the exceedingly high mountains of the Andes I now think of that prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 14 where it says –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 Hel14:28. So your work is made impossibly difficult, accept for a few, to convince others of the power of God. Intellectual honestly – yes- but also convincing them of the power of God is real as well" Matty G.

    Response: The power of God as shown in the scriptural record is awesome. To add to his work in the creation of all things—shows all things are possible for the Lord.
    Comment #3: I just got through reading your book “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.” It is very good and I see that this is the place where they lived. Years ago I read “The Book and the Map” by Venice Priddis and was sold on South America after that. I was curious as to why you don't ever quote her in your books? I may have missed the citation of course but I never saw it. Her book is excellent and goes right along with what you've found. Did you find the narrow neck on your own or did you get it from her? She and Verla Birrell were the first that I can find that discussed the location of the narrow neck. Good stuff! keep up the good work” I.T.
    Response: Thank you. I never heard of Venice Priddis until years after I wrote the book. Since seeing her book, I have commented on it in this blog. The narrow neck area I found along with Art Kocherhans several years ago and  have spent some time in evaluating it ever since. At the time I knew Art, I didn't know about Venice Priddis, so her name never came up.
    Comment #4: “The Mesoamerican people, who seem to dominate the land of promise discussion claim the land was shaped like an hourglass. Do you agree with that?” Jeremy J.
    Response: That attitude originally came from John L. Sorenson, first shown in his 1985 book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, and then later in Mormon’s Map. Ever promoting his singular view, Sorenson claimed in his initial work that “We can…be certain that the Book of Mormon story took place in a limited portion of the western hemisphere shaped roughly like an hourglass” (p22).
Sorenson’s “hourglass” figure map (p11)
The reason why he promotes that is seen in another of his statements: “The only ‘narrow neck’ [of the hourglass] potentially acceptable in terms of the Book of Mormon requirements is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico” (p29). He then adds, “It is now possible to present a summary correlation between Book of Mormon places and features on the map of Mesoamerica…the narrow neck of land is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec” (p46).
Sorenson’s map of Mesoamerica, he claims is an hourglass on its side

Therefore, Sorenson needs a hourglass shape for the narrow neck of land in order to justify and “prove” his Mesoamerican model. However, one of the problem of an hourglass figure, it does not justify the description Moroni gives: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20). In order to “divide” land, the sea must cut into the land to narrow it sufficiently to create a distinct area of the sea that could be so called, i.e., “where the sea divides the land.” As can be seen from Sorenson’s map, his narrowneck does not actually divide the land; that is, the land is not visibly separated.
    Consequently, you do not need an hourglass shape in order to meet the descriptions Mormon provides for his Narrow Neck of Land. Take, for an example, a narrow neck that divides the Land Southward from the Land Northward that is not an hourglass:
Both of these samples show a division of the land, a narrow neck, and a sea that divides the land, yet neither are hourglass shapes

Comment #5: “You use Thor Heyerdahl as a single example of your point about diffusion across the seas from Europe to America when there are many, many scientists who claim man came across the Siberian connection” Milo H.
    Response: I use Thor because I met him many years ago and followed his career and have personal knowledge of it. However, if you really want to know, between Heyerdahl’s 1947 voyage and the Tangaroa expedition of 2006, there have been nearly forty expeditions set out in recreated maritime drift vessels to demonstrate the hypotheses with varying levels of relevance to archeology and cultural diffusion. In fact, on On January 30, 2011, An-Tiki, a raft modeled after Kon-Tiki, began a 3,000 mile, 70-day journey, across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to the archipelago island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
The expedition was piloted by four men, aged from 56 to 84 years, led by 84-year-old Anthony Smith (above left), a writer, sailor, balloonist and former presenter on the 38-year running BBC Tomorrow’s World television show of new developments in science and t4echnology. The trip was designed to commemorate the journey in an open boat of survivors from the British steamship Anglo-Saxon, sunk by the German cruiser Widder in 1940. The raft ended its voyage in the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, completing its trip to Eleuthera in the following year with Smith and a new crew. It was, by the way, Heyerdahl who believed that the original inhabitants of Easter Island were the migrants from Peru. He argued that the monumental statues known as moai resembled sculptures more typical of pre-Columbian Peru than any Polynesian designs. Though not LDS, Heyerdahl believed that the Easter Island myth of a power struggle between two peoples called the Hanau epe and Hanau momoko was a memory of conflicts between the original inhabitants of the island, which sounds a little like the Nephites and Lamanites.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part II

Here are more comments from our Readers: 
    Comment #1: “There is Ralph A. Olsen who places the Land of Promise in Malay, Indonesia, despite the fact that Moroni told Joseph Smith that the people of the Book of Mormon were in the Americas, i.e., “an account of this continent’s former inhabitants” (Joseph Smith History 1:34-35). Did the Angel Moroni tell Joseph that, or was it the Angel Nephi? We can't really be sure because the original manuscript (which postdates the events in the Book of Mormon by 1400 years) says both. The Book of Mormon itself says zero about continents or America or any such modern constructs. The text says they were on an island in the sea, nearly surrounded by water. The Malay Peninsula qualifies as such. I'd love to hear your comments on the latest updates to the ‘Malay’ theory” Signed Unknown.
    Response: First of all, the flippant insertion of the Angel Nephi as having a creditable position with the Angel Moroni’s visit to Joseph Smith is discussed in an earlier post (see “Was it Nephi or Moroni Visiting Joseph”), a story that has no credibility, yet has been perpetuated by critics and uninformed members for some time, now. And “no” the original manuscript does not say “both.” As pointed out in the earlier article, it was, without a question, the Angel Moroni who appeared to Joseph and told him about the inhabitants of this continent.
    Secondly, obviously, there would be no comment or use of the word “continent,” in the Book of Mormon, it was written in 600 B.C. to 412 A.D., before the idea of “continent” was ever established. Such an idea is foolish to even mention. However, during Joseph Smith’s time, there was the use of the term “continents,” and it had specific meaning, i.e., in the Americas, the word “continent” referred to what we call today “North and South America.” Not until just before World War II, did the U.S. push to separate the two continents in geographical description, an idea not supported by Latin America even today, nor by several other countries, as we have written about numerous times.
    Third, the Malay Peninsula does not qualify for an “island in the sea nearly surrounded by water,” since it is an extension of land and not an island or piece of land that is separate from other lands in the midst of the sea.
The Malay Peninsula, part of Thailand and within a crowded sea of nearly 18,000 islands, and is hardly in the midst of the sea. For Lehi (yellow arrow) to have reached it, he would have had to sail (red arrow) against the prevailing winds and currents, through the Andaman and Nicobar Island archipelago of islands extending northward from Sumatra, and then turn down a channel, i.e., the Malacca Strait toward Malay and what they claim is their land Southward

Besides, the statement itself is not accurate, for it makes it sound like the land was nearly surrounded by water, but not entirely. In the case of Mormon’s description, he is describing the Land Southward, in which he states “thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32). That is, this small neck was all that kept the Land Southward from being completely surrounded by water. This is simply not the case with the Malay model.
    Fourth, I’d love for people like you and Olsen to recognize that the winds and currents off the Pacific Ocean’s southern Gyre (circulating ocean current), which move east to west along a track parallel with Papua New Guinea that curves around Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the south past eastern Australia and then curves eastward again within the Southern Ocean toward the Straits of Magellan, where the northern part of this track is turned northward by the South American shelf to run along the west coast of South America.
Yellow arrows show the course of the winds and currents on the NASA current map that flows from the Pacific Ocean through Indonesia and into the Indian Ocean. Note the NASA lines for the strength of the currents and winds

This gyre is very well known and where it separates east of Australia and while the main current turns south, stray currents move into Indonesia and through to the Indian Ocean and continue westward across the Indian Ocean to turn south around Madagascar in the Indian Ocean Gyre. This is not rocket science, but very well understood maritime oceanography. Lehi’s ship could not have reached Malay sailing eastward from Arabia as we have pointed out several times in these articles, rendering the entire idea without merit.
    It is also of note that the internet site referenced by this unknown contributor in his comments shows a map of the world with where various sailings populated areas relative to their view of the Book of Mormon. However, the (black) arrows they have drawn in all move in opposition to actual (yellow arrows) winds and currents in the areas they have indicated.
Black arrows show the suggested directions of sailing according to the author of the map and the so-called Book of Mormon: Asia Model.” Since all arrows (including blue, green, and maroon) show movement against established currents and winds, making such sailing in 600 B.C. impossible and rendering the entire idea of the maps totally inaccurate

Comment #2: “This is awesome. Love the map. South American BOM tour?”
     Response: Not at my age. Wayyy too much walking and climbing down there.
    Comment #3: “When I see the exceedingly high mountains of the Andes I now think of that prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite in Helaman 14 where it says –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 Hel14:28. So your work is made impossibly difficult, accept for a few, to convince others of the power of God. Intellectual honestly – yes- but also convincing them of the power of God is real as well” iterry.
    Response: Exactly. The power of God as shown in the scriptural record is awesome. To add to his work in the creation of all things—shows all things are possible for the Lord.
    Comment #3: “The evidence points to winds and currents from the Middle East leading vessels directly to the Malay Peninsula. That is the intellectually honest answer.”
    Response: Evidently, you are unaware of the winds and currents that move about the Malay Peninsula, or you are listening to Olsen or others who promote Malay as a model for the Land of Promise against all scriptural meaning. If you will look at the map below you will see that the winds and currents come off the Pacific Ocean and move through Indonesia, basically moving toward the west, or hitting the Peninsula from the east and continuing on through to Arabia and Africa, where they turn southward. The far north currents come off the Pacific and move between Sumatra/Java and Borneo, and those hitting the southeast coast of the peninsula are turned northward and back up toward the Philippines and into the North Pacific Gyre. Stated differently, arriving at the Malay Peninsula from the east is simple, from the west would be impossible for a wind-driven vessel in 600 B.C.
Yellow circle is the Malay Peninsula, shown in red. All other land masses in blue. The lavender arrows show a combination of wind and ocean sea currents. Note that all currents and winds on the west of the Peninsula move away from Malay, not toward it—which would have pushed Nephi’s ship to the west and eventually southward and then southeast and finally east below Australia in the Southern Ocean

Monday, May 29, 2017

More Comments from Readers – Part I

Here are some more comments from our readers:
    Comment #1: “I saw a presentation on the internet recently about the Great Lakes area. I know you don’t like that area, but it was interesting that they said the word “Niagara” means “Neck,” or “Narrow Neck” which sounds legitimate to me, since it is about a narrow strip of land between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, which some Great Lakes believers think is the narrow neck of land. What do you think of that idea?” Adelle M. 
    Response: You are probably referring to Ryan P. Ingram’s video on Book of Mormon Map, “Alma 22 Finally Deciphered,” which highlights the Heartland model of Rod Meldrum and Wayne May.

Rod Meldrum’s Land of Promise model map. One would be hard-pressed to match this to the scriptural descriptions given by Mormon
The problem with many of these people, their information is either wrong, or they claim it means something it does not. Take your word “Niagara.” It does not mean “neck,” but is a word derived from the Iroquoian word “Ongulaahra,” which was anglicized by French missionaries, and appeared on maps as early as 1641, and it’s generally accepted meaning is “The Strait,” derived from the narrow waterway (not a land bridge which is the meaning of he word "neck") that flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. In fact, according to the etymology of the Iroquois word "Onguiaahra" which appears on documents as early as 1641, and a little later "Ongiara,” both are Indian words thought as meaning "The Straight." A more romantic meaning "Thunder of Waters" is also given; however, it might be more appropriate to state from a reliable source that “Onguiaahra” as meaning “point of land cut in two” (George R. Stewart, Names on the Land, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1967, pg. 83).

The 20 Indian tribes surrounding the Great Lakes and portions of the heartland
Another claim is that the name originated with the French explorers that came to the Niagara area and gave the Indian tribe its name (“Neutrals”) because of their position and status as peace keepers between the two warring Indian nations—the Huron and the Iroquois. They called these “neutral Indians” the "Niagagarega" people on several late-17th-century French maps of the area. The Niagara Falls is claimed to have received its name, and there are many variations including Onjagra, Ongiara, Iagara, Niagra and Yagero, from an Indian word meaning “thundering water” (Frenchman Samuel de Champlain 1604; Swedish Pehr Kalm, 1720)
    On the other hand, according to Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an American geographer noted for his early studies of Native American cultures, the term “neck” was applied much later in 1820, based on Mrs. Kerr, who claimed the word was Mohawk, and was first applied to the portage or neck of land between Erie and Ontario. She claimed that according to Mr. Elliott’s vocabulary, chapter 11, refers to the human neck as “onyara,” and Mrs. Kerr claims that was pronounced “O-ne-au-ga-rah” (Notes on the Iroquois, 1847, pp453-454). It should be noted that the Mohawk, who were the tribe of the most easterly of the Iroguois Five Nations, spoke the Lake Iroquoian language, as did the Oneida, Seneca-Onondaga, and Huron.
    Then, too, a number of figures have been suggested as first circulating an eyewitness description of Niagara Falls. Besides Champlain and Kalm, there was the Belgian missionary Louis Hennepin, who observed and described the falls in 1677, earlier than Kalm, after traveling with the explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, thus bringing the falls to the attention of Europeans, as well as its history among the natives. Further complicating matters, there is credible evidence the French Jesuit missionary Paul Ragueneau visited the falls some 35 years before Hennepin's visit, while working among the Huron First Nation in Canada. Jean de Brebéuf also visited the falls, while spending time with the Neutral Nation. 
    It should be noted that all of these works have led to the term “Strait” as the meaning of the term from which the word “Niagara” derived.
North America’s manufacturing was traditionally highly concentrated in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, where Mohawk “skywalkers” became famous after leaving their homes and taking jobs in the steel industry—it was much later that the Mohawk “ironworkers” built the bridges and the Manhattan skyscrapers

As a side note, the Mohawk, originally one of the five core tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy split up after the Revolutionary War, part went to Canada, the other part remained in the area, but many later went to work in the steel industry in North America’s Industrial Center of New England and the Great Lakes, losing their native language and culture over time and being assimilated into the city lifestyle—of which these were whom Mrs. Kerr would have known, and from which she would have heard the language.
    In addition, the Mohawk-Iroquoi language is not a simple language—the early French spelled the same words variously when they tried to understand and interpret the natives upon first encountering them, and actually gave the name “Mohawk” to the Indians and no one even today knows exactly what the word derived as Mohawk actually means, though some claim it is from Mohowawogs (plural), said to mean "they eat living things" in a southern New England Algonquian tongue, probably a reference to cannibalism. At the time the French were naming the Mohawks in Canada, the term Mohoc or Mohock, variant form of the word, was the name given 1711 to gangs of aristocratic London ruffians.
The Mohawk Indian tribe was one of the original members of the Iroquois Confederation, or Kanonsionni in their own language which means "People of the longhouse"
    Although people of European descent traditionally call the residents of Kahnawake Mohawk, their external name is Kanien’kehá:ka (the "People of the Flint" also another version "those who speak [the language] Kanienka"). The Kanien’kehá'ka were historically the most easterly nation of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) and are known as the "Keepers of the Eastern Door." They were the first Iroquois tribe west of the Hudson River in present-day New York, where they protected other parts of the confederacy to the west against invasion by tribes from present-day New England and the coastal areas.
    On the other hand, it is interesting that whenever an LDS Great Lakes theorist tells us of the words above and their native meanings, they use Mrs. Kerr's Mohawk “onyara,” instead of the Iroquois “Onguiaahra,” even to the extent, as Duane R. Aston does, in saying the word “Niagara” probably originated phonetically from two Mohawk words: “ni-waa,” meaning small, and the word “onyara” meaning neck (Aston, Return to Cumorah, American River Publications, Sacramento, 1998, p22)—funny how that works toward their view, but does not tell the accurate story. All that we have been able to research shows that the most reliable and most preferred translation of the words are “The Strait.” In the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, the term “strait” meant “passing from one point to another by the nearest course, not deviating or crooked; and the spelling “strait” (as opposed to “straight”) carried the sense of “narrow.”
    Comment #2: “Are you aware that John L. Sorenson in his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, claims that the Jaredite immigrant population “could have been only tiny”? Leon W.
    Response: Yes. Sorenson has made it crystal clear he does not believe in population explosions of any kind. However, the facts are simply not in his favor. Take, as an example, the Jaredites, who had an original group of 24 families, with Jared and his brother combined having 34 kids, which if extrapolated, would be 17 kids per family. Briefly, let’s follow this type of family numbers forward (since they are the only ones listed in the scriptural record:
1. 24 families x 17 kids each = 408 children, which when marrying, would be 204 couples;
2. 204 couples x 10 kids each = 2040 children, which when marrying, would be 1020 couples;
3. 1020 couples x 10 kids each = 10,200 children.

In the part of the world Sorenson places the Jaredites, their travel, and history, one can only find very large families and huge community movements
Consequently, in just three generations (about 60 to 75 years) more than the original group, we find a total population of over 10,000 people. A fourth generation would be about 50,000 people in approximately 100 years (factoring about 1000 or so deaths). It seems that one might want to consider such probabilities when extrapolating numbers in a handful of generations when the numbers are provided in the scriptural record. And that would hardly be called “tiny” by anyone but maybe Sorenson.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Were There Two Towers? – Part III

Continuing on the subject of the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record. 
    As stated in the last post, the Lamanite attack split the two groups we are discussing, i.e., 1) king Noah and his priests, along with Gideon; and 2) the Nepihte people in general. Now, Mormon goes on with the attack, stating: “And it came to pass that the Lamanites did pursue them, and did overtake them, and began to slay them” (Mosiah 19:10). This is the general group within the valley below. At the same time, Noah, on the hill above, is heading into the wilderness to the north of the tower ahead of the attacking Lamanites who have to gain access to the top of the hill. And as Noah starts to flee, he is able to see what is happening in the valley below.
Lamanites attack both the valley, and send one warrior group up onto the mount of Sacsayhuaman to chase king Noah and his priests who quickly head for the wilderness

Mormon continues: “Now it came to pass that the king commanded them that all the men should leave their wives and their children, and flee before the Lamanites” (Mosiah 19:11). This amounted to his personal guard and priests. Thus, the king had not been among those in the general Nephite group who were overtaken and being slain. He was elsewhere. Where? Heading away with a band of those close to him (his priests), they were heading away from the mount “on the hill north of Shilom” into the wilderness beyond, one step ahead of the Lamanites who raced up onto the mount north of the city.
    In the general group in the Valley below, “there were many that would not leave their wives, but had stayed to perish with them. And the rest left their wives and their children and fled” (Mosiah 19:12). These were in the main body that had been in the valley and would not follow Noah’s advice on the hill above the city. On the other hand, “The rest” were mostly Noah’s priests who escaped into the wilderness, which grroup we will come back to later.
    Meanwhile, “those who tarried with their wives and their children caused that their fair daughters should stand forth and plead with the Lamanites that they would not slay them…and  the Lamanites had compassion on them, for they were charmed with the beauty of their women. Therefore the Lamanites did spare their lives, and took them captives and carried them back to the land of Nephi, and granted unto them that they might possess the land, under the conditions that they would deliver up king Noah into the hands of the Lamanites, and deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year” (Mosiah 19:13-15)
    Because Noah was on the hill, out of the immediate reach of the attacking Lamanaites, he was able to escape capture as he and his priests fled into the wilderness to the north, while in the valley below, where the main thrust of the attack was centered, the vast majority of the Nephites were taken captive as they admirably dropped behind in their escape to remain with the wives. Not only did they surrender to the Lamanites, but agreed to find Noah and turn him over to the Lamanites, give up half their property (which would have been for the purpose of their crops, since the Lamanite were not farmers and desired the free food), as well as half their wealth, and pay a yearly tribute to the Lamanites (Mosiah 19:15).
Alma baptizing at the Waters of Mormon. King Noah send his guards out to capture Alma and his convert but the Lord warned them to flee into the wilderness
Now all of this took place following king Noah’s desire to capture Alma and his 450 recruits and punish them for what he thought was their rebellion that, in fact, was only their joining Alma because of his preaching the words of Abinadi (Mosiah 18:32). But not finding Alma at the Waters of Mormon, the king’s army returned to the city of Nephi having searched in vain for Alma and his people. The people in the city began to threaten the king and his priests (Mosiah 19:3), and this is when Gideon drew his sword to slay the king (Mosiah 19:4) and Noah fled to the safety of the tower (Mosiah 19:5).
    At this moment there was turmoil within the city of Nephi among the people for the king’s actions and attitude and evil nature had driven a division among the people (Mosiah 19:2), evidently causing Noah and his priests to be on the mount above the valley, at Sacsayhuaman, perhaps for their safety from the contentions in the city below.
    Gideon sent his men into the wilderness north of Sacsayhuaman looking for the king, no doubt for the intention of bring the king to justice. Gideon, despite being on the mount and could have no doubt escaped, had remained behind to protect the women there along with his honorable men who had been at Sacsayhuaman with him. After the Lamanites departed, Gideon later sent his men into the wilderness secretly (Mosiah 19:18) to find the king.
    When they found those who had followed the king’s advice, left their wives, and fled with the king into the wilderness, Gideon’s men found these had been angry with the king and taken him and suffered his death by fire (Mosiah 19:20). They had intended to do the same with Noah’s priests, but those had fled farther into the wilderness (Mosiah 19:23), and their location was unknown to any of the survivors. They met Gideon’s men as they were headed back to the City with the intention of finding out what had happened to their wives and to seek revenge and perish with them (Mosiah 19:19).
    Interestingly, it was around two years later (Mosiah 19:29) that the incident of Noah’s hidden priests stole the Lamanite daughters for their wives (Mosiah 20:5). The interesting part is that this took place on the outskirts of Shemlon, a Lamanite settlement or city that was to the southwest of Sacsayhuaman, bordering on the wilderness, for there the Lamanite daughters had “gathered to sing and dance and to make themselves merry” (Mosiah 20:1), according to ancient Hebrew fashion in a festival, referred today as the 15th of Av or Tu B’Av. According to one rabbi, “There were no better (happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: ‘Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?’” This was typically done on the night of of a full moon.
So, if this is the reason for the Lamanite maidens gathering to sing and dance, obviously, the priests of king Noah understood both the event as well as time and location, and laid in secret and watched them.
   “Now there was a place in Shemlon, where the daughters of the Lamanites did gather themselves together to sing, and to dance, and to make themselves merry” (Mosiah 20:1). This obviously seems to have been an ongoing process that would have been known and after two years, the priests of Noah took full advantage of it and stole themselves wives to carry off into the wilderness. The reason for bringing it up here, is that it fits in with the physical arrangement of the geographical layout of the land as we have previously discussed existing with the priests of Noah being in the area of the present-day ruins called Machu Picchu, which was likely the hideout of the priests who have secreted themselves away from both the Nephites and the Lamanites.

    Again, this suggests that the priests started out on the mount overlooking the valley of the city of Nephi in the events we have suggested above. In this way, the priests would have been hiding in the wilderness to the north of Sacsayhuaman, or north of the city of Nephi, in the area called the narrow strip of wilderness in the scriptural record. In such a location, available to them from the mount, but not from the valley below, they could have escaped the Lamanite attack, fleeing “into the wilderness” as Mormon tells us rather than being caught and subjugated by the Lamanites as the rest of the Nephites had been.
    In this sense, then it appears that the “tower by the temple” mentioned in Mosiah would be the temple on the hill north of Shilom. That a temple also existed in the center of the city in the valley below is also understood, and there is much speculation that the second tower built by Noah was in that location, seen today as simply the foundation stones in front of the Spanish cathedral Church of Santo Domingo.
The foundation stones have withstood 2500 years of severe earthquakes that have nearly leveled the Spanish constructions on top on three different occasions, without causing a single difficulty for the stones beneath which extend down into the Coriancha below

 Larger section of Cuzco to Machu Picchu area. There is a valley (green arrow) that runs between these two areas—called the Sacred Valley today (though it is shaped more like a canyon)—that provides easy access between the two areas for unobserved travel

While these events are speculative, they do fit the narrative as well as and perhaps better than any other. One thing is certain, the tower in the valley, assuming there was one built there, could not have seen into the adjacent lands, such as Shemlon and would have given no warning of approaching Lamanites in the borders of the lands. On the other hand, the tower on the hill overlooking the valley would give that perspective better than any other location. For anyone that has been to Cuzco and knows the scriptural record events in Mosiah, this determination seems obvious.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Were There Two Towers? – Part II

Continuing on the subject of the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record. 
    Now, from the last post, we see that there were two temples in Cuzco, or at least one temple that Nephi built and another temple or palace that Noah built on the hill overlooking Shilom, though the small fort was there when Mosiah led the Nephites who would follow him out of the city of Nephi and eventually to the area called Zarahemla. In this, Mormon tells us that Noah after Zeniff returned to reclaim the city and area that his son, king Noah: “caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people” (Mosiah 11:13).
    In this we learn:
A 50-foot replica of the tower that once stood at Sacsayhuaman recently built in the city of Cuzco

1. Noah built a great tower on a hill north of Shilom;
2. This hill top area had been a Nephite resort at the time Mosiah left the city of Nephi and fled out of the land;
3. Noah built this tower out of tax money he collected from the Nephites
    We also learn from Alma 48:8, that Mormon considered a place of resort as a “small fort,” so when Mosiah left the city of Nephi with those who would follow him, the Nephites already had a small fort built upon the hill north of the city of Nephi that overlooked Shilom.
    As we discussed in the previous post, the purpose of Noah’s towers were to observe the Lamanites and use as a warning against any attack. We see this was its use later, when Noah’s son, Limhi, “discovered them from the tower even all their [Lamanite] preparations for war” (Mosiah 20:8).
    The question then arises, “Were there other towers in the Land of Nephi?” Actually, there were several, as we find when Moroni “caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites” (Alma 46:36, emphasis added). And Moroni built even more towers that overlooked the land, particularly in connection with works of timbers built up to the height of a man on top of heaps of piled high earth, and on top of the towers were places of security built to secure those on the tower from attack from below (Alma 50:4).
    Obviously, having towers in the Land of Promise built by the Nephites was no unusual thing for Mormon tells us there were many and evidently others were constantly being built. While some of these were built for defense, others, no doubt, were built as early warning posts where enemy activity could be seen from a distance.
    This is evidenced in Noah’s tower when Mormon tells us: “And it came to pass that he built a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of Shilom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about” (Mosiah 11:12).
The tower on the hill north of the city overlooking the area in the Valley of Cuzco, and tall enough for defense (it was where the last Inca made his last stand) as well as could see in all lands round about the hill, including not only the Valley of Cuzco, but also the various approaches to the valley. After the final rebellion of the Inca, it was the first thing the Spanish tore down

Of such a tower existing in Cuzco at the time of the Spanish conquest, we learn from chroniclers that the tower on the hill overlooking the city was between 60 and 80 feet high, depending upon which chronicler you read. We typically use the lower figure of 60-feet to describe it.
    Along this line, in Europe later on, towers were built alongside walls of castles and in America along walls of forts for greater view and defense. These walls in American forts were typically 12 to 15-feet tall, with the towers only about 20-feet high; but the walls of castles, were usually about 39-feet high, making the towers about 45-feet high. By way of comparison, the walls around the temple at Pachacamac in Peru are 25-feet high, making a tower for King Benjamin probably about 30-feet in height. Based on all of this, a tower built to 60-feet or more would be consider a “great tower,” a “very high tower” and “so high [it] overlooked [other] lands” (Mosiah 11:12).
    It might be wise at this point to mention that we are dealing with two types of towers. The first, is the one that King Benjamin had constructed within the temple grounds for the purpose of being heard by those coming to hear him speak (Mosiah 2:7), which was obviously not very large or high, since it was only meaning to raise him above the temple wall so he could he seen and therefore heard; however, the audience was so large, that “they could not all heard his words” so he had his message written down and extended to those beyond the hearing of his voice. Such a tower does not have to be particularly large or tall, and it is not so described as is King Noah’s towers, which served an entirely different purpose, i.e., to be high enough to see out over the land and the valley below for a warning line-of-site of Lamanites attacking. In fact, the tower that Noah built was described as “a tower near the temple; yea, a very high tower, even so high that he could stand upon the top thereof and overlook the land of shalom, and also the land of Shemlon, which was possessed by the Lamanites; and he could even look over all the land round about” (Mosiah 11:12, emphasis added).
    Such a tower, of course, was for observation of an attacking force and as such, would have had to have been quite high, as it is described by Mormon to have been. However, a high tower, in and of itself, would not provide line-of-site to everywhere just by being high—it would have to be located where it could view those areas of most importance, which in this case, would have been the Lamanite settlement of Shemlon.
Tower on the hill

Now of this tower Noah climbed upon near the temple had to be the one on the hill overlooking the valley, since Noah could see into the Land of Shemlon, from which the Lamanites were moving in to attack the Nephites. As Mormon wrote of it: “And it came to pass that [Gideon] fought with the king; and when the king saw that he was about to overpower him, he fled and ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple” (Mosiah 19:5). As Gideon followed with drawn sword intending to kill the king, Noah “cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanites were within the borders of the land” (Mosiah 19:6).
    Now the borders of the Land of Nephi were not far from Sacsayhuaman, or the tower on the hill, but would have been some distance from the temple in the valley where the other tower is thought to have been erected. In addition, the line-of-site between the latter tower and the border with Shemlon would have been obstructed even upon a 60-foot tower. However the tower on the hill would have had direct line-of-site down into the Land of Shemlon.
    In addition, we find that after spotting the Lamanites approaching, “the king commanded the people that they should flee before the Lamanites, and he himself did go before them, and they did flee into the wilderness, with their women and their children” (Mosiah 19:9).
    Now, if this were the tower in the center of the Valley next to the temple there, the wilderness would have been some distance away—and their line of egress out of the city would have been in the opposite direction of the Lamanite approach, but still into one of three narrow entrances to the valley that, if overtaken by the Lamanites before reaching there, would have been annihilated. On the other hand, if on top of the hill, the wilderness would have been a very short distance, just beyond the fortress complex into the lands to the west, north and east, their chances of escape into the wilderness would have been assured.
With the Lamanites entering the border of the land (City of Nephi), they would have been between the Nephites in the Valley (in the city) and those on the hill above

So we have two events happening in this moment of crisis. Noah and his priests were evidently in one location, while the majority of the Nephites were in another—or at least their avenues of escape into the wilderness were different as would have been the case if Noah was on the hill overlooking the valley and the Nephites in general were in the Valley below, for as the Lamanites poured out of the entrance into the valley, they would have been between the hill and the valley, effectively cutting in between the two groups.
Lamanite attack would have cut through the two group’s locations if Noah was at the hill tower

(See the next post, “Yes, Noah Built Two Towers – Part II,” for more on the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Were There Two Towers? -– Part I

There appears to be some confusion regarding the tower(s) king Noah built as indicated in the Book of Mosiah. To help our readers better understand this and the towers Noah built, we need to outline the cities of Nephi, Shilom and Shemlon in relationship to the location of the two towers. Thus, to understand Mormon’s description better, we need to better understand the layout of the City of Nephi, Shilom, Shemlom, and Temple, and the resort on a hill, called a ‘small fort” by Mormon.
An overall aerial view of the Valley of Cuzo, the City of Nephi, and the City of Shilom and the settlement of Shemlon (Chaquillchaca), which was controlled by the Lamanites. Also note only three entrances existed into the Valley through the surrounding hills. Also note the hills all around the area, showing the wisdom of where Nephi settled when escaping from his brothers

The Qorikancha (shown above) is the location of present-day Church of Santo Domingo, built by the Spanish over the foundation ruins of the Temple probably the one built by Nephi that Garcilaso wrote about its great wealth. At the base of the hill upon which Sacsayhuaman was built, the city of Shilom was constructed.
    Overall, two towers existed, one on the hill overlooking the Valley (Sacsahuaman) and one at the temple site in the Valley, likely the foundation of what is called today the Church of Santo Domingo, and forms its base.
Aerial close-up of Sacsahuaman and the Tower built there by Noah. To the West is the Lamanite settlement of Shemlon, and to the south, beneath the hill is Shilom. Only the tower on Sacsayhuaman could have seen both locations. Note, that the wilderness Noah fled into would have been behind or north of Sacsahuaman

Shilom (shown above) extended to the northeast, at the base of the second hill or continuation of the hill upon which Sacsahuaman was built. Southeast of the city of Shilom is the Coricancha, which means in Quechua “the golden courtyard.” Modern archaeologists and anthropologists like to give credit of this construction site to Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the so-called 9th Inca ruler, however, he ruled from 1438 to 1471 actually making him the first of the Inca sovereigns. It is claimed he embarked on a general rebuilding program in Cuzco, however, archaeology of the city does not show evidence of pre-Inca structures. Or stated differently, archaeology does not show evidence of any earlier constructions than what is now found in Cuzco, suggesting either that the valley had no construction prior to the Inca, who came to power and began their ruling state in 1436, or that the site had been occupied from long before and the buildings now seen there, that are called Inca ruins, actually were built long ago in the distant past.
Today, the Church of Santo Domingo, built on top of the ancient ruins of the first temple, now called the Coricancha, which is the basement foundation of the present Spanish cathedral
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they were so awe-struck by these ancient constructions that they asked the Inca who built them, since the Spanish could not believe the lowly and backward Inca (even though they had built a powerful ruling state in the Andes) could have ever built such places. The Inca told the Spanish that they had been built long ago in the past by giants, long before the Inca.
    Within the city of Cuzco, the Spaniards found numerous public buildings, which they called temples, built with trapezoid doorways and windows, along walls that leaned slightly inwards as they rose in height. The light that entered from the unique windows and doorways allowed access and light to enter the interior spaces and a broad band of gold was added mid-way height around the walls. The interior buildings were of one story and doors were also covered in gold sheets, as were the interiors and exteriors of the various temples and the inner side of the perimeter wall was even said to have been studded with emeralds.
Part of the foundation structure under the Church of Santo Domingo. These ancient walls were part of the first temple and have weathered thousands of years of earthquakes without a single mishap

At the time of the Spanish conquest, the most important temple in Cuzco was the Temple of the Sun, at the time dedicated to the sun god Inti. However, before the Inca, this temple was dedicated to Viracocha (Wiracocha, Wiraqoca, or Con-Tici), the great, all-knowing, powerful Creator God, sometimes called Pachacamac within the Andes. He was the creator of all things, including the universe, the sun, moon, and stars as well as time itself and all mankind. He was originally worshipped as god of the sun and of storms, of the sea and oceans, and wore the sun for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain.
    The Spanish chronicler Pedrso Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote that Viracocha was described as "a man of medium height, white and dressed in a white robe like an alb (similar to the long, white linen tunic worn by the Romans) and secured round the waist; he carried a staff and a book in his hands. In legend, Viracocha had one son, called Inti, and at one time destroyed all his creations by Flood, saving two. Manco Capac was the son of Inti, which name means splendid foundation.”
    It seems obvious, that over time, and given the nature of the ungodly to attribute all things of God to man and nature, Viracocha became one of a pantheon of gods and Inti, a god of the Sun or Sun God.
    The original temple, built to Viracocha and dedicated to the Creator God, had both interior and exterior walls covered in gold—called the “sweat of the sun”—which was beaten into sheet plates. There were, reportedly, 700 of these half-meter square sheets, each weighing 9 pounds. Inside the temple now called Coricancha in the center of Cuzco, besides golden artifacts relevant to the god's worship, was a gold statue of Inti encrusted with jewels. The statue represented Inti as a small seated boy called Punchao (Day or Midday Sun). From his head and shoulders the sun's rays shone, he wore a royal headband and had snakes and lions coming out of his body. The stomach of the statue was hollow and used to store the ashes of the vital organs of previous Inca rulers. Everyday this statue was brought out into the open air and returned to the shrine each night. One can easily see the point of worship and religion changing over time by these legends.
The Gold Sun Mask with the sacred ceque (zeq’e) lines, physical and cosmic roads of which there were 41 which led to an impressive 328 sacred sites

Another important representation of the god—a giant mask with zig-zag rays bursting from the head—was hung from the wall of a specially dedicated chamber within the temple.
    According to some of the chroniclers, all the Natives of this land affirmed that in the beginning, and before this world was created, there was a being called Viracocha. He created a dark world without sun, moon or stars, and owing to this creation he was named Viracocha Pachayachachi, which means "Creator of all things." To him, all things were made and for him, all things of man were dedicated. As an example, even during Inca times, in the outside garden of “his” temple, was a wonderfully conceived homage to Inti. Just as land—sometimes even entire regions—were dedicated to the god, so too, this garden was constructed in honor of the great sun god. Everything in it was made of gold and silver. A large field of corn and life-size models of shepherds, llamas, jaguars, guinea pigs, monkeys, birds and even butterflies and insects were all crafted in precious metals. And if that wasn't enough there were also a large number of gold and silver jars all encrusted with precious stones. All that survives the Spanish greed of the conquest that took and melted down all these metals and shipped it back to Spain, are a few golden corn stalks, a convincing, if silent, testimony to the lost treasures of Coricancha.
The walls were covered with sheets of gold, the pillars and the ceiling were covered in gold, all of which the Spanish stripped, melted down into gold ingots and shipped back to the Crown in Spain

Five other temples or wasi were placed around the main square courtyard of Coricancha. In order of hierarchy, one temple was dedicated to the creator god Viracocha (more or less equal to Inti), one to Quilla the goddess of the moon, one to Chaska-Qoylor, one to the god of thunder Illapa, and finally one for Cuichu the rainbow god. Just as Inti's temple was covered in gold, Quilla's temple was covered in silver, a metal thought to be the tears of the moon. Each wasi contained a cult statue of that particular god and precious art and religious objects connected to them.
    There was also a dedicated space for the mummified remains of former Inca emperors and their wives, known as mallquis. These were brought out of storage during special ceremonies such as those celebrating the solstices. Offerings were made to these mummies dressed in fine clothes, and the great achievements they had made during their reigns were read out for all to hear. There were also living quarters for priests and priestesses and still other rooms of the complex were used as art and religious treasuries stuffed with artifacts taken from conquered peoples. These may well have been kept in order to guarantee compliance to Inca rule, just as conquered rulers were sometimes held hostage at Cuzco for periods of a year. Yet another interesting feature of the site was an underground channel through which sacred water flowed to the surrounding squares outside the complex.
    Other important functions of Coricancha included the taking of astronomical observations, especially of the Milky Way (Mayu). There was, for example, a pair of towers which marked the Summer solstice and sightings were taken from the sacred ushnu stone against man-made and natural landmarks on the horizon to track the sun. Sacrificial victims (capacochas) were also made ready for their great moment in the precinct's courtyard and then marched along the ceque lines to be sacrificed in the various provinces in honor of Inti and his living incarnation, the Inca emperor.
(See the next post, “Were Thre Two Towers? – Part II,” for more on the two towers that Noah built and their locations and which fits where in the scriptural record)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

4th Nephi Code Video: Is This Where Lehi Landed?

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel 1886 – Lehi’s Landing – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding the original Franklin D. Richards Compendium reference book of Church doctrinal facts in which he quotes Frederick G. Williams comment about Lehi landing at 30º South Latitude.
 Now, another note also on page 54, states: “Orson Pratt held that view (of Lehi landing in South America). In his Remarkable Visions, the first edition of which we understand, was published in 1840, consequently some time before the martyrdom of the Prophet, he says that Lehi landed upon the western coast of South America,’ and in 1874, when he was Church Historian, in an article written for an encyclopedia, Pratt expressed the same thought more fully, stating that the landing took place, ‘as is believed, not far from the 30th degree south latitude.’ The expression, ‘as is believed,’ we take to mean that Orson Pratt did not advance a theory of his own on the question, but stated what was held to be true among his associates, or some of them, as well as by himself.” 
    Now, whether or not the above information was recorded as an opinion rather than a revelation, is not known, however, a greater statement by Pratt was given two years earlier in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on Sunday Afternoon, February 11, 1872, and reported by David W. Evans in the Journal of Discourses under the title: “Nephite America—The Day of God's Power—The Shepherd of Israel,” in which he opened his remarks by saying: “It is quite unexpected to me to be called upon this afternoon to address this congregation; but inasmuch as I have been solicited so to do I cheerfully comply with the request. It has also been suggested that there would be several strangers present this afternoon who would desire to hear some of the evidences in relation to the Book of Mormon, and although it is a subject on which we have spoken during the week just passed.” 
    He then goes on to discuss the Book of Mormon, beginning with Lehi’s travels, saying: “from the Lord they traveled southwest from the city of Jerusalem, and after reaching the Red Sea they continued along its eastern borders and afterwards bent their course eastward, arriving at the Indian Ocean. There they were commanded by the Almighty to build a vessel, the pattern of which was given to them by revelation, building it as Noah built the Ark—under the direction of the Almighty. On board this vessel they embarked, and were guided by the Almighty across the great Indian Ocean…they came round our globe, crossing not only the Indian Ocean, but what we term the great Pacific Ocean, landing on the western coast of what is now called South America. As near as we can judge from the description of the country contained in this record the first landing place was in Chile, not far from where the city of Valparaiso now stands.”
Valparaiso, the coastal city nearest the Chilean capitol of Santiago, was relatively well known in the eastern United States by 1872, and was the furthest north ships rounding the Cape on their way to Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan sailed before turning westward across the Pacific to pick up the northern rim of the South Pacific Gyre 

For explanation, Valparaiso (33.03º south) is 200 miles south of the 30º south latitude, and in 1872, Valparaiso (29.9º south)—on the coast—and near the capitol of Santiago, Chile—just inland—was known in the eastern U.S., though the Bay of Coquimbo and La Serena had not yet been publicized in the States at that time. Pratt then recounts the separation of the Nephites and Lamanites, and the former group moving away, saying: “Being so severely persecuted by the Lamanites, the Nephites were commanded of the Lord to depart from their midst, that is to leave the first place of colonization in the country which the Spanish now call Chile. They came northward from their first landing place traveling, according to the record, as near as I can judge, some two thousand miles. The Lamanites remained in possession of the country on the South. The Nephites formed a colony not far from the head waters of the river Amazon, and they dwelt there some four centuries, increasing and spreading forth in the land. The Lamanites, in the South and in the middle portions of South America, also spread forth and multiplied, and became a very strong and powerful nation.
    Now, two years after the 1840 disclosure of Lehi sailing down to the Southern Ocean and across to Chile, a contrary view was expressed in the Times and Seasons, September 15, 1842, nor is it certain who wrote this second article, though it was written while the prophet was still alive and reading each Church publication rather carefully it might be assumed. This second article states: “…Lehi went down by the Red Sea to the great Southern Ocean, and crossed over to this land, and landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien, and improved the country…”
    The Compendium article concludes with: “It should be noted that this statement ‘a little south of the Isthmus of Darien’ would put the landing somewhere in Columbia or Equador (sic), but a considerable distance from Coquimbo, Chile, 30 degrees south latitude.
Top: The area of Panama, once called Darien, now the term “Darien” refers to that area of Panama that joins Colombia and the mainland of South America called the Darien Gap; Bottom: As can be seen, this area referred to as the Darien Gap is a heavy jungle—no one lives or works here and not even the 18,650 mile long Pan American Highway, which runs continuously from Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America to Alaska crosses this 100-mile long Gap 

Now, of this latter thought, it should also be noted that the Isthmus of Darien (the entire country of Panama) is not today referred to as the Darien Gap, but rather this is a narrow area in the country of Panama, and involves that part of land connecting Panama with Colombia in South America—more specifically, that area of Panama just to the north of the South American continent, lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This area is almost impassable, and inaccessible, having defeated travelers for centuries, and uncrossed by man through the interior in any fashion—even today with off-road four wheelers except for one well-funded and well-equipped effort by vehicle in a Land Rover, dubbed the Affectionate Cockroach and a Jeep, which took nearly five months, averaging just 656 feet per hour (that is barely over two football fields long).
Trying to get through the Darien Gap in a 4-wheel off-road vehicle—it was slow, averaging less than ¼ of a mile per hour for five months to cover 100 miles 

In the past, major settlements of the Spanish, Dutch, and Scottish all failed to open up or travel through this area, let along settlement of any type. To think that Nephites, including women and children traveled on foot north and south through this uninhabitable and inhospitable undeveloped swampland jungle between where they landed and Central America is without merit of any kind since the only way around the Gap is by sea—not through it.
    Thus, we are left with the comment, written by Frederick G. Williams, that Lehi landed 30º South Latitude, in the area now known as Coquimbo Bay and La Serena, Chile.
By the way, as an afterthought, the time capsule was recovered on August 13, 1993. Unfortunately, the papers inside were damaged by moisture and condensation inside the foundation stone over the 136-year period, as was the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, placed by the Prophet Joseph in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House hotel in 1841, when the cornerstone was opened in the 1870s by Emma Smith's second husband. Moisture had damaged much of the manuscript, causing the Church today to store artifacts, publications and other mementos in cornerstone boxes for modern-day temples in airtight and watertight stainless steel boxes. In the church's early days, the actual hollowed-out stones themselves were used.
    However, the point of all of this should be that in the 1830s Joseph Smith and/or Frederick G. Williams wrote on a paper that Lehi landed at the 30º South Latitude on the western shores of Chile. Because this area just so happens to contain all the criteria and descriptive nature of Nephi's findings in 1 Nephi 18:23-25 upon landing, one can only wonder how these men in frontier Illinois decided upon that particular spot which also happens to be one of very few landing sites in all of western South America, unknown in New England at the time, and having one of only two Mediterranean Climates where the seeds brought from Jerusalem would have grown in 600 B.C.  Such unbelievable coincidences would never make anyone's truth list, yet they did write this down in 1830s though no one in Illinois at the time had ever been to Western South America.