Sunday, November 3, 2019

A Guideline for Writing about the Land of Promise

We have been asked from time to time what we use for a guideline in looking at, choosing and writing about change regarding the Land of Promise.
    In answer, we basically follow one rule in regard to the scriptural record and that is we accept what was written by the ancient prophets and how it was written. That is, as an example, Mormon’s “north” means north, his “south” means south, and his “narrow” as in narrow neck, means narrow; Jacob’s “isle” means isle (island); and Nephi’s “horse” means horse. In the same vein, Ether’s “they did gather together all the people upon all the face of the land” means every Jaredite living, which were all eventually killed; and Moroni’s “I remain alone” and “they are gone” means just that, the Nephites were all wiped out except for Moroni.
    These two rules, then, are what we go by: 1) the scriptural record as written without change, alteration or explanation, and 2) the ever increasing knowledge of man as it pertains to the Land of Promise and various Theories presented by others. Thus, man’s knowledge, while always changing, can include if one is careful in their research, additional information that is helpful and useful in understanding the scriptural record.
    Take for instance Jacob’s remark that the Nephites were on a “isle of the sea.” While most theorists want to discredit the word “isle” as meaning some “far off land,” either seashore or inland, that the Hebrews used in an idiomatic manner, we can verify man’s knowledge of areas that were once differently shaped than they are today.
South America was once an island in the west and east, with the Atlantic Ocean filling in the middle, including the Amazon Drainage Basin and more southern lowlands

As an example, the western Andean shelf of South America is better understood today in geology than in the early 1990s when we first started looking into and eventually writing about the Land of Promise. As has been posted here in recent months, we now know scientifically that geologists agree that much of South America was underwater and at some time in the distant past rose up out of the water to its present configuration. We also know that at this time, the Andes mountains, which are the youngest mountains in the world, formed, that the seas that once covered the central continent receded, and that these events occurred recently in geologic time. We also know that, again in geologic time, the Andes “spurted up” in a quick growth framework that has startled geologists.
    By putting these facts together, we now can verify that the western shelf of South America was once an island, surrounded by seas, that subduction took place altering the landscape, raising the continent and forming the Andes mountains. At the same time, we need to keep in mind that man's knowledge is far more fluid and adjusts as man's knowledge increases (so far we have not found that increase to be contrary to the scriptural record relating to the Land of Promise and what has been written here earlier).
    Man’s knowledge can be a guideline based on what existed at the time as far as geological chronology (not dates but sequence of events) took place based on the best information available at the time of our writing as compared with the scriptural record for place and time.
During the almost ten years we have been writing this blog (January of 2010), which covers 4000 individual posts, we have seen the increase in man’s knowledge in numerous areas of research into the Land of Promise, many of which are quite exciting and all of which strengthen the South American location, from knowledge on ocean currents and winds; archaeology and anthropology in South America, particularly Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile; increased activity in excavation and interpretation; general knowledge of mountain building, tectonic plate subductions; more knowledge on earlier unknown plants and grains; the history of earlier unknown animals; and knowledge of the cinchona tree for its quinine.
    In short, man’s knowledge is helping us better understand the physical setting of the Land of Promise even more today than in the past. This means that we all should be learning, but experience shows we are not as much as we could. It is simply a matter of nature that many, especially professionals, doggedly adhere to explanations that are no longer accurate or valid based of the greater knowledge learned.
    As the Lord said that in the last days he would “reveal all things—things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew—things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purposes and the end thereof—things most previous—things that are above, and things that are beneath—things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven” (D&C 101:32-33).
    On this blog we make every attempt to include newer research, newer information, and newer studies for supplemental information regarding our work as well as that of others. In this regards, supplemental support is a dynamic environment of constant learning—we hope our writing reflects this effort.
    As an example, when Great Lakes and Heartland advocates first created their model, they used the Mississippi and St. Lawrence rivers as their source of Lehi's travel inland (by ship)—and looking at a modern map it makes sense; however, we have learned more about these inland rivers that were all far too shallow, full of rapids, and some links non-existent until the Corps of Engineers dredged them in the 18th-20th centuries—a fact that was always existent, just not known to most people but now is common knowledge, showing no inland route to the Great Lakes or even up the Mississippi was possible in 600 B.C. or, actually, until at least the 18th century. Yet, despite there being no way to get the Lehi colony to the Great Lakes in 600 B.C., theorists still cling to the idea that they went up some river despite that modern knowledge of these rivers shows that such an idea is no longer tenable and never was.
The Lachine Rapids are about 3 miles in length. In the past these represented a considerable barrier to maritime traffic. In fact, until the construction of the Lachine Canal through Montreal, beginning in 1821, the rapids had to be portaged

The interesting thing is, that every time new knowledge surfaces about South America, it is consistent with what we have already written about it—only now we have even more supportive evidence for the accuracy of this being the Land of Promise than ever before.
Unlike Mesoamerica, and the eastern United States, where both have been searched, researched, studied and written about extensively, the western portion of South America is relatively new in regard to published knowledge of it, yet everything we now know, and more and more is being learned, every single issue in the Book of Mormon is consistent with a settlement in Andean Peru, from the ocean winds and currents that took Nephi’s ship from the Arabian Peninsula southeastwardly into the Southern Ocean and up the Humboldt Current to the Bay of Coquimbo, to the barges of the Jaredites landing along the Santa Elena peninsula in Ecuador, to the numerous histories of the Andean Peruvian area matching every single description Mormon gives us. And, yes, at the time of the Nephites, the area being an island and the great destruction and mountains arising to “a height which is great,” as Samuel the Lamanite foresaw, to being the only place in the world where quinine was located to cure the killing fevers of malaria (Alma 46:40), to all the things found where Lehi landed (1 Nephi 18:24-25) right at the exact spot of the landing, and on and on as we have written here these past ten years.
    Yet, we have never read of any theorist to have made such adjustments in their thinking or explanations of their theories, though knowledge has been increasing at an unprecedented rate.
    In further explanation, we make the assumption that the Land of Promise, as discussed, described, and covered in the scriptural record before 34 A.D., to have been physically unchanged from the island-separation outline developed by geologists. So however we describe it, it remained that way from Nephi down to the crucifixion. We assume this because there is no indication in the scriptural record to suggest otherwise, nor in the scientific record. On the other hand, 3 Nephi describes a tremendous change, as is verified by Nephi’s earlier vision and the prophecies of Samuel the Lamanite.
On the other hand, after 34 A.D., certain physical areas are never again mentioned at all or even referred to, such as the East Sea and the narrow neck of land, which may not mean anything, but could mean they were no longer physically the same. At the same time, the geologic picture is constantly being adjust to fit a 13,000 year old world rather than a 4.55 billion year old world—which we do because we are convinced that Moses writings of the time frame of the world (which dates and events Joseph Smith used in his 2nd Lesson in the School of the Prophets) is correct rather than man’s knowledge about evolution and the demand that a world had to be billions of years old to accommodate such unproven, or even substantiated, evolutionary philosophies.
    In addition, there are no geological factors when using the geologic islands of South America like no Panama connection, seas to the east of the Andean area, etc., that would have affected the basic gravitational currents and winds that have remained in existence from the beginning in regard to the Land of Promise. Thus, winds and currents have always existed basically as they do now, a belief we share with numerous scientists and oceanographers. And those currents tells where Lehi sailed, and where he landed.


  1. I have found that a major hingepoint in the acceptance of scripture "as it is written" is the acceptance of Noah's flood. For many of the faithful, the idea of a flood covering the Earth is accepted like medicine that must be swallowed but not considered or weighed in the real world. For others, it is downplayed or chalked up as Biblical exaggeration, religious myth, or as a parable. Even when it is accepted as literal and as having happened in the real world, seldom are the geological implications weighed honestly.

    The great flood not only implies, but requires an acceptance of rapid geological upheaval. It nullifies most of what is taught about landscape formation. It confirms scripturally that mountains and other landforms are shaped rapidly under cataclysmic circumstances.

    Once that is understood, then it is no stretch at all to accept that the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes was raised rapidly and the Amazon Basin drained in a cataclysmic event. Thus, it becomes no stretch to accept 3 Nephi 8 as described.

    South America remains an impossible location in the eyes of those who refuse cataclysmic change as described in scripture. When rapid geological change is denied because of modern man's dogmatic insistence upon extremely slow geological processes, the South American model remains hidden in plain sight.

  2. "It was common knowledge in the 19th century that the lectures were [mainly] written by Sidney Rigdon, but by the mid-twentieth century it was thought that the Prophet Joseph Smith had penned them."

    "Joseph Smith explicitly declared in Nauvoo that his concept of the Godhead had never changed, and he had always taught the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost were separate entities."

    Mystery Solved: Who Wrote the Lectures on Faith?

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