Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Comparing Land of Promise Location to Scripture Descriptions

When looking for a Land of Promise location model, it should, above all else, match the descriptive statements in the Book of Mormon about such a location. If any model does not match Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni’s clear statements, then it should be summarily rejected.
Ammon reached “a hill, which was north of the Land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents, and Ammon took three of his brethren and they went down into the Land of Nephi

As an example, Mormon tells us that the cities of Shilom and Shemlon were within view of a tower built on a hill overlooking the city of Shilom. “[Noah] 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, emphasis added).
    This tower was on a hill which Mormon tells us: “He [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 (Mosiah 11:13, emphasis added). This tower was: “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.
    Further, we learn that the land of Shilom was next to the Land of Nephi, “when they had wandered forty days they came to a hill, which is north of the land of Shilom, and there they pitched their tents. And Ammon took three of his brethren, and their names were Amaleki, Helem, and Hem, and they went down into the land of Nephi. And behold, they met the king of the people who were in the land of Nephi, and in the land of Shilom; and they were surrounded by the king's guard, and were taken, and were bound, and were committed to prison” (Mosiah 7:5-7, emphasis added).
    Evidently, then, a temple on a hill overlooking a valley which was large enough for two cities, Shilom and Nephi, to be located, and that from that hill, the Land of Shemlon could be seen (Mosiah 19:6).
Cuzco Valley in Peru in which today is located the city of Cuzco, and anciently was the city of Nephi, Shilom and Shemlon

Consequently, such a location should be able to be identified from the specific terrain and city location in a proposed Land of Promise. This is true in Andean South America, when looking at the Valley of Cuzco on the eastern side of the Knot of Cuzco in the Southern Sierras, directly adjacent to the Sacred Valley, which is also known locally as the Urubamba Valley, that is 12 miles north of Cuzco.
Location of Sacsayhuaman within the area of Cuzco in Peru

Today this entire area is considered within the boundaries of the City of Cuzco, that currently has around 350,000 population, showing its size large enough to easily include the three Nephite cities of Nephi, Shilom and Shemlon in BC times.
    In addition, Nephi tells us that after settling in the Land of Nephi, he “did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15). We also know that earlier, Nephi was taught by the Lord while building his ship: “We did work timbers of curious workmanship. And the Lord did show me from time to time after what manner I should work the timbers of the ship. Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men. And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things” (1 Nephi 18:1-3, emphasis added).
    Sacsahuaman, perched on a hill above the city is an immense fortified work six hundred yards long, built in three lines of wall consisting of enormous stones, some of which are twenty-seven feet in high. Pissac is also the site of wonderful ruined masonry and an ancient observatory. At Ollantaytambo, forty-five miles to the north of Cuzco, is another of these gigantic fortresses, built to defend the valley of the Yucay. This stronghold is constructed for the most part of red porphyry, and its walls average twenty-five feet in height. The great cliff on which Ollantay is perched is covered from end to end with stupendous walls which zigzag from point to point of it like the salient angles of some modern fortalice. At intervals are placed round towers of stone provided with loopholes, from which doubtless arrows were discharged at the enemy. 
    This outwork embraces a series of terraces, world-famous because of their gigantic outline and the problem of the use to which they were put. It is now practically agreed that these terraces were employed for the production of maize, in order that during a prolonged investment the beleaguered troops and country-folk might not want for a sufficiency of provender. The stone of which this fortress was built was quarried at a distance of seven miles, in a spot upwards of three thousand feet above the valley, and was dragged up the steep declivity of Ollantay by sheer human strength. The nicety with which the stones were fitted is beyond marvelous, bordering on the unbelievable.
    Obviously, Nephi was well instructed by the Lord in advanced techniques in building, since his instruction and subsequent work was “not after the manner of men.” But if not after the manner of men, or the techniques of his day, then who or what were they after?
    Certainly it was after the knowledge of God, whose knowledge and ability formed the Universe—He certainly would have known how to build far in advance of Nephi’s time, or even our own. In turn, Nephi passed that knowledge and skill along to his people when he “taught them how to build buildings,” who then built a temple, “Like unto Solomon’s” (2 Nephi 5:16).
The three-tiered stone walls around Sacsahuaman on the hill above the Cuzco Valley

In addition, Sacsahuaman was surrounded by a cliff on one side, and a three-tiered stone wall on the other sides that is considered not only beyond the ability of people to build in BC times, given their equipment of the day, but is also considered beyond the abilities of today without the use of cranes, backhoes, and mechanized construction equipment.
    As Mormon wrote: “building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8).
    Where else in the Americas do we find such workmanship as well as such stone walls for defense surrounding cities and throughout the land? Not Mesoamerica, whose stone work, though impressive, was seldom built for defense, almost all of their cities being unwalled and open to the surrounding land. And certainly not in North America, where no stone walls of any workmanship or use in defending the area within.
Fortifications that Mormon described were difficult for the Lamanites to enter. These stone forts were nearly impregnable; Upper Left: Chinchero; Upper Right: Pachacamac; Lower Left: Kuelap; Lower Right: Ollantaytambo
Again, Mormon said of the Nephites, “[he] caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies” (Alma 50:10). Also, “all their fortifications” (Alma 51:23), and “all of which were strongly fortified after the manner of the fortifications of Moroni” (Alma 51:27). There is also “sought protection in their fortifications” (Alma 52:2); “While they were in their fortifications” (Alma 52:17); “he did employ his men in preparing for war, yea, and in making fortifications to guard against the Lamanites” (Alma 53:7); “they should commence a labor in strengthening the fortifications round about the city Gid” (Alma 55:25). In fact, the Nephites were constantly building and strengthening already built forts” (49:13,18); “Attack them in their forts” (Alma 52:5); “built forts of security, for every city in all the land round about” (Alma 49:13).
    The point is, the Nephites built forts, had fortresses, and places of resort—small forts.
    Thus, in any model of the Land of Promise, there should be evidence of stone forts, or fortresses with stone walls around it, secure enough to stop an advancing army, for the “Lamanites could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance” (Alma 49:18).
    In addition, when Mormon described the Nephite forts as being impregnable, saying that the Lamanites “could not get into their forts of security by any other way save by the entrance” (Alma 49:18), we can rightly assume that these entrances were a strong deterrent to attack.
Sample of special entrances designed to repel attacks, with narrow, uphill climbs with defenders on top and each side of the wall, throwing rocks, shooting arrows or throwing spears down on the attackers, or blind entrances that lead nowhere once inside as shown

Thus, of the some 60+ scriptural references about geography or descriptive information regarding the Land of Promise, all match the lands within Andean Peru. Consequently, the descriptions and locations described in these articles is based upon the scriptural record and not opinions, assumptions, or beliefs.

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