Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Look at the Andes Mountains and the Land of Promise – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding the comparisons between Peru and the Land of Promise.

One of the many giant sand dunes in the Sechura Desert. The highest dune in the world is Cerro Blanco at 3858 feet from the base to its peak 

Impressively huge sand dunes and sprawling, rocky wastelands in an area of desert along the coastal strip of the country, most people would call it a desert, but locals refer to it as “that with no name,” and react strongly to someone calling it a desert. To them, this dry and dusty coastal strip of Peru—even with its jagged moonscape and curving sand dunes that reach 700-feet in height—is not a desert. It is a long, narrow stretch of the Peruvian coast south of the Sechura Desert—a narrow, nameless strip that separates the Andes and the Pacific for more than 1,500 miles before merging with Chile's Atacama Desert, where Arequipa

Arequipa, the White City, lies at the nexus of the Andes and the Atacama in southern Peru, and is surrounded by hot springs and the deepest desert canyon on earth, the Colca Canyon. It is situated below three enormous volcanoes, the most prominent is The most well-known Arequipa volcano is Mount Misti, which lies in between Mount Chachani and Pichu Pichu Peaks.

Rocky brown hills line the horizon of othis coastal desert, with impressively huge sand dunes and sprawling, rocky wastelands in an utterly barren land with some dunes bumping the edges of the Pan-American Highway with swirling patterns of sand hovering over the blacktop.

The extremely varied landscapes in Peru give travelers the opportunity to visit wet, dense jungle, rugged mountains and one of the driest deserts on earth. Depending on the source, Peru has either one or two deserts running the length of its coastline, situated along the western side of the South American continent. The desert supports a number of major cities, including the capital city of Lima. But it is the mountains that are most impressive.

Regarding these mountains, Mormon writes about the travel described in the scriptural record. This shows a match of the Land of Promise Mountains to the topography of the Peruvian Andes regarding “coming over,” and its meaning, which suggests isolated towns and villages separated by hills and mountains where travel is not direct, but from one land to another. In fact, the word “over” in Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, is described as “on the opposite side,” and “from one land to another.” The use of this is seen in the following verses:

“and went over upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon” (Alma 6:7)

“took his journey over into the land of Melek” (Alma 8:3)

“he took Amulek and came over to the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 15:18)

“and came over to a village which was called Ani-Anti,” (Alma 21:11)

“they departed and came over into the land of Middoni” (Alma 21:12)

and went over into the borders of the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 25:2)

“and many of them came over to dwell in the land of Ishmael” (Alma 25:13)

“and came over near the borders of the land” (Alma 27:14)

“this man went over to the land of Jershon also” (Alma 30:19)

“he came over into the land of Gideon” (Alma 30:21

“and came over into the land of Jershon.” (Alma 35:1)

“also came over into the land of Jershon” (Alma 35:2)

“and they came over also into the land of Jershon” (Alma 35:6)

“sent over unto the people of Ammon desiring them that they should cast out of their land all those who came over from them into their land” (Alma 35:8)

“that came over unto them;” (Alma 35:9)

“and came over into the land of Melek” (Alma 35:13)

“did go over into the land of Siron,” (Alma 39:3)

“that they might come over into the land of Manti” (Alma 43:24)

and marched over into the land of Manti.” (Alma 43:25)

“and brought a part over into the valley” (Alma 43:31)

and came over into the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 47:29)

“and came over to the camp of Moroni” (Alma 50:31).

had come over and joined the Lamanites in this part of the land” (Alma 59:6).

Besides 19 direct uses of the word “mountain” in the Book of Mormon relating directly to the Land of Promise, there are 24 uses of the word “hill.” In addition, there are 19 uses of “up” relating to elevation, and 44 uses of the word “down,” again, relating to elevation. This suggests that the Land of Promise was a hilly and mountainous land. This is seen in the hiding places of the Gadianton Robbers who hid in the mountains.

The Gadianton Robbers brought havoc to the Nephites


As the Disciple Nephi stated: “the Gadianton robbers, who dwelt upon the mountains, who did infest the land; for so strong were their holds and their secret places that the people could not overpower them” (3 Nephi 1:27, emphasis added). And “they did commit murder and plunder; and then they would retreat back into the mountains, and into the wilderness and secret places, hiding themselves that they could not be discovered” (Helaman 11:25, emphasis added). Also, “they sent an army of strong men into the wilderness and upon the mountains to search out this band of robbers, and to destroy them (Helaman 11:28, emphasis added). Also, “they were again obliged to return out of the wilderness and out of the mountains unto their own lands” (Helaman 11:31, emphasis added). And another: “Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them” (3 Nephi 3:20, emphasis added).

As for “hill,” Ammon stated “we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills” (Alma 26:29, emphasis added). There were some unnamed hills such as the “hill east of Sidon,” and one “north of the Land of Shilom,” but some were large enough and prominent enough, to warrant names, such as: the hill Manti, the hill Amnihu, the hill Shim, the hill Onidah, the hill Riplah, the hill Cumorah, “the hill Ephraim,” “the hill Comnor,” and “the hill Ramah.”

Obviously, the Land of Promise was a hilly and mountainous land, with some mountains large enough to provide perfect hiding places for a large body of men like the Gadianton Robbers, and hills large enough to be used as hiding places, like in the case of Moroni hiding his armies behind the hill Riplah in order to attack the Lamanites (Alma 34-35).  

So we see that the Land of Promise was a mountainous and hilly land as is the Peruvian Andes. Obviously, the Heartland and Great Lakes theories would be disqualified since they fit none of these requirements, and Mesoamerica would be disqualified since that land does not fit the mountains “whose height is great” as mentioned by Samuel the Lamanite.

In Comparing Mesoamerica, the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, near the border with Mexico, is Guatemala's, and Central America's, highest mountain chain, which stands 12,588 feet at its highest point. In Mexico, of the top 40 mountain peaks, the highest reaches 18,406 feet, and is located in their Land Northward, as are the next two, both at 17,000 feet, and two more at 14,000 feet—all in their Land Northward. There are three peaks at 13,000 feet, 7 at 12,000 feet, and numerous peaks at 11,000 feet—all in their Land Northward but two. The tallest mountain peak in their Land Southward is 12,172 feet (17th tallest peak in Mexico), and another at 11,220 feet and a third at 11,056 feet (28th peak). In addition, there are 18 of these top 40 not even in their Land of Promise, meaning that of the top 40 peaks in Mexico, about half are not even in their Land of Promise. The highest point in the Mexican Yucatan is a mere 690 feet. The tallest mountain peaks in their Land Southward sit at 13,386 feet, 12,172 feet, 11,220 feet, and at 11,056 feet—only four peaks in all their Land Southward, where Samuel the Lamanite spoke to the Nephites, and none of which really meet the “whose height is great” criteria.


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