Monday, August 30, 2021

Did You Know? - Part I

One thing we do know is Lehi left Jerusalem with four sons (1 Nephi 2:5), two more born in the wilderness (1 Nephi 18:7), and at least two sisters (2 Nephi 5:6) and probably at least two more accordingto the Apostle Erastus snow.

Following are some of the little- or lesser-known facts within the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon and found in the scriptural record to verify the scriptural record. These are:

The Identity of Nephi’s Wife. Nephi married: “and took one of the daughters of Ishmael (left) to wife” (1 Nephi 16:7); and later when Laman and Lemuel threatened Nephi’s life, “That they were angry with me again, and sought to lay hands upon me; but behold, one of the daughters of Ishmael, yea, and also her mother, and one of the sons of Ishmael, did plead with my brethren, insomuch that they did soften their hearts (1 Nephi 7).

This admirable, unnamed daughter was probably Ishmael’s youngest daughter as was Nephi the youngest son of Lehi. Since the process of marrying the oldest daughter first was an ancient practice among the Hebrews—called mohar (ketuba) or Jewish Wedding Contract, with mattan as a gift—then married the next oldest daughter second, etc., down to the last, the numbers suggest that Zoram married Ishmael’s oldest daughter (1 Nephi 16:7) who followed Nephi into the wilderness where the young prophet established the City of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:6), and the rest would have married in order: second daughter and Laman, third daughter, Lemuel fourth daughter to Sam, and the fifth daughter to Nephi. It stands to reason then that Ishmael would have followed Lehi into the wilderness and both the sons of Lehi would have been so eager to go back to Jerusalem and the daughters of Ishmael so eager to go into the wilderness with Lehi’s family (1 Nephi 7:19)

Nephi being tied to the mast by Laman and Lemual as Nephi’s wife looks on. Her pleading had no effect this time


However, on the sea voyage, Laman and Lemuel were at it again in a much more dangerous manner perhaps prompted by their wives, asking why they were taking orders from a younger brother. In frustration and anger, they tied Nephi to the mast during a storm that threated to capsize the boat and drown them all. During this fearful storm, Nephi says: “also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me“ (1 Nephi 18:19).

In any event, this youngest daughter must have been outspoken in her own right and a brave and courageous young woman, for she would have had to have been still a teenager at the time, perhaps 15 or 16—too young for Nephi’s three older brothers, for she thrice is noted as having stood up to them for Nephi, once before married on the trail down to Lehi’s tent, and the other times in the ship, sailing during the storm. Thus, it would appear that Nephi’s feisty wife was the youngest daughter of Ishmael and a very special woman in her own right.

Since the Liahona stopped working, this time—unlike the time with the dancing and making merry on board—the ship could not be steered into a path that would save them time in the ship, the only thing that freed him was Laman and Lemuel’s fear of not being able to steer the boat and keep it afloat since the Liahona stopped working. Finally, when their fears exceeded their ability to withstand their fear, and they saw the power of the Lord, they untied Nephi, much to the gratitude of Nephi’s wife and children as well as everyone else on board. As Nephi put it: “And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me” (1 Nephi 18:20). 

The Liahona began to work as soon as Nephi was released and his position of navigating the boat again restore


After all, there was one daughter mentioned who had Nephi’s qualities in a writing Nephi did---of the eight or ten (or more) women Nephi mentioned, he wrote about only two—his mother and this youngest daughter of Ishmael—the one who stood up for Nephi on at least three  occasions and it seems reasonable that it was the same daughter on each occasion.

Note: It is interesting that rarely is Sam mentioned during these battles between Nephi and Laman and Lemuel.

And it came to pass that as we journeyed in the wilderness, behold Laman and Lemuel (and their future wives), and two of the daughters of Ishmael, and the two sons of Ishmael and their families, did rebel against us; yea, against me, Nephi, and Sam, and their father, Ishmael, and his wife, and his three other daughters (1 Nephi 7:6).

And it came to pass that they were angry with me again, and sought to lay hands upon me; but behold, one of the daughters of Ishmael, yea, and also her mother, and one of the sons of Ishmael, did plead with my brethren, insomuch that they did soften their hearts; and they did cease striving to take away my life (1 Nephi 7:19).

Thus, the youngest daughter of Ishmael married Nephi and had children. Joined by them, she tearfully begged and prayed for Laman and Lemuel to untie Nephi during the sea voyage. She faithfully remained with her husband when they separated from Laman and Lemuel

Now, two of the five daughters of Ishmael rebelled against Nephi along with Laban and Lemuel and also with their two older brothers, the sons of Ishmael. It seems reasonable that these two daughters were the older and more strong-willed daughters of Ishamel, except for the oldest daughter, who seemed the odd-one-out of the family and who aligned with Zoram, who himself was likely older, like her, and which she married later (1 Nephi 16:7). It is also likely that Laban was aligned with the second oldest, and Lemuel with the third oldest, with Sam and the next daughter and Nephi with the youngest daughter, who was likely the one who their mother aligned with in the end, as mother’s often do in supporting their youngest against her older siblings (1 Nephi 7:19). 

(see the next post for more items that are not known by most readers of the Book of Mormon Land of Promise)

Saturday, August 28, 2021

From Bountiful to Moroni

Most theorists attempt to determine distances in their Land of Promise from one point of their models and descriptions to another with little or no information to judge such a distance. Most of these attempts are simply guesses, some based on misinterpreted information from the scriptural record, other from simple opinion in order to bring the distances in line with the theorist’s point of view and their model.

However, in judging distance, we need to know where the points are located in relation to one another. In addition, we need to know the exact position of one of these points to something else that is exactly known. Since such measurements are unknown in the Land of promise, it is impossible to determine anything near specific distances. 

How do we figure a distance from Moroni to Bountiful?


However, theorists, beginning with John L. Sorenson’s initial book, have used the journey of Alma from the Land of Nephi to the Land of Zarahemla in 21 days as the criteria for all other measurements. However, there are two points to consider:

1. There is no way to figure any distance from the scriptural record, let alone 180 miles as Sorenson does. Theorist on the other hand, believe they can determine this by the escape of Alma and his some 450 men, women, children, and provisions, to walk from the Waters of Mormon to the Land of Zarahemla” (Mosiah 23:3;24:23-25). Note that scriptural record does not mention in this travel that they left the City of Nephi, nor that they arrived at the City of Zarahemla—which is the distance theorists use to determine the distance between these two cities.

Consider that Alma established his covenant community around 140 BC “at the Waters of Mormon in the Land of Nephi “ (Mosiah 18:177-18, emphasis added), “in the borders of the land (Mosiah 18:31, emphasis added)—Note that he did not start from the City of Nephi!

Now Alma established his covenant community at these Waters around 140 BC in the Land of Nephi (Mosiah 18:17-18), from where his journey began at the Waters of Mormon, where Alma taught in the land of Mormon, in a place of water and a small forest where he hid from the king (Mosiah 18:4-5). When he was finally located by the king’s men, Alma and his followers left the Waters of Mormon where the Company had been baptized and headed for safety. 21 days later they arrived in the Land of Zarahemla (Mosiah 22:13, emphasis added)—Note that he did not arrive at the City of Nephi!

How do we figure a distance from the Waters of Mormon to the Land of Zarahemla


Again, Alma and his Company left the Waters of Mormon, and arrived at the Land of Zarahemla, i.e, an unknown starting point and an unknown ending point! Yet theorists claim they can arrive at an estimate of a journey that is really unknown.

2. We do not know the exact position of a third point—that is, something to which one of the other points can be tied. Theorists like to claim that the time frame and thus a distance can be determined between the City of Nephi and the Waters of Mormon by the fact that people from the city went out to the Waters of Mormon and back—but we have no idea how long they stayed, how far they traveled, or even in which direction they went. Even a single day would make a difference of considerable difference in the overall difference.

We need to keep in mind that it took Limhi traveling directly from the city of Nephi to the Land of Zarahemla is described as “many days” (Mosiah 22:13), however, once again, this was to the “Land of Zarahemla,” not the city. In addition, it took Ammon and his group 40 days wandering in the wilderness (Mosiah 7:4) from the City of Zarahemla to the hills over-looking the valley north of the Land of Shilom. From there they went “down into” the Land of Nephi (Mosiah 7:6) and to the “walls of the city” (Mosiah 7:10).

 How do you figure any distances in the entire Book of Mormon when none are stated?


To use the 21-day travel time of Alma, one would have to know how far from the city of Nephi were the Waters of Mormon, and how far from the borders of the Land of Zarahemla to the city of Zarahemla. However, both of these figures are unknown and could be considerably longer than assumed by theorists.

Another point to keep in mind is that nearly all places in the Land of Promise of the Book of Mormon are indefinitely known and thus lend to beliefs, opinions, models, and needs for comparisons or verifications. Where two points, cities or lands are oul of alignment, the tendency among theorists is to make an adjustment, either with the knowledge, historical record, or scriptural record so that alignment (agreement) can be achieved. For some reason iut never occurs to a theorist to stop and evaluate their thinking, thus consider the inaccuracy of their model and location.

In the case of these two cities and their relationship to one another—that is, what recorded information lends itself to such a decision or opinion in trying to arrive at an estimate of distances, we may conclude that something was far or not very far because of the events involved, but in no way can we arrive, from the meager descriptions in the scriptural record, to a specific mileage distance. But that is exactly what John L. Sorenson of BYU, and other theorists have has done on numerous occasions, claiming a city is “so far” from another city because of their list of “facts” or opinions about travel.

Take, for example Sorenson’s conclusion of the exact mileage between the City of Bountiful and the City of Moroni. He wrote:

“Yet another travel account helps us pin down distances, this time on the east coast of the land southward. The Nephite commander Moroni set up a string of garrison cities there against an anticipated Lamanite assault aimed at Bountiful and the strategic neck zone. The area soon became a crucial battle zone when the Nephite dissenter Amalickiah schemed his way into control of the Lamanite armies and blitzed along the coast, capturing city after city until he was at the very border of the land Bountiful (Alma 51:22-28).”

Sorenosn assumes that Bountiful was the city farthest north on the line of march toward the land northward; yet, we do not know that. While it is the last one mentioned in the scriptural record, it likely was not the last city actually located between Bountiful and the Narrow Neck of Land—which causes one of the problems of determining distances in the scriptural record.

From what is listed in the scriptural record, we know that the city of Moroni was built near the Land of Nephi along the east coast, and going northward, there were certain other cities built, with Mulek in the north of the Land Southward, near the Narrow Neck of Land. It should be kept in mind that we do not know if these were all the cities along the east coast of the Land Southward north of the Narrow Strip of Wilderness—they are only the ones mentioned in the scriptural record—and mentioned because of an event involving them dealing with the defector Morianton and later Amalakiah.

As Mormon writes: ”And thus it did come to pass that “they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east (Helaman 3:8), and again: “the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 11:20).

From our point of view, it appears that Mulek and Bountiful were close enough together that Teancum's force could go a major part of the distance and back during part of one hot day. As one theorist put it: “Although it involved strenuous effort (vs 31). On the basis of these statements, we may infer that it was about a regular day's march for soldiers from Mulek to Bountiful – say nearly 25 miles.”

The point is, all distances in the Book of Mormon are so ambiguous that it is simply not possible to arrive at even assumptive distance measurements, let alone set 180 miles as the distance between the city of Zarahemla and the city of Nephi—especially when there is not one single record of anyone traveling that specific route from city to city and how long it took.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Visiting Zarahemla

There has been and still is a lot of controversy over the use of the name Zarahemla in the Doctrine and Covenants. Was it a commandment or name recommended by the Lord; Was it a name suggested by Joseph Smith; or was it simply a name brought into common use by the early Saint who settled there. Heartland theorists want to claim it was a Commandment and that translates to the same location as the Book of Mormon city. However, there are other answers.

Which sign do we follow?


As an example, in 1839, on July 2, Joseph Smith accompanied by other church leaders visited the site of Zarahmla across the river from Nauvoo near Montrose, Iowa. The entry published in the History of the Church reads as follows:

“Spent the forenoon of this day on the Iowa side of the river. Went, in company with Elders Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, and Bishops Whitney and Knight, and others, to visit a purchase lately made by Bishop Knight as a location for a town, and advised that a town be built there, and called Zarahemla” (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol.3, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1957, p382).

It is important to understand that because of poor schooling, Joseph Smith often did not write the remarks often attributed to him in such works as these because his grammar, spelling, and general writing ability lacked that level of writing required. He used scribes to convey events, his thoughts, and memories into the official church record. In addition, every so often one of the Quorum of Twelve was assigned to act as Historian of the Church and assigned to update or correct the official church history. In this case, Elder Willard Richards served as Second Counselor to Church President Brigham Young in the First Presidency from 1847 until his death in 1854. 

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Note: Willard Richards was the record keeper of the Quorum of the Twelve as the inaugural Apostolic Interregnum; Note Apostle Willard Richards (2nd  from left—large inset) who was the record keeper of the Quorum of the Twelve, here depicted in the picture keeping notes of the meeting


Richards became Joseph Smith's private secretary in December 1841 when he was also made Recorder of the Nauvoo Temple—the following year ,in 1842, Richards was called to be the Church Historian and Recorder. In these two capacities, Richards maintained Smith's schedule and recorded most of his activities. As church historian, he subsequently wrote a total of 1,884 pages on the history of Joseph Smith, which was later incorporated into The History of the Church, later edited by B.H. Roberts. All of these pages were written by personal secretaries and scribes of Joseph Smith, and those called as Church Historians.

With all that in mind, it is important to know that the last three words of the entry above, "and called Zarahemla," were not written by Joseph Smith but were written into the "Manuscript History of Joseph Smith" by Elder Willard Richards when he recorded the history for that date sometime after the Prophet's death in 1844 (“Manuscript History of Joseph Smith,” Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City,” 2 July 1839;  see also History of the Church, vol.3, p382; and the writing of Dean C. Jessee, "The Writing of Joseph Smith's History," BYU Studies vol.11, no.4, Summer 1971, pp 439–473; and Howard C. Searle, "Willard Richards as Historian," BYU Studies 31/2, Spring 1991, pp41–62).

The numerous references is to show that this point is well covered and documented.

It should also be noted that the Saints were already referring to the settlement as Zarahemla before the March 1841 revelation, and is verified by other historical evidence showing that the Saints already referred to the site by that name. 


Brigham Young’s journal began in 1839


Brigham Young, who began keeping a regular journal in early 1839, recorded that on 2 July 1839 "Brothers Joseph, Hyrum and others came over the river to Montrose, and went out on the prairie and looked out the sight for a city for the Saints, which was called Zarahemla.” (Elias Smith, His Journal, 24 June 1839, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City).

Elias Smith, a cousin of Joseph Smith, born in the year before Joseph, recorded in his journal for 24 June 1839, that he moved from Commerce to Lee County, Iowa; recorded the death the Prophet's brother, Don Carlos; and wrote in his journal that there was a "Conference at Zarahemla" on that day.” This is one of several early references to the name of the Iowa settlement previous to March 1841 indicate that the Saints referred to it as Zarahemla long before the reve­lation in question.

There are no references within the scriptural record or the historical data that these early sources were based upon revelation or even that it was Joseph Smith's idea. On the other hand, the references seem obvious that the Lord was referencing a location already known among the Saints by that name, and the Lord was likely counseling the Saints to gather at the appointed place and not, as the Heartland theorists claim.

It should be understood that the early Church members did what they often did—name places they lived in after places mentioned in the Book of Mormon or the Bible. There is simply no persuasive reason to associate the Iowa settlement with ancient Zarahemla.

Thus, the site called "Zarahemla" was called that by early Saint settlers long before the revelation referred to that name. Only stubborn, uninformed theorists will, in light of this information cling to this belief.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Did Lehi Land at Apalachicola in Florida? – Part IV

Continuing from the previous post regarding Lehi landing in the Panhandle of Florida at Apalachicola, and a Heartlander’s view of the location and model. As mentioned in the last post, it is God who determines the wind direction and course of the sea currents. He did that when he organized the world, knowing all that had to take place upon it. When it came time to lead Lehi to the Promised Land, it was simply a task of leading Lehi out of Jerusalem, down along the Red Sea, across the desert to a point, all by aid of the Liahona, to where a ship could be built, and a voyage taken on ocean currents and winds he had originally organized for, in part, this very event.

A Phoenician ship that was used by the Pharaoh Necho II (600 BC) for the voyage described by Herodotus. It was from carvings like these that were used to design the Phoenicia replica 2019 ship. It is hard to see how one could lead to the other


In the replica sailing of the Phoenician in 2019, the voyage was delayed when they made changes to the boat in Port Sudan. They had planned to stay for just 15 days, but it took two long months to make the changes to the ship that they thought necessary to continue the voyage. Once on the voyage, they had planned to stay just 15 days in Port Sudan, but it took two long months to make the changes to the ship that Philip Beal thought necessary to continue the voyage. First, they rebuilt the aft end to insert a new and much larger thwart (a transverse support spreading the gunwales) to take the rudders. They also wanted to look at putting a small engine that would enable them to be less reliant on tows in and out of harbors.

The crew overcame many challenges and frustrations during their time in Sudan but finally the new rudder housing was securely in place and a 180 HP engine was installed into the ship to serve as an emergency/security back up and also help the crew to maneuver in and out of ports.

Hardly situations that the original expedition of Pharoah Necho II had in 600 BC, or that Lehi took in the ship that Nephi built.

• Comment: “I think it makes sense they landed about the same latitude [Similar climate for seeds] as Jerusalem, which they could tell from the stars.”

Response: First, it may make sense to Heartland theorists, however, the climate of Jerusalem at 31.7º latitude (Mediterranean Climate Csa and Csb) is not considered on the same latitude and on the same plane as Savannah in southeast Georgia at 32.0, even though their latitudes are very close. This is because it is inaccurate to match these climate zones, which is shown in the fact that Jerusalem has a Mediterranean climate which is characterized by hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters and located between about 30° and 45° latitude north and south of the Equator and on the western sides of the continents.

The Heartland model shows the Climate classification as a Cfa, Humid subtropical which is basically the entire south of the U.S.


Savannah is on the east side of the continent and is an entirely different, humid, climate, which is classified as humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa)—which extends inland in the lower half (south) of the country all the way to the Texas line. In the Deep South, this is characterized by long and almost tropical summers and short, mild winters. Savannah records few days of freezing temperatures each year (and has rare snowfall). Due to its proximity to the Atlantic coast, Savannah rarely experiences temperatures as extreme as those in Georgia's interior. Nevertheless, the extreme temperatures have officially ranged from 105°F in July down to 3°F during the January Arctic outbreak.

Seasonally, Savannah tends to have hot and humid summers with frequent (but brief) thunderstorms that develop in the warm and tropical air masses, which are common. Although summers in Savannah are frequently sunny, half of Savannah's annual precipitation falls during the months of June through September.

It should be noted that similar climates are not the same as matching climates. We have written many articles about climate and plant growth comparisons between the Mediterranean Climate and the North American Humid climate. Nor do matching latitudes, which to the unknowing, appear to be matching, but have significant differences that would have made such plant growth from impossible to very, very poor. 

Second, Lehi was not following the stars, he was following the Liahona. Besides you cannot follow stars if you are in a vessel “driven forth before the wind”—you would have to go where the currents and winds took you!

• Comment: “Crops grew abundantly. This would be difficult in the jungles or islands.
Response: While crops grow abundantly in Georgia as throughout the south, what is naturally grown there is very different than what is grown in a Mediterranean Climate. The two are simply not compatible in the seed or starter state. Seeds brought from a Mediterranean Climate (Jerusalem) would need another Mediterrnean Climate (Land of Promise) for the seeds to grow “exceedingly and  produce an abundant crop”

• Comment: “It had to be a mostly unoccupied area (not Mesoamerica). Only small groups of hunter/gatherers in Southeastern U.S. at the time.”

Response: It is always amazing how theorists want to include other people in the Land of Promise when Lehi arrived. The scriptural record makes no comment, suggestion, or even a hint that there were other people in the land. Whether there were or not, we have only Mormon’s writing, and others, to go by and not one of them in over 500 pages, provides a reference.

• Comment: “It would make sense that the Lord may have led them to another land such as the area of Apalachicola Florida.”

Note the movement of currents (blue) as they sweep around the Gulf, moving away from Apalachicola and down the western coastline of Florida


Response: Apalachicola is situated along the panhandle of northeastern Florida off the East Bay of the Apalachicola Bay. It is separated from the Gulf by St. Vincent and St. George islands on a large extension of land that juts out into the Gulf that moves the currents away from the land at this point, driving a ship “driven forth before the wind” away from a landing at Apalachicola—in fact, several currents move Gulf currents away from this landing site.

Note that the Louisiana peninsula juts out into the Gulf as does the Mississippi River flow past—both of which pushes the current away from the bulge of land at Apalachicola and toward central Florida. In addition, even if a landing could be claimed, it would be on the south end of the land, not the Sea West as Mormon describes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Did Lehi Land at Apalachicola in Florida? – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding Lehi landing in the Panhandle of Florida at Apalachicola, and a Heartlander’s view of the location and model.

• Comment: “Wind current routes across the Atlantic (in the fall when honey and fruits were available, and the natural currents in the fall take you west) would put them somewhere in the Caribbean.”

Response: First, as any wind and ocean current map will show, the currents across the Atlantic are static; that is they are the same year round, unlike in the Indian Ocean where winds and currents are drastically affected by Monsoons that change the winds every six months—which blow out of the northeast toward the southwest, then reverse themselves to blow out of the southwest toward the northeast.

Second, many of the fruits and vegetables are harvested freshly in Israel year round. As an example, lettuce, carrots, peppers, red cabbage, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and bananas are always available. The pattern of rainfall in Israel makes the difference between other fruits and vegetables availability summer and winter availability. (Raajeshwari Ashok, Oman: No shortage for fruits and vegetables, World Gulf,

August 29, 2020; “When Various Fruits and Vegetables are in Season in Israel,” Jewish Heritage Experience, Shalom Israel Tours). 

Stands of Fruits and Vegetables all year round


Where seasons in most of the world determine what is available, in Israel winter and summer produce of the same fruit or vegetable often determines taste—as an example, though the typical Israeli-grown banana is a different variety than the bananas imported from Latin America and sold in the US, you can buy bananas in Israel all year. However, winter bananas are more firm and flavorful.

Another aspect of the fruit and vegetable marketplace to be aware of is that Israel imports far less produce than the US. As a result, many varieties of produce are strictly available according to their growing seasons. Here are some of Israel’s most distinctive seasonal produce. Also, peaking in the late spring are apricots and avocados; strawberries are a winter fruit in Israel. There will be piles of sweet, ripe, red strawberries for a few months, starting in December. Additional winter produce species include lettuce, spinach, pears, citrus, beats and artichokes. Pomegranates start to ripen in late July and by September/October), they are at their peak. Mangoes and dates also peak in the fall here, as well as the famed Dragonfruit.

The point is, produce in Israel at the time of Lehi was very different than one might expect, and could not be used as a point in time when Lehi left Jerusalem. Nor can one extrapolate that fact to the time of ocean currents and winds as to when he left his home outside Jerusalem.

What can be determined is his route. To do this we need to understand winds and currents across the Atlantic here theorists claim Lehi went in the Phoenician ship.

• Comment: “This route was proven to be possible by the Phoenicia Expedition of 2009.”

Response: First of all, the Phoenician Ship Expedition was a re-creation of a 6th-century BC Phoenician voyage conceived by Philip Beale, of which we have written several articles about. Note that it is a voyage conceived by a person to prove the seaworthiness of a ship design and construction method used by a people in 600 BC living just north of Israel.

The word “conceived” is defined as: “a plan or idea in the mind.” It is not a factual event. There is no record that Phoenicians ever sailed to North America. Philip Beale claims his ship was designed after a 600 BC Phoenician ship, as well as the construction method. There are no plans, photos, or even drawings of such a ship. Beale used flat, non-scale etchings on ancient rocks to determine his ship, extrapolated a size, and asked a current ship maker, believed to be making ships the ancient way, to build it.

Replica according to Philip Beal of a Phoenician ship in 600 BC.Pretty modern for a 600 BC boat


Secondly, the voyage itself departed from Syria in August 2008, to sail through the Suez Canal, around the Horn of Africa, and up the west coast of Africa, through the Strait of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean to return to Syria. The objective of the expedition was to prove that ships built by the ancient Phoenicians could withstand the conditions around the African coastline

The expedition reached South Africa in January 2010 and Beirut in October of the same year. This alone disqualifies the voyage, since in 600 BC Pharoah Necho II had Phoenician seamen sail around Africa and they took three years, stopping every night and coming ashore before dark and settling in, then leaving the next morning. They also planted four crops in their voyage around Africa, waited for the crops to grow, then harvested them before starting out again. In each of the overnight stays and the three-month long stay waiting for the crop to grow, they made repairs on their ship, replaced broken or weak parts and when starting out again, had nearly a new boat.

Third, sailing around a given land mass is very different than sailing out into the great deep, without any knowledge what to expect, or all the unannounced niceties of such a voyage, such as having no GPS, no radio, no safe or trailing boat, no knowledge of how far to sail (this almost stopped Columbus’ first expedition). Just five hundred years after Columbus, Beale made his voyage, with all the knowledge previous sailing and studying the way westward. The Phoenicians would have had none of this.

• Comment: “The ship was constructed at Arwad Island, the site of an ancient Phoenician city-state just off the Syrian coast, by Syrian shipwright Khalid Hammound using traditional methods.”

Response: First, the term “using traditional methods” of ship building, makes it sound like that is the sure-fire answer. However, who is to say that the methods used today are the same used in 600 BC. In fact, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to determine that the methods today mirror the methods of 600 BC. Of course they mirror ancient methods as father passed on to son over many generations. But who is to say those methods did not change a little, or even a lot over 2600 years and 10,500 generations? It would only take a tiny bit on what might seem initially to be unimportant to bring about a major difference that nobody would have known about, and argued against—but change there would be.

• Comment: “They went where the Lord directed them with the Liahona, so I don’t think they would have just landed wherever the wind blew them (which would probably have been Hispaniola or maybe the East Coast of Florida or South Carolina).”

The Lord organized the world and placed rivers and oceans where he wanted. Does anyone think He did not have a plan?


Response: We need to keep in mind that the God of all space and the universe, of storm-tossed seas, snows and rains, and the winds and ocean currents that determined early travel throughout the world; the God that devised the Plan of Happiness, the development of the of Man upon the planet—He would have had a plan to bring Lehi from Jerusalem to the Land of Promise.

That he used the Liahona should be a forgone conclusion, but more importantly, he devised the manner of travel and the route of travel for Lehi. It was not as willy-nilly course dependent upon winds and ocean currents, but on winds and ocean currents God put in place to accomplish the task he desired.

(See the next post on how space and elevation are erroneously stated to confuse or alter the point of view to what is agreeable to the Heartland theory and model and the so-called Florida landing at Apalachicola, Florida)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Did Lehi Land at Apalachicola in Florida? – Part II

 Did Lehi Land at Apalachicola in Florida? – Part II

As begun in the previous post, the comments by the Heartland theorist continues with his next remark:

• Comment: “Mormon continually states that the Lamanites went down to Zarahemla and the Nephites went up to Nephi. Obviously, the City of Nephi was at a higher altitude than Zarahemla, which matches the height difference between Montrose Iowa or Zarahemlah and Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

Response. To best understand this we need to look at the areas discussed:

City of Nephi: Chattanooga (considered the city of Nephi by Heartland theorists) is 676 feet in elevation, the Tennessee state average of elevation is 900 feet high, and at Moccasin Bend Archaeological District Elevation is 679 feet. The highest city in Tennessee is 256 miles away at Mountain City, which is in the northeast corner at 2,418 feet and the lowest point is the Mississippi River at 178 feet.

Montrose, Iowa, today, across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo, was the area of the new settlement the early Saints called Zarahemla


City of Zarahemla: (Montrose) is 531feet high; Nauvoo across the river is 670 feet, with the state average in elevation at 1,670 feet high at Hawkeye Point, which is 3 ½ miles south of the Minnesota, bordering on South Dakota, far from their Nephite lands. In the far northeast along the Eastern Divide and the Virginia-North Carolina border, 614 miles south of the Sea South, and 1,045 miles northeast of their city of Nephi (Chattanooga Tennessee). The highest city in Iowa is Concord at 1,250 feet, and the lowest city elevation is Keokuk at 480 feet, which is also the lowest point in the state, and five miles south of their Zarahemla (Montrose).

The point is, the land around their City of Nephi and their city of Zarahemla are not sufficiently different in elevation to warrant the statement that Nephites went up to the Land and City of Nephi, and Lamanites went down to the land and city of Zarahemla. In addition, Lookout Mountain, described in the Comment above as the elevation of Chattanooga (City of Nephi), is really cherry picking an elevation—it is only 1.3 miles long, though connected to the northeast with

• Comment: “The Land in Tennessee is higher in elevation than Zarahemla (Montrose, Iowa) and that is why in the scriptures you will always hear of Nephites traveling “up to” the Land of Nephi and “down to” Zarahemla, as it is a reference to elevation not direction.”

Response: Lookout Mountain is 6 miles from Chattanooga running along the eastern line of Lookout Valley on a narrow southwestern ridge of the Cumberland Plateau and a segment of the Appalachian Mountains. These mountains extend south-southwestward for 75 miles, from Moccasin Bend, Tennessee, on the Tennessee River across northwestern Georgia to Gadsden, Alabama—again, not within their Land of Nephi as described by Mormon.

Lookout Mountain—note how it shows a low mountain looking directly down on the city below situated on flat ground that spreads out for miles—the elevation of the area should be the flat ground, but theorists use the height of the Lookout to verify their location and model


As to the elevation of Lookout Mountain, it is already in Georgia and a half mile from Chattanooga, and from the "Rock City" point, a marker claims that southwest from the vantage point at the edge of Lookout Mountaiviewpon that already overhangs the State of Georgia, people claim that when the sky is clear and with a good set of binoculars you can see up to 7 different states: Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama.

When all is said and done, the two cities 145 feet different in elevation (Chattanooga 676 feet and Montrose 531 feet). Hardly a match of Mormon’s many up and down descriptions.

• Comment: “The Moccasin Bend Archaeological District (Elevation 679 feet) is rich in head plates, breastplates of copper, and other artifacts dating from 3000 BC to 1500 AD. Today from the top of Lookout Mountain (l1850 feet)

Response: First of all, the elevation of Lookout Mountain is 2,388 feet, not 11,850 feet! Secondly, as we have indicated many times, the metallurgy described by Ether and later Moroni, involves more than copper, which the area between Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, since we are told they had iron, steel, and other metals. The minimal, tough impressive work, of copper simply falls considerably short of the other metals mentioned.

Looking down at the flat ground below—(top) Medicine Bow: (below left) Lookout Mountain; (below right): Rail car lift almost straight up the face of the cliff 


• Comment: “Chattanooga at 676 feet elevatione, provides a claimed viewpoint of 7 states: ‘Mosiah 11:12 relates that King Noah, Zeniff’s son, built ‘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 round about.’  If Noah wanted to look over all the land round about, there could hardly be a better place to do so than Lookout Mountain”

Response: Lookout Mountain which rises out of the river valley above Chattanooga to a height of almost 2,400 feet, is claimed that on clear days, mountains 100 miles away are visible from the summit. The tower was near the temple, but there is no description of where the temple was. It may have been enclosed in walls within the city, or it may have been built on a high place, which would explain why Noah built his tower near the temple.”

• Comment: “Speaking about Lehi’s people, “Joseph wrote, “They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph.”  It is possible that Joseph Smith was referring to Zoram after all, clarifying he was not a Jew. He may have been referring to those who accompanied the Mulekites. But it is also possible that he was referring to others who accompanied Lehi who brought servants and landed in a mostly uninhabited area claimed by Heartland theorists to be in Florida or along th south Georgia coast, or Florida, among a small population of hunter/gatherers who lacked a well-organized society” (Jonathan Neville Moroni’s America page 84-86).

Response: Joseph Smith was referring to Lehi’s entire Company—there were some mingling of tribal heritage—such as those bringing Mulek out of the palace and spiriting him away and across the sea. There was Zoram and servants that rich families would have had with them, but mostly they were of Ephraim and Manasseh (sons of Joseph in Egypt) as the Golden Plates that Laban had possessed showed him.

• Comment: “I think Lehi landed in Florida for all the reasons explained in Moroni’s America. He may have sailed south of Cuba to get there because of ocean currents and wind, but it’s interesting that Mulek, Lehi and Columbus converge on the same areas.”

Response: First of all, where Lehi sailed in 600 BC is critical to understanding where he landed. After all, sailing ships in that era, were totally subject to the wind, and to the ocean currents. If a ship could not be blown in the direction chosen or claimed, then it did not go there! Period! End of discussion! Secondly, Columbus did not reach North America, did not know it existed and never saw the continent—he visited Central America and South America. However, the Lord did lead all three of these people and groups to the Land of Promise indicated within the Book of Mormon.

(See the next post on how space and elevation are erroneously stated to confuse or alter the point of view to what is agreeable to the Heartland theory and model and the so-called Florida landings)

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Did Lehi Land at Apalachicola in Florida? – Part I

Heartland theorists continually claim that “The Lehi Landing c. 591 BC or the Land of First Inheritance was possibly near Tallahassee Florida. Nephi could then travel up the Chattahoochee River to its source at Unicoi Gap, GA. The source of the Hiwassee River could then take the Nephites where the first temple may have been built in Chattanooga, TN.”

There are several erroneous viewpoints regarding the North American claims, and  they can all be answered correctly. As an example:

Comment: The Mulekites c. 589 BC may have landed at the Gulf of Mexico by the Mississippi River, and continued up the Mississippi and settled upriver at Montrose, IA or Zarahemla. (D&C 125:3)

A Keel Boat was with a very shallow draft. It moved down the Mississippi River easily with the current, but could not go back up against that same current. Most keelboats were from 45 to 75 feet long and seven to nine feet wide


Response: It is always amazing that people will make such a claim of sailing up the Mississippi without realizing that the Mississippi River in places was so shallow it took special types of river boats to move up and down the river, such as the Keel Boat of Miche Phinck (Mike Fink) often called Flat Boats or shallow draft boats, or flat bottomed river barges.

Rivers in the early history of movement along the Mississippi River Valley were like living, moving roads. At first people traveled in canoes; light and fast, but they couldn’t carry much cargo. To move goods downstream and bring goods upstream required the use of flat boats, or large keelboats known as Batteaux. When the Mississippi Valley and lead ore from Dubuque moved downstream to St. Louis or New Orleans it would have been mostly relaxing to float down river with little to do other than to keep a sharp eye out for snags. Moving supplies back up the river, well that was when keel-boaters earned their money. They used poles, a sail—if by some miracle the wind was blowing in the right direction—even grabbed bushes and tree limbs to pull them up the river. They even had a song about it sung by the workmen on the boats:

Downward on a keelboat, going down that river feelin’ fine.

Working on a keelboat, just another way to raise a dime.

But when we go back up that river, man, you know we be workin’ over time.

Even though steamboats now haul a lot of the cargo, keelboats are still used. A person can float his good’s downstream, sell his flatboat for the wood it was made from, then ride the streamer (paddle wheeler) back upstream (“From Here to There,” The Iowa Heritage: Program No.6, Iowa PBS, 1978).

The point is, very small flat boats (keel boats) could not move up the Mississippi River, and certainly not a deep water sailing ship—yet Heartland Theorists take Nephi that way for his landing at Zarahemla.

However, there were only four types of commercial or personal movement going inland (up river) on American rivers, which were:

Traveling down the river in 1841


Poles and Oars: Most travel up river was with poles from the deck of the boat, or oars from canoes or rowboat.  Using long poles, which were used both to propel boat, like a Keel Boat, up and also to keep the boat or raft from running into the shore, the boat was pushed forward. Keelboats got their name from the keel, a four-inch square timber that extended along the bottom of the vessel from bow to stern. The keel stabilized a heavy boat in dangerous river currents. Keelboats were the boat of choice to carry valuable produce, such as whiskey and pelts, to market in the early Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys. Unlike boats previously used on the western waters, keelboats had a light draft, were maneuverable, and could carry between 20 and 40 tons of freight. The keelboat used on the Lewis and Clark Expedition was custom made to Meriwether Lewis’ specifications—the 55-foot long boat was shaped more like what was then called a barge, but had a keel added for stability. After the Lewis and Clark Expedition, keelboats were used by American fur trapping expeditions on the Missouri River. For movement, men on board pushed poles into the river or canal bottom, then “walked” back on narrow walkways on both sides of the riverboat to push it upriver. They picked up the long pole, walked back to the bow, then did it over and over again.

Horses Pulling barge on the Erie Canal


2. Pull from Side Paths: Initially, America had no large ships at all and common in the country, there were hundreds of miles of rivers that Indians in canoes used to travel long distances. One example of European travel on the rivers is shown in the 363-mile Erie Canal, which was built in 1825. These small packet boats, later known as canal boats, were used to carry mail, cargo, and passengers along the canals and rivers. They were 14 feet wide to fit the narrow width of the canals, but could be anywhere from 70 to 90 feet long. Some type of animal, typically horses or mules, were used to power the boats—attached to the boats by a rope, the animals walked along a towpath next to the canal, pulling the boats behind them as they went. The teams of horses or mules worked in shifts.

3. Pulled With Ropes by Manpower: Men along the canal would pull on ropes attached to the canal boat, in a process called cordelling. Like the animals, teams worked in shifts, which were especially important along early rivers where rope pulling was generally in shorter periods. In these early rivers, keel or flat boats were the boat of choice to haul goods downriver as well as picking up a return order to haul other goods up river—a most difficult process.

4. Steam: Paddle Wheels, with a draft of 4 feet was propelled by a high-pressure, horizontally mounted engine turning a single stern paddle wheel.

• Comment: “Zarahemla (Montrose) Iowa is a possible location for the Nephite settlement. The rivers most likely were the highways of the Nephites.”

Response: There is simply no way to get to this area from the Gulf of Mexico, especially up the Mississippi River. It should always be kept in mind that that the Mulekites always remained at their first location when Mosiah found them and had never moved from that initial spot. As Mosiah put it: And they journeyed in the wilderness and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16, emphasis added).

• Comment: “Mormon continually states that the Lamanites went down to Zarahemla and the Nephites went up too Nephi. Obviously, the City of Nephi was at a higher altitude than Zarahemla, which matches the height difference between Montrose Iowa or Zarahemlah and Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

(See the next post on this point to show how space and elevation is erroneously stated to confuse or alter the point of view to what is agreeable to the Heartland theory and model)