Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What Do We Know About Noah’s Flood – Part I

One of the issues that is often lost on the casual reader of not only this site, but of any Land of Promise writing, ideas, beliefs or theories, and that is the connection between known events and so-called “supposed events.” As an example, scientists often ignore the reality of a universal Flood, and in so doing, neglect, along with most people, to take into account the effect such an event would have on other scientific calculations and so-called systems and concepts, such as the proposed and often accepted Geologic Time Scale (which now sits at 4.55 billion years for the Age of the Earth) and its various divisions, the Eons, such as the Precambrian and the Phanerozoic, and Eras, such as the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic, along with their numerous Periods and Epochs. 
   How these things come about is often fascinating, but almost always unknown and not understood by the scientists because of their close-minded approach to areas outside their ideologies.
Left: Rajdeep Dasgupta; Right: Megan Duncan, researchers at Rice University

According to Rajdeep Dasgupta professor of Earth Science, and part of the Rice University petrologists that conducted an eventful study sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Deep Carbon Observatory, describing how fossilized carbon—the remains of Earth's earliest single-celled creatures—could have been absorbed and locked deep in Earth's interior at a time when atmospheric oxygen rose dramatically. The paper appeared in the journal Nature Geoscience.
    As he stated: “It's an interesting concept, but in order for complex life to evolve, the earliest form of life needed to be deeply buried in the planet's mantle.” But how one might ask, did it get there? To understand that we need look at Dasgupta’s added comment: "The mechanism for that burial comes in two parts. First, you need some form of plate tectonics, a mechanism to carry the carbon remains of early life-forms back into Earth. Second, you need the correct geochemistry so that organic carbon can be carried deeply into Earth's interior and thereby removed from the surface environment for a long time."
    Science does not understand how that happened, only that it did. Referred to as the "great oxidation event," a steep increase in atmospheric oxygen that is well-documented in countless ancient rocks, the event is so well-known to geologists that they often simply refer to it as the "GOE." As stated in the article “Early organic carbon got deep burial in mantle,” in Earth History-Geology, “Despite this familiarity, there's no scientific consensus about what caused the GOE."
Cyanobacteria, believed by Science to have become the first microbes to produce oxygen by photosynthesis

For example, scientists claim to know that the Earth's earliest known life, single-celled cyanobacteria, drew down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and released oxygen. But the appearance of early life has been pushed further and further into the past with recent fossil discoveries, and scientists now believe that cyanobacteria were prevalent at least 500 million years before the GOE.” Cyanobacteria, which was formally known as “blue-green algae”—receiving their color and hence their name from the bluish pigment phycocyanin, which they use to capture light for photosynthesis, but can also be red or pink from the pigment phycoerythrin—which form stromatolites and lack membrane-enclosed organelles.
The claimed sudden increase in oxygenation of the Earth in both the GOE (Great Oxidation Event) and NOE (Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event)

According to co-author Megan Duncan (shown above), who conducted the research for her Ph.D. dissertation at Rice, “Cyanobacteria may have played a role, but the GOE was so dramatic—oxygen concentration increased as much as 10,000 times—that cyanobacteria by themselves could not account for it. There also has to be a mechanism to remove a significant amount of reduced carbon from the biosphere, and thereby shift the relative concentration of oxygen within the system.”
    Dasgupta and Duncan found that the chemical composition of the “silicate melt”—subducting crustal rock that melts and rises back to the surface through volcanic eruptions—plays a crucial role in determining whether fossilized organic carbon, or graphite, sinks into the mantle or rises back to the surface through volcanism.
    This is also a process that would have occurred from a universal Flood that submerged every living thing on Earth, and through the subsequent division of the land mass, caused the very conditions—deep burial, subduction of rock, melting beneath the surface and volcanic eruptions—that would have met Duncan’s scenario. So let us take a look at the events in conjunction with the Flood and the buildup of the ice sheets known as the Wisconsin and Fennoscandia.
    According to Melvin A. Cook, in Prehistory and Earth Models (The Book Service, LTD, Random House/Penguin, 1966), “There are two great land masses formerly covered with ice which suddenly lost their ice caps and began rapidly to uplift in order to restore isostasy (vertical balance). These land masses comprising a great half-moon shaped, glacial denuded (“shield”) zone in northeastern Canada and another one in Europe and Asia called Fennoscandia”—from Fenno-Scandinavia (Scandinavian and Koala Peninsulas, Karelia, Finland and Denmark).
Ancient Fennoscandia covers today’s Scandinavian peninsulas, Finland and Denmark

As Cook adds, “Both of these land masses began to rise (following sudden denudation of ice) at precisely the same time and have followed identical land-rise curves ever since.” This is detailed by Geodesy and Geophysics work of Dr. Weikko A. Heiskanen and Dr. Felix A. Vening-Meinesz (The Earth and it Gravity Field, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1958).
    Now, regarding the ice sheets and their formation, an issue lost on many scientists and the general public as a whole is that whenever a large land mass overlaps or even extends well into polar regions of the earth, ice can do nothing else but grow on it—obviously, ice caps cannot grow on deep oceans even in polar regions because they are eroded too rapidly by convection of warmer water beneath them. Thus, when stabilized and insulated by land masses, they always grow under a terrestrial polar environment simply because condensation (ice and snow) greatly exceeds vaporization, melting and iceberg sluff-off. In fact, contrary to popular belief and the pseudo-science of "global warming," the ice caps are growing thicker as evidenced by satellite (European Space Agency CryoSat-2 satellite),
Dr. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), and Ted Maksym of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, the latter conducting a study in which he sent an underwater robot into the depths of the Antarctica sea to measure the ice, which showed that the ice is actually much thicker than has been predicted over the last 20 years. Actually, "Global sea ice is at a record high," another key indicator that the water beneath the ice caps is either growing colder or at least maintaining its long-time cold temperature, growing ice as it has done for millennia.
    As Cook adds: “When these ice sheets (of the Wisconsin glaciation) were building up, the primordial continent (Pangaea) at high latitudes, both north and south, was subsiding regularly under ever-increasing polar ice loads while at lower latitudes it was uplifting. The total load eventually exceeded the strength of the continent and suddenly ruptured it from pole to pole.” Panageoa, by the way, was considered the supercontinent of all the earth (“Pan” means “all, entire, whole,” and Gaia” means “Mother Earth, land”). The concept that the continents once formed a continuous land mass was first proposed by Alfred Wegener, the originator of the theory of continental drift, in his 1912 publication The Origin of Continents (Die Entstehung der Kontinente).
In fact, the name "Pangea" (German: Pangäa) occurs only once, when Wegener refers to the ancient supercontinent as “"Schon die Pangäa der Karbonzeit hatte so einen Vorderrand … " meaning “Already the Pangea of the Carboniferous era had such a leading edge…” (The Carboniferous era is claimed to have covered a 60-million-year-span between the Devonian Period and the Permian Period).
    We might insert here an understanding of the times involved, since we have discussed the difference between ancient time in a claimed balance of radiocarbon frame and the factual unbalance time (see “Understanding Equilibrium,” in Chapter 2-RadioCarbon Dating, Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths) in which the Earth exists, and according to Melvin A. Cook, “By taking into account the unbalance of radiocarbon, this date is actually brought into line with Biblical history wherein continental shift occurred near the time of the Flood and “in the days of Peleg.”

(See the next post, “What Do We Know About Noah’s Flood – Part II,” for more on what we know and don’t know about Noah’s Flood and the aftermath)

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part III

Continuing with the deeper meaning in Alma 22 that Mormon wanted his future readers to understand, and a better understanding of the relationship of these areas mentioned by Mormon.
16. “it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken
This is referring to the Jaredite Kingdom that existed between about 2100 and 600 B.C. There lands were northward of the narrow neck and extended throughout the entire Land Northward.
17. which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla,”
    This area was first seen by king Limhi’s 43-man expedition sent out to discover and solicit help from the city of Zarahemla, but got lost and traveled far into the Land Northward before returning to the city of Lehi-Nephi with Ether’s plates and the swords and body armor of the dead—while living in the Land of Nephi at the time, they were originally people from Zarahemla.
18. “it being the place of their first landing.”
    Mormon is describing here that this land where the bodies had been found was the area where the Jaredites first landed, not the people of Zarahemla.
19. “And they came from there up into the south wilderness.”
    After the Jaredites landed, they traveled inland and up into the wilderness in the south of the Land Northward.
20. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful”
    Northward of what? North of the division between the two lands, i.e., the small or narrow neck of land
21. “it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.”
    When the animals chased by the poisonous serpents fled through the narrow neck into the Land of Bountiful
22. And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation”
    There was a border between these two lands…that border or “line” was the small or narrow neck of land

The border or division between the Land Northward and the Land Southward was an actual border between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation, which took a day and a half to traverse on foot by a Nephite from sea to sea 

23. “from the east to the west sea; and 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.” 
    This border or “line” between the two major lands (Land Northward and Land Southward) was the small or narrow neck of land—an area across which it would have taken a Nephite a day and a half to walk.
24. And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea,” 
    This, by the latter part of the last century B.C. shows that the Nephites had occupied the area of Bountiful and filled it up with people from sea to sea. We are not told exactly when this migration into the Land of Bountiful began, but it must have been sometime in this last century B.C.
25. “and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south,” 
    Mormon, speaking from hindsite, knowing when he is writing how important that north country was to the Nephites, since in his day it was the only place the Nephites had any land left, having entered into a treaty with the Lamanites with the narrow neck of land now separating the two groups.
26. “that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.” 
    Mormon is no doubt thankful that the Nephites over the first 900 years of their existence had worked hard to keep the Lamanites and any other defecting group (such as Morianton) from getting a foothold in the Land Northward. 
27. “Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about.” 
    As a military leader, Mormon could certainly appreciate the need to keep their enemy to one side (south) of their holdings throughout their history. Had it been different, it is likely the Nephites would not have lasted as long as they did, or that they would have had far more wars than they had.
28. “Now this was wisdom in the Nephites -- as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires.” 
The Nephites contained the Lamanites in the Land of Nephi 

As it turned out, and Mormon was full aware of it as he wrote this since he was living that time in the Nephite history, when they had to utilize that Land Northward as their last holdings against the Lamanites never-ending aggression.
    This treaty was a major event in the Nephite history, one which Moromn had already agreed to by the time he wrote this final part of their history. 
And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation” (3 Nephi 3:23).
    Moving from south to north, the Land of Zarahemla, an unnamed land, the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation. The “line” that was between Bountiful and Desolaton was the narrow neck of land or the north-south border than ran through it.
“Now a treaty was agreed to between Mormon (Nephites) and the Lamanites in which the Nephites obtained the Land Northward from the narrow passage northward with the Lamanties obtaining the Land Southward, south of the narrow passage (Mormon 2:28-29).
    This is the land Mormon wrote about earlier that in the wisdom of the Nephites, theh had held this land in reserve for such a purpose.
gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5)
    They were in the Land Northward and gathered to a city (City of Desolation-vs 7) just north of the narrow pass which led into the Land Southward
“Teancum (in the Land Northward) was near the city of Desolation” (Mormon 4:3).
    There were several cities in the Land Northward that had been built by the Nephites, some of which had been built during the two hundred years of peace following the appearance of the Savior. It was to these other cities that Mormon and his people were driven after the Nephites lost the city of Desolation at the entrance of the pass between the Land Northward and the Land Southward.
“Lamanites take possession of the city of Desolation” (Mormon 4:13)
This was the beginning of the end for the Nephite Nation. From this point onward, they are on the run and experiencing one defeat after another until they are wiped out at Cumorah in 385 A.D.
And it came to pass that the Lamanites did come down against the city Desolation; and there was an exceedingly sore battle fought in the land Desolation, in the which they did beat the Nephites.” (Mormon 4:19)
From this time forward, the Nephites are driven deeper and deeper into the Land Northward after losing their defensive position of the City of Desolation, in the Land of Desolation, just north of the narrow neck of land and narrow passage.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part II

Continuing with the deeper meaning in Alma 22 that Mormon wanted his future readers to understand, and a better understanding of the relationship of these areas mentioned by Mormon. 
10. “in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.”
 [These maps are used for illustrative purposes only and not meant to represent the actual land area of the Land of Promise]

These idle Lamanites also extended their living along the seashore all the way south to the point where Lehi landed, and where their first home was located and where Lehi would have been buried.
    Evidently, the vast majority of Lamanites were idle and living in tents in the wilderness areas, with some Lamanites and all the defectors, living in the cities the Nephites had built prior to Mosiah leaving the Land of Nephi. These idle Lamanites here mentioned were the Lamanites which Moroni drove out of the east and west wildernesses (Alma 50:7,11).
    Obviously, the Lamanites on the West coast, all the way to the seashore where Lehi landed suggests a full occupation in the west, but also there were idle Lamanites in the east along the coast: “into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore” (Alma 50:9).

To tie Alma 22 together here, let’s turn forward to Alma 50, where it is written:
• “And he also placed armies on the south, in the borders of their possessions,”
    Based on the fact that the Land of Nephi is to the south of the narrow strip of wilderness, it can be understood that this south wilderness is the same as the narrow strip that divides the land of Zarahemla from the Land of Nephi. Thus, these borders mentioned would be the narrow strip of wilderness along the southern border of the Land of Zarahemla—the only border mentioned between the Nephites and Lamanites, and caused them to erect fortifications that they might secure their armies and their people from the hands of their enemies.
    Thus, the area along this narrow strip of wilderness within the borders of the Land of Zarahemla, now had fortifications built to keep Lamanites from crossing over and into Nephite lands except at a few passes that provided egress from the Land of Nephi into the Land of Zarahemla.
    Obviously, this security was to keep the Lamanites from marching northward along the entire narrow strip of wilderness, for Moroni in so erecting these forts, “cut off all the strongholds of the Lamanites in the east wilderness, yea, and also on the west, fortifying the line between the Nephites and the Lamanites” (Alma 50:11).
    This is seen in the fact that there is only one line mentioned and that is the narrow strip of wilderness between the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi. Again, there is only one line mentioned between these two lands and that is the narrow strip of wilderness.
“from the west sea, running by the head of the river Sidon”
    Thus, the head of the river Sidon was located in the narrow strip of wilderness, this line between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi—where both groups were located at the time of this writing in roughly 72 B.C. Thus we can see that the narrow strip of wilderness would have been, at least at this point of the head of the River Sidon, a mountainous region where the river would have started and flowed downhill and to the north into the Land Northward, along the borders of the Land of Zarahemla.
“the Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful, according to their pleasure
All the land northward was everything north of the narrow strip of wilderness, including the Land of Zarahemla, the unnamed land between Zarahemla and Bountiful, the Land of Bountiful, and also all the land north of Bountiful, i.e., the Land Northward.
11. “And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them.”
    Let’s keep in mind that Mormon is still describing the Nephite/Lamanite lands separated by the narrow strip of wilderness and the curved (round about) wilderness extensions of the narrow strip that were along the east and west coasts—all one basic wilderness area, i.e., the dividing line (as he states: “by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla.” (The main body of Nephites, to which time Mormon is referringlast century B.C.would have been in the Land of Zarahemla as seen on the map above, with Lamanites to the west, to the east, and to the south, nearly surrounding themonly lands to the north were open to these Nephites)
12. “And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon,”
    This wilderness is the narrow strip of wilderness that Mormon has kept talking about without stop. Remember, originally, this was all basically a paragraph or two—it was not separated by verse numbers which allows for a feeling of separation. This entire discussion is the difference between what is south and what is north of that narrow strip of wilderness. Unfortunately, a lot of theorists do not agree with this, creating added wildernesses, placing them in areas with directional names that do not match the circumstances, as did Venice Priddis placing her South Wilderness to the north of Zarahemla and on the east coast (p110), and her East Wilderness north of the South Wilderness and not in the east but in the center of the land (p122), and the Jaredite South Wilderness far to the south of Jaredites lands in the Land Northward, which she placed in the Land Southward.
    The problem is, one just can’t just create another wilderness where one is not mentioned and can’t create another lines of separation where ones are not mentioned. It has to be in the scriptural record, where Mormon describes them, in this case, in the separation between the king’s land of Nephi and the Nephite lands north of that division, i.e., the narrow strip of wilderness. 
Now since this is Mormon’s mindset, which we cannot alter its meaning, we can see that this is another instance where Mormon is telling us that the head of the River Sidon is in the narrow strip of wilderness.
13. “from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side;”
    That is, the Nephites controlled all this land northward of the narrow strip of wilderness, including the land of Zarahemla where the narrow strip curved (round about) on both coasts, i.e., they controlled the land of Zarahemla in between these two coastal wilderness extensions from the east to the west and going northward all the way to the Land of Bountiful (where there were no Lamanites of any kind at the time).
14. “on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.”
    Again, the Nephites controlled everything northward of the narrow strip of wilderness all the way to Bountiful.
[Verses 30-34 already covered in the area of Desolation]
15. “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation,”
    The reason the land is called Desolation is because of the destruction that occurred there, not because it was desolate. The land was quite normal other than no trees grew there. In fact, it is most likely the Nephites meant the entire Land Northward when talking about the Land of Desolation, not just one small part of it, much like they referred to the Land of Zarahemla as all the land south of the narrow neck of land to the narrow strip of wilderness.
(See the next post, “The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part III,” for more information and a deeper understanding of the relationship of areas mentioned by Mormon in Alma 22)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part I

As Mormon is abridging Alma’s record, he runs across the story of the sons of Mosiah and skims through the account of Ammon (ch 17) and comes to the point where the missionary encounters king Lamoni’s father (who is unnamed in scripture), the chief king over all the Lamanite lands other than Ishmael, which he had given to his son, Lamoni (meaning “of Laman”) to rule over. 
    Mormon then skips to an account of Aaron who “after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house and palace of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni” (Alma 22:1). Mormon then recounts Aaron’s conversion of the Lamanite king, after which the king decided to send “a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore…” (Alma 22:27).
    What follows is an insert of Mormon that he adds to Alma’s account that is meant to give his future readers a glimpse of the layout of the Land of Promise, and specifically the land controlled by the Lamanites and where it was located in comparison with the Land controlled by the Nephites. Unfortunately, this insert has caused much confusion in the minds of many theorists who try to bend Mormon’s writings and meanings in the following 8 verses, which make up 25 lines and 486 words, to fit their own ideas, beliefs, and location models, rather than the intent of Mormon’s writing.
(left) King Lamoni and (center) Ammon in Lamoni’s chariot; (right) King Lamoni’s father, the great king over all the lands of Nephi and the Lamanites

Now, before doing so, we need to set the stage just for a moment. First of all, there are two kings involved at this time, the high Lamanite king or chief king, and his son, Lamoni. The Chief King is king over all of the Lamanite Kingdom except for the land called Ishmael. King Lamoni is the king over just the Land of Ishmael within that Lamanite Kingdom, which was where Ammon had been laboring.
    Mormon’s view of this land is given around 350 A.D., long after numerous earlier prophets and writers had given a full account of this area, especially the sons of Mosiah who had labored there in their lengthy mission. For the moment we will dispense with why Mormon is giving the layout of the land, and simply state what he says and its meaning:
1. [22:27] And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land,”
    In 1828, proclamation meant “the public or official announcement of an important matter,” “a clear declaration of something,” “an announcement by authority.”
    This proclamation went to every Lamanite living in the land the king controlled, called the Land of Nephi. Whether this proclamation was written, or heralded by king’s men who traveled through the land is not stated.
2. “which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west,”
    The Lamanite kingdom spread throughout the land and across from the Sea East to the Sea West…
3. “and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west”
    The Lamanite kingdom was divided from the Nephite lands by a narrow strip of wilderness (an unoccupied tract of land) that ran the entire width of the Land of Promise, from the Sea East to the Sea West.
4. “and round about on the borders of the seashore…”
    The narrow strip of wilderness curved up (round about) to run along the seashore both on the west and on the east coasts for a significant distance.
5. “and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla,”
    (“on the north” in this case is from the orientation of the Land of Nephi, which is what Mormon is describing—the narrow strip of wilderness is “on the north” of the Land of Nephi—or between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla)
    The Nephi land of Zarahemla ran along the northern boundary of the narrow strip of wilderness, thus the Lamanite land, or Land of Nephi, ran along the southern boundary, with the narrow strip in between—the width of the narrow strip is not given other than “narrow.”
6. “through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west”
    Manti is in the east, and south of Zarahemla. That is, Manti is up in the hills (mountains) south of Zarahemla, but north of the Land of Nephi. Thus, the border of the wilderness ran through the Land of Manti and across the river Sidon, the border of Manti running from the east towards the west.
7. “and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.”
    On the north of this narrow strip of wilderness was the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Manti and the head of the river Sidon. On the south of the narrow strip of wilderness was the Land of Nephi.
    Thus the Nephites and Lamanties were divided by, and only by, that narrow strip of wilderness. This is what Mormon is writing about. Everything south of this narrow strip was the king’s land and to whom the proclamation was written and distributed. Remember, Mormon, above all, spent his entire life (70 of 85 years) as a field commander of the entire Nephite military forces. Today we would call him a 5-star General (General of the Armies). From this and the many battles he fought against the Lamanites throughout the Land Southward, Mormon is in a unique position to know and write about the land over which he fought and in which the Nephite nation existed.
Again, this narrow strip of wilderness area was, along with its wildernesses on east and west coast that curved upward (round about), i.e., toward and into the Nephite lands (Land of Zarahemla), the single most important geographical area for the first 500 years between these lands until we are introduced to the narrow neck of land during Moroni’s time, which he spent a portion of his time defending against anyone getting through it to the land Northward. However, even Moroni spent a lot of time reinforcing the northern line of the narrow strip of wilderness building forts and resorts, etc. It was that critical of an area and Mormon spends time here—one entire verse (originally it was one paragraph talking about the same thing—the narrow strip of wilderness).
8. Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents;
    Obviously, the more active part of the Lamanites lived in the cities the Nephites built before vacating them when Mosiah left. Probably the Lamanites the Nephites would have known most about were these idle ones dwelling in tents, since they were on either side of them along the seacoast and were evidently the ones Enos described (Enos 1:20).
9. “and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla,
These idle, more barbaric Lamanites lived along the entire west coast, from the area of the city of Zarahemla in the Land of Zarahemla all the way to the south, past the narrow strip of wilderness and along the coast of the Land of Nephi.
(See the next post, “The Deeper Meaning in Alma 22 – Part II,” for more information and a deeper understanding of the relationship of areas mentioned by Mormon in Alma 22)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Incredible and Important South America

It is interesting that while numerous theorists have looked endlessly for possible locations of Lehi’s landing and the location of the Nephite nation, the center of such activity has been written in Church history from the beginning. Many members have been frustrated over the emphasis on Mesoamerica, which doesn’t line up directionally with Mormon’s descriptions, among other problems, and also because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit Mormon’s description of Cumorah, and, again, among other problems, there has been a flood of differing locations and theories raised in search of the correct location.
As one looks around at the general terrain and topography of possible locations, South America, obviously does not look like a congenial fit in any way, appearing to be far too large to even consider for most uninformed people regarding the specific meanings found in the scriptural record left us by Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni that shed light on the finding of that Land of Promise area.
    Then, too, many others find the idea of the continent of South America coming up out of the water during the time of man to be unacceptable, so inundated are they that the Earth is 4.55 billion years old, they simply cannot see through the liberal, evolutionary concepts that have been fostered on them now for several generations. 
    In fact, evolutionary geology is the only thing regarding tdistant Earth history that has been taught in schools for over half a century.
    In addition, the configuration of South America today, completely lifted out of the ocean, does not resemble the Land of Promise descriptions left us by Mormon and the others in any way, shape or form, unless one becomes very conversant with the Andean uplift and Chilean-Peruvian shelf and history. But that, too, is not taught in schools and is unknown to most people.
    Yet, despite this, many Latter-day Saints have been interested in South America almost from the beginning of the Restoration.
    According to Chapter 3: The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times (“Teachings of Presidents of the Church” Wilford Woodruff, 2011, pp24–34), in the spring of 1834, Wilford Woodruff attended a priesthood meeting in Kirtland, Ohio. According to him, at this meeting he began to understand the destiny of the Church in this dispensation. He later recounted: “The Prophet called on all who held the Priesthood to gather into the little log school house they had there. It was a small house, perhaps 14 feet square. But it held the whole of the Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who were then in the town of Kirtland. That was the first time I ever saw Oliver Cowdery, or heard him speak; the first time I ever saw Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and the two Pratts, and Orson Hyde and many others.
“There were no Apostles in the Church then except Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. When we got together the Prophet called upon the Elders of Israel with him to bear testimony of this work. Those that I have named spoke, and a good many that I have not named, bore their testimonies. When they got through the Prophet said, ‘Brethren I have been very much edified and instructed in your testimonies here tonight, but I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it.’ I was rather surprised. He said ‘it is only a little handfull of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world” (Conference Report, April 1898, p57).
    Then in 1844, the Prophet declared that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south” (TPJS, 362).
    Elder Joseph Fielding Smith linked an Old Testament prophecy to the Americas when he suggested that Isaiah’s declaration of “Woe to the land shadowing with wings” (Isaiah 18:1) would be better translated, “Hail to the land in the shape of wings” (Signs of the Times, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1974, p51). President Spencer W. Kimball tied all these thoughts together as he reminded the Saints in Brazil and Argentina that “Zion was all of North and South America, like the wide, spreading wings of a great eagle, the one being North and the other South America” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1975, pp3-9).
    Elder Ezra Taft Benson understood the need that early on in the history of the Church that South America had to be prepared for the preaching of the Gospel. It was obvious to him that the hand of the Lord was involved in the process. As he stated: “In the decade prior to the restoration of the gospel, many countries of South America fought wars of independence to free themselves from European rule.”
It will be recalled that in the 1700s, Portugal controlled about 40% of South America, mostly in the northeast; Spain controlled all of Mexico and much of Central America and  about 55% of South America; with France, Netherlands, and England controlling small portions of territory. By 1820, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela had gained independence; in 1821, Mexico became independent in a violent struggle; also in 1821, both Guatemala and Peru became independent, and the following year Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and a portion of Argentina had gained their independence, all of these countries breaking free of European rule and indeed preparing the way for missionaries to enter these countries soon after the Church was organized.
    The independence of these countries was supported by the American government and most of Latin America protected by the inspired proclamation of the United States known as the Monroe Doctrine, which was passed in 1823, declaring that there should be no further colonization in the Americas by the European powers (Conference Report, October 1979). Finally, the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States (D&C 101:80) became the pattern for the written constitutions in most other American countries.
    There were inspired patriots in these countries that rose to the occasion, in somewhat the same manner as had happened in the United States earlier, to fight for and declare the freedoms of tyranny and foreign control, such as José Leonardo Chirino, José Caridad Gonzáles, José de San Martín, San Miguel de Tucumán, Simón Bolívar, and numerous others led the uprisings and eventually formed independent governments.
    The Church’s first contact with South America came in 1851, when Elder Parley P. Pratt, who had already been on a mission to Canada, crossed the Atlantic six times on missions to England; taken the gospel to Indian tribes and explored the Western United States, was appointed to preside over the “islands and coasts” of the Pacific, with headquarters at San Francisco. From there he sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, with his wife and another missionary, arriving early in November.
At this time, almost all the countries of South America had gained their independence, but revolutions continued in many areas, including Chile. These conditions diverted the people’s attention from an interest in religion, and despite Elder Pratt’s diligent efforts, he did not succeed in learning Spanish. He finally left Chile and returned home in March of 1852 (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt (Life and Travels of Parley P. Pratt), Law, King & Law, Chicago, 1888).
    Seventy-three years later the next missionary contact with South America when two two German families residing in Argentina wrote to the First Presidency in 1925, asking for missionaries to come and establish the Church. Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Council of the Twelve, together with Elders Rey L. Pratt and Rulon S. Wells of the First Council of the Seventy, were sent to Buenos Aires in response. They dedicated South America for the preaching of the gospel. During the 8 months they were there, at a testimony meeting Elder Ballard was addressing a small congregation on July 4, 1926 in Buenos Aires. During his talk, he felt prompted to share a prophetic vision about the future in South America:
    “The work of the Lord will grow slowly for a time here just as an oak grows slowly from an acorn. It will not shoot up in a day as does the sunflower that grows quickly and then dies. But thousands will join the Church here. It will be divided into more than one mission and will be one of the strongest in the Church. The work here is the smallest that it will ever be. The day will come when the Lamanites in this land will be given a chance. The South American Mission will be a power in the Church” (Bryant S. Hinckley, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, quoted in Ballard, Deseret Book, 1949).
The first missionaries since World War II were sent to countries along the west coast of South America in 1956. Prior to that time, the church had grown a little, from the 329 members in South America in 1936, to 1,200 by1945, despite there being no missionaries there during the war. With a renewal of missionaries, the postwar decades witnessed an acceleration of Church growth.
    It should be noted that in South America, the Lamanite heritage is found in significantly greater numbers, and on May 1, 1966, Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, organized the first stake in South America at São Paulo, Brazil (Richard O. Cowan, "The Pace Quickens," Temples to Dot the Earth, Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort Inc., Springville, Utah, 1997). Six months later, the second stake was organized in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 20 (Fernando Assis, "Sao Paulo temple ready for re-dedication," Church News, 31 Jan. 2004).
    The growth of the Church in South America has been extraordinary compared to elsewhere in the world and it is obvious that South America could never have become a strong center of the Church without being “endowed with power from on high” (D&C 95:8). President Wilford Woodruff prophesied that temples would “appear all over this land of Joseph, North and South America” (Journal of Discourses, Vol 19:230). With the March 1975 announcement by Spencer W. Kimball at a conference in Brazil, that a São Paulo Temple would be built there in one of the largest cities of the world, the fulfillment of that prophecy began—at the time there were 15 stakes and about 54,000 members. In1978 it was dedicated, and a year later, the Church organized in São Paulo South America’s first missionary training center, and over the following twelve years an incredible 41 additional stakes were organized, with membership reaching 300,000.
As all these prophecies have been fulfilled, South America has become a land of extraordinary growth and importance in the Church, fulfilling the prophecy Joseph Smith gave to a handful of priesthood holders in Kirtland, Ohio, as recorded by Wilford Woodruff. It has also become a land of peace, with no kings governing it, and a fulfilment of the prophecy in the Book of Mormon(2 Nephi 10:11).

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How Ancient is Metallurgy in the Americas?

In the Land of Promise there is a long history of metallurgy among both the Jaredites and the Nephites.“And I 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)
And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work“ (Ether 10:23)
And we…became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war” (Jarom 1:8)
they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north” (Helaman 6:9).
    Yet, there is and has been much controversy among Land of Promise theorists, especially those of Mesoamerica where no metallurgy has been found by archaeologists for more than a hundred years of looking dating prior to about 800 A.D., despite so many comments in the scriptural record that both the Jaredites (around 2000 B.C. to 600 B.C.) and the Nephites (600 B.C. to 385 A.D.) were heavily involved in metallurgy.
Ancient metallurgy

It should be noted that one of the oldest applied sciences, whose history can be traced back to its rudimentary beginnings around 6000 B.C., is Process Metallurgy, with there currently being 86 known metals, but before the 19th century only 24 of these metals had been discovered and, of these 24 metals, 12 were discovered in the 18th century. Therefore, from the discovery of the first metals - gold and copper until the end of the 17th century, some 7700 years, only 12 metals were known. Four of these metals, arsenic, antimony , zinc and bismuth , were discovered in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while platinum was discovered in the 16th century. The other seven metals, known as the Metals of Antiquity, were the metals upon which civilization was based. These seven metals were: gold, copper, silver, lead, tin, iron (smelted) and mercury, and were known to the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
    Of the seven metals, five can be found in their native states, i.e., gold, silver, copper, iron (from meteors) and mercury. However, the occurrence of these metals was not abundant and the first two metals to be used widely were gold and copper.
    Iron oxides have been used extensively in the Americas from the Paleoindian period up to the ethnographic present, and the oldest site is that of the Andes Mountains of northern Peru and southern Ecuador. In fact, not everyone is acquainted with the literal richness of these lands, with Peru today grabbing the top 6th spot in terms of gold production in the entire world, producing 150 metric tons of gold in 2014 alone, making it the largest gold producer in all of South America. Peru, which saw the birth anciently of the Norte Chico civilization, the Cupisnique and Chavín cultures, the Paracas, Nazca, Mochica and Chimu civilizations, growing eventually from a similarly small ethnic group, the Quechuas, into what was known as the Incas in the early 1500s.
Iron mine in ancient Peru, dated to 100 B.C.

At least 3000 years before the emergence of metallurgy in Mesoamerica, the riches of the Andes was well known. Due to a recurring tectonic process known as the Andean cycle, the mountain range holds some of the world’s finest mineral deposits, of which gold, copper, silver and lead are included. As such, placer mining became fairly common during B.C. times, with gold found largely in the rivers flowing from the Andes.
    When explorer Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian geographer, naturalist and scientist, traveled extensively through Ecuador and Peru (1799-1804), he noted how the Ecuadorian people “live poorly amid incomparable riches.”
    The land, he found, whose gold was concentrated mostly in the southern areas of the country, was rich with gold, and along with Peru, Colombia, and Chile, are today some of Latin America’s wealthiest countries in terms of mineral output, including gold, silver and copper (Peru 6th, Colombia 18th, Chile 20th, Ecuador 35th of the top 100 countries in the world; and in the Western Hemisphere, Peru is 2nd, Colombia 7th, Chile 8th, and Ecuador 10th, of 40 countries.
Vaughn working on a National Geographic funded project on prehispanic mining on the south coast of Peru, here shown at Mina Primavera, funded by the National Science Foundation and the Heinz Foundation

Despite the fact that mining is an extractive industry, according to Kevin J. Vaughn, an archaeologist and Professor of anthropology at Purdue University, claims that “it destroys archaeological evidence making the finding of ancient mines rare discoveries,” yet, mines have been found in the Andean regions of South America dating to B.C. times.
    As an example, in Peru, an ancient Iron ore mine was discovered in the Andes, high in the mountains of Peru, dating back to the last century B.C. The mine, which is nearly 700 cubic meters, is in a cliffside facing a modern ochre (iron) mine, and has an estimated 3,710 metric tons extracted during more than 1,400 years of use (Journal of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, Pittsburg, PA, December 2008).
The find offers proof that an ancient people in the Andes mined hematite iron ore many centuries before the Inca Empire. In fact, the extraction occurred at an average rate of 2.65 tonnes per year, suggesting regular and extensive mining prior to Spanish conquest. Such a find demonstrates that iron ores were important to ancient Andean civilizations. Vaughn also added, “Some evidence suggests that ancient Andeans smelted metals like copper to make ‘prestige goods’ for the elite classes” (Kelly Heam, National Geographic News, 2008).
    Ion addition, anvils, gold foil, and stone hammer were found at a site in south-centeral Peru that dates to around 1400 B.C., and drops in mercury content shows as usage of metallurgy through heating and volatilization.
    In Chile, an ancient mine at San Ramón, located on the arid coast of northern Chile, is a prehistoric mine with associated tailings and mining debris exploited during the Late Archaic (2300 B.C.), representing the earliest known mining activity in the Americas. This discovery has important implications, including (1) the record of undisputed mining activity in the continent is extended by several millennia, showing the first insights into Early Archaic mining techniques and technologies; (2) the earliest inhabitants of the Pacific Coast of South America had a well-developed mining knowledge, that is, they were hunter-gatherer-fisher-miner communities; and (3) mobility patterns of early nomadic maritime adaptations in northern Chile were influenced by repeated access to iron oxide pigments used mainly for symbolic purposes.
In Colombia, mining of kaolinite and hematite strted in the period shortly after the Last Ice Age, and  ancient goldmaking dates to at least 500 B.C. with finds of hammered gold funnery masks, and Colombian metallurgists fashioned gold into some of the most visually dramatic and sophisticated works of art found anywhere in the Americas before European contact (Ancient Colombian Golkdmaking,” South America Before European Colonization, Khan Academy, The British Museum, 2017). And copper is found mined in Colombia in the last century B.C.
    In North America, natives mined copper on the shores of Lake Superior in prehistoric times between 4,000 and 1,200 B.C. Copper jewelry and implements from Wisconsin and Upper Michigan were part of a trade network that stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf Coast, giving rise to the name "Old Copper Culture," also known as the Old Copper Complex. Made up of early inhabitants of the Great Lakes region during a period that covered several thousand square miles. The most conclusive evidence suggests that native copper was utilized to produce a wide variety of tools beginning in the Middle Archaic period circa 4,000 BC. The vast majority of this evidence comes from dense concentrations of Old Copper finds in eastern Wisconsin. These copper tools cover a broad range of artifact types: axes, adzes, various forms of projectile points, knives, perforators, fishhooks and harpoons. By about 1,500 BC artifact forms began to shift from utilitarian objects to personal ornaments, which may reflect an increase in social stratification toward the Late Archaic and Early Woodland period (Pleger 2000)."
    According to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Anthropology and museum Studies website, there has been little dispute over the last century that the primary copper sources that were exploited by the Old Copper Complex manufactures came from natural ore deposits spanning 120 miles along the southern shores of Lake Superior on the Keweenaw Peninsula. This native metal has an exceptional ratio of pure copper, typically over 95%. The most heavily utilized mines were discovered at Isle Royale, Keweenaw and Ontonagon. The following is an excerpt from the turn of the last century by Mr. J.T. Reeder of the Tamarack Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan, as he describes the ore deposits in this region: “Around the Victoria location, the old Minnesota (now Michigan), the Rockland, the Mass and Adventure, and Winona, are hundreds of old Indian copper pits. To say that there are thousands would not be exaggerating. They extend from a few feet to as much as thirty feet into the gravel and solid rock" (Brown 1904:54).
The difference between metallurgy and hammering is considerble in ability and technique as well as result: Left: Top and Bottom--Copper Metallurgy; Right: Top and Bottom--Copper Hammering and Annealing 
    It should be kept in mind that this is not metallurgy per se, since it does not involve the use of iron and normal smelting procedures, but rather simply hammering and annealing.
    The first iron works in North America, called Hammersmith, began operation in 1647 A.D. in Saugus, Massachusetts. Some of the most important ironmaking regions of the country in colonial America were in eastern Pennsylvania near the Delaware River, western Pennsylvania around the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, and the Hudson River valley in New York and New Jersey. In the Great Lakes area, the Gogebic Range is an elongated area of iron ore deposits in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. It extends west from Lake Namakagon in Wisconsin to Lake Gogebic in Michigan or almost 80 miles. Though long, it is only about a half mile wide and forms a crescent concave to the southeast. Not discovered until 1848, ore was not produced until 1883.
    Thus, the earliest true metallurgy was found in South America, specifically Ecuador, Peru, Chile, etc., dating to 2155-1936 B.C. (Mark Aldenderfer, et al, “Four-thousand-year-old gold artifacts from the Lake Titicaca basin, southern Peru,” PNAS, Vol 105 (13), 2008, pp 5002-5005).