REVIEW OF PROPHECIES and PROMISES (by BRUCE PORTER and ROD MELDRUM)
REVIEW OF PROPHECIES and PROMISES
The “Heartland Model” and the rest of the story
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First, I wish to acknowledge that the book, Prophecies and Promises (hereafter Prophecies) by Bruce Porter and Rod Meldrum, (hereafter Authors) Digital Legend Press and Publishing, NY 2009, is most interesting and thought provoking. I express gratitude that the authors have caused me to research and begin to understand the whole DNA argument as it relates to the Book of Mormon. I am grateful for their specifying some of the prophecies and promises that relate to the geography of the Book of Mormon. The following is the first part of my critical review of their book. I am solely responsible for all the contents of this article. All quotes from Prophecies will be italicized.
This book forced me to revaluate my understanding a bit and helped me comprehend the more complete meaning of the Book of Mormon as a fulfillment of prophecies (spiritual and physical) that relate to its geography. I agree with what Kieth Merrill stated in his foreword, that Prophecies is “fascinating and enlightening.” I do not agree that the geographic conclusions are persuasive except in some parts which I will hereafter specify. I disagree with Merrill's observation that the book is “void of pitching or proselytizing” and agree with those who express disappointment that Rod Meldrum and Wayne May employ these tactics in their firesides and presentations.
The overall import of Prophecies is that the geography of the Book of Mormon could not have taken place in Mesoamerica or any place other than the lands where Joseph Smith stood, or the nation to which he belonged, primarily because of the definition of the demonstrative “this.” Part one of Prophecies discusses the place where the New Jerusalem is to be established; where the Constitution was inspired; where the Gospel was restored; where the new single nation was created where “all” of the listed 36 prophecies and promises were to be fulfilled as proof that the Unites States of America is the only place where the Book of Mormon geography could have taken place (part 1). The authors then attempt to corroborate this “Heartland Theory” by showing that, because mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) Haplogroup X2a is present in some native North America cultures and in Israel and because no Haplogroup X has been found in any Central or South American populations, that Central America could not have been the location of the events of the Book of Mormon (part 2). Part 2 will be the subject of my next critical review.
In the introduction, the authors state that by extensive research in the text of the Book of Mormon they found 36 prophesies and promises relating to its geography being exclusively in the United States of America. In my extensive research I find that they have omitted at least three of the most important and controlling prophecies and promises, which will be the focus of this article.
As a foundation to the understanding of the geography of the Book of Mormon I will quote statements from Prophecies that I fully agree with:
1. Page 2: Joseph Fielding Smith states, “anything the church authorities—including Joseph Smith—have said about ‘Book of Mormon geography’ is irrelevant if it conflicts with what is in the Book of Mormon itself.”
2. Page 7: “Brother Sorenson correctly concludes…the researcher should “use the entire scripture without exception” and review “every statement in the text.”
3. Page 21: “A textual study of Book of Mormon geography should include an unbiased review of all passages that might pertain to the subject.”
4. Page 24: “Therefore; a study of “textual geography” (the theoretical determination of geography by scripture) should also look at the language and grammatical context, especially of the words of direction and specificity. In other words, The “demonstratives” that give “definiteness,” “direction” and “distance” within the text.
5. Page 102: “…it is a shame that so many cannot simply take Joseph Smith at his word.”
6. Page 126: “The Scriptures say what they mean and mean what they say (Joseph Smith).”
The authors state at page 14: “A hierarchy of authoritative witnesses should be established to qualify the choice of a geographical setting for the Book of Mormon.” They then list four types of witnesses in priority of the weight to be given each type of witness: (1) Book of Mormon prophecies; (2) Joseph Smith statements; (3) real world evidence; (4) Geographical indicators or passages in the Book of Mormon. I agree with the witnesses and their priority as listed above with these two modifications:
1. The primary witness that trumps all others is the witness and statements (the prophecies and promises) of the angel and prophet Moroni.
2. Any claimed inspired statement by anyone, including the prophet Joseph Smith, that contradicts a clear geographical indicator or passage contained within the Book of Mormon is trumped by the Book of Mormon statement.
I fully agree with what Merrill says at page xi of the forward that we should ask “…What did Jesus say about the lands of the Book of Mormon?” and “What did Joseph Smith know? What did he say?”
BOOK OF MORMON PROPHECIES
The truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, including all of its contents and meanings, is based upon the actions and statements of the man who was born in the land of promise; the man who was the last man to have all the records and who deposited them, the man who survived the last great battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, the man who, with his father Mormon, abridged and organized the ancient records to produce what we now have as the Book of Mormon; the man who gave his testimony of the truthfulness of this great book and was resurrected to become the keeper of it. No one knows more about this sacred record than the angel Moroni.
He was the person responsible for bringing “the ancient record…forth from the earth as the voice of a people speaking from the dust, and [having it] translated it into modern speech by the gift and power of God….(Introduction to the Book of Mormon).”
When the angel Moroni appeared to the prophet Joseph Smith the 21st day of September, 1823, he spoke to Joseph in English and told Joseph exactly what Jesus told him to say, saying that: “…there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from which they sprang.” He repeated the identical message at least 3 times. He did not say it was the only account or that there were no other ancient inhabitants than those covered by the Book of Mormon.
Moroni communicated in English in a manner that 17 year old Joseph Smith understood. In describing where the events of the Book of Mormon took place, Moroni could have said the “former inhabitants of this city”, or “this state”, or “this nation, or “this country, or this world” but he did not. He “said what he meant and meant what he said” when he said “this continent.” This message came directly from the Lord. No one should try and limit what he meant except that he communicated in a manner that Joseph understood. Therefore, the only question is: What did Joseph Smith understand the term “this continent” to mean?
In 1820, the prevailing view of most of the world and much of the U.S, including much of New York, was that North and South America comprised one continent (Wikipedia, continent, history of the concept). Therefore, it appears that “this continent” (North and South America) is “the Land of Promise”, or Zion, which according to the Book of Mormon is “the land choice above all other lands.”
This understanding and conclusion was advocated by Joseph Smith himself. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 7: p.258 confirms that he believed North and South America comprised one continent and was Zion:
|I will give you the key, North and South America is Zion…I give you this as a key. You may go all over North and South America and build up stakes when the time comes. The whole continent of America must be organized into districts and presiding elders appointed over each district: the time has come when all things must be set in order.|
Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man at page 187 agrees, stating, “All of this speaks of Lehi and his seed, a mighty people in the Americas and of the visit of the Lord Jesus to them after his mortal ministry in Jerusalem.”
Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1949, Afternoon Meeting, at page 108 states “…and ministry of Christ, his coming to the Western Hemisphere and organizing his Church here.”
This conclusion is specifically confirmed by Alvin R. Dyer, quoted by the authors, who apparently thought that Dyer meant the North American continent. On page 39 of Prophecies it states:
“…we see the reasons why America (or the continent of America) is the promised and choice land, choice above all other lands. …I bear testimony of the fulfillment and the destiny of the land of America as Zion…”
And at page 48 of The Meaning of Truth, rev. ed., p.48 Dyer clarifies “…the Gentiles…have been lifted up by the power of God above all other nations, upon the face of the land which is choice above all other lands (North and South America), which is the land that the Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance (parenthetical notations are Dyer’s).”
Since the land of the Jaredites was a separate land from the land of the Nephites, being “so far northward,” and since each was also “choice above all other lands”, which of the two lands was the choicest? Either one was more choice than the other or they were considered to be part of the same land that was choice above all other lands. If the latter be the case, as it was, then the question is; how big was this “land choice above all other lands?”
If one restricts the Book of Mormon lands to the area where Joseph Smith was standing or in close proximity thereto, as suggested by the Authors, then how close is close and how large was the United States when he received the plates? Was the seed of Lehi restricted only to the area of the United States at the time Joseph Smith received the plates, as the Authors seem to say? Where were the borders of the “seed of Lehi?” The areas of Utah, Arizona, California, Texas, and Missouri were a part of Mexico at that time. Which part of “this continent” did Moroni state was the land of the seed of Lehi? What part of “this continent” is not a land of promise? Which part of is not part of the land of Zion?
According to the Book of Mormon, there are many lands of promise within “this continent“ (the greater Land of Promise) and also within the land of Israel:
1. The Nephites were given “a land of promise” (2 Nephi 1:5 & Jacob 2:12), and they called the place where they landed the promised land (1 Nephi 18:23).
2. The Jaredites were given “a [different] land of promise.” (Ether 2: 9 & 15) The place where they landed was also called the promised land (Ether 6:12).
3. The Lord “…leadeth away the righteous into precious lands…” (1 Nephi 17:38).
4. The Jews “…shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise” (2 Nephi 8:2).
Moroni answered the question of the size of the land of promise and the land choice above all other lands when he declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith exactly what Jesus told Moroni to tell Joseph Smith, that it encompassed “this continent,” meaning all of North and South America. Clearly both modern day prophets and scripture indicate there will be many Zions; and many lands of promise and even many New Jerusalems upon “this continent.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Millennial Messiah, pp. 301-2)
The first part of Prophecies focuses on the meaning of the demonstrative “this” stating that: “The use of the demonstrative ‘this’ demands that the speaker and the listener both have an intimate knowledge of the specific object of discussion or ‘this’ could not be understood by the listener.”
Therefore, it is conclusive that Joseph Smith, the listener, understood that “this continent” meant North and South America and that “this land” was also Zion. “It is a shame that so many cannot simply take Joseph Smith at his word”. The Book of Mormon says what it means and means what it says.
The authors briefly addressed and then dismissed this issue on page 93 stating:
|Either this refers to “this continent” or it does not. If it does not refer to the United States, a person would have to ignore the demonstrative “this” and then redefine “this continent” into a generality of hemisphere, or continent(s). To assume the latter would mean that either Joseph or Moroni made a mistake in the description and the use of the demonstrative in pointing to the “which” continent …Even though in the early 1800’s the American continent was defined by Noah Webster’s dictionary to be all of North and South America, later refinements divide North America from South America as two distinct and separate continents. If a North America geographic setting is applied, then Joseph’s statement remains true both then and now, but if a South American setting is used, then Joseph’s statement was true only during his time, and is no longer true because Joseph was never on the South American continent. (Emphasis is mine)|
No wonder the authors used the term “interpretation” of the phrase “former inhabitants of this continent.” It seems to me that if Moroni and Joseph Smith understood the meaning of “this continent” in the, 1820’s to include North and South America, then that meaning should never change even though Governments or authors might change some boundaries or argue rules of grammar. I submit that neither Joseph Smith nor Moroni made a mistake in the use of the demonstrative “this.” As I read this very difficult interpretation by the authors, I wondered what happened to Central America? Why did the authors forget, or perhaps intentionally omit, that Central America has always been a part of North America and that was where the Lord guided Columbus? Not once in the text of Prophecies does it mention 1 Nephi 13:12)
The authors state at pages 29-30:
|The phrase “this land” …must be intimate to the speaker and the listener, or the prophet writing the text. “This land” must then be definite, specific, and under the feet of the listener to answer the question of which land. The demonstrative solidifies the understanding of which land is “this land,” the land where they are.|
I submit that if “this land” is restricted to where the prophet was standing and if he said, while standing in Missouri, that “this” land of promise was the land of Missouri, (D&C 57) then “that land” of New York or Ohio or anywhere else could not be the land of Promise because the demonstrative “this” defined the boundaries of “the land of promise” be to the land of Missouri. Did the D&C make a mistake in the use of the demonstrative “this?” Shouldn’t it also have included the demonstratives “that” or “those” other locations so that other areas could have been included in the land of promise? Of course not!
The term “this land” is not limited to the area under the feet of Joseph Smith but it includes the land under his feet, the nation where he lives and “this continent.” “This continent,” all of it, is the land reserved for the inheritance of the seed of Lehi, the “remnant of the house of Joseph” and is Zion “the land choice above all other lands” according to Moroni, the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Alvin R. Dyer, and many other prophets. “This land” is not limited to the United States of America and, therefore, the Heartland Theory is fatally flawed as to its conclusions that all of the Book of Mormon events occurred exclusively in the United States.
The 2nd Most Important Prophecy and Promise Omitted by the Authors
The above conclusion does not mean that the specific geography of the lands of the Book of Mormon encompassed all of North and South America. It only means that there was a land of promise for the Jaredites (called the promised land where they landed) from about 2,500 BC to about 300 BC and a different land of promise for the Nephites (called the promised land where they landed) from about 588 BC to about AD 400 somewhere upon “this continent.” Where?
A further witness that “this continent” means all of North and South America, and that the geography of the Book of Mormon must be in Mesoamerica, is the prophesy and promise located in 1 Nephi 13:10-12, which the Authors “conveniently” omitted. This scripture certainly does not support their basic “Heartland theory” that presupposes that the lands of the Book of Mormon were only in the United States.
The authors clearly violate the very principles that they claim the Central American proponents violated:
1. That one must use the entire scripture without exception
2. That one must review every statement in the text that pertains to the subject matter
3. That one must Include an unbiased review of all passages
4. That the Book of Mormon says what it means and means what it says
1 Nephi Chapter 13 shows that there were at least two separate groups of European Gentiles that were prophesied to come to different parts of “this continent,” or the greater land of promise, to scatter and smite the seed of Lehi [the remnant of the house of Israel]. The authors “forgot” about the Southern European Gentiles, led by Columbus. For the sake of convenience I will call the Southern European Gentiles, including Portugal, the “Spanish” Gentiles, and the Northern European Gentiles, including France and Holland and others, who came out of captivity, the “English Gentiles.”
13. And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God that it wrought upon other Gentiles (English); and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
14. …I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles [English and Spanish] upon the land of promise; [North and South America] and I beheld the wrath of God that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles [English and Spanish] and were smitten.
|15. And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord that it was upon the Gentiles [English and Spanish] and they did prosper and obtain the land [this continent] for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.|
30. Nevertheless, thou beholdest that the Gentiles [English] who have gone forth out of captivity… wherefore, thou seest that the Lord God will not suffer that the Gentiles [English] will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed, which are among thy brethren.
Then the next few scriptures include the Spanish Gentiles. Starting with I Nephi 13:31 it states:
31. Neither [meaning someone other than the English] will he suffer that the Gentiles [Spanish] shall destroy the seed of thy brethren. [Remember that the Lord guided Columbus and the Spanish Gentiles to “the seed of thy brethren who were in the promised land].”
32. Neither will the Lord God suffer that the Gentiles [ all Gentiles ,English and Spanish] shall forever remain in that awful state of blindness.…
33. Wherefore saith the Lamb of God: I will be merciful unto the Gentiles, [English and Spanish] unto the visiting of the remnant of the house of Israel [seed of Lehi wherever they would be located] in great judgment.
34. …Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel—and this remnant of whom I speak is the seed of thy father [the mixture of the seed of Nephi and the seed of his brethren wherever they might be located]—wherefore , after I have visited them in judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the Gentiles [Spanish and English] do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious parts of the Gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that abominable church…I will be merciful unto the Gentiles [English and Spanish] in that day, insomuch that I will
There is an interesting pattern all across “this continent” that is consistent with the fulfilling of all of the relevant prophecies and promises contained in the Book of Mormon:
A land of promise on “this continent” was given by the Lord to each of several very small groups of people which included the Jaredites, the Nephites, the Lamanites, the Mulekites, and others of which we do not have specific knowledge.
Christ visited many parts of “this continent” not just the United States of America
By definition in the Book of Mormon, anyone not a Nephite or anyone opposing the Nephites was a Lamanite (by blood or by action, or perhaps adoption). Therefore, after about AD 400 everyone on “this continent” would have been considered a Lamanite and as such a part of the “seed of Lehi and thus a remnant of the House of Joseph. ..I personally believe that there need not be a DNA marker to establish the seed of LehI.
Each group of people thrived, spread, had wars, mixed with existing cultures, became righteous and then declined eventually into abject darkness
Hundreds of years later, Gentile nations conquered the indigenous people, smote (but did not utterly destroy) them, then embraced and protected those that were left.
The “modified” Bible that “went forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles” (1 Nephi 13:29) was carried by the Gentiles (English and Spanish) to this “remnant of Lehi” on “this continent” (1Nephi 13:29). Did not Columbus and the Catholic Church (and other churches) take the “modified bible” to all of Central, South and most of North America in direct fulfillment of prophecy?
These Gentiles (English and Spanish) procured the lands on “this continent” as their inheritance.
These Gentiles and “remnants of Lehi” gained independence from their conquering “Gentile kings” leaving no Gentile king controlling any nation upon “this continent.” (Note that 2 Nephi 10:11-12 does not say “no kings upon this land.” There were many kings, among the Book of Mormon people like King Noah, King Nephi, King Laman and many more, as well as among the native populations.) It says “no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles [meaning the Gentiles living upon “this continent].” Verse 12 says, “I will fortify this land [North and South America] against all other nations.” Verse 13 says “he that fighteth against Zion [meaning North and South America as stated by Joseph Smith] shall perish.”
Eventually the basic principles of freedom were secured to the people of all the nations of “this continent.”
The restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon are being carried to all of the people on “this continent.” Currently there are more Spanish speaking members of the church than any other language in direct fulfillment of these prophecies and promises.
Unites States of America from England; July 4, 1776.
Mexico from Spain; September 16, 1810.
Brazil from Portugal; July 7 of 1822.
All South American and Mesoamerican nations won independence between 1807 and 1824.
Canada from France and England; 1867-1931.
The Lord guided Columbus to “the promised land…even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (I Nephi 13:12).
The Lord guided Nephi “towards the promised land”…we did arrive at the promised land”…and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:22-25).
They “arrived at the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23).
They called “the land where they landed the promised land, ” (1 Nephi 18:23).
…they were wroth with him when they had arrived in the promised land….” (Mosiah 10:15).
The Lord promised Nephi he would be led “towards the promised land” and “after ye have arrived in the promised land” (1 Nephi 17:13-14) “…And they were driven…towards the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:8).
The Lord also guided the Jaredites to the promised land:
The Lord caused “…a furious wind [to] blow [them] towards the promised land… [they] did land upon the shores of the promised land” (Ether 6: 5).
“…the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land…” (Ether 6:8).
They…did land upon the shore of the promised land…and…set their feet upon the shores of the promised land…” (Ether 6:12).
“…they begat sons and daughters before they came to the promised land…” (Ether 6:16).
“…across the great deep into the promised land” (Ether 7:27).
44. …this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
|45. …for just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land so shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise.|
GEOGRAPHICAL STATEMENTS BY JOSEPH SMITH CANNOT BE NEGLECTED
According to Prophecies, in order to have a valid setting of the geography of the Book of Mormon, statements by the Prophet Joseph Smith must corroborate any proposed geographic setting: “What did he know and what did he say about it?” I would add and “when did he know about it? If there is a conflict in any of his statements, his latest statements must prevail. The Prophet Joseph Smith stated in the Times and Seasons in 1842 that “…the city of Zarahemla stood upon this land” (in Guatemala) (the actual quotes follow). Dr. John Lund has conclusively shown that the articles in the September 15 and October 1 issues of the Times and Seasons were actually written by the Prophet Joseph Smith (See Dr. John L. Lund’s presentation at the BMAF conference, October 17, 2009, (www.BMAF.org). Regardless of whether he wrote them or not, he never disavowed nor disapproved them. The only other two potential authors that could have written them were either John Taylor or Wilford Woodruff. Since all three were prophets, seers and revelators and presidents of the church and since none of them disapproved or disavowed the statements contained in those issues, the statements therein must stand as approved by three presidents of the church. Contrary to what is claimed by some authors, including Wayne May and Rod Meldrum, the prophet Joseph Smith did actually sign the signature page on the back of the stated issues of the Times and Seasons, making him completely and legally responsible (See Dr. John L. Lund’s Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon: Is this the place? Published in 2007 by The Communications Company, pages 31-32).
The authors state on page 204: Latter-day Saints should be seeking for reconciliation between the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statements, and the setting for the Book of Mormon, rather than searching to find reason for doubt. One cannot reject or neglect the statements of the Prophet, nor the prophecies and promises in the Book of Mormon to legitimize a belief in a theoretical map founded on inconclusive passages… (Emphasis added) The last thing I want is doubt. Of course I agree entirely with the above statement. The theoretical internal map as described hereafter is not founded on “inconclusive passages” but upon precisely what is in the Book of Mormon itself. In reconciling between the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statements and the setting for the Book of Mormon, where his statements appear to be in conflict, the latest statements must control. Joseph Smith’s latest statements regarding the geography of the Book of Mormon are found in the Times and Seasons, which statements, according to the authors, cannot be neglected (even though the authors neglected them): September 15 extract at page 915 says: “…the history of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon. They lived about the narrow neck of land, which now embraces Central America, with all the cities that can be found…”October 1 extract at page 927 says: “…we have found another important fact relating to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Central America, or Guatemala, is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south. The city of Zarahemla stood upon this land…” (Note here the demonstrative “this” in this case refers not to where Joseph was standing or where the Times and Seasons was printed but to the subject of the sentence, Guatemala.) It is certainly a good thing for the excellency and veracity of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, that the ruins of Zarahemla have been found…We are not going to declare positively that the ruins of Quirigua [Guatemala] are those of Zarahemla, but when the land and the stones and the books tell the story so plain, we are of the opinion that it would require more proof than the Jews could bring to prove that the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb to prove that the ruins of the city in question are not one of those referred to in the Book of Mormon. There can be no reason for doubt here. These statements are clear and give definiteness, direction and distance. Joseph Smith never refuted, contradicted or modified any of these statements to the time of his martyrdom 20 months later. “It is a shame that so many cannot simply take him at his word.”
INTERNAL MAP REQUIREMENTS BASED ON “DEFINITENESS,” “DIRECTION” “DISTANCE”
1. There must be evidence of two extensive separate cultures each using a written language and living adjacent to but separate from each other between the years of ca 588 BC and 300 BC (Omni through Alma). One of the two cultures must have lived “so far northward” from the other culture (Alma 22:30).
2. The area must have been visited by Columbus because he was led by the Lord to “the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12). It was the same promised land where the Lord guided the Nephites: “…we did arrive at the promised land…and we did call it the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:23).
3. There must be a narrow strip of mountainous wilderness:
a. that runs from “the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27-28);
b. that runs “in a straight course from the east sea to the west [sea]” (Alma 50:8-11);
c. that could have provided a military defensive line dividing the Nephites on the north from the Lamanites on the south (Alma 22:33-34, Helaman 4:7-8);
d. that was mountainous; (See also 4 Nephi 4:1; Omni 1:13 & Mosiah 11:13).
1…Helaman 11:31 “ retreat back into the mountains.”
2. 3 Nephi 3:17 “let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness…”
3. Alma 22:27 “through the borders of Manti by the head of the river Sidon”
4. The narrow strip of mountainous wilderness must be surrounded by evidence of many cities, that existed between about 200 BC and AD 400, where a written language was used (Omni to Mormon). (Zarahemla, Gideon, Melek and Ammonihah on the north, Nephi, Shilom, Shemlon, Ishmael etc. on the south, Nephihah, Moroni, Jershon, etc. on the east, and Cumeni, Antiparrah, Judea etc. on the west. Manti was located right in the middle near the head of river Sidon (Alma 22:27).
5. The climate must have been such that the men would have been comfortable in loincloths, with their heads shaved, even during war in the winter (Alma 3:5, 20-25). The Amlicite battles occurred in the winter months (Lund 207-209).
6. Lehi’s landing must have been west of the land of Nephi (1 Nephi, 22:28), and west and south of the narrow strip of mountainous wilderness (Hel. 6:10-12). It must have been west of the river Sidon (Alma 22:28). Zarahemla was west of Sidon and the west sea was west of Zarahemla. Therefore, Lehi’s landing must have been on the west coast of Mesoamerica.
7. There must be evidence of substantial gold and silver in a variety of locations:
a. In the land of the first inheritance; (gold, silver, and copper) (1 Nephi 18:25);
b. In the land of Nephi; (copper, gold, silver in great abundance) (2 Nephi 5:15);
c. In the land of Zarahemla; (gold, silver, precious ore) (Helaman 6-9-11);
d. In the land of the Jaredites; (all manner of gold, silver, iron) (Ether 10:23).
8. River Sidon must have its headwaters between the east sea and the west sea near Manti on the northern side of the narrow strip of mountainous wilderness and it must flow northerly past and on the east side of Zarahemla. The River Sidon cannot flow southerly from the narrow strip of mountainous wilderness (Alma 22:27-28 and Alma 2:15, 34-35).
9. Land of Nephi must be south of Manti and at a lower elevation (Mosiah 7:6) and Manti and Nephi must be at a higher elevation than Zarahemla (Omni 1:13, 27- 28).
10. The west sea must be west of the river Sidon (Alma 22:28).
1. The heartland model requires that the Mississippi is the river Sidon. This is impossible because Sidon must flow northward and the Mississippi flows south. Sidon must have its headwaters in the mountains of the narrow strip of wilderness that goes from the east sea to the west sea. The headwaters of the Mississippi are in Canada and west of the Great Lakes. (The confluence of the Ohio or the Missouri is now deemed the head) Since the west sea must be west of the river Sidon then the west sea could only be the Pacific Ocean. The west sea cannot be any or all of the Great Lakes because all the Great Lakes are east of the Mississippi.
2. Manti cannot be in Missouri because Manti must be high up on the northern edge of the narrow strip of mountainous wilderness near the river Sidon. There is nothing even close to a narrow strip of mountainous wilderness in Missouri let alone one that extends from the east sea (the Atlantic or Lake Ontario?) to the west sea (the Pacific?). Any statements to the contrary by Joseph Smith, notwithstanding, or anyone else, are irrelevant because the primary source, the Book of Mormon, so states with “definiteness,” “direction,” “distance,” and “specificity” (page 24 of Prophecies).
4. The eastern half of the United States cannot be the land of the Book of Mormon because there must be evidence of substantial gold, silver iron and copper. Copper is found in abundance in the eastern half of the United States, however, there are only small amounts of silver and almost no gold east of the Mississippi.
5. The Northeastern quadrant of the United States cannot be the Book of Mormon lands because the weather is not conducive to men wearing only loin cloths and with their heads shaven year around. They would not have fought battles crossing the freezing Mississippi on foot north of St. Louis in the wintertime while most of the Lamanites were nearly naked.
6. There is no narrow strip of mountainous wilderness in the eastern half of the United States that runs from the east sea to the west sea. There is no evidence of large cities, where a written language was used, surrounding that narrow strip of wilderness from between ca 200 BC and AD 400.
7. Columbus never visited the “seed of the brethren of Nephi” in the United States.
8. There is no evidence of any city or settlement in northeastern United States that was built out of cement as required by the Book of Mormon (Hel: 3: 3,-11). In Mesoamerica there is substantial evidence of many citi es northward from the Guatemala area that were made out of cement during Book of Mormon time period. (See statement by John Welch noted on the home page at www.BMAF.org. entitled Concrete Book of Mormon evidence).
9. The Adena culture cannot be the Jaredite people and the Hopewell culture cannot be the Nephite people because:
a. Neither had a written language between 200 BC and AD 200. The claimed language used by the Adena/Hopewell cultures was Cuneiform. However, this has been proven incorrect. James E. Talmage, among many other qualified scientists, confirmed that the evidence of Cuneiform writing on the Clay tablets was, and is, a forgery.
b. The Adena did not live “far northward” from the Hopewell. The Hopewell were not even in existence until after the Adena had disappeared as a recognizable culture. At the time of the destruction of the Jaredite society abut 250-300 BC, the Jaredites had a population of well over 6 million people. Ether 15:1 states …”yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.” There is no evidence in the Northeastern U.S. of such numbers having existed or of such massive battles occurring at that time period
c. The archaeological evidence shows the Adena /Hopewell did not live contiguous, separate from, and without knowledge of each other’s existence for at least 250 years between ca 580 BC and 300 as required by the Book of Mormon. The Adena declined about 200 BC and the Hopewell began emerging about 200 BC growing out of the remnants of the Adena culture initially occupying the same area. The following comparison from Wikipedia, summary of Adena/Hopewell people, helps understand that the Adena culture was not a massive multimillion people nation that coexisted with and lived “so far northward” of the Hopewell people for at least 250 years as required by the Book of Mormon.
Adena culture (Jaredites ?)
Map of the Archaeological Cultures of Ohio (right)
Hopewell tradition (Nephites?)
Map of the Hopewell tradition
The Hopewell tradition (also incorrectly called the "Hopewell culture") is the term used to describe common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and Midwestern United States from 200 BCE to 500 CE. The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related populations, which were connected by a common network of trade routes, known as the Hopewell Exchange System. At its greatest extent, the Hopewell exchange system ran from the Southeastern United States into the southeastern Canadian shores of Lake Ontario. Within this area societies participated in a high degree of exchange with the highest amount of activity along waterways. The Hopewell exchange system received materials from all over the United States. Most of the items traded were exotic materials and were received by people living in the major trading and manufacturing areas. These people then converted the materials into products and exported them through local and regional exchange networks.
All prophecies and promises relating to the geography of the Book of Mormon could not have been fulfilled only in the United States of America.
I do not agree with the authors’ conclusions on page 29 that “this land” is exclusive to the United States of America:
The phrase “this land” in the passages above, [2 Nephi 1:5-9] and all others, must be
intimate to the speaker and the listener, or the prophet writing the text. “This land” must then be definite, specific, and under the feet of the listener to answer the question of “which land.” The demonstrative solidifies the understanding of which land is “this land,” the land where they are. Because of these demonstratives the land where they are must be the same land where the specific prophecies and promises are to be fulfilled.
I believe that “the land where they are” must include where they landed and where Columbus landed. 2 Nephi 1:5-9 states:
5. …we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.
8. …there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
9. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring…
According to this scripture, “this land” is not limited to the Gentiles who came out captivity, but is for “all those who shall be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.” Because the Lord brought Columbus and the Southern European Gentiles to Mesoamerica and South America, the term, “this land,” must include all of North and South America as a “land consecrated unto him whom he shall bring” just as Moroni prophesied and promised.
Clearly most of the promises and prophecies listed on pages 80-83 that use the term “this land” must apply to all the lands of promise located on “this continent.” As has been shown, most of these “prophecies and promises” have been fulfilled in both North and South America. Some of those prophecies are, however, clearly specific to the remnant of the mixture of the seed of Nephi, to be fulfilled in the United States as cited wonderfully by the authors.
The following statements on page 83 and 84 of Prophecies are totally inaccurate:
1. … each country listed below [all of North and South America] except for a couple, are nations that are governed by the native inhabitants that have been there for centuries.
2. The Book of Mormon is clear that the Promised Land it is referring to is a single new nation.
3. The Book of Mormon specifies that only one nation may be the Promised Land, and that nation must fulfill every one of the prophecies and promises listed above.
Let's examine each claim:
1. Most nations of “this continent” are governed by native inhabitants.
This is an incorrect statement. Almost 90 percent of all indigenous people on “this continent” were destroyed by the Spanish and English Gentiles who then made “this continent” the land of their inheritances. While some of the Gentiles mingled with the “remnant” of the indigenous people (Lamanites) more than others, still the Gentiles (English or Spanish) have never relinquished control or governance to the indigenous people. While some indigenous people now have some representation in the nations of “this continent” none govern the Gentiles (which include the Mestizos).
It is totally incorrect to state that Guatemala, the most indigenous nation on the Western Hemisphere, is governed by its indigenous people. It would also be incorrect to state that the Spanish Gentiles did not almost destroy the native inhabitants of Central and South America and Mexico or that they did not make these lands their inheritance as prophesied in the Book of Mormon. The evidence is clear that the Spanish and Portuguese Gentiles, in concert with the Catholic Church, conquered, decimated, dominated and governed, and still govern the indigenous people. For many years the capital of the Spanish Gentiles was actually in Antigua, Guatemala from whence the church and political control spread throughout most of North America, Mexico, Central America, and South America. All of the Nations of “this continent” are still controlled by Genitles, which include the Mestizos, and they control all of the indigenous people much like the United States still governs the remnant native Indians.
2. The Book of Mormon is clear that the promised land it is referring to is a single new nation.
3. Only one nation can be the promised land and only that nation can fulfill all of the prophecies and promises listed in Prophecies
These statements are also incorrect. The Book of Mormon never states that the term “the promised land” refers to “a single new nation.” Columbus was certainly not sent to the United States area but to the promised land in Central America.
To believe that the single nation of the United States alone must fulfill all the prophecies and promises of the Book of Mormon flies in the face of reason, doctrine, prophetic statements, and Book of Mormon statements. The rest of the story that the authors omitted is as follows:
1. Moroni prophesied that the Book of Mormon was an account of the ancient inhabitants on “this continent.” The United States alone cannot fulfill this promise.
2. Joseph Smith stated that all of North and South America was the Land of Zion. The United States of America cannot fulfill this promise and prophesy by itself.
3. Columbus and the Gentiles that did not come out of captivity must be accounted for and that cannot happen in the USA.
4. The scattering of the other native inhabitants of “this continent” could not have been done by the United States.
5. Prophecy and promise No. 17 at page 85 is incorrect. 1 Nephi 13:35 does not say “this land.” What it says is that the Lord will “manifest himself unto thy seed and they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them…and after thy seed [Nephites] shall be destroyed and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren [Lamanites], behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, (English and Spanish). Remember 1 Nephi 13:12 says “a man among the Gentiles…went forth…even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.”
6. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants never say that the United States is the promised land. D&C 38:17-20 says “even a land of promise” for “the land of your inheritance.” 1 Nephi 13:15 says, “…the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the [English] Gentiles …they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance.”
7. The seed of Lehi must include all the Gentiles that the lord directs to “This Continent” that become believers etc. That cannot happen in the US alone.
As has been conclusively shown, the Heartland Model for a geographical setting for the Book of Mormon in the United States of America is fatally flawed on many counts. Among them are:
1. Sidon river flowing the wrong direction
2. Columbus not visiting the area
3. Failure to recognize the non-English speaking members of the “seed of Lehi”
4. Failure to recognize Joseph Smiths statement that it occurred in Central America
5. The Hopewell and Adena not coexisting between 588 BC and 200 BC
6. No written language or advanced culture by either the Adena or Hopewell
7. No evidence of any cement buildings dating to ca 100 BC
8. No evidence of any gold let alone an abundant supply by the Adena/Hopewell
9. No evidence that the Adena lived “so far northward“ from the Hopewell
10. No evidence the Hopewell even existed until after the demise of the Adena
11. The west sea being in the wrong location (Lake Michigan), not west of the Mississippi and Missouri; Also the west sea cannot be north of Zarahemla
12. No narrow strip of mountainous wilderness going from the east sea to the west sea
13. Failure to recognize that “the promised land” was where Columbus, Lehi, and Jared landed in Central America in fulfillment of prophecy
14. The landing place of Lehi on the south coast of the Gulf of Mexico instead of” west of the land of Nephi” and “south of the narrow strip of wilderness,” as required by the Book of Mormon; This event could only have occurred in Central America
15. Failure to recognize that Moroni promised and Joseph Smith stated that the land choice above all other lands included “this Continent”, North and South America
16. and many more reasons.
All of the above concepts are in direct conflict with what is stated with specificity in the Book of Mormon.
The United States of America is the most blessed nation upon the earth but it is not the exclusive “land choice above all other lands”. The “English” Gentiles that came out of captivity had the blessing and responsibility to form it and to see that the Gospel was restored and made manifest to all nations of the earth. They had a special responsibility to take the Gospel to the seed of Lehi, the remnant of Israel, living on “this continent,” the land choice above all other lands. We, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, are fulfilling that prophecy and promise and all others contained in that great book, the Book of Mormon, the truthfulness of which I attest.