Book of Mormon on the Baja

Mormon Heretic book of mormon, geography, historicity, history, Mormon, science 49 Comments

When I think  of the Baja California Peninsula, I think of the Baja 1000 off-road race where people take lots of vehicles and cross the deserts in all sorts of vehicles.  However, the father-son team of David and Lynn Rosenvall believe the Baja Peninsula (south of California in Mexico–its most famous city you may recognize is Tijuana) could be the location of Book of Mormon lands.  I’ve been promising to do a post on this theory, and it is time to review it in more detail.

This review should not be considered comprehensive.  I have reviewed their 60 page pdf file called “An Approach to Book of Mormon Geography“.  Since I downloaded and read a copy of this article, they have added a few more articles found on their Geography page, but I have not had time to review these.  I will invite David and Lynn to stop by and answer questions about their theory.

I have reviewed a few other theories in the past.  I reviewed BOMC’s Great Lakes Theory, Ralph Olsen’s Malay Theory, and Venice Priddis’ South American Setting.  My purpose in reviewing theories is to provide constructive criticism.  Some people have very thin skin, and I try to be charitable, providing both pros and cons to a theory.  I want someone’s theory to be right, so it is imperative to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of a theory.  I claim no allegiance to any theory–it’s just a topic I love to discuss.  I still plan to review two of the bigger heavyweights: Sorenson’s Theory, and Meldrum’s Theory.  Additionally, Theodore Brandley’s North American Theory, and Garth Norman’s MesoAmerican Theory are also future topics I plan to post on (lest anyone think I was running out of ideas.)  (Norman and Sorenson overlap quite a bit, but there are some important differences.)

Lynn Rosenvall is a geography professor at the University of Cardston, and received his PhD in geography from Cal-Berkeley.  His son David has an MBA from BYU and is Chief Technological Officer of Imergent Inc. (StoresOnline.com).  They’ve put together an impressive array of satellite maps using Google maps for their theory.  The Website dedicated to the theory is called A Choice Land.  I printed a copy of the Theory from Feb 2009–the current version on the website is from March 2009.  I’m not sure how long it has been published, but as I understand it, the theory is pretty new.

Strengths

I guess the first striking feature to me about this theory is the fact that the Peninsula is much more of a north-south orientation than Sorenson’s MesoAmerican theory.  Another strength of Baja is that the “narrow neck of land” is actually narrow–Sorenson’s narrow neck isn’t nearly as narrow.  Another bonus is the fact that the Baja Peninsula is much closer to the generally accepted Book of Mormon locations than say the Malay Theory.

In the overview article, the Rosenvalls go into great detail on showing how similar the climate of Baja California is to the Mediterranean.  Nephi says he brought seeds with him to the New World, and these seeds grew.  It is important for the climates to be similar.  (Another theory I reviewed shows Chile/Peru have Mediterranean climates as well.)  I think this is an important aspect of their theory.  The Rosenvalls point out that many of the fruits and vegetables we eat in America are grown on the Baja Peninsula.

The Rosenvalls seem to follow Sorenson’s methodology for calculating distances.  I view this as one of Sorenson’s greatest contributions to Book of Mormon research, and I’m glad to see that the Rosenvalls seem to follow a similar method for calculating distances.  It is pretty apparent to me that the Book of Mormon lands are much smaller than the hemispheric models that early Mormons (and many lay members) thought about the Book of Mormon.

The Rosenvalls make a case that the Uto-Aztecan language bears similarities to Hebrew.  I think this is both a strength and a weakness, but I’m putting this in the strength section.  Frankly, I think the Rosenvalls should really expand on this point.  I note that there is more information in the new PDF than the one I downloaded last year, but I think it should be expanded upon further.  This has the potential to be a big help with their theory.

Weaknesses

Since I mentioned languages, I ought to explain weaknesses as well.  While these language families are in the Southwestern US and mainland Mexico, I don’t believe there is evidence that Indians on the Baja Peninsula spoke in one of these language dialects.  Perhaps they traveled off the Baja Peninsula, but these ties need to be strengthened to really take advantage of this information.  Even if there are similarities between Uto-Aztecan languages, I’m not aware of any DNA evidence linking Uto-Aztecan tribes to the Mediterranean, which is another problem.

While I understand this is an introduction to the theory, there are many other aspects of Book of Mormon that are merely touched on, or completely missing.  The theory discusses flora and fauna extensively, but doesn’t discuss wheat, barley, or silk.  Animals aren’t mentioned either, such as the elephants or animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon.  What is the best candidate for cureloms and cumons?  Is there evidence for sheep, horses, or cows?

Additionally, does the archaeology date to Book of Mormon times?  Is there evidence that chariots existed?  Have swords, cimitars, or other weapons been found?  I will say as a general rule, that most North, Central, or South American theories cannot find any evidence archaeologically for many of the weapons mentioned in the Book of Mormon.  For a theory to really stand out, such evidence needs to be found.

Sorenson has found a sharp weapon that he is calling a sword: sharp obsidian triangular blades attached to a wooden club, but the Book of Mormon says the swords rusted, so however sharp and lethal Sorenson’s obsidian/wood weapon is, it certainly wont rust.  This type of evidence needs to be accounted for by any theory, and the lack of mention of these problematic parts of the Book of Mormon needs to be addressed in the overview.

Warfare

I’ve come across Morgan Deane, and I invited him to participate in this discussion on my blog previously.  Morgan has his own site called Warfare and the Book of Mormon.  Morgan has a Masters Degree in History, and has presented papers on Napoleonic warfare and published papers about Asian, Napoleonic and Book of Mormon Warfare.  Since the Rosenvalls included information about battles (roughly pages 36-50), I asked Morgan what he thinks of Baja geography in relation to some of these battles.  Here is what he said,

From a military history standpoint I only noticed one thing: They mentioned the rate of travel during a battle would be slower than normal. (p.54) I think the rate of travel would actually be FASTER if you were manuevering for survival. For example, one of Stonewall Jackon’s infantry units travelled 50 miles in one day when threatened with destruction.

They also make the claim that the Jaredites were destroyed down to a single person. Most scholars and scholarship suggest that a significant amount of Jaredites survived and influenced Nephite society. (Starting with Hugh Nibley in “The World of the Jaredites”) They also fail to mention the point made by Firetag. So they crossed the Pacific but never expanded across a small bay? I should mention that Nephi spent 7 years travelling in “the land of the north”, so its possible that some Nephite lands were farther away and simply never mentioned due to the Zarahemla-centric record keepers.

Finally, why would a victorious Lamanite nation abandon all of their cities, in addition to the newly conquered Nephite cities? Wouldn’t we expect to find a large and advanced tribe in the Baja area with a long history? If the land was so choice, why leave it?

Here is the link where I mention their site before. http://mormonwar.blogspot.com/2009/11/nephihah-in-google-earth.html

David clarified his position on the Jaredites here.

We never make the claim that the Jaredites were destroyed down to a single person. The Book of Mormon doesn’t even say that. We wrote an article you can read if you want to get our official stand on the Jaredites (http://www.achoiceland.com/jaredites). It has strong correlation to Baja California.

So, what do you think of this Baja Theory?

Comments

comments

Comments 49

  1. well, at least you’re getting back closer to the most possible location: Guatemala. 🙂

    But the major problem with Baja is that Baja is too dry and too thin. You could probably run across Baja in one day at its shortest point, and Mormon noted that it took 2 or 3 days to run from east to west. At some of its shortest points, it’s probably no more than 50 or 60 miles. It doesn’t allow for “getting lost” which several groups in the Book of Mormon experienced. It’s also too dry. Where are the rivers? I mean, the River Sidon, sounds like a pretty big river, seeing that thousands of soldiers die there.

    For me, no other theory makes better sense than Guatemala.

  2. Also, I recall reading that the Land Northward was remarkable for its lack of “timber,” which implies that the old homelands of the Nephites were wooded.

    I think there are about six trees in all of Baja. There is a creek with “river” pretensions at Mulege, but as a candidate for the river Sidon — where Lamanites could be hemmed in with their backs to the river — it’s a poor candidate. About a dozen splashy steps and you’re across.

  3. Dan,

    “Baja is too dry and too thin.” I don’t know if you’ve read the Rosenvall’s theory, but they state,

    ‘A typical response to Baja California might well be: “What!” or, “Isn’t Baja California just a long sand bar south of San Diego?” Actually, Baja California is an 800 mile-long peninsula, with a delightful climate similar to California and the State of Israel. The area is nearly the size of Utah and five times the size of Israel. It is a land with a blessed physical environment of unusual variety and exciting vistas, and areas where the land narrows to
    some 40 miles.’

    It looks like you have the ‘typical response.’ As for it being too thin, well, if I do say so myself, Guatamela is too wide to cross in “2 or 3 days to run from east to west.” Sure 40 miles could be traversed by 1 person in a day, but I don’t think a large group would be traveling that fast with provisions in a day without modern transportation.

    Thomas, I encourage you to download the Rosenvall’s PDF. On page 4 there is a photo with more than 6 trees. On page 34, Rosenvall states his case for the River Sidon.

    Today the river is known as the Rio San Ignacio. It is of interest that the land of Israel with a similar climate regime has only one major river, the Jordan, and Egypt has only one, the Nile. Beyond being in the appropriate location relative to major Book of Mormon lands, the Rio San Ignacio and its surroundings should match the following geographical features:

    Now, please don’t think I’m advocating any particular theory. However, I don’t think people should make erroneous assumptions without looking at the theory.

  4. MH,

    Here is the relevant passage in Alma 22, which goes into great, but dizzyingly vague detail about the geography of the Lamanites and the Nephites:

    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, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the bwest, and which was divided from the land of cZarahemla 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, through the borders of dManti, by the head of the eriver Sidon, running from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.
    28 Now, the more aidle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; 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, 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.
    29 And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. 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, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called aBountiful.
    30 And it bordered upon the land which they called aDesolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bbones we have spoken, which was discovered by the cpeople of Zarahemla, it being the place of their dfirst landing.
    31 And they came from there aup into the south wilderness. Thus the bland on the northward was called cDesolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, 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.
    32 And now, it was only the adistance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, 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 bneck of land between the land northward and the land southward.
    33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.
    34 Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. 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.

    I’m not going to try to remove all the footnote enumerations. Here is how I understand this description.

    1. Lehi lands somewhere on a western coast.

    “the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; 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, 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.”

    2. The land of Zarahemla is on the eastern part because the Lamanites dwelt IN the land of Nephi, ‘west OF the land of Zarahemla.’ Thus the Mulekites appeared in the Americas on the eastern shores, because for several hundred years, these two groups did NOT happen to meet, and it seems were only discovered by chance in King Mosiah’s days. The land of Desolation was discovered by the Mulekites, so in relation to where Lehi landed, the land of Zarahemla is northeast of the Land of Nephi (or the land of inheritance, where Lehi first landed, which is on the western shore). The land of Zarahemla is closer to the land of Bountiful and the narrow neck of land, and thus the land of Desolation, than the Land of Nephi was.

    3. The Land of Bountiful was not settled by the Nephites until Alma 22, which is about 500 years after Lehi landed. But the Mulekites had gone through there, as they had discovered the land of Desolation (which is north of the narrow neck of land). Land of Desolation is where the Jaredite civilization ended.

    4. The Lamanites far outnumbered the Nephites and Mulekites and eventually surrounded them in the Land of Bountiful, thus the Lamanites had possession of all the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla. The Nephites essentially were a stopgap at the Narrow Neck of Land to not allow the Lamanites to go further north into the Land of Desolation. This, of course, makes me wonder why the Lamanites didn’t just expand further southward.

    Here’s the problem with the Baja location, besides of course that it is too dry and too narrow. If you do any kind of boating, you’ll easily reach the rest of Mexico and thus expand your empire that way. The waters between Baja and the rest of Mexico are supremely calm. Furthermore, the evidence is pretty strong that the Mulekites arrived on the eastern shore. That cannot happen in Baja without just simply going straight to the rest of Mexico. It doesn’t make sense to stop in Baja when Mexico (much richer land) is right in front of you. Secondly, the Mulekites and Nephites/Lamanites were supposedly on the same land just on opposite shores for several hundred years and never spot each other? On Baja? That’s just impossible. Now, granted, we don’t know at all the details of how the Mulekites came over, but if Mormon’s account is accurate, they landed on the eastern shore.

    Thus, there is no other location possible in the Americas where one could land on the eastern shore and the western shore and be relatively close, but not so close that it takes several hundred years of regular growth for you to discover each other than Central America.

  5. I think you are missing some important points mentioned in Mormon’s description of their lands as mentioned in Alma 22. The record clearly states that the land of Nephi “was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west” (Alma 22:27). Wouldn’t that suggest the sea was to the west of the land of Nephi as well as to the east, not the land of Zarahemla. The scriptures also state that there was “a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27). Again, if there is a sea east and west of the narrow strip of wilderness and it divided the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla that the land of Zarahemla must be either “north” or “south” of the land of Nephi (Alma 22:27). I assume it was “north” because Mormon suggests that the people “did go forth from the land southward to the land northward” (Hel. 3:8).

    It also states the “the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land” (Alma 22:29). If the Nephites were almost surrounded by the Lamanites “except” for the “northern” lands shouldn’t we assume the Lamanites were on the west, south and east of the land of Zarahemla. The scriptures also suggest that the land of Zarahemla was in the center when “the Lamanites … had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla” (Hel. 1:27).

    I’m not sure I follow your logic that the Mulekites landed on the “east” because the two groups did not meet. Wouldn’t the same logic apply if they were separated north to south. Remember there is a narrow strip of wilderness that separated the groups. Do you have any other references that infer an “east” landing?

    You seem absolute in your logic and yet I think most honest readers would acknowledge that the Book of Mormon was not provided as a geography lexicon but rather a theological record of gospel truths. To understand the geography I think we need to remain open minded and use the text of the scriptures as our main reference.

  6. I think the Book of Mormon lands were taken up into heaven along with the golden plates. =:) If we had conclusive proof of the Book of Mormon lands lying around, or anything else for that matter, it would be too easy. People would be left with a choice of living or not living the gospel instead of debating where it was taught or if it is real.

  7. Dan,

    Your belief that “Baja is too dry and too thin” is an interesting declaration because it deals with climate and landforms. Both of which I believe are imperative to understanding the location of the Book of Mormon. I would ask however, too dry and thin relative to what? What most people think or what the record states. Let me share a few observations.

    When the servants of King Lamoni are required to take the flocks to the waters of Sebus they know from experience that they maybe killed because other Lamanites will scatter the flocks. The question I ask is why did they go back to this location if their was a possibility of them being killed. Wouldn’t the easiest solution have been to take them to another watering hole away from the taunting Lamanites. An yet they didn’t. Let me suggest there wasn’t another water source which is typical in an arid or semi-arid location, not unlike areas in Israel.

    During Moroni’s battle with Zarahemnah the armies cross the river Sidon six times with thousands of men, almost without thought. An army won’t jump in the water if they are being pursued, especially if they are surrounded on both sides, it’s suicide, and yet Zarahemnah crossed a river six times (Alma 43). This same river Sidon is eventually used to flush thousands of dead bodies to the sea. If you live in an arid climate you will understand this phenomena, for most of the year rivers in arid environments are pools of water with most of the water flowing underground, and occasionally during a rain storm they become torrent flows carrying animals and humans great distances. These examples of two extreme flow rates suggest the river Sidon was in an arid environment.

    The record also suggests that the Nephite people crossed the river Sidon with their “flocks” (Alma 2:25). I don’t know if you have tried to get sheep or goats to cross a river but they won’t cross it unless it is just a few inches deep. Wouldn’t this suggest a river that has easy crossing locations such as those found in semi-arid or arid environments?

    When Limhi’s people escape from the land of Nephi back to Zarahemla it is stated that the Lamanite army becomes lost and could not follow hundreds of people after just two days. How can this be that there are no broken branches, foot prints and flattened grasses created by these escaping people. This again suggests the land is arid and not heavily vegetated which is common in Chaparral areas which is only found in Mediterranean climates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaparral).

    There are numerous accounts when the Nephites are journeying through the land that the people suffer “hunger and thirst” (Mosiah 7:16; Alma 17:5; 18:37; 37:42; 60:3). Why were they thirsty? Doesn’t this suggest that they didn’t have access to water during their journeys. Again, I must suggest that they lived in an arid environment.

    The land of Jerusalem is a Mediterranean climate surrounded by arid lands. We know that the seeds Lehi brought to the new world from Jerusalem “grew exceedingly”. As any geographer knows this only happens if the climate the seeds came from is the same climate they are planted in. When you buy plants on the internet you notice you have to state what climate you live in before they ship the plants. A mediterranean climate has a dry season “a season of grain” and the areas around mediterranean climates are typically more arid, as in Baja California.

    There are at least two references where the Nephite people could see the Lamanites coming for more than a day (230,000 of them). This would suggest there was a clear line of sight from where the Nephites and the Lamanites were. Again, I must assume from this that there were limited obstructions like trees and hills, which is very common in an semi-arid or arid environment.

    From what I have read, I get the sense the Book of Mormon people lived in an semi-arid or arid environment as was suggested by Hugh Nibley. Do you have any references that suggest the people lived in a jungle or heavily wooded environment?

  8. Dan,

    You suggest that Baja California is “too thin.” Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon does not provide modern distances for the extent of their lands. The only reference we have is the number of days traveled. I do not know of any references that state that it took “2 or 3 days to run from east to west.” The term “run” is not used. I only know of two references that provide a distance from the east to the west sea (Alma 22:32; Hel. 4:7). These two scriptures suggest that it was a day to a day and half journey. Assuming a person can travel about 4 miles an hour and they use daylight to travel about 11 to 13 hours a day we would expect a distance of about 45 to 55 miles from the west sea to the east sea on the line between the land of Bountiful and the land of Desolation. Baja California has such a landform.

    I know of no other explicit distances given for the distance across their lands. There are however a couple of points that we can use to deduce the potential distance where the land of Zarahemla is. The Book of Mormon clearly states “there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them” (Alma 22:29). They had driven the Lamanites from the land of Zarahemla which is in the center of the land. I would ask how far would the Nephites had driven their enemies before they felt comfortable they were far enough away? I believe most war strategists will concur that you need be careful about thinning out your line of defense when you drive an enemy away. I would suspect 30 to 60 miles would be the maximum range you would drive an army away without the fear of getting too thin and being flanked. The Book of Mormon also states that the city of Moroni was eventually set up on the east sea, east of Zarahemla, and the cities of Aaron and Nephihah where built in between for defense. All of this triangulates to me of a distance of about 40 to 50 miles from Zarahemla to the east sea. Assuming Zarahemla is in the center we can speculate that the distance from the west sea to the east sea at Zarahemla may have been about 80 to 100 miles. Again Baja California matches such a distance.

    Remember Moroni and Heleman waged two battles at the same time, one on the east seashore and one on the west seashore. According to the record men and supplies were exchanged between these two battle fronts while being supplied from the land of Zarahemla. One must ask how far would they be willing to go and leave the others exposed while exchanging supplies? I believe this suggests a much narrower landform than most have speculated.

    There is another interesting point to consider about the landform of the Book of Mormon lands. Mormon clearly states “the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water” (Alma 22:32) and the Nephites “had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south” (Alma 22:33). Wouldn’t this suggest the Nephites where in the north and the Lamanites are in the south and the Lamanites had no other place to go. I must deduce the Lamanites were on a peninsula like land form if they were “hemmed in.” Every other model I have looked at leaves the entire south to escape to which is contradictory to Mormon’s description.

  9. Dan,

    Many have asked why the Nephites wouldn’t have sailed onto mainland Mexico. I don’t know the record doesn’t say anything about sailing onward. Remember the Lord had told them when they arrived after their long journey that they had arrived in the “promised land”. If they felt they had arrived at their final destination why would they have felt to continue further? You assume that the Nephites where a “conquering” people and yet the record is quite clear they where a defensive people. They believed “inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies” (Alma 43:46). I believe they weren’t trying to conquer anything but they did defend themselves, their families and their liberties. Why do you believe they wanted to conquer more?

    I must correct you on a number of your assumptions. It is not easy to sail from mainland Mexico to Baja California. This is obvious if your read the journals of the first Europeans who tried. It often took them multiple attempts to get across. The Europeans had been in mainland mexico for nearly two hundred years before they started colonizing Baja California in 1698. We can’t assume they had modern boats and equipment. You must also remember you can’t even see mainland mexico from the peninsula, except in one location, so perhaps they didn’t even know more existed on the other side. Remember they thought they were on “an isle of the sea” (2 Ne. 10:8). It is interesting to note that the one place you can see mainland mexico is from the top of a mountain near Bahia Los Angelos. This location also correlates to Moroni’s description of a place where the Jaredites “built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20).

    You have suggested that Mexico has “much richer land”. This is not true, most of the fruits and vegetables that are consumed in the western US come from Baja California not mainland Mexico. This is because Baja California has a Mediterranean climate where most of the food is grown around the world. Mediterranean climates provide for much more abundance and ease of living. That is why most of the populations gravitate to such climates.

  10. nice, I get to challenge the proprietor of this theory. David, you replied with so much, I’m not sure where to begin. Much of what you write about could also take place in any of theoretical locations, and are not exclusive to Baja. But let’s go over the evidences you cite that would be exclusive to Baja, evidence that points to Baja over any other possible location. I think the most important point that needs to be cleared up in order to proceed is your very first point:

    I think you are missing some important points mentioned in Mormon’s description of their lands as mentioned in Alma 22. The record clearly states that the land of Nephi “was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west” (Alma 22:27).

    When you say “land of Nephi” do you mean it as Mormon means it? For Mormon “land of Nephi” means the land of inheritance, the land where Lehi first landed. My problem is that you cite Alma 22:27 as your source that Mormon indicates the “land of Nephi” “was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west.” I think you should reread Alma 22:27

    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, 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, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.

    Who sent this proclamation? Was it a Nephite? No, this was King Lamoni’s father, or the King of all Lamanites who made a proclamation throughout all the lands in which Lamanites lived. This section does not describe the “land of Nephi.” Verse 28 better describes the relative location of the “land of Nephi.”

    28 Now, the more aidle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; 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, 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.

    The land of Nephi is “in the place of their fathers’ first inheritance,” “on the west,” “the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore.” The “land of Zarahemla is, according to verse 27, “north” of where King Lamoni’s father’s capital is, the land of Zarahemla divided his land with a “narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west.” The land of Zarahemla is also east of where the Lamanites lived, according to verse 28. The land of Zarahemla is where the Mulekites arrived about the same time as Lehi’s group. Where the Mulekites land is of vital importance in understanding possible locations of BoM geography. Sadly we just don’t have a single clue as to which route they took. But it seems their land of inheritance was on the eastern seashore. I have a hard time believing they were driven by the Lord to the eastern shore of Baja California and them simply choosing to go on straight to bigger, richer Mexico. Remember, they didn’t bring along any scriptural record with them. One could even assume they did not have a prophetic leader with them, but simply fled when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem. They may have just gotten on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea and went out as far as they could. But hey, that’s all guessing as we have no evidence of anything related to the Mulekites except that they were on the eastern shore of our yet to be determined location of the events of the BoM.

    Now on to some of your other points

    Again, if there is a sea east and west of the narrow strip of wilderness and it divided the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla that the land of Zarahemla must be either “north” or “south” of the land of Nephi (Alma 22:27). I assume it was “north” because Mormon suggests that the people “did go forth from the land southward to the land northward” (Hel. 3:8).

    I’m in agreement that the Land of Zarahemla is north of the Land of Nephi. As I am a proponent of the Guatemala/Belize/Southern Mexico location, this fits, as I believe that big peninsula where Cancun is located is the land of Zarahemla.

    I’m not sure I follow your logic that the Mulekites landed on the “east” because the two groups did not meet. Wouldn’t the same logic apply if they were separated north to south. Remember there is a narrow strip of wilderness that separated the groups. Do you have any other references that infer an “east” landing?

    Indeed the same logic would apply. Like I said, Mormon’s geographic descriptions are dizzying, as they both indicate that Zarahemla is northward as well as eastward. So I chose northeast. 🙂 Which in the Guatemala location is the Cancun peninsula. That’s both north and east of the Land of Nephi.

    You seem absolute in your logic and yet I think most honest readers would acknowledge that the Book of Mormon was not provided as a geography lexicon but rather a theological record of gospel truths. To understand the geography I think we need to remain open minded and use the text of the scriptures as our main reference.

    I’m quite open about other possible locations, and I really do appreciate Mormon Heretic’s efforts to show the various theories. In my mind, the Guatemala location makes the most sense because it requires me to suspend less logic than any other location. I honestly cannot fathom, for example, the Great Lakes theory. Or the Malay theory. The Baja theory gets back to a better location, but it just doesn’t make much sense to me. I have to suspend a lot of belief in order to accept the logic behind that location. See, there is archaeological evidence in the Guatemala area of a fairly advanced, religious population, and even has possible evidence of the Jaredites! (the Olmecs). The Cochimi of Baja don’t offer any nuggets that at some point in their history there was much of anything special (like, say, a visit from the Son of God!).

    Now, your examples in #8 don’t indicate an exclusivity to the land of Baja over that of Guatemala. For the life of me, I cannot find a massive river running through the Central America location. Furthermore, while that land gets more rain than Baja, that does not mean water is not scarce. http://www.springerlink.com/content/w15600546p4t4114/ You can see that because of the geographic and geologic design, the Yucatan peninsula has a scarcity of water, which requires digging of wells. The Yucatan, however, has amazing hidden caverns of water. Unless you know where they are, though, you’re liable to thirst. This may well explain the watering holes of King Lamoni’s shepherds. But yeah, you can die of thirst in a jungle.

    From what I have read, I get the sense the Book of Mormon people lived in an semi-arid or arid environment as was suggested by Hugh Nibley. Do you have any references that suggest the people lived in a jungle or heavily wooded environment?

    I look at Helaman 3:9-11 for example which indicates that the Land northward, or the Land of Desolation was “exceedingly scarce” and that wood was shipped from the land southward, indicating that the land southward had an abundance of trees, enough to ship to the land northward so they could build their “many cities.”

    9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.
    10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping.
    11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.

    On to your #10, where you posit:

    I only know of two references that provide a distance from the east to the west sea (Alma 22:32; Hel. 4:7). These two scriptures suggest that it was a day to a day and half journey. Assuming a person can travel about 4 miles an hour and they use daylight to travel about 11 to 13 hours a day we would expect a distance of about 45 to 55 miles from the west sea to the east sea on the line between the land of Bountiful and the land of Desolation. Baja California has such a landform.

    Just a few things to note. Say we take your 4 miles an hour example. If one travels for twelve hours, he will walk 48 miles in one day. The journey is a day and a half, according to Mormon, thus the distance, if we use 4mph is 72 at its shortest. Baja is much shorter than 72 miles at its shortest. It’s more like 50 miles or so, which one could do in one day. Again, we have no idea what Mormon means by a “day and a half” journey. I was wrong on the two or three day journey, and I can’t remember why I thought it was 2 or 3 day. For comparison, the narrowest part of Southern Mexico is probably about 200 miles.

    Assuming Zarahemla is in the center we can speculate that the distance from the west sea to the east sea at Zarahemla may have been about 80 to 100 miles. Again Baja California matches such a distance.

    This doesn’t give the Lamanites much room to “nearly surround” the Nephites. The distance between Guerrero Negro and Santa Rosalia in Baja is only 136 miles. For comparison, the distance between Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico and Belize City, Belize is 242 miles. What I’m basically saying is that the Guatemala location is not really that much bigger, thus events you describe can easily take place there as well as in Baja.

    There is another interesting point to consider about the landform of the Book of Mormon lands. Mormon clearly states “the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water” (Alma 22:32) and the Nephites “had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south” (Alma 22:33). Wouldn’t this suggest the Nephites where in the north and the Lamanites are in the south and the Lamanites had no other place to go. I must deduce the Lamanites were on a peninsula like land form if they were “hemmed in.” Every other model I have looked at leaves the entire south to escape to which is contradictory to Mormon’s description.

    On this point, I don’t have an answer. I honestly don’t know why the Lamanites would not go further south, or heck, since Mexico is visible from Baja, why they wouldn’t simply cross the Gulf of California and expand outward there.

    On to #11, you state:

    Many have asked why the Nephites wouldn’t have sailed onto mainland Mexico. I don’t know the record doesn’t say anything about sailing onward. Remember the Lord had told them when they arrived after their long journey that they had arrived in the “promised land”. If they felt they had arrived at their final destination why would they have felt to continue further? You assume that the Nephites where a “conquering” people and yet the record is quite clear they where a defensive people

    I don’t consider the Nephites conquerors, but I do definitely consider them expansionists and explorers. By the very nature of the fact that they travelled such a long distance, and by the fact that Lehi’s family was nomadic in the Arabian Peninsula indicates that they were explorers by nature. If I were an explorer and nomad by nature, I would explore this new land I was transported to. And when I came across limitations, I would find a way around them. I believe Baja too narrow a land, too dry and lacking many resources which are discussed in the BoM. However, the Guatemala theory does not have those problems.

    It is not easy to sail from mainland Mexico to Baja California. This is obvious if your read the journals of the first Europeans who tried. It often took them multiple attempts to get across. The Europeans had been in mainland mexico for nearly two hundred years before they started colonizing Baja California in 1698. We can’t assume they had modern boats and equipment.

    There’s a reason why Europeans didn’t actually colonize on Baja until 1697: it’s a desert! 😉 But that said, can you share your evidence that the Europeans had a tough time getting to Baja.

    Remember they thought they were on “an isle of the sea” (2 Ne. 10:8).

    That verse does not describe the Nephites self-describing themselves as belonging to the isles of the seas. The full verse is as follows:

    8 And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.

    I don’t see how you get the Nephites thinking they belong to the Isles of the Seas from that verse.

    You have suggested that Mexico has “much richer land”. This is not true, most of the fruits and vegetables that are consumed in the western US come from Baja California not mainland Mexico.

    Can you offer evidence of this please.

    Mediterranean climates provide for much more abundance and ease of living. That is why most of the populations gravitate to such climates.

    Actually no, most populations gravitate toward hotter, richer climates. Most of the world’s population lives in the hot climates of India and the Orient. That is a not mediterranean climate, and a mediterranean climate would not be able to sustain that large of a population.

  11. I’m confused as to why there’s a debate over where the Book of Mormon took place when the Prophet Joseph Smith has already revealed that to us: It took place all across the North American continent.

    For example, surely you have read the accounts of his traveling with other church members and seeing a pile of stones, a burial mound, or some other curiosity, and the company would ask Joseph to reveal what it was. Several times, Joseph revealed that these archaeological features (in Missouri, Ohio, etc.) were traces of the lost Nephite civilization. For example, he revealed that a burial mound belonged to Zelph, a righteous Lamanite who had the curse of dark skin lifted from him, and who had lived in the days of the great Nephite named Onandagus, who had commanded the Nephite armies east of the Rocky Mountains. He also identified piles of stones as being old Nephite watch towers. Etc. etc. etc. I encountered all of this information simply by reading Joseph’s journals and diaries.

    With the Prophet Joseph having revealed not just the Book of Mormon, but also geographic locations where the Book of Mormon took place (e.g., Missouri, Ohio), why is this debate occurring at all? Why are people looking for answers that the Prophet Joseph has already given to us?

  12. “with a delightful climate similar to California…”

    In the neighborhood of TJ south to Ensenada, and around Los Cabos, maybe. The rest has a delightful climate similar to Barstow, California, i.e, not particularly delightful at all. It’s a by-george desert. Take a quick GoogleMaps look at the “Rio” San Ignacio. A dry wash that daylights only at scattered oases. And the handful of palm trees (many of them date palms brought by the Spanish) around the oases aren’t enough “timber” to mention.

    ” This is not true, most of the fruits and vegetables that are consumed in the western US come from Baja California not mainland Mexico.”

    I was under the impression that most of the fruits and vegetables we’re talking about come from Alta California’s Central and Imperial Valleys. The Imperial Valley does continue a bit into Mexico, but the bulk of the agriculture done there is still north of the border in Imperial County. The rest of Baja doesn’t have much water, and therefore little agriculture.

    The biggest problem, I think, is that for anything remotely resembling the Book of Mormon populations to have survived in Baja, there would have had to be massive irrigation projects. I’m not aware of remains of anything like that in Baja.

  13. Andrew:

    Historically, Joseph pictured many different locations for the BofM at different times in his life. Moroni didn’t spend times showing Joseph maps anymore than God spent time explaining parallel universes to Moses.

    Dan:

    While I think MESO is the best theory, I think there is need to integrate Sorenson’s highland Mayan model with the more recent appreciation of the cultural core of the Lowland Maya in the Peten regions of Guatamala and Belize. Sorenson is also explicit about the need to not confuse our modern conceptual bases for directions with universals.

    David:

    Even if you come up with an argument why it would take the Spanish 200 years to cross the Sea of Cortez, clearly they made it in far less than the 900 years the Nephites had, let alone the thousands of years the Jaredites had. After crossing the oceans, they’re not going to travel even along the coasts?

  14. FireTag,

    The locations that Joseph revealed as being where the BOM took place do vary, but I don’t see any reason to read them as being inconsistent or contradictory. For example, if he identifies locations in Missouri and Ohio as having archaeological evidence of Nephite civilization, but later speaks of BOM action taking place in the West, or in Central America, there’s no reason to see that as reversing what he’d previously said. In short, the only way to harmonize Joseph’s statements is to conclude that the BOM took place in the East, AND in the West, AND in Central America, and so on.

    I’m a bit confused by your reference to Moroni and maps. First of all, how can you be certain Moroni did NOT show Joseph maps? Joseph stated several times that Moroni told him many, many things that he either did not, or could not tell us. So how can you be so certain that Moroni didn’t show Joseph any maps.

    But even if Moroni hadn’t shown Joseph any maps, why would Joseph need to be shown maps in order to reveal the location of the BOM lands? Joseph was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. His ability to know these things comes from direct revelation from God; his ability to reveal the location of BOM lands wouldn’t have depended exclusively on Moroni putting a map in front of him.

    The example of the burial mound is a perfect example of how Joseph received direct revelation about the BOM lands that didn’t depend on maps. Joseph was asked to provide revelation on-the-spot to reveal the significance of the burial mound, and he did. He did not need Moroni to show him a map to know the location of the BOM lands any more than he would have needed to read from an English manuscript of the BOM to reveal the contents of the gold plates. Prophets do not need ancient maps or English manuscripts to reveal geographic locations or translate lost languages; Joseph demonstrated that repeatedly.

  15. I have never suggested that any of the information presented is exclusive to Baja California. Many people ask what the most compelling evidence is that Baja California is the location of the Book of Mormon lands? My response is simple, there isn’t one or even ten, but rather it is the correlation of everything asserted in the Book of Mormon that can be plausibly found in Baja California that is most compelling. Even John Clark acknowledges that less than 60% of the assertions made in the Book of Mormon can be correlated with Meso-America. I encourage people to keep looking and searching wherever it may be, it all helps. The key is to correlate our assumptions to text of the Book of Mormon. We believe that the most important contribution of the Book of Mormon is not it’s geography or its cultural and historical details, but its clear and masterful contributions to our understanding of gospel doctrines of salvation, correct principles of behavior, and the consequences of unrighteous choices. Obviously, there are many interpretations of the text of the Book of Mormon because it isn’t a geographical lexicon.

    Our dialog has a lot of different topics so I’ll “try” to be brief. I think we both agree that Mormon’s geographical “sidebar” found in Alma 22 is essential to understanding the geography. As you mentioned it is quite “dizzying” and requires careful reading and analysis. I suspect we differ on our assumptions. I have assumed that the “land of first inheritance” (Alma 22:28) was were Lehi and his family landed. I have also assumed that the land of Nephi was the land where Nephi and his followers went “after traveling many days” (2 Ne. 4:13; 5:7) and lived for about 400 years. During this time the Nephites and Lamanites had many battles. Mosiah then led a group of righteous Nephites to the land of Zarahemla (Omni 1:12-13). The sons of Mosiah also traveled back to the land of Nephi (Mosiah 28:1,6), this is where they met king Lamoni’s father (Mosiah 29:3) where Mormon inserts the geographical references you mention. I assume therefore that the King of the Lamanites ruled from the Land of Nephi and from which the proclamation is delivered (Alma 22:27). I must humbly disagree with your conclusions that the land, where the proclamation was given, was not the land of Nephi. You can read more of our interoperation on our web site (http://www.achoiceland.com/lamanite_lands). We have also written a whole article on our understanding of the relationship of the Book of Mormon lands and the seas (http://www.achoiceland.com/sea_west_to_sea_east).

    It is also interesting to note that the “idle lamanites” lived on the west of three distinct lands: “the land of first inheritance,” “the land of Nephi” and “west of the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 22:28). In two of these locations it states that they dwelt “by the seashore” as well as on the “east by seashore” (Alma 22:29). The Lamanites obviously liked the seashore. The Nephites followed the “law of moses” (2 Ne. 25:24; Jacob 7:7; Mosiah 2:3) which doesn’t allow for eating many fish from the sea which might explain why the Nephites dwelt mainly in the interior (Alma 22:29) and were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites. I suspect the Lamanites where comfortable on the seashore as they weren’t trying to live the law of moses.

    You touch on the area of archeology. I know there are great stone monuments in Meso-America. Do you know of any that have been conclusively tied to the Book of Mormon? I’ve scoured the Book of Mormon trying to find any evidence in the text that the Nephites or Lamanites built buildings of stone. I’ve assumed the Nephites were more like the children of Israel building humble buildings of wood, of which we have little or no evidence that they wandered in the desert for 40 years or occupied Israel. I’m not sure what we should expect to find archaeologically, but I hope there is something and suspect it will take the most time to identify.

    The name “cochimi” was given by the Jesuits to the native americans when they first arrived on the peninsula, much like we are called “mormons” even though that isn’t our formal name. The records clearly state that the natives introduced themselves as “laimon” or “laymon” (do a search in google of either term). Because the Book of Mormon suggests the Lamanites were and “idle” people I don’t know what they would have built that was monumental. As far as legends go there are a number of interesting legends of the Hopi that suggest they where visited by a god. A lot of native american groups have these legends. The problems with legends is that they are “cultural” and therefore difficult to tie to a “geography” as people move. If you are interested in cultural items such as linguistics I suggest you study the language group of the Uto-Aztecan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uto-Aztecan_languages) people who claim their people came from the area around Baja California and which Brian Stubbs suggests is very similar to Mid-eastern Semitic languages.

    The issues of shipping of timber northward is interesting, unfortunately, it doesn’t provide us with any quantifiable number of trees or the density of trees nor the type of trees. All we know is there are more trees in the south than the north. I still don’t know how to interpret that to a specific location.

    The Book of Mormon actually does talk about only a day’s journey from the east to the west sea. “And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day’s journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country” (Hel. 4:7). Again, this is not an exact science of distances but it is clear the distance was a day to a day and half and depending who walked it using a range of 3 to 4 miles per hour and a walking time of 8 to 12 hours per day you get an average of about 40 to 60 miles. I’m not sure how you can get 200 miles, not even the pony express traveled that far in a day.

    I’m not sure how much area you need to surround a group of people that I believe was numbered in 10,000’s of people. It appears the Nephites where trying to defend the north country and a smaller distance would be easier. It is difficult to defend even 100 miles let alone 242 miles.

    I don’t believe the Nephites were really “explorers.” It appears to me that they did explore their new lands as the migrated to them, thus the identification of animals and minerals on the land. However, each of their migrations appear to have been caused by fighting and defensive maneuvers and not curiosity. Even the people that went northward from Zarahemla appear to have fled after the great wars of which Moroni oversaw, not unlike the migrations after world wars. Nephi migrated north because of the rebellion of his brothers. Mosiah fled northward because of the fighting with Lamanites. The Nephites believed this was “a promised land” (1 Ne. 2:20; 18:23,25) given to them by God, why would they “snumb” the Lord and wander off through exploration?

    Harry Crosby who wrote a book called “Antigua California” about the European settlement of Baja California goes into great details on the difficulties of crossing the Gulf of California as well as settling the peninsula. The Europeans were actually very excited about the potential of settling the Baja Peninsula but eventually moved further north because they couldn’t find a sufficient harbor until San Diego. Although, some complained of the arid environment they actually were able to settle in specific locations and set up missions all along the peninsula.

    I think you need to read a little further in 2 Ne. 10 where Jacob actually does declare that “the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.” (2 Ne. 10:20). If you want to read some interesting concepts about Baja California as an island you can visit wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_of_California). This is also interesting given the codecs that aztecs and others came from aztlan which they believed was an island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztlan). Also note that there are seven groups that left from Aztlan and contrast that with the seven groups mentioned in Mormon 1:8 at the end of their record.

    I believe if you ask any geographers they will tell you that Mediterranean climates are the most productive climates because they effectively have two growing seasons a dry season and a wet season or as the Book of Mormon states “a season of her fruit [and a] season of her grain” (Hel. 11:6,13,17). It is estimated that Napa Valley can produce enough food for the entire US. Napa Valley is in a Mediterranean climate. There are no Mediterranean climates in China or India, they are only found on the west coasts of the continents centered around 40 degrees latitude (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_climate).

    I know this is a lot but I enjoy the dialog. Thanks for your feedback.

  16. David #11: “I must correct you on a number of your assumptions. It is not easy to sail from mainland Mexico to Baja California. This is obvious if your read the journals of the first Europeans who tried. It often took them multiple attempts to get across. The Europeans had been in mainland mexico for nearly two hundred years before they started colonizing Baja California in 1698.”

    The Spanish in Mexico discovered Baja almost immediately after conquering the Aztecs:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_de_Ulloa

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Rodr%C3%ADguez_Cabrillo

    The problem wasn’t any difficulty in sailing across the Gulf of California; the problem was finding anyone interested in bothering with a godforsaken desert when you had plenty to do colonizing Mexico proper. After all, Alta California (God’s own country until the @#$#@ real estate speculators and political leeches got ahold of it) wasn’t settled for almost another century after Baja was, and even then only by a handful of missionaries and soldiers. Spain and Spanish Mexico just didn’t have the excess population to settle even the good spots, let alone a land whose highest and best use is extracting tourist dollars from gringos, who in Book of Mormon times hadn’t been invented yet.

  17. Andrew,

    With the Prophet Joseph having revealed not just the Book of Mormon, but also geographic locations where the Book of Mormon took place (e.g., Missouri, Ohio), why is this debate occurring at all? Why are people looking for answers that the Prophet Joseph has already given to us?

    Because mayhap the prophet was wrong. Gasp! The prophet, and frankly most if not all Mormons at the time thought the events of the BoM took place across the WHOLE North and South America! That “narrow neck of land” really threw them off, thinking Panama was the narrow neck. Problem is, of course, that when you look at the distances, from Peru to Venezuela or the coasts of eastern Brazil, you’re talking several thousand miles. While that is easy to manage these days, with our transportation capabilities, that was not the case 2000 years ago. And of course, Mormon never talks in terms of millions of people, but rather thousands or tens of thousands. At their greatest (pre-Christ), the Nephites probably got to maybe 2 million souls, though I doubt it even got that high.

    Joseph was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. His ability to know these things comes from direct revelation from God; his ability to reveal the location of BOM lands wouldn’t have depended exclusively on Moroni putting a map in front of him.

    I think you project too much on just what a prophet can do.

    Prophets do not need ancient maps or English manuscripts to reveal geographic locations or translate lost languages; Joseph demonstrated that repeatedly.

    Then surely Joseph Smith did not need the Urim and Thummin to translate the Book of Mormon, but could have just done it straight with just looking at the text.

  18. Thomas,

    You are correct the “most choice” parts of Baja California are the north west and the south. With the center being more arid, not unlike the areas around Israel. But I believe the Book of Mormon correlates to this fact. The Nephites are driven northward from the “land of their first inheritance” (south) to Zarahemla (center). Upon arriving in Zarahemla Zeniff and others want to return back to the Land of Nephi (south). I’ve assumed that was because Zarahemla (center) wasn’t as nice as the land of Nephi (south). The record also suggests that those who travel to the land northward (north) never return, perhaps they found a better location than Zarahemla (center). Remember also that Mosiah and his people integrated with the people of Zarahemla in Zarahemla (center) which is not common for two groups that do not know each other, perhaps they were compelled to live together because of the more arid environment. Just a thought.

    What sizes of populations do you believe the Nephites got to? The largest number I can estimate is at the time of the final destruction where there were 230,000 Nephites destroyed, assuming there were more Lamanites I would suspect the maximum number was about 600,000 to 700,000 in A.D. 400. Assuming that final number and a starting number of 30 to 40 people in 600 B.C. you get a natural growth rate of 1 to 2% which would suggest there were 10,000’s of people during most of the record, except from 200 to 300 B.C. where there may have been 100,000’s of people. Do you have any other estimates of people?

  19. Andrew:

    In addition to the points Dan makes, I’d suggest that you not ask the interpreter of the Book of Mormon than the Book of Mormon itself claims to be. That tends to make for a brittle faith which is liable to snap in a storm.

  20. FireTag,

    Your question revolves around why didn’t the Nephites travel off the peninsula of Baja California to another land like Mexico. I think they eventually did but it was much later after the final destruction after the “Nephite” people were destroyed. This is based on the migration locations of the Uto-Aztecan people.

    Let me suggest something one must consider. The people of Nephi felt they had been sent to a promised land given to them by God. We must assume their “promise” or relationship with the Lord was based on this “promised” land. Why would they throw that away by leaving? You can think of the Jews in Israel today. They believe they have been “promised” the land east of the Mediterranean Sea and are willing to die to protect it, even though there are other lands around it that many would suggest are better or “richer”. I suspect the Nephites remained there because it was part of the “promise” given to them and felt indebted to it.

  21. David,

    The idea that even tens of thousands of Nephites, practicing pre-modern agriculture, could possibly have coaxed a living from central Baja — and left absolutely no traces of the extensive irrigation infrastructure that would have been necessary — just strikes me as implausible.

    Remember that the neighborhood of Zarahemla clearly contains substantial wooded areas. The few acres around the mouth of the Rio Mulege is a poor fit.

    Is there any place anywhere in Baja that could possibly support an army of 230,000 — let alone the superior army that defeated them?

    And aren’t we getting a bit hard on poor Moroni here? It was bad enough making him walk all way from Guatemala to New York humping the plates; now we’ve just thrown him a death march across the Sonoran desert into the bargain.

  22. I assume you haven’t been to central Baja California. There is no problem agriculturally sustaining the numbers mentioned in the Book of Mormon. I share a similar desire for archaeological evidence, unfortunately, no archaeological research has been done on the interior of Baja California. We can’t assume because we have no information that it doesn’t exist. Over time we hope more information will come forward that correlates with our theory. We are working with others towards this end.

    What references in the Book of Mormon do you use for your assertion that “the neighborhood of Zarahemla clearly contains substantial wooded areas?” I know of hills, banks, valleys and wilderness, but nothing saying it was “wooded.” We have not proposed the mouth of the Rio Mulege as the River Sidon. We propose the Rio San Ignacio which has a unique head fed by seven springs.

    Absolutely there are areas that can support an army of 230,000 and those who would have defeated them. Again, I suspect from your comment you haven’t been there. Even though Utah is a “desert” it can easily support the numbers you are talking about because it isn’t all desert, as you have assumed. Baja California and Utah have a similar area.

    I don’t know much about the route Moroni took other than according to Brigham Young he dedicated the site of the Manti Temple in Utah. He also wandered for 26 years before depositing the plates in a hill north of Manchester New York. According to Mormon, Moroni’s father, he deposited the majority of the Nephite records in the hill Cumorah “except” for the plates he gave to Moroni (Morm 6:6). Moroni then fled from area around the hill cumorah as the Lamanites were trying to kill him (Moro. 1:3). Beyond that I’d have to speculate. Remember the Mormon Battalion marched a similar route in reverse, seems possible.

  23. David,

    They believe they have been “promised” the land east of the Mediterranean Sea and are willing to die to protect it, even though there are other lands around it that many would suggest are better or “richer”. I suspect the Nephites remained there because it was part of the “promise” given to them and felt indebted to it.

    Look at how restless so many Nephites are, leaving the group, forming their own place, and so on. This is not a sedentary group. This is an expansionist group.

    What references in the Book of Mormon do you use for your assertion that “the neighborhood of Zarahemla clearly contains substantial wooded areas?”

    Helaman 3. Which I mention in my comment, which I note you haven’t responded to.

  24. Dan,

    They are a “migrating” group due because they have been driven from their homes by fighting with the Lamanites, but I’m not sure they are like european colonists. True many left but not the main record keepers and governing people.

    I did respond to your comment early this morning but it is “awaiting moderation.”

  25. “Andrew,

    With the Prophet Joseph having revealed not just the Book of Mormon, but also geographic locations where the Book of Mormon took place (e.g., Missouri, Ohio), why is this debate occurring at all? Why are people looking for answers that the Prophet Joseph has already given to us?

    Because mayhap the prophet was wrong.”

    Dan, I’m deeply troubled that you would suggest the “prophet was wrong.” We are not talking about some crazy high priest in Panguitch, Utah. We are talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of our religion. Joseph Smith was called by God to accomplish the Restoration, to once again finally establish Christ’s only true and living Church after it had been removed from the Earth for 1,700 years. This is the Prophet who ushered in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, who he said was commanded by God to practice polygamy without wife’s knowledge (at first), to marry other men’s wives, to marry girls as young as 14, 15 and 16 — all against his own will, but to fulfill God’s righteous command enforced by an angel holding aloft a sword of divine judgment if he did not comply.

    This is the Prophet who restored the keys of priesthood authority that the LDS church bases its authority upon to this day. The Prophet who saw into Heaven and saw the various degrees of glory and gave us the various divine legal requirements to enter therein. The Prophet who told us that he alone possessed the means to seal families together forever, else they be separated by a merciful and loving Heavenly Father for not receiving the necessary saving ordinances by the only true priesthood authority on Earth and recognized in Heaven. This is the Prophet who restored the true temple ceremonies that, due to Satanic deception, just so happened to mirror the Masonic ceremonies that he performed in Nauvoo, with his accompanying explanation that the Masons had it mostly right, but that he had restored the ceremonies to their original state of purity, despite our having subsequently changed them numerous times.

    If you’re going to suggest this Prophet, upon whom all of Mormonism stands or falls, “was wrong” when it comes to Book of Mormon geography, then it seems nothing he said is beyond doubting, or conversely, that everything he said likewise possibly “was wrong.”

    Where are you going with this line of reasoning? I urge you to stop second-guessing the Prophet and to accept his statements at face value, the same way we do with everything else the Prophet Joseph Smith said.

  26. Dan,

    From the record it appears they protected the northern lands so “they might have a country whither they might flee” (Alma 22:34). It sounds more like a “secondary” motivation than their “primary” motivation for “migrating”.

  27. #24 Dan — Utah isn’t self-sufficient in food production. I suspect Baja isn’t, either. In both cases, that’s even with mechanized, synthetic-fertilizer-intensive, irrigation-supported agriculture.

    Even if not all of Baja is technically Kopppen-classification “desert” (neither is Utah), it’s arid enough that a large subsistence-agriculture-supported population would be difficult to impossible to sustain. Going one step further, the pre-Third Nephi Lamanites (who always seemed to outnumber the agricultural or pastoral Nephites) weren’t agricultural anyway (Enos 1:20). That makes the demographics even harder to square; hunter-gatherer societies take even more land to live on.

  28. Andrew,

    Dan, I’m deeply troubled that you would suggest the “prophet was wrong.”

    Why would you be deeply troubled? The prophet is, after all, a human being, trapped by the environment and culture in which he was born and raised and tethered to the education he received. It doesn’t make him less of a prophet in any way. Based on the information he had at the time, it’s understandable he would take that position. I think he was wrong based on information that has come out since that time. This is the position of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who posited the same position vis a vis blacks and the priesthood. Unless of course, you think Brigham Young’s racist views were inspired by God.

    We are talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of our religion. Joseph Smith was called by God to accomplish the Restoration, to once again finally establish Christ’s only true and living Church after it had been removed from the Earth for 1,700 years.

    Indeed. But I don’t recall that he was called to testify as to the identity of particular bones found in Missouri. As it doesn’t matter to my eternal salvation whether those bones were indeed of a Nephite, it also means it’s not really that important in the grand scheme of things if Joseph Smith was right or wrong about it.

    This is the Prophet who ushered in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times, who he said was commanded by God to practice polygamy without wife’s knowledge (at first), to marry other men’s wives, to marry girls as young as 14, 15 and 16 — all against his own will, but to fulfill God’s righteous command enforced by an angel holding aloft a sword of divine judgment if he did not comply.

    Yeah, that one is questionable.

    If you’re going to suggest this Prophet, upon whom all of Mormonism stands or falls, “was wrong” when it comes to Book of Mormon geography, then it seems nothing he said is beyond doubting, or conversely, that everything he said likewise possibly “was wrong.”

    Indeed. That is quite the conundrum, isn’t it? That is if your projection of what a prophet is rests on whether or not the prophet is an individual who lives above the limitations of this world. While a prophet has better communication with God, and thus is given the ability to foresee things and tell things about things, it’s not always a perfect system. I mean, com’on, Joseph Smith thought he would live to see the Second Coming! And don’t give me mumbo jumbo about how he will “see” the Second Coming. He thought it would occur by about the 1880s. There really are a number of things that he was wrong about. I’m not affected in any way, and in fact, I like him much better knowing he had faults. In other words, he’s approachable because the only difference between him and me is that God chose him to be His spokesman in this dispensation. That all said, the words of prophets must pass the test of life. If a prophet makes a statement that goes contrary to all other evidence, that prophet is most likely wrong. This is the case with Brigham Young thinking that blacks deserved their fate because their father was Cain.

    Where are you going with this line of reasoning? I urge you to stop second-guessing the Prophet and to accept his statements at face value, the same way we do with everything else the Prophet Joseph Smith said.

    Ironically I’m going for the truth.

  29. Thomas,

    Going one step further, the pre-Third Nephi Lamanites (who always seemed to outnumber the agricultural or pastoral Nephites) weren’t agricultural anyway (Enos 1:20). That makes the demographics even harder to square; hunter-gatherer societies take even more land to live on.

    Excellent point. Hunter gatherers who well outnumbered the more agricultural/pastoral Nephites. Surely they would need a fairly rich land teeming with animals if they are hunter gatherers.

  30. FireTag,

    I agree the Lamanites where more of a “conquerer” type of people, unfortunately, we don’t have their record. We only have some of it through the records of the Nephites.

  31. David,

    Thanks for responding back.

    but rather it is the correlation of everything asserted in the Book of Mormon that can be plausibly found in Baja California that is most compelling.

    How is it compelling? I’m sure I can find numerous places in this world where the descriptions Mormon uses might fit, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for evidence of the actual existence. I don’t see how Baja could possibly be that location.

    The records clearly state that the natives introduced themselves as “laimon” or “laymon” (do a search in google of either term).

    I did a search and nothing noteworthy came up. A website that purported to be of the Laimon had one link directing people to the wikipedia on Cochimi, which has absolutely nothing on “laimon”. I’m gonna go with Cochimi.

    There are no Mediterranean climates in China or India, they are only found on the west coasts of the continents centered around 40 degrees latitude (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_climate).

    My point was that while Mediterranean climate is bountiful, the large plurality of people in the world reside in tropical or sub tropical locations, thus indicating that those lands provide more abundance of food than a Mediterranean climate.

    Now, as to the rest, your position that Baja is the location doesn’t convince me because it doesn’t offer evidence to counter what I consider better evidence for the other location. In other words, for your theory to have more relevance, it has to be able to disprove other theories. What is it about the Guatemala theory that you dislike? What aspects of the Guatemala theory do you find does not fit the descriptions enough to warrant rethinking that theory? As I noted, the distances in the Guatemala theory are really not that great.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9a/Book_of_Mormon_Lands_and_Sites2.jpg

    I can’t see how there is a better fit than the one pictured above.

  32. Andrew,

    I thought you were an unbeliever

    I believe Joseph Smith was right, but he also said that Illinois was part of the Land of Desolation. This makes the typical Manti in Missouri statements that Heartland US theorists grab onto a city that was not the one below the Narrow neck of land, but something named after the original. This is my personal belief, based on what I think the Spirit is personally telling me. This is not methodological geography based solely on the text.

    When believers of the Mesoamerican theory in particular say that Joseph Smith’s statements cannot be used, this is really referring to methodological geography versus historical statement driven geography. They don’t base their assumptions on what Joseph Smith said, but just on the text of the Book of Mormon. And when their personal interpretations of the text lead them to other conclusions, they naturally don’t give any heed to the historical statements. But why should Joseph Smith’s statements be given any greater weight methodologically than any other prophet’s statements, like F. Michael Watson who retracted the statements on Cumorah or Orson Pratt who believed in the Hemispherical theory? Is it your favorite prophet against my favorite prophet? Why then should any historical statement say anything methodologically about geography when no methodology rationally exists for straining out what one person said over another person short of personal belief and opinion?

  33. FireTag,

    As I’ve stated before I don’t know, there is nothing in the Book of Mormon to suggest otherwise. All I can do is speculate why they haven’t. I’ve suggested that they felt they had arrived on a promised land, perhaps they didn’t know it existed, eventually they did after the final destruction. It seems like a futile argument ask there is no definitive reference in the Book of Mormon that can answer your question. Sorry.

  34. Thomas,

    Your question about “carrying capacity” is an important question and one we have researched. There are two parts, how many people did the land have to “carry” and can the land grow food? I’ve suggested there were at most 700,000 people at the time of the final destruction. Baja has an area of about 27,000 sq miles, assuming they used about 3/4 of that we would have about 35 people per square mile. This is a macro view, you must also look at the micro view. Can specific areas carry families, much like when the pioneers came to Utah. They didn’t use the entire state they used specific locations. As we traveled the entire peninsula along highway 1 we stopped at a number of farms and were amazed at the number of them and the fertility of the land, even in the semi-arid locations. I have no problem with the carrying capacity of Baja California. Have you visited Baja or have any research to suggest that it can’t? I’d be interested in your research. It appears you are making assumptions without doing the due diligence.

  35. David,

    Thanks for responding back.

    but rather it is the correlation of everything asserted in the Book of Mormon that can be plausibly found in Baja California that is most compelling.

    How is it compelling? I’m sure I can find numerous places in this world where the descriptions Mormon uses might fit, but that’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for evidence of the actual existence. I don’t see how Baja could possibly be that location.

    The records clearly state that the natives introduced themselves as “laimon” or “laymon” (do a search in google of either term).

    I did a search and nothing noteworthy came up. A website that purported to be of the Laimon had one link directing people to the wikipedia on Cochimi, which has absolutely nothing on “laimon”. I’m gonna go with Cochimi.

    There are no Mediterranean climates in China or India, they are only found on the west coasts of the continents centered around 40 degrees latitude.

    My point was that while Mediterranean climate is bountiful, the large plurality of people in the world reside in tropical or sub tropical locations, thus indicating that those lands provide more abundance of food than a Mediterranean climate.

    Now, as to the rest, your position that Baja is the location doesn’t convince me because it doesn’t offer evidence to counter what I consider better evidence for the other location. In other words, for your theory to have more relevance, it has to be able to disprove other theories. What is it about the Guatemala theory that you dislike? What aspects of the Guatemala theory do you find does not fit the descriptions enough to warrant rethinking that theory? As I noted, the distances in the Guatemala theory are really not that great.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9a/Book_of_Mormon_Lands_and_Sites2.jpg

    I can’t see how there is a better fit than the one pictured above.

  36. Andrew, I don’t know what theory is your favorite. John Sorenson is the most respected scholar on Book of Mormon geography, and this is a quote from his book as to why we shouldn’t worry about what the “brethren” (including Joseph Smith) said concerning Book of Mormon geography. The following quote is from the book “The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book“, by John Sorenson, page 210, which talks about how to systematically evaluate BoM geography. (I will bold some parts I find particularly important.)

    “If we are to progress in this task, we must chop away and burn the conceptual underbrush that has afflicted the effort in the past. We must stop asking, as many do, what have the Brethren said about this in the past? It is clear enough (see Appendix A) that none of them knew the answer (which is what some of them have said often enough). And equally we must stop asking, what civilization known to the archaeologists must the Nephites have participated in? This is completely irrelevant at the present stage of study.

    Where we must begin is with the words of Mormon and his associates who kept the original records. From their words we must derive every scrap of meaning; I assume that their knowledge of geography was so integral and holistic that meanings are tucked into their records at a level below intention. We must sift for these. We cannot omit any of them, for crucial clues may occur in or between words or lines where we had not seen them before.

    Sorenson documents several of Joseph Smith’s statements on the subject of Book of Mormon geography. Smith is reported to have said that Lehi landed 30 degrees south of the equator. Smith claimed that the Isthmus of Panama was the narrow neck of land (at the time, Panama was known as Darien). Furthermore, when ancient ruins were discovered in the Yucatan Peninsula, Smith claimed it was Zarahemla–but it turns out to have dated from the wrong time period. You have mentioned mounds from Missouri to New York that Joseph referenced. Clearly, Joseph and most members believed in a hemispheric model. Few scholars support the idea of a hemispheric model–a limited geography model seems much better suited to the text. Sorenson basically concludes that Joseph didn’t know, and Joseph latched on to some claims he shouldn’t have (especially Zarahemla.) It doesn’t diminish Joseph theological strengths, but it does seem to show that he didn’t understand Book of Mormon geography.

  37. David, to answer your question, no, I haven’t visited central Baja. Haven’t gotten farther south than Ensenada, mainly because (1) I have to slave away at a job, and (2) I’d rather not get kidnapped, thank you very much. However, I do have access to Google Maps — and from what I see, the majority of Baja is either serious desert or (non-arable) mountains. So you can’t use the whole territory of Baja to calculate its people-per-square-mile carrying capacity. (As a comparison, Utah — which has far better water resources than Baja, thanks to the Wasatch Front watershed, has a population density of 27 people per square mile — and still isn’t self-sufficient in food production. With modern agriculture.

    I see some farms, especially in the north, but seriously, amigo, look at the map. The little islands of land suitable for agriculture are few and far between. And that’s with modern technology, and the resulting ability to store and move what little water there is. You’re asking us to believe that Baja — which at the time of European contact, contained just a handful of scattered Indian tribes — had a larger population than even the highest estimate of Alta California’s Indian population, which (again, thanks to Alta California’s paradaisical environment, was the highest in North America north of Mexico).

    You have certainly done more hands-on local observations in Baja than I have (although a genuine historian would probably quibble with the notion that driving around Baja is technically “research”), but I think your basic premises haven’t been sewn up quite as tightly as they need to be. You need to (1) identify the carrying capacity per square mile of territory for an agricultural population of at least 230,000, and a hunter-gatherer population of at least 470,000 (using your estimate of the numbers) and (2) identify the percentage of territory in Baja that is reasonably capable of food production.

  38. Dan,

    I agree with John Sorenson that “where we must begin is with the words of Mormon and his associates who kept the original records. From their words we must derive every scrap of meaning.” It is in this spirit that I believe every assertion in the Book of Mormon is important, no matter if it seems big or small. I also believe that everything must plausibly match and I believe the best place to start is the “geography” which needs to be followed by “meteorology”, “geology”, “botany”, “zoology” and eventually “archeology”. We are currently at the “geography” stage of our research, the other will come but it does take time.

    The point of searching for “laimon” was to point out that it does correlate with “cochimi” people, which you did find. To understand the full extant of that you need to do more research into the actual Jesuit accounts, which we have started. The phonetic version of the word “Laman” in the Jesuit record I feel is noteworthy but by means conclusive.

    Our purpose in doing this research has never been to disprove other theories and I have gleaned many things from other’s research. So I hope you understand if I answer your question a little differently. Let me share with you what “I like” about Baja California and I’ll let you contrast that with what you know about Meso America.

    I like that Baja California is arid and temperate with varying environments that are good, better and best. I like that are two narrow areas with a width of about 50 miles. I like the scale and dimensions. I like the north and south orientation. I like that the cardinal directions match the record. I like that it is peninsula that allows for a group to be hemmed in. I like that there is only one river that flows year round in the center of Baja California with a singular head. I like that the river flows south west and there are four distinct wildernesses surrounding it. I like there is a unique pass by the sea with a distinct narrow passage in the interior with an obvious harbor on the west side. I like that there is a single hill with a large open area for 100,000’s to fight with direct lines of sight. I like that the west (windward) is more fertile than the east (leeward). I like that ocean currents drive vessels to the western shores of Baja California from Asia. I like the instances of chaparral especially on the east.

    I like that Baja California has a Mediterranean climate so seeds from Jerusalem can group “exceedingly” especially in the south. I like that Baja is an analog to Israel on so many levels. I like that it is 10 hours west of Biblical lands. I like that it is at the right latitude for “hail” to form and fall. I like that there can be famines for multiple years. I like that typhoons are created in the east sea and come from the east. I like that there are two seasons for growing, a dry season and a wet season. I like that the peninsula is surrounded by seas on the east, west and south and there is a salt water inland sea to the north.

    I like that there are earthquakes in Baja California. I like that there are volcanos that have erupted about 2000 years ago. I like that there are obvious cracks and seams and broken rocks in the land northward. I like that there are out cropping’s of gold, silver and copper. I like that iron is mined there to create swords that rust. I like that ziff is also mined in Baja California.

    I like that the peninsula has been ignored and it appears as if a people had been “swept off”. I like that the Uto-Aztecan people come from the northern part of Baja California. I like that the Uto-Aztecan language has similarities to semitic languages. I like that the mormon pioneers settled in the heart of the Uto people. I like that adobe is very prevalent in the south west of North America. I like that Manti Utah lies between Baja California and New York.

    I like that the altitudinal zoneation allows for food to be grown in the lowlands and not in the highlands. I like the carrying capacity of the land. I like that grapes are grown there that produce wine. I like that is plausible to grow barley, wheat and corn. I like that barley has been found in the area of the Uto-Aztecan people that pre-dates the arrival of the Europeans. I like that mulberry bushes are grown there. I like that pearls where once abundant. I like that there are wild figs found there today. I like that olive trees and date palms are still evident today.

    I like that wolves, and mountain lions are ravenous beasts that exist in Baja California. I like that one the largest collections of snakes can be found on the peninsula. I like that whales calf there. I like that vultures are there. I like that there is evidence of horses, elephants and camels that pre-date the europeans.

    I like that there are hundreds of miles of ancient roads that are about 10 to 12 feet wide that were not built by the europeans. I like that there is evidence of stone walls in areas that are not populated today. I like that others have the opportunity to start doing archaeological work on the peninsula. I like that one the world’s largest collection of petroglyphs exist on the peninsula. I like that the bones found in burial sites don’t match typical native americans. I like that metal implements and swords that pre-date the europeans have been found and are on display at museums.

    Dan, this is not an exhaustive list but as I mentioned before it is the correlation of all these things and so many more that make this most compelling to me. I don’t look at this as a game where there is a winner and loser, I truly think insights from all perspectives is helpful. You are correct, more work must be done that we hope provides “evidence’s” (Hel. 5:50) you are looking for.

    I’ve appreciated everyone’s time and insights, it really does help me in my research and approach.

  39. Thomas,

    You are correct, a visit does not constitute an extensive research in the “carrying capacity” of the land. But it is a necessary start, and from my initial visits and questioning it very much appears to provide the necessary environment to sustain the number of people suggested by the Book of Mormon.

    In the same spirit I don’t think looking at satellite images qualifies for conclusive deductions either. I remember the mental image I had of the land from the brown and “barren” looking images that are found on Google earth. I was completely shocked how green the actual land was all along highway one from the north to the south. Remember that Baja California is one of the few “fog deserts” of the world which have unique features for plant life. In visiting the many farms and seeing what they are able to grow I only wish I was able to grow what they do there in Utah, even in the center of Baja California.

    I believe the Book of Mormon correlates with what was found when the europeans first arrived there. Remember the Lord revealed to Nephi and Alma that Lehi’s descendants would be “swept off” if they did not keep the Lord’s commandments. Based on what happened at Cumorah I believe the land should look desolate based on what was revealed centuries before. That’s why the Uto-Aztecan group of Native American’s is so interesting if the people who dwelt on the peninsula were driven off.

    You need to read our article on the Jaredites which we believe explains why Alta California has the highest concentration of Native Americans. We believe they are the descendants of the friends of Jared and his brother.

  40. Fair enough David. Your arguments have not convinced me that Baja is a better location than Guatemala. But as the evidence is just not strong enough to point to the actual location, I’m not going to make anymore effort at convincing. We need to find more evidence.

  41. Have you been to their website http://www.achoiceland.com and viewed the video on the Hill Riplah? The way that they tie the geographyof the Ignacio River (Sidon) to the battle’s description given in the Book of Mormon is astounding. Also, for good information on present Baja archeology by William Massey, go to http://www.innerexplorations.com/catsimple/exped10.htm . This site mentions skulls that are unique to Baja and, not clovis man but elongated and possibly european, a preserved mamoth (elephant) that was found by early Spaniards, large concentrations of arrowheads that suggest not hunting but battles between the Baja’s inhabitants, and wooden tablets used by shamans to “instruct” the people. 

    My personal assessment is that the Rosenvall’s theory comes closest to matching the specifications outlined in the Book of Mormon (Alma 22). What they really need to find is some evidence of buiding, footings, ore smelting, ancient agriculture, etc. Wonderfully, less archeology has been done in Baja than anywhere else in Mexico, so there is alot to explore, and perhaps find.

  42. Please check following site
    It suggest metal was in use prior to arrival of Spanish in Baja

    ·       
    http://www.innerexplorations.com/bajatext/an.htm

    An Interview with Harumi Fujita
    on the Archaeology of Baja California Sur, and possibly one of the oldest sites
    in the Americas 

    As I mentioned before, a burial
    (adult male) was found in a flexed position associated with numerous metal
    objects and Comondú-type projectile points. The AMS radiocarbon dating for
    these human remains is 800 years b.p. (1180 and 1280 A.D.) This means that
    this Indian was buried before the official discovery of Baja California by
    the Spaniards. I am investigating the origin of the metals.

     

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