Climate in The Book of Mormon

In a previous post I considered a bit of data that indicates that the Book of Mormon events took place in a region with a climate very unlike the one Joseph Smith knew in New York. poster livy111us at MADB brought to my attention a whole laundry list of further details on BoM climate that strongly indicate that the author of the Book of Mormon did not have a North American setting in mind as he wrote. I fully credit poster livy111us with this information. I bolded the small portion of his words that correspond to my previous post on this subject.

Besides demonstrating a more tropical climate for the BoM events, the following information demonstrates that the narrative is far more complex than critics usually suppose. Included is a link to Randall Spackman’s work on the Book of Mormon calendar.

Randall Spackman has done the most comprehensive work on The Book of Mormon calendar, and concluded that the first of the year was in February…um=1&id=170

John Lund says in his book:

“In the Eastern Mesoamerica coastal region, the average temperature on April 1st is 88 degrees. The Book of Mormon reports that Amalickiah camped in tents, “on the beach by the seashore” (Alma 51:32) . In the northern climates around Rochester New York, the average temprature for April 1st is 42 degrees with the evening minimum temperature at freezing. The heat of the day is a phrase that best applies to Mesoamerica for late March and early April…” One wouldn’t wear loin clothes to battle in tempratures like this, then complain it was to hot. If it was in North America, they should be mentioning how cold it was.

More interesting points can be found in Alma 14:8-23 when Alma and Amulek had their clothes taken from them, bound with cords and suffered “many days”. Alma 10:6 sets the date as the 4th day 7th month, or around the beginning of October, end of September (lunar calendar). They were delivered from the prison on the “twelfth day in the tenth month” (Alma 14:23). That is about 96 days in prison, and corresponds to around the first week in January. If the BOM happened in N. America, the temp that they would have to endure would be, for the first week of January, a high of 31 degrees, and a low of 19 degrees. They would have surely died from exposure. But in Mesoamerica, the lowest temp would be in the mid-sixties. It would be cold, but survivable.

Enos who lived between 544 bc and 421 bc described the Lamanites as “wandering about the wilderness with a short girdle about their loins and their heads shaven” (Enos 1:25)
Around 178 bc, Zeniff said of the Lamanites dress “And they had their heads shaven and they were naked; and they were girded with a leathern girdle about their loins” Mosiah 10:8
In 87 bc said “the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins” Alma 3:4-5
74 bc “they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins, yea all were naked save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites” Alma 43:20
Alma 43:37 “nakedness was exposed”
Alma 44:18 “naked skins and their bare heads”
19 ad 3 Nephi 4:7 “lamb-skin about their loins”

The internal evidence in The Book of Mormon confirms that the Lamanites came to battle year round. Some of the wars lasted for six years and thye were not seasonal, but one continious struggle (Alma 51-62). As previously quoted, the naked and shorn Lamanites came to war in the sixth month (Sept, 3 Nephi 4:7) and the commencement of the year (April), and at the years end (March) (3 Nephi 4:1, 2:17, ALma 56:20). Teancums killing of Amalickiah was on the last day of the first month, March, and on the first day of the new moon near April 1st, they found Amalickiah dead in his own tent (Alma 51:33-37). Supplies are brought to the Stripling warriors of Helaman in the second month (May) (Alma 56:27). And these same groups of young soldiers were fighting in the seventh month (October) (Alma 56:42). Alma records a battle in the eleventh month (Feb. 10th) (Alma 49:1)

The sum of the matter is that the Lamanites came to battle and war dressed in only a loin cloth, and their heads were shaven. This tradition was perpetuated for centuries. They came to battle in Feb. March, April, May, Sept, and Oct. as specifically mentioned in the BOM, and some wars lasted for years. It is doubtful these battles took place in a climate not conducive to nakedness and loinclothes. Feb. in New York with loincloths is a stretch for the most avid adherent to the Canadian border believers. Year-round loincloths in Mesoamerica are a well established fact. When the explorer John Lloyd Stevens first arrived in Mesoamerica he made some preliminary observations: “The Indians were naked, except a small piece of cotton cloth around the loins, and crossing in front between the legs” It was November 1839.

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