When we look beyond the keyhole and see the much larger picture, we are in a better position to identify the Land of Promise as described by Nephi, Mormon and Moroni (Ether), as well as the others who lived upon it and wrote about it.
As an example, in addition to those several steps outlined in the previous post, there is the changeable things you can look for that match the scriptural record, such as areas where significant mountains in both the Land Southward and the Land Northward rose to levels “whose height is great.”
And for such things as signs of an ancient people that accomplished great things, built great cities, and worked with their hands, which Nephi tells us he caused his people to do.
By this time, if you have really done your homework, been open-minded, followed exactly the wordage of the scriptural record without reading into it other than it means, you likely will be in the right area. Then, and only then, will you have a chance at finding certain described places, like the City of Nephi, the City of Zarahemla, the hill Cumorah, etc.
Perhaps the best thing, though, is to consider all the points the scriptural record has given us to locate the Land of Promise. It is not that you can fine one, two, or even ten of these individual placers or things and say, “This is the place.” For the Land of Promise, you must find all of these.
There are mountains in most areas, though those in the eastern United States are so low in height, they hardly qualify for “whose height is great.” So in looking for matches, one should look to the meaning behind Samuel’s comment, i.e., to the Nephites, at the time of the crucifixion and the rising of these mountains, their height would be abnormal for the area and obviously noticeable to the Nephites in seeing the fulfillment of this prophecy.
2) Two unknown animals [Ether 9:19]
In this case, Joseph Smith, growing up on a farm, and knowing the names of almost all animals that would have been known in that time and location, could not place the animals the vision gave him and, therefore, had to rely on the name that was on the plates—cureloms and cumoms. Consequently, any animals chosen as these two would have to be those unknown to Joseph Smith, yet still fill the requirement of being more useful than horses and asses, and on a par in usefulness as the elephant at the time of the Jaredites.
3) Two unknown grains [Mosiah 9:9]
Same as the animals. Joseph Smith was a farmer and knew the basic grains of his day. These two were unknown to him, yet were as valuable as corn, wheat and barley, thus we would look for grains of such value then and now.
4) Land of promise as an island [2 Nephi 10:20]
At the time the Nephites landed and for at least the next six hundred years, the Land of Promise was an island in the midst of the sea over which Lehi traveled. If it is not an island today, then we look to the destruction and changes wrought about in 3 Nephi, and compare that with geologic history.
5) The four seas surrounding the Land of Promise [Helaman 3:8]
Because four seas existed as late as 46 B.C., it would appear that the change occurred around the time of Christ, making the destruction described in 3 Nephi the realistic changing period from an island to a larger land mass.
6) Plants that cure fever [Alma 46:40]
We call this deadly fever “malaria” today, and there is only one natural cure for malaria and that plant is found in only one place (prior to the 18th century when it was transplanted) in the entire world.
7) the Climate where Lehi’s seeds grew that he brought to the Land of Promise [1 Nephi 18:24]
Jerusalem is a Mediterranean Climate. There are only five such climates in the world, and only two in the Western Hemisphere. Therefore, one of these two areas has to be the Land of Promise.
8) Roads and Highways [3 Nephi 6:8]
There are only two places in the Western Hemisphere where ancient roads dating to the period of the Nephites and went “from place to place and land to land” as described; only one of these places also has the Mediterranean Climate (and other matches mentioned above)
9) Driven before the wind to the promised land [1 Nephi 18:8-9]
Upon leaving the southern Arabian Peninsula, winds and currents only blew in one direction out to sea—take that course and you find where Nephi’s ship was driven and would have landed
10) Lehi’s Course to the Land of Promise [1 Nephi 18:8-9]
The winds and currents are steady and constant and have always blown in the same directions. Follow those winds and currents and you arrive at the Land of Promise as Nephi did
11) Both Gold and Silver and Copper [1 Nephi 18:25]
Wherever you place the Land of Promise, there must be the ores mentioned; gold, silver and copper are three of the main ones—the eastern U.S. does not have gold to speak of and none ever recorded in single units with silver and copper like described
12) Hagoth’s ships went northward [Alma 63:4,6]
Winds and currents need to take sailing ships northward from the narrow neck area; also there needs to be evidence of another similarly developed culture to the north of the Land of Promise
13) Forts, fortifications and resorts [Alma 48:5,8; 49:13,18; 52:6]
Nephi taught his people to build (2 Nephi 5:15); Nephi knew of the stone work of Jerusalem, and built a temple like Solomon’s (2 Nephi 5:16), consequently one should find buildings of stone like those of Jerusalem and such are only found in two places in the Western Hemisphere. The forts of wood talked about in the eastern U.S. simply does not match the Nephite capabilities, nor that of the Jews in 600 B.C. to which Nephi, Sam and Zoram would have been familiar.
(See the next post, Looking Through a Keyhole – Part IV,” for the continuation of these first items to look for in the Land of Promise to verify any model or location)