Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One More Time—Baja is not the Land of Promise

One might wonder why so many posts have been recently devoted to the area of Baja California and David Rosenvall’s claim that it is the area of the Land of Promise. The reason for this is simple—the Book of Mormon is an exact record of a remnant of the House of Israel upon this, the Western Hemisphere. It does the Church and its members little good when claims are made regarding the meaning of the scriptural record that cannot be substantiated by the record itself. And since the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, it seems reasonable, and even mandatory, that we treat it with the respect it is due by not misquoting, changing, altering, ignoring, or miss-applying its information.

For whatever reason, Mormon felt compelled, or inspired or both, to leave a record of the geography of the Land of Promise. While the book is not a history book, nor a geography book, nor even a complete record of the people who first frequented the Western Hemisphere, it is a record of their existence, their dealings with God, and their dealings with one another. It covers two distinct civilizations in the Jaredites from about 2200 B.C. to about 600 B.C., and a record of the Nephites/Lamanites and Mulekites from about 600 B .C. to 421 A.D., and in that period of time these peoples moved across the land the Lord promised to them with enough information to tell us a lot about this land.

The most complete record is among the Nephites and their 1000 year history in both a land to the south and the land to the north—the latter being the location of the Jaredite nation, which never left that area and never settled south of a division line called the “narrow neck of land.”

While Nephi gave us enough clues to show where he traveled from Jerusalem to the area they called Bountiful, which was along the coast of the sea they called Irreantum, and enough clues to tell us where he sailed the ship he built, where it landed, and what he found in that land, Mormon included much about the size and shape of the land they called the Land of Promise, and told us of many unique features of that land. In addition, Moroni gave us a brief, but adequate knowledge of the Jaredites who came out from the Tower at the time of the confusion of tongues, their settlement in the land later called the Land Northward, their dealings with one another, and some of the features of that land. He also showed some relationships between the Jaredite areas and the Nephite areas.

In all of these explanations, many diversions from the chronological dialogue of the happenings written by the original prophets, both Mormon and Moroni in their abridgements where they could only write down one-hundredth of the information available to them, still provide us with enough information to easily gain a working knowledge and understanding of the geography of the Land of Promise.

It behooves us who write about this land and the scriptural record that covers it, with accuracy and unbiased opinions—a factor that is all too often ignored by Book of Mormon historians, scholars, and theorists.

First of all, the simple truth is, Nephi tells us where he sailed from and where he landed:

1. He built a weather vessel, a sailing ship, that was driven forth before the winds to the promised land;
2. We know where he set sail, and where the winds blew and the currents moved, so we can determine without error where his ship went and where it landed;
3. He described what he found on this land, such as a climate that allowed his seeds from Jerusalem to grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop, and there are only two places in the entire Western Hemisphere with a like Mediterranean climate as Jerusalem;
4. He described finding gold, silver and copper in single ore—something that is found in basically one place in all the Western Hemisphere;
5. He told us of his building ability he taught his people, and of the temple like Solomon’s he built, giving us cities, temples, and palaces to look for that would now be in ruins, and there are only two places in the Western Hemisphere where such magnificent ruins can be found;

6. He (or rather Jacob) tells us that the Land of Promise was an island in the middle of the ocean. Mormon gives us further information about this Land of Promise:

1. There were two unknown grains that grew in the land along with corn, wheat and barley, and in all the Western Hemisphere there is only one area where two unknown grains grow today and have since B.C. times;
2. There were herbs and plants that cured fever, and there is only one place in the entire world where a natural remedy for fever grew prior to the 19th century;
3. He tells us of defense walls built across the land to keep the Lamanites from advancing northward, and there is an area in the Western Hemisphere where a Great Wall was built, and many other defense works;
4. He describes two distinct lands, surrounded by water, with a narrow neck in between them, and that this narrow neck was an area that could be defended against an advancing enemy;
5. He describes a narrow pass through this narrow neck of land that led from one of the lands to the other;
6. He describes a land that is narrower than it is long.

Moroni gives us even further information about this Land of Promise, especially the Land Northward:

1. There were two unknown animals that were useful to man, even on a par with the usefulness of the elephant as a beast of burden, and there is only one area in the Western Hemisphere where two unknown animals that were useful to man as beasts of burden existed and can still be found;
2. This land would be held in reserve by the Lord, keeping other nations from knowing of it, and that it would be the location of the New Jerusalem;
3. That the Land of Promise was a choice land, choice above all other lands.

(See the next post, “One More Time—Baja is not the Land of Promise, Part II,”about how the peninsula of Baja California does not match most, if not all, of these points)

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