Saturday, May 14, 2011

Choice Above all Other Lands

There seems to be some misunderstanding among many Book of Mormon scholars and theorists regarding which land was called “choice above all other lands” in the Land of Promise. Arlin Nasbaum with his H38 Virus test, and other Great Lakes and Heartland theorists, claim that this statement only applies to the Land Northward, which is claimed is in the western New York area, around the Great Lakes, or the eastern U.S. However, the scriptural record tells us a totally different story.

First of all, there are two specific lands mentioned in regard to the Land of Promise: 1) Land Southward, where Lehi and later Mulek landed, and 2) Land Northward, where the Jaredites landed and lived. In addition, there are two divisions called the Land North and the Land South, and according to Moroni, both these lands were “south of the land Desolation” (Alma 46:17). Thus we can see how the Lord and Mormon described both these lands:

The Land Northward—the land of the Jaredites:

“And when thou hast done this thou shalt go at the head of them down into the valley which is northward. And there will I meet thee, and I will go before thee into a land which is choice above all the lands of the earth” (Ether 1:42).

“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off” (Ether 2:10)

“And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:15).

“And thus the Lord did pour out his blessings upon this land, which was choice above all other lands; and he commanded that whoso should possess the land should possess it unto the Lord, or they should be destroyed when they were ripened in iniquity; for upon such, saith the Lord: I will pour out the fulness of my wrath” (Ether 9:20).

“And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it.” (Ether 10:28).

Obviously, the Land Northward, the land of the Jaredites, was a land choice above all other lands.

The Land Southward—the land where Lehi landed:

“And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands” (1 Nephi 2:19-20).

“The land which is choice above all other lands, which is the land that the Lord God hath covenanted with thy father that his seed should have for the land of their inheritance” (1 Nephi 13:30).

Obviously, the Land Southward, the lands of Nephi, Zarahemla and Bountiful, was a land choice above all other lands.

However, both these lands cannot separately be the choicest land above all other lands—this would not be possible and a totally inaccurate concept introduced into the scriptural record. Unless, of course, these two lands were combined together in an overall land, called the Land of Promise—combining the Land Southward and the Land Northward into one land, which in total was choice above all other lands. And such is indicated in the following overall Land of Promise statement in Ether showing that thee lands, connected into one overall land, was the promised land shown throughout the scriptural record.:

“And the Lord would not suffer that they should stop beyond the sea in the wilderness, but he would that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people” (Ether 2:7).

In any event, it cannot be said that one part of the Land of Promise was more choice than another, as many theorists want to claim to promote their model.

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