Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do We Know Where the Land of Promise is Located? – Part II

In the last post the several points in a FARMS website were introduced and an evaluation of those points begun. The first was a statement made by FAIR; “Faithful individuals and scholars can honestly disagree on where Book of Mormon events took place.” This was shown to be in error in the last post—there can be no honest disagreement on scripture for all scripture, Peter tells us, is “not for private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). It was also quoted that Mormon said that what he engraved on the plates was "according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me" (Words of Mormon 1:9).

Therefore, to understand scripture, one must take scripture at face value and not try to alter, bend, change, add to it, or delete anything from it. This is a particularly major problem when dealing with Book of Mormon scholars and theorists regarding the topographical geography spelled out in the scriptural record—who constantly want to change, alter, delete or add to the written word.

Another point in understanding scripture is to accept what Nephi tells us: “For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3).

In addition, we understand the scripture by accepting Peter’s declaration: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21),

And lastly, to understand what Amos the Prophet said, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

All this means is that when we read Book of Mormon scripture, any part of it, we must keep in mind that it was written by prophets in plain and simple language for our understanding—“our” means each of us, not to be understood by special people and then told to us, but understood by each of us. Secondly, it means that the scriptural record is not open to individual and separate interpretation—it is to be understood through the Spirit as we read, ponder and understand the plain and simple language. Third, that this writing came not by the will of men, but by spiritual men guided by the spirit who wrote for our plain and simple understanding.

Thus, as an example, when John L. Sorenson spends pages trying to tell us that the Nephites did not understand the cardinal directions and that “east,” “west,” “north,” and “south,” really meant something else to them, he is violating this “plain and simple understanding” that God used to speak to us “in our own language.” The same is true when Sorenson tries to tell us “it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite” really meant some special type of athlete, military runner, or unique individual, who could run great distances in record time, is also incorrect.

The same inaccuracies also show up when someone writes that the “Sea East,” “Sea West,” and “Sea South,” were really just lakes, rivers, and small fresh water bodies of water, as the Great Lakes, Heartland and eastern U.S. theorists try to tell us. Or that Mound Building was all that the Nephites, who were taught “to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance,” (2 Nephi 5:15), could manage and leave behind.

The point of all this is simple. To understand the scriptural record regarding the location and topography of the Land of Promise, we need only take the scriptural record at face value and believe what the men who lived there have to tell us. After all, they were not trying to confuse us, nor was Joseph Smith trying to confuse us, nor was the Spirit trying to confuse us. “Plain and simple language” means just that. As does “speak to us in our own language for our understanding.”

Now that we understand these points, we are ready to look at the rest of the issue written on the FARMS website

(See the next post, “Do We Know Where the Land of Promise is Located-Part III,” for more comments on the website quoted above)

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