Friday, May 27, 2011

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

In the last post, the comment from the FARMS website regarding John L. Sorenson’s lack of belief that the Land of Promise was changed much from the destruction at the Savior’s death. His words were... "it just 'sounds impressive,' but did not include any major changes in the landscape. However, to those who lived through it, the destruction described 'changed the whole face of the land' (3 Nephi 8:12)." How can you change the whole face of the land yet “give no justification for supposing that the form or nature of the land changed in any essentials” as Sorenson claims?

So let’s take a look at Noah Webster’s “1828 American Dictionary of the English Language” which covered the New England understanding of words at the time Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. In that dictionary, the word “deform” meant to make it distorted, ugly, without symmetry. And “symmetry” means that it has some sort of evenness, apparent relationship, is “proportional in its parts, as to dimensions.” Thus, we can say that the face of the land WAS changed.

But let’s look further. The term “rocks were rent in twain.” First of all, in 1828, the term “rent” meant “torn asunder, split or burst by violence” and also “a fissure made by force.” The word “twain” means “in two, divided into two pieces.” In addition, though we all know what the word “rock” means, we probably do not know that its root is “burst, crack, tear, or break,” and more commonly meant “a large mass of stony matter” and “rocks compose the principal part of huge mountains,” and “huge rocks lie on the face of the earth, in detached blocks or masses.” Thus, the ““rocks were rent in twain,” takes on an entirely different understanding. In addition, these rocks “were broken up upon the face of the whole earth” suggests widespread destruction of the earth’s stony mass, huge blocks of rock on the surface, and the interior of mountains across the land. In addition, “they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land” exponentially compounds the destruction of the land, stony masses, and mountains.

Combing another verse: “And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder” (3 Nephi 8:6). The word “tempest” means “a wind of long continuance” and is the highest rating of wind, and is “a violent tumult or commotion.” The word “asunder” means “to divide into parts,” which suggests that the entire earth was divided into parts from the earthquakes—including the stony masses, surface rock slabs, and the base of mountains.

Samuel the Lamanite put it this way, “Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up” (Helaman 14:21). Thus, this destruction of “the whole face of the earth” was not just a “mainly to the surface,” as Sorenson claims, but “both above the earth and beneath.”

After all, when we describe that “the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land” (3 Nephi 8:18) and that the “the whole face of the land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12), and that mountains collapsed and others shot up to great heights, one can only wonder at the extent of such destruction. Obviously, Sorenson is no geologist. Such happenings would be remarkable!

Yet, as mentioned in the last post, certain areas might well remain undisturbed, such as the Bountiful Temple, survivors (the more righteous 3 Nephi 10:12) and their homes (it seems logical that survivors’ homes would be somewhat intact for they survived the destruction), and one particular hill (Ramah/Cumorah). Yet, while the “narrow passage” remained, evidently, the narrow or small neck of land did not, for it is never mentioned after the destruction—nor is the East Sea mentioned after the destruction (See the recent post, “What Happened to the East Sea).

No matter how serious the destruction that takes place, no matter how much the topography of the land is changed, there are always going to be some pockets undisturbed. In addition, the destruction described in the Land Southward, as bad as it was, that in the Land Northward was worse, “there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth” (3 Nephi 8:12).

(See the next post, “Do We Know Where the Land of Promise is Located-Part VI,” for more comments on the website quoted above and an understanding of Mormon’s Map)

No comments:

Post a Comment