Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lehi's not Ether's Land of Promise – Part II

In a recent post on the H38 Virus website which claims it is the “True Book of Mormon Geography” site, the author criticizes R. A. Olson’s Malay Peninsula claim to the Land of Promise. While I would have to agree with the critique that the Malay Peninsula is not the Land of Promise of the Book of Mormon, that author writes:

“Olson fails to recognize that Helaman's statement was only about the Jaredite Land Northward - not the Land Southward.’ He then quotes Helaman 3:8, which reads: “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the LAND NORTHWARD, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the SEA SOUTH to the SEA NORTH, from the SEA WEST to the SEA EAST. (Helaman 3).” He concludes by saying, “To miss this is a major mistake in understanding Book of Mormon geography.“

I also agree that to miss meaningful explanations of the geography of the Land of Promise given us by Mormon is a major mistake; however, the idea that Helaman 3:8 is only about the Land Northward is completely in error and not supported by the scriptural record.

The Land of Promise as known to Nephi and Jacob. At least half of the Land Southward was unknown to them. Mosiah will not discover the Land of Zarahemla for another 300 years or more, and the Land of Bountiful later than that.

However, the author of that website is so sold on the idea that the Land Northward is the land that held the promises of the Book of Mormon to the exclusion of the rest of the lands, that he seems unable to view anything beyond that image.

In the last post, we covered numerous scriptures showing that the Land Southward, to which Lehi was led and upon which he landed, was part of the Land of Promise, and, in fact, the only one so mentioned through the first 400 to 500 years of the Nephites in the land. In an earlier post we covered how the wordage of Helaman 3:8 does not exclude the Land Southward, and that the four seas mentioned surrounded the entire Land of Promise—Land Northward and Land Southward, for the land that Jacob knew and understood was only the Land Southward, when he said, “for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20).

This island was the entire Land of Promise, surrounded by water and having four basic directional seas, all connected to the “great deep” or the ocean over which they traveled. “For the Lord has made the sea our path” states quite clearly that the Lehi Colony sailed in Nephi’s ship across the sea to the Land of Promise. “And we are upon an isle of the sea” also suggests that this island was in the same sea over which the Lehi Colony sailed in Nephi’s ship. Therefore, the entire Land of Promise was surrounded by the sea—the sea overwhich Nephi sailed.

This is like saying that Madagascar is an island surrounded by the sea. Or that Jamaica is an island completely surrounded by the sea. Or any of the Hawaiian islands completely surrounded by water. In the case of any island, you can say it is one sea that surrounds it, or you can give a directional location and say there is a north sea, south sea, east sea and west sea. The point is, an island is an island and it is completely surrounded by water, or it is not an island at all but a Peninsula, Isthmus, or some other topographical feature.

As shown in the last post, the Lord confirmed to Lehi and to Nephi that the land to which they were being led was the Land of Promise, and that both Nephi and Lehi understood that they landed upon that Land of Promise. And, again, the Lehi Colony landed in the Land Southward, along the West Sea, southward in the Land of Nephi. Thus, we know from the Lord’s own words that the land Southward was the Land of Promise!

Thus, there is no room for singling out any one part of the Land of Promise and saying this is what is important and only where the promises lie. After all, when the Nephites entered into the Land Northward mentioned in Helaman 3:8, they did so “to inherit” the land—a portion of the land of their earlier inheritance, the Land Southward. That is, from the very beginning of their landing in the Land Southward, it was the “Land of their first inheritance” (Alma 22:28). After the Nephites left the City of Nephi with Mosiah, some returned later with Zeniff, of whom Amaleki wrote: “And now I would speak somewhat concerning a certain number who went up into the wilderness to return to the land of Nephi; for there was a large number who were desirous to possess the land of their inheritance” (Omni 1:27). Thus, the Land of Nephi was also considered the “Land of their Inheritance.”

When we realize that the Land of Promise included all the land Mormon outlined in Alma 22:28-33, we understand that the Land of Promise included all of the Land Southward and all of the Land Northward. Thus, there is no room to say someone “fails to recognize that Helaman's statement was only about the Jaredite Land Northward” for all statements in the Book of Mormon relate to the entire area called the Land of Promise. After all, the term “they began to cover the face of the whole earth” refers to the complete area of the Land of Promise.” Otherwise, a single area is mentioned and pointed out.

1 comment:

  1. It is unconscionable how anyone could espouse a model outside of Western New York or Colonial America with all the fulfilled land prophecies there.

    Please read the Spiritual Geography next time you visit the true Book of Mormon Geography site.