Sunday, July 15, 2012

Misunderstandings of the Liahona—the Land that Was Hidden

Continuing with Theodore Brandley in his A North American Setting, in wh ich he makes the statement: “The record specifically says that God guided them by the Liahona (1 Nephi 18:12-13) to a land that was hidden (2 Nephi 1:7-9). Geographers need to explain how the land in their model was hidden. The Book of Mormon does not say they were ever discovered. Nor would they be discovered by the first explorers, i.e. not Columbus.”

Looking at this statement one part at a time, the first part was answered in the last post. Let’s take a look at the second part here: “to a land that was hidden.”
The Known World for thousands of years. No one had any idea there was more land anywhere, nor did they know anything about the Western Hemisphere, which was kept “hidden” from the knowledge of the eastern "known" World
Actually, the scriptures cited state:  “Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever. And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:7-9).
Western Hemisphere separated from the rest of the World for thousands of years because of winds, ocean currents, lack of a compass, astrolabe and other mechanical devices that eventually made sailing great distances out of view of land possible
Obviously, the Lord’s promise to Lehi was based upon the righteousness of his descendants. Unfortunately, after years of war, in about 345 A.D., Mormon wrote of the Nephites: “the day of grace was passed with them, both temporally and spiritually” (Mormon 2:15). Within 40 years, the Nephites were wiped off the face of the Land of Promise, and Mormon lamented: “O that ye had repented before this great destruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone, and the Father, yea, the Eternal Father of heaven, knoweth your state; and he doeth with you according to his justice and mercy” (Mormon 6:22), and as Moroni wrote a little later: “and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father” (Mormon 8:3).
Moroni Mourns the death of his Father, Mormon
At this point, the promise made to Lehi was null and void. It would take another nearly thousand years before Nephi’s vision was fulfilled, but in the 15th century, the seed of Nephi’s brethren (the Lamanites) were smitten as promised. “And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren. And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren. And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land. And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters. And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten. And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain” (1 Nephi 13:10-15).
Brandley also states: “Geographers need to explain how the land in their model was hidden.” This, of course, is a simple matter—the Western Hemisphere was kept “hidden” or undiscovered by the nations of the world because of 1) the physical impossibility of any early sailing ship to make such a deep ocean voyage; 2) lack of knowledge that such a land existed, 3) opposing winds and currents to the European sailor, and 4) a lack of mechanical instruments for use at sea, such as the compass, sextant, etc., and 5) a lack of interest in voyages of discovery.
Not until the 13th century did matters begin to change. Inventions made sailing easier, such as ship design, understanding of canvas and masts, being able to sail toward the wind, mechanical development of ocean instruments, and a deeper desire for discovery and trade.
Indians welcoming the arrival of European explorers. They had no idea of the death and destruction these early Spaniards had in mind for the natives
Brandley also states: “The Book of Mormon does not say they were ever discovered. Nor would they be discovered by the first explorers, i.e. not Columbus.”
The Book of Mormon states they WOULD be discovered, and they were. First in Central America and South America by Columbus, next in Mexico and Mesoamerica by those who followed, and finally in Florida. The Lamanites that were truly smitten (based upon severity) were those in the Andean area, followed by those in Mexico and Central America. Those in North America were the last to be discovered and eventually subjugated.

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