Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Covino Comments Answered-Part XIX-Liahona

Peter Covino in discussing the purpose of the Liahona, in his True Book of Mormon Geography website, writes:

“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).”

First of all, it is amazing how many times Covino inserts a word like hidden which is never found in scripture, as though it was the word Mormon used. In his referred to scriptures, the reference to the land is: "a land of liberty unknown to them." And in the Liahona scripture, it does not say "[guided] by the Liahona," though it is the obvious inference.

As has been stated before in this blog, the word “hidden” is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Mormon, and certainly not in 2 Nephi 1:7-9, which reads:

“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.”

Two references can be implied: “it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations,” and “they shall be kept from all other nations.”

Covino adds: “Geographers need to explain how the land in their model was hidden.” But as said before, it was not “hidden.” That is Covino’s word. It is not used in the scriptural record or implied, either toward the land or the people upon it.

Covino has a tendency to make things up, then claim other people must agree with him.

The idea of the Western Hemisphere being unknown to the rest of the world (Eastern  Hemisphere) has been documented in historical books, history, and also this blog. There is a reason this land was unknown until Columbus “discovered” the Western Hemisphere. Covino should know this, like every grade school kid.

Left: 16th Century Astrolabe--needed to sight altitude of a celestial object to determine latitude, the north-south position on the globe; Right: 15th Century sighting Pelorus for observing true bearings, like a compass

Until man had ships capable of sailing into deep water across a lengthy ocean, and instruments, such as the quadrant, octant, astrolabe or backstaff, and a pelorus or compass capable of withstanding ship's movement, no sailor, sea captain, or investor wanted to attempt such a fete. When the Lord was ready for such a discovery, he brought about the ship design, the instruments, and the interest that led men to make the attempt. Until then, the land was simply unknown to the rest of the world.

As for the Liahona, like any compass, it would be necessary for Lehi to have this instrument in order to guide him across the “many waters.”  Having the Liahona does not signify, as Covino claims, that the land was hidden and Lehi needed a Liahona in order to find it. Evidently, Covino has never been in deep water where instruments are the only thing that keeps one from sailing around in circles, or wander off course.

Left: Deep water in the middle of the ocean. Nothing but water can be seen in every direction for weeks at a time. There are no marked paths, no landmarks, no anything. There is absolutely nothing with which to take one’s bearings other than the sun and stars. Right: Deep ocean in a heavy mist or fog. Trying to find one’s way in such conditions is next to impossible, for there is no sun or stars by which to find a bearing without a compass

Despite what every seaman knows, Covino completely misses the mark. He goes on to say: “The use of the Liahona implies that Lehi's family traveled any way but along traditional routes.”

It would be interesting to know what “traditional routes” Covino thinks existed across the deep ocean in 600 B.C. when no other vessel had ever made such a voyage, or any sea captain ever even having considered such a thing. Covino seems to approach understanding the scriptural record as though the events happened last week under modern and current conditions.

Covino adds: “Geographers need to explain what was peculiar about the routes in their model, or keep silent on the matter.”

Again, Covino brings up one of his words, “peculiar” to describe Lehi’s course across the ocean as though the word is found in scripture. It is not. However, if peculiar is what he wants, then the peculiar, or unusual, event in which Lehi was involved, was simply crossing the ocean in a vessel in 600 B.C., 2,000 years before Columbus made the first attempt known in history.

But Covino is not through. He adds: “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.”

Columbus discovered the Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti on his first voyage; he returned to the area of Haiti on his second voyage, adding Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, St. Croix, Nevis, Guadalupe, Domenica, and Martinique; he reached Margarita, Trinidad, and the northeastern coast of Venezuela (Orinoco River) South America on his third voyage; and on his fourth and last voyage, he reached the islands off Honduras in Central America, sailed along the eastern shore of Central America to Panama, and revisited many of the small islands to the east and south of Haiti and Puerto Rico. In all, Columbus reached none of the areas where different historians claim was the Land of Promise. But obviously, those who followed did.

It was only a matter of time before Cortez, Pizarro, and the Spanish conquistadors decimated three civilizations that had achieved far more than the Spanish had ever accomplished. As the scriptural record foretold, the Lamanites would be driven, scourged and nearly destroyed. Even today the plight of the natives (Lamanites) in some parts of Central America and most all of South America, is beyond description--they have never recovered from being "driven" by the Gentiles--Spaniards.

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