Friday, October 12, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part VIII

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first twenty-two comments were answered in the previous seven posts, the twenty-third and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #23 “Since the scriptures tell us that the spirit would lead a gentile to the Land of Promise, and that gentile was Columbus, and he came to Nort America, how can you claim the Land of Promise was in South America?” Wendell P.
Response: I do not claim the Land of Promise was South America. I have always claimed the Land of Promise was the entire Western Hemisphere. However, the Book of Mormon lands, as outlined mostly by Mormon, was in the Andean area of South America. Hagoth’s ships took Nephites and Lamanites into Central America (mostly into that middle area we call Mesoamerica) in the first century B.C., and obviously later generations of Nephites and Lamanites entered North America where Joseph Smith found the bones of the white Lamanite Zelph, and where Onandagus was a prophet known from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. On the other hand, Columbus never set foot in North America. He discovered islands in the Caribbean, southern Central and the northeastern shores of South America. He never stepped foot on what we now know as the United States. His first two voyages were only to the Bahamas, his third to the Bahamas and the Northern portion of South America, and his fourth to the Bahamas and southern Central America. Based on 1 Nephi 13:12, this makes Central and South America, and the islands of the Caribbean part of the Land of Promise.
Comment #24 “I agree with all your writings, especially your book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I do have one problem, however, and would love clarification. How can Central and South America be termed a “land of liberty,” with no kings upon the land as 2 Nephi 10:11 says? Even Canada in North America has a monarch.” Darlynn
Response: The term This land, means both North and South America and the families of islands that geographically and naturally belong and adhere to the same—what we call the Western Hemisphere. Orson Hyde said, “There are promises and decrees of God in relation to ‘land’ of an extraordinary character. No other land can boast of the same: that no foreign prince, potentate, or sovereign will be allowed to interfere in the affairs of this Continent! Spain must give up Cuba; England, Canada and the United States of America must hold, as her dependencies, every country on the Western Continent, with the islands along its borders.” In fact, since Hyde’s death in 1878, almost all the lands in the Western Hemisphere have gained their independence from foreign monarchs and governments. B.H. Roberts, in History of the Church, p. 552, stated: “…these two American continents [North and South]. These continents are a promised land.” As for liberty, all of the Western Hemisphere today enjoys an unprecedented amount of liberty found on no other continent or land where multiple countries co-exist. It is, indeed, a remarkable land. As for Canada, there is no monarch (king or queen) on the land—Canada is ruled by a representative government, elected by the people, with a Prime Minister in charge. The British monarchy is little more than a figurehead, even in England.
Comment #25 “The Book of Mormon does not specifically say that Columbus was the gentile to be led to the discovery of this land.”
Response: True. However, just about everyone recognizes the scriptural record is stating that the gentile was Columbus—even Columbus himself. In the 1879 Book of Mormon, Orson Pratt added the footnote to 1 Nephi 13:12 which named this “gentile” as Christopher Columbus. Columbus began writing a book called “Book of Prophecies” and in this book “set forth views on himself as the fulfiller of biblical prophecies! Columbus saw himself as fulfilling the ‘islands of the sea’ passages from Isaiah and another group of verses concerning the conversion of the heathen. Watts reports that Columbus was preoccupied with ‘the final conversion of all races on the eve of the end of the world,’ paying particular attention to John 10:16: ‘And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold’ (see also 3 Nephi 16:3). He took his mission of spreading the gospel of Christ seriously. ‘made me the messenger of the new heaven and the new earth…He showed me the spot where to find it,’ Columbus wrote in 1500.”
Comment #26 “You say that no king has actually reigned upon this land (Western Hemisphere), but you conveniently forget Nephi was king, as was Benjamin and both Mosiahs, who ruled for some 400 years, not to mention the several Lamanite kings mentioned.” Conce
Left: King Benjamin; Center: King Noah; Right: King Mosiah II who did away with kingships
Response: I suppose it is arguable that Nephi was a “king,” since he rejected that title. However, perhaps a clearer understanding of the scriptural reference involved will clarify this point. 2 Nephi 10:11 reads: “… and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall rise up unto the Gentiles” Now, if you took the comma out of the sentence, it would read “… and there shall be no kings upon the land who shall rise up unto the Gentiles” which is more understandable and states the gentiles would still have been the non-Israelite “others” and that no other kings shall stand against the Nephites if they are righteous, for their true king is Yahweh who has promised to preserve them. Stated differently, if you apply the promise to the time after the gentiles reach the land of promise, then it holds true—no kings on the land.
Comment #27 Some LDS scholars believe that the Tehuantapec model in Mesoamerica provides enough of a match with existing geography, ancient cultures and ruins, to propose plausible locations for certain Book of Mormon places and events. Can you place the various Book of Mormon cities in your model of South America?” Charles
Response: In order to make any comparison between a Book of Mormon city and an actual area in any model today, there has to be specific information in the scriptural record to lead one to do so. Except for a very few instances, such as King Noah’s tower, which was identified by early Spanish conquistadors in Cuzco, Peru; the narrow neck of land with a width somewhere under 50 miles and probably closer to 25 to 30; the city of Desolation to the north of this narrow neck, but quite close; and the Land of Many Waters in the Land Northward described by Mormon with fountains (springs), rivers, lakes, etc., there are simply not enough descriptions in the record to pinpoint any area specifically. Those who do so, are simply guessing and do themselves, their readers and followers, the Book of Mormon, and the Church in general, a disservice. On the other hand, one can look at a model and speculate where a few city locations would be, such as Zarahemla (west of the Sidon River, in the southern portion of the Land of Zarahemla); the city of Bountiful, near the narrow neck of land, etc., the head of the Sidon River in the hills or mountains between Zarahemla and the City of Nephi, the city of Manti near that river’s head, etc. But, again, this is mere speculation, and as long as it is stated as such, it is interesting to see where places might have been.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part IX,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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