Thursday, January 2, 2014

So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part VIII

Continuing from the last seven posts, listing actual descriptions in the Book of Mormon and how any Land of Promise model should match all of those listed in that scriptural record.     
    Earlier posts in this series have covered 1) Mountains, “whose height is great”; 2) Two unknown animals; 3) Two unknown grains; 4) Plants that cure fever; 5) Land of promise as an island; 6) The four seas surrounding the Land of Promise; 7) the Climate where Lehi’s seeds grew that he brought to the Land of Promise from Jerusalem; 8) Roads and Highways; 9) Driven before the wind; 10) Lehi’s Course to the Land of Promise; 11) Both Gold and Silver and Copper; 12) Hagoth’s ships went northward; 13) Forts, fortifications and resorts; 14) Fortified wall; 15) Narrow neck of land; and 16) Defendable narrow pass or passage, 17) the sea that divides the land, 18) All manner of buildings, 19) Great temple tower.
    Another scriptural description, and probably the one most maligned, ignored, changed, and explained away, is that of the directions. However, the record is rather clear about the fact that the directions stated in the Book of Mormon describing the Land of Promise are correct.
Knowing where Lehi traveled once he left Jerusalem and headed down to the Red Sea, and then on to Bountiful, helps to understand the later directions of the Land of Promise. Lehi's Journey from Jerusalem to Bountiful: 1-From Jerusalem to the Red Sea (no direction is stated), 2-Travel along the Red Sea (correct compass point is given as "south-southeast direction [1 Nephi 16:13]), 3-Turned east (correct compass point is given as "nearly eastward from that time forth [1 Nephi 17:1])
    Obviously, Nephi accurately knew his cardinal (4), ordinal (8), and intermediate (16) points of the compass directions in the unknown land far to the southeast of Jerusalem. There is no reason to believe that he would not have known those compass headings in the unknown area of the Land of Promise. In addition, we need to keep in mind that Nephi possessed the Liahona, a word interpreted as “compass” (Alma 37:38), which worked by faith (Alma 37:40), and described as showing the way (1 Nephi 16:10), it was among the items Moroni buried in the hill Cumorah, found by Joseph Smith in upstate New York, according to an interview with Joseph Smith Sr. (Historical Magazine, May 1870).
    Thus, we can see that the Liahona, or compass, was had by each of the prophets to whom the records were entrusted. As a result, it would seem, each of the prophets who wrote in the scriptural record knew the directions of their land.
    The problem and confusion regarding directions all stem from those who first decided that the Land of Promise was located in Mesoamerica—which is an east-west alignment of land. In order to validate that model, the directions in the scriptural record had to be altered, and people like John L. Sorenson of BYU, has written many pages trying to explain away why the stated directions given by Mormon and others are not correct.
    However, as has been pointed out here in these posts for the past three years, the directions stated in the scriptural record are accurate and correct. The Land of Promise was a north-south alignment, with the Land Northward in the north and the Land Southward in the south, and all the lands within them oriented along a north-south configuration. Mormon, as well as others, make this quite clear (Alma 22:27-34).
Top: Left/Center: In these early map examples of a land of promise layout, first published in these pages on April 2011, Mormon’s basic layout described in his writing are shown; Right: A more accurate map of the Land of Promise showing the northward and southward alignment; Bottom: Mesoamerica, showing its east-west alignment
    In Joseph Smith’s time, the word northward as an adjective meant “being toward the north,” and as an adverb, meant “towards the north.” Thus, when Mormon writes about the Land Northward, we can be assured that it was, indeed, northward. When Joseph Smith translated Mormon’s word as “north” and “northward,” we can be assured that he was correct in his translation. We can know this, because the Spirit acknowledged the correctness of the translation before Joseph was allowed to continue to the next part of the translation.
    Another area of description has to do with the ore found in the Land of Promise beginning with the Jaredites in the Land Northward: “They did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work” (Ether 10:23), and the people had their “gold, and of silver, and of precious things” (Ether 9:17).
An abundance of ore was found in the Land Southward as well, “And we did find all manner of ore” (1 Nephi 18:25), and “iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance” (2 Nephi 5:15); “and of silver, and of precious ore of every kind…and did work all kinds of ore, and did refine it” (Helaman 6:11). These ores were significant enough to be mentioned many times: “gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully” (Jacob 2:12; Alma 1:29; 4:6;15:16; Helaman 6:9; 12:2; 3 Nephi 6:2).
    Ore, of course is the compound of a metal and some other substance, such as oxygen, sulphur or carbon, called its mineralizer, by which its properties are disguised or lost. Metals found free from such combination and exhibiting naturally their appropriate character, are not called ores, but native metals. These “native” metals, are those found in their metallic form, and in nature are native deposits singly or in alloys. Anciently, these were prehistoric man’s only access to metal before learning how to smelt ore to extract the metal. Obviously when Nephi said, “whither shall I go that I may find ore to molten, that I may make tools to construct the ship after the manner which thou hast shown unto me?” (1 Nephi 17:9), he knew or had been shown how to smelt ore, extract the metal, and make objects, such as tools.
    Metals that can be found in native deposits singly or in alloys include aluminium, antimony, arsenic, bismuth, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, indium, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, rhenium, selenium, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, and zinc, as well as two groups of metals: the gold group and the platinum group. The gold group consists of gold, copper, lead, aluminium, mercury and silver. The platinum group consists of platinum, iridium, osmium, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium. And only gold, silver, copper and the platinum metals occur in nature in larger amounts.
    Thus, when Nephi says he found “all manner of ore,” it might be concluded he was referring to far more than just gold, silver, copper, and iron. Zinc of course is needed to make brass, which both the Jaredites and Nephites made. In addition, the Nephites had a metal they called ziff (Mosiah 11:8), evidently a precious metal since it was taxed the same as gold, silver, copper and brass (Mosiah 11:3).
There are four large mining facilities in Peru alone, which has 48 major mining projects underway at the present time, with Chile accounts for one-third of the world’s copper production
    This means that today we should find in the Land of Promise an overabundance of ores, especially gold, silver, and copper, as well as numerous other precious ores. It is interesting that Peru and Chile outproduce most of the world in the production of precious metals. As an example: In gold production today, Peru out-produces Mexico 2 to 1, with Peru 6th in the world and Mexico 11th, and Chile 13th, for a 4 to 1 advantage overall. Peru was 3rd in the world in silver production with Guatemala 17th, and Peru and Chile combined out-produced southern Mexico and all of Guatemala 172.4 million ounces to 117.3, with growth through 2015 set at Peru, Chile and Bolivia producing 63.2 million ounces to Mexico’s 14. And in copper production, Chile is 1st and Peru 3rd, with Mexico 18th, and Chile having an astronomical lead over Mexico of 5.36 million tons annually to Mexico’s 129,000, and Peru with a 10 to 1 advantage. The point is, today, the Andean countries out-produce Mexico and Mesoamerica by a huge margin (and most of that in northern Mexico, not even in Mesoamerica), with the rest of Mesoamerica almost non-productive. In addition, at the time of the conquistadors and early Spanish occupation, there were 144,000 mines in Peru alone. While the U.S. is a large producer of gold, silver and copper, almost all of this is found and mined in the western states and Alaska, with very little in the eastern area some people to believe is the Land of Promise; and almost none in Baja California, another Land of Promise suggestion by some.
    Obviously, then, any true Land of Promise must match all of the descriptions listed in the Book of Mormon—it is not a pick and choose arrangement in selecting those that agree with your point of view, but must match all of the descriptions, beginning with these first 21 covered in these eight posts.

(See the next post, “So Where is the Land of Promise? – Part IX,” for more of these descriptions as listed in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon)

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