Friday, July 11, 2014

Questions I Would Like to Ask – Part II

Using strictly the scriptures, I would like to ask the following questions of those many Theorists who claim their pet theories about the location of the Land of Promise are consistent with the scriptural record. 
   The second question is directed to John L. Sorenson and his Mesoamerican Theory:
Nephi accurately recorded his south south east direction (yellow line) after receiving the Liahona, as well as his nearly eastward direction (green line)
    2. “What makes you think that when Nephi knew and correctly recorded [1 Nephi 16:13; 17:1] the cardinal directions (south and east), ordinal direction (southeast), and the sixteenth compass point (south southeast) in an unknown land, that he would not know these points in the Land of Promise?”
    First, Lehi traveled from Jerusalem to the Red Sea, without mentioning its direction as almost due south, over territory Lehi or he might have known something about, since Lehi had probably dealt before with the Egyptians and maybe knew the area south of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:2).
    Second, from that point on, it is extremely doubtful that Lehi or Nephi had ever been in the area they continued to travel, along the Red Sea.
As my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness
    Third, in between these two events, the Lord gave Lehi the Liahona (1 Nephi 16:10), defined as a compass (1 Nephi 18:12), which showed them the way through the wilderness (1 Nephi 16:10).
    Fourth, from this point onward, Nephi introduces compass directions for the first time in his narrative (1 Nephi 16:13, 33; 17:1).
    Fifth, this compass worked even on the ocean, showing Nephi in which direction to steer his ship (1 Nephi 18:12, 21).
    Sixth, obviously, this Liahona, or compass, was more than a singular instrument, for it not only showed directions (1 Nephi 16:10, 16), it had instructional writing upon it (1 Nephi 16:26-27), as well as matters pertaining to the Lord (1 Nephi 16:29). In addition, it worked strictly by faith (1 Nephi 16:28).
Seventh, since Nephi uses correct compass directions, even to the third (of fourth) level, it might be accurately suggested that this Liahona was not only operative in pointing the way, but also served as at least a 16-point compass, for Nephi correctly stated the different directions in which they traveled in an exact, compass format.
Eighth, while many claim it was not a magnetic compass because it pointed to directions of travel, it still had to have had some relationship to our modern compass, since Nephi was able to discern correct compass directions once the Liahona was in his possession. And for those who have not used a compass in this fashion, sophisticated compasses for years have had rings around the outside that cold be adjusted to point in a particular direction though not using the magnetic compass needle, i.e., keeping the needle on north, following an arrow pointer in a southeast direction, etc.
    Ninth, not only did Nephi have this compass in his possession in the Land of Promise (2 Nephi 5:12)—no doubt it had pointed the way for Nephi to travel to the area where he settled and built his city (City of Nephi)—it was well known five hundred years later when Alma states: “I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director -- or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it” (Alma  37:38).
    Tenth, and finally, the Liahona was with the plates that Joseph Smith uncovered in the hill Cumorah, suggesting that they were in the hands of the prophets throughout the Book of Mormon period. This means, of course, that all the prophets, from Nephi through Mormon and Moroni would have had access to the Liahona.
    So the question once again to Sorenson and his Mesoamerican followers is, "since Nephi knew the 16-point compass directions, whether from his own knowledge or that of the Liahona, and since he had the compass when sailing to and landing in the Land of Promise, why would he not know the compass directions of his new land? And why would Alma, Mormon and all the others not know these accurate compass directions that would have been handed down?"

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