Wednesday, August 6, 2014

So Why Not Ask Yourself These Questions?

We have presented twenty-three questions over the past twenty-three days that any Book of Mormon Land of Promise Theorist should be able to answer based upon their various models for Lehi’s “Isle of Promise.” Each question is based upon a scriptural reference and is based on the principle that if Mormon, Nephi, Moroni, Ether or another of the scriptural record prophets wrote about it, the feature, description, or structure should be seen today, or evidence of its Nephite-period existence shown.
So why not compare these twenty-three scriptural references with the model of the Land of Promise you have been looking at or accepting as Lehi’s landing site. This should not be a difficult matter. If it is referenced in the scriptural record, it should be part of any Theorist’s model.
    Nor are we talking about one or two existing, but all 23. And these can be expanded—but not ignored. So why not start with these twenty-three and build from there. And if they do not exist, or can be shown to have existed, then one might really question the validity of such a model.
    In addition, Nephi makes it quite clear what he found in the area of their first landing, that is, along the coast of the Land Southward, far to the south as Mormon describes it (Alma 22:28). Now, in this specific area was found: 1) a similar climate where seeds from Jerusalem, a Mediterranean Climate, would grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24); 2) a forest where animals of every kind were found (1 Nephi 18:25); 3) all manner of ore, including gold, silver and copper (1 Nephi 18:25).
The Narrow Strip of Wilderness that ran from then East Sea to the West Sea, separating the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla 
    Also, in addition, the model must contain 1) a second location where Nephi traveled “with those who would go with him” (2 Nephi 5:5-7), somewhat to the north of where they landed (Alma 22:28); 2) a division to the north of this area (referred as a narrow strip of wilderness) that ran from the East Sea to the West Sea (Alma 22:27); 3) in this area remnants of a temple (2 Nephi 5:16), and once decorated or ornamented with gold, silver and precious things as well as fine wood, copper and brass (Mosiah 11:9-10); spacious buildings (Mosiah 11:8), a spacious palace (Mosiah 11:9), and a large and “very high” tower next to the temple (Mosiah 11:12).
    And finally, in addition to all these points, the twenty-seven listed in previous posts and the six listed above—all scriptural descriptions and references of the Land of Promise, there are a few others that should also be considered. As an example, where is the evidence in your model that:
    1. The Nephites practiced the Law of Moses (Alma 25:15). One example, would be the mummified bodies found in Chile and Peru that show the ancients there practiced circumcision, and were the only ones on the Western Continent that did so.
    2. The Nephites had the use of silks and fine-twined linen (Alma 1:29; 4:6 26; Ether 10:24), such as the excellent quality the ancients in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia had of textiles dating back to the B.C. era. In fact, the Spanish conquistadores were most complimentary of the material, quality, and weave that was practiced in the Andes when they arrived, and ancient tombs show existed there for more than two thousand years.
    3. In the far northern lands was an area of “many waters, fountains and rivers” (Mormon 6:4), such as the area found in northern Ecuador where “fountains,” that is the “beginning, source, or origination” of waters and rivers existed, unlike the Great Lakes watershed where there are no “fountains,” or the area of Cumorah in Mesoamerica, just a few miles beyond their narrow neck.
    4. Ran along a true north-south direction as Alma describes in his extensive description of the Land of Promise (Alma 22:27-34).
    5. Contains extensive ancient buildings or “ruins of buildings of every kind” (Mosiah 8:8), such as found throughout Ecuador, Peru, Boliva and northern Chile, as well as in Mesoamerica, but not in the Great Lakes, Heartland, Eastern United States, or Baja California.
    6. An easily defendable narrow pass that is the only access from the Land Southward into the Land Northward (Alma 52:9; Mormon 2:29; 3:5) that had a sea on either side (Alma 50:34), such as the pass found in Ecuador to the east of the Bay of Guayaquil through a narrow strip of land between this huge Bay and the tall Andes mountains to the east (in Nephite times, before the destruction mentioned in 3 Nephi, the eastern boundary was the Sea East, or what was once called the Pebasian Sea, that is the Atlantic Ocean where it covered much of what is South America east of the present day Andes Mountains.
Left: Yellow Arrow points to the Great Wall of Peru as it winds inland along the Santa River in Peru; Right: Yellow Arrow shows the 20’ to 30’ high wall as it runs along the mountain ridge above the Santa River 
    7. Fortified walls of stone (Alma 48:8; 50;5; 62:23), such as those found in Peru, like the Great Wall of Peru, described in part a wall built from the Pacific Ocean inland through the Santa Valley, with forts interspaced along its length dating to about 100 B.C., first discovered in the 1927 Shippee-Johnson flights and photos, and later more extensively by David Wilson of SMU using Cross and Roosevelt’s account and photos of their 1934 Trip to Peru.
    Of course the point of all this is simply that any model of the Land of Promise, no matter what it may or may not have by way of a recommendation, must match all of the descriptions outlined in the Book of Mormon as they were written and described by Mormon in his abridgement, and cannot have lengthy discussion as to why Mormon’s descriptions are not accurate and simple for us to understand. It only stands to reason that any explanation of the Land of Promise must begin and end with what is written in the scriptural record. If it is not there, then it cannot be included unless it fits right into the meaning of what Mormon and others wrote. If a model cannot stand on its own merits against the descriptions given in the scriptural record, then it must be suspect, and if enough such problems exist, or matches cannot be found, then such a model would be best served by being discarded. And lastly, no site can be chosen unless one can show how Lehi and his family got there based upon what Nephi wrote about their ship, embarkation point and where the natural winds and currents would have taken his ship as he described (1 Nephi 18:8-9).
    After all, the Book of Mormon is not a puzzle to be solved. It is a straightforward discussion about God’s dealings with a segment of the House of Israel. Plain and simple. To fully understand this writing, one must approach it in a plain and simple manner, accepting every word written, rejecting nothing, and looking for understanding of all descriptions and information given within its pages.
    Then, and only then can a land of promise be located.

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