Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Comparing Various Lands of Promise With the Scriptures – Part X

Continuing with the list shown in the last nine posts (and below) of the various scriptural record descriptions of the Land of Promise and how any model must meet each and every one of these descriptions listed by Mormon. To make sure there are no chances of making things sound as one wants, which is often the case with other Theorists, we list the full scripture, and others along with it where applicable, for a complete understanding of what Mormon wrote. In addition, we list the existence or lack of existence of the subject in other models (under “elsewhere”), and the existence in the Andean South America area under “Andes.”
A Chart showing 31 major points of the Land of Promise in the scriptural record, all of which match Andean Peru and how so few other areas have any or much in the way of these descriptions. Those marked in yellow were covered in the previous posts
    • Scripture: “And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20)
    Elsewhere: In the Heartland, Great Lakes and Mesoamerica, the narrow neck does not create a sea that divides the land; nor is such found in Malay or Baja. In Central America, Lake Nicarauga could be argued that it divides the land, however, it does not divide it strategically sufficient to meet the descriptions (to keep an enemy from having more than one access northward), nor does it provide a singular path from the Land Northward to the Land Southward.
    Andes: In the boundary area between present day Ecuador and Peru, the Bay of Guayaquil cuts into or divides the western coastal area of land, effectively dividing the Land Northward (Ecuador and Colombia) from the Land Southward (Peru, Bolivia and Chile). This existed from Jaredite times through Nephite times and up until the crucifixion (3 Nephi 8) when the great destruction in the Land of Promise took place.
    At that point in time, the Nazca tectonic plate along the coast of South America shifted eastward, subducting beneath the South American Plate, which uplifted, creating the mountain folds (crustal thickening), changing the density distribution of the crust and underlying mantle, and flexural support due to the bending of rigid lithosphere. What geologists often tell us takes millions of years occurred in just hours (3 Nephi 8:19), as the entire surface of the Land of Promise was changed during the three hours of earthquakes and three days of darkness accompanying the crucifixion. As Samuel the Lamanite foretold, “And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
Left: A narrow neck with seas on both sides, one side the sea is a bay, cutting far into the land to create a narrow neck on the other side to the Sea East; Right: the bay shown as the sea that actually divides the land, meaning a division of land in the north and one in the south, or dividing the Land Northward from the Land Southward. Today, the Andes Mountains have replaced the Sea East, but the small land bridge and narrow pass still remain
    Indeed, the Andes mountains, whose height is truly great, with 101 peaks ranging through the Land of Promise in excess of 20,000 feet in height, with 16,000 to 19,000 feet of prominence for each. And when these mountains came up, some of the peaks rose at the eastern end of the Bay of Guayaquil, leaving the same narrow neck of land between the Bay and now the steep mountains where once had been the Pebesian Sea that flowed north and south along the uplift area that is now the Andes Mountains, and out into the Atlantic through the North, East and South portal seaways.
Once Again, these are the 31 scriptural references and subjects that describe portions of the Land of Promise. Any model, theory, or Land of Promise claim has to take into account each of these 31 items since they are all mentioned in the scriptural record. This list is not chosen at random, nor hand-picked from the scriptural record, but are the list of descriptions or descriptive information both Nephi and Mormon left for us to understand about their Land of Promise
    In addition, there are others, such as circumcision, which was the Law of Moses that Nephi said the Nephites lived (2 Nephi 5:10), and such areas as the Lord’s people turning deserts into roses, i.e., irrigation to make desolate places livable and to blossom, a very noticeable characteristic of the Jews in Israel (1948 onward), and the Saints in Utah (1847 onward). Both of these characteristics are found in Andean Peru, the first among mummies that have survived time and weather and irrigation levels that sometimes rival the imagination that brought water from the mountain tops down to the high level valleys and dry coasts since B.C. times.
    And there are still others that exist, though may be arguable by some. At the same time, there are those areas some Theorists claim should exist, but the scriptural record actually shows they should not be—such as the Written Language that Mesoamericanists love to claim must exist. So let’s take a look at this so-called requirement:
    The Written Language.
    There is no doubt, of course, that the Nephites had a written language. For daily purposes, it was Hebrew (Mormon 9:33), but for the sacred records, it was Reformed Egyptian (Mormon 9:32).
    One of the first understandings we should have is if any Nephite language survived, it could not have been read without the aid of the Lord. Moroni wrote near the end of the Nephite Nation, “But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof” (Mormon 9:34).
    That means of interpretation, of course, was Joseph Smith, the Urim and Thummim and the seer stone. None of which were involved in the translating, by the way, of the Maya language. In fact, in about 1566, the first bishop of Yucatan, Diego de Landa, compiled a key to the Mayan syllabary consisting of 27 Spanish letters and the Mayan glyphs with similar sounds. This became known as the Landa Alphabet and helped with the decipherment of the script (This is the same bishop, by the way, who destroyed most of the Maya writing codices by burning them).
    The first major breakthrough in decipherment came during the 1950s when a Russian ethnologist, Yuri Valentinovich Knorosov, proposed that the Mayan script was at least partly phonetic and represented the Yucatec Mayan language. His ideas were not welcomed by other Mayanists, but he was eventually proved correct.
    Further progress in the decipherment was made during the 1970s and 1980s when more linguistics began to take an interest in the script. Today most Mayan texts can be read, though there are still some unknown glyphs. For a complete understanding of this, see Michael D. Coe Breaking the Maya Code, or Coe and Mark Van Stone, Reading the Maya Glyphs, or Maria Longhena, Mayan Script: A Civilization and its Writing.
    It should also be understood that whatever writing the Nephites used, was an altered Hebrew or altered Reformed Egyptian. As Moroni stated: “And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record. But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof” (Mormon 9:32-34).
    However, the most important understanding is that had the Nephite nation continued, at least in some fashion, then the idea of written language would make sense, but since all Nephites were wiped out, there seems to be no correlation from what they did as a people, and what would be found in the Land of Promise over a thousand years later.
    To make sure we understand that Nephite writing ceased with their demise, Mormon informs us that he was told by the Lord that if the Lamanites found any of the Nephite writings, they would destroy them and that he should bury the plates that he had in his possession. As he put it: “having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni” (Mormon 6:6; Moroni 9:24; 10:2). Moroni also understood this, and buried those plates his father left him (Mormon 8:4).
    We have shown in previous posts the comparison between the Maya codice hieroglyphs and both Hebrew and reformed Egyptian. There is no comparison in any way. Thus, whatever idea the Mesoamericanists might want to portray with the written language of the Mayan, it does not equate to the Nephites or Land of Promise in any way.
    And thus we end the 31 issues involved in scriptural references of the descriptions of the Land of Promise. While others may disagree with our South American location, they cannot disagree with the scriptural references, and each must exist for any model to be considered accurate!

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