Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Looking Through a Keyhole – Part II

Continuing from the last post about looking through a keyhole at a particular spot for placement of the Land of Promise, such as citing the ruins in Central America and saying this must be the Nephitee lands, then trying to find other matches. Instead, we need to approach the scriptural record with a much broader view. Once again, the point is, and always will be, when one starts looking for one specific issue, it may be found or at least identified with one specific area. But where do you go from there? Do you just say, then this must be the Land of Promise. Or do you look further and if something fits, add to your claim, but if it does not fit—like the north-south arrangement of Mormon’s Land of Promise and east-west Mesoamerica? You are left with two choices: 1) Discard your first belief, or 2) Change, fudge, reinterpret, etc., the scriptural record so it does fit. 
    Actually, what you should do is quite simple, and we have mentioned it in these posts before. You go to the scriptural record and follow verbatim exactly what Nephi and Mormon say, and you first start with Nephi:
1. He built a sailing ship (1 Nephi 17:8);
2. It was driven forward by the wind (1 Nephi 18:8);
3. Winds blow currents and they work in tandem, therefore, follow the currents from where he set forth and they will take you to where he would have landed.
    It really is as simple as that, though not very adventuresome—in fact, it is usually difficult work, time consuming, and not always rewarding.
    If you are one of those many people who believe the Land of Promise is in a particular spot, like mentioned in the previous post, then you are approaching the Book of Mormon geography backward. Nephi tells you basically where he landed, Jacob describes that landing area in general terms, Helaman verifies that information. Thus, following those winds and currents can lead you only to one basic area.
    Then, you can verify that one specific area by looking at what Nephi tells you he found exactly where he landed—not some distance away, not where he later founded the City of Nephi (and Land of Nephi), but where he landed. And that info is clearly set forth at the end of Chapter 18:23-25):
1. A climate (which would include temperature, soil, precipitation, etc.), where "seeds from Jerusalem" would grow exceedingly and provide an abundant crop” (1 Nephi 18:24). Now Jerusalem is a Mediterranean Climate as any climate index, chart or map will show you. So where, along that path that the winds and currents would have taken his ship "driven forth before the wind" would you find a Mediterranean climate where his seeds would grow (in 600 B.C. seeds did not grow just anywhere--even today, seeds have a growth area, climate requirement, etc.);
2. A forest (which included all types of animals(1 Nephi 18:25); however, the animals are movable and are only secondary to this). A forest within walking distance of the landing site where they landed and pitched their tents.
3. A location where gold, silver and copper (1 Nephi 18:25) are so plentiful that Nephi remarked about finding it where he landed (within walking distance, such as a distance you would walk in a hunting or exploring journey around your base of operations—the tents you pitched and where you have your base camp). We are not talking about this ore being deep in the ground, or not visible sufficiently that it would not immediately be seen as you walked around. In addition, these ores are mentioned in a single occurrence, so the gold, silver and copper needs to be in single ore (one rock formation—not found just anywhere, but not that rare, either)
4. A location where both domesticated type animals (though running wild at the time) as well as wild beasts (carnivores), would have been found (1 Nephi 18:25). What is found today is immaterial, since animal habitats can change with seasons and over centuries.
    So now you have these three types of things to look for in the area where Nephi’s ship would have sailed.
1) A location where winds and currents would have taken a sailing ship "driven forth before the wind" which means fixed sails—not tacking and maneuvering all over the place—much like everyone sailed before the later Age of Sail before mariners learned to use more than winds and currents to reach destinations;
2) Climate (Mediterranean);
3) Permanent location items (ore, forest, etc.)
    As for me, after more than 30 years of doing this, reading thousands of books (long before the internet), journals of travelers, ancient histories, etc., etc., etc., as well as naval journals, wind and current studies, reading about the men who discovered these winds and currents etc., etc., etc., and studying plants, seeds, climate, etc., etc., etc., only one place stood out, no matter how closely I looked elsewhere—only one!
    This was a single location in all the Western Hemisphere that matches what Nephi describes. And once you have arrived at this point, the next step is to find a place where Nephi would have moved to in order to escape his brother's, and the sons of Ishmael's death threats, that was far enough away so no immediate discovery would be likely, where a defensive city and civilization could be built, and where all the things described in the scriptural record could be found—including gold, silver, copper, other precious metals, including iron, and wood for serious construction efforts (like Solomon's Temple comparison), where buildings of every kind were built north of there (Jaredites), where at least two cities, and likely several more, had been built by Nephi and his descendants over the next 350 years before Mosiah left that area, etc.
Then you look within that area for:
1. Signs of an ancient civilization that more or less begins with the type of construction and technology of 600 B.C. Jerusalem that Nephi, Sam and Zoram would have known;
2. For stone construction where masons cut and dressed stones somewhat like Israel’s building of Jerusalem;
3. For ancient signs of advanced metallurgy, with masons capable of making both decorative and construction type metal products, including weapons;
4. For ancient signs of advanced textiles, such as fine-twined linen, silk, etc.
5. For roads and highways that went from place to place and connected the ancient kingdom where the Nephites are thought to have occupied;
6. For similarities in Egyptian (Lehi) and Mesopotamia (Jaredite and Lehi) cultures;
    After this, you can start looking for perishable but solid evidence of items that at least existed in the Nephite era (including Jaredites), such as:
1. Two interesting animals that would have been unknown in the U.S. in 1830s, but more valuable to man than horses and asses, and on a par with elephants, that are indigenous to the area;
2. Two valuable grains that would not have been known to Joseph Smith, a farmer, in 1830 U.S., but nutritious on a par with wheat and barley;
3. You look for an herb or plant that is a cure for killing fevers, like malaria, and keep people from dying from it (Alma 46:40);
(See the next post and final post in this series, “Looking Through a Keyhole – Part III,” to follow the final steps in location the Land of Promise)

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