Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Comments from Readers – Part I

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog: 
    Comment #1: Recently, you wrote several things about Phyllis Carol Olive and her book “The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon.” I found it interesting that she seems to see things far different from your take on things. As an example, she says that Hagoth’s curiosity got the better of him for he built a ship, launched it forth into the west sea and headed north. But you say he didn’t go anywhere” Thelma G.
Response: The scriptural record tells us Hagoth launched his “first” ship into the West Sea (Alma 63:5) during the 37th year with many Nephites in it (Alma 63:6). The following year, the 38th year, while that ship was at sea, Hagoth built other ships (Alma 63:7a), and during that same year, the 38th year, the first ship returned, refitted, and set out again northward with more people (Alma 63:7b). Hagoth did not go on either voyage of this ship, he was home building more ships while the first one sailed, returned and sailed again—it was never heard from again, that is, it did not return from its second voyage (Alma 63:8), so obviously Hagoth was not on that one, either, since he had to have built other ships later that Alma tells us sailed north later with Corianton taking provisions to those who had gone before (Alma 63:), and later timber (Helaman 3:10). In fact, Helaman describes that the Nephites were heavily involved in the building of ships and in shipping (Helaman 3:14), which must have been a very large industry, since Helaman mentions it three times in a few short verses, and lists it as one of the major industries of the Nephite people.
    As for Olive having a different take on things than me, perhaps, as the above shows, it is because she does not really read the scriptures.
    Comment #2: “The references you alluded to by the brethren in conferences, etc. as to the whole of the Americas as the “choice land” were made during a time when the church, it’s manuals, etc. “unofficially” put the Book of Mormon lands in central America, which conflicted with prior statements about the United States being the “choice land” even with the records coming from New York. Of course, there are statements also, as numerous by the brethren putting the Book of Mormon lands and the actual Hill Cumorah in the United States and New York, “unofficially”, so it’s safe to conclude that these statements are circumstantial generalizations and are inconclusive. Otherwise, the church would have an official position” B.
    Response: I was not referring to General Conference talks of the 19th century, but much closer to now—such as Ezra Taft Benson’s talk in October Conference of 1979, which can be found on the Church website ( entitled: “A Witness and a Warning,” Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, October 1979 General Conference, said, “The Lord has declared this “a day of warning, and not a day of many words” (D&C 63:58)."
    Now, you might want to take note that in this General Conference world-wide address, Pres. Benson spoke of two places referring to “this land,” i.e., 1) America, and 2) the United States. Of course, whenever the brethren in the modern era speaks of America, it is almost always referring to north and south America as opposed to Europe, Asia, Pacific Islands, etc. They do not see the United States quite like some of us…they head up a world-wide Church, not a U.S. church.
President Benson’s address: “My message is a witness and warning about some of the evils which threaten America—a land I love with all my heart. There are other countries with this same problem. You who have seen these dangers in the land you love will have a deep feeling for what I will say.
    “America is a place of many great events. Here is where Adam dwelt, where the Garden of Eden was located. America was the place of former civilizations, including Adam’s, the Jaredites’, and Nephites.’ America is also the place where God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith, inaugurating the last gospel dispensation on earth before the Savior’s second coming…”
    Though Pres. Benson refers to events that took place, for the most part, in the United States, Garden of Eden, Adam’s home, the First Vision—he did not refer to it as the United States, but America.
    “This consecrated land has been placed under the everlasting decree of God. That decree is recorded in the sacred Book of Mormon, a new witness for Christ, in these words:
    For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God…Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ" (Ether 2:10, 12).
“The eventful destiny of America has also been revealed to God’s prophets. To Joseph Smith the Lord revealed that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938, p. 362). Further, the Lord decreed this land to be “the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven…the holy sanctuary of the Lord” (Ether 13:3). To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up…and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).
    “The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.
    “In the decade prior to the restoration of the gospel, many countries of South America fought wars of independence to free themselves from European rule. Russia, Austria, and Prussia, however, urged France to aid Spain and Portugal to restore their monarchies in South America. This effort was repulsed by a proclamation from the United States government known as the Monroe Doctrine. The heart of the Monroe Doctrine consists of these words: “The American continents…are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.”
“The Lord had promised, “I will fortify this land against all other nations” (2 Nephi 10:12). President Joseph Fielding Smith said that “the greatest and most powerful fortification in America is the ‘Monroe Doctrine’…It was the inspiration of the Almighty which rested upon John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson and other statesmen, and which finally found authoritative expression in the message of James Monroe to Congress in the year 1823” (The Progress Of Man, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., pp. 466–67).
    Note that Pres. Benson refers to the greatest and most powerful fortification in America is the Monroe Doctrine. The Monroe Doctrine was not meant to fortify the United States, it was to fortify all of America, specifically Latin America to keep European countries from meddling in America!
    “Thus, in that four-decade period the United States had grown to sufficient strength that she was able to provide a cradle of liberty for the restored Church of Jesus Christ…”
    The rest of Pres. Benson’s talk is the “warning” against communism. The point being, that President Benson himself, and in quoting Joseph Smith, referred to both North and South as America, not just the United States.
    As a citizen of the United States, we may feel very parochial toward our country, but the Church does not consider itself a Untied States Church, but a world-wide Church, centered in (North and South) America, which is the promised land, but a Church of the world for all the peoples of the world.

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