Monday, September 14, 2015

North – South and the Argument Goes On…Part III

Continuing with the article about one theorists’ defense of changing the scriptural record for it to match his own viewpoint of the Land of Promise. 
    Comment: “The directional trend of the two lands and the neck was generally north-south. The east sea (six references) and the west sea (twelve references) were the primary bodies of water that bounded this promised land.”
    Response: First of all, the number of times these seas are mentioned or referred to as Sea West, Sea East, east seashore, etc., including Alma, Helaman, Mormno and Ether, would be 24 for the East Sea and 20 for the West Sea, including their seashores, etc. Secondly, there is no question that the land lay to the north and south, since Mormon makes this quite clear in his various directions, beginning in the last part of Alma, chapter 22.
    However, one cannot say the primary bodies of water that bounded this land were just the east and west seas, since a north and south sea are also described, and the fact that, at least in Jacob’s time, the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20), a scripture that is rarely, if ever, used by theorists to describe the Land of Promise since "an island" does not match their models. What we can learn from the predominance of comments regarding an east and west seas, is that the majority of activity written about takes place along these much longer shorelines than in the north and south.
    Comment: “But notice that the key term of reference is not "land north" (only five references) but "land northward" (thirty-one references). There is, of course, a distinction; "land northward" implies a direction somewhat off from literal north.”
    Response: First, the correct definition known to Joseph Smith in his translation of “northward” would have been from the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, in which “northward” is defined as “toward the north,” “more to the north than east or west.”
The Land of Promise was divided into two major land masses: The Land Northward and the Land Southward; and the Land Southward was divided into two parts: the Land North (Mulek) and the Land South (Lehi)
    Second, the Land North and the Land South are not the same as the Land Northward and the Land Southward. Captain Moroni, makes this quite clear before the Nephites had moved into the Land Northward and he is describing just the Land Southward, when he proclaimed a land of Liberty: “And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south—A chosen land, and the land of liberty” (Alma 46:17). This Land Southward was further divided into two parts in Helaman: “Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south” (Helaman 6:10), yet we know from Amaleki, an eye-witness to the events, that the Mulekites were brought into the land where Mosiah found them, i.e., into the Land of Zarahemla, which is in the Land Southward (Omni 1:16)thus, the Land North is in the Land Southward.
    The term “northward” does not imply a direction off from north—it implies a direction “toward the north,” and anciently, was often used to separate a northern land to the immediate north, or closer north, than a more distance land further to the north, that is "northward." It is like saying today, to someone living in St. George, Utah, that Salt Lake City is to the north, and Canada is northward, or much further north. This entire idea that “northward” means some skewed direction off of north was the invention of LDS writers and scholars who needed to adjust the concept of “north” to meet an angled Land of Promise.
The movement northward, or the direction northward, falls between “north by west” and “north by east” or 23.5º of the compass, and if extended directly to the north (more north than east or west), it extends out to basically a movement or direction of north, or “toward the north”
    Whether or not the land is angled is another matter, but to force the issue by making claims about directions that are not correct is neither helpful nor scholarly. It is, for the most part, simply self-serving.
    Comment: “This implication that the lands are not simply oriented to the cardinal directions is confirmed by reference to the "sea north" and "sea south" (Helaman 3:8). These terms are used only once, in reference to the colonizing of the land northward by the Nephites, but not in connection with the land southward.”
    Response: Theorists seem to have a real problem in their trying to make the scriptural record agree with their pre-determined views. It should be noted without question that the entire record of the Nephites, and therefore Mormon’s abridgement, takes place to the south of the Sea North, mentioned in Helaman. In fact, the most part of the record takes place, in connection with seas, along the Sea East where the Lamanites continually attacked during Alma’s time and the many wars fought in that century. The point is that no activity in the far south is ever mentioned, therefore, there is no reason to have the Sea South mentioned, other than the one time of Nephite expansion. As for the Sea North, again, there is no Nephite activity that far north—nothing beyond the Land of Many Waters, rivers and fountains. And only once in the Ether record is it mentioned when the Sea North, the Jaredites called Ripliancum, which by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all—a perfect name for an ocean of considerable size. Certainly no lake or smaller body of water would have such a name in the time of the Jaredites who crossed the Great Deep and knew of the size of the ocean they spent almost a year upon in reaching the Land of Promise.
    Thus, we have the statement by Mormon that the Nephites, once moving into the Land Northward, expanded to fill the entire Land of Promise, because “they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8). He is talking about "from the Land Southward to the Land Northward, from the sea south (beyond the Land Southward) to the sea north, beyond the Land Northward..." It is like saying that Americans eventually spread from "sea to shining sea," i.e., from the sea east (Atlantic) to the sea west (Pacific).
As the Nephites spread into the Land Northward and to cover most of the land, the comment is made that they then covered the entire Land of Promise from sea to sea in all directions
    There is no limiting of the area covered in this statement—the Nephites expanded, and the children of Lehi covered the entire Land of Promise: “from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.”
    Comment: “The only way to have seas north and south on a literal or descriptive basis would be for the two major bodies of land to be oriented at an angle somewhat off true north-south. That would allow part of the ocean to lie toward the south of one and another part of the ocean to lie toward north of the other.”
    Response: This is a fallacious comment, and downright confoundingit is meant to be more complex and less easy to understand. Yet, Jacob describes their land in the midst to the sea as an island, plain and simple, and he makes the comment in the Temple during a special meeting of the Nephites, with Nephi, who had seen the entire Land of Promise in a vision earlier, not only in attendance, but writing it down in the record, a record he states: "I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it be sacred" (1 Nephi 19:6). How can any theorist lay claim that Jacob and Nephi did not fully understand they were on an island?
    An island would have four directional seas around it—each cardinal direction given the name of a sea. This is not rocket science, it is the way the ancients tended to name areas—by directions.
An island in the midst of the sea is going to be surrounded by water in all directions. This is a pretty simple concept and is the only one that matches all the descriptive scriptures regarding the Land of Promise
    Comment: “In terms of semantic domains, the text conveys a sense of equivalence between the two seas, indicating that they are the same kinds of bodied water and of similar magnitude.”
    Response: Actually, an island surrounded by water is going to have all four seas pretty much the same size—they were in the midst of the seas over which they traveled (2 Nephi 10:20; “we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (emphasis mine).
    Obviously, there will be no end to this discussion on the whether or not Mormon’s directions in the scriptural record are correct. As long as Mesoamericanists want to change the directions of the Land of Promise so they can use their skewed directional map and location, the argument will go on. It is too bad Mesoamericanists will simply not accept the scriptural record as it was written and translated. Insisting the directions were skewed is a disservice to both Mormon and Joseph Smith and lends no credence to the Book of Mormon.
    The point is, as it always is when discussing differences among theorists, if all would just use the scriptural record as Mormon and others wrote it, without trying to make it fit a pre-determined area, location, or belief, there would be no argument. North is north and south is south. Mormon knew that, Joseph Smith knew that, and the Spirit knew that. But Mesoamericanists just can't accept that.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The MAs remind me of Company men engaged in a disinformation campaign.

  3. So far they have been very successful, and have moved beyond defending their crooked land, etc., and simply write as though their every word matches the scriptural record without question.