Thursday, December 17, 2015

America is the Land of Promise—But Where is America? – Part II

Continuing with the previous post regarding one of our readers sending us information of a blog and asking our opinion and comments. 
    The author of that blog goes on to say that: “And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.” (Ether 6:12 italics added)
    “Looking at this scripture in the book of Ether, it is clear that the Jaredites landed in the Promised Land. If we accept America as the Promised Land, then we accept that they landed in America. Now, if one believes that the events described later in Ether took place in Central America, the only logical explanation is that the Jaredites landed in America, bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, shed tears of joy for the Lord’s mercies in bringing them there, and packed up and moved to another land.
    "The same logic must also be applied to the events involving the Nephites and the Lamanites. “And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.” (1 Nephi 18:23 italics added) If Central America is the land of the Nephites and Lamanites, then they landed, pitched their tents, called it the Promised Land, packed up their tents and moved to Central America. Either America is the Promised Land spoken of in the Book of Mormon or it isn’t.”
    Response: Again, it is sad when one wants to make such an issue over a name when he is using the name totally inaccurately. The term "America" refers to all of North and South America.
The term “American,” typically is referred to today as people of the United States, who began using that name beginning with the Declaration of Independence and officially adopted by Congress in the Articles of Confederation in 1777. Official colonists documents used “the American republic,” and people of the new republic increasingly began referring to themselves as “Americans” by the end of the 18th century, and as “American citizens.” “Yankee,” or “Yank,” the latter two were originally pejorative terms originating in Britain, but adopted as a “proud” name or term by citizens of the U.S. and used almost exclusively before World War II and during, but has lost most of its use during the latter half of the 20th century. 
    Still, “American” logically can be used to refer to any people of North or South America, albeit Canadians who hesitate about being called Americans; though Latin America refer to themselves as Americans when being general and not country-specific.
    The term “Americans” was first loosely used by those of England referring to their English relatives who now lived in America; it was also originally used to refer to indigenous peoples of the Americas, i.e., the natives or pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America and their descendants, in later years often referred to as “Native Americans.”
    The first recorded appearance of “Americans” is in Thomas Gage’s The English-American: A New Survey of the West Indies in 1648—a work written by Gage who was a friar in Mexico and Guatemala, before returning to Spain, where he denounced his country, moved to England, and was instrumental in the ceding of Jamaica to England; however, Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (1776), used the term to describe the whole continent, when writing about the colonization of Brazil. He said of the Portuguese Jews who had been banished to Brazil, “Upon all these different occasions, it was not the wisdom of the policy, but the disorder and injustice of the European governments, which peopled and cultivated America.”
    The point is, while the term “American,” is considered people specific, meaning U.S. citizens, the term “America,” is not specific, and covers a much wider realm, including all of North and South America—which was especially true in the early 1800s.
Continuing with the blog, the writer states: “When the resurrected Christ visited the Nephites it was in this land. It was in North America that he reaffirmed the covenant he made with their father Jacob. He miraculously provided bread and wine to the multitude and said: “And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.” (3 Nephi 20:22 italics added)
    Response: In addition to understanding the words used that Joseph Smith translated and their meaning in his time, since the Lord “speaks to man in his own language, to his own understanding,” we also have to know the purpose and intent of the message the Lord or scripture is delivering.
    As an example, up until the Book of Mormon was published, all people, particularly the followers of Christ, knew and understood the Church and its headquarters, its organization and government, was situated in Jerusalem, i.e., the Eastern Hemisphere on a continent very far away from the Nephites. When the Lord was talking to the Nephites, he was reassuring them what Jacob had reminded them years earlier, that they were not cast off, but “we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance…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” (2 Nephi 10:20). The Lord was reminding them that they were indeed in a better land, for it was to be the New Jerusalem.
As Moroni wrote: “And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come -- after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel. And that a New Jerusalem should be built upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type” (Ether 13:5, emphasis mine).
    This land as opposed to Jerusalem. A New Jerusalem as opposed to the old Jerusalem. Moroni made this same distinction when talking to Joseph Smith and saying “this continent,” as opposed to the old continent where Jerusalem was located. For centuries, and even today among many Saints, Jerusalem is the Holy City, not Salt Lake or Adam-ondi-Ahman. The original Church of Christ with the original Apostles was established in the Old World and that is where the 12 tribal lands are located; that is where the Christian world looks. It was a task to get people thinking that the New World, the Land of Promise, was to be and has now been located on this continent.
    In the eternities there will be no United States, no Canada, no Mexico, no Colombia, Ecuador, Peru or Chile—it will be one land, a Land of Promise, a land set aside for the inheritance of Ephraim and Manasseh.
    The writer of the Blog continued: “Those 100 Mormons will confirm that the New Jerusalem will be in this land of America. In the above scripture Christ says that the New Jerusalem with be in “this land”, the land in which he is standing at the time. He wasn’t standing in Central America and talking about this land up north. He was standing in America and talking to the Nephites about their land, North America.”
We do not know where Christ was standing when he said that, though there are some good suggestions that it was not inside the current United States. The point is, he was standing in America, the Western Hemisphere, the Land of Promise, the land that was set aside “after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord” (Ether 13:2).
    So how do we know where “this land” is located? Do we have any concrete information as to the boundaries of this land?
(See the next post, “America is the Land of Promise—But Where is America? – Part III,” for answers to those two questions and know where overall the Land of Promise is located and to what land the Prophets have spoken and the Lord indicated)

1 comment:

  1. You probably get to this in some of the newer posts (I'm reading from old to new), but: 1828 Webster's dictionary clearly shows that America at the time included North and South.

    AMER'ICA, noun [from Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine, who pretended to have first discovered the western continent.]

    One of the great continents, first discovered by Sebastian Cabot, June 11, O.S. 1498, and by Columbus, or Christoval Colon, Aug. 1, the same year. It extends from the eightieth degree of North, to the fifty-fourth degree of South Latitude; and from the thirty-fifth to the one hundred and fifty-sixth degree of Longitude West from Greenwich, being about nine thousand miles in length. Its breadth at Darien is narrowed to about forty-five miles, but at the northern extremity is nearly four thousand miles. From Darien to the North, the continent is called North america and to the South, it is called South america