Friday, December 18, 2015

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

Continuing with the previous post regarding one of our readers sending us information of a blog and asking our opinion and comments. In the last post, we suggested the need to know what land the record refers to when discussing the Land of Promise. 
   In that blog, the writer tries to claim that Church leaders have suggested that the land of promise spoken of in the Book of Mormon was limited to the United States; however, there are numerous quotes to the opposite, some of which appear below:
Joseph Smith stated “…speaking of the Land of Zion, It consists of all North & South America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion, which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children…The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all North & South America.” (“Joseph Smith’s July 19, 1840 Discourse,” Brigham Young University Studies 19:3 (Spring 1979), p392)
    Joseph Smith in 1844 made this solemn proclamation: “The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south,” and according to Ezra Taft Benson, this included North America and South America (The Teachings of Ezta Taft Benson, 1988, p123, referring to the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p362; Doctrines of Salvation, vol 3, 1956, pp73-74).
Orson Hyde (left) in referring to the Land of Promise stated: “This land means both North and South America, and also the families of islands that geographically and naturally belong and adhere to the same” (JD 7:108).
    A North and South America Promised Land was also taught by several modern Prophets and leaders like Wilford Woodruff who stated: “This land, North and South America, is the land of Zion; it is a choice land—the land that was given by promise from old father Jacob to his grandson and his descendants, the land on which the Zion of God should be established in the latter days” (Journal of Discourses, 12 January 1873, 15:279).
Ezra Taft Benson, who stated: “This is our need today—to plant the standard of liberty among our people throughout the Americas… the struggle for liberty is a continuing one—it is with us in a very real sense today right here on this choice land of the Americas” (Conference Report, October 1962, pp. 14–15); “To the peoples who should inhabit this blessed land of the Americas, the Western Hemisphere, an ancient prophet uttered this significant promise and solemn warning” Conference Report, October 1944, p. 128).
    Orson Pratt said: “And the Lord gave unto them the whole continent, for a land of promise….” (Conference Report April 1947, p. 67).
    Ezra Taft Benson, said: “To the peoples who should inhabit this blessed land of the Americas, the Western Hemisphere, an ancient prophet uttered this significant promise and solemn warning: "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 . . .” (The Lords Base of Operations, Conference Report, April 1962, pp103-106)
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that all of North and South America is a choice land: “The Book of Mormon informs us that the whole of America, both North and South, is a choice land above all other lands, in other words—Zion. The Lord told the Jaredites that he would lead them to a land ‘which is choice above all the lands of the earth’ [Ether 1:42 (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:73).
    Spencer W. Kimball, speaking about 1 Nephi 13:13-15, regarding more gentiles would come to the Promised Land and would scatter the Lamanites, said, “This could also refer to the Spaniards who came to different parts of North and South America” (quoted by Matthew Roper, “Losing the Remnant,” January 2011 BYU’s Maxwell Institute).
    Elder Joseph Fielding Smith linked an Old Testament prophecy to the Americas when he suggested that Isaiah’s declaration of “Woe to the land shadowing with wings” (Isa. 18:1) would be better translated, “Hail to the land in the shape of wings” (Signs, 51). President Spencer W. Kimball tied all these thoughts together as he reminded the Saints in Brazil and Argentina that “Zion was all of North and South America, like the wide, spreading wings of a great eagle, the one being North and the other South America” (Kimball, Spencer W. Conference Report (April 1975): 3-9.)
Orson Pratt and John Taylor (left), in a pamphlet written by Orson Pratt in 1851, Liverpool, in which is recorded a discussion on the “divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” held in France between Elder John Taylor of the Quorum of the 12, and three reverend gentlemen of different orders in 1843: “The western world, including both North and South America, is the land of promise to the remnant of Joseph”
    Orson Pratt, in Divine Authority or the Question Was Joseph Smith sent of God? 1852, p11: “According to the Book of Mormon, all of the great western continent, with all the valleys, hills, and mountains, riches, and resources pertaining thereunto, was given to the remnant of Joseph, as their “land of promise.” The Almighty sealed this covenant and promise by an oath, saying, that the land should be given unto them for ever. The western world, including both North and South America, is the ‘land of promise,” to the remnant of Joseph, in the same sense that the land of Palestine is a promised land unto the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Another argument presented is the idea that Columbus came to America, to the Nephite Land of Promise, which is the United States, using a scripture in 1 Nephi as their basis: “And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12); however, the fact is, that Columbus never set foot on any land that is part of the present United States, nor did he set foot on North America at all. His visits were to the islands of the Bahamas, Honduras in Central America and to South America. The Indians he saw and dealt with, often quite poorly and even barbarically, were the Arawak/Taino of the Dominican Republic and Haita, what Columbus called Hispaniola.
    On their blog is also stated: “Obviously, if one of the models answered all the questions presented by the scriptural text, there would be consensus on where the Book of Mormon history actually occurred" (Roger Terry, Senior Associate Editor, BYU Studies).
    Response: Well, we have seen that this is not true since one site, Andean South America, as has been shown on these pages over the past 5 years and in two books, Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica (2009), and Who Really Settled Mesoameria (2010), have shown, however, there is no rush to accept that which flies in the face of other people’s models and beliefs.
In fact, the South American model, first presented fairly accurately by Venice Priddis (far left) in 1975, and by Art Kocherhans (left) even more accurately, in 1989, and our book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, which matches 65 different scriptural and Jewish criteria of the Book of Mormon and our blog which has matched more than 40, showing exact responses to the scriptural statement without any alterations whatsoever.
    Yet, the bottom line is that our Andean South America maps, and scriptural matches, and exact usage of the scriptures of the Book of Mormon, though all over the internet and certainly available to anyone, including the answering of any and all questions in print, which now totals more than 200, there is not one mention among any of the Land of Promise theorists, which only goes to show that the comment of Roger Terry, Senior Associate Editor, BYU Studies, is both naive and ill founded. The fact of the matter is, and always has been, once someone, especially an academician, historian or self-thought expert states his or her belief on a matter, there is no moving that person from his or her stance no matter how much proof one presents.
    As was stated on their blog, “The Mesoamerican model started from a faulty premise and has disintegrated into mere correlations." This is not only true, but can be seen from any approach one wants to make at the lack of scriptural descriptive accuracies in the model—yet, it is the major belief among LDS, the standard of belief at BYU within the Archaeology and Anthropology departments, and the triumphant foundation of FARMS and now the Neil A. Maxwell Institute.
(See the next post, “America is the Land of Promise—But Where is America? – Part IV,” 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)

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