Monday, December 28, 2015

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

Continuing with the previous posts regarding one of our readers sending us information of a blog and asking our opinion and comments. 
    Blog comment on Brant A. Gardner’s reference that “Cumorah was either an impressive defensive position or a metaphorical location for the destruction of a people—perhaps both, in which the blog follows: “Already, we're veering into semantic problems. Gardner uses the term "Cumorah" loosely, but the context here suggests Gardner is referring to the hill Cumorah, which the text never says is an impressive defensive position. The defenses were established in the land of Cumorah, the extent of which the text does not explain. Mormon had to climb the hill to see his ten thousand who were hewn down, which indicates they were in the valley. There is no basis in the text for concluding the term refers to a metaphorical location.”
Response: First of all, “metaphorical” means that it is characteristic of or relating to metaphor, i.e., figurative. Obviously, that is the wrong word to use since “Cumorah” is not a figurative area, place, or idea, but an actual hill and a defined land. To understand this reality, Mormon tells us: “that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle” (Mormon 6:2).
    Cumorah, then, is a hill named Cumorah, in a land named Cumorah.
    Mormon also states: “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:4).
    Thus, we find that the Hill Cumorah was located in the Land of Cumorah, which land was located in the Land of Many Waters, Rivers and Fountains.” That is like saying the Jazz basketball team plays in the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City in the state of Utah.
    This statement by Mormon is quite clear and defining.
    Blog comment: “I think everyone agrees that the Book of Mormon setting cannot stretch from Mesoamerica to New York. Fortunately, Joseph never said it did. It was Orson Pratt, Benjamin Winchester, William Smith, John E. Page, etc., who made that claim. And it was Joseph in the Wentworth letter who edited out the hemispheric theory Orson Pratt was pushing.”
    Response: It does not require the Land of Promise to stretch anywhere. There were two locations, one, the hill Cumorah around which the Jaredites and Nephites fought, and two, the hill in New York in which Joseph Smith unearthed the buried plates. There is no suggestion anywhere in the scriptural record that these two hills are one of the same. This is also true of the Land of Bountiful, one in the Old World around the southern coastal area of Arabia, and one in the Land of Promise—there is also another in the State of Utah. There was a City of Zarahemla in the Land of Promise, and another in the State of Iowa; a city of Nephi and a city of Manti in the Land of Promise, and both are also cities in Utah; there was an Ephraim Hill in the Land of Promise and an Ephraim Hill in Ephraim, Utah; as well as a city of Judea in the Land of Promise, and a city of Judea in the Old World.
Left: Bountiful in southern Arabia (Salalah); Right: Bountiful in Utah, which was originally named Sessions Settlement and North Canyon Ward before being named after the Bountiful of the Old World found in the Book of Mormon in 1855
    The point is, duplicate names are rather common, not unusual. Why is it so difficult for some people to think there were two areas called Cumorah?
    It is also of interest to note that according to the blog author, Orson Pratt was “pushing a hemispheric theory,” while Oliver Cowdery was simply stating a fact that the hill Cumorah in New York was the same as the hill Cumorah in the Land of Promise. It is interesting how writers state facts in such a way that always tend toward their point of view instead of treating these two attitudes or beliefs equally, i.e., if Orson Pratt believed in a hemispheric theory, then Oliver Cowdery believed in a single Cumorah theory.
    Blog comment to the suggestion that Moroni himself may have called the hill Cumorah in honor of the one in Middle America. He may even have told the Prophet Joseph Smith about it, but of this we have no proof: “How would Moroni be "honoring" a hill in Mesoamerica by misleading Joseph into thinking the hill in New York was the one in Mesoamerica?
    Response: The point here is that Moroni may have called the hill in upstate western New York the hill Cumorah to tie the two hills together, one in the Land Northward where Mormon buried all the records, and the second where he buried the records in New York. If that took place, it is neither misleading nor causing anyone to think the two hills were the same other than those who advocate the Great Lakes or Heartland Eastern U.S. theories. But certainly not misleading. And duplicate names have been given to various places, both in the land of Promise and in the U.S. simply to honor or reference the former name and places. It is not a conspiracy to name Bountiful, Utah, after Bountiful in the Land of Promise, but an honorific reference to the Book of Mormon name and location.
    Blog comment: “Of course we have no evidence of how Joseph might have used the term verbally…”
    Response: Thus, we have no evidence he used it at all! And the fact that he avoided using it, calling it the hill where the plates were buried suggests he did not use it at all.
    Blog comment: “…written records reflect a small percentage of contemporaneous oral communication. The Book of Mormon itself tells less that it contains less than one percent of the history of the people. That is why Oliver's detailed letters are so significant, not only regarding the New York Cumorah issue but many other issues of Church history.”
    Response: The point is we cannot go around inserting names, places, events, or opinions into the record or history that are not mentioned or even referenced as such merely because we think they might have been left out. If the record doesn’t state it, then we have no right to add it on our own.”
    Blog comment: Sorenson's comments are pure speculation, derived from his own translation of the Book of Mormon…Contrary to Sorenson's claim, the New York location is in close proximity to the narrow neck of land, as the Joseph Smith translation describes it.”
    Response: At no time in the scriptural record does it state that the hill Cumorah is near the narrow neck of land or in close proximity to it. The information we have, by Mormon, is that the hill Cumorah is in “the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle…we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:2, 4).
Moroni tells us: they came “over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore” (Ether 9:3). Moroni also tells us that Coriantumr’s army in the final days of the Jaredites pitched their tents around the hill Rama, which “was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord” (Ether 15:11), and after a day of flight, the battle was renewed and when the last Jaredite Coriantumr killed Shiz that day, that “And the Lord spake unto Ether, and said unto him: Go forth."
    And he went forth, and beheld that the words of the Lord had all been fulfilled; and he finished his record; and he hid them in a manner that the people of Limhi did find them” (Ether 15:33), telling us that the last Jaredite battles took place where the expedition of Limhi found Ether’s plates, and described: “having traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel. And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold” (Mosiah 8:8-9).
    In Alma, Mormon says this area where the Jaredite ruins and bones was far northward “The Land of Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken” (Alm 22:30).
    From all of this we find:
1. Mormon hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to him, except for the few he gave his son Moroni (Mormon 6:6)
2. The hill Cumorah was in the Land of Cumorah
3. The Land of Cumorah was in the Land of Many Waters
4. The Land of Many Waters was beyond or north of the Land of Desolation
5. The Land of Desolation was north of the Narrow Neck of Land
    Thus it cannot be said that the hill Cumorah was near the Narrow Neck of Land, nor that it was in close proximity to the Narrow Neck of Land.
6. If we add to that the statement by Orson Pratt May 18, 1873 in the Journal of Discourses Vol 16,p 50, that “the hill Ramah, afterwards called Cumorah, where the Jaredites were destroyed as well as the Nephites,” we find that both Ramah and Cumorah are the same hill, placing both descriptions far to the north of the narrow neck of land.
(See the next post, “America is the Land of Promise—But Where is America? – Part XIII,” for answers as to where the overall Land of Promise is located and to what land the Prophets have spoken and the Lord indicated)

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