Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Assumptions We Make

I might also add that all discussion on the Book of Mormon geographical Land of Promise is pretty much assumptive. We can state this reason or that reason as support of a view, even a very strong view utterly believed; however, we are still assuming things. We may never know more unless more scripture (sealed portion of Book of Mormon) is revealed, or modern revelation received; however, that does not disallow our making a case for a certain condition, location, and story line.
I hope we all understand in doing this we are still on assumptive ground, but like most modern knowledge, these assumptions can lead to greater understanding and knowledge. Personally, I prefer to see how the Land of Promise unfolds given all the aforesaid matches with South America that are not found matching any other area (except in part, but not in total). Consequently, while the Sea East may well have existed past the destruction in 3 Nephi, since it is not mentioned and logically one might assume it would have been had it been there, its absence matches other factors, like Jacob's island, Helaman's four seas, etc., that no longer exist anywhere in the modern world yet discerned. Still, that doesn't "prove" anything and I personally do not think absolute proof is ever going to attend our studies that are, for the most part, based on faith. That leaves us with a best guess, best effort understanding of the geography of the Land of Promise.
    I realize that to some, this is not an important issue, while to others it is interesting, and to some downright imperative. Personally, I feel that having insight into this type of information is very helpful in both proving the accuracy and infallibility of the Book of Mormon, as well as allow me to picture in my mind a better meaning of what is going on in the background of the main message of the scriptural record, and that is as a Second Witness of Jesus Christ.
    As an example, when certain wordage is given, “Alma had made these regulations he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla, and went over upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon, there having been a city built, which was called the city of Gideon, which was in the valley that was called Gideon” (Alma 6:7), I can actually picture that exact location in a physical setting, which then allows me to picture other things in that area, and when Alma then moves on to the next location, I can see where he would be going, etc. It just makes the reading more real and more interesting.
When it says a crop grew in abundance, I can understand why because of the climate in which the planting took place; when Nephi says his ship was driven forth before the wind, I can understand what they means, and in so doing, so where he sailed and what was involved and what they would have experienced. When it says that Moroni built stone walls all around the land, fortified the cities, etc., I can see how that was done and know where the stone came from and who was involved in fashioning it, etc. When it says Nephi taught his people how to build buildings, I can see the kind of buildings he had in mind—I don’t have to guess at any of this.
    In any event, I know that at any time I could be wrong in my assumption of this or that, which leads me to check with as many sources, references, scriptural comments, etc., and that is the chance one takes when trying to picture in the mind what something one is reading means. With as much research as I have done over the past 30 years or more (I won’t bore you with details, but that research is very extensive) and little of it is based on my opinion, but rather on the logical progression of all the information available at the time. Over the years I have adjusted my findings as new and greater information is revealed, discovered, understood, etc., but pretty much over those 30 years I have never encountered anything that dispels the basic concept I have written about from the very beginning—that first work was placed in the lengthy book “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.” This blog was the continuation after the third book was published (2nd book: Who Really Settled Mesoamerica, and the 3rd book:
Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican and other Theorists; and the 4th book: “Scientific Fallacies & Other Myths, was written to show that none of the comments made in the first two books is opposed to true science, geological conditions, archaeology, etc.)
     I also think that when we discuss other people living in the Land of Promise or anywhere in the Western Hemisphere before the Jaredites arrived, and even before Lehi arrived, should be understood in the light of a few very important things:
1. There was a Flood in Noah’s time, which occurred, according to the Genesis Account and the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price in 2344 to 2343 B.C. This, obviously, would leave artifacts in the ground after the waters receded, and is referred to as the Antediluvian period where millions of people lived upon the land, and the land (before Peleg’s time) was differently configured;
2. Modern science does not accept, nor will it figure into its archaeological and anthropological understanding and models that the Flood took place; therefore, science is continually coming up with dates and methods that try to place antediluvian artifacts into the time frame of an earth history without a Creation, Flood, Earth division, or crucifixion in which evidence is found in almost all lands and research where contiguous dates of man are used.
    This obviously forces time frames to be out of order, extended erroneous, inserted and included where they do not belong. To accept that Mesoamerica had all sorts of people, cultures, and civilizations after the Flood and before Lehi arrived is total make believe. The Lord made it clear that He held this land in reserve for those who would serve him and that he would lead here. While it is possible that the Lord could have led others to these lands, it is not likely given the knowledge we have of the Lord’s people in the scriptural record; however until the ten tribes arrive with their scriptures and whoever else the Lord led away arrives with their scriptures, we will simply not know the answer to that.
    In the meantime, to accept undocumented events simply because we can’t discount possibilities is a poor way to look at the scriptural record. "The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence," is a nice slogan, but has little value in such matters. Carrying this to the extreme, we can say that “the absence of aliens from Mars upon the earth is not evidence they do not exist upon the earth,” or “the absence of evidence that we live in a robotic Matrix is not evidence that we do not live in such a world.”
In reality, as intelligent human beings, we look for supportive evidences of what does exist, not what possibilities of what might exist that cannot be proven. We have faith in things we cannot prove to others, but that we can prove to ourselves. We can know that the Book of Mormon is the work of God even though we cannot prove it. We can know that Satan exists and that there was a War in Heaven even though we cannot prove it. But we do not try to prove that these do not exist in the face of all the information and testimony to the opposite that we have.
    The testimony we have is from Lehi, the man who received a promise directly from the Lord of the solitude of the land being promised to him and that none other existed on it nor would, unless the Lord was to lead others to it. Why we feel we need to prove that any more than we need to prove Nephi built a ship and sailed to a Land of Promise or that Gideon chased king Noah onto a tower, or that Moroni built stone walls around the cities and the land is beyond me.
    Unfortunately, intellectuals like Hugh Nibley and John L. Sorenson, who needed to prove there were other people in the land to justify their Mesoamerican models is not evidence that there were people in the land other than the Jaredites and Lehites and Mulekites. 
We need to learn to accept what was written by several prophets, called of God to record the writings, and of Mormon and Moroni called of God to abridge the records, and accept what they wrote without trying to figure out matters that were left out. If the Lord wanted us to know more, He would have had it written for he directed the writing choices.
    For me, I am satisfied with what has been written—there is much to glean from this information, far more than any of us have even touched on. To try and figure out what might have been left out seems a waste of time and effort when so much can be learned from what we have.

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