Thursday, July 14, 2016

Answering the Great Lakes Theorist – Part V

Continuing with a reader named Guy and his lengthy critical comments: 
   Reader: “President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught that obedience is essential if the promised land is to keep its promised blessings: “Great are the promises concerning this land of America.”
On all these old maps showing the Western Hemisphere, the heading or title blocks all state for North and South America simply as “America,” “L’Amerique,” “Americae,” etc.
    Response: Isn’t it interesting that the North and South American continents, once a single continent, have always both been called the Americas. And how great are the promises concerning this land of the Americas. A list of promises follows, as given to America, and despite the Great Lakes people wish to the contrary, all promises relate to the overall kingdom or land of promise of the Americas.
    Reader: “We are told unequivocally that it ‘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’ (Ether 2:12). This is the crux of the entire matter—obedience to the commandments of God” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2001, 89; or Ensign, Nov. 2001, 73).
    Response: This is North and South America. It is a shame that those like so many Great Lakes theorists who want to restrict the land of promise to just western New York, or just the United States, or just to North America, discussing these promises, such as peace, no kings, liberty, etc., could not have spent half of their lives in one of the many European or Asian countries where such liberty, peace and opportunity really does not exist. No one is born in this land to a caste system where they cannot advanced beyond the level of their birth. There are many who choose not to, and many of the residents of much of South America and even Central America who think they cannot, but there are scores of people who have done so for the opportunity is there for all—an opportunity that does not exist in almost all of the Eastern Hemisphere where it is nearly impossible to advance beyond the level of your birth. But it is so in America—all of America. But when people are born into the U.S. or most anywhere in North America, they feel that is the only place advancement is possible, restricting the Lord’s overseeing of this land and what he has promised its inhabitants. How arrogantly restrictive some people choose to be of the Lord’s love and promises.
    Reader: “There are promises and decrees of God in relation to "this land" of an extraordinary character. No other land can boast of the same. How beautifully does the spirit of the above prophetic sentiment chime in with the great American principle, "that no foreign prince, potentate, or sovereign will be allowed to interfere in the affairs of this Continent!" Spain must give up Cuba; England, Canada and the United States of America must hold, as her dependencies, every country on the Western Continent, with the islands along its borders.”
Response: I’m not sure what blinders Guy wears, but as said above, all of the Western Hemisphere pretty much meets these criteria, and more and more are added each year as this Western Hemisphere comes more and more under the direct promises of the Lord as the Land of Promise. After all, there was a time when even inhabitants of what is now the United States were not so free, where kings like George III of England (left), ruled here before they were thrown off, which almost all of the Western Hemisphere has now done.
    Reader: “It is entirely clear which nation and land these prophecies are speaking of. In particularly, the following fulfilled prophecy finds fulfillment with no other nation than the blessed United States, therefore BOM lands ARE within the boundaries of its government - not Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru.”
    Response: There is no question that the United States is probably the most blessed country within the Western Hemisphere, although Canadians would probably argue the point and have a few points on their side. The U.S. is obviously the largest in world dominance, the most powerful militarily, the most successful in freedoms and liberty, and unquestioningly the city on the side of the hill that beckons to the world. But we ought to keep two things in mind, the world is not complete yet and there was a time when countries like France protected this fledgling nation so that it could get its start.
    Certainly no one is saying that Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru, or any other nation in the Western Hemisphere is superior to the United States as world powers are considered today. And to the U.S. has fallen the role of protector, like that role fell to the land of Judah in the Old World being the protector of the entire promised land of the House of Israel, or Ephraim to the northern kingdom. While we do not suggest that the Land of Promise given to Lehi covers the entire Western Hemisphere—Lehi’s actual land area of the Book of Mormon was much reduced from such a huge area (covering only the western shelf along the coastal region of Ecuador, Peru and northern Chile), it is important to understand what, exactly the Land of Promise really is.
    First of all, there are other lands of promise in the world that the Lord has set aside for one group or another. There are at least 170 references to the land that God gave to the offspring of Abraham (Genesis 12:7; 13:15,17), Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 15:18; 17:8; Exodus 6:8)), which is the land of Canaan, to which was confirmed to the Jews as an unconditional covenant, a land gift God confirmed with an oath 55 times in the Bible.
    In Joshua 1:4, this land promised to Abraham (or what we call the Jews today) “Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon and from the great river, the Euphrates, all the Hitttite country to the Great Sea on the west.” That is, according to Genesis 15:18 and Joshua 1:4, the land God gave to Israel included everything from the Nile River in Egypt to Lebanon (south to north) and everything from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (west to east).
The complete or full promised land of Israel
    So, what land has God stated belongs to Israel? All of the land modern Israel currently possesses, plus all of the land of the Palestinians (the West Bank and Gaza), plus some of Egypt and Syria, plus all of Jordan, plus some of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Israel currently possesses only a fraction of the land God has promised “for all time.”
    In this same token, one might say that the United States possesses only a small fraction of that land God has promised to his people in the Western Hemisphere. When that time comes when the New Jerusalem is firmly established, when the city of Enoch returns, it seems that those who want to limit the land of promise to just the current birders of the U.S. are going to be considerably surprised.
     Reader: [Guy quotes 1 Nephi 13:10-16, ending with: “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.”
    Response: Let us not assume only the protestant Europeans who settled in North America had the Lord on their side. Central and South America were filled with Europeans, both catholic and some protestant, who also settled and had the “Lord with them.”
    Reader: [Quoting 1 Nephi 13:17-19), ending with:] “And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.
20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them” (1 Nephi 13:10–21)

Let us not restrict to the United States alone the suffering and fighting that has taken place in the Western Hemisphere by just about every country established here in a fight for independence. The U.S. was only one of so many who gained her independence from European overlords, kings, rulers and potentiates
    Response: Let us also not forget that in the long run, just about every nation or country settlement in the Western Hemisphere threw off their ties with European overlord kingdoms, fighting wars of “rebellion” against such overlords and eventually gaining their freedom and becoming independent, democratic countries governing themselves in both North and South America. Only Canada has kept its ties with Europe (Britain), but is still self-governing.
    Part of the problem, Guy, like so many Great Lakes and other theorists, want to isolate the scriptural record just to their small territorial area or government, when Nephi’s vision (and Lehi’s vision before that) showed the Lord working with the entire area of the Land of Promise, or the Western Hemisphere, the American continents, and is not isolated only to the United States.
(see the next post, “Deconstructing Del DowDell - Part VI, for more of our answers to the lengthy comments from a Great Lakes Theorist)

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