Friday, July 15, 2016

Answering the Great Lakes Theorist – Part VI

Continuing with a reader named Guy and his lengthy critical comments: 
    Reader: “Seas. DowDell made the same mistake as many modelers of place the Sea South, south of the Land Southward: Four seas surrounding the Land of Promise. The scriptures make more mention of the east, west, north, and south seas surrounding the Land of Promise than any other geographical condition with the exception of the Narrow Neck of Land separating the Land Northward from the Land Southward.”
Response: The point of that statement when it was written many years ago, is the same as it is today, that the Land of Promise was an island set in the midst of the ocean or sea over which the Lehi colony traveled in the ship Nephi built. Jacob makes this clear in speaking to the Nephites during a two-day conference in the temple in the City of Nephi, and Nephi, who recorded nothing but that which he considered to be sacred, copied those words onto the Large Plates, and when commanded to do so, copied those same words onto the Small Plates when he abridged his larger record (2 Nephi 10:20).
    Theorists have long struggled with that simple language of Nephi, and though they try to minimize the meaning and change its impact because their models do not have or did not start out as an island, the fact remains that Jacob stated that the Nephites were upon an island in the midst of the sea over which they sailed to the land of Promise.
    While Great Lakes theorists all want to change that meaning so it will fit their inland model of upstate Western New York, there simply is no way to bring those two facts together, which simply stated, eliminates the entire concept of the Land of Promise being in New York. But true to their nature, they are going to argue the meaning of simple words by trying to show that was not what Jacob meant, but a simple reading of the entire events leading up to and following Jacob’s statement can bring no other possible explanation.
“And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but 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, emphasis added).
    For the Lord has made the sea our path,” i.e., the ship Nephi built was sailing across the sea…“and we are upon an isle of the sea.” i.e., they sailed across the sea (or ocean) to an island in the midst of that sea over which they traveled, (where they landed).
   And by the way, I did not state that…Jacob stated it and Nephi wrote it down.
   Reader: “DowDell states: The Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla were, except for the narrow neck, surrounded by water (Alma 22:32). There was a sea to the west, and a sea to the east (Alma 22:33). There was also a sea to the south and a sea to the north (Helaman 3:8). These four seas surrounded the entire Land of Promise for Jacob claimed they lived on "an isle of the sea" - an island (2 Nephi 10:20)." (p. 340).”
    Response: Well, let’s see what Jacob/Nephi and Mormon wrote about this:
1. They were on an island (2 Nephi 10:20)
    An island, by its very definition, is surrounded by water. If it is not surrounded by water, it is not an island, it is a peninsula, headland, cape, promontory point, foreland, neck, finger, head, etc.
2. and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward (Alma 22:32).
    When something is nearly surrounded by water except for a narrow neck, it is nearly surrounded by water. This means, except for where the narrow neck juts out, the land mass is completely surrounded by water, which by its nature, would provide an ocean or seas all around the land, giving rise to directional names as used by the Nephites of East Sea, South Sea, West Sea, etc.
    Reader: “This was a fatal mistake. You can't just cite the various "sea" scriptures and out of context.
    Response: There is nothing out of context and no mistake is made. The two scriptures quote above are found in 2 Nephi 10:20 and Alma 22:32, and both are used to describe the nature of the Land of Promise, with the first an overall statement of the entire land, and the second a description of just the Land Southward of the overall land. This is not out of context.
    Reader: “For example, the seas in Helaman 3:8 are Land Northward specific
    Response: That is an opinion. One I do not share. So let’s take a look at it.
And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the Sea South to the Sea North, from the Sea West to the Sea East” (Helaman 3:8).
1. Mormon in his abridgement of Helaman’s record states that the Nephites spread throughout the land, from the Land Southward to the Land Northward. This should mean to anyone reading it that the Nephites spread throughout both the Land Southward and the Land Northward. To make it clearer, they were already in the Land Southward and spreading all over the land, eventually (Alma 63, Helaman 3) spreading into the Land Northward so that now they occupied both the lands.
2. Mormon uses a description here (or takes it from Helaman) that is not an uncommon expression, i.e., “from sea to sea.” We use it in America to describe the early century of our nation when people “spread from sea to shining sea.” That is, Americans spread from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. In the case of the Nephites, they spread so much across the land, that they now occupied the lands from the sea in the south to the sea in the north, and from the sea in the west to the sea in the east.
    There is nothing in this statement to suggest it was just about the Land Northward. It says from the land Southward to the Land Northward, which is an all inclusive statement, meaning everything is included. Guy, and others, can limit that meaning to the Land Northward, but it is not limited in the wordage of the statement by Mormon.
And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the Sea South to the Sea North, from the Sea West to the Sea East
    It is understandable that the Great Lakes theorist wants to limit that meaning since their model does not have a sea south. But for the Land Southward, including the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi, to be completely surrounded by water except for the narrow neck area (in the north), there has to be a Sea South!
    Guy isn’t the only Theorist who wants to eliminate a sea south, even though it is mentioned in the scriptural record in such a way as to indicate a border or boundary “from the sea south to the sea north,” and also in such a way as to begin where the Nephites began, in the south and advanced northward, which is also repeated in the same statement about the Sea West to the Sea East, beginning in the west and advancing to the east as the Nephites did, landing along the Sea West in the south (Alma 22:28). While it is true we do not know anything about the Land of Promise to the south of where Lehi landed, we know there is a sea south because of the three references to it as being an island and the Land of Nephi being surrounded by water in the south.
(see the next post, “Deconstructing Del DowDell - Part VI, for more of our answers to the lengthy comments from a Great Lakes Theorist)


  1. The first time I realized the Book of Mormon did not take place in North America as it is today happened, years ago, when I was reading Alma closely and noticed that the battles on the east and on the west simply could not be the even near the distance across a continent. That made me open to the idea that the word isle actually meant isle. Maybe in His mercy the Lord will bring forth stronger evidence that the Amazon basin was under water before Christ. I do not need any further evidence, but obviously many others do.

  2. One would think that the mere mention of being on an island would be sufficient, but so many trust to their own ideas than the scriptural record