Sunday, July 17, 2016

Answering the Great Lakes Theorist – Part VII

Continuing with a reader named Guy and his lengthy critical comments:
    Reader: “Though his attempt to justify his conclusion using 2 Nephi 10:20, that was an expression, albeit with relevance, just not how he imagined it.”
Response: An expression? What kind of expression and for what purpose? Nephi tells us what the purpose of the statement was and makes it quite clear, which we have covered in these pages in the past several times. To understand the context of this statement we have to understand what was going on during this two-day conference in the Temple. First, the Nephites present were complaining or at least concerned about the Lord having forgotten who they were or where they were, since they were no longer in Jerusalem.
    Because of the age difference between Nephi and Jacob, we can suggested that Jacob represents the second generation Nephite in the Land of Promise, and this next generation is evidently concerned about being away from Jerusalem, “the land of their inheritance” as being of the House of Israel, and into a land where they are under attack by the Lamanites and without protection from the Lord as far as they seem to be concerned. So much so, that Jacob is preaching about their future in this land, saying “behold, how great the covenants of the Lord…he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed according to the flesh, but that he would preserve them; and in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel” (2 Nephi 9:53), and “as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer” (2 Nephi 10:20), and that “they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, to the lands of their inheritance:  (2 Nephi 10:7), and “this land shall be a land of liberty…and I will fortify this land against all other nations” (2 Nephi 10:11-12), and finally, “Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed and them who shall be numbered among their seed, forever for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands” (2 Nephi 10:19).
Now at this point, Jacob says, and it is not an expression, but a point of fact, for the Nephites are in this land he is describing, “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). He then goes on to add, “But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren” (2 Nephi 10:21).
    Now to make sure the Nephites understood him, and that they are not lost to the lord or cast off, he adds, “For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also” (2 Nephi 10:22).
    It is important that all of us understand that Jacob, and all of the House of Israel, did not make light of the promises of the Lord, especially true when speaking in the Temple. This is no mere “expression” being used here by Jacob, but a definite understanding of who the Nephites were, what had happened to them, that they were not lost to the Lord and had not been cast off, and that their children would reap the benefit of the promises, and be brought up in a land choice above all lands in the eyes of the Lord.
This was such a serious comment and exchange, that Nephi chose to write it down on the plates because of its sacredness. In fact, Nephi tells us this when he says: “And now, Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me” (2 Nephi 11:1).
    It is a shame that people like Guy, and other theorists, have such little understanding and knowledge of the manner of the Jews and the House of Israel to make light of such a comment as this one by Jacob.
    Reader: [after listing the Lord's comments for several verses, Guy ends with:] “We have no knowledge of what is south of Lehi's Land of First Inheritance. It would be more accurate to simply say "I don't know." and to keep the Sea South, south of the Land Northward as it says in Helaman 3:8.”
    Response: It does not say that in Helaman 3:8. That is the Great Lakes theorist opinion and view since they have no Sea South. The term “from the Sea South to the Sea North,” coupled with “the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi were nearly completely surrounded by water except for a narrow neck of land,” and “for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea,” all support one another in the same, clearly understandable situation of being on an island.
    Reader: “Land distances. DowDell has not calculated land distances and his prescribed BOM area is exorbant extending the full length of S. America albeit just the west coast.”
    Response: Too bad Guy doesn’t look into what has been said here regarding the points he feels obligated to criticize. First, as we have said many times, there are no distances provided in the scriptural record to which we can claim definite knowledge. Not even the oft quoted distance from the City of Nephi to the City of Zarahemla in Alma’s journey is defined, since it doesn’t mention those two points, but does from the Waters of Mormon to the Land of Zarahemla, a 21-day journey. But how far from the City of Nephi to the Waters of Mormon? And how far from the Land of Zarahemla to the City of Zarahemla?
    Secondly, it should be kept in mind that the distance from Lehi’s landing site to the city of Nephi which Nephi founded about two years later after Lehi’s death, eliminates most of the distance to which Guy refers, since no events in the entire Book of Mormon take place in that area between these two places--once Nephi gets to the Land of Nephi and builds the City of Nephi, everything takes place from there northward. Actually, the distance described in the scriptural record amounts to the city of Nephi to the city of Zarahemla, a distance as the crow flies; 505 miles from the City of Zarahemla to the City of Bountiful, and 310 miles from the narrow neck of land to the Waters of Ripliancum (the furthest mentioned spot to the north in the Land Northward) and less than that to the Land of Many Waters (about 225 miles).
    None of these distances are exorbitant to the scriptural record, since none of these distances were taken at one time, but mark the extreme boundaries of the areas mentioned.
    Reader: “Land features. The Andes are distinct. People in the BOM were all the time becoming lost because there were NO gigantic mountains that could be seen from all directions and used as DISTINCT LANDMARKS."
    Response: Obviously, Guy has never been to Andean South America. First of all, people were not getting lost “all the time.” In fact, that is only mentioned three times: once with Limhi’s 43-man expedition, once with the Nephites going back from the city of Zarahemla to the city of Nephi, and once when Ammon was sent to find the Nephites in the city of Nephi. In these three specific cases, the people involved did not know where exactlhy they were going when they started out and obviosly, ran into difficulty finding their way. At all other times, people seem to know where they were and not have trouble traveling.
    Secondly, one of the problems Guy has along with all the other Great Lakes theorists, is the ignoring of Helaman 14:23, and the vivid prophecy of Samuel the Lamanite, which took place in 3 Nephi 8 during the destruction and land form changes occurring at the time of the crucifixion. This created mountains throughout the Land of Promise, both in the Land Southward and in the Land Northward--mountains “whose height is great.” It is as though to Great Lakes theorists, there were no mountains in the Land of Promise at all. Funny how they keep overlooking that rather important moment with Samuel the Lamanite.
A view of the Andes, showing how several mountains of great height do not provide much of a reference point
    Thirdly, while one mountain peak would provide a point of reference, many peaks do not, and Samuel predicted mountains (in the plural) that would rise up “whose height is great”!
(see the next post, “Deconstructing Del DowDell - Part VIII, for more of our answers to the lengthy comments from a Great Lakes Theorist)

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