Friday, July 22, 2016

Dealing With Opposing Information to One’s Views – Joseph Didn’t Mean or Write That…Part I

This article is more properly headed “How Theorists Deal With Opposing Views,” as found on the “Book of Mormon Wars” Website. That is, when something is said, printed, or described in the scriptural record or Church publications, or said by Church Leaders that one does not agree with or does not support one’s Land of Promise model, we have a very recent example of how theorists deal with such a problem—specifically Great Lakes theorists.
    Consider this exchange on Book of Mormon Wars website Thursday, June 9, 2016:
    Article: “July 19, 1840: Joseph teaches that the Land of Zion consists of North and South America....[Joseph Smith said:] “speaking of the Land of Zion, It consists of all N[orth] & S[outh] America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children...The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all N[orth] &; S[outh] America." (Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, [edited by Dean C. Jessee], "Joseph Smith's July 19, 1840 Discourse,"  Brigham Young University Studies 19 no. 3, Spring 1979, 392)
[Now since this runs contrary to the Great Lakes theorists and to the Book of Mormon Wars website, their counter-comment was stated as:]
    Article: “This account was the first sermon recorded by 19-year-old Martha Jane Knowlton Coray. It is the subject of a separate blog post, but when read in context, Joseph most likely was referring to North and South America meaning North and South United States, not the continents. It has been misconstrued ever since.”
Response: Amazing. Does anyone really think that Joseph Smith did not mean what he said even though someone recorded his words? Yet, according to the theorists, he actually meant something else entirely. In the swoop of an unsupported statement, provided by nothing Joseph Smith said regarding the difference between North and South America and North and South United States, the latter being a term never used by the Prophet nor anyone else describing Zion, the Church, or anything else like this, is simply the way a theorist disingenuously discredits and tries to eliminate a statement Joseph Smith made that so very obviously meant just the opposite of what the theorist claims—he said and meant North and South America, not North and South United States—a term that was never applied to this country or this continent throughout history.
    In addition, when Joseph’s statement is compared against those similar statements made by several Church Presidents and leaders on this very subject, his statement of North and South America is consistent, not North and South United States.
Prior to 1860, and common during the 1830s and Joseph Smith’s lifetime, the South was referred to as the Southern United States, but more commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South.
    In 1860 when South Carolina seceded, or left the United States, they called themselves and their new nation the Confederate States of America, and within four months six other states seceded and joined them (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana). The South referred to themselves as the Confederacy throughout the separation and war, never “the South United States.”
    In fact, at no time were any of these states called or referred to as the South United States. Nor was the term North United States used for the rest of the country in the north, always referred to as "The North," or "The Union," during this period. President Abraham Lincoln, the Union government, and everyone else called the South the southern states, but never South United States. It is not only a term Joseph Smith would not have used, it was a term no one used.
It should also be noted that from 1820 to 1854, thanks to the Missouri Compromise, the nation had a balance of political power, especially during Joseph Smith’s time and for the first 15 years after the organization of the Church. Not until ten years after Joseph Smith’s death, in 1854, did problems between North and South start to rise as the problem of slavery escalated in separating the agricultural south from the industrial north, which finally came to a head in Kansas in 1855 leading to a slavery-anti-slavery war in November in Missouri, which escalated and lasted until 1861 and called “Bleeding Kansas.”
    Prior to that time, the U.S. industry as a nation was almost non-existent on a world scale. As an example, in 1820, the percent of world GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the U.S. was the smallest by far of the world’s top eight nations, with China, India, France, Britain, Germany, Japan, and Italy, all far greater percentage in that order than the U.S. After the Civil War, and by 1870, the U.S. and Britain were about equal, after China and India, followed closely by France, Germany and then Italy, with Japan far behind.
    The point is, there was no reason between 1820 and 1854, that Joseph or anyone else would have referred to North United States or South United States. Beginning on July 2, 1776 when a resolution by Richard Henry Lee, that had been presented to Congress on June 7 created the name by stating  “that these United Colonies are, and of right out to be, free and independent States…” and then on September 9, 1776, the term United States of America replaced the earlier term United Colonies which had been in general use before July, now becoming the official name of this nation.
    Originally, of course, the term America denoted all of the New World, which was generally referred to as the Americas (Kenneth G. Wilson, The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, Columbia University Press. New York, 1993, pp27–28).
Initially, the name America was coined by Martin Waldeseemuller from Americus Vespucius, the Latinized version of the name of Amerigo Vespuci (1454–1512), the Italian explorer who mapped South America's east coast and the Caribbean Sea in the early 16th century. Later, Vespucci's published letters were the basis of Waldseemuller’s 1507 map, which is the first usage of America. The adjective American subsequently denoted the New World.
    16th-century European usage of American denoted the native inhabitants of the New World. The earliest recorded use of this term in English is in Thomas Hacket’s 1568 translation of Andre Thévet’s book France Antartique, Thévet himself had referred to the natives as Ameriques. In the following century, the term was extended to European settlers and their descendants in the Americas. The earliest recorded use of this term in English dates to 1648, in Thomas Gage’s The English-American: A New Survey of the West Indies.
    The Old Catholic Encyclopedia’s usage of America is as "the Western Continent or the New World." It discusses American republics, ranging from the U.S. to the republic of Mexico, the Central American republics of Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Leon, and Panama; the Antillian republics of Haiti, Santo Domingo, and Cuba, and the South American republics of Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, the Argentine, and Chile” (Kevin Knight, America, Catholic Encyclopedia
    In fact, The entry for "America" in The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage from 1999 reads: “[the] terms "America", "American(s)" and "Americas" refer not only to the United States, but to all of North America and South America. They may be used in any of their senses, including references to just the United States, if the context is clear. The countries of the Western Hemisphere are collectively “the Americas” (The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World's Most Authoritative Newspaper is a style guide created in 1950 by editors at the newspaper and revised in 1974, 1999, and 2002 by Allen M. Siegal and William G. Connolly).

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