Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kept From the Knowledge of Other Nations – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding how the Lord keeps things from the knowledge of people, and how totally unnecessary it is to hide the Land of Promise back in the inland country of the United States to keep it from discovery until the Lord was ready. 
   First of all, the word “hidden,” which is used by theorists but not in the scriptural record, means “Mysteriously secret or unseen; kept out of sight, concealed; undercover, invisible, unseen, tucked away, secluded, camouflaged, disguised, masked, cloaked.” It is as though these theorists think the Lord has to play games with us to keep us from discovering what he doesn’t want us to know about.
As one theorist on this matter claims: “Book of Mormon lands were hidden, not directly connected to the Great Sea: And behold it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations for behold many nations would overrun the land that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8).”
    As shown in the last post, when the Lord didn’t want the Nephites to discover their swords they had put away, he didn’t “hide” the swords, he confounded the people who were looking for them
    It should also be noted that the Land of Promise was reserved for first, the Jaredites, and second, the Nephites (including the Mulekites who became Nephites). It wasn’t that anyone was sailing around the New World looking for the Land of Promise, or going to stumble on an island where Lehi’s posterity were located.
    The Lord solved his need in the following manner:
1. Sent Lehi to a place, or land, that no one knew existed for the next 2000 years;
2. Kept man from inventing or building ships that could sail in the deep ocean (did not inspire men to build them);
Without a knowledge of the ocean currents westward, early mariners from Portugal or the Mediterranean or England could not have sailed westward across the Atlantic in any age
3. Reserved the knowledge of mariners regarding the all important Atlantic Gyre current that flowed clockwise across the Atlantic between the Canary Islands (northern Africa) and the Caribbean Islands, and then northward and eastward back across the Atlantic.
4. Inspired traders to create the Silk Road that was overland to bring the East to the West;
5. Inspired Asians and Europeans to explore and populate the world and focus their attention on Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Orient and Africa.
    During this 2000 years between Lehi and Columbus, man’s interest was upon the land, in conquering it, reaching, claiming and protecting it, and extracting its richness to sell and trade elsewhere. Mariners sailed north from the Mediterranean to Gaul and England in search of tin to bring back and trade with the Eastern Mediterranean cultures, while Egypt was beginning to grow in strength and spread into the Mediterranean. Arabs began charging for the movement of people and materials across their lands on their way to and from China. This caused European countries to seek a way around the Arab embargoes and costs, turning to the sea for routes around Africa to the Spice Islands (Indonesia)
    The winds and currents leading from Portugal and Spain to the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and then across the Atlantic to the Caribbean had always been there, but now the Lord was inspiring mariners to realize what it was they saw on the high seas as they dared reach further into the ocean in better and stronger ships. They reached Madeira, Lansarote, the Canaries, Funchal, Cape Verde, Vilo Do Porto, the Azores, and were finally sailing up and down the coast of Africa, and eventually around the Cape and into the Indian Ocean, breaking the Arabs monopoly of overland travel and trade. Meanwhile, the Vikings were discovering the Hebrides, Orkney, the Shetlands and the Isles of Scilly, expanding outward as they island-hopped to Iceland and Greenland and finally to New Foundland.
In all of this, no one in Europe or Asia had any idea of what was soon to become known of the Americas. Not because it was hidden, but because mariners did not sail out into the Atlantic--and had no idea there was anything to the west until the Lord inspired Columbus that he could reach land by sailing west. First of all, they had no reason to, and secondly, because building, manning, and sailing deep ocean ships was expensive and required large financial backing, such as that of a king who did so for power obtained from expanding a kingdom and acquiring wealth from the new lands, or from wealthy consortiums who gambled on discovery of trade markets and more goods for trade. The idea that men were sailing around the world for their own pleasure or purposes is ludicrous.
    The only reason Columbus had ships to sail to the Americas is because at the time Portugal was the major sea power and while John II postponed providing ships for Columbus proposal, the knew king of Aragon and queen of Castile (Spain) wanted to undercut that monopoly and agreed to provide the ships.
    Even that was an unlikely an event, since Columbus was being inspired by the Holy Spirit to know he could make the voyage, though most experts in the courts at the time believe Columbus’ estimates of distances were far too short (which they were to get to China, but not to get to the Americas which no one knew existed but the Lord).
    When the Lord was ready, man’s views fell away and Columbus insisted he could make the voyage until he was able to convince King Ferdinand II or Aragon, who had married Queen Isabella I of Castile, in 1469, uniting the two largest kingdoms into the Spanish Crown. They were known jointly as the Catholic Monarchs, but ruled their kingdoms independently, though having common internal and foreign policies. It was this combination of events, and the Spirit’s constant prompting of Columbus, that pushed him into continually nagging, begging, and repeatedly asking the monarchs to support his plan at the royal court and enduring two years of negotiations, before he finally succeeded in his six year fight in January 1492, and got the ships he needed. The cost of that first voyage amounted to the crown advancing one million maravedis; however, the amount of money provided by the monarchs only allowed for the purchase of one ship—the other two were leased for eight months. Also, as an example, the wages to be paid (one-half in advance) to the crew amounted to 520,000 marvedis, plus Columbus’ salary (140,000 marvedis) and a bonus of another 335,000 marvedis. In addition there were provision costs, bonuses for the crew, and some special fees.
While there is no way to compare a marvedis amount with an amount of today, based on the cost of living at the time, a seaman was paid 360 marvedis a month, and double that for the officers.
    As one might be able to see, sailing in Columbus’ time was costly, was generally undertaken only by very wealthy sources, such as monarchs, and wealthy merchants who provided funds in groups. And as also can be seen, no one would have put up that kind of money without a very important and valuable purpose in mind that had at least the potential of a strong financial return.
    It is always amazing when people start talking about the Phoenicians sailing around the world centuries before the Age of Sail; or the last big moment of world-wide sailing achievement by the Minoans, as though these people were above the “cost of living” index in their endeavors. If one would seriously follow the historical facts involved in sailing, it is obvious that the chance for profit drove all such voyages—there were no pleasure craft on the high seas in centuries past. There were pirates and merchants, and navies to protect the interests of countries. The Phoenicians were traders, operating a known trade business throughout the Mediterranean. The Minoans lived between 2000 and 1400 B.C., at a time when man had not yet found out how to build ocean-going vessels, and their ships had oars!
The Lord didn't need to hide the Lehi colony somewhere that no one could chance upon them--there was no change anyone could have reached those far off lands until the Lord was ready to inspire men that such voyages could be done and the ships could be built to accomplish it.

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