Continuing with the article a reader sent in regarding the “Book of Mormon Wars” and what the author of that website refers to as looking through Mesoamerican Lenses that, according to him, "Once you start looking at Book of Mormon through a Mesoamerican lens, you can't unsee it."
It is interesting that the author of the website is so adamant about how Mesoamerican lenses turn wearers into "see-ers" who see only Mesoamerican terms in the text that are invisible to those not wearing the lenses (which leads to them using the Sorenson and other translations of the text instead of Joseph's translation."
Response: Well, let's look at Joseph's translation. I know this is getting old, but sooner or later Great Lakes people need to wake up to what Joseph translation of the scripture says and not just what Oliver Cowdery said in his Letter VII.
The Andes Mountains are the tallest mountains in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 100 peaks over 18,000 feet in the Andean area of the Land of PromiseAs an example, the scriptural record Joseph translated states as clearly as it possibly can:
“And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
That is, the Land of Promise will have mountains “whose height is great.” That is about as clear as one can be. Whose height is great, that is, the mountains will be very high, so high, the Lord put into Samuel the Lamanite’s heart to say, “great!”
How great is great? How high is great? Does it matter? Well, it must have mattered to the Lord for he put the words into Samuel’s heart to be spoken (“I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart; and behold he hath put it into my heart to say unto this people…” Helaman 13:5).
So why would the Lord want to say mountains would rise “whose height is great”? Samuel tell us that the reason is so that all will believe and there would be none able to disbelieve what the sign of the mountains rising up to great heights meant (“to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” Helaman 14:28).
Therefore, mountains would rise up from valleys so high that all could see them and have no doubts of the significance of the destruction taking place around them and what these signs meant. This is so critically important, let us go over the entire statement Samuel m ade as to what the rising of these mountains represent:
“behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead. Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up; Yea, they shall be rent in twain, and shall ever after be found in seams and in cracks, and in broken fragments upon the face of the whole earth, yea, both above the earth and beneath. And behold, there shall be great tempests, and there shall be many mountains laid low, like unto a valley, and there shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great” (Helaman 14:20-23).
Now, offering no disrespect to Oliver Cowdery, we need to understand that Oliver’s words in Letter VII, which is the entire basis of the Great Lakes theory according to the website in question, what Samuel the Lamanite said was placed in his heart by the Lord himself, and it appears in the scriptural record, abridged by Mormon and translated by Joseph Smith.
This means, and can only mean, that the Land of Promise, wherever it may be, has to have mountains “whose height is great” scattered about the land so that all could see them and know when they rose up that Christ has died for our sins (“And behold, again, another sign I give unto you, yea, a sign of his death.” Helaman 14:14).
Now one can talk all they want about the Great Lakes, or Mesoamerica, or Baja California, or the Heartland, or Malay, or wherever else they may want to claim is the Land of Promise, but one thing is certain and cannot be avoided! That location, the location of the Land of Promise, must have mountains “whose height is great” within it, and in such places as to be seen by all so they are so aware of their existence when they came up as to be undeniable as an act of God to show the people that the Son died for their sins.
If Oliver Cowdery, or anyone else, claims a location for the Land of Promise that does not have mountains “whose height is great,” then they are mistaken, for the Lord himself told us they would exist, and why. In fact, the Lord verifies that it was He who brought about the great destruction outlined in 3 Nephi 8, and that He was responsible for all that took place, including the mountains that rose as prophesized (“And many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations” 3 Nephi 9:12). And to make sure we fully understand who is talking, it is the Lord, himself (“Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.” 3 Nephi 9:15).
The author goes on to state his view about people who: “are unable to see any evidence that contradicts their theories (the Mesoamerican lenses blind the wearer).” We, on the other hand, can say that he is so blinded by Letter VII and his own views, that he fails to see beyond his views to what the Lord tell us in the scriptural record—not a letter written by an early Church leader, the scriptural record which is quoting a prophecy the Lord gave through Samuel, and his own admonition as to why it all occurred. A prophecy, statement and admonition, by the way, Joseph Smith himself translated, and which was verified by the Spirit!
Western New York is very flat. As can be seen there is nary a hill around, let alone a mountain—and certainly none “whose height is great”Now, the interesting thing about this is that both Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery knew exactly what the Book of Mormon stated, and knew what the area claimed to be the land of Promise around the Great Lakes looked like, having traveled back and forth across this land several times. Both had been to Cumorah, one lived much of his life within walking distance of the hill and the surrounding land. Both knew what the terrain and topography was like, both spent some time in the area, and both had walked upon the hill and looking all around.
Now, the point is, there are no mountains in all of Western New York—there are hardly any rises that can be called hills. The highest point in all of Western New York, from the Pennsylvania Border to Syracuse in the north, is Alma Hill, a wide rise that covers the southern part of the town, and rises to a height of 2548-feet, with a clean prominence of only 948 feet—it is not only the highest point in all of Allegany County, but the entire southern half of the state of New York. The nearest height around is Cobb Hill at 2561 feet and a clean prominence of just 321 feet, which is located to the south in Pennsylvania.
To get a better understanding of this flat land, it stretches from the area of Syracuse and Oswego south-westward, along the shores of Lake Ontario and then Lake Erie to the Pennsylvania border. The actual Land of Promise is proposed between the Finger Lakes and Buffalo, from Ontario to around the Pennsylvania border—an area that is quite flat, ranging between 400 and 600 feet above sea level, making Alma Hill roughly about 1500 feet above the surrounding land—making the entire area relatively flat and certainly no mountains and especially nothing “whose height is great.”
(See the next post, “The battle Between Mesoamerica and the Great Lakes – Part VI,” for more from the Great Lakes theorists who believe by showing how Mesoamerica is not the Land of Promise, that it makes their Great Lakes model the Land of Promise)