Thursday, October 20, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XI

Continuing now with Mormon's descriptions of the land and how it was configured, and what any model and location of the Land of Promise must include, either now or at the time of the Nephite occupation. 
    As we discuss the Land of Promise from the viewpoint of Mormon, and also Moroni, who together abridged the majority of the scriptural record, and lived at a time following the golden age of the Nephites—the 200 years following the advent of Christ in America.
Mormon began commanding the army at age 16, acquiring knowledge first hand of the land’s topography, layout, configuration and elevations in preparation for leading men in battle

    We need to keep in mind that they, especially Mormon who commanded the entire Nephite army in its final battles with the Lamanites from the age of 16 to when he died at the age of 75 in the final battle at Cumorah, in almost all the battles of the final seventy years that began at the Waters of Sidon in the south, and culminated in the Land of Many Waters in the far north at the hill and land Cumorah, he walked and covered the entire Land of Promise throughout the Land Southward, and most, if not all, of the Land Northward.
    No other person can be said to have known and understood the Land of Promise as did Mormon, both as a prophet and as a field commander, understanding the layout of the land and its entire topography over which he fought and traveled those sixty years of his life.
    We also need to keep in mind that Mormon, as the final Nephite prophet (other than Moroni) was not only recording the events of those sixty years of conflict with the Lamanites, but wrote under the direction of the Spirit for a future people, and did so in order for them to understand everything that took place that he saw fit, or that the Spirit, directed him to write. As an example, Mormon tells us in Mormon 3 that he wrote to the Gentiles and house of Israel (vs 17); to the 12 Tribes of Israel (vs 18); to the Remnant of this people, that is the Lamanites (vs19); and that he wrote unto you all—every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam (vs 20), which  covers everyone of a future time--our time.
    This means that he would have done so in order to those of a future period could well understand what he wrote. And to make sure, he added points from time to time to help his future readers better comprehend what he was discussing, which is obvious in Chapter 22 of Alma, from verses 27 through 34, in which he concluded “And now I, after having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren” (Alma 22:35). Mormon, after all, was writing under the direction of the Spirit (Mormon 3:20), and did as the Lord commanded him (Mormon 3:16), and wrote as the Spirit testified to him of things to come (Mormon 3:16).
Understanding all this, we cannot then claim that Mormon’s writing needs to be understood in light of different meanings—such as Sorenson’s different directions, for if he meant different directions, certainly the Spirit would have corrected it for the future readers through Joseph Smith’s translation (above), since God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Nor can it be said, as so many theorists want to claim, that there were other people in the Land of Promise before and during the time of the Nephites, for not a single word is included about them; nor can it be said that the scriptural record prophets did not record things correctly, or were not fair to the Lamanites, or were only concerned with themselves, since they wrote under the Spirit and Mormon abridged their writing under the direction of the Spirit.
    Thus, what we read is the exact way the Spirit wanted us to understand Mormon’s writing, which is to say the exact way that the Lord wants us to understand Mormon’s writing and the entire scriptural record. To claim otherwise is simply to go against the written word and the meaning and purpose of the entire scriptural record.
    So with that in mind, let us see how Mormon describes the size, shape, and configuration of the Land of Promise. And as we do so, we should keep in mind what theories and writings of scholars today are inconsistent with that writing of the prophets and Mormon.
    As we have already seen, Nephi and Jacob gave us a very clear description of where they sailed and where they landed and what they found there. Now we will look at what Mormon left us in numerous descriptive details of how we can evaluate our understanding, our models, our locations for the Land of Promise against those of the man who walked it from one end to the other, and fought over it during sixty years as commander-in-chief of the Nephite armies.
In order to do this, we need to see what Mormon wrote and understand his simple land straight-forward meaning. We cannot change, alter, adjust, or ignore anything he wrote that is descriptive of the Land of Promise. Nor can we raise questions about whether or not Mormon understood the land about which he was writing. We need to understand he knew more about it, and wrote what he knew, far more than anyone today could ever know unless the Lord was to reveal more, no matter how many letters they have after their name, how many languages they speak, or how much they have studied. In other words, we need to eliminate the arguments all theorists fall back on when the scriptural record states something they want to disagree with. Our job here is not to disagree with the scriptural record, nor assume we know more than Mormon, or try to add what we think Mormon left out. If it isn’t in the scriptural record, we will not discuss it or cover it. We will rely solely on the Book of Mormon as the basis of all that we discuss, for short of a revelation to the contrary, or an official stance of the Church, all we have is the scriptural record and that is all that we will use.
    Nor will we use opinions unless they support what is written in the record, i.e., we may think that Mormon meant to say this, or that he should have said this, etc., but we cannot use any such excuse for adding, or taking away from what he wrote. We need to learn to accept the scriptural record as it was written and leave it at that. We may expand on what is already written or suggested in the scriptural record.
As an example, when it says that Samuel the Lamanite prophesied of mountains “whose height is great,” we can talk about mountains in the area of our location, about their height, etc., or what “great height” for mountains might be, etc., or something is mentioned througout the scriptural record up to the point of the changes in the land described at the crucifixion, but not mentioned afterward, and what they might, if anything mean, but not try to find some animal that is not mentioned to describe one that is mentioned that Joseph smith would have known and understood, such as a horse is a horse, not something else, etc., or where it mentions two (unknown) animals that were as useful to man as the elephant and the donkey, we can discuss what animals that might have been, but those animals must be part of our location and must fill the requirement of the scriptural reference, i.e., sloths and tapirs are not as useful to man as the elephant, nor was the buffalo or mountain goat found in any location that is considered by any theorists—they were too far west from heartland or great lakes, etc., too far north for Baja California, and did not exist in Mesoamerica or Florida, etc.
    In other words, we need to eliminate speculative opinions, and be reasonable, factual, and knowledgeable about what we write.
Now, having said all of that, we will take a look at the scriptural record that Mormon and Moroni abridged, keeping to the simple and straight-forward writing of these prophets that both had first-hand acknowledged were guided by the Spirit in their writing.
    We also need to keep in mind that the Earth is not 4.55 billion years old; the biblical account dictated by the Lord to Moses covering the period of time of the Patriarchs spells out a world, from the time of Adam leaving the Garden onward, of about six thousand years, and a period of creation, using the criteria of the scriptures that a day to the Lord is equal to a thousand years to us, then that period of time would have been approximately seven thousand years, or a total period of time of about 13,000 years. Thus, things that science claimed happened millions of years ago wold have occurred thousands of years ago, etc.
(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XII,” to see what Mormon and Moroni told us about the Land of Promise by which we can evaluate any place existing today)

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