Monday, October 24, 2016

Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XV

Continuing with Mormon’s descriptions that enable us to find and locate the Land of Promise today by understanding what was upon the land anciently. As has already been stated, certain things are relevant and even critical in using to define the location of the geographical setting of the Land of Promise, but for a true location, all of these descriptions must be included, not just the ones that fit a certain locale—but all of them! Otherwise, why did Mormon include them? Why would this erstwhile prophet, writing to a future generation of people, include so many descriptions unless it was to assist a future reader to better understand the location and how everything related to each other? 
   If we ignore these descriptions, then aren’t we ignoring part of the message Mormon left us?
    One of these situations is when Mormon describes at the conclusion of the Book of Alma, a man named Hagoth and his role in the Nephite world and how he would have impacted the people and the times.
Hagoth and his shipyard, situated in the northern border of Bountiful along the Sea West, near the narrow neck of land that led into the Land Northward

    Before getting into Hagoth, we should discuss why Mormon bothered to include him at all since it is at the end of a very long book of 63 chapters, and at a time when wars were going on, two of the important Nephites died (Captain Moroni and Helaman) the record passed  hands from Helaman to Shiblon, the entire Nephbite record was written down and distributed among the people, a large Lamanite army attacked and Moronihah, Captain Moroni’s son, took charge of the Nephite armies. Even so, among all these important events, the brief story of Hagoth is given precedence though including only  five verses, and just 207 words.
Those who went by ship included men, plus their wives and children, and also included provisions, and supplies and equipment—which is why Hagoth built exceedingly large ships

    So why did Mormon include it? It couldn’t have just been to show there was a migration into the land northward and some of those immigrants went by ship, for Mormon shortly after mentions “there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land, and they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land” (Helaman 3:3-5).
    He also added, “they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8). Not only that information about immigration into the Land Northward, but Mormon added, “behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies…” but Mormon also included what they were involved in, which was, among other things, “and their shipping and their building of ships” (Helaman 3:14).
    So if he could only write a hundredth part of what was before him in all the records why did he mention the building of ships and shipping, and immigration northward twice within a few short pages? Perhaps it was because he was writing about two entirely different things, i.e., the movement of “an exceedingly great many” of people who migrated into the Land Northward, “to inherit the land,” that is to inherit that part of the Land of Promise—their land of inheritance—that was open for migration, and another type of immigration into a land that was not part of the Land of Promise, and of which they were not inheriting a land, but immigration to a “land which was northward” (Alma 63:4).
They set sail and  they took their course northward
It also seems significant that Mormon chose to number one group (that which went to another land) and not number the group that went into the Land Northward. One of the reasons might have been that numbers were important in shipping and transportation since weight, space, etc., would be important, but numbers simply moving northward through the narrow neck and into the Land Northward, would not have been so important other than for a curious point of view.
    In any event, Mormon singles out five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, probably a total of at least 16,200 to upwards of 25,000, departed the Land of Promise for a land “which was northward.”
    Now since northward means northward, despite Sorenson’s and other Mesoamericanists’ efforts to change the direction of the Land of Promise, we can only look for a land, where leaving the West Sea location of a shipyard where one could have been built ships protected from the ocean (bay, inlet, river, etc.), a course must be able to be move directly northward, no doubt for the majority of the distance traveled, since Mormon wrote: “there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6, emphasis mine).
    And took their course northward. From Hagoth’s shipyard, where the ship was launched into the West Sea, they took their course northward!
    In Mesoamerica, you would have to sail for nearly 1000 miles in first southwest, then west, and finally west by northwest directions, before you could take a course northward. And even so, there are no settlements to the north of Mesoamerica that would duplicate the technology of building the Nephites possessed.
    Nor was this a short trip as Sorenson and others try to make it. Once the first ship took its immigrants northward, it was a year before it returned for the next group of immigrants to take northward (Alma 63:7).
In addition, there needs to be an area of settlement to the north where they sailed that would be similar to or equal to, that found in the Land of Promise, i.e., stone buildings like those of Jerusalem to which Nephi, Sam and Zoram would have been intimately familiar and would have used the style to build in their new homeland, which Nephi taught his people in such building (2 Nephi 5:15), because they had not been from Jerusalem, but borne along the way or in the Land of Promise. These would have been of stone like Moroni built in the defenses of the land of Promise (Alma 48:8).
    In the two samples below, the first in Peru, the second in Mexico (Mesoamerica), the construction technique and workmanship is almost identical
Top: Choquequirao, near Cuzco, Peru; Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
Top: Ruins of ancient cities of Puebla, Mexico, and Cantona, Mexico

    In addition, while these two construction sites are nearly identical, no other two sites in all of the Western Hemisphere so closely relate to each other in buildings, types, size, and scope of their development, that overlapped one another in time, as also seen in another example of both sites using very large blocks of dressed and cut stone to make walls, altars, buildings, and other sites, as seen in these two types of uses of large stonework:
Peru: LtoR, TtoB: 1) Carved into the Arch Gate at Tiahuanaco in one huge, solid stone; 2) One solid stone, 21’ high, carved on a curve for an end wall; 3) Stepped stones, carved to fit; 4) Large stones cut into interlocking parts
Mesoamerica: LtoR, Tto B: 1) La Venta, Mexico, one of seven basalt “altars: nearly three feet tall and six feet wide carved from a solid block stone; 2) Yaxchilan, Mayan hieroglyphs carved on a single, huge block of dressed stone; 3) Xochica, Mexico, Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Quetzalcoatl), carved on several huge stones set side-by-side and top of one another, surrounded by small stones; 4) Holed Stones in Mesoamerica, with huge stones set around in a squared frame 

(See the next post, “Finding Lehi’s Isle of Promise – Part XVI,” for more of Mormon’s statements that lead us to a clearer understanding of the location of the Land of Promise)

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