Friday, October 19, 2018

Are Theorists’ Statements and Claims Accurate and Consistent with Scripture? – Part VII

Continuing from the previous post regarding how any theorist can pick and choose any place to fit his or her idea of the location of the Land of Promise by ignoring the precise and clear language of Mormon, Nephi, Jacob and Moroni.
    We began this series by listing 10 points that are necessary to consider when looking for geographical information in the scriptural record. They were once again the options of:
1. Pick an area suggested by others;
2. Pick whatever area seems good;
3. Pick the area that matches the descriptions in the scriptural record;
4. If there is a simple, straight-forward meaning in the scriptural record, do not add some hidden, unknown or contrary reason.
    In addition, we listed six factors to follow when evaluating scriptural information and making these choices:
1. Use the writings of Mormon and others exactly as they are worded, without adding to, changing, or altering the obvious meaning;
2. Look for and use supportive verses and statements in the scriptural record that backs up and supports the textual information obtained;

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3. Do not ignore contrary scriptural writing (this is not a cafeteria style exercise of picking and choosing what you want—consider it all);
4. Do not consider the text of the Book of Mormon to be flexible enough to let you adjust the wordage and information according to your own views;
5. Do not just look for information that agrees with your point of view, but try to find all statements on the subject;
6. Do not add sweeping information, ideas, or beliefs that are not specifically suggested in the scriptural record.
    If one is going to try to locate various areas within the Land of Promise, and the overall land promised to Lehi by the Lord, then it is imperative that one rejects the ideas, locations, and models of others that do not follow these above ten points.
    As an example, if one is going to look at the narrow neck of land which Mormon describes, it is first necessary to list what his descriptions tell us of this location. In doing so, we find that the introduction of the narrow neck in Alma 22 lets us know that it was:
1. A day and a half journey across a line between Bountiful and the Land of Desolation from the east to the west sea (Alma 22:32a);
2. The Land Southward was surrounded by water except for this small neck of land (Alma 22:32b);
3. The Land Southward was separated from the Land Northward by this narrow neck of land which lay between them (Alma 22:32c);
4. The Land on the southward was called Bountiful and the Land on the northward was called Desolation (Alma 22:31);
5. This small neck between the Land Southward and the Land Northward was also called a narrow neck (Alma 63:5), making it both a “small” and “narrow” neck of land (it is not called an isthmus in the scriptural record, though in 1828 when the wordage was translated, “isthmus” was known and understood);
6. This small or narrow neck was all that lay between the Land Southward and the Land Northward (Alma 22:32) and within it was a narrow passage (Mormon 2:29);
7. This narrow or small neck was the border or boundary between the the Land of Desolation in the Land Northward, and the Land of Bountiful in the Land Southward (Alma 63:5);
8. There was a large Jaredite city (possibly called the City of Desolation) built along the border at the small or narrow neck in the Land of Desolation of the Land Northward (Mormon 3:5);
Just like a Gulf or large Bay or inlet can divide the land on either side where it cuts inland, this example shows how the Jaredites called the area around the narrow neck of land a sea that divided that land, separating the Land Northward from the Land Southward, though it was part of the regular sea or ocean that surrounded the entire area

9. This narrow neck by the Jaredite city was located along a harbor or bay or inlet of sea that separated the Land Northward from the Land Southward (Ether 10:20);
10. The West Sea bordered this narrow neck on one side (Alma 63:5);
11. The small or narrow neck was bordered by the sea on both the west and east (Alma 50:34).
12. While no specific reference directly says the small or narrow neck runs north and south, two different statements tell us it does in that there is a sea to the west and a sea to the east (Alma 22:31,32;50:34; 63:5); and that the neck ran from the Land Southward to the Land Northward (Alma 22:31,32);, thus giving it a lie from the south to the north and a width from the east to the west.
    These twelve points are listed in the scriptural record. Any decision to place a narrow neck in a Land of Promise location must agree with all eleven points, either now or at the time of the Nephites and Jaredites. If a location has four or five points, there might be a possibility; if there are six, seven or eight points, there is a good possibility; if there are nine, ten, or eleven there is a strong case, but all twelve are required to have an exact match. However, one needs both a location that matches all twelve points, and one that shows no other place with an exact match in the Western Hemisphere exists that then provides an incontrovertible or inarguable match.
    The first sign that someone’s suggestion that their location is not accurate is when they have to explain away the simple language stated in the seven scriptural references above.
As an example, this changing of the scriptural record is found in John L. Sorenson’s detailed effort to explain that Mormon’s “north” and “south” do not really mean “north and south,” but actually mean “east and west,” or the renaming of lands or seas, in the case of almost all Mesoamericanists naming the Gulf of Mexico to the north of Mesoamerica as the East Sea; and the Pacific Ocean, which lays to the south of Mesoamerica as the West Sea. These cannot be considered matches in the most liberal use of the term, for they are changes in the scriptural record, whether Sorenson and his supporters agree or not. Any change in the meaning of the scriptural record is a change in that record!
    As an example, a change in the circumstances following the scriptural record, either after 421 A.D., and the demise of the Nephites, or after the event cited, when circumstances changed, such as after the crucifixion when “the whole face of the land was changed” (3 Nephi 8:12), is at least defensible in something being different than the scriptural record, but since it was at least accurate at a time during the correct time frame, then it can certainly be considered. But a land form that was always east and west is simply not defensible in light of the north-south scriptural record, nor can it be supported in light of anything described, unless one wants to claim that God and the Spirit lie—an incomprehensible viewpoint impossible to support or defend. And the same is true. By claiming that Mormon had a different meaning of north and south, east and west.
    Nor is that fact that there are no mountains in the Great Lakes to justify and warrant Samuel the Lamanite’s comment that after the crucifixion, valleys will rise to become mountains, “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23).
    On the same level, it cannot be claimed that a small or narrow neck of land, which takes a Nephite a day-and-a-half to cross could be any less than 120 to 125 miles wide any more than it can be claimed to be more than 25 to 50 miles wide, otherwise, Mormon’s description is wrong and of no value, which again brings in to question the truthfulness of the scriptural record, the Lord’s revelations, and the Spirit’s verification.
    The point once again being that a strict adherence to the scriptural record is a requirement, not something adjustable because some theorists thinks differently than those who walked the land and wrote about. Nor is there any value in defending a model that is not consistent with the scriptural record, or simply cannot be substantiated by facts that match Mormon’s descriptions.

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