Monday, August 12, 2019

Land of Promise Features that Cannot be Ignored—Where are they in Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes? Part III

Continuing with comparing the scriptural record descriptions and consider where these points are in either of the more northern theories claimed by theorists.
Nephite Resorts
The term “resort” is used four times in the scriptural record, once in Mosiah, and three times in Alma. While today, the word means a place to go and have fun, a vacation, or a place of relaxation, it had a different meaning in the past. In the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, resort meant a place of recourse, a place of defense, a place of assembly, a meeting—a location of gathering for the common defense of those meeting. To be specific, in the Book of Mormon, the term “resort” has a singular meaning as is pointed out by Alma:
“He had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort” (Alma 48:8, emphasis added). Thus, the word “resort” means a place where someone can turn for assistance, or a place where someone can fall back, have recourse, or resort.
    Thus, when Mosiah tells us: “And it came to pass that he caused many buildings to be built in the land Shilom; and he caused a great tower to be built on the hill north of the land Shilom, which had been a resort for the children of Nephi at the time they fled out of the land; and thus he did do with the riches which he obtained by the taxation of his people“ (Mosiah 11:13, emphasis added).
    Consequently, when Nephi fled from his brothers after Lehi’s death (2 Nephi 5:5-7), they reached the area they called Nephi and built a resort, or small fort in which to defend themselves from an expected attack by Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael. This means, that on the hill to the north, overlooking the city of Nephi, there should be a tower next to a fortress, that in king Noah’s time had become more than the original resort or fort.
    That these resorts were defensive locations and not meant for attacking an enemy is clear from Alma’s comment: “But he kept his men round about, as if making preparations for  war; yea, and truly he was preparing to defend himself against them, by casting up walls round about and preparing places of resort” (Alma 52:6, emphasis added).
Several of the scores of hilltop lookout or small resort forts in Andean Peru

In fact, it would appear that resorts in the Land of Nephi and later the Land of Zarahemla, became the small forts on top of hills overlooking access points as lookout stations, for when we next find the word “resort,” it is used in conjunction with these small forts being erected “round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land” (Alma 48:8). In fact, when the Nephite rebel Amalickiah defected over to the Lamanites and stole the kingship, he sought to destroy the Nephites in an all-out war. He “did appoint chief captains of the Zoramites, they being the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, and their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities; therefore he appointed them to be chief captains over his armies” (Alma 48:5, emphasis added). That is these defector Zoramites, having lived as Nephites, knew where these resort outposts were located and therefore would be able to guide the Lamanite armies into Nephite lands without being observed by the Nephite lookouts.
    These lookout forts were critically important to the Nephites as part of an early warning system. Knowing this, Amalickiah chose Zoramites to head up the military units because they knew where the resorts were located.
    During the lengthy fighting between the Lamanites and Nephites in the last century B.C., when Lamanite armies continued to come into the Land of Zarahemla and attack outlying settlements and cities, especially along the coastal area of the Sea East, Moroni built these resorts, or small forts, in order to place a small detachment of soldiers to warn the main army or nearby city of approaching Lamanite movements.
    These resorts were typically stationed at a distance from the main force or formation of the army, usually in a remote or sparsely populated location, often positioned on a hill or mountain to afford the best view of the surrounding area. Since the area was full of canyons, mountains, and passes, these resorts were positioned in strategic areas to warn of approaching Lamanite surprise attacks as they came into Nephite lands.
    In modern times, before radar, satellite cameras, and aerial reconnaissance, these military outposts or advanced guard stations were essential to warn of enemy surprise or sneak attacks.
    In times of military need, small forts, called resorts, were placed around a vulnerable area so that people could find temporary safety. In the case of outposts, this safety was at least in the form of a small military unit stationed there that could render aid in the case of a small disturbance. The saying, in the “last resort” meant a place where the last warning could be expected in the case of attack.
During colonial times, wooden forts were built throughout the area of the United States and southeastern Canada. Even tough made of wood, some forts have survived, either in part, or impressions in the ground where they once stood

So where are the evidences of small forts or resorts in North America. There is nary a one. Of course, Heartland and Great Lakes theorists claim they were wooden and therefore did not survive the time; however even if they were of wood, we have shown time and again, how any construction of the ancient past tends to leave signs of earlier use, even today. The point is, there is nothing in North America to suggest such structures that date to Nephite times.
    As for Mesoamerica, there are numerous buildings and pyramids in the land, but all basically are connected to larger cities, and since the Yucatan is an extremely flat land, there certainly would not have been any place to put a lookout or small fort that would have any advantage to the Nephites.
    However, in South America there are dozens of such outlying buildings that once stood as lookout stations on top of hills and mountains that overlooking paths and roads where invading troops would have moved up access areas toward Nephite centers
• The Seas
Mormon makes it quite clear that the Land of Promise was surrounded by four seas—one of the north, one to the south, one to the east, and one to the west. At the same time, Moroni introduces another sea, or probably what would be called a gulf, bay or inlet today. As for the four seas, Jacob in a special meeting in the temple in the city of Nephi, tells the gathered Nephites that they are uo and island. “And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20). It is hard to say if the gathered Nephites already knew that, or if that information was new to them.
    Just before telling them they were on an island, he said, “Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God” (2 Nephi 10:19), which suggests that Jacob knew what he was talking about since he made the comment “for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me,” again suggesting first-hand information.
As Jacob spoke at a gathering of the Nephites in the temple, Nephi wrote down some of the points Jacob covered, including where they were located

It should also be kept in mind that Nephi copied Jacob’s spoken words and placed them onto the plates of his record, saying, “And now, Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me” (2 Nephi 11:1), suggesting not only Nephi’s acknowledgement of what Jacob said, but also his agreement with Jacob’s words.
    Part of the problem we face with theorists is that since four seas does not fit their particular map of their theories about the Land of Promise, they have spent some time trying  to cloud this simple issue—Lehi landed on an isle of the sea, and island in the midst of the ocean over which he traveled to the Land of Promise.
    In fact Nephi said, “I do not write anything upon [these] plates save it be that I think it be sacred” (1 Nephi 19:6), suggesting what he wrote that Jacob said, was not only accurate, but also sacred. In addition, he also said to Jacob, “For he said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation. And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ's sake, and for the sake of our people” (Jacob 1:3-4).
    It seems from all of this, that Nephi was interested in only sacred things be written in the scriptural record, and not only instructed Jacob to follow that pattern, but that he acknowledge what he had written earlier (isle of the sea) was sacred.
Hagoth…went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward. And…they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward 

To substantiate this point, Helaman wrote about the movement of the Nephites into the Land Northward and filled up the land with their expansion and occupation until both the Land Southward and the Land Northward saying: “And it came to pass that 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). Now if you have a sea in all four cardinal directions, chances are it is indicative of being on an island.
(See the next post, “Land of Promise Features that Cannot be Ignored—Where are they in Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes? Part III,” for more scriptural record descriptions of the land of Promise that do not match  Mesoamerica or the Heartland/Great Lakes)

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