Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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

Continuing with comparing the scriptural record descriptions and consider where these points are in either of the more northern theories claimed by theorists.
North and South
Mormon makes it very clear that in the Land of Promise, there was a seashore on the West (Alma 22:28) and a seashore on the East (Alma 22:29).
Mesoamerica does not actually have an east and west sea as claimed, since they are in the north and south of Sorenson’s map; nor is the Land Southward and Land Northward north and south but east and west

He also tells us that the Land of Nephi, which the Lamanites occupied, was to the south (Alma 22:33) of a narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27), and the Nephites occupied all the land to the north (Alma 22:29), and that the Land of Bountiful was to the north of the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:29) and to the north of Bountiful was the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:31). There was a small neck of land (Alma 22:32), also called a narrow neck of land (Alma 63:5), that could be crossed in a day and a half (Alma 22:32), that lay between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32).
    In addition, when Mormon describes the Land Southward, he tells us it is nearly surrounded by water (Alma 22:32)., with only a narrow neck of land that connects the Land Southward with the Land Northward keeping it from being completely surrounded by water. This is consistent with his remarks in Helaman that when the Nephites expanded into the Land Northward and filled up the land, they then covered all of the Land of Promise. “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, emphasis added).
    Obviously, in Mesoamerica, no Sea South is shown, and if the true directions were given, therewould be a Sea South but not a Sea East.
    It is important for us to keep in mind that Mormon became the General of the Armies at the age of 16 years (Mormon 2:2), and for the next fifty-eight years he led the Nephites in many battles to defend his people against the Lamanites. In all this time he walked back and forth across the entire Land of Promise, from the narrow strip of wilderness in the far south to the narrow neck of land in the north, and eventually retreated with his troops all across the Land Northward, ending up in the far, far north at the hill Cumorah in the Land of Many Waters where he fought his last, great battle.
In all that time, Mormon, as the General of his armies, mapped out the land, looked for strategic areas of advantage (Mormon 6:4), knew where the waters, rivers, paths and roads lay and used them to move his troops in their many retreats across the land. In all of this it would be obvious that Mormon knew and understood the terrain over which he led his troops better than almost anyone else in history.
    In all that time Mormon also abridged the entire Book of Mormon, knowing he was writing for future people, and made many clarifying comments, which he inserted into the descriptions, like Alma 22:27-35, as did his son, Moroni, in abridging the Book of Ether, as in Ether 12:20 through Ether 13:1.
    Mormon knew when he traveled north, northward, east or west. He understood the directions of his land as any military leader would whose safety and success his soldiers relied on. There can be no question that when Mormon wrote “north,” he not only knew it was north, but meant for us to understand it was north.
    In fact, Mormon in the Book of Alma alone, uses directions 125 times: North 37 times, South 22 times, East 35 times, and West 31 times. One should conclude from this that Mormon knew and understood the directions of the land and used them continually so we would have a better understanding of the layout of the Land of Promise.
There are many theorists, including and specifically the unfounded assertions of John L. Sorenson, about the Nephites not understanding a typical compass like the one we use today, showing the cardinal and intercardinal directions. Thus, they conclude, the directions used in the scriptural record are inaccurate, or at least different from the ones we understand toda. So let’s take a look at this. As early as Nephi, we find that cardinal and intercardinal directions were known and understood to mean the same thing then as they do today. As an example, in the one incident in the Book of Mormon dealing with a compass, we find that when Lehi “arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of fine brass and curious workmanship. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither they should go in the wilderness (1 Nephi 16:10).
    Following this event, we find Nephi using correct cardinal directions when he described the party moving down beside the Red Sea. As he stated: “we traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction, and we did pitch our tents again” (1 Nephi 16:13), and Nephi adds when they began again, “And we did follow the directions of the ball, which led us in the more fertile parts of the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:16). Later still, when they changed direction, he wrote: “we did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth” (1 Nephi 17:1). Still later, Nephi referred to the ball as a compass (1 Nephi 18:12), with Mormon also calling it a compass (Alma 37:43), and also the Liahona (Alma 37:38).
     Now, it should be noted that the directions given, i.e., southeast is an intercardinal direction, dividing due east and due south (between southeast and east is east by southeast; and between southeast and south is south southeast). This is the correct direction in which the Red Sea flows between Egypt and Arabia on its way to the Sea of Arabia.
    Then, later, when they turned, he stated they were moving “nearly eastward,” that being a general area to the east between northeast and southeast, again such direction would be correct to head into the Rub’ al Khali desert or the Empty Quarter. Surely, once Lehi landed, they would have oriented themselves to the Land of Promise in relationship to directions—it is the most common thing in the world for anyone to do.
The Liahona showed them the direction in which they should go into the wilderness 

Thus, it can be concluded that both Nephi and Mormon knew the cardinal directions—they both had the Liahona, or compass, and both wrote about directions. Mormon was very careful to list exact directions of travel and places for our better understanding of his north-south Land of Promise, and since he is the one that abridged the record, we can safely conclude that the Nephites knew directions in the Land of Promise, not some weird explanation like Sorenson’s having their back to the sea to determine which direction was east.
    It can also be concluded that Mesoamerica cannot be the Land of Promise since it runs east and west, not north and south.
The map of North America shows the misalignment of several lands, the seas, and lacking a narrow strip of wilderness and true narrow neck of land 

It can also be concluded that North America is not the Land of Promise since the makeup of that land has the Land of Nephi bordering on the Land of Bountiful, and the Land of Zarahemla to the west of the Land of Bountiful. They also have the South Sea (Lake Erie) to the north of the Land of Bountiful, and not in any south direction.
Once again, the question is, where are Mormon’s descriptive areas in the Land of Promise within North America, either in the Heartland or Great Lakes areas.


  1. Any claim saying that the directions in the Book of Mormon don't mean what they say throws the translation process into question. Let's assume that when Mormon said "West" he really meant "seaward" even though the sea was literally to the south. Wouldn't Joseph Smith have been prompted by the Spirit during translation to use the English word "seaward" so that the readers would understand what Mormon really meant? Why would the Spirit prompt the use of cardinal directions that would mislead readers of today, for whom the book was written?

    Claiming that Mormon MEANT to say something different than what we're reading is a claim that the translation was wrong. So it isn't just a question of whether or not Mormon knew his cardinal directions, but it is a question of whether or not Joseph Smith was guided to translate whatever Mormon said into words that we know and understand. Joseph would not have used the word "west" if the record had meant something completely different.

    That's how I see it. Anything other than cardinal directions meaning what we understand them to mean would be misleading by Mormon, Joseph, or both. Why use those words if they aren't the right ones?