Sunday, February 16, 2020

Understanding the Word “to”

Quite often those who read the scriptural record skip right over what appears as inconsequential words, like “this” and “that,” “in” and “to.”
One example is the word “at” as opposed to “in,” when Nephi writes: “my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” (1 Nephi 1:4, emphasis added). The word “at” means “nearness” or “towards” (Noah Webster, 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language). Thus, in thinking about the word “in” as we read this passage we get the understanding that Nephi is telling us his father, and therefore himself, lived near Jerusalem, not inside the city walls. This can be quite important as we realize that inside the city in 600 BC, there was no room for gardens, animals, nor the storage of tents, etc. So Lehi, living outside the city walls, had some type of farm where he could grow his own crops, have animals present, as well as the big Bedouin tents (the only tents known in that age). This means that when the Lord told Lehi to “take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:2, emphasis added), he was telling him to leave the developed land, his homeland, and civilization and go into another, quite different land.
Another word that is sometime overlooked, is the word “to.” Mormon gives us a double meaning when he writes: “And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward” (Alma 63:7, emphasis added).
He also wrote: “In the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died also, and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship, to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land” (Alma 63:10, emphasis added).
In addition, Mormon writes of large numbers of Nephites who: “departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4)
First of all, the word “into” means entrance or a passing from the outside of a thing to its interior parts. Thus, these Nephites went from outside the land which was northward, into that land, and did so by ship. Or, more importantly went from the Land of Promise and into another land.
Also, we can take a look at the word “to.” This word is used in several similar ways, as in “and set out again to the land northward” and “Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship.” In both these cases, in the first ship’s second voyage (Alma 63:7), and later in Corianton taking supplies (Alma 63:10), the word to is used to indicate their destination. These two instances, connected with Hagoth’s ships, is a rare reference to a land northward. Perhaps a look at the word to will help us better understand these destinations.
As an example, when a person is at home, they go into the bedroom, but to another person’s house; they go into the back yard, but to the park and play; they go to work before they enter into the office.
There is a difference to traveling into a land and traveling do a land

This means that while in the promised land you go into the land northward, but to a disconnected land that is northward. Thus, references of Nephites entering into the land northward which is beyond the narrow neck is stated as into the land northward, but in the case of Hagoth’s immigrants, they went to a land which was northward i.e., they went to a land, which land was northward. 
    It is also important to keep in mind, that if these emigrants merely went into the land northward, they would have later been encountered by Nephite emigrants, especially those indicated who spread from sea to sea throughout the land northward (Helaman 3:8), and over the entire face of the earth—yet, there is no mention regarding them after their emigration by ship.
    Even when Mormon, who had read all the records (Words of Mormon 1:3), and abridged the main chronological history of the Nephites, needed assistance to fight the Lamanites in the land northward, he said nothing about this earlier group of some 20,000 to 30,000 emigrants, who by this time 500 years later would have numbered in the millions.40 Thus, it can likely be concluded that they were not in the land northward and never had been.
    The Book of Mormon scholar’s view that these were merely those who filled up the land northward from sea to sea and were later called back (3 Nephi 3:13) to fight the Lamanites, is weak since there is no tie-in account given. That is, surely, had the former group been intended, there would have been some indication that those who had gone into the land northward by ship, were in the land northward and part of those who came to fight robbers, or even later to help fight the Lamanites in the final days. But there is no indication.
The Nephites traveled to a land “which was northward,’ separate from the Land of Promise

Theorists try to claim that this was merely a movement of Nephites into the Land Northward, but since Mormon wrote that one ship had never been heard from again, it would be unlikely he would later talk about those in the Land Northward without making some remark or some connection with those earlier thought to have been lost at sea.
    Thus, as Mormon states they were never heard from again, it must be assumed they went elsewhere and never returned and neither they nor their ship ever returned to the Land of Promise. Thus, they were elsewhere and not available to the Nephites later on to combat the Lamanites in the final wars of annihilation, and thus not mentioned by Mormon. Consequently, they did not just go into the Land Northward. Nor was there anywhere in the Land Northward not later occupied as Helaman writes (Helaman 3:8).
    Nor could it be said that neither they nor other ships did not reach their destination “to the land which was northward,” disconnected from the Land of Promise—surely had that first ship of immigrants not achieved its goal, it is highly unlikely another ship would have been sent, especially when men traveled with their wives and children.
    Yet, the scriptural record gives no indication that there was any hesitancy on the part of the second and third set of emigrants for they sailed northward also (Alma 63:6-7)—and at least one group in the same ship as had first sailed north. In addition, enough was known a year or more after the first ship sailed that Corianton boarded a ship and sailed northward carrying supplies to the immigrants. However, Mesoamerican theorists and scholars claim that Corianton was merely taking supplies to those who had gone into the land northward through the narrow neck.
    If that was the case, then why not send for him to return and take over custody of the records.
    In fact, the theorists’ idea of Corianton’s supply voyage simply going to the area just beyond the narrow neck has two things working against it:
1) to make a supply voyage worthwhile, the destination and point of use of the supplies would have to be on or close to the coast, yet those who went into the land northward filled up the land from sea to sea; and
While in the Land of Promise those in the Land Southward and those in the Land Northward would have had easy contact with one another; however, those who went in Hagoth’s ships “to a Land which was Northward” would not have had contact with those in the Land of Promise

2) a careful understanding of the subsequent events should indicate that Corianton did not go to the Land Northward, for his name or heritage is never mentioned again—and as the youngest son of Shiblon, and to whom the records would have rightfully gone had he remained in the land of promise—he was not available when the time came to pass on the records (Alma 63:10). The fact that he had left, and there seemed no chance he would be returning to the land of promise, nor could he be contacted to do so, Shiblon gave the records to his nephew, Helaman (Alma 63:11).
    These facts can hardly be ignored, and they certainly throw great doubt upon the idea that these emigrants merely went into the Land Northward.
    Another important point is that no one knew where the immigrants in the first and third ships went. There is no indication they reached any objective, nor how they interacted with other Nephites in the Land Northward, even though the first ship returned for a second group of immigrants? This is easily answered if Hagoth’s first ship (and subsequent ones) went so far north that they reached another land that had no intercourse with the land of promise. If Jacob knew what he was talking about when he said, and Nephi understood what he wrote—that the Lehi colony was led across the ocean and landed on an island (2 Nephi 20:10)— then this picture makes a great deal of sense. Frequent mention of a land nearly surrounded by water (Alma 22:32), of a north, south, east and west sea (Helaman 3:8) also suggest an island.
    Thus, the word to denotes motion toward a place. That is, the Nephites on the second voyage, which “set out again,” suggesting the same destination as the first voyage, went to the land northward. The ship was heading toward a place, not by, through or past the land northward, but to a land that was northward. This obviously suggests separation. Therefore this land which was northward was not connected to the land northward beyond the narrow neck of land mentioned in vs. 5. These two voyages of the first ship and at least the voyage of Corianton’s ship later that took supplies to the immigrants, went to a land which was northward.

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