Thursday, May 21, 2020

In Reading the Scriptures – Finding the Land of Promise

There are three different main locations so far isolated by theorists and that is South America, Mesoameria, and North America, the latter including the Heartland Theory as well as the Great Lakes theory.
    So many theorists have built extensive scenarios for their different theories, all claiming theirs alone is based on the scriptural record, necessitating the need to determine the value of each claim by comparing their points to the scriptural record.
    To begin with, the basic geographical understanding of the Book of Mormon should be considered in these stages:
1. Getting from Jerusalem to Bountiful
2. The building of Nephi’s ship
3. Sailing to the Land of Promise
4. Where exactly did Lehi land and what was found there?
5. Location of events and places depicted in the Land of Promise
6. Does the location match later descriptions by Mormon?
7, Did the land eventually match Hebrew Life, Customs, and Religion?
    In understanding these scriptural references, we also need to consider how the Lehi Colony reached the Western Hemisphere. Obviously, we know they came by boat, and there are sufficient clues in Nephi’s writings to illustrate what kind of ship it was, how big it was, and it how it sailed (propulsion force), and therefore where it landed and Lehi disembarked.
    So let’s cover these five items:
1) Getting from Jerusalem to Bountiful. Of the first item listed above, the course Lehi took out of Jerusalem until he reached the shore which he called Irreantum, is clearly stated in the scriptural record. At one point, Nephi even verifies his course using compass points. In addition, the Red Sea is clearly known and understood, as is the difficult desert inland from the Red Sea.
    One question that needs answering:
• Where was Nephi's ship built?
Thus, nearly all scholars and theorists agree that Bountiful was located along the southern shore of the Arabian Peninsula, with Khor Rori or to a lesser degree Khor Kharfot, suggested being the point of embarkation.
2) The building of Nephi’s ship. The next point is the construction of the ship the Lord told Nephi to build that was to carry them across the great deep to the Land of Promise. This requires answering several questions, such as:
• What was the size of Nephi's ship?
• What was the appearance of Nephi's ship?
• How long did it take to construct Nephi's ship?

• How was Nephi's ship built?
• What made Nephi’s ship not built after the manner of men?
• How many people set sail on Nephi's ship?
3) Sailing to the Land of Promise. The next point is the actual voyage from the Arabian Peninsula to the Land of Promise. This suggests some additional questions:
• Into what ocean or sea did Nephi launch his ship?
• What moved Nephi’s ship?
• In what direction did the ship travel and why?
• What ocean(s) did Nephi's ship cross?
• What are the ocean currents like along the route Lehi took?

• What caused the great storm that turned Nephi's ship back?
• How important are winds and sea currents to a weather-driven ship?
Now since Nephi describes his ship as being “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 18:8,9), we have to understand what this means and that the wind pushed the ship forward, generally along the route in which the wind blew the ocean currents. Thus to proceed toward the location of the Land of Promise, we have to follow the winds and currents from the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula.
4) Where exactly did Lehi land and what was found there? Here are additional questions that must be answered in order to find a matching location to the landing site:
• Where did the winds and currents stop so a landing could be affected?
• How do we know that this is the correct landing site?
• Is it, or what is, an island as Jacob claimed?
• What did the Lehi Colony do upon first landing and does the land allow for that?
• Did the land’s climate match the Mediterranean climate of Jerusalem so Lehi’s seeds would germinate and grow exceedingly?
• Did the land have abundant gold and silver within sight where they landed?
• Did the land nearby their landing site include a forest full of both domestic (feral) and wild animals?
• What else did Nephi find in the area of their landing?
5. Does the location of events and places depicted in the Land of Promise match this area? Mormon gave us numerous details about the land to which we can compare any site that a theorist might suggest.
• Is the land configured in a north south direction?
• Were there two unknown animals that were valuable to man?
• What were the two unknown grains equivalent to wheat and barley?
• Were there herbs and plants that could cure malaria (killing fevers)?
• Did it have a sea that divided the land?
• Did it have four seas?
• Did it have a legitimate small or narrow neck of land separating the Land Southward from the Land Northward?
• Did the land have abundant ore of every kind?
6) Does the location match later descriptions by Mormon? Regarding the ongoing growth of the Land of Promise, there are additional questions that must be answered:
• Did the land have mountains whose height is great (after the crucifixion)?
• Did the land eventually have roads and highways from city to city, from land to land, and from place to place?
• Did the land eventually have metallurgy?
7. Did the land eventually match Hebrew Life, Customs, and Religion?
    In addition, Nephi and others, as well as a knowledge of 600 B.C. Jewish custom, helps us identify other aspects of Nephite life and, therefore, what to look for when we start talking about a geographical model for the Land of Promise. Questions that should be asked:
• Irrigation as an important development in the new land?
• Circumcision practiced by the House of Israel in the Land of Promise?
• Advanced medical knowledge among the Chosen People in the Land of Promise?
• Skeletal remains of great battles in a matching location to scripture?
    In knowing all these most important aspects of the journey to and while in the Land of Promise, which Nephi and Mormon points out in many ways, we can know for a surety on what currents, and with what winds, their ship was propelled. And in knowing this, where the ship went and where it landed, and what they initially found there, and what existed there over time. 
    The point of all this is to show that if one is to determine a site or model for the Land of Promise, one must show how that location matches ALL the scriptural indicaters—-how the scriptural references are found and explained within the model. To-date, only the island of Andean South America, as it appeared between 600 B.C. and 400 A.D. can match EVERY can be answered correction and match the scriptural record. 
    For verification of this, and answers to all these questions and how they match a Land of Promise model, see the book: “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.”

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