Friday, May 22, 2020

The Face of this Country

In the days of Ether, Moroni, in writing about and abridging the record regarding the Land of Promise, indicated that only those who are willing to serve Jesus Christ, who is the God of this land, may remain here. Others will be swept off. In addition he stated: “For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off” (Ether 2:10).
The angel Moroni visiting Joseph Smith in his home at night

Not finished with this important point, he added: “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven” (Ether 2:12).
    Many North American theorists claim that this statement about freedom relates only to the United States; however, numerous Central- and South American countries are just as “free from bondage, and “from captivity” (by other governments), and “from all other nations.”
    As an example, at least fourteen Western Hemispheric countries followed the U.S. into revolution to secure their independence from European countries and governments:
United States   1776
Haiti   1804
Argentina   1810
Paraguay   1811
Colombia   1820
Chile   1821
Guatemala   1821
Mexico   1821
Venezuela 1821
Ecuador   1822
Bolivia   1824
Peru   1824
Brazil   1825
Uruguay   1828
Canada   1867 (the Queen of England has no power or authority over Canada and is merely symbolic)
Cuba   1902
    Initially, the promise of “this land” was quite clear. At one time, the entire world was covered with flood waters. And as those waters began to subside, Ether had written and Moroni abridged: “for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof” (Ether 13:2). It is unrealistic to think that Moroni meant only a portion of the entire land emerging from the flood—after all, the waters receded off all the land we now know as the Americas.
    So what land was Moroni writing about?
    When Moroni later in 1823 appeared to Joseph Smith and said “there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants” (Joseph Smith History 1:34, emphasis added).
    The question that needs answering is “what continent was meant by Moroni?”
    Naturally today, we know there is both a North America continent and a South America continent. However, in 1823 at the time of Joseph Smith, the “continent” was the entire Western Hemisphere called America. The United States did not consider this land to have two continents until just before World War II.
    This is also understood by Ether’s words: “after the waters had receded from off the face of this land” referring to the flood waters, which receded off the entire land which connected North Central and South America – called America. So0 when this land, or thius continent is given, it refers to the entire land and continent known as America or The Americas, in the time of Joseph Smith in 1823.
Map of America in 1823, by Henry S. Tanner, showing the 24 U.S. States, with Alaska owed by Russia, and Hawaii owned by Britain

It should be noted that the United States in 1823 made up only about 40% of what is the country today, occupying 1,183,785 square miles in 1823 and 2,959,064 today in the continental U.S. To say that “this land” meant only the United States in 1823 when Moroni spoke of it to Joseph Smith, would be inaccurate. In other words, along this line, Moroni meant only 40% of the land or country we know today. In fact, the land that was to be the New Jerusalem was almost not included in this broad sweeping statement, having become part of the U.S. less than two years earlier, having been under the government of France and King Luis XVIII.
    It should be kept in mind that when scriptural reference refers to “land,” it is talking about the entire land involved—if something less is meant, it is so described: Land of Israel; Land of Nephi; Land of Promise, etc. The problem many people have in understanding this is that we have all been brought up thinking of land as being divided into separate nations, separate states, separate cities, etc. However, the Lord sees “this land” as one contiguous land unless he otherwise states a small area.
Thus, we find when Moroni spoke of “the face of this land,” he was referring to the entire physically connected land mass of the Americas, not a small portion of it since the flood waters receded from off the face of this land—not some other land, such as Europe, Asia or Africa. This land refers to the connected land of the Americas. After all, the Lord sees land as land, not as countries or borders as we do.
    This is further borne out when Moroni added:
• This land [the Americas, not Europe, the Middle East or Africa] would be the place of the New Jerusalem—in addition to the Old Jerusalem in Israel (Ether 13:4,6);
• Remnant of the House of Israel brought to the Western Hemisphere (Ether 13:7);
• There shall be a new earth, like unto the old, which had passed away and all things have become new (Ether 13:9)—the entire Western Hemisphere or the Americas, were new with new people brought to it dedicated to the Lord. 
    In addition, when Moroni first visited Joseph Smith at the Smith farm outside of Palmyra, NY, Moroni "gave a general account of the promises made to the fathers, and also gave a history of the aborigines of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham." This would be true for the entire Western Hemisphere since the descendants made up the entire lands of the Americas, not just one country in North America.
    First of all, the word “country” is defined in several ways in Webster’s 1828 dictionary, one of which is: “He sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country”(Hebrews 11:9). That is, the Land of Promise [all of it] was a strange country. In fact, Moroni “gave a general account of the promises made to the fathers, and also gave a history of the aborigenes of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham.“
    Thus, this country meaning the entire Land of Promise, that the aborigines of this entire land were literal descendants of Abraham. In the Joseph Smith Papers, when referring to “this land,” the phrase “the Americas” is used seventeen times.


  1. Here are quotes from the "Joseph Smith Papers" site that mention South America.

    South America

  2. Well done on the post and what George said.