Friday, January 18, 2019

Where Did Columbus Actually Visit and Land in the Americas? And Where Was Lehi’s Isle of Promise? – Part III

Continued from the previous post that covered where Columbus landed in the New World, and the scriptural record surrounding that event.
Christopher Columbus, the Gentile, on board the Santa Maria checking his navigation to what he thought was Cathay (China); however, the Spirit was guiding him to the Americas

As stated earlier regarding Nephi’s vision, a Gentile,(Columbus) led a parade of other Gentiles who came across the ocean to land upon the promised land, who were followed by “many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise” and that these Gentiles “scattered” Nephi’s brethren who were “smitten” by them (1 Nephi 13:14).
    It should be of note that while Columbus was primarily a dead-reckoning navigator—that is, he used a process of calculating his current position by using a previously determined position or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time and course. To aid in this, he had the compass. He also dealt to some degree with celestial navigation, where he observed celestial bodies to measure his latitude. The most important tool he used in this was the quadrant. It should also be noted that Columbus went to sea at the age of 14 and spent 20 years there before a shipwreck changed his career path—he then studied in Lisbon mathematics, astronomy, cartography and navigation—he sailed along the African coast, Portugal and England. By the time he was ready for his cross-Atlantic voyage of discovery, he had gained considerable experience in sailing, navigation and the study of maps.
    The important point in his voyage to the New World was that he landed among the seed of Nephi’s brethren,” who were the surviving descendants of his brothers, the Lamanites. That this Gentile landed upon the Land of Promise is an important point, for though Columbus is credited with discovering America, he never landed in the area of what is today the United States, nor even in North America. His landings on all four voyages, was limited to the islands of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Thus, any claim that Mesoamerica or North America was the Land of Promise given to Lehi is completely erroneous, since Columbus, who landed among the seed of Nephi’s brethren, never touched Mesoamerican or North American lands. Nor is there any evidence that he: 1) even saw these lands, or 2) even knew they existed.
Then first voyage of Columbus, which course took him into the Bahamas, then to Cuba and finally to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean before turning north and head back into the Atlantic and across to Spain. Note that it is 366 miles from Long Island to the Florida coast; 355 miles from Ragged Island to Florida; and 286 miles from Cayo Cruz, a tiny 32-square-mile islet in the Jardines del Rey (Kings Gardens) archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the northeastern coast of Cuba to Florida

The fact that Columbus landed on the islands of the Bahamas, the islands that today are called Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the islands of the Lesser Antilles, as well as the mainland of South America, and on his last voyage, landing on an island off the coast of northeastern Honduras, which many believe was Guanaja (50 miles off the Honduras coast from Trujillo), where they repaired their storm and hurricane damaged ships and took on supplies. From there they turned south and explored the coasts of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, then limped back toward Santo Domingo, however, his ships were so badly damaged, they set in at Jamaica where they were stranded for a year.
    As far as North America, it was first discovered around 1000 AD, where a Viking settlement was set up on what is now L’Anse aux Meadows in New Foundland, by Leif Erickson (Eriksson), which he called Vinland after discovering grapes in the vicinity, to wait out the winter for a spring return to his home on Greenland, which his father, Erik the Red, had discovered earlier. A small group of Vikings or Norsemen later followed, including Leif’s brother, Thorvald, but they were all killed by Indians, and the area (North America) lay forgotten other than in a few sagas that mention Leif Erickson.
    Thus, to known history of the time, it was the Gentile Christopher Columbus who was led by the Spirit to the discovery of the New World, later called “The Americas,” by the 1507 cartographer, Martin Waldseemüller, thinking at the time it had been Amerigo Vespucci that had discovered this new land. By the time he realized his mistake, the term “America” was the name of South America and all the rest of the Western Hemisphere.
The arrival of Christopher Columbus in America in 1492. He first landed in what is now the Bahamas, on an island the natives called Guanahani and Columbus named San Salvador

In history, then, we learn that this man (Columbus) and others (Spanish Conquistadors) came to the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 13:12), in which the seed of Nephi’s brethren (Lamanites) were driven and smitten (brutally killed).  Now, since Columbus and the conquistadors never set foot in the area of the United States or Canada, and had no contact or interaction with the indigenous peoples besides the islands of the Caribbean, South America and Central America, it should be concluded that the initial meaning of Nephi’s vision was that of Columbus and the Spanish. Again, eliminating those in North America.
    Of course, the conquistadors did impact the Aztecs of Mexico, defeating them in 1521. Two years later, he attacked the Maya in the lowlands south of the Aztec Empire. At their peak, the Maya controlled Tabasco and Chiapas in southern Mexico, the Yucatan, all of Guatemala, Belize, and western Honduras and El Salvador; however, after their collapse around 900 AD, they had been in severe decline, so when the Spanish arrived the Aztec and Inca them, had being decimated by internal civil wars, and the Maya were considerably weakened in people and military might in their decline.
    In addition, Nephi goes on to tell us about the forming of the American colonists and the origination of the United States (1 Nephi 13:16-19), which extends the promised land also into North America, specifically the area of present-day United States. This is also stated by many modern-day prophets, including Joseph Smith, that the promised land and Zion are both North and South America.
    Therefore, it can only be concluded that the Land of Promise encompasses South America, Central America, and North America—the entire Western Hemisphere.
    To claim that only the United States, or only the Eastern U.S., or only the Great Lakes area, is the Land of Promise, as many theorists today have done, is absolutely without merit and without scriptural reference. Nephi made it abundantly clear that Columbus and the others came to his brethren, driving and smiting them—this did not take place initially in North America, but in southern Mexico, Mesoamerica, and most particularly in Andean Peru of South America, where the conquest was the most severe with both loss of life and outright brutality.
The fighting in North America was with native arrows, tomahawks and knives against European rifles and guns. The fighting in Central and South America was with Aztec and Inca studded clubs, bludgeons, and knives and against Spanish brutality with mounted cavalry with long swords, spears and maces

As covered earlier, the indigenous death rate in South America as a result of the conquest was astonishingly large, with brutal slayings, human sacrifice, torture and enslavement. It was incomparably brutal and wanton killing, the definition of “to smite” as used in the scriptural record of the encounter of the Gentiles against the seed of Nephi’s brethren.
    Regarding the size of continents in the Western Hemisphere, it should be noted that Lehi’s “isle of promise” or the Land of Promise of the Book of Mormon Jaredites and Nephites, is a much lesser area in size than these two continents, which make up the overall promised land the Lord has mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants, and Church leaders regarding the Western Hemisphere.
    Lehi’s land, which they had obtained (2 Nephi 1:3), was part of a larger land that was “choice above all other lands” (2 Nephi 1:5), which was not only that land that was granted to Lehi and his children forever (2 Nephi 1:5), but the larger land area was “consecrated unto [them] whom [God] shall bring…and shall be a land of liberty unto them” and “unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever” (2 Nephi 1:6-7). Both Lehi’s portion and the entire promised land would “be kept as yet form the knowledge of other nations” (2 Nephi 1:8).
    Speaking of his own posterity in that portion of the land that had been promised to him and his seed forever, Lehi added, “Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9). But seeing the future, Lehi completed his prophecy regarding his portion of the promised land and his posterity within it, “Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten” (2 Nephi 1:11).
    Thus, the land the Jaredites were granted as their land of promise, which “(Ether 2:7-8), or promised land (Ether 6:5,8,12), were much more compact than the areas of continents today.

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