Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Death Knell for Mesoamerica – Part III

Continuing with the reason for Mesoamerica’s death knell to the theorists Land of Promise model according to the fact their model does not match the descriptions of Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni. In the first post we discussed Nephi’s comments, and in the second Jacob’s comments, ending with Moroni’s use of north, south and east correctly in the Jaredite writing.
An Island is an Island

It is difficult to consider that what we just discussed means anything other than what it says. If this was written in BC times one might have a case for trying to make “isle” mean something other than an “island,” however, Joseph Smith chose this word to use in 1829, when “isle” meant “island” and nothing else. To try and make this into something else is to suggest, then, that the Spirit, who guided the translation felt it was all right to use a confusing conflict of meanings in words.
    Besides, if Jacob meant far off land, he could easily have said that, i.e., “for we are upon a far off land on the other side of the sea.”
    Therefore, an isle is an isle, or island, which is “a tract of land surrounded by water,” or exactly what we understand an island to be. Islands can be small, or large, and this fact should not deter one from thinking of the Land of Promise as an island, i.e., on a track of land surrounded by water.
    Tract. In 1828, a tract of land meant a region, or quantity of land of indefinite extent. As Noah Webster added to his definition, “We may apply tract to the sandy and barren desert of Syria and Arabia, or to the narrow vales of Italy and Sardinia. We say, a rich tract of land in Connecticut or Ohio, a stony tract or a mountainous tract. We apply tract to a single farm, or to a township or state.”
    Thus, the island they were upon could have been as large as a state, though no doubt smaller to fit into the semi-Limited Geography Model, yet still of considerable size to match the distances and population sizes outlined in the scriptural record.
    As a result, we have a clear understanding from Jacob that the Land of Promise was an island, surrounded by water. Nephi, who wrote down Jacob’s talk to the Nephites in the temple added following Jacob’s statement about being on an island: “And now, Jacob spake many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me.”

An example of an Island in the midst of the sea, surrounded by water Sea to the North, sea to the South, sea to the East and sea to the West

So we have two prophets speaking on a single subject in which they both say the Nephites were living upon an island in the midst of the sea over which they traveled to get to it. But that is not all. Helaman verifies the island setting by stating: “they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that 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).
    Another death knell for a Mesoamerican since the Land of Promise for Mesoamerica is not, and never was according to geologists, an island!
    One would think that intelligent, well educated people with letters after their names would be hesitant to accept Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise when so much is against it that has been written for explanation of the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon that the Mesoamerican model simply does not meet.
    Now, let us turn to Moroni and see what he has said about this.
    In this last of the Nephite prophets writing while translating or abridging the Jaredite record, it is interesting that he uses the concept of north in the Jaredite flow of cardinal points in the same way that he himself uses it, yet according to Sorenson, the Hebrews, which the Jaredites were not, had a special understanding of north that is different from ours today.
    Yet, if both the Nephites and the Jaredites had the same understanding of north and south, how is it possible the two cultures, so far separated in time, had the exact same understanding of a different set of cardinal points?
As an example, early in the narrative, the Lord tells the Brother of Jared to gather the people and their things and meet him in “the valley which is northward” (Ether 1:42, emphasis added), and later, when the people were gathered and headed into the wilderness, they “went down into the valley which was northward” (Ether 2:1, emphasis added). Now, later, in the time of Lib, when poisonous serpents came forth, we see the correct usage of both south and north used again. “And there came forth poisonous serpents also upon the face of the land, and did poison many people. And it came to pass that their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla (Ether 9:31), and it came to pass that there were many of them which did perish by the way; nevertheless, there were some which fled into the land southward (Ether 9:32). Now, after the people repented, the rains came, “and the people began to revive again, and there began to be fruit in the north countries…” (Ether 9:35).
    Also “southward” and “northward” are again used correctly (Ether 10:21; 13:11). In addition “eastward” is used (Ether 9:3; 14:26). Now, if these directions are used in Ether by the Jaredite authors, then one can only wonder how their various directions were the same as the Hebrew different directions of the Nephites. The chances that both these cultures, some 1500 years apart, with no interaction between them came up with the same different cardinal direction for the same words, both different from the rest of the world, seems unusually peculiar. And if the argument is that Moroni merely translated his own direction for the Jaredite direction, that is even more peculiar—why would he do that?
    Another death knell for Mesoamerica!
    As for Moroni’s usage, if he translated the Jaredite language, he would have done so with the use of the Urim and Thummim, which would have given him the Jaredite direction as they wrote them. This means if the Mesoamericanist wants to claim that Moroni then inserted his own directional word, he would have had to change the direction (not just a word) in substitution for the Jaredite direction.
    That is something not done in translation, for it means that Moroni, in reading the Jaredite record would have had to say, in effect, that the Jaredite writer made a mistake and used the wrong direction, which is hardly the way one translates the religious record using the Urim and Thummim. And if he was merely abridging a previously translated writing, then he would have willingly altered the inspired translation of someone else—again, not the role a prophet would take.
    Consequently, we are left with either the fact that Moroni changed the Jaredite record, or he translated it correctly and Sorenson is wrong in his altering the directions of the Nephite Land of Promise.
This seems to be a “no brainer” choice and once again leaves the Mesoamerican theorist on the short end of Land of Promise location with his Mesoamerica model.
    It should also be noted that Moroni appears to be very comfortable with the Jaredite directions when he uses them, and needs no corrections to the engraved markings he makes on the plates when listing them, as found frequently in the scriptural record where the writer adjusted his explanation after starting out with the wrong interpretation.
(See the next post, “The Death Knell for Mesoamerica – Part IV,” for more on how Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni disqualify Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise)


  1. The "death knell" for the South American model, in most people's eyes, is the fact that it doesn't look like an island at all, and has no "east sea" within reasonable distance.

    But that is because society as a whole is completely sold on uniformitarianism. It is now considered "fact" that little has changed geologically in millions of years. Thus, the proposal of the Andrean region as an island 2000 years ago is absurd to them. Indeed, just as absurd as claiming that a Pangaea configuration existed 6000 years ago, etc.

    I remember when I told a friend of mine that the Mesoamerican model forced itself to fit the Book of Mormon description (as is well described in these blogs). Then I said why I believed the Andes was the right place. But once I said that the Amazon Basin was a shallow sea, he said, "wait a minute! That's totally forcing your map into the scriptures, just like you said the mesoamericanists do!" To him, that was the death knell and nothing else mattered.

    I never saw the clear fit of the Andes until I had an epiphany which was centered around the story of Noah's flood. If it happened as the scriptures describe, then almost nothing taught about large scale geology is true. Uniformity would all be a misinterpretation of current observation and an abandonment of ancient scripture AND ancient legends as authoritative source material. It's an approach where "I only believe what I can see at this very moment" is applied.

    Once I realized that both the Book of Mormon and the Bible proclaim that catastrophic change is a historical fact, then I could see the rest. But anybody who has not come to realistic terms with the great flood or 3 Nephi 8 will see the South American model as absurd...even an easy target for disqualification. The best way to hide something in plain sight is to make people believe the teachings of men over those of God.

    So...Cover all the land with water in a hurry, then drain it in a hurry... And that is all you need to change everything you see. No matter how you believe the flood happened, nothing would look quite the same afterword.

  2. Thanks for sharing Todd. I had a similar epiphany when first studying the Andes as the Book of Mormon location. Mine was around Helaman 14:23. “... shall be many places which are now called valleys which shall become mountains, whose height is great.”
    Upon studying this my thought was not -“did mountains rise suddenly” but rather - all of Samuel’s prophecies came true, so new mountains rose suddenly- the correct question is - if not the Andes, then where? I researched and could not find where science claimed any mountains newer than the Andes.