QUOTE(maupayman @ Feb 13 2008, 05:10 PM)
1) Jacob 2:12 - This is after Nephi has died, Jacob is teaching the Nephites.
This is after the promise in 2 Nephi 1:9 was, by your account, removed and
they no longer had the promise to "possess the land unto
themselves", referring to the promised land.
"And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you,
that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all
manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise
unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully."
The fact that Jacob is still referring to the area they live, "this
land", as the land of promise certainly implies that the promised land
was not just the small area where they landed, before they supposedly mixed
with the natives.
And yet this very verse is a strong indication that were lots of other
communities around. The problem is that people are searching for gold and
silver which "doth abound most plentifully." There are several
reasons that this is problematic. First, unworked ore is just pretty (maybe).
Second, if it is abundant and everyone has it, it isn't valuable - simple
economics. In order to have value, it has to be worked so that it is
something rare (not abundant) and it has to be traded to someone who doesn't
have it. I'll trade you my necklace for yours doesn't make for much economic
jealousy, which is the problem Jacob is denouncing.
As for the land, I still see this one as very limited. There is no way a
small group of people (or even a small village) is going to wander all over
the hemisphere looking for gold and silver. The clear implication is that it
is close by - ergo a small land.
9 And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning
this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess
it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath
shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they
are ripened in iniquity.
This is certainly the theme of the Nephites - in Nephi, later Zarahemla, and
later Bountiful. They failed and were swept off the land.
10 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
The Nephites are eventually swept off after the "fulness of iniquity
among the children of the land." This was a fulfilled promise.
11 And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye
may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your
iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of
the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
I see evidence that Nephites considered Teotihuacanos the destructive
Gentiles. They came in to the land and the promis was that the wrath of God
would come upon them as well. It did.
12 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, if they will but serve the God of the
land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we
This is a conditional promise and at times the Nephites lived under it. How
about the US? Certainly the held an entire race in severe bondage. Their
treatment of the Native Americans was certainly appropriately bondage. The
early fathers thought that King George held them in bondage. That doesn't
make the US a very good fit in anything except popular reading (by North
As Chris put it: "That the "land of
promise" here and in the promise to the Nephites is not limited to the
Tehuantepec seems to be confirmed by the address to Joseph Smith's Gentile
audience in the USA."
I know that it was read that way, but it is actually a very strained read.
The text reads better in a more ancient (and prophetically fulfilled)
Moroni is saying that the Gentiles for which this book
is intended, being modern day North Americans I assume, now possess the land
that was referred to as the land of promise by the Jaredites and Nephites.
This clearly means North America and not a small area in Southern Mexico.
Actually, Mormon assumes that the book is for the Lamanites principally. The
Gentiles help bring it to them, but Mormon points it to the Lamanites. We
gentiles just appropriate it.
"And the Father hath commanded me that I should
give unto you this land, for your inheritance."
Bountiful, just north of Zarahemla, where the Nephites have been for a couple
of hundred years before and will be for about 400 more.
Christ seems to think that they are still in the land
of inheritance, which he prepared for them and their seed.
Right. Not thousands of miles away (in either direction, take your pick).
2 Nephi 10:19 - Jacob teaching about the promises made
to his people:
"Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who
shall be numbered among they seed, forever, for the land of their
inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all othere
lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall
worship me, saith God."
Standard Nephite promise. This is your land as long as you obey God. It was
given first in the land of Nephi, but the Nephites were driven from that
land. It was later renewed in Zarahemla, and later after the removal to
Bountiful. The promise followed the people. It was used as proof of the
promise that when they were wicked that they were conquered. Nothing here
requires a very extensive land.
Besides, what is choice? I have been through New England winters. I'll take
highland Guatemala. I currently live in the desert Southwest. Highland
Guatemala is still better. What kind of "choice land" are you
These promises again certainly imply that the land of
inheritance, or promise, given to Lehi and his descendants was larger than
the isolated landing area you and Brant are suggesting. Jacob also seems to
still think that he and his seed are living in the land of promise.
No, they don't. They are consonant with a small area. Please show me why you
think differently. Jacob lives in the land of promise (Lehi received the
promise before they arrived, the Nephites were forced out of that first
landing very soon). Jacob's descendants will lose their promise through
wickedness and only a small number escape to Zarahemla - and the promise
moves with them.
At times the promise is actually individualized to personal righteousness. It
is a promise of protection with righteousness of the people. It really isn't
any particular land - except when righteous people are on it.
These verses are consistent with the original
teachings of the church of a hemispheric model. There is no indication to
what you, Brant, and others are suggesting, with this small promised land
which they lost in a matter of years.
They are read that way, but they do not say it. They are actually not
consistent with a hemispheric model. The only way they can be read that way
is to begin with that assumption and read the text against the modern
assumption, not against the text itself. That tells me that it isn't part of
the text at all.
In regard to the other nations mentioned in 2 Nephi
1:5, I anticipated someone bringing up this verse. I agree with your
assessment that this land would be a shared with other nations, but the
question is when?
Again, it depends on the kind of evidence you accept. There are a couple of
prophecies given in the Old World which make most sense if they were given
with either prophetic future (or historical past) knowledge of others in the
land. There is the evidence of the size of the population. There is the
evidence of the economics of the population, and particularly the problem of
polygyny at such an early time (not to mention incest issues). There is
Jacob's sermon that Nephi told him to give that makes most sense as a
dialogue inviting gentiles into a Nephite community (otherwise, it is a
rather pointless discussion of something rather irrelevant thousands of years
in the future - not much of a reason a king would request it). Military
actions at an early date indicate larger populations that could be supported
with the empty continent hypothesis.
Absolutely the only reason for not seeing others in the text is that they are
not explicitly mentioned. Implicitly, they are all over the place. If you are
reading the text in the ancient mode of a high context socieity (where they
tend not to tell you what you should already know), then this not only makes
sense, but makes the implicit information of the utmost importance, because
that is precisely where such information should be.
Nephi prophesies about Columbus, presumably, and the
subsequent colonization of the land explicitly in the BoM.
We think so, but it never really fits. Columbus never sets foot on any part
of the promised land (where ever you think it might have been). It seems that
there is a vision of the founding of the US but as a prelude to the discovery
of the Book of Mormon - not as a discussion of Nephite lands.
Given the audience for which the BoM was intended,
This is another popular misconception. We think it was for modern people.
There is no evidence in the text that Mormon or Mormoni (or Nephi, for that
matter) conceived a a future people much different from the people they were
familiar with. As I already noted, Mormon is pretty explicitly writing to the
Lamanites first - and the gentiles could tag along.
I think this is consistent with D&C 10:49-51 as
well, where it is talking about the plates and record of the Nephite prohets:
"their faith in their prayers was that this gospel should be made know
also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this
If Nephite prophets were aware of "other nations" already
inhabiting the land, why would they wonder if it were possible that other
nations should possess this land? It seems to me that these references imply
future colonization by other nations. In fact, apparently the Nephite
prophets clearly were unaware of other nations.
Using a modern reading to support the modern reading seems a bit circular,
doesn't it? I would never suggest that it the text was not read
hemispherically. The issue isn't how it was read, but how it should