By Theodore Brandley
Thanks to everyone who has participated in this discussion thus far. Your input is respected and appreciated. The purpose of this series of articles is to open a forum for the proponents of the two major North American theories on Book of Mormon geography and to explore a possible connection between them. Although there are some theories that are beyond the scope of these articles, most who have participated seem to agree that the narrative in the Promised Land occurred on the Continent of North America. I think all participants would agree that Moroni hid the plates from which The Book of Mormon was translated, and that he later revealed to Joseph Smith the hiding place of those plates to be in a hill near Palmyra, New York.
The dominant geographical feature in The Book of Mormon is the River Sidon. It is the only named river and is mentioned twenty-eight times in the text. It may be said that the River Sidon is the Nile of The Book of Mormon. If the river Sidon can be correctly identified then all other geographical locations should flow from it (pun intended). It is first mentioned in connection with the land of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15). The land of Zarahemla was established by the party of Mulek, son of King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, when the Lord led them across the sea. “And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Helaman 6:10, 8:21; Omni 1:15-16). The Phoenicians are the only people at the time known to have the capability of crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The Greek Historian Herodotus, recorded that the Phoenicians sailed from the Arabian Gulf Coast of Egypt in 600 BC, and in two years circumnavigated Africa.1) It is interesting that the Mulek Party journeyed through the wilderness prior to crossing the great waters. It is probable that they fled from Jerusalem across the Sinai to Egypt where they bought passage on a Phoenician ship. That it was probably Phoenicians who first sailed up the Book of Mormon river is substantiated by the name Sidon. It was probably a Phoenician captain from the home port of Sidon who first sailed up the river and so named it. Continue reading
Note: this is the sixth blog of a six-part series examining the Adam-God theory from the viewpoint of three modern (though deceased) apostles, and now giving the position of the Church on the matter.
The position formally taken by the Church on the Adam-God theory:
The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles (1916):
Scriptures embodying the ordinary signification—literally that of Parent—are too numerous and specific to require citation. The purport of these scriptures is to the effect that God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title “Elohim,” is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and of the spirits of the human race. Elohim is the Father in every sense in which Jesus Christ is so designated, and distinctively He is the Father of spirits….
Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is The Son, as they are sons or daughters of Elohim. So far as the stages of eternal progression and attainment have been known through divine revelation, we are to understand that only resurrected and glorified beings can become parents of spirit offspring. Only such exalted souls have reached maturity in the appointed course of eternal life; and the spirits born to them in the eternal worlds will pass in due sequence through the several stages or states by which the glorified parents have attained exaltation. (As quoted from “The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and The Twelve”; cited in James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982], 466, 473. See also James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75], 5:26, 34 [23-34].)
by Theodore Brandley
By meticulously matching The Book Of Mormon text to the facts on the ground, Warren P. Aston and others have settled the Arabian geography question in the minds of most Latter-day Saints. This is not the case in America where occurred the vast majority of the events of the thousand-year saga of The Book Of Mormon. The American geography of the Book of Mormon has many competing theories that are divided mainly into two camps, those supporting a geography limited to the area of Mesoamerica and those supporting a geography in the north-central and Atlantic regions of the United States. Both groups have evidence to support their claims, which they vigorously defend and just as vigorously condemn the opposing views. There is much divisiveness among the members of the Church in regards to the American geography of The Book Of Mormon. This divisiveness and uncertainty plays into the hands of the enemies of the Church who use it as evidence that The Book Of Mormon is therefore a fable and is not true. Continue reading
Note: this is the third of a three-part series on Elder McConkie and the Adam-God theory, and is part of a larger six-part series reviewing explanations about the theory by Elders Lee, Petersen, and McConkie. The six-part series is in turn part of a larger blog series on Determining Doctrinal Authority in Mormonism. The final and sixth blog on the theory is next (#25). Extra attention has been given to this false theory because it provides opportunity to examine in-depth and in detail the true position of Adam in the plan of salvation and also some of the exceptions, subtleties and nuances within the fallible yet inspired nature of prophets of God.
Below is further frank and clear explanation from Elder Bruce R. McConkie on the Adam-God theory, some of which is and some of which is not found in Determining Doctrine. Also given is a spiritual experience from the ministry of Elder McConkie about the theory. Further commentary about President Brigham Young follows, concluding with true teachings from him about Adam: Continue reading
Note: this is the second of a three-part series of explanations from Elder Bruce R. McConkie about the Adam-God theory, as part of a larger six-part sub-series on the same subject. See the first and third parts for further information. The material is being presented in roughly chronological order, with exceptions.
Unlike most of the material in this blog series, the single lengthy quotation below is not found in Determining Doctrine. The following remarkable rendition speaks for itself:
Bruce R. McConkie:
Every insightful student [of the gospel] will see . . . a total and complete refutation of one of the great heresies of our dispensation, a heresy that refuses to die and continues to live because it is nourished and spread by the enemies of the Church. We speak of the so-called Adam-God doctrine.
There is no better way to refute a heretical doctrine than by teaching the true doctrine. . . . Continue reading