If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27

Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season therof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. D&C 59:18-20

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Last Days

Revelation 8 opens with "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."

I've often thought about how fortunate the Nephites were before Christ's birth because they were given pretty exact prophecies about the timing of Christ's birth.  The first, of course, was the prophecy tied to Lehi's departure from Jerusalem, that Christ's birth would be 600 years, as recorded in 1 Nephi 19:
8 And behold he cometh, according to the words of the angel, in six hundred years from the time my father left Jerusalem.
And then they had Samuel's 5-year prophecy as recorded in Helaman 14:
And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for five years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name.
These prophecies were pretty exact, within a year, as recorded in 3 Nephi 1.

Now going back to Revelation 8:1, I believe this is our most exact prophecy we have as far as timing.  Some have speculated exactly what the 1/2 hour of silence means, but it obviously is 1/2 hour of the Lord's time, as 1/2 hour of man's time is too insignificant.  We know from Peter that one day of the Lord's time is one thousand years of Earth time:
2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Using that formula, 1/2 hour of the Lord's time would be approximately 21 years.  Of course we can't be precise to the year as the Nephites could be because we don't know precisely when the 7th seal opened.  We have good cause to believe that each of the 7 seals represents one thousand years of the Earth's recorded history, as taught in D&C 77:
Q. What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?A. We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.
So, approximately 21 years after the opening of the 7th seal, we will begin to see the worst of the worst that is going to happen before Christ comes in glory.  Revelation 8-12 describe the scourges upon the earth with the blowing of the 7 trumpets.  We don't know how long the events of each of the trumpets will last, but the torment in the 5th trumpet will last 5 months, and the 6th trumpet has some definite time periods, including the siege of Jerusalem for 42 months, during which the 2 witnesses will be prophesying.

It just struck me tonight how very close we are to the beginning of the 7 trumpets.  Assuming the 7th seal "opened" in the year 2000, the 1/2 hour of silence would come to an end in about 2021.  That's a mere 5 years away.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Heartland Model for BOok of Mormon geography

I have been reading about this model and in my opinion it has some very strong  supporting evidence, much more than the Mesoamerica model.

But, the Heartland Model as currently expounded has some serious flaws.  The geography that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon can't simply be disregarded.

If the Mississippi River is the river Sidon, then what is the Sea West?  The Sea West is so prominently mentioned that it has to be identified for a model to have any credibility.

If the Heartland Model is correct, then the Mississippi is the grand candidate for the Sea West, the Great Lakes for the Sea North, the Gulf of Mexico for the Sea South and the Atlantic as the Sea East.

That makes the Ohio River a good candidate for the river Sidon, considering it's confluence with the Mississippi as the head waters of the Sidon.

I plan to work this up with the detailed geographic descriptions in the Book of Mormon in the coming weeks.

One very good reason for the Mississippi to be the Sea West is because of the extensive shipping and transporting of migrants to the unsettled parts of the Land North.  The Mississippi has a large number of estuaries that could take ships west to the Rockies, north to Canada, south to the gulf, and east to the Atlantic.

More to come.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Rethinking Book of Mormon Geography

Those familiar with this blog know that I have several articles on possible Book of Mormon sites in Central America.  I believe that geographic model works better with the internal movements in the Book of Mormon than any other published.  

However, in my daily reading of the Book of Mormon a few months ago, I was again reminded of the statements by Nephi and Lehi about "this land."  In the last chapters of 1 Nephi, Nephi reviewed Isaiah's prophecies "that the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered" (1 Ne 22:7). Later, in 2 Nephi 10, verses 11-12, Jacob says "And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.  And I will fortify this land against all other nations."   

These were not new scriptures to me, nor the ones that talk about the Book of Mormon coming forth from this land, or prophecies of Columbus and other events that led to the forming of "this land" -- The United States of America.  

However, what struck me this time in my reading is the reality that Nephi, Lehi, and Jacob were standing on this land when they made those statements. They were standing on their land of promise, and their land of promise is the land that became the United States of America. Therefore, my model for Book of Mormon Geography is wrong, because it does not ever have Nephi, Lehi, and Jacob living upon the land now included in the United States of America.  

Where did Nephi, Lehi, and Jacob live at the time of their "this land" statements?  They were still at their first location.  The Nephites didn't separate from the Lamanites till after Lehi's death (the account is given in 2 Nephi 5).  Nephi's people traveled "for the space of many days" and they called the place "Nephi."  That area became known in the Book of Mormon as the Land of Nephi.  From there, the first Mosiah relocated the faithful members again to the Land of Zarahemla, where the Mulekites were living.

To complicate matters (perhaps by divine Design), the destruction at the time of Christ's death on the cross may have changed, even obliterated most of the landmarks that would help us identify the Nephite sites.  Let's review that destruction, as found in 3 Nephi 8-9:

  • a great storm
  • also a great and terrible tempest 
  • city of Zarahemla did take fire
  • city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea
  • the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain
  • the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough
  • many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth
  • thus the face of the whole earth became deformed
  • the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth,
  • the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth;
  • the city of Onihah . . . the city of Mocum, . . . and the city of Jerusalem, waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof
  • the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof
  • that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire
  • the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire
What is a Sea?
The Book of Mormon frequently refers to the West Sea and the East Sea.  In one instance it also refers to a North Sea and a South Sea.  The 1828 Webster's Dictionary defined Sea:

2. A large body of water, nearly inclosed by land, as the Baltic or the Mediterranean; as the sea of Azof. Seas are properly branches of the ocean, and upon the same level. Large bodies of water inland, and situated above the level of the ocean, are lakes. 

3. The ocean; as, to go to sea.

Nephi describes the ocean in this way:  "And it came to pass that I looked and beheld "many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren" (1 Ne 13:10).  "And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters" (1 Ne 17:5).  

To be continued . . .