Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Promised Land

Where is the Promised Land?

If you were to ask 100 Mormons, “Where is the Promised land?” It’s a pretty safe bet that at least 95 of them would say America is the Promised Land. But it’s interesting that if you asked those same 100 people, “Where did the events in the Book of Mormon take place?” the majority would probably say it all happened in Central America . . . and maybe South America.

It’s not possible for America to be the Promised Land and yet NOT be the land of the Book of Mormon. When writers of the Book of Mormon wrote about the Promised Land, they were talking about the land they were living in at the time. Therefore, if we believe America is the Promised Land, then those writers were living in America.

Joseph-Knew-Book-of-EtherArriving in the Promised Land

“And they did land upon the shore of the promised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them.” (Ether 6:12 italics added)

Looking at this scripture in the book of Ether, it is clear that the Jaredites landed in the Promised Land. If we accept America as the Promised Land, then we accept that they landed in America. Now, if one believes that the events described later in Ether took place in Central America, the only logical explanation is that the Jaredites landed in America, bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, shed tears of joy for the Lord’s mercies in bringing them there, and packed up and moved to another land.

The same logic must also be applied to the events involving the Nephites and the Lamanites.

“And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.” (1 Nephi 18:23 italics added)

If Central America is the land of the Nephites and Lamanites, then they landed, pitched their tents, called it the Promised Land, packed up their tents and moved to Central America.

Either America is the Promised Land spoken of in the Book of Mormon or it isn’t.

Joseph-Knew-3-NephiChrist in the Promised Land

When the resurrected Christ visited the Nephites it was in this land. It was in North America that he reaffirmed the covenant he made with their father Jacob. He miraculously provided bread and wine to the multitude and said:

“And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.” (3 Nephi 20:22 italics added)

Those 100 Mormons will confirm that the New Jerusalem will be in this land of America. In the above scripture Christ says that the New Jerusalem with be in “this land”, the land in which he is standing at the time. He wasn’t standing in Central America and talking about this land up north. He was standing in America and talking to the Nephites about their land, North America.

In January 2012, Elder L. Tom Perry delivered a devotional address at Brigham Young University-Idaho. The address, The Tradition of Light and Testimony, was reprinted in the December 2012 edition of the Ensign magazine. In that address, Elder Perry said:

“The United States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was the birth of the United States of America that ushered out the Great Apostasy, when the earth was darkened by the absence of prophets and revealed light. It was no coincidence that the lovely morning of the First Vision occurred just a few decades after the establishment of the United States.”

Elder Perry is reaffirming what Christ said about this land.

Joseph-Knew-Moroni-Monument-AutumnProphets troughout history have known what Elder Perry knew. When Moroni was finishing his record concerning the destruction of his people, he said:

“Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.

“And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come—after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel—

“And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.” (Ether 13:4-6 italics added)

When we consider statements from ancient prophets, modern-day prophets, and the Lord himself, it’s clear that America, the land of the restoration, is the Promised Land.

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DNA and the Book of Mormon

Joseph-Knew-Hollowhorn-Bear--by-Edward-Curtis-1907NATIVE AMERICAN ANCESTRY

Over the past several years there has been a lot of debate over DNA and the Book of Mormon. Anti-Mormon groups claim that a lack of DNA evidence connecting the people of South and Central America to the Middle East is proof that the Book of Mormon is not a true record of Jewish people in the new world.

There are two major problems with this DNA argument. First, it assumes that Mesoamerica is the land of the Book of Mormon. Second, it assumes that DNA studies done 15 years ago or longer are the final word on Native American ancestry.

NEW INFORMATION

When the Winter Olympic games were held in Salt Lake City in 2002, President Gordon B. Hinckley was asked by a reporter if he had a comment about the DNA Book of Mormon question. He simply responded that all the information wasn’t in yet.

Eleven years later, in 2013, National Geographic Magazine published an article titled “Great Surprise” – Native Americans Have West Eurasian Origins.

In his article, reporter Brian Handwerk reported: “Nearly one-third of Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe, rather than entirely from East Asians as previously thought, according to a newly sequenced genome.”

Joseph-Knew---Baring-Strait-map-byJ.-Bayly-1784-Before this new DNA evidence, the prevailing theory proposed that Native American ancestors came to North America from Asia across the Bering Strait some 16,000 years ago. That theory may very well hold water, but it doesn’t mean that crossing the Bering Strait was the only way people came to North America. We sometimes jump to false conclusions or make erroneous assumptions because we see known facts as the only facts. We sometimes assume that if we have this, then we cannot have that. If it is a fact that today’s Native Americans have ancestors that came from Asia, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have ancestors and DNA from another area as well. According to the genome study’s co-author Eske Willerslev, “This study changes this idea because it shows that a significant minority of Native American ancestry actually derives not from East Asia but from a people related to present-day western Eurasians.” (Great Surprise – Native Americans Have West Eurasian Origins, Brian Handwerk, National Geographic Magazine, November 22, 2013)

Joseph-Knew---Indian-Head-NickelMISSING THE SIMILARITIES WE WOULD EXPECT

We know that Native Americans have a DNA connection to East Asia, but a nagging question has always been there. Why don’t contemporary Asian populations closely resemble Native Americans? Professor Willersley’s response to this question is: “It’s not like you can say that they [Native Americans] are really closely related to Japanese, Chinese, or Koreans, so there seems to be something missing. But this result makes a lot of sense regarding why they don’t fit so well genetically with contemporary East Asians—because one-third of their genome is derived from another population. Maybe, if he looks like something else, it’s because a third of his ancestry isn’t coming from East Asia but from something like the western Eurasians.”

Some scholars who want to hold onto the Bering Strait theory as the only answer for Native American ancestors arriving in North America are proposing that the Middle Eastern DNA was mixed with Asian DNA while still in the old world. While that is a reasonable hypothesis, the Book of Mormon presents another possibility.

The Book of Mormon tells of three groups of people who came to the Promised Land from West Eurasia.

  1. The Jaredites left Babel (modern day Iraq) sometime around 2,200 BC.
  2. The people of Zarahemla, commonly called the Mulekites, came out of Israel sometime around 700 – 600 BC.
  3. Lehi, father of the Nephites and the Lamamnites, left Jerusalem with his people in 600 BC.

When we combine Book of Mormon history with evidence of Jewish rituals and Hebrew artifacts found in North America, the Book of Mormon can answer the question of where this newly discovered DNA connection came from.

Copyright © 2015 by Energy Media Works LLC

When using portions of this article, please credit: JosephKnew.com

If you have comments or questions, we would like to hear them. Just click on leave a comment below.

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Joseph Knew is a member of the Mormon Media Network. Visit us for:

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Image credits:

DNA Strand – pond5.com, cherezoff

Sketch of effigy pipes – Squier and Davis

Hollowhorn Bear – by Edward Curtis, 1907

Bering Strait map – J. Bayly, 1784

Indian Head Nickel – Wikimedia commons, Bobby131313