What are the advantages and consequences of the Book of Mormon lands being an analog of the Biblical lands?

  1. The whole Book of Mormon story becomes far more visual, and, therefore, more believable and understandable to the mind’s eye. As you read and ponder, “It just fits.”
  2. The physical environment of the two areas is nearly identical. It is straightforward, therefore, to correlate with the Biblical environment—climate, plants, animals, topography, and scale. The area of Baja California and Southern California is the only location in North America that is analogous to the Biblical Lands in climate and other physical features.
  3. The human environment of the two areas is also basically the same. It is uncomplicated, therefore, to correlate with Biblical customs, culture, religious practices, although some were obviously altered. Agricultural crops and animal husbandry would be in parallel, especially with identical climate and physical conditions for seed germination and for the growing of crops “exceedingly.” Nephi says they “gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.” And that when they got to their new home “we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance.”
  4. As a result of these parallels, a Biblical dictionary or Biblical encyclopedia provides helpful insights into Book of Mormon practices and customs and physical features.
  5. Book of Mormon locations with Biblical place names now mirror Biblical locations, not only in name, but as analogs in physical and topographic location and situation. For example, River Sidon, Head of Sidon, Hermounts, Jershon, Gilgal, and Ephraim. All these places are in the land of Zarahemla and northward and were possibly named by the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites). The people of Zarahemla settled in these areas before the Nephites.
  6. The scattering of the Book of Mormon people (Lamanites and Nephites) and the scattering of the Jews provide an insightful parallel. The respective curses on their homelands also is a parallel. As prophesied, the descendants of Judah over the centuries have closely followed this scattering pattern of the Nephites and Lamanites. Because of iniquity they were swept from their Biblical homeland, scattered to distant lands, and smitten by the gentiles. In time, the Lord promised, by covenant, they would be gathered and embrace the gospel. Only the instruments of scattering—the Babylonians and the Romans—and the timing of the stages varied from the Lamanite and Nephite pattern. But unlike the Lamanites and Nephites, the Jews, with the Lord’s direction, have been able to maintain their identity and recall the location of their homeland. To better understand their two histories, we underscore this parallel: Just as we would not expect to find the Biblical homeland of the Jews in the lands where they have been scattered, such as Europe, Russia, or North America (the diaspora), we should not expect to find the Book of Mormon homeland of the Nephites and Lamanites in the lands where they now live or have lived in their scattered condition.
  7. It removes the need for weak explanations or numerous assumptions to support missing geographical evidence in proposed locations of Book of Mormon lands. We no longer need to constantly force “a square peg into a round hole.” Instead we have a round peg that fits comfortably into a round hole. Here are some examples of weak explanations:
  • Turkey flocks, instead of goats or sheep.
  • Wood swords with obsidian inserts, instead of steel swords.
  • Scarcity of barley crops, even though barley is basic to the Nephite monetary system.
  • More than four cardinal directions to accommodate ill-fitting geographical models, instead of just North, East, South, and West.
  • The necessity of intervening physical nodes to shorten distances that don’t fit.
  • Complex spanning of isthmuses to fit proposed “narrow necks of land.”
  • Two east seas or two west seas to accommodate proposed models.
Updated: Tuesday, 13 July 2010

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What are the advantages and consequences of the Book of Mormon lands being an analog of the Biblical lands?