Friday, December 15, 2023

The Promised Land: Landing the Jaredites and Lehites somewhere...

Taking the position that there are complete worlds that used to be joined with our own but are now separated, and that Stones in the past have led people across an 'ocean' (i.e., outer space), such as Lehi's group, has been a bit of a leap of faith that this idea itself could land somewhere that made sense.

As I mentioned in my last post, I need my stories to make sense (regardless of the premise), and as much as I didn't intend or start out at the beginning of this blog to try and capture a story, that is basically what I have as I look back on the various topics and thoughts I have been writing about.  At least broad strokes of some fairly radical and fundamentally new ways of looking at stories, at least.  As such, if there are loose ends or things that I haven't quite worked out, they kind of stick in the back of my mind as things that would be nice to get resolved, or at least explore and see if there are 'believable' resolutions.

I have actually been encouraged that the overall frame of the various story elements has held up reasonably well.  There have been some adjustments, obviously, as with the identity of Gandalf in one of my recent posts, or who exactly is using what Stone to do what, but those changes still fit within that overall frame, and actually serve, at least in my mind, to make the story better and more 'believable'.  It still could all be fiction, but it is more internally consistent fiction if so, and I am OK with that.

In terms of loose ends still needing some thinking through, what exactly I mean by the Jaredites and Lehites 'sailing' across outer space and landing in the Promised Land is one of the biggest.  I will leave aside the mechanism by which that travel took place for now - it seems to have been a combination of both 'magic' Stones and curiously constructed Ships that allowed them to make the voyage, and at least so far trying to get more detail on how exactly that worked isn't really bothering me.

What has been getting at me a little bit is this notion of landing on the "Promised Land".  What and where exactly is that?  Not so much 'where', as in a specific location, but as in of all the lands that have been separated from our world, which one was it that they landed on?

In October, I wrote of some implications relative to the idea that the Liahona as the Anor Stone, and that this idea might have far-reaching implications for our story in the post titled "Ithil Stone, Anor Stone, and Sawtooth Stones: Some thoughts and implications".

I may have touched on the notion of other worlds being the lands that existed across a 'sea' meaning space in earlier posts (I can't remember right now), but in this post I pulled back the curtain a bit more on my own developing thoughts around this.  At the end of the post, I wrote some of my questions and thoughts like this:

For example, if the Anor Stone (Liahona) is sufficient to lead people to a Promised Land, and that Land is Eressea, what does that mean for Lehi and his family, for example? Where did they land? Are we sure it was in North America or even anywhere on what we currently think of as Earth? Why would it not be the same place the Anor Stone is going to take Faramir: Eressea? Was that 'sea' or 'ocean' they cross really anything like the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean? The same questions arise for the Jaredites, and it is interesting (again, to me at least) to think of the possibilities.

To be more specific, in a previous post I ripped away the Shire from England and landed it squarely in France. In a future post, I will do worse to the Americans, and take away from them their land's status as the Promised Land.

A pretty bold claim at the end there, I guess, but this is the natural place this story takes me - that Lehi and his family travelled across space and landed in another world that they called the Promised Land.  The Jaredites before them would have done the same thing then, obviously, and I guess we need to throw the Mulekites in as well.

That is all fine, and that isn't the loose end - that seems fairly reasonable.  The Promised Land isn't on this world (sorry Americans!), and is somewhere else.  But then I suggested that this Promised Land was Eressea, and that is where things fall apart just a little bit.  There are some pretty reasonable arguments against Eressea being where they landed - these arguments existed already in my head when I wrote that post, and so resolving that has been on my mind.

So, the notion of where they landed, and whether that was Eressea is the focus for the remainder of this post.

First, I am going to summarize the list of 'known' places, including this world, that we have as candidates.  This is the complete list as far as I know, but there might be others that haven't been included in our stories, so just keep that in mind:

  1. Eru-Place.  Covered briefly in an earlier post.  An ancient home for some, the place where Eru still calls home, but seemingly inaccessible for most everybody else.
  2. Aman-Valinor.  Home of the Valar, Maia, and the Eldar (Elves) who were not exiled in the events following Melkor and Ungoliant slaying the Two Trees.
  3. Eressea #1:  Eressea was split in half.  This is Half #1, and my assumption about where the Exiled elves continued to both live and be led to from Middle-Earth (e.g., where Frodo's ship with Galadriel, Gandalf, Elrond, for example).
  4. Eressea #2:  Half #2.  This half was the one that had been invaded by Pharazon's men and monsters, burned, and ultimately 'sunk' into the sea.
  5. Numenor.  Completely buried by a Great Wave following Pharazon's assault on Aman and Eressea, destroying the Numenorean civilization that was on it.
  6. Middle-earth/ Our world.  Events of LOTR would have happened here (meaning, over on the European continent primarily).

So, those are the 'habitable' worlds that I think we have to choose from in bringing the Jaredites and Lehites somewhere.

To get right to my answer, I believe it is Eressea #2, the half that 'sunk' back down that would have been the destination for both groups of people.  I will try to summarize my thinking and rationale, which is in some ways a process of elimination.

In fact the realization that Eressea, being split in two, and thus being now 2 separate 'lands' was a bit of a revelation much like that pear falling from the tree and hitting me on the head (Newton had an apple fall on his head, right?).  In that, I now could say they landed on "Eressea" but not have it conflict with my notion of who already lived in that place.

I believe that Eressea will be made whole again, where it was once divided due to the wicked actions of Sauron, Pharazon, and the Numenoreans.  Thus, that second half is not lost, it is part of this 'Promised Land' and it is where these people perhaps landed and some remnant of them still live today.

OK, so elimination time.

I first eliminated Eru-Place right off the bat.  They aren't getting brought there.  The events of this story happen on Earth, on its various lands, and so this isn't an option.

Middle-earth is also off the table because I have them sailing across space and landing somewhere else.  The story of the Jaredites and Lehites remaining in this world has been told many times with many variations on where they landed.  We are after something new here.

That leaves us Valinor, either of the Eresseas, or Numenor, among our list of known but separated worlds.

The condition of the land at the Jaredites arrival gives us the clue that the land is uninhabited.  There are no mention of any other people or previous civilizations - it is almost like a clean slate of creation.  I mean, this sounds like a true "Noah's Ark" story here, with them disembarking from the barges, going forth on the land, and using all of the seeds and animals they brought with them to (re)populate this new world.

In addition, people die here.  They get old, and they die.  They fight in wars, and they die.  In other words, it is a place that is habitable for mortal Men, just like ourselves.  No changes upon the bodies of these people were required in order to live there.

For these two reasons - the lack of any people already on the land, and the existence of death - I remove Valinor as an option.  Valinor is the deathless land (or was meant to be), and it not for Men in a mortal state.  In addition, people lived and live there (I believe, in this story), such as the Valar, Maia, and the High Elves in Tirion.   It is far from uninhabited, and the Jaredites would not have found an empty world.

Similarly, Eressea Half #1 I view as still inhabited, particularly at the time of the Jaredite exodus.  In fact it was during the same time period as the very assault on Eressea itself that the Jaredites sailed across the sea, and many Eldar were living there, being lifted up and rescued away from the Numenoreans.

This was actually my biggest hang-up before I came up with the Half #2 solution.  I assumed that half was destroyed, and so the Jaredites landing in Eressea (the potential Promised Land) would have had to be Half #1 (what was left).  In this situation, landing and finding an empty world just didn't make sense.  Further, if we don't want to radically change other assumptions, Eressea would be where Elves would be sailing to well up to the end of the 3rd age as they left Middle-Earth.  There just simply wasn't any room, in my understanding, for them all to be landing in the same place.  It was too confusing, and didn't seem to work (I may not have thought it through well enough, though, as any ideas on something I may have missed are welcome).

But, since we have two halves, with Half #2 as potentially still habitable, I can eliminate Half #1 from consideration for very much the same reasons that I eliminated Valinor.

This leaves us with Half #2 or with Numenor as the landing spot.  I've gone back and forth on this a bit.  I think it was Moroni's summary of Ether's statements on the New Jerusalem (found in Ether 12), and the fact that wherever the Jaredites and Lehites landed, this was both the Promised Land as well as the place of the New Jerusalem, which would come out of Heaven.  This is important.

First, I have the New Jerusalem as being one of the two 'Holy Places' which will be gathered to (the other being Tirion on Valinor), as I have mentioned or at least touched on in a few previous posts.  Specifically, it is Asenath and Joseph's 'House' that will be this place, with a segment of the Family of Light gathering with them there.  Currently, I guess it might be pretty small, and so I think there will need to be some additions and construction work thrown on that House to ensure there is enough room for everybody.  I think this is alluded to in Ether's words that Joseph's seed will 'build up' that place.

This building and making this place for the gathering will initially happen on Half #1, it seems, because that is where Asenath's house currently sits off.  This is where Ether's mention of a New Jerusalem becomes important - where he says it will come down from Heaven and join with the land of the Jaredites and Lehites (Half #2).  Here is Moroni's summary of a few of Ether's words:

For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;

And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.

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

OK, so Ether says that the land of the Jaredites (which is the Promised Land) is the place of the New Jerusalem, and that it will come down from Heaven.  Based on my Two Halves storyline here, I then envision the New Jerusalem being originally 'built' and expanded starting at Asenath's House and Half #1.  This will then join with Half #2 (which from the perspective of people on Half #2 would be very much like the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven).

We will then have a completely reunited Eressea, with the damage and destruction initially caused by Pharazon cured.  Eressea will be restored.  Further, it seems that at least the inhabitants of Half #2 are still in a state of needing redemption.  We last leave them with Moroni hiding for his life and getting ready to 'seal up' the plates.  In some of his last words, he remarks that "the Lamanites are at war one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war." (from Mormon 8).

He will later write directly to them (the Lamanites) in his closing remarks, reminding them that they are of Israel and that they will need to at some day put down their weapons of war.  Again, contrary to Mormon tradition, these are not any of the native people or cultures here on this world.  This has nothing to do with Native Americans in the story in my head.  Rather, these people in this other world (Half #2), so my thinking goes, still do not know who they are, and are still at war with each other.  For all I know, that war has expanded to other lands and worlds.  Perhaps as part of the expansion of the Secret Combinations and Great and Abominable Church that sits on and across the Many Waters (i.e., space).  I am not sure.

In any case, this is my best guess as to the location of the Promised Land of the Book of Mormon.  It is 'Eressea', but Half #2 of that land.  

That half was assaulted by Pharazon, where wolves, men, and monsters slaughtered entire families of Eldar.  The land was 'sunk' down into the sea, while its other half was raised away from danger along with Valinor.  Apparently, in this sinking (if this story holds) it was cleared of the effects and residue of Pharazon's assault and made to be a 'new' land for God to lead people to in order to eventually restore both that land and the people living on it.

It's the best I can do, at the moment.  The "2nd Half" theory allows me to land these people on Eressea, stay consistent with other Promised Land-type prophecies and promises, and yet not interfere with others also living on Eressea (Half #1).

Also, I should emphasize that having the Jaredites and Lehites land on a completely different world does allow us to solve some of the more vexing issues with the Book of Mormon:  Archaeology and Anthropology.  The types and scale of the civilizations that developed among both groups I just don't think is something that vanishes without a trace given the details of their story.  Nothing in the Western Hemisphere, to my knowledge, even comes close to the type of civilization that is described.  I mean, this is how Mormon described this civilization around 1600 years ago, apparently:

The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.


This isn't the description of a nomadic, hunter-gatherer primitive civilization.  Mormon apologists have bent over backward and tied themselves in knots trying to explain how the Book of Mormon descriptions match up with reality of the known or understood histories of our actual reality, with many now unfortunately arriving at a conclusion that the Book of Mormon is more myth and fiction, than anything based in reality.

The solution articulated here allows people to break free from this trap.  You can't find temples built like Solomon's, millions of breastplates and steel swords, or evidence of a land covered with buildings?  Easy - it was all on another planet, that people used magical stones and strange ships to get to.  

Problem solved.

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