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".
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Numenor. Completely buried by a Great Wave following Pharazon's assault on Aman and Eressea, destroying the Numenorean civilization that was on it.
- Middle-earth/ Our world. Events of LOTR would have happened here (meaning, over on the European continent primarily).
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.