Does the geography of the Book of Mormon matter? The book is true no matter where it happened. Right? This is a response I have heard many others say and one I have said myself many times. But reading in 3 Nephi this morning made me change my mind. I think the Book of Mormon geography does matter.
Christ visited the Americas
When Christ appeared to the Nephites as the resurrected Savior, He blessed them, He taught them He prayed with them and for them. He also quoted to them the words of Isaiah. He reminded them that they had been given THIS LAND for their inheritance, and were warned that they would not be allowed to remain on THIS LAND if they did not remain faithful. This emphasis shows the significance of the LAND to the Book of Mormon people. Moreover, it shows the people who would be brought by the hand of God to THIS LAND and now occupy THIS LAND.
Words of Isaiah
Christ himself said, “great are the words of Isaiah” and He commanded the Nephites and all who read the Book of Mormon to search his words. If The words of Isaiah are great and we are commanded to read them and study them and ultimately understand them. Then I believe we most certainly should understand where THIS LAND is. And we should understand who the Lord is taking to when he talks about the inhabitants of THIS LAND. Because he is in fact talking directly to those who are on THIS LAND and if you don’t know where that is you can’t fully understand the message.
Does the geography of the Book of Mormon matter? With over a 1400 references to “this land” in the Book of Mormon I’m not sure how the Book of Mormon prophets could have made it clearer. THIS LAND matters. Geography matters. Those of us on THIS LAND the “promised land,” the Land of Freedom, the Land of the New Jerusalem need to know who we are. America is THIS LAND. America is a covenant land. I live on THIS LAND. Even the chapter heading of 3 Nephi also confirms this truth.
Gathering of Israel
Furthermore, Israel will be gathered when the Book of Mormon comes forth–The Gentiles will be established as a free people in America–They will be saved if they believe and obey; otherwise, they will be cut off and destroyed–Israel will build the New Jerusalem, and the lost tribes will return.
I am learning more each day about what the prophecies say about me, my fellow Gentiles and my House of Israel sisters and brothers on THIS LAND. I desire to keep my covenant, and understand that this promise to the Lord fulfills the Book of Mormon prophecy of a “voice crying from the dust” helping me understand it. The geography of the Book of Mormon matters to me.