A Promised Land

This analysis appeared in a Mormon-apologetics forum by poster ThePlains so I have copied the 
entire material from there.

There is a danger when people are taught falsely.  Let's examine the statements of this Ensign
magazine.

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"A Promised Land" - Ensign June 1976 (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/06/a-promised-land?lang=eng)
by Jeffrey R. Holland, Church Commissioner of Education.

"The most sacred of places, then, will always be those locations which God has designated 
for holy and eternal purposes, locations where he is the "doer of the deed." These places 
are revered forever by his faithful children wherever they may be
."

When the New Testament Christians of the Bible were being dispersed away from Jerusalem, 
which locations did they teach were designated for holy and eternal purposes of God?

"Whatever its name and geographical configuration, however, it [America] was from the 
beginning a land of divinity as well as a land of destiny
."

Does 'America' mean North, Central, and South America or just the United States of
America? What does a 'land of divinity' mean?

"This resplendent place filled with paradisiacal glory was located on that part of the land 
mass where the city Zion, or the New Jerusalem of the earth’s last days, would eventually 
be built. (See D&C 57:1–3, D&C 84:1–3; and Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 
3:74.)
"

Does the LDS Church have any plans which would reveal their belief they will build this New 
Jerusalem before the Second Coming? Or are these plans only known to the 15 Apostles?

"After Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden, they dwelt at a place called Adam-ondi-
Ahman, located in what is now Daviess County, Missouri. In that region this first family 
lived out their days, tilling the soil, tending the flocks, offering sacrifices, and 
learning the gospel of Jesus Christ from on high
."

What scripture shows they lived in the same general area all their lives? Or is this
purely speculation?

"The willful Cain had already made his covenant with Satan and taken the life of his younger 
brother, Abel
."

Moses 5:29 says, "And Satan said unto Cain: Swear unto me by thy throat, and if thou tell it 
thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God, that they tell 
it not; for if they tell it, they shall surely die; and this that thy father may not know it; 
and this day I will deliver thy brother Abel into thine hands."

Why would Satan need to make a covenant with Cain's brethren instead of just Cain alone? 
And why would he want them to swear by God?

"Two generations later the Lord was so pained by that generation "without affection" (Moses 7:33) 
that he opened the windows of heaven and cleansed the entire earth with water. Thus, the 
"everlasting decree" (Ether 2:10) was first taught that he who will not obey the Lord in
righteousness will be swept from his sacred land. The lesson would be tragically retaught in 
dispensations yet to come
."

What do you consider as God's sacred land (singular)?

"Holy scripture records 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." (Ether 13:2.) 
Such a special place needed now to be kept apart from other regions, free from the 
indiscriminate traveler as well as the soldier of fortune. To guarantee such sanctity the 
very surface of the earth was rent. In response to God’s decree, the great continents 
separated and the ocean rushed in to surround them. The promised place was set apart. Without 
habitation it waited for the fulfillment of God’s special purposes
."

What is this special place/promised place? And does this reference to 'without habitation'
mean there were no other people living there at that time?

"There in the meridian of time the land enjoyed three generations of peace and perfection, 
which it would not know again until the Master’s millennial reign
."

I see a reference to 200 years, but where does the idea of three generations come from?

4 Nephi 1:22-23 – "And it came to pass that two hundred years had passed away; and the second 
generation had all passed away save it were a few. And now I, Mormon, would that ye should 
know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the 
land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ. And 
now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up 
in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the 
fine things of the world."

"The Nephite-Lamanite morality descended from "sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics" (Morm. 
1:19) into rape, murder, and cannibalism (see Moro. 9:7–10), creating a vision so repulsive 
that it was "impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write,"a scene of greater 
wickedness than had ever been seen "even among all the house of Israel" (Morm. 4:11, 12)
.

If this is true, why does the Book of Mormon say that those in Israel were the more wicked
part of the world (2 Nephi 10:3)?

"A thousand years after God had given such choice land to their fathers and a thousand years
before he would attempt to do it again, Mormon wrote to his son Moroni: ...
"

Which event in time is 1000 years after 'God had given' and 1000 years before 'he would
attempt to do it again'?

"Then in the allegorical prophecy made of these events, "the Lord of the vineyard" looked at 
the waste of his creation—and wept. "What could I have done more for my vineyard?" was his 
painful cry
."

I couldn't find anything in LDS training manuals that explain who the Lord of the vineyard
is. Does the author fail to identify him because he is also unsure?

"[Joseph] grew up toward adolescence just like the new land. He fitted it. He was young, clean, 
unspoiled—a lad without a past, kneeling in a grove
."

Is is really an accurate portrait of Joseph Smith?

After supposedly seeing a vision of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in the grove, JSH says in 
verse 28 - "I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I 
frequently fell into many foolish cerrors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles 
of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the 
sight of God."

Did this 'unspoiled lad" become 'spoiled' only after reportedly seeing a vision or was he
just exhibiting his previous personality traits?

"His plan made it possible for the holy priesthood and the Church to be restored upon the earth—
the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ—but only in America. … "The purpose of America was 
to provide a setting wherein that was possible. All else takes its power from that one great, 
central purpose." (Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 54.)
"

Does the LDS Church really believe 'America' is the United States only or could the restoration
of the gospel also have happened with the Constitutional freedoms of Mexico, Argentina, or 
Venezuela?

"These two cities, Zion (the New Jerusalem) and the ancient city of Jerusalem, will be those 
capitals out of which both the word and law of the Lord shall go forth and to which all nations 
shall flow. (See Isa. 2:2–3.)
"

This seems to say that Salt Lake City will become irrelevant. What do you think? I have never
seen any LDS literature speculating on the future relevance of SLC.

Thanks,
Jim

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