According to the church-approved Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Zion” is synonymous with the Promised Land. It is interesting therefore to note that Joseph Smith claimed that Zion constituted North and South American as well as anywhere the righteous Saints gather.
Secondly, it’s odd to read Jacob (2 Nephi 10) say that there would be no “kings” in the Promised Land because his brother Nephi was the king, and there continued to be kings in the Promised Land for another 400 years. Jacob began this topic by paraphrasing Isaiah (49), and the point of his comments was that if they remained righteous they would continue to have religious liberty and that they would be protected against those who fought against Zion.
Gardner points out that if the comma in verse 11 were removed, the verse would make more sense: “… and there shall be no kings upon the land(,) who shall rise up unto the Gentiles” (in this early context, the gentiles would still have been the non-Israelite “others” in their vicinity).
“His point is that no other kings shall stand against the Nephites if they are righteous, for their true king is Yahweh who has promised to preserve them” ("Second Witness," 2:188).
While we certainly can accept that the Lord had a special plan that involved the freedoms of America, this doesn’t necessarily mandate that the Book of Mormon events took place in Joseph Smith’s immediate vicinity.
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