Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Understanding Mormon – Part VIII

Regarding the area of the Land of Promise mentioned in the last post, there would have to be certain matches to find in any model. 16 such points have been shown in the last two posts. A further point is:

17. A narrow neck of land from which a ship could be launched into the West Sea and immediately take its course northward (Alma 63:6-7).

Mesoamerican theorists, beginning with John L. Sorenson, make light of this by claiming a ship sailing from their West Sea would take its course northward, however, any ship sailing from their Gulf of Tehuantepec would have to travel some 90 miles southwest before it could turn west by northwest and 100 miles more before it could turn northward.

Yellow lines shows southwest direction, red line shows west by northwest direction. Neither can be considered northward

The Great Lakes theorists simply ignore this passage since it does not fit their model.

However, it was important to Mormon to include this in the scriptural record: “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year. And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward” (Alma 63:6-7).

In this passage, and in Alma 22:32, Mormon tells us the Land of Promise was configured in a north-south direction, with a narrow neck of land running north and south, with an East Sea to the east, and a West Sea to the west. Thus, when Hagoth’s ships set sail out of this narrow neck area, they could immediately turn northward.

It is simply not appropriate for any theorist to discount Mormon’s clear directions as he tries to show the future reader how the Land of Promise was configured directionally and topographically.

It should also be kept in mind that this narrow neck of land (Alma 63:5), also called a small neck of land (Alma 22:32), and including a narrow passage (Mormon 2:29) also called a narrow pass (Alma 50:34), was a most important feature in the Land of Promise. Alma also shows us that this narrow neck was all that kept the Land Southward from being completely encircled by water (Alma 22:32), and that it was the only passage into the Land Northward (see the last post). Such a feature in a land with two different groups of people constantly at war with one another, and that it was the only thing that kept the enemy in the south (Lamanites) from over running the Land Northward of this narrow neck, we might want to place as much emphasis on this topographical feature as did the Nephites and as did Mormon in his writings (Alma 50:34; 51:30. 52:2).

After all, this Land Southward, was completely surrounded by water (Alma 22:32) with an East Sea, South Sea and a West Sea. This Land Southward had the Lamanites in the south and the Nephites in the north, divided from each other by a narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27). Much to the Nephites’ credit, Mormon tells us that the Lamanites were contained in the Land Southward (Alma 22:34) for some 900 years before the last great war began.

At one time during this last war, the Lamanites and Nephites entered into a treaty in which the Nephites obtained all the land to the north of this narrow neck, and the Lamanites obtained all the land to the south of the narrow neck (Mormon 2:28-29), A treaty that did not last many years before the Lamannites took to invading the land north of the narrow neck (Mormon 3:7).

This vastly important feature of the land is the pivotal point of many of the wars between the two groups, and the dividing line between the old Jaredite lands and the Nephite lands. It is also the point where the people were bottled up in the north by poisonous serpents, leaving the Land Southward out of the hands of the Jaredites, a fact the Lord obviously wanted to maintain (Mormon 10:21)

Because of its extreme importance, it is unbelievable that theorists have placed so little emphasis on it, but understandable in the light that none of their models has such a narrow neck that matches the scriptural record and, more importantly, its overall purpose.

(See the next post, “Understanding Mormon – Part IX,” to see how Mormon built his map and the simple language he used to describe it to us)

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