Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Understanding Mormon’s Map – Part I

Now, in developing Mormon’s map, we need to start with Alma 22:27-34. In this passage, Alma is explaining the proclamation that the Nephite King over all the land sent around to his people. At this point in the narrative, Mormon inserts his own understanding of the Land of Promise, beginning in the south and working his way north. In this 570 word insertion, Mormon felt it important to paint a picture of the Land of Promise, and especially how the Nephites and Lamanites were divided in the land at that time.

First of all, Mormon tells us the Lamanites were bottled up in the south, yet held a large area of the land south of Zarahemla. The Lamanites were “in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea on the east and on the west.” That is, the Lamanite land went from sea to sea, and “was divided from the Land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness” so that between the Land of Zarahemla on the north and the Land of Nephi on the south, a narrow strip of wilderness (an unoccupied tract of land) which “ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore.”

In addition, along the seashore, the northern part of this narrow strip of wilderness that bordered along the Land of Zarahemla, ran “through the borders of Manti by the head of the river Sidon,” meaning that this northern edge ran along the southern border of the Land of Manti, which covered the area from the head of the Sidon River all the way westward to the sea. So, the Land of Nephi was separated from the Land of Zarahemla by a strip of wilderness, which wilderness was the southern boundary of the Land of Manti from the river to the sea.

Thus, this narrow strip of wilderness between the two lands not only ran from sea to sea, but also curved upward along the seashore in the west and in the east. And on the west:

“The more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.”

This wilderness to the west ran from the southern portion of the Land of Zarahemla southward along the Land of Nephi all the way south to where Lehi landed, called their “Father’s First Inheritance.” That is, the land where the Lehi Colony first landed, and where the Lamanites remained after Nephi fled northward, became the Land of First Inheritance to the Lamanites, that is, Laman, Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael and those with them.

Note the wording of Mormon, “the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.” And thus bordering along the seashore tells us that the place of Lehi’s landing was obviously on the seashore and where they first dwelt—a point the Great Lakes theorists ignore for they claim the Lehi Colony landed somewhere and then traveled inland for hundreds of miles to settle along a lake they called the West Sea. This small statement, however, shows the fallacy of such a claim.

In addition to there being a wilderness on the west seashore, the same is true with the east seashore. “And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites.” That is, there were Lamanites to the south, and for a short distance, to the east and west, thus, the narrow strip of wilderness separating the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla must have curved upward along both seashores.

However, the Nephites controlled all the land to the north. “Nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.

(See the next post, “Understanding Mormon’s Map – Part II,” for the complete layout of Mormon’s map as he describes it in his writing)

No comments:

Post a Comment