Thursday, April 21, 2011

Understanding Mormon’s Map – Part II

In the last post, we showed how Mormon’s map was laid out in the south, with a narrow strip of wilderness separating the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla. In this post, we will continue to build that map according to Mormon’s words in Alma 22:27-34.

As stated in the last post, “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 map last post).

Thus we see that the Land of Zarahemla ran to the north until it came to the Land of Bountiful. Now this Bountiful was the northern most part of the Land Southward. Beyond it was the Land of Desolation, which was part of the Land Northward. Between the two divisions of the land there was a “small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.” This small or narrow neck of land was all that kept the Land Southward from being completely surrounded by water. As Mormon put it: “and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.”

Now this Land Bountiful “bordered upon the land which they called Desolation.” Now this Land of Desolation in the Land Northward continued to the north until it came into a land which “had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken.” Thus, the Land Northward was covered with bones that were discovered by Limhi’s 43-man expedition, including ruins of buildings of every kind” (Mosiah 8:7-8). Obviously, this was the area of the Jaredites in the Land Northward. Their last great battle took place “so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed”—and was “the place of their first landing.”

“Of whose bones we have spoken” relates to the several comments regarding the Jaredites (Mosiah 8:12; 25:2; 28:12). “It being the place of their first landing” (Alma 22:30) obviously also referred to the Jaredites (see the next post on this issue). And the Jaredites then “came from there up into the south wilderness.” This south wilderness they called Moron, which was near the land the Nephites called Desolation--“Now the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites” (Ether 7:6). North of that was the Land of Many Waters (Mosiah 8:8) which was a land filled with “many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:4). In addition, this land far to the north was where the hill Cumorah was located (Mormon 6:2).

“Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food” (Alma 22:31)

Mormon also tells us that this narrow neck of land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, was so narrow that “it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea” (Alma 22:32). Since both seas are not mentioned in this passage, it is assumed by most theorists that this means it did not extend eastward to the sea. However, we know that the narrow neck of land had a sea to the east and to the west, thus, this entire narrow passage had to have run from sea to sea. After all, if someone today said the land ran from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, would we not translate that to mean from sea to sea? We do this because we know that the Atlantic is an Ocean and the Pacific is an Ocean. And, too, Mormon also knew his land that well. The wordage from the east to the west sea is simply a wordage indictor of both seas.

We see this again in the following verse which states: “And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea” (Alma 22:33), to indicate that the Nephites had the Lamanites hemmed in by occupying the land from sea to sea. If this was not the case, then the statement makes no sense, for the Lamanites could not have been “hemmed in” unless the Nephites occupied the entire land from sea to sea.

(See the next post, “Understanding Mormon’s Map – Part III,” for the final layout of the Land of Promise that Mormon provided)

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