Monday, May 30, 2011

Do We Know Where the Land of Promise is Located? – Part VIII

In the last seven posts the several points in a FARMS website were introduced and an evaluation of those points covered. In this post, we will deal with John L. Sorenson’s next comment:

5. “Secondly, the overall shape of this geography, at least near the narrow neck of land was somewhat like an hourglass and flanked by an east and west sea.”

First of all, there is no mention or suggestion of an hourglass shape to the land in the scriptural record which would necessitate an indentation, inlet or bay on each side of the Narrow Neck of Land. What we know and are told is that there were two lands, the Land Southward and the Land Northward. The Land Southward was nearly surrounded by water except for a small neck that ran between these two lands—so narrow it could be crossed by a Nephite in a day and a half, as well as used as a defensible stopping point against an invading army. This suggests that this small or narrow neck was indeed very narrow; however, the only indication of an inlet, bay or indentation suggested would be on the West Sea where Hagoth built his ships and from which they sailed northward.

Obviously, Sorenson claims an hourglass shape because his Mesoamerican model has somewhat of an indentation on both sides. However, let’s compare his hourglass to his model.

(left) Sorenson’s map, (right) an hourglass

Of course, an hourglass does not look like Sorenson’s model. An hourglass is shaped very narrow at the middle to restrict the flow of sand. Just as the narrow neck of land was very narrow to restrict an enemy force (Lamanites) from breaking through into the Land Northward. But there the similarity ends, for there is no indication in the scriptural record that the narrow neck of land was in the middle of the two land masses.

While it is true that the narrow neck touched both the East Sea and the West Sea, there appears from the record to have a much larger area of West Sea moving into a gulf, bay, or inlet to protect the shipbuilding yards of Hagoth who launched into the West Sea (Alma 63:5). At the same time, there is not a single mention of any indentation on the east of the narrow neck. The one scriptural reference we have of that area is:

“They did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east” (Alma 50:34).

We know, of course, that there was activity in the West Sea of this narrow neck, for Hagoth “being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5). In addition, not only were these ships “exceedingly large” but he built several of them. In fact, Helaman tells us that the Nephites were involved heavily in “shipping and their building of ships” (Helaman 3:14). Ships, of course, are not built on a coast or at a seashore, but in a protected inlet or bay of some type. Thus, the West Sea was indented along the narrow neck of land, and probably not the East Sea.

There is one more point. Since the Nephites knew that there was a narrow neck of land, we might discount anything that is not sharply indented, or easily observed by eyesight in a short distance—there were no satellite or aerial photos in that day. Sorenson’s narrow neck in Mesoamerica, could not really be identified by a Nephite because the land is so gradually effected.

Lastly, as been shown in previous posts, the isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mesoamerica, is not 75 to 125 miles across, but a full 140 miles according to the Mexican records shown in previous posts.

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