Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lands of Appropriate Scale – Part II

As discussed in the last post, John L. Sorenson makes unsupportable claims about his Mesoamerican model. In addition to the earlier comments (see last post), he wrote: “that only in Mesoamerica are there ‘lands of appropriate size’.”

Appropriate to what? The scriptural record gives us very little information, but most of it describes lands inhabited by tens of millions of people (see an earlier post).

We do not even know how they traveled—we assume they did so on foot, which is a reasonable conclusion; however, Ammon and king Limhi traveled by chariot from the Land of Ishmael to the Land of Middoni (Alma 20:6-7). We do not know if Alma, when he moved between the Waters of Mormon and the Land of Zarahemla with some 450 people, including men, women and children, had any horses, chariots or types of wagons. The record is completely silent about this—therefore, no definitive conclusion can be drawn of their mode of travel.

So how can anyone decide that the city of Nephi was 231 miles from the city of Zarahemla, as Sorenson does? Then he goes on to tell us that “only in Mesoamerica are there lands of appropriate scale,” and that anything larger than this is not consistent with the record.

Undaunted by his making up distances, he also wrote: “the Nephite homeland area confirm Mesoamerica as the only plausible location of Book of Mormon lands.” Several rebuffs were mentioned, but another of his statements regarding this was not covered. In this regard, Sorenson wrote that only his limited size of the Land Southward “can appropriately be said to be ‘nearly surrounded by water’ (Alma 22:32), as well as an isthmus bounded by Pacific and Atlantic waters.”

This might be a little humorous in light of the 772-page book, “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica,” with more than a thousand references, showing where a much more suitable location, matching ALL of scripture, is located. That site also had a Land Southward completely surrounded by water except for the “small neck of land” (Alma 22:32), and at one time was an island as Jacob said (2 Nephi 10:20).

Despite the short comings and fallacious tinkering with the scriptural record, Sorenson goes on to write: “The record actually describes a setting where the people were limited in numbers and the lands they occupied were restricted in scale. Yet the issue touches more than geography alone; the entrained question is one of demography and descent. Were there other populations present in the Americas who were not exclusively descended from Lehi's party?”

Stripping away the academic gobbledygook, the meaning of this middle sentence, is that “the follow-on question is one of population and ancestral lineage.” That is, Sorenson claims we are not just talking about geography, but also the population in the Land of Promise, and the lineage of the people. This is important to him since he believes there were numerous other people in the Land of Promise at the time Lehi landed and in the area where Lehi landed.

Obviously, since the scriptural record does not bear this out in any way—unless overlaid onto the very small area in Mesoamerica he claims is the Land of Promise, then his interest in population and other peoples plays an important role—since they are necessary. That is, it is necessary to his Mesoamerican model to restrict the population of the Lehi Colony and descendants, and to limit the lineage line of Lehi to only one of many present at the time Lehi landed.

His comment: “The record actually describes a setting where the people were limited in numbers and the lands they occupied were restricted in scale,” has already been dealt with in showing there is no way to determine any exactness in size of the Land of Promise—certainly not to a few hundred miles. Nor can it be said “the people were limited in numbers,” since it has been shown that the Jaredites alone numbered as many as 15 to 25 million after 1600 years in the Land Northward (see earlier post “Where the Events of the Book of Mormon Took Place – Part VI,” where this was covered).

(See the next post, “Lands of Appropriate Scale – Part III,” for the answer to Sorenson’s claim of other peoples in the Land of Promise)

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