Friday, April 20, 2012

Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part V

Continuing with Covino and Elieson map as shown on the Alpha Publishing and Book of Mormon Geography websites, we pick up again with their comments and our responses.

Comment: “In personal discussions with many of those opponents [of their map], they have all failed when confronted with several of these facts and they have been shown how and why their layouts do not work.” 

Response: An interesting comment, since the map shown by Covino and Elieson is so far off the scriptural account, it is hard to imagine how it could be defended since it violates almost every description the scriptural record makes of the Book of Mormon geography.

Let’s take the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation to start with.
The Land of Zarahemla ran to the north “even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful. And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed…thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful…now 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; 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. And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward” (Alma 22:29-33).

Now this is not rocket science.

There was a narrow neck of land that separated the Land of Bountiful from the Land of Desolation. However, their map shows a line some 2000 miles across, running both east and west and later north and south.

This narrow neck hemmed in those in the Land Southward from the Land Northward—that is, the Lamanites were hemmed in on the south so they could have no more movement (or possession) northward—a common understanding from several scriptures. However, along this 2000 mile line, attacking armies of Lamanites could break through to the north at any time.

The city of Mulek (off the tip of Florida) and the city of Bountiful (in the state of Missouri), on their map, are about 1400 miles apart. Yet, when the Nephites were trying to win back the city of Mulek from the Lamanites, they created a strategem to lure the Lamanites out of Mulek. They marched to the city of Bountiful, then the Lamanites hurried back to Mulek when they realized they had been duped with two armies in pursuit. There is no way this happened over a 1400 mile distance one way, then back again. These distances shown on the map are not at all consistent with the scriptural record (Alma 52:19-29).

Comment:” It is not possible to read The Book of Mormon and follow these maps and not realize it is true and everything fits perfectly.”

Response: As has been shown through this and the last few posts, nothing in their map fits perfectly with the scriptural account.

Comment: “The 'Book' [is used] to show The Book of Mormon geography along with prophetic statements. Once the prophets have spoken, there are no other options, and they have.”

Response: No prophet has ever made a conclusive statement about the location of the Book of Mormon and the Land of Promise other than it was located in the Western Hemisphere—and the Church does not even go that far. There are no “prophetic” statements about the location of the Land of Promise. And if the prophets had spoken prophetically about the Land of Promise location, the Church would certainly back them up, but the Church makes no stand whatsoever where the Land of Promise was located. For any historian or scholar of the Book of Mormon to suggest otherwise is completely disingenuous and fallacious.

Comment: “Many now have agreed with it [their map] and most members who look at the limited Mesoamerica ruins now recognize that they are not Nephite ruins as Hugh Nibley has also always said.”

Response: An interesting comment about Nibley, who, throughout his lifetime believed otherwise, as his defining statement on Book of Mormon geography, published in 1957 states: “It is our conviction that proof of the Book of Mormon does lie in Central America. (An Approach to the Book of Mormon, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 6:442). See also the Millennial Star 124, November 1962, 276; and “Some Fairly Foolproof Tests,” Since Cumorah, Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 7:231, and numerous other sources. On the other hand, Nibley was never convinced the stately ruins found in Mesoamerica were made by the Nephites.

(See the next post, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents? Part VI” for more on Nibley’s view on this matter, plus more on Covino’s book and material)

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