Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More on James Warr’s Land of Promise

According to James Warr’s “A New Model for Book of Mormon Geography,” there are several statements that are not accurate regarding the Book of Mormon and the Land of Promise.

Warr's Narrow Neck is the narrow stretch of land west of Lake Nicaragua between the lake and the Pacific Ocean

1. Warr: “The narrow neck of land, mentioned repeatedly in the Nephite record (Alma 22:32; Alma 50:34; 52:9; Hel. 4:7; Morm.3:5; Ether 10:20), is the key to Book of Mormon geography.”

Actually, the term “Narrow Neck of Land” is mentioned only twice in the scriptural record (Alma 22:32; Ether 10:20); “Narrow Pass” is mentioned three times (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 3:5); the term “Narrow Passage” is mentioned only once (Alma 2:29); and “Small Neck of Land” is mentioned once (Alma 22:32); However, in Warr’s Helaman 4:7, the wordage is not about the narrow neck, but about the distance of a fortification “And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day's journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country” somewhere in the Land of Bountiful, evidently just north of “the land which was near the land Bountiful” on the south or possibly the east (Helaman 4:5).

While it can be argued that the narrow pass and narrow passage are actually within the narrow neck of land, and that the small neck is the same as the narrow neck, the scriptural record does not actually state that directly. Even if we take all these as meaning the same (other than Helaman 4:7), we have seven suggested places where it is mentioned—compared to three times that number for the River Sidon, and even more for the East and West seas, The term repeatedly in Warr’s opening statement creates an impression not actually meant in the scriptural record, though it leads in nicely to Warr’s point of view and major backing.

2. Warr: “Most researchers consider it to be an isthmus which connects the land southward and the land northward.”

There are several who do believe this, though “most” would not be accurate. However, the point here is, the term “isthmus” is not mentioned in the Book of Mormon at any point, nor is the “narrow neck of land” suggested to be an isthmus. Only those whose models reflect an isthmus even use that term.

The only real suggestive comment is Mormon’s, who stated: “…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“ (Alma 22:32), which does not suggest an isthmus at all, but would suggest a peninsula in the south except for Jacob’s statement about the Land of Promise being an “isle” (2 Nephi 10:20) or island.

It is deliberately misleading to say that “most researchers consider it to be an isthmus” when numerous researchers say no such thing, and the scriptural record does not suggest an isthmus. The only reason Warr has to even mention this is because his model is an isthmus.
3. Warr: “If this geographic feature could be positively identified it would solve the riddle of Book of Mormon lands, and all else would fall naturally into place.”

This is, perhaps, the most ridiculous statement ever made about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise. Even a cursory reading of the scriptural record shows there are numerous descriptions of the Land of Promise that would have to be met to even be considered a possible location. The “narrow neck” is simply one of these. The Sidon River; the four seas; the two unknown animals “whose value was like that of an elephant,” two unknown grains on a par with corn, wheat and barley; an herb instrumental in curing fevers; gold, silver and copper in a single unit of ore; precious metals in abundance; ancient road and highways; ruins of structures like temples, pyramids, buildings, of stone, etc.; and the list goes on and on!

How ridiculous to suggest that one single geographic feature “would solve the riddle of Book of Mormon lands, and all else would fall naturally into place.”

4. Warr: “Many different possibilities have been suggested, from the Isthmus of Panama to a strip of land between two of the Great Lakes. However, in my opinion all of the suggested sites fail to meet the criteria set forth in the Book of Mormon.”

We might even include the Baja Peninsula, Malaysia Peninsula, the U.S. Heartland, Lower Mississippi southern states area, and even one in eastern Africa.

I would agree with this assessment that “all of the suggested sites fail to meet the criteria set forth in the Book of Mormon,” including Warr’s Central America. However, there is one that does meet those criteria.

Only the Andean area in South America meets ALL the Book of Mormon criteria as shown in the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoameria.

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