Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Comments to be Answered Part V

Here are some more comments that we’ve received from this website blog.
Comment #1: “I read something that didn’t make sense regarding the city the Jaredites built by the narrow neck of land: ‘Lib built a great city by the narrow neck, at a specific place where the sea divided, or separated, the land (Ether 10:20), which may have been the very place found by the Limhi expedition when they found evidence of the Jaredite destruction while searching for the city of Zarahemla. They wrote that they had: “discovered a land which was covered with bones of men, and of beasts, and was also covered with ruins of buildings of every kind, having discovered a land which had been peopled with a people who were as numerous as the hosts of Israel (Mos. 8:8).’ Is the narrow neck the same as, or in, the land of many waters?”
Unlike our travels today where you know where you are and can see some distance in every direction from most highways, Limhi's expedition had to travel through lands they did not know and may well have included passes like this one where vision is extremely limited, thus they became lost
Response: No. The author of this article evidently had a place in mind, perhaps his own model, that he was trying to prove. But like many theorists, he left out an important part of this verse in which King Limhi told Ammon: “they were lost in the wilderness for the space of many days, yet they were diligent, and found not the land of Zarahemla but returned to this land, having traveled in a land among many waters” (Mosiah 8:8). This land among many waters is further described by Mormon “it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:4). This area, as Mormon describes it, was in “the land of Cumorah,” an area far to the north of the Narrow Neck of Land, where the last Jaredite battle took place and evidently where the 43-man expedition found the plates Ether left to be discovered—but no where near where the Jaredites built their city of Desolation.
Comment #2: “I read this on the internet and wondered if it was accurate—‘The Jaredites began to hunt there, and seeing the potential, decided to reserve the area as a hunting preserve. If this followed the royal tradition found in other cultures, this hunting privilege would have been restricted to the royalty and their favored subjects. Perhaps Lib became a great hunter much as Nimrod of biblical fame Ionna.
Response: The Preserve part is correct. It is not known who hunted there…could have been royalty only. As for Nimrod, he was called a great hunter, but it meant the evil part of that, i.e., he was a hunter of men (a killer, murderer, etc.)
Comment #3: “What do you think of the Isthmus of Rivas between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean as the narrow neck of land as some are saying? I read on another website that: “The most important clue Mormon gave us regarding how the Nephites measured distance was the narrow neck of land. This passage led to the land northward. The narrow neck could be crossed in a day, and in a day and a half in another reference. What was the width of this landmark? This is especially important when trying to understand Book of Mormon geography. Obviously, it’s width varied and matches the Isthmus of Rivas” Alyona.
Response: We have written about Nicaragua in other posts, but for brevity here, there are four important points to cover in an answer: 1) According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Isthmus of Rivas is 110 miles long and 12 miles wide. Before the construction of the Panama Railway, the width (from Pacific Ocean to Lake Nicaragua) was “an important portage” (carrying boats overland). Since the Book of Mormon describes movement through (not across) and the distance appears limited, Rivas does not fit such description;
The Isthmus of Rivas located between the Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean, was an important portage between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans before the construction of the Panama Railway
2) The width of 12 miles at San Juan between San Juan and La Virgen, hardly seems like “a day and a half journey for a Nephite,” especially when we consider that the topography was conducive to travel for those transporting boats or cargo across it. One might think a day and a half would be at least twice that distance, perhaps a little more—and too, the topography of this crossing, especially following the basic straight route of today’s highway NIC 16, is comparatively flat (elevatin of the entire isthmus is between sea level and 200-feet), no doubt heavily wooded in B.C. times, and easily traversed. To think that it would take a Nephite one and a half days (about 18 to 20 hours of walking time, meaning averaging about 6/10ths of a mile an hour) appears to be ridiculous;
3) According to archaeologist J.F. Bransford in Archaeological Researches in Nicaragua, “an Aztec colony [the Nicaros] occupying the narrowest part of the belt [isthmus of Rivas] between the Pacific and Lake Nicaragua.” There is no indication in the Book of Mormon that this narrow neck of land was conducive to a settlement. The city the Jaredites built was by it, not in it (Ether 10:20); and Hagoth’s shipyard was near it, not in it (Alma 63:5).
In fact, when Mormon describes Hagoth’s shipyard, he wrote: “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.” Note, he describes the lands on either side of the narrow neck rather than the neck itself, suggesting this neck was not very long in distance—certainly not 110 miles in length as is Rivas;
4) The citing above regarding “a day’s travel” across the narrow neck of land is inaccurate. The distance of traversing the narrow neck is in Alma 22:32, and states a day and a half; the distance of a day’s travel is in Helaman and covers a different area—a defensive position in Bountiful: “And in the fifty and seventh year they did come down against the Nephites to battle, and they did commence the work of death; yea, insomuch that in the fifty and eighth year of the reign of the judges they succeeded in obtaining possession of the land of Zarahemla; yea, and also all the lands, even unto the land which was near the land Bountiful. And the Nephites and the armies of Moronihah were driven even into the land of Bountiful; 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” (Helaman 4:5-7). There are two important things about this passage: 1) There was a land between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Bountiful (“the land which was near the land Bountiful”), and 2) The Nephites had been driven into the Land of Bountiful where they made their stand: “And the Nephites and the armies of Moronihah were driven even into the land of Bountiful; 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.”
In short, the Isthmus of Rivas does not meet any of the criteria Mormon gives us about the Narrow Neck of Land. The quote you gave above comes from the website of James Warr’s “A New Model for Book of Mormon Geography,” and more specifically his “The Narrow Neck of Land Key to Book of Mormon Geography.” Warr has several points that simply do not meet the scriptural criteria he loves to quote. We covered this in its entirety in several posts previously on this website.

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