Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yet Another Mesoamerican Map

From time to time readers of this blog send in requests for us to take a look at something they have encountered regarding the Book of Mormon Land of Promise location. Recently, we received the following map and were asked if this different Mesoamerican model was accurate in any way. While we have discredited every Mesoamerican map that we have seen regarding their lack of matching Mormon’s description, mostly in Alma 22:27-34, but also in several other locations, this particular map has not been covered in our posts.
The map sent in is credited to Kirk Magleby, and appears on the website “Book of Mormon Resources,” in which he has 35 different maps. We have not written extensively about Magleby’s views on our website since they are of the same stripe as those Mesoamericanists that we have written about. But since we’ve been specifically asked, we will take the time to respond.
The problem with his map, as with most maps people draw of a model of their idea of the Land of Promise site is that it does not follow the descriptions in the scriptural record with much consistency or exactness. As an example, he has a somewhat curved Land of Bountiful (light green) that is about 650 miles long, borders three of his seas, and is in the north and west on his map, plus curves around toward the south for a short distance in order to get to his “narrow neck of land,” “narrow pass,” and “narrow passage” which he has placed along his West Sea, which is really the South Sea. And Zarahemla is closer to the Narrow Neck of Land than most of the Land of Bountiful, plus he also has a Bountiful East, a Bountiful Center, and a Bountiful West, none of these terms appear in the scriptural record. He has the Land of Desolation next to the Bountiful West, which means his narrow neck runs east and west instead of north and south. In addition, Magleby shows that there is a valley east of Sidon on map 20, along with two east valleys (east and south branches), and all of this is to the east of the River Sidon, and there is a valley west of Sidon; yet, when applying these directions to his overall map, they show that the Land of Desolation is to the west of Bountiful, Zarahemla is to the east of the narrow neck; the Land of Cumorah is not in the Land of Many Waters or even near it.
The four seas: both the South and West seas are the same sea and would not have been labeled as such by the Nephites who used directions for their labels
The south sea is west and a little north of his west sea; the west and south seas (Pacific Ocean) are the same continuous body of water with no division between them, providing no reason for their two names (plus the Gulf of Mexico is labeled the Sea North, but opposite that the Pacific Ocean is labeled both Sea South and Sea West though both bodies of water along each coast are continuous seas; the city of Nephi is south of, and not very far from, the area of First Landing, however, Nephi would have traveled a much farther distance to get away from his brothers who threatened to kill him; there is no mention of any land in the scriptural record, let alone two, near Zarahemla that is not under Nephite control; Lehi’s landing along the Pacific Coast, which he has labeled that water the Sea South and the Sea West; He has a huge area called the Wilderness West, at least as large, and probably larger than the Land of Zarahemla; and as long as one is going to claim city locations along then East Sea, why leave out most of them—maybe because they wouldn’t fit in his model?
In addition, he has the River Sidon beginning in, and ending in, the Land Southward, yet emptying into his Sea North. Now the Sea North would have to have been beyond the old Jaredite lands, and was probably referred to by the Jaredites as Ripliancum since it is the only body of water ever mentioned in the north: “he came to the waters of Ripliancum, which, by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all” (Ether 15:8). In order for any river from the Land Southward to reach the Sea North, it would have to pass through the Land Northward, yet the scriptural record does not say that and, in fact, does not even mention the river between Zarahemla and the Sea East in the northern area of the land Southward around Bountiful and Mulek where much activity took place.
His Narrow Neck, while defensible along the southern coastal area, there is about 150 miles or more north of there where an invading army could attack with no defensible positions to aid in keeping the Lamanites in the Land Southward
Besides his distant legends on Magleby’s maps being off by several miles, perhaps the main problem with his map is the area of the narrow neck of land, his narrow pass, narrow passage, and where the sea divides the land are all tied into a small, narrow strip of beach about 100 miles long between La Joya on the east and Salina Cruz on the west—along the far eastern end of this strip is his line between Bountiful and Desolation and Hagoth’s Port. None of these match Mormon’s descriptions, and any ships leaving Hagoth’s Port would have to sail about 90 miles southwest before it could turn northwest, again hardly matching the scriptural record. In addition, Magleby places his narrow neck of land along the south coast, about 80 miles east of the narrow neck that Sorenson and other Mesoamericanists claim, but the problem is his narrow pass, passage, and neck of land does not have his East Sea opposite the West Sea, with the East Sea 425 miles away from his narrow neck.
Magleby tries to correct Sorenson’s Mesoamerica model by using north-south in Guatemala and Yucatan; however, he still has Desolation and the Land Northward to the West
Another problem is in the overall directions of Maglebhy’s map, and therefore his lands. Mormon tells us that the Land of Nephi was south of the narrow strip of wilderness, which separated the Lamanite lands from the Land of Zarahemla, which was to the north of the narrow strip, with the Land of Bountiful to the north of Zarahemla, and the narrow neck of land to the north of Bountiful, with the Land of Desolation north of there. Magleby has some of these directions, but not all of them. As an example, his narrow neck is to the west of the Land of Nephi, to the south of the city of Zarahemla, and his overall Land of Desolation to the west of the Land Southward.
When we look at Magelby’s narrow neck, we have to keep in mind that Mormon describes this area (including the narrow pass/passage) that this was a defensible position to delineate  between the two lands, Land Southward and Land Northward, with the entire area of the Land Southward nearly surrounded by water except for this narrow neck. Two things about Magleby’s narrow neck: 1) It does not basically divided the two lands, and 2) It is not a physical place that is the only passage into the Land Northward. Besides this tiny area, the width of the land is about 170 miles across at this point, and would be easily broached along most of that width. Consequently, Magleby’s land does not meet the requirements of Mormon’s descriptions in any of the important areas.
Arrow points to where Magleby has placed the Narrow Neck, Narrow Passage, Narrow Pass on his map, while his Land Southward runs north and south through the Yucatan, his Land Northward is to the west

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