Continuing from the last post about the Book of Mormon scriptural record being the only source from which a geographical setting for the Land of Promise can be determined, the following are examples of geographical settings suggested by various scholars and theorists that are not supported by the Book of Mormon and are contradictory to Mormon’s descriptions.
John L. Sorenson’s map of the Land of Promise, showing that it runs basically east and west when the scriptures tell us it runs north and south. He has the Land Northward to the west, the Land Southward to the east, he has the East Sea in the north, and the West Sea in the south. He also has the Land of Many Waters about two hundred miles west of the hill Cumorah, and no north or south sea
Mesoamerican Theorists claim of the Land of Promise in southern Mexico, Yucatan and Guatemala, with a narrow neck of land at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Thus, claiming Hagoth sailed actually southwest for 120 miles, and another 25 miles due west, then 750 miles west by north, for almost 900 miles sailing in a westerly direction when the scriptures tell us Hagoth’s ships sailed northward
The LDS Freedom Forum has the narrow neck of land in upper Florida, where the land is 145 miles wide, which no average man could walk in a day and a half as the scriptures tell us; also, the Land of Nephi is to the east of the Land of Zarahemla, while the scriptures tell us Zarahemla is north of Nephi; and the Land of Bountiful’s southern border is the West Sea and not the Land of Nephi, contrary to the scriptural record, and numerous other similar problems
J. Theodore Brandley has placed the narrow neck of land far to the south of Lehi’s landing site, has the City of Nephi 600 miles to the south of the Waters of Mormon, the Land of Zarahemla north of the west sea, and numerous other features, all contrary to the scriptural record
Arlin Nausbaum's Land of Promise has a Land Northward about 25 miles by some 70 miles wide, Land of Zarahemla with a northern border along a large sea, Land of Bountiful south of a south sea, Land of Zarahemla east of the Land of Nephi, and the Wilderness of Hermounts between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, and the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla are not surrounded by water except for a narrow neck of land, no narrow strip of wilderness runs between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla from the sea west to the sea east, and no narrow neck or narrow passage blocks movement north since the land can be circumvented to the east, all contrary to scripture
The map of Peter Covino Jr., showing a south sea to the west of the Land of Nephi which scripture tells us stretched from the sea west to the sea east, a huge Land of Lehi never mentioned in scripture, and a Land of First Inheritance to the east instead of along the West Sea, south, a Land of Bountiful north of the West Sea, a Land of Zarahemla to the west of the West Sea and thousands of miles west of the East Sea instead of stretching to it as the scriptural record tells us, the Land of Desolation running to the east of the Land of Bountiful, south of the narrow neck of land is an open sea and the narrow neck is 150 miles across and more, running north to south for nearly 500 miles—all of which is contrary to the scriptural record
Rodney Meldrum’s map showing the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla not stretching from the West Sea to the East Sea, the Sea North to the west of the Land of Desolation, the Land Bountiful to the west of the Sea South, the Land of Zarahemla to the west of the West Sea, and to the west of the Land of Bountiful, the Land of Nephi bordering the Land of Bountiful and not the Land of Zarahemla, the Land of Nephi some 600 miles from the Land of Zarahemla where the Lamanites were continually attacking, the East Sea a thousand miles from the Land of Zarahemla, where the cities along the east sea were located, all of which is contrary to the scriptural record
Alan Miner (Ancient American Foundation) map, though not complete, still shows Zarahemla to the west of the Land and city of Nephi, the Sea East to the north, the Sea West to the south, and claims that the Nephites used a different north than true north, all of which is contrary to, or not supported by, the scriptural record
John Lund has the Sea West to the south, the Land of Bountiful to the east of the narrow neck of land, Land of Desolation to the west of the Land of Zarahemla, the Land of Zarahemla to the west of the Land of Nephi
There are numerous other maps created by Mesoamerican Theorists, including Joseph Allen, F. Richard Hauck, V. Garth Norman, Lawrence Poulsen, J.A. and J.N. Washburn, Eugene L. Peay, P. Douglas Kiester, however, all suffer the same problem as stated in the ones above, with directions and location of lands not consistent with the Book of Mormon descriptions.
In addition, there are numerous other maps, including locations in North America, such as Vernal Holly, Wayne May, W. Vincent Coon, Duane R. Ashton, Delbert W. Curtis, Phyllis Carol Olive, Scott Hamilton, Paul Hedengren, among others, whose work has been discussed in these posts over the past year or two, with each showing a constant disregard for Mormon's descriptions.
Space does not allow to cover them all here, but they can be found on the internet. Look them up. And compare their models and the location of their lands with Mormon’s descriptions, starting with Alma 22:27-34, and then with other comments, in Ether and Moroni’s insertions, and especially Alma and Helaman. There are enough comments in the scriptural record for anyone to diagram a basic and accurate outline of the Land of Promise. Theorists' errors shown above and elsewhere in this website are all the result of pre-conceived ideas, determining a location first, then trying to show how the scriptural record or modern day prophets and General Authorities support that model’s conclusions.
But when authors have to spend pages, even chapters, in trying to explain why the Book of Mormon is not correct, or that we have to go beyond its pages to understand what it means, then beware.
The Book of Mormon was written for us in our day, not to the educated, doctoral level person, but to the everyday member and individual. Joseph Smith told us he delighted in plainness, and the Lord has told us he speaks to us in our language as one man to another.
The scriptural record of the Book of Mormon is the basis for our understanding anything in that work. As for the geographical setting, Mormon gives us directions, locations, a couple of distances, and some important features. Nephi tells us how he got to the Land of Promise, and Moroni makes some comparisons between a few Jaredite locations and their Nephite names.
All we have to do is start from Lehi leaving Jerusalem and follow him through the wilderness, across the ocean, to the natural landing site of a ship “driven forth before the wind.” From there on, it is a matter of placing lands where Mormon tells us they are located, and understanding the location of certain areas, such as the four seas, the narrow neck and passage, etc., and locate Ether’s Jaredite lands. It is not rocket science. It is a matter of reading, studying, pondering and understanding Mormon’s words to us. There is nothing hidden, nothing not understandable, and nothing meant to confuse. The scriptural record is plain and simple to understand, it does not require knowing how the Eskimos saw the cardinal directions, or how far a soldier at Marathon or the Zuni Indians could run. Lehi, Nephi, Mosiah, Alma, etc., all had the Liahona—a compass—and knew directions. We need not try and figure out what they meant by north, south, east and west.
Joseph Smith knew the difference between a deer and a peccary, between a horse and a sloth, and what an elephant was. We don’t need some Ph.D trying to convince us he didn’t!
The Book of Mormon, word for word, gives us a complete understanding of the Land of Promise, what was found there, where it was found, and its importance to those in the record. It tells us of no one else in the Land of Promise for the 1000 years of the Nephite record, and of the Lord’s promise to Lehi that none other would occupy his promised land until his seed was destroyed. We do not need anthropologists trying to tell us there were numerous other peoples and that they interacted with the Lamanites and Nephites, etc., when there is not one suggestion, thought, idea, or claim of any other people in the scriptural record.
We need to start out by trusting that these ancient prophets knew what they were talking about, that Mormon knew what he was writing and why, and that Joseph Smith translated that ancient record under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and not go off creating models and scenarios not found within the pages of the Book of Mormon.