Friday, September 20, 2013

The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part II

Continuing from the last post showing the fallacy of the Mesoamerican Theorists’ view of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in being the narrow neck of land. One of the comments made by the Mesoamericanist who made the earlier comment in the last post, stated: “Errors made by scholars who are attempting to interpret the meaning of scriptural content of the Book of Mormon cast doubt on the validity of the work of such scholars and negate the impact of their scholarship in both academic and nonacademic circles.” It is always interesting that those very scholars who make so many errors are so arrogant to say anyone who states anything differently is wrong. If anything “casts doubt on the validity of the work of such scholars and negates the impact of their scholarship,” it is this very scholar who, as shown in the last post, is so wrong in his thinking and writing as the scriptural record so clearly shows.
For some time all presentations of Book of Mormon geography, explicitly or not, have contended with John L. Sorenson's limited Mesoamerica model shown here taken from his book “An American Setting for the Book of Mormon”
The series of Sorenson’s maps in his book illustrate principal relationships among the lands northward and southward, the narrow neck of land at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, and the east and west seas—all of which, as can be seen, is oriented east and west, not north and south, with his 140-mile-across narrow neck of land at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. On the other hand, James Warr, in his A New Model for Book of Mormon Geography, rejects the Tehuantepec hypothesis and other proposals for the narrow neck in Middle America because, in his opinion, they do not conform to the requirements for the narrow neck specified in the Book of Mormon. He lists at least twelve criteria for identifying the Land of Promise:
1. It should be oriented in a general north-south direction (Alma 22:32). Note: There are numerous other scriptural references as well that show this north-south orientation of the Land of Promise.
2. It is flanked by a west sea and an east sea (Alma 22:32). Note: There also has to be a south sea (Helaman 3:8), otherwise, Mormon’s statement that the land was nearly surrounded by water is an inaccurate statement.
3. It should be located at a place where "the sea divides the land" (Ether 10:20). Note: The narrow neck of land is automatically located in the area where the sea divides the land, i.e., the Land Southward is nearly surrounded by water except for this narrow neck, thus the sea divides the land except for this narrow strip.
4. It may have a separate feature called the "narrow pass" (or this may just be another name for the narrow neck; Alma 50:34; 52:9). Note: Actually, the narrow pass and passage mentioned by Mormon lie within the narrow neck of land, both between the Land Northward and the Land Southward.
5. It could be traversed in 1 to 1 ½  days (this would make it approximately 15-40 miles wide; Alma 22:32; Helaman 4:7). Note: Helaman 4:7 is a defensive line, not the narrow neck of land, so Warr’s first 1 ½ days is correct, not the one day.
6. It was at a lower elevation than the higher land to the south (Mormon 4:1, 19). Note: Warr must mean the Land of Zarahemla, for it was at a lower elevation than the land to the south, which was the Land of Nephi.
7. The combined land of Zarahemla and Nephi, southward from the narrow neck, was almost completely surrounded by water and was small enough that the inhabitants considered it an island (Alma 22:32; 2 Nephi 10:20-21). Note: Actually, the narrow neck of land was all that was not surrounded by water. Mormon says: “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” which should suggest that the only thing keeping the Land Southward from being completely surrounded by water was this narrow neck. Warr’s idea that the land was small enough for the Nephites to think they were on an island is not supported by the scriptural record—it is his need to make it smaller to agree with his Mesoamerican model. Why Jacob thought they were on an island is evidently because he knew they were on an island, which may well have been a vision or inspiration, or from Nephi’s earlier vision of the Land of Promise, but an island it was.
8. At one time in Jaredite history the narrow neck was blocked by an infestation of poisonous snakes so that neither man nor beast could pass. (This could only occur if there were a water barrier on both sides; Ether 9:31-34). Note: And it also could only occur if this narrow neck was, indeed, narrow! Surely, one could find a way through such an infestation in 140 miles of walking distance!
9. The city of Desolation was located on the northern portion of the narrow neck (Mormon 3:5-7). Note: To be more accurate, the land to the north of the narrow neck was called Desolation—the name did not apply to the north part of the narrow neck since the neck itself was “small” (Alma 22:32), meaning it was not lengthy. This narrow neck separated the Land of Bountiful from the Land of Desolation and was the “line” mentioned in Alma 22:32, which is also shown in “on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation” (Alma 63:5).
10. Lib, a Jaredite king, built a "great city" at the narrow neck (this may be the same as the city of Desolation; Ether 10:20). Note: It probably was the same general area of the same city; however, they were  built hundreds of years apart. The Nephites might have built on top of the ruins of the Jaredite city. But the point is, it was on the northern end of the narrow neck, or stated differently, the City of Desolation (Jaredite and Nephite) was built in the Land Northward.
11. It should be an area which would be easy to fortify (Alma 52:9; Mormon 3:5-6). Note: To be able to fortify this narrow neck, again, it had to be narrow!
12. The Jaredites did not inhabit the land south of the narrow neck, but reserved it for hunting. Therefore there should be no remnants of ancient Jaredite cities south of the isthmus (Ether 10:21). Note: That would eliminate the Mesoamerican Olmec theory, which people inhabited an area that spread both in their Land Northward as well as their Land Southward.
In addition to these twelve points, it should also be stated that there are other important points about the narrow neck:
1. Not only does the narrow neck need to be narrow so it can be fortified, but there can be no other access between the Land Northward and the Land Southward. This narrow neck has to be the only route between these two lands, otherwise fortifying the narrow neck would be pointless. In addition, how could Teancum have headed, or cut off, the flight of Morianton and his people (Alma 50:33-35) if this neck were as wide as Sorenson and others claim?
2. Since we are talking about an island, or at least the Land Southward being “nearly surrounded by water” except for the narrow neck of land, then the entire Land Southward has to be surrounded by water—there has to be a southern terminus (a Sea South) to the Land of Nephi, otherwise, Mormon’s comment would have no meaning.
(See the next post, The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part III, for more about this narrow neck of land and what is wrong with Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise because of Moron’s detailed description)

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