Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part XV—Mesoamericanists’ Achilles Heel

Continuing from the last posts showing the fallacy of the Mesoamerican Theorists’ view of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in being the narrow neck of land—it becomes clear that this isthmus is the real Achilles heel of every Mesoamerican model. In pursuing this, the following is from John E. Clark, himself a Mesoamericanist and follower of John L. Sorenson’s model, in which he defends the Mesoamerican Theory. Clark’s arguments continue:    25. Regarding James Warr’s four seas model, Clark states: There are the seas as required by the text; however, there does not seem to be a place where the 'sea divides the land.'"
   Response: While I don’t agree that Warr’s model has four seas that agree with Mormon’s descriptions, the fact that his model does not have a “sea that divides the land” can also be said about Sorenson’s Mesoamerica model. Simply put, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec does not have any sea that divides any land in connection with the narrow neck of land. Surely, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which could never have been seen or understood by people without aerial or satellite images and maps, and there is no way that are qualifies for any discussion on the seas.

There is no sea dividing the land in the Mesoamerican model, either at the narrow neck of anywhere else that agrees with the statement in Ether. As the map shows, the land is not divided anywhere--it narrows slightly, but it is not divided 
   However, as a sidelight, there is a sea that divides the land in Andean South America, with the Bay of Guayaquil being that sea that cuts into the land and divides the land at the narrow neck.

How the “Sea Divides the Land” at the narrow neck of land in the Andean South American Land of Promise

   26. “[Joseph] Allen's model makes some of the same identifications as Sorenson's, such as the narrow neck at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, but things quickly diverge from there because Allen wants to preserve his Utah sense of direction.” 
   Response: Somehow, Clark wants to make it sound like only Utahns use the cardinal directions known to most of the world. One can only wonder why, since this is the second or third time he uses that term “Utah sense of direction” in an attempt to limit the scope of the people that use that direction system, i.e., north, south, east and west based on the magnetic compass. After all, the cardinal points of the magnetic compass are not Allen’s personal viewpoint, or that of the State of Utah, but basically the entire world. Of course, anyone can, and Sorenson makes it a point to do so to try and discredit the Nephite knowledge of the cardinal directions, find some group of people somewhere on the earth who have a different sense of directions—but that is not in Utah, the U.S., or the Western Hemisphere alone. Sorenson did everyone a dis-service by trying to explain away Nephite directions which Mormon left us, and inserting some unusual and totally insignificant idea of directions from an isolated group in the Arctic region, and then claiming that the Nephites would only know their directions if they had their back at the ocean. And, too, what Sorenson never admits, is even if you want to use this so-called Jewish orientation, when you put your back to the ocean in Mesoamerica, you are facing north, which puts the West on your left and the East on your right, which—low and behold—is the exact directions of the magnetic compass. Sorenson‘s argument is superfluous and disingenuous as is that of Clark. 
   27.  “The narrow neck of land relates to the overall configuration and scale of Book of Mormon lands. The text makes claims for their occupation by various peoples at different times and even provides some clues about total population. Therefore, the plausibility of different candidates for the narrow neck of land can be roughly assessed by looking at comparative demographic histories for the different sectors.”
   Response: First of all, the narrow neck of land does not relate to the size of either the Land Southward or the Land Northward. All we know is that south of the narrow neck is the Land of Bountiful, an unnamed land, the Land of Zarahemla, the narrow strip of wilderness and the Land of Nephi. North of the narrow neck is the Land of Desolation and the Land of Many Waters, which included the Land of Cumorah and the Hill Cumorah. Other lands in the north are not clarified as to the their independent size or nature. In all of this, it cannot be surmised the size or width of any of these lands from the descriptions in the scriptural record.
   As for the people who occupied these lands, we only know that the Jaredites occupied the Land Northward from sea to sea, as did the Nephites from the last century B.C. onward. We know nothing of how many Nephites occupied that land, though in the last few years before their annihilation, there were 230,000 men, plus their wives and children, which could amount to around one million overall. As for the Jaredites, there were 2,000,000 killed in Coriantumr’s army a few years before the final battle, in which they gathered everyone from every corner of the land. From this, numbers would be quite speculative, but if both armies had these numbers, we may be looking at around 5 to 10 million, but that is simply and unknown figure. As to those numbers in the Land Southward, there is no way any numbers can be speculated, and to do so is of little value.
   28. “City of Desolation. This is actually a secondary criterion and relies on the prior identification of the narrow neck to derive its identification. The placement of this city and others around the narrow neck is not precise. Our expectation is that ancient sites near the neck should date to late Jaredite and Nephite times. Sorenson's proposal certainly works here, as Warr acknowledges. For the Rivas hypothesis, however, there are certainly sites of Nephite age, but it is not clear that there are large sites (that would qualify as cities) in the right area, or any of Jaredite age. For the moment, Sorenson's proposal has the edge here. City of Lib (same above).
   Response: First of all, there is no City of Lib, nor City of Desolation, mentioned in the Ether account. The Jaredites did build a city in the time of Lib at the narrow neck after the poisonous serpents were destroyed, but the city is not named. Nor would the Jaredites have given any city the name Desolation, since this was a Nephite name they applied to the area of the Jaredite destruction, north of the narrow neck (Alma 22:31). There is a city in this general area, “And it came to pass that I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5). And it appears this city was named Desolation (Mormon 3:7). Near this city Desolation was the City of Teancum (Mormon 4:3), which in the early days after the treaty, was a pivotal area in the back-and-forth battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites (Mormon 4). As for cities around the narrow neck, we only know of two, one we are calling Desolation, and the other, Teancum, which was near. There is simply not enough information on the others to place them with any degree of confidence, let alone accuracy.
(See the next post, “The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part XVI—Mesoaermicanists’ Achilles Heel,” for more on this difficult area for the Mesoamerican Theorist model to reconcile with the scripture)

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