Friday, October 4, 2013

The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part XVI—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:
    29. “I have pointed out that his [Joseph Allen] proposed east sea borders the Belize coast rather than the narrow neck. In his attempt to follow directions, Allen distinguishes between a land northward—the same as that identified by Sorenson—and a separate land north. The Yucatan Peninsula directly north of the land of Zarahemla is considered to be the land of Bountiful and, thus, part of the land southward… Allen's case for a different land north from a land northward is extremely weak.” 
    Response: Once again, Sorenson’s Land Northward is to the west, not north of the narrow neck of land. Allen also used that as his Land Northward; however, Allen includes a second land in the north, which he calls the Land North, which is north within the Yucatan Peninsula. He does this to have a land in the north that matches the north south orientation of the scriptural record.

Allen’s Mesoamerican model. The Land of Desolatuon is to the west of the narrow neck, but his Land of Bountiful is far away to the north on the Yucatan Peninsula, the Land of  Nephi is east of the Land of Zarahemla, and south of the Sea East—all violating Mormon’s simple statements in Alma 22 
    30. Continuing from the previous point: “Allen pins his interpretation on one ambiguous scripture that may indicate a difference between the lands northward and southward with the lands north and south. According to 3 Nephi 6:2: "And they did all return to their own lands and their possessions, both on the north and on the south, both on the land northward and on the land southward." This verse does distinguish lands from directions but does not mention the north lands. The few verses that mention north lands refer to Jaredite lands, so the land north is used for the most part in the same manner as the land northward.”

Response: A more valuable and important scripture is found when Moroni “named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south -- A chosen land, and the land of liberty” (Alma 46:17), dividing the land Southward into two areas—north and south. This same division can be found when “both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north” (Helaman 6:9), and also when Lachoneus had the Nephites gather in the Land Southward to fight against the Robbers, who took possession of the land south and the land north that had been deserted by the Nephites (3 Nephi 4:1). And since we know that the Mulekites landed in the area where Mosiah found them—the city of Zarahemla, in the Land Southward (Omni 1:16), then it makes sense to know that “the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south” (Helaman 6:10).
    This is not to suggest that there were two lands northward, but that the Land Northward and the Land North (Land Southward and Land South) were not the same division of lands.
    31. The other proviso is the assumption that archaeology can identify different ancient groups and find evidence of the kinds and intensities of interactions among them. The division of lands proposed by different Book of Mormon geographers ought to correspond to archaeological differences. For instance, Allen proposes a different mountainous sector of Guatemala for his narrow strip of wilderness than does Sorenson. How do these rival proposals stack up with the archaeology? Sorenson's division accords with predicted archaeological differences, and Allen's does not.” 
    Response: This is a fallacious argument. Archaeologists believe they can find evidence of the kinds and intensities of interactions among ancient cultures and people, but that is only their arrogant assumptions based on their models and concepts that they themselves have developed. It’s like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rewarding themselves with their Academy Awards each year—the reality of best picture should be based on what the public pays to see, not what the artists themselves think. If movies were made based on the artists viewpoints, they would nearly all be “R” rated or worse, and find far less viewers attending. When archaeologists claim they can differentiate between groups, they do so based on pottery differences, architectural differences, diffusion beliefs, etc., and no other, more accurate knowledge. Certainly no written records of such, names of groups, etc. In fact, the archaeologists make up their own names of groups without any knowledge of whether there were, in fact, closely or distantly related (see previous posts on this issue). Nor can one use language as a determining factor as the example of the Nephites and Mulekites shows, for both came from Jerusalem within a handful of years from each other, but after 400 years were unable to understand one another (Omni 1:17).
    32. Clark claims that according to Sorenson’s Mormon Map, North country" and "north countries" seem to me from the contexts to be applied only to the inhabited lowland portions of the land northward that were reached from "the south countries" overland via the narrow pass. But neither "north countries" nor "north country" is used in regard to the colonies along the west sea coast, which are described strictly as being in the "land northward." 
    Response: North countries is used only four times in the scriptural record, and south countries only once. In the references of “north countries,” in Helaman 4:7 the term in the singular refers to the country to the north of their fortified line near the narrow neck of land, thus the entire Land Northward is so named; in Mormon 2:3, “north countries” refers to all that land north of the area of Zarahemla; in Ether 1:1, the term “north countries,” refers to the entire area of the Land Northward; and in Ether 9:35, the term “north countries” refers to the land north of the narrow neck of land, but “and in all the countries round about,” seems ambiguous, for Moroni is describing the end of a drought and famine, and where the rains fell and the fruit grew, which may have been an “all sweeping” statement meant to cover the entire land to the north of the narrow neck; but in Ether 15:2, the term is a global statement, not associated with the Land of Promise. The statement Mormon makes in Mormon 6:15 has to do with all the lands to the south of the narrow neck, or perhaps all the lands to the south of the Land of Cumorah. There is nothing in these statements that should suggest that any of the land in the referred areas was not included. Clark’s “But neither "north countries" nor "north country" is used in regard to the colonies along the west sea coast, which are described strictly as being in the "land northward," simply is not defensible based on the scriptural record.
    (See the next post, “The Narrow Neck of Land One More Time – Part XVII—Mesoaermicanists’ Achilles Heel,” for more on this difficult area for the Mesoamerican Theorist model to reconcile with the scripture)

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