Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Land Northward – Part IV

Continuing with the article we ran across on the internet and decided it would make a good posting based on the numerous errors and misstatements it contained:    
    Comment: Alma 63:7 shows that Hagoth's ship went to the land northward and returned in less than a year.  The borders of land Bountiful and the land Desolation by the narrow neck by the west sea was the port for the ship.  The phrase 'to the land northward' indicates that the land northward did not border the narrow neck and did not include the land Desolation (which did border the narrow neck).”
    Response: Actually, the statement is that the ship went north in the thirty–seventh year, and returned in the thirty–eighth year—which could have been one year, or almost two years (Alma 63:4, 7). 
By comparison, in the 18th century, a sailing voyage from England across the Atlantic to Philadelphia took 60 to 80 days--3 months tops. With 4 months refitting, refurbishing and restocking, a direct round trip of about 7,000 miles could take approximately one year or less--obviously a far greater distance than Hagoth's ships traveled
    As for the phrase cited, it is at the end of a sentence describing that the first ship, after returning to the northward indicates the land northward is not close to the narrow neck port along the northern coast of the Land Bountiful by the narrow neck, set out again for the Land Northward. The actual shipyard and port was not located in the Land Northward, or in the narrow neck of land, but in the northern extreme limit of the Land Southward (Land of Bountiful). The location is described as “on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5). Thus, the shipyard was by the narrow neck, on the borders of the land bountiful by the Land Desolation. There is absolutely no suggestion anywhere in the scriptural record to suggest that the land of Desolation was not in the Land Northward.
    Comment: People were leaving the land of Zarahemla to go to the land northward, and “they came to large bodies of water, and many rivers” (Helaman 3:4).  The term 'bodies' is plural, so there were at least two large bodies of water (lakes) and many rivers near, or in, the land northward.  No fountains are mentioned in the description.” 
Response: The area in the Land Northward associated with “bodies of water” are more correctly referred to as an area of “many waters” (Mosiah 8:8). In Helaman the description of reaching this land was: ”they did travel to an exceedingly great distance,” (Helaman 3:4) and the term is “large bodies of water and many rivers.” In Mosiah, they “traveled in a land among many waters” and the land was “covered with bones and with ruins of buildings.” Mormon himself uses the term “many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:4) which was in the Land of Cumorah, an area far north in the Land of Northward. In Ether, the area of the hill Cumorah—the Jaredite hill Ramah (Ether 15:15:11)—was just south of Ripliancum, the large body of water that “exceeded all” (Ether 15:8). When putting all three of these together, we find one land of many waters, where there were rivers and fountains as Mormon described it, that was in the northern part of the Land Northward. The idea that the word “fountain” was not included in each of the three descriptions should not be taken as a reason to say these were separate places. In this sense, then, “bodies of water” should not be taken as a separate place from “many waters,” and therefore, the term “bodies” is not to be construed as at least two when compared with “many,” which should be interpreted as far more than two—in fact, the definition is “a large (numerous) number.”
    Comment: The land Northward is northward of the land of Zarahemla by an 'exceeding great distance'.  It is interesting to note that the land northward has at least one large body of water and that the Jaredites a few hundred years before the Nephites describe in the Book of Ether a large body of water in the northernmost parts of their land as the waters of Ripliancum.”
Response: All the land north of the narrow neck (blue arrows) is called the Land Northward (red arrow). The fact that it extends a considerable distance (“exceeding great distance”) only means that the land is large. It cannot be translated as saying there was a land far to the north of the narrow neck of land that was called the Land Northward. That it began just past the narrow neck is seen: “he also sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward” (Alma 52:9) and also “by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5—see also Alma 22:32; 50:11; 50:34; 51:30).
    Comment: “Helaman 3:8 tells us those who went into the Land Northward and that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south, to the sea north, from the sea west, to the sea east. This is the only reference to the sea north and the sea south and there is insufficient information in this verse to place the sea north and sea south in relation to any other location.”
    Response: The statement “from the land southward to the land northward” should make it clear that both in the Land Southward and in the Land Northward, the Nephites multiplied and spread from sea to sea, i.e., from the east to the west and from the north to the south. Stated less colorfully, the Nephites spread from sea to sea and covered all four quarters of the entire land. The placement of the north and south seas should be quite clear to anyone but a Mesoamericanist--there were four seas and they lay in each of the four cardinal directions: north, south, east, and west. That the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20) should then tell us that the Land of Promise was surrounded by water--only continual body of water, which was given names by the Nephites according to the cardinal directions.
Comment: “This puts the land of Zarahemla close to the land southward.”
Response: The City of Zarahemla and the Land of Zarahemla (red arrow) are within the greater Land Southward (yellow arrow), not close to it. This is borne out by numerous scriptures throughout the Book of Mormon, beginning with Mormon's insertion in Alma 22:27-34).
    Comment: “It was easier to get wood to the land northward by ship from the area around the narrow neck than by an overland route.  This also indicates that there was a port near the land northward to offload the timber and either the land northward bordered the Sea West or there was a route from the port to the land northward.”
    Response: We don’t know that it was easier to go by ship. It could have been cheaper. It could have been less dangerous. It could have been faster. There could have been some physical obstacles between the narrow neck and the specific place the lumber was to reach preventing an overland route (canyon, mountain, etc). There may have been a port, docks, etc., or the lumber might have been offloaded by barge.And as stated above, there is no mystery about the west sea and the land northward--the sea surrounded the land northward since it was an island!
     Comment: “In 3 Nephi 3:24, the term 'fortify' indicates the area where they were located had a distinct boundary since fortification is done around a specific area.”
Response: When the early pioneers circled the wagons against an Indian attack, they did not have a specific area that delineated their fortification—only the extent that their wagons would encircle within reason (large wagon trains had two circles, one inside the other). The Nephites were not fortifying an area, but fortifying where they were, to protect themselves against expected attacks by the Robbers.
    Comment: “The phrase 'in the land southward' also indicates an area distinctly different than the areas that the Nephites occupied.  If the land southward referred to all of the lands southward of the narrow neck, then most of the Nephites would have already been in the land southward and there would have been no need to move to another area.  This implies that the land southward is a specific area.  The area had to sustain tens of thousands (III Nephi 3:16), so it is a fairly large area.”
    Response: There seems to be a continual problem here as to where the Land Southward is located, and what the scriptural record says from time to time when, in all reality, it is quite clear. In this case, because the Land Southward is a very large area, the people were told to gather in “the center of our lands” (3 Nephi 3:21). What does that mean? Consider that the population of South Bend, Indiana, is 101,081 (2011), and the seating capacity of Notre Dame stadium is 80,795. On game day the city is pretty much vacant as 80,794 people flood into the house that Knute Rockne built. Or stated differently, 80,795 people went from a much larger area (the town-about 41 square miles) to a smaller area (the stadium, a few acres), but within the same area (town of South Bend).
As for the Nephites, they went from a larger area (the Land Southward overall), to a smaller area—the Land of Zarahemla to the narrow neck of land (3 Nephi 3:23), but still within the overall Land Southward.
(See the next post, “The Land Northward – Part V,” for more information from the Article and our responses to it)

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