Sunday, January 26, 2014

Was the Land Northward Skewed? Part III

Continuing from the last post regarding the articles of Don R. Hender’s website that one of our readers sent us: 
    Article: “While stated in conjunction with a report that was being historically given from the 4th century AD about the time around 90-77 BC, it is Mormon who states the reasoning of holding the Lamanites back from occupying the land to the north.”
Response: Mormon states this in hindsight, which is not a difficult thing to do given the history Mormon later lived through before writing this. On the other hand, at the time, it wasn’t so much that the Nephites were concerned about the Lamanites gaining access to the Land Northward, since they were bottled up in the Land of Nephi, but the concern was for defectors who were able to gather large numbers of defectors that could take over the Land Northward and, being Nephites themselves, talk the Nephites in the Land Northward to join them in their rebellion against the government in Zarahemla.
    Article: Mormon in his abridged work has so attempted to give a relevant historical setting, an 'internal mapping' of the Book of Momorn lands as far as is needed to frame the action of the Book of Mormon within. The end of the twenty-second chapter of the book of Alma is one such attempt. And there are further items, 'hints' if you will, which add to that concrete picture of the Book of Mormon lands.”
    Response: Mormon’s comments may appear as hints, however, they are not. They are merely points along the way that he clearly understands, and expects his reader at this point in his abridgement to understand, since he has, in his mind, given us a clear understanding of the Land of Promise.
Mormon’s Internal Map of the Land of Promise as outlined in his writings in the scriptural record
    No doubt he feels this way, and feels no further understanding is required than he has given, because the Land of Promise is such a simple concept to him, and in Alma 22:27-34, he outlines that simple concept clearly. No doubt, in his wildest dreams, he did not expect there to be so much controversy, misunderstanding, and fallacious writings and teachings about the layout of the land he knew so well and simply described for us. After all, north-east-south-and-west to him probably seemed like simple terms and certainly would have been had not John L. Sorenson spent so much effort first teaching about, and then writing about, his belief that Hebrew north was different than European north in the most casual unbelievable manner, creating a support for his Mesoamerican model against all concepts found within the scriptural base.
In John L. Sorenson’s book, he starts out with three maps that show a north-south direction (left), then claims “if you turn it on its side” it would look like Mesoamerica, and then spends some time defending his turning of the map
    This ridiculous idea, unsupported by any scriptural record writing, suggestion, or intimation, and is completely in opposition to all that was written by Mormon and others, has become the standard view of many members and non-members alike when they read about Lehi’s Land of Promise.
    The problem is, instead of a north-south orientation of the land as Mormon so clearly outlines in Alma 22:27-34—and all his other writings verify these directions and placements. Yet, when you lay Sorenson’s sideways Land of Promise map beside the scriptural record, it shows an completely erroneous east-west orientation.
 Note that the Land Northward is to the west of Sorenson’s narrow neck of land (Isthmus of Tehuantepec), and his Land Southward is to the east. That is because Mesoamerica runs east and west
    What is even more of an unwarranted treatment of Mormon’s simple outline is that so many people believe Sorenson’s convoluted and unsupportable explanations without further study or comparison to the scriptural record and Mormon’s so careful and simple explanation. In addition, his directions are not even challenged by most members, though they are far off from Mormon’s alignment, and most don’t even bother to look up the area under discussion to see how it runs east and west. Nor do they actually spend any effort on checking other explanations of the scriptural Land of Promise and compare it with Mesoamerica, such as the two unknown animals that were as much help to man as the elephant (Ether 9:19), the two unknown grains (Mosiah 9:9), a like climate to Jersualem where seeds from there would grow exceedingly and produce an abundant crop (1 Nephi 18:24), since wheat and barley would not have grown anywhere in Mesoamerica in 600 BC. Also, what sea and wind currents blew Nephi’s ship “driven forth before the wind towards the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:8), and while silver, gold and copper are found in northern Mexico, and sparsely in Mexico and the Yucatan that are part of Mesoamerica (Sorenson’s Land of Promise), they are scarcely found in Guatemala and the rest of Mesoamerica, yet we find these precious metals were found in great abundance throughout the Land of Promise. It should also be kept in mind that
    There are numerous other points that should be compared with any suggested Land of Promise location. Recently we posted ten such post on this blog covering 21 items, and listing several more ("So Where is the Land of Promise--Part I," December 26,2013 through Part XII, January 7,2014) —few of which are found in Mesoamerica, and almost none in the eastern United States or the other land of promise models of Baja California and Nicaragua.
    For Mormon to state that the land position from south to north in the Land of Promise, so extensively shown in the previous post of this blog, so that we could grasp a better understanding and picture about that which he wrote, not only could not have been more clear, simple and uncontroversial—before Sorenson’s so deceptive effort to change the entire alignment of the Land of Promise and, therefore, draw so many interested people away from the truth—it was meant to present the sincere and serious student of the Book of Mormon an insight into how the following numerous events he describes all fit together, where they took place, and allows for a better understanding of the overall appearance of the scriptural record and its events.
    To have taken Mormon’s simple and clearly stated description and twist it so badly is such a direct insult to that great prophet, it troubles the mind that the area of Mexico plundered by the Spanish conquistadors and following occupation was not in what is called Mesoamerica, but lay to the west, mostly around Mexico City and beyond. Sorenson’s Land Southward, east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (narrow neck of land), where all the gold, silver and copper was found in the Nephite lands, is in the area of Mesoamerica where almost no such precious ores were found or even today mined (see previous posts on this issue).
(See the next post, “Was the Land Northward Skewed? Part II,” for more of Hender’s views on the Land of Promise from his articles on his website)

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