Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yet Another Theorist’s View of the Narrow Neck – Part II

Continuing with Jerry L. Ainsworth’s descriptions of the narrow neck of land found in his, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, p 168. In his discussion of the narrow neck, he completely misses the several scriptures that that are contrary to what he writes—a few of these were covered in our last post.  
Example of two narrow passes that would be easy to defend against an invading force
    Continuing with his thought of the narrow pass or passage running from east to west, rather than north to south as Mormon describes (Alma 50:34), and as we covered extensively with several scriptural references in the last post, we find that Ainsworth goes on to write:
    “I always asked myself why Alma said in his day that "a Nephite" could walk the narrow pass in a day and a half. That implies a Lamanite could not.”
    That is certainly a giant leap. He did not say a Lamanite could not walk it, he chose a Nephite. So the question should be, why did he say a “Nephite”?
    If we would just keep in mind that Mormon is trying to tell us about the land in his insertion where the Lamanite king’s proclamation was sent, and then added how the Nephites and Lamanites were divided, and in doing so, is giving us a little insight into the distance of the narrow neck of land by using a typical person of his day that would be understood by a future reader. Mormon was a Nephite, Nephites occupied the lands he was describing north of the narrow strip of wilderness and the Land of Nephi.
He knew his future readers would be much like his own Nephites, and that they would understand an example of his own people rather than someone else, like a Lamanite who were hunters, running in the wild, no doubt stronger and swifter than Nephites, as later described in the scriptural record.
    A Nephite, obviously, would be the best example he could use. However, instead of this simple understanding, Ainsworth launches into a lengthy discussion about temperatures in the Land of Promise and that the Lamanites were used to higher and cooler climates and that the pass was in the lowlands and the hottest place in the land and would have sapped the strength of a Lamanite.
    Perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce Ainsworth to Ockham’s Razor, since the scriptural record is written in simple language and is not complicated or convoluted or meant to confuse or make understanding difficult. The point is, we are trying to understand the simple writings of Mormon who wrote for us—his purpose would not be to confuse, or make his meaning difficult to understand.
Mormon (left) was given the assignment by the Lord to abridge the Nephite record. The title page (right) states “Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and alao of the Lamanites—written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation”
    Mormon stated: “And now I, Mormon, proceed to finish out my record, which I take from the plates of Nephi; and I make it according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me” (WofM 1:9). Regarding this record he was abridging, he also said, “I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (WofM 1:7).
    There is no need to confuse the issue of which Mormon writes. He had all the records before him, he lived at the time, he fought battles from one end of the Land of Promise to the other.
    He was well acquainted with both the current conditions of the land, and the previous conditons before the destructions mentioned in 3 Nephi, and was able to draw comparisons and wrote about them from time to time for our better understanding.
    Consider, as an example some of the misleading concepts Mesoamerican and other theorists write about that fall far short of the scriptural record.
While the standard “narrow neck” in Mesoamerica is approximately 140 miles across (red line), Ether tells us that the Lord had poisonous serpents “hedge up the way” through the narrow neck of land so the people could not gain access to the Land Southward.
Consider the impossibility of snakes forming a barrier across 140 miles of open land; however, how understandable it would be to have snakes hedge up the entrance to a narrow pass through a narrow neck of land
Top: Among other points, this Mesoamerican map shows where the “sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20); however, (Bottom) when you look at the overall map of Mesoamerica, it can hardly he said that the body of water (an inland lagoon) actually divides any land. To be accurate, this lagoon runs between the coastal shore and a spit of land that often occurs across the mouths of estuaries and may develop from each headland at harbor mouths. These spits may he composed of sand (sandspit) or shingle, and are formed by the longshore movement of sediment. No one would say that this was a sea dividing a land, and to claim this inland lagoon formed by the spit divides the land is disingenuous at best
This map shows the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mesoamerica, which John L. Sorenson claims is the Nephite “narrow neck of land.” Note the reality of the map compared with the scriptural record. 1) The land runs north and south (Alma 22:27-31), but Mesoamerica runs east and west; 2) The narrow neck ran north and south between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32), but Sorenson’s map shows this connection running east and west; 3) The Land Northward—Desolation—is north of the Land Southward—Bountiful (Alma 22:32); but Sorenson’s lands are east and west of each other; 4) Bountiful ran “from the east unto the west sea” (Alma 22:33), but Sorenson’s map has no sea to the west—his seas are to the north and south. We could go on with the many discrepancies, which Sorenson passes off with the Nephite snot knowing the cardinal directions, but the point is, his map, and no other Mesoamerica map, meets Mormon’s many descriptions 
The point is, it should behoove every person who is a searcher after truth and correctness in regard to people interpreting the scriptural record, to do their own research, also. To merely accept what someone has written, regardless of their credentials, standing and following is foolhardy. Mormon told us how his land was configured, and the least we can do is accept his simple descriptions and not get led away by someone who ignores Mormon’s writings and tries to tell us his clear and simple words mean something other than what they say.

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