Monday, March 17, 2014

Two Glaring Problems with Mesoamerica – Part III

Continuing with the last two posts regarding these two glaring problems of Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise, it seems that we should use some reason here when discussing the scriptural record. An idea that seems to be lost on Mesoamericanists.
• Mormon is either trapped in the area of the Land of Cumorah with his army and their families, numbering at least half a million people with no escape possible, or he is not.
• The Land of Cumorah, and land of many waters, is either the furthest point northward in the Land of Promise where no escape would be possible further north, or it is not.
• Either Mormon had elsewhere in which he could have retreated, or he did not.
• Either the Nephites, or those who fled the battlefield, could have escaped further northward, or they could not.
• Either the Land of Promise extended further northward, providing escape for Mormon and his beleaguered army, or there was not.
Finally, either there was land northward of the Land of Promise, as there is in Mesoamerica, or there was no such area in which the Nephites could have retreated in Mormon’s Land of Promise.
It is as simple as that!
In Mesoamerica, north of Cumorah lies thousands of square miles of Mexico, and millions of square miles of the U.S. and Canada. Mormon, or the Nephites, could have continued to retreat for as long as they could keep ahead of the pursuing Lamanites 
    There is unquestionably no good reason why anyone would choose to stand and be slaughtered by their hereditary enemy if they had an escape route—an enemy who they had been fighting for some thousand years, and steadily for the past 55 years or so. Why would anyone willingly lay down their lives and be slaughtered like this if there was more room to the north to retreat? And why would those who chose to escape and flee, go south into the heart of the Lamanite country rather than go north into Mexico as would be the case in a Mesoamerican Land of Promise?
    If someone wants to consider Mesoamerica as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, it seems prudent to lift their head out of the sand and at least answer these two very glaring problems. And Sorenson-type ridiculous answers are simply neither acceptable nor even reasonable. Intelligence and logic alone would rule out the land of Mesoamerica as the Nephite land of promise.
There are of course numerous other problems about Mesoamerica that need to be answered as well, but these two are inarguable problems in the scriptural record. So if one is going to choose Mesoamerica, they simply are hiding their head in the ground when it comes to these two problems.
    And when it comes to those other people Sorenson is prone to include in any discussion of the Land of Promise, he certainly never arrived at the existence of these people from any Book of Mormon record.  And who could be north of the land of many waters (Mormon 6:4)?  Nowhere in the scriptural record do we find any reference to anything north of this land, other than the Ripliancum Sea found in Ether’s writings.
Sorenson, on the other hand, must have a crystal ball since he creates a people not mentioned, eluded to, or suggested in all of scripture. A strong state made up of people aligned with the Lamanites. How convenient an answer to keep the Nephites from escaping to the north. One must wonder if he is writing fiction or about the scriptural record.
1.  There is suddenly a previously unmentioned land to the north of the northern most recorded area in the Book of Mormon;
2.  This land is peopled with an indigenous civilization;
3.  These indigenous people form a powerful state;
4.  This state is aligned culturally if not militarily with the Lamanites;
5.  This state is so large that it cuts off all movement into the land farther north—a land 600 miles wide;
6.  Mormon and the Nephites are well aware of this state and its alignment with the Lamanites though it is never mentioned;
7.  This state is uninvolved in the struggle between the Nephites and the Lamanites lands, but that they would enter into the conflict on the side of the Lamanites if the Nephites were to move northward.
And it came to pass that in the thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4) 
    Even following along Sorenson’s scenario further, we might ask, where were Hagoth’s immigrants? Remember the people who went north by ship in large numbers (Alma 63:6-7) and were never heard from again? (Alma 63:8) There were five thousand four hundred men, plus their wives and children—very likely a number near 20,000 or more. By 400 years later, the time when Mormon is determining his last stand at Cumorah, these immigrants would have multiplied into very large numbers, becoming a strong and imposing people.  
    Mormon, in abridging the record, read all the Nephite records that had been kept (Helaman 3:13,15), would certainly have understood that somewhere to the north were other Nephites who might be expected to help them against their hereditary enemy, the Lamanites. Those Nephites that “were never heard of more” (Alma 63:8). Certainly, he would have considered the possibility of their being somewhere to the north, and no doubt wondered if they were still there to provide aid to him and his beleaguered army.
    Yet, his letters to his son suggest that there was nowhere to go, no further land to which he could retreat, and no people to whom he could call upon or hope might aid him.  He knew he faced certain death, though held out hope he might see his son one more time (Moroni 9:24)
Another certainty, outlined quite clearly by Mormon in his writing, shows that Sorenson's scenario of a land farther to the north than that which the Nephites controlled, yet contiguous to the Land of Promise, is simply in opposition to the record.  After the major emigration into the land northward (north of the narrow neck), the Nephite emigrants came to the old Jaredite domain, the land of many waters (Mormon 6:4). At which time 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” (Helaman 3:8).
    In all that time, the expanding Nephite Nation in the Land Northward never encountered these Nephites that went north in Hagoth’s ships. Were there a contiguous land to the north, Mormon, who had written about these immigrants not long before his last battle at Cumorah, would have considered their existence in a land to the north. Why not keep traveling to see if they could be encountered—by now, they would have achieved such numbers as to be greater than the approaching Lamanite armies.
    But Mormon never considered it. Never even gave it a thought according to his record. He knew there was nowhere to go, no land to the north, no possible help available. There simply was no other place to go. They had to stand and fight.  In the Land of Cumorah they made their last stand with their women and their children. Had there been anywhere left to go, they most certainly would have gone.  But there was not.  They had reached the end of the line.
    Despite Mesoamerianists trying to convince us that the Nephites were in their contiguous land, with thousands to millions of square miles to their north, they were not—there was no extension of land to the north into which Mormon could have taken his people. There was no land to the north into which escaping Nephites could run.
    The Land of Promise was simply not placed in Mesoamerica and the scriptural record is as clear about that any argument about Mesoamerica being the Land of Promise falls flat on its own evidence.

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