Friday, August 14, 2015

Have You Ever Wondered Why? – Part III

So we come again to the question, “Have you ever wondered why Mormon abridged the Nephite record by using the term “northward” and “southward” so many times? 
    47 times in all.
    On forty-seven occasions, Mormon inserted the suffix –ward after either north or south. Since we have spent the last two posts discussing the meaning of the phrases “northward” and “southward,” we come back full circle as to their use.
    Obviously, when describing short distances, i.e., Cedar City is north of St. George, or Provo is south of Salt Lake City, we are less concerned about exact points of the compass than in general terms of direction.
    But the further the distance, the more accurate we try to be.
As an example, we do not just state that Salt Lake City is east of Los Angeles, but rather we state that it is northeast (north and east) of Los Angeles. We do not say that Salt Lake City is north of Los Angeles because it is outside the degree-line that separates east from north, unless we are referring to something regarding the northern latitudes, such as, “Salt Lake City is to the north of Los Angeles, making it colder.” In that sense, we would also say Portland, Maine, is north of Los Angeles, because it lies in a higher latitude and would be colder, wetter, stormier, more snow, etc.
    Thus, eliminate the weather, and Portland, Maine is east of Los Angeles, as is Washington, D.C., and Savanah, Georgia; however, Vancouver, Washington, is north of Los Angeles, though it is further north than is Portland, Maine.
    The point is, directions serve a purpose as well as stating a direction. In addition, when the direction is not exact, we have the suffix –ward that can be added to state a direction in a general sense, such as “northward” or “southward.” We don’t use these terms much today, because we have highways and freeways to follow which take us, at any given time, in a more exact direction. But the overall destination is still in a –ward direction. As an example, to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco is considered by all as “going north.” However, to be exact, you “go north” along the fastest route up the interstate “I-5” to the “580”, then due west to Hayward up to Oakland and across the bridge to San Francisco. Or straight north on the “101” (which is really northwest at some points).
    The point being, you are traveling “north” but not “due north” on any of these routes, and sometimes “due west,” “northwest,” etc. In the days before roads and highways, the term would be we are going “northward” to San Francisco.
    From Salt Lake City to Pocatello, you are going “north.” But from Salt Lake City to Burley (Rupert, Delco, etc.) Idaho, you are going “north” to Honeyville/Tremonton, then you go northwest to Burley—or, in antiquity, you would go “northward.”
    Consequently, while at times Mormon uses the term “north,” he also used “northward.” This shows us that basically, the direction of the lands were “north,” but at times one traveled “northward,” or the land was “to the north.”
    If you were in London and being asked by friends where you lived and if you knew someone who lived in the Salt Lake area, you might say, “I live in Provo, which is just south of Salt Lake City,” and then add, “Your friend in Coalville is northward of my home in Provo.”
Again, we do not use that type of directional language anymore, but in Mormon’s time, northward would be anywhere from the Great Salt Lake to Park City, Coalville, and even Evanston, Wyoming—though you would probably say Evanston was northeast of Provo, to separate it from, say, Tooele, which is northwest of Provo (or Magna or even Antelope Island).
    Again, the point is that compass directions have a purpose in both conversation (general) and directions (specifics). As an example, someone might tell you they live in Snyderville, Utah. If you have never been to Snyderville, or through it, you might be at a loss for understanding the location. So upon inquiry, you are told:
    “It’s due east of South Lake Lake.”
    “Oh! So it’s near East Millcreek. Funny, I live in Cottonwood, just south of there, and don’t remember ever seeing it. Must be pretty small.”
    “No, it has 3600 people, and borders on Kimball Junction on the other side of the Wasatch. You would pass through it on the way to Park City.”
    Mormon, in his insertion in Alma, tells us that the Land of Nephi, over which the Lamanite king presided and had control, was to the south of a narrow strip of wilderness that ran from the Sea East to the Sea West, or all across the land mass of the Land Southward so we could get an idea of where the proclamation the king sent out was directed.”
    But, of course, we wouldn’t know that, not ever having been in the Land of Promise, so Mormon skips ahead to give us a clearer picture of that overall land and how the Lamanites and Nephites were separated.
1. He begins by telling us that on the north of this narrow strip of wilderness (he just mentioned) is the Land of Zarahemla, which also runs from the east to the West Sea (Alma 22:27);
2. And that this narrow strip of wildnerness curves (round about) along both the west coast (Alma 22:27) and the east coast (Alma 22:29), both these “round about” curves of the wilderness were occupied by the Lamanites—who occupied the entire Land of Nephi all the way along the west coast to where Lehi landed (Alma 22:28);
3. And that the Lamanites nearly surrounded the Nephites (on the west and east coasts and all across in the narrow strip of wilderness), but that the land in between all the way “on the north” until they came to the land the Nephites called Bountiful (Alma 22:29);
4. And this land of Bountiful “bordered upon the land which they called Desolation which ran so far northward that it came into the land which had been occupied by the Jaredites and who had been destroyed”—and was covered with their (Jaredite) bones, and was the place of their (Jaredite) first landing (Alma 22:30);
5. “Thus the land on the northward (to the north) was called Desolation, and the land on the southward (toward the south) was called Bountiful (Alma 22:31);
6. Now these two lands, Land Northward and Land Southward had a narrow neck of land between them, which “was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite,” and this “small neck” of land “was between the Land Northward and the Land Southward” (Alma 22:32);
7. “And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward. Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires” (Alma 22:33-34).
Now because this vertical (south to north) alignment of the Land of Promise was not “due north” on the compass, Mormon uses the suffix –ward to state that it was “northward,” or that the land the Nephites controlled was “northward” of the Lamanites, or that they controlled the land “to the north.” Thus, while some movement would have been north or south, and in general terms we can see where “north” or “south” would be appropriate, at times the term “northward” or “southward” would be more accurate—so Mormon uses both.
    Thus, Nibley, Sorenson, Allen, Hauck, Clark, and numerous other Mesoamericanists, who want us to believe the Land of Promise ran east and west, are left without a leg to stand on in using Mormon’s abridged wordage and his insertion of compass headings into the record for our clarification and greater understanding. 
    The Land of Promise ran north and south, including at times it ran northward and southward, that is, it ran at a slight angle!

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