Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Sea East and the East Wilderness – Part VI

Continuing with our discussion of the land setup that Mormon outlined in Alma 22:27, including the Land of Nephi, the Land of Zarahemla, and the Narrow Strip of Wilderness along with the East and West Wildernesses., as well as several cities and their distances from one another.
    The interesting thing of this next part is that almost no sooner had Mormon reached the Land Southward with his father than a war broke out between the Nephites and Lamanites. And this war began at the Waters of Sidon” (Mormon 1:10).
This phrase “waters” is used several times:
1. “throwing the bodies of the Lamanites who had been slain into the waters of Sidon, that thereby his people might have room to cross and contend with the Lamanites and the Amlicites on the west side of the river Sidon” (Alma 2:34). Since both “waters” and “river” are used to address Sidon, it is possible that “waters” was used to avoid the repetition of the word “river.” Otherwise, it would appear the same exact water is being described, for the bodies were blocking the progress of the Nephites crossing the river, which may have been a bridge, for if it was the water itself they were in, the bodies would alredy have been in the river and being pulled downstream.
2. “And now as many of the Lamanites and the Amlicites who had been slain upon the bank of the river Sidon were cast into the waters of Sidon; and behold their bones are in the depths of the sea, and they are many” (Mormon 3:3). Being only six verses apart and within an extended description of a battle, is obviously the same event as described above.
3. “and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God” (Mormon 4:4). This following period is a time of peach following the war mentioned in the two examples above. While one can be baptized in a river (Christ was baptized in the River Jordan), it is easier to find a side pool of water from the river to do so; however, either way this is evidently discussing the River Sidon, even if not directly in the flowing stream.
4. “And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon. And Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross” (Mormon 43:40). Again, there is a multiple use of the name or term, therefore, possibly just a break from repetition, on the other hand, it is also possible that there was a body of water, a lake or large pond, etc., adjacent to the river where the fleeing Lamanites crossed, but earlier (verse 35), it says they were crossing the River Sidon. And following (verse 50), it says “And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sidon,” though in the next (verse 51) the label “River Sidon” is again used. So evidently, Mormon is using the terms to mean the same thing.  
    It is interesting that this is one of only two times when the term “waters of Sidon” is used without the word “River” also used in connection with it. Did Mormon mean anything by that? We simply do not know.
In Hebrew, the word for “stream,” or “river,” is “nahar,” (נָהָר), which can also be used for “canal,” “current,” and “flood.” On the other hand, the Hebrew word for “waters” is “mayim” (מָ֫יִם), which can also be used for “pool,” ‘watering,” “waterless,” and “flood.” Since (מוֺ) is singular “water,” (נָהָר) is plural “waters.” This is not to be confused with “the water of a spring or well,” thus, these two words are not interchangeable and mean something different: nahar=river, mayim=waters, yam=sea, etc. Thus, the word “waters” in this sense, as the Waters of Sidon, mean a large body of water and is usually connected to such things as the Flood, where these waters were divided. River,on the other hand, typically refers to a cut channel where a river flows, though it could be strong in the winter, but just a wadi (dry desert) in the summer and its connection to flood has more to do with a “flash flood” or summer torrent than a flood of water over a large area.
    Thus, “nahar” means a "river" continuous and full, a perennial stream, as the Jordan, the Euphrates (Genesis 2:10); 15:18); Deuteronomy 1:7; Psalms 66:6; Ezekiel 10:15).
    This leads to the curious question, why is the Sidon River sometimes referred to as the River Sidon, and sometimes as the Waters of Sideon—the two words do not belong together
If some of the river flowed off into a side area, a settling pond or even a small lake, the river could be called the River of Sidon and the side waters called the Waters of Sidon 

    The only way that they would is if the River Sidon, at least in places, was connected to large bodies of water that flowed over or filled large expanses of land like a good sized lake or inland sea.
    The point is, there is so much in the scriptural record we cannot determine simply from reading it since we have no idea all of the facts involved. In fact, using “waters” and “river” in the same sentence or serie3s of sentences involving one river, the “Sidon,” does not make a lit of sense unless one has access to the original writing—and in this case it was not in Hebrew at all, but in Reformed Egyptian, so this is simply an issue (non-issue) that cannot be solved.
    It should, however, point out to all of us that when we arrogantly start making this and that fact as though there is no alternative in cases where words and not specific, such as in the River Sidon and the Waters of Sidon, we are simply wasting our time. And to approach any part of the scriptural record with a mind already made up as most Theorists do, is both unscholarly and impractical for it eliminates learning.
    We also might want to point out at this time that the Sea East ran all the way up the East coast of the Land Northward, for Helaman, talking about Nephites moving into the Land Northward around 46 B.C., describes how they filled up the land from the Sea East to the Sea West and the Sea North to the Sea South, suggesting not only Jacob’s island mentioned 500 years earlier, but also mirroring Mormon’s comments about the land being nearly surrounded by water except for a narrow neck of land between the Land Southward and the Land Northward. While Theorists who reject Jacob’s very clear statement they were on an island in the midst of the sea, all of this works together to pain a clear picture and completely verify Jacob’s statement and Nephi’s writing down of that statement. The problem is, when one has his mind made up, he rarely wants to be bothered with the truth if it disagrees with his stated position. The result is several people with divergent theorist that are incompatible with one another when Mormon made his one position quite clear. As an example:
John L. Sorenson’s map of his Land of Promise with current and ancient labels added according to his locations (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book,1985, Map 5 Page 37) 

1. Mesoamericanist Theoriests cling to their position that Mormon used a different compass than everyone else uses, claiming his outline of a north-south Land of Promise was really skewed nearly 90º off so that their Land of Promise is oriented east-west. The fact that intelligent men and women, some with letters after their names, and most with very strong feelings, willing to write article after article saying, in effect, that Joseph Smith’s translationis wrong and the Spirit either did not know of the error in directions or let it pass is both untenable and certainly irrational and obviously unscholarly!
2. Great Lakes Theorists cling to the belief that there is only one Hill Cumorah and it is in New York, and the Land of Promise is isolated to just North America and more specifically to the United States despite the fact that several President sof the Church and many General Authorties are on record in General and regional Conferences saying that all of the Western Hemisphere, both North and South America, is the Land of Promise. This despite their map violates several of the specific outlines of land locations that Mormon left us, and the manyh other inconsistencies with the descriptions of the Land of Promise. This also holds true for the Heartland and other Eastern U.S. Theorists.
    What is most disturbing in all of this is the disservice we have done to these ancient prophets, especially to Nephi, Jacob, Mormon and Moroni, in coming ujp with untenable theories and claiming it is what the scriptural record says. If there are two theories that make no sensible connectiions to the scriptujrla record, to Mormon’s various descriptions, etc., is is the Mesoamerican and Great Lakes (Heartland) theories. One has to play foot-loose-and-fancy-free with the scriptures in order to do that. Imagine, Mormon, knowing he would be writing to a future reader, using compass directions that were unique to him and the Spirit not thinking it mattered enough to correct Joseph Smith’s translations of those directions.
Consider that Mormon tells us over and over again that the directions in the scriptural record of the Land of Promise are located north and south; meanwhile, Sorenson comes along with his rationale to try and convince us that Mormon is wrong and uses an entirely different cardinal direction system and that only he, Sorenson, knows about it and therefore changes the entire Land of Promise from north to south to a different map that is east to west. You choose whom you believe—Mormon or Sorenson 

    And consider all the BYU and other intelligent people who so doggedly support and promote that belief—a north-south Land of Promise that so mysteriously changes to east-west, because the word for west is also the word for hinder and because of all of this, in the Land of Promise, a people who were oriented to things of the East being those of God, did not know where East was and promotes it even to this day as South in the Mesoamerican Theory.
    Personally, I think Mormon would turn over in his grave if he was aware of that!


  1. The thing that convinced me that Sorenson was full of baloney is that Hagoth could not sail north from Meso-America model. That clinched it for me.

  2. There is no obvious answer to this. I figured it out once, and the distances amount to a total of 895 miles total sailing before being able to turn northward.

  3. It is internally consistent with his model though. If "Nephite north" is actually west, then Hagoth DID sail "north". Of course, the whole shift the map by 90 degrees is rather indicative of "baloney" itself.

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