Sunday, November 20, 2016

More Comments From Readers – Part I

Here are more comments from readers of our blog:   
Comment #1: “Why do we have a 3rd and 4th Nephi when they are not connected to the author of 1st and 2nd Nephi? Seems odd to me” Sandra H.
Response: You might be interested to know that in the original Book of Mormon and up until 1879, there were no books or sections labeled 3rd and 4th Nephi. Instead, they were called “The Book of Nephi, The Son of Nephi, Which Was the Son of Helaman” and “The Book of Nephi, Which Was the Son of Nephi, One of the Disciples of Jesus Christ.“ In 1879, when Orson Pratt divided the Book of Mormon into what is now our current chapters and verses,   “III Nephi” and “IV Nephi” were added to these titles for clarification.  In 1920, they were again revised to “Third Nephi” and “Fourth Nephi.”
    Comment #2: “The thing that convinced me that Sorenson was full of baloney is that Hagoth could not sail north from the Meso-America model. That clinched it for me” Ira T
    Response: There is no obvious answer to Sorenson’s way of thinking on this. He makes statements and ignores the reality of the scriptural record. In plotting out the actual figures, to leave I figured it out once, and the distances amount to a total of 855 miles total sailing before being able to turn northward.
First Red Arrow is traveling West by Southwest; second red arrow is traveling West by northwest; 855 miles before (purple arrow) a true northward direction could be achieved as Mormon informs us; Orange arrow shows a landing site in Sorenson’s Bay of Acapulco—his landing site for Hagoth’s ships that went northward, but according to Sorenson, landing before they could ever turn northward

    Both Alma and Mormon tell us that Hagoth’s ships “took their course northward” (Alma 63:6). Now, leaving the area of Sorenson’s Mesoamerican narrow neck, one would have to sail for 120 miles in a southwest direction, before turning West by Northwest, which is a westerly direction, to reach the State of Guerrero coast—which is 310 miles in a westerly direction, a direction that continues for another 400 miles before a ship could turn to a northwest heading. This is a total of 855 miles in a westerly direction from Hagoth’s launch site—in other words, as the white arrows show, Hagoth’s ship would travel 400 miles westward and only 35 miles northward to land at Sorenson’s Acapulco Bay, or 630 miles to the west and only 280 miles to the north before being able to turn northward.
    So once again, Sorenson claims something opposite of the scriptural record!
    Comment #3: “There are many strong arguments for the hill in New York being the Hill Cumorah, but the strongest of these arguments is that Moroni himself said it was. And another good argument is that it is a hill. Unlike Cerro el Vigia, one proposed hill in Mexico, the New York hill rises 220-230 feet from base to top. Cerro el Vidia stands 2,700 feet from base to top. A “hill” of 2,700 feet is a mountain and surely would have been described as such by Mormon. The “land of Cumorah”, is described as “a land of many waters, rivers and fountains”. The area around the Hill Cumorah certainly fits that description. New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio are home to nearly 400 lakes including the Great Lakes” Lyle M.
    Response: First, the hill Cumorah is not 230 feet high or higher. If you would go there and walk up it, you would find it is barely a bump on the plain. The State of New York lists the hill as being no more than 130 feet high. Secondly, this information you sent is evidently quoted from “, the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland.” Third, the word “cerro” is Spanish, a word applied to almost any hill, mountain or peak by the Spanish when they arrived in Central and South America, as any old or current map will show you. Literally, “cerro,” means a) “hill,” as in subamos al cerro par aver las estrellas (“Let’s go up to the hill to look at the stars”); b) a “mountain” as in Situada en las faldas del cerro Santa Apolonia (“Located at the feet of the mountain Santa Apolonia”), or  Tengo un cerro de ropa para lavar (“I have a mountain of laundry to do”). On the other hand,”cerro” can also mean “ridge,” “to shut,” “close,” “heap,” or “back.”
The Vista del Cerro del Vigia, Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico—a view of the Hill Vigia in Mexico. Frankly, this does look like a hill and not a mountain

    The point is, the word “cerro” does not mean “hill” exclusively like we say hill in English. We do not call Mount Raineer, the Hill Raineer, but the Spanish do, etc. Third, as for “The “land of Cumorah,” it is described as “a land of many waters, rivers and fountains,” it actually is not. What Mormon says, is: “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains” (Mormon 6:4). That is, the Land of Cumorah, which is not described, is in a land of many waters” and doesn’t even say it was around the water, lakes or fountains. When the wounded Mormon looked out over the battlefield the next day, he does not mention anything about lakes, rivers, or fountains—only the dead bodies.
    Nor can it be said, as so many Great Lakes people claim, that Moroni called the hill Cumorah in New York the hill mentioned in the scriptural record in the Land of Promise. For more on this, see our post: Wednesday, December 30, 2015 “America is the Land of Promise—But Where is America? – Part XIV.”
    We need to be careful that we read what is written, not what we think is written.

Comment #4: “I was looking at a website recently showing the area where Panama and Colombia join as being the area of Bountiful, and the narrow neck of land just north in Panama. I don’t think I have read you commenting about that layout for the land of Promise” Brett J.
Top: The map location of the Land of Promise as seen by David Richens in his “Mapping the Book of Mormon” book. Bottom: The reality of this area is simply that it has always been a deep, impassable jungle, claimed to be the most dangerous place on earth. To look at a map and say this is where Bountiful was located is one thing, but to put it in the most inaccessible area in the Western Hemisphere is mere ignorance 

    Response: We have written about it several times, but the gist of it is this, that for a very long geological time, according to geologists, the area you speak of, called the Darien Gap, was (and still is) an impassable jungle that has caused a complete break in movement of any kind between Colombia and Panama—it is the only place in the 48,000-mile-long Pan-American Highway, which runs from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina. Explorers have always been drawn to this Gap, beginning with the Spanish in 1510, but the results have mostly been disastrous. It is as wild today as it was in the days of the Conquest. Only a few tour-exploring groups operate in the area, along with some drug hideouts, and an occasional independent explorer attempting to make it across.
    The work of the Glomar Challenger research and scientific drilling vessel, which cored the seabed on both sides of the Panama isthmus at this very point, shows that this area was underwater and not even attached to South America at one time, and when it came up, it has been an impassable jungle ever since. Several attempts have been made to navigate through this area, all have met with failure until the twentieth-centuryh with GPS and 4-wheel drive vehicles, which still resists most attempts to make it through.
    The Gap stretches from the north to the south across Panama, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and is between 80 and 100 miles, with the only way around it by sea.
    The website and maps you mention are evidently the ones from David Richens in his “Mapping the Book of Mormon,” posted in March 2016, in which he states that “In my post about Book of Mormon geography, I mentioned that I deliberately avoided looking at existing research while I was compiling the scriptural references and coming to my own conclusions. Later on I did a little bit of poking around online just to see what other people have been saying.” It might have done Richins some good had he spent some time researching the area he is mapping. He has placed his “Bountiful” right in the middle of the Darien Gap of Panama, an area where he not only has a city, but for as long as geologists figure, has been a swamp land that is simply impassable.
    For any researcher to even suggest such a thing is merely to show one’s ignorance of the reality of the places being discussed.
This map shows the cities along the Sea East seacoast are here shown along a northern seacoast off the Caribbean Sea of the Atlantic Ocean. And the line of march shown for Teancum to intercept Morianton’s flight northward (which on the map is mostly southward and then westward) would have taken Teancum and his army over a series of mountains (red dotted line)  so difficult to negotiate, tunnels were carved through them by modern engineers rather than try to build over them 

    We could go on about Richlins maps and theory, but it is so far from reality it hardly warrents the time.


  1. About sailing north: One of the (many) problems with Sorenson's theory is the near 90 degree west offset for his "North". However, with this offset, Hagoth's ship is sailing "North". This sailing direction is not a separate point of his theory's inaccuracy; but is internally consistent with the directional offset.

    1. I don't get what you are saying. Would you please explain that a little bit better? To me North is North. If Hagoth sails North the ship is traveling North. Who cares what the sails of the ship are doing.

  2. It means that when Sorenson turned the Land of Promise 90º to the left, West became North and Hagoth's ships went West in the map, which was now north so Hagoth's ships sailed "north" in the model as the scriptural record indicates. However, Sorenson and other Mesoamericanists fail to make that same change with the Rio Grijalva (their Sidon River) which flows, according to their changers, to the east not the north. This just shows, that when you start making changes with the real world, there are parts that no longer fit correctly. It is also of note that note one Mesoamericanist that I have ever read on this subject seems to understand this point for their direction of the Grijalva or Usumacinta rivers for the Sidon.

    1. Okay I get it. In other words Lehi, Nephi, Hagoth were too stupid to know which direction was North. This is just one of the many reason I reject Sorenson's model.

  3. Another problem with the Sorenson model is that to sail up along the coast of today's Mexico to another point along that same coast does not really separate the people from where they came. In fact one could just as well travel by land and come to the the new place.

    Later it says the people north of the Narrow neck filled the entire land. What would keep the people from filling up right up to where those in the Hagoth ships went?

    This same problem is even worse in the other North American models.

    1. Combined with this, the "final battle" does not make sense unless the Nephites have literally no where else to go. From Mesoamerica, the Nephites have an entire continent to flee into.

  4. Exactly. And if the Nephites who went into the south countries to escape the final battle could have gone north, why would they have chosen to go south deeper into Lamanite territory?