Saturday, March 4, 2017

What Has Happened to Common Sense? – Part II

Continuing with the previous post, we take a look at other areas where common sense seems lacking as theorists taut their particular theories and maps regarding the geographical setting of the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon. Take, as an example, those in the Great Lakes-Heartland camp that consider their theory is the only accurate one because they have the hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith was shown that the Plates were located. The problem arises when we start comparing scriptural references with their chosen locations.    As an example, the highest point in the land of that region is under 2,000 feet in height. Yet, in Helaman, we find the Lord putting in the heart of Samuel the Lamanite that during the crucifixion, there would be areas that were valleys, which would rise up and become mountains, “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23). Now common sense tells us that if the Great Lakes were the Land of Promise, there would be recently raised mountains in the area, both in the Land Southward and the Land Northward, “whose height is great.” Great being defined in 1828 as “exceedingly high, expressing an unusual degree of height, vast, extensive, superior, preeminent.”
    In a recent post, we listed all the mountains and their heights throughout the area of the Eastern United States, which included the Great Lakes area, which we have done on other occasions, to show that there simply are no mountains with much height at all in the entire region.
    We need to keep in mind that this comparison of mountains “whose height is great” was a comment made by the Lord through Samuel as he preached repentance to the Nephites on the city walls of Zarahemla. So we cannot claim it was a comparison of what Samuel knew—but a comparison of what the Lord, the creator of the Earth and worlds without number, as well as the heavens and the universe we know, so certainly when using that source as the comparison factor, we are talking about very high mountains for Him to consider their height to be great.
    In addition, common sense demands that we look at the area of the Great Lakes, and not finding any mountains to speak of at all, reject that area as the Land of Promise without further discussion. After all, mountains don’t disappear over time, and having been established about 2000 years ago at the crucifixion, it cannot be suggested that they are no longer there.
    Another common sense area to consider would be the placement of locations in relationship to one another. As an example, the Land Northward was northward of the Land Southward. Common sense demands that any map show not only a north-south land orientation as Mormon describes very clearly in Alma 22:27-34, but that cities, lands, and other areas be in the right perspective to one another. As an example, consider Jonathan Neville’s map:
Jonathan Neville’s Heartland map: There is simply not an ounce of common sense anywhere in it. Consider these 14 glaring errors between his map and the scriptural record:

Red Arrow: Zarahemla is between the East Sea and the West Sea and is separated from the Land of Nephi by (Purple Circle) the narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27)—incorrect on both points on his map;
White Circle: Hagoth launched his ships from the West Sea (Alma 63:5)—is on the Sea East on his map;
• Dark Yellow Arrow: The Land of Zarahemla is south of the Land of Bountiful (Alma 22:28-29)—It is southeast on his map;
Purple Circle: the Narrow Strip of Wilderness ran from the Sea East to the Sea West (Alma 22:27)—strip of wilderness does not from either sea on his map;
Pink Arrow: The Land of Zarahemla was nearly surrounded by water (Alma 22:32)—not the case on his map; and the West of the Land of Zarahemla bordering by the seashore (Alma 22:28) – incorrect on both points on his map;
Dark Blue Arrow: Land Bountiful borders on the narrow neck of land, separating Bountiful from Land of Desolation (Alma 22:31-32)—Not the case on his map;
Orange Arrow: The City of Nephi was located close to the Waters of Mormon, since Alma’s recruits traveled back and forth, and king Noah sent spies out and his army after Alma in the nearby Forest of Alma (Mosiah 18:7-8,30,31-33)—on his map, these two places are about 800 miles apart (about 40-days travel time one-way);
Light Blue Arrow: The City of Nephi was located to the south of the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27, et al)—on his map, it is located far to the east;
Dark Green Circle: Land of First Inheritance was located on the west on the seashore (Alma 22:28)—on his map, the Land of First Inheritance is located in the south of the Land of Nephi along an unnamed seashore—certainly not the West Sea.
Maroon Circle: City of Desolation was in the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward (Mormon 3:5)—on his map, the narrow pass is nowhere near his narrow pass;
• Light Green Arrow: The City of Desolation was very close to the City of Teancum, both being in the Land of Desolation (Mormon 4:3)—on his map, the two cities are about 700 miles apart;
• Light Yellow Circle: Jershon was on the east by the sea (Alma 27:22)—on his map, it is in the west to the west of the Sea West.
    Another common sense area to consider would be the four distinct seas mentioned in Helaman 3:8. Or in the case of the Mesoamerican map, the two seas flanking their Land of Promise. In fact, almost every map submitted by various theorists show the Gulf of Mexico, which is north of Mesoamerica—specifically the Isthmus of Tehuantepec—as the East Sea; and even more show the Pacific Ocean to the south of the Isthmus, as the Sea West. Some even label two seas the same name that are separated and name one sea two different names.
Brant Gardner’s typical Mesoamerican map, just like Sor3enson’s, which shows a Sea East in the
North, and a Sea West in the South, and no Sea North or Sea South

 Blue Circle: East Sea, also Purple Circle: East Sea; Yellow Circle: South Sea, but also Red Circle: West Sea. V. Garth Norman places the West Sea to the south of the Isthmus, but also names that same sea the South Sea; and the East Sea to the east of the Yucatan, but also the Gulf to the west of the Yucatan is also the East Sea. Not much common sense expressed in this map

Joseph Allen’s model showing a Sea West, which is south of Mesoamerica, and the Sea East, which is to the east of the Yucatan. Even if he labels the Gulf of Mexico the Sea North, which would be opposite the Sea West, there is no Sea North

Thomas Stuart Ferguson shows two seas; a Sea East, which is to the north, and a Sea West, which is to the south

Stanford Smith, Gregg Revell, Roger Jones, and Thomas Quinn at least have tried to place all four seas around Mesoamerica, however, the Sea West and the Sea South are both to the south of Mesoamerica without any separation

Another Mesoamerican map showing the Sea East in the north, and the Sea West in the south with no Sea North or Sea South

Common Sense should tell one that when the scriptural record calls for four directional seas, that any map of the Land of Promise model would have to have four directional seas, one in each of the four directions indicated. It is amazing that so few of the Mesoamerican maps have less than four seas, and the one that has four seas, they simply give the same sea two names.


  1. Del, As I recall Sorenson believed that the Olmec civilization was identified with the Jaredite. The problem however is the Olmec lived south of their narrow neck. Also the artifacts from that civilization dated to only about 1200bc. So that alone would disqualify them as candidates.

    Good work on Neville's maps. His are very poor quality. I tried quizzing him but he wouldn't answer even the most basic questions about them. All he could say was read his book for which I replied that I had seen his maps and they are not accurate and so reading his book would be a waste of time. Thanks Del for you good work.

  2. I totally agree with the first thing I see on Neville's site: "The Book of Mormon Wars are over". Too bad, however, that Neville is not on the right side of the war.

  3. iterry: Yes, that is true. It is one of the flimsy areas of Mesoamerican thinking. The Olmecs actually occupied much of the Yucatan and portions of Guatemala at one time--all south of their narrow neck.