Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Limiting Distances and Other Criteria – Part II

Continuing with the previous post regarding the arbitrary distances that theorists like to place on the scriptural record so they can support and defend their models, and specifically the article written by James Warr and his 12 criteria for identifying the Land of Promise (which he places in Central America), that was sent to us on the matter. 
   Comment from Warr: “Of course, there is always a possibility that surface appearances are unproblematic [not presenting a problem or difficulty], obvious, and correct, but such could only be shown through analysis that explored other options and did not presume a priori [theoretical deduction rather than from observation or experience] the validity of one's own superficial interpretation. Cultural background [what shapes our upbringing, family society or organizational level] passes as epistemology [theory of knowledge—justified belief from opinion] here, and unconvincingly so” (explanations added).
Response: There is a word in the English language called “gobbledygook” which means language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms—in a word “nonsense”). The writer of this article being discussed here uses gobbledygook. Thus, in clear English we could say he means: “There is always the chance what we read and see, is obvious and therefore correct; on the other hand, if one is simply making it up based on his beliefs rather than fact, or is relying on classroom teachings or standards, it is unconvincing. But any way you look at it, the point is belief and opinion does not prove the point; therefore, one needs more than that.”
    This is why we present in our blog and in each article numerous historical, Biblical, and scriptural record information from which a conclusion becomes both obvious and believable to all who seek the truth of the scriptural record and not trying to sell or justify their own predetermined viewpoint or model.
    Comment: “The narrow neck of land could be traversed in 1 to 1 1/2 days (this would make it approximately 15–40 miles wide; Alma 22:32; Helaman 4:7).”
    Response: First, any intelligent reading of these two scriptures show they refer to two different things, 1) the width of the narrow neck of land (Alma) and 2) a defensive line across the northern area of Bountiful (Helaman). The first isl described as taking a Nephite 1 ½ days to cross, the second is one day in length. Second, since covering forty miles in a day-and-a-half would take a record movement of 2 miles a day for 12 straight hours of day light, then 2 miles a day for 6 hours of day light the next day without a rest while in movement, it seems that would be an excessive distance. It would be more like 18 to 30 miles in width at the very most, depending upon the terrain being covered.
    Comment: “The combined land of Zarahemla and Nephi, southward from the narrow neck, was almost completely surrounded by water and was small enough that the inhabitants considered it an island" (Alma 22:32; 2 Nephi 10:20–21).”
    Response: Just because it is an island, does not mean it is small. When theorists start putting their own ideas into their comments, rather than sticking with the scriptural record, they go far astray in their eventual assumptions. By saying: “was small enough that the inhabitants considered it an island,” is both unhelpful and misleading. After all, seven of the largest islands of the world might not have been considered an island by ancient inhabitants unless they were, or until they became, a maritime culture:
• Greenland - (840,004 sq. miles)
• New Guinea - (303,381 sq. miles)
• Borneo - (288,869 sq. miles)
• Madagascar - (226,917 sq. miles)
• Baffin - (194,574 sq. miles)
• Sumatra - (171,069 sq. miles)
• Japan - (143,939 sq. miles)
(By comparison, California is 163,696 sq. miles; and Montana is 147,042 sq. miles)
    On the other hand, seven other islands would have obviously been understood to have been islands:
• Borneo, Indonesia - (13,698 feet)
• Formosa, China - (13,114 feet)
• Sumatra, Indonesia - (12,484 feet)
• Ross, Antarctica - (12,448 feet)
• Honshu, Japan - (12,388 feet)
• South Island, NZ - (12,349 feet)
• Lombok, Indonesia - (12,224 feet)
(By comparison, Maryland is 12,406 sq. miles).
    Comment: “At one time in Jaredite history the narrow neck was blocked by an infestation of poisonous snakes so that neither man nor beast could pass. (This could only occur if there were a water barrier on both sides; Ether 9:31–34)”
    Response: As Ether tells us “the Lord did cause the serpents that they should pursue them no more, but that they should hedge up the way that the people could not pass, that whoso should attempt to pass might fall by the poisonous serpents” (Ether 9:33). There is nothing written or suggested here that alters the narrow neck of land in any way, nor is there anything to suggest there was a water barrier or any type of restriction other than the pass itself, and certainly no cause for the writer to claim that “this could only occur if there were a water barrier on both sides.”  A narrow neck of land means it was “narrow.” What caused it to be narrow is not indicated, whether it was the sea on both sides, or canyons, or mountains, is not indicated. Certainly, there is no reason to insert a water barrier without further explanation or support.
Left: A map of the narrow neck area of the Land of Promise, showing the narrow isthmus of land between the east end of the Bay of Guayaquil in Ecuador, and what was once the Sea East and now the cliffsides of the Andes Mountains—a distance of 26 miles; Right: An example of a narrow pass or passage. Such a restriction is mentioned by Mormon (Alma 50:34; 52:9; Mormon 3:5), and exists, called since the 15th century, before the Spanish arrived, the “Pass of Huayna Capac,” an Inca leader who made the pass famous during a battler with the northern tribes. With the pass within the narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32; 63:5; Mormon 2:29) it could easily be “hedged up by serpents” as Ether tells us

On the other hand, since Mormon describes the narrow neck of land as the only ingress into the Land Northward from the Land Southward (and visa versa), and that there was a narrow pass or passage that would have had to have ran through the narrow neck of land from the north to the south, then we can understand that at least one point there was a narrow pass that would have limited the width of passage from the Land Southward into the Land Northward. Thus, it would not have taken many snakes or serpents to have blocked off movement through this narrow pass.
    It should also be kept in mind that, according to “Facts About Snakes” in Fusion Time, “Snakes are isolated creatures when it comes to their living behaviors. From time to time they will come into contact with each other by accident. Most of the time they will go their own way,” thus, snakes don’t congregate together except through unusual circumstances, such as droughts or the congregating of their food supply, such as mice, which often move toward new planting following famines. Snakes are by nature solitary creatures, despite such movies as Raiders of the Lost Ark. The only other time we know that snakes so congregated is when “the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died” (Numbers 21:6). Since there were 186,400 total number of men of the camp of Judah (Numbers 2:10), we can assume there were a large number of snakes sent by the Lord.
(See the next post, “Limiting Distances and Other Criteria – Part III,” for more on the article sent to us and our responses)


  1. Del- can you clarify something for me? 1. In prior posts ( http://nephicode.blogspot.com/search?q=Great+Wall+of+Peru)
    you have indicated the wall described in Helaman 4:7 is likely "the Great Wall of Peru" and is just north of huambacho- which puts it along the southern part of the land of Bountiful. But in this post you indicate the wall is along the northern part of the land of bountiful.
    2. The Great Wall of Peru as aerial photographed by Shipee and Johnson in 1931 is said to be about 100 miles long. But Helaman 4:7 says "And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a day’s journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country."

    1. One possibility would be that at the time of Helaman 4:7 it was shorter, but then over the centuries of warfare since then it was lengthened.

  2. Del- are there any records of exactly where the "Pass of Huayna Capac" was? I've searched the Internet a couple trying to find it without success. The only reference to it I've found on line is from Pedro de Ceza de Leon. In a footnote he indicates that in the city of Guayaquil there was a place that in the 17th century was still called the "Pass of Huayna Capac", but I can find no additional information.

    You wrote more about the pass in your Feb 2014 post but not the location.


  3. David: First, we have suggested that though the wall was 100 miles long (an airborne estimation), the Nephites only fortified it (meaning placed troops along it) for about a day's travel distance (a loose measurement Mormon uses to give us an idea of Nephite distances). Having seen the wall and followed it for some distance, it eventually covers terrain that is almost impossible to reach on foot (meaning for an army to march along in order to circumvent it). After awhile, one simply gives up. It would appear the Nephites counted on this as part of their defense since the latter half of the wall is built across such impossible terrain.

    Secondly, The Great Wall of Peru is simply one of several built somewhat like it, though others were not as long as far as has been discovered. We learn of this in Alma 48:8. I suspect that these are two different walls, but do not know that so we sometimes combine them for understanding since I have no personal knowledge of the others, though I've been told they can be found from time to time in the area of the Great Wall and further north. Had Shippee and Johnson not seen it from the air and photographed it, we may not even know of it today.

    Third. The Pass of Huayna Capac runs in the area roughly as shown on our maps of it, from an area near the city of Guayaquil southeastward, though there is a branch that runs to the east into Amazonia today (I am told). Passes in the area (and all over Peru in the cordilleras) are difficult to find and for some reason historians (and photographers) have spent little time in their observation, study and reporting--thus we have little information on them. When in Peru, movement through the cordilleras (mountains) are extremely restricted and almost impossible today to branch out and find separate areas--it is an extremely rough terrain, unbelievable so, and literally narrows one's scope of any surrounding areas, consequently finding places not well defined and listed is extremely difficult. It is why, even today, parts of Peru lay undiscovered and unknown unless laying along an established route.

  4. Del- Thank you! Very much appreciated!

  5. Good discussion. So what we can take from this is this may not be the line of fortification of Helaman 4:7 but perhaps Alma48. But what this does show is we have an ancient people building a wall for defense. Where do you have this same condition or behavior in Meso or North American theories? I don't know of any other wall(s) except for China I guess. So again the mere fact that the wall exists shows that the right location has been found.

    Alma 48 is interesting and perhaps this is the wall that is the great Wall of Peru.