Saturday, March 17, 2018

Revisiting Mormon’s Insertion and His Intent – Part I

A further comment about the intent of Mormon’s inserted writing in Alma 22 regarding his description of the Land of Promise states: “I disagree with your assessment in Alma. I do not think Mormon is describing how wide the small neck of land is. It think he is discussing the fact that the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi were nearly surrounded by water.” 
    We have written about this many times, but since it is a major issue among Theorists and often articles are written to describe a different view of this subject that are both confusing and erroneous, which causes confusion in the scriptural record where no confusion actually exists, let us take a few moments and go into great detail on what Mormon wrote in this insertion of 8 verses and what is obviously his intent.
An angel, answering the prayers of the Church Members, appears to Alma and the sons of Mosiah who had been fighting against the Church; they were so frightened the fell to the ground which shook as the Angel called them to repentance. Their conversion led to the great missionary work they performed among the Lamanites

First of all, Mormon is describing the missionary efforts of the sons of Mosiah, including Ammon and Aaron. After Ammon had described the Lord to the Lamanite king (King Lamoni’s father), he traveled on, and Aaron arrived in the king’s land. After Aaron taught the king, the king “was struck as if he were dead,” and both the queen and the king’s servants thought him dead, as did the Lamanites, and threatened Aaron and his brethren missionaries, but the king awoke and stood and administered to the Aaron and his brethren and the people were pacified, so the king “caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word unto them” (Alma 22:26). Afterward, “the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land amongst all his people, who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about” (Alma 22:27) that “they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land” (Alma 23:1).
    This decree the king sent out, stated “that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their temples, and their sanctuaries. And thus they might go forth and preach the word according to their desires, for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and all his household; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness” (Alma 23:2-3).
    As can be clearly seen, Mormon is following the events in Alma’s writing of the missionary work of the sons of Mosiah, however, in between these two events, Aaron preaching to the people and sending the proclamation, Mormon inserts eight verses of explanation regarding the land of the king, the Lamanite lands and the lands of the Nephites.
Throughout all the Lamanite kings land and among all his people in the land

So in vs 27, “the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land who were in the regions round about.”
    Now in this statement, Mormon sets the stage for his inserted verses, that describes that he is talking about the land form, topography or geography of the Land of Promise. He inserts:
[1] all the land,
[2] amongst all his people who were in all his land
[3] who were in the regions round about
    In this simple statement, Mormon inserts a fairly complete description of the Land of Promise. Consider that he goes on to tell us in his description that this land:
1. Borders even to the sea on the east and on the west 
      Mormon mentions this twice in vs 27, saying the land went from the Sea East to the Sea West
2. Was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness
3. This wilderness ran from the sea east even to the sea west,
4. This wilderness also “curved” roundabout on the borders of the seashore, 
      “Roundabout means not following a direct route, but is circuitous. This means the narrow strip of wilderness had to have curved or wound upward at the east and west terminus of the land, i.e., curved upward since it was on the west and east of the Land of Zarahemla
5. The borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, 
      “On the north obviously means that the northern boundary of the narrow strip of wilderness that ran between the Land of Zarahemla (a term sometimes used for the entire Land NorthwardMormon 1:6; Alma 4:1; 16:1) and the Land of Nephi (a term most often used for the entire Land SouthwardAlma 26:23; 46:29; 50:8) was a dividing wilderness between these two major lands (Alma 22:28,34; 27:14)
6. This wilderness “that bordered Zarahemla on the north” ran through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, 
       Either along the northern edge of this strip, or slightly within it, was both the city of Manti and also the head of the River Sidon
7.  Which wilderness ran from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided. 
       Mormon again makes it clear he is describing that Manti and the head of the River Sidon are within this narrow strip of wilderness that separates the Nephites from the Lamanites
8. This narrow strip of wilderness on the west extended northward from the narrow strip into the Land of Zarahemla along the seashore, and southward along the seashore from the narrow strip all the way down to the area of First Landing, and was occupied by tent-dwelling idle Lamanites (vs 28) 
       While the narrow strip runs in a basic straight line from sea to sea, it curves up at the seashore in both the east and the west, forming a land roundabout that curves up into the Land of Zarahemla along the coast. It also extends downward along the coast of the West Sea, and is filled with idle Lamanites all the way to the area of First Landing
9. This narrow strip of wilderness also extended northward in the east along the seashore into the Land of Zarahemla 
       The Nephites had driven the Lamanites (who had been in the Land of Zarahemla) far to the east and at the time of Mormons description, occupied the wilderness that ran roundabout northward along the sea
       Thus, this narrow strip of wilderness along the northern boundary ran like an upside down horseshoe with the Lamanites along the horseshoe and the Nephites in the middle, thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites
(See the next post, “Understanding Mormon’s Insertion and His Intent – Part II,” for the rest of these points that Mormon makes in his insert about the geography of the Land of Promise)

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