Friday, April 13, 2018

How Did We Get to a Limited Theory for the Land of Promise Geography? – Part IV

Continued from the previous post regarding the movement of the Jaredites in the Land Northward.
The Land of Promise

In describing the final battle of the Jaredites, John L. Sorenson tries to show proof of a Limited Geography Theory and the smaller size of his Mesoamerican model by claiming Ether’s ventures out at night to see all that…happened showed that the area was very small that a man could cover it in a night.
    However, as we mentioned in the last post, it is far more likely that Ether was awarded either a vision of the overall battle, or saw just a small area of it and was told what had happened by the Spirit or the Lord.
    In any event, Sorenson adds (p15), “Finally, after the cataclysmic battle near the Hill Ramah, the Lord sent Ether from his cave to make the last entry in his record and deposit it where Limhi’s exploring party would find it.”
    According to Sorenson, for Ether to “observe most of the action while moving about only short distances from his cave base,” the final battles must have taken place within a relatively small area near Moron, which, according to Moroni, lay “near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites” (Ether 7:6). Sorenson then puts this together in his thesis by stating: “a hundred miles from Moron to the hill Ramah would probably accommodate all these facts” (Sorenson p16).
    The problem lies in what Ether actually did and where he actually went and how far he actually travelled. A single person can walk quite a distance for the entire night and each night in a different direction for the battle could have surrounded the area of Ether’s cave. On the other hand, and far more likely, is that while he wandered through the battle areas each night, the Lord provided a vision for Ether to see all that had happened in all the area in which the battles took place.
    The point is, Sorenson doesn’t know and we don’t know. We only know that each night Ether wandered about and saw the result of the battles that took place. What he saw, how he saw it, and whether or not it was an all-inclusive vision, or physically saw different parts of the battleground each night until he had seen it all over many nights, is not stated. Obviously, to draw a conclusion such as Sorenson does from this limited amount of information and numerous unanswered questions regarding it is foolish.
    What we do know is that Ether’s cave was in the neighborhood of Moron and that Moron was near the land of Desolation—these facts are well-established (Ether 13:13; 7:6). On the other hand, a reading of the events suggest that these battles, sometimes running battles occurred in various places over much larger distances:
From the Land of Moron to the Hill Cumorah (Ramah), from the hills Corihor and Comnor to the Plains of Heshlon to the Plains of Agosh to the borders of the seashore represents a considerable distance within the Land Northward

• Valley of Gilgal (Ether 13:29)
• Wilderness of Akish (Ether 14:3)
• Border of the seashore (Ether 14:12,13)
• Back to the wilderness of Akish (Ether 14:14)
• Plains of Agosh (Ether 14:15)
• Land and Valley of Corihor (Ether 14:28)
• Valley of Shurr (Ether 14:28)
    In these above six areas, nearly two million warriors and also their wives and children (probably a number between 4 to 5 million) had been killed (Ether 15:2). But the battles were not finished. They continued:
• North to the waters of Ripliancum (Ether 15:8)
• Southward to a place called Ogath (Ether 15:10), which evidently is the area of the land of Cumorah (Ether 15:11)
    While near the hill Ramah/Cumorah, they gathered all the people on all the face of the land that had not been killed, except for Ether (Ether 15:12). This took four years to gather all the people upon all the face of the land (Ether 15:13-14)
• They fled somewhere (Ether 15:29)
    Finally, Coriantumr killed Shiz and became “the last man standing” of the entire Jaredite civilization other than Ether (15:31-33).
    In these running battles, it should be kept in mind the distances that were covered as they “Came forth to the land of Moron (Ether 14:6) and also “Came up unto the land of Moron” (Ether 14:11), then a running battle took place where the battle covered the area of many cities that were overthrown by Shiz, who sacked and burned the cities (Ether 14:17). It is also stated that these battles took place “throughout all the land” (Ether 14:18), and also the “whole face of the land was covered with the dead” (Ether 14:21).
    We need to keep in mind that when an army fled to the seashore, fled to the wilderness, fled to that quarter of the land, fled again before the army of the brother of Lib, fled to the land of Corihor, fled from the army of Shiz, you are talking about very large armies moving quickly in retreat over vast distances of land to protect themselves so they can reach a place that they can defend.
    It seems a little simple-minded to suggest that this was all done in a rather small area as Sorenson claims, mostly to justify his location of the Hill Cumorah being quite close to his narrow neck of land.
    It should be noted, however, that Ether and his cave, which Sorenson uses to proximate the distances of the battle, is never mentioned after Ether 13:22, when Ether fled back to the cave after failing to convince Coriantumr to repent. This took place very early on, in Ether’s second year of hiding. Ether later watched the armies of Shiz and Coriantumr gather together around the Hill Ramah and “went forth” to size things up after Coriantumr slew Shiz, but no mention is made of the cave in either case. As an example, we are told that Ether beheld all the doings of the people” (Ether 15:13), and the Lord told him “to go forth” to see the words of the Lord had been fulfilled (Ether 15:33), obviously referencing the battle was ended and all the Jaredites were killed. But in neither case is there any mention of his cave or cavity of a rock as had been earlier.
    It seems both simplistic and irrational to try and determine distances from such ambiguous and incomplete information. More important is the distances armies and people numbering in the millions would have to cover as they fled from here to there, etc. This latter seems a far better gauge to try and determine distances than laying everything on one man’s travels around to see the outcome when we are not certain exactly what that means or how it was accomplished.
    Thus, it seems logical to conclude that the motivation behind the Limited Geography Theory is without much support other than to say the area of the Land of Promise was smaller than the entire Western Hemisphere, and even smaller than a continent. But how much smaller is not known, not suggested, and unavailable to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment