Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Importance of Specific Descriptions – Land Northward Land Southward – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding how the Land Northward and the Land Southward were divided from one another and how that differs from the division of the Land North and the Land South. 
    In discussing these divisions of land, the Land Northward and the Land Southward were divisions from a particular geographical point or location dividing the Land of Promise in two major land masses. That division was the Small Neck of Land, which connected the Land Southward with the Land Northward (Alma 22:32).
The Narrow Neck of Land separated the land of the Nephites and Lamanites from the northern lands that were originally occupied by the Jaredites, and later by the Nephites destruction that occurred there

This “small neck of land” as Mormon calls it in this description is the same location that he later calls the “narrow neck of land” (Alma 63:5), that is, the connecting small and narrow neck that attached the two major land masses of the Land of Promise. In the first instance he “calls it a small neck of land” dividing the Land Southward from the Land Northward; in the second instance, he calls it a “narrow neck,” which also is the entrance from the Land Southward into the Land Northward.
    The problem is in the fact that some theorists want to claim these two areas were not the same physical landmark, but two separate areas of the Land of Promise.
    Vincent Coon in his “The Divided Neck” asks the question: “Could the Book of Mormon's “narrow neck of land” be separate from the feature described as “a small neck of land” and called “the narrow pass” or the “narrow passage”?
    Some other theorists have claimed they are separate locations, however, when reading the passages about this “narrow neck” we find they are all associated with a pathway or land form between the Land Southward and the Land Northward. As an example there are five terms used in the Book of Mormon: 1) the small neck of land, 2) the narrow neck of land, 3) the narrow neck, 4) the narrow pass, and 5) the narrow passage. Let’s take a look at all five uses (emphasis added):
1. Alma 22:32: “there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.
2. Ether 10:20: “built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land
3. Alma 63:5: “by the narrow neck which led into the land northward
4. Alma 50:34: “by the narrow pass which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west and on the east; Alma 52:9: “the narrow pass which led into the land northward; Mormon 3:5: “by the narrow pass which led into the land southward.
5. Mormon 2:29: “the narrow passage which led into the land southward.
    To make certain we understand that the “narrow neck” is the same as the “small neck,” we need merely consider the two adjectives involved in describing the “neck of land.”
First of all, the word “small,” as defined in Joseph Smith’s time, meant “slender, thin, of little diameter; the small or slender part of a thing.” Secondly, the word “narrow” at the same time meant “of little breadth; not wide or broad; having little distance from side to side.”
    When some theorist starts trying to claim these two adjectives describe two different places, as in “small neck of land” or “narrow neck of land,” they are simply confusing the simple explanation we find in the scriptural record Mormon gave us. The two words are synonyms of one another and mean essentially the same thing—to describe one is the same as describing the other. Thus, there are not two different landmarks in the Book of Mormon descriptions of a neck of land, but a single one that has the same meaning. In fact, in looking up the word “narrow” today, you find: “small in width.”
    Thus, taking both of Mormon’s statements and Moroni’s as well, the “small neck” and the “narrow neck” are the same descriptive landmark in the scriptural record Land of Promise.
    Third, we need to connect the “narrow pass” and “narrow passage” with this “small” or “narrow” neck of land. In order to do so, we turn to Alma’s inserted explanation of the land into which the Lamanite king sent his proclamation in Alma 22:27. Wanting to make sure his future reader fully understood the relationship of the Lamanite and Nephite controlled lands, Mormon inserted his own explanation of the Land of Promise as found in April 22:27-34, “And now I, having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren“ (Alma 22:35).
    In his explanation, Mormon states that there is a Land Southward and a Land Northward (Alma 22;32), and that the Land Southward contains the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22;28) and the Land of Bountiful (Alma 22:29), while the Land Northward contains the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:31). Now, between these two major lands, Mormon tells us that there is a “small neck of land” (Alma 22:32) that connects them, otherwise the Land Southward would be complete surrounded by water (alma 22:32).
Where the “narrow pass” or “narrow passage” runs between the Land Southward and the Land Northward thru the “small” or “narrow” neck of land

Thus, we see that the only piece of land, or only land between these two major lands is the “small” or “narrow” neck of land. This, then means, that the “narrow pass” or “narrow passage” must be within this “small” or “narrow” neck of land.
    Consequently, the narrowing of the land at this point into a small and narrow neck obviously is narrowed by the sea, and the sea at this point, as it cuts into the land, is referred to by Mormon’s son, Moroni, as a “narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20, emphasis added).
Where the “sea divides the land” by narrowing the land mass down to the narrow neck of land

In fact, where this narrow neck widens into the Land Northward, that is the Land of Desolation, is where Moroni tells us that the Jaredites built a great city, very likely the city named Desolation that Mormon describes that existed in Nephite times where this narrow neck widened into the Land of Desolation and refers to the egress through the narrow neck as a “narrow passage” (Mormon 2:29; 3:5).
    And since the Lamanites were all located south of the narrow strip of wilderness (Alma 22:27), except where the wilderness curved upward or “roundabout” along the seashores of the West and East seas, Mormon states: “Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites -- as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires” (Alma 22:34).
    In addition, we see from Mormon’s insertion that:
1. The Land of Promise was an island (1 Nephi 10:20);
2. The Land of Promise ran northward and southward (Alma 22:29-31);
3. The Land Southward was surrounded by water except for the narrow neck of land (Alma 22:3);
4. The narrow neck is flanked by a west sea and an east sea (Alma 22:32);
5. The narrow neck is located at a place where "the sea divides the land" (Ether 10:20);
6. The  narrow neck led into the Land Northward (Alma 63:5), and also led into the Land Southward (Mormon 2:29);
7. The narrow neck should have a pass or passage running through it (Alma 50:34; 52:9);
8. The narrow pass led into the Land Northward (Alma 52:9), and also into the Land Southward (Mormon 3:5);
9.The narrow neck was about 25-30 miles wide, taking a Nephite to journey across it in a day and a half (Alma 22:32);
10. The northern end of the neck or pass was at a lower elevation than the higher land to the south (Morman 3:7-8; 4:1,19).
    Thus, when you put all of these scriptural descriptions together, and follow Mormon’s layout of the Land of Promise and pay particular attention to the “importance of specific descriptions” the understanding of Mormon’s information is crystal clear.

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