Thursday, August 16, 2018

Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding how some theorists come up with an idea that they think is valid and, at least to them, sounds plausible, but in reality either does not agree with the scriptural record, or the science of the period, or usually both.
    By way of example, we discussed Mesoamericanist Jonathan Neville’s response to Mormon’s comment that the border between the Nephites and the Lamanites being the “narrow strip of wilderness” and both the land of Zarahemla (Nephite territory), and the land of Nephi (Lamanite territory) were “nearly surrounded by water.”
    Continuing here with how his comments are neither accurate nor factual, and how there are seven glaring errors in his overall assumptive comment. The first three were covered in the previous post, and we continue with #4 below:
4. The rivers in North America (the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Allegheny Rivers) are a perfect fit.
    A perfect fit for what? Certainly not for an “ocean” or a “sea,” which are the two main definitions of “water” as used in the scriptural record. At the same time, these rivers could not be a perfect fit for borders to any land.
The major interior rivers in the Heartland area of the U.S. The mountains are in the west (Rocky Mountains) and the east coast has low mountains and rolling hills. The Heartland of the U.S. is basically flatlands or plains

It should be noted that even today, other than the Mississippi River, the other main rivers are not major borders to lands (or states). The Arkansas River does not form a single boundary; the Missouri River forms negligible boundaries (mostly corners) of South Dakota/Nebraska, Nebraska/Iowa, Kansas/Missouri; the Ohio River River forms the southern boundaries of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio; the Allegheny River forms no boundaries; and the Tennessee River forms no boundaries. Nor does the Wabash, Illinois, Susquehanna, Platte, Canadian, Brazos, Pecos, Gila, Green, Sacramento, or Columbia rivers.
    The Red River forms the southern boundary of Oklahoma, and for all the length of the Colorado River, it forms only a very small portion of the southern California boundary.
    So where is the fit for a water boundary of any significance?
    It is also interesting to note that in descriptions, “rivers are surrounded by a certain amount of land that is higher in altitude than the river” (Glossary of Geology, American Geosciences Institute, National Academy of Sciences, Alexandria, Virginia), we don’t find any indication of the Sidon River as such in the scriptural record. However, according to this, rivers do not surround land. In addition, it should be kept in mind that none of these U.S. rivers initially were capable of supporting inland sailing much beyond the immediate coast. It took special, small, flat-bottomed or extremely shallow draft boats to maneuver on these rivers, but had to be portaged around rapids, waterfalls, and impassable areas, of which there were many.
The small or narrow neck of land connecting the Land Southward with the Land Northward 

5. And the small neck of land between them—where the river border ended.
First of all, there is no mention of a river in the scriptural record in connection to the narrow neck of land, neither where it ended, or began or ran. Secondly, there is no mention of a river border in the scriptural record, and as indicated, the two main definitions of “water” would be “ocean” and “sea.” The neck of land mentioned is not connected to the “narrow strip of wilderness,” which of course is not a river at all. Consequently, the comment made by Mormon here has to do with the entire Land of Zarahemla and the entire land of Nephi—both of these lands stretched from sea to sea, i.e., the king’s land (Land of Nephi) “was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west” (Alma 22:27); and the narrow strip of wilderness ran from sea to sea (Alma 22:27)—thus we can see that it was not a river that surrounded the land, but the ocean or sea, called the “Sea West” (Alma 22:27) or the “West Sea” (Alma 22:32,33).
    In fact, when looking at the map of Jonathan Neville and his North American Land of Promise being surrounded by water, it certainly does not meet the description given by Mormon. Not only does it not surround the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, as Mormon clearly describes (Alma 22:32), but did not show any reality of Jacob’s comment about an island (2 Nephi 10:20), nor any effort to show a West Sea to the West of the Lamanite lands.
Neville’s map of his Land of Promise showing the Nephite/Lamanite division. He claims the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean make up the “nearly surrounded by water” that Mormon describes; however, (green dashed line) Mormon also tells us that the Land of Nephi went from the Sea East to the Sea West, but he shows half of the Lamanite lands were not part of this Land of Nephi that stretched from sea to sea; (blue dashed line) is the area he claims was “nearly surrounded by water.” And more than half of his Land of Nephi or Lamanite land (light blue dashed line) was not nearly surrounded by water. Thus, none of his Land of Zarahemla or Nephite land, is nearly surrounded by water as Mormon tells us 

6. Is not far from Cumorah.
    This is another error in the Land of Promise geography. The “narrow neck of land” is not close to the hill Cumorah, which is far to the north in the Land of Many Waters. In fact, Alma tells us that the land beyond the narrow neck was “so far northward, that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed” (Alma 22:30)—that land, which was where Cumorah was located and where the Jaredites had been destroyed (which they called the hill Ramah), “was so far northward,” a term that cannot be applied to a closeness to the narrow neck of land.
7. which helps explain why Cumorah was strategically important. 
    There is no comment or suggestion that the hill Cumorah was strategically placed. In fact, the Land of Many Waters is far to the north of anything strategic, such as the small or narrow neck of land, and is merely the location of both the final battles of the Jaredites and the final battle of the Nephites/Lamanites. Whatever value Mormon felt the hill Cumorah had, which he stated: “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:4, emphasis added), he did not explain.
John L. Sorenson’s map of his Mesoamerican Land of Promise. Note the (light blue line) the location of the narrow neck of land; (red circle) his hill Cumorah; (yellow circle) his Land of Many Waters—all in (green lines) his Land Northward. He has Cumorah and Land of Many Waters 300 miles apart instead of in the same general area as stated in (Mormon 6:4)

 It should be noted that the reason Neville states a closeness of the hill Cumorah to the narrow neck of land, as all Mesoamericanists do, is because they claim the hill Cumorah is in Veracruz, Mexico, where John L. Sorenson places it, about 125 miles from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (their narrow neck of land), and not in the Land of Many Waters, where Mormon said it was located: as he said “he land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains 
(Mormon 6:4, emphasis added), which he places 400 miles northwest of the narrow neck.
    How Sorenson or Neville, or anyone else, can separate these two places when Mormon makes it perfectly clear that the hill Cumorah was within the Land of Many Waters is hard to imagine. But separate them they do, placing them some 300 miles apart from one another.
    Yet, Neville, in an article “The Philosophies of Men,” (April 24, 2018) makes the comparison between prophets and scholars, states that “people engage in ‘motivated reasoning’ all the time. They seek to confirm their biases. And the more cognitive capacity you have, the more you engage in motivated reasoning.”
    One can only wonder if we are not looking at a perfect example of “motivated reasoning,” when we look at Neville’s map of his Land of Promise.
(See the next post, “Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part III,” for more on how theorists ignore the plain and simple language of the scriptural record or try to make Mormon’s words mean something other than what they do)

No comments:

Post a Comment