Friday, August 17, 2018

Nearly Surrounded by Water – Part III

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.
Along this line, Neville’s “Moroni’s America” map has several areas out of relationship with each other that are all clearly spelled out in the scriptural record
As an example, Neville has in the above map:
1. The Land of Bountiful [maroon circles, arrow] is to the east of the Land of Zarahemla
    However, Mormon tells us that the Land of Bountiful was to the north of the Land of Zarahemla, not the east. Speaking of “the land of Zarahemla” (Alma 22:28), Mormon tells us that “on the north [of Zarahemla], even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful’ (Alma 22:29).
2. The Sea North (white circle, arrow) he has east of the Sea West
    This is not the way the ancient Hebrews/Jews named their directional locations. In addition, the main Sea West, is not west of the Land of Zarahemla or the Land of Nephi, as Mormon clearly states (Alma 22:27) .
3. The Narrow Strip of Wilderness (yellow circle)
    Neville has this strip of wilderness between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Nephi; however, Mormon tells us that the king’s land (Land of Nephi) “was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27). Not only does Neville’s strip of wilderness not separate the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla, it does not run from sea to sea.
4. Small Neck of Land (green circle)
    Neville has his small or narrow neck of land nowhere near the West Sea, yet Mormon tells us: “Hagoth…built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5, emphasis added).
    In addition, he does not have his narrow neck by the Land of Bountiful nor by the West Sea, and it certainly does not separate his Land Northward from his Land Southward, and it is obviously not the only land mass that separates these two lands that were surrounded by water. Nor is it near any water “that divides the land” (Ether 10:20).
The Tennessee River is a major river in the area where Neville places the city of Nephi, yet it is not mentioned in the scriptural record

5. City of Nephi (blue circle)
    Neville has his city of Nephi in the south east corner of Tennessee, along the Tennessee River on the north side across the river from Chattanooga, though there is no mention of a river in connection with the city in the scriptural record—a river that runs 652 miles, between a mile and a mile-and-a-half in width, and the larges tributary of the Ohio River. How could such a river running by the City of Nephi, with so much written about this city and area, not include a comment about the Tennessee River?
    In addition, Mormon tells us that Ammon and his party left the Land of Zarahemla in search of the city of Nephi and “sixteen of their strong men might go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi...they started to go up…they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi…they came to a hill, which is north of the land of shalom…and they went down into the land of Nephi” (Mosiah 7:2-5). Thus, the city of Nephi was located in a high mountain valley surrounded by mountains; however, the area Neville chooses is only 676-feet in elevation, and on both sides of the river for some distance it is a flat plain, with the adjoining area less than 1000 feet in elevation and the entire region at less than 2,000 feet.
6. The Lower Mississippi is the Sea West South [red circles, arrow], and not connected to the West Sea (north)
    There is no reason to believe that the Sea West was in two disconnected locations, one to the north and one to the south. Mormon writes: “Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28). There is no mention here of a Sea West South, or a Sea West North—these are terms Neville has made up. In addition, the term “by the seashore” has reference to a single seashore, not two different ones. In addition, one mention has to do with the seashore in the west of the Land of Zarahemla and the other in the Land of Nephi—Neville’s map does not show this.
    In addition, there is no difference between the Upper Mississippi and the Lower Mississippi in the size of the river. If the Lower Mississippi is the Sea West, then the upper Mississippi would have to also be the Sea West.
The confluence of the Ohio river with the Mississippi river at Cairo in Illinois, 905 miles downriver from the Mississippi’s head (headwaters) and 636 miles downriver from the head of the Ohio river. In Book of Mormon times, this would have been two separate but equally large rivers north of this confluence running through the heart of the Land of Zarahemla, yet one of them never mentioned in the scriptural record

Theorists love to separate seas and rivers, but in fact that was not done by the ancient Hebrews or Jews, from which the Nephites sprang. In fact, we do not even do this today, except when separating a world ocean (Pacific or Atlantic) by the fact that one portion is north of the equator and one portion is south of the equator, placing these huge oceans in two hemispheres (north and south). No river is so designated, other than upper and lower, as in the Upper Nile and Lower Nile, or in the Upper Euphrates and Lower Euphrates, but both are singularly connected. Thus today we have the Upper and Lower Mississippi, though both parts are only different ends of the same river, but so divided by name and understanding in relation to a set of rapids between them ancient, and today.
    It might be understood that when dividing the upper and lower river, these areas are also separated by Upper and Lower Mesopotamia as well us Upper and Lower Egypt. However, Neville’s map violates both of these ancient examples.
7. Head of the River Sidon (lower red circle) 
    As the photo shows there is no reason to consider the Mississippi river north of this confluence or the Mississippi river south of it as different rivers, one called a sea and the other called a river. Nor is there any reason to claim that the Mississippi river would have a “head” at this confluence. After all, the head of the Mississippi River is in Minnesota and easily located. The head of the Ohio, is in Pittsburg where the Allegheny and Monogahela rivers join to form the Ohio. The confluence with the Mississippi may be considered the mouth of the Ohio (its ending), but certainly not is head, nor is it the head of the Mississippi which continues northward from that point 905 miles to its headwaters at Lake Itasca.
    The point of all of this, as it generally is when we discuss theorists’ views, models, diagrams and maps, that they simply do not match the scriptural record and the descriptions Mormon and others have given us. In addition, you seldom see footnoted information, scriptural references, etc., when it comes to these theorists’ writings. They have opinions, but even they have to know they are not consistent with scripture and so don’t reference them with the scripture involved—not in general terms (after all, there was a narrow neck of land) but in specific terms, exampled by Neville’s end of a river—where is that in scripture and why doesn’t he show us instead of just saying so?


  1. Del, you are getting really good at clearly exposing the nonsense that Neville and others put out. And not just a few points but pretty much everything Neville writes contradicts what the Book of Mormon clearly says. Neville puts out that the search is all over: his model is clearly the only one that is right. What should this be called? Letter 7 Derangement Syndrome?

  2. Not sure that's a good label since the acronym would then be LDS. :) How about Misinformation Derangement System (MDS) or just plain "Fake Information."

  3. Irreversible Conviction Blindness (ICB)

    That's my vote. Conviction to a belief or idea isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless it is a conviction to a course that is taking you in the wrong direction and you're unwilling to change that course.

    Let's see if I can make a definition:

    Irreversible Conviction Blindness - The dedication to a belief or theory that has been followed and proclaimed so fervently that the proponent of the belief becomes blind to other possibilities, or even to exposed errors in the theory, resulting in an inability of the proponent to abandon the belief.

    Example 1: Neville had dedicated so much effort and time in publicly declaring and promoting his Land of Promise theories that obvious flaws in his theories were unable to overcome his Irreversible Conviction Blindness.

    Example 2: LDS Scientists and students were taught so fervently of the uniformitarian geological column and its supposedly irrefutable dating of the age of the earth that even their testimonies in the great flood of Noah could not overcome their Irreversible Conviction Blindness.

    1. Example 3: BYU Profs acceptance of the Meso-American theory despite numerous flaws and gyrations to make the model work.

  4. I think you are all onto something here :)