Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Things That Are Known – Part IV

Continuing from the previous post regarding one blog author’s views of those things that are “the facts that we can easily deduce” about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise.
• The fifth point the blog author claims, #5, as indisputable is his statement: “The head (source) of the river Sidon is in Lamanite territory.” This is an outright error since we do not know if the source or head of the Sidon was in Lamanite territory. We only know that the head was in the narrow strip of wilderness that lay between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27).
    As stated earlier, this is an outright error since we do not know if the source or head of the Sidon was in Lamanite territory. All we do know is that the head was in the narrow strip of wilderness that lay between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27). But we do not know if this narrow strip should be considered Lamanite territory or Nephite territory or a “no man’s land” in between. Thus, we cannot say that either the Lamanites or Nephites controlled or occupied this narrow strip of wilderness.
While the (red circle) head of the River Sidon was in the narrow strip of wilderness that separated the Land of Zarahemla and the Nephites from the Land of Nephi and the Lamanites, we do not know if it was considered in one of these two lands, or just an ambiguous wilderness between them

The point is, faulty reasoning and slip-shod reporting, and the misuse of words makes an issue sound different than they really are based upon the actual information Mormon gives us. To insert our own thinking into his narrative or using a poor choice of words is bound to get either us or someone else thinking and moving down the wrong path to a conclusion that is likely not going to be correct.
    What we do know is that the Land of Nephi, which bordered on the east sea and the west sea was divided from the Land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and roundabout on the borders of both seashores (Alma 22:27). So, for the most part, and based solely on what Mormon tells us, this narrow strip of wilderness is not occupied by either Lamanite or Nephite, is not controlled by either group, and is simply an area through which people travel from one side or the other, i.e., from the Land Southward to the Land Northward or the other way around.
    It was, and served as a buffer zone between the two lands, probably involving some high mountains, cliffs, steep river canyons, etc., making it both inhospitable as well as a barrier for the most part except where natural passes existed.
    While we do not know this for certain, the circumstances suggest such a situation of impassable land except perhaps in certain places, certainly along both seashores, since from these points the Lamanties seemed to have launched most or all of their attacks against the Nephites. This suggests that in one mountain peak or area lies the head of the River Sidon, somewhere between Nephite and Lamanites lands in the narrow strip of wilderness.
• The last of the indisputable items, #4, that the author claims is that “Zarahemla is west of the river Sidon.”
The Sidon River is east of of the City of Zarahemla, on the borders of the land

Again, while this is a correct statement, it has little or no conclusive value, which can be seen from numerous theorist’s comments about the river Sidon running past the city of Zarahemla; however, we do not know how far west the city is from the river, or how far and exactly in what exact location lies the river Sidon.
    First of all, just using the term Zarahemla, we can interpret this to mean that the river is west of the Land of Zarahemla, though the blog author might have meant west of the City of Zarahemla. If land is meant, there is some credibility of the statement, but if the city is intended, that is like saying Salt Lake City is west of the Mississippi River—it is a true statement but of real no value in determining or suggesting distance, since Los Angeles is also to the west as is Des Moines, Iowa, Portland, Oregon, and El Paso, Texas. Such a directional statement only has meaning if the two places are relatively close together and do not cover a great length. Thus, when people see this statement, they tend to think that the river runs right past the city, as the Mississippi River runs right past Nauvoo. However, the Sidon does not run right past the city of Zarahemla, for Mormon describes the river as being in the eastern borders of the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 2:15) in the Valley of Gideon, evidently in the Land of Gideon to the east.
    The point is, the river Sidon does not run by the city of Zarahemla as many theorists claim, but by the borders of the Land of Zarahemla.
• Another point the blog author makes, though it is not in his list of indisputable items, is the so-called fact that “There is a wetland called Ripliancum in the Land Northward along the east coast north of Desolation.”
    The problem with this is there is no way to verify that this is correct, and it most probably is not. Ripliancum, which interpreted means “large, or to exceed all,” is mentioned by Moroni as a collection of waters, i.e., the Waters of Ripliancum. This could mean a huge lake, a series of connected rivers, or a series of waters that come together as an ocean. Not only does Mormon not inform us of this, there is nothing to suggest one way or the other except that we know there was a Sea North (Helaman 3:8).
    It is possible these two (Waters of Ripliancum, and the North Sea) are the same thing, but again we do not have sufficient information to make that claim, even though it seems to bear itself out. That is, there is a sea to the north, the entire Land of Promise is an island (2 Nephi 10:20), and Ripliancum is in the north and is larger or exceeds all—what body of water is larger than an ocean?
While a wetland can be large, it would not be considered “the Waters of Ripliancum,” meaning a waterway that “exceeds all,” when the Land of Promise was an island, in the midst of the sea over which they traveled, thus surrounded by water

Now this blog author goes on to claim this Ripliancum is a wetland, which is not a word found in 1828, but today means “land consisting of marshes or swamps; saturated land.”
    A swamp is a place where the plants that make up the area covered in water are primarily woody plants or trees, such as mangroves or cypress trees. A marsh, on the other hand, is defined as having no woody plants. The non-woody plants would be saltmarsh grasses, reeds, or sedge. While there is nothing in the scriptural record to suggest this is the case, or that Ripliancum is a wetlands, march or swamp, all we know is that when the two Jaredite armies reached Ripliancum, they pitched their tents and on the morrow came to battle (Ether 15:8).
    It is interesting to think of pitching tents upon the spongy ground of a swamp or marsh—it is something one is not likely to do for such areas are teeming with snakes, mosquitoes, flies, and scorpions, not to mention bobcats, wolves, cougars, plus having little sound footing for movement, or for fighting if the need arose.
    So far, all these items that the blog author claims are either outright incorrect, partially accurate but totally misleading, or in only three cases, correct.
    The last point to cover in the blog author’s introductory remarks is that “Immediately to the north of the narrow neck is the "land of Desolation" or the "land Desolation" is the last great battle field of both the Jaredite and the Nephite nations.” Actually, this is wrong also, since the last battlefield of both nations was around the hill Cumorah, which the Jaredites called Ramah, and which, according to Mormon was located in the Land of Cumorah within the land of Many Waters” (Mormon 6:4). This land is also described as “so far northward” and “far to the north” which would not allow a Desolation location.
    The point is, that when people without experience in writing about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, or those with personal opinions, beliefs, or theories have not bothered to relate various scriptural references to each set of circumstances and locations, begin writing about plotted locations, we need to be very cautious in accepting what they write, even if it sounds legitimate.
    As this author points out in his initial statements: “The most logical place to look for information regarding the Book of Mormon geography is the Book of Mormon text itself—yet few people do that even though they claim to do so. It is interesting that the author seems to fall into his own trap, for it is clear he has not bothered to really check out his own views and compared them to the scriptural record as pointed out in these articles.


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  2. The city of Zarahemla is close to Sidon. When the Nephite people (families) retreat from the Lamanites from Gideon it is Zarahemla which would have to be close to Gideon Alma CHP 2. And Gideon is close to Sidon on its east bank. Another verse that points this out is Alma 6:7. Alma Leaves the city of Zarahemla crosses Sidon to Gideon. It gives every impression that the two cities are close together on the banks of Sidon.

    7 And now it came to pass that when Alma had made these regulations he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla, and went over upon the east of the river Sidon, into the valley of Gideon, there having been a city built, which was called the city of Gideon, which was in the valley that was called Gideon, being called after the man who was slain by the hand of Nehor with the sword.