Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Land of Promise – Part VII: The Narrow Neck of Land

Continued from the previous post regarding why we need to understand the writings of the early prophets regarding the geographical setting of the Land of Promise to better understand the application of the scriptural record today.
    In the last post, we were discussing some of the Theorists’ views regarding the narrow neck of land and the surrounding environs in their Heartland and Great Lakes theories.
Rian Nelson: “This interpretation also raises the question of why the narrow neck is associated with the launch, but not the construction, of the ship. That is, Hagoth built the ship by the land Desolation but launched it by the narrow neck that led into the land northward.”
The simple language of Mormon fits the concept of a narrow neck between two larger land masses, surrounded by the sea

Response: Always trying to cloud the issue in order to convince his reader of his point of view, Nelson introduces a wordage gambit meant to suggest two different areas of Hagoth’s shipyard and thus add an unintended meaning to Mormon’s statement. Once again, however, we come back to the meaning of the word “by,” which once again overall signifies a sense of “nearness” or “closeness.” That is, Hagoth’s shipyard was near both the borders of the Land Desolation and also the Narrow Neck which led into the Land Northward. That is like saying the Salt Lake Temple is by the Salt Lake Tabernacle and the Visitors Center; or that the new Church Office Building is by the Brigham Young Historic Park and the City Creek Park.
Rian Nelson: “A second interpretation assumes that because Hagoth built the ship inland, the narrow neck could be the neck of a river that led into—meaning penetrated—the land northward.”
Response: As already stated, a narrow neck is never used in referring to a water way. It is also never used to refer to a river.
Rian Nelson: “A third possibility is that the narrow neck was a waterway—a narrow channel or inlet—by means of which he launched his ship into the sea. In this case, the relative pronoun which would refer back to the west sea; i.e., the west sea leads into the land northward.”
The phrase “narrow neck” does not apply to water, but does apply to land

Response: First, since no water way is ever correctly called a narrow neck, but rather a narrow channel, a narrow strait, or even a narrow sound, this suggestion is of little value and does not clear up the reference in the scriptural record. Second, we have no indication that anything in this verse refers to or even suggests a water way between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, since if it did, it would without question be called a strait.
Rian Nelson: “Yet another interpretation would have the launching itself constitute what led into the land northward. A comma after neck would clarify this meaning; i.e., “launched it forth into the west sea by the narrow neck, which led into the land northward.”
Response: If we go around changing the wordage or grammar of Joseph’s translation, we can pretty much make the scriptural record tell us whatever we want to.
• Rian Nelson: “This interpretation is somewhat corroborated by the sequence of events. Hagoth built the ship by the land Desolation, launched it into the west sea, then picked up his passengers and took their course northward. Clearly, the west sea led into the land northward; it’s only a question of whether, and how, the narrow neck did also.”
Response: This rationale ignores the scriptural record, which clearly states that there were Nephites in the land where the ship was built and came aboard:
1. (vs4) 5,400 men plus their wives and children left Zarahemla with an ultimate plan to reach “the land which was northward”;
2. (vs5) Hagoth built an exceedingly large ship on the borders of the Land Bountiful, by the Land Desolation, and launched it into the West Sea;
3. (vs6) Many Nephites entered into the ship Hagoth built with many provisions and sailed away to the north;
4. (vs7A) Hagoth remained behind and built other ships;
5. (vs7B) The first ship returned and many more people entered into it with their provisions and set sail to the land northward;
6. (vs8) The occupants of the second ship were never heard from again;
7. (vs9) Many people went into the Land Northward overland through the Narrow Neck of Land.
8. (vs10) Others went forth in a ship to bring additional provisions to those who had gone to the Land Northward.
• Rian Nelson: “The text distinguishes between the land northward and the land Desolation.”
The Land Northward and the Land Southward separated by a Narrow Neck of Land

Response: The distinguishing factor is that there were two major land masses, i.e., the Land Southward and the Land Northward (Alma 22:31). These two lands had a Narrow Neck of Land between them that connected both land masses (Alma 22:32). The northern most land in the Land Southward was the Land of Bountiful, the southern most land of the Land Northward was the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:31). Thus, when moving from south to north through the Narrow Neck, the first land reached would be the Land of Desolation (Alma 22:31).
• Rian Nelson: “Often in the text, the land Desolation is northward. Here, the frame of reference is near the land Desolation where Hagoth built his ship. Consequently, the land northward in these passages is north of Desolation.”
Response: It can be said that the Land of Many Waters is north (Mormon 6:4) of the Land of Desolation, but both these lands are in the Land Northward, as both the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Zarahemla are in the Land Southward.
• Rian Nelson: “Verse 7 points out that the first ship returned “and set out again to the land northward.” That seems inconsistent with the idea that Hagoth’s departure point was close to the land northward…”
Response: This confusion exists only when Theorists try to adjust their Land of Promise within a pre-determined land form and have to juggle, change, and mislocate parts of the land to fit. The Land of Promise is a narrow, lengthy land with the major lands mentioned (Nephi, Zarahemla, Bountiful, Desolation, and Many Waters), all running from south to north within that overall narrow land, as Alma 22 so clearly states.
    Confusion and difficulty arise only when theorists try to change the meaning of the simple statements made—Mormon was, after all, explaining the layout of the land to us in Alma 22.
• Rian Nelson: “…which would be the case if it was next to a narrow neck that led into that land. His passengers were boarding a ship in the west sea because that sea led into the land northward, not because the narrow neck did.”
Response: We need to keep in mind that the land promised to Lehi, and known as the Land of Promise in the scriptural record, was an island (2 Nephi 10:20). Therefore, the West Sea covered all the western shoreline of the land, and the East Sea covered all he eastern shoreline of the land, while the North Sea and South Sea covered the other two areas around the island (Helaman 3:8).
• Rian Nelson: There are several places along Lake Michigan that would qualify as a “narrow neck” under the definitions given.”
Response: The definition given is Rian Nelson’s definition, not Mormon’s. Besides, there is no place around Lake Michigan, where a narrow neck of land separates to larger land masses, that would restrict movement from their area of the Land of Bountiful from their Land of Desolation. In the Lake Michigan, are numerous islands, inlets, channels and straits—but no narrow neck as Mormon described it.
(Yellow Circle) The Straits of Mackinac. Had Had there been a narrow neck of land between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, it would have matched Mormon’s description; however, no such land existed

The closest area around Lake Michigan to such a description as Mormon gives us is the Straits of Mackinac. This area between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan join,  is five miles wide and now has a bridge across, connecting the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan that, were there a narrow neck of land between, which there is not, would be as Mormon described the area.
    However, it should be noted that this area of land, the Lower Peninsula, is completely isolated from the rest of Michigan to the north because of the interconnected lakes. So what would be the value of sailing northwards on Lake Michigan? One could have walked that distance and been far more flexible east to west, then going by ship to inherit the land.
(See the next post, “The Land of Promise: An Understand of the Land – Part VI,” for more on why we need to understand the writings of the early prophets regarding the geographical setting of the Land of Promise to better understand the application of the scriptural record today)

No comments:

Post a Comment