Monday, October 21, 2019

What is Meant by Pass or Passage?

Theorists have had a difficult time coming to grips with the four statements in the Book of Mormon dealing with a description of a certain area—the narrow neck of land. As stated in the last post, the “small” or “narrow” neck of land is a narrow lad that stretches between two larger land masses ,i.e., the Land Northward and the Land Southward. Because of this “neck” of land or “isthmus,” the Land Southward was almost but not entirely surrounded by water (Alma 22:32).
Map showing the Land Northward and the Land Southward and the Narrow Neck in between as well as the Sea thy Divides the Land

As Mormon writes in his insert on the description of the Land of Promise: “And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.”
    Now, this “neck of land,” as described in the last post, was the only pathway between the Land Southward and the Land Northward, since it was the only land connection away from the Land Southward, which was otherwise surrounded by water. As the only connection between the lands, any pathway from the Land Southward to the Land Northward would obviously have to pass through this “narrow neck of land.”
    Therefore, when Mormon writes: “And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward” (Mormon 2:29,emphasis added). Now 213 words later, still describing the area of the treaty between the Nephites and Lamanites, Mormon writes: “I did cause my people that they should gather themselves together at the land Desolation, to a city which was in the borders, by the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5, emphasis added).
    It would be difficult for anyone to think that Mormon was describing two distinct and separate areas for a “pass” and a “passage,” when he writes using both words to describe a single location, i.e., “which lead into the land Southward.” Certainly, if “pass” and “passage” meant two separate areas, then he would not have said that “the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.”
    Now Mormon describes a large body of water that nearly surrounds the entire Land Southward (Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla) separating the Land Southward from the Land Northward through which a pass or passage allowed movement back and forth. This is born out in his later abridgement of Alma: “they did not head them until they had come to the borders of the land Desolation; and there they did head them, 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 50:34).
    Now from this last simple statement, we see verified that the “narrow neck” that separated the two lands was the only connection and through that connection, a narrow pass or passage ran, allowing the movement between the Land Southward and the Land Northward.
Lt Green dotted line: Narrow Pass or Passage; Yellow dotted line: Distance of 1 ½ days travel across the narrow neck; Green dotted line: The line or boundary between the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful

In addition, we find that this narrow pass or passage was between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation, which is verified by Mormon’s further statement from Moroni to Teancum where he “also sent orders unto him that he should fortify the land Bountiful, and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward, lest the Lamanites should obtain that point and should have power to harass them on every side.
    Thus, the narrow “pass” or “passage” led from the Land Southward into the Land Northward (and visa versa). To make sure that this “pass” or “passage” is passing through the “narrow neck,” we turn to Hagoth, in which Mormon writes: “Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and 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.
    In abridging the Jaredite record, Moroni writes: “they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20). In addition, the record adds: “And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. And the whole face of the land northward was covered with inhabitants,” showing that this narrow neck of land runs between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, since beyond this city they built to the south was a land they preserved for game, and the Land Northward was occupied by Jaredites on “the whole face of the land northward.”
    When we combine all of this with Jacob’s statement to the Nephites during a two-day conference in the temple, saying: “we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis added).
    When we combine all of these statements, rather than just one or two to try and make a different point, we find that the Land of Promise was:
1. Overall an island in the midst of the sea;
2. Divided into two large land masses, the Land Southward and the Land Northward;
3. The division between these two lands was between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation. As Mormon wrote in his insert: “Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful;
4. This division was a “small” or “narrow” neck of land;
5. Through this neck ran a “pass” or “passage” allowing egress into both larger lands;
6. The Land Southward was almost surrounded by water except for this “small” or “narrow” neck of land;
7. The “neck of land” had a sea on either side (Sea East and Sea West).
    To further understand this area of “small” and “narrow” these 1828 definitions are helpful:
Narrow: Of little breadth; not wide or broad; having little distance from side to side; as a narrow board; a narrow street; a narrow sea; a narrow hem or border. Of little extent; very limited; as a narrow space or compass.
Small: Slender; thin; fine; of little diameter; hence in general, little in size or quantity; not great; as a small house; a small horse; a small farm; a small body; small particles. Anything small, slight or of inconsiderable importance. Small in quantity or amount; as a little hay or grass; a little food; a little sum; a little light; a little air or water.
    It should also be kept in mind that Narrow is a synonym for small, and Small is the main synonym for narrow. Thus, Mormon’s use of “small” and “narrow” in describing a “neck of land” is the same thing, and therefore, refers to the same location.
    In addition, the 1828 definitions of Pass and Passage are listed as:
1. Pass: to pass a defile, an ambling, pace; to walk or step; The word pass coincides with Latin passus, a step, and this is from pando, to extend; n being casual, the original word was pado. To move, in almost any manner; to go; to proceed from one place to another. A man may pass on foot, on horseback or in a carriage
2. Passage: The act of passing or moving as the passage of a man or a carriage; passing from one place to another. Road; way; avenue; a place where men or things may pass or be conveyed. Entrance or exit.
    A synonym for Pass is “passage,” “passageway,” or “path.” A synonym for “passage” is “pass.”
    For those theorists who insist that the narrow pass and narrow passage are separate locations and that the narrow neck is different than the small neck, perhaps they might want to re-read the descriptions of Mormon once again along with an 1828 dictionary to better understand the language used and its actual meaning.

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