Thursday, June 30, 2011

Was Guatemala the Land of Nephi? Part VI

Continuing with the last post, which covered the directions in the scriptural record as they differ from the directions in Sorenson’s model, the Land of Zarahemla, which was occupied by the Nephites, was separated from the Land of Nephi, occupied by the Lamanites, by a narrow strip of wilderness that ran from the west sea to the east sea (Alma 22:27). The Land of Zarahemla was to the north—“nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness” (Alma 22:29). Thus, the City and Land of Zarahemla cannot be to the westward of the city of Nephi and the Land of Nephi, for the west seashore of these two lands was filled with Lamanites along the West Sea (Alma 22:28).

Thus, the West Sea must be to the west of the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi. However, Sorenson’s map has the Land of Zarahemla westward of the Land of Nephi and his West Sea to the south of both lands.

In Sorenson’s map, it might be construed that the city of Nephi was northward of the area of first landing, but the city of Nephi to Zarahemla is westward, not northward, and the Land Northward is west of the Land Southward, and Desolation is west of Bountiful—all contrary to the scriptural record

In addition, the scriptural record tells us that Bountiful was to the north of the Land of Zarahemla “on the north, even until they came to the land, which they called Bountiful” (Alma 22:29). And the Land of Desolation was to the north of Bountiful, which “bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward” (Alma 22:30). So far northward is pretty specific! Northward. Yet, both of Sorenson’s Land of Desolation, and his Land Northward, are to the west of the narrow neck, to the west of Bountiful!

Sorenson wrote in his book: “Many features of south and central Mexico and Guatemala seem to match up decisively with the requirements for the Book of Mormon territory, except perhaps for one major anomaly. The Book of Mormon writers talk about their geography in terms of "north" or "northward" and "south" or "southward," while Mesoamerica seems skewed from those standard compass directions. How is this problem to be solved?”

Except for one major anomaly? The word anomaly means “equal or similar irregularity; deviating from a general rule.” Sorenson’s map does not deviate from the general rule, it is completely different, 90º off kilter from the scriptural record. That is not an anomaly, but such a significant difference, it opens the door to any change, altering, accepting or rejecting the scriptural record. There is nothing similar between west and north—they are totally different with nothing in common except for the word “direction.”

It is always interesting how Soreonson and other Mesoamerican and other theorists deal with such a difference between their model and the scriptural record. An anomaly suggests some insignificant or minor variation—something out of the ordinary. After all, Salt Lake City is west of Cheyenne, not north; Ogden is north of Salt Lake City and northward of Heber City—not west or westward; Provo is north of Phoenix, and northward of Las Vegas. You cannot say that St. George is west of Tucson, or that Albuquerque is west of El Paso. Directions mean something and when we start claiming they do not, then no one can understand any direction.

When Mormon wrote to a future reader, he was very clear in being as precise as he could be. When he used “northward” and “on the north” and “northern parts” and “so far northward” in the same statement (Alma 22:29-30), it would seem reasonably certain he meant “north,” not “west”! To change this is not an anomaly, but a drastic change equivalent to changing any doctrinal message in the scriptural record. It would be like saying “black skin” did not mean black, but off-white; “sought to take his life” actually meant “they were displeased with him”; and “land of promise” really meant “a place of safety.”

Sorenson and other such theorists should be ashamed of themselves playing with scripture as if the record was not accurate or meant something entirely different. Guatemala simply does not fit the scriptural record in any way unless we change the record as Sorenson so often does. Thus, we must look elsewhere than Mesoamerica for the Land of Promise.

(See the next post, “Focusing on the Philosophies of Men—Looking Beyond the Mark,” a message of great importance given by Elder Quinton L. Cook)

1 comment:

  1. Del: I really do enjoy your posts. But I now have to ask.. where is the post on “Focusing on the Philosophies of Men—Looking Beyond the Mark,” a message of great importance given by Elder Quinton L. Cook)??