Monday, September 12, 2011

Where the Events of the Book of Mormon Took Place – Part IV

Continuing with the article by Matthew Roper and John L. Sorenson, discussed in the last three posts, some of the answers they gave need further discussion and understanding. As an example, the comment:

“The west sea coastal zone of the land southward was considered a ‘narrow strip,’ apparently with such a small population that it played no significant historical role in Book of Mormon history, but the flatlands adjacent to the east sea coast of the land southward were more extensive.”

First, this is one of the most disingenuous statements made regarding Mesoamerica being the Land of Promise, and is completely and totally self-serving. The area Mesoamerican theorists refer to as the east coast encompassed the Yucatan Peninsula, making their east coast enormously larger than their west coast—including an extra 900 miles of coastline, and about 64,000 square miles of land space, all of which falls outside the description in the scriptural record of the east seashore.

Second, there is nothing in the scriptural record to indicate the west seacoast of the Land of Promise was a “narrow strip” that “played no significant historical role in Book of Mormon history.” This is entirely fabricated. The west seacoast was the landing site of both the Nephites (Alma 22:28) and evidently the Mulekites (Omni 1:15-16). All along the west coast of both the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla there were Lamanites living (Alma 22:28). There were also Lamanites living along the east coast of the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:29). The Sidon River ran down to the West Sea, and the city of Zarahemla was in the west, probably along the coastal area (Omni 1:16). Further north, the West Sea area was the home of Hagoth’s shipyards and from which he launched numerous ships carrying thousands of people northward. In addition, the west seacoast was used for very important markers by the Nephites (Alma 50:11; Helaman 4:7).

Third, in the scriptural record, the east sea is not shown to be more extensive, nor does it suggest extra distance. But in the Mesoamerican map, the dimensions become indefensible. As an example, “Antionum, which was east of the land of Zarahemla, which lay nearly bordering upon the seashore, which was south of the land of Jershon, which also bordered upon the wilderness south, which wilderness was full of the Lamanites” (Alma 31:3), means that in Sorenson’s map these areas were some 550 miles away from their Zarahemla (the west wilderness about 60 miles away). In fact, on their map, moving inland (their east), the nearest coast to Zarahemla would be the Caribbean which would be true east (225 miles) but to their south, and 300 miles to the Gulf of Mexico, the theorists “East Sea,” though actually true north, and 550 miles to the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, again their “East Sea,” but true north.

In fact, when Mormon wrote, “that when Moroni had driven all the Lamanites out of the east wilderness, which was north of the lands of their own possessions, he caused that the inhabitants who were in the land of Zarahemla and in the land round about should go forth into the east wilderness, even to the borders by the seashore, and possess the land” (Alma 50:9).

This means, using their map, that the Nephites were displaced to an area 550 miles away from the protection of Zarahemla—a trip at the rate of the Mormon Pioneers, would take 69 days. And “they also began in that same year to build many cities on the north, one in a particular manner which they called Lehi, which was in the north by the borders of the seashore” (Alma 50:15), which, according to their map, would be less than 200 miles distant. Thus, their east seashore varied in distance from a generally straight line, by about 350 miles—about the same width as their Land of Zarahemla. Or, stated differently, their Land of Nephi was twice the width as their Land of Zarahemla—a point not supported in any way by the scriptural record.

Simply put, there is no way in the scriptural record to account for the bulge of the Yucatan Peninsula along the east coast, nor any way to account for the extra 900 mile of coastline, or the extra 64,000 square miles of land the Mesoamerica theorists must explain.

(See the next post, “Where the Events of the Book of Mormon Took Place – Part V,” for more of these inaccurate points)

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