Sunday, November 6, 2011

Was the Land of Promise Really That Small? Part II

Continuing with the debate started in the last post on the size of the Land of Promise, John L. Sorenson claimed:

3. “Yet all of these people are said to have come together to a single area small enough to be besieged (3 Nephi 4:16-18).”

When Sorenson says an area “small enough to be besieged,” we need to understand what this described action means. First of all, both the Robbers and the Nephites had tens of thousands of people and several armies each. By today’s understanding, that would be equivalent to an entire U.S. Army—about 50,000 soldiers (about 5 Divisions, about 50-60 Battalions, about 350 Companies). That is a lot of manpower! And when we realize how the people were utilized during more than three years, Nehemiah describes an incident when the Jews rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, they placed the men of the army by their families with their swords, spears and bows (Nehemiah 4:13), had half of the people working while the other half guarded the perimeter (Nehemiah 4:16), and used an early warning system with the blowing of trumpets to call men to action at any given spot of attack (Nehemiah 4:16).

With tens of thousands of fighting men, the Robbers could have encircled a very large area, for a siege is not a compact circle, but a military restraint from keeping those encircled from getting out to gain supplies, etc. Nor can it be said that the Robber’s siege was successful, for the Nephites ventured out at will, which would suggest a large area that could not be well controlled by the Robbers: “And the Nephites were continually marching out by day and by night, and falling upon their armies, and cutting them off by thousands and by tens of thousands” (3 Nephi 4:21). As most military experts will tell you, “Sieges were notoriously gruesome with a massive death and injury toll.” Yet, despite the tens of thousands that were being killed, there were still many thousands more Robbers who later surrendered when retreating, and many more who were killed (3 Nephi 4:27).

4. “Clearly the record deals with an overall area only hundreds of miles in dimension.”

It is like Sorenson to always claim something was a certain size or distance by his own reasoning, then turn around and use that as the correct basis for another size or distance. Here we see that he erroneously claims that the tens of thousands of Nephites, with their herds, flocks, and seven year’s supply of food and provisions would have been “bunched in a compact area,” then claims that “Clearly the record deals with an overall area only hundreds of miles in dimension.”

As shown above, this area to accommodate as much as 50,000 to 100,000 people on both sides (tens of thousands suggests at least 30,000 on each side), had to be of huge proportions, for they were not “bunched together “ like sardines, nor in concentration camps—but were together as families for over three years. In addition, the Robbers encircling the Nephites also had a vast wilderness around them in which to hunt (3 Nephi 4:2), there were many lands the Nephites vacated (3 Nephi 3:6;4:1;5:26;6:1), the Nephites gathered together in the center of their lands, meaning more than one former land (3 Nephi 3:21), and these lands were surrounded by wilderness, hills, and mountains (3 Nephi 4:1). And this area was only in the Land Southward, between the narrow neck and the Land of Nephi (3 Nephi 3:23). This, then left, the land to the east and west (for they were in the center of the land), all of the Land of Nephi, and all of the Land Northward, in addition to what is described in 3 Nephi.

It seems quite difficult to describe all this land, from the area of first landing to the waters of Ripliancum, as only covering a few hundred miles.

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