Thursday, March 1, 2012

Looking at a Description of the Land of Promise-Part I

A friend asked me about this map he sent me which was created by P. L. Simiskey, and found in his work in Chapter 36, Internal Map 2002. In his work, he also acknowledges that John Clark also created a diagram called “The conceptualized Nephite World.”

The interesting thing about any map drawn about the Book of Mormon Land of Promise is that it can meet certain criteria found in Mormon’s descriptions, yet still be far from factual. This usually happens when one centers on a particular statement or belief, then tries to insert everything else into it. In this case, both Clark and Simiskey try to use the term “quarter of the land” into meaning one-fourth of a land mass—a point covered in the previous blog.

However, in addition, a map is drawn here to show that the Narrow Strip of Wilderness runs basically north in a somewhat horseshoe fashion. Yet, the scriptures do not suggest this, but rather, a narrow strip of wilderness that runs from “…the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west -- and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided” [Alma 22:27]. This description is further clarified in the following verse: “Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” [Alma 22:28].

Thus we see that this narrow strip of wilderness runs from east to west, from sea to sea, curving slightly northward along the west seashore into a portion of the Land of Zarahemla, a little north of the Land of Nephi. Now, along the east seashore in the Land of Zarahemla there were Lamanites “where the Nephites had driven them” [Alma 22:29]—but this area is not described within the Narrow Strip of Wilderness. In fact, there is no wilderness along the eastern portion of the Land of Zarahemla and Bountiful as Simiskey shows in his above map.

In looking at the above map, there is no indication in scripture that the Land of Nephi was wider than the Land of Zarahemla, nor that the Land of Zarahemla was wider than the Land of Bouontiful. Nor, for that matter is there any indication that the Land of Desolation was wider than the Land of Bountiful.

Nor is there any indication of a physical cut in of the west seashore between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Bountiful as shown in his map. However, north of Bountiful is the narrow neck of land (which is obviously a physical cut in of the west seashore). In fact, the land of Bountiful bordered on the Land of Desolation [Alma 22:29-31]. Now this area called the Narrow Neck of Land was situated between Bountiful (on the south) and Desolation (on the north) [Alma 22:32].

In addition, there was an important area of wilderness called Hermounts where the Amlicites were driven, which was located to the north and the west of Zarahemla [Alma 2:35-37]. An area not shown on the map, nor space provided because of the drastic cut in of the map.

Also, according to the map above, it would appear that the Hill Cumorah was just north of the Narrow Neck of Land. Yet the scriptures seem to indicate a different distance when comparing the location to the description indicated in Ether’s account of Omer and also of the final battles between Coriantumr and Shared and Shiz.

(See the next post, Looking at a Description of the Land of Promise-Part II, for a more realistic map of the Land Northward)

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