Friday, February 28, 2014

Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part IV

Continuing with Alan C. Miner’s convoluted views on the geography of the narrow neck of land, we find that he tries to change Mormon’s description of the narrow neck of land to a west coastal corridor.  
    As an example, concerning Bountiful, he states: “Mormon does not say here that the land of Bountiful definitely reached the east sea, only that it stretched "from the east unto the west sea." Nevertheless, as far as the eastern part of Bountiful ultimately reaching the east coast, we find in Alma 51:32 that "they (the Nephites) did slay them (the Lamanites) even until it was dark. And it came to pass that Teancum and his men did pitch their tents in the borders of the land Bountiful; and Amalickiah did pitch his tents in the borders on the beach by the seashore."
As noted in the scriptures, the city of Mulek was along the eastern seashore, to the east of Bountiful, with a plain in between
    Response: The Lamanites had taken the city of Mulek, which was in the northern part of the Land of Bountiful along its eastern borders, which was along the seashore (Alma 51:26). They then headed toward the borders of the Land Bountiful (Alma 51:28). At this time Teancum “marched forth with his numerous army that he might take possession of the Land of Bountiful and also the land northward” (Alma 51:30), and stopped the Lamanite advancement into Bountiful (Alma 51:31). And as dark fell during the battle, Teancum and his men pitched their tents in the borders of the land Bountiful; and Amalickiah pitched his tents in the borders on the beach by the seashore” (Alma 51:32).
    Now we need to understand that these two army camps were not close together, each had withdrawn after the days vigorous battle and made camp—Teancum to the west along the borders of Bountiful and Amalakiah to the east, along the seashore, evidently in the land of Mulek, the city of Mulek was on the east borders by the seashore (Alma 51:26). In fact, beginning in the south with the city of Moroni, several cities stretch northward along the eastern sea coast, including Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, and Mulek (Alma 51:26). In fact, there were “so many cities” along this coastal range from the borders of Zarahemla and Nephi in the south, to Bountiful in the north, and all had been taken by the Lamanites in these wars (Alma 51:27).
    Thus, contrary to Miner’s view that “Therefore, we can probably say that the borders of the land Bountiful were very close to if not right at the east sea,” the Nephites would not have been that close to the Lamanite camp, nor would they have been north or south of their camp, but obviously between their camp and the city of Bountiful, which would have been beyond the borders where Teancum camped (Alma 51:32).
The next day, after Teancum stole into the Lamanite camp at night and killed Amalakiah, the Lamanites awoke to find their leader dead and were frightened. They quit their plan to march into the Land Northward, and retreated into the city of Mulek. Eventually, the Nephites lured them out of the city and a great battle commenced in which the Nephites soundly defeated the Lamanites and took the survivors captive—after the battle around Mulek, the captured Lamanites were forced to bury their dead and the Nephite dead, then they were marched back into the Land of Bountiful where they commenced laboring in digging a ditch round abut the city of Bountiful (Alma 53:3-4).
    Now, three things should be evident from the scriptural record at this point: 1) The city of Mulek would have been to the east along the seashore from the land of Bountiful, and 2) The Land of Bountiful would have run from the west of the Land of Mulek to the west sea, and 3) The city of Bountiful would not have been far from Mulek, so wither it was close to the eastern border of the land of Bountiful, or the Land of Bountiful at this point was narrowing toward the narrow neck area.  
    Miner also continues with his random thoughts on the 22nd Chapter of Alma in which he writes: “Alma 22:33 states ‘And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they [the Lamanites] should have no more possession on the north, that they [the Lamanites] might not overrun the land northward.’ One might ask, Does the fact that the Nephites desired that the Lamanites "should have no more possession on the north" imply that the Lamanites already had possessions on the north?”
    Evidently, Miner seems to have forgotten that at one time, for about 400 years, the Nephites controlled much of the Land of Nephi, especially the northern portion where the city of Nephi and numerous other cities had been built by them, then vacated when Mosiah I was told to flee, and traveled northward until he discovered the people of Zarahemla (Omni 1:13-14). At that time, the Lamanites flooded into the Land of Nephi and took over all that area from where they had been quartered somewhere in the south—exactly where we are not told. But the point is, they expanded northward to control all the Land of Nephi.
The Nephties controlled everything to the north (yellow arrow) of the narrow strip of wilderness (border) between the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi, which the Lamanites controlled (red arrow)
    So Mormon is telling us in 22:33 that the Nephites had been wise in bottling up the Lamanites to the south so they could not advance northward again—so they could not have any greater possession to the north.
    Miner continues: “In the course of relating an incident involving Nephite missionaries and the great king over the Lamanites, Mormon inserted a 570-word aside that summarized major features of the land southward (as well as connecting the geography of all the pertinent cultures associated with the promised land in the Book of Mormon). This raises the question of relating geographical statements in the Book of Mormon. In other words, How can one construct a geographical map of the lands of the Book of Mormon?”
There are two very key issues at stake here: 1) Mormon inserted this 570-word “aside” so that we, his future reader, would have a better understanding of not only where the king’s proclamation was sent, but how the Nephites and Lamanites were divided. It would seem he especially felt this was important because of the lack of continuity between the last words of Omni (1:30) and the first words of in Mosiah 1:1, keeping in mind that between those two statements several years had elapsed, Mosiah had lived all his life, and his son, king Benjamin had lived most of his. During those two generations, much had happened between the Nephites and the Lamanites, and though Mormon gave us a brief Segway, his insertion in Alma Chapter 22 adds a great deal to our understanding of the makeup of the land divisions, their locations, directions, and overall relationships. And 2) He did this not to confuse, but to clarify, consequently, he made his directions simple, his statements brief, and painted a simple but clear picture of what the Land of Promise looked like in general terms. Therefore, if we are going to construct a map, we need to do so carefully, using Mormon’s words, without change, alteration, or explanation beyond his simple statements. 
Consequently, north is north; narrow is narrow; small is small; and isle is isle (island), etc., etc., etc. In addition, we should not be trying to locate lands, borders, cities, etc., until we have shown without a shadow of doubt, that Nephi’s ship traveled from Point A to Point B, that is, from the first Bountiful, across the Irreantum Sea to the Land of Promise, and be able to do so with the movement of the vessel being nothing more than where a ship “driven forth before the wind” (1 Nephi 18:8) would have gone (i.e., with winds and currents), and how and why it would have stopped (i.e., lack of wind and currents).
    We simply cannot, no matter how much we might want to, nor how many others have done so, decide on a location because of what we find there, then try to fit the scriptures to that location—something every single Mesoamerican Theorists has done, and no doubt, every other North American, Baja California, Malay and other theorists have done as well.
(See the next post, “Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part V,” for more on Alan C. Miner’s views on the Narrow Neck of Land and how he thinks it fits into Mesoamerica despite so much scriptural comments to the opposite)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part III

Continuing with Alan C. Miner’s convoluted views on the geography of the narrow neck of land, we find that he tries to change Mormon’s description of the narrow neck to a west coastal corridor.
    Resuming now from the last post with the second problem of this, 2) is in the scriptural record, there is little mention or suggestion of a narrow corridor along the West Sea coastal area. In fact, there is almost no comment about the west coast of the Land of Promise in the entire scriptural record regarding population movement, development, or settlement up and down the coastal area. In fact, there are few things mentioned along the west sea coastal area at all. There is the wilderness of Hermounts (Alma 2:37); there is the narrow strip of wilderness that separated the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla (22:27; 50:11); and a wilderness then ran along the west coastal area for a short distance (Alma 22:28); Bountiful bordered along the west sea (Alma 22:33); there was a sea on the west of the narrow pass through the narrow neck of land (Alma 50:34); Moroni was camped with his army along the west sea (Alma 52:11); Lamanites had an army on the west sea, south (Alma 53:8); there was a settlement(s) along the south by the west sea (Alma 53:22); Hagoth has his shipyard along the west sea near the narrow neck of land (Alma 63:5); Moronihah made a stand along the wall from the west sea to the east (Helaman 4:7); Mormon fought a battle along the west sea in the land of Joshua (Mormon 2:6). While there are grounds to suggest an eastern corridor since much discussion and movement up and down the eastern seaboard is covered in all of these references, especially in Alma, there is almost nothing to suggest a west sea coastal corridor.
Top: Miner's western coastal corridor; Bottom: That corridor in relation to the rest of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Obviously, an invading army could simply bypass any defensive position within this corridor and invade the Land Northward anywhere along the many passes through the 144-mile wide isthmus
    Miner, however, is still trying to sell his narrow neck along this western seacoast, as Joseph Allen has tried to do. Miner adds: “It is bordered on the west by the Pacific and on the east by a formidable mountain land barrier—the Sierra Madre mountain range. In the area shown, the neck narrows, and there is a natural pass that leads into the land northward. Heavy fortifications have been discovered at this site just south of Tonala, Mexico. Just to the north of this pass the land is dry and desolate—to the south it is rich and verdant.” 
    With Miner's description one can only wonder why there was not more activity in this area mentioned in the scriptural record. However, there is not. How Moroni marched his army northward we are not told, however, when Moriancumr had a choice, he chose to move northward through the center of the land (Helaman 1:25), even though that was where the Nephites’ greatest populace was located (Helaman 1:24), which does not suggest a narrow coastal corridor. 
    In addition, Miner tells us that to the south of this pass it is rich and verdant,” which means most of the west coastal area of his Land of Zarahemla would be ideal for settlement and crop production, yet there is not one word of any settlement, city, or Nephite holdings along this coast in the scriptural record until you go far south (Alma 53:8). Compare that with the east coast where cities were built all along the coastal area from the Land of Nephite clear to the land of Mulek. In addition, there are almost no major developments along this coastal strip even today, until you travel 50 miles eastward to Mapasterpec, and then another 70 miles to almost the Guatemala border before reaching Tapachula in the area of Mazatlan, it being the only coastal city in the first 200 miles.
The circle area is where Miner feels the Nephites withstood the Robbers; however, Mormon ltells us they were in thel "center of their land, from Bountiful to Zarahemla" (3 Nephi 3:23)
    Miner continues with, “Because of all the natural defenses here and the archaeological evidences in the area that match the descriptions from the Book of Mormon, some scholars believe this may be the region where the people gathered together to stand firm against the Gadiantons.” 
    First of all, while Mesoamericanists continue to claim that archaeological evidence supports the Book of Moron era in Mesoamerica, the same can be said, and with far more accuracy in Andean Peru; however, it might be of interest exactly what archaeological evidences Miner thinks might be found in this area along the western coastal plain that “match the descriptions from the Book of Mormon,” since we have already shown that there is almost no mention of anything in that area in the scriptural record. If this coastal plain was along the east coast, then Miner at least would have some grounds to make that statement. And if there were such defenses along this coastal plain, why is there almost no mention of Moroni or Moronihah fighting any battles there? Secondly, the area where the Nephites battled the Gadianton Robbers was not along the coastal area of either sea.  
    Miner continues with: “The descriptions given in the Book of Mormon of the narrow neck of land and the narrow pass that led into the land northward so perfectly match this region that it is hard not to recognize this area as being the most probable candidate.”
    Unfortunately, Mormon would have a hard time recognizing Miner’s model. The ancient prophet told us that the Land of Bountiful was separated from the Land of Desolation by a narrow neck that divided the Land Northward from the Land Southward (Alma 22:32), and that this narrow neck was the width of a day-and-a-half journey for a Nephite, and by controlling this area, they had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south (Alma 22:33); he also told us that Desolation was on the north of Bountiful (Alma 22:31), and that the Land Southward was surrounded by water except for this narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32). One look at Miner’s coastal corridor and not one of these scriptural references can be seen except in Miner’s eyes. In addition, the Land of Nephi was separated from the Land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness that ran from the Sea East clear to the Sea West (Alma 22:27), and there was a narrow pass that was flanked on the east and on the west by seas (Alma 50:34).
    Undaunted by his incongruous model, Miner goes on to write: “The references in the Book of Mormon do not give a clear indication that the narrow neck of land is surrounded by water, only that there is a sea on the west.” 
There is one and only one land area between the Land Southward and the Land Northward (Alma 22:, yet we are told that a pass or passage also goes from the Land Southward to the Land Northward: “The land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water” (Alma 22:32)—so why were they nearly surrounded and not surrounded? Because Mormon tells us, to the north of the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla (which contained the Land of Bountiful), there was “a smallneck of land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward” (Alma 22:32). Ether, also aware of this “narrow neck of land” tell us that it was “where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20). Now what better description can you have than the narrow neck of land was flanked by water on two sides, and extended into the Land Northward from the Land Southward? If further clarification is needed, we also find that Hagoth 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” (Alma 63:5).
    Miner adds: The distance across this line between the two ecosystems at the north end of this narrow neck of land is about a day and a half's journey.” 
    Note that Miner tells us this distance Mormon mentioned across the width of the narrow neck was at the north end of the neck, but we simply do not know that, nor do we know that this neck was wider or narrower in one part or the other. It was “small” (Alma 22:32) and small would suggest a more even neck than one that is dramatically wider in one point over another, which it seems would require a larger or longer neck. But it is the adding of language where there is absolutely no support, indication, or suggestion in the scriptural record that Miner and most other Mesoamericanists do that is not helpful, and certainly not good scholarship, for it can be misleading, as well as self-serving.
(See the next post, “Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part IV,” for more on Alan C. Miner’s views on the Narrow Neck of Land and how he thinks it fits into Mesoamerica despite so much scriptural comments to the opposite)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part II

Continuing with Alan C. Miner’s convoluted views on the geography of the narrow neck of land, we find that he, like so many theorists who want to promote their own beliefs and not Mormon’s clear and concise descriptions, seem to fit this reference: “for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be” (2 Nephi 32:7).
    This is shown by Miner’s statement: Thus we see that the interpretation of the terms "small neck," “narrow neck," "narrow passage," and "narrow pass," is not a simple task.” Nothing, of course, is a simple task when you go about confusing the issues, complicating simple things, and weaving elaborate, complex labyrinths of misleading scenarios.
    In fact, Miner adds to his last issue by saying, “Since I can be biased in this section, I will start by assuming a Mesoamerican setting.” That, of course, is the wrong approach. We have to start by understanding the scriptural record on its own merits! He adds, “Much has been written in the way of interpretation concerning this verse. Many maps have taken this verse to mean the total distance "from the east (sea) to the west sea. However, the verse does not say that. It says from the east (not east sea). By referring to the Mesoamerican map…” Again, the problem is in using an existing, pre-determined map to try and figure out what a statement in the scriptural record means is seldom, if ever, going to lead to an understanding of Mormon’s description—for the mind is made up, the interpretation already determined, and there is no room for the Spirit, common sense, or logic to play a role. It is a fait accompli before one even begins. This is simply not the way we should read scripture.
    In addition, Miner compares the travel circumstances of Mesoamerica “from ancient Jaredite (Olmec) times until the present,” where he states “it seems that most all traffic going from the Pacific coast of Guatemala, when confronted with these rugged mountains, moved instead through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on relatively flat ground and thus moved toward the Atlantic coast and the Veracruz area in its course northward.” 
Blue arrows show the mountain ranges that run through Mexico and Central America that block most egress into the interior from the Pacific Coast. Red arrow shows the gap in the ranges through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Naturally, coastal traffic would go north or south to this area to penetrate the interior 
    Since there are mountain ranges running vertically down the coastal plain from north to south through Mexico and Central America as shown in map above, it is not surprising that traffic from this narrow coastal plain would travel through whatever gaps there are in that range. However, since that does not match any description in the scriptural record, it is not a basis for any land description criteria of the Land of Promise.
    Miner adds, “The dilemma that Mormon might have been trying to explain is that Bountiful and Desolation had a boundary line separating the two lands ("north" of the line was Desolation and "south" of the line was Bountiful).” 
    Since Mormon does not try to explain this factor more than the one time he addresses it, one has no basis to claim that he might have had a dilemma in that explanation—a dilemma, by the way, means “a doubtful or difficult choice,” and “a situation where it is difficult to determine what course to pursue.” Nowhere is there reason in Mormon’s writing to suggest he had a “dilemma” regarding any layout of land—a land he knew extremely well, having fought battles from one end to the other, as well as having all the records written from all the Nephites before him.
    After all, his description is simple and straight forward, suggesting that he had a very clear picture in his mind of that border or boundary or division between the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful.
    Evidently trying to make something out of nothing, Miner continues: “This boundary line might have been located within this ancient travel corridor or ‘small neck of land’" (verse 32). Now this "small neck" apparently separated (or connected) the total "land northward" from the total "land southward". So far, so good. We are looking at a narrow neck of land between the two major land masses, as Mormon described. However, that is not Miner’s intent. In one quick sentence, he changes direction completely when he writes: “Could the day and a half's journey or the small neck of land be a description of the width of the coastal travel corridor from the Pacific Coast through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec?” He has now deflected the scriptural content of Alma 22:32, to a coastal corridor totally separate and in opposition to Mormon’s actual description of a small neck of land and a narrow pass or passage.
Alan Miner’s location for his narrow corridor along the West Sea east of the narrow neck of land. This is his narrow area, including his narrow pass or passage which is totally disconnected from the narrow neck and precludes any movement through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec along the northern corridor, or in the center 
    This coastal corridor is the same area for the narrow neck and narrow pass described by Joseph Allen, which we discussed in a previous post in this series about the narrow neck of land. Miner points out that “this narrow neck of land runs nearly two hundred miles along the Pacific coast of Guatemala and Mexico and has served as the primary north-south corridor of travel for millennia.” 
    That may well be so in Mesoamerica, however, there are two scriptural problems here: 1) this coastal corridor does not run north and south—in this two hundred mile distance Miner uses as Mormon described, which is actually almost 365 miles, from just east of Acajutla in Guatemala where the mountains of San Salvador reach the coast to the west of La Libertad, to around Arriaga, where a pass can be taken north (55 miles) through the mountains to Ocozocoautla de Espinosa.
Miner’s 365-mile-long “narrow neck of land” along the southwest coast of Guatelmala and Mexico—hardly what Mormon describes in Alma 22 
    If one were to stay along the coastal “corridor” and continue west to Santa Cruz (another hundred miles), they could continue southwest to Pochutla, or take the gap through the mountains and north across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. While it is true that this coastal plain from Arriaga to Acajutla mostly moves along the shore on a northwest direction, the actual land mass inland runs east and west through Mesoamerica, or stated differently, Guatemala is situated to the east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It is like saying Nevada is to the west of Utah, however, Reno, Nevada, is northwest of St. George, and Las Vegas, Nevada is southwest of St. George, while Elko, Nevada, is due west of Salt Lake City, but Carson City is southwest of Logan.
    The point is, one can make directions sound pretty much the way they want by picking and choosing a comparison; however, Guatemale is east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the coastal plain Miner refers to really runs east and west when looking at the major land mass of both areas—as Nevada is west of Utah and Colorado is east of Utah.
(See the next post, “Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part III,” for more on Alan C. Miner’s views on the Narrow Neck of Land and how he thinks it fits into Mesoamerica despite so much scriptural comments to the opposite)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part I

In a never ending effort to change, alter, or adjust the meaning of Mormon’s descriptions in the scriptural record, Alan C. Miner weighs in with: “Perhaps the fault is with me, but I fail to see how "internally" (or within the scope of the scriptures cited here), the writer Mormon has demonstrated (notice he uses the word "thus") that the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water.” 
   Response: First of all, the word “thus” has a very specific meaning, both in 1828 and today. The specific meaning is “accordingly”, “consequently”, “for this reason”, “in this manner”, etc.
Left: The narrow neck of land separating the Land Southward from the Land Northward; Right: the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla nearly surrounded by water except for the narrow neck of land
    Thus, Mormon’s statement is rendered: “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 consequently 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” (Alma 22:32).
The distance across the narrow neck of land is the distance a Nephite could journey in a day and a half (Alma 22:32). Since a “Nephite” was used by Mormon, it would stand to reason that this was referencing a typical or normal man and how far he could walk in a day and a half. The narrow neck of land in Ecuador to the east of the Bay of Guayaquil is about 26 miles—anciently it was between seas, today it is between the sea and the sheer Andes Mountains there
    Secondly, it seems that one Theorist after another wants to debate the specific language of Mormon when he could not be clearer in his descriptions. Mormon wrote as plainly and distinctly as possible, after describing the entire Land Southward and the Land Northward, “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 [accordingly, consequently] 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” (Alma 22:32).
    One might ask, after reading that, what exactly is it that Miner does not understand about “nearly surrounded by water”? After all, this is not an open forum, a debating team, or even a classroom where we are seeking people’s agreement. This is the Book of Mormon, written by prophets, abridged by prophets, translated by a prophet, and it is revered by millions as a sacred document. When Miner says that “I fail to see how…Mormon has demonstrated…that the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water,” we are getting into the realm of man thinking he is smarter than God. Again, the Book of Mormon was never intended as a classroom guide, book of history, geography, or fodder for debate.
    It is the word of the Lord handed down through prophets for us to better understand His workings with a segment of the House of Israel in the ancient Americas. Mormon clearly states the Land Southward was nearly surrounded by water, then tells us the reason is was not completely surrounded by water—because there was a “small neck of land” connecting the two major land masses (Alma 22:27-32), which, by the way, Ether described as “where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20).
Not one single word, sentence, paragraph, chapter, or part of the Book of Mormon, of course, is dependent upon Miner’s approval, or that of any human being—it is the word handed down to us by ancient prophets that both bear witness of Jesus Christ, His gospel, and His workings with man, as well as some descriptions of the land on which these people lived. That John L. Sorenson can claim Mormon and the Nephites did not know their cardinal directions though they are clearly stated, and skews the land by about 90º; that Miner claims the Land Southward was not surrounded by water except for the narrow neck, that F. Richard Hauck claims there were two Bountifuls, one in the north and one in the west; that he and Joseph Allen can claim the pass that led into the Land Northward was somewhere other than where Mormon placed it, and all the other questionable facts with which so many Theorists have taken great license to claim, is, in the simplest form of understanding extremely arrogant, as well as fallacious and disingenuous, and, perhaps mirrors the words of Jacob who lamented: “O the vainness and frailties and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsels of God” (2 Nephi 9:28), and also Peter, who spoke clearly, saying: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20).
Using his own words, I think it is very clear that the fault is with Miner, not with Mormon, nor with the scriptural record itself.
    However, Miner is not finished with his curious and rather convoluted method of thinking. After a lengthy equation trying to match up meanings to the four descriptions given, i.e., “small neck,” “narrow neck,” “narrow pass,” and “narrow passage,” he claims that logic could consolidate all of the terms into one isthmus; that logic could divide them into two entities; or that logic could make four separate entities out of them. However, that is Miner’s logic, for Mormon’s descriptions are specific and frankly not open to speculation. For someone to claim that through logic you could interpret Mormon’s writing anyway you wanted, simply lacks an understanding of the scriptural record.
    Yet, most Mesoamericanists do that very thing. It is as though they believe that scriptures should be bent, changed, altered and adjusted in order to fit them into their particular model—so convinced are they of their model, whether Mesoamerica or elsewhere, that the scriptural record must be wrong, or unclear, or needs a different interpretation since the record does not match their preconceived model. Unfortunately, they do this, rather than finding a model that matches the descriptive information Mormon gave us.
    This is especially obvious with Miner’s conclusions when comparing them to the knowledge that the Land Southward was surrounded by water except for the narrow neck, thus each of these four areas had to have been singularly connected since each was between the Land Northward and the Land Southward—and only one such connection is given us by Mormon, However, Miner still feels the need to ask the question—no doubt because he is leading to his specific model that has these entities separate.
    In doing so, Miner plunges into the world of speculation when he writes: Logic could make a narrow corridor (1-1.5 day's journey in width) running north along the west coast of Zarahemla, then have it move eastward between the land northward and the land southward through a much broader and longer isthmus, and then have it run northward and parallel to the east coast. If this corridor was referred to both as a "narrow passage" and a "narrow neck," then my narrow neck (passage) would not be an isthmus, it would be a travel corridor through an isthmus. It would also be a consolidation of terms.”
    Well, that kind of logic then opens the door to separating Mormon’s description of the narrow neck of land being the width of a day-and-a-half journey for a Nephite, and places that statement somewhere else in the Land of Promise; thus, a person could conclude that the neck of land could be 300 miles wide, or any figure they want or claim, such as Tehuantepec being 144 miles across (as stated by the Mexican government), and then it doesn’t have to be a real narrowing of land at all. In that way, Sorenson, Miner, and other Mesoamericanists can claim the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the narrow neck of land. Then all they have to do is place a narrow passage through it to match one of their previous logical scenarios.
In this way, the scriptural record can be made to fit the Mesoamerican model of a 144-mile wide “narrow neck” since the day-and-a-half journey of a Nephite could be placed elsewhere. Of course, there is still the problem with the east-west alignment and the Land Northward to the west and the Land Southward to the east, but more special-type logic and solve that problem, too, as Sorenson so loquaciously did
    The point is—which is definitely lost on Miner—the scriptures are not for our personal interpretation to make of them what we want. They are not a mix and match collection of statements that we can manipulate however we choose. They are there for us to use as they are, as they were written, and as they were intended, in the simple language that Nephi described and Mormon used.
(See the next post, “Other Thoughts on Theorist’s Views of the Narrow Neck—Part II,” for more on Alan C. Miner’s views on the Narrow Neck of Land and how he thinks it fits into Mesoamerica despite so much scriptural comments to the opposite)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yet Another Theorist’s View of the Narrow Neck – Part II

Continuing with Jerry L. Ainsworth’s descriptions of the narrow neck of land found in his, The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, p 168. In his discussion of the narrow neck, he completely misses the several scriptures that that are contrary to what he writes—a few of these were covered in our last post.  
Example of two narrow passes that would be easy to defend against an invading force
    Continuing with his thought of the narrow pass or passage running from east to west, rather than north to south as Mormon describes (Alma 50:34), and as we covered extensively with several scriptural references in the last post, we find that Ainsworth goes on to write:
    “I always asked myself why Alma said in his day that "a Nephite" could walk the narrow pass in a day and a half. That implies a Lamanite could not.”
    That is certainly a giant leap. He did not say a Lamanite could not walk it, he chose a Nephite. So the question should be, why did he say a “Nephite”?
    If we would just keep in mind that Mormon is trying to tell us about the land in his insertion where the Lamanite king’s proclamation was sent, and then added how the Nephites and Lamanites were divided, and in doing so, is giving us a little insight into the distance of the narrow neck of land by using a typical person of his day that would be understood by a future reader. Mormon was a Nephite, Nephites occupied the lands he was describing north of the narrow strip of wilderness and the Land of Nephi.
He knew his future readers would be much like his own Nephites, and that they would understand an example of his own people rather than someone else, like a Lamanite who were hunters, running in the wild, no doubt stronger and swifter than Nephites, as later described in the scriptural record.
    A Nephite, obviously, would be the best example he could use. However, instead of this simple understanding, Ainsworth launches into a lengthy discussion about temperatures in the Land of Promise and that the Lamanites were used to higher and cooler climates and that the pass was in the lowlands and the hottest place in the land and would have sapped the strength of a Lamanite.
    Perhaps it would be a good idea to introduce Ainsworth to Ockham’s Razor, since the scriptural record is written in simple language and is not complicated or convoluted or meant to confuse or make understanding difficult. The point is, we are trying to understand the simple writings of Mormon who wrote for us—his purpose would not be to confuse, or make his meaning difficult to understand.
Mormon (left) was given the assignment by the Lord to abridge the Nephite record. The title page (right) states “Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and alao of the Lamanites—written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation”
    Mormon stated: “And now I, Mormon, proceed to finish out my record, which I take from the plates of Nephi; and I make it according to the knowledge and the understanding which God has given me” (WofM 1:9). Regarding this record he was abridging, he also said, “I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (WofM 1:7).
    There is no need to confuse the issue of which Mormon writes. He had all the records before him, he lived at the time, he fought battles from one end of the Land of Promise to the other.
    He was well acquainted with both the current conditions of the land, and the previous conditons before the destructions mentioned in 3 Nephi, and was able to draw comparisons and wrote about them from time to time for our better understanding.
    Consider, as an example some of the misleading concepts Mesoamerican and other theorists write about that fall far short of the scriptural record.
While the standard “narrow neck” in Mesoamerica is approximately 140 miles across (red line), Ether tells us that the Lord had poisonous serpents “hedge up the way” through the narrow neck of land so the people could not gain access to the Land Southward.
Consider the impossibility of snakes forming a barrier across 140 miles of open land; however, how understandable it would be to have snakes hedge up the entrance to a narrow pass through a narrow neck of land
Top: Among other points, this Mesoamerican map shows where the “sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20); however, (Bottom) when you look at the overall map of Mesoamerica, it can hardly he said that the body of water (an inland lagoon) actually divides any land. To be accurate, this lagoon runs between the coastal shore and a spit of land that often occurs across the mouths of estuaries and may develop from each headland at harbor mouths. These spits may he composed of sand (sandspit) or shingle, and are formed by the longshore movement of sediment. No one would say that this was a sea dividing a land, and to claim this inland lagoon formed by the spit divides the land is disingenuous at best
This map shows the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mesoamerica, which John L. Sorenson claims is the Nephite “narrow neck of land.” Note the reality of the map compared with the scriptural record. 1) The land runs north and south (Alma 22:27-31), but Mesoamerica runs east and west; 2) The narrow neck ran north and south between the Land Northward and the Land Southward (Alma 22:32), but Sorenson’s map shows this connection running east and west; 3) The Land Northward—Desolation—is north of the Land Southward—Bountiful (Alma 22:32); but Sorenson’s lands are east and west of each other; 4) Bountiful ran “from the east unto the west sea” (Alma 22:33), but Sorenson’s map has no sea to the west—his seas are to the north and south. We could go on with the many discrepancies, which Sorenson passes off with the Nephite snot knowing the cardinal directions, but the point is, his map, and no other Mesoamerica map, meets Mormon’s many descriptions 
The point is, it should behoove every person who is a searcher after truth and correctness in regard to people interpreting the scriptural record, to do their own research, also. To merely accept what someone has written, regardless of their credentials, standing and following is foolhardy. Mormon told us how his land was configured, and the least we can do is accept his simple descriptions and not get led away by someone who ignores Mormon’s writings and tries to tell us his clear and simple words mean something other than what they say.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yet Another Theorist’s View of the Narrow Neck – Part I

In yet another example of an erroneous narrow neck of land, Jerry L. Ainsworth, in The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni, p 168, discusses his opinions about the narrow neck of land and in the process, completely misses the several scriptures that that are contrary to what he writes: 
    Ainsworth: “Mormon relates a "small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward" with "the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite" from "the east to the west sea" (Alma 22:32). This "small neck of land" was also called the "narrow pass."
    Response: While others struggle with this because their models are too large to fit one small neck of land between their lands to the north and south, we need to keep in mind that the several statements regarding the “small neck,” “narrow neck,” “narrow pass,” and “narrow passage,” all refer to the same area, but not necessarily in the same way.
The “Narrow or Small Neck” (between the yellow arrows) describes the land between the Land Southward and the Land Northward; the “Narrow Pass or Passage” (between the red arrows) describes the method of moving through the neck of land. Near the present Ecuador-Peru border today, there is a narrow pass through this small neck of land that once had ocean on both sides, and now has the ocean on the west, and the cliffs of the magnificent Andes mountain on the other. Anciently, this was a narrow area with the sea on both sides, today it is a narrow area with the sea on one side and tall mountains on the other. This distance ancient was approximately 26 miles across as it is today
    That is, the “small neck” and “narrow neck” both refer to the land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, but the “narrow pass” and the “narrow passage” refer not to this connecting neck, but to a way through the neck of land. Note that when the “small neck” or “narrow neck” terms are used, they always refer to the land that connects the two major land masses; however, when “narrow pass” and “narrow passage” are used, they refer to movement through or across the land.
Mormon also tells us that there is only one land mass between the Land Northward and the Land Southward, and that is what he called the “small neck of land” (Alma 22:32). He also tells us the since the Land Southward was completely surrounded by water except for this narrow neck of land. So if the narrow neck is the only way to get from one land to the other, then it stands to reason that any pass or passage between these lands would have to be within or through the narrow neck. And this is what Mormon so clearly describes in his writing about the pass or passage.
In addition, Mormon tells us the distance across this narrow neck is a day-and-a-half for a Nephite, making it a span that could be walked in that time by a normal person (Nephites were normal, Lamanites wore loin cloths, searched in the wild for food, and lived in tents in the wilderness). Now all these points can easily be found in the scriptural record and we have written about them numerous times in this blog.
    As stated in an earlier post Alma 22:32 tells us:
1. The narrow pass ran from the Land Southward to the Land Northward;
2. The narrow pass ran from the east [sea] to the west sea;
3. The narrow pass ran on the line [boundary] between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Desolation;
4. It took a day and a half for a Nephite to traverse this distance.
    In addition, the “small neck” or “narrow neck” was a connector between the two major land masses:
• “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” (Alma 22:32)
Left: Hagoth’s ships traveled northward (Alma 63:6,7), and one ship went elsewhere “and whither she did go we know not” (Alma 63:8). A northern course is not possible from anywhere in the narrow neck of Mesoamerica
• Hagoth’s ships were launched into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward (Alma 63:5), and the ships sailed northward (something that cannot be done from Mesoamerica’s narrow neck)
    It should also be noted that not only did the “small neck” or “narrow neck” ran north and south between these two land masses, but the “narrow pass” or “narrow passage” did also:
• “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—emphasis mine)
• “and secure the narrow pass which led into the land northward” (Alma 52:9—emphasis mine)
• “even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward” (Mormon 2:29—emphasis mine)
• “by the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5—emphasis mine)
    In addition, this “narrow neck” was at the end of a large bay or long inlet, so that water mostly filled the area between the two lands except for the “narrow neck,” or as Mormon said, “nearly surrounded by water except for the small neck” (Alma 22:32), and Ether wrote, “They built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20).
    Now, despite all this, Ainsworth claims: “The pass did not run from the east sea to the west sea, but from the east to the west sea. The pass did not extend the entire length of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which would be from north to south, not from east to west. The narrow pass ran from the direction east, then made a turn and ended up at the west sea.”
    In his convoluted way, Ainsworth tries to tell us that this narrow pass ran east to west, though it had a turn within it. Setting the turn aside for the moment, let us deal with the direction of this pass. Mormon makes it rather clear that this pass ran north to south, that is: “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). How anyone can not understand this is beyond rational explanation—the pass ran into the Land Northward. From where?
    Well, it ran by the sea that was on the east and on the west, therefore, it ran from south to north and into the Land Northward. What was to the south of the Land Northward? The Land Southward. This pass ran from the Land Southward into the Land Northward.
(See the next post, “Yet Another Theorist’s View of the Narrow Neck – Part II,” for more of Ainsworth’s views on the Narrow Neck of Land and the Land of Promise overall.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still Another Theorist’s View of the Narrow Neck

While we are on the theme of the narrow neck of land and how some theorists have completely misunderstood and even misled others into believing views inconsistent with the scriptural record, we have received additional comments, questions, and examples of still other views. Take for instance, the view of Joseph Allen: 
   “From what we know of the Maya, we can now deduce that a day’s travel is approximately 10 miles and that it would make the narrow neck about 15 miles wide.” 
It would seem that this is a debate that will go on forever, since whenever someone determines a place they believe is the narrow neck of land, they adjust their travel time to fit that location.
Though Allen is a Mesoamericanist, he departs from John L. Sorenson’s view (and many others) that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the narrow neck, and chooses an area just inland from the coast where highway 200 (Tapachula-Juchitán de Zaragoza) now runs past Tres Picos. About two miles east of there is an ancient archaeological site called La Perseverancia in Chiapas, Mexico.
La Perseverancia is merely a test pit dug by the NWAF that, according to them, has produced Late Preclassic material dating to about 100 BC. It was a large ceremonial and population center, located northward from present-day Pijijiapán between the Rio Jesus and the Finca Perseverancia. It is said to have flourished from about 400 B.C. to about 200 A.D., and had strong ties with the Olmec, and is claimed to be similar in many ways to Izapa and Takalik Abaj, but without any known stone sculpture. Allen claims that from Perseverancia northwest between the coast and the mountains to Paredón was the supposed “fortification line that made up the ‘day and a half journey’ in the Book of Mormon.” ("How far was 'a day-and-a-half's' journey for a Nephite?" Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest, Vol. 1/1, Spring 1998, p 7).
    Now the maps above show the Mesoamerican Land of Promise, with their Land Northward to the west of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and their Land Southward to the east, with Allen’s 1 ½ day fortified line. Obviously, while this might defend against a force coming west along the southern coastal area, there is still some 140 miles of terrain to the Gulf of Mexico, much of it passable from the Land Southward into the Land Northward, therefore disqualifying it as the defensive line mentioned in Helaman 4:7, and certainly does not match the narrow neck area mentioned in Alma 22:32. The bottom image is the line between the ancient ruins of Perseverancia and Paredón, a distance of 15 miles. In Allen’s writing, there is simply no relationship to the scriptural record and Allen’s placement of his narrow neck or day-and-a-half journey area Mormon writes in Alma 22, nor does it qualify for Helaman’s day journey line of defense, which ran from the West Sea to the east (Helaman 4:7).
Top: Allen's map showing (yellow arrow) invading movement from the south along the coastal corridor, which his defensive line (green line) could stop because of the parallel run of the mountain range (green arrow) limiting the distance; Bottom: On a larger map of the same area, the same yellow and green arrows show the same defensive line and mountain range; however, when showing the entire isthmus area, there are easy approaches (white arrows) for an invading force to gain access to the Land Northward, which Allen's defensive line cannot stop
Allen's map, showing this easy access area (Yellow Arrow, gold circle) into the Land Northward filled with cities, villages, and development--an obvious lowland area where travel of an invading force from the Land Southward would have easy access, defeating the purpose of Allen's defensive line along the western coastal corridor 
Allen also notes that Mormon’s description states that "it was only the distance of a day and a half's journey for a Nephite on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation [and] since it was "only," we may assume that it was not a huge distance.” From there, Allen jumps to a distance of 15 miles to match his La Perseverancia to Paredón span. However, if you take a day’s journey for a Nephite to cover 15 miles, he is only walking at a 1.25 mile-per-hour pace for 12 hours. Since this is mentioned in connection with a military situation (the fortified line), we may be looking at something closer to 20 to 20 miles—1.6 to 2 miles per hour, though a general individual we have discussed in other posts as traveling about 1.4 miles per hour. Still, 15 miles seems a little short for a day’s journey for a Nephite.
    Yet, the real problem lies in Allen mixing up his scriptures and evidently assuming no one is going to notice. The day-and-a-half journey Mormon mentioned in connection to the narrow neck of land was a measurement of its width (Alma 22:32), while the fortified line mentioned in Helaman had to do with a line of defense (Helaman 4:7). This is one of the reasons we continually place the scriptural reference within our writing so one can check up on our content throughout the reading, while most Mesoamericanists often neglect to provide references, and when they do, they are infrequent, and actually, sometimes wrong. Anyone reading any other person’s understanding of the Book of Mormon should follow along with the scriptural record and double-check everything a person writes. Only in that way can one really know if he is being misled, or reading accurate information. And never, never, take someone’s reference information or blatant statements at face value—if they do not cite a reference, look it up yourself. With the scriptures digitized today, and the internet so available to everyone, there is simply no reason to be a lazy reader.
    Allen also writes that “Both from a Mesoamerican perspective and a Book of Mormon view, we know that major division lines consisted of high mountain peaks.” However, there simply is no way to justify this with the scriptural record. Today we look at borders or division lines from strictly a political view, i.e., we have city, county, state, and national borders. In modern times, boundaries often were a line of degrees; but in the past, and especially anciently, boundaries, where they existed at all, were typically rivers, canyons, gorges, deserts or other transportation obstacle, which could have included high mountains, but not chiefly. If Allen can make a case for mountain peaks in ancient Mesoamerican, fine—but that does not mean that the Land of Promise was so divided or bordered. Very anciently, where there was not a lot of movement of people, boundaries were hills surrounding a valley, where the Land of— was the valley cup and the next Land of— was the next valley, etc. It was not often anciently that a mountain peak divided lands, since people did not climb those peaks, or settle up to those peaks, such a boundary would have been meaningless. Today, a mountain peak may be chosen, as he shows in Mesoamerica, but that is merely for convenience and map drawing, etc. Few governments are concerned about land along a high mountain peak, unless there is something on that mountain they want.
    Allen goes on to talk about a wall built at Paredón (big wall) from the sea eastward to the mountains that sealed off that coastal corridor; however, that distance is about 12 miles—they would have been more successful, if he intends this to be a Nephite defense position, to have built it about 13 miles eastward at La Polca where the width between the sea (La Joya, the jewel) and mountains, is only about four miles. However, because of the ancient ruins of Paredón, he chooses to show that location, but it is less of a defensive line than one would have been at La Polca, had this been Nephite lands and Moroni was building a defensive wall to cut off or stop the advancing Lamanites. Again, though, a Nephite defensive position as described in Helaman 4:7 which stopped the Lamanites from advancing further northward, and then allowed the Nephites to push southward and drive the Lamanites out of their lands does not match the situation Allen describes at Paredón since this was simply a coastal corridor, and there were numerous other approaches through this area, especially on the other half of the land, which was more level and quite wide, some 60 miles at its narrowest.
    Once again, a Theorist is trying to make something fit their model, and in so doing, either misunderstands or tries to stretch the scriptural record to cover their idea. But a 15-mile defensive line running in the same direction as the Land of Promise is not a defensive line across the movement of advancing Lamanite forces.

Monday, February 17, 2014

One Theorist’s View of the Narrow Neck – Part II

Continuing with the article one of our readers sent in written by Mesoamericanist Aric Turner describing his view of the Narrow Neck of Land. In the last post we were discussing Turner’s criteria for a narrow neck of land. We continue here with him moving to the Land of Promise overall: 
    6. Turner: “Travel through jungle where no trails exist can be as low as 10 to 15 miles per day (the lower limit).”
    Response: Jungle, forest, swamp, many rivers and lakes, etc. Depending upon the topography, would depend upon the speed or movement. After all, a 5280 foot high hill would mean one is covering two extra miles to walk over it, consequently, it is not possible for us to determine the speed of someone covering this distance based on our lack of knowledge as to the topography of the narrow neck.
Long distance runners rarely run more than five or ten miles with marathons about 26 miles (Boston Marathon 26 miles 385 yards), who train with 20 mile weekly runs and a minimum of 40 miles in a week, with musculoskeletal and dermatological problems following marathon runs of 26 miles, with many suffering tendonitis, extreme fatigue, knee or ankle sprains, and extreme dehydration, among other conditions
    Obviously, these specialty distances and abilities are far from normal, and there is no indication of a specialty condition to the Nephite journey mentioned by Mormon.
Consequently, all these specialty situations are of little value. As an example, Turner goes on to add, “The world record for a 48-hour run is 428,890 meters (266 miles), or 200 miles in a day and a half on a perfectly flat track (the upper limit).” Does it seem reasonable that Mormon was giving us an example of travel across the narrow neck using a world record to understand the width? Hardly. Once we eliminate all this “fooferall” we find that Mormon was trying to tell us how wide the narrow neck was, and used an average Nephite as the measurement device, i.e., how long would it take a person to walk across that distance. Had he meant someone who was more inclined to speed, perhaps he might had used a Lamanite, or a “fit person,” or a "conditioned runner," etc.
    7. Turner: “As a best estimate, the width of the narrow neck should be between 15 and 200 miles.”
Response: Well, that covers just about every known isthmus in the world. Which means, Turner gave us a lot of writing that meant nothing at all. He even discusses canoe travel “on flat, smooth, fast-flowing rivers can be up to 326 miles in 24 hours, but only one river meets this criteria (Yukon).  Otherwise, believe it or not, travel is the same, or less, than foot travel,” which is another worthless comment unless we are going to claim Mormon meant a Nephite in a canoe—or a Nephite on a horse, etc. From this point, Turner returns to his criteria for the location of the narrow neck of land:
    8. Turner: “There must be a north-flowing river south of the narrow neck.  The river Sidon headwaters are in the South Wilderness which are south of the narrow neck.”
    Response: And also north of the Land of Nephi as Mormon describes (Alma 16:6), and very likely does not reach Bountiful, because the area across the Land of Promise is mentioned without any reference to the river Sidon in Bountiful, yet troops and battles occur back and forth there in Alma (Alma 52).
    9. Turner: “There must be elevated areas on the west and south parts of the land.  There is a south wilderness and the Hermounts were on the west.”
    Response: Obviously, on the south, for the land moves upward to the Land of Nephi, with the south wilderness the narrow strip of wilderness that lay in between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla (Alma 22:27). Now the wilderness called Hermounts was on the west of the river Sidon and to the north of the city of Zarahemla (Alma 3:26, 37); however, there seems to be no wordage of an elevated area to the west of the land.
    10. Turner: “There must be an elevated area on the east that borders an east sea. The east wilderness bordered the east sea.”
Wilderness can be any area and type of topography, flat, hilly, mountainous, desert, swamp, forest, etc., wherever people have not settled in the land
    Response: Again, we do not have any indication in the scriptural record of the land to the east being elevated. It would appear that Turner is translating the word “wilderness” as being mountains, and thus claiming the east and west wilderness areas of the Land of Zarahemla as being high in elevation, but the scriptural record does not say that. Wilderness, after all, can be any elevation since it means an “unoccupied tract of land.”
    11. Turner: “There must be at least two large bodies of water north of the narrow neck. Helaman 3:3 ...there were an exceeding great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward, to inherit the land; And they did travel to an exceeding great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water, and many rivers.”
    Response: And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers” (Helaman 3:4) is the land described by Mormon as “it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains,” which was the Land of Cumorah (Mormon 6:4), which was also described by king Limhi who said his rescue mission traveled in a land “among many waters” (Mosiah 8:8). This was the land far to the north in the Land Northward, which had many waters, rivers and fountains (sources of water). We are not talking about two large bodies of water, but many bodies of water (the word large is not mentioned or implied), where rivers and source rivers flowed.
    12. Turner: “There needs to be significant geological forces (earthquakes, volcanism, and tsunamis) that can explain the destructions described in III Nephi.”
    Response: This describes the entire west coast of North, Central and South America, called the Pacific Rim, though there are far more volcanoes in Andean South America, including earthquakes than anywhere else in the eastern side of the rim. The Tsunamies that strike the northern half of South America are numerous, since the current they travel tends to bend southward from the equator toward the Western Hemisphere.
The internal map showing the major land areas and their distribution in the Land of Promise, including the six major waters mentioned in the scriptural record
    Turner's entire views seem to stray far from the scriptural record and provide little, if anything of value in understanding the Land of Promise. His attempt to place this land in Mesoamerica simple falls short of Mormon's numerous descriptions.