Monday, November 30, 2015

Why Was the Narrow Neck Strategic? – Part V

Continuing from the previous post and our responses to the article George Potter wrote that was sent to us by one of our readers. Resuming with Potter’s reasoning regarding the line between the Land of Desolation and the Land of Bountiful:
• “We know that the narrow pass had great military significance, for if the “pass” fell, the Lamanites could possess the land northward.”
The Nephites were separated from the Lamanites by a (white arrow) narrow strip of wilderness. North of there, beyond the Lands of Zarahemla and Bountiful lay the (red arrow) narrow neck of land. It took the Lamanites until 350 A.D. 950 years to reach that point where Mormon and the Lamanites made a treaty giving the Lamanites all the Land Southward and the Nephites all the Land Northward; obviously, Potter’s statement is not accurate
    Response: First of all, the Lamanite throughout most of the Nephite history (until around the third century A.D. in the time of Mormon) were nowhere near the narrow wneck of land, being restricted to the Land of Nephi as Mormon informs us (Alma 22:34). Before the Lamanites battled their way toward the north in the last century B.C., most of the Nephite concerns were from dissenters trying to gain the Land Northward as a base of operations, and in some way enter into a liason with the Lamanites in order to have a two-front war against the Nephites (Alma 50:32). 
Secondly, the entire small or narrow neck of land marked this area of significance. The narrow pass was simply the means of ingress from one land (Land Southward) into the other land (Land Northward). As long as that pass was held, the Lamanites or Nephite defectors could not take possession of the Land Northward and create a Second Front the Nephites would be compelled to protect.
• “In a later attack by the Lamanites, the same strategic place is simply called “the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation” (3 Nephi 3:23) with no mention of a narrow neck of land.”
    Response: There was only one way to get from one land (Land Southward) into the other land (Land Northward) and that was through the narrow pass or passage that led across the narrow neck of land. The line, once again, was the division or boundary between these two major lands, and the actual border between the Land of Desolation on the north and the Land of Bountiful on the south (Alma 22:32).
    From all of this, it should be quite clear why this area was such a strategic value to the Nephites. As long as they could hold the narrow pass within the narrow neck of land, then they could maintain the Land Northward and keep it from being infiltrated by Lamanites or defectors. In this way, as Mormon said “Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephite—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country [Land Northward] whither they might flee, according to their desires” (Alma 22:34).
    Now Potter switches in his writing to try and place such an area within his Land of Promise. He writes:
    Potter: “Is there in Peru a narrow, yet strategic, transportation corridor that starts at the Pacific and ends in the mountains that possessed these seven characteristics at the time of the Jaredites and Nephites?”
    Response: We are not really looking for a transportation corridor, for no such language is used or implied within the scriptural record. What we are looking for is an area that could have been once, during the time of the Nephites, or today, a narrow neck of land with a narrow pass or passage through it, enabling a limited or guarded ingress from the Land Southward into the Land Northward.
As Mormon wrote of the northward flight of the defector Morianton: “Now behold, the people who were in the land Bountiful, or rather Moroni, feared that they would hearken to the words of Morianton and unite with his people, and thus he would obtain possession of those parts of the land, which would lay a foundation for serious consequences among the people of Nephi, yea, which consequences would lead to the overthrow of their liberty. Therefore Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward” (Alma 50:32-33).
    The problem is, when we start calling it a transportation corridor and not a narrow passage, we lose sight of the restricted area this passage contained, which in turn, allows one to use a much larger land area to claim is this area. Thus Potter answers his question about there being such a place in Peru by saying:
    Potter: “The answer is yes, and it is not hard to identify. It is right where we would expect it—the Lurin Valley.”
Response: The Lurin Valley, or Lurin District, is about 22 miles south of Lima, and is a basin 112.8 square miles running east and west, with its main archaeological complex that of Pachacamac, though there are dozens of ruins in the valley. Though it appears as a defensible valley, there are three separate unconnected valleys in this area, anyone of which, or all three, could provide ingress to the north, which is not consistent with the description of the area Mormon gives us.
Top: Lurin Valley from several vantage points. It should be noted that most of these surrounding hills are scalable by an attacking force, which would not be restricted to the valley pass
One of the dozens of ruins within the Lurin valley. Ancient cities dot the landscape of the Lurin Valley and certainly do not match the idea of the narrow neck, narrow passage, or any land connection between the Land Northward and the Land Southward
    As an example, Potter then introduces his map of the Lurin Valley, just south of Lima, Peru, as his “transportation corridor,” which hardly fits the restricted are of ingress into the Land Northward that a narrow pass through a narrow neck of land would be.
Left: Potter’s map. He has his Land of Desolation in an area of Lima, which would include the ancient city of Pachacamac, which was the area of a major cultural area including ten thousand or more people, and does not show an East Sea; Right: A current map of the larger area of the Lurin Valley and Lima
    In addition, his Land of Desolation would also incorporate the gigantic city of Huacas Pucllana, built on seven staggered platforms, and one of the most important ancient monuments in the area. Just one of the numerous plazas of this city was 1640 feet long (over five football fields), 328 feet wide and 72 feet high (seven stories)
Huacas Pucllana.There is no suggestion in the scriptural record that the narrow pass or narrow neck of land contained a city of any size, let alone one as huge as this one, which is right in the city area of Lima
    Potter: “The Lurin Valley where the Transporation Corridor is located—exactly between the Lima area that the Incas called ‘land of the people of Desolation’ and their southeast quarter of Contisuyu.
    Response:  First, throwing in this comment as though it is both proven and realistic, in an attempt to relate a scriptural point (Land of Desolation) with this area of Peru is not very scholarly since the impression is completely inaccurate. According to Paul Richard Steele and Catherine J.Allen (Handbook of Inca Mythology, 2004) In Peruvian mythology, the People of Desolation, an ancient people of Peru of whom nothing is known, other than their name Purum Runa, a term that elsewhere was applied to a dangerous epoch and were born from live eggs that were hatched, And according to Thomas C. Patterson (The Inca Empire, 1992), “that life was never easy in the Andes, heightening the ever-present sense of desolation, imminent danger, and vulnerability.” He points out that much of Andean history is based upon “the level of the supernatural world, confronted by dangerous forces of nature.” Therefore, “people of desolation,” is linked in Peruvian thought to incidents of nature, such as storms, earthquakes, and lightening “that are responsible for destructive forms of precipitation.”
    Secondly, introducing Inca information of this manner is misleading, since the Inca came to power around 1423 A.D., and certainly under no circumstances existed before 1200 A.D., all of which is about 1000 years after the demise of the Nephite nation and its people, could have no bearing on anything Nephite, such as the People of the Desolation, even if the appellation was accurate, which is highly doubtful.
(See the next post, “Why Was the Narrow Neck Strategic? – PtVI,” to see not only why the narrow neck was strategic, but also to see how theorists get so many wrong ideas about Mormon’s many descriptions when they try to alter or change his meanings that are clearly stated in his writing)

No comments:

Post a Comment