Wednesday, November 27, 2019

An Exercise in Mesoamerican Thinking-Part III

Continuing from the previous post with more information on how Sorenson, the guru of Mesoamerican geography, has skewed the understanding of the scriptural descriptions of the Land of Promise in order to match them to his Mesoamerican model—the following is a continuation from the last post where Sorenson continues with his not-so-narrow neck of land:
• Sorenson: (p13-14) “Of course, additional clues in the Book of Mormon help confirm these dimensions. One vital check in the length of the combined lands occurs in the story of King Limhi’s exploring party. Ruling over a people in bondage in the land of Nephi, Limhi sent explorers to relocate the Zarahemla from which their grandfathers had come nearly 50 years earlier (Mosiah 8:7-8)…unfortunately, their route somehow bypassed Zarahemla, to then through the “narrow neck of land” without their even realizing it, and brought them to the final battle ground of the earlier people, the Jaredites.”
Response: This sounds reasonable until we really look at it seriously. After all, this narrow neck as we have said would have to be at least 25 to 35 miles wide to take a Nephite a day and a half to cross. As an example, the distance from Provo, Utah, to Sandy, Utah, is 28 miles. If you were crossing the freeway area from east to west at Thanksgiving Point, just south of the Point of the Mountain, just about in the middle of that distance, about 14 miles south of Sandy and about 14 miles north of Provo, you would have no idea you were passing by Provo or BYU or the “Y” on the mountain, or by Sandy, Draper, or the Four-Corners Temple. They simply would not be visible, though only a few short miles away.
    In fact, Sorenson’s claim that Limhi’s expedition could have known they were passing through a narrow neck of land that Mormon describes is ludicrous unless they were high enough up on a mountain to see at least in one direction or the other far enough to see the ocean and understand it was narrow like that on both sides of them.
Immigration Canyon, outside of Salt Lake City in the area between Pioneer Gulch and Badger Hollow. The hills running through the middle of the area are less than a mile away. How far could you see if there was an ocean beyond them or behind you on the other side of similar hills?

• Sorenson: (p14) “Surely diligent men such as the king would have sent on this mission would not have pressed on much farther.”
    These men knew they were on a do-or-die mission that would save them and their families from the Lamanites and continuing to live under servitude. Why would they not have pressed on? They knew Zarahemla was out there somewhere—but where? Surely, over the next hill, past the next forest, across the next canyon. Diligent men don’t give up and neither did these until they reached the destroyed cities and battlefield, which they thought was a destroyed city of Zarahemla. Then and only then, they turned back.
• Sorenson: (p14) “So it is unreasonable that the battleground of the Jaredites where Limhi’s explorers ended up would have been more than 100 miles into the land northward from the “line at the neck.”
Response: Again, there is no reason to believe as much as or as little as 100 miles distance was covered—there simply is nothing in the scriptural record for one to judge this distance covered. We don’t even know if they moved in a straight line northward, or weaved back and forth, or doubled back at times. We only know they were “lost in the wilderness for the space of many days,” but even so, “yet, they were diligent.” They did not return back to the city of Lehi-Nephi until they had found the remains of a destroyed people and assumed their mission was finished.
    It might be difficult for modern man to understand, but being in unknown country with hills, mountains, forests, canyons, etc., without a compass or topographical map, is quite difficult unless one had been there before. But having been in such a situation on more than one occasion, it is easily understandable and self-explanatory.
(Image B – Mountainous territory could have existed along the narrow neck of land. What sits to either side of a canyon or pass simply is beyond site and impossible to know in territory where someone has never before been or had maps to make such judgments
How Sorenson decides that was 100 miles covered is simply picking a number he wants to claim.
• Sorenson: (p14) “The hill Ramah, where the Jaredites destroyed themselves, was the same hill as Nephite Cumorah (Ether 15:11). This whole affair tells us, then, that the total distance from the city of Neph to the last battlefield at Ramah or Cumorah is unlikely to have been more than 450 or perhaps 500 miles.”
Red Line: Distance Alma and his people covered in 21 days (probably between 315 and 420 miles); Blue Dotted Line: Distance from city of Nephi to the city of Zarahemla is unknown (it may be the same as above or more)—it is simply impossible to assign distances to these areas with such limited information

Response: Again, as stated earlier, the 21-day trip from the Waters of Mormon (near the city of Nephi) to the “land of Zarahemla” (how far from the city is unknown) would be a distance of somewhere between 315 to 420 miles, covering between 15 to 20 miles a day by a frightened group of people fleeing for their lives, having been warned by the Lord on more than one occasion that the kings guards and the Lamanite army were after them. Nor was this a continuous 21-days, but scattered over weeks, months or even years so there would have been limited fatigue factors.
    It should be noted here that the reason for the Limited Geography Model was to show that the original idea of a continent-large Book of Mormon Land of Promise model was simply out of the question based on reading the geographical content of the scriptural record. However, Sorenson’s and other Mesoamericanists’ limited geography model is extremely small to compensate for their small model in Mesoamerica. Yet, the scriptural record does not justify either the large continent-sized model, nor the Mesoamerican Limited Geography sized model. Obviously, the actual Land of Promise was larger than Mesoamerica, but much smaller than a continent.
• Sorenson: (p15) “Keep in mind that these figures are reasonable estimates in line with statements in the scriptures; more exact distances cannot be determined.”
Response: Certainly exact figures cannot be determined, but more exact than those Sorenson uses can be, as we have pointed out. Still, to try and determine distances is usually going to be little more than guesswork that actually serves little or no purpose, other than to support one model or another, and confuse the issue of e event.
• Sorenson: (p15) “The hill Ramah/Cumorah seems, then, to have been within 100 miles of the narrow neck of land, and this is consistent with the Nephites’ naming the southernmost portion of the land northward “Desolation,” which included the last battlefield, strewn with bones and rusting weapons (Alma 22:30-31).”
The Land of Desolation was north of the narrow neck of land, and the Land of Bountiful was south of the narrow neck (Alma 22:31), there being a line or border in between (Alma 22:32)

Response: First of all, contrary to popular belief, the Land of Desolation was not called such because wars, death and battles that had been fought there, let alone the “last battle.” It was called such because there were no trees growing in it. As Mormon states: “Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land” (Helaman 3:5, emphasis added). To make sure we understood the meaning of “desolate,” Mormon adds: “And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber,” and then in addition, Mormon adds, “but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate” (Helaman 3:6).
    That is, the word desolate is used in two ways or for two meanings: “Destitute or deprived of inhabitants; desert; uninhabited; denoting either stripped of inhabitants, or never having been inhabited; as a desolate isle; a desolate wilderness” and also: “Laid waste; in a ruinous condition; neglected; destroyed” (Noah Webster, 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language).
    It can also mean “deserted of God, or deprived of comfort,” as well as: “I will make the cities of Judah desolate without an inhabitant” (Jeremiah 9:11). Today, the word means: “deserted of people and in a state of bleak and dismal emptiness.” While all of this shows meaning to Mormon’s description, there is no mention of wars, battles, or any final battle.
    Actually, the Land Northward was first called, and forever referred to by the Nephites, as the Land of Desolation, just as Mormon from time to time uses the term the Land of Zarahemla when meaning an area much larger than the actual land called Zarahemla. This is because when Limhi’s 43-man expedition ran across the destroyed Jaredite kingdom, they had no idea they were in an area later known among the Nephites as the “Land Northward.” But later, when the Nephites identified the narrow neck and pass, and referred to the Land Northward, it was called the “Land of Desolation.” This is why Mormon, when describing the lands and their placements in Alma 22:27-34, it basically did not refer to anything other in the land beyond the narrow neck the “Land of Desolation” (Alma 22:27-32.” In this verse, he uses just the differences of “Land of Bountiful” and “Land of Desolation,” and the “Land Southward” and the “Land Northward.”
In the area of the Land of Many Waters in Ecuador are over 237 lakes, ponds, springs, rivers, waterfalls, and other bodies of water
When Mormon writes about the Land of Many Waters later, he does not do so as if it is a title of land, but that it is a descriptive area, such as: “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:4, emphasis added). So where was Cumorah? It was in the Land of Cumorah, which was located in an area (or land) filled with many waters, rivers and fountains. And where was this area of many waters? It was beyond the area that was “so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed” (Alma 22:30).  
    Mormon also describes it when abridging king Limhi’s comments, who said, “having traveled in a land among many waters” (Mosiah 8:8).
    The Land Northward is described as having other lands, evidently associated with cities and their lands, like the “Land of Corihor,” “Land of Moron,” or “Land of Heth,”as well as locations like “the plains of Agosh,” “the Valley of Shurr,” or “the place called Ogath,” but the overall land was simply referred to as “The Land of Desolation.”
(See the next post, “An Exercise in Mesoamerican Thinking-Part III,” for more information on how Sorenson, the guru of Mesoamerican geography, has skewed the understanding of the scriptural descriptions of the Land of Promise in order to match them to his Mesoamerican model)

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