Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Map and book by Rian Nelson and Jonathan Neville – Part I

There have been numerous maps illustrated to show one theorist or another’s Land of Promise location. Some of these maps are simple, and others quite detailed, and still others professionally made; however, it is not the quality of a map that makes it real, but the exactness of its content.
Map used in Rian Nelson and Jonathan Neville’s book Moroni’s America

Wayne May and Edwin Goble created a map that shows the Land of Promise in North America, stating: “A major question in Book of Mormon studies is, ‘Where was the Land of Zarahemla really?’ There can be no real Book of Mormon Archaeology until the true real-world setting of the Book of Mormon is identified.”
    Phyllis Carol Olive tells us the only way to know where the Land of Promise was located was to start with the Hill Cumorah in western New York; Jonathan Neville agrees with this, saying “In my view, there are two categories of Book of Mormon maps—those that show Cumorah in New York, and those that don’t. For me, any map that doesn’t put Cumorah in New York is not useful or even relevant”; and John L. Sorenson tells us that it is imperative to understand the Limited Geography of the Book of Mormon, and that the only location that matches it is Mesoamerica.
    Unfortunately, as all theorists should fully understand, choosing a sight for a particular place, event, or city, is not only frustrating but fruitless. There is only one method of finding the location of the Land of Promise and that is relying solely upon the scriptural record. And other account, comment, view, opinion, or assumption, by anyone, leader or follower, can only be used to support the location to which the scriptural record leads us.
    As an example: Nephi told us how his ship was motivated and what drove it (blown forth before the wind), which tells us in what direction he went (1 Nephi 18:8,9)—that is, we only need to know where the Ocean currents and winds flowed from the point he embarked in Nephi’s ship.
    Nephi also tells us what they found where they landed (1 Nephi 8:23-25)—that is, the situation (climate for planting seeds “brought from Jerusalem,” forests large enough for wild and domestic (feral), and precious metals.
    Mormon, in his geographical insert tells us how the land was laid out, i.e., it went from south toward the north (Land of First Inheritance, Land of Nephi, Narrow Strip of Wilderness, Land of Zarahemla, Land of Bountiful, Small or Narrow Neck of Land, Land of Desolation (Alma 22:27-34); and far to the north, the Land of Cumorah in the Land of Many Waters (Mormon 6:4).
    Jacob, during a two-day conference in the Temple, told the Nephites they were on an island (2 Nephi 10:20); and Helaman tells us there were north and south seas and east and west seas, which is consistent with Jacob’ saying they lived on an island.
    Thus, once we follow Nephi’s direction of winds and currents, we can verify that location by following events: 1) Nephi and those who would go with him separated themselves from his brethren and traveled “many days” before settling down in a land they called Nephi (2 Nephi 5:5,8), where Nephi established the city of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:15).
Map used in Rian Nelson and Jonathan Neville’s book Moroni’s America
So let us compare the map 

1. Mormon tells us that the lands in the Land of Nephi ran north and south, and that the land of Nephi was separated from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness which ran from the East Sea to the West Sea, as did the Land of Nephi
    “The [Lamanite] king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west” (Alma 22:27, emphasis added).
    Their map (Green Circles) shows the Land of Zarahemla west of the Land of Bountiful, and the (White Circle) Land of Nephi bordering the Land of Bountiful, even though the Narrow Strip of Wilderness ran from sea to sea and separated Land Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi.
    Their map also shows no narrow strip of wilderness from the East to the West Sea. It also shows a river as a narrow strip of wilderness, yet a river is never referred to as a wilderness in and of itself.
2. Land of Nephi was only the distance of the Narrow Strip of Wilderness between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla:
    “[Land of Nephi] was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran 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” (Alma 22:27).
    The (White Circle and Arrow) Land of Nephi was only a short distance from the Land of Zarahemla according to Mormon; however, their map shows it to be about 300 miles between them, and though Mormon tells us it was “on the north” their map shows it to the northwest.
3. Mormon tells us that the land of Bountiful was north of the land of Zarahemla.
“The Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful” (Alma 22:29, emphasis added).
    Their map (Green Circles and Arrow) shows Zarahemla to the west (not south) of the Land of Bountiful. But Mormon makes it quite clear that the Land of Bountiful was to the north of Zarahemla, where the Nephites were located. 
4. Mormon tells us that both the Narrow Strip of Wilderness and the Land of Nephi bordered on the West Sea.
“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, emphasis added).
    Their map (Lt. Blue Circle) does not show this, nor does it show (Purple Circle) the Land of First Inheritance bordering on the West Sea, but to the far south, and it borders on a sea to the south (Gulf of Mexico).
    “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, emphasis added).
    Thus, the Land of First Inheritance, the point where Lehi landed, would have been to the south, along the West Sea. Their map does not show this.
(See the next post, “Map and book by Rian Nelson and Jonathan Neville – Part II,” for a continuation of these areas of the map do not match the scriptural descriptions)

No comments:

Post a Comment