Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Evaluating the Models of Theorists

Mesoamerican theorists claim that the layout of their models, which show a Land of Promise running east and west—does not, match Mormon’s model, which runs north and south.

Standing with back to Sea and looking forward to determine East


Theorist John L. Sorenson, of BYU, and Land of Promise guru, placed several maps in his 1984 book, An American Setting for the Book of Mormon, which was the flag ship of his writing. In his work, he stated that “The Hebrews, like most Semitic peoples, oriented themselves by facing east, toward the rising sun.

• Thus forward wasqedem” (קֶדֶם) meaning “east” (Ezekiel 39:11) for a direction (Genesis 3:24, 11:2) and also “eastward” (Genesis 2:8; Numbers 34:15, 1 Samuel 13:5); However, “qidmah” (קִדְמָה) meant “front,” not “qedem,” and was also translated as “east.”

• In additionteman” (תֵּימָן) meaning “on the right” and also meaning “south,” and “yamin” (מִין) only meaning “right hand” or “right shoulder,” or other body part; also from the word yaman “choose the right” and “use the right hand.” It is a word meant to show action to the right, not a direction). It also meant “south side” (Numbers 2:10; 10:6), can also mean “southward” (Exodus 38:9; Deuteronomy 3:27).

• The word “maarab or maarabah” (מַעֲרָב) meaning “west” (2 Chronicles 33:14; Isaiah 43:5) and also meaning “westward” (1 chronicles 7:28; 26:30), but predominately means “west.”

• The wordtsaphon(צָפ֑וֹן) predominately meaning “north” (Genesis 28:14; Exodus 40:22) on the left; and means “northward” (Genesis 13:14 Leviticus), and” north side” (Exodus 26:20,Leviticus 16:14”). It also means “dark,” in reference to the north quarter being gloomy and unknown.

Sorenson also claims that the altering of the direction is the result the Nephites using an ancient Hebrew system to determine east by standing with their backs to the Mediterranean Sea, which was west of Palestine, a concept now called “Mormon North.”

Sorenson claims this system of finding east was used by Mormon in his writing about directions.

In Sorenson’s book: An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon; he changes his earlier north-south settings for east-west setting


Thus, Sorenson flipped the positioning of his Land of Promise to the left, placing normal north to what has been called “Mormon north” or to the west, for the model of his             \Mesoamerican theory. Thus, his model runs east and west and does not match Mormon’ description of north and south (Alma 22:30-31). In fact almost all Mesoamerican theorists, and there are several, use Sorenson’s model for their directions, thinking his directions agree with the scriptural record. But take a look at their model when it comes to conflicting information regarding their Sidon River.

Sorenson’s east-west map showing his several different locations


1) The land runs east and west—Mormon’s description is north and south (Alma 22:28-30, 33);

2) The narrow neck runs north and south—Mormon’s description runs east and west (Alma 22:32);

3) The Sidon River has two alternatives, both running north and south—Mormon describes one Sidon River running north 9Alma 22:29)

Looking at the north-south flow of their Sidon River (inside the green circle)


The interesting point about the theorist’s view of the Sidon River, is that they have the Gulf of Mexico to the north and their two choices—either the Grijalva to the west or the Usumacinta to the east—flowing northward into the Gulf of Mexico, which is north of their Land of Promise, though they claim it is east.

In other words, they are using their Sidon River in their model flowing northward but when they turn the map on its side as Sorenson has done to run east-west, the rivers would flow west if they were consistent in their map. That is, you can’t turn a map from north-south to east-west but leave these two rivers in a north-south direction. Either the north-south direction of the land and the two rivers, remains, or turning the land and the rivers to an east-west alignment would bring the two rivers into an east-west flowing direction.

The Mesoamerican Theorists are not consistent with their Narrow Strip of Wilderness and that which Mormon described


Another point is that these theorists have the Narrow Strip of Wilderness running from (yellow circles on the map above) their Sea South to their Sea West, On the other hand, Mormon described it differently: “the 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, and which 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 roundabout on the borders of the seashore” (Alma 22:27, emphasis added).

Top: The area of the Yucatan, unexplained in the Theorists models; Bottom: The Narrow Neck of Land


Two additional problems with this model in the Theorists’ map would be:

1) The Yucatan. A huge Peninsula separating their Sea East from their Sea South, adding 16,749 square miles—about half the size of the state of Maine—to the area of their Nephite lands in the Land Southward not mentioned nor implied in the scriptural record;

2) Their Narrow Neck of Land, is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, being somewhere between 125 and 144 miles wide, and impossible for the average man to cross in a day-and-a-half (Alma 22:32). To make such a crossing, a normal man would have to average 6.94 miles an hour for 12 straight hours on the first day, and another 6.94 miles per hour for 6 straight hours on the second day. If we factor in a 10-minute break every two hours, the miles per hour increases—most people need a break every hour on  a long or arduous journey.  

It also is too wide to restrict passage into the Narrow Pass. Mormon tells us that this Pass restricted passage of Morianton rushing to get into the Land Northward before Moroni’s army could stop them. As Mormon recorded it: “Moroni sent an army, with their camp, to head the people of Morianton, to stop their flight into the land northward…they did not head them until 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 50:33-34, emphasis added).


  1. You can tell that the Meso-theorists haven't got a clue what they proposing because they get caught in so many contradictions when it comes to the compass directions. Really quite laughable when you think about it.

  2. The lack of critical thinking skills is indicative of other major problems, however I will not become an accuser of the Brethren.