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Mapping The Book Of Mormon


poulsenll

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Here is a place for non pundits to participate and declare their intentions to develop their own concept of BoM geography. If attendence warrants we will open other sections. cool.gif Those who take up the challenge are welcome to ask questions which if in context , I will answer in the tutorial. They also are invited to tell us about their progress and successes as well as the reasoning they used for making their choices. Remember, nobody has the wrong answer because nobody as yet knows the right answer. Expect to have your reasoning put to the question and be required to justify it from the BoM text based on your thoughts and not on what some "expert" has said in the past. You may use positive data from the sciences but lets not have any arguments based on the abscence of data.

Larry P

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From your studies, are there any likely sites which are not under presently inhabited cities or man made lakes, etc?

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From your studies, are there any likely sites which are not under presently inhabited cities or man made lakes, etc?

All of the area on the northern slope of the narrow strip of mountains is the probable site where general Moroni set up colonies to defend against the Lamanites and keep them from getting in to the land north.

Larry P

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Here is a place for non pundits to participate and declare their intentions to develop their own concept of BoM geography. If attendence warrants we will open other sections. cool.gif Those who take up the challenge are welcome to ask questions which if in context , I will answer in the tutorial. They also are invited to tell us about their progress and successes as well as the reasoning they used for making their choices. Remember, nobody has the wrong answer because nobody as yet knows the right answer. Expect to have your reasoning put to the question and be required to justify it from the BoM text based on your thoughts and not on what some "expert" has said in the past. You may use positive data from the sciences but lets not have any arguments based on the abscence of data.

Larry P

OK -- can I ask a question?

What size was the River Sidon? What direction did it flow, generally speaking, and

into what body of water did it empty? And how were Nephites able to walk around

the headwaters (or "head") of the river?

Does the BoM geography indicate that this river had a steep descent from its head,

or a gradual one? Did it have many tributaries or few? Was it an avenue of commerce

and transportation, or a wilderness river?

And, with all known facts compiled from the BoM, what river in the Americas most

closely fits the BoM description of the Sidon?

Uncle Dale

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OK -- can I ask a question?

Yes, but the purpose of this thread and its companion lecture series in the Pundit Discussion group is to help you and others to get your own answers to these questions. I have already done this to my satisfaction and published it on the web. To be meaningful to you or anyone else, you must search for your own answers. If I simply gave you my answers, this would not be convincing to you. However, if you search out your own answers using the tools that I hope to be able to provide in the Pundit thread, they will be more meaningful.

Larry P

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Thanks for doing this, Larry. I am reading the pundit thread with interest.

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May I suggest that the most interesting and a critical question is: where is the narrow neck of land?

The narrow neck is such an obvious geographic feature that it always seems to come up in a discussion of BoM geography. However other than its discription as a narrow neck with the assumption that it is a peninsula seperating two larger bodies of land, there is little else to go on in determining its identity and location. It is only mentioned in a couple of verses while other geographic features such as the river Sidon are mentioned many times and in different geographic contexts. This brings up the problem of determining what geographic feature we should choose as an anchor point for a proposed BoM geography. This problem will be presented and discussed in a future essay on the Pundit thread so I will not go into it at this time.

Larry P

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Could google Earth be useful here? :P

Yes, I highly reccomend it.

I started looking at BoM geography using a program from Delorme called Eartha Global Explorer DVD. It has a more user friendly interface than Google Earth but is no longer available and as far as I know there are no plans to reissue it. Fortunately for us armchair geographers, Google Earth is now available and it has better resolution than does Eartha. Google Earth has one limitation. Because it is based on actual satellite photos, some areas are obscured by cloud cover. Eartha does not have this limitation because it uses a computer generated display which is based on multiple satellite images. NASA also has a site with access to satellite photos but it is even harder to use.

Larry P

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May I suggest that the most interesting and a critical question is: where is the narrow neck of land?

Ever read Phyllis Carol Olive or Delbert W. Curtis?

Vernal Holley's map is similar to theirs:

Holley2.JPG

However, I'd move the Sidon several miles to the west, so as to coincide

with the modern Niagra River, cutting through the "narrow neck."

UD

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Ever read Phyllis Carol Olive or Delbert W. Curtis?

Vernal Holley's map is similar to theirs:

However, I'd move the Sidon several miles to the west, so as to coincide

with the modern Niagra River, cutting through the "narrow neck."

UD

Uncle Dale

Can you justify that model based on the BoM text? In particular the text of Mormon's own insertion of a description of the Nephite and Lamanite lands.

Does the narrow strip of wilderness act as a border seperating the Nephite Zarahemla from the Lamanite Land of Lehi- Nephi? Does the river Sidon have its source in the Narrow strip of wilderness?

Larry P

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A few years back I started working on my own interpretation of BoM geography. It was strictly internal. I decided to go through the text, writing down only verses in which I felt contained helpful geographical clues. I then went back and started creating maps based on the clues I found. I didn't just quickly draw out some quick conclusions, but instead strained greatly trying to harmonize the smallest of details.

My mappings only made it through the first few chapters of Alma. But, I came away with some very helpful understandings and insights. A few were:

* Internal Book of Mormon geography is incredibly consistent. In all except for one case, the placing of items was never contradictory.

* The Book of Mormon overwhelmingly insists on an LGT model.

* It is very obvious Mormon did not intend for us to know exactly where these events took place. Rather, he was more interested in using geography to tell a story when needed.

* Whenever a chapter gives extra attention to the geography, it is because the geography helps explain the stories in a much more complete manner. I have a much better understanding of the book of Mosiah and various battles because of it.

* Only general rough outlines can be given for city regions. It's possible to place cities and lands in a rough relation to neighboring lands or seas, but that is about the extent of it. I cannot imagine how anyone can claim a precise mapping of multiple cities from internal geography alone.

* The Book of Mormon hints that the land as a whole was aligned from a northwest to southeast direction. It would be extremely difficult to make it fit going from a northeast to a southwest direction.

* Occasionally, you run across interesting clues that can help explain other parts of the Book of Mormon. For example, the name "Anti-Nephi-Lehi" has often been debated, as if anti is some sort of prefix describing Nephi and Lehi. However, there was a town called ani-Anti and the land of Nephi was originally known as Lehi-Nephi. So I would not be surprised at all if "anti-Nephi-Lehi" was simply three full Nephite nouns strung together, rather than some kind of English description of two names.

* Straining over details isn't too important for the sake of the stories within the Book of Mormon, unless your desire is trying to correlate internal geopgrahy with real world geography. However, I don't have that desire to place it in today:)

Now, I didn't catch everything. After I did this, I picked up John Sorensen's geography source book and read through some of his interpretations. Quite often, he found more than I did. Sometimes I missed completely obvious things, such as "going up to" or "down to" being consistent in referring elevation.

Overall, I want to get back in that and finish off my research. However, sorry poulsenll, outside obligations are keeping me far too busy to open up my dusty notes and start again. :P

Good luck with your work...it's always fun to see stories come together and find small details which help explain things you never dreamed of.

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Can you justify that model based on the BoM text? In particular the text of Mormon's own insertion of a description of the Nephite and Lamanite lands.

Does the narrow strip of wilderness act as a border seperating the Nephite Zarahemla from the Lamanite Land of Lehi- Nephi? Does the river Sidon have its source in the Narrow strip of wilderness?

Larry P

Back about 1974 I started work on compiling a BoM geography, based upon the

assumption that the book's text was internally consistent, with no errors in distance,

direction, etc. That's when I crossed paths with Vernal Holley and borrowed his

Delbert Curtis books.

Then, about 1998 I threw all of that out and began working on multiple BoM

geographies, based upon the assumption that the information was at least consistent

within each individual record comprising the BoM.

Not long ago I chucked the entire filing cabinet of notes, maps, etc., having given

up the project totally. I doubt very much that the book's geographic information is

consistent from page to page, let alone from book to book.

The Vernal Holley map was entirely his own creation. I was merely his cartographer.

We argued back and forth on whether the Sidon should be placed where the Genesee

is on the map, or where the Niagara is on the map. Vern finally decided on the former

river, and I drew his maps as he directed.

So, I'm more or less an innocent bystander with no opinions. I'm here to learn, not

to teach...

Uncle "And so you see I've come to doubt all that I once held as true..." Dale

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So, I'm more or less an innocent bystander with no opinions. I'm here to learn, not

to teach...

Uncle "And so you see I've come to doubt all that I once held as true..." Dale

Uncle Dale

Thanks for the insight.

Some of the problems with understanding the geography of the Book of Mormon are the preconcieved assumtions that we start out with. If our assumptions are inconsistant then we find inconsistancy in the text. The fewer assumptions we make, the greater the probalbility we will find consistancy in our conclusions. For this reason, we should carefully examine what we are assuming and write them down. Methodology should always include a consistent and regular revue of the list. If it becomes apparent that an assumtion is not valid, then we must remove it from the list and hopefully replace it with one that has better validity. One of the greatest problems I had while directing graduate student research, was to get the students to carefully examine their assumptions. This is sometimes listed as one of the steps in the scientific method.Some of the greatest problems that I find with Sorenson's model are the unwarrented assumptions that he makes.

Just remember, none of us knows everything and we all have something we can teach to others. I just finished learning some of the history about Holley and his map from you.

Question, Is that a picture of your original drawing? It is so much clearer than others I have seen.

Larry P

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Just wanted to point this out --
The word "Niagara" is derived from the Iroquois Indian word "Onguiaahra" meaning "the strait"

Isn't a "strait" also a form of a "narrow neck"?

Larry P

Yes, it is a narrow neck. There are just too many narrow necks lying around in the geography of the Americas. I see nothing surprising in the native languages reflecting names which accurately describe a geographic feature. All native languages have words equivalent to our words for these features.

So what is surprizing about the Iroquois calling it a strait?

Larry P

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Uncle Dale, don't many place names for this area of the Great Lakes region also correspond to many names in the Book of Mormon? Doesn't that indicate that your geographic projection is probably accurate?

Moksha, I think either Uncle Dale failed to see this or else he had no answer for it. Either way, it is found on his website.

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* Straining over details isn't too important for the sake of the stories within the Book of Mormon, unless your desire is trying to correlate internal geopgrahy with real world geography.  However, I don't have that desire to place it in today:)

Helix,

Although an internal map enhances our understanding of the messages and interactions between the Nephites and the Lamanites, if it does not correlate at some level with the real geography, it can be misleading or give the wrong impression. This is one of the problems with internal geographies based on the assumption of a hemisheric model. At some point, one must look for and find real world geographic features which coincide with descriptions in the BoM and have the required relationships with other features and descriptions.

Sorenson's conclusion that the presence of an isthmus dividing the land north from the land south is such an example. The real geography resembles an hourglass only in a superficial way and using an hourglass model, the presence and significance of the Carribean sea is totally lost. It also leads to the conclusion that there is no west sea south, which is mentioned twice in the text. In addition it completely rules out other interpretations of which sea is refered to when no directional info is present in the text. The hourglass model also leads to the conclusion, as expressed by Sorenson, that Joseph Smith, somehow, misstranslated the directional terms for the cardinal directions used in the BoM.

Development of a useful internal map requires continuous back and forth comparison with the real world, otherwise it becomes an abstract construct with limited usefulness in enhancement of our understanding of the BoM message.

Larry P

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Question, Is that a picture of your original drawing? It is so much clearer than others I have seen.

Larry P

Vern's pamphlet went through three editions -- I think his maps were re-drawn a

couple of times. The one I posted here was from the edition he was working on when

he passed away. It's partly on the web.

Dale

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The Vernal Holley map was entirely his own creation.

Did he consider any other locations?

I saw some of his sketches using both the Panama and Tehuantepec locations, as

well as one that used the Isthmus of Corinth geography (because he found an old

text where that was called the "narrow neck of land" between the "sea east" and the

"sea west."

What became of those early sketches I do not recall. As I said earlier, I threw out

all of my own BoM georgaphy materials long ago.

UD

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Uncle Dale, don't many place names for this area of the Great Lakes region also correspond to many names in the Book of Mormon?  Doesn't that indicate that your geographic projection is probably accurate?

Moksha, I think either Uncle Dale failed to see this or else he had no answer for it. Either way, it is found on his website.

I figured that by now, the poster had traced the maps(s) back to the site.

UD

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