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Was It A Day's Or A Day And A Half's Journey?


poulsenll

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We find two different scriptures describing a Nephite journy in terms of the time it required to complete the journey. Both of these descriptions involve a line of defense or border in the land Bountiful.

Alma 22: 32

32 And now, it was only the distance of a day and a halfâ??s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea;

Hel. 4: 7

7 And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto the east; it being a dayâ??s journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country.

As you can see both scriptures indicate that the journey was betweeen a point in the east to the west sea however Alma starts the jouney in the east and concludes it at the west sea while Helaman starts it at the west sea and clearly states that it went unto the east.

If these two journeys had been from sea to sea, Why were they of different lengths? Alma does not specifically call it a line of defense but in the context of the complete description Alma 22:27-34, it appears to describe a border. Helaman specifically describes it as a fortified line of defense.

What think Ye?

Larry P

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We find two different scriptures describing a Nephite journy in terms of the time it required to complete the journey. Both of these descriptions involve a line of defense or border in the land Bountiful.

As you can see both scriptures indicate that the journey was betweeen a point in the east to the west sea however Alma starts the jouney in the east and concludes it at the west sea while Helaman starts it at the west sea and clearly states that it went unto the east.

If these two journeys had been from sea to sea, Why were they of different lengths? Alma does not specifically call it a line of defense but in the context of the complete description Alma 22:27-34, it appears to describe a border. Helaman specifically describes it as a fortified line of defense.

What think Ye?

Larry P

The journey from west to east was downhill(?)

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The journey from west to east was downhill(?)

The journey from west to east started at sea level. To go down hill would mean that the eastern end was below sea level. Mabe the land Bountiful was in Death Valley or the Salton Sea . Those are the only places below sea level in the Americas as far as I know.

Larry P

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Perhaps the roads had been improved between the time of Alma and the time of Helaman.

Or perhaps the distances were along different lines.

Or perhaps they were both estimates; a +/- 50% variation on this sort of estimate doesn't seem unreasonable.

Or perhaps they were speaking in terms of different endpoints.

In any case, I think it's fair to say that we're talking about a very long day here. :P

As I look closely at these, I'm inclined to say that I don't see that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is necessarily too wide to be the "narrow neck", which is generally the topic of discussions such as this one.

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Perhaps the roads had been improved between the time of Alma and the time of Helaman.

Or perhaps the distances were along different lines.

Or perhaps they were both estimates; a +/- 50% variation on this sort of estimate doesn't seem unreasonable.

Or perhaps they were speaking in terms of different endpoints.

In any case, I think it's fair to say that we're talking about a very long day here. :P

As I look closely at these, I'm inclined to say that I don't see that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is necessarily too wide to be the "narrow neck", which is generally the topic of discussions such as this one.

SP

As you say, everyone assumes that these journeys are across the narrow neck.

My question is Are these assumptions valid in light of what the text actually says and the difference in the two distances traveled? Would Mormon not have seen the descrepancy and corrected it if they were for the same location?

Larry P

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SP

As you say, everyone assumes that these journeys are across the narrow neck.

My question is Are these assumptions valid in light of what the text actually says and the difference in the two distances traveled? Would Mormon not have seen the descrepancy and corrected it if they were for the same location?

Larry P

Larry,

I don't really see any evidence that Mormon was in the business of correcting perceived discrepencies in the records--my humble opinion is that he pretty much just transcribed the selected portions of the original records as accurately as he could.

Also, I don't know that there is really a "discrepency" here. If I were to go down my street and ask people how long it takes to drive to San Francisco, I'd expect that I'd get answers that would include 30 minutes, 45 minutes, an hour, and who knows what else.

Alma and Helaman certainly didn't send out surveying parties with National Bureau of Standards-traceable surveying instruments to measure the routes, and then say, "At a standard speed 'for a Nephite' of 5.384 miles per hour, it would take 17 hours, 5 minutes and 43 seconds to travel that distance." The travel times they record are estimates, and estimates by their very nature tend to vary.

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The journey from west to east started at sea level. To go down hill would mean that the eastern end was below sea level. Mabe the land Bountiful was in Death Valley or the Salton Sea . Those are the only places below sea level in the Americas as far as I know.

Larry P

Hi Larry,

I appreciate the response to my post (although your first reaction to my post was accurateâ?¦ it wasnâ??t meant to be serious -- although I imagine there might be some form of BoM model floating out there where it might be a feasible musing).

I notice that both accounts mention the â??west sea,â? but do not necessarily mention the â??east sea.â? Instead both accounts simply say â??eastâ? despite the items (i.e. west sea, east) being inverted in one of the verses. I wonder if this potentially means that they were not necessarily going from sea to sea, but from the â??eastâ? to the west sea, and from the west sea to the â??east.â? The â??eastâ? in each instance being a different destination/starting point, thusly causing the difference in travel times.

Also, I think it makes sense that the fortifications wouldnâ??t take as long to traverse, as fortifications would likely be strategic and not need to cover the entire land mass/border.

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Hi Larry,

I appreciate the response to my post (although your first reaction to my post was accurateâ?¦ it wasnâ??t meant to be serious -- although I imagine there might be some form of BoM model floating out there where it might be a feasible musing).

I notice that both accounts mention the â??west sea,â? but do not necessarily mention the â??east sea.â? Instead both accounts simply say â??eastâ? despite the items (i.e. west sea, east) being inverted in one of the verses. I wonder if this potentially means that they were not necessarily going from sea to sea, but from the â??eastâ? to the west sea, and from the west sea to the â??east.â? The â??eastâ? in each instance being a different destination/starting point, thusly causing the difference in travel times.

Also, I think it makes sense that the fortifications wouldnâ??t take as long to traverse, as fortifications would likely be strategic and not need to cover the entire land mass/border.

Hauck was one of the first to publish this observation. He was of the opinion that neither verse referred to the distance across the narrow neck.

I am still looking for any justification in the BofM text to conclude that these verses refer to a journey across the narrow neck.

Larry P

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Hauck was one of the first to publish this observation. He was of the opinion that neither verse referred to the distance across the narrow neck.

I am still looking for any justification in the BofM text to conclude that these verses refer to a journey across the narrow neck.

Larry P

I consider Hauck the definitive work on BOM geography. Just my opinion.

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OK, I see that Alma and Helaman are each speaking of a distance from the "east" to the "west sea". And I can also see that there is no obvious reason that Alma would need to be speaking about the distance across the narrow neck.

But with Helaman, they fortified from the "west sea even unto the east." Now, I suppose they could have been very French about this, and constructed a Maginot Line that could be bypassed entirely by going around the end of the line. But, I'm going to posit that they probably weren't quite that oblivious to the geometry of their situation, and suggest that either "the east" was the sea, or that there was some other natural obstacle at the east end of the line that would prevent the Lamanites from simply outflanking the line.

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We find two different scriptures describing a Nephite journy in terms of the time it required to complete the journey. Both of these descriptions involve a line of defense or border in the land Bountiful.

As you can see both scriptures indicate that the journey was betweeen a point in the east to the west sea however Alma starts the jouney in the east and concludes it at the west sea while Helaman starts it at the west sea and clearly states that it went unto the east.

If these two journeys had been from sea to sea, Why were they of different lengths? Alma does not specifically call it a line of defense but in the context of the complete description Alma 22:27-34, it appears to describe a border. Helaman specifically describes it as a fortified line of defense.

What think Ye?

Larry P

it seems to me that their is a whole lot of room for error?

if one is to try and perfectly tie these two together to mean the same thing..

maybe im just not reading it correctly?.....

:P

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Places below sea level

* Dead Sea, Israel - Jordan - West Bank (418 m)

* Sea of Galilee, Israel (208 m)

* Jordan valley, Israel - Jordan - West Bank

o Bet She'an, Israel (120 m)

* Lac Assal, Djibouti (155 m)

* Turpan Pendi, China (154 m)

* Qattara Depression, Egypt (133 m)

* Caspian Depression, Karagiye, Kazakhstan (132 m)

* Afar Depression, Ethiopia (125 m)

* Laguna del Carb

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But with Helaman, they fortified from the "west sea even unto the east." Now, I suppose they could have been very French about this, and constructed a Maginot Line that could be bypassed entirely by going around the end of the line. But, I'm going to posit that they probably weren't quite that oblivious to the geometry of their situation, and suggest that either "the east" was the sea, or that there was some other natural obstacle at the east end of the line that would prevent the Lamanites from simply outflanking the line.

Maybe a mountain range. The Grijalva river basin is flanked on the north and the south by mountain ranges. The western end of this valley is open to the ocean on the south and to the coastal plain of the Gulf on the North. A 75 mile line drawn from the Pacific to the western end of this range near Tuxtla Gutirrez would effectively block access from the Grijalva valley (a proposed location of the land of Zarahemla) to any points north of the isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Larry P

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We find two different scriptures describing a Nephite journy in terms of the time it required to complete the journey. Both of these descriptions involve a line of defense or border in the land Bountiful.

What think Ye?

Larry P

Is the point of this post that there is a contidiction in BoM?

The Lord spoke to Moses face to face" (Exodus 33:11)

11 verses later in same chapter...

Thou canst not see my face: there shall no man see me and live"

Or if you like...Paul conversion on the road to Damascus

"and the men which journeyed with him stood speachless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man" (Acts 9:7)

Then in Acts 22: 9...

"And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake unto me."

Woops...Bible not true.

Pa Pa :P<_<:unsure:

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"on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation"

on the line which they had fortified and stationed their armies to defend their north country."

Exactly where does it indicate that those are the same lines?

My point exactly, There is only a contradiction if we assume, as do many, that they are the same line. Once one abandons this assumption then one can look more closely at their meaning with respect to the geography instead of trying to rationalize the distance across the isthmus of Tehuantepec with the speed that a Nephite can travel in one day.

Larry P

Is the point of this post that there is a contidiction in BoM?

The Lord spoke to Moses face to face" (Exodus 33:11)

11 verses later in same chapter...

Thou canst not see my face: there shall no man see me and live"

Or if you like...Paul conversion on the road to Damascus

"and the men which journeyed with him stood speachless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man" (Acts 9:7)

Then in Acts 22: 9...

"And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake unto me."

Woops...Bible not true.

Pa Pa :P<_<:unsure:

No, the point is that they are two different lines.

Larry P

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...the distance across the isthmus of Tehuantepec with the speed that a Nephite can travel in one day.

The isthums of Tehuantepec is 125 miles across.

Lake Nicaragua is so large that one shore cannot be seen from the other - it is a great inland freshwater sea roughtly 100 miles long and 50 miles across. A large river (San Juan - BoM Sidon?) flows east from it to the Carribean sea. The narrow bidge of land between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific ocean is between 12 miles and about 20 miles across.

What sounds more likely to be a one day journey for a man on foot. !25 miles? Or 20 miles?

mnicarag.gif

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s. A large river (San Juan - BoM Sidon?) flows east from it to the Carribean sea.

Connolly

According to the Book of Mormon (Alma 22:27-35), the river Sidon runs from east to west at its source which is in the narrow strip of wilderness rather than a large inland lake. It then runs north through or by the land of Zarahemla(Alma 2:15) which was north of the narrow strip of wilderness and then to the sea.

Larry P

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Connolly

According to the Book of Mormon (Alma 22:27-35), the river Sidon runs from east to west at its source which is in the narrow strip of wilderness rather than a large inland lake. It then runs north through or by the land of Zarahemla(Alma 2:15) which was north of the narrow strip of wilderness and then to the sea.

Larry P

I was not declaring the San Juan to be Sidon, I was questioning it as a possibility however. It is the only river that fits the description of stretching from the eastern sea to the western near the narrow strip of land if the western sea is lake Nicaragua. We have on the one hand a declaration that the river runs east to west (more on ancient rivers in a minute) and on the other hand numerous references to the east bank and the west bank of the river. If you can show me another river like that then I'll entertain the possibility. Afterall, for all we know the mesoamerican model is completely wrong, but for now it seems to fit. Remember we are dealing with a culture that had no idea what its land looked like from the air.

For years archeaolgists mixed up two of the sons of Horus in Egyptian writings. The four sons of Horus are used among other things to represent the four cardinal points, north, east, south and west. They recognized that north and south were defined to the ancient Egyptians by the nile river rather than magnetic north, but they wrongly assumed that the rivers was thought of as stretching south to north as the current flows. Rather the primary ordinal point was the mouth of the river, not the headwaters of the river. So to apply the same thing to a Nephite record written in reformed Egyptian about the San Juan (if it is indeed Sidon) would not be out of the question - the river stretched from its mouth to its headwaters, counter to the direction of flow. (A common past criticism of the BoA was that Joseph got the canopic jars wrong in the facsimile, where in fact we know now that he had it right). So we may very well be looking for a river that empties into the Carribean rather than the Paciifc.

The San Juan river has several points where its flow is more north/south and it is east/west and in those places it would clearly have east and west banks. The Zarahemla connection is one potential problem, providing that we have an accurate understanding of the geography, which we don't.

I'm not saying that the San Juan is Sidon, there are far too many unknowns, but IMO, the area around Lake Nicaragua is a better fit to the subject of this thread than the isthums of Tehuantepec.

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I was not declaring the San Juan to be Sidon, I was questioning it as a possibility however.

The San Juan river has several points where its flow is more north/south and it is east/west and in those places it would clearly have east and west banks. The Zarahemla connection is one potential problem, providing that we have an accurate understanding of the geography, which we don't.

I'm not saying that the San Juan is Sidon, there are far too many unknowns, but IMO, the area around Lake Nicaragua is a better fit to the subject of this thread than the isthums of Tehuantepec.

Try looking at the Grijalva river in Guatamala-ChiapasMexico. Here is my discussion and comparison based on 3D satellite images.

http://poulsenll.org/bom/grijalvasidon.html

It is very easy to postulate other scenarios if we allow assumptions based on poor or erroneous translations of the BofM. This might be valid if we are talking of the Bible but the BofM was translated by the power of God to the language of our understanding.

From the title page of the BofM

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanitesâ??Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentileâ??Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelationâ??Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyedâ??To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereofâ??Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentileâ??The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

There are over 500 geographic descriptions in the text of the BofM. It is not sufficient to simply pick out several such as the Narrow neck and the east and west seas and then try to make a case for a given area because it has a narrow neck and a river near two large bodies of water. Their relative positions in space including elevation, must correspond with the text and with all other geographic features mentioned in the text. It only takes one inconsisrantcy to rule out at least some of the postulates of a given model.

The continued insistance that the lines mentioned in Alma and Helaman are across the narrow neck is inconsistant with the text, therefore the postulate must be modified or abandoned rather than go searching for an area that fits the postulate.

Larry P

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...What think Ye? Larry P

Alma 22: 32 is speaking about the narrow neck of land at the North end the Land of Bountiful at the beginning of the land of Desolation.

Helaman 4:7 is speaking about a place that had been fortified at the South end of the land of Bountiful.

Right?

They are speaking about two separate places as I read it. So the distances would not be the same, and the time to journey along it would not be the same. Am I missing something?

Richard

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It doesn't take much to extend a passage from a day to a day and a half. Sentries alone can slow down some journeys. Boundaries of communities situated in the middle of the way also may not count toward total travel time. A town located between the two points may account for some travel time as well as traffic. Over the years roads wash out and are lost or they become inhabited by robbers, wild cats or snakes, causing short detours. It's also possible that a traveled road that's a bit longer may be preferable to one that is shorter but in poorer shape.

Anything could account for it. The term "for a Nephite" also is strange and may be esoteric.

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Alma 22: 32 is speaking about the narrow neck of land at the North end the Land of Bountiful at the beginning of the land of Desolation.

Helaman 4:7 is speaking about a place that had been fortified at the South end of the land of Bountiful.

Right?

They are speaking about two separate places as I read it. So the distances would not be the same, and the time to journey along it would not be the same. Am I missing something?

Richard

That is the way I see it too. They were two different places. Although Alma22:32 mentions the narrow neck, there is no direct connection to assume that the defined line passed through the narrow neck. The line was defined as a border not a path or road. In addition, because the citation in Helaman is unlikely to be a line from sea to sea, there is no reason to assume that the citation in Alma, using the same language, is from sea to sea either.

Larry P

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