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Posted by: Levi ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 11:38AM

How did they know it was a “narrow neck of land”?

They were awful cartographers, we know this because there’s not a single map that Joseph Smith showed. However, in order to see the “narrow neck of land”, you MUST be looking at a map. They had no drones back then. No way to get a birds eye view. The only way that they could know it was a “narrow neck of land” was to physically see it from above to realize scale, which they could not, or a map, which they didn’t have.

The Former Mormons (and by this I’m referring to active, believing MFKAM (Mormons Formerly Known As Mormons) usually point to Panama, but if I was a Lamanite scootering back and forth so that I can REALIZE how “narrow” this land gets………I don’t think that would make me think that this was a “narrow neck of land”. That would feel huge to a native walking between both bodies of water.

They talk distances, but never maps.

This was a shelf item for me since I first realized it decades ago, but I never hear it discussed.

Am I off on this?

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 11:59AM

You make a good point: the inhabitants then and there could not really have known. But the very easy assumption is that ghawd told them how to draw their maps.

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 12:03PM

Ancient people made maps. Some were reasonably accurate considering their limitations. There were plenty of maps before airplanes.

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Posted by: Wally Prince ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 12:16PM

would not be a convincing basis for the "narrow neck of land" reference. Theoretically, I suppose it would be possible for them to be aware of it, if we believe the tales about huge populations and cities.

To me the most reasonable analysis was always to assume that Joseph Smith was writing about what he new best, including the geography of the area where he was living, which included a "narrow neck of land" between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

I think Vernal Holley did a good job of identifying several sources of inspiration for the fictional geography and place names referenced in the Book of Mormon (like the Hill Onida in the BoM and a place in Joe's region called Oneida) including identifying many place names that were obviously very similar to what's in the Book of Mormon.

Some apologists claim to have "debunked" Holley's work by pointing out that the place names and geographic features are not exactly the same as described in the Book of Mormon. Well, duh! It's a work of fiction and Joseph Smith wouldn't have consciously tried to place Book of Mormon cities with names similar to modern town names in exactly the same places. The modern names just gave him something to play around with when making up his fictional names. He likely didn't even want people to think that he was writing about the Great Lakes area. But he needed reference points to use as inspiration for his made-up book of scripture -- and that's only for the parts that he didn't just copy outright from other sources.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 12:20PM

Well, I honestly think I could describe a "narrow neck of land" if I could walk from sea to sea in a short time -- a day or two, maybe?

Just anticipating an apologists' response...

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Posted by: Sillyrabbit ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 12:22PM

Yeah, agree. It's no big thing for ancient peoples to walk from sea to sea, make the observation "that didn't take too long" and call it a narrow neck of land.

I don't see this as a shelf item.

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 12:35PM

The Panama Canal is 50 miles. If you were to walk that route during the times of the (imaginary) Lamanites, considering the terrain and the jungle conditions, it would likely take several days.

I certainly don’t consider Panama to be a “narrow neck of land.” Maybe some people would, but then again, some people consider Taco Bell to be authentic Mexican food.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 01:10PM

Go a little west of Buffalo, NY, start at Lake Erie, and walk due north to Lake Ontario.
There are places where that's only about 20 miles. Even with ancient forests, that might be doable in a day.

Is that a narrow neck of land?

It's also one Smith was familiar with...:)

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 12:44PM

Never crossed my mind. Too narrow.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 01:57PM

That always bothered me, as well. But not just the "narrow neck" but also the statement that the land was completely surrounded by water on all sides. They could not have known that unless they had entirely explored the land on all sides, which would have taken several years or decades to see that North and South America are surrounded on all sides by water.

Yes, as Bona Dea said, ancients made maps. But only after exploring and recording what they had seen.

Did God show the Nephites a map that God himself had drawn, or did God simply tell them about it? Usually, when God is the source of information, they say something like "The Lord told me...."

No, Smith was looking at a map of the world.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 02:09PM

Also, why would these people call an isthmus of 60 miles "narrow" when they had just come from a land (Palestine) that was not much wider than that (from the coast to the Jordan River). The entire isthmus was as large as the country they just came from.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/12/2018 03:06PM by RPackham.

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Posted by: Elder Berry ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 03:19PM

Joseph was big into land or into big land?

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Posted by: bona dea ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 03:08PM

We have had airplanes for a little over a hundred years. We have had maps for ancient times They may not have been as detailed or accurate as ours, but they existed. Ancient people were not stupid and they were capable of mapmaking

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Posted by: Hedning ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 06:07PM


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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: October 12, 2018 07:02PM

bona dea Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We have had airplanes for a little over a hundred
> years. We have had maps for ancient times They may
> not have been as detailed or accurate as ours, but
> they existed. Ancient people were not stupid and
> they were capable of mapmaking

Are you implying that the Nephites described the land as surrounded by water because they had made a map of it?

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