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ADAM - I came across your map ideas as I was studying the geography and locations in the Book of Mormon. Your graphic is actually more consistent with the verses in the Book of Mormon than most of the maps out there, so thank you for sharing.
There is one critical element that most, if not all, other maps miss. The people of the Book of Mormon lived on an ISLAND.
20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and WE ARE UPON AN ISLE OF THE SEA. (2 Nephi 10)
8 And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the SEA SOUTH to the SEA NORTH, from the SEA WEST to the SEA EAST. (Helaman 3)
Anyway, if you're interested, this map is probably the most plausible map based on the verses in the Book of Mormon.
JOEL - That's a very interesting map. Thanks for sharing it with me. Even though there are some scriptures that suggest an island-like geography, it's very unlikely that, at the time Jacob wrote this, the Nephites were aware of every square mile of the land they lived on. They could very easily be unaware of parts of the land that did not have water. Most likely the fact that they came there by ship led Jacob to refer to it as an isle. At the time and place Jacob wrote this he was most likely unaware of the narrow neck of land to the north of them and therefore it seemed like they were on an island.
In their Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Reynolds and Sjodahl note that “Sir Isaac Newton observes that to the Hebrews the continents of Asia and Africa were ‘the earth,’ because they had access to them by land, while the parts of the earth to which they sailed over the sea were ‘the isles of the sea.’" If this view is correct, Jacob may have viewed the entire western hemisphere as an “isle.” (George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1955), 1:214.)
In other verses it refers to the house of Israel as being scattered among the "isles" of the sea. But the Lord will "remember the isles of the sea; yea, and all the people of the house of Israel, will I gather in" (1 Ne. 19:16).
"And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away. (1 Ne. 22:4 ).
Does this mean that all the people of Israel were scattered to individual islands? Unlikely.
From the scriptures, it appears that, both islands and continents, to which the Lord has led families and peoples, are called the "isles of the sea".
Also interesting to note that the Hebrew word for "isles" can also be translated as "coasts" or "coastlands", suggesting it doesn't have to be a solitary island completely surrounded by sea.
Of course it would be hard for us to know exactly what the lands looked like back at that time based on current maps, since the whole face of the land changed at the time of Christ's crucifixion:
"And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;" (3 Nephi 8: 11-12)
So it is possible that before this destruction happened, there may have been such a section of land that was surrounded by water that the Nephites lived in.
In my opinion, however, there is no clear evidence either way.
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