The Narrow Neck of Land

A Touchstone of Book of Mormon Geography
Since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in 1830 a narrow neck of land has been a touchstone of its geography. It is the physical feature most readily perceived in the mental maps of Book of Mormon readers. Nearly all want to know its location, and many attempt to find it. It is deemed an essential piece of a geographical puzzle—if we could only identify it, everything else should fall into place. This hour-glass-shaped landform, some have assumed, would be so obvious that surely it could be located quickly on any map of the western hemisphere. But alas, after some 180 years, and many models of Book of Mormon geography later, there is still much discord over its location. And the search, for some, still continues.

The narrow neck of land is not just a relatively narrow geographical landform—it had a geopolitical role far beyond that of a confined physical feature between two seas. It was the pivotal point for dividing the “land northward” from the “land southward.” It was the location of a fortified Nephite defense line and two defendable passes leading northward, and served as a converging point for controlling the movement of people and animals. It was the often-sought gateway to freedom for the hemmed-in Lamanites. It was a location for launching Hagoth’s ill-fated ships into the western sea. And it was part of the geographical context for captain Moroni’s emblematic Title of Liberty.
Updated: Friday, 25 April 2014

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The Narrow Neck of Land