The Narrow Pass
|To discover the Narrow Pass, Esteban and I went to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, which we consider to be part of the land Desolation. We had a general idea of where that pass should be located, and went to that area to search.
We stopped at a town named Paseo Royal, (The Royal Pass), as that seemed a logical place to start. This town is north of a small range of mountains named the Sierra Atravesada. That term is Spanish for "that which blocks a passage."
We were told there was a narrow pass that ran through the mountain range, and the railroad ran through that pass. Esteban and I then went to the train station and talked to the engineer in charge, asking for permission to get on the front of the next train and ride through the narrow pass, taking pictures during the trip.
We were granted permission and I got on the cattle guard on the front of the engine and rode through the narrow pass, taking pictures along the way.
We started on the south of the narrow pass, at a small town named Ixtepec, and went through the pass, which was eleven kilometers. The engineer was kind enough to stop the train at the northern end of the pass, and let me off in a small village named Chivela.
(see map 3-A)
This narrow pass was different from what I had always envisioned, but it was the major narrow pass going through this mountain range.
The mountain range was not very high, only 1300 feet at its highest point, which did not represent much of a challenge to go over, if a person did not want to go through the narrow pass, or if they were blocked from doing so. The problem is that the steep slope of the mountain range anciently ran directly into the ocean, with no flat shoreline to walk along. That means if a person walked over the mountain range, rather than through the narrow pass, they would have to walk along the bottom of the mountain range, where it dropped into the ocean, which was very steep, and very difficult, if not impossible to walk. This is why who ever controlled the narrow pass, controlled passage from the land northward to the land southward.
The Narrow Passage
Mormon 2:29 is the only place in the Book of Mormon were the term narrow passage is used. Many writers state that Mormon actually meant the Narrow Pass, but wrote the Narrow Passage instead, as if it was a mistake.
Not so. Mormon did not make those kinds of mistakes, and the narrow passage is different from the narrow pass, and served a different function. When Mormon used this term, he used it as the new demarcation between Nephite lands and Lamanite lands, when Mormon moved the Nephites into the land northward in 350ad, giving all of the abandoned Nephite lands to the Lamanites.
The reason Mormon did not use the narrow pass by itself as the treaty line, is because the narrow pass did not run the whole width of the narrow neck. It did not bisect the land and therefore could not be used as a dividing line.
Once you go through the narrow pass, if you turn right/east, you go into the land southward, the Land Bountiful. But, if you continue going north, there is a small path that continues to what was swampy lands at the North side of the Isthmus, and then the Gulf of Mexico.
This eleven kilometer long narrow pass, in league with the pathway that continues to the Gulf, bisecting the Isthmus constituted the "Narrow Passage that Mormon refers to." Both the narrow pass and the continuing pathway were part of the demarcation Mormon used when dividing these Nephite and Lamanite lands.