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Bob Crockett

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About Bob Crockett

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  1. This the best post you have ever made.
  2. It is this way in every ward. I think the Lord permits it to go on to whip the Saints for their lack of humility. The more you sit there and nurse a hostility for somebody who stands up every single month, the more you're the one in trouble. (I do the same thing.)
  3. I would also comment that Joseph Smith never said he used the seer stone. I find it remarkable that he could dictate the BoM with his face buried in his hat. I don't see it.
  4. The "dispute" is between Dr. Sorenson and his adherents who try and salvage him. Dr. Sorenson tries a logical and obvious approach to the problem, although he selects an Isthmus other than Darien. Ash tries to salvage the obvious problems with Tehuatepec by declaring that an isthmus is not really an isthmus. In other words, one can say that Atlantis was buried beneath the sea and look for it that way, or say that the literal text of archaic material isn't correct, and that Atlantis can be found anywhere on the planet. Such improbabilities. Dr. Sorenson does not see "east" as meaning some unwatered slope. The text of the Book of Mormon is obvious unless you want to make it not obvious by reading what is not there. My personal view is that Joseph Smith had in mind the Niagara peninsula, but I don't really care to defend that thought.
  5. Dr. Sorenson's approach to the narrow neck of land is questionable, to say the least. And he, indeed, calls it an isthmus. Dr. Sorenson concludes that the “narrow neck of land” reference, among other places, in Alma 22 must be an isthmus[1] and further that “we safely assume” that the isthmus divides the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans[2] even though the Book of Mormon says no such thing. “The 120-mile-wide Isthmus of Tehuantepec is just within the range of plausibility we established for the width of the “narrow neck.”[3] But, as Dr. Sorenson says, and as quoting from the Book of Mormon, the “narrow neck” was “only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite . . . ,”[4] indicating that the editor of the Book of Mormon intended to convey the thought that the “narrow neck” was very narrow indeed and “only” something of little consequence. Given that the 120-mile span of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is filled with unnavigable rivers and malarial swamps,[5] Mesoamerican theorists have spent some time attempting to defend Dr. Sorenson’s theory. Dr. Sorenson, for instance, has said that some Mexican foot runners can run 500 miles in six days,[6] although this feat must be the peak of human endurance, rather than the ordinary exploit of “a Nephite,” and it is highly likely that the Mexican runners had strong roads or paths, and not rivers and swamps to ford. Michael R. Ash has supposed that the Book of Mormon meant something other than the width of an isthmus, but rather the width between two geographical mounts or political borders within the isthmus.[7] Thus, Ash seeks to salvage the Sorenson model to changing an isthmus to something that is not an isthmus which happens to be within an isthmus. This speculation heaped upon speculation, when the Book of Mormon does not attempt to say that the narrow neck divided two seas, demonstrates the futility of discussion about Book of Mormon geography. [1] Codex, at p. 18. [2] Codex, at p. 19. [3] An Ancient American Setting, at p. 36. [4] An Ancient American Setting, at p. 17, quoting from Alma 22:32. [5] According to the account in Don Jose Garay, Survey of the Isthmus of Tehuatepec (Ackerman & Co, London 1944), the government of Mexico commissioned a survey of the Isthmus. Garay's nine-month survey is contained in this book. Many parts of the northern part of the isthmus are impenetrable swamp and jungle. Although Garay discusses the prospect of navigation, he notes that the rivers are not navigable as they approach the hills and are difficult or impossible to ford at places. The study also recounts Cortes' experience in the area as he tried to use the isthmus as a means to access lower California. I have run several 100-mile and 24 hour events, usually running 100 miles in 24 hours. The world record for a barefoot 24-hour run is 136.98 miles on an indoor track. Scott Douglas, “New Record for 24-Hour Barefoot Run,” in Runners World & Running, Aug. 11, 2014, published at http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/new-record-for-24-hour-barefoot-run, accessed January 1, 2015. The world record for a 24-hour run in the latest shoe technology on a track is held by Yiannis Kouros, whom this author has had the privilege to compete against. Kouros covered 303.506 km in 24 hours, or about 188 miles. “Yiannis Kouros,” at en.wickipedia.org, accessed January 1, 2015. These 24-hour races provide bounteous feasts and medical aid every one mile or so. [6] Michael R. Ash, “Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: A journey across the ‘narrow neck’, Deseret News, March 7, 2011, published at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705387187/A-journey-across-the-narrow-neck.html?pg=all, accessed January 1, 2015. [7] Michael R. Ash, “Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: A journey across the ‘narrow neck’, Deseret News, March 7, 2011, published at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705387187/A-journey-across-the-narrow-neck.html?pg=all, accessed January 1, 2015.
  6. Dr. Sorenson writes that views that are not consistent with his are harmful to the Church. FARMS and Maxwell Institute (before a 2012 change in philosophy and management)[1] as well as Dr. Sorenson have criticized views that compete with Dr. Sorenson’s theories.[2] In Sorenson’s Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology (1976), a BYU Studies production, Sorenson describes books about Book of Mormon geography as “swashbuckling” where “Mormons are willing to spend money for instant evidence of knowledge rather than labor for the knowledge themselves.”[3] Sorenson criticized works by Jack West,[4] Paul Cheesman,[5] Venice Pridiss[6] and Dewey and Edith Farnsworth,[7] referring to “naïve use of sources, logical inconsistencies, cut-and-paste quotations, and harmful effects on the Church” and other rather strident descriptions.[8] “[Z]eal does not improve poor scholarship.”[9] Sorenson’s 1976 article is a good example of the gloves-off approach to a defense of the Mesoamerican model against all comers, who are little better than apostates. [1] Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Shake-up hits BYU’s Mormon studies institute,” June 26, 2012, The Salt Lake Tribune, published at www.sltrib.com/sltrib/utes/54358137-78/mormon-institute-peterson-studies.html.csp, accessed May 20, 2014. [2] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” BYU Studies, vol. 16, no. 3 (1976), at 429[007]. [3] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” at 429. [4] Jack West, Trial of the Stick of Joseph (Sacramento, California: Rich Publishing Co., 1976). Sorenson says that the “writing is disjointed, and a consistent argument is hard to discern.” West’s book is still advertised by Deseret Book although as of June 1, 2014, is listed as “unavailable.” http://deseretbook.com/Trial-Stick-Joseph-Jack-H-West/i/2861056, accessed June 1, 2014. [5] Paul Cheesman, These Early Americans: External Evidences of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1974). Sorenson criticized Deseret Book’s heavy promotion of the book. [6] Venice Priddis, The Book and the Map. New Insights into Book of Mormon Geography (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1975). [7] Dewey & Edith Farnsworth, The Americans before Columbus (Sacramento, California: Rich Publishing Co., 1975). [8] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” p. 429-30. [9] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” p. 431.
  7. Clark: Your response demonstrates the nature of the real problem. You say that "the other potential sites have many more problems" than the Mesoamerican model. That is, of course, Dr. Sorenson's view. But that isn't necessarily the scientific method, to say that one option is better than inferior options once you have ruled out the inferior options. The superior choice must stand on its own. There is a science to plotting cartographic data against ancient texts. Dr. Sorenson did not use that science. Didn't even try. And, in particular, his analysis of the "narrow neck of land" was abysmally bad. Supposedly, a "Nephite" could traverse that neck in a day and half. No human today could even remotely do so.
  8. FARMS and FAIR, as well now BYU Studies, support only the Mesoamerican theory. See especially William J. Hamblin’s “Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon” (1993) published in the FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. Hamblin characterizes non-Mesoamerican theories as Anti-Mormon. As I was Jack Welch's first graduate research assistant, I have had good access to his theories and, most definitely, FARMS did not support any other theory. FARMS challenged Paul Hedengren, "The Land of Lehi" (1995). There is a review of Hedengren somewhere in FARMS. He's a BYU professor who advanced a Great Lakes theory. Bruce Warren, although very sympathetic to a Mesoamerican model, says there is "very little " evidence and that it is circumstantial. Bruce W. Warren, “Deciphering the Geography and An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies (Summer 1990), 30:3, at 127. Similarly, Ugo A. Perego has said that the Book of Mormon “contains only marginal information about . . . the geography of the land occupied by the people it describes." No Weapon Shall Proper: New Light on Sensitive Issues, ed. Robert L. Millet (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011), 171-217. Grant Hardy says that to read the Book of Mormon for correlations with Mesoamerican cultures is to "wrench it out of its own framework." Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), Kindle location 3392. I am agnostic about geography in the Book of Mormon but am critical of any limited theory. The evidence isn't there. Not even closely there. I think the proponents are irresponsible (in a secular way; perhaps not in a Book of Mormon scholarly way) in their approach, and to argue that "any learning is good" is to basically throw in the towel. I am not convinced that trying to advance a Mesoamerican model is a good thing for tender testimonies. When the Mesoamerican model falls, so does the testimony.
  9. "There is no end to matter; There is no end to space .... There is no end to being." ("If You Could Hie to Kolob," Hymns, no. 257.)
  10. I have never heard of this concern. The universe and its elements are infinite.
  11. I'm not sure it is a bad thing for Dr. Gee to move to a traditional department and away from the Maxwell Institute. Who really knows what the Maxwell Institute does. It isn't part of a traditional university department, is it?
  12. Neither of these were Epstein's concerns, although he addressed the layering of the coins. Why were they found at the surface? (Not all were found at the surface; he sweeps in criticism.)
  13. This article is hardly convincing. It documents hundreds of coin finds in North America. It dismisses them all as fraudulent with little evidence to do so. Merely because one find is fraudulent does not make all others. This article documents way more finds that I knew previously existed. Am I to conclude that hundreds of farmers, building excavators and pig sty owners had Roman and Greek coins? As one peer-reviewer noted of this work (the comment is at the bottom): "The evidence does not lead with any certainty, however, to the conclusions he would extract. The dichotomy set up at the outset between "diffusionists" and "professional anthropologists" suggests a mind-set prevailing throughout." In other words, the author of the article, Epstein, had a predisposition against diffusionists and would thus instantly discredit their work. Epstein challenges the legitimacy of the original provenance of the coins found in the 17th to 19th centuries, but then what would one expect under the circumstances? Epstein concludes that many of the coins may have been salted in the ballast of ocean-going ships, but how does one explain finds deep inland? Epstein challenges the distribution pattern of the finds (particular places in Tennessee but not elsewhere), but is that really a criticism? Epstein seems to have one valid critique, which I haven't analyzed, and that coins are not found in legitimate well-known Amerind sites. That will take some thinking.
  14. I don't see this as controversial, asking members to do their civic duty. I'm a libertarian (small "l") who has lurched between membership in the Republican and Democratic parties my entire life. I am currently a Republican but I supported the Clintons. I think the membership of the church is leaning more to the left as years go on.
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