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gitxsanartist

Zelph Revisited and the LGT

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For some reason I was under the assumption that the whole Zelph incident was mostly discounted and ignored by the church. However, I happened up this site tonight:

http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/downloads.php

Is the church really behind this presentation? What is the official stand on the Zelph incident/story?

Incidentally I also found this sites presentation about the LGT quite interesting since I am native american myself this topic of DNA and how we are connected to the Lamanites always manages to catch my attention. It would seem that the Great Lakes theory is once again enjoying some renewed popularity.

Honestly, I have always considered this theory the most sound since the two Cumorah theory never made any sense to me and why would Moroni lug a bunch of gold plates over 2000 miles just to bury them. Also somewhere on the internet I saw a map which overlayed some of the place names in the BOM and native names, there was a convincing correlation. It often bothers me though that the church does not coming out more boldly and clearly support one theory or the other, what are we hiding behind?

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Honestly, I have always considered this theory the most sound since the two Cumorah theory never made any sense to me and why would Moroni lug a bunch of gold plates over 2000 miles just to bury them. Also somewhere on the internet I saw a map which overlayed some of the place names in the BOM and native names, there was a convincing correlation. It often bothers me though that the church does not coming out more boldly and clearly support one theory or the other, what are we hiding behind?

Are you referring to the Vernal Holley map? I too thought that was interesting, but I read an article on FAIR that pretty much discredited it. I think he stretched some of it to try to say that JS used local names he was familiar with to fabricate the places in the BoM. However, I've also read a lot of pro-LDS sources that match them up to Egyptian names.

Anyway, I think with the Zelph incident, it pretty much throws out the two Cumorahs hypothesis. I've heard some say that there was at one time a land strip connecting Florida to Central America through modern-day Cuba, but I don't know how reliable that is. It would be interesting if anyone else had something to add about Zelph and how it affects where we place the BoM locations.

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I notice that you are required to give personal contact information from someone making a living off convincing people he can give them a spiritual witness of geography to get this article. That should scare you off right there, it did me so I guess I won't be able to discuss the article.

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Hello gitxsanartist,

The Church does not officially endorse Rod Meldrum's ideas about where the Book of Mormon occurred. To Meldrum's credit, he seems to have stopped implying that his presentations reflect official Church policy, but this has not always been the case. Early versions of his presentation proclaimed that Joseph Smith revealed the BOM took place in North America, and the Zelph account was incorporated into Meldrum's presentation.

FAIR has published an extensive critique of Meldrum's presentation. Needless to say, there are many problems with Meldrum's presentation.

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why would Moroni lug a bunch of gold plates over 2000 miles just to bury them.

It makes perfect sense that a man would go northwards if his enemies, located to the south, badly wanted to kill him and to destroy something that he was desperately trying to preserve.

And it's certainly not difficult to imagine the Lord inspiring Moroni (during the nearly three and a half decades that intervened between the final Nephite battle and the burial of the record) to take the plates to a location where the man divinely foreordained to recover them would be in position to do so.

It often bothers me though that the church does not coming out more boldly and clearly support one theory or the other, what are we hiding behind?

I can't think of any disputed issue of scriptural geography where the Church has ever taken an official stand, and can't see why it should. These are matters for opinion and scholarly debate. They always have been.

The Church's only official position on Book of Mormon geography is, and has always been, that it has none.

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This is an interesting quote

" "This [Zelph] is not of much value in Book of Mormon geographical studies, since Zelph probably dated from a later time when Nephites and Lamanites had been somewhat dispersed and had wandered over the country."22"

I would change the word "probably" to possibly.

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It makes perfect sense that a man would go northwards if his enemies, located to the south, badly wanted to kill him and to destroy something that he was desperately trying to preserve.

And it's certainly not difficult to imagine the Lord inspiring Moroni (during the nearly three and a half decades that intervened between the final Nephite battle and the burial of the record) to take the plates to a location where the man divinely foreordained to recover them would be in position to do so.

Having Joseph Smith then translate the Book of Mormon without directly using the plates = not perfect sense.

The Church's only official position on Book of Mormon geography is, and has always been, that it has none.

Would you agree that if the hill in upper state New York was, in fact, the "Hill Cumorah"/ "Ramah" discussed in the Book of Mormon (and the site of the final battle), it would be problematic for the Mesoamerican LGT?

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Would you agree that if the hill in upper state New York was, in fact, the "Hill Cumorah"/ "Ramah" discussed in the Book of Mormon (and the site of the final battle), it would be problematic for the Mesoamerican LGT?

Well that much goes with out saying. The problem is that so far that has yet to be establish by anyone. So it is kind of a moot point. Yes\No?

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Well that much goes with out saying. The problem is that so far that has yet to be establish by anyone. So it is kind of a moot point. Yes\No?

Some LDS believe it has been established, others don't. But I think it's a good point to keep in mind as statements in the scriptures and from past leaders are studied.

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So if the mesoamerican LGT is the FARM/FAIR prefered theory, which it does seem to be at this time, can someone please explain to me how and why we have two Hill Cumorah's. If they are two separate and distinct hills then why not name one of them a different name instead of the same name but totally different hill. Honestly it smells of backpedalling by the apologetics in order to make their LGT theory work, its too implausible in my opinion.

The western hemisphere model doesn't really work either when you consider the travel times listed in the BOM and then try to reconcile them with 2000-3000 mile voyages across the continent, especially with the fact that they were on foot and had no other means of transportation.

I think the Great Lakes Model is the only one that makes a shred of sense, however it does have its problems too, just not as many as the mesoamerican or hemispheric models.

At some point we may have to give up entirely on the geography/historical proof of the BOM but I don't think we are there quite yet, there is still plenty of sites yet to explore. However, the proof of the authenticity of the BofA seems to be reaching this point with apologetics de-emphasizing its importance within our canon. Hopefully some ground breaking evidence pops up before we reach this point with the BOM, only time will tell.

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I think the Great Lakes Model is the only one that makes a shred of sense, however it does have its problems too, just not as many as the mesoamerican or hemispheric models.

I think the problems the Mesoamerican theory have are problematic. To say that the Mesoamerican theory has more problems than the great lakes is simply not true, unless you dismiss much of the problems the great lakes have.

namely;

~Population (or lack of, to what it needs to be in the BoM.)

~The cold winters never once mentioned.

~Distances.

~Lack of fortifications (mounds are not fortifications).

~Description of what appears to be volcanic activity or lack of at the great lakes.

~Distance of Cumorah to the narrow neck.

~East coast tribes (during BoM times) where hunter gatherers which would not sustain large populations.

~Lack of succession of Kings and sub kings and competing royal lineages.

~Lack of a writing system (important IMO).

~Lack of astronomy knowledge (see Hel 12:15 Alma 30:44 3Ne 1:21)which Mesoamerica had in abundance.

~Cement is used in Mesoamerica, it was not at the great lakes.

~Last of all there are hundreds of Olmec and Mayan sites that the dates coincide with the Bom , compared to very little in the great lake area.

These are just a few I can think of.

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Although I just posted this in another thread, Dan set himself up so perfectly I couldn't resist.

And it's certainly not difficult to imagine the Lord inspiring Moroni (during the nearly three and a half decades that intervened between the final Nephite battle and the burial of the record) to take the plates to a location where the man divinely foreordained to recover them would be in position to do so.

"I do not believe that there were two Hill Cumorahs, one in Central America and the other in New York, for the convenience of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the poor boy would not have to walk clear to Central America to get the gold plates."

"I do not believe we can be good Latter-day Saints and question the integrity of Joseph Smith." (Mark E. Peterson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 123rd Annual Conference of the Church, April 4-6, 1953, General Conference Report; pp. 83-84; also The Improvement Era, June1953, pg. 423)

Will the real apostle Peterson please stand up?

This is further proof of my theory that the fountain-source of LDS doctrinal pronouncements was transferred from Salt Lake City to Provo in 1993.

I can't think of any disputed issue of scriptural geography where the Church has ever taken an official stand, and can't see why it should.

"The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, pg. 331)

"It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Rama. It was approximately near to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all." Mormon adds: "And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites."

"It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.

"Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history...." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation , Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.)

These are matters for opinion and scholarly debate. They always have been.

Speaking of scholars...

"This time it will have to do with so important a matter as a war of extinction of two peoples, the Nephites and the Jaredites, on the self same battle site, with the same 'hill' marking the axis of military movements. By the Nephites this 'hill' was called the 'Hill Cumorah,' by the Jaredites the 'Hill Ramah'; it was that same 'hill,' in which the Nephite records were deposited by Mormon and Moroni, and from which Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon, therefore the 'Mormon Hill,' of todayâ??since the coming forth of the Book of Mormonâ??near Palmyra, New York. (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.277)

"The hill, which was known by one division of the ancient peoples as Cumorah, by another as Ramah, is situated near Palmyra in the State of New York." (Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith , chapter 14)

"Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the State of New York.

"Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and many of the early brethren, who were familiar with all the circumstances attending the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, have left us a pointed testimony as to the identity and location of Cumorah or Ramah."(Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 174-175)

The Church's only official position on Book of Mormon geography is, and has always been, that it has none.

"The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3, 1928, definitely establish the following facts: That the Hill Cumorah, and the Hill Ramah are identical; that it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and the Nephites, fought their last great battles; that it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his' son, Moroni. We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them." (President Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1928-Morning Session)

"In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the "hill Cumorah." On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries agoâ??events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation...."

"This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites , flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites'" (Talk given by President Marion G. Romney in General Conference, October 4, 1975, Ensign Nov. 1975 pg. 35)

I'm sorry, what were you saying Dan?

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Although I just posted this in another thread, Dan set himself up so perfectly I couldn't resist.

"I do not believe that there were two Hill Cumorahs, one in Central America and the other in New York, for the convenience of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so that the poor boy would not have to walk clear to Central America to get the gold plates."

"I do not believe we can be good Latter-day Saints and question the integrity of Joseph Smith." (Mark E. Peterson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 123rd Annual Conference of the Church, April 4-6, 1953, General Conference Report; pp. 83-84; also The Improvement Era, June1953, pg. 423)

Will the real apostle Peterson please stand up?

This is further proof of my theory that the fountain-source of LDS doctrinal pronouncements was transferred from Salt Lake City to Provo in 1993.

"The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, pg. 331)

"It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Rama. It was approximately near to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all." Mormon adds: "And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites."

"It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.

"Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history...." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation , Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.)

Speaking of scholars...

"This time it will have to do with so important a matter as a war of extinction of two peoples, the Nephites and the Jaredites, on the self same battle site, with the same 'hill' marking the axis of military movements. By the Nephites this 'hill' was called the 'Hill Cumorah,' by the Jaredites the 'Hill Ramah'; it was that same 'hill,' in which the Nephite records were deposited by Mormon and Moroni, and from which Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon, therefore the 'Mormon Hill,' of todaysince the coming forth of the Book of Mormonnear Palmyra, New York. (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.277)

"The hill, which was known by one division of the ancient peoples as Cumorah, by another as Ramah, is situated near Palmyra in the State of New York." (Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith , chapter 14)

"Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the State of New York.

"Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and many of the early brethren, who were familiar with all the circumstances attending the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, have left us a pointed testimony as to the identity and location of Cumorah or Ramah."(Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 174-175)

"The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3, 1928, definitely establish the following facts: That the Hill Cumorah, and the Hill Ramah are identical; that it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and the Nephites, fought their last great battles; that it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his' son, Moroni. We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them." (President Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1928-Morning Session)

"In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the "hill Cumorah." On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries agoevents which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation...."

"This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites , flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites'" (Talk given by President Marion G. Romney in General Conference, October 4, 1975, Ensign Nov. 1975 pg. 35)

I'm sorry, what were you saying Dan?

You must be real proud of yourself to post it twice as a gotch-ya for Professor Peterson. I and others have mentioned many times that your quote mining of apostles are just opinions of those apostles. No where or time has it ever been doctrine. It also has been mentioned I know I mentioned it it least once that the early BH Robert quotes need to be changed because he changed his mind to a Mesoamerica theory later in his life. Besides Dallin H Oaks and Neal A. Maxwell were/are proponents of Mesoamerica. The Church has no official stance either way. Appears to be Professor Peterson was correct after all.

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You would think that the church, currently being governed by 15 prophets, seers and revelators, would have some inkling of where the events of the BofM might have transpired if it is indeed historically accurate as we are taught. Why should such an important topic be left to a bunch of pseudo-scholars at BYU (FARMS/FAIR). The further light and knowledge should come from through the correct channels, the first presidency and apostles just as it has in the past (read the previous postings above). If they need advisement and counseling with worldly professionals behind closed doors then so be it, but to defer these matters entirely to "opinion" and scholarly debate is pure madness.

Trust me we are treading on a slippery slope. Unless the church takes a clear stand on issues related to the historicity of the BofM and BofA we are going to see a mass exodus from the church, not because of its flaws but because the leadership is too afraid to take a stand. The membership is not as niave as it used to be, we have the internet now and that has leveled the playing field. Looking back at my first experience in delving into church history a couple years back I can see now that I learned more in two months than I ever did in two years on my mission or four years in the seminary program. In fact, I learned more about early church history, the BofM and Joseph Smith than I have ever learned in my entire life while faithfully attending church every Sunday. Yes, there will be some who really don't care about the issues and for them ignorance is bliss, however for far too many of us this simply does not cut it, we want straight answers and we are willing to seek them out. The very fact that you are on this board proves my point, you resist being a "sheeple" and your God given curiousity and thirst for knowledge brings you here, you are a cut above the rest.

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Having Joseph Smith then translate the Book of Mormon without directly using the plates = not perfect sense.

Giving support to a neophyte with revelation and inspiration by providing him with tangible objects like plates and a breastplate and the Urim and Thummim, and providing a tangible object with which to reassure a young and inexperienced prophet who may have needed considerable reassurance and to convince both him and outside witnesses that this wasn't a matter of mere subjective hallucination, and creating a problem for later revisionists -- these things make perfect sense to me.

Would you agree that if the hill in upper state New York was, in fact, the "Hill Cumorah"/ "Ramah" discussed in the Book of Mormon (and the site of the final battle), it would be problematic for the Mesoamerican LGT?

It would be a problem. Perhaps lethal, perhaps not.

Although I just posted this in another thread, Dan set himself up so perfectly I couldn't resist.

I know it won't spoil the delicious gratification that you claim to have derived from my "setting myself up," but I'm entirely familiar with these quotations, and they don't faze me a bit. In fact, your response -- a very common one in certain circles of critics, where, for reasons that elude me, it's often considered quite fresh and utterly devastating -- is stale, sophistic, and entirely wearisome from where I sit.

In any conflict between what the text of the Book of Mormon plainly seems to demand, on the one side, and, on the other, the opinions of any other reader of the text, I will go, without hesitation, with the Book of Mormon text itself. The only question will be, Which interpretation of the text is superior? And that is a question that will be answered with evidence, analysis, and rational argument.

That Elder Petersen and Elder Pratt and Elder Smith and others held different opinions of Book of Mormon geography than I do is mildly interesting and perfectly well known to me, but of no great significance. No revelation has been received or claimed by the Church on the subject. Feel free to locate one, if you care to make the attempt. The passages you quote offer scriptural quotations and reasoning in support of their claims, not "Thus saith the Lord!" In such cases, everybody is free to consider the scriptural quotations and the reasoning and to come to a decision on that basis.

This is further proof of my theory that the fountain-source of LDS doctrinal pronouncements was transferred from Salt Lake City to Provo in 1993.

What happened in 1993? Why that year?

Anyway, statements such as that above make it impossible to take you seriously. There has never been an official Church "doctrine" about the geography of the Book of Mormon, and the Maxwell Institute or FARMS has never issued a doctrinal pronouncement of any kind on any topic.

If a hemispheric geography and a New York Cumorah were official doctrines of the Church, you can be certain that Deseret Book, the Church's wholly-owned publishing company, would not publish books directly contradicting those doctrines. Nor would Deseret Book outlets be carrying such books. Nor would the Church's official magazine, the Ensign, carry articles directly opposing them. How many Deseret Book titles deny the atonement of Christ? How many Ensign articles repudiate the resurrection? How many books carried on its shelves by Deseret Book deny the prophethood of Joseph Smith?

I'm sorry, what were you saying Dan?

I was saying what I've been saying for many years now.

If somebody wants to convince me otherwise, the only way to do so is via relevant evidence and superior reasoning. Or, of course, by an authoritative revelation. However, unless and until such a revelation is produced, I'm going to go with evidence and analysis.

You would think that the church, currently being governed by 15 prophets, seers and revelators, would have some inkling of where the events of the BofM might have transpired if it is indeed historically accurate as we are taught.

If and when the Lord chooses to reveal something on the topic, we'll know. Unless and until he does, we'll have no revealed knowledge on the matter, and we'll depend, for this matter of secondary or even tertiary importance, on facts and thinking. What's so horrible or shocking about that?

There are plenty of things on which the Lord has revealed nothing. The location of the Jaredite city of Lib doesn't seem to loom large among them in importance.

Why should such an important topic be left to a bunch of pseudo-scholars at BYU (FARMS/FAIR).

The casual and unprovoked insult has been duly noted.

I'll let it pass without comment; I think it speaks for itself.

I think, though, that I'll point out several of the falsehoods that you've managed to pack into that disingenuous little rhetorical question.

First of all, it isn't clear that the precise GPS coordinates of Ammmonihah are all that "important." There are far weightier issues in the gospel.

Second, FARMS and FAIR are entirely distinct organizations.

Third, FAIR isn't located in Provo in any meaningful sense. Its president resides in Redding, California. The members of its board live in such places as southern California and Illinois. So far as I'm aware, none of them lives in Provo. Its annual conference is held in Sandy, Utah.

Fourth, FAIR is entirely unaffiliated with BYU.

Fifth, none of the scholars associated with either of these groups is a "pseudo-scholar."

Sixth, the topic of Book of Mormon geography hasn't been "left" to anybody. Any person who cares to do so is free to scrutinize the relevant evidence and formulate an opinion, and many, many people have done just that.

The further light and knowledge should come from through the correct channels, the first presidency and apostles just as it has in the past

Of course it should. And when and if a revelation as to the whereabouts of Jacobugath is received, it will be received by the president of the Church, perhaps in company with others among the First Presidency and the Twelve.

Neither FAIR nor the Maxwell Institute (aka FARMS) claims the authority to receive a revelation for the Church on this or any other topic, and neither organization has ever pretended to have done so.

to defer these matters entirely to "opinion" and scholarly debate is pure madness.

Pending revelation, what alternative is there? And why does it matter all that much? Christianity has done just fine over the centuries without a creedal statement on the location of Emmaus and Tarshish; Mormonism is likely to flourish reasonably well without any revealed location for Jershon.

Trust me we are treading on a slippery slope. Unless the church takes a clear stand on issues related to the historicity of the BofM and BofA we are going to see a mass exodus from the church, not because of its flaws but because the leadership is too afraid to take a stand.

Do you see any ambiguity in the stance of the Brethren or the Church regarding the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham?

I certainly don't.

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Giving support to a neophyte with revelation and inspiration by providing him with tangible objects like plates and a breastplate and the Urim and Thummim, and providing a tangible object with which to reassure a young and inexperienced prophet who may have needed considerable reassurance and to convince both him and outside witnesses that this wasn't a matter of mere subjective hallucination, and creating a problem for later revisionists -- these things make perfect sense to me.

It would be a problem. Perhaps lethal, perhaps not.

I know it won't spoil the delicious gratification that you claim to have derived from my "setting myself up," but I'm entirely familiar with these quotations, and they don't faze me a bit. In fact, your response -- a very common one in certain circles of critics, where, for reasons that elude me, it's often considered quite fresh and utterly devastating -- is stale, sophistic, and entirely wearisome from where I sit.

In any conflict between what the text of the Book of Mormon plainly seems to demand, on the one side, and, on the other, the opinions of any other reader of the text, I will go, without hesitation, with the Book of Mormon text itself. The only question will be, Which interpretation of the text is superior? And that is a question that will be answered with evidence, analysis, and rational argument.

That Elder Petersen and Elder Pratt and Elder Smith and others held different opinions of Book of Mormon geography than I do is mildly interesting and perfectly well known to me, but of no great significance. No revelation has been received or claimed by the Church on the subject. Feel free to locate one, if you care to make the attempt. The passages you quote offer scriptural quotations and reasoning in support of their claims, not "Thus saith the Lord!" In such cases, everybody is free to consider the scriptural quotations and the reasoning and to come to a decision on that basis.

What happened in 1993? Why that year?

Anyway, statements such as that above make it impossible to take you seriously. There has never been an official Church "doctrine" about the geography of the Book of Mormon, and the Maxwell Institute or FARMS has never issued a doctrinal pronouncement of any kind on any topic.

If a hemispheric geography and a New York Cumorah were official doctrines of the Church, you can be certain that Deseret Book, the Church's wholly-owned publishing company, would not publish books directly contradicting those doctrines. Nor would Deseret Book outlets be carrying such books. Nor would the Church's official magazine, the Ensign, carry articles directly opposing them. How many Deseret Book titles deny the atonement of Christ? How many Ensign articles repudiate the resurrection? How many books carried on its shelves by Deseret Book deny the prophethood of Joseph Smith?

I was saying what I've been saying for many years now.

If somebody wants to convince me otherwise, the only way to do so is via relevant evidence and superior reasoning. Or, of course, by an authoritative revelation. However, unless and until such a revelation is produced, I'm going to go with evidence and analysis.

If and when the Lord chooses to reveal something on the topic, we'll know. Unless and until he does, we'll have no revealed knowledge on the matter, and we'll depend, for this matter of secondary or even tertiary importance, on facts and thinking. What's so horrible or shocking about that?

There are plenty of things on which the Lord has revealed nothing. The location of the Jaredite city of Lib doesn't seem to loom large among them in importance.

The casual and unprovoked insult has been duly noted.

I'll let it pass without comment; I think it speaks for itself.

I think, though, that I'll point out several of the falsehoods that you've managed to pack into that disingenuous little rhetorical question.

First of all, it isn't clear that the precise GPS coordinates of Ammmonihah are all that "important." There are far weightier issues in the gospel.

Second, FARMS and FAIR are entirely distinct organizations.

Third, FAIR isn't located in Provo in any meaningful sense. Its president resides in Redding, California. The members of its board live in such places as southern California and Illinois. So far as I'm aware, none of them lives in Provo. Its annual conference is held in Sandy, Utah.

Fourth, FAIR is entirely unaffiliated with BYU.

Fifth, none of the scholars associated with either of these groups is a "pseudo-scholar."

Sixth, the topic of Book of Mormon geography hasn't been "left" to anybody. Any person who cares to do so is free to scrutinize the relevant evidence and formulate an opinion, and many, many people have done just that.

Of course it should. And when and if a revelation as to the whereabouts of Jacobugath is received, it will be received by the president of the Church, perhaps in company with others among the First Presidency and the Twelve.

Neither FAIR nor the Maxwell Institute (aka FARMS) claims the authority to receive a revelation for the Church on this or any other topic, and neither organization has ever pretended to have done so.

Pending revelation, what alternative is there? And why does it matter all that much? Christianity has done just fine over the centuries without a creedal statement on the location of Emmaus and Tarshish; Mormonism is likely to flourish reasonably well without any revealed location for Jershon.

Do you see any ambiguity in the stance of the Brethren or the Church regarding the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham?

I certainly don't.

It is interesting to me that when Joseph Smith translated the plates he left one very large book untranslated. Why? Well we have been told it is more historical than religious. If so then it appears God does not seem to feel the necessity to give us absolute answers on history and geography. They have nothing to do with our salvation do they? Not saying they are not interesting and worth studying but they are not vital to our salvation. :P Given that then why would our prophets be getting revelations on them?

And it would take all the fun out of trying to figure it all out!

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Having Joseph Smith then translate the Book of Mormon without directly using the plates = not perfect sense.

It was important that Joseph Smith and others see and handle the plates. Moroni also, according to Brigham Young and others, dedicated the sites of many temples during his wanderings. He also had to become familiar with the language and, really, no one knows the entire role the plates served in the translation process. There is some indication that Joseph Smith learned the language, and he had many audiences with the prophets who contributed to the book. In other words, the Lord does not usually engage in things that don't make much sense.

Would you agree that if the hill in upper state New York was, in fact, the "Hill Cumorah"/"Ramah" discussed in the Book of Mormon (and the site of the final battle), it would be problematic for the Mesoamerican LGT?

Of course it would, and that's understating it. From a population standpoint alone, there would be so many problems that they would be insurmountable. I don't see the issue people have with him transporting the plates. Joseph Smith was able to run short distances with them and most who felt the plates under the fabric were able to lift them. If Moroni carried them on his back, as we would a knapsack, it would hardly be that much of a problem (especially if there were others who could assist). Daniel Ludlow writes: "The descriptions reported by other witnesses add details which suggest that the plates were composed of a gold alloy (possibly tumbaga) and that they weighed about fifty pounds (Putnam, pp. 788-89, 829-31). Each plate was as thick as parchment or thick paper." There is so much we don't know in this regard that it's really not an issue that can credibly challenge the Mesoamerican LGT. What can be challenged is the idea that the drumlin in New York would have any sort of a military advantage when dealing with armies making up hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

As for Zelph, once the Nephites no longer were hemmed in to the south, they were free to roam into the lands northward, just as I'm sure many of the Nephites did before their defeat. Just because the Book of Mormon ends around 421 A.D. doesn't mean a peoples' history ends. Even in the period the BOM covers, it doesn't tell the entire story of what was going on, especially in Lamanite politics.

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I know it won't spoil the delicious gratification that you claim to have derived from my "setting myself up,"

Thanks for not spoiling my delicious ecstasy of gratification. That was very thoughtful of you.

but I'm entirely familiar with these quotations, and they don't faze me a bit. In fact, your response -- a very common one in certain circles of critics, where, for reasons that elude me, it's often considered quite fresh and utterly devastating -- is stale, sophistic, and entirely wearisome from where I sit.

If you'll check the other thread, you'll see that I resisted posting the vast majority of the quotations there simply for the reason that they, as well as many others, are so easily obtained. If you are "entirely familiar" with them, why did you word your post in such obvious opposition to Peterson's general conference address? By what authority do you strike down his apostolic declaration to the church?

That Elder Petersen and Elder Pratt and Elder Smith and others held different opinions of Book of Mormon geography than I do is mildly interesting and perfectly well known to me, but of no great significance.

Where, in any of these statements, can you find the preface, "In my opinion,".

So numerous general conference addresses and articles in official church publications by a vast array of apostles and prophets are "of no great significance"? Got it. BTW, you are doing an excellent job of proving my theory, which I'll get to shortly.

No revelation has been received or claimed by the Church on the subject. Feel free to locate one, if you care to make the attempt. The passages you quote offer scriptural quotations and reasoning in support of their claims, not "Thus saith the Lord!" In such cases, everybody is free to consider the scriptural quotations and the reasoning and to come to a decision on that basis.

Since Joseph Smith, how many prophets have said "Thus saith the Lord!" about anything? If you're going to insist on those specific words to distinguish authentic revelations from mere opinions, then I've got a whole long list of "opinions," (tithing, honesty etc.) that "everybody is free to consider" whether or not they're worth anything.

What happened in 1993? Why that year?

Ah! Now it gets interesting! Sadly, I have to go soon and don't have time to explain it all here. However, you can peruse this excellent article for a clue.

Also, consider the course of action B.H. Roberts took when faced with difficult questions concerning the historicity of the BoM and contrast his actions with what is going on now.

Anyway, statements such as that above make it impossible to take you seriously.

I don't take myself seriously, why should you?

There has never been an official Church "doctrine" about the geography of the Book of Mormon,

I like the way you put "doctrine" in quotes; makes a nice little escape hatch.

and the Maxwell Institute or FARMS has never issued a doctrinal pronouncement of any kind on any topic.

Which implies that FARMS is authorized to issue doctrinal pronoucements. Yes, I saw your later denial of this, but the fact remains that FARMS articles carry more weight in practice than the "opinions" of the First Presidency and apostles in GC.

(Don't flame me for this last statement. It's very nuanced and I don't have time to explain it all out right now.)

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By what authority do you strike down his apostolic declaration to the church?

"His apostolic declaration to the Church"? Get real.

Where, in any of these statements, can you find the preface, "In my opinion,".

Where, in any of these statements, can you find even the barest trace of an allusion to a revelation detailing the specifics of Book of Mormon geography?

So numerous general conference addresses and articles in official church publications by a vast array of apostles and prophets are "of no great significance"? Got it. BTW, you are doing an excellent job of proving my theory, which I'll get to shortly.

Are you really such a sophist?

If you're going to insist on those specific words to distinguish authentic revelations from mere opinions,

I'm not. Don't be silly.

then I've got a whole long list of "opinions," (tithing, honesty etc.) that "everybody is free to consider" whether or not they're worth anything.

Again, try not to be silly.

Temple recommend questions inquire about tithing and honesty in order to determine whether a person can enter the temple. No such question (unless one has appeared since Wednesday night) asks about the location of the final Nephite battle or "the narrow neck of land," let alone about the latitude and longitude of Moronihah.

Which implies that FARMS is authorized to issue doctrinal pronoucements.

No it doesn't. Of course.

the fact remains that FARMS articles carry more weight in practice than the "opinions" of the First Presidency and apostles in GC.

With whom? With the tiny minority of the Church who know that FARMS exists? With the even tinier proportion who pay serious attention? I see no evidence for this. With me? Not even close.

Don't flame me for this last statement. It's very nuanced and I don't have time to explain it all out right now.

Why should I "flame" you? Your claim doesn't merit that much attention.

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However, the proof of the authenticity of the BofA seems to be reaching this point with apologetics de-emphasizing its importance within our canon. Hopefully some ground breaking evidence pops up before we reach this point with the BOM, only time will tell.

I assume that you're implicitly referring to John Gee's recent FAIR presentation. I can promise you that he doesn't believe that the Book of Abraham is in evidentiary trouble. In fact, in a conversation with him shortly after his paper, he commented that, from his point of view, the Book of Abraham is in the strongest evidentiary position it has ever been in. (A statement with which I agree.) Moreover, although the critics seem to have missed it, he quietly introduced a very new piece of important supporting evidence in that very presentation.

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I'm sorry, what were you saying Dan?

I'm sorry but did you know that most of those quotes are from nondoctrinal sources? The two doctrinal sources you did quote are superceeded by a double article in the 1984 Ensign by Sorensen.

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gitxsanartist:

Trust me we are treading on a slippery slope. Unless the church takes a clear stand on issues related to the historicity of the BofM and BofA we are going to see a mass exodus from the church, not because of its flaws but because the leadership is too afraid to take a stand.

This is a fabulously succinct example of what must surely constitute the most cherished delusion of the relative handful of pseudo-intellectual apostates who are convinced that they represent a â??mass exodus from the churchâ? as they mingle together in various online venues and reassure one another in their disbelief.

Trust me, the only slippery slope is the one youâ??ve already fallen down.

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Trust me we are treading on a slippery slope. Unless the church takes a clear stand on issues related to the historicity of the BofM and BofA we are going to see a mass exodus from the church, not because of its flaws but because the leadership is too afraid to take a stand. The membership is not as niave as it used to be, we have the internet now and that has leveled the playing field.

And it would be very naive to think that a level playing field isn't to our advantage.

Yes, there will be some who really don't care about the issues and for them ignorance is bliss, however for far too many of us this simply does not cut it, we want straight answers and we are willing to seek them out. The very fact that you are on this board proves my point, you resist being a "sheeple" and your God given curiousity and thirst for knowledge brings you here, you are a cut above the rest.

Um, ew.

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I'm sorry, what were you saying Dan?

Probably something like, "Wow, that was the most self-serving cherry picking through historical sources that I have seen this summer".

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The very idea that the strength of the church's position stands or falls, or in fact is even changed in the slightest way, by the archeological evidence apparenty standing in favor or not of the historicity of the BOM is absolutely silly. There is not and never has been an instance where God has "proven" the truth of his message by asking his prophets to argue the scientific proof of his own existence.

It's really simple here people. God calls witnesses and tells them to carry his message to a given group of people. (only in modern times and the last part of new testiment times did this include ALL people they could reach) The people are given the chance to except or reject the message of themselves without the need for arguement. The witnesses simply continue testifying until the Lord gives them another mission or message, or are killed. End of story.

The different theories of the "Scholars" as to where the nephite lands and peoples are nothing more than excactly that...theories. Anyone who has a true testimony of the BOM could not possibly care less if any or none of these theories are correct. They are simply meaningless in regard to their Knowledge (and yes I am using the right word) of the historical veracity of the BOM.

Remember that the BOM is an abridgement of a thousand years of records. (counting only the Nephite/Lamanite and not Jaradite civilization) Mormon stated multiple times that what he had included in his abridgement was not even a hundredth part of the histories of the people. Furthermore, the purpose of the BOM was not to give a historical account but to testify of the gospel of Jesus Christ as delivered to this people. All other information was simply given to clarify the time and situations which bring to light the more weighty material.

Mormon did not care much about Geography or Archeology. As a General he certainly had a personal affinity for studying Battles and probably tended to include more of those things in his account as a function of his own personal study and understanding of them. Still, all this stuff is very near meaningless of itself in regard to the message he was trying to pass on. The only things that truly matter are the things that teach of Christ.

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