The public school system: "Usually a twelve year sentence of mind control. Crushing creativity, smashing individualism, encouraging collectivism and compromise, destroying the exercise of intellectual inquiry, twisting it instead into meek subservience to authority".
— Walter Karp
Yes, but my argument for it is awaiting publication/presentation at the next FAIR Conference. I approached the geographic descriptions from the viewpoint of recursive reinforcement. That is, if the text's geography appears to work for Mesoamerica, then we should see signs of Mesoamerica in the text. If we see signs of Mesoamerica in the text, then Mesoamerican concepts of directions might underlie what we see in the text.
What I have found is that while the text, in translation, uses north, south, east, and west which are terms with which we are familiar, the underlying usage pattern reflects a Mesoamerican comprehension of the text. I find that both in the way the terms are used in the text, and then using that hypothesis, discerning the correlation of the geography according to those terms. Having said all of that, Sorenson's model works extremely well (without resorting to rotating directions).
I guess I'm starting this discussion up again, to the irritation of some I'm sure.
But the Book of Mormon clearly is not a mesoamerican text if you take directions into account:
Lehi was given the Liahona; It's clearly called a compass (Alma 37:38); Described as having two spindles, the one "pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness." (1 Nephi 16:10) Nephi wasn't trying to insult your intelligence by writing which way the other spindle pointed -north. How else did Nephi know they "did travel nearlyeastward from that time forth." Why didn't Nephi say "east" as the sun rises-sets? He said "nearly eastward" because he could compare the two spindles to each other.
Nephi also took the director with him when he fled to the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:12) and it was handed down from prophet to prophet. Thus to claim that the people of the Book of Mormon didn't know north or south - based on some Mesoamerican cultures - isn't accurate. If you appeal to the Book of Mormon, that is, unless you claim the translation was innacurate.
That's another 'beef' I have with this mesoamerica theory. If the Book of Mormon translation doesn't match up with the theory, is it the fault of the theory? No. It's similar to:
"while the text, in translation, uses north, south, east, and west which are terms with which we are familiar, the underlying usage pattern reflects a Mesoamerican comprehension of the text.
In other words, the Book of Mormon is at fault, not the M/A theory. Joseph Smith was wrong. Not the theory. Church History was wrong. Not the theory.
But the Book of Mormon clearly is not a mesoamerican text if you take directions into account:
Certainly we disagree on this point.
Lehi was given the Liahona; It's clearly called a compass (Alma 37:38);
In the sense that it told them where to go, not in the sense of marking magnetic north. As you note there are two spindles, which are unnecessary if you have something pointing to magnetic north. Of course, the next reason for doubting that magnetic north was involved is that sometimes it didn't work. How would they know?
How else did Nephi know they "did travel nearlyeastward from that time forth." Why didn't Nephi say "east" as the sun rises-sets? He said "nearly eastward" because he could compare the two spindles to each other.
Be aware that Nephi never said "nearly eastward," because he didn't speak English. Ever. We have the text in translation and therefore the question is what the English words are translating.
Nephi also took the director with him when he fled to the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:12) and it was handed down from prophet to prophet.
And never worked in the New World. it was a sacred object, but not a functional one. Its purpose was over.
Thus to claim that the people of the Book of Mormon didn't know north or south - based on some Mesoamerican cultures - isn't accurate.
Your statement is not an accurate synopsis of what I said. What I said is that Mesoamerican cultures didn't have words that refer to what we would term north and south. Instead, they used terms such as "left hand of the sun." Of course they knew where those directions were, they simply didn't use our system of terms to describe them.
If you appeal to the Book of Mormon, that is, unless you claim the translation was innacurate.
That is an interesting question. When is a translation accurate or inaccurate if there is not a 100 percent overlap in the semantic spheres of the source and target in the translation? I have elsewhere discussed my theory of translation and it isn't appropriate here, but in general I see the English as a functional translation of the plate language, one that represents the meaning and comes close to the words, but is not a literal translation or the words or the meanings of the plate text.
That's another 'beef' I have with this mesoamerica theory. If the Book of Mormon translation doesn't match up with the theory, is it the fault of the theory?
That doesn't represent anything I have ever written on the subject.
In other words, the Book of Mormon is at fault, not the M/A theory.
You have misunderstood. Just as we learn more about the Old Testament if we understand the culture which produced it, the culture which produced the Book of Mormon should inform the text. If we believe that the Book of Mormon is authentic, then that production culture was not an English speaking culture, and should not represent western thought.
Joseph Smith was wrong. Not the theory. Church History was wrong. Not the theory.
I strongly deny that this represents anything that I have said. I do believe that Joseph didn't know everything about the text he translated. If he did, then he had to have been the author and I don't believe he was. What theory does is begin to make connections, and if the theory is correct, then using the results of the theory can refine the connection between theory and data. That is precisely the way historical linguistics is done. It is a recursive process and I am proposing nothing different here.
I have just read a bunch from the ' achioceland' website. I find much to recommend it,especially the parts about the structures in additional materials. This has nothing to do with the fact that the researchers are from my area.
After trying to go through all that has been discussed in this thread, I still keep coming back to a very basic concept or question:
"Is any of our LDS scholarship attempting to establish the historical claims of the BOM getting any interest or acceptance outside of the our own LDS circles of mutual congratulations"?
The BoM, aside from it's important and spiritual message, is by it's claim a record of a 1,000 year history of significant people, significant origins, and a significant and sophisticated culture dating to before Christ. It is ancient and actual record, word-for-word, preserved by remarkable means that depicts an ancient historical account of highly developed civilizations for millions and millions of people. It serves as a road-map to what should be one of the most fascinating historical finds.
So what is all this scholarship lacking? Will we ever have the scholarship that brings any interest in this history to an academic level or platform that will generate interest and\or support from the professional peers and the academic world outside of FAIR or Sunday firesides?
What is all this scholarship lacking?
Has there ever been the existent of an ancient history record to which there has been absolutely no professional nor academic interest in before in the secular world?
Thanks. I read that response before I replied. With no offense to anyone - it just rang hollow. When we as a Church, and when our own scholars have to go to great lengths to find reasons and rationale why what could be one of the greatest historical finds in the ancient record of the BOM is summarily dismissed, distanced or just ignored by the very academic and peer professional field that would, without hesitation, be the very first who should be and would be showing interest in the very kind of interest they live for professionally and academically - well that says and sends an overwhelmingly obvious message with respect to any and all "BOM scholarship" to date. I think we just simply need to ask ourselves - "Do we think the 'Scholarship' will ever rise to the level of legitimate academic standards"? Or do we just keep publishing works that are, at best, just to feed the membership needs of those who choose to remain isolated from secular academic standards?
And I get this concept that we have had some very smart and dedicated individuals attempt to study and put well thought out pieces of works to show some attempt of this mesoamerican location for the BOM. It was news to me after I joined so I can honestly say it never reached a level of academic credibility. And it never reached a level of Church credibility for that matter.
So how do all these supposedly great works of scholarship ever get out of the quicksand of just "Church Conversation"
Ironically, the lack of academic validation is what legitimizes it as a sacred work and gives it the power to increase the faith of the follower. God intends us to walk by faith, and to use our free agency to decide what to believe. If the termporal evidence were enough to convince in and of itself, then it would no longer serve God's puroposes. If it was overwhelmingly lacking in temporal evidence, it could be easily discarded.
"Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should aact for himself. Wherefore, man could not bact for himself save it should be that he was centiced by the one or the other."
I could honestly say that I am equally enticed both negatively and positively by the historcity of the Book of Mormon. There is plenty that discredits it, such as the apparent anachronisms, But I find it equally difficult to attribute it to an act of fraud, due to it's internal coherence, the lack of perceived ability that I have in Joseph Smith to perpetuate such a fraud, and the improbabale number of correlations to ancient american archaeology and geography.
I do have the hope that one day it will be academically vindicated, but I believe that, to fit God's purposes, it will probably come at a time when it will make an irrelevant impact on the faith of the general population.