Indeed, many people interpret the BOM according to tradition and really not interested to change that opinion even in the face of the BOM text and the evidence on the ground (archeology, scientific research). Those traditions have taken on the nature of scripture, prophecy, and doctrine. I have spent my entire life reading and studying the BOM, so I think I know the difference between traditional view and the actual text.
If one of those traditionalists want to discuss this with me, let's open yet another thread on the subject.
If there were no migrations outside the BOM, the science of history, and archeology do not exist. We just close our eyes.
The BOM tells us that there was ox and domesticated goats in the forest, but it does not mean what it says -- it is a random scattering of words and phrases. No ox, no domesticated goats, just fiction.
I fully agree with your interpretation of things regarding "others" predating the migrations mentioned in scripture.
However, the non-textual evidence, science, archeology, etc etc have convinced me that any other idea is a logical improbability. As such, I read the text with this idea already formed and in my mind. The text is largely silent on both sides of this argument.
Those who say there were others argue based on references to whether the goats were wild. Those against the idea claim a BOM inerrancy based about the absolutist narrative of "promised land" as fundamentally exclusionary in nature. (Might I add that in the Biblical promised land others were also present when the Israelites arrived - why should it be different in the Americas. Also, I read the promised land BOM story to read, "I the lord will not bring people here unless the are righteous", not, "no one else will ever be here other than the righteous" - otherwise how can you explain the Spanish ever being allowed to find it.)
The Book of Mormon was never intended to be a textual support for this manner of critical investigation and is poorly fitted to support either of these conclusions. Neither of them can be fundamentally textually substantiated with out additional evidence external to the text itself.
That doesn't mean the BOM can't more closely align itself with other external data. It just means that trying to complete a historical world view of Nephi's time based on a book that by it's own text focuses exclusively on things of religious value over geopolitical and sociological observations.
In fact, I would suggest that the only thing the BOM factually claims, based exclusively on text, is that if you try to extrapolate non-religious or non-spiritual content out of the book you are "wresting the scriptures" and looking for exactly what the BOM openly proclaims it is not attempting to provide.
What does that mean for Rob Bowman. It means the BOM should never be used as a tool to make non-religious/non-spiritual claims. Where people came from and how they lived, based on the BOM own text, is a non-religious/non-spiritual issue. Thus, if Church leaders have argued for a specific geopolitical world view at the time Nephi arrived in the Promised Land, such an argument is beyond the scope of the BOM. Likewise Bowmans claim that the BOM has any thing to say about where each and every person in the promised land came from is a fundamental misrepresentation of even the most basic reading of the textual narrative of the Book.
However, given that church leaders, prophets, Rob Bowman and ourselves are always fundamentalizing our religious texts and trying to have them answer all questions, instead of just the ones the text actually tell us it is trying to answer, why don't we cut him some slack. He is only looking in the BOM for answers to questions the BOM has adamantly told us it is not capable of answering and not willing to take no for an answer.
Edited by Bikeemikey, 15 March 2012 - 04:43 PM.