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Question About The Book Of Mormon Geography Debate

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I'm a novice when it comes to Book of Mormon geography.  I don't worry about it too much, at least not enough to study the various theories in detail.  Still, with so many debates in recent years, I do have a question:

 

Do proponents of the two most popular geography models (heartland and Mesoamerica) take into account the cataclysmic geographic changes that took place when Christ was crucified?  If much of the geography described in the text predates the events of 3rd Nephi, doesn't that make the debate moot?  

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And how does the Heartland model account for Hagoth sailing the pacific? Mormon lore says that the polynesians are remnants of Hagoth and his people. How does that happen if the limited geography doesn't include the pacific coast?

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See Bart J. Kowallis, BYU Studies "In the Thirty and Fourth Year: A Geologist's View of the Great Destruction in 3 Nephi" 37:3.

https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/6476/6125

In general, the heartlanders prefer to ignore the 600+ geographic descriptions, including journeys and spatial relationships and the implications for archaeology as provided in the next.

Sorenson, in Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon points out the the text that we have was compiled and written by Mormon and Moroni who lived after the destruction and have no trouble working with pre-destruction texts and correlating locations. The destruction changed "the face" of the land closest to the events reported, not the basic structure and overall spatial relationships.

There is also a more recent book called a Geologist Looks at the Book of Mormon, which compares the geology in Mesoamerica with the text. I have a copy on order. Neal Rappleye reviews it for Intepreter here:

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-great-and-terrible-judgments-of-the-lord-destruction-and-disaster-in-3-nephi-and-the-geology-of-mesoamerica/

One thing that is most evident in considering the details is the destruction were volcanic in nature and that while Mesoamerica not only has them, but specific events that date to the right time (as well as such things can be dated), and the heartlanders prefer to talk fast and change the subject. Even the biggest earthquakes last only a few seconds. I was in a big California quake, so I have more than an academic experience. The tremors accompanying volcanoes can last for hours and produce all of the other effects described in detail in 3 Nephi 8-10.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen

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See Bart J. Kowallis, BYU Studies "In the Thirty and Fourth Year: A Geologist's View of the Great Destruction in 3 Nephi" 37:3.

https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/6476/6125

In general, the heartlanders prefer to ignore the 600+ geographic descriptions, including journeys and spatial relationships and the implications for archaeology as provided in the next.

Sorenson, in Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon points out the the text that we have was compiled and written by Mormon and Moroni who lived after the destruction and have no trouble working with pre-destruction texts and correlating locations. The destruction changed "the face" of the land closest to the events reported, not the basic structure and overall spatial relationships.

There is also a more recent book called a Geologist Looks at the Book of Mormon, which compares the geology in Mesoamerica with the text. I have a copy on order. Neal Rappleye reviews it for Intepreter here:

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-great-and-terrible-judgments-of-the-lord-destruction-and-disaster-in-3-nephi-and-the-geology-of-mesoamerica/

One thing that is most evident in considering the details is the destruction were volcanic in nature and that while Mesoamerica not only has them, but specific events that date to the right time (as well as such things can be dated), and the heartlanders prefer to talk fast and change the subject. Even the biggest earthquakes last only a few seconds. I was in a big California quake, so I have more than an academic experience. The tremors accompanying volcanoes can last for hours and produce all of the other effects described in detail in 3 Nephi 8-10.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

 

On the flip side, the Mesoamericanists that argue for a small area tend to deliberately ignore the fact that the descriptions of the Land Northward that include "an exceedingly great distance" and "large bodies of water" are descriptive of the area of Eastern North America, while it still remains true that the area below the neck is indeed a small area with a large concentration of urbanization.  So, while the Land of Zarahemla is indeed in Mesoamerica, the achilles heel of the Mesoamerican theory is the issues surrounding the Land Northward, which is where they have it wrong, and why Cumorah in New York remains to be the place where the Nephites and Jaredites were destroyed anciently, not just the place where Moroni buried the plates.  And while they may say that the Book of Mormon text doesn't mention the climate of North America, but rather the climate of Mesoamerica, the clear implication of an "exceedingly great distance" is that something is far away from something else.  Since it is the climate of the Land Southward that is mentioned, logic dictates that there is no reason to assume that the climate described is also necessarily the climate of a place a very long ways away from the climate that is described.

Edited by DragonLancer

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And how does the Heartland model account for Hagoth sailing the pacific? Mormon lore says that the polynesians are remnants of Hagoth and his people. How does that happen if the limited geography doesn't include the pacific coast?

 

Back when I was a proponent of the Heartland Theory (being one of the architects of it), I proposed that Hagoth launched from the narrow neck of Land (which I thought was the Niagara peninsula) and then out into Lake Ontario and out into the Atlantic.  Once he was out to sea, it was only a matter of time that he would go around South America and out into the Pacific, or around Africa and then out past Australia into the pacific.  Once someone is out to sea, the Lord can take them where he wills.  Nevertheless, I don't believe this anymore.

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On the flip side, the Mesoamericanists that argue for a small area tend to deliberately ignore the fact that the descriptions of the Land Northward that include "an exceedingly great distance" and "large bodies of water" are descriptive of the area of Eastern North America, while it still remains true that the area below the neck is indeed a small area with a large concentration of urbanization.  So, while the Land of Zarahemla is indeed in Mesoamerica, the achilles heel of the Mesoamerican theory is the issues surrounding the Land Northward, which is where they have it wrong, and why Cumorah in New York remains to be the place where the Nephites and Jaredites were destroyed anciently, not just the place where Moroni buried the plates.  And while they may say that the Book of Mormon text doesn't mention the climate of North America, but rather the climate of Mesoamerica, the clear implication of an "exceedingly great distance" is that something is far away from something else.  Since it is the climate of the Land Southward that is mentioned, logic dictates that there is no reason to assume that the climate described is also necessarily the climate of a place a very long ways away from the climate that is described.

To be specific:

And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers.

Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land,141 into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.

And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate.

And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell. (Helaman 3:3-7)

However far "exceedingly" happens to be, one important constraint should be the use of cement. Teotihuican provides that for the Mesoamerican model at the right time.

http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1110&index=61

Back in 2004 in the Review 16/1, looked into the Book of Mormon uses of "exceeding."

"Never does the word exceeding appear to describe the order of magnitude that Vogel's reading demands but rather that a circumstance exceeds normal measures or efforts."

Other uses of exceeding do not exhibit either the precision or the orders of magnitude that Vogel requires: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young" (1 Nephi 2:16). "And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property [carried in by Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, and Sam], and that it was exceedingly great" (1 Nephi 3:25). "They came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly" (1 Nephi 18:15). "And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains" (2 Nephi 4:25). "Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites" (Alma 44:21). Also, "They had encircled the city of Bountiful round about with a strong wall of timbers and earth, to an exceeding height" (Alma 53:4). Compare, "And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities" (Alma 50:2). How high must the earth and timbers be? Also compare, "And it came to pass that the brother of Jared . . . went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height" (Ether 3:1). How high must the mountain be?

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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................................................................

Back in 2004 in the Review 16/1, looked into the Book of Mormon uses of "exceeding."

"Never does the word exceeding appear to describe the order of magnitude that Vogel's reading demands but rather that a circumstance exceeds normal measures or efforts."

...........................................................

The most common Hebrew words translated by the KJV as "exceeding(ly)" are, respectively, měʼōd and rābâ , the latter even appearing in an explicit etymology in Alma 18:13 as "powerful, great (king)."  Such terms are relative, and an exceedingly good candidate is the Papaloapan River basin in Veracruz, Mexico, and nearby areas.  An exceedingly large amount of water there certainly meets the description very well.

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If I went for a 100 mile hike with a 50 lb pack, the word ' exceedingly ' might fit when I described  the jaunt.

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The phrase "dead upon arrival" would be more applicable for me.

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To be specific:

And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers.

Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land,141 into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.

And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate.

And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell. (Helaman 3:3-7)

However far "exceedingly" happens to be, one important constraint should be the use of cement. Teotihuican provides that for the Mesoamerican model at the right time.

http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1110&index=61

Back in 2004 in the Review 16/1, looked into the Book of Mormon uses of "exceeding."

"Never does the word exceeding appear to describe the order of magnitude that Vogel's reading demands but rather that a circumstance exceeds normal measures or efforts."

Other uses of exceeding do not exhibit either the precision or the orders of magnitude that Vogel requires: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young" (1 Nephi 2:16). "And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property [carried in by Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, and Sam], and that it was exceedingly great" (1 Nephi 3:25). "They came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly" (1 Nephi 18:15). "And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains" (2 Nephi 4:25). "Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites" (Alma 44:21). Also, "They had encircled the city of Bountiful round about with a strong wall of timbers and earth, to an exceeding height" (Alma 53:4). Compare, "And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities" (Alma 50:2). How high must the earth and timbers be? Also compare, "And it came to pass that the brother of Jared . . . went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height" (Ether 3:1). How high must the mountain be?

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

 

Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure you will), but am I right in thinking that the Teotihuican convergence is only such if one assumes that Mormon was not describing conditions circa 50 BC, a time during which there is no evidence of cement use in Teotihuican or massive deforestation, but the geographical conditions of his own day (c.400AD)? If this is correct, is there any additional evidence/reason to warrant the assumption that Mormon made an editorial error because it seems like a point which rather undermines the claim? 

 

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The only BOM theory I've heard of that offers a historical account of destruction and darkness around that time period is the Malay theory. The hill tribes in Burma have an oral legend that says there was a period of intense darkness called Thimzing.

"The period of ‘Thimzing’ is believed to be between A.D. 25-40. This unusual total darkness befell humanity for consecutive 7 days and 7 nights. There was shortage of dry firewood and other daily essential items. The interesting thing said about the unusual event was that the ghosts (spirits) of the dead visit human beings. It was also said that whoever doze were dying. In order to keep their eyes widely opened (not doze), they used to insert a bamboo-chip between the eyes to keep the eyes widely opened. The clansmen gathered together at the house of the chieftain and sang together."

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I'm a novice when it comes to Book of Mormon geography.  I don't worry about it too much, at least not enough to study the various theories in detail.  Still, with so many debates in recent years, I do have a question:

 

Do proponents of the two most popular geography models (heartland and Mesoamerica) take into account the cataclysmic geographic changes that took place when Christ was crucified?  If much of the geography described in the text predates the events of 3rd Nephi, doesn't that make the debate moot?  

 

One problem is we don't know how accurately these "cataclysmic geography changes" were reported.  There may have been a lot of artistic embellishment, such that it would be impossible to account for these events in a proposed geography.

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To be specific:

And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers.

Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land,141 into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.

And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate.

And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell. (Helaman 3:3-7)

However far "exceedingly" happens to be, one important constraint should be the use of cement. Teotihuican provides that for the Mesoamerican model at the right time.

http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1110&index=61

Back in 2004 in the Review 16/1, looked into the Book of Mormon uses of "exceeding."

"Never does the word exceeding appear to describe the order of magnitude that Vogel's reading demands but rather that a circumstance exceeds normal measures or efforts."

Other uses of exceeding do not exhibit either the precision or the orders of magnitude that Vogel requires: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, being exceedingly young" (1 Nephi 2:16). "And it came to pass that when Laban saw our property [carried in by Nephi, Laman, Lemuel, and Sam], and that it was exceedingly great" (1 Nephi 3:25). "They came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly" (1 Nephi 18:15). "And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains" (2 Nephi 4:25). "Now the number of their dead was not numbered because of the greatness of the number; yea, the number of their dead was exceedingly great, both on the Nephites and on the Lamanites" (Alma 44:21). Also, "They had encircled the city of Bountiful round about with a strong wall of timbers and earth, to an exceeding height" (Alma 53:4). Compare, "And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities" (Alma 50:2). How high must the earth and timbers be? Also compare, "And it came to pass that the brother of Jared . . . went forth unto the mount, which they called the mount Shelem, because of its exceeding height" (Ether 3:1). How high must the mountain be?

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

 

Here we go again.  This point has been hashed out over and over again.  I can't disagree with you more in your attempts to minimize the fact that the geography actually does fit and intellectualize away its plausibility.  It doesn't matter that you can argue for the fact that exceedingly can be interpreted the way you try to argue for.  The point is, what I am arguing for is plausible, and that is my point.  Just because you argue for what you are arguing for doesn't nullify my points.  Eastern North America is a plausible interpretation of the scriptures in question.  I wrote a whole book on this where I deal with your very argument, and in fact, you are the very person I was quoting in the book when I was refuting these very points.  However, I have argued these very points so many times until I was blue in the face years ago, that I don't feel like doing it here because for Mesoamericanists it goes in one ear and out the other.  They don't care about other people's plausible points.  They pretend like theirs are the only possibilities.

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Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure you will), but am I right in thinking that the Teotihuican convergence is only such if one assumes that Mormon was not describing conditions circa 50 BC, a time during which there is no evidence of cement use in Teotihuican or massive deforestation, but the geographical conditions of his own day (c.400AD)? If this is correct, is there any additional evidence/reason to warrant the assumption that Mormon made an editorial error because it seems like a point which rather undermines the claim?

You are probably thinking of Brant Gardner's comments at FAIR in 2002 and appearing in an updated form in Traditions of the Fathers: The Book of Mormon as History "The Gaddianton Robbers in Typology and History".

The version at FAIR has this:

The essential elements that allow us to identify this area are:

It is northward of the Nephite lands

There are many waters

It is nearly desolate of trees

There are cement buildings

From perhaps 100 BC to 600 AD there is only one area in Mesoamerica that fits all of these descriptions, and that is the city known as Teotihuac·n. It is north of the Nephite lands. It is near the lake that at that time occupied the current site of Mexico City. It has buildings made of high quality cement.10 The lack of trees and the environmental imbalance created by denuding the land of trees is hypothesized as a major factor in creating the downfall of Teotihuac·n.11 We have several very specific requirements that must all converge at one point to fit Mormon’s description and there is only one area in Mesoamerica that fits this description well in the time period described. Mormon the author is pointing his finger at a specific location at a specific time because that location serves as the historical fulcrum on which his meta-narrative is leveraged.

In spite of the accuracy of this description of Teotihuac·n, there is nevertheless a major problem with the fit. That problem is one of timing. The particular conditions that require the area to be devoid of trees and dominated by buildings of cement, do not belong to the Teotihuac·n of 49 BC when the northward migration is described by Mormon, but rather the Teotihuac·n of 250AD and later.

It is at this point that we understand the nature of the references to the future that frame the northward migration narrative. Mormon does not have historical records that tell of the land to which these people went, but Mormon nevertheless gives us a particular location for them, a location they may or may not have reached. His understanding of that land is based upon his own current time period. What we have is Mormon describing the Teotihuac·n that he knows in his own time, and pushing that description earlier into history. This is not unusual for ancient historians.

However, it also doesn’t matter. It really is the Teotihuac·n of his own time that is his concern. Mormon intentionally links this migration northward to the land of Teotihuac·n, not because of historical accuracy, but precisely because he desires to tie the Gadiantons of Helaman’s time to the Gadiantons of his own day.

http://www.fairmormon.org/perspectives/fair-conferences/2002-fair-conference/2002-the-gadianton-robbers-in-mormons-theological-history-their-structural-role-and-plausible-identification

The main point is that Teotihuacan suits the narrative and the perpective of Mormon as narrator. And there are multiple interrelated convergences.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

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Correct me if I'm wrong (I'm sure you will), but am I right in thinking that the Teotihuican convergence is only such if one assumes that Mormon was not describing conditions circa 50 BC, a time during which there is no evidence of cement use in Teotihuican or massive deforestation, but the geographical conditions of his own day (c.400AD)? If this is correct, is there any additional evidence/reason to warrant the assumption that Mormon made an editorial error because it seems like a point which rather undermines the claim? 

 

 

True, the deforestation to fuel the construction of brick & cement buildings would have to begin (at the very latest) around 50 BC. Helaman 3 also mentions a trade in wood and timber to the land north:
 
Helaman 3:10 "And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping."
Helaman 3: 14 "But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people...and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships…cannot be contained in this work.”
 
I recently shifted allegiance to the Malay model based on the archaeological record showing massive deforestation in the land north of the Malay peninsula (present-day Burma) as people cut trees down to fire bricks and build walled cities. There is substantial evidence of a trade in wood from 500 BC onwards as the populations on the peninsula expanded north. This matches the Book of Mormon account of 100 BC to 100 AD more closely than anything else I've read.

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True, the deforestation to fuel the construction of brick & cement buildings would have to begin (at the very latest) around 50 BC. Helaman 3 also mentions a trade in wood and timber to the land north:
 
Helaman 3:10 "And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping."
Helaman 3: 14 "But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people...and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships…cannot be contained in this work.”
 
I recently shifted allegiance to the Malay model based on the archaeological record showing massive deforestation in the land north of the Malay peninsula (present-day Burma) as people cut trees down to fire bricks and build walled cities. There is substantial evidence of a trade in wood from 500 BC onwards as the populations on the peninsula expanded north. This matches the Book of Mormon account of 100 BC to 100 AD more closely than anything else I've read.

 

I think I know your brother Fu.

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I think I know your brother Fu.

Fu Manchou of Vorito? He's a cousin, but it is a small world on Beaver Island :)

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The main point is that Teotihuacan suits the narrative and the perpective of Mormon as narrator. And there are multiple interrelated convergences.

 

Helaman 3 mentions that the deforestation had already taken place, and the trade in timber to meet their needs was well underway by 50 BC. 

"5. Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.  6. And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate. 7. And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell."

The land had already been deforested by the time they migrated north, well before Mormon narrated the events. 

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See Bart J. Kowallis, BYU Studies "In the Thirty and Fourth Year: A Geologist's View of the Great Destruction in 3 Nephi" 37:3.

https://ojs.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/6476/6125

In general, the heartlanders prefer to ignore the 600+ geographic descriptions, including journeys and spatial relationships and the implications for archaeology as provided in the next.

 

 

I actually believe the BoM mostly took place around the region of the Great Lakes, and largely because of the geographic descriptions which I feel do not match mesoamerica. The Great Lakes region has the narrow neck of land of one day's journey, and can match the description of the 4 seas. It also has the Hill Cumorah - the final resting place of the plates, etc. It is also backed by revelations in D&C referring to the local Indians as Lamanites, and statements of Joseph Smith regarding Zelph who placed the people in the area of the heartland. It also happens to correspond the timeframe of a specific mound building culture which we know disappeared at the time the BoM ended in 400 AD. It also happens to correspond with recent DNA evidence placing haplogroup X mtDNA in the region which corresponds to the Middle East rather than Asia which has basically none, as well as male haplogroup R DNA which corresponds to Europe and the Middle East rather than Asia as well and certain groups of Hebrews including Levites. Whereas known DNA of the MesoAmerica area correspond best with DNA found in Asia.

As time has passed there has been more evidence to support a heartland model.

 

 

 

 

Sorenson, in Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon points out the the text that we have was compiled and written by Mormon and Moroni who lived after the destruction and have no trouble working with pre-destruction texts and correlating locations. The destruction changed "the face" of the land closest to the events reported, not the basic structure and overall spatial relationships.

There is also a more recent book called a Geologist Looks at the Book of Mormon, which compares the geology in Mesoamerica with the text. I have a copy on order. Neal Rappleye reviews it for Intepreter here:

http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/the-great-and-terrible-judgments-of-the-lord-destruction-and-disaster-in-3-nephi-and-the-geology-of-mesoamerica/

One thing that is most evident in considering the details is the destruction were volcanic in nature and that while Mesoamerica not only has them, but specific events that date to the right time (as well as such things can be dated), and the heartlanders prefer to talk fast and change the subject. Even the biggest earthquakes last only a few seconds. I was in a big California quake, so I have more than an academic experience. The tremors accompanying volcanoes can last for hours and produce all of the other effects described in detail in 3 Nephi 8-10.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Bethel Park, PA

The destruction can certainly be accounted for by the Mississippi River basin fault system, which is known to have produced substantial earthquakes and land shifting. There is a subsidance of the land in the fault zone of up to 15 feet which is directly attrubuted to one such quake in 1812. Cement structures could certainly be shaken to bits in such a quake without reinforcing steel, etc. We don't need a volcano to account for the events described.

 

Just thought I'd weigh in on the matter with a few thoughts, because I don't agree with your broad characterizations.

Cheers

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Helaman 3 mentions that the deforestation had already taken place, and the trade in timber to meet their needs was well underway by 50 BC. 

"5. Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land.  6. And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate. 7. And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell."

The land had already been deforested by the time they migrated north, well before Mormon narrated the events. 

Do you think that the deforestation had taken place due to the burning of so much timber with limestone, so as to make lime plaster?

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Do you think that the deforestation had taken place due to the burning of so much timber with limestone, so as to make lime plaster?

 

Surely it's the timescale that is critical here.  The Book of Mormon claims that this deforestation for cement production was widespread circa 50BC - a textual claim which does not match the geography of Teotihuacan for that time period nor is there evidence of cement production during that time.  Thus the supposition is that Mormon made an editorial error and was describing conditions of a later period (250AD or later) for which there is simply no textual evidence whatsoever.  It is disingenuous, in my view, for apologists to offer cement production in Teotihuacan as an item of evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon when the convergence rests on a totally unsupported textual assumption. 

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I actually believe the BoM mostly took place around the region of the Great Lakes, and largely because of the geographic descriptions which I feel do not match mesoamerica. The Great Lakes region has the narrow neck of land of one day's journey, and can match the description of the 4 seas. It also has the Hill Cumorah - the final resting place of the plates, etc. It is also backed by revelations in D&C referring to the local Indians as Lamanites, and statements of Joseph Smith regarding Zelph who placed the people in the area of the heartland. It also happens to correspond the timeframe of a specific mound building culture which we know disappeared at the time the BoM ended in 400 AD. It also happens to correspond with recent DNA evidence placing haplogroup X mtDNA in the region which corresponds to the Middle East rather than Asia which has basically none, as well as male haplogroup R DNA which corresponds to Europe and the Middle East rather than Asia as well and certain groups of Hebrews including Levites. Whereas known DNA of the MesoAmerica area correspond best with DNA found in Asia.

 

RevTestament, you have repeated enough of the Heartlander party line that it makes a convenient place to do a little fact checking. 

1) The narrow neck fits for distance, so that is good. Unfortunately, the narrow neck needs to lead into the land northward. This narrow neck has Cumorah east instead of the textually required northy.

2) There are four "seas." Without worrying that the text only mentions things happening at the east and west seas, and never mentions the north and south except in the general descriptions of the whole world, in order to have a sea south, you must be north of it. In order to have a sea north, you must be south of it. Thus the four seas would require that virtually the entire Book of Mormon occur in Michigan or up to Toronto--and be north or the narrow neck of land. The text says it has t be south.

3) Regardless of what we think if Zelph, there is nothing in that story that relates to the Book of Mormon. No geography of the story fits the text. There is nothing to suggest that it refers to the time period of the Book of Mormon. Archaeologically, the remains would have been later than the Book of Mormon. It doesn't help with geography from the text's time period.

4) The Hill Cumorah issue is obviously controversial and quickly becomes one of faith. Since Joseph Smith was the one who was supposed to know the geography, if you use Joseph's words as the model--the NY hill wasn't Cumorah. Joseph didn't use that word for it until (I think) 1842), by which time it had become so entrenched in everyone else's vocabulary that he started using it as well. References to an angel giving the name also come from about 80 years after the fact. The Book of Mormon actually is pretty clear that the plates that Joseph received were not buried in Cumorah. There are lots of issues.

5) There mound builder culture basically fits in the time frame, but not in the spatial distribution, nor in the relationship to an earlier people. The Adena are a problematic fit for the Jaredites for two reasons. First the text requires that they be north of the Nephites until very late in the Book of Mormon (when they are finally near Cumorah)--but the Adena sites were in the same places as the later Hopewell. Secondly, there are now some suggesting that the Adena/Hopewell division is incorrect and that the Adena and Hopewell were really the same, just earlier and later versions.

6) The DNA evidence you mention is incorrect. It was originally a selectively distorted version of the then-available evidence. More recent work has changed it entirely, and nothing about the Heartlander statements about DNA are correct. They are unsupported by anyone with any understanding of the field, including LDS scholars who work in it. Not the least problem is that the only way the original thesis was possible was to suggest that some of the science was right, but other science was wrong. The articles from which the first information was taken clearly demonstrate the migration coming across the Bering Strait some 10-12000 years ago. Meldrum changed the timeframe and neglected to mention the part that got the DNA from the Bering Strait to the lower Mississippi. Please read the church's approved statement on DNA on LDS.org.

 

As time has passed there has been more evidence to support a heartland model.

 

Actually, this is not correct either. There is neither more nor less--and there really has never been much at all for the heartland. The geography doesn't work if you really look at it rather than simply accept bits and pieces without trying to put them together. The archaeology doesn't work well. The times are bad, but there is the problem of finding a good plausible Jaredite possibility. The heartland model doesn't have one that fits. The heartland model does have the model of the deforested lands with buildings of cement north of Nephite lands. I don't know if you have seen upper NY, but deforested wouldn't be the word.

 

Most egregious is that Wayne May is still promoting forged artifacts as proof that there were Christians in the area. He cannot be unaware of the scientific examination of those artifacts--yet he still uses them in his presentations.

 

 

The destruction can certainly be accounted for by the Mississippi River basin fault system, which is known to have produced substantial earthquakes and land shifting. There is a subsidance of the land in the fault zone of up to 15 feet which is directly attrubuted to one such quake in 1812. Cement structures could certainly be shaken to bits in such a quake without reinforcing steel, etc. We don't need a volcano to account for the events described.

 

 

First, it would be good to consult geologists rather than armchair theorists on what the descriptions in the Book of Mormon are talking about. I know of three LDS geologists who have looked at the descriptions and say that the only thing that fits all of the descriptions is a volcanic event. Nevertheless, what about the Mississippi River and the know 1812 quake? It was pretty severe. It is also either a once in forever instance, or once in thousands of year event. There is zero evidence that it occurred during Book of Mormon times. It is a fault line that occurs in that particular location, but in the 1812 event wasn't even close to affecting the heartland area of Bountiful. Now the Book of Mormon doesn't say that Bountiful was affected, but they knew all about it. The Heartland Bountiful is too far away to have even known about it until travelers arrived long after the fact. It simply doesn't fit.

 

As for cement structures, they might be destroyed in a quake--but there is zero evidence that they ever existed anywhere in North America (and the text says they have to be north of Nephite lands). The only possibility I have hear for heartland "cement" is adobe--but that is in the Southwest and only works in relatively dry climates. Adobe would rapidly disintegrate in the wet weather (and melting snow) of the Northeast.

 

So, yes--you need a volcano to account for all of the events. No, the Mississippi doesn't work for any save the earthquake and the darkness--but they were in the wrong place and there is no indication that the event occurred in Book of Mormon times. 

 

The only thing that the heartland can correctly say is that the early Saints used the term Lamanites for the Native Americans to their west. But then they used the term for any Native American in the north or south American continents--and easily shifted the meaning of the term. There really isn't much solid in the heartland hypothesis except a desire to believe. There are certainly those who have faith in it, but it is a faith resting on something other than evidence.

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RevTestament, you have repeated enough of the Heartlander party line that it makes a convenient place to do a little fact checking. 

1) The narrow neck fits for distance, so that is good. Unfortunately, the narrow neck needs to lead into the land northward. This narrow neck has Cumorah east instead of the textually required northy.

2) There are four "seas." Without worrying that the text only mentions things happening at the east and west seas, and never mentions the north and south except in the general descriptions of the whole world, in order to have a sea south, you must be north of it. In order to have a sea north, you must be south of it. Thus the four seas would require that virtually the entire Book of Mormon occur in Michigan or up to Toronto--and be north or the narrow neck of land. The text says it has t be south.

3) Regardless of what we think if Zelph, there is nothing in that story that relates to the Book of Mormon. No geography of the story fits the text. There is nothing to suggest that it refers to the time period of the Book of Mormon. Archaeologically, the remains would have been later than the Book of Mormon. It doesn't help with geography from the text's time period.

4) The Hill Cumorah issue is obviously controversial and quickly becomes one of faith. Since Joseph Smith was the one who was supposed to know the geography, if you use Joseph's words as the model--the NY hill wasn't Cumorah. Joseph didn't use that word for it until (I think) 1842), by which time it had become so entrenched in everyone else's vocabulary that he started using it as well. References to an angel giving the name also come from about 80 years after the fact. The Book of Mormon actually is pretty clear that the plates that Joseph received were not buried in Cumorah. There are lots of issues.

5) There mound builder culture basically fits in the time frame, but not in the spatial distribution, nor in the relationship to an earlier people. The Adena are a problematic fit for the Jaredites for two reasons. First the text requires that they be north of the Nephites until very late in the Book of Mormon (when they are finally near Cumorah)--but the Adena sites were in the same places as the later Hopewell. Secondly, there are now some suggesting that the Adena/Hopewell division is incorrect and that the Adena and Hopewell were really the same, just earlier and later versions.

6) The DNA evidence you mention is incorrect. It was originally a selectively distorted version of the then-available evidence. More recent work has changed it entirely, and nothing about the Heartlander statements about DNA are correct. They are unsupported by anyone with any understanding of the field, including LDS scholars who work in it. Not the least problem is that the only way the original thesis was possible was to suggest that some of the science was right, but other science was wrong. The articles from which the first information was taken clearly demonstrate the migration coming across the Bering Strait some 10-12000 years ago. Meldrum changed the timeframe and neglected to mention the part that got the DNA from the Bering Strait to the lower Mississippi. Please read the church's approved statement on DNA on LDS.org.

 

 

Actually, this is not correct either. There is neither more nor less--and there really has never been much at all for the heartland. The geography doesn't work if you really look at it rather than simply accept bits and pieces without trying to put them together. The archaeology doesn't work well. The times are bad, but there is the problem of finding a good plausible Jaredite possibility. The heartland model doesn't have one that fits. The heartland model does have the model of the deforested lands with buildings of cement north of Nephite lands. I don't know if you have seen upper NY, but deforested wouldn't be the word.

 

Most egregious is that Wayne May is still promoting forged artifacts as proof that there were Christians in the area. He cannot be unaware of the scientific examination of those artifacts--yet he still uses them in his presentations.

 

Hello Brant,

Well, we are probably just going to have to agree to disagree.

Let me say first off that I've never said I am a "Hearlander." I spoke about the Great Lakes region. While some of the events may have happened southward, this doesn't make me a disciple of Wayne May, which I am not - nor Rod Meldrum.

I've actually felt this way since about 2001. I read a book about the Great Lakes region, and how it fit the Book of Mormon, and the spirit impressed upon me that this was the area of at least some of the Book of Mormon events. I remember talking to someone about how the Hopewell culture seemed to fit certain aspects, and how it would be interesting to see what DNA said. As a matter of fact I believe I mentioned my thought to a BYU professor. I don't know if that became the impetus behind Rod Meldrum, but was somewhat surprised to find some years later these guys parrotting my exact idea, and selling dvds etc. The fact is I've looked at the DNA studies myself and while they don't match perfectly with Middle East DNA, we haven't found a perfect match anywhere else in the world period. This is undoubtedly because the DNA has mutated. The time periods required for such mutation is of course a matter of debate. While this might be worked out with "probabilities" etc, the fact remains that it is much more likely that there was a single large mutation which accounts for this outside of the usual rates of mutation, than the entire haplogroup changing. The fact remains that the area around the Great Lakes has Haplogroup X mtDNA and haplogroup R Y-DNA while Meso-America does not. As a matter of fact the male natives are virtually 100% haplogroup R in most areas. That is just not a match with Asia as you suggest. Unless God changed their haplogroup, it best matches Middle East and European haplogroups even known Levite haplogroups. You just can't say that for the Meso American Indians - period.

 

I have now set it upon myself to try to work out my own model for how events may have transpired in the BOM, but I don't think it will include Meso America...

1. I don't see how the text requires the hill Cumorah to be northward of the narrow neck of land. Feel free to elaborate.

2. Be more specific when you say the "text requires" it to be south. Scriptures?

3. Zelph does indeed put the geography in the area of the heartland, unless you believe Joseph was speaking of MesoAmerica and yet somehow Zelph ended up 2000 miles north of the land where he became great. You really have to stretch the text to believe otherwise.

4. I've never said Joseph Smith knew the geography of the BOM. If he did, he was strangely quiet about all these particular points, wasn't he? But for you to suggest that the Hill Cumorah wasn't in NY is a huge stretch. Every word I've ever read about it from Joseph Smith says he got the plates from the hill Cumorah. He never said otherwise.

5. I am not an archaeologist.

6. The DNA evidence I talked about IS correct. see above

There is also archaeological evidence supporting a stone technology on the east coast of N America which matches a stone technology from Europe. This just doesn't match an immigration from the Bering Straight 10,000 yrs ago. Sorry. I don't really care if the archaeologists tried to fit the new DNA into their Bering Straight hypothesis. They are clearly being proved wrong by archaeology, and later archaeologists are being forced to admit that the Bering Straights hyposthesis does not explain all the new findings. You seem to be just nitpicking at Rod Meldrum here. I don't feel he has been dishonest. He doesn't have to represent the particulars of the Bering Straights hypothesis to make a case.

 

 

 

First, it would be good to consult geologists rather than armchair theorists on what the descriptions in the Book of Mormon are talking about. I know of three LDS geologists who have looked at the descriptions and say that the only thing that fits all of the descriptions is a volcanic event. Nevertheless, what about the Mississippi River and the know 1812 quake? It was pretty severe. It is also either a once in forever instance, or once in thousands of year event. There is zero evidence that it occurred during Book of Mormon times. It is a fault line that occurs in that particular location, but in the 1812 event wasn't even close to affecting the heartland area of Bountiful. Now the Book of Mormon doesn't say that Bountiful was affected, but they knew all about it. The Heartland Bountiful is too far away to have even known about it until travelers arrived long after the fact. It simply doesn't fit.

 

As for cement structures, they might be destroyed in a quake--but there is zero evidence that they ever existed anywhere in North America (and the text says they have to be north of Nephite lands). The only possibility I have hear for heartland "cement" is adobe--but that is in the Southwest and only works in relatively dry climates. Adobe would rapidly disintegrate in the wet weather (and melting snow) of the Northeast.

 

So, yes--you need a volcano to account for all of the events. No, the Mississippi doesn't work for any save the earthquake and the darkness--but they were in the wrong place and there is no indication that the event occurred in Book of Mormon times. 

 

The only thing that the heartland can correctly say is that the early Saints used the term Lamanites for the Native Americans to their west. But then they used the term for any Native American in the north or south American continents--and easily shifted the meaning of the term. There really isn't much solid in the heartland hypothesis except a desire to believe. There are certainly those who have faith in it, but it is a faith resting on something other than evidence.

 

Please feel free to discuss how the events of the BOM need a volcano. I do acknowledge that the mist of darkness may match, but in reality for it to get that dark from a volcano, basically implies they would suffocate from all its noxious gases, and would all be dead. This seems to mitigate against a volcanic event and just be a dense fog, which really is better explained in a cool climate around a large body of water. I have been in fogs so dense that you can barely see your hand in front of you.

As for the scarcity of earthquake events, what evidence is there for one 2000 yrs ago in Meso America? What evidence can you point to to show that an earthquake occurred? We know that one did in the heartland and that it resulted in substantial land subsidances. If one happened in 1812, why can't it in 34 A.D? I don't believe there is any way you can say it didn't.

 

Cheers :)

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Hello Brant,

Well, we are probably just going to have to agree to disagree.

Let me say first off that I've never said I am a "Hearlander." I spoke about the Great Lakes region. While some of the events may have happened southward, this doesn't make me a disciple of Wayne May, which I am not - nor Rod Meldrum.

 

I apologize for applying the label, but the point remains that you have repeated the precise arguments the heartlanders make. You have neither added to nor altered them in your comments. If you are limited to the Great Lakes, however, your Mississippi earthquake example is even farther off.

 

I've actually felt this way since about 2001. I read a book about the Great Lakes region, and how it fit the Book of Mormon, and the spirit impressed upon me that this was the area of at least some of the Book of Mormon events.

 

 

I can appreciate anyone's experience with the spirit. However, the number of people having spiritual impressions about Book of Mormon geography hasn't been able to satisfy those who are trying to make the pieces fit. You are certainly welcome to follow your conscience. You should understand, however, that the particulars you are using for support do not actually provide that support.

 

 

 I remember talking to someone about how the Hopewell culture seemed to fit certain aspects, and how it would be interesting to see what DNA said. As a matter of fact I believe I mentioned my thought to a BYU professor. I don't know if that became the impetus behind Rod Meldrum, but was somewhat surprised to find some years later these guys parrotting my exact idea, and selling dvds etc.

 

 

If you aren't Dragon Lancer in a different name, you will have to stand behind him in the claim to the impetus to Meldrum. His contribution to the geography is the clearest antecedent in a book he published with Wayne May. He no longer supports that geography, however.

 

The fact is I've looked at the DNA studies myself and while they don't match perfectly with Middle East DNA, we haven't found a perfect match anywhere else in the world period. This is undoubtedly because the DNA has mutated. The time periods required for such mutation is of course a matter of debate. While this might be worked out with "probabilities" etc, the fact remains that it is much more likely that there was a single large mutation which accounts for this outside of the usual rates of mutation, than the entire haplogroup changing. The fact remains that the area around the Great Lakes has Haplogroup X mtDNA and haplogroup R Y-DNA while Meso-America does not. As a matter of fact the male natives are virtually 100% haplogroup R in most areas. That is just not a match with Asia as you suggest. Unless God changed their haplogroup, it best matches Middle East and European haplogroups even known Levite haplogroups. You just can't say that for the Meso American Indians - period.

 

As I noted earlier, you are behind on the DNA research. Your statement that the "European" DNA doesn't fit in Mesoamerica is no longer correct. Really, none of it is up with current research--or the Church's direct statement. As for the dating, it is only a matter of debate for those willing to ignore science when it does not agree with their hypotheses. You will not find the debate among scientists (at least none that cover some 10,000 years of difference).

 

 

I have now set it upon myself to try to work out my own model for how events may have transpired in the BOM, but I don't think it will include Meso America...

1. I don't see how the text requires the hill Cumorah to be northward of the narrow neck of land. Feel free to elaborate.

 

 

Cumorah and Ramah are in the same, according to Moroni. Jaredite lands are in the land northward. The definition of the land northward is that north of the narrow neck.

 

 

2. Be more specific when you say the "text requires" it to be south. Scriptures?

 

My apologies, but I don't have enough interest to go looking them up for you. I will refer you to the appendix in Sorenson's Geography of the Book of Mormon. He provides somewhere around 488 scriptures that give geographic data. You will find the answers there--and perhaps more questions as the geographic location you are proposing needs to meet all of them.

 

3. Zelph does indeed put the geography in the area of the heartland, unless you believe Joseph was speaking of MesoAmerica and yet somehow Zelph ended up 2000 miles north of the land where he became great. You really have to stretch the text to believe otherwise.

 

See Mark Wright, "Heartland as Hinterland," paper presented at the FairMormon conference. It will be online in their website.

 

 

4. I've never said Joseph Smith knew the geography of the BOM. If he did, he was strangely quiet about all these particular points, wasn't he? But for you to suggest that the Hill Cumorah wasn't in NY is a huge stretch. Every word I've ever read about it from Joseph Smith says he got the plates from the hill Cumorah. He never said otherwise.

 

It appears that you haven't kept up on what the historians in the Church's employ have been saying about this topic. My information comes from an article by two of them. They indicate that most of the times Cumorah appears in the D&C it was written in much later and isn't part of the original revelations.

 

 

6. The DNA evidence I talked about IS correct. see above

 

Asserting that it is so does not make it so. Please see the Church's statement on LDS.org.

 

There is also archaeological evidence supporting a stone technology on the east coast of N America which matches a stone technology from Europe.

 

The Solutrean hypothesis is interesting, but has lost support in recent years. In particular, the DNA evidence do not correlate. The Solutrean hypothesis is also long, long before Jaredites.

 

 

This just doesn't match an immigration from the Bering Straight 10,000 yrs ago. Sorry. I don't really care if the archaeologists tried to fit the new DNA into their Bering Straight hypothesis. They are clearly being proved wrong by archaeology, and later archaeologists are being forced to admit that the Bering Straights hyposthesis does not explain all the new findings. You seem to be just nitpicking at Rod Meldrum here. I don't feel he has been dishonest. He doesn't have to represent the particulars of the Bering Straights hypothesis to make a case.

 

Trying to establish the current best information is hardly nitpicking. I can see that you don't believe in the science behind much of the information on the population of the Americas. It is your prerogative to disbelieve, but please be aware that attempting to cherry pick through science to take only the parts you like and ignore the rest is difficult to support as anything other than your opinion. It has little change of convincing anyone that you are making a case on facts--on testimony for certain--but not on supportable facts.

 

 

Please feel free to discuss how the events of the BOM need a volcano.

 

See Ball, Russell H. “An Hypothesis concerning the Three Days of Darkness among the Nephites.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2, no. 1 (Spring 1993): 107–23.  

Kowallis, Bart J. “In the Thirty and Fourth Year: A Geologist’s View of the Great Destruction in 3 Nephi.” BYU Studies 37, no. 3 (1997–98): 137–90.

Grover, Jerry D. Jr. Geology of the Book of Mormon. No Place. Self-Published. 2014.

 

 

As for the scarcity of earthquake events, what evidence is there for one 2000 yrs ago in Meso America? What evidence can you point to to show that an earthquake occurred?

 

 

See Grover, Jerry D. Jr. Geology of the Book of Mormon. No Place. Self-Published. 2014. Jerry identifies the particular volcano, notes that it is known to produce those conditions, describes how the specific geography explains the reason Bountiful wasn't affected--and that there is a known eruption in the correct timeframe.

 

 

We know that one did in the heartland and that it resulted in substantial land subsidances. If one happened in 1812, why can't it in 34 A.D? I don't believe there is any way you can say it didn't.

 

 

Actually, geologists know a lot about what happens, and what recurs. That they say about the one in 1812 is that was an extremely rare occurrence--perhaps a single occurrence that might never happen again (and with no evidence that it happened before). The answer to your question is that one must consult with and trust the geologists.

 

So we have what may have been a unique occurrence 1800 years too late (and no evidence it ever happened before), or the identification of a specific location that provides more correlations to the events listed--and was known to have had an eruption at the right time. I'll go with the geologists on that one.

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      Based on what inspired leaders of the church have stated concerning Hagoth (https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/book-mormon-alma-testimony-word/15-hagoth-and-polynesians-0), I'm having trouble seeing how to reconcile this with the Heartland theory (North America = Book of Mormon lands).
      Hagoth sailing north from the East  coast of the US doesn't lead to Polynesia.
      THen again, from the time the JAredites arrived, say 3100 BC (https://publications.mi.byu.edu/pdf-control.php/publications/transcripts/I00028-The_Years_of_the_Jaredites.html), up through 420 AD, I imagine teh Book of Mormon people spread throughout probably Polynesia as well as North, Central and South Americas - not as teh only people there but intermarrying with the other existing tribes adn groups of people, for 3500 years, suggesting the Heartland and Central America theories might both have some degree of accuracy, no? 
    • By Anijen
      In reading some of the posts involving crimes [sexual assault], allegations, [Kavanaugh, President Russel Topic], or even controversial subjects such as Climate Change, Book of Mormon Geography, etc.. I have thought to myself there are a lot of faith based concepts juxtaposed up to scientific method and actual evidence. I'd like to discuss both and how it might affect our concept of that topic and what we take away.
      Personal belief systems can take root at a very early age, sometimes as a part of our cultural or ethnic identity. As a result, they are almost impossible to remove without eroding the soil of substance that gives one both a sense of identity and purpose. However, also true, as a consequence, most will not surrender a deeply held personal belief for fear it could lead to their spiritual loss or death. There is nothing wrong with personal beliefs. I, for one, am deeply faithful and active in church. Each person finds meaning and purpose in their own way and that is how it should be. There is a difference between faith and scientific method and reason. Personal faith is not a problem unless it gets in the way of objective forensic investigation and examination.
      For example; using faith based reasoning (let's say using the Bible to prove a point), the premise of an argument and the conclusion are a matter of personal belief and subsequently often considered above criticism. Those who question the premises of such beliefs, religious and otherwise dogmatic, are labeled heretics or worse. I have been called an apostate for not subscribing to a heartland theory, a racist for objecting to a safe-place policy, a climate denier for even questioning global warming (which I know there is climate change, my interests is, is it really all just man made?), a racist and a bigot for disagreeing about kneeling as a protest, a chauvinist pig for thinking men and woman are different and we should use the appropriate public bathrooms.  
      In faith and personal belief, there is little room for critical thinking and no place for doubt. As a consequence, the nature of faith runs contrary to knowledge building. My faith tells me men and women are both children of God and are different from each other, science also tells me there is a biological difference too. We still have debates to how we should act and even appropriate ways to speak. For example is refusing to bake a cake with a message one does not believe in compelling speech?
      Questions, questions, questions... When is testify via faith and testify via science appropriate and acceptable and when is it not?
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