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Statement on Book of Mormon geography

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50 minutes ago, Burnside said:

Why then a fanstasy map? 

Because the Church does not have an official position on geography and it is not scholars who dictate doctrine to the Church.

Please answer my question, do you believe scholars and students of the Mesoamerica theory are lying about their belief?

Edited by Calm

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6 minutes ago, Calm said:

Because the Church does not have an official position on geography and it is not scholars who dictate doctrine to the Church.

Please answer my question, do you believe scholars and students of the Mesoamerica theory are lying about their belief?

I don't lie when that is the position I hold. That position was made a little stronger this week in the polar vortex that hit the eastern US.  Like a bunch of near naked lamanites are going to survive one winter in the north east.   I don't know where the Book of Mormon occurred but I know where it did not occur.  It did not occur in a very cold climate and north east US is a very cold climate at least 3 to 4 months a year. 

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5 hours ago, Rivers said:

If remember correctly, the “Two  Cumorah”  theory was promulgated in the Tennis Shoes among the Nephites book series.  I think that’s where I first heard of it.  

 

 

You can find the “Two Cumorah” theory in this 1924 book by Louise Edward Hills published in Independence, MO.

Page 131. Hills quotes a gentleman named “Elder HA Stebbins”

Hills and Stebbins were members of the RLDS Church.

This site shows HA Stebbins disavowing Brigham Young as Joseph Smith’s successor. Look at Resolution 1.

In other words, the best Book of Mormon scholar of the Apostate RLDS Church who refused to follow Brigham Young, came up with or approved a “Two-Hill Cumorah” theory.

http://www.centerplace.org/library/Study/GCRall.htm

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89058377359;view=2up;seq=134;skin=mobile

Elder H. A. Stebbins has always been considered one of the best Book of Mormon students we have ever had in the church. He goes on to state the following:

......

I have no objection to that hill being also called Cumorah, with the understanding that the ancient hill Cumorah is still undiscovered, and that sometime its secrets will be revealed and come to the knowledge of God's people.

 

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7 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

I don't lie when that is the position I hold. That position was made a little stronger this week in the polar vortex that hit the eastern US.  Like a bunch of near naked lamanites are going to survive one winter in the north east.   I don't know where the Book of Mormon occurred but I know where it did not occur.  It did not occur in a very cold climate and north east US is a very cold climate at least 3 to 4 months a year. 

Didn’t Joseph Smith grow up in this same cold climate?

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18 minutes ago, Calm said:

Because the Church does not have an official position on geography and it is not scholars who dictate doctrine to the Church.

Please answer my question, do you believe scholars and students of the Mesoamerica theory are lying about their belief?

I think they’re misinformed about their beliefs.

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29 minutes ago, Burnside said:

Didn’t Joseph Smith grow up in this same cold climate?

Sure and even more reason to not accept that area as the setting.  If you took off the cover of the book of mormon and had 100 people from the Northeast read the whole text and then asked them, "If the stories in this book occurred in the Western Hemisphere, where do you think it would have occurred"  I really believe the number saying the Northeast US would be about the bottom of the list.  Perhaps the only place worse would be somewhere in Canada or Alaska. 

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I'm not familiar with any model that's better than the central america theory.  It still has its problems but I think its the best we got.

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3 hours ago, Burnside said:

Do you think the BYU fantasy map describes the location of the Land of Promise?

http://liahona.bom.byu.edu/

Go to 1 Nephi 18 then 19 and watch how Nephi’s ship travels from a modern-map of Arabia and arrives on the west coast of the Fantasy Map. 😁 I never seen anything so stupid.

Your link won't open.

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6 hours ago, Burnside said:

Do you think the BYU fantasy map describes the location of the Land of Promise?

Go to 1 Nephi 18 then 19 and watch how Nephi’s ship travels from a modern-map of Arabia and arrives on the west coast of the Fantasy Map. 😁 I never seen anything so stupid.

For kicks I've superimposed this fantasy map over the peninsula of ancient Comoro/Kamara, where civilization first appears in 582 BC.

Lehi sailed directly through a perfect match for the Book of Mormon geography. To make things more interesting, Arabic accounts of this peninsula claim that the grandsons of Noah sailed there after the fall of the tower. 1st to 4th century Judeo-Christian texts tell of a group of Israelites being led by God to this location in 600 BC.

Ej7h8D3p_o.png

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I'm not familiar with the bulk of John Sorenson's work...... most of it is outside my areas of interest.  However,  I am a wild edible plant enthusiast,  and was intrigued when I saw his claim that Vitis vinifera seeds, dated to the late pre-classic era,  were found in Chiapas.  In Mormon's Codes he says:

"Our understanding of wine in ancient Mesoamerica was enhanced 30 years ago when Martínez M. excavated a site of Late Pre-Classic date (first centuries BC and AD) beside the Grijalva River in Chiapas (the location that is taken here to be the land of Zarahemla). There he carefully recovered and studied all traces of plant remains. He found seeds of Vitis vinifera, the wine grape known in Europe, from which he concluded that the fruit had been used to manufacture wine equivalent to that of the Old World."

If true,  this would be a big deal, so I looked into it further.  In an earlier paper,  co-authored with Johannessen, and to an academic, non-LDS audience,  he lacked the certainty that is displayed in Mormon's Codex (John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johannessen, “Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages” Sino-Platonic Papers, 133 (April 2004)).  In this paper,  Vitis vinifera is listed as one of the species in which evidence existed,  but was not definitive.

When reading the Vitis section in that paper,  it appears clear why he lacked certainty.  From his paper: 

"Martínez M. 1978, 14, 21. The site of his study is a few miles upstream from Santa Rosa, near Laguna Francesa, on the south bank of the Grijalva River, southern Mexico. He worked primarily on the contents of two bottle-shaped cavities (chultuns) filled with trash. Dated to the Proto-Classic period (200 BC to AD 200), i.e., the second half of Chiapas V through VII (ceramic periods). He used flotation to extract seed from excavated material. On 105ff is Cuadro No. 13, classification of vegetal remains. “Vitis, wild, called bejuco de agua (vid).” Under “Estimulantes” he gives: “Vitis. silvestre (wild), vino, fruto, fermentado ({assumed} fermented).” 121. Cites Miranda 1975–1976, I, 175–6, as reporting from field survey in Chiapas three species: V. bouraeana, or watervine; V. tiliifolia, also called watervine; and V. vinifera, or ‘vid europea.’ He also mentions V. labrusca, or ‘vid americana,’ leaving it unclear if he considered this a fourth species of grape. A rather good quality wine can be made from the juice (no species pinpointed). Vitis is wild and only slightly represented in our materials. 125. As indicated previously, utilizing the juice of the grape, pressed and fermented, he says that it is possible to produce a good quality wine. 176. Furthermore, the sap from the stem of the grape plant is fermented (today) to make a drink called ‘taberna.’"

So,  he's reporting that Martinez found seeds from a Vitis species called bejuco de agua.  That commonly refers to Vitis tiliifolia, not V. vinifera. The V. sylvestre mentioned is actually not a proper taxonomical name,  but has occasionally been used as a synonym for V. labrusca, a native north American wild grape. The only place where V. vinifera is mentioned in this passage is in the Miranda citation (which is a modern floristic survey post dating the known introduction of European grapes by centuries).  It appears that he is really stretching to make the connection.  

From what I can tell,  archaeobotanists and others who have cited the Martinez thesis, treat this as a description of wild grape.   I'm not sure how Sorenson came to the conclusions that he did in the Sino-platonic paper.  Then,  in Mormon's Codex,  he states it as fact. Did he re-read the thesis and uncover more evidence?  It's difficult for me to believe that based on how he initially described his source (I would love to get a copy of the Martinez thesis,  if anyone has it).  

I have to wonder how he came to the conclusion that V. vinifera was in Mexico in the late pre-classic period.  This has me questioning his methodology, or at least his presentation of evidence. 

 

 

Edited by cacheman
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12 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Hi Burnside.  Welcome to this board.

The people who wrote the Church statement probably prefer not to have members arguing over non-essential matters.  As a scientific endeavor,, Book of Mormon geography has not achieved anything remotely like the status of biblical geography.  However, to say that "The Church statement destroys the Mesoamerica geography theory" is just not so.  In fact, since it has independent legs to stand on, that theory is dominant.  It was even the subject of a two-part article by J. L. Sorenson in the Sept-Oct 1984 Ensign.  Church leaders wax hot and cold on such issues, so there is no way to predict which way future sentiments will flow.

It is also false that Sorenson and Wells Jakeman were LDS apologists who plagiarized the RLDS (now Community of Christ).  They were careful scholars who came up with their Mesoamerican geography theory through careful study of the BofM in light of their anthropology training.  They were unaware of the opinions of Louis Hills (whose personal 1830 Book of Mormon I purchased when I lived in Independence, Missouri -- I donated it to FARMS, and it currently resides in the BYU Special Collections).

Not so. Louise Edward Hills was mention by Matt Roper in his article:

Limited Geography and the Book of Mormon: 
Historical Antecedents and Early Interpretations

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1459&index=12

“The first writer to advance a fully limited Book of Mormon geography that confined Book of Mormon events, including the destruction of the Nephites and Jaredites, to ancient Mesoamerica was Louis Edward Hills. From 1917 to 1924, Hills, a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, published several studies emphatically arguing for this view.

....

It is not known how much these studies influenced the interpretations of Latter-day Saints; their first versions of a fully limited Book of Mormon geography began to appear in the years from 1920 to 1926. In an article for the Improvement Era, Janne Sjodahl outlined the key features of these interpretations without criticism or condemnation. In addition to his own modified hemispheric view, which placed the narrow neck of land at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Sjodahl reviewed the approaches of George Reynolds and Joel Ricks,111 which generally followed those of Orson Pratt.”

———————

The LGT came from the Apostate RLDS Church who ignored Letter VII by Oliver Cowdery.

Hills mentions in his book I linked to earlier, a Elder HA Stebbins also RLDS, of his Book of Mormon lectures. Stebbins assumed the Savior appeared in Northern South America in Colombia and also excluded North America.

Here is Stebbins 1894 lectures: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101074888833;view=2up;seq=2;skin=mobile

In other words, HA Stebbins as early as 1894 and Louise Edward Hills in 1924 promoted the false theory that North America was excluded with Hills confining it strictly to Mesoamerica. Dr. John L. Sorenson was promoting nothing new.

Hills quotes Stebbins in his book P.145 explaining Stebbins changed his view to match Hills. And stating the map will have to be revised as also our students will need to correct their ideas as to the hills, and lands and waters.

THIS IS WHAT IS HAS AND IS NOW OCCURRING AT BYU with its Fantasy Map!

“With these locations before us, notice again the state ment made by H. A. Stebbins, a man whom all loved; one of the best Book of Mormon students in his day. He says: The map will have to be revised, as also our students will need to correct their ideas as to the hills, and lands, and waters. 

He said, "Thirty-five years I held the error about Cu- morah," but was compelled to change. He wrote me a letter a short time before he died and sent me the Herald in which his article appeared. He said that he thought I was right, but that he would have to study the books over before rendering any positive decision.”

 

BC540DB3-2C19-40B9-9B56-2AE9E320D140.png

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19 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

Sure and even more reason to not accept that area as the setting.  If you took off the cover of the book of mormon and had 100 people from the Northeast read the whole text and then asked them, "If the stories in this book occurred in the Western Hemisphere, where do you think it would have occurred"  I really believe the number saying the Northeast US would be about the bottom of the list.  Perhaps the only place worse would be somewhere in Canada or Alaska. 

Didn’t the Saints leaving Nauvoo walk across the frozen Missippi River? Many died at Winter Quarters, as we know, but would have been safe in their homes if not for the mobs.

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12 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

As a scientific endeavor,, Book of Mormon geography has not achieved anything remotely like the status of biblical geography. 

Quote

 

I think your under-achiever has yet to post an achievement.  What an odd comparison; there is none.

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3 hours ago, Burnside said:

Not so. Louise Edward Hills was mention by Matt Roper in his article:

Limited Geography and the Book of Mormon: 
Historical Antecedents and Early Interpretations

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

My good friend Matt Roper is writing long after the fact of Hills, Stebbins, et al.  At least 40 years after John Sorenson began publishing and speaking on his views.  Decades later, Sorenson even compiled and published a huge file on all of the various views on BofM geography which have been held by Joseph Smith, and everyone since then.  Joseph Smith was the first to have speculated that Mesoamerica held major Nephite cities, and he named them.

The basis of the Jakeman and Sorenson views on Mesoamerica as BofM lands was independent scholarship, and not any preceding views of LDS or RLDS members, who knew nothing of either archeology or anthropology.  You falsely stated that Sorenson had plagiarized Hills' views, as though those people lived in an internet world, or as though RLDS and LDS people communicated quite often (they did not).

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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6 minutes ago, Gervin said:

I think your under-achiever has yet to post an achievement.  What an odd comparison; there is none.

???

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8 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

???

As a scientific endeavor,, Book of Mormon geography has not achieved anything remotely like the status of biblical geography. 

I think your Book of Mormon geography is an under-achiever; it has yet to claim an achievement.    What an odd comparison; the abstract concept of placing a very ambiguously described geography into different parts of the world vs. a geography described and found as described.  There is no comparison.

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7 hours ago, cacheman said:

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

From what I can tell,  archaeobotanists and others who have cited the Martinez thesis, treat this as a description of wild grape.   I'm not sure how Sorenson came to the conclusions that he did in the Sino-platonic paper.  Then,  in Mormon's Codex,  he states it as fact. Did he re-read the thesis and uncover more evidence?  It's difficult for me to believe that based on how he initially described his source (I would love to get a copy of the Martinez thesis,  if anyone has it).  

I have to wonder how he came to the conclusion that V. vinifera was in Mexico in the late pre-classic period.  This has me questioning his methodology, or at least his presentation of evidence. 

At least we know that wild grapes did grow in the Americas (Vitis riparia or Streambank grapes).  The Viking "Vinland," for example, is believed by scholars to have been in New Brunswick or slightly further south, since those are the only places near to L'Anse aux Meadows which likely were the source of actual pre-Columbian findings (Butternut Wood) at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland (where they did not grow).  

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3 minutes ago, Gervin said:

I think your Book of Mormon geography is an under-achiever; it has yet to claim an achievement.    What an odd comparison; the abstract concept of placing a very ambiguously described geography into different parts of the world vs. a geography described and found as described.  There is no comparison.

And you know this based on which published analysis?  You are the first I have found making this nihilistic claim.

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30 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

My good friend Matt Roper is writing long after the fact of Hills, Stebbins, et al.  At least 40 years after John Sorenson began publishing and speaking on his views.  Decades later, Sorenson even compiled and published a huge file on all of the various views on BofM geography which have been held by Joseph Smith, and everyone since then.  Joseph Smith was the first to have speculated that Mesoamerica held major Nephite cities, and he named them.

The basis of the Jakeman and Sorenson views on Mesoamerica as BofM lands was based on independent scholarship, and not on any preceding views of LDS or RLDS members, who knew nothing of either archeology or anthropology.  You falsely stated that Sorenson had plagiarized Hills' views, as though those people lived in an internet world, or as though RLDS and LDS people communicated quite often (they did not).

So you believe Joseph Smith learned the geography of The Book of Mormon from a travel book by Stephens and Catherwood?

" Enthusiastic comments published at Nauvoo showed that the Church’s leaders, including Joseph Smith, were immensely stimulated by the new information. Within a few weeks of the first notice, they announced they had just discovered, by reading Stephens’s book, that the Nephites’ prime homeland must have been in Central, not South, America.12 "

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1099&index=19

That is utterly ridiculous, that a Prophet of God, needed a travel book to discover the Nephits prime homeland was in Central America.

nb8sIsf.gif

 

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20 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

At least we know that wild grapes did grow in the Americas (Vitis riparia or Streambank grapes).  The Viking "Vinland," for example, is believed by scholars to have been in New Brunswick or slightly further south, since those are the only places near to L'Anse aux Meadows which likely were the source of actual pre-Columbian findings (Butternut Wood) at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland (where they did not grow).  

Very true.  There are a number of native grape species in north America.  That's why I'm perplexed with Sorenson's claim (repeated by the Maxwell Institute, Fairmormon, Bom Central, etc.)  His willingness to extrapolate well beyond the evidence doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his methodology.  

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39 minutes ago, Burnside said:

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

That is utterly ridiculous, that a Prophet of God, needed a travel book to discover the Nephits prime homeland was in Central America...........................

I suppose, if one adheres to the plenary inspiration theory strongly enough, every utterance of a prophet is prophecy.  Of course, Joseph Smith himself said exactly the opposite:  "a prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such” (History of the Church, V:265).  LDS prophecy is limited to actual prophetic utterances.  Nowhere do we have the Lord's assurance that Joseph knew anything about Book of Mormon geography via prophecy, or that LDS prophets are infallible.,

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1 hour ago, Burnside said:

Didn’t the Saints leaving Nauvoo walk across the frozen Missippi River? Many died at Winter Quarters, as we know, but would have been safe in their homes if not for the mobs.

Yep.  Nobody ever dies of cold in the Book of Mormon.  No wars are affected by snow or cold.  No battles are delayed due to a snow storm.  Weather issues was a big problem in WW2 in Europe.  Yet not really a problem in the Book of Mormon.  Suggests to me a more temperate climate.  I believe there is a passage that talks about it being hot.  Central America just fits better when I read the BOM. 

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1 hour ago, carbon dioxide said:

.....................................  I believe there is a passage that talks about it being hot.  Central America just fits better when I read the BOM. 

Alma 46:40, "And there were some who died with fevers, which at some seasons of the year were very frequent in the land—but not so much so with fevers, because of the excellent qualities of the many plants and roots which God had prepared to remove the cause of diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate"

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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