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Statement on Book of Mormon geography

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4 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Your evidence was empty and meaningless.  It did not support your false claims.

Before the existence of BMC, BMAF did indeed invite some RLDS Book of Mormon believers to participate in annual meetings here in Utah.  Most of that was at my suggestion because I had some RLDS friends -- most of whom have since left the RLDS Church (since then known as the Community of Christ, which has abandoned many of the Restoration distinctives).  However, most of that took place in very recent decades, long after Sorenson and FARMS had reached completely independent conclusions.  If anything, we influenced the RLDS members, few of whom knew anything about archeology or anthropology (with the exception of the late Ray Treat and Shirley Heater).  Your chronology is upside down and backwards, Burnside. 

Had you lived in Missouri back in those days, as i did, you could have stopped by once in a while and I could have explained the facts of life to you.  You could have gotten a ride with me to the John Whitmer Historical Assoc annual meetings, or to the regular meetings of the FRAA (Foundation for Research on Ancient America)  -- both RLDS ventures.

I appreciate and respect your opinion and the offer for a ride.

But since I’ve heard about Letter VII, I’ve abandoned any notion of a geography theory that doesn’t place the final Jaredite and Nephite battles at the Hill Cumorah in New York. Thus, I would have politely turned down your offer to attend the meetings you mentioned.

Letter VII can be found here: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/83

Matt Roper wrote a nice article about the history of Limited Geography models that don’t consider Letter VII:

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

Sort of sad, actually, all the time and effort wasted.

This member lost his faith looking in the wrong area:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/how-mormon-lawyer-transformed-archaeology-mexico-and-ended-losing-his-faith

 

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3 hours ago, Anijen said:

Burnside, please help me understand. Are you implying that Brant Gardner, John Sorenson, and other contributors should NOT be credible because they have written for these non-profit agencies? Are you facialy stating John Sorenson plagiarized from the book New Light on American Archaeology?  Have you not considered a sea on the west and a sea on the east could be designated "West Sea" and East Sea" independently without plagiarization?

Do you accept any later theories that Joseph and other church leaders may have changed or adopted (such as the letter to John Bernhisel (november 16, 1842)? Or, do you hold fast to Oliver's opinion in the Letter V, written seven years eight months earlier? These letters do not show an official position on Book of Mormon geography but the personal opinion of Oliver Cowdery. 

The Church does not have an official position on the setting geography of the Church. If you feel that Oliver Cowdery's letters are equal to an "official position" then you would be in error, including official declarations from the Church that it does not hold any such position. History of the Church and the Joseph Smith Papers are a collection of history not equal to an official position."

Neither do they have an "official position" of Cumorah more than that is were the plates were retrieved by Joseph Smith.

 

As shown in Letter 5, Joseph was referring to the inhabitants of this country as literal descendants of Abraham. No where does Joseph say the aborigines or remnant are Lamanites or Nephites. 

 

"speculated" is a correct word to use here. The hemispheric model was the accepted and only geographic model at that time. Ideas, theories will (and have) change over time as new information is learned. However, even using a hemispheric model is evidence of the popular thought that South America and Central America was included. Why would they be included? Are you saying the official church position is the Book of Mormon included other countries other than the US 

 

You are quoting Oliver Cowdery's opinion, who was quoting Joseph Smith, who was quoting Moroni. Brother, that is considered speculation.

From lds.org:

  • “Though there are several plausible hypotheses regarding the geographic locations of Book of Mormon events, the Church takes no official position except that the events occurred in the Americas.” here
  • “We can allow for the reality that God is still more concerned with growth than with geography." here
  • "The sacred writings chronicle God's dealings with his people in the western hemisphere centuries ago." here 
  • " Summarize Alma 22:27–35 by explaining that Mormon, the Nephite prophet who abridged and compiled the Book of Mormon, described the geography of the land where the Nephites and Lamanites lived." here 
  • "Church leadership officially and consistently distances itself from issues regarding Book of Mormon geography in order to focus attention on the spiritual message of the book" here
  • "You may want to point out that the precise locations of places mentioned in the Book of Mormon are unknown today." here
  • "DNA studies are also speculative. In short, DNA studies cannot be used decisively to either affirm or reject the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon." here

 

You know what they say about brevity!

According to the Church having an official position on BoM geography, it does: the location of The Hill Cumorah being in New York. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the 8 letters. & Pres. Marion G. Romney, Elder Mark E. Petersen both mentioned in General Conference in the 1977 and 1978. I heard both talks by Pres. Romney and Elder Petersen. They can be found on lds.org.

The Church does not have an official position on other locations mentioned in The Book of Mormon. You’re conflating the two as an excuse to ignore the Church’s position on the location of the Hill Cumorah.

There’s nothing speculative about Joseph Smith learning from the Angel Moroni then telling Oliver Cowdery. I’m quite surprised you disagree. Oliver Cowdery was one of the Three Witnesses, and you seemed to enjoy belittling him over a geography theory located in Central America. Oliver Cowdery wrote in Letter I of his long association with the Prophet Joseph Smith.

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53 minutes ago, Burnside said:

I appreciate and respect your opinion and the offer for a ride.

But since I’ve heard about Letter VII, I’ve abandoned any notion of a geography theory that doesn’t place the final Jaredite and Nephite battles at the Hill Cumorah in New York. Thus, I would have politely turned down your offer to attend the meetings you mentioned.

Letter VII can be found here: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/83

Matt Roper wrote a nice article about the history of Limited Geography models that don’t consider Letter VII:

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

Sort of sad, actually, all the time and effort wasted.

This member lost his faith looking in the wrong area:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/how-mormon-lawyer-transformed-archaeology-mexico-and-ended-losing-his-faith .

Well, Burnside, at least you are consistent in your belief in infallibility.  Reminds me very much of a certain Major General:  

 

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2 hours ago, Burnside said:

Oliver Cowdery was one of the Three Witnesses, and you seemed to enjoy belittling him over a geography theory located in Central America. Oliver Cowdery wrote in Letter I of his long association with the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Simply not true. I merely indicated it was Oliver's opinion. Opinions by past or present church leaders have never been promoted to be equal to an "official position" of the Church.

Resorting to ad hominem attacks indicates an abandonment of logic and reason in favor of immaturity.

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Burnside, if past church leaders making opinions of geography are "official positions" of the Church. Then I guess you will argue the sun and moon are inhabited, right?

Brigham Young was asked:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited?                                                                                                                                                                                                        " I rather think it is."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Do you think there is any life there?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "No question of it; it was not made in vain."

Source: Brigham Young, "The Gospel--The One Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:270 

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18 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Your evidence was empty and meaningless.  It did not support your false claims.

Before the existence of BMC, BMAF did indeed invite some RLDS Book of Mormon believers to participate in annual meetings here in Utah.  Most of that was at my suggestion because I had some RLDS friends -- most of whom have since left the RLDS Church (since then known as the Community of Christ, which has abandoned many of the Restoration distinctives).  However, most of that took place in very recent decades, long after Sorenson and FARMS had reached completely independent conclusions.  If anything, we influenced the RLDS members, few of whom knew anything about archeology or anthropology (with the exception of the late Ray Treat and Shirley Heater).  Your chronology is upside down and backwards, Burnside. 

Had you lived in Missouri back in those days, as i did, you could have stopped by once in a while and I could have explained the facts of life to you.  You could have gotten a ride with me to the John Whitmer Historical Assoc annual meetings, or to the regular meetings of the FRAA (Foundation for Research on Ancient America)  -- both RLDS ventures.

To respond again to your previous message;

Dr. Sorenson knew of Louise Edward Hills’ work.

[6] See the map and bibliography of Hills’s publications in John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Biook [sic] of Mormon Events: A Source Book (Provo: FARMS Study Aid, 1992), 87-9. Sorenson mentions a number of little-known studies (some unpublished) of Book of Mormon geography, some of which follow the Mesoamerican model. Of these, a few were from members of the RLDS Church.

From:
 
Dr. Sorenson was not the first to promote a Mesoamerica model.
Both he and Hills ignored the Eight Letters on the History of the Church written in 1834 by Oliver Cowdrey with the help of The Prophet Joseph Smith (Letter I) with Letter VII clearly stating as a “fact” the final Jaredite and Nephite battles were at the Hill Cumorah in New York.
 
Your Mesoamerica Two-Hill Cumorah geography theory is a waste of time.

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2 hours ago, Burnside said:

To respond again to your previous message;

Dr. Sorenson knew of Louise Edward Hills’ work.

[6] See the map and bibliography of Hills’s publications in John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Biook [sic] of Mormon Events: A Source Book (Provo: FARMS Study Aid, 1992), 87-9. Sorenson mentions a number of little-known studies (some unpublished) of Book of Mormon geography, some of which follow the Mesoamerican model. Of these, a few were from members of the RLDS Church.

From:
....................................

You repeatedly ignore the obvious fact that this compilation was published in 1992, long after Sorenson had formulated his theories back in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  He was taking stock of anything and everything that had been said, since so few people understood that there had never been just one point of view among Book of Mormon believers.  However, he most certainly did not plagiarize Hills.  One has only to look at how Hills and others had laid out their views to see the differences.  Your committment to fallacies like post hoc, ergo propter hoc are sad to say the least.  You'd be screaming "foul" if someone made similar false accusations against you.

In any case, when he compiled that study, Sorenson was familiar with and had already seen the Louis Hills 1830 Book of Mormon which I had purchased in Independence, Missouri (which contained inserted maps and notes demonstrating Hills' theory) and which I donated to FARMS around 1982.  That volume is in the BYU Library Special Collections, if you want to see it, Burnside.  Of course, you might not want to be confused by the facts, so I'll understand if you choose not to have a look at it.

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13 hours ago, Anijen said:

Burnside, if past church leaders making opinions of geography are "official positions" of the Church. Then I guess you will argue the sun and moon are inhabited, right?

Brigham Young was asked:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited?                                                                                                                                                                                                        " I rather think it is."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Do you think there is any life there?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "No question of it; it was not made in vain."

Source: Brigham Young, "The Gospel--The One Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:270 

The trouble with this kind of analysis is that it overlooks the fact that Pres. Young was a sarcastic jokester.   He used to mock John Taylor's voice and mannerisms.  And in not so friendly a manner.   When I was a bishop I used to tell the youth that half of everybody in the church remembers the pre-existence and has been sworn to secrecy.  So much in the JoD consists of sarcasm and mockery and now passes for gospel truth.

Edited by Bob Crockett
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14 hours ago, Anijen said:

Simply not true. I merely indicated it was Oliver's opinion. Opinions by past or present church leaders have never been promoted to be equal to an "official position" of the Church.

Resorting to ad hominem attacks indicates an abandonment of logic and reason in favor of immaturity.

I think the two-Cumorah theory is completely unsupportable.   Sorenson admits in Codex, although his opinions are all over the map, that Joseph Smith taught and believed a hemispheric theory.  I hope that we can move on from Dr. Sorenson's theory and more to a more flexible and expansive understanding of the role of the Lamanites in the gospel.

Edited by Bob Crockett

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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

I think the two-Cumorah theory is completely unsupportable.   Sorenson admits in Codex, although his opinions are all over the map, that Joseph Smith taught and believed a hemispheric theory.  I hope that we can move on from Dr. Sorenson's theory and more to a more flexible and expansive understanding of the role of the Lamanites in the gospel.

I understand your point and your great disregard for Sorenson has been noted many times in your pasts postings.

I too have given up the geography bug (but not yet the LGT) and now I study the Book of Mormon soley now to get closer to the Lord.

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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

The trouble with this kind of analysis is that it overlooks the fact that Pres. Young was a sarcastic jokester.   He used to mock John Taylor's voice and mannerisms.  And in not so friendly a manner.   When I was a bishop I used to tell the youth that half of everybody in the church remembers the pre-existence and has been sworn to secrecy.  So much in the JoD consists of sarcasm and mockery and now passes for gospel truth.

It was not analysis. It was simply a snarky answer to Burnside's redundant view of Oliver Cowdery's letters are held as an "official Church position"

I am completely aware of the setting for the BY quotes.

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On 2/18/2019 at 4:22 PM, Brant Gardner said:

... We have it early from Oliver, but not from Joseph--even when Joseph is talking about the same hill. That happens for close to a decade, where Joseph didn't use Cumorah, but Oliver (and increasingly the whole of the community) began using Cumorah. Since there is no evidence that Oliver received revelation on the topic, we have to look at who his source might have been. The only one who could declare the name from revelation was Joseph--but that would be hard to conclude since Joseph himself didn't use that name.

There is no evidence that Oliver didn't receive a revelation on the topic.  There's no evidence that Joseph Smith didn't receive a revelation on the topic.  Both men had purportedly been witness to the most astounding spiritual revelatory experience ever recorded in human history.  Could he have had a revelation that wasn't shared with Joseph?  Could Joseph have had a revelation and only tell Oliver?

There's no basis for claiming that Oliver was offering only an opinion.  If, in fact, he had wrongly used Cumorah for over a decade then why did Joseph Smith not see fit to correct, amend, or qualify Oliver's statement?  Or why not set the record straight when writing the history?

Quote

 

So, you are incorrect that I am discounting the validity of everything that Oliver said. I am saying that he didn't get the information from Moroni, and the case for getting it from Joseph is contradicted by Joseph's avoidance of the name when discussing the hill.

 

Avoidance implies intent; why did Joseph "avoid" the name?

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Actually, the most obvious evidence that neither Oliver nor Joseph received a revelation on the topic happens to be the thing that started the whole controversy in the first place.  That is, the details of the eye witness accounts provided by the prophets who gave us the Book of Mormon.  That is, the specific verses with geographic details that ought to be accounted for by any correct map correlation. 

Sperry is a very good example of this.

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1387&index=30

Quote

Omer, a Jaredite King Most of the Book of Mormon evidence will be taken from the books of Ether, Mormon, Mosiah, and Omni. The first piece of evidence concerns Omer, a righteous Jaredite king, who was warned by the Lord to flee out of his land in order to save his life. In the words of Moroni:

And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore. (Ether 9:3)

We are concerned more especially with the words in italics. Notice that Omer and his party passed by the hill Shim, a place recognized by all Book of Mormon students as being the hill in the land Antum where Ammoron hid the sacred records of his people (Mormon 1:3; 4:23). No one would question the fact that this hill and Antum were in turn in the larger territory of Desolation (see Mormon 4:19; cf. 4:23), somewhere in or about Middle America.

Next we observe (notice the casual language employed) that Omer came “by the place where the Nephites were destroyed.” Moroni must certainly mean the place of the last destruction of his people. If the Cumorah in New York was the place, then Omer and family traveled at least 3,000 miles away from the hill Shim to reach it. In view of the casual language employed, does such a long journey seem reasonable? If the party traveled an average of twenty miles per day by primitive means for “many days,” let’s say an improbable sixty, they would cover only 1,200 miles. How very improbable it is that Omer traversed the distance to Cumorah in New York is reinforced by Ether 9:9 in which a certain Nimrah “gathered together a small number of men, and fled out of the land from which Omer had fled, and came over and dwelt with Omer.” Notice that Nimrah knew where to find Omer and “came over” to him. Not the slightest hint is given that would lead us to believe a three-thousand-mile journey was attempted. It may reasonably be assumed that “Ablom, by the seashore,” where Omer temporarily dwelt, was on the Gulf of Mexico side, not too far from “the place where the Nephites were destroyed” (Ether 9:3).

Omer was restored eventually to his kingdom (Ether 9:13), but not the slightest hint is given that he had to retrace his steps a great distance to get to it. So if we are correct in presuming that in Ether 9:3 Moroni was referring to the place of his people’s final destruction, the evidence thus far would seem to favor the view that it was somewhere in Middle America.

Rather than endlessly requoting the few early comments that underlie the suppositions that underlie the firm declarations of certainty that never show any impressive evidence of even wrestling with, let alone for accounting for the details provided in over 500 Book of Mormon passages that should fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

D&C 1 formally, bluntly, and authoritatively insists that LDS leaders can be wrong, that it will be manifest when it happens, and that revelation ought to be preceded by questioning and study.  Hence, people who insist on settling the question via authority never quote that D&C 1 passage, and also never bother to seriously account for what Book of Mormon prophets engraved so painfully, as though they thought it might be important enough to set before us on the same records in which they testifies of Christ.

The Book of Mormon details ought to be a starting point, not just an inconvenient afterthought.  Starting points are helpfully compiled in Mormon's Map, the Sourcebook, and John Clark's careful reviews.  Essential points include the narrow strip of wilderness between Nephi and Zarahemla that extends from the east sea to the west sea. evidence of volcanic activity in the right time and place, a setting that makes sense of the journey of Limhi's explorers, including finding an abandoned cite on the west bank of a river that they could have mistaken for Zarahemla, a waters's of Mormon candidate, a way for Mulek to come from the sea east, and Lehi to come from the sea west, cities of cement to the north of Cumorah, a viable Sidon that accounts for the details that describe it, etc., various journeys in Ether that, as Sperry observed, don't make sense if New York is involved.  The more accurate the setting, the more it will cast light on the text and the more will fit together.  (The late Larry Poulon was exceptionally good at this.) 

https://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2008-Larry-Poulsen.pdf

The less accurate the setting, the more need to ignore the text while citing supposedly authoritative sources that also fail to deal with the text (a house of cards effect, showing no secure foundation and a desperate need to avoid the slightest breath of self criticism), the greater the need to demonize the opposition rather than account for the details in the Book of Mormon.

If I say, Joseph Smith wasn't much of a C++ programmer, and Cowdery was neither a competent the heart surgeon or accomplished 747 pilot, no one would say, "You're throwing them under the bus!"

As Kuhn observed, some adhere to a paradigm due to the prestige of particular teachers.  "They must have known!" where the exclamation point is the bulwark of the argument.

Others adhere to paradigms because of puzzle definition, accuracy of key predictions, comprehensiveness and coherence, fruitfulness, aesthetics and simplicity, as well as future promise.  Alma 32 corresponds to the these criteria in detail, and says, we ought to experiment on the words, a portion at a time, letting the thing grow, and actually change in the process, from seed to sprout, and tree with previously unseen branches, and fruit.  We ought not to complain that the experiment changed what we started with.  That is, really the whole idea. 

If the whole point of the Book of Mormon was just to testify of Christ and provide correct doctrine, why is there so much travel, geography, politics, crime, and war?   We would have been given a short list of what to think.  Instead, we got a complicated story and a challenge to seek out of the best books, that we might be better prepared in all things.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Actually, the most obvious evidence that neither Oliver nor Joseph received a revelation on the topic happens to be the thing that started the whole controversy in the first place.  That is, the details of the eye witness accounts provided by the prophets who gave us the Book of Mormon.  That is, the specific verses with geographic details that ought to be accounted for by any correct map correlation. 

Sperry is a very good example of this.

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1387&index=30

Rather than endlessly requoting the few early comments that underlie the suppositions that underlie the firm declarations of certainty that never show any impressive evidence of even wrestling with, let alone for accounting for the details provided in over 500 Book of Mormon passages that should fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

D&C 1 formally, bluntly, and authoritatively insists that LDS leaders can be wrong, that it will be manifest when it happens, and that revelation ought to be preceded by questioning and study.  Hence, people who insist on settling the question via authority never quote that D&C 1 passage, and also never bother to seriously account for what Book of Mormon prophets engraved so painfully, as though they thought it might be important enough to set before us on the same records in which they testifies of Christ.

I find no direct support for your assertion that D&C formally, bluntly and authoritatively states LDS leaders can be wrong. The closest I find is its restatement of Isaiah thusly:

14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

I find it clear that the "they who will not hear" is a reference to the people rather than the chosen servants who have heard the voice of the Lord. So the issue becomes who are those servants to whom He has spoken. I suppose from this one may understand that even prophets can walk their own way, and I believe probably all have at some point, but that doesn't directly support your assertion, because the chosen servants seem to be directly excluded.

1 hour ago, Kevin Christensen said:

The Book of Mormon details ought to be a starting point, not just an inconvenient afterthought.  Starting points are helpfully compiled in Mormon's Map, the Sourcebook, and John Clark's careful reviews.  Essential points include the narrow strip of wilderness between Nephi and Zarahemla that extends from the east sea to the west sea. evidence of volcanic activity in the right time and place, a setting that makes sense of the journey of Limhi's explorers, including finding an abandoned cite on the west bank of a river that they could have mistaken for Zarahemla, a waters's of Mormon candidate, a way for Mulek to come from the sea east, and Lehi to come from the sea west, cities of cement to the north of Cumorah, a viable Sidon that accounts for the details that describe it, etc., various journeys in Ether that, as Sperry observed, don't make sense if New York is involved.  The more accurate the setting, the more it will cast light on the text and the more will fit together.  (The late Larry Poulon was exceptionally good at this.) 

 

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Can you be clearer about your assertion that there are "various journeys in Ether that, as Sperry observed, don't make sense if New York is involved?" I don't believe enough detail is given to make this assertion either. FWIW

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42 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

I find no direct support for your assertion that D&C formally, bluntly and authoritatively states LDS leaders can be wrong. The closest I find is its restatement of Isaiah thusly:

14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

I find it clear that the "they who will not hear" is a reference to the people rather than the chosen servants who have heard the voice of the Lord. So the issue becomes who are those servants to whom He has spoken. I suppose from this one may understand that even prophets can walk their own way, and I believe probably all have at some point, but that doesn't directly support your assertion, because the chosen servants seem to be directly excluded.

Can you be clearer about your assertion that there are "various journeys in Ether that, as Sperry observed, don't make sense if New York is involved?" I don't believe enough detail is given to make this assertion either. FWIW

Is this clear enough from D&C1?

Quote

6 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, ...

24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.

That is quite literally and explicitly a formal and official, and seemingly unavoidable declaration that LDS leaders can err and it will be made known.  Also that knowledge requires seeking and time.  We don't have it all on the shelf, and we have to do our part by using the books and resources at hand.  (See D&C 88 in several places.)  And yes, there are several places where the Lord says he is withholding certain information so as to try our faith. 

I linked to Sperry's essay and quoted a few specifics, enough to make a point.  And I have read Palmer's In Search of Cumorah, Sorenson's Mormon's Map and Sourcebook, and Ancient American Setting, Poulson's FAIR talks (has his website come down with his death?),  and John Clark's detailed analysis of Book of Mormon New World geographic statements, as well as the recent book on The Geology of the Book of Mormon, and several things at FAIR, Maxwell, and elsewhere.  San Lorenzo as the Jaredite City of Lib.  Everything needs to fit together sensibly.  Not perfectly, but at least in a progressively promising and productive way.  And there are several exceedingly clear statements that provide important constraints on what is and is not plausible and sensible.   And things like Stephen's Incidents of Travel and on to the LiDar surveys continue to encourage me.  The case and evidence has progressed and radically improved since I first watched Ancient America Speaks and browsed Jack West's The Trial of the Stick of Joseph.  The way I see it, the puzzle pieces are fitting together into a recognizable picture.  It's not just a confusing, disconnected heap of confusing shapes best left in the box till some responsible adult comes along to make sense of life.

If we can distinguish the Bountiful where Nephi built his ship from the Bountiful where Jesus came to the temple based on the details of the text, then getting hung up on the dual  use of a name like Cumorah strikes me as pointless.  Especially since it is so easy to multiply examples.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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47 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Is this clear enough from D&C1?

24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

25 And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

26 And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;

27 And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

28 And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.

That is quite literally and explicitly a formal and official, and seemingly unavoidable declaration that LDS leaders can err and it will be made known.

Well, everything is subject to interpretation. It could be just that they erred before they became leaders. Mind you, I am not saying that LDS leaders cannot err or have not erred. Obviously, Joseph Smith was corrected by the Lord. I just don't find this particular section especially convincing to imply that they can err in their teaching.

47 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Also that knowledge requires seeking and time.  We don't have it all on the shelf, and we have to do our part by using the books and resources at hand.  (See D&C 88 in several places.)  And yes, there are several places where the Lord says he is withholding certain information so as to try our faith. 

Agreed.

47 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I linked to Sperry's essay and quoted a few specifics, enough to make a point.  And I have read Palmer's In Search of Cumorah, Sorenson's Mormon's Map and Sourcebook, and Ancient American Setting, Poulson's FAIR talks (has his website come down with his death?),  and John Clark's detailed analysis of Book of Mormon New World geographic statements, as well as the recent book on The Geology of the Book of Mormon, and several things at FAIR, Maxwell, and elsewhere.  San Lorenzo as the Jaredite City of Lib.  Everything needs to fit together sensibly.  Not perfectly, but at least in a progressively promising and productive way.  And there are several exceedingly clear statements that provide important constraints on what is and is not plausible and sensible.   And things like Stephen's Incidents of Travel and on to the LiDar surveys continue to encourage me.  The case and evidence has progressed and radically improved since I first watched Ancient America Speaks and browsed Jack West's The Trial of the Stick of Joseph.  The way I see it, the puzzle pieces are fitting together into a recognizable picture.  It's not just a confusing, disconnected heap of confusing shapes best left in the box till some responsible adult comes along to make sense of life.

If we can distinguish the Bountiful where Nephi built his ship from the Bountiful where Jesus came to the temple based on the details of the text, then getting hung up on the dual  use of a name like Cumorah strikes me as pointless.  Especially since it is so easy to multiply examples.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Well, that wasn't what I had in mind. I see you saying you see how a MesoAmerican setting fits scripture. But what I don't see is anything clear on how a setting around New York cannot fit. I understand that you find the evidence for a MesoAmerican setting more compelling, but is there something specific about a NY setting which you can point to as some insurmountable problem which would rule it out? Like a lack of archaeological sites? What specifically? Thanks.

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6 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Well, everything is subject to interpretation. It could be just that they erred before they became leaders. Mind you, I am not saying that LDS leaders cannot err or have not erred. Obviously, Joseph Smith was corrected by the Lord. I just don't find this particular section especially convincing to imply that they can err in their teaching.

I think as members we sometimes fail to realize our church leaders are just human. Leaders no matter in what capacity, they learn over time. Their ideas evolve and sometimes are totally substituted for other ideas.

As times change, more knowledge is acquired, more scientific discoveries are made, more technology, etc.. Because leaders have erred in the past should give us hope and not doubt, showing that we all can change our way of thinking. Traditional ways do get supplemented for more newer ideas, especially as we grow and learn. Those newer ideas become new traditions. We are not made perfect or have perfect knowledge of where, why, and how as soon as we are made a leader. Heavenly Father gives us what we need to return to him, not a geography model, or a certain political party to follow. His directions are more of an instructional map on how we all can return to Him.

 

Quote

...but is there something specific about a NY setting which you can point to as some insurmountable problem which would rule it out? Like a lack of archaeological sites? What specifically? Thanks.

Excellent question. For me the settings no longer matters. I now study settings only to help me perhaps understand that culture so that when I read the Book of Mormon I may have a possible comparison that I can relate to the people in the Book of Mormon. Currently I subscribe to the limited geographic theory (LGT) in Mesoamerica. That may change if evidence comes a long that makes it more probable for a different setting.

You asked for specific insurmountable problems which would rule out a New York setting. For me they would be; (1) lack of population, (2) lack of a written language, (3) lack of archaeological sites.

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2 hours ago, RevTestament said:

Well, everything is subject to interpretation. It could be just that they erred before they became leaders. Mind you, I am not saying that LDS leaders cannot err or have not erred. Obviously, Joseph Smith was corrected by the Lord. I just don't find this particular section especially convincing to imply that they can err in their teaching.

Agreed.

Well, that wasn't what I had in mind. I see you saying you see how a MesoAmerican setting fits scripture. But what I don't see is anything clear on how a setting around New York cannot fit. I understand that you find the evidence for a MesoAmerican setting more compelling, but is there something specific about a NY setting which you can point to as some insurmountable problem which would rule it out? Like a lack of archaeological sites? What specifically? Thanks.

Regarding D&C 1, I'm an English major and professional writer since 1984.  I've published three dozen articles on things LDS.   I'm not proposing an esoteric interpretation of what it means to describe human weakness in authorized servants, err that shall be made manifest and conditional, rather than unconditional paths to knowledge and revelation.   Sections of the D&C that chronologically come after D&C 1, as well as all of our history supports my reading. 

The guarantee on the LDS leaders extends to "expedience" from God's perspective.  Some the meanings of "Sustain" are suffer, allow, permit.   What makes it all worth while are authority, ordinances and covenants, and ongoing revelation.  Not infallibility or omniscience.

Sorenson put together a useful listing or problems with any North American correlation to the Book of Mormon.

http://www.bmaf.org/articles/bunch_reasons_not_include_north_america__sorensen

It's a start.

I had a section in one of my responses to Vogel on issues with the traditional NY Cumorah and Hemispheric readings, but Larry Poulson's work is far more detailed and specific.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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5 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Regarding D&C 1, I'm an English major and professional writer since 1984.  I've published three dozen articles on things LDS.   I'm not proposing an esoteric interpretation of what it means to describe human weakness in authorized servants, err that shall be made manifest and conditional, rather than unconditional paths to knowledge and revelation.   Sections of the D&C that chronologically come after D&C 1, as well as all of our history supports my reading. 

The guarantee on the LDS leaders extends to "expedience" from God's perspective.  Some the meanings of "Sustain" are suffer, allow, permit.   What makes it all worth while are authority, ordinances and covenants, and ongoing revelation.  Not infallibility or omniscience.

Sorenson put together a useful listing or problems with any North American correlation to the Book of Mormon.

http://www.bmaf.org/articles/bunch_reasons_not_include_north_america__sorensen

It's a start.

I had a section in one of my responses to Vogel on issues with the traditional NY Cumorah and Hemispheric readings, but Larry Poulson's work is far more detailed and specific.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

BMAF is biased by design:

http://bmaf.org/about/mission_statement

So, naturally it would ignore North America. It’s part of its mission statement and IRS-approved 501(c)(3) documents to do so.

BMAF is the legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central:

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/about

The legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central is the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit public charity chartered in the state of Utah in 2004. Book of Mormon Central is not an official part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but rather an independent organization.”

It’s a nifty little business model. $$

This is why Letter VII on JosephSmithPapers doesn’t make them happy. https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

It’s sort of odd in a way. If I understand it correctly, the Church was criticized for not being transparent with its history, so it created the JosephSmithPapers.org site - It’s owned and thus copyright protected by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc is a corporation under control of the President of The Church:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_Reserve

Yet the critics of Letter VII are members who promote a Mesoamerica geography theory.

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58 minutes ago, Burnside said:

It’s a nifty little business model. $$

What is your opinion of those whose career is promoting a limited North American geography like Rod Meldrum and his FIRM Foundation?

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11 hours ago, Burnside said:

BMAF is biased by design:

http://bmaf.org/about/mission_statement

So, naturally it would ignore North America. It’s part of its mission statement and IRS-approved 501(c)(3) documents to do so.

BMAF is the legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central:

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/about

The legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central is the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit public charity chartered in the state of Utah in 2004. Book of Mormon Central is not an official part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but rather an independent organization.”

It’s a nifty little business model. $$

This is why Letter VII on JosephSmithPapers doesn’t make them happy. https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

It’s sort of odd in a way. If I understand it correctly, the Church was criticized for not being transparent with its history, so it created the JosephSmithPapers.org site - It’s owned and thus copyright protected by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc is a corporation under control of the President of The Church:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_Reserve

Yet the critics of Letter VII are members who promote a Mesoamerica geography theory.

Rather than address the specific, detailed criticisms Sorenson provides, and provide a viable, equally detailed alternative that accounts for the 500+ geographic details in the Book of Mormon, label, smear, and distract.

Yep. Gift of discernment, persuasion and  pure knowledge, where is thy sting?

By definition, Sorenson's numerous points explaining why the Book of Mormon does not work in a North American setting demonstrate that he is not ignoring it.  He's giving his view of problems that any defense ought to account for.  And your not accounting for them is, by dictionary definition, ignoring them.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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15 hours ago, Burnside said:

BMAF is biased by design:

Burnside, this was the question asked: "is there something specific about a NY setting which you can point to as some insurmountable problem which would rule it out?" 

You didn't even try to answer that question or respond to the very good arguments that the link provided for the answer to that question. You instantly attacked BMAF. If you want to be seriously considered, please put forth an argument, do not attack the website that hosted those very well written scholarly peered articles.  

 

Quote

So, naturally it would ignore North America.

So you naturally ignore learning of other theories, and you will instantly condemn any article that does not conform to your theories. You ignore the scholarly written articles and in reply you post a mission statement? Burnside, that is a weak, incredibly weak argument, lacking any strength to help your position.  

 

Meanwhile, still ignoring the very well written paper, you continue to attack the host site with facially contradictory terms that lacks strength of reasoning. (emphasis mine)

Quote

"... a 501 (c) 3 non-profit public charity..."  [juxtaposed to] It’s a nifty little business model. $$

 

Quote

This is why Letter VII on JosephSmithPapers doesn’t make them happy.

The letter does not merit any emotional response. Because it simply is personal opinion. It is a secondary resource (a quote of a quote of a quote), hearsay within hearsay.  

 

Quote

It’s sort of odd in a way. If I understand it correctly, the Church was criticized for not being transparent with its history, so it created the JosephSmithPapers.org site- It’s owned and thus copyright protected by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

An old argument that the Church hides its history. This is not true and never has been. The purpose of the Lord's Church is to bring people to Christ. Far down on the list from the aim of the Church is keeping an accurate history. A history that has always been accessible to its members and non-members. Then weirdly, you criticize the Church for then producing (updating) its history with the Joseph Smith Papers. As if it is more credible if it were to be written by a nonmember or disinterested party. Nevermind the fact that you criticize the Church for its lack of transparency, but then use the Church's own history (which you criticized) for your own argument.

 

Quote

Yet the critics of Letter VII are members who promote a Mesoamerica geography theory.

No, it is the person using Letter VII errantly as an "official Church position" were the criticism is focused. Letter VII is history of one man transcribing into a future book on church history many years after the events occured, that quotes a man quoting a man, quoting an angel. 

And finally on the Church's official position on the geography of the Book of Mormon:

From lds.org: here

  • The Church takes no position on specific geographic location of Book of Mormon events in the ancient Americas.
  • Since the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, members and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have expressed numerous opinions about the specific locations of the events discussed in the book. Although Church members continue to discuss such theories today, the Church takes no position on the geography of the Book of Mormon except that the events it describes took place in the Americas.
  • Anthony W. Ivins, a Counselor in the First Presidency, stated: “There has never been anything yet set forth that definitely settles that question [of Book of Mormon geography]. So the Church says we are just waiting until we discover the truth.” Anthony W. Ivins, in Conference Report, Apr. 1929, 16.
  • Joseph walks to a “hill” not far from his father’s home, not to the Hill Cumorah. The reason for omitting “Cumorah” is not that the writers wanted to expunge it in order to promote a geographical theory. The reason is that there is no historical evidence that Moroni called the hill “Cumorah” in 1823. here
  • Joseph uses the term “hill,” never “Hill Cumorah.” Saints follows Joseph’s lead.
Edited by Anijen
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Posted (edited)
On 2/21/2019 at 8:14 PM, Burnside said:

BMAF is biased by design:

http://bmaf.org/about/mission_statement

So, naturally it would ignore North America. It’s part of its mission statement and IRS-approved 501(c)(3) documents to do so.

BMAF is the legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central:

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/about

The legal organization behind Book of Mormon Central is the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit public charity chartered in the state of Utah in 2004. Book of Mormon Central is not an official part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but rather an independent organization.”

It’s a nifty little business model. $$

This is why Letter VII on JosephSmithPapers doesn’t make them happy. https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

It’s sort of odd in a way. If I understand it correctly, the Church was criticized for not being transparent with its history, so it created the JosephSmithPapers.org site - It’s owned and thus copyright protected by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc is a corporation under control of the President of The Church:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_Reserve

Yet the critics of Letter VII are members who promote a Mesoamerica geography theory.

Actually, for the record, BMAF does not functionally exist anymore. Book of Mormon Central legally took them over in 2016. The BMAF 501(c)3 was then adopted as the non-profit foundation for BMC, to spare us the time of applying separately for a new licence. But the mission statement of BMAF does not reflect the aims and goals of Book of Mormon Central. A certain Heartlander, who will remain nameless, knows all of this, but chooses to continually spread misinformation about the relationship between BMAF and BMC anyway. 

Also, for the record, nothing about Oliver Cowdery's Letter VII makes me, or anyone else at BMC, unhappy. It's a wonderful primary source on early Church history. But it is not a primary source on Nephite history. On that, it would be a secondary source, and the Book of Mormon itself would be the primary source. As such, we value the Book of Mormon--the primary source--for the subject of Book of Mormon geography above secondary sources like Oliver's letter. This, of course, is sound historiography. 

For more on Oliver's letters, see here:

https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/knowhy/how-are-oliver-cowderys-messenger-and-advocate-letters-to-be-understood-and-used

Edited by nealr
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9 hours ago, nealr said:

On that, it would be a secondary source, and the Book of Mormon itself would be the primary source. As such, we value the Book of Mormon--the primary source--for the subject of Book of Mormon geography above secondary sources like Oliver's letter. 

The statement placing the setting for the Book of Mormon on the American continent was also a secondary source. The primary source has nothing to say about which continent the account took place. If you go by what we find in the primary source, the text doesn't fit the Americas at all. 

HDcTC9EMBx-3000x3000.pngShifting the setting to the the American continent creates dozens if not hundreds of anachronisms (cows, sheep, horses, steel, chariots, silk elephants, swords, cimiters etc.) and problems that don't exist in the text itself. The text fits perfectly in the region known in ancient geographies as Rahma/Komoriyya/Kamara. The author of the Book of Mormon was writing a history about the legendary Kumr who sailed to Kamara shortly after the tower and the Rechabites, Israelites that were carried by God to Kamara in 600 BC.

Secondary sources shifted the narrative to the Americas, where it doesn't fit.

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3 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The statement placing the setting for the Book of Mormon on the American continent was also a secondary source. The primary source has nothing to say about which continent the account took place. If you go by what we find in the primary source, the text doesn't fit the Americas at all. 

Joseph Smith's report of what Moroni personally told him about the Book of Mormon's geography (meaning that it was about the former inhabitants of the American continent) is about as close to a primary source as we can get. 

And seeing that the text itself doesn't disclose its location, Joseph's statement is the most definitive historical evidence available.

Edited by Ryan Dahle
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