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Statement on Book of Mormon geography

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Posted (edited)

Joseph himself did not know the setting of the book, nor did he seem to understand the contents of the book in great detail, including the geographical references. The white Lamanite Zelph fighting under the great prophet Onandagus before the last great struggle at Cumorah is a good example of Joseph not having a solid understanding of the Book of Mormon narrative and geography.

Historians are not going to accept a statement by an angel as a primary source. If Joseph and Oliver didn't write the text, they were not primary sources. We don't know who wrote the Book of Mormon, so the most definitive historical evidence for the text comes from the text itself. 

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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39 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Well, that's obviously debatable at the general, continental level. 

The origins of the former inhabitants of the American continent, are not debatable. If we could run DNA tests on Zelph's bones taken from Naples-Russell Mound 8, do you expect they would reveal an Israelite in Illinois? I'm genuinely asking.

The only way to resolve this problem is to place the text in Asia and say that the former inhabitants of American continent (eg. Zelph) sprang from there. Because those are the facts as we know them. Any other explanation is bad history. 

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1 hour ago, Rajah Manchou said:

The origins of the former inhabitants of the American continent, are not debatable. If we could run DNA tests on Zelph's bones taken from Naples-Russell Mound 8, do you expect they would reveal an Israelite in Illinois? I'm genuinely asking.

The only way to resolve this problem is to place the text in Asia and say that the former inhabitants of American continent (eg. Zelph) sprang from there. Because those are the facts as we know them. Any other explanation is bad history. 

I'm guessing you are familiar enough with the DNA controversy and the apologetic response to know that DNA, even if it was extracted from the remains of a warrior that could certainly be identified as the one Joseph spoke of, would be inconclusive evidence. At least that seems to be the perspective of Ugo Perego and other qualified Latter-day Saint geneticists. So to get to your conclusion, you would have to first show that, contrary to their arguments, an absence of DNA evidence reliably proves what you assume it proves. 

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23 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Historians are not going to accept a statement by an angel as a primary source.

If we are seriously discussing the Book of Mormon as a text which records real historical events, and therefore has a geography, then the fact that Joseph received the text from angel and translated it by divine means becomes a given. And that being the case, there is no compelling reason to doubt what virtually all the primary sources about Joseph's conversation with that angel tell us: that he was one of the authors of the text, and said it took place in the Americas.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

I'm guessing you are familiar enough with the DNA controversy and the apologetic response to know that DNA, even if it was extracted from the remains of a warrior that could certainly be identified as the one Joseph spoke of, would be inconclusive evidence. At least that seems to be the perspective of Ugo Perego and other qualified Latter-day Saint geneticists. So to get to your conclusion, you would have to first show that, contrary to their arguments, an absence of DNA evidence reliably proves what you assume it proves. 

I'm familiar with the conversation about DNA, and there isn't much controversy. All the DNA evidence points to migrations by land, and by boat along the coastline, from East Asia with some traces of Australmelansian identified. The DNA evidence is clear, the former inhabitants of the American continent sprang from Asia. There's no DNA evidence to support the claim that three massive civilizations from the Middle East dominated the plains of Illinois or the Isthmus of Tehuantepec at any point between 2500 BC and 420 AD.

However, my argument is that there is DNA evidence of these civilizations elsewhere, rising and falling at the right times in a geography that fits the one described in the Book of Mormon, in a location that would have been within range of the Jaredite, Lehite and Mulekite migrations. My conclusion is that the existing DNA evidence supports my model much better than the absence of DNA evidence supports the Mesoamerican or Heartland LGT models. 

Edited by Rajah Manchou

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37 minutes ago, nealr said:

If we are seriously discussing the Book of Mormon as a text which records real historical events, and therefore has a geography, then the fact that Joseph received the text from angel and translated it by divine means becomes a given. And that being the case, there is no compelling reason to doubt what virtually all the primary sources about Joseph's conversation with that angel tell us: that he was one of the authors of the text, and said it took place in the Americas.

The angel told Joseph that the text was about the former inhabitants of the American continent and the source from whence they sprang. The evidence that we have is clear, the former inhabitants of the Americas sprang from Asia. Either all the evidence is wrong, or we are misunderstanding what Joseph was told by the Angel Moroni.

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On 2/22/2019 at 7:20 AM, Kevin Christensen said:

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

I’m not ignoring Sorenson. I’ve read some of Sorenson’s works. I’m no longer interested in Sorenson. Sorenson knew his geography model came from a member of the RLDS Church. He mentions it in his book: “The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book”

Unfortunately, the link to it here is a scanned image, not searchable text and slower to download:

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/bookchapters/Geography_of_Book_of_Mormon_Events/Sorenson- The Geography of Book of Mormon Events, A Source Book, lo-res.pdf

Page 88 has this image from Louise E Hills’ 1917 book, below.

Sorenson’s lists many geography models and states on page 22 that Hills a RLDS student of The Book of Mormon developed a geography model strictly limited to Mexico and Central America. (emphasis mine.) In other words, some models up to that point included areas outside as well as Mexico & C. America. But Hills was the first to restrict it to Mesoamerica. This is what Sorenson’s model is, a Two-Hill Cumorah model restricted to Mesoamerica, which contradicts Oliver Cowdery in Letter VII.

Sorenson on pages 23-24 treats lightly the Zelph account by the Prophet Joseph Smith, reemphasized by President Joseph F. Smith, which he clearly understands and ignores it anyway as speculation, and the same attitude still found today toward Oliver Cowdery and Letter VII.

What Sorenson does not include, is again Letter VII written by Oliver Cowdery. Sorenson either did not know about it or chose to ignore it.

Sorenson also did not include or mention in his “Source” book, RLDS Hills 1924 book here and on Page 131 where Hills mentions H.A. Stebbins, another RLDS member: 

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=wu.89058377359;view=1up;seq=134

H.A. Stebbins was an Apostate living when Joseph Smith was martyred and he joined the RLDS Church and disavowed Brigham Young as found here in this reproduced document ar Centerplace:   http://www.centerplace.org/library/Study/GCRall.htm

See Resolution 1:

“No. 1. Resolved, That this conference regards the pretensions of Brigham Young, James J. Strang, James C. Brewster, and William Smith and James Wood's joint claim to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as assumptions of power in violation of the law of God, and consequently we disclaim all connection and fellowship with them. “

In other words, Louise Edward Hills admired, H.A. Stebbins, an Apostate who disavowed Brigham Young as the best Book of Mormon student the RLDS Church ever produced, knew of H.A. Stebbins geography model (also not included in Sorenson’s “Source” book) modified Stebbins’ geography model, which included Central America and Northern South America, to his own model restricting the location to only Central America, which is the same model Sorenson uses excepting minor details as to rivers, etc.

Here is H.A. Stebbins Book of Mormon lectures, where in it he mentions his ideas about Northern South America and Central America and excludes North America: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101074888833;view=1up;seq=3

In other words, these RLDS models ignore Letter VII by Oliver Cowdery: https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1834-1836/90

The RLDS model by Hills is also recognized by Kirk Magleby and Jack Welch of BMC (Book of Mormon Central) in this youtube video of a lecture they gave in 2013, I believe, at BMAF: 

Min 22:00 Louise Edward Hills:
This is a plagiarized RLDS Mesoamerica Two-Hill Cumorah Book of Mormon geography model foisted on naive and trusting members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by these three organizations which are 501(c)(3) charitable corporations registered in the State of Utah.
 
They promote this Two-Cumorah theory by mixing it with other noce articles, then ask for donations.
This is public information and you can see the principal owners and for a small fee request from Utah.gov more documents, and I assume their filed tax forms.
Dr. Daniel Peterson on his Patheos blog mentions these organizations work together:
 
And he or they created a website called https://mormonvoices.org/ as a central location to take in donations for all three.
 
BMC is taking in Millions of Dollars as can be seen here to promote themselves and the Two-Cumorah theory:
 
Does BMC have fundraisers? I don’t know. Likely. What percentage of the funds that they raise do they keep? I don’t know. But like most IRS Approved charitable organizations in the United States that raise funds, the fundraisers are compensated.
 
At the very last seconds of this video they laugh about the “bean counters.”
 
 
So why don’t these organizations embrace Letter VII and promote it as a rediscovered truth written by Oliver
Cowdery found on JosephSmithPapers.org? 
 
Arrive at your own conclusion.
 
Again, I’m in bed on my back using my iPad which shows how simple it is to connect the dots.
 
So with all due respect, Bro. Christensen, you can focus on Dr. Sorenson’s acedemic points as to why The Book of Mormon doesn’t fit in a North America setting, but I prefer to look at the bigger picture and the motives behind it.
 
Kind regards,
Burnside

6C7EFFFD-4F52-42A1-B915-778814EDCEBF.jpeg

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On 3/2/2019 at 9:21 PM, nealr said:

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

BMAF still functionally exists. You stated BMC legally took it over in 2016. How much time does BMC need to apply for a separate license when it renewed the BMAF license in 2018 thru Dec 31, 2021?

Book of Mormon Central 501(c)(3) at Utah. gov:
 
The KnoWhy about Letter VII also shows BMC reflects the goals of BMAF of promoting The Book of Mormon as a Mesoamerica text. It basically states to ignore Letter VII by Oliver Cowdery, that one the Three Witnesses found in every copy of The Book of Mormon is not trustworthy.
 
Every holder of Priesthood can trace his Priesthood line of Authority to The Three Witneses, Oliver Cowdery being the only one of the three who received it the hands of John the Baptist and Peter, James and John, should not be trusted.
 
Sorry, but with all due respect, I reject this nonsense.
 
Bros. Magleby and Welch are shown here speaking at a BMAF conference in 2013 with arms uplifted:
 

 

Kind Regards,

Burnside

 

 

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BMC's current monthly expenditure averages $120,000 per month. No executive salaries or fundraising expenses are included in that amount. All BMC executives (Jack Welch, Kirk Magleby, Taylor Halverson, Ruth Schmidt, Bob Babcock, Scott Petersen, Tyler Perry) serve as volunteers. BMC's Director of Development, Nathan Bryant, has his salary and expenses completely paid as an in-kind private donation by Kirk Magleby's company, Nuvek, LLC. BMC occupies 4 suites in the office building at 330 East 400 South in Springville, Utah, but only pays rent on 2 of those suites. The other two are in-kind private donations from the owners. Much of BMC's furniture and fixtures come from second hand sources such as the monthly BYU surplus sale. We take full advantage of non-profit discounts offered by technology suppliers such as Microsoft, Adobe, and Salesforce. These strategies keep BMC's overhead remarkably low. Nearly 90% of our budget goes to pay 17 full-time employees, 14 part-time employees, and 8 part-time freelancers whose work is leveraged by dozens of dedicated volunteers. 

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/content/donation-instructions

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3 hours ago, Burnside said:

But like most IRS Approved charitable organizations in the United States that raise funds, the fundraisers are compensated.

CFR please.  I am curious.

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13 hours ago, Burnside said:

I’m not ignoring Sorenson. I’ve read some of Sorenson’s works. I’m no longer interested in Sorenson. Sorenson knew his geography model came from a member of the RLDS Church. He mentions it in his book: “The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book”

. . . 
Arrive at your own conclusion.
 

I too believe that Dr. Sorenson's work is seriously deficient to the point that it contradicts the Book of Mormon text and things Joseph Smiths said. And the premise for an LGT is suspect; if you can't find evidence of the Book of Mormon draw the boundaries so tight that nobody can.

But, having said that, there is zero evidence for a "North American" setting.  Joseph Smith plainly identified a hemispheric model, from Patagonia to Canada.

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2 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

I too believe that Dr. Sorenson's work is seriously deficient to the point that it contradicts the Book of Mormon text and things Joseph Smiths said. And the premise for an LGT is suspect; if you can't find evidence of the Book of Mormon draw the boundaries so tight that nobody can.

But, having said that, there is zero evidence for a "North American" setting.  Joseph Smith plainly identified a hemispheric model, from Patagonia to Canada.

I can see not accepting Sorenson's postulates for location. It seems surprising to completely dismiss a LGT model given the distances in the text.

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Has anybody been watching the National geographic series Lost Treasures of the Maya? It's on Monday nights.. It's based  on the new LiDAR scans that were made of Guatemala a couple of years back. According to the archaeologists on the show, it's a game changer, over 60,000 new structures have been located. They are just scratching the surface on exploring  them, the two cities on last nights show dated directly from BoM times.  It's already changing what we know about the Maya. Carry on.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rodheadlee said:

Has anybody been watching the National geographic series Lost Treasures of the Maya? It's on Monday nights.. It's based  on the new LiDAR scans that were made of Guatemala a couple of years back. According to the archaeologists on the show, it's a game changer, over 60,000 new structures have been located. They are just scratching the surface on exploring  them, the two cities on last nights show dated directly from BoM times.  It's already changing what we know about the Maya. Carry on.

It's a fantastic show.  Even today, I saw an announcement of a discovered cave system at Chichen Itza (ca 1000 AD) with intact pottery and other artifacts.  Interesting that the more we learn about the Maya and MesoAmerica, the less we learn about the people and culture of the Book of Mormon.  Just sayin'.

Edited by Gervin

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I can see not accepting Sorenson's postulates for location. It seems surprising to completely dismiss a LGT model given the distances in the text.

Sorenson's "distances" are rather absurd.  The narrow neck of land is a day and a half wide for a Nephite, which Sorenson puts as an isthmus 200 miles wide filled with swamps and mountains.  (My numbers are off a little, but you get the drift.)

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

Sorenson's "distances" are rather absurd.  The narrow neck of land is a day and a half wide for a Nephite, which Sorenson puts as an isthmus 200 miles wide filled with swamps and mountains.  (My numbers are off a little, but you get the drift.)

That kind of avoids the question. (I don't accept Sorenson's particular geography either) However the question is whether the text given its distances demands a limited geographic model or a hemispheric model. The hemispheric claims seem ludicrous given the text which has a fairly consistent internal geography. So if Joseph thought it was a hemispheric model that's a compelling argument he wasn't the author. (IMO)

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2 hours ago, Gervin said:

It's a fantastic show.  Even today, I saw an announcement of a discovered cave system at Chichen Itza (ca 1000 AD) with intact pottery and other artifacts.  Interesting that the more we learn about the Maya and MesoAmerica, the less we learn about the people and culture of the Book of Mormon.  Just sayin'.

Opinions differ as to whether the LiDar surveys done thus far, and those which may yet occur, cast significant light on the Book of Mormon.  On the one hand, the survey's reported in the National Geographic Special on the Secrets of the Mayan Snake Kings take place just outside of the most important Book of Mormon correlations.  On the other hand, stuff like this:

http://bookofmormonresources.blogspot.com/2018/10/ground-truthed-lidar.html

Pretty cool, I think.  I have the special recorded on my DVR, and have enjoyed showing it off on occasion.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

That kind of avoids the question. (I don't accept Sorenson's particular geography either) However the question is whether the text given its distances demands a limited geographic model or a hemispheric model. The hemispheric claims seem ludicrous given the text which has a fairly consistent internal geography. So if Joseph thought it was a hemispheric model that's a compelling argument he wasn't the author. (IMO)

Given the means by which he made the translation (as he and his assistants described), how much detail in the text should we expect him to remember? Is there evidence he had a photographic memory or that he spent a lot of time studying the book and mastering its contents after it was published? Would he have had time to devote to it?

Edited by Bernard Gui

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3 hours ago, Gervin said:

It's a fantastic show.  Even today, I saw an announcement of a discovered cave system at Chichen Itza (ca 1000 AD) with intact pottery and other artifacts.  Interesting that the more we learn about the Maya and MesoAmerica, the less we learn about the people and culture of the Book of Mormon.  Just sayin'.

Hopefully we find writings. That'll what will really shake things up - I mean codices and not just writings on walls.

2 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Given the means by which he made the translation (as he and his assistants described), how much detail in the text should we expect him to remember? Is there evidence he had a photographic memory or that he spent a lot of time studying the book after it was published?

If he translated it rather than wrote it I don't think we should assume he knows much geography at all. No more than a typical uneducated person who read the book quickly would know. Some assume Moroni taught him geography, but that seems dubious (IMO).

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Posted (edited)

When I read the Cowdery letter, the question I have to consider is, what is behind the opinion in the letter?  Revelation, or assumption?  

Is everything a prophet says equally authoritative, equally inspired?  Do prophets have one input, the infallible word of God, and one output, the infallible word of God?  Or do they have multiple inputs, including God, and multiple outputs besides God?  I find Alma particularly instructive:

Quote

Was he consistent or flexible and, therefore, speculative? Joseph himself said, “A prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such.”38 The Book of Mormon itself argues that on some matters a prophet might suppose he understood, and not ask, and therefore not receive revelation (see 3 Nephi 15:15-23 on the matter of other sheep). Even revelation may not be all-encompassing. Nephi says of Lehi’s experience of a vision, “so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water” (1 Nephi 15:27). Nephi writes of himself “And now, if I do err, even they did err of old” (1 Nephi 19:6).

Alma is especially instructive on the nature and extent and sources for prophetic knowledge:

Now as to this thing I do not know. . . . But behold, the Spirit hath said this much unto me. (Alma 7:8-9)

Now I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know. . . . Now when this time cometh no one knows. . . . Now, whether there shall be one time, or a second time, or a third time, . . . it mattereth not; for God knoweth all things; and it sufficeth me to know in this case . . . what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired diligently to know; and this is the thing of which I do know. . . . Behold it has been made known unto me by an angel. . . . Now, whether . . . I do not say; let it suffice, that . . . I do not say that . . . but behold, I give it as my opinion.” (Alma 40:3-5, 9, 11, 19-20)

I've also often quoted D&C 1, a formal revelation on "mine authority and the authority of my servants" (verse 6), and the blunt statement that "inasmuch as they erred, if might be made known: inasmuch as they sought wisdom, they might be instructed" (verses 25 and 26).  This principle was famously illustrated during the translation of the Book of Mormon when Joseph came to a passage mention a wall around Jerusalem.

Quote

[O]ne time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, “Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?” When I answered “Yes,” he replied “Oh! I was afraid I had been deceived.” He had such limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.

 Cited here https://knowhy.bookofmormoncentral.org/content/did-jerusalem-have-walls-around-it

The point is, as Joseph translated, he was coming across information that he did not previously know.  In this case, he thought he had made a mistake, and asked, and got his answer, not from revelation, not from an Angel, not from a vision, but in this account, from Emma, who had read and remembered something Joseph had not.  According to one account, they went and got a book.

Notice the pattern.  An error, asking, and an answer that corrected the error.  Not an assumption that since Joseph was a prophet, he must be right.  The text of the Book of Mormon in this case served as the provocation that demonstrated an error.  So D&C 1 is not just an abstract text, but involves pragmatic observation and practical remedy.

There is the question, of what happens in situations like that mentioned in 3 Nephi 15 on the issue of "the other sheep" when his disciples in Jerusalem, "because of stiff-neckedness and unbelief they understood not my word; therefore I was commanded to say no more of the Father concerning this thing" (v18) and "they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the gentiles..." (v22).

The question for me it not that Cowdery said what he did, and that his view has been promoted by many people since then, but whether it is correct.  If it is correct, then a New York Cumorah ought to fit with the words of Alma and Mormon and Moroni who had their feet the ground, who, if they existed, unarguably knew.  

Is it permissible to have Cowdery's letter "tested by the word of God" (TPJS, 215)?  Indeed, tested in any way?   Does a New York Cumorah make sense of the Book of Mormon words that we need cities of cement to the north, that we have a candidate for the waters of Riplancum, that Omer can travel from the Land of Moron, past Shim, past Ramah (Cumorah) to Ablom by the sea. (See Mormon's  Map, 46-48).  Moron in the land Northward is "near" the location that the Nephites' called Desolation. (Ether 7:6).  And Desolation is in the Land Northward, border's Bountiful (Alma 22:29-33), and we have an East Sea, and a West Sea.  And Hagoth leaving from the West Coast, the Mulekites landing on the East, Nephi on the West.  In the Land South we need a narrow strip of wilderness that extends from the East Sea to the West sea,  we need a Sidon that fits the descriptions in the text, and we need to make sense of the story of Limhi's explorers and Alma's and Limhi's escapes from the Land of Nephi to Zarahemla on foot with flocks and families in 22 days, from the Waters of Mormon, passing Manti (in the highlands near the source of the Sidon and the West coast), and we need to account for how Limhi's explorer could miss Zarahemla coming and going, and what they found (a site that they could have mistaken for Zarahemla that was unoccupied at the time).  And there are the other thousands of details that should interlock like pieces of a puzzle, as Sorenson and others note.

What I get from Sorenson, Palmer, Gardner, Clark, Larry Poulson, and Grover's The Geology of the Book of Mormon and others is an expansive set of puzzle pieces from the Book of Mormon that forms a coherent and expansive picture, that if it not yet perfect or complete, it makes a great deal of sense, and it strikes me as promising.

For instance, see Larry Poulson here:

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

One tidbit, among many:

Quote

The battle ends as the Amlicites and Nephites enter the wilderness of Hermounts. A number of years
ago, I had chosen these Barrancas as the location for Hermounts because of their fit to the description of
this wilderness found in the text of the Book of Mormon.
About a year ago, on the Aztlan discussion list, someone raised the topic of whether or not there were
man-eating beasts in Mesoamerica. One of the list members,
an expert of the Nahuatl language, responded by explaining
that Tehuantepec is a Nahuatl word meaning “hills” or
“mountains of the man-eating beast.” 

What I get from that is enlightenment, mind expansion, and increased faith.

What I get from the bogus accusations of plagiarism and corruption (Sorenson and the others actually show me their work, acknowledge their forerunners, and they clearly do what they do out of love for the Book of Mormon and not out of love of Mammon), is a sense of weariness.  I don't see a comprehensive model that makes better sense of the text.  For that matter, or any model. Or any sense of the text.  Just harping on a letter and a set of authorities who, on this topic never offer other any comprehensive explanation of the thousand interlocking details of the text, that if their words actually did have authority on this specific question, should provide.

Joseph Smith famously commented of many of the Saints that they shatter like glass when they come upon anything that is contrary to their traditions.  Those whose minds cannot expand (see Alma 32) cannot experience enlightenment and growth, a seed demonstrating that it is a good seed, not because it is unchangeable, but because it grows and changes.

Joseph Smith famously said, "It don't prove that a man is not a good man because he believes false doctrine" (for example, CWHN 13, p 413) and in this case, I don't think the falsity has been demonstrated.

Indeed, Robert Crocket and I have been over the dimension of the narrow neck before, and I note that he once again misstates Sorenson's actual case (in Ancient American Setting page 32, Sorenson describes the Ithsmus of Tehuatepec as 120 miles wide, which by my count is not 200 miles), and in Mormon's Map (p 70) , Sorenson acknowledges critics who have noticed that the Book of Mormon never states the distance as from West Sea to East Sea, but rather, from some undermined points.   So the distance of the day and a half journey for a Nephite (Sorson considers real life examples of how far that can be) can be much much less than Crocket's dismissal offers.  And while some have criticized Sorenson on directions, both Brant Gardner and Larry Poulson have offered improvements based on their observation that Mesoamerican directions were based on a + layout, but rather an x.  

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Opinions differ as to whether the LiDar surveys done thus far, and those which may yet occur, cast significant light on the Book of Mormon. 

Who's opinions?  Sort of a vague statement.  Another vague statement, "... cast significant light on the Book of Mormon."  I don't let people who work for me use the word "significant" unless they can show significance criteria; otherwise the word is meaningless. 

Quote

 

On the other hand, stuff like this:

http://bookofmormonresources.blogspot.com/2018/10/ground-truthed-lidar.html

Pretty cool, I think.

 

Sorry, not impressed.  The LiDar info shows features on a large-scale.  The details of these Mayan cultures don't jibe with the Book of Mormon.  For example, you want to draw a conclusion that Book of Mormon trade correlates with Mayan trade because the BoM talks about gold and silver.  However, the Mayan were  more interested in trade associated with shells and jade (and  more jade), not gold and silver.  The conclusions touted in the link are strained and incorrect.  Sorry.

Edited by Gervin

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16 minutes ago, Gervin said:

SThe LiDar info shows features on a large-scale.  The details of these Mayan cultures don't jibe with the Book of Mormon.  For example, you want to draw a conclusion that Book of Mormon trade correlates with Mayan trade because the BoM talks about gold and silver.  However, the Mayan were  more interested in trade associated with shells and jade (and  more jade), not gold and silver.  The conclusions touted in the link are strained and incorrect.  Sorry.

Most of the references to trade in the Book of Mormon don't reference gold/silver do they? I'd be the first to admit that metals are the #1 issue in the Book of Mormon. Hel 6 is the main reference to trade. It does definitely mention gold and silver in verse 9 & 11. However it seems to emphasize more grain, "flocks and herds," and linen. 

The main problem is that the Book of Mormon describes things that sound more characteristic of post-classical rather than pre-classical Mayan civilization. The hope, I suspect for apologists, is that the new discoveries may eventually push back some of the dating on those aspects of trade.

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14 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Most of the references to trade in the Book of Mormon don't reference gold/silver do they? I'd be the first to admit that metals are the #1 issue in the Book of Mormon. Hel 6 is the main reference to trade. It does definitely mention gold and silver in verse 9 & 11. However it seems to emphasize more grain, "flocks and herds," and linen. 

The main problem is that the Book of Mormon describes things that sound more characteristic of post-classical rather than pre-classical Mayan civilization. The hope, I suspect for apologists, is that the new discoveries may eventually push back some of the dating on those aspects of trade.

The link said:

  • The Maya had a complex economy based on agriculture and trade. Ditto the economy described in the Book of Mormon 4 Nephi 1:46

The 4 Nephi reference (my bold) says:

46 And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic.

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37 minutes ago, Gervin said:

The link said:

  • The Maya had a complex economy based on agriculture and trade. Ditto the economy described in the Book of Mormon 4 Nephi 1:46

The 4 Nephi reference (my bold) says:

46 And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic.

Yes, and I referenced a more explicit reference since 4 Nephi 1:46 doesn't mention trade of gold and silver but a vague "all manner of traffic." Did you read what I wrote?

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