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JAHS

Evidences of the Book of Mormon: Old World Geography

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The claims made appear to be valid in each case, except for their preference for the heavily traveled inland Incense Trail.  The BofM text actually insists that they stayed near the Red Sea coast all the way down.  Based on the logo, the production was made by Book of Mormon Central, a private organization (like the old FARMS) which is dedicated to buttressing scholarly evidence for the BofM.  Otherwise the field might be left to the nay-sayers alone -- although FairMormon has long had some very good contributions to make to the internet debate.

Do you feel that there is a proper place for such productions, or should Latter-day Saints rely only on revelation?

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I know of the Book of Mormon Central and how they seem to emphasize the geographical and physical evidences for the Book of Mormon, but my testimony is not based on such things. However, being a scientist myself I do find such things to be "interesting" as Spock would put it. We don't know for sure where it happened in the American continent, but we do know almost exactly where it happened in the Arabian peninsula, so at least we know where to look for the evidence in that part of the world. 

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5 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

As the principal author of the script for this video, I feel like it serves as a helpful introduction to the research on this topic. We highlighted what we (the specific researchers involved) feel are the best evidences and conclusions currently available about the proposed travel route. However, there has been  debate among Latter-day Saint scholars and researchers about most of these topics. As Robert has shown, not everyone agrees with every detail. And, on several topics, it would be very helpful if additional research could be conducted to further verify or substantiate (or disprove) claims. Overall, though, I feel comfortable with where the evidence stands, and that a very good case can be made for the route and details of evidence proposed in the video (however, I may be a bit biased😉). Some of us are working on research that sheds further light on some of these topics. 

I do have a quibble, maybe minor with the assertion that the Lehi party stopped at Nahom. The text says that Ishmael died and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. This death happened during a period when the party was encamped "for the space of a time" (1 Nehi 16:33) Nephi may have been giving an indefinite time interval there, but there is a Biblical period called a time which has the duration of a year and that, in my opinion, was what Nephi was telling us, i.e. that the party was encamped at some point along the trail for a year, but not necessarily at Nahom. It was during this period of time that Ishmael died and was buried somewhere in the Nahom region.

Glenn

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11 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

I do have a quibble, maybe minor with the assertion that the Lehi party stopped at Nahom. The text says that Ishmael died and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. This death happened during a period when the party was encamped "for the space of a time" (1 Nehi 16:33) Nephi may have been giving an indefinite time interval there, but there is a Biblical period called a time which has the duration of a year and that, in my opinion, was what Nephi was telling us, i.e. that the party was encamped at some point along the trail for a year, but not necessarily at Nahom. It was during this period of time that Ishmael died and was buried somewhere in the Nahom region.

Glenn

That's true in some parts of the Bible as it is used in Daniel for example (Daniel 4:16 and 29), but in this case I thinks it's just an unspecified period of time. In another Book of Mormon Scripture where Nephi has a vision of the Virgin Mary at the time of her conception he said: 
"And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!" (1 Nephi 11:19)
Did the conception take a whole year to occur? 

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1 hour ago, Glenn101 said:

I do have a quibble, maybe minor with the assertion that the Lehi party stopped at Nahom. The text says that Ishmael died and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. This death happened during a period when the party was encamped "for the space of a time" (1 Nehi 16:33) Nephi may have been giving an indefinite time interval there, but there is a Biblical period called a time which has the duration of a year and that, in my opinion, was what Nephi was telling us, i.e. that the party was encamped at some point along the trail for a year, but not necessarily at Nahom. It was during this period of time that Ishmael died and was buried somewhere in the Nahom region.

The script to the video doesn't really say anything about the party camping at Nahom. It basically just skips the notion of them setting up camp and dives right into Nahom being the next notable location on the travel route. All it says is  that this is where Ishmael was buried.

As for the correlation with "a time" being a year, I think we would have to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon itself consistently uses that meaning before reaching that sort of conclusion. Does the Bible universally use it like that, or is there variation?  

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

The script to the video doesn't really say anything about the party camping at Nahom. It basically just skips the notion of them setting up camp and dives right into Nahom being the next notable location on the travel route. All it says is  that this is where Ishmael was buried.

Correct, and Clan Lehi may have ported the body of Ishmael on camelback, or with a travois for serveral days before arriving at Nahom.  A year seems unnecessary.

Quote

As for the correlation with "a time" being a year, I think we would have to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon itself consistently uses that meaning before reaching that sort of conclusion. Does the Bible universally use it like that, or is there variation?  

Apart from the case of Mother Mary (1 Ne 11:19), “for the space of a time” is used in the BofM solely for encampment to rest for awhile (1 Ne 16:17,33 ).  We might want to study the bedouin habits of camping in order to rest their camels and themselves.

Other instances of "a time" in the BofM (Mosiah 1:18, Alma 3:24, 9:18, 12:16,24, 17:23, 28:4,6, 40:4-5,9, 42:4, 3 Ne 28:24, Ether 13:5) are clearly unrelated.

Three Hebrew words are used for "a time" in the Bible, none of them relevant to the BofM:

yom (Judg 14:8)

ʽet (2 Ki 5:26, Esth 2:14, Ps 32:6, Eccl 3:1-8,17, 8:9, Jer 8:15)

zeman (Neh 2:6)

Edited by Robert F. Smith

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6 hours ago, JAHS said:

That's true in some parts of the Bible as it is used in Daniel for example (Daniel 4:16 and 29), but in this case I thinks it's just an unspecified period of time. In another Book of Mormon Scripture where Nephi has a vision of the Virgin Mary at the time of her conception he said: 
"And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!" (1 Nephi 11:19)
Did the conception take a whole year to occur? 

You could be correct that it was an unspecified period of time, but it would seem to differentiate between the "space of many days" pointing to a period that would last maybe several months. That seems to be the intent of the passage that you are referencing. It would seem to be covering the whole time period of conception and pregnancy.

"19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!

20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms."

I am basing my opinion on the Biblical idea of a time being one year, as noted in Daniel 4:32 where Daniel was interpreting a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Glenn

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6 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

The script to the video doesn't really say anything about the party camping at Nahom. It basically just skips the notion of them setting up camp and dives right into Nahom being the next notable location on the travel route. All it says is  that this is where Ishmael was buried.

As for the correlation with "a time" being a year, I think we would have to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon itself consistently uses that meaning before reaching that sort of conclusion. Does the Bible universally use it like that, or is there variation?  

Not to be argumentive, but that is what the guy in the video said, i.e. that the party travelled along their route until they came to Nahom. It is only a minor quibble. I guess that I am a major minor quibbler and I don't know if that quibble has any real significance. It just makes the actual location the party sojourned a bit more fuzzy.

As to the "space of a time" thing, I am not hanging my hat on it being a full year. I am basing my opinion, as I noted to JAHS, that it is based upon a passage in Daniel chapter four where Daniel is prophesying to King Nebuchadnezzar that he would go crazy and eat grass for a period of "seven times" which most scholars seem to interpret as seven years or seasons. But Nephi could just as well have been talking about a period of several months. He notes that the Lehi party did this twice while on the trek after they left the place called Shazer.

Nephi 16:

"17 And after we had traveled for the space of many days, we did pitch our tents for the space of a time, that we might again rest ourselves and obtain food for our families."

"33 And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time."

"34 And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom."

It would seem to me that in each case Nephi is at least pointing to an extended period of time.

Glenn

 

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On 6/13/2019 at 9:10 AM, Ryan Dahle said:

 

As the principal author of the script for this video, I feel like it serves as a helpful introduction to the research on this topic. We highlighted what we (the specific researchers involved) feel are the best evidences and conclusions currently available about the proposed travel route. However, there has been  debate among Latter-day Saint scholars and researchers about most of these topics. As Robert has shown, not everyone agrees with every detail. And, on several topics, it would be very helpful if additional research could be conducted to further verify or substantiate (or disprove) claims. Overall, though, I feel comfortable with where the evidence stands, and that a very good case can be made for the route and details of evidence proposed in the video (however, I may be a bit biased😉). Some of us are working on research that sheds further light on some of these topics. 

BMC does a lot more than emphasize geographical and physical evidences, but we certainly do try to highlight evidences in those areas when possible. And, as you mentioned, we  hope people see these evidences as supplemental to spiritual evidence, rather than a replacement for faith.
 

Ryan, could you attribute the 'iron deposit' picture in your video at about the 6:22 minute mark?  Did you get this from Warren or Chad Aston, or where?  I have a direct interest in this.

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On 6/13/2019 at 9:10 AM, Ryan Dahle said:

BMC does a lot more than emphasize geographical and physical evidences, but we certainly do try to highlight evidences in those areas when possible. And, as you mentioned, we  hope people see these evidences as supplemental to spiritual evidence, rather than a replacement for faith.
 

Being able to marshal a good geographical model also has the potential of getting the attention of those who would ordinarily not give the Book of Mormon a 2nd thought.  Once it may grab their attention as being viable, they then have the chance to work on a spiritual connection to its truth.

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2 hours ago, blarsen said:

Being able to marshal a good geographical model also has the potential of getting the attention of those who would ordinarily not give the Book of Mormon a 2nd thought.  Once it may grab their attention as being viable, they then have the chance to work on a spiritual connection to its truth.

But I think it would only get their attention if they already had a belief in God and an interest in investigating the church, otherwise they would just think any evidence of a model is a coincidence or something that was already known by science. The only way I have ever known people to join the church is when they first read and pray about the Book of Mormon and get the spiritual connection first and then any evidence that supports the model is maybe only interesting to them at best.   

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3 minutes ago, JAHS said:

But I think it would only get their attention if they already had a belief in God and an interest in investigating the church

In general .I agree, but different things can be attention getters.  How in the world could those Mormons get that right?  Curiosity arises enough for some just from that, they investigate, and then begin to have spiritual curiosity and confirmation. 

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10 minutes ago, Calm said:

In general .I agree, but different things can be attention getters.  How in the world could those Mormons get that right?  Curiosity arises enough for some just from that, they investigate, and then begin to have spiritual curiosity and confirmation. 

Yes, but it's just I personally don't know anyone who got into it in that way, do you?  Maybe the evidence found so far isn't convincing enough.

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No, but there is stuff I see as interesting, but nothing golly, gosh, wow, no denying that!

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20 I am Mormon, and a pure adescendant of Lehi. I have reason to bless my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, that he brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem, (and bno one knew it save it were himself and those whom he brought out of that land) and that he hath given me and my people so much knowledge unto the salvation of our souls.

 No one knew of Lehi’s group. They encountered no one.

 

To claim Ishmael died at some population center called NHM contradicts the text. “Wait, Dad! Don’t die, Nahom is just ahead over the next wadi!” How convenient for a dying man to die while not receiving help from people in NHM. “They’ll have food and medicine!”

I also have issue with the claim Lehi’s group followed the Incense Trail either southward or eastward to Bountiful. Bountiful was prepared by The Lord for Lehi’s group as the text states, it wasn’t a Riviera for travelers on the incense trail. The reason why they were commanded not to use fire was to not be seen by others.

It’s also laughable how Book of Mormon Central knows the Arabia Peninsula is much much larger than Mesoamerica, about the size of Western Europe. Yet, while it took Lehi’s group 8 years to get to Bountiful, Book of Mormon Central claims Lehi’s and Mulek’s descendants spent the next 1,000 years in teeny-tiny Mesoamerica. LAUGHABLE.

But it makes sense when you realize, Book of Mormon Central teaches the RLDS geography theory for The Book of Mormon, which is where the Mesoamerica Theory came from, from the apostate RLDS Church.

see the Maya pyramids at 0.36 in the above video.

RLDS slide presentation: http://www.latterdaytruth.org/pdf/100353.pdf

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On 6/15/2019 at 4:24 PM, blarsen said:

Ryan, could you attribute the 'iron deposit' picture in your video at about the 6:22 minute mark?  Did you get this from Warren or Chad Aston, or where?  I have a direct interest in this.

This footage is from Wadi Sayq (Khor Kharfot). It was taken by Daniel Smith, who works for BMC. 

However, it should be noted that not all of the footage and images in the video accurately correspond to the scene they are depicting.  

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23 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

This footage is from Wadi Sayq (Khor Kharfot). It was taken by Daniel Smith, who works for BMC. 

However, it should be noted that not all of the footage and images in the video accurately correspond to the scene they are depicting.  

Just how big are the river of Laman (Wadi Tayyib al-Ism ?) and the Wadi Sayq river? I assume they can vary in size depending on the season and whether it is raining or not. They don't look very big on the maps or in photos I have seen.

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16 minutes ago, JAHS said:

Just how big are the river of Laman (Wadi Tayyib al-Ism ?) and the Wadi Sayq river? I assume they can vary in size depending on the season and whether it is raining or not. They don't look very big on the maps or in photos I have seen.

I'm not sure specifically how much seasonality affects the stream at Wadi Sayq (I'm guessing it does notably affect the waterflow). Footage for the stream at Wadi Sayq can actually be seen starting at 2:22 in the video (which, confusingly, is about Wadi Tayyib al-Ism). 

I know that in the 90s, George Potter documented that the stream at Wadi Tayyib al-Ism flows throughout the year. The geologist accompanying him indicated that the waterflow was much more like a large stream (small river) in antiquity. People have been pumping water out of the aquifer in modern times which seems to be the reason that the stream is now hardly more than a small trickle of water. I'm guessing that was the rationale behind using footage from Wadi Sayq in the discussion of Wadi Tayyib al-Ism. 

For Potter's discussion of the waterflow in the stream at Wadi Tayyib al-Ism, see https://publications.mi.byu.edu/pdf-control.php/publications/jbms/8/1/S00011-51096faa2ea6210Potter.pdf 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Burnside said:

It’s also laughable how Book of Mormon Central knows the Arabia Peninsula is much much larger than Mesoamerica, about the size of Western Europe. Yet, while it took Lehi’s group 8 years to get to Bountiful, Book of Mormon Central claims Lehi’s and Mulek’s descendants spent the next 1,000 years in teeny-tiny Mesoamerica. LAUGHABLE.

I don't personally see the humor.  Which part seems unreasonably, that it took 8 years to get to Bountiful, or that the Lehites lived in Mesoamerica for the next 1,000 years? 

Why does it seem strange that a people would live predominantly in one small location for thousands of years?  The Maya anyone?     

Edited by pogi
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Burnside says:

Quote

It’s also laughable how Book of Mormon Central knows the Arabia Peninsula is much much larger than Mesoamerica, about the size of Western Europe. Yet, while it took Lehi’s group 8 years to get to Bountiful, Book of Mormon Central claims Lehi’s and Mulek’s descendants spent the next 1,000 years in teeny-tiny Mesoamerica. LAUGHABLE.

S. Kent Brown (who appears in the excellent Maxwell Institute Video on Lehi's Journey in the Old World) discussed some of the reasons for the time in "A Case for Lehi's Bondage in Arabia."

https://publications.mi.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1393&index=9

Abstract

Quote

Abstract: The lengthy sojourn of Lehi’s family in the Arabian desert invites the almost inevitable question whether circumstances forced family members to live in the service of tribesmen either for protection or for food. In my view, enough clues exist in the Book of Mormon—they have to be assembled—to bring one to conclude that the family lived for a time in a servile condition, a situation that apparently entailed suffering and conflict.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

S. Kent Brown (who appears in the excellent Maxwell Institute Video on Lehi's Journey in the Old World) discussed some of the reasons for the time in "A Case for Lehi's Bondage in Arabia."

The part of Don Bradley's forthcoming book I'm most excited about is whether there are any references to what the lost 116 pages said about this journey. I rather suspect there was a lot more in that text than what we  have in 1 Nephi. Which of course doesn't mean any indirect descriptions of the journey survived.

2 hours ago, JAHS said:

Just how big are the river of Laman (Wadi Tayyib al-Ism ?) and the Wadi Sayq river? I assume they can vary in size depending on the season and whether it is raining or not. They don't look very big on the maps or in photos I have seen.

As others noted it's dangerous to extrapolate from current hydrology the hydrology of 2500 years ago. Geologists and historians can make inferences about what the hydrology once was, but that requires hard evidence not extrapolation from current conditions.

11 hours ago, Burnside said:

No one knew of Lehi’s group. They encountered no one.

Where in the text does it say they met no one during the 8 years of their journey? Silence isn't strong evidence for absence. Nephi simply doesn't say much about the trip in the small plates. I imagine the larger plates gave much more information that was translated in the 116 pages. I'll confess I'm rather skeptical they didn't meet anyone. It's rather likely they were following well known trade routes in which case meeting people would be nearly unavoidable.

Edited by clarkgoble
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11 hours ago, Burnside said:

It’s also laughable how Book of Mormon Central knows the Arabia Peninsula is much much larger than Mesoamerica, about the size of Western Europe. Yet, while it took Lehi’s group 8 years to get to Bountiful, Book of Mormon Central claims Lehi’s and Mulek’s descendants spent the next 1,000 years in teeny-tiny Mesoamerica. LAUGHABLE.

I think perhaps more people would be open to discussion with you if you weren't so derisive of their opinions.  You bring up points that are important to understand no matter where you believe the book took place, but you deliver them in a manner that immediately puts others on the defensive instead of fostering discussion.

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