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Derl Sanderson

Where are the FARMS Review of Books?

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The other day I was wistfully thinking of the old FARMS Reviews. I own a number of them, but I thought you could at one time access all of them online at the Maxwell Institute as well as the issues of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. Doesn't MI host them anymore? And if not, where might they be found? Or am I just a putz at locating things on the world-wide interweb? (Most likely of the three).

I tried looking here, but none of the links worked.

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I thought someone was updating that.  Will check on it.

I believe everything got transferred to scholar's archive.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/msr/

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FYI, the transfer may not be complete yet.  There were some glitches, but those should eventually get cleared up from what I hear.

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12 hours ago, Derl Sanderson said:

The other day I was wistfully thinking of the old FARMS Reviews. I own a number of them, but I thought you could at one time access all of them online at the Maxwell Institute as well as the issues of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. Doesn't MI host them anymore? And if not, where might they be found? Or am I just a putz at locating things on the world-wide interweb? (Most likely of the three).

I tried looking here, but none of the links worked.

Yes, CALM is correct, 

Journal of Book of Mormon Studies
https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/ 

Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1989–2011
The FARMS Review (1989-2011)
https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/msr/ 
–select which volume and issue, then select which pdf to view
–all issues are available in pdf online
 

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Limited, careening toward Banned, Burnside?

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2 hours ago, Burnside said:

The F.A.R.M.S. Review of Books was when Dr. Dan Peterson and John (Jack) Welch, founders of F.A.R.M.S. in 1979, and others, would verbally/written - beat up other peoples’ ideas and publications if they didn’t agree with the RLDS Two-Cumorah Book of Mormon geography theory (aka Limited Geography Theory or LGT) that F.A.R.M.S. was promoting.

I hold to a limited geography view but my inspiration of that does not come from the RLDS church.  It simply comes from reading the BOM and applying some reasonable conclusions from it.  I will hold to that view until I can find reason to believe Nephites had communications equipment that could cover vast distances and fast transportation like trains and cars that could cover thousands of miles in a reason time. 

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From a comment about the switchover on Dan Peterson's site:

Quote

After sending a couple of emails it wasn't very difficult to find out that the university has been requesting the Maxwell Institute to save themselves and the university time and money to have all of the Institute's materials archived there. Again, Brigham Young University itself requested that they shift to this way of archiving their material. If anyone is interested in accessing the Maxwell Institute's old and ongoing publications they can do so here: https://scholarsarchive.byu.... No need for conspiracy theories.

Also he says the MI server crashed during the change, but they will be going through and checking what didn't make it and using physical files if necessary to replace.

This confirms what I have been told through other sources.

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Burnside said: "The F.A.R.M.S. Review of Books was when Dr. Dan Peterson and John (Jack) Welch, founders of F.A.R.M.S. in 1979, and others, would verbally/written - beat up other peoples’ ideas and publications if they didn’t agree with the RLDS Two-Cumorah Book of Mormon geography theory (aka Limited Geography Theory or LGT) that F.A.R.M.S. was promoting."

I've read every issue of the FARMS Review.  So I know that a call for references would be futile because there is nothing that answers this description.  Welch never used words to beat up anyone, in the occasional review he provided.  And after he was made editor of BYU Studies, his contributions to the Review disappeared.   If you are going to buy into a narrative, make sure that the narrative has some actual substance to support it.  Or, accept the consequences of building on sand when the rains come.  Peterson did not personally write essays or reviews on geography theories.  He published some important ones, such as by John Clark, which Burnside would profit from actually reading, rather than ideologically dismissing.  But they in general focused on how the theories accounted for the text of the Book of Mormon.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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4 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

I've read every issue of the FARMS Review.  So I know that a call for references would be futile because there is nothing that answers this description.  Welch never used words to beat up anyone, in the occasional review he provided.  And after he was made editor of BYU Studies, his contributions to the Review disappeared.   If you are going to buy into a narrative, make sure that the narrative has some actual substance to support it.  Or, accept the consequences of building on sand when the rains come.  Peterson did not personally write essays or reviews on geography theories.  He published some important ones, such as by John Clark, which Burnside would profit from actually reading, rather than ideologically dismissing.  But they in general focused on how the theories accounted for the text of the Book of Mormon.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

FARMS and FAIR, as well now BYU Studies, support only the Mesoamerican theory.  See especially William J. Hamblin’s “Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon” (1993) published in the FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.  Hamblin characterizes non-Mesoamerican theories as Anti-Mormon. 

As I was Jack Welch's first graduate research assistant, I have had good access to his theories and, most definitely, FARMS did not support any other theory.

FARMS challenged Paul Hedengren, "The Land of Lehi" (1995).  There is a review of Hedengren somewhere in FARMS.  He's a BYU professor who advanced a Great Lakes theory.  Bruce Warren, although very sympathetic to a Mesoamerican model, says there is "very little " evidence and that it is circumstantial. Bruce W. Warren, “Deciphering the Geography and An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies (Summer 1990), 30:3, at 127.  Similarly, Ugo A. Perego has said that the Book of Mormon “contains only marginal information about . . . the geography of the land occupied by the people it describes."  No Weapon Shall Proper:  New Light on Sensitive Issues, ed. Robert L. Millet (Provo, Utah:  Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011), 171-217.  Grant Hardy says that to read the Book of Mormon for correlations with Mesoamerican cultures  is to "wrench it out of its own framework." Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2010), Kindle location 3392.

I am agnostic about geography in the Book of Mormon but am critical of any limited theory.  The evidence isn't there.  Not even closely there.  I think the proponents are irresponsible (in a secular way; perhaps not in a Book of Mormon scholarly way) in their approach, and to argue that "any learning is good" is to basically throw in the towel.  I am not convinced that trying to advance a Mesoamerican model is a good thing for tender testimonies.  When the Mesoamerican model falls, so does the testimony.  

 

Edited by Bob Crockett

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1 hour ago, Bob Crockett said:

I am agnostic about geography in the Book of Mormon but am critical of any limited theory.  The evidence isn't there.  Not even closely there.

Just to be clear, I think the text demands a limited theory just given the distances in the text. Whether that limited theory ought be seen in Peru, MesoAmerica, the Great Lakes or even Thailand seems a completely different issue. The hemisphere model seems dead in terms of looking at what the text says.

I certainly agree that there are some problematic issues with mesoamerica - metals being the biggest one IMO. However I think semantic drift solves a lot. To me all the other potential sites have many more problems.

That said, I do wish there were a bit more openness to how vague the text actually is.

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Posted (edited)

Clark: 

Your response demonstrates the nature of the real problem.

You say that "the other potential sites have many more problems" than the Mesoamerican model.  That is, of course, Dr. Sorenson's view. 

But that isn't necessarily the scientific method, to say that one option is better than inferior options once you have ruled out the inferior options.  The superior choice must stand on its own.

There is a science to plotting cartographic data against ancient texts.  Dr. Sorenson did not use that science.  Didn't even try.   And, in particular, his analysis of the "narrow neck of land" was abysmally bad.  Supposedly, a "Nephite" could traverse that neck in a day and half.  No human today could even remotely do so.

Edited by Bob Crockett

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Glad to see these preserved.  I spent a decade reading FARMS and watching people fight about it online.  It was how I became acquainted with the criticisms of my faith and it's members, and with responses from folks I could consider.  About halfway through that decade, I started opening my mouth and participating in the great online debate.   Since critics all seemed to be going off similar cut-and-paste lists of things FARMS was addressing, I did a lot of cutting-pasting what I thought were reasonable answers, scriptures to look up that provided context, additional historical elements to consider, and everything else.  Then Owen and Mosser published their "Hey evangelicals - we really suck at criticizing Mormons and we should stop sucking so bad at criticizing Mormons" article, which to me felt like winning.

I'm happily downloading all the PDFs into my own happy little pile of LDS topics.  Next time I'm stuck on a desert island, or in between books, or raising the next generation of folks interested in LDS topics, I'll break these open and relive the fun.

Because of FARMS, I know what peer review is, and what fools assume it is.   I know a bit more about what DNA evidence can and can't tell us, and what fools assume it is and isn't telling us.  I know more about the difference between facts/beliefs/truths/knowledge, and why people get them confused.

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Posted (edited)

Also, this gem, written by a guy named @cinepro from back in 2005.  You may have heard of him.   It's a redo of some musical that I failed to note:

----------------------------------

[INTERIOR STUDY - NIGHT]

It's a small room, with bookshelves along every wall. A small desk sits in the middle, with a middle aged man hunched over a book. A small light illuminates him.

JW: (singing) 

Day after day, night after night 
Searching...

Verse after verse, one more time
Reading...

The words on the page...beautiful!
The story they tell...wonderful!

(Beautiful, wonderful...)

Chiasmus!
I see you on the page
Chiasmus!
It will soon be all the rage
How could Joseph have done it...?
He didn't!
Was it ancient Nephi...?
Yes, he did!

[DP enters from stage right]

DP: (speaking) John, it's late. You need rest.
JW: (speaking excitedly) No Daniel. I've got it! Look at the words. It's a pattern of reiteration, found in ancient Hebrew! And it's in the Book of Mormon! It's everywhere!
DP: Really, could it be...?
JW: YES!

DP and JW (in unison): Chiasmus!
DP: ...and secret combinations...
DP and JW (in harmony): Chiasmus!
DP: ...metal plates in Babylos...
DP and JW (big finish): Chiasmus! 
 
 
[CAFETERIA- DAY]

It's crowded at every table, mostly with college-age students. Everyone is white, and dressed in J Crew or Lands End. 

A middle aged man, probably a teacher, sits at the end of a bench. He has some maps, and books, open in front of him. He is JG.

JG: (singing) The pieces of the puzzle...
in front of me.

How do they go together?
It tortures me!

(The ghost of Moroni appears on the balcony. No one can see him.)

Moroni: (singing softly) Cumorah....

JG: (still singing) Meso-america...and New York.
How was it done...it doesn't work!
So many plates, could they be all gone.
Oliver said so, could he have been wrong?

Moroni: (even softer) Two...Cumorah's.

JG: (Looks up, as if inspiration has come from nowhere...yelling) I've got it! Two Cumorah's!

(All the students are stunned. Silence as they freeze and look at him)

JG: (singing energetically) One...two... Cumorah's!
Student1: ..What did he say?...
JG: (standing on the table, singing louder) One...two...Cumorah's!!!
Student2: ...how can the be?...
JG: (running down the table, singing to the students) It's all so easy, it all makes perfect sense. 
One Cumorah, for Mormon, the other, where Joseph went...

Moroni: HE'S GOT IT!

(All the students turn and look at him. Moroni covers his mouth and looks embarrassed)

All students, dancing and singing: One...two...Cumorah's!

Jews...like...menorah's!

(A student in a 50's style nebbish shirt and tie wanders in from stage right, carrying an armful of books. All others stop their wild dancing and turn to him. Spotlight...)

Nebbish: (singing softly) In the light of revelation, and the face of evidence...
from the Prophet Joseph, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and common sense...
we cannot say...
in any way...
that the Hill we call Cumorah

All students: Yes!??

Nebbish: (Louder)That this hill we call Cumorah...

All students: What...!???

Nebbish: (yelling, with conviction and confidence) We cannot say this hill we call Cumorah...is in Central America!

(Silence. The students turn back to JG. JG pauses shrugs his shoulders, makes a funny face and yells...)

JG: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.

(Students laugh)

JG:(Singing)And one day, you'll be gone, but the FARMS work goes on!!
Your thinking is limited, your vision obsolete...
You made your mind up long ago, and set it in concrete.

You need to expand...your outlook.
It's so easy, it's all right there...it's in the Book!
You'll never make it in the world with ideas like that.
Scripture can be misinterpreted, hey...the Bible says Earth's flat!

Students: (laughing and singing) The Bible says Earth's flat...

JG: (continues) You lap up old ideas, like a bird from a bird feeder.
Stay away from talking scholarship, especially if you become a Church leader.

(Nebbish shakes his fist in anger. Moroni and Students laugh.)

(Festive music starts...everyone dances. Moroni is doing the charleston.)

Students...JG and Moroni: One...two...Cumorah's!

(Nebbish looks resigned, and walks off stage. Festive dancing continues for until big finish.) 
 

Edited by LoudmouthMormon

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On 7/1/2019 at 3:19 PM, Bob Crockett said:

FARMS and FAIR, as well now BYU Studies, support only the Mesoamerican theory.  See especially William J. Hamblin’s “Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon” (1993) published in the FARMS Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.  Hamblin characterizes non-Mesoamerican theories as Anti-Mormon. 

As I was Jack Welch's first graduate research assistant, I have had good access to his theories and, most definitely, FARMS did not support any other theory.

FARMS challenged Paul Hedengren, "The Land of Lehi" (1995).  There is a review of Hedengren somewhere in FARMS.  He's a BYU professor who advanced a Great Lakes theory.  Bruce Warren, although very sympathetic to a Mesoamerican model, says there is "very little " evidence and that it is circumstantial. Bruce W. Warren, “Deciphering the Geography and An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” BYU Studies (Summer 1990), 30:3, at 127.  Similarly, Ugo A. Perego has said that the Book of Mormon “contains only marginal information about . . . the geography of the land occupied by the people it describes."  No Weapon Shall Proper:  New Light on Sensitive Issues, ed. Robert L. Millet (Provo, Utah:  Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2011), 171-217.  Grant Hardy says that to read the Book of Mormon for correlations with Mesoamerican cultures  is to "wrench it out of its own framework." Grant Hardy, Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader’s Guide (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2010), Kindle location 3392.

I am agnostic about geography in the Book of Mormon but am critical of any limited theory.  The evidence isn't there.  Not even closely there.  I think the proponents are irresponsible (in a secular way; perhaps not in a Book of Mormon scholarly way) in their approach, and to argue that "any learning is good" is to basically throw in the towel.  I am not convinced that trying to advance a Mesoamerican model is a good thing for tender testimonies.  When the Mesoamerican model falls, so does the testimony.  

 

I personally remain very impressed by the Mesoamerican theories, and how they have improved.   Without them, my tender testimony would have been left to feed on tasty morsels like the Roberts Study, Fawn Brodie, Coe, The Trial of the Stick of Joseph, the Tanners, Walter Martin, Vogel's Indian and Origins and the Book of Mormon, and Sterling McMurrin's famous dismissal, and perhaps some of the position papers put out by the RLDS in the 1960s. And what else?   Do you have anything better for a tender testimony?  A better harvest from the planting and experiment with the seed?  Do the testimonies of those impressed by the Mesoamericanists weigh in the balance?

Any paradigm choice involves deciding which problems are most significant to have solved, and which paradigm is better? where just how a person goes about measuring better is crucial.   But also obvious, if we pay attention.

Sorenson, Gardner, Wirth, Clark, Wright, Larry Porter, and others like them show me their work on Mesoamerica.   They show me the evidence, as well as the open questions, and the progress with those questions over time.  Count me impressed, and more impressed when I can take the kinds of things they taught me to revolutionary events like the recent LiDar surveys.  I don't have to just take Perego's and Warren's and Hardy's word for it.  Rather than just bow to authority, I can consider the evidence.  I can consider questions like where in the western hemisphere is a narrow strip of wilderness that extends from the East Sea to the West Sea, in whose highlands, there should be a river that begins flowing from East to west, and then north, and then empties into the West Sea, and how is that situated with respect cement buildings, etc. etc., etc.  When I look at the evidence, I see far more than nothing and flim flam.   Indeed, I think it all rather exciting.

Regarding the "narrow neck" we have occasionally pointed out that since the publication of Ancient American Setting in 1985, critics have noted that the Book of Mormon text does not specify the journey across the narrow neck is precisely from coast to coast.  Sorenson acknowledged the criticism in Mormon's Map (pages 70-71).  Some people complained about the directions, but Brant Gardner and Larry Poulson have observed that in Mesoamerica, directions were made not with a "+" division as we do, with with an imbalanced "x", based on the rising and setting sun.   And it actually casts light on details in the narratives.

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

So I don't have to camp my tent on some outdated criticisms tossed at Sorenson, any more than solar centric astronomy starts and ends with Copernicus.  Kepler and others, make a difference.  By me,  the case has improved.  What he brought was better than anything we had before.  And things have gotten better since.  FOr instance, I can look at my copy of Geology and the Book of Mormon.  

There is a lot to consider.  My tender testimony has been nourished by my explorations.  And I notice that Sorenson never pretended to be the only game in town, and published the Sourcebook, containing a history of LDS ideas and many different models, as well as quotations of hundreds of Book of Mormon verses that any model ought to account for, including those who claim that there is not enough evidence to work with, or that we'd do better to just take the word of some authority because of their authority, and not worry that making pronouncements, that they never actually account for the key authorities, the ones who were eye-wtinesses, Mormon and Moroni and their sources.  Again, I don't have to just take an authority's word for it.   I can check the evidence myself.  I can see the different models offered, and consider how, or if, they actually account for what Mormon and Moroni thought worth engraving, with considerable difficulty, and what Joseph Smith translated.

FWIW

Canonsburg, PA

 

 

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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Dr. Sorenson writes that views that are not consistent with his are harmful to the Church.  

FARMS and Maxwell Institute (before a 2012 change in philosophy and management)[1] as well as Dr. Sorenson have criticized views that compete with Dr. Sorenson’s theories.[2]   In Sorenson’s Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology (1976), a BYU Studies production, Sorenson describes books about Book of Mormon geography as “swashbuckling” where “Mormons are willing to spend money for instant evidence of knowledge rather than labor for the knowledge themselves.”[3]  Sorenson criticized works by Jack West,[4] Paul Cheesman,[5] Venice Pridiss[6] and Dewey and Edith Farnsworth,[7] referring to “naïve use of sources, logical inconsistencies, cut-and-paste quotations, and harmful effects on the Church” and other rather strident descriptions.[8]  “[Z]eal does not improve poor scholarship.”[9]  Sorenson’s 1976 article is a good example of the gloves-off approach to a defense of the Mesoamerican model against all comers, who are little better than apostates.

 

[1] Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Shake-up hits BYU’s Mormon studies institute,” June 26, 2012, The Salt Lake Tribune, published at www.sltrib.com/sltrib/utes/54358137-78/mormon-institute-peterson-studies.html.csp, accessed May 20, 2014.

[2] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” BYU Studies, vol. 16, no. 3 (1976), at 429[007].

[3] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” at 429.

[4] Jack West, Trial of the Stick of Joseph (Sacramento, California:  Rich Publishing Co., 1976).   Sorenson says that the “writing is disjointed, and a consistent argument is hard to discern.”  West’s book is still advertised by Deseret Book although as of June 1, 2014, is listed as “unavailable.”  http://deseretbook.com/Trial-Stick-Joseph-Jack-H-West/i/2861056, accessed June 1, 2014.

[5] Paul Cheesman, These Early Americans:  External Evidences of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City:  Deseret Book, 1974).  Sorenson criticized Deseret Book’s heavy promotion of the book.

[6] Venice Priddis, The Book and the Map.  New Insights into Book of Mormon Geography (Salt Lake City:  Bookcraft, 1975).

[7] Dewey & Edith Farnsworth, The Americans before Columbus (Sacramento, California:  Rich Publishing Co., 1975).

[8] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” p. 429-30.

[9] Sorenson, “Instant Expertise on Book of Mormon Archaeology,” p. 431.

Edited by Bob Crockett

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Posted (edited)

Dr. Sorenson's approach to the narrow neck of land is questionable, to say the least.  And he, indeed, calls it an isthmus.  

Dr. Sorenson concludes that the “narrow neck of land” reference, among other places, in Alma 22 must be an isthmus[1] and further that “we safely assume” that the isthmus divides the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans[2] even though the Book of Mormon says no such thing.  “The 120-mile-wide Isthmus of Tehuantepec is just within the range of plausibility we established for the width of the “narrow neck.”[3]  But, as Dr. Sorenson says, and as quoting from the Book of Mormon, the “narrow neck” was “only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite . . . ,”[4] indicating that the editor of the Book of Mormon intended to convey the thought that the “narrow neck” was very narrow indeed and “only” something of little consequence.   Given that the 120-mile span of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is filled with unnavigable rivers and malarial swamps,[5] Mesoamerican theorists have spent some time attempting to defend Dr. Sorenson’s theory.   Dr. Sorenson, for instance, has said that some Mexican foot runners can run 500 miles in six days,[6] although this feat must be the peak of human endurance, rather than the ordinary exploit of “a Nephite,” and it is highly likely that the Mexican runners had strong roads or paths, and not rivers and swamps to ford.  Michael R. Ash has supposed that the Book of Mormon meant something other than the width of an isthmus, but rather the width between two geographical mounts or political borders within the isthmus.[7]  Thus, Ash seeks to salvage the Sorenson model to changing an isthmus to something that is not an isthmus which happens to be within an isthmus.  This speculation heaped upon speculation, when the Book of Mormon does not attempt to say that the narrow neck divided two seas, demonstrates the futility of discussion about Book of Mormon geography.

 

[1] Codex, at p. 18.

[2] Codex, at p. 19.

[3] An Ancient American Setting, at p. 36.

[4] An Ancient American Setting, at p. 17, quoting from Alma 22:32.

[5] According to the account in Don Jose Garay, Survey of the Isthmus of Tehuatepec (Ackerman & Co, London 1944), the government of Mexico commissioned a survey of the Isthmus.  Garay's nine-month survey is contained in this book.   Many parts of the northern part of the isthmus are impenetrable swamp and jungle.   Although Garay discusses the prospect of navigation, he notes that the rivers are not navigable as they approach the hills and are difficult or impossible to ford at places.   The study also recounts Cortes' experience in the area as he tried to use the isthmus as a means to access lower California. 

I have run several 100-mile and 24 hour events, usually running 100 miles in 24 hours.  The world record for a barefoot 24-hour run is 136.98 miles on an indoor track.  Scott Douglas, “New Record for 24-Hour Barefoot Run,” in Runners World & Running, Aug. 11, 2014, published at http://www.runnersworld.com/general-interest/new-record-for-24-hour-barefoot-run, accessed January 1, 2015.  The world record for a 24-hour run in the latest shoe technology on a track is held by Yiannis Kouros, whom this author has had the privilege to compete against.  Kouros covered 303.506 km in 24 hours, or about 188 miles.  “Yiannis Kouros,” at en.wickipedia.org, accessed January 1, 2015.  These 24-hour races provide bounteous feasts and medical aid every one mile or so.

[6]  Michael R. Ash, “Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: A journey across the ‘narrow neck’, Deseret News, March 7, 2011, published at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705387187/A-journey-across-the-narrow-neck.html?pg=all, accessed January 1, 2015.

[7]  Michael R. Ash, “Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: A journey across the ‘narrow neck’, Deseret News, March 7, 2011, published at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705387187/A-journey-across-the-narrow-neck.html?pg=all, accessed January 1, 2015.

Edited by Bob Crockett

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On 7/1/2019 at 2:42 PM, Bob Crockett said:

Clark: 

Your response demonstrates the nature of the real problem.

You say that "the other potential sites have many more problems" than the Mesoamerican model.  That is, of course, Dr. Sorenson's view. 

But that isn't necessarily the scientific method, to say that one option is better than inferior options once you have ruled out the inferior options.  The superior choice must stand on its own.

There is a science to plotting cartographic data against ancient texts.  Dr. Sorenson did not use that science.  Didn't even try.   And, in particular, his analysis of the "narrow neck of land" was abysmally bad.  Supposedly, a "Nephite" could traverse that neck in a day and half.  No human today could even remotely do so.

I'm curious as to your thoughts on this article authored by Michael Ash, which addresses this topic: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/705387187/A-journey-across-the-narrow-neck.html

Thanks,

-Smac

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14 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

But, as Dr. Sorenson says, and as quoting from the Book of Mormon, the “narrow neck” was “only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite . . . ,”[4]

From the Michael Ash article referenced above: 

Quote

There may be a simpler answer, however. Our initial inclination when reading Alma 22:32 is to envision the narrow neck’s distance as a day and a half’s journey from ocean to ocean, but the verse actually says that a Nephite could make the roughly 36-hour journey from “the east” to the west sea (not the east sea to the west sea). It’s possible that “the east” referred to some other delineator other than the east sea — perhaps something much further inland (which could have greatly reduced the travel distance to the west sea).

Lawrence Poulsen, whom I think has the most up-to-date theories for the Mesoamerican model, argues that “the east” in Alma 22 refers to travel along the natural east border in the Isthmus of Tehuantpec and then true east along the northern border of the barrancas (bluffs) to the Cuatzacoalcos River. This river forms the eastern boundary of the Isthmus while the barrancas creates a natural border of cliffs that are over a thousand feet high as well as a thick wilderness.

Poulsen’s Hermounts argument was part of a much larger argument and context — a portion of which identifies (like Sorenson) the Grijalva River as the Book of Mormon’s River Sidon. The Nephite culture may have lived in the Grijalva River basin. As Poulsen notes, “The (Isthmus) of Tehuantepec is (found) to the northwest of this basin and is (separated) from the Grijalva basin by a range of mountains on the eastern border of the (I)sthmus. This (mountainous) area called 'barrancas' is almost totally (uninhabited) even today.”

...

What does this interesting and Book-of-Mormon-favorable information have to do with the travel distance for a day-and-a-half’s journey for “a Nephite”? The isthmus’ eastern border — the barrancas that could easily be identified with Hermounts — is less than halfway across the isthmus. A Nephite traveling from the west sea (the Pacific Ocean side of the isthmus) to “the east” border (the natural east border in the isthmus) could easily cross that distance in a day and a half with little difficulty.

So I think there is a dispute as to the starting point referenced in Alma 22:32 ("And now, it was only the adistance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea...").

I have not looked at this issue for some years, so any insights would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 7/1/2019 at 2:42 PM, Bob Crockett said:

Clark: 

Your response demonstrates the nature of the real problem.

You say that "the other potential sites have many more problems" than the Mesoamerican model.  That is, of course, Dr. Sorenson's view. 

But that isn't necessarily the scientific method, to say that one option is better than inferior options once you have ruled out the inferior options.  The superior choice must stand on its own.

There is a science to plotting cartographic data against ancient texts.  Dr. Sorenson did not use that science.  Didn't even try.   And, in particular, his analysis of the "narrow neck of land" was abysmally bad.  Supposedly, a "Nephite" could traverse that neck in a day and half.  No human today could even remotely do so.

Not quite sure what you're saying here. Right now we don't have anything beyond various hypothese all of which have many problems. The fact one might have *fewer* problems doesn't entail it being the truth. It might just mean it's more likely but the fact is we don't know.

Right now there's no successful theory in my view.

To point out a problem the mesoamerican model has - and it has many with the afore mentioned metal problem being the biggest - really doesn't tell us much. As I said the competitors all have even bigger problems. I'm not sure what you're arguing for so I'm not quite sure how to respond. The great lakes model definitely has huge problems for instance. If you're arguing that since they all have problems that it's all fiction then I think that view also has problems.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, smac97 said:

From the Michael Ash article referenced above: 

So I think there is a dispute as to the starting point referenced in Alma 22:32 ("And now, it was only the adistance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea...").

I have not looked at this issue for some years, so any insights would be appreciated.

Thanks,

-Smac

The "dispute" is between Dr. Sorenson and his adherents who try and salvage him.  Dr. Sorenson tries a logical and obvious approach to the problem, although he selects an Isthmus other than Darien.  Ash tries to salvage the obvious problems with Tehuatepec by declaring that an isthmus is not really an isthmus.  In other words, one can say that Atlantis was buried beneath the sea and look for it that way, or say that the literal text of archaic material isn't correct, and that Atlantis can be found anywhere on the planet.  Such improbabilities. 

Dr. Sorenson does not see "east" as meaning some unwatered slope.  The text of the Book of Mormon is obvious unless you want to make it not obvious by reading what is not there. 

My personal view is that Joseph Smith had in mind the Niagara peninsula, but I don't really care to defend that thought.

Edited by Bob Crockett

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Posted (edited)
On 7/1/2019 at 2:21 PM, LoudmouthMormon said:

JG:(Singing)And one day, you'll be gone, but the FARMS work goes on!!
 

Wow.  I was way off on that one!

Edited by cinepro
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