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Viable Nephite colonies


notHagoth7

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(Spinoff thread.)

For Arc, and any others who wish to engage here, I have a scenario for you:

Many question the validity of the Nephite record. Some claim there is no evidence to prime the pump for belief.

But what if extensive evidence surfaced of a people, let's say somewhere on the Pacific coast of China, whose ancient and medieval records attested that they came from across the great ocean, from the direction of the rising sun, around two thousand years earlier (when the Nephite record mentions a substantial Nephite exodus)?

Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that this ancient group somewhere in China anciently called themselves the Ne'vi (Nephi?). Their records credited their safe arrival to a man named Had-god (Hagoth?). Many of the cultural traits described in their records parallel known Jewish traditions, while others closely parallel relatively unique aspects of Nephite culture as described in the Book of Mormon. And let's say that in the region where those records originated, modern linguists have documented evidence of ancient Egyptian/Semitic language influence upon the local dialect. And let's also say that some of the alphabetical characters used anciently for writing in that region differ from traditional Chinese characters, and bear some resemblance to the Anthon Manuscript characters.

To ratchet things up a notch, let's also say that their Chinese accounts also claim that one day their descendants would return across the great waters to their ancient homeland. And finally, let's say that through family history research, you've recently learned that you happen to descend from the inhabitants of that region. But you now live in the Americas.

So I have questions for a few different groups:

1) If you already believe the Book of Mormon, how would you approach such evidence? Or would you? Do you think it would help or hurt you? What about those around you?

2) If you are unsure about the Book of Mormon, either LDS or not, how would you approach such evidence? Do you think it would help you? Or those around you? Why or why not?

3) If you seriously doubt the Nephite record, what would you do with such evidence? Would you even review it? If so, how would you approach it? At roughly what point would you have enough critical mass to say that the Nephite record, the Book of Mormon, merits a closer look, a more careful and thoughtful read?

Also, some LDS have said that if they ever found evidence for Nephite civilization, they would quickly bury it and never mention it again.

If you agree, why? If not, why not?

Thanks in advance for your input.

(Based on the input, this discussion might advance beyond the hypothetical.)

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So I have questions for a few different groups:

1) If you already believe the Book of Mormon, how would you approach such evidence? Or would you? Do you think it would help or hurt you? What about those around you?

2) If you are unsure about the Book of Mormon, either LDS or not, how would you approach such evidence? Do you think it would help you? Or those around you? Why or why not?

3) If you seriously doubt the Nephite record, what would you do with such evidence? Would you even review it? If so, how would you approach it? At roughly what point would you have enough critical mass to say that the Nephite record, the Book of Mormon, merits a closer look, a more careful and thoughtful read?

Regardless of what group I belonged to, I'd evaluate the evidence in the context of all known and relevant data regarding the Book of Mormon and the people you propose and then draw conclusions.

Also, some LDS have said that if they ever found evidence for Nephite civilization, they would quickly bury it and never mention it again.

If you agree, why? If not, why not?

I think burying such evidence would be utterly irresponsible and dishonest. There are at least three ways to lie with regard to evidence: 1) by manufacturing it, 2) by destroying it, 3) or by hiding it, which is effectively the same as #2.

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(Spinoff thread.)

For Arc, and any others who wish to engage here, I have a scenario for you:

Many question the validity of the Nephite record. Some claim there is no evidence to prime the pump for belief.

But what if extensive evidence surfaced of a people, let's say somewhere on the Pacific coast of China, whose ancient and medieval records attested that they came from across the great ocean, from the direction of the rising sun, around two thousand years earlier (when the Nephite record mentions a substantial Nephite exodus)?

Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that this ancient group somewhere in China anciently called themselves the Ne'vi (Nephi?). Their records credited their safe arrival to a man named Had-god (Hagoth?). Many of the cultural traits described in their records parallel known Jewish traditions, while others closely parallel relatively unique aspects of Nephite culture as described in the Book of Mormon. And let's say that in the region where those records originated, modern linguists have documented evidence of ancient Egyptian/Semitic language influence upon the local dialect. And let's also say that some of the alphabetical characters used anciently for writing in that region differ from traditional Chinese characters, and bear some resemblance to the Anthon Manuscript characters.

To ratchet things up a notch, let's also say that their Chinese accounts also claim that one day their descendants would return across the great waters to their ancient homeland. And finally, let's say that through family history research, you've recently learned that you happen to descend from the inhabitants of that region. But you now live in the Americas.

So I have questions for a few different groups:

1) If you already believe the Book of Mormon, how would you approach such evidence? Or would you? Do you think it would help or hurt you? What about those around you?

2) If you are unsure about the Book of Mormon, either LDS or not, how would you approach such evidence? Do you think it would help you? Or those around you? Why or why not?

3) If you seriously doubt the Nephite record, what would you do with such evidence? Would you even review it? If so, how would you approach it? At roughly what point would you have enough critical mass to say that the Nephite record, the Book of Mormon, merits a closer look, a more careful and thoughtful read?

Also, some LDS have said that if they ever found evidence for Nephite civilization, they would quickly bury it and never mention it again.

If you agree, why? If not, why not?

Thanks in advance for your input.

(Based on the input, this discussion might advance beyond the hypothetical.)

i think this is an interesting idea...but i think you also have to remember what the PROPHETS have said in the past: they landed IN AMERICA. i think if you go against that, you go against the PROPHETS of GOD that have said for years all kinds of things that apologists seem to contradict. if you accept the idea that the "nephites" went all the way to china, how does it explain the "plates of brass" in the americas, which, we can't see to verify this book of mormon story? ..and, if THAT'S the case, how can we trust prophets of God at all, IF the nephites DID end up in china?! seems like a stretch to me....

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i think this is an interesting idea...but i think you also have to remember what the PROPHETS have said in the past: they landed IN AMERICA.

Perhaps I haven't been clear:

1) I am in full agreement that Nephites landed in the Americas.

2) Yet the Nephite record also tells of a later exodus of some Nephites. (For example, Alma 63).

3) The Nephite record said that Lehi's descendants would eventually be spread through all the world

4) This thread is addressing the implications of that prophecy, and how each of us might respond if/when reasonably convincing evidence of such Nephite colonies surfaced in places other than the Americas. (It wouldn't challenge the American model, but would instead sustain/corroborate it.)

5) I'm simply using the China premise as a hypothetical to get the discussion started.

i think if you go against that, you go against the PROPHETS of GOD that have said for years all kinds of things that apologists seem to contradict.

Now that you're more clear on where I'm coming from, is there anything in what I've clarified above which goes against such statements?

if you accept the idea that the "nephites" went all the way to china
China is simply a hypothetical for the purposes of framing the beginning of this discussion. The discussion might advance beyond that hypothetical to addressing actual evidence in other areas of the world. Remains to be seen whether we get that far.
how does it explain the "plates of brass" in the americas, which, we can't see to verify this book of mormon story? ..and, if THAT'S the case, how can we trust prophets of God at all, IF the nephites DID end up in china?! seems like a stretch to me....

The main Nephite civilization lasted around a thousand years in the Americas, and was destroyed around 400 AD. So this isn't an attempt to revise what people believe about the Americas. It's an attempt to expand our vision to include the ripple effect of the Nephite diaspora described and foretold in the Book of Mormon. For example, attempting to follow the trail of Hagoth's ships. Does that clear things up for you?

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Regardless of what group I belonged to, I'd evaluate the evidence in the context of all known and relevant data regarding the Book of Mormon and the people you propose and then draw conclusions.

If the evaluation resulted favorably, how do you believe it might effect your relationship with the Book of Mormon?
I think burying such evidence would be utterly irresponsible and dishonest. There are at least three ways to lie with regard to evidence: 1) by manufacturing it, 2) by destroying it, 3) or by hiding it, which is effectively the same as #2.

I agree. Which is why I didn't understand the reasoning behind the claim that some might hide such evidence.

If anyone knows, I'd be interested to hear what that reasoning might be.

It was basically mentioned in some other thread in the last week or so, where someone said an archaeologist was asked what they would do if they found an inscription with reformed Egyptian on it, and they said they'd bury it and never tell a soul. In that narrative, I don't recall whether the archaeologist was LDS or not. I've looked for that post and haven't found it, so if anyone knows where it is, feel free to provide a link.

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It would depend on the similarities and whether or not any other explanation could account for the existence of those people. Its one of those things where proving the BofM might not be false used to be enough to keep believing to now needing very convincing evidence to even consider it isn't a fabrication.

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If the evaluation resulted favorably, how do you believe it might effect your relationship with the Book of Mormon?

I can't answer that yet because "favorably" can mean one thing to you and something quite different to me. Does "favorably" mean that the new information has so much weight that it offsets the current known data that negates the validity of Mormon claims? Or do you mean, if some people considered it data that's favorable to the Mormon claims? To me, the first definition would have to be the case before I'd consider it favorable, because what really matters is what the bottom line is after weighing all evidence, in its proper context.

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If we are discussing the adventures of Hagoth, as described in Alma 63:5-8, then the "conventional' LDS view is that his journeys may have helped populate some of the Pacific Islands. I do not subscribe to that view, because (as usual) there is no credible objective evidence to support the hypothesis.

So far, then, I remain skeptical.

However, my understanding was that this "what if" journey was going to somehow lead back to the Emerald Isles and connect with the ethnic origins of Joseph Smith, Jr.

So, are we talking about China, Polynesia, or Ireland?

Having "prepared the ground", why don't you just go ahead and tell us about your theory and relate the objective evidence that supports it.

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It would depend on the similarities and whether or not any other explanation could account for the existence of those people. Its one of those things where proving the BofM might not be false used to be enough to keep believing to now needing very convincing evidence to even consider it isn't a fabrication.

StepfordWife, looks like we're thinking along the same lines. :P

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It would depend on the similarities and whether or not any other explanation could account for the existence of those people.

Hi Step,

If they claimed to descend from Nevi, called themselves Nevates, claimed to come from across the ocean, and exhibited an inordinate number of cultural matches to Nephite culture, down to the language they spoke, if several of the characters they used in their writings matched, alongwith their system of weights and measures, could one arrive at any other explanation? Sure.

One could posit that the folklore aspects were merely old wives tales. And dismiss them with the wave of a hand.

One could claim that the similarities to characters in the Anthon Manuscript were merely exaggerated - like an ink-blot test, where people saw what they wanted to see.

One could choose to believe that the Semitic/Egyptian influences were either errant conclusions made by the linguists who compiled the language studies, or that the influence is real, but came instead from a colony of Phoenicians/Carthaginians (or Egyptian Jews), rather than from Nephites.

And one could posit that dozens of cultural matches to the culture described in the Book of Mormon were coincidence.

In other words, one could dismiss every single one of the correlations - if that is what someone, at their very core, really wanted or needed to do. The mind is a pretty flexible thing. But is that what you would do? (That's a rhetorical question - feel free to answer it internally.)

People simply can't be forced to believe anything. One can, however, provide a greenhouse for hope - one that might allow faith to take root.

And/or, a path that might provide those who already believe a better glimpse of their heritage. Those two things are what I hope to provide in this thread - for those who might value or seek after such things.

Its one of those things where proving the BofM might not be false used to be enough to keep believing to now needing very convincing evidence to even consider it isn't a fabrication.

Understood. If we get to any evidence you deem to be "very convincing", please be sure to holler good and loud, k? :P

I appreciate your contribution to this discussion.

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People simply can't be forced to believe anything. One can, however, provide a greenhouse for hope - one that might allow faith to take root. And/or, a path that might provide those who already believe a better glimpse of their heritage. Those two things are what I hope to provide in this thread - for those who might value or seek after such things.

Just making an observation: A "greenhouse of hope" isn't worth much if it's built on a sandbar of delusion. Your statement above indicates that keeping a possible illusion going is more important to you than discovering the actual truth of the matter.

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I can't answer that yet because "favorably" can mean one thing to you and something quite different to me. Does "favorably" mean that the new information has so much weight that it offsets the current known data that negates the validity of Mormon claims?

For those coming from the conviction that it is a fraud, the best I would hope to be able to do for such a person would be to balance the scales - to where someone could step back and say, 'this Nephite record just might be what it claims to be' - and that the record merits a closer, more open-minded look.

Basically, this is all along the lines of the premise that the truth can make people free.

In theory, balancing the scales might free a previous critic to begin a genuine investigation of the Nephite record with something closer to a clean slate.

...what really matters is what the bottom line is after weighing all evidence, in its proper context.

Sounds good. It may take some time, because the evidence is pretty extensive (and keeps expanding every month).

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In other words, one could dismiss every single one of the correlations - if that is what someone, at their very core, really wanted or needed to do. The mind is a pretty flexible thing. But is that what you would do? (That's a rhetorical question - feel free to answer it internally.)

People simply can't be forced to believe anything. One can, however, provide a greenhouse for hope - one that might allow faith to take root.

And/or, a path that might provide those who already believe a better glimpse of their heritage. Those two things are what I hope to provide in this thread - for those who might value or seek after such things.

No, that is not what i would do and here's why. The book of mormon being true would not bring me back to church. i'd be fine weighing the evidence. Looking at it with interest\curiosity but it would not impact how i live my life in any way. i have no emotional interest in needing the church NOT to be true at this point. Regardless of whether or not the church is true or not i have very serious problems with the way it operates and would decline to participate either way.

i am a philosophies of man kind of girl and if i have a Father in the Heavens i'm sure he loves me for it. my idea of paradise would be to sit around and drink wine with dead philosophers all day. i have no interest in the CK and as such am entirely unthreatened by the minute possibility the church might be "true" whatever that even means.

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Just making an observation: A "greenhouse of hope" isn't worth much if it's built on a sandbar of delusion.

I agree. Remains to be seen whether we have bedrock or sand. Most likely, some will say it's one, some will say it's the other, and others will say it's somewhere in between.

Your statement above indicates that keeping a possible illusion going is more important to you than discovering the actual truth of the matter.

Jeff,

You misunderstand. I'm all for digging in the trenches and sifting the findings in a sieve to get to the truth of the matter.

If you're up for that too, let's move forward.

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No, that is not what i would do and here's why. The book of mormon being true would not bring me back to church.

That's a separate matter between you and LDS apologists. (I'm something more along the lines of a Nephite apologist.)

i'd be fine weighing the evidence. Looking at it with interest\curiosity but it would not impact how i live my life in any way.

If this helps you appreciate the Nephite record, and/or your heritage, and/or your LDS friends/family/neighbors, it might provide you something of value in exchange for your time here.

i am a philosophies of man kind of girl and if i have a Father in the Heavens i'm sure he loves me for it.
I'm sure of that too.
my idea of paradise would be to sit around and drink wine with dead philosophers all day.

Because he loves us, I'm of the opinion we'll each be blessed in a way that suits us best. So who knows, in your paradise, mebbe I'll tip a glass with you. :P

On to the topic.

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If we are discussing the adventures of Hagoth, as described in Alma 63:5-8,

We probably will.

...then the "conventional' LDS view is that his journeys may have helped populate some of the Pacific Islands. I do not subscribe to that view

Neither do I.

because (as usual) there is no credible objective evidence to support the hypothesis. So far, then, I remain skeptical.

Rightfully so.

However, my understanding was that this "what if" journey was going to somehow lead back to the Emerald Isles and connect with the ethnic origins of Joseph Smith, Jr.

Yes. That's where we're headed. And en route, we'll likely connect with some of your heritage as well.

So, are we talking about China, Polynesia, or Ireland?

China was a hypothetical. It's behind us now.

We likely won't touch on Polynesia.

And I do intend on getting to Ireland.

Having "prepared the ground", why don't you just go ahead and tell us about your theory and relate the objective evidence that supports it.

Sounds good. Let's start with Beowulf - one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon (English) accounts.

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NotHagoth7,

This thread originated in your at first quite intriguing posts - in the other thread - suggestive of an Irish connection to the Nephites , alongside a mention in the discussion of Joseph Smith's own Irish ancestry.

You then asked:

1. What if there was a historical people, who just happen to mirror much of the unique blend of cultural traits outlined in the Book of Mormon?

Seriously. What then?

2. And what if there is considerable evidence that such a civilization existed - at least in northern Europe, on the Atlantic coast?

What then?

3. And what if they claimed an earlier ancient origin from across the ocean.

What then?

To which you added:

Please pull up a chair and reason with me - if you're willing to engage the evidence.

Arc responded:

I have lived in the UK and traveled extensively in Scotland and Ireland and love the place, so let's hear what you've got.

He added the caveat that he was a scientist not a historian and might take some time to assimilate the evidence you were proposing to present.

In this new thread you have been asking a lot of hypothetical questions without offering up the Irish related evidence.

As Arc says above,

However, my understanding was that this "what if" journey was going to somehow lead back to the Emerald Isles and connect with the ethnic origins of Joseph Smith, Jr.

So, are we talking about China, Polynesia, or Ireland?

Having "prepared the ground", why don't you just go ahead and tell us about your theory and relate the objective evidence that supports it.

I too am waiting for this. I'm a university student currently doing Scottish History at a Scottish University, and conducting research into the precise identity of Joseph Smith's Scottish ancestor John Mack, but what you originally said sounds equally interesting.

I've been sitting here following this discussion very happy to pull up a chair and reason with you - and to "engage with the evidence". But so far this whole thread you've started seems to be based on a falsely held out promise of an interesting theory backed up by evidence it would be worth examining and discussing, when in fact there is not only no evidence, there appears not even to be a viable theory.

If you've actually got a theory and some evidence related to Ireland, Joseph Smith and the Nephites please present it. Otherwise, with all due respect, I don't need your guidance for the kind of meandering yet hollow thought experiment this tangent appears to have turned into.

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Let's talk about European origin accounts, and start with Beowulf for now. (I intend to introduce older ancient accounts as/if we proceed - but this is a good launching point.)

For those unfamiliar with Beowulf, it's one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon (English) heroic accounts to survive the Middle Ages. It was written in England either shortly before the Viking Age, or smack in the middle of it.

Instead of telling heroic tales about England, this early account places most of the action in Scandinavia.

The account begins and ends with a ship.

In the beginning, a child arrives mysteriously on the coast of Europe, in a boat, from lands unknown.

This child becomes the beginning of a dynasty. Kings and queens in northern Europe today still claim descent from him.

And at the end of Beowulf, when the hero dies, per his request, he is placed in a ship, and pushed back out to sea, as a reminder of his origins across the waters.

So his form of internment was, in its purpose, akin to Joseph of Egypt's dying wishes for the treatment of his remains. It was intended to serve as a reminder of his people's origins and/or destiny.

[CONT'D]

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All things testify of the Book of Mormon, don't they?

Just about any myth from any culture in the world has parallels to Christianity or in the case of this discussion, the Book of Mormon. Does this prove that Book of Mormon peoples inhabited the areas that the myth came from, or does it mean that there are certain themes that resonate with human consciousness?

I am changing the subject of discussion to Buddhism, but of course you can go back to Beowulf after my post.

"Scholars have often considered the possibility that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity. They have drawn attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus" (Bentley, "Old World Encounters").

Jesus and the Buddha were both born of virgins.

Their moral teachings were similar:

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Let's talk about European origin accounts, and start with Beowulf for now. (I intend to introduce older ancient accounts as/if we proceed - but this is a good launching point.)

For those unfamiliar with Beowulf, it's one of the oldest Anglo-Saxon (English) heroic accounts to survive the Middle Ages. It was written in England either shortly before the Viking Age, or smack in the middle of it.

Instead of telling heroic tales about England, this early account places most of the action in Scandinavia.

The account begins and ends with a ship.

In the beginning, a child arrives mysteriously on the coast of Europe, in a boat, from lands unknown.

This child becomes the beginning of a dynasty. Kings and queens in northern Europe today still claim descent from him.

And at the end of Beowulf, when the hero dies, per his request, he is placed in a ship, and pushed back out to sea, as a reminder of his origins across the waters.

So his form of internment was, in its purpose, akin to Joseph of Egypt's dying wishes for the treatment of his remains. It was intended to serve as a reminder of his people's origins and/or destiny.

[CONT'D]

I was intrigued by the hints you provided in this lead up. I am open to any actual evidence. So far, though, this has been all preface. Please present your facts, preferably something compelling that illustrates a connection between the Book of Mormon and Beowulf or that meaningfully addresses Arc's original posts about a plausible but not favorable explanation for the similarities between Joseph Smith's reformed Egyptian characters and the Irish Tironian shorthand. So, let's have the main dish: no more teasers.

Gary@rics

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notHagoth7,

Okay. You have picked up several new folks here curious to see what you have to say about an Irish connection to the Nephites. We have given you the courtesy of moving to a new thread and are willing to hear what you have to say. So you should just go ahead and say it.

We are all adults here and at least some of us know more about European history than you do (and the rest always have Google), so please stop wasting time with the obvious.

The longer you wait to provide your central thesis and supporting information, the higher the expectations of your "audience" will be.

If I were a suspicious person, I would say this is starting to look like a dodge to avoid further public discussion on the other thread of the proof that Martin Harris (or Joseph Smith and Martin Harris) conspired to misrepresent the outcome of the meeting with Anthon, in order to continue with their wholly fabricated story regarding the provenance of the Book of Mormon.

Perhaps, since we are all here anyway, we should use the time to discuss this latter topic while we are waiting.

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