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The Olmec and the Jaredites


Olavarria

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I just finished M. Coe's book on the MAYA. Unless the Nephites were like the FLDS hiding in the middle of nowhere with little or no interaction with the main culture,something is missing.

Don't keep us guessing. Please give us the benefit of your deep insight into the history of mesoamerica, and be specific.

Before you begin, a couple very basic questions:

1. Have you every actually read the BOM completely through? How many times.

2. Did the Nephites speak and write Hebrew as the venacular, or did they use some other language.

Your answers will give us a clue as to your grasp of the issues. Are you speaking as someone who has researched the issues, thoughtfully and objectively. Or you just another person whose knowledge of the BOM just comes from the antimormon cartoons of our religion.

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I just finished M. Coe's book on the MAYA. Unless the Nephites were like the FLDS hiding in the middle of nowhere with little or no interaction with the main culture,something is missing.

I like the FLDS analogy though; it may actually describe the situation. But the FLDS aren't exactly "hiding in the middle of nowhere".

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cdowis. I have been a member for over 50 years ,I have lived in Central America, and yes I have read the BofM many times. The picture painted by Alma and Helaman shows a large and militarily powerful nation possibly composed of city states but with a central authority.

I recognize that most of Mayan history appears to be post 400 AD but there are a lot of background connections well prior to that.

3 Nephi leaves the impression that there was 200 years of peace in which there were no "ites" How is that possible if the current knowledge about the history of mesoamerica shows that there were constant waring factions throughout the land at that time?

Either the Nephite nation maintained itself aloof in a very isolated area ( FLDS in Texas) or we have yet to stumble upon the actual areas that they occupied. My study,as poor as it is oh wise and scholarly cdowis, is leaning me to the latter.

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cdowis. I have been a member for over 50 years ,I have lived in Central America, and yes I have read the BofM many times. The picture painted by Alma and Helaman shows a large and militarily powerful nation possibly composed of city states but with a central authority.

There are those who would disagree with you. There is a central authority in Zarahemla, but the people of Ammonihah were able to kill a large number of their citizens without any concern about the consequences from Zarahemla. There is strong evidence that this was closer to a confederation of states, similar to the nation of Israel.

The people could come together for defense, but it was Moroni carrying the title of liberty to rally the troops, not a mandate from the central governor that brought the troops together. Again, similar to what happens in the OT.

So, the issue is what YOU mean by a "central authority", and comparing it to what the BOM text tells us.

I recognize that most of Mayan history appears to be post 400 AD but there are a lot of background connections well prior to that.

There are NO extant records from that time period, so our knowledge of the culture is very limited. But, of course, you are an expert, having visited this area and reading Coe. You just KNOW that the BOM peoples are not possible in mesoamerica, due to your expertise.

3 Nephi leaves the impression that there was 200 years of peace in which there were no "ites" How is that possible if the current knowledge about the history of mesoamerica shows that there were constant waring factions throughout the land at that time?

Please give us a list of the extant records from this time period. I said there are none, but I guess you are the expert so teach me.

Either the Nephite nation maintained itself aloof in a very isolated area ( FLDS in Texas) or we have yet to stumble upon the actual areas that they occupied. My study,as poor as it is oh wise and scholarly cdowis, is leaning me to the latter.

You make broad, generalized statements based on little or no evidence. It was not a long time ago that archeologists thought the Maya were a peaceful group, so things change. And the lack of written records for the BOM time period make your conclusions very tenative, if not without substance.

Finally, we simply don't know the relationship between the BOM peoples and the inhabitants of this area.

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Cdowis,

I understand that there are many very well qualified scholars who deal exclusively with this time period and with this culture. Am I to understand that many of them (in academia, universities, peer reviewed journals, international associations) have concluded that there is compelling evidence for the narrative from the BoM being possible or likely? If they have, can you cite a representative example? If they have not, does this mean there is no evidence supporting the events described after the coming of our Savior? If there is no evidence, are you arguing from silence?

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3 Nephi leaves the impression that there was 200 years of peace in which there were no "ites" How is that possible if the current knowledge about the history of mesoamerica shows that there were constant waring factions throughout the land at that time?

This time period is actually pretty interesting. It happens to be a time of diminishing population in the region where we suspect that the Book of Mormon took place. The decrease in population increases the available resources for those remaining and provides a rather interesting ecological reason for the time of peace in the region. Since we don't have the texts from that time period, of course we can't know, but there is no clear evidence for militarism in that area at time either. That, combined with the ecological data, makes the time of peace quite plausible in that location and time.

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Cdowis,

I understand that there are many very well qualified scholars who deal exclusively with this time period and with this culture. Am I to understand that many of them (in academia, universities, peer reviewed journals, international associations) have concluded that there is compelling evidence for the narrative from the BoM being possible or likely? If they have, can you cite a representative example? If they have not, does this mean there is no evidence supporting the events described after the coming of our Savior? If there is no evidence, are you arguing from silence?

Are you asking the equivalent of whether all modern archaeologists believe in the Bible narrative? There have been a lot of believers who have done the archaeology, and much of what they "discovered" to fit with the Bible narrative has been overturned (famously, the evidence of the flood).

There are fewer LDS scholars who have looked at Mesoamerica as a location for the Book of Mormon, mostly because there are way fewer LDS Mesoamericanists (and many of those prefer to separate their livelihoods from their religion, owing to the peculiar politics of that profession at the moment--John Clark only recently shifted his position).

Having been through the few non-LDS archaeologists who have even looked at the Book of Mormon seriously (not many more than Coe and he better than most) they bring certain assumptions to their reading of the LDS works that make it so that we are not clearly speaking the same language. This topic hasn't matured enough that there has been substantive dialogue.

Having said that, the topic also hasn't matured enough that there is substantive dialogue within the LDS scholarly community. What we need is the kind of academic explosion that Nibley fostered for the Ancient Middle East. We now have a wonderful cadre of well-trained scholars in that field. That is leading to a lot of really good stuff. We don't have that critical mass of LDS Mesoamericanists yet.

Nevertheless, I believe that the correlations between the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica are very impressive. It does require some understanding of both Mesoamerica and the ways that cultures interact to understand the relationship, which is why those who first read Coe's The Maya are likely to see the Maya as foreign to the Book of Mormon. The problem isn't the history of the Maya, but our assumptions about the history of the Book of Mormon that have created expectations that history doesn't fulfill. That is a conflict between our assumptions and history, however, not between the text and history.

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cdowis. I have been a member for over 50 years ,I have lived in Central America, and yes I have read the BofM many times. The picture painted by Alma and Helaman shows a large and militarily powerful nation possibly composed of city states but with a central authority.

I recognize that most of Mayan history appears to be post 400 AD but there are a lot of background connections well prior to that.

3 Nephi leaves the impression that there was 200 years of peace in which there were no "ites" How is that possible if the current knowledge about the history of mesoamerica shows that there were constant waring factions throughout the land at that time?

Either the Nephite nation maintained itself aloof in a very isolated area ( FLDS in Texas) or we have yet to stumble upon the actual areas that they occupied. My study,as poor as it is oh wise and scholarly cdowis, is leaning me to the latter.

The Book of Mormon isn't primarily a historical document, and says nothing at all about things going that don't relate directly to Nephite history. From what I get from the text, though, is that the Nephites were not "militarily powerful". They occupied an area of a few hundred miles. Their armies seem to be militia who work part of the year as farmers. They never go to Nephi and kill Lamanites, but rather are always defending their families from invading armies. Whenever they don't have God on their side they get their butts kicked. Eventually they are driven a long ways northward until they are exterminated. To me, this sounds like a group of people living up in the mountains that wouldn't have much of an influence on surrounding cultures. I think that the general concensus among the people holding to LGT is that the Nephites didn't live in the Maya lands, but rather in Chiapas.

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Cdowis,

I understand that there are many very well qualified scholars who deal exclusively with this time period and with this culture. Am I to understand that many of them (in academia, universities, peer reviewed journals, international associations) have concluded that there is compelling evidence for the narrative from the BoM being possible or likely? If they have, can you cite a representative example? If they have not, does this mean there is no evidence supporting the events described after the coming of our Savior? If there is no evidence, are you arguing from silence?

Most if not all have never read the BOM text. It is a book delivered by an angel, and they have no interest in a detailed examination of the text.

Please YOU give me specific individuals who have done a detailed analysis of the BOM text, comparing it with mesoamerica, give us a link to that study and we can open a new thread to discuss his/her findings.

For example, do they think that the Nephites spoke and wrote Hebres as the venacular. Thus, unable to find Hebrew writings in mesoamerica, they draw a conclusion based on an incorrect assumption.

Anyway, I look forward to your reference to that detailed analysis.

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I just finished M. Coe's book on the MAYA. Unless the Nephites were like the FLDS hiding in the middle of nowhere with little or no interaction with the main culture,something is missing.

Well, the perspective that you have going into the reading of the book apparently makes a big difference. My copy of Coe's "The Maya" is marked with dozens of sticky tabs which note items that I found of particular interest relative to the Book of Mormon story. You ought to read Coe's "Breaking the Maya Code" where the researchers finally figure out that one of the common elements in the Mayan glyphs was an element that they translate to mean: "It came to pass."

WW

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Don't keep us guessing. Please give us the benefit of your deep insight into the history of mesoamerica, and be specific.

Before you begin, a couple very basic questions:

1. Have you every actually read the BOM completely through? How many times.

2. Did the Nephites speak and write Hebrew as the venacular, or did they use some other language.

Your answers will give us a clue as to your grasp of the issues. Are you speaking as someone who has researched the issues, thoughtfully and objectively. Or you just another person whose knowledge of the BOM just comes from the antimormon cartoons of our religion.

cdowis,

How many times does a person need to read the BoM through to satisfy question #1? One? Five? A dozen? Three dozen? I sense that you're sifting the drive-by-antis from normal-questioning-people, and I suppose I'd like to hear how you separate them out.

How would you define thoughtfully and objectively researching BoM issues? (Seems a recent thread here had people insisting that it can't be objectively researched...so what's your opinion on how to objectively study LDS/BoM questions?)

Thx for your input.

Hutt

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I can't be certain since I didn't post it, but I believe he made that presentation at a FAIR conference.

From Utube

Archaeologist John Clark, in his 2005 FAIR Conference address part 3, continues his parallels between Mesoamerica and The Book of Mormon. He speaks about Lehi's trail, BOM internal geography, and s...

Larry P

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From Utube

Archaeologist John Clark, in his 2005 FAIR Conference address part 3, continues his parallels between Mesoamerica and The Book of Mormon. He speaks about Lehi's trail, BOM internal geography, and s...

Larry P

Links to John Clark's 2005 FAIR conference talk can be found here:

John E. Clark, Wade Ardern, and Matthew Roper - "Debating the Foundations of Mormonism: The Book of Mormon and Archaeology"

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cdowis,

How many times does a person need to read the BoM through to satisfy question #1? One? Five? A dozen? Three dozen? I sense that you're sifting the drive-by-antis from normal-questioning-people, and I suppose I'd like to hear how you separate them out.

How would you define thoughtfully and objectively researching BoM issues? (Seems a recent thread here had people insisting that it can't be objectively researched...so what's your opinion on how to objectively study LDS/BoM questions?)

At least once.

Give us a link to their detailed analysis and we can judge for ourself. For example, do they mistakenly assume that the Nephites speak and write hebrew as the venacular. That there was a monolithic Christian religion among the Nephites and Lamanites.

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Most if not all have never read the BOM text. It is a book delivered by an angel, and they have no interest in a detailed examination of the text.

Please YOU give me specific individuals who have done a detailed analysis of the BOM text, comparing it with mesoamerica, give us a link to that study and we can open a new thread to discuss his/her findings.

For example, do they think that the Nephites spoke and wrote Hebres as the venacular. Thus, unable to find Hebrew writings in mesoamerica, they draw a conclusion based on an incorrect assumption.

Anyway, I look forward to your reference to that detailed analysis.

First, I am not the one making a claim. I have no imperative to provide references in this matter. However, it is absurd to suggest that no scholar who is an expert in Meso American history has ever encountered the claims you are making. Dr. Gardner just provided me a list of scholars within the Church who are beginning to consider the possibility. There is nothing stopping any of them publishing evidence in favor of your claims in any journal. There is no conspiracy. Secondly, you (and to a lesser extent, Dr. Gardner) are making an argument from silence. You seem to be outraged that anyone could conclude that without evidence, your thesis fails. Dr. Gardner recognizes there is no strong evidence but is hopeful these new areas of study with bear fruit. I think it is reasonable to conclude that these particular claims of this section of the BoM are unsupported, based on the current evidence. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but it does not prove anything either.

Am I phrasing this right? Dr. Gardner, correct what may be amiss.

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