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BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY
Recently, the Mormon Apologist organization "FARMS" has created what is called the "Limited Geography Theory" to explain why absolutely -zero- archeological evidence has been found to support the Book Of Mormon history. FARMS apologists such as Daniel C. Peterson have come up with multiple Hill Cumorah theories to explain why no evidence of ancient wars was found around the Hill Cumorah located in upstate New York. This topic covers the ludicrous ideas created by Mormon Apologetic organizations that create facts to support their conclusions.
| I found a 1976 BoM in my house the other day and at the front it has an interesting page titled "A few interesting Book of Mormon references." It has a list of questions common to investigators and also some little tidbits that "prove" the BoM is inspired of God and whatnot.
One of the questions is "Who were the builders of early civilization discovered by modern scientists?" It lists as references Helaman 3:7-10 and Helaman 6:9-12.
7. And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceeding expert [does that make any sense?] in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.
Helaman 6: 9-12
8. And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.
9. And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.
10. And it came to pass as timber was exceeding scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping.
9. And it came to pass that they became exceeding rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites and they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land south and in the land north.
I wonder how apologists can twist those verses to support their theory. Who knows?
10. Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south.
11. And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these lands, and of silver, and of precious ore of every kind; and there were also curious workmen, who did work all kinds of ore and did refine it; and thus they did become rich.
12. They did raise grain in abundance, both in the north and in the south; and they did flourish exceedingly, both in the north and in the south. And they did multiply and wax exceedingly strong in the land. And they did raise many flocks and herds, yea, many fatlings.
| How many of us have naively helped perpetuate the misnomer that Mormon apologists use to describe their ad hoc avoidance of scientific evidence? |
I'm talking about the so-called 'LGT', or, the 'Limited Geography Theory' of Lamanite settlement in America. This erroneous term is always used in reference to scientific evidence about AmerInd origins -- that's why 'LGT' was invented, as a last-gasp desperate attempt to rescue a disproven claim by creating a loophole and modifying/adapting the original claim to possibly fit through that diminishing loophole.
But it's NOT a theory at all. It's an ad hoc excuse, and we are giving their idea more credit than it merits by even using the word 'theory' in conjunction with it.
1) In science, a 'Theory' is a logical construct that explains the empirical data. Mormons' Limited Geography Claim does nothing of the sort; rather, it is an escape clause to salvage a claim that was contradicted by all known data. So, they carved out a new definition of Lamanites, with caveats and exceptions, that was -- barely! -- not refuted by the data (but still not supported by any data either).
2) In addition, in science a theory must also be 'falsifiable' (see Karl Popper's classic, Conjectures and Refutations), which means that a hypothetically measured outcome or situation is postulated that would, if observed, prove the theory false. If a the logic behind some claim has no such empirical rejection region, then the explantion is a tautology, and therefore useless as a scientific theory. But if there is one defining characteristic of the Limited Geography Claim, it is the careful definition so as to avoid contact with any empirical data. As more data come in, and the likelihood of the Claim being empirically plausible inexorably shrinks, the apologists adjust the vagueness of the Claim to keep the microscopig loophole from coming into contact with any newempirical conclusion. In sum, they are trying to AVOID a hypothetically falsifiable definition at all costs.
And that is the antithesis of what we in Science call a 'Theory'.
I propose that henceforth we purposely avoided using F.A.R.M.S.' Orwellian misnomer "Limited Geography Theory" and instead refer to it as
the "Limited Geography Speculation" (LGS)
the "Limited Geography Claim" (LGC)
the "Limited Geography Excuse" (LGE)
the "Limited Geography anti-Science Loophole" (LGaSL)
.....anyway, you get the idea.
JUST DON'T CALL IT A THEORY, DAMMIT.
(with an appropriate nod to George Lakoff)
| The church has adopted the limited geography theory for the Book of Mormon.
As you may know, in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, it states: "The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy Scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the gospel."
In the new missionary lessons, called Preach My Gospel, part three contains the lessons before new converts. Lesson one is entitled, The Restoration. It states: "Joseph Smith was directed by a heavenly messenger named Moroni to a hill where gold plates had lain hidden for centuries. These gold plates contained the writings of prophets giving an account of God's dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas."
As you can see there is a great deal of difference between the two quotations. In the first contained in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, it states: the ancient inhabitants of Americans, while the second states, some of the ancient inhabitants of Americans.
As far as I know, there has been no new revelation claimed by the prophet, which would authorize such a radical change from previous church statements regarding the origins of the Book of Mormon and the people who the book describes. The only difference that I'm aware of has been the knowledge of DNA evidence which suggests that the introduction to the Mormon is incorrect.
| The next time Mormon missionaries come calling at your door, invite them in.
You have an obligation to educate them. But before you can bring them to understand the error of their ways, it is necessary to get their attention - I mean really get their attention. This you can do by asking them, as you help them remove their coats, if they are wearing their magic underwear - their so-called "temple endowments." Ask them to explain the theory behind their magic unmentionables; especially ask for the reason why up until 1923 they were made with open crotches - and then ask them if their long johns can protect them against logic and science.
The missionaries will probably be a bit surprised to hear that they need protection against logic and science, so you will have to show them some of the ways in which Mormonism is falsified by science. For example, the Book of Mormon implies that Jews fleeing from Jerusalem shortly before and after 600 B.C.E. (Before the Common Era) made their way to South or Central America and turned into Indians. Of course, the magical aspects of this story lie outside the scope of science. Nevertheless, if Jews were transformed into Amerindians just a few millennia ago, there are ways in which scientific methods could be used to falsify or verify the fact.
Recently it has been possible to work out the genetic relations of all the major human populations in the world by comparing the DNA molecules carried in the mitochondria of human cells. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, and they are inherited only along the maternal line. In a seminal paper published in the British journal Nature Rebecca Cann and her coworkers analyzed the mitochondrial DNA from all major groups of humans on the planet and found that all human mitochondrial DNAs could be derived from just a single woman living in Africa approximately 200,000 years ago. (Of course, this does not mean that all humans living today had only one ancestor alive at that time; it simply means that all mitochondria, as a result of hazards of transmission, are derived from just one female of that prehistoric generation.) Although it is difficult to identify all the twigs on the genealogical tree in the article cited, it is clear that the authors did not find any surprising link between American Indians andJews. They refer to "Asians or American Indians," and Jews aren't even mentioned - presumably because they do not differ significantly from other Caucasians. Mormon apologists are invited to do their own DNA comparisons. Until they do, we may consider the transmogrification of Jews into Amerindians mere phantasy.
Archaeology is another science that has much to say about the Mormon idea that Mesopotamians and Israelites came to America around 3000 and 600 B.C.E., respectively, and originated the cultures and populations of the New World. When Joseph Smith saw how easy it was to pull people's legs, he made up an incredible story about Jaredites escaping from the Tower of Babel in Mesopotamia, building barrels which were more barrels than boats, and floating to America in these sealed vessels - after "the Lord caused stones to shine in darkness, to give light unto men, women, and children, that they might not cross the great waters in darkness" (Ether 6:3).
When Smith's disciples swallowed this story without a smile, Smith stretched their legs further. The kingdom founded by the Jaredites - I'm not making this up - was known as "the land of Moron."
In addition to the Jaredites, Smith created Nephites and Mulekites to help populate ancient America and take part in a drama so taut and exciting that Mark Twain referred to their history as "chloroform in print." (Twain seems to be confused in the area of anesthesiology. Readers will note from the Book of Mormon quote above that Smith's book contains Ether in print, not chloroform.) The Nephites are supposed to have escaped Jerusalem shortly before the destruction of the city in 587 B.C.E., the Mulekites shortly thereafter. The Nephites sailed east from Palestine and came ashore in South or Central America. The Mulekites are inferred to have crossed the Atlantic and landed on the Caribbean coast of Central America. Just what it was about the American environment that caused all these Caucasians to turn into Amerindians is unclear, but most Mormons will tell you it was "sin" that did it.
The Fauna Of The Book Of Mormon
When Smith published his "golden bible " in 1830, he gave elephants to his Jaredite actors, along with asses, cows, oxen, and horses. While this may seem startling to readers today, in upstate New York in the 1930s there was nothing odd about this. Thomas Jefferson had discovered the remains of an extinct mammoth, and it was probably widely assumed that ancient Amerindians had domesticated elephants in the way that modern Indians have done. I doubt that many rural New Yorkers then knew that the Amerindians had had no horses or cows until they got them from the Spaniards.
Although horses originated in North America, they - along with the various American species of "elephants" - went extinct many thousands of years before anything that could be called civilization had evolved in Central or South America. At no time were cows present before the advent ofHispanic culture. No certain remains of preColumbian horses, asses, or cows have ever been found in the Americas. Even in the improbable event that rare, relict populations of wild horses in the remote regions of South America or elsewhere managed to survive the mass extinction of the American megafauna that occurred at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, it is an archaeological certainty that no horses ever pulled the chariots of Jewish Aztecs or Babylonian Mayas - or should it be Babylonian Aztecs and Jewish Mayas?
No animal-drawn wheeled vehicles were ever used in pre-Columbian America. No chariots. The reason is that there were no suitable draft animals to pull them. Despite Joseph Smith's claim that his ancient American Christians had cows and oxen, none existed in America before the Spaniards brought them. With only the exception of the bison and the reindeer - notably scarce in Mexico where the major Book of Mormon civilizations are alleged to have existed - no animals existed in America suitable for pulling chariots or wagons. The closest thing to an American draft animal is the llama, but during the entire domestication history of this Andean animal it was used to carry packs, not to pull vehicles.
It goes without saying that this problem worries Mormon apologists a great deal. Arguments both ingenious and specious have been constructed to deal with it. In his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, John Sorenson, one of the most imaginative of the apologists to deal with this problem, argues that it is very difficult to know exactly what the ancients actually meant by such words as horse, cow, or chariot. Typical of his modus operandi is his attempt to explain away the fact that no pre-Columbian cows have ever been discovered in America:
But isn't it obvious that the "cow" of the Book of Mormon was our familiar bovine, straight out without all this hedging? No, it is not at all obvious. First, we are trying to find out what the Book of Mormon really means by the words we have in English translation; we are not trying either to simplify or to complicate the matter, but only to be correct. In the effort to learn the truth, nothing can be assumed obvious. Second, there is a lack of reliable evidence - historical, archaeological, zoological, or linguistic - that Old World cows were present in the Americas in pre-Columbian times. The same is true of some of the other creatures mentioned in the Nephite record, where modern readers may feel they are already familiar with the animals on the basis of the translated names. In these cases we have to find another way to read the text in order to make sense of it.
So what might the Nephite term translated by Joseph Smith as cow actually have signified?
Sorenson goes on to suggest that the "cows" to which his prophet referred might actually have been deer, bison, alpacas, or llamas. Stretched out over the space of many pages, this type of argument is effectively seductive. But it suffers from a most serious defect. If we were dealing with ordinary translations done by ordinary scholars, his point would be very important. But we are not dealing with an ordinary translation done by someone with nothing more than a doctorate from Oxford. We are told on the title page itself that the Book of Mormon is "an account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi ... To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile - The interpretation thereof by the gift of God,"
Several pages later, in the "Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith," we are told:
There were two stones in silver bows - and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what Constituted Seers in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
If Sorenson is correct in his suggestion that the cows and horses referred to in the Book of Mormon aren't really cows and horses - even though the book not only was translated with the aid of Urim and Thummim, but interpreted "by the gift and power of God" - Mormons are on the horns of a terrible dilemma. If god told Joseph Smith to translate deer or llama as cow, he is either incompetent or a liar. If god lies about llamas, why wouldn't he fib about faith? Of course, the Thummim may have blown a transistor, or the angel Moroni may have forgotten to provide the batteries for the Urim. On the other hand, it might all be the fault of the typesetter!
Returning to the subject of chariots, we may observe that chariots tend to be possessed of wheels. Contrary to the divine revelation claimed by Joseph Smith, the Amerindians never made any practical use of the wheel. The only native wheels known to archaeology are the great stone wheels used for calendars and the wheels found in children's toys. If delicate wheeled toys have survived the centuries, should not full-fledged chariots and carts have survived also? If the societies in question had wheeled vehicles for a period of more than three millennia, would we not expect to find wall paintings of them in Mexican temples and tombs? Wouldn't we find proud murals of Aztec kings driving their chariots in triumphal parades? Would we not see pictures of humble farmer-serfs tilling the king's fields with horse-drawn ploughs and hauling produce to the king in oxcarts? Once again, we see the falseness of the Mormon prophet's "inspiration."
When one reads works of fiction such as the Bible or the Book of Mormon, it is absolutely necessary to play the what-if / then / what game. One should ask questions like, "What if Caesar Augustus really did proclaim a census where everyone had to return to an ancestral home to be counted? What would have happened then?"
In the case of the Book of Mormon, we may ask "What if the ancient Amerindians did have horses and chariots? What are the implications?" For one thing, we would expect to find the remains of stone bridges and highways - not footpaths - all over the continents of North and South America (or at least ad over Central America, d the Mormon revisionist geographers are to be considered). To be sure, we do know of the great highways that the Incas built. But alas for the Book of Mormon, the Inca highways were built a thousand years after the close of the Mormon story. Moreover, we know that it was runners and llamas carrying packs that traveled these highways, not horses with chariots or oxen with carts.
If horses and chariots were a common part of Amerindian life in ancient times, we should find words for horses and chariots in all the native languages - especially if they are all corrupt forms of Hebrew and Sumerian, as implied by the Book of Mormon! We should find words for bit, bridle, harness, wagon, headstall, snaffle, martingale, etc. If the Amerindians had plows to go with their horses and oxen, as Smith's novel clearly implies, we should find some - including steel ones (see discussion of steel in last section of this article). We need to know, moreover, why the only tilling tools we have ever found in the Maya territory are fire-hardened digging sticks and stone axes. Why would people so on making stone tools d they had access to iron and steel ones? As we shall see, all archaeological evidence of pre-Columbian agriculture paints a picture which is totally incompatible with the European-style agriculture implied by the Mormon stories.
When Joseph Smith concocted the Book of Mormon, he just assumed that the ancient Amerindians had the same kind of agriculture as that which he knew in upstate New York. Consequently, he had his ancient characters growing wheat, barley, corn, and flax, and planting vineyards for wine, and being able to understand the symbolism of the olive and trees. Now, of course, Smith was right about the corn - that is, maize. But is there anyone of Smith's day who had not heard of "Indian corn," or did not know that corn had come from the Indians? What Smith did not know, however, was that corn was but one of three staple crops raised by the Indians of Central America - the region in which the discovery of ruined civilizations had triggered enormous amounts of speculation in the time of Smith's youth. The other two major crops were squash and beans. These were supplemented by such things as avocados, amaranth, etc. You can search all you want in the Book of Mormon, but you won't find any mention, apart from corn, of the crops actually raised in ancient America. Incidentally, we have numerous cases where these crops have been preserved in archaeological sites and are easily identifiable.
What does archaeology tell us of the presence or absence of the crops Smith claimed were the staples of ancient America? No remains of wheat or domesticated barley have ever been found. In fact, the one possible pre-Columbian specimen of barley discovered at a site in Arizona is of a species different from the species of domesticated barley allegedly brought from the Near East. And what of flax? No dice, again. Fortunately for lovers of truth, the Mormon apologists cannot simply say we haven't been looking in the right place, or that the remains of these plants have all perished with the passage of time. The reason for our good fortune is the fact that these domestic plants are all flowering plants. As such, they produce pollen - in great abundance. If the so-called Mormonic civilizations had been growing these crops for even a few decades - let alone the thousands of years allegedly chronicled by the Book of Mormon - every soil coring taken in Central America should show traces of wheat, barley, and flax pollen. Pollen is one of the most indestructible natural objects known.
An example of the type of research that shows Book of Mormon agriculture to be nineteenth century phantasy is David J. Rue's 1987 paper in Nature titled "Early Agriculture and Early Postclassic Maya Occupation in Western Honduras." By studying soil corings from Lake Yojoa and Petapida Swamp, both in western Honduras, Rue was able to reconstruct the agricultural history of the area from a time 4770 years before the present up to modem times. He could tell from pollen when the region was forested, when the forest was cut and burned for agriculture, what crops were grown and for how long. Although he found clear records of pollen from corn (maize) and amaranth - two Amerindian staples - he makes no mention of wheat, barley, or flax pollen. Perhaps the Mormon Church would like to pay him to go through his cores again, looking more carefully for the mythical motes that should be in them if the Book of Mormon be true!
"Silks And Linens"
When Smith created the costuming for the characters in his unhistorical novel (that was quite a while before god told him he should be sleeping with more than one woman), he had no knowledge of the types of cloth known to the ancient Amerindians. So he saw no problem in having his ancient Mexicans wearing linens and silks. Now linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant, specifically the species known as Linum usitatissimum. This species is native to the Old World and was unknown in America before the coming of the Spaniards. It is quite certain that this species of plant did not grow in America during the three-thousand-year period allegedly chronicled by the Book of Mormon. The reason we can be so certain is that flax pollen of this species has never been found in any soil corings. It is unthinkable that flax for linen could have been grown commercially and not have contributed its pollen to the spore library yearly accumulating at the bottoms of lakes, swamps, and ponds. Ordinary soils unearthed by archaeologists should contain it, along with the pollens of wheat and barley, as we have already noted.
Instead of weaving flax fibers into linen, the ancient Americans wove cotton into cloth. In fact, the ancient Mexicans were weaving cotton fabrics by the year 5000 B.C.E. - at least two millennia before the time of the Jaredites, the mythical escapees from the Tower of Babel, who Smith claimed had floated to America in a barrel! Will readers be surprised to learn that the Book of Mormon makes no mention at all of cotton? Neither god nor Joseph Smith seems to have known what the Mexicans were substituting for fig leaves.
Smith's imposture in the Book of Mormon goes even further, however. He has many of his characters wearing silk - some as early as 600 B.C.E.! Now this is funnier than is immediately apparent. The manufacture of silk began in China and was kept as a trade secret for several thousand years. Although silk fabrics had found their way from China to the Mediterranean world by the time of Aristotle, no one in the West knew how silk was made. It was not until the year 552 C.E. that two Nestorian monks, who had lived in China, smuggled a small number of silkworm eggs out of China and brought them, together with the method for making silk, to Constantinople. This means that the Mormon prophet Lehi, who allegedly escaped from Jerusalem more than a thousand years before this date, before the Exile, could not have brought a knowledge of sericulture to the New World. Although remains of ancient fabrics have been found all over the Americas, no one has ever found remains of pre-Columbian silk. The closest thing to silks made by the Amerindians were fabrics spun from rabbit hair or the fibers of ceiba pods. Although moths of the silkworm family (Saturnidae) do exist in the Americas, it is all but impossible to unwind the agglutinated and tangled silk fibers from their cocoons. Smith could not have been more off base if he had written that the Jaredites were selling nylons on the black market.
The Book of Mormon assumes a money economy existed in ancient America and gives names and values for a variety of gold and silver coins:
Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value ...
A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barley, and also for a measure of every kind of grain. Now the amount of a seon of gold was twice the value of a senine. And a shum of sold was twice the value of a seon. And a limnah of gold was the value of them all ... (Alma 11:4-10)
Leaving the Mormons to worry about how to make change for a "limnah," we note simply that although the ancient Americans had gold and silver in abundance, they never made coins or evolved a money economy. They used jade beads, obsidian blades, and even cacao beans as media of exchange. Never did they mint coins or create a standardized system of metal money.
Any single one of the archaeological impossibilities we have pointed out thus far should be enough to convince an unbiased scientist that the Book of Mormon is a fiction. All the more so, if we combine all the individually convincing evidences together, we must see that the fraudulence of the Book of Mormon is proven beyond any shadow of a doubt. Remember this the next time youthful "elders" knock on your front door.
Moronic And Mormonic Metallurgy
According to the Book of Ether, the Jaredites knew how to make steel:
And it came to pass that Shule was angry with his brother ... Wherefore, he came to the hill Ephraim, and he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him; and after he had armed them with swords he returned to the city Nehor, and gave battle unto his brother Corihor ... (Ether 7:8-9)
According to Mormon apologist David A. Palmer, this steel making occurred around the year 2500 B.C.E.! This precedes by more than a millennium the time at which ironworking (let alone steel making!) came to Mesopotamia, the region whence the Jaredites allegedly had come! Despite the fact that the "Morons" possessed weapons of steel, they didn't do too well. According to Palmer, in the year 2430 B.C.E. the "Moron population (was] reduced to 30 by wars." (There is no evidence that Palmer snickered when he penned the quoted line.)
But Morons were not the only ancient Americans alleged to have worked in steel. Nephites also, before they were transformed from Jews into Indians, worked in steel an@ other metals around the year 575 B.C.E.:
And I [Nephi] did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. (2 Nephi 5:15)
As we have seen, the Book of Mormon story covers a period of time stretching from 3000 B.C.E. to 400 C.E. During that period, many millions of people possessed of steel and brass technology are alleged to have lived and died somewhere in the Americas. It is strange, therefore, to note that no one has ever found any steel artifact datable to Pre-Columbian times. Although a few ancient objects made of meteoric iron have been discovered in America as well as in Eurasia, no objects made of smelted iron have ever been found in America - even though billions of such things should have been made if the Book of Mormon story were true.
Now, of course, the defenders of the Mormon kingdom might say we just haven't been looking in the right place. Alas for the apologists, the Book of Mormon tells us precisely where to look for such artifacts. It claims that between one-half and one million steel-owning people died ail at once, in one spot, around the year 400 C.E., in a climactic battle at "Hill Cumorah." According to Mormon tradition, Hill Cumorah is a glacial drumlin situated near the upstate New York town of Palmyra. It is the site of an annual "Mormon Pageant." Mormon revisionist geographers, however, place the hill in the Tuxtla Mountains, in the Mexican state of Veracruz.
If the Book of Mormon were true, either the hill in New York or the hill in Mexico should be one enormous pile of rusted iron (from the swords and other steel objects) and phosphate (from the bones of all the people slain). It would be a valuable source of scrap iron and phosphate fertilizer!
As crazy as all this may seem, there's more to the Mormon story which is even crazier. According to the Book of Ether, there was an earlier battle in which even more people were slain at one spot:
And it came to pass when Coriantumr had recovered of his wounds - . . He saw that there had been slain by the sword [more steel!] already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children ... (Ether 15: 1-2)
Assuming that "mighty men" would com. prise from one-third to one-fifth of a population, we must conclude that six to ten million Jaredites deposited their steel and their bones at the site of the battle in question. If the Mormon writer David Palmer is correct in his belief that Hill Ramah (where the Jaredites died) and Hill Cumorah (where most everyone else died) are the same hill, and that both are to be identified with Cerro El Vigia in the Tuxtla Mountains, it would seem that satellites equipped with magnetometers should be able to verify the fact easily.
But neither iron nor phosphate is found at Hill Cumorah in New York, nor will it be found - I am prophesying - in the volcanic Tuxtla Mountains in Veracruz. Not surprisingly, the Mormon Church conducts no mining operations at the Palmyra site. The only thing of importance occurring there is the annual falsification of American history.
In concluding our discussion of how Mormon mythology has fallen on its own (steel) sword, we must make one final observation. If millions and millions of people made and used weapons and tools of steel for a period spanning more than three millennia, not only should archaeologists find plentiful remains of swords, chariot axles, anvils, sickles, and many other iron-based artifacts, they should be finding the remains of steel mills all over the territory covered by Smith's cast of characters! It is perfectly conceivable that one might lose a steel sword. But how in hell can you lose a steel mill?!
Ask the missionaries the next time they call.
| || Another Reason Why The "Limited Geography Theory" And The "DNA Has Been Diluted" Arguments Hold No Water |
Friday, Sep 16, 2005, at 08:12 AM
Original Author(s): Randy Jordan
Topic: BOOK OF MORMON GEOGRAPHY -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I've pointed the following out in the past, but sometimes when these discussions come up, I forget to include them in the mix. So, once again:
The Mopologist assertion that the "Book of Mormon people" comprised only a small fraction of total Mesoamerican population, and that they were a tiny, insignificant isolated group of Hebrews living in some undiscovered region amongst predominant Amerinds, is negated by the population figures mentioned in the BOM: The book claims that two million "Jaredites" were exterminated in civil wars circa 600 B.C., and that the "Lamanites" killed some 230,000 "Nephites" at the battle of Cumorah circa 400 A.D.
Those numbers mean that in whatever region the Mopologists wish to theorize as "Book of Mormon lands," the "Book of Mormon people" would have necessarily been the PREDOMINANT peoples in the area; the region simply couldn't have sustained agriculture and infrastructure at the time to support those figures, AS WELL as supposedly even LARGER numbers of local Olmecs, Mayans, or whatever Indian tribes also lived there. Also, if those population figures are correct, then the "Book of Mormon people's" technology should have been incorporated by local Indians---the horse, the wheel, iron tools and weaponry, etc.
It is as silly for Mopologists to believe that those dissimilar cultures could occupy the same area simultaneously and not share technology as it is to believe that 16th-century Spaniards could introduce horses, iron tools, guns, and Catholocism into the Americas, and local Indians not latch onto those items within just a few years (which of course, they did.)
Mopologists such as John Sorenson and James Allen have posited that "Book of Mormon lands" were essentially in present-day Central America; to believe that those people, in those numbers, with their technology, could not have made a drastic and permanent effect on pre-existing local Indians, is as silly as believing that Spanish, English, Dutch, French, etc. colonial explorers had no impact on the various Indian tribes they encountered. In fact, within just a few years of arrival, all of those European colonizations completely transformed the Indian cultures they came in contact with.
Also, for the "Lamanites" to have killed 230,000 "Nephites" circa 400 A.D., the conquering "Lamanites" would have logically been at least as numerous as the "Nephites." Thus, it's illogical to posit that some quarter of a million Hebrew-descended "Lamanites", living circa 400 A.D., would have had their DNA "diluted" by interbreeding with local Indian tribes to the point of it being untraceable here in the 21st century. Such arguments are merely desperate, lunatic-fringe attempts to explain away lack of physical evidence to support the BOM's authenticity.
If any of you correspond with TBM friends, family, or cyber-apologists, you might want to point this out to them. The "limited geography theory" and the "diluted DNA" are not reasonable arguments.
| At this point, the church's main apologists have retreated to a Limited Geography Theory for the BofM - (i.e., that the BofM events took place in a limited geography in Central America and southern Mexico). The church's principal DNA apologists (such as Professor Whiting of BYU) have proposed that hebrew DNA is not found in native american populations because the DNA of the founding lehite colony could have been "swamped out" by the Amerinds that inhabited this continent - presumably in sufficient numbers to interbreed with the lamanites and swamp out the lehite DNA.
So why aren't these Amerinds described in the BofM with any specificity? After reading 1st and 2nd Nephi and the book of Jacob, one is left with the impression that no other civilizations were encountered for at least the first 150 years after the Lehite colony's arrival in the new world. Is it realistic to expect that the BofM authors would gloss over so profound an event? Particularly, after Lehi had received a promise that the new world would "be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations." (2 Ne. 1:8)
According to Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs and Steel, p. 363-4), "humans entered the Americas at Alaska only around 12,000 BC, spread south of the Canadian ice sheets as Clovis hunters a few centuries before 11,000 BC, and reached the souther tip of South America by 10,000 BC. .... [I]f a mere 100 pioneering Native Americans had crossed the Canadian border into the lower United States and increased at a rate of only 1 percent per year, they would have saturated the Americas with hunter-gatherers within 1,000 years. Spreading south at a mere one mile per month, those pioneers would have reached the southern tip of South America only 700 years after crossing the Canadian border."
Clearly, during a 150 year period the Lehite colony would have had some contact with the numerous Amerinds populating the new world. Would it be possible to imagine the histories of the Dutch settlement of South Africa omitting the encounters with native Africans?
To further compound the problem, the text of the BofM does address with great specificity the encounters of (i) Lehi's descendants with the Mulekites (who settled Zarahemla and "came out from Jerusalem at the same time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon", Omni 1:16); and (ii) the Mulekites with Coriantumr, the 'last Jaredite', who was discovered by the people of Zarahemla (Omni 1:21) - the same mulekites who earlier discovered the plates that contained the Book of Ether in the "land northward" full of bones.
Apparently, these encounters with other civilizations were seminal events in the BofM that the authors deemed worthy of inclusion in the sparse record. If these civilizational encounters merited inclusion by BofM authors, then why not the encounter with the native Amerinds who filled the entire continent?
Below is the modern Map of the area of Smith's Youth
The Book of Mormon is supposed to be a history of real people living in a real place. For the first 150 years of Mormonism's existence, everyone thought it was a story about a people who left the Middle East and came to South or Central America, and who fought wars clear up into New York state where their history was hidden in a hillside, inscribed on gold plates. Joseph Smith, in 1830, translated those plates, he said, by "the gift and power of God," into 1611 English from "Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Or so the story goes.
However, one needs to look no further than New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to find the setting of the Book of Mormon. Whoever pieced the Book of Mormon together had a land in mind which was very similar to the Northeast United States and Southeast Canada.
My friend, the late Vernal Holley, originally published these maps in his book Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look in the early 1980s. I was fascinated with them then and remain so today. Basically, the two maps compare a "proposed map" constructed by Vernal from the internal descriptions of the Book of Mormon and comments, over the years by Latter-day Saint scholars, with a map showing actual place names on maps of the area around Palmyra, New York, where the Book of Mormon originally was published. Vernal gave me permission to put the whole book on line. I just need the time to do that. In the meantime I hope you enjoy this.
The first map is the "proposed map," constructed from internal comparisons in the Book of Mormon.
Throughout the Book of Mormon we read of such features as "The Narrow Neck of Land" which was a days and a half's journey (roughly 30 miles) separating two great seas. We read much of the Hill Onidah, the Hill Ramah, and the city of the City of Angola–all place names in the land of Joseph Smith's youth. We read, in the Book of Mormon of the Land of Desolation named for a warrior named Teancum who helped General Moroni fight in the Land of Desolation. In Smith's era, an Indian Chief named Tecumseh fought and died near the narrow neck of land helping the British in the War of 1812. Today the Canadian city Techumseh (near the narrow neck of land) is named after him. We see the Book of Mormon city Kishkumen located near an area named, on modern maps, as Kiskiminetas. There are more than two dozen Book of Mormon names that are the same as or nearly the same as modern geographical locations. See below.
andnbsp;Book of Mormon place names compared to actual Northeast
US/Southeast Canada place names
Canadian locations are marked with an asterisk and
appear in the Book of Mormon as lying in "The Land Northward"
ACTUAL PLACE NAMES
Land of Midian
BOOK OF MORMON PLACE NAMES
Alma, Valley of
Noah, Land of
Ripliancum, Waters of
Land of Midian
Copyright 1989, 1992 by Vernal Holley.
| Joseph Allen's theory on the location of the "narrow neck of land", which Charles endorses, is nonsense.
To quote from Allen (p. 279):
"The Book of Mormon requirement for the Narrow Neck of Land/Narrow Pass is that
it divided the Land Southward from the Land Northward:
'And now, it was only the distance 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;
and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by
water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land
southward.' (Alma 22:32.)"
Allen then offers, "I propose that the Narrow Neck of Land is located in what
is now called the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Southern Mexico. Furthermore, I
propose that the Narrow Pass runs through the Isthmus in a north-south
direction and runs between two mountain ranges, as opposed to running between
two oceans or seas."
The first and most glaring fatal error in Allen's proposal is one of distance.
At its narrowest point between the Gulf of Mexico on the north and the Pacific
Ocean on the south, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is 125 miles wide. The Book of
Mormon verse quoted above clearly states that it was "a day and a half's
journey" for a "Nephite" to travel "from the east to the west sea." Obviously,
no "Nephite" or any other human could travel 125 miles in a "day and a half" in
the era proposed in the BOM, unless he possessed a means of travel unknown to
Secondly, the BOM text calls for an "east sea" and a "west sea," whereby the
"narrow neck of land" would necessarily run north-south (as the BOM states, the
"land northward" and the "Land southward.")
Contrary to that, the actual physical layout of the Isthmus and its surrounding
bodies of water is 90 degrees rotated from the directions stated in the BOM; so
in proposing the Isthmus as the "narrow neck of land," Allen must misrepresent
what the BOM actually states concerning directions. Twisting and
misrepresenting what the BOM actually states is a common habit of Mormon
apologists, including Charles Dowis. By engaging in such twisting, they render
everything written in the BOM meaningless.
Thirdly, the BOM states that "the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla was
nearly surrounded by water." Allen proposes that the "Land of Zarahemla" lay
in the southern and narrowest point of the Isthmus (in present-day Chiapas),
and the "land of Nephi" was 200 miles or so to the east (in present-day
The problem here is that in light of the proposed areas and distances, no
ancient person would have described such a large area of land as being "nearly
surrounded by water." The term "narrow neck of land" requires, in the eyes of
an ancient, primitive observer, an easily visible, measurable span. Obviously,
no observer of 2000+ years ago would describe a region which was at least 125
miles thick at its narrowest point as a "narrow neck of land." Also, Allen's
proposed areas and distances do not in the least fit the BOM's description of
the region as "being nearly surrounded by water." The BOM's description
requires the area to be more like a small peninsula of no more than 20-50 miles
separating the two "seas" by which it is "nearly surrounded."
Another fatal error in Allen's theory is that by pinning himself down to actual
locations for BOM sites, he must then provide the actual physical evidence in
those areas which would give readers some cause to believe that the people and
events described in the BOM actually existed in those areas.
For instance, Allen proposes the location of the land of "Zarahemla." The BOM
describes Zarahemla as a major capital of the Nephites between 200 BC and 200
AD. Many major BOM events occurred in the region; supposedly, even Christian
"churches" were established there, several decades before the birth of Christ.
If Allen's theory is to be given any credence whatsoever, then archaelogists
should be able to unearth evidence of such a culture in the proposed region.
Of course, that would also require the discovery of evidence for many more of
the BOM's unique claimed culture---Hebrew/Egyptian roots, religion, and/or
language, advanced metalwork, horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, etc., chariots and
other wheeled vehicles and/or implements, and so on.
Allen's effort of simply proposing locales, particularly when he has to twist
what the BOM actually states to make his theories force-fit into his proposed
regions, is useless unless he can produce evidence that "BOM events" took place
in the areas he proposes.
For example, the ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia, although mentioned in the
Bible and other ancient texts, had been abandoned and covered with sand for
more than 2,000 years, until re-discovered in the 1910's. Texts and artifacts
discovered at the site positively identified the city as the Ur of lore. The
artifacts unearthed from its tombs now constitute one of archaelogy's greatest
treasure troves, including 3,000-year-old bronze spears and exquisite goldwork.
For a proposed "BOM site" to move past the "theory" stage, it will have to
produce actual positive evidence of unique "BOM culture," just as Ur and
numerous other sites have. The proposing of "vague parallels" and "interesting
possibilities" simply don't cut the mustard.
The average teenager can produce maps of "proposed locales" such as those
pitched by Joseph Allen. His proposals do not move us one inch further towards
verifying the authenticity of the BOM. Allen's book |sic.|.|.|.| [is] directing them to one man's unverifiable
opinions, rather than any verifiable facts.
| I have been turned on to these maps Vernon Holley did. At first I thought they were fluff and contrived. But I am finding he hit the nail on the head more than once or twice with the local namesakes Smith might have used to incorporate into writing the Book of Mormon. |
(posted at FAIR by Noggin http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?showtopic=15025)
On to my next Holley map item: (click below to see the maps)
Moravianton and Tecumseh (B of M= Morianton, Teancum)
The Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was a decisive American victory in the War of 1812 which took place on October 5, 1813, near Chatham, Ontario in present-day Canada.
If I look at the map, Chatham Ontario is close to Palmyra. I wonder if it was exciting to be in Palmyra and be so close to major war event like that. A leading indian warrior and ally to the British named Tecumseh, was killed in that battle. It made all the major headlines. A city was later named after Tecumseh. Joseph Smith grew up near this quite famous battle sight. He lived the story telling at campfires. He was an impressionable 9 years old when this battle was fought.
Alma 50: 35
35 And it came to pass that the army which was sent by Moroni, which was led by a man whose name was Teancum, did meet the people of Morianton; and so stubborn were the people of Morianton, (being inspired by his wickedness and his flattering words) that a battle commenced between them, in the which Teancum did slay Morianton and defeat his army, and took them prisoners, and returned to the camp of Moroni...
So here we have Teancum portrayed almost to the status equal counterpart of Tecumseh in the book of Mormon. Lest you forget, Teancum as Moroni's right hand man, led many armies under Captn Moroni's command and was the one who
1. defeated Morianton as described above
2. defeated the Amalekites
3. snuck into the tent of the Amalakite king and threw a javelin into the heart of the king
4. threw the javelin into the heart of another lamanite foe... but this time Teancum died a hero's death after having done his heroic deed
Now, let's look at how Tecumseh died: (from the same wiki source)
Immediately Procter and the British turned and fled the field, many of them surrendering. Tecumseh remained and kept up the fighting. Richard Johnson at the head of about 20 cavaliers charged into the Indian position to draw attention away from the main American force, but Tecumseh and his warriors answered with a volley of musketfire that stopped the cavalry charge in its tracks. Fifteen of the men were killed or wounded and Johnson himself was hit five times. Johnson's main force became bogged down in the mud of the swamp. Tecumseh was killed in this fighting; Colonel Johnson may have been the one who killed Tecumseh, though the evidence is far from certain. The main force finally made its way through the swamp and James Johnson's troops were freed from their attack on the British. With the American reinforcements converging and news of the death of Tecumseh spreading quickly the Indian resistance quickly dissolved. Mounted troops then moved on and burned Moraviantown, a peaceful settlement of Christian Munsee Indians
Clearly the death of Tecumseh was pivotal. This paragraph shows the heroic death granted to this Indian. I am quite certain that this story reached the Smith family.
And finally, how did Teancum die?
Alma 62: 36
36 And it came to pass that Teancum in his anger did go forth into the camp of the Lamanites, and did let himself down over the walls of the city. And he went forth with a cord, from place to place, insomuch that he did find the king; and he did cast a javelin at him, which did pierce him near the heart. But behold, the king did awaken his servants before he died, insomuch that they did pursue Teancum, and slew him.
Teancum was the stuff that legends were made up of. So was Tecumseh. Many parallels. Easy to see too.
Tecumseh, Teancum; Moraviatown, Morianton
This is way too close to be coincidence. Does anyone else see the similarities?
| I've always been fascinated with the destruction recorded in 3rd Nephi. Even in middle school, it was clear to me that this kind of upheaval and devastation would be relatively easy to uncover - far easier than finding buried relics or writings that confirmed the BoM. It seemed to me that destruction that "deformed" the whole land should be pretty self-evident.
I looked forward to the day when some researcher would announce that he'd uncovered evidence of massive geologic activity dating back about 2,000 years - earthquakes that sunk parts of the coast into the ocean, that lifted some mountains up, and that broke other mountains apart.
Of course, no such observation has ever been made...
I think about the apologists explanation of Limited Geography, and that the Nephites must have co-existed in Meso America along with the other natives.
The destruction recorded in the BoM would have certainly gotten the Mayans attention, though. They would have noticed three days of darkness. They would have noticed their land being deformed. I haven't checked it out myself, but I'm willing to bet there's no trace of any of this activity in their own history.
I wonder how they would apologize for that.
| Recently, the LDS church has claimed a stone was found in Yemen which confirmed an event in the Book of Mormon, because it bore the inscription "NHM" which, according to LDS apologists, corresponded to the Book of Mormon place name "Nahom". This inscription was subsequently presented as airtight evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and missionaries will often refer to this stone in their discussions. A closer look at the evidence, however, reveals that in actual fact nothing whatsoever of LDS belief has been substantiated by the "NHM" find.
Efforts at confirming Mormonism is all about finding any scrap of information that might somehow be stretched to suport the fabricated events, geography etc in the Book of Mormon. You'll find this stretch whenever they try to present evidence of an archaeological or scientific nature. The error is called the fallacy of irrelevant proof, and the "NHM" inscription is a good example thereof.
(Essentially the fallacy of irrelevant proof is akin to seeking to prove someone is a doctor by asking them the color of blood. If they say "red" should this be taken as proof they are a doctor? Of course not. Yet this is the type of logic being expounded by LDS apologists who tout the "NHM" find as some sort of "evidence" for the Book of Mormon.)
The NHM altar find as an evidence for the antiquity of the Book of Mormon.
1 Nephi in the Book of Mormon details the trek of Lehi and his family through Arabia before travelling to America by boat. One place name mentioned in this book, "Nahom" has been identified by Mormons by an inscription bearing the letters "NHM" in Oman. This, they say, is concrete geographical evidence for the Book of Mormon. But is it?
According to the Book of Mormon account, Lehi and his companions travelled ""south-southeast" (1 Nephi 16:13), roughly parallel to the Red Sea or near its borders (1 Nephi 2:5; 16:14), until they reached Nahom (1 Nephi 16:34), where Ishmael was buried.
This is the evidence we have to examine, specifically the allegedly "verified place name" of Nahom. But what is noticeable from the outset is the absence of any other place names, and in fact, the generalness of the whole description. Can we really call finding a stone with "NHM" as plausible evidence for a story which is so general as to be unprovable? Contrast this with the Biblical accounts of place names, for which copious and irrefutable geographical, archaeological and historical evidence has been uncovered: the Lehi story is simply that, a story, and without real evidence, we should not be fooled into believing a word of it.
Next, we shall go on to cover the specific problems with positively identifiying the "NHM" inscription with the placename Nahom.
Refutation of the identification of the inscription "NHM" with the Book of Mormon placename "Nahom"
Several of the ideas below came from the ZLMB discussion board
1. The "match proves nothing since it's not really a match"
Hebrew doesn't have vowels, so the Hebrew name NHM (nun-chet-men) could be transliterated to Nahom. But since we don't know what vowels were supposed to be used, any other vowel permutation is equally likely: Nahum, Niham, Noham, Nuhim, Nuham and so on (25 different combinations are possible in fact, 30 if the second vowel is left out completely). So to appeal to the inscripton "NHM" as proving the location "Nahom" is really unfounded. In any case, this is not the first time LDS explorers have tried to match a location with the place Nahom. If it is so easy to locate, why the continued list of contenders? After all, in Biblical geography, we know there is one Jericho (located), one Babylon (located), one Nazareth (located), and so on. Mormons can't even positively locate one supposed town from the Book of Mormon.
2. The only existing pronunciation for NHM is NOT nahom!
To make matters worse for the LDS apologists, the only evidence we have for the correct vowel-substitution/pronunciation of NHM is the extant pronunciation: "Nihm". Furthermore, it is extemely unlikely a tribal place name changed its pronunciation. Remember the inscription is most probably a tribal name, not merely a location. Are we to suppose the pronunciation was changed from Nahom to Nihm? This is an assumption that we simply cannot make without forcing the evidence.
3. What about the "but 'nahom' means to be sorry and the altar was found near a cemetery" claim?
nahom: a Hebrew word (Strong's 5162) which means "to be sorry, to console oneself, to repent, to regret, to comfort or to be comforted."
According to this argument, the correct name of "NHM" must be "Nahom" because the place is found near a cemetery and the word "nahom" means "to be sorry".
There are a number of problems with this suggestion. For one thing, if the consonants "NHM" are pronounced as written, it should be pronounced with the H as hard, not soft (this is what we find in "nahom" to be sorry"). So the sound would be like "ch" as in Scottish "loch" and we should expect to read of a Book of Mormon placename of "Nachom, not "Nahom." The Book of Mormon placename doesn't fit the Hebrew word "to be sorry".
In any case, why should we expect this tribe to call itself after an ancient cemetery? The presence of an cemetery nearby is irrelevant, as most, if not all, other tribes had cemeteries too.
4. What of the claim that the proposed location for "Bountiful" pinpoints Nahom?
Several locations with names somewhat like "Nahom" are to be found in the Arabian paninsula. Given the fact that Arabia is a Semitic-language area bordering the lands of the Bible, this should come as no surprise. The work of the Hiltons and others in finding these locations only serves to show the imprecision of the Book of Mormon description. After all, if the detail is so good, why the to propose several candidate sites? This is clearly not the case with Biblical archaeology, which, as has been shown, has one location for Jericho, one location for other Old Testament towns, cities, rivers, and mountains. Not so with the Book of Mormon. Why not? The simple fact of the matter is, the Book of Mormon description is general enough to be worthless. The location of Nahom is nothing more than shooting arrows, then drawing the target.
5. NHM too populated for a sneaky trek.
Lehi and his family had been commanded by God not to light fires. Why would this commandment be given? There would have to be a good reason, as they could not cook their meat, and would thereby violate the Torah. Was it supposed to be a secretive trek? If so, why would they go to the populated location of NHM? This doesn't make sense.
6. Ishmael irrelevance:
Lindsay mentions that Ishmael, one of the companions of Lehi on the trip, died at Nahom, and that there was "considerable mourning at Nahom." Why would the NHM tribe name themselves after a passing-through traveler who died there centuries later? This likewise makes no sense.
7. Grammatical issue:
Even if it were derived from "NHM", the word "Nahom" cannot be shown to be an independent word. In other words, it could be the case that the placename was "Nah" and the -om part is merely a suffix. This point further militates against an identification of "NHM" with a placename called "Nahom."
In the message board discussion referenced above, David Wright notes an error on the part of LDS apologist John Tvedtnes. Tvedtnes, inhis article "Hebrew Names in the Book of Mormon," associates Nahom with Hebrew n-kh-m, but errs when he suggests that Nehhem in Yemen is the same root. Nehhem has a soft "h" but NHM has a hard "h" as in Scottish "loch" as we saw earlier. Since the two roots (n-h ans n-ch) differ, there is no point in making an association between them, and in fact it is wrong to do so.
8. Book of Mormon derivation of words: no fixed method, all have separarte origins. Inexplicable.
Another point to consider is the inconsistent and uncheckable etymology of Book of Mormon words. How is "Nahom" explicable in terms of the general etymology of Book of Mormon placenames? As noted in the comments on the board links above, there are a number of curious Book of Mormon place names whose derivations are given. Examples include: "Irreantum" = "many waters" (1 Ne. 17:5), "Rabbanah" = "powerful or great king" (Alma 18:13), "Rameumptom" = "the holy stand" (Alma 31:21), "Liahona" = "a compass" (Alma 37:38), "deseret" = "a honey bee" (Ether 2:3), "Ripliancum" = "large, or to exceed all" (Ether 15:8). The point of the matter is, do these words have Old World roots? Do they have further derivatives in New World usage? One would expect the they should have, but nothing to support this expectation has been forthcoming. Instead, LDS scholars provide separate theories for each Book of Mormon place name. In contrast, when studying the Bible, the place names are derived from Hebrew or a local dialect. Again wesee that the Book of Mormon cannot stand up to professional linguistic analysis.
This inability to withstand professional scrutiny simply isn't good enough. It is clear the Book of Mormon place names can't establish any sort of validity through etymological or linguistical analysis. And there is a very good reason for this. The book is a phoney.
9. Exodus 15:22-27 indicates the existence of oases in the desert. Smith would have known this. Bountiful is the oasis mentioned in 1 Nephi 17:5. The fact that Smith mentions an oasis in the Book of Mormon therefore proves nothing.
The Nahom case provides evidence, not of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, but of the willingness of LDS scholars to look anywhere in their despair to find a shred of validation for their erroneous beliefs. The "NHM" inscription is the most important piece of geographical "evidence" Mormons have for their claims. The refutation of this inscription in regard to the Book of Mormon placename "Nahom" shows once again that there is no archaeological suppport from Mormonism, and no amount of appealing to "plausibility" will alter that fact. As mentioned at the top of this article, the "NHM" find is a classic example of the fallacy of irrelevant proof.
| I read Sorensen’s book, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, many years before I concluded that the church was a fraud. This was the first time I had seriously considered that perhaps Mesoamerica alone was the setting for the Book of Mormon. At the time, I thought Sorenson made a good argument that the events of the Book of Mormon could have been in a very limited area of geography. I thought less of his attempt to identify Book of Mormon cities. I filed the book and Sorenson’s ideas away as yet one more thing I didn’t understand. |
Today, this is what bothers me about the LGT. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT! Most theories are formed based on observation. But the LGT isn’t based on any scientific evidence that I am aware of, it is based on a desperate hope to keep the Book of Mormon viable in the FACE OF SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. It should be called the “what ever it takes to keep it believable theory.” I suspect one day the LDS church will abandon its current belief that the Book of Mormon existed in an historical setting and will accept the Book of Mormon as inspired allegorical teachings. Then the LDS church will no longer need FARMS.
It is the same thing about the DNA evidence. FARMS new theories about cultural immersion, etc. aren’t based on any relevant, testable science at all. The FARMS theories are there to DISCOUNT THE SCIENTIFIC STUDIES THAT DEFINITIVELY SHOW THAT ANCIENT AMERICANS CAME FROM ASIA, NOT JERUSALEM. The FARMS theories, very convenient for them, cannot be tested. For them, the Limba tribe from Africa hit the DNA jackpot. Yeah, right. Stop feeding good Latter-day Saints with gibberish.
I am not sure how “scientists” who peddle this garbage at FARMS can stand to look in the mirror. I am glad that my job isn’t to dilute good science so that innocent people can believe the unbelievable.
| On Ancient Walls, a New Maya Epoch
The murals date to 100 B.C., and nearby, a column of hieroglyphs, a century or two older, attests to an already well-developed writing system.
The Mayan hieroglyphic writing system is completely independent of other writing systems anywhere else in the world. It has no relation whatsoever to Egyptian, Hebrew or Mesopotamian systems.
Stephen Houston, of Brown, said, "We are entering a golden age of Preclassic study," adding that the discipline of Maya research "will be marked by a time before the discovery of these paintings in the jungle of Guatemala, and a time thereafter." Other experts have already focused new research on Preclassic ruins, some dating at least to 900 B.C., and are reinterpreting finds in light of the San Bartolo evidence.
900 B.C. is 300 years before Lehi's supposed arrival. This can't be Jaredite civilization because that was totally wiped out (except for one man) before contact with the Nephites but this is a continuing culture.
New attention, Dr. Guernsey said, is centered on the common monumental motif in the Classic period that has now been increasingly recognized as early as the middle Preclassic era, 900 to 300 B.C. It is known as the quatrefoil. The design is something like a four-leaf clover and is found in the arrangement of stones or carved in stone or crated with packed earth and painted clay at a ceremonial site, as at La Blanca on the Pacific coastal plain in Guatemala. La Blanca, occupied from 900 B.C. to 600 B.C., is being excavated by Michael W. Love of California State University-Northridge, with Dr. Guernsey as the project iconographer.
Again the Mayan culture is found to exist in the LGT area from 900 B.C. The Maya could not have been Lamanites.
One new puzzle yet to be solved is the Preclassic Maya script found at San Bartolo. The column of 10 glyphs, painted in black on white plaster, is definitely Maya writing from 300 B.C. to 200 B.C., experts say, but so far it is unreadable.
I predict that the column of 10 glyphs will not be shown to have any relation whatever to either Egyptian or Hebrew writing systems.
Sorenson published his work on the LGT because he cannot put the BoM anywhere else. He says either it happened in the Tehuantepec area or it didn't happen at all. Archaeologists are now proving that it didn't happen in the Tehuantepec area. Draw your own conclusions.
“The spoken languages were neither primitive nor simple, and many had grammars as complex as those of Russian and Latin. However, with the exception of an ideographic system used by the Mayans and their neighbors near the Yucatan peninsula, none of the native languages of America had a writing system until the arrival of Europeans.”
“Few American Indian languages have more than 100 years of written history;…”
“Written literature in the usual sense does not exist in the indigenous American languages; however, there are folk literatures. Communication by writing among the Native Americans in the aboriginal period was limited to the Maya and the Aztecs. Both cultures used a form of picture writing to represent their ideas. About 800 of the Maya hieroglyphs, or symbols, are known, and in recent years substantial progress has been made in deciphering them. Not many texts of the Maya survive, the most numerous being inscriptions on buildings.
The Incas of Peru used a system of knotted cords, ropes, or strings to communicate. Called the quipu, it is considered a form of writing. The color and shape of the knotted cords were the clues to meaning. For instance, green cords signified grain, and red cords, soldiers. One knot stood for the number 10; two knots, 20; a double knot, 100. Among Native Americans of E North America, beaded wampum belts often contained pictographic symbols for communication.”
Examples of Mayan:
| Part of the LGT entails the premise that there actually WERE pre-existing others that are not only obliquely mentioned in the BoM, but are indirectly referenced as well. So the LGTers accept that there was a massive native population that was already on this continent by the time the jaredites/nephites arrived.
Of course, you have to know what to look for when you read the BoM, otherwise this totally escapes you (you know, all those inconvenient passages about the land being saved for these newcomers... depends on how you define "is", er, I mean "land"). So when Nephi leaves his mean brothers and takes anyone "who would go with them", he meant all those Mesoamerican natives that embraced Nephi as their leader. Odd that he omitted what a glorious conversionary process that must have been, particularly given his stated intent of writing to convert people to Jesus, but we can't engage in "presentism" by saying we know what nephi SHOULD have included. Also, the BoM mentions finding animals that are DOMESTICATED, so someone must have been there domesticating them. Plus, there is no way that the small group numbered in the BoM could have possibly reproduced at the rate the BoM story requires.
These problems can also be explained by the fact that the BoM was written by a naive mind who didn't grasp such subtleties, but that is not the a-prior conclusion apologists want.
IMO, the main purpose of BoM apologetics now-a-days, after having been forced into a very small corner, is to find a way to render the BoM scientifically unfalsifiable. Combine the LGT with "translation errors" and they have succeeded.
Of course, they have rendered the BoM just about meaningless in the process, but a small price to pay to preserve faith for those who know just a little TOO much about ancient American history.
Oh, and btw, the reason apologists cling to LGT so ferociously, despite how it insults the actual BoM text, is due to the fact that John Sorenson did, indeed, prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the traditional understanding of the BoM could not have possibly occured on the American continent. Hence, Clark (the author or your quote) says "if you believe in the hemispheric model, you're toast, game over".)
LGT is all they have left.
| Numerous leaders of the Mormon Church have taught since the earliest days of the Church that the Hill Cumorah in New York (the very same Hill Cumorah that Joseph Smith claimed he retrieved the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated from) is the very same Hill Cumorah which is mentioned in the Book of Mormon in Mormon 6:2 ( And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah , and there we could give them battle. ) where (if you do the math) at least 230,000 men died in battle using steel weapons and armor.
However, this battle was about one tenth the size of the battle which took place at the same exact location approximately 1,000 years earlier when, according to Ether 15:2 "nearly two millions " of the Jaredites had their last great battle, also using steel weapons and armor.
Many self-proclaimed Book of Mormon scholars have told me over the years that "we don't really know the exact location of the Hill Cumorah spoken of in the Book of Mormon." The obvious reason they want to deny that Joseph Smith's Hill Cumorah is the same one that is mentioned in the Book of Mormon is simple; there is literally not a trace of evidence to support the claim that 2,230,000 men died in battle using steel weapons and armor at the tiny hill now owned by the LDS Church in the State of New York called Cumorah.
However, you will see by the following quotes that many Mormon Church leaders have taught (and continue to teach) that over 2,230,000 men did indeed die at the Hill Cumorah in New York.
"The great and last battle, in which several hundred thousand Nephites perished was on the hill Cumorah, the same hill from which the plates were taken by Joseph Smith, the boy about whom I spoke to you the other evening." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Feb. 11, 1872 Journal of Discourses Vol. 14, pg. 331)
"These records were carried by Ether from the hill Ramah, afterwards called Cumorah, where the Jaredites were destroyed, as well as the Nephites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, May 18, 1873 Journal of Discourses Vol. 16, pg. 50
"Thirty-six years prior to this time his nation was destroyed in in what we term the State of New York, around about a hill, called by that people the Hill of Cumorah, when many hundreds of thousands of the Nephites-men, women and children, fell, during the greatest battle that they had had with the Lamanites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Aug. 25, 1878 Journal of Discourses Vol. 20, pg. 62)
"It will be, next Thursday night, 54 years since the Prophet Joseph Smith, then but a lad, was permitted by the angel of the Lord to take the gold plates of the Book of Mormon from the hill Cumorah, as it was called in ancient times, located in the State of New York. " (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, Sept. 18, 1881 Journal of Discourses Vol. 22, pg. 224)
"Finally, they became so utterly wicked, so fully ripened for destruction, that one branch of the nation, called the Nephites, gathered their entire people around the hill Cumorah, in the State of New York , in Ontario County; and the Lamanites, the opposite army, gathered by millions in the same region. The two nations were four years in gathering their forces, during which no fighting took place; but at the end of that time, having marshalled all their hosts, the fighting commenced, the Lamanites coming upon the Nephites, and destroying all of them, except a very few, who had previously deserted over to the Lamanites." (Talk given by Apostle Orson Pratt, April 6, 1874 Journal of Discourses Vol. 17, pg. 24)
"The passages which I have quoted from the Book of Mormon and the more extended discussion of this subject by Elder B. H. Roberts which was published in The Deseret News of March 3, 1928, definitely establish the following facts: That the Hill Cumorah, and the Hill Ramah are identical; that it was around this hill that the armies of both the Jaredites and Nephites, fought their great last battles; that it was in this hill that Mormon deposited all of the sacred records which had been entrusted to his care by Ammaron, except the abridgment which he had made from the plates of Nephi, which were delivered into the hands of his' son, Moroni. We know positively that it was in this hill that Moroni deposited the abridgment made by his father, and his own abridgment of the record of the Jaredites, and that it was from this hill that Joseph Smith obtained possession of them. " (President Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1928-Morning Session)
"Cumorah, the artificial hill of north America, is well calculated to stand in this generation, as a monument of marvelous works and wonders. Around that mount died millions of the Jaredites; yea, there ended one of the greatest nations of this earth. In that day, her inhabitants spread from sea to sea, and enjoyed national greatness and glory, nearly fifteen hundred years. -- That people forsook the Lord and died in wickedness. There, too, fell the Nephites, after they had forgotten the Lord that bought them. There slept the records of age after age, for hundreds of years, even until the time of the Lord." (The Latter-day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Vol.2, No.2, p.221)
"The hill, which was known by one division of the ancient peoples as Cumorah, by another as Ramah, is situated near Palmyra in the State of New York ." (Apostle James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith , chapter 14)
"It is known that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed is the hill where the Jaredites were also destroyed. This hill was known to the Jaredites as Rama. It was approximately near to the waters of Ripliancum, which the Book of Ether says, "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all." Mormon adds: "And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites."
"It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.
"Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records, must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an established record of history...." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation , Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, p.232-43.)
"In the western part of the state of New York near Palmyra is a prominent hill known as the “hill Cumorah.” On July twenty-fifth of this year, as I stood on the crest of that hill admiring with awe the breathtaking panorama which stretched out before me on every hand, my mind reverted to the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago–events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation.
[Editor's Note: About 20 short paragraphs later this speaker says the following]
"This second civilization to which I refer, the Nephites , flourished in America between 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. Their civilization came to an end for the same reason, at the same place, and in the same manner as did the Jaredites’" (Talk given by President Marion G. Romney in General Conference, October 4, 1975, Ensign Nov. 1975 pg. 35)
"Both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the State of New York." Apostle LeGrand Richards, in A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, chapter 7.
"Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and many of the early brethren, who were familiar with all the circumstances attending the coming forth of the Book of Mormon in this dispensation, have left us a pointed testimony as to the identity and location of Cumorah or Ramah." (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 174-175, Bookcraft 1966)
"This time it will have to do with so important a matter as a war of extinction of two peoples, the Nephites and the Jaredites, on the self same battle site, with the same 'hill' marking the axis of military movements. By the Nephites this 'hill' was called the 'Hill Cumorah,' by the Jaredites the 'Hill Ramah'; it was that same 'hill,' in which the Nephite records were deposited by Mormon and Moroni, and from which Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon, therefore the 'Mormon Hill,' of today–since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon–near Palmyra, New York. (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.277)
| "In the face of this evidence coming from the prophet Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer, we cannot say that the Nephites and Lamanites did not possess the territory of the United States and that the Hill Cumorah is in Central America. Neither can we say that the great struggle which resulted in the destruction of the Nephites took place in Central America.
If Zelph, a righteous man, was fighting under a great prophet-general in the last battles between the Nephites and Lamanites; if that great prophet-general was known from the Rocky Mountains to "the Hill Cumorah or eastern sea," then some of those battles, and evidently the final battles did take place within the borders of what is now the United States.
There were no righteous prophets, save the Three Nephites, after the death of Moroni, and we learn that Zelph was slain during one of these battles during the great last struggle between the Nephites and Lamanites and was buried near the Illinois River.
In the Book of Mormon story the Lamanites were constantly crowding the Nephites back towards the north and east. If the battles in which Zelph took part were fought in the country traversed by the Zion's Camp, then we have every reason to believe from what is written in the Book of Mormon, that the Nephites were forced farther and farther to the north and east until they found themselves in the land of Ripliancum, which both Ether and Mormon declare to us was the land of Ramah or Cumorah, a land of "many waters," which "by interpretation, is large, or to exceed all."
This being true, what would be more natural then that Moroni, like his father Mormon, would deposit the plates in the land where the battles came to an end and the Nephites were destroyed? This Moroni says he did, and from all the evidence in the Book of Mormon, augmented by the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, these final battles took place in the territory known as the United States and in the neighborhood of the Great Lakes and hills of Western New York.
And here Moroni found the resting place for the sacred instruments which had been committed to his care.
From Doctrines of Salvation, Joseph Fielding Smith. Compiled by Bruce R. McConkie. 3 vols. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1954-56, p.238-240.
| Although unwittingly, of course. In his book "By The Hand of Mormon," Teryl Givens writes of the ancient altars found in Yemen carved with the letters "NHM":
These altars may thus be said to constitute the first actual archaeological evidence for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.
See the context at
Here's why Givens' statement actually hurts the BOM's case: At that part of the BOM storyline, the Lehites have left Jerusalem and are on their way to the promised land. There are only a few dozen people in the party at most. This carving is in the general area of where the Lehite party supposedly traveled through, and dates from the general time frame. So far, so good. Sounds reasonable.
OK, here's the problem: The BOM storyline goes on to say that the Lehites eventually make it to the promised land (the American continent, of course), and they grow into a mighty nation of hundreds of thousands of people, occupying the land for a thousand years (not to mention the preceding Jaredites, who allegedy arrived circa 2500 B.C. and grew to number in the millions.) The Lehites divide, and war against each other.
The BOM gives very specific details about its characters' culture, religion, politics, flora and fauna, etc. The BOM people speak/write Hebrew and some form of Egyptian. They worship the Old Testament God, follow the law of Moses, and even preach and worship Christ both before and after His ministry.
They train horses and use them to pull chariots as Old World people did. They develop metalworking skills and smelt "swords of finest steel" and other metal tools and weaponry.
They grow into a population as vast "as the sands of the sea" and build great cities which "cover the land with buildings from sea to sea." Early in the 5th century A.D., the wicked Lamanite faction battle and eliminate the entire opposing Nephite nation which numbers more than 300,000.
Now, here's the problem: if the "NHM" carving truly was "BOM evidence"---and if the BOM storyline as I've outlined here were true---then scholars should be able to find A MILLION TIMES MORE ITEMS OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE BOM CULTURE SOMEWHERE IN THE AMERICAS THAN THE SINGLE STONE CARVING IN YEMEN.
Numerous artifacts of that Christ-worshipping, horse-training, Hebrew-writing, steel sword-making culture should be scattered all over the region in which Mopologists claim the BOM took place (Central America.) But of course, there aren't any. None, zip, nada. Mopologists cite tantalizing "possible evidence" such as a few horse bones, meteoric iron ornaments, the Bat Creek stone, etc. They propose excuses for lack of evidence such as "Maybe the horses were deer" etc. But they cannot show a single, unambiguous, confirmed item of physical evidence to show that the BOM occurred anywhere in the Americas.
And that's why Teryl Given's admission is so damning to the BOM's case: If, in his view, the "NHM" carving is the *first* item of evidence for the BOM's historicity ever discovered---after 170+ years of looking for some---then it's safe to say that no artifacts will *ever* be found in the Americas, where the evidence should be thousands of times more likely to be found.
The obvious conclusion being that the BOM is not authentic.
| I came across this today. It's probably old for most of you.
Roper and Sorenson are saying that the Lehites were a branch of Israel grafted on a wild root in America, produced fruit that was half-good/half-bad (nephite/lamanites) and eventually the bad overcame the good (extinction of nephites). Their theory here is that the lehites were grafted onto an existing wild tree (not the Jaredites) which are the asians.
A quote from it:
Jacob 5:25 and 43 clearly speak of Lehi's people being represented by such a broken-off branch. That branch was to be planted in "the choicest spot" of the vineyard. In that prime location, the Lord had already cut down "that which cumbered this spot of ground," clearly a reference to the elimination of the Jaredites. In addition, the statement that one part of the new hybrid tree brought forth good fruit while the other portion "brought forth wild fruit" is an obvious reference to the Nephites and the Lamanites respectively (v. 45).
Okay, a few thoughts:
So the Lehite "tree" of the allegory was constituted of a geographically transplanted population from the original Israelite promised land "grafted" onto a wild root–joined with a non-Israelite people. (Note that the Lord considered the new root to be "good" despite its being "wild," v. 48). This allegorical description requires that a non-Israelite "root"– "other peoples" in terms of this paper–already be present on the scene where the "young and tender branch," Lehi's group, would be amalgamated with them.
Roper and Sorenson equate roots with people or nations. I always understood "roots" to mean the covenant (esp promise land) and gospel (teachings). That's their first major deviation from LDS teachings in order to accommodate contrary DNA evidence.
v. 25 says the lehites were planted (not grafted) in soil. Sorenson infers from v8-9 that they were grafted like the israelites scattered among the gentiles. Again, they take graft=put in a nation. That's a broad interpretation, and not supported by the language.
So it seems they're trying to eliminate parts of the BoM here in order to accomodate contrary DNA evidences.
v. 48 is traditionally interpreted as being the gentiles grafted on the the good roots (adopted into the covenant) after Israel was scattered. But they're claiming the opposite--that the wild roots became good and the israel branches became bad and overcame the gentiles that were good. What history supports this? And v. 52 certainly doesn't support that idea--that the roots he was talking about in 48 are the original ones (homelands).
To agree with RoperandSorenson is to say the flood never wiped out the Beringa and Asian DNA. Because without pre-flood Beringa, the so-called root where the lehites were grafted wouldn't exist.
So, they've effectively done away with a conservative view of the flood. Not once do they mention this in their report. It's either sloppiness/laziness or purposeful misleading on the part of RoperandSorenson.
Which would you pick?
Now additionally, they mention Sherem and claim he was not part of the Nephites (as a way to prop up evidence that the BoM does allow for other nations to be in America--contrary to a host of other verses):
By the time Sherem showed up in the first Nephite settlement, the maximum population that could have resulted from the most rapid conceivable natural descent from Nephi and his fellow settlers would not have exceeded a few dozen adults. Yet Sherem had never met Jacob, the chief Nephite priest (see Jacob 7:1-26), and he had come from some other settlement.
Where in Jacob 7 are they gathering that Sherem came from another settlement and didn't know Jacob? Sherem called him "Brother Jacob" and contended that he perverted the Law of Moses, and that Sherem believed in the scriptures.
If Sherem was a migrant across Beringa, why would he know the law of Moses, and call Jacob Brother?
All in all, Roper and Sorenson are finding flaws in Joe Smith's writing and using them to provide cover for the huge error DNA evidence is uncovering.
| Short summary:
LGT->elimates Flood->elimates young earth and Adam and Eve
LGT->limits Lamanites->diminishes Israel/covenant->muddies gathering and 2nd Coming doctrines
And these together diminish the doctrine of Christ.
That leaves COJCOLDS with only one survival option: jettison modern revelation and become just another among many Christian sects.
The FAIR limited geography theory (LGT) posits that the Lamanites lived in a limited area, with a limited poplulation that was overwhelmed and diluted by the mass of Amerindians who had migrated millenia before across the Bering Strait. It was given in response to overwhelming DNA evidence that Amerindians are the ancestors of ancient Asians.
Officially and unceremoniously, the COJCOLDS has accepted this, as evidenced by the quiet changing of the introduction to the BoM, which states that it is a record of the Lamanites that "are among the ancestors of the American Indians".
By accepting a large existing population of Amerindians, COJCOLDS is rejecting its own scripture that states the Jaredites came to an Flood-cleaned, unpopulated land, "where never had man been" (Ether 2:5) and a "land [that] should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations" (2 Ne. 1:8). The LGT has also limited or eliminated Noah and his world-wide flood, the counfounding of languages and a young age of the earth. This in turn calls into question Adam and Eve as the first humans.
Further the LGT seems to be a vanishing act ragarding latter day prophecies. By accepting the limited geography and population theories, the Lamanite is less relevant. And thus, the latter-day mission calls to the Lamanites and the promises of tribal Israelite renewal are likewise diluted. In fact, FAIR believes that "all people alive today share all of the sons of Jacob as genetic ancestors." (http://en.fairmormon.org/Amerindians_as_Lamanites)
Once you accept the limited Lamanite theory and dilution of all Israel in the world population, you've limited and even vanished the Abrahamic Covenant into non-relevance (as a club that accept all human kind is meaningless). That elimates the latter day, literal gathering, the lost ten tribes, and many other signs of the second coming of JC. If you reduce the 2nd Coming, that dramatically affects the concept of the 1st Coming.
If you can accept these limitations (no Adam and Eve, flood or need for Abraham) you've diminished severly the need for JC himself. "For as in Adam all die; in Christ all will be made alive."
Once COJCOLDS realizes this--that they're diminishing or even eliminating JC--they'll have three choices:
1) Abandon Christian doctrine and create a new mythology that combines elements of science and the few remaining Christian teachings that cannot be reduced by science.
...this is unlikely, after all, Christ is the first and foremost reason for their existence we're told.
2) Become a more fundamentalist, science rejecting Cult. They'd have to purport theories that God changes DNA, pre-adamites, plants fake evidences of dinosaurs and other elements to trick humans and test their faith in a battle against evil science.
...This is also unlikely as it would severely impact new converts.
3) Abandon modern prophecy and revelation. COJCOLDS is already marginalizing JS by limiting what the BoM says, what he said in DandC about the Lamanites, and abandoning his most prized doctrines of plural wives, Gods in embryo and other unique LDS doctrines. They are reluctant to speak openly and officially about any controversial doctrine that counters scientific evidence and haven't had a new revelation in as long as anyone alive can remember.
The last option is their most likely as it keeps them alive longer, even if they morph into just another Christian church with a quirky and uncomfortable history. The New and Improved COJCOLDS will certainly not be anything like what JS founded.
It spells the demise of COJCOLDS in much the same way the RLDS church is no longer.
| A mysterious tunnel has been discovered under Mexican ruins:
"The city was built by a relatively little-known culture that reached its height between 100 B.C. and A.D. 750."
It is irritating to me when apologists use the claim that Joseph wrote something he could not have known about at the time. So just to have some fun:
One LDS claim is that Moroni traveled from a Cumorah in Meso-America to New York. It was during this journey that Moroni allegedly dedicated the Manti temple site:
More about Moroni's travels can be read at:
Two maps of Moroni's travels are in the above link. These maps are claimed to have been from Joseph Smith. Check them out. There is no mention of a tunnel under a city, but on the second map there is a note of where the Kinderhook plates were found!
If Teotihuacan had been on the maps, with mention of a tunnel it would have been incredible. Instead the Kinderhook fraud is found on Moroni's travel map.
"A number of ancient maps, for example, show a location – in this same spot in Arabia – that went by the name of Nehem (other maps spell the location as Nihm, Nehem, and even Naham, but they all refer to the same geographical location in southern Arabia). While a few of these maps may have been available to scholars in Joseph's day, it is highly unlikely that they were available to Joseph Smith."
Also from apologists:
The above link mentions Niebuhr's and d'Anville's books. It also says that neither were at Dartmouth when Joseph was a boy, nor were they available in Manchester, New York in the lending library.
Now for the rest of the story. Allegheny College in Meadville Pennsylvania is about 50 miles from Harmony. Its library began through donations from private individuals. In 1824, Thomas Jefferson wrote that he hoped his University of Virginia could someday possess the richness of Allegheny's library.
In the Allegheny's collection were both books that apologists claim were not available to Joseph Smith. Here is an 1823 catalog:
D'Anville's book on ancient geography is on page 18 - Niebuhr is on page 44.
Both books were fifty miles away from where the translation was being done.
| I need all Cassius University staff to pay attention. Effective immediately, all funding of projects examining FARMS's LGT have been frozen. It turns out that the theory for all practical purposes been abandoned by the MI and I have made an executive decision: The LGT is dead. Do not panic, we have plenty of other projects going on so if you don't have something to work on that you can bill your time to, please stop by my office. |
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publica ... m=1andamp;id=817
From the pages of the ("Mormon Studies") Review, John Clark writes,
This essay abridges my critical evaluation published twenty-two years ago of two Book of Mormon geographies by F. Richard Hauck and John L. Sorenson. I recognized at the time that proposals for real-world (external) settings for Book of Mormon lands and cities come and go with the regularity of LDS general conferences or market forcesWhoah! Holy Cow! I had to read this several times before I caught on to what he's saying here. This statement needs some unpacking. Over twenty years ago, Clark reviewed fellow BYU professor and MI associate John Sorenson rather favorably and criticized U of U professor and FARMS outsider, Richard Hauck, rather harshly. But, here we are twenty-two years later
, and he's forced to admit that Book of Mormon geographies come and go, two prime examples being Sorenson's and Hauck's
! Further, it's twenty-two years later, little is happening, and so what now
? All Clark can do is provide a list of facts that any proposed future geography must conform to, since there is presently no paradigm
Take a look at this:
I was exposed to M. Wells Jakeman's Book of Mormon geography in three classes while an undergraduate at Brigham Young University in the 1970s,Indeed. And in how many classes would one be exposed to any Book of Mormon geography today? I'll tell you: Zero. BYU has become a respectable academic institution in many ways, though they require institute classes, they make no pretenses of scholarship. BYU wouldn't dare teach a course on Book of Mormon geography.
The MI has a vast lay following, but they have not created an institution to teach Mopologetic courses at BYU, their prime recruiting ground for professional apologists. Their new editor, Greg Smith, may be a "prodigy", a fine medical doctor, and a reasonable debater, but he's not an antiquarian. And what put the MI into the solid position -- solid in one sense -- that they have been, isn't necessarily the specific output, but that the output has been produced by Phds in related fields.
And I think we've seen this coming. The Phds in fields intersecting with Book of Mormon "scholarship" are all aging. They come from a time when the Lord's university believed in both the gospel and the achievements of men. Today, there just aren't any young graduate students or professors studying Book of Mormon Geography, because no one will teach them anything about it formally. So there you have it, the torch can only be carried forward by laymen, and that's a battle already lost.
It's appropriate that this same edition that marks the name change to jettison the "ancient research" and emphasize the "Mormon studies" of the MI's Review also rather brashly admit that the LGT theory as particularly shaped by Soresnson marking a limited geography in mesoamerica, is a relic of intellectual history. As such, CU will now consider the matter of Book of Mormon geography closed from the Apologists.
Well, from the last I checked, Rodney Meldrum is doing just fine. Perhaps the Church has settled the matter. The apologists are in a tough position when it comes to geography.
| The very recent news about the updating of the scriptural canon and associated materials gives us the opportunity to see the official position of the Church with regards to where the events of the Book of Mormon took place. Now I'm not saying the Church states exactly where it all happened, but it does confirm the location of a key location from which an assessment based on the geographical metrics within the book itself can be made about where it happened.
In this new upgrade the Church confirms, once and for all, the location of the Hill Cumorah...
On this map:
In this actual photograph:
In this guide to the scriptures:
Looking northward, this photograph shows the Hill Cumorah in Manchester, New York. The hill appears in the lower right-hand corner of the photograph and runs slightly over halfway to its top. The white monument visible on the north end of the hill honors the angel Moroni and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. The Hill Cumorah is located about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) southeast of the Sacred Grove. Near the top of the photograph is Palmyra Village, 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) distant. The Smith farm and the Sacred Grove are situated at the upper left side of the photograph.
I guess Sorenson can stop digging....
Significant Events: The family of the Prophet Joseph Smith lived in this area at the time of the First Vision (Joseph Smith-H 1:3). In A.D. 421, Moroni buried a set of gold plates in the Hill Cumorah containing the sacred history of his people (W of M 1:1-11; Morm. 6:6; Moro. 10:1-2). This same Moroni told Joseph Smith where to find the plates on the hill. Moroni delivered them to him in 1827 (DandC 27:5; 128:20; Joseph Smith-H 1:33-35, 51-54, 59).
And I guess this statement...
The Church emphasizes the doctrinal and historical value of the Book of Mormon, not its geography. While some Latter-day Saints have looked for possible locations and explanations [for Book of Mormon geography] because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah, there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site.
-Fax from the Office of the First Presidency to FARMS, April 12, 1993.
...is very disingenuous, when the Church officially makes a specific connection between the Hill Cumorah in the Book of Mormon and a very specific site, as shown above.
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