Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Best Evidence For The Book of Mormon

Previously: The 181st Semiannual Bowl of Pap


What struck me when I first arrived in Cahokia was the incredible stink.

I had been called to serve in the Missouri-Independence Mission, but my first area, Plattsmouth, Nebraska, was far from any of the historic church locations I had expected to to see when I got my call. Now, near the end of 1973, I had been transferred to my second location.  I would spend my first winter as a missionary in smelly Cahokia, Illinois; as far from Far West or Independence or Adam-Ondi-Ahman as a guy could possibly get.

The small town of Cahokia was located next to East St. Louis on the Illinois side of the Mississippi river, famous for its slaughterhouses.  The smell of bovine death and gore hovered in the air long after slaughtering had ceased for the day, floating up and mixing with the rancid smoke spewed from the smokestacks of the nearby Monsanto chemical plant, then slowly settling down over the hapless town of Cahokia to choke its residents while they slept.  "It's something you just get used to," my new companion told me.

Had I known then what I know now, I would have been delighted to find myself in Cahokia instead of dreading it.  As it turns out, I had landed smack dab in the middle of Book of Mormon Central and never even knew it.

My companion told me that Cahokia's claim to fame was some mysterious Indian mounds, humongous earthworks built up by long departed Illinois Indians for reasons no one remembers.  We never did get around to seeing those mounds because (1) with the first November snow flurries arriving, it didn't seem an opportune time for sightseeing, and (2) I wasn't really interested. Who cared about some piles of dirt left behind by a tribe of long-dead Indians?

American Indian ruins didn't interest me, but if you really wanted to light me up in those days, just get me talking about Book of Mormon geography, which, as everyone knows, took place in south and central America.  From my seminary days on, I had gobbled up everything I could learn about ancient Meso-America, and had even entertained the idea of studying to become an archaeologist so I could uncover additional evidence that the people of Central and South America were descendants of the Nephites and Lamanites.  My great dream was to one day visit the temple ruins at Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan.

Had I paid closer attention to the words of Joseph Smith when he spoke of the ancient inhabitants of this continent, I would have noticed that he said this continent, not the one below it. If I wanted to see real evidence of Book of Mormon archaeology, I would have been looking in the wrong place chasing after the Mayans and the Aztecs.  As it turns out, some of the best evidence on earth for what I was interested in was right there on the outskirts of Cahokia.  And I just blew it off.

I was not alone in not having figured that out.  The problem with trying to place cities described in the Book of Mormon anywhere in North America is that there had always seemed to be no evidence whatsoever that advanced civilizations ever existed here. Until fairly recently, that is. As I learned watching the documentary Lost Civilizations of North America, even most historians were unaware of the -pardon my pun- mounds of evidence right under their noses.

Such was the case with Dr. Roger Kennedy.  He was a professor of American history who was shocked to learn, in 1991, that massive ancient city remains were known to exist all over North America.  This guy was the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and he was just finding out.  I think you and I can be excused for not having heard.

Interviewed for Lost Civilizations, Dr. Kennedy says, "Very, very few of us were conscious of the immensity of Monk's Mound at Cahokia which is bigger in its footprint than the great pyramid at Giza. We didn't know that."

Evidence of huge cities with advanced architecture was once abundant from New York and the Great Lakes area, down through Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, and points in between.

"It's what I call 'hidden cities,' " says professor Kennedy, "I use the term because these were very big places. There were more people, we now know, in Cahokia across from St. Louis, than there were in London or Rome.  There were major population centers in what now are Nashville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. There were tens of thousands of architectural consequences that are now hidden behind our junk and our architectural achievements."

Lost Civilizations of North America (you can watch the trailer here) is not a film about Book of Mormon evidence. The makers of the documentary are more interested in discovering why it is that modern Native Americans have had their heritage kept from them, and how all this became lost to history.  How is it that these "world class achievements" in the words of  Professor Alice Kehoe, which were quite commonly known of two hundred years ago, became so thoroughly forgotten?

To colonial Americans, these structures were commonplace.  They were literally everywhere.  But they didn't stay in place forever. A farmer faced with a ten foot rock wall in the middle of his claim is either going to have to plow around it or take it down.  Most took them down. Farmers were uncovering enough arrowheads as they plowed the land to fill bushel baskets, but where archaeologists would see evidence of a massive battle, the farmer saw only a never-ending nuisance.

In some instances, as happened repeatedly in what is now St. Louis, small treasures or artifacts were found buried near or within these mounds, which resulted in entire communities coming together to level the mounds in hopes of finding more.  In other cases, deliberate and wanton destruction of  structures took place for no reason other than the conviction that nothing good could have come from the Indians.  From an estimated 20-30,000 mounds and structures known to be in existence in George Washington's day, we have the remains of only about 1100 left.  The largest known plot of mounds and roads survives today only because the area was preserved within a golf course at Newark, Ohio.

Why Haven't We Known?

On my one and only visit to the Smithsonian Museum, I was surprised to learn that there is a ton of stuff at the Smithsonian that no one has yet gotten around to examining and cataloging.  The basement of the Smithsonian actually does resemble, to some degree, that fictional government warehouse seen at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. There exist unopened crates that no one knows the contents of. This was the case with most of the evidence of those large North American cities. Volumes of maps, descriptions, sketches, artifacts, and even hundreds of scrolls containing pre-columbian writing were simply lying around unexamined. And not just at the Smithsonian.

According to Wayne May, publisher of Ancient American Magazine, "Every museum, small or big, has a great quantity of stuff that is boxed up that hasn't seen the light of day for literally hundreds of years."

Modern archaeologists examining the sites of these ancient cities attribute them to a civilization known as the Hopewell Indians which covered a large swath of the interior of North america.  It's important to note that the Hopewells were not one particular tribe. The name "Hopewell" derives from a farm which was the site of an early archaeological dig.  What is known as the Hopewell Tradition embraces an entire, broad Native American culture, which takes in what are presumed to be the ancestors of a large number of modern tribes.  These people appear to overlap with those of the Algonquins, another broad category containing the Arapaho, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Delawares, Mohican, M'ik Mak, Shawnee, Ojibwa, and a score of other lesser-known tribes.


The Only Good Indian...


Some of the earliest Christian immigrants to America took seriously the biblical mandate to treat others as they themselves would want to be treated.  To them, the doctrine of Christ meant reaching out to others in love, and that included especially the "savage brutes" they found on these shores. Indians and white men living together in a spirit of respectful cooperation is the tradition we inherit from our pilgrim forbears. America, to the true Christian, was destined to become the shining city on a hill, beckoning other nations to profit by its example of living by the golden rule.

But all sweet fruit eventually turns to rot, and by the 19th century, the once pure doctrine of American Exceptionalism came to mean "everybody else better get the hell out of our way."  A new doctrine corrupted that of the shining example: Manifest Destiny, which claimed that it was God's will that the white Christian dominate the continent. Certain people were superior, and certain others were inferior.  That's just the way God manifested His will.  The destiny of the Americans was to conquer and prevail, and the destiny of others was to humbly submit.

The native inhabitants of the land were no longer seen as God's children deserving our succor, but mere savages who stood in the way of the national land grab.  It was now perfectly okay to push them out of the way, or even exterminate them if they resisted.  This push toward genocide was enthusiastically endorsed by the United States government. "What about the good Injuns?" someone is said to have inquired of General Sheridan, "Do we kill them too?"

"The only good Injun I ever saw," answered the General, "was dead."

Mormon teachings, of course, were diametrically opposed to this way of thinking.  In the words of Bruce Porter, "Joseph Smith claimed that the Native Americans were, in fact, just like the rest of us: Just as good, just as valuable, and just as important as all of the rest of us."

The spirit of Manifest Destiny pushing the unwanted Indians off her precious land.
But by the time this rebranding of American Exceptionalism was taking hold, Joseph Smith was long dead, and few Americans would have been swayed by his arguments.  To those adopting this revamping of American purpose, it was essential to view the red man as subhuman, with none of the rights God's grace bestowed on whites. Shane Mountjoy, author of Manifest Destiny, explains the reason for the shift. "19th century Americans would have found it more than inconvenient," he says, "Politically it would have been impossible for them to have taken lands away from any indigenous peoples if they viewed them as having rights even close to what they had as American citizens."

But Wayne May introduces a bit of a dilemma. "As archaeology developed as a new science, and anthropology as a new science, they would find these things, these evidences to show that there was a written language, that these people possibly did smelt iron, they did smelt copper and they mined it; they carried it in trade over great distances.  These were signs of a higher civilization.  And that higher civilization idea coming from our scientific community of the day came into direct conflict with the manifest destiny ideas put forth by the U.S. government."

Lost Civilizations of North America provides a fascinating description of how the solution to this dilemma was achieved.  The most powerful American scientist of the day was effectively bought off by the federal government in order that Manifest Destiny might roll forth unimpeded. Here then is John Wesley Powell in his book On The Limits of the Use of Some Anthropologic Data, published by the Smithsonian Institution (government funded, in case you didn't know):
"Hence it will be seen that "it is illegitimate to use any pictographic matter of a date anterior to the continent by Columbus for historic purposes." (Emphasis mine.)
In other words, nothing historical that predates the white man counts.  Such things are henceforth not to be discussed in polite scientific circles.  For all intents and purposes, all discoveries linking the Indians to a civilized past ceased to exist. The red man is a savage, and always has been; that was official United States policy, backed up by a declaration from the Smithsonian's own Grand Poobah.

But what about those hundreds of scrolls that proved Indians once had a written language?
Sorry, off limits.

Artifacts, statues, and stone tablets?
Facts not in evidence.

Lost Civilizations tells us how the effects of that ruling are still felt today:
"Native Americans even today suffer from this policy, which effectively meant that Native Americans have no history...You only have a history if it's something written down. If you have an oral tradition, that doesn't count as history."
What seems to have bothered Powell most about those pictographs is that some of them contained symbols which strongly resembled characters in ancient Hebrew and Egyptian hieroglyphs. Similarities between the East coast M'ik Maq hierglyphs and those of ancient Egyptian are particularly striking, because not only are the symbols similar, but the translations are eerily close as well. If these scrolls were to be closely scrutinized and scientists were to announce those discoveries, it might suggest that, as some Americans had been proposing, American Indians were actually descended from old world stock and the case could be made that the red man had the same rights and privileges as the European settlers.

A good many Americans claimed either English or Scots-Irish ancestry, and it was widely understood in those days that Albion's seed were descended from the house of Israel through Ephraim.  If it were to become widely accepted that the Indians were also sons of Abraham, the jig would be up. There would be no more lording it over the Indian, no matter how savage his present ways.

So all those pictographs were crated up and carted down to the sub-sub-basement of the Smithsonian and also left abandoned in the nooks and crannies of other museum basements across America. It doesn't take long for things like this to vanish from history.  All it takes is for the ones who boxed the stuff up to die off, then there's no one left to remember.

You don't have to be a Mormon to notice anthropological similarities between the cultures of the Hopewell Indians and the middle east. There are a whole bunch of scholars and amateur archaeologists who have no interest in the Book of Mormon, yet surmise from the available evidence that ancient Native Americans such as the Hopewell civilization might have traded, intermingled, or even originated from other cultures. These scholars are known as Diffusionists, and their theories are as varied as those of other disciplines. Some are convinced that these connections were the result of trade between ancient Americans and the seagoing Phoenicians, while others propose other theories.  What they have in common is the belief that contact between the Americas and other geographies may have taken place before Columbus.

That Sticky DNA Problem


Probably one of the better reasons to look at a North American setting for the Book of Mormon rather than the Central American theory is the recent discovery that little or no middle eastern DNA has been found among the native people in South America.  If anything, DNA tests appear to show that the South American Indigenous tribes have more in common with the Japanese than they do with the Jews.  On the other hand, tests of DNA obtained from cemeteries known to contain bodies from the Ojibwa tribe have demonstrated a link between the Hopewell and a people known to have lived at Galilee.  Since I'm no good at either understanding or explaining DNA research, here's a clip of from the film Lost Civilizations featuring DNA expert Debbie Bolnick summarizing her own findings:



It should be noted that Professor Bolnick, being the pure scientist that she is, has not been happy with the way some religionists have promoted her comments to support their own religious theories (such as I'm doing here). Since appearing in this documentary she has signed a letter distancing herself from some of the conclusions arrived at by the filmmaker.  That's fine.  I think her words speak for themselves. Besides, I don't see that the makers of Lost Civilizations of North America have put forth any particular religious view whatsoever.

Best Evidence

If you're looking for a compelling step-by-step presentation of the evidence for Hebrew-based civilizations on the North American continent geared specifically to latter-day Saints, you'll want to check out the website of the FIRM Foundation.  I've just finished watching their five disc Book of Mormon Evidence Series and I'm happy to announce that my love affair with the temples at Teotihuacan is officially over. What were we thinking, anyway, always featuring that architecture in our media as though a site widely believed to have been used for human sacrifices was somehow indicative of Nephite culture?

Kieth Merrill, director of the church film The Testaments, kind of wishes he could make that movie over again, this time using a proper North America setting.  Artist David Lindsley, whose painting "Behold Your Little Children" is well known to most latter-day Saints, actually created a re-do of his famous work, replacing that stupid stone temple in the background with a more accurate Cahokia-style structure:


Rod Meldrum, who narrates the video presentation, has done what I consider to be an incredible job of distilling the latest archaeological and anthropological evidence of the North American setting and explaining how some of these sites could match up with descriptions of events in the Book of Mormon.  Here's a short sample:


Meldrum and other researchers have been quite thorough in exploring every imaginable facet of the possibility of a North American setting for the Book of Mormon, and I am convinced they're onto something here.  Many of us who have long bought into the Meso-American view have done so because that appeared to be the only game in town.  Still, believing that Book of Mormon events took place in Central and South America required a lot of mental acrobatics, not the least of which was the presumption that there must have been two Hill Cumorahs.  Since that final Book of Mormon battle "obviously" took place in South America and the plates were discovered in New York, the theory went, the main hill Cumorah was somewhere in Meso-America near where the final battle took place, afterwhich Moroni schlepped the gold plates all the way up the hemisphere to upstate New York and buried them in a hill he named after that other hill back home.

Like I say, making all that fit required some suspension of belief.  Like assuming the Isthmus of Panama was the location for the narrow neck of land.  That area might look narrow to us on a map, but to the people living there it feels anything but narrow.  I lived for three years on the island of Oahu, and although I knew it was an Island, it never seemed like one to those of us who lived there. The Book of Mormon describes the narrow neck of land as capable of being  crossed by foot in a day and a half.  That fits the location Meldrum shows us near the Great Lakes much better than the Central American version, and makes a lot more sense.

E.G. Squire was one of those 19th century Americans who spent his life painstakingly describing and recording those many archaeological anomalies.  In one of his books published in 1851, Antiquities of the State of New York , Squire described how locals uncovered huge mass graves containing thousands of skeletons of men, women, and children seemingly tossed indiscriminately into those pits.  The bones crumbled at the slightest touch. These huge bone pits were located in Western New York, right where you would expect them to be in relation to the hill Cumorah.

As for the whereabouts of all those weapons? Don't make me have to explain the obvious.  As recently as my own childhood it was still a popular pastime for boys to go out into the woods to hunt for arrowheads. The pickings were getting thinner by then, but it used to be that no matter what part of the country you lived in, arrowheads and spear points were plentiful virtually everywhere, usually just inches under the dirt, and often just lying on the ground.  It was like collecting rocks.

Meldrum's North American setting provides explanations for things described in the Book of Mormon that haven't been satisfactorily reconciled by an acceptance of the Meso-American view, such as snow, hail, tornadoes, and the availability of timber. Not to mention the wide availability of cattle, horses, and yes, even elephants.  This set of screen prints gives a pretty good idea of some of the the topics covered:


By the way, you would think that after providing answers to the most persistently perplexing questions on Book of Mormon geography, those scholars who have spent their careers performing mental acrobatics trying to force that awkward Central American theory to fit into what we read in the Book of Mormon itself would be standing in line to thank Meldrum and his fellow researchers for their thorough and exhausting labors in bringing this research to light. You would think that, wouldn't you?

You are so naive.

People who have spent their entire careers trying to bring others to their way of thinking are not easily persuaded to let go of their fixed beliefs.  Many of the very people you would expect to see a lightbulb of recognition go off in their heads when they see Meldrum's presentation are the very ones who have reacted dismissively.

Apologetics Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry


Many people are confused by the term "apologetics" when used in a religious sense.  They think it implies the apologist is somehow expressing remorse.  But the word, derived from the greek "apologia" simply means defending one's position, to explain and clarify and to correct misconceptions outsiders might have about you.  A Christian apologist in the first century A.D., for instance, might want to clarify rumors that Christians were cannibals whose sacrament involved eating the flesh of other people as a tribute to their god.

"That's not quite accurate," the apologist might patiently explain, "We don't eat human flesh. We ingest bread and wine just like you do; the difference being that during our sacrament we consider those things to be symbolic of God, in that as the bread and wine are taken into the body to become part of us, so too do Christians absorb the spirit of God so that they may always have His spirit to be with them."

In the past, anti-Mormons such as Ed Decker have claimed that Mormonism is a satanic religion and one of the proofs is that LDS chapels have spires on the roofs rather than crosses so that when Jesus returns we hope to  impale him on those spires.  In response to such an accusation, a Mormon apologist would patiently explain, "No we don't, and you're an idiot."

I love Mormon apologetics.  Before the internet, my absolute hands-down favorite Christmas present to myself was the annual F.A.R.M.S Review of Books. (F.A.R.M.S. stood for the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies; a few years ago when I wasn't looking, F.A.R.M.S morphed into the less acronymic Neal A. Maxwell Institute For Religious Studies.) My all-time favorite F.A.R.M.S. reviewer was Daniel C. Peterson, the director of that institute.

Peterson, a professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies and expert in near eastern languages, had an envious ability to turn a phrase just right and wield an argument that put his opponent in his place.  I always read his stuff first. Peterson is a top-notch scholar with a delightfully dry sense of humor.

With the advent of the internet appeared another group of Mormon apologists under the name FAIR, which I confess to not being very familiar with. In recent years I've spent less of my time with Mormon apologetics because I've noticed a subtle backing away from academic honesty in some apologetic writings.  Rather than explaining and clarifying Mormonism, some modern apologists can be found engaging in the same circular reasoning and academic dishonesty they had been accusing Mormon critics of.  It's become more and more apparent to me, that rather than explaining and defending the faith, a good deal of Mormon Apologetics exists today for the purpose of defending the image of the corporate Church, and often through the use of weaselly methods.

When Rod Meldrum appeared on the scene with his compelling arguments against a Meso-American setting for the Book of Mormon, he was challenging the status quo.  Many of the same people who make up the Mormon apologetics community have been the ones most vigorously defending the Meso-American setting.  As Meldrum has pointed out, millions of dollars have been wasted on archaeological digs in South America, and some of those millions wasted were through projects financed by the Maxwell Institute, BYU, and the LDS Church itself.  Writers for the Maxwell Institute have published numerous books and conducted church members on expensive tours of "Book of Mormon Lands" in South America.  Rod Meldrum was stepping on some very big toes.

It is telling that the longest response to Rod Meldrum's thesis that I can find online does not address or refute any of the numerous evidences evident in Meldrum's video presentations, but instead focuses on an early 169 page booklet Meldrum issued on the subject of DNA research.  Even that attack is largely lacking substance, chipping away petulantly at the edges of the argument rather than refuting the basic premise. The author, Gregory smith, seems alarmed at the influence Meldrum is having among the rank and file of the church, and he expends quite a bit of space reprinting many of the glowing testimonials from members who have attended Meldrum's seminars, lamenting their enthusiasm for the understanding they've gained.  Smith is particularly mocking and dismissive of statements Meldrum has made to the effect that he has felt inspired to engage in this research.

Well, why shouldn't Meldrum feel inspired?  Smith reports on Meldrum's "inspiration" as though it is something members should be wary of; as though Meldrum had claimed to have seen a vision in a grove of trees and was in danger of leading the flock away to Voree.  Heck, I was inspired to start this blog a couple of years ago, but that doesn't mean I conversed with the Father and the Son beforehand or that I intend to go off and start my own church.  In case Smith has forgotten, we lowly, unprivileged members of the church are commanded to seek inspiration in all that we do, just like the big boys.

Smith tips his hand in this short paragraph about how enthusiastically attended Meldrum's seminars have become:
Coauthor and business competitor Bruce H. Porter told the Salt Lake Tribune that "the word is out now. There is a movement going through the church." I am wary of such "movements" that are not under the direction of the prophets and apostles. (Emphasis mine)
So there we have it.  Truth, even when based on solid archaeological evidence, is suspect if not disseminated through the proper priesthood channels. "Inspiration" is apparently now the province only of the top Church Administrators.  Lowly, unaccredited mere members are not entitled to share their discoveries or their opinions.

We should all be in favor of being exposed to new information whether it comes to us from a Mormon or a Buddhist, from a Republican or a Democrat, from a pauper or a king.

At the beginning of each of Rod Meldrum's Evidences DVDs, he is careful to include a disclaimer that the information contained therein does not represent the views of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The Church(TM),  does not take a position on where events described in the Book of Mormon may or may not have taken place.  The Brethren, we are constantly reminded, simply do not know.

Here's my question: Why not? Why don't they know? Aren't these guys supposed to have a direct line to God himself? Why doesn't somebody just ask Him?

I can understand a reluctance to pinpoint the precise location of certain cities and battle sites.  But are we to believe that the modern prophet of God can't even claim knowledge of the proper end of the hemisphere?  Why is everyone so comfortable with the answer that "we just don't know"?

I'll tell you who did know. Joseph Smith knew.  On numerous occasions he pointed out specific locations where he was very definite about his claims where Book of Mormon events took place.  And that's not counting all the clear scriptural references.  All of these locations were clearly declared to be in the interior of what is now the united states.  Never did Joseph so much as hint that any of the people or events described in the Book of Mormon ever occurred south of the border.

I think what irks guys like Gregory Smith more than anything is when Meldrum engages in some informed speculation.  Meldrum is careful to point out that he doesn't know for certain, but based on some very compelling scriptural and geographic detective work that is too complicated to go into here, he makes a very good case that the city of Zarahemla may very well have been located across the river from what later became Nauvoo.  If that's even remotely true, it gives me one more reason to kick myself.

Missionaries are not allowed to leave their mission boundaries, certainly never to go into another mission, and at one point during my mission a companion and I found ourselves standing on the Iowa side of the Mississippi river, looking wistfully over at Nauvoo which we could clearly see.  We desperately wanted to visit Nauvoo, but Nauvoo was the headquarters of its own mission, crawling with missionaries of its own -not to mention somewhere over there was the Nauvoo mission president.  If we had dared to sneak over, we knew that even dressed in our grubbies we would have been spotted as fellow missionaries gone AWOL, been sent home in ignominy, and probably excommunicated.  It was fear of such consequences that kept us in check.

But here's the thing.  If Rod Meldrum is even close in his estimate -and I believe he is- not only did I miss my chance to stand on historic ground in Cahokia, but it's entirely possible that while I was wishing I could be across the river with my feet planted firmly in the city of old Nauvoo, I was very likely standing on the actual site of the city of Zara-Fetching-Hemla itself, and not appreciating the irony one whit.

273 comments:

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Elder Scott Senior said...

Hey Brother Waterman I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I have always ascribed to the theory you presented here but I had a question about it as I was reading in the Book of Mormon this morning.

Alma 51:33 says, "sleep had overpowered them because of their much fatigue, which was caused by the labors and heat of the day."

And then 52:1 says that the next morning was the first day of the first month. Do we know what calendar system they were on in the Book of Mormon times or was it the same as the Jewish calendar? If it was the latter it would make the first month around March or April, neither of which are in seasons that are generally hot enough to fatigue anyone. Do we know anything regarding this?

I apologize if anyone has already asked these questions, I'm just too pressed on time to read what everyone else had to say.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Elder Scott,
According to Rod Meldrum's research, the account of the seasons puts the Nephites under the Jewish calendar. That makes sense, as when Lehi's family moved to America they would continue keeping time the same as they were accustomed to. No reason to adopt the Julian calendar, seeing as that calendar had not been invented yet.

The Arkwelder said...

Why not take a trip down memory lane, Rock? You can watch the whole thing. I love the song!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vf01W0J-SY

The Arkwelder said...

Aw, dangit. Never mind.

"His love for the buffalo gave him his naaaaaaame."

Watch the trailer if you love the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix4HOCUWUqg

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Arkwelder,
I don't know why I'm tempted to watch that thing again since it was so gosh-awful the first time. But I am tempted.

I caught it at the Drive-In theater at the road to Springville where it was the only place it got released. In those days I saw any independent film made in Utah, and there were some doozies. "Buffalo Rider" not one of those movies that's so bad it's good. It's just bad.

Unknown no longer said...

"This is the same type of stuff I'm talking about. I've seen BYU people making statements like that..."What Joseph meant to say was..."

This is a possibility. It is also a possibility that they rode Tapirs. Archaeologists have found relics of Maya riding deer as a form of transportation. Quiche has a word "keh" which means both deer and horse. There is even post-conquest evidence of them calling horses the Spaniards were riding "deer." So, it is a possibility. Is this something that the BYU scholars believe the Nephites rode? *No*. I have asked the men who have published on these topics and they themselves have personally told me that it is a *possibility* but the Nephites most likely rode horses. They are at least open to other ideas, but believe in a literal translation of the word "horse."
So, I believe that Whitehusky heard them wrong and is now stating it as fact, when it is not. These are bright men and should be given the benefit of the doubt.

With that said, BYU professors are ALSO finding actual horse bones which pre-date Columbus introduction of the horse to America, and some that even date to within BOM time periods in Mesoamerica. So, give these guys a break. Part of being a scholar is not being closed minded and be open to other possibilities.

Unknown no longer said...

"This is the same type of stuff I'm talking about. I've seen BYU people making statements like that..."What Joseph meant to say was..."

This is a possibility. It is also a possibility that they rode Tapirs. Archaeologists have found relics of Maya riding deer as a form of transportation. Quiche has a word "keh" which means both deer and horse. There is even post-conquest evidence of them calling horses the Spaniards were riding "deer." So, it is a possibility. Is this something that the BYU scholars believe the Nephites rode? *No*. I have asked the men who have published on these topics and they themselves have personally told me that it is a *possibility* but the Nephites most likely rode horses. They are at least open to other ideas, but believe in a literal translation of the word "horse."
So, I believe that Whitehusky heard them wrong and is now stating it as fact, when it is not. These are bright men and should be given the benefit of the doubt.

With that said, BYU professors are ALSO finding actual horse bones which pre-date Columbus introduction of the horse to America, and some that even date to within BOM time periods in Mesoamerica. So, give these guys a break. Part of being a scholar is not being closed minded and be open to other possibilities.

Unknown no longer said...

"This is the same type of stuff I'm talking about. I've seen BYU people making statements like that..."What Joseph meant to say was..."

This is a possibility. It is also a possibility that they rode Tapirs. Archaeologists have found relics of Maya riding deer as a form of transportation. Quiche has a word "keh" which means both deer and horse. There is even post-conquest evidence of them calling horses the Spaniards were riding "deer." So, it is a possibility. Is this something that the BYU scholars believe the Nephites rode? *No*. I have asked the men who have published on these topics and they themselves have personally told me that it is a *possibility* but the Nephites most likely rode horses. They are at least open to other ideas, but believe in a literal translation of the word "horse."
So, I believe that Whitehusky heard them wrong and is now stating it as fact, when it is not. These are bright men and should be given the benefit of the doubt.

With that said, BYU professors are ALSO finding actual horse bones which pre-date Columbus introduction of the horse to America, and some that even date to within BOM time periods in Mesoamerica. So, give these guys a break. Part of being a scholar is not being closed minded and be open to other possibilities.

Unknown no longer said...

Blast, sorry about the triple post...

Regarding weather, there is only mention of heat, not cold or snow. The Lehites came from the Middle East, travelled years through the vast Saudi Arabian deserts, and then we only hear about the heat of the new land. If it were a new, colder climate, it would most certainly be mentioned. The pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 often referenced the cold and the snow. If the major events of The Book of Mormon all happened around the New York Hill Cumorah, one would expect to hear about snow.

From another blog post I wrote:


There are several events in The Book of Mormon that just could not have happened in the North East. In Alma 14, Alma and Amulek were stripped naked and suffered “many days”. John Lund states that Amulek set the date as the ‘fourth day of the seventh month’. The 7th month and the 4th day on a lunar calendar of twenty-nine or thirty days per month would be around September 27th. The day they were delivered from prison was ‘on the twelfth day of the tenth month’. This would have been approximately ninety-six days later. This date corresponds to around the first week of January. The minimum amount of time they would have spent in that condition would have been five days. The average temperature in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the area where some place Zarahemla which is by the Genesee and Niagra rivers, two rivers some interpret to be the river Sidon, has an average temperature of 31 degrees F during the day, with a nighttime average of 19 degrees F. This is hardly an area that would sustain life for someone cast into a cold prison without any clothing or blankets for “many days”. However, the average temperature in the Mesoamerican lowlands is in the mid-sixties. This temperature would make it much more plausible for someone to survive in extreme conditions.

Unknown no longer said...

Also, the clothing mentioned in The Book of Mormon is not consistent with the climate of North America. To the contrary, we read about them wearing “loincloths”, “leathern girdles”, etc… Dr. Lund makes the observation that this kind of clothing would not be conducive to the cold climate of the Great Lakes region. The Lamanites would not have survived, or even thought about wearing a loincloth in battle, in an area that is known for it’s freezing winters, and copious amounts of snow. Enos describes the Lamanites as “wandering about the wilderness with a short girdle about their loins.” Zeniff portrayed the Lamanites as having “their heads shaved and they were naked; and they were girded with a leathern girdle about their loins.” Alma said the Amlicites “had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites. Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins.” . Zarahemnahs army is described as being “naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins, yea all were naked save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites.” Because of this “nakedness”, the Lamanites were exposed and had a higher death rate than the Nephites. Moroni said this of speaking about the Nephites: “Behold, their naked skins and their bare heads were exposed to the sharp swords of the Nephites.” Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, and his army wore “…lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn…”
These wars were not seasonal, but sometimes lasted for years as one continuous war. The Lamanites came to war in the sixth month, in the commencement of the year, and at the end of the year . In the “second month”, the fathers of the stripling warriors brought them provisions before a commencement of a battle in the “seventh month” .
The only mention of heavier clothing is as a form of armor in battle. Alma calls this “thick clothing”, and “very thick garments”. However, this is not common clothing worn by the Nephites and Lamanites, and is only mentioned in context of warfare as a protection. This may seem out of place in a warm climate, but “thick clothing” was used as a type of armor among the Mayan, and matches The Book of Mormons definition.

Unknown no longer said...

While Randall Spackman does a great job at arguing the Nephites used a Lunar Calendar, it doesn't matter much what they used because the heat, as well as the wearing of loincloths were year round.

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=7&num=1&id=170

Alan Rock Waterman said...

This could account for the presence of Asian DNA in South America:

"1421: The Year China Discovered America?"

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/1421-the-year-china-discovered-america/

The Arkwelder said...

http://www.martincwiner.com/extensive-semitic-presence-documented-in-pre-columbian-america/

Just something I stumbled upon. I've heard of the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone and the Bat Creek Stone before, and no, they have not been conclusively proven to be fakes. The debate rages on.

Obviously, we need real LDS archaeologists to get on the ball; I know nothing. That said, America is a big ol' country, which diverse climates, etc. The interesting stuff seems to be (mostly) popping up in the southern half of the country. That the Nephites/Lamanites aren't bitching about snow doesn't seem like a deal-breaker to me.

The Arkwelder said...

@Unknown No Longer

All very compelling, but I'm coming at it from a completely different angle. The problem with the LGM is that it drives the message of the BoM six feet into the ground.

We need to take a step back, placing more trust in our Standard Works than the guesswork of apologists:

There are Lamanites, Native Americans, living in the nation of the United States, part of North America, which includes Canada, also the promised land. This land, not just central America, nor South America, is their inheritance (such is my understanding anyway). Europeans, white people, gentiles, seemingly mixed with Ephraimites (I'm still trying to figure out how that all works--there's something fishy there) came along, stole their inheritance, destroyed their culture, and now we've nearly completely destroyed their lands.

The problem with the LGM is that we get tricked into thinking that the Lamanites were a very small population inhabiting a very small piece of land and therefore of very small significance. And yet the prophecy is that THEY will build New Jerusalem, not us.

Not being an archaeologist, please tell me what's wrong with the theory that the Book of Mormon starts in the South-western United States and ends in the North-eastern United States. I mean, clearly we're a top of civilizations that we know next to nothing about. Clearly, there's not a Mormon archaeologist or apologist in Utah who can write it off until he's actually gotten his hands dirty, etc. But no, nobody's bothered yet.

To advocate for the LGM is to have zero reverence for the mythology propounded by the Book of Mormon, and I might add the D&C.

I don't know if you're a member of FAIR, but I used to be on the mailing list. Rodney Meldrum is a controversial figure, certainly, but your utter fear and contempt for him is appalling. He'd make one move or utter one word and every member of FAIR would fly into a rage. To say you're not close-minded as a scholar (if you are affiliated) is laughable.

It's time to ditch the LGM; it's a dead end, utterly disproven, too. Time to put it aside and dig elsewhere. In New York, where the Plates were found, would be a good start. I mean, this theory that Moroni wandered thousands of miles--just for the hell of it--to bury the golden plates is preposterous. That will always be the sore thumb of the LGM model, forever insurmountable.

"To the contrary, we read about them wearing 'loincloths', 'leathern girdles', etc... Dr. Lund makes the observation that this kind of clothing would not be conducive to the cold climate of the Great Lakes region."

I just have to point out the utter stupidity of this statement. No, I don't think you're stupid, and I try to be a nice guy, but this is so stupid. Go ahead, 'Google' "Native Americans in loincloths" 'Nuff said.

The Arkwelder said...

@Unknown No Longer

All very compelling, but I'm coming at it from a completely different angle. The problem with the LGM is that it drives the message of the BoM six feet into the ground.

We need to take a step back, placing more trust in our Standard Works than the guesswork of apologists:

There are Lamanites, Native Americans, living in the nation of the United States, part of North America, which includes Canada, also the promised land. This land, not just central America, nor South America, is their inheritance (such is my understanding anyway). Europeans, white people, gentiles, seemingly mixed with Ephraimites (I'm still trying to figure out how that all works--there's something fishy there) came along, stole their inheritance, destroyed their culture, and now we've nearly completely destroyed their lands.

The problem with the LGM is that we get tricked into thinking that the Lamanites were a very small population inhabiting a very small piece of land and therefore of very small significance. And yet the prophecy is that THEY will build New Jerusalem, not us.

Not being an archaeologist, please tell me what's wrong with the theory that the Book of Mormon starts in the South-western United States and ends in the North-eastern United States. I mean, clearly we're a top of civilizations that we know next to nothing about. Clearly, there's not a Mormon archaeologist or apologist in Utah who can write it off until he's actually gotten his hands dirty, etc. But no, nobody's bothered yet.

To advocate for the LGM is to have zero reverence for the mythology propounded by the Book of Mormon, and I might add the D&C.

I don't know if you're a member of FAIR, but I used to be on the mailing list. Rodney Meldrum is a controversial figure, certainly, but your utter fear and contempt for him is appalling. He'd make one move or utter one word and every member of FAIR would fly into a rage. To say you're not close-minded as a scholar (if you are affiliated) is laughable.

It's time to ditch the LGM; it's a dead end, utterly disproven, too. Time to put it aside and dig elsewhere. In New York, where the Plates were found, would be a good start. I mean, this theory that Moroni wandered thousands of miles--just for the hell of it--to bury the golden plates is preposterous. That will always be the sore thumb of the LGM model, forever insurmountable.

"To the contrary, we read about them wearing 'loincloths', 'leathern girdles', etc... Dr. Lund makes the observation that this kind of clothing would not be conducive to the cold climate of the Great Lakes region."

I just have to point out the utter stupidity of this statement. No, I don't think you're stupid, and I try to be a nice guy, but this is so stupid. Go ahead, 'Google' "Native Americans in loincloths" 'Nuff said.

Arkwelder said...

Okay, don't know if this will post. Can't post under my Google Account because it was disabled, including my blog (no reason given, of course)

@Unknown No Longer

All very compelling, but I'm coming at it from a completely different angle. The problem with the LGM is that it drives the message of the BoM six feet into the ground.

We need to take a step back, placing more trust in our Standard Works than the guesswork of apologists:

There are Lamanites, Native Americans, living in the nation of the United States, part of North America, which includes Canada, also the promised land. This land, not just central America, nor South America, is their inheritance (such is my understanding anyway). Europeans, white people, gentiles, seemingly mixed with Ephraimites (I'm still trying to figure out how that all works--there's something fishy there) came along, stole their inheritance, destroyed their culture, and now we've nearly completely destroyed their lands.

The problem with the LGM is that we get tricked into thinking that the Lamanites were a very small population inhabiting a very small piece of land and therefore of very small significance. And yet the prophecy is that THEY will build the New Jerusalem, not us.

Not being an archaeologist, please tell me what's wrong with the theory that the Book of Mormon starts in the South-western United States and ends in the North-eastern United States. I mean, clearly we're atop of civilizations that we know next to nothing about. Clearly, there's not a Mormon archaeologist or apologist in Utah who can write it off until he's actually gotten his hands dirty, etc. But no, nobody's bothered yet.

To advocate for the LGM is to have zero reverence for the mythology propounded by the Book of Mormon, and I might add the D&C.

I don't know if you're a member of FAIR, but I used to be on the mailing list. Rodney Meldrum is a controversial figure, certainly, but your utter fear and contempt for him is appalling. He'd make one move or utter one word and every member of FAIR would fly into a rage. To say you're not close-minded as a scholar (if you are affiliated) is laughable.

It's time to ditch the LGM; it's a dead end--utterly disproven, too. The hearts and minds of Mormons are opening, and they are ready to embrace the truth, which is something much bigger and brighter. Time to put the LGM aside and dig elsewhere. In New York, where the Plates were found, would be a good place to start. I mean, this theory that Moroni wandered thousands of miles--just for the hell of it--to bury the golden plates is preposterous. That will always be the sore thumb of the LGM as a serious theory--forever insurmountable.

"To the contrary, we read about them wearing 'loincloths', 'leathern girdles', etc... Dr. Lund makes the observation that this kind of clothing would not be conducive to the cold climate of the Great Lakes region."

I just have to point out the utter absurdity of this statement. No, I don't think you're stupid, and I try to be a nice guy, but this is so absurd. Go ahead, 'Google' "Native Americans in loincloths" 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Finally! That was the great and ever-impregnable Arkwelder, who had is Google account and blog disabled, possibly never to return, for reasons unbeknownst to him.

Unknown no longer said...

Anonymous,
I take it you believe in a model for The Book of Mormon that includes all of North and South America? I think that is a model that reconciles many statements by Joseph Smith, but has problems of it's own. I don't care to point out it's faults, but am sure you are aware of them. I completely agree with your promised land statements. It has been taught over and over that the promised land encompasses all of North and South America, I do not disagree with you whatsoever.

As for the Lamanites, there are plenty of Lamanites in Mesoamerica. More than enough to build the New Jerusalem. How many Lamanites do you think are needed? Especially when they won't be doing it alone and part of it will not need to built either. Ether 13:6 says it will be built, Revelation 21:2 says it will come down from heaven. So which is it, will it come down from heaven or be built? The answer is both. D/C 84:100 says it will be both built up and brought down (most believe this is the city of Enoch). Point being, the Lamanites in Mesoamerica are more than enough to build the New Jerusalem.

You next ask "what's wrong with the theory that the Book of Mormon starts in the South-western United States and ends in the North-eastern United States." First, there is no archaeological evidence of a mass migration that would fit what you are looking for. If you read my previous posts, you will see that I posted on the population sizes in NE USA during the time period of The BOM, and they are not even remotely close to the population sizes in The Book of Mormon. If the people weren't there, then neither was The BOM.
Let me say that I neither fear, nor have contempt towards Rod Meldrum. I disagree with him and make that known, but that does not mean I have ill feelings towards him. I disagree with many people on a variety of subjects but can't say I hate a single one of them.

Moroni had several decades to "wander" and could have travelled a much farther distance than from Mesoamerica to New York. It has actually been done in 11 month. "David Ingram, a shipwrecked English sailor, walked in 11 months through completely strange Indian territory from Tampico, Mexico, to the St. John River, at the present border between Maine and Canada. His remarkable journey would have been about the same distance as Moroni's and over essentially the same route. So Moroni's getting the plates to New York even under his own power [in 36 years] seems feasible."
Joseph Smith drew a map of Moroni's travels, and it started with Moroni in Mesoamerica and ended with him at the Hill Cumorah.

How many of Indians in the Great Lakes area wear a loin cloth year round in the below freezing weather and fierce winters? You won't find any, and this is what Dr. Lund was saying. While more modern Indians wore them in the summer (I'm not aware of any Hopewell wearing loincloths during the time period of the BOM, but would have to confirm that) you won't find any who wear them in sub-zero temperatures, well, at least for very long :)

The Arkwelder said...

"I take it you believe in a model for The Book of Mormon that includes all of North and South America?"

I'm not an ignoramus. That's a false dichotomy. I don't hold to a theory, except to say that the Limited Geography Model is nonsense. It betrays Book of Mormon prophecy and mythology. You need to look at it from a different perspective.

"Point being, the Lamanites in Mesoamerica are more than enough to build the New Jerusalem."

Sounds reasonable enough--if we're just gonna talk numbers, but you're ignoring the finer nuances of the relevant prophecies of the Book of Mormon. "So we're not converting enough Lamanites, you know, in the United States?" "Well, fuck 'em. We'll just ship 'em up from the south." Your statement smacks of racism. It's their Zion, not ours. We're just lucky enough to be along for the ride now...if we smarten up and behave ourselves, i.e., the unruly will be plucked out.

"If you read my previous posts, you will see that I posted on the population sizes in NE USA during the time period of The BOM, and they are not even remotely close to the population sizes in The Book of Mormon."

It seems to me that nobody's done enough digging to come to any conclusions. Furthermore, the Mormons are ignoring whatever evidence does come up. You're so attached to the LGM that you fly into a rage at the suggestion of anything else. The archaeologists, apologists, and Church as a whole are happy enough to ignore North America, and so the Church is under condemnation as a result.

"Moroni had several decades to "wander" and could have travelled a much farther distance than from Mesoamerica to New York. It has actually been done in 11 month."

Just because it's conceivable doesn't make it likely that he would make that trek. The LGM is nonsense. It's got to go. Use your common sense.

"How many of Indians in the Great Lakes area wear a loin cloth year round in the below freezing weather and fierce winters?"

I'm not an expert; I've got a lot to learn. I didn't realize the Book of Mormon was claiming Lamanites were wearing loincloths in the dead of winter. I didn't realize Lamanites were only allowed one outfit. I'll look into it. It's also possible the Nephites were talking shit about the Lamanites. Real historians tend to be wary of that.

Anyway, do you know why Mormon apologists and archaeologists are utterly ignoring the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone and the Bat Creek Stone?, which, btw, have not been conclusively proven to be fakes:

http://www.martincwiner.com/extensive-semitic-presence-documented-in-pre-columbian-america/

Unknown no longer said...

Arkwelder,
I have no interest in discussing religious topics when such language is used. No matter if you believe The Book of Mormon to be the word of God or not, you should at least have the courtesy and respect to refrain from such offensive language when you are in a conversation with a religious person about religious subjects.

The Arkwelder said...

Did it ever occur to you that profanity is a social invention, completely subjective, and of no moral consideration whatsoever? God did not sit down with a notepad and say, "Well it's okay to say poo-poo, but it's NOT okay to say sh*t, and crap, well I'll make that a bit of a grey area." Anyway, get with the times. We have a new generation of "swear" words: "Bitch", "nigger", "fag", etc. Get how these words operate. See how they change?

Yes, by small things do great things come to pass, but if you think you're doing the Lord's work by refraining from some very outdated vulgarity, you're going to realize there's a lot more to it than that.

Nevertheless, for the sake of the discussion, and out of respect for you, if you would like me to refrain from profanity from now on, I would gladly do so.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Gentlemen, Gentlemen! Please!

Remember there are ladies in the next room.

Toni said...

I came across this link while I was perusing the internet today. They say the Book of Mormon lands is in Baja, California. Theories abound, apparently.

http://www.achoiceland.com/home

Toni said...

This video is very compelling. It points out that Joseph knew what he was talking about, and that he said the American Indians were the descendants of Lehi. (This is probably from the same place Rock got at least one of his vids, but it came to my attention from a post on a forum I belong to.)

http://bookofmormonevidence.org/video_player.php?id=70

Unknown no longer said...

Toni,
Please see the above comments. While it sounds very good on the surface, when you dig a little *very* little stands up to scrutiny. He takes the quotes from Joseph Smith which supports his theory, and ignores all of the other quotes by Joseph Smith which contradicts his theory. Here are only a few quotes from Joseph Smith which place The Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVCXOpxga3Q

To me, that's a red flag. If someone cannot present the evidence honestly, then it calls into question everything else they present. In this case, for good reason.

goingtozion said...

Unknown-

"As for the Lamanites, there are plenty of Lamanites in Mesoamerica. More than enough to build the New Jerusalem. How many Lamanites do you think are needed?"

You should re-read what you said and think about the history. You are saying that people who we've killed, raped, enslaved, persecuted are now going to build the city that we are waiting go to? That sounds horrible. That is why we have completely failed and are under condemnation. We've done so much wrong to them and then we are now saying that they are gonna build this city for us and them?

The writers in the Book of Mormon were bigots and had prejudices. Everyone does. I'm sure almost every single one of us has explained a different people to some friends in some very negative light. Heck, we can look at Rock's generation (no offense Rock) and get sick to our stomaches of their perspective and opinions. The next generation will do the same to us. So ya, running around in loin clothes was obviously affected by their differences and pointed views.

Just looking at history, there were three major metropolises in the Americas: Peru, Central America and the Great Lakes Region. All were thriving during the Book of Mormon period. Only one was destroyed.

goingtozion said...

Also, probably the biggest issue of all...why has there been so little success and so little effort towards the Native Americans of the USA and Canada?

You guys can come up with better answers than me, hopefully. All I'm pulling out right now is that even Joseph Smith himself figured we could establish Zion in our Gentile way with our Gentile society and systems. The Central and South Americans have been much more receptive, while the North Americans have rejected it. That is my biggest reason for believing they are the primary descendants of the Lamanites. They have a different mentality and will chase out the Gadianton Robbers like they always have. That is why they reject our screwed up society and style we approach them with.

We must do it differently. We must be as Ammon. Giving up all and only desiring to serve them. That is not our Mormon way, even though we read it and preach it. But it can be. It will take individuals to do it. I pray we can and hope we do so instead of just talking all the time. Jesus did a lot more doing and walking than He did talking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rock, This is Brad, your new friend and fan. My wife and I have had many questions and were sent an article by my brother from your website. We have felt LOST in this church of ours that we both grew up in. I'm a little younger you but hale from a similar area. We now live under a microscope (in fear) in Happy Valley, Utah. It is scary!!! We have felt that we have "come home" in reading your blog. This is the FIRST time either of us (and we are together on everything) has ever responded on a blogsite. We feel we know you and we enjoy having "church with you" every Sunday (and most others days too) after attending a meeting on Sunday. I hope to be able to contribute in the future more as time permits. For now I would highly recommend your viewing the Mentinah Archives found at mentinah.com I have met the translator and he has been in our home. He is very private and knowing his personality, biases and intellect I can offer that he, like Joseph, did not author these volumes which are merely translations of records kept for many years in a safe place by his ancestors. (He is both a gentile and a lamanite descendant). These volumes are deeply spiritual in nature. You have to get out of your head and into your heart to know that they are what they say they are. They offer both additional witness of the veracity of the Book of Mormon text, doctrine and history, but much more detail into the stories and lives of some of their people. The most important things to me are that there are many prophecies from the Mentinah Archives (MA) that reveal the exact condition of our modern LDS church and its leadership. They also SHOW us how to live the law of consecration in order to prepare our hearts and minds for Zion. Let's look for the good news and be inspired to live our lives in Unity and Love. Let's learn from these volumes. I would love your feedback. This IS the scripture that BKP emailed to the BYU Ancient Studies Dpt in before Oct of 2005 that indicated we would have new scripture soon. Also DO (Dallin) said in a talk in conference I believe in October of that same year that we would have new scripture soon. When they found out (FARMS was translating the copies given to them in their vaults) as the translation went along, that there were things amiss in their stewardship (as the leaders of the Latter-Day Church) they hushed it up and nothing was released. Anyway, let me know of your spiritual impressions and the value of this work for us seeking God in this day with no clear leadership. Your brother in Christ. Brad

Rock Waterman said...

Welcome aboard, Brad. That Menintah stuff sounds intriguing; I'll check it out.

LDS DPer said...

I appreciate finding this blog; I saw it on the Daily Paul--
I've been thinking alternatively about many of these topics, especially polygamy and the Book of Mormon having had some (at least) North American connection (not meaning Mexico)--

I am interested in reading about Joseph Smith and polygamy--

I had many of the same thoughts about the corporate church (being a strong libertarian) years ago and enjoy what you have to say--

but I have never felt 'drawn' by those with black and white mentalities who want completely to separate themselves from the church--

there is much to be said about mental and social moderation and being wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove. Much to be said about not acting with haste--

Also appreciate what is being said about native Americans, a people with whom I have had some association and powerful feelings of sympathy--

Russell Means is a good man; I was honored to meet Red Cloud's granddaughter many decades ago--

as for the South Americans having a connection with Japan, why ever not? Japan has *her* own White God legends, etc.

Much you say has value for contemplation.

The Book of Mormon has kept me going back for temple recommends when the church structure nearly annhilated me, spiritually. LOL!

Andrea said...

Here's some footage of a Nephite riding a buffalo in Detroit.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7yL-bSFd4A

LDS DPer said...

Thank you for this interesting piece of writing--

I saw your post on DP, and I have been enjoying reading what you have to say--

also still 'active' while having taken the glitter off the organization--

and have, for years, believed that the Book of Mormon was 'set' in all of North America--

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Glad to have you here. We've received quite a number of new readers from the Daily Paul as a result of my recent piece on Mitt Romney.

Anonymous said...

Can't be proven. But you go ahead and have fun with that.

Jack Solomon said...

Someone on the blog, an "Unknown" or "Anonymous" I think, made a shallow attempt at a philosophical opinion concerning the church backing away from the Book of Mormon. I suppose this was to minimize the need to explore the geography and other historical aspects of the book's existence.

I doubt that he/she really gave much thought to the utterance, as the evidence is quite to the contrary: 150 million copies printed and counting, millions of BoM printed and distributed annually, translated into 82 languages, partially translated into 25 languages, 52,000 missionaries distribute free copies year round, available online at LDS.org and LDS Tools for Androids, curriculum reference for primary and sunday school this year, etc, etc, etc.

Backing away? Hmmmm...!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Perhaps that person was confusing us with the Reorgs.

Anonymous said...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2157023/Historian-creates-3D-image-Mayan-city-Yupaha-Georgia-mountains.html

Mayans in Georgia? I thought you might find this interesting.

WillowTheWhisp said...

Whether you are Lamanites or not you are still children of God. That is what really matters.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks. That piece on the Georgia ruins is indeed fascinating.

Anonymous said...

To clarify your point on raising up seeds with out having sex would be marrying a person and adopting there child as your own.

James said...

Rock,

Don't forget the discovered City of Lamanai in Belize.
Phonetically similar to the name Laman in the Book of Mormon.

http://www.northernbelize.com/see_lamanai.html

As English is a descending language from Ancient Hebrew, it would be possible the Mayan language may have a few sounds and names similar to English or other Native American Languages. The word Laman perhaps being one of them as recorded by the Book of Mormon.

For instance the word, Itza ( Itza Maya ) is a Mayan word, but also a Cherokee word as well.

Other evidences:

The Arkansas State Cherokee website calls the name of their God Yowah. Similar to the English Biblical version, Yahweh.

See:
http://www.arkansascherokee.us/Spirituality.html

I have personally been on the Navajo Reservation, the name of their God is Yahweh in their sacred songs.

People who doubt the evidence for the Book of Mormon have never looked! They are not interested in finding the truth, possibly because the truth hurts, hitting a little to close to home for them. Or as Jesus said, " having eyes they do not see, having ears the do not hear".

Meaning many Book of Mormon skeptics choose to avoid the obvious, so they may in their own eyes justify missing the mark, which in the Greek language means to sin.

Matthew 13:15
King James Version (KJV)
15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Elder Landon said...

In The Book of Mormon, it was prophesied that evidence of the people from The Book of Mormon had lived here, soon after The Book of Mormon's translation.

Anonymous said...

Rock,

Thanks for your valuable website. I enjoyed it very much. As a member of the LDS church, I have always accepted that the BOM took place on the North American continent in America on pure faith despite claims and 'evidences' to the contrary. I beleive that Joseph Smith was the first prophet of this dispensation and it was revealed to him. Needless to say my opinion was not always popular. And yes, to other readers I acknowledge this is still only a theory but one that I wholey beleive in because of a personal witness I received When I prayed. It is up to each individual to learn for themselves.

I had visited smaller mounds in Tennessee in years past and heard of ancient Indians having had an advanced learning and civilization with wide spread trade and wondered it they were not the Nephites but had seen little other evidence. Only recently have I learned about additional acheological findings hidden from the public for so long and DNA research from the pictorial book "Exploring the Book of Mormon in America's Heartland" and the documentary film "The Lost Civilizations of North America".

I am happy to see more evidence of ancient American culture but am saddened to learn that our scientists and (I feel sure pressured by big business) government intentionally kept such valuable information from us all. It is a sad fact that the American Indians were largely slaughtered by whites and the remnants were mistreated and displaced for the gain of land grant companies and the rail road. It is only right that the truth come forth so that American Indians and everyone else know who they truly are.

I have been to Mexico and seen Chitzanitza (spelling?) and I found it very interesting. I beleive that the Lord visited Central America and South America as well but that they were not the Nephites spoken of in the BOM. Other lambs had the Lord that he still had to go visit and I am sure they have their own ancient scriptures.

Last year my daughter and her family and I moved from Houston, TX to a farm in NW Missouri. We did not move to be near BOM lands, we only felt the urgency to go and prayed about it. However, we feel it is a blessing to live near Adam-Ondi-Omin and not far from other church sites and know this is sacred area with much work to be done. I thank you again for sharing your thoughtful information.

Cathy

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Cathy, I envy you living near Adam-Ondi-Ahman. I actually wished I had the means to move to Gallatin just so I could be next door. On my mission we went there several times (even a time or two after it was no longer in my area and we had to commit the unspeakable crime of traveling outside our area to get there). That area intrigues me, such a peaceful place, and perfectly hidden and protected from the outside.

Around 1998 I traveled by bus with my 12 year old son to make a pilgrimage back and visit some dear friends from my mission days. That was the last time I saw Adam-Ondi-Ahman. I noticed the famous McDonald Tea Room in Gallatin was out of business, which was a sad thing to see.

Zack Woolwine said...

There's a huge difference in a buffalo and a horse. And a native horse species in Nevada? Even if that is true, what does it have to do with the BOM, as they were on the East Coast?
To say that it was a buffalo or any other animal other than a horse is saying that the writers made a mistake, and a writer of scripture can't make a mistake as they are supposedly transcribing the very words of God. God knows the difference in a buffalo and a horse.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.... check out the wikipedia page on BOM archaeology. And remember wikipedia is self editing. If a Mormon wants to refute something on there, then go please do so. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeology_and_the_Book_of_Mormon

LDS Anarchist said...

A couple of blog posts I've written on Book of Mormon geography both point to North America:

Lehi’s Trek to China and North America

and

King Noah and the Redemption of Zion

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Thanks for those links, Anarchist!

spanner said...

The joint paper from the academics involved in the "Lost Civilisations" videos, mentioned several times above, has been published and is in three parts here:

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/civilizations_lost_and_found_fabricating_history_-_part_one_an_alternate_re

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/civilizations_lost_and_found_fabricating_history_-_part_two_false_messages

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/civilizations_lost_and_found_fabricating_history_-_part_three_real_messages

The papers do not address Mormonism at all, but they are very interesting, and would be essential reading for anybody interested in the real history of the area.

Anonymous said...

there was no gold plates,,they were always covered up with a towel or rags so no one really ever seen themjust more of joe smiths dam lies false church fales profit

Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Ashley said...

Haha. Controversy does know how to find you Anthony. :) I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to find you agreeing with the more controversial and yet more reasonable side. LOL! I haven't been in the church for as long as some of you so I wasn't even aware of the level of commitment many have put into the meso-America claim. I thought it was much more speculative then that. Sometimes I think its easier to find up from down when you haven't been immersed in a culture for too long. It's unfortunate when people become so entrenched in their dogmas that they are not willing to look at new evidence. Especially when Joseph Smith was pretty clear about things. As the dispensation head and as a man who truly spoke with God face to face I would put more stock into his claims and take them at face value. Mental gymnastics are pretty exhausting. This is a topic I have only more recently become more interested in. As I have looked into the Meso American theory's they haven't seemed right. As much as part of me wants them to be. Just looking at and observing archaeological discoveries from the Nephites and Lamanites would truly be thrilling. Thanks Rock for putting this together. It's been an interesting read. But then, your articles usually are.


J Bee said...

Only the physical evidence can be claimed to be debunked. It is the witness of the Holy Ghost that any and all of man's teaching cannot debunk. That is why members who have received a witness from the Holy Ghost may show little regard to other evidence as unnecessary. Having said that, I love Rod's work and the Heartland Model is showing truckloads of physical evidence for the BOM. Rod is a saint, so is Wayne May and Bruce Porter.

Anonymous said...

I've seen Meldrum's film. The scientist was talking about haplogroup X which is found in middle eastern populations. The problem is that most scientists think haplogroup X came over at the same time as the 4 main other haplogroups found in native American populations. Meldrum says that the scientists' dating method is off and using his alternate dating method he discovered the American DNA separated from the middle eastern group about 600 BC. No explanation was given for how his alternate dating method works and why it is superior to the method accepted by all other scientists in the field.

Anonymous said...

What evidence are you looking for? And what sources are you using to derive a conclusion that there is no evidence? Steel rusts, bones crumble if nothing is buried etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

Another food for thought, the links you provide are written from the very people who wayne may and meldrum mention as being biased and who automatically dismiss EVIDENCE in order to support their preconceived beliefs / dogmas about native americans before columbus. If you're going to make a claim, make sure you use sources that are properly researched.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The evidence around Cumorah seems to be the heavy lime deposits which are indicative of bones turned to dust. Bones that are buried tend to remain somewhat intact. Bones left out in the open and exposed to the elements disintegrate completely.

Arrowheads and spear heads were plentiful in America. So plentiful that farmers had to cart them off in wheelbarrows before they could begin to plow.

Anonymous said...

This discussion is mind numbing, there is no archeology to support the animals or crops discussed in the BOM. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A GREAT BATTLE IN NY where hundreds of thousands died and lay unburried. As a native American I am sickened that Smith used my people to to pull off his scam. I have seen some of your temple rituals and amconvinced they were taken by Smith from his time as a Mason. I pray for your souls out of Christs love for us all, you who are LDS ARE ALL DECEIVED !

Anonymous said...

I've been fascinated by the complex and intricate geographical references in the Book of Mormon and their internal consistency. To me, the consistency of the geographical picture given the complexity and volume of the narrative and geographical references is one price of evidence in itself that the account is based on a real geography, somewhere. (It would be so easy to have geographical and chronological continuity errors trying to make up such a complex story involving multiple generations and all of their various travels without making a plausible (even if fictional) map to go along with it first.)

I did my own limited analysis of the geography references. There are literally several hundreds of such references. I reasoned out what might be some plausible areas (i.e, what place likely could be reached by plausible ocean travel from the Middle East; it seems that it must be a peninsula with southern end or an isthmus with some southern landform barrier, because the Nephites never really go southward from their original landing spot, and they refer to a lot of bodies of water and narrow strips of land; etc. etc. etc.).

I spent a considerable amount of time analyzing the Central American areas and related analyses by several authors, because of what I now recognize as an American continents bias in my search. I was not really satisfied with those areas given the facts I compiled from the BOM and the analyses by others.

I eventually went back to the world map and opened my mind to any possibility, American continent or otherwise. I ended up with the Malay peninsula as a possible candidate. A lot of what I could assess on a first pass seemed to fit the required geography and the ocean travel was far more reasonable. I searched around for anyone who might have already researched this possibility. I found the following excellent detailed analysis by Ralph Olsen:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/20922656/The-Malay-Peninsula-as-the-Setting-for-the-Book-of-Mormon-by-Ralph-A-Olsen

It's fascinating and outlines a very plausible Malay scenario. I encourage everyone to look into this possibility if you have not already.

Anonymous said...

Best geographical evidence I've ever seen is in "A Malay site for Book of Mormon Events": https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/131%2030-34.pdf

Anonymous said...

Extremely convincing overview of Malay theory for Book of Mormon lands: http://www.scribd.com/doc/55862482/A-More-Promising-Land-of-Promise

Anonymous said...

thank you for looking deeper into these claims.

Anonymous said...

Ok, but the Bible says in Galatians 1:6-10 warns us of other gospels aside from the old and new testament, and not only that Joseph Smith said, " 3 John 14:23—The appearing of the Father and the Son, in that verse, is a personal bappearance; and the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion, and is false." Now the very fact that Joseph Smith is teaching against Scripture here puts him in violation of Galatians. Not only that, but this verse(John 14:23) and the context around it speaks of the Holy Spirit indwelling within believers once they are saved. If he doesn't believe the Father and Son can dwell within you then nor does he believe the Holy Spirit can dwell within you seeing as how they are One entity. Unless Joseph Smith believes they are three separate Gods, and if that is the case then again he is in violation of Galatians 1:6-10.

smormon said...

If these "evidence" are the only things that keeps for not going atheist, I think that you don't know Jesus. Your testimony is based on a church being true instead of focusing on the savior of human kind. Well if that is the case as you admitted, I think you are already an atheist. If these are the "evidence" for the book of mormon, believe me you are in big trouble. All I can read here is a bunch of speculations and nothing else. The Dna video is talking about people that emigrated 40.000 years ago. Nothing to do with the story of the book of mormon. As far as north America being the location of the book, you are just pushing the problem somewhere else and not facing reality.
The problem is, not only is there no mention of mounds in the Book of Mormon, there is no history among the Jews in Jerusalem or anywhere round about that they ever built or knew of such mounds. The main purpose stated by archaeologists is that these mounds were for religious and ceremonial burial, as well as elite residential purposes. It is claimed these mounds, included the Pre-Columbian cultures dating from roughly 3400 B.C. to the 16th century A.D. and living in regions of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River valley, and the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. Nomadic indigenous peoples started building earthwork mounds in North America nearly 1000 years before the pyramids were constructed in Egypt.
The Nephites did not arrive in the western hemisphere until about 587 B.C. and died out in 385 A.D. Not even the Jaredites had arrived here until around 2000 B.C.
Some effigy mounds were constructed in the shapes or outlines of culturally significant animals. The most famous effigy mound, Serpent Mound in southern Ohio. Such effigy mounds were primarily built 350 to 1300 A.D., again, after the Nephite period and long after the Jaredite period.
Mounds have been found all over Europe, and many places around the world, including China. There have been pyramids found in Egypt, there is Stonehenge in England, the Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, and the mysterious Nazca Lines in Peru. None of this has anything to do with the Nephites, ancient Jews or Hebrew cultures.
My advise to you is, study the Bible which as more than 250.000 archeological proves, and get a testimony of Jesus of the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I admit I have not researched this subject nearly as much as I would like to. But I just thought I should point out that there is a difference between the DOCTRINE of the church, and the church as an organization. From a doctrinal point of view, it does not matter where the events of the Book of Mormon took place. What is important is its message of Christ and the truths it contains. I see no reason why anyone should become offended and/or defensive because someone suggests that it may have taken place somewhere other than where we thought. Changing its location does not change its doctrine.
Now concerning why the church leadership hasn't taken a more active role in determining the Book of Mormon location and why they keep going back to the "we just don't know" response. It's for the same reason as above, it's not doctrinal; and ultimately, doesn't matter. If the prophet were to "just ask God" where it all took place, I doubt he would get an answer. Looking at the records we have (that are reliable) of God interacting with people on Earth, it's very rare that he's told us anything more than what we need to know. Although it would be interesting and nice to know for certain where the Lehites landed and where exactly was the land Desolation, we don't really need the information to receive exaltation. I'm not saying we shouldn't keep trying to figure it all out, I do consider it an extremely worthwhile pursuit. I just wish people wouldn't equate that pursuit with a pursuit for further doctrine. Figuring out where everything happened would be great, but I'm not basing my testimony on it.

Anonymous said...

Well said Willet.

Anonymous said...

"You may know, but many of those who took part in polygamy had visitations from angels, witnesses of the Spirit, and answers to their prayers about polygamy."

Haha, so maybe murderers should say they prayed about it and god said it was ok. Oh wait, many have.

Praying about something and getting an 'answers' doesnt mean jack shit.

CARMEN said...

Love it. Thanx.

CARMEN said...

I am reading...and I am so sad seeing how you guys treat each other.

Anonymous said...

No Fox is the only channel with some truth. All those liberal rags are liars and sheep

James McKnight said...

I ask you-were not many of the Mound Builders in ancient America found to be GIANTS? Were not the GIANTS in the bible known as the Nephilim? (Nephi)lim? Were not the Nephilim the offspring of the Sons of God (fallen angels)who lusted after mortal women and bore offspring through them? The Book of Mormon is one of two things-a damaging hoax, or an outright demonic deception. You Mormons need to pull your head out of Book of Mormon for a bit and read your bibles. Then go back and read your Book of Mormon with bible goggles. Not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully to Waterman, you don't get it. Meldrum is not a scientist, an archaeologist, or an anthropologist - he's a pseudoscientist at best. The guy has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Utah State. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to appeal to authority, people don't need to go to school to learn things. But education has tremendous value, especially in the sciences, teaching the scientific method and holding people to proper standards, establishing best practices and helping people to understand their limitations.

Meldrum's work has been universally panned. The guy is a quack. He misunderstands and misrepresents research that he cites in his books and videos. In his Lost Civilizations video for example he presents several researchers. Well, basically every single one of them got together afterwards to make a rebuttal video against Meldrum because he misrepresented their work and by presenting it out of context, giving it a very different meaning than it actually had.

TBM LDS scholars who have Masters and PhDs and are professional scientists, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, etc., do not agree with Meldrum, and he responds do them with personal attacks and appeals to personal revelation. He doesn't respond with a legitimate academic or scholarly argument based on the evidence, instead he gets emotional and claims he's right simply because God told him so. He further attacks BYU and other universities for their science curriculum and is known for engaging in paranoia and conspiracy theories. Meldrum also falsely claims that Joseph Smith received revelation on the location of BOM geography. And if all this isn't bad enough, the guy is also known for using forged documents.

His heartland model does not fit the geography described in the text of the BOM. We could go down a list of problems. He for example claims evidence showing vast cities with millions, but that's not actually what the evidence shows. The time period is also wrong, BOM describes such cities as ancient as 1500BC. Not a single such city has been documented in north america for that period. Where is the agricultural evidence? Doesn't exist.

Here's a list by Sorenson:

http://www.ancientamerica.org/library/media/HTML/enap8lyt/A%20Whole%20Bunch%20of%20Reasons%20Why%20Book%20of%20Mormon%20Geography.htm?n=0

His heartland model completely misrepresents DNA science, misrepresenting sources and relying on very old sources which have since been replaced. Rock, I appreciate that you acknowledge not knowing anything about DNA. I do. It's not my primary field, but I'm close enough to fully understand it. There is no DNA evidence for ancient Americans in the north, central, or south america, having ties to the middle east. None whatsoever. That said though, the DNA evidence also doesn't prove that there isn't a link between the America's and the Middle East. It is not evidence against the BOM in any way, but it darn sure isn't evidence for it either.

If you want a truly scholarly work that shows real evidence resembling BOM civilization and geography, read Mormon's Codex by Sorenson. Just the bibliography for this book is around 120 pages long. It's a massive textbook. There are several lifetimes worth of research put into this book. And I don't know of a single scholar cited by Sorenson coming out of the woodwork claiming he misrepresents their research.

http://deseretbook.com/Mormons-Codex-John-L-Sorenson/i/5102381

Arch Stanton said...

For the record, I'm anonymous here.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Arch, you're painting Ron Meldrum as a lone voice agaiinst the establishment, when in reality there are -and have been from the earliest days of the church- others in various scientific fields who agree with the Heartland model.

Although I respect Sorenson's work, there are many others with credentials who disagree with him and side with the Heartland model. Althought Ron Meldrum has popularized the Heartland view and been instrumental in bringing thie alternative view to the attention of many rank and file members, he is hardly the originator of the position.

Since there are intelligent advocates on either side of this debate, I prefer to watch the debate unfold rather than to take sides this early in. But in my opinion, the Heartland model has much more going for it than the Meso-American view so far, not the least of which is that Joseph Smith said these things took place here. If one is to accept the historicity of the Book of Mormon (as I do), one can't ignore the teachings of the prophet in that area.

The non-Mormon participants in the video on early American civilizations were opposed to their research being used to validate a particular religious viewpoint. That is what they objected to. They did not recant any of their findings. They simply objected to anyone using their findings to validate a religion.

That is perfectly fine with me. They can object all they want. After all, they were presenting their findings from a scientific standpoint and had not intended for those views to bolster anyone's religious faith.

But others are free to pick up on someone else's scientific findings as evidence to bolster their own views about a topic, religious or otherwise. Whether or not those views are substantiated by the evidence is a matter for each individual to decide after all the evidence has been presented.

Like I say, I don't think we have everything laid out before us yet, but I do feel that what we know so far regarding ancient civilizations in the Northern Hemisphere is fascinating and certainly worth a look.

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