Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Sorenson Rewriting the Nephite Record

In a vintage example of John L. Sorenson’s rewriting of the Nephite record, he states in his book, “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” on page 140:

“What can we tell about the living conditions in the land of first inheritance? The coastal plain where the landing of Lehi would have occurred was uncomfortably hot and humid. That climate favored rapid crop growth, but the weather would be unpleasant for colonizers. The Nephites soon fled up to the land of Nephi, where the elevation permitted living in greater comfort. As Nephi tells the story, the Lamanites down in the hot lowlands were nomadic hunters, bloodthirsty, near naked, and lazy (2 Nephi 5:24, Enos 1:20). The circumstances of life in that environment could account for some of those characteristics.”

Because Sorenson’s Mesoamerican model has an area that is hot and humid, he has to make it sound like that was what is found in the Book of Mormon record. However, nothing of the kind is even indicated.

First of all, seeds that came from the area of Jerusalem in a Mediterranean climate, would not have grown in a hot and humid land in 600 B.C. This is an extremely important issue that Mesoamerican Theorists ignore, yet it was a life and death issue in earlier times.

Second, there is no suggestion, hint, or concept put forth in scripture that the landing site of the Lehi colony was hot and humid. Even though Nephi took some effort to describe what was found there, no mention of climate is given, nor any indication of it being hot and humid.

Third, the Nephites did not flee up to the land of Nephi where the elevation permitted living in greater comfort because of the weather or climatic conditions as Sorenson insinuates. The fact of the matter is, Nephi led those who would follow him to that land because the Lord warned him to flee his older brothers who sought his life (2 Nephi 5:5).

Fourth, the Lamanites are not described as living “down in the hot lowlands.” In fact, the land of first inheritance, or the land where Lehi landed, is not mentioned in any way regarding its climate except that the seeds from a Mediterranean climate grew there abundantly.

Fifth, it was not the hot and humid lowlands or climatic condition that led to the Lamanites being in the conditions as Nephi and Enos describe, but it was, as is described in the very scripture Sorenson references, “And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” (2 Nephi 5:24)

Like so much of his book, Sorenson is adept at making outlandish statements that agree with his Mesoamericam model, but disagree with the scriptures, in such a way that the casual reader would accept and never question his writing. There can be no other explanation but that Sorenson deliberately misstates scripture to further his Mesoamerican model, which cannot be supported in any other way.

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