Monday, October 22, 2012

Answering Recent Comments – Part XVII

Continuing with the comments previously mentioned in the last post, the first fifty-six comments were answered in the previous 16 posts, the fifty-seventh and additional comments are answered beginning below:
Comment #57 One area of major contradiction between these limited geography theories and the Book of Mormon concerns the identity and location of the hill Cumorah. John L. Sorenson locates Cumorah in Central America, at a site only 90 miles from the "narrow neck,” which conflicts with the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah as "an exceeding great distance" from the narrow neck into the "land northward" (Helaman 3:3,4). If the Isthmus of Tehuantepec — Sorenson's "narrow neck" of land — at 120 miles across is "narrow," how can the 90 miles from the "narrow neck" to Sorenson's Cumorah fit the Book of Mormon description of "an exceeding great distance"
Response: Another point in showing that the Book of Mormon lands were not in Mesoamerica as so many Mesoamerican Theorists claim. Like your comment, the things about the area simple don’t jive with the scriptural record. As a side note, Sorenson’s narrow neck is actually 144 miles across according to local area government records.
The Hill Cumorah in upstate New York. Not only does Mesoamerica not fit, neither does this small hill (right of image) which would never have provided either 1) hiding area where the Lamanites would not have seen Nephite survivors, 2) height enough for a battle to be overseen by Nephite leaders, 3) height enough to have seen the destruction of 23 officers and their commands (230,000 Nephite warriors), or 4) a place for Moroni to hide from the battle-crazed Lamanites after their annihilation of the Nephite army—none of this agrees with the depiction of the Hill and Land of Cumorah described by Mormon
Comment #58 “I find the following statement of great interest in showing your ideas of proof of the Book of Mormon: ‘Former Brigham Young University anthropology professor, Dr. Raymond T. Matheny, at an August 25, 1984 Sunstone conference in Salt Lake City, stated that after working in the area of Mesoamerican archaeology for twenty-two years, he reported his conclusion that the scientific evidence simply does not support the existence of the peoples and events chronicled in the Book of Mormon, be it in Central America or anywhere else in the western hemisphere.’ How can you possibly counter that?”
Response: If Professor Matheny had spent 22 years searching for Book of Mormon scientific evidence on the moon, I would expect him not to find any. Nor would I expect him to find any proof to the scriptural record in Mesoamerica, where he did spend 22 years. When a person looks in the wrong place for something, no matter how long he takes, he can’t expect to find anything, because it simply is not there. As for his statement “or anywhere else in the western hemisphere” is a silly comment, even for him. After 22 years in Mesoamerica, what on earth could he know about anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere? He was never in South America, so what could he know about that area and the Book of Mormon? By the way, also in that conference of which you mention, Metheny said, “You can't refine ore without leaving a bloom of some kind or impurities that blossom out and float to the top of the ore...and also the flux of limestone or whatever is used to flux the material…[This] blooms off into silicas and indestructible new rock forms. In other words, when you have a ferroused metallurgical industry, you have these evidences of the detritus that is left over. You also have the fuels, you have the furnaces, you have whatever technologies that were there performing these tasks; they leave solid evidences. And they are indestructible things...No evidence has been found in the new world for a ferrous metallurgical industry dating to pre-Columbian times. And so this is a king-size kind of problem, it seems to me, for the so-called Book of Mormon archaeology. This evidence is absent." However, once again Prof Matheny searches in Mesoamerica where no iron or metallurgy technology has been found before 600 to 800 A.D. and concludes that “no where in the New World” is it found. That is simply fallacious for all sorts of evidence of metallurgy has been found in the Andean area of South America dating to the last millennium B.C. You cannot find what you are looking for when you look in the wrong area. I wonder if anyone would take me seriously if I said I had spent 22 years in Mesoamerican and could not find any archaeological evidence that Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great had ever lived. Unfortunately, Prof. Matheny is more of a Book of Mormon critic than a supporter, so you quote from a prejudicial source. When this good professor decides to spend 22 years in Peru and then comes up saying he didn’t find any evidence of the Book of Mormon, I would be more inclined to take him seriously, though I would question his abilities since numerous other archaeologists have found such evidence there.
Comment #59 Archaeological evidence shows conclusively that the western hemisphere was populated at least as far back as 10,000 B.C. by east Asian peoples who migrated across the Bering Strait. It is these Mongolian peoples who are the ancestors of the American Indians, according to numerous archaeologists and anthropologists.”
The destructive power of the Great Flood of Noah’s time would have destroyed any trace of anything living and almost all features of the world. No one could possible know what might have happened prior to this Flood
Response: I have written many times about what science claims existed in previous eons. Between 10,000 B.C. and now, there was a Great Flood, of which only Noah’s immediate family survived. It is hard to say what evidence might exist today of that prior, antediluvian period. But no matter the evidence, if any, survived the catastrophic flood, everyone was wiped off the face of the earth except for Noah’s family in the Ark. Thus, Moroni’s remark in Ether 13:2, that after the waters had receded, the Lord kept the Land of Promise free of all except who he would send there. As a result, when science talks about finding 10,000 year old evidence of anything, one might want to be a little suspicious.
Comment #60 Many articles and books about the geography of the Book of Mormon are not written by people using any kind of scientific method to determine the locations of each place.  The error that occurs when someone is not using scientific methods is that the author introduces their own biases and opinions.  Biases and opinions are not facts; hence, they only serve to confuse the facts that are present.  Their opinions may ultimately turn out to be correct or incorrect, but for now, they cannot be proved right or wrong.”
Response: Obviously, science has its place. And just as obviously, people who create models tend to have a lot of opinions and bias involved. However, the error of locating maps regarding Book of Mormon geography is not because they do not use a “scientific method” in that location, but because they do not use the scriptural record as the basis for all decisions, locations, places, comparisons, understandings, etc. As an example, we do not locate the Land of Promise in the Andean area of South American because science tells us that east of the Andean fault line was under water anciently, we look to the Andean area because we know where Lehi started his ocean voyage, and where the winds and currents would have taken a sailing ship dependent upon those winds and currents since the scriptural record tells us they were “driven forth before the wind.” The fact that the science part backs up and supports the scriptural record is a welcome plus.
(See the next post, “Answering Recent Comments – Part XVIII,” for more comments made about different posts on this website)

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