Saturday, June 8, 2013

Developing an Internal Model for Better Understanding – Part III

Continuing with the article that one of our readers sent in several points regarding someone else’s view of developing an internal model and asked us what we thought of it. The first eleven points were answered in the previous two posts, following the article changes direction and discussed other areas within the Land of Promise:
1.  “Can any ruins in Mesoamerica be linked to Book of Mormon cities? So far, no ruins have been linked to Book of Mormon cities.  There are over 4,000 registered archaeological sites in Mesoamerica.  Many of these date after the Book of Mormon times.  The current estimate is that fewer than 10% to 25% of the archaeological sites have been found.”
Response: Here we see the colors of the writer of the article. He is interested in and promotes Mesoamerica, though acknowledging nothing has been found there to link the Book of Mormon.
2. “To give you an idea of just how many archaeological sites there are, surveyors, when they put a permanent survey marker in the ground, try (or are required) to put the marker in undisturbed ground (meaning that there was no previous population that lived or used that land, so there is little chance the marker will be removed due to further use or archaeological digging).  Surveyors in Mesoamerica have trouble finding spots to put their markers because almost all of the ground in Mesoamerica shows some sign of previous use.”
Response: Most areas that were once occupied at any time in history would show some sign of previous use.
3. “Studies have indicated that over half of the archaeological sites that have been uncovered have been vandalized, many to the point where it would be unlikely or impossible to determine any link to any Book of Mormon cities or to get any useful archaeological information from these sites at all. In addition, when a population lives in a place, they eventually replace the infrastructure, thus any population that came after the Nephites and lived in their cities, would, over the course of time, remove most things that could be used to identify that place with a Book of Mormon city.”
Response: No matter how bare an area is of artifacts, no matter how much change later populations incur, there is no way to say that this city or that city was Zarahemla, Nephi, Bountiful or Moroni, just from archaeological work, since there is almost no description included in the scriptural record that would allow us to say that was the Book of Mormon city. Pottery showing llamas, as an example show up in Andean Peru, but that doesn’t link anything to the Book of Mormon, for there is no mention of pottery or other artifacts in the record to compare anything against. Even pottery of horses, elephants, chariots, etc., though some of us might appreciate that supportive evidence, no one else would consider it a proof of the Book of Mormon lands or people. Metallurgy has been found in Peru and Ecuador dating into B.C. times showing a remarkable amount of skill, but no one sees that as proof of Nephite occupation. When the Spanish arrived in the Andean area, they were astonished at the skill of the silk textiles they found there, yet no one sees that as proof of the Book of Mormon, not even fellow LDS that champion Mesoamerica. On the other hand, on at least one occasion, we know that a city in the scriptural record contained a tower of some height. It was high enough to see into distant lands (Mosiah 19:6), and was situated near the temple (Mosiah 19:5), and we might conclude that it was easily accessible (not a wodden ladder) that Noah could get upon it faster than someone pursuing him (Mosiah 19:5-6). Interestingly enough, such a tower was found by the Spanish in Cuzco, next to the temple, 4 or 5 stories high, made of stone, with a stone stairwell, that was upon a hill overlooking the valley and two distant land areas that led into the valley. It’s location in the land in comparison to the First Landing site and the city of Zarahemla, as well as the narrow neck of land and the Land Northward, also meets the requirement of the Book of Mormon. Yet, though it matches the record precisely and verified by the Spanish when they arrived, no one sees that as proof of the Book of Mormon.
4. “It will be very difficult to link any known archaeological site with a Book of Mormon city.”
Response: It will be very difficult since the Book of Mormon Land of Promise was not located in Mesoamerica, or anywhere in Central America or North America, where people are looking for some type of link. It will not only be very difficult, it will be impossible.
5. “This is one reason archaeologists look for trash piles.  No one moves trash.  They are the best places to look for what happened at the site over the course of time.”
Response: No one is going to find evidence of the Book of Mormon in a trash site. Unless something shows up in the trash pile that reads: “Lehi slept here” or “This was the City of Nephi” or “Nephite troops camped here,” what kind of evidence is going to ever show a Book of Mormon connection more than already exists in the Western Hemisphere? After all, the scriptural record; speaks of temples, palaces, synagogues, stone walls, fortifications, and resorts, all of which have been found in Andean Peru; it speaks of metallurgy and textiles, which have been found in Andean Peru; ite speaks of being an island, which Andean Peru at one time was; it speaks of being oriented north-south, which Andean Peru is; it speaks of abundant precious metals—gold, silver, copper, etc., which Andean Peru has more than any other area in the Western Hemisphere; it speaks of a narrow neck of land, which Andean Peru truly has (26 miles across); it speaks of a narrow pass through the narrow neck, which Andean Peru has; it speaks of mountains, whose height is great, which Andean Peru has, taller than anywhere in the Western Hemisphere; it speaks of a major river running from the south to the north, which Andean Peru has; it speaks of this river running on the east of Zarahemla, which Andean Peru has; it speaks of ships heading northward  and westward out into the ocean from the west sea, which Andean Peru has the currents to allow this; it speaks of 20,000 or so Nephites going to a land “which was northward” from the Land of Promise that would have established a similar advanced civilization to the north, and there is such an ancient civilization north of Andean Peru.
The scriptural record also speaks of so many matches to the Andean Peru area, such as the uniqueness of two important but unknown animals, which have been found in Andean Peru; and of two unknown but important grains, which have been found in Andean Peru, that an unbiased person could only marvel at the connections—but none of this has caused anyone to see Andean Peru as the Book of Mormon Land of Promise.
6. “There is also no guarantee that Book of Mormon cities correspond to major Mayan ruins.  The Maya could have built cities in locations completely different than the Book of Mormon cities and the Book of Mormon cities could still be undiscovered.”
Response: Since the Book of Mormon Land of Promise was not located in Mesoamerica, and there is simply no reason to believe it was since there is no obvious connection between Mormon’s descriptions and Mesoamerica, even with all the convoluted thinking of John L. Sorenson and other Mesoamerican Theorists, it is obvious that no Book of Mormon cities correspond to any Mayan ruins or vica versa.
The trouble is, when people start writing about the events and places in the Book of Mormon, they tend to have a model site in mind—in this case, the author is attempting to prove his Mesoamerican model within  his article that appeared on the Book of Mormon website. Whenever anyone begins with a model in mind, all their writing is going to try to support that site, often requiring the changing or altering of the scriptural record, consciously or unconsciously, to fit the parameters of the model. It is not the method in trying to learn from the Book of Mormon—one must start with the scriptural account as the basis and let that take him where it leads. Otherwise, a person is bound to try and manipulate the meaning of the scriptural record to fit his or her own beliefs.

No comments:

Post a Comment