Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Great Mesoamerican Hoax - Part I

Mormon makes it very clear that to the very south of the Land of Promise was the Land of Nephi, and that the Land of Zarahemla was to the north of that, with a narrow strip of wilderness between them (Alma 22:27). And from: “The Land of Zarahemla…and on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful…and it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed” (Alma 22:28-30).
The trouble is, that the entire Mesoamerican model, no matter whose model it is, does not agree with the above scriptures, which Mormon inserted into Alma’s record so we, the future reader, would better understand the layout of the Land of Promise.
Mesoamerica runs east and west and there is absolutely no way to alter, change or justify that with Mormon’s north south descriptions
Now there are certain things that cannot be denied about Mesoamerica, which includes southern Mexico, Yucatan, Guatemala, Belize, western El Salvador and western Honduras—and that is that this land runs from east to west! Which automatically means that the Gulf of Mexico is the North Sea, not the East Sea that Mesoamerican Theorists try to claim, and the Pacific Ocean becomes the South Sea, not the West Sea as the theorists also claim.
And even more importantly, the land covering where most of the Book of Mormon took place, from Zarahemla to Desolation (Books of Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, 3 Nephi—325 pages out of 531), is completely due east and west in Mesoameria, though Mormon tells us that Desolation is to the north of Bountiful which is to the north of Zarahemla. Obviously Mesoamerica lies in directions that are contrary to the scriptural record and Mormon’s carefully written insertion.
This East Sea (the Caribbean Sea) does not run past the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, nor is there a West Sea to run past these two lands as Mormon tells us, no matter how much Mesoamerican Theorists try to mislabel directions, there simply is no match
To try and compensate for this very obvious disagreement between Mesoamerica’s diretions and Mormon’s descriptions, John L. Sorenson, in his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, which led to the numerous other writings and maps about Mesoamerica being the location for the Book of Mormon Land of Promise, spends several pages trying to show that the Nephites did not understand cardinal compass points, and had skewed their directional system by 90º. That is, Sorenson, and those who followed, tell us that the Nephites thought West was North, and South was East, without any rationale whatsoever, and in direct disagreement with the scriptural record.
So who do we believe? Do we believe Mormon who lived in both the Land Northward and the Land Southward, and fought battles with the Lamanites all across the Land of Promise, and who had at his disposal all the Nephite records covering their entire 1000 year history? Or do we believe John L. Sorenson, an academic, who lives 1600+ years after Mormon, and who never knew a Nephite, a Lamanite, or anyone else from the Nephite period, and who only has a small record that contains only one-hundredth of the information available to Mormon, and who has had to alter, change, stretch, and outright ignore the record Mormon left us in order to justify his Mesoamerican model?
Did Nephi know cardinal compass directions? He tells us: “We traveled for the space of four days, nearly a south-southeast direction” (1 Nephi 16:13). Now south-southeast is not only a cardinal direction, it is also an ordinal direction, and one of the further eight compass divisions. That is, south-southeast is one of the 16 directions of the compass rose.
Left, the red circle on the compass rose shows South-Southeast, one of the 16 compass directions; Right: Lehi inspecting the Liahona
“We did again take our journey in the wilderness; and we did travel nearly eastward from that time forth” (1 Nephi 17:1). Thus, Nephi gives us a cardinal direction (east, south), an ordinal direction (southeast) and a further division (south-southeast). One would have to conclude, comparing those points with their travels down the east coast of the Red Sea, then across the desert toward the sea, that he knew exact compass points very well.
In addition, Nephi had the Liahona, which he called a “compass” (1 Nephi 18:12, 21; 2 Nephi 5:12). In fact, Alma tells us: “I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director—or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it… And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness” (Alma 37:38-39).
Now Sorenson comes along and tries to tell us that the Nephites did not know directions as we know them today. He writes: “The Book of Mormon writers talk about their geography in terms of ‘north’ or ‘northward’ and ‘south’ or ‘southward,’ while Mesoamerica seems skewed from those standard compass directions…how is this problem to be solved?...The Israelites of Palestine, in their most common mental framework, derived directions as though standing with backs to the sea, facing the desert. Yam ("sea") then meant "west," for the Mediterranean lay in that direction, while qedem ("fore") stood for "east." Then yamin ("right hand") meant "south," while semol ("left hand") denoted "north."
Despite Sorenson’s herculean effort to cloud the issue, it simply does not hold true, since Nephi, despite growing up at Jerusalem and knowing what Sorenson states, still knew the correct directions he stated, despite no longer having the sea to his back (it was now on his right hand), yet he was still facing the desert ahead, but he was not facing east, but south-southeast. And when they turned “nearly eastward,” he was in the middle of the desert with no sea to be seen in any direction—nothing but desert. Yet, he still knew the correct direction they headed. In addition, despite coming into the area of Bountiful from the west (traveling nearly eastward), with the sea (Irreantum) at their backs, they would be facing north, but Sorenson would have us believe they thought that would be east. Or stated differently, despite the fact that Nephi had been traveling eastward, once in Bountiful, he would think the east was westward, back the way he had been traveling?
Doesn’t anyone see the ridiculousness of Sorenson’s argument about directions?
And are we to believe, that despite knowing all sixteen directions on a compass rose, and having the Liahona or compass, that Nephi lost all sense of direction and when reaching the Land of Promise, with the Liahona in hand, put his back to the sea and said that north was actually east? And that everyone since then, including prophets who possessed the Liahona, had this compass at their disposal, and obviously would have known Nephi’s understanding of directions, something Mormon obviously knew and understood very well.
Nephi, standing at the white X where Mesoamericanists claim Lehi landed, with his back to the sea and facing northward, would have seen the Sun rising on his right hand, from the east
Despite all this attempt at confusion, there seems one very simple question to ask. When Nephi stood at his landing site in the Land of Promise, with his back to the sea, he would have been facing northward, and though Sorenson wants us to believe Nephi then thought north was east, where the sun rose each morning, what would he think when the sun came up on his right hand, a direction, according to Sorenson, he would have considered south. Would he not then have thought that east was to his right hand and made the adjustment away from thinking the sea was to the west? How stupid would a person have to be to believe that, though the sun had risen in the east all his life, that now, suddenly, the heavens had changed and the sun was now coming up in the south?
Simply put, there is no way the mis-aligned Mesoamerican area, which runs east and west, could possibly be considered the Land of Promise which ran north to south. Not even Sorenson with his pages of confused explanation, can change the meaning of the scriptural record.
(See the next post, “The Great Mesoamerican Hoax- Part II,” for more of this great hoax regarding Mesoamerica being the Land of Promise)

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