Saturday, August 24, 2013

Manipulating the Scriptural Record for Mesoamerica – Part II

Continuing with the last post regarding the manipulation of the scriptural record to meet the Mesoamerican model, rather than find a model that fits the scripture. The first two match requirements stated by John E. Clark on the Neal A. Maxwell website were covered in the last post. This post covers the next two.
3) Its lands were flanked by "seas." First of all, the word “flanked” means “a lateral part or side,” “the right or left side,” “something on each side.” Consequently, as Mesoamerican Theorists always do, they try to make something agree with their model, even if it means changing the meaning or even substituting words for those in the scriptural record, as this one does. Secondly, the scriptures make no comment about the Land of Promise being flanked by seas. In Helaman we find that there were four seas, “they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8). It is obvious in this scriptural statement that the purpose is to show that the entire Land of Promise was inhabited "from sea to sea" which can only mean that these seas were at the "four corners" or completely around the Land of Promise. As for Clark's statement, at best, one might suggest he is ignorant of the meaning of that word, at worst, Clark is deliberately changing the meaning of the scriptural record to agree with his Mesoamerican model, which only has water on the right and left--or only flanked.
Mesoamerica has only two seas around it, one on the north and one on the south, thus it is “flanked” by seas; however, the Land of Promise has four seas, one on each of the four sides
4) Its lands were small. This is another of the Mesoamerican Theorists pet points. To match their model, the area of the Land of Promise has to be small. John L. Sorenson trumpeted that point; however, nowhere in the Book of Mormon does it say the land area was small. In fact, Mormon in his comment about the distance to the northern part of the Land of Desolation, “And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken” (Alma 22:30--emphasis mine). He also indicated a land to the north of that area, which he called the “Land of Many Waters,” which included the Land of Cumorah and the Hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:4). Consequently, it does not sound “small.” However, we have no ability from the scriptural record to say it was small, large, or in between.
Thus we see that the four points Clark states simply cannot be supported by the Book of Mormon—though they obviously agree with his model of Mesoamerica, since that is what drove these four points. This merely shows the problems that exists with Mesoamerican Theorists—they are willing to state their model’s requirements and force the scriptural record to agree with it, by either changing, altering, or ignoring it in order for their model to appear as a match.
As an example:
1. The idea of a warm Land of Promise is driven by the fact that Mesoamerica is a tropical and sub-tropical land; however, the Land of Promise is not so described, nor is any specific climate attached to it other than the need for a Mediterranean climate for the seeds of Jersualem to have grown exceedingly;
2. The idea of the Land of Promise being narrow in at least one place is driven by the scriptural record; however, Mesoamerica, though its promoters claim it to have this narrow area, simply does not—140 miles is not even close to matching Mormon’s narrow description. In fact, Mesoamericanists claim that the narrow neck of land in the Land of Promise was an isthmus, but it was not so called—and that is driven by the fact that Mesoamerica has an isthmus (as shown in Joseph Allen’s comment: “The geographic configuration of the area must resemble an hourglass as a reflection of two land masses and a narrow neck of land (an isthmus) dividing the two);
3. The idea that the Land of Promise is flanked by seas is driven by the fact that Mesoamerica has water only on two sides, and is flanked by seas; however, the land of Promise is described in Helaman as have seas to the north and south to the east and west—not flanked, but surrounded by seas;
An example of a Land of Promise with four seas (Helaman 3:8), having a narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32), a sea that divides the land (Ether 10:20), and being an island (2 Nephi 10:20) is shown here,  not as an hourglass
4. The idea of a small Land of Promise is driven by the fact that Mesoamerica is a small area—it is not driven by any description in the scriptural record.
The real problem lies in the fact that non-members and critics, as well as many members, are not persuaded by the flimsy and unsupported Mesoamerican model since it simply does not agree with the scriptural record. Consequently, the Mesoamerican Theorists, including FARMS and their implementing their model into the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and the Internet dictionary Wikipedia, so that the uninformed thinks that is the factual and supported location of the Land of Promise. This is neither scholarly nor honest. Nor does FARMS (now Neal A. Mawell Institute) give any credence to any model other than their own, though they claim to be interested in “American research for Mormon studies,” and were a foundation originally titled as such.
Another problem lies in self-serving Mesoamerican matching points that, while they might be stated or inferred in the Book of Mormon, are not realistic based on other scriptural record criteria. One such area is Joseph Allen’s point that: “The area must show evidence of a high-level written language that was in use during the Book of Mormon time period for the Nephites, Lamanites, and Mulekites.” First of all, the Mulekites did not have a written language; secondly, the Lamanites written language would have been the same as the Nephites, since that was what was taught to them around 130 B.C. (Mosiah 24:4), and as late as 374 A.D., Mormon and the Lamanite king were exchanging written epistles (Mormon 6:2-3); thirdly, Mormon tells us that the Lamanites would destroy any of their records, and since the records were written in Reformed Egyptian, unreadable to the Lamanites, they would have destroyed anything written by the Nephites, therefore, for any written record to have survived the final destruction of the Nephites and the terrible wrath of the Lamanites toward anything Nephite, it would be unlikely any “high-level written language” survived.
Left: Mayan glyphs; Middle: Hebrew writing; Right: Reformed Egyptian. The Mayan language cannot be said it was a growth from either the Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian
And most importantly, the Mayan hieroglyphics and the Aztec codices, which were simply pictures, that survived the Spanish burnings, have absolutely no relationship to the Nephite language in any way, consequently, the Mayan and Aztec writings simply cannot be claimed as carryovers from the Nephites. As a result, it is not possible to use the hieroglyphics of Mesoamerica as a proof of Nephite writing, and it is very disingenuous to do so!

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