Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Look at a Mesoamericanist Rebuttal – Part X

In this final and concluding look at John R’s January 2014 rebuttal of our March 1, 2011 article series on Mesoamerica, we pick up where he, like most Mesoamericanists, lay claim to the Olmec as being the Jaredites as proof of the Mesoamerica Land of Promise. Much of this was discussed in the last post, but we continue here:  
The area of Soconusco is in the southeast corner of Chiapas, Mexico, along the Guatemala border. Obviously, this is far into the Mesoamericanists' Land Southward, where the Olmecs never settled according to the scriptural record
    As stated earlier, the Olmec, if they were Jaredites, would not have settled south of the narrow neck of land (east in your alignment). Nor can you hold on to the misconception that the Olmec settled in the north and moved south, since there are numerous indicators that a vigorous movement in the opposite direction—toward the north (actually west)—was going on at precisely this time, in which case the so-called Olmec influence must have been a native-born development emanating from Soconusco itself (along the southern coast of Chiapas near the Guatemala border in the Mesoamericanist’s Land Southward).
    In fact, according to Michael Blake and Michael D. Coe, all of the jadeite (Jade) and almost all the Obsidian found in the Olmec sites is from  Guatemalan sources, particularly from the piedmont region of southern Chiapas, often referred to as the Soconusco, and according to Raymond V. Sidrys and Frank Asaro, more specifically from the Guatemalan highlands (Tamumulco, El Chayal, Ixtepeque, and San Martin Jilotepeque)—For clarification, El Chayal and Ixtepeque are along the eastern border of Guatemala separating that country from Honduras.
Early peoples of the Americas considered jade more valuable than gold and silver. The Olmecs, the great sculptors of the pre-Columbian era, carved jades into delicate human forms and scary masks. Mayan kings and other royalty often went to their graves with jade suits, rings and necklaces. The living had their teeth inlaid with the colored gems; yet there is no mention of Jade or any precious stone like it in the scriptural record where gold, silver and copper are frequently identified
    “And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game” (Ether 10:21). It is interesting that the Jaredites never went into the Land Southward, except to hunt—“And in the days of Lib the poisonous serpents were destroyed. Wherefore they did go into the land southward, to hunt food for the people of the land, for the land was covered with animals of the forest. And Lib also himself became a great hunter” (Ether 10:19)—yet, here we have Olmec cities in the Land Southward, and they obtained their Jade and Obsidian from deep into the Land Southward, and their influence was all over the land Southward, and in fact, several Olmec-Mayan experts think the Olmec originated in what is the Mesoamericanists’ Land Southward.
    Not finished with this, though, is the fact that Izapa, along the Chiapas coast, was the extension of the Olmec civilization and prior to the Maya, having major centers from 1500 B.C. that lasted for about 1000 years. Izapa is on the Chiapas, Mexico-Guatemala border, almost 400 miles south (actually east) of Mesoamericanists’ narrow neck of land.
In the southwest corner of Chiapas, both Soconusco and Izapa were early Olmec sites. Both areas are about 400 miles from the Narrow Neck and clearly in opposition to Ether’s record stating the Jaredites never occupied the Land Southward, but kept it as a reserve for hunting
    Now we come to the famous Mexican archaeologist Ignacio Bernal, in his The Olmec World (University California Press, 1969), “The climatic station of Villahermosa is typical of the Gulf coastal plain of eastern Mexico, the region Bernal has termed the "Olmec metropolitan area,” and Nigel Davies, the eminent British writer and archeologist maintains that the Olmec eventually were found all over Mesoamerica, saying “they were present in almost every region.” It is in Villahermosa that the Parque—Museo de La Venta, the Olmec Archaeological Park and museum is located (this is different from the La Venta Archaeological Site near Huimanguillo—which are merely plastic reproductions of the original stone carvings), considered the heart of the Olmec metropolitan area.
Villahermosa is well within the area of the Mesoamericanists Land Southward, yet another indication of the difference between the Olmecs as Jaredites and the Ether record of the Jaredites
    Another consideration is that M. D. Coe, who has been involved in and written on both the Olmec and Maya, in his Olmec Jaguar and Olmec Kings (Dumbarton Oaks, 1972) said that “the beliefs of the Maya were of Olmec origin and that the pre-Maya were Olmecs.” However, in the scriptural record, we find that the Nephites were completely unaware of the Jaredite civilization until king Mosiah I interpreted Coriantumr’s writing the last Jaredite survivor carved on a large stone kept by the people of Zarahemla (the Mulekites), nor can it be said they were influenced or knew the Jaredites, for the people of Zarahemla had no idea who Coriantumr was nor his people until Mosiah, around 200 B.C., interpreted the writing (Omni 1:20-22).
    Thus, it cannot be claimed that the Olmec influenced and were the forerunners of the Nephites or the Mulekites, which they would have to be if Mesoamerica was Lehi’s landing site as you and other Mesoamericanists claim.
    In addition, Brainerd and Sharer “found colonial Olmec at Maya sites,” and Schele and Freidel believed that “the monumental structures of the Maya were derived from Olmec prototypes,” and Olmec jaguar masks were found under Mayan pyramids (two in Guatemala and one in Belize) far into their Nephite lands south (actually east) of their narrow neck of land, all showing a definite interaction between Olmec and Maya, yet the Jaredites were completely gone by the time Mosiah learned of the Jaredites, and again, were never in the Land Southward, and the Mulekites knew only of Coriantumr, who they knew nothing about and not until Mosiah interpreted the stone Coriantumr wrote upon did they know who he was and who his people were (Omni 1:20-22).
Yellow Arrow: Isthmus of Tehuantepec; Blue Line: the Narrow Neck—making all the lands to the east (right) the Mesoamericanists’ Land Southward; White Arrow: the modern country of Belize; Red Arrow: Guatemala. As can be seen, these areas are deep into their Land Southward contrary to the scriptural record
    In fact, showing how far off from the scriptural record the Mesoamericanist is regarding the Olmec being the Jaredites, we find that “dominating Central America over a millennium before the Mayans and over two millennium before the Aztecs were present in Central America a people called the Olmecs reigned supreme. Their civilization reigned over Mexico's Yucatan peninsula and their influence extended throughout Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.”
Yellow Arrow: Isthmus of Tehuantepec; Blue Line: the Narrow Neck; White Arrow: Honduras; Red Arrow: El Salvador; Green Arrow: Nicaragua and further is Costa Rica. As can be seen, these areas are very deep into their Land Southward, 1200 miles to Costa Rica where the Olmecs were, contrary to the scriptural record
    This inarguably places the Olmec deep in the Mesoamerican Land Southward, contrary to the scriptural record, which should in and of itself eliminate Mesoamerica as a possible Land of Promise site.
    In addition, as found in Olmecs: A Mesoamerican Wonder by Kimberly Lavin, “The Olmec were believed to be in existence during the Preclassic era, from 1200 - 100 B.C. This Indian group is thought to be the oldest of the Mesoamericans, that we know. The Olmecs had their home among three major cities: La Venta in Tabasco, Laguna de los Cerros in Veracruz, and San Lorenzo in Tenochtitlan. The Olmec influence went much furthur though. It spread through Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, and El Salvador.”
    In fact, one of the Olmec colossal heads was found in the foothills of the Guatemala coast at Takalik Abaj  (John Graham, Olmec Diffusion: a Sculptural View from Pacific Guatemala, Cambridge University, 1989, pp 231-32), and David Hatcher Childress in his The Mystery of the Olmecs, states: “Olmec artifacts [have been] found along the Pacific coast of Chiapas and Guatemala…it is now known that the Land [of the Olmec] spread from the Central Valley to the La Venta area and to the Pacific coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and even further south along the Pacific into Guatemala to El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.” He also wrote: “While we have found small statuettes of Olmec figures in Costa Rica, it is in Guatemala that the largest statues and stone heads are to be found. Some of these rival the colossal heads found on the Gulf Coast in sheer size and skill of workmanship.” To make sure this is understood, all of Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, etc., are in the Mesoamericanists' Land Southward--contrary to the scriptural record.
Charles Gallenkamp in his Mayas: The Riddle and Rediscovery of a Lost Civilization, states: “Olmec culture is known mainly from three important ruins: La Venta, Tres Zapotes, and San Lorenso…their influence was extremely widespread. Unmistakably Olmec Traits are found in archaeological sites extending from the Valley of Mexico to El Salvador, and some authorities view the Olmec as a kind of ‘Mother Culture’ that played a vital role in stimulating the Rise of Civilization throughout the area.”
    Lynn V. Foster, in his A Brief History of Central America writes about the Olmec in the Guatemala highlands as well as being in Chiapas and Oaxaca, all south (east) of the Mesoamericanists’ narrow neck of land—that is, in their Land Southward. And a recent analysis made to the 4th Offering of La Venta (a treasure reunited in the Museum of National Anthropology), coordinated by Diana Magalolni and Laura Filloy, have allowed investigators to discover evidence suggesting that the ancient Olmec civilization, that flourished in the Gulf of Mexico, reached a territorial and commercial expansion much bigger than what had been originally thought, since it’s believed they were in contact with Guatemala, Guerrero and Oaxaca--which would b in the Land Southward.
    We could go on with numerous commentaries by archaeologists and anthropologists regarding the presence of Olmec far to the east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (the Mesoamericanists’ Land Southwasrd), but the point should be well made here. The Olmec could not have been the Jaredites, for the scriptural record makes it quite clear that they never settled in the Land Southward, nor is there any record of any interaction between the Jaredites and the other groups in the scriptural record.
    Mesoamerica is simply not the Land of Promise of the Book of Mormon!

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