Friday, August 29, 2014

More on Sorenson--The Duplicitous Sales Job-Part I

We are continuing with John L. Sorenson’s book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, which is so extensively hyped by Mesoamericanists and Land of Promise Theorists, especially because of Sorenson’s reputation as the one-time Dean of Anthropology at BYU, and current status as Professor Emeritus, and referred to as the “Guru of Book of Mormon        Archaeology,” that it needs a reality check every so often to remind everyone of the enormous amount of errors made relative to the scriptural record.  
The previous thirty posts have been about the numerous errors and misrepresentations of the scriptural record by Sorenson’s allegations and sometimes outright fabrications in an effort to sell a location (theory) for Lehi’s Land of Promise that is far from factual, and in no way meets the numerous criteria found in Mormon’s descriptions.
    In these past posts, not only did we cover 23 scriptural passages (July 10 to August 6) that any sane individual would say needed to be matched by any Land of Promise claim, and that all 23 did match what exists in Andean Peru/Chile, but not in Mesoamerica (or elsewhere). Over the past three years we have written on these pages numerous times examples of how the scriptural record points out things found only in Andean Peru and nowhere else. We have shown how Mormon’s descriptions do not match anything in Mesoamerica, how the Isthmus of Tehuantepec could not be the narrow neck of land, how the directions the Nephites stated time and again were changed by Sorenson to comply with his Mesoamerican model—and the list goes on and on.
From December 26 of last year to January 7 of this year, we posted a list of 27 scriptures out of the Book of Mormon that do not match in any way Mesoamerica, but do match in every way Andean Peru. In our book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, we listed 65 scriptural or matching evidences found in Andean Peru and not found in Mesoamerica, and in our book Inaccuracies of Mesoasmerican and Other Theorists, we covered John L. Sorenson’s book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, showing the inaccuracy of 194 points over 500 pages that simply do not match the scriptural record, and often are contrary to it, or making up issues that are not found in the record, or deleting and ignoring points that are of which he disagrees.
    One can only consider this work by Sorenson, since he starts out ignoring Nephi’s accurate knowledge of compass directions, and Mormon’s continual use of these directions, by claiming the Jews used different compass directions than the rest of the world so he can insert an east-west map (Mesoamerica) instead of Mormon’s north-south map.
    Yet, at the same time, have the impudence to write: “We will want to be cautious, especially about any biases we might bring to the subject from modern conditions.” He then turns around and writes: “when we analyze Book of Mormon statements about geography and events, the ‘land of first inheritance’ can lie only on the west (Pacific) coast of Central America.” How is one unbiased when he translates scripture based on his own previously determined model? If Mesoamerica is not the Land of Promise, then obviously, all Sorenson’s extensive work is wasted and achieves nothing at all—therefore expect him to continually defend that determination even when the scriptural record tells him otherwise.
    Take for an example, his subtle insertion of the word “isthmus” into his work (p6) without it coming from the scriptural record or an interpretation in Joseph Smith’s time, or any pretense to defend his choice.
The Isthmus of Darien is a small isthmus between two continents and is extremely narrow compared to the width of the two adjoining land masses, the North and South American continents
    In 1828, “isthmus” was defined as “A neck or narrow slip of land by which two continents are connected, or by which a peninsula is united to the mainland.” Webster added in 1828: “But the word is applied to land of considerable extent, between seas; as the isthmus of Darien, which connects North and South America.” However, there is no reason to claim that Mormon’s description in Alma 22 is that of an isthmus (connecting two continents), or that the Land of Promise was a peninsula (Jacob said, and Nephi recorded, that they were on an island [2 Nephi 10:20], and Helaman wrote they had seas in four cardinal directions--north, south, east and west (Helaman 3:8), and Mormon described the Land Southward, i.e., the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi as being surrounded by water except for the narrow neck of land connecting to the Land Northward (Alma 22:32).
    However, to understand Sorenson’s thinking, we have to keep in mind that he has already determined that the Land of Promise is Mesoamerica, consequently, he feels completely free to describe Mesoamerica (with the Isthmus of Tehuantepec) that has only two seas and he can claim connects two continents (though Webster chose to use a much more prominent example, that of Panama).
    Sorenson also wrote “The most obvious requirement configuration concerns the basic outline of Book of Mormon lands,” then goes on to tell us that Mormon’s directions are all wrong, and actually, off by almost 90º because they do not match his Mesoamerica.
    He also tells us “that the land southward was nearly surrounded by water, but no clear statements are made about the relation of the land northward to adjacent seas.” 
    However, again Jacob called it an island (2 Nephi 10:20), and Helaman said the Land of Promise was filled from sea to sea in every direction, when he described the Nephite expansion in 46 B.C. as “they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that 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” (Haleman 3:8, emphasis mine).
    Actually, much of the Jaredite history takes place along the east seashore, from Omer and all his household, who departed out of the land which was near where the Jaredites landed on the western coast and settled an area they called Moron (Alma 22:30-31), which is where the kingdom was established and the king dwelt (Ether 7:5), which was near the narrow neck of land in the land the Nephites called Desolation (Ether 7:6), and which was referred to as the land of their first inheirtance (Ether 7:16). When the Lord warned Omer to leave Moron, he departed out of the land, and “came over to the hill Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, to a place called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent” (Ether 9:3) to the final battles of Coriantumr and Lib (Ether 14:12-13), and his battle with Shiz where he pursued him “eastward, even to the borders by the seashore” (Ether 14:26) after fighting in the northern land at the waters of Ripliancum, which, interpreted means “large, or to exceed all” (Ether 15:8), which sounds like a very large sea in the north.
    The point here is when Sorenson claims there are no clear statements made about the relation of the land northward to the adjacent seas, he is trying to make his case for Mesoamerica to show that it is not an island, but a peninsula or an isthmus, when it is an island. Even the Land Northward seems to be surrounded by water from Moroni’s descriptions.
    So what kind of product are we being sold here? How about a Land of Promise that is totally out of shape to the many directions Mormon gives us, without a really narrow neck of land between the two main land masses, and one where there is no sea that divides the land, which Ether tells us there is one, and that it is the location of the narrow neck of land where they built a great city (Ether 10:20).
Sorenson also wrote: “As my knowledge of archaeology, history and languages deepened,” which caused him not to turn to the scriptural record to find the answers, but to the sectarian history of “key Spanish records (of) Bishop Diego de Landa's account of Yucatan and Father Bernardino de Sahagun's superb books about central Mexico.” To Sorenson, man’s records were evidently more important than God’s—or at least on the same level.
Sorenson also wrote: “Jakeman, Nibley and Sperry led me to understand that the Book of Mormon was not only a religious resource but also a challenging intellectual and historical puzzle.”

    Now nowhere in the numerous writings of the prophets or general authorities is the suggestion made that the Book of Mormon is an intellectual puzzle. Not even Neal A. Maxwell, with his outstanding intellect, ever suggested such a thing. Nor can we say that the Book of Mormon is an historical puzzle for it is not a history text, nor a geography text, nor an academic text. It is what Joseph Smith called it, “the most perfect book on earth, the keystone of our religion.”
    The word “keystone” means “the fastening stone” something that “binds the work.” That is, the book binds (ties together) the work of the Church, the gospel, the doctrines of salvation. It is not, and never was, a book to be understood intellectually, but spiritually. Nor is it a puzzle, for the Lord said that he speaks to man in man’s own language for man’s understanding. Thus, the Book of Mormon is not a “religious resource,” but the foundation of our religion.
    The problem is, when you believe you are solving a puzzle, you look “beyond the mark” and try to solve problems that do not exist. The scriptural record was meant to be read by the average layman, with an average intellect, and with an average understanding. To make it more is to inaccurately portray the very purpose of the work.

No comments:

Post a Comment