Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Fallacy of Seven Matching Points – Part IV

A reader sent me a copy of Joseph Warren Grammer’s work Book of Mormon Evicdences Revisited (2009), containing 14 chapters and 3 appendices. Much of his first five so-called “matching point” was covered in the previous post. In this post we look at his final two "matching points."
Zion’s Camp set out from Kirtland, Ohio to Clay County, Missouri, during May and June of 1834 in an attempt to gain lost land from which the Saints had been expelled by non-Mormon settlers
    Point Six (cont): Grammer: “Most of what we know of this experience came from personal journals kept by a few members of those, present at the time, who mentioned these ancient remains. It is mentioned that Zelph was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea (lake Ontario) to the Rocky mountains. This is the same geographic area known to be the boundaries of the Hopewell people, as well as the Nephite civilization of the Book of Mormon.”
    Response: Since Joseph Smith was writing, speaking or discussing this, it is very unlikely that he would have considered Lake Ontario a Sea when it was called a lake in his day, and the Eastern Sea was known as the Atlantic Ocean.
Simply looking at the geographic layout of the country involved, Joseph and Zion’s Camp left Kirtland, Ohio and traveled southwest toward Clay Co., Missouri. Along the way in Illinois, they encountered the Zelph Hill, and at that point, Joseph would never have thought of Lake Ontaior, far to the northeast, and as small as it is in comparison, as the Eastern Sea; however, the Atlantic Ocean would have certainly served as an eastern boundary to a sphere of influence that stretched from the Rocky Mountains (are of Utah) eastward. It is a lack of scholarly effort that causes Grammer to insert Lake Ontario as an eastern boundary to match his own thinking and not the facts involved
    In fact, in some of the journals where this event is located, the term “from the Atlantic Ocean” is used more than once. Again, it is fallacious to insert one’s own opinion into an earlier statement by another as though that is what was meant.
    Point Seven: Grammer: “We know that Physically, the Adena people were unusually tall and powerfully built, with women over six feet tall and men approaching heights of seven feet, as was the remains of the mysterious mummies entombed in a cement-type sepulcher that were about eight to nine feet in length, accompanied by various weapons and tools of copper, and metal tablets of various sizes."
    Response: First, there have been numerous stories of large people of antiquity. There is a legend of such, including bones, stone furniture, etc., in the area of La Puntilla, Ecuador, South America, as well as elsewhere. Unfortunately, finding some skeletons does not make a proof positive of anything.
    Second, according to Webb and Snow, “Skeletons of the Adena people cataloged, the average height of a man was considerably less than six feet (168.0 cm or about 5'6"), and the women were proportionally smaller (158.8 cm or about 5'3"). But there were also numbers of burials catering to a special class of individuals, wherein the skeletal length-of six feet was not uncommon.” So while on one hand relatively fewer tall skeletons were discovered by academic archaeological efforts in the last century, on the other enough were found to give rise to special theories concerning these people.
    Don Dragoo in his work Mounds for the Dead, writes: “Two outstanding traits have been noted repeatedly for this group. One is the protruding and massive chin often with prominent bilateral. The second is the large size of many of the males and some of the females. A male of six feet was common and some individuals approaching seven feet in height have been found ... Not only were these Adena people tall, but also the massiveness of the bones indicates powerfully built individuals. The head was generally big with a large cranial capacity.”
    Thus we can say that a few of the Adena people were the size of some athletes of our day, say 6'6” to 6'10”, while it was common to find them 6’0” tall.
    Robert Silverberg in his The Mound Builders, writes: “Perhaps there was a small elite of round-headed giants dominating and ruling an existing long-headed Ohio Valley population.” Consequently, we can say that among the Adena people were a few larger people than norm, those larger people were about the size of Americans of our day, with some taller and larger than others. While Grammer might want to labeled them “giants,” it should also be noted that they were among a small minority, and nowhere in the record of the Jaredites does such an abnormality of a few people show up as being different from others, or that there was any other population in the promised land when they arrived.
    Again, such lack of scholarly effort does not suggest in the slightest a match between Grammer’s speculative writing and the scriptural record.
To make sure we understand these mounds, the top photo (overall view) and the one on the left (height view) is of the winding serpent mound near Peebles, Ohio, built by the Adena and later Hopewell Cultures, is nothing more than a burial mound. Inside, (right) at the serpent’s coil where there is a paved path over the top of the earthwork is the cross section of the burial of six people inside. Stated different, though elaborate, we are looking at a burial mound, covering 1348 feet in length, only three foot high, and claimed to have been built either around 1200 B.C. or 1070 A.D., which is a very controversial subject to scholars today
    As for the overall information presented in his book, not one of Grammer’s seven “matching points” is based on the scriptural record—in fact not one scripture is cited—he just assumes he is right and makes no effort to show a scriptural base. In the End Notes following Grammer’s seven matching points, not one scripture is listed, only eight webpages.
    And since he wants to “capsulate these seven very interesting comparisons between both the Adena and Hopewell cultures, and the Book of Mormon’s Jaredite and Nephite civilizations,” we will comply:
    1. The time period of the Book of Mormon Jaredites corresponding exactly to the Adena time period (Adena: 1000 B.C. - 1 A.D. compared to Jaredite: 2243-2004 B.C. - about 130 B.C.);
    Response: The dates are off more than 1000 years, with no rationale reason why such a huge gap exists.
    2. The time period of the Book of Mormon Nephites corresponding exactly to the Hopewell time period (Hopewell: 200 B.C. - 400 A.D. compared to Nephite: 600 B.C. - 421 A.D.);
    Response: Again, the time period is off. In this case, about 250 years.
    3. The end of the Adena culture overlapped the beginning of the Hopewell culture; just as the Jaredite civilization overlapped the Nephite civilization;
    Response: There is no scriptural reference to show that this is so. The scriptural record does not say there was an overlap.
    4. The Hopewell and Adena people both built gigantic mounds and earthen enclosures, as did the Nephites and Jaredites;
    Response: There is no reference anywhere in the scriptural record to the Nephites or Jaredites building “mounds and earthen enclosures” other than defensive walls, which were mostly stone.
    5. The Hopewell people did not use stone in building their dwellings, but did use stone in some of their mounds, as did the Nephites;
    Response: The Nephites did not build mounds, did not use stones in any type of mound, but built defensive walls of stone to use as a deterent against Lamanite attack. As for building with stone there are several comments about walls that men walked upon, Nephi and Sam came from Jerusalem and understood how the Jews built (out of stone) and Nephi taught his people how to build.
    6. The Hopewell culture spread from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, from North Dakota to Florida, and from Yellowstone and the Rockies to the Appalachians of Virginia, as did that of the Nephite civilization;
    Response: There is no scriptural reference that the Nephites occupied a land mass equal to about half the size of the present contiguous United States.
    7. The Adena people were unusually tall and powerfully built, as were the remains of the mysterious mummies entombed in a cement-type sepulcher found in the Rockies.
    Response: Ether mentioned that the Jaredites were large and powerful men, but there is no reason to believe he was talking about eight or nine foot tall giants.
    Grammer: The similarities of the seven points mentioned above were not known when the Book of Mormon was first published. How in the world could such an under-educated young man as Joseph Smith come up with such comparative resemblance?
    Joseph Smith’s credential are not in question here—only Grammer’s use of his own ideas passed off as scripturally-based “matching points,” all of which are seriously in error, and border on the fallacious intent to deceive.
    Grammer: Could all of these likenesses be simply coincidental, or does Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have something more going for them than most people are willing to accept?
    The Book of Mormon stands on its own and requires no aggrandizement to make it sound more accurate. If one is going to use matching points and show the greatness of Joseph Smith’s achievement, then one should confine himself to scriptures and both cite and discuss those scriptures of the Book of Mormon and what they mean or how they show the record’s complete accuracy. 
    Such a work as Grammer’s is far from scholarly and does more harm in trying to point out the accuracy of the Book of Mormon than any benefit from  his writing. Perhaps in the future, Grammer, and all other Theorists would be better served if they limited their remarks to what can be validataed by the Book of Mormon and not their own wild, fanciful, and unsupported viewpoints.

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