Monday, November 10, 2014

Comments from Readers – Part IV

We continue to have comments, questions and criticisms being sent in from readers of our blog. Here are a few more with our responses. 
    Comment #1 “I read this recently, and thought you might find it interesting: ‘In the last 150 years no two Mesoamerican theorists have agreed on the location of the Book of Mormon lands. The primary reason for this is because, even though wonderful discoveries have been made in that area, none of the territories outlined so far fit the geographical descriptions of the Book of Mormon lands sufficiently to allow scholars to come to an agreement on any one location. Thus, it becomes more and more apparent that a change in our approach to the mystery surround the whereabouts of those lands occupied by the Nephites and Jaredites must be considered.’” Eldwin A.
    Response: If I am not mistaken that was written by Phyllis Carol Olive in her book The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon. She obviously wrote that to try and show that all the fuss over Mesoamerica had never led to a solution to the location of the Land of Promise—which I would totally agree; however, there our agreement ends, since she champions the Great Lakes area, which we have written about in these posts several times to show how that area does not fit Mormon’s descriptions in any way. It might be noted, at the same time, that there are several different theories regarding her Great Lakes areas, then you can throw in the Heartland theory and the Easter U.S. theories. There seems to be as many of those as there are Mesoamerican theories.
    My response to the quote you sent, and her comment on the subject is, why not try basing research, studies and choices solely on the scriptural record? The new approach we need to consider is—follow Nephi’s description of 1) how he arrived at the Land of Promise, and 2) what he found there where he landed! Until one finds a match to those two points, further investigation is meaningless.
    Comment #2: “You wrote about the ‘Stature of the Jaredites.’ I’ve been reading a lot about the burial mounds here in the Midwest. I am from Michigan so we see them every now and then. They’ve found many very large skeletons inside them. From 7’ to 11’ tall. I wonder if there is any relation there with the Jaredites” Todd P.
    Response: There are thousands of such mounds all over the world as we have written and shown pictures of in our posts over the years. However, mounds are not indicative or indigenous of Israel, nor of Egypt, and whether or not the Nephites would have known to make such things is both questionable and improbable. Besides, most of the mounds uncovered to-date were burial sites, filled with burial items. A few of the bigger mounds may well have been the base of huts and even a temple as some archaeologists claim, though that is mere speculation since there are no remains of wood structures to verify such. Also, serpentine mounds seem to make little sense when compared with Nephite construction. And there are no stone walls, buildings or edifices in the areas you mention that even come close to matching Mormon’s description of those written about in Alma.
Top Left: Mound in Stabelhøje, Denmark, one of hundreds in the country; Top Right: Mounds from the 4000-year old Dimun civilization in Bahrain; Bottom Left: Bokcheon-dong Mounds, Busan, South Korea—over 100 mounds date to the 6th century; Bottom Right: Knowth Passage Mound in Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland, dated to 2500 B.C.
    The Hopewell and Mississippi mound sites in the U.S. number 23, with 12 in the Adena and Hopewell culture, and 11 in the Mississippi culture. All but one mound dates no earlier than 250 B.C., with most dating no earlier than 100 B.C., with 15 of the 23 dating from the A.D. period. They are all listed as native-American burial mounds. In Illinois among the Woodland culture are 96 mounds, all considered burial mounds, and date from about 2000 years ago (A.D. period). There are 49 mounds in the state of Mississippi; 106 in Ohio; 22 each in Florida and Kentucky; 14 in Missouri; and numerous others in just about every state in the union. The vast majority of these are small burial mounds, and others, like the Serpent Mound, evidently designed simply for appearance.
Top: Watson Brake; Bottom: Poverty Point. There is no question that an early people built such earth mounds, but one might wonder as to their purpose. The only explanation to-date is that they were burial mounds (like the Egyptians building pyramids). In any event, there is nothing about them that would suggest Jaredite or Nephite construction or involvement
    The three oldest culture mound builders are the Adena, Hopewell, and Mississippian, yet while the Adena culture is believed to be dated to 800 B.C. to 100 A.D., only one of their mound sites is dated earlier than 250 B.C. The Hopewell culture dates from 200 B.C., the Mississippi culture dates from 800 A.D. The famed Monks Mound at the Cahokia Mounds site in Illinois dates from 950 A.D. On the other hand, the Watson Brake site of 11 mounds from three feet to 25 feet tall, in Louisiana dates to 3400 B.C., which is 1000 years before the Flood, before the Jaredites, and 2800 years before the Nephites. Monte Sano Site mounds are dated to 4500 to 4200 B.C., again far beyond any possible connection to the Land of Promise. The same is true of Poverty Point in Louisiana (2500 B.C.). And again, the Mississippian culture, Coles Creek culture, Fort Ancient culture, Plaquemine culture, etc., all date well into the A.D. period.
    It would seem that these mounds have nothing to do with either the Jaredites or the Nephites and should not be used by desperate Heartland enthusiasts who want to pin down the Land of Promise in the United States.
    Comment #3: “In Lehi in the Promised Land: What did he Find?” written by Richard G. Grant, he says, “The most complete description of geography (really more of a collection of hints than description) is found in Alma chapter 22. In verse 28, Mormon speaks of the Lamanites as "spread through the wilderness . . . in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore." From this we learn that this "land of first inheritance" was on the western shore of the land inhabited by the Lamanites. The following verses make plain that this land was south of Zarahemla and Bountiful. Thus, this land of first inheritance, which was very close to where Lehi and his party landed, was in the southern part of these Book of Mormon lands, and on the west coast. Beyond this, there is no further specific information given in the record. However, there is much that can be deducted from a careful reading of all references to the geography of the land. And John Sorenson is a very careful reader.” What do you think?” Randy K.
    Response: The part about the western shore is fine. However, Grant goes on to write: “Dr. Sorenson, in agreement with most who have given careful scholarly consideration to this question, proposes a Book of Mormon location in Mesoamerica..” Now, if Sorenson is such a careful reader, why can’t he read north as north and not claim it means “west” as in the lay of Mesoamerica?
    Comment #4: “Maybe you have addressed this topic somewhere. On Bradley’s Map, it seems if lands once existed on the Caribbean tectonic plate.”
The Covino-Elieson map of a Land of Promise in the Caribbean Sea. Map showing site locations (black lettering added from the composite map, and red lettering and boundary line added to show the location of South America and the Caribbean Sea
    Response: Two things are involved here. First, is the map which shows a land mass in what is now the Caribbean Sea. While it is true that there are artifacts and even some ruins under this Sea, the tectonic plate that the Caribbean rest on is, as has been outlined in these pages in the past more fully, something like a teeter-totter, that is, when one end goes up, the other end goes down. This is because the Caribbean Plate borders is a mostly oceanic tectonic plate underlying Central America and the Caribbean Sea off the north coast of South America. It is roughly 1.2 million square miles in area, and borders the North American Plate, the South American Plate, the Nazca Plate and the Cocos Plate. These borders are regions of intense seismic activity, including frequent earthquakes, occasional tsuamis, and volcanic eruptions. Because of these pressures coming from constantly moving opposing directions, movement is not a simple process of one Plate being subducted beneath another Plate, but several Plates working at the same time
The Caribbean Plate and fault lines showing the pressures working in all directions
    This results in the eastern end of the Caribbean being raised, which it is at the present time, where we see Cuba, Haiti, and the chain of small islands circling down to the eastern mainland of Venezuela. This is the result of the uplift along the geologically complex southern boundary, the Caribbean Plate as it interacts with the South American Plate forming Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago (all on the Caribbean Plate), and islands off the coast of Venezuela (including the Lower Antilles and Colombia—tops of mountains once buried beneath he sea. On the other hand, those higher levels in the western end of the Caribbean have been submerged, along with whatever civilization that once occupied that land—now judged to have existed above the surface before the time of the Flood.
    The point being on all of this is that at no time in recorded history, or envisioned by geologists, was the Caribbean Plate so configured as to have a large land mass above the surface throughout the Caribbean Sea as is shown in the map above. One can, of course, speculate all they want, but facts should be anchored into something more concrete than an opinion.
(For more on this, see the 14-part series of posts, “Did the Land of Promise Span Two Continents?” Parts I thru XIV, dating from April 16-30 , 2012)

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