Monday, February 23, 2015

Letter of Arthuar Budvarson—Part III

Continuing with Arthur Budvarson’s six questions asked of the Smithsonian Institution about the Book of Mormon, their answers and our evaluation. The first question was covered in the last post. Here is the second question: 
2. “Does true archeological data of the New World agree with the subject matter of the Book of Mormon?”
    This is an interesting point. However, while the answer is a simple “yes,” from one viewpoint, it is a little more complex than that. First of all, when artifacts are taken from the ground, they are interpreted by those who study them, and since they do not come with descriptions or any history, these researchers simply give us an interpretation that makes sense to them. As an example, take the area of a written language.
Maya hieroglyphics are carved on some of the ruins in Mesoamerica, but they have no connection to the Nephite language
    There is evidence of literacy in Mesoamerica and none in South America; however, the writing found in Mesoamerica does not match anything even remotely resembling Hebrew or Reformed Egyptian. More importantly, we have a written record (Book of Mormon) of the period telling us why no writing evidence should be expected.
    Mormon tells us: “having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni” (Mormon 6:6, emphasis mine). In addition, Mormon states: “whatsoever lands we had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in, were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns, and villages, and cities were burned with fire; and thus three hundred and seventy and nine years passed away” (Mormon 5:5, emphasis mine).
    The point is, Mormon makes it quite clear that the Lamanites destroyed anything Nephite, especially any written record. And since the entire Nephite nation was annihilated by the Lamanites, all that was Nephite was destroyed—nothing would have survived the hatred the conquerors had toward the Nephites in their 1000-year civil war of annihilation. Think of what happened when the Spanish conquered the Maya in Mesoamerica—they burned almost every written record they found. Of the thousands that existed, only four have survived.
Ancient Mesoamerican sites are very well preserved, all constructed from stone
    And while writings were carved into the block walls in Mesoamerica, most of South American ancient buildings were of clay and adobe brick, which has not survived well enough to preserve any writing anyway, though  none would have survived the purges of the Lamanite destruction.
Ancient Nephite sites in South America did not preserve as well as those in Mesoamerica—if there had been any writing on the walls in South American buildings like in Mesoamerica, they did not survive the deterioration of the centuries
    What has survived and is of major concern to this question are the buildings and the numerous segments of history recorded in the scriptural record as well as the geographical settings described by Mormon. We have listed in these pages over the years showing the 20 main factors of scriptural descriptions that only matches the Andean area of South America, an area not addressed by either Budvarson’s questions and interest, or that of the Smithsonian, both of which addressed themselves solely to Mexico and Central America (for example, see the post: “So Where is the Land of Promise?” Parts 1 thru 12, posted between December 26, 2013 and January 7, 2014)
    The point being, that when archaeologists uncover a site like Pachacamac (25 miles southeast of Lima, Peru) that is considered by them to have been a religious center of a civilization that existed in Nephite times, they do not look to the Book of Mormon for any reference. Yet Pachacamac, which would have been the Nephite capitol of Zarahemla, is recognized by archaeologists as:
1. The most important area of indigenous peoples of the central Andes before the Inca period, dating back to occupancy of at least 400 B.C.;
2. Had a giant Temple (built of 50-million sun-dried bricks) of great significance and was considered the principal religious center of pre-Columbian Andes;
3. An enormous site covering several square miles, with a large population befitting a leading social center, many of the dwellings still remain;
4. Located on a promontory within easy walking distance of the ocean (West Sea) where the Mulekites would have landed and settled;
5. Northward from the area of the city of Nephi (Sacsayhuaman) from which Mosiah came before discovering Zarahemla;
6. There are at least 17 pyramids, suggesting a huge administrative and government center;
7. The temple and site were a religious center honoring Pacha Kamaq, the creator god (“Earth maker”), the god of the area for may centuries;
8. Considered the central city of the kingdom;
9. The site attracted visitors from all over the Andean area during Nephite times;
10. There were wide streets within the site recently unearthed, suggesting much traffic and activity.
The ancient city of Pachacamac outside Lima, Peru. During Nephite times it was the social, religious and government center of the Andean area and matches much of what we know about the ancient Nephite capital of Zarahemla
    The materials used and the construction techniques are considered very complex for the time period. Stone walls served as base for the amazing structures made of "adobitos" (small adobe bricks). Investigation, excavation and restoration is still ongoing at the Archaeological Complex of Pachacamac as more areas and greater understanding of the site are discovered.
    The point is, all of this fits the Nephite period perfectly, the description and place in Nephite history of Zarahemla as the nation's capital, and the center of Nephite activity for hundreds of years, yet none of the archaeologists who discovered and restored the site, like Bandelier, Middendorf, Uhle, Glesecke, Tello, Strong Corbett and Borja, would ever think to make any attempt to match one to the other.
    As Amaleki tells us: “And they journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, into the land where Mosiah discovered them; and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:16, emphasis mine). To one well acquainted to the Book of Mormon and the story of the Mulekites, the landing site along the coast of South America (see the book Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica) with a settlement on the bluff overlooking the coast within easy walking distance of their landing makes a lot of sense. To an archaeologist, it is not connected in any way. Yet, the entire circumstances surrounding the history of Pachacamac verifies the scriptural record of that city and it fits well into the information listed.
The landing site of the Mulekites would have been along the coast, and their settlement within easy walking distance from their landing—this bluff overlooking the coast, and the city that dates to about that time make a reasonable match
    Thus, there are two problems in making the claim that “true archeological data of the New World agree with the subject matter of the Book of Mormon.”
    The first is that, while all sorts of matches can be found, the problem lies not in finding them, but in the archaeologist recognizing the matches to that of the Book of Mormon. Few archaeologists outside the Church would even know much about the Book of Mormon, let alone be searching for matching evidence. It is not that matches and verification cannot be found—the problem lies in archaeological data being used for that purpose by the archaeologist. And that is simply not likely, which renders the question moot before it is even asked.
    The second, and most critical problem, is to stop using Mesoamerica as the criteria or basis for finding archaeological evidence. As Robert’s answer to Budvarson’s second question was a resounding “no,” his statement in support of this was: “the absence of iron, steel, brass, gold and silver coins, metal, swords breastplates, arm shields, armor, horses and chariots, and silk, in pre-colonial sites of ancient America,” which is true for Mesoamerica! However, all of these are found in Andean South America, dating back to Jaredite and Nephite times. Obviously, Budvarson needed to look to the location where that evidence is boundless, and that is in the Andean area of South America--not Mesoamerica!


  1. Very good points. I continue to appreciate your work on this blog. I have read LNSM, but do not remember if it suggest a river to match the BoM Sidon River. Rio Montaro?

  2. Thank you for your comment. To answer your question, the idea of the Sidon River location and connection with an existing river is not directly addressed in the book, Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica, and while I have avoided over the years trying to place Book of Mormon sites with existing sites (except in rare circumstances like Sacsayhuaman for the City of Nephi, and Pachacamac for the City of Zarahemla, and a few others because of obvious associations), since numerous things like mountains and rivers could have (and did) drastically change during the destruction outlined in 3 Nephi, you might be interested in a nine-part series on the Sidon River we posted here beginning with Thursday, September 4, 2014 “In Search of the Sidon River-Part I,” and continuing through Friday, September 12, 2014. There was also, among other comments posted, “Answers to Reader’s Comments, Comment #1, posted Sunday, December 14, 2014. If any of these do not answer your question, please let me know.