Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Problem with Isolation – Part I

It is difficult to reconcile a viewpoint when that viewpoint is held in segmented parts. In this case, the problem with Mesoamericanists is they isolate themselves in their thinking, i.e., that is, they see each individual subject as a separate subject and make no effort to connect it to the overall “history” or events of the Book of Mormon surrounding their subject. 
   Take, for instance, the case of John L. Sorenson’s remark in his article Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient America and Its Scripture, September 1984. No doubt considering this a support of his view that Mesoamerica was the location of the Land of Promise, he accomplishes just the opposite, showing us the dates involved eliminate that view.
    In his article, he states: “Until recently, the prevailing picture of Mesoamerica was that only peaceful societies existed in the climactic Classic era, exemplified by the spectacular Maya and Teotihuacan ruins dating from about A.D. 300 to 800.”
Top: Teotihuacan, a huge city covering 11.5 square miles without military or defensive capability of any kind; Bottom: The Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest pyramid in the world after the Great Pyramid of Cholula and the Great pyramid of Giza
    He goes on to write that with this renewed view, archaeology shows that Mesoamericans were involved in war and building fortresses, moats, etc., consistent with the “history” of the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon; however, he uses an interesting date of an extensive and very energetic building program that would have taken an enormous amount of time to complete at a time when there is no possible way the Nephites would have been involved in building.
    According to him, Teotihuacan ruins date to 300 B.C., and it is claimed that the city reached its peak in 450 A.D., when it was considered the center of a powerful culture whose influence extended trough much of the Mesoamerican region, with a population of 150,000 people over an 11.5 square miles, though some historians claim it had 250,000. It also contained people from all over Mesoamerica, including Guatemala. Noticeably absent from the city, however, are fortifications and military structures. In fact, it was the center of industry, home to many potters, jewelers, and craftsmen, and known for producing a great number of obsidian artifacts. Inscriptions from Maya cities show that Teotihuacan nobility traveled to, and perhaps conquered, local rulers as far away as Honduras (which is far to the east—or south in Mesoamerican Land of Promise directions). Murals adorn the walls of the numerous structures.
As can be seen in this panorama, there are not outer walls, nor fortifications, no towers all across this flat land that would be open to attack and no way to defend
    One of the first great cities of the Western Hemisphere, or more accurately of Mesoamerica, since Andean Peru has much older and much larger city complexes and fortresses, 30 miles from Mexico City in what would be the Land Northward in the Mesoamerican Land of Promise—in fact, so far northward that it would have been at the boundary of that area as described in the scriptural record, yet Teotihuacan is one of the most powerful cultural centers in Mesoamerica, controlling much of the region and beyond. Nor did it have any military structures, such as walls, towers, satellite early-warning sites of any kind, resorts or outposts.
    The city’s urban plan integrated natural elements of the Teotihuacan Valley, such as the San Juan River, whose course was altered to cross the single main street, which is lined with monumental buildings and complexes, from which the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, as well as the Great Compound with the Temple of Quetzalcoatl (also known as Temple of the Plumed Serpent) stand out.
One characteristic of the city’s civil and religious architecture is the "talud-tablero," which became a distinctive feature of this culture. Furthermore, a considerable number of buildings were decorated with wall paintings where elements of worldview and the environment of that time were materialized. The city is considered a model of urbanization and large-scale planning, which greatly influenced the conceptions of contemporary and subsequent cultures.
    Perhaps more than any other site, enormous archaeological work has been conducted at Teotihuacan, with the first surveys dating from 1864, and the first excavations from 1884. Certain monuments were restored from 1905 to 1910, such as the Pyramid of the Sun, for which its discoverer Leopoldo Batres arbitrarily reconstituted a fifth tier. Since 1962, archaeological research has been coordinated by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), which, while encouraging spectacular discoveries (Palacio de Quetzalmariposa, the cave under the Pyramid of the Sun), has instigated a more rigorous policy concerning identification and supervision of excavations in the immediate environs of the ceremonial zone.
    Yet, despite all that can be seen and has so far been excavated, Teotihuacan is not well known, with its origin and founding uncertain, and its history based primarily upon colonial period texts, such as the 16th century A.D. Florentine Codex, by Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagùn
Since Teotihuacan is located near Mexico City in central Mexico, it is placed in Sorenson’s map in the far northern reaches of the Land of Promise, right in the midst of the fighting of the final battles between the Nephites and the Lamanites
    So with this in mind, let us return to Sorenson’s claim that this site, being part of the Land of Promise and of Nephite origin, dates to a beginning of 300 A.D. and lasting until about 800 A.D. Now, keeping in mind its location, at the far northern reaches of the Land Northward, its size, and place of immense importance and leadership within the Land of Promise area, how realistic does this fit into the scriptural record and what was going on in this area at the time according to the Book of Mormon events.
1. Mormon left the Land Northward with his father about 20 years into the building of this massive site;
2. While a huge investment in resources, money and manpower was being used to build this complex, a war broke out 26 years into the building of the site;
3. The land was filled with sorceries and witchcrafts and magics with Satan running rampant with evil upon all the face of the land (Mormon 1:19);
4. The Nephites in the Land Southward put together a very large army to battle the Lamanites in a war which began around the waters of Sidon (Mormon 1:10);
5. The Lamanite army was so large, it frightened the Nephites who began retreating toward the north countries (Mormon 2:3);
6. 27 years into the building of the city, the Nephites were hard pressed for manpower as they reinforced the defenses of the city of Angola;
(See the next post, “The Problem with Isolation – Part II,” for more behind the thought that while Mesoamericanists talk about events of the Book of Mormon, they fail to connect the dots and see how fallacious their views are when it comes to the real world)

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