Thursday, December 31, 2015

America is the Land of Promise—But Where is America? – Part XV

Continuing with the previous posts regarding one of our readers sending us information of a blog and asking our opinion and comments. 
    Blog comment: “In the real world, it would be up to the resurrected Moroni to tell Joseph where the plates were buried—which he did—and then to make the connection to Cumorah, which, if Joseph and Cowdery and Brigham Young are to be believed, he also did.”
Response: The blog author keeps hammering away that Joseph Smith made a connection between the hill Cumorah in the scriptural record and the hill in New York “where the plates were buried,” but there is no written proof of this or anything to substantiate it. It is also not supportable that Moroni told Joseph Smith the two Cumorah’s were the same hill, nor do we know that Moroni ever called the New York hill by the name of Cumorah since such a comment as David Whitmer states does not include the word “hill” with “Cumorah,” to which he was not heading, but rather going to Fayette to deliver the plates to Joseph.
    Blog comment: “Readers wouldn’t care about his intention; they would want to know where he actually buried the plates. But he couldn’t definitively state that until after he buried them!
    Response: This is a silly comment since it is doubtful that the thought of telling his future readers where he buried the plates would have held any importance to Moroni—that was not the purpose of his writing his record, or abridging the Ether record. From reading Moroni’s own work (Book of Moroni) we can see where Moroni’s interest was in writing, as well as the last two chapters of Mormon’s book (Mormon 8 and 9), which was almost 100% doctrinal material.
    Blog comment: “if Moroni had not tutored Joseph or mentioned the name to David Whitmer, and if Joseph never had any revelation about the Nephites, then everyone would be on an equal basis, interpreting the text however they want.”
Response: First of all, to our knowledge in both the scriptural record and in subsequent statements by Joseph Smith of any conversation or comments between Moroni and Joseph, or David Whitmer, did Moroni use the term “Hill Cumorah” in relationship to the hill in New York. His only comment we know of is that it is claimed he said “I am going to Cumorah” to David Whitmer. The problem is, Cumorah could be anything and cannot be attributed to the specific hill in New York because: 1) he was not going to the hill Cumorah, but to Fayette to deliver the plates to Joseph Smith, according to Joseph’s own testimony; and 2) was he talking about the Hill Cumorah, or the Land Cumorah, or some other meaning associated with Cumorah that we do not know about?
    Blog comment: “What Gardner proposes here is a scenario in which everything Joseph wrote or said or incorporated into his history has no prophetic insight; i.e., a person reading the Book of Mormon today knows as much about it as Joseph Smith…In my view, that contradicts not only the historical record but the very purpose for having a prophet.”
    Response: Obviously, Joseph Smith knew a lot more than any of us; however, that does not mean we can go around guessing or speculating on what he knew. All we have is his writings to go by and since he never wrote about the two Cumorah’s being one, we cannot assume he thought that.
    Blog comment: “There are significant ancient walls and trenches in the area, and people have gathered thousands of arrowheads in the valley west of Cumorah—as well as on the hill itself. It may be true that people did not settle there; that's what the Book of Mormon claims. This was a battlefield, not a city.”
    Response: It seems that the blog author makes several wild statements that have no support or backing and fly in the face of other testimony of people who have serious sought artifacts on and around the New York hill Cumorah.
Take the story of John Sheldon Fisher (left), who along with his wife Lillian in 1940, purchased Valentown Hall and established the Historical Museum to house his diverse collection, which includes Iroquoiara, Military, Scientific, Folklore, Genealogical interests of the man known as Hiawasees, the name given to him by the Seneca Indians in 1964 at the time of his adoption by the Heron Clan—a name meaning "the eagle who gathers news and history" and it is an appropriate handle for the man who has spent most of his life gathering, chronicling and preserving the history of Western New York. Professionally, he has helped build the renowned archaeological collection of the Rochester Museum and Science Center and became the first county historian in Ontario County. Always active as a volunteer in community organizations, and shortly before his 80th birthday, in the summer of 1987, he was honored as the primary influence in the 42-year campaign that led to the dedication of Ganondagan, the first New York State Historic Site devoted to Native American Culture (Lewis Fisher, Victor Historical  Society & Historic Valentown, 2002, Victor N.Y., J. Sheldon Fisher, The Fish Horn Alarm, Heart of the Lakes, 1994). Victor, New York, is about 8 miles southwest of Palmyra, New York, and about 10 miles due west of the hill Cumorah.
    In 1993, then 86-years old, Fisher made the statement regarding the hill Cumorah that he “had a standing agreement with all of the bulldozer and backhoe guys. They would be doing jobs in the general area. “Many times I would beat them to the job, but, of all these years I have never found any kind of artifact around the hill [Cumorah] area. I’ve read the Book of Mormon trying to figure it out and spent several hours talking about the area's history. But I have never found any artifacts there—there just aren't any artifacts of the kind spoken of in that book around that hill.”
Arrowheads found in Genesee County, New York, between Rochester and Buffalo, about 360 miles west of the hill Cumorah—another huge site is around Lake George in northeastern New York. But none are on record as being found in the area of Cumorah
    Landon Smith’s experience of finding nothing while artifact hunting in the fields surrounding the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra has often been quoted. Though he has found numerous ancient Indian sites in eastern New York, the closest one to the Palmyra area is 60 miles away—not at the hill Cumorah. There simply are no artifacts, arrowheads, or broken flints that would have been left over from the making of arrowheads. In fact, with a 75-85% waste in making such artifacts, any area where such a battle would have taken place would have been filled with such flakes, slabs, and chips in the various work areas that would have existed in a battle involving at least six hundred thousand warriors (230,000 Nephites against an overwhelming Lamanite army)—there are none at the New York hill Cumorah site or around it.
    In archaeological report after report of New York, thousands upon thousands of arrowheads have been found from Lake George in northeastern New York state all through the state, even in the western upstate area, according to Christina Rieth, the state’s head archaeologist. Untold thousands of such arrowheads, pieces of stone tools and other artifacts dating way back into B.C. times, but nothing as recent as 400 A.D. that matches anything in the Book of Mormon.
    As the blog author evidently believes, to make a claim is sufficient to proving a point. However, no matter how many times he says it, there is not evidence from professionals of the area whose livelihood is involved in the finding, cataloguing and displaying of such arrowheads or other such artifacts in, on, or around the hill Cumorah in New York!

2 comments:

  1. Today I completed reading your blog. Several months ago, I started with your first entry from Jan 2010 and have read every entry up to today's. I have cross referenced every scripture and separately researched many points such as the age of the Andes, carbon dating, the Great Wall of Peru, and many others. I have looked up dozens of locations and archeological sites on google earth and looked at the satellite images of ruins and ancient cities under water. I do not believe everything I read and attempt to independently verify whatever I can; especially through the scriptures and official church statements. In over 2,000 posts, I cannot find any error of logic. I cannot find any misstatement or overstatement of scripture. Everything makes sense to me and seems to be in alignment with the Book of Mormon.
    A few years back, I read many of the books published about Book of Mormon lands. I was fascinated with the ruins found in Mesoamerica and thought Book of Mormon lands were likely in Mesoamerica. But some things never made sense including the changing of cardinal directions. Your work not only shows far more evidence of ancient ruins in South America but also explains how Mesoamerica was populated during Book of Mormon times by those who went north on Hagoth's ships.

    If the Church ever makes an official statement indicating where the Book of Mormon lands were, I will believe that. Until then, there seems to be overwhelming evidence that Lehi landed in Chile and the Book of Mormon lands were in Peru and Equador. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God because the Holy Spirit has borne witness of this to me many times over many years. But learning more of where the lands were and what ruins still exist brings the Book of Mormon more to life for me. I now read the Book of Mormon with more intensity and interest in every word as I picture where they lived and the circumstances they lived under.

    Thank you for your dedicated work. I have loved learning of the ancient ruins, carbon dating, the Great Wall of Peru, the defensive structures such as Kuelap, the sunken city in Lake Titicaca, the tower in Cusco, and much more. I am now starting on your book "Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica" and enjoying the well documented, logical, easy to read flow.

    Thank you for your great work!

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  2. Del, I remember reading a story about a debate that was held during the time of Joseph Smith. I wish I could remember where I read the story so that I could quote it. The question came up when is a prophet a prophet. The debate as I recall lasted for several days. Joseph did not enter the debate but let others argue the point. The points were that a prophet is a prophet at all times and everything he says is from the Lord. Another side took the position that a prophet is only a prophet when the lord speaks to him. Finally the question was asked of Joseph Smith. When is a prophet a prophet. Answer - Joseph said that a prophet is a prophet ONLY when GOD is speaking to him. In other words Joseph may well have believed that Cumorah was where he found the plates. What you've found as well as others is that if Joseph believed this it was not inspired. Prophets can have mistaken notions because they are human. Joseph said as much in the debate.

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