Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Battle Between Mesoamerica and the Great Lakes – Part IV

Continuing with the article a reader sent in regarding the “Book of Mormon Wars” and what the author claims are “the fun series” of comments and criticisms of his toward Mesoamerica. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not defending Mesoamerica, but the idea that Mesoamericanists look at their model through what he calls “Mesoamerican Lens” that, also according to him, "Once you start looking at the Book of Mormon through Mesoamerican lens, you can't unsee it."
    And one has to agree with such a statement (unless one is a Mesoamericanist).
The problem is and really the humor of it is, this author is looking at his own model through "Great Lake Lense," and obviously has no idea that once he started looking at the Book of Mormon thorugh Great Lakes lens, he can't unsee it!
    And one has to agree with this statement as well (unless one is a Great lakes theorist).
My mom, who had a lot of little colloquialisms and idioms she liberally sprinkled into her daily conversation, used to tell me "A Watched pot never boils," "too many cooks spoil the broth," "You're simmering down" or "boiling over," or "half-baked ideas." Her favorite though was "that's the pot calling the kettle black."
To me, a Great Lakes theorist talking about a Mesoamericanist not being able to unsee a Mesoamerican point of view, is definitately calling the kettle black."
    The author goes on to state taht the problem, as he sees it, "is that the Mesoamerican see-ers dominate LDS scholarship and publications and media and institutions, including CES, BYU, etc. They carefully fit the lenses on their students, starting in Primary, so that by the time students reach college and beyond, many of them, too, "can't unsee" Mesoamerica. But when an event yanks off the Mesoamerican spectacles--such as an encounter with an Internet page, a skeptical investigator, a former Mormon—the fallacies of the Mesoamerican theory become apparent. Having never been taught, or even exposed to, an alternative to the Mesoamerican setting, unsuspecting but once-faithful members too often jettison the Book of Mormon along with the Mesoamerican theor
    While that is all true, and many have had great difficulty with the transition when their belief in Mesoamerica is stripped clean and its many flaws are exposed, the same is true of the Great Lakes Theory, for it is based on so many difficulties that cannot be reconciled to the scriptural record and when pointing this out to a Great Lakes believer, they revert to negative attacks and stubbornness equaling that of the Mesoamericanist.
    To the Great Lakes, there are only two theories extant regarding the location of the Land of Promise. It is as though if they can discredit Mesoamerica, it proves their correctness of the Great Lakes.
    In a recent website posting, the author of the webnsite stated: “This "fun" series examines the "can't unsee" problem with the Mesoamerican theory. It comes from this quotation: "Once you start looking at the Book of Mormon through a Mesoamerican lens, you can't undee it."
To say you "can't unsee" something is equivalent to saying you can only see one thing; i.e., admitting you don't have an open mind—like having tunnel vision. Consequently, this lens is causing a serious problem. Many analogies come to mind. Think of the Lord of the Rings movies, when the wearer of the Ring is portrayed as "moving through a shadowy realm where everything is distorted." That's what the Mesoamerican lens (or lenses, spectacles, etc.) does to those who look through it. It turns them into Mesoamerican "see-ers."
    Now let’s apply that to the Great Lakes believer who cannot see the scriptural description:
    First, as they write on their website, “to understand why, it's helpful to look at how the Mesoamerican lenses operate. They turn wearers into "see-ers" who are “are unable to see any evidence that contradicts their theories (the Mesoamerican lenses blind the wearer).” So, too, does the wearing of Great Lakes lenses—as an example:
1. As Samuel the Lamanite prophesied: Valleys will rise up to become mountains, “whose height is great” (Helaman 14:23). The Great Lakes theorist ignores this since there are no mountains of any kind, not even hills, in the Great Lakes area of their model;
2. As Jacob told the Nephites in the temple: “The Lord has made the sea our path and we are upon an island of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20). Not only is the Great Lakes location not an island or never was one, it cannot be reached from the sea over which Nephi’s ship sailed;
3. As Nephi described of his vision: “I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12). That man being Columbus, never set foot in the Great Lakes area, in what is now the United States, or even in North America;
4. As Mormon tells us of Lehi’s landing: “on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers' first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore” (Alma 22:28). Using Lake Erie as their Sea West, there is no way any kind of ship could have reached that lake from either the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico in 600 B.C. or until the Corps of Engineers dredgedout and built canals along the inland waters of the U.S., the Mississippi River, etc., or until the Canadian engineers built a canal around Montreal.
Great Lakes Map of their Land of Promise model. Note the Hill Cumorah and the Hill Ramah
5. Moroni tells us that “the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred” (Ether 15:11), which hill Mormon hid up the records was called Cumorah (Mormon 6:6). However, on their map, the Great Lakes have the hill Ramah in the Land Northward and the Hill Cumorah along the border of the Land Southward, about 155 miles apart with the entire North Sea (Lake Ontario) in between.
    Far more examples could be shown, which we have done many times in the past, but the point is, the Great lakes no more matches the scriptural record of the Land of Promise than does Mesoamerica.
    The author of the Great Lakes website goes on to write: “The primary purpose of this blog is to help Mesoamerican seers remove their spectacles for a moment and take a look at the text Joseph dictated and Oliver wrote down, in light of other things these two men said, and then compare that text to actual archaeology, anthropology, geography, geology, etc.”
    So, then, what about removing the Great Lakes spectacles for a moment and taking a look at the scriptural record:
1. Seeds from Jerusalem would not grow in the Great Lakes;
2. No two unknown farm animals that Joseph Smith would not have known their name;
3. No two grains that the farmer Joseph Smith would not have known their name;
4. No herbal cure for killing fevers, such as malaria;
5. Ore of ever kind. Great Lakes had copper, but limited amounts of gold and silver;
6. No remnant of buildings, a temple like unto Solomon’s;
7. No roads that went from city to city, place to place and land to land;
8. Stone walls for defense throughout the land, around cities, and fortresses, etc.
9. No metallurgy dating to both Jaredite and Nephite times;
10. No fine-twined linen and silk;
    This is just a small example of items not found in the Great Lakes but described in detail in the scriptural record.


  1. Del, Do you know of any Great L theorists who have changed their mind and accepted South American model? If so in your opinion what was the best argument that changed their mind?

    I was never a believe in the GL model because it never did fit. The only reason I accepted the Meso idea was the fact that it had a narrow neck and a sort of hour glass shape - but that was all.

    Thanks, Ira

  2. I tend not to mingle with those who have their minds made up since I have found it a waste of time, so I don't keep track of such things--a lot of our readers are Great Lakes people judging from the comments we receive from time to time, but I have found that people with their minds firmly made up have a closed mind and even in the missionary field, rarely change it so you look for the Golden ones....:)