Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Feeble Argument and Untenable Stance – Part I

It seems like everywhere you turn lately, Jonathan Neville is writing something about the Great Lakes Land of Promise and his almost fanatical stance on Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII, elevating it from an opinion, albeit a very strong opinion, to doctrinal fact, supported by Joseph Smith and many others. This staunch support of Letter VII and its purporting that the Hill Cumorah in New York is the Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon where both the Jaredites (Hill Ramah) and the Nephites each met their doom in wars and battles that eliminated both peoples, is beyond defensible on many counts, not the least of which is Mormon’s various descriptions of the hill, what took place around it, and upon it. 
You can always tell when a map model of the Land of Promise is not working when the creator of it has to arrange the lands next to each other in a manner not consistent with Mormon’s description in the scriptural record, such as the Land Bountiful to the east of the Land of Zarahemla and not the north as Mormon describes, or the Land of Nephi to the South of the Land Bountiful instead of the Land of Zarahemla between the Land of Bountiful and the Land of Nephi, or the Land of Desolation in close proximityhof the Land of Zarahemla instead of the Land of Bountiful fully in between

    Another very obvious problem with this defense of the Hill Cumorah being the hill in the Land of Promise is the following requirement of the placing the Land of Promise in the area surrounding this site, i.e., in western New York where even Jonathan’s map does not fit Mormon’s various descriptions with having to place lands in the wrong position from one another, having no space for the size and location of the Land Northward, no landing along the Sea West, etc., (see previous posts). 
    As an example, at no place in the scriptures does it suggest that the Land of Nephi borders the Land of Bountifuil; that the Sea East was so near the Sea West; it also has the narrow strip of wilderness not running between the Sea East and the Sea West; it has the Mississippi River as the Sea West—however, the Mississippi River was not navigatable north of Baton Rouge in antiquity and the rapids at Baton Rouge would have prevented any sailing northward, etc., etc., etc.
    We are not talking about differences of opinions here, but differences between Jonathan’s claims and the scriptural record. Drawing attention to just one, which we have done so many times, is the non-existence mountains “whose height is great” that Samuel the Lamanite foretold (Helaman 14:23)—which is an issue that cannot either be ignored or explained away. It is an absolute! And ten of these doctrinal, scriptural statements are listed in one of our recent previous posts entitled “North America and the Land of Promise.”
 Jonathan’s map is far off the mark. Red Line: Note that the Land of Nephi does not run in a straight course, but bends around the Land of Bountiful (white circle) which does not belong bordering the Land of Nephi, and overall, (yellow line) the Land of Nephi runs at a 45º angle, which is not the definition of a “straight course.” Also, (purple arrow) note that the Land of Nephi is between these two seas, but not on this map, it is far to the south and these two seas basically are in the Land Northward

    Another scriptural reference is “And the land of Nephi did run in a straight course from the east sea to the west” (Alma 50:8) which we pointed out in an earlier post is defined as a straight line, however, Jonathan’s Land of Nephi is angled considerably to almost a 45% angle; nor does he show the Land of Nephi stretching from the Sea East to the Sea West, though Mormon tells us that the Lamanite king’s land did just that, as Alma stated of his land: “in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west” (Alma 22:27).
    It is interesting that Jonathan is so adamant about Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII, but so willing to ignore the scriptural record which is quite clear on several matters that do not agree with his Great Lakes model of the Land of Promise.
    As he states; “I realize there are people who accept the literalness of the text and also believe it took place in Peru, Chile, Baja, Mesoamerica, Panama, Africa, Southeast Asia, and who knows where else. But when you examine the foundations for those theories, they boil down to a belief in a whole list of questionable assumptions that don't compensate for the rejection of Joseph and Oliver.”
Response: 1) Yes, I accept the literalness of the Book of Mormon scriptural record in all things, including its geographical information. As an example, they landed on an island in the midst of the sea (2 Nephi 10:20); they were nearly surrounded by water except for a narrow neck (Alma 22:32); there were four seas: east, west, south and north (Helaman 3:8), etc. 2) The scriptural record itself leads one to understand they landed in Chile, and Nephi then separated from his brothers and settled in southeastern Peru (between 600 B.C. and the 18th and 19th centuries A.D., a deep-ocean vessel could not sail up the Mississippi River past Baton Rouge, LA, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who had to dredge the river out, cut new channels, and create locks, etc., in order to reach the Great Lakes from the Gulf of Mexico.
    Jonathan: “First, advocates of a particular theory create lists of "requirements" that just happen to be perfectly met by their preferred geography. To me, these are transparently circular arguments, but I see them all the time so some people must think they are meaningful.”
    Response: Interesting. Let’s see just to name a few: two unknown animals; two unknown grains; mountains whose height is great; gold, silver and copper in abundance; plants that cure deadly fever (malaria); ruins of buildings, roads, and highways; evidence of living the Law of Moses; driven forth before the wind; the metal Ziff; Temple like Solomons; tower next to the temple; building fortresses, resorts and huge cities; extensive history of metallurgy; landing on seashore of West Sea; where Christopher Columbus landed; true narrow neck as only egress between two major land masses, etc. These are all scriptural references—let’s see the Great Lakes area match them.
    We have published time and again a list of scriptures (44 of them to-date) that match the South American landing and Peruvian-Ecuadorian location of the Land of Promise. These are actual scriptures that have not been changed, altered, or re-defined, but printed and read as they are in the scriptural record without any further explanation and matching them with location, topography, terrain, flora and fauna, including a matching climate with that of Jerusalem for their abundant seed growth.
    Jonathan: “Lists and expectations can be helpful for analysis, but the analysis should start with the lists and expectations themselves.”
Response: No. Start with the scriptures themselves. There are at least 44 solid scriptural references that have to match any location of the Land of Promise since those are the points Mormon and others made. Before discussing what someone said in 1830, let us concentrate on what the writers of the Book of Mormon said about their lands at the time they lived upon them.  
    That is the issue.
    Jonathan: “Lists and expectations based on deformation professionnelle are taken for granted by like-minded people and become nothing more than rhetorical tools.”
    Response: First of all, Déformation professionnelle is a French phrase, meaning a tendency to look at things from the point of view of one's own profession rather than from a broader perspective. It is often translated as "professional deformation" or "job conditioning," though French déformation can also be translated as "distortion." The implication is that professional training, and its related socialization, often result in a distortion of the way one views the world” (Julia Bönisch “Deformation professionnell: Beruflich bedingte Missabildung” Suddeutsche Zeitung, November 30, 2007 [German]). Coined by either Belgian sociologist Daniel Warnotte or Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, it has nothing to do with reading a scripture and taking it in the context in which it was written and using it as a solid point to be met for matching that in another area—such as Samuel foretelling that the Land of Promise after the crucifixion would have many mountains whose height was great,” then showing that Jonathan’s Great Lakes land of promise does not have a single mountain in it—there is simply no Deformation professionnell being used here, just scriptural facts.
(See the next post,” A Feeble Argument and Untenable Stance – Part II,” for more on Jonathan Neville’s feeble argument and untenable stance of the Hill Cumorah being in New York as stated so frequently on his Book of Mormon Wars website.


  1. J Neville's maps are so wrong when compared to the BOM that I have to wonder if he knows that his model is all fraud and is using it simply to make a buck. That is likely the reason he has raised letter No. 7 of Oliver Cowdery to the equivalent of scripture for the purpose of fleecing the members.

  2. I don't know him, but it is amazing that anyone can present a map like that. On the other hand, so many theorist maps are like that and you have to wonder if they have actually read the Book of Mormon from a geographic viewpoint.

  3. His arguments are worse than feeble, they are in their fullness absurd. His hubris in saying his model ends the search for where the Book of Mormon took place makes me laugh. I always try to be respectful of the opinions of others that I disagree with, but his arrogance is so over the top that I feel justified in laughing in his case.