Sunday, March 5, 2017

What Has Happened to Common Sense? – Part III

Continuing from the previous post, we take a look at other areas where common sense seems lacking as theorists taut their particular theories and maps regarding the geographical setting of the Land of Promise in the Book of Mormon. Take, as an example, those in the Mesoamerica camp that consider their theory is the only accurate one and continually promote ideas that are not in the scriptural record, such as Sorenson’s east-west land direction for the Land of Promise; Joseph Allen’s separate narrow pass from the narrow neck of land when Mormon tells us of only portion of land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward and that is the “small or narrow neck.”  
    The problem, stated here continually, arises when theorists start comparing scriptural references with their individual theories and chosen locations and try to adjust the scriptural record so it agrees with their different views.
Most of these views fly directly in the face of common sense, as we have been pointing out in this series, and throughout our blog here for the past nearly eight years.
    As an example, take the Mesoamerican theme of having people in the Land of Promise before, during and after the Lamanite-Nephite era. They have been claiming since the time of Hugh Nibley, that other people occupied the Land of Promise, despite the fact that none are mentioned at any time over a 2500 year period in the scriptural record of the Book of Mormon. To get around this, Mesoamerican theorists claim the "recorders of the record" were prejudiced toward other people encountered in the land and refused to mention them. So, without any scriptural evidence whatever, these theorists stand firm in their belief and promotion of other peoples in the Land of Promise other than the Jaredites, Nephites, Mulekites and Lamanites. They feel they have to include other people into the Book of Mormon since in their area of Mesoamerica there were other people, according to them. Discussing the People of Zarahemla (Mulekites) encountered by Mosiah around 200 B.C., John L. Sorenson writes: “It appears that other groups dating to the immediately post-Olmec centuries had similar ambitions” (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1985, p120). The post-Olmec period is claimed to have been the period following the demise of the Jaredites, which Hugh Nibley claims had “Jaredite survivors” (Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1952, pp238-247)—to which Sorenson claims the evidence of “Jaredite influence” of Jaredite survivors following their demise is “persuasive,” and that “Jaredite elements persisted into Mulekite and Nephite time” (p119). So adamant is Sorenson, that he adds, “There is really no question about it. Jaredite contributions to the later peoples were substantial, in just about the manner and degree we have the Olmec tradition continuing into the post-Olmec era” (p120).
Of course, what the Book of Mormon says is that all the Jaredites were wiped out, particular in the events following “And it came to pass that they did gather together all the people upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether” (Ether 15:12), and then goes on to show that everyone was killed except for Coriantumr and Shiz (Ether 13:29), then the former killed the latter and became the last man standing.
    However, the scriptural record does not agree with what took place in Mesoamerica, so the Mesoamerican theorists rely on the Mesoamerica legends and ignore the scriptural record. As Sorenson writes: “That overview shows striking parallels between the archaeological picture on the one hand and what the Book of Mormon says on the other” (p120-121).
    Who these “other people” were is not known, though Sorenson gives such names as Tlaxcalans and Tarascans” (p100), other than through sketchy and questionable Mesoamerican history and archaeological claims, many stretching back before the Flood as though the Flood never occurred—an event Sorenson and other push back to around 3100 B.C. in order to leave room for these “other people.” Yet, despite all this effort to convince us that others existed, Mormon, who had all the records of the Nephites, as evidenced by his comment: “And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi” (Words of Mormon 1:3, emphasis added), not one word is written or implied that there were any other people in the Land of Promise.
There is simply no way for anyone to claim such a monumental event as having untold numbers of other people in the land and around the Nephites that went unmentioned. After all, the Nephites were involved in building of ships and in shipping (Helaman 3:14), obviously they would have been involved in such areas as trade and shipping of goods (Helaman 3:10), and would have encountered anyone else in the land. Yet, not one word.
    What on Earth has happened to common sense? The Book of Mormon gives no indication in any way that other people than the Jaredites, Nephites, Mulekites and Lamanites, were in the Land of Promise, yet these Mesoamerican theorists talk about hundreds and thousands of other peoples inhabiting the land at the same time.
    In another example of common sense gone awry, Sorenson in his book writes of the Jaredites building and moving into the Land Southward (p117) even though the scriptural record never states that they did, and in fact, claims they did not, for “they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game” (Ether 10:21), though “they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land” (Ether 10:20).
    It is just that common sense is missing from theorists who have an axe to grind, i.e., proving their viewpoint and model, and will alter, add to, or delete facts into or from the scriptural record in order to maintain their illusion of their model as being accurate.
    Evidently, there is no common sense involved when theorists try to prove their views.
    Another interesting example of not using common sense, is in the fact that Moroni mentions in Ether that the Jaredites had two animals that were very useful to them that can actually be found only in one place in the entire Western Hemisphere. Yet, rather than recognize this reality, theorists try to make up all sorts of alternative animals that could have been meant, such as a sloth, or a tapir, as though those animals were or are beneficial to man. The statement regarding the animals usefulness is: “And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms” (Ether 9:19). Thus we see that these two unknown animals (unknown to Joseph Smith in 1830 ) were considered by the Jaredites as being as useful as an elephant, and more useful than the horse or donkey.
Now in Andean South America are and have been for millennia, the Llama and Alpaca, two extremely useful animals, especially to an ancient people, for the Llama, like the buffalo to the Western Plains Indian of North America, was an animal that provided the ancient Peruvians everything they needed, from hide to food to being a beast of burden, to just about every aspect of living. And the Alpaca provided all sorts of clothing and material for rugs, carpets, bags, etc.
    Common sense alone would suggest that no two animals anywhere would have been as valuable to man as these two, yet they are completely ignored in favor of ridiculous suggestions by theorists of animals found in their own location models.


  1. del, would you care to comment on the apparent encroachment on the exclusivityof the promised land to the descendants of Lehi by the Mulekites concurrent with the Nephites, one group being Jews and the other group Manassehites? I am Dave Smith

  2. Sorry, I do not understand your question. Word it differently. Thanks.

  3. We know that the Promised Land was given exclusively to the Jaredites until their nation became evil. The same occurred in the case of the Nephites. If there were no "others" present in the Promised Land concurrent with the Nephites who left us The Stick of Ephraim" D & C 27:5, ) and I DO agree that was God's intent) How do we explain the descendants of Judah along with the decendants of Manasseh? Is it qualified exclusivity or perhaps some other purpose of God? Thank you for your postings, I am in harmony wit hall that I have read(all of 2010, 2011, 2015, and 2016 and of course this year.
    My motivation is not the same as that other David who seems to not be able to learn from your patient explanations.