Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Correcting a Critic’s Comments and Blog – Part III

Continuing with Jared Methrandir’s comments referring us to his website when commenting on one of our articles back in 2013.
    Blog Comment: “because Joseph Smith imagined all this [sea travel] before the bearing strait hypothesis became the standard.” (cont)
    Response (cont): Though this idea has been bounced around through Anthropologists and other scientists for at least mid to late 1700s (before Joseph Smith’s time), it is by no means an accepted fact. According to David J. Meltzer, a paleoanthropologist and archaeologist at Southern Methodist University, the ice-free corridor though the Canadian cordillera couldn’t have supported human migration until about 12,600 years ago (10,600 BC), a hundred years after people were already living south of the ice sheets, based on archaeological sites showing evidence of human living uncovered across North and South America, and as far south as Chile” (Mikkel W. Pedersen, et al. (17 contributors in all), “Postglacial viability and colonization in North America’s ice-free corridor,” Journal Nature, Vol.537, 2016. pp45-49).
The greyed area and dotted line indicates the size and scope of the so-called Beringia or Land Bridge between Russia and Alaska

Secondly, it is not the bearing strait, but the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and the Bering Strait, along with the Beringia Land Bridge (also known as the central part of Beringia). For some time after Acosta, it was thought that the early Paleoamericans were descended from people who crossed over from Asia across de Costa’s land bridge to present-day Alaska and then drifted down the continent in a single long migration.
    Third, in an article in Science, by Scott Armstrong Elias (2014) he points out that “Genetic evidence shows there is no direct ancestral link between the people of ancient East Asia and modern Native Americans.” He goes on to write extensively about this fact. In another article in Nature about the “Dual ancestry of Native Americans,” by Maanasa Raghavan, et al (31 contributors in all), it states that “Modern-day western Eurasians are genetically closely related to modern-day Native Americas, with no close affinity to east Asians.”
    Whether Joseph Smith knew this or not is unknown, however, it was certainly one of the theories that had been discussed “From the minute Europeans arrived in North America, they began speculating on the origins of the continent’s Native American inhabitants.” It was not an unknown subject where Joseph grew up.
    Blog Comment: “Many Mormons now insist the Book of Mormon does leave room for other populations, this mostly correlates to if they hold a Limited Geography interpretation rather than a Hemispheric one.”
    Response: By “many Mormons,” this is related to those who accept Mesoamerica as the landing site of Lehi—and it is by no means a large percentage of LDS people. For the many who do not, this is not correct. On the other hand, after 421 A.D., and up to the coming of the Spanish in 1492 onward, we have no idea who or what may have occurred, landed, arrived at, or been led to, the Western Hemisphere during that thousand years. It is just that during the time of the scriptural record, about 2100 B.C. to about 421 A.D., no other peoples are mentioned, suggested, or intimated to have co-existed with the Jaredites, Nephites, or Lamanites.
    It might be noted that numerous Church Presidents and leaders have mentioned time and again that the Western Hemisphere is the land of Zion in various Conference talks and written messages. A Limited Geography interpretation would not fit into this scenario, though the idea that the actual Land of Promise discussed and outlined in the Book of Mormon is not the entire area of the dedication of the Western Hemisphere as the land of Zion.
    Blog Comment: “If a limited Geography model were the correct interpretation only the Heartland Model would be plausible, because Joseph Smith's intent was definitely entirely about making special the land he lived in, drawing on prior speculation about the builders of the Missipian Mound Builders.”
    Response: This is far from the truth. Joseph Smith’s comments about where the Land of Promise took place cover a much wider range of areas, from 30º South Latitude in Chile, to the finding of Zelph in the northcentral United States.
Mounds have been found all over the eastern states, but none were ever built in Palestine, Mesopotamia, or the Middle East where the Hebrews were located

As for a setting among the Mysterious Mound-Builders of North America (Mississippian Culture), the idea coincides best with the literary setting identified by mainstream American History and Literature specialists (Roger G. Kennedy, Hidden Cities – The Discovery and Loss of Ancient North American Civilization), and nothing to do with Joseph Smith.
    In a paper read at the Nineteenth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, held at Brigham Young University on October 18, 1969, entitled “Joseph Smith and the Prehistoric Mound-Builders of Eastern North America,” by John H. Wittorf, editor, Biochemical Indexing Department, Chemical Abstracts Service, and former president of the SEHA Campus Chapter, the following statement is attributed to him: “The legend of the Mound Builders achieved its apotheosis when a major religious creed was founded upon it by Joseph Smith and made lasting by his successor Brigham Young.” The paper also went on to state: “The Book of Mormon itself, interestingly enough, does not mention the term “mound” at all and refers only twice to “heaps of earth” having been dug up, once in connection with the fortification of cities and the other in connection with mining operations.’  Joseph Smith appears to have regarded the main centers of occupation of the Book of Mormon peoples as being situated in the Middle American area when he editorialized two years before his death in the Times and Seasons, commenting on the then-recent rediscovery of the Maya civilization by John Lloyd Stephens.”
The point is, Joseph Smith himself never said or referred to the Mound-Builders of Mississippi or elsewhere in connection to the Book of Mormon. The author of the blog once again is quoting from information that someone else might have written or said, and attributing it to a different source, in this case, Joseph Smith. While others may think the Book of Mormon was written about the Mound-Builders, it in no way has any connection to those cultures in the United States who built mounds, instead of the rock walls and buildings all around the land Mormon tells us the Nephites built in the days of Moroni and his son, Moronihah, in the last century B.C. (Alma 48:8).
    Blog Comment: “The ancient Nephite Prophets of The Book of Mormon foretell The United States of America, referring to it as a Great Nation appointed to God to do his will.”
    Response: Obviously, the author has never read the Book of Mormon, since the Nephite prophets never mentioned the United States or refer to any country by name. To them, and to any reader, the term Land of Promise is used throughout the scriptural record, and means that land upon which the storyline takes place as well as all that land that was included after the destruction in 3 Nephi, at the time of the Lord’s crucifixion, which changed the whole face of the land. At this time mountains tumbled into valleys, and flat, level ground rose suddenly into mountains, whose height is great.
    In fact, as Moroni stated: “and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof. And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.
    Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land. And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come -- after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel. And that a New Jerusalem should be built upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type” (Ether 13:3-6).
(See the next post, “Correcting a Critic’s Comments and Blog – Part III,” regarding erroneous comments made on a blogsite about the Book of Mormon)

1 comment:

  1. Del- I appreciate how you address others opinions with solid references and facts and you present them in a logical and factual manner. An honest reader sees a clear difference in scholarly research and logic.