Friday, November 13, 2020

More Comments from Readers – Part IV

Here are more comments that we have received from readers of this website blog:

Comment #1: “You still have no proof of anything in the Book of Mormon from archaeological sources—after all these years and all that has been searched, doesn’t this bother you?” Guy W.

Response: First of all, there is a tendency by some Christians to assume too much from archaeology. Sometimes the words confirm, prove, authenticate, and substantiate can be employed. As an example, it can be proven that historical conditions were such that Solomon could have been as powerful a king as the Bible says he was; but it does not prove that God gave Solomon wisdom. It can be fairly well substantiated that there was a census when Jesus was born; but this confirmation hardly proves his divinity.

The ruins of Pachacamac along the coast in west central Peru


It can also be substantiated that there are large ruins along the coast just south of Lima in Peru, but it cannot prove who built it and who lived there.

It must be recognized that there is a clear separation between historical and theological proof. Secondly, it has never been the purpose of religion to prove God’s children through their faith, obedience, and service. If we could prove where Zarahemla was located, or any other Book of Mormon place, where would be the faith? Third, it seems to be a certain fact that in the past generation, people relied more on faith and less on knowledge. However, younger generations are more into conspiracy theories and want proof of things and rely less on faith. Both faith and knowledge are important, but when you approach a matter wanting first proof, then exert faith, you miss the point of God’s Plan for our salvation and exaltation.

Archaeology looks for and validates the existence of past civilizations and cultures but it cannot define who these cultures were and from whence they came before they showed up in an area, though they spend much time making it known who they thought the people were and where they believed they came from. The best we can expect from archaeology is to know there were a people in a certain area (not proclaiming they were there for 8,000 years based on a model of development taught in schools), but that hard evidence (buildings, walls, foundations, etc.) existed, showing an ancient development. They also can only show the shape of ceramics found, but cannot state any more than the people who made it, though they spend a lot of time claiming they do.

Thus, looking for a specific people is nothing more than guesswork, generally following what others before them have claimed with no more proof than what the current archaeologists have found. As an example, a find of ceramics of a certain design, colors, or shapes, assumes that all of a culture made a certain type, colors, and design without no one having the talent to come up with another design. Thus, wherever they find such a design elsewhere, they automatically link those peoples together.

Comment #2: “Why did Joseph Smith hang a blanket or sheet between himself and the scibe writing down his translation? What was so secret about this?” Clair J.

Response: Although no blanket is mentioned in most descriptions of the translation process, one was apparently used at an early point to shield the scribe from a view of the plates, spectacles, or breastplate. Why that was necessary is not stated; however, it is often the case when the Lord is dealing with man not to reveal sacred things to people other than the one necessary.

Lot’s wife was told not to look around at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, though we don’t know why and the result of her disobedience turned her to a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). Many objects have a sacred value to the Lord and are not revealed to man—the holy of holies, shielded behind a thick veil (curtain), which only one man could enter once a year, contained the Ark of the Covenant and sacred relics no one was allowed to see. By the way, the term “veil” in Hebrew means a screen, divider or separator that hides. What was this curtain hiding? Essentially, it was shielding a holy God from sinful man.

Whoever entered into the Holy of Holies was entering the very presence of God. In fact, anyone except the high priest who entered the Holy of Holies would die—this was a barrier between man and God. During the translation of the Book of Mormon, considered a most sacred project, described by some of the ancient prophets of old, including Mormon and Moroni, evidently were not to be witnessed or viewed by just anyone, and the blanket may have shielded the translation effort, or the translator and scribe from other individuals curious to observe the translation.

Comment #3: I just got through reading “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica.” Very excellent book and I can see that you've found the right place. There is one thing puzzling though and that is there is no citation for Venice Priddis "The Book and the Map" anywhere in the book. I'm surprised by that because her book in my opinion was the beginning of the recognition that South America was the right place. Just curious as to why you left her book out of the citation. Of course it might be there because the work is voluminous and I certainly could have simply missed it. But curious about that. Your book filled in lots of details that she left out of her book. Both yours and hers are ground breaking however. Thanks” Ira T.

Response: Thank you for your kind words about the book. As we have stated in this blog a few times, we did not begin this work by looking at other people’s works, or even at locations. We had no preconceived opinions and no pre-conceived locations—we simply began with the Book of Mormon and followed all the descriptions regarding location. It took 30 years in doing research in libraries (before the internet) all across America when traveling a lot for business. Little by little all the research led us to South America as we have often stated in our posts.

Left: Verla Birrell’s book; Center: Venice Priddis’ book; Right: Art Kocherhans’ book


Who wrote about what was never an interest, especially when we found that most citations of scripture by theorists were actually wrong, misused, or ignored. In addition, it might be of interest to you to know that Venice Priddis’ book in 1975, did not originate the location of South America for Lehi and the Nephites. 27  years before that, Verla Birrell in in the Book of Mormon Guide Book, Stevens & Wallis, Salt Lake City, 1948, was the first to write about South America.

In our work we cite only Art Kocherhans, a friend, who wrote “Lehi’s Isle of Promise,” because it was his excitement about his work that got us first interested in looking into the scriptural record on a word for word basis; however, we originally thought Central America was the right location because of all the ruins there—we had no idea there were also ruins in South America at the time. Since having finished that work, we then took a look at other locations to see whether they had any merit, which we found that they did not according to a comparison with Mormon’s writing.

It seems logical that the scriptural record is the only basis for any search and we stayed within that parameter to arrive at the conclusions we did. Our study outside of that was merely to verify or discredit what we had found.

Comment #4: “I love the point you made in an early blog about Samuel the Lamanite’s prophesy. Paraphrasing: If the scriptures and this prophesy are true, then mountains of a great height were formed at the death of Christ. If not the Andes, then where? Having grown up in western upstate New York and then Michigan for my first 19 years, I never saw any mountains.”

Response: In our extensive travel through all of New York and around the Great Lakes area, we never saw as much as a hill. Nowhere in the eastern area considered to be the Land of Promise by Heartland and Great Lakes theorists, is there anything like a true mountain, let alone one whose height is great. This alone should answer all the theorists who support that location viewpoint.


  1. Your comment #2 brought to mind a conversation I had many years ago with a rabbi who was a friend of mine. The Rabbi's 2gg uncle taught Joseph Smith Hebrew. He told ms that anciently a rope would be tied to the leg of the High Priest before entering the temple in Jerusalem. This was done just in case he was unworthy to go in so that they could remove the body after being stuck dead.

    Of course I told him he could enter one of our temples but only if we were able to tie a rope to his leg.

  2. lterry
    Great story!

    I remember "scholars" saying that King David was not a real person....just a myth.... because no evidence had been found of his existence. Not too long ago evidence was found that King David was a real person.