Thursday, September 16, 2021

Jaredites in Nephite Times – Part II

Even though in the Scriptural Record there is no indication, no record, no reference, not even a hint of suggestion that any indigenous or non-Nephite people, culture or languages, existed in the land of promise during the Book of Mormon record (600 B.C. to about 421 A.D.), John L. Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists insist there were. To these theorists, other cultures, languages and peoples lived there before, during and after the Nephite era providing a long and detailed history of their Mesoamerica model that does not match the scriptural record.

As absurd as this is, Sorenson insists:

“The treaty the Nephites had been forced to make would obviously be to areas inhabited by their own folk, not by strangers.”

What strangers?


There were no people mentioned or suggested in the scriptural record that would be classified as “strangers” other than Mulekites when first encountered—and that was short-lived since they were absorbed into the Nephites Mosiah brought out of the Land of Nephi. There simply were no such indigenous people existing anywhere in the Land of Promise only in theorists opinions and beliefs. What is amazing about all this is theorists unusual approach to what does and what does not exist in the record.

When it suits the purpose of the theorists, especially Mesoamerican theorists, to invent tens of thousands of indigenous people without one recorded word to suggest such, they can turn around and claim that when something is not in the record, then it must not have existed. Speaking in support of his view that no Nephites lived in the area of Moron, Sorenson writes:

“Nowhere in the Nephite record is there any indication that they occupied that zone,” yet turn right around and claim there were indigenous people in the land that are not mentioned in the record but were there!

How can anyone use the argument that something is not in the record, therefore it did not exist, when throughout their entire arguments, they keep insisting numerous things that are not in the record as existing? This is the fodder for humorous writing, and if it were not so serious a matter it would be humorous. Consider:

• Theorist: There is an extensive claim that there were indigenous people in the Land of Promise—though the scriptural record does not record a single one;

• Theorist: There is no mention that there were Nephites in the Land of Moron—but the scriptural record claims Nephites occupied that land;

• Theorist: There were those in the Land of Promise considered strangers to the Nephites—the scriptural record lists no people that were strangers to the Nephites (oher than the Mulekites who were quickly absorbed); 

Western coastal shoreline of Land of Promise


• Theorist: It is claimed there were highlands (highland mass) in the western half of the Land Northward—however, there is no mention in the scriptural record of western highlands in the Land Northward;

• Theorist: Theorists claim there were non-Nephite people speaking other languages in the Land of Promise—the scriptural record lists no such people, let alone another language;

The list of contradictions does not end here, of course, but that should suffice to show the convoluted thinking of these theorists, including Sorenson, and to what ends they will go to try and support their models.

Mormon says north and south.
Sorenson, Nibley, and other Mesoamerican theorists says east and west.
But there are many other areas of immediately interest and, likewise, of immediate concern:
Nephi tells us and Mormon verifies that there were no other people in the Land of Promise other than the Jaredites, Nephites, Mulekites and Lamanites.
Sorenson, Nibley, Roberts and other Mesoamerican theorists tell us there were all sorts of other people in the Land of Promise.
Mormon says both the Jaredites and Nephites used metallurgy extensively.
Sorenson in his 1985 landmark book argues for metallurgy existence in 600 A.D., and claims the future will show us more and it is only a matter of time—however, 34 years later, no change in metallurgy archaeology in Mesoamerica has yet been discovered, despite the extensive work done in that area, both by Church archaeologist and others.
Mormon says there is a Sea North and a Sea South.
Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists say there are only two seas, the Sea East, located in the north, and Sea West, located in the south.
Mormon says Hagoth’s sailed to the north from his shipyard on the West Sea near the Narrow Neck of Land

• Theorist: Sorenson places his Land of Many Waters in Mesoamerica 350 miles away from his hill Cumorah—Mormon places the hill within the Land of Cumorah, which is within the Land of Many Waters, all in the same area.

• Theorist: Mesoamerican theorists claim there were just two seas: East and West—the scriptural record list four seas: North, East, South and West.

• Theorist: Sorenson and other Mesoamericanists claim Nephi landed on, and occupied an isthmus—the scriptural record states that Jacob states, and Nephi records on the plates, that the Nephites landed and lived on an island

Corinatumr writing on the stone in Zarahemla before his death


• Theorist: Sorenson, Nibley and others tell us that Jaredites survived and lived into the Nephite era and influenced the Nephites—however, the scriptural record states that all the Jaredites had been wiped out and killed, that only the Jaredites Coriantumr and Ether remained;

• Theorist: Sorenson and others tell us that Mulek landed among the Jaredites in the Land Northward and migrated down to Zarahemla later—on the other hand, Mormon states that Mulek landed along the seashore and settled there and lived there from the time they first arrived in the Land of Promise

• Theorist: Sorenson, using the Mayan calendar, tells us the Flood occurred in 3113 BC—Moses tells us in the Bible that the Flood came in 2344 BC, and all Book of Mormon, Land of Promise dates are based on that dating.

• Theorist: Sorenson claims that in the first centuries after Nephi’s landing, no indication is given that the Hebrew speech of the Nephites changed to any other tongue though the possibility remains. Other Mesoamerican theorists claim that it is unlikely that the Hebrew persisted down to the time of Cumorah—yet, Moroni tells us that the Nephites spoke Hebrew throughout their time in the Land of Promise.”

It does not matter who is speaking, short of a revelation voted on by the Church, anyone stating something different than is stated in the scriptura record, is doing so from their personal viewpoint, which is especially true of listening to theorists promote their theories, opinions and beliefs, no matter how strongly and convincingly they may be.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Jaredites in Nephite Times – Part I


John L. Sorenson speaking on his book of a Mayan Nephite location for the Land of Promise


There are certain beliefs and opinions theorists have that do not match the scriptural record, yet they are promoted as facts. As an example, John L. Sorenson, the guru of a Land of Promise location in Mesoamerica, and promoter of such in his teaching at BYU, creates his own theory by inserting his own geographical terrain into the Book of Mormon descriptions of the Land Northward. To do this he asks and answers his own Mesoamerican question:

“It may seem strange, looking at a map, that the Nephites did not concern themselves with the highland mass constituting the western half of the land northward, which had included the Moron of the Jaredites. The reason is probably simple: few, if any Nephites or allied lineages were located there. Those who did inhabit it would have been mainly unrelated in lineage and probably also in language.

His statement covers the following inaccuracies:

1. A highland mass covering the western half of the land northward;
Inaccuracy: First, there is no mention in the scriptural record of a highland mass in the western part of the Land Northward; Second, there is no mention of any physical or geographical division in the Land Northward; third, the description of the Land Northward indicates a sea to the west, suggesting a lowland area, not highland to the west;

2. The Jaredite city was located in a highland mass;

Inaccuracy: The Jaredites landed (Ether 6:12) and “they went forth upon the face of the land, and began to till the earth” (Ether 6:13, emphasis added), which suggests they remained in the area of their landing near the seashore. While, the city of Moron may have been in the mountains, that is not certain—it is only mentioned that it was elevated above the area of the seashore landing, as in:

Corihor Marching up to Moron to battle the king


“when he had gathered together an army he came up unto the land of Moron where the king dwelt, and took him captive, which brought to pass the saying of the brother of Jared that they would be brought into captivity” (Ether 7:5, emphasis added). The point is, we do not know the elevation, placement or location of the Jaredite city of Moron

3. “Few, if any Nephites dwelled in the land of Moron.”

Inaccuracy: Several Nephite-occupied cities in the Land Northward are mentioned by Mormon in his book that the Nephites passed by in their retreat, but none can be tied to the city of Moron. In addition, no Nephites are mentioned in Ether, so there is no way such a conclusion can be made. On the other hand, Mormon states that: “They did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Helaman 3:8), suggesting that there would be no area they did not occupy—suggesting a sea to the west as well as a sea to the east in the Land Northward;

4. “There were non-Nephite lineages allied to the Nephites in 350 AD;”

Inaccuracy: There is no question that no other lineage occupied the Land of Promise as described in the Book of  Mormon—those that did were: Jaredites, Mulekites, Nephites, and Lamanites. In addition, after their demise, Jaredites are not mentioned in any way, other than Corianthumr, who died in the Mulekite city of Zarahemla before Mosiah (Nephites) ever reached there. In addition, there is no suggestion or statement that there was any overlap of Jaredites living into the Nephite era. And there is certainly nothing in the scriptural record to lead any theorist to believe that there were, yet despite this fact, the theorists believe that there were.

5. “People unrelated to the Nephites lived in the area of Moron”;

Inaccuracy:  Who lived in the area of Moron after the Jaredite civil war that ended in their complete annihilation, is not known. It certainly was not Jaredites—they no longer existed, and since Lamanites were to the south, it would not have been them—so that leaves only Nephites once they moved into the Land Northward (after 200 BC), specifically in 65 BC for the purpose of inheriting the land (Helaman 3:3).

6. “People who spoke a different language than the Nephites lived in the area of Moron.”

Inaccuracy: There is no indication of this, neither in the location or the language in the scriptural record. In addition, there is no specific indication of the language the the Jaredites spoke, and the Nephites spoke Hebrew (Mormon9:33), the language spoken at Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:2), and wrote the record in the (reformed) language of the Egyptians (Mormon 9:32)

Outskirts settlement in the Land of Moron


7. “These people living in the area of Moron were descended from the Jaredites.”
Inaccuracy: Again, there is no indication of lineage, neither in the location or the language in the scriptural record—in fact, Moron is not mentioned or described by in any way.

8. “We know from linguistic and archaeological study that it was occupied by groups descended in part from Jaredite times.”

Inaccuracy: Again, there is no indication of lineage during Nephite times descended from the Jareidtes anywhere—neither in the area of Moron or anywhere else.

All of these unprecedented, unsupportable, and non-doctrinal speculations that are completely made up by Mesoamerican theorists, including Sorenson, as shown above, that rely on the history of Mesoamerica, and not the scriptural record to determine the history of the Land of Promise—create a hardened theory from which these theorists cannot and will not retreat, and as a result are forced to change the language and intent of the Book of Mormon to support their model.

These are simply speculative assertions that Sorenson and the others continually make. There is no scriptural reference to indicate any of these points. Yet, Sorenson continues:

 “At least it is quite certain that the Zapotecs and various language relatives of theirs were already established in the highlands, although that point is not settled.”

It should be noted that “quite certain” is defined as “completely sure of something,” on the other hand, “not settled” means “not decided nor determined—undecided.” So Sorenson is saying: “It is completely certain that the Zapotecs and various language relatives of theirs were already established in the highlands though this is still undecided.” Or, “It is completely certain that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the Narrow Neck of Land, though this has not been determined.” Or, “It is certain that indigenous people occupied the Land of Promise before during and after Lehi landed, though this has not been determined and is still undecided.”

This kind of double-talk is found throughout their writings, tours, and books. How can something be “quite certain” yet “not settled?” This is the kind of language theorists use to try and prove their points. Stated differently, they are stating that “unsettled points that are quite certain” show that unrelated Nephite languages existed in the land northward around 350 A.D. and that these unrelated languages show that Nephites  lived in this area-but that is not well established.

This is why it is recommended that the scriptural record be used for the basis of all maps, models, theories and opinions. That does not mean one can use a scripture but change it to mean something else. As an example: Cardinal north—shown in Nephi’s use of south-southeast (1 Nephi 16:13), which Sorenson replaced with his “Mormon North” skewing the Cardinal points 90º to the east.

In fact, in the Scriptural Record there is no indication, no record, no reference, not even a hint of suggestion that any indigenous or non-Nephite people, culture or languages, existed in the land of promise during the Book of Mormon record. As a result, it can be suggested that none existed within the Land of Promise, for none are mentioned in over 500 pages by numerous prophet-historians, and in his abridgement, Mormon provides not a single word to indicate their existence.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

There is No Excuse – Part II

 As stated previously, with the number of theorists there are today, and their desire to promote their particular theories, numerous ideas, and beliefs, it should be kept in mind that there is no excuse for using the scriptural record inaccurately. Examples of this are found in the previous post and continue below:

5. Nephites and Gadianton Robbers

“When the Nephites withdrew into that defensive position for protection against the Gadianton references are made to either the east or west seas...(but) all indicate the scene of this conflict was in the narrow neck by the west sea” (Hauck, p 37).

The scripture tells us a different story: "Therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together...(in) the land of Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the land of Desolation."  (3 Nephi 3:21,23, emphasis added) .

The “center of our lands” is hardly the west sea.  How anyone gets the west sea out of this scripture is hard to understand.

6. The Land Northward.

“They went into the land northward.  It's true they would have traveled westward to get to that land (Mexico), but it extends much further northward than their own land.  It doesn't say they traveled north, but that they went into the land called the land northward” (Peay, p 108).


A NASA photo from space. The Nephites did not have such a view of the Land  of Promise

The Nephites had no aerial maps, satellite photos, or world globes.  It cannot be assumed they knew that the land to their west, if traveled far enough, extended to the north of their land.  To go from Guatelmala as Peay suggests into Mexico is indeed to travel west, and since early cultures often called lands by their direction, as the Nephites obviously did, that land would have been called the land westward.  The scriptures make it quite clear that the land northward was to the north of Zarahemla and Bountiful (Alma 22:29-30).

7. The Land of Desolation.

“One land retained the name Desolation for a great many years.  Until 20 A.D. it was the land north of the land of retained the name Desolation because it was a harsh and drier land” (Peay, p 109).

The scriptures say nothing about the land of Desolation being an arid, dry or harsh land.  They say simply that the land was called the land of Desolation because of the destruction found there from the previous inhabitants (Helaman 3:5-6).  Nor was this land desolate except for the absence of trees (Helaman 3:7).  Because the land had been denuded of trees by the Jaredites, the Nephites who inhabited the land in the 1st-Century B.C. “did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber”  (Helaman 3:9).

Helaman tells us "because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called desolate" (Helaman 3:6), and as late as 17 A.D. the Nephites still thought of the land northward as having a great curse upon it (3 Nephi 3:24).  In fact, the ancient Semites gave the name Hormah, meaning “Destruction” or “Desolation,” to any scene of defeat, thus, it can hardly be said that this land was called Desolation because of it being arid, dry or harsh as Peay suggests.  This is especially true when this land was also called the land of "many waters" (Helaman 3:4; Mormon 6:4).

There are many such examples that can be given, many of which have been written about in this blog. But the point is, that anyone—scholar, theorist, writer, explorer, professor—should be using the scriptural record to promote their own personal opinions, no matter how accurate they appear to be. If it is not in the record, it cannot be added, altered or changed—in fact not at all, except as secondary support material. If the meaning can be discerned, it should not be discussed as factual without a matching scripture. If an opinion is forthcoming, it should not be expressed as a primary or secondary source.

All of this is important because the scriptures are not for personal interpretation. Nor should they be approached with any idea, belief, opinion, or “fact” that does not agree with the scriptural record, though claimed to be tantamount to it.

Note that the arrows point to additional information and there is no arrow pointing back to the Book of Mormon. This shows that other sources do not change the scriptural record but that the record is paramount


Any view, no matter how strongly promoted, can outweigh or over write the words of the scriptural record. Not only were they written by prophets and those directed by the Spirit that lived upon the land, they covered the entire length and width, and time of the Land of Promise, but—as in the case of Mormon—lived and moved upon the entire face of it. Yet, there are professors, scholars and writers who seem to think they know more than Mormon knew, and want to change what he wrote, and the meaning of what he understood. In short, these scholars and professors seem to think their knowledge is greater than Mormon’s, and they feel they have a greater understanding of the events Mormon saw or read about from those who were there during the length of the Nephites in the Land of Promise.

The scriptural record should be approached as the basis for any need in understanding the geographical setting of the Land of Promise no matter what the subject matter, whether it be in the beginning, middle, or the ending of the record.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

There is No Excuse – Part I

With the number of theorists there are today, and their desire to promote their particular theories, numerous ideas, and beliefs—descriptions and models have flooded the geographical setting of the Book of Mormon. Some have done so with an intention to help people understand, others to promote their saleable books and tours.

This has led to many theories and most are not accurate at all, let along be helpful for people to understand the geographical setting. One of the difficulties is the confusing of the People, who get ideas of their geographical opinions and beliefs in one of several ways: 

Promoting a theory


1. Listen to someone else’s theory

• Lehi landed in Florida and traveled north into Tennessee

2. Listen to someone else’s theory and make changes that fit a particular view of a single or multiple item change

• Lehi landed in Florida along the south coast of Florida and sailed up the Chattahoochee River to its source at Unicoi Gap, Georgia, with the source of the Hiawassee River taking them to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

3. Create their own theory

• Lehi landed at Crustal River along the west coast of Florida and traveled north and then west to Tallahassee in the Panhandle and then northward to Tennessee

4. Combine two theories

Lehi landed in Florida, travelled to Louisiana and sailed up the Mississippi

5. Evaluate theory

Compare a theory against the scriptural record. Accept or reject according to accuracy

6. Start with the scriptural record

• Follow Lehi’s trek in the wilderness, the family crossing the great deep, Nephi’s journey northward, and Mormon’s many statements. Make sure every step of the way matches the descriptions given.

Only the last way (#6) is viable for both accuracy and the understanding of the scriptural record. The other ways all leave room for original errors and their repetition.

In short, there is no excuse to write an article or a book about the Book of Mormon. As an example:

1. Use scripture incorrectly;

The Mulekites did not replace the Jaredite culture, but were absorbed into it.  Their language became corrupted, and eventually was replaced by the Jaredite language (Hobby, p 19)

The scriptures say nothing of the Jaredite language among the people of Zarahemla.  Speaking of the Mulekites, Amaleki wrote:  "...and their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; and...Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them." (Omni 1:17). The question need only be asked: what language had become corrupted?  The Hebrew, of course, for the people of Zarahemla came with Mulek from Jerusalem (Omni 1:15), and were led across the sea by the Lord and landed where Mosiah found them and had dwelt there from that time forth (Omni 1:17).  Because the Mulekite language had originally been Hebrew, there was common ground for the Nephites to reteach them Hebrew and the task was evidently not so difficult.

2. Use scriptural reference as though it supports the point being made when it obviously does not:

Zedekiah on the throne of Israel


In 1 Nephi 1:4, we are informed that Lehi lived in Jerusalem when Zedekiah was placed on the throne as king of Judah.  (Allen, p 21)

The scriptures does not tell us that Lehi lived in Jerusalem.  The actual scripture quoted states:  "For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days)..."  (1 Nephi 1:4)  While some might not find much difference between the word in and at, Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary of the American language shows that in Jerusalem would mean “inside the walled city,” while I would mean living out in the nearby countryside.  This difference has led to the possible understanding of Lehi's occupation which Nibley and the Hiltons have so effectively expanded upon.  But regardless of the discussion on Lehi's occupation, the misuse of a word that determines meaning when quoting a scripture is a sign of sloppy writing!

3. When Nephi's party fear of his elder brothers, they traveled "many days," ending up at a site where they named their settlement for their leader, Nephi.  They were still not far from the coast (2 Nephi 5:7-8).  (Sorenson, p 139)

The actual scripture says nothing about direction, topography, seashore or inland:  “And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days.  And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.  And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore we did call it Nephi” (2 Nephi 5:7-8).  Later, we learn that the land of Nephi was at an elevation higher than the land of Zarahemla (Alma 27:5; 53:10,12; 57:15-16, 28, 30; Helaman 6:4), for the Lamanites constantly came down to do battle with the Nephites (Alma 51:11; Helaman 1:17; 4:5).  We also learn that the land of Nephi stretched from the west sea to the east sea (Alma 50:8).  Consequently, to say that Nephi settled near the seashore as Sorenson does, or that he traveled inland as Hauck does, is not known from the scriptural record and is misleading.  

Top: Lehi leaving Jerusalem in an obvious manner open to all; Bottom: Lehi leaving his home 

near (at) Jerusalem would have no viewers and be private. Scriptural content is important 

to understand


4. Make statements which cannot be supported by scripture;

“The experience of pioneers suggests that first success for an imported crop does not necessarily mean continued vigor for it.  What happened later to those plants from the seeds the Lehi party carried across the ocean is not stated” (Sorenson, 139).

The scriptures tell us exactly what happened to those plants from the first seeds planted.  The first crop, of course, grew exceedingly and provided an abundant harvest (1 Nephi 18:24). Soon after, Lehi died and Nephi was commanded to flee.  He took his journey into the wilderness for "many days" (1 Nephi 5:7), which included provisions (seeds) to a place they called the Land of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:8).  In this place they planted their seeds again, and had another abundant crop (2 Nephi 5:11).  Over one hundred years later, Enos writes about the bounty these seeds were still producing (Enos 1:21), and more than three hundred years later, when Zeniff returned to the Land of Nephi, he planted wheat and barley, obvious some of the Old World plants (seeds) Lehi brought from Jerusalem.  The scriptures tell us they grew abundantly (Mosiah 9:9). Thus, the statement that what happened to the seeds is not stated is grossly incorrect.

(See the next post regarding what theorists cover and how it effects what is known and understood)

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Earliest Peanut, Cotton and Squash Farming Found

Anthropologists working on the slopes of the Andes in northern Peru have discovered the earliest-known evidence of peanut, cotton and squash farming dating back thousands of years. Their findings provide long-sought-after evidence that some of the early development of agriculture in the New World took place at farming settlements in the Andes—before anywhere ele in the Americas.

The research was supported by the Instituto Nacional de Cultura, Lima; the National Science Foundation; the Heinz Foundation; the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University, and published in the June 29, 2007, issue of ScienceDaily

It is believed among anthropologists that while the men of a settlement were out hunting and fishing, the women were busy raising crops, gardening and and eatable food


This discovery of farming precedes all earlier estimates by twice the age of crops in the region. According to Tom D. Dillehay, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University, elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007, and Professor Extraordinaire at the Universidad Austral de Chile Ñanchoc, and lead author on the publication, “Our new findings indicate that agriculture played a broader role in these sweeping developments than was previously understood.”

When Lehi reached the Land of Promise, he brought with him “seeds of every kind,” which had resulted from hundreds even thousands of years of earlier development and planting. That such a discovery does not show that their use in the New World extends back usage in the Americas, but that the seeds Lehi brought were from very old development before he came, arriving and planting.

Yet, Lehi being unknown to modern sciences, Dillehay and his research team, who made their discovery in the Ñanchoc Valley, assumed it was a development of usage limited to the New World. Now this valley is approximately two-thirds of a mile wide and running inland 37 miles from the coast. It is about 1650-feet above sea level on the lower western slopes of the Andes in northern Peru, 490 miles north along the coast from Lima—between Chiclayo and Cajamarca. Between this valley and the ocean is a low range of mountains and the Peruvian coastal desert. East of Nanchoc, the Andes rise sharply and the greater precipitation in the Andes feeds the Nanchoc River and its tributaries, permitting irrigated agriculture to flourish in the valley.

Dillehay also stated: “We believe the development of agriculture by the Ñanchoc people served as a catalyst for cultural and social changes that eventually led to intensified agriculture, institutionalized political power and new towns in the Andean highlands and along the coast thousands of years ago.” There were also small-scale irrigation canals uncovered from approximately the same period.

 Dillehay (left) and his colleagues found wild-type peanuts, squash and cotton as well as a quinoa-like grain, manioc and other tubers and fruits in the floors and hearths of buried preceramic sites, garden plots, irrigation canals, storage structures and on hoes.

Obviously, seeds found in such a manner would result from much use over time and the mixture of seeds from various locations and development. Overall, the researchers used a technique called accelerator mass spectrometry to determine the radiocarbon dates of the materials. Data gleaned from botanists, other archaeological findings and a review of the current plant community in the area suggest the specific strains of the discovered plant remains did not naturally grow in the immediate area.

“The plants we found in northern Peru did not typically grow in the wild in that area,” Dillehay said. It seems understood that the team believed they must have been domesticated elsewhere first and then brought to this valley by emigration. Dillehay continued: “The use of these domesticated plants goes along with broader cultural changes we believe existed at that time in this area, such as people staying in one place, developing irrigation and other water management techniques, creating public ceremonials, and obtaining and saving exotic artifacts.” The researchers dated the squash being older than the peanut and cotton (Gary D. Daniels, “Earliest known-evidence of peanut, cotton and squash farming found,” South American Archaeology News,” Lost Worlds, February 3, 2011).

Anthropologists say this find in Peru is definitely evidence that farming developed in parts of the Americas nearly as early as it did in the Middle East, which has been considered the birthplace of the earliest agriculture. Digging under house floors and grinding stones and in stone-lined storage bins, Dillehey uncovered the squash seeds at several places in the Ñanchoc Valley, with the excavations yielding peanut hulls and cotton fibers.

The new, more precise dating of the plant remains, some of which were collected two decades ago, are reported by Dillehey and colleagues in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

The evidence at Ñanchoc, Dr. Dillehey’s team wrote, indicated that “agriculture played a more important and earlier role in the development of Andean civilization than previously understood.”

Lehi’s farming family would have known how to irrigate plants and crops


Of course, Lehi’s family would have known how to irrigate gardens and crops, having done so at Jerusalem before leaving the area, and continuing in the Land of Promise.

In an accompanying article on early agriculture, Eve Emshwiller, an ethnobotanist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, was quoted as saying the reports of early dates for plant domestication in the New World were remarkable because the activity appeared to have occurred not long after humans first colonized the Americas.

The article also noted that cultivated squash seeds have recently been reported in Mexico, along with evidence of domesticated maize there. Scholars now think that plants were domesticated independently in at least 10 “centers of origin;” those centers, in addition to the Peru and the Middle East, include places in Africa, southern India, China and New Guinea.

In the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, an arc from modern-day Israel through Syria and southeastern Turkey to Iraq, wheat and barley were domesticated, and rye may have been domesticated in the same era. Experts in ancient agriculture suspect that the transition from foraging to cultivation started much earlier than that, and was not as abrupt a transformation as the archaeological record would seem to indicate.

Botanists studying the squash, peanut and cotton remains determined that the specific strains did not grow naturally in the Ñanchoc area. The peanut, in particular, was thought to be better suited to cultivation in tropical forests and savannas elsewhere in South America. The wild ancestor of squash has yet to be identified, though lowlands in Colombia are thought to be a likely source.

So if the new research shows that the “horticultural economies in parts of the Andes took root by about 10,000 years ago,” Dr. Dillehey’s team said, it remains to be seen when and where the domestication of squash, peanuts and cotton took place.

Dr. Dillehay’s most notable previous achievement was the discovery of a campsite of hunter-gatherers at Monte Verde, in Chile, which dates to about 13,000 years ago. Most archaeologists recognize this as the earliest well-documented human occupation site uncovered so far in the New World.

Other explorations in recent years have yielded increasing evidence of settlements and organized political societies that flourished in the coastal valleys of northern Peru, possibly as early as 5,000 years ago. Until now, the record of earlier farming in the region had been sparse (this is because none matched the anthropologist’s view of what happened ad when it did).

It should be kept in mind that while scientists do not use the type of population development shown in the Book of Mormon, such information shows that in the Americas, hunters and gatherers were not part of the normal development of the peoples who lived there—after all, Lehi landed with a totally developed society, farmers, traders, businessman as the initial and oldest individual in the Land of Promise. Yet, scholars and scientists devote several decades to research on ancient cultures in South America, not realizing their common ascent.

However, initial radiocarbon dating of the plant remains from Ñanchoc was based on wood charcoal buried at the sites, but the results varied widely and were considered unreliable. More recent radiocarbon dating, with a technique called accelerator mass spectrometry, relied on measurements from undisturbed buried charcoal and an analysis of the actual plant remains.

The distribution of building structures, canals and furrowed fields, Dr. Dillehey said, indicated that the Andean culture was moving beyond cultivation limited to individual households toward an organized agricultural society.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Information About the Book of Mormon Every Theorist should Know

Every theorist and serious reader of the Book of Mormon, especially those with strong pre-determined beliefs, should know certain facts about the Book of Mormon.

The first published Book of Mormon was in March 26, 1830, and as of December 2016, 66% of the people of the Earth have access to the Book of Mormon in their native language, with 173,000,000 copies printed in 110 languages. There are 3,925 references to Jesus Christ in the book, and on average some form of Christ’s name is mentioned every 1.7 verses.

The original edition of the Book of Mormon printed 5,000 copies


Written to the Lamanites. Nephi and the other writers of the original plates wrote with their brethren, the Lamanites in mind. Even Mormon and Moroni did so, with Moroni writing in the preface: “Wherefore, it is an abridgement of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel. It is also written for Jew and Gentile, and all was written by way of commandment.

Names. The Book of Mormon contains 337 proper names and 21 gentilics (or analogous forms) based on proper names, including two translated names (not transliterations) and 188 names unique to the Book of Mormon.

The age of Joseph Smith. He was 21 years of age when he began translating the plates. At this time he had little schooling, knew no foreign languages, and had no training in Hebrew.

During translation, the gold plates were not always in the room where the translation took place, and when they were, they were covered by a thin towel.

The actual translation of the 531 pages we now have in the English version was translated between April and June of 1829, during a period of 65 days (Church History in the Fulness of Times, 46–62).

The large plates (Mosiah through Moroni) were translated before the small plates—1 Nephi through Words of Mormon (Church History in the Fulness of Times, p59).

Scribes. Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, and Emma Smith served as Joseph’s scribes during the translation of the Book of Mormon (Church History in the Fulness of Times, pp47,52,56,58,82). Oliver Cowdery also desired to translate the plates but was unsuccessful (D&C 8,9).

The first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, which contained the Book of Lehi and his history, were translated from the large plates soon after Joseph received them. Emma Smith and Martin Harris were Joseph’s scribes during this time. These were the pages lost by Martin Harris and never retranslated again because “wicked men had stolen the pages and would have altered them, hoping to discredit Joseph when he translated them again and the two manuscripts didn’t match because of their alterations (D&C 10). Nephi, then translated from the Small Plates, which was Nephi’s abridgement of his father’s record recorded on the small plates (1 Nephi 6,9; Words of Mormon 1:3-7).

Printing. Joseph was ready to print the Book of Mormon in 1829. A copyright was obtained on June 11, and the translation was completed on July 1 (see Church History in the Fulness of Times, p66).

E. B. Grandin and his print shop where the first Book of Mormon was printed


The printer, E. B. Grandin, was only 23 years old. He agreed to print 5,000 copies of the book, which was an enormous number at that time (see Church History in the Fulness of Times, p63).

The first Book of Mormon was available for purchase on March 26, 1830. It was bound in brown leather and could be found at Grandin’s bookstore.

Martin Harris sold 151 acres of his farm in order to pay the costs of printing the Book of Mormon (see Church History in the Fulness of Times, p65).

The box with the gold plates also contained the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate (JSH 1:52). These are the only objects we know that were in the box when Joseph retrieved the plates, though an angel also showed the sword of Laban and the Liahona to the Three Witnesses (D&C 17:1).

15. The original plates Joseph received were written upon directly by 11 different people: Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, Amaleki, Mormon, and Moroni. (Of course, the words of other prophets and leaders were recorded on the plates by these 16.) There were also 11 people (besides Joseph Smith) who saw the gold plates and witnessed that they had seen them (Testimony of Three Witnesses,” and “Testimony of Eight Witnesses”)

Simple Questions about the Authenticity of the Book of Mormon:

• Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages of ancient scripture on his own that was historically accurate and prophetic in nature?

• Would it be possible for that boy to understand and include ancient Hebrew literary writing styles such as idioms and Chiasmus, some of which weren’t even discovered until long after Joseph Smith was gone?

• How would Joseph Smith have been able to know so much about the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula where Lehi and his family traveled? The book includes findings in that region that no one had yet discovered.

• How could Joseph Smith come up with roughly 200 new names in the Book of Mormon and then have them turn out to be Semitic in nature?

• If you think Joseph Smith couldn’t have written this book, then where did it come from? If one says the devil put him up to it…then why would Satan want to publish another testament of Jesus Christ and a book that does nothing but promote righteousness. Jesus said that a house divided against itself would fall.

• Who were the “other sheep” that would hear Jesus’s voice in John 10:16?

• Why are there volumes of books written by non-LDS authors stating that Christ came and visited the America’s a couple thousand years ago just like it says in 3rd Nephi? How would Joseph Smith have known this when at the time no one even considered it?

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ


• If we have the stick of Judah (record of the Jews or the Bible), then where is the stick of Joseph that is referenced in Ezekiel 37:15-20? The Book of Mormon is the only explanation for this scripture. Lehi was a descendant of Joseph. Think Joseph Smith could have gotten that right by sheer chance?

• How could there be so many witnesses of the Book of Mormon and the plates and not one of them deny their testimony even when some of them became bitter toward Joseph Smith? With so many people involved…a hoax of this magnitude could never go uncovered.

• How could the Book of Mormon never contradict itself while being an extremely complex book? After all these years…someone would have found something…but no.

There are many other comments that could be made to show the uniqueness of the Book of Mormon regarding its provable statements. Thus, it should be understood that in determining anything physical about Mormon’s descriptions, one need start with the scriptural record itself—and this is particularly important when considering the location of the Land of Promise, and the beliefs and opinions that generates. The point is, the more one is armed with the knowledge of the scriptural record, one is in a better situation to know the truth. That knowledge not only includes what is written in the record, but a knowledge of the information behind what is written, who wrote it, and why it was written.