Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nephite Trade in 350 A.D.? Are You Kidding?

Joseph L. Allen, in his book “Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon,” on page 29, writes:

“Although a few archaeological sites depict a decline in civilization at 350 AD, many other sites in Mesoamerica show a continued and dramatic growth over the next 400 years.”

One might think from this that Allen is far more familiar with Central American history he quotes, than he is with the Book of Mormon. In 350 A.D., there was a war of annihilation going on in the Land of Promise. The Nephites were running for their lives and being wiped off the face of the earth—no Nephite would have been involved in any kind of trade since he would have been running to escape the invading armies of the Lamanites.
After a lengthy war, the Nephites finally were able to make “a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided, and the Lamanites did give us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward” (Mormon 2:28-29).

For the next ten years, Mormon was busy getting “the Nephites preparing their lands and their arms against the time of battle” (Mormon 3:1). After this ten-year period, the Lamanite king sent an epistle to Mormon informing him that the Lamanites “were preparing to come again to battle against us” (Mormon 3:4). At this time, 360 A.D., Mormon gathered all his armies to the land of Desolation, at “the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5).

Three incursions by the Lamanites met with defeat, but in the third year, a fresh Lamanite army attacked, killing many Nephites and taking many women and children prisoners (Mormon 4:2), and sacrifiing them to their idols (Mormon 4:22).

There was an eight-year laspe, but from this point on, the Nephites were continually driven from city to city, from land to land, always on the defensive and never able to win another battle. In the Nephite retreat, “whatsoever lands we had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in, were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns and villages were burned with fire” (Mormon 5:5). The following year the Lamanites came again and the Nephite defenses were “in vain, for so great were their numbers that they did tread the people of the Nephites under their feet” (Mormon 5:6), “for those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites’ were swept down and destroyed” (Mormon 5:7). Following this, the battle at Cumorah took place and the Nephites were wiped out to the man, with only Moroni left standing (Mormon 8:1-2). Despite all this, Allen writes on page 29:

“Because the archaeological record shows a high amount of trade activity between Mexico City (Teotihuacan) and Guatemala City (Kaminaljuyu), and including points in between (Oaxaca/Monte Alban), the wicked 350 AD Nephite culture was simply in the way of trade and commerce. The annihilation of the Nephites at 385 AD does not seem to show a major impact on the rest of Mesoamerica. From 350 AD to 900 AD, a vast amount of building and commerce activity occurred in Mesoamerica.”

Yet, during this time, Moroni tells us that a civil war had been going on in the entire land of promise, from the annihilation of the Nephites (385 A.D.) to 401 A.D., “the Lamanites are at war one with another, and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8). 20 years later, Moroni adds: “their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroini 1:2).

One can only wonder what type of dramatic growth could possibly take place when the entire Land of Promise was in a state of siege from about 326 A.D. onward (Mormon 2:2), with the Lamanites chasing the Nephites northward and finally annihilating them, then having a civil war among themselves that lasted for 36 years after the Nephites were destroyed—-in all covering 95 years with no one knowing when it would end.

One can also only wonder if Allen has read the scriptures or just relies on questionable archaeological findings.

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