Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Nature of the Record-Part II

Continuing with the article by John L. Sorenson that was sent to us recently regarding the so-called “new ideas” about the Book of Mormon that he claims have surfaced in recent years. In this article we see why Sorenson and other Mesoamericanists so misunderstand the isolation of the Land of Promise and the absence of other nations and other cultures and other peoples there, which causes them to insist on putting other people into the mix and insist they were there (in the case of Mesoamerica, they claim other people existed there long before Lehi arrived, thus they must find other people in the scriptures and when they do not, they claim the prophets who recorded the Nephite events were narrow-minded and deliberatel ignored the other people). 
    Sorenson: “It shows Abraham moving out of northern Mesopotamia and into Canaan, then Egypt—his family closely knit with other peoples and cultures who are mainly ignored in the record.”
The people of Sodom and Gomorrah are introduced to us in the Bible narrative quite completely—they are not ignored or skipped over
    Response: However, when they do interact, we find their mention. We see Lot and his involvement in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, which gives us the evil of sodomizing and homosexuality and the results of not obeying. We may not know much about them, but we know about them! And in the Book of Mormon, there is no other people for us to know!
    Sorenson: “Ur, Lot, Abimelech, Gomorrah, the “five kings,” and Melchizedek are glimpsed in passing, but they are essentially part of the scenery, almost props on the stage to facilitate telling the account of how and why Israel obtained its place in the promised land.”
    Response: Again, we know they are there because they are mentioned, however briefly and incomplete. There is nothing of the kind in the Book of Mormon!
    Sorenson: “Both the Nephite and Jaredite documents display these elements.”
    Response: No, they do not! There are no elements of any kind displayed to show that another people were involved. Everyone mentioned is known, along with an understanding of their connection to the Jaredite lineage. There is nothing to suggest anything similar to the brief mention of other peoples and events as found in the Bible.
    Sorenson: “Moroni, the last scribe of the lineage of Nephi, concluded and buried the record not because there was no more history being made around him” (See Morm. 8:1-9; Moro. 1:1-2).
    Response: The records were hidden because “for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not” (Mormon 8:5). And because: “having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were sacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites would destroy them) therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were these few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni” (Mormon 6:6). Consequently, there was no more history made around him for he was alone, and the plates were hidden in the ground, both by Mormon and finally the last by Moroni, for fear the Lamanites might find and destroy them.
    Sorenson: Those happenings were simply not part of his group’s history.”
Response: Moroni was alone. He was the last man standing of the Nephite Nation. The remaining Lamanites and Gadianton Robbers were at war with one another in a giant civil war that ended up lasting at least 26 years and was still raging in 421 A.D., when Moroni wrote: ” And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen” (Moroni 10:34). Why did he not write more? Because: “and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father” (Mormon 8:3), and “Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites” (Mormon 8:7), and “And now, behold, I say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land” (Mormon 8:9). There was nothing left to write about but the wars among the Lamanites and the Robbers and he obviously saw no reason to harrow up the reader with the terrible destruction that entailed.
    Sorenson: “(Of course, there were other, more important, reasons for finishing and sealing up the record. See Moro. 1:4; title page.) It is apparent, then, why Mormon’s abridgement all but ignores the people of Zarahemla, or “Mulekites” as we have dubbed them, even though they were more numerous than the Nephites. (See Mosiah 25:2-3).”
    Response: In terms of God’s dealing with man, the information of God leading Mulek to the Land of Promise is sufficient. They had no records and kept no information about themselves, so even if one wanted to write about them, there was nothing more known than what we have.
    Sorenson: “Neither did Ether give much attention to those usurping rulers, likely from a competing lineage, who imprisoned his ancestors and so kept them from their place on the throne.”
The record of Ether was rather extensive. Moroni condensed 1500 years of existence to just a few pages. Obviously, he did not deal with anyone or any circumstance in much detail, but we can be assured it was a much longer writing than what we have now
    Response: Sorenson's comment is simply not true. In all cases we know who these people were, i.e., they were part of the overall Jaredite kingdom. As for specific families, we do not know them separately. On the other hand, Moroni had 1500 years of records before him, the part he chose of that was obviously very brief and what more in the record will some day be available we do not know.
    Sorenson: “In fact, their names aren’t even mentioned in the Book of Ether. (See Ether 10:30-31; 11:17-19).”
    Response. In going over these references, what Sorenson says is not true. We are given the names: Heth, Aaron, Amnigaddah, Coriantum, Com, who split the kingdom in two and fought against Amgid, and during Com’s time the old order of the Robbers was resumed and Com fought against them but did not prevail. It is true in 11:17, we do not know the name of the mighty man who arose, but we know he was a descendant of the brother of Jared. The problem with Sorenson and his like is that in trying to prove their point, they ignore what the scriptures actually say and make up their own interpretation of it.
    After all, it was Moroni who was abridging this record and we do not know all that he had from which to draw his writing. Perhaps it was Moroni who decided not to write detailed about one battle after another, and perhaps there was no interaction during these times between God and man for him to draw upon. But to lay blame here that those who kept the record kept an incomplete one or that those who drew from it were sketchy, we do not know what the Spirit prompted them to write and what not to write. To draw any other conclusions is simply to further one’s own personal agenda, which Sorenson seems to continually do.
    Sorenson: “To the people of Jared’s lineage, those names were not important.”
    Response: Sorenson neglects to understand, or to acknowledge, or to consider that all these people were of Jared’s lineage (that is, from the original 24 families that arrived and made up the Jaredites the Lord led to the land of promise).
    Sorenson: “In significant ways, the burden of these ancient American records was about the fate of the central families who kept them.”
Response: Of the original 24 families, two were the leaders of the entire Jaredite nation—Jared and his brother. While Jared’s lineage became the first and subsequent kings (we do not know if that was maintained or not), the Brother of Jared seemed to hold the spiritual key to the people, and possibly his descendants (we do not know if that was a fact or not).
    The entire record is brief and sketchy, obviously abridged by Moroni who included what the Spirit directed him to do and left out what he was directed to ignore. What conclusions can be drawn from that are minimal, if any. Sorenson draws a considerable scenario, but has little to base it on.
    Sorenson: “Others were sometimes mentioned, but only because they provided necessary scenery and furniture for the primary drama. Even centuries-long periods could be ignored, no doubt because little happened then which was considered crucial in determining the destiny of the descendants of Nephi or of Jared.”
    Response: Sorenson loves to make this point, but in reality there is little to base his conclusions upon. Without Moroni to ask, it is all moot and the negative view Sorenson draws from this is ill-based assumption serves no worthwhile purpose. Simply put, there were no other people mentioned. The simplest conclusion to draw is that there were no other people involved. Anything else is pure speculation and evidently without purpose other than to further the Mesoamerican beliefs that simply have to merit in this case at all.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Nature of the Record-Part I

An article by John L. Sorenson was sent to me recently regarding the so-called “new ideas” about the Book of Mormon that have surfaced in recent years. While I was asked an opinion, I thought it best to cover the topics one at a time since there are numerous areas here that one might feel are inconsistent with the scriptural record.
    First of all, it should be understood that Sorenson, like so many Mesoamericanists, continually tries to support his changing of the meaning of the scriptural record, from the directions to distances, and do so as if their changing the scriptural meaning is doing us a service, i.e., without them, we could not understand the scriptural record at all. Even Hugh Nibley took that approach many times in trying to convince members they did not understand the true meaning of the written word.
    Sorenson: “Another important new idea about the Book of Mormon is that it is not a history in the sense of the word often used today. Rather than being a narrative of what happened in a particular territory, it is like the Old Testament, primarily a family chronicle written by prophets under the Lord’s inspiration.”
Response: The Book of Mormon was never suggested to be a history. It was a second witness of Jesus Christ, the Bible being the first. For some reason, Sorenson and his type seem to think it was meant as a history and we are just now finding out it is not.
    Sorenson: “The Book of Mormon is thus similar in important respects to “lineage histories.” This class of document provides selected information about the origin of the group, why it was chosen by deity, crucial events affecting its fate, the charter on which its system of power was based, and its relationships with other groups.”
    Response: First of all,it is not a document, or a text, and was not written by scribes or recorders, each of these being words of description Sorenson chooses over “scripture,” “prophet,” etc. Secondly, it is not a “lineage history,” for we know nothing of Lehi’s lineage other than being of the tribe of Menasseh. We know not his father or any of his predecessors, nor do we know any of his grandchildren or descendants except on a very narrow line. We don’t even know the names of his daughters, daughters-in-law, nor anything about his youngest son, Joseph. The point is, this is not about Lehi and his family, but about God’s dealings with man as he led two families out of the land of Jerusalem to a far away Land of Promise.
    Sorenson: “A lineage typically uses this kind of historical account to define its own boundaries, reinforce its power, stabilize its social structure, and otherwise clarify to its own members who they are.”
Response: The Book of Ether (left) begins more as a lineage history, giving the complete genealogy of the last prophet, Ether, back to the first ancestor of the storyline, Jared, covering about 1500 years. All we really know about Lehi is that he was a prophet, called like others of his time to preach repentance to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and that he was chosen to lead a group to a new Land of Promise, and that the Western Hemisphere, or a certain part of it, was set aside as a land of inheritance for him and his seed. We know nothing of his earlier years, how he gained or earned his wealth, nor where his parents came from--only that he lived all his days at Jerusalem. In a very sketchy way, we follow his descendants over a thousand year period, with huge gaps and minimal information about the actual families involved.
    Sorenson: “Most historical documents, written or oral, of ancient civilizations and tribes are of this kind.”
    Response: I am and always have been an avid reader. Before the internet, I haunted libraries and have a personal library of thousands of books and stories, yet I have never seen or heard of a book like the Book of Mormon. In the early centuries of writing, the Greeks and Romans had such stories, as did the Norsemen, writing of great epics, yet few, if any, really paralleled such as the Book of Mormon.
    Sorenson: “They do not claim to tell comprehensively or systematically “what happened” throughout a territory.”
    Response: Actually, most historical novels spend more time on the “territory,” than does the Book of Mormon. This work has little concern about territory and not much more interest in lineage other than a connection between the writers. Its main storyline and interest is in how God deals with man and the righteous and how we seal our own fates by the choices we make.
    Sorenson: “Indeed, the lineage may not have had exclusive control over a land (as was the case with Abraham).”
Response: The thing Sorenson ignores or forgets is that there were no other people in the Land of Promise. There was no contact with other cultures and civilizations for the Jaredites or the Nephites. Consequently, there is no way to compare territory in the Book of Mormon with any other work like the Bible in that way. Abraham’s challenges, as those of ancient Israel, was with other cultures and people; the Nephite challenge was with the Lamanites. As the Lord told Nephi regarding the Lamanites: ”And the Lord God said unto me: They shall be a scourge unto thy seed, to stir them up in remembrance of me; and inasmuch as they will not remember me, and hearken unto my words, they shall scourge them even unto destruction” (2 Nephi 5:25).
    Sorenson: “Frequently they constituted only part of a social mosaic, side by side with similar groups, either within or outside the formal nations which most of us consider the proper subject of history.”
    Response: Herein lies the problem with well educated people. They think everytghing is the same. Europe had its development within the mosaic with several groups; however, the Land of Promise did not. “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” (Ether 13:2). And as the Lord told Lehi, “It is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance” (2 Nephi 1:8), and as Lehi told his children, “if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9).
America was not Europe! It was the promised land with its own development and promises!
    Sorenson: The account of the patriarchal period in the Old Testament, for example, comes from the records of a certain lineage and thus contains primarily its key historical happenings and the great truths that its leaders received from God.”
    Response: The Old Testament is not the Book of Mormon and Israel in Palestine is not the same as the Nephites in the Land of Promise. The key to the Book of Mormon is not found in the Bible, but in the promises made to the Jaredites and Lehi, which tell a very different story.
(See the next post, “The Nature of the Record-Part II,” for more of this Sorenson article which shows why he and other Mesoamericanists so misunderstand the isolation of the Land of Promise and the absence of other nations and other cultures and other peoples there)

Friday, January 29, 2016

This Land; This Continent

Again, we have a question/comment from a reader too extensive, and too important, in its answer to place in the comments section, so we are devoting an entire post to it.
    The comment received was: “You seem to think that the term used in the promise to Lehi “a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands” (2 Nephi 1:5), has to do with a land far larger than the United States, which can only be so described as a land of liberty, etc.” David S.
Response: One of the problems we make is thinking the Lord thinks in the same scope as we do, and that the early history of people covers the same land masses and concepts we have and think in today. Both thoughts and approaches are in error. From the time of Noah down to Lehi, a period of about 1700 years, the world only knew of the land masses of Europe, Asia and Africa. That was the world. Those were the countries of the world, the people of the world, the governments of the world—nothing else and nowhere else existed in fact existed to them.
    After that point in time, the Lord opened the eyes of some people through Lehi of an entirely new world existing halfway across the oceans which he had preserved “after the waters had receded from off the face of this land, it became a choice land above all other lands” (Ether 13:2).
Could anyone possibly think that entire phrase and huge land mass had to do with just a tiny portion of that land? Did the Lord not preserve all the land in that part of the world? That land, the Western Hemisphere, what became known as “the Americas” from 1500 until 1940s, was called one continent, the American Continent, and so labeled on all maps of the Western Hemisphere until far into the 20th century. This Western Hemisphere, was unknown to anyone (other than the Jaredites in complete secrecy) and held no place in the knowledge of all men at the time.
    By 1820, its origin and first settlers were still basically unknown to man, leading Moroni to tell Joseph Smith of a record, “giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang” (JS 1:34). That is, ”this continent,” as opposed to the “old continent,” or old world, or Asia (Middle East), etc. In fact, it was “this land” as opposed to the “old land,” the land the world had known since the beginning, the land the Savior walked, the Church was organized in, and the Apostles traveled.
In 1820, twenty years before Central American ruins were first seen and drawn, “this land” was the Americas, the Western Hemisphere, one continent—and it was addressed as such by Moroni, Joseph Smith, and later Church authorities.
    To the Lord, and obviously to the Angel Moroni, it was not a matter of borders of countries, but lands themselves that bore a promise. There was no country in the Western Hemisphere when the Lord promised Lehi that “we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord” (2 Nephi 1:5); and “Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever” (2 Nephi 1:7). And finally, “Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9).
When Lehi spoke to his sons and grandsons just before his death, he said, “And he also spake unto them concerning the land of promise, which they had obtained—how merciful the Lord had been in warning us that we should flee out of the land of Jerusalem” (2 Nephi 1:3). Jerusalem, of course, was a specific land and had a name; the land just discovered by Lehi and the Jaredites before him, had no name and was never given a name—only “The Land of Promise.” How arrogant it is for us Americans (citizens of the United States) to believe that only our portion of this magnificent promised land is blessed. Canada is a magnificent land, Mexico is gorgeous as is the southwestern United States; Central America holds a beauty unparalleled in its scope and appeal; one would be hard-pressed to find another spot as stunning and commanding as the jungles of Brazil; the mountains of Peru; high valleys of Ecuador and Colombia, the coast of Argentina and the islands and cliffs of Chile.
    Clearly, those “Americans” who lay claim to the U.S. as the Land of Promise and nowhere else have never traveled. The Lord promised the land to Lehi and his posterity—a portion of land that was blessed from the beginning and held in abeyance after the flood waters receded and overall part and parcel of a much larger, magnificent land that encompasses about one-half of the world.
    A Land of Promise.
    There will come a time when we realize that the Lord’s promise of a land to his people is much larger than a small swath of land in the Eastern continents and only a portion of that land in the western continents. The city on the hill—a phrase from the parable of Salt and Light in Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:14), where he tells his listeners: "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."
The phrase eventually became popular with American politicians, especially with Ronald Reagan who referred to this language and event on the eve of his election in 1980: “I have quoted John Winthrop's words more than once on the campaign trail this year—for I believe that Americans in 1980 are every bit as committed to that vision of a shining "city on a hill," as were those long ago settlers....These visitors to that city on the Potomac do not come as white or black, red or yellow; they are not Jews or Christians; conservatives or liberals; or Democrats or Republicans. They are Americans awed by what has gone before, proud of what for them is still…a shining city on a hill” (Election Eve Address, “A Vision for America,” The American Presidency Project, UC Santa Barbara).
    It is not a political statement. It is an understanding among the Lord’s people that his Church, his doctrine, his gospel is to be held up as a shining light to the world, and any city or land that is guided by its precepts to be a shining light to others, to travelers, to people, to the entire world.
    The United States is not the only Christian nation, the Western Hemisphere is full of Christian nations, in fact “there is no other national religion in this western hemisphere other than Christian” (University Record, University of Chicago Press, December 25, 1896, Vol 1 No39, p502).
    Nor do any people live in this land in captivity—not just the U.S., not just North America, but also South America and the entire Western Hemisphere. Nor are there kings governing this land. Were there kings here in the Western Hemisphere? Yes, even in the area of today’s continental United States; are there today? No. At this time, and for a while, there is no foreign government controlling any nation in the Americas.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Study it Out in Your Own Mind

When the Lord called Joseph Smith as His Prophet for this Last Dispensation, and formed His Church, the new organization needed steadfast and unwavering leaders who had been trained in the ways of the Lord. One such leader was Oliver Cowdery, a capable young man eager to do the work of God.
Among his many worthwhile characteristics, he had one major flaw and that was the fact he was not content merely to assist in the work of translating by serving as Joseph’s scribe—he wanted to translate just like Joseph. However, the Lord’s desire was for Oliver to continue to serve as scribe and then seek for greater gifts (D&C 9:2-3). But like many of us who are not satisfied with a lesser role, Oliver was impatient to move beyond the mundane. So the Lord gave him the opportunity in the form of a teaching lesson.
    The fact that he failed and why is well documented in Section 9. President Joseph Fielding Smith pointed out that “it seems probable that Oliver Cowdery desired to translate out of curiosity, and the Lord taught him his place by showing him that translating was not the easy thing he had thought it to be. In a subsequent revelation (Sec. 9), the explanation was made that Oliver’s failure came because he did not continue as he commenced, and the task being a difficult one, his faith deserted him. The lesson he learned was very necessary, for he was shown that his place was to act as scribe for Joseph Smith and that it was the latter who was called and appointed by command of the Lord to do the translating. There must have been some desire on the part of Oliver Cowdery to be equal with the Prophet and some impatience in having to sit and act as scribe, but when he failed to master the gift of translating, he was then willing to accept the will of the Lord” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:50–51.)
    The Lord assigned Oliver’s failure to translate to the fact that he did not translate according to that which he desired of the Lord (D&C 9:1). Evidently, Oliver needed to learn that translating as Joseph Smith was doing was by the gift and power of God. It seems that Oliver had received sufficient instruction, but instead when given the chance, went his own way, using his own wisdom and did not rely on the Lord, who told him: “Because you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate…” (D&C 9:5). The Lord’s Will was for Joseph to translate and Oliver to scribe (D&C 9:4) and stopped Oliver from translating. After all, there was much for Oliver to learn, though the assertive young man did not realize it at the time.
Still, the Lord was not displeased with his zeal. He said to Oliver through Joseph Smith, “Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time…do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner” (D&C 9:6). Like all of us, we are here to serve the Lord, not make demands of him, nor try to run faster than we can walk. It is a learning experience for us all, and Oliver shows us exactly why we are not given callings or assignments we may want, but are beyond our ability at the moment.
    The Lord told Oliver “Other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate” (D&C 9:2), and the Book of Mormon teaches us that there are many records of God’s dealings with His children yet to come forth (2 Nephi 27:7-8; 3 Nephi 26:6-11; Ether 3:22; 4:5-7). As an example, several years after this revelation was given, the records from which the book of Abraham was translated fell into Joseph Smith’s hands. Perhaps this was one of those other records which the Lord had in mind. It should also be remembered that a portion of the gold plates was sealed. These too shall come forth some time in the future and may have been among those referred to in this statement by the Lord.
    President Joseph Fielding Smith indicated how both Oliver Cowdery and the general Church membership contributed to the failure of the Saints to have these records today: “It is possible that some of them might have been translated had the people received the Book of Mormon with full purpose of heart and had been faithful to its teachings. This was the promise the Lord made through Mormon. He said he would try the faith of the people and if they were willing to accept the lesser things (i.e., the Book of Mormon) then he would make known to them the greater things.”
Except in the time of Enoch, it has always been thus that man has not quite reached the level God had in mind for his people. When Moses came down off the Mount the first time he had the New and Everlasting Covenant (JST Exodus 34:1-2l; D&C 84:23-24); but Aaron and Israel wanted a golden calf to worship and Moses smashed the plates and eventually went back up and received the schooling Ten Commandments.
    As Joseph Fielding Smith added, “That we have failed in this is very apparent, we have not accepted the revelations in the Book of Mormon, neither in the Doctrine and Covenants, with that faith and willingness to know the will of the Lord which would entitle us to receive this greater information. Oliver Cowdery was a party to this failure by turning away from the Church for a number of years when it needed his service. He therefore lost his privilege to translate through his own disobedience, and the people have lost the privilege of receiving the ‘greater things’ spoken of by the Lord to Mormon (3 Nephi 26:8-11) until the day shall come when they are willing to be obedient in all things and will exercise faith such as was had by the brother of Jared. It should be remembered that such faith has rarely been seen on the earth. It appears, therefore, that we must wait until the reign of unrighteousness is at an end before the Lord will give to the people these writings, containing ‘a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.’ (2 Nephi 27:7)” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:52–53.)
    Obviously, the Lord knew in 1829 that Oliver would eventually leave the Church. Some have thought this was why the Lord said, “It is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner” (D&C 9:6); however, the Lord, does not punish people for sins they have not yet committed, even though He knows that they will commit them sometime in the future. Oliver had demonstrated by his present insufficient faith that it was better for him to wait for a season before he translated. Also, Joseph needed a scribe, and Oliver’s impatience at being only a scribe had been satisfied since he had learned that translation was not nearly as simple a task as it first appeared. It was therefore wisdom in God to have Oliver wait and Oliver was willing to do so for now.
    The important thing is to understand what mistake Oliver made in attempting to translate. Since both spiritual and mental effort is required in order to translate, Oliver was simply not prepared to do so any more than many of us are not ready to receive the blessings we desire because of the work and effort required first before we can receive what we desire.
    Oliver Cowdery thought that all he needed to do in order to translate was to ask the Lord, but here he is told that he must also ‘study it out’ in his mind as well as to ask the Lord whether or not it is right. The Lord also gives Oliver a key so that he will know when the translation is right: his bosom shall burn within him” This was not instruction just for Oliver, but for the entire Church membership.
If you desire to know something, “You must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right” (D&C 9:8). Though the principle of studying something out in one’s mind and seeking confirmation through the burning of the bosom or a stupor of thought was given to Oliver Cowdery to use in translating the Book of Mormon, this process of receiving revelation can be of value to all Saints. President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “a similar privilege is given to any member of the Church who seeks knowledge in the spirit of prayer and faith. The Lord will cause the feeling of security and truth to take hold of the individual and burn within the bosom, and there will be an overwhelming feeling that the thing is right.
"Missionaries have felt the manifestation of this gift while laboring in the field; when searching the scriptures; when speaking before congregations on the streets and in public gatherings. When you have been listening to some inspired speaker who has presented a new thought to you, have you not felt that burning within and the satisfaction in your heart that this new thought is true? On the other hand, have you experienced the feeling of stupor, gloom, or uneasiness when some thought has been presented which was in conflict with the revealed word of the Lord, and you have felt by this manifestation of the Spirit that what was said is not true? It is a great gift, which all may receive, to have this spirit of discernment, or revelation, for it is the spirit of revelation.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:51).
There is another reason why Oliver (and we) failed and that was because, as the Lord told him, “you feared” (D&C 9:11). Fear is the result of a lack of faith and an unwillingness to follow through. Had Oliver continued as he commenced, the gift of translation would have been his. As it was, he feared and consequently lost the proffered gift.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Translating Reformed Egyptian into 1820s English

We received an interesting comment from evidently a one-time reader named “Bill,” who evidently thought he knew enough to comment on one of our blog pages he must have stumbled on since his response is dated January 7, 2016, and the article he is responding to was dated Monday, October 4, 2010, “Words in the Book of Mormon–Part I.” 
It is always interesting to find someone with very strong opinions who lacks knowledge of the subject they so strongly want to comment upon. He wrote:
    Comment: “Are you nuts? He translated the Book of Mormon as it was on the plates. He didn't use New England slang. Your post takes away from Joseph Smith being a prophet and God himself. I understand MesoAmerica theory no longer has a leg to stand. Give up, the promised land was here in this Nation, the United States. Go to and to get the Heartland model. You'll walk away from the MesoAmerica so fast your head will spin.” 
    That this might be of benefit to other readers, let us take these points one by one:
    1. Comment: “Are you nuts? He translated the Book of Mormon as it was on the plates…” 
    Response: Perhaps whether I’m nuts or not is debatable, but we need to keep in mind that translation, all translation other than a few brief words, is never a word-for-word process, but a meaning for meaning process.
As an example, if you were translating from Spanish to English, would you translate “Zapatero a trus zapatos,” i.e, “Shoemaker, to your shoes,” which is a word for word translation, but does not convey the meaning of “Stick to talking about things you know,” which is its meaning. Or, “En boca cerrada no entran moscas,” which translates to “flies don’t enter a closed mouth,” but such a translation would not be understood. It’s true meaning is: “sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut.” Or, “Ojo que no ve, Corazon que no siente,” which translates to “Eye that doesn’t see, heart that doesn’t feel,” but if you translated that, the meaning would be lost for the statement means: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”
    Or take the Russian word “toska,” which can mean “boredom,” “nostalgia,” “yearning,” or “great spiritual anguish.” How do you choose? Or the Czech word, “Litost,” which simply does not have an English equivalent and translates to something like, “a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.” Or the Scots word, “tartle,” which more or less means what someone does when introducing a person when they have forgotten their name.” And what about “Casser les oreilles,” in French which translates to “breaking the ears,” (a loud or harsh noise) or “C’est la fin des haricots,” which translates to “the end of the beans” (that’s the last straw), or “Donner sa langue au chat,” which translates to “give your tongue to the cat,” (give it a rest), or “Les carottes sont cuites,” which translates to “the carrots are cooked,” (meaning "the outcome cannot be changed").
In a Spanish ESL class recently, the phrase was given “a lo hecho, pecho,” and asked what it means. The answers from life-time Spanish speaking adult students ranged from: “What is done is done,” to “Take it like a man,” “face the consequences and don’t regret it,” “If you make a mistake, stick up your chest, raise the head and don’t lament,” “Bite the bullet,” etc. It is interesting that the German word “blaumachen,” (Blauer Montag) which translates literally to “to make blue,” means our equivalent of “Blue Monday,” from describing the day craftsmen had to wait around for their fabrics to dry after being dyed indigo and had nothing to do in the meantime, thus Monday’s were deemed as unproductive days. In fact, many linguists claim the English word “fair,” cannot be correctly translated into another language at all.
    If you were a regular reader here, you would know from numerous articles on the matter such things as God speaks to man in man’s own language: “for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding” (2 Nephi 31:3).
The point is, a translator cannot translate beyond his own knowledge, i.e., not being an advanced Math major, etc., I could not translate a book written by an Einstein in another language, even if I knew that language since I could not understand the words and meanings he had in mind. In addition, some words are such, that translation is not possible for lack of knowledge or understanding on the subject, hence, when translating Mormon’s description of the Nephite monetary system, Joseph Smith could only use the words Mormon used—he could not transliterate (convert) them into their English equivalent—as an example, how much in American money is a “limnah” of gold, or an “amnor” of silver? (Alma 11:5-19); nor could he come up with the equivalent name of an animal the reader would know and could only use Moroni’s words for two animals “which were useful unto man” like “cureloms” and “cumoms” (Ether 9:19); or exactly what kind of metal is “ziff” (Mosiah 11:3)? And just what kind of plants or grains are “neas” and “sheum” (Mosiah 9:9), certainly Joseph Smith did not know how to transliterate these words and had to use the original words from the record.
    As for translating the words that were on the plates, exactly how would he know Reformed Egyptian? He would not. Through the prompting of the spirit, he translated the Reformed Egyptian characters from the plates into English, which we read in our Book of Mormon. And what English did he use? 
    First of all, we never equated Joseph Smith’s language to “New England slang.” Slang, as defined, means: “a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.” Slang is also not considered “part of standard vocabulary.” Joseph Smith did not use slang to my knowledge anymore than we find any slang words in the scriptural record. What he used was the language with which he was familiar, and that would have been the language of his locale—the New England area. He also used language of “thee” and “thou” because he felt it was in keeping with the scriptural tone. As an example, when I teach Sunday School or Priesthood classes, I use the language I know: English, as it is spoken in the Western United States (I have traveled to nearly every state in this country, and found that English is spoken quite different in various regions).
    2. Comment: “Your post takes away from Joseph Smith being a prophet and God himself."
It is not our blog that sets the parameters of God’s working through man, but God himself. Many people, including members, seem to think that all Joseph Smith did was sit back and the words appeared to him without any effort on his part.  However, translation takes spiritual effort, as well as mental and physical effort, in order to translate the sacred records of the Book of Mormon. As God told Oliver: “You Cannot Write That Which Is Sacred Save It Be Given You from Me” (D&C 9:9).
    Oliver Cowdery thought that all he needed to do in order to translate was to ask the Lord, but here he is told that he must also ‘study it out’ in his mind as well as to ask the Lord whether or not it is right. The Lord also gives Oliver a key so that he will know when the translation is right: his bosom shall burn within him.” Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote that Joseph Smith received revelation in different ways as he matured in his calling. At first his communications with the heavens were direct—visitations from God, His Son, and angels. Then he used the Urim and Thummim as a medium. Finally, “he learned to bring his mind into such harmony with divine forces that it became, as it were, itself a Urim and Thummim to him; and God’s will was revealed without the intervention of external aids” (Widtsoe, Joseph Smith, p. 267); however, he still had to direct all his efforts toward that effort. As God said to Oliver Cowdery, who wanted to translate and was given the chance and failed, that it took both physical and mental effort: “You must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right” (D&C 9:8).
    God, himself, has set the standard as to how we receive inspiration in order to carry out his Will. To follow that procedure and acknowledge that it is the path to success in translation does not take away from either Joseph Smith or God himself.
    3. Comment: “I understand MesoAmerica theory no longer has a leg to stand. You'll walk away from the MesoAmerica so fast your head will spin.” 
    Response: Obviously, you know little about this blog or myself since the past six years and nearly 2000 posts have shown to even the most cursory reader that we do not support in any way the Mesoamerica Theory for the Land of Promise location as written in the Book of Mormon. While I agree that Mesoamerica doesn’t have a leg to stand on, it certainly has more than the Heartland or Great Lakes, eastern U.S. theories.
    4. Comment: “Give up, the promised land was here in this Nation, the United States.” 
    Response: We have written repeatedly about the U.S. as the Nephite home written of in the scriptural record and shown where not a single physical topographical location matches the descriptions written about in the record Joseph Smith translated. It is not that people haven’t made an effort to match areas, but their failures are based upon the knowledge of the areas themselves and not people’s belief in them.
From the Great Lakes area and Western New York to the Plains of the Heartland, America is quite flat, with few hills and no real mountains “whose height is great,” yet Samuel the Lamanite spoke of the Land of Promise having mountains raised from valleys “whose height is great” 
    As an example, where are the mountains whose height is great? (Helaman 14:23). There are no mountains in Heartland U.S. or Great Lakes models. Where is the island Jacob speaks about? (2 Nephi 10:20). Where are the cureloms and cumoms?” (Ether 9:19), two animals if in North America Joseph Smith, a farmer, surely would have known about. And where are the two very important grains neas and sheum?” (Mosiah 9:9). Again, two grains of such importance that Joseph Smith, a farmer, would have known about. We could go on, but the point is the Heartland and eastern U.S. simply do not match the scriptural record!
    5. Go to and to get the Heartland model.”
    Parts of this information are correct, i.e., the Land of Promise overall extends to the entire Western Hemisphere, including the U.S., as many LDS Prophets and General Authorities have said over the years; however, it is simply not the location of the Jaredite, Nephite, Mulekite and Lamanite lands as written about in the Book of Mormon. That Nephite and Lamanite adventurers and immigrants left in Hagoth’s ships and sailed northward is without question (Alma 63:4-7).
    And, no, I will not walk away from Andean Peru as the home of the Nephtie nation since it is where the Book of Mormon events took place and we have spent six years on this blog and written four books to show in every scriptural record indication an exact match between this location and the scriptural record statements. Perhaps it might be advantagous for you to know more about that to which you address your comments than you seem to know at present.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Looking for Zarahemla – Part V

Continuing with this last segment on another comment from a new reader, evidently promoting his own book “Finding Zarahemla,” to which we are responding and continuing with an understanding of this entire Delmarva Peninsula that Franklin Reid claims was the Land Southward. 
    The geologic background and development of this area simply does not fit the Land of Promise and its many descriptions from the scriptural record. We continue here with this development and bring it up to date to the time of the Nephites.
Middle Ordovician Paleomap 485 Million Years Ago showing the Taconic Island arc complex
    If we go back in geologic periods, to a time when the current Delaware area was forming, it was a series of tiny islands off a ragged, peninsula strewn east coast, during the period known as Taconic Orogeny and referred to as Ancestral North America. Beginning 510 million years ago, the current Delaware area was a solid coastline northeast of the Taconic Arc, with the Lauentian land mass along the east coast subducting beneath the Taconic arc, and off the coastal area to the east was a series of mountains.
    The eastern (northern) portion of Avalonia was sandwiched between both eastern Canada and parts of Baltica. Contact between Avalonia and Proto (New) North America progressed to the south and west over the next 40 million years. Ongoing collisions created the Northern Appalachian mountains. The event is known as the Acadian orogeny (or sometimes the
Appalachian or Avalonian orogeny)
    According to Dr. Ron Blakely, Northern Arizona University, there was a multi-step process that added New England to Proto North America and added land to the coast as far south as the Carolinas. This Taconic island chain began to collide with North America about 470 to 450 million years ago, the energy of ongoing impacts was still raising mountains from Canada to Virginia 430 million years ago.
    It should be kept in mind that at this time, the Proto North America was straddling the equator and the present east coast was actually the south then.

Yellow Arrow: Location of present-day Delaware, shown as a solid coastline
    The Iapetus Ocean, which had been the shoreline for Proto North America, is closing as Western and Eastern Avalonia, following behind the Taconic arc, are heading for collision with the recently-extended coast of Proto North America. The first impact was against what is now Greenland and eastern Canada, then moving southward, the collision zone moved through New York near the present Hudson River valley. The Taconic mountain chain was created as the arc rode up and onto the Laurentian landmass, a part of which was subducted below the Taconic arc. A wide swath of Iapetus Ocean seabed material will be pushed onto this mainland as the Avalonian islands push against and onto Proto North America.
    Prior to the Taconic orogeny, the "east" coast of what is now the United States was located near the Hudson River valley, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and extended to western South Carolina. The Taconic orogeny added land to Proto North America that is now the western portions of New England and the Canadian Maritime provinces. This collision added land and raised mountains southward through northern New Jersey, south-eastern Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. The orogeny ended about 445 million years ago.
Paleontologists have developed maps of eastern North America covering the last 550 million years of geologic history, with time slices of more than 100 maps of about 5-10 million years apart, these images bring us up to the last ice age
    Once the east coast was formalized, about 370 million years ago, the eastern coast from Main to Connecticut was filled with volcanic material and Iapetus Ocean sediments as the land masses converged, forming a band of younger terrane between the older Laurentian and avalonia terranes. It is also found in South Carolina (Carolina Terrane) as well as north in New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
    By this time, the area of present day Delaware was pretty much set, which is easily seen as a peninsula, not an island. And as already discussed in this series, a peninsula with a “narrow neck of land” only 12 miles across which does not fit Mormon’s day-and-a-half-journey width requirement (Alma 22:32).
    In addition, as stated earlier, the winds and currents of the Chesapeake Bay would not have allowed Nephi’s ship “driven forth before the wind” to have even entered, and the very shallow shoaling along the peninsula’s west coast would not have allowed his ship to dock anywhere in the West Sea South (Alma 22:28).
With the entire eastern United States to move into in an effort to escape the lamanite horde, why would Mormon and the Nephites stand and fight somewhere in the Land Northward—after all, in Franklin’s model, they could have retreated in any direction quite easily; and why would those who did escape, go back into the Land Southward into the south country rather than northward into the mainland interior?
    Another very important point is found in Mormon when we are told: “And the three hundred and forty and ninth year had passed away. And in the three hundred and fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided” (Mormon 2:28)
    When Mormon and the Lamanite king entered into a treaty, and the Lamanites were given the tiny area of the Land Southward in Franklin’s model, and the Nephites were given all the land to the north, which encompasses over 220,000 square miles in just immediately surrounding area as can be seen on the map above, though the land to the north would not be limited even to that small of an area.
    The point is, in this scenario, with unlimited land easily accessible to the north of the treaty line, why would Mormon and the Nephites stand and fight a battle they could not possibly win against overwhelming odds when they could have continued to retreat, which they had been doing for several years before the treaty (Mormon 2:3,5-6,16,20) and after the treaty (Mormon 4:3,20-21,22; 5:5.7;6:1). So why stop at Cumorah and fight a foe whose overwhelming numbers caused “every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers” (Mormon 6:8).
    No, it simply does not make sense to place the Land of Promise in an area like Delmarva where there is no delineated Land Northward that did not contain the Nephites and force them to fight a last, desperate battle they had no chance of winning.
    The problem with writing about the Book of Mormon is when someone tries to sell a setting that makes no sense related to the descriptive material of the scriptural record. The Nephites were hemmed in within the Land Northward. They had retreated as far as they could go. The Land of Many Waters, Rivers and Fountains, which land also contained the Land of Cumorah and the hill Cumorah—as Mormon tells us: “And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle” (Mormon 6:2), and “we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents around about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites” (Mormon 6:4).
    First of all, there simply is no location in Franklin’s Land Northward that could be called a land of many waters, rivers and fountains. To reach any sizable water source, it is 332 miles to Lake Erie, and also 332 miles to Seneca Lake of the Finger Lakes which, by the way, are not fountains at all, nor are the Great Lakes, which receive their replenishment from rainfall and snowfall, not from natural fountains. What rivers supply the lakes are found in the sources far to the north in Canada.
The point is, you cannot look at a map, no matter how detailed it might be, and decide where the Land of Promise might have been. This is especially true when one starts out looking for a peninsula as the location—since a peninsula is not how the entire Land of Promise is described, but as an island (2 Nephi 10:20).
    Consequently, one then cannot start looking for where Zarahemla was located when one starts out in the wrong area to begin with—after all, the only way to find the Land of Promise is to trace Nephi’s ship’s course as he describes it, i.e., a ship that is driven forth before the wind (1 Nephi 18:8,9), that is, being pushed forward by wind currents, and obviously having to follow sea currents which the winds direct.
    In 1828, “forth” meant “forward”; and “driven” meant urged forward by force, impelled to move, constrained by necessity, and “before” meant “in front of.”  That is, “driven forth before the wind” meant exactly what is sounds like: Nephi’s vessel was “moved forward by the force of the wind” as well as being constrained within that path, i.e., it could not go elsewhere than where the wind blew it within the ocean currents.
    Since winds move ocean currents, the idea is that Nephi is telling us that his vessel was driven forth before the wind along the ocean currents also driven forth before the wind. All we have to do, then, is follow the ocean currents and where the winds blew from off the southern coast of Arabia to follow the path Lehi took and, therefore, where he landed. And those currents certainly did not led down around the horn of Africa through the worst ship's graveyard on the planet, nor up local rivers along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. against winds and currents as we have explained here many times over the past six years.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Looking for Zarahemla – Part IV

Continuing with another comment from a new reader, evidently promoting his own book “Finding Zarahemla,” to which we are responding and continuing with an understanding of this entire Delmarva Peninsula that Franklin Reid claims was the Land Southward. 
Top Left: The peninsula—note how much land there is beyond that is undefined and not collectable into a Land Northward; Top Right: The peninsula divided between Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and described as “a flat narrow sandbar between the bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east; Bottom: The marsh lands in the northern Chesapeak Bay where Franklin places his narrow neck of land
    The Delmarva Peninsula, originally known as the Delaware Chesapeake Peninsula or simply the Chesapeake Peninsula, acquired the name Delmarva shortly after 1859, but did not become widespread until the 1920s, is an irregular coastline of drowned river valleys, streams, and creeks. The terrestrial landscape is topographically low and consists of vast areas of poorly drained silty soils and well-drained sandy soils. Large tracks of tidal marsh now blanket former forests and fill former streams and creeks, creating lowland swamps, floodplains, low terraces and inundated river valleys.
    It might also be of interest to know that during the last Ice Age, mile-thick glaciers stretched as far south as Pennsylvania, and the Atlantic coastline was about 180 miles farther east than it is today. Approximately 18,000 years ago, the glaciers began to melt, carving streams and rivers that flowed toward the coast. Sea level continued to rise, eventually submerging the area now known as the Susquehanna River Valley. This drowned river valley became the Chesapeake Bay, which assumed its present shape about 3,000 years ago (about the time of the Jaredites). Remnants of the ancient Susquehanna River still exist today as a few troughs that form a deep channel along much of the Bay's bottom. To fully define the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, we must go far beyond its shores. Although the Bay itself lies entirely within the Atlantic Coastal Plain, its watershed includes parts of the Piedmont Plateau and Appalachian Province.
    Even so, the west coast of Dalmarva has continually expanded and receded over the past three thousand years, including the separation of islands from peninsulas, such as Tilghman Island (Great Choptank) which formed only in the period not long before John Smith discovered the area. In fact, just over 3,000 years ago, when the Jaredires would have landed, no one knows exactly what the Chesapeake Bay looked like, or even if it had yet formed, or that it extended far enough northward to reach Franklin’s narrow neck of land to set ashore in the Land Northward. And what would have brought their barges, being driven strictly by wave action, into the bay against strong tidal currents—a mixed wave and tide energy that created the lower seventy miles of the Virginia Eastern Shore tail on the peninsula. Of course, the same thing could be said for Nephi’s ship, “which was driven forth before the wind”—how did they go against the winds and currents streaming down the Chesapeak Bay to empty into the Atlantic Ocean? And how did they land when the western shore of Delmarva was far too shallow to broach in a deep sea sailing vessel?
    Even today, the Chesapeak Bay channel is so flattened “fill up” sediment that an ship has to pass through 11 man-made channels to sail up the Bay; near the mouth the channels are filling with sand from the ocean, near Baltimore they fill with sediment from the land, requiring a constant dredging program to keep the Bay and channels open.
In fact, 3,100 years ago, certain to be the time of the Jaredite landings, geologists tell us that much of this southern extension did not even exist above sea level (“Bay Geology,” Chesapeake Bay Program, 2012, Anapolis, Maryland). The area is shallow, and even today deep water ships cannot dock anywhere along this southern extension of the peninsula, and sailing ships of the type coming in from the open sea can not sail along the east shore beyond Cape Charles, which northward is limited to barge traffic. How Nephi’s ship could have landed along the middle of the peninsula would be an interesting question to try and answer, since these depths on a nautical chart show anywhere from 1 to 4 feet moving into the peninsula side of the Bay (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nautical Chart #12224-Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles to Wolf Trap). 
    The Atlantic Coastal Plain is a flat, lowland area with a maximum elevation of about 300 feet. To fully define the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, we must go far beyond its shores. Although the Bay itself lies entirely within the Atlantic Coastal Plain, its watershed includes parts of the Piedmont Plateau and Appalachian Province. The waters that flow into the Bay have different chemical identities depending on the geology of where they originate. This coastal plain is supported by a bed of crystalline rock covered with southeasterly dipping wedge-shaped layers of sand, clay and gravel. Water passing through this loosely compacted mixture dissolves many of the minerals. The most soluble elements are iron, calcium and magnesium.
    The coastal plain extends westward from the continental shelf to a fall line that ranges from 15 to 90 miles west of the Bay. Waterfalls and rapids clearly mark this line, which is close to Interstate 95.
Cities like Baltimore, Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Richmond, Virginia, were built along the fall line to take advantage of potential water power generated by the falls. These cities became important commerce areas, as colonial ships could not sail past the fall line and had to stop to transfer their cargo to canals or overland shipping.
    Since its formation, the Chesapeake Bay's shoreline has constantly been shaped by tides and currents that erode the land and move sediments to other parts of the Bay.
    There are many examples of erosion and sedimentation throughout the Bay. As an example, some geologists estimate that the Calvert County, Maryland, cliffs Captain John Smith explored in 1607 and 1608 have eroded back 300 feet. By the mid-1700s, forests were cut down and turned into farm fields, which increased erosion and caused sediment to fill some navigable rivers. Joppatowne, Maryland, was once a sea port, but is now more than two miles from water.
    In addition, many Chesapeake Bay islands that existed during colonial times are now severely eroded or completely submerged. In the early 1600s, Maryland’s Poplar Island encompassed several hundred acres. By the 1940s, only 200 acres remained. Today, the area is being restored using dredge material from Baltimore Harbor.
    The State of Delaware is located within two physiographic provinces, the Appalachian Piedmont and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Most of the state lies within the Coastal Plain; it is only the hills of northern New Castle County that lie within the Piedmont (foothills). Delaware’s rolling hills, north in the Twelve-Mile Circle, which rise to over 400 feet above sea level, are a part of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The rocks at the surface in the Piedmont are old, deformed, metamorphic rocks that were once buried in the core of an ancient mountain range. This range formed early in a series of tectonic events that built the Appalachians between about 543 and 250 million years ago. During an early event, called the Taconic orogeny, an offshore chain of volcanoes collided with the ancient North American continental margin to push up a gigantic mountain range that was as tall as the Alps or the Rockies of today.
Geologists date the Taconic orogeny between 470 and 440 million years ago. The Taconic orogeny is important to our understanding of the geology of Delaware, because during this event, the rocks of Delaware’s Piedmont were deeply buried under miles of overlying rock and metamorphosed by heat from the underlying mantle. Since that time, rivers and streams have carried the erosional products, mostly sand, clay, and gravel, from the mountains onto the Atlantic Coastal Plain and continental shelf. As the mountains wear down, the buried rocks rebound and rise to the surface. Thus what we see in the Piedmont today are old, deformed, metamorphic rocks that were once buried deep within an ancient mountain range. 
    Today, these mountain ranges are far out to sea.
(See the next post, “Looking for Zarahemla-Part IV,” for more information on Franklin Reid’s book Finding Zarahemla, and his comments to us and our responses, and also and introduction into the Dalmarva Peninsula to show how it simply does not fit the scriptural record)