Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Proving contrarieties

Most people just want to live peaceful lives. They want to do their thing without a lot of conflict. They tend to avoid arguments.

A well-known phrase attributed to Joseph Smith but more likely written by W.W. Phelps is this: "By proving contrarieties truth frequently appears." http://centerplace.org/history/ts/v3n21.htm

In the next sentence, Phelps wrote an insightful application: "So with the religion of Jesus, its beauties and glories often shine, when its revilers are endeavoring to expose what they may denominate, its deformities."

In this sense, discussion, debate, analysis, and even argument can be productive, so long as the discourse is friendly, collaborative, cooperative, etc.

Let's all keep that in mind when we discuss Book of Mormon topics (or any topic).

25 comments:

  1. I agree Jonathan and we'll keep it civil as much as possible. We are all after truth. I haven't seen any response to my questions however. I'm still waiting though because I think your goals are worthy although inaccurate. At least from what I can tell at this point because nobody has made the effort to educate me. Thanks, Ira

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    1. Hi Ira. It's really not a question of anyone educating you; you're responsible to educate yourself. The books are out there if you're really interested. People write books because they can address topics in logical order, with references. Blog posts are inadequate except to address specific issues not otherwise addressed in the books.

      And I did respond to your questions before.

      :)

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    2. Thanks Jonathan I guessed I missed your response. I'll go back and read through the answers and see if I can spot your response. When I look at your maps I see some real serious deficiencies that do not match what is clearly written in the BOM. And so I thought I'd drop by and find a few answers. Unfortunately, I haven't found any of the answers. Most,well all of the people here haven't provided any answers either to my questions. So far my conclusion is that you are so tied to the idea that everything that the early leaders said was inspired that none of what they said could possibly be their personal opinion. I think this leads to grave error when you ascribe that kind of power to any person including a prophet.

      When the Lord speaks through a prophet and you see the words verily thus saith then you know something is from the Lord. If you see a letter written and you don't see those words but the leader says this or that is true you don't know that it is from the Lord. So I see that as a grave error in the NA model. I've found that most, well - all here tell me that because Oliver said it, it must be fact. No it isn't fact and the BOM verses show clearly that it isn't fact.

      Well, Thanks Jonathan - I'll look for your response. I know you want me to buy the book but looking at some youtube video's on the NA model and the maps I can see that the model is fatally flawed. Ira


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  2. I like your approach at looking at the historical record for what was known and said about the geography of the BoM. A key point in my view are references to where the final battle took place. This was given in the first official church history as being in Palmyra, NY:

    LATTER DAY SAINTS’ MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, Volume I. No. 1. KIRTLAND, OHIO, OCTOBER, 1834, p. 157-158.

    This is important because Omer (a Jaredite) walked right past where the Nephites were destroyed, i.e. Palmyra, NY (Ether 9:3).

    The Jaredites were north of the Narrow Neck, therefore, the Land Northward is in western New York which discounts all models except a few.

    Further refutes include being surrounded by fresh bodies of water - a point ignored entirely by modelers whose lands border salt water sea.

    Also, cement was only used in the Land Northward and so far, no modeler has ever shown this distinguishment as to why cement was not used in the Land Southward in their proposed BoM lands. Only in western New York is this distinguished.

    Lastly, the prophecies are crystal clear that white Gentiles would take over BoM lands and the only place we saw a preponderance of white Gentiles when the BoM came forth was where the record was found - western New York; and by extension, where the mother countries came and made war with those Gentiles.

    If we stick to known facts and stop speculating, we'll have the rest of the answers soon enough. No need to blog about speculations, day and night for years on end. Nobody cares but a handful of geography enthusiasts who will never concede they are wrong and others are right.

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    1. You make a good point about the prophecies: I believe that many of Nephi's prophecies have happened, and they are simple. He wrote them that we may know when the time has come for the gathering of Israel and a restoration by way of the gentiles; that we may recognize the signs. If these prophecies and signs of times are so simple to understand, why then do we have all the difference of opinion with respect to WHERE many of these signs were to take place in TIME and SPACE? For me, my mind craves making historical and tangible connections to make sense of the world around me. It brings peace to understand that, "Yes, God is still in charge, and was back then."

      Therefore the need for knowledge of these things from the best books, best resources, and refining and discussion are needed to decipher where in the world things have, or haven't happened, when, and sometimes where. The Church's job isn't to spoon feed us things we can do for ourselves. There are so many hints everywhere, we just have to believe the Book of Mormon can help us connect those dots. "The Lord can only teach an inquiring mind." Why not inquire about everything then?

      Presenting as much information as possible to a handful of geography enthusiasts is important in this regard: because they are the consensus as to where most members of the church listen to on these matters. And, they do matter.

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    2. That's odd Again because according to Jonathan the narrow neck is located between the great lakes. Cumorah is located east and a little bit South of there. The Jaradites therefore were living in Canada. According to Mormon the battle took place North of the narrow neck in Canada. zMormon chapter 2. This is all very clear and again you and others are not reading the scriptures.

      Look to South America and you will find the cement buildings and Cumorah located North of the Narrow neck. It all fits perfectly in South America. Nothing fits in North America and the location of NY Cumorah South and East of your narrow neck proves that.

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    3. Ira, your own post shows why it's impossible to have a conversation when you're not educating yourself first. I said the narrow neck of land is in Ether 10:20, but that only is a description of where they build a great city. This was many generations before Ether came along. Besides, Mormon 2 has nothing to do with the Jaredites.

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  3. @iterry, That's great no one so far is refuting the official church history account of where the final Nephite battle was there in Palmyra, NY, therefore we know Jaredite lands are right there somewhere, and by extension the Narrow Neck, etc.

    @Rory, This prophecy seems to be quite clear:

    17 And I beheld that their MOTHER GENTILES were GATHERED TOGETHER UPON THE WATERS AND UPON THE LAND ALSO TO BATTLE AGAINST THEM.
    18 And I beheld that the POWER OF GOD WAS WITH THEM, and also that THE WRATH OF GOD WAS UPON ALL THOSE THAT WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THEM TO BATTLE.
    19 And I, Nephi, beheld that THE GENTILES THAT HAD GONE OUT OF CAPTIVITY WERE DELIVERED BY THE POWER OF GOD OUT OF THE HANDS OF ALL OTHER NATIONS.
    20 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that THEY DID PROSPER IN THE LAND; and I beheld a BOOK, and it was CARRIED FORTH AMONG THEM. (1 Nephi 13)

    The first tribes that the BoM went to were in western NY.

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    1. That's my point - Again you are in the wrong place and the BOM tells you that you are in the wrong place. The narrow neck is NORTH of the NY Cumorah. It CAN'T BE the place where the last battles took place. It doesn't matter that the first tribes were in Western NY. The book was carried to all of America. The Lamanites are spread throughout but the lands are in South America. The geography as spelled out in the BOM is clear that you are in the wrong place.

      How do you and Jonathan believe that Cumorah is South of the narrow Neck? I don't get how you come to that conclusion. I do NOT agree that Joseph, Oliver or any of the early brethren knew where the lands were. I don't believe what they said was revelation. FG Williams said they landed at 30-degrees latitude in Chile - why do you not believe that? It is as much revelation as the other letters. In my opinion far more so because it pin points a spot where they landed.


      Mormon 2:3 ... and they began to retreat towards the north countries
      6:6 .. land of Joshua, which was n the borders west by the seashore (What sea is this - Lake Erie?)
      6:29 And the Lamanites did give unto us the land NORTHWARD, yea even to the narrow passage which LED into the land SOUTHWARD. And we did give unto the Lamanties the land SOUTHWARD.

      How much more clear does this have to be AGAIN. The last battle happened in the land NORTH of the narrow neck. I could go on but this is clear. Your maps are wrong and this scripture right here proves that it's wrong.

      In South America the REAL hill is actually a mountain located North of the narrow neck which is at Gulf of Guayaquil. The real Cumorah is located as far North as the Nephites and Jaredites could have gone which is consistent with their nations being destroyed. Not true of the NY Cumorah. There was still plenty of room to run which they did not do. That alone tells me you are in the wrong place.
      The real hill is called Cerro Imbabura. The locals have traditions that say that tremendous battles were fought there. They have even named some of the places surrounding the hill such as Company, Battalion, and Sad Person Hill.

      Check it out and you'll find the real Cumorah and you won't have to believe all this stuff that simply doesn't match the text. Ira

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    2. Great point again, AGAIN! I completely agree with you, and I did before. It may have not sounded like it, I could have stated my point a little more clearly. I see these things in the Book of Mormon a very similar way that you do.

      I guess my point was that somebody else may read the same verses and understand it differently. According to those scriptures you shared, a person must have third party knowledge of history apart from the Book of Mormon to help them make a connection relative to themselves. I assume that's why it seems clear to you. Other people may have a different understanding (regardless of correct of incorrect) of history and will draw much different conclusions when they read that scripture.

      I would say that his blog, among other sources, serves a positive purpose even though it keeps on hammering out the same general point. With a variety of perspectives, and new historical evidence (or old evidence viewed in a new perspective), I think it's possible for everyone to come to a consensus here.

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    3. Very odd Rory because it is clear that the Jaredites lived north of the narrow neck from the scriptures. I guess I don't see yours and AGAIN's logic. Doesn't make since to me. You're starting point is what Joseph and Oliver said rather than the BOM. Start with the descriptions given rather than relying on something that is not revelation. Then you will find the true lands of the BOM. They are in South America and it all fits perfectly with the scriptures. You don't have to do all this twisting to make it fit. N America simply doesn't fit in anyway. Ira

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    4. Ira, what's clear to me is that you are conflating an early-stage Jaredite reference to the narrow neck of land with a late-stage Nephite reference that never mentions the narrow neck of land. You don't seem to realize your position is based on a cascade of inferences, not the text. It's fine that you believe what you're saying, but let's not claim your inferences are "clear" or required by the text.

      Here's an example. A few generations ago, the Indians reserved Kentucky as a game reserves. "Although there were Native Americans in Kentucky in prehistoric times, when explorers and settlers began entering Kentucky in the mid-1700s, there were no permanent Kentucky Indian tribes or Native American settlements in the region. Instead of serving as a home for Kentucky Indian tribes, the country was used as common hunting grounds by Shawnees from the north and Cherokees from the south." http://www.kentuckytourism.com/things_to_do/history_heritage/native_american.aspx

      Within a few generations, Kentucky was heavily inhabited. According to your analysis, this history is impossible because at one point, the Indians didn't live there.

      In Ether 10:20, the Jaredites did maintain the land southward as a game reserve. But Ether was born at least 11 generations later (it could be many more because the genealogy breaks down between Ethem and Ahah). Even if these generations were only 30 years, that's at least 300 years between the mention of the narrow neck of land and the hill Ramah. There's no hint that the Jaredites maintained the "land southward" exclusively as a game reserve all that time. Ether 15:10 even says the people fled southward before they arrived at Ramah.

      My objective in Moroni's America was to see if Letter VII is consistent with the text and all the geography, geology, anthropology, etc. I was surprised that not only is it consistent, but it turned out to be a better fit than any other "map" I've seen.

      You just have to read the text fresh, without your preconceptions.

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  4. For extraneous information I go with those closest to the record - the Smith family first, followed by the Whitmer family. Of those statements, any that are corroborated by subsequent church leaders hold great weight.

    @iterry, "I do NOT agree that Joseph, Oliver or any of the early brethren knew where the lands were."

    Well, that's one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read. But of course you must, due to the overwhelming information contradicting your model by inspired church leaders.

    That's okay, the record speaks for itself. You have not fully addressed the land prophecies, please address those.

    Btw, I do not affirm Johnathan's Narrow Neck location. The record is clear that to get to Cumorahland one must go through the Narrow Neck.

    @iterry, "The real Cumorah is located as far North as the Nephites and Jaredites could have gone which is consistent with their nations being destroyed. Not true of the NY Cumorah. There was still plenty of room to run which they did not do. That alone tells me you are in the wrong place."

    I see, in your view, they retreat through the N.N. then continued retreating north till they had no where else to go and thus, quite logically, the H.C. would put at the furthest point north within Jaredite lands (Land Northward). I see the logic and how your mind's eye imagined it, but that's not what the record says.

    The furthest point north would have been the Sea North and we don't read of them getting stuck there.

    If you trace the travels of Omer you will find that he started in the west by the N.N. and traveled "many days" easterly therefore the H.C. is far to the east, not far to the north.

    You must explain why no one ever inhabited Cumorah.

    @Believers in Joseph, et.al.

    1. The official church history that was corroborated by Joseph and Oliver puts the final Nephite battle at Palmyra.

    2. Omer (a Jaredite) traveled past Palmyra, NY.

    3. Jaredites never went south of the Narrow Neck.

    4. Therefore the Land Northward is in western NY and Cumorah was accessible to them.

    5. You must concede BoM lands are in western NY or discount the testimonies of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

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  5. I discount the testimonies of Joseph and Oliver and do not believe they knew where either the Jaredites nor the Nephites lived.

    Point 1 I do not believe that the Church knows where the final battle occurred.
    2. I do not believe Omer traveled past Palmyra because according to Jonathan the NN is North of there between the lakes. Omer was never in North America to begin with. Yes the farthest North would be much farther away maybe the area of Maine. The Nephites were being driven and they would not have stopped until they reached a natural barrier. NY Cumorah is not a natural barrier and logically would have traveled much farther to the North. This is not true of South America where the real Cumorah is located. That point is located in Ecuador and is the farthest North they could go because of very high mountains.
    3. Jaredites never went south of the Narrow Neck - that is correct. They were brought in to Ecuador by the Lord and landed north of the NN. They could not have been brought into the land North of your NN because it was under a mile deep continental Ice sheet at 2,300bc. BTW why is snow and ice never mentioned in the BOM? Very odd since all the battles occurred during the winters. The summers are spent growing crops.
    Where is there another narrow neck in North America other than the land between the great lakes? I don't know of any and also this one simply does not fit in anyway the description of that narrow neck in the BOM.

    4 NO again the land Northward is North of the NN. It says that in the scriptures I quoted.
    5. I Discount the opinion OF JOSEPH AND OLIVER. Joseph and Oliver were trying to get the Church started. They certainly did believe it was in the area you say it was. Later when ruins were found in Meso-America Joseph was all excited about that. It's the CONCEPT they were excited about. I don't blame them for making this error because it wasn't revealed to them where it was located. I accept FG Williams declaration that Lehi landed at 30 degrees latitude MORE than I do the opinions of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. And yes Joseph is the great prophet of the restoration. I believe FGW got those coordinates from Joseph Smith. Opinion does not equal revelation.

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    1. All of this analysis conflates the "narrow neck" with the "narrow neck of land." They are two different locations, mentioned by two completely different civilizations--that's why they have two different terms.

      Ira, you can believe whatever you want. If it works for you, great. But when you write declarative, categorical statements based on mere assumptions that aren't required by the text (which I don't think are even suggested by the text), you need to realize what you're doing.

      I presume you know that there is no direct evidence Joseph ever paid any attention to Mesoamerica, much less cared about it. The sole piece of circumstantial evidence is the Bernhisel letter, but no one knows who wrote it. Certainly Joseph did not. (FWIW, I have a detailed paper with lots of references showing a high probability that Woodruff wrote it).

      So you can believe in the FG Williams note over Letter VII, but let's not pretend your views are what the text says. E.g., "Jaredites never went south of the Narrow Neck - that is correct."

      Good discussion, though.

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  6. I discount the testimonies of Joseph and Oliver and do not believe they knew where either the Jaredites nor the Nephites lived.

    Point 1 I do not believe that the Church knows where the final battle occurred.
    2. I do not believe Omer traveled past Palmyra because according to Jonathan the NN is North of there between the lakes. Omer was never in North America to begin with. Yes the farthest North would be much farther away maybe the area of Maine. The Nephites were being driven and they would not have stopped until they reached a natural barrier. NY Cumorah is not a natural barrier and logically would have traveled much farther to the North. This is not true of South America where the real Cumorah is located. That point is located in Ecuador and is the farthest North they could go because of very high mountains.
    3. Jaredites never went south of the Narrow Neck - that is correct. They were brought in to Ecuador by the Lord and landed north of the NN. They could not have been brought into the land North of your NN because it was under a mile deep continental Ice sheet at 2,300bc. BTW why is snow and ice never mentioned in the BOM? Very odd since all the battles occurred during the winters. The summers are spent growing crops.
    Where is there another narrow neck in North America other than the land between the great lakes? I don't know of any and also this one simply does not fit in anyway the description of that narrow neck in the BOM.

    4 NO again the land Northward is North of the NN. It says that in the scriptures I quoted.
    5. I Discount the opinion OF JOSEPH AND OLIVER. Joseph and Oliver were trying to get the Church started. They certainly did believe it was in the area you say it was. Later when ruins were found in Meso-America Joseph was all excited about that. It's the CONCEPT they were excited about. I don't blame them for making this error because it wasn't revealed to them where it was located. I accept FG Williams declaration that Lehi landed at 30 degrees latitude MORE than I do the opinions of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. And yes Joseph is the great prophet of the restoration. I believe FGW got those coordinates from Joseph Smith. Opinion does not equal revelation.

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  7. @Rory, "I think it's possible for everyone to come to a consensus here." As I said at the outset, there's only ever a handful of people at one time who are interested in the geography beyond a single grazing for Sunday School (or somewhere else in the CES) and those handful of individuals will never concede error. I like your optimism though.

    @iterry, "Point 1 I do not believe that the Church knows where the final battle occurred." They have published many times where they believe it to be - Palmyra. Also, many church officials have likewise testified it happened in Palmyra. With so many corroborating witnesses by the Lord's anointed's, I am astonished that you can so easily set them ALL aside.

    Surely there is at least one prophet or apostle you respect and believe were inspired. Tell me who they are and I'll check to see if they said anything about the final battle location (oh, and don't you just love the re-enactments each year on that hill in Palmra?).

    @iterry, "I accept FG Williams declaration that Lehi landed at 30 degrees latitude MORE than I do the opinions of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. And yes Joseph is the great prophet of the restoration. I believe FGW got those coordinates from Joseph Smith. Opinion does not equal revelation."

    That is the weakest evidence, so weak it hangs by a thread. This is what FGW said:

    "We are not going to declare positively that the ruins of Quirigua are those of Zarahemla..."

    Contrast that with carefulness to truth by Joseph and Oliver:

    That our narrative may be correct, and particularly the introduction, it is proper to inform our patrons, that our brother J. SMITH jr. has offered to assist us. (LATTER DAY SAINTS’ MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, Volume I. No. 1. KIRTLAND, OHIO, OCTOBER, 1834 p. 12)

    Aside from that we have the clear statement in our canonized scripture that the hill in Palmyra was in fact THE "Cumorah" as was stated by Moroni himself:

    "And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed." (D&C 128:20)

    It is quite wonderful that all statements about the whereabouts of Cumorah by church leaders are in full agreement, it is in Palmyra. Now if there was a single contrary statement by Joseph then maybe that would warrant a second look, but until that can be provided, Cumorah remains as claimed in Palmyra and everyone who believed it covered the whole continent are the ones who need to start over and keep the final battle in Palmyra.

    @All, another point ignored by most is that the Great Deep did NOT directly border BoM lands. After they landed, it was never referenced again.

    @All, also, their lands were "hidden" and they were never accidentally discovered, meaning, their lands were not accessible by normal wind routes.

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    1. AGAIN, I've found that there are several consistent reasons why you believe the BOM was in NY. Number one Joseph Thought it was. Number 2 Joseph thought is was. and Number 3 Joseph Thought it was.

      Your scripture in D&C 128 says absolutely nothing to me about where the lands were. This is not about geography. Yes Joseph thought it was here and that is the name of the hill where he found the plates. IT IS NOT where the last battles took place because it simply does not fit the geography laid out by the prophet Mormon. Mormon was very familiar with the lands where he lived. Joseph Smith was not familiar with them. It was not revealed to Joseph and there is no revelation on that.

      If you check into the winds and currents they flow out of Arabia where they pickup the trade winds blowing east under Australia to the Southern tip of South America. The winds and currents then turn North and blow up the coast until they reach 30 degrees latitude in Chile. That is where they slow to a STOP. That is where the Nephites landed. At that time the South American Continent was mostly underwater. The Amazon basin was under water and the narrow neck was located in that area.

      The Jaredites followed the same course but the LORD brought them to the land North of the Narrow Neck in Ecuador. They never ventured south of the narrow neck. That's what the scriptures say and no matter how you want to twist yourself into a pretzel to make North America fit it simply is Wrong.

      You continue to ignore what the actual record says. Mormon and the other prophets explained very clearly what the lands looked like and North America simply DOES NOT FIT. Where are your exceedingly high mountains. Your West sea and East sea. The Jaredites were brought into the land North the BOM says. Where is your land NORTH? It is supposed to be NORTH of the narrow Neck. If your narrow neck is at Niagara then explain why NY Cumorah is South and East of it. How about the 3 hour earthquake that cast up exceedingly high mountains. Where are they? They are found in South America because that is when the continent was raised up. Why doesn't the BOM ever talk about snow and ice in North America. North America has lots of it in the Winter. Not in South America where they lived. So the text itself testifies clearly where they lived.

      So instead of telling me that Joseph said this or that how about telling me why the geography doesn't match in any way the BOM. Thanks, Ira

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    2. AGAIN, I've found that there are several consistent reasons why you believe the BOM was in NY. Number one Joseph Thought it was. Number 2 Joseph thought is was. and Number 3 Joseph Thought it was.

      Your scripture in D&C 128 says absolutely nothing to me about where the lands were. This is not about geography. Yes Joseph thought it was here and that is the name of the hill where he found the plates. IT IS NOT where the last battles took place because it simply does not fit the geography laid out by the prophet Mormon. Mormon was very familiar with the lands where he lived. Joseph Smith was not familiar with them. It was not revealed to Joseph and there is no revelation on that.

      If you check into the winds and currents they flow out of Arabia where they pickup the trade winds blowing east under Australia to the Southern tip of South America. The winds and currents then turn North and blow up the coast until they reach 30 degrees latitude in Chile. That is where they slow to a STOP. That is where the Nephites landed. At that time the South American Continent was mostly underwater. The Amazon basin was under water and the narrow neck was located in that area.

      The Jaredites followed the same course but the LORD brought them to the land North of the Narrow Neck in Ecuador. They never ventured south of the narrow neck. That's what the scriptures say and no matter how you want to twist yourself into a pretzel to make North America fit it simply is Wrong.

      You continue to ignore what the actual record says. Mormon and the other prophets explained very clearly what the lands looked like and North America simply DOES NOT FIT. Where are your exceedingly high mountains. Your West sea and East sea. The Jaredites were brought into the land North the BOM says. Where is your land NORTH? It is supposed to be NORTH of the narrow Neck. If your narrow neck is at Niagara then explain why NY Cumorah is South and East of it. How about the 3 hour earthquake that cast up exceedingly high mountains. Where are they? They are found in South America because that is when the continent was raised up. Why doesn't the BOM ever talk about snow and ice in North America. North America has lots of it in the Winter. Not in South America where they lived. So the text itself testifies clearly where they lived.

      So instead of telling me that Joseph said this or that how about telling me why the geography doesn't match in any way the BOM. Thanks, Ira

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    3. "So instead of telling me that Joseph said this or that how about telling me why the geography doesn't match in any way the Book of Mormon."

      The geography may not match what you *think* the geography *should* look like; that doesn't mean their proposed geography doesn't match what the *text* actually says.

      For instance, you seem convinced that when the Lamanites swept the Nephites from off the face of the earth, the Nephites retreated northward. But the text doesn't actually say that. In Mormon 2 the Nephites retreat northward, until Mormon inspires them to fight (v.23-24), after which they actually drive back the Lamanites until they "again take[] possession of the lands of [their] inheritance" (v.27). In that retreat and re-engagement, they were driven north from Angola (v.4) to David (v.5) to Joshua (v.6) to Jashon (v.16) to Shem (v.20).

      In chapter 4 (after the Nephites have fought what I think is their first offensive war against the Lamanites and Mormon is no longer leading them), the Lamanites drive the Nephites from Desolation to Teancum (v.2-3), from where the Nephites repulse an army of the Lamanites and retake Desolation (v.7-8), and then again lose Desolation (v.13) and Teancum (v.14). The Nephites again retake their lands (v.15), but from that point they are swept off (v.18).

      From Desolation the Nephites are now driven to Boaz (v.19-20), to Jordan (Mormon 5:3), and, after corresponding with the King of the Lamanites, ultimately to Cumorah (Mormon 6:2-4).

      The text gives no directions for the Nephites' final retreat from Desolation to Cumorah, but we know the cities they passed were called Teancum, Boaz, and Jordan. None of those cities appear in the list of cities passed by the Nephites during their northward retreat in Mormon 2. So on what passage -- from the *text* -- do you base your opinion that the Nephites *had* to retreat north?

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    4. As to your concerns regarding snow, there was an erudite guest post on this very blog about six or so weeks ago. Check it out:

      http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2016/04/guest-post-on-snow.html

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    5. Russ, I've posted a long list of why the NA model does not match the the BOM text. What is the basic model of the BOM lands. It is clearly stated in the BOM that there was a land northward and a land southward with a connection link between called a narrow neck or small neck of land (Alma 22:32, 63:5; Ether 10:20) This land-bridge is a major key to the BOM geography and the reason that I have to reject the NA model. Nothing fits this description.

      Alma 22:31-32 shows not only that the land southward was separated from the land northward by a small neck of land, but that there the land of Desolation on the north met the land of Bountiful on the south. Thus the land of Bountiful was the Northern part of the land southward. This is further borne out by the statement ...Nephites possessing all the land northward, yea, even all the land which was northward of the land Bountiful (Alma 50:11).

      That Bountiful was on the west side of the land southward by the narrow neck of land is demonstrated by the following... Hagoth... built him an EXCEEDINGLY large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the WEST SEA, by the NARROW NECK which led INTO THE LAND NORTHWARD (Alma 63:5.)

      This is all very clear that there is a land north and a land south separated by a narrow neck. That is the basic geography. I call it hour-glass shaped and no where on the North-American continent can you find this shape. In fact, Jacob said that they were on an Island of the sea. That certainly does not fit NA in any way.

      That is why I cannot accept this model. I came here to find out however why you believe what you believe and now I know. Because Joseph said it was here it has to be here and you have to twist all over the place to make it all work. So if you please - take these scriptures and make it work in North America. I can't! Ira

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    6. I find the different theories of the BOM lands quite interesting actually. The difference between those here and me is I use the actual scriptures to tell me where the lands are located. The South American theorists do the same. Today Del DowDell posted a very interesting article about how the NA model folks look at their model. He post some about the MesoAmerican model as well. This is what he said about the NA model which I found correct based on the description in the BOM.

      According to Del DowDell of Nephicode here is the Great Lakes approach:
      1. Assume a Great Lakes setting because of the location of the hill Cumorah and Letter VII that Oliver Cowdery wrote to W.W. Phelps.
      2. Put on the Great Lakers lens (or eyeglasses, or spectacles, or Urim and Thummim).
      3. "See" the hill Cumorah in which Joseph Smith found the plates and claim it "fits" the text of the hill Cumorah in the Land of Promise.
      4. Reject the numerous descriptions written by Mormon of the hill Cumorah that do not fit the hill Cumorah in New York.
      5. Rely on Letter VII that Oliver Cowdery wrote W.W. Phelps and claim it is the doctrine and stance of the Church; and claim Joseph Smith helped Oliver Cowdery write it for his own (Joseph’s) history, without explaining that Letter VII also includes the history of Joseph Smith finding the plates in the New York hill and that was his interest in the Cowdery explanations.
      It does not matter whether one wears Mesoamericna lenses, or wears Great Lakes lenses—as long as those lenses distract from and allow the ignoring of the scriptural record and uses personal views and modern day leader’s personal views to offset and replace the actual scriptural record.
      Great Lakes theorists claim that Mesoaemricanists mistranslated “a historical mistake from 1842,” as the means of their view; however, it can be said of Great Lakes theorists that their misunderstanding of Oliver Cowdery’s Letter VII as being only his opinion and neither Church doctrine nor any stated view of Joseph Smith merely because he helped Oliver craft the information regarding his (Joseph’s) involvement in finding the plates on the hill Cumorah in New York.
      Had both Mesoamericanists and Great Lakes theorists relied solely on the Book of Mormon scriptural record, neither of these views could hold any claim to Church or leader support whatever.
      Another error is that of Great Lakes theorists using Joseph Fielding Smith’s claim that there were not two Cumorahs as a Church stance on the matter, even though years later, as President of the Church he referenced his earlier remark about being his opinion.

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    7. Ira, I'll mention this one more time: your assumptions are not what the text says. You write "The difference between those here and me is I use the actual scriptures to tell me where the lands are located." But you also write "It is clearly stated in the BOM that there was a land northward and a land southward with a connection link between called a narrow neck or small neck of land (Alma 22:32, 63:5; Ether 10:20)." Right there, you recognize these verses, from different civilizations, use different terminology yet you conflate them to refer to the same thing.

      This gets back to simplicity. The simplest explanation for using different terminology is that it refers to different things. A "small neck" is not a "narrow neck." A "narrow neck of land" is not a "narrow neck." If you want to theorize that authors use different terms for the same thing, you can, but that's not a textual analysis. That's a model in search of semantic verification.

      The logical fallacies of Del's analysis are obvious. It's a common rhetorical technique to invent requirements and then claim your opponent doesn't meet them. There is no description by Mormon of Cumorah that the New York hill does not meet. It's a lot of fun to see people pick which passages of Oliver's letters to "accept" while they reject others to suit their preconceived models. It's also fun to characterize what Oliver specifically stated as a "fact" is actually only his opinion. That is exactly what the anti-Mormons have said about Oliver from the beginning. While we're at it, it's fun to dismiss Joseph Fielding Smith based on 50-year-old hearsay account of what he might have said.

      But my favorite part of Del's argument is that Oliver and Joseph, who merely translated the text (Oliver wrote the whole thing twice, longhand) met Moroni, etc., didn't understand it as well as Del does.

      I trust people to decide for themselves when they read things such as this.

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    8. I guess I understand Del's point of view that you folks here accept Oliver letter as revelation whereas the scriptures clearly indicate that your geography is not accurate. Your starting point in the letter not what the BOM says.

      Where the heck is your narrow neck,small neck, little neck, itsybity neck then? I'll say it again that the scriptures in the BOM are very clear on this point that there is a North country and a south country separated by a narrow neck of land. This is clear and it is something that you continue to ignore. Whenever the narrow neck, small neck itsybity neck is mention it is always located in the same place. There aren't two of them - only one and the BOM is clear about that. Do you have two of them? And if so where are they and how do you come to that conclusion? Boy would I love to here this story.

      The other day I listed clearly the scriptures that describe the Nephites being driven out of the land in the South into the North. They passed through the narrow passage that is spoken of throughout the BOM. Where is it? You continue to ignore these scriptures that were quoted. I didn't get that information Del. I got it from the BOM and have studied that geography for many years.

      The second point is and I've said it before but I'll say it again. Is the Nephites and Jaredites were destroyed NORTH of the narrow neck, narrow passage, itsybits piece of land into the far North. If as you've told me that the narrow neck is the land between Erie and Ontario then the last battle had to take place in Canada period. The NY Cumorah doesn't make any sense at all because it is strategic at all and it is not North of the narrow neck. You want to try to tell me there is another one south of the NY Cumorah? It's not in the North and the Nephites had plenty of room to run.

      I'm not basing all my information on Del's information which I find is quite good and accurate. Venice Priddis did an excellent job of laying it all out too. But Mormon and Jacob understood the BOM lands far better than Oliver or Joseph because they lived there and described it. I think you've put too much weight on Oliver's words rather than using what the BOM says for your starting point.

      I think you've made the same error as the folks in the Meso-American have and that is accept Oliver's letter as revelation then go out and try to find the land that fits it. There isn't anything that fits. You don't even have any exceedingly high mountains in that part of the country. Nothing fits - nothing at all. The Jaredites were brought into the land North - where is that? Alabama?

      Thanks, Ira

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