Thursday, May 26, 2016

Simplicity

William of  Ockham
The simplest explanation is usually the best, a principle often described as Occam's razor. "Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected."

On the topic of Book of Mormon geography, which setting requires the fewest assumptions?

Which explanation is the simplest?

The North American setting has one assumption.

1. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery knew that the Hill Cumorah in New York was the place where the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations were destroyed. Everything directly attributable to them is consistent with that setting. Contrary ideas are not directly attributable to them; therefore, these contrary ideas were produced by other people who didn't know what Joseph and Oliver knew.

The Mesoamerican setting relies on a series of assumptions:

1. Joseph Smith didn't know where the Book of Mormon events took place.
2. Oliver Cowdery (or another unknown person) at some unspecified date started a folk tradition that Cumorah was in New York, based on an incorrect assumption.
3. Joseph misled his wife Emma when he wrote to her about crossing the plains of the Nephites after he'd crossed Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
4. Oliver memorialized the incorrect folk tradition in Letter VII in 1835.
5. Joseph, for unexplained reasons, passively adopted Oliver's speculation and had it widely published.
6. Joseph, who wrote very little himself, nevertheless wrote a series of  articles in the Times and Seasons about Central America that he left anonymous for unknown reasons.
7. David Whitmer, late in life, conflated his own specific memory of the first time he heard the word "Cumorah" with Oliver's folk tradition.
8. Etc.

Which set of assumptions makes the most sense to you?

____________________________

Here are some relevant quotations about simplicity.

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
― Albert Einstein

To which Groucho Marx replied:

“A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.”
― Groucho Marx

“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
― Isaac Newton

“Why did they believe? Because they saw miracles. Things one man took as chance, a man of faith took as a sign. A loved one recovering from disease, a fortunate business deal, a chance meeting with a long lost friend. It wasn't the grand doctrines or the sweeping ideals that seemed to make believers out of men. It was the simple magic in the world around them.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages

“People who pride themselves on their "complexity" and deride others for being "simplistic" should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.”
― Thomas Sowell, Barbarians inside the Gates and Other Controversial Essays

“..things are never as complicated as they seem. It is only our arrogance that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems.”
― Muhammad Yunus, Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

“I am not a genius, I am just curious. I ask many questions. and when the answer is simple, then God is answering.”
― Albert Einstein

78 comments:

  1. Jonathan, Tell me how the Nephites sailed to North America? Lets make it simple and use Occam's razor. I'll start first using the razor.

    According to Nibley Lehi/Nephi led the group into Arabia where the countries of Yemen and Oman are located today. There they built a ship with probably one sail. The scriptures say they were driven forth before the wind which means they could only go where the wind drove them. They did have a rudder but it still the wind was the driving force as well as the current. That's scriptural.

    They HAD to sail in a South direction and that is the direction of the wind and current out of the Indian ocean. They would have sailed down to around 50-degrees latitude where the current and wind changes to an easterly direction. From there they would have sailed according to Occam directly east below Australia to the southern tip of South America. There the winds and current change again and they would have sailed up the coast to 30 degrees latitude there they landed. This the direct rout from Arabia and the simplest way to get to the promised land.

    Now tell me using Occam how Lehi/Nephi sailed to North America. And tell me where they landed as well. Thanks, Ira

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    1. I read this same theory on your comment to the other thread. It's correct that the Nephites would have had to sail, at least generally, southward leaving from our proposed Bountiful. It is incorrect that the prevailing winds and ocean currents would then take them across the Indian Ocean toward Australia. In fact, if we agree that "driven before the wind" means they were following the prevailing winds and currents (which I think is right), that would mean Lehi's family was taken along the coastline of Africa and across the Atlantic to the Eastern Coast of the Americas, anywhere between the mouth of the Amazon and Nova Scotia.

      Here's a handy map showing both the prevailing winds and ocean currents:

      http://www.sarahkopplin.com/_Media/world_wind_ocen_circulation_med.jpeg

      And, by the way, crossing the Atlantic is by far the simpler route -- shorter distance and less than half the time.

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    2. Russ, I was generalizing when I said South. Look at the winds and currents. They do indeed go in a southerly direction along Africa. BUT look at what happens when they hit the horn of Africa. The prevailing winds blow east and the current flows that same direction. It would have been absolutely impossible for Lehi to sail the Atlantic ocean below Africa without a knowledge of tacking which they did not know. The record says they were driven forth before the wind. The winds simply do not blow in that direction to carry them into the Atlantic. They blow east. And that is my point - they were driven forth before the wind as it says in 1 Nephi. They weren't sailors and did not know the art of tacking into the wind. If you read the text it is quite clear that they are being carried before the wind.

      Sailors know about the winds in the Southern latitudes. When they sailed to about 50-degrees latitude the wind really picks up down there in an Easterly direction. Sailors know that this is the fastest way to make time down in these latitudes. But there is another reason that this is the correct rout. It is a shorter distance to sail to South America closer you are to the South Pole because of the circumference of the earth. So there was good reason to get down into the east winds to catch them to the promised land.

      Then of course the wind and currents blow and flow north up the coast of South America. They landed where FG Williams said they landed at 30-degrees latitude.

      This is one of the reason why I cannot accept the North American model because there is no way for an inexperienced sailor to get there.

      Question - is this the only way that the North American model folks accept as to how they sailed to America? I've heard other absurd ideas about them sailing out of the Mediterranean. My head explodes when I hear stuff like that.

      I'll look for more information about this if you'd like because this is a crucial point in the entire discussion. How did Nephi get to the promised land.
      Thanks, Ira

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    3. FWIW, I'm pretty sure no one says that Lehi's family sailed out of the Mediterranean; most believe the Mulekites sailed out of the Mediterranean, but that's a different group.

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    4. Also, I understood from your first comment that you thought Lehi's party made a b-line for Australia. Since you seem to acknowledge that they probably began sailing down the Agulhas Current, here are some more detailed maps of the ocean currents surrounding South Africa:

      http://www.people.eku.edu/davisb/africa/Worldoceancurrents.gif (world)

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Marine_species_distribution_reference_map_Southern_Africa.png (detail)

      I've seen a contrary map produced by an individual in support of his South America theory which ignores the strong Benguela current and instead has the Angola cross-current (which I don't think reaches that far south) pushing Lehi's party into the far south recirculation. Personally, I don't think that's likely.

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    5. Ira, Here are some links showing how Lehi could have gotten to America:

      http://www.firmlds.org/feature.php?id=15

      http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2015/10/lehis-route.html

      http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/video_gallery.php
      videos 17 thru 23 show the Phoenician Expedition

      or just Google "Phoenician Expedition"

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    6. Hi Ira. You've raised some good questions about Lehi crossing the Atlantic. Other have already mentioned the Phoenicia, which is a good start, and other references. Crossing the Atlantic after sailing west around the tip of Africa is not only theoretically possible, it has been demonstrated, using 600 B.C. technology.

      I also addressed this question in the context of Isaiah and Church history on another blog here: http://bookofmormonconsensus.blogspot.com/2016/02/isaiah-on-lehis-route-to-america.html

      I have an entire section on this in Moroni's America as well.

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    7. Hi Mechan and Russ.

      The winds and current head out of the Indian Ocean down to the 50-degrees latitude and then under Australia to South America. I'll get more information about that. I do not believe it is possible for them to sail to America without tacking. The Phoenician's were great seaman. Nephi on the other hand was not a seaman. The ship he built could only go in the direction of the wind. That is clear from the text (They were driven before the wind) and so that is the limiting factor. If you are correct that the winds can get around the horn of Africa and to North America then it will have to be a direct wind and current route. This will be a good test and something that needs to be discussed in detail.

      But the biggest problem you all have is the geography. North America does not fit your model at all. Here is a short list and when you comment on each of the elements I'll show you scripture that disputes your claims. I've seen a number of maps of the North America site and I'm telling you they are all fiction and don't fit at all the scriptural record.

      1. The entire lands of the Nephites and Jaredites is shaped like an hourglass oriented in a North South direction. The thin part of the hour glass is the narrow neck and is a day and 1/2 journey for a Nephite. The length however is very long in a North-South direction. North America is NOT shaped like an hour glass and there is no narrow neck. Nothing is said about being able to going to the west of Sea east nor east of the Sea East.

      2. The land and city of Zarahemla is located on the west side of the river Sidon and by the seashore (Alma 22)

      3. At the time of Christ's death there was a 3 hour earthquake that cast up mountains to exceedingly great heights.

      4. Many waters in the land Northward

      5. Hill Cumorah of a height that the Lamanites had difficulty in killing off all the Nephites at the last battle. NY hill is only about 200' high and very rounded.

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    8. 6. Fevers at certain times of the year indicating a tropical temperature

      7. They used Cement for construction because the trees were cut down. Where are all your cement buildings?

      8. Where did Hagoth sail North from? The text says he built his ship near the narrow neck and so that is your starting point. Tell me where he sailed North from and why he was never heard from again. Again, this doesn't fit North America interior at all but it does fit South America. He sailed North and likely landed 500 miles away in Mexico. Or he is responsible for populating the Pacific islands. But the fact is I don't see a narrow neck and a water way in North America that you can sail North.

      I have heard of some that say it was lake Michigan. But they put the narrow neck at lake Erie. That is 200 miles away and so that doesn't fit. If he built the boat in Lake Erie then he could not sail north so that doesn't fit.

      The geology of the area of the great lakes is all limestone as I recall. There is no seismic activity that would have changed the landscape. So that doesn't fit.

      9. If you believe in Noah's flood then you know that the ice age occurred after the flood. The North American continent was covered half way down with a thick sheet of ice for at least a thousand years or about 1000 bc. So the 1st 1000 years of the Jaredites would have been absolutely impossible to live north of any narrow neck that you can find. No mention of ice and snow anywhere in the Nephite/Jaredite text. That is also a big problem for you. This doesn't fit at all with what you claim. Again, it fits South America near the equator.

      Good discussion guys and maybe if we all keep an open mind will learn something. I'm a geologist and so the geography has to fit or I can't accept it. So far I haven't seen anything that is very convincing.

      South America on the other hand before the time of the death of Christ fits perfectly. There is a reason for the 3 hour earthquake down there and that is the continent was raised up out of the ocean. No longer was there a narrow neck after that event. The Amazon basin was drained when that happened. The proof that it was recent is the Amazon River. There is no delta on this river and yet it carries the greatest sediment to the Atlantic in the world. The Mississippi has a delta extending 100 miles into the Gulf. None for the Amazon river. So that fits perfectly with what I'm telling you.

      These are just a few problems that I see and there are many many others.

      Good discussion - thanks, Ira

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    9. Jonathan - The Phoenicians were great sailors and were able to sail the oceans. Nephi was not a great sailor. It is clear from the text that the only direction that he could sail is driven forth by the wind. Stick with the text Jonathan and lets find where the sea path really leads. Let's not subscribe Harry Potter skills to Nephi and simply lift him up and place him in America. It didn't happen that way and the text is clear he was driving forth by the wind. The current and wind head to South America not North America out of the African Ocean.

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    10. Ira, this post is about simplicity and you're making this complicated by citing theory to contradict reality.

      This deserves its own post but I'll comment here for now.

      The Phoenicia showed that a ship using 600 B.C. technology can circumnavigate Africa sailing south and west from the Arabian peninsula. Certainly the winds and currents are an issue; to start with, you have to deal with the monsoons off the Arabian peninsula, which we've shown will blow southwest after you harvest fruit and honey (as Nephi said). Certainly the prevailing winds around South Africa blow east, but that's why they call them prevailing winds, not constant winds. The Phoencia proved sailing west is possible. The biggest challenge is staying close to the West African coast instead of crossing to North America because the currents and wind will take you there.

      If you know of a real-world example of such a voyage from the Arabian peninsula to South or even Central America, I'd love to know about it.

      The ocean currents are not exactly what you see on Nephicode, anyway. I've crossed the Antarctic Circumpolar and Subpolar currents on my way to Antarctica, and definitely, those are strong currents (going in opposite directions, which is what makes the sea so rough there). I've also gone around the Cape of Good Hope. Good Hope is over 1,000 miles north of Cape Horn, and the Antarctic currents don't impact southern Africa like they do Cape Horn. You can take the Aguihas current from the Arabian peninsula down to southern Africa, then pick up the Benguela and go up the west coast until you get to the equatorial currents that take you acrosss to North America. This shouldn't be news; Christopher Columbus sailed south to the West African coast so he could pick up the currents and wind to get to North America.

      Here's one of many links that show these currents. http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/images/oceancurrents.gif

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    11. Ira, those are good questions about the North American geography. I can't take the time to answer them all on this blog, but they're all addressed in Moroni's America.
      :)

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    12. Jonathan - can't you give a thumbnail version? I look at your map of the land of Zarahelma and it does not match the scriptural record. The land of Zarahelma according to Alma 22 was near the west sea. Where is the west sea on your map? There isn't any sea west of your land of Zarahemla. How can Moroni's America answer this question for me when it is obviously in error. You also don't put on the narrow neck either. It would be nice if you'd just address a few items here. Like I said a number of times. I can't make your model work. Why is that? Where is the narrow neck? If its where the great lakes are located then Cumorah is in the wrong place because Cumorah is supposed to be north of the narrow neck. So where are you putting it? Those are real questions Jonathan and just quick glance at your map on this blog doesn't match the scriptural record.

      As for the currents - okay - Lets say then that you are correct. Nephi sailed out of Arabia and made it to where in North America? Where did he land and what does the scriptures say about where he landed and does your model match it. These are simple questions. NephiCode at least takes the time and effort to explain the South American model clearly. Why is this so difficult? Could it be that your evidence is so weak that you are unable to answer these simple questions? Thanks, Ira

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    13. Ira, I've answered all of these questions and more in the book. Hundreds of people read this blog from around the world and while I wish I had time to respond to everyone, obviously that's not possible. Occasionally I'll respond to general questions that arise frequently, as I did on the narrow neck below, but it's a little silly to claim I'm unable to answer these questions when the reality is you just haven't read the answers.

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  2. I love this post. Truth really is simple. It has to be..... to make sense. Why make truth so obscure to make it almost impossible for God's children to find the truth and have folks always arguing about it? YEAH FOR THIS POST. An "iron rod" type of post. thank you

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  3. I love this post. Truth really is simple. It has to be..... to make sense. Why make truth so obscure to make it almost impossible for God's children to find the truth and have folks always arguing about it? YEAH FOR THIS POST. An "iron rod" type of post. thank you

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this post. Truth really is simple. It has to be..... to make sense. Why make truth so obscure to make it almost impossible for God's children to find the truth and have folks always arguing about it? YEAH FOR THIS POST. An "iron rod" type of post. thank you

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    1. That's a great point, Irene! It should be simple for everyone to understand. The North American setting is the simplest explanation from so many perspectives. All we need is the assumption that Joseph and Oliver knew what they were talking about. Everything in Church history that is directly tied to Joseph and Oliver points to Cumorah and the North American setting. There are things that suggest other settings, but they don't tie directly to Joseph; you have to make additional assumptions to link them to Joseph, which violates the principle of Occam's razor.

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    2. Jonathan I acknowledge that Joseph And Oliver thought that North America was the place but it simply doesn't fit. That is not the simplest solution because they could not even get here from Arabia. The Winds and currents do not go in that direction out of the Indian Ocean. Joseph's view was limited at the time. It did not come by revelation to him except for the landing of Lehi in Chile as FG Williams said. Why do you discount that landing site in all of your writings? Just a question. Ira

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    3. Jonathan, I found a map of the world currents and winds and it is clear that Nephi could not sail out of the Indian ocean. Unfortunatantly I don't know know to print the map here on this site.

      Following these currents and winds to their idle point where a ship, “driven forth before the wind” would be able to disengage from the currents and winds and effect a landing.

      The failure of most scholars and theorists in trying to determine a location and a map of the Land of Promise is that they fail to take into consideration the natural winds and currents that propelled ships in 600 B.C., and in fact, all the way up to the time of Columbus and afterward.

      Those winds and currents are clearly shown in any Marine Atlas or diagrams of the Seas. This is not open to interpretation since winds and currents are constant and always have been because they are driven by natural forces that have not changed, such as gravitational pull of Moon and Sun, winds blowing across the oceans, and the various effects, such as the Coriolis Effect, caused by the Earth’s rotation and its effect on the seas.

      The map shows clearly that the currents move from the Arabian coast. They move from east to west through Indonesia and across the Indian Ocean toward Arabia (the course that all scholars claim Nephi’s ship sailed—into those winds and currents—which was an impossible task in 600 B.C. and for 2,000 years afterward. Any weather-driven ship with sails in 600 B.C., would have been moved along the currents and is clearly spelled out by Nephi when he said they “were driven forth before the wind to the promised land” (1 Nephi 18:8, 9, 22-23).

      The ocean current and wind tracks moving south from the coast of Arabia across the Arabian Sea and into the Indian Ocean where they turn eastward and move south of Australia and New Zealand, across the Pacific Ocean (in what is actually called the Southern Ocean), and turn upward along the west coast of South America, then turn outward, back into the Pacific about the area of Ecuador into the southern gyre of the Pacific Ocean. This is the only course a ship, “driven forth before the wind” could have taken—even today all drift voyages from that area follow this course.

      The winds and currents across the Pacific, move in a direction from east to west, against any course scholars and theorists like to use for the Nephi ship to sail across the Pacific to Mesoamerica and North America.

      Bottom line, I do not see how Nephi could have sailed to North America because the winds do not go in that direction. Ira

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    4. Ira,

      I gave you a couple links that show the actual ocean currents, one in great detail, around the Horn of Africa. The world currents map, though perhaps lacking some of the detail of the Southern Africa map, shows the prevailing currents during January -- which, considering Lehi's party most likely set sail around late October (following their harvest of fruits, nuts, and wild honey -- 1 Ne. 18:5-6), is the relevant time of the year to be rounding Africa. As is readily seen, at that time of year, a ship sailing on the ocean currents would sail from the Agulhas Current through the Benguela Current to the Atlantic Coast of the Americas.

      Another thing: No one is arguing that Lehi's party was NOT driven forth before the wind (it's one of the major reasons why I believe they came down the African, not the Indian, coast). But you seem to be arguing that they were fully at the mercy of winds and currents. But that's not true, either. They had the ability to stir (1 Ne. 18:13) and, in Nephi's hands, the Liahona showed him where to guide the ship to reach the promised land (1 Ne. 18:21-22).

      You question Nephi's seamanship, but he wasn't a shipwright and yet the Lord could show him how to build a seaworthy vessel. If Nephi needed to tack into the wind to stay on course and arrive in the promised land early enough for the following year's planting season, don't you think the Lord, perhaps working through the Liahona, could have shown him how to do that?

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    5. Russ, there is nothing mentioned in the record other than Nephi had the ability to steer the ship. He could not tack into the wind. I think you are wrong about your maps and even the map you showed me says they could not have gone around the hone of Africa. The winds blow west to east as well and those are facts. But lets leave this discussion and say that Nephi had the ability to be Harry Potter and was able to make it around the horn. Where did he go from there? and Where did he land? This is all very important to the discussion because it fits into the problems of the North American model specifically. I'll get you more information on the winds and currents a little bit later. But lets move on - where did they land?

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  5. Jonathan, Russ, and others: I recommend not belaboring the issues with Ira. He obviously has not read through your blogs (or books), otherwise he would not argue the points he is trying to make, in ignorance.

    Ira: I recommend reading through Jonathan's blogs (this one and several others he has on Book of Mormon geography). Or even better a couple of his books, "The Lost City of Zarahemla," and "Letter VII," to start. You'll see that he adequately addresses the issues you raise. I'm trying to be nice, it's good to see a brother in the gospel interested in these issues, but you really need to read through at least this blog, from start to finish.

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    1. Steven, You should be able to answer these questions that I have very succinctly if you have any kind of credibility. I've looked at a number of maps of the city and lands of Zarahemla from the North American model folks and they simply don't match the written record. It's not ignorance. Yes I could go back and review it again but I'll come to the same conclusion as I have in the past I'm sure. Why not just simply in a few paragraphs answer a few simple question. I don't think that any of you have ever had to defend this model before. I think that is clear. I gave you a long list of problems that I see and I haven't seen anybody willing to tackle them. Why not you Steve - Give them a shot and tell me in a few short sentences where I'm wrong. I would love nothing more that to be proven wrong on this subject. I can't make the North American model work. None of it makes sense. The Meso-American model works far better because it is at least shaped like an hour glass.

      I believe I've found the model that fits the best and that is South America. All I'm trying to do is get someone like Russ who will at least discuss it. If you can't defend the model then there are some real weaknesses in it.

      Try this one - Where is the narrow neck? Just answer that question and lets see how it all matches to the scriptures. That's all - just that one question. How about it Steve. We can go from there. Thanks Ira

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  6. Hi Ira. Your "long list of problems" has been fully addressed; you just haven't read enough to know it. This blog assumes a basic level of knowledge about the North American setting, as described in Moroni's America. To say you "haven't seen anybody willing to tackle them" just means you haven't read what's been written on this topic.

    One of the challenges in these discussions is people imposing their own interpretations onto the text and declaring them a requirement. Your hourglass requirement is a good example. Nothing in the text refers to an hourglass, of course. That's a concept some readers have added to the text.

    Whenever people ask me where is the narrow neck of land, I reply it's in Ether 10:20. That's the only reference in the entire text to a narrow neck of land. People tend to conflate other Book of Mormon terms into one, but the authors themselves used different terms for a reason.

    Ether 10:20 reads "20 And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land."

    Reams of paper and millions of electrons have been consumed in discussing this simple verse. For example, people debate whether there's a difference between the sea dividing the land and the land dividing the sea, how the dividing is done, etc.

    Like many others, I propose that the narrow neck of land is at Niagara, a Native American Indian word for "neck" derived from the name of an Iroquois town called "Ongniaahra" that means "point of land cut in two." Stewart, George R. (1967) Names on the Land. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company; p. 83

    This fits with all the rest of the geography very well.

    If and when you go through Moroni's America, I can address other questions as they arise.

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    1. Ira, I would like to say a few hopefully polite things to you. First of all, I want to thank you and Del for your very polite and lengthy responses to my question on http://nephicode.blogspot.com/. The Mesoamercan folks haven't responded to any of my questions. Second, I need to confess that I have no scholarly expertise to answer any Book of Mormon geography questions. But I can read. Two years ago I had never heard about The Heartland Model, Hopewell, or Edena. But since then I have read everything on the internet about the Mesoamerican and Heartland Models, attended many Heartland presentations, and read several Heartland books. I began reading your and Del's blog just a week ago and have read less than 50 entries so far.

      So, to begin... Many times you have stated that it was impossible for Nephi (or any one else) to sail around Africa to North America. It takes only one counter example to prove that statement false. You have before you two counter examples. The historical record shows that the Phoenicians sailed around Africa and back into the Mediterranean Sea in 600 BC. You also have before you the 21st Century Phoenician Expedition which did likewise in a 600 BC period boat. You consider tacking into the wind an important issue. But I don't. Here's why. The Expedition planned to make several stops on the West Coast of Africa, but couldn't because the winds and ocean currents pushed them out into the Atlantic. They were just 3 or 4 days travel distance from running into Florida before they were able to turn somewhat easterly. It seems to me that if the Expedition had to utilize tacking to get around the tip of Africa, they could also use it to stay near the Coast of Africa. That's good enough for me to conclude that both Nephi and the Expedition didn't use tacking. If you want to know more, you could look at pictures and video's of the Expedition boat and determine for yourself if the boat was capable of tacking. Or you could contact the Expedition yourself and ask them if they used tacking.

      The Nephites probably landed on the Gulf Coast of Florida because that is where the oldest (about 500 BC) Hopewell (probably Nephite) sites are located. The Atlantic Coast of Florida would be ok too. Also the Latitude there matches the Jerusalem Latitude which would be good for their seeds.

      The Edena (probably Jaradite) "were a large and mighty people" who lived both North and South of the Great Lakes and likely beyond. You are probably wondering how they mined an estimated half a billion tons of copper in Michigan during the "ice age" you described. As a geologist, I am sure you can research that.

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    2. Also as a Geologist, you can easily research the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes in the "Heartland". Thousands of eye-witness accounts report conditions almost exactly like those in 3rd Nephi. Further archaeological study has shown that similar quakes occurred about the time of Christ.

      I presume you are right that seismic activity near the Great Lakes would not have changed the landscape. But that just confirms that you (and Del) are looking at the wrong Model when you attempt to reject the Heartland Model. There is another North American Model that places the Book of Mormon in a very tiny area around New York and the Great Lakes. I can't remember what it is called. So I will here call it the Great Lakes Model. In everything I have read on http://nephicode.blogspot.com/ and here with your Great Lakes seismic activity comment, I believe you are rejecting the Great Lakes Model, not the Heartland Model. All Heartland Model adherents also reject the Great Lakes Model.

      In http://nephicode.blogspot.com/ you go to great lengths to distinguish between fact and opinion. I will admit that I have not read far enough in your blog to find out how you transform FG Williams statement about a "30-degrees latitude landing" from an opinion into a fact. You however will not have to admit that you have not read much about the Heartland, because everyone who reads this blog will recognize that.

      I know of no requirement that the west sea needs to be west of Zarahemla. The Sea of Galilee has something east and west of it. The Red Sea has something east and west of it. Why can't the West Sea have something east and west of it?

      So... there you have my way overly simplified thumbnail version. I offer it because you were kind and helpful to me. And because those who read your comments here may no recognize that you can be kind and helpful.

      I, like Jonathan Neville, hope that a consensus on Book of Mormon Geography can be achieved.

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    3. Devon, Okay - I have to admit I was wrong about being able to sail around the Horn of Africa. It can be done. But you have to stay rather close to land. BUT if you do that then you extend the trip by 7,000 miles. The total trip would be 17,000 miles by water. A very daunting task for Nephi. Could be done I admit but a very long trip. The South American trip is 10,000 miles by water. So it is much shorter.

      I'm not as well read as Del is on this stuff but I find his work very good. There is also another book that is out of print by Venice Priddis on the subject called the Book and the Map. That is a landmark book. Yes I'm sure it has problems as all books do on the subject and she likely has assumed too much in some cases. But be that as it may it is very good. The startling thing about South America is that everything fits so perfectly. Even the great wall of Peru as mentioned in Helaman 4 can be seen in South America. Where is the wall in North America?

      Now we have your first problem by them landing in Florida. They said they found All manner of ore after they landed in the the promised land. Where in all of that limestone of Florida do you find any ore deposits? This is what I mean by nothing fits. Down in Chile where they did land the ore deposits can be found readily.

      Thanks Devon, Look closer at that South American model. I don't know what you think of Noah's flood and that might be a problem for you. It isn't for me. Ira

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    4. Jonathan, I know you guys have address some of this stuff and that is why I'm bringing all of this to your attention. I've looked at the maps and they are wrong. Why should I read any of your books if the maps are wrong.

      Let me explain and maybe you can explain some of these things to me. I'm all ears. Cumorah in your model is located SOUTH of the narrow neck. It is clear that Cumorah is NORTH of the narrow neck in the BOM. That is your first clue that it is wrong. Your sea West is Lake Erie right? Well you have another problem then because Hagoth could not have built his ship by Niagara and sailed NORTH. He would have hit the North shore of the Lake. So that doesn't fit. As I mentioned before the area at the time of the Jaredites was covered by a massive sheet of ice. So that doesn't fit. The fevers are obviously malaria because in South America where they actually did live they have those deceases. You don't have them in North America that far north and so that doesn't fit.Gold,silver,and copper deposits are not found where they landed down in Florida and they are few in the great lakes area so that doesn't fit. Your map of Zarahemla should boarder on the West Sea shore. That doesn't fit because Niagara is your your narrow neck which is also too narrow for a day and a half journey. Why did the Nephites stop to defend their nation at Cumorah? They could have continued far North. In South America they had to stop at that Cumorah because high mountains would have prevented them from going any further. So that doesn't fit.

      Jonathan. Look at the South America model closer. You've discerned that Meso-America is wrong which is correct - it doesn't fit either but North American Model is far worse. I think the only thing you've got going for it is that Joseph and others believed it was the place. It wasn't revealed to them because nothing fits. If you want to make a few short statements to tell me how these things fit I would be happy to talk to you about them because to me these are fatal flaws in your model. Thanks, Ira

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  7. Devon, You recognize of course that the New Madrid fault is not capable of producing a 3 hour earthquake are you not? You at least admit that the Nephites were up North in the Great Lakes area. Where are the exceedingly high mountains up their? Alma 22 clearly states that you seem to reject that the land of Zarahemla boarders the west sea. Why do you reject that verse in Alma 22? Where is the narrow neck? Cumorah was located North of the narrow neck not South as all the maps of the NOrth American model say. Where is the hour-glass shape? I don't see it on your maps. There are so many problems that this is just a short list.

    The South American model fits all of these. South America was underwater until the Death of Christ. Do you as a geology believe in Noah's flood? Do you accept the fact that the ice age occurred after Noah's flood? If not then you can't understand the rising of South America nor the fact that North America was covered with an ice sheet when the Jaredites were supposed to come. That is your handicap if you believe that and the very reason BYU would never be able to accept South America.

    Good talking to you though. I hope you would get out your BOM - dust off the cover, crack it open and compare the real geographic features to your model. If you do that you'll find very quickly that it simply doesn't work at all. It's far worse that the Meso-American model. Thanks, Ira

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  8. You have not read any of Jonathan's stuff. Please actually read his book before you post again. That way you can disagree with his actual theory.

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  9. Daniel, I simple look at his maps here on this site is enough. Why are these questions about the basic geography so hard for you and others to answer? I'm just looking for an explanation is all. I'm being polite about it too. I'm not an antiMormon or anything. I love the BOM and read it often. I'm questioning the maps not the motives. I know Jonathan and others like him love the BOM as well. That isn't the issue here. This is a debate about the location of the BOM lands. And I'm questioning the model. You really don't need to be so defensive. Just answer some of the question. How about why is the NY Cumorah located south of the narrow neck and not North as the BOM says. That's a simple one. Can you answer it? Thanks Ira

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  10. Ira, you ought to be more careful in your statements about dusting off the cover of "your BOM". Seems to me you are the only one who hasn't recognized that the BOM only mentions "narrow neck" once. We all know it says narrow pass or narrow strip in other places in the BOM, but if you are using your opinion that these are all the same location then it is exactly that...your opinion. The wording in the BOM is very precise as revealed text. The wording should not be stretched to fit something that it doesn't say. Read the text, in this day and age it only takes a second to search the entire text for phrases and you'll see that you are interpreting something that isn't there. Also, using the term "opinion" for what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery said hinges on unbelievable. If we should pay attention to anything said about geography we should be listening to these two guys. If there is a definition of BOM scholars, its them. They translated, wrote, and published it! They saw and knew Moroni....and others. They returned the plates. I can't imagine listening to anyone else when it comes to geography. You can stack all the BOM scholars up with all their "experience" and I would still listen to Joseph and Oliver. Like Daniel said above, its time for you to read the book....its awesome and you'll be happy to see that the geography fits the text.

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  11. Okay Mauri - sorry about that. I was making a joke and obviously it is something that can't be done when a person is not present. Us geologists tend to be a little crusty I guess. Comes from years of working with engineers.

    But here is the problem that you seem to be missing. The BYU believe in Joseph and Oliver just as much as you do and yet they believe the Meso-American model and not what the early prophets said. I've pointed out a number of real problems with your model that you believe. These problems I believe are fatal and until you show me differently they completely and utterly destroy the North American model for the location of the Nephites and Lamanites. Why is that so hard for you to accept or believe? The BOM is clear on several points and the 1st point that I'm making is your maps are absolutely wrong. The hill Cumorah is not located south of the narrow neck. It is very clear about this. I am not stretching anything. I'm reading the text and it says this very clearly. WHY oh Why do you put it to the South of the narrow neck? That is one of my many questions. There are many more as I've listed. Thanks, Ira

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  12. Okay Mauri - sorry about that. I was making a joke and obviously it is something that can't be done when a person is not present. Us geologists tend to be a little crusty I guess. Comes from years of working with engineers.

    But here is the problem that you seem to be missing. The BYU believe in Joseph and Oliver just as much as you do and yet they believe the Meso-American model and not what the early prophets said. I've pointed out a number of real problems with your model that you believe. These problems I believe are fatal and until you show me differently they completely and utterly destroy the North American model for the location of the Nephites and Lamanites. Why is that so hard for you to accept or believe? The BOM is clear on several points and the 1st point that I'm making is your maps are absolutely wrong. The hill Cumorah is not located south of the narrow neck. It is very clear about this. I am not stretching anything. I'm reading the text and it says this very clearly. WHY oh Why do you put it to the South of the narrow neck? That is one of my many questions. There are many more as I've listed. Thanks, Ira

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  13. No that is the problem, they don't believe Joseph or Oliver, I can't say why, they do in every other respect, but not when it comes to geography. They have blinders on and only see what they are looking for. Which narrow reference are you using? The neck, pass, strip????

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  14. Mauri, you are kidding me of course. you telling me that John Sorenson of BYU doesn't believe Joseph and Oliver are prophets? That's absurd!

    Let's look at what the BOM says: The record says that around ad 327 Mormon's armies "Began to retreat towards the north countries." (Mormon 2:3) Later they were still being driven NORTHWARD. (Mormon 2:3.) Later In about ad 350 Mormon noted: "And the Lamanites did give unto us the land NORTHWARD, yea, even to the narrow PASSAGE which led to the land SOUTHWARD. And we did give unto the Lamanites ALL the land Southward." (Mormon 2:29) With the Lmanite presure continually thrusting NORTHWARD, the statement that the Nephites "did march forth to the land of Cumorah" (Mormon 6:4) CLEARLY Mauri this puts Cumorah many miles North of the narrow neck of land. NOT in upper state NY as your model show.

    Ira

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  15. Your ignorance of Neville's theory is so apparent. Seriously, I am begging you, take a few minutes and educate yourself on what his theory actually is. Then come back and disagree with it all you want.

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    1. I'm begging you Daniel - Tell me where I'm wrong and I'll get the book. I look at the map and it is complete nonsense. Answer this one question. WHY is the NY Cumorah located SOUTH of the narrow neck which Jonathan says is between the great lakes. I'm begging you Daniel to answer the question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ira

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    2. I'll give you one last hint. Narrow neck and narrow pass do not have to refer to the same thing. This might be difficult for you to process, but "neck" and "pass" are different words. Now go read the book and find out what you actually disagree with. Neville's theory is extremely well thought out and will probably answer your "questions", assuming you actually want the answers. I don't think you are asking in good faith, but I could be wrong. Cheers!

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    4. Pist Daniel, After the land was uplifted the term narrow neck was not used again. BUT they are the same place as before the uplift. Again, the model doesn't work. I've seen the maps and they don't work. Yes I'm asking in good faith. I've been shown these maps by different people for years now and they don't work at all.

      So then tell me there buddy - since now there are two narrow necks and two narrow passes. Where is this on your map? I haven't seen this new development. So tell me where that one fits in.

      You don't need to go into lots of detail just tell me where the two narrows are located. We can go from there if you'd like. There are lots of other questions after we put this one to bed. Thanks for all you help. You are full of service. Ira

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  17. Just to be clear, I believe that the BYU "BOM" experts believe in Joseph Smith, but not when he speaks of geography. In their minds, he was only guessing. BTW, Oliver's Letter VII definitely isn't opinion. You ought to read it. Also, are you certain that the narrow neck in Ether is the same as narrow passage in Mormon? Just a tip, spend a few bucks and read Jonathan's book. If you want someone to "believe" the South America theory, you would expect the same. Point us towards a book that makes the best claims.

    Look we all love the BOM, we all have our opinions. I've read them all and will continue to read, but in my opinion the Promised Land is the United States and is the where the Nephites lived. I've always believed that, even before reading any BOM theories. Christ said as much in 3 Nephi 21, the only free people where the BOM came forth is the U.S. and he was standing in the land where it would all happen when he spoke of what the Father would do.......

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  18. Mauri, Yes I am certain of the things I am telling you. A really good book that is out of print is called the book and the map by Venice Priddis. She did a wonderful job of laying the groundwork for the South American Model. It will answer all of the questions I'm bringing up. There is a website by Del Dowdel called Nephicode.blog.com that prints a daily article discussing all the models and particularly the South American model. It is worth your time to look at it.

    Mauri the problem is you are not letting the scriptures speak for themselves on this matter. I know Joseph and Oliver believed it was in North America. They were too busy being chased all over the place and restoring the gospel. This was their opinion and not revelation. Frederik G. Williams wrote in his journal that he was told that Lehi landed at 30 degrees Latitude in Chile. That is exactly the place where the South American model begins. And it's the most perfect place on earth for them to arrive at because the climate is very similar to Jerusalem where their seeds came from.

    The continent was under water at that time and the only thing that was above was the Andes from Ecuador to Chile or about 1,500 miles. The Island as Jacob called it was about 150-200 miles wide except at the narrow neck which was only about 40 or 50 miles at the Gulf of Guayaquil. Everything fits this model as I said. Cumorah is located north of the narrow neck.
    AT the time of Christ the continent was uplifted during a 3 hour earthquake. Great mountains were cast up to heights of 20,000 feet. The Amazon basin drained and the East sea was drained in the interior to what it looks like today. All the city sites are still there. The wall of Helaman 4 can be seen running through the jungle for 40 or more miles as it says. The city of Zarahelma with its wall that Samuel stood on is still able to be seen in the ruins of Pachacamac. Cuzco is the City of Nephi and the tower of Noah was still standing when the Spanish arrived. The oldest civilization in all the Americas is found to the North of the narrow neck where the Jaredites came in 2,300 BC. It all fits if you want to check it out. If not then fine. All I'm trying to do is get a few answers as to why you believe what you believe. It's been like pulling teeth though. Thanks and good luck Ira

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    1. Haha, so was Christ wrong? Was FGW right? Was Joseph wrong?

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    2. You're kidding me right? Do you know who FG Williams was? Where do you suppose he found that information out? He got it from Joseph Smith of course. Christ never said it was in North America. He did tell Joseph Lehi landed in Chile. Are you accusing FG Williams of lying?

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    3. He was no Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery.

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  19. Mauri do I need to prove to you that Cumorah that the Jaredites were destroyed was the same as the Cumorah of Nephites? If Jonathan's book is arguing different places then it is worse than I had thought. It was called Ramah by the Jaredites and Cumorah by Nephites. As I pointed out it is located in the far North in Jaredite lands which according to the map of Jonathan has to be NORTH of the great lakes which it isn't.

    Another problem with the NY hill Cumorah is an entire nation of millions of people died at the time of the Jaredites and 230,000 at the time of Mormon. It was more than that of course but that was the last battle. Why did they stop in NY? They had plenty of country to continue to escape into by going toward the Northeast. They didn't - this should tell you that this wasn't the place. The real Cumorah is located where the Jaredites and Nephites COULD NOT go any farther to the North. They were stopped at that point and had to stand and fight to the death. That's the difference between your model of North America and the South American. The NOrth American Model Simply doesn't work!!! Ira

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  20. Umm, not sure where to go with you, you won't answer my questions about Christ, FGW or JS, so until you take a few hours and a few bucks to read some more, I can't help you. Good luck in your research, but let me just say nicely, your theory above leaves a lot to be desired. I think the map of middle earth in the Lord of the Rings might actually make more sense than yours'. But hey, its just my humble opinion. For me it comes down to this, I listen to the Lord and the Prophets and leave it there, the rest is just filler. BTW, I don't think the Lord or Joseph were guessing, but I assume you know that already.

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  21. Hard to say what you mean by all that diatribe. Good luck with your fantasy theory too. I'll keep on poking though. Maybe Jonathan can tell me the answers. I haven't heard from him yet. I've put quite a list out there for him to answer and so far nothing is coming my way. I'll keep at it though because I think you are not giving your model some serious thought. You are just lapping up what is thrown on the table without thinking about what it really means. If you want to know the truth then do a little bit of thinking and research. I've already done that by looking at your maps and they are wrong. They resemble more of Lord of the Rings than anything I've seen and make about as much sense. Ira

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  22. Just wondering what you have to say about 3 Nephi 21. Where is this land? Was he standing on island in south america?

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  23. Mauri, Thank you for your referral to 3 Nephi 21.

    That reply is the only one here that fits the title: Simplicity. Also for me it is the most profound and beneficial. I have read it dozens of times in the last couple decades, and wondered who are the modern day remnant of Jacob that will be among the Gentiles and go through and tear to pieces? No one has ever been able to tell me. Now after your post and my rereading it several more times, I have to say the answer has been hidden in plain site all this time. Prior to two years ago I had similar questions about where is the physical evidence of the Book of Mormon? Then after viewing Nephite Explorer and hearing my first Rod Meldrum presentation, my response was the same: Hidden in plain site! Hundreds of thousands, even millions, of artifacts and evidence supporting the Book of Mormon have been hiding in plain site in Joseph Smith's America (eastern US).

    I have heard Bruce Porter say many times that "the authors of the Book of Mormon have failed if you can't determine where the promised land is just from reading the Book of Mormon." Now I am confidant that reading 3 Nephi 20 and 21 is sufficient to show that America is the promised land.

    However, look at the advantage of the South American Model: When the Gentiles there ripen in iniquity the so called "pure blood" Lamanites there will help sweep the unrepentant Gentiles off that "Promised Land" and we in America will be safe.

    The Mesoamerican Model has similar advantages, but I don't think they claim to know who the modern day Lamanites are.


    Thanks again Mauri for showing me what has always been right in front of my eyes.

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    1. DeVon, I forgot to respond to your question about who is going to go through of Jacob and do all of the tearing to pieces. I know the answer to that one. It is Ephraim - the 144k. Isaiah says that the Lord will make a sharp-tooth sledge of new design. This will be their job before the millennium to gathered the tribes of Israel including the Lamanites, destroy the wicked of the world and establish the Zion in Missouri. There is one other thing you need to know too about the term Gentile in the BOM. The word in Hebrew is Goyim. I know a bit of Hebrew too and so this isn't a mystery to me. Whenever you see the term Gentile in the BOM insert the word "Other Nation". The term as used in 600bc can mean non-Israelite people, it can mean Ephraim which are of the House of Israel. There is some false doctrine going through the Church right now for the last 30 or 40 years that the members are adopted into Ephraim of the House of Israel. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. The members are Ephraim and they were gathered from the non-Israelites of the world. So that is the answer to your mystery of these 2 chapters in 3 Nephi. I know this is off the subject of this blog and so I won't go into any more detail then that. BTW - since you are a geologist do you believe in Noah's flood? Ira

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  24. Devon and Mauri, (North and South) America is the Promised land. The New Jerusalem will indeed come down from heaven in North America where Ephraim is located. Ephraim in the future will gather the tribe of Manasseh in South America where they were established. You pick and chose what you believe and what you want to listen to. You haven't even attempted to answer any of my criticisms on your model. If you were honest you would look up the scriptures in Mormon that I gave you and ask Jonathan to explain why he completely disregarded the Book of Mormon when he conjured up his maps. All I'm doing is pointing out the glaring contradictions that are many. I would accept the Meso-American theory long before I would accept North America. Even Joseph in around 1841 and 42 was excited to hear that ruins were found in Meso-America.

    You need to tell me why your maps are contrary to the scriptures. I found a great quote by Del Dowdel of Nephicode who is one of the discoverers of the South American model and has done a superior job of explaining the model and I might add showing the fatal flaws in the North American and Meso-American models.

    "The same can be said about the Great Lakes, Heartland and eastern U.S. theories where there are no “mountains whose height is great,” no ocean access to a Sea West, no two animals, two grains, herbs to cure fevers, etc., can be found and a hill Cumorah not even within their Land Northward, no narrow neck with a narrow passage, etc., claim to be the Land of Promise is also unbelievable.

    It is as though people today feel they are so much smarter than the scriptural record, they simply pick and choose what they want to accept and reject what disagrees with their views.
    Perhaps all would be better served if the different theorists stopped arguing over minor issues and start reading the scriptures—all of them—and recognize that their models simply do not agree with the scriptural record. There would certainly be less fodder for critics to use in their fight against the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and a lot better chance for the Book of Mormon to stand for what it was written, a Second Witness of Jesus Christ.

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    1. I will continue to rely on what the Savior said in 3 Nephi 21. I don't think I need to stretch it any further. If a BOM geography model doesn't include what Christ, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery said then its not worth considering. Christ said "this land", Oliver wrote Letter VII identifying (there's truly no opinion in that letter) the Hill Cumorah which was supported and sustained by Joseph. Joseph also wrote Emma about walking across the plains of the Nephites during Zions Camp. I don't believe he was walking in Central or South America at the time.

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    2. Sounds good Mauri. But you need to know that the BOM says otherwise. NY Cumorah is not located in the land North as Mormon said, and so you are using Extra-BOM information to come to your conclusions. Joseph and Oliver thought it was here but it was only opinion because later in life Joseph talked about the Meso-American ruins. He was interested in the concept of where they were located generally - and that is the entire North and South America.

      I think what Jonathan and others like him have done is take Joseph and Oliver's words and elevate their opinion to revelation which it isn't. Then he took a pin and stuck in a map and said the NY Cumorah is the site of the great battle - it doesn't fit the BOM but that doesn't matter. Then he needed a narrow neck and found one between the great lakes. It doesn't fit the BOM at all but he needed one. Then he needed some water and found the great lakes and put them on a map. He found a couple of Indians down south and put them on a map. Did a little bit of writing along with others like Meldrum and voila we have a book to sale. The members like yourself who aren't familiar with the BOM eat it all up and everybody is happy.

      So go ahead and believe what you want to. I'm looking for someone to talk to that can answer the questions I've posed as to why the maps are wrong. You obviously aren't the person to talk to. Thanks for the discussion though. Ira

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    3. Actually it doesn't, be careful Ira to suppose I don't know the BOM. I keep referencing it, 3 Nephi 21. These are verses of Christ saying what the Father would do in this land among a free people. I abandon all theories that don't incorporate this. Simple as that. And if you are using the lame letters in the Times and Seasons, then you are behind the times, heck even the Meso guys are steering away from those non signed letters. And, like I said before, I have never believed it took place anywhere other than in the US...before I ever even heard of Meldrum or Neville. So don't try to impose your lame ideas on me saying that I am just another follower and can't think for myself, this is my last post with you. See ya! BTW, why are you so hung up on the narrow neck, it is only mentioned once in the BOM and yet you won't believe in the studs of the restoration - Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery? Weird. Oh, and don't forget what Christ said. I think he knew.

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    4. Mauri - I'm not using the letters of Joseph Smith at all - you are and that is my point. You don't use the book of Mormon and I showed you clearly that Cumorah is located in the land NORTH. Why can't you see that? 3 Nephi 21 does not say one word about whether it is North or South America. This chapter is a great prophecy however and I know you don't understand it because of what you've already said. But this is a BOM geography blog and I'd like to stick with that. I've given you all the scriptures about the Nephites being driven into the land North of the Narrow neck. That means according to your model it had to happen in Canada. There is NO narrow neck south of the NY Cumorah. You are not using the scriptures correctly. This will be my last post to you as well because you simply are incapable of understanding the scriptures. Thanks, Ira

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    5. For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;

      Sounds like Christ is talking Geography as he stands in the Land Bountiful with the Nephites. BOM came forth among a free people in 1830 in the United States.

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    6. Mauri, The thing you need to realize is that you are free to join the Church in South America too. The people are free in both the North and South. That was not true when the Spanish arrived and subjugated the people. But now it's true. More natives of South America are joining than here in the US by far. Most of the Indians here are gone now.

      But there is something else that you and I probably would disagree on. And that is when the tribulation begins most of North America is going to be destroyed and the inhabitants whipped off. The Indians or the few that are left likely won't survive. But the South American Lamanites will survive and those are the ones that are going to be gathered.

      Who are these Indians in South America Mauri. Are they Lamanites as well? How did they get to South America? There are millions of them down there where the Lord brought them at 600bc. Ira

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  25. Devon, One thing I need to mention to you and most members of the Church do not realize. America is going to be swept clean except for the 144k. That includes the Indians here in America. Most of them are quite wicked anyway based on what I see of the casinos that have popped up on all the reservations. The Lord raised up the South American continent for the purpose of protecting the true blood of Israel - the Lamanites. There might be a few here in America but not many. The Navajos for example are not Lamanites but came over the land bridges to America. They have mixed in with what might be true blood. But the point is that you and others here are disregarding the scriptures on the geography. And you've done nothing to answer that criticism. Neither has Jonathan answered the charge. I would love to hear what he has to say. His maps are all wrong. How could any of his writing be correct if his maps are wrong. Anyway, you have some valid points DeVon. I came here to find out why you folks disregard the scriptures when it comes to what the BOM says. I'm not finding anything out from you folks though. Let's keep on discussing though because maybe we'll both learn something we didn't know. Ira

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    1. If you are not going to believe the words of the Savior's himself, then there is nothing anyone can say to you to answer your "questions". I mean, Jesus, while standing in the land of Bountiful, says he will establish a free people in "this land", and you somehow think that is clearly Peru. Enjoy your theory, I will stick with what Jesus said.

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    3. Daniel, I'm not some antiMormon that doesn't believe in the words of Christ. Let's look at what you've just said. I don't have your reference but I'll take your paraphrase. Christ said that he would establish a free people. What does that mean? Here in the US we can indeed worship freely. What about South America in Peru? Can a person join the LDS Church in Peru and worship freely. The answer is YES. The scripture that says that the Lamanites would be scattered and trodden down is talking about the Spanish therefore isn't it. So again your effort to show that South America isn't the land of promise fails. BTW- who do the Indians of South America descend from? The migration pattern has been from South to North.

      If you have evidence that the North American model is viable I'll look farther into it. But if you can't even explain these few little details then why should I look farther? Thanks, Ira

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    4. I apologize for any saltiness in my comments. If the South American model makes sense to you and increases your faith in God and the Book of Mormon, motivates you to repent and attend the temple then I am happy for you. We are talking about theories after all. Until there is direct revelation on the matter we are all a little lost.

      I do think you would find Jonathan's answers to all of the questions if you read his book. You probably won'the agree with him, but at least you would be more knowledgeable about what his theory really is.

      Anyway, I admire your passion, best of luck to you.

      Dan

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    5. Daniel, Last night I looked some information up on Youtube and found quite a bit of information there about the NOrth American Model. Wayne May has done some work on this. There was absolutely nothing there that persuaded me that the NA model is correct. In fact, it confirmed even more that this model is fatally flawed in so many ways. I stick by my statements here that the Jaredites did not live north of the narrow neck which has been defined as between the great lakes. Mormon 2 says that the final battle took place NORTH of the narrow neck. The NY Cumorah is not in the correct place. It was used simply to deposit the plates so that Joseph could find them. There are no gold, silver and copper deposits in Florida where they landed. Jaredites were not brought into a land north. Sidon is not the Mississippi for so many reasons. There are no exceedingly high mountains in the NE and central US. All of these things make the model false.

      Down in South America however you will find everything you are looking for. That is where the Lord brought them and geography fits perfectly in every respect. Frederick G. Williams said that Lehi left Arabia and landed at 30-degrees Latitude in Chile. If North America was where it all happened then there certainly would not have been any mention of Chile as a landing place. That place fits perfectly however.

      I don't need to read the books because these questions are not answered. They are glossed over and the scriptures totally misinterpreted and misrepresented to make the model fit. It doesn't fit at all but all of these authors on the NA model have come up with these really bizarre interpretations to make it fit. They don't and the proof is in reading carefully. Ira

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    6. Sounds like you might be wasting your time on this site. I am happy that you are so sure of your theory. I wish you nothing but the best.

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    7. Daniel, I know I'm wasting my time - but it's my time and it is a hobby anyway. I originally came to get a little bit of understanding why you believe what you believe. And to see if you could defend it. I've found that all the followers of Jonathan cannot defend the North American model. There have been very few attempts to explain it to me in clear terms and also to explain the criticisms I have raised. If you want to believe then that's fine with me of course. But as for me I know your model is impossible. Ira

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  26. Hello, my name is Larry. I have read from top to bottom the debate that is going on about where the Nephites landed. It is all very interesting, and the debate back and forth is stimulating.
    I have studied this topic for over thirty years, and have read books by authors that have tried to prove the different models spoken of here in this blog.

    My opinion favored the Meso-American model for a long time, and a good friend of mine, Cleon Skousen agreed with this model as well. Hugh Nibley, also someone I talked to, years ago, felt this was the correct location! These men I considered to be true scholars! I read Sorensen's book, and Ferguson as well, and I served time in Guatemala and El Salvador, and visited many of the ruins that would appear to substantiate this theory.
    I also, years ago read the writing of a man, last name Kimball, that claimed the North American model was the true location. I would not be surprised if his books and maps have not been copied by some of you that are making these claims! Just an opinion! I agree one hundred percent with iterry that according to the scriptures themselves; ie, the BOM, that the North American model is impossible!!

    It wasn't until I found in my continued search about this, the well researched book, called "The Book and The Map", that I came to believe that the South American model is the most logical and the most ideal, according to the BOM itself! The work being done by the author of the Nephicode is very well done, and backed up by many references!
    One item of importance we tend to forget in all of our questioning, is that God is in charge of all of this, and has the power to take his chosen people, of whatever time and age, to the lands they are meant to occupy. He did this with the Brother of Jared!!

    Even today we tend to bring God down to our level, and say he changes according to the times and seasons! What rubbish! Lehi, if you truly believe the BOM, implicitly states that God cannot change, or He would cease to be God!

    Well I have said my piece, and I don't want or need a response.

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  27. I'm not being sarcastic when I say that some of you here seem very new to this online type of forum, and I must say, some of you sound down-right crazy. I'm sure your intent isn't to sound crazy by any means, but man, I would never allow some of you to teach my friends the missionary lessons. The internet isn't any kind of place to spout off anything that comes to your mind with respect the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or what one interprets as true doctrine. I encourage you to be more careful and ponderous about the doctrinal matters that are brought up. It's terribly hard to back pedal on the internet when you find you've mislead another person because of your own words. Make sure that you're okay to own up to what you write before you publish.

    Ignorance is bliss, but not online. Good luck moving forward.

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  28. To Ira: Some people who visit this blog have North American Native American blood, and are proud of their heritage. I'd hate for any sincere reader of this blog to think that members of the Church actually believed that most Native Americans are "...are quite wicked anyway based on what I see of the casinos that have popped up on all the reservations." I come from a these heathens you speak of, and I couldn't disagree more with your premise. I also know members who have gambled and later were able to enter into the temple. I feel that the knowledge you've received is incorrect based falsely toward a people that have already be scourged enough. Please, be careful with what you say online. If you would like to know more of the actual history of the North American Native American people, I can refer you to some good literature that can help form a more healthy opinion. If the comments you've made don't resemble bigotry in your mind, please be aware that they're close.

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    1. Nonsense RJ if a member is out gambling then entering the temple then they are obviously shouldn't be there. As I said and I'll say it again I do not believe all Indians are of the blood of Israel. Here in America for the most part they have not joined the Church. That should be your first clue that they are not of the blood of Israel. I've worked with the Indians in my profession for many years. I know what they are like and some are good and some aren't. The Indians have largely disappeared from America however. There aren't the millions as there once were. I'm sure Jonathan's book brings lots of pride and solace to many here. It just simply isn't correct however which is why I'm asking a few questions that nobody seems to be able to answer. Ira

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  29. I support the North American setting for the Book of Mormon, for reasons I feel are obvious. I also, having served a mission in Central American believed all this stuff was in Central America at one point. If you would like to know my take, feel free to contact me, and we can exchange communication. I'd be happy to share any thoughts that I have on the matter either doctrinal or otherwise, but not here.

    As far as Jonathan is concerned, I feel he's answered your questions adequately, and given more than enough resources and places to look. He's been nice, and cordial, and very informative. Don't dis.

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    1. RJ, Nobody has answer any question that I've asked. Take one and answer it if you'd like. Jonathan hasn't answered anything I've asked. The questions are quite easy to answer if your maps were accurate. They aren't correct. Infact the Meso-American model has far more credibility than this model. At least it's shaped like an hour glass which North America isn't.

      Take one of the questions and answer it please. If you want to talk by Email then give me your address and I'll write to you. I'm all ears. Ira

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    2. Hi Ira. I appreciate your interest, and it's always good to discuss these things. I respect everyone's efforts on this topic, and given the different background each individual brings to the conversation, and the long history of interpretive paradigms people have been taught, I recognize how difficult it is to communicate clearly on a blog.

      If I made the same assumptions as you so about the text, as well as the same assumptions about the North American setting as you do, I'd reach the same conclusions as you do. That's axiomatic.

      You keep repeating paradigms that are not found in the text, like this hourglass shape that is never mentioned nor described in the Book of Mormon text. That's why I'm not addressing your straw-man version of the North American setting.

      I'd be happy to discuss my proposed North American geography once you read Moroni's America.

      That said, I have answered your questions here. You're either not reading my answers or you don't like them.

      If you'd like to discuss this offline, that's fine, too.

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    3. Jonathan, Thanks I haven't seen your answers to my questions. This isn't straw-man stuff that I'm pointing out to you. It is clear from the BOM that there is an East Sea and a West sea. The land of Zarahemla is located by the west sea from Alma 22. Your map shows your lake North of the west sea. That isn't correct of course. The BOM clearly states that there is a narrow neck separating the land South from the land North. The Jaredites were brought into the land North whereas the Nephites were brought into the land South. That is what I mean by hour-glass. That is what the text says and I'm not making anything up. That is why the Meso-American site is better because it has that shape whereas yours does not. And that is why I'm asking these questions.

      If your maps are not accurate Jonathan then why would reading the book provide me with any other evidence? I don't see why it would. It is clear from Mormon for example that the Nephites were driven into the far North beyond the narrow neck. The NY Cumorah is not in the land North according to the maps that I have seen. The narrow neck is the space between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Since that is the case then how do your put the NY Cumorah south of the narrow neck? That is what makes your map inaccurate. I'm simply asking the questions. You can answer these very simply. If you give me something that is reasonable by golly I just might shell-out the money and buy the book.

      The exceedingly high mountains is also found in the text - where are your exceedingly high mountains? The list is long as I've mentioned. The Nephites found gold, silver, and copper when they arrived. Your maps say they landed in Florida. There are no ore deposits down there of any kind - it's all limestone. So that doesn't fit. Nothing fits in fact.

      I think what you did is you found the words of Joseph Smith and Oliver and then went looking for narrow necks and seas which are actually lakes. But by doing that you run into enormous problems as I've mentioned.

      I'm not accusing you of not loving the BOM as much as I do or anyone else. That isn't what I'm doing. What I am doing is trying to understand your model which does not match what I'm reading in the BOM. If you've discussed this in detail these items then how about a short few sentences that explains it so I understand where you are coming from. That is all I want but for some unknown reason nobody here seems to be willing to do that. I can do that with the South American model. That was my hope when I popped in. Thanks, Ira

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