Wednesday, May 10, 2017

the first question to ask

If you're interested in Book of Mormon geography, the first question to ask is this:

Where is Cumorah?

The answer, of course, is in western New York, where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery said it was. If someone tells you it's somewhere else, or that there are "two Cumorahs," you know they are repudiating Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

For me, there's no point in considering geography theories that put Cumorah anywhere else but in New York. This also applies to the "abstract maps," including those being taught at BYU.

You will find dozens, even hundreds, of different maps if you look online. You can assess them easily by seeing how they treat Cumorah.

One of the best known is the one at BYU Studies, here.

Scroll to the bottom of the page. The first item under "Popular Pages" is "Charting the Book of Mormon." Click on that.

You'll find some useful material here, but there is also some misleading material. Scroll to

Section 13: Geography in the Book of Mormon

Here's the direct link:

This entire section is a disaster, IMO, Look at this one, for example.

13-149 Ten Essential Features of Book of Mormon Geography

These "Essential Features" have little if anything to do with the text. They are pure Mesomania, an effort to persuade people that the text actually described Mesoamerica.

The first one says "A narrow neck (isthmus) separated the land northward from the land southward and was flanked by an east sea and a west sea."

Of course, the text never uses the term isthmus. This is classic for Mesomania. The text doesn't describe anything about Mesoamerica--no jungles, no volcanoes, no huge stone pyramids, and even no Mayans--so the Mesoamerican advocates have to change the wording in the text to make it work.

You can go through all of the items in Section 13, and you'll see how they use this substitution technique throughout to justify their Mesoamerican theory.

Regarding the narrow neck, there are exactly, and only, two verses, and they're talking about two different features:

Alma 63:5

And it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an aexceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land bBountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the cnarrow neck which led into the land northward.

Ether 10:20

20 And they built a great city by the anarrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land.
Right here you see there are two different features described as a "narrow neck."

In Alma, the "narrow neck" led into the land northward. This is the one by which Haboth launched his ships, implying this is a narrow neck of water.

In Ether, it was a "narrow neck of land" which is a different term; i.e., this verse distinguishes the narrow neck from the one in Alma 63 by calling it a "narrow neck of land."

And yet all the Mesomania scholars conflate the two terms to fabricate their Mesoamerican setting.

The other analytical and logical fallacy used by Mesomania scholars is to treat the terms "land northward" and "land southward" as proper nouns instead of relative terms. If you're in Provo, Utah, Salt Lake City is "northward." But it you're in Logan, Salt Lake City is "southward."

The terms "northward" and "southward" describe locations relative to the location of the speaker or author at the time he/she speaks or writes.

This is just one example of how far afield people can get when they ignore what Joseph and Oliver said about Cumorah in New York.

You'll find plenty more. But you can avoid all of that by going to

As always, I'm interested in anyone who can come up with a better explanation of Book of Mormon geography with Cumorah in New York.

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