BoM Geography Theories (GT)

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gospeltangents
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by gospeltangents » 18 Jul 2017, 08:35

I just posted part 3 of my series, called "Can David Answer Critics Questions about Animals, Steel, & Cumorah?" https://gospeltangents.com/2017/07/18/t ... ed-swords/

Concerning animals, David Rosenvall said,
The La Brea Tar Pits are an interesting sample along the western side just north of Baja California where animals in that climate in that area came to drink, got caught, died. So they have this whole array of animal bones there. A couple of animals in there are very unique: camels are found in there, elephants are found in there, all of the animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon are found in the La Brea Tar Pits. Just a little while ago while they were digging the subway in Los Angeles, this is just last November 2016, a big article in the LA Times, Elephant Found in that area, not woolly mammoth, elephant. When we look at animals, we look for the plausibility of the animals in the area.
However, I asked him right before that answer.
GT: I have heard of them but I don’t think they date to Book of Mormon times, do they?
I did some further research.
A cursory glance at Wikipedia notes “Among the prehistoric species associated with the La Brea Tar Pits are Pleistocene mammoths, dire wolves, short-faced bears, ground sloths, and the state fossil of California, the saber-toothed cat (Smilodon fatalis).

Only one human has been found, a partial skeleton of the La Brea Woman[18] dated to approximately 10,000 calendar years (~9,000 radiocarbon years) BP,[19] who was 17 to 25 years old at death[20] and found associated with remains of a domestic dog, and so was interpreted to have been ceremonially interred.[21] John C. Merriam of the University of California led much of the early work in identifying species in the early 20th century.

The park is known for producing myriad mammal fossils dating from the last glacial period.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Brea_T ... _and_fauna retrieved July 9, 2016.
As for his mention of the LA Time article:
Title of article dated November 30, 2016 is “Remains of ancient elephant unearthed at L.A. subway excavation site” and states “The mammal fossils that were found are at least 10,000 years old and are from the ice age, Sotero said. Further analysis of the teeth will help paleontologists identify what type of ancient elephant it was, Sotero said.” See http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-m ... story.html retrieved on July 9, 2016.
It seems like a big problem to me.
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 Jul 2017, 09:04

The elephant issue is an interesting one, since a lot of Native American tribes have oral histories of exposure to animals that legitimately could be translated as "elephant" in the 1800s.

The tar pit example dates too far back, but the overall presence of "elephants" being mentioned in the Book of Mormon is a non-issue - especially since the only references are in Ether, which dates WAY before the rest of the book. If you don't take the early Old Testament dating literally (and anyone not biased by religious inerrancy demands would not take it literally), the references in the BoM easily could be 3,000 -7,000 years old - which definitely fits the oral stories.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Orson » 18 Jul 2017, 18:52

dande48 wrote:
16 Jul 2017, 20:11
... But uncovering the exact location would "take away our need for faith" and "frustrate God's purposes", right?
That is my position, and why I have no interest in discussions that rely on an assumption that the BoM is literal history. The only way to hear God's voice in the book is through reading the pages. Finding proof of a landscape or people that matches the text does nothing toward helping someone personally know Christ. I consider it a waste of time, and possibly related to pride. To me everything about the book says "take me on the merit of my message alone."
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Heber13 » 19 Jul 2017, 11:32

Orson wrote:
18 Jul 2017, 18:52
dande48 wrote:
16 Jul 2017, 20:11
... But uncovering the exact location would "take away our need for faith" and "frustrate God's purposes", right?
That is my position, and why I have no interest in discussions that rely on an assumption that the BoM is literal history. The only way to hear God's voice in the book is through reading the pages. Finding proof of a landscape or people that matches the text does nothing toward helping someone personally know Christ. I consider it a waste of time, and possibly related to pride. To me everything about the book says "take me on the merit of my message alone."
I also agree. However...it is a mind-shift to be open to that approach when you've been taught by the organization to take it as literal as if Moroni would appear as an angel to your bedside and tell you relics were buried up the hillside because that is where they were laid from literal historical figures. There are logical assumptions from such events if taken literally.

So...it may take a bit of time to divorce thought from what others say or believe...and just be open to an "unknown" history...but still find there can be spiritual value to it.

My experience is it helps make the spiritual value greater, by letting go of literal needs for spiritual learning. It still requires integrity, to not just accept Lord of the Rings fiction as scripture...but let go of needing to prove the location of the Book of Mormon. It is a bit of a dance.

It is a paradigm shift. But it can be done honestly and sincerely...not in a fake or dishonest way.

I also find that teasing out some theories like this, are helpful in understanding what the book actually says and doesn't say. Geography theories can have their place in my spiritual journey. I find them interesting to consider.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Orson
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Orson » 20 Jul 2017, 07:39

You make several good points Heber, thank you.
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Jul 2017, 07:44

Yes, I think the best thing about the theories is that they try to analyze what the book actually says. Getting rid of the silly idea that the Nephites inhabited the entire Americas (or even all of Central America) alone would solve so many issues caused by members (including top leaders) misunderstanding what it actually says - which would open all kinds of possibilities to understanding that currently are closed.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Beefster
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Beefster » 10 Aug 2017, 20:51

Here's my theory:

There isn't just one region it took place in. 1000 years is a long time. They spread out. They drifted. That's why the theories can never seem to reconcile every detail of geography. It's like Bible scholars assuming that the flood didn't take Noah anywhere and that modern-day Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the same ones as in the Garden of Eden.

The Nephites landed in Northwest South America. Why? Occam's Razor. It's the most straightforward place for them to have landed and Nephi never said anything about following a coast (Africa), so they probably went on open ocean and went nearly due east. One assumption. It also lines up better with the wildlife and resources mentioned in 2 Nephi than does North America.

They spread out and drifted over the next few hundred years. Around Mosiah, the bulk of the Nephites were in Central America. The land of desolation is essentially modern-day Mexico plus the four corners states. Clay huts mentioned there line up well with tribal ruins in those places, which are typically made of clay.

Fast forward to the decline of the Nephites in Mormon/Moroni, and the wars probably took them into North America since the plates had to get to modern-day New York somehow.

The Jaredites landed on the East Coast of the modern-day US and mostly occupied North America. They fell into decline around Mexico, explaining why Coriantumr was found there.

The Hill Cumorah in Ether is probably a different hill than the one where the plates were buried. People like to name cities after other cities, so why not hills? Jerusalem itself is an example, since it literally means New Salem. Plus there's the aforementioned Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the modern map as well as the supposed real location of the Garden of Eden in Missouri.

You save on a lot of inconsistency when you remove the assumption that the entirety of BoM history took place in the same region. Occam's Razor wins again. I also like to stay away from the assumption that the Nephites were the only people who lived in the Americas. That avoids the genetics trap.

Of course you can go full-blown Occam's Razor and just assume the BoM isn't a literal history, as many of you have. Frankly, I don't care one way or another because it really doesn't have to be.

----

I remember this one member on my mission who was one of the major guys behind the Peru theory. He lost me when he said that the plates were buried somewhere other than New York and God just moved them to where they were needed when they were needed. I don't think God works like that.
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Aug 2017, 21:41

The book itself says Moroni had over 20 years to get wherever he needed to go to bury the plates. With that kind of time, almost anywhere in the world is possible as a starting point without having to resort to a miraculous transport of the plates.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by Beefster » 10 Aug 2017, 22:42

That too, though he probably would not have crossed the ocean since he had people on his tail until the day he died.

Also, Moroni was kind of a beast. I once calculated the weight of the plates to be something like 45 pounds. And how many miles would he have had to carry it?
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Re: BoM Geography Theories (GT)

Post by gospeltangents » 10 Aug 2017, 23:02

David Rosenvall said that if he travelled from the Baja Peninsula to New York, it would have been the same distance as Provo to Ogden per year, which is definitely doable. So San Diego to New York over a span of decades was definitely doable.

Now if it was the Malay Theory (which I think is a fun theory), travel by boat is doable, but it's a bit longer to travel!
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