This video on Book of Mormon evidences is worth watching

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

15 thoughts on “This video on Book of Mormon evidences is worth watching

  1. The 1st Point (about the Arabian geography).– At Shazer, the text says this: “And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time.” (1 Nephi 16:33). “Course” is not “direction.” “Course” is “path.” In other words, THEY RETRACED THEIR STEPS back towards Jerusalem. I pointed this out in December of 2011. (See my Lehi’s Trek post.) Once near Jerusalem, they turned east, travelling all the way through China, through lots of mountains, etc. Bountiful, then, is on the China seashore. This is why it took 8 years. Turning east at the bottom of Arabia doesn’t take 8 years to travel to water, hence all the absurd theories people routinely use to try to make it fit.

  2. Eight years gives leeway for any number of possibilities. Including a possibility that they stayed in roughly the same location.

  3. The video is worth watching because it shows why so few people are persuaded by the Mesoamerican theory. #2 is a joke. The geography doesn’t fit Central America at all, unless you contort the text; that’s why there are dozens, if not hundreds, of opinion about the Mesoamerican theory.

    Notice the video doesn’t mention that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery unequivocally said Cumorah was in New York. You can read this right in the Joseph Smith Papers. This was reprinted several times at Joseph’s direction, but because a New York Cumorah doesn’t fit the Mesoamerican nonsense, you never hear about this.

    Then there’s the fantasy about volcanoes, which the text never mentions.

    We’d be far better off if members of the Church knew what Joseph and Oliver taught and if the scholars believed them. Start with Cumorah in New York and sort out the geography from there.

  4. Hello, “Letter VII.” I made this video, and plenty of others have made the same comment about item #2 on it, so I’ll go ahead and address your comment here.

    The most important thing to say is that it hardly matters. The two major points I make there are that 1) the many complicated physical details in the Book of Mormon *do* create a single, coherent picture, and 2) that internal map *can* reasonably be correlated to the real world. Neither of those depends on a Mesoamerican location; I included it as an illustration of my point. I’m not married to the theory. If I’m wrong, I lose nothing.

    However, your approach makes some key errors:

    1. The link you gave was down, but as far as I know, Joseph Smith actually *never* referred to the hill in New York as Cumorah. Assuming he did is a common mistake. Look up “Cumorah” in the triple combination index and it has an entry saying “Joseph Smith takes plates from Hill Cumorah,” but none of the cited scriptures uses the name Cumorah!

    2. I’m not sure why the volcano claim is “nonsense.” It fits the model and supports the text. What justifies dismissing it at all, much less calling it “nonsense?”

    3. What justifies treating Oliver Cowdery’s assumptions as factually binding? Did he receive an authorized revelation on the subject? If not, then how would a quote from him be a proof text?

    4. I have never seen a promoter of the Heartland model who could answer the basic questions posed by their theory: If you can, I’d be interested in learning.

  5. LDS Anarchist: the BoM text leaves so much unsaid, there is no reason to assume the entire 8 years was spent moving. “The captivity of our fathers” phrase repeated several times in Mormon’s abridgement of the Large Plates suggests (or at least allows for) a possble captivity/enslavement in Saudi Arabia.

    1st and 2nd Nephi were not meant as history. nephi repeatedly stated he was leaving out important things. And, those were small plates, not Mormon’s abridgement of the Book of Lehi. And Nephi assumed we were going to get the Book of Lehi, or at least an abridgement of it.

    Letter VII: I can live with a Cumorah in New York, and a Zarahemla in Mesoamerica. I can also live with two Cumorahs: Cumorah 1 being in MesoAmerica, and then a wandering Moroni also giving the name Cumorah to the hill in NY. Maybe “Cumorah” means a place where you hide things.

    And… A very thick volcanic ash fall, lasting for days, does fit the BoM passages. It’s as exact as it could be without saying the word “volcano”.

    The intent of the Book of Mormon was not to leave clues that could be evaluated by geography or archealogy. There will likely never be (at least until the Second Coming) proof for the Book of Mormon. And, there will never be proof against it.

    Apologists don’t have to prove anything. Apologists only need demonstrate mere _plausibility_, …. or, “room for _faith_”.

    But I’m for letting apologists have their say, and pointing out evidences.

  6. LDS Anarchist, that’s quite an article you’ve got at that link. It got me thinking: is the only reason we think Mesoamerica really the “narrow neck of land” reference? I’d never given it much thought til, well, pretty much today. And Baja certainly works, too, as that goes.

  7. Mormontarian, I always assumed that Mesoamerica is favored by people because of the Quetzalcoatl legends, etc. I think Mormons have always tried to find some physical, archaeological evidence that the Nephites actually existed, and that region of the world has tangible stuff to analyze and assign to a Nephite ancestry.

    My understanding (which is fully given in my post “They did it for prosperity, etc.”–but don’t go look that up, since that is at least as long an article as the Lehi one you read), is that there is no physical evidence, whatsoever, of the existence of the Nephites, and so all the archaeological “evidence” people present is incorrect. None of that leads to the Nephites.

    However, it is also my understanding that at some point, God will start bringing forth actual, physical evidence of the Nephites’s existence and thus of the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Not man, but God will do it, so that we will be left without excuse. In the meantime, people can continue to chase their tails over this topic.

  8. Bookslinger, none of the Nephite/Lamanite founders ever used the word “captivity” for any Nephites or Lamanites in a past or present tense, always in a future tense (a prophesied FUTURE captivity should they disobey God.) When referring to the 8 years of wandering they did in the wilderness, the word they used was: “affliction.” Both Lehi, Nephi, Laman and Lemuel all referred to this “affliction” and not one of them ever associated it with “captivity.” Laman and Lemuel, in particular, being the complainers that they always were, when describing their “affliction” in the wilderness (in chapter 17 of 1 Nephi) gave a description similar to Nephi’s description of their “affliction” given in the same chapter. Namely, they were afflicted by a lot of walking, by their women toiling, by their women being big with child, by their women giving birth in the wilderness, by not being in a comfortable house in a comfortable city of convenience like Jerusalem, by having to eat raw meat, etc. Had they actually been in captivity at any point during those 8 years, you better believe that Laman and Lemuel would have mentioned THAT affliction first when they started complaining, yet it is strangely absent from their complaint. It’s absent because they never were in captivity.

  9. Lds anarchist, I believe “captivity of our fathers” starts appearing in the book of Alma. And it refers to people other than the descendents of the Limhi-ites who were held captive by the Lamanites. Alma’s family and friends left the Noah group before Limhi and his people were taken captive. And the main body of Nephites and Mulekites had not been in captivity.

    The people of Limhi were the only ones specifically mentioned as being in captivity. So if the “captivity of our fathers” is not referring to Limhi’s people, some think it may have meant captivity of Lehi and family.

    Nephi’s small plates are meant to be spiritual, not historical. NEphi may have deliberately omitted the possible Arabian captivity story in the small plates because he went into detail about it in the large plates. It may even have been Nephi’s fault they were taken captive.

    We don’t know Laman and Lemuel’s side of the story. They were obviously wicked, trying to murder Nephi on several occasions. But there was more to the story of why they hated Nephi enough to kill him.

    So I’m going with the idea that Nephi left important historical things unsaid, because he repeatedly stated so.

    Anyway, my point being, that absence from the small plates does not mean something couldn’t have happened.

    There is a LOT left unwritten in the small plates. nephi makes that very clear, repeatedly, telling the reader the “more part” is on the Large Plates.

    What I really want to know is, did Ammon marry king Lamoni’s daughter? And was she a hottie or a “sweet spirit”?

  10. Bookslinger, you wrote:
    Lds anarchist, I believe “captivity of our fathers” starts appearing in the book of Alma.
    The first appearance of “captivity of fathers” is in the book of Mosiah, when the angel who appeared to Alma and the sons of Mosiah said the following:
    “Now I say unto thee: Go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers in the land of Helam, and in the land of Nephi; and remember how great things he has done for them; for they were in bondage, and he has delivered them. And now I say unto thee, Alma, go thy way, and seek to destroy the church no more, that their prayers may be answered, and this even if thou wilt of thyself be cast off.” (Mosiah 27:16)
    Notice that the angel is specific that Alma the younger remember the captivity of his fathers IN THE LAND OF HELAM and IN THE LAND OF NEPHI. In all subsequent references to this captivity, made by Alma the younger, in which he states over and over again that he has always remembered the captivity of his fathers, he is referring to commandment of the angel which was specific to the captivity in the land of Helam and in the land of Nephi. Why only these two places? Because the Nephites were never brought down into captivity, not even once, from the time they left Jerusalem, to the time of Alma, except when Zeniff’s group re-entered the land of Nephi and Limhi and his people were brought into bondage by the Lamanites, and later when Alma’s group entered the land of Helam and were brought into bondage by the Lamanites. That’s it. The record is crystal clear on this point. There is no need to go beyond what the record actually says and invent another captivity that (never) happened during the 8 year trip across the Asian continent.

    If you don’t believe me, do a scripture search on for “captivity” in the Book of Mormon. Every single instance of “captivity of fathers” referred to by Alma the younger or the angel is to these two instances of captivity. So, this is an invented fiction some LDS scholar (I’m assuming) or person or persons have made, to make an 8-year journey across Arabia seem plausible. But it holds no water, whatsoever.

    You also wrote,
    “Nephi’s small plates are meant to be spiritual, not historical.”
    Nephi’s Small Plates were meant to be both spiritual AND historical. They were to contain “the more part” of the ministry and the “lighter part” of the history. In other words, the Small Plates were to be an abridged history. The other plates were for “the full account of the history,” or, in other words, an unabridged history. As both Nephi and Jacob wrote:
    And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates, behold they are not the plates upon which I make A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE HISTORY of my people; for the plates upon which I make A FULL ACCOUNT of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi. Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people. Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for THE MORE PART OF THE MINISTRY; and the other plates are for THE MORE PART of the reign of the kings and the wars and contentions of my people. (1 Nephi 9:2-4)
    For behold, it came to pass that fifty and five years had passed away from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem; wherefore, Nephi gave me, Jacob, a commandment concerning the small plates, upon which these things are engraven. And he gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious; that I should not touch, SAVE IT WERE LIGHTLY, CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF THIS PEOPLE which are called the people of Nephi. For he said that the history of his people should be engraven upon his other plates, and that I should preserve these plates and hand them down unto my seed, from generation to generation. (Jacob 1:1-3)
    You also wrote,
    “Anyway, my point being, that absence from the small plates does not mean something couldn’t have happened.”
    That’s certainly true, but going that route also allows for 10,000 other invented scenarios and it seems to me that proceeding from an imagined scenario that the text doesn’t specifically speak about is the road to error.

  11. One thing I thought that the video above would point out, but didn’t, was about the recent discovery of NHM down the Arabian peninsula as a possible site for Nahom.

    When I read the text, it seems to me that Nephi wrote of Nahom as if we would have known the location, yet it took all these years to make the NHM discovery. However, if you interpret 1 Nephi 16:33 as I have given, as them retracing their steps back towards the land of Jerusalem, and then you read verse 34 with this idea in mind (that they are now just south of the land of Jerusalem, anywhere from 7 to 3 days travel time from Jerusalem), there is only one location that automatically pops into the mind when Nahom is mentioned. Here are the verses, and see for yourself:
    And it came to pass that we did again take our journey, traveling nearly the same course as in the beginning; and after we had traveled for the space of many days we did pitch our tents again, that we might tarry for the space of a time. And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. (1 Nephi 16:33-34)
    So, as their first camp was a 3 days journey from Jerusalem, and the next camp was another 4 days journey, then them retracing their steps, following nearly the same path as in the beginning, would have brought them at least 7 days away from Jerusalem and possibly as close as 3 days away. Now, where’s Nahom?

    The obvious answer that every single scholar would immediately come to, given their close proximity to Jerusalem, and the way Nephi writes about Nahom as if the reader ought to know the place, the obvious answer is: Capernaum. Capernaum means Village of Nahum. And that is where Ishmael was buried.

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