Here’s part 2 of my review of the website http://www.bookofmormongeography.info/. I thought I’d go over the “Welcome” section.
First of all, there is a very interesting perspective, mentioned in bold on the website. **The doctrine of the Mormon Church has no basis in The Book of Mormon, and the two should be held separate.**
That got my attention.
The author goes on to list some websites to try to get others to convert to his/her brand of theology.
Then, these 2 questions:
First a challenge to Book of Mormon enthusiasts:
If you are unable to learn the Theology of The Book of Mormon, what chance is there you will be able to learn the Geography?
And to Book of Mormon skeptics:
If you are unable to recognize the promptings of the Holy Spirit, what chance is there you will be able to recognize the truth of The Book of Mormon? John 16:13
So, the author attacks both “enthusiasts” and “skeptics”, right off the bat. It seems he is more interested in arguing his own brand of Book of Mormon theology, than on scientifically backing up claims. While this is certainly the author’s prerogative, it does not make good science, as we will see in my future posts on this topic.
If you dare to disagree with any of the author’s conclusions, he/she can be quite combative, and is quite “unwelcome” to those questioning hisher beliefs. While wanting us to “**Respect the Boundaries of The Promised Land.**”, he/she often does not respect people who question his/her conclusions. So much for “Welcome.” A kinder, gentler approach would be much more persuasive, but it appears he/she is more adept at “arguments” than “persuasion.”
The author then uses some interesting analogies:
The promise God gave Nephi that The Land of Promise would remain hidden to non-believers is just as true today as it was 2600 years ago:
7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given (Book of Mormon doctrine.), it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.
8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations (Theorists);….
The true believers have discovered the true geography of The Book of Mormon, while others have been turned over to a false geography they cannot understand. This is analogous to what happened to the Jews:
14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness (Like Geographers deny what The Book of Mormon says.), and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand (Statements by Joseph Smith.). Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. (A forced Mesoamerican or Mississippi River setting.) And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble. (Jacob 4:14)
I find these analogies very tenuous. This is not what Jacob was talking about, and to try to stretch is to cover Book of Mormon geography is too great of a stretch.
The author then says something I actually agree with:
Those who espouse the Mesoamerican or Mississippi River setting for Book of Mormon geography have a vested interest in the theory. It goes like this:
Joseph made certain statements + Joseph was not wrong = The Mormon Church is true.
However, if Joseph’s statements were wrong, they fear the formula would look like this:
Joseph made certain statements + Joseph was wrong = The Mormon Church is not true.
We do not follow this logic. Joseph was supposed to bring forth The Book of Mormon – which he did do, but he was not an expert on its contents. The many contradictory doctrines he taught are evidence he did not write the book, nor follow it.
I agree with his outline of some of these outlines of peoples beliefs, but I do not subscribe to them. Some call this “binary thinking.” While binary thinking has its place, I think that religion is generally much more complex than to lump it into true/false.
Certainly, Joseph Smith made some contradictory statements regarding Book of Mormon Lands, but I do not subscribe to either of these propositions. I think the statement could look like this:
Joseph made certain statements + Joseph misinterpreted some things + Joseph was right about other things = The Mormon Church is true.
Anyway, while this wraps up the “Welcome” section, I just wanted to note some of the areas where this theory is silent on, that I wish the author would add.
- How did Nephi cross the Atlantic?
- How do you resolve DNA issues?
- What happened to Hagoth?
- What linguistic analysis has been done?
Finally, it seems that the author is quite familiar with the NY area. However, most of us are not. It would be nice to explain many issues, landmarks, etc that he assumes the reader is familiar with. I am not familiar with NY. I suspect others are not familiar with NY either. Also, it appears he addresses most of his theories to “enthusiasts”, and does not adequately address “skeptics”. Further explanations for “skeptics” would help many people better appreciate his research.