This is part 3 of a review of http://www.bookofmormongeography.info/
The author has a Welcome section which we reviewed earlier, and this is the second section (called Errors), detailing what the author finds as Errors many other have made. (I am going to refer to the author as “he” from now on–I’m not sure if the author is a he or she, and he so far prefers to stay anonymous, except has posted here as BOMC.)
This section has both parts that I agree with, and parts I disagree with. Let me quote:
[People have been randomly choosing areas of geography for which they then try to force a scriptural interpretation into that is not congruent with what the scriptures say. The internal geography must first be known and respected before choosing a geographical area.]
I agree, but the author makes absolutely no attempt to show us his internal geography. It looks like he is falling into the same error he accuses others of making.
According to Joseph, the angel said it gave: “…an account of the former inhabitants of this continent. (Joseph Smith History v.34)”
This is a problem for anyone choosing a setting other than North America, so he makes a very valid point here. Central and South America proponents have to stretch the geography to cover Moroni’s quote here.
a. The angel said “this land” meaning Western New York.
I’m willing to go along with this proposition, as it is critical to the author’s theory, and quite believable, but the Book of Mormon does not say “New York”, so there is a pretty big assumption here that is certainly subject to dispute.
b. The Book of Mormon said it covers a limited geographical area, approximately 75 miles x 120 miles.
Ok, where are the references? It’s not that I dispute this fact, but where is your internal geography? My guess is that the author is relying on Sorenson or another author’s internal maps, but the author makes no attempt to acknowledge where this information came from. Why not 30 x 40 miles, or 300 x 400 miles, or any other dimensions? This point is completely unsubstantiated. Mind you, I don’t necessarily disagree with his dimensions, but I do ask where are these dimensions coming from? Please make your internal geography known.
c. The angel was referring to the land or continent as he knew it when he lived there. Back then, Western New York was surrounded by water. (Our maps show this.)
Once again, where is the internal geography? As we will see later, he uses extinct bodies of water to support this claim, specifically Lake Tonawanda. While it is clear the lake existed 10-12000 BC, it is highly likely that the lake had dried up during the Book of Mormon period. Also, why can’t you supply us with a map at this point?
d. Nephi said he believed they were on an “isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), and the Lord referred to them as being upon an “isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 29:7). [This excludes large geographical areas, or areas not surrounded by water.]
Geographers must show how the land in their model was surrounded by water, AND, how it was small FROM EYE LEVEL – so small the inhabitants thought they were on an ISLAND. No other modelers even acknowledge this mindset, let alone have models surrounded by water. Western New York was.
Apparently, the author is not familiar with some of the South American models, or the Malay model, as there are some theories that acknowledge this fact. Also, as I mentioned before, Lake Tonawonda was probably dried up during the Book of Mormon period, so his model would exhibit the same flaw he sees in other theories.
3. LAND OF PROMISE
Book of Mormon enthusiasts want to claim the ruins in Mesoamerica AND the greatness of the United States of America as their own, but they can’t have it both ways. If America is fulfilling Book of Mormon prophecy then IT is the land where Book of Mormon events took place, and the land where God made His promises.
The promise that a New Jerusalem would be built upon Book of Mormon lands was already fulfilled with the Albany Plan of Union by Benjamin Franklin and the Iroquois Nation. The idea that one would be built in Missouri because Joseph said so has no bearing on this fact.
Please expound. There is a link, but it does not adequately address this issue. Are you referring to Jerusalem, NY, population 4525? Interesting, but where’s the temple, and the jews? This hardly fits the description of the New Jerusalem described by Joseph Smith. Just because a city is named Jerusalem, does not make it THE New Jerusalem…..
The author then launches into volcanoes. When Christ came to America, there was smoke, and darkness that “could be felt.” Many scholars have speculated that this could describe a volcano. The author disputes this fact that volcanoes caused this, and makes a claim that some spiritual experiences caused the individuals to quake, and tremble. True, but what about the smoke and fire?
b. Volcanic destruction would have been widespread, whereas God wanted the destruction to be selective. The geographic boundaries of Nephite lands were small and volcanic eruptions could not explain the selective damages:
Look, nobody can predict damages. Tornadoes destroy neighborhoods, and then leave 1 or 2 houses in tact. My grandmother’s house was spared during the Teton Dam flood in Idaho in the 1970’s, but most of her neighbors houses floated away or were severely damaged. I disagree with this line of reasoning.
d. The rivers and seas were untouched. If there had been ash, they would have turned to mud, and become polluted affecting the crops, animals, and areas of habitation. There is no mention of any of this.
The BM also doesn’t mention snow, but BOMC made fun of this when I mentioned it. You can’t have it both ways (unless your the author of the theory, and you choose to ignore unhelpful facts.)
As you can see up to this point, there are Errors in this “Errors” section the author fails to acknowledge. I could go on, and will if needed, but at this point I’ll try to summarize, instead of go point by point. Here’s some stuff I agree with:
11. CARDINAL POINTS
17. WOODEN SWORDS
Everything else he lists is either wrong, or highly disputable. In a later section he tries to take on Evolution when he really should be taking on Carbon Dating. Either way, he’s already turned off the scientific community, and any other person who might try to take his theory seriously.
Let me restate my position here. I do not deny that the Book of Mormon could have taken place in NY. However, this theory is as full of holes as the Mexican-American immigration border.
I’m not sure that I can add to your evaluation. But I’ve always found it odd that so many people have to ‘know’ specifically where BOM lands are located. I did like the one theory about it being around lake Erie, but… I remember growing up and reading/hearing that the lands pertained to the whole of North and South America. Lately I tend to accept the area near (or just north of) Panama, but that is only when I’m in one of those speculative moods.
Seeing as the land was dramatically changed at the death of Christ (cities sunk into the see and others were covered in mountains) I’m not certain the descriptions of the BOM lands are even close to findable (is that a word) today.
I was reading recently about the Yellowstone caldera and what would happen if it erupted. The ash might go high enough that it could cover nearly all of North America, block the sun, but might be high enough that no ash would fall until it hit the oceans (one scenario). Also, I was just shown pictures of some major cities in China that are so smog filled, that one couldn’t see there hands at noon. So….