16 Comments

“Amazing” NY Geography – Part 4

Here is Part 4 of a review of http://www.bookofmormongeography.info

“Amazing” is a new section, which didn’t exist a few months ago when I began researching this theory.  The author tries to make the Book of Mormon match NY geography, instead of first coming up with an internal model, and seeing if NY fits.  He makes the following claim:

The only extravagant building mentioned in The Book of Mormon is a “palace.” Wicked king Noah built one:

And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things. (Mosiah 11:9)

The main difference between Noah’s palace (Which was built in weeks and months not generations.) and those cited above, is that it was made of wood. Wood does not last thousands of years. There will not be ruins left to either photograph or to walk in, and geographers should not expect to find any since they were ALL DESTROYED in the last battle. (Mormon 5:5)

Apparently, the author either doesn’t know about, or is ignoring the following scriptures from the Book of Mormon.

Helaman 3: 7, 9, 11

7 And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.

9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.

11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement.

Yes, these are not palaces, they are entire cities. Cement is much more durable than wood. It is interesting to note that Helaman occurs before the visit of Christ, so cement buildings (could it also be translated adobe?) were around, and could conceivably be found, and many have been found in other possible sites.

It seems that the author is trying to shoehorn the Book of Mormon into NY, rather that seeing where the evidence leads. I have another question? If Western NY is the site of Book or Mormon lands, where did Nephi land? The shortest route seems to be near Boston, or perhaps Plymouth, Massachusetts. Or is it Manhattan? Or did they come up the St Laurence river in Canada? (No, that would be heresy according to his theory, because he wants nothing to do with Canada.)

Why is he silent on this point of his theory? This is an important consideration, which it seems he is ignoring.

Also, all of the artifacts found in NY are stone age artifacts. These artifacts, flint arrowheads, basic tools are nowhere near elaborate as the palace listed that he references Mosiah 11:9. This palace, even though made of wood, was “ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.” What happened to the gold, silver and precious things? Should we not find these artifacts, even if the wood building was destroyed? Where is the evidence?

The author is making a statement that they are not found because they were destroyed. However, the Lamanites would have not have destroyed “gold and silver and with precious things” (as mentioned in Mosiah), because they were valuable. After all, the Lamanites were known for robbery, and desired many things of the Nephites. They would not only have kept the gold, but would probably have used it for their own purposes.  They did not have the technology to vaporize gold and silver.

The author is trying to tell us that there can be no evidence found.This is completely wrong.He is trying to make this claim, because the archaeology does not support his theory.

As for the only “palace” mentioned in the Book of Mormon was King Noah’s, don’t you think the temple is pretty important, and ornate as well?  There are at least 20 references to temples in the Book of Mormon.  Let’s look at these references:

Mosiah 2:1 And it came to pass that after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him, and had made a proclamation throughout all the land, that the people agathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the btemple to chear the dwords which king Benjamin should speak unto them.
16 And I, Nephi, did abuild a btemple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of cSolomon save it were not built of so many dprecious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s etemple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of fSolomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.
2 Now, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, according to the aresponsibility which I am under to God, to bmagnify mine office with csoberness, and that I might drid my garments of your sins, I come up into the temple this day that I might declare unto you the word of God.
Hel. 3: 9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in atents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their bsynagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.

I agree with the following point:

no buildings, no homes, nothing else. Which is exactly what we find all over Western New York.

This statement weakens this theory; it does not strengthen the author’s position.  Either do some real research and update these problems, or realize that NY does not fit the Book of Mormon.

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16 comments on ““Amazing” NY Geography – Part 4

  1. Very Interesting! Have you read the Evidences of the Book of Mormon?

  2. No, I haven’t read that book. Who’s the author?

  3. I think that of all the geographic theories that are out there, this is the one that people should pay most attention to, since the Hill Cumorah was in New York. However, I believe that the land northward is supposed to be Canada. Ramah is in the land northward, so it is a little paradoxical.

  4. You also assume that cement would be more durable than wood. Not necessarily so. Particularly in areas where the climate changes each season. My father was a masonry contractor. We were hired quite often to repair or replace decayed cement in residences and buildings that were barely a century old. Buildings of cement would not be nearly so strong as buildings of stone. There is no mention of stone, or stone cutting.
    Any gold and precious things would most certainly have
    been carried off by the “lamanites”, who, later went to war with each other to satisfy their desire for violence.

    I like the NY model for the BofM. It fits. Even after watching “Ancient America Speaks” at least a hundred times on my mission.

  5. I am “geography neutral”. It could have happened in NY, South, Central, or North America, and I’m even willing to give some unorthodox places, such as the “Malay Theory” as possible locations.

    However, this particular theory is full of holes. The author tries to use evidence from 10000 years ago and shoehorns it to just 2000 years ago. This is just bad research.

    I have heard a Rodney Meldrum is a proponent of the NY theories, but have yet to read or hear anything from him. Apparently, he has Hartman Rector Jr in his camp, which I find intriguing. But this particular author (BOMC) even slams Meldrum’s DNA analysis, and is absolutely convinced that Canada is not the land Northward.

    As I said before, I’m intrigued by the NY theory, but the author’s website is just chock full of holes. If I were him, I’d probably embrace Meldrum, instead of putting him down. However, it seems the author only knows how to attack, not embrace.

    LCRoss, perhaps I am giving cement too much durability, but I find the author’s exclusion of cement a gross oversight. He never even addresses the issue. As for the Lamanites carrying off the gold, he says the Iroquois, who lived there after the Lamanites, completely obliterated every trace of the Lamanites. I have a really hard time believing that the Iroquois would have destroyed gold.

    Once again, I am attacking shoddy scholarship, but I still am holding out that NY is a possibility. This particular theory is just shoddy.

  6. It is interesting, however, that none of the early LDS leaders, Joseph Smith included, considered that the Book of Mormon story took place anywhere but the place where the plates were buried. It was only when Central American discoveries began (in the 1840s, I think) that other ideas began to be entertained. I have read a few books that make the NY theory plausible, and it is the one to which I subscribe (if for no other reason than not to have the FARMS theory forced on me); but that does not mean that the peoples of Central and South America are not decendents of Mulek and Lehi. The Book of Mormon documents some migrations, so it makes sense that others occurred, probably many. These people scattered all over their inheritance. Although this topic is very interesting to me, it has nothing to do with a testimony of the Book of Mormon. The location of the Book of Mormon is not important; its message is.

  7. drawlr,

    Your characterization of Joseph Smith is not correct. Joseph was editor of a Times and Seasons article saying that the land of Darien (now known as Panama) was the narrow neck of land. A journal entry also quotes Joseph as saying that Lehi landed 30 degrees south of the equator in what is now Chile.

    BOMC in the website above references the first reference, while John Sorensen, the most recognized scholar and Central American proponent goes into great detail into Joseph’s statements, and pretty much concludes that Joseph really didn’t know where the Book of Mormon lands were, and seemed to embrace every discovery.

    Sorensen has a fascinating book on the history of the theories. The book was published in the early 1990’s and listed over 80 theories. I’m sure it is well over 100 now.

    I have a friend in Hawaii that is a big proponent of the Chilean theory, and I have read some books on the subject of South America. I have also made acquaintence with Ralph Olsen of Montana, who proposes that the Book of Mormon lands are actually in Asia. His theory lines up better than any other theory as far as DNA goes, however I have a hard time reconciling Moroni’s comments that the Book of Mormon is about the inhabitants of this land. Olsen basically says that it took place in Asia, and then they migrated to America (which is also what the science says.)

    I’m willing to study all the options.

  8. Here’s a link to find out more about the book. It discusses some of these issues in it:

    http://agamabooks.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/echoes-and-evidences-of-the-book-of-mormon/

  9. Dear Mormon Heretic:

    I found your site very interesting and I am glad that you are tackling some of these issues. I imagine it’s a little bit tough some times so my hat is off to you.

    I am an LDS author and just published my first book titled Soul Survivor. I am sponsoring a contest to give away 5 signed copies of the book which I hope will be of interest to LDS audiences. The description of the contest is on my site and NO purchase is required to be eligible.

    I want to increase awareness of my book before it goes up on Amazon later this month and I hope develop some important relationships moving forward. The more important reason I am doing this is that I believe the book has a significant potential to help people. I know from experience that the story has already had an impact on many of the people who have heard me speak in various forums. From the Utah State Prison to the Stevens Henager College Commencement Address to the various Youth Groups I have spoken to I have had an overwhelmingly positive response.

    I would like to send you a copy of the book if you would like to examine it for yourself. Please let me know the address and the name of the person to list on the package.

    Please consider adding a post about the contest and visit my website to get a better feel for me and remember that this does not require any purchase on the part of your readers. Let me know if you have any questions about the book or the contest. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

    Warm regards,

    James Ballou
    author of Soul Survivor
    http://www.jamesballou.com

    Summary of Soul Survivor
    I grew up in Davenport, Iowa and faced what some consider an almost insurmountable set of obstacles from virtually the beginning of my life. My mother and father divorced when I was three and my mother abandoned me and my two brothers to live in the nightmare that my father created. My father filled our home with the most brutal and depraved group of criminals that infested the Quad Cities in the 1970s and 1980s. I survived shootings, drug deals, abuse and neglect in a household that was a literal den of thieves, drug addicts and prostitutes.

    My book includes an accounting of the events that took place in my home, how I reacted to the events and what long term effect that the events had on my life. Through the power of choice and because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I was able to escape the life that my father had assigned to me. My book provides practical advice for people that are dealing with the impact of childhood traumas and provides hope to those that are in pain.

  10. Aaron and James, thanks for the links. I’ll add it to my growing list of “Books to read.”

  11. #5
    You mentioned Rodney Meldrum as another proponent of the NY theory. He does have a nearly 4 hour DVD available for purchase on his site http://www.bookofmormonevicence.org.

    I did purchase the DVD and have reviewed it for the Mormon Library email group. Yes, Elder Rector does have a clip at the beginning of the presentation and Meldrum does cover a broad range of topics relative to a ‘Great Lakes’ theory. Being from Ohio, I could easily accept a Book of Mormon scenario located in the upper midwest. I did find the information Meldrum presented to be intriguing and thought-provoking.

    However, until there is more definitive information, I have decided to not let the geography issue distract me.

  12. Spektator, thanks for your comments. I look forward to studying Meldrum when I have more time.

  13. I think I should warn you that Meldrum’s DVD is almost 4 hours in length. If it helps, I would be happy to loan you my copy.

  14. […] now.  Of course, I’ve talked previously about other theories, including South America, New York, and the Malay Theory, but Mesoamerica is by far the leading theory among Book of Mormon geography […]

  15. […] Mormon Matters (where I used to blog), such as the Malay Theory, the Baja Theory, Peru,  and the Great Lakes Theory.  KC has added the Sri Lanka Theory, as well as Rodney Meldrum’s Heartland Theory and the […]

  16. […] Mormon Matters (where I used to blog), such as the Malay Theory, the Baja Theory, Peru,  and the Great Lakes Theory.  KC has added the Sri Lanka Theory, as well as Rodney Meldrum’s Heartland Theory and the […]

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