15 Comments

NY Geography – Part 5

Ok, I’m ready to lay this to rest.  It doesn’t seem to generate much interest, so here is my final post about my review of http://www.bookofmormongeography.info

I thought I’d post the more egregious errors here, instead of going section by section as I had originally intended to do.  I just checked the site, and got a chuckle out of this little exchange:

I’ve searched all over your website, and can’t understand your rationale for why the lands are 75 x 120 miles wide. Please provide a reference as to how you came to this conclusion. Saying “Please read the site, it is very clear.” is not helpful. Please be more specific as to what page(s) you are referring to.

Measure Erie, PA to Rochester, NY.

  • Click on the map above to see how far from the coast these 2 cities are.  Shouldn’t the land Southward be closer to the coast of North America?  After all, pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • If Buffalo, NY is the land Bountiful, why is there no mention of blizzards?  After all, Buffalo is noted for its poor weather.

You call that justification?  In the “Errors” section, you said people should figure the internal map first, and then you did just the opposite.  Puhleeez.

Here are some unanswered questions of the theory, along with some other points.

  1. Is seismic activity normal for NY?  A catastrophic earthquake from 2000 years ago would provide great evidence for your theory.  Does the evidence exist?
  2. The website never addresses the issues of cement.  The author says that the only extravagant building mentioned is Noah’s palace, but Nephi says his temple was after the manner of Solomon’s temple.  Shouldn’t a cement building last longer than wood?
  3. Lake Tonawanda is from wrong time period.  10,000 BC is not same as 600 BC.
  4. The author calls Genessee River Gorge a “sea.”  Seems more like a river….
  5. Where are bones from last battles?  Mass graves?  Weapons?
  6. Why did Moroni bury plates in a war zone (Cumorah)?  Wouldn’t it have been easier/safer to bury them away from the fighting?
  7. The author attacks Evolution, when he means to attack Carbon Dating.  Evolutionists didn’t create carbon dating, chemists did.  He is attacking the wrong scientists when he says mammoth is from 600 BC not 10,000 BC.  Whether he chooses to attack evolutionists, or carbon daters, he’s not just fighting uphill, he’s fighting up a cliff.
  8. Does Geology say Niagara Falls rose/fell 2000 years ago?  I don’t think so.
  9. Archaeological Evidence Section should be renamed “Archeological Speculation”.  There is absolutely no evidence in this section.  Perhaps it is plausible, but a prosecutor would be fired if he referred to these things as evidence.
  10. “pre-historic stone age savage” does not describe the more civilized Nephites/Lamanites who fought with iron.
  11. Seneca and Iroquois do not date to BoM times.  I know you did not mean to imply this, but it is easy for the reader to make this leap.
  12. Where is the evidence for barley, wheat, other grains?
  13. Why is there no mention of DNA evidence?

I’m happy to discuss these problems, but it seems like the crickets are chirping too loud for me to hear any rebuttals…

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15 comments on “NY Geography – Part 5

  1. I wrote a news release about Rod Meldrum, I think it helps address some of these issues.

    http://www.signaturebooks.com/dna.htm

    The DNA issue is an ongoing problem for apologists. It’s a tough catch 22. The interesting point I find is that the apologists can not agree and often argue among themselves. Some believe in Evolution or at least a 6 billion year earth timeline while others struggle to comprehend the wold being more than six thousand years old. With the America’s being populated some 20,000 years ago by Asians migrating from an area around Lake Baikal in Siberia. I’m sure the cognitive dissonance is difficult.

    Personally I try to imagine how cool and frightening it would have been to arrive in North America to find camels, mammoths, horses, giant sloths and flat nose bears the size of a minivan. Arriving on boats to an empty land sounds rather anticlimactic.

  2. Book1830,

    Thank you so much for the links. I’m not sure if you’re Simon Southerton, but you are certainly welcome here. (And , I’ve got many questions about DNA……)

    While I greatly welcomed the DNA review of Hemispheric, Central American, and NY geography theories, I was really disappointed in the Malay section. I agree that the book, A More Promising Land of Promise, is light on details, and not embraced by very many LDS apologists. I contacted the author, Ralph Olson, and he sent me a much longer 300 page unpublished manuscript, which I found much more satisfactory.

    I found this quote intriguing:

    Insufficient DNA research has been conducted on native people of the Malay Peninsula; however, Cambodians were shown by Noah Rosenberg to be closely related to other East Asians, who are only distantly related to Middle Easterners.

    I wonder if you know of upcoming DNA studies in Malay. I’m not sure if you thought this theory holds the most promise, or the least promise for DNA evidence. I’ve seen Southerton on YouTube, and he seems pretty skeptical of the BoM, so I would expect the latter. But is there any hope for this theory? I plan to devote some time to it, and appreciate all points of view.

  3. One other question Book1830, are you familiar with Simcha Jacobivichi’s “Quest for the Lost Tribes?” He makes a claim that the tribe of Manasseh can be found on the Malay Peninsula, which could seemingly bolster Olsen’s BoM geography claims.

  4. Thank you for reviewing our web site. You left out some of the more notable points of or model.

    1. Island. We are the first to draw attention to this real life dynamic – that the Nephites believed they were living on an island. That means a body of water on the north, south, east and west.

    2. “Gentiles shall obtain the land.” Show us in any other model where this has come to pass. Orsamus Turner did document the purchase of ancient Book of Mormon lands and the archaeological remains thereon. (Holland Land Purchase, 1850)

    Before Turner, Governor De Witt Clinton in 1820 went so far as to give a presentation at the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York to alert the members of the destruction of the vast ancient remains in Western New York. He said:

    “As the progress of cultivation extinguishes the remains of Antiquities mentioned in this Memoir, the view of the writer, in publishing it, is to awaken enquiry to a subject of great importance, before the means of investigation are entirely lost.” (Memoir on the Antiquities of the Western Parts of the State of New York, 1820.)

    [Both of these items were on our web site.]

    There is also the case made by two of the greatest writers on TBOM – Cecil McGavin and Willard Bean in their title: “The Geography of The Book of Mormon,” dated 1948:

    “The accounts written by many of these reputable historians and archeologists are so clear and specific that it seems as if the authors were familiar with The Book of Mormon record of the wars of extermination that were waged in Ramah-Cumorahland. For more than two centuries these renowned scholars have designated this area (Western New York) as America’s greatest battlefield in ancient times. Their conclusions agree so faithfully with The Book of Mormon record that we need not look elsewhere for the solution of the mystery.”

    [Western New York has been looted for over 400 years there were so many ancient remains.]

    3. Hill Ramah is NOT the Hill Cumorah. The Nephites were destroyed in a totally different location. This view is not found anywhere else yet it is backed up by scripture.

    4. The River Sidon had two branches. Again that originated with us and is backed by scripture.

    5. Fresh water seas. This alone rules out all Mesoamerican models.

    6. Fevers equal a “cold flu season” not malaria and the tropics.

    7. Hidden – BoM lands were hidden. No one else factors this into their model.

    8. A video clip of Sorenson’s lack of faith in his own highly polished model and yet not a notice from you.

    9. There are no treasures, i.e. weapons, etc. because God “cursed the land that it would not hold treasures.” Another view unique with us.

    10. No multi-generational buildings are ever mentioned in TBOM, therefore there should not be any on BoM lands today, i.e. stone Mayan temples.

    11. We place the Hill Cumorah outside of the battleground area yet you claim we did not.

    12. We place the entire Land of Cumorah (The Nephite battle zone.) outside of inhabited areas because “no one wanted to bury the dead.” This dynamic is not mentioned anywhere else.

    13. What made the land “Choice above all others?” We have reasons, nobody else does.

    14. Poisonous Serpents (1), cement houses (2), elephants (3), logging (4), land changed (5), and the glory of God (6) are all accounted for on our site and yet NO ONE can say the same.

    15. City of Zarahemla. We document its location and the archaeological evidence that backs it up.

    16. City of Bountiful. We document its location and the archaeological evidence that backs it up.

    17. Lamanite Line of Possession. Again, unique to us that no one else mentions.

    18. Where Nephi safely docked the boat.

    19. Lake Tonawanda STILL EXISTS. We have pictures of it for MILES AND MILES on our web site. Sorry you missed that.

    20. Sea East “more like a river.” Again, we have pictures on our site with the title: “GRAND CANYON OF THE EAST.” That was no small body of water.

    If you add all these unique points together, plus the fact that they fit seamlessly together, it is quite remarkable. Thank you for letting us post them on your site.

  5. could you respond to the 13 items I mentioned ? Please respond to Book1830’s refutation of all North American DNA.

  6. I have been to the http://www.bookofmormongeography.info site and am amazed just how much new information is there.

    Heretic, I then went back and read your comments regarding this site and it is obvious you have not read it.

    Most of what you ask has already been answered, like cement. There is a whole section on cement detailing why it was only in the north and how it was used, which I found most enlightening.

    The fact you failed to mention this shows your true motivation.

    BOMC, don’t let people like heretic deter your efforts to share something new. I would not waste your time on this site.

  7. MH: are you familiar with Simcha Jacobivichi’s “Quest for the Lost Tribes?”

    Tom: No, I know very little (other than what I read in the Sunstone article) about the Maylay theory. My ability to reduce my cognitive dissonance only goes so far.

    As for the North American theory. It feels like the best of the bunch. Judging from the DVD sales, others probably agree. My guess is that it will be the most accepted by the public in the long run. Most people can tuck the science away, far up on the top shelf for later unpacking. The Limited Geographists seem to infer that Joseph didn’t know what he was talking about when he prophetically labeled his local native tribes as Lamanites. How do you store that on the top shelf? Limited Geography seems like the loser in the long run. But from a scientific standpoint, it is clearly the easiest to defend. Like trying to disprove bigfoot or Atlantis. It’s a slick but unatractive theory. Rod Meldrum’s is more sexy. Ok, Maylay is sexy too but how did Moroni get the plates to upstate new york.

    I know, I know, the guardian moved it through the earth like Martin Harris described in Early Mormonism and the Magic World View.

  8. Orson,

    The cement comment was a direct quote from the website, so I did read it. What do you have to say about the other 12 items?

    Look, I’m asking for SPECIFIC references; I’m sick and tired of “you didn’t read the website.” I read it, and this is my impressions. If you want to refute it, then great. I’m here to discuss merits. I’m not always right, but you never address any “tough” questions. Also, why don’t you try to comment on parts 1-4 either of my analysis? There are over 30 points I am disputing with you, not just these 13. Please look at the “Errors” section I did, and then tell me where I am wrong.

    You don’t have any good counterpoints, because there aren’t any. Please tell me where I’m wrong. “You didn’t read the website” is really old now. I’m tired of that argument, and I won’t let it stand any more.

  9. Book1830,

    “Quest for the Lost Tribes” has nothing to do with the Malay Theory. Jacobovici is a Jew, and has been searching for the Lost 10 tribes. He thinks he’s found the tribe of Manasseh in Burma, so that’s as far as the similarity to Olsen ends.

    He also has found other tribes in Afghanastan, China, India, Ethiopa, Uzbekistan, and I’m sure I’m leaving something out. He makes some jewish similarites, and there’s some anecdotal DNA evidence. Also some rabbi’s in Israel seem to support his views of the 10 tribes being found now.

    Anyway, I’m only pointing this out because it does seem to hold some “independent” confirmation that the Tribe of Manasseh might be on the Malay peninsula. Of course Jacobivici isn’t claiming it was a sea voyage like Olsen does, but rather scattering by the Assyrians by land. This could also seemingly explain how the Mulekites got to the Book of Mormon “new world.”

    Regardless of whether one embraces the Malay theory, there is zero evidence of the Tribe of Manasseh in North America, whether one is referring to NY, Central, or South America. So, while the cognitive dissonance is certainly there with Malay, the science seems more “sexy”, as you put it.

  10. Ah, I understand what you are getting at. Yeah, it’s time-line right.

    For example, in a recent Deseret News article. Scott Woodward was quoted saying that he had found Heberew DNA in Brazil and then said he doubted that it had anything to do with the Book of Mormon. Well, what he wasn’t telling you was that he was studying modern people in Brazil, most with European backgrounds.

    In America we have an advantage because there are tons of tribes that have very little mixture with female Europeans or other non Native American females.

    I guess I’m also not aware that we knew what the Manasseh DNA looks like. My guess from a mtDNA standpoint. Manasseh, Juda, Ruben … mtDNA could all be the same. Literally the same spelling. So, … ??

    Sounds like a dog chasing it’s tale to me. But who am I. Just a booknerd from AF.

  11. I did a previous post on the Cohen DNA found in Brazil. While I didn’t know at the time that the DNA was from Europeans in South America, and not Native Americans, it still presents a problem. Cohen DNA is from the tribe of Levi, so even if it were found in the native population, it doesn’t support the BoM, because it is from the wrong tribe. (Lehi was from Manasseh.)

    I’m no expert on DNA, and don’t understand all the technical stuff, but apparently there is some sort of distinguishing characteristic between tribes. I’m not sure what Manasseh DNA looks like either, but there is a Genome Project by National Geographic which will hopefully nail down more specifics in the next 3-5 years.

    I enjoyed reading Southerton’s critique of the Meldrum DNA claims. BOMC supports Meldrum’s DNA, and then trashes some of Meldrum’s other claims. Either way, their (BOMC and Meldrum) DNA evidence is (at best) un-persuasive, and at worst grasping at straws. Southerton devotes about 2 paragraphs to Malay, and doesn’t really address the DNA issue on Malay, but does say there is some supporting DNA evidence in Cambodia.

  12. I’ve been fortunate in some of this discussion. I’m the publicist for Murphy and Southerton. Two summers ago, Simon and I hiked Timpanogos together. He has a very sharp eye for animals. I saw more fauna on that trip than on any of the previous ten trips with my sons. Simon and I have corresponded for years, I’ve had him in my home and I consider him a valued friend. My two oldest were born in the Outback so Simon and I share Aussie lingo from time to time. I’m also an active Latter-day Saint. No longer orthodox by any stretch of the imagination. But for now I’ve chosen to continue this walk with my people. As far as I can tell, the science is overwhelming. Our book lost this round. End of story.

    But, a new story is perking up that I find really interesting. The war of the apologists. They hate each other and badmouth each other and contradict each other. In full disclosure, I have a dog in this fight also. My brother Glenn sometimes tours around with Wayne May giving lectures. I know and like Wayne. He’s sort of a cool and interesting person! Interestingly, Rod Meldrum is a disciple of May. I was able to get Wayne to come to Sunstone where he was well received and well attended. I found it ironic that the liberal and questioning Mormons were polite and respectful of Wayne’s presentations and yet FARMS and FAIR trashed him on-line and in their journals. People are picking sides and I find this process far more interesting than DNA studies among Native Americans.

  13. […] have previously highlighted a Great Lakes Theory, and the Malay Theory.  How do you think it […]

  14. […] have reviewed a few other theories in the past.  I reviewed BOMC’s Great Lakes Theory, Ralph Olsen’s Malay Theory, and Venice Priddis’ South American Setting.  My purpose […]

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