Scholar details 'striking' parallels between Book of Mormon and ancient civilization

Published: Monday, Aug. 6 2012 4:55 p.m. MDT

— "Sacred 'towers' were constructed by the Nephites that were similar to Mesoamerican 'towers' or pyramidal substructures, all such constructions having had a primarily religious purpose. Moreover the one instance, in the book of Helaman, when a private tower structure was used as a site for prayer and religious discourse has Mesoamerican parallels."

— "The model for Nephite 'temples' was specifically the 'temple of Solomon,' which featured two non-structural pillars that stood at the sides of the door of the temple. Some Mesoamerican 'temples' display similar structurally unnecessary pillars."

— "Central to ancient governance (in both the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerican sources) was the idea that kings (or at lesser levels, lords or nobles) were divinely designated (or were themselves considered divine) rulers with powers conferred on them 'by right.' (This was contrary to New England where the Book of Mormon was first published.)"

—In both the Book of Mormon and some Mesoamerican societies, "a new (younger) king was sometimes installed before the death of the previous ruler, who then served out his lifespan as 'emeritus' king."

— "Warfare was of major significance in the culture history of both Mesoamerica and Book of Mormon peoples. Recognition of its significance represents a major change in archaeological thought in recent decades; that area's war practices now align more directly with those described in Mormon's book."

— "A complex of 380 cultural patterns having to do with religion and ideology were present both in the civilization of the ancient Near East in the second and first millennia B.C. and in Mesoamerican civilization. The large number and arbitrary nature of those features is such that they can only be explained by calling upon transoceanic voyaging, plausibly including voyages reported in the Book of Mormon."

Sorenson concludes that the Book of Mormon exhibits what one could expect of a document produced in the context of ancient Mesoamerican civilization.

"It is not rational to suppose that mere coincidence can account for similarities of this magnitude," he declared. "The parallels are too striking and too sweeping to allow that casual explanation."

A transcript of Sorenson's presentation can be found on the FAIR website, www.fairlds.org.

email: rscott@desnews.com

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