Comments about ‘Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: The Peruvian model’

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Published: Monday, Nov. 15 2010 5:30 a.m. MST

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Charlottesville, VA

This article leaves unanswered what seems to me to be the biggest problem with a Peruvian setting for the Book of Mormon: Where's the sea to the east? The Atlantic Ocean, 2,700 miles away and across the Brazilian rainforest? Where's the narrow neck of land? Panama? The narrow neck of land is supposed to be in the middle of the Book of Mormon lands, separating the land northward from the land southward, but if the Book of Mormon is centered around Peru, then the narrow neck of land is 1,300 miles to the north.

Contrary to featuring "a narrow neck of land and a mostly reasonable internal map," the Peruvian setting seems to bear no resemblance at all to the geography described in the Book of Mormon.

Harwich, MA

Two members of the 12 have said from the pulpit this last year that the BoM was not a "historical" record.
Why are you working so hard to make it such? Honest question, just looking for an honest answer.

Lehi, UT

Thanks Mike.

I think Mike is discussing models, not finalizing.

Narrow passage/pass, strip, neck, aren't identical, but matching features exist in Mesoamerica etc.

@all especially Christians. Enjoy your comments.
The BoM is a powerful independent witness for the Biblical Christ. Please dont put blind faith in negative accusing sources.
You cant honestly educate yourselves about truly Christian LDS without trusting LDS sources.

If you only read Mike you still know that anti-LDS sources, including some Churches, are generally misleading in principle.
Why trust eternal decisions to that?
Pray, study all things, trust God.

After seeking, I found LDS are closest to Biblical and ancient Christianity.

BoM support is mountainous.

Separated IAmericans witnessing of Christ add crucial testimony to others.
Evidence that Maya knew detailed ancient Christian symbolism supports Christs Divinity.

Join us in witnessing of His Divinity. God, begotten, once man, now exalted, who visited His other sheep, sent His Gospel to every creature, and restored it.

Why fight Him, like Saul?

from lw DSscrolls are post Babylonian rewriting. Evidence indicates PoGP etc contain ancient stories unknown to JS, and later changes are often miraculously same verses. Check FAIR, FARMS, Mike for translation questions.

Salt Lake valley, UT

Dennis, can you give us more details about the two members of the 12. Were they speaking in General Conference? In Stake conferences? If their comments are online, I would like to find them to study the context of what they said.

As I understand the situation, the LDS church has always maintained that the BoM is a historical document. Individual members of the 12 can give their opinions about the BoM, but they can't change the position of the church. Only the President an do that. So, until the President says the BoM is not a historical document, and says it in a way that indicates he is speaking for the church and not just giving his individual view, articles such as this one are appropriate. We all need to be aware that Ash is not saying where the BoM people lived. He is just reviewing the various ideas or models that have been proposed.

Otis Spurlock
Ogden, UT

Michael Ash wrote:

" In science, progressive modifications allow for alterations within a paradigm so long as the paradigm is not destroyed by the modifications and so long as the preponderance of evidence supports the paradigm."

Michael, the "preponderance of evidence" does not support the BoM being historical. According to the above criteria, as set forth in your article, one can objectively conclude the BoM is not historical.

Salt Lake valley, UT

Otis, I agree that as of today the "preponderance of evidence" does not support the Book of Mormon being historical, but we need to remember that the lack of something does not prove anything. For example, going back 20 years ago, there was no evidence that planets existed outside our solar system. Today we have evidence of about 500 planets that do exist outside our solar system. Today, there are an awfully lot of parallels between the BoM and ancient America but no actual evidence. But, who knows what will happen in the future. It would be helpful to all of us if you and others advocating your view would soften your statements a bit and say something like, "Today, the evidence does not support the Book of Mormon as a historical document, and I don't believe future research will bring forth such evidence." This would change the focus of our discussion from the Book of Mormon is or isn't a historical document to the question of whether future research will bring forth actual evidence of the Book of Mormon being historical or not. I think this would be a healthy change of focus.

Provo, Ut

Denis (7:06 A.M.):
I can't find any evidence of this. I am aware of statements made by Church leaders, as well as Book of Mormon authors, that the intent of the book was not to be a secular history, but a "spiritual" history - but this was not to suggest that events didnt actually happen.

Practically speaking, the most plausible conclusion for any model would be that the Lehites landed somewhere along the east coast(s) of North or South America, and then migrated from there. That at least precludes a strict position on limited geography. More problematic however is the circular conflict in any model that does not include the northern continent. We have no tangible evidence of the nephites, just geography that kind suits conditions mentioned the BoM. Mormons take on faith a belief in the revelations from Joseph Smith that were said to bring about the BoM. Zelph can be interpreted as nothing other than a revelation - yet most of the alternative theories dismiss this account. You can't selectively choose from Joseph Smiths revelations to make a reasonable case. If you question Zelph, you have to question the entire Bom.

Hyde Park, UT

I would also be interested in the two members of the 12 who have stated that the Book of Mormon is not historical. I follow General Conference talks quite closely, and that does not ring any bells for me.

If they said something that can be interpreted in that way. I am interested.

The First Principle of the Gospel is Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a lot of evidence that the Book of Mormon is historical, but no proof. I don't think that is an accident. Wouldn't proof kind of negate the importance of Faith?

Evidence can be interpreted in different ways. Some see it with a foundation of Faith. Others view it with skepticism. The evidence hasn't changed. Just the way we approach it.

Provo, Ut


That's not exactly a great comparison. Not having evidence for planets millions of light years away from earth, in a universe we have explored less than a fraction of 1% of is understandable. Not having evidence for the Book of Mormon peoples on earth, and on continents that have been heavily explored and continually inhabited, etc, is a bit more discouraging. True, we haven't explored everything, and there still remains a possibilty - but with each year and each new discovery plausibility decreases. To say we haven't even scratched the surface on the universe would be quite an understatement, on the other hand.

Otis Spurlock
Ogden, UT


"Absence of proof is not proof of absence" is flung around as a convenient dodge of the hard questions surrounding the Book of Mormon, let me ask this: What exactly would constitute proof of absence (of evidence supporting the Book of Mormon)? Tell us exactly what would be necessary to show that the Book of Mormon stories do not accurately portray ancient New World history and events.

The hard truth is that absence of proof is proof of absence after 200 years of intense archaeological study, linguistic study, anthropological study and recent genetic testing, etc.

Further, there is an absence of evidence for a great many things which no rational human beings believe in. If I theorize that space aliens named Zorgs occupied the earth 1,000,000 years ago and there is no evidence for that theory, is it reasonable for me to complain, "Hey, absence of proof is not proof of absence"? Or would you dismiss me as irrational? See, in a different context that cliche no longer sounds so good, does it?

lake forest, ca

Allen: said," I agree that as of today the "preponderance of evidence" does not support the Book of Mormon being historical. True," Geographical evidences reject the BoM but more important the Bible refutes A Marvelous work and Wonder which is not a prophecy of the BoM.
A better translation. "Therefore behold I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise" and will hide the understanding of the prudent. "(Is 29;14 Septuagint)
In(1Cor 1:19 KJV) Paul quotes from the(Septuagint 29:14) "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. The prophecy is about Judah seeking an alliance with Egypt against Assyria.
The LB paraphrase gives a clear view of the prophecy.
therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these hypocrites and make their wisest counselors as fools.
Nothing to do with the BoM.

Provo, UT

Dear MormonCowboy: Allen's examples are EXCELLENT. Undiscovered planets are an excellent parallel to this issue.

Every year more and more evidence comes forward. In addition, there is a lot of evidence that is, unfortunately, discarded without proper examination.

One example: A horse tooth was found buried very deeply among ancient archaeological items in mesoamerica. They had no explanation for how it could have gotten there and were stumped. They didn't want to bother to go to the expense of studying it, so...they just decided to conclude that somehow the tooth of a modern horse had gotten mixed up among ancient items and they just discarded it. We have no way of knowing how many other examples there are of this sort of thing.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. There are literally thousands of square miles of unexplored jungle, etc. in central and South America. Slowly but surely, more and more evidence comes forward that supports the BofM. No matter how much deniers try to ignore it, it is true.


Cats said, "Every year more and more evidence comes forward."

Would you please share one of these "evidences" with us?



I can't seem to find any mention of finding a horse tooth in ancient meso-america. Do you have a citation? Also, if a horse tooth was found I'm sure it was immediately radiometric dated and/or tested genetically and ruled out that it was pre-Columbian.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

To cmtam: Sorry but we have three different versions of Chapter 29. We also know that the New Testament was written in Hebrew before it was ever written in Greek. Considering the three different versions of the Isaiah Chapter 29 you will find that the Book of Mormon has this same chapter but is considerably longer than the one in the KJV and also Joseph Smith own translation of the same Chapter. This basically means that his translation leaves out what may be Nephi's own interpretations and goes with what the correct translation is. Therefore, you fail to acknowledge that his translation with more verses than yours could be correct because you don't recognize Joseph Smith for who we say he is. Therefore, your translation of the same Chapter is incorrect as the Doctrine and Covenants supports the Book of Mormon and we know that our Heavenly Father through revelation has stated the Book of Mormon is true and correct.

To Dennis: No member of the Quroum of the Twelve has stated anywhere that the Book of Mormon isn't historical. That is wishful thinking on your part.

Provo, UT


In 1957, Carnegie fellows, Pollock and Ray, discovered two partially mineralized horse teeth at Ch'en Mul, Yucatan at the same level as Mayan pottery. Since this didn't fit with the "Siberian Land Bridge Only Theory," they were discarded and were never radiocarbondated.

In 1977 at the same location, two Mexican scientists discovered horse bones six feet down which were radiocarbondated at 1800 B.C. Pottery ABOVE that level was dated 900-400 B.C. They stated that this was "difficult to explain," These scientists had no awareness, at that time, of the earlier discovery of the teeth. That was too uncomfortable for the Carnegie scientists to report. It needed to be rediscovered.

BTW, the Siberian Land Bridge Only Theory was officially dumped by the American Anthopological Association in 1999. It just takes a long time for this information to filter out to the schools and the public.

We have no way of knowing how much other evidence is out there that has been discarded or dismissed because it doesn't fit pre-conceived notions.

I can't write another post so I hope someone else picks it up.

I Bleed Blue (Boise Blue)
Twin Falls, ID


I tried to find citations for your horse tooth story about Carnegie fellows, Pollock and Ray. I can't find a citation. Do you have one for us? Why didn't you give a citation in your last comment? I would greatly appreciate a citation. thanks

Twin Falls, ID


I found the article (Clayton E. Ray, "Pre-Columbian Horses from Yucatan," Journal of Mammalology 38 1957) and it states that fossilized horse teeth were found. From the article, "Clayton E. Ray believes "that the fossil teeth were of Pleistocene age".

Keep in mind these teeth were fossilized which means that they are at least several hundreds of thousands of years old (it takes at least that amount of time to completely fossilize). Also keep in mind that the Pleistocene period was approximately 2.5 million years ago.

Cats, nothing in this study shows that the Mayans rode horses. In fact, FARMS and FAIR now take the position that horses in the BoM refer to deer or tapirs. Even FAIR and FARMS do not believe the Nephites/Lamanites rode horses.

Finally, you seem to indicate that the Mayans are somehow related to the BoM. There is no evidence to support this and many, if not most, current apologists agree that the Mayans were in noway associated with the BoM. There just isn't any evidence.

terra nova
Park City, UT

Fifth model: More ruins found underwater indicate that the landscape has changed a LOT since the days of Lehi.

(See 3 Nephi 9:4-8 for examples of six named cities which sank at a time of great storm and earthquake.)

It is more than reasonable to assume that lands described in the Book of Mormon are partially submerged making any approach through geography futile.

Some of the most recently discovered ruins are half a mile deep. (Discovery Channel aired a special highlighting these finds)

In the end, there is a lot we do not know and talk about where-or-when this-or-that occurred is nothing more than supposition and speculation. Unless it is your vocation, it is not worth spending too much time on - or taking a hard position.

Harwich, MA

"You can invite a friend to read the Book of Mormon. Explain that it is not a novel or a history book."

Russell M. Nelson, Oct. Conference 2010

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