John Sorenson is one of the most educated persons on earth about evidences of
the Book of Mormon's authenticity and facts about early American
civilizations. This should be an excellent read for those interested in the
incredible evidences that exist. For critics and non-believers, this is an
excellent book to show how little educated, little read, little studied on the
subject they are. Daniel Peterson is correct that to say that there is 'no
evidence' is simply wrong when the truth is that there is 'no evidence
that they believe'. Some of the evidence is so strong that to ignore it
completely or to deny that it exists is simply a display of ignorance. Thank
you Dr. Sorenson for your incredible life's work.
Re: ". . . to announce that there’s no supporting evidence at all is
to go too far."And, of course, no genuine, informed scholar
would ever make such a statement.It's sad that, while mainline
archaeologists still hold long, boring seminars and engage in endless argument
over matters such as whether biblical Ai ever existed, or whether it may be
located at the et-Tell site, or at some other, like Khirbet el-Maqatir,
discussion of serious Book of Mormon geography still gets lumped together with
topics like the distribution and feeding habits of unicorns.So much
solid, unassailable research has been done by scholars like Dr. Sorenson,
you'd think he and his body of research would at least pose a challenge to
the dismissive haters. That they continue with snarky ad hominem, rather than
serious review and debate, speaks volumes about what they actually fear.
I read Dr. Sorensen's book years ago and it opened up a whole new world for
me. This is a fascinating subject. There are literally mountains of evidence
to support the B of M--especially the Mesoamerican theory. I appreciate Dr.
Petersen's work as well and have read a lot of his stuff.To
those who attack and criticize the B of M my response is, there are none so
blind as those who will not see.
That's always been one of the things about the history part of the Book of
Mormon that I wondered about. Could even the most learned scholars of the day
have contrived to write the Book of Mormon? We know for sure that Joseph Smith
had little or no access to any library where he could have found archelogical
and historical events of that period in that area of America. But could the
best scholars of the day at Harvard or Yale have done it? I've always
assumed no, and this further makes that case. Even though our faith is not
supposed to be based upon the factual evidence of the Book of Mormon, these
things like the Mormon Codex do make the Book of Mormons very existence almost
supernal. Which I guess it is.
Isn't it interesting that those who oppose, deny, or choose not to believe
the research and writings of professionals, such as Dr. Sorenson, are not able
to publish their own books that refute the 400+ evidences written about in Dr.
Sorenson's book? Think of the money they could make and the name they
could make for themselves if they could offer credible rebuttal material equal
in stature to the works of Dr. Sorenson. As their best alternative, they simply
take a position that they don't believe that a single stitch of evidence
exists. Wow, that makes a statement. I'm impressed.
It is also true that there is mountains of logic from evidence to disprove.
From my own experience, God ensures neutrality with respect to evidence. Were
it not so, we could not choose, the choices would have been made for us. If you
want to know, you have to ask. But Brigham Young once wrote that the
days would come that the evidence would be so strong that those who chose not to
accept would be kindly moved to their respective glory. Whether that was his own
opinion or otherwise, I do not remember. Until then, neutrality will continue
that we might be ensured of keeping that powerful and wonderful gift of
Happy, Joseph Smith actually did have access to a pretty good library and used
it. And yes several people wrote similar stories to the Book of Mormon. The idea
that the Native Americans came from a lost European or Middle Eastern group of
people was actually very popular during Joseph Smiths day. There were books
written with this theme he undoubtedly had access to (whether he read them or
not no one will know) and some he wouldn't have. But the ideas underlying
the BofM were very much a part of the culture in America at that time.This is why so much of the BofM cultures seems to be Roman in nature.
Chariots, steel swords, metal armor, shields and so on. Not much was known about
what actual Native American life was like at the time, so Smith simply wrote
about it in the way people were familiar with. Then time moved on and the
evidence became overwhelming that Native peoples were of Asian ancestry and
their culture was radically different than the "roman" ideas of the past
those old ideas were abandoned.
I would love to learn more about this excellent library, Mr. Wraith, and about
the evidence demonstrating that Joseph Smith used it. Can you share some
references?My take-away from Professor Sorenson's book, by the
way, is that, in his judgment, there's much in the Book of Mormon that
points specifically and uniquely to ancient Mesoamerica. That seems directly to
conflict with your claim. What do you make of Dr. Sorenson's evidence and
arguments? Have you read his book?
I have never understood the need to find the exact setting of the Book of
Mormon. You either take the book on faith or you disbelieve it. Trying to find
the perfect setting for it is impossible. We have no solid understanding of how
the land might have changed over the past 2000 years. Accept it, or deny it
based on the doctrinal teachings it contains.
Also for CinciMan there are plenty of books, thousands actually, that refute Dr.
Sorenson's work - they are collectively known as every single book in
modern Amerindian studies. The reason no one else in the field
directly refutes works by Mormon archaeologists, not because they can't but
because they don't even look at it as serious scholarship. For people in
the field I've spoken to they see themselves as researching the actual
history of the Amerindians whereas "Mormon archaeologists" are busy
trying to prove there was an actual Mount Olympus where Zeus lived. That's
harsh I know but that's actually the way an archaeologist friend put it to
me. Dr. Sorenson and researchers like him have done an excellent job
convincing members that there are "mountains and mountains" of
unassailable evidence. But there isn't a single non member scientist in any
field studying the Amerindians that agrees with them. No one is ignoring Dr.
Sorenson's evidence or claiming it doesn't exists. They just disagree
with his interpretation of what it means, and again most importantly not a
single independent researcher agrees with any of the claims off Mormon
@VerdadI will soon run out of posts but oh well. It is a matter of
historical fact that both Manchester and Palmyra had well stocked libraries for
their time. While there is no evidence that Smith checked anything out (which is
why I said we'll never know if he actually read them) Robert Paul writing
for BYU has said that he used at least the Palmyra library. He goes on to talk
about bookstores and auctions in the area providing ads from newspapers as
evidence. In May 26, 1819 there was a long article in the Palmyra
Register about how the area had once been inhabited by an advanced civilization.
In the Wayne Sentinel on October 11, 1825 a long article appeared
detailing how the Indians were descended from Israelites. There is
more of course but I believe this is enough to show that Smith didn't grow
up in a vacuum. All of this is easily available from the BYU history department
and books like Rough Stone Rolling, all Mormon sources. As I said we'll
never know what Smith actually read or not, but it was available to him.
"Proof by parallels" will always be vulnerable to the answer that the
method consists of painting a bulls-eye where the shots have already landed.It would be an astonishing thing if a young Joseph Smith could have
authored the Book of Mormon himself, or with the assistance of his
acquaintances, in a manner reasonably consistent with the accounts of the
book's production.It would also be an astonishing thing for a
sizeable Old World-derived civilization, with advanced technology and social
institutions and Old World crops and animals, to have flourished for a thousand
years without leaving a single unambiguous trace -- no archaeological relics, no
linguistic traces, no identifiable genetic influence in the human population, no
surviving Old World plant or animal species (or even fossil plant pollen), no
survival of technologies like metal smelting or the wheel that, elsewhere, are
typically too valuable to lose.If your understanding of faith is
such that you can declare belief in a thing by faith despite the weight of the
evidence being contrary, then you can retain belief in the Book of Mormon as an
ancient document by that kind of faith.
The Wraith,I cannot recall (in my nearly 40 years in the church) any
researchers, professors, or otherwise indicating that the evidence was
unassailable. Simply that the fact that there is not corroboration is
untrue.Note that if physical evidence alone would convince anyone
then I would place more of a priority on it. But there is good evidence for
much of biblical history (at least the NT - note this was not always the case
even in my lifetime). Yet how many are convinced by this? Why? Because the
fact that the places and even people existed is not the same a proof they were
led by God. If someday someone discovers an ancient city that translates to
Bountiful with a history of great disruption circa the year 33 and then stories
of divine visitation, I really don't think it would matter to most. A few?
Sure. But most would look at it just as they do the NT or OT. Interesting
that the places existed and that people thought God was interacting with them
(but they were unsophisticated rubes)."Men Occasionally Stumble
Over the Truth, But They Pick Themselves Up and Hurry Off" (attributed to
I've read Robert Paul's book, and, in my judgment, it doesn't
really support your claim.Furthermore, your references to casual
comments from unnamed "archaeologists" and unidentified points from
"thousands" of unnamed books don't actually engage a single claim
made in Professor Sorenson's book.Have you read Professor
"The idea that the Native Americans came from a lost European or Middle
Eastern group of people was actually very popular during Joseph Smiths day."
No it wasn't."There were books written with this theme he
undoubtedly had access to (whether he read them or not no one will know)"
No there wasn't. If one is referring to the Spaulding manuscript, the
Spaulding story is not remotely similar to the BoM. It is simply a retelling of
the Columbus story, with Romans inserted instead of Italians."This is why so much of the BofM cultures seems to be Roman in nature.
Chariots, steel swords, metal armor, shields and so on." These items
predated the Romans, and were available in the middle east during the time of
the BoM story."But there isn't a single non member
scientist in any field studying the Amerindians that agrees with them."
There also isn't a single non member scientist that has even attempted to
point out, with actual data, where he is wrong. Who cares if they dismiss it
out of hand? If they have not attempted to review his claims from a scholarly
perspective, their opinions mean nothing.
Verdad,"....I would love to learn more about this excellent
library, Mr. Wraith, and about the evidence demonstrating that Joseph Smith used
didn’t have access to much in the way of books. But Wraith does touch on a
point historians have noted on the popular culture of Joseph Smith’s time
regarding origins of indigenous peoples in the Americas. That native tribes
might be a remnant of the legendary ten lost tribes of Israel was an
oft-repeated albeit speculative theory going back into colonial America times. A
popular book on the subject was Reverend Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews
published in 1823, the same year as Joseph’s first visit from Moroni.
Whether or not Joseph ever read View of the Hebrews or had access to it is not
Yes Verdad I've read his book. I found his conclusions, methods, and
evidence to be laughable. Pretty harsh but there you go.Here's
my challenge. If you can meet this challenge I'll give Sorenson a deeper
look. Find me one, just one, accredited professional non-Mormon archaeologist,
historian, or anthropologist, studying Amerindian culture or geography that
agrees with Dr. Sorenson. Just one person in these fields of study who has
produced a work supporting a single Book of Mormon claim even. Just one.
Vader: "No it wasn't"All you have to do is read Rough
Stone Rolling and you see the following:Although not predominant,
the lost tribes theory did appeal to religious thinkers eager to link Indians to
the Bible. From the seventeenth century onward, both Christians and Jews had
collected evidence that the Indians had Jewish origins. Jonathan Edwards Jr.
noted the similarities between the Hebrew and Mohican languages. Such Indian
practices as 'anointing their heads, paying a price for their wives,
observing the feast of harvest' were cited as Jewish parallels. Besides
Edwards, John Eliot, Samuel Sewall, Roger Williams, William Penn, James Adair,
and Elias Boudinot expressed opinions or wrote treatises on the Israelite
connection." Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, (New
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 96.Just to be clear, I never said it
was dominant, just popular. And Bushman, a Mormon historian, backs that up here.
I'm always surprised that most Mormons are completely ignorant of what
their own historians teach. Just in Bushman's alone he talks about ideas of
Jewish decent, information Smith would have access, and much more. Read your own
Dear The Wraith:Much of the information in the Book of Mormon
couldn't have been accessed by anyone because it was completely unknown at
that time. The Spaulding theory and View of the Hebrews have both
been totally discredited many years ago. They are nothing like the Book of
Mormon. NO ONE in the early days EVER made the claim that Joseph wrote the book
himself. Why? Because they knew him and they knew he was totally incapable of
writing it. It wasn't until many years later that detractors began to make
the claim that Joseph wrote it after other theories were totally debunked.Joseph did not have access to all the materials you claim. These are
claims made by detractors who are left with no other alternative than to make up
a lot of bogus facts. Joseph couldn't possibly have written
it. In addition, statistical word print studies have proved that the Book of
Mormon was written by multiple authors. The study is so well respected that it
was publish in the statistical professional journal.Again, there are
none so blind as those who will not see!
@Wraith:Here's my challenge. If you meet this challenge, I
will give your challenge a serious look. Find me one, just one, acredited
professional non-Mormon archaeologist, historian, or anthropologist studying
Amerindian culture or geogrpahy who has produced a work directly disproving a
single Sorenson claim. Just one.
sunhein (also known as Wraith):I have read Bushman. It is a good
book. Bushman does not back up your "popular" claim. Look at what he
wrote and what you wrote. He said the lost tribes theory was "not
predominant" (i.e. not frequent or common), therefore not known widely. How
could something be "popular" if it wasn't common or widely known?
You shoot your own theory out with that quote.
Ugh I hate the word limit sometimes. I take sentences out and then it feels like
the whole post doesn't make sense to me any more.Before the
quote from Bushman I had a sentence where I talked about how in fact it was a
popular idea especially in religious circles at the time. I had to take this out
because I was reaching the word count but then I failed to go back through and
reedit the post to make sense. Sorry and hope this clarifies what I was trying
Apologists work overtime to create assumed associations in an effort to advance
an allusion of probability. Arguing for an actual existence of a BoM
culture without any mainstream archeological evidence reminds me of something I
read today about a Disney tour company taking fans to Norway to visit the
Geirangerfjord fjord. This landscape inspired the fantasy kingdom of Arendelle
in the film "Frozen."Although there is also no archeological
evidence for the kingdom of Arendelle, one can find amazing parallels which
allow for an easy construction of an overall historical and cultural context for
Arendelle's existence. I found the parallel reasoning favoring
actual BoM culture with these comments about Norway quite striking:"People just hadn't seen these remarkable landscapes before. The
movie represents the folk culture in such an engaging way, and the landscapes
and architecture are so stunning, and they are all based on real places.""When there is a connection that kids can understand, it becomes a
win-win. The kids are saying, 'Let's go to Norway! Can we go to
Arendelle?'""An Ancient American Setting" arguing
for an actual Mesoamerican model of Book of Mormon culture and geography without
archeological evidence is no different.
Uh Vader - to answer your challenge that would be: every single book ever
written in the past 100 years about ancient americans.
The problem with drawing parallels between ancient American culture, the Book of
Mormon, and ancient Near Eastern culture, is that there are bucketloads of
parallels between virtually *all* human cultures. We are more alike
than different. Should we be surprised if our cultural practices so often
overlap? A fun example: In English, the word "pine" refers
to a tree -- but also to a feeling of painful yearning. In Japanese, the word
"matsu" has exactly the same two meanings. Something about a pine tree,
evidently, gave people in two distinct, separated cultures the same sense of
painful longing -- with no connection at all between the two linguistic
developments. What are the odds? No longer or shorter than the odds of any of
Sorensen's parallels.I read Sorensen's "An Ancient
American Setting" years ago. I was impressed with his diligence, but not his
logic, for the reason expressed above. Unless parallels between two cultures
are very nearly exact -- and often not even then -- they're not evidence of
anything other than that both cultures are the creation of human beings.
The area that Professor Sorenson has shown best correlates with the size and
arrangement of Book of Mormon geography and topography for the years 600 BC to
400 AD does not have a modern archeological theory for the area proposing the
existence of a culture incompatible with the one described in the Book of
Mormon. There is archeology about the Mayans, but they were in a different area
and a largely later time period. The archeology about the Inca and their
predecessor Andean civilizations has no intersection with the proposed Book of
Mormon region. The Aztec and their contemporaries were a thousand years removed
from Nephite culture. In the recent book 1491, about the Americas before
Columbus, it describes a lost civilization that had cities in what is now the
wilderness of the Amazon, only recently discovered with modern scientific
techniques like ground penetrating radar. 90% of Amerinds were killed by
smallpox and other diseases after 1492, and our knowledge of the prior cultures
is extremely limited.
If or when some or all of the Book of Mormon archaeological artifacts are
discovered and uncovered by the American Indian, then the geography or map of
the all the lands of the Book of Mormon will be complete and perfect for all
time.But vastly more important is that scripturally prophetic FACT
of the coming forth, out of this current land of the 48 states of the United
States of America, of the Choice Seer, the future full-blooded American Indian
Moses, who will restore the American Indian back to the ownership and
governorship of all the land of North, Central, and South America.
I'm happy to have people read Professor Sorenson's book and judge for
themselves whether it's the obviously flimsy tissue that a couple of the
critics here claim it to be. I think their dismissals unjust with regard to
both "An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon" and its
successor, "Mormon's Codex." I found the two books quite
Verdad,Thanks for the book recommendations. I must admit I'm a
confirmed skeptic on the historicity of the Book of Mormon but I'm always
open to reconsidering my views on things.
The problem with Sorenson's theories is that they not only contradict much
of modern archeology, but also many of the brethren's teachings. From the
beginning of the church it has been repeatedly taught that the only inhabitants
of the Americas were those peoples described in the BoM and that much of it took
place in the modern day U.S. Now we learn from Sorensen that the Nephites and
Lamanites were just a small subset of a much larger indigenous population around
the area of Mexico. We also learn that there are two Hill Cumorah's and
that the one described in the BoM is somewhere in modern day Mexico instead of
upstate New York. I could go on, but you get the picure. Unfortunately many members of the church have a deep distrust of science, but
will they believe Sorensen over the teachings of past prophets?
I'll offer one example of the evidence of the Book of Mormon that is agreed
upon by many non-Mormon scholars. The translation of jaw-bone or jaw to Lehi.
Feel free to Google "Jawbone translates to Lehi". One website quotes
many bibles, the verse Judges 15:19. Obviously the many authors of these bibles
agree to this translation. Dr. Sorenson and many others discuss artifacts
attesting to a very significant Mayan who is continually represented in
artifacts by a jawbone. The Tree of Life Stone (Stela 5) and Monument 21 are
just two such artifacts. And Monument 21 shows seven families of Jawbone
(Lehi). The Book of Mormon refer to the seven families in more than one place,
as does the D&C. I invite the few who have challenged just one of Dr.
Sorenson's claims to be true to show credible sources that Lehi and jawbone
are not synonymous and that there are no jawbones on the Tree of Life Stone
(Stella 5) and Monument 21. It's your turn.
Well, ok: I'm not sure how anybody who has read Professor Sorenson's
book can say that its contents "contradict much of modern archaeology,"
since modern archaeology is, overwhelmingly, the source Professor Sorenson has
drawn on for the contents of his book.
CatsYou claim Joseph never had access to all of those readings? And
how do you know this? We may not know if he did or not, but you can't prove
or even be sure that he didn't. That is what invalidates your statement.
What we do know is that none of the Joseph Smith story makes sense. From the
part where the golden plates somehow were buried in New York (cumorah) from the
way the witnesses had to pray to see the plates (even though Joseph already had
them in his possession, supposedly) to the plates being taken up to heaven. It
doesn't add up. That is the proof.
"that there are bucketloads of parallels between virtually *all* human
cultures."Yes, one that I find interesting is the parallel
between the Israelites being placed where they were pretty close to the dead
sea.And the pioneers being lead to an area near another large body
of salt water.I know I know you could say well Salty Water covers
practically the whole earth. I just find it interesting that they are both near
two salt water lakes.I heard a theory something like the dead sea
was once soddom and gomorrah as well. It makes me speculate as to what the
great salt lake might have been?I know there is no evidence to
support this idea of mine and I don't worry I am not taking it very
seriously.I just wonder if like the great salt lake might have been
some place like Jacobugath.
If the church sincerely wished for their members and the population at large to
know the truth concerning the BOM they would open all the church records and
history and contract qualified researchers, both Mormon and non-Mormon, to study
and document the truth of the matter. The church has more than enough money for
the project, so why don't they do it. It is not all the difficult to figure
out why, but of course many will find excuse for why not, others just don't
wish to know and others just don't like the light of day.
Defenders of the faith are a hard nosed bunch around here.Anything
published to give credence to the stories, myths and writings of the Church are
held onto for dear life.Everything detractors can mention is scoffed at,
excused off, and ignored with pat answers as to why we don't "know"
certain things.The facts say the there were people that lived in the
Americas for centuries. Inca, Myan, etc. etc. None of the facts point out the
Lehi, Nephi and the family started it all or even contributed. It's pretty
simple. It's either 100% faith supported theory or fiction. There is
really not an argument.
While I appreciate the research and theories of Book of Mormon Mesoamerican
geography, I find that the Book of Mormon describes a land which does not
describe that particular land advocated by Brother Sorenson. I believe that
there are other peoples who are involved in that area and that, perhaps, the
people described in the Book of Mormon may have had some involvement with those
people, they weren't central to Mesoamerica. As Elder Perry recently
stated, the United States of America is the land spoken of in the Book of
Mormon. Perhaps we might have a greater understanding of Book of Mormon
geography and of known facts as applied to the writings contained in the Book of
Mormon. Hugh Nibley once stated that the Adena and Hopewell cultures found
within the United States would better provide us with those understandings than
the stone monuments of central and south America. There is more out there than
we can possibly conceive. The Book of Mormon is as Joseph Smith represented it.
Dear Brahmabull:Your comment is typical of those who have no
evidence and no good counter arguments. You've decided that because you
don't want to believe it, that's proof. Wow! That's a really
persuasive argument. I hope it sustains you in your old age.
It is so obvious when reading the Book of Mormon that it is written by different
people. Also, the incredibly complicated chiasmuses, the peotry of the many
verses, and the eloquence of the doctrine taught are beyond one man's
creation. Any self respecting scientist, investigating the Book of
Mormon, should come to the same conclusion. The catch is - many scientists have
their preconceived notions, which don't fit other theories and therefore
they are not truly open to investigate alternatives.The reality of
most events from long ago - we don't have conclusive records and therefore
must theorize. Theories come and theories go - but somewhere there is truth.
The evidences of the Book of Mormon are so numerous and irrefutable that a
person has to be somewhat closeminded to ignore them all.
RE: Chessermesser, Who are the "other sheep” John 10:16. “..the
Gentiles should be ‘fellowheirs’ and of the same body, and partakers
of his promise in Christ by the gospel".Eph 3:6. Reports of
findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew and other Old World writings in the New
World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared...None of these claims
has stood up to examination by reputable scholars." “It can be stated
definitely that there is no connection between the archeology of the New World
and the subject matter of the Book of Mormon. There is no correspondence
whatever between archeological sites and cultures as revealed by scientific
investigations and as recorded in the Book of Mormon, hence the book cannot be
regarded as having any historical value from the standpoint of the aboriginal
peoples of the New World." F.H.H. Roberts, Jr, Smithsonian Institution. “The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in
any way as a scientific guide.” Smithsonian archeologists see no direct
connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the
book." ("Statement Regarding The Book of Mormon," Smithsonian
Institution, Spring 1986)
Hi Friends, there has been some discussion about other non-Mormon scholars
either verifying or contradicting Sorenson’s work. Here is part of an
insightful interview he gave recently about “Mormon’s Codex”
and its effect on other scholars.I think it is worthwhile for people
on both sides of the discussion to review this interview in three parts. It is
on the Maxwell Institute site, under Ask the Scholar.“How have
non-LDS scholars reacted to your work? How do you feel about it? I
wouldn’t know. I suspect all but a few ignore what I write. If they are
steadfastly professional in their reading, it would be easy to be completely
unaware of my work. I suspect I would be classed by most such scholars with that
fairly large class of marginal writers who can safely be allotted no attention.
There may, however, be a few people “in the closet” who have paid
some attention to my and other scholarly Mormon work, but they may feel that to
draw attention to it by commenting on it, even negatively, would serve no useful
purpose, in their calculus.”
From the same interview, I thought these two items were very interesting and a
good summation of what Sorenson would consider "the best evidence":"What is the most significant evidence for the Book of Mormon?Mormon’s Codex contains information on up to 400 ways in which the Book
of Mormon appears to fit within the ancient cultural context of Mesoamerica. I
am most impressed with the archaeological finding that the central depression of
Chiapas, which most plausibly constitutes the heart of the Nephite land of
Zarahemla, was largely depopulated around AD 350 as a result of a military
campaign that stemmed from highland Guatemala, the most plausible seat of
Lamanite power. This is such a sweeping event, and the timing is so strikingly
correlated, that I am persuaded that these facts match significantly with what
is reported by Mormon in chapter two of his personal account. "
And finally..."Of almost equal strength is the fact that Kaminaljuyu,
the large archaeological site at Guatemala City and the most plausible site for
the city of Nephi, exhibits multiple signs of “sudden civilization”
around fifth or sixth centuries BC in agreement with the picture of early
Nephite culture growth according to the small plates record. Of related
significance, as I see it, is the picture sketched in chapter 20 of
Mormon’s Codex of what I called “a virtual avalanche” of
features of Near Eastern religion and ideology that appears in BC times in
While the Codex focuses on the Mesoamerican area for Nephite and Lamanite
civilizations, little is said about the likelihood of numerous Lamanite
migrations down into South America. These civilizations would have been
separated geographically and culturally from the Lamanite civilization up
north.As a missionary in Brazil in 1972, I once had the opportunity
to teach the daughter of an Amazonian tribal chief. She read The Book of Mormon
in a week, and confirmed that this sacred history closely matched the tribal
legends she was told as a child. Obviously, she was no learned archeologist, but
she had a worthwhile insight into the culture of her people. She was baptized
within a week after completing her reading in The Book of Mormon.
Since many LDS believe in the limited geography theory of the BOM, may they
conclude that the bronze skins of American Indian populations are do to their
Asian heritage (mostly) and not the Lamanite curse of a black skin. This would
be good because we can finally dump completely the idea that skin tone denotes
CatsYour comment is funny because you did exactly the same thing
that you claim I did. The only difference is that you didn't provide any
argument. You only said Joseph Smith never read those things... You don't
provide logical reasons, proof, references - nothing. I could equally say that
your only argument is that you "believe and want so much to believe and that
is your proof." By the way, I will be just fine in my old age, along with
the %99 of the world that doesn't believe in Mormonism. Yep, all will be
RE: Cinci Man. "In 1993 Michael D. Coe, professor of anthropology at Yale
University, summarized the situation by saying: 'I have seen no
archaeological evidence before or since that  date which would convince me
that it [the Book of Mormon] is anything but a fanciful creation by an unusually
gifted individual living in upstate New York in the early nineteenth
century." Also, numerous, highly qualified and recognized
experts in the relevant fields have expressed their rejection of the BoM as a
valid and truthful history, based on their understanding of the subjects of
Native American history, language, mythology and etc. Responding to a widely
distributed inquiry by James Fogal, requesting insights of relevant scholars on
the matter of the veracity of the BoM,many responded.
Thank you Sharrona. You always prove my points. There are literally thousands
of detractors who cannot speak to any specific evidence presented. They just
make blanket statements the they've "never seen" anything
convincing. I invite you and other naysayers who offered nothing substantial to
address what I wrote when challenged to provide one piece of evidence that has
wide support in the international intellectual community. You can quote every
person you can find who has not seen anything, but please offer specific
response that denies the evidence I wrote about. Still your turn. This was my
last post, per DSN rules. I could write dozens more and you will still refuse to
To the Book of Mormon doubters, how can you pass judgement when all the info is
not in yet. They find new findings every day and have not stopped digging yet
for clues. The BOM isn't a book of ancient technology although it does
mention unsubstianted technologies. If your Dad whom you trust told you
something that seemed contrary to your understanding, wouldn't you give him
the benefit of the doubt and wait for more info? Why rush to judgement.
RE: Cinci Man. Robert Starling at the Book of Mormon Archeological Forum,
“The Smithsonian has backed off their statements from 1996."
Wrong,” The Smithsonian March 8, 2012,“s still correct
– no revisions.”As much as Mormons would like to believe that
the Smithsonian Institution “backed off” its previous findings and
Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon, that just isn’t the case. The
changes to the Smithsonian’s statement did not seek to “bring it
up-to-date scientifically,” for the Institution continued to “stand
by” its former statement–a statement that detailed many scientific
problems with the Book of Mormon.RE: The Right Hand of God in the
Bible Hebrew Idiom." That being a figure of speech much like, "he's
my right hand man, a metaphor for the omnipotence of God. The Greek word Dexios
used about 52 times in the N.T. as a relationship, or orientation, and is
translated idiomatically into "right hand.”
@Fred VaderFred,It's easy to provide a peer reviewed
professional publication that provides verifiable evidence which disproves
Sorenson's Book of Mormon location claim.David L. Lentz's paper
entitled "Maya Diets of the Rich and Poor: Paleoethnobotanical Evidence from
Copan" shows there was no wheat pollen in the area Sorenson claims. Since
then hundreds of additional core samples have been drilled throughout Central
America and the result is the same....no wheat pollen. If wheat were grown, as
is claimed in the Book of Mormon, there would be pollen.See David J.
Rue's 1987 paper in Nature titled "Early Agriculture and Early
Postclassic Maya Occupation in Western Honduras."
Who in Joseph Smith's time and station knew, believed or postulated that
there were not one, but two completely separate and distinct longstanding
cultures in ancient Mesoamerica - one who died out just before the other came to
prominence?If only for this one evidence I laugh at the Book of
I am reminded of a line from Raiders of the Lost Ark: "They're digging
in the wrong place!"Prior to 1700, hundreds of Spanish ships had
already taken most of what was not nailed down, including the chronicles of the
conquistadores - all of which found their way to Portugal, Spain and Rome.Rather than asking the LDS Church to open their archives, I'm sure
we could find more evidence of the BoM's veracity by examining all of the
Catholic Churches artifacts removed from Mesoamerica....A good take
on this is David G. Calderwood's 'Voices from the Dust'.
I've read Sorenson's earlier books. I've also read the
statistical wordprint articles. I'm very familiar with the methods used:
Multiple ANOVA, Canonical Analysis, etc. These are standard methods for testing
hypothesis and looking for causal relationships.The original paper,
appearing in Authorship of the Book of Mormon, was stunning to me. I was a
skeptic. The sampling and analytic methods were careful. The test was simple:
Null hypothesis was that the BOM was written by a single author. The frequencies
of non-context words is used to establish authorship. Techniques applied to
studies of Shakespeares' writing for example. The ANOVA test produced a p
value 0.000000001. Statistical significance is defined as P < 0.01. In
English, this indicates that the probability that the BOM had a single author
was one in a billion. The Canonical analysis indicated a clear time-line
ordinating the books along a timeline from Nephi to Mormon.This
study was repeated at Cal, by a group of statisticians, only one of whom was
LDS. Same results.
Let's be clear - are there indirect evidences that can be used to support
the literal historicity of the Book of Mormon? Yes. Does the evidence itself
support the Book of Mormon? Probably not. What fails to get lost in all these
models about Book of Mormon settings, is the possibility of no setting at all.
Interestingly, that's the one possibility excluded from many of the open
minded Mormon scholars, or even commenter's on this article, who complain
that the rest of the world won't take their scholarship seriously. The day
you are willing to entertain the possibility that the Book of Mormon isn't
anything more than 19th century fiction, is the day I will waste time vetting
400 points of circumstantial evidence.
I’ve started An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon but
haven’t gotten very far in it. It is a very scholarly and academic read,
which wouldn’t normally be a problem for me, except that I haven’t
got that much time to read in the first place (and when I do, I really ought to
be studying actual scriptures, not apologetic works). Mormon’s Codex seems
like it might be a little bit easier to digest while still providing basically
the same information. I will definitely look into getting a copy of it at some
I personally find at least as much evidence pointing to the North American model
where the Nephites were the Hopewell culture instead of the Mezzo-American
culture. Some liberties need to be taken with the geography to make
the North American model fit (i.e. narrow neck is between great lakes and Sidon
flows south), but no more than those needed by the Mezzo-American model (i.e.
"swords" = obsidian-edged clubs and North = West).
I am a Book of Mormon believer, but do not buy in to the limited Meso-American
model simply because I cannot reconcile the repeated identification of the lands
of the Book of Mormon to be occurring upon a "land which is choice above all
other lands." The descriptors of the prophecies of the peoples of the land,
together with the other promised land descriptions, tell us of the land which we
know as the United States of America. As L. Tom Perry stated: “The United
States is the promised land foretold in the Book of Mormon—a place where
divine guidance directed inspired men to create the conditions necessary for the
Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ." We know where the plates were
found. We know where the New Jerusalem is to be established. I believe that Dr.
Sorenson is stretching his science to fit his paradigm. The intellectuals need
to evaluate their paradigm and exam the evidences left by the Adena and Hopewell
of North America. That "Codex" is likely to be more compelling.
For "THe Wraith", Oh, yeah, it was a well known fact that Manchester and
Palmyra in 1823 had two of the best libraries in the United States for the time!
You just walked right in the Marble Buildings and looked at the plethera of
books on the hundreds of thousands of library shelves of anciant american
inhabitants of the time. He had all kinds of resource material to write his book
of mormon with. It was an amazing work he slapped together with the help of his
mother and sisters and brothers while his daddy did all the farm work by himself
to keep the family on easy street and have money to bribe those early believers
into uprooting their families and moving to kirtland ohio! Heck, the Smiths
financed the whole thing with rich farm buddy and most of the mormon investments
today come from those early roots of that work! Get real!!!
Dr. Peterson, you are one of my all-time fave apologists. I will definitely take
your recommendation to heart and have enjoyed any treatise of the meso-American
paradigm I have read in the past. My problem with any of them, however, is they
only offer tangential and circumstantial material from quasi-
"Lamanite-only" or "fled-Nephite-at-best" presence and never
anything that I can put in my personal tally of
"direct-Nephite-plausibility."However, with a more careful
reading of the Book, one sees that the primary civilization of record built with
wood and lived in the "Land of Promise," which to my knowledge,
hasn't ever changed hemispheres (from north to south or vice-versa). The
greatest and only significant collection of direct plausible relics of a
Christian/Hebrew belief system were found in copious quantities throughout the
upper mid-western and NE US.
Very well said, Dan.
You can't place a work of fiction into a physical landscape. If you could
someone would have located Middle Earth. Oh wait, I have, let me sell you the
book about it. Geez, seriously?
Hey Fred, no self respecting archaeologist would bother trying to disprove this
nonsense. You can't disprove something that can't BE proved. No
right thinking scholar would waste a day of their life entertaining such folly.
ALL scholars and researchers would agree with the archeological findings cited
in Sorensen's book. They come from and are corroborated with non LDS
sources for the most part. What they would disagree with are his conclusions of
what they mean. So the real question for LDS and non LDS alike is "What do
you make of these 400 citations?" We can't say with certainty that the
rapid drop in population in the area cited by Sorensen as Cumorah IS necessarily
the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites. It does not and cannot
prove that these 2 societies existed.But, we also can't say
that there is absolutely no archeological finding that supports the idea that 2
societies battled and that there was a large scale drop in population. What
Sorensen is trying to say with this book is that there are 400 findings that
match descriptions of society, biology, religion, warfare, etc. found in the
Book of Mormon. That's a substantial amount, regardless of whether you
agree with his conclusions.You can take the above however you want.
But let's stop saying that these things are "Proofs" and likewise
that "There is no physical evidence".
The WraithKaysville, UT said:"Yes Verdad I've read
his book. I found his conclusions, methods, and evidence to be laughable. Pretty
harsh but there you go.Here's my challenge. If you can meet
this challenge I'll give Sorenson a deeper look. Find me one, just one,
accredited professional non-Mormon archaeologist, historian, or anthropologist,
studying Amerindian culture or geography that agrees with Dr. Sorenson. Just one
person in these fields of study who has produced a work supporting a single Book
of Mormon claim even. Just one."Good for you! I am glad you read
it. Makes no difference what evidence you are handed, you still wont believe it.
That is apparent. Move along dude. The only knowledge you care to share is
ruffling feathers here.
Can I assume, then, that the evidence presented in this book will inform the
world, and become the accepted fact of anthropologists, archaeologists, grade
school students and geographers everywhere? It hasn't yet, and there
doesn't seem to be any tectonic shift in thought afoot. I'm waiting;
we're all curious to see if the story fits the facts or if facts can be
made to fit the story.
Sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.
Just exactly where is this narrow neck of land the Book of Mormon refers to?
Just curious. There are a lot of references to places in the the Book of Mormon
that are so vague that one can only make an educated guess.