Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Mapping Book of Mormon lands

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  • MrNirom1 Portland, OR
    March 7, 2016 6:10 a.m.

    The people of MesoAmerica are descendants of Lehi. But that does not make MesoAmerica the Book of Mormon lands. Those are the people who boarded the ships that Hagoth built when he sailed North. To look for the Book of Mormon lands.. one would have to go south from where the ships sailed from. Lehi Never saw MesoAmerica.

  • MrNirom1 Portland, OR
    March 6, 2016 7:44 p.m.

    I get so weary of the beating round pegs into square holes and visa versa. Yes.. MesoAmerica is filled with things Nephite and Lamanite. But that does not make it the Book of Mormon lands that Lehi and Nephi lived upon.

    The people in MesoAmerica and those farther North.. (yes.. north is north) all came from those that sailed North.. (yes.. north is north) in the ships that Hagoth built. And if they sailed North.. then one has to look from whence they came. (yes.. south is south).

  • Actually Provo, UT
    March 18, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    To atl134, it matters because Jesus matters. Is there a better witness outside of the New Testament that Jesus was the Son of God and did break the bands of death?

    For Vanka, there is some part of God in everyone, when a human speaks truth, there should be a resonance with that part of God inside you unless you're "past feeling"

    "He hath spoken unto you in a still small voice but ye were PAST feeling that ye could not FEEL his words" 1 Nephi 17:45

    May I remind the naysayers that this same "evidence" was repeated in the New Testament.

    If you read the Book of Mormon you know the land was cursed and the evidences "slipped away." Hel. 13:35

    It's guaranteed, if you read and pray, it WILL resonant within you - unless you're past feeling. Spend energy discovering that side of yourself.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    March 18, 2011 6:15 p.m.


    I appreciate your attempt to convince me with your words.

    Unfortunately, according to what LDS have told me about the "wisdom of men" and the "arm of flesh", I cannot trust your words. You are, after all, only an imperfect, sinful, flawed mortal.

    According to the LDS, we must not put our trust in science, or in logic, or in empirical evidence. If we trust science, logic, and empirical evidence, it will lead us NOT to believe in the BOM, which lacks any empirical evidence, rational explanation, or logical connection with what scientific archeology and anthropology has taught us.

    Unfortunately, if we cannot trust mortal human beings, then we cannot trust your words or the words of any mortal.

    I can't even ask "God, the eternal Father in the name of Christ" because doing so would be trusting some potentially fictitious mortal human named Moroni who says there is a God and the indigestion my March Madness pizza caused me is really "the Holy Ghost" telling me the BOM is true.

    What a dilemma.

    But thanks for your input.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    March 18, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    "Speculation almost always leads to contention which leads to anger, which often leads to unreasonable defense of one's position. Why do we argue about where the events in the Book of Mormon occurred? It doesn't matter. As many have accurately stated, "What does matter is that those events did occur.

    I would word it differently. What does matter is whether or not those events did occur.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    March 18, 2011 4:35 p.m.

    @The Vanka 9:22

    Your comment is a very good one and hopefully I can give you a good response.

    When the scriptures talk about not relying on "the arm of flesh" what it means is, ultimately the only person we can be totally trustworthy of is God. It does not mean we totally disregard the words of advise or counsel from others. It means that God, through the Holy Ghost, is where our ultimate source of knowledge and truth comes from.

    This debate is a perfect example. Both sides of the Book of Mormon archeology discussion make very good points, and while it is interesting to study people's different ideas and theories, the ultimate way we can know the truth of the Book of Mormon is through the Holy Ghost.

    You asked if we should trust Moroni's words since he was simply a man. I would say "Yes" we can trust his words since he was a prophet of God, and that God uses men, even imperfect ones, to bring forth his words. (Amos 3:7 in the Old Testament)

    Thanks for your input.

  • Arlin Nusbaum Modesto, CA
    March 18, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    @hoping, the reason geography is important is because of the land promises associated with them which modelers have purposely ignored.

    For example,

    1. White Gentiles would come by the multitudes and buy BoM lands.
    2. Their mother countries would battle against them on the land and waters.
    3. No Kings/Queens on BoM land.

    That rules out all models but one - Western New York. On my geography site are five models: Internal, Spiritual, External, Cultural, Watershed and Good Interactive.

    @the truth, same ole, same ole, "I'm just starting out.." but you've already shown a bias, which means you've already chosen a piece of land.

    Regarding seas, the sea that crossed was never referenced again, therefore their lands did not border the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. Also, their lands were "hidden" and they were never discovered, i.e. they did not widely trade, nor were they on sea or land trade routes.

    Btw, the use of "isle" as given in Isa. 11 by Moroni to Joseph is not singular therefore the clear reading of the text "Isles of the Sea" and the interpretation I cited before by Nephi of many islands stands.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 17, 2011 3:38 p.m.

    RE: Arlin Nusbaum | 11:24 p.m

    We will agree to disagree,

    "Isle" was often used by old testament people to refer somethng coastal, but also often for a city, or place where people live, continent, inhabited lands, etc.

    and I do not believe it is clear.

    and again a_sea can be anything from the_ocean to a_lake, even_land!

    so when it says there are seas here and there it does not imply the land is fully bordered by water,

    just that a body of water is north of them or south of them, or west of them,

    I have proffered no model, so I do not_know what model you speak of, I have simply given inforamtion from the BOM that covers the period from nephi to mosiah, the first three hundred years

    the orginal land the lamanites and nephites lived on doesn't share the same geographic locale as the land of zarahemala,

    as that is clearly a different "wilderness".

    and lamanites and nephites clearly didn't build with stone, nor have any expertise in stone,

    the jardites who came from babylon, and_the people of zarahemla may_have had some.

    I'm just beginning my_study of_the next three hundred years.

  • hoping Holladay, UT
    March 17, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    Speculation almost always leads to contention which leads to anger, which often leads to unreasonable defense of one's position. Why do we argue about where the events in the Book of Mormon occurred? It doesn't matter. As many have accurately stated, "What does matter is that those events did occur.
    Why can't someone draw a map of BofM lands without reference to actual geography. Why must there always be a link to some known area that has been mapped? I am not an artist; my ability to render objects spatially is nil, or I would draw my own.
    In the LDS edition of the Bible, in the map section: "The following maps can help you to better understand the scriptures. By knowing the geography of the lands discussed in the scriptures, you can better understand scriptural events."
    I would like such a map for BofM lands.
    A draftsman designs a machine based on a description given him by an inventor. That machine may or may not look like any machine that ever existed before.
    A BofM map could be the same. Lehi landed somewhere and Nephi went off by himself. Somebody map it. Please!

  • Arlin Nusbaum Modesto, CA
    March 16, 2011 11:24 p.m.

    @the truth, no offense but that's a weak argument for circumventing the plain reading of the text for them being on an island. The Hebrew can mean island OR coast true, but in the context of how it was used, the former is obvious:

    "The Lord has made the Sea our path and we are upon an isle of the sea but great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea wherefore as it says isles there must needs be MORE THAN THIS and they are inhabited also by our brethren." (2 Nephi 10:20-1)

    The smallness of the land (1.5 days wide), the references to four seas and the above make it plain, they WERE on an island. If your model lacks a four seas, better to change your model instead of changing the meaning of the text.

    Western New York has ski resorts, so the mountain requirement near Zarahemla is met. Your model lacks fulfilled land prophecies, Western New York does not.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    March 16, 2011 9:22 p.m.

    Jeff, Bill, and other apologists,

    You have repeatedly warned me against trusting in "men" and "the arm of flesh" to know whether or not the BOM is "true". You have tried to convince me that I must rely ONLY on God and His Holy Spirit to learn the truth of spiritual things.

    Unfortunately, you seem oblivious to the self-contradiction of your advice. If I am not mistaken, YOU are "men" and part of "the arm of flesh". Your advice, therefore, by your own admission, must not be trusted.

    So it is with the BOM itself.

    When Moroni (a fallible "man") tells the reader to "ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost" - that is his own, personal human logic and perspective.

    It presupposes there is a god, and that the reader believes in that god.

    Should we "trust" Moroni's words? He is, after-all, part of the fallen, sinful, human race - the "arm of flesh" you distrust.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 16, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    RE: LDS Revelations

    You comment is no different from other Antis and doubters,

    filling your comments with speculation and opinion, trying to infer Joseph Smith said something he did'nt, while never establishing any foundation for your views, while belittling others.

    weak indeed.

    Interestingly studying the BOM, you find that for first few hundred years,

    lamanites dwelt in tents, wore loin cloths, were skilled in bow and axe and cimeter (a weapon much like those used by the iroquois)

    that sounds like north american indians!

    and you find that nephites built with wood (NOT stone), buildings, machinery, etc,

    so what evidence would be left over two thousand years later?

    they also farmed had cattle (bison?) and goats and there were forests,

    Sounds like north america again!

    and NO mention of narrow necks or being surrounded by water,

    (the use of "isle" as used by old testment prophets, and nephi and lehi would have used the word the same, refers to coastal people, a coastal city nation civilzaton, Not an island!)

    and they did not find zarahelama until they went DOWN into a wilderness that must be different from where the nephites and lamanites were!

    the otherside of_a mountain!

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    March 16, 2011 3:35 p.m.

    Belief in the Book of Mormon will have to remain in the realm of faith because there's no real empirical evidence to support it. There are theories but no real archeological 'stuff' to back up the claims as is the case with other texts claiming to be ancient and it's not like people haven't been looking for it.

    Mike Ash IMO makes some way out speculations in an attempt to make belief in the BoM look like a rational decision. I don't think it is. Belief in the supernatural never is. Even Joseph Smith said he wouldn't have believed his own story had he not experienced it. Not unlike Smith's story the BoM, it's origin claims and it's stories are pretty unbelievable w/o hard evidence for many.

    I think it would be better for Mr Ash to admit that belief in the BOM as an ancient document isn't supported and leave it to those who want to go the route of faith. I you continue to openly espouse such apologetic sillyness you will only be seen as silly..

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    March 16, 2011 12:28 p.m.

    "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen". This is the sort of faith Christians often rely upon when confronted with evidence or arguments that would disprove their religious beliefs. This sort of faith is problematic because if a person really does believe something without evidence, even weak evidence, then they have formed a belief about the state of the world independent of information about the world. Beliefs are supposed to be mental representations about the way the world is but this means beliefs should be dependent upon what we learn about the world; beliefs shouldn't be independent of what we learn about the world. If a person believes something is true in this sense of "faith," their belief has become separated from facts and reality. Just as evidence plays no role in producing the belief, evidence, reason, and logic can't disprove the belief. A belief that is not dependent on reality also can't be refuted by reality.

    The "faith" which some try to bring in here for non-believers is usually just belief that falls short of absolute certainty, a confidence based on past performance. Faith as trust is something_we_all_have!

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 16, 2011 11:41 a.m.


    Simply put, not everything that we have faith in is true.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    March 16, 2011 11:39 a.m.


    I've read your responses before! I've presented four reasonable arguments about what you address that you are welcome to respond to with evidence and logic. Yet again you fall short! Personal religious experiences do not constitute universally acceptable and reliable evidence. If there is just one God, why is there such wide variety in the reports of religious experiences? They are mutually incompatible. They cant all be true, so at least some must be false. How do we differentiate? What reasons can the religious believer give to accept their reports over the reports made by others....especially very different ones? It can be argued that religious experiences are little more than psychological manifestations aimed at fulfilling some basic psychological desire or need that has been self-interpreted as having a divine source when it doesn't. You may not even be aware of it and thus can't accept it.

    There are various definitions of faith, but the LDS definition can be disregarded as one of them. Faith is usually used to refer to belief in a proposition that is not supported by a perceived majority of evidence. Sorry...but your "personal" faith_based evidence proves nothing!

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    March 16, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    @ Joe Blow: I'm not sure why, "based on [my] light bulb analogy," I would "reject the statement" that "Latter-day Saints take as their standard definition of faith that it is belief in something unseen that is true." When one flips on the light switch, one has faith that the light will come on. If there is no light, someone with great faith in his home's electrical capabilities may usually assume rightfully that a bulb is burned out. There will be only faith in action until the bulb is replaced; then knowledge replaces faith.

    You wrote: "I have faith in lots of things. But I 'KNOW' very little. And I am ok with that." I feel the same.

    I agree with skeptic that "faith is a gamble," and that "a wise gambler studies the natural probabilities" and that "the lazy man lets someone elese do his superstitious thinking and to tell him what to do and believe and how to gamble his life." It is somewhat ironic that, though we agree on the basic principle, we have come to different conclusions, but "I am OK with that."

    I also agree with sharrona. Christ should be the object.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 16, 2011 10:30 a.m.


    As you can see from my post above, your words can be slightly changed to fit the context of just about any religion.

    Your scolding of both Mormoncowboy and JAX can easily be applied to you by countless other religionists of different faiths...that the reason you dont believe their particular version of God's will is because you HAVE NOT properly followed the correct process for belief.

    Your version does not hold a monopoly on the way to determine supernatural truth.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    March 16, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    "The Emperor's New Clothes" is a tale about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that are invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"

    I think faith has value, but especially in a religious context, I think faith can have some negative effects as demonstrated by the tale of the Emperor's Clothes. Sometimes, I think we are conditioned to see clothes on a naked Emperor. Other times, we just want so badly for the clothes to be there that we imagine them in our mind, and it becomes real to us. When somebody points out that the Emperor isn't actually wearing any clothes, the world of fantasy and reality collide. When faith results in a rejection of truth and reality, then faith loses it's value.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    March 16, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    The problem is that he, Allah, has declared to the world his word yet you don't believe it. He has declared that the Qur'an is correct and true. He has declared who his servants are...the descendants of Abraham and Imran chosen by God to bring the "Will of God" to the peoples of the nations. All this has already been done, yet you don't believe.

    As it is stated in the Qur'an, man must give up, desert, surrender (to God). You have to put off the Natural Man and totally surrender to Allah and his will, just as a small child does to their Father. That is the difference.

    Allah said "Whomsoever God desires to guide, He expands his breast to Islam." You have denied this.

    Until you allow the Quran to reveal the truth, then we just have to say we agree to disagree, but the answers have already been given. The proof is in the Quran itself. The Quran will testify to those who diligently seek it. You have to act, not to be acted upon.

    Bill, do you see the game you are playing...

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    March 16, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    Jeff: Nothing, religious or otherwise, is ever achieved without some form of faith. True but, faith is only as good as the object of that faith.

    ,do not believe every spirit, but tests the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world(1 John 4:2),"this is what the LORD(YHWH)Almighty the God of Israel says. Do not let the prophets and diviners(JS)among you deceive you(Jer 29:8 NIV)

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 16, 2011 8:26 a.m.

    Faith: Faith is a gamble. Sometime the odds are good and some times not so good; a long shot. A wise gambler studies the natural probabilities (math/science). The lazy man lets someone elese do his superstitious thinking and to tell him what to do and believe and how to gamble his life. I get up every morning and gamble that no one has poisoned my coffee. So far, so good. But I don't posture myself as a person of great faith, just lucky and a fairly smart gambler.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    March 16, 2011 4:23 a.m.

    Jeff, Based on your light bulb analogy (which I agree with), then I assume that you reject the statement below.

    "Latter-day Saints take as their standard definition of faith that it is belief in something unseen that is true"

    I have faith in lots of things. But I "KNOW" very little. And I am ok with that.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    March 15, 2011 10:03 p.m.

    @ Jiggle: Since faith extends beyond religious applications, science may also require it. In fact, people frequently place a great deal of faith in conclusions that make claims to empirical data that are really faith-based.

    The beginning of life is a perfect example. Religionists use only faith to support the idea that the world was created by God, but non-believers have no better than faith to suggest that it wasn't.

    Latter-day Saints take as their standard definition of faith that it is belief in something unseen that is true. We doctrinally reject the idea that faith is belief in something without evidence; we seek evidence--both in the empirical world and the spiritual one, but we accept belief in unseen things as constituting faith.

    Some of my personal spiritual experiences have been so powerful that they supercede all other evidences. Though my spiritual experiences are personal, and I share them selectively and withhold details that are not for general public consumption, I find that they are very similar to those had by others, and they are readily understood by many.

    I believe that none are converted by any but their own experiences.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    March 15, 2011 9:13 p.m.

    It's too common to see religious people trying to defend their beliefs by relying on faith, claiming both that faith justifies their position and that their beliefs are based on faith or faith experiences. Skeptics and non-believers are justified in regarding this as little more than a cop-out because faith isn't really any kind of standard that can be tested for reliability. Even if religious theists don't intend it in this manner, it seems that in practice "faith" is simply pulled out whenever attempted arguments based on reason and evidence fail. Claims about the truth of religion or the existence of some god cannot be defended to a skeptical nonbeliever or freethinker on the basis of faith. It means that faith is not an adequate or reasonable defense of any belief or belief system which purports to have any empirical connection to the reality which we all share. Faith is also an unreliable and irrational basis for singling out one religion and claiming that it is true while all other religions, as well as any competing secular philosophies, are false. People tend to believe things they want be be true even when reality says othewise.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    March 15, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    @ sundancejedi: I would be happy to answer your question about faith. I would have been happy to answer it previously, but I thought you were being ironic.

    Faith is not just a religious principle. In its broadest sense, faith could be considered the driving force behind all action. Indeed, something as simple as turning on a light switch is an act of faith--one doesn't know the switch is going to turn on a light until it happens; up to that point, it is simply faith.

    It seems to me that this idea can be applied to all human endeavor.

    In the course of this application, we frequently find that our faith is misplaced. We vote for something in faith that we can find an expected outcome, then find that our faith has been in vain.

    Sometimes our faith seems to be in vain (a lightbulb may be burned out), but needs only a minor adjustment (replace the lightbulb). The expectation was reasonable, but the specific circumstance was wrong. Faith drives the change of circumstance or continued pursuit of an expected outcome.

    Nothing, religious or otherwise, is ever achieved without some form of faith.

  • Arlin Nusbaum Modesto, CA
    March 15, 2011 6:44 p.m.

    @the truth, that's right, past modelers were too quick and drew hasty generalizations from single references on many points including Ramah being the same as Cumorah, but then missing that Ripliancum is the same as the Sea North, or that the Sea South was the same as the Sea that Divides the Land.

    Modelers should check their conclusions across three models: Physical, Spiritual and Internal. No mesotheorists has checked their theories against the Spiritual/Fulfilled Land Prophecies except Hauck.

    @the truth, Joseph did not translate the BoM, he only dictated.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 15, 2011 2:44 p.m.

    RE: The Milk Beast | 11:25 a.m

    Milk Beast you way off base, Ash is NOT trying to reveal anyting, he is simply doing scholarly study on the BOM,

    He has NOT asserted that the BOM took place in mexico,

    he has simply demonstrated the possiblity of it, via scholarly study,

    Ash has presented large amount of circumstatial evidence (from all areas of study) supporting the veracity of the BOM,

    When you have enough circumstatial evidence you can legimately start drawing conclusions,

    The only problem I have is people drawing conclusions, making assumptions, from vague descriptions,

    for example, a "sea" may just be a lake,

    decribing distances based on days of travel, is NOT the same as a forced power walk across mexico, the region may much samller than thought

    a "narrow neck" is not an inclusive and complete geographic descriptor,

    then we have the otherside making claims against the BOM because they do not like Joseph Smith's modern translation of heioroglyphic symbols
    which do not resent a language so much as a thought or idea,

    words like "sword" or "chariot" are simply the closest modern equivalent of that thought or idea,

    enough for a good translation.

  • sundancejedi Provo, UT
    March 15, 2011 2:43 p.m.

    No one has answered my question yet. Why is faith so important? Some have said that it is only through faith people are "converted"...whatever that means.. yet no one has stated why faith is so important in contrast to actual knowledge.

  • Aspiring Theist Sandy, UT
    March 15, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska,

    I hope this doesn't sound like I am picking on you, but, for me it isn't as simple and pray and get a powerful strong no doubting answer. (I have a couple of practicing Mormons who I consider good sincere friends who have confided that they have not received a powerful answer to their prayers about the Book of Mormon.)

    I have a neighbor who claims he had a personal visitation by Jesus Christ. He said Christ told him the Book of Mormon was true but that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had fallen into apostasy and was false.

    Do you believe this could be a true spiritual experience?

    Some of us who are searching need some empirical evidence.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 15, 2011 1:40 p.m.

    JM: could you please define "anti-Mormon" and "attacking the church"? I was once accused of blasphemy by an evangelist when I asked him how he knew the Bible was true. I'm not seeing much difference between the two of you.

    Bill: I wish you could step back and look at this dispassionately.
    " . . . He has declared to the World his Church . . ."

    But not directly, otherwise there would be no choice but to believe.

    "He has declared the Book of Mormon is correct and true. He has declared who his servants are."

    Through whom? That same book. Those same servants.

    How do we know they are telling the truth? The Holy Ghost.

    How do we know what the Holy Ghost feels like? Those same servants.

    Surely you see the cycle here. At some point I "put off the Natural Man and totally submit" myself (I "buy in:), then I'm in the belief cycle and I don't need proof. The problem is that this works the same for all religions that claim to be the one-and-only-led-by-God. Until I start questioning and break a link in the cycle.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 15, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    To Bill in Nebraska, Is what you are telling us is that you have studied and answered the questions that the Pope is Jesus's elected head of the World Church. You do have millions the world over who do agree with you, I guess they have answered the same questions for themselvs that you answered. perhaps it would be better if you just stated you found your answer and not the world's answer.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 15, 2011 1:13 p.m.


    I have read, prayed, pondered and studied the BoM with an open and sincere heart. I'm confident the BOM is not true.

    When I meet the Savior and if He tells me that I was wrong about the BOM, I will have a serious discussion with Him about all the many thousands of reasons why I just could not accept the BOM as historical.

    We will frankly discuss Joseph Smith's past problems as a "translator" with the Greek Psalter, Book of Abraham, Kinderhook Plates. We will frankly discuss the many different changes to the "most correct book on earth". We will frankly discuss the many different and contradictory teachings apologists and leaders have put forth about the BOM. I will frankly discuss with Him the complete absence of any evidence to support the BOM. I will also frankly discuss with Him the mountains of scientific evidence against the BOM.

    More importantly, I will discuss with Him that I was a good person, was kind and gentle, I was honest in all my dealings and did my best to follow His teachings. I know He will say that is all that mattered.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 15, 2011 12:21 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy and JAX: The problem is that he has declared to the World his Church yet you don't believe it. He has declared that the Book of Mormon is correct and true. He has declared who his servants are. All this has already been done, yet you don't believe.

    As it is stated in the Book of Mormon, the Natural Man is an enemy to God. You have to put off the Natural Man and totally submit yourself to the Father and his will, just as a small child does to their Father. That is the difference. Christ as already said, "Whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants, IT IS THE SAME." You have denied this.

    So yes, I can answer the questions because I have had to sit there and answer them for myself. Until you allow the Holy Ghost to reveal the truth through the spirit then we just have to say to agree to disagree, but the answers have already been given. The proof is in the Book itself. The Holy Ghost will testify to those who diligently seaking it. You have to act, not to be acted upon.

  • The Milk Beast Herriman, UT
    March 15, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    Michael Ash,

    I have a question for you. Based upon Wilford Woodruff it would appear that you are "attempting to assert revelation for those outside of your stewardship."

    Here is Wilford's statement:

    "If He [God] wants the geography of the Book of Mormon revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point."
    - Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 5:83

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    March 15, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    I think mainstream LDS members are demonstrating a bit of myopia. Even if the Book of Mormon was somehow proven true, there are several religions that already believe in the book, and many others would pop up. I think all of the Book of Mormon religions would immediately find many new followers upon the discovery of proving evidence. But one would still have to rely on faith to find the right sect, same as Christianity now.

    On the other hand, if Christ appeared and revealed the truth of one particular religion, that would be quite different. In that event, no matter which religion he revealed as "true", I think he would have a lot of explaining to do to the vast majority of people on the planet. In fact, I think he would have to convince people not only that he is Christ, but that he is, in a fact, a benevolent God and not an evil God. These things aren't nearly as black & white as we like to pretend they are.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 15, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    Jm wrote:

    "@Searching&all critics: Im curious, would anything open your heart? You demand evidences, but Ive posted often on those things I listed, and given many references. What are you specifically searching for?"

    I think everyone on these boards, LDS and non-LDS, can agree that you have never posted evidence. What you in fact post are strange ramblings, and, when you indeed provide a reference it inevitably turns out to not support your position.

    I would love to see some of your evidence JM. But as of yet, I'm still waiting.

  • ex missionary Sandy, UT
    March 15, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    Supposedly JS provided a translation for our day. If North for them means East for us, wouldn't he have said East? Isn't that what some apologists say he did with tapirs (horses) and clubs (swords)?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 15, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska:

    Why don't you let me answer that question, rather than assuming the prerogative to do it for me. The simple answer is, if Jesus Christ appeared to me - and I knew that it was in fact Christ - of course I would believe him. You just act as though this type of evidence is common place. As of yet, Christ has not appeared to me, and what little "evidence" good believers like you try and offer up, pales in comparison to the hypothetical you pose. It does not follow to suggest that because I'm not compelled by the literature, I also wouldn't be compelled by a greater "witness".

    As for putting my faith " man", of course I do. I am in fact a human man, so naturally I think like one, and require the type of proof that can be comprehended by man. To assert anything more or less than this is absurd. The fact is, when religion doesn't have to make sense with accepted realities - such as alleged civilizations vanishing without a trace - anything goes. We can always contrive "good" explanations, when natural constraints are out the door.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    March 15, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    The manner some church believers express their faith in an unknowing manner may indicate that their professed great faith is more conditioned superstition than real faith.

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    March 15, 2011 6:33 a.m.


    Mankind has certainly learned so much, especially in the past few hundred years. How blessed we are to have gained the capacity for further knowledge from the Lord; to know that He is still there and is very interested in each of us comming closer to Him. How wonderful it is the heavens are once again open.

    So, why these articles? There are those who have faith in God and trust both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. They desire to identify culturally with the Book of Mormon the same way they can identify with the Bible. By thinking through various theories and models, they are seeking knowledge the best they can. Through these articles, Michael Ash offers these ideas to us - to those who can think for ourselves. Perhaps at some point, when the Lords feels mankind is ready, He will provide us information on the location of Book of Mormon lands.

    Until then, anyone who exercises faith in God (as abundently explain in the scriptures) will have the tools necessary to maintain an unshakable testimony of God should that be the path they choose.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 15, 2011 1:36 a.m.

    Like Jeff, Bill, etc, I wonder why critics would want proof. Im the one most into mountains of evidence, but even this is only trying to open hearts, showing that anti-Mormons make many false assumptions. I can prove that certain IP religions were centered on many precise details of Jesus life, but I dont post those things. Faith is a crucial purpose of life here, and, if you have no faith, proof will only condemn you. Scientific proofs of many BoM claims are there, but that will not heal you.

    @Searching&all critics: Further proof wont force you into faith, its impossible. But, Im curious, would anything open your heart? You demand evidences, but Ive posted often on those things I listed, and given many references. What are you specifically searching for?

    Also, you ask for references implying theyd make a differnce. Tell me which religious correlation or morphology reference etc would change your life and help you stop attacking LDS faith in Christ (by posting anti-Mormon website misinformation etc) Pick from any Ive mentioned, excluding above.

    MichaelM, sorry, originally you seemed supportive of DC, Moroni, and seemed offended, misunderstanding Mike who said all IP are BoM.

  • Magaju win Scottsbluff, neb
    March 14, 2011 11:43 p.m.

    To JM

    I take it you do not approve of my posts. I am a woman. Michael M is my husband. Since My skin will never turn white I will also never be my husband. I am Lakota and follow the red road because it seems to me that some of those who believe in the BOFM are trying to put it to Central and South Am. and are using lies and deciets to prove thier so called theories. I agree with 2Nephi 15:20. I believe in truth and honesty if someone disagrees with me I do not call them AntiMormons. Only those who hate truth and loves lies because they cannot come to grips of the truth are the true anti-mormons. Antimormons are the ones who change the words of christ and the words of J.S. and move the Hill Cumorah to suit their own purposes 3 Nephi 16:10 the liars and hypocrites. This is to those who use false information to try to prove the BofM. Alma 10:17

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 14, 2011 10:23 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy: You wouldn't???????? Then if Christ stood before you or came to you in a vision and said the Book of Mormon is TRUE, would you believe it. The answer to that is probably no. The same is Jiggle because it is by faith that all MIRACLES happen. Physical evidence is never ever going to be what converts. It is the faith that one has that allows them to be converted. It is the Spirit of the Book of Mormon that testifies of its historical aspect as well as its truthfulness. To say otherwise is putting your faith in man and not the mysteries of Our Heavenly Father.

    When you rely solely on man to explain something then you have no faith and the loss is yours. President Hinkley stated basically that he doesn't understand why no one understands the Book of Mormon after it is read and studied. The Book testifies of itself and the divinity of Jesus Christ. The more man looks for its geography the more it is unlikely they can explain all of what God can do. If he can control the elements then he can definitely hide things from us.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    March 14, 2011 10:19 p.m.

    I like to look at Mormonism as the sum total of feathers in cap vs. black eyes, to take a page from Catch 22. Because circular logic makes the most sense sometimes, especially when it comes to religion.

    -BOM as a whole: feather in cap. Come on theres some pretty good stuff in there.
    -BOM anachromisms/plagarisms from KJV bible: black eye.
    -Polygamy, denying blacks the priethood, connections to masonry: black eyes.
    -Feelings from the "Spirit" being subjective and inconsistent: black eye.
    -Teaching about Jesus: neither a black eye or feather in cap. All religions do that.
    -Zarahemla mile sign?: feather in cap.

    Then you just crunch the numbers and thats that.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    March 14, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    @Norther Lights

    Sincere desire to know is within everybody! We all seek to answer life's mysteries. Many go no further than a god for the explanations and convince themselves that speculation, possibilities, and personal subjective experience are evidence of certain truth. Others seek more absolute and certain evidence. Those who seek certain and absolute evidence don't rely on faith or half-baked suppositions and assumptions. They rely on hard, factual evidence. If the evidence doesn't fit or is insufficient to withstand scrutiny than it can be disregarded as absolute truth. The Bible is no exception. While there is archeological evidence for the places and culture within the Bible it by no means supports the divine and supernatural claims it holds....nor does the BoM. The biggest evidence to invalidate both the Bible, Jesus, and the YOU said.... is in the historical events in the context of the time they occurred. They were from a time of ignorance and lack of knowledge of the world. Why would anyone want to believe that knowledge and experiences of ancient and/or ignorant times is superior to modern knowlwdge? We have learned so much more since those times!

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    March 14, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Norther Lights said:

    "I wouldn't expect confirmation of Book of Mormon geography would likewise satisfy any of the critics on this site either."

    You're joking right? I guarantee if even one Nephite/Lamanite city was found, tens of millions (probably much much more) would immediately flock to the Church. That is one of the reasons why the Church spends so much money and resources excavating and searching for evidence each year.

    The truthfulness of the BoM hinges on whether or not Joseph Smith did in fact translate the Golden Plates. Finding even one BoM city would prove that Joseph Smith did in fact translate the BoM and that the Nephites/Lamanites existed.

    Unfortunately, after millions and millions of dollars and over 200 years of extensive archeological studies, we still haven't been able to identify even one BoM city.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 14, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    Northern Lights/Bill in Nebraska:

    As politely as I can say this, you need to think through your argument that "physical evidence can't confirm the truthfullness of The Book of Mormon". In fact, empirical evidence for The Book of Mormon would the single greatest religious discovery in history. While biblical mythology is in debate, the cultures, peoples, and places written of are more or less not debated. Coincidentally, the "miracles" spoken of in the Bible, such as the parting of the red-sea, are subject to just as much scrutiny as the entire Book of Mormon. Those things which do not require a leap of faith to accept, such as the location of the Temple of Solomon, are not disputed. By comparison, given that the only way we "know" about the Book of Mormon peoples is through alleged religious miracle, every aspect of that culture is also a subset of that miracle. In other words, any proof that makes the existence of The Book of Mormon peoples possible, substantiates the liklihood of Joseph Smith's alleged miracle. In short, your assertion that physical proof would not satisfy critics, is patently false. Who could argue? I sure wouldn't.

  • Arlin Nusbaum Modesto, CA
    March 14, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    @Thoughts from Bob, the Jaredite Land Northward was surrounded by Four Seas and the Land Southward by Three. Such a configuration is not possible anywhere except Western New York.Please respect what the scriptures say, like, the Sea they crossed did Not directly border BoM land. It was never referred to again. Their lands were "hidden" not on Trade Routes; they were Never discovered. Mostly, not a single prophecy was fulfilled there, not one.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    March 14, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    Northern Lights-I believe jesus lived and I believe the Israelites were a nation that left Egypt. Give me something to say the same of Lehi/Nephi and the nephites.

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    March 14, 2011 6:27 p.m.


    I think about the many who still do not believe in the Bible - or Jesus - despite the existence of Jerusalem and Bethlem and many other holy Biblical sites in the Israel. I wouldn't expect confirmation of Book of Mormon geography would likewise satisfy any of the critics on this site either.

    The Lord has provided the means for each reader to discover for themselves the truthfulness of these scriptures. Just like God confirmed the identity of the Savior to Peter and the Apostles, so will God do the same for each of us with a sincere desire to know. I don't feel obligated to prove anything to anyone - that is between each individual and God.

    I do appreciate Michael Ash's efforts to present and compare some of these theories. These are interesting ideas to think about. As a historian, I appreciate the point he mande that one must view historical events in the context of the time they occurred.

  • sharrona layton, Ut
    March 14, 2011 6:21 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska: That only comes and through the Holy Ghost(spirit) Nothing else matters. (fideism)
    JM: There is enough evidence for anyone seeking the truth, but no evidence, no reference etc will change[the wrong way] your lives, only you can do that, through faith. (Mormonism)
    We all feel itthat aching desire...the unexplainable emptiness that can only be filled by one thing, the truth. The Church of Scientologys rendition.
    All the above are variations used by Evangelical Christians for centuries
    (since St. Augustine) that man has an empty void that only be filled by God.

    I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John14:6)(not the Jesus of Mornonism,an exalted man)

  • Thoughts from Bob Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 14, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    I have always found placements of the Book of Mormon interesting. Individuals say upper New York, or the Great Lakes, all of North and South America, even Nevada.
    What if we looked at the Yucatan Penisula, there is a sea to the north, east, west, and southeast (as discribed in the book, never a south). Even a narrow neck of land along the Gulf. Cliffs on one side, ocean on the other,Hmmm. How far can a people with possesions and animals in three days?
    Individuals forget the Book of Mormon is a condensed book of hundreds of years of records. I find it hard to believe Mormon or Mosiah understood the world through the eyes of Lehi, but rather through their own existence. I believe it is a book of faith and eternal direction, not of earth geography.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    March 14, 2011 5:03 p.m.


    Did YOU read the article?

    Ash states in his final paragraph:

    "Understanding the way that the ancient Mesoamericans understood directions not only strengthens the theory that Book of Mormon events took place in Central America, but it also supports the claim that the Nephite scripture is based on an authentic ancient text."

    If that is not an argument to try and "prove" ("supports the claim that") the historicity of the BOM, then what is?

    If Ash is going to attempt such arguments, he better be able to back it up. So far, he has failed miserably.

    As for your lame argument: "Why it interests people who disbelieve in the book, I can't imagine" - what? Only "believers" are allowed to be interested? LDS claim to be interested in Jesus Christ, but you completely reject the "truth" of the Roman Catholic Church and its traditions, which is the Church through which you even KNOW of Jesus Christ! Joseph Smith called all other religions "an abomination" and their preachers "all corrupt", yet LDS continue to claim an "interest" in Jesus Christ, despite disbelieving in the only Church that preserved knowledge of Jesus and by which you know about him.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 14, 2011 4:53 p.m.

    ". . . while we may be able to prove people probably came from the ME, we cant yet prove one was named Lehi."

    You are in a difficult position because you are trying from evidence found in Mesoamerica to prove that a specific group of people existed. The problem is that the evidence doesn't independently point to that group of people.

    "But there is enough evidence for honest seekers to SEEK."

    If you show me something compelling enough, I'll definitely look into it. I have in the past.

    "Proving the BoM is pointless, if you are so faithless and hard that you never seek that Jesus whom it testifies of."

    First, if the BoM is historical, the evidence should be somewhere. It should be easy to prove the civilization existed.

    Second, the archaeological proof of the BoM is and should be independent of faith in Christ. Otherwise it is suspect of ulterior motive.

    Third, I sincerely tried the promise and received my answer. It didn't match yours.

    I am not trying to be hard headed nor obstinate. I'd truly like to see some hard evidence. However, I tend to think it won't be soon.

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    March 14, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    Mormonism makes a staggering number of amazing claims that defy both common sense and the historical and archaeological records. It is up to the Mormons to prove that there is a reasonable, plausible explanation for every one of them. The BoM is full of fantastic claims, each of which requires some sort of linguistic, archeological, or historical twist to attempt to make it fit! When we look at the facts and evidence, rather than a long series of assertions that strengthen and confirm the Mormon claims, Mormon apologists (and others)have to twist and turn to slip around the facts. Where science argues, "Look, this strengthens the theory," religion can only say, "Look, this doesn't refute the theory." Every single argument these Mormon apologists make falls into the "you can't prove the possibilities wrong category. Every time we call them on it, they're forced to dive into their smoke and mirrors for a way to make it all fit, which most often fails or falls way short. Those who disagree with Mormonism don't have to prove Mormonism is wrong. Mormons have to prove they're right, because Mormons are the ones making the fantastic claims.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 14, 2011 4:46 p.m.

    To the skeptics: The question was brought up that if a sign was to be found that said, "Welcome to Zarahemla" that millions would flock to the Church and I would answer that question with NO they would not. The reason is that if we take the Bible and the Book of Mormon stories as they are such as Moses separating the Red Sea then why would the Jews murmor just a few days later in the Desert. Laman and Lemeule in the Book of Mormon saw and heard the voice of the Lord and still fell, even trying to Murder their brother. Even more recently, Oliver Cowdery besides the Prophet Joseph Smith had more administering angels experiences than almost anyone in the Church yet he fell.

    No it is strickly by ones faith that one is truely converted. These other are just signs and yet they do not convert. Christ declared himself to be the Son of God and the long awaited Messiah but he still was cast out from his own.

    There will be a few but until they have sufficient faith they too will fall into the unfaithful and non-believers.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    March 14, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    Are we reading the same article? Ash speculates some interesting possibilities about alternative readings of cardinal directions in the Book of Mormon. For someone who is interested in the possibility (I think liklihood, but I don't know) of a Mesoamerican location for much of the Book of Mormon, this presents an avenue worth exploring.

    Nothing in this series of articles proves or disproves the Book of Mormon. Why it interests people who disbelieve in the book, I can't imagine.

    @ sundancejedi: Are you being ironic on purpose or by accident?

  • Jiggle Clearfield, UT
    March 14, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    Real experiences that have a profound impact on a person can have completely natural sources without any divine connections. The idea that the profound effects these experiences have is any indicator of the truth can be considered a false assumption or interpretation based on an expected/wanted result by the person seeking such experiences. It is true that when people say that it seems to them that a chair is in a room that, therefore, we tend to accept that a chair is in the room. It is NOT true, however, that every time someone genuinely and seriously believes something, we also accept that whatever they believe is probably true. We can grant that people have some sort of experience and it has had a profound effect; but does this mean we must accept the reported content of these experiences that they were of a supernatural nature? NO. We must also accept that when people try to have an experience of a god and fail, that this is good reason to believe that a god probably does not exist. After all, it would be prejudiced to dismiss the experiences of nonbelievers but privilege the experiences of those who already believe.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 14, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    JM wrote:

    "@pickle Mike isnt giving revelations"

    JM, I never said Mike was giving revelations. What I said was that the BoM geography will NEVER be revealed to Mike Ash, FAIR or FARMS. LDS Prophet Wilford Woodruff stated that if God wants the BoM geography revealed He will do so through his Prophet.

    "If He [God] wants the geography of the Book of Mormon revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point."
    - Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 5:83

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 14, 2011 3:56 p.m.

    "Not sure what cowboy or anyone thinks we should be finding in Mesoamerica that we havent found yet?"

    If everything worthwhile has been found, it isn't enough proof. The only ones who claim that the evidence proves the BoM are Mormons, and many Mormon archaeologists aren't among them.

    "Would Lamoni was here or Isabel was here placards be enough?"

    If that's what they actually are, it might help. Similar sounding names on two different continents does not prove a connection.

    "Would hundreds of precise religious correlations be enough?"

    They might be helpful. I haven't seen references yet, just claims.

    "ME and Polynesian Morphology?" Ditto.

    "Joseph/Asenat DNA? What would be enough?"

    Mormon apologists claim that DNA evidence is useless. Why would you draw on that?

    ". . . when working geography is discovered, honest questioners say they arent going to believe it because no other evidences have been found . . ."

    There are too many "working geographies". You need more than that.

    ". . . you can doubt anything, even the sun, if you want." You can also believe anything if you want. The onus of proof is on you because you claim to have it.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    March 14, 2011 3:37 p.m.

    This article is written as if JS translated the plates literally. That if up was on the plates he wrote up. So now we have to make up fit into geography. But if God assisted in the translation then the map directions should be clearly understandable to a person of JS era. The reason evidence is important is because if the events took place there would be evidence of it. Independently of JS the numbers of people and size of the society would have left some footprint.

  • sundancejedi Provo, UT
    March 14, 2011 2:22 p.m.

    Why is FAITH so important people??? If God exists would you agree that he is the most powerful omnipotent being? If you think that his power is based on faith? I highly doubt MUST be based on perfect KNOWLEDGE. He surely didn't create the universe out of faith. Faith implies a level of doubt. I doubt a supreme being would have such a weakness.

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    March 14, 2011 2:16 p.m.

    I am not LDS and have not implied that I am. My wife, who sometimes posts and whom you have just referred to as "his neighbor" is LDS. I am white. She is Lakota.

    Please be careful with making assumptions.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    March 14, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    JM: I've already read Ash's Holley article, and it was severely lacking in logic, credibility, and scientific thought. His main argument was that he performed an "experiment" where he took a modern map, found some modern names that resembled Book of Mormon names, and concluded that the Verne Holley map is the same thing, a mere coincidental correlation of modern names with BoM names.

    Of course, a little bit of thought leads one to realize that the Holley map is not a modern map, but a map from Joseph's time showing many Book of Mormon names correlated to actual places from Joseph's time, and showing a relationship between the place names that is similar to that described in the Book of Mormon. You seem to subscribe to the idea that if Ash has talked about an idea, then he has resolved any problems associated with that idea, an appeal to authority. However, as has been shown time and time again, Ash's arguments are often lacking in logic, common sense, and objectivity. His endless endeavor to redefine words and concepts to fit into his worldview without regard for rationality belies his credibility.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 14, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    Not sure what cowboy or anyone thinks we should be finding in Mesoamerica that we havent found yet? Would Lamoni was here or Isabel was here placards be enough? Would hundreds of precise religious correlations be enough? ME and Polynesian Morphology? Joseph/Asenat DNA? What would be enough? Funny how those other anti-Mormons often say they will start believing the evidences found as soon as working geography is discovered. Then, when working geography is discovered, honest questioners say they arent going to believe it because no other evidences have been found and, while we may be able to prove people probably came from the ME, we cant yet prove one was named Lehi. Its maddening. As has been said, you can doubt anything, even the sun, if you want. But there is enough evidence for honest seekers to SEEK. Proving the BoM is pointless, if you are so faithless and hard that you never seek that Jesus whom it testifies of.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 14, 2011 1:39 p.m.

    The ANTIS and Doubters demand evidence based on there own epectations and preconcieved notions,

    Th BOM is first and formost a book of scipture and should be anyalized from a doctrinal or gospel standpoint not from a historical or geographical standpoint, even the BOM writers pointed out quite clearly that histrical informatin was recorded elsewhere,

    the historical and geographical information given is too vague and general,
    and when you consider old testment writers used 'isle" to refer to coastal people, city or nations,

    when_you realize that nowhere is stated the land were seperated SOLELY by a narrow neck,

    when don't try make excuse for distances,

    when_you realize we don't know what langauge the wrote_or_spoke in daily, that the written language was symbolic and represents a thought or idea,

    when _you ignore your own preconceived notions for evidence,

    you can place the BOM lands just about anywhre,

    form NY to san fransico,

    from the great lakes to florida,

    from mesoamerica to cuba or domican republic

    from missouri to the coasts of peru and chile,

    THE Antis_and_Doubters demand evdence based on their own expectations and assumptions,

    put their_faith in heresay, rumours_and_stories

    not on reality and known facts.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 14, 2011 1:38 p.m.

    I didnt look up MichaelMs reference since he implies hes active LDS, and possibly Lakota, like his neighbor who started posting the same day, and thus I trust him unquestionably (not like others, sincerely questioning by forging, fabricating etc).
    It seems unlikely that aged Lehi imposed his worldview on Mesoamericans (surviving Jaredites etc) who Sorensen says called Gulf "the East," forcing the translators of the Popol Vuh into the bizarre statement, "In the lands to the north, that is, 'in the East.' . . . " . However, if Lehi did this, he might have mapped Biblically, north borders are sometime east etc.
    Also, Sorensen says (hopefully im not jumping ahead of mike) Hebrews associated directions with colors, like IP (yellow, red, black), and sometimes Zaphon (associated with Eden, the Heavens, up, or particular primordial mountain symbol, rising, like Mayan pyramids, from primordial sea, river to Hades etc associated with black north house) the Biblical NORTH, is black (yam sea=west etc). Perhaps (me speculating) Zaphon is associated with the black polar region around which the stars rotated (North star wasnt there in Biblical times, so doubtful they did directions by it).

    @pickle Mike isnt giving revelations
    @Jax, check Mikes Holley article and comments.

  • DanielAZ Tucson, AZ
    March 14, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    This article didn't develop many ideas. I usually like Mike's articles; this one only appeared to scratch the surface and must have been written in a hurry . . . (Sorry Mike - it's the truth).

  • sundancejedi Provo, UT
    March 14, 2011 1:03 p.m.


    "That only comes and through the Holy Ghost. Nothing else matters.

    Again it doesn't matter where but that it did happen. "

    And lets say science and history end up proving it never happened..then will it matter???

    I sincerely question your method of obtaining "truth" . If God requires us to go to school, study and experiment to gain all our other knowledge/truth..why would he make an exception for the Book of Mormon? Shouldn't all truth be obtainable through the same method?

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 14, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska:

    It is a daunting task to try and prove the Book of Mormon by archaeology. I have no problem with the idea that The Book of Mormon testifies of a number of cultural artifacts similar to those discovered throughout the America's. The challenge lay in that, to date, none of those artifacts testify of The Book of Mormon - and therein is a key distinction behind the various "mountains of evidence". I understand the complexity associated with excavation, but the point remains - and Vanka articulated the dillema perfectly - that the theories ultimately rest upon finding models with least resistance, rather than supporting evidence.

    Also, although it is a popular thing to say, what makes you certain that archaeological proof would not satisfy doubters? If the ominous "Welcome to Zarahemla" road sign were discovered buried deep in meso-America, what makes you think people wouldn't be rushing to Mormonism in droves? Despite your insistence, I think reality would be much different than what you suggest. I see that argument as just a convenient way of dismissing the Church from its responsibility of proving its claims - conveniently from two Church presidents, Benson and Lee, most threatened by proof.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    March 14, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    To Mormoncowboy:

    Actually after reading numerous books on the Subject of Mesoamerica what Mr. Ash has presented is more than feasible but very trughtful. Also, for what they have gathered in the area in questions is that people in the area date back to and past the Book of Mormon era. they have found items that literally substaniate everything in the Book of Mormon as far as a warlike people, metals as described in the Book of Mormon and other artifacts. The biggest problem is that much of where they want to dig is going to be overly expensive because of the actual terrain involved.

    President Lee, President Benson and others have all stated that the surest way to know the truth is through the SPIRIT and that the geography is all secondary to that. Without the testament of the spirit the other basically doesn't matter anyway. No one is going to be converted because proof is found or that all that is the Book of Mormon is feasible. Why because it doesn't testify of truth.

    That only comes and through the Holy Ghost. Nothing else matters.

    Again it doesn't matter where but that it did happen.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    March 14, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    Dr. Poulsen's review of Norma's BOM Geography book begins with this little story:

    "...someone coming upon a man busily studying the ground under a lamppost. He asked the man what he was looking for and offered to help. The man told him that he had lost his pocket watch and graciously accepted the offered help. After searching fruitlessly for some time, the helper asked the man, 'Where did you lose the watch?' The man responded, 'Over there,' indicating a location about fifteen feet away outside the pool of light shed by the streetlight. Aghast, the helper asked, 'Why are you searching here by the lamppost instead of over there where you lost your pocket watch?' The man answered, 'The light is better over here.'

    When on a snipe hunt in my youth, I found it telling that those who declared the existence of the snipe, an imaginary game bird purported to resemble quails or pheasants or what have you, always seemed to spot a snipe or its tracks in dark, obscure areas not easily illuminated by light.

    LDS apologists are want to look for BOM evidences in places "because the DARK is better over there".

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    March 14, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    Well, I'm not going to pretend to know enough about how the ancients collected their bearings, to have a sense as to whether this is reasonable or not. Of course, we are talking about the cartography practices of a culture who's very existence is in dispute - so I guess anything goes. Assuming for a moment that Ash and/or Poulsen, have actually stumbled on to something here, we should be able to start digging now, right? Perhaps it's time to stop digging in the text, and start digging in the ground. Follow the biblical archaeology method - develop theories from the book, and study them in the ground. To date, that is where all Book of Mormon studies seem to fall flat. Even if the Book of Mormon theorists could contrive a perfectly plausible model, based on known Old World history and arachaeology, we still have nothing without conforming evidence.

  • Jax Bountiful, UT
    March 14, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    And the list keeps growing... horse means tapir, elephant means mastadon, steel means wood, the Hill Cumorah means not the Hill Cumorah, thousands means millions, North means South, East means West,... Ash is truly a master of double meanings.

    My head is spinning again.

    JM: "He would have made a simple map, fitting with his culture."

    You mean like the Verne Holley map that fits better than any map an apologist has ever produced, straight from Joseph Smith's backyard and "fitting with his culture."

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    March 14, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    JM: Why the "Anti-Mormon" label for those who disagree with your reasoning? Most posts on these forums have been rational and have not attacked Mormonism; rather, they point out possible logical fallacy of apologetic arguments. It's the sort of back-and-forth I would expect in any debate. Placing your critics in a maligned grouping may appeal on an emotional level, but it doesn't help the rational argument at all. Personally, I am not anti-Mormon; my family is active LDS, I was raised LDS and it is still a large part of who I am. Disagreeing with the Church's version of its history and the historicity of the BoM does not fill me with a need to destroy the Church. I'm pro-logic, and so far haven't seen an apologetic argument that satisfies my questions.

    As for Beringia, I can agree with you. There is no reason why others couldn't have sailed over. Prove to me that Lehi was one of them.

    As for Michael's article, he needs more space for his arguments. His explanation has holes and doesn't eliminate other models.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    March 14, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    Another Great article! : )
    Don't know if we'll see any of this in comments? "...impose that understanding on ancient or foreign cultures." And, I wonder if anyone commenting here has become critical of the BoM because they are a little nervous about leaving their modern Shire, and still trying to impose that point of view upon all of us. ; )

    I still think that if Joseph Smith were making up the BoM he would have never guessed at any of this not in the OW or NW(other cultural directions, water covering much of the isthmus, accurate Mesoamerican "up," "down," around etc). He would have made a simple map, fitting with his culture, not one that scholars are barely beginning to understand!!

    Anti-Mormons: lw you suggested I stick with one item. Thats good advice for all. Geography is a great subject, I have much to learn on that. Im already 100% confident that Beringia cant possibly explain the full spectrum of Native America, or the mountains of evidences, parallels etc. There is enough evidence for anyone seeking the truth, but no evidence, no reference etc will change your lives, only you can do that, through faith.

  • Pickle Juice, The Key to a BCS Clinton, UT
    March 14, 2011 8:18 a.m.

    This is the least plausible of all of Ash's articles to date (and that is saying a lot).

    Ok. Nephi built a boat. Lehi got a Liahona compass. They sailed accurately between continents. Nephi built a temple with specific directionality of an east-facing entry.

    But they got confused when they got here about which way the sun rose and set?

    Also, it should be noted, especially to Ash, that:

    "If He [God] wants the geography of the Book of Mormon revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point."
    - Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 5:83

  • Michael_M Scottsbluff, NE
    March 14, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    The Middle East used the North star and the sun's path through ecliptic. Mesoamerican used the point directly overhead and horizon. It is a huge difference and evidence that BofM migrations did not happen.

    The idea of north being up is not correct. There were six directions, four on the horizon, up was the heavens and down was the earth. The heavens were not a directional reference for north on the horizon as implied in today's article. The north star was not a fundamental reference in Mesoamerica as compared to the Middle East.

    Another point not mentioned is the use of sacred geographical features such as mountains or cities. These could be more important than east or west, north or south on a map.

    Attempts to fit BofM geography by using these concepts fail because the ancient Middle Eastern astronomy must be discarded.

    Old World astronomy would have been the method of Lehi and does not work in America. Ancient American astronomy and directions on the ground are different from the Eurocentric ideas.

    For further reading:

    The Observation of the Sun at the Time of Passage Through the Zenith in Mesoamerica, Archaeoastronomy, no. 3, 1981