long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Joseph didn't know the Book of Mormon?

Here is the kind of conclusion one eventually reaches by following the Mesoamerican theory:

 Believe it or not, I don't think JS knew the BofM very well. I read somewhere that he never quoted from it when giving his many speeches. He was not the book's author and I think it took some years after the translation for him to realize it took place in a relatively small area.

That's a quotation from a Facebook post by Doug Christensen, the President of the "Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum," a group of Mesoamerican theorists. He posted it in a closed FB group so you have to be a member to read their posts. I don't know of Mr. Christensen has announced his position publicly, but it is implicit in all of his comments on the topic, as well as the comments by others who write for the BOMAF.

Throughout my discussions with Mesoamerican advocates, I've found them to be highly defensive about their critiques of Joseph Smith's writings and sayings, as well as his mother's biography and the journals of his close associates and contemporaries. They dismiss every reference (including in the D&C) that supports a North American setting for the Book of Mormon, instead favoring three short articles in the Times and Seasons that lack a byline or signature. They resort to incomplete wordprint analysis to assert that Joseph Smith wrote these three articles. I'll address each of these points in separate posts, but for now, anyone following the debate must be aware that the Mesoamerican theory will lead you directly to the same destination that Mr. Christensen has reached; i.e., you will have to conclude that Joseph Smith did not know the Book of Mormon very well.

Realize, too, that BOMAF has several emeritus General Authorities on their Advisory Board:
Elder Ted E. Brewerton, Emeritus General Authority
Elder Robert E. Wells, Emeritus General Authority
Elder Merrill C. Oaks, Former General Authority
Elder Clate W. Mask, Former General Authority

So far as I know, they have not publicly agreed with Mr. Christensen's belief that Joseph didn't know the Book of Mormon very well, but by virtue of their association with BOMAF, one can only infer they do agree.

Here is the post in context (at the bottom of this excerpt). I've deleted the name of all the participants other than Mr. Christensen.

Hey gang. I'm new to this page. I've subscribed to the Meso American model for decades. One question. What were Nephites doing so far north in Joseph Smith's backyard? I found this in the Joseph Smith Papers:
"...After we left the eastern part of the State of Ohio we could get provision on an average as follows; flour by the hundred $1.50, bacon from 4½ to 6 dollar per Hundred butter from 6 to 8 cents pr pound, honey from 3 to 4 shilling the gallon, new milk from 3 4 to 6 ct per gallon. The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social honest men and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionaly the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity... Joseph Smith, Jr
A group of approximately 205 men and about 20 women and children led by JS to Missouri, May–July 1834, to redeem Zion by helping the Saints who had been driven from Jackson County, Missouri, regain their lands; later referred to as “Zion’s Camp.” A 24 February...
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  •  My ancestor started in New Jersey in 1710 to explore the continent. He when down the eastern sea board to Mexico before wandering north to the Canadian arctic. He was a real adventurer and was in many places before any other Europeans. He is best know as a fur trader living with the Canadian natives. Is it such a surprise that adventurous Meso Americans would also travel and explore.
  •  There is quite a bit of evidence of Mayans travelling northward to these areas during BOM times.http://bmaf.org/.../mesoamerican_travels_northward...
  • Doug Christensen delete "these areas" to make it accurate. From Tyler's article listed above: "Although we cannot identify these movements with the Book of Mormon account specifically, we can see that the kind of migrations northward mentioned in the Book of Mormon are substantiated in general."
  •  More evidence of travelling all over the continent. Seems they did get around. Scroll down for a couple interesting maps and anecdotes.


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  •  I can't believe Joseph would lie to Emma like that! J/k. I tend to assume Joseph was just wrong on this statement ( and possibly the Zelph one too). His understanding of the BOM geography grew as time went by. I many times on my mission of the land southward (South America) and land northward (noth America) hemispheric model which I now understand to be completely incorrect. But that's just my opinion though.
  • I like the hinterland theory that the book of mormon society including all of north and south America with major portions of the book being in certain locations.
    7 hrs · Like
  • I'm starting to conclude that JS generally believed that the BoM happened over all of North and South America...which I can understand due to their lack of science and anthropology at that time. It didn't make the BoM less true...just their understandi...See More
    5 hrs · Like
  • Doug Christensen You're exactly right ______. JS knew that the promised land encompassed all of North and South America, but it was never revealed to him exactly where the Nephites/Lamanites lived. For him, it was a guessing game and he was not afraid to make his guesses known. Occasionally he even blended the chronology of cultures and was severely criticized by his critics for it. See: "An Analysis of Joseph Smith’s Statements Associated with the Origins of the Aztecs in the Country of Aztlan"http://www.bmaf.org/arti.../analysis_aztecs_aztlan__stoddard It was not until he was sent the Stephens/Catherwood book that he perhaps recognized from the drawings things he had seen in vision as a young man. Believe it or not, I don't think JS knew the BofM very well. I read somewhere that he never quoted from it when giving his many speeches. He was not the book's author and I think it took some years after the translation for him to realize it took place in a relatively small area.

1 comment:

  1. The Book of Mormon does contradict latter Mormon doctrine a lot however, on issues like Cosmic Pluralism. That's why offshoots like Temple Lot exist.