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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Book of Mormon geography

Today's news brought to mind an aspect of the geography issue I've written about before.

The Atlantic, June 23, 2016
Of all the imaginary requirements for the real-world setting for the Book of Mormon, my favorite is volcanoes. I've written about this before. People have been trained to think the Book of Mormon describes volcanoes. See, e.g., the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: "The land also apparently experienced occasional volcanic eruptions and earthquakes (3 Ne. 8:5-18)." [People can believe whatever they want, but when they read a citation to a scripture that doesn't say what the author claims, people need to think for themselves.]

Because there are no volcanoes east of the Rocky Mountains, the thinking goes, the Book of Mormon could not have taken place in North America.

To challenge my concept of Book of Mormon geography, people ask me, "Where are the volcanoes in the central and eastern United States?"

To which I always respond, "Where are the volcanoes in the Book of Mormon?"

Sometimes these people actually search the scriptures on their phones for the term volcano, confident by what they've been taught that the word is in there. Of course, it's not. When these people discover this, they are always surprised. (People who have relied on what they've been taught about this subject, instead of relying on the scriptures, are often surprised. That entry in Encyclopedia of Mormonism has other non-scriptural claims as well.)

The corollary to the volcano requirement is that there are no earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S. I hear this one a lot, too. "Okay, maybe there aren't volcanoes in the Book of Mormon, but there are definitely earthquakes, and there are no earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S."

I mention the New Madrid earthquakes, and they usually have no idea what I'm talking about because they never learn about that in their CES/BYU classes or from reading the citation cartel's articles.

But we don't have to go back in history. Anyone who keeps up with FEMA knows this:

"In 1999, FEMA identified four hazards in the United States that, were they consummated in all their destructive wonder, would be worthy of the title “catastrophic.” They were: a major earthquake hitting Los Angeles, a major hurricane hitting Miami, a major hurricane hitting New Orleans (check), and a giant earthquake hitting the Central US."

The quotation is from an article published yesterday by the Atlantic. You should read it, here.

The events described in 3 Nephi were also described by the people who survived the New Madrid earthquakes along the Mississippi in the early 1800s. No need for an imaginary volcano.

BTW, for those with ears to hear, there was an earthquake in Hopewell, Tennessee, a week ago. Hopewell is about 25 miles northeast of Chattanooga.

More food for thought. The Book of Mormon covers 1,000 years of history, never once mentioning a volcano, either literally or by metaphor. Seems to me that excludes any proposed location that features volcanoes.

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