Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

More on Mayan Fortifications

In a previous post on fortifications and on my related page about fortifications in the Book of Mormon, I noted the existence of some relevant photos on the Web. Another interesting photo of an ancient defensive trench, consistent with defenses described in Alma, is available in an article by Dr. F. Richard Hauck, "Are There Archaeological Correlations to the Book of Mormon?," the first in an upcoming series. I've read his book on Book of Mormon geography, which recognizes the limited geography model implicit in the text and, like several other scholars, finds that Mesoamerica is the only plausible location. The details of his model differ with that of John Sorenson and others, and I'm not sure about the specific sites that he proposes for several Book of Mormon cities. But it is interesting that in the site he concluded was most likely Manti, he later found ancient defensive structures consistent with the Book of Mormon.

Given the infancy of archaeological exploration in Mesoamerica relative to exploration in the Middle East, more time is needed to conclude which sites correspond to which Book of Mormon locations (yes, this statement presupposes that the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient text tied to real people and real lands). In spite of the much more advanced state of knowledge about the Middle East, it has only been in recent years that plausible sites have been found for specific Book of Mormon places in the Arabian Peninsula such as Nahom, Shazer, and Bountiful. It may be years before the same "wow" factor will accompany apparent correlations between the text and specific Mesoamerican sites. But to those who simply dismiss the finds pertaining to the Arabian Peninsula, I would like to ask now what level of evidence from Mesoamerica would be needed to move you to reconsider your objections to the Book of Mormon? For example, if there were an ancient Mesoamerica city whose ancient name (something that usually been lost) and location correlated to a Book of Mormon name, would that suffice? Or would it take something much more dramatic, such as an ancient engraving that a non-LDS scholar translates as "Welcome to Zarahemla, home of the Nephites"? Would even that open your mind?

I recognize that even dramatic evidences can be misleading. One could always argue, for example, that demonic powers inspired Joseph to put "evidences" into the text that would later be used to deceive the masses. The key to matters of God is to seek God in prayer, and, using our minds and faith, seek to understand His will and obtain revelation about the divinity of the Book of Mormon or other matters that may affect our religious beliefs and eternal salvation. Trust God, not me or other men or women, but we must do our part to use our minds and study the issues ourselves and then seek divine guidance in order to make our quest most effectual.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love your site. I love reading about my newfound faith. I am a recent convert (Nov 13, 2003) and am so grateful that I got my testimony of the validity of the Book of Mormon through prayer and the testimony of the Holy Ghost. But after I prayed and received the testimony a friend gave me an anti-Mormon book with the challenge, "If you don't agree, prove it wrong."

I spent much time studying scripture and reading my Bible with the new knowledge I had from the missionaries. The Holy Spirit kept leading me to obscure scriptures I had never read before or simply hadn't 'noticed'. I came up with answers to almost all the issues the book presented. THEN I came across your sight. *sigh* You explain it all so much better than I could. BUT, I thoroughly enjoyed my studying so it was well worth it. In the end the Spirit simply directed me to bear my testimony to her instead of proving the book wrong. I am going to share my proofs though when the Spirit directs.

It is so thrilling to read about all the evidences that only reinforce my testimony. I am glad that I got the testimony through the Holy Ghost rather than 'proof.' The testimony of the Holy Ghost is unshakeable while 'proof' can waver like the wind. I had been a Christian for 20 years after an incredible moment driving in my car one evening on November 13, 1983. I had a profound witness from the Holy Ghost that I had a Father in heaven and He sent His son Jesus Christ who died for me. (I also knew I had a Mother too, but the church I began to attend told me that just wasn't so! I assumed at that time that all churches would teach the same thing. Silly me.) My life changed from that moment forward, however over time I came to realize the churches I attended had too much error and didn't agree on even the basics. I had come to think that there was no church that actually was like the one in the book of acts... until the missionaries showed up in my shop to have a photograph printed to enter into the local fair. What a coincidence! ;o]

While I put them through their paces (because I had been taught the Mormon's were a cult) I found they believed more like I did than the churches and other Christians I had been around. I finally prayed and received the same exact physical and mental manifestation that I had 20 years ago. I then got baptized 20 years to the day later as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It's truly amazing how the scriptures come alive and make SO MUCH MORE SENSE when you have the Holy Ghost as a permanent guide and when the truth is taught. I realize why so many people have trouble understanding the scriptures... it's because they are being taught by men's understanding and taught things that simply DON'T AGREE with the written word.

I didn't mean to get so long-winded, but there ya go. :o]

I really meant to just thank you for such a great site that provides so much information and just plain fun reading. So, THANKS!

Jayleen

Mormanity said...

Jayleen, thanks for that marvelous post. It's so great to hear from someone who has experienced the same witness of the Spirit that I and many others have experienced - so much more than mere emotion or indigestion, but an encounter with the power of a loving Father in Heaven who does not leave us alone if we will turn to Him and seek wisdom. The experience touches our hearts and our minds, and helps us to understand better, to give better answers, to draw more knowledge from the scriptures and other sources, and to hunger and thirst for more of that which comes from God.

Intellectual evidences do not bring us to Christ, just as Christ's miracles did not convert his many critics (whose tactics so often parallel modern anti-Christian/anti-Mormon tactics), but they can help us get over some of the stumbling blocks of the Adversary as we strive to move forward on the path that God calls us to, relying on the Spirt of God for guidance.

May God bless you and all of us as we continue in our journey!