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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Brant Gardner on Questionable Book of Mormon Geography

"Too Good To Be True: Questionable Archaeology and the Book of Mormon" by Brant Gardner reviews two recent works on Book of Mormon geography that rely on artifacts now proven to be fraudulent. One of the devastated works, touting a North American model for BOM geography, relies on the ridiculous Michigan artifacts (numerous engraved slate tablets that show Old World symbols and New World scenes). The other work treats the fraudulent Padilla plates as if they were tantalizing evidence for the Book of Mormon. Gardner's review offers an excellent warning against the pitfalls of enthusiasm without substance.

4 comments:

Mike Parker said...

To these two I would add Izapa Stela 5.

See "The History of an Idea: The Scene on Stela 5 from Izapa, Mexico, as a Representation of Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life," by Stewart W. Brewer.

Been there said...

Ok, I read the whole mesoamerican evidences on the jefflyndsay.com site, nowhere to respond there...

I have been to the Yucatan 5 times now, specifically to visit ancient archaeological sites. I have spoken with many professional Archaeologists(some of them Mayan) about this. They are all well aware of the LDS version of Mesoamerican history. I have personally seen many temples in Coba(VERY ancient site, OLD mayan culture, if there were a Nephite city this would qualify because of the time frame of when it was inhabited), Chitzen-Itza(newer, Toltec site that had been built over a Mayan site, what you see is NOT Mayan), Tulum(the only Mayan CITY still inhabited when the Spanish showed up), Tikal(interesting aqueducts, gigantic artificial reservoirs, Burial site of Pacal the founder of Mayan civilization), Ruinas del rey(very small temple actually, not a city), Chimuch(an ancient Mayan village where the Mayans still live to this day much the same as always), and the most impressive- Teotihuacan- GIGANTIC temples, one of which is as large at its base as the largest of the Giza pyramids.

Nowhere was ANY of the 'evidence' you mention. No similarity to Israelite culture whatsoever. No steel. No free standing non- load bearing columns in front of the temples except the temple of the 1000 warriors in chitzen-itza, and they're BESIDE the temple, and many many, not 2. No elephants(you never addressed the animals mentioned in the BOM). NO HORSES. No sheep. No goats. No cattle. No pigs.

One of the things that really bothers me about this rewritten history is the fact that Mayan heiroglyphs can now easily be translated. They carved their history in stone, names, dates, events, all of it. The fact that the Spanish burned all but 4 codex's is tragic, but more is being read off the stonework every single day, and most of these records were set in stone during the era covered by the BOM.
Guess what? Nothing, absolutely nothing, has anything at all to do with anything in the BOM EXCEPT the fact that warfare was constant(even during the 'time of peace and prosperity'). Not one name, place, or event from the BOM is mentioned at all EXCEPT the white bearded god Kulkulcan (Mormons love referring to the Aztec name Quetzalcoatl) who visited them around 1000 AD and taught them math, astronomy, and acoustic technology, ans his description and depiction(I stood eye-to-eye with a carving of him on top of the temple built in his honor- the same temple BADLY depicted in the pics inside the BOM) was that of a Viking. And that temple DID NOT EXIST around 33 AD! NO Myan temple grew to that size (and they DID grow over time if you know ANYTHING about Mesoamerican architecture you'll know exactly what I mean by that)at that site until much later. In fact, the entire site of Chitzen-Itza is one giant temple complex built specifically for religious purposes, like ALL Myan(or once Myan in this case)cities.

Which leads to the walled cities mentioned in the BOM. False! The only walled city ever built by the Myans was Tulum, and the walls were added long after the BOM ends.

Myan Heiroglyphs might look to the uneducated eye something like Egyptian. They are NOTHING like egyptian at all. That WAS the language spoken and written by all both Myan and non-Myan tribes in central america during the time of the BOM. The Myans are STILL THERE, and still speak their ancient language. Some of them can't even speak Spanish! So, it is a living language still being spoken to this day, and I can honestly tell you that it is an ice cold rock hard fact that it is NOT egyptian at all by any stretch of the imagination, not new, reformed, or whatever else the BOM changes its description to in the future.

There was no great catastrophe around 33 ad, and the suggestion that a volcanic eruption occurred in the Yucatan is laughable at best- where's the volcano? There are none, and a volcano does not just vanish. There are no ash deposits in the Yucatan either. There's barely any soil at all in fact, about 1/2 inch down and you hit bedrock!(limestone, not basalt)

The REAL archaeologists are not amused. Nor are they interested in hiding evidence- they are professional scientists and ANYTHING they find becomes a matter of public record. They find what they find. Twisting what they find into similarities with the BOM is REALLY far fetched when you've seen the 'evidence' yourself! I won't and can't in good concience do that. Every single day the evidence AGAINST Joseph Smith's book mounts. A few OOPARTS can be found at ANY archaeological site, they ALWAYS come from contamination of the site, and that's exactly what makes them out of place. OOPARTS are not evidence of anything at all. They only mean people have passed through since the place went uninhabited for whatever reason. Sometimes artifacts have been deliberately planted by unscrupulous people trying to rewrite history, or create a mystery, or who knows why... But the Archaeologists aren't fooled by this, and classify fake hebrew clay tablets (I've seen one, C14 dated to around 40 years old, PATHETIC. A bad forgery in every way. Now just who exactly would have done THAT?) as OOPARTS.

I have left the church because of this. Since the Book of Mormon is complete nonsense from a historical perspective(as opposed to the Bible for instance), the whole church is based on a big elaborate tall tale. One that itself has been rewritten with over 3000 changes. These are NOT just grammatical corrections, the grammar in the BOM is still horrible, and I've SEEN the changes myself... Some 'perfect' book...

I could go on and on with this, but here's my point- I'm tired of being lied to. Stop manufacturing evidence. You have no right. You are being caught, and it makes the church look like what it is- a fraud. If there's any truth AT ALL to the BOM, the evidence would be OVERWHELMING considering the sheer volume of archaeological sites in central america(and believe me, there's plenty more sites there that have not yet been investigated, you see piles of ancient stonework EVERYWHERE down there) why not just stick with the actual findings and admit that Zarahemla(or anything else from the BOM) has NOT been found yet! There's plenty more to investigate, why such a hurry to ram your square peg into the round hole of central america? If you can handle weird food and really hot weather, go visit the Yucatan yourself and see...(don't just take my word for it) maybe the truth will set YOU free too! The Mayans ARE peaceful and very friendly people who have such a low crime rate in their society that THEY DON"T HAVE DOORS on their houses(huts)(and utterly unlike the rest of Mexico). It's very safe. Safer than Salt Lake City by far. Hardly the miserable wretched evil savages depicted in the BOM. They think that part is HILARIOUS! Ask them... I did. Put your money where your mouth is- spend some coin, go there, and see for yourself.

Jason said...

Hey Been there,

No one ever said that the BoM events happened on the Yucatan, rather, in the Central Chiapas Depression. Maya (not Mayan) was definitely not the only language spoken. There are hundreds of them: Yucatec Maya, Mixe, Zapotec, Mixtec, Zoque, Chontal, etc. The civilizations in the Chiapas Depression during the time of the Nephites spoke and read Zoque, not Maya, so stop thinking you know everything.

Big Al said...

I have been to this place and I loved it there. I think there is rich history that could very easily relate to stuff in the Book of Mormon. i Pictured King Benjamin preaching on top of the temples to all of his followers :) I love the book of mormon and know it is a true testament of God. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet and that he translated the Book of Mormon. I love this gosple and the joy it brings me in my life, :)