Friday, April 30, 2010

Lehi’s Possible Business

A few clues in 1 Nephi open up some interesting questions and perhaps shed light on the the type of business enterprise Lehi was engaged in that brought him “gold and silver and all manner of riches” (1 Nephi 3:16). As indicated in the last post, Lehi had a house outside the city walls. He was obviously a wealthy man with gold, silver and precious things (1 Nephi 2:4) in sufficient amount to make even Laban, the head of the treasury, drool in anticipation of acquiring (1 Nephi 3:25).

At the time of Lehi, Jerusalem was considered a “tourist” town, flooded by pilgrims on holy days. Consequently, its inhabitants would have had a variety of different occupations such as millers, bakers, weavers, barbers, potters, fullers, locksmiths, and jewelers, as well as inn keepers, priests, garrison soldiers, and specialized merchants selling all types of products and materials. However, since Jerusalem was situated on the top of a mountain far from the avenues of transportation, how did the merchants obtain their products and material to sell?

Obviously, there were enterprising men who transported goods from the King’s Highway east of the Dead Sea up the three thousand feet to Jerusalem since the caravans would not have climbed to the mountain top city, nor would their camels be led over the rocky, sharp flints of hills, which would have slashed the camel's large kluff, unhooved, cushion-like sole of their feet. This, obviously, would have given rise to people who transported goods, which would have need for donkeys and equipment, including tents, to travel down to the King's Highway, make camp and wait for passing caravans, haggle over and purchase goods, then return to Jerusalem where their goods were sold to merchants located within the city.

It is possible that Lehi was one of those who had some business away from the city, an area of the desert from which he transported goods and supplies back to Jerusalem for resale. Such an occupation, as opposed to farming, would have given Lehi the need to own tents, transporting animals such as donkeys, and have supplies for travel in his possession when the Lord told him to “take his family and depart into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 2:2-4). And since he was fleeing from those who wanted “to take away thy life” (1 Nephi 2:1), it is very likely the family left without anyone knowing about it or where they were headed.

Broker-Merchant was an occupation well known in the Middle East in Lehi's time. Such were called “tamkaru,” meaning “overland traders.” Not far south of the Dead Sea, near the city of Petra, which was originally just a stage point on the trade route along the edge of the Sinaitic peninsula, there was a caravan station called el-Hejr, now Medain Salih. Here, along this wide spot in the trail, traders came to barter for the goods out of Arabia, from as far away as Sheba and Salalah. In fact, the entire economic life of southern Arabia was originally founded on this international trade. Arabian perfumes were famous throughout the world, and were exported by sea or by caravan routes, which led to Palestine and Mesopotamia. Southern Arabia was the landing point of the Indian Ocean for trade with the Mediterranean, and traded with bases planted by the Sabaens (Sheba) on the coasts of India and Somaliland. Gold, myrrh, ornamental woods, perfumes and incense were the major trading goods exported to the north (Jerusalem and beyond). Before the conquest of Sargon II (714 B.C.) there was a Hittite city called Carchemish along the upper Euphrates beyond Mesopotamia control which held an important role in international trade that linked Mesopotamia with Arabia and the Mediterranean. All this shows that Jerusalem was an insignificant point along the main route from Arabia to Mesopotamia, hardly worthy of diverting a camel caravan off the King's highway to travel up the nearly three thousand feet to the walled city.

These caravans stopped along the way to sell their merchandise to the lucrative markets up in Jerusalem which they could not reach with their camels. An enterprising broker-merchant would travel down to the caravan route, camp along the way until a train passed, buy what merchandise he wanted, place it on donkeys that could negotiate the soils so injurious to camels, and then travel back to the city to resell the goods. Such a merchant would obviously take his sons, and whatever servants he had with him to assist in the loading and unloading as well as to teach his sons the trade.

If Lehi was such a broker-merchant, it would explain Nephi's comment that his father had “gone forth” out of Jerusalem, then returned to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 5:5,7), and it would also explain why Lehi gave his first two sons, Laman and Lemuel, Arab names since during that time he would have been in business with the Arab caravans. It would also explain why Lehi had tents available when the Lord directed him to flee into the wilderness (1 Nephi 2:4). And, too, why he knew where to go and what would be needed on such a journey.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Location of Lehi’s Home

A few clues in 1 Nephi open up some interesting questions and perhaps shed light on the location of Lehi's home, when Nephi says his father, Lehi, dwelt “at” Jerusalem all his days (1 Nephi 1:4). He did not say that his father dwelt “in” Jerusalem, but “at” Jerusalem. The word “at” is defined as “within the limits of; in the region or vicinity of; in proximity to,” while the word “in” is defined as “within the bounds of; contained or included within; to be part of; contained by.” The use of this particular preposition (which specifies place, direction, and time) would suggest that Nephi's home was near Jerusalem, but not within the old, walled city itself. Nephi also states that Lehi “went forth, then returned to his own house at Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 1:5,7). Was Lehi engaged in some business that took him away from the area of Jerusalem, to which he returned when he went back to his house?

Nephi goes on to say that after he and his brothers returned to Jerusalem for the brass plates and Laman entered the city and confronted Laban, they ran into trouble (1 Nephi 3:13). Immediately afterward, they decided to go “down to the land of their inheritance” and collect some of the gold and silver and their precious things, which they had left in the family home (1 Nephi 3:22). Nephi continues the account by saying that he and his brothers then “went up again unto the house of Laban,” which was in the walled city of Jerusalem (1 Nephi 3:23). Did the brothers leave Jerusalem and travel south to their land of inheritance, or former home at Jerusalem? Then, on obtaining some of their gold and precious things, travel back “up” and “into” the city of Jerusalem again?

A further clue is shed on this intriguing language when we read earlier that when Nephi and his brothers left the camp of their father by the Red Sea, they took their tents and “went up to the land of Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 3:9). Later, after returning with the brass plates to Lehi's camp, the boys were sent back to Jerusalem to obtain Ishmael and his family. Again Nephi uses the term “up” to Jerusalem (1 Nephi 7:3) and “down” to the wilderness (1 Nephi 7:5). Finally, after discussing the rebellious attitudes of his two older brothers and two of the daughters of Ishmael, Nephi says “we did come down unto the tent of our father” (1 Nephi 7:22).

Generally speaking, when discussing directions, “up” can mean north, or higher in elevation. From Salt Lake City, you go “up” to Logan, or “down” to St. George. Or, a person may live up the block or down the block, depending on the direction or elevation, or the beginning or ending of the street. In addition, the topography of the Holy Land shows that Palestine is a series of hills and mountains that basically run east and west, lifting upward from the Mediterranean Sea to their peaks, then dropping off back down to sea level in the east. In the area of Jerusalem, the hills increase in elevation from the Mediterranean coast upward to Jerusalem, then down to the Dead Sea. Thus, anywhere to the west or east would also be “down” from Jerusalem.

Whether the Lehi home was to the west, east or even south of Jerusalem is not known, but it does seem likely that the patriarch had his home in an area near Jerusalem, but not within the city walls. It also seems certain that Nephi and his brothers came up to Jerusalem from their father's camp near the Red Sea, encountered Laban unsuccessfully, then left the city and went down to their former home, finally to return by going back up to Jerusalem.

Thus, it seems likely that Lehi, a wealthy man, had his house and property outside of Jerusalem at a lower elevation than the city itself. The fact that the brothers had to go down to the house and then back up to Jerusalem even suggests a journey of some distance and lower elevation. So how would Lehi have made a living in such an area away from Jerusalem? That is the topic of the next post "Lehi's Possible Business."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Living Conditions in Jerusalem at Time of Lehi

In the 8th century B.C., 200 years before Lehi left Jerusalem, the city reached its population density and overflowed the narrow confines of the walls. This was a flourishing growth period for the Jews, and the reason for the difference between “living in” (within) Jerusalem and “living at” (outside) Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:4).

Within the city, there was no town planning, and houses were built to conform to the available space. Sometimes, the space between two existing houses was used to build a third, and the shapes and angles of the walls were sometimes sharp and unusual. As a result, houses took shape haphazardly amid older buildings, which gave Jerusalem an uneven checkered flavor when seen from a distance. As population continued to expand in Jerusalem, people built houses in any suitable place they could find outside the walls.

Lacking any substantial timber supply, Jerusalem houses were constructed of stone and mud-plaster. The entrance led to an open courtyard, which served, among other things, as an open-air kitchen. Flanking the courtyard were two rooms with cobblestone floors for the family's domestic animals, and two slightly smaller rooms for human inhabitants. Across the back of the house stretched a communal room about six feet by twenty feet. The size of rooms was often determined by the size of the wood beams available. Most beams were made from local conifer trees, which grew to twelve or fifteen feet in height. These half-timber ceiling beams supported second floor sleeping rooms, which were reached by a ladder. Here another ladder led to a spacious roof where large jars filled with commodities such as grain and oil were located. In the summer, family members slept on the roof to catch a welcome breeze.

The houses were filled with insects in the heat of the summer, and with smoke from the open, indoor fire in the winter. This fire smoldered in a hole in the earth floor, but wealthy people had braziers, though these were without chimneys. The interior of these houses was so dark, a lamp had to be lit at all times. These were pottery dishes with a lip at one side (lamp molds were not invented until New Testament times) and located on the wall farthest from the door. The floor was hard-packed earth, and the animals were brought in near the front door in the winter. The sleeping quarters for the family were in the rear, on a raised flooring.

Wealthy Judean homes, like that of Lehi, would have been much larger. That Lehi was wealthy is attested to by the fact that he “left his gold, and his silver, and his precious things” as he fled into the wilderness (1 Nephi 2:4), and that Lehi “left gold and silver, and all manner of riches” in his home when he left (1 Nephi 3:16).

Such a wealthy home would have had a second floor dining room, a first floor kitchen adjacent to the open-air cooking spaces in the courtyard, and servants' quarters outside the main wall. Typically, these homes were built in a U-shape surrounding the central courtyard and the entrance door located in the walled-in open end of the U. A parapet had to be constructed around the edge of the roof for safety. On the ground floor were bins and jars for grain storage, mortars for grinding grain, basins of hollowed-out stones, dishes, jugs and cooking pots, one or two cistern mouths opening in the floor, and an oven. Occasionally, outbuildings were attached for storage, additional servant quarters, and stables. Well-to-do families had comfortable furniture, including beds and chairs, but the common roof of the home was typically the most comfortable place on a sultry night, and evening meals were often served there.

For eating, a meal might consist of lentil soup ladled into individual bowls and a large plate of lamb mixed with parched grain, chick peas and cheese. Fruit and wine usually rounded out the repast.

For bathing, women rinsed in clear water, then applied unscented oil to rub off excess dirt, somewhat like modern women that use cleansing cream. Scented oil was then applied, poured from decorative juglets. While the average woman bathed alone, sitting in a type of earthen tub, a wealthy woman would likely have a servant bathe her—-as did Bathsheba when David looked down upon her on her roof.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Prophets of Lehi’s Time

In 597 B.C., the first year of Zedekiah’s reign, conditions in Jerusalem had grown intolerable to the Lord. He called many prophets (1 Nephi 1:4). Jeremiah was, perhaps, the best known, and both he and Habbukuk left writings of that era. In addition, the Lord called Lehi to preach in Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:18; 2:1), and like the others, the Jews sought his life (1 Nephi 1:20).

Jeremiah. Since Assyria controlled Israel in the 100 years before Lehi led his family out of Jerusalem, the Jews were inundated with pagan culture, gods and worship. By the time Jeremiah was called to preach in Jerusalem, the city was strife with wickedness. Jeremiah took up his mission in Jerusalem with a heavy heart. Like prophets before him, he admonished the throngs of shoppers and merchants in the marketplaces and the crowds in the temple courtyard to listen to the Lord. At the annual Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), in 608 B.C., when pilgrims from all Judah flocked to Jerusalem, Jeremiah was instructed by God to stand in the Lord's house. As priests circled the altar, worshipers waved their lulabs (ceremonial plumes woven of branches from palm, willow and myrtle trees) and joined in the singing, Jeremiah stepped forward and loudly interrupted the ceremony. He denounced the display of superficial orthodoxy and predicted the fall of the temple and the captivity of the Jews.

Habakkuk. A relatively unknown prophet, Habakkuk wrote after the fall of Assyria, but before the fall of Jerusalem, making him contemporary with Jeremiah and Lehi. An impatient man, he was filled with chagrin over the evil of Judah, and wanted to know when the Lord was going to follow through on the predictions of his prophets who had been predicting the terrible consequences of the Jews' crimes and punishment for some time. "O, Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence and thou wilt not save!" The Lord's answer to his prophet's question was to declare that Judah would be conquered by the new world power—the Babylonians.

Lehi. A contemporary of Jeremiah and Habakkuk, Lehi was born about 650 B.C. Like Zephaniah and Jeremiah, he was a prophet of doom to his nation. Lehi received a vision (1 Nephi 1:8) of God, Christ and the Twelve Apostles (1 Nephi 1:10), and the terrible abominations of Israel, the eventual destruction of Jerusalem, and their captivity in Babylon (1 Nephi 1:13). He prophesied all of these things to the Jews in Jerusalem (1 Nephi 1:14) and kept a record of his life and work (1 Nephi 1:17). The Jews tried to kill him (1 Nephi 1:20) and the Lord commanded him to take his family and flee into the wilderness (1 Nephi 2:2), which he did.
Lehi was not the only Old Testament prophet whose name has been forgotten. There were Jasher (Jos 10:13; 2 Sam 1:18); Nathan (1 Chron 29:29; 2 Chron 9:29); Schemaiah (2 Chron 12:15); Iddo (2 Chron 13:22); and Jehu (2 Chron 20:34); while the Book of Mormon suggests other forgotten Old Testament prophets in Zenock (1 Nephi 19:10); Zenos (Jacob 5:1; Hellaman 15:11; Alma 38:3); and Ezias (Helaman 8:20). How many others are missing we simply do not know, though Nephi says that just prior to his father's prophetic calling, “there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city of Jerusalem must be destroyed” (1 Nephi 1:4). No doubt these were among those now forgotten, and probably some of the messengers of God that the Bible tells us were mocked, their messages despised, and themselves misused (2 Chron 36:15-16).

Thus, Lehi was told to take his family into the wilderness, which begins the monumental epic of the Book of Mormon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jerusalem in the Time of Lehi

In 622 B.C., an old law book was discovered—a major portion of the book now called Deuteronomy—which expounded on the theology of the Mosaic covenant. In line with its Mosaic precepts, all sacrificial rituals were ordered performed in the Jerusalem temple, and the provincial clergy were invited to join the priestly guilds in the capital, though most refused to do so because they were afraid to give up their pagan practices for fear it would invite retaliation from Assyria who governed the land.

By 612 B.C. the Assyrian Empire began crumbling and Babylonia destroyed Nineveh, Assyria's magnificent capital, marking an end to Assyrian power and rule. Josiah, king of Judah, sparked by religious zeal and political ambition, carried his reformation north to Galilee and west to the Mediterranean Sea. With Assyria's fall from power, Josiah led a fight for Jewish independence.

In 608 B.C., Necho, the Pharaoh of Egypt, wanted to establish a buffer between aggressive Babylonia and his own empire. He dispatched an army to help Assyria, moving his forces through Israel; however, Josiah resolved to resist the approaching Egyptians and went out to meet their army, but in the battle that followed, the Hebrews were beaten and Josiah killed. The Jews chose one of Josiah's sons, Jehoahaz, to be their leader. But after three months, the Egyptians replaced Jehoahaz with Jehoiakim, another of Josiah's sons, and exercised political control of the Kingdom of Judah for three years.

In 605 B.C., the Egyptian authority in Palestine was suddenly halted when the Babylonians under Crown Prince Nebuchadnezzar marshaled a mighty force and crushed the Pharaoh's army in the battle of Carchemish, in upper Syria. This Babylonian victory took the Jewish nation out of Egypt's grasp and made Jehoiakim Nebuchadnezzar's servant.

From 604-562 B.C., Nebuchadnezzer II, son of Nabopolassar, who founded the last Chaldean Dynasty in 625 B.C., ruled Babylon. Nebuchadnezzer married Amyitis, the daughter of the King of the Medes, a country which formed a major portion of ancient Persia, and collected tribute from Jerusalem, controlling all of southern Palestine as a vassal state. Nebuchadnezzar allowed Jehoiakim to continue to rule, but the Israelite king later rebelled against Babylon. When the Chaldeans returned with a much larger army, Jehoiakim proclaimed a fast for heavenly intervention against Judah's enemy, but he mysteriously died. His son, Jehoiachin, ascended to the throne of Judah, and surrendered the city to Nebuchadnezzar on March 16, 597 B.C. On his departure from Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar appointed 21-year-old Mattaniah—the gift of Jehovah—whose name was changed to Zedekiah—the righteous gift of Jehovah, king of the Davidic lineage, an uncle of Jehoichin, and the youngest son of Josiah by the same mother as Jehoahaz.

In 597 B.C., Zedekiah, destined to be the last King of Judah, was in his first year of reign in Jerusalem, embarked on a wicked, immoral and corrupt rule. Wickedness swept through Judah and dishonesty, false swearing and idolatry were common vices of the day. Zedekiah decided to follow the disastrous course of Jehoiakim in seeking an alliance with Egypt and scheming a break with Babylon.”In the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah,” Nephi describes the time of the events that open his record. Traditionally, we place this at 600 B.C. Actually Zedekiah began his reign as king of Judah in 597 B.C., and by stating in the commencement of the first year, Nephi tells us that the Lehi Colony left Jerusalem in the springtime, since in the bible, the first month always refers to the first spring month. The “commencement of the year,” therefore, would fall in the springtime regardless of when Zedekiah began to reign as king. The Jews, like the Egyptians, dated a king's rule from the beginning of the real year, which was the ritual time of coronation.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No Others Mentioned

Speaking of the Nephites Mormon says, “The spirit of the Lord hath already ceased to strive with their fathers” (Mormon 5:16), and that “they were once a delightsome people (Mormon 5:17) “but now, behold, they are led about by Satan” (Mormon 5:18) and that “the Lord has reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land” (Mormon 5:19) and that “the Lamanites shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles (Mormon 5:20).

Notice that the spirit had already ceased—past tense—and that the Gentiles shall—future tense—possess the land and the Gentiles shall—future tense—scatter the Lamanites. Also note that no other people are mentioned regarding the land of promise and being in it even though the past and future are brought together in a single promise.

In other words, the Nephites were past redemption and whatever promises they might have had in the land of promise, if they had remained righteous, would now be given by the Lord to the Gentiles—who had not yet arrived in the land of promise.

These Gentiles that would arrive were the same ones that Nephi saw in his vision where he “beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12). This man, of course, was Columbus, and those
Spanish conquistadores that would follow who “the Lord God will not suffer that the Gentiles will utterly destroy the mixture of thy seed, which is among thy brethren” (1 Nephi 13:30). Nephi saw no other people in the land of promise, and Columbus was yet to arrive.

Would this not suggest, even to the most prudent reader, that there were only three groups of people in the land of promise—the Nephites, the Lamanites, and the Gentiles who had not yet arrived.

Yet, Mesoamerican Theorists continually try to ram the idea of indigenous people down our throats because their Central American model demands it.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Indigenous People Did the Nephites Dominate?

John L. Sorenson, in his book “An Ancient Setting for the Book of Mormon,” describes on several occasions that the Land of Promise was already occupied by other, indigenous people, when the Nephites arrived, and that the Nephites absorbed these indigenous people into their ranks. On page 89, summing this up, he writes:

“This scenario fits what we have already described in social and political terms -- that the Book of Mormon is a record by an elite group who dominated a folk population of undisclosed characteristics whom they found resident on the land.”

Now, in order for this to be true, the following conditions would have to exist:

1) The Lord would have to bring the Lehi colony across ten thousand miles of land and ocean to occupy a land of promise already inhabited by other peoples who would, ultimately, so dominate Lehi's descendants that they would be absorbed into different physical and racial characteristics too numerous to mention.

2) That the Nephites were so self-centered, so elitist, that they could not bring themselves to mention in their records even the slightest hint of this group or groups of indigenous people existed, while mentioning two other groups that inhabited the land once they encountered them or their remains.

3) That promises in scripture made by the Lord to Lehi and to Nephi were null and void before they were even issued.

4) That, despite finding these people upon first landing, Lehi would make no mention of them when giving his warnings and blessings to his sons, yet continue to insist that this land was theirs to inherit, had been kept hidden from other peoples, and would be theirs forever if they only remained righteous.

5) Though only about 100 in number when landing in the promised land, they were, nonetheless, greater than any indigenous people as to be able to dominate them, yet have this indigenous people large enough in number to completely change the appearance of Lehi's descendants so as to duplicate all the different racial remains found in Mesoamerica.

6) Have indigenous groups of people in the promised land before Lehi's landing that had the same appearance of copper-olive skins, dark hair, brown eyes, and slight builds so that the Lehi colony would not stand out among them, or differ sharply in physical appearance from many Indian groups.

7) That Amaleki, and following historian/prophets, despite learning that other people, including Jaredites, inhabited the land of Zarahemla, and made up a portion of the people of Zarahemla, bound together in some elitist agreement not to mention these peoples in the record, but lump them under the common group of descendants of the Mulek expedition.

8) That prophets of God like Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Mosiah, Benjamin, Alma, Helaman, Nephi and others consented to maintain this elitist attitude and not record any record of a separate, indigenous people, occupying the promised land, or having been controlled by Nephite dominance, having mixed in with, intermarried, or in any way even suggest a separate people other than the three groups recorded.

9) That the prohet Ether, living at the end of the Jaredite civilization and close to the time the Lehi colony reached the promised land failed to record any indication of a people other than his own Jaredites, to which he gave a very extensive genealogy to commence his record, or that somehow was in league with the later Nephite prophets not to mention a single instance of an indigenous group of people occupying the land.

The list could be continued, but these points should convince anyone of the folly of such a belief that indigenous, "other people" occupied the land of promise as Sorenson continually and extensively claims. Once again, if any other indigenous population existed in the land of promise that absorbed the Nephites as claimed, we would expect to find some evidence of this mixture resulting in entirely different appearing descendants. However, all archaeological evidence shows that the Nephites retained their same physical appearance for the entire 1,000 years of their history. Archaeologists agree that the resulting Indian types (Maya, Aztecs, etc.) did not begin to appear until after 300 A.D. and continued up until the Spanish conquest.

Simply put. There was no indigenous people in the Land of Promise.

Friday, April 23, 2010

East Sea in the North? West Sea in the South?

Bruce W. Warren and Thomas S. Ferguson, in their book “The Messiah in Ancient America,” in their inside cover map of the Land of Promise, defy all logic and reason by placing an East Sea to the North, and a West Sea to the South of the Land of Promise. This is the same tactic that other Mesoamerican Theorists use—a total disregard for the direction used in the Book of Mormon scripture.

Some, like Sorenson (Map 5, pg 37), use pages to defy this logic in explaining that not only did all the Nephites not know their cardinal directions, but that their earlier knowledge of directions in Jerusalem was based on how they stood in relation to the sea.

There are two Seas recorded in the Book of Mormon record that correlate to known bodies of water which can not only be identified, but also interpreted for comparison with the use of the word “sea” later in the record.

After traveling eastward through the barren desert of Arabia, the Lehi Colony came upon a coastal area they “called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey” (1 Nephi 17:5). From this isolated oasis along the coast Nephi says they “beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters” (1 Nephi 17:5).

Nephi connects the definition of “sea” with the word “Irreantum” and the phrase “many waters,” showing that all three have the same basic meaning—that is a salt sea. Thus Nephi’s record appears to define “many waters” as a large body of salt water. This is also found in the earlier comment about traveling in a south-southeast direction (1 Nephi 16:13) along the Red Sea (1 Nephi 16:14)—also a salt sea.
When the Nephites crossed the Irreantum Sea and arrived in the Land of Promise, they landed toward the south along the coast of what they called the West Sea (Alma 22:28). This land was referred to as the land of First Inheritance (Mosiah 9:1;10:13;Alma 22:28). In the following verses, Mormon inserts a description of the land so the future reader can visualize the Land of Promise—at least the land to the south which was “nearly surrounded by water” except for a “small neck of land between the Land Northward and the Land Southward” (Alma 22:32). Thus, the Land Southward, containing the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla, and Bountiful on the north, just south of this narrow neck, were completely surrounded by water except for the narrow neck of land (Alma 22:22:32), which had the east sea on one side and the west sea on the other side (Alma 50:34). This narrow neck of land kept the sea from completely dividing the land (Ether 10:20).

Thus, to the east of the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi was the East Sea (Alma 22:27; 50:8) and to the west was the West Sea (Alma 22:28). And, obviously there was a South Sea (Helaman 3:8), which led Jacob to write “for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20-21).

The only time in the Book of Mormon where a direction is used that can be exactly verified, they are correct. (1 Nephi 16:13;17:1), so why does Sorenson claim the Nephites did not know directions? Because his Mesoamerican model is 90º off kilter to the cardinal directions and does not fit the use of north, south, east or west used in the scriptures. One might call that being disingenuous.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Sorenson Rewriting the Nephite Record

In a vintage example of John L. Sorenson’s rewriting of the Nephite record, he states in his book, “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” on page 140:

“What can we tell about the living conditions in the land of first inheritance? The coastal plain where the landing of Lehi would have occurred was uncomfortably hot and humid. That climate favored rapid crop growth, but the weather would be unpleasant for colonizers. The Nephites soon fled up to the land of Nephi, where the elevation permitted living in greater comfort. As Nephi tells the story, the Lamanites down in the hot lowlands were nomadic hunters, bloodthirsty, near naked, and lazy (2 Nephi 5:24, Enos 1:20). The circumstances of life in that environment could account for some of those characteristics.”

Because Sorenson’s Mesoamerican model has an area that is hot and humid, he has to make it sound like that was what is found in the Book of Mormon record. However, nothing of the kind is even indicated.

First of all, seeds that came from the area of Jerusalem in a Mediterranean climate, would not have grown in a hot and humid land in 600 B.C. This is an extremely important issue that Mesoamerican Theorists ignore, yet it was a life and death issue in earlier times.

Second, there is no suggestion, hint, or concept put forth in scripture that the landing site of the Lehi colony was hot and humid. Even though Nephi took some effort to describe what was found there, no mention of climate is given, nor any indication of it being hot and humid.

Third, the Nephites did not flee up to the land of Nephi where the elevation permitted living in greater comfort because of the weather or climatic conditions as Sorenson insinuates. The fact of the matter is, Nephi led those who would follow him to that land because the Lord warned him to flee his older brothers who sought his life (2 Nephi 5:5).

Fourth, the Lamanites are not described as living “down in the hot lowlands.” In fact, the land of first inheritance, or the land where Lehi landed, is not mentioned in any way regarding its climate except that the seeds from a Mediterranean climate grew there abundantly.

Fifth, it was not the hot and humid lowlands or climatic condition that led to the Lamanites being in the conditions as Nephi and Enos describe, but it was, as is described in the very scripture Sorenson references, “And because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” (2 Nephi 5:24)

Like so much of his book, Sorenson is adept at making outlandish statements that agree with his Mesoamericam model, but disagree with the scriptures, in such a way that the casual reader would accept and never question his writing. There can be no other explanation but that Sorenson deliberately misstates scripture to further his Mesoamerican model, which cannot be supported in any other way.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nephite Trade in 350 A.D.? Are You Kidding?

Joseph L. Allen, in his book “Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon,” on page 29, writes:

“Although a few archaeological sites depict a decline in civilization at 350 AD, many other sites in Mesoamerica show a continued and dramatic growth over the next 400 years.”

One might think from this that Allen is far more familiar with Central American history he quotes, than he is with the Book of Mormon. In 350 A.D., there was a war of annihilation going on in the Land of Promise. The Nephites were running for their lives and being wiped off the face of the earth—no Nephite would have been involved in any kind of trade since he would have been running to escape the invading armies of the Lamanites.
After a lengthy war, the Nephites finally were able to make “a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided, and the Lamanites did give us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward” (Mormon 2:28-29).

For the next ten years, Mormon was busy getting “the Nephites preparing their lands and their arms against the time of battle” (Mormon 3:1). After this ten-year period, the Lamanite king sent an epistle to Mormon informing him that the Lamanites “were preparing to come again to battle against us” (Mormon 3:4). At this time, 360 A.D., Mormon gathered all his armies to the land of Desolation, at “the narrow pass which led into the land southward” (Mormon 3:5).

Three incursions by the Lamanites met with defeat, but in the third year, a fresh Lamanite army attacked, killing many Nephites and taking many women and children prisoners (Mormon 4:2), and sacrifiing them to their idols (Mormon 4:22).

There was an eight-year laspe, but from this point on, the Nephites were continually driven from city to city, from land to land, always on the defensive and never able to win another battle. In the Nephite retreat, “whatsoever lands we had passed by, and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in, were destroyed by the Lamanites, and their towns and villages were burned with fire” (Mormon 5:5). The following year the Lamanites came again and the Nephite defenses were “in vain, for so great were their numbers that they did tread the people of the Nephites under their feet” (Mormon 5:6), “for those whose flight did not exceed the Lamanites’ were swept down and destroyed” (Mormon 5:7). Following this, the battle at Cumorah took place and the Nephites were wiped out to the man, with only Moroni left standing (Mormon 8:1-2). Despite all this, Allen writes on page 29:

“Because the archaeological record shows a high amount of trade activity between Mexico City (Teotihuacan) and Guatemala City (Kaminaljuyu), and including points in between (Oaxaca/Monte Alban), the wicked 350 AD Nephite culture was simply in the way of trade and commerce. The annihilation of the Nephites at 385 AD does not seem to show a major impact on the rest of Mesoamerica. From 350 AD to 900 AD, a vast amount of building and commerce activity occurred in Mesoamerica.”

Yet, during this time, Moroni tells us that a civil war had been going on in the entire land of promise, from the annihilation of the Nephites (385 A.D.) to 401 A.D., “the Lamanites are at war one with another, and the whole face of this land is one continual round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war” (Mormon 8:8). 20 years later, Moroni adds: “their wars are exceedingly fierce among themselves” (Moroini 1:2).

One can only wonder what type of dramatic growth could possibly take place when the entire Land of Promise was in a state of siege from about 326 A.D. onward (Mormon 2:2), with the Lamanites chasing the Nephites northward and finally annihilating them, then having a civil war among themselves that lasted for 36 years after the Nephites were destroyed—-in all covering 95 years with no one knowing when it would end.

One can also only wonder if Allen has read the scriptures or just relies on questionable archaeological findings.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Fast Can Nephite Numbers Grow?

In order to justify the population numbers the scriptures seem to indicate among the Lamanites and Nephites, Mesoamerican Theorists try to claim, contrary to the scriptures, that other, indigenous people populated the Land of Promise prior to the Nephites arrival, and that they, along with numerous Jaredites, were absorbed into the Mulekite, Lamanite and Nephite societies. Several posts in this blog have been about this issue.

However, it should not be overlooked that natural circumstances can increase populations significantly in a few generations. Take the Israelites that ventured into Egypt. In addition to Joseph, who was already there when Jacob brought his family down into Egypt, there were seventy people in his group (Exodus 1:5). Compare that with about 100 to 120 Nephites arriving, and an untold number of Mulekites.

The descendants of these 75 people spent 430 years in Egypt before they were led out into the wilderness by Moses (Exodus 12:40) which was in the month of Abib in that year (Exodus 13:4). Two years after they left Egypt (432 years after their arrival), Moses had a census taken of all males twenty years or older in the Israelite camp capable of going to war, which totaled 603,550 (Numbers 1:45-46; 2:32). A later count by tribe is given in which all males one month and older are counted that numbers 1,041,450. Neither of these two number counts included the tribe of Levi, which would have been about 1/12th of the total Israelites, or numbers 658,418 and 1,136,036 respectively. When adding women and girls, it has been suggested that the total number of Israelites leaving Egypt was at least 3,000,000.

Thus it can be seen from scriptures that the population of an area by a small number of people (in this case, probably 75; 70 coming into Egypt and Joseph, his wife, and three children totaling 75), resulted in three million within 432 years.

Yet Sorenson and other Mesoamerican Theorists cannot believe that the Nephites could have multiplied in sufficient numbers to warrant the population the scriptures suggest. Therefore, they have created indigenous populations that were absorbed into the Nephite and Lamanite populations in order to equate the large numbers suggested. And, obviously, match their Mesoamerican models of other peoples in Central America during the time of the Book of Mormon.

When one does not have a preconceived idea, it is easier to understand and interpret the scriptures as they were meant. But when one has a model already determined, one must either discard it when the scriptures do not agree with it, or change, alter, or demean the scriptures in order to maintain the model—unfortunately, this is what all Mesoamerican, Great Lakes and other theorists have done for decades (see my book “Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican & Other Theorists” for more than 500 different examples).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mesoamerican Theorists Rely on Man’s Records

Ever willing to go against the scriptures to prove his Mesoamerican model, John L. Sorenson, in his book “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” on page 146 writes:

“Latter-day Saints are not used to the idea that other people than Lehi’s immediate descendants were on the Book of Mormon scene. Abundant evidence from archaeological and linguistic studies assures us that such people were indeed present, so we need to understand how the Book of Mormon account accommodates that fact.”

Let’s take Sorenson’s statement one sentence at a time:

“Latter-day Saints are not used to the idea that other people than Lehi’s immediate descendants were on the Book of Mormon scene.”

The reason for this is simple. There is no other indication, suggestion, hint, or idea in the entire scriptural record to suggest such a thing. Latter-day Saints rely on the scriptures because they were written by prophets, translated by a prophet under the guidance of the spirit and the Urim and Thummim, and have been attested to by hundreds of thousands of people who have read and studied them.

“Abundant evidence from archaeological….”

No matter what archaeological evidence is found, the scriptures are not in question here. Consequently, one might say, if “abundant evidence from archaeological” finds in Mesoamerican suggest something different than the scriptures, why not abandon the Mesoamerian model as not the Land of Promise? Why work so hard to maintain a model when it does not agree with the scriptures? Find one that does!

“…and linguistic studies assures us that such people were indeed present.”

Since linguistics is the study of the nature, structure, and variation of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, what possible linguistic evidence could possibly be shown about a period from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D.? There are no records of this period other than the Book of Mormon. There are no languages surviving that can be attributed to this period of time. Even if there were, we would not know their meaning, their pronunciation, or their use. How people speak today, 1600 years after the fact in Central or South America has no bearing on how they spoke long before any records are available. Besides, in 1600 years, a language often changes dramatically (take the case of the Mulekite language in just 400 years—the Nephites could not understand the Mulekite language even though they were both from Jerusalem).

“…studies assures us that such people were indeed present.”

There is no possible way that anyone today can know who or what existed in the entire Western Hemisphere over 1600 years ago when there are no records (other than the Book of Mormon), writings, inscriptions, or any other type of evidence that can be dated to that period that has any meaning in terms of words. Hieroglyphics, or other symbols, after all, do not contain words, but ideas (a glyph of a man in a ship may mean rowing, sailing, transportation, etc.) Furthermore, the sound-based phonetic symbols of Mayan do not belong to an alphabet like the letters of the Latin alphabet, where each consonant and vowel has its own symbol. Even words determined by the Mayan do not translate to the same meaning as we would place on them—-thus, we have to have a key to understand them (the Rosetta Stone)—-but that does not tell us what they mean, only how we interpret them.

“…so we need to understand how the Book of Mormon account accommodates that fact.”

What we need to understand is that the scriptures are accurate as written and if man’s ideas or findings do not agree with them, then man’s ideas and findings are inaccurate. We need not try to change scriptural meaning, but need to change what we know and perceive to match the scriptures. If Mesoamerica does not match the scriptures—-then Mesoamerican Theorists should stop trying to shove their model down our throats by altering the scriptures, and start looking for a place that does match the scriptural record!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Allen Rewrites Scripture for Mesoamerican Model

On page 25 of his book, “Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon,” Joseph L. Allen writes:

“The landing of the Mulekites would have been along the Gulf of Mexico.”

As has been pointed out in “Lehi Never Saw Mesoamerica,” it would have been almost impossible for a sailing ship “driven forth before the wind” to have left the area of Indonesia and sail to Mexico as Allen so blithely suggests. Not even in the 15th century A.D. could Cortez’ ships sent to the Philippines from Mexico make the return trip, tring to two years to do so. Not concerned with reality, Allen goes on to write:

“From there, compelled by the necessity of establishing themselves in a propitious spot and perhaps harried by their enemies”

Speaking of the Mulekites, Allen makes this wild assertion that they had enemies in the land—who might that have been? They did not encounter the Nephites for some 400 years after landing, and there is absolutely no mention in the scriptures that they encountered any Jaredites. Despite this, he goes on to say that:

“This conclusion is consistent with the Book of Mormon, wherein the people of Zarahemla went into the South Wilderness and settled along the Sidon River.”

While Zarahemla is along the Sidon River, nothing else is remotely correct with Allen’s assertions about the Book of Mormon here. There can be no conclusion that the Mulekites moved once they had landed, since Amaleki, an eye-witness to Mosiah’s first encounter with the Mulekites says that the Lord had broght them “across the great waters into the land where Mosiah discovered them and they had dwelt there from that time forth” (Omni 1:15). Nor is there any mention of any enemies—their wars were evidently among themselves (Omni 1:17).

Nor did they establish themselves in a propitious spot of their choice, since the Lord brought Mulek into the place where Mosiah and the Nephites would eventually find them for the Lord guided Mosiah's movements until he came into Zarahemla (Omni 1:13). There is no mention in the Book of Mormon that the Mulekites were involved in any migration once they reached the Land of Promise. To make one up is contrary to the record and what an eye-witness has said, which should preclude any comment about a Mulekite migration.

Allen continues to use the terminology, “is consistent with what we see in the Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica.” Unfortunately, there is very little he writes about that is consistent with the Book of Mormon, except in his own rewriting of the scripture.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sorenson vs. Roberts on the Jaredites

John L. Sorenson, in his “An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,” on page 140, writes:

“We are given no hint of who taught Lehi’s descendants to grow corn, nor of who gave them the seed. Of course, the people of Zeniff—-the corn growers of Mosiah 9-—had come from Zarahemla, but where would they have got it? The obvious source in Book of Mormon terms would be Jaredite survivors.”

It is hard to imagine why the Jaredites would be an obvious choice since they were totally wiped out and never had any contact with the Mulekites, other than one Coriantumr, the last Jaredite, who encountered the Mulekites when he was nine months away from death, and after he had suffered from numerous wounds encountered in a lengthy war. Would he have been carrying corn seed with him at this time? That seems doubtful.

It is interesting that no less than B.H. Roberts, perhaps intellectually the most eminent and influential of all the official leaders of the church in the early twentieth century, on writing about the Jaredites, makes it clear that the Jaredites did not survive their final battle as all later Mesoamerican theorists claim. In his book, “Studies of the Book of Mormon,” second edition, Roberts writes on page 163:

“The Jaredites were destroyed down to the last man of them, near the beginning of the 6th century, B.C.”

And to the land being previously occupied when they arrived as Mesoamerican Theorists also claim, Roberts adds on page 164:

“The original colony came to the land-—“into that quarter where there never had man been;” and they left the land, for a second time, as empty of human inhabitants as when they had found it. Nothing remained but the crumbling monuments of their ruined temples, altars, roads, and cities.”

Brigham Henry Roberts is widely regarded as the foremost historian and theologian of the Mormon Church, and in his writings, many of which are not available to the general public, he makes it clear that the Land of Promise was not occupied by other people as Mesoamerican Theorists claim, and that there was no overlap of the Jaredites and Nephites, Mulekites or Lamanites, again as Mesoamerican Theorists claim.

This article does not bring into question the life of B. H. Roberts, nor his on again, off again, attitude about the matters he believed in or doubted. What is meant here is that a man who was intellectually without peer, saw in the writings of the Book of Mormon, a story about the Jaredite that was clear, precise, and did not need to be altered from the original manuscript. In this, he showed what was said about the Jaredites in a clear and precise manner, and that is why he is included in this article--to show that so many in later years have tried to corrupt the plain and simple truths about the Jaredites in order to make their ancient history match their current Mesoamerican models.

Perhaps we ought to take the writings as the original prophets living at the time wrote them, how Joseph Smith through the help of the Urim and Thummim translated it, and how early intellectuals reading the matter understood it. The changes manufactured by recent Mesoamerican Theorists, such as Sorenson, is both disingenuous and misleading—-perhaps disingenuously misleading.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Government Mosiah Set Up

In ancient times, man was governed by a Patriarchal Order, where there were no kings, just a patriarchal line that God set up for the purpose of continuing the priesthood lineage and the ruling order. From Adam to Seth and on down to Noah, then to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, the Patriarchal Line ruled—however, over the centuries from Adam onward, there were those who did not choose to be ruled by the patriarchs and set up their own kingdoms under the rule of a king. This should be well understood by members of the Church.

When Mosiah, the last Nephite king, told the Nephites that they should not be governed by a king, he outlined all the types of iniquity such rulers cause (Mosiah 29:21-24). Mosiah was also concerned about his son being king and returning to his prideful ways (Mosiah 29:9), and suggested the people learn to govern themselves by appointing judges (Mosiah 29:11). Higher judges were to judge lower judges, and lower judges were to judge higher judges, according to the voice of the people (Mosiah 29:29).

The purpose of self-government is illustrated in the statement: “And I command you to do these things and that ye have no king, that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads” (Mosiah 29:30). And also told them, that with a king people gripe and blame the king and “that these things ought not to be; but that the burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part” (Mosiah 29:34).

In several instances in these verses, Mosiah says, “choose ye by the voice of the people,” “do your business by the voice of the people,” “it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right,” (Mosiah 29:25-27). Clearly, Mosiah was setting up the system whereby judges at all levels could be appointed by the people and still be judged by the people.

However, Michael M. Hobby, in his book “The Mulekite Connection,” completely misses the mark by stating on page 33:

“The opportunity to change the law was in Mosiah’s hand. To preserve Nephite freedom it was necessary to preserve Nephite control. Mosiah’s charisma was at a maximum, and he was successful in persuading the people to adopt a system of judges, with the lower judges elected by the people, most of whom were Mulekites. However, to ensure Nephite control, the first Chief Judge, and apparently the higher judges as well, were appointed.”

The truth of the matter is simply this. We do not know what roll the Mulekites played, if any, in the Nephite society once they were joined with the Nephites. It is disingenuous for Hobby, Nibley, Sorenson, and others to claim the Nephite problems were because of the Mulekites, or that any particular person was a Mulekite because of his name when no such indication is given anywhere in the scriptures. Like the clan of Sam, the Mulekites are never separately mentioned once this joining took place. And though the Josephites and Jacobites and others who the prophets identified as Nephites are occasionally mentioned to have been separate, it is never given as a particular event or circumstances, only that they existed and were included in the overall term. However, it should be noted, the Mulekites, like Sam’s posterity, are never separately mentioned. Yet Hobby has chosen to write an entire book on all the problems the Mulekites caused. Perhaps Hobby and others should limit their remarks to what the Book of Mormon says, and not make up stories, histories, attitudes, and problems that are not indicated, or attribute them to a particular group where no suggestion in scripture is mentioned.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Maya Calendar – Part III

The Maya calendar has a similarity in the sacred Aztec calendar, which is called the Eagle Bowl. It represents the solar deity Tonatiuh. The allegedly accurate calendar has been in use in various forms for more than 2,000 years. A Zapotec prophecy, based on the Eagle Bowl, states: “After Thirteen Heavens of Decreasing Choice, and Nine Hells of Increasing Doom, the Tree of Life shall blossom with a fruit never before known in the creation, and that fruit shall be the New Spirit of Men.”

Allegedly, the 13 Heavens and 9 Hells were each 52 years long (1,144 years total, as sjown in the last two posts). Each of the 9 Hells were to be worse than the last. On the final day of the last Hell (August 17, 1987), Tezcatlipoca, god of death, would remove his mask of jade to reveal himself as Quetzelcoatl, god of peace. In the mythology of the Aztecs, there were 7 ages listed:

1. The first age of humankind ended with the animals devouring humans;

2. The second age was finished by wind;

3. The third age was finished by fire; and

4. The fourth age was finished by water. This fourth age or epoch ended in August 1987, and the Mayan calendar ends in December 24, 2012, and it is believed by the calendar prophets that only a few people will survive the catastrophe that is likely to ensue.

5. The fifth age, called The Golden Age, humanity will realize its spiritual destiny. This fifth age, also called Nahui-Olin (Sun of Earthquake), began in 3113 BC and will end on December 24, 2012. It is claimed to be the last destruction of human existence on Earth. The date coincides closely with that determined in “The Invisible Landscape” as “the end of history” indicated by computer analysis of the ancient Chinese oracle-calendar, the I Ching. 

6. The sixth age, we will realize God within ourselves.

7. The seventh age, we will become so spiritual that we will be telepathic.

According to those who study the Mayan Calendar, it provides an exact schedule for the Cosmic Plan and the unfolding of all things that come into existence. They claim there is now ample empirical evidence for this, something that shines new light on the age old questions of mankind. They claim that things do exist for a reason. The reason is that they fit into the divine cosmic plan. For those that seriously engage in a study of the Mayan Calendar, they claim, this soon becomes evident and the former materialist world view loses all relevance. They claim the Mayan Calendar is a gateway to the worlds of consciousness which the majority of humanity has been blinded to through the use of false or delusory calendars. What it does say is that step by step there will be a change in consciousness in the current Galactic Underworld that until October 28, 2011, will make Enlightenment a state that is increasingly more easily attained.

To the Mesoamrican Theorist, the Mayan Calendar is more accurate than the scriptures in recording the events of the past, all the way back to the Flood.

Personally, having studied the Mayan Calandar and all that has been written and said about it—I will take the scriptures any day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dates of the Patriarchs are Exact - Part II (Cont)

According to Mesoamerican Theorists and the Maya Calendar, the Maya system began on August 13, 3114 B.C., which is their initial series introductory glyph. But as stated in the last post, that merely means the cycle began then, not that is when the Maya themselves began.

Why that date? Because it is when that particular cycle began, just as the year 2012 A.D is the end of that cycle—not when the world will end. In fact, it is more proper to say that on the Solstice of December 21, 2012, precisely at 11:11 a.m. Universal Time, the completion of the 5,125 year Great Cycle of the Ancient Maya Long Count Calendar takes place. Which means, that a Maya calendar could have begun in a previous cycle, beginning in 8,240 B.C., or 10,250 years before the end date. And the Maya calendar will have a next Great Cycle beginning in 2012 and ending in 7137 A.D. Does that mean the earth will continue that long? No. Only that the cycle is projected to that date. Does it mean 3114 was the beginning of the Maya? No. Only that their calendar can be projected back that far. In addition, it should be understood that the Maya Calendar shows that 2012 is also the completion of the 26,000 year Precession of the Equinoxes cycle, and some claim it also signifies the end of a 104,000 year cycle.

However, Mesoamerican Theorist, forever using dates and information to prove their point, like to claim that the Maya started their calendar on that date specifically because it was the date of Noah’s Flood, despite it being 770 years before the dates attributed to it in scripture. As Joseph Allen stated about scriptural dates:

“Dates are very elusive and, as a result, allow a great degree of flexibility. We run into the same problem (elusive dates) as we attempt to correlate Book of Mormon dates with secular dates of Mesoamerica.”

But dates in the scriptures are not elusive. As to the Flood, the dates of the Patriarchs, beginning with Adam’s earthly time (after being ejected from the Garden of Eden), and the date of his Patriarchal Lineage son and onward, with each patriarch listed when he was born and when his son was born, all the way down to Abraham. We have exact dates when Noah was born, how long he lived before building the Ark (500 years), how long it took to build the Ark (100 years), and his age when he entered the Ark (600). We know he was born 1056 years after Adam was ejected, in 2944 B.C.

These are the dates of the Patriarchs as Moses recorded them:

Adam was 130 when Seth was born in 3870 BC (Moses 6:10)(Gen 5:3)
Seth 105 when Enos born in 3765 BC (Moses 6:13)(Gen 5:6)
Enos 90 when Cainan born in 3675 BC (Moses 6:17)(Gen 5:9)
Cainan 70 when Mahalaleel born in 3605 BC (Moses 6:19)(Gen 5:12)
Mahalaleel 65 when Jared born in 3540 BC (Moses 6:20)(Gen 5:15)
Jared 162 when Enoch born in 3378 BC (Moses 6:21)(Gen 5:18)
Enoch 65 when Methuselah; born in 3313 BC (Moses 6:25)(Gen 5:21)
Methuselah 187 when Lamech born in 312 BC (Moes 6 8:5)(Gen 5:25)
Lamech 182 when Noah born in 2944 BC (Moses 8:8)(Gen 5:28)
Noah 450 when Japheth born in 2494 BC (Moses 8:12)
Noah 492 when Shem born in 2452 BC (Moses 8:12)
Noah 500 when Ham born in 2444 BC (Moses 8:12)(Gen 5:32)
Flood came 100 years later in 2344 BC (Gen 7:6)
1656 total years elapsed

It is disingenuous for Mesoamerican Theorists to try and claim that the Maya Calendar is more exact in determining the date of the Flood--which it gives no indication of the Flood in any way--in lieu of the scriptural dates--which do indicate the Flood--which are both exact, and dictated to Noah by the Lord. It is a shame when someone decides to try and prove their model at the expense of changing, ignoring or demeaning the scriptures. Man simply does not know more than God!

(Next Post: The Maya Calendar – Part III)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dates of the Patriarchs are Exact - Part I

In an effort to make scriptural dates agree with the Maya calendar, which in turn then agrees with the Mesoamerican model and the Theorists dating events, Joseph Allen in his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon,” writes on page 13:

“Dates are very elusive and, as a result, allow a great degree of flexibility. We run into the same problem (elusive dates) as we attempt to correlate Book of Mormon dates with secular dates of Mesoamerica.”

There are three things Allen is writing about:

1) Noah’s Flood
2) Dating events of the Flood
3) The Maya Calendar

Because the Maya calendar begins in the year 3114 B.C. according to those who have determined its interpretations, Mesoamerican Theorists claim that this is the date of the Flood because no other calamitous or singular event fits that date. And because it is 770 years before the date of the Flood according to Genesis in the Bible and the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price, Allen, and other Theorists, must show that scriptural dates are wrong.

To those who hold the Book of Mormon geography lies in Mesoamerica, the Maya calendar holds an important part in their calculations. First of all, while the calendar is a marvel of ancient accomplishment, it is a circular calendar. That is, the calendar has a cycle, and that cycle began in 3114 B.C. and currently ends in 2012 A.D. Thus, these Theorists claim the start date is a calamitous event, therefore, the end date, must also signal something of singular importance—many non LDS figure it will be the end of the world.

The important thing to keep in mind, is that the calendar is a series of cycles. One cycle is 260 days, and when combined with another 365-day calendar (known as the Haab), to form a synchronized cycle lasting for 52 Haabs, called the Calendar Round. Smaller cycles of 13 days (the trecena) and 20 days (the veintena) were important components of the Tzolk'in and Haab' cycles, respectively. A different form, known as the Long Count, by its linear nature, was capable of being extended to refer to any date far into the future or far into the past. A 584-day Venus cycle tracked the heliacal risings of Venus as the morning and evening stars. Many events in this cycle were seen as being astrologically inauspicious and baleful, and occasionally warfare was astrologically timed to coincide with stages in this cycle. Other, less-prevalent or poorly understood cycles, combinations and calendar progressions were also tracked. An 819-day Count is attested in a few inscriptions. Repeating sets of 9-day and 13-day intervals associated with different groups of deities, animals, and other significant concepts are also known.

To understand the future and past events in a cycle, let’s take the idea that you were born on July 1 of a given year, say 1975. While your life began in July, that year could be projected backward in time 6 months and forward in time 6 months. There would be no correlation between your existence, beginning in July to January 1 or December 31 of that year. Of course, in a one-year example, you would live through half of it. But take a cycle that was beyond life expectancy where the years were not numbered (as in the Mayan Tolk’in and the Haab systems), which repeated itself every 52 years, known as the Calendar Round. The end of the Calendar Round was a period of unrest and bad luck among the Maya, as they waited in expectation to see if the gods would grant them another cycle of 52 years.

Another cycle was the K’atun, which was 7,200 days, just under 20 years; and the Bak’tun, which was 20 K’atun, or 144,000 days, or about 394 ½ years, well beyond anyone’s life span. So one born in the middle of a Bak’tun cycle could project backward 197 years to the start date of that cycle, or project forward 197 years to the end of that cycle, both events beginning and ending after the person’s lifetime.

Now take the date 3114 B.C. Let’s say the ancient Maya developed their calendar in the year 0, or 1 A.D. That would mean that they could project backward a cycle to any previous date as far back as 3114 B.C., or forward to any future date to 2012. It does not mean they, themselves, were around during the previous start date. Nor does it mean that start date signified any particularly singular or calamitous event. It was simply a cycle, a great cycle that covers 5,125 years. We can project our own 365 day cycle calendar as far backward, or as far forward, as we choose.

(part II continued in next post)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Making Up His Own Record

John L. Sorenson, ignoring the scriptural record, makes up his own scriptures by inserting his own geographical terrain into the Book of Mormon land northward. He asks and answers his own Mesoamerican question:

“It may seem strange, looking at a map, that the Nephites did not concern themselves with the highland mass constituting the western half of the land northward, which had included the Moron of the Jaredites. The reason is probably simple: few, if any Nephites or allied lineages were located there. Those who did inhabit it would have been mainly unrelated in lineage and probably also in language. We know from linguistic and archaeological study that it was occupied by groups descended in part from Jaredite times.”

First, take a look at these unprecedented, unsupportable, and non-doctrinal speculations:

1. A highland mass covering the western half of the land northward;
2. The Jaredite city was located in a highland mass;
3. Few, if any Nephites dwelled in the land of Moron;
4. There were non-Nephite lineages allied to the Nephites in 350 A.D.;
5. People unrelated to the Nephites lived in the area of Moron;
6. People who spoke a different language than the Nephites lived in the area of Moron;
7. These people living in the area of Moran were descended from the Jaredites.

These are the types of speculative assertions that Sorenson continually makes. There is no scriptural reference to indicate any of these points. Yet, Sorenson writes:

“At least it is quite certain that the Zapotecs and various language relatives of theirs were already established in the highlands, although that point is not settled.”

Sorenson’s double-talk is found throughout his book. How can something be "quite certain" yet "not settled"? This is the kind of language Sorenson uses to try and prove his points. Stated differently, he is telling us that "unsettled points that are quite certain" show that unrelated Nephite languages existed in the land northward around 350 A.D." It can only be assumed from this that Sorenson must belong to a philosophy that "if you tell a falsehood often enough, it becomes a truth."

There is no indication, no record, no reference, not even a hint of suggestion that any indigenous or non-Nephite people, culture or languages, existed in the land of promise during the Book of Mormon record (600 B.C. to about 421 A.D.) Yet, despite this fact, Sorenson has waded through 350 pages, insisting upon the existence of other cultures, languages and peoples who lived there before, during and after the Nephite era. As absurd as this is, Sorenson goes on to insist:

“The retreat the Nephites had been forced to make would obviously be to areas inhabited by their own folk, not by strangers.”

Again, one might ask, “What strangers?” As usual, Sorenson delights in confusing the issue. There are no people mentioned or suggested in the scriptural record that would be classified as "strangers." Such indigenous people exist only in Sorenson's mind and his Mesoamerican model. What is amazing about all this is his unusual approach to what does and what does not exist in the record. When it suits his purpose to invent tens of thousands of indigenous people without one recorded word to suggest such, he can turn around and claim that when something is not in the record, then it must not have existed. Speaking in support of his view that no Nephites lived in the area of Moron, he writes:

“Nowhere in the Nephite record is there any indication that they occupied that zone.”

How can anyone use the argument that something is not in the record, therefore it did not exist, when throughout 350 pages he keeps insisting numerous things that are not in the record as existing. If this were not so serious a matter it would be outright funny. Consider:

1. No mention of Nephites in the land of Moron so he claims they did not exist there;
2. No mention of strangers in the record, but he claims they did exist;
3. No mention of western highlands, but he claims they did exist;
4. No mention of non-Nephite people speaking other languages, but he claims they did exist.

The list of contradictions does not end here, of course, but that should suffice to show the convoluted thinking of Sorenson and to what ends he will go to try and support his Mesoamerican model.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tilting the United States Map

In order for Great Lakes Theorists to place the Book of Mormon lands around the focal point of their model—-the Hill Cumorah—-Goble and May have to skew the land, tilt cardinal compass points, and place cities and lands completely out of context with the scriptures, which they try to accommodate by tilting the United States 90º to get their north-south orientation.

In order to align their map of the Great Lakes Region and the Mississippi Valley to Book of Mormon criteria, Goble and May tilt their map so Louisiana is directly south of Cumorah in Pennsylvania, and on a direct line south of the state of Main. They place Bountiful in Virginia, the Land of Nephi in Arkansas, west of their River Sidon (Mississippi River), Land of Zarahemla in Missouri west of the River Sidon, and over 1,000 miles from Bountiful on a northeast line (however, in an actual map, the direction between these two would be almost due east).

They also name Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Huron as the Sea West, though these are completely landlocked from the area of First landing which they place in Louisiana, some 1200 miles away. Their East Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, is some 900 miles to the east of the Land of Nephi, though the scriptures tell us that the Land of Nephi bordered on the east sea and the West Sea, totally ignored by Goble and May. One could go on with this map, but the ludicrous nature of it makes the effort unnecessary.

On another map, May shows what he calls “Ideal Book of Mormon Geography” map just as illustrated in the Book of Mormon, then turns that map 90º to the right, which does not show any sea correlation to his map, and suggests the reader compare the map with his own map overlay of the Eastern United States, which he has shown an arrow pointing about 45º off the cardinal points.

Goble and May also place the narrow neck of land between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario since the word Niagara (in Niagara Falls which is at this location) means “neck.” Thus, they have their narrow neck separating two of their West Seas, but over 400 miles from their East Sea, making a day and a half journey for a Nephite (Alma 22:32) impossible. In addition this neck runs north and south, instead of east to west.

While Hagoth’s ships sailed north from the West Sea setting out from the area near Bountiful (Alma 63:5-6), Goble and May have Bountiful placed about 400 miles to the southeast, making such a voyage from that location impossible.

The scriptures tell us the Land of Zarahemla and the Land of Nephi were nearly surrounded by water, and that both lands ran from the west sea to the east sea. However, Duane Aston (in his books Cumorah and Return to Cumorah) have the east sea is to the north of his Zarahemla (Lake Ontario) and also to the north of his Land of Nephi, and impossible to have any access to the east of either land.

One could go on and on about these Great Lakes Theorists and their ridiculous placement of Book of Mormon geography contrary to the scriptural location, but the point should be clear that just because Joseph Smith retrieved the gold plates from the Hill Cumorah in upper New York State, does not mean that there was not another Hill Cumorah in another land, called the Land of Promise. The Lord is not beyond moving sacred items from one area to another.

Remember, that Bountiful was an important location where Nephi built his ship and from which the Lehi Colony sailed, as well as a city and a land in the Land Southward in the Land of Promise. Jerusalem was a city in Palestine as well as a city in the Land of Promise. Numerous other examples of duplicate naming can be found throughout the Book of Mormon. To place an entire concept, model, and theory based upon a single location of any name is foolhardy and contrary to scripture.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lord Dictated to Moses

Joseph Allen, in his book, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, makes numerous comments that are nothing short of disingenuous. On page 15, he states:

“Ten generations are mentioned in the Bible from Adam to Noah. Ten generations are also mentioned in the Bible from Noah to Abraham. The life span recorded in years prior to the flood is much longer than those recorded after the flood. If we allow Noah to be the chronological midpoint between Adam and Abraham, place Adam at the traditional 4000 BC mark, and have Abraham living around 2000 BC, then the flood (Noah) midpoint is approximately 3000 BC.”

It is interesting that he uses the genealogy stated in Genesis that agrees with his Mesoamerican model, but not the dates Moses gave for the birth of these people, nor the event that disagree with him. After all, Moses was shown a vision by the Lord in which he “beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are and which were created” (Moses 1:7-8), and in a second vision, he was shown the earth, yea, “even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold...and he beheld the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not” (Moses 1:27-28). He was given a particular revelation, “only an account of this earth and the inhabitants thereof give I unto you,” the Lord told him (Moses 1:33,35). Finally, the Lord told Moses, “I will speak unto thee concerning the earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak” (Moses 1:40). With that preparation, the Lord spoke to Moses of the period of time that we find recorded in the Biblical Book of Genesis.

Though scholars may disagree with these conflicting dates, Genesis was actually dictated to Moses by the Lord. He told him the dates, times, sequences, and periods as Moses wrote them down. It can hardly be intimated that Moses made an error in giving those living before the flood longer lifespans than those living after the flood. That's the way the Lord told it to him and that is the way Moses wrote it down. Thus, the dates shown in the Bible and Pearl of Great Price are correct, and Noah did not appear chronologically in the middle (time wise) of those 20 generations as Allen suggests, but in the chronological time frame the Lord told Moses. The Flood was not at the midpoint or 3000 BC, but occurred in 2344 BC as stated in the scriptures.

Further, Allen states on page 20, “If we look at Ixtlilxochitl's dating, which also is not totally reliable because of inconsistencies, we arrive at the following.”

The Mesoamerican Theorist, never satisfied with scripture when it disagrees with their model, looks to use the writings of man that may well be unreliable, but the dating in scripture—especially the Pearl of Great Price—is not in question and certainly cannot be considered, “also not totally reliable” as Allen intimates. Yet, interestingly enough, Ixtilxochitl's dating puts the Flood at 1716 years after the creation of the world, and Moses who stated the time as 1656 years—only 60 years different. However, Ixtlilxochitl does not agree with Allen’s dating, so he has to discredit it since he obtained his information from ancient records, stories handed down from generation to generation, and from earlier Mayan legends and myths. The date of 1716 years from the creation to the flood came from ancient Tolteca history, but cannot be used because it disagrees with Allen’s mid-point dating.

So, after introducing Ixtlilxochitl, Allen then says on Page 20, “Bruce Warren, coauthor of the “Messiah in Ancient America,” discovered that Ixtlilxochitl made an error in calculation that placed the creation of the earth 4825 BC and the flood date at 3109 BC. For the sake of this study, I will place the 3114 BC date as representative of the flood.”

Thus, Allen tells us that Genesis and the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price are wrong, that Ixtlilxochitl’s writings, which he introduced, that closely agrees with Moses, is also wrong, and decides to use a current author with whom he had a personal conversation, though we know not what was said in that conversation, for a basis of his dates of the Flood, because they agree with his Mesoamerican model.

Such are the disingenuous tactics used by Mesoamerican Theorists to show that the scripture is wrong when it disagrees with their model, and whatever agrees with their model is correct, no matter the source.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Amalickiah Was Not a Zoramite

Michael M. Hobby, in claiming that the Zoramites had become a royal line of the Lamanites, wrote on page 50 of his book, "The Mulekite Connection":

“It is significant that Amalickiah, Ammoran, and Tubaloth were a now generations-old Zoramite dynasty ruling over the Lamanites.“

However, Amalickiah was not a Zoramite, but a Nephite, as the scriptures so clearly state:

“And it came to pass that they returned to the land of Nephi, to inform their king, Amalickiah, who was a Nephite by birth, concerning their great loss” (Alma 49:25).

And so it goes with Mesoamerican Theorists who claim something that is clearly incorrect, yet go on to build a theory about it. In this case, it was true there were Zoramite defectors among the Lamanites, but Amalikiah was not one of them. He was a Nephite defector with a goal to become a king (Alma 46:4) and was supported by lower Nephite judges who were seeking for power. Amalickiah flattered the peole, telling them that if he were king, he would make them rulers over the people (Alma 46:5). Many in the church were led away (Alma 46:7) despite their recent victory over the Lamanites. At this point, Alma or Mormon insert a parenthetical note: "Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one." (Alma 46:8)
Denied being named king of the Nephites, Amalickiah, who was a cunning man (Alma 46:10) sought to destroy the foundation of liberty among them. This caused Moroni to be angry with him (Alma 46:11) and raise an army to preserve their liberty (Alma 46:28). Amalickiah and his followers, called Amalickiahites, fled before Moroni toward the land of Nephi to join up with the Lamanites (Alma 46:29). Moroni cut him off and many Amalickiahites were captured (Alma 46:33). Those who would not covenant to "support the cause of freedom, that they might maintain a free government" Moroni executed (Alma 46:35). But Amalickiah escaped and joined the Lamanites, stirring them up to war (Alma 47:1).

Through his cunning, Amalickiah gained control over the Lamanite army (Alma 47:35) with an ultimate goal of bringing the Nephites into bondage (Alma 48:4). Amalickiah eventually was named king over the Lamanites (Alma 48:2), and appointed Zoramites as chief captains over the Lamanite army because they were "the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites, their places of resort, and the weakest parts of their cities" (Alma 48:5). But Amalickiah was killed by Tancum (Alma 51:34) and his brother, Ammoron, was appointed king (Alma 52:3). Ammoron's son, Tubaloth, eventually succeeded him to the Lamanite throne (Helaman 1:16).

As a Nephite, by birth, Amalikiah’s brother, Ammoron, would have been a Nephite, and his son, Tubaloth, would also have been a Nephite, Thus there was no Zoramite dynasty among the Lamanites for these men were not Zoramites as Hobby claims.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Bountiful Not Part of the land of Zarahemla

Mesoamerican Theorists, for their own purposes, throw in comments relative to scripture that is totally incorrect, often as a side note where a reader will not pay much attention to, then later sometimes use that predetermination to make another point far more important. Another example of this is in E. L. Peay writing on page 279 in his book, “The Lands of Zarahemla.”

“There were two kingdoms within their land, one in the north where they first landed, and another south in Moron (near the Nephite land of Bountiful, a part of the land of Zarahemla).”

This parenthetical note about Bountiful being part of the Land of Zarahemla is totally inaccurate as any reading of the scriptures will show. First of all, Bountiful was a city within a land name Bountiful in the northern part of the Land Southward. Beyond it was the Narrow Neck of Land (Alma 22:31), and it might be said that it bordered on the land of Desolation (Alma 22:30).

Bountiful, however, was a separate land (Alma 22:29) with its own borders (Alma 51:28), to the north of the land of Zarahemla (Alma 50:11). When Coriantumr sacked Zarahemla around 51 B.C., he "did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla, but he did march forth with a large army, even towards the city of Bountiful." (Helaman 1:23) But Moronihah, in discovering this invasion up the center of the land of Zarahemla (Helaman 1:28), sent Lehi with an army to cut off Coriantumr before they reached the land of Bountiful (Helaman 1:29).

When the Lamanites came down to battle around 38 B.C., they "succeeded in obtaining possession of the land of Zarahemla; yea, and also all the lands, even unto the land which was near the land Bountiful." (Helaman 4:5) Under this invasion, "the Nephites and the armies of Moronihah were driven even into the land of Bountiful." (Helaman 4:6)

Thus we can see from the scriptural account that the land of Zarahemla and the land of Bountiful were separate lands and not connected because there was another land in between them (Helaman 4:5-6).

Thus, for Peay's statement, to be accurate, it should read: “There were two kingdoms within their land (Land Northward), one in the north where they first landed, and another south in Moron (near the Nephite land of Bountiful, a part of the Land Southward).”

Now, is such inaccuracy important? It is if you intend to believe other statements about the geography of the Book of Mormon this author has written. When such simple mistakes are made, one can only wonder why they are made, and if they will have any bearing on the overall importance or purpose of the writing itself. Nor is Peay the only Mesoamerican Theorist who has done this. As these recent posts are meant to show, every author writing about Mesoamerica as the Land of Promise misuses or misstates the scriptures to support their point. Again, this is the basis of the book “Inaccuracies of Mesoamerican & Other Theorists.”

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is Meant by Wilderness?

Hugh Nibley was the first to mention that “wilderness” in the scriptures meant mountains. Other Mesoamerican Theorists have picked this up and used the idea in their own writings. John E. Clark, in his book, “The Book of Mormon and Archaeology,” adds to this theme when he writes on page 27:

“Internal evidence in the Book of Mormon is convincing that "wilderness" refers to mountainous regions filled with wild beasts.”

There is no such “convincing evidence” of the kind. The scriptures refer to several different type of landscape as a wilderness. As an example, see 1 Nephi 2:2-6; 3:27; 5:6,22; 8:4; 16:20,38; 17:1-4,28; 18:6; 19:10; 2 Nephi 5:5-7; 7:2; 8:3; Jacob 4:5; Omni 1:12-13,16, 27-29; Mosiah 7:4; 8:7-8; 9:2-4; 19:18; 21:25; 23:35; 24:25.

In some descriptions, a wilderness had wild beasts, as in 1 Nephi 7:16; Enos 1:20; Alma 2:37; 22:27; however, there is no indication of wild beasts in Mosiah 10:9; 18:34; 19:9; 20:4-5; 22:2,6,8,11.

Thus the scriptures are not convincing that wilderness refers to areas filled with wild beats. Nor should we think in terms of a “wilderness” as a mountainous region, for when the Lehi Colony traveled in “the wilderness” along the shores of the Red Sea (1 Nephi 2:5), it was a coastal plain, not a mountainous region, nor when they turned east across the desert (1 Nephi 17:1), which was such a difficult and arduous journey for them—this was a rather flat, parched desert. In Alma 22:27 it is used as a division between lands, and in the following verse it describes the seashore as it does in Alma 22:28; 50:9; 56:31,39.

The problem arises that when a person has a mindset, they ignore other scriptures and center on the ones that agree with their point of view. However, the word “wilderness” had a very specific meaning in the time Joseph Smith translated the term. In the 1828 “American Dictionary of the English Language,” written by Noah Webster in New England about the same time Joseph was translating (see my post February 27, 2010, “Understanding Joseph Smith’s Translation,”) lists the word “wilderness” as meaning an “unoccupied tract of land.” This could mean desert, coastal, mountainous, or forest regions, including meadows, clearings, Moors, plains, or any area that is unoccupied by permanent settlement. And that is exactly how the word is used in Book of Mormon scripture. Nor is it used any differently today, as in the description of “wilderness areas” by the U.S. Forest and Park services, as stated clearly in the Wilderness Act.
Such images in the 1800s were considered the westward movement into and across the Westward Wilderness

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scientific Dating is Misleading

There are seven initial assumptions made about time dating through carbon-14 radiocarbon dating techniques and time clocks, that need to be clearly understood for any accuracy to exist within the clocks. That is, each of these assumptions MUST be accurate and must have ALWAYS existed for any specimen tested and dated. Seven of these fragile assumptions are:

1. Each system has to be a closed system; that is, nothing can contaminate any of the parents or the daughter products while they are going through their decay process—-or the dating will be thrown off. Ideally, in order to do this, each specimen tested needs to have been sealed in a jar with thick lead walls for all its previous existence, supposedly millions of years! However, in actual field conditions, there is no such thing as a closed system. One piece of rock cannot for millions of years be sealed off from other rocks, as well as from water, chemicals, and changing radiations from outer space.

2. Each system must initially have contained none of its daughter products. A piece of uranium 238 must originally have had no lead or other daughter products in it. If it did, this would give a false date reading. However, it is impossible to confirm this. It is impossible to know what was initially in a given piece of radioactive mineral. Was it all of this particular radioactive substance or were some other indeterminate or final daughter products mixed in? We do not know; we cannot know. Men can guess; they can apply their assumptions, come up with some dates, announce the consistent ones, and hide the rest, which is exactly what time dating science does!

3. The process rate must always have been the same. The decay rate must never have changed. However, we have no way of going back into past ages and ascertaining whether that assumption is correct. Every process in nature operates at a rate that is determined by a number of factors. These factors can change or vary with a change in certain conditions. Rates are really statistical averages, not deterministic constants. The most fundamental of the initial assumptions is that all radioactive clocks, including carbon 14, have always had a constant decay rate that is unaffected by external influences—-now and forever in the past. But it is a known fact among scientists that such changes in decay rates can and do occur. Laboratory testing has established that such resetting of specimen clocks does happen. Field evidence reveals that decay rates have indeed varied in the past. The decay rate of any radioactive mineral can be altered if 1) the mineral is bombarded by high energy particles from space (such as neutrinos, cosmic rays, etc.); 2) there is, for a time, a nearby radioactive mineral emitting radiation; 3) physical pressure is brought to bear upon the radioactive mineral; or 4) if certain chemicals are brought in contact with it.

4. The decaying half-life of a specimen has never changed. However, at least one researcher, John Joly of Trinity College, Dublin, spent years studying pleochroic halos emitted by radioactive substances. In his research he found evidence that the long half-life minerals have varied in their decay rate in the past! According to Kovarik of the National Research Council, “this would set aside all possibilities of age calculation by radioactive methods."

5. If any change occurred in past ages in the blanket of atmosphere surrounding our planet, this would greatly affect the clocks in radioactive minerals. Cosmic rays, high-energy mesons, neutrons, electrons, protons, and photons enter our atmosphere continually at near the speed of light, some rays traveling 4600 feet into the ocean depths. The blanket of air covering our world is equivalent to 34 feet of water, or 4 feet thickness of lead. If at some earlier time this blanket of air was more heavily water-saturated, it would produce a major change in the atomic clocks within radioactive minerals. And prior to the time of the Flood, there was a much greater amount of water in the air.

6. The Van Allen radiation belt encircles the globe about 450 miles above Earth and is intensely radioactive. According to Van Allen, high-altitude tests revealed that it emits 3000-4000 times as much radiation as the cosmic rays that continually bombard the earth.” Any change in the Van Allen belt would powerfully affect the transformation time of radioactive minerals. Unfortunately, we know next to nothing about this belt—-what it is, why it is there, or whether it has changed in the past. In fact, the belt was only discovered in 1959. Even small amounts of variation or change in the Van Allen belt would significantly affect radioactive substances.

7. A basic assumption of all radioactive dating methods is that the clock had to start at the beginning; that is, no daughter products were present, only those elements at the top of the radioactive chain were in existence. For example, all the uranium 238 in the world originally had no lead 206 in it, and no lead 206 existed anywhere else. But if either Creation—-or a major worldwide catastrophe (such as the Flood) occurred, everything would begin thereafter with, what scientists call, an "appearance of age." By this it is meant "appearance of maturity." The world would be seen as mature the moment after Creation. Spread before us would be a scene of fully grown plants and flowers. Most trees would have their full height. We would not, instead, see a barren landscape of seeds littering the ground. We would see full-grown chickens, not unhatched eggs. Radioactive minerals would be partially through their cycle of half-lives on the very first day. This factor of initial apparent age would strongly affect our present reading of the radioactive clocks in uranium, thorium, etc.

Thus it cannot be said that radiocarbon dating (carbon-14) is conclusive (or anywhere near accurate) in dating events of the past.