Sunday, April 20, 2008

Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Historically speaking, The Book of mormon says that a small group of Isrealites left Jesusalem before the captivity into Babylon and were lead through the Arabian penninsula and arrived at a place they named Bountiful which was probably located on the Coast of Oman. Candidate places for each historical site in the Arabian penninsula have been indentified including a lush area in Oman with iron deposits that could be easily smelted (verified detail).

This group then build a ship and crossed the ocean and arrived in the Americas. We know that there was pre-columbian contact with the Americas and Asia and the Middle East (verified detail). Egyptian mummies show traces of tobacco and cocaine. Indian statues show clear depictions of corn. And hookworm species isolated from ancient America and Europe/Asia mummies are identical suggesting that it was not transported to America by people walking across Alaska because hookworm has a lifestage that lives in the ground before it can infect another person by burrowing into the host's foot. The cold Alaskan climate would kill off any hookworm.

Isaiah speaks fondly of the ships of Tarshish which some experts theorize may by making reference to the lost city of Tartessus and the ancient Phoenician navy there. Some believe the Phoenicians routinely visited the Americas and may have been the means by which a second group of Israelites were able to escape Jesusalem just before the city was conquered by Babylon. This group was known as the Mulekites; so named for their leader Mulek who was said to have been a son of Zedekiah. The Melukites later joined with the Nephites.

Once in America, the Nephites built cities of timber, earth, and had metallurgical skills that Nephi had learned and would have likely passed on. However, earth, timber, and metal would not be expected to last in a harsh tropical rainforest environment. However, earthen walls around ancient central american cities have been discovered (verified detail). They built cities and had advanced agricultural practices and cash crops to support large populations of people. Critics often say this plant or this animal mentioned in the Book of Mormon was not known to the ancient americans. But each year fossils and remains of plant and animal species are being discovered including pre-columbian horses and barley to name a few (some detail verified some not). Some critics say iron was not known to Ancient Americans but now a large iron ore mine was discovered in peru. There is not evidence that the ore was smelted or any signs of iron tools but iron rusts so, this would not be necessarily expected (detail partially verified).

The Book of Mormon geography describes a narrow neck of land, a land northward, and a land southward, with a sea east and a sea west. The geography is very limited in scope because there are several accounts of groups traveling from the land northward to the land southward in just 1-2 weeks or transversing a narrow pass which is near the narrow neck of land in one days journey (verified detail). Candidate locations include panama, isthmas of Tehuantepec, isthmas of Rivas among other locations.

The Group which arrived in the land did not find the land uninhabited. There were the remains and ruins of a past civilization that had become disrupted to complete collapse. This past civilization was said to have arrived in the new world after the scattering of people at the tower of babel. Nephi and several brothers separated from Laman and Lemuel upon arriving in the Americas.

Laman and Lemuel and their descendents likely mixed with the remnants of the past fallen civilization (Omec) and resorted to a culture of superstition, belief in a great spirit who lived under the earth (King Lamoni didnt understand the concept of heaven), and hunting and gathering (details verified). There is a parallel between these civilization and the ancient Omec and the more current Maya peoples of central america. However another group adjacent to the Maya will need to be found which has stronger link to the Book of Mormon poeples (detail not verified).

Nephite civilizaiton was industrious and prospered but had to contend with what they termed the Lamanites who lived in the outlying areas and wilderness areas in a cities vacated by the nephites and other areas. They would gather and have major battles from time to time (verified detail). the Nephites had to build up walls of earth as fortification and protection of their city centers (detail verified). They also built a system of highways and roads betweeen cities (verified detail). There is no mention of the use of the wheel in the Book or Mormon which is consistent with Ancient American technology (verified detail).

There is a mention of a nephite explorer that built ships and transported nephites to other location in the land northward along the coast. Then there is mention that a particular ship was lost and never heard from again and tradition has it that this ship may have become lost and ended up in the polynesian islands. Independent science on ancient chicken-bones showed a genetic link between bones found in Chile and chickens in polynesia. They conclude that polynesians must have come to america. Ofcourse the converse could also be true that Ancient americans could have likely populated polynesia. It is not said if Hagoth was a religious man and if he transmitted the Nephite/Judeo-Christian religion with him.

The Book of Mormon does not mention use of a coinage system. It does mention the use of a system of weights and measures were measures of gold, silver, wheat etc were established based on a 1,2,4,7 system which is a more efficent system than the American 1,2,5,10 system for making sums less than 30. The Book of Mormon suggests a timing system of 400 and 20 year increments. Maya timing is based on 400 year bactuns and 20 year kantuns. 400 years would be important to the Maya because this is the exact measure of time because Nephi and Samuel predicted the fall of the Nephites in 400 years after the coming of Christ. This period would mark the rise of the Maya on the ruins of the Nephites.

Nephites also understood that earth revolved around the sun. Maya calanders and astronomy is recognized as being very advanced for its time. The Nephites are said to have built temples and lookout towers that King Noah ran up to escape a foe and saw the Lamanites coming against them to battle afar off in the distance. There are interesting medical details like the mention of fevers being assiciated with the "nature" of the seasons and climate but that certain plants and roots were used to "remove the cause of disease" which then therefore had nothing to do with evil spirits, seasons, or climate which is a radical idea to understand even from Joseph Smith. Joseph Lister did not theorize about the infectious cause of disease until much after the Book of Mormon was published. It is interesting that the Book of Mormon would mention treating the "cause" of disease as opposed to treating the symptoms or the bad air, sin, or evil spirits.

Also the war strategy employed in the Book of Mormon is way past what was understood by Nepoleon or even what was known by Civil War Generals. There is mention of complex ambushes, flanking maneuvers, retreats, reinforcements, resupplying issues, fortifications, spying, hostage negotiations, using chemical and biological warfare (hard liquor), Nephites employed food testers there after, complex army organizational command structures, ect.

Politically, the Jeredites had kings which battled for power until the culture was in ruins and destroyed. The Nephites adopted a systems of judges and a chief judge. The Lamanites kept kings and govenors. The Lamanite culture overwelmed and destroyed the Nephite culture in the End. There is only evidence that the Maya had kings and other regional leaders. There is no evidence of democratic systems in ancient America.

The Book of Mormon documents the visitation of Jesus Christ to the Ancient meso-americans some time after His ressurrection. Maya culture and many native America Amerindians have a tradition of a "great white god" who visited their ancestors and promised to return. Many Spanish exploerers like Cortez exploited this belief to subjugate and then destroy the native civilizations and loot their cities. Maya also have a tradition of a "great white god" who they call Ku Kul Can or Quetzalquatal.

Later the Nephites and Lamanites enter into correspondance. Apostate priests (Preists of Noah) are exiled from the Nephites and are accepted by the Lamanites and made teachers. They teach Lamanite kings and others to read and write and Nephite language and that leads to converstion of the Lamanites from their superstitious culture to adopt Nephite culture and industry. The Nephites and Lamanites then enter into free and open trade which fosters the transfer of Nephite/judeoChristian culture. So, after a while Nephite culture, industry, and trade becomes widespread. But then a section of the Nephite community becomes wealthy and there begins to be classes and those rich classes seek to take over the goverment and engage in secret plots, assassinations, and terrorism. The Nephites and Lamanites do a good job at first to weed out what are called Gadiaton Robbers but those seeking to join this group end up organizing themselves in remote, wilderness, and moutainous regions. These robbers end up infiltrating the governments of both the Nephites and Lamanites and cause the eventual destruction of the Nephite civilization.

The Book of Mormon narrative is a fascinating commentary on our current government and society. We also see how literacy and commerce can aid in missionary work, but wealth inequality leads to corruption.

Christ visits the people of America after the land is ravaged by an destructive earthquake, tsunami, volcano erruption and possible pyroclastic flow and a description of the three days of darkness where fire could not be started. There is evidence of a massive volcano erruption in the area that dates to the time of Christ. There is a mention that certain cities took fire and burned. This would be expected because they were mainly built of timber and earth. This is why these cities havnt been found.

Cement technology is mentioned but only in the land northword. Cement has been found north of isthmus of Tehuantepec at Teotiuachan.

At the end of the book, the Nephite people lived a united peaceful people after Christs visit for several generations but then wealth inequality creaps in and then class distinctions and then there begin to be Lamanites and Nephites and Terrorists organiziatoins again.

The Nephite people as a whole become corrupt and even more evil and materialistic and blood thirsty than the Lamanites. The few Christians are persecuted by both sides and are caught in the middle of a huge culture war. After years of war, both sides become barbaric. There are reports of rapes, mass killings, ritual canibalism, etc, etc. All Christians and signs of Christian belief and practice are destroyed, hidden, and or erased from record. The Lamanite society that remains in the land parallels most closely to Archeologists understanding of ancient Maya civilization especially detail about warfare, ritual killing, bloodletting, and ritual canabalism.

Civil and spiritual records are kept on gold plates because the prophets rightly recognize that any other material would not survive long in the harsh tropical rainforest environment but would decay. The gold plates were kept in a sealed stone box. Examples of similar record keeping dates to this exact time period.

The Book of Mormon was recorded by several major authors including Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni. Several sections are except and letters from other notable people. Langueage analysis supports that the language usage is distinct between each writer in terms of words used, style, and grammer.

The Book of Mormon is said to have been written in hebrew using reformed Egyption hyroglyphics script. This explains why the hebrew grammer stuctures, poetic structures, are preserved in its translation into English. The Book of Mormon was not written in Egyption, it was written in altered hebrew using an egyptian alphabet script. This is like Urdu and Hiindi. They are the same language but Urdu is written with Arabic-Persian script while Hindi is written using Sanskrit. There are new examples of ancient semetic languages written in hyroglyphics.

The Book of Mormon predicts that the Dead Sea Scrolls would be nearly identical to our current Bible except our Bible would lack as many books. Lehi brings to the Americas the brass plates which contained the 5 books of Moses and writings of the prophets to Jeramiah. He prophesied that the Bible would no longer be dimmed any more by time from that point although the Brass Plates they had would contain more writings then we have today.

To date the actual Nephite people and examples of their language, judeo-Christian belief and culture have not been identified. But we should remember that absence of proof is not proof of absence.

1 comment:

cadams said...

Thanks for the reference to the case of the cocaine mummies. Fascinating!