Posts filed under ‘Book of Mormon’
A few weeks ago I spent a supper hour (it took that long) reading an article called “America’s Ruling Class – And the Perils of Revolution” by Angello Codevilla.
The overall article is well worth reading to better understand current political debates, but that wasn’t what called my attention to it as a possible subject for this blog. Rather, the following paragraph toward the end of the Article startled me:
“Nothing has set the country class apart, defined it, made it conscious of itself, given it whatever coherence it has, so much as the ruling class’s insistence that people other than themselves are intellectually and hence otherwise humanly inferior…”
More than two years ago, the Holy Spirit began insisting that I re-read the Book of Mormon. Of course, I didn’t recognize the impulse as anything but a good idea originating within my own intellect. That’s what I do with anything – process it intellectually first.
Scholarly theories that place the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica define the “small neck of land” that separated the “land northward” from the “land southward” (see, e.g, LDS Alma 22:27-34 / CofChrist Alma 13:68-80; LDS Alma 50:6-16 / CofChrist Alma 22:6-16) to be some portion of the Isthmus of Tihuantepec. This immediately raises questions about the geographic correlation for modern readers and makes many Mormons look for alternative locations because that isthmus separates what we would consider “east” (Yucatan) from “west” (Central Mexico).
In his book, An Ancient American Setting for The Book of Mormon, John L. Sorenson spends some time explaining that the directions we use are cultural artifacts that are not universally shared. For example, modern Western nations define east to be the direction of sunrise, and west as the direction of sunset. In fact, though our cultures did that long ago, we actually transitioned to defining north and south once we had compasses and then laid out a global system of four cardinal directions for the entire planet even though the direction of sunrise and sunset varies throughout the year and by how far we are from the earth’s equator.
If we consider the DNA evidence of the peopling of the Americas, I think there is a way to build a better solution to the directional problem on Sorenson’s framework.
I am an avid reader of Morgan Deane (see his listing in the Science and Theology section of the blogroll) who studies the Book of Mormon from the perspective of an infantryman who is also a military historian. He recently produced a tactical analysis of the battle for Nephihah (as described in Alma) that induced me to spend time last week extending Morgan’s ideas on Nephihah to the operational and strategic level. He has graciously published my comments as a guest post.
DNA conclusively shows that America was first settled by people who were separated from the rest of humanity approximately 20,000 years ago. The founding population contained 5 human haplotypes (A,B,C,D and X) that imply clear association with a Siberian basis for the settlement. Apologists for a historical basis for the Book of Mormon have tried to find ways to refute this information.
My question is, “Why?” This is the kind of evidence an apologist would want to find to support a historical interpretation of the Book of Mormon.
I hadn’t planned another post on this topic, but this is too good to pass up. New Scientist has an updated report today on the Brass Ball which I discussed in an earlier post.
New Scientist is a British weekly scientific magazine with a very strong emphasis on a secular view of the world. I put up with its regular gratuitous slaps at theists (particularly American theists) because every couple of weeks it comes up with a gem of an article that makes you view the world differently, and it can involve almost any scientific discipline. It clearly doesn’t depend upon Restorationists for its readership.
So I had to laugh when I stumbled across an article (available on-line only to New Scientist subscribers) last year where an unknowing reference to a liahona-like navigation tool popped up in the middle of a story about a sea wreck. I thought I’d share a summary of it because so few Restorationists may have seen it. Make of it what you will.
Over at Mormon Heretic I made a suggestion about interpreting numbers in military units (like the Sons of Helaman). Initially skeptical, Morgan Deane at Mormon War issued a post this weekend more supportine of the idea.
Morgan also is looking to put together a conference of scholars with interest in the study of what military history can tell us about interpreting the teachings of the Book of Mormon. I urge my “myriads” of readers to look at his post Myriads of Soldiers (linked above) and the other insights he offers on his site. If you are a student of the Book of Mormon, Morgan will suggest some background you may never have suspected might be present.
The Community of Christ has a very good theory of Scripture, comfortable to mainstream Protestantism. But the theory has been validated basically on one case: the Bible.
Astronomers had a very good theory of solar system formation, but it, too, had been validated on only one case — the system we live in. When new technology found other systems, we discovered our theory contained a hidden assumption, and was leading us astray about many astronomical mysteries in our own backyard.
Does our theory of Scripture also contain hidden assumptions that can only be revealed by confronting them with the challenges of other Restoration Scriptures taken seriously on their own terms?
The Community of Christ is reconsidering its identity as it struggles with its early history. But historians and theologians are not the only disciplines with relevance to that debate and can not decide solely the “rules of evidence” on which conclusions will be drawn. The world has absolutely no need for another Protestant denomination.