Some evidences for the Book of Mormon
More of George's email to me...
As far as the geography of the Book of Mormon vs the Bible you can't compare them straight across. There are close to two Billion people who are either some for of Christian, Jew, or Muslim. For the past 2000 years this large group of people has been trying to prove their faith through archeology. About 18% of biblical sites are known. Another 18% may be known, but not with surety or without controversy.
We know the Book of Mormon took place someplace in the Americas. I personally believe it was in southern Mexico and Guatemala, but that's my opinion and not LDS doctrine. When the pre-colombian mesoamerican ruins were found, they were uninhabited and buried in the jungle. There were no people. No language. No names of cities. We still have only basic understanding of Mayan and almost no understanding of Olmec writings. Contrast that to Jerusalem which was continuously occupied. Imagine if we had the text of the Bible, but had no idea where on Asia, Africa, or Europe it occurred because the names of places were all different.
It's also difficult to compare the artifacts and writings. The jungles of Guatemala leave very little besides stone and pottery. The Spanish conquistadors burned entire libraries and purposefully destroyed languages, icons, religion, and history to make the people easier to conquer. The largest city that we know of in Meso America is El Mirador. Ever heard of it? Most haven't. It is very difficult to get to, and has hardly been studied or excavated. Imagine all the things we WOULDN'T know about Rome if we knew of the roman empire, but had yet to discover the ancient city of Rome.
I think it's an interesting topic. Keep in mind, Joseph Smith had about a 3rd grade education. He lived in rural New York. He had no access to significant Universities and Libraries. His time is fairly well documented while he was "translating" the Book of Mormon. It was written in less than 90 days.
He would read the text aloud and a scribe would write what he was saying. He would never ask "where was I" or "what was the last thing I said". He would start in the middle of a sentence in the morning or after a break.
At the time there are a number of things that were believed to be true by the scholars. A few of these include that ancient native Americans did: Not know how to use cement. Did not have large civilizations. Did not build highways. Did not know what horses were. Did not have barley. So, if Joseph Smith was so smart, wouldn't he be consistent with the knowledge of the day? He was mocked for all of these things.....until one by one they started to show up.
Less than 20 years ago it was taught that the Maya were peaceful, neighborly, and generally agrarian. The Book of Mormon describes a people at about 400 AD (contemporary with the Maya) who were salvages, warlike, blood-thirsty, and practiced widespread human sacrifice. We now know that that is a good description of the Maya of that time.
There have been a number of names that show up in ancient Israel or the Arabian peninsula that are also found in the Book of Mormon. Laban, Lehi, Nahom, are a few that I know off the top of my head.
The Book of Mormon describes cities that sunk into the sea. Joseph Smith was mocked on this point. When we started to fly and dive we began to find them. There's one in lake Atitlan. Others off the coast of Belize and Cuba. Lucky guess?
The Mayan text "The Title of the Lords of Totonicapan" indicates that their forefathers were "descendants of Abraham, fair skinned, and that they traveled across the sea".
Semetic and Egyptian style writings have been authenticated in the Americas. This has researchers stumped. One such sample was of the 10 commandments.
The legend of the "White God" appears all over the Americas. Kulkulcan to the Maya, Quetzalcoatl to the Aztec. The Inca knew him by another name. This God allegedly descended to their ancestors, taught them, commanded them to write what was said, and ascended to heaven....but not before promising to return one day. We can read this account in the Book of Mormon.
There are many elaborate chiasmuses in the Book of Mormon. They are perfect and precise. Joseph Smith never talked of them. No one did. That form of ancient poetry wasn't yet known and understood. They are found throughout the book.
The Book of Mormon has been determined to have multiple authors by it's varying writing styles. None of them were Joseph Smith based on his own writing style.
I could go on, but I'll leave it at that for now. Books have been written on the subject. A better question to ponder is as to why these things have been completely ignore, disregarded, and marginalized by scholars who claim to be unbiased?
Whether you believe the Book of Mormon is true or not, it can't simply be disregarded as a work of fiction or something that was plagiarized. No book existed that could have been plagiarized as the knowledge didn't exist in the world at that time. The chances of him going against what was known then, only to be accurate 150 years later is highly improbable.
to be continued...