[People have been randomly choosing areas of geography for which they then try to force a scriptural interpretation into that is not congruent with what the scriptures say. The internal geography must first be known and priority worthy (See GPI) before choosing a geographical area.]
THE TRINITY OF BOOK OF MORMON ERRORS
A model should minimally have three characteristics:
- SEA SOUTH – Every model we looked at either ignores this body of water, or has misplaced it. It lies south of the (Jaredite) Land Northward.
- SEA NORTH – Borders on the (Jaredite) Land Northward (where the Mulekites landed) and connects with the Great Deep.
- CITY BOUNTIFUL – Must be on the west side.
If a model lacks just one of these characteristics, it is inaccurate.
97% of the models we have reviewed lack all three characteristics.
ERRORS THAT HAVE OCCURRED
1. THIS CONTINENT
When the angel visited Joseph Smith, Joseph was told of a record that was buried nearby. According to Joseph, the angel said it gave:
…an account of the former inhabitants of this continent. (Joseph Smith History v.34)
On them is contained the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it was given to his people on this land. (Joseph’s account as reiterated by Oliver Cowdery to W.W. Phelps in Messenger & Advocate, October 1835, 2:195-198)
I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people, was made known unto me; I was also told where were deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient Prophets that had existed on this continent. (Wentworth Letter, 1842, DHC 4:535-541)
At the time of Joseph Smith, accounts were coming in of the former inhabitants of Western New York and South America. Joseph chose to embrace the more grandiose reports from South America rather than Western New York. He made several statements claiming they were Book of Mormon lands.
There are several things Book of Mormon readers should keep in mind:
a. The angel said “this land” meaning Western New York.
b. The Book of Mormon said it covers a limited geographical area, approximately 75 miles x 120 miles.
c. The angel was referring to the land or continent as he knew it when he lived there. Back then, Western New York was surrounded by water.
d. Nephi said he believed they were on an “isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20), and the Lord referred to them as being upon an “isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 29:7).
[This excludes large geographical areas, or areas not COMPLETELY surrounded by water, i.e. Sea on the North, South, East and West.]
2. SURROUNDED BY WATER
As stated above (1d), Nephi believed they were on an island, therefore, their land must have been VERY SMALL:
And thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water. (Alma 22:32)
Geographers must show how the land in their model was surrounded by water, not salt water of the “great deep,” AND, how it was small FROM EYE LEVEL – so small the inhabitants thought they were on an ISLAND. No other modelers even acknowledge this mindset, let alone have models surrounded by water. Western New York was.
3. LAND OF PROMISE
Book of Mormon enthusiasts want to claim the ruins in Mesoamerica AND the greatness of the United States of America as their own, but they can’t have it both ways. If America is fulfilling Book of Mormon prophecy then IT is the land where Book of Mormon events took place, and the land where God made His promises. Even Joseph made the connection when he said:
By it (Book of Mormon) we learn that OUR WESTERN TRIBES OF INDIANS are descendants from that Joseph which was sold into Egypt, and that the LAND OF AMERICA IS A PROMISED LAND unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come, with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply. (History of the Church 1:315)
The promise that a New Jerusalem would be built upon Book of Mormon lands was already fulfilled with the Albany Plan of Union by Benjamin Franklin and the Iroquois Nation. The idea that one would be built in Missouri because Joseph said so has no bearing on this fact.
Some have interpreted the cause of the “three days of darkness” as being from volcanoes, and thus make volcanoes a mandatory part of Book of Mormon geography. That however is not what The Book says:
a. It was prophesied there would be a sign accompanying the birth of Christ – no darkness for one night. It was prophesied there would be a sign of his death – three days of darkness. Both prophecies came to pass, and neither required a volcano:
3 And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day.
21 Yea, at the time that he shall yield up the ghost there shall be thunderings and lightnings for the space of many hours, and the earth shall shake and tremble; and the rocks which are upon the face of this earth, which are both above the earth and beneath, which ye know at this time are solid, or the more part of it is one solid mass, shall be broken up;
27 And he said unto me that while the thunder and the lightning lasted, and the tempest, that these things should be, and that darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days. (Helaman 14:3,21,27)
b. Volcanic destruction would have been widespread, whereas God wanted the destruction to be selective. The geographic boundaries of Nephite lands were small and volcanic eruptions could not explain the selective damages:
12 And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—
13 And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness.
14 And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets. (3 Nephi 10:12-14)
c. The Land of Bountiful was untouched which doesn’t make sense (Being in the heart of Nephite lands.) if the cities all around it were destroyed by a volcano:
1 And now it came to pass that there were a great multitude gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the temple which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place. (3 Nephi 11:1)
d. The rivers and seas were untouched. If there had been ash, they would have turned to mud, and become polluted affecting the crops, animals, and areas of habitation. There is no mention of any of this.
e. The darkness was described as a vapor and was different from smoke or ash:
11 For thus spake the prophet: The Lord God surely shall visit all the house of Israel at that day, some with his voice, because of their righteousness, unto their great joy and salvation, and others with the thunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by the opening of the earth, and by mountains which shall be carried up. (1 Nephi 19: 11)
20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness; (3 Nephi 8:20)
Which was prophesied of six hundred years before it happened:
And it came to pass that I saw a mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise…I saw the vapor of darkness, that it passed from off the face of the earth. (1 Nephi 12:4-5)
Which pattern of darkness with an earthquake was repeated supernaturally in Helaman 5:
28 And it came to pass that they were overshadowed with a cloud of darkness, and an awful solemn fear came upon them.
29 And it came to pass that there came a voice as if it were above the cloud of darkness, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, and seek no more to destroy my servants whom I have sent unto you to declare good tidings.
30 And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—
31 And notwithstanding the mildness of the voice, behold the earth shook exceedingly, and the walls of the prison trembled again, as if it were about to tumble to the earth; and behold the cloud of darkness, which had overshadowed them, did not disperse—
32 And behold the voice came again, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; and seek no more to destroy my servants. And it came to pass that the earth shook again, and the walls trembled.
33 And also again the third time the voice came, and did speak unto them marvelous words which cannot be uttered by man; and the walls did tremble again, and the earth shook as if it were about to divide asunder. (Helaman 5:28-33)
And by Moses:
21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (Exodus 10:21-23)
f. The darkness would have lasted for longer than three days if the ash was so thick you could not light a candle:
21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; (3 Nephi 8:21)
g. They had never “known” that type of storm before:
5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year in the first month on the fourth day of the month there arose a great storm such an one as never had been known in all the land. (3 Nephi 8)
If God could perform these miracles for Moses, why is it that some feel He could not perform them for Jesus? God IS all powerful and is fully capable of performing these acts as described in Exodus and Helaman. He does not need professors of religion making a mockery of His wonders by requiring a natural cause to explain them. Shame on them.
5. HILL RAMAH
The Hill Ramah is not the Hill Cumorah. The Jaredites were not destroyed where the Nephites were. Nearly every Book of Mormon authority has made this interpretation incorrectly. The details are on our Land Northward page.