We’re continuing our conversation with David Rosenvall. He’s the guy who came up with the idea that the Book of Mormon lands may have occurred in the Baja Peninsula. I’ve also asked him to critique John L. Sorenson’s theory. Sorenson has the dominant theory where the Book of Mormon took place in Central America. I’ll ask David to critique John’s theory.
David: One of the things that I think the Mesoamerican models do is they focus very much on the human geography, and I think they’ve done a really good job at identifying things in Mesoamerica that can be tied back to the Book of Mormon culturally: language perhaps, structures, some of those types of things. Where they get in trouble is where they try to place the physical geography on top of that, things start turning sideways, distances and so forth, you get all sideways.
GT: Well let’s talk about that for a second.
David: You bet.
GT: To me that’s one of the biggest problems. When you think of North and South America, well north and south makes a lot of sense. But when you get to Mesoamerica, the narrow neck of land is actually situated east and west. It’s not north and south.
David: Yeah, so the orientation is a problem. One thing we do in the text is we assume it was given to us by the gift and power of God. We don’t need to retranslate it. If it says east, it’s east. If it’s west, it’s west. If the swords rusted, they’re made of steel. Animals are the animals stated and so forth.
When you get into some of the other geography, you’re having to rotate things and stretch distances. That’s ok; let them work that out. But our model is, what does the text say? And apply it using the science we know today. We find a location that can fit. That’s the basis. That’s it. Read the text and use science to try to review it.
I also want to point to an area that David has focused on is the area of language.
There’s a great work done by Brian Stubbs that has followed the language of some of these people. He’s tied a group of Native Americans called Uto-Aztecan people, identified by their language and you can see how they have moved and they ended up as the Aztecs in Central America. If that’s who are the Book of Mormon people, you would see their culture where they were found when the Europeans found them. But trace them back to where their language came from and you’ll find it’s southern California and northern Baja.
We’ll talk more about language in a future episode, but let me ask you. Do you see think the east-west orientation is a problem for Sorenson’s model? What do you think of the Baja model?