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The Final Battle (Part 7 of 11)

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The Book of Mormon ends with a great battle with millions killed near a hill called Cumorah. Yet no bones were found near the Hill Cumorah.  How does Jonathan Neville reconcile this? He’ll describes more of the Heartland Theory of Book of Mormon.

Jonathan:  So, when it comes to the Hill Cumorah in New York, it’s really fascinating, because I think that was the key to interpreting the text. When you go back and look carefully–first of all people say there are millions of people killed, there are millions of Jaredites killed there. That’s not what the book says at all. If you look at the book, Coriantumr talks about 2 million of his people killed. That was years before the final battle, at Cumorah.  He, also, it’s hard to tell from the text, what timeframe he is referring to. I did an analysis if he was only talking about in his own lifetime, or over the history of the Jaredites. I can’t tell which it was.  Even if it was over his lifetime, 2 million people, that worked out to something like 20 or 30,000 a year, which, to me is not that plausible, but much more plausible than 2 million. But, if you look at what Ether wrote about the Jaredite battle, he tells us how many people died on the last three days of that week. It was one week of battle, and it was like half, half, half. So, I extrapolated backwards, and it was less than 10,000 people in the whole Jaredite battle, which makes sense.

Jonathan:  Oliver Cowdery in Letter VII said there were thousands of bodies from the Jaredites, which means less than 10,000, and that’s what the Book of Mormon text says. So, if you realize that the Jaredites were less than 10,000, in their final battle, and also, if you remember that Moroni said he was only talking about the people in this north country. He wasn’t talking about the entire hemisphere, even about all the Americas or even anywhere outside of this north country where he was living when he wrote this, around New York. There were lots of other Jaredite peoples. He was only talking about the ones in Ether’s genealogy that were living in Northern New York that were extinguished. It was less than 10,000.

Jonathan:  So, then you get to the Battle of the Nephites and Jaredites. What does Mormon and Moroni say? Well, Mormon, when he gets to the top of the hill. He said, “We beheld my 10,000 and we beheld Moroni’s 10,000.” So, then you ask yourself is 10,000 a number or a military unit? It’s certainly not a number, because otherwise he would have to say, 9,998 of mine, and 10,003 of Moroni’s. It wasn’t exactly 10,000. Ten thousand is a common military unit all around the world for people. In fact, even in this book, I mentioned the Anabasis, the Greek book everybody studies when they study Greek. By the end of the war, they had less than 6,000 people, but they still called them the 10,000. Because it was like a battalion is what we would say today. So, Mormon would say, “I saw my battalion, and Moroni’s battalion” tells us nothing about how many people were actually there.

GT: So, you don’t trust those numbers are literal.

Jonathan:  Oh, I don’t think they’re literal at all. I don’t think they could possibly be literal. Because how would you even know if there was exactly 10,000 and not 9,995? In a battle, you’d have no way of knowing. So, it was a military unit. Then, in English, this is tricky.

Do you agree with Jonathan’s line of reasoning? Check out our conversation….

The Final Battle (Part 7 of 11)
Jonathan Neville thinks far fewer were killed in the final battle at Cumorah.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Jonathan!

639:  Allow Multiple Views, Even non-Historical

638:  Jonathan Edwards Influence on Book of Mormon

637:  “Evidence of Composition is Evidence of Translation”

636: Explaining Mormon DNA-Archeology

635: The Final Battle

634: Pros & Cons of Vague Geography

633: Why Limited Geography is Wrong?

632: Lehi’s Atlantic Crossing?

631: M2C Citation Cartel

630: Was Joseph Really Editor?

 

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Pros & Cons of Vague Geography (Part 6 of 11)

Subscribe at Patreon.com/GospelTangents for full interviews or Gospel Tangents Website.

Critics of the Book of Mormon say the geography is so vague that it could take place anywhere, or no where.  Jonathan Neville weighs in on that issue,and tells more about the Heartland Theory of Book of Mormon.

GT:  It’s funny that you mentioned that because I know there are critics of the Book of Mormon that use that to throw all of them. “The Book of Mormon is so vague, it could be anywhere and so, therefore, it’s nowhere.”

Jonathan:  That’s right.

GT:  How do you respond to that?

Jonathan:  I respond to that, that if you only take the Book of Mormon, you’re right, it could be anywhere. It could even be fictional, If you’re only looking at the Book of Mormon. That’s why it’s so critical to know what Joseph and Oliver taught, because they both said it was in America, let’s say, the Western Hemisphere. But at least it was in this part of the world and they said Cumorah is in New York. They couldn’t have made it any clearer by saying it was a fact. So, that’s why, to me, it’s either Cumorah or bust. If Cumorah is not in New York, then there’s no reason to think it happened anywhere, seriously. I know there’s a lot of members of the Church and more and more of them now, who think it’s fiction.

GT:  See, and the thing that comes to my mind is what Sorenson said. I’m trying to remember which book that was. But I remember reading it, where Sorenson basically says that Joseph said, “Well, yeah, Lehi landed in Chile or Peru, Chile, and then he embraced the Yucatan stuff.”  Sorenson basically says two things. One, Joseph embraced a hemispheric model, which I know you disagree with. But, number two, Joseph didn’t really know. He was only given the gold plates and God didn’t reveal everything. So, Joseph embraced things like Yucatan and things, but he really didn’t know. So, according to Sorenson, he’s reading the text as carefully as he can read it. It’s an hourglass shape and all that.

Jonathan:  I know, well, it’s not just Sorenson. John Clark did a presentation.  They had a Joseph Smith Bicentennial thing at the Library of Congress, I think it was 2005. They had a whole presentation on it. John Clark did a paper where he said that Joseph Smith not knowing anything about the geography is actually evidence that it was divine, that he didn’t compose it. Because, all he did was relate what he read off the stone. That’s a whole ‘nother topic, but, that he didn’t know anything about the Book of Mormon. So, that proves he didn’t write it. That’s his argument.

I thought to myself, “Okay, if you want to go that way, that’s an argument.” People make arguments. But it’s laughable to me, because how could he have been any more explicit? I mean, his mother told us, and she said, and she quoted him, even in one case. But his mother said that the very first night Moroni I showed up, he told Joseph Smith, this record was in the hill of Cumorah, three miles from your house. That’s the first time Joseph ever heard the word.  That was the first Nephite word he ever heard, other than Moroni, I guess?

GT:  I know Sorenson says Joseph never called it Cumorah.

Jonathan:  I know. I know, they say that.

GT:  It just said it was a hill.

Jonathan:  I know, and that’s what the historians down here at the Church History Department are saying, too. So, I’m saying, “Well, if you look in the Saints book, they totally de-correlated Cumorah.”

Check out our conversation….

Pros & Cons of Vague Geography (Part 6 of 11)
There are pros & cons to the vague geography features in the Book of Mormon.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Jonathan!

639:  Allow Multiple Views, Even non-Historical

638:  Jonathan Edwards Influence on Book of Mormon

637:  “Evidence of Composition is Evidence of Translation”

636: Explaining Mormon DNA-Archeology

635: The Final Battle

634: Pros & Cons of Vague Geography

633: Why Limited Geography is Wrong?

632: Lehi’s Atlantic Crossing?

631: M2C Citation Cartel

630: Was Joseph Really Editor?

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Why Limited Geography Theory is Wrong? (Part 5 of 11)

Subscribe at Patreon.com/GospelTangents for full interviews or Gospel Tangents Website.

When the Book of Mormon was first published, and even for a century onward, most Mormons believed the Book of Mormon covered the whole of North & South America.  But most scholars of Book of Mormon geography now believe that the area was much smaller and refer to this as the Limited Geography Theory. Heartland proponents believe the Book of Mormon covers North America and reject the Limited Geography Theory.  Jonathan Neville explains why.

GT:  So, you’re rejecting the limited geography and saying that the Book of Mormon people were river travelers.

Jonathan:  Yeah.

GT:  So they could go a lot farther.

Jonathan:  It is still a limited geography, compared to the hemispheric model.

GT:  Yeah.

Jonathan:  I have to tell you, in my book, Moroni’s America, I dedicated it to John Sorensen, Jack Welch, Rod Meldrum and Wayne May, because those are the four most influential people in this whole thing, in my opinion. I really appreciate John Sorenson, because he made the Book of Mormon real to me. He said, “These are real people. They’re not imaginary, and there’s actual archaeology to show it.” He made us think in terms of what were the people really living like? Unfortunately, he focused on the Mayans, which don’t have any connection to the Book of Mormon. But, when you take what Sorenson started with, and then you combine it with what Wayne and Rod have developed in terms of looking at Ohio archaeology–I read, it’s called the Ohio History Connection, where they report all the latest discoveries in Ohio and archaeology and stuff, and I read all that stuff. It’s really exciting, because, now, to me, that’s Book of Mormon people. You can understand the woven cloth that they had and the pearls that they had. They excavate pearls in these mounds in the hundreds, things like that. So, it just makes it much more real, and the idea of traveling on rivers is so obvious that why would they even have to talk about it? The Book of Mormon never says they breathed oxygen, but we assumed they did. I find it really interesting that Mormon made that point that I haven’t even talked about our building of ships and shipping.

GT:  I will bring up one more thing. Actually, let’s go back here. So, Lehi lands in the panhandle of Florida.

Jonathan:  Okay, let me mention something about that. Anywhere in Florida is good. In fact, some say the oldest Hopewell site is north of Tampa, Florida. That’s a perfectly legitimate landing, too.  It could be anywhere along there. I know up in Palmyra, this is anecdotal, but, I was told that they had an artifact that had an alligator engraved on it, a wooden artifact. One of the local tribes came into the museum where it was on display and said, “Where did you guys get that?”

He said, “That’s our symbol.”

The guy asked him, “Why would an alligator be your symbol?”

He says, “Because that’s the first animal we saw when we arrived,” which is Florida, right? If you look at the history of the Hopewell, there’s archaeologists debate about who was first and all that. But the earliest settlements appeared to have been in Florida, of that tradition. So, whether it’s the panhandle, I chose the Panhandle just because it kind of fit with the rivers that they would have gone on to go up to Georgia and Tennessee. But, even if they landed in Tampa, they’d have gone up that way.

Check out our conversation….

Why Limited Geography Theory is Wrong? (Part 5 of 11)
Jonathan Neville explains why he doesn’t accept Limited Geography Theory.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Jonathan!

639:  Allow Multiple Views, Even non-Historical

638:  Jonathan Edwards Influence on Book of Mormon

637:  “Evidence of Composition is Evidence of Translation”

636: Explaining Mormon DNA-Archeology

635: The Final Battle

634: Pros & Cons of Vague Geography

633: Why Limited Geography is Wrong?

632: Lehi’s Atlantic Crossing?

631: M2C Citation Cartel

630: Was Joseph Really Editor?