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Baja vs Meso: Who Wins?

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.

There is a post at Wheat and Tares where someone explains why Sorenson’s model is ok.

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?

Check out David’s introduction to the theory in the previous post, and check out the video below or audio above.  Don’t forget there are less than two weeks to sign up for the free book!

 

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Book of Mormon on the Baja Peninsula?

I’d like to introduce David Rosenvall.  He’s a name you may not be familiar with.  He has a few claims to fame:  1) He was a witness to the bomb blast that injured Mark Hofmann back in 1985.  (We played an excerpt of his interview with Curt Bench.)  2) He is the person who put together the scriptures on https://scriptures.lds.org!  3) While putting that project together, he and his father came up with a new Book of Mormon geography theory on the Baja Peninsula.    Let’s get acquainted with him.

David:  When I returned home from my mission in 1987, my father at the time was showing me something called hypertext.  It was a new technology on our little Macintosh computer.  He showed how he had the text of the scriptures, put it in and he was linking verses to footnotes.  At the time, boy, that was kind of interesting and neat way of reading the scriptures.  The scriptures at that time really weren’t in a hypertext format.

So we have an electronic version of the scriptures, probably the first one.  In fact I know it was the first one. The church didn’t even have one.  It had the footnotes and everything.  It was about the year 2000, we had been maintaining this, that we donated all of this text, all linked up in a format that the internet could use.  In 2000 that became https://scriptures.lds.org .

For about 10 years we maintained that for the church and did about 22 languages for them.  We got very intimate with the scriptures.  We got a really great understanding of them, just the linking and how they all went together.

His father is a geographer at the University of Calgary.

he picked up the scriptures and started going through them, and just trying to think as a geographer would think.  He says he remembers reading a scripture where it talks about the seeds.  The seeds from Jerusalem were taken with them to the new land and wherever they went, it said they grew exceedingly.  He said at that point he said, “I know right where this is.”

Because as a geographer he taught it for many, many years: seeds only grow in certain climates as you’re moving around the world.  He said, wait a second.  The climate of Jerusalem, it’s got to be California or Baja California, one of those Californias.  So that’s when he phoned me.  From then on, we spent the next two weeks combing the entire text in our search system trying to find things, so that’s how it started, kind of out of a phone call and a question.  We’re trying to disprove it to be honest with you.  That’s kind of been our approach from the beginning.  How do we disprove the Baja?  We keep getting deeper and deeper trying to disprove it.

What do you think?  Is this a plausible location for the Book of Mormon lands?  Check out our conversation in the audio above or video below…

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