31 January 2011

Responses to Daniel's online presentation

We have been receiving some interesting response to Daniel's online presentation on metals and gold plates he gave at last year's BMAF conference. Richard Hauck, an LDS archaeologist who has presented at BMAF conferences and written about Book of Mormon geography, wrote Daniel to get some more information about the mineralogical maps he used to locate sites of ore in the Guatemalan Highlands. Dr. Hauck has been actively excavating ancient sites in Guatemala and is currently working at sites in the Salamá Valley, which he believes is a better candidate for the Land of Nephi than the currently-accepted location of Kaminaljuyú. Click here to read about Dr. Hauck and his work.

Daniel was also contacted by others who were interested in some of the slides from his presentation. Pat Simiskey and Doug Kiester asked questions and also shared information suggesting that they placed Book of Mormon events farther south in Central America, around modern-day Panama. You can look at maps based on this theory at a site they sent called Where was Mormon? It's a new take on the events and locations described in the scripture. Currently, we side with the BMAF in placing these areas in Mesoamerica, but we are always open to new ideas that have some good scholarship behind them. What do you think?

They also mentioned the idea that the stick of Joseph as referred to in Ezekiel chapter 37 is not specifically the Book of Mormon. Most members familiar with that verse have historically interpreted the stick of Judah to be the Bible and the stick of Joseph to be the Book of Mormon. Pat's claim is that this is no longer an official interpretation of the Church. Since the Old Testament was last year's topic in Gospel Doctrine classes, Daniel immediately recognized some inaccurate information here. Part of that lesson included a quote from Elder Packer at a General Conference in 1982, in which he stated that because of the Book of Mormon, Ezekiel's prophecy was now fulfilled. But because Hebrew prophecy may have many levels of meaning and fulfillment, their points are worth considering. Pat pointed to a quote from LDS scholar Daniel H. Ludlow to support this position  Here is the quote:

We as Latter-day Saints refer to the Book of Mormon as “the stick of Joseph,” but at best the Book of Mormon is an abridgment of the book of Joseph. The book of Joseph would be primarily the brass plates of Laban and the large plates of Nephi. Mormon testified on at least two occasions in the Book of Mormon that he did not write one-hundredth part in his record those things that were written on the large plates of Nephi. Even then, approximately two-thirds of the plates—at least according to Orson Pratt—were sealed. The Prophet Joseph Smith did not translate a single word from those portions, so certainly the Book of Mormon is not a complete book.

So there is more here to consider. Is there more yet to come to light in this "stick of Joseph?"

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