Rob Osborn

The Mesoamerica Model's Setting For The Book of Mormon, Its One Major Flaw

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My personal thoughts is that this civilization was greater and spread farther than people think. At this moment, I am more convinced that the narrow strip of land isn't in North America (aka United States). The narrow strip of land seems to fit with the Mesoamerica Model; however, I am more of the mind it spanned North and South America.

What this thread confirms with all religious inferences, there is always another questions, or questions, that may or may not negate what was previously thought. Like, how far did Coriantumr travel before he was found by the people of Zarahemla? If Mesoamerica is true, man Moroni sure walked a good distance before he died (dodging Lamanites along the way).

@Just_A_Guy, mentioned it was 23 days or so, if so that would make around 380 miles between two places if you are walking 2 miles an hour (Stop Math Time: if you are able to walk 2 miles in one hour, how many miles did you walk in one hour?).

At this moment, I am good with the possibility of both. The mound builders in North America are very intriguing. The new discovery of Mayan population is also very intriguing especially since one anti argument was the size of population discussed in the Book of Mormon and people saying there was never that many people on this continent, and again they stick their foot in their mouth.

But, I think I will just eat :popcorn: and place bets! :D

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6 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Like, how far did Coriantumr travel before he was found by the people of Zarahemla? If Mesoamerica is true, man Moroni sure walked a good distance before he died (dodging Lamanites along the way).

Im convinced that mileage wasnt a problem for BoM peoples. I think that perception of the limited Mesoamerican model that continues to persist hampers peoples thoughts on distances dramatically.

The isthmus of Tehuantepec is a 120 miles wide and according to Mesoamerican believers a distance a Nephite could travel in a day and a half. Yet, the distance according to the Nephites from their lands in the land southward to desolation in the north (a few hundred miles) was an exceedingly great distance. So, how is a few days walk an exceedingly great distance? I am led to believe this exceedingly great distance was thousands, not hundreds, of miles.

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1 hour ago, Rob Osborn said:

Im convinced that mileage wasnt a problem for BoM peoples. I think that perception of the limited Mesoamerican model that continues to persist hampers peoples thoughts on distances dramatically.

The isthmus of Tehuantepec is a 120 miles wide and according to Mesoamerican believers a distance a Nephite could travel in a day and a half. Yet, the distance according to the Nephites from their lands in the land southward to desolation in the north (a few hundred miles) was an exceedingly great distance. So, how is a few days walk an exceedingly great distance? I am led to believe this exceedingly great distance was thousands, not hundreds, of miles.

The "limited" Mesoamerican Model doesn't appear to be complete (IMHO). The reason why I say this is that we do have a quote or statement from Joseph Smith regarding Nephites in North America (United States), or at least I thought we do.

The one thing that is nice about these "theories" though is the concept that not everyone has "faith" (or different degrees and levels of faith) and some of our brothers and sisters require "physical" explanations for the spiritual to begin to believe.

As for me, I appear lately to like the word "intriguing" and I find all the different theories intriguing. The new discovery of the Mayan population is awesome.

As to "an exceedingly great distance" if I walked from Provo to Orem I would consider that an exceedingly great distance to walk or ride horseback, because we know the Book of Mormon had "horses" :D

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10 minutes ago, eVa said:

I need to re-read about the Jaredites.  They came over at the time of tower of Babel, but I thought were all wiped out well before 600 BC?

The only thing we know is that Coriantumr from the Jaredites lived long enough to meet the people of Zarahemla. We don't know how long Coriantumr was alive after the death of the Jaredites. We also do not know if the Jaredites spanned further and if the Jaredite story we have in the Book of Mormon is specific to a geographic location.

It would be similar to saying that all the people of Israel were lost to Babylon, when we know at least two groups made it to the American continents. So, some Jaredites could have survived because they had moved to different parts of the land and were never apart of this great war.

So many questions, fun, fun!

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1 hour ago, eVa said:

I need to re-read about the Jaredites.  They came over at the time of tower of Babel, but I thought were all wiped out well before 600 BC?

When you read it again keep in mind that they were the largest of the civilizations of the Americas and lasted almost twice as long as the Nephites and Lamanites.

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36 minutes ago, Rob Osborn said:

When you read it again keep in mind that they were the largest of the civilizations of the Americas and lasted almost twice as long as the Nephites and Lamanites.

There might have been far larger civilizations in the Americas that simply were not mentioned in the Book of Mormon narrative.

As far as the time period goes, we know only that the Jaredite nation lasted from sometime after the linguistic confusion at the tower of Babel until between about 200-600 BC. Since we don't know the date of the events at the tower of Babel, any attempt to assign a timespan to the Jaredite nation is largely conjecture. The Book of Mormon lists about thirty generations (likely a few more than that) for the kings of the Jaredites. Naively assigning 20 years to each generation suggests a timespan of only 600 years, which seems far too short, putting the events at Babel somewhere around 1000-1200 BC. By assigning a greater span to each generation and/or inserting as many generations as desired in the spaces where the record says only that So-and-so "was a descendant of" This Other Guy*, you can arbitrarily increase this span to however long you want. 2000 years (twice the Nephite nation's span) is a reasonable enough guess -- but it is only that, a guess.

*"Ether...was a descendant of Coriantor", "Aaron was a descendant of Heth", and "Morianton was a descendant of Riplakish." The first two look like they were either father-son or grandfather-grandson, since the narrative states that "A begat B".

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1 hour ago, Vort said:

There might have been far larger civilizations in the Americas that simply were not mentioned in the Book of Mormon narrative.

I doubt there were larger civilizations. The Lord promised the Jaredites tgey would become the greatest nation on the whole face of the earth.

43 And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me. (Ether 1:43)

They obviously were pretty great as millions of soldiers died in their final series of battles.

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1 hour ago, Rob Osborn said:

I doubt there were larger civilizations. The Lord promised the Jaredites tgey would become the greatest nation on the whole face of the earth.

One meaning of "greatest" is "largest". Another is "most powerful". Another is "holds the most territory". Another is "the best in quality". Another likely meaning would be "most approved of the Lord". So while your supposition is a valid possibility, it is only one possibility among many. I don't think we have enough evidence to say that the Jaredite nation was the largest in the world (or in the Americas).

1 hour ago, Rob Osborn said:

They obviously were pretty great as millions of soldiers died in their final series of battles.

This much I agree with.

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53 minutes ago, Vort said:

One meaning of "greatest" is "largest". Another is "most powerful". Another is "holds the most territory". Another is "the best in quality". Another likely meaning would be "most approved of the Lord". So while your supposition is a valid possibility, it is only one possibility among many. I don't think we have enough evidence to say that the Jaredite nation was the largest in the world (or in the Americas).

This much I agree with.

It takes a pretty sizable nation in ancient times to support millions of soldiers. The Nephite armies, in their final battles killed off about 200,000. Compare that with the two million from one side of the Jaredites and it wasnt their final battle yet where they gathered everyone. Maybe, in comparison then, the Jaredites were ten times larger than the Nephites.

 

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I am not a professional historian – but history is a hobby of mine.  I am convinced that ancient populations were not as isolated as many of us think.   I believe there is a great deal of evidence that ancients from Asia, the Mediterranean areas, Northern Europe and even the areas surrounding the Arabian Sea knew of and navigated the waterways to the Americas.

One ancient group I find most interesting were the Phoenicians (believe so named for their purple sails).  The ancient King of Phoenicia (Hiram) gifted King David with a fleet of 300 ships.  We know from Biblical accounts that these ships were sailing around Africa from the South Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and trading with India.  We have a good record of the European mariners that by the time they developed the knowledge and technology to navigate this route – within 40 years they accidently ended up in South America.   Most likely it was this knowledge and technology of the Phoenicians used by the Mulekites to reach and settle the Americas.  It is interesting to me that the major river by which the Mulekites established their capital bears the same name as the ancient capital of Phoenicia. 

If one considers the trade winds and ocean currents we can establish with relative accuracy where the most likely initial landings of the Jaredites, Nephites and Mulekites.   Never-the-less, without conclusive empirical evidence and relying strictly on subjective opinion; I believe we do more harm than good in declaring we know something that we don’t.   Doing so becomes more a tool of contention and bitterness than enlightenment and truth.

 

The Traveler

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3 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am not a professional historian – but history is a hobby of mine.  I am convinced that ancient populations were not as isolated as many of us think.   I believe there is a great deal of evidence that ancients from Asia, the Mediterranean areas, Northern Europe and even the areas surrounding the Arabian Sea knew of and navigated the waterways to the Americas.

One ancient group I find most interesting were the Phoenicians (believe so named for their purple sails).  The ancient King of Phoenicia (Hiram) gifted King David with a fleet of 300 ships.  We know from Biblical accounts that these ships were sailing around Africa from the South Atlantic to the Indian Ocean and trading with India.  We have a good record of the European mariners that by the time they developed the knowledge and technology to navigate this route – within 40 years they accidently ended up in South America.   Most likely it was this knowledge and technology of the Phoenicians used by the Mulekites to reach and settle the Americas.  It is interesting to me that the major river by which the Mulekites established their capital bears the same name as the ancient capital of Phoenicia. 

If one considers the trade winds and ocean currents we can establish with relative accuracy where the most likely initial landings of the Jaredites, Nephites and Mulekites.   Never-the-less, without conclusive empirical evidence and relying strictly on subjective opinion; I believe we do more harm than good in declaring we know something that we don’t.   Doing so becomes more a tool of contention and bitterness than enlightenment and truth.

 

The Traveler

I agree. Whereas I havent specifically nailed down exatly where I believe certain cities and lands were from the BoM I have a pretty good general idea of where the major events took place. The enigma for me, and its always fascinated me, is the civilization of the Mayans. Years ago I used to always tell family members that in time they are going to find that the Yucatan was in large part a sprawling megatropolas where tens upon tens of millions of ancients lived. Now that the new findings are coming in from the LIDAR technology they are for the first time talking "megatroplolas". They will in due time find that the Mayans were in fact the greatest civilization on the earth in ancient times. They will also find that their highly coveted correlation dates are wrong, off by a rather large magnitude. In due time, mark my words, they will in fact prove the Mayans were in fact BoM peoples only it was never the Nephites and Lamanites that everyone thought they were.

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20 hours ago, Rob Osborn said:

I agree. Whereas I havent specifically nailed down exatly where I believe certain cities and lands were from the BoM I have a pretty good general idea of where the major events took place. The enigma for me, and its always fascinated me, is the civilization of the Mayans. Years ago I used to always tell family members that in time they are going to find that the Yucatan was in large part a sprawling megatropolas where tens upon tens of millions of ancients lived. Now that the new findings are coming in from the LIDAR technology they are for the first time talking "megatroplolas". They will in due time find that the Mayans were in fact the greatest civilization on the earth in ancient times. They will also find that their highly coveted correlation dates are wrong, off by a rather large magnitude. In due time, mark my words, they will in fact prove the Mayans were in fact BoM peoples only it was never the Nephites and Lamanites that everyone thought they were.

 

I have found tidbits of possibilities in many places.  While serving as a missionary in the Northwestern States Mission – like 50  years ago – I had a native American companion.  Long story short, he introduced me a great deal of history I would not otherwise of known.  According to ancient legend in the North West a bearded white G-d came down from the sky with many good gifts.  The native population asked him his name and he told them something they could not pronounce – but it was said to have sounded something like Yasheiah.   Since they could not pronounce his name – he was called Tacoma.   The same as the 3rd largest city in Washington.  The name they could not pronounce correctly, does seem much like the ancient Hebrew of Josiah – the prophet that followed Moses.  This is also the ancient Hebrew name that translated from the Greek is Jesus.

These little tidbits can be both interesting and inspiring but I have learned not to get excited or pronounce a particular idea I believe as true unless there is empirical evidence that directly backs up a belief – regardless of how strongly I hold it to be true.  The one exception to this a direct manifestation by the power of the Holy Ghost – neither of which I have encountered as to Book of Mormon geography in the Americas. 

There are many ancient civilizations in the Americas that we know of only through ruins that fascinate me and that I enjoy studying.  Among such ruins I believe there are evidences of Ancient Chinese, Buddhists, Crete, Phoenicians, Egypt, Vikings and even ancient Arabians (think Sinbad) – and of course the ancient Hebrews or house of Israel.   I speculate that historians may be more accurate than some LDS are willing to consider – and that there were many civilizations in the Americas not mentioned or referenced in the Book of Mormon.  I tend to believe that the ancient prophesies are true – that the Great Apostasy was as global as the ancient flood of Noah and that Israel fell and its laws, ordinances and covenants were completely lost.  That what little remained are faint references to “doctrines” scattered with its peoples throughout the gentile nations of the world – not excepting and including the gentile nations of the Americas.  I do not know of any ruin or any ancient language or people or even artifact – that we can conclusively say these are left to us of Israel – specifically the uncorrupted blood and decedents of the Lehi.

One last point – I do believe that someday an artifact will be found that empirically proves Lehi and his decedents did occupy geography in ancient America – but I have considered the possibility that when such evidence is found – that it will make little or no difference either inside or outside the communities and cultures of the Latter-day Saints.

 

The Traveler

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2 hours ago, Traveler said:

 

I have found tidbits of possibilities in many places.  While serving as a missionary in the Northwestern States Mission – like 50  years ago – I had a native American companion.  Long story short, he introduced me a great deal of history I would not otherwise of known.  According to ancient legend in the North West a bearded white G-d came down from the sky with many good gifts.  The native population asked him his name and he told them something they could not pronounce – but it was said to have sounded something like Yasheiah.   Since they could not pronounce his name – he was called Tacoma.   The same as the 3rd largest city in Washington.  The name they could not pronounce correctly, does seem much like the ancient Hebrew of Josiah – the prophet that followed Moses.  This is also the ancient Hebrew name that translated from the Greek is Jesus.

These little tidbits can be both interesting and inspiring but I have learned not to get excited or pronounce a particular idea I believe as true unless there is empirical evidence that directly backs up a belief – regardless of how strongly I hold it to be true.  The one exception to this a direct manifestation by the power of the Holy Ghost – neither of which I have encountered as to Book of Mormon geography in the Americas. 

There are many ancient civilizations in the Americas that we know of only through ruins that fascinate me and that I enjoy studying.  Among such ruins I believe there are evidences of Ancient Chinese, Buddhists, Crete, Phoenicians, Egypt, Vikings and even ancient Arabians (think Sinbad) – and of course the ancient Hebrews or house of Israel.   I speculate that historians may be more accurate than some LDS are willing to consider – and that there were many civilizations in the Americas not mentioned or referenced in the Book of Mormon.  I tend to believe that the ancient prophesies are true – that the Great Apostasy was as global as the ancient flood of Noah and that Israel fell and its laws, ordinances and covenants were completely lost.  That what little remained are faint references to “doctrines” scattered with its peoples throughout the gentile nations of the world – not excepting and including the gentile nations of the Americas.  I do not know of any ruin or any ancient language or people or even artifact – that we can conclusively say these are left to us of Israel – specifically the uncorrupted blood and decedents of the Lehi.

One last point – I do believe that someday an artifact will be found that empirically proves Lehi and his decedents did occupy geography in ancient America – but I have considered the possibility that when such evidence is found – that it will make little or no difference either inside or outside the communities and cultures of the Latter-day Saints.

 

The Traveler

Yes. When I look for evidences I open all posibilities across both north and south American continents. There are many notable evidences from the ancient mines around the Great Lakes all the way to the curious stoneworks of Peru. I remember reading a historicsl account from Pizarros journal of when they found Cuzco they described the findings of the towers and temples that are almost identical to wicked king Noahs lands from the Book of Mormon. They destroyed both towers, the one overlooking the land north of the city and the one built at the temple site in the city. At the temple site they found 13 royalty chairs adorned with gold just like described in the BoM and wicked king Noah building the chairs adorned with gold for his high priests. Then, when you add in the fact that in the surrounding mountains were city strongholds built in the top of the mountains as those strongholds the gadiant9n robbers built in the tops of the mountains it really begins one to have chills. The similarities are just too much to discount. Same with the great massive heaps of earth the ancients created digging and mining for copper around the great lakes. That copper was mined and traded all over the North American continent in ancient times. That same purity of ancient copper has also been found halfway around the world.. Hunter gatherers dont mine and ship and trade to that extent. But, the BoM does say they created heaps of earth from their mines, that they traded, etc. Its all truly fascinating. I have no doubts that BoM peoples spread far and wide acrross both continents. The Incan road system, which was actually built by an earlier civilization (Nephites), spanned a north to south designation of several thousand miles.

The ancient mayan language itself is completely unique in that it really doesnt carry much of any similarities to other contemporary languages in ancient times. LDS scholars are too quick to assume that they were Nephites. The big problem is that according to Mormon himself writing was very difficult for them and their pattern which didnt change was that of an Egyptian origin. Egyptian and Mayan writing have no similarities whatsoever. The paradox here is that no one could decipher their language, not even the natives. They had developed their own writing style based off the Mayan text but it too was different. Tge original natives when duscovered by Spanish explorers had no idea or clue who the original Mayans were that built the many pyramids and buildings. Historical gurus assume the natives must be the ancestors of these ruins and so they tgen also assume the language is the same and so they tried to piece together the decipherment of the ancient Mayan characters. The great enigma for Mayan study is their start date of 3114 bc. There isnt anything biblical that makes that date of any significance. So then, why does that date persist? Certainly all cultures anciently would have dispersed from the same flood and tower of babel right? So, all ancient civilizations should be pretty close in their start dates right? The standard correlation they have agreed upon was solidified not by hard historical evidence but rather attempting to read the codexes left by the natives who made astronomy charts. But, those charts were never correlated with the ancient mayan dates because there was several hundred years missing! So, to straighten things up good ol carbon dating went to work to date organic material from archaeological sites. Once the right date came in they wanted they then correlated it with the ancient astronomy maps and that start date became set in stone. Scholars who have studied it though have said that correlation date coukd easily be off by a thousand years! For me, logically, one must throw out the conjecture and just look at the broader picture. I cant help but assume that if one just takes the evidence at hand and starts connecting the dots it all starts to create the real history we see in these ancient civilizations. Anyone who knows anything knows the Mayans were by far the greatest of all the ancient civilizations in the Americas. The connection of the dots here is simple- they were probably the Jaredites. Why hasnt this idea picked up steam though? Because everyone wants to believe the standard GMT correlation for the Mayan timeline that was never proven scientifically or mathematically. So, I find it rather amusing that they attribute many of the Mayan dates on stelae to the Nephites and Lamanites when in fact we know the Nephites and Lamanites used a biblical timeline that doesnt place a start date anywhere close to 3114 bc. 

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On 2/23/2018 at 11:07 AM, Anddenex said:

The "limited" Mesoamerican Model doesn't appear to be complete (IMHO). The reason why I say this is that we do have a quote or statement from Joseph Smith regarding Nephites in North America (United States), or at least I thought we do.

The one thing that is nice about these "theories" though is the concept that not everyone has "faith" (or different degrees and levels of faith) and some of our brothers and sisters require "physical" explanations for the spiritual to begin to believe.

As for me, I appear lately to like the word "intriguing" and I find all the different theories intriguing. The new discovery of the Mayan population is awesome.

As to "an exceedingly great distance" if I walked from Provo to Orem I would consider that an exceedingly great distance to walk or ride horseback, because we know the Book of Mormon had "horses" :D

There are certainly some records of statements made by Joseph Smith and his contemporaries which strongly suggest North American involvement. One of the most well known is the story of the discovery of Zelph the white Lamanite who was discovered in a burial mound on Zion's camp march. Joseph Smith is credited with writing to Emma about the group walking over the plains of the Nephites during this time, while the accounts of Zelph are not directly from Joseph, I believe.

Other records of interest would include Oliver Cowdery's letter vii and Brigham Young's report on Joseph and Oliver entering record room in cumorah on more than one occasion and the sword of Laban being unsheathed and inscribed on a latter visit. These have strong implications as to where Cumorah can be found and don't go along well with the idea of two cumorahs. Letter vii describes the area around Cumorah's hill where Joseph uncovered the plates as the place where the Nephite and Jaredite nations were destroyed. The record room inside the hill Cumorah poses a problem for the theory that Moroni traveled to New York alone, but had wagonloads of records deposited in a vault in the hill.

 

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Related, but not the exact same topic...

Remains show that ancient horses were hunted for their meat

Hard Evidence of Ancient American Horses (and I add, the wheel is tossed into that article i think).

Horses and Chariots

Heads up though, for those who are seeking purely unbiased articles, none of them are totally unbiased, but the top one at least is from a magazine that is seeking to try to be non-biased, nevertheless, the other two from BYU studies are interesting to think about.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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FWIW, I always traditionally thought of things in terms of the mesoamerican model (probably mostly sentimentally from a childhood understanding). But I have swayed towards the North American model more so in my older years, with the narrow neck being perhaps between the great lakes. Something I read once that made a lot of sense at the time.

Edited by The Folk Prophet

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16 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

FWIW, I always traditionally thought of things in terms of the mesoamerican model (probably mostly sentimentally from a childhood understanding). But I have swayed towards the North American model more so in my older years, with the narrow neck being perhaps between the great lakes. Something I read once that made a lot of sense at the time.

I am fascinated by the great lakes area. I do think it is the area where both civilizations came to an end. But, I have strong opinion that it wasnt the general area where BoM events took place. A book written in the 1800's about the antiquities of New York describes many battle fortifications around western New York. It raised enough speculation that the Smithsonian sent Esquire to document these earthworks. The author wasnt Mormon either.

http://www.archive.org/stream/antiquitiesofsta00squirich#page/n0/mode/1up

 

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I have tried to determine BofM geography.  What I have found is a great deal of evidence that Jesus did indeed come and visit the Americas.  What I do not know is if what the Book of Mormon calls the Nephites and Lamanites were the only civilizations in the Americas he visited.  I have thought I have figured out BofM geography only to discover too many discrepancies with whatever model I have researched.

In short, I do not know – and have come to the conclusion that it is not important enough – yet – to G-d to reveal the truth of this matter.  Although I have an open mind in this matter – over the years I have become very skeptical of those that think they know – especially that have figured it out without any conclusive empirical evidence.

 

The Traveler  

Edited by Traveler

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In Mesoamerica, there are jungles, mountains, deserts and large bodies of water that can separate people. Most scholars believe the Nephites in the BoM were in a 250 mile area. Jaredites would have been north of that. It may be the Nephites were aware of other nations around them, for matters of trade, but not much else. That isn't an uncommon thing in a world of little communication, etc. Besides, most Jaredites were wiped out while the Nephites were in the far south Land of Nephi, prior to their coming to the land of Zarahemla.

The book of Omni suggests the people of Zarahemla were aware of the Jaredites. Coriantumr dwelt with them for 9 months. Besides that, it seems the Mulekites may have lived on the edge of the Jaredites for a few centuries, as they had forgotten their language and religion, and fled south of the narrow neck of land because of war. Was that Jaredite wars they were fleeing? Once the Nephites move in with the Mulekites, Jaredite names begin to appear and be common in the record, suggesting Jaredite influence on the Mulekites.

So, it isn't as cut and dried as one would think.

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14 minutes ago, rameumptom said:

In Mesoamerica, there are jungles, mountains, deserts and large bodies of water that can separate people. Most scholars believe the Nephites in the BoM were in a 250 mile area. Jaredites would have been north of that. It may be the Nephites were aware of other nations around them, for matters of trade, but not much else. That isn't an uncommon thing in a world of little communication, etc. Besides, most Jaredites were wiped out while the Nephites were in the far south Land of Nephi, prior to their coming to the land of Zarahemla.

The book of Omni suggests the people of Zarahemla were aware of the Jaredites. Coriantumr dwelt with them for 9 months. Besides that, it seems the Mulekites may have lived on the edge of the Jaredites for a few centuries, as they had forgotten their language and religion, and fled south of the narrow neck of land because of war. Was that Jaredite wars they were fleeing? Once the Nephites move in with the Mulekites, Jaredite names begin to appear and be common in the record, suggesting Jaredite influence on the Mulekites.

So, it isn't as cut and dried as one would think.

Who is this guy? Anyone recognize him?

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