Well, it seems like I can’t express myself very well by reading the last posts comments. Maybe I was being a little too reactionary or arrogant in my comments. I was accused of using presentism in my answers to the comments made by the visitor. I don’t believe I was doing this. I was merely trying to show that there are patterns in world’s history that are consistent in every culture no matter where they are located or what era they live in and no matter what religious beliefs they hold. You will find the same patterns in the Bible itself. You simply cannot contain a culture or a society with limited resources in such a small area for very long. Populations will always fluctuate due to several factors like war, invasions by foreign powers, disease, famine, natural disasters, etc. The Nephite nation lasted for 1000 years. I cannot find any culture in history that has survived this long without these things happening to them.
I was thinking about presenting more thoughts and ideas on the limited geography models but now I believe it would be pointless. Those that are strict adherents to this model will defend it to the end and would cause unnecessary arguments on who’s right or wrong. When I started this blog I wanted to express an alternate view of the Book of Mormon lands and possibly answer the question on how the plates of Mormon ended up in New York. When I first read the Book of Mormon I had no problems understanding and accepting the spiritual lessons taught. But the other parts of the Book was very hard for me to understand and follow. I am one of those types that just cannot simply read something and accept it for what it is. I have to understand what is going on and relate it to what I have learned in my life. I have read many articles on ancient American history before I joined the LDS Church and I had a hard time relating the Book of Mormon to what has been learned about these people living here. So, I started doing some research into the various common theories presented by various LDS researchers since Joseph Smith’s time. The more I read the more confused and frustrated I became. Everyone believes that their model is the only accurate one that would connect the Book of Mormon to discoveries that were being made. It was like trying to decide which church to belong to. Everyone seemed to be right but something was still missing in my view. There is a lot of great information contained in these theories but they did not satisfy the questions I had. I honestly believe that the Book of Mormon is a real history of people living in the Americas and that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from a buried record he discovered in upstate New York. I also believe that there were many different kinds of people from all parts of the world that came here at various times and settled here. I believe, at least in part, the archaeological and historical models presented by many non-LDS researchers. All this was going through my mind in trying to figure out an accurate picture of the history of the native peoples of the Americas. And so I scrapped everything and started fresh. I started with the Book of Mormon and extracted any common elements that are found throughout the book. I noticed a pattern starting to form and work out a possible theory. You can read more of this pattern in my first posting on this blog.
Basically, my theory is this. Over the 1000 year history of the Nephites they were gradually pushed northward into new lands by the Lamanites; starting with Lehi and ending up in upstate New York in a destructive war. I believe that the Nephites were a mixture of different peoples already living in the lands governed by a literal descendant of Lehi. When the Nephites migrated into new lands they brought with them their advanced knowledge of farming, metallurgy, warfare, etc. and taught the local societies these new concepts. They also brought with them a new form of religion and were able to convert these peoples through their rulers. It is through this conversion that they became Nephites or members of the Church of Christ. I am still working out out the details of my theory and it is a work in progress. I am trying to find the right words to express what I believe to be an accurate picture of the history of the native peoples of the Americas. I hope to avoid any unnecessary debates on why my way of thinking is wrong and I want to be as careful as I can in expressing my viewpoints. More to come sometime in the future….