Book of Mormon geography/Models/Limited/Sorenson 1955

Table of Contents

Model Name Date Proposed Scope Narrow Neck Land North Land South Cumorah River Sidon Nephi's Landing Religion Type of model
Sorenson 1955 1955 LGT Tehuantepec South-Central Mexico Tehuantepec - El Salvador Southern Veracruz Grijalva Central America LDS External edit

Sorenson first developed his model in 1953 and committed it to paper in 1955.[1]

Sorenson outlined his model in his seminal 1985 work, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon,<re>John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 1.</ref> provided a detailed description of his method in creating his model in 1992,[2] and in 2000 published a more 'theoretical' approach to Book of Mormon geography.[3]

Figure 3:Sorenson's proposed geography, with the narrow neck of land at the Tehuantepec Isthmus.[4]

Real world suggested correlates in this model:

  • Narrow neck of land - Tehuantepec Isthmus
  • River Sidon - Grijalva River
  • Hill Ramah/Cumorah - Cerro Vigia in Veracruz, Mexico.

Sorenson's model has been critiqued,[5] and Sorenson has written a reply to the criticism.[6] A chief complaint has been Sorenson's model's "skew" of the cardinal directions ("Nephite North" is not "geographic north".) Critics have often caricaturized Sorenson's position, and ignored the fact that (as a non-LDS researcher noted):

It is clear that prehispanic people [of Mesoamerica] did not share our view of accurate geography. Only occasionally did their placement of toponyms [on their geographical diagrams] reflect true spatial relations in the sense that we demand of our maps. Mesoamerican cultures were unconcerned with the exact mileage between places and the exact placement of north and south.[7]

Other researchers have offered some refinements of the model which may offer another elegant solution to the directional issues. (See, for example, Poulsen 2004.)

Sorenson's model is strengthened by evidence for active volcano activity mainly confined to the time period around A.D. 30, which correlates with the three days of darkness following Jesus' crucifixion, as reported by 3 Nephi (see Three days of darkness: due to volcanoes?

Notes

  1. John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book (Provo, Utah: FARMS, revised edition, 1992), 182. AISN B0006QHZWE. off-site
  2. John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book (Provo, Utah: FARMS, revised edition, 1992). AISN B0006QHZWE. off-site
  3. John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Map (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2000). ISBN 0934893489.
  4. From John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), front cover.; graphic from John W. Welch and J. Gregory Welch, Charting the Book of Mormon: Visual Aids for Personal Study and Teaching (Provo, Utah: FARMS and Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Texts, 1999), chart 160. ISBN 0934893403. (Permission in digital version granted for non-profit reproduction and distribution if copyright notice intact and material unaltered.)
  5. Critiques include Earl M. Wunderli, "Critique of a Limited Geography for Book of Mormon Events," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 35 no. 3 (2002), 161–197. off-site; a review is available at Brant Gardner, "An Exploration in Critical Methodology: Critiquing a Critique (Review of: “Critique of a Limited Geography for Book of Mormon Events,” Dialogue 35/3 (2002): 161–97)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 173–224. off-site. Another critique of Sorenson's model can be found in Deanne G. Matheny, "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography," in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, edited by Brent Lee Metcalfe, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1993), 269–328. This latter volume is dedicated to the proposition that "the Book of Mormon isn't historical." It has been exhaustively critiqued and reviewed, especially in Vol. 6 of the FARMS Review.
  6. John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! (Review of "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography" by Deanne G. Matheny)," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 297–361. off-site
  7. Joyce Marcus, Mesoamerican Writing Systems: Propaganda, Myth, and History in Four Ancient Civilizations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 189; cited in William J. Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 161–197. wiki off-site GL direct link. Hamblin further discusses issues of directionality in William J. Hamblin, "Directions in Hebrew, Egyptian, and Nephite Language," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), 183–186.