Question: Does Vernal Holley rely on modern maps to create his comparison of actual place names with Book of Mormon names?

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Question: Does Vernal Holley rely on modern maps to create his comparison of actual place names with Book of Mormon names?

Holley claims to have obtained his names from gazetteers that were available in Joseph Smith's time, however he uses "modern maps" and "modern place names" as the basis for his comparison

One critic of Mormonism challenges the idea that Vernal Holley obtained his place names from modern maps:

Vernal Holley is dead. We can’t contact him to find out exactly where he got his sources. FairMormon’s strawman that these towns/cities were discovered only through maps may not be...how Holley found some of the towns. He may have used letters, newspapers, post office records, obituaries, local city/county library records, etc. in which records and books are not accessible online. We do not know.[1]

However, Holley himself claims to have used modern maps and modern place names in his comparison. Holley claims that "The following modern place names are actually located in the area of Spaulding's Manuscript Story setting. All but a few can be found in gazetteers published prior to the Book of Mormon." [2] Holley does not list the gazetteers that he used. Holley indicates that he is comparing "Modern Maps" against the "Book of Mormon."

An image of a transcription of Vernal Holley's book Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look hosted on Dale Broadhurst's site http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs2/vernP3.htm#pg6061

Holley states that he is using modern maps and locations in his comments regarding the cities of Angola and Tecumseh: both are names that weren't assigned to those locations until many years after the Book of Mormon was published

Holley points out that the present day city of Angola, New York is a possible match for a Book of Mormon location. He notes the location of the city on "modern maps". Holley states,

The present day city of Angola, New York, is located west of the Genesee (Sidon?) River and south ["in the borders"] of the proposed land of Zarahemla. This is another example of the many actual locations in the Great Lakes area that can be located on modern maps by following geographical information in the Book of Mormon. [2]

However, when one looks up the Wikipedia entry for Angola, New York, it becomes evident that the name "Angola" was not established until approximately 1854, twenty-four years after the Book of Mormon was published. Wikipedia notes,

The community was previously called "Evans Station." In 1854 or 1855, a post office was established there, bearing the name Angola. [3]

Holley makes the same error in relying on modern maps with the city of Tecumseh, Canada. In his book Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look, Holley claims,

Teancum, a Book of Mormon city located in a land called Desolation, within the north country, was "in the borders by the seashore" (Mormon 4:3). It was named after Teancum, who fought and died in the land Desolation while helping the Nephite military commander, Moroni, contain the Lamanites who were trying to gain access to the "land northward" (Alma, Chapters 50-62).

The modern city of Tecumseh [Tenecum] is located in Canada (the land to the north), by "the borders" of Canada and the United States, and by "the seashore." It was named after the great Shawnee Indian chief, who fought and died as a military commander under the British in the War of 1812, while helping their forces contain the Americans, who were trying to gain access to British territory in Canada. [2]

Once again, a check of the city's history on Wikipedia reveals that the name "Tecumseh" wasn't assigned to the area until 1912, eighty-two years after the Book of Mormon was published.

In 1792, Tecumseh, then known as Ryegate Postal Station, had only three families. In 1912. Ryegate Postal Station was renamed Tecumseh in honour of Tecumseh, leader of the Shawnee Tribe who was killed at battle in the War of 1812. [4]

Notes

  1. Jeremy Runnells, "Debunking FairMormon"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Vernal Holley, Book of Mormon Authorship
  3. "Angola, New York," Wikipedia (access 14 Mar 2015)
  4. "Tecumseh, Ontario," Wikipedia (accessed 14 Mar 2015)