History of the New World a'la Book of Mormon

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Dr. Bob, Sep 6, 2003.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Visiting with a Mormon fellow after the wedding today and he volunteered that lots of new evidence was coming out about pre-Columbian civilizations in America that were NOT "Indian", but rather white settlements.

    Especially in the Ohio River valley. If I could choose any place to live in the US and develop a civilization, it probably WOULDN'T be there!

    Anybody here about these new "discoveries"?
     
  2. KenH

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  3. Helen

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    Hi, I spent a few minutes on Google to try to see what I could find out here. Ran into some interesting stuff:

    http://www.connect-a.net/users/drshades/mormon.htm

    not about the Ohio Valley, but definitely a site worth poking around in!

    Considering all the unknowns and mysteries about early American history
    http://www.ku.edu/history/VL/USA/ERAS/prediscovery.html
    I guess just about anything could be claimed by anyone! The Mormons have simply capitalized on this.

    http://oroblanco.freeyellow.com/explorer.htm
    Carthaginians in the New World..... ??

    http://www.celticnz.co.nz/octaone.html
    more on Ohio, but not Mormon site

    After about 20+ mminutes of search I have found some fascinating sites, but nothing directly confirming or denying the 'new' material you have been told about. If you find out more, could you please let me know via PM or email? We are so busy now that I have very little time here, but this subject interests me greatly.
     
  4. NeilUnreal

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    (In edit: I didn't read the site posted by KenH until after I wrote this, but it is a very worthwhile summary of the archaeological context of 19th century America. It's also a really good example of why the study of 19th century American archaeology is soooo interesting. I have no clue whether the "Spalding Hypotheses" is correct.)

    Mormon beliefs about the prehistory of North America are part of a larger set of pseudo-archaeological beliefs that existed in the last century. During that century, most of the Native American cultures had become culturally and technologically impoverished -- in part as a result of European settlement, in part because of factors preceeding European settlement. Armchair archaeologists, and some professional archaeologists, looked at the aboriginal artifacts and structures (e.g. mounds) and concluded that this could not have been accomplished by the Native American cultures they knew. So they developed theories that it must have been outside influence -- Egyptians, Phonecians, the "Lost Tribe of Israel," etc. Also during those times, there was an interest in pseudo-epigraphy, the study of lost rock etchings, etc. Aboriginal markings, glacial scratches, and outright fakes were variously attributed to Phonecians, Celts, Norse, etc.

    Part of the foundation of Mormonism lies in these 19th century archaeological ideas. Most of the ideas died out or remained on the finge to this day. Mormonism, however, succeeded for cultural reasons having to do with family, community, etc. that are quite commendable in and of themselves, and do not depend on the foundational history of the sect. The archaeological aspects have continued to be carried along as part of the larger belief system.

    Someone who is more knowledgeable about the modern LDS church may know more about this, but I gather that modern LDS scholars are divided about whether those early archaeological ideas are to be taken literally. In other words, some of them may approach the LDS scriptures in the way minimalist Christian archaeologists approach the OT & NT: as a combination of myth, mythologized history, and actual history. Mormon "maximalist" scholars would argue that although Mormanism developed in a rather chaotic archaeological milieu, special revelation to Joseph Smith means that the LDS church got right what the others got wrong. I would say that most of the Mormons I have known as friends would fall into the liberal camp -- the archeaology would be interesting if it were true, but it's not what they base their current faith and practice on.

    -Neil
     
  5. Major B

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    Any "evidence" of the vast and highly developed civilizations that the book of Mormon calls for in North America ranks right up there with "evidence" for the existence of the Klingon Empire, for the same reason: both are fictional.
     
  6. NeilUnreal

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    Brother Dr. Bob, it's not generally well known, but there was a huge (for the time) and flourishing Native American civilization in the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys and during the period up to around 1500AD. Its level of organization and building rivaled that of the civilizations of the southestern U.S., Central America, and Mexico. Some scholars believe the population of some cities was larger than that of many European cities of the same time. Cahokia, a large city near modern St. Louis, may have had as many as 40,000 inhabitants c. 1100AD.

    Unfortunately for purposes of preservation, the eastern and Ohio Valley cultures tended to build in wood and earth, rather than stone. Although archeaologists know a lot about these cultures, they remain relatively unknown to the public as a whole.

    The reasons for the decline are controversial, and may involve climate, agriculture, and human cultural changes. Apparently the decline began before European settlement, but its nadir may have been hastened by the diseases which spread ahead of settlement after very early European contact.

    However, mainstream archaeology is quite clear -- these early civilizations were the ancestors of modern Native Americans. There may have been minor European, African, and Asian contact before Columbus, but it left no indisputable evidence outside the Norse contact areas in northeastern North America.

    -Neil
     
  7. LadyEagle

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    More info: I was here last May & it was very interesting. The people were highly educated.

    They were not Mormons.

    http://www.nps.gov/hocu/


    More interesting in the connection between:

    Mormons - honey bee - tribe of Dan

    There is a reason why the honey bee / hive is the State Symbol for the state of Utah & it has nothing to do with Indians. :eek:
     
  8. Frogman

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    Would this 'white' ancestry support the Mormon belief that Jews left Jerusalem and came to the Americas?

    Are Hebrews white?

    Just wondering.

    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  9. The Galatian

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    Nope. There's no reason to believe that the Mound Builders were anything but Native Americans.

    But Europeans have been visitors frequently. Before Columbus, Basques were frequently off Newfoundland, the Vikings and Irish made it here, and probably others.

    None founded a lasting nation. Closest was the Greenland colony, but it died out in a famine.
     

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