Hiding the details the Book of Mormon
The new Joseph Smith manual used in the LDS church for next year contains almost the entire text of the Wentworth Letter almost word for word. The only part missing looks like this in the manual: "...This book... tells us that our savior made..."
Strange??? I wonder what they are hiding? Let's see...here is the full quote of the redacted text:
"In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian Era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that..."
The growing trend in Mormon apologetic scholarship is the Limited Geography Theory for locating the events in the Book of Mormon somewhere in Mesoamerica. This is because items like native DNA, archeology, and common sense suggest that not all native americans are decendants of Lehi as taught for so long. Also the only cultures that could have even remotely match are in Mesoamerica. So they suggest that Lehi(the first prophet that sailed to the Americas from Jerusalem) and family came into an existing area near or among the Maya(but never mention this great culture) and the Nephi artifacts are hidden in the jungle within or near Mayan cities.
But thar really begs the question . . . who is more likely to know a true history of the people in the Book of Mormon? Joseph was visited annually by not only Moroni but according to Joseph and other early church leaders he was also visited by Nephi, Alma, and Mormon. The Wentworth letter says:
The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things. After having received many visits from the angels of God unfolding the majesty and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days, on the morning of the 22nd of September, A.D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands.
He knew enough of the history of the people of the America's to entertain his family with their stories. According to his mother he would share stories from his angelic instruction:
From this time forth, Joseph continued to receive instructions from the Lord, and we continued to get the children together every evening for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation of the same…. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them(Smith, Lucy Mack. History of Joseph Smith)
Joseph then translated the Plates of Lehi and then the same story over from the Plates of Nephi. With all these resources there seems to be a growing need for some in the Church to hide or avoid what Joseph taught rather clearly in the Wentworth letter and numerous other places. Is it reasonable to think that the man who was tutored personally by at least 4 BOM prophets, who translated the text of their arrival from two different perspectives, and who did this all by direct inspiration and revelation somehow can't even get the most basic details right?
Just another in the long list of logical acrobatics currently used to try to salvage the Book of Mormon.