A picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a fun coloring game.
• Resource #1: “CES Letter”. Jeremy Runnells discusses the coincidence of Book of Mormon cities names being highly similar to names of locations near Joseph Smith’s home. (See this link and scroll down to “Geography” - Item 7 Page 13.)
• Resource #2: “A Faithful Reply to the CES Letter”. Jim Bennett writes a rebuttal to Runnells. Bennett gives reasons why one can still hold faith in the Book of Mormon (BOM) and explains arguments for why place names can be similar and the BOM is still believable. (this link and scroll down through the PDF to the green #7 - page 43)
• Book of Mormon published March 1830. Coloring map uses pre-1830’s names for locations near Joseph Smith’s home. This “pre-1830’s” designation on the coloring page becomes important in this game . . . take note.
My Observations of the match-up:
○ If you are going to pass off a document as being ancient scripture, I don’t find it particularly inventive or tricky to just re-spell names of places near your home.
○ Bennett makes the argument that Joseph Smith couldn’t have possibly considered place names near his home because distances and directions aren’t exact. My thought: “Who cares?” I do not think plagiarists are driven by an academic motivation to get distances and directions right.
○ Lastly, Bennett makes the argument: “How could Joseph Smith have possibly taken place names from areas surrounding his home when those cities / towns were not yet incorporated?” Again, my thought: “Who cares?” But . . . I am totally biased here. I will own it. My job for over a decade was to value entire towns / areas before they existed. Thus, I would stand on top of a mountain somewhere with a developer’s map and imagine what a place would look like before it was even built. Technically . . . these “maps” were just dreams. We were all just dreaming and assigning costs, Discounted Cash Flows, and spreadsheets to those dreams. These towns / areas / Master Plan Developments / whatever-you-want-to-call them literally did not exist. They were just visions and drawings on a map. Examples: Traverse Mountain (Silicon Slopes), Eagle Mountain, Summit Ridge, Jordanelle, Daybreak, etc. These places (and most any city or town you know) had names before they were incorporated. Also? Many of the places’ people live their entire lives never do get incorporated. These unincorporated places also have "names". Anyone heard of Millcreek Salt Lake County? It was not incorporated until 2016. Clearly . . . nobody in Salt Lake County knew about Millcreek until 2016—total mystery there. What about all of us who have addresses in unincorporated areas? Like: Most of any County in Utah (Iron and Juab are good examples). Wow: All of you rural people? You all are totally mysterious. So, who cares? Bennett has figured out that incorporation and cities / town’s names are often “off” by decades. Yep. That is true. Totally true.
In closing, Bennett and I both have something in common: We are both insufferably sarcastic. We both need to work on it. But? He points out some fun things to discuss: Let’s play.
Corrie Hoffmeier, Bachelors of Geography, U of U 1993 (Dang I’m old 😊) #LazyLearner
PS — As always, thank you Jeremy Runnells for giving me my life back. And credits to another LazyLearner who said it was not necessary give props and respect to them on this post for making this fabulous map / game. I appreciate it. Pretty cool!
This concludes the Lazy Learners and Lax Disciples section for today.