What is the M2C Citation Cartel?  One of Jonathan Neville’s biggest issues is with the traditional Book of Mormon scholars is what he calls the M2C Citation Cartel. These scholars won’t accept any Book of Mormon geography theories outside the Mesoamerican theory.

GT: It’s funny to me that you call it M2C, because I’ve had a Baja guy on. I’ve had Malay. Except for Heartlanders, anybody who has any sort of other theory believes there are two Cumorahs.

Jonathan: Right.

GT:  And so it’s funny to me that you referring to M2C as meso, only.

Jonathan:  That’s right.

GT:  That applies to pretty much everybody else.

Jonathan:  That’s a really good point. And I’ve addressed that a few times, but I’ll explain why I did this.

GT:  I mean, you could probably argue that Book of Mormon Central and Interpreter are children of FARMS. Would that be a good way to say it?

Jonathan:  Yeah, you could say that. I call them a Potemkin village, because they have these storefronts. You have Book of Mormon Central, FAIR LDS, InterpreterMeridian Magazine, and they all look like different entities, but it’s all one village. It is all the same interlocking people.

GT:  Okay.

Jonathan:  And that’s the M2C citation cartel. I call them the M2C because the Mesoamerican and two Cumorahs, but none of those guys go with the Baja guys, or the Thailand or Malaysia, or even the Peru or Panama guys. Those guys are not part of the M2C citation cartel. If you want to publish something in the Interpreter, or BYU Studies, or Book of Mormon Central, it has to at least be consistent with M2C, the Mesoamerica two Cumorahs theory. I’ll give you an example of that, and I have to emphasize this, because I really feel this way. I love those guys. I like every one of them that I’ve ever met, and I respect their scholarship. I appreciate what they do. I think in terms of facts, I really like what they’ve come up with in doing historical research or archaeology, whatever. It’s the conclusions that they derive from those facts that I don’t agree with.

Find out how he is peer-reviewing their work.  Another one of the major differences with the Heartland Theory is that Lehi crossed the Atlantic, rather than the Pacific Ocean as Meso claims.  Jonathan Neville will tell us why he thinks this is the case.

GT: But I think for most, almost every geography theory agrees, okay, Nephi and Lehi left Jerusalem. They traveled south, probably along the Frankincense Trail.

Jonathan:  Right.

GT: They took a left in, I want to say Oman, and then there’s a..

Jonathan: At Nahom.

GT:  Yeah, and then there’s two [candidates for Nephi’s Harbor.] Well, Oman is [the name of the current day country.] Am I getting that right?

Jonathan:  Yeah, there’s three places in Oman that they think were the land of Bountiful.

GT:  Right.

Jonathan:  Right near Salalah. Salalah is the city there now.

GT:  Then, anyway, they took a left turn. They headed to the land Bountiful. There’s a couple of different harbors, and George Potter has one. I’ve had him on and then I need to get the Ashtons on, too, because they have a different harbor in Yemen. So, then the question is, [how did Lehi get to the Promised Land?] Most of the [theories], I will say, Malay and Baja and Meso all agree, most of them think that they kind of hugged the coast of India, and went down by the Malay Peninsula, which is a really interesting thing for the Malay people.

Jonathan:  Yeah.

GT:  Then, they had to shoot across the wide open ocean. So, they were doing pitstops all along the way. Then, all of a sudden, well, we’ve got 3000 miles of ocean or whatever it is, and we’ve got to just jet across here to either Baja or Meso.

Jonathan:  Or Chile.

GT:  Or Chile, yeah. Whereas you, which I thought was fascinatingly interesting said, “No, they didn’t go across the Pacific at all.: They went around the horn of Africa. So, can you tell us about that? Because to me, that’s the first really big difference.  Tell us about that.

Jonathan:  That’s definitely a big difference. The rationale behind that, and I have a long discussion of it. I don’t remember if it’s in that book or not. But the idea is that when they left the Oman area, Yemen-Oman border area, there’s two monsoon seasons. There’s one where the winds blow, as I recall, north and east and the other south and west. They said that they gathered, as I recall, it’s been a while since I’ve looked at this, but as I recall, Nephi says he gathered fruits and honey before they left. So, if you look at Oman, and the seasons when they would harvest fruits and honey, it’s roughly in the fall, October, November timeframe. At that time of the year, the monsoon is blowing south and west. So, if they left after they collected honey and fruit, because they went before the wind. They weren’t powered ships, right?

GT:  Right.

Jonathan:  They would have had to go south and west, which takes them along the east coast of Africa and around the tip of Africa and up.

Do you agree? 

When the Book of Mormon was first published, and even for a century onward, most Mormons believed the Book of Mormon covered the whole of North & South America.  But most scholars of Book of Mormon geography now believe that the area was much smaller and refer to this as the Limited Geography Theory. Heartland proponents believe the Book of Mormon covers North America and reject the Limited Geography Theory.  Jonathan Neville explains why.

GT:  So, you’re rejecting the limited geography and saying that the Book of Mormon people were river travelers.

Jonathan:  Yeah.

GT:  So they could go a lot farther.

Jonathan:  It is still a limited geography, compared to the hemispheric model.

GT:  Yeah.

Jonathan:  I have to tell you, in my book, Moroni’s America, I dedicated it to John Sorensen, Jack Welch, Rod Meldrum and Wayne May, because those are the four most influential people in this whole thing, in my opinion. I really appreciate John Sorenson, because he made the Book of Mormon real to me. He said, “These are real people. They’re not imaginary, and there’s actual archaeology to show it.” He made us think in terms of what were the people really living like? Unfortunately, he focused on the Mayans, which don’t have any connection to the Book of Mormon. But, when you take what Sorenson started with, and then you combine it with what Wayne and Rod have developed in terms of looking at Ohio archaeology–I read, it’s called the Ohio History Connection, where they report all the latest discoveries in Ohio and archaeology and stuff, and I read all that stuff. It’s really exciting, because, now, to me, that’s Book of Mormon people. You can understand the woven cloth that they had and the pearls that they had. They excavate pearls in these mounds in the hundreds, things like that. So, it just makes it much more real, and the idea of traveling on rivers is so obvious that why would they even have to talk about it? The Book of Mormon never says they breathed oxygen, but we assumed they did. I find it really interesting that Mormon made that point that I haven’t even talked about our building of ships and shipping.

GT:  I will bring up one more thing. Actually, let’s go back here. So, Lehi lands in the panhandle of Florida.

Jonathan:  Okay, let me mention something about that. Anywhere in Florida is good. In fact, some say the oldest Hopewell site is north of Tampa, Florida. That’s a perfectly legitimate landing, too.  It could be anywhere along there. I know up in Palmyra, this is anecdotal, but, I was told that they had an artifact that had an alligator engraved on it, a wooden artifact. One of the local tribes came into the museum where it was on display and said, “Where did you guys get that?”

He said, “That’s our symbol.”

The guy asked him, “Why would an alligator be your symbol?”

He says, “Because that’s the first animal we saw when we arrived,” which is Florida, right? If you look at the history of the Hopewell, there’s archaeologists debate about who was first and all that. But the earliest settlements appeared to have been in Florida, of that tradition. So, whether it’s the panhandle, I chose the Panhandle just because it kind of fit with the rivers that they would have gone on to go up to Georgia and Tennessee. But, even if they landed in Tampa, they’d have gone up that way.

What are your thoughts? Are you Team Heartland, Team Meso, or neither?