A little over a year ago, I confronted you about a weakness in your Book of Mormon Geography section, and instead of rebutting my argument, you told me you would remove the Book of Mormon Geography section from your upcoming version of the CES Letter.
I was impressed. I even thanked you for your integrity in admitting how weak the section is:
I'm surprised you haven't removed it yet. I'm assuming that removing it would not be a difficult process. So let's talk about it.
I can understand how you might want to wait and post lots of updates at once. However, your Geography section actually misleads the reader regarding the strength of the evidence. It does not admit to the reader how weak you know the evidence to be. Instead, you ask with apparent incredulity, "This is all just a coincidence?"
Weak evidence is not itself misleading. What is misleading is writing a letter which you say is a list of your honest concerns, when in reality one or more of the items listed are things which you know to be weak but are choosing to prop up to make the reader think they are strong.
I suspect if the tables were turned and I told you that I thought chiasmus or some other argument was "weak evidence," yet I touted it on my blog and asked incredulously how it could just be a coincidence, you would probably call that dishonest. But I don't think you are dishonest. I think that, like Prophets, you are only human. And as someone interested in apologetics, I give you the same benefit of the doubt that I would give them.
Nevertheless, my heart goes out to people who have been influenced by your geography section, including these commenters:
If you choose to defend it, please explain why there are much better Book of Mormon geographic name matches in the Median area, which is where some of the Lost Tribes of Israel, who shared Lehi's language (and are thus a good exhilic analogy for the Nephites), were taken to (2 Kings 17:6).
I actually could have included more names, but I didn't want to offer low hanging fruit. For instance, Angola = Angulesh; Cumeni = Kamani; Gid = Gidesk; Hermounts = Hirmand; Minon = Mehnan; Morianton = Marian, etc. My search results are by no means exhaustive.
The Median names are not even rare. Many are quite common throughout the area, which is especially interesting because when it comes to the Median language, Harvard University tells us that many forms "are found only in personal or geographical names ... and some are typically from the religious vocabulary" (note also how the names "could in principle also be influenced by Avestan," which some might see as linking the Lost Tribes taken to Media with the Biblical Wise Men from the East).
If we look at the word "Cumorah," for instance, which you highlight in your section, we find plenty of Median matches. As you know, the "C" in "Cumorah" is pronounced with a "K" sound.
Kamareh District (Markazi),
Komor (Mazandaran Province),
Kamareh-ye Hashem Beg (Lorestan),
Kamareh-ye Sofla (Kermanshah),
Kamareh-ye Gharbi (Kermanshah Province),
Kamareh-ye Olya (Kermanshah Province),
Kamareh-ye Bala (Lorestan),
Kamareh-ye Heshmatabad (Lorestan),
Cheshmeh Kamareh (Lorestan),
Zir Kamareh (Lorestan),
Sar Kamareh (Lorestan),
Siah Kamareh Zali (Lorestan),
Sefid Kamareh (Kurdistan Province),
Kamareh-ye Bala (Lorestan),
Var Kamareh (Ilam Province)
Moreover, a cursory analysis indicates that other regions of the world which have uncommon numbers of Book of Mormon name matches are also linked to groups which claim to have descended from the Ten Lost Tribes.
Of course, some of the names are Jaredite names, but they were first rendered into the language of the Gold Plates before Joseph Smith rendered them into English. The Jaredite language was special, because it had not been confounded, so we don't know how well the original sounds were rendered on the Gold Plates. The names might not even have been rendered by sound, but by meaning. And the names passed through both King Mosiah and Moroni before arriving at Joseph Smith. So, when Joseph Smith translated the story of the Jaredites, it was written in Nephite language.
I know you are a busy man, but I hope to hear back from you.