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Authority: 1981—Present


 

Alan C. Miner

November 26, 2004

 

 

A Chronology of LDS Thought on Book of Mormon Geography of the New World

 

1981 -----> Present

 

 

     Copyright 2003 by Alan C. Miner. All rights reserved

 

     Statements by Church Authorities

     Significant Books, "Articles," & Events

     [Significant Theoretical or Illustrated Models, or Illustrations Related to Book of Mormon Geography]

     Notes*

 

 

YEAR1            PERSON                  PRIMARY SOURCE2

 

 

 

Note 1: The mark ^ after the year is purely a research tool indicating that a copy of the article or book is on file in the author's personal library.

 

Note 2: The year (listed on the left) for the event or quote is not always the same as the date of the primary source (listed on the right) from which the information was taken. If the source information (the later publication of the information) was significant, in and of itself, to the later time period in which it came forth, there will also be a separate listing for that later year. When appropriate, additional sources will be listed.

 

 

 

 

1981^      Bruce A. Van Orden      "George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl on Book of Mormon Geography,"

geog                         Paper submitted for History 100: Professor D. Michael Quinn, Brigham

                        Young University, August 1981.

 

     Bruce Van Orden writes:

     . . . George Reynolds, a member of the First Council of Seventy from 1890-909, was born 1 January 1842 near London . . . George at age fourteen . . . was accepted for baptism . . . was active . . . and fulfilled a mission [in England] before emigrating to the United States in 1865. By the close of that year George went to work in the office of President Brigham Young. Almost continuously until his death, Reynolds was in the employment of the Church. At various times he served as secretary to each of the presidents of the Church from Brigham Young to Joseph F. Smith. . . .

     During the 1880s Reynolds labored as a secretary to President John Taylor . . . Most of his research on the Book of Mormon was completed during the decade. . . .

     George Reynolds also wrote hundreds of articles for periodicals. . . . He wrote for the Millennial Star, The Juvenile Instructor, The Contributor, The Liahona, the Deseret News, and the Ohio Bee. He served as associate editor of both the Juvenile Instructor and the Deseret News. . . . He died 9 August 1909.

 

     Janne M. Sjodahl was born 29 November 1853 in Karlshamn, Sweden. . . . After extensive ministerial training in England, Sjodahl served in the prominent position of secretary of the Norwegian Baptist Union. In that position he became acquainted with the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . . he traveled to Utah . . . and was soon baptized into the Church. . . . From 1890 to 1914 Sjodahl worked for the Deseret News. From 1907 to 1914 he served as its editor-in-chief. In 1914 he was called on a mission again, this time to England. He served until 1919 almost exclusively in the position of editor of the Millennial Star. After returning to America, Sjodahl was associated with both the Improvement Era and the Church Historian's office. He researched and wrote extensively, mostly about the Book of Mormon, in these latter years of his life. . . . Sjodahl, like Reynolds, wrote many articles . . . Most of his articles on the Book of Mormon were written for the Millennial Star when he was the editor and The Improvement Era when he was on the staff of that publication. . . . Sjodahl authored An Introduction to the Study of the Book of Mormon [1927]. . . . Janne M. Sjodahl died 23 June 1939. . . . At the time of his death, it was said of Sjodahl: "As a student of the Book of Mormon he had few equals and probably no superiors." . . .

 

     During his lifetime George Reynolds published the following books: . . . The Story of the Book of Mormon (1888), A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon (1891), A Complete Concordance to the Book of Mormon (189), and Book of Mormon Chronological Chart (1890). . . . Sjodahl authored An Introduction to the Study of the Book of Mormon [1927]. Sjodahl was in the process of writing a comprehensive Book of Mormon commentary during the last four years of his life. It was approximately half completed at his death.

 

     The writer was unable to discover any evidence that Reynolds and Sjodahl collaborated in any way during their lifetimes. . . . [Sjodahl] did not imitate Reynolds in any way; indeed, he frequently differed with conclusions drawn by Reynolds. . . . Reynolds asserted that to the ancient Nephites the whole North American continent was known as the land of Mulek and the whole South American continent was known as the land of Lehi. South America itself had two grand divisions: the land of Zarahemla and the land of Nephi. The narrow neck of land was the Isthmus of Panama. The river Sidon was the river Magdalena in present day Columbia. . . . The hill Cumorah . . . is located in New York State. . . . Sjodahl agreed with Reynolds on the landing place of Lehi [and Cumorah]. But from there their points of view diverge. Sjodahl used another alleged statement of Joseph Smith to place Zarahemla in Central America

 

     This background now brings the writer to the important subject of how George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl have come to be linked together as co-authors of significant works on the Book of Mormon. . . . The answer lies in the retirement work of Phillip C. Reynolds. Phil Reynolds was both a son to George Reynolds and a son-in-law to Janne M. Sjodahl. [After retirement] Phil claimed to have extensive unpublished notes of both men. [In the 1950s and 1960s] he took these "notes' which were in "rough" manuscript form and "collated, compared, edited, and prepared them for publication." The result was the seven volume Commentary on the Book of Mormon by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl. . . . Phil also reprinted all the out-of-print books of his father except the Story of the Book of Mormon.

     Upon even casual reading of The Story of the Book of Mormon and Dictionary of the Book of Mormon [originally published by George Reynolds], it is obvious that Phil lifted wholesale portions of both works and inserted them verbatim into his seven volume Commentary on the Book of Mormon by George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl. This Phil did without the slightest acknowledgement in his prefaces or footnotes. The writer also observed that large portions of Sjodahl's An Introduction to the Book of Mormon were inserted in the Commentary on the Book of Mormon verbatim. Unquestionably Phil used some of his father-in-law's unpublished material to supplement the Commentary as well.

     What the writer finds most objectionable is the appearance of joint authorship of the Commentary. The introductory comments read as if Reynolds and Sjodahl had collaborated and that Phil completed the work that had not been finished. . . .

     During the same year (1957) that Phil Reynolds published volume three of Commentary, he also published under separate cover both Book of Mormon Geography and the large map [entitled "A Suggested Key to Book of Mormon Geography" by Sjodahl]. The book is a virtual reprint of what is found in Commentary . . .

     Phil Reynold's supposed compilation (Book of Mormon Geography) is not a literal compilation of Reynolds's and Sjodahl's work. With only minor modifications, Phil Reynolds has taken pages 382-416 of [Reynolds'] Story and placed them verbatim in . . . Book of Mormon Geography.

     Another unusual and inconsistent feature about Phil Reynolds's work is that he ridiculed the importance that some people place in geography and quoted a statement by President George Q. Cannon to support his point. Yet he still went on to quote his father's lengthy theory on the subject and to publish a map.

 

 

 

 

 

1981      LDS Church      The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Salt Lake City: The

                 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.

 

     An "Introduction" page was written exclusively by Bruce R. McConkie and inserted especially for the 1981 edition. This page was not part of any previous editions. On this page we find the following:

     The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas . . . The record gives an account of two great civilizations. . . . After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

 

 

     Note* In a telephone conversation (12/11/02) with Robert J. Matthews, one of the committee members responsible for assembling this new edition, he noted that there was no discussion concerning this "Introduction" page. He also said that the intended meaning for principal ancestors was "main ancestors." McConkie's statement might be viewed in light of his previous comments on the "American Indians" in his 1958 book Mormon Doctrine. (see the 1958, 1966 notations)

 

 

1981      David A. Palmer      In Search of Cumorah, Bountiful: Horizon Publishers, 1981

 

     According to David Palmer, there is not one single directional statement given, from the time of the battles at the city of Desolation to the battle at Cumorah. There is nothing to suggest that the Nephites were not still within a few hundred kilometers of the narrow neck. Based on direct statements from the text of the Book of Mormon, and in a few cases, strong inferences drawn from statements in the text, Palmer develops a list of topographic and geographic criteria for Mormon's Cumorah. These criteria are as follows:

     1. It was near an eastern seacoast (Ether 9:3).

     2. It was near a narrow neck of land (Alma 22:29-32, Mormon 2:29, Mormon 3:5) (Alma 43) (Alma 56) Alma 50:33-34, 52:9) (Mormon 2:29, 3:5-7, Alma 63:5) (Ether 10:22-28).

     3. It was on a coastal plain, and possibly near other mountains and valleys (Ether 14:12-15).

     4. It was one day's journey south (east-south-east in modern coordinates) of a large body of water (Ether 15:8-11).

     5. It was in an area of many rivers and waters (Mormon 6:4).

     6. It was in the presence of fountains (Mormon 6:4).

     7. The abundance of water apparently provided a military advantage (Mormon 6:4).

     8. There was an escape route to the land ("country") southward (Mormon 8:2).

     9. The hill was large enough to provide a view of hundreds of thousands of bodies (Mormon 6:11).      10. The hill was apparently a significant landmark (Ether 9:3; Mormon 6:6).

     11. The hill was apparently free standing so people could camp around it (Mormon 6:2, 6:11).

     12. The climate was apparently temperate with no cold or snow (No record of cold or snow) (Enos 1:20) (Alma 46:40)

     13. The hill was located in a volcanic zone susceptible to earthquakes (3 Nephi 8:6-23)

[pp. 42, 53]

 

     David Palmer listed the following reasons for labeling the Cerro Vigia located in the state of Veracruz, Mexico as the Hill Cumorah:

     1. Near an Eastern seacoast: The Gulf of Mexico constitutes an eastern seacoast 30-40 miles from the Hill Vigia.

     2. Near the Narrow Neck of Land (Narrow Pass): The Hill Vigia is about 60 miles from the top of a pass that runs through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

     3. On a Coastal Plain and Possibly Near Other Mountains (hill Shim?) and Valleys: The Hill Vigia is situated so it overlooks a coastal plain. Looking inland, there is another expansive plain. Towards the Gulf of Mexico and stretching down towards the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, lies the heart of the volcanic Tuxtla mountain chain.

     4. One Day's Journey South of a Large Body of Water: About 20 kilometers "north" of Cerro (Hill) Vigia is the beginning of the vast expanse of water known as the Papaloapan lagoon system. Large oceangoing vessels are used to fish those waters. . . . Since this area is neither a lake nor a river it is a good candidate for "Ripliancum" which was interpreted as "large, or to exceed all."

     5. In an Area of Many Rivers and Waters: The Tuxtla mountain range is encompassed by two great drainage systems, the Papaloapan, and the Coatzacoalcos. The general area of the Cerro (Hill) Vigia was known anciently as "nonohualco," which means "place where water is everywhere."

     6. Presence of Fountains: The Hill Vigia is located in a land of pure water where streams of underground water spring forth.

     7. The Abundance of Water Must Provide a Military Advantage: The Tuxtla Mountain area is the Hawaii of Mexico. What does all this information about climate and water have to do with a military advantage? Palmer postulates that the military advantage sought was attraction of people. The battle was basically a numbers game. People could only be attracted to an army if they were fed, and how does one go about providing food for an army of a quarter million people? The way Mormon chose to provide food for his peopled during the four year gathering period was to choose as the place of his last stand one of the most fertile areas of the Western Hemisphere.

     8. Escape Route to the Land Southward: Those escaping to the "south countries" would have followed the route . . . skirting the northern flank of the Tuxtlas and approaching the sea. From there they would have been able to travel down to the isthmus virtually undetected, having a mountain range between them and the Lamanites.

     9. Hill Must Be Large Enough to Provide a View of Hundreds of Thousands of Bodies: The Hill Vigia is about 2,400 feet high. A person can make a round trip to the top in 3-4 hours.

     10. The Hill Must be a Significant Landmark: Cerro Vigia is easily distinguishable since it sits on the plain out of the main line of the Tuxtla chain. Friedlander found in 1922 that the Indians considered Cerro Vigia sacred. This may be related to the fact that a number of the Olmec monuments were carved from basalt taken from Cerro Vigia. This hill also appears to have been used for astronomical sightings. . . . These were important for maintenance of the calendar which was used for a guide in the planting of crops.

     11. The Hill Should be Free Standing so People Can Camp Around it: Cerro Vigia stands apart from the rest of the Tuxtla Mountain chain, separated from it by the city of Santiago Tuxtla.

     12 The Hill Should be in a Temperate Climate with no Cold or Snow: The Tuxtlas are a year-round resort for the Mexican tourists. The area is the Hawaii of Mexico.

     13. The hill is in a Volcanic Zone Subject to Earthquakes: Mesoamerica has been an area of very heavy volcanic activity. Mexico has about 37 recent volcanoes, twelve currently active. In Central America there are 67 recent volcanoes, 32 presently active. Both Mexico and Central American countries are plagued by earthquakes.

 

     From a purely logical point of view, the Latter-day Saint "Hill Cumorah" in New York meets only partially the above Book of Mormon requirements for the Nephite Hill Cumorah. (David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, pp. 96-101)

     

     Note* In a later 1990 book review, Palmer would write that the hill in New York meets criteria 2 (minimally), 4, 5, and 11. It does not meet the others. The hill Vigia in Mexico, proposed by Palmer (In Search of Cumorah, pp. 89-123) and Sorenson (An Ancient American Setting, p. 350) meets all of them. [David A. Palmer, Book Review in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, 1990, pp. 69-71]

     However, having made my own studies I would propose that depending on ones' perspective, the only criteria that might come into question here are #2, #12, and #13.

 

     The Book of Mormon itself must stand as the best witness of the criteria necessary to locate the Nephite, Lamanite, and Mulekite cultures. Therefore, fifteen cultural criteria were determined from the text:

     1. cities in the vicinity of the hill: 3 Nephi 8:8-14; 9:3-10;

     2. towers or stepped pyramids for religious purposes: Mosiah 2:7; 11:12-13; 20:8; Helaman 7:10

     3. efficient agriculture: Mosiah 7:22; 9:9; 9:14

     4. metallurgy: 1 Nephi 18:25; 2 Nephi 5:15; Jarom 1:8; Mosiah 22:12

     5. formal political states with centralized law enforcement: Mosiah 29:38-42; Alma 10:14-15; 3 Nephi 1:1

     6. organized religion: 2 Nephi 5:18; Alma 4:4-5; 3 Nephi 11-28; 4 Nephi 1:26-41

     7. idolatry at certain times:

     8. craft specialization such as textiles:

     9. trade and commerce: Alma 63:5-8; Helaman 3:10; Helaman 6:7-8; 3 Nephi 3:24; 4 Nephi 1:46

     10. writing: Alma 63:12; Mormon 9:32

     11. weaponry in the immediate vicinity of the hill:

 

     Criteria applicable only for the Nephites. (However, the absence of mention of these four traits for the Jaredites does not preclude their presence during those times.)      

 

     12. astronomy: Alma 30:44; Helaman 12:15; 3 Nephi 1:21;

     13. calendar systems:

     14. cement: Helaman 3:9-11;

     15. wheels: Alma 19:6; 3 Nephi 3:22

 

     The Cerro Vigia in Mexico meets all of these cultural criteria. The hill in New York meets none of them. Modern archaeological research shows that there was little culture there until A.D. 1100. (David A. Palmer, Book Review in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2, 1990, pp. 69-71)

 

     According to David Palmer, fifteen traits and types of archaeological information are required for any candidate hill to be called the "hill Cumorah" (Mormon 6:4). The following is an evaluation of Cerro Vigia ("Lookout Hill") in Mesoamerica:

 

     1. Cities in the Vicinity of the Hill: The Cerro Vigia is surrounded by ruins dating to the Jaredite and Nephite times. . . . The more ancient ruins are found in southern Veracruz, where the Cerro Vigia is located.

     2. Towers or stepped Pyramids for Religious Purposes: In the Nephite period there were large pyramids located in the following archaeological sites: in Guatemala (Kaminaljuyu), in the state of Chiapas, Mexico (Izapa, Chiapa de Corzo, etc.), in the state of Oaxaca (Dainzu) and in the valley of Mexico (Cuicuilco, Teotihuacan, Tlapacoya, and Cholula).

     The pyramid at La Venta, in the state of Tabasco, Mexico is entirely manmade. It apparently served as a focal point for the Olmec religion from about 1000 B.C. to 600 B.C. Another Jaredite time period pyramid is seen at the site of San Jose Mogote, in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.

     3. Efficient Agriculture: Stantley (1982) has found strong evidence for intensive early Preclassic (400-600 B.C.) farming in the Tuxtla mountains of southern Veracruz, Mexico. Work by Flannery in Oaxaca, Mexico has shown that the people exploited the high water table by digging wells and carrying water to irrigate their crops. As many as ten wells would be located in a one-acre plot. This technological advance allowed such efficient food production that at least half the population was able to turn to craft manufacture and mining. (Flannery, 1967) Three crops per year are possible using intensive irrigation. The use of canal systems for irrigation can be firmly dated to at least 400 B.C. in Oaxaca, with some village runoff canals going back to 1000 B.C. (Flannery, 1976)

     4. Metallurgy: In Nephite times the presence of iron is found at the archaeological site of Kaminaljuyu in Guatemala City (a proposed site for the city of Nephi). . . . However, the antiquity of use of ancient metals in Mesoamerica is placed at 1500 B.C. This is based on language studies called glotto-chronology (Campbell and Kaufman, 1976).

     5. Formal Political States: Mesoamerica offers the best examples of organized political states in America during Jaredite and Nephite times. The Olmec (Jaredite time period) centers of San Lorenzo and La Venta, with their monumental sculptures [of the heads of their leaders] are the best examples. During Nephite times the centers of Kaminaljuyu, Izapa, Chiapa de Corzo, Monte Alban, Dainzu, Santa rosa, and Teotihuacan are just a few examples.

     6. Organized Religion: No one seriously questions the fact that organized religion was a very important cultural and historical factor in Mesoamerica from the very earliest times. This is documented in the accounts of ancient Mesoamerican history, such as the writings of Ixtlilxochitl.

     7. Idolatry at Certain Times: From Mesoamerican archaeology we have been able to learn quite specifically what types of idols were worshipped in Lamanite-Nephite times and even in Jaredite times. The reason is that many of the idols were made in either stone or ceramic, and have survived.

     8. Craft Specialization: Professions which can be archaeologically documented in Mesoamerica developed in Jaredite and Nephite time periods. These include spinners, weavers, architects, rock quarryers, sculptors, transportation experts, paper makers, artists, and workers of obsidian. In Teotihuacan alone, over five hundred craft workshops have been found.

     9. Trade: Long distance trade developed in Mesoamerica at least by 1500 B.C. and was an important factor thereafter.

     10. Writing: The earliest Mesoamerican writing system of which we have evidence appeared about 600 B.C. in Oaxaca, Mexico. Secondary evidence suggest strongly the use of writing on paper in early times. Scripts are found on cylinder seals as well as monuments. Such seals, which are similar to those in use in Mesopotamia, have been found in a number of places in Mesoamerica, including the Cerro Vigia.

     11. Weaponry in Immediate Vicinity of Hill: The museum in Santiago Tuxtla at the base of the Cerro Vigia has on display only a few artifacts from the vicinity of the hill. Yet not only are there arrowheads and spear points, but also a variety of axe heads and other fearsome stone weapons.

     12 & 13. Astronomy and Calendar: Observation of the heavenly bodies was intimately tied to the development of an accurate calendar. So accurate were the observations recorded that the Maya possessed a calendar superior to that of the Europeans who came to "civilize" them.

     14. Cement: The use of cement and concrete spread throughout Mesoamerica in a time span from at least as early as 100 B.C. through A.D. 400. The tourist sees it in great abundance at Teotihuacan. At Kaminaljuyu the concrete mix was similar.

     15. Wheels: The only direct evidence thus far encountered for wheels in Mesoamerica is on toys. About thirty examples of wheeled toys have been found, the earliest of which were discovered at the archaeological site of Tres Zapotes, near the Cerro Vigia.

 

     In summary, though the Cerro Vigia passes all the criteria set down in the pages of the Book of Mormon, that does not necessarily prove that the correct hill has been identified. Any proposed alternative, however, must be subjected to the same stringent tests and pass them all. (David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah, pp. 106-123)

 

[1981      Illustrated Model (10 Maps)      David A. Palmer      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

L.S.=S. of Isth. of Tehuan. to El Salvador / N.N.=Isth. of Tehuantepec / L.N.= N. of Isth. of Tehuan. to Valley of Mexico / H.C.=Cerro El Vigia, Veracruz, Mexico / Sid. R.=Grijalva

Source: David A. Palmer, In Search of Cumorah: New Evidences for the Book of Mormon from Ancient Mexico, Bountiful: Horizon, 1981.

 

 

1981      Mark E. Petersen      Joseph of Egypt, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981, p. 96.

 

     " . . . This period of peace ended as the people again became wicked. The Lamanites finally annihilated the Nephites as a people. The last battle was fought on the Hill Cumorah in western New York State."

 

 

1981      Gladys E. Domonoske            "The Land Shadowing with Wings," N.p., 1981

 

     Theorizes that the land northward in the Book of Mormon is the Ontario Peninsula and the land southward is New York State. Presents the results of her research with maps, scriptures from the Old Testament, and exploration of the Book of Mormon text. Identifies the River Sidon as the Niagara River. Uses archaeologists' observations.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 126.

 

 

1981      Neil Frank Steede            "The Pilgrimage and the Vision," 1981, 16 pp.

 

     [Look in the Steede Collection]

 

 

1982      Eugene England      "Through the Arabian Desert to a Bountiful Land: Could Joseph Smith

                       Have Known the Way?" in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light

                       on Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, Provo, UT: BYU

                       Religious Studies Center, 1982, pp. 143-156.

 

     Compares the details of Lehi's journey across the Arabian desert to knowledge of the Arabian desert during Joseph Smith's time, showing that Joseph did not use worldly knowledge to translate the Book of Mormon.

 

Source: Brian Dickman, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 136.

 

 

1982      John L. Sorenson      "An Evaluation of the Smithsonian Institution 'Statement Regarding the Book

                       of Mormon,'" FARMS, 1982

 

     John L. Sorenson writes:

     For many years the Smithsonian Institution in Washington has received inquiries concerning the Book of Mormon, its role in the Institution's scientific activities, and a number of specific informational questions about ancient American archaeology. At least twenty years ago the Institution began responding to such inquiries with a form letter prepared by its Department of Anthropology. Statements in this letter (the content having changed several times over the years) are used by some opponents of the Mormon Church to support the idea that the Book of Mormon account is contradicted by scientific findings; some Latter-day Saints have been daunted in their faith in the book by these statements. This article critiques the method and content represented in the SI statement in order to put it into perspective. . . .

     Latter-day Saint believers in the Book of Mormon as well as critics of that book and mere interested bystanders commonly suppose that the Book of Mormon represents the events it reports as having taken place throughout the entire western hemisphere. All detailed studies of the book, on the other hand, have reached the conclusion that only a limited area is presented as the scene of Nephite and Jaredite life. It cannot be more than five or six hundred miles in length and considerably less across. All the happenings in the records including the final destructions of both Nephites and Jaredites, took place there, on the basis of an intricate network of statements on geographical matters in the text itself.

     Where was this scene? It is essentially certain that only Mesoamerica could be it. That name is given to the culture area which included some (but not all) the high civilizations between central Mexico and northern Central America. The matter is much too complicated to be treated here, but in that area it has been possible to show that the Book of Mormon's statements about customs, the rise of cities, wars, climate, distances, directions, and so on, fit nicely at point after point with the most up-to-date findings about Mesoamerican culture history. . . .

     These remarks are with reference to the Summer 1979 version of the "Statement." Earlier versions varied considerably; the general tendency seems to have been for later versions to make fewer and more general statements than earlier ones.

 

     [Sorenson then responds to nine points included in the two-page handout]

 

     In summation, careful reading of the Smithsonian Institution's 1979 "Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon" persuades me that it was a justified attempt to deal with a public information problem but that the substance it offers is often suspect and unduly narrow. It consistently oversimplifies like a professor speaking down to a curious and somewhat pesky child. The answers reveal no serious knowledge of the actual cultural claims or implications of the Book of Mormon, while the facts concerning ancient America are seriously flawed. . . . It ought to take account of the fact that the Book of Mormon claims only to report events in a restricted area of the western hemisphere. It should also reflect knowledge from contemporary anthropology that is more current, less monolithic, and more tentative than appears in the 1979 "Statement."

 

 

 

1982^      Joseph L. Allen            Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five

                              Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983.

 

     This 98-page manuscript was written to give purpose and substance to the tours Joseph Allen was directing to Mesoamerica. Over the years, this manuscript would evolve into his 1989 publication, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon. In a phone conversation (October 17, 2004) he related that at the time of this manuscript, his main purpose was not to promote any geographical model of Book of Mormon geography, but rather to give perspectives as to why he would want to take people to Mesoamerica in order to enrich their understanding of the Book of Mormon (he had been taking tours to those locations since 1970). He emphasized that a number of his perspectives on geography have since been changed, something that he said should be expected with advancing information unfolding one's understanding as the years go by. He said that just prior to this manuscript he had been influenced to a great deal on his geographic model by the recent book of David Palmer (1981) and the circulating manuscript of John Sorenson (1980). However, since then he has developed alternative insights. Readers should compare his ideas here in this manuscript with those contained in his 1989 book.

     On pages 4-5 he writes the following:

     * I believe that the heartland of the Book of Mormon cultures was in the general area of southeastern Mexico and Guatemala.

     * I believe that the narrow neck of land is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and that it runs south to north from the pacific ocean by Salina Cruz, Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico near Coatzacoalcos.

     * I also propose that the narrow neck of land divides two mountain ranges rather than two bodies of water.

     * I believe that the sea east was the Atlantic ocean and the sea West was the Pacific Ocean.

     * I favor the theory that the last Jaredite battleground, as well as the last Lamanite-Nephite battleground, is located on a mountain called Vigia in the State of Vera Cruz, Mexico.

     * I believe that the Land of Nephi was located in present day Guatemala and that a narrow mountain range separated the Land of Nephi from the Land of Zarahemla.

     * I believe the Land of Zarahemla was located in the present day State of Chiapas, Mexico.

     * I believe the Land Bountiful was located approximately where the State of Vera Cruz, Mexico is now situated.

     * I believe that the legend of the White God Quetzalcoatl began with the coming of Christ to the Americas. I also believe that other people took upon them the name of Quetzalcoatl.

     * I think Moroni carried the records he delivered to Joseph Smith from Vera Cruz, Mexico to new York and buried them int he New York Cumroah prior to his death.

     * I believe that it was a vision that "the brethren" had as the hill Cumorah opened up and they saw many wagon loads of records. I rather doubt that the vision was of the New York Cumorah.

     * I favor the theory that Lehi landed near El Salvador and that it was the Land of their First Inheritance.

 

 

     On the question of what evidence is available in terms of Book of Mormon geography and archaeology that will hold water, or in other words, what sources could be considered reliable, he suggests four: Ancient Records, Oral Traditions, Archaeology, Subjective reasoning. (pp. 5-6)

 

     On pages 8-9 he writes:

     Here are some statements about the First Civilization. I will put the source of each statement in parenthesis and caps: A = Archaeology; B = Book of Mormon; C = Chronicles or oral traditions; and D = Deductive or subjective reasoning. When I put more than one letter to the side of the statement it suggest that parts of each or all are used as the source to justify that statement. The following statements have reference to the Jaredite nation or in other words the First Civilization to come to Middle America as referred to in the Book of Mormon:

     * The First Civilization to inhabit the area we now call Middle America came from the great tower. (B, C, D)

     * The language of the first settlers was not confounded. (B, C)

     * They were led to this land, after having suffered many trials and tribulations. (B, C)

     * They came from the East, crossing the ocean, and they fought off the monsters of the deep. (A, B, C, D)

     * They were led by the hand of the Lord to this land, that they called a good and promised land. (B, C, D)

     * The climate along the gulf coast of Mexico was favorable for their crops. IT was hot and humid and there was an abundance of rainfall. (A, B, C, D)

     * They had prophets who warned them of pending destruction. (B, C, D)

     * They lived along the coast in what is now the State of Vera Cruz and in the area today known as the State of Oaxaca. (A, B, C, D)

     * Their civilization became highly advanced between 1200 and 600 B.C. (A, B, D)

     * They built a great city that, today, we know as the "Ruins of La Venta" in the State of Vera Cruz. (A, B, D)

     * They were a large people and produced all manner of curious workmanship. (A, B, C, D)

     * Their civilization came to a violent end by a great civil war, about 600 B.C. (A, B, C, D)

     * Their last battle took place at a mountain called Vigia by the city of Santiago Tuxtla in Vera Cruz, Mexico. (A, B, D)

     * Their records were discovered 121 B.C. by an expedition from Guatemala and their artifacts were susequently analyzed by archaeologists beginning about 1938 A.D. (A, B, C, D)

 

     As you can see, most of the statements are verifiable by either three or four of the tools we have established for our criterion.

 

     [p. 13] The Book of Mormon term for the first group is Jaredite. The archaeological term is Olmec and the name Chichimeca is a generally accepted term for the first settlers in the Spanish chronicles. . . .

     The Book of Mormon term for the 2nd Civilization is Lehi's Colony, Lamanite and Nephite. The Spanish chronicles use the names of Maya and Tulteca to represent the people who lived in the Guatemala and Yucatan areas. . . .

     The 3rd Civilization landed precisely in the same spot as the 1st Civilization,. . . The Book of Mormon name for the 3rd Civilization is Mulekite. They eventually became absorbed int he Nephtie culture. It appears that the name Ulmeca, along with Tulteca, may be satisfactory chronicle terms for the 3rd Civilization.

 

[1982      Map #1: Landing Sites. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 12]

 

     [p. 15] The land northward has reference to the area north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Today it embraces the Mexico States of Vera Cruz, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Morelos, Guerrero, and Mexico. The land southward is located south of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and includes the Mexican States of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and the Countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

 

[1982      Map #2: Land Northward and Land Southward. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 14]

 

     [p. 17] The narrow neck of Land separates the land southward from the land northward. It is the ancient "Paso Real" (Kings Pass) that runs north to south from the Gulf Coast of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. . . . Confusion has seemed to come from a casual reading or perhaps mis-reading of Alma 22:32. It has been assumed that it only took a Nephite or a Tulteca a day and one-half to travel form the sea east (Atlantic Ocean) to the sea west (Pacific Ocean). The Book of Mormon dose not say that. IT says it took a Nephite a day and one-half to travel from the border line of the Land Bountiful to the sea west (Pacific Ocean).

 

     Note* Joseph Allen was the first, as far as I can determine, to link the "narrow neck" with the ancient "Paso Real." This is significant in that this was a cultural trade route from Jaredite or Olmec times between the Gulf coast of Mexico and the Pacific coast of Mexico and Guatemala, giving some historical substance to the importance of the narrow neck from Jaredite through Nephite times. It should emphasized here that while the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was the general area that had been considered for the narrow neck for a number of years, its distance between oceans (130-150 miles) and directional orientation was difficult to defend if viewed from an internal perspective.

 

[1982      Map #3:Narrow Neck of Land. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 16]

 

     [p. 19] We solve a problem in Book of Mormon geography when we designate the term "wilderness" as "mountain" instead of jungle. . . . "the [Lamanite] king sent a proclamation throughout all the land [of Nephi], amongst all his people . . . which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness [mountain range], which ran from the sea east [Atlantic] even to the sea west [Pacific]. (Alma 22:27)

 

     To allow further credibility to the hypothesis . . . we have a modern example from the travels of John Lloyd Stephens. Stephens refers to the Sierra Madre mountain range as a "vast wilderness of mountain." (Stephens, Vol. II, p. 226). he continues; "At half past two we reached the top of the Sierra Madre, the dividing line of the waters . . . The ridge of the mountain was a long level table about half a mile wide, with rugged sides rising ont he right to a terrific peak." (Ibid., pp. 232-233)

     This narrow strip of wilderness is a natural dividing line.s After their journey from Guatemala into Mexico Stephen and his party looked back at the Sierra Madre mountain range and said: " . . . looking down into the deep imbosomed valley, and back at the great range of Cordilleras, crowned by the Sierra Madre, seeming a barrier to separate worlds." (Ibid., p. 241)

 

[1982      Map #4: The "Narrow Strip of Wilderness." Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 18]

 

     The narrow strip of wilderness reaches a peak at the head waters of what was probably the River Sidon. At this point the mountain ranges fork. One range extends itself west to the narrow neck and the other flows northward to what is known today as the ruins of Palenque. About 90 B.C. the 3rd Civilization Nephites had "taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east tot he west, round about on the wilderness side . . . " (Alma 22:29)

     It was between these two mountain ranges in what is called the central depression of Chiapas that teh major area of the land of Zarahemla was located. . . . A candidate for the River Sidon is a river called Grijalva. It has other names along it's route such as Rio Grande de Chiapas, and Mezcalapan.

 

 

[1982      Map #5: River Sidon East Sea- West Sea. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 20]

 

 

     On pages 23-25, Allen designates the major land divisions:

Land of the First Inheritance . . . El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica. "The colony of Lehi probably landed in the area of what is known today as the country of El Salvador."

The Land of Nephi . . . Guatemala, Honduras . . . "The ruins of Kaminaljuyu is a good candidate for the City of Nephi."

     The Land of Zarahemla . . . Chiapas, Tabasco, yucatan.

     Land of Bountiful . . . Vera Cruz, Oaxaca, Puebla

     Land of Desolation . . . North of Bountiful

 

[1982      Map #6: Lands. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 22]

 

[1982      Map #7: Major Cities. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 24]

 

 

     On page 27 Allen gives reasons (quoting from Palmer) why the Hill Vigia is a candidate for the Hill Cumorah.

 

[1982      Map #8: Hill Cumorah. Joseph L. Allen, Mexico Do You Know Who You Are?: An Historical Analysis of Five Major Civilizations, (Rough Draft) Fourth Printing, September 1983, p. 26]

 

 

 

 

1983      Utah Lighthouse Ministry is established

 

     "Originally founded as Modern Microfilm Co. by Jerald and Sandra Tanner," who began their work in the 1960's, "the company was reorganized as a non-profit organization on January 1, 1983, and the name was changed to Utah Lighthouse Ministry." Both Jerald and Sandra Tanner "left the Mormon church" and became "active members of a local Christian church in Salt Lake City." They had become involved in printing and distributing research and documentation critical of the LDS Church, establishing a bookstore in Salt Lake City. The methodology and content of some of the more prominent writings distributed from their store were to receive ongoing negative reviews from the LDS FARMS organization (see various articles by FARMS Review of Books).

 

Source: "About Us," from www.utlm.org and other materials sent by Sandra Tanner, 2/24/03.

 

     Note* Because some of their material is related to Book of Mormon geography, I have listed some selected writings distributed from their store in the following endnote ( ).

 

 

1983      Raymond C. Treat      "Book of Mormon Tour Guide: Palenque," in Zarahemla Record 19-21

                       (Winter, Spring, Summer 1983): pp. 16-18, 24.

 

     Contains photographs, maps, drawings, site description, and archaeological notes of the temples at Palenque and proposed that Palenque is the city Bountiful.

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 531.

 

 

1983^      James E. Faust      "The Keystone of Our Religion," October Conference, 1983; Ensign,

                       November 1983, 9-11.

 

     In the October Conference of 1983, James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve would say the following:

     It is important to know what the Book of Mormon is not. It is not primarilly a history, although much of what it contains is historical. The title page states that it is an account taken from the records of people living in the Americas before and after Christ. It was "written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. . . . And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations."

     George Q. Cannon stated that "the Book of Mormon is not a geographical primer. It was not written to teach geographical truths. What is told us of the situation of the various lands or cities . . . is usually simply an incidental remark connected with the doctrinal or historical portions of the work." (Juvenile Instructor, Jan. 1890, p. 18)

 

     Note* The full Cannon statement was made in 1890 under much different circumstances (see the 1890 notation). By quoting only a portion of a more detailed Cannon statement, a problem would arise in a 1992 Church News article. In that article Jerry Avant, a staff writer, would refer to this 1983 talk by Elder Faust yet use the full quote by Elder Cannon in denouncing the study of Book of Mormon geography with suggestive titles and headings plus additional quotes (see 1992 notation). This put the talk in a much more negative context. Further complicating the matter, as time and circumstances would have it, Elder Faust's article would then be reprinted with minor editing as the lead article in the Ensign for the 2004 Book of Mormon year of the Church scriptural study system. By that time Elder Faust would be a member of the First Presidency, and Book of Mormon geographical research would not only have created a greatly different environment from Faust's initial talk in 1983, but a vastly different one from that which existed in 1890.

 

 

NOTE* CHECK THE WORDING IN CONFERENCE REPORTS, October 1983.

 

 

1983      Vernal Holley      Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look, Ogden: Zenos, 1983.

 

     Parallels the Spaulding manuscript with the Book of Mormon and concludes that there is a direct connection between the two. Provides a look at Book of Mormon geography.

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 206.

 

 

1983      Randall K. Mehew      Historical Outline of the Book of Mormon, Orem, UT: Millennial Press, 1983.

 

     Contains a thumbnail sketch of several important personalities in the Book of Mormon. Provides Book of Mormon maps, tables, and materials dealing with chronology.

 

     This is a precursor to Mehew's 2004 publication, Ancient Testament From a Land of Promise: Historical Highlights of the Book of Mormon, Orem: Millennial Press.

 

 

1983      Neil Simmons                  "Maya Hieroglyphs Point to the Book of Mormon," in Zarahemla

     Raymond C. Treat            Record 19-21 (Winter, Spring, Summer 1983): pp. 1-5, 24.

 

     Examines research into Maya glyphs and states that this research has produced two finds important to Book of Mormon believers: the glyphs are partly phonetic, and the glyphs deal mainly with history. Based upon findings from glyphs, the author proposes Yaxchilan to be Zarahemla and Palenque to be Bountiful.

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 451.

 

 

1983      FARMS Staff            "Lands of the Book of Mormon--Footnoted and Annotated Script," Provo, UT:

                       FARMS, 1983.

 

     In 1983 FARMS produced a videotaped and narrated slide presentation portraying "the lands and places associated with the Book of Mormon as far as they can be reasonably identified at this time." This was accompanied by a footnoted and annotated script. 31 of the 113 slides dealt with the Old World. The remaining 82 focused on the New World--specifically Mesoamerica. A 12 minute panel discussion is appended to the videotape.

     This presentation was intended for use in a classroom or fireside setting in order to convey the assurance to students of the Book of Mormon that the "story took place somewhere, that it has a bona fide historical and cultural context, that more is known about the book's geographical setting than many students may have realized heretofore." It was also intended to convey the idea that "serious students of the Book of Mormon have achieved a notable consensus regarding the New World setting of the text, [and that] there is general agreement that Mesoamerica is the heartland of the Book of Mormon." It was hoped that this production would "cause many people to reconsider some of their naive assumptions about the Book of Mormon and its place in ancient America," that they would "study the scriptural text more carefully and they [would] be more discriminating when considering sites or artifacts that may have an implied Book of Mormon relationship."

 

[1983      Illustrated Model      Vernal Holley      LIMITED GREAT LAKES]

L.S.=Western New York, western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio / N.N.=isth. immediately west of the Niagara river / L.N.=Lower Ontario / H.C.=New York / Sid. R.=Genesee River

Source: Vernal Holley, Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look, Ogden: Zenos Publications, 1983.

Note* Holley's underlying assumption was that the Book of Mormon originated when Joseph Smith, Jr., plagiarized the "Spaulding Manuscript" and that the basic geography and place names were taken from the area where Joseph lived. The site names on Holley's model are derived (according to Holley's reasoning) from historical names in the states and province indicated.

 

 

1984      Lynn M. and Hope A. Hilton      "The Lihyanites," Sunstone 9 (January-February 1984): pp. 4-8.

 

     Discusses Lehi's eight year journey in Saudi Arabia and the possibility that he preached to and converted a group of people who later named themselves the "Lihyanites."

 

Source: David L. Laughlin, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 201.

 

 

1984      Gerry Avant            Church News, February 26, 1984, p. 10

 

     By the time Columbus "discovered" America, its inhabitants--a remnant of the House of Israel were in the throes of living prophecy. Columbus called them "Indians," but they and their Polynesian kin are actually descendants of Lehi, of whom much has been prophesied."

 

     Note* Gerry Avant was a Church News staff writer. The above information began an article on Spencer W. Kimball and his remarks concerning the Indians.

 

 

1984      John Sorenson            "Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient

                        America and Its Scripture" The Ensign 14, Part 1, September 1984, pp. 26-

                       37; Part 2, October 1984, pp. 12-23

 

     After the 1974 Non-Conference on the Book of Mormon, John Sorenson continued to expand and revise the manuscript which he had presented. David Palmer made contacts in the Church office building in Salt Lake City which resulted in a series of weekly presentations which Sorenson made over the fall months to a varying group of people from the magazines, curriculum, education, etc. As a result, Jay Todd, managing editor of The Ensign invited Sorenson to prepare a series of articles for the magazine--a project which Sorenson completed by 1976. For the next nine years they worked together trying to find a style and range of content acceptable for publication in that Church magazine. The delays were on account of reluctance manifested by various constituencies that would be affected by such a discussion appearing in the Church periodical. Ultimately it was decided to publish a condensed version of the series.

     "Digging into the Book of Mormon" contained a brief section on "The Nephite and Jaredite Lands," which gave the basic arguments favoring a limited-scale model and recapped a little of the history of LDS study of geography. Most importantly, this article represented the first printing of any information about external models in a Church magazine for many decades. As a consequence of Sorenson's already established working relationship with Church authorities, when he presented his full manuscript to Deseret Book it received little or no opposition. And from that the major publishers to the LDS trade decided that they had received a green light from Church headquarters to publish on the geography of Book of Mormon events where before they wouldn't.

 

Source: John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book. Provo: The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990, and personal communication.

 

 

1984      Zarahemla Research Foundation      Recent Book of Mormon Developments: Articles from

                                   The Zarahemla Record, Vol. 1, Independence,

                                   Missouri: ZRF, 1985.

 

     In 1984 the Zarahemla Research Foundation (RLDS) published articles from the first 23 issues of the Zarahemla Record, the organization's newsletter. A list of the articles that more directly deal with Book of Mormon geography are given below:

     Raymond C. Treat, "Mesoamerican Archaeology and the Book of Mormon: Outlines Compared," pp. 7-10.

     Paul M. Hanson, "Book of Mormon Geography," pp. 77-80.

     Ralph F. Lesh, "Development of the Map," pp. 81-82.

     Mary Lee Treat, "Book Review: In Search of Cumorah (David A. Palmer), pp. 83-85.

     Ralph F. Lesh, "Is North, North?," pp. 86-89.

 

 

1985      John L. Sorenson      "Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of

                       Ancient America and Its Scripture," Part 3, Tambuli, June-July 1985,

                       pp. 7-12

 

     This is the final article in a 3-part series attempting "to highlight contemporary developments in scholarship and science that seem to support and even clarify the Book of Mormon." After listing a number of specific research developments, Sorenson concludes:

     Mesoamerican archaeologists were recently taken to task by one of their number for "a determined and often defiant adherence to assumptions that were no longer tenable. . . . New discoveries . . . wreak havoc with old hypotheses. Nonetheless, the hypotheses were presented as theories and defended fiercely, to the detriment of . . . scientific knowledge of the inhabitants of prehispanic Mesoamerica," so says Dr. Judith Ann Remington. . . . She believes a new generation of Mesoamerican specialists is coming on the scene less hidebound and less worried that unconventional ideas might "disrupt the entire field of Mesoamerican research," . . . and more concerned with simply finding truth. We Latter-day Saints can hope that the new generation will seriously consider the Book of Mormon in relation to current archaeological findings.

     Yet we need not feel self-righteous when the scholars are taken to task for their narrowness. Our people have exhibited a decided tendency to substitute comfortable "folk understanding" for facts on certain subjects, particularly having to do with archaeology. We must expect new facts and new interpretations about the ancient Nephites and Jaredites, for they are bound to come.

 

 

1984      Robert F. Smith      "Book of Mormon Event Structure: Ancient Near East, with Excursus, The

                        Arabian Nexus," Provo, UT: FARMS, 1984.

 

     Explores the events that occurred in the ancient Near East preceding the time and just following Lehi's departure for the promised land. It includes a suggested dating system for Book of Mormon peoples based upon the Mesoamerican calendar. Includes a discussion of the Southern Arabian Peninsula and Lehi's excursion in the wilderness.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 475.

 

 

1984      Brent D. Smith            The House of Israel and Native Americans, Provo, UT: FARMS, 1984.

 

     The author proposes "first to explore the antecedents and development of the notion of Hebrew descent; next to examine this view vis-a-vis contending views in the early years of the American Republic--both in the dialogue of the learned men of the day and the popular view espoused from the pulpit and published in written form; and lastly to touch upon the relationship between the issue of Indian Origins and the ascription of Indian ancestry offered in the Book of Mormon.

 

Source: Brian Dickman, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 459.

 

 

1984      Raymond C. Treat      Recent Developments in Belize, Independence, MO: Foundation for Research

                        on Ancient America, 1984.

 

     According to some Book of Mormon scholars, Belize is the most likely location of the Jaredite civilization. Archaeologists have found evidence to validate Book of Mormon historical references there.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 534.

 

 

1984      Ralph F. Lesh      "Development of the Map," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, 81-82,

                  Independence, MO: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1984. Also published in the

                  Zarahemla Record 10 (Fall 1980): pp. 3, 7-8.

 

     After the publication of Ancient Mesoamerica in 1980 in which the author uses a double north arrow--one arrow labeled "northward" and the other true north--authors challenged his theory of what the Book of Mormon people considered to be north. Upon review of the other theories, the author continues to support his theory that the north of the Nephites was true North.

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 263.

 

 

1984      Ross T. Christensen      "The River of Nephi: An Archaeological Commentary on an Old Diary Entry,"

                       in Newsletter of the SEHA 158 (December 1984): pp. 1-8

 

     An 1881 diary entry made by Charles Lowell Walker states that the Prophet Joseph Smith identified a key location to Book of Mormon geography. He spoke of as great temple that was located in Central America. The River Copan was anciently called the River of Nephi. A second account by Mosiah Lyman Hancock substantiates Walker's entry. Maps are included.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 93.

 

 

1984      David A. Palmer      "Has the City of Nephi Been Found?" in the Zarahemla Record 22-23 (1984):

                        pp. 6-7, 15-16.

 

     Asserts that Kaminaljuyu, ancient ruins located within the present city of Guatemala, is the city of Nephi. Archaeologists and scholars have found evidence "that meets all the criteria with respect to geography and topography which the Book of Mormon gives for the city of Nephi."

 

Source: David S. Taylor, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 352.

 

 

1984      Thelona D. Stevens      An Introduction to the Book of Mormon, Independence, MO: Foundation

                       for Research on Ancient America, 1984.

 

     A booklet briefly setting forth a number of topics dealing with the Book of Mormon, including the language, translation, title page, manuscripts, archaeology, geography, witnesses, composition of the plates, and other items.

 

Source: Donald W. Parry, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 499.

 

 

1984      Jesse N. Washburn            The Miracle of the Book of Mormon, Orem, UT: Book Production

                             Services, 1984.

 

     Divides the Book of Mormon into elements of doctrine, narrative, geography, structure, and miscellany. Correlates Book of Mormon scriptures with biblical chronological events, divides the geography into four lands (maps are included), the way in which the book is presented, and miscellaneous items of poetry and chiasmus.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 554.

 

 

1984      Paul R. Cheesman and Barbara Hutchins      Pathways to the Past: A Guide to the Ruins of

                                         Mesoamerica, Bountiful, UT: Horizon, 1984

 

     A tour guide intended for the novice LDS audience, Maps, photographs, and directions are provided. Also included are the author's interpretations of how certain Mesoamerican sites and ruins correspond to the Book of Mormon.

 

Source: Brian Dickman, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 88.

 

 

1985            John L. Sorenson            An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon.

                                         S.L.C.: Deseret Book and Provo: FARMS, 1985

 

     This book detailed and supported a cultural and geographical setting in Mesoamerica for all the events of the Book of Mormon. It followed in the same pattern as Palmer's book in proposing an altered directional system (In actuality, Palmer followed Sorenson's ideas but published earlier.)

     According to Joseph Allen, John Sorenson opened the door for further research by presenting the Book of Mormon in relation to Mesoamerica archaeological sites. His detailed analysis culminated a lifetime of work as an anthropologist and a Mesoamerican scholar. His scholarly work set the stage for additional study on the subject. Sorenson served as chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Brigham Young University from 1978 until 1986, when he retired.

 

[1985      Illustrated Model (Multiple Maps)      John L. Sorenson      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

     Page #1      Page #2

L.S.=Mesoamerica S. & E. of Isth. of Tehuan. / N.N. Isth of Tehuan. / L.N.=South-central Mexico W. & N. of Isth. of Tehuan. / H.C.=Cerro Vigia / Sid. R.=Grijalva

Source: John L. Sorenson      An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, S.L.C.: Deseret Book and Provo: FARMS, 1985

 

(See the notation for 1974)

 

 

1985      John L. Sorenson      "Study Maps of the Book of Mormon," Provo, UT:FARMS, 1985.

 

     Packet of maps excerpted from An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon.

 

Source: John L. Sorenson, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 487.

 

 

1985      Charles S. Bagley      "A Textual Geography of the Book of Mormon," Manuscript, 1985

 

[1985 Illustrated Model      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

Source: Charles S. Bagley, "A Textual Geography of the Book of Mormon," Manuscript, 1985

 

 

[1985      Illustrated Model      Gail B. Porritt      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

L.S.=Mesoamerica S. & E. of Isth. of Tehuan. / N.N. Isth of Tehuan. / L.N.=South-central Mexico W. & N. of Isth. of Tehuan. / H.C.=Cerro Vigia / Sid. R.=Grijalva

Source: Gail B. Porritt, "The Jaredites." Also "Location of the Nephite Hill Cumorah." Papers in the possession of John Sorenson.

 

 

1985      (unknown)            "A Critique of the New Theory of Book of Mormon Geography," 1985

 

     [Look in the FARMS Collection]

 

 

1985      Religious Studies Center Annual Book of Mormon Symposiums Begin At BYU

 

     In response to President Jeffrey R. Holland's proposal that the Religious Studies Center hold an annual Book of Mormon Symposium on the Brigham Young University campus, the First Annual Book of Mormon Symposium was held on 27-28 September 1985 under the coordination of Dr. Paul R. Cheesman, who was then the director of Book of Mormon research at the center. Upon the retirement of Dr. Cheesman, Dr. Monte S. Nyman assumed leadership of the Book of Mormon research area in the center and also the responsibility of coordinating the symposiums from 1986 to 1991. He and Dr. Charles D. Tate, Jr., would edit the papers presented in these symposiums for publication by the Religious Studies Center in Provo. Articles that dealt directly with Book of Mormon geography in the New World were conspicuously absent, although Old World geography was open for discussion. Cultural evidences were dealt with in a general way. The same applies to Indian Origins. A number of books had no articles at all.

 

1. The Book of Mormon: The Keystone Scripture, ed. Paul R. Cheesman, 1988. (Symposium #1, 1985)

 

     In an article titled "The Challenge of the Book of Mormon," Daniel H. Ludlow writes the following:

     Don't Get on a "Hobbyhorse"

 

     Another word of caution for all of us. It was in the summer of 1955 that I first joined the faculty at Brigham Young University. At that time and shortly before, the leaders of the Church were cautioning us as members: "Do not get on a hobbyhorse in the Church. If you do, it will ride you right out of the Church and kingdom." . . . My plea here would be that we would not repeat those errors in relationship to the Book of Mormon. . . .Do you know of some who have become too enamored of the lack of proof of the Book of Mormon, or some at the other extreme who are so concerned about the abundance of physical evidences of the Book of Mormon that they believe faith and testimony of the Spirit are no longer necessary? (pp. 17-18)

 

     Note* Is the implication here to cast those individuals who do research related to Book of Mormon geography as being on their way out of the Church? In other words, is seeking physical evidences of the Book of Mormon a hobbyhorse? Or is this plea to justify the lack of interest or knowledge in the area of Book of Mormon geography by religion teachers? Taking this approach from another perspective one might ask, Do you know of some who have become too enamored with faith and the feelings of the spirit as proof of the Book of Mormon that they feel no need for any effort on their part to seek physical evidence for the culture, history, and geography contained within that book? And for those who do come across some possible physical evidence, do they see no need to make any effort to verify the fact that that particular piece of evidence is valid? (See the 1960 Ross T. Christensen notation, "Fallacious Notions Concerning Book of Mormon Archaeology")

     Other articles related to Book of Mormon geography include:

     "Before Columbus," (George F. Carter), pp. 164-186

"Categories of Evidence for Old World Contacts with Ancient America," (Norman Totten), pp. 187-205

"Cultural Parallels Between the Old World and the New World," (Paul R. Cheesman), pp. 206-217

     "The Bering Strait and American Indian Origins," (James R. Christianson), pp. 218-236

 

2. First Nephi, The Doctrinal Foundation, eds. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate, Jr., (1986 Symp.)

 

     "Lehi's Journeys" (Paul R. Cheesman, pp. 241-250.)

 

     Cheesman basically reviews Lehi's travels through Arabia from the perspectives of Nibley's Lehi in the Desert (1952) and Lynn and Hope Hilton's In Search of Lehi's Trail (1976). In a footnote he does detail B. H. Roberts' reservations (New Witnesses for God 1909) concerning the "Lehi's Travels" statement listed as a "Revelation to Joseph the Seer" in the 1882 Richards and Little Compendium.

 

     "Transoceanic Crossings (John L. Sorenson), pp. 251-270

 

3. The Book of Mormon: Second Nephi, The Doctrinal Structure, 1989 (1987 Symposium)

     [No Articles Related to Book of Mormon geography]

 

4. The Book of Mormon: Jacob Through Words of Mormon, To Learn With Joy, 1990 (1988 Symp.)

"Prophetic Decree and Ancient Histories Tell the Story of America," (Clark V. Johnson), pp. 125-139

 

5. The Book of Mormon: Mosiah, Salvation Only Through Christ,1991, (1989 Symposium)

     [No Articles Related to Book of Mormon geography]

 

6. The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony Of The Word, 1992 (1991 Symposium)

     "Hagoth and the Polynesians," (Robert E. Parsons), 249-262

 

     After reviewing a number of statements made by Church authorities that linked the origin of the Polynesians with Lehi's colony, Parsons concludes with the following:

     In conclusion it seems fair to state that although the Church has no official, published declaration on the origin of the Polynesians, there have been enough semi-official statements by prophets of the Lord to leave little doubt that the Church believes that the Polynesians are direct blood relatives of Lehi's colony and that Hagoth's lost ships provide at least one connection between the Americas and Polynesia. This is further supported by patriarchal blessings given to the members of the Church among these people and by oral traditions. (p. 260)

 

7. The Book of Mormon: Helaman Through 3 Nephi 8, According To Thy Word, 1992 (1992 Symp.)

"Nephite Trade Networks and the Dangers of a Class Society," (Allen J. Christenson), pp. 223-240

 

     Without making any direct statement dealing with Book of Mormon geography, Christenson details some significant parallels in the first century before Christ between the economic development and social development of the peoples of the Book of Mormon with Mexico and Central America:

     During that century the relatively simple farming communities of Mexico and Central America began to develop new and powerful elite merchant classes which accumulated expensive luxury goods through a complicated system of long-distance trade networks. To control the delicate economic relationships among foreign powers effectively, these communities instituted the practice of kingship. This astonishingly sudden change in Mesoamerican society appeared almost simultaneously over a large area of thousands of square miles of territory, forming a vast network of developing states engaged in economic cooperation and competition on an unprecedented scale.

 

     "The Lamanites--A More Accurate Image," (Richard O. Cowan), pp. 251-265

 

8. The Book of Mormon: 3 Nephi 9-30, This Is My Gospel, 1993 (1993 Symposium)

     "Geological Upheaval and Darkness in 3 Nephi 8-10," (Alvin K. Benson), pp. 59-72

 

9. The Book of Mormon: Fourth Nephi Through Moroni, From Zion to Destruction, 1995 (1994 Symp.)

     [No Articles Related to Book of Mormon geography]

 

 

1985      Shirley R. Heater      "Report on Book of Mormon Research,," in Zarahemla Record 27-28

                       (Winter-Spring 1985): pp. 5-7, 16.

 

     A detailed summary of John L. Sorenson's two-part article "Digging into the Book of Mormon,," Ensign (September 1984): pp. 26-37 and (October 1984): pp. 12-23. Studies in the areas of geography, archaeology, war, demographics, metallurgy, and writing are discussed.

 

Source: John A. Tvedtnes, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 196.

 

 

1985      David Leon Pratt      The Prehistoric Hebrews of New England, Salem, MA: Praetorian Press,

                        1985.

 

     Unorthodox presentation of the Book of Mormon text (1 Nephi -Jarom) as a history of the Hebrews. Says nothing about Joseph Smith or the origin of the Book of Mormon. Places the ancient Nephites in the present day New England area of the United States. Numerous footnotes provide commentary.

 

Source: Donald W. Parry, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 377.

 

 

1985      Steven H. Gordon and Thomas H. Patterson      Study Maps of the Book of Mormon, Provo, UT:

                                         FARMS, 1985.

 

     A collection of maps of proposed Book of Mormon geographical sites in Mesoamerica and archaeological site in relation to contemporary locations.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 168.

 

 

1985      Rex C. Reeve, Jr.            Geography of the Book of Mormon," 1985, 2 pp.

 

     [Look in the FARMS Collection or call Rex: Tel # 489-9369 or at BYU]

 

 

1986      Church Educational System            Book of Mormon Seminary Student Manual, Salt Lake

                                   City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

                                   1986

 

     In 1986 the Church Educational System prepared a student manual for use in all its Seminaries. The Book of Mormon geography map contained in that student manual is an internal map prepared by Daniel H. Ludlow in 1964, and it has the title, "Possible Book of Mormon Sites." While locations for the Land Southward are detailed on this map, the Land Northward is left quite ambiguous and a location for the hill Cumorah (hill Ramah) is conspicuously absent.

 

     Note* For the CES, the official educational system of the Church, to continue to support a poorly constructed (in retrospect) 1964 internal map is disappointing. No apparent effort was made to correct the multiple glaring deficiencies in this 22 year-old map despite the significant scholarly advancements in Book of Mormon geographical understanding.

 

[1986      Illustrated Model       "Possible Book of Mormon Sites"      INTERNAL--Hemispheric]      

Source: Church Educational System, Book of Mormon Student Manual , 1986, p. 174.

Note* This map was originally prepared in about 1964 by Daniel H. Ludlow

 

 

1986      Ezra Taft Benson      "Cleansing the Inner Vessel" Ensign 16, May 1986, 4-7,

                       "A Sacred Responsibility" Ensign 16, May 1986, 77-78

 

     On November 10, 1985, Ezra Taft Benson was set apart as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his first General Conference address as President, in April 1986, he vividly proclaimed the importance of the Book of Mormon with strong words that continue to this writing:

     Unless we read the Book of Mormon and give heed to its teachings, the Lord has stated in Section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants that the whole Church is under condemnation: "And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all." (D&C 84:56) The Lord continues: "And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written." (D&C 84:57)

     Now we not only need to say more about the Book of Mormon, but we need to do more with it. . . . ("Cleansing the Inner Vessel")

 

     In the same Conference, Elder Benson also said the following:

     I bless you with increased understanding of the Book of Mormon. I promise you that from this moment forward, if we will daily sup from its pages and abide by its precepts, God will pour out upon each child of Zion and the Church a blessing hitherto unknown--and we will plead to the Lord that He will begin to lift the condemnation--the scourge and judgment. Of this I bear solemn witness. ("A Sacred Responsibility")

 

 

 

1986^      Joan Tondro Jensen      "Records of the Ancient People of the American Continents," in Book of

                        Mormon: The Tenth Annual Church Educational System Religious

                       Educators' Symposium Book: A Symposium on the Book of Mormon:

                       13-15 August, 1986, Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah. SLC, Utah:

                       The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986, pp. 72-75.

 

     In 1986, in a CES symposium speech on records of the ancient people of the American continents, Joan Jensen repeated the Cave Story as told in 1877 by Brigham Young (see the 1877 notation). She writes:

     The Book of Mormon, as we know it, is not the complete record of the people on this land. It contains only a small portion of all the records that were kept by these people. This is illustrated by the following incident recorded by Brigham Young. [She then relates the 1877 Cave Story by Brigham Young as recorded in the Journal of Discourses, 19:38] . . .

 

     She concludes her article with the following:

     What other records are in the cave? We know of the writings of Lehi, the brass plates, the large plates of Nephi, the twenty-four plates of gold, the stone tablet, the history of the Nephite nation as recorded by the political leaders, as well as the writings of Mosiah, Benjamin, Mosiah son of Benjamin, Alma the older, Alma the younger, Helaman, Mormon, and all of the prophets named Nephi. Are there more writings of prophets which we do not know of? Are there writings of Samuel, the Lamanite prophet? Are there more writings of Amulek, Alma's companion, just to name a few who are briefly mentioned in our Book of Mormon?

     How exciting and great the day will be when these records come forth, the full story and history of he people upon the promised land, the American continent.

 

Note* As stated before, the Cave Story also implied the location of the Hill Cumorah to be in New York.

 

 

1986^      Dan Vogel      Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1986.

 

     Author favors a nineteenth-century environmentalist explanation of the Book of Mormon's origin. He summarizes various ideas regarding the Hebrew origin of the American Indian during the centuries before and up to the time of Joseph Smith and attempts to show that these views have since been completely discredited. The Book of Mormon expresses these outdated and incorrect views of native Americans and can therefore be seen as a mere product of its day.

 

Source: Matthew Roper, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 547.

 

 

1986      Verneil W. Simmons      Peoples, Places and Prophecies: A Study of the Book of Mormon,

                       Independence, MO: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1986.

 

     A discussion of three groups--Jaredites, Nephites, and Mulekites--who traveled from the Old World to the New World. Geographical, historical, and archaeological evidences are cited with intent to prove the veracity of the Book of Mormon.

 

Source: Anita C. Wells, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 451.

 

 

1986      Mary Lee Treat      "Maya Hieroglyphs for Cardinal Directions Found--Or North is North,"

                       in Zarahemla Record 32-33 (1986): p. 14.

 

     People deciphering Book of Mormon geography have argued about whether the Nephite "north" is true north. This article reports hieroglyphs found in Rio Azul that were oriented correctly to the cardinal directions.

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 530.

 

 

 

1987^      Michael Hobby            "Jaredite Geography and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec," in Zarahemla

     Troy Smith             Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1987, pp. 51-62

 

     Situates the Jaredite homeland from Southern Mexico to Honduras with Copan proposed as Moron.

 

[1987      Map: Mesoamerican Heartland of the Jaredite Civilization. Showing eastern and western Jaredite regions centered on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Michael Hobby, Troy Smith, "Jaredite Geography and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec," in Zarahemla Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1987, p. 62]

 

 

 

 

1987      Jerald and Sandra Tanner      Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? 4th ed. SLC: Utah Lighthouse

                             Ministry, 1987.

 

     An expose of Mormonism. . . . Discusses various environmental factors that influenced Joseph Smith in the production of the Book of Mormon such as . . . theories regarding Hebrew origin of the American Indian. . . . Discusses . . . Book of Mormon geography.

 

Source: Matthew Roper, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 514.

 

 

1987      Bruce Warren      The Messiah in Ancient America

 

     This book gave multiple cultural details supporting the visit of the Messiah to Mesoamerica.

 

[1987      Illustrated Model      Bruce Warren      LIMITED MESOAMERICAN]

L.S.=Mesoamerica S. of Isth. of Tehuan. / N.N.=Isth. of Tehuan. / L.N.=N. of Isth. of Tehuan. to Valley of Mexico / H.C.=Cerro Vigia / Sid. R.=Grijalva

Source: Bruce L. Warren and Thomas Stuart Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, Provo: Book of Mormon Research Foundation, 1987.

 

1987      Harold K. Nielson      Mapping the Action Found in the Book of Mormon, Orem, Utah: Cedar

                       Fort, 1987.

 

     Sixty-eight features are mapped on the comprehensive map, none Jaredite and most in the land southward. A computer-generated standard map base is repeated with differing details as the sequence of maps moves through the historical account.

 

[1987      Illustrated Model (Multiple Maps)      Harold K. Nielson      INTERNAL]

Source: Harold K. Nielson, Mapping the Action Found in the Book of Mormon, Orem: Cedar Fort, 1987.

 

 

[1987      Illustrated Model      Ingemar Sahlin            LIMITED MESOAMERICA?]

L.S. = The states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Capeche and Yucatan / N.N. = not specified / L.N. = west and north from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec / H.C. = not specified / Sidon = Grijalva River

Source: Personal communication from Ingemar Sahlin to the LDS Church headquarters, December 1987, forwarded to J. L. Sorenson and now in his possession. Also personal communication from Sahlin to Sorenson, February 1988.

 

 

1987      Kent P. Jackson      Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, Part 1 & 2, Salt Lake

                       City: Deseret Book Company, 1987, 1988.

 

     Sometimes what is not said about something is more telling than what is. Such was the case with the BYU Religion Department and Book of Mormon geography during the 1980's. In his Studies in Scripture: Book of Mormon, parts 1 & 2, Kent P. Jackson takes up 657 pages with 53 articles, and with the exception of a few paragraphs by Kelly Ogden on some possible routes Lehi could have taken from Jerusalem to the Red Sea, the two books are devoid of anything relating to geography. In his defense, Jackson says the following in his Preface:

     Since the primary purpose of the Book of Mormon itself is to teach and bear testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, our purpose in this volume has been to do likewise. Thus, we have considered external evidences of the Book of Mormon as well as contextual and comparative studies, to be of lesser value for this work.

 

     This might seem all well and good, yet the term "lesser value" somehow is translated by the content of the text into "no value." Even more difficult to understand, in view of this lack of discussion on Book of Mormon geography, is a previous statement given by Jackson in his preface. He states the following:

     We Latter-day Saints gratefully acknowledge the Book of Mormon at the keystone of our religion, recognizing that the validity of our faith rests on the validity of he Book of Mormon. In the Church we accept not only the truthfulness of its doctrine, but also the historicity of the events it describes. We believe "that the Book of Mormon is just what it professes to be," as President J. Reuben Clark stated. To teach less than this about it is to deny it.

 

1987      Joseph Fielding McConkie            Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon,

           Robert L. Millet                  4 vols. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987-1991.

 

     There is a phrase that goes, "the silence was deafening." Such was the case with the BYU Religion Department and Book of Mormon geography during the 1980's. For a second time, representatives of the BYU Religion Department would issue a multi-volume commentary on the Book of Mormon with nary a word on Book of Mormon geography. In their defense they state the following in the Preface:

     The only justification for a commentary on the scriptures is an expanded understanding of holy writ and of the manner in which its teachings apply in our lives. To proceed on any other basis, no matter how interesting the material presented, is to create a spriitual eclipse or to upstage the divine message with something that by its very nature is of leesser importance. . . . The issue is not whether we should have commentary on the scripture; indeed, much of our scripture is commentary by one prophet upon the words of another. . . . Rather, the issue is what commentary is of greatest worth, and where we ought to center our attention. The obvious answer to that question is the saving principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. To that end the authors have chosen in the writing of this commentary on the Book of Mormon to confine their attention almost exclusively to the doctrines espoused within the book, leaving it to others to deal with such matters as culture, history, and geography, as well as internal and external evidences of the book. In so doing they do not seek to suggest that such matters are without importance. They are, however, judging them to be secondary to the doctrines and testimony of the prophets, whose words have been restored to us by the grace of God.

 

     Note* If the prophets Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni chose to include the scriptures on "culture, history, and geography" as part of their "testimony," and if these verses on "culture, history, and geography" "have been restored to us by the grace of God," then by what right do men judge these words to be of lesser or no worth in giving an expanded understanding of holy writ? It can only come from a complete understanding of the entire text by prophetic revelation equal to Nephi, Mormon and Moroni. Anything less is an excuse for ignorance and apathy.

  

(See the Book Review on this commentary series by Louis Midgley, who comments more specifically concerning this attitude)      

 

 

1988      Rachael Schoonmaker      "BYU Students Relive the Trek," in Church News 58 (2 January 1988): p. 11.

 

     Students of Brigham Young University walk from Jerusalem to the Red Sea to relive "Lehi's Trek."

 

Source: Matthew D. Parry, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 441.

 

 

1988      Joseph Douglas      "He [Lehi] May Have Gone Another Way," in Church News 58

                       (2 January 1988): p. 11, 13.

 

     In the January 2, 1988 Church News article, we find the following:

     The Book of Mormon is not a book of geography, and so far as known, no one knows the exact route Lehi and his family traveled from Jerusalem to the great sea they crossed to the promised land, but it is interesting to look at some possible routes.

     Most writers on this subject believe Lehi traveled from Jerusalem to the Gulf of Aqaba (also Akabah and Acquaba), following the Frankincense Trail, south down the Arabian Peninsula to approximately the 19th parallel. They feel Lehi turned east at Najran in Arabia to travel across the lower portion of the Arabian Peninsula to Salalah Oman.

     Using the verses from the Book of Mormon that record Lehi's travels, another route might be proposed.

 

     The writer of this article then goes on to propose a theory which was first proposed by Ariel Crowley in a January 1944 Improvement Era article (see the 1944 notation). According to this theory, because "there are no natural rivers running into the Red Sea," Lehi's River Laman in the valley of Lemuel was apparently a fresh water canal in Egypt which linked the river Nile to Lake Temseh (one of the "Bitter Lakes" between Egypt and Sinai and north of the Suez arm of the Red Sea. It is further proposed that Lehi traveled down the western shores of the Red Sea.

 

     Note* Why would editors of the Church News print such unsupported material on Book of Mormon geography in the Old World, and yet not touch Book of Mormon geography in the New World? In their 1996 book, Discovering Lehi, the Lynn and Hope Hilton would devote chapter 4 and two maps to a rebuttal of this argument. They write:

     The Ismailia Canal could not have been the River Laman because Nephi said he arrived there by traveling in the borders "near" and 'nearer" the Red Sea (1 Ne. 2:5) not by departing from the Red Sea and going 48 miles in the opposite direction (see figure 4-1). In addition, the Doctrine and Covenants confirms that Lehi's wilderness camp was "on the borders of the Red Sea" (D&C 17:1) not at a location which suggests a site 48 miles inland."

 

     The Hiltons further state that "the Ismailia Canal does not pass through any "valley" but flows down a broad flat plain of the Nile delta. It is practically as flat as a pancake along its entire course. . . . A river without a valley will hardly satisfy Nephi's description of "this valley firm and steadfast, and immovable" (1 Ne. 2:10).

     The Hiltons could easily have been consulted before this Church News article ever appeared, which makes one wonder why this old discarded theory was ever brought up in the first place.

 

[Illustrated Map: 4-1 Lehi's Wilderness Journey. Did it pass through Arabia or Egypt? Lynn M. and Hope A. Hilton, Discovering Lehi: New Evidence of Lehi and Nephi in Arabia, Springville: Cedar Fort, 1996, p. 44]

 

[Illustrated Map: 4-2 The canal dug by Necho, king of Egypt, 609-695 B.C. takes Nile River water at Cairo and ends in Lake Timsah at Ismailia. This canal crosses the flat delta of the Nile and ends 548 miles from the Red Sea. Lynn M. and Hope A. Hilton, Discovering Lehi: New Evidence of Lehi and Nephi in Arabia, Springville: Cedar Fort, 1996, p. 45]

 

 

1988^      Delbert W. Curtis      The Land of the Nephites, American Fork, UT: Delbert W. Curtis, 1988

 

     This work is a precursor to his Brisht in North America in which he proposes that that the lands of the Book of Mormon were located near the Hill Cumorah in New York and the Great Lakes.

 

 

[1988      Illustrated Model      Charles H. Quilter      LIMITED MESOAMERICA-Yucatan Narrow Neck]

L.S.=Highland Guatemala / N.N.= at the base of the Yucatan Peninsula / L.N.=Yucatan Peninsula / H.C.=Somewhere in Kampuchea / Sid. R.=Holmul River

Source: Manuscript in the FARMS archives.

 

 

1988      Paul Dean Proctor      "American Book of Mormon Map," N.p., 1988.

 

     A detailed internal map with color coding. Illustrates the locations of cities, lands, and other geographical entities according to the text. .

 

[1988      Illustrated Model      Paul Proctor      INTERNAL-Land Southward only]

     Source: Paul Dean Proctor, American Book of Mormon Map, 1988.

Note* Although Proctor's map is internal, he places the Hill Cumorah in relatively close proximity to the narrow neck of land.

 

 

1988      Michael M. Hobby      "The Narrow Necks of Panama," in Zarahemla Quarterly 2/3 (1988): pp. 4-21.

     Troy J. Smith

 

     Hydrogeologist and geoarchaeologist Michael Hobby and geoarchaeologist Troy Smith recount experiences as they investigate the Panama region for possible evidence for the narrowest point in pre-Columbian times. This report includes maps and photographs.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 204.

 

 

1988      June M. Hobby            "Jaredite-Nephite Armor and Weaponry: Reflections upon the Work of

                       Christopher Reinhold," in Zarahemla Quarterly 2/3 (1988): pp. 30-31.

 

     The Zapotec Indians are identified as the Western Jaredites and the Maya, the Eastern Jaredites. Artifacts have been found that depict men wearing helmets.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 204.

 

[1988      Illustrated Model      Michael Hobby and Troy Smith            HEMISPHERIC]

     Page #1      Page #2

L.S.=South Amer. / N.N.=Panama / L.N.=N. of Panama to New York / H.C.=New York / Sid . R.=Orinoco River

Source: Michael Hobby and Troy Smith, "A Model for Nephite Geography," in Zarahemla Quarterly 2 (1), 1988, pp. 4-14. Also "The Mulekite Connection" Zarahemla Quarterly 2 (1), 1988.

 

 

1988^      J. Keith Gudmundson      "From Zarahemla to Cumorah's Battlefields: A Scriptural Setting With Clues

                        To A Present-day Locale," Orem, Utah: Author, 1988.

 

     This 52-page manuscript, found in Special Collections at BYU, contains a number of maps detailing the author's written reasoning regarding Book of Mormon lands. The author favors a Yucatan setting (Yucatan plus everything directly south including Guatemala & Belize. The map correlating real-world location is general in nature, however on page 46 there are "clues that help to identify a present-day setting for the land southward. On this page we find that the narrow wilderness strip is correlated with "a rugged wilderness area (containing hills, mountains, volcanoes, and wilderness areas) which runs from the Gulf of Honduras westward to the Pacific Ocean." For the river Sidon he mentions the Usumacinta River which "runs northward similar to the river Sidon." But he also notes: "So does the Grijalva river." But then he adds "The existence of other rivers not mentioned in the Book of Mormon does not strengthen this correlation." So it is a little bit hard to pin down just what he is thinking. He has the Land of First Inheritance (presumably where Lehi landed) correlated with the Pacific coast of Guatemala or Southern Mexico.

     The author does not support a Limited Mesoamerican setting. He favors an Extended Mesoamerican setting in which the final battles occur on the Hill Cumorah (Ramah) in New York.

 

 

[1988      Map: The Land Southward. J. Keith Gudmundson, "From Zarahemla to Cumorah's Battlefields: A Scriptural Setting With Clues To A Present-day Locale," Orem, Utah: Author, 1988, p. 29]

 

[1988      Map: Major and Minor Lands. J. Keith Gudmundson, "From Zarahemla to Cumorah's Battlefields: A Scriptural Setting With Clues To A Present-day Locale," Orem, Utah: Author, 1988, p. 41]

 

[1988      Map: Present-Day Candidate Areas for Book of Mormon Lands. J. Keith Gudmundson, "From Zarahemla to Cumorah's Battlefields: A Scriptural Setting With Clues To A Present-day Locale," Orem, Utah: Author, 1988, p. 51]

 

 

 

1988      F. Richard Hauck      Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon: Settlements

                       and Routes in Ancient America, S.L.C.:Deseret Book, 1988.

 

     A geographical and historical approach to the Book of Mormon that attempts to "document the settlement and route networks of the Book of Mormon." The author "examines the interaction and relationships between settlements, transportation routes, cultural technology and environment for any given people, time, and place" and then creates "an actual, physical correlation of the places in the Book of Mormon. . . . The model fit into the portion of Ancient America that is known as southern Mesoamerica comprising portions of the modern nations of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala." Presents numerous maps and charts. [A Guide, p. 103]

     According to Joseph Allen, Richard Hauck pursues the Mesoamerica/Book of Mormon picture but utilizes a rather unique scientific approach to arrive at his conclusions. He does not rotate the north-south directions, as Sorenson and Palmer do. Hauck condenses the distance between the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla. He places the Narrow Neck along the Pacific shore line, as opposed to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. He favors the River Usumacinta as the River Sidon. He places the hill Cumorah at the Hill Vigia, in Veracruz, Mexico.

 

[1988      Illustrated Model      Richard Hauck      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

L.S.= S. of Guatemala highlands from Soconusco to Bay of Honduras / N.N.=Pacific coastal plane of Guate. & Chiapas / L.N. / H.C. = Tuxtla Mountains-Cerro Vigia

Source: F. Richard Hauck, Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon: Settlements and Routes in Ancient America, S.L.C.:Deseret Book, 1988.

 

1988            SEHA Merges with AAF (Ancient America Foundation)

 

     (See the notation for 1949)

 

     Note* Rather than continue the numbering of the previous UAS-SEHA newsletters, this organization would begin a new series of Newsletters entitled "Ancient America Foundation Newsletter." A list of selected articles that dealt with Book of Mormon Geography are contained in the endnote which follows. ( )

 

1988      Frederick G. Williams III      Frederick G. Williams III, "Did Lehi Land in Chile?": An

     (abt. Frederick G. Williams)      Assessment of the Frederick G. Williams Statement," FARMS,

                             1988, pp. 15-16.

 

     After extensive review of all the possible origins of the Frederick G. Williams document containing a statement on the course of Lehi's travels, Frederick G. Williams III concludes:

     The source of the statement about Lehi's travels, therefore, remains uncertain. Although none of the original documents gives any evidence that the statement is anything more than an interesting attempt to plot out Lehi's journey, the tradition of a revelatory origin was widely accepted in the middle and late nineteenth century. However, as early as 1909, B. H. Roberts cast doubt on the reliability of theories attributing the statement to Joseph Smith. Much has been written since that time both upholding and challenging the origin of the statement as a revelation to Joseph Smith. These secondary sources are of little use in unraveling the mystery of the statement's origin. Perhaps we will never know the full history of the statement, but whatever we surmise, it must be based on the primary documents. As has been shown, no primary source contains sufficient evidence to attribute the statement to Joseph Smith (or to anyone else) or to revelation. Without such evidence, it is erroneous to view the idea that Lehi landed in Chile as settled.

 

     Note* This paper was written before an article in 2000 by Michael Marquardt detailing an 1830 newspaper article reporting on the missionary labors in Ohio of Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt, of whom it was said preached about the Indians "whose ancestors landed on the coast of Chili 600 years before the coming of Christ." This information about "Chili" predates the Frederick G. Williams document. It should be added that when the missionaries left Kirtland, they took with them Frederick G. Williams, who had recently been converted.

 

(See the notations for 1830, 1831, 1836, 1845, 1882, 1909, 2000)

 

 

1988      Hugh Nibley            (Teachings on Book of Mormon Geography)      

 

     The following was recorded from lectures given by Hugh Nibley to honors students at B.Y.U. during the years 1988--1990. However, considering some of the comments, the ideas on Book of Mormon geography probably represent Nibley's perspectives from the 1950's forward. The following comments are representative:

     And the geography-they move a great distance, but how great?" I would never waste five minutes on Book of Mormon geography until we get some definite points of reference. Well, you have Zarahemla, but we don't know where Zarahemla was, as far as that goes. so don't worry about that; it's all relative anyway. (p. 8)

 

     These people really cover distances, so don't worry about Book of Mormon geography. I'm not going to worry about that or even talk about it because there are endless points of argument. (p. 30)

 

     As soon as we get to the New World, it is wide open. Anybody's Book of Mormon geography will go, and they just argue forever about Book of Mormon geography, which is worthless. I wouldn't touch that-never have touched Book of Mormon geography. There's no point to it whatever-except they move north, they move south, they meet somebody, etc. But we do know specifically where this was (it was Jerusalem) and when it was (the first year of Zedekiah). This launches us on a sure footing. (p. 56)

 

     The Lamanites and the Gadiantons, the bad guys, were willing to accept a treaty which was good for eight years, it says here. They were willing to accept terms in a treaty. "We did get the lands of our inheritance divided." This was the agreement in verse 29-a settlement that the lands to the north of the narrow pass were to belong to the Nephties. They fled up there, so now that they're there they're going to keep that. And what divides them is a narrow pass. Now the Isthmus of Panama is not a narrow pass; it's 20 miles wide. We're talking about the great narrow passes which allow either side to control them, you see. The Nephites could stop the Lamanites there, and the Lamanites could stop the Nephites there. This was the ideal place to make the boundary for the treaty here. You think of the famous passes like the Cilician Gates, the Khyber Pass, the Caucasion Gates, the Sankt Gotthard, or Echo Canyon here, or Cumberland Gap, or Thermopylae. There are narrow passes that control history, and the Isthmus of Panama is not one of them. Let's not get into Book of Mormon geography. There was a pass somewhere where they control it. The narrow passage was the one that the Nephites or Lamanites could hold. (p. 200)

 

     They journeyed in the wilderness for many days. We don't know how many many is. Book of Mormon geography is a waste of time. I wouldn't touch it with a forty-foot pole. Never have; it's not necessary. Some day we'll get more information, I suppose. Everybody has tried their hand at it. I don't know why; it doesn't make any difference. (p. 293)

 

Source: Teachings of the Book of Mormon--Semester 1: Transcripts of Lectures Presented to an Honors Book of Mormon Class at Brigham Young University, 1988--1990.

 

 

 

1989^      E. Verl Adams            "Letter" to President Benson, Feb. 8, 1989.

 

     Dear President Benson,

 

           May I ask you a question, please.

     Could Lake Bonneville, Lake Lahontan, etc., as we see them on the map on the following page, be the land of many waters spoken of in the Book of Mormon?

     I don't remember when I started getting interested in Book of Mormon geography, but when I saw this map of Lake Bonneville and the other dry lakes in the western United States, in an article on fish in the February 6, 1983 Deseret News, I saved it. . . .

 

[1989Map: Lake Bonneville, Deseret News Feb, 1983]

 

     Adams then quotes the ideas of Orson Pratt regarding the Jaredites landing on the Gulf of California and the Nephites migrating from Chile in South America. Thus both might have traveled to Lake Bonneville ("land of many waters").

 

     As an alternative, you may wish to communicate with one of the professors at Brigham Young University or the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (F.A.R.M.S.) also located on the BYU campus.

     President Benson also asked me to extend his best wishes to you. . . .

 

Source: Files of John L. Sorenson, FARMS.

 

 

     Note* Michael Watson, Secretary to the First Presidency, responded to this letter with the following:

. . . From time to time members of the Church submit manuscripts to the President and other Brethren for their review and comments; however, it is not feasible for the General Authorities to respond to these requests.

 

 

 

 

1989      Joseph L. Allen      Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Orem, UT: BYU Print Services,

                       1989

 

     Joseph Allen uses a multitude of geographical maps and cultural pictures to bring real life to the Book of Mormon story in a limited Mesoamerican setting. Allen spent a number of years as a teacher in the Church Educational System before becoming a tour operator to the lands of the Book of Mormon, and it shows through in his book. He teaches as much with pictures as he does with the text. Allen writes,

     I never felt that in my lifetime I would propose or endorse a particular geographical area in regards to the Book of Mormon, much less attempt to identify site names on an existing map with those in the Book of Mormon. . . . I suspect the change in my life has been taking place gradually as I have escorted hundreds of Latter-day Saints on tours from New York to Peru. After years of research, study, and travel throughout the Americas, I came to the conclusion that understanding the possible cultures in which the Book of Mormon emerged has great value. Indeed, I felt that I would even be untrue to my personal convictions if I did not "search out the best books and learn even by study and by faith" (see D&C 109:7,15) I came to the conclusion that the more we know about the history, culture, and geography of the Book of Mormon, the more we understand the Book of Mormon. . . .

     I have always tried to be true to two-or three-witness criteria. This statement simply means that if we make a Book of Mormon geographical hypothesis, we ought to test that hypothesis against the archaeological, cultural, and traditional history of the area. In the absence of these two or three witnesses, I feel that we stand on rather shaky ground. Furthermore, being true to the Book of Mormon text is imperative. That is, sites in relation to each other, directions in relation to each other, and distances in relation to each other must be scholastically reliable according to the text itself--the Book of Mormon. . . . We need to be cautious about quoting outdated material when more recent research is available. We would be appalled if we sent our students to school where they studied out of a 1940 physics text. Yet we continue to quote geographic and cultural statistics about the Book of Mormon from old sources. . . .

     Only when I satisfied myself that Mesoamerica, and only Mesoamerica, fits the prescribed cultural, linguistic, archaeological, and traditional patterns required by the Book of Mormon did I then feel comfortable in attempting to propose a geographical picture in relation to the Book of Mormon. . . (Allen, Exploring, pp. 181-182)

 

[1989      Illustrated Model (Multiple Maps)      Joseph L. Allen      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

L.S.=Mesoamerica S. of Isth. of Tehuan. / N.N.= Isth. of Tehuan. / L.N.=Mesoamerica W. & N. of Isth. of Tehuan. / H.C.=Cerro Vigia / Sid. R.=Grijalva

Source: Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Orem: S.A. Publishers, 1989

 

 

1980--89      Book of Mormon Lands Educational Tours travel to Mesoamerica

 

     During the past decade [the 1980's], in response to a growing interest in educational travel to Mesoamerica, BYU Travel Study and other travel companies offered multiple comprehensive programs a year in Mexico and Guatemala. In an article concerning these tours, Keith Hunter notes the following:

     The tremendous impact of studying the scriptures in this setting can perhaps best be illustrated through the following quote from a letter by Joseph F. McConkie, an associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU who participated in this program last year [1988].

     As visiting the Holy Land brings life, color, and meaning to Bible study, so this tour brings a sense of meaning to the student of the Book of Mormon that cannot otherwise be had.

     The Vatican Museum contains a sizeable display of large tapestries depicting Bible scenes. Singularly, the settings of these Bible stories are distinctively European. Were we to rely on them for our own perceptions we would think of the Nativity story as taking place in the Alps, or John baptizing Jesus in the Danube, or Christ's walk with the men on the Emmaus Road as having taken place in Sherwood Forest.

     It is obvious that the creators of these tapestries had not visited the Holy Land and that their perceptions of it were shaped by the environment familiar to them. I think it would be fair to say that in our own minds we have done the same thing to the story of the Book of Mormon. We have interpreted it in the context of surroundings common to us.

     Though we cannot speak authoritatively or precisely about the location of Book of Mormon sites, we can--by a visit to Mesoamerica--create a mental tapestry resembling the land and circumstances in which the story actually occurred. This experience brings with it a renewed interest in the Book of Mormon.

     The tour is color commentary on Book of Mormon locations and a flesh-and-blood commentary on its peoples. You can't take a tour of this nature and not come home more interested in the Book of Mormon and the events that it prophesies. Thank you for an unmatched experience.

 

     Source: Keith R. Hunter, "The Book of Mormon-Live!" This People, 1989.

 

1989      Church Educational System            Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122

 

     In 1989 the Church Educational System prepared a commentary for use in all its Religion 121-122 courses for the decade which followed. Photos of cultural artifacts from both North America and South America are conspicuously absent. There is however an internal map prepared by Daniel H. Ludlow. A caption at the bottom states: "Possible comparative relationships for use of the sites mentioned in the Book of Mormon based on internal evidences. No effort should be made to identify points on this map with any existing geographical locations (cf. 3 Nephi 8:5-18)." While locations for the Land Southward (appearing much like the shape of South America) are detailed on this map, the Land Northward is left quite ambiguous and a location for the hill Cumorah (hill Ramah) is conspicuously absent. However, included in the commentary for Ether 2:7-10 is a 1975 statement by Marion G. Romney while standing on the "hill Cumorah" in New York (see notation). On this hill he contemplated "the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago--events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation."

 

     Note* For the CES, the official educational system of the Church, to support a poorly constructed (in retrospect) 25 year-old internal map with obvious deficiencies including the absence of a site for the hill Cumorah is disappointing in view of the tremendous advances in scholarship on the subject that had been made. For them to support the New York hill Cumorah as the site of the final battles by using a selective authoritative quote without giving any alternative proposals concerning a limited Mesoamerican setting is also disappointing.

 

(See the 1996 CES notation)

 

[1989      Illustrated Model       "Possible Book of Mormon Sites (in Relationship to Each Other)."      INTERNAL--Hemispheric]      

Source: Church Educational System, Book of Mormon Student Manual , 1989, p. 163.

Note* This map was originally prepared in about 1964 by Daniel H. Ludlow, J. Grant Stevenson, F. Kent Nielsen, and Richard Cowan. Some 47 features (none Jaredite) are mapped, in only the land southward and narrow neck areas.

 

 

1989      John Clark      "A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geographies," in FARMS Review of Books on the

                 Book of Mormon, vol. 1 1989, pp 20-70

 

     Clark campaigns for students of the Book of Mormon to do a thorough internal analysis before making any map of Book of Mormon geography. He says,

     I focus here only on those details which allow the construction of a basic framework for a Nephite geography; I leave more detailed reconstructions to others. Of primary importance are those references which give relative distances or directions (or both) between various locations, or details which allow us to make a strong inference of either distance or direction.

 

     After almost 50 pages of internal geographical analysis of the Book of Mormon, Clark gives "ten Points of Nephite Geography." Point # 10 reads: "Cumorah was in the land northward near the eastern seashore. It was probably not more than 6-8 days' travel from the city of Bountiful [which was in the land southward "near the narrow neck of land"--point #9] and may have been considerably less.

 

     Note* Clark's article was to become a measuring rod for any proposed Book of Mormon geography submitted to FARMS. However, Clark's model was very similar to the internal model published by John Sorenson in his Source Book of 1990, which in itself was very similar to his previous external model published in 1985, implying some sort of influence. Thus while Clark's efforts were worthy--hopefully matched by any person proposing a Book of Mormon geographical theory--his completely internal approach was biased. As one might expect, faced with this measuring rod the flow of alternative geographical ideas into FARMS began to slow.

 

[1989      Illustrated Models      John E. Clark      INTERNAL-Mesoamerican (Sorenson) influence]

Source: John E. Clark, "A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geographies," in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 1 (1989): 20-70.

 

 

1989      Gordon B. Hinckley      Faith: The Essence of True Religion, S. L. C.: Deseret Book, 1989, p. 10

 

     John Welch notes that President Hinckley has said that in a world prone to demand evidence, it is good that archaeology, anthropology, or historical research can "be helpful to some" and "confirmatory."

 

Source: John W. Welch, "The Power of Evidence in the Nurturing of Faith" in Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch eds. Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, Provo: FARMS, 2002, p. 21.

 

1989            Rex E. Lee Becomes President of BYU

 

     In 1995 Rex E. Lee became President of BYU and boldly proclaimed that BYU should become "the Harvard of the west." In a general way, the professors of BYU were put on notice to upgrade their scholastic and research endeavors. With the competition from FARMS and with President Lee's admonition, the members of the Department of Religious Instruction started to become more active in their research and writing endeavors regarding the cultural and geographical aspects of the Book of Mormon.

 

 

1989      Kenneth W. Godfrey       "Joseph Smith, the Hill Cumorah, and Book of Mormon Geography: A

                       Historical Study, 1823-1844.

 

     In 1989 Kenneth Godfrey delivered a paper at the 1989 Mormon History Association Meeting. It was a historical study that dealt with Joseph Smith's understanding of the Hill Cumorah and Book of Mormon geography during the pertinent years of 1823-1844. He concludes with the following:

     It would appear that Latter-day Saints who were contemporaries of Joseph Smith believed that those original inhabitants of both North and South America were descendants of Book of Mormon people. There was no question in their minds that the Hill Cumorah was the site of at least the final battles of both the Jaredites and the Nephites, and that the prairies of America were in the Book of Mormon described as the Land of Desolation. Moreover, every new archaeological discovery from Columbia to New York state was cited in Mormon periodicals as evidence that the Book of Mormon was true. . . .

     The Prophet and his followers should not be criticized too severely . . . In Joseph Smith's day archaeology, anthropology, linguistics, and other disciplines were still in their infancy, and many scientific questions and answers were yet on the horizon. It is important to note that the Saints, as well as the Prophet himself, seemed willing to consider each new discovery . . . [today] the Sorenson book (An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon) is perhaps the most thoughtful treatise of this topic to appear; while it does not by any means answer all of the difficulties that surround the Book of Mormon, its arguments and answers should be thoughtfully weighed and considered. I believe Joseph Smith would have done so. . . . That Church periodicals published many articles relative to the Book of Mormon and ancient America during Joseph Smith's lifetime argues for the position that the Prophet would have welcomed the continuation of scholarly examinations of the origins of America's natives. In fact, I believe he would have read each one with a certain excitement and relish. The present writer has found no evidence that a hard doctrinal declaration was ever made by the Prophet on such matters. This would seem to imply that both scholars and students alike should feel free to follow the evidence wherever it takes them. [pp. 22-25]

 

 

1989      Kenneth A. Godfrey      "The Zelph Story," F.A.R.M.S. Paper GDF-89; a shorter version of the same,

                       without the copies of the original sources, can be seen in BYU Studies 29

                       (Spring 1989), pages 31-56.

 

     In 1989 Kenneth Godfrey published a paper which was a treatment of all known statements on the Zelph incident which took place during the Zion's Camp journey of 1834 (see notation). It included copies of the original sources. The conclusion of this article was to set aside the Zelph story as a basis for Book of Mormon geography. (See the notation for the follow-up article by Godfrey published in 1999)

 

 

1989      Shirley R. Heater      "Chiasmus Brings New Understanding of Geography," in Zarahemla

                       Record 46 (December 1989): p. 3.

 

     Examines the chiastic structure of Alma 13:68-14:1 (RLDS versification) to better understand the geographical information contained in the passage.

 

Source: [AT.] in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 194.

 

 

1989      Richard A. DeLong      "Maya Glyphs May Identify Hill Cumorah," in The Witness 67 (Winter 1989):

                        pp. 4-5, 14.

 

     The temple of inscriptions at Palenque in Mexico has a glyph that "can be interpreted as meaning Hill Ramah or Hill Cumorah," Delong believes that Cerro Rabon is a prime candidate for the Hill Cumorah in Mesoamerica.

 

Source: Brian Dickman, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 121.

 

 

[1990      Illustrated Model      Arthur J. Kocherhans      LIMITED ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA]

L.S.=South America / N.N.=around Guayaquil, Ecuador / L.N.=S. Amer. north of Ecuador / H.C.=Note indicated / Sid. R.= Mantaro River

Source: Arthur J. Kocherhans, Lehi's Isle of Promise SLC, 1990

 

 

1990            LDS Church Missionary Department      Letter to Al Shumate, February 12, 1990

 

12 February 1990

 

Mr. Al Shumate

Shumates Handcrafts Ltd.

Murray River, Prince Edward Island

Canada C0A 1W0

 

 

Dear Brother Shumate:

 

     I have been asked to respond to your earlier letter to President Gordon B. Hinckley regarding a Hill Cumorah Pageant advertisement. You expressed concern that the ad was misleading because it stated, "The Hill Cumorah, where a great battle was fought in ancient America. . . ."

     We appreciate your concern and have directed those responsible for the pageant to remove the phrase from the advertisements for all future products of the Hill Cumorah Pageant.

Thank you for drawing our attention to this matter.

 

                             Sincerely,

                             (Signed)

                             Assistant Executive Director

                             Angel Abrea

 

 

1990      Office of the First Presidency            Letter to Bishop Darrel Brooks October 16, 1990

 

October 16, 1990

 

Bishop Darrel L. Brooks

Moore Ward

Oklahoma City Oklahoma South Stake

1000 Windemere

Moore, OK 73160

 

Dear Bishop Brooks:

 

     I have been asked to forward to you for acknowledgment and handling the enclosed copy of a letter to President Gordon B. Hinckley from Ronnie Sparks of your ward. Brother Sparks inquired about the location of the Hill Cumorah mentioned in the Book of Mormon, where the last battle between the Nephites and Lamanites took place.

     The Church has long maintained, as attested to by references in the writings of General Authorities, that the Hill Cumorah in western New York state is the same as referenced in the Book of Mormon.

     The Brethren appreciate your assistance in responding to this inquiry, and asked that you convey to Brother Sparks their commendation for his gospel study.

 

     Sincerely yours,

     (signed)

     F. Michael Watson

     Secretary to the First Presidency

 

     Note* For a chronological list of statements verifying the above declaration to the effect that the writings of General Authorities have long supported the New York location of the Hill Cumorah, see the Appendix.

 

 

1990      David A. Palmer      Book Review: Delbert W. Curtis, The Land of the Nephites, Orem:

                       Delbert W. Curtis, 1988, v + 50 pages; in Review of the Books

                       on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, Provo: FARMS, 1990, pp. 67-73.

 

 

1990      Stephen D. Ricks      Book Review: Hugh W. Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, The World of the

                       Jaredites, There Were Jaredites, ed. John W. Welch, Darrell L.

                       Matthews, and Stephen R. Callister, vol. 5 in The Collected Works of

                       Hugh Nibley. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and F.A.R.M.S., 1988, xviii +

                       462 pages; in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, Provo:

                       FARMS, 1990, pp. 128-142

 

 

 

1990      David B. Honey      Book Review: Hugh W. Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, The World of the

                       Jaredites, There Were Jaredites, ed. John W. Welch, Darrell L.

                       Matthews, and Stephen R. Callister, vol. 5 in The Collected Works of

                       Hugh Nibley. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and F.A.R.M.S., 1988, xviii +

                       462 pages; in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, Provo:

                       FARMS, 1990, pp. 143-163

 

 

1990      Kevin Christensen      Book Review: Dan Vogel, Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon, Salt

                       Lake City: Signature Books, 1986, 154 pages; in Review of Books on

                       the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, Provo: FARMS, 1990, pp. 214-257

 

 

 

1990^      V. Garth Norman            "Mesoamerica & Book of Mormon Lands." 1990

 

     A map accompanying a written description of 75 locations. Also a list of descriptive geographical terms witht heir definitions.

 

[1990      Map: Mesoamerica & Book of Mormon Lands. V. Garth Norman, 1990]

 

 

 

1990^      Bruce W. Warren      Book Review: F. Richard Hauck, Deciphering the Geography of othe Book of

                        Mormon: Settlelments and Routes in Ancient America. Salt Lake City:

                        Deseret Book Co., 1988. xv; 239 pp. 40 figures. in BYU Studies, 30 (1990),

                        pp. 127-36

 

 

1990^      Bruce W. Warren      Book Review: John L. Sorenson. An Ancient American Setting for the Book

                        of Mormon. Salt lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co. and the Foundation

                        for Ancient Research and Mormon Studiese, 1985, xxi; 415 pp. 34 figures,

                       15 maps. in BYU Studies, 30 (1990), pp. 127-36

 

 

 

 

 

1990      John L. Sorenson      The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book, Provo: FARMS,

                             1990.

 

     In 1990 John Sorenson published a "Source Book" which was a collection of various items relative to Book of Mormon geography. It contained a xerox copy of numerous maps that had been produced by various authors down through the years with a chart detailing the chronological changes in thinking (see chart below).

 

1990      Illustration      Chronological Listing of Book of Mormon Geography Models & Their Key Points

Source: John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book, FARMS, 1990, p. 46.

 

     One section catalogued a multitude of historical quotes relative to rates of travel and different approaches to directional systems. Another section contained an historical approach to statements made by Church authorities down through the years relative to geography. One other section dealt with Sorenson's internal interpretations of many verses in the Book of Mormon that related to geography. This verse-by-verse approach to interpretation represented the first of its kind and resulted in an internal map (see below). The resultant internal map was very similar to his 1985 external model. It is also very similar to John Clark's 1989 model.

 

1990      Illustrated Model      INTERNAL-Limited Mesoamerican influence]

Source: John L. Sorenson, The Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book, FARMS, 1990, p. 367.

 

 

1990      David L. Clark      "Lehi and El Nino: A Method of Navigation," in BYU Studies 30 (summer 1990):

                 pp. 57-65. Also, Provo, UT: FARMS, 1991.

 

     Natural means might have been used to transport Lehi's group to the promised land. Under ordinary circumstances it would be difficult to traverse eastward from Indonesia to America as the ocean currents flow westerly. But a natural occurrence that happens every two to ten years changes the flow of currents to an easterly direction--it is called El Nino. Had Lehi traveled from the Arabian Peninsula in August at the height of the monsoonal cycle and reached the Pacific in time to catch the El Nino, he would have landed on the west coast of Central America.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 101.

 

 

1990      Joseph L. Allen      "A Day and a Half's Journey,"

 

 

1991      Michael J. Preece      Book Review: Joseph L. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of

                       Mormon, Orem, UT: S.A. Publishers, 1989. ix + 406 pages; in Review

                       of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, Provo: FARMS, 1991,

                       p. 32-51.

 

1991      Paul R. and Millie F. Cheesman      Ancient American Indians: Their Origins, Civilizations and

                                   Old World Connections, Bountiful, UT: Horizon, 1991

 

     The goals of the authors are to show "(1) the origins of the American Indians, (2) cultural parallels between the Old land the New World, and (3) temples, mounds, and ruins in prehistoric North America." Includes photographs and illustrations. This work is reviewed in R.007

 

Source: Donald W. Parry, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 88.

 

 

1991      Warren P. and Michaela J. Aston      "And We Called the Place Bountiful," Provo, UT:

                                   FARMS, 1991

 

     Through an employment of historical and scriptural evidences, "this study concludes that an objective and precise identification of [the Book of Mormon Old World] Bountiful with a present-day location is now feasible and introduces data on physical traces revealing very early human involvement at the site."

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 17.

 

 

1991      James H. Fleugel      Book Review: Arthus J. Kocherhans, Lehi's Isle of Promise: A Scriptural

                       Account with Word Definitions and a Commentary, Fullerton, CA: Et

                       Cetera, 1989, xv + 211 pages; in Review of Books on the Book of

                       Mormon, vol. 3, Provo: FARMS, 1991, pp. 96-100.

 

1991      Joel C. Janetski      Book Review: John L. Sorenson, The Geography ofoBook of Mormon

                       Events: A Source Book. Provo, UT: FARMS, 1990. Study Aid

                       (SOR-90c). 404 pages, with various maps; in Review of Books on the

                       Book of Mormon, vol. 3, Provo: FARMS, 1991, pp. 150-153.

 

 

1991      Warren C. Van Pelt      "The Archaeology of the New York State Cumorah Region," delivered at the

                       Fortieth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, sponsored

                       by the Ancient America Foundation, December 6-7, 1991.

 

     In a presentation given at the 1991 AAF Symposium at B.Y.U., Warren Van Pelt reviewed the New York archeological scene relative to the Book of Mormon time period. He viewed the Indians in that region as mostly "hunter and gatherer" during most of the time period of the Book of Mormon. There were no populations or cities equivalent to those described in the text of the Book of Mormon.

 

 

1991      T. Michael Smith      "North American Archaeology and the New York Cumorah Region,"

                       the Fortieth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures,

                       sponsored by the Ancient America Foundation, Dec. 6-7, 1991.

 

     In a draft of a paper that was submitted for a post-symposium volume as part of the 40th annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, T. Michael Smith, a research archaeologist, added to what Warren Van Pelt had presented in the Symposium. He reviewed the scientific literature regarding the archaeology of the New York region, and specifically the Cumorah area. He concluded that the New York Hill Cumorah area lay outside the important Woodland period, Hopewellian culture surge zone. Population concentrations in western New York were small, numbering a few hundred people. No great migrations of people are evidenced in the archaeological record. We find no evidence of battles involving thousands of warriors. It wasn't until around A.D. 1000 that a focused horticulture appears and settlements grew in size. While maize had been present for many years it wasn't until A.D. 800-1200 that the more productive crops of beans, squash, and corn became highly utilized in the eastern Woodlands as a productive subsistence core.

 

 

1991      T. Michael Smith      "A Short History of the New York Hill Cumorah" a paper drafted for a post-

                       symposium volume for the Fortieth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of

                       the Scriptures, Ancient America Foundation, December 6-7, 1991.

 

     The New York Hill Cumorah is a "drumlin" located in present-day Ontario County. Drumlins are hills formed of glacial drift. Thousands of years ago the Pleistocene ice sheet covering large portions of North America began retreating north as weather patterns changed. In New York the retreat formed many drumlins south of Lake Ontario. They appear as moderately elevated, rather closely spaced linear hills that extend north to south. [see illustration inserted below]

     The New York-Cumorah is the most elevated place in the area. [It is situated about two miles southeast of where the Smith's lived] Its summit is about 700 feet above sea level or a little over 130 feet above the surrounding valley land. The hill is approximately three quarters of a mile long with its northern end being the most elevated. It has a slight saddle at its center and tapers off to the south.

     Geomorphically, the New York hill is composed of unconsolidated glacial rock and soil and could have no natural caverns. However, if one had to create a cave the digging would be relatively easy but shoring would be necessary. [see illustration inserted below]

 

[Illustration: Drumlins (Top) and Kames (Bottom). When ice melts, material under a glacier is left behind, forming smooth, egg-shaped mounds called drumlins (top), and smooth, cone-shaped hills called kames (bottom). "Ice Ages," in The New Book of Knowledge, New York: Grolier Inc., 1967, p. 14]

 

[Illustration: Above: Road cut reveals glacial till, a scattered mixture of various materials picked up and deposited by a glacier. Below: Strongly layered sedimentary rock, formed by hardening of sand or mud, differs sharply from unlayered glacial till. "Ice Ages," in The New Book of Knowledge, New York: Grolier Inc., 1967, p. 15]

 

     The earliest ownership history of the Hill is recorded in difficult to index land records.

[Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle (Old Mormon Palmyra, 1991, p. 104) note:

     During the summer of 1789, the Comstock family (consisting of a father and his two sons) built a log cabin and prepared four acres of land for wheat in the northern section of the town of Farmington, a few miles west of the Smith farm. Several others migrated to the area the same year. Ezra and Stephen Phelps settled near the Hill Cumorah. The New York State Legislature organized Ontario County; and by 1790, four townships existed, including Palmyra and Farmington. At this time, Robert Robinson purchased part of the Phelps farm, which included the Hill Cumorah. Farmington was later divided in 1821, and the second section was named Burt. Eventually, in 1822, it was renamed Manchester Town.]

 

[Vogel, (Early Mormon Documents, vol. 3, p. 141) notes:

     At the time the Smiths resided in Manchester, the land on which the Hill Cumorah, or Mormon Hill, was situated was owned by Randall Robinson. After Robinson's death, it fell into the hands of his son Anson Robinson. In the 1870's, William T. Sampson (1840-81) acquired the land (T. Cook 1930, 246, 276)]

 

     Around the turn of the century, William Sampson arranged with local banker Pliny T. Sexton to have his brother, John, operate a farm that included part of the Hill. John apparently harvested the timber off the hill for profit. In his 1888 diary account of a trip east, Utah Mormon Joseph Smith Black notes that the east side of the hill had been plowed almost to the summit but was now an abandoned field. The west side had a corn field halfway up (Black 1888:73). In 1897 William Sampson offered to sell his 170-acre Cumorah farm to the LDS Church. The amount of dollars involved is not known but Wilford Woodruff declined a purchase (Woodruff, vol. 19:970). Under heavy financial pressure from the United States government and still reeling from antipolygamy legislation, the Church had nothing extra to spare for the hill. In 1928 the Church did purchase the old Sampson property (Index of Deeds 1916-1929). In a series of subsequent transactions the Church brought its holdings around the hill to just over 600 acres (Bean 1943; Gurgel 1974:7).

     After the LDS church was established in the Great Basin the hill became a pilgrimage point. By the time Susa Young Gates visited the hill in 1897, a tourist trade had developed. [see the notation & illustration for 1893] She relates that baskets of arrowheads supposedly gathered at the hill were for sale at the home of the hill's farm operator, Mr. John Sampson (Bureau of Information 1920). Others had similar experiences in subsequent years (Improvement Era 19:382). The purchase of the hill by the LDS Church ended outside commercialization and focused activity on the Mormon history of the hill.

     After the LDS Church acquired the property it changed significantly. Thousands of nonnative evergreen trees were planted by missionaries (Bean 1943; Gurgel 1974:8) many of which survive today. A large monument was dedicated in 1935 and then rotated and placed on an enlarged base in 1975. The monument seems to have been placed proximal to the Book of Mormon plates' site if not directly upon it and is responsible for extensive original surface alteration. In addition, the back side and crest of the hill have seen the placement of an asphalt road and small parking lot. Just below the monument on the hill's west side a visitors center was dedicated in 1937. A new wing was added to it in 1962 and a new entrance ramp in the late 1980's. The famous Hill Cumorah Pageant activities began shortly after the purchase. The pageant has unquestionably had the largest impact upon the Hill. Extensive alterations to the Hill's west face have occurred over the years as the slope has been terraced, and used to meet pageant needs. This west slope how bear's bathroom, storage, amphitheater and other pageant support structures. The adjacent valley area also has been extensively modified to accommodate the thousands of people who come each year to view the famous pageant. Thus the hill has been very extensively dug, replanted, and built upon.

     What is most striking about the Hill from an archaeological point of view is how the popular traditions of prolific arrowheads, extensive battlefields, thousands of ancient people in the area, and hidden caverns are so problematic if not insupportable. Hundreds of arrowheads cannot be obtained there now and have not been found in the extensive ground disturbing activities of the recent past. My own 1974 archaeological reconnaissance of the hill revealed only the expected recent period historic remains. My own conversations with LDS Physical Facilities personnel have revealed they have not found such antiquities either. The local area and regional archaeology, that I relate in another paper are not supportive of large battlefields. Neither are they supportive of large resident populations. Hundreds of thousands of people have never been in this area, despite the previous claims of a few others (i.e., McGavin 1940:41-45). The tradition that a cavern exists within the hill is problematic. One would expect that a drumlin would not be the best geologic structure in which to hollow-out a stable cavern and no surface evidence of such an event has been found.

 

(see the notations for 1829 & footnotes, 1893 & illustration, 1928)

 

     Note* In 1831, a newspaper correspondent for the Christian Register described the features of the Hill Cumorah as follows:

     This hill has since been called by some, the Golden Bible Hill. The road from Canandaigua to Palmyra runs along its western base, at the northern extremity the hill is quite abrupt and narrow. It runs to the south for a half a mile and then spreads out into a piece of broad table land, covered with beautiful orchards and wheat fields . . . It is profusely covered to the top with Beach, Maple, Bass, and Whitewood the northern extremity is quite bare of trees.

 

 

1991      Alan C. Miner      "The New York Hill Cumorah and the One Cumorah Theory of Book of Mormon

                 Geography: What Do the Scriptures Say?, delivered at the Fortieth Annual

                 Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, sponsored by the Ancient

                 America Foundation, December 6-7, 1991.

 

     At the Fortieth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures, Alan Miner made a presentation in order to more fully evaluate and illustrate what the Book of Mormon scriptures had to say regarding the location of the "hill Cumorah" and the "hill Ramah," the location of the final battles of both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations. For reasons of order, clarity, and understanding, he assumed a "Traditional Map" (One Cumorah Theory) where the Land Northward = North America, the Land Southward = South America, and the Narrow Neck of Land = Panama. While the pertinent text of the Book of Mormon was read from the books of 4th Nephi through Moroni, he projected a chronological series of charts and over 40 sequential maps illustrating the final cultural expansions and the final battle movements of both the Nephites and the Jaredites relative to distance, time, and real geography (see a couple of examples below).

     In concluding his presentation he stated that given the apparent problems illustrated in the maps and charts that had been shown, and which correlated with the scriptural verses that had been read, there is a good probability that most all the history of the Book of Mormon on the American continent happened in and around the Narrow Neck of Land, wherever that might be. Thus, the viability of a One Cumorah Theory (New York Hill Cumorah) apparently hinges on the proximity of a narrow neck of land to New York--something that has not been demonstrated as yet. Moreover, even if a narrow neck of land were to be postulated for the New York area, one must also establish for that area the existence of an advanced culture with population centers and a written language not only during Nephite times, but during Jaredite times as well--something that also has not been demonstrated.

 

[1991      Illustrated Map      Alan C. Miner]      

     Title: 376 AD Lamanites Use ALL Power-Begin to Sweep off Nephites      

Source: Alan C. Miner, "The New York Hill Cumorah and the One Cumorah Theory of Book of Mormon Geography: What Do the Scriptures Say?, Ancient America Foundation, November 1, 1991.

 

[1991      Illustrated Map      Alan C. Miner]

     Title: Ether 14:6 Land of Moron

Source: Alan C. Miner, "The New York Hill Cumorah and the One Cumorah Theory of Book of Mormon Geography: What Do the Scriptures Say?, Ancient America Foundation, November 1, 1991.

 

 

1991      Bruce W. Warren      "The Archaeology of the Mesoamerican Hill Cumorah Candidates," delivered

                       at the Fortieth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures,

                       sponsored by the Ancient America Foundation, December 6-7, 1991.

 

     Bruce Warren, a research archaeologist, noted that over the past fifty years several possible Hill Cumorah candidates have been proposed by students of the Book of Mormon: (1) Cerro de Bernal, Tamaulipas Mexico; (2) Cerro de Guadalupe, Mexico D.F.; (3) Cerro de Ixtaccihuatl, Mexico; (4) Cerro de Rabon, Oaxaca Mexico; and Cerro de Vigia, Veracruz Mexico. His presentation then considered the historical support, the topographical qualifications and the archaeological qualifications for each one of these candidates. He concluded that of the five candidates, only the Cerro de Vigia in the Tuxtla mountains of southern Veracruz best meets the topographical and archaeological criteria. He also added that Cerro de Vigia had received more research attention than any of the other four candidates, which further strengthened its position.

 

 

1992^      K. Duane Erickson            The Hourglass does not exist? as to exterior shape of the lands of the

                              book of Mormon. Eliminate it from your mind, try this theory, see if it

                              fits. K. Duane Erickson, 1992.

 

     This 105-page book by Duane Erickson appears to be a precursor for his 1995 publication, The Promised Land Everyone Knows. Some of the pertinent material is quoted below (Note* all words and sentences appear as in the text)

 

     [p. 13] I read nothing that indicates that the Promised Land is in any other land other than the United States of America.

     Furthermore, I have read nothing in the Book of Mormon that describes the outer shape of the lands involved. Especially, that of an hourglass shape with a narrow neck in the middle. . . .

     [p. 15] There are Indian names presently being used today which have remained from earlier times. They were used prior to the arrival of the whites. Many of these names are similar or identical to names used in the Book of Mormon history. . . .

     [p. 16] I was a very poor student and thus received a poor scholastic education . . . While attending Brigham Young University, I just mean attended, as my grades would attest. I naturally majored in archery, it was my greatest subject while BYU let me stay in attendance. . . .

     [p. 19] I had, at this point in my life, read only one small book of which I am ashamed to tell the name and content. I felt at least I owed it to my relatives to at least read the Book of Mormon once. . . . It took me a full year to finish reading it. . . .

     [p. 20] Strange things have happened in my life while reading the Book of Mormon. . . . I wondered where those people had landed and where they did ended up . . . I even established and arranged a trip to cross the narrow neck of Mexico by Viking Canoe, to determine if it was the narrow neck spoken of in the Book of Mormon . . .

     [p. 21] I even had some Tongan men building my canoes in Salt Lake City, one of which was a Mormon. I ask them if they had known of anyone in Tonga with the name of Hagoth, thinking as many, that Hagoth may have set sail in the west sea (Pacific Ocean) and wandered into those islands of the South Pacific.

     They said yes, so I went to Tonga. They were wrong, there was no record of any one with that name there . . .

     [pp. 22-23] The river Sidon bothered me, it appeared to have run from north to the south and must have been a major river in the land. it also emptied into the a sea.

     I had a large world wall map on my office wall, in studying the map I could seen no major river in this part of the world that ran from the north to the south, except one. As I looked at that river, I thought, oh know, there is no way that that river could be the river sidon. It was the Mississippi River.

     I had always believed as I had been tought, that everything happened south of the United States in the land south, but there was no river running north to the south.

     I finally purchased some maps at the church distribution center and thought I would just play with my theory, that the Mississippi River could possibly be the river Sidon. The idea really seemed ridicules so I didn't even tell my wife what I was doing for awhile.

     Once I started putting the movements I read in Ether on the map, working in reverse starting with the Hill Ramah (Hill Cumorah) it was frightening and also exciting. The things just seemed to fit together. . . .

     I only offer this theory as something interesting at this point and hope that it may insight people to dig deeper into the Book of Mormon. . . . Please forgive me, this is the first and longest thing I have ever written, I am sure you will be able to discern that . . .

     [pp. 25-26] The people of Book of Mormon were familiar with sea's in their former land, The Red Sea, Sea of Galilee, The Dead sea, etc..

     It is assumed from the history that Oceans as we know them today were known by another name.

     It is presumed that they would have called the large bodies of inland waters in the new promised land "Sea's" because they were familiar with that name and its meaning.

     Thus in the area of the present Hill Cumorah, they probably would have called the Great Lakes "Sea's", The Sea West, Sea East, Sea North and Sea South depending upon where they were at when the activity they were recording took place.

     Within the Great Lakes there are many narrow passes and necks. . . .

     [p. 26] Lehi dies and Nephi flee's inland . . .

     This constitutes the first great move or migration on the promised land after they landed.

     The new location they call Nephi. They live there for 310 to 459 years according to the dates in the Book of Mormon. This is a long time. . . .

     [pp. 27-30] Guided by the Lord in the direction of their movements, they leave a highland area to go downward towards a lowland area where there is a major river called Sidon.

     The larger the river the lower it's elevation.

     They naturally had to have fled away from the direction of their aggressors, so they probably fled in the same direction as before, eastward. . . .

     Lehi's people . . . had never seen or heard of them [the people of Zarahemla] . . . Could they [the people of Zarahemla] have landed on the opposite side of that great promised land? I believe so.

     The history states that they had lived in the same general area the whole time.

     This is an indication that the Nephite people had not lived in their same area the whole time.

     This area of the Mulilkites is where the last and final great destruction of the Jaradite people had occurred as well as the same general area of the last and final destruction of the people of Lehi.

     [pp. 28-29] They arrive in this new location, the land of Zarahemla which the author believes to have been a very large land encompassing much or most of the area just west of the Mississippi River to and including all of the Eastern coast of the United States. . . .

     They . . . lived in the Land of Zarahemla between 458 to 627 years according to the information in the Book of Mormon. They are finally driven into the Northern part of Zarahemla or the Land called Bountiful which had a sea on the west and a sea on the east and a land called Desolation on the north which was seperated by a narrow pass between sea's (Mormon 3;5) (Alma 63:5).

     A pass which width a Nephite could cross in a day (Hel. 4;7). . . .

     After living in their new home land of Zarahemla and having lived there for many years, they are now driven out of this land and flee into a land northward to and through a narrow neck between a sea on the west and a sea on the east into a land they call Bountiful.

     The Land Bountiful (Michigan) has Sea's on both the west side and on the east side of it.

     [pp. 30-33] During the time they were living in Zarahemla some interesting things happen.

     A man by the name of Zeniff takes some Nephite people and returns back up into the land of Nephi . . . They call this land the land of their first inheritance (First inheritance as Nephite people). . . . Another land mark spoken of in this area was the "Waters of Mormon".

     None of these names and/or land marks along with the original Laminite people are mentioned within the history again in the Book of Mormon during or after the destruction at the time of the Crucifixion.

     This causes us to beleive that the land of Lehi-Nephi, where Lehi had landed and east towards the Mississippi river valley and its entire population may have been completely destroyed which would include the more wicked part of the people during the Crucifixion. . . .

     Almost the entire people were destroyed along with their cities in only three hours.

     The Alaska earthquake, which my father and I visited, lasted only 6 or 7 minutes. . . .

     All of the cities mentioned at the time of the destruction were located in and around the land of Zarahemla.

     In this area, however, the sea's all remained intact, the River Sidon continued to function, the Hill Cumorah had remained throughout the Jaradite, Nephite and Lamanite era and is intact today.

     Some of the local cities were sunk, burned, and/or buried by earth or water, but the greatest destruction was where the more wicked people lived here in the western United States. . . .

     [pp. 34-35] The Nephites are again pushed out of the land Bountiful into another land northward through a narrow pass. This is the pass that takes a Nephite only a day to cross. . . . Many other people flee to this same land northward on foot.

     This land is call Desolation, named Desolation because is was desolate of trees because of the former inhabitants of the land.

     Toronto Canada of which I feel could be the land Desolation is desolate of trees as compared to the state of Michigan. . . .

     While there and unexplained ancient massive burial with remains of many thousand of people was found.

     It was dated back into the Jaradite times. . . .

     [pp. 35- ] Again, the Nephites are driven, they are surrounded primarily by water and are pushed by the Lamanite armies which come down from above them, above the land Desolation on the north and also pushing up through the narrow pass between sea's above the land of Bountiful on the south.

     The only place of escape was between the sea's to the east which lead into the land of Cumorah and there being the hill Cumorah.

     Mormon, by this time has returned to the army, and agrees to help the people. . . .

     I believe Mormon had been at the hill shim. . . . working on the book he was to later give to his son, Moroni. Which becomes the Book of Mormon.

     He was probably in the area of the city of Shem, in the land of Antum.

     This place was more than likely where Mormon had lived in his youth as a child, as did Joseph Smith, Jr. growing up in his area when Moroni appeared to him and showed him where the records were buried near his home.

     This area bordered upon the west of a seashore, all of which was in the great land of Bountiful which had a sea on the west and on the east. . . .

     There is a present day area and city called Antrim in the hilly area in Northwestern Michigan which is near Lake Michigan. . . .

     [pp. 38-39] I believe either he or he and his son Moroni moved the entire inventory of records to the hill Cumorah and placed them IN the hill Cumorah. They built the rock box in the earth near the top of the hill and hid the gold record prior to the final battle. . . . He [Moroni] had to have had access to them in the Hill Cumorah and must have hid the enterance when he was finished. . . .

     Cumorah was a terrible place to have a battle, but there was not much to choose from. . . .

     [pp. 38-40] The battle was over and the deserters fled south eastward, which was the only possible exit, they were hunted, caught and destroyed. . . .

     It is expected that he [Moroni] flees back into the land of his fathers first inheritance, the land they called Nephi into now what we call the Rocky Mountains. . . .

     He then passes away or is translated and awaits his return as a resurrected being to restore the gospel through Joseph Smith Jr. in the same area of the promised land, the land where his people had previously been destroyed and the records hid to be brought forth in our day.

 

     [p. 42] This promised land has been a promised land from the beginning of time. . . . This promised land is were Adamondiahman is to be and was the land of Eden, where our first parents Adam and Eve resided.

     This same land is where it all comes to an end. . . .

     You could go on and on with this. I know as does everyone, that the only promised land in the world which fits these descriptions is the United States of America.

     Remember "Christ did not build Pyramids". . . . Solomon's temple was not a pyramid, neither was Nephi's replica in this land.

 

 

 

     [p. 44] "Maps and Exhibits" . . The Promised Land (USA)

     (map location discription with chapter, verse & comments)

     Map Copyrights by: K. Duane Erickson 1990

 

[1992 (1990)      Map: The Promised Land (U.S.A.) Copyright 1992 by K. Duane Erickson]

 

     1. Lehi's Landing Place (California) . . .

 

     2. . . .

       c. 2 Nephi 5:15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. (Comment: Those items are all in great abundance in intermountain areas of Utah)

 

     4. . . .

        d. Narrow Neck, Passes, etc. Alma 50;34 . . . there they did head them, by the narrow pass (Between Lake Huron & Lake Erie ?) which led by the sea into the land northward, yea, by the sea, on the west (Lake Michigan?) and on the east (Lake Erie?). . . .

        e. Sea's North, South, East & West Alma 22:27 . . . And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about which was bordering even to the sea, on the east (Lake Erie?) and on the west (Lake Michigan?), and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east (Lake Erie?) even to the sea west. (Lake Michigan?), and round about on the borders of the seashore (Around Lake Michigan?), and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti (North of Zarahemla?), by the head (Meaning, Beginning Place of the River?) of the river Sidon (The River Sidon Runs from the North to the South from the Area of Manti past the city of Zarahemla?), running from the east towards the west and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided. . . .

 

     [p. 54] Mound Builders:

     December 1972 National Geographic . . . A huge civilization lived in the Mississippi Valley, now dating into the Book of Morman dates. The only name which has been given to the people is the "Mound Builders". . .

     Could these have been people of the Book of Morman?

     Could this area have been the area of the great land and City of Zarahemla which was later taken over by the Lamanites? as on the authors map.

 

     [p. 56] Concerning the Zelph incident which he quotes, Erickson writes:

     8. "who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky mountain"

     The hill Cumorah backs up to the south side of Lake Onterior. Could that referance have ment that the hill Cumorah was near an eastern sea which could have been the "eastern sea" of the Great Lakes? I believe so.

 

     [p. 58] "Unproven Coincidences" . . .

     March 1841 Joseph Smith Jr. the prophet was given a vision concerning the saints in the territory of Iowa.

     Section 125:3 Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zarahemla be named upon it.

     In the Doctrine and Covenants student manual on one of the first pages there is a map called "Church Historical Sites Illinois and Iowa".

     On this map there is a modern city marked and called Zarahemla in the state of Iowa on the west bank of a mighty national river called the Mississippi.

     Why would the savior confuse us by extablishing two cities on the promised land with the same name.

 

[1992      Map: Modern Day City of Zarahemla. The Promised Land (U.S.A.) by K. Duane Erickson.]

 

     [p. 61] Ephraim, Hill of

     Ether 7:9 iron ore for swords obtained from hill Ephraim. . . .

     Present Day: Iron Mountain near present day Ephrain in Wisconsin.

     The largest iron belt in this part of the world is located near Ephraim in Wisconsin.

 

     Onidah gathering place for dissatisfied Lamanites . . .

     Present Day Lake Onidah in upstate New York

 

     [p. 68] In discussing the travels of Jared to the promised land, Erickson notes that they came to a place called Moriancumer and there dwelt in tents for the space of four years. He then writes:

     Comment: Here is a mention of the great sea which divides the lands. We know that they came from the tower of Babel so we know this is reference to the oceans we are familiar with.

 

     Note* This conflicts with Erickson's own reasoning on pages 25-26 (see above) concerning the difference as to how seas and oceans were referred to.

 

     [p. 72] Ether 7:16, And he gave battle unto Shule, the king, in which he did obtain the land of their first inheritance; and he became a king over that part of the land.

 

     Comment: Are they back in the area of the land of Desolation, and are they calling this the land of their first inheritance. If so, did they or some of the eight barges travel down the St. Lawrence River in Canada to this first land of inheritance?

 

     [p. 80 Alma 8:7 Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.

 

     Comment: So Ammonihah was named after a man and its a three day journey north (on foot, maybe 25 miles) of Melek and it appears the wilderness side was west and that possibly wilderness could be described as an area which was less inhabited and not developed.

 

     Note* If a three day journey amounts to 25 miles "on foot", and if Alma (with flocks and herds) journeyed from Nephi (the Rocky Mountains) to Zarahemla (on the west bank of the Mississippi) in 21+ days, then the distance from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi can be calculated as roughly 175 miles. Even allowing for an interpretation of 25 miles a day, this distance would come out to be roughly 525 miles.

 

     [p. 82] Alma 16:6 the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti . . .

     Comment: "South wilderness" meaning south of Ammonihah, but north of the city of Zarahemla, which could then put the land of Manti between the south wilderness and the city or land of Zarahemla. . . .

 

     Note* Alma 17:1 places Alma (from land of Zarahemla) "journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti" Here he meets the sons of Mosiah "journeying towards the land of Zarahemla" (from the land of Nephi). On page 84 Erickson has the following comment for Alma 17:1:

     Land of Gideon is across the river Sidon on the west side and the land of Manti is north, up river of Gideon, which fits . . .

 

     Erickson's comments concerning Manti's location are not consistent with Alma 17:1.

 

     [p. 83] Alma 16:11 . . . it was called Desolation of Nehors . . .

     Comment: "Desolation of Nehors" as mentioned by Moroni in his transulation of the Jaredite history (Ether 7:9 during the battle of Shule and Corihor) This puts again the Jaredite History and Nephite/Lamanite histories on top of one another as explained by Moroni.

     In addition it appears that the land of Ammonihah at this time now becomes the land of Nehor or a land of Nehor's.

 

     Note* In Ether 7:9 we do NOT find the phrase "Desolation of Nehors. Rather we find mention of "the city Nehor" during battles between Shule and Corihor.

 

 

 

1992      Warren P. and Michaela Aston,      "Lehi's Trail and Nahom Revisited," in Reexploring the Book

     Stephen D. Ricks, John W. Welch      of Mormon, SLC: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992, pp. 47-52

 

     Speculates on different possible sites for Nahom in Lehi's route to the Americas.

 

Source: Daniel B. McKinlay, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 17.

 

 

 1992      William J. Hamblin      "Directions in Hebrew, Egyptian, and Nephite language," in Reexploring the

                       Book of Mormon, SLC: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992, pp. 183-186.

 

     Cardinal directions were not expressed by ancient Egyptian and Israelite peoples as they are today. The Israelite and Egyptian directional systems differed and its is not clear which system was used by the Nephites since they were familiar with both. Hence caution is needed when one makes directional assumptions.

 

Source: N. Keith Young, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 179.

 

 

1992      Rulon Eames            "Book of Mormon: First Book of Nephi," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited

                       by Daniel H. Ludlow, 1:144-45. 5 vols. New York: Macmillan, 1992.

 

     Summarizes the book of 1 Nephi and provides a map of the Arabian Peninsula that traces the possible route of Lehi.

 

Source: Andrew Teasdale, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 131.

 

     Note* How come it is okay to print maps depicting theoretical material on Book of Mormon geography in the Old World, and yet will the same people will not touch maps depicting theoretical Book of Mormon geography in the New World?

 

 

1992      John E. Clark      "Book of Mormon Geography," Daniel H. Ludlow ed. Encyclopoedia of

                 Mormonism. New York: Macmillan, 1992, vol. 1, p. 178

 

     Two issues merit consideration in relation to possible external correlations of Book of Mormon geography. What is the official position of the Church, and what are the pervading opinions of its members?

     In early Church history, the most common opinion among members and Church leaders was that Book of Mormon lands encompassed all of North and South America, although at least one more limited alternative view was also held for a time by some. The official position of the Church is that the events narrated in the Book of Mormon occurred somewhere in the Americas, but that the specific location has not been revealed. This position applies both to internal geographies and to external correlations. No internal geography has yet been proposed or approved by the Church, and none of the internal or external geographies proposed by individual members (including that proposed above) has received approval. Efforts in that direction by members are neither encouraged nor discouraged.. In the words of John A. Widtsoe, an apostle, "All such studies are legitimate, but the conclusions drawn from them, though they may be correct, must at the best be held as intelligent conjectures" (Vol. 3, p. 93). . . .

     Of the numerous proposed external Book of Mormon geographies, none has been positively and unambiguously confirmed by archaeology. More fundamentally, there is no agreement on whether such positive identification could be made or, if so, what form a "proof" would take; nor is it clear what would constitute "falsification" or "disproof" of various proposed geographies. Until these methodological issues have been resolved, all internal and external geographies-including supposed archaeological tests of them-should, at best, be considered only intelligent conjectures.

 

 

1992      David A. Palmer      "Cumorah" in Daniel H. Ludlow ed. Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 1.

                        New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992, pp. 346-347.

 

     Cumorah in the Book of Mormon refers to a hill and surrounding area where the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites took place, resulting in the annihilation of the Nephite people. Sensing the impending destruction of his people, Mormon records that he concealed the plates of Nephi1 and all the other records entrusted to him in a hill called Cumorah to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Lamanites. He delivered his own abridgment of these records, called the plates of Mormon, and the small plates of Nephi, which he placed with them, to his son Moroni2 (W of M 1:5; Morm. 6:6), who continued writing on them before burying them in an unmentioned site more than thirty-six years later (Moro. 10:1-2). . . .

     Cumorah had also been the site of the destruction of the Jaredites roughly 900 years earlier. Moroni states in the book of Ether that the Jaredites gathered for battle near "the hill Ramah," the same hill where his father, Mormon, hid up "the records unto the Lord, which were sacred" (Ether 15:11). It was near the first landing site of the people of Mulek (Alma 22:30), just north of the land Bountiful and a narrow neck of land (Alma 22:32).

     The more common reference to Cumorah among Latter-day Saints is to the hill near present-day Palmyra and Manchester, New York, where the plates from which the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon were found. During the night of September 21, 1823, Moroni2 appeared to Joseph Smith as an angel sent from God to show him where these plates were deposited (JS--H 1:29-47).

     In 1928 the Church purchased the western New York hill and in 1935 erected a monument recognizing the visit of the angel Moroni. A visitors center was later built at the base of the hill. Each summer since 1937, the Church has staged the Cumorah Pageant at this site. Entitled America's Witness for Christ, it depicts important events from Book of Mormon history. This annual pageant has reinforced the common assumption that Moroni buried the plates of Mormon in the same hill where his father had buried the other plates, thus equating this New York hill with the Book of Mormon Cumorah. Because the New York site does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Book of Mormon geography, some Latter-day Saints have looked for other possible explanations and locations, including Mesoamerica. Although some have identified possible sites that may seem to fit better (Palmer), there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site that has been suggested.

 

(see the 1993 notation)

 

[1992      Photo Illustration      David A. Palmer      New York Hill Cumorah]

Source: "Cumorah" in Daniel H. Ludlow ed. Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992, pp. 346-347.

Caption: The north end of the hill Cumorah, near Palmyra, New York, as it appeared c. 1900. More than thirty years after the final Nephite battle in A.D. 385, Moroni deposited the gold plates on the west side of this hill not far from the top. In 1827, the angel Moroni here entrusted those Book of Mormon plates to Joseph Smith, who translated them into English. The hill is a drumlin, a long hill with steep sides and a sloping end formed under an advancing continental ice sheet. Courtesy Rare Books and Manuscripts, Brigham Young University.

 

1992      Bruce A. Chadwick      "Native Americans," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, edited by Daniel H.

     Thomas Garrow      Ludlow, 3:981-85. 5 vols, New York: Macmillan, 1992.

 

     Latter-day Saints believe that the Book of Mormon is a record of the ancestors of the native inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 83.

 

 

1992      Diane E. Wirth            "Four Quarters," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John

     Steven L. Olsen             W. Welch, SLC: Deseret Book and FARMS< 1992, pp. 145-149.

 

     Book of Mormon writers use the land division term four quarters in many places. This is a common practice in the Bible (Joshua 15:5, Isaiah 47:15 and 56:11, Mark 1:45, and Acts 9:32), Mayan and Indian writings and in Ixtlilxochitl's documentation. The same usage is common to Ebla and Egyptian records in the Old World.

 

Source: N. Keith Young, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 585.

 

1992      John L. Sorenson      "Winds and Currents: A Look at Nephi's Ocean Crossing," in Reexploring the

                        Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, SLC: Deseret Book and FARMS,

                       1992, pp. 53-56.

 

     Discusses Nephi's route and ocean crossing. Departure from Arabia is best from April 1-15 to avoid dangerous swells near India. The great storm Nephi describes could have been in the Bay of Bengal, where such are common. Eastern travel across the Pacific has been confirmed by studies of the El Nino phenomenon. Such a Pacific Ocean crossing is estimated to have taken less than a year. Liahona guidance would have optimized the time.

 

Source: N. Keith Young, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 487.

 

 

1992      Z. R. Foundation Staff      "Why Bountiful" Why Desolation" in Recent Book of Mormon Developments,

                        Articles from the Zarahemla Record, 2:148, Independence, MO: Zarahemla

                        Research Foundation, 1992. See also Zarahemla Record 52 (December

                        1990): 1.

 

     According to Alma 6:8 (RLDS versification), the Nephites usually named places after the founder. However, bountiful in Hebrew is tob and is a name given to a region in Palestine that was very fertile, and the word for desolation is samem, which means a land wasted by war or natural disaster. Perhaps these names are given because the places were not cities but large areas.

 

Source: Brian Dickman, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 595.

 

 

1992      John L. and Janet F. Hilton      "A Correlation of the Sidon River and the Lands of Manti and

                              Zarahemla with the Southern End of the Rio Grijalva (San Miguel),"

                              in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1 (Fall 1992): pp. 142-162.

 

     The authors construct a detailed geographical model of the Nephite homeland areas of Manti, Zarahemla, and the river Sidon using the Book of Mormon text of around 80 B.C. They nominate the southern end of the Grijalva river basin, located across the southern part of the Mexico-Guatemala border, as a possible candidate for the ancient Nephite homeland because it corresponds to the text's topography from the most general to the most detailed parts of the description.

 

Source: Russell H. Ball, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 201.

 

 

1992            Gerry Avant            Church News May 9, 1992

 

     On a page in the Church News devoted to the Book of Mormon, the following is part of an article written by Gerry Avant:

Sacred text is a book of doctrine, not geography: Little attention given to locale.

     . . . Elder Faust said the Book of Mormon also is not a geography. He referred to an 1890 quote by George Q. Cannon, then first counselor in the First Presidency, who wrote in the January 1890 Juvenile Instructor:

     The Book of Mormon is not a geographical primer. It was not written to teach geographical truths. What is told us of the situation of the various lands or cities of the ancient Jaredites, Nephites and Lamanites is usually simply an incidental remark connected with the doctrinal or historical portions of the work; and almost invariably only extends to a statement of the relative position of some land or city to contiguous or surrounding places, and nowhere gives us the exact situation or boundaries so that it can be definitely located without fear of error.

 

     In the forward to Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Philip C. Reynolds wrote:

     The writers of the sacred record gave little space and did not make much of an effort to describe, in so many words, the physical features of the regions, wherein took place, the events they recorded. . . . It is folly to associate oneself with any peculiar notion and say of some particular ruin, "This is Zarahemla" or "There is the land of Bountiful." Such ventures in thought are merely guesses, and such speculation leads to confusion. . . . [If] the time comes, or that it is expedient for the saints to have this information, it will come to them through the regularly established source, the prophet, seer, and revelator, the Presiding High Priest of the Church and no one else.

 

     Note* The Commentary on the Book of Mormon, (writings of George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl), was compiled and edited by Philip C. Reynolds in 1955. However, George Reynolds had prepared his voluminous notes on the Book of Mormon some 45 years previous to that date as he died in 1909. Janne Sjodahl died in 1939. Thus Philip Reynolds' words on Book of Mormon geography in the preface were apparently derived from writings nearly five decades old.

     The first quote used by Elder Faust was 102 years old by the time Gerry Avant included it in his article. The other quote was from a perspective derived from writings that were over 80 years old by the time of Avant's article. By including them in his article in the Church News, Gerry Avant gives authoritative weight to them in spite of the great advancements in the scientific world of archaeology, anthropology, and geography since the time of these source articles.

 

     Note* In a paper read at the Thirtieth Annual Symposium on the Archaeology of the Scriptures held at BYU on September 26, 1981, Ross T. Christensen said the following:

     Looking back to the year 1890, one can see that two developments had to take place before any real progress could be made in Book of Mormon geography: (1) ancient American civilizations had to be discovered which matched those of the Book of Mormon in time; and (2) dedicated students, skilled in the study of both the Book of Mormon and Americanist archaeology, had to come forward. Let us consider each of these developments in greater detail:

     [Development #1] Twenty-one years were to go by after President Cannon's editorial before the Preclassic (or Formative) civilizations of Mesoamerica were even known to exist. These are the ones which correspond to those of the Book of Mormon in time, i.e., which range between somewhere near 2500 BC and AD 421. The first tangible evidence of this Preclassic stage of civilization was discovered by a young Mexican archaeologist, Manuel Gamio, during excavations at Atzcapotzalco in the Valley of Mexico in 1911, . . . . virtually all the archaeology practiced in ancient America before the year 1911 had been done at sites which post-dated the time-span of the Book of Mormon. . . .

     [Development #2] Latter-day Saints, for their part, eventually rose to the challenge. . . . The BYU program in scientific Americanist archaeology got underway in 1946. The Society for Early Historic Archaeology was founded in 1949. During the generation that has gone by since then, thousands of students have taken classes in the BYU Department of Archaeology, many of whom are now prepared on a professional level, while much of the basic groundwork of publication in the field of Book of Mormon archaeology has been laid.

     Does the limitation proposed by President Cannon in 1890 still hold today? Surely 91 years of archaeological discovery and academic preparation would make it possible to do more in 1981 than could have been accomplished in his day. . . .

 

Source: Ross T. Christensen, "Geography in Book of Mormon Archaeology," Newsletter and Proceedings of the S.E.H.A., Number 147, December 1981, Provo: The Society for Early Historic Archaeology, 147.0, p. 2.

 

     (See the notation for 1908, 1938, See the Faust notation for 1983, 2004)

 

 

1992      Rex C. Reeve & Richard O . Cowan      "The Hill Called Cumorah," Regional Studies in Latter-day

                                   Saint Church History, New York (1992), pp. 71-91.

 

     This 20-page paper was primarily written to document the history, purchase, and development of the New York Hill Cumorah as an attraction to both Mormon and non-Mormon visitors. Of interest are the following comments:

     The two performances, July 23 and 25, 1937, had attracted an estimated audience of fifteen thousand, only about a thousand of whom were Latter-day Saints attending the mission conference. The positive responses by these spectators helped insure the pageant's becoming an annual event.

 

 

1992      "Mormon Hill" in Manchester, New York is officially named "Hill Cumorah." ??? [Check date]

 

     On page 5 of his October 2002 masters thesis, "A Study of the Hill Cumorah: A Significant Latter-day Saint Landmark in Western New York," Cameron J. Packer writes the following:

     Parenthetically, it should be noted that outside of the Church, the Hill Cumorah came to be known by much different titles, usually having some reference to the Gold Plates. It is easy to see, from the following newspaper article, how one of the more prevalent titles, "Gold Bible Hill," caught on with the Manchester-Palmyra residents. . . .

     After the Book of Mormon was published, it seems that the hill also took on the name "Mormon Hill." These nicknames became commonplace and persisted throughout the years amongst the local citizens. In fact, the name "Mormon Hill" can still be found on highway maps as recent as 1997. (Bruce Russell, "Highway Map of Ontario County New York," Canandaigua: Ontario County Highway Dept., 1997).

 

 

1992      Paul Cheesman Collection Is Donated to the BYU Library

 

     The following is taken from pages 1-15 of the 237-page Register (Index) to the Paul R. Cheesman Papers (MSS 2049). This "Register" was compiled and written by P. Bradford Westwood, Curator and Assistant Department Chair, and Student Processors Jeffrey J. Rockwood and Diane Bartholomew--L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah, November 2000:

     Dr. Paul Robert Cheesman was a devoted student and popular instructor of ancient scripture in the Department of Religious Education at Brigham Young University from 1963 to 1986. His extensive study and worldwide research concerning the Book of Mormon and other important documents of ancient origin made him one of the most sought after Mormon (LDS) scholars and lecturers of his generation. Much of his career focused on correlating evidences for Book of Mormon authenticity. Dr. Cheesman spent his professional life uncovering, collecting, and compiling thousands of documents and artifacts concerning the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas. . . . (p. 3)

     It was . . . in Miami [1955-1963] that Cheesman . . . was named President of Foster Corporation, a Central American corporation and construction company . . . a key figure in the massive construction of the Pan-American Highway and the widening of the Panama Canal. Cheesman's position required him to serve as both a liaison between the South, Central, and North American governments and the leader of a large cross-cultural, multi-ethnic work force which necessitated the learning and use of the Spanish language. . . .

     Over the years, as his workers excavated the land preparing for construction, they plowed through numbers of ancient burial mounds and long-forgotten communities. . . . Over ten years, this accidental uncovering, which eventually led to incidental research trips for artifacts, led to a vast personal collection of pre-Columbian artifacts. In 1958 Cheesman began to display this impressive collection throughout the nation, supplemented by his enormous series of beautiful professional photographs and slides. He took it from coast to coast and developed a great following, generating a general public interest in Book of Mormon archaeology. . . . (pp. 5-6)

     Cheesman's innate desire to share the gospel as a teacher took him back to Utah with a two-thirds cut in pay. . . . In 1963 he was hired as an instructor for classes on the Book of Mormon, Gospel Principles, and LDS history at BYU. Because of his deficiency in archaeological training Cheesman also enrolled himself in every anthropology class he could. . . . In 1967 . . . Cheesman also began work on his PhD, "A Cultural Analysis of the Nephite-Lamanite-Mulekite Civilizations from the Book of Mormon." . . . Finally, in 1975, Dr. Cheesman became a full professor at Brigham Young, teaching classes on the Book of Mormon and other religious topics along with basic photography. . . His retirement [was] in 1986. . . . On Wednesday, November 13, 1991 . . . Cheesman quietly passed away. (pp. 6-13)

     The Paul R. Cheesman collection was donated in multiple installments by Mrs. Paul (Millie F.) Cheesman. The collection includes manuscripts (personal and professional papers), publisher's gallery prints, color transparencies (including 35 mm slides), negatives, color separations, photographs, personal literary materials, research and reference files, audio and visual materials, and historical books, covering over 30 years of research in the ancient Americans, other ancient civilizations, and LDS Church history. A vast majority of the materials in this collection involve Cheesman's interest in relating archaeology to the Book of Mormon . . . (p. 14)

     The Cheesman register begins with a brief biographical sketch of Paul R. Cheesman, including footnotes, followed by provenance and separation statements, the collection inventory listing, and two addendums, which include a bibliography of Dr. Cheesman's personal library, and a provenance statement for the artifact portion of the collection held by The Museum of Peoples and Cultures. The call number for the photocopied artifact inventories is MSS 2254. The original binders and disk containing the inventories are in the possession of The Museum of Peoples and Cultures. . . . (p. 15)

     The whole of the Paul R. Cheesman Collection was donated by his wife, Millie Cheesman, in three phases. The first donation consisted of eleven boxes, the second donation contained fourteen boxes, with the final installment being 9,470 slides. Millie Cheesman made these contributions to Brigham Young University from February to December 1992. (p. 17)

 

     Note* At the present time (5/3/03) there is no listing of this collection on the BYU Library computer search. MSS 2049 has been left out of the listing. However, the Register is available at Special Collections. Numbered boxes of material can be requested.

 

 

1992      Galen Young      A Journey to Cumorah: A Videohistory Tour, 1992

 

     On this video tour of Church History sites in the New York area, we are told of the hill Cumorah in New York that it is the location where "a [Nephite] nation perished by the sword."

 

[1992      Illustrated Model      Keith Christensen      LIMITED SOUTHERN MESOAMERICA]

L.S.=S. of line extending from Rio Dulce to Pacific Coast / N.N.=extending from Rio Dulce to Pacific Coast / L.N.= from line North to the east of Chiapas Depression and including Yucatan

Source: B. Keith Christensen, The Unknown Witness: Jerusalem, Geology, and the Origin of the Book of Mormon, Manuscript, 1992.

 

 

1992      Robert E. Parsons      Robert E. Parsons, "Hagoth and the Polynesians," in The Book of

     (Polynesians)            Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of The Word, Provo: BYU Religious

                       Studies Center, 1992, p. 260.

 

     After making an extensive review of the literature regarding authoritative LDS statements concerning the lineage of the Polynesians, Robert Parsons concludes with the following:

     It seems fair to state that although the Church has no official, published declaration on the origin of the Polynesians, there have been enough semi-official statements by prophets of the Lord to leave little doubt that the Church believes that the Polynesians are direct blood relatives of Lehi's colony and that Hagoth's lost ships provide at least one connection between the Americas and Polynesia. This is further supported by patriarchal blessings given to the members of the Church among these people and by oral traditions.

 

     Note* There is a big difference in telling people that they came from Hagoth as opposed to telling them that they descended from the Nephites or Lamanites. One statement is specific to time and place, the other is general. As to a general connection, cultural similarities between the Polynesian Islands and the Americas have been substantiated with scientific investigation.

 

     Note* For authoritative statements on the Polynesians as descendants of Lehi, see the notations for 1843, 1850, 1851, 1858, 1913, 1916, 1958, 1962, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1992.

 

 

1992      Glenn A. Scott            "Belize: Was This the Land of Jershon?," in The Witness, No. 81,

                       Independence, MO: FRAA, Summer 1993, pp. 12-14.

 

     Assuming a Limited Mesoamerica perspective with the river Sidon being the Usumacinta, Glenn Scott writes the following:

     Archaeology confirms that sometime after 147 BC (+/- 44), a pottery-making people, identified by their distinctive type of ware termed Aguacate Orange, who lived in the vicinity of Chalchuapa, El Salvador, in the southeastern highlands (Land of Nephi), migrated north through the Copan, Polochic, and Mojo valleys (which lie along the Caribbean coast), and into the lowlands around . . . Belize. . . . The transfer of cultures, represented by essentially identical pottery types, does agree with the migration of the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, who brought a Lamanite culture into the Nephite Land of Jershon. . . . the time frame fits extremely close.

 

     The following note is appended to the article:

     Archaeologists have been excavating a major site in Belize called Lamanai. That name is significant not only for its close similarity to the name of the Lamanite kings, but because it is one of the few ancient sites which archaeologists know to be the original name of an ancient city. On January 2, 1993, the yearly FRAA archaeological tour of 33 people, which included the author, visited this impressive site hidden int he jungle 18 miles up the New River in Belize. The size and extent of this ruin are awe-inspiring.

 

     Note* Glenn A. Scott serves on the FRAA archaeology committee and advisory board. He received his degree in anthropology from the University of Kansas in 1990.

 

[Illustrated Map: Proposed Area of Migration Correlated with the Anti-Nephi-Lehis. Glenn A. Scott, "Belize: Was This the Land of Jershon?," in The Witness, No. 81, Independence, MO: FRAA, Summer 1993, p. 14.]

 

 

1992      Zarahemla Research Foundation      Raymond Treat ed., Recent Book of Mormon

                                   Developments: Articles from the Zarahemla Record,

                                   vol. 2. Independence, Missouri: Z. R. F., 1992

 

     This book contains articles from the "Zarahemla Record," which is the newsletter of the predominantly RLDS Zarahemla Research Foundation. In includes issue 24-59 plus three articles from volume 1, which was published in 1984 (see the notation). A selected list of articles dealing with Book of Mormon geography can be found in the following endnote. ( )

 

 

1992      Glenna Nielsen      "The Material Culture of the Book of Mormon," delivered at the May 1992

                        Sunstone Book of Mormon Lecture.

 

 

1992      Michael M. Hobby      The Mulekite Connection, SLC.: Zarahemla Foundation Press, 1992.

 

 

1992      Martin Raish            Book Review: Paul R. Cheesman and Millie F. Cheesman, Ancient

                       American Indians: Their Origins, Civilizations and Old World

                       Connections, Bountiful, UT: Horizon, 1991. 273 pages; in Review of

                       Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 4, Provo: FARMS, 1992, pp. 21-23.

 

1993            Office of the First Presidency            FAX from Michael Watson,

                                         Secretary to the First Presidency 23 April 1993

 

     In the files of John Sorenson, attached to a copy of a FAX from the Office of the First Presidency to FARMS, is a note from Brent [Hall], a director of that organization. The note reads:

     I thought you would be interested in this FAX from Michael Watson, secretary to the First Presidency. We have been receiving a number of questions from the Oklahoma, Texas area where anti-Mormons are using a letter from Brother Watson to a Bishop where Brother Watson said that the Church supports only one location for Cumorah, and that is the New York location. I talked with him on the phone the other day and told him of the questions that were coming to us. He responded that the First Presidency would like to clear up that issue and he would FAX me with that clarification.

 

     The FAX reads as follows:

 

Date: April 23, 1993

Sender's Name: Carla Ogden

Deliver to: Brent Hall, FARMS

 

Message: The Church emphasizes the doctrinal and historical value of the Book of Mormon, not its geography. While some Latter-day Saints have looked for possible locations and explanations because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah, there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site that has been suggested.

 

     Note* This communication was quoted by William J. Hamblin in "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," in Stephen D. Ricks ed. Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 2/1, FARMS, Spring 1993, p. 181. Readers should note that the second statement in this FAX ("While some Latter-day Saints have looked for possible locations and explanations because the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah, there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site that has been suggested.") comes directly from David A. Palmer's article entitled "Cumorah" in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 1, p. 347, which was published the previous year in 1992 (see the notation for 1992). The fact that it would be quoted by a directive from the office of the First Presidency seems to give official support to that article.

     

     Note* It is worthy of note that the above FAX can be read or interpreted in different ways. If we are to interpret what is implied in this FAX from an Authoritative (one-Cumorah) perspective, the message seems to avoid the issue. In other words, from the perspective of those who support their arguments for the New York Hill Cumorah by quoting previous authority figures--Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, etc., the above FAX statement only seems to suggest that while textual studies of the Book of Mormon have yielded "no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site," they can still hold fast to traditional statements in support of the New York hill.

     On the other hand, if we are to interpret this FAX as it relates to those who promote a Mesoamerican site for the final battles at the "hill Cumorah," then it seems to be saying that according to the text itself, "the New York Hill Cumorah does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Cumorah."

     This creates a dilemma--a clash between text and tradition, two sources which are both upheld in the Church. There seems to be a need to further clarify the meanings of this FAX.

          

 

1993      Scot and Maurine Proctor      Light from the Dust: A Photographic Exploration into the Ancient

                              World of the Book of Mormon

 

     The Proctors published a photographic essay on the cultural and geographical features related to the Book of Mormon. Their guide was Rick Hauck and they tended to illustrate his geographical theory. The photographs were mainly from southern Mexico and Guatemala.

 

 

1993      William J. Hamblin      "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach To

                       the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," Journal of

                       Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 2, no. 1 (Spring 1993), FARMS, pp. 174, 182

 

     . . . As has been demonstrated in detail, the Book of Mormon is completely consistent internally in presenting a limited geography. Such a discontinuity between what the text of the Book of Mormon actually says and what Joseph personally may have believed about the geography and antiquities of the Book of Mormon is very illuminating. If Joseph Smith is the originator of, or a believer in, the Hemispheric Geography Model as the anti-Mormons claim, he could not consistently be the author of the Book of Mormon. . . .

     Contrary to the authoritarian and fundamentalist presuppositions of most anti-Mormons, the real question is not which General Authority or Latter-day Saint scholar believes which model (no geographical correlation has ever been put forward as revelation), but which model best matches the geographical data contained in the Book of Mormon.

 

 

1993      Deanne G. Matheny      "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography,"

                       in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, edited by Brent Lee Metcalfe,

                        SLC: Signature, 1993, pp. 269-328.

 

     Many Book of Mormon geographers agree that the geographical setting of the Book of Mormon must be found in a limited area. At first glance it seems that their theories fit areas of Mexico and Mesoamerica, but an intensive study uncovers many problems, the first of which is directional, since the Mayan directional systems have been deciphered. Archaeology poses another problem. Specific locations proposed by Book of Mormon archaeologists to be possible Book of Mormon sites are compared with actual archaeological sites and are found to be lacking similarity. The models proposed by Book of Mormon geographers fall short of plausibility and probability.

 

Source: Jeanette W. Miller, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 282.

 

 

1993      Brent Lee Metcalfe      "Apologetic and Critical Assumptions about Book of Mormon Historicity,"

                       in Dialogue 26 (Fall 1993): pp. 153-184.

 

     An attack on the assumptions made by "apologetics" in asserting the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Special attention is paid to showing the inconsistencies in the apologetics methodology and hermeneutics, especially in the areas of chiasmus in the text and a Book of Mormon geography limited to Mesoamerica. The author also shows the contradictions inherent in any attempt to reconcile apologetic and critical methodologies.

Source: Susan Hamilton, in Donald W. Parry, Jeanette W. Miller, Sandra A. Thorne, A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography. Provo, UT: Research Press, 1996, p. 305.

 

 

1993      Delbert W. Curtis      Christ in North America: Christ Visited the Nephites in the Land of Promise

                       in North America, Resource Communications, 1993.

 

     Curtis proposed a limited geography around the Great Lakes region of North America (see map below). His narrow neck of land lies between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. He states his position as follows:

     The geography of the Book of Mormon was not important to the author until the Ensign printed an article suggesting there were two hills named Cumorah. That suggestion caused the author to become engrossed in the geography of the Book of Mormon.

     The author had never been able to believe a loving God would promise Nephi North America and land him thousands of miles from that land, or that the Nephites could have lived in Mesoamerica and died in New York State.

     Rather than looking to the works of man, the author searched the history and standard works of the church. To this was added the landmarks near and to the west of the Hill Cumorah as the source of information. All questions were answered and each confusing passage become [sic] clear. All the landmarks in the area prove the Hill Cumorah in New York is the Hill Cumorah of the Book of Mormon . . . [Thus] the history and standard works of the church, along with the landmarks near the Hill Cumorah, offer proof positive that the Hill Cumorah in New York State, was and is the Cumorah of the Book of Mormon. . . . The invention of a second Hill Cumorah creates far more questions than it answers (Front cover & Back cover).

 

     Curtis proposes the following for the migration path of Lehi to the Promised Land:

     A map of the world's ocean currents and winds indicates that the shortest route would be around the southern tip of Africa, up the west coast of Africa, across the Atlantic tot he east coast of North America, up the coast to the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, up the St. Lawrence River, into Lake Ontario, west to the west end of Lake Ontario (the Sea East), and into the very heart of the land of promise. (p. 33)

 

[1993      Illustrated Model      Delbert Curtis      LIMITED GREAT LAKES      H.C.=New York]

Source: Delbert W. Curtis, Christ in North America

 

[1993      Illustrated Map      Ocean Currents: Probable route by Lehi in dashes]

Source: Delbert W. Curtis, Christ in North America, (back cover).

 

 

 

 

1993^      B. Keith Christensen            Predicted Discoveries and the Book of Mormon. Manuscript, 1993.

 

 

 

1993      E. L. Peay            The Lands of Zarahemla. SLC: Northwest Publishing, 1993

 

[1994      Illustrated Model      E. L. Peay            LIMITED MESOAMERICAN-YUCATAN]

LS = Guatemala Highlands LN = Peten & Yucatan Small Neck = peninsulas fronting Laguna de Terminos Narrow Pass = Rio Dulce

Source: E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla: Nephi's Land of Promise, vol. 2. Provo, Utah: E. L. Peay, 1994.

 

 

1994      John L. Sorenson      Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe!," BOOK REVIEW: Deanne G.

                       Matheny, "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec

                       Geography," in Brent Lee Metcalfe, ed., New Approaches to the Book

                       of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methoddology; in Review

                       of Books on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6, Num. 1, Provo, Utah: FARMS,

                       1994, pp. 297-361.

 

 

 

1994^      Deanne Matheny      Reply to 'Viva Zapato" 1994

 

 

Source: Personal Correspondence to John Sorenson

 

1994^      John Sorenson            Response Letter to Deanne Matheny, March 10, 1994.

 

 

Source: Files of John L. Sorenson.

 

 

 

 

 

1994^      John Clark      "The Final Battle for Cumorah" A book review of Delbert W. Curtis, Christ in

                 North America, Tigare, OR: Resource Communications, Inc., 1993 in Review of

                 Books on the Book of Mormon, volume 6 number 2, Provo: Foundation for

                 Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994, pp. 79-113

 

     Clark reviews not only Curtis's proposal of a limited Great Lakes geography, but his seeming attempt to leave all other proposed Book of Mormon geographies without foundation." Curtis dismisses statements from some Church authorities regarding a hemispheric view of Book of Mormon geography while embracing other authoritative statements that support the New York hill Cumorah. Clark notes that Curtis makes four major arguments to make his case for a New York setting:

     1. Authoritative statements dictate the location of Cumorah: Curtis discounts "any speculation" about Book of Mormon lands except those that bolster his theory of a New York Cumorah/Ramah;

     2. The United States = the Promised Land: Curtis quotes scripture (Nephi's vision in 1 Nephi 13 and other references to the "Gentiles") to confirm that Zion or the New Jerusalem of the Promised Land could only be in the United States--the promised land mentioned in the scriptures. Curtis makes a number of supposed scriptural requirements that discount those people outside the United States as the ones involved in Nephi's vision. For example: (1) the Indians of Mexico and Central America were too educated to qualify as Lamanites; (2) the peoples of Mexico and Central America were not totally freed from the captivity of the great and abominable church, and they do not represent a model of "whiteness" and enlightenment as do the "gentiles" of the United States; and (3) the peoples of Mexico were subject to kings. Clark counters each one of these claims as well as the others not mentioned here.

     3. Cumorah dictates geography: Clark notes that because Curtis chooses the New York Hill Cumorah and a limited Great Lakes setting--with those lakes becoming the "seas" described in the Book of Mormon, he is led to propose a number of strained explanations for other features described in the text: Clark notes:

     If the principal test of a Book of Mormon geography is its explanatory power without recourse to special assumptions, we must conclude that Curtis's geography is an unmitigated disaster. In giving up the possibility of two Cumorahs he is forced to argue for (1) two lands of Nephi (p. 111), (2) two lands northward (various maps), (3) two lands southward (ibid), (4) many lands of desolation (p 117), (5) a hill Cumorah that is south of the East Sea and east of the narrow neck of land (various maps), (6) a River sidon that is only 40 miles long (p. 127), and (7) an East Sea that is north of a West Sea and both to the east of a North Sea and a South Sea (p. 108). This is a surprising amount of special assumptions given the limited geographical features that Curtis considers in his study.

 

     Clark laments that,

     Curtis's reconstruction of Book of Mormon lands defies the laws of logic and distorts the text, as I understand it, beyond recognition. . . . It is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. The principal contradiction is that it violates Curtis's discussion of the land of promise as the United States of America. More than half of his proposed geography is in present day Canada. It is hard to imagine how such an oversight could have occurred.

 

     4. The archaeology of the New York Hill Cumorah as the final battlefield: Curtis brings up a number of early Mormon statements concerning the New York hill as well as a host of early (1800's) statements from prominent residents of New York regarding the origin of the Indians and fortifications in that region. Clark notes that most of the arguments in these 101 pages discussing "artifacts" (meaning archaeological evidences) were quoted by McGavin and Bean in their writings of 1948 and that these supportive statements were out-of-date even back then. "Curtis lacks any appreciation of time, either in his construction of archaeological expectations or in his handling of the archaeological information. . . . Most of the sites and weapons Curtis recapitulates from McGavin and Bean probably postdate A.D. 400."      

 

     In conclusion Clark writes: "I find little of redeeming value in the substance of Curtis's book. But can anything of lasting value be salvaged from it? Yes. Christ in North America will stand for the next few years as an example of what not to do in writing a Book of Mormon geography. I do not mean to be cruel or flippant in this claim; often a poor example of "scholarship" is more useful to the cause of science than a good one. Scholars wishing to write Book of Mormon geographies should heed the tragic lessons of Christ in North America and profit thereby. . . .

     First, one should avoid the trap of obvious facts. Curtis begins his study where it ought to end--with a known geographical Book of Mormon location [Cumorah] in the New World. . . .

     The second caution is related to the first. . . . One should work out a consistent geography based upon the information provided within the Book of Mormon itself . . . .

     One useful resource that Curtis ignored, to the detriment of his geography, was the work published by other scholars. It is one thing to have honest disagreements over the meaning of the text and the relationships implied in it and quite another to ignore others' arguments altogether. . . .

     A series of interpretive difficulties are also apparent . . . Curtis reads prophecy as history, and along lines that are very self-serving for his argument. He considers statements of General Authorities concerning these same prophecies, and speculations about geography, as evidence when it suits his purposes. In neither case is the reader presented with a comprehensive view of what these statements might mean. . . .

     Finally . . . use of archaeological information requires some basic knowledge of how such information is obtained and what parts of it are most susceptible to error. This is not to say that only archaeologists can deal with this information, only that one is on very swampy ground here and should proceed with caution. It helps if one reads at least one archaeology book on the area he or she is proposing as Book of Mormon lands. . . .

 

 

1994      Les Campbell      Book review of E. L. Peay, The Lands of Zarahemla, Salt Lake City: Northwest

                 Publishing, 1993, in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, volume 6

                 number 2, Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994,

                 pp. 139-145.

 

     Les Campbell first introduces an example of Peay's thinking:

     According to the author, the eight years of travel by the Lehi group took them 530 miles south of Jerusalem to the Red Sea. Somewhere close to the imaginary Tropic of Cancer lies Umla, where Peay has the travelers turn east and traverse the Arabian Peninsula just north of the Empty Quarter. They arrive at Al Kasab, just south of the Straits of Hormuz. . . . Peay then has Lehi's party cross the Persian Gulf, presumably in a boat of some sort, and from there east across the plains of northern India. Barges are built at least twice for travel on the Yamuna and Ganges Rivers. This allows for 800 miles of travel on the water. On the next leg of the journey, Lehi follows the Brahmaputra River through Burma and eventually arrives at the East China Sea. In Peay's second option to this last leg, Lehi floats down the Honghui River, arriving at Macau near the South China Sea. Peay suggests the present-day city of Hong Kong as a probable land of Bountiful, part of a route used in 1000 B.C. by the Chinese, Indians, Asians, and Europeans. As Lehi traveled through this area, Peay believes he was exposed to many cultural traits that later show up in the promised land.

 

     Campbell then chooses to outline the author's Limited Mesoamerican model (although the commentary ends with Alma 52--apparently the author planned a second volume). Some of the sites are as follows:

     Bountiful (Old World) = Macau near Hong King (p. 41)

     Lehi's landing site = Pacific coast of Guatemala (p. 52)

     City of Nephi = Guatemala City (p. 107)

     Zarahemla = Tikal (p. 77)

     Sidon river = Belize river (p. 77)

     Waters of Mormon = Lago Amatitlan (p. 126)

     Land of many waters = Laguna de Terminos (p. 113)

     West Sea = Gulf of Mexico (p. 84)

     East Sea = Gulf of Honduras (p. 265)

Narrow neck of land = sand bar separating the Gulf of Mexico from Laguna de Terminos(p. 275)

     land of Desolation = northern Yucatan (p. 78)

     East wilderness = Maya Mountains of Belize (p. 266)

Cities of Moroni---> Bountiful = between the Maya Mountains (the east end of Lake Izabal)---> the Bay of Chetumal on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

     land of Cumorah = land around Laguna de Terminos (p. 113)

     waters of Ripliancum = Laguna de Terminos (p. 113)

 

     Campbell then goes on to lament the lack of sources quoted and the fact that the author very nearly ignores all major research of the last twenty-five years--names of anthropologists and archaeologists that should have appeared in his footnotes and bibliography. "Peay simply has not provided enough information to persuade readers that his interpretation merits consideration, or even to allow readers to test his interpretation." Campbell concludes: "I could not recommend this book to serious students except as a curiosity. I would not recommend the book to novice Book of Mormon students for fear that it would mislead them into mistaking The Lands of Zarahemla for good scholarship, which it is not."

 

 

1994      Warren and Michaela Aston      In the Footsteps of Lehi: New Evidence for Lehi's Journey across

                              Arabia to Bountiful SLC: Deseret Book, 1994.

 

     In this book, while assuming the general coastal route for Lehi's travels through Arabia as outlined by Nibley in 1950-52, and the Hiltons in 1976, the Astons focus their studies on the proposed locations for Nahom and Bountiful. In their first section, they trace Lehi's route from the coast through Wadi Jawf --"Nehem was connected with the name of an important present-day tribe occupying the mountains overlooking the large Jawf valley. In this small beginning lay the clues from which we would eventually trace the history of this name to near the time of Lehi." [pp. 9-10] In the second section they propose Wadi Sayq as the Old World Bountiful rather than the previously proposed Salalah or Qara mountains.

 

1994      Illustrated Model      Warren and Michaela Aston      [FRANK. TRAIL-COASTAL ROUTE-WADI SAYQ]

     Map of southeastern Arabia showing the final stages of Lehi's journey and all locations referred to in the text.

Source: Warren and Michaela Aston, In the Footsteps of Lehi: New Evidence for Lehi's Journey across Arabia to Bountiful SLC: Deseret Book, 1994, p. 11.

 

 

1994      Larry LaMar Adams            Where Does the Two Cumorah Theory Stand?, Spanish Fork, Utah:

                              Larry Adams, 1994.

 

 

1994^      Richard H. Jackson            "Hill Cumorah," in Historical Atlas of Mormonism, edited by S. Kent

                              Brown , Donald Q. Cannon, Richard H. Jackson. New York: Simon

                              & Schuster, 1994,

 

     In writing about the New York Hill Cumorah, Richard Jackson notes a number of things, but mentions nothing about the hill being the site of the final battles. He writes:

     The Hill Cumorah is an important feature in Mormon geography and history. Located in Manchester Township, Nw York, it is four miles southeast of the town of Palmyra and three miles south of the farm of the Prophet Joseph Smith's father. On the night of September 21, 18232, the young Joseph was visited by the Angel Moroni, who showed him in a vision a place ont he west side of the hill where were hidden the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was to be translated. . . . The combination of historical and sacred events associated with the Hill Culmorah makes it one of the most important places for Mormon.

     The Hill Cumorah was created by the great ice age in North America. Technically it is a drumlin, a natural feature created by the deposition of clay, gravel, and rocks as the slowly advancing ice passed over some small obstruction. This process created landforms that are linear in form, with their axes paralleling the direction of movement of the ice. The Hill Cumorah drumlin is one of a number of north-south oriented drumlins south of Lake Ontario. The Hill Cumorah rise approximately 110 feet above the surrounding land, with relatively gentle slopes.

     The writings of the prophet Joseph Smith generally refer to the Hill Cumorah as simply "the hill." An 1842 Revelation (D&C 128:20), referring to "glad tidings from Cumorah," is his only reference to it by name. Other early leaders, however, used the term, apparently beginning with Oliver Cowdery in 1829 and 1830. Other early members also used this name, but it was referred to as Mormon Hill on U.S. topographic maps from 1898 to 1952, when it was changed to Hill Cumorah.

 

     Note* If the New York hill's name was officially changed to the "Hill Cumorah" in 1952, the authoritative quotes made after that date become more difficult to assess.

 

 

 

1995      Gaylen Hinton      Lamanites, Lands, and the Book of Mormon, SLC: Hawkes Pub., 1995

 

 

1995      L. Ara Norwood      "Bountiful Found," BOOK REVIEW: Warren P. Aston and Michaela

                       Knoth Aston, In the Footsteps of Lehi: New Evidence for Lehi's

                       Journey across Arabia to Bountiful, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994,

                       vi + 88 pages; in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, vol. 7,

                       Issue 1, 1995, Provo, Utah: FARMS, pp. 85-90.

 

 

1995      Donald Q. Cannon      "Zelph Revisited," in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History-

                       -Illinois, Ed. H. Dean Garrett, Dept. of Church History and Doctrine: Brigham

                        Young University: Provo, Utah, 1995.

 

     In 1995 Donald Cannon, a professor of religion at Brigham Young University, presented a paper in which he examined the Zelph incident, a number of historical statements by Church authorities concerning the New York hill Cumorah, and some archaeological information he had found concerning the northeastern area of the United States. Cannon concludes with the following:

     The journal accounts of Joseph Smith's activities and his letter indicate that he believed that Book of Mormon history, or at least a part of it, transpired in North America. What does one do with such a prophetic statement? Some have dismissed it as a joke or playful exercise of Joseph's imagination. Others have chosen to emphasize discrepancies and possible contradictions in the source accounts, thereby discrediting what Joseph Smith said.

     It seems to me that either approach carries heavy risks. When one chooses to state that Joseph Smith can't be taken seriously on this issue, the door is opened to question his statements on other issues. Where does it stop? Does the First Vision, with the discrepancies in the primary source accounts, also come under the doubt and skepticism applied here to Zelph? Why can't we simply take Joseph Smith at his word?

     As I have shown, there is additional evidence which can be employed to support these claims. Statements made by nineteenth century Mormons about a North American location for the Book of Mormon can be used to support this position. Also, there is a considerable body of archaeological evidence concerning the people who lived in the Illinois Valley in ancient times.

     A North American location for some Book of Mormon events does not rule out a Central American location for others. The two are not mutually exclusive. The Book of Mormon is a book of scriptures, a religious record--not a geography book. Why not link Meso-America and North America? There are, after all, studies which already connect these two areas of the world.

     It seems to me that the foregoing conclusions dictate several challenges and tasks. It is important for Latter-day Saint scholars to further investigate the connections between Central America and North America. More work also needs to be done on nineteenth century LDS statements concerning Book of Mormon geography. There are interesting possibilities and much yet to be learned. I suggest we not reject the story of Zelph and its relationship to Book of Mormon geography until all these areas have been fully investigated. As things stand now we are still uncertain about any of the theories concerning Book of Mormon geography. [pp. 108-109]

 

     Note* Donald Cannon makes some statements and asks some questions that deserve some reply:

     (1) He says, "The journal accounts of Joseph Smith's activities [concerning Zelph] and his letter [which refers to "the plainnes of the Nephites] indicate that he believed that Book of Mormon history, or at least a part of it, transpired in North America."

     Reply: There is a presumption here that Zelph lived during the times of the Book of Mormon account (between 600 B.C. and A.D. 421). Such does not have to be the case. As for the phrase "plainnes of the Nephites," the Book of Mormon (Hel. 3:3-16) implies that many Nephites migrated to the land northward (possibly some to the United States). Yet their history or location is not necessarily critical to either the Book of Mormon story or the construction of Book of Mormon geography from the perspective of the Limited Mesoamerican Theory.

     (2) He says, "When one chooses to state that Joseph Smith can't be taken seriously on this issue, the door is opened to question his statements on other issues. Where does it stop?"

     Reply: There is a presumption that the act of questioning authoritative statements concerning Book of Mormon geography (even when history confirms contradictions) is the same as questioning official doctrine, despite the fact that the Church has never claimed any revelation on the matter of geography.

     (3) He asks, "Why can't we simply take Joseph Smith at his word?"

     Reply: There is a presumption here that we know exactly what Joseph said concerning Zelph. As can be seen in the articles by Kenneth Godfrey (see the notation for 1834), the accounts vary in significant ways.

     (4) He says, "Statements made by nineteenth century Mormons about a North American location for the Book of Mormon can be used to support this position."

     Reply: Interestingly, many of these statements by nineteenth century Mormons also include South America as the location for the Book of Mormon story. Are we being asked to accept the Hemispheric theory also?

     (5) He claims, "there is a considerable body of archaeological evidence concerning the people who lived in the Illinois Valley in ancient times."

     Reply: There is a presumption that the archaeological evidence he presented is not only true, but sufficient to cover the entire range of Book of Mormon culture from the beginning of Jaredite times to the final battles of the Nephites. Such evidence has not been forthcoming to date.

     (6) He says, "A North American location for some Book of Mormon events does not rule out a Central American location for others. The two are not mutually exclusive. The Book of Mormon is a book of scriptures, a religious record--not a geography book.

     Reply: While this statement is not necessarily false (see my reply to #1) there is a presumption here that there are not enough geographical statements in the Book of Mormon to rule out statements attributed to Joseph Smith. Just one example should show the weakness of this presumption. Joseph is said to have located the city Manti "in Randolph County, Missouri, three miles west of the county seat" (see the Samuel Tyler notation for 1838). The city of Manti in the Book of Mormon is located near the "head" of the river Sidon, which flowed from a higher elevation "down" and northward past the city of Zarahemla, which was in the Land Southward--southward of the Narrow Neck, all the way to the sea. Thus if the city of Manti was in Missouri one can ask, Where is the Sidon River flowing northward into the sea? Where is the marked change in elevation? And where is the Narrow Neck?

     (7) He says, "More work also needs to be done on nineteenth century LDS statements concerning Book of Mormon geography."

     Reply: Although my paper presents the most exhaustive work to date on authoritative statements concerning Book of Mormon geography, I still must ask, Do nineteenth-century LDS statements take priority over twentieth-century or twenty-first century statements?

 

 

1995      Sidney B. Sperry      Were There Two Cumorahs?" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies,

                       vol. 4, no. 1 (Spring 1995), Provo: FARMS, pp. 261-265.

 

     This previously unpublished handout was used in a Religion 622 class on 31 March, 1964. It was apparently planned initially as a section in Sperry's Book of Mormon Compendium (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968).

 

     . . . The friendly controversy still goes on, the one camp holding that the only Cumorah in or out of the Book of Mormon is the traditional one in New York State, the other supporting the view that the Cumorah in New York has been named after the one in Middle America, but is not the one around which the last great battles of the Nephites and the Lamanties took place.

     Now which of these two points of view is correct? It would be desirable, if possible, to come to a unity in the matter. Truth should never be on the defensive, but sometimes it is hard to decide just where it is. Perhaps most people of the Church hold to the traditional view of Cumorah, and, indeed, I have defended that view in some of my writings. But in recent years we have again gone over the Book of Mormon evidence very carefully and are prepared to present what we feel are the elements of the strongest case that can be made for a Cumorah in Middle America. Let us present it fairly and objectively as a historical question, letting the chips, so to speak, fall where they may.

     Most of the Book of Mormon evidence will be taken from the books of Ether, Mormon, Mosiah, and Omni. The first piece of evidence concerns Omer, a righteous Jaredite king, who was warned by the Lord to flee out of his land in order to save his life. In the words of Moroni:

And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore. (Ether 9:3)

     Notice that Omer and his party passed by the hill Shim, a place recognized by all Book of Mormon students as being the hill in the land Antum where Ammoron hid the sacred records of his people (Mormon 1:3; 4:23). No one would question the fact that this hill and Antum were in turn in the larger territory of Desolation (see Mormon 4:19; cf. 4:23), somewhere in or about Middle America.

     Next we observe (notice the casual language employed) that Omer came "by the place where the Nephties were destroyed." Moroni must certainly mean the place of the last destruction of his people. If the Cumorah in New York was the place, then Omer and family traveled at least 3,000 miles away from the hill Shim to reach it. In view of the casual language employed, does such a long journey seem reasonable? If the party traveled an average of twenty miles per day by primitive means for "many days," let's say an improbable sixty, they would cover only 1,200 miles. How very improbable it is that Omer traversed the distance to Cumorah in New York is reinforced by Ether 9:9 in which a certain Nimrah "gathered together a small number of men, and fled out of the land from which Omer had fled, and came over and dwelt with Omer." Notice that Nimrah knew where to find Omer and "came over" to him. Not the slightest hint is given that would lead us to believe a there-thousand-mile journey was attempted. It may reasonably be assumed that "Ablom, by the seashore," where Omer temporarily dwelt, was on the Gulf of Mexico side, not too far from "the place where the Nephites were destroyed" (Ether 9:3).

     Omer was restored eventually to his kingdom (Ether 9:13), but not the slightest hint is given that he had to retrace his steps a great distance to get to it. so if we are correct in presuming that in Ether 9:3 Moroni was referring to the place of his people's final destruction, the evidence thus far would seem to favor the view that it was somewhere in Middle America.

     No matter to what land Omer went in exile, the fact is clear that he returned to, and his successors dwelt in, the traditional southern home [in the land northward] of the Jaredites. This is made very clear by such statements as "their flocks began to flee before the poisonous serpents, towards the land southward, which was called by the Nephites Zarahemla" (Ether 9:31), and "they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land" (Ether 10:20).

     Now let us examine the evidence presented by Moroni relative to the territory in which the last great jaredite battles took place. In Ether 14:5-6 we are informed that a certain brother of Shared came up against the army of King Coriantumr, "and he came forth to the land of Moron, and placed himself upon the throne of Coriantumr." Where was the land of Moron? Its location is clearly indicated in an earlier chapter of Ether.

 

Now the land of Moron, where the king dwelt, was near the land which is called Desolation by the Nephites. (Ether 7:6)

 

     Thus we see that Moron, early seat of government of the Jaredites, was in the south land, near territory known by the Nephites as Desolation. Notice Coriantumr comes to "the seashore" of the land of Moron (Ether 14:13). This might possibly mean a Pacific Ocean border of Moron. In the remainder of Ether 14, it is made clear that Lib was slain and his brother Shiz continued the sanguinary struggle with Coriantumr. In the course of events we are told that

 

Shiz did pursue Coriantumr eastward, even to the borders of the seashore, and there he gave battle unto Shiz for the space of three days. (Ether 14:26)

 

Where was the seashore mentioned here? The geography isn't altogether clear, but let us assume in all fairness that it was on the Gulf of Mexico side, in deference to the word "eastward." Could it be in a spot on the seashore somewhere on the eastern border of New York? The difficulties involved in such an assumption are enormous. Keep in mind that the battles in Ether 154:6-13 are in Moron by the narrow neck of land (cf. Ether 7:6; Alma 63:5). Are we to assume a few battles later that the armies involved are on the eastern border of New York, some three thousand miles distant? Are we to admit that armies composed of men, women, and children (see Ether 14:22) on both sides had the physical strength (not to mention the logistical facilities) to cover three thousand miles in a relatively short time and engage in their final destruction? No army men of my acquaintance would believe it possible. Let us notice that the very last battles were fought near a hill called by the Jaredites Ramah.

 

And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill [i.e., Cumorah] where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred. (Ether 15:11; cf. Mormon 6:4-6)

 

Notice that Moroni does not add that Ramah or Cumorah was the hill where he should yet hide up the plates that his father Mormon left to him (see Morm. 6;6). This omission seems strange if the Ramah mentioned was the Nephite hill Cumorah in New York.

     Another important fact should be observed in connection with our problem: Notice that in coming to the hill Ramah, Coriantumr and his armies were pursuing the armies of Shiz southward, not northward as we should expect if they were coming up from southern Mexico or Central America.

 

And it came to pass that the armies of Coriantumr did press upon the armies of Shiz that they beat them, that they caused them to flee before them; and they did flee southward, and did pitch their tents in a place which was called Ogath. (Ether 15:10)

 

 

1995      Alison V.P. Coutts            "Review" of Recent Book of Mormon Devolopments: Articles from the

                              Zarahemla Record, vol. 2, edited by Raymond C. Treat, in Review of

                              Books on the Book of Mormon 7/2, 1995, pp. 253-255.

 

 

1995      John A. Tvedtnes            "Cities and Lands in the Book of Mormon," in Journal of Book

                             of Mormon Studies 4, Fall 1995, pp. 147-150.

 

 

1995      Paul Hedengren      The Land of Lehi: A Book of Mormon Geography, Bradford & Wilson, 1995.

 

     Paul Hedengren presents novel approaches to Lehi's travels through Arabia, the voyage across the sea to the New World, and the geographic location of the Promised Land. He writes:

     In this course of travel, once they left the Gulf of Aqaba, whose opposite shore is clearly visible, no body of water would be seen until the Arabian Sea . . . the most difficult part of the trip would be the last legs from south eastern Saudi Arabia to the oasis south of Qutuf in the United Arab Emirates, and from there to the Al Buraymi oasis near the Oman border. . . . such a journey would clearly be feasible for Lehi and his company. [p. 15] (see map below)

 

     Suppose a modern sailing vessel were in the Arabian Sea today and were to go to some place on the western hemisphere. What route would it take, assuming the Suez Canal was not available? It would take the same route available to Lehi, southwest around the tip of Africa and then northwest across the Atlantic Ocean. This route is favored by both winds and currents. As drawn using a modern guide book of cruising routes for sail boats, the likely route is shown (see map below). p. 17]

 

     This region [the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware--see map below] is consistent both in size and location with the region in which the events described in the Book of Mormon occurred. Given that the New York hill is the hill Cumorah referred to in the Book of Mormon, no other area appears to be properly situated to be consistent with the text of the Book of Mormon.[p. 28]

 

[1995      Illustrated Map      Lehi's Journey]

     Source: Paul Hedengren, The Land of Lehi: A Book of Mormon Geography, Bradford & Wilson, 1995, p. 15.

 

[1995      Illustrated Map      Lehi's Voyage]

     Source: Paul Hedengren, The Land of Lehi: A Book of Mormon Geography, Bradford & Wilson, 1995, p. 17.

 

[1995      Illustrated Model      Paul Hedengren      Limited N.E. United States]

     Area of the Events of the Book of Mormon.

     Source: Paul Hedengren, The Land of Lehi: A Book of Mormon Geography, Bradford & Wilson, 1995, p. 28

 

 

1995      Duane Erickson      The Promised Land Everyone Knows, SLC: Duane Erickson, 1995.

 

     Duane Erickson develops a limited North American geographical model focusing on the United States as the "Land of Liberty," and as the area where the record keepers of the Book of Mormon lived and recorded their histories---thereby keeping the New York hill Cumorah as THE Hill Cumorah. He claims that "After spending the most of 20 years trying to make sense of the Book of Mormon geography of others, exploring Central America jungles by dugout canoe, he discovered the real land in his own backyard. Here in the United States, the only land of liberty." He claims that his model of Book of Mormon geography originated in 1980. He includes 15 chronological maps showing the lands and cities of the Book of Mormon overlaid on a map of the United States.

 

[1995      Illustrated Model      Duane Erickson      LIMITED NORTH AMERICA]

     Source: Duane Erickson, The Promised Land Everyone Knows, SLC: Duane Erickson, 1995, Map 12.

 

1995      Ammon O'Brien      Seeing Beyond Today with Ancient America

                       England: Cumorah Hill Publishing, 1995.

     O'Brien writes,

     This book is dedicated to demonstrating certain historical and ethnographical parallels between ancient America and the Book of Mormon. . . . By drawing information from numerous sources regarding the American Indians and bringing together a tremendous collection of myths and legends from tribes across North, Central and South America, we begin to see certain parallels develop. Significantly, many of these trends in Native American histories bear a unique correspondence to certain claims and details in the Book of Mormon.

 

 

1995      H. Donl Peterson            "Moroni, the Last of the Nephite Prophets" in Paul R. Cheesman,

                              Monte S. Nyman, and Charles D. Tate Jr., eds., Fourth Nephi

                              Through Moroni: From Zion to Destruction, Papers from the Ninth

                              Annual Book of Mormon Symposium, 1994. Provo, Utah: Religious

                              Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1995, pp. 244-247.

 

     H. Donl Peterson, a faculty member of the BYU religion department since 1964, published a book (Moroni: Ancient Prophet-Modern Messenger, SLC: Deseret Book, 1983) in which he writes the following:

     Book of Mormon geography is very elusive. Where Moroni was born, where he lived, where the Nephite civilization was centered, and so forth, is not presently known. At best, we can draw relationship-type maps . . . but to attempt to superimpose a Nephite map on top of a current map of the Western Hemisphere is, at best, personal supposition.

     However, we are made aware of several localities that Moroni visited during his lonely years. . . .

 

On January 26, 1881, Father William McBride, patriarch from Richfield, on the Sevier river, spoke at a prayer meeting held in St. George. He recalled many experiences from the Nauvoo period, quoting the prophet Joseph Smith on several issues. "Father" McBride also "spoke of the Route the old Nephites took traveling to Cumorah from the South and Southwest; of having to bury their tre[a]sures as they journeyed and finally burying the Records and precious things in the Hill Cumorah." The patriarch spoke "of Moroni dedicating the Temple sites of what we now call St. George, Nauvoo, Jackson Co., Kirtland and others we know not of as yet" (in A. Karl Larson and Katharine Miles Larson eds., Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, vol. 2 [Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1979], pp. 524-26).

 

     Whether Moroni traversed such a vast territory solely to dedicate various temple sites or whether he also had other reasons is a question that remains unanswered.

 

(Source: ^H. Donl Peterson, Moroni: Ancient Prophet-Modern Messenger, SLC: Deseret Book, 2000, pp. 76-79)

     Note* The above diary notation concerning the year 1881 and William McBride speaking about "the Route the old Nephites took traveling to Cumorah from the South and Southwest" and "burying the Records and precious things in the Hill Cumorah" helps to give a time frame and substance to the following information written by H. Donl Peterson:

     Several years ago, I came across two copies of a map in the Archives Division of the Historical Department of the Church relative to Moroni's North American journeys (see Figures 1 and 2). On the back of the map in Figure 1 is written the following:

A chart, and description of Moroni's travels through this country. Got it from Br. Robert Dickson. He got it from Patriarch Wm. McBride at Richfield in the Sevier and also from Andrew M. Hamilton of the same place. And they got it from Joseph Smith the Prophet.

 

     On the map "land Bountifull [sic]" is listed in "Sentral [sic] America." The cartographer wrote "starting point" below the reference to Central America. Above the "land Bountifull" is "Sand hills in south part of Arizona," and above it to the left is "Salt Lake." To the right is "Independens, Jackson Co, Mo," and above that is "Adam on Diamon, Davis Co, Mo." To the right of that is "Nauvoo, Hancock C. Ill." Below that is "Mound Kinderhook, Pike, Co, Ill, 6 Plates Bell shape were found" (were was was on one copy). Then to the right and above that is "Kirtland, Ohio," and to the right of that is "Commorre [Cumorah], N.Y." Below this on the right-hand side of the map is written: "Moroni's Travels starting from Sentral America to the Sand hills Arizona then to Salt Lake U[tah], T[erritory], then to Adam on Diammon Mo, then to Nauvoo, Ill, then to Independence Mo, then to Kirtland Ohio then to Cumoro NY."

     The second map appears to have been drawn by the same hand and is quite similar to the first, though it twice spells Arizona as Arisony (one "y" has an "a" written over it); "eden" is written near the circle identifying "Independense"; "where adam blessed his posterity" is written near the circle identifying "Adam on Diammon"; the "missisipy river" is listed near Nauvoo; Kirtland is twice misspelled "kertland"; and Cumorah is misspelled "Cunora" and "Cumora."

     It is interesting to note that the brethren mentioned on these documents were contemporaries of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and they credited him with the notion that the travels of Moroni began in the land Bountiful, which was in Central America, and went through the western Great Basin area prior to going east to Cumorah in western New York. Why Moroni took the route he did is still without answers. These men stated that the Prophet Joseph believed Bountiful is in Central America while the Hill Cumorah, the burial place of the plates, is in New York State.

 

 

[Illustration: Figure 1. Figure 2. Source: H. Donl Peterson, "Moroni, the Last of the Nephite Prophets" in Paul R. Cheesman, Monte S. Nyman, and Charles D. Tate Jr., eds., Fourth Nephi Through Moroni: From Zion to Destruction, Papers from the Ninth Annual Book of Mormon Symposium, 1994. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1995, pp. 244-247]      

 

 

(See the 1881 notation)

 

 

1996      John L. Sorenson            Oral History,1996 Apr

                             (MSS OH 1899)

 

 

 

1996      Lynn and Hope Hilton      Discovering Lehi: New Evidence of Lehi and Nephi in Arabia

 

     In this book the Hiltons present additional evidence and insights to the geographical and cultural information published previously in their 1976 book In Search of Lehi's Trail. Although they basically maintain the route of Lehi as coming down the eastern shores of the Red Sea as was previously proposed, they move their proposed site for Nahom inland to a position south of Abha and west of Marib. Their proposed site for Bountiful is still the Dhofar region (Qara mountains) of Oman.

 

1996      Illustrated Model      The Hiltons      [FRANK. TRAIL-COASTAL ROUTE-SALALAH]

Source: Lynn and Hope Hilton, Discovering Lehi: New Evidence of Lehi and Nephi in Arabia. Springville: Cedar Fort, 1996, p. 5.

 

1996      Dan Vogel      Early Mormon Documents. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, Vol 1, 1996

 

     In this extensive collection of primary sources, editor Dan Vogel offers readers a multitude of documents upon which a history of Mormon origins could be based. While this is a great collection of documents containing invaluable information in which the source background is noted, in many cases Vogel gives equal weight to all accounts whether from Mormons or anti-Mormons. While for the experienced historian this approach is laudable, for the LDS novice the truthfulness of the accounts is not always easy to ascertain.

 

 

1996      Clyde Williams ed. abt Harold B. Lee      Teachings of harold B. Lee, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996, p. ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1996      Church Educational System            Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122

 

     In 1996 the Church Educational System would republish a "Revised Edition" of the 1989 Book of Mormon commentary for use in all its Religion 121-122 courses for the years which would follow. Interestingly, nothing had changed in the way of Book of Mormon geography. The same inadequate Ludlow map was still present. But even more telling was the fact that the statement by Marion G. Romney concerning the site of the final battles of the Jaredites was still included for the commentary of Ether 2:7-10. That is, in 1975 while standing on the "hill Cumorah" in New York (see 1975 notation) Romney contemplated "the events which occurred in that vicinity some twenty-five centuries ago--events which brought to an end the great Jaredite nation."

 

     Note* Sadly, this 1996 "Revised Edition" which would be used for years to come did not attempt to change or modify its position with respect to supporting the New York hill Cumorah as the site of the final Nephite and Jaredite battles. This in spite of the FAX sent to FARMS by Michael Watson, secretary to the First Presidency on April 23, 1993 supposedly declaring the Church's neutrality on the issue. (see the 1993 notation)

 

 

1996      Glenn A. Scott, Jr.      Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record,

                       Independence: School of Saints, 1996.

 

[1996      Illustrated Model      Glenn A. Scott      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

     Source: Glenn A. Scott, Voices from the Dust: New Light on an Ancient American Record,

 

 

1996      Bruce A. Van Orden      "Every City, Hill, River, Valley, and Person" A book review of George

                       Reynolds, Book of Mormon Dictionary, Salt Lake City: Stemmons,

                       1988, in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, volume 8 number 1,

                       Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996,

                       pp. 51-60.

 

1996      John E. Clark      "Two Points of Book of Mormon Geography: A Review" A book review of Paul

                 Hedengren, The Land of Lehi, Provo, Utah: Bradford & Wilson, 1995 in Review

                 of Books on the Book of Mormon, volume 8 number 2, Provo: Foundation for

                 Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996, pp. 1-24.

 

 

1997      Warren P. Aston      Book review of Lynn M. and Hope A. Hilton, Discovering Lehi: New

                       Evidence of Lehi and Nephi in Arabia, Springville, Utah: Cedar Fort,

                       1996, in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, volume 9 number 1,

                       Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997,

                       pp. 15-24.

 

 

1997      Terry J. O'Brien      Fair Gods and Feathered Serpents: A Search for the Early Americas' Bearded

                       White God

 

     [NON-SPECIFIC-yet centering on Mesoamerica]

 

 

1997      John L. Sorenson      "The Book of Mormon As a Mesoamerican Record," in Book of Mormon

                        Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, Provo: FARMS,

                       pp. 391-522

 

     John Sorenson writes the following:

     Many interpreters or critics of Joseph Smith Jr. and early Mormonism suppose Joseph produced the Book of Mormon himself. Most suppose that the volume was a personal literary creation, vaguely mediated through Smith's remarkable native intelligence from the intellectual environment of Joseph's day. Others propose that Joseph revised a preexisting work that some contemporary had written. . . .

     Let us allow for a moment the critics' argument that Joseph created the Book of Mormon by himself. He must then have envisioned some place as the scene, for a sizable portion of the text directly or indirectly treats physical and sociocultural environments. Furthermore, the setting represented shows remarkable consistency. The distribution of lands and cities, the "ups" and "downs" of the topography, and the directions and dimensions involved all manage to avoid anomalies. . . .

     Did he rely on his personal experience with the New England and New York environment--the only region he knew firsthand-in order to characterize the "promised land" of the Nephites? . . . Was it by sheer bluff and luck that 23-year-old Smith dictated to his scribes over seven hundred statements in the scripture that involve geographical matters, while staying consistent in them all? . . .

     Whatever explanation is chosen by those who reject Smith's assertion that the scripture came to light by divine power, they are faced with explaining how it happens that the one geographical scene where the narrative does fit turns out to be Mesoamerica. . . .

     Only in the twentieth century did a legitimate scholarly field of "archaeology" emerge even among non-Mormons to treat the American ruins. Before that, "experts" were about as likely to speculate wildly about American antiquities as the public was. . . .

     Latter-day Saint scholars over the past fifty years have been vigorously analyzing the text of the scripture. Their work has demonstrated conclusively that the territory where the events it reports took place had to be a small area, in the book's own terms. They have also shown that this territory matches with a large number of geographical, cultural, historical, and other dimensions in the area of ancient high civilization in Mexico and northern Central America, which is called Mesoamerica. No other area in the Americas fits the book and its story. . . . [Yet] until well into the twentieth century, with only a few exceptions Mormons held to the simple two-continent [hemispheric] theory with hardly a thought that an alternative might be possible.

     [Sorenson then presents] more than sixty general and specific ways . . . that show that the Book of Mormon aligns with much of what is known about Mesoamerican records, documents, or books, Significant, supplementary cultural parallels [are] also pointed out.

     [Sorenson concludes:] it is totally implausible that such an array of similarities could have been produced by poorly educated Joseph Smith Jr. Significant information on most of the points discussed above had not been discovered or was inaccessible to him or any other American in 1829, so the Mesoamerican-like features of and in the Book of Mormon could not be due to any early-nineteenth-century author. Nor is it plausible that such a set of Mesoamerican features could have been produced as fiction by a Smith or any American creative writer of his era. . . .

     [Thus] Joseph Smith's feat in creating the Book of Mormon, had he done so, would be comparable to an archer's shooting at the broad side of a barn and thinking he had hit it, while referees after discovered that his arrow had hit the center of a small target that he did not even know existed! . .

 

 

1997      FARMS Invited to Become a Part of BYU

 

     In a 20th anniversary interview concerning the history of FARMS, John Welch was asked why he thought FARMS was invited to become a part of BYU. He responded:

     In 1980, when I came to BYU, I asked Academic Vice President Robert K. Thomas if I should terminate FARMS or bring it with me. He said, "By all means, bring it." Ever since, FARMS and BYU have been closely intertwined. Soon BYU gave us some unused space in the basement of the law school and then some offices in the old Amanda Knight Hall. As FARMS grew, it became obvious that sooner or later BYU and FARMS would need to define their mutual relationship. After prolonged discussions back and forth that involved many people, no one at FARMS or at BYU knew what should be done. I remember saying to President Bateman in a private conversation, "As far as I am concerned, we can go either way, on campus or off. What we need is an answer that will stick. If President Hinckley will tell us what he sees as best, we will do it." Two months later, President Hinckley invited FARMS to become a part of BYU.

 

Source: "FARMS through the Years, Part 1: A Conversation with John Welch and John Sorenson," p. 6.

 

     President Hinckley had this to say about FARMS:

     [FARMS] represents the efforts of sincere and dedicated scholars. It has grown to provide strong support and defense of the Church on a professional basis. This has had important salutary effects both in addressing the Church's critics and in bolstering members who might be wavering. Today FARMS has risen to a high stature and has won credibility and recognition for its work both inside and outside the LDS community. . . . I see a bright future for this effort now through the University" (quoted in Insights, October 1997,1)

 

Source: "FARMS through the Years, Part 3: A Conversation with Daniel Peterson and Daniel Oswald," p. 5.

 

 

1997      Vaughn E. Hansen      Discovering Book of Mormon Lands, Springville: Cedar Fort, 1997

 

     Without citing hardly any external evidence and relying mainly on his own opinion and a few maps, Vaughn Hansen proposes a Guatemala-Yucatan setting for the Book of Mormon with the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Bay of Honduras encroaching in on the Yucatan peninsula to create a narrow neck.

 

[1997      Illustrated Model      Vaughn E. Hansen      LIMITED GUATEMALA-BELIZE-YUCATAN]

     L.S.=Guatemala / N.N.=base of Yucatan Peninsula / L.N.= Yucatan, H.C. in Yucatan

     Source: Vaughn E. Hansen, Discovering Book of Mormon Lands, Springville: Cedar Fort, 1997

 

 

1997      John L. Sorenson      Nephite Culture and Society: Selected Papers

 

 

 

1997      R. A. Olsen                  The Malay Peninsula as the setting for the Book of Mormon

                             (BX 8622.091 .OL8m 1997)

 

 

 

1998^      Reed Hansen            Book of Mormon Study Map," Scripture Creations, Lindon, Utah, 1998.

 

     This is an 8 x 11 laminated internal map of the geography of the Book of Mormon. There are numbers along the top and alphabetical letters down the side which allow the reader to match the cities and lands typed on the reverse side with a code--for example Aaron (E5). For comparisons with other models, the reader is referred to the illustrated map below.

 

[1998      Book of Mormon Study Map. Reed Hansen, Scripture Creations, Lindon, Utah, 1998.]

 

 

1998      Dan Vogel      Early Mormon Documents. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, Vol 2, 1998.

 

     [See the notation for 1996]

 

 

1998      Warren P. Aston      "The Arabian Bountiful Discovered? Evidence for Nephi's Bountiful,"

                        in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 7, num. 1, Provo: FARMS,

                       1998, pp. 4-11

 

 

1998      John L. Sorenson      Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life, Provo,

                       Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Research

                       Press, 1998.

 

     In the Introduction to the book we find the following:

     This volume is primarily about ancient civilization in Mesoamerica (Mexico and Central America). It also shows ways in which that civilization relates to the life of peoples described in the Book of Mormon. . . . A premise of this book, Images of Ancient America, is that the Book of Mormon account (aside from its short treatment of founding events in the Near East) is an ancient record mainly of certain events in part of Mesoamerica between approximately 600 B.C. and A.D. 400. . . .

     The author has studied, taught, and published on ancient Mesoamerica at a professional level for nearly five decades. This book's discussions and choice of images reflect that experience. Yet most of his career has been as a socio-cultural anthropologist, not as an archaeologist. From his perspective even the best books describing the civilization of Mesoamerica are disappointingly narrow, being far more concerned with material remains than with the people who left them behind. This volume tries to redress that failure by constructing a picture using striking visual materials and words that communicate a fuller scope of Mesoamerican culture and society. . . .

     Some of the features of culture and history mentioned in the record are still puzzling when compared with modern scholarly knowledge about Mesoamerica. Still, a large majority of the record's statements are reconcilable, and in fact are congruent, with secular findings on Mesoamerican civilization. Striking and subtle agreements are found between certain details in the book and those uncovered by the work of scholars.

     A more extensive treatment of how the Book of Mormon relates geographically to Mesoamerica is given in the last quarter of this book. . . . What portion of America was the scene for the Nephites and other peoples treated in the Book of Mormon? Nearly all qualified scholars who have dealt with that question have come to agree on Mesoamerica, that is, the area of high civilization in central and southern Mexico and northern Central America. Despite some disagreement over specifics, a significant consensus among LDS researchers now correlates the central lands spoken of in the Nephite record with the territory between Guatemala City and the city of Veracruz, Mexico.

 

[1998      Illustrated Model      John L. Sorenson      INTERNAL-Limited Mesoamerican influence]      

Source: John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Research, p. 188.

                       Press, 1998.

 

[1998      Illustrated Model      John L. Sorenson      EXTERNAL-Mesoamerica]      

Source: John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Research Press, 1998, p. 189.

     

[1998      Photo Illustrations      John L. Sorenson      EXTERNAL-Mesoamerica]      

Source: John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Research Press, 1998.

Top: p. 211 The information in Mormon's record about the final battle area matches in detail the characteristics of this hill, Cerro El Vigia, in southern Veracruz state and the region around it. This view of 2600-foot El Vigia is from the plains to its southwest, where the final battle likely took place.

Bottom: p. 211 This view from the top of Cerro El Vigia looks down on the plains to the west. If this is the correct hill, Mormon and the handful of survivors with him had this same view on the morning after their climactic battle, with hundreds of thousands of the dead and dying in their view (see Mormon 6:11-15).

 

 

1998      Duane R. Aston      Return to Cumorah: Piecing Together the Puzzle Where the Nephites

                       Lived, Sacramento: American River Publications

 

     After reading a paper by a Latter-day Saint author who had "come to the conclusion that there was nothing to be found in the Central American setting that convinced him that the Book of Mormon belonged there," Duane Aston asked himself, "what if the Book of Mormon did not belong in Central America? [and] if Book of Mormon lands were not located in Central America, then where might they belong?" Aston then describes what followed:

     The only reasonable possible solution that came to my mind was New York. What if the setting for the Book of Mormon was anciently located in the lands that we know as New York? . . . Might this location serve as a starting point to begin a search for the geography of the Book of Mormon? The more I studied and researched upon the matter, the more I became convinced that indeed the Book of Mormon itself contained sufficient clues that could resolve the issue of the geography of the Book of Mormon. [pp. 2-3]

 

     The Lord showed Nephi that "many multitudes of Gentiles" would come "upon the land of promise." (1 Nephi 13:14-16). What other people could this refer to, other than those Gentiles, pilgrims, who had come to occupy eastern United States and Canada in colonial times? [p. 6]

 

[1998      Illustrated Model      Duane R. Aston      LIMITED N. AMER.]

Source: Return to Cumorah: Piecing Together the Puzzle Where the Nephites Lived (Sacramento, American River Pub., 1998).

 

 

1998      T. Michael Smith      Book Review: Delbert Curtis' Christ in North America [1993] in Ancient

                       America Foundation Newsletter, No. 13, May 1998, 13.4

     

     T. Michael Smith writes:

     After basically insulting most previous researchers by telling them they overlooked the primary source, Mr. Curtis then proceeds to tell them why his particular reading of the Book of Mormon geography eclipses all others.

     Mr. Curtis launches from the point that there is only one Cumorah. By the time we land, he has shoe-horned most of the Book of Mormon into a western New York state slipper, all with little regard to the many reasons why most serious researchers began abandoning both hemisphere-wide and North American geographies many decades ago. Basics, like compatible cultural levels in the perspective region, receive little or no treatment, and supporting issues, like how mainstream archaeology may have misread some things in Woodland culture, are not developed. . . . I have spent some time on the New York Hill Cumorah and its immediate environs over the last two decades and am archaeologically confident it is not the Book of Mormon battlefield hill. . . .

 

(See the Curtis notation for 1993)

 

 

 

 

1998^      Stephen L. Carr            Letter to John Sorenson introducing Book of Mormon chronology and

geog                               geographcial map, September 29, 1998

 

 

 

[1998      Map: Hypothetical lands in the Book of Mormon. Stephen L. Carr, September, 1998]

 

 

1998^      Bernard Kaiser            "The Book of Mormon" (My Investigations), Bernard Kaiser,

                        kaiserbernard@gmx.net

 

      A two-page listing of correlations with Book of Mormon sites. Some examples:

water Riipliancum = Lago de Nicaragua + lago de Managua

hill Cumorah = hill "americ" in 1522 by Gil Gonzales de Avilla

Bountiful = Panama City

The big escape of the Nephites: from Columbia to Nicaragua.

Land Ishmael = Venezuela.

The Nephies were destroyed through ther Lamanites in Nicaragua

 

 

 

 

1999^      Hampton Sides      "This Is Not the Place," in DoubleTake, vol. 5 (Spring 1999), pp. 49-55.

     (anti-LDS)

 

 

 

 

 

1999^      Larry Strong            Proposed Book of Mormon lands about 70 BC, Larry Strong, 17 Nov. 1999.

 

     A Limited Mesoamerican Book of Mormon geography map with Nephi in Guatemala, Zarahemla on the Usumacinta, and Cumorah in Yucatan. Also contains a chronology chart.

 

[1999      Map: Proposed Book of Mormon Lands about 70 BC. Limited Mesoamerican model with Nephi in Guatemala, Zarahemla on the Usumacinta, and Cumorah in Yucatan. Larry Strong, larrystrong@networld.com, 17 Nov. 1999]

 

 

 

1999      George D. Potter      "A New Candidate in Arabia for the "Valley of Lemuel," in Journal of

                       Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 8, num. 1, Provo: FARMS, 1999,

                       pp. 66-68

 

 

1999      S. Kent Brown            "'The Place That Was Called Nahom': New Light from Ancient Yemen"

                       in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol. 8, num. 1, Provo: FARMS,

                       1999, pp. 54-63

 

 

1999      Thomas Valletta      The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft.

 

     In 1999, a team of CES people (Thomas Valletta general editor and nine associate editors) published a special edition of the Book of Mormon designed especially for families with young readers. The illustrations and the "footnote helps" which explain difficult words or phrases at the bottom part of each page were said to be designed to complement the reading. For the most part, these footnotes stay away from information that might locate the narrative story of the Book of Mormon in any specific geographical or cultural location, whereas the pictures and photographs are of a varied cultural background. There are various maps inserted with the intention of showing the "relative geographic locations in the Book of Mormon." Judging from their "relative" maps, varied pictures and "young reader" approach, some might assume that Valletta and his assistants are maintaining a textually-correct-but-geographically-neutral atmosphere, but that is not the case.

     On page 592, correlated with Mormon 4:23 where Mormon goes to the hill Shim to get the records left there by Ammaron, there is a picture of Cerro Vigia in Veracruz, a hill many students of Book of Mormon geography have considered as the hill Cumorah where the final battles were fought. In this photo, however, the caption reads, "This is the Hill Vigia in Central America. Ammaron hid the records in a hill." (see illustration below--top) One might ask, When the editors could have picked a photograph of any hill, why would they choose to represent the hill Shim with a picture of Cerro Vigia? Yes Ammaron hid the records in the hill Shim, yet the hill Vigia has never been proposed as the hill Shim, only as the hill Cumorah. Why then is there a deliberate representation yet misrepresentation here? And why such avoidance of a link between the hill Vigia and the hill Cumorah? Why the need to put a picture of the hill Vigia in this book at all when one is just trying to show children what a hill is? Could the implication be to continue to foster a limited hemispheric model in which the story of the Book of Mormon was played out in Central or South America and then the final battles were finally staged around the New York hill Cumorah? That's what seems to be the case.

     On page 597 just under the verse for Mormon 8:2 ("And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah") we have a picture looking back at a hill which very much resembles the hill Cumorah in New York. Under the picture the caption reads, "The Nephites' final battle took place at a hill called Cumorah." (see illustration below--middle) This is exactly the same picture as portrayed on page 137 above a caption which reads:"the Book of Mormon was buried in the Hill Cumorah so that it could be brought forth in the last days as Isaiah prophesied." (see illustration below--bottom) So why does this picture resembling (if not the actual site of) the hill Cumorah in New York have to be put here in this spot? Considering the tone of the book, why can't just any hill do? And why couldn't an actual picture of the New York hill Cumorah be placed instead in the text where Moroni buries the plates on page 665? Once again, the purpose seems to be to foster a limited hemispheric model with a New York hill Cumorah, an approach that has been consistently promoted by the CES in all their manuals.

     While internal maps appear at various locations in the text showing "relative geographic locations" of lands and cities, many of these proposed locations are blatantly misleading according to the relative distances and directions given in the text of the Book of Mormon. These maps not only show striking similarities to Ludlow's internal model published in the 1989 Church Educational System Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 163 (see notation), but seem to lack any effort to improve on that model. Furthermore, if "relative geographic locations" was the intent, then one might ask just why it is that we find an absence of the relative location of the hill Shim or the hill Cumorah, just as they were absent in Ludlow's model? Perhaps it is because the internal references in the Book of Mormon point to a location near the narrow neck. And perhaps it is because, without specifically saying as much, the CES editors here still maintain a concept of the final battles being fought at the New York hill Cumorah (far distant from a narrow neck).

 

[1999      Photo Illustrations      Thomas Valletta      INTERNAL-Hemispheric. H.C. = New York]

     Source: The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, SLC: Bookcraft.

     Top: p. 592--This is the Hill Vigia in Central America. Ammaron hid the records in a hill.

     Middle: p. 597--The Nephites' final battle took place at a hill called Cumorah.

Bottom: p. 137--The Book of Mormon was buried in the Hill Cumorah so that it could be brought forth in the last days as Isaiah prophesied.

 

[1999      Illustrated Model      Thomas Valletta      INTERNAL-Hemispheric. H.C. = New York]

     Source: The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, SLC: Bookcraft, p. 584.

     Relative geographical locations in the Book of Mormon.

 

 

1999      Diane E. Wirth            Book Review: John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America:

                       Visualizing Book of Mormon Life, Provo, Utah: Research Press, 1998.

                       viii + 241 pages ; in FARMS Review of Books, vol. 11, num. 1, Provo:

                       FARMS, 1999, pp. 10-17

 

 

1999      Kenneth A. Godfrey      "What is the Significance of Zelph in the Study of Book of Mormon

                       Geography?" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, Number 2,

                       1999, pp. 71-79.

 

     As a service to historians and students of Book of Mormon geography, Kenneth Godfrey assesses the reliability of the known materials on Zelph. After reviewing the circumstances surrounding the finding of Zelph and the different accounts of the event, Godfrey charts the variations in the sources used to reconstruct the story of the finding of Zelph (see illustrations below).

     In concluding his article, Godfrey says the following:

     Joseph Smith, I believe, would have embraced those who take the Book of Mormon seriously, study it faithfully, and strive to learn all that it has to teach them, including the location of its various cities, battlefields, rivers, and streams. If information on the finding of Zelph is helpful, then we should be grateful that this little-known event in Mormon history happened. . . . I agree with historian Don Cannon [see the notation for Cannon's article in 1995] that "we not reject the story of Zelph and its relationship to Book of Mormon geography;" rather, we should be aware of how the story came to us as well as how it became a part of the history of the church.

 

(See the notation for Godfrey's previous article on Zelph in 1989)

 

[1999      Illustration: Map and Photograph Regarding the Zelph Incident      Kenneth A. Godfrey]

     Page #1      Page #2

Source: "What is the Significance of Zelph in the Study of Book of Mormon Geography?" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, Number 2, 1999, pp. 72-73.

     Top: p. 72 Map of the Zion's Camp Trail. Courtesy Stanley B. Kimball.

Bottom: p. 73 Photograph of one of the largest existing Adena mounds. Minnisburg Mound in western Ohio, measured at least 68 feet high before excavators skimmed off part of the top in 1869. Courtesy Dr. Bruce Smith. The Zelph mound, which no longer exists, would have looked similar. Photograph by Carson Hirschfeld.

 

[1999      Chart      Kenneth A. Godfrey      The Zelph Incident]

Source: "What is the Significance of Zelph in the Study of Book of Mormon Geography?" in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, Number 2, 1999, pp. 78-79.

     Title: Variations in the Sources Used to Reconstruct the Story of the Finding of Zelph.

 

 

2000      Walter F. Gonzalez      Church News, January 1, 2000, p. 6

 

     Walter Gonzalez writes:

     The message of the Book of Mormon has had much appeal to the chldren of Lehi in the Americas and the Pacific Islands. The descendants of Lehi, Mulek and the Jaredites are spread all over the Americas. . . . The Americas, from as far north as Alaska and as far south as La Patagonia, have the blessing of being inhabited by some of the children of Lehi who are many times referred to as Lamanites by the members of the Church.

 

     He then quotes the 1971 Spencer W. Kimball statement (see notation) and then notes: "On a certain occasion, an angel said to Nephi that in our days, we would have 'the mixture of thy seed' in the Americas. (1 Ne. 13:30)"

 

 

2000      LaMar C. Berrett      Sacred Places (vol. 2) New York and Pennsylvania: A Comprehensive

     Larry C. Porter            Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book

                       Company, 2000, pp. 155-156..

 

     Dr. Berrett joined the BYU faculty, teaching at the university for 29 years and serving as the chair of the Church History Department for nine years before his retirement in 1991. After 11 years in the LDS Seminary program, Dr. Porter joined Brigham Young University full-time in 1970 and just recently retired. In their comprehensive guide to early LDS historical sites, they write concerning the Palmyra area of New York, and in particular the "Hill Cumorah":

     The Hill Cumorah and its visitors center are located on State 21, just 2.3 miles north of I-90 at exit 43, on the east side of the road. . . . The Hill Cumorah is referred to as a glacial "drumlin." . . . The Hill Cumorah has a peak about 117 feet GPS (Global Positioning System) above ground level and is one of the highest drumlins in the area.

     In preparation for the final battle of the Nephites and Lamanites, Mormon and his soldiers marched "to the land of Cumorah" and about the hill Cumorah" (Morm. 6:4). Mormon stated that he hid the records of the Nephites "in the hill Cumorah" except for a few plates which he gave his son Moroni (Morm. 6:6). According to Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery declared that the Book of Mormon record "was hid in the earth by Moroni, in a hill called by him, Cumorah, which hill is now in the State of New York, near the village of Palmyra" (APPP 55-56; RSNY 73-74).

[The visitation of Moroni and the translation process of the gold plates is discussed]

     After the golden plates were translated, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery delivered the plates back to the angel Moroni (JS--H 1:60). Brigham Young and others indicated that this exchange with Moroni took place at the Hill Cumorah. The hill apparently opened up and Joseph and Oliver walked into a large and spacious room. Many wagon loads of plates were in the room, and the unsheathed sword of Laban lay across gold plates on a table. The "Messenger" was there to receive the plates (JD 19:38; 4:105; JWW 6:608-9; JJNS Feb. 1874:217). The Prophet Joseph did not detail the circumstances of the return other than to simply say, "When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day" (JS--H 1:60)

 

     Note* No mention is made here of the possibility of any other hill being the "hill Cumorah" mentioned in the Book of Mormon reference to the final Nephite battles and the hiding up of all the Nephite records. Moreover, the inclusion of the Brigham Young "Cave Story" makes it very hard for me to come to any other conclusion than that the writers support the position that the New York Hill Cumorah was the site of the final battles and the repository of all the Nephite records.

 

 

2000^      von Gerhard Alm            Historischer Atlas zum Buch Mormon, Hermannsburg: Albers Verlag,

geog                               2000.

 

Although the manuscript is in German, there is a cover-letter dated November 17, 2000 which is in English. This letter spells out the basics of his geographical approach.

 

[Get Eugene Frishneckt to translate this]

 

 

 

 

2000^      Clate W. Mask      El Rompecabezas de Zarahemla: Ficcion, Fabula O Realidad?

 

     In this internal analysis of Book of Mormon geography (patterned after the Hauck model), Clate Mask, a CES instructor who served in Guatemala as a missionary and in Spain as a mission president uses forty-one different background maps to detail 206 different movements in the Book of Mormon with explanations and scriptural references.

 

[2000      Illustrated Model (206 Movements)      Clate Mask      INTERNAL-Mesoamerican influence (Hauck)]

Source: Clate W. Mask      El Rompecabezas de Zarahemla: Ficcion, Fabula O Realidad?, 2000

 

 

2000      Church Educational System            Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, Salt Lake

                                   City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

                                   2000

 

     In the year 2000, the Church Educational System prepared a commentary for use in all its Seminaries. The Book of Mormon geography map contained in that teacher resource manual is an internal map prepared by Daniel H. Ludlow in 1964, and it has the title, "Possible Book of Mormon Sites (in Relation to Each Other)." A caption at the bottom states: "Possible relationships of sites in the Book of Mormon based on internal evidences. No effort should be made to identify points on this map with any existing geographical location." While locations for the Land Southward (appearing much like the shape of South America) are detailed on this map, the Land Northward is left quite ambiguous and a location for the hill Cumorah (hill Ramah) is conspicuously absent.

 

     Note* For the CES, the official educational system of the Church, to continue to support a poorly constructed (in retrospect) 36 year-old internal map with glaring misrepresentations is disappointing. To continue to state that "No effort should be made to identify points on this map with any existing geographical locations" is even more disappointing, especially in the face of significant scholarly advancements during the decades of the 1980's and 1990's in the understanding of Book of Mormon geography. John Clark (1989), Joseph Allen (1989) and John Sorenson (1990) went to great lengths to explain the process of assembling geographical clues in the text of the Book of Mormon, and then using them to construct an adequate internal map. Apparently, the editors at CES saw no reason to expend any effort in that regard.

 

[2000      Illustrated Model       "Possible Book of Mormon Sites (in Relationship to Each Other)."      INTERNAL--Hemispheric]      

Source: Church Educational System, Book of Mormon Teacher Resource Manual, 2000, p. 291.

Note* This map was originally prepared in about 1964 by Daniel H. Ludlow.

 

 

2000      Jerry L. Ainsworth      The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni, U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing,

                       2000.

 

     Jerry Ainsworth makes a case for Moroni traveling into Mexico and North America to minister unto various Nephite remnants. Among his various scriptural perspectives he says the following:

     When in A.D. 400 Moroni said that he was alone, without "kinsfolk" or "friends" (Mormon 8:56), we should not understand this to refer to all the descendants of those who had migrated northward many generations earlier. Successive migrations over hundreds of years to exceedingly great distance would be difficult to keep track of. Such migrations likely continued even further north than where they first began. The process of eliminating the remaining Nephites--those unwilling to become Lamanites--would have taken the Lamanites more than fifteen years after Cumorah. Though Moroni considered himself completely alone (without "kinsfolk" or friends"), many years later he speaks of the Lamanites putting to death "every Nephite that will not deny the Christ" (Moroni 1:2). Because such righteous Nephites would certainly have been his "friends," that means they were not in the vicinity of the final battle, "Cumorah," or in any of the lands currently known as Mesoamerica--the lands the Nephites occupied during Book of Mormon times. Moroni was now many miles north or northwest of those lands. He had already been to, or was headed for, Manti, Utah, because we know he dedicated the future site of the Manti temple. Some traditions indicate that Mormon was killed in southern Utah.

     In all likelihood, the people of Ammon and the Nephite migrations would have accelerated during the final years of conflict between the Nephites and Lamanites, especially as the threat of Nephite extinction loomed imminent. Perhaps Mormon and Moroni, fearing the "utter destruction" of the Nephites, warned the followers of Christ in the north countries to undertake yet other migrations northward to even more distant locations.

     Anthropological history attests to a whole succession of migrations northward, as wave after wave of the various tribes pushed farther in northern Mexico and deeper into North America (Anawalt, Ecuadorian Presence in West Mexico). . . . The Nephites had abandoned hundreds of cities adjacent to the narrow neck of land, all of which awaited to be claimed. That caused "continual" war among the Lamanites themselves. The Book of Mormon indicates the Lamanites continued to fight among themselves after they had destroyed the Nephites. Historical records indicate this warring between Mayan cities in Mesoamerica continued well into the seventh century.

     Moroni specifies the "face of this land" (Mormon 8:8) in describing the Lamanite wars. He is thus consistent with his father's account (which he is completing) that concerns itself with the history of the Nephites as a nation. Moroni's statement that "there are none that do know the true God" in the land (Mormon 8:10) and other such remarks fall in the same category. They deal with what was occurring in Mexico and Central America among the Nephites and Lamanites, not in distant lands among the migrants. (pp. 203-204)

 

[2000      Illustrated Model (260 Maps & 269 Illustrations)      Jerry L. Ainsworth      LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

     Page #1      Page #2

L.S.=Mesoamerica S. of Isth. of Tehuan. / N.N.=Part of Isth. of Tehuan. / L.N.=N. of Isth. of Tehuan. / H.C.=Cerro Bernal in state of Tamaulipas / North Countries= United States

Source: Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni, U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000.

 

[2000      Illustrated Map: Travels of Moroni after battle of Cumorah Jerry L. Ainsworth]

Source: Jerry L. Ainsworth, The Lives and Travels of Mormon & Moroni, U.S.A.: Peacemakers Publishing, 2000, p. 213.

 

 

2000      Dan Vogel      Early Mormon Documents. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, Vol 3, 2000.

 

     In this extensive collection of primary sources, editor Dan Vogel offers readers a multitude of documents upon which a history of Mormon origins could be based. The obvious advantage here is that with all these sources easily available, comparison and contrast is facilitated. While this is a great collection of documents containing invaluable information in which the source background is noted, in many cases Vogel gives equal weight to all accounts whether from Mormons or anti-Mormons. While for the experienced historian this approach is laudable, for the LDS novice the truthfulness of the accounts is not always easy to ascertain.

 

 

2000      Phyllis Olive      The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon: A Geographical and Historical Study of the

                 Book of Mormon Using the New York Setting at a Time When Primeval Forests and

                 Ancient Waters Filled the Land., Springville, UT: Bonneville Books, 2000.

 

     Phyllis Carol Olive writes the following:

     There have been numerous attempts to locate the lands of the Book of Mormon over the years, but as of yet there has been no direct revelation on the matter. . . Perhaps the time has now come to concentrate more heavily on those lands surrounding the only known landmark we have--the Hill Cumorah in New York state. . . . (Preface)

 

     Olive's line of reasoning for placing the geography of Book of Mormon lands in a limited setting near the Great Lakes is as follows:

     One of the most significant clues to the location of the promised land is the fact that the New Jerusalem will one day be built upon that choice land. The Jaredites were the first to be given this information.

     . . . and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;

     And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.

     And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type. (Ether 13:2,3,6)

 

     This important information was also given to the Nephites. In speaking to the multitude in Bountiful after his crucifixion, the Savior had this to say:

     And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you. (3 Nephi 20:22)

 

     Thus, the scriptures make it abundantly clear that the New Jerusalem will be located in the promised land. Therefore, our search for the location of the promised land itself can be foreshortened considerably if we can first determine just where the New Jerusalem will be located. . . .

     Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of Promise, and the place for the city of Zion. (D&C 57:1-2)

 

     Not only does the Lord pin-point the location of the New Jerusalem in this scripture but forever settles the question as to the location of the land of promise as well. Wherefore, this is the land of Promise, and the place for the city of Zion." He continues on to define its borders:

     Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.

     Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western borders of the state of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. (D&C 84:2-3)

 

     The Lord was discussing the homeland of the Nephite people in these scriptures, for we read:

     Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land and it shall be a land of their inheritance, and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded until the end comes when the earth shall pass away. (Ether 13:8)

 

     Now, if the New Jerusalem is to be built in "this land," as prophesied in Ether 13:8, and we know by modern revelation that the New Jerusalem is to be built in the western borders of Missouri, (D&C 84:3) then-this land-this promised land, must be America. [pp. 19-21]

 

     Note* By her own standards, the promised land of Missouri where the New Jerusalem is to be built does not lie within the boundaries of her map ("this land"). At the general conference of the Church in April, 1844, Joseph Smith declared that all of North and South America comprise the land of Zion (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 362.)

 

(See the notation for D&C 57 (1831), D&C 58 (1831), and D&C 84 (1832). See the additional Olive notation for 2001)

 

 

[2000      Illustrated Model      Phyllis Olive      LIMITED GREAT LAKES      H.C.=New York]

Source: Phyllis Olive, The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon: A Geographical and Historical Study of the Book of Mormon Using the New York Setting, Author, 2000

 

 

2000      Cherry B. Silver      "Connecting the Nephite Story to Mesoamerican Research," Book

                       Review of John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing

                       Book of Mormon Life, Provo, Utah: Research Press, 1998. viii + 241

                       pages ; in FARMS Review of Books, vol. 12, num. 1,Provo: FARMS,

                       2000, pp. 23-34

 

 

2000       George Potter & Richard Wellington      Discovering the Lehi-Nephi Trail (Manuscript)

 

     In the most extensive writings by LDS authors to date on Lehi's travels through Arabia, and with multiple illustrations and maps, George Potter and Richard Wellington substantiate a route from Jerusalem down to the Red Sea to Aqaba, then by and in the Hijaz mountains (borders) of Midian until they came to an oasis called the "Waters of Moses" in wadi Tayyib-al-Ism containing all the elements of the Valley of Lemuel including a continual running stream. Unlike the Hiltons who traced Lehi's journey down the shores of the Red Sea, Potter & Wellington then trace Lehi's group down the Gaza Branch of the Frankincense Trail, first coming to a halt called Segir (Shazer) and passing through the fertility of settled villages called the Qura Arabiuuah ("the Most Fertile Parts") and then through a lesser fertile section of the Trail ("the More Fertile Parts") before coming to a place where Nephi broke his bow. As Lehi's group continued on in desolate surroundings, they turned east at a point on the northern extension of the Nhm territory (Nahom) rather than the previously proposed location of NHM which was located in more southerly fertile regions, and traveled along the borders of the Empty Quarter until finally turning south past the ancient city of Ubar into the Qara Mountains of the Dhofar region of Oman, settling at the ancient port of Khor Rori (Bountiful). Potter & Wellington then investigate the details of ancient shipbuilding and why Khor Rori was a suitable harbor where Nephi could have built and launched his ship (and why he wouldn't have done so at wadi Sayq). This manuscript had been in development for a number of years and was to be the basis for a series of videos, articles and a more simplified published book.

     Note* For the sake of simplicity at the present time, the video series will be listed below. They are all produced by George Potter in conjunction with Timothy Sedor under the organizational name of "Nephi Project":

     Part One: Discovering the Valley of Lemuel, 2000.

     Part Two: Discovering Lehi's Trail & Shazer, 2002.

     Part Three:

     Part Four:

     Part Five: Discovering the Land of Bountiful, 2001.

     Part Six: Discovering Nephi's Harbor, 2001.

 

     Part One: The Jaredites, 2001.

 

[2000      George Potter & Richard Wellington      Gaza Branch of the Frankincense Trail--> Khor Rori]

     Map Showing the Trail Taken by the Family from Jerusalem to Bountiful.

     Source: George Potter & Richard Wellington, Discovering the Lehi-Nephi Trail (Manuscript), 2000, p. 260.

 

 

2000      John L. Sorenson      Mormon's Map, Provo: FARMS, 2000.

 

     John Sorenson writes: "'Mormon's Map' shows the most plausible arrangement of Nephite and Lamanite geographical features based on all the information in the record of Mormon and his son Moroni2." Sorenson then uses 17 maps to illustrate the geographical scenarios he paints with scriptural verses and reasoning.

 

[2000      Illustrated Model (Multiple Maps)      John L. Sorenson      INTERNAL-Limited Mesoamerican influence]

Source: John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Map, Provo: FARMS, 2000, Inside Cover.

 

 

2000      Michael Marquardt      H. Michael Marquardt, "Note on Early Book of Mormon Geography,"

                       http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/resth1b.htm.

 

     Michael Marquardt details an 1830 newspaper article reporting on the missionary labors in Ohio of Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt, of whom it was said preached about the Indians "whose ancestors landed on the coast of Chili 600 years before the coming of Christ." This information about "Chili" predated the Frederick G. Williams document of 1836.

 

(See the notations for 1830, 1831, 1836, 1845, 1880, 1909)

 

 

 

2000^      Embaye Melekin            Manifestations Mysteries Revealed: An Account of Bible Truth and the

                              Book of Mormon Prophecies. Toronto: Embaye Melekin, 2000.

 

 

     In the Forward Embaye Melekin writes:

     This book is a fulfillment of the prophesies of our forefathers. It analyses the Book of Mormon in its entirety and proves that the provisions in the book were exclusively written to our African ancestors and were meant to reach us through the Gentiles or the white people.

 

     After citing 1 Nephi 10:11-14, Melekin writes on page 83:

     These prophecies were made around the year 590 BC. Lehi, our original father and ancestor who migrated to Africa from Jerusalem, with his children, knew that there would be a Messiah that will come over to save mankind.

 

     [p. 182]

     The Lamanites were too numerous and very ferocious people. Their number had increased tremendously. There is no doubt that this statement agrees with the number of darker people in Africa. A greater mass of black Africa inhabited by the darker Africans. In fact, their expansion must have reached across the width of the continent and expanded to the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.

 

     [p. 249]

     The record shows that the African people, the Nephties and the Lamanites, fought bloody wars against each other, repeatedly. At an instance, Mormon, being the commander of the Nephties, wrote to the King of the Lamanties and asked him to permit him (Mormon) to gather together all his people to battle the Lamanties. The king granted him his request and Mormon brought all his people together unto the land of Cumerah. There is a city called Humerah on the borders of present day Eritrea.

 

     Note* It is interesting that Melekin initially spells Cumorah as "Cumerah" which he equates with a city called "Humerah." But then he quotes the book of Mormon 6:9-15 wherein we have the correct spelling of "Cumorah."

 

     This is a chilling account of what happened to the Nephites, as narrated by the commander of the army, Mormon. this could be verified from the history of Eritrea. There were stages in our history when the entire population was almost wiped out by the darker people of the continent.

 

 

 

 

2001      T. Woodrow Huntamer & Godfrey J. Ellis      Mapping Lehi's Promised Land: New Findings with

                                          Parallelistic Analysis (Manuscript)

 

     Huntamer and Ellis first develop the thesis that if the inspired translation preserves the parallelistic patterns of the Nephite language, this might also suggest that there are hidden treasures of geographic knowledge awaiting discovery. They then go on to analyze the parallelistic features that facilitate interpretation in a number of geographical passages in the Book of Mormon and illustrate what they have said with maps. Their work-in-progress offers hope for future insights.

 

 

2001      Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson      1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of

     and Anthony E. Bentley                  Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust:

                                         500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon.

                                         Salt Lake City: Envision Press, 2001.,

                                         pp. 322-323, 166-167.

 

     The Book of Mormon records that due to the wickedness of the Nephite civilization they were destroyed by their brothers the Lamanites. The final battles of this unholy war took place near a hill that was called Cumorah. At Cumorah, hundreds of thousands of Nephites were slain, and the prophet/historian Moroni buried the history of his people in that hill (Mormon 6:2-15; 8:1-5). Hundreds of years later, that same history was unearthed in upstate New York, by the boy prophet Joseph Smith and translated to become the Book of Mormon (Joseph Smith--History 1:51-52).

     When Joseph Smith made his "fantastic" claims and published the Book of Mormon as an ancient history of the American Indians, some scoffed at the idea that a major battle had anciently taken place in the local vicinity. However, evidence was soon produced that documented that this region of the country did indeed once possess a heavy Indian population, and that a terrible battle had taken place in that locality.

     Writing in 1851, E. G. Squier says that in the region: "Human bones of men, women, and children of both sexes were thrown together promiscuously by the thousands." He notes large quantities of pottery, pipes, flint arrow-heads, stone hatchets and other implements were also found there. He further states that the ancient relics unearthed in the vicinity (which he estimates to be several hundred years old) showed considerable evidence of Hebrew origin. (See E. G. Squier, Antiquities of New York, 1851, pp. 137-138.)

     In New York State Bulletin #2 it is documented that several miles south of "Mormon Hill," as it was then called, a site was found where flint arrowheads and spear points and many unfinished weapons were found in great abundance. All of the above sources are cited in Brenton G. Yorgason, Little Known Evidences of the Book of Mormon, 1989, p. 10.)

 

     Critics have attempted to prove the Book of Mormon false by arguing that the Hill Cumorah (near Manchester, New York, where Joseph Smith unearthed the Golden Plates of the Book of Mormon [see Joseph Smith--History 1:51-52]), is too far away from Central America where the events of the Book of Mormon are supposed to have occurred. Some Book of Mormon scholars have answered this criticism by suggesting that the location of the Hill Cumorah is actually in Central America or Mexico, and that the plates were later moved to New York in preparation for their translation by Joseph Smith. However, the real Hill Cumorah could indeed have been in the state of New York where Joseph Smith was shown the gold plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon.

     [They then quote from the 1980 article by Hugh W. Nibley, "The Book of Mormon and the Ruins; the Main Issues" (N-BMA, Nibley Archive, Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, University Station, Provo, Utah, July 13, 1980, pp. 5-6: "Cumorah, a Hill Too Far?--SEE QUOTE]

 

 

2001            Joseph L. Allen      (Letter from Langdon Smith), "No Artifacts at Cumorah" in The Book

                             of Mormon Archaeological Digest, Vol. III, Issue I (Feb. 2001), p. 5.

 

     Joseph Allen, the editor of The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest writes, "The following is part of a letter sent to us by Langdon Smith of New Haven, Vermont:

     Working with state archaeologists I get to see things the average person does not see. A while ago I saw the state site map for the state of New York. With my interest in history and pre-historic times, I looked around Palmyra. South of Syracuse on the east below this area there were several campsite areas as well as below Rochester to the west, but up around the Palmyra area it is several miles to the closest listed sites. . . . Having this interest in artifacts out I drove to the Cumorah area. I have made the seven-hour drive twice to search out these supposed battle areas. It was in the early planting season. The fields had been recently worked and planted. It was the ideal time, for it had just recently rained. There are some areas which cannot be searched, such as the pageant seating area and the parking area. About half of the area around the Hill is plowed (see map of area enclosed).

     I searched the field on the east then went to the farm north of the Hill . . . I did not find one single piece of evidence of any kind. There were not any arrowheads, nor were there any pieces of broken flints that would have been left over from making points--the waste. . . . People do not generally pick up the waste materials. . . . There is about 75-85 percent waste in making artifacts.

     Before one of my trips, I received the name of a man from a friend. His name was J. [Sheldon] Fisher, an 86-year-old retired New York State archaeologist. He owns what is called the Valentown Museum. It is a large three story barn just full of antiques and all kinds of prehistoric artifacts. He is not a member of the church, but [I] asked him about Mormonism in that area of Cumorah. It is unbelievable what he knows about history, etc. . . . He stated that he had a standing agreement with all of the bulldozer and backhoe guys. They would be doing jobs in the general area. Many times, he said, "I would beat them to the job." But, of all these years he had never found any kind of artifact around the hill [Cumorah] area. He had read the Book of Mormon trying to figure it out. I have spent several hours talking with him on the area's history. His comments always come down to, "There just aren't any artifacts of the kind spoken of in that book around that hill. Oh, I hope this doesn't shake your faith." My remarks were,"It sure doesn't. The Church is still true. The Book is the second witness, and it came from that hill. But the battle, well, it must have been fought at some other hill." ["No Artifacts at Cumorah" in The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest, Vol. III, Issue I (Feb. 2001), p. 5]

 

[2001      Illustration: Langdon Smith's Hand Drawn Map of the Area of the Hill Cumorah in New York. Joseph L. Allen (Letter from Langdon Smith), "No Artifacts at Cumorah" in The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest, Vol. III, Issue I (Feb. 2001), p. 5.]

 

 

2001      Phyllis Carol Olive            The Lost Tribes of the Book of Mormon: The Rest of the Story,

                             Springville: Bonneville Books, 2001

 

     This book is a sequel to Phyllis Olive's 2000 publication. It essentially contains more of the same type and quality of arguments regarding the "correlation between the Nephite nation and the Mound Builders of the eastern United States." (See the notation for 2000)

 

 

2001            Joseph L. Allen      "Letters & Commentary" in The Book of Mormon Archaeological

                              Digest, Vol. III, Issue II (June 2001), p. 14.

 

     The following letter is printed:

From:      Richard W. Jackson

           Salt Lake City, UT

 

     . . . I obtained a TIME-LIFE book titled Mound Builders and Cliff Dwellers . . . It tells of two groups of native Americans that settled at the mouth of the Mississippi River and expanded northward clear to southern Canada. One, the Adena, started about 500 BC and ended about AD 100. The other, the Hopewell, started about 50 BC and ended about AD 400.

     I send you herewith a print of the map contained in the interesting volume for your review. It is interesting to note that four Hopewell sites and one Adena site are located in western New York. Also one of each are located only about ten miles apart and about five miles away from the Hill Cumorah. . . .

 

     Joseph Allen, the editor of The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest responds:

     Thank you for your letter and the map, which we have included with your letter. . . . The evidence of one small camping Adena site and four Hopewell sites DOES NOT establish the New York area as the place where the great Lamanite/Nephite Cumorah battle was fought. Nor does it take the place of the Olmec [Jaredite] evidence in the Gulf of Mexico . . .

     [In addition to evidence related to Nephite times] Any criteria of Book of Mormon study should at least answer the following [Jaredite time period] questions in an affirmative manner:

Is there evidence of a high civilization living in New York from 1200 B.C. - 300 B.C. that:

A. built buildings?

B. had a written language?

C. had a centralized government with kings?

D. had a religious hierarchy with prophets and priests?

E. developed a systematic trade system that included silks, agriculture products, mining, etc.?

F. manufactured tools to till the earth and weapons with which to fight?

G. had a city/state located by both a gulf and a narrow neck of land?

H. had a land southward where wild animals lived?

I. shows archaeological evidenced with large building and Jaredite name correlations?

J. has hills and waters with the names Shim and Ripliancum?

 

     All of these evidences exist among the Olmecs of the Gulf Coast, and none of them existed in the area on the map in western New York, which shows one Adena camping site or the four camping sites of the Hopewell. The camp sites probably never exceeded more than 500 people per site. On the other hand, over 2 million Jaredites had been destroyed near the hill Cumorah prior to their last civil war (Ether 15:2, 8, 11).

     Why would anyone propose New York to be lands of the Book of Mormon by suggesting that a few mounds would establish the identity of the last Nephite/Lamanite battle ground. Your map shows that the bulk of the Adena and Hopewell lived in OHIO, not New York. If tradition did not take us to New York, we would never consider that area as the final battle ground of the Jaredites or the Nephites/Lamanites.

 

[2001      Illustration: Map displaying regions of the eastern United States showing groups of mound builders. All solid squares are Hopewell sites. Only 4 out of 50 are in New York. Joseph L. Allen, "Letters & Commentary" in The Book of Mormon Archaeological Digest, Vol. III, Issue II (June 2001), p. 14]

 

 

[2001      Joseph L. Allen      "Proposed Book of Mormon Sites,"      LIMITED MESOAMERICAN]

     Source: Joseph L. Allen, Book of Mormon Tours. (This is an update of the model proposed in 1989.)

 

 

2001      Scott Woodbury      DNA and the Book of Mormon, address delivered at the 2001 FAIR

                       Conference

 

 

2001      Bruce S. Sutton      Lehi, Father of Polynesia: Polynesians are Nephites, Orem: Hawaiki

                       Publishing, 2001.

 

 

2002      Edwin Goble and Wayne May      This Land: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation. Published by Ancient

                              American Archaeology Foundation. Printed by Hayriver Press,

                              Colfax, Wisconsin, March 2002, pp. 10-13.

 

     In the Introduction to their book, Edwin Goble and Wayne May detail a continuing evolution to the Limited North America concept of Book of Mormon geography:

     This book shows that the Hill Cumorah where the Nephites were destroyed really was in New York, and that the heartland of the Nephite culture, being the Land of Zarahemla, was not too far from it.

     For over 100 years, the majority of people did not doubt that Cumorah was really in New York, and the prophets were consistent in their teachings about that fact. The only things that was ever in doubt was how far south the rest of the lands mentioned in the Book of Mormon were from Cumorah in New York. The popular theory that the Land Southward including Zarahemla was in Mesoamerica (Southern Mexico and parts of Central America) started in 1842 with some speculation in the church. Later, certain people identified the Isthmus of Panama as the "obvious" narrow neck mentioned in the Book of Mormon. From this promiscuous mix of speculation spawned the idea that the Book of Mormon Lands covered the whole hemisphere.

     Then the Mesoamericanists came along with the idea of a theory that the Book of Mormon Lands only took up a few hundred miles. They believe that Cumorah and all the rest of the lands were actually down in Mesoamerica, so they have dispensed entirely with a Cumorah in New York State. . . . [but] thanks to the many hours of research from the Mesoamericanists, we recognize the Book of Mormon Lands didn't take up the whole hemisphere, but that the text demanded a more limited area than that.

     Next, it was Delbert Curtis who was the first to recognize the Niagara Peninsula as the Narrow Neck of Land. . . . It was truly unfortunate, however, that Curtis dismissed the Manti site in Missouri, which could have led him much further along to the whole picture.

     Duane Aston was the first to recognize that the word Niagara means "neck." Then, Duane Erickson was probably the first to break away from the extremely limited and untenable models of the New York Geographies, and paved the way for the more broad, but still limited, geographies that fit much better with the internal evidence from the Book of Mormon.

     With the broader limited geographies one comes to understand how people could fill the whole face of the land. One can also understand how there was "an exceedingly great distance" between the Zarahemla/Nephi area and the Land of Many Waters, but it was still a relatively limited area. It was Duane Erickson who was the first to recognize the Sidon as the Mississippi. We have built on his pioneering to show that the place name indeed shows this to be the case. Duane also recognized that Zarahemla, Iowa mentioned in D&C 125 was the ancient site of Zarahemla as well, or at least, was in the area of it. . . .

     It is unfortunate that all past researchers have failed to deal with the Manti in Missouri site for one reason or another. Finally the true nature of the head of the Sidon and its vicinity has been identified. . . . We were able to show how that Manti fits with the internal evidences and how it also fits with Erickson's Zarahemla site in Iowa. . . .

     Our theory was the first to show how the whole Great Lakes System was the West Sea spoken of. We have shown that the ancients did not regard these as separate bodies of water, but as one great whole, for it was the "sea" that divided the land, not seas. . . .

     We have shown that things must actually date to the correct time period. The mistake made by others was to not take into consideration what the artifacts date to. We have shown things are controversial and have not been redeemed by science yet. We recognize that these cannot be regarded as "evidence" yet. In spite of that, these artifacts still demand further research and cannot be dismissed out of hand, as they have a high probability of being real. Just test them is all we ask This book has shown that the Hopewell-Adena were indeed the Book of Mormon peoples, and that the artifacts one uses as potential Book of Mormon artifacts must date to the right time period and be from the right area.

     Unlike previous researchers, we have directly challenged the notions of the Mesoamericanists and taken their dogmatism head-on . . . If the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) is going to spend large sums in their research in Mexico, all we ask is that they spend an equal amount of money on the United States.

      

     Note* In their own book Goble and May relate how the artifacts which they put forward have been rejected as frauds by the scientific community and by an LDS authority specifically assigned to investigate them (Talmage). Terryl Givens notes the following specifics in the Talmage situation:

     In 1890, a series of small relics and artifacts had been found in Montcalm County, Michigan, marked with hieroglyphics. By 1908, other finds included copper plates with depictions of the Flood and other Old Testament material. Several of these "Michigan relics" ended up in the collection of Daniel Soper and Father James Savage, who believed "they were dealing with remains relevant to the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel." Recognizing the potential relevance to Book of Mormon historicity, the LDS Deseret Museum sent James E. Talmage, geologist and future apostle, to investigate. In spite of the relics' potential, in Talmage's words, to confirm "much of the history in the Book of Mormon," he examined the evidence and dismissed them as patent forgeries. (Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 108)

 

     Goble and May also cite their rejection by scholars at FARMS. They also even agree that the cultures of the area do not match the time periods of the Book of Mormon. They want investigation but ignore those such as presented in the 1991 AAF Symposium presentation by Van Pelt and Smith--see notation). In a recent publication David C. Asay writes the following:

     In recent years there was a Church sponsored project which included infrared aerial photography of the Palmyra, New York area seeking any evidence of fortifications. When I asked a Church official who was involved in this project what they found, he replied, absolutely nothing. He further stated that not only did they not find any evidence of fortifications, but they found no evidence of any large population groups to inhabit the area during Book of Mormon times. ("Why Study Book of Mormon Geography?" in a pamphlet of The Book of Mormon Archaeological Foundation inaugural luncheon, April 19, 2002)

 

     As a follow-up to Asay's article, I called him and discussed the source of his information. He said that he had talked to T. Michael Smith, an archaeologist of the Church Family Historical Department. I subsequently made a telephone call to Mr. Smith in which he verified numerous site surveys, but no infrared aerial photography or use of sophisticated equipment. He said no official archaeological dig had ever been done. However he noted that the ground in the area had been disturbed any number of times with farming and with the bulldozers and equipment needed to put in facilities like light poles and parking lots required for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. He said that as far as he knew, no artifacts had ever been found that might indicate that this was a scene of such final battles described in the Book of Mormon either for the Jaredites (Hill Ramah) or the Nephites (Hill Cumorah). (Telephone conversation with T. Michael Smith, April 22, 2002)

 

(See the notation for 2001)

 

 

 

[2002            V. Garth Norman                  LIMITED MESOAMERICA]

Note* This Book of Mormon map was produced by V. Garth Norman in 1990 from his manuscript works as the archaeologist guide for a Mesoamerican/Book of Mormon tour with Ricks Tours, and revised in 2002. It is based on comprehensive Book of Mormon contextual analysis, place name linguistic analysis with Biblical geographic archetypes, Mesoamerican ethnohistory, environmental geography, geology, and archaeology. Major lands and features are labeled while numbers relate to specific locations. In an accompanying Gazetteer, scriptural references are noted and also related archaeological sites.

Source: V. Garth Norman

 

(See the notation for 1974)

 

 

2002^      Earl M. Wunderli            "Critique of a Limited Geography for Book of Mormon Events," in

                              Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 35, No. 3, Fall 2002,

                              pp. 161-199.

 

     Earl Wunderli writes a critique of a Limited Mesoamerican setting for Book of Mormon geography, or more especially a critique of John Sorenson's model from an internal perspective. He writes the following:

     A limited geography model could solve . . . problems raised by the Book of Mormon text, including . . . the presence of large populations of other peoples that cannot be explained by reproduction rates of the Book of Mormon peoples alone. It relieves the Nephite text of dealing with Asian migrations across the Bering land mass long before the Jaredites arrived thousands of years later. These migrations in turn explain the 1500 or so Indian languages that could not all have derived from Lehi's Hebrew in a mere thousand years. These earlier settlers become the pre-existing peoples that the Nephites and Lamanites encounter and incorporate (but without scriptural mention) there by accounting for the large implied populations in the Book of Mormon. A limited geography located in Mesoamerica also satisfies the clues int he book about distances, climate, terrain, directions, and other geographical factors. Indeed, LDS scholars can even correlate archaeological findings with cities, river, mountains and other geographical features mentioned in the Book of Mormon. . .

     The Book of Mormon seems directly to assert that the entire Western hemisphere, and most especially North America, was the promised land given to Lehi and his descendants. It describes a narrow neck of land connecting a land northward with a land southward that fits Panama and North and South America, but not the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and southern Mexico and southern Guatemala.

     Sorenson and other LDS scholars have recognized that the traditional hemispheric model no longer works, but their solution of a limited geography model does not work either. Sorenson's model requires contorting terminology and text to make a case riven by esoteric complication. His model wanders far afield from what the Book of Mormon straightforwardly describe. It solves many problems with the hemispheric model but only at great cost to the Book of Mormon's internal reliability as scripture, as a book that presumably means what it says. [p. 197]

 

     Wunderli makes a number of good arguments. A few of Wunderli's pertinent comments are as follows:

     [Sorenson's] particular [Limited Mesoamerican] model seems to be the only one to have gained a following. William Hamblin in "Methodological Problems," 171n34, considers the "four most important recent" LDS works on Book of Mormon geography to be Sorenson's An Ancient American Setting and A Source Book; John E. Clark, "A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geographies," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1 (1989): 20-70; and David Palmer, In Search of Cumorah (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon, 1981). [p. 169]

 

     Note* Both Clark and Palmer pattern their models after Sorenson.

 

     The Book of Mormon itself challenges two major aspects of the limited geography model: first, the validity of any model smaller than a hemispheric model; and second, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec as the narrow neck of land. The internal evidence also challenges the survival of Jaraedites and the presence of other peoples to mix with the Nephties and Jaredites. This casts further doubt on the limited geography model but is beyond the scope of this paper. . . . [p. 172]

 

     Since the Book of Mormon provides no distances whatever, they must be calculated by how long it took to travel from one place to another. . . . [Besides Zarahemla and Nephi] the distance between no other two places is defined by a specific number od days' travel time except for one or one and a half days' journey across the narrow neck (Alma 22:32; Hel. 4:7; see The Narrow Neck of Land below), and the meaningless distance of three days' travel time between Melek and Ammonihah. . . . [p. 173]

 

     Note* This comparison is anything but meaningless, for the three days it took to reach Ammonihah from Melek would be twice the time it took someone to travel the width of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Twice the width of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is 2 X 130 miles, or 260 miles, which is roughly the distance between Guatemala City (Nephi) and the Chiapas Depression, where Zarahemla is located. It took Alma 21+ days to reach Zarahemla from Nephi. If real topography can account for how Sorenson resolves such differences then insight can be gained.

 

     Wunderli quotes a number of scriptures that deal with the "land of promise" as a "choice land" and that whatever nation possesses it "shall be free from bondage, and from captivity," and that it will be the location of the New Jerusalem. He then writes:

     In short, after the biblical flood, the Jaredites were the first people to arrive in the western hemisphere. They occupied the choicest land on earth, on which the New Jerusalem would someday be built. They were to become the greatest nation on earth. This is all consistent with a continental geography but hardly descriptive of a colony in southern Mexico surrounded by earlier arrivals. [p. 176]

 

     Concerning the land southward he writes:

     If South America was the land southward, it meets the requirements of Alma 22:32 precisely. It is surrounded by water except where Panama, a narrow country, links South America to Costa Rica and the rest of Central and North America. Thus, South America is "nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward," which alone prevents it from being completely surrounded by water. it is as if Joseph Smith all but named South America as the land southward.

     What is puzzling is why Sorenson believes southern Guatemala and southern Mexico meet these requirements at all. Both have the pacific Ocean on one side; southern Mexico has the Gulf of Mexico (more specifically, the Gulf of Campeche) on the other side, and southern Guatemala the Caribbean Sea, although it not clear that Sorenson extends the land of Nephi in southern Guatemala all the way to the sea. In any case, neither individually nor together are they "nearly surrounded by water." . . . the Gulf of Tehuantepec hardly pinches the southern coast of Mexico enough to form what anyone would describe as a neck, let alone a "small" or "narrow" neck either absolutely or relative to the lands on either side of it (its total width is "120 miles on a straight line") [pp. 184-185]

 

     In this same book [An Ancient Setting . . .], in another context, Sorenson seems to define a day and a half's journey as about 40 air miles, and this "under pressure." At ibid., 175-76, he puts "the waters of Mormon 'in the borders of the land' of Nephi" at Lake Atitlan, so that "Nephi at Kaminaljuyu [Guatemala City] would be approximately 40 air miles from Lake Atitlan," which is "approximately two days of routine travel, or one and a half under pressure." Should we assume from this that the "narrow neck of land" should be about 40 miles wide at most, which is about the width of Panama, rather than 120 or 125? . . . [p. 186n60]

 

     It is not "apparent" that the narrow pass is different from the narrow neck. None of the passages Sorenson cites, nor anything else int he Book of Mormon, suggests that the narrow pass differs from the narrow neck. . . .

     n. 63. Ibid., 43. Sorenson's narrow pass averaging a couple of miles wide within the narrow neck as the only reliable passage year round does not help his argument that Limhi's search party passed through the narrow neck without knowing it because it was so wide. Sorenson could argue, however, that the search party passed through the narrow neck and back again during the dry season and by another route, from which they could not see the sea on either side of them, whereas the Morianton affair occurred during the rainy season when he was limited to one route through the narrow neck. But if there were other routes through the narrow neck, the Lamanties had only to wait for the dry season to attack at the narrow neck to reach the land northward. Also, nothing is said in the Book of Mormon about a dry or rainy season. [p. 189]

 

 

 

 

2002^      Joseph L. Allen      Video: Lehi's Land of First Inheritance Book of Mormon Archaeological

                       Foundation

 

     In a very professional presentation produced by David Asay and assisted by Chris Heimerdinger, and representing the first part of a projected multi-part video series, Joseph Allen very adroitly lays out four basic criteria that must be adhered to before anyone proposes the location for Book of Mormon lands in the Americas: (1) Written Languages; (2) Archaeology; (3) Culture & History; and (4) Geography. He then shows how evidence points toward Mesoamerica as the lands of the Book of Mormon in general, and how the archaeological site of Izapa, near Tapachula, Mexico on the Pacific coast close to the border of Guatemala presents the best evidence for Lehi's land of first inheritance in the New World.

 

 

2002      Terryl L. Givens      By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New

                       World Religion, New York: Oxford UP, 2002; 320 pp.

 

     In a book review by Richard H. Cracroft, BYU English professor emeritus, in BYU Magazine, he writes the following:

     Turning to nonfiction, I recommend By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion . . . a landmark study of the Book of Mormon, the likes of which we haven't seen since Hugh Nibley's classic Lehi in the Desert and the World of the Jaredites (1952). Author Terryl L. Givens, '81, professor of English at the University of Richmond (Va.), declares it high time for the world to take the Book of Mormon and its contents seriously and undertakes to "examine the initial shape and subsequent transformations of the Book of Mormon, how it has been understood, positioned, packaged, utilized, exploited, presented and represented, by its detractors and its proponents" and to survey the book's "shifting relationship to LDS doctrine and proselytizing, its changing status and reputation among theologians and scholars, and explore what impact its obtrusive presence may have on Christian conceptions of scripture, of revelation, and of the canon" (p. 6) of holy writ. . . . (winter 2003, vol. 57, num. 1, p. 63).

 

 

 

     In August of 1921, James Talmage received a letter from a young member named William. E. Riter. Riter, a 20-year old botany student at Utah State Agricultural College in Logan had been studying the Book of Mormon during a summer project with James Couch, a 33-year old non-Mormon chemist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture who had been conducting research at the USDA station in Salina, Utah. Mr. Couch had proposed a number of questions that the young Riter couldn't answer regarding the culture portrayed in the Book of Mormon, so he forwarded some of them to Elder Talmage. One of the questions asked why there was so much diversity in Indian languages if they were all descendants of the Lamanites. Talmage forwarded the letter to B. H. Roberts in a normal fashion, however Roberts had a difficult time answering the letter to his own satisfaction: "I found the difficulties more serious than I had thought." After a delay of some months he asked the First Presidency if he might present to them his results. In two long sessions on January 4-5, 1922, B. H. Roberts presented his response to these scholarly difficult-to-answer questions regarding the cultural and geographical background of the Book of Mormon: "These questions are put by me . . . to bring to the consciousness of myself and my brethren that we face grave difficulties in all these matters. . . . I am sure that neither an appeal to the books written by men, nor even to the books of scripture now in our possession, will solve our present difficulties."

     According to Roberts, these difficulties were answered with "faithful testimonies," a response which disappointed him. The following week (January 9) he wrote a follow-up letter to President Grant in which he said: "I was very greatly disappointed over the net results of the discussion. There was so much said that was utterly irrelevant, and so little said if anything at all that was helpful in the matters at issue that I came away from the conference quite disappointed."

 

     Even though Roberts did not publish these papers (they would not be published for another six decades ), the Brethren were put on notice that there were some Book of Mormon geographical and cultural questions that could be a concern at that time.

     One of the cultural questions that Roberts dealt with has interesting implications because it reveals the traditional cultural views of the time within the Church regarding the populating of the American continent. By the turn of the twentieth century, archaeology had identified the ancestors of native Indians as nomadic hunters who crossed the Bering Strait during an ice age approximately 15,000 years ago, long before the Jaredite and Lehite migrations from Israel described in the Book of Mormon. Roberts outlined the problems in view of the traditional Mormon perspective:

     But what is required is that evidence shall be produced that will give us an empty America 3,000 years B.C., into which a colony from the Euphrates Valley (supposedly) may come and there establish a race and an empire . . . with a highly developed language of that period; then, after an existence of about sixteen or eighteen hundred years shall pass away, become extinct in fact, as a race and as a nation; this about 600 B.C., leaving the American continents again without human inhabitants.

     Then into these second time empty American continents--empty of human population--we want the evidence of the coming of two small colonies about 600 B.C., which shall be the ancestors of all native American races as we know them . . . Can we successfully overturn the evidences presented by archaeologists for the great antiquity of man in Ameirca, and his continuous occoupancy of it, and the fact of his stone age cultuer

 

     Thus, the prevailing Mormon tradition of the time that both the Jaredites and the Lehites came to a pristine continent, devoid of people ran into problems not only with archaeology, but with the diversity of tongues in the New World. In pondering whether there was any way to escape from these difficulties, Roberts considered a modified limited-hemispheric geography:

     "Can we answer that the Nephites . . . occupied a very much more restricted area of the American continents than has heretofore been supposed" [and thus] "leave the rest of the continents--by far the greater part of them say--to be inhabited by other races, speaking other tongues, developing other cultures, and making, though absolutely unknown to Book of Mormon people, other histories?" [FROM WHERE IS THIS QUOTE TAKEN?]

 

 

     Roberts asked if it was reasonable to think that Book of Mormon people, part of the time numbering millions and occupying the land at least from Yucatan to Cumorah, and this during a period of at least a thousand years . . . [could] live and move and have their being in the land of America and not come in contact with other races and tribes of men." He thought that "to make this possible, the area occupied by the Nephites and Lamanites would have to be extremely limited, much more limited, I fear, than the Book of Mormon would admit of our assuming.

[WHAT FOLLOWS BELOW IS SOLELY GIVENS' CONCLUSIONS AND DOES NOT SEEM TO BE VERIFIED ANYWHERE]

 

     In other words, Roberts seems to have reasoned that the geography of the Book of Mormon would have to be much more restricted than even the modified traditional distance from Central America to New York that he had proposed. ???) Thus while inhibited by the authoritative statements that had preceded him, Roberts nevertheless seems to have been contemplating an "extremely limited" setting. Such a setting, a limited-Mesoamerican setting, had already been introduced by RLDS scholar Louis Hills in 1917 and LDS scholar Willard Young in 1921 in a presentation to the Book of Mormon committee seeking scholarly input on what to do with the geographical footnotes that Orson Pratt had inserted into the 1979 edition of the Book of Mormon--footnotes that postulated a hemispheric setting.

     Without revealing the depth of discussion that Riter's questions had engendered, and with the assistance of Anthony Ivins, James Talmage and John A. Widtsoe, Roberts wrote a measured letter back to Riter. He declared that the problem of many languages deriving from one was "not that unsolvable." He said that oral language might change quickly and that people speaking in different tongues may have come to North America during the thousand years from the end of Nephite history (A.D. 421) to the coming of Columbus (1492). He also suggested the "possibility that other groups of people may have inhabited parts of the Americas, contemporaneously with the people chronicled in the Book of Mormon, though candor compels me to say that nothing to that effect appears in the Book of Mormon."

     

 

Sources: ^Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 106-112; See also ^George D. Smith, ""B. H. Roberts: Book of Mormon Apologist and Skeptic," in Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe eds., American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002, pp. 123-156.

 

 

 

 

 

2002      S. Kent Brown      "New Light from Arabia on Lehi's Trail," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book

                 of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W.

                 Welch. Provo: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Brigham

                 Young University, 2002, pp.

 

 

2002      John E. Clark      "Evaluating the Case for a Limited Great Lakes Setting," in FARMS Review of Books,

                 Vol. 14, numbers 1-2, 2002, pp. 9-77

 

     Review primarily of Duane R. Aston, Return to Cumorah: Piecing Together the Puzzle Where the Nephites Lived, Sacramento, Calif.: American River Publications, 1998. ix + 197 pp., with 16 maps, 23 illustrations, bibliography, and subject index.

     Also Paul Hedengren, The Land of Lehi: Further Evidence for the Book of Mormon, 2nd ed., version 2.3. Provo, Utah: Tepran, 199, 160 pp., with 33 maps, 25 illustrations, and subject index.

     Also Phyllis Carol Olive, The Lost Laneds of the Book of Mormon, Springville, Utah: Bonneville Books, 2000, xiii + 333 pp., with 40 maps, 9 illustrations and bibliography.

 

 

2002      Robert A. Pate            Mapping the Book of Mormon: A Comprehensive Geography of Nephite

                       America,, Logan, Utah: The Alma Jacob Pate Family in cooperation

                       with Salt Lake City: Cornerstone Publishing & Distribution Utah, 2002.

 

 

 

 

2004^      James E. Faust      "The Keystone of Our Religion," Ensign, January 2004, pp. 3-6.

 

     In the lead article of the January issue of the Ensign, initiating a year in which the Church would focus their study on the Book of Mormon, President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency would say the following:

     It is important to know what the Book of Mormon is not. It is not primarilly a history, although much of what it contains is historical. The title page states that it is an account taken from the records of people living in the Americas before and after Christ. It was "written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. . . . And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations."

     George Q. Cannon (1827-1901), First Counselor in the First Presidency, stated: "The Book of Mormon is not a geographical primer. It was not written to teach geographical truths. What is told us of the situation of the various lands or cities . . . is usually simply an incidental remark connected with the doctrinal or historical portions of the work." ("The Book of Mormon Geography," Juvenile Instructor, Jan. 1890, p. 18)

 

     Note* See the Faust notation for 1983 and the Avant notation for 1992.

 

     Note* There is another article in this Ensign in which a Mayan member talks about the Book of Mormon as the history of his people FIND

 

 

2004^      Bruce E. Dana            Glad Tidings Near Cumorah: Firsthand Accounts of Sacred Places, Angelic

                        Visitations, and Ancient Relics, Springville, Cedar Fort, 2004, pp. 55-60

 

     Bruce Dana quotes from a variety of historical sources concerning the happenings associated with the New York Hill Cumorah. Among his pertinent comments are as follows:

     Though the Prophet Joseph Smith has stated that the Hill Cumorah is located near Manchester, New York, there are various people who believe that this hill is actually located outside of the United States. Regarding this thinking, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith says:

      "Within recent years there has arisen among certain students of the Book of Mormon a theory to the effect that within the period covered by the Book of Mormon, the Nephites and Lamanites were confined almost entirely within the borders of the territory comprising Central America and the southern portion of Mexico--the isthmus of Tehuantepec probably the 'narrow neck' of land spoken of in the Book of Mormon rather than the isthmus of Panama.

     This theory is founded upon the assumption that it was impossible for the colony of Lehi to multiply and fill the hemisphere within the limits of 1,000 years, or from the coming of Lehi from Jerusalem to the time of the destruction of the Nephites at the Hill Cumorah.

     Likewise they say that "migration, building of cities, and the wars and contentions, preclude the possibility of the people spreading over great distances. . . " (Doctrines of Salvation, Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, Compiled by Bruce R. McConkie, Volume 3, p. 232.)

 

     It needs to be emphasized that this type of thinking has been circulated and promoted for nearly fifty years. Various writings have been published to prove this theory. In these publications, various authors use geological data and photographs to support their claim. "Because of this theory," says Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, "some members of the Church have become confused and greatly disturbed in their faith in the Book of Mormon." (Ibid., p. 233)

 

[Dana continues to quote from Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation]

 

     Dana then continues:

     We . . . discover that individuals who lived near the Hill Cumorah also believed that this was the place where Joseph obtained the plates. In a Young Woman's Journal, dated 1898, it reads: "The readers of this Journal have heard much of the history of the Hill Cumorah, or, as it is better known to those who live at its base, 'Mormon Hill.' . . . Cumorah, to us, is what Sinai was to Israel. . . . "(A. P. Kesler, Young Woman's Journal, 9:73, February 1898) . . .

     In support of what was printed in the first publication of Young Woman's Journal, Brother Andrew Jenson in a General Conference in 1917 said, " . . . it is within the present boundaries of that mission that the so-called 'Mormon' hill, the Hill Cumorah is located." (Conference Report, April 8, 1917, p. 99)

     From these writings we find that the hill that the Prophet obtained the gold plates from has been referred to as "Gold Bible Hill," "Mormon Hill," and in our day, commonly called the "Hill Cumorah." Accordingly, those members of the Church who believe that Joseph Smith Jr. is a prophet of God should discredit all people who theorize that the Hill Cumorah is located outside of the United States. As to where it is located, we conclude are [our] study of its location by using the words of Joseph: "Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size" (Joseph Smith---History 1:51)

 

 

 

2004^      E. Keith Howick            Challenged by The Book of Mormon, St. George, Utah: WindRiver

                              Publishing, 2004, pp. 68-69, 309.

 

     This book is a series of questions, crossword puzzles, word-searches, etc. games. On page 68 is found a map of the Western Hemisphere with the locations marked pertaining to a series of numbered questions found on page 69. The following are the numbered questions with the answers in brackets. I have approximated the locations cited on the map in italics. (See the map below for reference):

 

     259. Where is the Hill Cumorah located? (Testimony-JS) [Manchester, New York]. The dot points to Manchester, New York.

     260. In 29 B.C. (the time of Nephi II and Lehi), what was the land south called? (Hel. 6:10) [The land of Lehi] The dot is in South America.

     261. Was the land northward or southward cursed at Nephi III's time? (3 Ne. 3:24) [Northward] The dot for the land northward is in the United States.

     262. The Nephites and the Lamanites were divided by what river? (Alma 22:27) [The River Sidon] The dot for the River Sidon is located on what would be the Amazon River.

     263. Where did Limhi's people eventually go when they left the Lamanites? (Mosiah 22:13) [To Zarahemla] The dot for Zarahemla is approximately where Bolivia is located.

     264. Alma is the first to mention what distinctive and unique geological land feature? (Alma 22:32) [The small neck of land.] The dot for the small neck of land is located in Panama.

     265. What did the Nephties call the land where they found the Jaredites' bones? (Alma 22:30) [The land of Desolation] The dot for the land of Desolation is located just south of Venezuela in what would be the Amazon Jungle.

     266. Coriantumr fled from Shiz to what large body of water? (Ether 15:8) [The waters of Ripliancum] The dot for the waters of Ripliancum is where the Great Lakes are located.

     267. Before Jesus' death, which directions could the Nephties travel that would take them to the sea? (Hel. 3:8) [All four, or East, West, North, South, or all directions.] From a dot placed in the middle of South America, the reader can supposedly go in the four cardinal directions and reach seas or oceans.

 

[2004      Map: Geographical Map Where are We? E. Keith Howick, Challenged by The Book of Mormon, St. George, Utah: WindRiver Publishing, 2004, p. 68]

 

 

     Keith Howick then writes this note on Book of Mormon geography:

     While it is fun to try to place the geography of the Book of Mormon on modern maps, it is probably impossible to determine exactly where any given location actually existed. We must remember that "the whole face of the land was changed" (3 Nephi 8:12) at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus. The problem is made worse because Mormon, like us, lived after these changes--so he was editing records that described geographical features that he did not recognize.

     This issue is perhaps most evident in the story of Limhi. Limhi's people found the Jaredite ruins in a land of many waters, but the only location in the Western Hemisphere that seems to fit this description is the Great Lakes region. If this is where the jaredites lived, then the people of Limhi and the Jaredite nation were separated by 3,000 miles or more. Being lost in the wilderness as Limhi's people were, they would have required years to find and return the Jaredite records.

 

 

 

2004      Randall K. Mehew            Ancient Testament From a Land of Promise: Historical Highlights of

                              the Book of Mormon, Orem: Millennial Press, 2004.

 

2006^      Todd Jumper            "Cumorah Research - Where is Cumorah?" www.toddjumper.com/cumorah/research2.htm

 

 

 

     Appendix: Thematic Listings

 

     (1) Early comments relating the New York hill with the term "Cumorah" (see the following early notations:

 

1823      Lucy Mack Smith (abt. Joseph), "The History of Lucy Smith ca. 1845," manuscript in LDS

           Church Archives

1827      Lucy Mack Smith (abt. Joseph), Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His

           Progenitors for Many Generations (Liverpool, England: S. W. Richards, 1853)

1829      Orson Pratt & Joseph F. Smith (abt. David Whitmer), Millennial Star 40 (1878), p. 722.

1831      Parley P. Pratt (abt. Oliver Cowdery), Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, SLC, 1938, pp. 55-56

1834      Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 1:10. Original in the LDS Church Archives.

1835      Oliver Cowdery, Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, pp. 158-159

           (Reprinted in The Improvement Era 2, 1899, pp. 729-734)

1835      Edward Partridge, "The Journal of Bishop Edward Partridge" (Provo), 22-23

1842      Joseph Smith, D&C 128:19-20, September 6, 1942

 

 

     (2) Cave Story references implying the hiding up of all the Nephite records in the New York hill:

 

1835      Possible reference by Oliver Cowdery (Patriarchal Blessings Book, Vol. 2:28)

1849      Reference to stories abt. treasures in the Hill Cumorah (Manuscript History of the Church)

1849      Reference to stories abt. treasures in the Hill Cumorah (Quorum of the Twelve Minutes)

1855      W. W. Phelps story from Hyrum Smith (quoted in William Horen Dame Diary)

1856      Heber C. Kimball speech (at the Bowery, SLC, in Journal of Discourses 4:105)

1866      Article by Orson Pratt abt. the grand repository of records (Millennial Star, 28)

1867      Reference to Heber C. Kimball speech (Brigham Young Manuscript History)

1869      Reference to Brigham Young School of the Prophets speech. (Wilford Woodruff Journal)

1870-71 Interview of David Whitmer ( Edward Stevenson later published in 1893)

1873      Reference to Brigham Young story (Elizabeth Kane Journal)

1873      Reference by Orson Pratt to records slumbering in Hill Cumorah (Journal of Discourses 16:57)

1874      Reference to Brigham Young speech at Cedar City (Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith)

1877      Brigham Young Speech (at Farmington, Utah, in Journal of Discourses 19:37-38)

1877      2nd version of Brigham Young speech at Farmington ("Life Sketch of William Blood")

1878      Interview with David Whitmer (Edward Stevenson, later published in 1893)

1878      Interview with David Whitmer (Joseph F. Smith and Orson Pratt, Millennial Star 40)

1882      Article by Orson Pratt abt. repository of records ("Cumorah," The Contributor)

     

 

     (3) The following are direct references as to the Hill Cumorah and the final battles being in New York:

 

1835      Oliver Cowdery      Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, pp. 158-159

                             (Reprinted in The Improvement Era 2, 1899, pp. 729-734)

1835      W. W. Phelps            Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, November 1835, 2:221.

1838      (abt. Joseph Smith)      Samuel D. Tyler, Manuscript History Sept 25, 1838, p. 829, Book B-1

1840      Orson Pratt            An Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, and of the

                             Late Discovery of Ancient Records, 1840. Third American

                             edition, New York, 1842, p. 18.

1853      Heber C. Kimball      Journal of Discourses, 2:220, 13 August 1853.

1866      Orson Pratt            Millennial Star 28 (16 June 1866),

1866      Orson Pratt            Millennial Star (28 (27): 417), July 7, 1866

1866      Wilford Woodruff (abt. Heber C. Kimball), Wilford Woodruff's Journal 6:305, December 17, 1866

1868      Orson Pratt            Journal of Discourses (Liverpool) 1869, vol. 12, pp. 340-342

1872      Orson Pratt            Journal of Discourses 14 (11 Feb. 1872), pp. 324-331, 333

1873      Brigham Young, Jr. and George Q. Cannon      The Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star,

                                         (35 (33): 513-16), Tuesday, August 19th, 1873

1877      Edward Stevenson      Reminiscences of Joseph the Prophet and the Coming Forth of the

                       Book of Mormon (S. L. C.: Edward Stevenson, 1893), pp. 14-15.

1879      Orson Pratt            Book of Mormon (Geographical Footnotes), 1879-1920

1899      Oliver Cowdery      The Improvement Era 2, 1899, pp. 729-734

                       (Reprint of Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, pp. 158-159)            

1900      George Reynolds      Complete Concordance of the Book of Mormon, SLC: Deseret Book,

1906      George Albert Smith      "The Hill Cumorah," Juvenile Instructor, Vol. XLI, No. 5,

                             Salt Lake City, Utah, March 1, 1906, pp. 129-130.

1908      Editor            "Editorial Thoughts: The Ricks Map," Juvenile Instructor, Vol. XLIII, Salt Lake

                       City, Utah, September 1, 1908, p. 355.

1923      Joseph Fielding. Smith      Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 242.

1928      B. H. Roberts            The Deseret News, 3 March 1928

1928      President Anthony W. Ivins      "The Hill Cumorah," Improvement Era 31, 1928, pp. 674-681

1938      Joseph Fielding Smith            The Church News, September 10, 1938

1941      E. Cecil McGavin and Willard W. Bean      "Cumorah-Land, An Ancient Battlefield," in The

                                   Improvement Era 44, September 1941, 526, 571-72.

1941      J. Golden Kimball      N. B. Lundwall, Temples of the Most High, SLC: Bookcraft, 1941, p. 52.

1948      E. Cecil McGavin and Willard W. Bean      Book of Mormon Geography, SLC: Bookcraft

     Note* This book was supported by Levi Edgar Young and Mark E. Petersen.

1952      Hugh Nibley

1953      Mark E. Petersen      LDS Conference Reports, Sunday afternoon, April 5, 1953

1954      Joseph Fielding Smith      Church News: Deseret News, February 27th, 1954, p. 2

1956      Joseph Fielding Smith      Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, Bookcraft, 1956, pp. 232-243

1957      George Reynolds      Complete Concordance of the Book of Mormon, SLC: Deseret Book

1958      Bruce R. McConkie      "Cumorah" in Mormon Doctrine

1975      Marion G. Romney      "America's Destiny," Conference Report, October 1975, p. 51-53;

                             or Ensign, November 1975, pp. 35-36.      

1978      Editorial      Church News, July 29, 1978, p. 16

1989      Church Educational System      Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122

1990      Office of the First Presidency      Letter to Bishop Darrel Brooks, October 16, 1990

 

 

     (4) The following is a chronological listing of those authoritative statements which primarily comment on the origin of the American Indians:

 

1830      Revelation to Joseph Smith (D&C 28:8-9, September)

1830      Revelation to Joseph Smith (D&C 32:2 October)

1830      abt. Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery,Peter Whitmer, Jr., Ziba Peterson & Frederick G. Williams

     (Observer and Telegraph 1, 18 Nov.), Hudson, Ohio.

1831      abt. Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Ziba Peterson & Sidney Rigdon (The      Telegraph 2, 15 Feb.) Painesville, Ohio, typed copy.      

1831      Revelation to Joseph Smith (D&C 49:24, March)

1831      Revelation to Joseph Smith (D&C 54:8, June)

1831      Josiah Jones, "History of the Mormonites," Kirtland

1831      W.W. Phelps (abt. Joseph Smith), Revelation? given to Joseph Smith, July 17, 1831

1833      Joseph Smith, Letter to N.C. Saxton, editor of American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer,

1833      W. W. Phelps, Editor, Evening and Morning Star, February-July 1833

1834      Joseph Smith, Jr., Letter to Emma on 4 June, 1834 while marching with Zion's Camp

1834      Multiple People (abt. Joseph Smith), Zelph Incident (Multiple Sources) June 2-3

1835      (abt. Orson Pratt), Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, vol. 1 February, no. 5, p. 77

1835      W. W. Phelps, Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, vol. 2 November, no. 14, p. 221.

1837      Parley P. Pratt, Elder's Journal of the Church of Latter Day Saints, vol. 1, No. 1,

1840      Oliver Cowdery, "Rise of the Church," Times and Seasons, Vol. 2 No. 4,

1841      Benjamin F. Winchester, Gospel Reflector, March 15, 1841, p. 124

1841      ?? "American Antiquities      More Proofs of the Book of Mormon," Times and Seasons June 15,

1842      Joseph Smith, Jr. Church History," The Times and Seasons vol. 3 no. 9 (1 March ),

1848      Orson Pratt, Millennial Star 10 (22, 15 November), pp. 346-347

1866      Orson Pratt, Millennial Star 28 (16 June 1866),

1871      Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 14:10; 19 Feb. 1871

1873      Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 16 (May 18, ), pp. 56-58

1881      Orson Pratt, Discourse delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, September 18, 1881. Journal

     of Discourses , [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], vol. 22, p. 226

1909      B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, vol. 3, Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909.

1922      B. H. Roberts, 141-Page Report on "Book of Mormon Difficulties"

1925      J. M. Sjodahl, "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon," in Millennial Star 87, February 26, 1925,

1927      ***Janne Sjodahl, "Suggested Key to Book of Mormon Geography," The Improvement

     Era, 30, September 1927, 974-87, 1002.

Sjodahl broke new ground in Book of Mormon scholarship by stating that not all American Indians are descendants of Lehi or Mulek and their companions, but that there were probably many other immigrants to America besides those reported in the Book of Mormon.

 

1927      J. M. Sjodahl, An Introduction to the Study of the Book of Mormon,SLC: Deseret News Press,

1954      LeGrand Richards, Israel! Do You Know?, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.,

The dark-skinned people who occupied this land of America from that time on were called "Lamanites," who are the people known generally as the American Indians, all of whom are of the house of Israel.

 

1954      Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, . Salt Lake City:Bookcraft, vol. 1, p. 151.

1959      Spencer W. Kimball, "To You . . . Our Kinsmen," Gen. Conf., Improvement Era (Dec.),938.

1964      Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man, Salt Lake City: Desert Book Co., pp. 46-48.

1964      Berkley A. Spencer, "The Book of Mormon and New World Archeology."

1967      Spencer W. Kimball, "The Lamanites: Their Burden Our Burden," BYU (4/25/67)

1971      Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Lamanite Youth Conference (4/24/71);

1981      LDS Church, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

 

 

     (5) References concerning a Hemispheric Theory of Book of Mormon geography in which Lehi landed in South America, the narrow neck of land was at Panama, and the final battles were at New York:

 

1979      Orson Pratt (LDS Book of Mormon footnotes)

.

.

.

.

1977      Cecil Le Poideven

 

     (6) References concerning a Modified Hemispheric view of Book of Mormon geography in which the narrow neck of land is stretched to encompass all of Central America, producing a boundary line between the land of Desolation and the land of Bountiful at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. This view still maintained that the Hill Cumorah was in North America, specifically in New York:

 

 

1842      John Taylor or Joseph Smith in the Times and Seasons

1844      Joseph Smith spoken to Mosiah Lyman Hancock

1844      Joseph Smith spoken to Charles Lowell Walker

1900      Reference in the Benjamin Cluff Expedition to Anthony Ivins and others

1909      B. H. Roberts

1927      Janne Sjodahl

1938      Lynn Layton (corroborated by an undated subsequent paper)

1958      Riley Dixon

 

     Note* The extended narrow neck idea was incorporated into two "internal" maps, however both of these authors also supported the Limited Mesoamerican view. These authors were:

 

1957-63 Joseph E. Vincent

1959      Hammond

 

     (7) References concerning a limited Mesoamerican view of Book of Mormon geography:

 

1917            Louis Hills RLDS

Pre-1920      Willard Young

1927            Stuart Bagley

1927            Jean Driggs

193?            Wells Jakeman

1947            Thomas Stuart Ferguson

1949            Bruce Warren

1950            Walter Stout

1951                  (RLDS)

1954            Norman Pierce

1955, 1974      John L. Sorenson

1964, 1968      Sidney B. Sperry

1974            Garth Norman

1981            David A. Palmer

1988            F. Richard Hauck

1989            Joseph L. Allen

2000            Jerry L. Ainsworth

 

     (8) References concerning a limited North American view of Book of Mormon geography, still maintaining the Hill Cumorah specifically in New York:

 

1993            Delbert Curtis

1995            Paul Hedengren

1995            Duane Erickson

1998            Duane Aston

2000, 2001      Phyllis Olive

2002            Edwin Goble and Wayne May

 

     (9) References that concern Authoritative statements linking the Polynesian people to Hagoth or to Lehi:

 

1843      The First Missionaries Are Sent to the Islands of the Pacific

1858      Brigham Young, Journal History, 1858, Church Historian's Office

1879      George Q. Cannon, My First Mission, Salt Lake City, 1879.

1890's      Francis Kirkham, Ian G. Barber, "Mormonism Among the Tangata Whenua." Hawaii, June 1990

1913      Stuart Meha & Elwin W. Jensen, "The Personal Testimony of Stuart Meha," Waipawa, H.B., New

           Zealand. A signed manuscript, recorded May 20, 1937, in the Missionary Journal, First

           Mission, Elder Elwin W. Jensen, Salt Lake City.

1916?      Joseph F. Smith, The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Vol. 7, p. 25 (1916), Salt Lake City.

1946      Spencer W. Kimball, Missionary Setting Apart for Robert E. Parsons

1950      Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki:Across the Pacific by Raft, translated by F. H. Lyon, Garden City New York:

            Garden City Books, 1950.

1954      Matthew Cowley, Matthew Cowley--Speaks, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1954, pp. 114-16.

195??      Hugh B. Brown, David W. Cummings, Mighty Missionary of the Pacific, Salt Lake City:Bookcraft, 1961,

           See also Paul R. Cheesman and Millie Foster Cheesman, Early America and the Polynesians,

           Provo: Promised Lands Publication, 1975.

1958      David O. McKay, "Dedicatory Prayer Delivered By Pres. McKay at New Zealand Temple," Church

           News, 10 May 1958, 2, 6.

1958      Gordon B. Hinckley, "Temple in the Pacific," Improvement Era, (July 1958) 61:506-509, 538.

1971      Spencer W. Kimball, "Of Royal Blood," Lamanite Youth Conference (4/24/71); Ensign, July 1971, 7.

1972      N. Eldon Tanner & Marion G. Romney, "Letter of Correspondence on letterhead of the First

           Presidency," September 6, 1972.

1975      Paul and Millie Cheesman, Early America and the Polynesians, Provo: Utah: Promised Lands

           Publication, Inc., 1975.

1976      Spencer W. Kimball, Talk to the Samoans, 1976, as cited by Paul and Milllie Cheesman, Early

           America and the Polynesians. Provo: Utah: Promised Lands Publication, Inc., 1975, p. 15.

1992      Robert E. Parsons, "Hagoth and the Polynesians," in The Book of Mormon: Alma, The Testimony of

           The Word, Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1992, p. 260.

2001      Bruce S. Sutton, Lehi, Father of Polynesia: Polynesians are Nephites, Orem:Hawaiki Publishing, 2001.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Notes