Ever since the Book of Mormon first came off the press, the Saints have been wondering just where on earth the saga played out in the Book of Mormon took place. All they knew for sure was that Book of Mormon placed it someplace in a land the Lord called a land of promise, a land choice above all others, a land all Book of Mormon geographers place in America-the place of the future site of the New Jerusalem. It was initially thought the entire Western Hemisphere should be included, with North America being the land northward, and South America being the land southward, with the narrow Isthmus between thought to be the narrow neck of land spoken of in the scriptures. But then things changed and the setting began to be pared down, for it became all to obvious that Book of Mormon geography did not entail such a large area
Over the course of the next 100 years, seventy different locations were proposed, with all but a handful still featuring a Central or South American setting for the Book of Mormon. As time went by and the more prominent Book of Mormon scholars chased their smaller competitors away, Mesoamerica took over as the most widely accepted location for Book of Mormon events. Much of their reasoning focused on the exotic pyramid shaped temples found in Mesoamerica, thinking them to be the remnants of the ancient Nephite civilization. Mormon art even began to portray Book of Mormon scenes in Mesoamerica amid the palm trees and stepped pyramids which modern research now validates were used to worship the sun, not the Savior, and were stained with the blood of human sacrifice.
By the close of the last century however, Book of Mormon theorists began to look more closely at the New York setting for the Book of Mormon, including myself. In 1998 the fist of my own series of books on the subject came out on the subject which paced Book of Mormon territory exclusively in Western New York. The first book, The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon, quickly became a best seller, for the Saints had been searching for an alternative to the Mesoamerican setting for a long time, for far too many inconsistencies existed in that region and the text of the Book of Mormon.
A decade later, the Heartland theory began its rise to prominence, a theory which places Book of Mormon territory in the heartland of America to both sides of the Mississippi River after a migration from the Gulf Coast across the Mississippi to Missouri. Unfortunately, war broke out between the two sides, each vying for top position in the fight over Book of Mormon geography.
In trying to decide the best way to show the many differences between all three major setting, I decided to put it all altogether in video form, for a visual tutor is often much better than words, at least in this instance, for the lands and seas of the Book of Mormon have to been seen to get the full effect. Rather than use words, which are often seen as contentious, when critical points of geography show up, I have simply chosen to use little faces that will appear at the appropriate time and give approving or disapproving looks. While I in no way intend to disparage the findings of the various authors of other theories, for they are all good an honorable men, the differences between our settings need to be explored in our quest for the lost land of the Book of Mormon. Thus, watch and enjoy and then decide for yourself which best meets the various scriptural requirements laid out in the Book of Mormon.
- The Shifting Focus of Book of Mormon Geography
- The Hill Cumorah