Joseph Smith's Earliest Opinions Regarding Book of Mormon Geography


After the Prophet Joseph Smith translated Mormon's metal codex, he naturally had assumptions about where it all took place. Here is a sampling of some of his earlier opinions, taken from the Joseph Smith Papers website. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion of this topic, I refer you to Matt Roper(Click Here).

"The Camp passed through Huntsville in Randolph County which has been appointed as one of the Stakes of Zion, and is the ancient cite of the City of Manti and pitched tents at Dark Creek"(JSP).

"The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social honest men and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionaly the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity"(JSP).

"When we arrived at Col. Lyman Wight’s, who lives at the Foot of Tower Hill. {a name I gave it in consequence of the remains of an old Nephite Altar or Tower} where we camped for the sabbath"(JSP).

It seems from this, admittedly small and maybe unrepresentative, sample that Joseph's earliest belief was that the Book of Mormon events took place in North America, on what is now the United States. However, in other posts, I have shown that the Book of Mormon fits nicely into Mesoamerica.

Translators can't be blamed for not knowing what their authors know. As a reader and not a writer of the Book of Mormon, Joseph believed what other 19th century American readers believed. They believed that it all happened on the ground they were standing on.

However, the geography and, most importantly, cultural developments recorded in the Book of Mormon(literacy, city building and large movements of people for the right times) fit ancient Mesoamerica and not the United States. Joseph didn't know that; no one did.

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