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The Mexican Book of Mormon

Disclaimer: The following post is not political in nature. It is a not a "brown power" or "la raza" manifesto; nor is it intended to be an endorsement or condemnation of illegal immigration into the US. This post is speculative in nature and does not represent the official position of any church. This post is also not an attempt to prove that Joseph Smith Jr was a true prophet of God. We can't prove the Book of Mormon true but we can prove it interesting. 

Who cares about the geography of the Book of Mormon? Does it have a salvific or applicable value? No, from an eternal perspective, Book of Mormon geography is completely irrelevant. The Book of Mormon exists to bring people to Christ, so that they might repent of their sins and follow Him into the waters of baptism. That's it. Nevertheless, some people really like the Book of Mormon and want to know more about it and the people who wrote it. That's where geography comes in.

Just as knowing about the Roman empire and first century Judaism can inform our readings of the New Testament, just as ancient near eastern geography and and a knowledge of Canaanite and Babylonian religious texts can inform our readings of the Old Testament and just as 19th century American history and geography can enrich our readings of the Doctrine and Covenants, having a credible geography of the Book of Mormon lands can give us richer readings of the text for with such knowledge we can lean on the religious writings and practices of neighboring or participating cultures. As someone once said, "a text without a context is a pretext". Besides, if the Book of Mormon has any historical value then it had to have happened somewhere, right?

I personally believe that John L. Sorenson has figured out the correct general paradigm for where in the Americas the Book of Mormon events happened, Veracruz, Chiapas and Guatemala. I believe this is the case because as I read the BoM with that scheme in mind and compare the text to what we think we know from archaeology, for the proper time and place, the text makes more sense to me; there are productive convergences in the movements of people in time and space. A Mexican setting for the Book of Mormon also makes certain prophecies make more sense.

The Lord has said that in the latter days "the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose"(D&C 49:24); Mormons currently have 13 temples in Mexico  and 6 temples in Central America, Certain prophecies in the Book of Mormon(3 Nephi 20:16; 3 Nephi 21:12) also make a lot of more sense when viewed in light of Mexican and Central American immigration trends in the US. However, I don't see similar things happening for the Iroquois or Seminoles. 

Below are some of my Mesoamerican posts, almost none of them represents an original thought as they are mostly a regurgitation of Brant Gardner, John L. Sorenson, Mark Wright and Kerry Hull. Though I do have a few originals in there;)

Book of Mormon Map

Book of Mormon Geography: An Important Note on John L. Sorenson's Geography 

Olmecs, Jaredites and Convergences

The Book of Jacob: Polygamy and Social Stratification

The Prophecy of Aminadi: What, When and Where? 

Archaeology and the Book of Mormon: Thoughts on Sorenson's Basic Paradigm 

A Tale of Two Rivers: The Limhi Expedition 

The Function of Towers in the Book of Mormon

The Amlicite War as Peasant Revolt: Class Warfare in the Book of Mormon

The Helaman Migration and the Mixe-Zoqueans of Central Mexico

The Book of Mormon as History: Assassination and Reconquest

Zarahemla and Pompei: Volcanoes in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon Volcanoes

Mormon, Sambaj and Jerusalem

The Gadianton Robbers and Teotihuacan 

The Nephite Religions

The Book of Mormon and Ancient Calendars

The Nephite Sacred Bundle

Paralleled Speech: Hoisting and Planting 


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Book of Mormon Geography: An Important Note on John L. Sorenson's Model

Anyone who has read An Ancient American Setting for The Book of Mormon, Mormon's Codex or Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life, or anything else by John L. Sorenson, will notice that he leans on the work of the New World Archaeological Foundation(NWAF). This is because he places the Nephite heartland in the central depression of Chiapas, with the River Sidon being the Grijalva River. 
For me, the convergances in cultural development and in the movements of people, between the Book of Mormon and this region of Mesoamerica, in time and space, stretching from Veracruz, Oaxaca, Chiapas to Highland Guatemala, are impressive. 
As I'v said before, Sorenson's paradigm owes much to the NWAF, a legitimate and respected archeological franchise. Speaking of the his experience with the NWAF, non-mormon archeologist, Michael Coe says:

When I was a graduate student writing my dissertation on very early cultures in the south coast of Guatemala, it was suggested to me…

Failed 19th Century Attempts at Describing Nephi's Arabian Journey

Modern critics of the Book of Mormon seem to agree that Nephi's inland route of travel, through Arabia, is basically correct, in light of what we know today. 
After fleeing Jerusalem and then leaving their initial base camp, Lehi's family travels in a south-southeast direction, following the coast of the Red Sea. One of the elders of the group dies and is buried in "the place which was called Nahom". Up until this point, the group had named their various stopping points, but the record uses the passive tense here to show that it already had a name. After their stay in Nahom, Lehi's group then travels "nearly eastward", paralleling the frankincense trail, traveling "through affilction", until the reach a lush and verdant coast they name Bountiful. The above correlation with ancient Arabia is strong, as one critic acknowledged:
Among critical historians who accept that the BoM arose as a modern production of Joseph Smith, two main theories have b…

The Prophecy of Aminadi: What, When and Where.

Aminadi was a prophet of God. At around 82 BC, his descendant, Amulek, tells us that he, Amulek, was the son Giddonah, who was the son of Ishmael, who was a descendant of Aminadi, the same Aminadi who interpreted the writing on the temple wall, which was written by the finger of the Lord.

What Amulek and, by extension, Mormon do not tell us is what was written on the wall, nor when or where it was written. Presumably, this was insider information, something Amulek's audience was already aware of. 
The mere mention of Aminadi and his interpretation, without giving more information, shows that the incident was a sufficiently important historical event, whose details did not need rehearsing. However, the setting, time and message of the divine temple inscription might be recovered with the use of archeology. The following is something from the great Michael Coe:
Archeologist Marion Hatch and her Guatemalan colleagues have encountered evidence for the existance of a now-extinct lake ar…