Response to George Potter's "Ten Reasons why Mesoamerica is Not Book of Mormon Lands"

Response to George Potter's "Ten Reasons why
Mesoamerica is Not Book of Mormon Lands"

by BMAF Staff
March, 2012

George Potter has made some amazing discoveries on the Arabian peninsula in the past, and provided some great evidences of The Book of Mormon. He has produced several videos, and published material on his findings which support the authenticity of The Book of Mormon. His contributions have helped our understanding of Lehi’s trail after he left Jerusalem, greatly. We have always been a fan of his work and greatly respect the man. That is why we were so surprised to see him produce a very inaccurate list of reasons why The Book of Mormon could not have taken place in Mesoamerica. He seems to have thrown out all logic when writing this list and didn’t bother to actually research the Mesoamerican position, and if he had, then he chose to ignore it. His list is so full of flaws that it actually reminded us of reading anti-Mormon literature. He holds the Mesoamerica position to a set of standards that his own position cannot live up to, all the while mis-representing the Mesoamerican position. We are severely disappointed at the tactics he uses to bolster his own theory. Everyone is free to believe what they want in regards to Book of Mormon geography because there is no revealed doctrine on it’s whereabouts, that is not the issue. We really don’t care where others believe The Book of Mormon took place, but we do have issue when people negatively mis-represent our views to make it seem like it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, when in fact it fares pretty well.

We will briefly address his list of 10 reasons why The Book of Mormon could not have happened in Mesoamerica. While no geography is 100% perfect, many of the reasons he gives are erroneous and need to be corrected. Most of the reasons he gives could just as easily be turned and used against his theory which makes me wonder why he brought them up in the first place. We don't want this to turn into a battle of theories but would just like to correct the mistakes he has made.

1. Jaredites built several city states in the Americas during the 3rd millennium B.C. (Ether 7) The earliest Olmec cities were built around 1200 B.C. (1500 years of history missing).


The earliest Olmecs do not date to 1200 B.C. as Potter suggests, but date much earlier. The Early Preclassic, or pre-Olmec occupation dates much later to “2250-1150 B.C.”1 This fits directly in to the time period that most place the Jaredites, yet Potter was either unaware or chose to ignore this information. There is also evidence of people inhabiting that area thousands of years prior to the Early Preclassic. Soil cores were taken just 5 kilometers from the Olmec city of La Venta and they “yielded domesticated maize pollen around 5000 cal. B.C., domesticated manioc pollen dated to 4600 ca. B.C., and maize macrofossils around 2500 cal. B.C.; pottery dates to 2300 B.C.” 2 Not only were people inhabiting that area during Jaredite times, they were inhabiting the area for millennia before the Jaredites entered the scene.

There is evidence that the Jaredites might have come much earlier than previously thought. The book of Ether gives us enough information in the king3 and genealogical list to reconstruct a chronological timeline to determine when the book of Ether took place. Using this list Brant Gardner places the reign of Jared’s son, who is the first on the king list, between 1120-1090 BC. In a Mesoamerican setting (and most elsewhere for that matter) the average reign of a king or queen is approximately 35 years. There are around 30 Kings mentioned in the book of Ether which seems to be accurate due to the fact that most use the term who was the “son of” when referring to lineage. There are 3 instances where the word “descendant” of is used, but later in the text we find that 2 out of the 3 instances when the genealogy is given, the person actually is the “son of” instead of just a “descendant”, thus probably eliminating the possibility of a large amount of lost time between Kings.

Using the book of Ether as a guide, this would place the Jaredite civilization starting a little over a millennia before Christ, not 2700 BC as Potter states. Gardner writes “Even with the apparently continuous and firm ‘son of’ connections in this king list, the Mesoamerican data encourage caution. It is possible that the genealogy has been manipulated in some way. Still it is the best indication of dating we have. Ether certainly accepted this list, and it provides the clear structure for his historical narrative. While the king-list could be in error, it is internally consistent and there is no obvious reason to call it into question. I believe it provides a reasonable structure for reconstructing estimated time.”5

So what about the tower of Babel? If the Jaredites left after the confounding of languages, wouldn’t that place it much later? Gardner states “As for the Tower of Babel, Nibley suggested that it was a tower, but not necessarily Babel. I hypothesize that the references to Babel are part of Mosiah's interpretation during his translation (Moroni indicates that some was untranslated because it was similar to the brass plates).”6
2The Jaredites wrote on plates of gold (Mosiah 8:9;21:27). No gold was mined or refined in Mesoamerica until circa 700 A.D.

This topic will be addressed later in the article, but the only mention of plates of gold isn’t made until around the first century B.C. when Limhi’s people stumble across 24 plates of gold of the Jaredites while looking for Zarahemla. There is no mention of the Jaredite plates in the book of Ether, but only much earlier in time in the book of Mosiah. They were not around in late Jaredite times as Potter would have us believe.

3. The large Olmec stone heads resemble African faces, not the large hawk-nosed faces of someone of Middle Eastern descent. Olmec DNA samples confirm that the Olmec had African origins.


While some of the Olmec heads resemble African faces, there are others that do not. While we only have a handful of these enormous heads to look at, we have countless other smaller artifacts and face masks that do not look anything like Africans, yet we assume because either of their size or the fact that they oppose Potters hypothesis, they are ignored. A simple Google search will pull up numerous Olmec artifacts which do not resemble Africans. The theory that the Olmec came from Africa was originally taught by archaeologists in the nineteenth century who saw superficial similarities between a couple of Olmec carvings and Africans, and was later popularized by a man named Ivan Van Sertima in 1978. He made several outlandish claims in an attempt to draw a connection between Africa and the Olmecs which have been shown to be either inaccurate or flat out wrong by modern archaeologists. Yet, some still cling to the idea that there is a connection between the two cultures using the same logic that men did over a century ago, without reading what the latest research says. These superficial similarities are based on only two facial traits, a flat nose and broad lips, while ignoring the mountains of evidence to the contrary.  If the Olmec actually did come from Africa, we would be able to find corroborating evidence to support the claim other than a quick glance at a couple carvings. Experts have looked into this claim and have found no evidence to back it up. They would be able to tell by looking for African morphology in skeletons that have been found. Yet “no demonstrably pre-Columbian skeletons have been found in the New World whose anatomical characteristics would suggest an African source.”9  Archaeologist Kenneth Feder has examined the claim of African origin for the Olmec and found it to be wanting. He wrote:

  “Beyond this, if we are going to rely on morphological features to determine the continent of origin of the models for the sculptures, it must be pointed out that the heads show flat facial profiles, similar to the profiles of the Native Americans and quite different from the commonly prognathous profile (the lower face thrust out from the upper) of people of African descent. Finally, a close examination of the sculptures shows what appears to be a skin fold in the eyelids, seeming to depict the epicanthic fold typical of Asian and New World native people. There is no evidence for the presence of African migrants to the New World before Columbus. No artifacts have been found whose raw material source can be traced to Africa; no artifacts whose style could only come from a pre-Columbian African sources have been found in the New World; and finally, no skeletal remains have been found, dating to a pre-Columbian context, with DNA proving an African source. The civilizations of the New World, including those in Mesoamerica and South American, exhibit archaeological evidence for a long sequence of indigenous development and no evidence for inspiration outside the New World. The Olmec heads were the product of indigenous skills in quarrying, transportation, and sculpting, as well as the ability to conscript and organize labor for monumental undertakings. The Olmec heads provide no support for hypotheses of the presence of Africans—or Europeans, or recent Asian migrants—to the New World.”10

Potter then makes the claim that DNA evidence proves the Olmec came from Africa, which is also false. As recent research states,“there is no genetic evidence for any influx of African DNA before the arrival of Columbus in 1492” 11

The African features that are represented on the Olmec heads are still found in Mesoamerica today. Archaeologists have stated that “Certainly there are Amerindians with thick lips and round noses living in that part of Central America today. The newly available evidence for ancient DNA provides no support for theories of massive population movements from Africa to Central America.”12  Scholarship has been rebutting this false claim for years, but there are those who wish to rely on wrong, outdated information in order to hold onto their pet theory.

Double Standard--

One common theme that you will find in Potters attack is that his Peruvian theory rarely stands up to the same scrutiny that he attempts to put on a Mesoamerican setting for The Book of Mormon, this topic being one of them.

Recently, pictures have emerged of an isolated tribe in Lima, Peru called the Mashco-Piro who have had little or no contact by outside cultures since the arrival of Europeans in that area.  “…the Mashco-Piro are one of about 15 "uncontacted" tribes in Peru that together are estimated to number between 12,000 and 15,000 people living in jungles east of the Andes.” They have been protected from outsiders to this day until, for some reason, they began making themselves known by lingering around a busy waterway. What is interesting about this isolated group is that they closely resemble inhabitants of Central and Eastern Asia, particularly the people of Mongolia.13  If we are to base the ancestry on the looks of people, then the Peruvians fail the test as well. Again, Potters own theory falls short of the standard that he has set up.

There is also a direct connection between Mongolia and Peru by what is known as the “Mongolia blue Spot.” “The Mongolian spot, a form of dermal melanocytosis” is a dark blue, or sometimes black spot located in the sacrum of the infant that appears at birth or soon after. It “is present in approximately 80-100% of newborns of Asian and black origin.”14  This Mongolian cultural marking, interestingly enough, is also found in the natives of Peru. This is just another link confirming the connection between the Peruvians and the people of Asia.15
There is also DNA evidence, which not only shows ancient Peruvians to have come from Asia, but that they have haplotypes which are specific to Asia, that are not found in Mesoamerica. “DRB1 and -DQB1 haplotypes shared with Asians are found in Quechuas and are not observed in other (Mesoamerican) Amerindians.” 16

The exact arguments that Potter makes against the Olmecs, namely they look like and share the DNA of the wrong culture can also be made against his theory. Had Potter spent a few minutes reviewing his own theory instead of attacking others, he would have realized that throwing stones is not always the best idea when you live in a glass house.

4. The Jaredites raised sheep and goats (Ether 9:18). There were no sheep or goats in Central America until the arrival of the Spanish.


When most people read the word “sheep” in The Book of Mormon, they usually think of the domesticated Ovis aries that is common in North America. This is not necessarily what The Book of Mormon is speaking of. One Hebrew word for sheep is zemer and is translated as “a type of mountain-sheep”17 which actually existed in Mesoamerica and could have been what  the Book of Mormon was implying. There is also the definition from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, which actually means something similar to a gazelle “from its lightly touching the ground”. With this definition, it is possible that the word “sheep” could mean deer, antelope, gazelle, pronghorn, chamois, or other like animals. While there are several alternatives to the meaning of the word “sheep”, there is evidence of actual sheep living in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. “Real sheep's wool was found in a burial site at Cholula, Puebla, Mexico, in an archaeological setting that gave no other indication of dating after the Spaniards arrived.”18 And the “Bones of pre-Columbian domestic goat were reported from caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.”19 To say that they didn’t exist in Mesoamerica is not only inaccurate, their existence there is actually an evidence for the Book of Mormon and the Mesoamerican theory.

Double standard—

To date, there have been no sheep found in ancient Peru.

5. Linguists have shown that the Olmec language was of Chinese origin, not Hebrew.
Which is it, Potter? Do the Olmecs have African or Chinese origin? The first glaring mistake is found in the accusation itself. Potter assumes that just because the Jaredites originated in the Old World that they spoke Hebrew. Potter believes that the Jaredites landed in the Americas at around 2700 BC (see #1 above) which predates the Hebrew language by over a millennium. Hebrew wouldn’t be formulated for another 1700 years. Potter seems to have put the same amount of time in learning what language they would have spoken as he did on this list of accusations.

If the Jaredites were present at the tower of Babel and all of the languages were confounded except theirs, then they would have spoken a more ancient language, which some believe to be Adamic. Whatever language they spoke, it was not Hebrew as Potter incorrectly assumes.


In scholarly circles, this theory isn’t taken seriously due to lack of evidence and speculation. We have very little from that time period, but what we do have is not African or Chinese. We know that at least one language they spoke was a Proto-Mixe-Zoquen language “Linguistic geography had already left little doubt that the Epi-Olmec population spoke Mije-Sokean at least until the breakup of Proto-Mijean and/or Proto-Sokean-c. 500 CE according to glottochronology- when our decipherment of Epi-Olmec writing showed that in language, too, the Epi-Olmec tradition was a direct inheritance from the Olmecs. Only ten to twelve Epi-Olmec texts are now known to scholarship, and only seven have legible, diagnostically Epi-Olmec signs. Yet these texts spanned the greater part of Mije-Sokean territory…At this writing, the Epi-Olmec language is known from just four legible Epi-Olmec texts.”20

What is interesting about linguistics in Mesoamerica is that there is evidence of Hebrew and Egyptian found among some languages in that area. Linguist Brian Stubbs has done extensive research in this area and has found that the Uto-Aztecan language family, which ranges from Utah down to Mexico, was heavily influenced by both Hebrew and Egyptian. The Book of Mormon only mentions two Old World languages that the Nephites apparently knew, Hebrew21  and Egyptian.22 This is another major evidence that The Book of Mormon took place in Central America.23

Double Standard—

As with most of Potters arguments, he failed to put the ancient Peruvians to the same test that he has the Olmecs. The ancient inhabitants of Peru spoke Quechua, which pre-dates the Incan empire of Peru by more than a thousand years, putting it directly into Book of Mormon times.24  Quechua has been found to have many similarities to Asian languages. “For instance, there are no relative or resumptive pronouns, and relative clauses may be externally or internally headed, or headless. As such, the typology of Quechua RCs closely resembles East Asian languages, such as Korean, Japanese, and Chinese.”25

6.  The Jaredites had silver, copper, and brass (Ether 10:12,23). These metals were not mined or refined in Mesoamerica until well after the Book of Mormon had been buried in the hill Cumorah.

When the conquistadors arrived in Mesoamerica, they plundered the Native Indians of all of their precious metals, particularly gold. They took the beautifully carved and shaped gold and melted it down to ship back to their home countries. It is unknown exactly the amount of gold that they stole, or how many gold artifacts that they destroyed, but from “a lawsuit in 1529, Cortes’ was said to have been given a total of 800,000 pesos’ worth of gold” and booty just from Montezuma.26 Since the Spaniards forced the Natives to give up any gold that they had upon punishment of death if they refused, it is no wonder that there is a lack of gold items found in that area.

It has also been estimated that we have only excavated one half of one percent of the Mayan ruins in Mesoamerica. Since the Mayan ruins are much earlier and easier to find, we can assume that that the percent of excavation of Olmec sites is even less. But from the few artifacts we have found, the Olmec definitely had gold.

There are several jade ornaments with pendants in the Metropolitan Museum of Art which were made between 1,000 BC and 1 AD, that contain gold.27   Gold pendants have also been found in Panama during Olmec times.28

Human figurines have been discovered in Nayarit, Mexico which date between 300 BC and 300 AD, who are shown to be wearing both ear and nose rings that have the appearance of gold. In order to mold something into the shape of a ring, it would have to be a material malleable enough to form without breaking, which is a characteristic of gold.

7.  Horses were found among the Jaredites (9:19); however, there were no horses or horse-like animals in Mesoamerica in Book of Mormon times. The only animals domesticated in pre-Columbian Central America were dogs and turkeys.

Double Standard—

Again, Potter could be making the exact same accusation about a Peruvian theory and it would be just as valid. He doesn’t seem to make the distinction of providing evidence and suicide bombing, because he seems to be doing a lot of the latter. There is no scientific literature to my knowledge, which places horses in Peru during Book of Mormon times. Why then, does he make these hypocritical accusations? I can only assume that he does so in hopes that someone won’t realize that his theory cannot hold up to the same standards that he holds the Mesoamerican theory up to.


The Book of Mormon does not mention domesticating any animal, let alone horses. We are unsure why Potter added the short, incomplete list of animals domesticated in Mesoamerica, but it doesn’t pertain to the argument in the slightest. The current general consensus among scientists is that with numerous other animals that no longer exist in the Western Hemisphere, horses were a common animal of the Americas until around 10,000 years ago when they became extinct. Recently, Dr. Wade Miller, a retired geology professor at BYU, has been conducting radio carbon dating of horse bones that have been excavated in archaeological sites that meet certain criteria. Previously, when archaeologists came across horse bones they would immediately assume that they were post-Columbian and toss them aside. But Dr. Miller is getting bones that are found in the correct strata, carbon dated and his results are very interesting to the LDS audience. There are also several un-published findings which place horses in the Americas during Jaredite and Nephite times.29 In regards this paper, it is interesting to note that “the modern horse apparently had its origins in Mexico. From there it spread to other parts of the world where it exists today in various forms—both wild and domestic…A date of 2,167 B.C. was obtained based on horse bones from the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula.”30 Again, a seeming weakness in the Mesoamerican setting for The Book of Mormon has now become a strength.

8. Iron ore was mined by the Jaredites (Ether 10:23) and was used to make steel swords (Ether 7:9). No iron was mined in Central America until after the arrival of the Spanish.


One major problem with finding iron and steel in an ancient context is that they rust and disappear with time. Therefore, finding ancient remains of this metal is extremely rare, particularly in the acidic soils of Mesoamerica. Thus far, there haven't been any steel remains found among the Olmec, but there also hasn’t been any found among the ancient Peruvians. What has been found are iron ores that have been shaped and molded into several specific objects. Archaeologist Richard Diehl described the Olmec’s metal working as such:

“Although the Olmecs had a Stone Age technology, they did work the iron ores magnetite, hematite, and ilmenite into beads, mirrors…  The most spectacular Olmec iron ore creations are large, beautifully polished, parabolic concave “mirrors” made from magnetite and ilmenite.  Seven were uncovered in Complex A at La Venta.  While their backs are roughly shaped, the concavity on the front is as carefully ground as many modern optical lenses, and the optical qualities of some allow them to be used to ignite fires and project “camera lucida” images on flat surfaces.  The grinding was apparently done by hand with a substance similar to jewelers’ rouge.  They will have suspension holes drilled at the edges and many Olmec figurines show people wearing such mirrors on their chests.  Similar mirrors have been found at San Lorenzo and a few are attributed to Rio Pesquero and even distant Guerrero.  Olmec lapidaries also constructed mosaic mirrors out of small polished iron ore plaques, perhaps placed on wooden backs.  Tests have shown that a workshop at San Jose Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca produced some and perhaps all of the plaques recovered at San Lorenzo.”31

John Sorenson explains that they even had a word for metal in ancient Mesoamerica when he wrote "In identifying terms that must have been in use before the descendant tongues split apart, the researchers were puzzled by the fact that a word for 'metal' seemed to have existed in the proto-language at about 1000 BC."32  The Olmec did more than just dabble in metal-working. In the Olmec site of San Lorenzo, they have discovered over eight tons of worked iron ore.33  There are also numerous other examples of the Olmec working with metal to create goods.34  It is also possible that they used their metal working techniques to produce weaponry. In 1996 archaeologists unearthed a 5-ton stone monument that has been named San Lorenzo Monument 112 from the Olmec site in San Lorenzo. Carved onto this stone is a man “who carries a curved knife in his belt.”35  What is interesting about this image is the curved knife. In order to maintain integrity, the blade had to have been made out of something that would not break easily as obsidian would if curved. Perhaps it was made out of a type of iron ore that they were using to make other goods with.

Double Standard--

Potter wrote in his article Metals in Mesoamerica: A Misleading Book of Mormon Defense, that “The only known mining of iron in the Americas during Book of Mormon times has been discovered in Nazca, Peru.” Yet the only evidence I have found of mining in that area is the mining of hematite. Potter fails to mention that hematite was common among the Olmec who constantly used it throughout their empire. Again, either Potter chooses to ignore counter evidence or he actually hasn’t done the proper research on the theory he is attempting to disprove.

9.  The Jaredites had clothes made of silks (Ether 9:17;10:24). Olmec clothes were made of course plant fibers.

Of course, finding any clothing that is over 2,000 years old in highly acidic soil would be a feat in and of itself. And even if we were to find one set of clothing, what class of people would that represent? Would it be the peasant farmer who could only afford the cheapest of clothes, or would it represent the king of the land who had an abundance of the best clothing? To claim that an ancient civilization didn’t wear a certain type of clothing because the bio-degradable material hasn’t been found is ludicrous. “Not one fragment of Olmec cloth has been preserved, and we can speak of textiles only through the dress shown on the sculptures.”36  If no Olmec clothing exists, then how does Potter know what material it was made out of?

There are several fabrics that existed in Mesoamerica which could be considered silk. The Cieba tree has “husks [that] appear gray and rough, but on the inside they are lined with a bed of lustrous fibers known as kapok silk.”37 This kapok silk “was gathered in Yucatan and spun; this seems to be what Landa referred to as "silk." Father Clavigero said of this kapok that it was "as soft and delicate, and perhaps more so, than silk."38 Furthermore, the silky fiber of the wild pineapple plant was prized in tropical America; it yielded a fiber, "finer and perhaps more durable than agave (henequen), derived from the pita floja ('silk-grass,' aecmea magdalenae)."  “Moreover, a silklike fabric was made by the Aztecs from fine rabbit hair. But even cotton cloth was sometimes woven so fine that specimens excavated at Teotihuacan and dating to the fourth century A.D. have been characterized as "of irreproachable evenness, woven . . . exceedingly fine," and "of gossamer thinness..” Aztec cloths "like damask" (a figured fabric of silk, linen, or wool) were inventoried by the Spaniards.”39

There is also a wild silk worm called the Mexican silk worm that was used to “spin fiber that the Spanish Conquistadors called seda, their word for “silk.”40 Hugh Bancroft mentioned that one Conquistador described the clothing worn by an Indian priest as “embroidered with course silk, as in Tehuantepec.”41 And William Prescott said that early Spanish records say that the Natives wrote on a manuscript that was made of silk and gum.42

Double Standard—

This is another double edged sword on Potter’s part. He makes the claim that silk is absent in Mesoamerica, but fails to mention it is also absent in Peru. His argument, according to a paper he wrote on his website, is that “In some Arabic dialects “salaka” means “soft,” and “selk” means thread or wire. Thus in the original language of the Book of Mormon “silk” simply meant soft thread…” He then argues that cultures in Peru, which post date the Jaredites by several millennia, wore cotton clothing (even though he could have used accurate examples). If he can believe that any “soft thread” can be considered silk, then why does he not accept the many “soft threads” that are documented in Mesoamerica?

10.  Jaredites had cattle (Ether 9:18). There were no animals in Mesoamerica that could have been identified as cattle

Double Standard—

Again, Potter allows the term “cattle” to mean something other than cows in order to support his theory, but denies the Mesoamerican setting for The Book of Mormon the same luxury. Potter correctly states in his article Cattle and The Book of Mormon:  “Noah Webster's 1828 American Usage Dictionary defines "cattle" as: "In its primary sense, the word includes camels, horses, asses, all the varieties of domesticated horned beasts of the bovine genus, sheep of all kinds, and goats."…the term "cattle" meant something different to the translator of the Book of Mormon than what the term generally means today.”

Potter believes that Llamas are what are described as cattle in The Book of Mormon. I cannot disagree that the Llama could be considered a possibility, but what Potter doesn’t know is that the Llama actually existed in Mesoamerica until recently. “Llamas used to cover all of North and South America in the Pleistocene era until they became extinct everywhere except in South America. But new evidence suggests that llamas actually survived in Mesoamerica, well into Book of Mormon times.”43

John Sorenson notes:
“A Costa Rican archaeologist has discovered an effigy pot in the form of a cameloid. And on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the middle of the last century, alpaca were reported living wild.”44  So even if Potter is correct about the llama being cattle, it is equally as possible that they were the llama of Mesoamerica.  However, the llama isn’t the only possibility of being cattle. “The Hebrew word b'hemah, sometimes translated as "cattle" in the Old Testament, can refer to "any large quadruped or animal" [Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible, 19]. The Hebrew word s'eh, also translated as "cattle," usually refers to smaller domesticates such as sheep or goats. The Book of Mormon term could easily refer to any small or large quadruped. There are, of course, many New World species that could fall within this description.”45  This means that most any animal could fall under the description of cattle. The only requirements are that it be a quadruped, or an animal that has four feet. The possibilities are endless on what they actually may have been, and we won’t go into them but would like to point out that deer were a semi-domesticated animal in Mesoamerica and were treated as pets. “Deer bones are very common at many Maya sites and, if not fully domesticated, there is some archaeological evidence that deer may have been kept within fenced enclosures or encouraged to browse amongst the secondary growth of cleared fields.”46  There is also documentation of females breast-feeding deer, and treating them as they did other domesticated animals.47 “…the most secure evidence for domestication comes from a cache of subadult deer limbs excavated from Str. N5-21 at Dos Pilas. One femur shows a healed midshaft complete fracture, an injury that would predispose a juvenile animal to rapid death in the wild. The animal survived after the injury for several months, which is an unlikely outcome unless it had been protected from predation.”48

Potter has demonstrated an utter lack of understanding of the Mesoamerica position and should have researched its claims before he began to publicly attack it to promote his own theory. Perhaps it would benefit him most if he spent his time promoting his own theory instead of attempting to tear down others. If he wants to retain credibility in the LDS scholarly world, he needs to refrain from shoddy scholarship like this. After reading his review and seeing the many mistakes he has made, we now question his other work and will have to research it ourselves to see if he is taking the same liberties as he has with his review of the Mesoamerican model. We hope that in the future he will refrain from such tactics to get his point across.





































1.  Dates from the La Venta region reveal an Early Preclassic [ca. 2250-1150 BC] or pre-Olmec occupation, followed by Middle Preclassic florescence.” Prudence Rice Maya Calendar Origins, , pg 82 University of Texas Press, Dec 1, 2007

2.   Prudence Rice, Maya Calendar Origins, University of Texas Press (2007) pg 82

3.   Ether 1:6-33
4.   Ether 6-15

5.  Brant Gardner, Analytical & Contextual Commentary on The Book of Mormon, Greg Kofford Books Inc; (2007) 6:150-155

6.  Personal communication, February 7th, 2012

7.  The smiling Olmec heads are a few examples

8.  Kenneth Feder, Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: from Atlantis to the Walam Olum, Greenwood (2010) pg 1-4.
9.  Ibid pg 2

10.  Ibid pg 202-203

11.  Ibid pg 2.  See also Coop et. al. The Role of Geography in Human Adaptation

12.  Peter James, Ancient Mysteries, Random House Digital, Inc., (2001)  pg 344


14.  James J. Nordlund, The Pigmentary System: Physiology and Pathophysiology, Oxford University Press, USA; 1st edition (1998)pg 1003

15.  Marcel Brion, The World of Archaeology, Macmillan Company, New York 1962, 1:125, “International Medical and Surgical Survey” American Institute of Medicine, (1922) pg 140


16.  Laso et. al. Origin of Bolivian Quechua Amerindians: their relationship with other American Indians and Asians according to HLA genes 2006 Mar-Apr;49(2):169-85.

17.  Geoffrey W. Bromiley The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007) pg 428

18.  John Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, (1996) p. 296)

19.  Wade Miller, Science and The Book of Mormon, KCT and Associates (2009) page 44


20.  Roger Woodward, The Ancient Languages of Asia and the Americas, Cambridge University Press; First Edition (2008) pg 193. It is debated exactly what language they spoke, but the general consensus of the experts is that the Olmec spoke Proto-Mixe-Zoquen.  “Campbell and Kaufman argue for a Proto-Mixe-Zoque as the language of the Olmecs on the basis of core Mesoamerican cultural and agricultural vocabulary that diffused from the Olmec sphere into other language and culture of the region.” Susan Toby Evans, David L. Webster, Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia, Routledge (2000) pg 398, “The language of the Epi-Olmec is very early Zoquean, a branch of the Mixe-Zoquean family.” A History of Writing, Steven Roger Fischer pg 220

21.  Mormon 9:32-34
22.  1 Nephi 1:2

23.  Brian Stubbs, A Few Hundred Hints of Egyptian and Northwest Semitic in Uto-Aztecan

24.  Gordon F. McEwan , The Incas: A New Perspective W. W. Norton & Company (2008) pg 180


25.  The Acquisition of Relative Clauses: Processing, Typology and Function, John Benjamins Publishing Company, (2011) pg 8 There are also similarities between words of the two languages. “In the Quechua language, the language of the indigenous Peruvians, several similarities have been found between Quechua words and Japanese words—which is amazing, and of great interest to linguistic researchers.” William Shurtleff History of Soybeans and Soyfoods in Southeast Asia: Extensively Annotated Bibliography and Sourcebook, Soyinfo Center, 2010, page 855

26.  Hugh Thomas, Conquest: Cortes, Montezuma, and the Fall of Old Mexico, Simon and Schuster, (1995) pg 330  

27. collections/50003294?rpp=20&pg=1&ft=*&deptids=5&when=1000+B.C.-A.D.+1&where=Mexico%7cNorth+and+Central+America&what=Gold&pos=2*&deptids=5&when=1000+B.C.-A.D.+1&where=Mexico%7cNorth+and+Central+America&what=Gold&pos=1


29.  Wade Miller, Science and The Book of Mormon, KCT and Associates (2009) pg 77

30.  Wade Miller, Science and The Book of Mormon, KCT and Associates (2009) pg 75

31.  Richard Diehl, The Olmecs, Thames & Hudson (2004) pg 93

32.  John Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for The Book of Mormon, FARMS (1996), pg 279

33.  Bernard Wailes, Craft Specialization and Social Evolution, UPenn Museum of Archaeology (1996) pg 192

34.  “Other materials with restricted distributions that appear to have been traded among Olmec sites, either in their raw form or as finished products, include kaolin clay, hematite, bitumen, and coastal products…Similar treatment was given to the mosaic under the southeast platform, with the addition of an offering of 20 greenstone celts and a concave iron ore mirror arranged in the shape of a cross immediately below the platform.” In La Venta buried with a few children included “a concave hematite mirror…One exquisite figurine of a seated female bore on its breast a miniature hematite mirror”” Christopher Pool, Olmec Archaeology in Early Mesoamerica Cambridge University Press (2007) pg 141

35.  Ibid pg 139

36.  Ignacio Bernal, The Olmec World, University of California Press (1969) page 75

37.  Victoria Schlesinger, Animals and Plants of the Ancient Maya, University of Texas Press (2002) pg 112-113

38.  Some have said that “The Maya believed the Cieba tree was the tree of life, therefore, wearing clothes mad out of the “kapok silk” was reserved to priests and nobles.” Katharine Anderson, Nature, Culture, and Big Old Trees By University of Texas Press, 2003  Pg 96

39.  John L. Sorenson, "Possible 'Silk' and 'Linen' in the Book of Mormon," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, F.A.R.M.S., p. 162

40.  Author unknown, Silk and Linen in the New World

41.  Hubert Howe Bancroft, The Native Races—Wild Tribes, vol. 1 of The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft. 15 volumes (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Company, 1882-88), 1:650

42.  William H. Prescott, The History of the Conquest of Mexico (New York: Modern Library, n.d.), 1:102

43.  Wade Miller, Science and The Book of Mormon, KCT and Associates (2009) pg 63

44.  John Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for The Book of Mormon, FARMS (1996), pg 295. There is even a drawing of an animal that looks strikingly similar to a llama in the petroglyph on Newspaper Rock in Southern Utah.

45.  Matthew Roper in Review of Books on the Book of Mormon, Volume 4, 1992, pp. 207

46.  David Drew, The Lost Chronicles of Maya Kings, University of California Press, (1999) pg 328
47.  “There is some evidence that the Maya also fed deer to keep them within house range. Bishop Landa apparently saw a woman breast-feeding a deer. In some instances deer may have been penned and fed, just like turkeys.” Lynn Foster, Handbook to life in the ancient Maya World, Oxford University Press, (2005) pg 312

48.  Lori E. Wright, Diet, Health, and Status among the Pasion Maya, Vanderbilt University Press, (2006)  pg 96


BMAF Staff