Meldrum's Attempt at Scholarly Certification

Amazon.com Customer Discussions Comments

about  Prophecies and Promises by Bruce Porter and Rod Meldrum

by Douglas K. Christensen

I had requested to be notified when people commented on the review of "Prophecies & Promises", on Amazon.com Customer Discussions.

I received the following e-mail on October 2, 2013:

This review is from Prophecies and Promises by Bruce Porter and Rod Meldrum

by ivy111us "livy111us"

Everyone is entitled to their opinion when it comes to Book of Mormon geography, as long as you are honest in your research. This is something I did not find in Meldrums works. First of all, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, which is run by Church owned BYU (has several members of the 12 Apostles, and First Presidency on the board of Trustees), funded with Tithing money, published a review of some of the work done by one of the authors (Rodney Meldrum), and finds that it is inaccurate at best. This is sad because we shouldn't have to be wary of fellow LDS members writings.

You can read the review on the Neal A. Maxwell site, or do a search for Often in Error, Seldom in Doubt: Rod Meldrum and Book of Mormon DNA by Dr. Gregory L. Smith FARMS Review: Volume - 22, Issue - 1, Pages: 17-161

Matthew Roper has written an article taking a comprehensive look at Joseph Smiths beliefs and has found that Joseph Smith supported a Mesoamerican setting for The Book of Mormon using solid research and word-print studies. You can read his article on the Neal A. Maxwell site, or do a search for "Joseph Smith, Revelation, and Book of Mormon Geography Volume-22 Issue-2.

See also "Losing the Remnant: The New Exclusivist "Movement" and The Book of Mormon" for a look at the location of the promised land, location of the Lamanites, and Temple dedicatory prayers which place the Lamanites in Mesoamerica.



There are modern Prophets and Apostles who have said many interesting things in dedicatory prayers for Temples in Central America. Temple dedicatory prayers are given under inspiration and are explained in the Church publication "Encyclopedia of Mormonism", as a prayer that is

"offered under apostolic authority. Historically these prayers encompass the whole sweep of the modern dispensation, invoking divine blessings on all mankind, living and dead. They have often been prophetic of world events (see D&C 109). Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p 1455



Gordon B. Hinckleys dedicatory prayer at the Guatemala City, Guatemala temple, he stated, "Thou Kind and Gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for Thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi... We thank Thee O God, for lifting the scales of darkness which for generations clouded the vision of the descendants of Lehi"



In his March 6, 1999 dedicatory prayer given at the Colonia Juaréz Chihuahua Temple, Hinckley he said, "Bless Thy Saints that they may continue to live here without molestation. May they live in peace and security. May they be prospered as they cultivate their farms and pursue their vocations. May the sons and daughters of father Lehi grow in strength and in fulfillment of the ancient promises made concerning them."



In August 1999, Hinckley made a similar statement as he was in Guayaquil, Ecuador to dedicate another new LDS temple. "It has been a very interesting thing to see the descendants of father Lehi in the congregation that have gathered in the temple...So very many of these people have the blood of Lehi in their veins, and it is just an intriguing thing to see their tremendous response and their tremendous interest" (Salt Lake Tribune 11/30/2000).



While there are Temple dedicatory prayers which place Lamanites in South America, Polynesian Islands and a few in the Southern US (such as the Snowflake Arizona Temple which is far outside where Meldrums book claims to be BOM lands), it should be noted that not one inspired Temple dedicatory prayer in the Great Lakes region say anything about BOM lands, Lamanites in those areas, or anything else that would hint that they were in Book of Mormon areas. The only inspired prayers are outside of this Great Lakes geography theory.

Meldrum also says that Lamanites were in North America. This is true, but, it was not the only place they were at.



President Joseph Fielding Smith says there are "millions" of Lamanites in Mexico-

"The history of this American continent also gives evidence that the Lamanites have risen up in their anger and vexed the Gentiles. This warfare may not be over. It has been the fault of people in the United States to think that this prophetic saying has reference to the Indians in the United States, but we must remember that there are millions of the 'remnant' in Mexico, Central and South America" (Church History and Modern Revelation 2:127).



The Prophet Spencer W. Kimball said there are Lamanites all over the Western Hemisphere-

"I rejoice that it has been my privilege to carry the gospel to the Lamanites from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, from the reaches of Canada to southern Chile, and in the islands from Hawaii to New Zealand." - Spencer W. Kimball, "Our Paths Have Met Again", Ensign, Dec. 1975



He makes several assumptions that are not correct, one of which is that Joseph Smith *only* taught a Great Lakes setting for The Book of Mormon. This is clearly not correct. Either the author did not really research the issue, or decided to ignore other quotes by Joseph Smith, as well as many other Prophets and Apostles in Joseph Smiths day forward. Neither option puts the research of the author in a positive light. Also, Joseph Smith published many things in the Times and Seasons and elsewhere, which placed The Book of Mormon in Central America, what is now Southern US, Western United States, Florida, Kentucky, and more. He also allowed members of the twelve apostles to declare Book of Mormon cities in Mesoamerica, repeatedly. Rodney Meldrum attempts to claim that Joseph Smith said no such thing, but the evidence says otherwise.



After Joseph Smith received the book Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan, which extensively goes over the Mayan ruins, history, archaeology, etc.. from John Bernhisel, Joseph Smith wrote him a thank you letter stating that this book on Mesoamerica:

"corresponds with & supports the testimony of the Book of Mormon; I have read the volumes with the greatest interest & pleasure & must say that of all histories that have been written pertaining to the antiquities of this country it is the most correct luminous & comprihensive.-..." Joseph Smith, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984), 501 - 502.



"Stephens and Catherwood's researches in Central America abundantly testify of this thing. The stupendous ruins, the elegant sculpture, and the magnificence of the ruins of Guatamala, and other cities, corroborate this statement, and show that a great and mighty people-men of great minds, clear intellect, bright genius, and comprehensive designs inhabited this continent. Their ruins speak of their greatness; the Book of Mormen [Mormon} unfolds their history." Joseph Smith (editor)," American Antiquities," Times and Seasons 3/18 (15 July 1842): 860



Joseph Smith was the Editor of the Times and Seasons, and it states on several issues where it is claimed that The Book of Mormon happened in Mesoamerica, that "The Times and Seasons, is Edited by Joseph Smith. Printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by Joseph Smith."

There are MANY other examples of Joseph Smith teaching a Mesoamerican model for The Book of Mormon, but this should suffice.



Meldrum also claims that DNA proves his theory, yet there is no geneticist who backs up what he claims. I have produced a video on DNA and The Book of Mormon called "The Book of Mormon and New World DNA", and interviewed and spoke with many LDS geneticists. I spoke to them specifically about the X Haplogroup that Meldrum is using as evidence, and they all cautioned me against using it as evidence. So, I left it out of the video (which, I did for free, and get absolutely no royalties from. I did it to answer questions of those whose testimonies were shaken, and have not received one penny for my work. Meldrum has sold tens of thousands of DVD's for 25 dollars each. He has something to lose). You can click on the first link for more information on the fallacy of X Haplogroup as evidence for the BOM argument. Perhaps the mistake comes because Meldrum is not a scientist, and has no training whatsoever in genetics. He is a salesman by trade. Actual geneticists have urged him to back away from this argument because of it's flaws, but those pleas fell on deaf ears. He has ignored what doctors in this field say about his argument. These same LDS geneticists do not subscribe to any geography for The Book of Mormon. They do not care whether it took place in North America, South America, or Cuba. But, do recognize when someone, who is gaining popularity, is obviously wrong in their conclusion. They have nothing to gain or lose by explaining the fallacies of Meldrums argument, but would like to see accurate information published. They are not members of FAIR, and only present the facts.



Claims about the "Michigan relics" as evidence for The Book of Mormon have been used by Meldrum as well. But starting with Elder James E. Talmage (author of Jesus the Christ, Articles of Faith, and more) they have been shown to be forgeries. Recently, they were re-evaluated, and again, shown to be forgeries. So why are these forgeries used as evidence for The Book of Mormon? I would much rather learn about truthful evidences in behalf of The Book of Mormon than something that sounds good, but is fraudulent. This has been brought up to the author, but ignored. He now claims to have distanced himself from them, but I have personally seen them on display at his fireside, his website still sells books advocating the Michigan relics, he has pictures of them in one of his videos on the Hopewell, and you view them on your BOM geography tours with Meldrum as evidence for The Book of Mormon.



Overall, I know geneticists, archaeologists, and scholars who have no opinion on Book of Mormon geography, who have attempted to explain to Meldrum why the information he uses is not accurate, but they have been ignored. To me, this is the cherry on top of bad scholarship that give LDS a bad name. I hope to see future work by this author cleaned up, and presented with an honest look on these subjects.



Most every other point he makes is flawed. As I said before, it is sad that LDS scholars have to correct their own, but you can read more about it in another review by faithful Latter-day Saints, on the FAIR website, or do a search for "Reviews of DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography"

Initial post: Jan 16, 2011 3:51:17 AM PST
This review is from: Prophecies and Promises - The Book of Mormon and the United States of America (Perfect Paperback)   
A comprehensive review is not possible in such a short space. The website of Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum 
(www.bmaf.org) contains a corpus of articles by many authors which address virtually every controversial issue from 
Meldrum and associates.

Posted on Sep 12, 2011 11:44:45 AM PDT
Alright, take a chill pill. It doesn't matter where it happened. Make sure you do your own research on both sides 
before taking an opinion yourself.

Note on "Times and Seasons" - Joseph Smith may have been the editor, but that doesn't mean you can quote those 
articles as though Joseph Smith actually wrote them, because he didn't. Someone else wrote it, and Joseph Smith 
gave the "go ahead". At that day and time, they were being attacked due to lack of physical evidence for the 
Book of Mormon, and were happy to take anything the could get for physical evidence.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2011 2:20:18 PM PDT

livy111us says:

I have studied both sides extensively, hence, this review. I agree with most of your post, but am curious why 
you believe that someone else wrote the Times and Seasons article? Recent wordprint studies shows that these 
articles were most likely written by Joseph Smith. Do I believe that these articles are the final word in BOM 
geography? No. But, it goes to show that, as you stated, they "were happy to take anything the[y] could get for 
physical evidence" and did not have a steadfast doctrine as to it's location.
Posted on Apr 16, 2012 5:53:41 PM PDT 
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2012 6:08:21 PM PDT
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion when it comes to Book of Mormon geography, as long as you are honest in 
your research. This is something I did not find in Meldrums works. First of all, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, 
which is run by Church owned BYU (has several members of the 12 Apostles, and First Presidency on the board of 
Trustees), funded with Tithing money, published a review of some of the work done by one of the authors 
(Rodney Meldrum), and finds that it is inaccurate at best. This is sad because we shouldn't have to be wary of 
fellow LDS members writings." Nonsense!! - Implying that the Church Apostles agree with Neal Maxwell / 
Formerly Farms reviews is pure drama - not truth.

"Also, Joseph Smith published many things in the Times and Seasons and elsewhere, which placed The Book of Mormon 
in Central America, what is now Southern US, Western United States, Florida, Kentucky, and more. He also allowed 
members of the twelve apostles to declare Book of Mormon cities in Mesoamerica, repeatedly. Rodney Meldrum attempts 
to claim that Joseph Smith said no such thing, but the evidence says otherwise."
Not True!! - First hand validated reports that Joseph placed Book of Mormon lands in Mesoamerica are non-existant 
- Second hand reports that aren't validated are out there but not numerous. To say they are numerous without 
evidence is strains your credibility.

You've totally ignored evidence from the Book of Mormon itself covered in the book. Surely God knows where 
Book of Mormon lands and the Lamanites are and those places are referenced in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine 
& Covenants. Certainly not everything offered up by Meldrum rings true but neither does the data from those 
espousing Mesoamerica as the lands of the Book of Mormon. You quote Joseph Fielding Smith who clearly states 
there is no Hill Cumorah in Mesoamerica in Doctrines of Salvation Volume 3, Pages 232-243. Deseret Book is buried 
in Book of Mormon geography books that place the "Original Hill Cumorah" in various places in Mesoamerica. We 
don't know for certain where all of the Book of Mormon events took place but there are some things we do know. 
1) The only Hill Cumorah is in upstate New York near Palmyra. 2) The Jaredites and Nephites lived in the same 
land where the New Jerusalem will be established (Jackson County Missouri) Ether 13:1-10, 3 Nephi 20:21-22. 
Joseph places Manti in Missouri, the plains of the Nephites on the route between Kirtland and Missouri, and 
the remains of Zelph a Lamanite warrior convert fighting the final battles in North America and his commander 
Onandagus was know from the Rocky Mountains to the eastern sea. Not Mesoamerica !!!!!!! See Doctrines of Salvation 
cited above.

. . . Michighan relics have been thouroughly evaluated and found to be fraudulent. Really? Meldrum's point is 
that no scientific study can be cited which includes data and rationale for concluding they're fraudulent. 
Meldrum doesn't even claim they're all legitimate - just that the evaluation was cursory at best and that 
fraudulent items were designed based on real artifacts that had been found making it difficult to distinguish 
between them. You give LDS Scholars too much credence. They are looking for physical evidence while sometimes 
discounting or ignoring scriptural and church leadership's evidence i.e. Doctrines of Salvation quoted above.

Please cite "Word Print Studies" tying Joseph Smith to "Times & Seasons" Articles mentioned by Meldrum.

Scholars spend a lot of energy discounting that which doesn't fit their Mesoamerica outlook and very little 
time digging deeper, identifying and following leads that don't square with that outlook. This is a common 
trait of scholars both in and out of the church. It takes a great body of evidence to get the scientific and 
scholarly communities to consider another viewpoint. It's inherently easier to throw stones at a proposal than 
it is to investigate things that may support the proposal. We as Mormons have been fighting that for years -i.e. 
horses and elephants in Book of Mormon lands. You are very blind if you think everything coming out of the Neal 
Maxwell Institute squares with and is approved by the 12 Apostles and 1st Presidency. Write them yourself and 
see and stop condemning Meldrum and calling him dishonest and others who accept many of Meldrum's findings based 
on their own studies.

 

 

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2012 10:33:17 PM PDT
The Meldrum organization recently produced a slick documentary called Lost Civilizations of North America designed to promote the Heartland theory with the endorsement of respected non-LDS scientists. The documentary purports to be an exploration of "the fascinating world of ancient North America, and why the artifacts and evidences of ancient civilizations have been lost and largely ignored." Consequently, archaeologists Kenneth Feder and Bradley T. Lepper, historian Terry A. Barnhart, and physical anthropologist Deborah A. Bolnick were contacted and asked to participate in the production of "an exploration of the fascinating world of ancient North America, and why the artifacts and evidences of ancient civilizations have been lost and largely ignored."

These scholars were so chagrined with what Meldrum and the producers did with their statements that several of them have initiated law suits and together they have written three articles about their experiences. I contacted Mr. Feder and assured him that Meldrum's organization is not representative of scholarly work being done by LDS scholars. He graciously responded that he had come to that understanding and was aware of some of the legitimate research being done by Church members. 

Rather than trying to give lots of quotes in this short response, you can read them in their entirety at the BMAF website. Part one can be found at www.bmaf.org/node/489, part two at www.bmaf.org/node/node/490 and part three at www.bmaf.org/node/495. These articles are being picked up by multiple media sources and anti-Mormon bloggers such as the Skeptical Enquirer, the Ohio Historical Society, the All Empires History Community, Ex-Mormon Forum, Twitter, Regator Best Blogs, National Library of Australia, and newspaper, magazine, and journal articles with consequential highly negative impressions that unfortunately affect the reputation of the LDS Church.

(Below is a copy of the joint press statement made by these scholars:)

 

 

 

 

 

January 4th, 2011

The following is a statement jointly authored by myself and the several other scholars indicated regarding our participation in the recent video production, "The Lost Civilizations of North America." Given the notoriety this video has received (it was discussed by Glenn Beck on his television program), we felt it necessary to make the following statement a matter of record. I urge anyone who has any questions not answered by the statement to contact me.

Brad



As scholars committed to increasing public understanding of Native American history and archaeology, we want to make it clear that we do not support the theories presented in "The Lost Civilizations of North America" DVD. In our opinion, there is no compelling archaeological or genetic evidence for a migration from the Middle East to North America a few thousand years ago, nor is there any credible scientific evidence that Old World civilizations were involved in developing Native American cultures in pre-Columbian times. Many of the artifacts used to support the film's claims, such as the Newark "Holy Stones," have been proven fraudulent based on convincing scientific evidence and historical documentation. Like the great majority of professional archaeologists and anthropologists, we have seen overwhelming evidence that Native Americans were independently responsible for designing and creating the Newark Earthworks, Cahokia Mounds, and the myriad other pre-Columbian sites across the United States.



Each of us was interviewed for this film. None of us was asked directly for our opinion on what turned out to be its underlying claim; that Old World civilizations played an active role in the development of Native American cultures, especially the mound builders. Instead, we were asked general questions about Native American societies, their remarkable technological achievements, genetic histories, and we were also asked to comment on the biases of many nineteenth-century historians and archaeologists concerning the abilities of the native people of North America. We fear that the context of our general remarks as they currently appear in the film might lead viewers to conclude that our words on these subjects provide support for the film's claims. That would be a mistake. In fact, our remarks, if presented in an unedited form, show clearly that we reject the assertions made in the finished documentary concerning a non-native source for the complex

cultures of Native America.

We informed the filmmakers of our objections in February 2010, five months before the DVD's release. The producers did make some changes in response to our objections, including deleting Ken Feder's interview entirely. As a group, we believe that the final product remains misleading and presents claims that neither we nor our data support. In our opinion, there is no compelling evidence for the presence of Old World cultures in North America prior to the incursions of the Norse in the early 11th century.

Sonya Atalay

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Indiana University*

Terry Barnhart

Professor of History, Eastern Illinois University*

Deborah Bolnick

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin*

Ken Feder

Professor of Anthropology, Central Connecticut State University*

Alice Kehoe

Professor of Anthropology, emeritus, Marquette University*

Brad Lepper

Curator of Archaeology, Ohio Historical Society*



*We provide the names of our respective institutions here for identification purposes only. This is not meant to indicate that these institutions endorse our views.

 
Last edited by the author on Apr 18, 2012 2:23:47 PM PDT
livy111us says:
 
You seem to be blowing what I said out of context as well as ignoring several critical portions of my original post. If "Joseph knew" as is commonly claimed by the Heartlanders, then the Church is obviously in the dark because it has stated over and over that there is no revelation on Book of Mormon geography. This is exactly the opposite what Heartlanders teach. So either the Heartlanders are wrong or the Church is wrong. If the Neal A. Maxwell Institute was wrong going against a revelation of the Church by saying there was no revelation on BOM geography, and the evidence they put forth against this theory was wrong because that is where The BOM took place, then the Church would have stepped in and put a stop to the scholars whom they have control over and told them to cease and desist. Yet they said nothing after the first review. They didn't step in after the second review, nor the third or fourth. They obviously do not see these scholars as going against any revelation. 

In regards to Joseph Smiths statements, I provided a few first hand statements of him placing The Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica that you seemed to have overlooked. If you want to see what Joseph Smith believed concerning Book of Mormon geography, you have to accept *all* of his statements, not just the ones that agree with your theory. One of the articles written by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute which reviews this book called "Joseph Smith, Revelation, and Book of Mormon Geography" does a great job at delving into The Book of Mormon geography and Joseph Smith statements. I would recommend it so you may know why many LDS hold a contrary position to the Heartland theory.

You say that Ether 13 is text proof that the New Jerusalem will be in the exact same place as where The Book of Mormon took place. Yet it only says it will be in the same land. The term "this land" has been referred to Mesoamerica, as also with "this country," "this continent," etc... Matt Roper wrote "The demonstrative this in "this land" does not tell us the extent or limits of the land referred to. In other words, the proximity suggested by this does not define scope, for "this land" may begin under the feet of the speaker and go on indefinitely. In Hebrew, this and that, as well as these and those, can refer to things both proximate and distant. Sometimes, for example, "this land," even in English, can mean "the land of which I am speaking" rather than "the land where I am writing this." Before the Israelites entered the land of promise, Moses spoke of it as "this land" although he had never set foot upon it (Deuteronomy 3:18; 29:24). Nephi was in the Arabian land of Bountiful when he spoke of the land of Canaan: "Do ye suppose that the children of this land, who were in the land of promise, who were driven out by our fathers, do ye suppose that they were righteous?" (1 Nephi 17:33). "This land" clearly referred to the land of which he was speaking rather than the land where he was speaking. King Mosiah was in the land of Zarahemla in the land southward when he spoke of the destruction of the Jaredites in "this land, " even though they were destroyed in the land northward (Mosiah 29:27). Mormon was in the land northward when he wrote about "this land" in which Jesus had chosen his twelve disciples-which happened in Bountiful in the land southward (Mormon 3:19; 8:23). Jesus speaks of the great destruction in "this land," meaning both the land northward and southward (3 Nephi 9:12).
When Jesus speaks to the Nephites concerning his other sheep, he explains that their brethren in the land of Jerusalem did not know about them. He speaks of the lost tribes: "And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister" (3 Nephi 16:1). The lost tribes were not in "this land" where the Lehites were or the "land of Jerusalem" or any parts of "that land" where Jesus had previously ministered to the Jews. Speaking from the Nephite temple at Bountiful, Jesus distinguishes "this land" from the land where he had walked among the Jews in the Old World, but aside from this, the nature of "this land" is left open and undefined.
It also appears that Joseph Smith and his contemporaries interpreted "this land" more broadly than Porter and Meldrum do. In June 1842, while the Prophet was serving as its editor, the Times and Seasons included an article comparing Aztec traditions of the confounding of languages with the account of the brother of Jared in the Book of Mormon. The editor then observed:
The tradition and hyeroglyphics of the Zaltees, the Colhuacans, and the Azteca nations, in regard to the confusion of languages and their travels to this land, is so like that contained in the Book of Mormon, that the striking analogy must be seen by every superficial observer. . . . These accounts, then, precisely agree, one of which was found in Ontario county, N.Y., and the other in Mexico. "Traits of Mosaic History, Found among the Azteca Nations," Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, IL), 15 June 1842, 820, accessed 6 June 2010,"

Regarding your claim that Joseph Smith put the city Manti in Missouri, this is found in Samuel Tylers journal when he was traveling with the Kirtland camp to Missouri in 1838, which reads "We passed thro Huntsville, Co. seat Randolph Co. Pop. 450 & three miles further we bought 32 bu. of corn of one of the brethren who resides in this place (66) There are several of the brethren round about here & this is the ancient site of the City of Manti, which is spoken of in the Book of Mormon & this is appointed one of the Stakes of Zion and it is in Randolph Co. Mo. 3 miles west of the Co. seat"
This does not attribute the statement to anyone. He does not say that he heard it from Joseph Smith. In fact, he could not have heard it from Joseph Smith because Joseph Smith was not even there he was in Far West. So how did he come to this conclusion? On the same day as the Tyler journal entry, Elias Smith recorded in his journal:
"We came through Huntsville the county seat of Randolph where we were told before we arrived there we should be stopped but saw nothing of the kind when we came through the town and heard no threats whatever, but all appeared friendly. 11/2 miles west of Huntsville we crossed the east branch of Chariton and 11/2 miles west of the river we found Ira Ames and some other brethren near the placewhere the city of Manti is to be built and encamped for the night on Dark creek 6 miles from Huntsville."
Elias Smith did not equate the land near Huntsville, Missouri, with the ancient location of Manti, but he indicated that this was the place where a future settlement named after the ancient one was "to be built." In light of the above, it would appear that the Missouri Saints in 1838 initially anticipated the establishment of a future settlement and stake of Zion in the region, much as they did later with the Zarahemla settlement in Iowa. Neither the Samuel Tyler nor Elias Smith journals, however, attribute these plans to any prophetic revelation on ancient Book of Mormon geography. (see Matt Ropers article Joseph Smith, Geography, and The Book of Mormon for more information and insights, found on the Neal A. Maxwell Institute website)
On the contrary, Joseph Smith placed BOM cities and other sites in Mesoamerica. See the links that Doug provided above.

I have no problem with the Zelph statement(s) or the plain of the Nephites statement. I believe there were Nephites in that area and actually wrote a paper to support my position. To summarize it, The BOM speaks about several migrations "northward" of thousands of people. If The BOM took place in Mesoamerica, northward could include areas like Ohio, Illinois and surrounding states.

If you want to learn more about the wordprint studies which show that Joseph Smith was the most likely author of the Sept/Oct 1842 Times and Seasons article, you can read a summary of it in the Roper article I quoted above.

These LDS scholars that you disparage, have dedicated their lives to the Gospel and would want nothing more than to find the kind of strong evidences that the Heartlanders claim to have. They have spent years on searching for evidences of The Book of Mormon and if there is solid evidence, then they accept it. I have personally heard a Mayan archaeologist defend another BOM geography theory outside of Mesoamerica because of evidence that he saw in that theory. They do not care what part of the world it took place in. By saying that they dismiss the Heartland theory because it disagrees with their current **theory** is a cop out. They disagree with the Heartland theory because it fails to stand up to scrutiny. Several of the men who wrote reviews of the Heartland theory do not even subscribe to any Mesoamerican theory, but in an internal one. So why do they do it then? They are obviously not doing it because they believe in a different theory or it goes against their current theory (since they do not have one), then why are they finding and publishing reviews of this theory? Perhaps it is because it cannot stand up to scrutiny and they see the problems with it as so blaring that they cannot sit idly by and have shoddy scholarship passed off as legitimate scholarship. This is not an attack on you or anyone else, but believe you should read on why archaeologists, geneticists and other scholars disagree so strongly with this theory as opposed to other theories.
Please take the time and read at least a few of these articles so you know where I am coming from. Personally, I don't care where it took place but do want a theory that can be backed up with strong evidence. You should know both the strong and weak points of your theory. 

http://www.fairblog.org/2011/02/12/the-hopewell-culture-in-the-great-lakes-area-and-the-book-of-mormon/
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=22&num=2&id=805
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=22&num=2&id=806
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=22&num=1&id=793
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=22&num=1&id=796
http://www.fairblog.org/2010/09/16/land-of-promise-in-the-book-of-mormon/
http://www.fairblog.org/2010/09/16/weather-in-relation-to-book-of-mormon-geography/
http://www.fairblog.org/2010/04/29/the-book-of-mormon-and-the-x-haplogroup-again/
http://www.fairblog.org/2010/04/02/zelph-in-relation-to-book-of-mormon-geography/
http://www.fairblog.org/2010/04/02/book-of-mormon-geography-in-joseph-smiths-day/
http://www.fairlds.org/DNA_Evidence_for_Book_of_Mormon_Geography/
http://www.bmaf.org/node/323

 
Last edited by the author on Apr 17, 2012 9:03:24 PM PDT
livy111us says:
 
I missed the portion on the Michigan relics. 
Other than those promoting the Heartland movement, very few people accept them as authentic, and no scholar supports them. They have been proven false over and over again. The Michigan relics began being found by James Scotford in the late 19th century (not an archaeologist) and began to promote them as authentic and sell as artifacts. There were thousands of artifacts that were "recovered" and sold (this gives him motive for fabricating the relics, money). There was a lot of attention drawn and Apostle and scholar James E. Talmage took a trip and obtained a few of these relics. If proven true, it would support the LDS cause and greatly help the work. After examining the relics under magnification and performing many tests on them, he discovered that they were made of ordinary smelted copper, not the kind of copper used by ancient Indians. He also found tooth marks that were consistent with a modern saw on the relics. As he continued to dig, he found more and more evidence that they were forgeries. He ended up writing paper containing his results called "The Michigan Relics A Story of Forgery and Deception." I would recommend reading it.
As part of his research, he spoke with Scotfords family and they admitted that James had forged and buried them himself only to later "discover" them. His step-daughter told Apostle Talmage and "...solemnly declared to me that she positively knows her step-father, James Scotford, has made, buried, and dug up many of the articles reported to be genuine archaeological relics. She gave circumstantial details, and agreed to sign a written statement with the proviso that such statement shall not be made public without her consent during the lifetime of her mother, Mrs. Jas. Scotford."
Since then, research has continued to show them to be fraudulent. It is interesting that there has not been one of these relics found in any modern archaeological dig. If there were thousands of these, you would think that at least one artifact would have been found by modern archaeology. Yet nothing has been found.
Another study was published in 2001 which the author examined over 1,000 artifacts and found the markings of modern tools, the material to have been made in modern times, modern fabrication, and even the thickness of many of the artifacts is the same thickness of commercially rolled stock in that day. There were many other evidences which he provides that can be found in his paper.
Again the evidence proved that they were forgeries. Even more recently, archaeometric dating has dated the Michigan relics to the late 19th century, which is exactly when they began being "found." Museums consistently refers to them as fakes or forgeries. Just looking at a few Michigan museum websites I found pages dedicated to material showing them to be fraudulent, statements of hoaxes in the US with the Michigan Relics being among them, with steady and consistent conclusions to their fraudulent origins.
Here are some articles you may be interested in.

http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/byustudies/id/4456

http://www.fairlds.org/wp content/uploads/2011/12/gardner-too-good-to-be-true.pd\f

 

Posted on Apr 10, 2013 12:37:18 PM PDT
C. goodwin says:
 
No One has ever questioned that some of the indigenous peoples of South and Central America are or are not descendants of Lehi. They very well could be. The Book of Mormon itself played out in the land of America that is the USA. That; can be verified by scripture. I say Porter Nails it and uses the scriptures to back every claim.


Posted on Oct 2, 2013 7:03:57 PM PDT
A. C. Hatch says:
 
Yes, and Gregory Smith was fired by the Maxwell Institue shortly after that review.

 

Christensen, Douglas K.

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