12. Could the Book of Mormon Events Have Taken Place in South America?

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12. Could the Book of Mormon Events Have Taken Place in South America?

Copyright © 2015 by Jerry L. Ainsworth

Many archaeologists agree that hundreds, if not thousands, of divergent, ancient groups came to North and South America, most not associated with each other.

Ancient Civilizations in the New World

I suggest the Chinese, the Scandinavians, Israelites, Africans, and people from over the Siberian Straits, just to mention a few. We know that when Lehi landed on the Pacific side of Mesoamerica close to the Mexican-Guatemalan border, many cities in that area dated to 1000, 900, 800, 700, and 600 BC. At the time Lehi landed, El Mirador was in full bloom and had over two hundred thousand inhabitants.

Many groups were also found in North America and in South America. The Mocha landed in South America about the same time the Jaredites landed in Mesoamerica—and may also have come from the Tower of Babel, as the Bible implies that people were scattered among all nations from the great tower.

The largest civilization in Peru was the Inca, which began their ascension around AD 1300. However, even though the Incas were latecomers on the scene, they were preceded in Peru by several large civilizations including the Chavin which developed in the northern Andean highlands of Peru from 900 BC to 200 BC.

The Historical Records of the Maya

The history of the Maya says their initial progenitor was named “Ahau Jawbone” (Lord Lehi), who landed on the Pacific side around 600 BC at the Rio de la Puerta—the “river of the door,” which served as Lehi’s entryway into the interior.

This history continues with the account that there were nine men with their families in this landing, and each had a tribe that bore his name except for one, the third son of Jawbone/Lehi, because he had no male children. This was perhaps Sam, which explains why there are no “Samites.”

The Maya later divided between the highland Maya (Lamanites) and the lowland Maya, (Nephites).

The Landing of the Jaredites

Bernardino de Sahagun’s 1547 History of the Things of New Spain recounts that a group of people landed in Tampico, having crossed the sea from the great tower in boats that could go under water. His history also says that another group landed at a point near the early settlers around 600 BC but then got back in their boats and went farther south where, four hundred years later, they met up with peoples from the highlands of Guatemala.

That sounds very much like the Book of Mormon to me. I do not doubt that great civilizations existed in South America, but the historical evidence of these cultures so far does not match up with the Book of Mormon the way the Maya history does.

The Book of Mormon Lands Will Be Dotted by Pyramids

I like to think that I am open-minded, but proponents of South America as the Book of Mormon lands are going to have a difficult time convincing me. The Book of Mormon says there were towers (read pyramids) throughout all of the lands. These were tall enough to afford a view over the jungle canopy, which is around 150 feet tall. Given this height requirement, these towers could not have been made out of wood.

So the question becomes, “Where are the hundreds of 150-feet-tall pyramids in South America that date to Book of Mormon times?” Guess what? They aren’t there.

Or even better than that, where are the underwater cities that sank at the crucifixion. None are found in South America, but a number are located off the coast of Belize.

I see no persuasive evidence that Book of Mormon events took place in South America.

Contact me with a question or comment: eljefejla@aol.com




Ainsworth, Jerry L.