There is much scholarly research that focuses on the Book of Mormon. One of the main questions regarding the Book of Mormon is related to its geography.
The question of precisely where the events chronicled in the Book of Mormon took place arises naturally, since to date neither the record itself nor the Lord through his prophets has revealed its New World setting in terms that permit conclusive linkages to modern-day locales.
Speculation on the subject has spawned two principal theories: the hemispheric model (with Book of Mormon lands comprising North, Central, and South America) and the limited geography model (a restricted New World setting on the order of hundreds rather than thousands of miles). Although the hemispheric view was popular among early Latter-day Saints, it simply is not clear whether it was the result of prophetic revelation or merely the outgrowth of the personal ideas and assumptions of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other brethren.
Historical research indicates that Joseph Smith never claimed revelation on the subject and that the thinking of early church leaders regarding Book of Mormon geography was subject to modification as new information came to light. Indeed, the diversity of nineteenth-century opinion is striking, attesting that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had no authoritative stance on what was—and continues to be—an open issue.
Today many Latter-day Saint scholars and other serious students of the Book of Mormon favor the limited geography theory, with Mesoamerica (extending from southern Mexico to Guatemala) as the Book of Mormon homeland. This interpretation, with antecedents apparent in the 1840s, seems to best match the complex requirements of the scriptural text itself while remaining tenable after years of rigorous examination in light of the archaeological and cultural record of ancient Mesoamerica.
- Book of Mormon Research
- BYU - Maxwell Institute
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