Church statements on Book of Mormon geography

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Church statements on Book of Mormon geography


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Question: Is there an "official" or revealed Book of Mormon geography?

The Church does not take an official position on this issue

Statements about matters about which there is no official doctrine
J. Reuben Clark

This is one of many issues about which the Church has no official position. As President J. Reuben Clark taught under assignment from the First Presidency:

Here we must have in mind—must know—that only the President of the Church, the Presiding High Priest, is sustained as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the Church, and he alone has the right to receive revelations for the Church, either new or amendatory, or to give authoritative interpretations of scriptures that shall be binding on the Church....
When any man, except the President of the Church, undertakes to proclaim one unsettled doctrine, as among two or more doctrines in dispute, as the settled doctrine of the Church, we may know that he is not "moved upon by the Holy Ghost," unless he is acting under the direction and by the authority of the President.
Of these things we may have a confident assurance without chance for doubt or quibbling.[1]
Harold B. Lee
Harold B. Lee was emphatic that only one person can speak for the Church:
All over the Church you're being asked this: "What does the Church think about this or that?" Have you ever heard anybody ask that question? "What does the Church think about the civil rights legislation?" "What do they think about the war?" "What do they think about drinking Coca-Cola or Sanka coffee?" Did you ever hear that? "What do they think about the Democratic Party or ticket or the Republican ticket?" Did you ever hear that? "How should we vote in this forthcoming election?" Now, with most all of those questions, if you answer them, you're going to be in trouble. Most all of them. Now, it's the smart man that will say, "There's only one man in this church that speaks for the Church, and I'm not that one man."
I think nothing could get you into deep water quicker than to answer people on these things, when they say, "What does the Church think?" and you want to be smart, so you try to answer what the Church's policy is. Well, you're not the one to make the policies for the Church. You just remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He said, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). Well now, as teachers of our youth, you're not supposed to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. On that subject you're expected to be an expert. You're expected to know your subject. You're expected to have a testimony. And in that you'll have great strength. If the President of the Church has not declared the position of the Church, then you shouldn't go shopping for the answer.[2]
First Presidency
This was recently reiterated by the First Presidency (who now approves all statements published on the Church's official website):
Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency...and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles...counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.[3]

In response to a letter "received at the office of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in 1912, Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency wrote:

Question 14: Do you believe that the President of the Church, when speaking to the Church in his official capacity is infallible?
Answer: We do not believe in the infallibility of man. When God reveals anything it is truth, and truth is infallible. No President of the Church has claimed infallibility.[4]
References
Notes
  1. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., "Church Leaders and the Scriptures," [original title "When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?"] Immortality and Eternal Life: Reflections from the Writings and Messages of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Vol, 2, (1969-70): 221; address to Seminary and Institute Teachers, BYU (7 July 1954); reproduced in Church News (31 July 1954); also reprinted in Dialogue 12/2 (Summer 1979): 68–81.
  2. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 445.
  3. LDS Newsroom, "Approaching Mormon Doctrine," lds.org (4 May 2007)
  4. Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).

Book of Mormon Central, KnoWhy #431: Where Did the Book of Mormon Happen? (Video)

Leaders of the Church have long been clear that there is no "official" or "revealed" geography for the majority of Book of Mormon events

Leaders of the Church have long been clear that there is no "official" or "revealed" geography for the majority of Book of Mormon events, including those which take place in the New World:[1]

There is a great deal of talk about the geography of the Book of Mormon. Where was the land of Zarahemla? Where was the City of Zarahemla? and other geographic matters. It does not make any difference to us. There has never been anything yet set forth that definitely settles that question. So the Church says we are just waiting until we discover the truth. All kinds of theories have been advanced. I have talked with at least half a dozen men that have found the very place where the City of Zarahemla stood, and notwithstanding the fact that they profess to be Book of Mormon students, they vary a thousand miles apart in the places they have located. We do not offer any definite solution. As you study the Book of Mormon keep these things in mind and do not make definite statements concerning things that have not been proven in advance to be true.[2]

As the Encyclopedia of Mormonism notes:

The Church has not taken an official position with regard to location of geographical places [of the Book of Mormon].[3]

Because there is no official revealed information on this topic outside of the Book of Mormon text itself (see this page for further statements from Church leaders and writers about geography), students of the Book of Mormon have proposed a number of models to illuminate what the text tells us.[4]


Question: Is there a revealed Book of Mormon geography?

Church leaders have been clear that there is no revealed geography for the Book of Mormon

  • It is claimed that the Church has officially endorsed a "hemispheric" geography of the Book of Mormon.
  • It is claimed that leaders of the Church long ago made one view of Book of Mormon geography "official."
  • It is claimed that Church members are encouraged by their leaders not to try to determine where the Book of Mormon occurred.
  • Joseph Smith associated the Mayan city of Palenque with Book of Mormon civilizations.
  • It is claimed that Joseph Smith knew exactly where the Book of Mormon occurred.

Church leaders have been clear that there is no revealed geography for the Book of Mormon, save that it took place somewhere in the western (i.e., American) hemisphere.

May 25, 1903: President Joseph F. Smith says location of Zarahemla not of vital importance

On May 25, 1903 President Joseph F. Smith attended a convention on the Book of Mormon at BYU Academy in Provo, Utah. After several individuals and expressed and presented their views on the subject, “President Smith spoke briefly and expressed the idea that the question of the situation of the city [of Zarahemla] was one of interest certainly, but if it could not be located the matter was not of vital importance, and if there were differences of opinion on he question it would not affect the salvation of the people: and he advised against students considering it of such vital importance as the principles of the Gospel . . . . [He] again cautioned the students against making the union question–the location of the cities and lands–of the equal importance with the doctrines contained in the book . . . . [President Anthony H. Lund] advised those present to study the Book of Mormon, and be guided by the advice of President Smith in their studies.[5]

1910s

Around 1918, President Joseph F. Smith:

The present associate editor of The Instructor was one day in the office of the late President Joseph F. Smith when some brethren were asking him to approve a map showing the exact landing place of Lehi and his company. President Smith declined to officially approve of the map, saying that the Lord had not yet revealed it, and that if it were officially approved and afterwards found to be in error, it would affect the faith of the people.[6]

April 1929: Anthony W. Ivins (First Presidency), General Conference

We must be careful in the conclusions that we reach. The Book of Mormon teaches the history of three distinct peoples, or two peoples and three different colonies of people, who came from the old world to this continent. It does not tell us that there was no one here before them. It does not tell us that people did not come after. And so if discoveries are made which suggest differences in race origins, it can very easily be accounted for, and reasonably, for we do believe that other people came to this continent...There is a great deal of talk about the geography of the Book of Mormon. Where was the land of Zarahemla? Where was the City of Zarahemla? and other geographic matters. It does not make any difference to us. There has never been anything yet set forth that definitely settles that question. So the Church says we are just waiting until we discover the truth. All kinds of theories have been advanced. I have talked with at least half a dozen men that have found the very place where the City of Zarahemla stood, and notwithstanding the fact that they profess to be Book of Mormon students, they vary a thousand miles apart in the places they have located. We do not offer any definite solution. As you study the Book of Mormon keep these things in mind and do not make definite statements concerning things that have not been proven in advance to be true.[7]

April 1929: James E. Talmage, General Conference

I sometimes think we pay a little undue attention to technicalities, and to questions that cannot be fully answered with respect to the Book of Mormon. It matters not to me just where this city or that camp was located. I have met a few of our Book of Mormon students who claim to be able to put their finger upon the map and indicate every land and city mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The fact is, the Book of Mormon does not give us precise and definite information whereby we can locate those places with certainty. I encourage and recommend all possible investigation, comparison and research in this matter. The more thinkers, investigators, workers we have in the field the better; but our brethren who devote themselves to that kind of research should remember that they must speak with caution and not declare as demonstrated truths points that are not really proved. There is enough truth in the Book of Mormon to occupy you and me for the rest of our lives, without giving too much time and attention to these debatable matters.[8]

1954: Mark E. Peterson (Council of the Twelve)

…we all have our free agency. God doesn’t rob anyone of that. And sometimes even a General Authority has used his agency in a wrong direction…Now, a General Authority might speculate, I suppose. We have had speculation, for instance, on the part of some with respect to Book of Mormon geography, and it is plain, unadulterated speculation and not doctrine. And if a General Authority has speculated on Book of Mormon geography he did not represent the view of the Church while doing so.[9]

1950s: Dallin H. Oaks (Council of the Twelve)

Here [BYU, 1950s] I was introduced to the idea that the Book of Mormon is not a history of all of the people who have lived on the continents of North and South America in all ages of the earth. Up to that time, I had assumed that it was. If that were the claim of the Book of Mormon, any piece of historical, archaeological, or linguistic evidence to the contrary would weigh in against the Book of Mormon, and those who rely exclusively on scholarship would have a promising position to argue.

In contrast, if the Book of Mormon only purports to be an account of a few peoples who inhabited a portion of the Americas during a few millennia in the past, the burden of argument changes drastically. It is no longer a question of all versus none; it is a question of some versus none. In other words, in the circumstance I describe, the opponents of historicity [i.e. those who argue that the Book of Mormon is not a literally true record, as it claims] must prove that the Book of Mormon has no historical validity for any peoples who lived in the Americas in a particular time frame, a notoriously difficult exercise. You do not prevail on that proposition by proving that a particular Eskimo culture represents migrations from Asia. The opponents of the historicity of the Book of Mormon must prove that the people whose religious life it records did not live anywhere in the Americas.[10]

1947-1950: John A. Widtsoe (Council of the Twelve)

As far as can be learned, the Prophet Joseph Smith, translator of the book, did not say where, on the American continent, Book of Mormon activities occurred. Perhaps he did not know…. [The 1842 Times and Seasons article] seems to place many book of Mormon activities in that region. The interesting fact in this connection is that the Prophet Joseph Smith at this time was editor of the Times and Seasons, and had announced his full editorial responsibility for the paper. This seems to give the subjoined article an authority it might not otherwise possess….

They who work on the geography of the Book of Mormon have little else than the preceding approaches with which to work, viz [that is]: that Nephites found their way into what is now the state of Illinois; that the plates of the Book of Mormon were found in a hill in northwestern New York State; that a statement exists of doubtful authenticity that Lehi and his party landed on the shore of the land now known as Chile; and that under the Prophet's editorship Central America was denominated the region of Book of Mormon activities.

Out of diligent, prayerful study, we may be led to a better understanding of times and places in the history of the people who move across the pages of the divinely given Book of Mormon.[11]

…out of the studies of faithful Latter-day Saints may yet come a unity of opinion concerning Book of Mormon geography.[12]

1966: Harold B. Lee

Some say the Hill Cumorah was in southern Mexico (and someone pushed it down still farther) and not in western New York. Well, if the Lord wanted us to know where it was, or where Zarahemla was, he’d have given us latitude and longitude, don’t you think? And why bother our heads trying to discover with archaeological certainty the geographical locations of the cities of the Book of Mormon like Zarahemla?[13]

1968: Paul R. Cheesman, in a November 1968 article for The Instructor magazine

There are those who believe that there are two Hill Cumorahs. Their theory is that the hill on which Mormon fought the last battle with the Lamanites is not the same hill in which Joseph Smith found the gold plates. Advocates of this theory establish their analysis primarily from the internal evidences of the Book of Mormon. Others conclude that there is only one Hill Cumorah, and that the place where Joseph Smith and Moroni met was the same place Mormon and Moroni visited in the fifth century. There is no official Church view.[14]

1989: Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Individuals and settings of obscurity are not unusual to the Lord's purposes. Meridian–day Christianity was initiated on a very small geographical scale and with comparatively few people. The larger, busy world paid little heed to it. Likewise with the Book of Mormon peoples. Whether located in Meso–America or elsewhere, they were one people among many peoples on this planet and perhaps even on the western hemisphere.[15]

1992: Encyclopedia of Mormonism

In 1928 the Church purchased the western New York hill and in 1935 erected a monument recognizing the visit of the angel Moroni (see Angel Moroni Statue). A visitors center was later built at the base of the hill. Each summer since 1937, the Church has staged the Cumorah Pageant at this site. Entitled America's Witness for Christ, it depicts important events from Book of Mormon history. This annual pageant has reinforced the common assumption that Moroni buried the plates of Mormon in the same hill where his father had buried the other plates, thus equating this New York hill with the Book of Mormon Cumorah. Because the New York site does not readily fit the Book of Mormon description of Book of Mormon geography, some Latter-day Saints have looked for other possible explanations and locations, including Mesoamerica. Although some have identified possible sites that may seem to fit better (Palmer), there are no conclusive connections between the Book of Mormon text and any specific site that has been suggested.[16]

Landing Party in Chile?

It is claimed that an uncanonized revelation by Joseph Smith sets the landing party for Lehi in Chile.[17] The source for this assertion is a "small book called A Compendium of the Doctrines of the Gospel, published in 1884 by Elders Franklin D. Richards and James A. Little, contains a statement as follows:

LEHI’S TRAVELS.—Revelation to Joseph the Seer.
The course that Lehi and his company traveled from Jerusalem to the place of their destination:
They traveled nearly a south, southeast direction until they came to the nineteenth degree of north latitude; then, nearly east to the Sea of Arabia, then sailed in a southeast direction, and landed on the continent of South America, in Chile, thirty degrees south latitude.[18]

No source is given for this information, beyond the introductory statement that it was a revelation to Joseph the Seer, which of course means Joseph Smith. An intriguing problem for historians is where this statement came from and whether, indeed, it can really be traced to Joseph Smith."[19]

"There is no solid historical evidence, however, attributing this statement to Joseph, let alone to revelation, and the assumption that such information was received by revelation is inconsistent with other evidence. An editorial in Times and Seasons gives another landing site for Lehi’s party: 'Lehi . . . landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien,'[20] or modern Panama. If Joseph had received a revelation concerning Lehi’s landing only a few years earlier (or if he knew of someone else’s receiving such a revelation), it is unlikely that he would have allowed this contradictory statement to be published. Given the variety and sparsity of statements about Book of Mormon geography during Joseph’s lifetime, it seems that, at least in his mind, the location of Lehi’s landing remained indefinite.

The Williams handwritten document is the prime source of information about its own origin. His statement about Lehi’s travels is found at the bottom of that sheet. The three items above it are separated by lines drawn across the page. Together, they give a possible context to the statement about Lehi’s travels. The first item on the sheet, known today as Doctrine and Covenants 7, is a revelation given to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery regarding John the Beloved. It was received in 1829 and published in 1833. The second item is entitled “Questions in English, Answers in Hebrew.” It quotes from Jacob 5:13 (“For it grieveth me that I should loose [sic] this tree and the fruit thereof”) and 7:27 (“Brethren, I bid you adieu”), and then below each statement gives “An[swers],” translating the English into rough Hebrew. The third item, headed “characters on the book of Mormon” and “the interpretion of Languages,” gives two characters under each. The statement about Lehi’s travels is then the fourth item on the sheet.

It appears likely that these statements were part of what was being studied at the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, since the first three deal with translation. This idea is corroborated by another known document, virtually identical to the second and third items on the Williams paper, with the signature 'written and kept for profit and learning—by Oliver.' The Cowdery paper, like the Williams document, appears to contain notes, written only for 'profit and learning' as these men studied together in the School of the Prophets, sometimes held in the Kirtland Temple.

On the back of the Williams paper are other characters and a statement written by Ezra G. Williams, Frederick’s son. It reads: 'G. S. L. City, April 11, 1864. This paper is in the hand writing of my father, Fred G. Williams. The characters thereon I believe to be a representation of those shown to him at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.' This statement discloses several important facts: (1) While Ezra knows that the page is in his father’s handwriting, (2) he only believes the characters had something to do with the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. (3) Nothing ties Ezra’s statement on the back to any of the four items on the front (indeed, it makes no sense to link Doctrine and Covenants 7 from 1829 to the dedication of the Kirtland Temple in 1836). Furthermore, Ezra does not attribute the statement about Lehi’s travels (4) to Joseph or (5) to revelation.

It is easy to understand, however, how the context of the statement on Lehi’s travels could have been misunderstood. The error can possibly be traced innocently to the partial copy, made in 1845, of Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of the Bible. John M. Bernhisel wrote the same statement on the last sheet of his copy, preceded by several blank pages. The isolated statement is given no context, heading, or comment, and it is not attributed to Joseph or anyone else. The mere fact that it was copied at the back of the Joseph Smith Translation, however, may have led people to assume that the Lehi statement was also an inspired statement by Joseph Smith. Bernhisel’s source, however, appears to be the Williams document, since Bernhisel’s copy has the identical wording and nearly the same spelling, capitalization, and punctuation as the Williams copy, with both misspelling the word 'lattitude.'

As early as 1909, B. H. Roberts doubted that the statement about Lehi’s travels came from Joseph Smith. Even before that, George Q. Cannon, First Counselor in the First Presidency, issued a statement in the Juvenile Instructor urging students of Book of Mormon geography to avoid contention and confusion, and to exercise caution in 'drawing all the information possible from the record which has been translated for our benefit.'[21] If we had certain knowledge from a revelation of Book of Mormon geography, including Lehi’s landing site, there would be neither speculation nor the need for such a caution. As it is, there is both."[22]


Question: Do we need to know where the Book of Mormon took place?

Since a precise knowledge of where the Book of Mormon took place is not necessary for it to bring spiritual conversion, the Church has never offered a revealed or official geography, and is unlikely to do so

It is claimed that the Church has no official position on geography of the Book of Mormon because the lands in the Book of Mormon never existed.

Since a precise knowledge of where the Book of Mormon took place is not necessary for it to bring spiritual conversion, the Church has never offered a revealed or official geography, and is unlikely to do so.

Those who offer this criticism often exaggerate the extent to which Biblical locations are known

Those who offer this criticism often exaggerate the extent to which Biblical locations are known, and ignore the disadvantages under which New World archaeology labors compared to the Old World.

Critics also ignore that there is substantial evidence for the Old World accounts in the Book of Mormon that were not known in Joseph Smith's day.

Most LDS scholars believe that a Mesoamerican setting best matches the Book of Mormon data, but other models have been advanced by others. Given that the Church has no revealed geography outside the Book of Mormon text, it is unlikely that a "Church-endorsed" map will be published. This does not prevent other researchers from seeking the most plausible correlation, but such undertakings remain secular, not spiritual.


Question: Should we reject statements made by Joseph Smith regarding Book of Mormon geography?

Some wish us to accept earlier statements by Joseph as prophetic and binding, while ignoring the content of later statements which do not match their personal theories

It is claimed that LDS scholars "disdain" Joseph Smith by rejecting statements that he made regarding Book of Mormon geography.

Joseph Smith made several statements about Book of Mormon geography. The content of his statements changed over time. Some wish us to accept earlier statements by Joseph as prophetic and binding, while ignoring the content of later statements which do not match their personal theories. They attack those who disagree with them as "discounting and disdaining" Joseph, while ignoring that their theories likewise discount later statements made by Joseph.

Other believers in Joseph Smith's divine call have decided that the differences in Joseph's statements over time suggest that his earliest statements were not based on a prophetic revelation about the specifics of Book of Mormon geography. Their desire to consider all of Joseph's statements led them to this conclusion, not a desire to "disdain" or "discount" him.

Since Church leaders have been clear that there is no revealed Book of Mormon geography, it seems strange to claim that those who agree that Joseph made no definitive prophetic statement are discounting the Prophet. If leaders of the Church have not believed there is an official geography from Joseph or anyone else, does this mean that they too are "discounting or disdaining" Joseph?

The implication being made is that LDS scholars who have speculated that Joseph Smith did not know the exact location of the Book of Mormon events are "disdaining" Joseph

One DVD narrator claims that the "fruit of the Central American theories" is that LDS researchers are "dismissing Joseph Smith," as illustrated by the following quotes. The narrator claims that the names of these authors are being withheld "because this is not about the individuals."

Quote #1: "Since Moroni offered Joseph Smith only a brief sketch, it is unlikely that he revealed to Joseph a comprehensive knowledge of Native American origins. It is important to understand that Joseph Smith did not have access to this knowledge. He translated the book, but apparently did not know the scope of its geography."
—Name withheld
NOTE: This quote is from LDS scholar Matthew Roper.[23]

Quote #2: "Exactly what Joseph Smith believed at different times in his life concerning Book of Mormon geography in general is also indeterminable. I think it's quite clear where Joseph Smith thought it was. Evidently, Joseph Smith's views on this matter were open to further knowledge."
— Name withheld
NOTE: This quote is from LDS scholar Kenneth W. Godfrey.[24]

Quote #3: "The historical sources give no indication that Moroni's instructions to the young Joseph Smith included geography. Nor did Joseph Smith claim inspiration on the matter. Ideas he later expressed about the location of events reported in the book apparently reflected his own best thinking."
—Name withheld
NOTE: This quote is from LDS scholar John Sorenson.[25]

President Hinckley was not referring to LDS scholars when he talked of people "disdaining" Joseph Smith - he was talking of apostates

After showing these "name witheld" quotes, the DVD narrator then claims that the following quote from Gordon B. Hinckley is the "end-sign":

"It is a constantly recurring mystery to me how some people speak with admiration for the church and its work while at the same time, disdaining him through whom, as a servant of the Lord, came the framework of all the church is, all that it teaches and all that is stands for. They would pluck the fruit from the tree while cutting off the root from which it grows."

The implication, of course, is that LDS scholars who have speculated that Joseph Smith did not know the exact location of the Book of Mormon events are "disdaining" Joseph. On the back of the cellophane DVD wrapper is a sticky label imprinted with the following notice:

"Correction Notice: A quote from President Hinckley used in the presentation is used incorrectly and will be removed from the next version of the DVD. It was incorrectly understood that the Prophet was speaking of all people who dismiss Joseph Smith, including LDS scholars; however it has been brought to my attention that President Hinckley spoke specifically of non-members and did not specifically mention scholars. As stated in the presentation, if there are mistakes, they will be corrected."

However, despite the presence of the disclaimer on the back of the DVD case, in the live seminar titled "Introduction to Book of Mormon Evidences," the presentation still displays the quotes from LDS scholars and then refers to those that make such statements as "discounting and disdaining" Joseph Smith.[26]

President Hinckley was not referring to LDS scholars when he talked of people "disdaining" Joseph Smith - he was talking of apostates.


Unofficial Book of Mormon geography statements

Nineteenth century

Joseph's lifetime (1829–1844)

After Joseph's death (1844–1899)

Twentieth century (1900–1999)

Twenty-first century (2000–)


Source(s) of the criticism
Critical sources

Notes

  1. For historical review and discussion, see William J. Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1. (1993). [161–197] link
  2. Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report (April 1929), 16.
  3. John E. Clark, "Book of Mormon Geography," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:178.
  4. This is discussed at length in John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]),1–4. See also John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Map (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2000), 4–8. ISBN 0934893489.
  5. Deseret News, 25 May 1903.
  6. George D. Pyper, "The Book of Mormon Geography," The Instructor no. 73 (April 1938), 160. Event discussed occurred in about 1918; see John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Map (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2000), 7. ISBN 0934893489.
  7. Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report (April 1929), 16.
  8. James E. Talmage, Conference Report (April 1929), 44.
  9. Mark E. Petersen, “Revelation,” address to religious educators, 24 August 1954; cited in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd ed., (Salt Lake City: Church Educational System and the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints, 1982), 136–137; cited in Dennis B. Horne (ed.), Determining Doctrine: A Reference Guide for Evaluation Doctrinal Truth (Roy, Utah: Eborn Books, 2005), 315.
  10. Dallin H. Oaks, "Historicity of the Book of Mormon," Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies Annual Dinner Provo, Utah, 29 October 1993; cited in Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon," (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1994), 2-3. Reproduced in Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon," in Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), 237–48.
  11. John A. Widtsoe, "Evidences and Reconciliations: Is Book of Mormon Geography Known?," Improvement Era 53 (July 1950), 547.
  12. John A. Widtsoe, foreword to Thomas S. Ferguson, Cumorah—Where? (Independence, MO: Press of Zion's Print. & Publishing Company, 1947). Cited by John L. Sorenson, Mormon's Map (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2000), 7–8. ISBN 0934893489.
  13. Harold B. Lee, “Loyalty,” address to religious educators, 8 July 1966; in Charge to Religious Educators, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Church Educational System and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982), 65; cited in Dennis B. Horne (ed.), Determining Doctrine: A Reference Guide for Evaluation Doctrinal Truth (Roy, Utah: Eborn Books, 2005), 172-173.
  14. Paul R. Cheesman, "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon," The Instructor, Vol. 103, No. 11 (November 1968): 429.
  15. Neal A. Maxwell, But For A Small Moment (Salt Lake City, Utah: Desert Book, 1986), 18.
  16. David A. Palmer, "Cumorah," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:346-347.
  17. Brent Metcalfe and Dan Vogel, "Editor's Introduction," American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002), viii.
  18. The Compendium was first published by Richards and Little in Liverpool, England in 1857. However, the “Lehi” statement was not included in the first edition. A second edition, revised and enlarged, was published in Salt Lake City by George Q. Cannon and Sons Company in 1884, and it is from this edition that the statement is found on page 289.
  19. Robert J. Matthews, "Notes on 'Lehi's Travels'," BYU Studies 13:3 (Spring 1973): 312-14.
  20. Times and Seasons 3 (15 September 1842): 922. One may contend that Chile is "a little south of the Isthmus of Darien" but that ignores the specific coordinates ("30 degrees...") Joseph gave which do not match with the statement made in this supposed "revelation."
  21. George Q. Cannon, “The Book of Mormon Geography,” Juvenile Instructor 25 (January 1, 1890): 19.
  22. John W. Welch, "Did Lehi Land in Chile?" Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1992), 57-61.
  23. Matthew Roper, "Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 91–128. off-site
  24. Kenneth W. Godfrey, "What is the Significance of Zelph In The Study Of Book of Mormon Geography?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/2 (1999). [70–79] link
  25. John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 1.
  26. This was true at least as of "The Firm Foundation's" 6 March 2009 seminar presentation.