Book of Mormon/Geography/Models/Limited/Poulsen 2004

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Model Name Date Proposed Scope Narrow Neck Land North Land South Cumorah River Sidon Nephi's Landing Religion Type of model

Model name: Poulsen 2004

Date proposed: 2004
Scope: LGT
Narrow neck: Tehuantepec
Land north: South-Central Mexico
Land south: Southern Mesoamerica, incl Yucatan
Cumorah: Tepetzintla (further North than Veracruz)
Sidon: Grijalva
Landing: Central America
Religion: LDS
Type: External

Lawrence Poulsen, stimulated by the models proposed by Sorenson and Hauck, used his own study of the text, combined with advances in 3-D computer mapping technology and satellite maps to provide a fascinating refinement of the Mesoamerican model.[1]
Poulsen compares Sorenson's River of Sidon suggestion (the Grijalva River) with Hauck's (the Usamacinta River) and finds Grijalva much more plausible.[2] Poulsen extends this analysis to show how the explorers mentioned in Mosiah 8:7-10 likely mistook Usamacinta for Sidon/Grijalva, thus becoming hopelessly lost. The Book of Mormon text is even accurate in the direction which the Sidon flows at a critical point.[3]

Poulsen's suggestion for the Hill Cumorah is Cerro Bernal, following the suggestion of Jerry Ainsworth. This hill is 1875 feet high, and located on the coastal plain to the west of the North-South-oriented coast of the Gulf of Mexico near the city of Tampico, Mexico.

This Cumorah candidate is about 110 miles north of Tepetzintla (which, at 4040 feet high he identifies as a potential Hill Shim).

Interestingly enough, Tepetzintla translates to Cerro de Maiz in Spanish or "Corn Hill" in English, which has been suggested as the meaning of the Hill "Shim."[4] (Shim was the Jaredite hill identified by the Nephites as likely being in the same locality as "Cumorah"—see Mormon 1:3, Mormon 4:23; compare with Ether 15:11, Mormon 6:6).

Poulsen suggests Santa Rosa for the city of Zarahemla.

Furthermore, Poulsen suggests the use of a "quadrant"-based directional system as used by some Mesoamerican groups,[5] as opposed to arguing that the Nephites used cardinal directions off-set from magnetic north, as Sorenson does.[6]
Clark's review of Hauck contained a similar suggestion that the Nephites conceptualized their world in a quadrant-based fashion (see image at right).

Clark's suggestion for how Nephites conceptualized their world.[7]
Satellite map with Poulsen's quadrant-based geography overlaid. The Grijalva/Sidon river is the blue line on the left; to the right is the Usamacinta.[8]


  1. Lawrence Poulsen, off-site
  2. Lawrence Poulsen, "A comparison of the river Sidon, as referenced in the Book of Mormon, to the Grijalva River found in Chiapas, Mexico," off-site
  3. Lawrence Poulsen, "Why did King Limhi's search party get lost in the wilderness?," (accessed 17 September 2006). off-site
  4. Bruce Warren, "Surviving Jaredite Names in Mesoamerica," off-site Note: Some Mesoamerican experts consulted by FAIR have recommended caution in accepting Warren's conclusions regarding names. This link is included because it forms part of the basis for Poulsen's suggestion.
  5. Lawrence Poulsen, "Directions in the Book of Mormon," (accessed 17 September 2006). off-site
  6. See Sorenson's discussion in John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! (Review of "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography" by Deanne G. Matheny)," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 297–361. off-site See also wiki link here.
  7. From John E. Clark, "A Key for Evaluating Nephite Geographies (Review of Deciphering the Geography of the Book of Mormon by F. Richard Hauck)," FARMS Review of Books 1/1 (1989): 20–70. off-site; Figure 8 off-site
  8. Lawrence Poulsen, "Directions in the Book of Mormon,", Figure 5 (accessed 17 September 2006). off-site