Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Book of Mormon Map as of September, 2011

Because of the ambivalent nature of some textual passages, The Book of Mormon map puzzle is a multivariate equation that will be solved with best fit analysis - calculus rather than simple algebra. Consensus over time is a pretty reliable indicator that best fit has been achieved. The good news is that there is considerable consensus among credible Book of Mormon scholars about many key points on the map. For example, almost all serious students of the Nephite text now agree that:
  • The historical New World events described in the book took place within an area not much larger than 1,000 kilometers (about 600 miles) in diameter. 
  • Mesoamerica (southern Mexico and northern Central America) is the New World setting for the book.
  • The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is the narrow neck of land.
  • Southern Mexico (Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Guerrero) is the land northward.
  • Northern Central America (Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Guatemala, Belize) is the land southward.
  • The Hill Ramah/Cumorah area is along the gulf coast of Veracruz, north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
  • The city of Nephi area is in highland Guatemala, near present day Guatemala City. 
  • Teotihuacan, near present day Mexico City, is on the extreme northern fringe of Book of Mormon lands.
  • Western El Salvador and Honduras are on the extreme southern fringe of Book of Mormon lands.
  • The Book of Mormon Jaredites were a subset of the Olmec, the mother culture of Mesoamerica.
It is heartening to know that this consensus has remained largely unchanged since the 1970's.

Those generally subscribing to this consensus viewpoint are a veritable who's who of Book of Mormon scholars:
  • Blake J. Allen
  • Joseph L. Allen
  • Jerry L. Ainsworth
  • Joe V. Andersen
  • Ted E. Brewerton
  • Stephen L. Carr
  • Douglas K. Christensen
  • Ross T. Christensen (deceased)
  • John E. Clark
  • John P. Fugal
  • F. Richard Hauck
  • Shirley R. Heater
  • Paul Henning (deceased)
  • Louis E. Hills (deceased)
  • Howard W. Hunter (deceased)
  • M. Wells Jakeman (deceased)
  • John L. Lund
  • Kirk A. Magleby
  • Neal A. Maxwell (deceased)
  • Hugh W. Nibley (deceased)
  • V. Garth Norman (his site)
  • David A. Palmer (deceased)
  • Daniel C. Peterson
  • Lawrence L. Poulsen
  • Noel B. Reynolds
  • Stephen D. Ricks
  • John L. Sorenson
  • Sidney B. Sperry (deceased)
  • Neil Steede
  • Ted D. Stoddard
  • Javier Tovar (his blog)
  • Raymond C. Treat
  • John A. Tvedtnes
  • Bruce W. Warren
  • John W. Welch
  • Diane E. Wirth
  • Mark A. Wright
Institutions espousing this consensus viewpoint include:
All is well in Zion? Yea, Zion prospereth? 2 Nephi 28:21 Not yet. But, four decades of substantial agreement among some of the best minds in the business is not a bad place to start.
See the blog article entitled "Book of Mormon Map" for a series of ever-evolving maps reflecting some of the best current thinking about the Book of Mormon New World geographical correlation.