Monday, October 10, 2011

The Book of Mormon Map as of October, 2011

It has now been established to many people's satisfaction that the Sidon in The Book of Mormon is the Usumacinta River in Central America. See the article "The River Sidon - Precis" in this blog. See also the article entitled "The Usumacinta/Sidon Correlation". So, it is time to slightly re-draw the current Book of Mormon map. We previously published a consensus map dated September, 2011 that reflects the best thinking of most Book of Mormon scholars. See the article "The Book of Mormon Map as of September, 2011 in this blog. It is premature to update that consensus. Like unity in any organization, consensus takes time and only time will tell whether the Usumacinta/Sidon correlation that seems so compelling now to many proves clear and convincing to most Book of Mormon scholars. In the mean time, we are prepared to publish a best fit Book of Mormon map. We believe we have amply demonstrated that the Usumacinta River best fits the criteria specified in The Book of Mormon text.
Book of Mormon lands map updated
to show the Usumacinta as the Sidon.
The Mezcalapa-Grijalva versus Usumacinta debate has polarized Book of Mormon scholars since the early 1950's when Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Gareth W. Lowe, and John L. Sorenson began exploring the former while M. Wells Jakeman and Ross T. Christensen were still focused on the latter. This impasse has impeded progress in the New World geography sub-discipline within Book of Mormon studies for decades. The consensus Book of Mormon map was at approximately the same point in September, 2011, as it was in 1973 when David A. Palmer contacted a small band of scholars and began circulating papers and reviews to determine which of the two rivers was the more viable candidate for Sidon. Hopefully, the analysis in this blog will help move that discussion forward. Thirty-eight years is long enough to wander in the wilderness. It is time to finally settle The Book of Mormon into its Promised Land.
Note: The following dated material was edited on November 5, 2011. On Saturday, November 5th, 2011, the 9th Annual Book of Mormon Lands Conference sponsored by the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum (BMAF) was held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. The afternoon session was devoted to the Mezcalapa-Grijalva versus Usumacinta question. Larry Poulsen and Ted Stoddard advocated for the Mezcalapa-Grijalva. Jerry Ainsworth and Joe Anderson advocated for the Usumacinta. Joe Allen (who earlier in the day with his wife, Rhoda, received the Father Lehi and Mother Sariah lifetime achievement awards) and I (Kirk Magleby) joined the panel discussion afterward. Some thought-provoking material was presented, portions of which will be addressed in future posts to this blog.
See the blog article entitled "Book of Mormon Map" for an ever-evolving map reflecting some of the best current thinking about The Book of Mormon New World geographic correlation.