Where Does The Book Of Mormon Really Take Place and Does It Matter

It matters greatly because the Lord has said: “For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fullness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.” (Ether 2:10)

Physical and historical evidence are now accumulating rapidly that North America is the
Promised Land. As you will see below, the Promised Land spoken of in the Book of Mormon is North America, and we should do our best in helping the people of this land come fully to the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ.

I am both a scientist and a devote Latter-day Saint, I love to use the scriptures, the words of the prophets and feel the Spirit as I strive to ascertain truth. (D&C 45:57) I know the Lord’s promises are sure, and He has said, “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (JS-M 37)

As a scientist, I love to see how the data fit a particular model. I have applied the scientific method to the scriptures and have found some marvelous truths validating God’s word. One of those truths – fundamental to this article is that the Book
of Mormon occurred in the heartland of America, and North America is the Promised Land. (See Chapter 3, “What is God’s Word?”, in my book, It’s About Time; Science Harmonized with Religion, http://ItsAboutTimeBook.com

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught and never said otherwise than that the Book of Mormon history took place in the heartland of America – the Promised Land and the place of the restoration. Read the recent books by J. E. Neville, Who Can Hinder? (16 Dec. 2014) and Moroni’s Keys (2014). Neville gives convincing evidence that the Mesoamerica theory for where the Book of Mormon took place started on a false premise, and the Prophet Joseph tried to stop it.

Here is Neville’s introduction to Who Can Hinder?

In 1842, a zealous, committed Mormon [Benjamin Winchester] invented a way to gain
more converts. All he had to do was link the Book of Mormon to popular books,
including a national bestseller, about Mesoamerica. This proof would be irresistible to the public. Except the prophet disagreed with the tactic. Convinced he was right, he battled Joseph Smith. Formally suspended and silenced, he fought back. He arranged for the publication in the Times and Seasons of articles that specifically linked the Book of Mormon to Mesoamerica. The consequences? Joseph Smith resigned from the paper. The champions of the Mesoamerican theory apostatized from the Church. And the Mesoamerican theory would undermine faith in Joseph Smith’s role as prophet, seer and revelator for the next 174 years. This man’s zeal and subterfuge have remained a secret despite the devoted efforts of historians, educators, and church leaders to uncover the truth. Until now.
If all the saints were to read these two books of Neville’s, I believe we would make major progress toward understanding and being united as regards Book of Mormon geography and historicity. Scholars have spent enormous amounts of money and time authenticating the geography and historicity of the Bible with great success. We are on the verge of giant strides in this regard for the Book of Mormon, which will also validate Joseph Smith as the Lord’s prophet of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times when, as Peter and Paul share, there will be a restitution of “all things.” (Acts 3.21; Ephesians 1:10)

As an example of the Prophet Joseph’s teachings, we have Zelph’s mound found by the Illinois River, which was discovered during the march of Zion’s Camp from Kirtland, Ohio to Missouri. This mound is particularly significant because when discovered the spirit of revelation was given the Prophet Joseph to know, “I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite,… and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains… He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites.” [History of the Church, by Joseph Smith,
Deseret Book, 1976, vol. 2, ch. 5, pp. 79-80] The Church has this arrowhead from this “arrow” in their archives. Eight brethren wrote in their journals as witnesses of this profound and inspiring event.

In addition, we have the Nephite Alter identified by the Prophet Joseph and witnessed by others at Adam-ondi-Ahman, and thirdly we have the Hill Cumorah itself where Joseph obtained the plates for translating the Book of Mormon, and many other records were observed there by him and by other witnesses as well. The Lord says that in the mouth of two or three witnesses He will establish His word (Matt. 18:16).

We have another three witnesses in three occurrences of the Ten Commandments being found in North America written in ancient Hebrew. My wife’s cousin, James Saline, made an imprint of the one in New Mexico. Near Newark, Ohio, in 1860 David Wyrick and others excavated a mound in the center of twelve other mounds and found a stone in a box along with a large skeleton. On the stone is inscribed the Ten Commandments around a figure with the translated name of Moshe (the ancient name of Moses). The writings are readable by Rabbis in ancient “block Hebrew.” We visited the museum in Ohio where this stone is kept. There, we also saw the “Holy Stone.” The translations of the inscriptions, also in ancient Hebrew, on the four sides
of this stone are, “Laws of Yahweh, Holy-of-Holies, Word of Yahweh, and King of the Earth.”
The stone is pointed and the angle of its sides is 23.5 degrees, which is the inclination of the earth’s spin axis to its orbital plane.

Hugh Nibley summarized the situation well:

What most impressed me last summer on my first and only expedition to Central America was the complete lack of definite information about anything Book of Mormon. (Hugh Nibley, The Prophetic Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co.,Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989], 265.)

The Book of Mormon is a history of a related primitive church, and one may well ask
what kind of remains the Nephites would leave us from their more virtuous days. A
closer approximation to the Book of Mormon picture of Nephite culture is seen in the
earth and palisade structures of the Hopewell and Adena culture areas than in the later
stately piles of stone in Mesoamerica. (Hugh Nibley, The Prophetic Book of Mormon
[Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and
Mormon Studies, 1989], 272.)

More recently, we have the profound statement of Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, “The United States is the Promised Land Foretold in the Book of Mormon…”(December 2012 ENSIGN magazine).

Not only is the United States of America the Promised land, but the “Promised Land” given tothe Jaredites and to the Lehites. Rod Meldrum has outlined from the scriptures, that thisPromised Land was determined in pre-mortal time to be a sacred and special place: http://www.firmlds.org/feature.php?id=18

  • The place for the Garden of Eden;
  • The place where Adam and Eve began the human family;
  • The place where Adam (at Adam-ondi-Ahman), three years prior to his death, bestowed “his last blessing” upon his faithful patriarchal sons and others of the faithful;
  • The place where the Adamic language has been spoken more than any other place – for more than 3,000 years with Adam’s family and the Jaredites;
  • The Promised Land where the Jaredites, Lehites and Mulekites were led by the Lord; The place where a free nation (The United States of America) was born to bless all the nations of the earth;
  • The place where the fullness of gospel was restored;
  • The place where Adam will return and where the keys of the Kingdom will be given back to Christ to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords for a thousand years;
  • The place where the New Jerusalem will be built; and

The place from whence shall go forth the Law during the great millennial epoch.

It is important to realize that the Jaredites lived here for about 1600 years and the Lehites fornearly a thousand years. When we look at what has happened in the 400 years since the Pilgrims first came to America, we should not be surprised to see evidence of both Jaredite and Lehite peoples throughout the Americas. Both Mormon and Moroni said they only could write a hundredth part of the history of their people.

Recently, a good friend of ours, Duane Erickson, was in our home. He has been promoting the Heartland Model for decades; he shared with us and showed us pictures of the work of two scientists who have found evidence in Utah that the Aztecs left from there. (Cicilio Orosco of California State University, Fresno, and Alfonso Rivas-°©‐Salmon,a respected Mexican anthropologist at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, show Aztec origin to be Utah with migration occurring about 502 B.C.)
For their inheritance, the Lord gave the seed of Joseph the land of the “everlasting hills,” (North,Central, and South America, see Genesis 49:22-26 and JST Genesis 50:24-38).

There is also a large amount of evidence of ancient Christian activity in Central and South America that is totally consistent with the Jaredites and Lehites landing in North America given the amount of time their civilizations existed. For example, read the book, He Walked theAmericas by L. Taylor Hansen.

Rod Meldrum’s work has been extremely helpful in addressing the question of validating the historicity and geography of the Book of Mormon. His book, The Book of Mormon in the Heartland, has sold well over 20,000 copies, and he has sold around 100,000 DVDs acquainting people with the Heartland model. In 2010, my wife and I were privileged to go on one of his tours, and it was a life-changing experience.

The model he laid out for us over those two weeks fits hand in glove with what we read in the Book of Mormon. Everything from the “Waters of Mormon” to Zarahemla, the River Sidon, and the Land Bountiful felt right and looked right. It was like when we visited the Holy Land with Dan Rona and had the Bible story laid out before us in a most inspiring way – including details of the Savior’s life and where He worked out the infinite atonement. We have also been privileged to see some of the ruins in Central America, and we fully agree with Huge Nibley’s assessment quoted above.

I have heard several of Wayne May’s talks and have his five volume set of books entitled, This Land. The Hebrew relics he has shared and the Book of Mormon evidence he has compiled are most compelling, as well, for North America being the Promised Land where both the Jaredites and the Lehites first landed.

Bruce Porter’s book entitled, An Everlasting Decree – Ensuring a Title of Liberty for the
Promised Land, has direct scriptural evidence that North America is the Promised Land. He further shows that it matters greatly to know that and for all of us to help bring about the repentance so critically needed that she may fulfill her destiny of helping to prepare the Bride to meet the Bridegroom at His coming.

The DNA studies also point to North America being the land of the Lehites, where haplogroup X2 – common among the Hopewell Native Americans — ties back to the Middle East. When the first studies of DNA were made on Native Americans, scientists labeled them A, B, C, and D, which tie back to Asia and Siberia. The anti-Mormons picked up on this immediately and propagated the tale that the Book of Mormon is false because the people in Mesoamerican were not Israelite DNA.

That there were other populations present in the Americas seems evident from current data. In the DVD Lost Civilizations of North America is documented that anciently there was significant commerce between the continents. A couple of fun examples are: 1) I was in one of Rod Meldrum’s special meetings, and a Navajo leader shared that he had his DNA tested and he was from Mongolia. Someone else in the room spoke up and said their grandson had served his mission in Mongolia and came back speaking Navajo; and 2) when the Scotts came to America speaking Gallic, the Cherokees could understand them.

The Book of Mormon clearly tells of the Savior visiting other groups. As He went from the Promised Land to visit them, so now our missionaries go from the Promised Land to share the gospel with remnants of Israel, which is one of the main signs before the Lord’s coming. (Matt. 24, JS-M)

We read in apocryphal literature that when the Ten Tribes were taken captive by the Assyrians around 721 BC they subsequently traveled into the north – including both Europe and Asia. There is other evidence including scriptures that support this hypothesis. I was on a three week lecture tour in mainland China. While in Xian, they took me to one of the oldest museums in the world. One building had nothing but stele. On one of these stones, I saw an image that reminded me very much of the resurrected Savior. For example, the Hebrew-looking-robed man had a staff over his shoulder with a knapsack on it denoting travel. His feet were bare and He was standing over water. The image was old but I could detect what looked like the marks of the nails in his feet.

I asked my guide if she could read the Chinese inscriptions with it, and she said she couldn’t; they were in ancient Chinese. Indications are that China will open up soon to the preaching of the gospel, and the predictions are that we will see large numbers of the Chinese come into the fold of God. The Christians have already done a great job. About 5% of China is now Christian.mThe message of the Book of Mormon will resonate with their souls; I had some great conversations with them while there. Now that this new information is coming forth, that will help significantly.

Another good friend of ours, Keith Chandler, served his mission in Finland. He shared with us that the Fins have an oral tradition that lines up beautifully with the Savior anciently having visited them as well. In that regard, it is interesting that haplogroup X, which is also found among the Hopewell Indians, ties to Finland, Italy and the Holy Land. In some of Rod Meldrum’s original research, he has a picture of a Native American who looks much like an Italian.

Everything the Lord does is in the loving intent to help us draw closer to Him. If we ask, “Why did the Lord instruct the Prophet Joseph to name the city, across from Nauvoo, Zarahemla?” (D&C 125:3) We arrive at some very interesting answers. It is particularly interesting that the Lord gave Joseph a map of how the city was to be laid out, which included a temple facing the Nauvoo Temple – like book ends across the Mississippi (Sidon) River. Recently, Wayne May has found evidence of an ancient temple facing the Nauvoo Temple in the area the Lord so designated.

The Lord’s promise in D&C 121:26-32 “Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory” is rapidly coming about. It is also interesting, that before the Des Moines dam was built, Nauvoo was the first place one could cross the Mississippi River on foot. This reminds us of the battle of Captain Moroni and Lehi against the Lamanites where the Lamanites were strung out across the Sidon River. (Alma
43:39-54)

I find it fascinating that the revelation, (D&C 125:3) naming a city Zarahemla to be built across from Nauvoo, was given by the Lord just before the controversy began between the Prophet Joseph and Benjamin Winchester regarding Book of Mormon geography. It is as if the Lord — anticipating this controversy – gave the revelation to bring understanding and harmony to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear His word. Winchester persisted and would not leave the Mesoamerica model alone for the geography of the Book of Mormon. This controversy is well documented in Jonathan Neville’s most recent book, The Lost City of Zarahemla.

Joseph prophesied about Winchester that he would “apostatize, and injure the
Church as much as he could.” (Who Can Hinder? P 155) That is exactly what happened, but the Lord will turn all of that into good, as we will see.

My wife, Edna, has a fascinating idea regarding the perspective by the general church
membership that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica. The Lord knew what would happen and that the general acceptance of the Mesoamerica model would dominate LDS thinking for 174 years. He knew the Church members would take the gospel to the folks in Central and South America with more vigor believing this model than they would have otherwise. He loves all of His children. Now it is time for the true Lamanites to blossom as a rose as the First becomes the Last in preparation for the Lord’s coming. (See Chapter 23 of my book, (http://ItsAboutTimeBook.com)

I taught institute for the Moroni Stake for eleven years following our mission to the Ivory Coast (’97-’99), where we also saw evidence of the scattered tribes of Israel. It was interesting to me to see the change in the Book of Mormon institute manual during those eleven years. The old manual had many pictures from Mesoamerica; the new manual had none. Last year the Church released a new film following General Conference depicting the Savior’s coming to America following His resurrection. The old film depicted it occurring in Mesoamerica; the new one depicted it amongst the mounds of the Hopewell Indians – many of which are in the Mississippi drainage – the great Sidon River – and consistent with the Heartland model.

Keith Merrill, the writer and director of the profound movies Legacy and The Testaments, went on Rod Meldrum’s tour and had a change of heart from the Mesoamerica model to the Heartland model. He would love to redo the movie The Testaments in the correct place. (see this brief insightful interview with Keith: http://bookofmormonevidence.org/video_gallery.php)

For me, as a scientist, the data are very convincing. Watch the DVD, Lost Civilizations of North America. Beginning in 1991, Dr. Roger Kennedy, then director of the Smithsonian, became aware of what he calls, “Hidden Cities.” Like him, the more you learn of it the more you will be astounded. Experts estimate that there were some 200,000 mounds and structures built by the Hopewell civilization along the Ohio and Mississippi drainages. The ancient city of Chillicothe, Missouri, was larger than London or Rome. Only about 1,000 of these mounds remain (0.5%). The rest have been destroyed because of the colonizer’s attitude of “manifest destiny” – feeling the natives were savages, and to redeem these lands from them was their right as a superior-evolved race.

Great Octagon EarthWorksAs an example, the Great Octagon and Great Circle are part of a larger Newark, Ohio Earthworks complex which is over 4.5 square miles. The octagon portion of the Great Octagon is large enough to house 4 Roman coliseums and it combined with the other portions of this complex make it the largest and most sophisticated earth mound structure on earth. The angle of the Great Pyramid at Giza from the baseline to the apex is 51.8 degrees. The angle of the Great Octagon through the centers of the Octagon and adjoining circle to true North is also 51.8 degrees. Encoded in the eight nodes of the Great Octagon are all eight of the moons lunar alignments over its entire 18.6 year cycle – consistent with Hebrew calendar dating. Dr. Bradley T. Loper, curator of the Ohio historical society says, “This is as inspiring as sending a man to the moon,” and rivals any other architectural achievement.”

The 51.8 degrees angle forms what is called “The Divine ratio.” If you measure the distance from the base of the Giza Pyramid to the apex divided by the distance from the edge of the base to the center of the base, you obtain the Divine ratio. The Divine ratio is also found in the five pointed star, as illustrated. The ratio of b/a can be shown equal to (b+a)/b uniquely for the five pointed star, which is the Divine ratio. And when you solve from the geometry of this configuration, you find it equal to (1 + {square root of 5})/2 = 1.618…, denoted by the Greek letter φ. φ is the only number where you can subtract 1 from it and get its reciprocal: φ – 1 = 1/φ.
Yod Hey Vau
The Fibonacci series asymptotes to the Divine ratio in the ratio of the last number to the next to the last number. The series is given by: 1.1.2.3.5.8.13.21.34.55… In other words, you add up the last two numbers to get the next one. One sees these Fibonacci numbers are replete in nature as is the Divine ratio. As an example of the Divine ratio in the human body, the distance from the top of your head to the tip of your nose divided by the distance from the tip of your nose to your chin is the Divine ratio. You find the same ratio similarly in the ratio of the distance from the tips of your fingers to your elbow to your shoulder, and in the distance from the top of your head to the navel and then to your feet. There are several other instances. The Hopewells, apparently understood all of this as we find it imbedded in their structures and architecture. It is evident in these archeological findings that they were constructed in reverence to their God.

The Great Octagon has been carbon dated to about 100 to 150 AD, and was evidently a time of great peace and of a highly sophisticated civilization with science and religion integrated, as there were no defense networks around it. From Rodney Meldrum’s work, this correlates with the “Land Bountiful” in the Book of Mormon, which is where the Savior appeared to them. It clearly was a very sacred place for them. This civilization ended about 400 AD according to archeologists – matching the Book of Mormon account.

As Rod Meldrum points out, when studied carefully, this amazing 4 ó miles of earth works shown below maps out God’s plan of salvation. (Documented by Squire and Davis in 1848) For example, the 30 acre circle at the bottom has a water trench on the inside denoting a womb – representing where we were born as spirit children of our Heavenly Parents. Note, the birth canal, going from the circle toward the square, is larger than the birth canal attached to the square; the latter denotes our physical birth into mortality. The symbolism shows us being given physical birth into the 20 acre square area (denoting the four corners of the earth). Note additionally that by the ratio of the areas (30 acres/20 acres) represents the third part of the children of God who also came to earth but were denied physical bodies – the angels who fell following Lucifer. Not to elaborate further here, but other details of Heavenly Father’s perfect
plan of happiness can be seen. This gives further evidence that this was the Land Bountiful, and was very sacred to them. REJOICE, as we see God’s truths unfold as inspiring signs of the times.

Unfortunately, The United States, the Promised Land, has turned her back on God with
enormous consequences because the “Everlasting Decree” is in place, and her people will be “swept off” unless there is massive repentance. Hence, we see the great importance both of knowing that this is the “Promised Land,” and of sharing the vital message of the gospel to bring this people and all people back to the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ with the goal to come to know the Father and the Son, which is Eternal Life – the greatest of all the gifts of God.

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