BMAF is basically a club for those who want to continue promoting a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon. Once you understand that, they’re harmless.
Just look at their logo. They’ve got a Mayan temple juxtaposed to what is presumably Mormon’s plates. Nowhere on those plates is there a single mention of Nephites building stone pagan pyramids with steps like this. This logo is science fiction.
In 2016, they became a division of Book of Mormon Central, with this logo:
One time we were at a Pizza Hut and a group of Klingons came in. They were speaking Klingon, wearing the costumes, etc. They were having a lot of fun and we enjoyed watching them. Nobody thought for a moment that they were real Klingons. Nothing to worry about.
That’s what BMAF reminds me of. It’s a group of people who have a common interest in promoting the Mesoamerican model, for whatever reason. They have their own language, their own social network, their own publications, their own maps, etc. They think the Nephites were Mayans. They continue to create artwork depicting the Nephites as Mayans, like this one showing Alma in a Mayan costume, surrounded by Mayan glyphs. They have a lot of fun, just like people in most clubs. I’ve pointed out before that they wear their own special lenses so that they see Mesoamerica in the Book of Mormon. Again, no problem–as long as you recognize what they’re all about. Remember their mission statement: “Our goals are (1) to increase understanding of the Book of Mormon as an ancient Mesoamerican document.”
Although I said there is nothing to worry about, a lot of people have expressed concern about BMAF joining Book of Mormon Central. Frankly, I share that concern. On the one hand, BOMC has officially adopted the Church’s position of neutrality on Book of Mormon geography questions. The people at BOMC are fantastic, good scholars, faithful LDS, etc.
On the other hand, now we have a division of Book of Mormon Central with a Mayan temple as its emblem. Every one of BOMC’s official affiliates promotes the Mesoamerican setting. So I understand why so many people are offended by what is going on there. All I can say is, don’t take offense. Just keep learning and make your own decisions. You’re not obligated to believe what these groups teach.
As I mentioned on one of my blogs, BMAF is the equivalent of a “Book of Mormon in Cambodia” club. (Not that I have any problem with Cambodia; I’ve been there and I enjoyed it quite a bit. But the idea that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica is no more logical or factual than the idea that it took place in Cambodia–or anyplace else in the world outside of North America.)
The President of BMAF came onto one of my blogs a while back and claimed that my readers and I are “discouraged” from reading scholarly material published by BMAF and the other outlets formerly known as the citation cartel. The only thing discouraging about that material is how poor it is, and how it undermines faith. Well, there’s also the lack of time for me to address every article, but I’ve responded to the most significant ones and I’m always ready to respond to anything anyone wants me to address. So far, I’ve not seen a single article in that group that I find persuasive, let alone convincing. They are all confirming their own biases, and it’s easy to detect if you’re not wearing the Mesoamerican lenses.
1. The appeal to the authority of the “scholarly consensus.”
2. The DNA article on lds.org.
3. The claim that Joseph Smith said Zion was all of North and South America and that he was referring to the two continents.
4. The claim that there is evidence of the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica.
5. The claim that Heartlanders are “discouraged” from reading scholarly material from BMAF, FARMS, BYU Studies, FairMormon, the Interpreter, etc.
The invitation remains open for anyone who has an article they want me to address.