In 1 Nephi 18, Nephi describes his voyage across the sea and his arrival in the “promised land.”
22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land.
23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.
Now, compare this to how he describes “Columbus” in 1 Nephi 13:
12 And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
IOW, both Nephi and the “man among the Gentiles” sailed to “the promised land.”
What if they went to the same region?
Here’s a map showing Columbus’ route of discovery. Nephi does not describe the “man among the Gentiles” making multiple voyages. He refers only to the first voyage that took him to “the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.” For that reason, I focus on the first voyage.
The green line in the map is Columbus first journey to the Americas. The pink line is his route home. The yellow line is the route of the Mulekites from Moroni’s America. The orange line is Lehi’s route from Moroni’s America.
I think Lehi landed in Florida for all the reasons I’ve explained in Moroni’s America. He may have sailed south of Cuba to get there because of ocean currents and wind, but it’s interesting that Mulek, Lehi and Columbus converge on the same areas.
Of course, the first people Columbus encountered were from Florida (they had inhabited the Bahamas). So if you want to believe Columbus was the man identified by Nephi, then the first people he encountered were not from Mesoamerica or South America; they were from North America, not far from where Lehi originally landed (in Florida).
If you have Mesomania, you’ll ignore Columbus’ first voyage, the only one Nephi described, and instead focus on his later voyages where he sailed along the coast of Honduras. Then you’ll say Honduras is “close enough” to Guatemala and southern Mexico.
You’ll also claim that although Lehi landed on the west coast of Central America (or Chile, or Baja, or Panama), and Columbus sailed by the east coast, they both went to the same promised land.
For me, Nephi’s description makes far more sense if Lehi, Mulek, and Columbus converged on the same basic place in the Caribbean. I even think Nephi’s vision of “Columbus,” which he had before they left the old world, helped him recognize the promised land once he arrived there.
But that’s just me.
Source: Book of Mormon Wars