That note reflects what I’m trying to do with this blog, as well.
If you like to think of the Book of Mormon taking place where you live, great. It doesn’t matter if you live in Nigeria, Russia, Argentina, Guatemala, Thailand, Chile, or anywhere else–you can personalize it to your heart’s content.
But recognize that other people want to know where the Book of Mormon events took place in a literal sense; i.e., where Book of Mormon people actually lived. That’s my focus, and that’s why I emphasize the Hill Cumorah as a starting place. I think the evidence leads to the conclusion that there is one Cumorah and it is in New York. I also think many members of the Church who want to know the literal location of Book of Mormon events would reach that same conclusion once made aware of all the facts.
For too long, people haven’t had all the facts. Mesomania has had a deep and pervasive influence on anyone who has grown up in the Church or been converted. The artwork alone teaches the Mesoamerican setting. On top of that, we have LDS scholars who continue to insist on that setting, and they have influenced generations of their students–including current educators–to think this way.
Where I take exception is when privileges have been conferred on individuals–e.g., educators at Church institutions–and they either (i) don’t present all the facts to their students or (ii) repudiate the prophets and apostles.
Recently I’ve shown examples of scholars whose approach is, “I sustain the brethren as prophets and apostles, but when they disagree with my theories, they are speaking as men, giving their own opinions, and I don’t defer to their opinions.”
I hope people are aware of this attitude and take it into consideration when you study the topic.
The most I can accomplish here is to make you, the reader, aware of aspects of this question you might not have known about or considered before. I like the way Oliver Cowdery expressed this idea in Letter III:
“Whether I shall succeed so far in my purpose as to convince the public of the incorrectness of those scurrilous reports which have inundated our land, or even but a small portion of them, will be better ascertained when I close than when I commence; and I am content to submit it before the candid for perusal, and before the judge of all for inspection, as I most assuredly believe that before HIM I must stand and answer for the deeds transacted in this life.
“Should I, however, be instrumental in causing a few to hear before they judge, and understand both sides of this matter before they condemn, I shall have the satisfaction of seeing them embrace it, as I am certain that one is the inevitable fruit of the other.”
Like Oliver, I’m content to submit the ideas in the blog for your consideration. I’m fine if you agree or disagree.
Just be sure you’ve considered all the facts before you make up your mind.
Most of all, enjoy studying the Book of Mormon as you seek answers.
Source: Book of Mormon Wars