This is why I like to simplify the issue..
One way is the binary decision about Cumorah; i.e., is there only one Cumorah in NY, or is the “real” Cumorah (Mormon 6:6) located somewhere else?
That’s a simple question.
And it has a simple answer, which this modified cartoon explains:
Another simplification is distinguishing between 2D and 3D debates.
The never-ending debates about interpreting the text (where is the narrow neck of land, where is the snow, etc.) are 2D (two-dimensional) because they are purely surface issues that cannot be resolved from the text itself. That’s why there are dozens (or hundreds) of proposed maps.
The 3D (three-dimensional) debate is whether we can trust Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as reliable, credible people when they wrote Letter VII.
As the cartoon illustrates, it’s a simple question.
1. If Letter VII is correct, the Mesoamerican setting doesn’t work and is wrong.
2. If Letter VII is wrong, then Joseph and Oliver were ignorant speculators who misled the Church (until LDS intellectuals figured out that Cumorah was actually somewhere in southern Mexico).
I think it should be easy to reach a consensus on this point, at least. In fact, I think most LDS who know about Letter VII and read it find it persuasive. The only exceptions are those who have a stake in the Mesoamerican theory, and therefore have a level of cognitive dissonance that is so high, Letter VII and its historical context is not sufficient to persuade them.
Maybe what we’re really seeing now is two separate sets of consensus being formed.
1. Everyday LDS are reaching a consensus that Letter VII is accurate, with all that entails.
2. Some intellectual LDS are sticking with their consensus that Letter VII is false, with all that entails.
The split between the two is becoming more stark all the time.
Source: Book of Mormon Concensus