Although I’ve posted lately about the old arguments used by Mesoamerican advocates, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that their arguments are outdated, tired, and fundamentally irrational anyway. And yet, like an old video game that some people still play, these old arguments persist.
Another way to look at the question of Book of Mormon geography from a different perspective is to view it from a longer-term, broader 3D perspective.*
The 2nd dimension approach is the worldview that is apparent to everyone, where the way things look on the surface are the way things really are. Even the image of the 3D Mario above is only 2D on this web page.
The 3rd dimension perspective involves a deeper analysis, looking beyond the surface at context, persuasion, and future implications. If Mario jumped off the screen and hopped around on the table, you’d understand him much better.
In the world of Book of Mormon geography, the 2D approach obsesses with things such as whether the River Sidon flows north or south, whether the text mentions snow, and whether farmers near Palmyra have found enough relevant artifacts lately. The 2D approach also focuses on “correspondences” with artwork and artifacts from Mesoamerica, seeking to find ways that the Book of Mormon text actually describes Central America, despite the absence of volcanoes, jungles, tapirs, jaguars, massive stone pyramids (or any stone buildings), and, of course, Mayans themselves. Mesoamerican proponents prefer the 2D approach because it is essentially semantic and can never be resolved, justifying ongoing research forever.
The 3D approach doesn’t ignore the surface issues but looks deeper at the implications of repudiating what Joseph and Oliver said about Cumorah, the plains of the Nephites, etc. The 3D approach considers the impact on faith of trying to persuade people that Joseph and Oliver were honest, accurate and correct about everything except this one point: their claim that it was a fact that Cumorah–the one and only real Cumorah of the final battles–was in New York. Essentially, the 3D approach considers what Joseph Fielding Smith said about the two-Cumorahs theory; i.e., that it would cause members of the Church to become confused and disturbed in their faith.
2D thinkers reject what President Smith said and refuse to even consider the evidence of the fulfillment of President Smith’s warnings. Because they have testimonies, and because they believe in the Mesoamerican theory, they don’t understand how anyone could lose his/her faith over the Mesoamerican theory. Most of them don’t realize they are in a situation where they can’t unsee Mesoamerica. Consequently, they can’t understand how anyone else can unsee Mesoamerica.
This is one reason why it is pointless to argue about Book of Mormon geography. No matter what you say, people with Mesomania can’t unsee Mesoamerica in the Book of Mormon. They’re too indoctrinated.
That’s why I recommend learning about relevant Church history and discussing that instead of Book of Mormon geography. Even 2D thinkers will, eventually, come to understand the 3D implications of Mesomania once they learn about and ponder Letter VII, the two sets of plates, and the actual authors of the anonymous 1842 Times and Seasons articles that led to Mesomania in the first place.
* Scott Adams often writes about different perspectives, albeit not on LDS topics. I like the way he frames topics, as I’ve mentioned before. If you are interested in politics and haven’t read his blog or his books, you should, here.
Source: Book of Mormon Wars