Lastly, let’s examine the claim that Joseph Smith purportedly said that the Lehites landed in Chile. The belief is based on a statement in a document dated between 1836 and 1837 and written by Frederick G. Williams (one of Joseph’s scribes). Some have supposed that Joseph was the source for this statement. In 1882 Franklin Richards and James Little published a booklet wherein they reproduced Williams’ note about the Chilean landing under the heading “Lehi’s Travels — Revelation to Joseph the Seer.”
Williams, however, did not attribute the statement to Joseph Smith, and there is no evidence that Joseph received such information by “revelation.” B.H. Roberts and John A. Widtsoe, both careful critics, doubted that the statement came from Joseph. It seems that Richards and Little made an unwarranted assumption.
More likely the source for Williams’ statement was actually Orson Pratt. Pratt believed that Lehi had landed in Chile and had been promoting his geography for many years. He never attributed his geographical model to revelation from Joseph Smith, however, and once explained that his model was based on his own analysis of the Book of Mormon text.
In the end I personally find the Peruvian model interesting but unpersuasive when compared to other Book of Mormon geographic models.
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