Book review: 'An LDS Guide to Mesoamerica'

By Jarrod Hiatt

For Mormon Times

Published: Tuesday, May 10 2011 7:30 a.m. MDT

"AN LDS GUIDE TO MESOAMERICA," by Daniel Johnson, Jared Cooper, Derek Gasser, Cedar Fort, $29.99, 170 pages

Authors Daniel Johnson, Jared Cooper and Derek Gasser don’t know where the land of Nephi is located. They don’t know where the Waters of Mormon, the River Sidon, the city of Zarahemla or any of the other prominent Book of Mormon sites are located — but they have their guesses.

Johnson, Cooper and Gasser are veteran travelers; they share a passion for Mesoamerica and provide travel tips as well as insight from historians and archaeologists in "An LDS Guide to Mesoamerica."

While the authors themselves don’t claim to be experts, the book is well-researched and filled with an assortment of details about the cultures that once inhabited ancient Mesoamerica, especially the Maya, a group of people who many believe can bridge the gap between the modern-day people of the region and the great Nephite and Lamanite nations that may have once dwelt there.

Each chapter in the book is divided into three sections: "How We Got There," "Background" and "Book of Mormon Comparisons." The sections touch on the travel, history and possible ties to the Book of Mormon. Each of the locations discussed in the book is its own chapter, which allows the authors to elaborate on the history of each site and its ties to a possible Book of Mormon past.

The authors’ ability to combine travel, history and ties to the Book of Mormon makes "An LDS Guide to Mesoamerica" a compelling read for those planning a trip to the region or for those interested in delving into the history of the area.

Jarrod M. Hiatt lives in Davis County, Utah, with his wife and three children. Jarrod graduated from Weber State University with a degree in journalism. He loves sports and loves to talk sports with anyone at anytime. Email: jarrodhiatt@gmail.com

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