Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Scholars, enthusiasts shed light on Book of Mormon geography models

Published: Monday, Feb. 7 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

Dr. Kim Goldsmith and her husband Alejandro Sarabia were professional non-LDS Mesoamerican archaeologists long before they discovered the Church. While they were converted through a spiritual witness, they believe that the Book of Mormon has an overwhelming number of important points that easily fit in with myriad geographic and cultural traits of ancient Mesoamerica (cited in "Shaken Faith Syndrome," page 100).

Dr. John E. Clark (PhD, University of Michigan) is a professor of anthropology at BYU, the past director of the "New World Archaeological Foundation," and is widely respected in the field of Mesoamerican anthropology and archaeology. His books (some of which he co-authored) are frequently used as course-study readings in the archaeology departments of other universities. He is also on the editorial board for the "Ancient Mesoamerica Journal" (Cambridge). While Dr. Clark has never put his stamp of approval on any specific Book of Mormon geography, his writings indicate that he favors a general Mesoamerican model.

Dr. John L. Sorenson (PhD, University of California) — to be discussed more next week — is professor emeritus of anthropology at BYU. In 1990 Dr. Sorenson and Dr. Martin H. Raish authored a book titled "Pre-Columbian Contact with the Americas across the Oceans: An Annotated Bibliography." Harvard included this book in the reading list for their “Issues in Atlantic History,” part of “International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World,” which was a course for students entering their Ph.D. programs. Sorenson’s, “A Chronological Ordering of the Mesoamerican Pre-Classic,” is also cited in the "American Anthropologist."

While having experts on one’s side doesn’t guarantee the most accurate position, such experts can shed scholarly light on the overall issues.


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