It was probably inevitable; regardless of merit, such a thesis would never make it past the citation cartel of Brant Gardner, Dan Peterson, William J. Hamblin, Louis C. Midgley, Gregory L. Smith, Mark Alan Wright, Matthew Roper, Mike Parker, et al. They seek to maintain the consensus view on Mesoamerica at all costs, and that's their prerogative. It's their journal, after all.
But I think their readers should know that the Interpreter censors views that its editors don't approve of. Unlike them, I trust people to make up their own minds, based on facts, reasoned arguments, and citations to legitimate sources.
For that reason, in addition to my peer reviews, from time to time I will post articles here that offer Interpreter readers a different perspective. I extend an open invitation to Interpreter editors to republish any of these articles in their journal. For pieces I write, I'm willing to make reasonable editorial changes to accommodate their style guidelines and any comments generated by the peer review process.
Although now discredited, these Times and Seasons articles have influenced generations of Latter-day Saints—members, scholars, and leaders—and have been frequently cited by those who advocate a Mesoamerican setting.
This article proposes that the text of the Book of Mormon, considered in light of the historical, geographical, archaeological, and geological evidence, points to Mesoamerica as the hinterlands to the Book of Mormon narrative. Under this approach, the bulk of the narrative, from the land of Nephi to Zarahemla to Cumorah, took place in North America.
This approach has the additional benefit of reconciling everything Joseph Smith said on the topic. It is well known that the Doctrine and Covenants identifies Indian tribes living in Missouri and around the Great Lakes as Lamanites (D&C 28: 8-9, 14; 32:2). Joseph Smith taught Indian tribes living in the Nauvoo area that the Book of Mormon was the history of their fathers. Imagine how surprised they would be to learn that he was referring to Alma 63, which explains the text says nothing about those who went north.
3 Nephi 8:11-13
The configuration of the lands cannot have been modified by catastrophic geological events in the historic past.
Ancient geographical features were for practical purposes the same as we see today; for example, references to the narrow neck and narrow pass were the same in Moroni’s day as in the day of General Moroni, several centuries earlier.”
No credible evidence exists from real-world research that justifies believing that major physical events have drastically changed the present boundaries of the seas or other major physiographic features in the Western Hemisphere within the period of human habitation.
In fact, evidence from archaeology contradicts the idea of any major change in the shape or extent of the lands, since archaeological studies in all Western Hemisphere land areas show uninterrupted human occupation over thousands of years.
11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds and the thunderings and the lightnings and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.
17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.
18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.