NOTE: now that I've read through his essay, I've come back here to post my conclusion, which is also found at the end of this post:
Bottom line, Roper removes the Cumorah pin from New York, rejecting everything the early LDS wrote about the subject, and keeps the Zarahemla pin in Mesoamerica because of a single unsigned article in the Times and Seasons. I keep the Cumorah pin in New York and remove the Zarahemla pin from Mesoamerica, ascribing all the citations to Stephens to missionary zeal in the context of a hemispheric model that accommodates a hinterlands approach--with North America as the core. Such a hinterlands approach is also consistent with other articles in the Times and Seasons that do not cite the Stephens book. Ironically, Roper rejects the hemispheric model implicit in every reference he cites; he doesn't agree with the very authors he cites for authority to support his position. Roper and I agree that the New York Cumorah pin and the Mesoamerican Zarahemla pin are incompatible. Readers must choose which pin they leave in their own maps.
John Bernhisel’s Gift to a Prophet:Incidents of Travel in Central America and the Book of Mormon
Proponents of the so-called “Heartland” interpretation claim that Joseph Smith’s usage of such terms as this land, this continent, or this country indicate a specialized usage that must and can refer only to territory within the United States.
“Out of the Best Books”
A Book Review from a Prophet
Of “greatest interest” and a “pleasure” to read
“It unfolds and develops many things that are of great importance to this generation”
“Luminous” and “Comprehensive”
Age of Pre-Columbian Civilization in Mesoamerica
What Stephens Didn’t Know
On the basis of Stephens’s report, it is understandable that some readers of the Book of Mormon would see a correlation. In October 1842, an editorial in the Times and Seasons suggested a possible link with the Nephite capital city: “It is certainly a good thing for the excellency and veracity, of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, that the ruins of Zarahemla have been found where the Nephites left them: and that a large stone with engravings upon it, as Mosiah said; and a ‘large round stone, with the sides sculptured in hieroglyphics,’ as Mr. Stephens has published, is also among the left remembrances of the (to him) lost and unknown.” The writer then qualified this statement as a matter of opinion.