Every week now we have more evidence that the Mesoamerican theory of Book of Mormon geography is in a death spiral. Here's a rough overview of the trajectory.
First, there was the faulty premise (the 1842 Times and Seasons articles) that even proponents admit were factually false; i.e., the ruins Stephens described post-dated Book of Mormon time frames.
Second, although the Mesoamerian proponents cited (and still cite) articles from the Times and Seasons and other statements by Orson Pratt, John Taylor, etc., they disagree with every source they cite! Every one of their authorities advocated a hemispheric model, which modern Mesoamericanists reject.
Third, for years the Mesoamericanists have propped up their theory with the hope that someday, somewhere, archaeologists would uncover something related to the Book of Mormon. That has never happened. Now they resort to finding generic and illusory "correspondences" and they adjust the text itself to find hidden Mayan symbolism and meaning.
Fourth, for years the Mesoamericanists have propped up their theory by insisting that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery didn't know much about the Book of Mormon and was purely guessing or speculating about its geography. Most LDS don't realize that the Mesoamerican theory insists Cumorah was not in New York. The more LDS learn about these two prongs of the Mesoamerican theory, the less they accept that theory.
Fifth, abundant evidence in North America is coming forth that corroborates the Book of Mormon.
Sixth, many Mesoamericanists are acknowledging that Joseph neither wrote nor approved of the 1842 articles. Even the die-hards, such as Matt Roper, have no persuasive argument to the contrary. He wrote two long essays on the topic, but he unwittingly reinforced the conclusion that Winchester and others wrote and edited those articles.
Seventh, many Mesoamericanists have stopped repudiating Joseph Smith's statements about the North American setting. Instead, they have adopted the "Mesoamerican core, North American hinterland" theory. But that theory works both ways; i.e., a "Mesoamerican hinterlands" explains whatever correspondences proponents can come up with, as well as the early LDS notions of a hemispheric model.
Eighth, the Mesoamerican theory has been gradually eased out of FARMS, the Maxwell Institute, and even BYU. Church curriculum has gradually de-emphasized the Mesoamerican setting.
Ninth, the Mesoamerican theory survives mainly in LDS artwork--but even that is starting to change, as exemplified by the Scriptures Legacy video. There is a growing body of excellent LDS artwork centered in North America that, hopefully, will replace what is currently carried on lds.org.
Tenth, acceptance of the North American geography is spreading among LDS members and leadership.
Sadly, the Mesoamericanists don't seem to realize what's going on. The latest example is from William Hamblin. Hamblin is a frequent contributor to the Interpreter and a member of the Interpreter's Executive Board, so his recent blog post relates to what is going at the Interpreter.
I'm cross-posting this from http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/2015/09/how-byu-destroyed-ancient-mesoamerican.html
How BYU Destroyed Ancient Book of Mormon Studies
Hamblin's article about BYU's approach is well-written and well-reasoned, but I think he's missing the point.
IMO, BYU didn't destroy Ancient Book of Mormon studies; the Mesoamerican theory did.
Here's what a correct title to his article would be:
How BYU Destroyed Mesoamerican Book of Mormon Studies
I think BYU is right to discourage this line of research and writing. Articles promoting the Mesoamerican theory, published by FARMS and now the Interpreter, are not scholarly because they are not peer reviewed (outside the bias-confirming citation cartel).
John Sorenson's book, Mormon's Codex, sets forth criteria or filters for any proposed Book of Mormon setting that, ironically, exclude Mesoamerica.
Brant Gardner's book, Traditions of the Fathers, sets up a series of illusory correspondences that also show the Book of Mormon could not have taken place in Mesoamerica.
As Earl Wunderli demonstrated in An Imperfect Book, the Mesoamerican theory doesn't line up with the text. Re-interpreting the text to discern hidden "Mayan" features doesn't help, either.
Out of concern it might disappear, I'm going to reproduce Hamblin's piece here with my interlinear comments.