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Getting to the Heart the Divide on Book of Mormon Geography

In recent weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the oft-times acrimonious debate between Heartlanders and Mesoamericanists, especially in the wake of my friend Stephen Smoot’s recent post about Letter 7. I am not sure I have anything particularly profound to offer on the subject; the reality is I and many others have long realized that both sides are talking past each other, and both sides likely blame the other for that impasse. But I would like to proffer a question that, I think, helps cut through all the noise and gets to the heart of the matter.
Imagine, for a second, archaeologists down in Veracruz, Mexico, made an absolutely astounding discovery: a stela, dated to the late-4th century (i.e., AD 350–400), written by a ruler in the area boasting of how he had utterly destroyed a people called the Nephites at a nearby place called Cumorah. There’s no question about the authenticity of this find, and there is no doubt about the translation.

Brace Yourself: The Old Testament is Coming!

With the start of 2018, Mormon’s around the world braced themselves for another dreaded Old Testament year. “Here we go again,” you may have thought, “I’ve got to sludge through all this weird stuff in the Old Testament again, wondering what on earth it could all possibly mean and how it’s relevant to me.”
I get it: the Old Testament is odd and confusing for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that it was written over 2000 years ago, by a different people in a different time. It feels like so much hard work making sense of it, only to end in confusion and despair. But once you start to understand the Old Testament a little bit, it’s actually a pretty cool book. It does take a little effort to make some sense of it, but it really does not need to be as hard as it feels sometimes. Learning to use the right tools in scripture study—and the study of the Old Testament in particular—can make all the difference.
My friend Benjamin Spackman has already make some great rec…