Q & A
Q. Did Joseph Smith say anything about geography?
A. Yes. He did say that:
- Lehi landed in the Americas a little south of the Isthmus of Darien, Panama. Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (November 1841-October 1842), Vol. 3 No. 22 September 15, 1842 927
- He said that the ruins of Quirigua, Guatemala were surely from Nephite origin. Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (November 1841-October 1842), Vol. 3 No. 22 September 15, 1842 927; Page 942 of this issue of the Times and Seasons states: “The Times and Seasons, Is edited, printed and published Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by Joseph Smith.” [W]e have found another important fact relating to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Central America, or Guatimala [Guatemala], is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south. – The city of Zarahemla, burnt at the crucifixion of the Savior, and rebuilt afterwards, stood upon this land…
- He said that the Jaredites settled in Aztalan, Wisconsin. This is an archeological site similar to the thousands found in the Mississippi valley region attributed to the Mound Builders of North America. The site contains three small stepped pyramidal mounds. Times and Seasons, “Truth will prevail.” Vol. III. No. 16. CITY OF NAUVOO, ILL. JUNE 15, 1842. [Whole No. 52 From the Millennial Star Pg 88.] After the death of Don Carlos Smith, Josephs younger brother in August of 1841, Joseph took responsibilities of editor of Times and Seasons.
- He said that Zelph was a Lamanite warrior found in Illinois. On June 3, 1834, in Pike County, Illinois, some of the men of Zion’s Camp located some bones and an arrowhead about a foot below the ground. Seven of the members of Zion’s Camp who were with Joseph either recorded or orally related their accounts of what was said. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zelph These accounts declared that the bones were from Zelph, a “white Lamanite” general who was a righteous man and was a chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, whose fame was known from the Hill Cumorah or eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains.
Q. How do you account for the long distances and many miles this map would require people to travel?
- Zion’s Camp traveled over 900 miles from May 1 to June 19, 1834 with 25 wagons 205 men, 11 women and 7 children. They only took 40 days in travel.
- The Mormon Battalion marched on foot 1,900 miles, from Omaha, Nebraska to San Diego, California in 6 months. Alexander Donaphin, (The man who saved Joseph Smith’s life when he was arrested at Far West) was in the same Mexican War and took his men from Independence, Missouri to San Diego and back through New Orleans, Louisiana; 5,000 miles in 12 months.
- The saints went from Winter Quarters with 73 wagons and one cannon to Salt Lake, 1,050 miles in 2.5 months. Brigham Young turned around in August and returned to Winder Quarters the same year.
- The ship Brooklyn sailed from New York harbor to San Francisco, California with 238 Mormon saints and traveled 24,000 miles in five months and twenty-seven days.
Q. Why are there so many different opinions and theories about the geography of the Book of Mormon?
A. In part because there is so much geography described in the Book of Mormon. In a way it’s a puzzle. Many pieces to the picture are there, but not all. Assumptions have to be made in order to create a map.
Q. Where can I read just the geography all knit together?
A. The only place is on this site. Read the Narrative with the comments and questions in red.
Q. What is the reason for all of this geography if it’s all unclear?
A. The best reason is so that you an visualize places, travels, events and remember them. It will enhance your experience and make the Nephites and Lamanites come alive. For some this isn’t relevant, and for the purpose of the Book of Mormon that is true. But for others, it will help them develop a stronger testimony.