Janne M. Sjodahl reviews common BOM geography theories of his day in the early 20th century.

Sep 1927
Janne M. Sjodahl

Janne M. Sjodahl, "Suggested Key to Book of Mormon Geography," Improvement Era 30, no. 11 (September 1927): 974–987

Improvement Era
Janne M. Sjodahl
Reading Public

The best known theory concerning the geography of the Book of Mormon is that represented by the late Elder George Reynolds in his Story of the Book of Mormon. . . . To those who hold this theory, the entire North America is, in the Book of Mormon, called "Mulek", because the Lord brought Mulek into that land. South America is, for a similar reason, called "Lehi," because this great colonist landed there. Zarahemla, where Mosiah found the Mulekites, is located in the northern part of South America, as one grand division of the Land of Lehi, the Land of Nephi being the other.

. . .

A theory, of more recent date, holds that the geographical scene of the history of the Book of Mormon is confined to a comparatively small area of Central America, viz., Guatemala, British Honduras, part of Yucatan, and Salvador. In this area, it is thought, the Jaredites, the Mulekites and the followers of Lehi, all established their first colonies, and from there, in due course of time, they spread out north and south, and peopled the American continents. But in the Book of Mormon, it is further thought, only the history of the original area has been preserved.

. . .

Nor is it improbable that America received immigrants from Asia and other parts of the globe, who may have introduced new. creeds and institutions, although not mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The Indian traditions concerning culture-heroes, such as Votan, Quetzalcoatl, Manco Capac, Bochica, Wixepecocha, and others, who came mysteriously to the people in their degraded condition and taught them to till the ground, to spin and weave, to build houses, and to worship, and then passed out of view as mysteriously as they had come, may point to such immigrations, as well as to those which we know from the Book of Mormon.

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