Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Article Title

Brown Bags Continue



Brown Bag Lectures, Book of Mormon studies, Book of Mormon geography, Nephites, Book of Mormon authors


Rocks, radar, and writers--these have been the topics of the most recent presentations at the FARMS brown bag seminar at BYU. John L. Sorenson, professor emeritus of Anthropology at BYU, spoke about writers, or more accurately, about the authorship of the Book of Mormon. He pointed out that Joseph Smith apparently thought that the Book of Mormon applied to all of North and South America, yet the book fits only a limited Mesoamerican setting. If Joseph had made up the setting or used what he knew about the world, it would not have matched so well a part of the world he apparently knew little or nothing about. If somehow he knew more about Mesoamerica than current evidence indicates, so that he could make the setting fit that part of the world, why would he himself then assume that it applied to a much larger geography? Sorenson also discussed how the book compares to Mesoamerican texts, making reference to a large variety of categories.