A Survey of Pre-1830 Historical Sources Relating to the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon contains an interesting historical and religious record covering the period from before 2,000 B.C. to A.D. 400 Internal reconstruction of Book of Mormon geography shows that the specific events mentioned in the book probably took place in those parts of Mexico and Guatemala known as Mesoamerica; it was also in Mesoamerica that many of the great ancient American civilizations once flourished. Records were kept by the people of those civilizations, in addition to the book translated by Joseph Smith, and certain of the Prophet’s detractors claim that he had access to those records and “was familiar with the advanced state of the native civilizations in Central and South America as well as the relics of the early inhabitants of western New York because of the many books available on these topics,” further asserting that the Book of Mormon is simply a fanciful rewriting of already available material. The question having been raised, it is instructive to look at what substantial, authentic information on pre–A.D. 400. Mesoamerican history was available in western New York in 1829.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 17:1
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