I know some of the presenters. They're great people, sincere, diligent, etc. I'm not going to prejudge their presentations. I also know some of the Board Members at BMAF. Again, great people, sincere, diligent, etc. I have no problem with anyone I've met who is involved with BMAF.
That said, you have to realize what this conference is. BMAF is not a scientific organization. It's a club for like-minded people. It exists purely to promote a specific theory: a Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon. Scientific organizations seek to answer questions with an open mind; BMAF already has the answer it wants.
Here's their self-description:
"The Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated as an open forum for presentation, dissemination, and discussion of research and evidences regarding Book of Mormon archaeology, anthropology, geography and culture within a Mesoamerican context."
Their Mayan temple logo says it all.
Any Book of Mormon archaeology, anthropology, geography or culture outside the Mesoamerican context doesn't belong at BMAF. By their own definition, if you accept a Book of Mormon setting outside of Mesoamerica, you can't participate on BMAF. It's that simple.
That's why they don't invite me to speak at their conferences. j/k
There's no reason to be upset at BMAF. Like-minded people organize clubs all the time. They have conventions. They reinforce one another's beliefs and have fun doing so. All fine and dandy.
If I had a quibble, it's that their organization's name is misleading. It implies a scientific orientation. It should be BMMAF: Book of Mormon Mesoamerican Archaeological Forum.
One of my favorite attributes of BMAF is their effort to imply official Church endorsement. Look at their "Advisory Board."
I've always been curious about this. Why not just list their names? Why list them as "Elder" and identify them as general authorities?
The answer is obvious.
So by all means, go to the BMAF conference. There are all kinds of interest groups that hold conferences that are fun to attend, even if you don't agree with the organization's premise. Think of it as a Star Trek Convention, or maybe one of these conventions. Have an open mind. Enjoy the event for what it is.
Just don't get the mistaken impression that BMAF is scientific or represents any kind of official Church position (or even the views of a majority of LDS).