The Mesoamerican theory of Book of Mormon geography is a zombie. It continues to prowl around BYU.
The textbook definition of a zombie is: a will-less and speechless human held to have died and been supernaturally reanimated.
In the world of software, a zombie is "A process or task which has terminated but was not removed from the list of processes, typically because it has child processes that have not yet terminated."
The Mesoamerican theory is like zombie software. It is dead, but it has child processes that still live, like little zombies.
Here are some of the reasons why the Mesoamerican theory died.
1. Its origin--the anonymous articles in the Times and Seasons, wrongly attributed to Joseph Smith--has been exposed as a historical mistake.
2. Thanks to Letter VII, few people even try to defend the two-Cumorahs theory any more. (The Mesoamerican theory claims the "real" Cumorah is in Mexico, so it was a mistake to give the hill in New York the name Cumorah.) Once members of the Church realize that accepting the Mesoamerican theory requires you to also believe that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were ignorant speculators who misled the Church, most members reject the Mesoamerican theory quickly.
3. The illusory "correspondences" between Mesoamerica and the text of the Book of Mormon are really just ordinary characteristics of most human civilizations that are not evidence of the purported link between Book of Mormon peoples and the Mayans.
Although the Mesoamerican theory is dead, Mesomania lives in its children. Once we finish them off, we will be rid of the zombie geography. But to finish them off, we have to first identify them, starting with BYU connections.
1. BYU Studies, "the premier Mormon academic journal since 1959," continues to promote the zombie Mesoamerican setting, right on its main page.
Go to the bottom of the page under "Popular Pages" and click on the first one, titled "Charting the Book of Mormon." Scroll to section 13 and read the entries, including 13-161, here.
|Presenting BYU's zombie geography map of Mesoamerica!
2. Officially, BYU is supposed to be neutral about Book of Mormon geography. And that would be fine, in a vacuum. But for years, BYU promoted the Mesoamerican theory, including taking faculty to Mesoamerica on educational "Book of Mormon" trips. The zombie theory was widely taught for decades. To claim "neutrality" with this history would be like a strip mining company suddenly claiming "neutrality" after cutting all the trees and shearing the mountaintops. It's not neutral when the damage is not remediated. The zombie children of the Mesoamerican theory are present throughout the University (on all the campuses). Besides, faculty are not really neutral. Here is a discussion of an article by a BYU Professor who claimed BYU destroyed Ancient (Mesoamerican) Book of Mormon Studies:
Other current BYU Professors have written extensively about the zombie Mesoamerican setting for the Book of Mormon.
3. BYU students are taught to understand the geography of the Book of Mormon as presented by the abstract map I blogged about here:
|That map is not Central America!