Where did the Book of Mormon take place? Most people think it is in Central or South America, or maybe North America. However, we’re going to talk about the most unusual theory around called the Malay Peninsula, as in Malaysia, as in Southeast Asia. It’s a very unusual theory. It’s a fun theory, and we’ll find out more about how KC Kern and Greg Pavone got acquainted with this.
KC: So, with that in mind, I encountered this [Malay theory.] I can’t remember where it was. Honestly, I think it must have been a blog post. I don’t know if it was on Mormon Matters, or the blogosphere circa 2006-2007. There was some comment about it. It’s like Malay theory. Seeing [the comments about the Malay theory], it just did not register. I was just like, what the heck is this? But [these comments] kept coming up. I’m like, “Why do you keep talking about the Book of Mormon in Malaysia?” This makes no sense.
GT: That was my reaction, too, when I first heard about it.
KC: It’s just completely bonkers. I’m thinking, “Why doesn’t this guy get banned?” Okay, so, I’m just like, okay, Malaysia, what are you even talking about? So I opened up Google Earth, and I type in “Malaysia.” And then Google Earth starts spinning—goes across the world, starts zooming in, and I see it.
KC: I see this. [The shape of the internal map from Mormon’s Map] It was a jaw-dropping moment. It was like—how has nobody noticed this before? That was just the first impression. I started digging more, and then I came across Ralph Olsen’s work where he basically proposes that the Book of Mormon took place on the Malay Peninsula. The narrow neck and the land northward and the land southward, it all took place there. Now, Lehi and his family left the Arabian Peninsula and traveled the coast around India, the Bay of Bengal and then landed and stayed on the Malay Peninsula. That’s just so like, “Wait, what? No, the Book of Mormons is about America.” So, the first concession to make is, this is absolutely 100% incompatible with any traditional reception history of the Book of Mormon and that has to be established upfront. You can’t make it work—pretty much at all. There’s no question that for Joseph Smith and early Saints and everyone—this was about America.
KC: But, there’s one thing that I think is really worth noting. What I have found is, as I’ve looked into various geography theories, a lot of them turn into dead ends very quickly. What I have found is that the Malay one, has continued to be a fruitful line of inquiry, meaning that the more you press against it, the more it yields. Let me give two examples there. The Karen, like I said, they’re an ethnic minority in Burma, and they’ve had a lot of military conflicts with the Burmese Government. They’ve set up their own militia. In their history, and this is in the early 90s, there was this one confrontation where they had the stronghold around this oxbow lake thing on a river on the border of Thailand. They named that stronghold Kawmoora (Cumorah.) I kid you not. I read this in a book, and it’s just like all the Karen, their last outpost was Kawmoora. I’m just like [wow!]
KC: If any of this, in any remote sense, was emerging from the Ohio River Valley, or from Mississippi or from Chiapas, Mexico, a lot of people would be making a lot of noise on the apologetic side. The other thing is after I published that article on the blog, I got a note from this guy in Kentucky. He said, “I can prove this theory true.” I’m like, “Okay, I’ll bite.” So, I respond, I get his phone number. I have a conversation and he says that there were some Karen students they were refugees in the U.S. in Kentucky. He was a shop teacher or auto mechanic and he had some [Karen] students that he was talking to. He had somehow gotten his hand on the Caractors Document. Do you know which I’m talking about? The one that was copied by John Whitmer and may or may not have been the Anthon Transcript.
GT: That Mark Hofmann made a forgery of it, too.
KC: Right, or at least was inspired by that. He [the teacher] supposedly had that, things copied from the gold plates. This Karen student looks at that and says, “Oh, I know this. This is chicken scratch script.” It was just like, what? Okay, what is this about? So, I look it up. The proper name for the script is called Leke script. It’s unique to the Karen people. They teach their youth in these camps, how to how to write in this script. I contacted an expert in the script. There’s not a lot [of experts]. I gave them the Caractors Document and said to them, “Does this check out? Does this look familiar at all?” The expert said, “Well, are many iterations of [the script]” They had examples from the 1800s, and stuff like this. [The Caractors] would be coming from 500 or 400 AD. It’s not going to be a match. But, they mentioned that there were certain characters that looked similar. At that point, it’s like—I know, Dan Vogel’s is like, “Oh, well, it’s just 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in Arabic numbers and [Joseph is] just reconfiguring them.” The characters are simple enough and abstract enough that you can squeeze in anything, but just the fact that the aesthetic was—completely unsolicited—recognized by a Karen student, and made enough of an impact that they contacted me out of nowhere, in response to the article. It was just like [Wow!] This should not be happening. If this is completely nonsensical, we should not see any of this. And if anything like this was happening about Mayan glyphs, you know there would be entire volumes of apologetic works written about it.
What are some things that really add strength to the Malay Theory?
GT: I mentioned Simcha Jakobovici, which is a horrible name to spell, in relation to the Jesus Tomb. He has another film. He’s a documentarian. He says, “Where are the last 10 tribes now?” Simcha is really interesting in the fact that he’s kind of an atheist Jew. He doesn’t believe in Judaism or Jesus or anything. So, it’s interesting that he’s finding the Jesus tomb. It’s interesting that he’s following the lost 10 tribes. But I was watching this one time, and I called Ralph the next day. Because Simcha tries to identify where the last 10 tribes have gone. One place was Afghanistan. Another place was in Africa, I think that was the tribe of Dan. They’ve actually done some genetic testing on that, that may have confirmed that. But a third place was the Malay Peninsula. I was like, “You’re kidding me.”
Simcha: In a tomato packing plant near the Gaza Strip, I came across a small group that most Israelis take for Thai guest workers. They are a people who come from the hill country, on the India-Burma border. They say they are descendants of the Lost tribe of Manasseh. There is at least one Rabbi here who believes them.
GT: I don’t know how reputable he is, but he actually said it was Manasseh that went to Malay.
Simcha: The hill country where Burma meets India is home to the people called Menmaseh, or Manasseh, who now claiming descent from the lost tribe of Manasseh.
GT: I was like, “Are you kidding me?” I called Ralph the next morning. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, you’ve got to see this.” I don’t think that’s been confirmed genetically, so, I don’t know.
KC: Just about the dispersion aspect, there’s—the idea would be that that the Lehites would have left from the Arabian Peninsula and followed the coast going down. There actually was a ship captain, I want to say part of Alexander the Great’s fleet, that actually did do that trip. There are some pockets of the population that claim descendency from Macedonia and Greece and stuff like that from that trip. So, the idea is that there’s a whole lot of possibility of making that trip and that distance from Arabia or from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. That’s not out of the question at all. The other thing I should note, is for anybody that really has hung their hat on the Mesoamerican theory, if you watch the Journey of Faith documentary that talks about the trip out, John Sorenson actually walks through what he supposes the trip from the Arabian Peninsula to the west coast of Central America would have looked like. He says just realistically, the text says many days. You can’t get much out of that. But, if they’re really on a boat, they’re probably following the coastline and stopping for water and stopping for food along the way. Well, John Sorenson draws this map through, along the coast and down the coast of India and then up, and then you run into the Malay Peninsula. He has them going along the side on the west side, and then through and then into the Pacific. What that means is that even if you don’t put any stock into the Malay theory at all, and you’re more of, “this is definitely Central America,” you have to acknowledge that Lehi and Nephi set foot on the Malay Peninsula, and stayed there at least for a pitstop. Let that sink in. Everyone that believes in the Book of Mormon, that that [the Lehites] came across the Pacific, believes that the Lehites were in Malaysia at one point. How do we know they didn’t stay?
 The film is titled “Quest for the Lost Tribes” and can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3xhBsal
Are you familiar with the Malay Theory? What do you think of it?
Edit to add the following photo from a listener:
I have attached a photo that I took at a museum adjacent to the royal palace in Bangkok. The exhibit features writing on gold plates that was done by ancient Thai people (It’s kind of hard to see the writing in the photo.) When I saw this exhibit, I remembered the dialogue article about the Malay setting, which is why I snapped a photo of it, to show others. Not definitive proof, but I just thought you might be interested in knowing that there were gold plates in the area.
Ah yes, the Malay theory. I love it.
But in all seriousness, at what point do apologists ever produce a historicity theory that carries weight beyond Mormondom?
Like the saying goes: you can’t prove a negative.
This theory is preposterous. Did Moroni trek all the way from Malaysia to western New York to deposit the plates? Hardly.
And a document that has been studied by experts for a hundred years is only now deciphered by a man in rural Kentucky to prove that King Benjamin was from Burma?
This seems to be little more than a fantasy-based attempt at entertainment. A fad that will fade quickly.
I think it is a fun theory and I don’t appreciate the mocking. If you’re going to disagree, give me some substance. Otherwise, keep the mocking comments to yourselves.
This seems to be little more than a fantasy-based attempt at entertainment. A fad that will fade quickly.
And 191 years later, we’re still enjoying it.
What a heritage for the the Burmese to claim though 😀 Any missionaries from that way have any experience with this?
Who is mocking? Josh and JCS are simply pointing out that someone can’t throw out wild theories with no support other than pure linguistic coincidence.
If I were to propose that the Book or Mormon took place in Ireland, people would be justified in challenging me to provide evidence. The burden would not be on them to prove me wrong.
I have been to SE Asia, and it is an absolutely wonderful place. But there is absolutely no reason to think the BoM events occurred there. None. It is scientifically irresponsible to claim that any BoM event occurred in SE Asia, and it does a disservice to those great people who live there.
If you are going to throw out wild ideas, don’t accuse those who disagree of trying to deliberately hurt your feelings.
If someone is going to give credence to a theory based on a place name like Kawmoora bearing resemblance to Cumorah, then they should give equal credence to the theory that JS lifted names like Moroni and Cumorah from stories of Captain Kidd in the Comoros.
All of the internal evidence in the text—KJV quotes including post-exile Isaiah, population growth, themes of American exceptionalism and anti-Catholicism, Arminian theology, references to Columbus and the American Revolution, the bizarre absence of female characters, linguistic similarities to other 19th century American texts, as well as the anachronisms and grammatical errors—make a very strong case for the book being the product of a 19th century, male, American, Protestant author with a deep familiarity with the Bible and an otherwise limited education. And the external evidence? There is none. Not a single artifact exists that can be positively identified as Nephite, Lamanite, Mulekite, or Jaredite.
Saying, “Ok but what about Malaysia?” may be fun for some people, but it doesn’t solve any of those problems.
One of my friends resigned his calling in the bishopric this week. He said that he and his wife had carefully studied the life of Joseph Smith, from sources including the official publications of the Church. They had concluded from the fact that Joseph lied to his wife, the members, and nonmembers about having sex with teenagers, that he could not be a prophet.
Ideas like this “Malaysia Theory” are interesting, but ultimately insufficient for those like my friend and his wife. These ideas only lend fuel to the fire.
I am sorry if it hurts Rick’s feelings to be called out on this, but the theory is ridiculous and it pales in importance to the central question of whether Joseph was a prophet in the first place.
One of the things I do is try to be respectful of people, even for those of whom I disagree. I interview people from all areas of Mormonism: polygamists, Community of Christ, Snufferites, LDS, ex-Mormon, BYU professors, and even general authorities from not only the LDS Church, but from other Restoration branches as well. This is a tough space to be in. The reason I am able to talk to so many people from diverse points of view is precisely because I offer them respect. People are willing to come on my podcast because they recognize that I don’t have an ax to grind, and give people a fair hearing. It is true that I often disagree with my guests, but I try to leave my personal biases at the door. This allows me to get such diverse guests.
Now, I know it is common on social media to ridicule those for whom you disagree. I am trying to elevate the conversation here. I have shared both Dan Vogel’s opinions that Joseph made up the plates out of tin, as well as given space for different geography theories like Baja, Malay, and I’m trying to get both South & Central American theories here. I gave Dan Vogel the same respect as I give polygamists like Anne Wilde, even though I disagree with both of them. My next guest is Margaret Toscano, who is coming on for the 2nd time, despite her excomunication, and yes we will be discussing the Women & Priesthood essay.
I am trying really hard to elevate the conversation among believers and disbelievers. You are welcome to disagree with anyone on any point. You are welcome to believe, as Dan Vogel does, that Joseph made it all up. You are welcome to believe that the Book of Mormon is historical. I try to give divergent views the same amount of respect. I ask people to please be as respectful of those you disagree as with those whom you agree.
You don’t have to be respectful. I am happy to shut down conversations that are not productive, and this is running off the rails much too quickly in my view. If you want to disagree, please do so respectfully. I am trying to be a good example. Please follow my lead. Social media far too often devolves into stupid fights. I’m tired of it. I’m going to be just as tough on critics of Margaret Toscano and Dan Vogel as I am on critics of Steven Harper and Brian Hales. I have had all 4 come on my podcast. Not many can say that, but I defend their right to make their points, even though there are points I disagree with all 4 of them. I thought KC gave a very even-handed critique of the theory and yes he does admit it has problems, as do all of the BoM theories. But most here easily dismiss without even attempting to understand, and I find that supremely annoying.
I don’t really want to shut down the conversation, but if it is degenerating like this one, I will.
This is just another reason why I will remain a Book of Mormon geography agnostic. So far all the theorists have simply shown that there is no place on earth that meets all the necessary requirements, including the revelations to Joseph Smith that identify American Indians as Lamanites. Malaysia’s fun, but it doesn’t work on a number of levels. But from a purely geographical perspective, it makes much more sense than any of the more popular models. The contortions the Mesoamerican and Heartland theorists have to engage in are mildly amusing but disqualifying.
The Malay theory is actually NOT the most unusual one out there. Google [“Book of Mormon” “African Bible”] for an even more unusual one.
There is a word in Cambodian (Khmer) that sounds very much like “day.” Of course, it doesn’t mean “day” and it has a completely different origin.
I think is fair to ask for more evidence on this Malaysia theory. It isn’t rude or disrespectful to simply ask for more evidence beyond a mere coincidence of language.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I get the frustration everybody seems to be feeling. It’s hard to debate/argue/prove a theory that has no hard evidence for it against the prevailing theories that also have no hard evidence for them.
However, how do you account for Joseph’s own experiences with the plates and with Moroni and the hill Cumorah in New York? What about the text itself, predicting the arrival of Columbus and the pilgrims to the land that Lehi was given? Was the Malay Peninsula uninhabited in 600 BC when Lehi supposedly arrived to a land “preserved” for the righteous?
The mind-blowing realization that there’s a place in Malaysia that sounds like Cumorah is a big yawn. How many place names in the world in all the various languages sound like “Kuh-Oh-Uh”? If you were an English speaker and going to make up an exotic sounding word how likely would it be you’d choose three syllables and avoid our most common English-sounding vowels?
If the Anthon script characters are recognizable to someone, there must be additional people familiar with that language, and there definitely is a record of it somewhere preserved by an anthropologist. Where is the follow-up? It can’t be that hard to verify the written characters of the Karen people against the characters printed on all those gold BOMs from 30-40 years ago.
I think most people here (with a couple notable exceptions) have moved beyond the Book of Mormon being historical in any way. To toss in yet another historical theory from left field and be surprised at some eye rolling leaves me baffled.
The nature of BoM geography is such that the Malay theory is just as plausible as any others.
I recently attended a Book of Mormon geography conference online and was surprised to learn that Richard Bushman referenced Malay as a footnote in “Rough Stone Rolling.”
My post on this topic at Mormon Matters back in 2009 got 342 comments, many just as incredulous as those here. See https://www.mormonmatters.org/unconventional-book-of-mormon-geography-theories/
KC also posted more details back in 2011 (not just language similarities) for those of you who actually like to read more about the theory.
Ralph’s original 300-page article is also available for download at https://gospeltangents.com/2021/05/malay-theory-of-book-of-mormon/
Last Lemming, we mentioned the African theory in the interview. It is pretty weak sauce, placing the BoM in Eritrea and Ethiopia. There is some DNA evidence of the Lemba Tribe in South Africa being related to the Cohen Haplotype (and would make more sense of “dark” Lamanites.) I think that would be a better African candidate that Melekin’s, who was supposedly taught by missionaries “in the temple”, despite never having joined a Mormon Church of any kind.
KC has uncovered another one from Sri Lanka that I have not heard about, but KC has a map at https://bookofmormon.online/
Anyone know about Sri Lanka?
Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for saying the the world was round and Galileo was in prisoned until death for the same thing. New ideas are always good even if later proven wrong.
I have always felt that trying to fit the BOM in to the Americas was like trying to pound a round peg into a into a square hole . There was to much explaining that had to be done to make the story fit. However I am still going with that the BOM is not historical events.
Rudi, people leave the Church over lots of different reasons. Your comment is off topic. I’m sorry your friend left. I have lots of experts on polygamy, Mountain Meadows, Hofmann bombings, etc that cause dissonance. Email me at gospel tangents at gmail dot com if you’d like to know more on other topics, but please don’t distract from Malay. This post is not about your friend, but I welcome you to read “Bridges” by David Ostler. I’m happy to provide a link to the interview. It was one of my favorites on how to deal with faith crisis.
Caroline, I’ve given you 300 pages of evidence for you to peruse. If you want more, his more polished version is available at https://amzn.to/3vFhXqH
There is a very unusual pyramid/temple ruin in northern Cambodia. As far as I know, it’s the only such structure in SE Asia. Maybe that pyramid could be worked into the Malay theory.
Western Burma is a long way from the Malay Peninsula.
I can hardly get Lehi’s family to Bountiful. But for them to even build a boat to navigate the Indian ocean and then also to South America? Seem absolutely impossible. I have read a lot of ancient, early modern history. Almost nobody until the 1400s would dare to even leave the sight of land in a boat. How can we imagine the likelihood of a few able men to build a deep hull boat and to sail it 1000s of miles?
James, it’s time to update your education. The Vikings settled Canada from 1000-1400 AD. For secular reference, see https://www.rom.on.ca/en/collections-research/magazine/vikings-in-canada#:~:text=Archaeological%20evidence%20shows%20that%20in,Site%20L'Anse%20aux%20Meadows.
Ugo Perego also talked about Vikings in my interview: https://gospeltangents.com/2017/09/lemba-tribe-vikings-dna-book-mormon-part-2/
John Sorenson has done a lot to find out about pre-Columbian voyages by Polynesian peoples. Researchers including Kathryn Klar and Terry Jones have proposed a theory of contact between Hawaiians and the Chumash people of Southern California between 400 and 800 CE. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pre-Columbian_trans-oceanic_contact_theories#California_canoes
South Americans and Polynesians intermingled in eastern Polynesia between 1150 and 1230 CE, with later admixture in Easter Island around 1380 CE.
In 1975, Betty Meggers of the Smithsonian Institution argued that the Olmec civilization originated around 1200 BCE due to Shang Chinese influences.
Columbus was far from the first to discover America. Vikings and Polynesians definitely beat him to it, and perhaps the Chinese did it first.
One, and only one, problem with the Malaysia theory is that the each coast of India, Burma, and Thailand was heavily populated in 600 BC. That is to say nothing of the Malay Peninsula itself being heavily populated. There is only a minuscule possibility that Levi’s family could have traveled along and landed on those coasts without being killed by the existing inhabitants. There is zero possibility that they could have settled Malaysia without being killed nearly immediately. This was not a vacant paradise free for the taking. It was a long inhabited land with people who always fought invaders. Always. It would have taken thousands upon thousands of Lehites to drive off the native population and survive for even a few weeks.
Thanks Rick for calling me out. My statement does look dumb now. You are right about these groups of peoples who were able to complete long ocean voyages. The Vikings and Polynesians had learned their tactics and skills over many years to pull off their travels. Thinking about it, both of those didn’t need to chart super long courses. Vikings could hop from 3 large islands and then skirt northern Canada. Polynesians never had to go more than 500 miles between islands. (At least that’s what I’m told).
I think of Magellan, the first to travel across the pacific. They almost all died of scurvy/hunger by the time they made it to the Philippines. And that is many decades of Spanish/Portuguese education on the high waves.
OK. Galileo was tried for heliocentrism, not for saying Earth is round. Bruno was tried and convicted for pantheism, not for saying Earth is round. While Bruno was executed, Galileo was confined in his villa under house arrest, the terms of which did not preclude him leaving its confines. Let’s get our facts straight.
For those who maintain some sort of historicity of the Book of Mormon, how does the Malay theory account for Moroni and the plates? Did Mormon or Moroni make a seperate trip to america to bury the plates, or did Joseph just see them in vision for the translation?
What I find interesting is that if the Malay theory also posits that Joseph never actually had the plates, then proponents of this theory must essentially tackle the same issues that those who maintain that the book is not historical must tackle. Namely, how did Joseph get so many witnesses to claim they saw and handled the plates, if they didn’t exist? Did Joseph use a prop set? Was it just a second sight experience?
It is somewhat ironic to me that proponents of this Malay theory and proponents of an ahistorical BoM may find themselves as partners on the same side in coming up with plausible explanations for these questions.
Rick, did you get into the issue of Moroni the angel and the physical plates in your interview?
” There is only a minuscule possibility that Levi’s family could have traveled along and landed on those coasts without being killed by the existing inhabitants.” Charlotte, your statements carry a lot of assumptions. Please cite a reference to defend this position. Pilgrims weren’t killed by Native Americans. Spanish weren’t killed when they got here. Vikings weren’t killed. Why should we expect Lehi’s family to be killed?
I know the BoM says Lehi landed in an uninhabited place, but pretty much every BoM scholar says this is unrealistic. Meso scholars have shot down this assumption for decades.
DoubtingTom, once again, your questions make a lot of assumptions. My biggest problem with the theory is how the plates got to NY, but Meso scholars have a similar problem, blaming it on the 2 Cumorah theory. It goes something like this: Final battle occured not in NY, but in Meso, near a place called Cumorah. Moroni lived 30 years after the battle and could have travelled anywhere in the world in 30 years. The Hill Cumorah was not named by Joseph, but others, and was not the site of the last battle. The same reasoning applies to Malay. (Of course, Heartlanders have a field day with this explanation, but it is the best Meso and Malay can offer.) Plus if you believe in miracles, Moroni can transport plates any where he needs to. So, there is no reason ahistorical BoM to be partners with historical believers.
DT, there are cons and there are marks.
I’ve seen the plates with my spiritual eyes. They are shiny.
And when believing in an all powerful being, you can easily put something in the ground in S America and it can be available for someone in NY.
I think I first encountered the Malay theory in Sunstone years ago. It seemed to me then like an exercise in finding linguistic and geographical similarities to BoM names and geographical descriptions, not unlike such efforts in Mesoamerica and the Great Lakes and New England area. I wondered whether it was a serious attempt to locate a real BoM history or instead a serious attempt to produce a satire of.those other efforts. I did not investigate further in order to develop an opinion on that question I wonder if any or those who have actually read Ralph’s work have entertained that question and come to an opinion on it.
Charlotte, what evidence do you have to support “There is zero possibility that they could have settled Malaysia without being killed nearly immediately”?
Doubting Tom, “how does the Malay theory account for Moroni and the plates? Did Mormon or Moroni make a seperate trip to america to bury the plates, or did Joseph just see them in vision for the translation?”
This a problem for the Meso folks too. They claim that Joseph never called the hill where the plates were found “Cumorah.” Others did. There is no evidence of a battle hear the NY hill. So Meso folks claim a “2 Cumorah” theory. The idea is that the site of the final battle is in Central America, completely separate from where the plates were found. Malay, and South America proponents would follow a similar reasoning. Heartlanders love their “1 Cumorah” theory, but there is no evidence of millions dead near the NY hill, so that’s also a problem.
…”if the Malay theory also posits that Joseph never actually had the plates…” No believers of any geography theories makes this claim. None.
“Rick, did you get into the issue of Moroni the angel and the physical plates in your interview?” Yes, I referenced a phone call I had with Dr. Ralph Olson, the author of the theory. I told Ralph that was probably my biggest problem with the theory. Yes, one can claim miracles, and I guess that is valid for a person of faith, but it is not scientific. If we’re mixing science with miracles, it’s a tough sell. A listener emailed me this week, and I added a photo of gold plates to the bottom of the OP. (Please scroll up and look at them.) These gold plates have writing on them and are found in Thailand. That’s better evidence than anything found in Meso.
I have another interview with someone from a group that claims the Angel Moroni gave the sealed portion of the plates to a prophet in South America. If one believes in miracles, an angel can transport (teleport) the plates wherever they are needed. Now this is not a scientific explanation, but if you believe in miracles, science doesn’t matter.
Wondering, yes it is a serious theory and was never intended to be satire. As we said at the beginning of the interview, it has advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are important: swords, metals, barley, chariots, elephants, etc. It is superior to other theories with regards to what many consider to be anachronisms in American theories. The drawbacks are precisely that it is so far out of Joseph Smith’s world and thoughts. The language similarities are interesting, but far from proof.
It should be noted that Meso proponents basically admit that Joseph believed in a hemispheric model, and Meso proponents say that because the distances don’t match, it has to be a much more limited geography model. Pretty much every other geography model agrees the geography was much more limited and cites Sorenson’s analysis, even if they disagree on location.
All this seems very desperate: Ethiopia, Meso, South America, Cumorah area, hemispheric, Malay, Sri Lanka, etc. It’s clearly time to take the inspired fiction idea seriously.