Book of Mormon Covenant Lands According to the Best Sources

Articles and Quotes

Book of Mormon Lands and the

Times and Seasons


Important editorials by Joseph Smith that go unread, versus celebrated pieces
attributed to him without proof!

The Times and Seasons featured many articles relating to the topic of Book of Mormon  lands. Of particular interest are those articles published while the Prophet held the title of official editor (March 15, to November 15, 1842). During this period, Joseph assumed responsibility for pieces published with his editorial signature - "ED". Though similar signatures appear in issues printed before and after his official editorship, there is no evidence that anyone other than Joseph Smith was allowed to independently endorse articles with "ED", while Joseph officially held the title. Yes, others with less authority were assigned to the paper. While Joseph was official editor, articles were published without any kind of signature.

Included below is a table of all the articles, relating to Book of Mormon lands, from this important period. Please note that there are many more relevant articles besides the ones commonly cited. These include important editorials by Joseph Smith. Joseph's editorials can be readily identified because they end with his "ED". The Times and Seasons articles that many celebrate, in order to defend a Mesoamerican setting, are dubious. We do not know for certain who all contributed to these articles. They do not end with Joseph's "ED". These are sensational pieces extrapolating on John Lloyd Stephens' 1841 bestseller, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. These articles were published in the fall of 1842 when the official editor of the Newspaper (Joseph Smith) was publicly absent. For much of the fall of 1842, Joseph found it necessary to go into hiding. He had appointed various business responsibilities to others. (Doctrine and Covenants sections 127:1; 128:1) Many historians believe that John Taylor served as acting editor of the newspaper in Joseph's absence. (Matthew Roper, "Limited Geography and the Book of Mormon: Historical Antecedents and Early Interpretations"; "John Taylor's View", BYU Maxwell Institute, 2004, pp. 237-240) 

The first of the unsigned articles is titled EXTRACT From Stephens' "Incidents of Travel in Central America.The commentary asserts that the narrow neck of land, mentioned in the Book of Mormon, "embraces Central America". The word embraces means includes in this case. The same use of the word embrace occurs in the unsigned ZARAHEMLA article of October 1, 1842, which reads: "Central America, or Guatimala [Guatemala]...once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south." Some early members of the Church imagined the Book of Mormon "land southward" to be South America, "the land northward" to be North America and the "narrow neck of land" to be Panama or even all of Central America. The EXTRACT article asserting its exaggerated setting, made the front page of the September 15, 1842 issue. The article alleges that the mysterious and wonderful ruins of Palenque discovered by Stephens, "are among the mighty works of the Nephites". Subsequent research has confirmed that these ruins are more recent than Book of Mormon times. Stephens' own published opinion was that none of the ruins which he discovered were of great antiquity. (Incident of Travel in Central America, Vol. II, Chapter XXVI, “COMPARATIVE MODERN DATE OF RUINS”, pp. 442-443)

On the heel of the first EXTRACT article came the "FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS" article. Joseph Smith is mentioned in the third person in this piece. The article asserts that Lehi "landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien". This does not fit with the final unsigned article which alleges that Zarahemla is in Central America - many hundreds of miles north of Panama. It is absurd to suppose that elderly Lehi and Sariah landed a little south of Panama and then trudged over 1,500 miles, packing their belongings through mosquito infested jungles, to finally inherit a southern coast of Guatemala. 

The ZARAHEMLA article asserts (and then adds a disclaimer) that the ruins of Quirigua are the very ruins of Zarahemla. The context of the article with its disclaimer can be openly interpreted to mean that the ruins of Quirigua, found by Stephens, are the ruins of the city of Zarahemla or some other Book of Mormon city.

Some choose to regard the unsigned ZARAHEMLA article (October 1, 1842) as the Times and Seasons' climactic statement on the whereabouts of Book of Mormon lands. This is a mistake. The most inspired and authoritative articles are not always front page eye-catchers. Following the ZARAHEMLA article is a signed LETTER FROM JOSEPH SMITH (in hiding at the time) which plainly places the land of Cumorah, the land which the Book of Mormon describes as occupying "a land of many waters, rivers, and fountains" (Mormon 6:4), in the Finger Lakes region of North America.

It must be conceded that the sensational ZARAHEMLA article does not deserve to be canonized. The inspired LETTER FROM JOSEPH SMITH, which tells us where Cumorah is, has become Section 128 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants. The prophet, in fact, tells us that the contents of Section 128 is "the word of the Lord". (Doctrine and Covenants section 127:10)

The ZARAHEMLA article mentions the Book of Mormon's "small neck of land"  but strangely,  the only Isthmus named in the article is Panama's "Isthmus of Darien". The Mesoamerican Isthmus of Tehuantepec is never mentioned.  It is as if the writer(s) of the article confused the "small neck of land" north of Zarahemla with the "narrow strip of wilderness" south of Zarahemla, and thus thought the "Isthmus of Darien", far to the south, could still be the "small neck of land".  (Alma 22:27, 32) In any event the article clearly blunders in attributing to King Mosiah the description of "a large stone with engravings upon it " when in fact it was Amaleki the son of Abinadom who wrote in the book of Omni about "a large stone" with "engravings on it"; a stone  that was brought to Mosiah I (father of King Benjamin).

In November 1842, the Prophet resigned as editor of the Times and Seasons having improved its reputation as a newspaper. In his own words:

"I beg leave to inform the subscribers of the Times and Seasons that it is impossible for me to fulfil [fulfill] the arduous duties of the editorial department any longer. The multiplicity of other business that daily devolves upon me, renders it impossible for me to do justice to a paper so widely circulated as the Times and Seasons." (Vol. 4, No 1, November 15, 1842) 

Yes, Joseph was responsible for the newspaper, but we should not assume that the absence of a responsible signature implies Joseph's full endorsement. We can only conclude the Prophet's opinion from what we know he endorsed. All of the unsigned articles contain the first person plural "we" or "us", possibly indicating that the articles were a collaborative effort.  We should not be surprised to find that the unsigned articles use some of Joseph Smith's expressions and terminology. Edits and contributions to an article can drastically change content and meaning without drastically changing the average word-length of sentences. Who edited what, and  the extend to which the Prophet agreed with all of the conflicting ideas in these articles, is not certain. Unlike writings signed and endorsed by Joseph Smith, the unsigned newspaper articles lack authority to speak on the Book of Mormon's original setting. See "Lies - Darned Lies and Statistics".

Joseph Smith's AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES editorial deserves attention. The full commentary by Joseph Smith plainly shows that the Prophet had a northern American Book of Mormon setting in mind, which he supports with quotes from the book American Antiquities by Josiah Priest. Priest published the view that peoples of Mexico and Central America came from the north. Joseph's editorial shows that he had come to believe that the peoples of Central America were also tied historically to the Book of Mormon.

At the end of the AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES article Joseph briefly refers to "Stephens and Catherwood's researches in Central America "as showing examples of "perfect sculpture", "architectural designs" and "imperishable ruins". According to Joseph, ancient peoples who migrated to Central America are historically tied to Book of Mormon peoples of northern America, but Joseph never says that Book of Mormon cities are in Central America.

It is important to realize that Joseph had read Stephens' publications several months before writing the AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES editorial. We know this from Joseph's personal letter to John Bernhisel (November 16, 1841, in the handwriting of John Taylor). As much as Joseph approved of Stephens' work, he only made minor mention of it in the AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES article of July 15, 1842. Evidently Stephens' book did not change the Prophet's conviction about Book of Mormon lands residing in northern America, hence AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES. (Vol. 3, No. 18, pp. 858-60).  

Some Mexican / Mesoamerican Cumorahists have alleged that that the Bernhisel letter, in which Joseph expresses his appreciation for the gift of Stephens’ two-volume work, somehow shows Joseph’s endorsement of those conflicting, unsigned articles published during the Prophet’s public absence.  The letter shows nothing of the sort. Here is what the letter actually says:

“Nauvoo November 16, 1841

“Dear Sir,

"I received your kind present by the hand of Er Woodruff & feel myself under many obligations for this mark of your esteem & friendship which to me is the more interesting as it unfolds & develops many things that are of great importance to this generation & corresponds with & supports the testimony of the Book of Mormon; I have read the volumes with the greatest interest & pleasure & must say that of all histories that have been written pertaining to the antiquities of this country it is the most correct luminous & comprehensive….Joseph Smith” (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, compiled and edited by Dean C. Jessee, S.L.C, Deseret Book, 2002, pg. 533)

As you can see, there is nothing in the letter indicating that Book of Mormon lands reside in Central America. Other articles, explicitly published with Joseph’s “ED”, indicate his view that Book of Mormon peoples migrated to Mexico and Central America from his own country. Apparently Joseph interpreted certain statements by Stephens to be “the most correct, luminous & comprehensive” and to pertain to “this country” meaning Joseph’s own country. Stephens’ bestseller does in fact elucidate on the history and “antiquities of this country” - northern America:

“…a new flood of light has poured upon the world, and the field of American antiquities has been opened.”

“…In our own country, the opening of forests and the discovery of tumuli or mounds and fortifications, extending in ranges from the lakes through the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi, mummies in a cave in Kentucky, the inscription on the rock at Dighton…the ruins of walls and a great city in Arkansas and Wisconsin Territory, had suggested…the strong belief that powerful and populous nations had occupied it and had passed away, whose histories are entirely unknown. The same evidences continue in Texas, and in Mexico they assume a still more definite form.” (Incidents of Travel in Central America, pp. 97-98)

From Joseph Smith’s 1842 AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES article, it is clear,  that Stephens’ book only served to confirm the Prophet’s conviction that Book of Mormon events took place in his own country (northern America). Having “read the volumes with the greatest interest”, it is unlikely that Joseph Smith failed to notice that Stephens devoted an entire chapter to the conclusion that the Central American ruins are relatively recent and not of great antiquity. (Incident of Travel in Central America, Vol. II, Chapter XXVI, “COMPARATIVE MODERN DATE OF RUINS”, pp. 442-443)          


Title of

Times and Seasons Article  

(Vol., No, Date, pg):

Who wrote and or endorsed the LDS commentary?

Where did the evidence come from that is cited in support of the Book of Mormon?

Article subject matter and opinion.


(Vol. 3, No 13, May 2, 1842, pg 781)

ED (Joseph Smith).

Northern America.

From Priest's American Antiquities

(Vol. 3, No 15, June 1, 1842, pg 813)

There is no LDS commentary.

Northern America.

Traits of the Mosaic History, Found Among the Azteca Nations.

(Vol. 3, No 16, June 15, 1842, pg 818)

  ED (Joseph Smith).

Mexico and Ontario county N.Y.

Mexican and Great Lakes Flood legends. Ancient peoples settled in "the lake country of America ... choice above all...the earth".


(Vol. 3, No 18, July 15, 1842, pg 858)

  ED (Joseph Smith).

Northern and Central America.

Nephite works, and Jaredite wars fought in mound builder country - 
northern America. Central American peoples are also connected historically with the Book of Mormon. 

EXTRACT From Stephen's "Incidents of Travel in Central America"  

(Vol. 3, No 22, Sept 15, 1842, pg 911)

No signed endorsement.

(The Prophet was in seclusion at the time.  John Taylor may have acted as editor)


Central America alleged as the "narrow neck of land". The editorial mentions "We...", possibly implying joint authorship.



(Vol. 3, No 22, Sept 15, 1842, pg 922)

 No signed endorsement.

(The Prophet was in seclusion at the time. John Taylor may have acted as editor.)

Central America.

Lehi alleged to have landed south of Panama. Joseph Smith mentioned in the third person.



(Vol. 3, No 23, Oct 1, 1842, pg 927)

 No signed endorsement.

(The Prophet was in seclusion at the time. John Taylor may have acted as editor.) 

Central America.

Quirigua tentatively alleged as the site of Zarahemla. The editorial mentions "we...", possibly implying joint authorship.


(Vol. 3, No 23, Oct 1, 1842, pg 935)



Cumorah located in the Finger Lakes region of North America, D&C 128:20.

Other relevant Times and Seasons articles published in 1842:

Shortly before the Prophet became editor, the Times and Seasons published EVIDENCES IN PROOF OF THE BOOK OF MORMON, excerpting a book by Charles Blancher Thompson (Vol. 3, No. 5, January 1, 1842, pg. 640). The article describes ancient northern American fortifications in defense of the Book of Mormon: A treacherous mountain stronghold and Moroniesque defenses; deep ditches, walls of earth and rows of pickets are cited from Josiah Priest's American Antiquities, the same work later editorialized by Joseph Smith. 

Just after the Prophet resigned as editor, the Times and Seasons published an article titled RUINS RECENTLY DISCOVERED IN YUCATAN MEXICO. The article describes the stone ruins of "Chi-Chen" but does not speculate on their origin. The article concludes:

"The subject is one that should excite the deepest interest in the minds of Americans. It is as yet wrapped in profound mystery, which will doubtless require many years of laborious research to unfold." (Vol. 4, No. 1, November 15, 1842, pg. 15)

This article is more careful than the unsigned Times and Seasons articles which dote on Stephens' publications. There is no overt written attempt to connect the Yucatan ruins with cities described in the Book of Mormon.


The Prophet Joseph Smith's letter (published October 1, 1842, in the Times and Seasons) is scripture. This epistle is the Times and Seasons peremptory word on the location of the land Cumorah, and therefore on the general location of Book of Mormon lands. Whether or not it was fully appreciated at the time, this divinely inspired epistle corrects the previous ZARAHEMLA article. The true lands of the Book of Mormon cannot be thousands of miles distant from the land scripture designates as Cumorah. The ZARAHEMLA article conflicts with the previous two unsigned extrapolations on Stephens' bestseller:

If Zarahemla is in Guatemala then Lehi could not have settled on the western coast of Colombia - "a little south of the Isthmus of Darien". The land of "first inheritance" is not that far away from the land of Zarahemla. If Zarahemla is in Guatemala then it cannot be that the narrow neck of land "embraces Central America" with its "several hundred miles of territory from north to south." The small neck of land is north of Zarahemla. But archaeological research has shown that the ruins of Quirigua (alleged in the article to be Zarahemla or some other Book of Mormon city) are more recent than Book of Mormon times. Thus, all three unsigned articles are exuberant blunders. It would be a shame to base our understanding of Book of Mormon lands on these, and not scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 128:19-21).

It has taken this writer, years to find a convincing setting for the Book of Mormon. Daily scripture study has actually made it more difficult for me to go along with the much publicized Mesoamerican setting. A few years ago I read Phyllis Carol Olive’s The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon. As my wife and I have reread the Book of Mormon, we have put Sister Olive’s map to the test. It is a delight to study the Book of Mormon with family, having a geographic map that makes detailed scriptural sense - at last!

The Book of Mormon informs us that the American soil on which Joseph translated the plates and out of which the voice of the Nephite dead effectively spoke, is the same ground the saints of the Book of Mormon possessed in life. (2 Nephi 26:15-16, Mormon 8:23, 25-26) More than a decade after the first publication of the Book of Mormon came the unsigned Times and Seasons articles featuring extracts from John Lloyd Stephens’ 1841 best seller. These sensational articles started a romance that directed the attention of generations of Latter-day Saints to locations thousands of miles away from where Joseph obtained the plates. It is my experience that many who come to recognize this misadventure for what it is, are generally not inclined to bring railing accusations against those who think differently or who do not understand. Here is an opportunity to practice, patience, tolerance and love. Because the subject of covenant lands matters, the opportunity is real.

You may have never heard of Joseph Smith's American Antiquities editorial. So very many supporters of a Mesoamerican setting avoid mentioning this editorial and certainly don't present it in its entirety. Here it is. You will notice, that unlike those unsigned articles published in the fall of 1842 (during the Prophet's public absence) this article ends with Joseph's "-ED". Yes, Joseph believes that Book of Mormon peoples (or their descendents) migrated to Central America, but notice that he never says that Book of Mormon cities are to be found there. What Promised Land setting does the Prophet Joseph Smith give for the Book of Mormon? Read and see: 



"Truth will prevail."

Vol. III. No. 18.] CITY OF NAUVOO , ILL. JULY 15, 1842. [Whole No. 54

* * *


Some have supposed that all the great works of the west, of which we have been treating, belong to our present race of Indians; but from continued wars with each other, have driven themselves from agricultural pursuits, and thinned away their numbers, to that degree, that the wild animals and fishes of the rivers, and wild fruit of the forests, were found sufficient to give them abundant support: on which account, they were reduced to savagism.

But this is answered by the Antiquarian Society, as follows: "Have our present race of Indians ever buried their dead in mounds by thousands? Were they acquainted with the uses of silver or copper? These metals curiously wrought have been found. Did the ancients of our Indians burn the bodies of distinguished chiefs, on funeral piles, and then raise a lofty tumulus over the urn containing their ashes? Did the Indians erect any thing like the "walled towns," on Paint Creek? Did they ever dig such wells as are found at Marietta, Portsmouth, and above all, such as those in Paint Creek? Did they manufacture vessels from calcareous breccia equal to any now made in Italy?

To this we respond, they never have: no, not even their traditions afford a glimpse of the existence of such things, as forts, tumuli, roads, wells, mounds, walls enclosing between one and two hundred, and even five hundred acres of land; some of them of stone, and others of earth, twenty feet in thickness, and exceeding high, are works requiring too much labor for Indians ever to have performed.

An idol found in a tumulus near Nashville, Tennessee, and now in the Museum of Mr. Clifford, of Lexington, is made of clay, peculiar for its fineness. With this clay was mixed a small portion of gypsum or plaster of Paris. This Idol was made to represent a man, in a state of nudity or nakedness, whose arms had been cut off close to the body, and whose nose and chin have been mutilated, with a fillet and cake upon its head.

Some years since a clay vessel was discovered, about twenty feet below the surface, in alluvial earth, in digging a well near Nashville, Tennessee, and was found standing on a rock, from whence a spring of water issued. This vessel was taken to Peale's Museum, at Philadelphia. It contains about one gallon; was circular in its shape, with a flat bottom, from which it rises in a somewhat globose form, terminating at the summit with the figure of a female head; the place where the water was introduced, or poured out, was on the one side of it, nearly at the top of the globose part.

Another idol was, a few years since, dug up in Natchez, on the Mississippi, on a piece of ground where, according to tradition, long before Europeans visited this country, stood an Indian temple. - This idol is of stone, and is nineteen inches in height, nine inches in width, and seven inches thich [thick] at the extremities. - On its breast, as represented on the plate of the idol, were five marks, which were evidently characters of some kind, resembling as supposed, the Persian; probably expressing, in the language of its authors, the name and suppssed [supposed] attributes of the senseless god of stone.

One of the arts known to the builders of Babel , was that of brick making; this art was also known to the people who built the works in the west. The knowledge

(page 858)


of copper was known to the people of the plains of Shinar, for Noah must have communicated it, as he lived an hundred and fifty years among them after the flood; also, copper was known to the antediluvians. Copper was also known to the authors of the western monuments. Iron was known to the antediluvians; it was also known to the ancients of the west; however, it is evident that very little iron was among them, as very few instances of its discovery in their works have occurred; and for this very reason we draw a conclusion that they came to this country very soon after the dispersion, and brought with them such few articles of iron as have been found in their works in an oxydized [oxidized] state.

Copper ore is very abundant in many places of the west; and therefore, as they had a knowledge of it, when they first came here they knew how to work it, and form it into tools and ornaments. This is the reason why so many articles of this metal are found in their works; and even if they had a knowledge of iron ore, and knew how to work it, all articles made of it must have become oxydized [oxidized] as appears from what few specimens have been found, while those of copper are more imperishable. Gold ornaments are said to have been found in several tumuli. Silver very well plated on copper, has been found in several mounds, besides those at Circleville and Marietta. An ornament of copper was found in a stone mound near Chilicothe; it was a bracelet for the ancle [ankle] or wrist.

The ancients of Asia, immediately after the dispersion, were acquainted with ornaments made of the various metals; for in the family of Terah, who was the father of Abraham and Nahor, we find these ornaments in use for the beautifying of females. See the servant of Abraham, at the well of Bethuel [ Bethel ] in the country of " Ur of the Chaldeans," or Mesopotamia, which is not very far from the place where Babel stood-putting a jewell [jewel] of gold upon the face or forehead of Rebecca, weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists, or arms. Bracelets for the same use have been found in the west; all of which circumstances go to establish the acquaintance of those who made those ornaments of silver and copper found in the mounds of the west, equal with those of Ur in Chaldea. The families of Peleg, Reu, Serug, and Nahor, who were the immediate progenitors of Abraham, lived at an era but little after the flood; and yet we find them in the possession of ornaments of this kind; from which we conclude a knowledge both of the metals, and how to make ornaments, as above described, was brought by Noah and his family from beyond the flood.

On the shores of the Mississippi , some miles below Lake Pepin, on a fine plain, exists an artificial elevation of about four feet high, extending a full mile, in somewhat of a circular form. It is sufficiently capacious to have covered 5000 men. Every angle of the breast work is yet traceable, though much defaced by time. Here, it is likely, conflicting realms as great as those of the ancient Greeks and Persians, decided the fate of ambitious Monarchs, of the Chinese, Mongol descent.

Weapons of brass have been found in many parts of America, as in the Canadas, Florida, &c., with curiously sculptured stones, all of which go to prove that this country was once peopled with civilized, industrious nations, - now traversed the greater part by savage hunters. - Priests American Antiquities.

The Book of Mormon speaks of ores, swords, cities, armies, &c., and we extract the following:--

And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass, and the horse, and the goat, and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates of ore, that I might engraven upon [upon] them the record of my people.

 * * *       

And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land. And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites, should come upon us and destroy us: for I knew their hatred towards me and my children, and those who were called my people. And I did teach my people to build buildings; and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of

(page 859)

gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon, save it were not built of so many precious things: for they were not to be found upon the land; wherefore it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceeding fine.

In regard to there being great wars, the following will shew [show]:-

And it came to pass when Coriantumr had recovered of his wounds, he began to remember the words which Ether had spoken unto him...he saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children. He began to repent of the evil which he had done; he began to remember the words which had been spoken by the mouth of all the prophets, and he saw them that they were fulfilled, thus far, every whit; and his soul mourned, and refused to be comforted. . . . . .

And it came to pass that they did gather together all the people, upon all the face of the land, who had not been slain, save it was Ether. And it came to sass [pass] that Ether did behold all the doings of the people; and he beheld that the people who were for Coriantumr, were gathered together for the army of Coriantumr; and the people who were for Shiz, were gathered together to the army of Shiz; wherefore they were for the space of four years gathering together the people, that they might get all who were upon the face of the land, and that they might receive all the strength which it was profitable that they could receive. And it came to pass that when they were all gathering together, every one to the army which he would with their wives and their children; both men, women, and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields and breast plates, and head plates, and being clothed after the manner of war, they did march forth one against another, to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not. And it came to pass that when it was night they were weary, and retired to their camps; and after they had retired to their camps, they took up a howling and a lamentation for the loss of the slain of their people; and so great were their cries, their howlings and lamentations, that it did rend the air exceedingly.

If men, in their researches into the history of this country, in noticing the mounds, fortifications, statues, architecture, implements of war, of husbandry, and ornaments of silver, brass, &c. - were to examine the Book of Mormon, their conjectures would be removed, and their opinions altered; uncertainty and doubt would be changed into certainty and facts; and they would find that those things that they are anxiously prying into were matters of history, unfolded in that book. They would find their conjectures were more than realized-that a great and a mighty people had inhabited this continent-that the arts sciences and religion, had prevailed to a very great extent, and that there was as great and mighty cities on this continent as on the continent of Asia . Babylon, Ninevah, nor any of the ruins of the Levant could boast of more perfect sculpture, better architectural designs, and more imperishable ruins, than what are found on this continent. Stephens and Catherwood's researches in Central America abundantly testify of this thing. The stupendous ruins, the elegant sculpture, and the magnificence of the ruins of Guatamala [Guatemala], and other cities, corroborate this statement, and show that a great and mighty people-men of great minds, clear intellect, bright genius, and comprehensive designs inhabited this continent. Their ruins speak of their greatness; the Book of Mormen [Mormon] unfolds their history.-ED  

* * *

The Times and Seasons, Is edited, printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, by JOSEPH SMITH

(page 862)

A Quote from History of the Church,  Some Wrongly Attribute to Joseph Smith:

For the date 25 June, 1844, History of the Church (Vol. 5, pg 44) states:

         Saturday, 25.—Transacted business with Brother Hunter, and Mr. Babbitt, and sat for a drawing of my profile to be placed on a lithograph of the map of the city of Nauvoo.

"The Work of Stephens and Catherwood.

            "Messrs. Stephens and Catherwood have succeeded in collecting in the interior of America a large amount of relics of the Nephites, or the ancient inhabitants of America treated of in the Book of Mormon, which relics have recently been landed in New York.”

Without looking more closely into sources, the context of the above statement has led some to attributed it to Joseph Smith. The first part of the History of the Church entry comes from the Journal of Joseph Smith found in the handwriting of Willard Richards (clerk). The original reads:

“25 June 1842 – Saturday

            Transacted Business with Bro. Hunter, Mr Babbit. & sat for the drawing of his profile. for Lithographing on city chart” (The Papers of Joseph Smith Vol. 2, Journal, 1832 – 1842, edited by Dean C. Jessee, pg. 391)

Unfortunately, this journal entry was later rewritten in first person and inserted in History of the Church along with the more recent comment on the work of Stephens and Catherwood. There is  no mention in Joseph Smith’s journal of the work of Stephens and Catherword or of relics belonging to "…ancient inhabitants of America treated of in the Book of Mormon...”

  Copyright © 2009 by W. Vincent Coon

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