Toward the Ultimate Book of Mormon Time Line

Review of Christopher Kimball Bigelow. The Timechart History of Mormonism: From Premortality to the Present, ed. Jana Riess. Herfordshire, UK: Worth
Press, 2006. $17.99. 31 pp. (timechart),
31 pp. (booklet).

Toward the Ultimate Book of Mormon Time Line

Reviewed by Don L. Brugger

More than a mere time line, this eye-catching digest of
scriptural history and Mormon cultural trivia features a large-format,
concertina-style “timechart” supplemented
with an attached booklet, both richly illustrated with superior artwork and historical
photographs. Unfolding to an impressive eleven feet, the timechart traces events in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Latter-day Saint church history
alongside an external chronology in one grand panoramic sweep from 4000 BC to AD 2005.[1] The reverse side is packed with maps and other visual aids, a glossary, and
substantive sidebars on beliefs, ordinances, temples, prophets, historical
sites, and notable theologians, writers, and historians. A near-perfect
counterweight to the timechart is the booklet Highlights
of Mormon History and Culture
, offering a potpourri of historical
and scriptural overviews, time lines, who’s who listings, membership data,
distinctive Mormon beliefs, offshoot groups, Mormon Web sites, and books for
further reading.[2]

As a whole, the book
reflects the marvel of modern document design and printing technology—so
much data tidily compressed and arranged and illustrated. The pictorial
approach is striking and effective, making for delightful browsing while not
crowding or overpowering the text. Worth Press, a British publisher
specializing in timecharts, is to be commended for a tasteful job of making the
factoids and raw data visually appealing. The use of color and ghosted images
is restrained enough so that the text can be read without difficulty.[3] And Timechart‘s overall attractiveness makes it something of an objet d’art itself.

Author Christopher Bigelow and editor Jana Riess have teamed up before. Their coauthored Mormonism
for Dummies
[4] has garnered high marks for coverage, accuracy, and readability despite the challenges
of satisfying curious outsiders and knowledgeable insiders alike and capturing
the attention of serious-minded reviewers when the frivolous title and popular
appeal of this flourishing cult-genre do not exactly inspire confidence in
quality. One simply cannot judge this surprisingly informative book by its
cover; nothing else is quite like this one-stop primer on all things Mormon for
casual readers. Fastidious insiders may squirm or bristle at the occasional
patches of irreverent humor and dalliance with controversial and delicate subjects,
yet they too would likely admit that, for the most part, Mormonism
for Dummies
is well informed and even engaging.

As a quick-reference tool designed for “teachers,
students, history buffs, and readers of all ages and faiths,”[5] Timechart likewise assembles a variety of
information calculated to appeal to motivated readers. As one would expect, its
approach is factual and concise, with nothing of the humor, whimsy, and informal
character of its cousin, Mormonism for Dummies. Overall, Timechart does a respectable job of distilling fundamentals of Latter-day Saint history,
scripture, belief, and culture in a fair-minded and accurate manner.

This is not to say that Timechart does not have its flaws, most of them quite minor—virtually any publication
of length has its share, especially design-intensive projects like this one
where text is manipulated for fit in the design shop. Because Timechart presents aspects of their faith,
beliefs, and culture to the wider community, Latter-day Saints may feel
something of a proprietary interest in expecting any oversights to be rectified
in a future printing or edition. In that spirit I exercise a reviewer’s
prerogative to point out a few lapses, trusting that the publisher will make
good on its commitment to consider all comments and corrections for
future editions (p. i).

Catching the eye on page viii is the orphaned a at the end of the caption for the painting of Christ among the Nephites. This and the nearby typo murdvernment under the time point “ca. AD 32″ admit the likelihood of other design slips. Looking further we find a
whopper: a duplicated contents page for the attached booklet. A surprising
lapse, given the Timechart series’ emphasis
on history, is the “year” 0 in place of 1 BC in the time line and corresponding text, ignoring a firm
convention among historians. A rather significant error occurs on page ix,
where the Book of Mormon time line abruptly ends at AD 363, when the Nephites initiated war with the Lamanites—as if the Nephite record ends at the start of Mormon 4. Some sixty
years and fifteen chapters (excluding the book of Ether, which figures at the
beginning of this time line) are unaccounted for. What of Mormon’s return as
military commander? The penultimate time point marks his refusal to lead the
armies, yet his resumption of leadership goes unmarked. What of hiding the
plates? If we search beyond the main time line and then squint, we discover a
separate, miniature time line running along the bottom of the page. Entitled “Handing
Down the Plates,” it begins a few pages earlier and ends here with “Records
hidden 421–1827.” It seems doubtful that this secondary time line is
intended to take up where the main time line prematurely ends, for other
significant events are omitted as well: the final battles at Cumorah, the demise of the Nephite civilization, Mormon’s death, and Moroni’s parting
prophecies and exhortations. Since the rest of the timechart is so flush with time points, this abrupt truncation is rather glaring, perhaps
another casualty of the design shop.

The section of the timechart entitled “The Restoration” could be fleshed out to more adequately
cover the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. For example, one can easily get
the impression that the Book of Mormon was translated in about a year (July
1828–June 1829, a period beginning after the loss of the 116 pages of
transcribed manuscript), rather than in just under three months. This is
because the timechart neglects to note the momentous
arrival of Oliver Cowdery in Harmony, Pennsylvania,
on 5 April 1829 or his assumption of scribal labors two days later, at which
point Joseph’s work of trans­lation proceeded in earnest until its
completion around 1 July.[6] What’s more, this part of the timechart omits any
mention of scribal help, though it does track Oliver’s and Martin Harris’s other activities.

Although the timechart notes that the plates were temporarily taken from
Joseph Smith after the incident of the lost manuscript, it does not provide a
date for their return nor mention that the interpreters were taken away as
well. The date typically assigned to the return of the plates and interpreters
is 22 September 1828,[7] but Joseph’s own account and other evidence suggest a date in early July of
that year.[8] Furthermore, in 1885 David Whitmer recollected that
the angel reclaimed from Joseph Smith both the plates and the “spectacles”
but returned only “a Urim and Thummim of another pattern.”[9] On the other
hand, Lucy Mack Smith’s 1844–45 and 1853 histories differ on whether it
was the plates or interpreters that were taken by the angel for a season.[10]

Given the discrepancies in the historical record, it would
be understandable that Timechart avoids these
issues if not for two things: (1) the publisher’s note on the inside front
cover avers that “this timeline suggests approximate years . . .
[whenever] actual dates are not known . . . [or] different historical sources
give conflicting dates”; (2) two time lines in the attached booklet
address these matters but muddle the picture. Reassurances aside, the timechart neglects to approximate a date for when Joseph resumed
his translation work—certainly not an egregious oversight, just
disappointing for a mega time line, especially since the Book of Mormon time
line on page 4 of the booklet does provide a date for this event: 22 September
1828.[11] Similarly frustrating is the Joseph Smith time line on page 3. It notes that in
July 1828 “the Urim and Thummim device [was] taken for a short time” and that in the summer of 1828 “the Urim and Thummim and plates
[were] again taken
for a short time” (emphasis added), with no
mention of when the plates were first taken.

To be sure, many readers
will not notice these lapses, but those keenly interested in the Book of Mormon
translation will quickly notice deficiencies. Discrepancies in the historical
record could be effectively addressed in the time lines with appropriate hedge
words that would confer on Timechart a level of rigor that readers would appreciate.
And the lack of coordination between the restoration section of the timechart and the shorter time lines in the booklet bearing
on the same topic are easily rectified by beefing up the timechart in a few spots, even if it means dropping or resizing an image or two. This is
well worth doing because the timechart is the book’s
prize feature, the master time line that readers will naturally turn to for
information (rather than to the easily overlooked, topic-specific time lines
buried in the booklet). Indeed, the timechart’s very
length implies thorough coverage.

The captions for the more than two dozen paintings (not counting several duplications) could be improved since in most
cases they merely restate the titles of the works when these titles already
appear in the adjacent credit lines. This banal practice is aesthetically displeasing
and can even create confusion. For example, readers unfamiliar with the Mormon
story will be nonplussed by the page xi caption “Let Him Ask in Faith,”
which accompanies an identically titled painting of Joseph Smith’s first
vision. There is no obvious clue that it is Joseph being depicted, let alone
his momentous vision. Since a painting of Joseph translating the plates carries
a helpful descriptive caption (p. xii), one wonders why the same was not done
elsewhere.[12] Other photo captions will baffle non–Latter-day Saint readers too: “Endowment
House” (p. xiii; its purpose and location are not discoverable in the
text), “Dedication of South America” (p. xiv; the nature of this
dedication is unspecified, and the dignitaries in the photo are not
identified), “The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve”
(p. xvi; the awe-inspiring Christus statue behind
them goes unnamed and unlocated), to name a few. In
many cases, readers will have to search hard (sometimes on different pages) for
the information that will put illustrations in context; in other cases, they
will search in vain. Why would a relatively large photo like the one of
Carthage Jail on page 13 of the booklet carry that name only as its caption (in
small point size) when five unbroken inches of caption space remain? Expand the
caption by adding “where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred in June
1844″ and interested readers can locate that date among the descriptive
entries on that page and learn more.

A few picayune editorial matters concern stylistic
inconsistencies for like items: the time points and accompanying text in the timechart are randomly left-justified, centered, or
right-justified, creating a jumbled look that impedes easy scanning; some of
the four-digit dates on page iv have commas while others do not; illustration
captions throughout the book variously employ headline-style capitalization
(e.g., “Brigham Young’s Nauvoo Home”) and sentence-style capitali­zation
(e.g., “Sagwitch and his wife”).

Such oversights can
plague any publication project that is not thoroughly and competently proofread.[13] Yet Timechart readers hunting for specific information will not
notice many of the technical blemishes pointed out here—or at least the
aggregate effect will certainly not be enough to impugn the whole book. Indeed,
editing and proofreading lapses are not necessarily indicative of poor content,
though a lack of professional care in those areas may reflect similar haste and
sloppiness in conception. Though many readers are oblivious to such seeming
trifles or are forgiving when they do spot them, a publisher and author would
be ethically remiss to engage in such Newtonian rationalization and do nothing.[14] Accuracy and reliability are the raison d’être of any reference work; and the presence of even
small lapses—be they factual errors or stylistic or artistic
infelicities—can mar credibility and distract readers. Naturally this is
a concern for Latter-day Saints wanting to see their history and belief
portrayed in the best possible light (i.e., depicted fairly, accurately, and in
accordance with the highest professional standards), though it applies equally
to any consumer seeking clear and trustworthy information and a product worth
its price.

This discussion calls attention to the quality-control
challenges endemic in projects like this one for which the collaborating
author, editor, designer, publisher, and printer live far apart (in this case
across the world)[15] and work for different interests. Although today’s advanced communications
technologies make distance nearly irrele­vant and publishers often outsource
work to book packagers—who offer not just printing and binding but an
increasingly ambitious array of “value-added” editing, typesetting, design,
proofreading, and distribution services as well (in turn often
outsourced)—these developments can actually create more room for error as
publications projects are routed through disparate shops and countless hands,
diffusing responsibility for the inevitable errors introduced along the line.[16]

Nearly three decades ago,
editing—and its cousin proofreading, it is fair to say—was said to
be in decline partly because corporate takeovers of major publishing houses
made “return on investment” the watchword and editors now were
pressured to hunt down the next bestseller rather than take time to edit to
high literary standards that had become passé amid the frenzied atmosphere of
mass consumerism.[17] One observer laments that

editors then [about 1970] . . .
were a breed of compulsively orderly and fanatically precise individuals who
ruthlessly stalked and destroyed typos, solecisms, and factual inaccuracies. .
. . They placed literature high above crass commerce. . . . The new breed of editorial animal . . . looks down his or her nose at
line editing and production details. The time and money pressures of today’s
monolithic and highly competitive publishing business have devalued good
bookmaking. The result is books that fall apart, prematurely yellow with age,
and are scandalously rife with typos.[18]

Certainly Timechart is
not “scandalously” inferior in any way, but the highly collaborative
process that apparently contributed to diminished quality control on the production end furnishes a cautionary tale about modern
bookmaking. In small degree it also reflects the somewhat parlous state of
editing and proofreading, once-discrete tasks that now are often absorbed into
other functions,[19] relegated to untrained or unseasoned personnel, or dispensed with in the push
to save money and the rush to get into print.

The timechart aside, the other
sections in the book are well conceived and make for interesting browsing.
Attention to current scholarship in a few areas would enhance the book’s value
as a reliable reference tool. Two items have to do with Book of
Mormon–related maps. The map of Book of Mormon geography (p. C, on the
reverse side of the timechart) ignores the best model
to date—John L. Sorenson’s theo­retical reconstitution of Mormon’s “mental
map.”[20] Like Sorenson’s, Timechart‘s map is a
theoretical model based, it would seem, on internal evidence from the Book of
Mormon rather than force-fitted through selective proof-texting to a
predetermined real-world location. While it is true that numerous geographical
correlations have been proposed and the issue of fixing Book of Mormon events
in a real-world setting is far from settled, the majority of Latter-day Saint
scholars accept Sorenson’s limited-geography model situated in Mesoamerica as
the best to date. A pioneer in this field, Sorenson, an anthropologist who has
pursued the puzzle of Book of Mormon geography for over fifty years, has published
widely on the topic and is known for his command of the literature, prodigious
research, and keen synthesis of complicated research data. Thus it is
unfortunate that the Timechart map of
unspecified authorship is second-rate. Whereas Sorenson’s map meticulously
takes into account textual clues such as geographical features, population
sizes, distances, ecology, directions, and climate, Timechart‘s map appears to be a poor imitation (indeed, at first glance the two maps look
alike) whose hasty construction muddles several firm spatial relationships. It
is frustrating that the map’s provenance is unspecified, since curious readers
cannot examine the interpretive bases behind the proposed identifications.

Immediately suspect are several cities located far inland
when textual clues indicate they are by or somewhat near the seashore.[21] Directly left of the “East Wilderness” label is the counterintuitive “South
Wilderness” label. Since there is in fact a west wilderness (Alma 8:3;
22:28), the obvious adjustments should be made. The map also has two cities
named Mulek, when that city should be located south
of Bountiful near the sea and the other site is the city of Melek.
Moreover, the hourglass-shaped map should be tilted 45 degrees for a plausible
directional orientation that makes sense of the east, west, and north seas,
which are incongruous in the Timechart map.[22] In sum, to the trained eye, this map reflects the kind of haphazard, “ad
hoc modeling” that Sorenson laments in his compendious Geography of
Book of Mormon Events
,[23] which meticulously evaluates dozens of such maps and establishes criteria for
pursuing this study responsibly.[24]

The other Book of Mormon–related map, which traces Lehi and Sariah’s journey through
Arabia, is titled “Possible Route of Lehi’s Journey” yet actually plots multiple routes.
Without attribution, it appears to show S. Kent Brown’s proposed northerly arc
that, after Nahom, skirts the fractured terrain of
the al-Mahrah plateau. But at the same time it charts
a more direct easterly route that has been proposed, with slight variations, by
other researchers.[25] Readers unfamiliar with the journey of Lehi’s group
through the Arabian wilderness are left to assume that, on the eastern leg of
the journey, the group became lost and trekked in two vast “circles”
of several hundred miles each—certainly not what any map on the subject intends
to show. This may be a quibble since the map will work if Route in the title is corrected to Routes, though the absence of
appropriate credit and source documentation here and elsewhere in the book remains
a concern.

Of course, even the best-intentioned nonspecialist author cannot cover the waterfront of potential error in a commercial venture
of this kind. Budget and time constraints being what they are, it is hardly
feasible to engage a crew of subject-matter specialists to verify every date,
fact, and assertion. And the narrow specialization in academia today makes it
difficult to find one content specialist to do the job of many specialists with
equal aplomb when it comes to content review. Even scholars who manage to indulge
catholic interests cannot keep up on all the latest thinking and findings
arising in complementary fields of academic endeavor. And while reputable publishing
houses ensure that nonfiction works pass a technical review before they are
accepted for publication, independent authors and small publishers, even if
convinced of the need for such quality control, typically cannot afford this
added cost. Complicating this picture is the fact that even significant
scholarly findings—if reported by the media—tend to have a short
shelf life in the public mind and may take years to gain acceptance in the
academy.[26] This being the case, an apparent plus is that Timechart editor Jana Riess, a member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, holds a PhD in American religious history from
Columbia University and is the religion book review editor for Publisher’s
, credentials that engender confidence in the book’s overall
accuracy and quality.

Anyone with a mind avid for Mormon trivia and neatly
packaged information-bites will enjoy perusing this book. It could make a nice
gift for those who would use it as a study aid or as a tantalizing missionary
tool to display in the home for guests. It would seem that many readers,
Latter-day Saints or not, will find the external correlations with secular
history, as well as some of the cultural trivia, of at least passing interest.

The publisher’s vision for the Timechart series is admirable if not exaggerated. This series is designed, the claim
goes, so that “various elements interact and spark off other events,”
making “the forces that create history . . . tangible as the streams flow
across the pages.”[27] This calls to mind the supernova of time lines—science historian James
Burke’s “Knowledge Web,” an interactive online resource that maps connections
between people, places, events, things, and ideas that have led to technical
innovations and, in many cases, to social change. Like Timechart,
the ever-evolving “K-Web” aims to “put
learning into a context that makes it easier to see the greater relevance”
of synchronicities throughout history.[28] With constellations
of navigable “knowledge nodes,” Burke’s K-Web promises to deliver
where Timechart cannot—by showing more convincingly
in an immersive 3-D learning environment how certain ideas and events actually
did interrelate and “spark off” each other to shape history. Of
course, Timechart‘s chronology of scriptural
personalities and events randomly aligned with secular milestones wisely avoids
any such correlations, though the series’ promotional plugs would lead one to believe

But Timechart‘s status as the
preeminent Book of Mormon time line seems secure for quite some time. Only a
clairvoyant K-Web programmer could top it by expanding the K-Web to include evidences
of divine providence in human affairs, in which case the Book of Mormon (let
alone the restoration of the gospel) might get a little more of the attention
it deserves. In the meantime, Timechart serves ably enough as a comprehensive time line and historical and cultural
overview of Mormonism.


[1] The book’s
subtitle extends that range back into premortality since the timechart notes the grand council in
heaven, but the chronology itself begins at 4000 BC, which seems to follow the calculations of the Irish
Protestant bishop James Ussher (1581–1656), who believed that the
creation of the earth took place on October 23, 4004 BC. This has been the accepted date of creation partly
because it appeared in annotated editions of the King James translation of the
Bible. The Church of Jesus Christ does not, of course, take a position on
chronological issues such as the date of creation.

[2] It is
puzzling that the suggested reading list includes a few books by prominent
detractors of Mormonism when Timechart otherwise presents an altogether positive image of the faith. Because the FARMS Review often includes scholarly essays that refute the work of such critics, it is
unfortunate that the sidebar “Mormon Periodicals” (p. 31 of the
booklet) omits the Review from the list while including two periodicals
of mixed reputation.

[3] One
exception is the map “Modern-Day Membership and Temples” (pp.
26–27 of the booklet), which employs hard-to-see black type on a dark
blue background.

[4] Jana Riess and Christopher Kimball Bigelow, Mormonism
for Dummies
(Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2005).

(accessed April 2008).

[6] BYU
46/4 (2007): 12, 16. This issue is devoted to a
chronology of the life of Joseph Smith, with pp. 10–18 covering the
coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

[7] History
of the Church
, 1:21–23. This date also appears in Lucy
Mack Smith’s 1845 history, the relevant portion of which is reproduced in John
W. Welch, ed., Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations,
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2005), 162.

[8] See Larry
E. Morris, “The Conversion of Oliver Cowdery,” Journal
of Book of Mormon Studies
16/1 (2007): 81 n. 7.

[9] Quoted in
John W. Welch, “The Miraculous Translation of the Book of Mormon,” in
Welch, Opening
the Heavens
, 88, 154.

[10] Welch, Opening the
, 88, 108 n. 44.

[11] This time
line mentions only that Joseph resumed his translation on 22 September 1828,
not that the plates and interpreters were reportedly returned to him on this
date—perhaps an attempt to obfuscate the question of precisely when the
power and means to translate were restored to Joseph.

[12] Perhaps it
was judged that the title of Simon Dewey’s painting of Joseph translating the
plates, By
the Gift and Power of God
, would puzzle readers unfamiliar with the
scriptural quotation. Yet it is unfortunate that the caption used, “Joseph
Smith Translates the Book of Mormon by Inspiration,” though ultimately
true and suited to the artist’s interpretation, gives the impression that
Joseph did not use an interpreting device (either the Urim and Thummim or the seer stone) while translating, a
view that contradicts the historical and scriptural record (e.g., History of
the Church
, 1:19; Doctrine and Covenants 10:1; 20:8; Joseph
Smith—History 1:62, 71n), including several eyewitness accounts. For a
study that draws on these accounts and on textual evidence to illuminate the
mechanics of the translation process, see Royal Skousen,
“Translating the Book of Mormon: Evidence from the Original Manuscript,”
in Book
of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins
ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1997), especially pp. 61–66 and
the conclusion and bibliography on pp. 90–91.

[13] The average
comparison proofreader (one who compares clean copy with edited copy in order
to catch discrepancies) misses about one error in ten. Industry standards range
from allowing one miss per typeset page (a low standard) to allowing one miss
every hour (a high standard). Peggy Smith, Mark My Words: Instruction and Practice in
, 3rd ed. (Alexandria, VA: EEI, 1997), 137–38.
While occasional proofreading errors are inevitable, multiple read-throughs, each with a different focus (typography, typos,
inconsistencies, etc.), can considerably reduce error frequency.

[14] The story
is told that Sir Isaac Newton “prevented a misprint from being corrected
in his Principia,
saying that competent readers would automatically correct it for themselves.”
Jacques Barzun, “Behind the Blue Pencil: Censorship or Creeping Creativity?”
in On
Writing, Editing, and Publishing: Essays Explicative and Hortatory
2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 105.

[15] Timechart‘s author notes this global effort in
a report for Meridian Magazine, an online publication: “This
Mormon timechart project was truly global in scope,
with the writer and image researcher located in Utah, the editor in Ohio, the
design team in Connecticut, the publisher in England, the map illustrators in
India, and the printer in China” (Christopher Kimball Bigelow, “Introducing The Timechart History of Mormonism,” [accessed 8 October 2008]). No
proofreader is mentioned here or in Timechart‘s colophon, perhaps because the role is often an anonymous one in the industry or
because, given the kinds of errors that slipped through, a dedicated
proofreader was not employed in this project.

[16] The For Dummies books alluded to earlier use book packagers to good effect, but those books are
not pictorial presentations that require the kind of intensive, multilevel
proofreading at issue here.

[17] See R. Z.
Sheppard, “The Decline of Editing,” Time, 1 September 1980, 70–72; also,9171,922149,00.html (accessed 26
May 2008).

[18] Richard
Curtis, “Are Editors Necessary?” in Gerald Gross, ed., Editors on
Editing: What Writers Need to Know about What Editors Do
, 3rd ed.
(New York: Grove, 1993), 31–32.

[19] For
example, writers or editors doubling as proofreaders of their own
work—once a firm taboo in publishing (since protracted closeness to a text
blinds one to its flaws) but now, with the proliferation of desktop publishers
and book packagers seeking a share of Big Publishing’s profits by utilizing
small staffs and a lean business model, increasingly an unfortunate necessity.

[20] See
generally John L. Sorenson, Mormon’s Map (Provo, UT: FARMS,

[21] These
cities include Moroni, Nephihah, Lehi, Morianton, Omner, Gid, and Mulek. See Alma 50:13; 51:26.

[22] A south sea
is not identified on the Timechart map. Though
presumed external correlations should not guide the directionality of a
theoretical map, in this case the map, which needs to be rotated either right
or left to account for the north and south seas (see Helaman 3:8), could reasonably be rotated to the left ˆ la Sorenson’s model since a geographical
correlation with any of the possible narrow necks of land in the Americas virtually
demands that orientation.

[23] John L.
Sorenson, The
Geography of Book of Mormon Events: A Source Book
(Provo, UT: FARMS,
1992), 209.

[24] In May 2008
John Sorenson examined said map in Timechart and rated it inferior.

[25] See the
routes that S. Kent Brown proposes in his study “New Light from Arabia on Lehi’s Trail,” in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon,
ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS,
2002), 58. For a handy comparison of those routes with others, see the map in Journal of
Book of Mormon Studies
15/2 (2006): 77 (compare p. 53).

[26] That is, if
they gain acceptance at all, since old, cherished theories die hard in
academia. A case in point is the longstanding debate over cultural contact
between the hemispheres in ancient times. Despite a veritable boatload of hard
evidence supporting the “diffusion hypothesis,” this view struggles
to find legitimacy within the academic mainstream. See John L. Sorenson, “Ancient
Voyages Across the Ocean to America: From ‘Impossible’ to ‘Certain,’ ” Journal
of Book of Mormon Studies
14/1 (2005): 5–17; also Don L. Brugger, “Making the Case for Cultural Diffusion in
Ancient Times,” Insights 26/4 (2006): 1, 6.

(accessed 26 March 2008).

(accessed 30 March 2008).