As Mormon edited the Book of Mormon, he must have had a map in his mind of the places and physical features that were setting the events described in that book. John L. Sorenson attempts to reconstruct that mental map — "Mormon's Map" — using information in the text.
Mormon's Map answers such general questions as, "What is the overall shape of the Book of Mormon lands?" And "What can we learn about distances and directions?" It also answers more specific questions like, "How was geography central to the defeat of the robbers of Giddianhi?"
Mormon's Map gives a model that we can apply to stories from the record, shedding a new light on the influence of geography on Nephite history, increasing our understanding of that book and its characters, and making events and places more concrete in our minds.
About the Authors
John L. Sorenson has been intrigued by applying scholarly methods to Book of Mormon studies ever since 1949, when he finished a mission to New Zealand and the Cook Islands and enrolled in the new archaeology program at Brigham Young University. Years of advanced training in archaeology and anthropology (MA, BYU; PhD, UCLA) coupled with experience as a “dirt” archaeologist in Mexico, as chair of BYU’s anthropology department, and as an active Mesoamerican researcher uniquely prepared him for what has proved to be a lifelong project: investigating little-known aspects of the cultures of Book of Mormon peoples.
In his scholarly career, Sorenson has written more than 200 books and articles, among them An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Deseret Book and FARMS, 1985), a landmark study that matches empirical data from scientific research with hundreds of geographical, historical, and cultural details gleaned from the Book of Mormon narrative. His research and publications in this area continue to flesh out a coherent, plausible model whose text-based criteria cannot be ignored when seeking to place the peoples and events of the Book of Mormon within a real-world setting.
Sorenson was closely involved with the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) for 28 years, including 5 years as editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. Earlier he worked as an applied anthropologist, as director of social sciences for General Research Corporation in Santa Barbara, California, and as founder and president of Bonneville Research Corporation in Provo. His legacy at BYU includes the introduction of anthropology into the university curriculum. In his so-called retirement years, he has vigorously pursued the interests that first captivated him: the cultures of Book of Mormon peoples, ancient Mesoamerican civilization, and social dimensions of Mormonism.
The best there is on Book of Mormon Geography
by James - reviewed on September 02, 2004
Sorenson's work is the best I've yet read on Book of Mormon geography. This is NOT a book of archeaology or consideration of placement of cities in modern meso-america. It is, however, a fantastic and exhaustive examination of what the Book of Mormon itself says about it's own geography. This is by far the best treatment of the subject I have ever read (truth be told, very few books actually examine what the Book of Mormon says about itself but rather try to match the book to existing sites). The information is well presented and referenced. EXCEPTIONAL! I will never read the Book of Mormon the same way again!
Well written resource
by John - reviewed on September 10, 2008
This is a great resource for helping to visualize the physical "lay of the land" of the Book of Mormon.