Mormon's Codex

by John L. Sorenson

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Hardcover SKU 5102381

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Leading scholar and author John L. Sorenson brilliantly synthesizes in this volume his work from 60 years of academic study of ancient Mesoamerica and its relationship to the Book of Mormon.

Here Sorenson reveals that the Book of Mormon exhibits what one would expect of a historical document produced in the context of ancient Mesoamerican civilization. He also shows that scholars’ discoveries about Mesoamerica and the contents of the Nephite record are clearly related. Indeed, Sorenson lists more than 400 points where the Book of Mormon text corresponds to characteristic Mesoamerican situations, statements, allusions, and history.

Are we to simply suppose that mere coincidence can account for similarities of this magnitude? The parallels are too striking and too sweeping to answer in the affirmative. Even the greatest savant of the early 19th century—let alone a marginally literate frontier farm boy—could not possibly have produced a volume as rich in Mesoamericana as the Book of Mormon.

The only format in which a record such as the Book of Mormon could have been preserved is that of a native Mesoamerican book, referred to by scholars as a codex. According to the record itself, the text was compiled by a man named Mormon, who lived in the Mesoamerican isthmus area in the late fourth century. Mormon passed the record to his son Moroni, who survived him by more than 35 years and made modest additions to the text.

A significant contribution to the fields of Book of Mormon studies and Mesoamerican studies, Mormon’s Codex is John Sorenson’s magnum opus. It contains copious explanatory material, extensive footnotes, over 1,300 bibliographical references, illustrations, an appendix, and detailed maps. This long-awaited volume will appeal to informed general readers, archaeologists, and scholars alike

Mormon’s Codex is the culmination of a lifetime’s labor by Mormonism’s preeminent Mesoamerican specialist. Since 1949 John Sorenson has been collecting archaeological and anthropological evidence to show that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from a native Mesoamerican codex, or book. Now, having assembled a mountain of evidence, he boldly challenges scholars to take the Book of Mormon seriously as a priceless source of information about Mesoamerican history and culture. —Richard Lyman Bushman

Mormon’s Codex will immediately serve as the high-water mark of scholarship on the Book of Mormon. —Terryl L. Givens

For decades, John Sorenson has been among the foremost students of the Book of Mormon, and the principal advocate for a limited Mesoamerican geography. I vividly remember the excitement of reading An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon back in 1985. Now, in Mormon’s Codex, we have the rich results of nearly 30 years of additional study. I have eagerly anticipated this book. —Daniel C. Peterson

About the Author

John L. Sorenson

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.

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Average rating:

(based upon 4 reviews)

By , Submitted on 2018-11-26

For the person interested in the history this is a must read.

By , Submitted on 2017-04-14

I have read the first half of this book, over the last two months. Have found its presentation and depths of portrayal to be very well done.
I would love to have been able to work as an archeologist when I was younger, now I wish to relive their experiences.
This volume is very detailed in its scientific footnoting, etc. I would like buy the digital version so that I could click on the footnotes and be directed to the references. Great read so far.

Readable, professional, accurate and packed
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I studied Book of Mormon archaeology from non-LDS sources first and found the Mesoamerican model to fit the scriptural and modern-day prophetic references. Research led me to this book back in September in 2013. I had studied the Heartland model from both non-LDS and LDS sources to be educated, but disagree on most of it's conclusions. As a previous student of geology, science and psychology, I've found Sorenson's research to really target what is known and it's possible correspondences to the Book of Mormon.

Sorenson's professionalism is markedly outstanding. He educates the non-scientific reader of important research facts, areas of weakness and most notably uses correspondences to share information rather than labeling anything as a "fact" of Book of Mormon evidence. For an authority on the subject, I'm incredibly impressed.

Though I haven't finished the book yet, I've enjoyed learning more about Mesoamerican historical culture and learning the seemingly-likely "whys" of sociocultural passages that were included in the Book of Mormon. This has really made the Book of Mormon have the historical tangibility that I've always believed it to contain.

Research for the Book of Mormon and it's physical and social evidence has exploded since the late 1990's and is well captured in this book. I've been thoroughly impressed with the research, cited references, and certainly the sociology. Most "anti" questions are resolved with good education and the Spirit, but many evidences found here are very validating. Though my testimony came from the Spirit, I must say that I have never felt like I was holding an actual copy of a record of our ancient prophets like I feel I do now. I didn't know there was so much I didn't know, and each paragraph has been a treat. There is so much information in here.

If you want 800 pages of a summary of decades of research, unforced correspondences, and a place where all the Book of Mormon references have a physical and social setting that mesh well, here it is, and it's a comfortable read.

ANDROID SIDE NOTE: I have the hard copy and eBook for Android. Unfortunately I've been very disappointed with the Deseret Bookshelf app, and this book exaggerates at least one of its issues. The chapters are very large on this book and take a while to load on my relatively fast phone, and then re-navigating to my bookmark takes little bit too. General problems with that app are very poor highlighting (hard to select and competes with the native highlighting) and bookmarking is limited to certain areas so you can't mark exactly where you left off. In this book, the paragraphs can get pretty lengthy so the bookmarking issue makes it even more difficult to find where you were last.

Nephi, Alma, Mormon & Moroni would be proud
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

First came "The Book of Mormon as a Mesoamerican Codex" published in 1976. That was followed in 1985 by Sorenson's landmark "An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon." And now, at age 89, the dean of LDS Mesoamericanists has given us his magnum opus, the result of his 60+ year disciplined & meticulous study (love affair, really) of the Book of Mormon and things Mesoamerican. John L. Sorenson is in an elite class with Hugh W. Nibley and John W. Welch as defenders of the faith and exegetes of the Mormon canon. This book will become a classic. Like his 1985 work, it will remain in print for decades. It will define John L. Sorenson to the next generation of Book of Mormon students and scholars. Don't let the hefty price deter you. Serious students of the Book of Mormon should read this handsome book. It has thoughtful insights on nearly every page. Heavily footnoted, with an 85 page bibliography, John's careful scholarship is obvious without getting in the way of a good read.

Author of more than 200 scholarly works, John L. Sorenson is one of a handful of LDS scholars honored with a festschrift. For nearly 30 years, he and Welch built F.A.R.M.S. (Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies) into the pre-eminent Book of Mormon research organization in the Church (now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU). In 1953, Sorenson participated in the first N.W.A.F. (New World Archaeological Foundation) season of fieldwork in Tabasco and Chiapas. His experience has informed the Foundation's excellent work ever since. In 1980, Sorenson was the founding chairman of the BYU Department of Anthropology.

This is a monumental book. It will occupy a place of honor in LDS and Restoration Branch libraries for years to come.

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