American Nationalism or Exceptionalism and Book of Mormon Geography – Chris Heimerdinger

Another financially vested Mormon, whose earnings are at stake, has sought to defend the ever crumbling mountain of Mesoamerican geography theory – Chris Heimerdinger. With his cult following of Tennis Shoes books, and movie Passage to Zarahemla, Heimerdinger has tossed his hat in the fight over Book of Mormon geography. (Source)

On several occasions, Heimerdinger has spoken out. If he wanted to avoid criticism, he would do well do take a geography neutral position.

Some quotes by Heimerdinger are: 

Every story of apostacy is tragic and depressing. But the most confusing kind of apostacy is always that which is seemingly accompanied by intellectual or theological concerns. I stress the word “seemingly” for good reason, because based on my own personal experience, an individual’s lapse in faith resulting from things like Book of Mormon Geography or disagreements with the Church’s stance on gay marriage never tells the whole story of an individual’s long and slippery descent into apostacy. (Source

“Apostacy” (sic), from Mormon teachings is the best thing a Mormon could do. (Read

I am not aware of any definitive statement ever made by a Church President supporting a specific Book of Mormon geography. In fact, in-depth studies have been presented that adamantly reinforce this contention (see John E. Clark, “Book of Mormon Geography,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, pg 178.)…Joseph Smith never revealed any definitive information on such a subject.  (Source

Significant statements on Book of Mormon places have been made in: official LDS canon, church history, Book of Mormon Witnesses, prophets and apostles where Cumorah and the final battles occurred. The rest is elementary. (Read)

I fully realize there are some who still place the Nephites and Lamanites in New York or South America or even Malaysia! But few if any of these individuals are disciplined in the scientific method and nearly all are utterly naive or impervious to whatever damage, embarrassment, and confusion they cause for non-members and investigators. (Source)

True! The United States is the New Jerusalem or Zion and anyone endorsing or defending models outside of her boundaries are warned:

Wo to those who fight against Zion (2 Nephi 6:12)

11 And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.
12 And I will fortify this land against all other nations.
13 And he that fighteth against Zion (United States) shall perish, saith God.
14 For he that raiseth up a king (a government) against me (my government) shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.
16 Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God. (2 Nephi 10)

 Pity the person who endorses models in governments outside the United States, who are oblivious to the fact they are fighting against God and His Zion!

Why pursue Book of Mormon geography?

That objective seems to be “Who cares! Stop arguing! Your salvation, and the progress of the Kingdom, depends on neither of these models, and does not depend upon scientific research at all!”…We feel driven to pursue it (emphasis his) .. a THIRD contender in the debate–those who insist that ignoring the entire subject, while awaiting confirmation from the Spirit or a revelation from our beloved Prophet, are somehow superior to the rest. (Source)  

Let’s judge Heimerdinger how he judged the unnamed retired insurance salesman who was endorsing a South American model. (Revelatory Stewardship and the Book of Mormon)

1. He claimed to be “driven” by a spiritual witness. Heimerdinger admits he himself is driven (knowingly or unknowingly by some spirit).

2. Heimerdinger said this man was a fool (in so many words) for believing in inspiration beyond that of an LDS prophet and endorsed the class of believers of “only the prophet.” Heimerdinger now admits that he took a position “superior to the rest” saying “Only the Lord’s established Prophet–who today is Thomas S. Monson–has the authority and stewardship to confirm any proposed model. And as of this date he has elected not to do so.”  

A better question, to me, is to ask why the Lord has NOT revealed the answers to this subject. I think the answer to that question may be fairly simple. The Lord, in modern times, has given us incredible tools: science, computers, satellite technology, DNA research–you name it! I think He wants to see what we do with them. I suspect He deliberately gave us a puzzle to solve. How we go about solving that puzzle says a lot about the spiritual maturity of an individual, but it also says much about the spiritual health of the Lord’s Kingdom as as whole. (Ibid)

It’s simple, God will not endorse a false religion by confirming the book it purports to be based upon.

I might as well announce now that I am scheduled as one of the speakers/presenters at this year’s BMAF (Book of Mormon Archeological Foundation) Conference…with the presentation, “American Nationalism and Book of Mormon Geography,” which (I hope) will offer insight into a rather disturbing trend with some Latter-day Saints who preach that only lands inside the actual borders of the United States qualify as “Promised Land” territories of the Book of Mormon. (Source)

What is disturbing is how ignorant Heimerdinger is of Book of Mormon Land Promises! (Read) Surely after 200 years of hindsight, even Heimerdinger can figure out where those lands are located.

As mentioned on the calender of events, this weekend I will give my presentation at the Sheraton Hotel in Salt Lake City for the Book of Mormon Archeological Convention entitled, “American Exceptionalism and Book of Mormon Geography.” I’m sure I’ll post portions of the speech on my blog next week, but I would welcome anyone to come listen to the presentation as well as other great presentations by a host of accredited speakers. My hour-long presentation, I believe, begins around 11:45 AM. My subject (if the title isn’t clear) is to discuss recent trends among certain LDS “for-profit” organizations to try and mingle issues of American nationalism and nativism with tenets of Book of Mormon scholarship, which I feel is a MAJOR no-no. The Church has never defined where Book of Mormon cities and events took place. Nevertheless, some are trying to convince us that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon make these things clear, proclaiming a position that even the Lord’s prophets have never proclaimed. My objective is to take some air out of such philosophies and to remind us that all revelation is reserved solely for the President of the Church. (Source)

Perhaps Heimerdinger discovered the shallowness of his original idea of a topic. Notice that his title and emphasis has changed:

Was: “American Nationalism and Book of Mormon Geography”

Now: “American Exceptionalism and Book of Mormon Geography”

Was: “Disturbing trend..only lands inside the actual borders of the United States qualify as “Promised Land” territories of the Book of Mormon.”

Now: “Mingle issues of American nationalism and nativism with tenets of Book of Mormon scholarship.” 

Heimerdinger seems to think his niche market success makes him some sort of a watchman if not a self-appointed expert on things pertaining to the Book of Mormon. Heimerdinger would do well to: assume a geography neutral position; stop defending models in governments outside God’s Zion; and start following the doctrine in the Book of Mormon. (Read)