I asked the Lord, which of all the Book of Mormon geography models was right, and He replied, “They are all wrong, for they teach as doctrine the theories of man”:
1 There was in the Church an unusual excitement on the subject of Book of Mormon Geography. It commenced with the Mesotheorists but soon became general among all members of the Church. Indeed, the whole Church seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different factions which created no small stir and division among the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Mesoamerican model, some for the Hemispheric model, and some for the Heartland model.
2 Notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different movements expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by their respective teachers, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of geographic interest, in order to have everybody interested, “let them join whichever model they pleased” they claimed, yet when their converts began to file off, some to one and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the teachers and their adherents were more pretend than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—modeler contending against modeler, and supporter against supporter; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest of opinions.
3 Before this time of great excitement, my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, I was aloof of all these parties. In process of time, my mind became somewhat partial to the Limited Great Lake model, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great was the confusion and strife among their faction, that it was impossible for me as a person to cling to any of them.
4 Amid this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the challenge at hand, I was one day reading 2nd Nephi, chapter 10, verse 10, which said:
10 But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.
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 shall perish, saith God…for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God. (2 Nephi 10)
5 Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again, and again, knowing that if any person needed to share this message, I did.
6 At length, I came to the conclusion that I must either allow the other modelers and their adherents to remain in darkness, or I must warn them as King Benjamin said:
27 That I might be found blameless, and that your blood should not come upon me, when I shall stand to be judged of God (Mosiah 2)
7 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask God what I should do, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day. It was the first time I had made such an attempt, for amidst the anxieties I had for my brothers and sisters, I had yet to ask how I should proceed.
8 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.
9 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of the factions I might join, and to share my model with them, but I was instructed not to join with any of them, for they were all outside the boundaries of Zion.
10 I was told their models were an abomination before God, and so were those professors who seek the honors of man. (TBOMG History—1)
Truly, there are parallels between early church factions, and current Book of Mormon Geography models.