John Lund

Update: On May 14, 2011, John Lund was charged by Israeli authorities for smuggling artifacts in Israel:

S. Michael Wilcox and Dr. John L. Lund were tour guides for their view of the ancient Book of Mormon lands, which is at odds with the government of the United States and is void of any fulfilled land prophecies. Nevertheless, they base the location of Zarahemla on statements of Joseph Smith:

Be confident that when you travel to Mexico, Guatemala, and Central America you are traveling in the lands where the primary American events of the Book of Mormon took place according to the Prophet Joseph Smith.


Those countries are notorious for being a plague to the United States of America. Any American tracing Book of Mormon lands outside of the government of the United States is a traitor to the New Jerusalem, which was in place before Joseph Smith.

Benson said:

God predicted through His prophets that this great Gentile nation, raised upon the American continent in these last days, would become the richest and most powerful on the face of the earth, even “above all other nations.” (See “1 Ne. 13:151 Nephi 13:15, “1 Ne. 13:3030.) IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE VANTAGE POINT OF TWO HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY THAT THIS COUNTRY (USA) TODAY HAS FULFILLED IN SOME MEASURE THAT PROPHECY.


The national celebration of our country’s two-hundredth birthday has afforded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm TO THE PEOPLE OF THIS NATION THE ORIGIN, PURPOSE, AND DESTINY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, Deseret Book, 1977, p. 153)

This nation does have a spiritual foundation—a prophetic history. EVERY TRUE LATTER-DAY SAINT SHOULD LOVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the most generous nation under heaven, THE LORD’S BASE OF OPERATIONS IN THESE LAST DAYS.

Continuing with Lund:

As the translator of the Book of Mormon and because of his several visions about the geography of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, remains the key to identifying geographical locations in the Book of Mormon.

There are two problems with this premise:

  1. Joseph did not “translate” the Book of Mormon (i.e., he may or may not have understood its meaning); he only “transmitted” the English. (Royal Skousen, et al)
  2. Ironically, Joseph’s only visions of the “geography” were associated with Zion’s Camp in ILLINOIS.

Joseph was prone to the grandiose (Banker, General, Mayor, King, Presidential candidate, 30+ wives), and the ruins in Middle America were no exception.

It is important to point out that Joseph expected to find archaeological evidence of the Book of Mormon both north and south of the Rio Grande because the Jaredites and the descendants of Father Lehi had spread from sea to sea and covered the face of the land.

Lund attributes more to Joseph than he said. Joseph did not say he expected to find evidence at those locations; in fact, he refused to state “positively” that the ruins of Quiriqua were Zarahemla. (Times and Seasons Oct. 1, 1842)


It isn’t brilliant to put select statements of Joseph ahead of his others, the Book of Mormon, and two hundred years of fulfilled prophecies to justify making a profit.


[1] Times and Seasons 3:914-195; 3:21-23; 3:927.
[2] Scholars who ascribed the September 15 and October 1, 1842, articles in the Times and Seasons to Joseph Smith, which declared the narrow neck of land to be in Central America and the city of Zarahemla in Guatemala, included Joseph Fielding Smith in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 266-67. Other scholars who supported Joseph as the author of these articles included Hugh Nibley, Sidney B. Sperry, Dan Ludlow, John A. Widstoe, B.H. Roberts, and the first four Presidents of the Church.
[3] Joseph Smith, ed., Times and Seasons (October1, 1842), 3:927. In the Sept 15, 1842, Times and Seasons, Joseph identified the “narrow neck of land” as being in Central America (Times and Seasons 3:915).
[4] Joseph Smith, ed., Times and Seasons (October 1, 1842), 3:927.

[Source: Dr. John L. Lund, Joseph Smith Identified Zarahemla As Being in Guatemala, Fun For Less Tours]