Sacred Geography (not to be confused with Sacred Geometry) is about the field of Geography as it pertains to sacred and holy lands. The Bible contains many examples of lands that were consecrated by God for special use and/or purpose, and any place that God visited is considered sacred.
Consider the first account of God speaking to Moses:
5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for THE PLACE whereon thou standest IS HOLY GROUND. (Exodus 3; see also Acts 7:33)
The physical place that God visited and spoke to Moses became sacred. The same is said of each spot where the Ark of the Covenant was placed:
11 And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because THE PLACES ARE HOLY, whereunto the ARK OF THE LORD HATH COME. (2 Chronicles 8)
Not only did God designate a people to be His “holy” people (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Israelites), but their lands were also considered sacred, which were appointed by God:
7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give THIS LAND (Genesis 12)
13 And of Joseph he said, BLESSED of the LORD be HIS LAND… (Deuteronomy 33)
33 Then will the Father gather them together again, and GIVE UNTO THEM Jerusalem for the LAND OF THEIR INHERITANCE. (3 Nephi 20)
12 And the LORD shall inherit Judah HIS PORTION IN THE HOLY LAND, and shall choose Jerusalem again. (Zechariah 2)
No ancient or modern Israelite would ever think to whitewash or dilute the strict meaning of their lands of promise. Boundaries were set not only for their overall areas, but distinct boundaries were set for each of the tribes of Israel. Again, no ancient or modern Israelite would ever think to whitewash or dilute the strict meaning of their land promises.
When it comes to Book of Mormon peoples and their lands, they too were given clear, distinct promises:
20 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a LAND of PROMISE; yea, even a LAND WHICH I HAVE PREPARED for you; yea, a LAND WHICH IS CHOICE above ALL OTHER LANDS. (1 Nephi 2)
There were distinct land boundaries that separated the “land which is choice” from “all other lands.”
Many people take a yearly pilgrimage to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem; to them, it is the holiest and most sacred place on earth. What made it that way? Not only was a special designation and promises placed upon it by God, but it is the place where God came.
We have similar parallels with the Book of Mormon. As an angel told Nephi, they would inherit particular lands with very particular promises, and like the Israelites, if they chose not to follow God, cursings would come upon their lands:
2 Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the holy places, and prophesy against the LAND OF ISRAEL, (Ezekiel 21)
9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of THIS LAND; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess THIS LAND unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they SHALL BE BLESSED upon the face of THIS LAND, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to TAKE AWAY the LAND OF THEIR INHERITANCE; and they shall dwell safely forever.
10 But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into THIS precious LAND OF PROMISE—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them.
11 Yea, he will bring other nations UNTO THEM, and he will give unto them power, and he will TAKE AWAY from them THE LANDS OF THEIR POSSESSIONS, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten. (2 Nephi 1)
Cursings did come upon both the people and their lands, and they were either destroyed, led away, or scattered.
Because of God’s mercy, He promised to one day restore a remnant to each of these lands and restore to them those ancient promises. Thus, any lands that have promises tied to them are sacred and are very important to God. It is an insult to God when someone claims His sacred lands are in a place other than where they were (e.g., true Temple Mount location, true Book of Mormon location).
It is sad to report that some LDS modelers have thrown their hat in the ring of both fields of study and have wrongly identified both of them and are leading people astray, causing confusion, and working against both of God’s Zions.
Within the field of Book of Mormon Geography alone, the sacred nature of BoM lands is yet to be recognized, correctly traced, identified, and respected; modelers are actively working against God and Zion.
In the field of Book of Mormon Geography, we have a sub-group of theorists (many from the field of academia and BYU) who vigorously espouse a far distant land for where Book of Mormon events took place. For them, it isn’t odd that such sacred locations as to where the following events occurred have no relation to Book of Mormon lands:
- God the Father and Son appeared to Joseph Smith
- Angels appeared to Joseph Smith
- The gold plates were buried
- The gold plates were recovered
- Book of Mormon witnesses saw an angel and heard the voice of God
The evidence is staring them in the face that Book of Mormon promised lands are RIGHT THERE in western New York, not far away. God promised the following:
- He would lead a Gentile to Book of Mormon lands
- A Gentile would bring forth the sacred Book of Mormon on sacred Book of Mormon lands
- The Book of Mormon would be taken to a remnant of Book of Mormon people
- Jesus would visit people, on Book of Mormon lands, in modern time
- The Book of Mormon would be preached on the same lands that Jesus visited after His resurrection
There are many holy places on sacred Book of Mormon lands that other modelers cannot account for and thus ignore:
- Where was the land split at the coming of Jesus?
- What is the evidence for it that should remain today?
- Where did Jesus minister to the people?
- Can His presence still be felt there today?
Are Mormons traveling to that most holy place in America on an annual pilgrimage like those who travel to Temple Mount in Jerusalem? Yes and no. Yes, the Hill Cumorah in Palmyra, NY is part of true Book of Mormon lands and yes, the annual pageant was their only pilgrimage, but no, they did not understand they were standing on sacred, ancient, Book of Mormon lands.
The backdrop and costumes used at the annual Hill Cumorah Pageants were reminiscent of Mesoamerica with stone temples and such. According to the best minds of academia at BYU, this is not where Book of Mormon events took place. Why the Church did not foster pilgrimages to the lands in Mesoamerica that they believed to be true sacred Book of Mormon lands where Jesus visited is a good question.
Answer: no two professors could agree on the exact location of where Book of Mormon events took place. Early statements by Joseph, other Church leaders, and Book of Mormon witnesses placed Book of Mormon events in Palmyra, NY, and the immediate surrounding areas.
No one should be trying to locate Book of Mormon lands by the Church historical sites outside of the boundaries of Colonial America because they are not sacred lands. Everything Joseph did after starting his church was not of God, all of his later acts are not considered holy, and the location of said acts not sacred, i.e., not the Kirtland Temple, not the Nauvoo Temple, and not Independence or Far West.
Thus, Wayne May’s attempt (including Rodney Meldrum and others) to claim the Mound Builders as Nephites on Book of Mormon lands is false. Their efforts to use church history as a template for locating ancient Book of Mormon lands are also wrong. They are praising the works of a “fallen prophet,” which is what David Whitmer said Joseph was. They like to quote David Whitmer for his statements about the plates and their location but completely ignore his statement that God told him to separate from the Mormons because Joseph had fallen.
These are the facts:
- The American New Jerusalem would be established prior to the Book of Mormon coming forth
- Joseph’s “New Jerusalem” has no relation to the one prophesied of in the Book of Mormon
- Book of Mormon lands were small, only 1.5 days wide (50 miles)
- Book of Mormon lands were immediately bounded by “seas” (fresh water) on the east and west
- Jaredite lands were bordered on the north and south by seas (fresh water)
- The “Great Deep” which they crossed did not border Book of Mormon lands and was never referred to again
- Book of Mormon lands were “hidden” and could only be located by the inspiration of God (Liahona or other)
- No one happened to come upon Book of Mormon lands
- The Gentiles who fled their mother countries to come to Book of Mormon lands came to Colonial America
- The War of 1812 between the colonies and their mother country was fought in and around western New York
- The Smith’s were led to ancient Book of Mormon lands rather than an angel taking the plates to where the Smith family was in Vermont
- God and Jesus visited Joseph on Book of Mormon lands
- Angels visited Joseph on Book of Mormon lands
- The plates were buried on Book of Mormon lands
- The record came forth on Book of Mormon lands
- The Book of Mormon first went to tribes in western New York, who were on Book of Mormon lands
- The Book of Mormon was first preached on Book of Mormon lands
All those above events were in fulfillment of ancient prophecies that could only be fulfilled on Book of Mormon lands!
- The greatest nation on the earth is the government of the United States of America with its inspired Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights
Each prophecy and its associated Book of Mormon lands are identified on this website. It is a terrible thing to go against God’s true Zion and the sacred lands/geography of the Book of Mormon.