Arriving late at a venue whose existence I was unaware of until just a week ago, I joined a standing room only crowd to listen to the pioneering Book of Mormon archaeologist speak. The atmosphere at the Olivewood bookstore in Provo was electrifying for a student of all things FARMS like myself. There was nary a saccharine, fluff-filled book to be found on any of the shelves, in contrast to the typical fare offered at Deseret Book. Art depicting scenes from the Restoration riddled the walls and was a welcomed relief to the poor quality stuff I have been subjected to from a recently publicized antagonistic website. What caught my attention most was the very enticing Neil A. Maxwell Institute reading room.
Dr. Sorensen discussed his publication history on Book of Mormon topics, starting with articles for the Ensign and work on his landmark An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. He explained his main research interest was in transoceanic voyages. The aged archaeologist indicated that he had one more book left in him, a magnum opus that will be called Mormon’s Codex. In it, Dr. Sorenson will defend the thesis that the Book of Mormon had to have been written by a 4rth century author.
Then after this introduction, he engaged in a lengthy Q&A session with the assembled audience. A few highlights:
- When asked for some examples of what he considered to be a good correlation of the Book of Mormon text with antiquity, Dr. Sorenson mentioned military commanders who would call their troops “sons.”
- Dr. Sorenson shot down the expectation coins would be found in Nephite lands as the word only appears in Orson Pratt’s chapter headings.
- Dr. Sorenson explained how obsidian swords were very effective and used for a very long period of time, satisfying the Book of Mormon’s description of their use.
- Dr. Sorenson identified a well photographed and very deep lake that was reconfigured during volcanic activity. He suggested some of the ruins that are being imaged under the lake are that of the city of Jerusalem.
- Dr. Sorenson does not believe that Hagoth’s ships would have made it very far from a coastline, and hence he does not subscribe to the speculation about a Polynesian colony.
Much more was said than this and my meager reporting hardly does justice to the occasion. I met FAIR’s Tyler Livingston after Dr. Sorenson offered some concluding remarks and was pleased to find that he had recorded the event. See: