In another thread, one poster wrote:
If you don’t agree with me on Cumorah being our best strating point, I would be very open to hearing what you consider to be the best piece of evidence or the best witness to call upon as the most solid to date.
To which I responded:
In my opinion, it is a huge problem to start with ANY physical location. You’re already making assumptions, no matter how hard we try.
First, you need an internal map and geography. Only when you can say that you’ve got the Book of Mormon text figured out, can we start looking for physical locations.
So, I would say–pick a theoretical geography, and start from there. You can build your own, but since Sorenson has done the most work, I don’t understand why people don’t cheat and start with his. Explain what he gets wrong, and why. Then modify his map. Repeat.
Once that’s done, then one can start to think about placing that map with real-world correlates.
Heck, just go ahead and read everything Clark has written, because he’s given more serious thought to the issues (even if you don’t agree with him) than most people who’ve written on the topic. See here. His are the sorts of issue any competent theory will have to address.
There’s lots of geography refs at the FAIR wiki here, including a long list of statements from various Church leaders and publications. It is by no means complete–it has been basically done in a “Hey, I stumbled onto a quote, I’m gonna note it” sort of a way. I recently noted that even some well-known statements were missing, as I worked with this data a little more. They’ve been added, but I have more in hard copy to add when I get time.
So if you can post sources with as much bibliographic info as possible, I’ll add them as I see new stuff show up and can confirm it. (This is called getting others to do my work for me!)
Since long threads get unwieldy with two many separate threads of conversation, I’ve started this thread for those interested in discussing geographic issues in a general, theoretical sense (which does not, of course, preclude real-world hypotheses).
With any luck, some experts in the field will show up.