Mormon’s Codex: An Ancient Mesoamerican Book
John Sorenson. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 2013. Hardbound, 6×9″, 880 pages.
Leading scholar and author John L. Sorenson brilliantly synthesizes in this volume his work from 60 years of academic study of ancient Mesoamerica and its relationship to the Book of Mormon.
Here Sorenson reveals that the Book of Mormon exhibits what one would expect of a historical document produced in the context of ancient Mesoamerican civilization. He also shows that scholars’ discoveries about Mesoamerica and the contents of the Nephite record are clearly related. Indeed, Sorenson lists more than 400 points where the Book of Mormon text corresponds to characteristic Mesoamerican situations, statements, allusions, and history.
Are we to simply suppose that mere coincidence can account for similarities of this magnitude? The parallels are too striking and too sweeping to answer in the affirmative. Even the greatest savant of the early 19th century—let alone a marginally literate frontier farm boy—could not possibly have produced a volume as rich in Mesoamericana as the Book of Mormon.
The only format in which a record such as the Book of Mormon could have been preserved is that of a native Mesoamerican book, referred to by scholars as a codex. According to the record itself, the text was compiled by a man named Mormon, who lived in the Mesoamerican isthmus area in the late fourth century. Mormon passed the record to his son Moroni, who survived him by more than 35 years and made modest additions to the text.
A significant contribution to the fields of Book of Mormon studies and Mesoamerican studies, Mormon’s Codex is John Sorenson’s magnum opus. It contains copious explanatory material, extensive footnotes, over 1,300 bibliographical references, illustrations, an appendix, and detailed maps. This long-awaited volume will appeal to informed general readers, archaeologists, and scholars alike
Mormon’s Codex is the culmination of a lifetime’s labor by Mormonism’s preeminent Mesoamerican specialist. Since 1949 John Sorenson has been collecting archaeological and anthropological evidence to show that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from a native Mesoamerican codex, or book. Now, having assembled a mountain of evidence, he boldly challenges scholars to take the Book of Mormon seriously as a priceless source of information about Mesoamerican history and culture. —Richard Lyman Bushman
Mormon’s Codex will immediately serve as the high-water mark of scholarship on the Book of Mormon. —Terryl L. Givens
For decades, John Sorenson has been among the foremost students of the Book of Mormon, and the principal advocate for a limited Mesoamerican geography. I vividly remember the excitement of readingAn Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon back in 1985. Now, in Mormon’s Codex, we have the rich results of nearly 30 years of additional study. I have eagerly anticipated this book. —Daniel C. Peterson