From Archaeology Magazine - December 2009.

The New World's most vivid collection of prehistoric art is on the border of Texas and Mexico, where the Pecos and Devils rivers flow into the Rio Grande. More than 300 sites in the area are decorated
with rock art that dates from 5,000 years ago to historic times. If you're going to visit only one of these sites, archaeologist Solveig Turpin suggests a trip to the rock shelter called Cedar Springs on Devils River.

The Artists: The people who created Cedar Springs worked in the Pecos River-style artistic tradition, which spread across the area some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. They used their pictographs of shamans, deities, and skeletonized animal forms to "record their concept of a supernatural universe, where magical flight, animal transformation, and communion with the spirits were not only possible but essential to their survival," says Turpin. The pictographs may also encode mythic or historical narratives.

The Site: After the Pecos River style was identified by archaeologists in the early 20th century, Cedar Springs remained relatively unknown, thanks to its isolated location along Devils River. Don't miss the site's rare depiction of a possible shaman, "a multicolored figure in profile, with power lines extending from its fingertips," says Turpin, who calls a visit to Cedar Springs a meditative experience.

Experiencing the Rock Art: Cedar Springs is on privately owned land, but it and many other sites in the area can be visited on tours offered by the Rock Art Foundation, Inc. ( and the
Shumla School ( The nearby Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site is another excellent place to explore rock art.


Joseph Smith forgot to write about the corn god in the BOM!

Oldest Maya mural uncovered

Discovered at the San Bartolo site in Guatemala, the work covers the west wall of a room attached to a pyramid.

The Associated Press Wednesday

December 14, 2005

WASHINGTON – Archaeologist William Saturno said Tuesday he was awe-struck when he uncovered a Maya mural not seen for nearly two millennia.

Discovered at the San Bartolo site in Guatemala, the mural covers the west wall of a room attached to a pyramid, Saturno said at a briefing.

In brilliant color, the mural tells the Maya story of creation, he said. Painted about 100 B.C., it was later covered when the room was filled in.

"It could have been painted yesterday," Saturno said in a briefing organized by the National Geographic Society, which will detail the find in the January issue of its magazine.

Saturno, of the University of New Hampshire, first reported discovery of the site in 2002 when he stopped to rest in the jungle, taking shelter in an old trench that turned out to be part of the ancient room.

Since then the west and north walls have been uncovered. The room's other walls had been demolished and used for fill, he said.

The mural includes four deities, all variations of the son of the corn god.

As Saturno explained it: The first deity stands in the water and offers a fish, establishing the watery underworld. The second stands on the ground and sacrifices a deer, establishing the land. The third floats in the air, offering a turkey, establishing the sky. The fourth stands in a field of flowers, the food of gods, establishing paradise.

Another section shows the corn god crowning himself king upon a wooden scaffold; the final section shows a coronation of a Maya king.

Some of the writing can be understood, Saturno said, but much of it is so old that it is hard to decipher.

Nearby, archaeologists led by Guatemalan Monica Pellecer Alecio found the oldest known Maya royal burial, from around 150 B.C. Excavating beneath a small pyramid, that team found a burial complex that included ceramic vessels and the bones of a man, with a jade plaque - the symbol of Maya royalty - on his chest.


Book of Mormon Studies Center Joins Religious Education

Laura F. Willes will lend her name to a new center for Book of Mormon studies at BYU.

By Kami Dalton
31 May 2007

BYU's Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship has received an addition to its organization.

President Cecil O. Samuelson announced the formation of the new Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies in April. The center began running immediately, according to Andrew C. Skinner, executive director of the Maxwell Institute.

Kent Brown, professor of ancient scripture, said the new center adds to similar research the Institute has been doing for years through its Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies.

"The Willes Center becomes a companion to FARMS," Brown said. "The goals are largely the same, or at least very similar."

Mark Willes, the former CEO of Times-Mirror, became interested in founding a center to help support Book of Mormon research after being called as a mission president. According to a press release, when he was called, President Gordon B. Hinckley counseled him to "just read the Book of Mormon."

According to a press release, Willes named it for his wife because she had "taught our children and our grandchildren and our missionaries to love the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon."

President Samuelson's announcement came at a luncheon attended by Mark and Laura Willes, and by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

According to a press release, Elder Oaks said "It's a remarkable combination to have the resources, the inspiration of what to do with them and the faith to do it, and that's the story of Mark and Laura Willes in bringing this Willes Center to Brigham Young University."


Archaeologists in Puerto Rico surprised by discovery of Indian artifacts

The Associated Press

October 27, 2007

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico: U.S. and Puerto Rican archaeologists say they have uncovered what they believe to be one of the most important pre-Columbian sites found in the Caribbean, containing stones etched with ancient petroglyphs and graves that reveal unusual burial methods.

The stones at the site in southern Puerto Rico form a large plaza measuring some 130 feet by 160 feet (40 meters by 50 meters) that could have been used for ball games or ceremonial rites, said Aida Belen Rivera, director of the Puerto Rican Historic Conservation office.

The petroglyphs include the carving of a human figure with masculine features and frog legs. Archaeologists believe the site might belong to the Taino and pre-Taino cultures that inhabited the island before European colonization.

The plaza could contain other artifacts dating from 600 A.D. to 1500 A.D., said Rivera, whose office is receiving general reports about the findings.

"I have visited many sites and have never seen a plaza of that magnitude and of those dimensions and with such elaborate petroglyphs," said Miguel Rodriguez, member of the government's archaeological council and director of a graduate school in Puerto Rico that specializes in history and humanities. He is not involved in the project.

Archaeologists also uncovered several graves where bodies were interred face-down with the legs bent backward at the knees — a type of burial believed to be new to the region.

The site was discovered while land was being cleared for construction of a dam to control flooding in the area. Experts have called for a halt to the excavation, saying the team's use of heavy machinery has exposed the stones and possibly destroyed important evidence.

Jose Oliver, a Latin American Archaeology lecturer at University College London, called the discovery one that archaeologists come across every 50 or 100 years — if they are lucky.

"I'm convinced that a competent investigation of that site will offer us a rare perspective of our Pre-Columbian and Pre-Colonial history," Oliver, who has overseen several high-profile digs in the U.S. Caribbean territory, said by e-mail.

But he warned that the company in charge of the site is not equipped to handle such a massive and complex job.

The lead investigator for Georgia-based New South Associates, the archaeological and historical consulting firm leading the excavation, said a backhoe that scrapes inches (centimeters) at a time did break some bones, but that the same would have occurred through manual excavation.

The company switched to slower and more detailed excavation methods about two weeks ago, after the site's significance became clear and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would preserve the site, investigator Chris Espenshade said.

Experts have suspected since 1985 that the area might yield indigenous artifacts because of its proximity to other archaeological sites.

The Tainos were a subgroup of the Arawakan Indians, native to the Caribbean islands. They migrated to the Caribbean from Mexico's Yucatan centuries before European colonizers arrived.

Four years after Columbus landed in Hispaniola in 1495, one-third of the 300,000 original Indian population was killed or exported. Half a century later, the Tainos there became extinct.


Archaeology & the Book of Mormon
Posted on Dec 12, 2007
by Mike Licona
Baptist Press
EDITORS' NOTE: The following information, adapted from the North American Mission Board's apologetics website, is the third of six parts to be carried by Baptist Press this week. The initial article appeared in Baptist Press Mon., Dec. 10.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--In the last part in this series, we saw that the Bible is reliable, being textually pure and verifiably accurate in many places. Therefore, the Mormon can have confidence that the Bible is the Word of God and that it can be accurately translated. In this chapter we will examine the Book of Mormon to see how it holds up to the historical test. The Mormons at your door will tell you that many findings within archaeology have confirmed the Book of Mormon time and time again. Is this true? What does the historical data we have tell us about the events recorded in the Book of Mormon?

1. There is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.

A. What Mormon archeologists say.

Brigham Young University (BYU) is owned by the Mormon Church and has a department of professional archeologists who are dedicated to archaeology as it pertains to the Book of Mormon. These professionals, who are practicing Mormons, are to be applauded for their honesty. What many of them have to say will be a shock to the lay Mormon who is unaware that archaeology and the Book of Mormon are at odds with one another. The lay Mormon is told by the Mormon Church that archaeology continues to confirm the Book of Mormon, while Mormon scholars, who actually study archaeology for a living, have something quite different to say.

"[It appears that the Book of Mormon] had no place in the New World whatsoever.... [It] just doesn't seem to fit anything ... in anthropology [or] history.... It seems misplaced" (endnote 20, continuing from endnote 19 in Part 2).

"The first myth that we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles on books full of archaeological half-truths, dilettante on the peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that Book of Mormon archaeology really exists" (endnote 21).

"What I would say to you is there is no archeological proof of the Book of Mormon. You can look all you want. And there's been a lot of speculation about it. There've been books written by Mormon scholars saying that 'this event took place here' or 'this event took place here.' But that's entirely speculative. There is absolutely no archeological evidence that you can tie directly to events that took place" (endnote 22).

"Now, I'm an archeologist, and I work in Mexico where some people think that the events occurred. So a lot of Mormons ask me every week if I find any evidence. And I tell them, 'No.' ... The question of how to translate what the Book says in terms of real evidence that we can grab in our hands, archeologically, is still a huge problem" (endnote 23).

Keep in mind that all of these are practicing Mormons who are professional Book of Mormon archeologists!

B. What non-Mormon archeologists say.

Earlier we read from the Smithsonian Institution's statement "The Bible as History." We saw that archaeology confirms much of the Bible and that professional archeologists use the Bible in their work. The Smithsonian also has a "STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON." This statement can be requested at the same address. Every one of the statements are damaging to the reliability of the Book of Mormon. Here is the first of eight statements: "The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book."

In 1989, Michael Ammons wrote to the National Geographic Society requesting information on the Book of Mormon and archaeology. The Society replied in a letter dated April 26, 1989:

"Neither the Society nor any other institution of equal prestige has ever used the Book of Mormon in locating archaeological sites. Although many Mormon sources claim that the Book of Mormon has been substantiated by archaeological findings, this claim has not been verified scientifically."

Also in 1989, Linda Hansen wrote to the Department of Archaeology at Boston University with a similar request. In a reply letter dated April 5, 1989, Julie Hansen of the department responded:

"The Archaeological Institute of America has never used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide in locating historic ruins on the Western Hemisphere.... Over the past 30 years The New World Archaeological Foundation, located at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has conducted numerous scientific excavations in Mesoamerica, originally with a view to confirming the claims in the Book of Mormon. They have discovered no evidence that supports the Book of Mormon in any way. Nonetheless, they have published in full detail the results of their excavations in Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, Volumes 1-55, 1959 and following.... They are accepted by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of American Archaeologists as legitimate scientific investigations and the New World Archaeological Foundation is to be commended for publishing the results of their work that essentially refutes the basic beliefs of the Mormon Church on which the Foundation is based" (endnote 24).

Therefore, there is a consensus from professional archaeologists, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, that there is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.

2. The lack of archaeological evidence is sometimes damaging.

A) The Book of Mormon claims that the ancient inhabitants spoke and wrote in "Reformed Egyptian" and Hebrew (endnote 25). If this were the case, we would expect to find artifacts with writings in these languages. However, the Smithsonian's eighth statement regarding the Book of Mormon says:

"Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland."

B) The Book of Mormon states that the two peoples mentioned (Nephites and Lamanites) had Jewish beliefs that became Christian when the resurrected Christ appeared to them. However, there is no evidence that the ancient inhabitants in the Americas had either Jewish or Christian beliefs.

C) Hill Cumorah is located in New York, southeast of Rochester. Joseph Smith claimed that when Moroni appeared to him, he was told that Moroni's father, Mormon, buried the gold plates upon which the Book of Mormon was based on the hill Cumorah just before the great final battle there (Mormon 6:6). In the Pearl of Great Price, Smith writes that the day after his second vision, he went to a large hill outside of the village where his family lived (the hill Cumorah) and found the gold plates (endnote 26). This identifies the hill where Smith dug up the plates as the same hill where Mormon buried them and where the great battle took place. In Mormon 6:10-15, it is claimed that hundreds of thousands of people were killed on or near the hill Cumorah during that final battle. It says that "their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth" (Mormon 6:15). In other words, their bodies were left there, unburied.

To help you understand the magnitude of casualties at hill Cumorah, let us consider another major battle. During the Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War, 55,000 soldiers were wounded, including 6,000 of them killed on the battlefield and 4,000 more whose wounds were mortal. Eyewitnesses said that there was so much blood from the dead and injured that there were parts of the battlefield that seemed like streams of blood. So many men and horses died that all could not be buried at once and many corpses were left on the battlefield until a few days later when others were hired to do the task.

If 6,000 men died on the battlefield at Gettysburg, what would a battlefield look like with hundreds of thousands dead? Since they were left unburied at hill Cumorah, wouldn't there be some artifacts made of metal and stone? Bullets by the thousands are found at Gettysburg. Nothing, however, has been found at hill Cumorah.

University of Rochester paleontologist and stratigrapher Carl Brett has worked in the Palmyra, N.Y, area where hill Cumorah is located and is familiar with the hill and its geologic conditions. He says that if hundreds of thousands were slaughtered at the hill and not buried, there would still be skeletal remains on the surface today, even after 1,600 years. Scavengers and weather conditions would account for why much is gone, but there would still be quite enough left to look at. Metallic artifacts from weapons and armor would also be easily found (endnote 27). But nothing has ever been found at hill Cumorah.

3. Attempts by Mormons to answer the archeological problem fail.

During a series of conversations I once had with a Mormon friend and some Mormon missionaries, I turned to them in the first meeting and said that one objection I had to Mormonism was that there is no archaeological evidence to support the stories in the Book of Mormon. One of the missionaries smiled confidently and claimed there was a lot of evidence from archaeology to support the historical truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I asked him to show me some. He said he did not have any information with him but would bring some to our next meeting. He did. Needless to say he was shocked when I quoted the Mormon scholars below who refuted the very materials he had in hand!

"Few of the writings they have produced are of genuine consequence in archaeological terms. Some are clearly on the oddball fringe; others have credible qualifications. Two of the most prolific are Professor Hugh Nibley and Milton R. Hunter; however, they are not qualified to handle the archaeological materials their works often involve" (endnote 28).

"Those volumes which most flagrantly ignore time and space and most radically distort, misinterpret, or ignore portions of the archaeological evidence are the popular Farnsworth volumes. Also inadequate, from a professional archaeologist's point of view, are the well intentioned volumes by Milton R. Hunter and a number of smaller pamphlets and works by various authors.... New World Old World comparisons have been less popular but fraught with problems. The best known examples are the two volumes by Nibley which suffer from an overdose of Old Worlditis.... He does not know New World culture history well, and his writing ignores the considerable indigenous elements in favor of exclusively Old World patterns" (endnote 29).

"In situations where sources of religious and secular authority conflict with each other, a Latter-day Saint sometimes finds himself in a quandary. He has been assured by a folklore transmitted in lessons, talks and church literature that archaeologists (usually Gentiles) are steadily proving the Book of Mormon authentic, while through his formal education and secular literature he has become aware that in actuality the experts seem to contradict the scripture" (endnote 30).

"Science does not arrive at its conclusions by syllogism, and no people on earth deplore proof demonstration by syllogism more loudly than real archaeologists do. Yet, Mr. Jakeman's study is nothing but an elaborate syllogistic stew. The only clear and positive thing about the whole study is the objective the author is determined to reach" (endnote 31).

Again, every one of the above are practicing Mormons. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, BYU is owned by the Mormon Church and has a department dedicated to Book of Mormon archaeology. According to BYU anthropologist John Clark, virtually all of the professional archaeologists there admit that archaeological finds which specifically tie the past to events in the Book of Mormon are missing. These practicing Mormons call books and their authors that list sensational findings not qualified, inadequate, and speculative.

Some Mormons will respond that these archeologists do not represent the official church position, so their opinions are not credible. But why trivialize and dismiss the findings of the overwhelming consensus of practicing Mormons who are professional archaeologists, yet accept, without question, the official Mormon Church position? Could it be that the ground's silence is indicative of a Mormon Church position that is false? After all, if it is false, silence from archaeology is precisely what we might expect to find.

It is fair to mention that professional Mormon archaeologists claim there is general confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology, citing peoples existing where it is thought Book of Mormon peoples may have existed. This general confirmation, however, does not show that the Mormon picture of history is true. These same archaeologists (Johnson, Clark) admit that conclusions regarding the findings are pure speculation. The issue is not, "Did people exist in the Americas between 600 B.C. through A.D. 400?" We know that they did. The issue is, "Can we identify these civilizations as the ones mentioned in the Book of Mormon?" And the answer from virtually all professional Mormon and non-Mormon archaeologists alike is no.

In the last part of this series we saw that the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in our possession today allow us to have an accurate translation of the Bible. Therefore, even by Mormon standards, we can be confident that we have the Word of God. We also saw that secular history has attested to the accuracy of the Bible so that we can know with certainty that many of the events recorded in it took place. Unfortunately, the Mormon cannot have this same confidence when it comes to the Book of Mormon. Archaeology and secular history are silent when asked if the events took place. Not only is this silence disturbing to professional Mormon archaeologists, but it is evidence against Mormonism when no artifacts turn up in areas which should be abundant with relics such as the hill Cumorah. However, as damaging as these may be, Mormonism's greatest challenge concerns another one of their scriptures, the Book of Abraham, which will be the subject of the next part in this series.
Mike Licona is the director of apologetics & interfaith evangelism at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.


20 Dr. Ray Metheny, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. Address at the Sixth Annual Sunstone Theological Symposium, Salt Lake City, 8/25/84.

21 Dr. Dee Green, Former Editor of the University Archaeological Society Newsletter "Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives," in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), pp. 77-78.

22 Dr. David Johnson, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. In a personal telephone conversation, 7/23/97.

23 Dr. John Clark, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. In a personal telephone conversation, 7/25/97.

24 Copies of the reply letters from the National Geographic Society and Boston University were provided by Jim and Judy Robertson of Concerned Christians.

25 Mosiah 1:4; Mormon 9:32-33. Also see Joseph Smith. History 1:64.

26 Joseph Smith. History, verses 51-52. Hill Cumorah is located in Manchester, N.Y., about 25 miles east of Rochester. Smith lived in Palmyra, about five miles away from the hill.

27 A personal telephone conversation on September 8, 1997.

28 John L. Sorenson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Sociology, BYU. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 1, No. 1 (Spring 1966), pp. 145-246.

29 Dee Green, General Officer, Univ. Archaeological Society. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), p. 74.

30 John L. Sorenson, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), p. 81.

31 Dr. Hugh Nibley, quoted by Dee Green. Book of Mormon Archaeology, p. 75.

Mormon Researchers are Proud of Their Bias

Raiders of the lost Book of Mormon DNA

By Michael De Groote writer

Published: Friday, May 30, 2008

"And 'X' never, ever, marks the spot." — Indiana Jones

Rod Meldrum is like a latter-day Indiana Jones — except he doesn't look the part at all. He is tall, in his 40s, and has a mustache more reminiscent of David Niven than Harrison Ford. And unlike Indy's adventures in the spider web-infested caves of Peru, Meldrum explores the mysteries of DNA, the Book of Mormon and geography in peer-reviewed journals and on scientific search engines.

If he is right, most theories about where the Book of Mormon took place are off by about 2000 miles.

Meldrum saw an anti-Mormon banner at a 2003 church general conference that declared: "DNA Evidence Proves Book of Mormon Wrong!" The critics claimed the Book of Mormon says American Indians were only descended from migrations from the Middle East. They then argued DNA studies showed American Indians have only Asian DNA markers.

This didn't bother Meldrum. As early as the 1920s, LDS scholars had recognized that the Book of Mormon not only allowed for but also gave strong hints that the Americas were populated long before the Book of Mormon prophet Lehi led his people from Jerusalem to the Americas by boat in 600 B.C.

What troubled Meldrum was that most of the responses from the LDS community were highly technical explanations why no DNA related to Book of Mormon people had yet been found. The thrust of these arguments is twofold: First, the DNA makeup of the various Book of Mormon peoples is unknown. Second, these groups were small enough that it is possible that the larger existing populations could have diluted their distinctive DNA out of existence. The chance of finding any Book of Mormon DNA may be unlikely. Lehi's DNA might be lost to time.

Meldrum accepted this as a possibility. But he wasn't satisfied.

His career as a salesman, marketer and president and CEO of a factory and wholesale company taught him how to look for solutions. His work at AnQuest, Inc., a company working on a natural sciences textbook, taught him how to use scientific publications and specialized search engines.

Even though he was not a geneticist, he was determined to find evidence.

"I went into this research with a huge bias," (That’s the problem) Meldrum said. "I already knew the answers. Because, you see, I know from a personal, spiritual standpoint that the Book of Mormon is a true document -- that it is a literal history."

As Meldrum explains it, there are only a few major population groups: African, European and Asian. These are the largest categories and each has specific DNA markers. People from the lands surrounding Jerusalem would be broadly categorized as European.

Critics of the Book of Mormon tout DNA studies that concluded that American Indians belong to the Asian group. These studies use more precise categories of DNA markers called haplogroups; the American Indians usually have some combination of DNA from haplogroups called A, B, C or D. There is no room in the critics' story for American Indian DNA to come from any other source than Asia.

Meldrum, however, was intrigued by recent studies that showed another haplogroup appearing in American Indian populations. This haplogroup is identified by the letter "X." The curious thing for researchers is that X is one of several known European haplogroups. It is not Asian.

Although the studies are still preliminary and the exact source of the X haplogroup hasn't yet been determined, Meldrum became excited. If X was European that meant it was also possible it came from ancient Jerusalem -- just as the Book of Mormon recounts.

There are, however, three problems with connecting the American Indian X with the Book of Mormon.

First is that a few studies found X markers in Asia. In fact, some critics of the Book of Mormon told Meldrum this proved that X came from Asia just like the A, B, C and D haplogroups. Meldrum responded by referring the critics to the text of those studies that concluded that the Asian X is not the same as the X found in the Americas.

The second problem is that DNA timelines didn't match up with Book of Mormon chronology. Meldrum explained that standard DNA chronology is based on projected rates of mutations in specific areas of the DNA. He parts from geneticists because he doesn't believe mutations are predictable enough to calibrate the "DNA clock" accurately. He believes the DNA clock is just too uncertain at this point to discount the possibility of X coming from Book of Mormon time periods.

The third problem is the distribution of X among American Indian tribes. Meldrum knows most LDS scholars think the events of the Book of Mormon took place in a limited area in Central America. Common conceptions among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including artists from Arnold Friberg to Walter Rane, imagine the events of the Book of Mormon in a lush tropical environment.

"I was fully expecting to find this European DNA amongst the Mayan people," Meldrum said.

Although there are some traces of the X haplogroup in Brazil, Meldrum found no traces of X in Mayan populations. Instead, he found that the highest concentrations of X were in North America -- particularly around the Great Lakes region.

Meldrum knew the DNA evidence was preliminary, but he began to wonder if it was leading him to a startling conclusion: If the highest concentrations of European DNA were in the Great Lakes region, could it be that some of the events of the Book of Mormon took place in that area as well?

Instead of waiting until more certain DNA evidence presented itself, Meldrum began to expand his research. As he describes it on his Web Site,, he looked at "prophetic, scriptural, historical, climatological, archaeological, social and cultural evidences." He needed to know whether it was possible if the DNA was pointing to a whole new way of thinking about Book of Mormon geography.

He needed to know if X marked the spot.

 Mormon Researchers Should Not be Trusted Due to Their Bias