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GREG - I find it interesting that the Hopewell Indians are Hebrew and that Iowa could be the real Zarahemla, since the Lord gave it that name? I am not aware of them building temples, did they? I was always under the understanding of north, central, and South America as the locations of the Book of Mormon. I was under the impression the pyramids were the temples like the ones in Egypt. How much do you know about all of this?
JOEL - This is an incredibly big subject with too much that could be said about it. Generally speaking I have to say that nobody really knows where the
events of the Book of Mormon took place; people can only make what they believe are educated guesses about it.
Some think it took place in south America, some in Mesoamerica, some in North America and some in all three as you suggest.
There have been some Hebrew-like writings found in North American Hopewell Indian mounds on things like the Decalogue stone and the Bat Creek stone.
But the events surrounding the discovery and authenticity of these artifacts are controversial. A wide consensus believes that the artifacts are either the subject of a hoax or originate from a time period that has no relation to the Hopewell.
I find the subject interesting but there is so much controversy among the proponents of all the theories I find it difficult to place much worth in any of them.
In section 125 of the D&C the Lord declares that a city near Nauvoo Illinois should be named Zarahemla. Some thought this was a revelation as to the location of this Book of Mormon city, but that's not what the scripture says.
Here is what Elder Anthony W. Ivins said about this in a General Conference talk:
"There is a great deal of talk about the geography of the Book of Mormon. Where was the land of Zarahemla? Where was the City of Zarahemla? and other geographic matters. It does not make any difference to us. There has never been anything yet set forth that definitely settles that question. So the Church says we are just waiting until we discover the truth. All kinds of theories have been advanced. I have talked with at least half a dozen men that have found the very place where the City of Zarahemla stood, and notwithstanding the fact that they profess to be Book of Mormon students, they vary a thousand miles apart in the places they have located. We do not offer any definite solution. As you study the Book of Mormon keep these things in mind and do not make definite statements concerning things that have not been proven in advance to be true" (Conference Report (April 1929), 16)
The Church's official position on this has not changed from what Elder Ivins said. We don't know exactly where it happened; only that it hapened in the western hemisphere.