Direct quote from "Curiously Unique: Joseph Smith as Author of the Book of Mormon" by Brian C. Hales, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship 31 (2019):
The complexity of the Book of Mormon can be assessed through general observations, as well as technical measurements. The text mentions the activities of more than 175 individuals and groups who existed in at least 125 different topographical locations.
Found within the narrative are 337 proper names, of which 188 are unique to the Book of Mormon. The chapters reference more than 425 specific geographical movements.
Also included are 430 identifiable chiasms, with more than thirty being six-level or greater. Throughout the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith used more than 100 different names for deity.
Given the complexity of the 425 specific geographical movements that are in the Book of Mormon, it seems that an approach to discover the book's major city may yield a better result than trying to understand the interconnections of hundreds of geographical points.
The events of the Book of Mormon took place over about one thousand years and in an area of more than a billion acres. By far, Zarahemla is the most frequently mentioned place name in the Book of Mormon. By focusing on 7,000 acres in Lee County, Iowa, as the likely location for the Lost City of Zarahemla, the research will be confined to less than one-thousandth of a percent of the total area found within the geography of the ancient people in the Book of Mormon. Just as the city of Rome occupied a small space in the entire area of the Roman Empire, so, Zarahemla was in a little place in the total geographical area of the Book of Mormon. Also, like Rome, Zarahemla was a vital place tying together as much as one million square miles of territory. For hundreds of years, Zarahemla was the center of government, military, and trade. These facts confirm the idea that if anyone can find the location of Zarahemla, it would become an essential geographical site for the historicity of the Book of Mormon.
SENSYS Technology successfully locates roundhouses in Ohio that are 2,000 years old.
Over the last 40 years, no other person has spent as much time as Wayne May in searching for evidence of the Book of Mormon. He has traveled thousands of miles and has visited hundreds of sites. He has worked with scores of people who have an active interest in Ancient America. New technologies now allow Wayne to take his search to a new level.
SENSYS from Germany and Air Data Solutions from America have agreed to bring the best methods of modern-day science to the search for Zarahemla. These searches will be carried out from aircraft, including state-of-the-art Unmanned Aircraft Systems (commonly known as drones) and piloted airplanes equipped with ultra-high-resolution sensors including visible light, near-infrared, thermal infrared, and lasers (LiDAR) scanners. The images acquired from the air will identify an area of interest where a magnetometer will survey the area looking for featured hidden under the surface that is indicative of ancient city structures. These sensors will create billions of data points. These points are plotted on high-resolution maps generated using spatially explicit geographic information system (GIS) to derive new datasets such as 3-D models showing surface relief at two-inch resolution and changes in vegetation coloration and arrangement patterns that can be indicative of subsurface variation in soil texture, structure, density, water holding capacity, and other factors that can be used to identify historic land cover and its uses. Magnetic scanning will be used to confirm ancient human activities that are presently hidden from the human eye.
Come to the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy to meet Wayne May at the International Book of Mormon Evidence Conference from April 9th to April 11th, 2020. Wayne will have much more to say about his plans to find Zarahemla.
With German technology, it is possible to discover the Great City of Zarahemla. The plan is for SENSYS to scan 200 acres across the Mississippi River from Nauvoo. It is expected that the technology will produce digital images which will show (1) sections of a city wall from the 1st and the 4th Centuries; (2) ancient habitations which were within the limits of a wall; (3) public and ceremonial buildings which were common for a center of government; and (4) roads and other features which were connected to places where ancient people bought and sold goods. We are not looking for just a few artifacts. We intend to find the exact location of a lost city. Until recently, it would have been challenging to conduct such a search over a large area. We are looking in the ground for organized human activities from the time of the Book of Mormon.
The starting point is clear. Wayne May found it a few years ago. It comes from the physical and the chemical properties of the sand. It has extreme fineness with high compaction. The hypothesis is that 2,000 years ago, ancient people carefully placed the sand to make a foundation for a holy place near Montrose, Iowa. Nomadic people would not have made such a collection of sand.
We estimate that collecting, cleaning, moving, and placing 13,650 tons of fine sand into a pit of 130 ft x 100 ft x 21 ft would have required the organization of 250 workers for one year. These ancient workers and their families lived in a Lost City, which was near the site. We expect that that Lost City was Zarahemla.
We intend to scan hundreds, perhaps thousands, of acres close to the sandpit to find the habitations of those ancient workers and their families. We will use SENSYS technology. The same technology from Germany, which we used last year in Ohio to discover in a few hours seven roundhouses, one with a diameter of 64 feet. Until earlier this year, these roundhouses were unknown to modern man. Now, after the SENSYS scanning, they are known while still resting in the ground, unharmed, to remain as witnesses of ancient times and events.
One of the main activities of the Heartland Research Group will be the collection and analysis of data sets using the SENSYS MX-Carrier. The equipment has 16 magnetometer probes on a rack, which has a width of 12.3 feet. The daily coverage of the machine can be as high as 50 acres. In a day, it is possible to collect a half a billion individual data readings. Each reading will have GPS locations which are accurate to +/- 1/4". From these readings, it will be possible to detect the activities of ancient people who lived in the area of Zarahemla 2,000 years ago. In this first year of its operation, Heartland Research Group will have 125 billion data readings. The collection of these readings will become the most extensive database in America, describing the activities of ancient people who lived anywhere in the Heartland from 200 BC to AD 400.
During the first half of Moroni's life, he was in retreat as his people moved from Zarahemla to Cumorah. During the last half of his life, he was in hiding. Moroni certainly knew the geography of the Book of Mormon. The Angel Moroni had multiple visits with Joseph Smith, and during these visits, he told Joseph Smith about the history of his people on this continent. For eight generations, members have sung "Lo! in Cumorah's lonely hill. A sacred record lies concealed."
For the first 150 years of Church History, the Hill Cumorah in New York was such an essential part of the origin of the Book of Mormon. If or when latter-day prophets have said anything about the Hill Cumorah, they have only confirmed the original story of Joseph Smith. Was this mockery, or was this testimony? When it comes to a testimony of the Book of Mormon, let us take Moroni's original story. He was a messager sent from the presence of God. Moroni said that God had shown us to him. Moroni promised that he would be at the judgment seat of God, and we will have a chance to tell him what we think of the Book of Mormon. Let us pray that we will be humble and honest when we meet Moroni. At that time and in that place, let us refrain from telling Moroni that a North American setting for the Book of Mormon is a mockery. He will have much more to say to us. Until then, let's use the modern tools of science to help Wayne May find the lost city of Zarahemla. Wayne needs your help. Go to the donate button and make your contribution. Your small payment might help you hedge your bets. Until now, too much time and 99% of the research money have gone to Mesoamerica, giving us little or no proof for the Book of Mormon. It is now time to support Mornoni's original story and look for the City of Zarahemla in the right place.
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Located about one mile west of Mississippi River; area settled, by May 1839.1 Site for town selected by Joseh Smith, 2 July 1839, and later confirmed by revelation, Mar. 1841.2 Iowa stake of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints organized by Joseph Smith, by Oct. 1839.3 Stake name changed to Zarahemla, by Aug. 1841.4 Stake had 750 members in nine branches, Aug. 1841.5 Stake discontinued, Jan. 1842, and replaced by branch.6 While avoiding arrest in Missouri extradition attempt, Joseh Smith hid in town at home of his uncle, John Smith, 11 Aug. 1842.7 Town site absorbed by Montrose, after 1846.8
History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]
Appendix 5, Document 5. Draft Notes, December 1841
Deed to Arnold Stevens, 9 February 1844
Deed to John Smith, 23 August 1841
History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 Addenda
History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]
History, 1838–1856, volume E-1 [1 July 1843–30 April 1844]
Journal, December 1841–December 1842
Receipt to Isaac Morley, 24 August 1840–B
Receipt to Samuel Brown, 6 July 1841
Reflections and Blessings, 16 and 23 August 1842
Revelation, circa Early March 1841 [D&C 125]
The Book of the Law of the Lord
Original Joseph Smith Papers