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Did Nephi Land near the Andes Mountains?

It’s been a fun interview with George Potter, and it’s been fun learning more about the Frankincense trail that Lehi likely followed in the Middle East.  In our next conversation, I’ll ask George where he thinks Lehi and Nephi landed after they left the Frankincense Trail?  George thinks it was probably the Andes Mountains in South America.

George:  My theory is that the Book of Mormon took place in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, parts of Chile.  Why?  I was a missionary in Bolivia and Peru, so naturally that’s where it took place.

When the Spanish got to Peru, they looked at alpaca, they said these sheep are beautiful.  The wool is better than our sheep, they taste better than our sheep.  They had no idea that the alpaca is actually a cameloid.  What did the Incas think of the horses?  They are big alpacas.  What would Nephi have called an alpaca?  He probably would have called an alpaca or a llama a horse.

Anything with a tooth was described as an elephant by the Greeks.  That was the language by Nephi’s time.  Nephi never saw an elephant.  But there are boars in America that had tusks, and anything with a tusk was an elephant.

The Book of Mormon describes the fact that they went into the wilderness and found gold, and silver, and copper in abundance. For heavens’ sake, in Potosi, Bolivia they have taken enough silver to make a rod all the way from Potosi to Spain and back.  I mean when the Spanish got there, they went to the homes of the poor people and there is just gold sitting there.

What does George think of the Mesoamerican model?

But actually, if you look at the archaeology that’s been discovered in the last 15 years, there were civilizations that took place in the Andes Mountains that had most of the attributes of the Book of Mormon in them in the Book of Mormon times.  If you go north of Panama in Book of Mormon times, there is nothing that resembled the Jaredites.

The Maya ruins, most of those classic ruins took place well after the Book of Mormon.  They Book of Mormon was written on golden plates.  There is no gold north of Panama in the Americas before 700-800 A.D.  There were no sheep, no horses, no animals you could refer to as the animal in the Book of Mormon described by Nephi.

Check out our conversation…..


Andes Mountains of South America
George Potter thinks the Nephites settled in the Andes Mountains of South America


5 thoughts on “Did Nephi Land near the Andes Mountains?

  1. I just discovered your site, & enjoy your fun ways to present your thoughts, so, thanks !
    I’ve looked at some YouTube videos by latter-day saints, who research & share their beliefs of various locations alluded to in the Book of Mormon. Recently, I recalled having read a statement by Joseph Smith about the place where Lehi first landed. I just found that statement. It is in the first full paragraph of page 267 of “Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith” compilation by Joseph Fielding Smith. The pertinent portion reads “Lehi went down by the Red Sea to the great Southern Ocean, and crossed over to this land, and landed a little south of the Isthmus of Darien”. The Wikipedia article, “Isthmus of Panama” indicates that “Isthmus of Darien” is another name for what we now call Panama.
    What do you think?

  2. Thanks Steve! Yes I am familiar with that quote. John Sorensen references many of the quotes and notes that clearly Joseph Smith believed in a hemispheric model for the Book of Mormon. John basically makes the case that Joseph really didn’t know and was guessing. Joseph also made a statement about Lehi in South America. Sorenson makes the case that, while what people like Joseph Smith said is nice to know, what really matters is the science. What is the best case?

    That said, I think all of the theories have flaws, but I really enjoy studying them. I hope to talk to Sorenson, Meldrum, and many others. I don’t know if you saw my Baja stuff, but that’s interesting too. See

  3. Just found this site! I love it! I hope you have George Potter on again!

  4. Here is a Study Guide to the Andes mode with the Amazon basin under water before Christl:

  5. One should also know that the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon in 1830 told a local newspaper that the Lehites landed on the coast of Chile. So this understanding was in the church from the very beginning.

    “This new Revelation, they [the three Witnesses] say is especially designed for the benefit, or rather for the christianizing of the Aborigines of America; who, as they affirm, are a part of the tribe of Manasseh, and whose ancestors LANDED ON THE COAST OF CHILI 600 years before the coming of Christ, and from them descended all the Indians of America.”

    Here is a link to the text of that newspaper. To find the quote, search for the word “Chili” and not Chile.

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