I went to LDS sacrament meeting today. The first speaker was a Peruvian with a heavy accent. I’m not sure I totally understood his message, but I think he believes that the Inca archaeological ruins in his native Peru testify to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.
After the meeting, I briefly talked to him. Our NGO “Playgrounds Everywhere” has a presence in the Cusco/Sacred Valley region of Peru, and I wanted to talk to him about Cusco and our organization. He wanted to talk to me about BoM archaeology. He had an old BoM that was illustrated with photographs of ancient American ruins. He showed me several of the photographs, one of an alleged baptismal font. He has a brother who is a BoM tour guide in Cusco.
The Church has backed off it’s claim that the BoM is a history of all the Native Americans (hemispheric model). Now, it is promoted as a history of some, with BYU staff concentrating on Central America (limited geography model). But with the bad news on DNA and other fronts, some members are starting to consider the possibility that the BoM is “inspired fiction.” All this said, there doesn’t seem to be any strong opinion among LDS experts that the BoM is a literal history of anything Inca. The geography doesn’t work.
Our sacrament meeting speaker seemed very sincere. And in the past, Church leaders have almost endorsed his stated belief. However, those days are over. Church leaders need to forthrightly discourage or stop this line of thinking. Otherwise, some members are headed for a rough fall.
Postscript: On 29 Jan 2019, the Church offered the following statement:
The Church takes no position on the specific geographic location of Book of Mormon events in the ancient Americas. Church members are asked not to teach theories about Book of Mormon geography in Church settings but to focus instead on the Book of Mormon’s teachings and testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel.
So, there is an ongoing effort to correct the problem. The subject is further discussed on wheatsandtares.com.