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Ah Zelph... I'm not sure that it doesn't fit in with the limited geography. The problem is that even limited geography proponents don't assert that early Mormons believed the limited geography. Further "lamanite" clearly was used as a synonym for Indian, so the term doesn't necessarily mean much.

I'd add that Woodruff adds the modifying "probably" when tying the artifacts that prompted the vision to the Lamanites and Nephites.

I've heard speculations that Zelph was a "post-Book of Mormon Lamanite": that he lived long after the events in the Book of Mormon, after the Lamanites had dispersed from the limited area of the Book of Mormon events. Of course, the idea of a "great prophet" doesn't seem to fit with the idea of total apostasy at the end of the Book of Mormon.

The main problem with the LGT in the HC quote above is that Joseph Smith identified the Book of Mormon's Hill Cumorah with the one in New York (eastern sea), and implicitly extends the Book of Mormon lands westward to the Rockies, at least. And as Brent Metcalfe points out, this is the sort of thing LGT advocates have to account for, particularly since the details about Zelph were reportedly received by revelation.

It seems to me that fallibility of prophets is sufficient to account for this, but whether one prefers that level of fallibility over the hypothesis that a naïve Joseph Smith's imagination of North and South America was not "to scale" when he wrote the Book of Mormon seems mostly a matter of faith.

I have, somewhere in my files, a FARMS report on the whole Zelph story, tracing it back to the earliest diaries which formed the basis of the ghostwritten HC account, as well as comparing to other contemporary diaries. A lot of the problem bits -- the Rocky Mountains, the "Great and Last Battle," etc., are later interpolations, strengthening the proposition that Zelph could easily have been a post-BoM Lamanite.

I'd never heard of Zelph since I have not done much research into church history outside of what I learned in seminary (not much at 6 am). Having read the FARMS article it sounds like Zelph is an interesting tale from our history which should not be used to substantiate or disprove theories. Since we only have differing acounts written by witnesses instead of the prophet himself and the important details are missing, the details which could validate one theory over another.

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