Heartland as Hinterland: The Mesoamerican Core and North American Periphery of Book of Mormon Geography
There was a fascinating discussion over on Pathos, which I'll cover here. Dan Peterson asked about how many youth leave the Church and what can be done about it. He cited a study that, ironically, showed that LDS youth remain faithful and active through college at far higher rates than any other denomination surveyed, including Catholics, Jews and Conservative, Black, and Mainline Protestants. This seemed to have comforted most of the responders; i.e., the Church is doing pretty well, by comparison.
Contrary to the "status quo consensus," the point was raised in one comment that the Mesoamerican theory is causing many people to leave the Church, as well as deterring investigators from joining.
Most participants claimed there is no problem with the Mesoamerican theory having this impact, or that they are unaware of any such problem. That response astonishes me. Aside from my personal experience with family and friends, which admittedly is anecdotal, the blogs are replete with ridicule of the Mesoamerican theory, both from scientists and lay persons. But worse, the theory itself requires one to believe the BoM was not accurately translated, that Joseph Smith didn't know much about the Nephites, that his contemporaries (including his mother) inaccurately reported what happened, etc.
The original post:
“How many youth are we losing?”
Then Dan posted this: