Salt Fake Tribune Religion Reporter Tamarra Kemsley authored the smear piece titled
“Who are the Heartlanders and why do they insist the Book of Mormon took place in the U.S.?” In it Kemsley skews the narrative of the Heartland Model, then goes on to cite how academics are appalled, Native Americans are offended, and of course the the leftist hate rag can't report on anything without "orange man bad" and "white supremacy"
Why target this group? Because they are religious and don't subscribe to the monopoly of academic rigidity. Simply put they aren’t actively engaged in the neo Marxist agenda put forth by the leftist literati attempting to shape the narrative in the Jello belt.
Rather than honestly articulate who they are and what they believe. Kemsley goes to great lengths to smear them as ignorant, conspiratorial, anti-vaxxer racists. The Salt Fake Tribune considers anyone that doesn't force vaccinations at gunpoint to be anti-vaxxers so…yeah. Kemsley cherry picks the most obnoxious narratives on Book of Mormon critics then blends it with LDS critics of the model. This shapes a rancid narrative to fit the worldview of the average low information Salt Fake Tribune reader.
This shouldn't be surprising to anyone given Kemsley’s background. A degree from BYU in journalism. BYU is populated with academics who are very aggressive in trying to shoehorn the events of the Book of Mormon into the Yucatan.
I recently met with a friend who had participated in some activities with Book of Mormon Central, a group dedicated to explaining the Book of Mormon in the Yucatan. He explained how frustrated the group was with the Heartlanders. They are a problem for Book of Mormon Central. Heartlanders actively challenge their apologetic model. An activity they usually try to associate with anti Mormons. It gets worse for Book of Mormon Central as the Heartlanders are able to draw parallels between the Hopewell and the Nephites without the abstractions and apologetic gymnastics that academics have spent decades building. Anyone coming out of BYU is likely going to be marinating in these academic constructs that fail so miserably.
Kemsley attributes the founding of the Heartland model to Wayne May. In part this is true, but the real originator of this model as Wayne May points out is Joseph Smith. Since publication of the Book of Mormon the Lamanites have been identified as Native Americans in North America. It's more than tradition, it's straight from Joseph Smith and straight from the scriptures. This is important because it highlights the bigotry on display at the Salt Fake Tribune. If this offends you, it's not the Heartlanders, it's Restoration Christianity and the 83+ religions that credit Joseph Smith as being their founder and have the Book of Mormon in their sacred texts.
However she makes the claim "although he (Joseph Smith) later expanded that definition to include the inhabitants of Mesoamerica" this is disputed. She doesn't source this assertion (like the majority of assertions coming out of the Salt Fake Tribune). It's generally attributed to articles in the Times and Seasons when Joseph Smith was listed as the editor, but there's nothing to indicate it came from Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith even took action against those in the paper when that was published. These types of assertions are common in the Salt Fake Tribune are indicative of the garbage and slanderous hate machine that it is.
“plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient Prophets that had existed on this continent.”
Joseph Smith - The Wentworth letter
It's in scripture of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. When Christ reveals to Joseph Smith to go and preach among the Nephites Oliver Cowdery doesn't go to Central America. He goes to North American Indian tribes.
2 And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.
3 And Ziba Peterson also shall go with them; and I myself will go with them and be in their midst; and I am their advocate with the Father, and nothing shall prevail against them
Doctrine and Covenants Section 32
Kemsley’s cherry picking from academia that finds the religious conclusions of various Heartlanders as being offensive. By the standards outlined in the hit piece not only is the Heartlander model offensive but all apologetic models of the Book of Mormon, with the noted exception of the few people who see it as inspired fiction, scripture but not literal.
Why is the religious nature of America so upsetting to academics? Like all things Christian they hate it. Kemsley goes at length framing the view of the covenant nature of America and the critical theory framing of American history to construe the Heartlanders as racists. Not failing leftist sacrament of “orange man bad”. Kemsley links reverence for the United States to Donald Trump. Trump's ferocious and unequivocal advocacy for the United States syncs well with people that subscribe to the Heartland model, because of this. Donald Trump appeals to tens of millions of Americans with patriotic tendencies. It is a common smear from the Salt Fake Tribune to try and make Trump conservatives to be extremists, all 81 million of us.
Kemsley’s message is clear "Heartlanders are ignorant, racists, who love Trump"
You don't need a bigoted leftist hate rag like the Salt Fake Tribune run by extremely disturbed critical theory hacks to answer the question "Who are the Heartlanders and why do they insist the Book of Mormon took place in the U.S.?" April 7, 8, and 9 the largest Book of Mormon evidence conference in the world is happening in Layton, Utah. If you want to know who the Heartlanders are and why they have a model for the Book of Mormon I would encourage you to attend.
You can go directly to the source... Here are some links.
Wayne May on the Book of Mormon in North America
Annotated Book of Mormon
Exploring Book of Mormon in America's Heartland Photobook
by Rod Meldrum
By Jonathan Neville
Prophecies and Promises: The Book of Mormon and the United States of America
by Rod Meldrum