I should probably acknowledge up front that I am nowhere near an expert on Book of Mormon geography, although that will be pretty obvious from the start. My interest in a North American setting for the Book of Mormon (and specifically a Great Lakes / Northeastern United States) has been kindled by my move to Ohio. There are a lot of native American Indian mounds in the area, apparently built by a group of Hopewell Indians, at about the same time frame as the story of the Nephites. Many local members are convinced of a Great Lakes setting for the Book of Mormon, and they have encouraged us to visit some of the mound sites around the area.
My family has visited the Miamisburg Mound and the Newark Earthworks. Both sites are quite impressive and have stirred my interest in learning more about them, and what possible connection, if any, they have to the Book of Mormon peoples.
I thought I might trickle out some reasons for keeping an open mind about the possibility for a North American theory for the setting of much of the Book of Mormon. One reason is the plates themselves were found near Palmyra New York. A North American setting makes sense given this ‘artifact’. It also makes some sense given Joseph Smith’s claims about the mound building Native Americans. And the explanations within the Book of Mormon regarding the future inhabitants of the land sure sound a lot like the United States.
For the above reasons, I think a North American model for Book of Mormon geography should remain a possible and viable setting. Please feel free to share your thoughts about this possible setting, and what the advantages or disadvantages might be.