Daily Herold article featuring Kels Goodman of “Hidden in the Heartland” and Ryan Fisher of “Nephite Explorer”

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Here’s a link to the article:



Did ‘The Book of Mormon’ occur in North America? Local documentarians challenge South American claims

When Kels Goodman told members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tennessee he was researching “Book of Mormon” archaeology, they responded with, “Oh, you’re on your way to South America?”

He had to do a bit more explaining after that.

“We said, ‘No, it’s right here in your backyard,’ ” Goodman recalled. “Then all of a sudden the gasps happen. But nobody came up and said, ‘How dare you speak blasphemy.’ If anything, we had more people coming and saying they agreed with what we were saying.”

Goodman is making “Hidden in the Heartland,” a new TV series that explores the possibility of events from “The Book of Mormon” happening in North America. Most scholarly research on the topic has focused on Mesoamerica and South America — academics have typically scoffed at the North America arguments — so Goodman’s efforts are not without disagreement. Goodman hopes the reaction in that Tennessee ward, though, as well as his Kickstarter campaign that raised $10,000, signals greater interest in the topic and his show.

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“Hidden in the Heartland,” which is scheduled to launch in spring of next year, also utilizes Ryan Fischer, whose series “Nephite Explorer” airs Sundays on KJZZ and online at TrueNorthTV.org. Goodman’s series was originally going to be a scripted drama/adventure a la “National Treasure,” but he changed course as he accumulated more documentary-type material and drew from Fisher’s expertise. Episodes of “Hidden in the Heartland” will be in a documentary format, peppered with dramatic reenactments.

The show’s pilot episode premiered at the LDS Film Festival and Book of Mormon Evidence Conference earlier this year, and is currently available on DVD. Goodman is currently working on filming the reenactments and sorting through the documentary footage. He thinks the show’s first season will be anywhere from six to 12 episodes, and he’s still securing where it will air. “Hidden in the Heartland” will explore, among other things, various archaeological findings from the 1800s that he feels haven’t gotten their due — Goodman said lots of artifacts were excavated in non-academic settings as American settlers reclaimed land, and other academically unearthed artifacts were downplayed by various government policies.

“That’s what we’re wading through, and that’s part of the stories that we tell, is to recover a lot of the untold stories or shunned stories about all of the elements that relate back to, ‘Could this have been related to the “Book of Mormon?” ‘ ” Goodman said. “And we leave it to the viewer to make that conclusion. We make it very open — and we try really hard to not be ‘Ancient Aliens.’ ”

According to Tyler Livingston, president of the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum, a lot of these specific artifacts are rather problematic.

“These evidences have been around for a long time, but some of the artifacts they use have been proven to be forgeries,” Livingston said. “A lot of the things they use, it just isn’t all that accurate. It has been gaining ground because people that have been pushing it are great spokesmen, they’re great orators. The material they use isn’t widely accepted by actual experts or scholars in those fields.

“My guess is they’re great people, they think they’ve got everything down and they’re doing a great thing, and I applaud them for that,” he continued. “I think it’s great what they’re doing. I just wish they’d be a little more rigorous in their research.”

Livingston mentioned recent findings that further bolster the Mesoamerican origins of “The Book of Mormon.” In particular, research indicating that certain Uto-Aztekan languages are rooted in both Hebrew and Egyptian — “The only two old world languages mentioned in ‘The Book of Mormon,’ ” he said. “This is peer-reviewed research, and it’s pretty groundbreaking.”

That particular point, of academic versus amateur research, is met with very different feelings from both camps. Ryan Fischer, whose background is in documentary filmmaking and investigative journalism, said that prior to the Internet, scholarship and archaeology were only available to academic professionals working in universities or the government.

“But when the Internet came around, anybody that had interest in these subjects had access to it,” Fischer said. “Not only do you have amateur archaeologists, anthropologists, students of history looking into it, but you also have a resource where they can share what they’ve found. And that’s why the whole game has changed.

“At the academic level, they don’t make any allowances for starting something on faith,” he continued. “If you believe the ‘Book of Mormon’ is true and you want to find archaeological evidence to support that, you can’t do that in academia. So you’re very restricted in academia in what you can look into, and under what context and so forth. And then everything is subject to peer review, and a watered-down version comes out, and you can’t make bold claims.”

According to Fischer, a big issue facing “Book of Mormon” archaeological commentary is how anti-Mormon proponents have mobilized themselves. Sifting through the endless amount of online materials can be as tricky as an archaeological dig. Pro-Mormon champions, he said, need to catch up.

“If you see information as a weapon to control people in a bad way, or to liberate people in a good way, then there’s this arms race on the Internet right now,” he explained. “And I have to say that the opponents to Christian doctrine and Mormon doctrine have organized en masse, and are very effective at giving bad and false information to this Millennial Generation that’s going to use Google as their source. So we need thousands of people to get online and start fleshing out what’s true and what’s not true. I want to see this Millennial Generation turn into scholars and free-thinkers that are good researchers, and know how to discern false sources from truthful sources.”

Daily Herald features reporter Court Mann can be reached at (801) 344-2930 or cmann@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @CourtMannHerald and @TheCourtMann

True North TV now the exclusive online channel for The Nephite Explorer Project

I’m excited to announce that the entire Nephite Explorer Project is now online at http://www.truenorthTV.org

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There you’ll find not only every episode of the show but hours and hours of research presentations that expand the discussion even further. In addition to that TruenorthTV.org also offers documentaries and other content. As new Nephite Explorer investigations are made they will premiere on TrueNorthTV.org.

We have a lot of new programming that will premiere in the next month so sign up for a free 7 day trial and begin exploring today. Go to


-Ryan Fisher

Fireside with Bruce Porter in Riverton, UT

Tomorrow (Sunday) is a fireside with Bruce Porter that anyone is welcome to. If you’re in the SLC/Provo area I highly recommend it. Bruce has been featured in many episodes of the Nephite Explorer Project and is a wealth of knowledge on just about every related gospel subject. The topic is :

Temple and the Endowment of Power:
The Purpose of Creation Texts, and Q &A.
Sunday, Sept 20, 2015 
Stone Ridge Ward Building
12070 South Laurel Chase Drive
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Will the end come in September? Shemitah and 4 blood moons?

There’s a lot of buzz about major events that may align to signs in the heavens and biblical predictions that will happen in the next few weeks. Many of the episodes of The Nephite Explorer Project discuss ways the Nephites ushered in great judgements from God for disregarding his laws on this promised land. A situation we share in these wicked times. But if you look at the prophecies in the Book of Mormon about the destruction of the Nephites, the times we’re known by a select few but they we’re commanded to keep that knowledge from the people. This makes sense because if you knew the day or month major destructions we’re to happen, what would you do? Most would procrastinate the day of their repentance, many wouldn’t believe, some of those that would believe would be preparing like mad out of fear hoping their temporal preparations will save them (trusting in the arm of flesh), and the rest would be living complacently knowing that the end is far off. Christ teaches us to watch and be ready always.  We need to always be spiritually right with him regardless of what temporal destructions await.

We just had several people in our ward pass away. Some knew it was coming and some didn’t. The point is the major “destructions” in our lives could happen any minute. For the father and mother who passed on recently, the calamities of their families hit a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately both families in these situations had “oil in their lamps.”

The destructions of the last days that I fear the most are the spiritual destructions that are all around us. Satan is wielding great power over the hearts of mankind and I fear the spiritual perils that await my own children because these destructions reach far beyond the grave. If only we we’re more alarmed with the spiritual devastations, the spiritual mortar shells that are landing all around us, than maybe the discussion over destructions of the last days would actually yield faith building conversations rather than fear mongering.

To find out what will happen, or what preparations you and your family need to make, I say take it to the Lord. When I’ve done this the answer usually is something I need to change internally rather than something to stockpile externally.  Trust in him and lean not unto thy own understanding. He is the only one that knows all hidden things.

Anyways, that’s my 2 cents on the current situation.

Here is an 8 min video that you may want to watch before moving to a tent city in the mountains.

Season 3 premieres Sunday at 4:30 and 6:30 on KJZZ channel 14

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Season Three is premiering this week and I’m really excited about the investigations we’re diving into. The first series investigates the hill Cumorah to determine if it was in fact the ancient battle field of the Nephites. I investigate the history, latest scholorship and archaeology to fill in the picture of Cumorahland and the events that took place there. We make some startling discoveries including undocumented ancient fortifications that have been hidden in the woods of western New York for thousands of years.

The program will be airing on KJZZ channel 14 over the next few months and DVD’s will be availible soon in the bookstore.

-Ryan Fisher