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Why would Joseph Smith say that the ancient inhabitants of America had chief marketplaces when the Indians of his day didn’t have marketplaces at all?

Helaman 7:10 mentions “chief” marketplaces which would have been an odd choice for Joseph Smith seeing that the Native Americans he would have been familiar with had no marketplaces at all. 

From Michael R. Ash:

In Helaman 7:10 we read that Nephi went to pray on a tower in a garden by “the highway which led to the chief market”. This is the only use of the word “market” in the entire Book of Mormon and is mentioned only in passing.  Turning to Mesoamerica we find that a marketplace did indeed exist in ancient Mesoamerican times. Not only did large Mesoamerican cities have markets, but they typically had a main or chief market, according to recent discoveries by non-LDS scholars and archaeologists.

Michael R. Ash – Faith and Reason 53: The Marketplace

What are the chances that Joseph Smith would be proved right?


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