Archeologists, anthropologists, and historians are only now beginning to revise much of their understanding of the ancient world. Text books have taught since Columbus that Columbus was the first to travel by ship to the New World. More recently, a few text books have conceeded that maybe early Vikings such a Leif Erikson also visited Greenland and possibly further. But historians are now having to revise history again acknowledging the existence of hundreds of Phoenician mooring stones, ancient rune stones, and other artifacts that are found throughout the Americas. And most of these artifacts are not recent discoveries but have been know since thre early 1800's.
The Waubansee Stone for example was in possession of the Chicago museum (same museum housing the Joseph Smith papyrii) and after the Great Chicago fire in 1871 found its way into service as a drinking fountain for a time. This stone is now thought to be a Phoenecian mooring stone that may have marked the entrance from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River which leads to the Mississippi River. In addition to the carved face, this stone features a basin with a chiseled hole that was meant to catch the blood of a sacrifice and drain it down through the middle and out the front of the stone.
Another interesting aspect of the Waubansee Stone is the very detailed but possibly fraudulent alternative story put forth by Henry H. Hurlbut, a member of the Chicago and Wisconsin historical societies. The Hurlburt's story contains way too much detail to even summarize. (google: Waubansee Stone) Hurlbut goes to great length to describe the stone as a fancy mortar for grinding corn. But, the question is, why go to all the trouble to deceive and explain away the stone as only common?
Some are now saying that this purposeful suppression was due to Manifest Destiny. Thanks to Manifest Destiny, there was a huge conspiracy put in place to conceal the true origins of the Native Americans in order to characterize them as sub-evolved savages and deny them constitutional rights. Native Americans were classified as sub-human in order to appear to legally claim American soil by new European settlers. Hiding the true origins of the Native American's would also served to discredit the Book of Mormon.
This new Phoenician myth reminds me of another much more ancient myth that stood for thousands of years. 3000 years ago the Phoenicians controlled all trade and shipping in the Mediterranean. In addition to their capital in Carthage, the Phoenicians owned port cities throughout the Mediterranean including the Strait of Gibraltar. No ships were allowed to pass the straits. The story was told and perpetuated that the Earth was flat and any ship that passed the straits risked falling off the edge of the Earth. The popularity of the Earth is flat myth is one of the major reasons why most historians believed no one before Columbus visited America. These historians, in a way, still believe the myth.
This was such a great myth that it didn't end with the Phoenicians but continued with Rome and even endured to the Spanish Empire until the vogage of Columbus in 1492. While this fraudulent myth was perpetuated throughout Europe, it turns out that the Phoenicians were traveling the New World routinely as these many mooring stones demonstrate.
I grew up in Salt Lake and was exposed to the many firesides, FARM and even occasional Ensign articles looking for the Book of Mormon lands in Mesoamerica. A few details fit, here and there, between the Maya and Book of Mormon but it was mostly very dissatisfying. I even grew up with a "Book or Mormon Lands" poster on my bedroom wall. When I met my wife, her uncle is a world expert on the Maya. I asked him if there was any connection between the Maya and Book of Mormon which he flatly and unapologetically said "No"!
Now genetic (mDNA Haplogroup X), anthropologic, archeological evidence, and specific statements by the prophet Joseph Smith are finally being recognized which point to the Adena Culture and Hopewell Cultures of North America as the Jaredites and Nephites of the Book of Mormon.
What myths we are told and believe as a society today?
History is indisputable that scientists and rulers from the Greek period including Pythagoras and Ptolemy clearly understood the Earth to be round. The issue with Columbus sailing to America was not fear of a flat Earth but navagating in the open ocean. However, it is currently being debated if flat Earth myth was generally believed by the mid-evil serf and whether the myth was purposefully promulgated by the Church and the popular arts.