LDS filmmaker says Book of Mormon set in North America

LDS filmmaker Keith Merrill says he picked the background for "The Testaments" by default, and if he had it to do over, he would have sought locations in North America rather than Central and South America.

Speaking Friday at the Book of Mormon Prophecies Conference at the Zermatt, Merrill said he believes evidence supports a North American backdrop in the "promised land" for the Book of Mormon stories, wars and visits from Jesus Christ.

"I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I can't say I know where it all took place," Merrill said as he addressed a packed house as the conference's keynote speaker. "I'm the guy who made the biggest, most expensive film (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has ever made, and I put it in the wrong place."

Merrill said the common notion that the Mayan and Aztec peoples and other such civilizations known to have lived in Central America during Book of Mormon history influenced his choice of jungle location. (He ultimately filmed "The Testaments" on the Hawaiian island of Kauai after roaming the jungles of the Yucatan.)

"I can't wait to redo the movie and put buffalo in it," he said.

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