LDS Church members are taught that the Book of Mormon (BOM) is scripture, as well as a true record of the inhabitants of the Americas from about 2200 BC to 420 AD.
Although it serves primarily as a religious text, it is to be interpreted literally as being an actual, historical record of the inhabitants of the ancient Americas.
From the introduction to the BOM: "It is a record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel." Members are encouraged to focus on the spiritual value of the BOM instead of the historical aspects.
published an article in the Church News section called 'Geography Problems' (p.
Missions typically last two years for males, 18 months for females, and 6 to 18 months for older couples.