It's hard to believe that was 28 years ago. A lot of progress has been made, for sure. But there remain obstacles.
Among other things, he said,
"I challenge all of us to prayerfully consider steps that we can personally take to bring this new witness for Christ more fully into our own lives and into a world that so desperately needs it."
Many members of the Church are doing their part to make this happen. I believe the LDS scholars and educators are doing their part in many ways, but there is an enormous impediment, IMO. It's one I've had to deal with for years.
By continuing to promote the Mesoamerican setting (or an abstract setting), LDS scholars and educators are causing members to become confused and disturbed in their faith.
For many people, the message of the Book of Mormon is powerful enough to overcome this confusion. But for others, the confusion distracts from that message and leads to the loss of faith we've been warned about.
I don't see how we can realize the vision President Benson set forth as long as our scholars and educators insist our prophets and apostles are wrong about something as basic as the Hill Cumorah in New York.
It's not that geography, by itself, is the stumbling block. Instead, the problem is the inconsistency of claiming to support the prophets and apostles, while also saying their firm, consistent, declarative statements on this issue, spanning over 150 years, are wrong.
Mesomania causes confusion to every investigator who sees the artwork depicting jungles, Mayans, and stone pyramids, and then reads the text only to discover none of these things are in there. It's the disparity between raised expectations and reality that impedes acceptance of the Book of Mormon. That same disparity leads once faithful members to question, and in too many cases, lose their faith.
IMO, we won't be flooding the Earth with the Book of Mormon until we reach unity in understanding it, which means reaching unity in supporting what the prophets and apostles have said from the beginning about the location of Cumorah.
Cumorah was important enough for Mormon and Moroni to mention it by name. It's the touchstone between the ancient past and the here and now. It's the pin in the map that tells us the location of the promised land, the covenant nation, the Lamanites whose promises are yet to be fulfilled, and so much more.
I urge all LDS scholars and educators, as well as students, to reconsider your views on this point. If you don't accept the New York location of Cumorah, ask yourself why not. Then ask yourself again. And again.
The answer might surprise you.