Joseph Lovell Allen slipped peacefully from this life into the next surrounded by his family at the home of his daughter, Juana Badger, in Cedar Hills, Utah in the early morning of May 29, 2023. He was 88 years old.\n\nJoseph was born on March 1, 1935 in Nephi, Utah to Joseph Berry and Wanda Hancock Allen. Much of his early life was spent in Grover, Utah with occasional visits to his grandparents in Salt Lake City, Utah. Joe was the oldest of five children. When Joe was 14 years old, the family moved to Utah County, where his father worked at Geneva Steel and his mother worked at the State Mental Hospital. They finally settled in Provo, and Joe attended Brigham Young High School and graduated in 1953.\n\nJoe was an avid sports enthusiast. He loved playing basketball, baseball, track, and football. He also loved horses, the outdoors, and dairies. He played basketball during his freshman year at Brigham Young University, and he gained a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a love for the Book of Mormon during those years.\n\nA life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joe served a full-time mission in the Argentine Mission from May 1955 to November 1957. As part of his missionary service, he played basketball ten of the thirty months. Along with a handful of other missionaries, he traveled the length and breadth of Argentina singing songs and playing basketball to promote goodwill and to introduce the populace to the principles and values of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were called "Los Mormones."\n\nAfter his mission, Joe married Rhoda Gurena Robinson on March 19, 1959 in the Manti, Utah Temple. Joe and Rhoda were married 58 years before her death in 2017. They had 7 children, 27 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren.\n\nJoe had a brilliant mind and a passion for the Book of Mormon. In 1970, he earned his PhD from Brigham Young University in Ancient and Modern Scripture, with an emphasis on Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon. He conducted research for his doctoral dissertation on the white god Quetzalcoatl at the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City. He taught ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Eastern Arizona College. Having taught in the Church Education System for 18 years, Joe blended the spirituality of the Book of Mormon with its cultural and geographical contexts.\n\nJoe was a student of the German, Hebrew, and Maya languages and was fluent in Spanish, having lived in Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, and Spain. He traveled as a lecturer in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Central America, and throughout the Middle East, including Israel, Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Oman.\n\nSince 1970, Joe has been a pioneer of educational tours throughout Mesoamerica—the proposed location of the ancient lands described in the Book of Mormon. His research on the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica and his extensive and repeated travels throughout the regions of the Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, and Aztec cultures spanned over 60 years. He founded the companies Middle America Tours and Book of Mormon Tours, as well as other ventures.\n\nIn 1999, Joe and Rhoda led the first LDS tour to try to follow the trail of Lehi from Jerusalem to Bountiful. The group consisted of 25 people and visited four countries: Israel, Jordan, Yemen, and Oman.\n\nJoe loved to write about his experiences and insights, and he always had a project he was working on, even in the last days of his life. He was editor and publisher of an archaeological digest and has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on the ancient Maya and Olmec. His books on explorations of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures have served as textbooks and resource materials since 1989.\n\nSome of his writings include:\n\n-A Comparative Study of Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered-Serpent God of Mesoamerica, with Jesus Christ, the God of the Nephites. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1970.\n-Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, 1989—2004.\n-Visualizing the Lands of the Book of Mormon. Brinkerhoff and Allen, Covenant Communications, 2007.\n-Sacred Sites: Searching for Book of Mormon Lands. Covenant Communications, 2003—2010.\n-Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Revised Edition. Covenant Communications, 2008 and 2011.\n-Promised Place – Precious People, Promised Place Publications, 2020.\n-Elders on the Court, a soon to be published account of the Los Mormones basketball experiences in Argentina.\n\nHe was in the process of writing a new book in Spanish about the lands of the Book of Mormon.\n\nThroughout his career, Joe had the privilege of receiving accolades from various organizations. In 2011, he and Rhoda were the recipients of the prestigious "Father Lehi and Mother Sariah Award" presented by the Book of Mormon Archaeological Forum. Joe was also recognized by the Guatemala Department of Tourism for service and scholarship in escorting over 200 tours to the Land of Eternal Spring. He was also the featured scholar on the DVD, Lehi's Land of First Inheritance, produced in 2002 by New Light Productions.\n\nAs a faithful member of the Church, Joe had many opportunities to serve in various callings, including as a counselor in bishoprics, high counselor, High Priest Group Leader and assistant, and Gospel Doctrine teacher. He also served an 18-month mission in Spain in 1992 with his wife, Rhoda. However, one of his favorite callings was teaching Sunday School to the 15-year-old young men and young women in the Cascade 3rd Ward.\n\nJoseph Lovell Allen led an exemplary life. He was an educator, an explorer, and an author. But most importantly, he was a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a follower of Jesus Christ. Like his hero Mormon, Joe could say, "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (3 Nephi 5:13). He will be greatly missed by his family and many wonderful friends and associates.\n\nJoe was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Berry Allen (1912–2002) and Wanda Hancock Allen (1915–2009), his beloved wife, Rhoda Gurena Robinson Allen (1934–2017), siblings Stanley Berry Allen (1938–2018), Shirley Rae Allen (1939–1945), and Sherwin Carvel Allen (1946–1987), daughter Traci Allen (1965–1984), and grandson Christopher Troy Allen (1999–2016). He is survived by his brother Richard Lewis Allen, six children, Blake Joseph (Marion) Allen, Brent Jimmy (Pauline) Allen, Troy Robinson (Rita) Allen, Todd Berry (Taunya) Allen, Juana Jo (Matt) Badger, and Tawni (Taylor) La Salle, 27 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren.\n\nFuneral services will be held on Friday, June 9, 2023 at the Cascade Third Ward chapel at 1051 East 200 North, Orem, Utah at 11:00 am. A viewing will be held that morning from 9:00 – 10:30 am. An additional viewing will be held on Thursday, June 8, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Olpin Family Mortuary, 494 South 300 East, Pleasant Grove, Utah. A live streaming option will also be available for the funeral on the Olpin website: olpinmortuary.com.\n\nJoe loved missionary work and families, and he requested that in lieu of flowers to please donate to the LDS Church Missionary Fund or to Primary Children's Hospital.