Book of Mormon/Archaeology

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Archaeology and the Book of Mormon

This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.


Archaeology and the Book of Mormon

It is a common claim by critics that there is "absolutely no archaeological evidence" to support the Book of Mormon. When they say "directly" support, they typically mean that they are looking for a direct corroboration, such as the presence of the name "Nephi" or "Zarahemla" in association with ancient American archaeological data. There is plenty of supporting evidence that anthropologically ties the Book of Mormon to ancient America. (Click here for full article)

  • Book of Mormon archaeology compared to that of the Bible
    Brief Summary: It is often claimed by other Christians that the Bible is completely supported by archaeological evidence, while the Book of Mormon is supported by none. Neither claim is true. The main article compares and contrasts the archaeological "state of the art" between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. (Click here for full article)
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  • Book of Mormon "anachronisms"
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that a specific concept or item was not present in ancient America even though mentioned in the Book of Mormon. However, time and discovery have resulted in greater convergence rather than divergence between the Book of Mormon and what is known about ancient America. (Click here for full article)
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  • Human sacrifice during 4 Nephi time period
    Brief Summary: Some have pointed out that there was human sacrifice taking place in Mesoamerica during the period during which Christ's visit resulted in great peace and righteousness among Book of Mormon peoples. The argument is that Christ destroyed all the wicked cities (3 Ne 8-9) and left the more righteous part of the people. He established his church, which stood up a society of common good and peace that prospered greatly and multiplied across the continents. But there are archeological evidence suggesting the biggest cities practiced human sacrifice and polytheism during the time of great peace. (Click here for full article)
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  • Book of Mormon geography
    Brief Summary: Successful archaeology requires an appreciation of how the Book of Mormon situates and relates various places to each other. (Click here for full article)
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  • Hill Cumorah archaeology
    Brief Summary: If Mormon chapter 6 is a literal description of the destruction of the Nephites by the Lamanites — approximately 100 thousand were killed by swords and axes — why hasn't any evidence of the battle been found at the site that was traditionally identified as the hill Cumorah in western New York state? If Joseph Smith returned the gold plates to a cave in the Hill Cumorah, why is there no evidence of this cave? (Click here for full article)
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  • DNA evidence and the Book of Mormon
    Brief Summary: DNA samples taken from modern Native Americans do not match the DNA of modern inhabitants of the Middle East. Critics argue that this means the Book of Mormon's claim that Native Americans are descended from Lehi must be false, and therefore the Book of Mormon is not an ancient record as Joseph Smith claimed. (Click here for full article)
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  • Warfare in the Book of Mormon
    Brief Summary: Much of the geographical and cultural information in the Book of Mormon is included in accounts of war. Thus, comparing ancient American and Book of Mormon warfare is enlightening. How does the manner in which war is depicted in the Book of Mormon match up with what is known about ancient American warfare? (Click here for full article)
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  • Thomas Stuart Ferguson
    Brief Summary: Thomas Stuart Ferguson went to search for Book of Mormon lands. When he could not confirm their existence, it is said that he lost his belief. Ferguson and the New World Archaeological foundation are often used by critics to demonstrate that there is no "Book of Mormon archaeology." (Click here for full article)
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  • Smithsonian statement
    Brief Summary: The Smithsonian Institution sends a form letter to those who inquire about their use of the Book of Mormon for archaeological purposes. The National Geographic Society has a similar letter. Critics trot out this letter as proof that the Book of Mormon has no archaeological support and is therefore false. One critic even claims that "generations of youth" in the Church have been taught that the Smithsonian uses the Book of Mormon to guide their research. (Click here for full article)
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  • Izapa Stela 5 ("Tree of Life" stone)
    Brief Summary: Advances in our understanding of Mesoamerican art and iconography have led most LDS researchers with knowledge of the relevant disciplines to be very skeptical about a direct link between the stela and the Book of Mormon. (Click here for full article)
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Part(s) of this issue are addressed in a FairMormon video segment. Click here to see video clips on other topics.

Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims

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