Book of Mormon/Archaeology/Compared to the Bible
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Lamanites in North America:
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Sectarian critics who accept the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon, sometimes claim that the Bible has been "proven" or "confirmed" by archaeology, and insist that the same cannot be said for the Book of Mormon.
Note: Many of the topics sometimes addressed in archaeological critiques of the Book of Mormon are treated in detail on the Book of Mormon "anachronism" page.
The claim that, unlike the Bible, there is no archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is based on naive and erroneous assumptions. Without epigraphic New World evidence (which is currently extremely limited from Book of Mormon times), we are unable to know the contemporary names of ancient Mesoamerican cities and kingdoms. To dismiss the Book of Mormon on archaeological grounds is short-sighted. Newer archaeological finds are generally consistent with the Book of Mormon record even if we are unable (as yet) to know the exact location of Book of Mormon cities.
Part(s) of this criticism are addressed in a video segment from a forthcoming FAIR production. Click here to see video clips on other topics.
Evidence, Proof, and Belief
A reasonable question for those suggesting that there is no archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon would be “What archaeological evidence might be considered the minimal irrefutable proof needed to convince a non-believing world of the authenticity of the Nephite scripture?”
Some people might suggest that finding the existence of horses or chariots would constitute proof for the Book of Mormon. This is doubtful. Finding such items would merely demonstrate that such things existed in the ancient New World, and while such discoveries may be consistent with the Book of Mormon, they hardly amount to “proof.” As an example, the Book of Mormon mentions barley which, until recently, was thought not to exist in the ancient Americas. Critics considered barley to be one of the things that “Joseph Smith got wrong.” However, pre-Columbian New World barley has now been verified, without people flocking to join the Church because of this discovery. For critics, finding such items are too often seen as “lucky guesses” on the part of Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon mentions cities, trade, warfare, towers, and the use of armor—all of which did exist in the ancient Americas—yet their existence has not convinced critics that the Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient text.
When examining ancient evidence archaeologists work with a very fragmentary record. In general, they find physical evidence, but such evidence in and of itself doesn’t provide much information unless it is placed within a context—a framework by which it can be understood. For instance, if an archaeologist finds a pot (or, more likely, a fragment of a pot), it provides little evidence concerning the civilization that created or used the pot. Contextual clues—such as other artifacts uncovered near the pot—may provide some clues about the timeframe in which the pot was last used, but it certainly doesn’t provide conclusive evidence as to what the civilization, or the individuals in that civilization, were like.
Critics, for example, sometimes deride the idea that Nephites were, for much of their written history, “Christians.” In the critics' view, there should be archaeological remains indicating a Christian presence in the ancient New World. How, exactly, would an archaeologist distinguish a Christian's pot from that of a non-Christian? What would a Christian pot look like? One must also keep in mind that, according to the Book of Mormon, the New World “Christians” were a persecuted minority who were wiped out over fifteen hundred years ago. How much archaeological evidence would we really expect to have survived the intervening centuries?
For the archaeologist, the strongest contextual clues come from writing or markings that are sometimes found on the physical evidence. These are of two general types: epigraphic and iconographic. Epigraphic evidence consists of a written record, such as this text you are reading, while iconographic evidence consists of pictures, or icons. For instance, the word “cross” is epigraphic, but a picture of a cross is iconographic. Epigraphic evidence, providing it can be translated, provides a record of what people thought or did. Iconographic evidence is much more symbolic and its interpretation depends on the context in which the image is used.
As noted by Dr. William Hamblin, "the only way archaeologists can determine the names of political kingdoms, people, ethnography, and religion of an ancient people is through written records."
- "Iconography can be helpful, but must be understood in a particular cultural context which can only be fully understood through written records. (Thus, the existence of swastikas, for example, on late medieval mosques in Central Asia or on Tibetan Buddhist temples in Tibet does not demonstrate that Muslims and Buddhists are Nazis, nor, for that matter, that Nazis are Buddhists. Rather, medieval swastikas demonstrate that different symbolic meanings were applied to the same symbol in early twentieth century Germany, Muslim Central Asia, and in Tibet.)"
Many ancient peoples, however, wrote on perishable materials that have deteriorated through the centuries. Egypt, for example, wrote on materials that have survived through the ages, whereas the kingdom of Judah generally did not.
- "[F]rom archaeological data alone," notes Hamblin, "we would know almost nothing about the religion and kingdom of ancient Judah. Indeed, based on archaeological data alone we would assume the Jews were polytheists exactly like their neighbors. Judaism, as a unique religion, would simply disappear without the survival of the Bible and other Jewish written texts."
- "...Methodologically speaking, does the absence of archaeologically discovered written records demonstrate that a certain kingdom does not exist? Or to put it another way, does the existence of an ancient kingdom depend on whether or not twenty-first century archaeologists have discovered written records of that kingdom? Or does the kingdom exist irrespective of whether or not it is part of the knowledge horizon of early twenty-first century archaeologists? Or, to state the principle more broadly, does absence of evidence equal evidence of absence?"
Records from Book of Mormon Times
Understanding that a written record (epigraphic or iconographic) is necessary for building archaeological context, what do we find when we turn to the records of the ancient (i.e. before A.D. 400) Americas?
Of the approximately half dozen known written language systems in the New World (all of which are located in Mesoamerica), only the Mayan language can be fully read with confidence. Scholars can understand some basic structure of some of the other languages, but they cannot fully understand what the ancients were saying. In other words, there is a problem with deciphering the epigraphic record. According to the experts, “the pronunciation of the actual names of the earliest Maya kings and other name-glyphs from other writing systems is not known with certainty.”
For the time period in which the Nephites lived, scholars are aware of only a very limited number of inscriptions from the entire ancient New World that can be read with any degree of certainty. Even with these fragments, however, scholars are still uncertain from these inscriptions just how the ancients pronounced the proper names and place names (toponyms). Four of these readable inscriptions merely give dates or a king’s name—a very limited cultural context. Another five inscriptions contain historical information and proper names—the mention of the cities Tikal and Uaxactun (for which the ancient pronunciation remain uncertain) and five kings from these two cities (whom we know by iconographic symbols and whose ancient pronunciation remains uncertain).
With such sparse epigraphic information, how could we possibly recognize—even if they we discovered archaeologically—that we had found the location of cities we know as Bountiful and Zarahemla, or if the religious rulers were actually named Nephi or Moroni? The critics like to claim that there is no archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, but the truth is that there is scant archaeological data to tell us anything about the names of ancient New World inhabitants or locations—and names are the only means by which we could archaeologically identify whether there were Nephites in ancient America.
Archaeology and the Bible
Religious critics frequently like to compare the lack of archaeological support for the Book of Mormon with what they are certain is voluminous archaeological support for the Bible. There is a drastic difference, however, between the two worlds (Old and New) when it comes to epigraphic data, iconographic data, the continuity of culture, and toponyms.
We have already noted the dearth of readable New World inscriptions from Nephite times. From biblical lands, however, we know of thousands of contemporary inscriptions that have survived to modern times. We have pointed out that very few toponyms (place-names) can be read in the surviving few epigraphic fragments from the Nephite-era New World. In contrast, we find for the Bible lands not only scores of epigraphic records identifying ancient Mediterranean cities, but we also sometimes find a “continuity of culture” that preserves city names. In other words, many modern Near Eastern cities are known by the same name as they were known anciently (this is not the case for ancient America). Knowing the exact location of one city helps biblical archaeologists locate other cities, simply by calculating the distances.
Even acknowledging the archaeological advantages for determining the location and historical actuality of biblical lands, we find that only slightly more than half of all place names mentioned in the Bible have been located and positively identified. Most of these identifications are based on the preservation of the toponym. For biblical locations with no toponym preserved, only about 7% to 8% of them have been identified to a degree of certainty and about another 7% to 8% of them have been identified with some degree of conjectural certainty. The identification of these locations without place names could not have been made were it not for the identification of locations with preserved toponyms. If few or no Biblical toponyms had survived in a continuous, unbroken "language chain" from the Bible's era to our own, the identification of biblical locations would be largely speculative.
Despite the identification of some biblical sites, many important Bible locations have not been identified. The location of Mt. Sinai, for example, is unknown, and there are over twenty possible candidates. Some scholars reject the claim that the city of Jericho existed at the time of Joshua. The exact route taken by the Israelites on their Exodus is unknown, and some scholars dispute the biblical claim that there ever was an Israelite conquest of Canaan.
New World Archaeology
What do we find in Mesoamerican archaeology with respect to toponyms [toponyms = place names, such as city names]? First, unlike the biblical lands where many toponyms survived due to a continuity of culture, there is no reason to assume that Maya languages and Nephite languages were related. Secondly, we find that toponyms often disappeared from one era to the next. Many of the Mesoamerican cities today have Spanish names such as San Lorenzo, La Venta, and El Mirador. The “collapse of the indigenous civilizations before the conquistadors created a sharp historical discontinuity. We have the names of almost none of the Classic Mayan and Olmec cities of two millennia ago, which is why they are known today under Spanish titles.” Archaeologists simply don’t know what many of the original names for these Mayan cities were. If archaeologists don’t know the names of some cities they have discovered, how could one expect to provide English names for those cities, such as names provided in the Book of Mormon?
Additionally, scholars are uncertain as to the pronunciation of Mesoamerican cities for which they do have names. This is because city-inscriptions are often iconographic, and not all scholars agree that such icons represent city names. These icons are not only rare (as noted above) but they are symbolic rather than phonetic. In other words, when archaeologists find an iconographic inscription designating a place as the Hill of the Jaguar, the pronunciation of this inscription would be dependent on the language of the speaker—be it a Zapotec, a Mixtec, or a Nephite. The only way to identify an ancient site is by way of an inscription giving a phonetically intelligible name. Barring further discoveries, we may never know how the names of Mesoamerican cities were pronounced in Book of Mormon times.
If the epigraphic [e.g., inscriptions on stones or monuments] data from the Old World were as slim as the epigraphic data from the New World, scholars would be severely limited in their understanding of the Israelites or early Christianity. It would likely be impossible, using strictly non-epigraphic [i.e., non-written, non-language based] archaeological evidences, to distinguish between Canaanites and Israelites when they co-existed in the pre-Babylonian (pre-587 B.C.) Holy Land. We find that the same problems would be apparent in the study of early Christianity if scholars were faced with the absence of epigraphic data. For instance, if Diocletian’s persecutions of Christianity had been successful, if Constantine had never converted, and if Christianity had disappeared around A.D. 300, it would be very difficult if not impossible to reconstruct the history of Christianity using nothing but archaeological artifacts and imperial Roman inscriptions.
“It is quite possible,” notes Hamblin, “for a religion, especially an aniconic religion [a religion which does not use written, symbolic images], to simply disappear from the archaeological record. Despite the fact that there were several million Christians in the Roman [E]mpire in the late third century, it is very difficult to [discover] almost anything of substance about them from archaeology alone.”
Archaeology and the Book of Mormon
Given the inherent advantages (cultural continuity, toponyms, environmental conditions which favor the preservation of artifacts, time and resources invested in archaeological and linguistic field-work, etc.) of Old World studies compared to New World studies, it is interesting to note some recently discovered correlations between the early chapters of the Book of Mormon and the archaeological record of the Old World in ways that would have been unknown at the time the book was translated. In other words, it is impossible that Joseph Smith could have known any of the Old World archaeological data that have come to light since his death—these finds do not contradict the Book of Mormon and, in many instances, are consistent with its stories.
Consider, for instance, a recently discovered altar in Yemen that is consistent with a story related in the Book of Mormon. This altar, discovered by non-LDS archaeologists, has the tribal name of NHM carved into it. The altar is located in the same vicinity in which the Book of Mormon describes the Lehites stopping in Nahom to bury Ishmael, and dates from the same time period. One should here remember that the Hebrew language of Nephi's era has no written vowels, and thus NHM could very likely be “NaHoM.” The name NHM does not just appear out of thin air either, but rather the location of an ancient NHM exists not only within the specific time of the Lehite journey, but also within a plausible location through which LDS scholars believe the Lehites traveled in Arabia before embarking on their voyage to the New World.
It is also worth noting that there is a growing body of evidence from New World archaeology that supports the Book of Mormon. Dr. John Clark of the New World Archaeological Foundation has compiled a list of sixty items mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The list includes items such as “steel swords,” “barley,” “cement,” “thrones,” and literacy. In 1842, only eight (or 13.3%) of those sixty items were confirmed by archaeological evidence. Thus, in the mid-nineteenth century, archaeology provided little support for the claims made by the Book of Mormon. In fact, the Book of Mormon text ran counter to both expert and popular ideas about ancient America in the early 1800s.
As the efforts of archaeology have shed light on the ancient New World, we find in 2005 that forty-five of those sixty items (75%) have been confirmed. Thirty-five of the items (58%) have been definitively confirmed by archaeological evidence and ten items (17%) have received possible—tentative, yet not fully verified—confirmation. Therefore, as things stand at the moment, current New World archaeological evidence tends to verify the claims made by the Book of Mormon.
- [note] William J. Hamblin (posting under the screen-name, “MorgbotX”), posted 29 January 2004 in thread, “What Would Be Proof of the Book of Mormon,” on Zion’s Lighthouse Bulletin Board (ZLMB) off-site(accessed 10 April 2005).
- [note] Hamblin, "What Would be Proof...," ibid.
- [note] Hamblin citing Joyce Marcus, Mesoamerican Writing Systems (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), 212–220 and Linda Schele and David Freidel, A Forest of Kings (New York: William Marrow & Company, 1990), 440, n28.
- [note] See Hamblin, posted 29 January 2004 in thread, “What Would Be Proof of the Book of Mormon,” on Zion’s Lighthouse Bulletin Board (ZLMB) off-site(accessed 10 April 2005).
- [note] William J. Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 161–197. off-site PDF link wiki off-site GL direct link
- [note] Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems," 164.
- [note] William G. Dever, “archaeology and the Bible: Understanding Their Special Relationship,” Biblical archaeology Review (May/June 1990) 16:3.
- [note] Daniel C. Peterson, "Chattanooga Cheapshot, or The Gall of Bitterness (Review of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism by John Ankerberg and John Weldon)," FARMS Review of Books 5/1 (1993): 1–86. off-site PDF link
- [note] See Hamblin, “Basic Methodological Problems," 167.
- [note] Hamblin, “Basic Methodological Problems," 169–170.
- [note] need reference
- [note] William J. Hamblin, message posted 20 October 2004 in thread, “Not So Easy? 2 BoM Challenge,” on FAIRboards.org off-site (accessed 10 April 2005). See also follow-up: William Hamblin, message posted 28 October 2004 in thread, “Not So Easy? 3” on FAIRboards.org off-site (accessed 10 April 2005).
- [note] William J. Hamblin, message posted 28 October 2004 in thread, “Not So Easy? 2 BoM Challenge,” on FAIRboards.org off-site (accessed 10 April 2005).
- [note] William J. Hamblin, message posted 28 October 2004 in thread, “Not So Easy? 3” on FAIRboards.org off-site (accessed 10 April 04 2005).
- [note] 1 Nephi 16:3–4.
- [note] S. Kent Brown, "New Light: "The Place That Was Called Nahom": New Light from Ancient Yemen," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/1 (1999): 66–67. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- [note] John Clark, “Debating the Foundations of Mormonism: Archaeology and the Book of Mormon”, presentation at the 2005 FAIR Apologetics Conference (August 2005). Co-presenters, Wade Ardern and Matthew Roper. [need hotlink when on-line]
FAIR wiki articles
- Inerrancy and the Bible—
Critics claim the Bible texts, at least in their pristine form, were inerrant. Therefore, it is incorrect for Joseph Smith to teach that the Bible contains errors, mistakes, or omissions. (Link)
- Textual criticism—
What can textual criticism tell us about the Bible? Does it have anything to say about the Bible being without error, as some Christians claim? (Link)
The Church insists on using the Authorized ("King James") Version as its official Bible, even though more modern translations are easier to read, are more accurate, and include more recent manuscript discoveries. Critics sometimes complain that the eight Article of Faith about believing the Bible "as far as it is translated correctly," implies that Bible translators are trying to hide God's truth. (Link)
- Transmission versus translation—
Critics try to show that by the term translation in the eighth Article of Faith, we really mean transmission. (Link)
Critics claim that Latter-day Saint leaders diminish the Bible as untrustworthy. (Link)
- Completeness and sufficiency—
Critics claim the Bible contains all necessary or essential knowledge to assure salvation. Therefore, things like modern prophets or additional scripture (such as the Book of Mormon) are unnecessary or even blasphemous. (Link)
- "Adding to" or "taking away" from the Bible—
Critics claim that the Book of Mormon cannot be true because nothing should be "added to" or "taken away from" the Holy Bible. (Link)
- Biblical inerrancy—
Does the Bible teach that it is "inerrant"? Is this an idea with any meaning? (Link)
Critics interpret a statement by Orson Pratt to mean that Latter-day Saints believe that the Bible is "insufficient." (Link)
- Lost scripture—
I've heard about "lost scripture" mentioned in the Bible. What does the Book of Mormon mean when it says that "plain and precious" things have been taken out of the bible? What is this about, and what implications does it have for the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy and sufficiency? (Link)
- Open canon vs. closed canon—
Critics claim that the Church is in error because Christianity requires a "closed canon" (no more authoritative revelation) instead of the Church's "open canon" (potential for more binding revelation). (Link)
Biblical interpretation by Latter-day Saints and critics
- Being "born again"—what does the Bible mean?—
When the Bible talks about being "born again," what does this mean? How did the first Christians understand this concept? (Link)
- Christianity is a mystery—
Members of the Church believe that the gospel of Christ has been known since the days of Adam. Critics claim that the New Testament teaches that the Gospel of Christ was a mystery unknown until the advent of Christ. (In defense of this claim, they often cite such scriptures as Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7, 1 Cor. 4:1; Eph. 3:1-10; Col. 1:25-27). (Link)
- Cosmology of the Bible—
What do we know about how Bible authors viewed the earth and the universe? (Link)
- Genealogy, condemnation of—
Critics of Mormonism charge that the Bible condemns genealogy, and therefore the Latter-day Saint practice of compiling family histories is anti-Biblical, often citing 1 Timothy 1:4 or Titus 3:9. (Link)
- "Eternal" commands in the Bible that were changed by later revelation.—
Critics of Mormonism attack Joseph Smith for altering things that were "eternal," while ignoring other matters labeled "eternal" that were later changed by biblical prophets. (Link)
- Hebrews 7 and the Aaronic Priesthood—
Hebrews 7 states that the Aaronic/Levitical Priesthood was "changed" to the unique priesthood "after the order of Melchizedek" held by Jesus Christ. Why then do Latter-day Saints still use the Aaronic Priesthood? (Link)
- On-going divine revelation not necessary—
Critics of Mormonism claim that there is no need for on-going divine revelation today; some even charge that claims of visions from God or revelations to a modern prophet is a blasphemous idea. (Link)
- Three degrees of glory not biblical—
Critics of Mormonism claim that the doctrine of three heavens has no basis in the Bible. (Link)
- Textual criticism—
What can textual criticism tell us about the Bible? Does it have anything to say about the Bible being without error, as some Christians claim? (Link)
What are the merits of various biblical translations? (Link)
- Transmission versus translation—
LDS doctrine expresses belief in the Bible "as far as it is translated correctly." Does translated have a broader sense than the modern one? (Link)
Do LDS regard the Bible as "untrustworthy"? (Link)
- Old Testament practices (Link)
Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible
- Joseph Smith Translation—
A collection of articles responding to criticisms related to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. (Link)
Relationship of the Bible to the Book of Mormon
- Isaiah, multiple authors of—
The "Deutero-Isaiah" theory is the claim that parts of Isaiah were written later than others. The critical issue raised is that the Brass Plates of Laban quote from sections of Isaiah that this theory ascribes to Deutero-Isaiah, so how could the Nephites have these writings if they weren't written until after they left Jerusalem? (Link)
Science and the Bible
- Archaeology and the Bible—
Sectarian critics who accept the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon, sometimes claim that the Bible has been "proven" or "confirmed" by archaeology, and insist that the same cannot be said for the Book of Mormon. (Link)
- Flood, global or local—
Modern scientific knowledge regarding the diversity of species, language and evidence of continuous human habitation does not support the Biblical story that a global flood wiped out most life as recently as 4,400 years ago (Link)
The geographical setting of the Book of Mormon has been the subject of serious study and casual speculation since before the book was first published. The Church has been neutral when it comes to issues relating to Book of Mormon geography, as is FAIR. The articles linked below will describe the various theories and examine the strengths and weaknesses of each.
- Old World—
Old World or Arabian, geography - this considers the journey from Jerusalem to Old World Bountiful, where Nephi constructed the ship. (Link)
- New World—
New World geography - location of the majority of the Book of Mormon narrative, in the "promised land"—somewhere in the western hemisphere. (Link)
- Hemispheric geography theory (HGT)—The Hemispheric Geography Theory (or HGT) is the traditional understanding of the Book of Mormon. It postulates that the events in the book took place over North and South America, with the Isthmus of Panama as the narrow neck of land. (Link)
- Limited geography theory (LGT)—The Limited Geography Theory (or LGT) is a non-traditional interpretation of the text, but one that has gained wide acceptance among the Book of Mormon scholars and readers over the last 60 years. It is based on a close reading of the text, which indicates that the lands inhabited by the Lehites could be traversed on foot in only a few weeks, making the area no larger than present-day California. (Link)
- Hill Cumorah (New York) archaeology—What do we know about the archaeology of the drumlin from which Joseph Smith recovered the plates? (Link)
Statements made by Church leaders, members, and publications about Book of Mormon geography issues (Link)
- No revealed geography—A collection of statements indicating that there is no revealed geography for the Book of Mormon (these quotes are also in the collections below, by date). (Link)
- Statements by Hugh Nibley—LDS scholar Hugh Nibley is sometimes cited out of context by advocates of a geography theory who wish to claim his support for their ideas. They do this to disguise that Nibley argued for Mesoamerican involvement in the Book of Mormon. All of Nibley's statements should be considered if one wishes to know what he thought. (Link)
Book of Mormon geographical models (Link)
- Disdaining Joseph?—
Do LDS scholars "disdain" the statements of Joseph Smith related to Book of Mormon geography? (Link)
With regard to the location of Book of Mormon lands, it is sometimes claimed that "[t]here's a North American continent and a South American continent in Noah Webster's  dictionary," and that this means that all references to "this continent" must refer to North America. Webster's 1828 dictionary defines a ""continent"" as follows: "1. In geography, a great extent of land, not disjoined or interrupted by a sea; a connected tract of land of great extent; as the Eastern and Western continent. It differs from an isle only in extent. New Holland may be denominated a continent. Britain is called a continent, as opposed to the isle of Anglesey." Therefore, Webster's definition of a "Eastern and Western continent" is equivalent to today's definition of "Eastern and Western hemisphere." (Link)
- Location of Zarahemla—
It is claimed that the location of the city of Zarahemla was provided to Joseph Smith through revelation and that it was located on the Mississippi River opposite where Nauvoo is located today. (Link)
- Borders of the Lamanites—
Critics claim that the proposal of a Mesoamerican limited geographical Book of Mormon setting contradicts D&C 54:8, which discusses the "borders of the Lamanites" being in North America. (Link)
- Hoaxes related to Book of Mormon geography—
Sometimes falsified artifacts are used to promote a Book of Mormon geography (Link)
- Bat Creek Stone—The "Bat Creek Stone" purports to a stone written in Paleo-Hebrew reading "for the Jews". A preponderance of the evidence available argues that the stone is a modern forgery. (Link)
- Burrows Cave artifacts—The Burrows Cave collection is a group of "artifacts" supposedly found in a Cave in Illinois, named after Russell Burrows, the person who initially found the cave. To this day, Burrows Cave enthusiasts have never demonstrated the existence of the cave. The artifacts contain many obvious hallmarks of modern manufacture, including the so-called "mystic symbol" found on artifacts in the Michigan artifacts collection. This is offered as evidence that the hoaxers deliberately meant to associate these artifacts with the Michigan collection. Some LDS people have fallen prey to those who push these artifacts as genuine. (Link) [needs work]
- Michigan artifacts—The "Michigan Artifacts" or "Michigan relics" are a group of "artifacts" produced by hoaxers in the late 19th century and around the turn of the 20th Century from Michigan. They wanted to produce "proof" of the existence of the ancient civilization known in 19th century lore as the Mound Builders. Many contain scenes from biblical stories. Some LDS members have been misled into believing that the artifacts are genuine. Not surprisingly, advocates of the Michigan artifacts also push the Burrows Cave collection. (Link) [needs work]
- Newark Decalogue Stone—These items, which were presented to the public in 1860, have Hebrew writing on them. Some have used them as evidence for the Book of Mormon, but this is problematic on two grounds: (1) the items may be modern forgeries; and (2) even if authentic, the writing dates to around AD 100-300, which is too late to represent the 600 BC Lehi colony. (Link) [needs work]
- No maps in the Book of Mormon—
Critics claim that the Church has no official position on geography of the Book of Mormon because the lands in the Book of Mormon never existed. (Link)
- Transoceanic Crossing—
The Book of Mormon, in 1 Nephi chapters 17 and 18, recounts that Nephi built a ship in which the Lehi colony sailed from the old world to the new. In June 2010 the History Channel aired a documentary, "Who Really Discovered America?" which claims that it would have been impossible for a ship (such as that made by Nephi) to have successfully carried the people and necessary supplies in a transoceanic crossing. (Link)
FAIR web site
- FAIR Topical Guide: Archaeology and the Bible FAIR link
- Brant Gardner, "Behind the Mask, Behind the Curtain: Uncovering the Illusion (Review of: The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 144–196. off-site PDF link FAIR link
|FAIR Holy Bible materials|
- FAIR Topical Guide: Biblical completeness FAIR link
- FAIR Topical Guide: Biblical inerrancy FAIR link
- FAIR Topical Guide: LDS view of the Bible FAIR link
- John A. Tvedtnes, "The Bible Code and Biblical Inerrancy," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR) FAIR link
|Book of Mormon archaeology articles|
- William J. Adams Jr., "Synagogues in the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/1 (2000): 4–13. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- Anonymous, "Book of Mormon Archaeology,": A Rich Source for LDS Folklore," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/1 (1999): 19–19. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- Warren P. Aston, "Newly Found Altars from Nahom," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10/2 (2001): 56–61. off-site PDF link wiki
- David E. Bokovoy, "The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon: Still Losing the Battle: Review of The Bible vs. the Book of Mormon by Joel P. Kramer and Scott R. Johnson," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): 3–19. off-site PDF link wiki off-site
- Stewart W. Brewer, "The History of an Idea: The Scene on Stela 5 from Izapa, Mexico, as a Representation of Lehi's Vision of the Tree of Life," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/1 (1999): 12–21. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- Jeffrey R. Chadwick, "Has the Seal of Mulek Been Found?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/2 (2003): 72–83. off-site PDF link wiki
- John E. Clark, "Archaeology and Cumorah Questions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 13/1 (2004): 144–151. off-site PDF link wiki mp3 offsite
- John E. Clark, "Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/2 (2005): 38–49. off-site PDF link wiki
- John E. Clark, "Looking for Artifacts at New York's Hill Cumorah," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/2 (2005): 50–51. off-site PDF link wiki
- John E. Clark, "A New Artistic Rendering of Izapa Stela 5: A Step toward Improved Interpretation," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/1 (1999): 22–33. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- John E. Clark, "Searching for Book of Mormon Lands in Middle America (Review of: Sacred Sites: Searching for Book of Mormon Lands)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 1–54. off-site PDF link
- Allen J. Christenson, "The Sacred Tree of the Ancient Maya," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6/1 (1997): 1–23. off-site PDF link wiki
- Brant Gardner, "The Other Stuff: Reading the Book of Mormon for Cultural Information (Review of: Nephite Culture and Society: Selected Papers)," FARMS Review of Books 13/2 (2001): 21–52. off-site PDF link
- Brant Gardner, “A Social History of the Early Nephites,” FAIR Conference presentation (August 2001). FAIR link
- Brant A. Gardner, "Too Good To Be True: Questionable Archaeology and the Book of Mormon," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, September 2002). FAIR link
- John Gee, "New and Old Light on Shawabtis from Mesoamerica," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 6/1 (1997): 64–69. off-site PDF link wiki
- William J. Hamblin, "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 161–197. off-site PDF link wiki off-site GL direct link (Key source)
- William J. Hamblin, "Review of Archaeology and the Book of Mormon by Jerald and Sandra Tanner," FARMS Review of Books 5/1 (1993): 250–272. off-site PDF link
- William J. Hamblin, "Review of Explorers of Pre-Columbian America?: The Diffusionist-Inventionist Controversy;Legend and Lore of the Americas before 1492: An Encyclopedia of Visitors, Explorers, and Immigrants by Eugene R. Fingerhut & Ronald H. Fritze," FARMS Review of Books 7/1 (1995): 120–122. off-site PDF link
- V. Garth Norman, "Review of Angular Chronology: The Precolumbian Dating of Ancient America by Michael M. Hobby, June M. Hobby, and Troy J. Smith," FARMS Review of Books 8/1 (1996): 112–117. off-site PDF link
- Matthew Roper, "On Cynics and Swords (Review of Of Cities and Swords: The Impossible Task of Mormon Apologetics)," FARMS Review of Books 9/1 (1997): 146–158. off-site PDF link
- Matthew Roper, "Swords and "Cimeters" in the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/1 (1999): 34–43. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- Cherry B. Silver, "Connecting the Nephite Story to Mesoamerican Research (Review of: Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life)," FARMS Review of Books 12/1 (2000): 23–34. off-site PDF link
- John L. Sorenson, "Ancient Voyages Across the Ocean to America: From "Impossible" to "Certain"," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14/1 (2005): 4–17. off-site PDF link wiki
- John L. Sorenson and Matthew Roper, "Before DNA," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 6–23. off-site PDF link wiki
- John L. Sorenson, "Last-Ditch Warfare in Ancient Mesoamerica Recalls the Book of Mormon," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/2 (2000): 44–53. off-site [No PDF link] wiki
- John L. Sorenson, "Review of Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory by Stephen Williams," FARMS Review of Books 4/1 (1992): 254–257. off-site PDF link
- John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! (Review of "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography" by Deanne G. Matheny," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 297–361. off-site PDF linkGL direct link
- Brian D. Stubbs, "Looking Over vs. Overlooking: Native American Languages: Let's Void the Void," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 1–49. off-site PDF link wiki
- Terrence L. Szink, "Jerusalem in Lehi's Day(Review of: Glimpses of Lehi's Jerusalem)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 149–160. off-site PDF link
- John A. Tvedtnes, "Can Early Chinese Maritime Expeditions Shed Light on Lehi’s Voyage to the New World? (Review of: 1421, the Year China Discovered America)," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 427–428. off-site PDF link
- John A. Tvedtnes, “Historic archeology and the Geographic Imperative,” FAIR (2005). FAIR link
- John A. Tvedtnes, "Jewish Seafaring and the Book of Mormon (Review of The Children of Noah: Jewish Seafaring and the Book of Mormon)," FARMS Review of Books 10/2 (1998): 147–155. off-site PDF link
- Bruce W. Warren, "Review of Angular Chronology: The Precolumbian Dating of Ancient America by Michael M. Hobby, June M. Hobby, and Troy J. Smith," FARMS Review of Books 8/1 (1996): 118–121. off-site PDF link
- Diane E. Wirth, "Review of Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life," FARMS Review of Books 11/1 (1999): 10–17. off-site PDF link
- Diane E. Wirth, "Quetzalcoatl, the Maya Maize God, and Jesus Christ," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11/1 (2002): 4–15. off-site PDF link wiki
- Diane E. Wirth, "Review of Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory by Stephen Williams," FARMS Review of Books 4/1 (1992): 251–253. off-site PDF link
|Book of Mormon archaeology printed works|
- Warren P. Aston and Michaela Knoth Aston, In the Footsteps of Lehi: New Evidence for Lehi's Journey across Arabia to Bountiful (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1994), 1. ISBN 0875798470
- John E. Clark, "Archaeological Trends and the Book of Mormon Origins," Brigham Young University Studies 44 no. 4 (2005), 83–104.
- Eugene England, "Through the Arabian Desert to a Bountiful Land: Could Joseph Smith Have Known the Way?," in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds and Charles D. Tate (eds.), (Provo, Utah : Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University ; Salt Lake City, Utah : Distributed by Bookcraft, 1996 ),143–154. ISBN 0884944697 GospeLink (requires subscrip.) GL direct link
- Alan Goff, "Mourning, Consolation, and Repentance at Nahom," in John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (eds.), Rediscovering the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), 92–99. ISBN 0875793878. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)GL direct link
- John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 ), 1. ISBN 1573451576. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- John L. Sorenson, "The Book of Mormon as a Mesoamerican codex," in Newsletter and Proceedings of the Society for Early Historic Archaeology No. 139: (Provo, UT, 1976): 1–9.
- John L. Sorenson, "The Book of Mormon as a Mesoamerican record," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997),391–521. ISBN 093489325X ISBN 0934893187 ISBN 0884944697. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- John L. Sorenson, "Fortifications in the Book of Mormon account compared with Mesoamerican fortifications," in Ricks and Hamblin, eds., Warfare in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 425–444.
- John L. Sorenson, "How could Joseph Smith write so accurately about ancient American civilization?," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch, (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), 261–306. ISBN 0934893721 off-site
- John L. Sorenson, Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1998), 1. ISBN 0934893284 (Key source)
- John L. Sorenson, "The political economy of the Nephites," in Nephite Culture and Society: Collected Papers, edited by M.L. Sorenson, (Salt Lake City, Utah: New Sage Books, 1997), 195–226. ISBN 1890902012. ISBN 978-1890902018.
- John L. Sorenson, "Seasons of war, seasons of peace in the Book of Mormon," in John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (eds.), Rediscovering the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), 249–255. ISBN 0875793878. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- John L. Sorenson, "The significance of an apparent relationship between the ancient Near East and Mesoamerica," in C. L. Riley et al. (editors), Man across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971), 219–241.
- John W. Welch, "Lehi's Trail and Nahom Revisited,," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), 47–49. ISBN 0875796001 off-site FAIR link GL direct link
- Diane E. Wirth, Parallels: Mesoamerican and Ancient Middle Eastern Traditions (St. George UT: Stonecliff, 2003). ISBN 0960209603. 978-0960209606.