Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues & Keeping the Faith: What archaeology can and can't teach

Published: Monday, May 2 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Others claim that the discovery of an early New World Christian community would prove the Book of Mormon true. While such evidence would support the Book of Mormon it wouldn’t “prove” it true. It could always be argued that a group of Christian settlers sailed from the New World and brought their Christian paradigm with them.

Some of the early Spaniards, for example, saw what they believed were elements of Christianity in some of the native religions. They theorized that St. Thomas has visited the early Americans and had taught them Christianity.

The biggest problem with both claims (above) is that they demonstrate (as I will continue to show) naïve assumptions about what archaeology can and can’t tell us about the early inhabitants of ancient America.

Michael R. Ash is on the management team for FAIR (the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research and is the author of "Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One's Testimony In the Face of Criticism and Doubt" ( and "Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith" ( Michael's column, "Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith," appears Mondays on

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