Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Missing epigraphic evidence in the New World
Progress has been made, but in some cases the ancient pronunciation of some New World proper and place names still remains uncertain. And the precise meaning of those names — even when they can be phonetically read — remains unclear.
With such sparse epigraphic information, how could we possibly recognize, under current conditions, 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 cities — and names are the only means by which we could archaeologically identify whether there were Nephites in ancient America.
Of all known ancient New World inscriptions, very few survived from Book of Mormon times, and most come from cities that are not considered by Latter-day Saint scholars to have been Nephite.
Michael R. Ash is on the management team for FAIR (the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research FAIRLDS.org) and is the author of "Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One's Testimony In the Face of Criticism and Doubt" (ShakenFaithSyndrome.com) and "Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith" (OfFaithandReason.com). Michael's column, "Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith," appears Mondays on MormonTimes.com.
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