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Ancient gold plates in Mesoamerica

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  • cardcarrying Pleasant Grove, UT
    May 15, 2011 4:47 p.m.

    What this argument needs is for the grave of Zelph to be found again, or even the empty cement box Joseph pried open to reveal the gold plates. Then we'd know what kinds of artifacts we're looking for.

    Further, the universal usage of certain symbols worldwide makes it incorrect to assume anything so common as a "tree of life" engraved on a piece of statuary, for example, might unerringly indicate Nephite ancestry. What we need are unique items, things that only the Nephites could have laid claim to.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    May 6, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    Interesting, Bluehusky, as a practitioner of the hard sciences you present a weak argument for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. 

    While you are, obviously, correct that it would be silly to extrapolate archeological findings attempting to disprove something that has not been found.  

    It would be equally foolish to believe that just because archeological evidence for something has not been found then there remains a good chance of it's existence. May as well search for the lost city of El Dorodo, or the sunken continent of Atlantis, or the hidden valley of Shangri-la.

    After all, unless you know exactly where to look you will not find them, so clearly they may exist. 

    One of the problems with believing in the reality of the BOM is the evidence pointing towards it's fallacy. Such as the incredibly  inaccurate "translation" of Egyptian hieroglyphs (in itself enough to lead to questioning the accuracy of anything else presented by the "translator").

    Apparently supporters of the BOM offer only a feeling, and the argument that just because proof has not been found doesn't mean that the proof does not exist.

    Get back to me when you have more.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    May 5, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    As a believing LDS with a PhD in hard science (systems ecology, no less), I fully accept the big bang as origin of the universe, string (or M) theory as a potential grand unifying theory in physics, a 4.5 billion-year-old earth, evolution of life, including humans.

    What I find interesting is that Mormon doctrine is, fundamentally, not in conflict with science. Most people don't understand science, so they misuse scientific arguments, either pro or con a position. Archeology is based on what has been found. It is dangerous to extrapolate archeological findings to "disprove" something that has not been found. Further, researchers often limit their investigation to what and where they expect to find something. For example, early hominid research is concentrated in the African rift area, because of the frequency of fossil finds. But early hominids probably lived in a lot of other places, too.

    A Jewish colony in Meso-America would leave traces, but only if we knew exactly where to look. Non-LDS archaeologists dismiss the BOM out of hand. They would be unlikely to recognize a Nephite artifact if they found one.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    May 5, 2011 9:27 a.m.

    Bottom line -- the archaeological record compels neither belief in, nor rejection of, the Book of Mormon.

    It's true, we've yet to find a mesoamerican stele that translates "Welcome to Zarahemla -- Rotary Club at the Temple Cafe, Thursdays at 11:00." Nor are we likely to. The same can also be said of nearly all old-world bronze age, iron age, and biblical cities referenced in historical documents. But absence of proof is not proof of absence.

    And, in the absence of proof, believing or rejecting becomes a matter of faith, whether your faith is in religion or science.

    God could have arranged it otherwise. He didn't. And He probably doesn't need a lot of advice from us on how to order the universe.

    Whether our faith is science or religion-based, however, we ought to agree that demeaning and dehumanizing those who disagree with us is sub-optimal.

  • greenman108 Petaluma, CA
    May 4, 2011 6:57 p.m.

    someone asked: I never could understand those intent on trying to destroy someone else's faith. What does it benefit you? What makes yoU so positive (and arrogant) to think that you have the answers and must correct anyone who believes in faith?

    Allow me to speculate about those posters motivations:
    Perhaps they think that if someone left the faith of LDS they would have space in their lives to consider other teachings and the poster addressed with the complaint above thinks "his" faith is the one true teaching. I read elsewhere today that both the Catholic church and Methodists require former LDS members to be re-baptized upon joining their churches, so they dont accept LDS faith as sufficiently 'Christian', apparently. It seems common among believers to suppose one's own teaching is the one true one, and the others are nonsense.
    The other possibility is that the poster is some kind of scientist. Science is a kind of religion, nowadays.
    They claim to be more accurate about reality, until the next theory comes along which is "better".

    I am partial to teachings which I can validate myself by following and applying its teachings in my life.

  • greenman108 Petaluma, CA
    May 4, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    a poster wrote: "If an archaeologist found something that made him/her believe that the Book of Mormon was true would that person then not be more likely to join the LDS Church and as such then be discounted because he/she is LDS?"

    And consider this: if an archeologist found something which made him/her believe that the Book of Mormon was based on facts, why would that person not publish the findings in appropriate journals and share the artifacts with all? They would be famous world wide, and would be much appreciated among LDS members. I presume that no one would feel convinced of such matters without evidence appealing to science.

    I presume that the best such findings would be pertaining to the cultures which are described as having lived in North America.

    I actually dont feel that coming up with the plates in upstate NY would be as powerful as ordinary archeology with evidence of the day to day life of the Tribes in North America. As things stand, anyone could make the plates out of gold, right now, if they were rich enough and/or valued the benefit it would bring to authenticate the BOM.

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    May 4, 2011 3:24 p.m.

    "The current scholarly consensus is that no known Mesoamerican culture used gold as a medium for writing. It is certainly not out of the question that metal plates may have been used for sacred or special records by some indigenous peoples."

    However, considering we are dealing with "prophets" keeping records under the guidance of God or revelation, it wouldn't matter if you ever found "one" other plate, item or piece of gold. God is very capable of directing a prophet to keep a record on a material that wasn't available at all...to anyone else. So, what's the point?

    The Book of Mormon is true. The only way to know it, is to pray sincerely and ask God if it is true.

    Proof or no proof, Ancient prophets lived, they kept records on plates of some type of gold, and they preserved them to our day.

    It matters not if many don't believe, the truth remains, and those who ridicule or despise, only lose blessings to themselves and their families. Sad, but that is the way it is.

    Read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, that is the only way to prove it.

  • Mormon Boy Springville, UT
    May 4, 2011 2:06 p.m.

    Idaho Coug | 12:49 p.m. May 4, 2011

    How do we reconcile what you have said about the history of God not hiding the evidence of miracles or other evidences, with "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign...?"

    My thought is, maybe He has provided these evidences, but people discount them or write them off.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 4, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    Hello Bill,

    I think the point you have made is exactly the point I was trying to make in my above posts.

    The text/stories of both the Bible and Book of Mormon describe a God who is routinely showing the people signs. He seems to be a God who does not hold back in the slightest in phyically manifesting himself. Were you to live during those times it seems that there would be constant signs of God - not just faith but - actually signs all around. From Jehovah of the OT to Christ of the NT and BofM, dramatic evidences, signs, proofs abound at least in what the stories describe.

    However, our search today for physical evidence that what was written in the Book of Mormon actually occurred seems to be lacking at least so far. Maybe God intended to show the people evidence at one point and require faith today?

    I am simply noticing a difference in what the scriptures state occurred that seems to have been tremendous evidence or proof to the people of that time versus the lack of direct evidence today that those people and stories actually occurred.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    May 4, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    Idaho Coug: You've stated in many of the above statements that God doesn't hide his evidences. Really, then tell me where the Red Sea was separated. Science up to last year stated that the only place the Red Sea could be separated was where there was an area of reeds because there is no way it could be done in the middle. Now it is noted that the Red Sea with a certain amount of wind can actually be separated in a spot very close to the where it would be mentioned in the Bible.

    Point two: How about Sodom and Gomorah? No one has found where the Lord literally destroyed these two cities. It is completely speculation that it is somewhere near the Dead Sea because of the salt factor. That is strickly speculation. Has God hidden the disaster?

    Point three: The Book of Mormon mentions that towards the end of the Book of Mormon that man slept on their swords and hid their precious things. Thing is they could come back to the same spot but they couldn't find where they buried them. Has God hidden their precious things?

    Faith is the face of truth.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 4, 2011 12:01 p.m.

    Target said -

    "I never could understand those intent on trying to destroy someone else's
    faith. What does it benefit you? What makes yo so positive (and arrogant) to think that you have the answers and must correct anyone who believes in faith?"

    My goodness Target, as LDS we send over 50,000 young men and women out into the world to declare that we have the answers. Our mantra from April 6, 1830 to today has been to declare that we have the fullness of the truth and to proactively share that with others. Thousands of LDS apologists and online enthusiasts use language every bit as strong or stronger than I have heard critics use here. Mike Ash has done so literally thousands of times on other online sites. I have the missionaries in our home weekly and they often love to share war stories of how they bash with others.

    I am simply saying that critics are doing on this forum exactly what members do here and elsewhere. I personally do not find anything negative in either. A pursuit of truth requires a desire to know and sift through all the available information.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    May 4, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    The fact I found a Japanese Rifle near the Great Salt Lake does not mean Japanese Submarines invaded it in WWII.

    You guys are clutching at straws here. Maybe a few the horses in the Book of Mormon did not eat?

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 4, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    If Jesus were to walk among us today many people who profess to be Christians would not recognize Him and would reject His message. We are no different today than those who lived in Biblical times and wanted to destroy Him and His message.

    His sheep recognize the Good Shepherd, know His voice, and don't demand a sign before they will believe.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    May 4, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    "I never could understand those intent on trying to destroy someone else's faith."

    Are they really, or are they a response to an equally "arrogant" perception "that you have the answers and must correct anyone who believes" differently than what the church claims...that of being "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" and that the BoM is factual?

    It's entirely understandable to see why some might get defensive over such a fantastic contention, just as you appear to be defensive when people challenge your support of such bold declarations of "truth."

    Maybe others are not actually "intent on trying to destroy someone else's faith" as you say. Rather, they might be very sincere and decent people reacting to these bold claims of "truth" by issuing a reasonable challenge for evidence that goes beyond a simple supernatural confirmation.

    It's Mr. Johnson who is laying a foundation for the possibility that secular evidence exists that supports BoM authenticity by virtue of this very article. Why then, is it unreasonable to assume that such claims should go unchallenged, or be considered as "intent on trying to destroy someone else's faith?

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 4, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    Evidences continued -

    My point is that the Bible and Book of Mormon describe a God who, it could be argued, actually seeks to provide physical proof or signs. Even the early LDS Church claimed to witness dramatic signs or manifestations. If someone stood up today in Fast and Testimony Meeting claiming a fraction of what was regularly claimed in the early Church he/she would be considered wacko.

    Physical manifestations and evidences are described regularly within the pages of both the Bible and Book of Mormon. They both describe a God who seemed to have no problem providing evidences or proofs to His people.

    Why is it that this pattern of evidences or proof exist throughout the storyline of the Book of Mormon and Bible - but reverts largely to faith regarding the search for proof that the stories and people described therein actually occurred?

    Admittedly this dichotemy is stronger in regards to the Book of Mormon as many names and places of the Bible have been factually proven.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 4, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    The question of whether or not God provides evidences for us here on earth is an interesting one. I often hear the lack of stronger evidence for a particular belief (BofM) defended as God's will - His desire that we live by faith.

    But if you believe that the NT is a relatively accurate account of the life of Jesus Christ, it raises interesting questions about proof or evidences.

    His life (including OT) seemed to be a series of physical evidences for his disciples and others:

    1. Dozens of miracles usually performed in front of many people defined his short life as much as His words. Books that didn't make the biblical cut claims he performed miracles even as a child.

    2. His death was accompanied by dramatic natural events in the old and new world.

    3. His resurrection and then appearance to his disciples asking that they feel and handle him - followed by 40 days among His people displaying further proof.

    4. He appeared to the New World displaying similar miracles.

    5. Catholics, Christians in general and early LDS routinely claim(ed) dramatic physical manifestations.

    Historically, it seems God generally DOES NOT seek to hide evidences.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    May 4, 2011 6:45 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon is true. I know this not because I have handled the plates, but because of how its message imacts my life. I apply its teachings everyday, and study the spiritual meanings and am really grateful that God would see fit to give us a book of scripture in these days that leapfrogs the thousands of years of theological debate, dogmatism, credo-creating stodginess that forces men's minds into one way of thinking about God. I am grateful to have a choice to believe and to exercise faith in Christ. That choice is precious, and in as much as I believe and choose on my own to follow it, that is the very essence of Faith that saves.

    There may be plenty of academic reasons to be skeptical, but ultimately the freedom that comes in a faith tradition based upon finding truth in all things make me cling to it far stronger.

    We live in a spiritually cynical/faith despising culture. We need these question marks to understand our own spirits and to freely explore our concience as it relates to our actions and character. So Hooray for the continued debate--but I still believe.

  • Border Collie Sarasota, Fl
    May 4, 2011 4:40 a.m.

    Doesn't it strike anyone as curious that God, in re-establishing His church, gave Joseph Smith such a dubious document. One would have thought an omnipotent, omniscient being would have come up with something just a tiny bit more convincing.

  • EvenLogic Smithfield, UT
    May 3, 2011 9:27 p.m.

    This comment is back on the topic of the article. Actually he points to my opinion (plates and gold work in South America, i.e. Peru) that the Nephites actually were more in South America than in mesoamerica. It really makes no difference if I'm wrong but I believe they covered a larger area than we seem to think and only in the later years of the Nephite culture, they moved more to the Central America area. They had horses, roads and chariots and I believe we have minimized their ability to travel and large distances at that.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    May 3, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    My question is, how would johnny lingo(above), how would he happen upon this article, when he lives in gray, tn. And this came from a mormon website writer. Are you a past member of the gospel?
    How can we help you find more happiness in your awesome life?

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    May 3, 2011 2:24 p.m.

    I would like to know how a Christian knows that Christ Lives today as a resurrected being? What physical evidence do you have? Why do you believe something that you cannot see?
    2nd Question for Christians:
    Why do you believe Matthew knew Christ enough to write about his life? Also, Mark, Luke and John - how do you know they were real people and were ordained by Christ to prophecy in His name? And how do you justify the differences in the 4 accounts of Christ's life as written in these Gospels?
    Who translated these Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic records over the centuries? Did you ever see the original writings (the original manuscript) written by Peter, James, or Paul? How do you know they are authentic?

    If your response to any of these questions is anything but "I have faith", then you are in the same boat as the Mormons concerning the Book Of Mormorn - Another Testament of Jesus Christ. And by the way, the Mormons also believe in the KJV Bible.
    May your hearts find peace as you ponder the word of God.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    May 3, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    Power needed for this, may be beyond what we see on this earth, right now.
    Again, an example of people thinking there so smart, that they forget, heavenly father is always there, and has complete power.

  • Target Provo, Utah
    May 3, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    I never could understand those intent on trying to destroy someone else's faith.

    What does it benefit you?

    What makes yo so positive (and arrogant) to think that you have the answers and must correct anyone who believes in faith?

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    May 3, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    "I will simply remind you that prominent scientists of their times once swore the sun revolved around the earth...scientists have been known to be reluctant to admit their pet theories might not be fact."

    Perhaps it's also worth mentioning that LDS scripture teaches our sun receives its "light from the revolutions of Kolob."

    Indeed, there also appears to be a reluctance to admit that some official LDS theories might not be fact.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 3, 2011 10:28 a.m.

    What is significant for Latter-day Saints in this article is not that there is proof for the Book of Mormon, but that there is definitive proof that something Joseph Smith said happened (ie, engravings on thin gold plates in the Americas), and that his critics for many years said was impossible, really happened.

    Yesterday Joggle suggested that Joseph sat around for years, planning what he was going to write in the Book of Mormon. This would mean, no doubt, that Joseph taught himself other languages, traveled often to the museums and universities in New York City, looked at ancient maps of Arabia, studied Spanish lanugage accounts of Meso- and South American civilizations (and believed them when most of his contemporaries didn't), knew about archeological discoveries that had not yet been made, learned a little Arabic and Egyptian, did studies in ancient poetry, and posited golden plates, all while his neighbors said he was doing no such thing.

    All right, so maybe Joseph Smith was the best guesser, most brilliant literary mind, the most ambitious young boy ever (remember, that, according to Joggle, all this was constructed when he was still a teenager); he's still worth following.

  • Evets Eagle Mountain, UT
    May 3, 2011 9:40 a.m.

    I always take these physical findings as "interesting" and remember them as reference points not proofs. Belief is personal revelation and not based solely on facts.

    With that in mind, years ago my wife and I were visiting a museum is Seoul Korea when we came across a stone box that was used to store metal plates with writing on them. The museum had no other information on them except that they were found buried in south Korea. Interesting, does not prove anything, but it shows that other cultures certainly wrote on plates of metal and buried them in stone boxes.

  • Kimball Bakersfield, CA
    May 3, 2011 9:38 a.m.

    The value of the Book is not scientifically verifiable but the article is interesting and informative. This kind of article is not for the naysayers who have a bone to pick and delight in namecalling and insulting others beliefs. Thanks for the article.

  • In Stitches Provo, Utah
    May 3, 2011 9:20 a.m.

    One should never base their faith contingent on seeing proof. Laman and Lemuel saw an angel and went right back to doubting. People will believe what they will.

    As for those trying to convince believers that they are wrong by citing "lack of evidence" or quoting certain scientists: I will simply remind you that prominent scientists of their times once swore the sun revolved around the earth, the short-necked giraffe (Okapi) was just a made-up indigenous legend, and leeches were a go-to medical treatment. Science is constantly revising its theories (or best educated GUESSES) as new theories are developed and new evidence come to light. But even still, scientists have been known to be reluctant to admit their pet theories might not be fact.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    May 3, 2011 1:46 a.m.

    @DAVE IN NC 3:13

    I'm always a little amused by critics who begin their argument by putting LDS Church members in the defensive position with phrases like: "A common response by faithful Latter-day Saints."

    That way, instead of discussing the original argument, LDS people are put in the position of saying, "No, that's not true," to which the critic continues to argue this point, clearly attempting to take away as much credibility as possible from the LDS argument.

    If the claims against the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon are so easily refuttable, why do critics need to take shots at LDS people even before they can get a word in?

    I would love, just once, to read a book, website or pamphlet critical of the LDS Church that did not resort to blanket attacks, subtle cheap shots and/or subtle distortions of LDS doctrine.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    May 2, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Re: Joggle | 1:54 p.m. May 1, 2011

    When Jesus walked among the people many people did not believe in him and finally succeeded in taking his mortal life.

    If Jesus walked among us today many would not believe in him or his teachings. There are many today who claim to be Christians that would not recognize him ...... and would demand proof.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2011 7:23 p.m.

    @Joggle
    "The methodology used in computing the time is seriously flawed."

    Yet you say:
    "He could have easily been coming up with text for the book. The plot and narrative could have been worked on for two or three years or more."

    Could have?

    Unless you have concrete historical data that indeed proves that Joseph worked on the BOM during these times, personally I think that any assumptions of what Joseph "could have" done is a "seriously flawed" methodology itself.

  • Another Believer Albuquerque, NM
    May 2, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    Michael Coe is one of the many researchers who has been force fed crow over the last few decades. For example, he finally admitted in a recent edition of his book "The Maya" that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the Americas were settled by numerous maritime crossings. Coe and his friends at the Smithsonian resisted that fact for decades, but now they have finally accepted it.

    People need to remember that science is merely knowledge in flux. The current body of knowledge we have now is far from the complete picture, especially in archeology and anthropolgy. Only a fool would claim that archeological has proven the BOM to be false. There is not enough evidence to give a concrete answer one way or the other.

  • DAVE IN NC HOPE MILLS, NC
    May 2, 2011 3:13 p.m.

    RTMESSENGER

    "A common response by faithful Latter-day Saints". Common response, really?

    Friend, I've been a member of the church for a long time, and I ain't heard that one.

    common response?

  • cymrul West Valley City, UT
    May 2, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    Did any of these gold plates that have been warehouse have anything to say about chariots or corn? SOMETHING? And maybe I misunderstood, but the Book of Abraham plate 2 has been prooven to be a copy of a papyrus know as the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 2, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    @Clark Hippo

    I would've been happy to mention Martin Harris and Olivery Cowdery, but I have a limited amount of words I can use. Also take into consideration the fact that JSmith had years to come up with text and plot. There are tons of books, far superior in writing style and story line, that didn't take nearly as long as the Book of Mormon did to complete. It may have been dictated in a few months but he had been working on it, if only in his head, for years. People are convinced to participate in other people's frauds both knowingly and unknowingly all the time, but since neither you, I or anyone else currently alive was there to witness the event and gather or know all the facts...we can either believe it on weak evidence and/or faith or not. I treat all religions the same and look at extensive evidence from many sources both pro and con and I can't ignore that your religion doesn't hold up to scrutiny based on the probability of the evidence. I can't except the circular logic of the self-convincing spiritual witness paradigm either.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    May 2, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    A book that may be of interest to some folks is "Antiquities of the state of New York. Being the results of extensive original surveys and exploration, with a supplement on the antiquities of the West..." by E.G. Squire. It is in paperback on Amazon. Enjoy.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    May 2, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    I just find it interesting that artifacts are still to be found, and even the learned and wise scientists and archeologists are at war with each other with their specific meanings.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    May 2, 2011 4:58 a.m.

    @Joggle 12:31

    Your theory leaves out several important points. First off, you failed to mention any involvement of Martin Harris and Olivery Cowdery in the writing and publishing of the Book of Mormon. How did Smith go about convincing both men to put their reputations, and in Harris' case his money, on the line to support his supposed fraud?

    Next, you said Smith "didn't have a job" and if you mean he didn't work as a lawyer or doctor, this is true. Yet it doesn't take into account the work he did on his parent's farm, especially after his older brother Alvin died. Is farm work not considered a real job?

    Finally, you said the Book of Mormon is "largely borrowed" from the KJV of the Bible, which ignores the fact less than a quarter of the BOM have comparative chapters to the KJVB. It begs the question, if Smith was going to create his own church, and be clever enough to convince dozens of people of his fraud, why waste time creating a new book which is just copied from the Bible anyway? And that's not including the D&C or POGP.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    May 2, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    attempting to repost this denied comment yesterday:

    even the first sentence of the article is misleading:

    "Archaeologists have know for about a century that gold plates with carved writing have been found in Mesoamerica, yet it is still not common knowledge outside their discipline."

    engraving on gold plates has been common knowledge and practice in the occult for centuries at least. agrippa, the most influential writer of renaissance esoterica, wrote about it in the 16th century:

    "this being engraven on a golden plate with the Sun being fortunate, renders him that wears it to be renowned, amiable, acceptable, potent in all his works, and equals a man to kings, and princes, elevating him to high fortunes, enabling to do whatsoever he pleaseth;"

    (p. 319 Three Books of Occult Philosophy by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim)

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    May 2, 2011 1:29 a.m.

    the first sentence of this article is quite misleading, as if engraving on gold plates is anything new. i commented yesterday that Agrippa wrote in the 16th century about engraving on gold plates, 300 years before joseph smith was born. i have no doubt that joseph smith had read Agrippa's works. my comment yesterday was denied, probably because it mentioned the word "occult". note to the moderators: "occult" does not mean "cult". use a dictionary next time if you're unsure.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 2, 2011 12:31 a.m.

    The writing of the first 116 pages was slow for Smith had yet to learn how to write," yet less than a year later we find him tossing off a 275,000 word manuscript in around 5 months. The methodology used in computing the time is seriously flawed. The lost 116 pages according to the text of the BoM itself is essentially duplicated in the subsequent version which is now first and second Nephi. That takes up a significant amount of the 275,000 words. The first 116 pages took months to create alone. During the interim period, after the manuscript was lost, of about a year (which Nibley and others don't include in the calculation) Joseph wasn't doing much of anything. He didn't have a job. He could have easily been coming up with text for the book. The plot and narrative could have been worked on for two or three years or more. Assertions that it was done in only a few months is pure speculation at best. Considering that the content of the BoM is largely borrowed and adapted from the KJV of the Bible, the time involved to 'translate' need not be significant_anyway.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 1, 2011 10:41 p.m.

    @Twins Lights

    Belief systems for which there is indeed abundant evidence to the contrary are fervently accepted; indeed, people will devote their entire lives to beliefs where the evidence is improbable. This has been heralded as faith in things unseen or things hoped for....but the fact remains that those "things" may not actually be true based on evidence you and others want to ignore.

    Why would people believe fantastic and improbable things if not out of some kind_of psycho-biological-sociological need or predisposition? For all of us, life is full of uncertainties and difficulties, and it ends in death. Every religion claims to overcome death, to provide certainty, and reward us for being good. So great is our fear of life and death that many allow their NEED for hope and/or explanation to override their intellect. It is only recently that humans have gradually been able to overcome mythological explanations. Humans tend to corrupt their visions of reality in order to survive in a world that they cannot fully comprehend. Rather than suspend judgments about questions for which there is questionable evidence they leap in to fill the void even when there is good evidence to the_contrary.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    May 1, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    Part 3.
    The Book of Mormon as a text has been explored rather thoroughly. I recommend "Book of Mormon: A Readers Edition", Grant Hardy, Professor of History, Univ of North Carolina, Asheville. University of Chicago Press.

    Also "Understanding the Book of Mormon", Grant Hardy, Oxford University Press.

    The first is a re-formatting of the BOM by eliminating the chapter and verse layout and setting the poetry as poetry. This is amazing reading, rendering even the dense quotations of Isaiah clear. The Hebrew poetry in the BOM is an astounding thing to contemplate, because it would require an immense genius in Smith to have pulled this off. Yet some of the finest example of Hebrew poetry are found in the BOM.

    The second is a critical analysis of the BOM as a narrative. Hardy breaks down the voices of Nephi, Alma, Moroni and Mormon and clearly demonstrates their differences. He concludes with a quote from an Oxford scholar who said: "The Mormons are lucky, their book is beautiful."

    The challenge: how did Smith write such a book in 20 weeks, on the run, in the American Frontier of 1828?

    Occam's razor: BOM is evidence that God Exists.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    May 1, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    Part 2
    To elaborate on the statistical tests - two separate groups examined "wordprints", one in Provo, one in Berkeley. The technique of the first analysis was Multiple ANOVA and Canonical analysis. Wordprints are the frequency of the use of non-context words and other written mannerisms that are unique to a single author, like a fingerprint. The MANOVA tests the null hypothesis that the BOM was written by a single author. MANOVA produces a probability estimate on likelihood of the observed patterns happening by chance. This probability estimate from the MANOVA was 0.00000001 (1 in a billion). Such a test is considered highly significant if the probability is 0.05 (5% or 5 in 100). A canonical analysis of the data indicated a time-difference axis, where the books (Nephi through Moroni) fall along an axis. The time distribution is further validation that the BOM was written by a number of authors, not Smith.

    The Berkeley group used a different approach, with more sophisticated sampling; the statisticians were not LDS. Their results were similar. A rejection of the null hypothesis (that the book had a single author).

    "Authorship of the Book of Mormon", original and revised.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    May 1, 2011 8:11 p.m.

    The article itself was reasonable and enlightening. The author suggests caution to those who try to prove the Book of Mormon (BoM) is true based on archeological evidence. It is wise counsel.

    The critics are angry that the article does not carry a sterner more dismissive tone. Their bias is clear.

    I have read the BoM many times. Though I have a long way to go, my soul has been steeped in the spirit of grace, forgiveness, kindness and love found in its pages. The spirit attending it has taught me to reconsider faults and be less selfish, less worldly. Pondering relationships between Lehi and Nephi, Alma and Alma, and Mormon and Moroni help me be a better father. It has illuminated and knitted together the great truths of the Old and New Testament. That spiritual bridge helped me understand and gain witness that Jesus is the Christ, the prophesied Messiah of Israel and Savior of the world. His example and mercy brings me quiet, brilliant, lasting joy. His example teaches me how to love and be loved.

    If you read the Book of Mormon prayerfully (as it was meant to be read) these fruits (and more) are yours.

  • deseret pete robertson, Wy
    May 1, 2011 6:28 p.m.

    The copper tools found in the America's, not only those in the article, but others, were not known to exist when Joseph Smith Translated the Plates he recieved from Moroni, A ressurrected Prophet and the last one to write on the plates before burying them. IN fact that was why many critics said the Book of Mormon was not true. How wrong they were.The same was said about the cement houses described in the Book.they were wrong there also.However to know it is true one only needs to read and pray with real intent and faith in Christ to know of its authenticity.All the evidences that has been discovered and wiil continue to be discovered will merely add to the faith to those who have received a witness through the Power of the Holy Ghost by reading prayer.Evidence may lead one to consider study and prayer but will never be a converting power.Spiritual things are understood by the Power of the Spirit by those who are willng to authorize the Spirit to teach them when they study and Pray with a real desire to know.

  • stuff Provo, UT
    May 1, 2011 5:51 p.m.

    If you want to understand matters of faith, DON'T look to those who do not know how to exercise faith!

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    May 1, 2011 5:25 p.m.

    To Joe Blow: In answer to your question the answer is yes. Their name is Dr. Kim Goldsmith and her husband, Alejandro Sarabia. They are prominent Mesoamerica archaeologists. They had spent decades researching Teotihuacan long before they converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The evidences they found and the spiritual happenings convienced them of the truth of the Book of Mormon and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Alejandro is the site director at the Teptohuacan.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    May 1, 2011 5:07 p.m.

    Tumbaga would only weigh 60 lbs. The person who would gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon because similar plates were found, in my opinion, would only be gaining the testimony because of a sign. Christ said it is a wicked generation that seeketh after a sign. My testimony of the Book of Mormon is through study, pondering and prayer and the witness of the Holy Ghost. It is not because of artifacts or opinions of others.

    Many people at the time of Columbus thought he was an idiot because of his theory the earth was round, but it was eventually proved a correct theory.

    In God's own time proof may be brought forth, but it is his time, not mine, not yours. I do not denigrate the beliefs of others and am always astounded when others denigrate my belief. To each his own.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    May 1, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    It is easy to dismiss the Book of Mormon without bothering to read it. The existence of engravings by meso-American Indians on gold plates merely supports plausibility of the BOM story. The discovery proves or disproves nothing about the BOM. The BOM itself is the best place to start.

    The BOM itself has been studied. Here is a list of thing we know about it:
    1) The plates were seen and handled by 11 witness who never recanted their stories.
    2) Joseph Smith's family all saw and hefted, dusted around them, help hide them. All of Smith's family believed Joseph. None ever denied the existence of plates.
    3) Several people, including his family, helped transcribe Smith's dictation. This process took about 20 weeks. A 500+ plage manuscript. None ever changed their stories.
    4) The BOM contains Hebrew parallelisms and chaismic poetry. How did Smith do that?
    5) Two separate statistical analyses on word print by author were compared to each other and to all 19th century authors known to have associated with Smith. The probability that the BOM was written by a single author is 1 in a billion.
    6) TO BE continued

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 1, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    Joggle,

    The BOM does not fail to provide evidence it is true.

    Agreed that there is not point for point archeological evidence so as to compel one to acknowledge its historicity. But just in my lifetime, there have been many discoveries that provide support for its details.

    The members I know do not "need to believe through faith rather than belief based on evidence" and (given that most are converts) they are certainly not "simply so indoctrinated into their belief that they believe their own biased thoughts come from God".

    Mormonism passes the most critical of evidentiary tests - the witness of the Holy Ghost. How else can religion be judged?

    One may believe the archeological evidence that there was a religious teacher named Jesus who lived in turn of the millennia Jerusalem, but that is hardly the same as a religious conviction that he is the Son of God.

    Generations believed in Christ before there was historical evidence that he had lived. So, one may have a religious conviction of something that is not archeologically proven.

    I hope one day you can know that Joseph was a prophet and that the BOM is true.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    May 1, 2011 1:54 p.m.

    When all the evidence for and against the BoM is weighed for probability, integrity, and reliability....the BoM simply fails to provide sufficient evidence to believe it's true. The simple fact remains people will still believe despite the lack of probability and lack of good evidence or will base it on weak evidence because of their need to believe through faith rather than belief based on evidence. The need to believe surpasses and blocks the response many normally have that makes them critically evaluate and weigh the evidence which in turn makes them realize how lacking in probability the so-called evidence really is. Others are simply so indoctrinated into their belief that they believe their own biased thoughts come from God and confirms their belief. If Mormonism is true, it should pass the evidential test of critical investigation. Mormon scripture, however, does not survive the scrutiny when examined by archeologists and other scientific disciplines. The CUMULATIVE circumstantial and direct physical evidence demonstrates that Smith was NOT a prophet and that the Book of Mormon is NOT divine scripture. Neither the improbable evidence nor the self-convincing testimony is enough for most people to even begin to believe.

  • stuff Provo, UT
    May 1, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    True science and true religion will agree. If a disagreement exists, then one or both are wrong.

    "Lack" or "absence" of scientific, archeological evidence cannot be used to disprove something whether it be scientific or religious. Absence of evidence simply means we don't know. Never accept scientific theories as true unless a preponderance of measurements exist. Truth can sometimes be found by listening to promptings, etc. Evidence generally will be provided at some point. (I believe the Book of Mormon to be a true, albeit partial, record of ancient civilizations in the Western Hemisphere. Archeology is slowly providing tidbits that may be evidence.)

    Any adherence to beliefs without evidence is the realm of faith. Those who believe should be free to believe. Those who don't believe, should also be free to believe. Both parties should allow the other to believe as they see fit - without persecution.

    But, evil will never leave good alone and good will always try to persuade evil to become good.

    Those who at one time plead for tolerance, now persecute those they once appealed to, never granting any tolerance in return.

    Such is the history and destiny of mankind on this earth, unfortunately.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    May 1, 2011 11:34 a.m.

    MoJules-Is the Hill Cumoro (sp) in New York the same Hill in the BOM? If so we should find evidence of the great battle there right?

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 1, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon is a true account of God's people, their journey to the America's and struggles whilst here. It contains the word of God and was translated by the power of God. I firmly believe this and no argument from the scientific world can prove otherwise nor can they shake by knowledge of it.

    Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and while others may disagree I will remain steadfast and loyal to the teachings I have received through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 1, 2011 5:26 a.m.

    "Joseph's brother William, who had handled the plates in a pillow-case"

    Another example of someone who "handled the plates" but was not allowed to actually see them.

    Never understood any reason not to allow people like William and Emma to see the plates.

    Any theories?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    May 1, 2011 5:16 a.m.

    "would that person then not be more likely to join the LDS Church and as such then be discounted because he/she is LDS?"

    Of course they would be more likely to join. And LDS would point out, at every chance, that they only joined AFTER seeing evidence.

    Do you have any examples of people joining after seeing archeological evidence?

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    April 30, 2011 11:25 p.m.

    All this is moot to my testimoney of the Book of Mormon, I mean if some one wanted to push the issue, there is no evidence that Jesus christ walked the earth. No record from the Roman Empire of his death no writings done by him. Only four books written about him way after his death. so why all the fuss for us to provide proof of the Book Of Mormon? We are not the only faith that relys on faith to convay the truth. How many people beleive in Christ with no proof he ever lived. shall we mock them as people mock us for a Book that teachs of christ and is a whitness of christ no! pysical evidence is not proof it comes from God in answering prayers and living by faith.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    April 30, 2011 11:00 p.m.

    First of all I am surprised that DN let your comment go through RTMESSENGER, when I one time posted and lds indexing site, they didn't let the post go through. Also, when I my first husband was bed ridden, he got to weigh just under 100 pounds, I would carry him through the house. So explain to me RTMESSENGER, how can someone lift a car off of a person when they are trapped? Oh, it is probably an adrenaline rush, so just how does that work? Well, I don't really know, but I know that we are created by God, so that means that those rare abilities are of a divine nature. So I have no doubt that plates of gold were recorded on, that they were buried in a hill and that about 1400 years later Joseph was told where they were, and he was able to translate them, not on his own, but by the gift and power of God and if they had weighed 1000 pounds, he would have been able to move them. That my friend is faith, something I am so grateful to have.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    April 30, 2011 10:26 p.m.

    Keep in mind this:

    Eleven witnesses testified in writing of both seeing and handling the gold plates, and not one of these ever denied or renounced their testimony.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    April 30, 2011 10:25 p.m.

    RTMESSENGERCan I recommend you find a better source then the Tanners, they have been proven to remove facts to make things appear different then they are. One case I documented my self in speaking of the First Vision they claimed that even as late as the 1850's LDS leaders were not aware of the Father and Son official version. to show this they used a discourse of Orson Pratt. Reading it the way present it it does appear to support their view. However I noticed an ellipse (...) in it. When I went to the JD and looked at the original 249 words were removed. Those 249 words were the official version, they also fail to mention that he published a version of it in England a year before the official version was published by Joseph.
    As for the weight of the plates William Smith said they were not pure Gold but a copper gold alloy. This is another item that was unknown in Josephs day but was even mentioned in the article. Turns out simply rubbing it with citric acid dissolves a thin layer of copper leaving the appearance of pure gold just as Joseph said.

  • censusguyz MARLOW, OKLAHOMA
    April 30, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    269 WORDS, of which too many where capitalized and a profile that did not include a town, so lets see if this makes the cut, those who comment with emotion and bias are entertainment for those who set forth bait. intellectual pursuit can lead one to convert to mormon beliefs if that subjects study so leads them,and detracts not from the facts. Plates be they large or small light or heavy, if containing links to the old world would be seized by the discoverer to protect the claim to the land by representatives of the church or throne, so there absentia is proof of nothing, except the ease with which the clowns will rise to the bait to entertain the instigator, both of whom diminish the discussion.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2011 7:32 p.m.

    @RTMESSENGER
    "Why not believe Smith could have supernaturally carried 200 pounds under his arm and be done with it? The fact is, no Mormon apologist or LDS leader argues that God gave Smith supernatural strength to carry the plates."

    While God-given ability to carry the plates is certainly a possibility, it is also probable that Joseph Smith did not need it. Granted, it would not have been easy, but he was a very strong person, and working on the farm and with all that heavy physical labor, carrying 50 or 60 pounds down from a hill is certainly plausible. It's likely the plates weighed far less than 200 pounds that critics claim.

    Joseph's brother William, who had handled the plates in a pillow-case, claimed on several occasions that the set of plates weighed about sixty pounds.

    Martin Harris claimed the plates weighed "altogether from forty to sixty lbs."

    Joseph's sister Catherine, while she was dusting in the room where he had been translating, handled the plates while covered with a cloth and claimed she "found them very heavy." (How much could a woman reasonably move? Certainly nowhere near 200 pounds.)

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    April 30, 2011 6:19 p.m.

    To elchupacabras: Had the article been clearly attempting to discount the B of M, would you have played the "full disclosure" card?

  • elchupacabras Idaho Falls, ID
    April 30, 2011 4:46 p.m.

    The Deseret News should have mentioned that Daniel Johnson, the author, is connected with the Book of Mormon Archeological Forum. What happened to full disclosure?

  • Koke Spanish Fork, UT
    April 30, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    There is not concrete tangible evidence that proves the Book of Mormon is true. Those who believe it, do so based upon non-physical evidence. Those who don't, have their own reasons. The debate is therefore noisy, but unproductive.

    What is interesting, however, is the intense feelings those who don't believe, fertilize toward those who do. Logically, if an individual is secure in their beliefs, then a counter belief should have no effect. For example, if I avowed that the sun will not rise tomorrow, you might be amused, but certainly you wouldn't be angry. Or if I believed Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the best musicals and you believe that the honor goes to Sondheim, I doubt you would be angry.

    The triggers for anxiety, contempt, and anger are internal, not external. I do not know why people become angry when someone cherishes a religious belief, but they do.

    Some argue that they are angry because religious beliefs motivate votes for laws they don't like. This is a complex argument. Anger happens in a nanosecond, so this sounds more like an ex-post facto justification.

    The answer is deeper and worth inspection if not introspection.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    April 30, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    When discussing archeology or DNA or other issues relating to the Book of Mormon here are a few important points.

    #1 - The Book of Enos to the Book of Omni is three very short chapters which cover a period of about 400 years. Any guess of how the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations evolved and adapted to their surroundings is not mentioned once, so anything is possible.

    #2 - Following the three days of darkness recorded in 3rd Nephi it says in the Chapter 11 verse 1 the people were, "...showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place."

    The point being, any mention of lands or cities or inhabitants prior to 3rd Nephi may be a moot point. How much "change" took place, no one can say for sure.

    Occasionally, I enjoy reading about Mesoamerican findings, but I would caution anyone not to base their testimony of the BOM solely on this. It is a 522 page book which covers 2000 years, and while there are a few hints here and there of people and places, most of these are too vague to come to any certain conclusions.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    April 30, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    Awesome article, OK, so I already believe in and accept the Book of Mormon, so this doesn't change my feelings nor did the article that Deseret News have a month ago which referred to Fox News about Ancient Books being discovered in Jordan. Now that one really was awesome, cause it looks just like the pictures I have seen that depicted what the gold plates looked like. Well this article and the picture is awesome, cause it shows the writings on the gold plates. But the most awesome thing of all, is reading the Book of Mormon and the spirit it brings into my life and the greater understanding of the Savior from those words. So, no this article doesn't change my feelings, I already felt those feelings. I am sorry that people can't read and pray about the words, and then have all these things come forward that Joseph Smith would have been clueless about, and yet their hearts still won't open to find the truth of the words. But then Lamen and Lemuel saw angels and still could not believe in the end.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    April 30, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    Sorry for straying too close to the original topic here...
    Could it be possible that these gold disks are hypocephali? They were found at the bottom of a well along with human remains, after all. They "represented portals into the next world, revelation and prophecy", which sounds pretty close to Hugh Nibley's description of Egyptian hypocephali found with mummies. A hypocephalus, like for example Facsimile number 2 in the Book of Abraham, was typically placed over the head or face of the deceased person as a "passport" to the afterlife.

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    April 30, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    "At times, intriguing but often spurious evidence is used by well-intentioned apologists in support of the Book of Mormon. These claims are easily refuted by critics and do not improve our standing in mainstream archaeology. Solid and sound scholarship is essential here."
    .
    Oh, thank you for that. Every minute explaining why someone who has accepted the truth of The Book of Mormon says untrue things to support it is a minute not discussing the truth of The Book of Mormon.

  • Not Easily Persuaded Sacramento, CA
    April 30, 2011 12:32 p.m.

    I believe this article is important if only from the view the author takes with respect to knowledge and the reliability of statements. He doesn't even have to be precisely correct to succeed.

    Clearly, just because LDS have a conviction the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith, etc, and I personally accept this as being true, one simply cannot widely speculate and think such speculation is viable. There has to be evidence, and the author's position that by many LDS making less than acceptable claims with respect to standard archaeological practices diminishes LDS credibility is very important.

    His conclusion that there is documented evidence of metal plates before the Jaredite period as well as after the Book of Mormon scriptural record ends suggests the strong possibility of plates either hidden, destroyed, or not discovered in between those two time periods. That claim is sufficient.

    I believe in process of time other plates will show up, hopefully by non-LDS so the reality of their content will not be easily refuted, with hopefully at least a portion of them being translatable.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    @elchupacabras

    "The only ones to argue in favor of these dubious links are those from the Maxwell Institute, and apologists such as Daniel Peterson, who equates the "horse" with a "tapir." "

    It was actually Michael D. Coe, a "prominent Mesoamerican archaeologist and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University", whom you mentioned in your first post who originally equated "horse" with "tapir".

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 30, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    @elchupacabras

    Also, The Smithsonian in 1998 stated that "The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide." Meaning, its purpose is to bring souls to Christ, not to be used as an historical guide - it doesn't contain enough detail for that.

    While archaeology could be useful in determining where the events of the Book of Mormon took place, the BOM does not contain the sort of historical detail that would make it useful for archaeologists.

    Non-LDS archaeologists' opinions on the matter say nothing about the divinity and truthfulness of the BOM. One must also be a scholar in what the BOM actually says in order to make any opinion on the matter.

    The best that can be expected, are some similarities and parallels, which I believe some LDS scholars have done.

    But God will provide a spiritual answer to it being a true book if one has the faith and real desire to ask. That is the real issue.

  • Why So Serious Magna, UT
    April 30, 2011 10:25 a.m.

    Oh no here comes some more controversy, I like when people swing the Smithsonian like its a large baseball bat. The Smithsonian has more secrets buried in it then the Vatican (maybe not but close), there has been many interesting things found in our nation and they are now hidden there in wooden boxes.
    "I'm no big city lawyer" (quote form Homer Simpson) but if there was as much money spent on finding things in Mesoamerica as is spent in Egypt, I believe much more awesome artifacts would be found that just might explain some things further. There is proof all through our country that there was a large contingent of intelligent people that lived here before, who were the mound builders, who named places in the Grand Canyon Egyptian names before the native Americans, the serpent mound in Ohio, Memphis which was a large burial ground from a large war.

    We believe what we want to believe; there are some that want so badly to find proof that their beliefs are correct, there are others that so badly want to disprove anything to do with LDSism, and others that just have faith in their beliefs.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    April 30, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    Here is a question for all
    If an archaeologist found something that made him/her believe that the Book of Mormon was true would that person then not be more likely to join the LDS Church and as such then be discounted because he/she is LDS?

  • Mr. One Two Layton, UT
    April 30, 2011 9:06 a.m.

    crunchem - "perhaps Prof. Coe and others at his level of expertise have modified acceptance of Book of Mormon" or perhaps he hasn't. Do you have anything to show that Coe has modified his acceptance. Or are you just speculating that he has. Way to much speculation going on... both in the article and in the comments.

  • elchupacabras Idaho Falls, ID
    April 30, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    @crunchem Coe is not the only one to have made such a statement. The Smithsonian has affirmed it, and so has Johan Normark, one of the greatest archeologists in recent years to study Mesoamerica. I live among the Maya in southern Mexico, and have visited the ruins on many different occasions. I have found absolutely NO connection with the Old World. The only ones to argue in favor of these dubious links are those from the Maxwell Institute, and apologists such as Daniel Peterson, who equates the "horse" with a "tapir." The Book of Mormon is a fantastic 19th Century epic tale, representing theological arguments from Joe Smith's day, but I have no doubt in my mind that it is definitively NOT historical.

  • crunchem Cedar City, Utah
    April 30, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    @elchupacabras, your opinion is noted, but referencing an expert with a 38-year-old quote does not bolster it. four decades of additional research in this area is very long time to have found more evidence. perhaps Prof. Coe and others at his level of expertise have modified acceptance of Book of Mormon historicity now, in the 21st century

  • Mormon Boy Springville, UT
    April 30, 2011 8:11 a.m.

    Awesome article! Thanks!

  • elchupacabras Idaho Falls, ID
    April 30, 2011 7:05 a.m.

    This is nothing but spin. Another example of journalistic bias. Just because they find "grabados de oro" or codices written on small pieces of gold, does NOT equate them with being plates. That is a massive stretch and a half truth. Might I also suggest that there has never been anything ever found in the Americas written in Reformed Egyptian. Michael D. Coe, a prominent Mesoamerican archaeologist and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University, wrote,

    "As far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the historicity of The Book of Mormon, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group".