Evidence in Support of the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon and its claims have been a hot topic for a very long time now. However, many of the discussions have been attempts to disprove the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is time for latter-day saints to stand tall and strong, and to put an end to our silence. I will provide my readers with some evidence that gives even greater validity to what we as Mormons say and teach.
Have you ever read a chapter of the Book of Mormon?
When one opens a book of Mormon, one discovers some history about the records before the primary scriptures are presented. In a section titled A Brief Explanation about the Book of Mormon we learn that the writings of the following pages originated on Native American plates.
"The Book of Mormon is a sacred record of peoples in ancient America and was engraved upon metal plates." - The Book of Mormon
The idea of metallic books is absurd to some people. However, there does exist a historical precedent for such things. According to an article by the Daily Mail (linked below), "[a]n ancient set of lead tablets" were found in the Middle East.
"The metal 'pages', held together like a ring binder, were found in Jordan in around 2008 by an Jordanian Bedouin and make reference to Christ and his disciples." - Daily Mail
Thus, metal books were an item of the ancient world. Archaeology gives support to one of the founding blocks of Mormon religion. Further, it should be mentioned that writing on tablets was also common in the ancient world. Even mail in ancient Iran was written on and sent in hardened clay. Clearly, using hard surfaces for writing was a relatively common practice among the ancients. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that there were books in the ancient Americas. I bring this up about the books, because many individuals are unfortunately unaware of how advanced some civilizations in the ancient Americas truly were.
Native American Jews
One claim from us Mormons that often bothers people is that at least some of the Native Americans were Jews who came from the Middle East originally. We preach that some of the Native Americans were descended from the Lamanites (a Hebraic people). In the section titled Introduction within the Book of Mormon, we read:
"After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians." - The Book of Mormon
This claim might seem ridiculous to you at first. However, science again backs our faith. The Jewish Chronicle published an article (linked below) stating that, according to one Donald Yates (a geneticist), members of the Cherokee Nation could be Jewish!
"[T]here is compelling evidence that within the Cherokee nation of American Indians, mothers and other matrilineal forbearers bear bona fide Middle East Jewish genetic markers." - The Jewish Chronicle
The article goes on to inform us that this heritage could predate the arrival of Columbus! Historically, it is well known that the Hebrews traveled a lot. More and more DNA tests are confirming that the Prophet Abraham was indeed "a father of many nations" (Genesis 17:5 KJV).* The early latter-day saints said that some of the Native Americans came from the house of Israel, and genetics gives us additional proof.
We, as Mormons, state that ship travel to the Americas predates Christopher Columbus' visit. Talk of the construction of a ship destined for the Americas can be found in the First Book of Nephi in The Book of Mormon. Is this crazy talk? No, not at all. Alasdair Wilkins, in a piece he wrote (linked below), tells us that we have known about Viking arrival to the Americas since the 1960s. When mentioning Viking remains discovered on a site in the Americas, Wilkins states:
"[t]he site dates back about 1000 years, and the remains of eight buildings survive. The structures and artifacts found at the site have definitive similarities to those in corresponding sites in Iceland and Greenland." - Alasdair Wilkins
There definitely exists archaeological precedent to suggest that travel to the Americas from Eurasia was indeed a thing. It would actually be sillier to attempt at suggesting anything to the contrary at this day and age!
Were not the earliest horses in the Americas brought over by the post-Columbian Europeans? This hypothesis doesn't necessarily hold well to the ground. In The Book of Mormon we read of claims that horses were already on American soil before the arrival of Columbus. In fact, the word "horses" occurs thirteen times in this book. This is insane, right? It is not crazy in the least. Besides the scriptures, there is scientific evidence to back this claim too! In an article by Craig C. Downer (also linked below), one reads that:
"A considerable body of evidence has surfaced concerning the more recent survival of the horse species in North America. Though the prevailing view maintains that the entire horse family died out around 10,000 years ago at the end of Earth's last major glaciation, evidence for horse presence from anywhere from a little over 7,000 years before present (YBP) to less than 1,000 YBP is too substantial to dismiss." - Craig C. Downer
Downer continues with evidence, such as a "horse geoglyph" in California that is dated to roughly 900 years old. It should be notes that many of the events mentioned in The Book of Mormon are dated at earlier than 2,000 years ago!
Although many people try to disprove the claims of Mormon scripture, objective and honest scientific research seems only to confirm the claims written in our holiest of texts. The truth should only continue to flourish as time goes on.
*To clarify, Hebrews are descendants of the Prophet Abraham (formerly Abram). Many individuals have been finding trace amounts of Jewish ancestry by way of genetic testing. Heavenly Father promised that Father Abraham's posterity would be great and modern science has been validating G-d's promise.
Downer, Craig C. “The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America.” American Journal of Life Sciences, vol. 2, no. 1, 2014, pp. 5–23., doi:10.11648/j.ajls.20140201.12.
“Is This the First Written Mention of Jesus? 2,000-Year-Old Lead Tablets Found in a Remote Cave ARE Genuine, Claim Researchers.” The Daily Mail, 30 Nov. 2016.
Lazarus, David. “Big Chief Rabbi: Why Cherokees Could Be Jewish.” The Jewish Chronicle, Thejc.com, 30 Sept. 2016, www.thejc.com/news/world/big-chief-rabbi-why-cherokees-could-be-jewish-1.53565.
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ ; Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ; Pearl of Great Price. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2013.
Wilkins, Alasdair. “How Many Groups Reached the Americas before Christopher Columbus?” io9, io9.Gizmodo.com, 16 Dec. 2015, io9.gizmodo.com/5787034/how-many-groups-reached-the-americas-before-christopher-columbus.
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© 2018 Alexander James Guckenberger