Is there any archaeological evidence for the claims made in The Book of Mormon regarding Jesus’ visit to the Americas?
Archaeological science versus claims of The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is advertized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as “another testament of Jesus Christ” and specifically of the account of his supposed visit to the American continent (The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:1-17).
Many scholars and laymen have searched known history of the Americas for evidence that The Book of Mormon is true, as has similarly been done with the Bible in the Middle East. While the Bible continues to prove to be accurate through archaeological findings, evidence for claims made in The Book of Mormon continue to be lacking.
Before I show you some examples of the lack of archaeological evidence to support The Book of Mormon, let me say this; in the hundreds of hours that I have spent witnessing to my Mormon friends, the conversations usually will end with the Mormon stating this; “It really doesn't matter how many ways you disprove the authenticity of The Book of Mormon, I still believe it is true.” I am not saying that it is not important to examine the evidence, because it is. In fact, Scripture says we are to test all things using the Bible as the standard for truth. Show your Mormon friends the inconsistencies in The Book of Mormon and be prepared to test any claim that they make with what the Bible has to say. Finally, pray that what you have shown your friend will take root in his mind and overcome the lie in his heart. Always remember, the Holy Spirit changes peoples hearts—not what we say or do.
According to the Smithsonian Institute of Washington, D.C., USA, the following items (which, according to The Book of Mormon, existed in the Americas between 600 B.C. and 421 A.D.) have absolutely no evidence for existing in the America's during the time in question:
- Silk—Alma 4:6, Nephi 13:7, Alma 1:29
- Horses—Enos 1:21, Alma 18:9, 3 Nephi 3: 1, Nephi 18:25
- Steel—Jarom 1:8, 2 Nephi 5:15,16, 1 Nephi 4:9, 16:18
- Iron—2 Nephi 5:15, 20:34, Jarom 1:8, Mosiah 11:8
- Coins—Alma 11:5-19
- Donkeys—1 Nephi 18:25, Mosiah 5:14, 12:5
- Cattle, Cow, and Oxen—Enos 1:21; 3 Nephi 3:22, 6: 1 Nephi 18:25
- Pigs—3 Nephi 7:8
- Grain and Wheat—Mosiah 9:9; Helaman 11:17
If The Book of Mormon is true, certainly some evidence for the items mentioned above should have been unearthed by modern-day archeologists. But where are the objects of steel, iron, and brass that are mentioned throughout The Book of Mormon? Has the Mormon church uncovered even one coin as mentioned in the book of Alma? Mormon 6:9-15 states that many thousands of men fought a great battle armed with swords, bows, arrows and axes, but have archaeologists discovered any of these items dating back to that time period on this continent? According to Ether 15:2, two million Jaredite peoples (men, women and children) were killed in battle, yet there is not a trace of this battle anywhere. Ether 15:15 claims that men, women, and children armed with shields, breastplates, and headplates, fought a great battle with much loss of life—yet not one article of battle has been found to date.
The Smithsonian Institute has issued a statement regarding archaeological evidence and The Book of Mormon.
The Smithsonian Institution has never used The Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archaeologists see no direct connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.
The Book of Mormon is regarded by some to be nothing more than a story that Joseph Smith constructed in his mind as a boy. In fact, the book History of Joseph Smith (p. 85), written by Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, states:
During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them.
How is it that Joseph Smith told these stories several years before he allegedly found the golden plates and wrote The Book of Mormon?
Mormons sometimes claim that South American ruins supposedly contain proof that Jesus visited this continent. This is simply not true and I encourage those confronted with these claims to find any evidence from non-Mormon archaeologists.
Author: Mike Burns. Edited by: Films for Christ.
For further reading
What are the differences between Mormonism and Christianity? Answer
With so many cults and denominations, how can I decide which are true and which are false? Answer
Should a Christian pray about the Book of Mormon? Answer
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