B.H. Roberts, an LDS general authority and staunch lifelong defender of the LDS church, struggled with some Book of Mormon difficulties. Does anyone have good answers to these? I’ve read what the apologists have to say and to be honest, they don’t really have good answers. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
1) The huge diversity of languages and cultures in the Americas when Europeans arrived could not have possibly developed in such a short time period (about 1000 years from the fall of the Nephites).
2) The Book of Mormon mentions extensive metallurgy, including the manufacture of metal weapons and armor, including steel. There is no evidence that most groups in the ancient Americas ever advanced beyond вЂњpolished Stone AgeвЂќ technology, and not even the most advanced civilizations smelted iron or steel.
3) The Book of Mormon mentions many animals that apparently didnвЂ™t live in the Americas during that time, including horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, elephants, chickens, etc.
4) The Book of Mormon mentions crops that apparently didnвЂ™t exist in the Americas during that time, including barley and wheat. There is no mention in the Book of Mormon of the actual mainstays of Native Americans of beans, sweet potatoes, squash, manioc, peppers, breadnut, &: fruits.
5) The Book of Mormon mentions chariots several times, yet there is no evidence that the wheel was used for transportation by any civilization in the ancient Americas.
6) There is no archaeological evidence that shows that a Christian or Hebrew civilization existed in the ancient Americas.
7) There is no linguistic evidence that any ancient language in the Americas is related to Hebrew or that any cultureвЂ™s writings are related to Hebrew or Egyptian characters.
Thanks for your consideration.
I have been reading a few of your questions on this board.
I can tell you are struggling with some things in the church.
We all do this there are many things that I my self at times have a problem with but what I have had to realize that no matter the religion you are in there is always going to be questions that we don’t have the answer to or understand.
History is just that History it is fun to learn about it is interesting. but most of it we will never really know the truth about till we die.
In the church you just have to have faith. if you are struggling with something ask Heavenly Father and Jesus for help with this. We can not give you the answers you seek. as we have things we wonder about also.
And most of the answers you will get here are just anti Mormon’s so they can’t help you in any way.
I feel that you are struggling and I’m so sorry. I have never myself doubted the church but there are somethings in it I wonder about.
But what we have to remember is that everyone is human and if something are said or taught that we don’t agree with we need to remember that these are coming from mans point of view and not God himself. If the Prophet says it then it is from God if not then it could just be mans feelings about something and that is not always right.
For instance the book of Mormon I Truly believe but something we need to realize about it is that it is from peoples Journals basically from those day. For instance we have Alma’s journal right yet there were thousand people that lived there at that time we only have Alma’s point of View not all of their and Alma was a man so he had is own opinions which could differ from others.
I don’t know if I’m making any sense I know what I’m trying to right but I don’t think it is coming out right.
any how I just want to say that I hope you find the answers you are looking for.
Well, since I don’t have a complete collection of Hugh Nibley’s works to help answer your question, I am going to turn to this book ":The Gospel of the Great Spirit": by Joshua Moses Bennett (who used to be Jewish) which I have referred to you before. I’m just going to answer 3 of the items listed:
2) Metal tools:
p. 437 ":Yet consider how unreasonable some scholars are not to take into consideration that iron and steel artifacts will in time oxidize and completely disappear through the passing of time. In a few rare cases metal artifacts findings have been reported by the archaeologist in ancient ruins in America. Up to the year 1927 it was not known for certain that ancient Americans knew anything about metal tools. However, investigators often wondered just how the ancients managed to carve stone images without some instrument that was harder than stone. But in that year Professor A. Hyatt Verrill, an American archaeologist, was working among the ruins of one of the ancient cities in Central America, and came upon A STEEL CHISEL. Dscribing his find in the ":World’s Work": for January, 1927, he says: ":Probably one of the most remarkable finds is that of a hardened steel implement in an excavation of ruins at Cocle Panama, at a depth of five and a half feet among broken pottery and embedded in charcoal. If this find stands the test of criticism, then it unlocks the hidden mystery of how those ancient peoples achieved such marvels in architecture and building.": ":I am thoroughly convinced,": states Verrill, ":that these people, as well as many other prehistoric races, possessed iron or steel tools…Iron is the most perishable of metals, and except under most unusual or peculiar conditions, all traces of small iron or steel tools would disappear completely in a few centuries…": ":The discovery of a steel or tempered iron dagger in King Tut-Ankh-Amon’s coffin is a case in point. Despite hundreds, thousands of ancient Egyptian mummies which have been disinterred, this was the first iron weapon found. We must now admit that the Egyptians of King Tut’s time used hardened iron or steel, and yet until definite proof of this was forthcoming archaeologists would not have admitted the possibility. If, in a country like Egypt, where even flowers are perfectly preserved in burials thousands of years old, only one iron implement has been discovered, what chances of finding iron tools would we have in a tropical land, where burials were in the earth?":…":…in Panama…at the temple site, among broken pottery and embedded in charcoal, I found a steel or hardened iron implement. The greater portion is almost completely destroyed by corrosion, but the chisel-shaped end is in good condition. It is so hard that it is scarcely touched by a file and will scratch glass, and with such an implement it would be a simple manner to cut and carve the hardest stone.": (":The Pompeii of Ancient America": in ":World’s Work,": vol. Liii No. 3, pp. 286-287, January 1927). That quote I just gave you in the book is facing a black and white photograph of 14 CHISEL-SHAPED TOOLS which are very carefully fashioned, most of them in a sort of sheaf-design. Also, below are two links about iron smelting in South America and North America. The scholars still have their opinions about how and if and when smelting was used, but these are ACTUAL GEOGRAPHICALLY PROVEN places where smelting could occur. You might want to consider that just because actual smelting remains were not definitely found doesn’t mean they didn’t take place. Consider all the abandoned gold and silver mines in the American Southwest, say in Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, etc. You won’t find evidence of every single step of the mining process at every single mining site, mainly because the heydey of that type of mining ran anywhere from 120 to 400 years ago, and people have moved items or else the remains have decayed with age. Why would it be any different for mining sites which are more like 10 times that age?
Let us look at number 6 next. The author of ":The Gospel of the Great Spirit,": Joshua Moses Bennett, lists so many references to Judaic/Hebrew traditions/parallels that it is impossible to detail all of them here. I will, however, list the basic topics he covers based only on the Index by Subjects, so you can get an idea of what he covers:
The Law of Moses
Bitter Vegetables (Herbs) p. 155
Circumcision, p. 155, 344, 380
CIty of Refuge 118-119, 128, 155
(Consequences of) Convicted of Adultery 119-120
Daily Sacrifice 155
Day of Atonement 128
Feast of First Fruits 126, 128, 155
Feasts 111, 122
Feast of Harvest 155
Feasts of Ingathering 128
Feast of Israel/Feast of Love 155
Feast of Tabernacles 158
Feasts of Twelve Beloved Men who are Employed to Form a Booth or Tent of Green Branches 156
Other laws having parallels in Mesoamerican cultures
Laws of Moses 123
Levitical law 124
Mosaic laws 150, 152, 155 and Rituals 128
Passover, Appendix H, 537, Footnote 9.1 and no
1 and 7: Some Mormons claim that the Hebrews who came over were not the ONLY Americans around. That’s also how they deal with the DNA evidence that demonstrates the natives Americans we know of today came from northeast Asia.
3: I saw a picture of a stone carving that I think was Mayan, and it showed what looked like people and elephants. There were horses in American as recently as 10,000 years ago. Maybe archaeologists are just wrong about when they became extinct.
2 and 4 – 6: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
For a start we are not a cult religion. Secondly we believe that the Book of Mormon is another testimony of Jesus Christ and backs up what the Bible says.
first off i never liked B.H.Roberts as a source for reference.
and even though ive been slammed with all this antimormon rhetoric slowly but surely the actual archeology and truth is proven.
as for languages, they have found hebrew words in america. gregg braden confirms this on nation wide radio.
ive never trusted archeology to tell the truth and they can be just as blind as anyone or even ignore the facts just like the rest of us.
EDIT: I typed out the long response below, but it’s mostly irrelevant. There’s now evidence of pre-columbian chickens. So what? Does it prove anything? No, just like the previously-thought ":lack": of evidence of pre-columbian chickens didn’t prove anything before. Archeology says one thing today, and often says the opposite 25 years later. To base one’s faith on archeology is tantamount to building one’s house upon the sand. And turning to apologetics is NOT tantamount to building one’s house upon the rocks. Turn to God: he exists. Apologetics can provide interesting information, but nothing I said below is going to be enough for you or anyone else. It certainly doesn’t make believe any more or less than I did before. There’s a bit of evidence, but no PROOF, that Jesus even existed, but I know you believe in Jesus Christ, despite the absence of any archeological proof.
First, Elder Roberts didn’t ":struggle": with these things himself, he identified them as potential criticisms that others would make against the Book of Mormon, but that’s besides the point. Second, I hope you realize (as I’m sure you do) that the validity of the Book of Mormon does not rest on the APOLOGETICS ability to answer questions. Whether or not an apologetic’s explanation is valid (unless that apologetic happens to be all-knowing) is irrelevant to whether the Bible and Book of Mormon are valid. They are just people.
1) The Book of Mormon people weren’t the only inhabitants in the Americas. There were already languages being spoken here before the Nephites even arrived.
2) B.H. Roberts referred to this potential criticism almost 100 years ago. Archaeology now shows that some of the pre-columbian civilizations did have swords and armor.
As far as the use of steel and iron, many experts allege that the Olmecs were skilled in the use of iron ore materials. Here’s a link:
Not conclusive (none of this is), but it’s something interesting.
3) Since B.H. Roberts wrote this, evidence of pre-columbian chickens in the Americas has been found.
Here’s a few examples:
Evidence of horses and elephants have also been found, though the findings aren’t quite as strong as for the chickens. In fact, just a couple years ago I watched a show in the History Channel about evidence of elephants in the Americas as late as the first century B.C. We are still discovering new species of animals TODAY, I would EXPECT that we don’t yet know all the types of animals that lived here 2000 years ago.
4) So barley or wheat haven’t been discovered (some LDS claim that barley has been discovered, I don’t know). So? There’s no archeological evidence of people being resurrected either. I have little doubt that evidence of wheat and barley will be discovered, if it hasn’t already. Archaeologists have barely scratched the surface in Central/South America. Also, the fact that the Book of Mormon doesn’t mentioned the food common to their diet is irrelevant. It doesn’t mention whether the Nephites went to the bathroom either. The Book of Mormon purports to be an abridgment of a spiritual record. I doubt the dietary mainstays of the people had much spiritual significance. In other words, based on what the Book of Mormon claims about itself, one wouldn’t expect to find a lot of info about diet.
5) I’m not aware of wheels ":for transportation": being found YET, though they sure built and paved wide enough roads for wheeled transportation. It doesn’t concern me. Maybe wheeled vehicles will be found, or maybe they won’t be. One thing is for sure, it’s a mistake to believe OR not believe in the Book of Mormon based on whether or not wheels have been discovered.
6) This simply isn’t true any more. Look up the Los Lunas Decalogue. It’s debatable whether the Los Lunas Decalogue relates to the Book of Mormon peoples (in fact I don’t think it does), but it shows a Hebrew/middle eastern presence in the Americas long before Christ.
7) Not sure that’s true. One apologetic’s findings (see link below) along these lines seem quite compelling to me.
But even if he’s wrong. The fact that no linguistic evidence has been found doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. There are lots of civilizations we KNOW existed, but from which no writings have been found. It’s not an exact science.
On a side note, I thought this was also interesting: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/unique-translation-of-the-paleohebrew-tanach-558436.html
And in general beta, I’m sure you recognize that lack of evidence is not evidence of lack. One might well respond that lack of evidence is still lack of evidence. True, but we don’t CLAIM that the validity of the Book of Mormon is proved by this stuff in the first place. When the missionaries talk about the Book of Mormon, they don’t talk about evidence of pre-columbian chickens. We bring this stuff up in response to criticisms. It’s interesting stuff, don’t get me wrong, but it’s all a big red herring if one is searching for SPIRITUAL TRUTHS. Archaeology is irrelevant to whether Jesus is the Savior, as well as to whether Bible and Book of Mormon are inspired books.
Geneses 11:9 speaks of one of the cities built after the flood.It was called Babel which means confusion.This was in the land of Shinar in Mesopotamia.This tower was not dedicated to the true God but to false religion and with the motive of making a celebtated name for themselves.
The approximate time of such building may be drawn from the following information,Peleg lived from 2269 to 2030 B.C.E. his name meant division for in his days the earth was divided.Geneses 10:25
It’s great that you question what you read and it is good to study other religions it makes the truth from the Bible shine through.Psalm 119:105
These men took their false religions and different languages with them,as God had forced them to spread over the face of the earth. This is all the Bible says about the subject and I consider the Bible to be the truth and the final say on all subjects because it is from God.1 Timothy 3:16
Proverbs 2:1-9 Exodus 6:3
If you study the first discovery of America before Columbus you will see where the first inhabitants came from and how they got here.They were not Hebrews,and like you said there were no wooly mammoths here.
I do not have answers for you. Thank-you though for being honest about there being difficulties with the Book of Mormon. This honesty seems rare – I can understand the desire for it to be correct though. Kudos for you.
Yeah, each faith that has a special Book as to live with what has been put in it. So the Christians have pieces of the life stories of earlier mythological beings that were inserted into the life of Christ to beef up his resume, and – yes – the Book of Momon has these ":Firefly in reverse": elements in it. Whatever was strange in the minds of the writers has ended up in the Books, no matter how much God was trying to get them to get it right, basically. So sooner or later, you forgive the authors their oddities or you throw out the Book and go on your own quest for spiritual reality.
The apologists have all the answers to your questions. You should pick one of your points and state what the apologist says and then explain your problem with that and then ask how people would respond to that.
Not only have these questions gone unanswered in all this time (Roberts lived a long time ago), there has been additional evidence that his doubts were correct.
There are also new issues. The Book of Abraham, new documents about Smith’s life, the Hofmann forgeries, the race issues.
Mormonism is mired in the 1820s and the world has moved on without it.