Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Book of Mormon Evidences

Archeology does a better job at uncovering what a civilization looked like at its end, just before its destruction or dispersal because each successive generation builds on top of the remains of the one proceeding it. Consequently, 85% of archaeological evidence for the Bible consists of details about Jerusalem just before the Roman Siege. The earliest NT transcripts only date to 250 AD. Most other evidence for the Bible resides in the Dead Sea Scrolls which date to 250 - 60 BC at the point when the Qumran society was destroyed.

According the the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were not Christian before their destruction. So, it would be unlikely to find Christ in the American Archaeological record other than the tradition of "the great white god," Quetzalcoatl. Again, this is because archeology does a better job of uncovering a society at its end, at the time of its destruction (like Pompeii).

Moroni 9 describes the spiritually bankrupt state of the Nephites at 400-421 AD just before their destruction. Taking into account these "Apocalypto"-like details, the archaeological evidence in support of the gruesome atrocities are considerable.

The Nephites predicted that none of their records would remain in their corrosive, tropical environment other than gold plates. And since their building technology consisted of earth, timber, and metallurgy, I wouldn't expect to find any of this still in tact. Cement wasn't mentioned until near the end of the Book of Mormon and only in the cities northward.

Also, the Book of Mormon claims the Lamanites continually sought to destroy the records of the Nephites. That is why Mormon and Moroni were forced to hide their gold plates up in the Mountain of Comorah in Central America and the Hill Comorah in New York respectively (one shouldn't be confused for the other).

Archaeological and DNA evidence is actually beginning to support claims in the Book of Mormon. Proof of Pre-Colombian contact with the Americas is supported by Egyptian mummies which tested positive for significant amounts of cocaine and tobacco, New World and Old World mummies with genetically similar viruses, and parasites (hookworm). There are studies which genetically link ancient chicken bones in Chile and Polynesia.

Also, the Book of Mormon never claimed that the Nephites would represent the majority of the genetic ancestry of the Native Americans. The Book of Mormon says again and again that only a remnant of their seed (DNA) would remain. They are the principal ancestors only in the spiritual sense according to the covenants of God. Now geneticists have discovered haplotype X2a (clave) which is found among the Amerinds and in the Middle East. Although it is found in only a minor percentage of Native Americans when compared with the other Asian haplogroups, the presence of X2a cannot be explained by current bearing straight, land-migration models or theories (assuming errant scientific dating).

Word-fingerprint analysis studies which support multiple authorship in the Book of Mormon. Hebraisms, Idiomatic expressions, and Jewish poetic style are verified in the Book of Mormon and are believed to be unknown to contemporaries of Joseph Smith.

The concept of Reformed Egyptian is now verified. Complex Egyptian hieroglyphics were simplified by priests to be written with a few simpler brush strokes on papyrus. The earliest form is known as Hieratic which was followed by Demotic and then Coptic. The Book of Mormon claims that an Egyptian Hieratic script was further modified to write on metal plates and used to record Hebrew and not Egyptian. Writing Hebrew with an Egyptian script sounded preposterous to scholars until examples of ancient Semitic writing in hieroglyphics has been recently discovered.

Geography of Lehi's journey through Arabia is geographically verifiable. Candidate sites have been identified. Lush coast, timber, and iron ore has been identified in candidate sites for the Valley of Bountiful in modern Oman.

The Book of Mormon predicts that the Dead Sea Scrolls would be nearly identical to the Bible we now have other than our Bible would not contain as many books. Lehi prophesied that the Brass Plates would not be dimmed any more by time.

Evidence is mounting that Ancient Americans may have had horses, barley, and iron technology. Ancient iron ore, open-pit, mines have been identified in Chile and Iron smelters in North America (google ancient American iron). It is interesting that when Nephi first lays eyes on Laban's sword he is more impressed by its "precious steel" blade than its gold hilt. Scholars believed that steel technology wasn't known to the ancient Jews in 600 BC, but the recent discovery of the Vered Jericho sword (iron blade with bronze hilt) demonstrates that Laban's steel sword and Nephi's steel bow may not have be so far fetched. Also, the detail about Nephi's bow breaking as opposed to wood bows "losing their spring" is perfect science since carbon inclusions in the steel would generate micro-cracks after years of stress eventually resulting in a catastrophic failure (break).

The Book of Mormon contains an interesting health detail. It talks about using roots and plants to treat the "cause" of disease and seasonal fevers instead of ascribing illness to evil spirits, bad air, or sin. This concept of disease is very advanced for the time of Joseph Smith where the germ theory of disease was not developed until decades later by Louis Pasteur.

The warfare in the Book of Mormon is advanced in comparison to the Napoleonic strategy taught at West Point up to the Civil War. The Book of Mormon discusses complex tactics including spying, position fortification, supply lines, retreat, flanking, reinforcements, ambushes, and chemical and biological warfare (liquor).

The Book of Mormon also described advanced concepts in the theory of civilization. It discusses the process of transforming a savage, third-world, hunting-gathering society into one that is ready to support an advanced civilization and missionary work by implementing 6 steps: 1. Agriculture, 2. literacy, 3. Industrialization 4. Free Trade, 5. Religious Liberty, 6. Elected Government.


Zelph said...

Growing up as a member of the church, I understand where you are coming from.

There are many points I would disagree, but I will take issue with 2 of them.

I am not sure what you mean when you say "According to the Book of Mormon, the Nephites were not Christian before their destruction".

According to the BoM I have, the word "Christian" and "Christ" appear numerous times in 2 Nephi, Mosiah and Alma. Perhaps you can better explain your position?

Second thing I will talk about is Quetzalcoatl. In the church, we are led to believe that the Aztecs had a history of a White God that was bearded, wore a white robe and promised to return one day. The story of Quetzalcoatl is very compelling and many LDS members have pointed to the legend of Quetzalcoatl as evidence to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. However, from what I have studied about Quetzalcoatl, I am convinced that it is not Jesus and here is why:

It is only after the Spanish Conquest that Quetzalcoatl is depicted as having a white skin, and then only in accounts provided by the Spaniards themselves. In local Aztec art, he is usually depicted as a feathered serpent or as a human wearing a mask or shown to have a black face, sometimes with yellow stripes and a red mouth...Nothing known of Aztec legend, though, implies that he had been a white man...in his human form on earth. So if we are to believe that Quetzalcoatl was indeed a white God, the only evidence we have to go on is the word of the Spaniards. Quetzalcoatl was never depicted as a white bearded robed man until after the Spaniards came, and only by the Spaniards accounts. All of the local artwork and murals that pre-date Columbus depict him as either a feathered serpent or a dark-skinned man. In other words, Quetzalcoatl was not in any way a white bearded god.

Also, Quetzalcoatl by the lights of native believers, had not been expected to "return". These promises were noted, long after the fact, by the Spanish chroniclers with wit enough to see the advantages of being taken as actors in the fulfillment of prophecy. The Spaniards with their cannon and horses and ships may at first have appeared like supernatural beings but there is little evidence that the Aztec ruler or anyone else in the land thought that the Spanish invasion was a promised Second Coming of the God Quetzalcoatl.

It appears that all these accounts of a white God promising to return one day were nothing more than Spanish political propaganda. Hernán Cortés was a white bearded man that arrived to the Americas.

It was very self-fulfilling for the Spanish chroniclers to portray the Native American deities in a manner that conveniently puts the Spanish in a godlike position over the Native Americans. The only illustrations that depict Quetzalcoatl as a bearded white man are from European documents. None of the depictions from local natives before or after Columbus depict Quetzalcoatl as a bearded man.

The other problem of course is the chronology. The earliest date that Quetzalcoatl could have appeared-as a man- was at least 300 A.D.

There are some good pictures on my site as well regarding Quetzalcoatl.

S.Faux said...

The website "The history of medicine: 1800-1850" says the following: "The Pharmacopoeia of 1820 consisted mainly of herbal medicines... ."

Alma 46:40 is a fascinating verse, but I think its medical view is consistent with the time of Joseph Smith.

BRoz said...

Thanks for the info on Quetzalcoatl. Circumstancial evidence like this is always shifting and changing. I am sure there are those out there who are very motivated to destroy and discredit the story.

From what I have read, Cortez took advantage of this superstition to destroy the Aztecs. So, there must have been some reason the natives confused him with their snake God.

Also, a snake can be considered a symbol of Jesus CHrist. The OT uses a snake as a symbol of Christ when the Children of Israel were bitten by venomous serpants and Moses lifted up a snake on a staff and those that looked at it were healed. THis was an obvious forshadowing of Christs crucificion. And the snake on a staff is used as a symbol of modern medicine today for this reason.

However, I recognize that many superstitious societies use a snake as a symbol for something so, I agree that this is a very weak detail but I still consider it compeling.

See the following link for more information and research on this subject.


Anonymous said...

It might be beneficial to provide references to primary or even secondary sources. It's good to put all this information in one place, but you haven't provided anywhere to verify what you're claiming.
By comparison the guy who did the 'Letter to a CES director' has like a thousand references to his claims, all linked.
I find it hard to legitimise evidence that doesn't provide any credible source as a reference point to the reader.
You make some good points though, some I've never considered