Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
Helaman 3:8 indicates that the BOM people had eventually inhabited the whole of the American continent. So it is only reasonable to expect that some trace of their existence would have been discovered by now.
Well respected archeologists with no religious axe to grind use stronger language. They insist that it would have been utterly impossible for conclusive evidence of an ancient Book of Mormon civilization not to have been discovered, had its claims been genuine.
Both the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History and the National Geographic Society have issued statements denying that any such evidence has ever come to light.
The LDS leadership from Joseph Smith onwards consistently claimed that the location of major Book of Mormon battles, where millions were slain and where the gold plates had been buried, was the current Hill Cumorah (c/f BOM, Mormon chapter 6 and Ether 15:2; Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 3, Bookcraft, 1956, pages 232 to 243, Joseph Fielding Smith).
Had these battles involving millions of combatants genuinely taken place there would have been a massive amount of evidence left behind in the form of weapons, armour and human remains. But no such evidence has ever been found.
Michael Coe, a respected and well known authority on the archaeology of the New World, stated:
“… The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere.” (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1973, pages. 41, 42, 46)
2 Nephi 5:15 in the Book of Mormon mentions that they had iron, copper, steel, brass, gold and silver technology. But Dr. Matheny, a former Brigham Young University Professor of Anthropology maintains that had this been the case, there would have been some type of evidence left behind:
“… You can’t refine ore without leaving a bloom of some kind or impurities that blossom out and float to the top of the ore… and also the flux of limestone or whatever is used to flux the material … [This] blooms off into silicas and indestructible new rock forms. In other words, when you have a ferroused metallurgical industry, you have these evidences of the detritus that is left over. You also have the fuels, you have the furnaces, you have whatever technologies that were there performing these tasks; they leave solid evidences. And they are indestructible things … No evidence has been found in the new world for a ferrous metallurgical industry dating to pre-Columbian times. And so this is a king-size kind of problem, it seems to me, for the so-called Book of Mormon archaeology. This evidence is absent.” (Ray T. Matheny, Speech at Sunstone Symposium 6, Book of Mormon Archaeology August 25, 1984.)
Thomas Ferguson wrote three books defending the Mormon faith. He also established the New World Archeological Foundation and spent twenty-five years of his life attempting to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. But eventually the lack of any archeological evidence at all, convinced him that the Book of Mormon was a work of fiction (c/f Quest for the Gold Plates, Stan Larsen).
Roberts was a prominent Mormon scholar, who had originally been one of the most passionate defenders of the Book of Mormon. But after a lifetime of research he too concluded that the Book of Mormon was fiction:
“… the evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator.”(Studies in the Book of Mormon, B. H. Roberts, University of Illinois Press, 1985, page 243)
Mormons have written books containing photographs of ancient ruins, artifacts and so on, claiming that they prove that the Book of Mormon is true. However, their evidence has been proved to have been related to a time period far later than that of the supposed BOM inhabitants. The same situation applies to archeological slides that LDS missionaries have shown.
The reality is that there is no known evidence that backs up any of the BOM claims. And the LDS church concurs. In the mid 1970s LDS President Spencer W. Kimball announced in The Church News, that people should stop looking for archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, as there was none. And for quite some time now professors from the LDS’s own Brigham Young University have also been denying the existence of any archeological evidence in favour of the Book of Mormon.
The following links lead to an article on chronological errors in the Book of Mormon and another on Smith’s reluctance to retranslate a section he had already translated but that had gone missing:
Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.