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Arkeologia ja Mormonin kirja

Paikkoja, ihmisiä, kaupunkeja ja kolikoita

Many Mormons will claim archaeological support for the Book of Mormon and try to place its cities and lands in Central and Middle America. But, unlike the Bible which has much detailed archaeological support, the Book of Mormon has very little that is officially recognized by the Mormon Church. Members will claim many things but there is no or little official recognition of these claims.

This was demonstrated in the Mormon teaching manual Book of Mormon, Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, page 163. This page is titled "Possible Book of Mormon Sites." The main idea in the title (Possible Sites) is reinforced at the bottom of the page with the following statement: "No effort should be made to identify points on this map with any existing geographical locations."

If Book of Mormon sites (cities and places) were known this would have been the place to say so. The reality is, with few exceptions, no coins and artifacts and few people, cities and places identified in the Book of Mormon have ever been officially located by the Mormon Church. Exceptions include Joseph Smith, the City of Manti and Hill Cumorah (near Palmyra, New York).

Hill Cumorah is the place where Joseph Smith allegedly received the gold plates that he allegedly translated into the Book of Mormon and the place where two great extermination battles allegedly took place (Ether 15:2, 11; Mormon 6:9-15, 8:2-3). Joseph Smith had the following to say about the City of Manti:

The camp passed through Huntsville, in Randolph County [Missouri], which has been appointed as one of the Stakes of Zion, and is the ancient site of the City of Manti.... (The Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, "History of Joseph Smith", Vol. 16, p. 296)

The City of Manti is mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The index of this book under Manti, Land of, has: "most southerly land of Nephites" and under Manti, City of, it has: "chief city in land of Manti." All this information then leads to the conclusion that the Land of Manti is allegedly in the State of Missouri, in the United States. Mormon historian and Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, in his book Doctrines of Salvation, Volume 3, pages 239-241, came to the same conclusion. It still remains, there is no archaeological evidence in support of the Book of Mormon officially accepted by the Mormon Church.

Eläimiä, kasveja ja metalleja

The Book of Mormon in its main story line (roughly 600 BC to AD 400, which excludes the Book of Ether) speaks of a variety of animals, plants and metals that existed during its time frame:

  • Rauta: 2 Nefi 5:15, 20:34; Jaarom 1:8; Moosia 11:8.
  • Teräs: 1 Nefi 4:9, 16:18; 2 Nefi 5:15.
  • Aasi: 1 Nefi 18:25; Moosia 5:14, 12:5.
  • Hevonen: Alma 18:9; 3 Nefi 3:22 (hevosia käytettiin vaunujen vetämiseen); 1 Nefi 18:25; Enos 1:21.
  • Karja, lehmä, härkä: Enos 1:21; 3 Nefi 3:22, 6: 1 Nefi 18:25.
  • Sika (emakko): 3 Nefi 7:8.
  • Vilja, vehnä: Moosia 9:9; Helaman 11:17.
  • Silkki: 1 Nefi 13:7; Alma 1:29.

Archaeologists and the prestigious Smithsonian Institution say that the Americas (New World) had none of the principle Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the dog, which the Book of Mormon mentions only once, 3 Nephi 7:8). There were NO horses of any size in the 600 BC to AD 400 period; NO elephants, iron, steel, wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs, chickens, donkeys (asses) and silk in the New World during the Book of Mormon time frame. There were traces of items made from meteoric iron/steel, but the technology to make iron and steel was not present. The above listed items did not start to arrive in the New World until the Old World peoples brought them starting roughly in the AD 1500 time period.

Sadat tuhannet kuolevat jättämättä jälkeensä esineitä?

The Book of Mormon has:

He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children....And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill [Hill Cumorah, near Palmyra, New York] where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred. (Ether 15:2, 11, also see verses 15-30)

These are the pre-Nephite people (the Jaredites) who were just coming to their end with the arrival of the main story-line Book of Mormon people, Lehi and his family as they arrived from Jerusalem in BC 600. The final Jaredite battle allegedly took place on the same Hill Cumorah as the following extermination battle between the Nephites and the Lamanites in AD 385. Other verses have:

And when they had gone through and hewn down all my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people who were hewn down, being led in the front by me. And we also beheld the ten thousand of my people who were led by my son Moroni. And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst. And Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand; and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Jeneum had fallen with his ten thousand; and Cumenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their ten thousand each. And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even all my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also a few who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth. (Mormon 6:11-15)

And now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed. And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will slay me, I know not. (Mormon 8:2-3)

This is the extermination battle on Hill Cumorah in AD 385 that allegedly killed 240,000 Nephite (This does not include wives and children who were also present; Mormon 6:7.) warriors, and probably the same number of Lamanites, including Zelph. The Book of Ether in the Book of Mormon also related that another great battle took place there hundreds of years earlier, (see Ether 15, part of which is above).

It seems reasonable to expect that items that would not decay easily, such as arrow heads, stone axe heads, copper, silver, and gold items, gold and silver coins (see Alma Chapter 11 heading and 11:4-19) would be found in farming of the land and in excavations at the site. Iron and steel would leave their oxides, that is the rust as they decayed. Also note that in 1834 Joseph Smith claimed to have found the bones of Zelph, a white Lamanite, who was killed in the "last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites" at Hill Cumorah. (History of the Church, June 3, 1834, 2:79-80; Times and Seasons, 6:788.)

So at the very least some bones should also be found. But the reality is no unusual artifacts have ever been found at or around Hill Cumorah. This is the case even though major construction has taken place on and at the base of the hill. A four lane road has been built at the base of Hill Cumorah, a paved road was built to the top of the hill and the visitors center was constructed part way up the hill.

No matter what Mormons may say, there is just no archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Church has little official information in support of alleged proof.


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 2000-10-13 — 2004-08-27