[Käännös on kesken.]
Samoin kuin raamattu, esittäytyy Mormonin kirjakin
Jumalan itsestään ilmoittavana historiallisena aikakirjana
ihmissuvulle. Molemmat kirjat kertovat Jeesuksesta Kristuksesta,
ja eri profeetoista, jotka tuntuvat näyttäytyvän
ihmisille, jotka esitetään ihmisen historian todellisuudessa
tiettyinä aikoina ja tietyissä paikoissa eläneille
kansoille. Nämä historiallisuuden väitteet ovat ajaneet
tutkijoita etsimään arkeologisia todisteita MK:ssa kuvattujen
kansojen ja tapahtumien olemassaololle. He tekevät aiheen Mormonin
kirjan arkeologiasta asiaankuuluvaksi.
On tietenkin rajansa sillä, mitä arkeologia
voi tutkia. Se ei sovellu todistamaan oikeaksi tai vääräksi
MK:n yliluonnollisia väitteitä tai hengellisiä totuuksia.
Etsimällä todisteita MK:ssa kuvatuille sivilisaatioille
arkeologia voi kuitenkin auttaa meitä arvioimaan tämän
pyhän aikakirjan historiallista uskottavuutta. Todisteilla,
jotka koskevat sen historiallisia väitteitä, voi olla
merkitystä sille, tunnemmeko luottamusta sen hengelliseen sanomaan.
MK kuvailee asukkaidensa maailmaa tiimalasin muotoiseksi maamassaksi,
joka muodostuu "etelänpuoleisesta maasta", jotka
ympäröi meri paitsi "kapean kannaksen" kohdalla,
mikä yhdistää sen "pohjoisenpuoleiseen maahan"
(Alma 22:32). Näiden maa-alojen paikannusta tarvitaan ennen
kuin voidaan arkeologisin keinoin arvioida Mormonin kirjaa, kuten
Voisi odottaa, että Mormonin kirjan maiden maantieteellisen
sijoituksen päätteleminen on melko yksinkertainen asia.
Aiheesta on päin vastoin kehkeytynyt melkoisen riidanalainen,
kun nykyajan mormonioppineiden teoriat joutuvat vastakkain kirkon
perinteisten opetusten kanssa.
Joseph Smithin ja häntä seuraavien MAP-kirkon presidenttien
ja apostolien mukaan Mormonin kirjan maat käsittivät lähestulkoon
koko Pohjois- ja Etelä-Amerikan.2 Joseph
Smith tunnisti Chilen rannikon paikaksi, jonne Lehin matkue rantautui
Uudessa maailmassa,3 kun taas Kumoran kukkula,
tarunomaisen nefiläisten ja laamanilaisten sukupuuttoon asti
käydyn taistelun tanner, sijaitsi hänen mukaansa sieltä
noin 9 600 kilometrin päässä Palmyrassa, New
Yorkin osavaltiossa. Näin Pohjois- ja Etelä-Amerikan käsitettiin
muodostavan tiimalasin leveät osat, ja niitä yhdistävä
"kapea kannas" Väli-Amerikaksi.4
Joseph Smith opetti myös, että Amerikan intiaanit olivat
laamanilaisten jälkeläisiä. Kirkon virallinen historia History of the Church kertoo tapauksesta kesäkuulta
v. 1834 jolloin hän tunnisti jumalallisen ohjauksen avulla
luurangon, joka oli löydetty intiaanien hautakummusta Illinoisissa.
Smith sanoi, että luut olivat kuuluneet Zelph-nimiselle laamanilaissoturille:
... the visions of the past being opened to my understanding
by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered the person whose skeleton
was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and
a man of God. His name was Zelph ... who was known from the Hill
Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky mountains.5
The LDS Church continues to teach that Native Americans are the
direct descendents of Book of Mormon peoples. For example, the "Introduction"
in current editions of the Book of Mormon (since 1981), describes
the Lamanites as, "the principal ancestors of the American
Miksi mormonioppineet vastustavat
Despite the teaching of the Church's spiritual leaders,
unquestioned for a hundred years, a number of Mormon scholars have
concluded that the traditional view of Book of Mormon geography
is unrealistic. Their conclusions are based on a number of major
problems that arise when one attempts to apply Book of Mormon descriptions
of travel times and population growth to the vast territories of
North and South America. For instance, while the Book of Mormon
makes it clear that the rival Nephite and Lamanite civilizations
were centered near the "narrow neck" of land (understood
to be somewhere in Central America), it says that they agreed to
meet for their epic final battle at the "hill Cumorah"
(Mormon 6:1-6). Joseph Smith and Mormon tradition locate this site
several thousand miles distant in New York state. It is difficult
to find a reasonable explanation for why the armies would travel
this immense distance to do battle.
Another significant problem for traditional Book of Mormon geography
involves the premise that the native populations of the vast North
and South American continents are the descendents of two tiny groups
of transoceanic Semitic immigrants (the Jaredites, who arrived in
the New World between 3000 - 2000 B.C. but later battled themselves
to extinction, and the Nephites and Mulekites, who arrived beginning
about 600 B.C.). Archaeological evidence shows conclusively that
the western hemisphere was populated at least as far back as 10,000
B.C. by east Asian peoples who migrated across the Bering Strait.
It is these Mongolian peoples who are the ancestors of the American
Indians, according to the Smithsonian Institution:
The American Indians are physically Mongoloids and thus must
have originated in eastern Asia. The differences in appearance
of the various New World tribes in recent times are due to (1)
the initial variability of their Asian ancestors; (2) adaptations
over several millennia to varied New World environments; and (3)
different degrees of interbreeding in post-Columbian times with
people of European and African origins."6
There is no solid evidence for immigration via other routes involving
long sea voyages (prior to the Norse arrivals from Greenland and
Newfoundland about A.D. 1000), as proposed by the Book of Mormon,
and if such voyages did occur, they were not significant for the
origins and composition of New World populations.7
Rajoitetun maantiedon teoria
In order to remove these inherent improbabilities and protect
the credibility of the Book of Mormon as authentic history, a number
of LDS scholars have proposed a new approach to Book of Mormon geography
called the "limited geography theory." The most influencial
proponent of this view is Prof. John L. Sorenson of Brigham Young
University. Sorenson restricts the Book of Mormon setting to an
approximately 400-mile-long section of Central America, with the
Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico corresponding to the "narrow
neck" of the hourglass-shaped land mass described above.8
While the limited geography theory appears to resolve some of the
flaws of traditional Book of Mormon geography, it creates other
problems that are equally serious. It conflicts with details in
the Book of Mormon, contradicts the teaching of a long line of LDS
presidents and apostles, and in the end cannot produce a single
piece of archaeological evidence that can be identified as Nephite
or Jaredite (a fact which BYU professors such as Hugh Nibley, Bruce
W. Warren, and David J. Johnson all acknowledge).9
Kaksi Kumoran kukkulaa?
One area of major contradiction between the limited geography
theory and the Book of Mormon concerns the identity and location
of the hill Cumorah. Sorenson locates Cumorah in Central America,
at a site only 90 miles from the "narrow neck". While
this removes an unrealistic requirement of the traditional view,
which has the two armies marching thousands of miles north to do
battle at what is now Palmyra, New York, it conflicts with the Book
of Mormon description of Cumorah as "an exceeding great distance"
from the narrow neck into the "land northward" (Helaman
3:3,4). If the Isthmus of Tehuantepec Sorenson's "narrow
neck" of land at 120 miles across is "narrow,"
how can the 90 miles from the "narrow neck" to Sorenson's
Cumorah fit the Book of Mormon description of "an exceeding
The limited geography theory also seems to be at odds with the
Book of Mormon by requiring two Cumorahs. This is necessary since
it locates the final Nephite-Lamanite battle at a Cumorah in Central
America, whereas Joseph Smith retrieved the Book of Mormon plates
from the traditional hill Cumorah in New York State. This also leaves
Moroni with the task of single-handedly transporting the hefty Book
of Mormon plates (not to mention the entire Nephite library) over
two thousand miles to the New York Cumorah.
Another major discrepancy of the limited geography theory
is the 45 degree directional skewing that results when the geographic
features of the Book of Mormon are superimposed onto the proposed
Central American site. Map
2 illustrates the problem. It shows that the Book of Mormon's
"land northward" and "land southward" are actually
oriented along a northwest-southeast line. This places the "east
sea" and "west sea" almost directly north and south
of these proposed Book of Mormon lands. It is clear from the Bible
that the ancient Israelites used the rising sun as the basis for
directional orientation (e.g., Exodus 27:13; 38:13; Numbers 2:3;
Ezekiel 8:16). Therefore, one must ask, "Would Hebrew immigrants
arriving at the proposed Central American site and using the sun
as their directional reference, have arrived at the severely skewed
directional orientation suggested by Sorenson?"
Still another conflict is the absence of the "sea north"
and the "sea south" (Helaman 3:8). In the traditional
view, these descriptions correspond to the Atlantic Ocean below
the tip of the South America (Cape Horn), and the Arctic Ocean north
of North America, respectively. Editions of the Book of Mormon from
1888 to 1921 included a note to this effect at Helaman 3:8-9. Because
of these conflicts with Mormon tradition and Book of Mormon internal
evidence, the limited geography theory has been repeatedly condemned
by LDS leaders, including Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. (10th President),
Harold B. Lee (11th President), and Bruce R. McConkie.11
In 1978 the Church News labeled it "harmful" and a "challenge"
to the "words of the prophets concerning the place where Moroni
buried the records."12
Book of Mormon geography raises a theological dilemma: on the one
hand, the traditional view produces a number of improbabilities
that undermine the historical credibility of the Book of Mormon;
on the other hand, the limited geography approach rejects the clear
pronouncements of Joseph Smith and subsequent presidents and apostles,
and conflicts with Book of Mormon teaching on a number of important
Erään mormoniarkeologin johtopäätös
As was noted earlier, the Bible and the Book of Mormon
are alike in presenting themselves as records of ancient history.
However, whereas the authenticity of the Bible is widely accepted
even by secular scholars (see article titled "Does Archaeology
Support the Bible?"), no non-LDS archaeologist accepts the
Book of Mormon as authentic history, and now even many LDS scholars
no longer support its historicity.13 Why do archaeologist
take such a dim view of the Book of Mormon?
One of the best answers to this question was offered by former
Brigham Young University anthropology professor, Dr. Raymond T.
Matheny at an August 25, 1984 Sunstone conference in Salt Lake City.14
After working in the area of Mesoamerican archaeology for twenty-two
years, Prof. Matheny reported his conclusion that the scientific
evidence simply does not support the existence of the peoples and
events chronicled in the Book of Mormon, be it in Central America
or anywhere else in the western hemisphere.
Dr. Matheny described the Book of Mormon as filled with anachronisms
things that are out of place historically and culturally.
It introduces Old World cultural achievements into the pre-Columbian
Americas, though the archaeological evidence shows no such levels
of culture were attained during this period. Defenders of the historicity
of the Book of Mormon are left with only scattered bits of evidence
which they interpret apart from accepted scientific standards. The
following are among the more significant Book of Mormon anachronisms
described by Prof. Matheny:
Nephite civilization is depicted as having iron and other metal
industries; we read of metal swords and breastplates, gold and silver
coinage, and even machinery. However, according to Matheny, there
is no evidence that any Mesoamerican civilization attained such
an industry during Book of Mormon times (terminus ad quo: A.D. 421).
He pointed out that an iron industry is not a simple feat involving
a few people, but a complex process that requires a specialized
socio-economic context and leaves virtually indestructible archaeological
evidence. However, Matheny reports that:
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 so-called Book of Mormon
archeology. The evidence is absent.15
Prof. Matheny noted that while scattered iron artifacts have been
found in pre-Columbian settings, in the absence of evidence of a
metallurgical industry, they must be accounted for by random means,
such as meteorites. A few random, scattered artifacts are not a
basis for scientific conclusions.16
Vanhan maailman viljatuotteita
The Book of Mormon depicts the Nephites as producing wheat, barley,
flax (linen), grapes, and olives, but none of these products existed
in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. As with iron, Matheny pointed out
that a complex economic and so- cial level is required to produce
these products as they are portrayed in the Book of Mormon:
There's a whole system of production of wheat and barley ...
It's a specialized production of food. You have to know something
to make flax [the source of linen], and especially in tropical
climates. Grapes and olives ... all these are cultures that are
highly developed and amount to systems, and so the Book of Mormon
is saying that these systems existed here.17
Matheny noted that a 1983 Science magazine article describing
barley found in a pre-Columbian setting is wrongly claimed as support
for the Book of Mormon because the grain described was not a domesticated
old world barley.18
Vanhan maailman eläimiä
Another whole group of anachronisms involve various old world domesticated
animals which the Book of Mormon describes as integral to Nephite
culture. These include asses, cows, goats, sheep, horses, oxen,
swine, and elephants. Here again, Matheny pointed out that these
domesticated animals are each specializations that require a specific
cultural level not attained in the pre-Columbian Americas:
You don't just have a cow or a goat or a horse as an esoteric
pet or something. There is a system of raising these things, and
the picture that is painted for me as I read this, and others
too, is that we have [in Book of Mormon portrayals]... domestic
animals and so forth in the New World.19
Is it valid to claim, as some defenders of the historicity of the
Book of Mormon do, that these names cow, horse, etc.
are simply being used as substitutes for native New World animals
such as peccaries or tape deer? Matheny argues that this is not
legitimate because the Book of Mormon descriptions occur in specific
literary contexts that assume complex old world systems for the
raising and use of the various domestic animals:
I mean in Alma there [18:10; 20:6,8] , you know he's using the
stable there preparing the horses for King Lamoni, and also he's
preparing the King's chariots because they're going to take a
trip from one city to another over the royal highway. And also
the horses are pastured, no less. So there are contexts within
the Book of Mormon itself. These are not just substitutions, it
seems to me, but the authors of the Book of Mormon there are providing
the context, they're not trying to describe a tape deer or something
else, it seems to me. This is a weak way to try to explain the
presence of these names in the Book of Mormon.20
Ei sijaa Uudessa maailmassa
Mathenyn kokonaisarvio on, että arkeologia ei tarjoa
mitään tukea Mormonin kirjalle historiallisena teoksena:
"Sanoisin arvioidessani Mormonin kirjaa, ettei sillä ole
mitään sijaa Uudessa maailmassa."
Professori Matheny ei ole yksin arvionsa kanssa. Erittäin
arvostettu Väli-Amerikan arkeologian tutkiaj Michael Coe on
Alastomat tosiasiat ovat ne, ettei missään Uuden maailman
kaivauksessa ole tullut ilmoille mitään, yhtään
mitään, mikä saisi puolueettoman tutkijan uskomaan,
että Mormonin kirja, kuten Joseph Smith väitti, olisi
historiallinen dokumentti, joka kertoo pallonpuoliskollemme tulleiden
varhaisten siirtolaisisten historiasta.21
Tämä artikkeli alkoi myönnöllä, että
arkeologiaa ei voida käyttää suoraan todistamaan
oikeaksi tai vääräksi Mormonin kirjan tai raamatun
hengellisiä väitteitä. Arkeologia voi kuitenkin arvioida
kummankin kirjan historiallisia väitteitä, ja sellainen
arviointi osoittaa, että kun objektiiviset todisteet osoittavan
raamatun olevan autenttista historiaa, niin samaa ei voida sanoa
Luke P. Wilson
- Ks. esim. John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for
the Book of Mormon, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and Provo:
Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1985), p.
- That Joseph Smith and successive generations of Mormon presidents
and apostles taught that the Nephites and Lamanites ranged over
all or most of South and North America and fought a battle to
extinction at the Hill Cumorah in New York State, is documented
by Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th President of the LDS Church, in
his well known work, Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols. (Bookcraft,
- Ks. Joseph Smithin "Lehi's Travels" revelation in
Franklin D. Richards and James A. Little, A Compendium of the
Gospel, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons
Co., 1884), p. 289.
- This geographical overview was spelled out in the footnotes
of editions of the Book of Mormon from 1876 through 1920.
- History of the Church, 1948 ed., II: 79-80.
- "Origin of the American Indians," National Museum
of Natural History-Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.,
1985, p. 1.
- Sorenson's theory is detailed in his book, An Ancient American
Setting for the Book of Mormon, (Deseret Book, 1985).
- Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, (Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1964, 1979), p. 370; Bruce W. Warren,
"Book Reviews," BYU Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Summer
1990), p. 134; David J. Johnson, "Archaeology," in Encyclopedia
of Mormonism, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 1:62-63.
- As noted by Dan Vogel, "Book of Mormon Geography,"
p. 32, unpublished paper, no date.
- Church News, 10 September 1938, pp. 1,6; reprinted, 27
February 1954, pp. 2,3; and compiled by Bruce R. McConkie in Doctrines
of Salvation, op. cit., 3:233.
- Deseret News, Church News 48, No. 30 (29 July 1978):
p. 16, as cited by Harry L. Ropp, Are the Mormon Scriptures
Reliable?, revised ed. (Inter-Varsity Press, 1987), pp. 60,
61; cf. also Vogel, pp. 3,4.
- Michael Coe, "Mormons and Archeology: An Outside View,"
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Summer
1973), p. 42 ". . . as far as I know there is not
one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon,
who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing
to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few
Mormon archaeologists who join this group."
- Most of the anachronisms discussed by Prof. Matheny are also
mentioned by the eminent (non-Mormon) Mesoamerican archaeologist
Michael Coe in the Dialogue article cited in note 13, pp.
- Matheny, p. 23.
- Ibid., p. 24.
- Ibid., p. 29.
- Ibid., p. 28.
- Ibid., p. 30.
- Coe, p. 46.