Category Archives: Book of Mormon Archaeology and Geography

Smithsonian Institution Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon

Some Latter-day Saints, in their zeal to give tangible authenticity to the Book of Mormon, have told prospective converts that the Smithsonian Institution has used the Book of Mormon to verify sites in the New World. In response to numerous requests on this subject, the Smithsonian has issued the following paper detailing their position on the matter. 

Information from the National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560

Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon

Nephite Synagogues: Where Did They Originate?

By Edward Mellott 

It is not unusual to encounter, in literary works, details that are out of place as to their time. Those are called ‘anachronisms’ which are placed by the writer in a time before the objects existed. An example of this is the mention of a clock in the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare. (Chiming clocks did not exist in ancient Rome.) Some ‘anachronisms’ are more serious, though.

Was Jesus born "at Jerusalem"?

In the early 1990s we wrote two articles and an unpublished manuscript about the mistake that we believe Joseph Smith made in the Book of Mormon regarding the origin of Jesus’ birth. We received immediate feedback from the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), an organization based at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, telling us that our research was flawed. Several criticisms were published by the group, including a paper by Daniel Peterson, William Hamblin, and Matthew Roper in 1995 entitled “On Alma 7:10 and the Birthplace of Jesus Christ.”

It is obvious that this is a very sensitive issue with these Mormons. According to them, Alma was referring to the surrounding area of Jerusalem and not the city itself. They insist that Alma was a real person, so to credit him with saying that Christ would someday be born in Jerusalem and not in Bethlehem would be a serious faux pas. To say otherwise casts doubt upon the historicity of Mormonism’s sacred Book of Mormon.


Can a Myth be Scripture?


One of the primary reasons millions of Christians believe the Bible is the Word of God is its historicity. The Bible speaks of real people and real events. Even though not every place named in the Bible has actually been located, enough sites have been discovered to give the Bible a considerable amount of trust.

On the other hand, Mormons must place an inordinate amount of trust in a book that has virtually no historical evidence to support its authenticity. No discoveries have been made in the New World to give credence to any of the places mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The LDS Church has yet to produce any clear evidence to support the notion that Nephites and Jaredites were real people groups that existed outside of Smith’s imagination. The idea that the Indian people are Semitic ancestors of the Book of Mormon “Lamanites” also has its share of problems, both historically and genetically.


DNA and the Book of Mormon Record


By Bill McKeever

NHM – A Place Name from the Book of Mormon?

At the Worlds of Joseph Smith Conference held in Washington, D.C. in May 2005, BYU professor John Welch spoke about circumstantial pieces of evidence that he believes substantiates Joseph Smith’s claim as a prophet. Among the list of


Welch supplied was an inscription on a stone from the country of Yemen, which is located on the Saudi Arabian peninsula. Welch is not the first Mormon apologist to use this stone to legitimize the authenticity of both Joseph Smith and the

Book of Mormon

. The question is, does this stone really have any great significance?

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