Status of Book of Mormon Claims

A friend alerted me to the following graphics from the FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research):

Status of Book of Mormon Claims in 1842

Status of Book of Mormon Claims in 2005

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (OK, I admit it. I laughed). As long as I can remember, Mormon apologists have been making rather ridiculous claims about how much support, if any, there is for the Book of Mormon as an ancient document. Years ago, Mormon archaeologists were sure they would find Nephite cities and artifacts among the ruins of ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. After decades of fruitless searching and dubious claims, Mormon apologists decided to try “to find Mesoamerica in the Book of Mormon rather than the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica” (Brant Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 1:4, 2007). Generally, this means drawing parallels and declaring “points of convergence.” Probably the best example of such a convergence-oriented apologetic is John Clark’s “Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief.

The problem, of course, is that even the strained parallels they find don’t work (see my response to Clark here), and people like Brant Gardner are left insisting that the technologies, weapons, foods, and animals described in the Book of Mormon don’t mean what we think they mean. Despite all their best efforts, the Book of Mormon just does not work in an ancient American setting.

4 Responses to Status of Book of Mormon Claims

  1. Chris says:

    If I had the time, I would love to use Mopologist’s methods to show the historicity of, say, the Lord of the Rings (or maybe there’s a better book for that).

  2. uft36 says:

    I know you don’t believe in the Book of Mormon or the Church for that matter but I wanted to share my blog with you. Please don’t lump me into the apologist category. I don’t agree with nor follow any of these members myself. I have been working on this Book of Mormon lands for 5 years now and I believe I am getting real close to figuring out the history of the native peoples of these lands. I never set out to prove that the Book of Mormon is true or not. That is up to the individual to decide. It is just a puzzle and a mystery that I like to work on. The only thing that really ties all the peoples together is the Great White God religion that is prevalent throughout the Americas. There may never be absolute proof that the Book of Mormon is true but why does that matter? It has lessons and teachings that we can learn from and apply to our lives just like the Bible. I and others like to learn about history and if it gives someone peace of mind that they have discovered something tangible that ties into their beliefs why challenge it? I don’t necessarily agree with all the conclusions that these researchers have presented but at least we are getting more pieces of the puzzle in learning our true history of our world, irregardless of whether they are called Nephites, Jaredites, Jews, etc. Keep an open mind and maybe you will learn something new.

  3. runtu says:

    Thank you for the note. I’ll definitely check out your blog. True, I do not believe that the Book of Mormon is an actual record of an ancient people, but I have no interest in “proving” anything about it. If it works for you and brings you closer to God, that’s great.

  4. runtu says:

    There, I even added a link to your blog. I enjoy discussing Mormon subjects, so long as it can be cordial and civil.

    I feel like I should clarify that this commenter apparently accepts the validity of the “Mentinah archives.” I want to make sure that readers understand that I do not support this group at all. I find its claims ludicrous and its purported translations to be even clumsier and more transparently bogus than is the Book of Mormon. I may have to write something up on the Nemenhah “band,” but then I worry about giving them too much exposure. When a convicted felon comes up with a pseudoreligion combining “alternative medicine” with Mormonism, my bullshit detector goes into high gear. As Tim Minchin put it, “Do you know what they call ‘alternative medicine’ that’s been proved to work? ‘Medicine.'”

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