Book of Mormon/Anachronisms

Table of Contents

Anachronisms claimed to exist in the Book of Mormon

Summary: "Anachronism" = out of time; something which is not in its proper historical context. It is claimed that a number of items or concepts in the Book of Mormon are not consistent with what is known about ancient American geography, history, or anthropology. These "errors" used as evidence that the Book of Mormon is a 19th century work rather than an ancient record.

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What is an "anachronism" and how does it relate to the Book of Mormon?

Summary: Translated documents (which the Book of Mormon claims to be) have many potential sources of anachronism. When trying to decide if something is a true anachronism, and when making judgments about the Book of Mormon's truth based on an assessment of anachronisms, we must take all these factors into account. Critics rarely do so.

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Animals or possible animal products referred to in the Book of Mormon

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Criticisms related to animals mentioned in the Book of Mormon

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Horses in the Book of Mormon

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The ass or donkey in the Book of Mormon

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Bees in the Book of Mormon

Summary: Among the supposed Book of Mormon anachronisms is the mention of “bees” (Ether 2:3)...It should be noted firstly that the Book of Mormon's use of the term "bees" occurs in an Old World (Jaredite) setting, it is never used in connection with the New World.

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Cattle in the Book of Mormon

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Elephants in the Book of Mormon

Summary: Elephants are only present in Jaredite times in the Book of Mormon. Both mammoths and gomphotheres are elephant-like creatures that are plausible candidates which may have lived up until Jaredite times.

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Sheep in the Book of Mormon

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Goats in the Book of Mormon

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Silk or Silkworms and the Book of Mormon

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Swine in the Book of Mormon

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Cureloms and Cumoms in the Book of Mormon

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Serpents in the Book of Mormon

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Alleged biblical anachronisms in the Book of Mormon

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Climate in the Book of Mormon

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Cultural issues in the Book of Mormon

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Book of Mormon Geography

Summary: The geographical setting of the Book of Mormon has been the subject of serious study and casual speculation since before the book was first published. The Church has been neutral when it comes to issues relating to Book of Mormon geography, as is FairMormon. The articles linked below will describe the various theories and examine the strengths and weaknesses of each.

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Items described in the Book of Mormon

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Language questions related to the Book of Mormon

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Freemasonry and the Book of Mormon

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Materials described in the Book of Mormon

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Plants or fibers in the Book of Mormon

Summary: Some plants or fibers mentioned in the Book of Mormon are not known to exist in the New World. Is this evidence that Joseph fabricated the text based upon his own cultural background? Not at all: None of the Book of Mormon's plant species causes a problem — Spanish conquerors described pre-Columbian products in exactly the terms used by the Book of Mormon. Barley, silkworms, and grapes were known. One of the terms unknown to Joseph's day (the Akkadian sheum) is impressive evidence for the Book of Mormon's antiquity.

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Barley in the Book of Mormon

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Flax and linen in the Book of Mormon

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Neas in the Book of Mormon

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Sheum in the Book of Mormon

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Silk in the Book of Mormon

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Wheat in the Book of Mormon

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Wine and grapes in the Book of Mormon

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Population and demographics in the Book of Mormon

Demographics

Summary: Critics charge that the initial Lehite colony is too small to produce the population sizes indicated, and that Lehi's group was sent to a land which was kept from the knowledge of other nations, therefore, according to the Book of Mormon, there could not have been "others" present. A superficial reading of the Book of Mormon leads some to conclude that the named members of Lehi's group were the only members of Nephite/Lamanite society. However, the Book of Mormon contains many mentions of "others" that made up part of both societies; indeed, many Book of Mormon passages make little sense unless we understand this.

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Scientific questions related to the Book of Mormon

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Description of sweat and skin pores in the Book of Mormon

Summary: It is claimed that the reference to blood coming from a pore is anachronistic, since Nephite authors would not have known about skin pores. Joseph Smith, it is claimed, would have known about pores, and so the Book of Mormon's addition of the word "pore" to the Bible's account in Luke 22:44 of Christ's suffering reflects Joseph Smith's 19th century worldview, and not an ancient author's.

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Descriptions of physical trauma in the Book of Mormon

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The "three days of darkness" in the New World following Christ's death

Summary: The three days of darkness is consistent with a period of intense volcanism. This explanation of the darkness has been particularly popular among those who advocate a limited geographical model of the Book of Mormon. Most LGT models place Book of Mormon lands in central America; this area is well-known for active seismic activity.

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Book of Mormon textual issues

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Descriptions of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon

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Textual structure in the Book of Mormon

Summary: Is the fact that the Book of Mormon has chapters evidence that it is a modern production? The table of contents was a modern insertion; it had no counterpart in the dictated text of the Book of Mormon. It was added just as it is in modern Bibles. However, the first edition of the Book of Mormon did contain chapters (though much longer than the modern chapters), and chapter markers were part of Joseph's dictated text.

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Warfare in the Book of Mormon

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Notes