Book of Mormon/Historicity

Table of Contents

Historicity of the Book of Mormon

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Evidence of the historicity of the Book of Mormon

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Matching geographical locations in the Old World with locations described in the Book of Mormon

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The "Valley of Lemuel" in the Book of Mormon

Summary: The valley of Lemuel requires several characteristics. In 1995, Potter and colleagues found a hitherto unrecognized wadi[1] which has parallels to the requirements of the Book of Mormon text, including a river of water which is "continually running," which they interpret as requiring a year-round water flow. Although Saudi and US geological surveys have concluded that Saudi Arabia "may...be without any perennial rivers or streams," visits to the area in April, May, July, August, November, December, and January have all found flowing water in the candidate valley which Potter's team identified.

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The Frankincense Trail and the Book of Mormon

Summary: Lehi's journey paralleled the ancient "Frankincense trail," a trade route used in ancient Arabia

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The place "Shazer" in the Book of Mormon

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The name NHM and the "place called Nahom" in the Book of Mormon

Summary: Nephi's party reaches an area "which was called Nahom" (1 Nephi 16:34) near the time that they make an eastward turn in their journey. NHM [the root for naham] appears twenty-five times in the narrative books of the Bible, and in every case it is associated with death. Strikingly, altars dating from the time of Lehi have been found with the inscription "NHM." As one travels south-southeast of Jerusalem along the major trunk of the ancient Arabian trade route, the route branches east toward the southeastern coast at only one point: in the Jawf valley (Wadi Jawf) just a few miles from Nehem. From thence the eastern branch of the trade route goes toward the ancient port of Qana--modern Bir Ali—on the Hadhramaut coast, where most of the incense was shipped. This eastern branch was the major route—the pathways to the south were less used.

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The place called "Bountiful" in the Book of Mormon

Summary: If Nehem is the Book of Mormon site Nahom, then is there a Bountiful to the east of it on the coast? Amazingly, we have the luxury of two excellent candidate sites that are roughly due east of Nehem on the Oman coast. The Astons propose Wadi Sayq as the best candidate for Bountiful, and it impressively fits the criteria that one can derive from the Book of Mormon. Potter and Sedor propose the area of Salalah and the nearby ancient port of Khor Rori as the general site for Bountiful.

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Warfare in the Book of Mormon

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Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon

Summary: The Book of Mormon does indeed have authentic Semitic constructions in it, but LDS need to tread cautiously in establishing them. Each must be evaluated on its own merits. Hebraisms that could have been known to Joseph Smith may still be authentic, and may still enhance our appreciation of the text, but they are weak evidence for Book of Mormon antiquity.

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Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon

Summary: A literary structure known as "chiasmus" exists in the Book of Mormon. It is claimed that the presence of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon is either coincidental, an artifact of the observer, or not impressive since examples of chiastic patterns have been found in the Doctrine and Covenants or other 19th century writing.

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To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

Notes