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Book of Mormon Evidences and Insights

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Jody Livingston

on 7 May 2014

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Transcript of Book of Mormon Evidences and Insights

Book of Mormon Evidences and Insights
The following ancient artifacts and documents are from the Old World (Middle East and surrounding areas) and the New World (Mesoamerica) each in their own way add to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon
Old World Evidences
Elephantine Papyrus
- Dates to 5th century BC in upper Egypt (Elephantine Island or Yeb).
-confirms Jewish Temples were built outside of Jerusalem as in the case of Nephi.
-confirms that Jews fled south (and then to Egypt) -south in general.
-confirms that the name "Sariah" was used as a Hebrew/Jewish name (female) just as it is in the Book of Mormon.
Bar Kochba Documents
- date from 132-135 AD.
- Simon bar Kochba as a "messiah" like figure, known as "Son of the star".
- writes letter or "epistle" requesting backup and support to governing officials. (similar to Captain Moroni from the Book of Mormon).
- both refer to their possible detractors as their "brothers or brethren".
- similar wording used by Simon bar Kochba and Captain Moroni for the neglect of support from their political leaders.
- discovered in the 1960's
- These also show the use of the name "Alma" as an authentic male Hebrew name. One of the documents is a land deed under the name of "Alma ben Yehuda". The Book of Mormon has commonly been attacked for using the name "Alma" as a Hebrew male name.
Lachish Letters
-found in the ancient ruins of Lachish in 1935 and 1938.
- written during the time of Jeremiah (also Lehi in the Book of Mormon)
- according to Harry Torczyner the translator and top scholar on the letters, they speak of a 10-13 year old boy who is the "seed" of Zedekiah. This is interesting when compared to the Book of Mormon's account of Mulek-the son of King Zedekiah.
- Torczyner said this took place between 590-588 B.C. Nibley stated that it probably took place in 598 B.C. exactly 11 years after Lehi left Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon also states the Mulekites left 11 years after Lehi left Jerusalem.
Laws of Eshnunna
- Inscribed on two cuneiform tablets in Tell Abu Harmal Baghdad, Iraq
- unearthed in 1945-1947
- They are copies of an older source that dates back to 1930 B.C.
- The Laws of Eshnunna allowed the people to deal confidently with barley, silver, oil, lard, wool, salt, bitumen, refined and unrefined copper.
- Several parallels exist between the law code of Eshnuna nad King Mosiah's economic system in the Book of Mormon. (Alma 11:3-19)
- standard phrasing
- primary conversion between barley and silver.
- basic commodity value system.
- both instituted by kings
- standard values on daily wages, damages and penalties.
Nag Hammadi Text

- a collection of 13 ancient codices
- discovered in Egypt in 1945
- includes a large number of primary Gnostic scriptures, thought to be destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define "orthodoxy".
- deals with initiations that have generated interest among latter-day saints.
- the Gospel of Phillip describes an initiation in 3 stages, corresponding to the three chambers of the Jerusalem temple.
- the last stage called the bridal chamber performed a sacred marriage that is eternally binding, which had to be performed in mortality.
-in the dialogue of the Savior, jesus tells tles how to ascend to the father.
- in the Apocalypse of Paul, Paul is represented as vanquishing the hostile ruler of the 6th heaven by showing him signs and proceeding to the tenth heaven.
The Amarna Letters
- a group of letters written in clay between Egyptian political officials and those of Canaan and Amurru.
- written in Akkadian cuneiform.
- foun din El Amarna Egypt and date back to the 14th century B.C. during the reighn of Akhenaten.
- they use the phrase "land of Jerusalem" which is a phrase used in the Book of Mormon to describe the surrounding suburbs of Jerusalem including Bethleham. (this applies to the phrase "land of Canaan" as well.

The Darius Plates
- discovered in 1933 at Persian capital of Persepolis (modern day Iran).
- date between the years of 518-515 B.C.
- one gold and one silver plate
- written in cuneiform in three languages (Babylonian, Elamite and an older form of Persian)
- contained in a stone box crafted to fit the plates. This is similar to the way Moroni buried the plates in the Hill Cumorah.
Bremner-Rhind Papyrus
- dates to the 4th century B.C.
- contains an Egyptian literary device called a colophon, that is highly characteristic of Egyptian composition.
- the colophon contains the following: 1. the date 2. the title of the author (Nasim in this case) 3. the names of his parents and a word in praise of their virtues with special mention of his fathers prophetic calling. 4. a curse against anyone who "might take the book away" probably due to fear lest a sacred book should fall into impure hands.
Halbturn Gold Amulet
- discovered in 2006 in Austria
- Greek transcription of Hebrew prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear O' Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one."
- 2.2 cm long gold scroll or amulet.
- dates to 3rd century AD
- this shows that Jews used gold plates to transcribe Hebrew into other languages as in the Book of Mormon.
Taxila Copper Plate
- found in Taxila, Gandhara Pakistan
-dates between 1st century BC to 1st century CE.
- written in Kharoshthi script, a script derived from Aramic.
- this also shows that old world history keeping on metal plates was a common practice as seen in the Book of Mormon
Ketef Hinnom Inscriptions
- discovered in 1979 in Ketef Hinnom (southwest of Jerusalem)
- dates to the 7th century BC.
- 2 silver scrolls.
- contains Numbers 6:24-26
- dates exactly to Book of Mormon time frame. The same time period of Jeremiah and King Josiah. This shows that inscribing on metal plates was a common practice.
Dead Sea Scrolls
- a treasure trove of Jewish religious texts discovered between 1947 and 1956 in 11 different caves near the Dead Sea.
- the greatest archaeological find in the 20th century.
- composed between 250 BC and 68 AD.
- discovered at the ancient site of Qumran believed to hen inhabited by the Essenes
-revealed many beliefs and practices similar to the Latter-Day Saints among them are the following:
-baptism by immersion for the remission of sins
-belief and necessity of receiving the Holy Ghost

Dead Sea Scrolls Continued
-the community was governed by 3 presidents and a council of twelve
-each local area had a bishop in charge of worthiness, financial affairs and acted as common judge
-each sect had a sacred meal of bread and wine administered by a priest
-believed in revelation through a prophetic leader and accepted that revelation as scripture
-followed a form of communal living similar to the Christians in the New Testament
-also discovered was the copper scroll which stands as one more witness of ancient record keeping on metal plates (it contained the whereabouts of the temple treasures)
-contained the phrase "land of Jerusalem" used to describe Jerusalem and all its suburbs including Bethleham
-the war scroll describes the craftsmanship of the Israeli army swordswhich is very close to the description of the sword of Laban in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 4:9)
Samaria Papyrus
- found in 1962 in West Bank Israel (Wadi el-Daliyeh) in a cave.
- dates to 4th century BC.
- found with over 200 skeletal body remains. Probably from Alexanders conquest of Samaria.
- small papyrus containing a slave deed by the Hebrew name of "lhy" (Lehi). This correlates with the Book of Mormon showing that Lehi was not just the name of a place or land as in the Biblical account of Samson (Judges 15:9, 14) but also the name of a person (1 Nephi 1:4).
Ostracon 2071
- pottery shard dating from 4th to 5th century BC.
- found in Tell el Kheleifeh on the north shore of the Red Sea (Elath.
- on the 2x3 inch shard is an inscription in dark ink written in Aramaic script. (Typical of the Persian period)
-The name of Lehi (lhi) appears as a semetic personal name just as the Book of Mormon states.
- found between 1938 and 1940.
Baran Temple in Marib
-dates between 7th and th century BC. (Book of Mormon time frame)
-the temple and the altars found were well preserved by the sandy climate.
-3 altars were found constructed of limestone.
- all altars inscribed in a southern Arabian script which mentions "nhm" meaning Nahom.
- the name Nahom and location correlate to the location in the f Mormon where Ishmael is buried.
- Nahom means to sorrow, hunger, morn or console.
-this ironically is the location of the largest burial site in Arabia called Alam, Ruwayk and Jidran.
The Narrative of Zosimus
- part of the Ante-Nicene Fathers Apocryphal books.
- Russian Slavonic translation the 1870's.
- dates back to around 125 AD.
- it is a story about a Rechabite who is about a righteous man named Zosimus who dwelt in a cave in the desert and prayed to the Lord in hopes of obtaining the land of blessedness.
- the story of Zosimus contains many interesting correlations with the Book of Mormon.
The Narrative of Zosimus and Book of Mormon Correlations
Both have the following:
- Dwelling in the desert (1 Nephi 2:4)
- Both are being led by prayer and faith (1 Nephi 1:5, 11:3, 16:29)
- Wandering in a dark and dreary waste (1 Nephi 8:7)
- Being caught away to the bank of a river. (1 Nephi8:3)
- Crossing to the other side of a river or abyss and passing through a great mist (1 Nephi 8:32)
- Coming to a tree whose fruit is most sweet above all other fruit. (1 Nephi 8:11)
- Eating from a tree, which also gave forth a fountain of living waters. (1 Nephi 11:25)
- Being greeted by an angelic escort. (1 Nephi 11: 2)
- Being interrogated as to their desires. (1 Nephi 11:2)
- Beholding a vision of the Son of God or of those like sons of God (1 Nephi 1:6, 11:29)
- Keeping records on soft plates or tablets. (1 Nephi 3:24, 91-6)
- Recording the history of a group of people who escaped the destruction of Jerusalem at the time of Jeremiah. (1 Nephi 1:4, 7:14)
- Being led to a land of promise or of great abundance because of righteousness. (1 Nephi 18:25)
- Practicing constant prayer. (Alma 34:21-27)
- Keeping high standards of chastity and piety (Jacob 2: 25-28).
- Receiving revelations concerning the wickedness of the people of Jerusalem and the Old World. (1 Nephi 10:11)
- Obtaining assurances of the mercy to be extended to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the world who repent and enter into covenants with God. (1 Nephi 1:14, 10:3)
- Rechabites and Lehi party both dwelling in tents.
Papyrus Amherst 63
- also known as Leopold II and Amherst Papyrus.
- dates to 2nd century BC.
- court records dealing with tomb robberies under Ramsses IX.
- contains a version of Psalm 20: 2-6.
- Aramaic text written in a demotic Egyptian script. (this would be considered reformed Egyptian)
- The Book of Mormon was written n a form of reformed Egyptian according to Mormon 9:32-34 and 1 Nephi 1:2.
Stories of the Prophets
- put together by Al-Tha' labi who was a 10th century compiler of legends concerning Biblical and non-Biblical Pre-Islmic prophets.
- The actual collections name is "Qisas al-anbiya" or "Stories of the Prophets".
- they tell of Joseph of Egypt when he made himself known unto his brethren after being sold into Egypt he asks them what happened to his father? Upon hearing he went blind from crying, Joseph gives them a remnant of his garment (part of the same garment they had torn), and tells them to place it on Jacobs eyes and his sight will be restored.
- nowhere in the Bible do we read that a portion of Josephs garment was preserved and had not decayed, but it is in the, "Stories of the Prophets" and is also mentioned in the Apocryphal writings of "The Book of Jasher".
Stories of the Prophets and the Book of Mormon
- A surviving portion of Joseph of Egypt's garment is also noted in the Book of Mormon by Captain Moroni when he rents and tears his garments to write the "Title of Liberty" he mentions that "may his people be preserved as the remnant of Joseph's garment was preserved and did not decay.
-On a side note the "Stories of the Prophets" also mentions that the garment of Joseph was a garment that had been handed down from Abraham and that the weave (pattern, design, or emblems) proved its authenticity to Jacob.
Arad Ostraca
- Found at the site of Tel Arad in southern Israel during an excavation in 1962.
- ostraca are fragments of pottery on which writing appear. This is because once pottery was broken rather than carded it was used similarly to scrap paper is today.
- The ostraca date from 9th to 6th centry BC.
- most were written in Hebrew but some were written in the 7th century BC and were written in Egyptian hieratic (contemporary to the Lehi Book of Mormon time frame and could be considered reformed Egyptian.)
- some of the ostraca were the archives of Eliashib, the commanding officer at the fortress at 600 BC and contained potsherds inscribed with supply vouchers, inventory lists, and important military orders.
- a number of the ostraca contained the opening phrase "And now". (This is a standard Hebrew opening or introduction)
- The Book of Mormon has 60 out of 114 total chapters that open with the phrase "And now" usually followed by the phrase "it came to pass".
- this opening is also found in the Old Testament as well as the Lachish Ostracon, and the Moussaieff Ostracon.
New World Evidences
Book of Mormon timeline
Stela 31 Tikal
- 317 AD Great Jaguar Paw is born or becomes King.
- 3 years before Mormon was given charge of the records.
- "GJP dies (or is assassinated) on 378 AD.
- 2 new rulers appear on the same day that GJP dies.
Curled Snout (First Crocodile)
Smoking From (Fire is Born)
- Curled Snout is the son of the Teotihuacan king Spear Thrower Owl.
- Smoking Frog is the military leader.

Book of Mormon Correlation
This is all contemporary with a significant event around 350 AD in the Book of Mormon. The Nephites lose land southward in a peace treaty. This includes Zarahemla, Bountiful and everything south of that. Was that treaty with just the Lamanites?
Popol Vuh
- Mytho-historical narratives of the post classic K'iche Kingdom in Guatemala's western highlands.
- The title means "Book of the Community" or "Book of Counsel" or "Book of the People".
- Covers K'iche Mayan ancestry, history, creation and cosmology all mingled through mythology.
- Story of hero twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque.
Book of Mormon Correlations
- Its Quiche authors wrote that the contents were based on an ancient book from across the sea.
- The authors said the Popol Vuh was based as an "ilb'al" meaning "instrument of sight or vision". The word today refers to clear quartz crystals used by Quiche priests for divination ceremonies. These also refer to magnifying glasses or spectacles by which things are seen more clearly. Quiche rulers consulted the Popol Vuh in times of distress to see the future (similar to Alma 37). Very comparable to the use and description of the Urim and Thummim.
- Parallelism and repetitive poetic style includes chiasmus (Hebraic writing structure) as does the Book of Mormon
Chilam Balam of Chumayel
- Hand written in 17th and 18th century Mayan documents.
- Named after the small Yucatec towns where they were originally kept.
- The manuscripts are attributed to the legendary author Chilam Balam. Chilam = priest, Balam = jaguar.
- The text contains interesting parallels when compared to the Book of Mormon.
- Both have specific prophecies and a Hebraic chiastic structure
- Both speak of the way the people treat a flattering prophet. By giving him of your substance and dressing him in costly apparel and parading or carrying him around town on your shoulders (Helaman 13: 27-28).
- Both speak of a bee culture.
- Both speak of weather conditions more specifically hurricanes - interesting when compared to the phrase "east wind" in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 12:6).
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