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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Metallurgy and the Book of Mormon

As stated in my previous post, Thomas Ferguson founded the New World Archaeological Foundation that was and continues to be funded by the LDS church. It is now funded through BYU. The single and sole purpose of the NWAF is to prove the veracity of the Book of Mormon through Archaeological research. Unfortunately, they have not found a single place or single shred of evidence to support the Book of Mormon.

As stated before, the most popular theory about the geography of the Book of Mormon is the limited Mesoamerica geography theory. However, there are many problems in trying to connect the civilizations in Mesoamerica with the Book of Mormon. One of these issues is the use of metals that were used in Book of Mormon lands.

Metals are mentioned repeatedly in the Book of Mormon

2 Nephi 5:15: "And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance."

According to Nephi, wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver and precious ores were not only used, but they were found in great abundance. The use of various types of metals in the Book of Mormon is a recurring theme throughout the entire book. The Book itself was purportedly etched on golden plates.

The Jaradites also describe various metals used during their civilization.

Ether 10:23: "And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work."

LDS scholars face a challenge regarding the metallurgy test in Mesoamerica. The biggest problem is that people in Mesoamerica during the time period described in the Book of Mormon (600 B.C.-400 A.D.) didn't use metal at all, they used stone. If one is to believe that the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica, it is challenging to explain how iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver and precious ores that were described as being found in such great abundance in the Book of Mormon and yet there is no evidence to support metalwork in Mesoamerica during this time period. The evidence demonstrates that Metallurgy was introduced in Mesoamerica during the late Classic period (600 A.D.-800 A.D.) at least 200 years after the Book of Mormon plates were supposedly buried.



Uses of Metal

The Book of Mormon is very clear on the various uses of metals both during the Lamanite-Nephite era and the Jaredite times:

Metal armor

Use of metal armor is mentioned in both Lamanite-Nephite times and Jaredite times.

Alma 46:13: "And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins"

Ether 15:15:"...both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates"


Metal swords

Nephi describes Labans sword in specific detail and indicates that he used it as a model to make more swords.

1 Nephi 4:9:"And I beheld his(Laban's) sword...and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel."

2 Nephi 5:14-15:And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords...And I did teach my people to...work in all manner of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel"

Other uses of metal in the Book of Mormon include chains, plows, metal tools, and of course metal plates for writing.

Weapons and Tools found in Mesoamerica

The weapons that were used in Mesoamerica were made from flint, stone and wood, not metal. The tools that were used by these civilizations were made from stone and wood, not metal. Both LDS and non-LDS archaeologists have not found a single metal sword, chain, plow, tool, plate,weapon, shield, head plate, or Brest plate anywhere that was used in pre-Colombian times.

To the right is a typical Mayan sacrificial knife made from Obsidian. The Book of Mormon doesn't mention the Lamanites or the Nephites using any kind of stone, rock or volcanic rocks. It is safe to say that the metallurgy in the Book of Mormon doesn't closely resemble the civilizations in Mesoamerica. Other sacrificial knifes that have been found are made of a flint blade with wooden handles.


Response from LDS scholars


How can it be that the Book of Mormon speaks of metals in such great details, but yet nobody has been able to find any evidence to support this claim?

LDS apologists argue:

  • Metal corrodes and deteriorates—especially in the humid and wet jungles of Mesoamerica, so it is possible that all the metal objects in the Book of Mormon have dissapeared.
  • A group in Columbia might have used metal, so it is possible that metal was brought to Mesoamerica.
  • "Steel" in the Book of Mormon might not actually be Steel.
  • Copper plates used for writing have been found in the Middle East, however not a single metal plate has been found anywhere in North or South America.
  • At least a dozen pieces of metal have been found in Mesoamerica dating to before 900 AD, but none of the metal pieces matches anything relating to the Book of Mormon.
It appears that LDS apologists are really grasping at straws, and that is what is most disheartening.

Skeptical Mormon

14 comments:

Wulfen said...

Hi, just wanted to correct one thing, The native americans in the central areas of mexico and that general region did use metal, including gold and silver, but they did not use it for weapons.

Iron and steel were not used, or mined.

I am not mormon so i dont know the exact time period this is suppost to be, but the spanish invaders took back huge amounts of gold, mostly melted down from artwork.

Zelph said...

Yes, pre-Columbian Mayans and Aztecs worked with gold and silver, I have seen many gold figurines. However, the technology of metalworking was introduced to Mesoamerica at the end of the Classic period (AD 600-800). The Book of Mormon tale ends at AD 400. Thank you for pointing this out and I am glad you brought that up. I have edited my post to word it more clearly with the dates mentioned.

Anonymous said...

You could easily compare the finding of records kept on plates to the use of paper records in the middle ages in Europe, the general populas was illiterate as likely was the Lamanite and even Nephite peoples. As in Europe only the a select few of the clergy could write on paper, the same was true for the Nephite population.

Anonymous said...

I've never figured out what is with apostates, they waste their time and energy negatively, trying to justify their apostasy. If you believe it's false, move on with your life, Do you somehow think this is cool to criticise the church with your cute blog. You give the impression of passing your info off as research. Have you read Hugh Nibley, or you just google a few things, and justify your limited research with Google? Very pathetic, man move on with your life, you are wasting your life with negative force, center on something positive in your life and you will be much happier. - Joe

Anonymous said...

You are a pathetic evil person, and you are as the Lamanites, you are cursing your own self with your wickedness. I give you a promise you will die an extremely unhappy and bitter, person who will only pride himself in this useless shallow blog, full of bitter comments about a beautiful Church. JOIN ANOTHER ONE, if you don't like it. Man you are a waste of human energy.

Anonymous said...

Before you delete all my comments, check out some true research about BM metallurgy with depth done referring to true LDS scholars Sorensen and Nibley: http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_metals.shtml
Yours appears very adolescent and superficial compared to the above research. - joe

Zelph said...

Joe, if you think I am going to delete your comments just because you have criticized my blog, you obviously haven't read many of my posts. I welcome criticism, and I only delete posts that are vile, although you calling me a pathetic evil person does constitute vile behavior, I think by leaving it up, it speaks louder volumes about your character and where you are coming from. Don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like you are being sarcastic. If you are indeed serious with your posts, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.

Joe, if you think this blog is a wast of time and energy, simply don't read it. I am not forcing anyone to read it. You posted 3 comments, so that tells me you must feel that it isn't that much of a waste of time and energy.

If you are serious and not just setting yourself up for ridicule, do me a favor and next time instead of personal attacks, maybe point out the issues that you disagree with.

Believe me when I say that I have seen Jeff Lindsay's website as well as SHIELDS and FAIRLDS and FARMS and SUNSTONE and DIALOGUE. Please point out where in any of these apologetic sites it says they have found evidence of the use of metals in Mesoamerica during the time period of the Book of Mormon, because my years of research has left me empty handed.

You are welcome to comment anytime. You know it is a free country and nobody is stopping you from starting your own blog.

Zelph said...

I haven't figured out if you are being sarcastic or just ignorant to the facts, but I will play along just for fun.

I don't see your point regarding the comparison of the use of paper records in the middle ages in Europe and comparing it with the Nephites.

Where did you hear that the Lamanites and Nephites were all illiterate? Did you just make that up?

The truth is that most Mayas could read some hieroglyphs although priests and nobles were probably the only people who knew the whole language. Maya also wrote in books made out of the soft inner bark of a type of fig tree. They would take one strip of bark and fold it over and over to make pages. The Maya would write with quills made from turkey feathers. Now why doesn't the Book of Mormon talk about quills made from turkey feathers. If it said that, I would be impressed. Instead it talks about metal plates, when metal was not even used in Mesoamerica during this time period. You might as well say that the Nephites were keeping records on their personal computers, because it is just as out of place and ridiculous to anyone that has studied Mayan culture.

The civilizations that lived in Mesoamerica during the time periods of the Book of Mormon did leave records, lots of them. Many were destroyed by the early Spaniards, however we know a lot about them from codices that survived, murals, artwork, and stone carvings. The simple fact is that they did not use metal for writing. They etched stone carvings, drew murals on walls and used parchment. None of these things are mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The one thing that the Book of Mormon mentions is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zelph
I wanted to apologize for making fun of your research. It troubles me a lot that you have abandoned your vows and covenants. You had so much light in your life at one time according to the description of your past life. Your transgression is thus far more serious. Alma addressed your quest in 26:22: "He that... prayeth continually without ceasing - unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea unto such if shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed". Alma's advice to Korihor may equally apply to you at this point in your life: "Behold, I know that thou believest, but thou art possessed with a lying spirit, and ye have put off the Spirit of God that it may have no place in you; but the devil has power over you, and he doth carry you about, working devices that he may destroy the children of God." As you may know the story, he was struck dumb when asking for a sign, and he confessed "the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. I taught his words because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true." Korihor met an unhappy fate.
You still have much you could contribute to the Church and to B of M archeology. The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph was a Prophet. Eventually all things will be proven true in the Book of Mormon. Because evidences have not been found on any subject, does not make it untrue. Use the Book of Mormon as a strength and a shield against Satan, do not use it as a tool to furthur Satan's plan, as you are doing now. Please forsake this path before your period of free agency has expired and you are completely under Satan's power, unable to see truth anywhere. It is a slow path to destruction you are on. I wish you the best, but come back to Christ, and use the Book of Mormon as a strength not a tool for wickedness, trying to accomplish what Korihor was doing. Korihor in the end was"trodden down, even until he was dead". "And thus we see the end of him who perverteh the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.

It does not matter whether you delete, respond to, or keep my postings, I will not be returning to your page any more to check for your response or to do further reading of your efforts to bring down the work of God.

I don't know you at all, but I have a strange hurt inside for you, because I feel that you are a sincere person and started your quest righteously and with sincere questions, but were led astray as was Korihor. Start reading the B of M again, but this time on your knees after each reading, that you can again feel it's wonderful spirit, and redeeming principles. I love the Book of Mormon so much, in time everything will be proven true in it, it gives me the strength I need each day to fight Satan's power.

Take care,

Joe

Zelph said...

Joe, even though you said you would not be returning to my sight, I have a feeling you will somehow be reading this one day.

I would agree with you that if I wanted to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon I could simply ignore all the facts, read it every day and pray about it. However, I call this the "typical Mormon response".

Here is the problem with it: It doesn't prove the Book of Mormon is true, nor does it answer the questions I have concerning it. I would start to believe that the Qur'an was true if I read it every day and prayed about it. If I read Dianetics every day and prayed about it, eventually, I would start to believe in Scientology. If I started reading books by people that believe in space aliens, guess what? After a certain amount of time, and after enough exposure, I would start to believe that too.

The Book of Mormon is no different. If anything, it demonstrates that the Book of Mormon is no different.

Phil said...

I can appreciate Zelph's veiwpoints, though I don't entirely agree with them. The only reason I am leaving a comment here is that I am appalled at what some of the active mormons have written. I am an active mormon myself and do believe the doctrine of the Book of Mormon and the LDS church. However, calling someone a pathetic, evil person and extremely unhappy and bitter is a bit much don't you think? How about a little Christian attitude, mormon or not for those around you. I live in Salt Lake City, go to church every Sunday, yet CANNOT stand the intolerance that I see towards other groups and religions.

As far as Zelph...well, I'm glad that he's found something that works for him. It obviously doesn't work for everyone that has posted here....but my take is, as long as one's path encourages someone to be a better person then it's right for them.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I know this is an older post and no one might see this, but I just had to chime in. I recently found this blog from a link on the NOM site, as I have been questioning myself. Anyway, I just had to say that I was appalled by "Joe"'s comments as well, and think he is doing a disservice to the church by acting in such a vile manner! How can you claim to represent the church and spew such hatred for someone who is just trying to find their way? I also wanted to post this in case there were any other mormons reading this and wanted to make harsh comments. Article of Faith 11 " We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the DICTATES OF OUR OWN CONSCIENCE, AND ALLOW AL MEN TE SAME PRIVILEGE, LET THEM WORSHIP HOW, WHERE, OR WHAT THEY MAY." It is surprising to me how often this article of faith is lost in the shuffle. According to the dictates of my own conscience I have questions about the veracity of the church and I don't think I or others like me should be punished or subjected to such hateful words/actions from "true believers" And although he will probably never see it, thank you to the other man who left a comment showing not all mormons are like Joe.

Kassie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It may be pointless to post this, considiring it has been a few years since this was posted, but I wanted to correct you. The Tarascan people used metal for tools and weapons. I am a student of art history and I am taking a class titled the "Other" meso- american... for years the cultures of western and northern meso-america have been greatly neglected they have been thought to be not as good as the Mayans, the Aztecs, but it now being discovered that these other cultures had a lot to contribute. It is sad that all we hear about from histiorians is the Mayans this the Aztecs that... but you never her about the Tarazcans or the Chipicaro.... And is this? Because some old white guy decided that the Mayan and Aztecs were superior, just goes to show you that you can't always trust what you here. So yes the Tarascans, now Known as the Purepecha people had metal tools!