112 Archaeological Evidences For The Book Of Mormon

1.

Hieroglyphs – Hieroglyphic script is found among both ancient American cultures and Egyptians.

The Egyptian symbols for holy, heaven, all, and God are similar to ancient Mi’kmaq glyphs found in Canada. Similarities between Near Eastern and Aztec language are currently being explored.

2. Divine Sacrifice Required – Ancient Americans commonly believed that a divine sacrifice of a god or several gods was required to keep the cosmos in order. They believed the “gods were saviors (Christ figures) who died so humanity could live.” The Book of Mormon likewise claims divine sacrifice is required to keep the cosmos in order.
3. Resurrection – Mesoamericans believed in rebirth and resurrection from the dead. They buried their dead with divine symbols in “hope for rebirth and the resurrection of the deceased.”
4. Pre-Earth Life – Similar to Mormon teachings, Mesoamericans believed gods existed before the world was created: “The Mayan gods gathered under the Tree of Life to hold a council… all the gods had taken part in the creation of the Earth.”

The Book of Mormon teaches that the redemption of Christ was planned “before the world began,” and the Mayans likewise believed in gods who “could perform mythological actions before his own birth… who took two forms: pre-birth and post-birth.”

5.

God As A Serpent – Christ is called a “brazen serpent” in the Book of Mormon and he descends from the sky. Mesoamericans also believe the “feathered serpent” god Quetzalcoatl descended from the sky.

His mother is named Suchiquetzl, which means “lifting up Roses,” similar to the “lifting up” of the brazen serpent described in the Book of Mormon. Quetzalcoatl’s mother was also a virgin, like the Book of Mormon describes. He was called “Son of the Lord of High Heavens,” and died and was resurrected. He “returned to the world of the living” after he had “dwelled four days in the land of the dead,” now “enthroned as Lord.” He appeared to the Mesoamerican people en masse and brought great learning, and promised that one day he would “return to his people at a future date.” He was fair skinned and had a beard.

6. Baptism – Mayans and other Mesoamericans applied a washing ritual with water that early explorers like Diego Landa recognized as a “baptism.” The ritual was a spirutal rebirth or being born anew, and involved confession of sins, an ordinance prayer, and sometimes included full immersion in water. The baptism was often given to children, which correlates with reports in the Book of Mormon.
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7. Origins Across East Ocean – The idea that Native Americans arrived by ship from the East may not be widely accepted by archaeologists, however, this is the consensus among ancient American legends. Early explorer Diego Landa reported:

“Some old men of Yucatan say that they have heard from their ancestors that this country was peopled by a certain race who came from the East, whom God delivered by opening for them twelve roads through the sea. If this is true, all the inhabitants of the Indies must be of Jewish descent…” a

Rafique Ali Jairazbhoy wrote: “The native reports that speak of the first ancestors coming across the seas from the East.”

The king of the Aztecs, Montezuma said:

“We are foreigners and came here from very remote parts. We possess information that our lineage was led to this land by a lord to whom we all owed allegiance… but we have ever believed that his descendants would surely come here to subjugate this land and us who are, by rights, their servants. Because of what you say concerning the region whence you came, which is where the sun rises.”b

Early explorer Bernardino de Sahagun wrote: “It has been innumerable years since the first settlers arrived in these parts of New Spain which is almost another world, and they came in ships by sea, landing at the port which is to the north.”c

Bernardino de Sahagu translated a sacred Nahuatl text:

“This is the story
the old men used to tell:
In a certain time
which no one can now describe,
which no one can now remember,
those who came here to sow,
our grandfathers and grandmothers
landed here, arrived here,
following the way,
and came at last to govern
here in this land,
which was known by a single name,
as if it were a little world of its own.

They came in ships across the sea
in many companies,
and arrived there on the seashore,
on the northern coast,
and the place where they left their ships
is now called Panutla
which means, “Where one crosses the water.”

They followed the coast,
they sought the mountains,
and some of them found
the mountains capped with snow,
and the smoking mountains,
and arrived at Quauhtemalla [Guatemala],
following the coast.
The journey was not made
at their own pleasure:
the priests led them,
and their god showed them the way.
They came at last
to the place called Tamoanchan,
which means, “We seek our house.”c

8.

Metal Plate Records – Nobody knew it in Joseph Smith’s time. The idea of “gold plates” was highly ridiculed, but now it turns out metal plates were a common method for keeping records in Lehi’s time, and many gold plate books have since been uncovered, as well as stone boxes to preserve them. A few examples:

  • Pyrgi tablets – “Three gold tablets found at Pyrgi, the harbour of Caere… a fourth tablet, in bronze.” Dates to 500 BC. They were found in a rectangular niche between two stone temples.
  • Plates of Darius – “Two tablets, one of gold and one of silver” in stone boxes, “each box buried at the four corners of his palace.” They date to 518 BC.
  • Ballana Tomb 2 Charm – A “very curious love-charm, invoking Isis, written in barbaric Greek impressed on a strip of gold foil which had been rolled up and thrown in the tomb.”
  • Khorsabad Plates of Sargon – “Sargon buried tablets… of gold, silver, lead, abar (magnesite), lapis lazuli and alabaster… in its foundation walls.” They date to 714 BC.
  • Qumran Copper Scrolls – Two of the Dead Sea Scrolls were made of copper. They appear to be records of Temple-related materials. Nearby was found “metal vessels which could be the ‘amphora,’ ‘book,’ and ‘forty-two talents’ mentioned in the Copper Scroll.”
  • Plates of Persepolis – “Gold and silver plates from Persepolis” were each “sunk into the bedrock.” In each of these stone boxes contained “a square bronze plate and two tiny scraps, one of sheet gold, the other of silver.” They date to the 6th century BC.
  • Santa Marinella sheet – A “lead sheet found in fragments” near Santa Marinella, “evidently a religious document.” Dates to 5th century BC.
  • Magnliano plaque – A “lead plaque found at Magliano, in the Albegna river valley.” Dates to the fifth century BC, and speaks of gods and death.

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9. Natural Catastrophes At Christ’s Coming – The Book of Rolls describes catastrophes that accompany the death of Jesus Christ after his mortal life, catastrophes that the Bible makes no mention of but the Book of Mormon does:

“I will come down to thee, and in thy house will I dwell and with thy body will I be clothed. For thy sake, O Adam, I will become a child… for thy sake, O Adam will fast forty days; for thy sake, O Adam I will receive baptism; for thy sake, O Adam I will be lifted up on the cross; for thy sake, O Adam I will endure lies; for thy sake, O Adam I will be beaten with the whip;for thy sake, O Adam I will taste vinegar; for thy sake, O Adam my hands will be nailed; for thy sake, O Adam I will be pierced with a spear; for thy sake, O Adam I will thunder in the height; for thy sake, O Adam I will darken the sun; for thy sake, O Adam I will cleave the rocks… and after three days, which I have spent in the grave, I will raise up the body which I took from thee.”e

The Book of Mormon also describes “darkness upon the face of the land… thunderings… rocks that they rent”, though there is no hint of any of this in the bible.

Spanish explorer Mariano Veytia described a native legend of similar catastrophic events before the appearance of Quetzalcoatl in the 1st century AD, and associated them with the death of Jesus in Jerusalem:

“These natives indicate another singular event in their histories with great exactness, which later served them as a fixed era for their chronological calculations. They say that 166 years after the correction of their calendar, at the beginning of the year that was indicated with the hieroglyph of the House in the number ten, being a full moon, the sun was eclipsed at midday, the solar body being totally covered, such that the earth became darkened so much that the stars appeared and it seemed like night, and at the same time an earthquake was felt as horrible as they had ever experienced, because the stones crashing against one another were broken into pieces, and the earth opened up in many parts. Confused and bewildered, they believed that the end of the third age of the world had already arrived, which, according to the predictions of their wise men in Huehuetlapallan, should end in strong earthquakes, in whose violence many living people would perish, and mankind would suffer the third calamity; but the earthquake ceasing entirely and the sun once again being uncovered perfectly, everyone was found to be whole, without any living persons having perished, and this caused them such great wonder that they noted it in their histories with singular care.

Following these calculations, and adjusted to the comparison of the tables, this event should be placed in the year 4066 of the world, which was indicated with this character as can be seen in the tables, and precisely 166 years after the adjustment of the calendar; and because of the circumstances surrounding this eclipse and earthquake, it was impossible for it to be any other than that which was observed at the death of Jesus Christ Our Lord, having suffered it in the thirty-third year of his age, and so it seems that the incarnation of the Word should be placed in the year 4034 of the world, which the Indians indicated with the same hieroglyph of the House in the number 4, and I have noted it that way in the tables, and with this calculation following the chronological order that they observed, counting the years from one memorable event to another with the assignment of the hieroglyph of the year in which they fell, I have been able to coordinate it perfectly with our years in the year 1519, in which Cortez landed at Veracruz, as will be seen in the discourse of this history.”f

10. Catastrophes in the 1st Century AD – Mesoamerica experienced a devastating volcanic eruption and other natural disasters in the 1st century AD, which was followed by a period of great peace and economic prosperity.

“But why was there a rapid increase in monumental building in Cholula during the second century A.D.?… Our tentative answer is that the first-century volcanic eruption led to dramic changes in western Puebla–community displacement and territorial reorganization–and some of the resulting sociopolitical adjustments must have contributed to the constructive program of the Great Pyramid.”g

Several volcanoes erupted, with the same effects described in the Book of Mormon:

“Archaeology provides evidence for such volcanic activity in the Valley of Mexico, where the volcano Xitle is believed to have erupted anciently… scholars now know that this disaster occurred nearly 2,000 years ago… Additional evidence for volcanic activity in Mesoamerica near the time of Christ can be found further south in the Tuxtlas region of southern Veracruz.”h

12. Children Who Die Go To Heaven – Mayans believed infants who died in childbirth went straight to heaven. “Children who died young, before being weaned, went to the thirteenth heaven.” A lot like the Book of Mormon teaches.
13. Three Degrees Of Glory – Mesoamericans divided the universe into three levels of glory: the underworld (telestial), the earth (terrestrial), and heaven (celestial)–the “three cosmic levels of earth, heavens, and underworld”, exactly as modern Mormon scripture describes in detail, and alluded to in the Book of Mormon.
13.

Paper Books Of Scripture – Friar Landa recorded that there were “books” about “ancient matters and their sciences” among the Maya. The Book of Mormon likewise describes paper books, and also describes writings on large stones like the stelae found in ancient America.

Priests taught out of scriptures, such as the Popol Vuh, and prophesied out of them during religious festivals. Diego Landa said:

“the most learned of the priests opened a book, and observed the predictions for that year, declared them to those present, [and] preached to them a little enjoining the necessary observances… These people also used certain characters or letters, with which they wrote in their books about the antiquities and their sciences; with these, and with figures, and certain signs in the figures, they understood their matters, made them known, and taught them. We found a great number of books in these letters” a

14. Scripture From Across The Sea – Like the brass plates, the Popul Vuh was said to be inspired from scripture that came from across the Sea to the east.

“Although the highland Maya have lived in this area for more than two thousand years, the Popol Vuh suggests that they came to be dominated by a militaristic group of relative newcomers, led by the Cavec-Quiché lineage, who claimed to have come from somewhere in the East where the sun rises… In the preamble to the Popol Vuh, its Quiché authors wrote that the contents were based on an ancient book from across the sea. In a later passage, the source of these writings is identified as Tulan, which they located across the sea to the east… The Quiché lords held these ‘writings of Tulan’ in great reverence and consulted them often.”i

The Book of Mormon claims the Nephites sailed from the East, brought sacred records, and settled the lowlands and did battle with inhabitants of the highlands.

15.

Four Corners of the Earth – Mesoamericans believed the earth had four corners, “comprised of four quarters associated with the four cardinal directions.”

Exactly as described in the Book of Mormon: “He will gather in from the four quarters of the earth.”

At the beginning of the Book of Mormon, Lehi sees in a vision God descend from heaven as “the sun at noon-day,” out of the “stars in the firmament” to “the face of the earth.” This fits the Mayan cosmology:

“The Popol Vuh also says that the sun’s motion defines the four quarters of the universe, but they actually were set in place before the sun was created, when a cord was stretched in the sky and on earth at the time of creation. This cord seems to symbolize the four corners of the cosmos representing the extreme horizon positions of the sun at the solstices.”j

16. Calling A Son “Younger” Rather Than “Jr.” – Alma in the Book of Mormon called his son “Alma the younger” rather than “Alma junior.” This seems totally random, but Mesoamericans likewise used “the younger,” a term unheard of anywhere else and which Joseph Smith could not have known about. Juan de Guzman, governor of Coyocan, gave rulership to his son “Guzman the younger” when he died in 1569. Aztec leader Xocoyotzin gave rulership to his son “Xocoyotzin the younger” in 1502.
17. Fall Of The First Man – The Mayan of the fall of the first man, Head-Apu, is similar to the fall and redemption of Adam in the Book of Mormon. He is called the “first father.” Like Adam’s confrontation with Satan, Head-Apu (or Hunahpu) confronted the dark lords of the underworld and then with First-Mother “gave life to humanity” through his fall.
18. Tree of Life – The Book of Mormon compares the tree of life to happiness awaiting us in the afterlife, much like Diego Landa’s report of the tree of life in the Mayan heaven: “a refreshing and shady tree called Yaxché, the Ceiba tree, beneath whose branches and shade they might rest and be in peace forever.”a

The Mayan “World Tree” connected the terrestrial earth with the celestial level heaven. This matches Daniel 4: “The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.”

The Book of Mormon compares the tree with Mary, the mother of Jesus. This also alludes to Adonis or the Egyptian God Osiris being born out of a tree through Isis. The Mayans also used this kind of imagery:

“Numerous pre-Columbian painted books such as Nuttall depict people being born from ‘birth trees’… just as a child looks as it emerges from the uterus… The Balams describe the tree of life as ‘the life god,’ signifying Iztamna in the Maya or Quetzalcoatl.”k

19. Solar Disk As Royalty Symbol – The solar disk of the sun was a symbol of kingship and divine royalty for the Mesopotamians as well as Mesoamericans: “…a solar disk, a common ancient Mesoamerican symbol often associated with rulership.”
20. White skin – Early explorers described some natives as “white” like Europeans. Legends tell of people with white skin who were wiped out. “Several Native American tribes have passed down legends of a race of white giants who were wiped out.” This contrast of skin color corresponds to the Book of Mormon, where some groups had skin more white and fair than others, and the light-skinned Nephites were wiped out.
21. Fair-Skinned Women – Friar Diego Landa remarked Mesoamerican women were beautiful and fair-skinned if they avoided bathing and sun exposure. The Book of Mormon also specified the women as fair skinned. “Those who are beautiful are quite vain about it, and indeed they are not bad looking; they are dark-skinned, caused more by their constant bathing and by the sun, than naturally.” The Book of Mormon also tells of “fair daughters” who were very beautiful.
22.

Bearded Men – Native art often shows bearded men, such as in the famous Izapa Stela 5 and the Olmec god Xolotl. Natives did not grow long beards, but the Book of Mormon people likely did. Quetzalcoatl was said to be bearded.

23. Commander Leads With Battle Standard – Aztec unit leaders wore a battle standard, much like the Title of Liberty in the Book of Mormon.

“The existence of battle standards is well attested for the Aztecs… where insignias were constructed of feathers over a light wicker frame that was worn on the unit leader’s back.”l

Diego Landa described the battle standard:

“…he met certain Indian fisherfolk whom he asked what country this was, and who answered Catoch, which means ‘our houses, our homeland,’for which reason he gave that name to the cape. When he asked by signs how the land was theirs, they replied Ci uthan, meaning ‘they say it.”a

24. Numbering Army Sizes By 10,000 – Sizes of military populations were rounded in Mesoamerican records to the nearest 10,000. For example, the Aztecs divided their army into units of 10,000, exactly how the Book of Mormon described army sizes in terms of 10,000 men.
25. Ditch & Wood Fence Fortifications – Fortifications with artificial earth slopes, large ditches, and defensive timberwork have been found in the Valley of Mexico and elsewhere, exactly as described in the Book of Mormon.

“The weapon system of the time… made the height and steepness of such building a formidable advantage… Dry moats of formidable length protected Tikal… A very large moat and ramparts encircled Becan… log palisades.” m

26.

Sacred Towers – Mesoamericans used tall towers, called kivas, for religious preaching and sacred ceremonies to Quetzalcoatl, the same way as recorded in the Book of Mormon.

The coatepetl tower, or “serpent tower” was “an Aztec Tower of Babel with its base on earth and its summit connecting the earth to the sky.” This matches the Book of Mormon description of the tower of Babel: “a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven.”

27.

Temples Similar to Solomon’s Temple – The Book of Mormon claims Nephi built a temple similar to Solomon’s temple.

  • The two round pillars typical at the front of the Mayan temple resemble the two pillars at the entrance of Solomon’s temple. In Mesoamerica, these pillars take a messianic form of serpents. The Hebrew pillars are messianic symbols of Kings David and Solomon, called Jachin and Boaz.
  • Crenelation of Mayan temples resemble Mesopotamian buildings.
  • Rituals performed in front of rather than inside the enclosed structure
  • Sacrifices performed on rectangular altars.
  • Temples atop ziggurat structures, like the ziggurats in Mesopotamia.
  • Both divided in the enclosed building into three processional spaces, like at the Temple of Inscriptions.
  • Jubilees 8 called the Temple of Solomon the “navel of the earth.” At the Mayan El Castillo temple, the passageway between the upper temple and lower tomb act like a navel for the dead. Mayans considered the navel “cosmic communicators from the sky beings to the human world.”
  • The Mayans used the trefoil arch, similar to the Christian foiled arch.
  • The Chac-mool chamberr inside the older inner pyramid of El Castillo, which dates to a time before Christ, includes a Jaguar altar that resembles the Egyptian Lion couch in Facsimile 1 of the Book of Abraham.
    28. Separate Temple Spaces For Men & Women – Mayans followed the Old World custom of holding temple ceremonies on the New Year, and they divided temple spaces for men and women, the same practice as the Hebrews. Diego Landa wrote:

    “When the New Year came, all the men gathered, alone, in the court of the temple, since none of the women were present at any of the temple ceremonies, except the old women who performed the dances. The women were admitted to the festivals held in other places.”a

    29. New Years Omens – In the Book of Mormon, Teancum snuck in and assassinated Amalickiah on New Years eve. The timing of this assassination was significant, because the New Year was considered a time of omens. This assassination played on the Mesoamerican belief that New Year events were ominous for the rest of the year: “The day on which a new year begins will determine what may happen during the year.”
    30. Stone Oracles – Mesoamerican priests looked into sacred stones or rock statues as oracles, similar to what’s described in the Book of Mormon. Diego Landa mentioned “divining stones” among the “sorcerers.” They used quartz crystal for their divination: “magnifying glasses or spectacles, by which things may be seen more clearly.”

    This sounds exactly like the instrument Joseph Smith claimed he found to translate the Book of Mormon: “stones, describing them as white or clear in appearance, set in silver bows or rims like modern eyeglasses or spectacles.”

    31. Lightning Indicates Divine Presence – Lightning, thunder, and earthquakes were considered evidence of the serpent god Quetzalcoatl’s arrival:

    “The rain falls from the clouds accompanied by thunder and lightning–the sumbols of the divine serpent… the ‘feathered serpent’ combined the images of the airborn (and thus birdlike) ‘feathery’ clouds bearing rain and of the zigzag, serpent-like strokes of lightning.”n

    Thunder and lighting was also evidence of Christ’s arrival in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith remarked of his vision of God: “his countenance truly like lightning.”

    32. Wine – Ancient Americans made wine from vineyards (of fruits other than grapes), such as Cochinital pibil, sometimes with great potency. They were located in regions around the cities, exactly as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Diego Landa:

    “Before the Spanish subdued the country, the Indians lived together in well ordered communities… in the center of the town were the temples, with beautiful plazas, and around the temples stood the houses of the chiefs and the priests, and next those of the leading men. Closest to these came the houses of those who were wealthiest and most esteemed, and at the borders of the town were the houses of the common people… their plantations were set out in the trees for making wine.”a

    Mayan rituals included honey, called balche, which the Book of Mormon also mentions being important.

    33. Cement Buildings – Cement was used for building because of a lack of wood in Mexico:

    “By the Middle Formative, buildings were being made of cut limestone masonry covered with a strong stucco plaster to protect the structure from rains… The limestone walls often–especially later in the Classic period–formed a sort of veneer over the rough hearting… the ultimate structural strength of a Maya building is really that of a concrete building tied together by the mortar and rubble mass.”o

    The Book of Mormon records: “…the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.”

    34. Gardens Surrounding Houses – All around Mesoamerica, houses were commonly surrounded by gardens.

    “House lots are large bounded areas that contain: 1) a dwelling area or structural core, 2)a swept patio or clear area, 3) an intermediary zone or ring midden at the edge of the patio, and 4) a garden area or toft zone.”p

    Helaman 7:10 mentions a garden surrounding his home, at the edge of his property: “Nephi had bowed himself upon the tower which was in his garden, which tower was also near unto the garden gate by which led the highway.”

    35. Raised Highways – The Book of Mormon claims there were “many highways cast up” “from city to city” and that the highways were made “smooth.” In Mesoamerica and South America, a vast network of “cast up” roadways connected cities. For example, there are “raised roads of roughly shaped stone” at Coba. The roads spread across the lands and are formally built:

    “They tend to be straight in nature and are engineered to overcome natural obstacles in order to improve transportation and communication… From a remote sensing perspective, the Mayan roadways tell us how the cities were connected and to some degree suggest the level of sophistication of the city responsible for their construction and maintenance.”q

    36. Drinking Blood – Lamanite leaders in the Book of Mormon threatened to drink the blood of their enemies. Likewise, Mesoamerican warriors drank blood of their defeated enemies: “Nearly all the art forms abound in representation of warriors, eagles eating hearts or drinking blood.”

    Some tribes ate raw meat, as described in the Book of Mormon.

    Houses were blessed by priests by smearing blood on the corner posts to keep away ill fortune, similar to the Passover custom of the Hebrews.

    37. Afterlife Judgement From Earthly Sins – The Mayan concept of an afterlife was which was a “system of rewards and punishments that depend on one’s behavior while alive,” exactly like the merit-based concept of heaven in the Book of Mormon.
    38. Paradise Heaven – Mesoamericans believed heaven was a joyful paradise filled with delights. Tialocan, the heaven for Teaotihuacans, was portrayed as abundant and happy. Diego Landa reported:

    “They believed that after death there was another life better than this, which the soul enjoyed after leaving the body. This future life they said was divided into good and evil, into pains and delights. The evil life of suffering they said was for the vicious, and the good and delectable for those whose mode of life had been good.”a

    39. Ritual Sacrament – Mayan rituals included sacred drinks and food, like the sacrament in the Book of Mormon, administered by priests. “Ritual drinking” took place with gods present at Mayan ball game courts. Cannibalism was sometimes practiced, because “by eating the victims the participants were able to ingest the very substance of the god whom they worshipped.” This matches reports of cannibalism in the Book of Mormon, and resembles the logic behind the Christian sacrament.

    Mesoamericans shaped corn dough into the shape of their gods, to represent their gods, and ate them as a communion ceremony, where dough was “formed into tamales (dumplings steamed in cornhusks) or shaped as idols and eaten in communion with the corn gods.”

    40. Ritual Executions – The Book of Mormon records ritual executions due to acts of warfare, such as the hanging of Zemnarihah from a tree and the Lamanite’s systematic killing Nephite prisoners. Mesoamericans likewise practiced ritual executions and warfare, the “presentation, mutilation, and sacrifice of prisoners.”
    41. Ritual Sacrifice – Both “human sacrifice” and “animal sacrifices” occurred in ancient America. The Book of Mormon describes both within the time frame.
    42. Elite Priests – Religious priests were at the top of the social hierarchy and taught traditional doctrines that reinforced this social structure, and often repressed the lower class, as recorded in the Book of Mormon. The “elite power rested in esoteric ritual knowledge.”
    43. PalacesThe ruling class “nobles lived in palaces.” Rulers lived in a large palace at the center of the city, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    43. Temporary Imprisonment – Prison was usually temporary, and usually ended quickly with some other punishment, such as slavery. “Captives taken in war were occasionally enslaved, but they usually were dedicated to sacrifice and did not last long.” The Book of Mormon indicates the same kind of judicial system.
    43. Jaguar Symbolized Hunting – The jaguar altar at El Castillo showed incredible similarity to the Facsimile 1 Lion couch. The Book of Mormons speak of lions in the same fashion as jaguars. The jaguar was an important anthropomorphism of hunting and dominion, a figure that humans could embody: “Master of the Species, a concept characteristic of hunting cultures… rooted in the equivalence of man and wild animals.”

    The Book of Mormon speaks of lions in the same way: “A lion among the beasts of the forest… treadeth down and teareth into pieces, and none can deliver” (3 Nephi 21:12), “they fought like lions for their prey” (Mosiah 20:10), “they were struck with great fear and fled… as a goat fleeth with her young from two lions.”

    44. Owl Associated With Death – Owls were thought by Mayans to inhabit the underworld and signify death and desolation. The god Yum Cimil “is painted as half-owl, half-human.” Yum Cimil’s sought to “devastate and destroy all that he came in contact with… plagues and wars and many other forms of violence.”

    The Book of Mormon associates owls with destruction and desolation as well: “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in… their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there.”

    45. Fine Clothing – The Book of Mormon claims Lehi’s people from Mesopotamia wore silks and fine linens, and describes the dress in terms of robes.

    Torguemada described the foreigners who arrived in America long ago on boats:

    “Certain nations came from toward the north, who landed at the port of Panuco. These people were well dressed, and adorned in long clothing, after the style of the Turks.”r

    46. Multiple Marketplaces In A CityHelaman 7:10 mentions a “chief market” and suggests smaller markets existed. This matches the Mesoamerican market system, where central markets were principal and local small markets were spread around neighborhoods: “…on multiple scales, from neighborhood-level interaction to large, principal marketplaces like those known from the Postclassic Basin.”
    47. High Density Urban Centers – The idea of large native cities with high density populations seemed laughable in Joseph Smith’s time, but now we know there were very dense ancient cities. The size of these cities required local representatives within a larger government framework, exactly as the Book of Mormon portrays:

    “It was not possible for the leaders of individual compounds to interact directly with the bureaucracy of the Teotihuacan city, because of the city’s large population and its more diverse, complex, and specialized economy… Instead, the economic, political, and perhaps religious interests of the compounds in the larger Teotihuacan city-state had to be represented by leaders and priests drawn from various districts.”s

    Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer said: “When we [the Witnesses] were first told to publish our statement, we felt sure that the people would not believe it, for the Book told of a people who were refined and dwelt in large cities.” Who would have thought that the Native Americans even had a representative government? That it became necessary with the population influx of new immigrants under King Mosiah?

    48. Monetary System – No coins from ancient America have been found, however this is not a problem because the monetary system mentioned in Alma 11 never speaks of coins, just weights of different metals, and comparisons of what they are worth. This standardization fits the ancient method of coinage.
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    49. Cutting Off Arms For Trophies – In the Book of Mormon, Ammon cut off the arms of plunderers attempting to steal from him, and the arms were displayed to the king as a trophy. This follows an Aztec practice of cutting off the arms of enemies in combat and displaying them as trophies.
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    50. Cities Submerged In Water – Advanced cities have been found submerged under water and covered in landslides: “…’underwater city’ found on a large plateau… ‘clear manmade architectural designs’ that when seen from above ‘resemble pyramids, roads and buildings.'”

    The Book of Mormon describes cities being submerged completely in the ocean.

    51. Garden of Eden – Mesoamericans believed that Quetzalcoatl gave man life and the ability to choose good or evil, and previously mankind was in a childlike state.

    “Mesoamericans believed that until Quetzalcoatl’s appearance on earth only the beasts inhabited the world. Through Quetzalcoatl’s spiritual essence, humankind was created… man had existed before Quetzalcoatl’s appearance but in a collective sense without individual though, man was similar to a machine. Through Quetzalcoatl, man became free to make choices of good and evil and to become true individuals.” t

    52. Communal Society – Like in 4 Nephi, archaeologists have noticed unranked societies in Maya that eventually split into classes and ranks.
    53. Sudden DepopulationThere was a “general abandonment of most settlements in western Chiapas,” during the Late Classic era (250 AD) “which finally dwindled to nothing.” This correlates with the extinction of the Nephites around the same time.
    54. Migration Northward – Experts believed, even in Joseph Smith’s time, that Natives migrated south from the Bering Strait. But new evidence shows there were actually migrations northward, as claimed in the Book of Mormon: “…the speakers of these languages would seem likely to have migrated northward from in or near what is now Oaxaca a matter of millenia ago.”
    54. Fasting With Sackcloth and Ashes – Diego Landa described Mayans entering their temple “cleansed of the black soot they put on while fasting,” and then being purified with incense, much like the Hebrew customs of fasting.a
    55. Armor – Many assume Native Americans had no armor, but early explorers reported soldiers who “wore protective jackets of cotton, quilted in double thickness, which were very strong.” “Some of the chiefs and captains wore helmets of wood.”
    56. Spiritual Growth Like Plant – Talamancans described spiritual renewal and resurrection as the growth of a plant growing inside a person, like faith is described in the Book of Mormon. Corn meal symbolizes “renewal in death… temporal expressions promising spiritual continuity despite the death of the body.'”
    57. Immortal Soul – Mesoamericans believed in an immortal soul because of the spirit, as described in the Book of Mormon. Diego Landa reported: “These people have always believed in the immortality of the soul.”a
    58. Genealogy Proves Right To Rulership – Mesoamerican writings, such as the Maya stelae, recorded a ruler’s lineage as proof of his right to rule: “It is now generally accepted that many of these monuments functioned as status validation documents.” The Book of Mormon mentions the same kind of validation of kingship. Diego Landa:

    “They make much of knowledge of the origins of their lineages, especially if they come from one of the houses of Mayapan; this they learn from their priests, it being one of their sciences, and they boast much about one of their lineage who has distinguished himself. The name of the father is transmitted to his son, but not to his daughters.”a

    59. Hierarchy Of Judges – The king often was supreme judge, with a structure of lower district courts below him, as with the Aztec Tlatoani. They were financially compensated and specialized lawyers. The Book of Mormon records the same kind of structure.
    60. Broken Heart & Contrite Spirit – Mesoamericans believed the gods were to be approached with humility, begging, and weeping prayer. “…prayers were accompanied by humbling behavior, wailing, or gentle weeping… to ‘wake up’ the divinity.”
    60. Teachers Over The People – The Book of Mormon clarifies that one of the important and influential roles of priests was to be teachers over the people. Diego Landa said: “It was the office of the priests to discourse and teach their sciences, to indicate calamities and the means of remedying them, preaching during the festivals, celebrating the sacrifices and administering their sacraments.”
    61. Prophesy of Foreign Conquerors – Diego Landa:

    “As the Mexican people had signs and prophecies of the coming of the Spaniards and the end of their power and religion, so also did those of Yucatan some years before they were conquered… An Indian named Ah-cambal (a spiritual leader of the people)…told publicly that they would soon be ruled by a foreign race who would preach a God and the virtue of a wood which in their tongue he called vahom-che, meaning a tree lifted up…”a

    The Book of Mormon prophesies of the Gentile conquering the American Natives, who would introduce them to the Bible, which would teach them about Jesus being “lifted up” on the wood cross.

    62. Patriarchal Priesthood Under High Priest – Diego Landa:

    “The people of Yucatan were as attentive to matters of religion as of government, and had a High Priest… He was succeeded in office by his son or closest kin. In him lay the key to their sciences, to which they most devoted themselves… He and his disciples appointed the priests for the towns, examining them in their sciences, and ceremonies, put on their charge the affairs of their office, and the setting of a good example to the people, he provided their books (scripture) and sent them forth.”a

    63. Confessing Sins – Mayans confessed their sins to a priest to avoid sickness, like Zeezrom in the Book of Mormon. Diego Landa said:

    “The Yucatecans naturally knew when they had done something wrong, and they believed that death, disease, and torments would come on them because of evildoing, and sin, and thus they had the custom of confessing to their priests when such was the case. In this way, when for sickness or other cause they found themselves in danger of death, they made confession of their sins… the sins of which they commonly accused themselves were theft, homicide of the flesh, and false testimony.”a

    64. Societies Departing From Jerusalem – The Dead Sea Scrolls revealed a civilization at Qumran that departed from Jerusalem into the wilderness due to wickedness in the city and impending doom, like Lehi’s family in the Book of Mormon. They wrote scripture on metal and practiced devout religious ordinances, including baptism by immersion, that are unique to Mormons. Also, around the same time period.
    Read more…
    65. Scripture Records Kept In A Treasury – Like Nephi’s account, non-Hebrew records were kept in a treasury, called “genizah”, a store room in synagogues. But it was specifically called a treasury: ” In Tractate Pesachim 118b, bet genizah is a treasury.”

    The Lachesh Letters also talk about a military governor who kept important records in the genizah.

    66. Steel Bow – The Book of Mormon claim that Nephi had a “steel bow” for hunting. This sounds laughable to anti-Mormons, but the ancient Visnudharmottara mentions metal bows, and the Agnipurana mentions steel bows. Mughal paintings show them in use in battles, and they are believed to date back to the 4th century B.C.

    Interestingly, Nephi created new arrows for his new bow, even though he already had arrows. Why did he need new arrows if only his bow broke? Nowadays, we wouldn’t think to do this, but in ancient times arrows had to be made specific for each bow. Different arrows were certainly needed for a quick wood bow than a fine steel bow.

    66. Hebrew Concept of Hell & Death – Abinadi’s personification of death, a battle for victory over death, swallowing death, and bands of death match both Near Eastern concepts and Mayan sensibilities of death and the afterlife realm.
    67. Multiple Hebrew Temples – The Book of Mormon claims Nephi built a temple in the new world. The notion that the Hebrews would have permitted multiple temples was inconceivable in Joseph Smith’s time, but since then, a Jewish temples have been found in Elephantine and Leontopolis, where the Hebrews did not “shut down the Elephantine temple itself, despite the fact that its existence was contrary to the law of Deuteronomy.”
    68. Hebrew Name ‘Sariah’ – The Hebrew name Sariah was not known of in Joseph Smith’s time, and its appearance in the Book of Mormon seems random. But recently the name has been found written in the Elephantine Papyri: “Sariah daughter of Hoshea son of Harman.”
    69. Mulek Son of King Zedekiah – It has always been assumed that Zedekiah did not have a son named Mulek, even though the Book of Mormon claims he did. But an ancient seal was discovered in Jerusalem that reads: “Malkiyahu the son of the king.” This is likely Mulek.
    Read more…
    70. Male Use Of The Name ‘Alma’ – The Book of Mormon applies the name Alma to men, even though it is a female name. But a land deed from the 2nd century AD in Palestine mentions “Alma the son of Judah,” which proves it is male and Hebrew.

    Other ancient texts include the word in a male context as well. The Book of Mormon’s context plays on the Hebrew root of the word Alma, “youth” and “conceal.”

    71. Hebrew Names– The Book of Mormon uses words that match up to the meanings in Hebrew and related languages, even though Joseph Smith did not know Hebrew. For example, Jershon means “place of inheritance” in Hebrew, and in the Book of Mormon, a land is given by Nephites to Lamanite converts “for an inheritance” which is called Jershon.
    72. Egyptian Influence In Aztecan LanguageBrian Stubbs painstakingly showed Semitic and Egyptian influences in the languages spoken by the Utes, Shoshoni, Jahua, and Hopi tribes. He provided a list of 1,528 sets of cognates linking Uto-Aztecan languages with Semitic and Egyptian. This includes:

    Semitic Uto-Aztecan
    Baraq: ‘Lightning’ Pïrok: ‘Lightning’
    Sekem: ‘Shoulder’ Sikum: ‘Shoulder’
    Bytu: ‘Spend the night’ Pïtu: ‘Lie down, spend the night’
    Boo: ‘coming’ PooC: ‘road, way, path’
    Batt: ‘daughter’ Pattï: ‘daughter’
    Bakay: ‘cry’ Paka: ‘cry’
    Dubur: ‘buttocks, rear’ Tupur: ‘hip, buttocks’
    Dwr: ‘go round, turn, revolve’ Tur: ‘whirl, roll, twist’
    Dakka: ‘make flat, crush’ Takka: ‘flat’
    Mayim: ‘ocean’ Meme-t: ‘ocean’

    Brian Stubbs also noticed Egyptian similarities:

    Egyptian Uto-Aztecan
    Qdi: ‘go round’ Koti: ‘turn around, return’
    Qni: ‘sheaf, bundle’ Kuni: ‘bag’
    Bit: ‘bee’ Pita: ‘wasp, bee’
    Km: ‘(to be) black’ Koma: ‘dark color’
    Sbk: ‘crocodile god’ Sipak-tli: ‘crocodile’
    Tks: ‘pierce’ Tïkso: ‘pierce, poke’
    Nmi ‘travel, traverse’ Nïmi: ‘walk around’
    Sm: ‘go, walk, leave’ Sima: ‘go, leave’
    Qbb ‘cool, calm, quiet’ Koppa ‘quiet, calm’
    Bši: ‘spit, vomit’ Piso-(ta): ‘vomit’
    Sb: ‘star’ Sipo: ‘star’

    The Book of Mormon records Lehi’s family was educated “in the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.”

    73. Chiasmus – The literary device of chiasmus, unusual for English but common in Hebrew and the Bible, has been found extensively in the Book of Mormon, in complex structures, both within sentences and at a macro-level forming entire chapters.
    74. Hebrew Grammar – Besides the chiasmus, there are distinctive Hebrew grammar devices in the Book of Mormon that sound clumsy in English but fit perfect for Hebrew. The list includes the Hebrew construct slate, adverbials, cognates, compound prepositions, conjunctions, subordinate causes, relative clauses, extrapositional mouns, interchangeable pronouns, and naming conventions.

    At least one Hebrew devices–parallelism–shows up in the Popul Vul as well. It sounds terrible in English but makes sense in Hebrew. Native American languages have similar grammar to Hebrew.
    See more…

    75. Reformed Egyptian – The Book of Mormon’s claim of reformed-Egyptian was silly in the 19th century, but now we have discovered Demotic and Hieratic variations of Egyptian. Translations of Hebrew scripture into other languages have also been found.
    76. Continually Running River Into Red Sea – Anti-Mormons have long claimed there are no rivers on the Arabian Peninsula that empty in to the Red Sea. But actually a continually flowing river has been found 8 miles north of Maqna, where a suitable spot for the Valley of Lemuel has also been found.
    77. ‘Shazer’ Discovered on Lehi’s Route – Nephi described a fertile location in the Arabian desert where they found animals to hunt, which they called Shazer. This word matches the ancient Palestinian term for water holes, shajer, pronounced shazher. A fitting location has been found 75 miles from the Valley of Lemuel location at the Gulf of Aqaba.
    78. ‘Nahom’ Discovered On Lehi’s Route – Altar inscriptions of the name “Nahom” have been discovered along the route Lehi took in southern Arabia, dating to the time he was supposed to have been there.
    78. Word for ‘Amen’ – Diego Landa: “They have the custom of assisting one who delivers a message by responding with a cadence of the voice, a sort of aspirate in the throat as if to say ‘it is well’ or‘be is so.’”a
    79.

    Idol Statues – Mesoamericans worshipped stone idol statues and graven images, as told in the Book of Mormon.

    80. Priestcraft – The Book of Mormon tells of a class of religious leaders who exploit the people for financial gain and political power. This also describes priests in Mesoamerica as an “elite class and the management of religious matters that reinforced and supported their elevated status.”
    81. CaptainsCaptains and sub-captains led the armies as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    82. Local Militia – Warriors were mustered from local sources rather than a national standing army, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    83. Multiple Writing Systems – Native Americans were considered illiterate in Joseph Smith’s time, yet the Book of Mormon claims a variety of writing systems. Many distinct scripts have been found in Mesoamerican cultures dating back to ancient times.
    84. Similar Uses For Writing – Mesoamericans used writing for 14 purposes that are also mentioned in in the Book of American, according to John L. Sorenson. This included recording history, correspondence, recording mythology, warfare, and genealogy. While ancient writing typically evolves from accounting in business, Mesoamerican writing is rather unique in that it came from religious, political, and historical needs–which is how the Book of Mormon describes writing.
    85. Governance By Divine Right – Governorship was conferred by right and often by divine decree in ancient America, with multiple rulers rather than one single king over everyone, the same as indicated in the Book of Mormon: “Classic Maya rulers claimed a kind of divine right to rule, similar to the supernatural identity enjoyed by kings” in the Eastern continent.
    86. Rulers Numbered Starting With Original Ruler’s Name – Mayan rulers kept the name of the original ruler and gave themselves a successive number, exactly like the people of Nephi did with the name “Nephi.”
    87. History Treated As Political Weapon – In the Book of Mormon, civilizations sought historical records to gain political advantage over each other. Mesoamericans did likewise, for example with the sacred petamuti narrative.
    88. Lineage Predicted Future – Both Mesoamerican writings and the Book of Mormon predict future events based on genealogical lineages, national history, and dreams. A family could “trace its historical lineage back to a particularly important” historical character and “shape the future” accordingly.
    89. Family-Based Rulership – Kingship was usually based on family descendancy, usually through males descendants, as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Rulership “had always passed from father to son.”
    90. Emeritus Rulership – Rulership sometimes changed before the previous ruler was dead, like Mosiah who passed on the throne before his death in the Book of Mormon.
    91. Taxes – Just as recorded in the Book of Mormon, Mesoamerican rulers gained power through taxes. These were lump-sum tributes, “regularly scheduled, recorded in official documents, and collected by teams of professional tax collectors.”
    92. Social Classes – Society was divided into upper and lower classes, with significant social stratification, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    92. Social Class Movements – Ancient Americans changed social orders as groups, rather than with an individual champion like in the 19th century. The Book of Mormon records the same kind of upheavals and revolutions.
    93. Frequent Upheaval – Factions within a nation often shifted sides overthrew the government or took over other societies, as indicated in the Book of Mormon: “Local alliances shifted frequently, contributing to political unrest and resulting in a boundary that fluctuated over time.”

    Despite being considered peaceful for many years, archaeologists now recognize Mesoamericans were embroiled in warfare, as recorded in the Book of Mormon: “The Maya warred because their religion compelled it.”

    94. Divisions By Relocation – Factions often created independent macro-regional civilizations during times of upheaval, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    95. Factions Sought Social Dominance – Contrary to the impression of stability that historians once held for Mesoamerica, social factions fought violently for political power and greatly disrupted the peaceable society, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    96. Social Division By Religion – Religion was a major factor in divisions between groups and societies, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    97. Warfare Due To Religion – Religion was often a major reason for attacking other societies through warfare, as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Not only was war waged for religious dominance in theocracies, it was seen as necessary to please the gods, like the Lamanite concept of war.
    98. Religious Circumcision – Aztec warriors punctured their foreskins in a solemn sacrificial ritual, similar to the Hebrew circumcision: “Their brothers and husbands drew thongs through the foreskins of their penises. The blood they shed was sopped up in strips of fiber that were burned, dispatching the sacrifices in smoke to the heavens.”v
    99. Battles By Agriculture Season – Battles and troop movements were timed to not interfere with the harvest season and when it wasn’t too hot, as indicated in the Book of Mormon. Wars were fought in the winter, which does not make sense in Joseph Smith’s location but does in Central America.
    100. Nuclear Family – The small traditional family provided moral instruction to the youth, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    101. Polygamy – Polygamous marriages were practiced by the elites:

    “Polygamy was advantageous in part because it created more opportunities for intermarriage among elites… and the nobility practiced polygamy so enthusiastically that by the early 16th century there were not enough bureaucratic jobs for all their offspring.”t

    The Book of Mormon also records polygamy taking place:

    “For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife… ye have come unto great condemnation; for ye have done these things which ye ought not to have done.”

    102. Farming Without Animals – Mesoamerican farming was done completely without use of animals, as indicated in the Book of Mormon.
    103. Herds and FlocksJohn L. Sorenson points out, ancient Americans utilized birds and animals as described in the Book of Mormon, though it is unclear whether they were domesticated or merely slaughtered.
    104. Elephants – Contrary to anti-Mormon claims, there were elephants in North America, such as the mastodon, perhaps as late as 2,000 B.C. This corresponds to the mention of an elephant in the third millenia B.C. in the Book of Mormon.
    105. Metal – Contrary to popular belief and anti-American claims, metallurgy was known to ancient Americans, including smelting and working with alloys, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.

    “…more than 100 objects excavated at Lamanai have anchored some alloy types… plain-walled bells cast from metal smelted from copper oxide ores.”u

    106. Silk – It sounds odd to claim Mesoamericans had silk, since we all know silk came from Asia. But contrary to anti-Mormon claims, fabrics that could be considered silk and “fine linen” were created by ancient Americans, from animal hair and fine weaving: “…feathers and rabbit fur may have been dyed with cochineal and applied to or woven into textiles.”
    107. Oracles for Warfare – Oracles or priestly intervention was used before battle, as indicated in the Book of Mormon: “…the help of diviners to know when to travel, and warriors to know when to go to battle.”
    108. Intergenerational Wars – Mesoamerican conflicts often stretched out feuds for many years and generations, as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    108. Punishment for Adultry – In Alma 30:10, adulterers were punished per the Law of Moses. Diego Landa:

    “They had laws against delinquents which they executed rigorously, such as against an adulterer, whom they turned over to the injured party that he might either put him to death by throwing a great stone upon his head… For the adulteress there was no penalty save the infamy, which was very serious thing to them. One who ravished a maiden was stoned to death.”a

    109. Divorce Condemned – Diego Landa:

    “Even though divorce was so common and familiar a thing, the old people and those of better customs condemned it, and there were many who never had but a single wife; nor did they ever marry one bearing their own name on the father’s side, for this was considered a very bad thing. Equally wrong was it held that a man should marry his sister in law, the widow of a brother.”a

    110. Cultural Rot Due To Unworthy Marriages – Diego Landa:

    “In olden times they married at the age of twenty, but now at that of twelve or thirteen. For this reason they divorce more easily because they marry without love and ignorant of a married life and the duties of married people; and if their parents could not persuade them to return to their wives, they hunted them another and others and others.”a

    The Book of Mormon confirms:

    “And they were married, and given in marriage… they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.”

    111. Abundance Of Precious Metals & Stones – Mesoamerica was abundant in gold, copper, other precious metals, and precious gems and stones, as the Book of Mormon described.
    112. Title & Author On Last Page – The original 1830 printing Book of Mormon placed the title page at the end, which was strange. But Mesopotamian records frequently wrote subscripto, with the author and title at the end.