I am a new member of the LDS Church being baptized a year ago in Osage Beach, MO. I discuss the Book of Mormon everywhere I go, and am still quite ignorant of the Gospel, but learning more and more daily. I was asked why the Book of Mormon discusses chariots and horses but to date none have ever been unearthed in the Western Hemisphere. They come back at me by saying horses were introduced by the Spaniards in the 15th and 16th centuries. Also when they spoke in Alma of the Anti Nephite Lehi’s buring their swords because they did not want to take up arms against the Lamanites why no spears or shields have been uncovered or even seen to substantiate this claim. Please understand I am a devout LDS but when these questions are confronted to me I need to know how to respond. Thank you Brother Jim Byrd

James from Eldon,

4 Responses to “I am a new member of the LDS Church being baptized a year ag…”

Mario Paz
February 28, 2011
Since it was first published in English in 1830, the Book of Mormon has been fully translated into 72 languages.

Hi James. Congratulations on your recent baptism! There’s a wonderful site called FairLDS that answers a lot of questions like these. Their wiki page is excellent.

Regarding chariots, the FairWiki page could use a little work. The points they do bring up seem valid, however. Vehicles made of wood would not have survived the millennia, and few Middle-Eastern chariots recorded in the Bible have survived the ages either. It’s also unclear if what the Book of Mormon calls a “chariot” is the same wheeled chariot with which we’re all familiar. We also don’t know if chariots were commonly used, or if they were rare and so less likely to survive the ages.

The FairWiki article on horses is much more complete. In brief, it is not true that there were no pre-Colombian horses in the Americas. In fact, the horse originally evolved in the Western Hemisphere. It eventually went extinct in the Americas and was reintroduced by the Spaniards. While most horse populations likely went extinct before Book of Mormon times, pre-Colombian horse teeth have been recovered from a Mayan archeological site. It’s also possible that the animals the Book of Mormon calls “horses” may have in fact been horse-like creatures. The New-World tapir, deer, or llama could be possible candidates for the Book of Mormon “horse.”

The FairWiki article about swords is even more complete. When we think of swords in modern times, we typically think of the metal swords used in the Old World. However, the Book of Mormon account of the Anti-Nephi-Lehites suggests that most Book of Mormon swords were not made of metal, since Alma 24:11-13 indicates that the swords could be “stained with blood,” and metal swords do not stain. Indeed, the Macuahuitl sword was commonly used by the Aztec and other ancient meso-americans tribes. It was made from wood and obsidian rock and so could have been stained with blood.

Hope these answers help. Let me know if you have any more questions.

March 1, 2011

This is a topic and problem that probably isn’t in dire need to be solved for you, and the rest of us, to obtain our salvation. This is like the question, “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” And the answer should be, “It mattereth not unto thee” (see Jacob 5: 13 and Ether 12: 37) as it has not effect on your personal faithfulness and salvation.

Simply put – it doesn’t matter; you are on the correct path. If a question like that was posed to me I would respond with a heartfelt, testimony of the truth of the restoration, the Prophet Joseph Smith and his mission, the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that we DO HAVE a living prophet today. All the other strange road-questions that might lead you off the right path are not important. Just my two cents.

Grandpa Chet
February 28, 2011

There have been remains found of small horses from around that time and before. It appears they were used as food, not transportation.

As far as chariots, that’s the English translation of whatever “thing” they used in some fashion like a chariot. Remember that Joseph was limited to words he knew – there are instances where he didn’t know what certain things were, and he has transcribed what seem to be the original nouns.

Pamela Dean Bonta
February 28, 2011

In addition, when horse remains *have* been found in ancient American sites, they are often passed off as being ‘contaminate’ material because archeologists do not expect to find thiose remains where they find them.

Other excellent article can be found here and here.

There are many other articles at fairlds.org that deal with other parts of your question. 🙂

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