Is it true that all the evidence that supports the Book of Mormon comes from sources that are not neutral and objective? It’s just that most people who are not members of the church, when they hear about evidence that supports the Book of Mormon, claim that this evidence only comes from Mormon organizations. They say that no secular archaeological organization would support the Book of Mormon. Also, I heard that National Geographic wrote a letter saying that it had not found any support for the Book of Mormon. I just want to know what you think about this. Thanks.

(Comment originally posted in Spanish)

One Response to “Non-Mormon evidence for the Book of Mormon?”

Luciano Santana
December 8, 2013

The Book of Mormon has been translated into many languages.

Hi friend. No, it’s not true that all the evidence that supports the Book of Mormon comes from Mormon sources. The recent discovery of Middle-Eastern genetic markers in Native-American populations came from non-Mormon researchers based mostly in Denmark and Sweden, for example.

It is obviously true, however, that Mormon researchers are more interested in Mormon studies than most others. It’s offensive to suggest that skilled and accomplished researchers investigating the Book of Mormon are somehow less than objective just because they’re Mormons. Many who research the history of the Torah are Jewish. Do we question their objectivity? Many who study the history of African Americans are black. Do we question the validity of their findings just because they’re black? Mormons are among the most accomplished researchers in various fields of study. Their discoveries, whether related to their faith or not, should be respected and considered on their own merits.

Now, you used a word that I want to discourage: “proof.” There is no scientific or academic “proof” that the Book of Mormon is true. A testimony requires faith, brother. It always will. Beyond that, though, the word “proof” is dangerous in other contexts. I’m a scientist, and we scientists rarely use the word “proof.” In fact, the only branch of science where things can be truly “proven” is mathematics. The rest of us generally speak of “supporting evidence” and varying degrees of certainty. It is mostly non-scientists who mistakenly see science as definitely “proving” things.

The same is true of academic investigations of the Book of Mormon. There is supporting evidence, but it’s unlikely there will ever be definitive academic “proof.”

I actually found the National Geographic letter you mentioned. It seems very reasonably worded to me. It starts off by praising the Book of Mormon as a “work of great spiritual power” whose words have been read and revered by millions. It then states that the National Geographic Society is unaware of any findings that have substantiated the Book of Mormon, as I would expect given that most of Nat Geo’s members have probably never read the Book of Mormon and are not generally interested in Mormon Studies.

They then imply that the America’s earliest inhabitants came exclusively from East Asia over the Bering Strait, a conclusion that seems to conflict with more recent evidence but that was widely accepted when the letter was written.

Actually, I was generally impressed reading National Geographic’s letter. They showed respect for the Book of Mormon and simply stated the prevailing scientific theory of their time.

I hope this answer helps. Let me know if you have any additional questions.

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