A scholar/professorBelief based on evidence alone is superficial and powerless. Nevertheless, evidence in favor of the extraordinary Mormon truth claims can serve useful purposes. Angelic ministrations in our days? Modern-day prophets and apostles? A restoration of the ancient church? Many do not investigate the LDS Church because they can’t get past so remarkable a history. If you find yourself struggling with these kinds of feelings, supporting evidence can help you overcome your initial reluctance so that the marvelous spiritual and secular blessings associated with Mormonism can be evaluated on their own merits. Additionally, for those who already have an abiding faith, evidence can strengthen belief.

The purpose of this page is to catalogue some of the evidence that supports the Mormon position. The descriptions are brief, but links are provided for those who wish to learn more. Please let me know in the comments if you’re aware of additional findings that should be included here.

The Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith, the first Mormon, asserted that the Book of Mormon (BOM) was translated by the power of God from an ancient Semitic text written largely by prophets on the American continent. Critics suggest that the BOM is in fact a fabrication. ()

  • The Book of Mormon describes a city called Nahom on the Arabian Peninsula. Recently, the location of an ancient city by that very name has been located at the precise location specified by the Book of Mormon. (1) (2) (3)
  • Ancient Semitic writings often included complex poetic forms called “chiasmus.” In has only been in recent years that scholars have come to appreciate the importance of these literary structures. In 1967 it was discovered that the Book of Mormon contains some incredible examples of chiasmus. Some of these poetic forms are pages long, making it very unlikely that they were written by accident, suggesting that the book is a legitimate ancient Semitic document. (1) (2) (3)
  • The Book of Mormon suggests a small group of Israelites traveled to the New World around 600 B.C. Linguists have in fact discovered some evidence of a Semitic influence in the Native-American languages of the region. (1) (2) (3)
  • The Book of Mormon describes a calendar system unique to the descendants of Lehi. When the planting, harvesting, and warfare events described in the book are categorized according to the month in which they occurred, they self segregate into distinct seasons, as one would expect. It seems highly unlikely that Joseph Smith would have paid attention to so small a detail if he wrote the BOM. However, this kind of internal consistency would be expected of a translation of a legitimate ancient document. Interestingly, the seasons described also correspond well to the seasons in Mesoamerica, the most likely ancient setting for the text. (1) (2)
  • Interesting evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon from the Eastern Hemisphere.
    The Book of Mormon mentions over 200 proper names that are not present in the Bible. Other, extra-Biblical documents have demonstrated that many of these names were in fact used in ancient Semitic cultures. New matches are being made all the time as additional ancient documents are discovered. (1) (2)
  • The Book of Mormon describes a catastrophic natural disaster in the mid first century A.D. Though Joseph Smith had no experience with volcanism, the description given matches the characteristics of a volcanic eruption in even the minor details. Geologists have confirmed that there was in fact great volcanic activity during this time period in Mesoamerica, the most probable ancient setting of the Book of Mormons. The account also matches some Native American traditions. (1) (2) (3) (4)
  • In Hebrew, place names are often created by appending the suffix -on to a root containing three consonants. The Book of Mormon describes a city that was given to a homeless people “for an inheritance.” The name of the place was “Jershon.” The root y-r-sh does in fact mean “to inherit.” (“Y” in Hebrew is often written “J” in English.) Clues like this strongly suggest that the BOM is a genuine ancient Semitic document. (1)
  • Wordprint analyses use statistics to identify the author of a given text. While some question their value, others believe they are useful tools in literary analysis. One group of researchers at U. C. Berkley used wordprint to analyze the Book of Mormon. Their analysis suggested that Joseph Smith could not have been the author of the book. Furthermore, the analysis revealed multiple authors, consistent with the claim that the book was written by many different ancient prophets. (1)
  • The Book of Mormon describes a place called “Bountiful” on the Arabian Peninsula that was a garden spot. For years, anti-Mormons ridiculed the Book of Mormon because the Arabian Peninsula is a well-known desert. However, recently an oasis has been found on the Arabian Peninsula, and it is located precisely where the BOM indicates. (1) (2) (3)
  • Joseph Smith claimed the original Book of Mormon text was engraved on ancient metal plates. This claim was ridiculed for years, but recent discoveries have revealed that engraving records on metal plates was in fact an ancient practice dating to the very time and place the book indicates. (1) (2)
  • Curiously, Joseph Smith claimed the title page of the Book of Morman was included at the end of the original record, the opposite of the modern custom. However, in the ancient world it was common to include the title page at the end, a practice called scriptorio. (1) (2)
  • A superficial reading of the Bible suggests that the Old-Testament king Zedekiah had no surviving children. However, the Book of Mormon claims he did have a surviving child named Mulek. Recently, an ancient seal was discovered in Jerusalem with the title “Malkiyahu the son of the king”; the name Malkiyahu can be shortened to Mulek. (1) (2)
  • The Book of Mormon contains an extended allegory comparing God’s dealings with mankind to the cultivation of olive trees. Joseph Smith could not have known it, but in fact this allegory contains many details that correctly describe ancient olive-tree cultivation. (1) (2) (3)
  • The BOM states that Jesus was born in the land of Jerusalem. Critics argued for years that this was an obvious mistake; everyone knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. However, ancient documents from Israel have been discovered that also describe Bethlehem as a city in the land of Jerusalem. In fact, in ancient times it was common to associate Bethlehem with it’s larger neighbor city Jerusalem. (1)
  • The BOM describes a system of weights and measures used among the descendants of Lehi. This system is remarkably similar to an actual system used in the ancient Middle East. (1)
  • In recent years, scholars have come to appreciate the highly formulaic ancient farewell address. Though Joseph Smith in the 19th century couldn’t have known it, the farewell address of King Benjamin descried in the Book of Mormon matches the required details of the ancient Semitic form. (1) (2)
  • In English, it is common to state conditional phrases with “if…then…” constructions. In Hebrew, “if…and…” conditionals are more common. The original text of the Book of Mormon, prior to editing aimed at making it more readable, contained multiple “if…and…” conditional phrases far more suggestive of a Hebrew origin than an English one. (1)
  • The Book of Mormon describes Middle-Eastern treasuries being used to store sacred scrolls. While this concept is foreign to modern readers, it was in fact a genuine ancient custom. (1)
  • There is remarkable internal consistency evident in the Book of Mormon. Accounts referenced briefly on one page are alluded to many chapters later in a self-consistent way. It seems unlikely that an uneducated farm boy could have produced such a text. On the other hand, if the text is a legitimate translation of an ancient document, these consistencies would be expected. (1) (2)
  • The BOM distinguishes between “thieves” and “robbers.” These two words are largely synonymous in English, but in the ancient Middle East they represented two distinct ideas. The BOM is in fact true to this ancient distinction. (1) (2)
  • The Book of Mormon describes a prophecy given by Joseph of Egypt that is not included in the Bible. However, other ancient documents that would have been unknown to Joseph Smith support the details of ancient Joseph’s prophecy. (1)
  • Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon in a little over two months. It seems unlikely that an uneducated farm boy could have produced such a text, teaming with Semitic complexity and remarkable internal consistency, in so short a time. A translation of an already existent text is more in harmony with the time frame. (1)
  • The Book of Mormon, which contains a number of chapters describing ancient wars, mentions types of armor that would have been totally foreign to Joseph Smith. However, armor matching the Book-of-Mormon description was in fact used in Mesoamerica, the most likely setting for the events of the BOM. (1)
  • The Book of Mormon describes a very specific type of fortification that would have been unfamiliar to Joseph Smith. However, ruins of fortifications matching this specific description have in fact been found in Mesoamerica, at the time and place the book suggests. (1)
  • There are Native-American legends suggesting that community founders arrived from across the sea, consistent with the Book of Mormon account. (1)
  • Joseph Smith claimed that the original Book of Mormon record was buried by an ancient people for future generations to find. The practice of hiding sacred records for future generations was in fact an ancient Middle-Eastern practice. (1) (2)

Church History

Many of the events in Mormon history provide evidence that supports Mormon truth claims. ()

  • Joseph Smith claimed that the original Book of Mormon text had been engraved on metal plates by an ancient people of God. Remarkably, he was not the only person to see these plates. Eleven others also saw them; three of these even saw an angel who testified of the record’s truthfulness. Some of these witnesses eventually left the Church because they became disillusioned with Joseph Smith personally, but none of them ever denied the testimony of what they had seen, even though to do so would have been convenient. (1) (2)
  • Joseph Smith was a great man, but he lacked the education and understanding needed to create a book as complex and detailed as the Book of Mormon. According to his wife Emma, “[He] could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon… [He] would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he could at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him… It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.” Emma’s account strongly suggests that Joseph translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God rather than fabricating the ancient record on his own. (1)
  • While the principal purpose of a prophet in Mormon thought is to guide his people according to God’s will more than to predict future events, it is nevertheless remarkable that Joseph Smith prophesied the initial location and motives of the Civil War 28 years prior to the conflict. (1)
  • Joseph Smith foresaw the “evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men” over a hundred years prior to the advent of the multinational organizations now bent on marketing/distributing alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs to children and weak adults. These substances, now easier to obtain then ever thanks to directed marketing and ease of transportation, have ruined the lives of literally millions of people. Because Mormons have heeded Joseph’s prophecy and have avoided these substances, their life expectancies are now five to ten years longer than the American average. (1)
  • Before his death, Joseph Smith correctly prophesied that the Mormon people would be eventually exiled to the Rocky Mountains. (1)
  • Joseph Smith paid an incredibly high price for the truth claims he made. At one point he was dragged from his home at night and tortured by an angry mob; his young son died shortly thereafter from exposure to the cold in the midst of the panic. Eventually, Joseph was murdered for his beliefs; he seemed to know his death was eminent in the preceding days. Had Joseph just confessed to fabrication and fraud, he likely could have led a far more peaceful life. Regardless of whether one believes Joseph or not, he clearly believed his own story. (1)

The Book of Abraham

Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Abraham was an account of the great patriarch translated by the power of God. Critics claim it is a fabrication. While the source of the translation is, in my opinion, uncertain, there is evidence that suggests the document is in fact derived from an ancient Semitic text.

  • The Book of Abraham, which Joseph Smith claimed to be a translation of an ancient text, mentions “the plain of Olishem” (Abraham 1:10). This name does not occur in the Bible. However, it does appear in an inscription of the Akkadian ruler Naram Sin, dating to about 2250 BC. The Akkadian description matches that given in the Book of Mormon in both time and place. (1)

The Bible

The Holy Bible contains multiple prophecies regarding the message and mission of the LDS Church in the latter days. ()

  • The Bible specifically describes “…another [latter-day] angel [flying] in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Mormons believe an angel (Moroni) helped restore Christ’s ancient gospel in our days, and a central part of our theology is spreading the message of this restoration to all the peoples of the earth. (1)
  • The Bible is full of prophecies suggesting that God’s true faith would be taken from the earth for a time (Isaiah 29:10, Amos 8:11-12, Matthew 7:15, Matthew 24:4-12, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:9-11, John 16:1-4, 2 Timothy 3:12-13, Acts 20:29-31, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Peter 2:1-2, Revelation 2:2, 2 Timothy 1:15, Galatians 1:6, 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Galatians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 1:11-13, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Timothy 2:16-18, Titus 1:10-11, 1 John 2:18, Jude 1:3-4). Many Biblical scriptures also predict a restoration of God’s true faith in the last days (Isaiah 2:2-3, Isaiah 29:14, Acts 3:20-21, Ephesians 1:10, Revelations 14:6-7). These scriptures support the Mormon claim that, upon the death of Christ’s apostles, the authority to act in God’s name was taken from the earth. Christ restored this authority through Joseph Smith. (1)
  • Isaiah prophesied that in the last days, “the mountain of the Lordís house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” When in the 19th century the Mormons first applied for statehood, they wanted to call their state “Deseret.” However, the United States government insisted that they call the state “Utah” instead. It was only later discovered that “Utah” in fact means “people of the mountains” or “in the tops of the mountains.” (1)

2 Responses to “Mormon Evidence”

Leave a Comment

characters remaining

(Your email will never be published)