Because The Book of Mormon mentions gold, critics demand that you show gold on Book of Mormon lands today. This is very naive. Take for example the CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH of the 1800’s. Large quantities were found, this is an historic fact. Should we expect to find large quantities of gold there today? Of course not, but such is the immature reasoning of the Book of Mormon critic. [GOLD]
25. ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE
To those who believe swords, gold, silver etc. should be found today on ancient Book of Mormon lands – they are simply naive.
There was a reluctance on the part of archaeologist to attribute significant finds to Indians, therefore most went unreported:
“A virulent racism permeated all aspects of America society and culture in the early and mid-nineteenth century and was reflected in both American and European anthropology” (Terry A. Bernhart, Ephraim George Squire and the Development of American Anthropology, 2005, p. 5).
“The United States was trying to get Indians out of the way, not appreciate their history. Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830, which ordered the relocation of eastern Indians to land west of the Mississippi, was premised on the idea that Indians were nomadic savages who couldn’t make good use of land anyway. Evidence of an ancient Indian city—one that rivaled the size of Washington, D.C., at the time—would have mucked up the story line” (Glenn Hodges, “Cahokia: America’s Forgotten City,” National Geographic, Jan. 2011).
LAND CHANGED OWNERSHIP
By the time Europeans, especially the English and the French, showed interests in the vast woodland and prairie region of western New York, the land already had a long history of changing ownership and use (General Motors Tonawanda Engine Plant Expansion, Stage 1 Archaeological Investigation, OPRHP, No. 00 PR 1166, August 4, 2000, p. 3-28).
DESTROYED BEFORE RESEARCHED
Although over one hundred mounds are recorded for Western New York, their high visibility attracted “antiquarian or treasure hunter” interest resulting in the destruction of most before any systematic research could be done to determine their origins (Shetrone 1930) (p. 3-20).
RELICS OF THE ENEMY DESTROYED
The Iroquois once established, did not copy mound artifacts. Indeed, they seem to have deliberately avoided the use of the distinguishing badges of their vanquished foes. Just as the conquerors of the first mound people of Ohio beat up the mica ornaments and hammered into shapeless masses the copper tools and gorgets of their despised victims so did the Iroquois taboo or avoid with deliberateness, the banner stone and the gorget and similar artifacts of polished slate. And do not even civilized peoples in conflict, renounce academic degrees and decorations given by enemies when amity did exist? (Arthur Caswell Parker, “The Archeological History of New York,” vol. 1 New State Museum Bulletin, Nos. 235, 236, July-August 1920, p. 292)
Jesus warned, if other nations knew about Book of Mormon lands, they would “overrun” them:
Behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations for behold many nations would overrun the land. (2 Nephi 1:8)
a. Only a few times does it say anyone died of old age. Should we expect to find hundreds of burial plots then? No.
b. The Nephites did not have the luxury of burying swords or other weapons with their dead. Should we expect to find things of value in their burial mounds then? No.
c. All of the Jaredite and Nephite dead were left to “molder upon the land” (Mormon 6:15). Should we expect their remains to still be on the ground after 1600 years? No.
d. The Nephites and Lamanites were continually plagued by “robbers” (Mormon 2:8). Are we to assume these robbers did not plunder the land after the final battle? No.
e. Western New York (Book of Mormon Lands) has been plundered literally for over four hundred years, and in fact is what Joseph was employed doing in 1820.
– Where are the things those treasure hunters found?
– Were they handed over to the Indians? No.
– Were they donated to museums? No.
At the Oneida Reservation I saw Louis Dennie, a Frenchman, who was born on the Illinois, and when eighteen came up in the French war with a French officer to fight the Five Nations, and was taken prisoner by the Mohawks, among whom he married. His wife talks Dutch, retains her primitive manners, and is decent and clean. Dennie is upwards of seventy. He appears to be anxious for war, and wishes to engage in it. He is a perfect Indian in dress, manners, and behavior; his color is somewhat whiter. On being asked about the old forts, he says, that from the traditions of old Indians with whom he has conversed, in Canada as well as here, he is of opinion that they were erected by the Spaniards, who first appeared at Oswego, passed into Manlius, and^progressed through Onondaga, Pompey, to the lakes, and from thence through the country down the Ohio and disappeared, leaving the country by the Mississippi. That they frightened the Indians by their fire arms, who being thickly settled, were engaged in continual warfare with them and obliged them to fortify. That their object was searching for the precious metals; that they stayed in the country upwards of two years; that the iron instruments of agriculture dug up in various parts of the country, were left by them; that the Indians being afraid of firearms made way for them to pass; that the Spaniards were very numerous; that there is a large fort in Onondaga, one in Manlius, another in Pompey; and that they were all over the country. That the first Europeans seen by the Indians were Spaniards; the next French. He farther states, that the Indians say that they erected many of the forts themselves; but he does not see how they could do it without the use of iron tools. Dennie is not very intelligent; he prefers the savage life; his character is good, and what he represents he believes (WILLIAM W. CAMPBELL, THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF DE WITT CLINTON, 1849, p. 174).
We see that the country was scavenged over for two years, no doubt because they were finding things, leaving not much behind for modern day treasure hunters and archaeologists.
f. Copper plates, brass helmets, a wagon, padlocks, steel, iron, silver.
The historical record says things of value like metal axes and copper tablets were melted down, misinterpreted, put to practical use, or sold:
The author found in the possession of Mr. John T. King, the present owner of the land, numerous relics he had ploughed up in his fields, and among them two large French* padlocks; (*This is pure speculation as to their origins.) one of them, especially, in its rude construction, marking an early period of the science of lock making. It is of a size unparalelled in locks of modern construction, unique in shape, resembling the padlocks that we see in pictures, upon the doors of ancient castles, prisons, and monasteries.
Ancient Record, or Tablet. – In the year 1809, a COPPER PLATE was ploughed up in a field belonging to Mr. Ephraim Woodruff, the early pioneer blacksmith, in Willink. (now Aurora.) Those who saw it differ in reference to its size; the average of their recollections would make it twelve by sixteen inches; in thickness not far from the 8th of an inch. It had engraved upon one side of it, in regular lines, extending the whole width of the plate, what would appear to have been some record, or as we may well imagine some brief code of laws, in manner and form, like the tablets of the early nations to which allusions are made in both sacred and profance history. The letters, hyroglyphics, or characters, are described as having a close resemblance to the “old fashioned printed music notes.” Upon the reverse side of the plate at each corner, there was an engraved image, resembling, (in the language of one of the author’s informants,) some of the pictures in Stevens’ work on the ruins of Central America.
Unfortunately for those who take a deep interest in this branch of American history – who are eager to catch even glimpses of that which is involved in so much obscurity, the mysterious plate was a sacrifice to the exigencies of that early period of settlement: – After being looked upon with wonder (as it would be now), those who possessed it, and were somewhat unmindful of its value, allowed it to be worked up – converted into kitchen utensils – a dipper and a skimmer. They were not Antiquarians, as must be inferred, and a sheet of copper in those primitive times, was a rarity that must have strongly inclined them to utilitarianism. A surviving son of the early blacksmith, who worked up the plate, is quite confident that he did not hammer out the whole of the engraved lines. All traces of the dipper are lost, but it is confidently believed that the skimmer has been preserved in a branch of the Woodruff family, now residing at the west. If so, and there are any portion of the engraved lines yet legible, it will be put into the hands of some one competent to the task of interpretation. But a partial understanding of the character of the mysterious relic, can, however, be anticipated. But we may well infer, that the plate, had it been preserved entire, would have furnished something more decisive than any that has yet been discovered; and perhaps, have determined what race or people it was that history, and even tradition has lost sight of; but of whose occupancy of this region, there are so numerous and palpable evidences (Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York: Embracing Some Account of the Ancient Remains by O. Turner, 1850, pp.668-669).
Upon the farm of M.B Crooks, two miles from the village, where a tree had been turned up, several hundred pounds of axes were found; a blacksmith who was working up some axes that were found in Aurora, told the author that most of them were without steel, but that the iron was of superior quality. He had one that was entirely of steel, out of which he was manufacturing some edge tools (Turner, pp. 30-31).
Glass, Iron, Steel, Oxidation, Rust
In the town of Pompey, Onondaga county, New York, in one of the mounds where Mr. Priest describes the finding of glass, he also says:
In the same grave with the bottle was found an iron hatchet, edged with steel. The eye, or place for the helve, was round, and extended or projected out, like the ancient Swiss or German axe. * * * * In the same town, on lot No. 17, were found the remains of a blacksmith’s forge; at this spot have been ploughed up crucibles, such as mineralogists use in refining metals. These axes are similar, and correspond in character with those found in the nitrous caves on the Gasconade river, which empties into the Missouri, as mentioned in Professor Beck’s Gazatteer of that country. * * * * * Within the range of these works have been found pieces of cast iron, broken from some vessel of considerable thickness. These articles cannot well be ascribed to the era of the French war, as time enough since then till the region around about Onondaga was commenced to be cultivated, had not elapsed to give the growth of timber found on the spot, of the age above noticed; and, added to this, it is said that the Indians occupying that tract of country had no tradition of their authors (Josiah Priest, American Antiquities, pp. 260, 261).
Again he states:
Anvils of iron have been found in Pompey, (Onondaga county) in the same quarter of the country with the other discoveries, as above related; which we should naturally expect to find, or it might be inquired how could axes, and the iron works of wagons, be manufactured? (p. 263)
As I have before remarked, it has been contended that the ancient Americans knew nothing of the fusion of metals, but the presence of these materials for such purpose goes far towards dispelling that opinion. It is true that Mr. Priest advances the opinion that this forge and these crucibles found in New York, may have been of Scandinavian origin; still that is but a conjecture, and here I wish to introduce the testimony of Columbus, quoted by Nadaillac, who says:
The Mayas knew nothing of iron; copper and gold were the only metals they used, and it is doubtful whether they understood smelting metals. Christopher Columbus is said, however, to have seen, off the coast Honduras, a boat laden with crucibles, filled with ingots of metal and hatchets made of copper which had been fetched from a distance (Prehistoric America, p. 269).
Speaking again of discoveries in the ancient tumuli of America, Priest says:
A vast many instances of articles made of copper and sometimes plated with silver, have been met with on opening their works. Circular pieces of copper, intended either as medals or breast plates, have been found, several inches in diameter, very much injured by time. In several tumuli the remains of knives, and even of swords, in the form of rust, have been discovered. * * * * * But besides, there have been found very well manufactured swords and knives of iron, and possibly steel, says Mr. Atwater; from which we are to conclude that the primitive people of America, either discovered the use of iron themselves, as the Greeks did, * * * * or that they carried a knowledge of this ore with them at the time of their dispersion (Ibid. p. 265; B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, 3 vols, Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909, 3: 530-531).
Brass Helmets and Utensils
In Scipio (54 miles from Palmyra), on Salmon creek, a Mr. Halsted has, from time to time, during ten years past, ploughed up, on a certain extent of land on his farm, seven or eight hundred pounds of brass, which appeared to have once been formed into various implements, both of husbandry and war; helmets and working utensiles mingled together. The finder of this brass, we are informed, as he discovered it carried it to Auburn, and sold it by the pound, where it was worked up, with as little curiousity attending as though it had been but an ordinary article of the country’s produce: when, if it had been announced in some public manner, the finder would have doubtless been highly rewarded by some scientific individual or society, and preserved it in the cabinets of the antiguarian, as a relic of by-gone ages of the highest interest. On this field, where it was found, the forest timber was growing abundantly, and had attained to as great age and size, as elsewhere in the heavy timbered country of the lakes (Priest, pp. 261-262).
We suppose the animals resembling the elephant to have been the mammoth, and that those ancients were well acquanted with the creature (Priest, p. 150).
Near Rochester, in the State of New York, in 1833, two teeth of this animal were discovered, but a small depth beneath the surface…the largest one weighs three pounds and ten ounces (Priest, p. 152).
From the discovery of these two bodies, we think we ascertain the inhabitants to have been white, like the Europeans, from the color of their hair; as it is well known the Australasians, Polynesians, and Malays, as well as the common Indians, have universally black, long and shining hair. The body which is mentioned by Prof. Mitchell, late of New York, discovered in a nitrous cave in the western country, had red or sandy hair; such was the color of the hair of the Scandinavians, of the north of Europe, and are supposed, upon authority indubitable, to have settled at Onondaga, and round about that region (Priest, p. 240).
A Mr. Thomas Lee discovered, not long since, on his farm, in Tompkins county, in the State of New York, the entire iron works of a wagon, reduced to rust. From this discovery much might be conjectured respecting the state of cultivation, as a wagon denotes not only a knowledge of the mechanic arts, equal, perhaps, in that respect, with the present times; but also that roads existed, or a wagon could not have traversed the country…if one wagon existed, there were doubtless many plainly shows a civilized state of things…goes also to prove that some kind of animal must have been domesticated to draw it with (Priest, pp. 262-263).
There are the remains of one of those efforts of Scandinavian defence, situated on a hill of singular form, on the great sand plain between the Susquehannah and Chemung rivers, near their junction.
From this it is evident that a war once waged here; and were we to conjecture between whom, we should say between the Indians and the Scandinavians, and that this fortification, so advantageously chosen, is of the same class of defensive works with those about Onondaga, Auburn, and the lakes Ontario, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida, and Erie…fell a prey to this enemy, or became amalgamated with them, and so were lost, the traces of whom appear now and then among the tribes, as we have shown (Priest, p. 259).
One of these pits discovered some years ago, in the town of Cambria, Niagra county, was estimated to contain the bones of several thousand individuals. Another which I visited in the town of Clarence, Erie county, contained not less than four hundred skeletons (E. G. Squire, Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York, vol. 2, 1849, p. 68) .
In full view of the facts before presented, I am driven to a conclusion little anticipated when I started upon my trip of exploration, that the earth-works of Western New York were erected by the Iroquois or their western neighbors, and do not possess an antiquity going very far back of the discovery (Squire, p. 83).
In conclusion, I may be permitted to observe, that the ancient remains of Western New York, except so far as they throw light upon the system of defence practised by the aboriginal inhabitants, and tend to show that they were to a degree fixed and agricultural in their habits, have slight bearing upon the grand ethnological and archaeological questions involved in the ante-Columbian history of the continent (Squire, pp. 83-84)
Priest was bias against the Book of Mormon:
Upon this notion, he says, a new sect of religion has arisen, namely, the Mormonites, who pretend to have discovered a book with golden leaves, in which is the history of the American Jews, and their leader, Mormon, who came hither more than 2000 years ago. This work is ridiculous enough, it is true; as the whole book of Mormon bears the stamp of folly, and is a poor attempt at a imitation of the Old Testament Scriptures, and is without connection, object, or aim; showing everywhere language and phrases of too late construction to accord with the Asiatic manner of composition, which highly characterises the style of the Bible, and how can it be otherwise as it was written in Ontario county, New York (Priest, p. 76).
J. H. Mather, and L. P. Brockett, M. D., were bias against the Book of Mormon:
In 1829 or 30, the Mormon delusion originated at Palmyra (A Geographical History of the State of New York: Embracing its History, Government, Physical Features, Climate, Geology, Mineralogy, Botany, Zoology, Education, Internal Improvements, etc. With a Separate Map of Each County. The Whole Forming a Complete History of the State, by J. H. Mather and L. P. Brockett, M. D., 1848, p. 398).
g. Plundering did exist and is a fact The Book of Mormon critic should wake up to. Looting does and did occur—for hundreds of years:
“The money-diggers, said Squier, were ‘a ghostly race of which, singularly enough, even at this day, representatives may be found in almost every village‘ (Terry A. Barnhart, Ephraim George Squier and the Development of American Anthropology, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, p. 108).
It is unrealistic to believe that thousands of Gentile looters, engaged in doing what Joseph Smith himself was employed to do, would have left things of value for geography enthusiasts. Look at the wide spread looting going on right now (9/11) at Lake Whitney State Park in Texas, 30 people have been arrested for looting.
h. Like finding a needle in a hay stack – but it will occur:
Ancient Bronze Artifact Unearthed in Alaska
A single discovery of a tiny artifact made of cast bronze was found in a remote area, carbon dated to 600 A.D. This will happen on Book of Mormon lands when the Holy Book of Mormon is no longer exclusively associated with the Mormon Church.
Tool Cache in Colorado
(PhysOrg.com) — A biochemical analysis of a rare Clovis-era stone tool cache recently unearthed in the city limits of Boulder, Colo., indicates some of the implements were used to butcher ice-age camels and horses that roamed North America until their extinction about 13,000 years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder study.
“To date, scientists have discovered eight to 10 American mastodons, four Columbian mammoths, two Ice Age deer, four Ice Age bison, one Jefferson s ground sloth, one Ice Age camel, many tiger salamanders, as well as evidence of beaver, insects, snails and microscopic crustaceans. reservoir are large quantities of well-preserved wood, seeds, cones, and leaves of sub-alpine white spruce, subalpine fir, sedges, pollen and other plants” (JEANNE MCGOVERN, “Ice Age camel latest find at Colorado fossil site,” The Aspen Times, May 17, 2011).
Largest Hoard of Anglo-Saxon Treasure Found
Helen Geake, National Finds Advisor for the Portable Antiquities Scheme, confirms that the find will redefine our understanding of the Anglo-Saxons. ‘It is the only hoard of its type ever found on English soil; until now, we didn’t know that this kind of behaviour existed within Anglo-Saxon culture,’ she said, adding that ‘the Staffordshire Hoard will change perceptions as much as Sutton Hoo. It will take years to understand fully the many implications of this find.’ What can be predicted is that research on the objects will contain revelations about every aspect of Anglo-Saxon scholarship, including cultural links, trade and economy, chronology, technology and crafts, ritual and religion, historical events, and the eventual re-interpretation of other major Anglo-Saxon sites (“Trophies of Kings: The Staffordshire Hoard,” Current Archaeology, 236. Retrieved Oct 3, 2009, url: http://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/trophies-of-kings-the-staffordshire-hoard.htm; Associated Press).
Roman Horde Containing 52,500 Coins Found by Dave Crisp
“When David Crisp saw an odd response on his metal detector the 63 year old Brit had no idea he was going to find anything much different that the usual items he unearths in his pursuits as an amateur treasure hunter. He did know he found something larger than he usually stumbles across, but he never expected to find a hoard of 52,500 Roman coins bearing the image of Marcus Aurelius Carausius dating back to the third century. All told, the haul weighed some 350 pounds and carries an estimated value of $5 million dollars (3.3 million pounds) at first estimate.”
“Archaeologists from Somerset County Council were then notified and quickly came to the scene to complete the investigation. To their amazement they began pulling out one clay pot after another each filled with coins. The coins were supposedly collected as a part of a religious tithe during the twenty years Carausius was the British Emperor as appointed by the coalition of the Emperors Maximian and Diocletian.” Source; Associated Press
This time-lapse video created by Anna Booth shows the layer-by-layer removal of the Roman coins.
“The Somerset farm where Crisp made his find is clipped by a Roman road, but there is no record of a camp, villa, village, temple or cemetery anywhere in the area.“
“The boxes hold the contents of a giant potbellied jar which lay in the clay of that sloping Somerset field for almost 2,000 years, filled to overflowing with the largest coin hoard ever found in a single container in Britain.”
“Some archaeologists hate us,” he says. “They’d really rather see this stuff left rotting in the soil. But it’s our history waiting to be found and told, that’s got to be right” (Maev Kennedy, “Why Frome is still cashing in on the Romans,” The Observer (Guardian, UK), December 12, 2010).
Dead Sea Scrolls
Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, Book of Mormon related records were thoroughly hidden to protect them from the enemy. The Dead Sea Scrolls remained hidden for two thousand years.
i. The Book of Mormon will be proven by other records, i.e. “books” which contain research of her ancient lands and relics. Unfortunately, many of them were destroyed by fire, both in ancient times and in modern times:
But it came to pass that whatsoever lands we had passed by and the inhabitants thereof were not gathered in were destroyed by the Lamanites and their towns and villages and cities were burned with fire and thus three hundred and seventy and nine years passed away. (Mormon 5:5)
New York State Capitol Fire, Albany, NY – March 29, 1911
j. The Niagara Power Plant destroyed 1900 acres of the Land Desolaton:
“The NYPA had to gain the right to 550 acres (2.2 km2) of Tuscarora Indian Reservation in order to build the 1,900-acre (7.7 km2), 22 billion gallon reservoir and did so in 1960 through a United States Supreme Court decision.”
“During construction, over 12 million cubic yards of rock was excavated and twenty workers had died. Construction was complete in 1961. In 1961, when the Niagara Falls hydroelectric project first went on line, it was the largest hydropower facility in the Western world.” (Wiki)
k. Lastly, it says that God cursed the land that it would not hold treasure.
18 And these Gadianton robbers who were among the Lamanites did infest the land insomuch that the inhabitants thereof began to hide up their treasures in the earth and they became slippery because the Lord had cursed the land that they could not hold them nor retain them again.
19 And it came to pass that there were sorceries and witchcrafts and magics and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land even unto the fulfilling of all the words of Abinadi and also Samuel the Lamanite. (Mormon 1)
Which did happen to Joseph as a treasure seeker:
Fraser’s has Thompson relating how he, a man named Yeomans, and Joseph Smith went out at night and began digging, after Joseph told them the exact position of a treasure chest. They dug several feet and struck something with their shovel, after which Joseph looked into his glass and became frightened, seeing there an Indian who had buried the treasure and then killed his friend and buried him to guard it. Thompson said he believed that Joseph could divine such things with his stone and recounted how the chest, which was enchanted, kept settling away from them as they dug. (“Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties” by Marvin S. Hill, BYU Studies, vol. 12 (1971-1972), Number 2 – Winter 1972 230.)
And to Porter Rockwell:
Sometimes I take the liberty of talking a little further with regard to such things. Orin P. Rockwell is an eye-witness to some powers of removing the treasures of the earth. He was with certain parties that lived near by where the plates were found that contain the records of the Book of Mormon. There were a great many treasures hid up by the Nephites. Porter was with them one night where there were treasures, and they could find them easy enough, but they could not obtain them.
I will tell you a story which will be marvelous to most of you. It was told me by Porter, whom I would believe just as quickly as any man that lives. When he tells a thing he understands, he will tell it just as he knows it; he is a man that does not lie. He said that on this night, when they were engaged hunting for this old treasure, they dug around the end of a chest for some twenty inches. The chest was about three feet square. One man who was determined to have the contents of that chest, took his pick and struck into the lid of it, and split through into the chest. The blow took off a piece of the lid, which a certain lady kept in her possession until she died. That chest of money went into the bank. Porter describes it so [making a rumbling sound]; he says this is just as true as the heavens are. I have heard other tell the same story. I relate this because it is marvelous to you. But to those who understand these things, it is not marvelous (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.19, June 17, 1877, pp.39-40).
l. One starts to get the impression that faith, i.e. the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) – IS the evidence God wants people to find first when it comes to the Book of Mormon.