Is the Book of Mormon Actually Ancient?

By pintswaquinas December 19, 2023

The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. Its contents were purportedly translated by Joseph Smith from ancient records that told the stories of God’s deeds in the Americas.

But is the book actually ancient, or is it a product of the 19th century? These reasons point to the latter.

The Book of Mormon is full of anachronisms.
Many methods help determine the age of a book. One is paying attention to the text.

Let’s say you pick up a book purporting to contain ancient Egyptian recipes and one dish calls for potatoes. Since potatoes are a New World crop, you’d know that this recipe was created at a much later date and perhaps in a different place.

Anachronisms abound in the Book of Mormon. One example: saying certain animals existed in the Americas that we know were never here, such as elephants.

The book is also — conveniently enough — filled with 19th-century Protestant theology. It seems a little suspicious that it addresses many hot-button issues Protestants faced at that time.

The book’s account of American history doesn’t mesh with what actually happened.
Many people now think that a huge proportion of Native Americans perished from diseases they contracted from Europeans. Many of their societies collapsed — including fairly advanced societies that contradicted the popular 19th-century Mormon image of the primitive Native American.

Early European colonizers thought the complex structure of Native American societies was beyond the scope of the people themselves. In Joseph Smith’s time, the theory was that these cultures were actually communities of ancient Hebrews who inhabited the Americas — a theory no serious scholar accepts.

We love our Mormon brothers and sisters, many of whom are good, charitable people. But their book has problems, so we invite them to return to the fullness of truth in the bosom of the Catholic Church.


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