Mormon Quotes

Archaeology

Joseph Fielding Smith
It is the personal opinion of the writer that the Lord does not intend that the Book of Mormon, at least at the present time, shall be proved true by any archaeological findings. They day may come when such will be the case, but not now. The Book of Mormon is itself a witness of the truth, and the promise has been given most solemnly that any person who will read it with a prayerful heart may receive the abiding testimony of its truth.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1998, v. 2, p. 196
David Whitmer
The record of the Jews and the record of the Nephites are one.
David Whitmer, Inscription on David Whitmer's tombstone
Michael Coe
As far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the historicity of The Book of Mormon, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group.
Michael Coe, On the archaeology of the Book of Mormon
Michael Coe
Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, ... nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon... is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere.
Michael Coe, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1973, pp. 42, 46
Michael Coe
I haven't changed my views about the Book of Mormon since my 1973 article. I have seen no archaeological evidence before or since that date which would convince me that it is anything but a fanciful creation by an unusually gifted individual living in upstate New York in the early nineteenth century.
Michael Coe, correspondence between Bill McKeever and Michael Coe
Thomas Ferguson
Ten years have passed... I had sincerely hoped that Book‑of‑Mormon cities would be positively identified within 10 years — and time has proved me wrong in my anticipation.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson, Mormon founder of LDS‑sponsored New World Archaeological Foundation
Thomas Ferguson
I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book‑of‑Mormon geography...
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson, Mormon founder of LDS‑sponsored New World Archaeological Foundation
Thomas Ferguson
The real implication of the paper is that you can't set the Book of Mormon geography down anywhere ‑‑ because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of the dirt‑archeology. I should say ‑‑ what is in the ground will never conform to what is in the book.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson, Mormon founder of LDS‑sponsored New World Archaeological Foundation
Thomas Ferguson
After many years of careful study, the real importance of Book of Mormon archaeology has dawned on me. It will take but a moment to explain. The Book of Mormon is the only revelation from God in the history of the world that can possibly be tested by scientific physical evidence.... To find the city of Jericho is merely to confirm a point in history. To find the city of Zarahemla is to confirm a point in history but it is also to confirm, through tangible physical evidence, divine revelation to the modern world through Joseph Smith, Moroni, and the Urim and Thummim. Thus, Book of Mormon history is revelation that can be tested by archaeology.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to the First Presidency, April 10, 1953, Ferguson Collection, BYU
Thomas Ferguson
One cannot fake over 3000 years ... of history and have the fake hold water under the scrutiny given the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is either fake or fact. If fake, the cities described in it are non‑existent. If fact — as we know it to be — the cities will be there. If the cities exist, and they do, they constitute tangible, physical, enduring, unimpeachable evidence that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that Jesus Christ lives.
Thomas Ferguson, Thomas Ferguson to the First Presidency, March 15, 1958, Ferguson Collection, BYU
Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter
So far as is known to the writer, no non‑Mormon archaeologist at the present time is using the Book of Mormon as a guide in archaeological research. Nor does he know of any non‑Mormon archaeologist who holds that the American Indians are descendants of the Jews, or that Christianity was known in America in the first century of our era.
Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter, Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter, no. 64, Jan. 30, 1960, p. 3
Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter
With the exception of Latter‑day Saint archaeologists, members of the archaeological profession do not, and never have, espoused the Book of Mormon in any sense of which I am aware. Non‑Mormon archaeologists do not allow the Book of Mormon any place whatever in their reconstruction of the early history of the New World.
Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter, Ulster Archaeological Society Newsletter, no. 64, Jan. 30, 1960, p. 3
Dee F. Green
The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists.... If one is to study Book of Mormon archaeology, then one must have a corpus of data with which to deal. We do not. The Book of Mormon is really there so one can have Book of Mormon studies, and archaeology is really there so one can study archaeology, but the two are not wed. At least they are not wed in reality since no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography. Biblical archaeology can be studied because we do know where Jerusalem and Jericho were and are, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful (nor any other location for that matter) were or are. It would seem then that a concentration on geography should be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty‑handed.
Dee F. Green, Mormon archaeologist, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1969, pp. 77‑78
Ray T. Matheny
The Book of Mormon talks about ferrous and non‑ferrous metallurgical industries. A ferrous industry is a whole system of doing something. It's just not an esoteric process that a few people are involved in, but ferrous industry.., means mining iron ores and then processing these ores and casting [them] into irons.... This is a process that's very complicated...it also calls for cultural backup to allow such an activity to take place.... In my recent reading of the Book of Mormon, I find that iron and steel are mentioned in sufficient context to suggest that there was a ferrous industry here.... You can't refine ore without leaving a bloom of some kind or impurities that blossom out and float to the top of the ore... and also the flux of limestone or whatever is used to flux the material.... [This] blooms off into silicas and indestructible new rock forms. In other words, when you have a ferroused metallurgical industry, you have these evidences of the detritus that is left over. You also have the fuels, you have the furnaces, you have whatever technologies that were there performing these tasks; they leave solid evidences. And they are indestructible things.... No evidence has been found in the new world for a ferrous metallurgical industry dating to pre‑Columbian times. And so this is a king‑size kind of problem, it seems to me, for the so‑called Book of Mormon archaeology. This evidence is absent.
Ray T. Matheny, Speech at Sunstone Symposium 6, "Book of Mormon Archaeology," August 25, 1984
Ray T. Matheny
While some people chose to make claims for the Book of Mormon through archaeological evidences, to me they are made prematurely, and without sufficient knowledge. I do not support the books written on this subject including The Messiah in Ancient America, or any other. I believe that the authors are making cases out of too little evidences and do not adequately address the problems that archaeology and the Book of Mormon present. I would feel terribly embarrassed if anyone sent a copy of any book written on the subject to the National Museum of Natural History — Smithsonian Institution, or other authority, making claims that cannot as yet be substantiated.... there are very severe problems in this field in trying to make correlations with the scriptures. Speculation, such as practiced so far by Mormon authors has not given church members credibility.
Ray T. Matheny, Mormon scholar and BYU professor of anthropology, letter dated Dec. 17, 1987
Smithsonian Institute
Your recent inquiry concerning the Smithsonian Institution's alleged use of the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide has been received in the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology. The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archaeological research and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect. Accurate information about the Smithsonian's position is contained in the enclosed 'Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon,' which was prepared to respond to the numerous inquiries that the Smithsonian receives on this topic. Because the Smithsonian regards the unauthorized use of its name to disseminate inaccurate information as unlawful, we would appreciate your assistance in providing us with the names of any individuals who are misusing the Smithsonian's name.
Smithsonian Institute, Statement by the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Spring 1986
Duane R. Aston
Our testimony of the Book of Mormon remains a matter of faith, and not based upon external proofs found from archaeology.
Duane R. Aston, Return to Cumorah, 1998
M. T. Lamb
It is not necessary here to repeat the passages in the Book of Mormon which describe such civilization.... It is only needful to show that nothing could be wider from the truth, unless all ancient American history is a lie, and its ten thousand relics tell false tales. It may be stated in a general way that there never has been a time upon this western hemisphere within the historic period, or within three thousand years past when a uniform civilization of ANY KIND prevailed over both continents. We are to learn now: First, that a Christian civilization has never existed in Central America, not even for a day. Second, the people of Central America, as far back as their record has been traced (and that is centuries earlier than the alleged beginning of Nephite history), have always been an idolatrous people.... The entire civilization of the Book of Mormon, its whole record from beginning to end is flatly contradicted by the civilization and the history of Central America.
M. T. Lamb, The Golden Bible, by M. T. Lamb, p. 366, 370, 373
Hal Hougey
We conclude, therefore, that the Book of Mormon remains completely unverified by archaeology. The claims Mormon missionaries have made are fallacious and misleading.
Hal Hougey, Archaeology and the Book of Mormon, pamphlet by Hal Hougey, p. 4‑6, 1976
Steve Johnson
In 1949 [actually 1946] California lawyer, Tom Ferguson, rolled up his sleeves, threw a shovel over his shoulder, and marched into the remote jungles of southern Mexico. Armed with a quote by Joseph Smith that the Lord had 'a hand in proving the Book of Mormon true in the eyes of all people,' Ferguson's goal was: Shut the mouths of the critics who said such evidence did not exist. Ferguson began an odyssey that included twenty‑four trips to Central America, eventually resulting in a mountain of evidence supporting Book of Mormon claims.
Steve Johnson, Transcript of the advertisement for The Messiah in Ancient America by Thomas Ferguson, 1988
Michael R. Ash
For the first 85 years of the church, the accepted geographic model among most Mormons was the hemispheric model — the whole of North and South America. It was also commonly believed (as noted in a previous installment) that Joseph Smith had received revelation that Lehi landed in Chile.
Michael R. Ash, Deseret News, "Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: True scholarship vs. wishful thinking"
J. Reuben Clark
It has been my feeling that if someone, who could get the confidence of the Indians, could get out among them, he would find in their [oral] traditions other and better evidences as to the accuracy and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon than will be found even in the ruins. But that would be a work practically of a lifetime by someone who would be willing to put up with all the inconveniences of living among the Indians, of gaining their confidence, and of practically becoming one of them, and that is a big order.
J. Reuben Clark, Letter to J. Willard Marriott
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