Archaeology provides proof for Book of Mormon

BYU NewsNet/May 25, 2004
By Allison Fors

BYU Anthropology Professor John Clark revealed ways archaeology could help prove the credibility of the Book of Mormon at Tuesday's Forum.

In his speech, "Archaeology, Relics and Book of Mormon Belief," Clark presented key evidences he discovered in his years of research.

"Charges against the Book of Mormon are serious and require a response," Clark said. "Therefore, archaeology steps in as the only scientific means of authenticity."

By recognizing anti-Mormon views of the Book of Mormon, not only the LDS perspective, archaeology can help disprove many uncertainties, Clark said.

Clark summed up LDS view of archaeology: If the claims made by the Book of Mormon are confirmed through archaeology, then the claims are true, the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true.

Many artifacts and evidence of the Book of Mormon have been found in geographical and archaeological findings. These same artifacts and incidents described in the Book of Mormon line-up correctly in ancient history, he said.

"Practices, instruments of war and history in the Book of Mormon are in accordance with Mesoamerican ways," Clark said.

Metal plates in stone boxes, ancient writings, warfare, cities, cement, kings and monuments, metaphors, time-keeping, old-world geography, new-world geography, cycles of civilization and demographics are all evidences found in the Book of Mormon that are verified in Mesoamerican culture.

Even though Clark endorsed the study of archaeology to prove certain facts of the Book of Mormon as true, he emphasized to students and faculty the importance of relying on Christ and faith to develop a testimony.

"Although the Book of Mormon does not provide clear directions for reaching Zarahemla its instructions for coming to Christ are unsurpassed," Clark said. "And this is the infinitely more important destination."

Benjamin Boster, a junior from Adrian, Ore., majoring in arts respected Clark's take on the subject.

"I like how he said there are certain things that show evidence of the Book of Mormon but it's not necessarily what we base our testimony on, it just adds to the truth," Boster said. "I like that [Clark] took a safe stand on that."

Clark closed his speech with supporting words from President Gordon B. Hinckley.

"The evidence for the Book of Mormon's truth lies not in archaeology or anthropology...the evidence for its truth and validity lies within the covers of the book itself," President Hinckley said.

Students appreciated the new insights Clark had into the Book of Mormon.

"I thought it was really interesting and it helped confirm that the Book of Mormon is a true book and that Joseph Smith did not write it, but it was the word of God," said Jenny West, a sophomore from St. Louis majoring in nursing.

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