Book of Mormon evidences
Evidence of the Book of Mormon
Although Mormonism will never set out to prove the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon by tangible evidence, it is nonetheless a fact that much evidence exists to support the claims made by the Book of Mormon and Mormonism. While the range of evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is fairly vast, in this article we will only discuss the evidence found in the study of Ancient Native American legends as compared with the Book of Mormon.
Native American Evidences of Book of Mormon
Native American writings are potentially strong evidence that the occurrences depicted in the Book of Mormon actually happened. Evidence to support the claim by Mormons that Native Americans are descendents of Israel, is given by a translator of the Title of the Lords of Totonicapán.(For understanding, be aware that the Book of Mormon claims to be a record of ancient groups of people who left Jerusalem and other lands to sail to the Americas.) “The original text of Title of the Lords of Totonicapán was recorded in 1554 in the language of the Quiché of Guatemala from legends centuries old.” The translator seems to indicate that such migratory groups might possibly have existed. In summary of his findings, he makes the following statements:
“The three great Quiché nations … are descendants of the Ten Tribes of the Kingdom of Israel, whom Shalmaneser reduced to perpetual captivity and who, finding themselves on the border of Assyria, resolved to emigrate. …
‘These, then, were the three nations of Quichés, and they came from where the sun rises, descendants of Israel, of the same language and same customs. … They were sons of Abraham and Jacob. …
“Now on the twenty-eighth of September of 1554 we sign this attestation in which we have written that which by tradition our ancestors told us, who came from the other part of the sea, from Civán-Tulán, bordering on Babylonia” (Title of the Lords of Totonicapán, trans. Dionisio José Chonay and Delia Goetz, Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953, pp. 167, 170, 194).
It has been claimed that the blood of these migratory people flows in the veins of the Blackfoot and the Blood Indians of Alberta, Canada; in the Navajo and the Apache of the American Southwest; the Inca of western South America; the Aztec of Mexico; the Maya of Guatemala; and in other Native American groups in the Western Hemisphere and the Pacific islands. Ted E. Brewerton, “The Book of Mormon: A Sacred Ancient Record,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 30
The White Bearded God – Quetzalcoatl in the Book of Mormon
Ancient American literature frequently refers to a “white, bearded god who descended out of the heavens.” Called by many names, this legendary figure is often referred to as Quetzalcoatl. “Historians of the sixteenth century recorded pre-Hispanic beliefs concerning the white, bearded god who came to the Americas long before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors” (Brewerton, 30). While this may seem to be merely a legend or an unexplainable part of history, the Book of Mormon, believed to be written by ancient American prophets, claims and records the visitation of Jesus Christ to the American continent following his resurrection. The congruencies in the Book of Mormon account as compared to Native American legends are astonishing. The following paragraphs contain examples of these Native American legends:
Bernardo de Sahagun (born 1499) wrote: “Quetzalcoatl was esteemed and considered as a god, and was worshipped in older times. He had long hair and was bearded. The people worshipped only the Lord” (Historia General de las Cosas de Nueva España, Mexico: Editorial Porrua, S. A., 1985, pp. 195, 598).
Diego Duran (born 1537) wrote:“A great man—a person venerable and religious—bearded, tall, long hair, dignified deportment, heroic acts, miracles—I affirm he could have been one of the blessed apostles” (Historia de las Indias de Nueva España, 1867, first ed., 2 vols., Mexico: Editorial Porrua, S. A., 1967, 1:9).
Bartolomé de las Casas (born 1474) wrote that Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent, was white, had a rounded beard, was tall, and came from the sea in the east, from whence he will return (see Los Indios de Mexico y Nueva España Antologiá, Mexico: Editorial Porrua, S. A., 1982, pp. 54, 218, 223).
The Tamanacos Indian tribes in Venezuela have the same legend of a white, bearded god: “[Amalivacá] had a face the color of the light fluffy clouds of the morning, and white was his long head of hair. … He said: ‘I am Amalivacá, and I come in the name of my father INA-UIKI’ ” (Arturo Hellmund Tello, Leyendas Indígenas del Bajo Orinoco, trans. Ted E. Brewerton, Buenos Aires, Argentina: Imprenta Lopez Peru 666, 1948, pp. 19–22). (Brewerton, The Book...)
Although it is not a commonly told tale in the Christian world, it is possible that the congruencies in the Book of Mormon and Ancient American legends reveal the meaning behind Jesus Christ’s statement to his apostles in John 10:16 when he says, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (King James Version).
As we read this scripture, it is puzzling to know what Christ meant when he said, “Other sheep.” The Book of Mormon claims to have the answer. In the words of Christ himself, standing on the American continent, he said to the ancient people, “And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:21-22).
Christ continues by explaining to the ancient Americans the reasons why those in Jerusalem had failed to understand what he meant by “other sheep”:
And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.
Neither at any time hath the Father given me commandment that I should tell unto them concerning the other tribes of the house of Israel, whom the Father hath led away out of the land.
This much did the Father command me, that I should tell unto them:
That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:15-17).
Ted E. Brewerton, “The Book of Mormon: A Sacred Ancient Record,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 30