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Mounting Evidence for The Book of Mormon

"The Book of Mormon does fit what we know of the ancient world. Its early account of Jerusalem just before the Babylonian captivity gains in plausibility as research continues to accumulate.   For example, the name of Lehi’s wife, Sariah, previously unknown outside the Book of Mormon, has been found in ancient Jewish documents from Egypt.   Likewise, the nonbiblical name Nephi belongs to the very time and place of the first Book of Mormon figure who bears it."

"In his 1952 essay “Lehi in the Desert,” Hugh Nibley illuminated Lehi’s land journey from Jerusalem by placing it along the coast of the Arabian peninsula.   Since that time, Latter-day Saint scholars and explorers have refined our understanding of that route through actual visits and systematic surveys of the area, enabling us to identify likely Book of Mormon locations in Arabia.   The Book of Mormon account of Lehi’s Arabian sojourn is remarkably accurate to numerous specific geographic conditions, but no scholar in the 19th century, let alone Joseph Smith, could have known of it."

 "The appearance of the two men named Alma in the Book of Mormon has occasioned much comment from critics. They observe that Alma is a woman’s name and Latin rather than Hebrew. (Many recognize the phrase alma mater, which means “beneficent mother” and refers to the school from which someone has graduated.) They are correct, of course. If Joseph Smith knew the name Alma at all in the early 19th century, he would have known it as a woman’s name in Latin. Recent documentary finds demonstrate, however, that Alma also occurs as a Semitic masculine personal name in the ancient Near East—just as it does in the Book of Mormon. 

Alma 7:10 predicts that Jesus “shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers.” Is this a mistake? Everyone knows that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not in Jerusalem. But it is now plain from modern evidence that Bethlehem could be, and indeed was, regarded anciently as a town in the “land of Jerusalem.”
A recently released text from the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example—a text claiming origin in Jeremiah’s days (and therefore in Lehi’s)—says that the Jews of that period were “taken captive from the land of Jerusalem.” Joseph Smith could not have learned this from the Bible, though, for no such language appears in it.


"...the region of Mesoamerica—particularly southern Mexico and Guatemala, where many suggest that much of the Book of Mormon story may have happened—is a place of continuing volcanic and seismic activity. Painstaking research of John L. Sorenson and others has demonstrated the plausibility of the complex geographical data contained in the Book of Mormon. It suggests many fascinating correlations with what we continue to learn about life in ancient Mesoamerica."   (Mounting Evidence for The Book of Mormon, by Daniel C. Peterson, Jan 2000 Ensign)