The Following abstract is taken from a much larger work by Dr Franklin s Harris Jr., the well-known Book of Mormon researcher who died 13 August 1999 in St. George, Utah. He had lived in Rockville, Utah, for twenty-one years since retiring from the physics faculty of the University of Utah.
Harris was one of the sons of Franklin S. Harris, president of Brigham Young University, and traveled widely with his father before earning a bachelor’s degree from BYU and then a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology. While a missionary in the European Mission office in London under President John A. Widtsoe, he was assigned to gather information on archaeological and historical materials at the British Museum that constituted evidence in favor of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
The results were published in the 1930s as a small book under the pair’s joint authorship titled Seven Claims of the Book of Mormon: A Collection of Evidences. It constituted the first substantial body of Book of Mormon studies published by LDS scientists. In 1953 Harris published The Book of Mormon: Message and Evidences, a volume along the same lines as Seven Claims. He was a contributing editor to the Improvement Era for thirty-one years. A majority of the material in his regular column in that church periodical concerned Book of Mormon evidences. He maintained an active interest in research on the Nephite scripture almost to the time of his death at age eighty-seven.
Book of Mormon: Messages and Evidences
The usual view of the origin of the American Indians may be illustrated by a quotation from J. Erie Thompson:
"The American Indians form part of the Mongoloid race, of which the Chinese are another division…. We are probably correct in assuming a constant dribble of immigrants passing over the Bering Straits from Asia for many centuries."
To conclude that the American Indian is one unified people is a mistake. In the recent words of James B. Griffen: "The Indians did not belong to a single physical type" and "There are a great many linguistic groups in America." And Franz Boas: "The pigmentation differs from a dark brown to almost European lightness … the hair is not always straight and black but may be brownish and waxy."
There are two problems of origins; the first is racial. The principal race seems to be Mongoloid, but there are also indications of other racial strains. The second, the origin and development of the advanced civilization of Middle America. Let us look more closely at racial origins.
The usual view then is that the Indians are of Mongoloid origin, which means straight hair, broad high cheek bones, etc. We cannot deny that many American peoples are of Mongoloid type. With the Indians, all Mongoloid racial characteristics are variable except dark brown eyes, dark brown hair and the skin yellowish or reddish brown. All anthropemetric indices are variable. The epicanthic fold which gives the almond-shaped eye is common but not universal. Mongoloid faces are broad, the American Indian variable. The Mongoloid nose is low in the bridge, the American Indian variable, but among high culture peoples high in the bridge. Mongoloids are short, the Indians variable in stature. Some traits do not fit in with the Mongoloid pattern, such as wavy hair. The Maya nose is high bridged with a convex tip and flaring nostrils. The Maya are very broad-headed, and the Mongoloids usually only slightly broad-headed.
Dr. E. A. Hooton in his studies in Southwest anthropometry reports his studies found a race that duplicated one of the Near East.
"The theory of the originally and perpetually Mongoloid character of the American population is difficult to accept in view of the decidedly non-Mongoloid character of the stratigraphically early types."
And as Dr. W. W. Howells says:
"On this basis it does not appear that the Indians have a very large non-Mongoloid residue, since their non-Mongoloid features are mostly their unspecialised ones. There is a residue, however, and it appears to point, not to the Australoids or the Negroes, but towards the white group. It exhibits itself, in various tribes, in a high bridge and well developed tip of the nose, in a rarity of the epicanthic fold, and probably also a ruggedness or great length of the face. Furthermore, these features combine with a general 'European' appearance in a few Indian types, or at least a suggestion that these groups may be the more marginal and thus perhaps the earliest ones…."
And Dr. Hooton in the same volume:
"It is of considerable interest to ponder the fact that intentional artificial deformation of the skull in a people with hooked, beaky noses is associated with the development of high civilization in two widely separated areas—the Near East and the Western cordillera of the Americas. It intrigues me to note that cranial deformation is conspicuous by its absence in North-eastern Asia, and, in fact, among the peoples of Asia who can be described from a racial point of view as Mongoloid, and that prominent, convex noses, although observable in Asia among mixed Mongoloid peoples, are absolutely incompatible with a full development of Mongoloid physical characters. I should say that neither these flattened heads nor those proboscis-like noses are, nor have been, at home in Mongoloid Asia.… I am inclined to think that the ancestors of the classical Mayas were not very different from the White hybridised type which we call Armenoid …. Eventually they picked up some Mongoloid features—hair, pigmentation, cheek bones, etc. These may have been recent accretions.…"
Let us now consider the cultural problem, for example the problem of the origin of the great civilization of the Maya, which dates in its beginnings from perhaps the first millennium B.C.20 The Maya started in America with a high civilisation. As F. Martin Brown remarks in his readable book America's Yesterday, which covers all the great cultures of the Western Hemisphere:
"One of the curious points regarding the Maya people is that there is no evidence in the area occupied by them of a culture leading up to theirs."
And from Dr. M. Wells Jakeman's The Origins and History of the Mayas:
"Equally baffling has been the mystery of the establishment of the Mayas and their civilization in such a climatically unfavourable habitat as the tropical lowlands of Central America, a region of enervating heat, excessive rainfall and scourging diseases—exactly the sort of environment that is generally supposed to exert a retarding rather than a stimulating influence on a people and culture. What could have been the source of the great physical, mental and spiritual powers which this people must have possessed to enable them to develop and maintain such a high civilization in so hostile an environment?"
The Maya traditions also indicate they came from elsewhere.
"The Mayas did not pretend to be autochthonous, but claimed that their ancestors came from distant regions in two bands. The largest and most ancient immigration was from the East, across or rather through the ocean—for the gods had opened twelve paths through it—and this was conducted by the mythical Itzamna. The second band, less in number and later in time, came in from the West, and with them was Kukulcan. The former was called the Great Arrival, the latter, the Less Arrival."
"Some of the old people of Yucatan say that they have heard from their ancestors that this land was occupied by a race of people, who came from the East and whom God had delivered by opening twelve paths through the sea."
How much should we expect peoples in America to be like the peoples from which they came? We must distinguish between the customs, civilization, and language of a people now, both as regards the parent people and the migrated group, and what they were at the time of separation. John Ranking asked in 1827:
"If an Englishman of the present day is puzzled to understand the English language of the fourteenth century, where writing or printing has always been used, what stability of language is to be expected among Americans, who never had an alphabet?"
The Book of Mormon Mulekite people had kept no history and could not understand the Nephites because their language had become so corrupted after about three hundred years (Omni 1:17), though they originally came from the same place.
The Book of Mormon account stops at 420 A.D. How well can we understand the languages of 400 A.D. which were molded into English? We can recall the recent changes which took place in the descendants of the mutineers of the ship Bounty. We should not expect any people to be exactly the same as the original peoples, particularly when we do not have complete information on the original parent peoples.
What do we know of the characteristics of the ancestors of the present English, French, and German peoples of 600 B.C., or of conditions in Palestine of that time? Not very much.
H. L. Shapiro has shown a measurable change in people as a result of migration to a new environment, as has also Griffith Taylor.
The Book of Mormon peoples came to this continent with an Old World culture and background, as Dr. Hugh Nibley has pointed out, but they did things differently in America. They had to develop a new type of architecture using wood first and stone and cement much later.
The two later Book of Mormon migrations were of Hebrew stock. What evidence is there to support this? As we have seen from the quotations there are important early American groups not primarily Mongoloid, but possibly Armenoid, which suggests Near East peoples. What about languages, customs and beliefs? Some years ago the writer compiled a bibliography of nearly two hundred references dealing with Hebrew evidences given by various authors from the time of the Conquest to the present time.
Dr Franklin S Harris Jr has examined almost all of them. These evidences vary greatly in value, from speculation, and in some cases credulous suppositions, to careful work by trained investigators. These evidences should be carefully reconsidered and evaluated in the light of the best modern information. A recent summary of some of these Hebrew evidences has been given by Josiah E. Hickman.
It would be well to keep in mind that if the Hebrew evidences were as complete, striking and obvious as some would have us believe in looking for what Hebrew and Jewish evidences some expect, that surely such fine scholarly men as Morley, Spinden, Tozzer and others would have accepted them, if they had given them careful consideration. But most modern scholars have not considered the evidence from the Book of Mormon point of view and are not aware of the contribution it may make to American archaeology. It is nonetheless on the patient life labors of such men that the Book of Mormon can add its contribution to give a better understanding of ancient history in America.
In looking for Hebrew type practices it is well to remember the latter Book of Mormon peoples observed the Mosaic law closely but for about the first two centuries only, even though they were much more enlightened and instructed about the dealings of God than their brethren in Palestine, and their practices were radically different later.
Some of the cultural traits and religious practices which are similar would perhaps be explained now by some as being due to similar environment and not to common origin. But R. H. Lowie, points out that one of the errors now definitely discarded is that culture is just a simple function of physical conditions and natural resources.
Let us consider briefly some suggestive evidences on the Maya as an example of similarities which seem to indicate Hebraic connections many centuries before. Let us take a few items from Landa's Relación de las Cosas de Yucatan, written in 1566 but not discovered until 1863, and which T. A. Joyce calls "the most valuable of Spanish authorities."
The quotations are from the recent excellent translation and edition by Dr. Alfred M. Tozzer (1941).
"They are very particular about knowing the origin of their families, especially if they are descendants of some family of Mayapan, and they find this out from the priests, since it is one of their sciences, and they are very proud of the men who have been distinguished in their families…." The Israelites were very careful about keeping their genealogies.
An interesting rite of the scape-goat is described where boys and girls from a priest took some ground maize and incense and threw them into a brazier, which then was mixed with a little wine and carefully taken out of town, "by this they said that the evil spirit had been driven away." The rite of expiation of sins and placation of the gods by a communal ceremony has a woman bearing the sins of all on her shoulders to represent the community to their gods to appease their anger.
The smearing of the idols with blood in offering sacrifices was also practiced in Yucatan and on the alter and other places by the Israelites.
It was the custom of the Maya to cover themselves with soot or black paint while fasting, also practiced by the Israelites.
Thomas W. Brookbank42 has shown that of one hundred twenty-five measurements from Stephen's Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan (1843) 41.5 per cent of the definite measurements of buildings given can be expressed in whole cubits, halves or thirds, within an average variation of about a half inch, when the Jewish cubit of 21.888 inches is used, and of these measurements, ninety per cent can be expressed in multiples of five or ten cubits. This is remarkable since the unit of measurement of any people is arbitrary.
There are other peculiar facts. There were many changes which the Nephites made from Jewish civilization as shown in 2 Ne. 25:1–2, 25. There are still Old World impressions. "Certain groups of Indians achieved civilizations approximately on a level with, and in general extraordinarily like, those of our own cultural ancestors of the Near East." The Mesopotamian and American pyramids both served as truncated bases for temples in contrast with the Egyptian.
The best and most reliable source of mythology, traditions and history of the Quiché Maya of the highlands of Guatemala is their sacred book the Popol Vuh. This book was reduced to writing, using Latin script, from oral traditions current the middle of the 16th century, but not known by the scientific world until the middle of the 19th century. There is an excellent English version by Delia Goetz and Sylvanus G. Morley from the Spanish translation of Adrián Recinos. There is no doubt of the Popol Vuh's authenticity.
There is no explanation which could be given by the translators for the close parallels to Old Testament accounts of the creation and flood, which are very striking indeed. Here are some extracts:
"Here, then, is the beginning of when it was decided to make man, and what must enter into the flesh of man was sought.
"And the Forefathers, the Creators and Makers, who were called Tepeu and Gucumatz said: 'The time of dawn has come, let the work be finished, and let those who are to nourish and sustain us appear, the noble sons, the civilized vassals appear; let man appear, humanity, on the face of the earth.' Thus they spoke.
"They assembled, came together and held council in the darkness and in the night; they sought and discussed, and here they reflected and thought. In this way their decisions came clearly to light and they found and discovered what must enter into the flesh of man.
"It was just before the sun, the moon, and the stars appeared over the Creators and Makers."
Then animals bring food.
"After that they began to talk about the creation and the making of our first mother and father; of yellow corn and of white corn they made their flesh; of corn-meal dough they made the arms and legs of man. Only dough of corn meal went into the flesh of our first fathers, the four men, who were created.
"These are the names of the first men who were created and formed: the first man was Balam-Quitzé, the second, Balam-Acab, the third Mahucutah, and the fourth was Iqui-Balam…."
"It is said that they only were made and formed, they had no mother, they had no father, They were only called men…."
"They were endowed with intelligence; they saw and instantly they could see far, they succeeded in seeing, they succeeded in knowing all that there is in the world…."
"But the Creator and the Maker did not hear this with pleasure. 'It is not well what our creatures, our works say; they know all, the large and the small,' they said. And so the Forefathers held counsel again. 'What shall we do with them now? Let their sight reach only to that which is near; let them see only a little of the face of the earth! It is not well what they say. Perchance, are they not by nature simple creatures of our making? Must they also be gods? And if they do not reproduce and multiply when it will be dawn, when the sun rises? And what if they do not multiply? So they spoke.
"Let us check a little their desires, because it is not well what we see. Must they perchance be the equals of ourselves, their Makers, who see afar, who know all and see all?'…"
"Thus they spoke, and immediately they changed the nature of their creatures. "Then the Heart of Heaven blew mist into their eyes, which clouded their sight as when a mirror is breathed upon. Their eyes were covered and they could see only what was close, only that was clear to them…."
"Then their wives had being, and their women were made. God himself made them carefully. And so, during sleep, they came, truly beautiful their women, at the side of Balam-Quitzé, Balam-Acab, Mahucutah, and Iqui-Balam.
"There were their women when they awakened, and instantly their hearts were filled with joy because of their wives…."
The common motif of the feathered serpent in America in story and art, as a symbol of the Life-God, reminds us of the serpent which Moses lifted up in the wilderness as a symbol of the Christ that was to come? This event the Nephites remembered and discussed. Some excellent pictures are reproduced for example in the monumental collection of Pál Kelemen, Medieval American Art and in Museum of Modern Art Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art.
The tree of life is described in Genesis, chs. 2 and 3. The phrase "tree of life" occurs sixteen times in the Book of Mormon and this symbol is also found in Central America.
There are many fascinating symbols and art designs which have close parallels in the Old World. One of these is the Olmec stocking cap figure found by Matthew W. Stirling in Vera Cruz, Mexico which looks like King Jehu of Israel. Harold Gladwin commenting on Torquemada's description of the clothes worn by the Olmecs says it reminds him "of the robes of Biblical times in Palestine."
These evidences tend to confirm the Book of Mormon account. It appears then that even on the limited information now available, the Book of Mormon is a reasonable account of some ancient American peoples when viewed from the point of view of race and culture. Though the Book of Mormon is not a textbook on archaeology it details considerable information about the peoples whose history it gives.
Prof. Moses Coit Tyler, long professor of American history, made a statement at Cornell University a number of years ago:
"We shall never get the correct answer to our problems of American history as long as we so persistently ignore important factors, and amongst those important factors which we do so ignore, the 'Mormon' question stands in the front rank. We have to consider it. Then you have heard something regarding the Book of Mormon. Now, if there had been published in this country or anywhere in the world, a volume that is consistent as is the Book of Mormon… having as much the appearance of genuineness as that book this university would have been among the first to equip an expedition, put it in the field, and send it off there to investigate the subject… we have never taken the trouble to look into the matter." The Book of Mormon is indeed worth investigation.
In recounting the history of two groups which left Palestine about 600 B.C., and a group which left that general region many centuries before that, it is well to remember that the Book of Mormon was not written as a text in civilization but primarily as a religious account. It does, however, contain incidental information of interest and value in understanding the way the people lived.
However, as Perry Benjamin Pierce1 said in 1899: "In this publication (the Book of Mormon) we have a work of the greatest anthropological, ethnological, and archaeological interest, struck off in one complete, full, perfect act…."
In talking of ancient peoples it has been expected that if Joseph Smith had written the book himself and not translated it from ancient records, he would have made mistakes in wrongly attributing some modern things to ancient times. This type of error, called anachronism, is extremely difficult to avoid. It has been made by even the best of writers from Shakespeare (such as the reference to the striking of a clock in "Julius Caesar") to Lloyd Douglass.
From a book by Hanns Braun2 on anachronisms, some of the interesting mistakes may be noted. A stamp issued by the Lesser Antilles island of St. Kitts Nevis in 1903 shows Columbus on his first voyage of discovery looking at the horizon through a telescope, which was not invented until about 1600. Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod about 1752, but Schiller in WaIlenstein (Piccolomini I, 2) has Butler refer to it a century too soon. In William Tell, Schiller has Gessler pluck an apple from a tree for the famous apple-shooting scene, but it is too late in the year for any apples on the tree. Balzac in Cousin Pons has a fan painted by Watteau for Madame Pompadour, but actually the famous painter died in 1721 the same year she was born.
Victor von Scheffel has his Ekkehard butting and decorating a Christmas tree nine hundred years before the middle of the 17th century when the practice started. Milton in Paradise Lost had the devils shooting at the angels with cannons. The ancient writers made similar mistakes. Vergil in the Aeneid speaks of the cities of Gela and Agrigentum which in the Aeneid's time had not yet been founded.
The Book of Mormon has been scrutinized and critics have made statements pointing out what seemed to be anachronisms. The historian William Robertson wrote:
"If ever the use of iron had been known to the savages of America, or to their progenitors, if ever they had employed a plough, a loom, or a forge, the utility of those inventions would have preserved them, and it is impossible that they should have been abandoned or forgotten." He also states that the horse and elephant were unknown.
T. B. H. Stenhouse wrote:
"Scientific men are unanimously agreed that elephants never existed on this continent, and that horses, asses, oxen and swine were introduced by the European settlers within the last three hundred years. Had they existed at the times alluded to by the Mormon writer, some vestiges of them would certainly ere this have been discovered."
And E. D. Howe's book, Mormonism Unvailed, of 1834, which was actually prepared by the notorious D. P. Hurlburt, says sarcastically, in referring to the Book of Mormon:
"This is the earliest account of steel to be found in history." And then he says the earliest account of steel the historians know anything about is at the time of Alexander the Great.
Stuart Martin said in referring to Laban's sword: "But steel was not known in those days."
In 1857, John Hyde was to write in referring to these animals:
"This is a palpable falsehood, and eminently displays the imposter's hoof…. To say that these animals were here, and that they lived until the fifth Christian century, and then became so extinct as to leave no trace, and be remembered by no tradition, is requiring a miracle to sustain imposture. Smith has evidently overreached his knowledge of fact…. The elephant was not a native of America and never was an inhabitant. Does not such jumbling up of inconsistencies and contradictions not only demand the strongest possible evidence to substantiate, but becomes a positive proof of forgery and imposture?"
M. T. Lamb in discussing the same things argued:
"Facts are stubborn things, and the simple testimony of past history already presented, buries the fabrications of the Book of Mormon beyond the possibility of a resurrection."
The historian John Fiske said:
"It is extremely difficult for an imposter to concoct a narrative without making blunders that can easily be detected by the critical scholar. For example, the Book of Mormon, in the passage just cited, in supremely blissful ignorance introduces… the knowledge of smelting iron into pre-Columbian American."
Bruce Kinney remarked: "There is not the slightest evidence that the aborigines of this [the American] continent anywhere knew anything about the practical use of iron, steel and brass."
Martin12 (1920) and G. B. Arbaugh13 (1932) had read and copied this old criticism. And some of these criticisms are still being repeated in our day. This great mania for copying clutters up the literature critical of the Book of Mormon. In some eases the errors get worse with each new writer. Godbey in 1930 (Lost Tribes a Myth) copied from Short of 1879 (North Americans of Antiquity) who copied from Bancroft (Native Races) of 1875 who copied from Bertrand of 1860 (Mémoires d'un Mormon) who had read the Book of Mormon.
It almost seems, as Herr Niemand once remarked, that "History is the consolidation of doubtful traditions into undoubted facts." Let us see however what modern scholarship has to say about the use of iron, and the existence of the horse and elephant-like animals in ancient America.
Nephi took a sword from Laban which he took to America with him and used it as a model. The Book of Mormon peoples did some work with iron (Ether 10: 23; 2 Nephi 5: 15). In fact many authors such as Desiré Charnay and T. A. Willard have felt that it would be very difficult to do the work in stone masonry and sculpturing in ancient America without iron tools.
When the actual discoveries are examined it turns out that Howe and Martin were as wrong in the Old World as the New. Meteoric iron was used as early as 4000 B.C. and smelted iron about the middle of the third millennium B.C. King Tutankhamen in Egypt in 1352 B.C. had buried with him a knife, head-rest and amulets of iron. And Sir Leonard Woolley found iron objects in Ur in Mesopotamia of about the fourth millennium before Christ. Solomon smelted iron and copper and a sword furnace at Gerar has been discovered.
In North America, W. K. Moorehead reports:
"Much that both the historic and the prehistoric Indian made use of was composed of cloth, iron, wood, brass, leather, etc."
And H. C. Shetrone in The Mound-Builders, (1930) lists many iron objects that have been found from pre-Columbian times. An example is the finding near Havana, Illinois, of 22 rounded beads, less than one inch in diameter, composed of strongly oxidized iron. From the structure of the iron and its nickel content the iron is of meteoric origin.
In Central America iron was used, too, because forty-three grams of iron oxide were found in a jar at Uaxactun, as reported by O. G. Ricketson, Jr., and E. B. Ricketson Several pieces of iron oxide were found in excavations at Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala.
In his article on "The Origin and Early Spread of Ironworking," Harold Peake summarizes:
"Meteoric iron has attracted the attention of men at different times and in widely separated regions. In the New World, for instance, it was used not only by the Incas of Peru, but also by the Mayas of Yucatan and the Aztecs of Mexico. Amerigo Vespucci found the Indians of the La Plata region of South America making arrowheads and small tools of this metal; the Indians of North America considered it so precious a material that they used it to overlay their beads of gold. Ornaments and tools of meteoric iron have been discovered in the mounds of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys."
Here is another interesting statement:
"When Cortez had completed the conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards…. were particularly struck and puzzled by one fact. They noticed that the Aztecs possessed certain implements, such as knives, daggers, etc., made of iron, but it seemed that only the most distinguished of the natives possessed such, that iron was a great rarity and was prized higher than gold…. Their iron was, in fact of meteoric origin, like that of the Mayas of Yucatan and the Incas of Peru of which many weapons are still preserved in the collections."
Samuel F. Haven referring to earthworks described by Caleb Atwater said: "Knives and swords of iron were also supposed to be indicated by their oxidized remains."
There have recently been some remarkable developments in the knowledge of early iron-working in America. Most of the details are given in a book by Captain Arlington H. Mallery, Lost America, The Story of Pre-Columbian Iron in America, (1951). Mallery has found large quantities of iron in iron-smelting furnaces of two types, one he calls Celtic and the other Nordic. More interesting still is the beehive type found in the Allyn mound in Ohio. The beehive type was in common use in Asia and Africa. There is some evidence of iron associated with Folsom type points.
James V. Howe has also found considerable hand-forged pre-Columbian wrought iron and inscriptions with eastern Mediterranean signs in Virginia.
When it comes to considering the elephant and horse mentioned in the Book of Mormon for which the Book of Mormon has been criticized for nearly a century, it is interesting that scientists have taken a surprisingly direct right-about-face in the last two decades.
The first evidence of any kind of the pre-Columbian existence of the horse in America was found by Charles Darwin on Oct. 5, 1833. It was not until 1926 that there was a generally accepted association of human implements with an extinct animal.
Elephants are only referred to once in the Book of Mormon and that is by the earliest people and horses are mentioned only fourteen times. Horses seem to have been scarce. The Jaredites mention them once and the Lehi colony found them in America on their arrival and had herds of horses. A Lamanite king had horses and chariots (Alma 18 and 20) about 90 B.C. In the travels of the people and in exploring they went by foot; horses are not mentioned. The last reference to horses is about 26 A.D., and not the fifth century A.D. as Hyde would have us believe. It tells of the Nephites gathering their flocks, including horses, in preparation for the defense of their lands.
The evidence for the association of early man in America with now-extinct animals, such as the horse, camels, elephant types, including mastodons and mammoths, and others is given in detail in three recent books:
G. G. MacCurdy, (editor) Early Man as depicted by leading authorities at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, March, 1937, containing papers by thirty-six experts. Much material is given, and the suggestion is made that man may even have helped in the extinction of these animals.
The second book is by M. R. Harrington, Gypsum Cave, Nevada, Southwest Museum Papers, No. 8,37 which tells of the work at Gypsum Cave and previous associations elsewhere of mammoth, mastodon, camel and horse with man, and there is a map showing twenty-three places where extinct animals have been associated with man in the United States.
The third book is by H. M. Wormington, Ancient Man in North America. This book reviews various finds, for example, the finding of an arrow point under the left scapula bone of a large mammoth, near Angus, Nebraska, in 1931. The association of horse, mammoth, mastodon and elephant with early man is now so generally accepted that there is no need to present details of evidence in addition to those in the three books mentioned. Many authorities have given clear expression of this acceptance. A. V. Kidder in referring to various discoveries says these "prove beyond possible doubt that man was present in the New World contemporaneously with many mammals now extinct." A. L. Kroeber:
"In an earlier stage, whale man's numbers were few and his arts and weapons undeveloped, these species may have continued to live alongside him without serious molestation. Once better equipped and organized, Indian tribes may well have put an end to piedmont bison, horses, camels, mastodons, and mammoths; possibly in a few centuries in a given terrain."
Professor W. D. Matthews referring to the early horse in North and South America wrote:
"It is very probable that man in the early tribes of prehistoric hunters played a large part in extinguishing the race."
"Most vertebrate paleontologists concede that the now extinct vertebrates may have survived to within a very short time ago."
And Donald Collier concludes:
"There seems to be no question that man was present in Ecuador, as in other parts of South America, before the extinction of certain mammalian forms typical of the Pleistocene."
Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr. says:
"The first migrants were unquestionably hunters, and many of the animals that served them as game were essentially the same as those existing today. In addition there were a number that now are extinct. Among those represented by the bones associated with the remains of camps and tools left by these hunters are… mammoth… and the horse."
It should be kept in mind that these associations are mostly supposed to have been between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago, much before the Book of Mormon peoples, whose history begins perhaps 5,000 years ago. Though association of any kind had been stoutly denied by almost everyone, except the Book of Mormon, until just a few years ago, there are some interesting evidences of the association of the mammoth and horse with very recent men.
Three miles from Moab, Utah, there is a pictograph on which the author of an article in the Scientific Monthly reports, commenting on the picture:
"It appears to be an authentic link between aboriginal man and the elephant or mastodon, for it is highly improbable that any primitive artist could have achieved so good a likeness without having seen such a creature or having at least seen a picture of one done by some fellow artist."
Thirty miles north of Blythe, California, west of the Colorado River, there is a huge pictograph of a horse, about fifty feet long which appears as though done in white paint when seen from the air. The glazed surfaces of the white stone must have resulted from action of the elements over a long time.
In Ecuador, a well-preserved mastodon was found a few years ago in apparently clear association with man.
"Several fires had been lighted around where he lay, for the soil showed clear marks of having been burned at the edge of where the body lay. Furthermore, some of the mastodon's bones were also partly burned. Close at hand were shreds of polychrome pottery, which the discoverers believed belonged to the slayers of the mastodon."
The zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson tells:
"There is a body of evidence both from the mainland of Central America and even from rock drawings in Haiti itself tending to show that the horse may have been known to man in the Americas before the coming of the Spaniards."
And, human and elephant bones have apparently been found in association in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in Mexico, as reported by W. Balfour Gourley.
W. D. Strong in 1934 published many traditions from North American Indian tribes suggesting
"a dim but actual tradition of the time when the mammoth lived in North America," and which Strong accepts as "historical tradition."
M. F. Ashley Montagu also relates some mammoth traditions, and further remarks:
"There is even a possibility that in certain parts of the country the mammoth may have lingered on up to as recently as five hundred years ago. In several conversations with the writer, Professor William Berryman Scott, the doyen of American paleontologists, has given it as his opinion that, had the first of the Spanish discoverers of America penetrated into the interior, it is quite possible that they might have met with the living mammoth. Another distinguished America paleontologist, whose special interest is the horse, is, I understand, of the opinion that the horse never became extinct in America."
The interesting finds of Dr. Helmut de Terra of the skeleton of a man beside that of a mammoth he was trying to kill at Lake Texcoco, near Mexico City, has led to the conclusion that man was partly responsible for its extinction.
Recently Douglas Leechman reported the finding of the fibula bone of a mammoth or a mastodon in Manitoba which had been artificially shaped to form an implement, seventeen inches long with the tool marks still clearly visible. No date has yet been suggested for this implement. Leechman also refers to a mammoth bone found in Yuma County, Colorado in 1929 by Harold J. Cook which shows many cutting and groove marks, and to elephant bones showing knife marks found at Winter Beach, Florida in 1936, and an elephant tusk showing tool marks at Veto, Florida and further to a find at Tepexpan, 20 miles northeast of Mexico City, of a crudely-carved human foot worked from an elephant tooth and seen by de Terra in 1949.
These evidences and statements should dispose of the caustic remarks of too-hasty Book of Mormon critics about the presence and use of iron and some animals in Ancient America which the Spaniards did not find on arrival.
There are many other interesting items in the Book of Mormon, of which a few may be mentioned briefly.
That the wheel must have been known by some Book of Mormon peoples is inferred from the references to chariots at two periods. The knowledge of the wheel in Ancient America has been almost uniformly doubted until very recently. Désiré Charney found some wheeled toys, but this discovery was almost ignored by scholars. There have been several sets of these wheeled toys, usually animals, found by different archaeologists in the last few years at various places in Mexico. One of them had hollow tubes for the axles to run through with the tops of the holes worn smooth from the axles rubbing against the sides.
Gordon E. Elkholm concludes in his article, "Wheeled Toys In Mexico,"
"The evidence reviewed so far seems to me to indicate fairly conclusively that miniature wheeled vehicles were made, and there was therefore some knowledge of the principle of the wheel, in pre-Conquest Mexico."
In 1946 a group of six outstanding American scholars contributed a discussion with many pictures under the heading, "Did the Middle-American Natives Know the Wheel?" Alfonso Caso concluded:
"In summary, at the present it appears that there is sufficient evidence to confirm that at least the Indians of Mexico and perhaps also of Central America knew and used the wheel for small animals which may have had a special significance, or simply may have been used as toys."
Time Magazine tells of the work of the Smithsonian Institution in the state of Vera Cruz, Mexico:
"Other clay figures showed animals mounted on wheels. This discovery thrilled archaeologists. They had thought the wheel, basic device of mechanical civilization, was unknown in the New World. But the La Ventas had wheels some two thousand years ago, or had seen representations of them. How they learned about wheels, and why their knowledge died with them, remains a mystery."
The account of the Jaredites in the circumstantial details given in the Book of Mormon portrays a somewhat different civilization from that of Lehi's. While the Lehi groups were from Palestine, the Jaredites were from farther east and were more like the peoples of medieval Asia. Examples of some of these sidelights are the practice of the royal hunt and the importance of the royal throne in the expense in its construction. The Jaredites were typical Asiatics with their flocks of all kinds. The great winds and drought and the building of boats to withstand these unusual winds fits into the many traditions of about 2300 B.C.
When the book of Ether, the account of the Jaredites is first read, the background of intrigue and violence seems overdone, but actually is in the Asiatic tradition, as is also the process of a fugitive "drawing off" forces from his rival to the wilderness,
particularly by the use of gifts, and keeping the followers by the use of oaths. Another practice is that of keeping a king prisoner during his entire lifetime, allowing him to raise a family in captivity even though the sons on maturity would surely seek revenge and power.
The conception of every war as a personal combat between two kings and the wars of extermination including forced recruiting and a reign of terror with robber bands developing is also Asiatic practice.
In connection with warfare the Nephites not only had shields and breast plates but "they were dressed in thick clothing." The natives of Yucatan at the time of the Conquest were found to be wearing a body armor of quilted cotton, which the Spaniards themselves finally adopted. The armies of General Mormon were divided into armies or divisions of ten thousand and in Mexico, Cortes found himself opposed by an army with each section of ten thousand under a chief.
The Nephites and Lamanites were wily fighters, relying a great deal on what we now call guerrilla warfare, and a defense in depth from small forts. Cortes had to fight against the same tactics and small fortified places of resort.
Banners were carried by the Maya and also Mexican warriors when going out to battle. e Nephites had banners on poles called "the title of liberty which they used when going out to battle, and which they also posted on their towers.
As is well known the Israelites counted the day from sundown, and the Book of Mormon peoples had been trained in the Mosaic law. Oliver LaFarge and Douglas Byers observe: "The Jacaltecs' days begin at sunset as was probably the case with the old Maya." With the designation of months, G. Schiaparelli points out that at the time Lehi and Mulek left Palestine at 600 B.C. the Israelites did not give names to the months but called them by numbers in their order, and in a dozen references scattered through the Book of Mormon the months are always referred to by number and not given any special name.
There has been a great change in archaeologists in the last few years in that thy are now willing to at least consider Old World relationships, according to Gordon F. Ekholm.
Kenneth MacGowan has made an interesting statement:
"Only a hundred years have passed since Brigham Young led his people from independence, Missouri, to Salt Lake City, and yet there is a singular paucity of spinning wheels and first editions of The Book of Mormon along their trail."
What should be the value of coins to make small purchases with the least number of coins? The Nephites used coins bearing the relation to each other of 1–2–4–7, the same relation as is used on modern punched cards for computers. What boy would think of that?
These are sidelights on the Book of Mormon. The mention of the use of iron, the presence of the horse and elephant-like animals, and the wheel in Ancient America, the practices and habits of Book of Mormon peoples with warfare and in referring to the start of the day and the numbering of months all fit in with the knowledge we have of early American peoples, and the habits of the peoples from which the Book of Mormon peoples came. These all show that the Book of Mormon is a consistent account taken from ancient records, with information which a century after publication is being strikingly confirmed.