Episode 18: Book of Mormon Anachronisms with Chuck

03 Nov

We are joined by Chuck, the host of Irreligiosophy, on the great and spacious podcast to talk about anachronisms in the Book of Mormon, as well as some of the apologetic responses to these criticisms. And what a delightful show it was. Stick around until the end and hear bits of the unofficial pre-show.

Listen to this episode

Here’s what happened:

We lay some groundwork by explaining what an anachronism is, the creation of the Book of Mormon, and the loose translation theory/proposition. Then we discuss the following particular anachronisms:

Horses and other animals

  • “And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men…” – 1 Nephi 18:25
  • Dr. Wade Miller’s response at a FAIR (Mormon apologetics) conference, 2009

Iron and steel

  • “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.” – 2 Nephi 5:15
  • Apologist’s response to criticism of metallurgy in the Book of Mormon
  • Note: as pointed out in the comments (thanks to Rick) “dross” isn’t necessarily from steel, but is the mass of solid impurities left over from refining metals in general.

Coinage and monetary system

The apologist’s response to this claim is actually interesting, and I wish we had discussed it. The apologist says that the Book of Mormon isn’t referring to coins, but rather to a system of weights. I’ll note that the only sources that they cite in support of this claim are either other Mormon apologetics groups or an out-of-print book written in Spanish.

Wheels, axels, chariots

  • “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots.” 2 Nephi 12:7
  • Apologist’s response to criticism of chariots in the Book of Mormon

Posted by on November 3, 2012 in Guest, Mormonism, New Episode


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9 responses to “Episode 18: Book of Mormon Anachronisms with Chuck

  1. ff42

    November 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Found your podcast because of following of Irreligiosophy. I’m ‘cramming’ intensely on your older podcasts and quite enjoy your banter, logic and presentations. .

  2. nontheology

    November 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Great, thanks for listening, ff42. Don’t cram too hard though; it isn’t healthy.

  3. mikekoz68

    November 10, 2012 at 5:17 am

    Any friend of Chuck’s and Irreligiosophy(that was easy to spel) is a friend of mine! Good podcast, I’ll be tuning in for more.

  4. mikekoz68

    November 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Regarding the subject of horses in the Book of Mormon, can you expand on the specifics of the timeline that the BoM is set in vs the local extinction of horses? I have never heard of this critcism of the BoM, it seems like a slam dunk argument against.

  5. nontheology

    November 13, 2012 at 2:32 am

    Thanks Mike. It’s a little tough to really get into the specifics of the dates – for one because the events don’t seem to have actually happened, and also because the LDS church puts forth a rather precise chronology but (perhaps fairly) doesn’t put too much stock in exact dates. In the Book of Mormon however, you can find semi-official commentary about dates. In my edition, the “brief explanation about the Book of Mormon” section at the beginning says that the story ends “in or about the year A.D. 421” and as you go through the pages, the approximate dates are bracketed at the bottom of the page. The opening of 1 Nephi (which I quoted in the show) for example says it starts “about 600 B.C.” You can also get dates in the chapter summaries in the online version:

    And as stated in the show, modern archeology pretty universally agrees that horses went extinct around 10,000 B.C. and weren’t re-introduced until the Spanish brought them in the late 1400s. Hope that helps.

  6. Rick K.

    December 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    “Dross” turns out to be the leftovers from any metallic smelting, so it could apply to any of the metals listed. The rest of the evidence presented by you three was overwhelming evidence that the entire Book of Mormon was complete fiction.

  7. Sean Howard

    January 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Just stumbled across your podcast in particular this episode. My wife heard me laughing and walked up just in time to hear the part about Zelph and was like wtf are you listening to? We had to look it up on Google:

    I love that there are schisms between mormon scholars about the details of shit like this….

    • nontheology

      February 10, 2015 at 12:19 am

      Glad you liked it! I left a small reference to this at the end of the most recent episode 50!


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