An anachronism is a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place. It’s something that doesn’t fit with the time and place. If I showed you a letter I wrote to Santa Claus in 1985 asking for an iPhone for Christmas, you’d know with absolute certainty that the letter was not written in 1985, even if I promised you that it was. The iPhone didn’t exist in 1985. The term “iPhone” in my letter to Santa Claus would be out of place chronologically because the iPhone didn’t exist until 2012. How could I have asked for an iPhone in 1985? It’s impossible. It would be a dead giveaway that my letter was not written in 1985.
The Book of Mormon claims to be an authentic record of people that existed in the Americas for a period of about 1,000 years from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. This is the time and place of the Book of Mormon. And yet, it contains many anachronisms that do not fit with this time and place.
Here are some of the anachronisms in the Book of Mormon that lead me to believe it is fiction:
In the Book of Mormon, Nephi obtains the Brass Plates from Laban so his people would have the scriptures with them when they travelled to America. The Book of Mormon contains many chapters taken from these Brass Plates, particularly in 2nd Nephi where several chapters from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament are quoted.
Here’s the problem: Not all of the chapters in Isaiah existed when Lehi and his family left Jerusalem. Biblical scholars divide Isaiah into three sections:
- Proto-Isaiah (chapters 1-39)—These chapters would have existed when Nephi obtained the Brass Plates.
- Deutero-Isaiah (chapters 40-55)—These chapters did not exist when Nephi obtained the Brass Plates from Laban and were written later by an anonymous author, not Isaiah.
- Trito-Isaiah (chapters 55-66)—Written at a later period of time than deutero-Isaiah by unknown authors.
If Nephi really got Brass Plates from Laban only Isaiah chapters 1-39 should appear in the Book of Mormon. These were the only chapters of Isaiah that existed at the time. But…
- 1st Nephi 20 quotes Isaiah 48
- 1st Nephi 21 quotes Isaiah 49
- 2nd Nephi 7 quotes Isaiah 50
- 2nd Nephi 8 quotes Isaiah 51 and 52:1-2
- 3rd Nephi 20 quotes Isaiah 52:1-3, 7-8, 11
- Mosiah 14 quotes Isaiah 53, and
- 3rd Nephi 22 quotes Isaiah 54
None of this makes any sense. These chapters of Isaiah did not exist when Nephi obtained the Brass Plates from Laban. Either virtually all Biblical scholars are wrong about when Isaiah was written or there’s no way these chapters should be in the Book of Mormon. But there they are. How is Nephi quoting chapters of Isaiah before they existed any different from me saying I asked Santa Claus for an iPhone in 1985?
- Horses and Chariots
In Alma 18, Ammon prepared horses and chariots for King Lamoni. In Alma 20, King Lamoni tells his servants to make ready his horses and chariots. In 3rd Nephi 3, the people took their horses and chariots so they could gather together to defend themselves against their enemies.
The problem is that there were no horses or chariots anywhere in America at the time. Horses didn’t exist anywhere in America until the Spanish brought them in late 15th century, over 1,000 years after the Book of Mormon ends.
Chariots have never existed as a means of transportation anywhere in the Americas. The native people of the America’s didn’t even use wheels for transportation until Europeans arrived. Chariots have wheels. Without wheels in America, there could be no chariots. If no horses or chariots existed in the Americas at the time, they should not appear in the Book of Mormon.
In the Book of Ether, it says the Jaredites had goats. In 1st Nephi, it says that Lehi and his family found goats and wild goats when they arrived in America. In the Book of Enos, it mentions the Nephites had goats and wild goats. The context of these verses implies they had domesticated goats. Why mention “goats and wild goats” if all the goats were wild?
But there were no domesticated goats in America during any of these times. Domesticated goats did not exist in America until Europeans arrived in America. The Book of Mormon should not mention them.
In the Book of Ether, when the Brother of Jared built the barges to cross the ocean, he asked the Lord if they would have to cross the ocean in darkness. In response, the Lord basically said, “What do you want me to do? You can’t have windows, because they will get shattered.”
Windows? Why would the Lord mention windows to the Brother of Jared? Windows didn’t exist when the Brother of Jared would have lived. Transparent glass windows did not exist until the 11th Century A.D., thousands of years later. Why would the Lord mention a technology that would not exist for thousands of years? If the Lord said to the Brother of Jared, “you can’t have windows,” this would have made no sense to the Brother of Jared. He didn’t know what a window was. There was no such thing at the time.
There are several other anachronisms in the Book of Mormon. I’ve only listed a few of the ones that stand out to me.
At the end of the day, how can the Book of Mormon be riddled with so many anachronisms and yet be an authentic record of people that really existed in the Americas? I don’t believe that it can be.