What do specialists think of Mormonism’s claims?

Book of Abraham Book of Mormon

On August 11th, 2013 I posted a compilation on the exmormon subreddit. I worked every day for many hours during a 3-4 week period. The compilation consisted of responses from university professors who specialize in the fields of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica Archaeology, Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica Anthropology, and Egyptology. Their responses were directed towards my letter asking their opinion on the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon and/or the Book of Abraham. I acquired their emails from their university’s website. I emailed a total of sixty professors and received responses from twenty-five of them. Out of those twenty-five, fourteen allowed me to share their names and responses online.

Here is the template email I sent to the Mesoamerica professors, and here is the letter to the Egyptology professors.

I usually added something to the letter that was specific to the receiver like their work in a specific country, or their particular field of work.

Without further ado, here are the responses.

I hope everyone found the responses as insightful as I did. In my short seventeen years I find this compilation to be one of my favorite experiences. The professors were kind and generous enough to share their knowledge with an interested stranger.

Best Wishes. Zachary (a.k.a cagelessbird)

5 thoughts on “What do specialists think of Mormonism’s claims?

  1. Were the responses basically what you were expecting? Or did you think that there might be some experts (unconnected with Mormonism) who agreed with the claims of the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham?

  2. I had doubts that the historicity of the Book of Mormon would be supported with the responses from these non-LDS professors. However, I thought it was plausible. In the end it seemed that none of the professors supported the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon or the Book of Abraham.

  3. Realizing that the disinterested experts don’t agree with Mormonism’s historical claims was a big part of my deconversion, as I wrote here:

    I remember sitting in American History class — probably in the seventh grade — watching a film showing how the Americas were populated by migrations across a land bridge from Asia.

    I thought to myself: “If only they knew the truth. If only they had the idea to look for evidence that these people arrived by boat, they would find it.”

    Another part of me said, “These researchers promoting these theories of Native American origins — they aren’t bitter anti-Mormons out to destroy the church. The church probably doesn’t even show up on their radar. They say the Native Americans migrated on foot from Asia because they dug up evidence out of the ground and that’s the conclusion it pointed to. If the same types of researchers used the same types of evidence to piece together the history of some unknown tribe in Africa or an island somewhere, I would believe them.”

    Of course, I grew up in Minnesota, where Mormonism is relatively unknown. (See the other two parts of my deconversion story.)

    I think that in the Mormon corridor, it’s easy to get the impression that expert opinion is divided. But in places where Mormonism is rare, it’s painfully obvious that opinion is not divided — and that the expert consensus on Native American origins doesn’t look anything like the BoM.

  4. Ask questions from credible authorities. Get responses. Post them publicly without filtration or commentary. Let the words speak for themselves. Bloody brilliant work!

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