THE SMITHSONIAN AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Smithsonian Institution Washington D.C.
Your recent inquiry concerning the Book of Mormon has been
received in the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology.
The book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific
guide. The Smithsonian Institution does not use it in archeological
research. Because the Smithsonian Institution receives many inquiries
regarding the book of Mormon, we have prepared a "Statement Regarding
the Book of Mormon," a copy of which is enclosed for your information.
This statement includes answers to questions most commonly asked about
the Book of Mormon.
THE DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY
STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON
1. The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in
any way as a scientific guide. The Smithsonian archaeologists see no
direct connection between archeology of the New World and the subject
matter of the book.
2. The physical type of American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being
most closely related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and
northeastern Asia. Archeological evidence indicates that the
ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World -- probably
over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region
during the last Ice Age -- in a continuing series of small migrations
beginning from about 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.
3. Present evidence indicates that the fist people to reach this
continent from the East were the Norsemen who who briefly visited the
northeastern part of North America around A.D. 1000 and then settled
in Greenland. There is nothing to show that they reached Mexico or
4. One of the main lines of evidence supporting the scientific
finding that contacts with Old World civilizations, if indeed they
occurred at all, were of very little significance for the development
of American Indian civilizations, is the fact that none of the
principal Old World domesticated food plants or animals (except the
dog) occurred in the New World in pre-Columbian times. American
Indians had no wheat, barley, oats, millet, rice, cattle, pigs,
chickens, horses, donkeys, camels before 1492. (camels and horses
were in the Americas, along with the bison, mammoth, mastodon, but all
these animals became extinct around 10,000 B.C. at the time the early
big game hunters spread across the Americas.)
5. Iron, steel, glass, and silk were not used in the New World before
1492 (except for occasional use of unsmelted meteoric iron). Native
copper was worked in various locations in pre-Columbian times, but
true metallurgy was limited to southern Mexico and the Andean region,
where its occurrance in late prehistoric times involved gold, silver,
copper, and their alloys, but not iron.
6. There is a possibility that the spread of cultural traits across
the Pacific to Mesoamerica and the northwestern coast of South America
began several hundred years before the Christian era. However, any
such inter-hemispheric contacts appear to have been the results of
accidental voyages originating in eastern and southern Asia. It is by
no means certain that even such contacts occurred with the ancient
Egyptians, Hebrews, or other peoples of Western Asia and the Near
7. No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World
archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or
confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and
archeological remains in Egypt.
8. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old
World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have
frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines and sensational books.
None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable
scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been
shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except
for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.
9. There are copies of the Book of Mormon in the library of the
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
NOTE: This article is an exact reproduction of a letter compiled by
The Smithsonian Institution that was received by Computers for Christ,
and has been graciously provided free of charge by them.
For your own copy, write to:
The Smithsonian Institute
National Museum of Natural History
Department of Anthropology
Washington D.C. 20560
Computers For Christ, Panama City, Fl.
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