Joseph Smith got them all wrong in his Book of Mormon
The following are some (but not all) of the animals that were in existence in various parts of the Americas during the Book of Mormon (BOM) era: alpaca; bear; boar; bison; coati (which resembles a raccoon); coyote; deer; duck; guinea-pig; jackrabbit; pronghorn (Antilocapra americana, often mistakenly termed an antelope); mountain sheep; jaguar; llama; monkey; reindeer; sloth; tapir; wild turkey (also the domesticated turkey from about 3000 BCE); and turtle.
Smith mentions not one of these existing animals in his BOM. He does however, make mention of several other animals which did not exist, as if they actually existed in the BOM era in the Americas.
An overall list of impossible BOM animals includes these words: ass; bull; calf; cattle; cow; elephant; (domesticated) goat; flocks; herds; horse; ox; oxen; (domesticated) sheep; sow; swine (pigs); plus two unidentified animals called ‘cureloms’ and ‘cumoms’; one of which, it has been suggested by apologists, may have been the woolly mammoth, which of course went extinct several thousands of years prior to BOM times. Although God supposedly translated the BOM for Smith, there are no known meanings for curelom or cumom; God clearly forgot to translate them into modern English.
The BOM also mentions ‘butter’ (copied from Isaiah in 2 Nephi 17:15, 22) and ‘milk’ (2 Nephi 9:50), yet in reality, no animals existed to provide milk so they could not have known what butter and milk meant.
In 3 Nephi 7:8 there is a reference “…like a dog to his vomit, or like a sow to her wallowing in the mire” plagiarised from 2 Peter 2:22, the earliest claimed date for which is 63-64 CE whilst Smith claimed 2 Nephi was written many centuries earlier.
Sow: Unfortunately for Smith and more importantly, for the modern Mormon Church (which seems to constantly ignore such facts and suggest simply living by faith), although domesticated by the Chinese 6000 years ago, pigs were first introduced to the New World by the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1539, fifteen centuries after this comment was (supposedly) made, at which time pigs would have been completely unknown to Smith’s imaginary residual Nephites and Lamanites.
Dog: So far as the dog is concerned, there is evidence of domestication dating back many thousands of years. When nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed the Bering Strait from Asia to North America, at least 12,000-14,000 years ago, they had dogs with them. Whilst Joseph Smith does not have the BOM state categorically that dogs were actually in the Americas, ironically, it is the only animal he mentions at all that actually was there. (See: Schwartz 1998).
Various foodstuffs were grown or were available and used during the Book of Mormon timeframe in different parts of America and included three main crops; corn, beans and squash. Other food (not all in the same locations) used by various peoples and cultures, included such things as: amaranth, eaten with chili peppers; chicham (like a turnip); chicozapote, a fruit; gourds; lima beans; manioc or cassava; yucca; peppers; peanuts; various plants; pineapples; potatoes; pumpkins; sunflowers; sweet potatoes and tomatoes. The Mayans grew cacao trees for chocolate, avocado trees and also papaya trees.
Against all odds of at least getting some of them right, Smith manages only one. He includes corn, but mentions not one of the rest of the above in his BOM at all, other than the cover-all statement ‘all manner of fruits’. Instead, he claims that they cultivated barley and wheat (which did not exist there) using manufactured implements, including ploughs made from metal (none have been found), pulled by draught animals which did not exist there at the time.
“And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash. And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts.” (Ether 10:25-26)
Smith here combines three errors into proof positive fiction. Clearly, the ancients did not make ploughs (or any other implements) with which to work their beasts, in order to plough, sow, reap and hoe, or thrash [thresh], as they did not have any wheat and they did not have any beasts of burden of any description with which to work such implements, for which there is equally no evidence. There couldn’t be, as there was no use for them. No wheat, no barley, no ploughs and no draught animals – equals a story of pure (and very obvious) nineteenth century fiction.
He also mentions ‘neas’ and ‘sheum’ which are just nonsense words, supposedly given by God to Smith in the 1820s in an understandable form for the people of the day, without further need for interpretation. No one then or now has a clue what they actually mean. Apologists claim ‘sheum’ was an old Assyrian word relating to barley (which they didn’t have), grain or other things such as pine-nuts and it was hardly a word Smith would have ‘known’ in his day as the relevant language was not then interpreted. But, why would God translate ‘reformed Egyptian’ into ancient Assyrian for Smith to see in his hat and then have written down, when no one would ever understand it? It is utter apologetic nonsense, just as is Smith’s use of the word which he just made up.
Pathetically, apologists cling to the idea that a few grains of a type of small barley of some description may have been found in one or two minor locations dating to the BOM time period. Unfortunately, Arizona does not help the geography associated with the BOM, so one problem always leads to another. Additionally, it is completely different to the species of domesticated barley claimed to have been introduced from the Near East by BOM characters. Remember, Smith claims it as a staple and it had to feed millions of people. The reality is that the Spanish introduced barley to South America in the 16th century. British and Dutch settlers introduced it to the United States in the 17th century. Soil core samples from across the continent show nothing prior to that.
Wheat was known to Smith, so he included it, yet it was never a part of the diet of any culture in the Americas any more than barley was. It simply did not exist there before it was introduced, centuries after the end of the BOM era.
Steel bows and swords; gold and silver currency.
Joseph Smith has his BOM character, Nephi, say that he broke his bow, which was apparently made of ‘fine steel’, almost 600 years BCE. This is clearly an anachronism, as it is readily accepted that the required metal (carbonised steel) did not exist in the era.
And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. (1 Nephi 16:18). (Emphasis added).
Smith may have felt safe in his assertion, due to the following Biblical references which he may have noticed in the KJV. Smith was familiar with the steel of his own day.
“He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.” (2 Sam. 22:35; also: Psalm 18:34).
“He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.” (Job 20:24).
Steel as we know it, did not exist in the era and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) confirms the word ‘steel’ would better have been translated as ‘brass’ from Hebrew:
“Teaching my hands for battle, And brought down was a bow of brass in my arms.” (2 Sam. 22:35).
“…and a bow of brass was brought down by my arms.” (Psalm 18:34).
“He fleeth from an iron weapon, Pass through him doth a bow of brass.” (Job 20:24)
The Hebrew phrase השוחנ תשק has been routinely translated in the above scriptures as bronze or brass bow. Why would God use the word ‘steel’ in Smith’s hat when ‘brass’ would have led to much less confusion?
A complete monetary system, consisting of silver and gold coinage, is described in detail in the Book of Mormon. (Alma 11:3-20). Note that cleverly, Smith has Alma declare they did not copy the system used in Jerusalem (or by any Jews), but they made up their own system and adjusted it, generation by generation, to suit their needs.
Senum = a Senine of gold and for a measure of barley or any other grain.
Amnor = 2 Senums (therefore also equal to a Seon of gold).
Ezrom = 4 Senums (therefore also equal to 2 Amnors; also a Shum of gold.
Onti = as great as them all (presumably worth 7 Senums)?
Senine = to a Senum of silver and for a measure of barley or any other grain.
Seon = 2 Senines (and also equal to an Amnor of silver).
Shum = 2 Seons (and also equal to an Ezrom of silver).
Limnah = the value of them all (presumably worth 7 Senines)?
Lesser Coins (no mention of the metal used in manufacture).
Shiblon = half a Senum and for half a measure of barley.
Shiblum = half a Shiblon.
Leah = half a Shiblum
Antion (of gold) = 3 Shiblons.
That is more or less how the currency is listed in the Book of Mormon. As a member of the Church, when you read it as written, you quickly get confused and just gloss over it, accepting that it was their currency, giving it no further thought, as it is unimportant. It is only when you stop to question it and decide to look more closely, that once again the truth shines through like a torch in the darkness. It may be easier to rank the coins in value to show how confusingly useless such a ‘doubling up’ and gold and silver ‘equal value’ coinage system would be in practice:
Leah = lowest denomination.
Shiblum = 2 Leahs.
Shiblon = 2 Shiblums (4 Leahs) or half a measure of barley).
Senum or Senine = 2 Shiblons (4 Shiblums or 8 Leahs).
Antion = 3 Shiblons (6 Shiblums or 12 Leah).
Amnor or Seon = 2 Senum/Senine (4 Shiblons, 8 Shiblums, or 16 Leah).
Ezrom or Shum = 2 Amnor/Seon (4 Senum/Senine, 8 Shiblons,
16 Shiblums, or 32 Leah).
Onti or Limnah = “as great as them all” or “the value of them all”.
The four silver and four gold coins, being identical in value, make the point of the system silly, as the only difference in eight gold and silver coins of four equal values would have to have been in size, weight and percentage purity, rather than purpose. There is no logic to it and the refining and manufacturing requirements far too complex to undertake in such a society. The lesser coins also all double in value, with the exception of the strange Antion coin. Smith’s problem with his currency is that it is a ludicrous system which would not work at all well in a real setting, but he also has other, far more difficult problems that we will come back to. There has never been a system that doubles five or six times, sufficing for everything, for one very good reason; it is completely impractical. No one would invent such a system as it simply would not work in everyday use. That’s ignoring the fact that Native Americans didn’t actually need or use any currency at all, all those years ago.
The Church now tries to claim they may have been units of weight rather than coins, which hardly tallies with the chapter headings in many published BOM languages. (See more here: Nephite Coins In any event, either way, the same problems remain. Ignoring the fact that it is impossible that any Native American tribe or civilisation at the claimed BOM stage could have minted any such currency, the simple archaeological fact of the matter is that not a single such relic has ever been discovered anywhere in the Americas.
(Reformatted extracts from The Mormon Delusion, Volume. 2, Chapter 12. (pp. 213-241) Joseph Smith’s Flights of Fantasy. Anachronisms – Impossible Book of Mormon Claims).
The Mormon Delusion Volume 2 details.