Horses BOM .pdf
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Book of Mormon Animals
•Horses. cattle, oxen, donkeys,, goats and wild goats (1 Nephi 18:25)
•sheep, swine and elephants (Ether 9:18, Ether 9:19)
Notice the horse in this LDS depiction of the Stripling Warriors from the Book of Mormon. Scientists say that the
modern-day horse did not exist in the Americas during BOM times. it is universally accepted among mainstream
archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians that there is no evidence of the existence of a pre-Columbian horse,
excepting the long-extinct species.
The following is taken from wikipedia - Book of Mormon anachronisms (as of May 20, 2010):
Horses are mentioned fourteen times in the Book of Mormon, and are portrayed as an integral part of the cultures
described. There is no evidence that horses existed on the American continent during the 2500-3000 year history
of the Book of Mormon (2500 B.C. - 400 A.D.) Horses evolved in North America,  but became extinct at the end of
the Pleistocene.). Horses did not reappear in the Americas until the Spaniards brought them from Europe. 
They were brought to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus in 1493, and to the American continent by Cortés
1. Such as Alma 18: 9, Alma 18: 12, Alma 20: 6, 3 Ne. 3: 22
2. R.J.G. Savage & M.R. Long, Mammal evolution, an illustrated guide (1986, Facts on File, pg. 202):
"...although the true horses had themselves also by then died out in Europe and Asia, they survived in
North America and from there they continued to evolve."
3. Guthrie, R. Dale. "Rapid body size decline in Alaskan Pleistocene horses before extinction".
Nature.http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v426/n6963/abs/nature02098.html. Retrieved 2006-1210.
"Late Pleistocene Horse (Equus sp.) from
the Wilson-Leonard Archaeological Site, Central Texas" (PDF).
4. Baker, Barry W.; Collins, Michael B., Bousman, C. Britt.
http://www.txstate.edu/anthropology/cas/journal_articles/crp.pdf. Retrieved 2006-12-10.
5. R. Dale Guthrie, New carbon dates link climatic change with human colonization and Pleistocene
extinctions, Nature 441 (11 May 2006), 207-209.
6. Kirkpatrick, Jay F.; Fazio, Patricia M.. "Wild Horses as Native North American
Wildlife".http://www.saplonline.org/wild_horses_native.htm#_ftn2. Retrieved 2006-12-10.
7. Singer, Ben. "A brief history of the horse in America; Horse phylogeny and evolution". Canadian
LDS Church Response: We regret that we could not find this issue answered by the LDS church in any church
publication or web site. However we found two basic responses from LDS apologists. References are provided so
readers can review the apologetic responses in detail.
1. Scientists just haven't found the evidence yet.
Reference: wikipedia - Book of Mormon anachronisms:
Apologists assert that there is fossil evidence that some New World horses may have survived the
Pleistocene–Holocene transition, though these findings are disputed by critics.
Mormon FARMS apologist Robert R. Bennett stated that as a comparison the famed horses of the Huns
did not leave an archeological trace yet numbered in the thousands. He also points out the limited
evidence of lions in Palestine:
"The biblical narrative mentions lions, yet it was not until very recently that the only other evidence for lions
in Palestine was pictographic or literary. Before the announcement in a 1988 publication of two bone
samples, there was no archaeological evidence to confirm the existence of lions in that region."
2. The horse mentioned in the BOM isn't really a horse.
Reference: Neal A. Maxwell Institute:
Is "horse" in the Book of Mormon merely a matter of labeling by analogy some other quadruped with the
name Equus, the true horse, or does the scripture's use of "horse" refer to the actual survival into very
recent times of the American Pleistocene horse (Equus equus)? If, as most zoologists and paleontologists
assume, Equus equus was absent from the New World during Book of Mormon times, could deer, tapir, or
another quadruped have been termed "horse" by Joseph Smith in his translating?
John L. Sorenson has suggested the latter possibility and has pointed to archaeological specimens
showing humans riding on the backs of animal figures, some of which are evidently deer. Also Mayan
languages used the term deer for Spanish horses and deer-rider for horsemen. Indians of Zinacantan,
Chiapas, believe that the mythical "Earth Owner," who is supposed to be rich and live inside a mountain,
rides on deer.In addition, the Aztec account of the Spanish Conquest used terms like the-deer-whichcarried-men-upon-their-backs, called horses.
Critic's Rebuttal: The first apologist argument that they did not find archeological evidence of lions in Palestine until
very recently is not applicable since pictographic and literary evidence of horses in the New World (outside of the
Book of Mormon) is unknown. There were writings and drawings of lions in Palestine and horses used by the Huns
yet there are no writings or drawings of any modern-day horses by the natives of the Americas. The Native Americans
had absolutely no knowledge of horses until Columbus and the Spaniards introduced them to the New World.
And the Neal A. Maxwell Institute is incorrect, they have found evidence of horses used by the Huns:
Book of Mormon defender Mike Ash recently repeated the old argument that even though we know that
the Huns had plenty of horses, "not a single usable horse bone has been found in the territory of the whole
empire of the Huns. Based on the fact that other--once thriving--animals have disappeared (often with very
little trace), it is not unreasonable to suggest that the same thing might have happened with the Nephite
Ash's claim about Hun horse bones is unfortunately not accurate. Here and here are books that refer
casually to Hun horse bone evidence.Here is a report on a Hun horse find in Mongolia in 1990.
Ash's example is also problematic because bone evidence is not the only evidence we would expect to
find in Mesoamerica if horses had been domesticated there. There have been a large number of human
cultural artifacts relating to horses found in Hunnic lands. There are a great manysaddles, harnesses, and
whips in their burials and funeral offerings, for example. In fact, wherever horses have been
domesticated, they have always left their mark on art and material culture. That is because horses gave
a tremendous military and economic advantage to the civilizations that mastered them. Yet in
Mesoamerica, although we have a great deal of art, including vast numbers of animal representations,
horses are not depicted. We find no saddles, no bridles, and no chariot wheels.
Apologists have mentioned that a pre-historic form of horse did exist in the Americas anciently. That is true but they
migrated away from America and the horses that remained in America died out some 10,000 years ago, thousands of
years before even the Jaredites arrived in America.
The second apologist argument that the horses described in the BOM were really deer or tapirs is absolutely
ridiculous. Joseph Smith knew what a horse was and certainly the 'most correct book on earth' wouldn't mistranslate
deer for horse 14 times. Can you imagine a tapir pulling the chariots as described in the Book of Mormon? Joseph
managed to come up with proper nouns like Curelom and Cumom and Ziff, Senine...but he couldn't get the real name
for whatever he substituted horse for?
FAIR suggests that "early Nephites may have labeled deer "horses." Since the early Nephites came from Jerusalem,
they of course would know what a horse was so this apologetic argument makes no sense.
Occasionally LDS members and even LDS apologists like Daniel Peterson talk of some evidence found of modernday horses in America, but these are well-known hoaxes such as the Spencer Lake Hoax when an archeological
student buried a horse skull at an archeological dig. FAIR actually made a video in which they cite the Spencer Lake
horse as evidence of horses in BOM times. FAIR has now put this disclaimer about their video:
FAIR: Please note that reference is made to a potential pre-Columbian horse, the so-called
"Spencer Lake," horse skull. This has now been determined to have been a fraud or hoax, and
should not be considered evidence for the Book of Mormon account.
LDS Member Argument: But in the past 10 years most of FARMS is moving away from Tapirs now back to literal
horses on the grounds that pre-Columbian Horses are now a reality as this link shows.
Critic's Rebuttal: The article states that archaeologists working in Carlsbad, CA have unearthed a skeleton of a horse
that may have lived and died 50 years before the Spanish are known to have brought horses to the area. They assert
that Radiocarbon dating indicates the remains are 340 years old, plus or minus 40 years.
It’s much more likely that the radiocarbon dating is simply off another 65 years and that the horse was brought by the
Spanish in 1769. OR, it’s quite possible that the Spanish brought horses before those missions were founded. Why
would anyone think that the no one could have brought a horse to California before 1769 since even Columbus
brought horses with him on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493?
What seems more likely – their radiocarbon dating is off a few years or that horses ran wild in the Americas during
BofM times and no other trace has ever been found of them? How could every other horse skeleton, every bridle,
every saddle, every depiction of horses and every memory of people using horses totally vanish and leave absolutely
Article: Why did horses die out in North America?
Editor Comments: As children, we were all taught in American History classes about the profound impact that horses
had on the Indians once they were introduced to the New World by the Europeans. We have a hard time believing
that all the history books, scientists, Indian records, etc. are all wrong about something that was so important to the
Native Americans. If the ancient inhabitants of the Americas really had the horse as described in the BOM, we can't
conceive of how or why they would let this most useful of all animals disappear and of course leave absolutely no
trace of its existence.
Interesting note: Solomon Spalding, in his fictional piece Manuscript Story, mentions horses in connection with the
inhabitants of the New World. So perhaps it's no wonder that the author(s) of the BOM might make the same mistake.
Detailed Analysis of horses in the Book of Mormon
The best, most comprehensive discussion of the horse problem in the BOM can be found in this essay:
http://www.mormonmesoamerica.com/horses.htm (An archived backup of this webpage is here).
The author provides over-whelming evidence to show how the use of the word 'horse' in the BOM is a very serious
problem to the credibility of the BOM. All of the apologists' arguments are evaluated in detail. To summarize this
section, here are the “if….then” questions that need to be evaluated in context:
If the horse did exist in Mesoamerica during Book of Mormon times, then not a single bone or tooth from any
of these horses has ever been discovered, despite the fact that the remains of an abundance of other animals
have been discovered in Mesoamerica.
If horses existed in ancient Mesoamerica during the Book of Mormon time period, then despite the fact that
ancient Mesoamericans depicted many animals in art and ideology, they never depicted a horse or included
the horse in any of their mythology.
If the horse existed in Mesoamerica since Jaredite times, then it left no trace of the sort of social evolutionary
impact that we see in other cultures that possessed the horse.
If the Book of Mormon “horse” is really a tapir, then tapirs were domesticated only by one small group of
people, never to be replicated by anyone else, despite sharing characteristics that disqualify large mammals
It seems clear that each of these proposals is highly unlikely, and fails to fit within the context of not only what we
know about ancient Mesoamerica, but what we know about the history of other peoples in other parts of the world, as
Book of Mormon defender Mike Ash recently repeated the old argument that even though we know that the Huns had
plenty of horses, "not a single usable horse bone has been found in the territory of the whole empire of the Huns.
Based on the fact that other--once thriving--animals have disappeared (often with very little trace), it is not
unreasonable to suggest that the same thing might have happened with the Nephite 'horse.'"
Ash's claim about Hun horse bones is unfortunately not accurate. Here and here are books that refer casually to Hun
horse bone evidence. Here is a report on a Hun horse find in Mongolia in 1990.
Ash's example is also problematic because bone evidence is not the only evidence we would expect to find in
Mesoamerica if horses had been domesticated there. There have been a large number of human cultural artifacts
relating to horses found in Hunnic lands. There are a great many saddles, harnesses, and whips in their burials and
funeral offerings, for example. In fact, wherever horses have been domesticated, they have always left their mark on
art and material culture. That is because horses gave a tremendous military and economic advantage to the
civilizations that mastered them. Yet in Mesoamerica, although we have a great deal of art, including vast numbers of
animal representations, horses are not depicted. We find no saddles, no bridles, and no chariot wheels.
Additionally, it should be noted that some historians have called into question how many horses the Huns actually
brought with them into Europe. The climate and food supplies in Eastern Europe were not as well-suited to large
numbers of horses as the Asian steppes. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica,
[Attila's] Huns had become a sedentary nation and were no longer the horse nomads of the earlier days. The Great
Hungarian Plain did not offer as much room as the steppes of Asia for grazing horses, and the Huns were forced to
develop an infantry to supplement their now much smaller cavalry. As one leading authority has recently said, "When
the Huns first appeared on the steppe north of the Black Sea, they were nomads and most of them may have been
mounted warriors. In Europe, however, they could graze only a fraction of their former horse power, and their chiefs
soon fielded armies which resembled the sedentary forces of Rome."
So, if there is less evidence of Hun horses during this period in Europe than we would expect, it may well be because
the Huns of the region actually did not have as large a number of horses as commonly thought. Indeed, one source
suggests that Europe's Great Hungarian plain could have supported no more than 20,000.
And finally, it's worth adding that the period of Hun rule was quite short compared to the several-thousand-year lacuna
of horse evidence in the Americas from the generally-accepted Paleolithic extinction date to the time of alleged
domestication by Book of Mormon peoples. Even if the Hun period had been a true lacuna-- which it is not-- it
wouldn't really have been comparable to the situation in the Americas.
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