Hebrew in Hopewell Civilization
The Book of Mormon is the history of several groups of people from the Old World who came to the America’s by boat. At least one of these groups, known as the Nephites, kept a written history of their people on metal plates which was passed down through their prophets and was written in what they called “reformed Egyptian.”
“And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
“And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.” Mormon 9:32–33
From the text we learn that if there would have been more space on the plates, they would have preferred writing in their native Hebrew language and had they been able to do so there would have been “no imperfection” in their record.
Many of those critical of the Church have pointed to the lack of written Hebrew language in the America’s as evidence against the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Some LDS students of the Book of Mormon contend that the rather sophisticated glyph language system of the Maya civilization in Mesoamerica is evidence that the Book of Mormon history occurred there. However, the written language of the Maya is neither Hebrew nor Egyptian. Mayan is as unrelated to Hebrew or Egyptian as Chinese is to Latin. Still some tenaciously hold that at least there was a written language. While true, it was not the language specified in the Book of Mormon which does not help in validating the Book of Mormons claims. There has never been found any evidence for ancient Hebrew or Egyptian written language in Mesoamerica or South America and this archaeologically well established fact has been used to dismiss and reject the Book of Mormon…until now.
In contrast to the lack of evidence for Hebrew or Egyptian language in Mesoamerica, many artifacts have been found in North America bearing Hebrew and other Old World inscriptions. These have been met with skepticism, overwhelming bias and even contempt by archaeological and scientific communities. They hold that no written language was had by the aboriginal inhabitants of North America until after European exploration. John Westley Powell while at the Smithsonian even went so far as to claim it was “illegitimate” to even consider any written language before Columbus 1. Thus the vast majority of these artifacts, numbering in the tens of thousands by some estimates, were summarily dismissed and pronounced as hoaxes or fraudulent efforts to uphold theories of the day. Many people of the late 1700’s believed that the evidence from the artifacts being dug from the ground supported an occupation of North America by one or more of the lost tribes of Israel.
Until now, such artifacts have been relegated to the realm of forgeries and fakes, most often by individuals and organizations having an agenda to maintain the status quo against any evidence suggesting advanced civilization or capabilities of the ancient Native American peoples. This has been well documented in the recently released film, The Lost Civilizations of North America, which won best of show at the International Cherokee Film Festival in 2010. Until now there has been no verification or acceptance of any of these artifacts bearing Hebrew inscriptions as being ancient, authentic or linguistically accurate.
Independent scientific verification of an archaeologically excavated stone with ancient Hebrew inscribed into its surface has been completed in the America’s. And where was this stone recovered? In a Hopewell burial mound in eastern Tennessee. Read about the Bat Creek Stone.