by Rocky Hulse
What possible relationship could there be between Malta and “The Book of Mormon”?
I left Mayport, Florida, Monday morning June 7th 2004 for an overseas deployment onboard the USS JOHN F KENNEDY (JFK) CV-67, heading for the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. On June 26th the JFK pulled into Valletta, Malta for five days of liberty (rest and relaxation).
While there, I took a tour of the “National Museum of Archaeology” in Valletta. There I found out some of the fascinating history of the small island nation of Malta.
|USS John F Kennedy CV-67|
Malta is in the center of the Mediterranean Sea just below Sicily and above Libya (see above).
Malta consists of three small inhabited islands in the center of the Mediterranean Sea: Malta, Gozo and Comino. These three islands together boast a land area of only 122 square miles. How small is that? Well, Rhode Island, the smallest state is only 1045 square miles in size; thus, Rhode Island is 8 ½ times larger than Malta.
For me the history of Malta from the Phoenicians to the Byzantine era was particularly interesting. The Phoenicians came to Malta in 750 B.C., and the Byzantine era lasted through 870 A.D. when the Arabs overran the island. The Roman Empire occupied the island from 218 B.C. through 535 A.D. when the Byzantine era began. This timeframe, 750 B.C. – 870 A.D., overlaps the prominent declared period of the Book of Mormon, 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. “The main part of the work deals with the period from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. during which the Nephite, Lamanite, and Mulekite civilizations flourished.” (Mormon Doctrine, pg 93.)
The complete timeframe of the Book of Mormon is from 2247 B.C. to 421 A.D. “It contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel (D. & C. 20:9; 42:12; 135:3) and an abridged account of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the American continent from about 2247 B.C. to 421 A.D.” (Mormon Doctrine, pg 92.) Only one book in the Book of Mormon, the Book of Ether, deals with the years prior to 600 B.C. As previously stated, the majority of the Book of Mormon deals with the years 600 B.C. to 421 A.D., which timeframe is covered by the Phoenician to Byzantine Era in Malta’s history.
ARCHAEOLOGY IN MALTA
While walking through the “National Museum of Archaeology” in Valletta, I stopped and viewed with great interest the displays of coins recovered from the archaeological digs on the islands of Malta and Gozo. These coins, beautifully preserved, begin in the Phoenician era and continue on through the entirety of Maltese history. Two tiers of coins where displayed for the Phoenician timeframe: one labeled Melita and the other labeled Gaulos. Melita and Gaulos are the ancient names of the islands of Malta and Gozo respectively.
I found this display simply fascinating. Here I was on the tiny island nation of Malta looking at coins left by the Phoenicians from their reign on Malta, circa 750 B.C. to 218 A.D. Not only were coins displayed, but extensive information about the archaeological digs and information these digs have yielded; things such as the names of kings and rulers from the Phoenicians to modern time. A very clear and colorful history of this small island nation was there to be discovered in this museum.
These discoveries made me reflect on the claims of Mormonism with respect to the Book of Mormon. What archaeology do we have with respect to the Book of Mormon? Answer: None!
CLAIMS ABOUT THE BOOK OF MORMON
Mormonism claims that the Book of Mormon is an historical record of an ancient civilization on this, the American Continent, which had its beginning in a group of Jews who fled Jerusalem in the year 600 B.C., and built boats by which they migrated to the Americas.
“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” (INTRODUCTION, Book of Mormon, 1981.)
BOOK OF MORMON CLAIMS ABOUT COINS
The introduction to Chapter 11 of the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon says “Nephite coinage set forth.” Versus 4-19 of Alma 11 layout this monetary system:
- Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value. And the names are given by the Nephites, for they did not reckon after the manner of the Jews who were at Jerusalem; neither did they measure after the manner of the Jews; but they altered their reckoning and their measure, according to the minds and the circumstances of the people, in every generation, until the reign of the judges, they having been established by king Mosiah.
- Now the reckoning is thus—a senine of gold, a seon of gold, a shum of gold, and a limnah of gold.
- A senum of silver, an amnor of silver, an ezrom of silver, and an onti of silver.
- A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold, and either for a measure of barely, and also for a measure of every kind of grain.
- Now the amount of a seon of gold was twice the value of a senine.
- And a shum of gold was twice the value of a seon.
- And a limnah of gold was the value of them all.
- And an amnor of silver was as great as two senums.
- And an ezrom of silver was as great as four senums.
- And an onti was as great as them all.
- Now this is the value of the lesser numbers of their reckoning—
- A shiblon is half of a senum; therefore, a shiblon for half a measure of barley.
- And a shiblum is a half of a shiblon.
- And a leah is the half of a shiblum.
- Now this is their number, according to their reckoning.
- Now an antion of gold is equal to three shiblons.
BOOK OF MORMON CLAIMS ABOUT METALLURGY IN THE AMERICAS
The book of Mormon speaks of swords, steel swords, in the first group of peoples, the Jaredites, which came to the new world at the time of the Tower of Babel:
9. Wherefore, he came to the hill Ephraim, and he did molten out of the hill, and made swords out of steel for those whom he had drawn away with him; and after he had armed them with swords he returned to the city Nehor, and gave battle unto his brother Corihor, by which means he obtained the kingdom and restored it unto his father Kib. (Ether 7:9.)
The second group, the Nephites and Lamanites, which migrated to the new world around 600 B.C., also were well versed in metallurgy:
15. And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.
16. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. (2 Nephi 5:15-16).
I left verse 16 in above, just to show how it immediately contradicts verse 15. Verse 15 says there was silver and gold and precious ores in great abundance; and, then along comes verse 16 immediately after it and says the temple couldn’t be built like Solomon’s because precious things could not be found upon the land.
Ah, the Book of Mormon is its own worst enemy! As can be clearly seen from the quotes above from the book of Mormon, it says of itself that the people were well versed, in fact instructed, in iron, brass, copper, steel, gold, silver and precious ores.
WHERE ARE THE BOOK OF MORMON COINS AND SWORDS?
The simple answer to this section is: there aren’t any. They don’t exist. No Book of Mormon coinage, swords or any advanced metallurgy artifacts have ever been found.
|Gift from Watchman Fellowship --- "Bible Coins"Left - "Mormon Coins" Right|
ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE BIBLE
The blank space above in the section marked “ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE BOOK OF MORMON” is not a mistake. The blank space is equal to all the archaeology that has been found that supports the Book of Mormon; which is zero, none, nada, zilch, squat, zippo. No matter what Mormon apologists have said over the years, there is absolutely no archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon claims, not only in metallurgy, but in anything. NONE!
On the other hand, the archaeological evidence to support the Bible is overwhelming. The archaeological excavations in Biblical lands continue to yield rich finds everyday. The Bible speaks of coins and Biblical archaeology has provided them by the thousands. The implements of war in the Biblical lands have been found in great abundance.
How can it be that the Bible is supported by archaeology in the most robust way, yet the Book of Mormon archaeology is silent? The answer is quite simple: The Bible is real, it’s God’s Word; it was left as a testament to you and me. The Book of Mormon is fiction, and was the fantasy of Joseph Smith. There is not one shred of archaeological, historical, geological or any other kind of hard evidence to back up the claims of Mormonism.
Why would God give us His Word in two volumes, one documented to the extreme, the Bible, and the other, the Book of Mormon, with absolutely nothing to support it except the claims of its author? Why would God do such a thing? It’s this writer’s belief that God didn’t. God gave us his Word, the Bible, and left us ample evidence that it is true, and is in fact His Word. There is no documentation of the Book of Mormon, because it’s not God’s Word, it is Joseph Smith’s fable.
COINS SPOKEN OF BUT ONCE
While researching this topic, I opened Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and looked up some Biblical coins: the shekel, the penny and the widow’s mite. The shekel is mentioned in 16 different books of the Bible, 136 times; the penny in 4 different books, 9 times; the widow’s mite in 2 books, 3 times. When looking up this information, something struck me: Why are coins mentioned throughout the Biblical scriptures, yet in only one book, Alma, and in small set of successive scriptures in the Book of Mormon? The answer is quite simple: The Bible is truly God’s Word and is correct. It was written by different authors over the years. They wrote as God led them, and they wrote of the times, places and events that surrounded them. The references to coins fell where they naturally fell; and thus they are scattered throughout the text. The Book of Mormon was written by one author, and when something stimulated his thought process, he felt the need to expound on a monetary system; however, while dictating the
remainder of the text, since the events didn’t happen naturally, but rather were the conjectures of his mind, no other mention of coinage is ever found.
THE LITTLE ISLAND OF MALTA
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