Apologists for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints like to claim that because metal plates existed throughout history, then it's plausible that Joseph Smith's golden plates also existed. The existence of metal plates, helps to prove that the Book of Mormon is true, right?
But I hope you'll notice a trend in the different plates listed below. Most of them are very small, with limited information. With the exception of the Korean Diamond-Cutter Sutra Gold Plates (which I'm assuming is a special edition type of the Diamond Sutra, which dates to 868 AD and is known as "the earliest dated printed book" -which is significantly later than the dating of the golden plates), these plates are as small as two and three sheets or small scrolls.
Discovered in 1979, these scrolls were found inside one of a series of burial caves called Ketef Hinnom in a hillside just west of Jerusalem. They were two small silvers scrolls, about 1” x 4” in size, and much care was taken over a three year period to unroll them to read the. They had archaic Hebrew text on them. They determined that the scrolls date to approximately 600 BC. Amazingly, these scrolls contain the oldest surviving citations of the Hebrew Bible, in addition to the oldest surviving references to Yahweh (Jehovah or Lord). The text comes from primarily Numbers 6:24026, which is a priesthood blessing (or ordinance) the Lord instructed Moses to teach Aaron to give to the Israelites.
These plates were found by archeologist in 1938, in Persepolis, near modern day Shiraz, Iran. There were two gold plates and two silver plates in a stone box, written on in cuneiform script. The plates date to 518-515 BC. The plates are now located at the national museum in Tehran, Iran.
This set of three gold plates was discovered in 1964 in an excavation of a sanctuary in ancient Pyrgi, in Italy. They contain holes around their edges, which indicates that they were likely bound together in some form at one point. The plates date to 500 BC, and contain a dedication by King Thefarie Velianas to the Phoenician goddess Astarte. Two have Etruscan text, and the third has Phoenician. These three plates are 200 words total.
A copper scroll was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in Qumran by an archeologist in 1952. Its Hebrew text was inscribed on two rolls of copper, and dates to 50-100 AD. (In the picture the reproduction is above, actual pieces below.) Because it was found in rolls, and the metal was corroded, it had to be cut apart into twenty-three strips to be read. Both rolls were part of the same document. The text, interestingly, describes the location of hidden treasures from the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
This is a set of nineteen gold plates that was found in December, 1965, buried under a five-storied pagoda in Iksan, Korea. Each plate measures 14.8 x 13.7 cm and was found inside a bronze box inside a stone box. The plates are hinged together, and have two gold bands that wrap around the plates. They date to the 8th century AD.
This is Mormon Stories #1583 that sheds a lot of light on the story of the Book of Mormon golden plates.
With the evidence that does exist for writing on metal plates, no such ancient record like the Book of Mormon exists. Having metal plates inscribed, front and back, with hundreds of sheets that it would take to compose what is now the present day Book of Mormon does not exist in history.
When I was trying to find answers I came across this little paragraph:
"Chief Shup-She of the Pottawattomie nation stated that most of the tribes in North America did the same (keeping records on metal plates). For example, the Ojibway tribe of indians in Wisconsin have a depository of records. This despository is located near Shawano, Wisconsin… These records are composed of copper and the writing is engraved on forty eight plates, engraving being on both sides of the plates. The writing is a pictorial writing but there are men in the tribe who know how to read it. The record begins with the arrival in Amercia of the ancestors of the Indians and comes on down to the present time. These Indians have the practice of writing the main events of their history while living in one place on one plate. Every time they move on to another section of the country, they write on another plate. Chief Shup-She claimed that the Indians in the northeastern part of the US wrote on lead plates. -Report given to the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, June 21 1951 by Milton R Hunter, Carl C. Burton, Evan Hale."
This discover sounds amazing, yet when I got to search for it, Google comes up empty. In fact, when I search anything like "indigenous records on metal plates" the Church's findings are the only thing that come up.
There is no evidence that Indigenous people of North America kept records on metal plates.
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