New Research on Hidden Books in Ancient Times

In The Book of Mormon and Other Hidden Books: “Out of Darkness unto Light,” a new book from FARMS, John A. Tvedtnes, associate director of research at FARMS, demonstrates how “various elements of the Book of Mormon story have antecedents in the ancient world that were not known to Joseph Smith or his contemporaries.”

One of the interesting aspects of the Book of Mormon history is the angel Moroni’s role as guardian and deliverer of the plates. Tvedtnes details similar stories that are found in ancient and medieval documents. “A number of stories can be found in which an angel delivers a heavenly book or a long-lost earthly book to a mortal.” Tvedtnes further explains how “some early Jewish and Christian accounts parallel the Book of Mormon story in that an angel is appointed to guard sacred records.”

The book explores other details about the preparation and burial of the Book of Mormon plates—such as the sealed portion, the stone box, the mountainside repository, and the relics kept with the plates—and ties these elements to numerous ancient traditions.

Tvedtnes notes that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon “marked the beginning of an era in which ancient records would be rediscovered in such vast quantities that our knowledge about the ancient Near East would greatly multiply in just a few generations.” As his book amply demonstrates, this new information has been very congenial to the Book of Mormon’s claim to ancient origins.

The Book of Mormon and Other Hidden Books can be purchased by using the enclosed order form or by ordering directly from the catalog section of the FARMS Web site.