James R. White argues that the Book of Mormon's references to pre-exilic knowledge of crucifixion, "Bible," and "compass" are anachronisms.

James R. White

James R. White, Letters to a Mormon Elder: Eye-opening Information for Mormons and the Christians Who Talk to Them (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1993), 145

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In 1 Nephi 11:33 (and elsewhere) the "cross" is mentioned. The cross upon which Jesus died would have had no meaning to the Nephites or Lamanites, as crucifixion was not a practice in and around Jerusalem when Lehi and his family supposedly left that place. It was Persian in origin, and became widely used under the Romans, five centuries after Lehi landed in the New world. The word would have meant nothing to someone who lived on this continent two millennia ago.

The "Bible" is mentioned in 2 Nephi 29:3. Again, this was a common term to Joseph Smith, but what would it have meant to an inhabitant of this hemisphere long ago? Nothing at all. The term was not applied to the Scriptures until long after Lehi left the Old world.

In 1 Nephi 18:12 we read of a "compass" being used by Nephi on the trip across the ocean to the "promised land." The compass was not invented till some time later. You might say this was simply a "miracle," but why do we not find examples of compasses among the descendants of these people?

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