According to the Book of Mormon, the Nephites (/ˈniːfaɪt/) are one of four groups (along with the Lamanites, Jaredites, and Mulekites) to have settled in the ancient Americas. The term is used throughout the Book of Mormon to describe the religious, political, and cultural traditions of the group of settlers.
The Nephites are described as a group of people that descended from or were associated with Nephi, the son of the prophet Lehi, who left Jerusalem at the urging of God in about 600 BC and traveled with his family to the Western Hemisphere and arrived to the Americas in about 589 BC. The Book of Mormon notes them as initially righteous people who eventually “had fallen into a state of unbelief and awful wickedness” and were destroyed by the Lamanites in about AD 385.
Some scholars of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) claim that the ancestors of the Nephites settled somewhere in present-day Central America after they had left Jerusalem. However, both the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society have issued statements that they have seen no evidence to support the Book of Mormon as a historical account.
The existence of the Nephites is part of the Mormon belief system.
The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), part of Brigham Young University, has performed extensive archaeological research in the area, and publications on the subject and other historical topics are issued regularly by FARMS. This research is disputed by many researchers, including Michael Coe, a scholar in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican history, as well as the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1973, Coe addressed the issue in an article for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought:
Mormon archaeologists over the years have almost unanimously accepted the Book of Mormon as an accurate, historical account of the New World peoples. … Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group. … The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has even shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere.
In 1996, the Smithsonian Institution issued a statement that addressed claims made in the Book of Mormon by stating that the text is primarily a religious text and that archeologists affiliated with the Institution found “no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.” The statement further says that there is genetic evidence that the Native American Indians are closely related to peoples of Asia and that archaeological evidence indicates that the Native Americans migrated from Asia over a land bridge over the Bering Strait in prehistoric times. The statement said that there was no credible evidence of contact between Ancient Egyptian or Hebrew peoples and the New World, as indicated by the text of the Book of Mormon. The statement was issued in response to reports that the name of the Smithsonian Institution was being improperly used to lend credibility to the claims of those looking to support the events of the Book of Mormon.
Book of Mormon narrative
After the Nephites arrived in America to the reign of Mosiah II (c. 592–91 BC), the Nephites were ruled by kings. Nephi’s brother Jacob explains that subsequent kings bore the title “Nephi”.
The people having loved Nephi exceedingly… were desirous to retain in remembrance his name. And whoso should reign in his stead were called by the people second Nephi, third Nephi, and so forth, according to the reigns of the kings; and thus they were called by the people, let them be of whatever name they would.
The last Nephite king was Mosiah II. About 91 BC, he declared that, instead of naming a new king, he would finish out his reign as king, after which the Nephites would elect judges to govern them. There were at least three levels of judges: one chief judge, several higher judges, and several lower judges. (Some passages speak of multiple “chief judges”, probably synonymous with “higher judges”; for example, Alma 62:47; 3 Nephi 6:21.)
Judges were paid according to the amount of time they spent officiating. Mosiah II set the rate at one senine of gold (or the equivalent senum of silver) for one day’s work (Alma 11:1, 3). He also arranged for checks in this system to avert corruption as much as possible:
And now if ye have judges, and they do not judge you according to the law which has been given, ye can cause that they may be judged of a higher judge. If your higher judges do not judge righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your lower judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher judges, according to the voice of the people.
After announcing the governmental shift from kings to judges, Mosiah explained the principle behind the change:
The sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings…. Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
The system of judges lasted for 120 years, when it was briefly overthrown for about three years (c. 30–33 AD) by an aristocratic cadre, led by a man named Jacob. It was replaced by a loose system of tribes and kinships, which lasted until Jesus appeared in America and established a society that approached the ideals of Zion. The society endured for about two centuries before the people fell into wickedness again.
After 4 Nephi, no mention is made of whether the Nephites used judges or kings. Mormon mentions that “the Lamanites had a king” (Mormon 2:9). His inclusion of that detail, phrased as it is, can be seen as a contrast to the Nephites having a chief judge. Since no change in government form is specifically mentioned after 4 Nephi, it is possible that the Nephites continued to use judges until their destruction in about AD 385.
Ancient Hebrew Artifacts in the United States
“There has been a lot of talk from some intellectuals about various hoaxes purported to be associated with ancient Hebrew stones and script found in North America. It makes sense that when Lehi landed in North America he and his culture would have left behind evidence of his Jewish and Israelite heritage. Since nothing has been found in South and Central America, these intellectuals want to condem anything that may have been found in North America. Of the 8-10 evidences found in North America related to Hebrew, the scholars refute ALL OF THEM as hoaxes!. That seems way to easy to just out of hand condemn any evidence. That’s what people do when they can’t explain things. Much of today’s science is not engaged in finding new truths, but in finding new pet theories. Since no new “Scientific Law” has been discovered and proven in over 100 years, the scientists are now propping up their new “theories” as if they are true. Take for example the theory of evolution. Last time I heard it is still a theory and has never been proven to be a law. What about the theory of magma in the center of the earth? It has been shown in Dean Sessions book that it is more likely that water is at the center of the earth? I’m not a scientist but just an ordinary man who likes to have science and history just “make sense”. What about the intellectuals (some at BYU) that say Noah’s flood was not universal and was probably a myth? What about those who say Adam was not the first man created on this earth? I would rather ask the simple question of, “does it make common sense” rather than listen to many intellectuals who claim to know the unknown or have a good theory for it. I don’t know the unknown either, but I study and pray about all things and it has to make sense as well. For example, something cannot be created out of nothing. We know this by the scriptures (D&C 93:29) and yet the vast majority of these intellectuals don’t believe in scripture either.
I offer this information below as wonderful information to take to heart. Learn and listen, search and pray and things will make sense to you. By all means I don’t want you to believe me as I like you am only one who loves the Lord and tries daily to learn His truths that He is sharing with us. Stay close to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and follow the Prophet and Apostles in all you do. I have a witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I also know as Moroni promised that I. “may know the truth of all things.” Rian Nelson
Evidence of Authenticity?
Since the coming forth of the Book of Mormon there has never been more profound evidence of its authenticity than today. Arguably among the two greatest linguistic discoveries relating to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon are two ancient stones bearing Hebrew inscriptions that can now finally take their rightful place in the history of the world! Many, if not hundreds of stones inscribed with ancient characters and symbols have been summarily dismissed as fakes and forgeries because it was against the official policy of the scientific community under the Smithsonian Institution, and because linguistic evidence cannot be supported by one or two random artifacts. Recent scientific verifications of several sites and artifacts – numbering eight as of this writing – now establish that people with a knowledge of ancient Hebrew written language and culture were in America during Book of Mormon time frames! Read on for the entire history making story…the case for Book of Mormon written language in America’s Heartland!
Dr. Huston McCullough of Ohio State University has an article all about the authenticity of these many Hebrew artifacts found in North America.
The Book of Mormon claims to be a history of several groups of people from the Old World who were lead to the America’s by the Lord and came by ship. At least one of these groups, known as the Nephites, kept a written history of their people on metal plates which were passed down through their prophets for nearly a thousand years. According to the Book of Mormon account, these plates were written in a language they called “reformed Egyptian,” a departure from their more familiar Hebrew language.
“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 or Egyptian – the only two languages mentioned in the text. 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, that language was emphatically neither of the languages specified in the Book of Mormon, which does not help in validating any Book of Mormon claims and in fact may rule out the Maya of Mesoamerica as candidates to be those people or lands. 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.
There are several links to Mayans’ presence in Georgia, USA. After about 750 AD the Mayan civilization virtually collapsed. Where did they go? It seems they went to the USA. The Ocmulgee Mounds, and Track Rock Gap in Georgia have the influence of the Creek Indians and the Mayan Indians. There is further evidence of the Hinterland Hypothesis, which means that the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon in the USA, intermarried with the Mayans who came up from Central America. The blood of the Lamanites then is present in North and South America.
In the opening episode of the second season of the History Channels America Unearthed TV series, aired Nov. 30th, 2013, forensic geologist Scott Wolter (pictured above) traveled to Newark, Ohio to meet with Ohio State University professor J. Huston McCulloch to conduct an analysis of the famed Newark Holy Stones held in the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum. Their scientific investigations and findings using scanning electron and 3D microscopy of several stones with ancient Hebrew are now validating linguistic claims of the Book of Mormon.
Only Two Written Language Forms
Only two written languages are mentioned as in use during the Nephite period of the Book of Mormon; Reformed Egyptian and Hebrew (Mormon 9:32-33). Yet, entire Book of Mormon geography theories have been proposed based on the erroneous assumption that no written language existed in ancient North American civilizations. It was mistakenly thought that the only literate culture in the Americas were the Maya of Mesoamerica, but scholars know that the Mayan glyph system originated from Asiatic writing systems, which have nothing to do with either of the languages specified by the Book of Mormon – thus eliminating any linguistic connection between the Maya and the Nephites.
Today, non-LDS scientists have verified two stones having Hebrew inscriptions in America’s Heartland, thereby validating the January 1st, 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons (Vol. 3, No. 5) article, Evidences In Proof of the Book of Mormon, which records descriptions of the ancient fortifications “Near Newark in the county of Licking, Ohio” which are “but a few of the corresponding accounts of fortifications and works of defense there are to be found in the Book of Mormon and American Antiquities, but these are sufficient to show the public that the people whose history is contained in the Book of Mormon, are the authors of these works.”
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 Wesley Powell while at the Smithsonian even went so far as to claim it was “illegitimate” to even consider any written language before Columbus. 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. Until now there has been no verification or acceptance of any of these artifacts bearing Hebrew inscriptions as being ancient, authentic or linguistically accurate.
Now, a second independent scientific analysis of a stone having 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 Ohio in 1860.
The Newark Holy Stones – The Decalogue Stone
A Second Validation of Ancient Hebrew, Confirming its Use in America’s Heartland
In June and November of 1860 respected Licking County, (Newark), Ohio surveyor, David Wyrick, unearthed two stones bearing Hebrew inscriptions. The first was a triangular shaped “keystone” (#2 in photo above) and the second was called the “Decalogue” stone (#1) – encased in a sandstone “sarcophagus” (#3-4) and accompanied by a small stone bowl (#5) nearly the size and shape of Hebrew temple ritual bowls.
The Keystone & Decalogue Stone
The Keystone inscription translates as “The Holy of Holies, The Law of God, The King of the Earth, The Word of the Lord”
The black Decalogue stone depicts a man in full length robes, a sash and Jewish temple ceremonial hat along with the name of Moses above the image. The inscribed writing has been determined to be an ancient script now called “Block Hebrew,” or “Monumental Hebrew” because of its being found in Jerusalem near the 4th century, A.D. (Biblical Archaeology Review Nov./Dec. 1986, p. 33). Upon translation it was found to be a complete rendition of the 10 commandments. The robed figure on the front is identified by three characters above the head, identifying the figure as “Moses.”
In Sept. 2013, following his examination of the Decalogue stone at the Johnson Humrickhouse Museum in Coshocton, Ohio as aired on America Unearthed, Scott Wolter declared,
“Geologically, I don’t see any problems here that would make these things obvious hoaxes. The evidence seems clear, there’s no reason not to accept these as genuine, legitimate artifacts.” – Scott Wolter, American Petrigraphic Services, St. Paul, MN
The Bat Creek Stone
The Bat Creek Stone was recovered during a professional archaeological dig by John W. Emmert of the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of Ethnology in 1889, during its Mound Survey Project. The inscribed stone was found in an undisturbed Hopewell burial mound along the Little Tennessee River near the mouth of Bat Creek. Additional Hopewell diagnostic artifacts recovered with the stone include bone and wood pieces and two brass bracelets whose metallurgical properties nearly match those of ancient Jews in the Levant (Israel) portions of the Mediterranean. The inscription on the stone was assumed to be “Paleo-Cherokee,” and was subsequently published by the Smithsonian in their Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1890-1891 on page 392.
In 1964, Chicago patent attorney Henriette Mertz and Hebrew linguistics expert Dr. Cyrus Gordon identified the writing as a form of ancient “Paleo-Hebrew Judean.” They discovered that the stone had been published by the Smithsonian upside down and that it was legible Hebrew, once the stone was rotated 180 degrees.
The Inscription’s Translation
The stone’s inscription was translated into English by several Hebrew language scholars. What was the translation?; ”For the Judeans,” or “For Judea,” a clear reference to ancient Israel.
History of the Bat Creek Stone by non-Mormon Historian for BTN-TV
History Channel Documentary, A Historical Account of the Bat Creek Stone
The History Channel began showing a new documentary in 2010 titled Who Really Discovered America in which they explore the many possible excursions to ancient America before Columbus, including a segment on Lehi’s voyage of the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, because of incorrect assumptions by Mesoamerica Book of Mormon geography theorists, they dismiss the Book of Mormon and the Church… (more on this in an upcoming presentation by Rod L. Meldrum on Lehi’s voyage). This documentary is now available on DVD. In it the narrator states, “Another stone with a mysterious seemingly Hebrew inscription was found here, along the Bat Creek in eastern Tennessee. Some say the inscription translates to ‘For Judea,’ a reference to ancient Israel. It was found in 1889 along with wood fragments that were carbon 14 dated to sometime between the first and eighth century AD. It was found in a Cherokee burial mound.”
To watch this clip simply click on the image below to see the Cherokee DNA information from the History Channel. The Bat Creek Stone information in the video is at 2:34 is you want to skip to it. Regarding the Los Lunas Stone in New Mexico, which also has ancient Hebrew writing. you can purchase the new video (June 2018) called “Mystery Stone: Was Columbus really the first?” It explores the possibilities of Pre-Columbian migration to the New World by evaluating ancient artifacts from the Old World discovered here in the Americas. In addition to archaeological evidence, it also examines cultural characteristics as well as groundbreaking discoveries in the DNA of certain Native American tribes. “Mystery Stone” also addresses how racist sentiments in the 19th Century played a role in the history we’re taught today.”
Glenn Beck “Blown Away” by Bat Creek Stone & Lost Civilizations of North America
Former Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, after having his research team conduct a thorough review of the materials and quotations in the new documentary, The Lost Civilizations of North America, claimed he was “blown away” by what had been found by the experts in the film regarding the highly advanced ancient Hopewell Mound Builder civilization with special emphasis on the Bat Creek stone.
Dating the Inscription
Because of the style of writing, Dr. Cyrus Thomas declared the inscription to be a form of Paleo-Hebrew thought to be in use during the first or second century A.D. Hebrew scholar Robert Stieglitz confirmed Gordon’s translation. Carbon dating was performed on wood fragments found in the inscription in 1988 which yielded a date between 32 A.D. and 769 A.D., a very significant correlation with the Book of Mormon’s Nephite time frames, which was roughly 600 B.C. to 400 AD.
What Happened to the Stone and Where is it Now?
The Smithsonian held the stone for many years until recently when it was moved from the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. to the McClung Museum of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The stone was then submitted for examination by American Petrographic Services of Saint Paul, Minnesota who, upon completion of their analysis, returned the stone for prominent display at the McClung Museum where it is located currently.
Comprehensive information about the excavation, the find, the publication and the controversy, can be obtained from the fully referenced article by Professor J. Huston McCulloch at Ohio State University.
The Petrographic Analysis
In June 2010 the stone underwent Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) examination by Forensic Geologist Scott Wolter of American Petrographic Services at the McClung Museum on the campus of the University of Tennessee. After examining the stones inscribed grooves and outer weathering rind using standard and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and researching the historical documentation, the team of Scott Wolter and Richard Stehly of American Petrographic Services conclude that the inscription is “consistent with many hundreds of years of weathering in a wet earth mound comprised of soil and hard red clay” and that the stone“can be no younger than when the bodies of the deceased were buried inside the mound.” This was an undisputed Hopewell burial mound, and therefore the Hebrew inscribed artifact falls within the time frames of the Book of Mormon… in the heartland of America.
Such findings may finally provide precedent to re-examine the Newark Holy Stones which also bear ancient Hebrew inscriptions and were recovered from a Hopewell burial mound near Newark Ohio. One of the arguments against the authenticity of these stones is the supposed lack of corroborating evidence for Hebrew language. Together, these stones may work in concert to verify the presence of ancient Hebrew civilizations in the heartland of America. Many previously declared “hoaxes” may be reanalyzed using more objective observations and scientific analysis and less simple blind bias and dogma. An excellent example of this is the Kensington Rune Stone of Minnesota which was almost immediately declared by “experts” as a fake or forgery prior to any actual examination of the stone.
Such reversals of previous unsubstantiated and bias claims is especially exciting when considered in the context of the DNA evidence, Joseph Smith’s statements, and all the other archaeological evidence for highly advanced civilizations in the heartland of America during the Book of Mormon epic.
8 Locations in North America Having Evidence of Hebrews
In two America Unearthed episodes several other sites having either actual Hebrew inscriptions or indications of Hebrews in North America are mentioned. These include:
1. Newark Decalogue Stone (discussed above) with inscription having an ancient form of Hebrew characters that, when translated, were found to be a complete rendition of the Ten Commandments.
2. Bat Creek Stone (discussed above) with its ancient Hebrew Inscription that translates to “For the Judeans” and has been scientifically verified as ancient and thus authentic.
3. Los Lunas Decalogue Stone, an 80 ton boulder southwest of Los Lunas, NM with inscribed ancient Hebrew characters again translated to the Ten Commandments.
4. Hebrew Petroglyph Panel at Conchas Lake, New Mexico, which was found by Ron Rigoni on his 10,000 acre ranch and examined by Scott Wolter in an episode of America Unearthed.
5. Tucson Lead Artifacts with Hebrew inscriptions which were found in Tucson, Arizona in the late 1800’s and were declared as authentic following a scientific investigation by Wolter in another episode of America Unearthed.
6. Hanukkia Earthworks, a massive earthen mound structure erected by the ancient Hopewell civilization in central Ohio which was surveyed by Squier and Davis and published in the very first book by the Smithsonian Institution, Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi River Valley, in 1848. The earthworks include such Hebrew symbols as a Hanukkia, an oil lamp, a compass and a square as well as outer ditches in the form of the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the “Shin” (pronounced sheen).
7. Newark Keystone, one of the Newark Holy Stone collection found around 1860 at the Great Octagon/Great Circle complex of Newark, Ohio. The shape of the stone is reminicent of the keystone used at the top of stone arches anciently and it is inscribed on all four sides with ancient Hebrew characters translated to such ritual phrases as “The Holy of Holies, The Law of God, The King of the Earth, The Word of the Lord.”
8. Newark Stone Bowl, another artifact discovered along with the Newark Holy Stone collection now displayed in the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum of Coshocton, Ohio. Bowls of this shape and size were used in temple rituals in Israel prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD and because of purity laws had to be made of stone rather than pottery which was believed to harbor impurities and could not be used to hold sacred oils used in temple ceremonies.
Mesoamerica Bias Withholding Facts from Church Membership
Why has information of this magnitude not been featured on the front page headlines of LDS related new articles, magazines and websites? While this new evidence should certainly be exciting news for all LDS faithful, there are likely a few in the LDS scholarly community who will, like anti-Mormon critics, try to find some way to discredit or dismiss this evidence that so powerfully corroborates the claims of the Book of Mormon, because it does not support their preferred Mesoamerican geography paradigm.
One might ask, if an archaeological finding was made in Mesoamerica of a stone inscribed with ancient Hebrew and then verified scientifically to be authentic and within Book of Mormon times, what would be their reaction? Wouldn’t they be broadcasting such wonderful news to show forth this marvelous evidence on the front pages of their websites and publications, or would their response be to attempt to dismiss the finding?
While no one knows what the reaction the Mesoamerican leaning portions of the LDS scholarly community will have to this news, it will be interesting to watch their reaction and by it we will be able to know of their proclaimed neutrality on this subject. It is expected that rather than seeing the plausibility of the Book of Mormon occurring in America’s heartland, and being excited about having new evidence supporting it, those entrenched in their Mesoamerican theories will try to discredit the only known archaeological finding verified through scientific rigor to confirm the existence of ancient Hebrew written language in the Americas during Book of Mormon time frames. There has never before been such profound evidence with such powerful implications in support of the Book of Mormon. The position they take will tell volumes of their openness to alternative theories for Book of Mormon lands.
What would be the effect on the world if efforts, similar to those that have been amassed in looking for evidences for the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica by LDS scholars, were now applied toward America’s heartland? Is it possible that far more evidence in support of its historicity and truthfulness could be found with their help, combined knowledge and resources? There is an ongoing hope that those in the Mesoamerican leaning LDS scholarly community may determine to subjectively reexamine the possibilities and join with us in helping to show forth the evidence for the Book of Mormon where Joseph Smith indicated by his words, writings and actions for it to have been… in the Heartland of North America. The evidences continue to build for the Heartland geography model.
More on the Decalogue Stone
Speaking of the Newark Decalogue Stone, Orson Pratt said, “Five years after the discovery of this remarkable memento of the ancient Israelites on the American continent, and thirty-five years after the Book of Mormon was in print, several other mounds in the same vicinity of Newark were opened, in several of which Hebrew characters were found. Among them was this beautiful expression, buried with one of their ancient dead, ‘May the Lord have mercy on me a Nephite.’ It was translated a little different—’Nephel.’ Now we well know that Nephi, who came out of Jerusalem six hundred years before Christ, was the leader of the first Jewish colony across to this land, and the people, ever afterwards, were called ‘Nephites,’ after their inspired prophet and leader. The Nephites were a righteous people and had many prophets among them; and when they were burying one of their brethren in these ancient mounds, they introduced the Hebrew characters signifying ‘May the Lord have mercy on me a Nephite.’ This is another direct evidence of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, which was brought forth and translated by inspiration some thirty-five years before this inscription was found.” Orson Pratt JD 13:16 Page131
“Five Hebrew letters are cut in the forehead. When Dr. Lillenthal saw it, he instantly decided the last three letters were nun, pe, lamed…” Dr. Bernard Illowy gives it as his judgement that the words are Yerachamehu Adonai Nephel, May the Lord have mercy on him, an untimely birth, or an abortion.” This Land: by Wayne May America 2,000 B. C. to 500 A. D. (Source The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Volume 28)
Our New Annotated Book of Mormon includes much of the information above as well as over 600 pages of the complete Book of Mormon text with archaeology, maps, paintings, and prophetic statements about the Book of Mormon.
“Indians of America” WORDS AND PHRASES “…we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also.” (Mormon 9:33)
“Among the class of writers aforesaid is Mr. James Adair, who resided forty years among the American tribes, and who wrote a book on the subject, which was published about the year 1775, in which he, without hesitation, declares that the American aborigines are descendants from the Israelites, and so complete is his conviction on this head, that he declares he finds a perfect and undisputable similitude in each. He says: ‘From the most accurate observations I could make, in the long time I traded among the Indians of America, I was forced to believe them lineally descended from the tribes of Israel,’ History of the American Indians, London: Edward and Charles Dilly  p. 13.
“A table of words and phrases is furnished by Dr. Boudinot, Adair and others, to show the similarity, in some of the Indian languages, to the Hebrew, and that the former must have been derived from the latter” – Haines, Elijah M., The American Indian (UH-XISH-IK-XA-BA), The Whole Subject Complete in One Volume, Chicago: The MAS-SIX-XA’-GAX Company , 98; 100. Annotated Book of Mormon page 544