Critics who claim that references to “goats” in the Book of Mormon are anachronisms ignore important contradictory evidences.
- Goats are mentioned among the Book of Mormon peoples three times, once by the Jaredites (Ether 9:18). Later, after their arrival in the America’s Lehi’s family encountered “the goat and the wild goat” as they traveled in the wilderness in the land southward (1 Nephi 18:25). Sometime later, Enos wrote that the Nephites raised “flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats” (Enos 1:21).
- There is no indication that Lehi brought goats, but the Jaredites may have done so.
- References to fauna in the Book of Mormon could actually be different animals that had a similar appearance. The Red Brocket deer, Mazama Americana has but a single goat-like horn and are indigenous to MesoAmerica.
- Evidence of goats that were associated with pre-Columbian man has been excavated in caves in the Yucatan, Mexico.
- Book of Mormon references to “goat and the wild goat” is a curious distinction that parallels the Bible that lists them separately as clean animals that could be eaten under the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 14:4–5). It is unlikely that Joseph Smith would have understood this distinction.
- As with all accusations of anachronisms, it is impossible to prove something did not exist. The process becomes more difficult if the translation of languages is involved because it may be impossible to accurately identify the thing reportedly absent. Current excavations have uncovered only a small fraction of the information required to definitively declare an animal did not exit.