Critics who claim that "horses" in the Book of Mormon are anachronisms ignore important contradictory evidences.

  • The words “horse” or “horses” are found fourteen times in the Book of Mormon. In light of the numerous passages speaking of group travel, migration, and war where horses might be naturally mentioned, this seems to be a surprisingly low number.
  • Critics who claim that “horses” in the Book of Mormon are anachronisms fail to explain why the role of horses in those societies is so different from their usage in Joseph Smith’s day.  Horses and chariots are associated with travel, but the horses are never ridden. There is no mention of horses being used in agricultural activities. Also, horses are never used in battle or as a cavalry.
  • Multiple verses group horses with animals used for food suggesting that the horses, whatever species they were, may have been a food source.
  • Definitions of the word "horse" may have been expanded to include new meanings. The process of “translating” the plates was never explained so the word horse may have originated with Joseph or through a process involving the scribes. For example, LDS anthropologist John L. Sorenson suggested that one candidate for “horses” are "tapirs." A Mesoamerican type of tapir (tapiris bairdii) can grow to be over six feet long weighing more than 600 pounds. Some anthropologists and zoologists have noted the tapir's features to be similar to those of a horse or a donkey.
  • On three codex-style painted vases from the late-classic period of Mayan culture, ca. 700-850 A.D., there appears to be evidence that Mayans did in fact saddle and ride deer. These ancients used non-horse animals in ways that we today think of as "horse-like." This is not just speculation, real evidence exists showing this to be true. Click here
  • The late British anthropologist, M.F. Ashley Montague, a non-LDS scholar who taught at Harvard, suggested that the horse never became extinct in America. According to Montague, the size of post-Columbian horses provides evidence that the European horses bred with early American horses.
  • Some archaeological evidence for horses has been found. In 1957, at Mayapan  in the Yucatan horse remains were found in the ground at a depth consistent with a pre-Columbian origin. Other similar remains have been found by non-LDS researchers.  Multiple other excavation sites report horse remains including cave excavations in 1978 in the Mayan lowlands.
  • It is  possible that horses were present but their remains have yet to be excavated in abundance. The Bible states that Abraham had camels while in Egypt, yet archaeologists long believed this to be an anachronism. Camels were thought to be absence from Egypt until the Greek and Roman eras. However, more recent research indicates that camels were used by the Egyptians from pre-historic times.
  • 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.

 See:

Horses in the Book of Mormon by Michael Ash

New Evidence for Pre-Columbian Horses and Chariots

Horses, chariots, and elephants in the Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon 3 Pre Columbian Horses

Additional resources:

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 1: Fauna (Animals) (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 2: Flora (Plants) and Textiles (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 3: Warfare (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 4: Metals and Metallurgy (PDF) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 5: Christianity in the pre-Christian Book of Mormon (PFD) by Michael Ash

Book of Mormon Anachronisms Part 6: Compass, Coins, and Other Miscellaneous (PDF) by Michael Ash

Steel in the Book of Mormon by William Hamblin

Armor in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin

Metals of the Book of Mormon –  by Wm. Revell Phillips

Out of the Dust: Steel in Early Metallurgy –  by John L. Sorenson

Possible “Silk” and “Linen” in the Book of Mormon byJohn L. Sorenson

Prophets, Kings, and Swords: The Sword of Laban and Its Possible Pre-Laban Origin –  by Daniel N. Rolph

Swords and “Cimeters” in the Book of Mormon –  byMatthew Roper

Swords in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin, A. Brent Merrill

The Bow and Arrow in the Book of Mormon by William J. Hamblin

A Scientist Looks at Book of Mormon Anachronisms,Neal Rappleye

Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon (2001 FAIR Conference) by Matthew Roper

Science and the Book of Mormon (2009 FAIR Conference) by Wade E. Miller

A Real People, Time, and Place: Contextualizing the Book of Mormon (2000 FAIR Conference) by Brant Gardner

A Social History of the Early Nephites (2001 FAIR Conference) by Brant Gardner

FAIR Issues 42: Dismissing Book of Mormon Geography Inaccuracies, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:22

FAIR Issues 55: Do Nephite Names find a “Home” in Middle East, Michael R. Ash, 0:07:54

Faith and Reason 11: Book of Mormon Politics Unlike Joseph Smith’s, Michael R. Ash, 0:08:52

Faith and Reason 19: Deseret and Bees, Michael R. Ash, 0:05:09

Faith and Reason 20: “Without a Cause”, Michael R. Ash, 0:04:35

Mormon FAIR-Cast 109: Response to criticisms of the Book of Mormon, Martin Tanner, 0:19:50

Ammon and the Mesoamerican Custom of Smiting off Arms

Barley and Wheat in the Ancient New World

Battles and The Book of Mormon

Book of Mormon 2 Why Anachronisms

Book of Mormon 4 Elephants in America

Book of Mormon 7 Brass Iron and Steel

Book of Mormon 8 Gold Plates

Book of Mormon 9 No Pre Columbian Wheels

Cattle and The Book of Mormon

Coins and The Book of Mormon

Don’t Experts Say There is No Evidence of Silk or Linen in Ancient America

Glass and The Book of Mormon

Iron Ore – Book of Mormon Evidence

Linens and The Book of Mormon

Metal and Metallurgy – The Mines of Timna – Book of Mormon Evidence

Metals and Golden Plates in Mesoamerica, Daniel Johnsons 2010 BMAF lecture

Metals and The Book of Mormon

pt 15, silk and archaeology in The Book of Mormon, credits

pt 2 Coins, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 3, Metals (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 4 Grains, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

pt 5 Horses, (full-length) rebuttal of an anti-Mormon

Silk and The Book of Mormon

Swine and The Book of Mormon

Swords in The Book of Mormon

Wheat and Barley in The Book of Mormon