Stuart Ferguson - Not an Archaeologist

Latter-day Saint Thomas Stuart Ferguson was the founder of BYU’s archaeology division (New World Archaeological Foundation). NWAF was financed by the LDS Church. NWAF and Ferguson were tasked by BYU and the Church in the 1950s and 1960s to find archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon. After 17 years of diligent effort, this is what Ferguson wrote in a February 20, 1976 letter about trying to dig up evidence for the Book of Mormon:

...you can’t set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere – because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of the dirt-archaeology. I should say – what is in the ground will never conform to what is in the book.

CES Letter, Page 12

It is surprising that The CES Letter includes references to Thomas Ferguson because his works are dated and he was not a professional anthropologist or geologist.

Born in Pocatello, Idaho, on 21 May 1915, Thomas Stuart Ferguson received degrees in political science and law from the University of California and practiced law in Orinda, California. He died March 16, 1983.

Ferguson expended an immense amount of time, money, and energy into authenticating the Book of Mormon through archaeological research, which he performed and supported. He became disenchanted because he could not correlate the geography with the descriptions found in the Book of Mormon.

Ferguson’s books and articles were published from 1941 to 1962.

Ferguson's memory has been kept alive, not because of his enduring scholarship and field research studies, but by critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are less interested in accuracy than in promoting a critical agenda.

John L. Sorenson’s 826 page book, Mormon’s Codexis a dense presentation of several hundred artifacts and cultural evidences supporting a specific ancient setting for the Book of Mormon. His  research is not conclusive, but critics who reference Ferguson’s works should also acknowledge the abundant parallels Sorenson has identified. Sorenson's work transcends Ferguson's dated and amateur research in many ways including depth of study, field investigation, and scholarship.


Additional Resources:

LDS scholars review the Bible vs The Book of Mormon

The Odyssey of Thomas Ferguson

Reading Mormon’s Codex (2012 FAIR Conference) by John Sorenson

Mormon FAIR-Cast 82: Evidences for the Book of Mormon 1:14:08

Mormon FAIR-Cast 86: Mesoamerican Evidences for the Book of Mormon, Martin Tanner, 0:19:41

How Could Joseph Smith Write So Accurately about Ancient American Civilization? by John L. Sorenson

Mormon FAIR-Cast 103: Does DNA Research Disprove the Book of Mormon?, Dr. Ugo A. Perego, 0:19:54

Mormon FAIR-Cast 107: Mesoamerican Connections to the Book of Mormon, Dr. Mark Alan Wright, 0:35:14

Mormon FAIR-Cast 110: John Sorenson Takes Questions, John Sorenson, 0:44:45

Mormon FAIR-Cast 121a: Mark Wright and Mayan Mysteries, Dr. Mark Alan Wright, 0:59:03

Mormon FAIR-Cast 121b: Mark Wright and Mayan Mysteries, Dr. Mark Alan Wright, 0:31:07

Nahom in The Book of Mormon – Another Bulls-eye

Nephi’s Bow as an Evidence for The Book of Mormon

Evidence and Insights to The Book of Mormon–Brant Gardner Fireside

Analyzing the best historical Book of Mormon evidence — Fair Mormon Podcast

The God-Inspired Language of the Book of Mormon: Structuring and Commentary –  by Donald W. Parry

The God-Inspired Language of the Book of Mormon: Structuring and Commentary –  by David P. Wright

What’s in a Name? A Look at the Book of Mormon Onomasticon –  by John A. Tvedtnes

What’s in a Name? Alma as a Hebrew Name –  by Paul Y. Hoskisson

What’s in a Name? Book of Mormon Language, Names, and [Metonymic] Naming –  by Gordon C. Thomasson

What’s in a Name? Irreantum –  by Paul Y. Hoskisson, Brian M. Hauglid, John Gee

What’s in a Name? The Name Cumorah –  by Paul Y. Hoskisson

The Book of Mormon as a Mesoamerican Record by John L. Sorenson

“Latest Discoveries” by John L. Sorenson