Return to About Mormons home

Accusatory Questions

Why does the Book of Mormon mention coins? Coins were not used in ancient Central America. That's an anachronism.

by Jeff Lindsay

Actually, the text of the Book of Mormon does NOT mention coins. Alma Chapter 11 mentions a measurement system of the Nephites, with units of gold and silver being related to various amounts of grains, but the system appears to be one of standardized weights rather than a coinage system. A recently added chapter heading for Alma 11 - not part of the text and unrelated to Joseph Smith's translation - says "Nephite coinage set forth." This makes an unnecessary and possibly incorrect assumption about the meaning of the text.

If Joseph Smith had written the Book of Mormon, discussing coins would have been an easy mistake to make. Worse yet, he might have mentioned paper money. But the system described is one in which units of precious metals are related to measures of grain, and the relationship between the metallic units can easily be understood as based on weight, with no hint at the minting of coins.

For more information, please see the Chapman Research page on Money in the Book of Mormon.

(See The Book of Mormon home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)

All About Mormons