LDS apologists have been discussing the Arabian Peninsula evidence for several years now (along with many other fascinating evidences for the plausibility of the book), and have frequently pointed it out to the critics. Nevertheless, the critics continue their mantra: "Not one shred of evidence for the Book of Mormon has ever been found." Sadly, many people believe the "authoritative" statements of the critics, many of whom seem to be (and some are) sincere Christian ministers interested only in the truth. But the questions we pose based on the evidence generally remain unanswered.
Scott Pierson's challenge to the Tanners has been out for years (the Arabian evidence was called to their attention no later than 1996). They've had a lot of time to digest the evidence and formulate a learned response. So look at what they came up with in 2004, in response to someone who read about the Arabian evidence on my Book of Mormon Evidences page. The following question and comment from Sandra Tanner is posted on their Letters to the Editor page at utlm.org/onlineresources/letters_to_the_editor/2004/2004january.htm:
Jan. 4, 2004
Subject: MORMON ARCHEOLOGY
. . . I also want to thank you for your ministry and the good fight that you wage every day against the Mormon church for it is a worthy endeavor.
My question deals with what the Mormon church is saying today-2004 as to archeology and the BOM. I have seen the web site WWW.JEFFLINDSAY.COM which he testifies that places in the BOM have been found and verified (with pictures) as well he disputes other controversial aspects of Mormonism. Is there any validity to his claims? Also, what is the Mormon church saying now about the obvious fraud concerning the Book of Abraham?
Thanks and God bless UTLM.
[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church just asserts that the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are true. It doesn't enter into a historical defense of them. The leaders leave this to people like Lindsay. They can send people to these websites for answers to the critics because it gives the church 'deniability' if anything they say is proven wrong, since Lindsay, or whomever, does not speak officially for the church. But meanwhile members are left with the false impression that there is verified archeological support for the church's claims. Books such as New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, American Apocrypha, Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon, The Creation of the Book of Mormon, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, and An Insider's View of Mormon Origins demonstrate the problems.]
Did you catch that? Somebody is asking about the evidence I discuss, noting that we even have pictures as part of the evidence that places in the Book of Mormon have been found, and asks for guidance. The Tanners had nothing to say about the pictures or the identification of specific places, other than to list a bunch of anti-Mormon books that also fail to address the most critical issues.
"Come on, people, you can ignore the Book of Mormon -- just look at how many books have been written against it.