Book of Mormon/Animals/Moths

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Moths in the Book of Mormon

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Question: Are moths anachronistic to the Book of Mormon?

Certain types of moths besides the commonly assumed gypsy moth are not anachronistic to the Book of Mormon

The Savior speaking to the Nephites at the temple repeats the famous line from the Sermon on the Mount about the moth and rust not corrupting treasures that are laid in heaven.

If he were to repeat this line and the Nephites understand it, it would be important to have a moth or a moth-like insect to refer to so that they analogy made sense to the Nephites. Some claim that the moth is anachronistic to Book of Mormon times. There is evidence to support multiple views, including a potential loan-shift. There are several species of moths besides the gypsy moth that could be potential candidates. Moths are and were used anciently in Mayan religion[1] Additionally, the bat was often used as a loanshift for the moth and butterfly. Thus, this doesn’t present any huge problems for the Book of Mormon.


  1. Alfred Marston Tozzer, Ernst Wilhelm Förstemann, Paul Schellhas, Glover Morrill Allen, “Representation of Deities of the Maya Manuscripts, Commentary on the Maya Manuscript in the Royal Public Library of Dresden (Dresden Codex), (and) Animal Figures in the Maya Codices” (Charleston: Nabu Press, 2011) 378; Karen Bass Sweet, ed., “The Ch'ol Maya of Chiapas” (Norman, OK: Oklahoma University Press, 2015) off-site