Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship



Michigan, Book of Mormon, relics, archeology


One of the most enduring archaeological hoaxes, the Michigan relics, a series of copper, slate, and clay forgeries, were “discovered” throughout counties in Michigan from the late 19th century until 1920. James Scotford and Daniel Soper apparently worked together to create and sell the forgeries. Scholars and archaeologists were skeptical from the outset, but interest in the objects persisted. In 1911 James E. Talmage studied the relics, recognizing the impact they could have on the perception of the Book of Mormon if they were genuine. In a detailed report, Talmage dismissed them as blatant forgeries.