Ziff, Magic Goggles, and Golden Plates

Ziff, Magic Goggles, and Golden Plates

Etymology of Zyf and a Metallurgical Analysis of the Book of Mormon Plates

The identification of the mysterious material ziff from the Book of Mormon was a mystery from the time of the initial publication of the Book of Mormon until now. Finally, the linguistic and metallurgical meaning of ziff has been determined. Jerry Grover, a professional civil engineer, geologist, and translator has been able to determine the ancient term for ziff and to define its meaning, both anciently in the Old World and in the New World setting of the Book of Mormon. In addition, a detailed metallurgical analysis of the material and techniques used to construct the Book of Mormon plates has also been completed. The author's approach is meticulous and scientific. This book is a significant event in Book of Mormon studies and is a book that must be read by every serious student of the Book of Mormon and of Mesoamerican studies. The author is dedicating all proceeds from the book to additional scientific studies to cast further light on the ancient setting of the Book of Mormon.

©Jerry D. Grover Jr., 2015

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission.

ISBN-10: 0986318957

ISBN-13: 978-0-9863189-5-5

Download PDF (Free) Paperback Available at Amazon


One day while viewing various Internet videos involving the Book of Mormon, I happened across a video of a joint presentation by Dr. John Clark, Matthew Roper, and Wade Ardern from the 2005 FAIR Conference on Archaeology and the Book of Mormon. As part of the presentation, Matthew Roper displayed slides indicating various Book of Mormon items as "unknowable" because they were "logically beyond proof or disproof" as it is not known "what they are in the real world." Chief among those listed by Mr. Roper was the "famous but mysterious metal ziff," with Mr. Roper citing from the nineteenth-century anti-Mormon, Origen Bacheler. Bacheler made the following challenge in his publication, Mormonism Exposed Internally and Externally:

And what kind of metal is ziff! Come, Joseph, on with thy goggles, and translate thy translation, and tell us what ziff means. (Bacheler 1838, 14)

I had just completed a few years of research that resulted in the publication of the book Geology of the Book of Mormon, and I had been surprised by just how little real scientific research had been done with regards to geological references in the Book of Mormon. I wondered if Mr. Roper's comments on ziff were really based on the fact that a large amount of research had not proved fruitful, or whether no one had really tried very hard, similar to the lack of research I had seen on geology in the Book of Mormon. Since I have not been too involved with any Book of Mormon research groups, and because I had not dealt with metals and ore bodies in Geology of the Book of Mormon, ziff piqued my natural curiosity and seemed like an excellent intellectual challenge.

As a self-funded, self-publishing, free-lance scientist when it comes to the Book of Mormon research, I am able to operate without academic deadlines, budgets, or publishers who want a marketable product, and therefore I am able to wander in my research wherever it takes me. This particular research on ziff proved to be both engaging and expansive, as it took me into areas of interest that I had not suspected. As the reader will notice, I am not a Book of Mormon apologist; I am actually a bit tired of the research that is primarily directed at responding to critics of the Book of Mormon as it seems to miss many topics, essentially conceding the research prioritization to individuals who really don't care what actual ancient information exists in the Book of Mormon. On the other hand, much of the so-called research attacking the Book of Mormon is less than objective.

Having read the Book of Mormon many times, I have found that it supports itself sufficiently well and independently without my feeble attempts at analysis. My research interest is not to prove that Joseph Smith was or was not a prophet, nor to engage historic and present theocratic leaders of the LDS Church in all their various prior and current positions and statements. My approach is simply to objectively inquire and then provide whatever scientific information I can and lay it out for anyone to follow. I have no pre-conceived objective; most of the time I find the research path itself much more interesting than the final conclusions (if there end up being any).

I think my relationship to Book of Mormon research was best expressed by the character of Professor Henry Jones and his quest for the Holy Grail in the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

Professor Henry Jones: Elsa never really believed in the grail. She thought she'd found a prize.

Indy: What did you find, Dad?

Professor Henry Jones: Me? ... Illumination!

As this book is not written to be wildly entertaining or a bestseller, I'm hoping that the reader will be patient through the tedious sections and ultimately receive at least a small kernel of illumination about the Book of Mormon. So, put on thy goggles that I have provided and join me in a wandering scientific journey into the Book of Mormon, starting with ziff.