In 1952 LDS scholar Hugh Nibley made the statement “it will not be long before men forget that in Joseph Smith’s day the prophet was mocked and derided for his description of the plates more than anything else.” You see, at the time Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon, he was heavily criticized because no expert believed anyone in the Middle East ever wrote anything on metal plates.
Mormons therefore have every reason to get excited about the news that ancient metal plates have been found in the Middle East. But hold on, let’s not get too excited.
1. We don’t know if the plates are real, or forgeries.
2. Even if they are “real”, we don’t know if that means they are really 2,000 years old.
3. We don’t know where they came from. They do not necessarily mean that people in the Middle East of 2,000 years ago wrote on metal plates. They could have been brought to the Middle East from somewhere else.
4. Even if they prove to be authentic and contain Christian writings, that doesn’t mean anything on them will have any bearing on the Book of Mormon except as supporting evidence for the idea of metal plates having been used anciently.
Strangely enough, I find myself in agreement with ChristianityToday.com, which essentially says with regards to the metal plates, “Hold on, let’s wait until all the details come forth.”
That said, there is other evidence of metal plates being used in the Middle East, so it’s not as though this is the first time anything of the sort has been found. But if these plates are found to be authentic and contain Christian writings from near the time of Christ, it would certainly go a long way towards doing away with any prejudice against the Book of Mormon due to the previously disrespected idea of metal plates being used in the Middle East in ancient times.