Former defenders of Mormon archaeology such as Thomas Stuart Ferguson have admitted to the absolute futility of spending years in an attempt to prove the reliability of Mormon archaeology through historical research. They have been led to the same conclusion as outside critics that the contents found within the Book of Mormon are completely fictional.
As stated in the introduction, Mormonism maintains that the entire early church went into a complete state of apostasy. Mormons maintain that they are God's restored church. But we need to ask ourselves when this total apostasy happened. What specific evidence can they provide us with to suggest that the early church deviated from the original teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ? The most primitive Christian writers after biblical times make no mention of any uniquely Mormon doctrines. One can read through the writings of early Christians such as Ignatius of Antioch, Clement, Eusebius, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Polycarp only to find no mention of any peculiarly Mormon doctrines. We find no mention of any major articles of the Mormon faith such as polytheism, polygamy, celestial marriage, and temple ceremonies. We do not even find an inkling of the coming of a complete apostasy of the church in the volumes of writings produced by the most primitive Christians. If the Mormon Church today is the prototype of the original churches of the first century, then we should find mention of distinctly Mormon doctrines in every corner of the early church. But this is certainly not the case. There is not even one particle of historical evidence for any aspect of Mormonism prior to the birth of Joseph Smith.