It's interesting to me how aggressively the NHM evidence, along with the three witness testimonies, gets argued for by apologists as sufficient to counter any and all other claims of counter-evidence or the lack of positive evidence for the Book of Mormon's validity as an ancient account merely put to paper in the 19th century. Yet in both cases the aggressive users almost never deal well with accepting the nature of this evidence at face-value. The evidence has to be inflated to some degree to then be weaponized.
Yep. At first glance, NHM looks pretty good, but then you find out there's a simple explanation that is far more likely than gold plates. The demand that critics "prove" the simple explanation is merely an attempt to shift the burden of proof. Essentially, for NHM to work as evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon, the apologists have to show that Joseph having seen the name on a map is less likely than his having been visited by an angel. Until they can do that, it merits no further investigation.
And, even when I was a believing Mormon, I never understood why people put so much value in the testimony of three witnesses, or the eight for that matter. At best, they saw something they thought was ancient gold plates, but their testimony has no probative value. Even if we grant that they saw these plates, they can't tell us definitively that they were a record of an ancient American people. So, I weigh their testimony against the book itself, which is clearly a 19th-century production.