Criticism of Mormonism/Books/An Insider's View of Mormon Origins
A FAIR Analysis of: An Insider's View of Mormon OriginsA work by author: Grant Palmer
|Note: This is a review of claims and/or responses to misrepresentations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found in this work. The inclusion of an author's work here does not imply that he or she is "anti-Mormon," or that none of his or her works have value. Those who do not wish to examine the claims contained in what some would consider an "anti-Mormon" work are advised to proceed no further.|
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- Index of claims—
Responses to specific critical or unsupported claims made in An Insider's View of Mormon Origins indexed by page number. (Link)
- Use of sources—
An examination and response to how the author of An Insider's View of Mormon Origins interprets the sources used to support this work, indexed by page number. (Link)
About this work
Lest there be any question, let me say that my intent is to increase faith, not to diminish it.
— Grant Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, p. ix.
Palmer's readers may well wonder what kind of faith he is trying to increase, for nothing in the book generates confidence in Joseph Smith or modern scripture.
— James B. Allen, "Asked and Answered: A Response to Grant Palmer (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 235–286. off-site PDF link
The bishop asked the stake president outright, “What does Grant need to remain a member of the Church. You know, not to get a temple recommend, not to hold a position…just to be on the records of the Church?” And that’s when he said, “He’s got to repudiate, essentially, every chapter in my book An Insider’s View, and ‘regain his testimony’ (and regain my testimony). And so I thought : well, that would simply emasculate me as a person, and no one’s ever come forward and says I’m wrong. They’ve attacked me, but they haven’t really gone into it. And I’ve always been…if I were wrong I would correct things. I’ve never had that offer, or anyone take me up on that offer.
—Grant Palmer, "324-326: Grant Palmer Returns to Discuss Sexual Allegations Against Joseph Smith, William and Jane Law, and His Resignation," Mormon Stories podcast, February 26, 2012.
An Insider's View of Mormon Origins was developed during a period of time that its author worked as a teacher in the Church Educational System (CES), and was published after the author's retirement from Church employment. Palmer was disfellowshipped and eventually resigned from the Church.
The book attempts to explain many otherwise clearly described events of the restoration by reinterpreting them as spiritual rather than physical events. The author was originally inspired by Mark Hofmann's Salamander Letter prior to the time that the letter was exposed as a forgery, and its influence was present in early drafts of this work. The Salamander Letter inspired the author to postulate that Joseph Smith plagiarized a book called The Golden Pot during the production of the Book of Mormon. The book heavily promotes and emphasizes the role of magic and treasure hunting in Joseph Smith, Jr.'s early life, and it concludes that Joseph deliberately enhanced and added fabricated detail to his later accounts of events such as the First Vision, the Priesthood restoration, the Three and Eight Witnesses, and the visit of the angel Moroni. Although the stated purpose of the book is to "increase faith," it is clearly intended to demonstrate the Joseph Smith employed dishonesty in order to secure his position as head of the church. The book's criticisms are not new, and its sole new contribution is the attempt to link "The Golden Pot" to the Book of Mormon, a theory based on the Hofmann forgeries.
Reviews of this work
- James B. Allen, "Asked and Answered: A Response to Grant Palmer (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 235–286. off-site PDF link
- Davis Bitton, "The Charge of a Man with a Broken Lance (But Look What He Doesn't Tell Us) (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 257–272. off-site PDF link
- George E. Cobabe, "A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer's "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins" (with a Few Comments of My Own)," (FAIR). FAIR link
- Group, "Statement from the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 255–256. off-site PDF link
- Steven C. Harper, "Trustworthy History? (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 273–308. off-site PDF link
- Mark Ashurst-McGee, "A One-sided View of Mormon Origins (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 309–364. off-site PDF link
- Louis Midgley, "Prying into Palmer (Review of: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins)," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 365–410. off-site PDF link
|A FAIR Analysis of Critical Works|
- American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows— (Index of claims)
- An Insider's View of Mormon Origins — (Index of claims—Use of sources)
- Archaeology and the Book of Mormon
- Ashamed of Joseph: Mormon Foundations Crumble
- Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism/Inside Today's Mormonism — (Index of claims—Use of sources)
- Behind the Mask of Mormonism
- Specific works/Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
- Specific works/By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus
- Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism
- Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon
- Decker's Complete Handbook on Mormonism
- Early Mormonism and the Magic World View — (Index of claims—Use of sources)
- Specific works/Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism
- Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History
- From Captain Kidd's Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni: Changing Dramatis Personae in Early Mormonism
- In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith — (Index of Claims)
- Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon
- Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record
- Is the Mormon My Brother?
- Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet
- Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon (2nd edition)—(Index of claims)
- Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined
- The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) — (Index of claims)
- Leaving the Saints
- Letters to a Mormon Elder
- Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church — (Index of claims)
- Mormon America: The Power and the Promise — (Index of claims)
- The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power — (Index of claims)
- The Mormon Mirage: Seeing Through the Illusion of Mainstream Mormonism
- Mormonism 101—Index of claims
- Mormonism (Kurt Van Gorden)
- Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? — (Index of claims)
- The Mysteries of Godliness—A History of Mormon Temple Worship
- Nauvoo Polygamy — (Index of claims—Use of sources—Prejudicial language—Presentism—Mind reading—Censorship—Romance—Assumptions—Magick)
- New Approaches to the Book of Mormon
- New Mormon Challenge
- No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith — (Index of claims)
- One Nation Under Gods — (Index of claims—Use of Sources—Prejudicial language—Absurd claims—Presentism—Mind reading—Rewording—Omissions—Sarcasm)
- The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644–1844
- Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example — (Index of claims)
- Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess
- The Changing World of Mormonism — (Index of claims)
- Trouble Enough: Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon
- Under the Banner of Heaven — (Index of claims)
- Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture