Book of Mormon/Authorship theories/Spalding manuscript/Further Reading

Further reading

Further reading

  • Original text: Solomon Spaulding, Manuscript Found: The Complete Original "Spaulding Manuscript", edited by Kent P. Jackson, (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996). off-site

FairMormon Answers articles

Plagiarism accusations

Joseph Smith is often accused of creating the Book of Mormon by plagiarizing various contemporary sources such as the Spalding Manuscript or Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews.

Apocrypha

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith created the story of Nephi and Laban by plagiarizing concepts and phrases from the story of Judith and Holofernes in the Apocrypha. It is also claimed that Joseph Smith copied the name "Nephi" from the Apocrypha.

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Benjamin based on Bishop M'Kendree, a Methodist revivalist?

Summary: Former LDS Church Education System (CES) teacher Grant Palmer argues that Joseph Smith used the speech of a revivalist preacher—Benjamin—as the source for his "King Benjamin" in the Book of Mormon.

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The Comoros Islands

Summary: Comoros is a small nation made up of three islands off the southeast coast of Africa. Its capital city is Moroni. Some critics have claimed that Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon names Cumorah and Moroni by copying them from a map of the Comoros islands.

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The King James Bible

Summary: Critics of the Book of Mormon claim that major portions of it are copied, without attribution, from the Bible. They present this as evidence that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon by plagiarizing the Authorized ("King James") Version of the Bible.

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History of Mexico

Summary: Critics theorize that Joseph Smith could have used details from Ixtilxochitl's History of Mexico to write the Book of Ether.

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Joseph Smith, Sr.'s dream

Summary: Critics point to similarities between a Lucy Mack Smith's account of a dream Joseph Smith's father had and Lehi's dream of the tree of life as evidence that Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon based on his own experiences.

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The Westminster Confession

Summary: It is claimed that the content of Alma Chapter 40 derived from a Presbyterian document called The Westminster Confession

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The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith plagiarized Josiah Priest's The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed in order to write portions of The Book of Mormon. Critics also claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized Shakespeare.

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The Pilgrims Progress

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith plagiarized John Bunyan's book "The Pilgrim's Progress"

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North American place names

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith is clearly the author of the Book of Mormon because many Book of Mormon place names supposedly have clear evidence of "borrowing" from geographic locations in the United States and Canada.

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Was the Book of Mormon influenced by the language and themes of "The Late War" by Gilbert Hunt?

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith was influenced by Gilbert Hunt's 1819 book "The late war between the United States and Great Britain from June, 1812, to February, 1815," which was written in Biblical style.

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Secular authorship theories for the Book of Mormon

An overview of secular authorship theories for the Book of Mormon

Summary: An overview of the various authorship theories that critics have created to explain the existence of the Book of Mormon.

Spalding manuscript

Summary: Some claim that Joseph Smith either plagiarized or relied upon a manuscript by Solomon Spaulding to write the Book of Mormon. There is a small group of critics who hold to the theory that the production of the Book of Mormon was a conspiracy involving Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and others. These critics search for links between Spalding and Rigdon. Joseph Smith is assumed to have been Rigdon's pawn.

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View of the Hebrews

Summary: Some claim that a 19th century work by Ethan Smith, View of the Hebrews, provided source material for Joseph Smith's construction of the Book of Mormon. Critics also postulate a link between Ethan Smith and Oliver Cowdery, since both men lived in Poultney, Vermont while Smith served as the pastor of the church that Oliver Cowdery's family attended at the time that View of the Hebrews was being written.

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Epilepsy

Summary: Some have claimed that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon while under the influence of an "epileptic fit," thus perpetuating a fraud without knowing it.

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Automatic writing

Summary: Some attempt to explain the complexity of the Book of Mormon through appeals to "automatic writing" or "spirit writing."

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The Golden Pot

Summary: Former LDS Church Education System (CES) teacher Grant Palmer argues that Joseph Smith developed his story of visits by Moroni and the translation of a sacred book from The Golden Pot, a book by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann.

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FairMormon web site

Book of Mormon Authorship FairMormon web site
  • Daniel C. Peterson, "The Divine Source of the Book of Mormon in the Face of Alternative Theories Advocated by LDS Critics" FairMormon link
  • Daniel C. Peterson, "The Protean Joseph Smith" FairMormon link
  • Matthew B. Brown, "Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon" FairMormon link
  • John K. Wise, "Clouds Without Water, Zeal Without Knowledge" FairMormon link

External links

  • Online text of "Manuscript Found", the Spaulding document discovered in 1884 and published by the RLDS Church. off-site
  • “Considerable Excitement,” The Evening and the Morning Star (Kirtland, Ohio) 2, no. 19 (April 1834): 150. off-site
  • Anonymous, "A Summary," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 1 no. 5 (February 1835), 76–77. off-site
  • Bruce D. Blumell, "Would you respond to the theories that the Book of Mormon is based on the Spaulding manuscript or on Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews?," Ensign (September 1976), 83–87. off-site
  • Lester Bush, "The Spalding [sic] Theory Then and Now," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 10 no. 4 (Autumn 1977), 40–69. off-site
  • Orson Scott Card, "News of the Church: Spaulding Again?," Ensign 7 (September 1977), 94–95. off-site
  • Jeff Lindsay, "Plagiarism in the Book of Mormon: Is It Derived from Modern Writings?, jefflindsay.com (accessed 5 October 2005). off-site
  • L. Ara Norwood, "Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look (Review of Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look by Vernal Holley)," FARMS Review of Books 1/1 (1989): 80–88. off-site
  • Gary F. Novak, "Naturalistic Assumptions and the Book of Mormon," Brigham Young University Studies 30 no. 3 (1990), 23–40. off-site
  • "Origins of the Spaulding Manuscript", by Professor A. S. Root, Oberlin College, 12 May 1927. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "The Mythical "Manuscript Found" (Review of: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 7–140. off-siteGL direct link (Key source)
  • G. Bruce Schaalje, Matthew Roper, and Paul Fields, "Examining a Misapplication of Nearest Shrunken Centroid Classification to Investigate Book of Mormon Authorship (A review of "Reassessing authorship of the Book of Mormon using delta and nearest shrunken centroid classification" by: Matthew L. Jockers, Daniela M. Witten, and Craig S. Criddle)," Mormon Studies Review 23/1 (2011): 87–111. off-site wiki
  • Matthew Roper, and Paul Fields, "The Historical Case against Sidney Rigdon's Authorship of the Book of Mormon (A review of "Reassessing authorship of the Book of Mormon using delta and nearest shrunken centroid classification" by: Matthew L. Jockers, Daniela M. Witten, and Craig S. Criddle)," Mormon Studies Review 23/1 (2011): 113–125. off-site wiki
  • President Joseph F. Smith, "The Manuscript Found," Improvement Era 33 no. 4 (February 1900), ? page. off-site
Book of Mormon authorship general links
  • Philip A. Allred, "Alma's Use of State in the Book of Mormon: Evidence of Multiple Authorship," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 140–146. wiki
  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, "The Modern-Text Theory (Review of "A Rhetorical Approach to the Book of Mormon: Rediscovering Nephite Sacramental Language" by Mark D. Thomas," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 379–419. off-site
  • Kevin L. Barney, "A More Responsible Critique (Review of: Does the Book of Mormon Reflect an Ancient Near Eastern Background?)," FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 97–146. off-site
  • Kevin Christensen, "Truth and Method: Reflections on Dan Vogel’s Approach to the Book of Mormon (Review of: Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon)," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 287–354. off-site
  • James E. Faulconer, "Takayama: Restoration Revelation as Poetry rather than Fraud," FARMS Review of Books 13/1 (2001): 127–132. off-site
  • Alan Goff, "Dan Vogel's Family Romance and the Book of Mormon as Smith Family Allegory (Review of: Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 321–400. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  • Garth L. Mangum, "The Economics of the Book of Mormon: Joseph Smith as Translator or Commentator," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993): 78–89. wiki
  • Larry E. Morris, "'I Should Have an Eye Single to the Glory of God’: Joseph Smith’s Account of the Angel and the Plates (Review of: "From Captain Kidd’s Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni: Changing Dramatis Personae in Early Mormonism")," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 11–82. off-site
  • L. Ara Norwood, "Review of Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon by David Persuitte," FARMS Review of Books 2/1 (1990): 187–204. off-site
  • Gary F. Novak, "Examining the Environmental Explanation of the Book of Mormon (Review of Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism by Robert N. Hullinger)," FARMS Review of Books 7/1 (1995): 139–154. off-site
  • Daniel C. Peterson, "Editor's Introduction—Not So Easily Dismissed: Some Facts for Which Counterexplanations of the Book of Mormon Will Need to Account," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): xi–lxix. off-site
  • Noel B. Reynolds, "The Book of Mormon Today (Review of By the Hand of Mormon)," FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 5–17. off-site
  • Stephen D. Ricks, "Testaments: The Literary Riches of the Book of Mormon (Review of: Testaments: Links Between the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 55–58. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "The Mythical "Manuscript Found" (Review of: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 7–140. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "Myth, Memory, and "Manuscript Found"," FARMS Review 21/2 (2009): 179–223. off-site wiki
  • Sidney B. Sperry, "Literary Problems in the Book of Mormon involving 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and Other New Testament Books," farms.byu.edu off-site
  • John L. Sorenson, "A Rare Gem (Review of By the Hand of Mormon)," FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 15–17. off-site
  • John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha: Shadow or Reality? (Review of Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha by Jerald and Sandra Tanner)," FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 326–372. off-site
  • Richard N. Williams, "The Spirit of Prophecy and the Spirit of Psychiatry: Restoration or Dissociation? (Review of The Sword of Laban: Joseph Smith Jr. and the Dissociated Mind)," FARMS Review of Books 12/1 (2000): 435–444. off-site

Printed material

Responses to the Spalding theory:
  • Matthew B. Brown, "The Spalding-Rigdon Theory," in Plates of Gold: The Book of Mormon Comes Forth (American Fork, UT: Covenant, 2003), 185–201. ISBN 1591563704.
  • Brigham H. Roberts, "Counter Theories of Origin," in New Witnesses for God, 3 Vols., (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909[1895, 1903]), 3, Chapter XLIV:347–406. ISBN 0962254541.GL direct link
  • Brigham H. Roberts, "A Brief Debate on the Book of Mormon," in Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (1907), 1:365. Vol 1 GL direct link Vol 2 GL direct linkGL direct link
  • Brigham H. Roberts, "The Origin of the Book of Mormon," in Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (1907), 2:95–229. Vol 1 GL direct link Vol 2 GL direct linkGL direct link
  • Benjamin Winchester, The Origin of the Spaulding Story, Concerning the Manuscript Found, (Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilfert, 1840).
  • Dean C. Jessee, 'Spalding theory' re-examined,' Church News (20 August 1977): 3–5.
Book of Mormon authorship—Printed material
  • Louis Midgley, "Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Critics and Their Theories," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997),101–139. ISBN 093489325X ISBN 0934893187 ISBN 0884944697. off-site GL direct link
  • John W. Welch, "Joseph Smith: Author and Proprietor," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), 154–156.GL direct link