Book of Mormon/Plagiarism accusations

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    Claims that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from other works

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Critics look to numerous contemporary sources to explain how Joseph Smith was able to produce the Book of Mormon.


To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here

TOPICS

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The following contemporary sources are claimed by various critics to be sources for the Book of Mormon.

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. (Click here for full article)

  • Apocrypha
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • Benjamin based on Bishop M'Kendree, a Methodist revivalist?
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • The Comoros Islands
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • The King James Bible
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • The Golden Pot
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • History of Mexico
    Brief Summary: Critics theorize that Joseph Smith could have used details from Ixtilxochitl's History of Mexico to write the Book of Ether. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith, Sr.'s dream
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • North American place names
    Brief 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • The Spalding manuscript
    Brief Summary: It is claimed 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • View of the Hebrews
    Brief Summary: It is claimed 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. (Click here for full article)
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  • The Westminster Confession
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the content of Alma Chapter 40 derived from a Presbyterian document called The Westminster Confession (Click here for full article)
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