Book of Mormon/Plagiarism accusations/The Late War

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PERSPECTIVES MEDIA QUESTIONS RESOURCES 2014 CONFERENCE

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

Questions and Answers


Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize passages from Gilbert Hunt's book The Late War, between the United States and Great Britain, from June, 1812, to February, 1815?

The critics make an assumption that Joseph Smith must have read Gilbert Hunt's The Late War

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, in "A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," (http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/) propose a number of parallel sentence structures between Gilbert Hunt's book The Late War and the Book of Mormon. The authors conclude that Joseph Smith read Hunt's book while in school (without any actual evidence that Joseph ever actually saw the book). They base this conclusion upon the assumption that the book was widely available, and therefore Joseph must have read it. Hence, they conclude that Joseph constructed the Book of Mormon by using structural elements of The Late War. The evidence is presented as a series of comparisons between the Book of Mormon and The Late War.

When we analyze or compare writing, often what seems intuitive or logical isn't

This happens because we don't normally compare writings in this way - we only do it to answer specific kinds of questions. And since most of us never really do it at all, we have no idea what we should really expect. So we don't usually know how to evaluate this kind of thing. This is why there needs to be an explanation, and why, after the findings were challenged, it didn't move forward towards a formal publication.

The basic premise behind this sort of study is an act of comparison

We compare a whole bunch of things, and see which are the most similar. This can be a bit misleading. If one takes a box full of forks, and then toss in a spoon, one can compare all the forks to see which one is most like the spoon. But will this make the spoon a fork or the fork a spoon? The funny thing about this study is that if we removed The Late War from the list of potential sources, the model would still kick out another book that was most like the Book of Mormon, and if we removed that one, we would still get another, and so on. What this modeling cannot tell us is how alike they really are. To create a kind of visual image, the way we would often deal with this is to create a space around the book (draw a circle or a sphere around it), and place that at an outside limit for what we might think would illustrate a connection. And if the closest book falls within that circle, then we would look for more information. But if it was outside, we would conclude that there was no likely connection. But without such a mechanism (and there was no mechanism in this study), we will always get a closest book - no matter what our options are.

The authors employ a fallacy that is called the Texas Marksman (or the Texas Bulls Eye)

In trying to make the best argument, they give us these lists of similarities. In presenting this list, we get presented with a fallacy that is called the Texas Marksman (or the Texas Bulls Eye). Essentially, the way the reference works is that you shoot a bunch of rounds into the side of your barn, and then you go up to the holes and paint your target around them (giving you the best and tightest clustering). Usually, the way these models work in accepted applications is that you start by testing the model in situations where you already know the outcome. That way, you can see how reliable your new model is. And if it is highly reliable in known cases, then you can start cautiously applying it to unknown models (you don't create your own target this way). By intuiting that it must be right, this model used with The Late War simply skipped the testing part. But this created one of the biggest obvious problems with the theory. They didn't stop with the Book of Mormon. They ran a test on a Jane Austin novel, and found a source (a relatively unknown book from 1810). Why is this important? Austin was a prolific writer, sending thousands of letters during her lifetime detailing what she was reading, her influences, writing about her writing, and so on. We have a huge body of literature devoted to dealing with her writing (she was one of the most important writers of the period). So when you have a statistical model that produces a brand new source, not noticed by anyone previously, not mentioned in any of her letters, and so on - there ought to be a bit of a red flag raised. But there wasn't. Had this theory been introduced to academic literary theorists - this would have been the major point of dispute (since they don't really care about the Book of Mormon). Did this model really find a previously unknown and unidentified source of Jane Austin's work? Or did it simply create the illusion of doing this by painting a bulls eye after clustering its data? I am pretty confident it was the second option here. (As a side note, discovering a new source for Jane Austin would be a thesis significant sort of discovery).

Seventy-five of the parallels identified as significant between the two texts came from the Copyright statements of the two books

Computers are not good yet at qualifying data. Perhaps the best illustration of this came from the data in the study. Seventy-five of the parallels identified as significant between the two texts came from the Copyright statement. Why? Because the copyright statement was a fill-in-the-blank form. It had a certain set of language that was standardized for the period. So books copyrighted in the same general area at the same general time would have nearly identical copyright statements. And this study found 75 parallels between the two. This shouldn't surprise us, because of course, both books had copyright statements that were reliant on a common source. And we can see from this dense material that there is a relationship between the two. But anyone who actually looks at the texts will also see that this has nothing to do with what might be termed the creative content in each work. Most of the similarities occur because they both use the language of the King James Bible. For both, the language choice seems like a stylistic decision (and not determined by the content). And in fact, the Book of Mormon quotes from Isaiah a couple of dozen chapters. This creates a relationship between the Bible and both of these books. The computer model doesn't have a way of separating style or word choice from content and meaning (and both texts can use the same phrase in different ways). We have to read it to realize that while one is simply copying the Bible (mining it for phrases), the other is creating theological discussion by taking a passage and expanding on it. 2 Nephi 2 quotes from Genesis about Adam and Eve, and then goes from there to provide commentary and discussion about the theology involved. The Late War may use the language or even quote from the Old Testament, but it never goes through commentary and theological discussion. That isn't its purpose. Sometimes the same passages get used. The Late War makes references to a specific battle and describes it as a David versus Goliath encounter. The Book of Mormon uses the David and Goliath narrative in an allusion to the Old Testament. They are very, very different ways of using the Old Testament text - even if on the surface, they use the same bit of material. All of this is important because if The Late War served as a model, or lent its language, we would expect perhaps to see other things influenced by it as well. And, we don't. But the computer model isn't capable of judging the quality of the parallels being offered.

Computer modeling tends to get rid of boundaries, so it doesn't help us visualize the data density

Finally, computer modeling tends to get rid of boundaries. That is, we can take this whole pile of material, and it looks important, but it doesn't help us visualize the data. For example, those seventy-five parallels are placed into a copyright statement, which only represents a page or a page and a half in the text. How densely the material gets used does matter. So we have this list of phrases. If we take all the four word sequences in the Late War and look in the Book of Mormon, the Book of Mormon uses a four word sequence from the Late War less than one for every 400 different four word phrases. Where do the other 399 phrases come from? At some point, we are going to find a bunch that occur simply by chance. In this case, there will be more connected through Biblical language. But if we take each one and start to compare the content, do we find them to be similar enough to make such claims? It is likely that we don't.

Did Joseph Smith rely on the 1819 book "The Late War" by Gilbert Hunt while dictating the Book of Mormon?

Question: Does the Book of Mormon phrase "curious workmanship" originate from Gilbert Hunt's The Late War?

Critics' comparison: It is claimed that both books mention weapons of war of “curious workmanship” [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  • Book of Mormon, Ether 10:27: And ... weapons of war ... of exceedingly curious workmanship
  • The Late War 19:13: And ... weapons of war were of curious workmanship

Full context comparison: The Book of Mormon does not talk of weapons of war of curious workmanship

Ether 10:27:

27 And they did make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner of work of exceedingly curious workmanship.

The Late War Chapter 19 (p. 67):

13 And their weapons of war were of curious workmanship, and they sent forth balls of lead; such as were unknown to Pharaoh when he followed the Children of Israel down into the red sea.

Note that the Book of Mormon mentions weapons, and then mentions additional objects that were of "curious workmanship." The Late War, on the other hand, is describing weapons of war (in this case guns that fire "balls of lead") as being perceived to be of "curious workmanship." The presentation of the Book of Mormon passage, however, is altered by the critics to make it appear that the Book of Mormon is talking about "weapons of war....of exceedingly curious workmanship." This is done in an attempt to enhance the perceived similarity of the passages.


Question: Does Gilbert Hunt's The Late War talk of 2000 "striplings" who go to war?

Critics' comparison: It is noted that both books talk of two thousand young men who went to war [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 53:18-20: two thousand of those young men ... to defend their country. ... they took their weapons of war, ... were all young men, and they were exceeding valiant for courage, ...[2]
  • The Late War 35:5-6: two thousand hardy men, who ... fought freely for their country ... Now the men of war ... were ... men of dauntless courage.

The authors note that "The Late War does not include the phrase 'stripling soldiers' like the Book of Mormon; however, it does share the same context as the distinctive Book of Mormon story: striplings in battle, including a band of 2,000 courageous soldiers who volunteer in a desperate fight for the freedom of their country against an oppressive king (Amalickiah / King George III)."[1]

Full context comparison: "striplings" are not mentioned in connection with the Late War's "two thousand hardy men"

This passage from the Late War does not mention "striplings" or "stripling soldiers".

Alma 53:18-22:

18 Now behold, there were two thousand of those young men, who entered into this covenant and took their weapons of war to defend their country.

19 And now behold, as they never had hitherto been a disadvantage to the Nephites, they became now at this period of time also a great support; for they took their weapons of war, and they would that Helaman should be their leader.

20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.

21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.

22 And now it came to pass that Helaman did march at the head of his two thousand stripling soldiers, to the support of the people in the borders of the land on the south by the west sea.

The Late War Chapter 35 (p.126):

5 Immediately Jackson took two thousand hardy men, who were called volunteers, because they had, unsolicited, offered their services to their country, and led them against the savages.

6 Now the men of war who followed after him were mostly from the state of Tennessee, and men of dauntless courage.

The 1828 Webster's dictionary definition for the word "stripling" simply means "a youth in the state of adolescence"

From Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary:

STRIPLING, n. [from strip, stripe; primarily a tall slender youth, one that shoots up suddenly. ] A youth in the state of adolescence, or just passing from

The word "stripling" has no particular association with war or warriors. It simply refers to an adolescent

In order to find the word "stripling," one must go to back to Chapter 19:32, or Chapter 28:2:

The Late War Chapter 19 (p. 69):

32 About this time, a stripling from the south, with his weapon of war in his hand, ran up to Zebulon, and spake unto him, saying

The Late War, Chapter 28 (p. 99):

2 And the vessels of war of Columbia that were upon the waters of the lake were not yet prepared for the battle; the name of their commander was M'Donough, a stripling.



Question: Is Gilbert Hunt's phrase "the fourth day of this seventh month" in The Late War a source for the Book of Mormon phrase "the fourth day of this seventh month" in Alma 10:6?

Critics' comparison: The "4th of July" appears in the Book of Mormon and the Late War, "the fourth day of the seventh month..." [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  • Alma 10:6: the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges.
  • The Late War 26:1: the fourth day of the seventh month, which is the birth day of Columbian Liberty and Independence,

This is typical biblical phraseology, and it is not at all unique to The Late War

  • Zechariah 7:1: And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Darius, that the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah in the fourth day of the ninth month, even in Chisleu;
  • Nehemiah 9:1: Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them.
  • 2 Kings 25:3: And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
  • 2 Chronicles 29:17: Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the Lord: so they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.
  • Ezra 7:9: For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
  • Exodus 40:2: On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation.
  • 2 Chronicles 3:2: And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.
  • 2 Kings 25:3: And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
  • Joshua 4:19: And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.
  • Leviticus 25:9: Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
  • Ezra 8:31: Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.

There is nothing unique about the "4th of July" in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon also mentions other dates in the same manner:

  • The 3rd of July is mentioned in Alma 56:42: But it came to pass that they did not pursue us far before they halted; and it was in the morning of the third day of the seventh month.
  • The 5th of February is mentioned in Alma 16:1: And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land.


Question: Was the Book of Mormon description of a cataclysm at the time of Christ's death derived from a similar description in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War?

Critics' comparison: It is claimed that both books describe "cataclysms" [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  • Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 8: ...thunder, ... did shake the whole earth ... cities were sunk, and ... the face of the whole earth... could feel the vapor of darkness ... so that ... for the space of three days, that there was no light seen; ... great destruction had come upon them.
  • The Late War 19:37-44: ...thunders: ... as the mighty earthquake, which overturneth cities. And the whole face of the earth ... overshadowed with black smoke; so that, for a time, one man saw not another: ... sharp rocks had fallen upon them:

One critic claims that both books describe "cataclysmic earthquake followed by great darkness"[3]

Full context comparison: The critics' source material for this particular extraction of text from the Book of Mormon covers 17 verses

3 Nephi 8:6-23:

6 And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.

7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.

8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.

9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.

10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.

11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.

12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;

13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.

14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.

15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.

16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.

17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.

18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.

19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.

20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;

21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;

22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.

23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.

The Late War Chapter 19 (p. 69-70) appears to describe the explosion of an ammunition magazine, which is compared to the effects of an earthquake

37 But as the young man returned to where the army stayed, behold! the black dust in the hold caught fire, and it rent the air with the noise of a thousand thunders:

38 And the whole army fell down upon their faces to the earth; and the stones, and the fragments of rocks, were lifted high; and the falling thereof was terrible even unto death.

39 Yea, it was dreadful as the mighty earthquake, which overturneth cities.

40 And the whole face of the earth round about, and the army of Zebulon, were overshadowed with black smoke; so that, for a time, one man saw not another:

41 But when the heavy clouds of smoke passed away towards the west, behold the earth was covered with the killed and the wounded.

42 Alas! the sight was shocking to behold; as the deed was ignoble.

43 About two hundred men rose not: the stones had bruised them; the sharp rocks had fallen upon them:

44 They were wedged into the earth: their weapons of war were beat down into the ground with them; their feet were turned towards heaven; their limbs were lopped off.


Question: Are there similarities between the description of forts in the Book of Mormon and Gilbert Hunt's The Late War?

Critics' comparison: Ditches, fortifications and strongholds

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 49:20-25: [men] were prepared, with their swords and their slings, to smite ... with an immense slaughter ... ditches ...filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded.
  • The Late War 29:20-23: [men] were prepared ... and they let loose their weapons of war ... and smote ... with great slaughter. And the deep ditch that surrounded the fort was strewed with their slain and their wounded.

And

  • Book of Mormon, Alma 49,52: it came to pass ... on the tenth day of the month ... the Nephites had dug a ridge of earth ... so high [...] round about ... the city ... And ... built a strong hold ...
  • The Late War 51: it came to pass ... on the tenth day of the eighth month ... the people began to fortify ... and entrench the high places round about the city. And ... build their strong holds ...

One critic states that both books talk about "Fortifications: 'the people began to fortify themselves and entrench the high Places round about the city.'"[4]

Full context comparison of Alma 49:20-22 with The Late War 29:20-21

Alma 49:20-22

20 Thus they were prepared, yea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance; and thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites.

21 And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security; but behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter.

22 Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight; but behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.

The Late War Chapter 29 (p. 104) off-site:

20 But the men of Croghan were prepared for them; and they let loose their weapons of war upon them, and set their destroying engine to work, and smote the men of Britain, hip and thigh, with great slaughter.

21 And the deep ditch that surrounded the fort was strewed with their slain and their wounded.

Alma 49: talks of the Nephites digging a "ridge of earth" to prevent stones and arrows from reaching them

1 And now it came to pass in the eleventh month of the nineteenth year, on the tenth day of the month, the armies of the Lamanites were seen approaching towards the land of Ammonihah.

2 ...Skipped

3 ...Skipped

4 But behold, how great was their disappointment; for behold, the Nephites had dug up a ridge of earth round about them, which was so high that the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them that they might take effect, neither could they come upon them save it was by their place of entrance.

5 ....Skipped

6 ....Skipped

7 ....Skipped

8 ....Skipped

9 ....Skipped

10 Now, if king Amalickiah had come down out of the land of Nephi, at the head of his army, perhaps he would have caused the Lamanites to have attacked the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah; for behold, he did care not for the blood of his people.

11 But behold, Amalickiah did not come down himself to battle. And behold, his chief captains durst not attack the Nephites at the city of Ammonihah, for Moroni had altered the management of affairs among the Nephites, insomuch that the Lamanites were disappointed in their places of retreat and they could not come upon them.

Alma 50 ...Skipped

Alma 51 ...Skipped

Alma 52 ...Skipped

Alma 53:6 talks of the Nephites building a "stronghold" to keep prisoners

6 And it came to pass that Moroni had thus gained a victory over one of the greatest of the armies of the Lamanites, and had obtained possession of the city of Mulek, which was one of the strongest holds of the Lamanites in the land of Nephi; and thus he had also built a stronghold to retain his prisoners.

The Late War 51 (p. 199-201) talks of "entrenching" the "high places" around the city and building "strong holds" off-site

3 So it came to pass, that the husbandmen from the surrounding country gathered together, and pitched their tents hard by the city.

4 ...Skipped

5 ...Skipped

6 ...Skipped

7 ...Skipped

8 Moreover, on the tenth day of the eighth month, in the eighteen hundred and fourteenth year, the inhabitants assembled together in the midst of the city, even in a place called the Park, where the Federal Hall, a superb edifice, rears its majestic front; within the walls of which the wise men, the expounders of the law, preside, and deliberate for the benefit of the people.

9 ...Skipped

10 ...Skipped

11 ...Skipped

12 ...Skipped

13 ...Skipped

14 So the people began to fortify themselves and entrench the high places round about the city.

15 And when they went out in its defence, to build their strong holds and to raise up their battlements; lo! the steam-boats of Fulton conveyed them thither, about a thousand at a time, even towards the heights of Brooklyn in the east, and the heights of Haerlem in the north.

Gilbert Hunt's The Late War, pages 199-201


Question: Does the Book of Mormon mention "polished steel" of "fine workmanship" as described in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War?

Critics' comparison: It is noted that both books mention "steel" and "fine workmanship" in the same paragraph [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

One critic of the Church seems to find the phrase "“Their polished steels of fine workmanship" in The Late War to be somehow indicative that the Book of Mormon copied this concept, despite the fact that the Book of Mormon never mentions this.[5]

The Book of Mormon speaks of "fine workmanship of wood," while The Late War talks of "polished steels of fine workmanship"

Jarom 1:8:

8 And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war—yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war.

The Late War Chapter 54 (p. 216) off-site:

7 Their polished steels, of fine workmanship, glittered in the sun, and the movement of their sqadrons was as the waving of a wheat-field, when the south wind passeth gently over it.


Question: Does the Book of Mormon, like Gilbert Hunt's The Late War, talk of "freemen who came to the defence of the city, built strong holds and forts, and raised up fortifications in abundance"?

Critics' comparison: The word "freemen" appears in both books [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

Alma 51:6:

6 And those who were desirous that Pahoran should remain chief judge over the land took upon them the name of freemen; and thus was the division among them, for the freemen had sworn or covenanted to maintain their rights and the privileges of their religion by a free government.

Alma 60:25:

25 And except ye grant mine epistle, and come out and show unto me a true spirit of freedom, and strive to strengthen and fortify our armies, and grant unto them food for their support, behold I will leave a part of my freemen to maintain this part of our land, and I will leave the strength and the blessings of God upon them, that none other power can operate against them—

The Late War 51 (p. 200) off-site

7 Nevertheless, it was so that the freemen who came to the defence of the city, built strong holds and forts, and raised up fortifications in abundance, inasmuch as the whole place was as it were one camp.

The Late War 38:26-27 (p. 141) off-site 26 Nevertheless, David said unto the captains of the king, Come singly, and not like cowards, upon me; then shall ye receive the thunders of the freemen of Columbia abundantly;

27 And her liberty shall not suffer, although in the contest ye may destroy my vessel upon the face of the waters.

The Late War 48:12 (p. 180) off-site: With the spirit of freemen, they grasped their weapons of war in their hands, and went out to meet them without fear; resolved to conquer or to die.

The "freemen" of the Book of Mormon did not build fortifications

One critic of the Church notes the phrase “Nevertheless, it was so that the freeman came to the defence of the city, built strong holds and forts and raised up fortifications in abundance" as indicative of some connection to the Book of Mormon. [6] However, the Book of Mormon passages referring to "freemen" (as opposed to "king men") say nothing about them building fortifications.

The word "freemen" was used in Colonial times

Wikipedia "Freemen (Colonial)":

Freeman is a term which originated in 12th-century Europe and was common as an English or American Colonial expression in Puritan times. In the Bay Colony, a man had to be a member of the Church to be a freeman. In Colonial Plymouth, a man did not need to be a member of the Church, but he had to be elected to this privilege by the General Court. Being a freeman carried with it the right to vote, and by 1632 only freemen could vote in Plymouth.[1]


Question: Were the Three Nephites of the Book of Mormon based upon three of the "lying prophets among the savages" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War?

Critics' comparison: three "Indian prophets" are compared to the "three disciples of Jesus who should tarry [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

3 Nephi 28:4 talks of "the three disciples of Jesus" while The Late War talks of "three of the Indian prophets" who were among the "lying prophets among the savages"

3 Nephi 28:4:

4 And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?

4 Nephi 1:37:

37 Therefore the true believers in Christ, and the true worshipers of Christ, (among whom were the three disciples of Jesus who should tarry) were called Nephites, and Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites.

The Late War 35 (p. 128) off-site

19 And he marched with his army through the wilderness more than an hundred miles, to a town built upon a place called by the savages the Holy-Ground, where three of the Indian prophets dwelt.

20 Now there were lying prophets among the savages, even as there were in the days of old, among the children of Israel; and they prophesied according to their own wishes;

21 And those of shallow understanding believed them, and were led into a snare, whereby their whole tribe was night being destroyed.

It seems unlikely that Joseph Smith would base the idea of three righteous disciples on the story of three "lying prophets among the savages"

One critic of the Church points to the presence of "Three Indian Prophets" and "False Indian prophets" as evidence of similarity between the Book of Mormon and The Late War.[7]

It seems unlikely that Joseph Smith would base three righteous disciples of Jesus Christ, who would remain on earth until Christ's return in a manner similar to the Apostle John, on three "lying prophets among the savages" who "prophesied according to their own wishes."


Question: Is there significance to the fact that both the Book of Mormon and Gilbert Hunt's The Late War mention a "rod of iron"?

Critics' comparison, quoting John Tvedtnes, notes a possessive or descriptive relationship between two nouns[1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

The critics quote Latter-day Saint researcher John Tvedtnes:

When English shows a possessive or descriptive relationship between two nouns, it usually puts the possessive or descriptive noun first: the king's house or wood house. Hebrew, however, uses the opposite order: house the king (which would usually be translated house of the king) or house wood (house of wood). If the Hebrew word order is kept in the English translation, the word of must be added, even though it does not exist in the Hebrew. The Book of Mormon contains a large number of what appear to be translations from the Hebrew preserving the Hebrew word order: — The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon, by John A. Tvedtnes

1 Nephi 8:19:

19 And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.

The Late War 3 (p. 15) off-site

3 Then will we rule them with a rod of iron; and they shall be, unto us, hewers of wood and drawers of water.

The phrase "rule them with a rod of iron" actually comes from the Bible, and the phrasing of The Late War is intentionally biblical

Revelation 2:27

27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Revelation 12:5

5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Revelation 19:15

15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

Psalms even talks of "breaking" someone with a rod of iron:

Psalms 2:9

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Of course, the Book of Mormon's use of the phrase "rod of iron" has nothing to do with ruling over or "breaking" anyone.


Question: Do both the Book of Mormon and Gilbert Hunt's The Late War talk about people maintaining a "standard of liberty"?

Critics' comparison: It is claimed that the two books talk of people "flocking" to a "standard" [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 61-62: sent a proclamation throughout ... the land; ... And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard [of liberty] ... they ... went down with their armies ... against the ...
  • The Late War 6-7: sent forth a Proclamation, ... abroad ... And it came to pass, that a great multitude flocked to the ... standard of Columbia...they came in battle array against the ...

One critic interprets this to mean that both books speak of "Maintaining the standard of liberty with righteousness," and sees some sort of connection in "And it came to pass, that a great multitude flocked to the banners of the great Sanhedrim" compared to Alma 62:5: "And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard, and did take up their swords in defense of their freedom…" [8]

Full context comparison

Alma 61:6

6 And behold, I have sent a proclamation throughout this part of the land; and behold, they are flocking to us daily, to their arms, in the defence of their country and their freedom, and to avenge our wrongs.

7-21 ...Skipped

Alma 62:5

1-4 ...Skipped

5 And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard, and did take up their swords in the defence of their freedom, that they might not come into bondage.

6 ...Skipped

7 And it came to pass that Moroni and Pahoran went down with their armies into the land of Zarahemla, and went forth against the city, and did meet the men of Pachus, insomuch that they did come to battle.

The Late War Chapter 6-7 (p. 24-25) off-site

11 From this place, he sent forth a proclamation, which the great Sanhedrim had prepared for him; and the wisdom thereof appeareth even unto this day.

12 ...Skipped

13 Now in the proclamation which Hull published abroad, he invited the people of the province of Canada to join themselves to the host of Columbia, who were come to drive the servants of the king from their borders.

14 And it came to pass, that a great multitude flocked to the banners of the great Sanhedrim.

15 ...Skipped

16 ...Skipped

17 And when the husbandmen of the province of Canada, who had joined the standard of Columbia, learned those things, they wept bitterly; for they were left behind.

18 ...Skipped

19 ...Skipped

Chapter 7, 1 Now the host of the king were few in numbers; nevertheless, they came in battle array against the strong hold of William.

"that a great multitude flocked to the ... standard of Columbia" is actually "that a great multitude flocked to the banners of the great Sanhedrim"

One has to cover quite a bit of ground in order to make this comparison. Even so, the comparison of people "flocking" to a "standard" of liberty in The Late War is forced.

Pages 24 and 25 from Gilbert Hunt's The Late War


Question: Could Gilbert Hunt's The Late War have given Joseph Smith the idea of using brass plates as a way of recording information?

Critics' comparison: Both books mention engraving a record on metal [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

3 Nephi 10:17 talks of "plates of brass" while 'The Late War 31:33 talks of "imaginary evils" that are "graven in brass" and "good deeds" that are "graven in sand"

3 Nephi 10:17

17 Behold, our father Jacob also testified concerning a remnant of the seed of Joseph. And behold, are not we a remnant of the seed of Joseph? And these things which testify of us, are they not written upon the plates of brass which our father Lehi brought out of Jerusalem?

The Late War 36 (p. 134) off-site

26 But the imaginary evils which the children of men commit are oftentimes graven in brass, whilst their actual good deeds are written in sand.

1 Nephi 19:1 talks of "engraven" records and Mosiah 21:27 talks of records "engraven on plates of ore" while The Late War talks of a "silver plate" with "gravings thereon"

1 Nephi 19:1

1 And it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates of ore that I might engraven upon them the record of my people. And upon the plates which I made I did engraven the record of my father, and also our journeyings in the wilderness, and the prophecies of my father; and also many of mine own prophecies have I engraven upon them.

Mosiah 21:27

27 And they brought a record with them, even a record of the people whose bones they had found; and it was engraven on plates of ore.

The Late War 31 (p. 112) off-site

33 Likewise, the people gave him much silver plate, with gravings thereon, mentioning his deeds.

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

The Late War does not speak of "brass plates"

One critic of the Church misinterprets this data to mean that both books talk about "Brass plates". [9] Although both books talk of "engraving" records, The Late War makes no mention of "brass plates".


Question: Does Gilbert Hunt's The Late War describe "Boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark"?

Critics' comparison: The presence of the words "barges," "vessels," "windows," "whale," and "ark" are noted in both books [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

Ether 2:16-17 states that the Jaredite "barges" were "the length of a tree" while The Late War 52:4 talks of "the barges of the king's ship"

Ether 2:16-17

16 And the Lord said: Go to work and build, after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built. And it came to pass that the brother of Jared did go to work, and also his brethren, and built barges after the manner which they had built, according to the instructions of the Lord. And they were small, and they were light upon the water, even like unto the lightness of a fowl upon the water. 17 And they were built after a manner that they were exceedingly tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish.

The Late War 52:4, , (p. 206) off-site

4 Now they sat their engines to work with dreadful violence; but in about the third part of an hour the barges of the king's ship were overcome; and more than three score and ten of the men of Britian were slain and maimed: the loss in the privateer was six slain, and about a score wounded.

Ether 2:24 states that the boat shall be as a "whale in the midst of the sea" while The Late War 15:30 states that the "mighty whales" shall flee from "the noise of the explosion"

Ether 2:24

24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.

The Late War 15:30 (p. 54) off-site

30 And the fish of the sea, even the mighty whales, fled from the noise of the explosion.

Ether 6:7 states that the boats were "tight like unto the ark of Noah" while the The Late War, emulating Genesis, states that the boats were "pitched...within and without with pitch" similar to the ark

Ether 6:7

7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.

The Late War 27 (p. 98) off-site

12 Howsoever, they cut down the tall trees of the forest, and hewed them, and built many more strong vessels; although they had no gophar-wood amongst them in these days.

13 And they made stories to them, even to the third story, and they put windows in them, and they pitched them within and without with pitch; after the fashion of the ark.

This passage in The Late War is obviously patterned after the account in Genesis 6:14, which talks of making the ark out of "gopher wood" and covering it "within and without with pitch":

Genesis 6:14

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

So does The Late War talk of "boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark"?

One critic of the Church claims that The Late War and the Book of Mormon share a similarity in that both books mention "boats and barges built from trees after the fashion of the ark." [10] However, the account in The Late War is most definitely patterned after the account of Genesis, with the description of "pitching" the boats "within and without with pitch". The Book of Mormon states that the Jaredite barges were "tight" like the ark of Noah, but does not state how they were made "tight".

With regard to the boats being constructed out of trees, we would venture to say that practically all boats of that era were constructed out of wood. However, the Book of Mormon's mention of "trees" is simply an estimate of the boat's length rather than the material from which it was constructed. The Late War, on the other hand, deliberately uses the Biblical reference to "gopher-wood".


Question: Was the Book of Mormon phrase "it came to pass" derived from Gilbert Hunt's The Late War?

Critics' comparison: The phrase "it came to pass" is more common in the The Late War than in the Bible [1]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

The density of the phrase "it came to pass" in the Book of Luke alone is higher than that of The Late War at 0.156% to 0.205%

One critic of the church believes that the presence of "A bunch of “it came to pass”" phrases in The Late War is evidence that Joseph used this phrase in the Book of Mormon. [11] There are 1297 occurrences of the phrase "it came to pass" in the Book of Mormon, while there are 387 occurrences of "it came to pass" in the Old Testament and 65 occurrences in the New Testament. In the Book of Luke alone there are 40 usages of the phrase "it came to pass" out of 19482 to 25600 words (depending upon the source of the figure). If one rejects the divine origin of the Book of Mormon and is looking for an external influence, the Book of Luke is much more likely than The Late War. Using the Johnsons' method of calculating the density of the phrase, the Book of Luke produces a density value of 0.156% to 0.205%, the upper value of which is almost twice as high as that of The Late War.

Moreover, Gilbert Hunt's The Late War was deliberately written in the "biblical style," and therefore purposely uses the phrase "it came to pass" frequently. There really isn't any reason to believe that Joseph, if he were actually the author of the Book of Mormon, would have been more likely to have picked up the phrase from The Late War than from the Bible itself. When translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph dictated in language that he was familiar with, and we certainly know that Joseph read the New Testament.


Question: Does Gilbert Hunt's book The Late War contain rare phrases that do not appear in other works but only appear in the Book of Mormon?

Chris and Duane Johnson claim the following regarding certain phrases found in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War:

These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible. The strength of the argument that The Book of Mormon is a remix of The Late War rests on the cumulative improbability of finding all of these phrases somewhere else. No other book, aside from The First Book of Napoleon, approaches the density of rare phrases (4grams, specifically) that are shared by The Book of Mormon.


Question: Is the phrase "a mock and a bye-word among all nations" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [12]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics note that "mock" is synonymous with "hiss," and removed "and be hated" from the Book of Mormon

  • The Late War 2:9: "a mock and a bye-word among all nations"
  • Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 19:14: "a hiss and a by-word, and be hated among all nations"

The core phrase "a byword, among all nations" is not rare

  • Deuteronomy 28:37: "a byword, among all nations"
  • 2 Chronicles 7:20: "a byword among all nations"

If we expand the definition, as the critics did, to include synonymous words "nations," "heathen," and "people,"we find several other instances of the phrase

  • Psalms 44:14: "a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people"
  • Job 17:6: "a byword of the people"
  • 1 Kings 9:7: "a byword among all people"


Question: Is the phrase "he hearkened unto the counsel of the wicked one" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [13]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics note that "counsel" is synonymous with "words," and "the wicked one" is synonymous with "Laman" and "evil one"

  • The Late War 3:33-34: "he hearkened unto the counsel of the wicked one"
  • Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 3:28: "he hearkened unto the words of Laman"
  • Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 9:28: "evil one...hearken not unto the counsel of God"

The core phrase "hearken unto the" or "hearken unto the words" is not rare

  • Jeremiah 37:2: "hearken unto the words of the Lord"
  • Deuteronomy 13:3: "hearken unto the words of that prophet"

The core phrase "unto the counsel" does not occur in the Bible

The unique core phrase is "unto the counsel," which does appear in both The Late War and the Book of Mormon. the phrase does appear in "The Summons of the Lord of Hosts" in the Bahai Reference Library, "Tablet to Queen Victoria"

O ye rulers of the earth! Wherefore have ye clouded the radiance of the Sun, and caused it to cease from shining? Hearken unto the counsel given you by the Pen of the Most High, that haply both ye and the poor may attain unto tranquillity and peace. We beseech God to assist the kings of the earth to establish peace on earth. He, verily, doth what He willeth.[14]

If we expand the definition, as the critics did, to include synonymous words "counsel" and "words" with "prayer," "commandments," "voice," and "cry," we find several other instances of the phrase

  • 1 Kings 8:28: "hearken unto the cry and to the prayer"
  • 2 Chronicles 6:19: "hearken unto the cry and the prayer"
  • Judges 3:4: "hearken unto the commandments of the Lord"
  • Psalms 5:2: "Hearken unto the voice of my cry"
  • Deuteronomy 15:5: hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God"
  • Deuteronomy 30:10: "hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God"
  • Deuteronomy 28:13: hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God"
  • 1 Kings 8:29: "hearken unto the prayer"
  • Deuteronomy 28:15: "hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God"
  • 2 Chronicles 6:20: "hearken unto the prayer"
  • Deuteronomy 17:12: "hearken unto the priest"


Question: Is the phrase "it came to pass, that they gathered together" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [15]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics note that "chief captain" is synonymous with "king"

  • The Late War 53:4: "it came to pass, that they gathered together...chief captain"
  • Book of Mormon Alma 2:9: "it came to pass that they gathered themselves together...king."
  • Book of Mormon Alma 27:14: "it came to pass that they gathered together"

The core Book of Mormon phrase "they gathered themselves together" is not rare, since it is found multiple times in the Bible

  • Joshua 9:2: That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.
  • 2 Samuel 10:15: "they gathered themselves together"
  • 2 Chronicles 15:10: "So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem"
  • Numbers 20:2: "and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron"
  • Numbers 16:3: "And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron"

The core phrase "they gathered together" in not rare

  • Psalms 140:2: "they gathered together for war"
  • 1 Samuel 7:6: "they gathered together to Mizpeh"

The phrase "chief captain" occurs frequently in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon in the context of a "military leader," but is never synonymous with "king"

  • Alma 43:16: "chief captain over the Nephites"
  • Alma 43:44: "Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain"
  • Alma 43:17: "chief captain over the armies of the Nephites"
  • Alma 57:29: "Now Gid was the chief captain over the band"
  • Alma 61:2: "Moroni, the chief captain over the army"
  • Alma 60:36: "I am Moroni, your chief captain"
  • Genesis 26:26: "Phichol the chief captain of his army"
  • Genesis 21:22: "Phichol the chief captain of his host"
  • Acts 22:26: "he went and told the chief captain"
  • Acts 22:27: "the chief captain came"
  • Acts 22:28: "the chief captain answered"
  • Acts 24:7: "the chief captain Lysias came upon us"
  • Acts 21:32: "they saw the chief captain and the soldiers"
  • Acts 21:33: "Then the chief captain came near"
  • Acts 21:37: "he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee?"
  • Acts 23:17: "Bring this young man unto the chief captain"
  • Acts 23:19: "Then the chief captain took him by the hand"
  • Acts 23:22: "So the chief captain then let the young man depart"
  • Acts 22:24: "The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle"


Question: Is the phrase "and a part thereof" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [16]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must include the common phrase "and a"

  • The Late War 40:3: "And a part thereof moved towards Plattsburgh, on lake Champlain"
  • Book of Mormon Jacob 5:45: "and a part thereof, brought forth wild fruit"

The core phrase "part thereof" is not rare, since it is found multiple times in the Bible

  • Isaiah 44:16: "with part thereof he eateth flesh"
  • Numbers 18:29: "of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it"
  • Leviticus 27:13: "he shall add a fifth part thereof unto thy estimation"
  • Leviticus 27:31: "he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof"
  • Leviticus 22:14: "then he shall put the fifth part thereof unto it"
  • Numbers 5:7: "and add unto it the fifth part thereof"


Question: Is the phrase "about twenty and four" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [17]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must only look at the word "about" used with the number "twenty and four"

  • The Late War 19:11: "about twenty and four furlongs"
  • Book of Mormon, Mormon 1:3: "Therefore, when ye are about twenty and four years old"

This method of writing numbers is common in the Bible

  • Nehemiah 9:1: "Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month"
  • 2 Kings 14:2: "He was twenty and five years old"
  • Nehemiah 11:14: "an hundred twenty and eight"
  • 2 Chronicles 25:1: "Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years"
  • John 6:19: "about five and twenty or thirty furlongs"
  • Ezekiel 8:16: "about five and twenty men"
  • Joshua 15:32: "all the cities are twenty and nine"
  • Judges 10:2: "And he judged Israel twenty and three years"
  • 2 Chronicles 13:21: "Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons"
  • Mark 6:7: "by two and two"
  • 2 Chronicles 33:21: "Amon was two and twenty years old"
  • 1 Kings 14:20: "were two and twenty years"
  • 2 Kings 10:14: "even two and forty men"


Question: Is the phrase "and slew seven of" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [18]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must stick to the number "seven of"

  • The Late War 21:33: "and slew seven of"
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 18:16: "and slew seven of"

Similar phrases are found in the Bible - only the numbers are different

  • 2 Kings 10:7: "and slew seventy persons"
  • Judges 20:45: "and slew two thousand men"
  • Esther 9:15: "and slew three hundred men"


Question: Is the phrase "and wist not what" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [19]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must append the word "and" to it

  • The Late War 15:36: "another, and wist not what to say"
  • Book of Mormon, Helaman 9:30, 3: "and wist not what to say"
  • Book of Mormon, Nephi 11:8: "another, and wist not what"

Similar phrases are found in the Bible

  • Mark 9:6: "he wist not what to say"
  • Exodus 16:15: "they wist not what it was"


Question: Is the phrase "your women and your children" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [20]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must limit the phrase to "women"

  • The Late War 43:6: "your women and your children"
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 7:27: "your women and your children"

Similar phrases are found in the Bible which associate family members and children

  • 2 Chronicles 30:9: "your brethren and your children"
  • Deuteronomy 3:19: "your wives, and your little ones"
  • Deuteronomy 29:11: "Your little ones, your wives"
  • Psalms 115:14: "you and your children"
  • Exodus 22:24: "widows, and your children"

The Book of Mormon also has variations on the same phrase

  • Jacob 2:7: "your wives and your children"
  • 3 Nephi 18:21: "your wives and your children"


Question: Is the phrase "were compelled to flee before" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [21]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must equate the synonyms "compelled" and "obliged"

  • The Late War 7:26: "were compelled to flee before the arms of Columbia"
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 59:8: "were obliged to flee before them"

The core phrase "to flee before" appears many times in the Book of Mormon, with the qualifier "obliged" only occurring once

  • Alma 2:18: "began to flee before them"
  • Ether 14:27: "began to flee before the armies of Coriantumr"
  • Alma 43:50: "began to flee before them"
  • Mormon 2:16: "begin to flee before the Lamanites"
  • Ether 15:10: "caused them to flee before them"
  • Alma 2:35: "began to flee before them"
  • Alma 59:8: "were obliged to flee before them"
  • Alma 17:37: "began to flee before him"
  • Ether 9:31: "began to flee before the poisonous serpents"


Question: Is the phrase "to come out against" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [22]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must include the word "prepared," and ignore the intermediate phrase "himself to assist Prevost on a certain day appointed. When he was.."

  • The Late War 46:9-10: "prepared himself to assist Prevost on a certain day appointed. When he was to come out against "
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 58:16: "preparations to come out against"

The core phrase "come out against" appears multiple times in the Bible

  • Judges 9:33: "come out against"
  • Numbers 20:18: "come out against"
  • Deuteronomy 28:7: "come out against"
  • Joshua 8:5: "come out against"


Question: Is the phrase "they were like unto" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [23]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must include the word "they"

  • The Late War 17:17: " they were like unto"
  • Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 2:13: " they were like unto"

The core phrase "were like unto" appears multiple times in the Bible

  • Revelation 9:7: "shapes of the locusts were like unto"
  • Revelation 9:19: "their tails were like unto"
  • Jeremiah 52:22: "the pomegranates were like unto"


Question: Is the phrase "they were astonished beyond measure" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [24]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must remove the word "all" from the Book of Mormon phrase

  • The Late War 33:30: "they were astonished beyond measure"
  • Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 2:13: "they were astonished beyond all measure"

The core phrase "they were astonished ... measure" appears in the Bible with the synonym "out of" in place of "beyond"

  • Mark 10:26: "they were astonished out of measure"



Question: Is the phrase "they humbled themselves and" in Gilbert Hunt's The Late War a "rare phrase"?

The critics note that "These phrases are rare—meaning that they are not found in other contemporary books of Joseph's time, and that they are not found in the King James Version of the bible" [25]

Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

In order to make this a "rare phrase," the critics must include the word "and"

  • The Late War 15:22: "they humbled themselves, and"
  • Book of Mormon, Alma 5:13: "they humbled themselves, and"

The core phrase "they humbled themselves" appears in the Bible

  • 2 Chronicles 12:7: "they humbled themselves"



The Interpreter Foundation responds to these questions

Benjamin L. McGuire,"The Late War Against the Book of Mormon", Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, 7:323-355 (November 1, 2013)


Recently, the Exmormon Foundation held their annual conference in Salt Lake City. A presentation by Chris and Duane Johnson proposed a new statistical model for discussing authorship of the Book of Mormon. The study attempts to connect the Book of Mormon to a text published in 1816: The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain. The latter is a history of the war of 1812 deliberately written in a scriptural style. A traditional (non-statistical) comparison between this text and the Book of Mormon was apparently introduced by Rick Grunder in his 2008 bibliography Mormon Parallels. I will discuss only the statistical model presented by the Johnsons here.

Click here to view the complete article

The Interpreter Foundation responds to these questions

G. Bruce Schaalje,"A Bayesian Cease-Fire in the Late War on the Book of Mormon", Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Blog (November 6, 2013)


Useful steps when thinking about any difficult or disconcerting issue are to state the components of the issue as clearly as possible, and combine them in a way that is logically and mathematically justified.
Such an issue is the recent claim that an 1816 scriptural-style history of the War of 1812 entitled The Late War between the United States and Great Britain (LW) had an influence on the Book of Mormon.

Click here to view the complete article

Notes

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, "A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  2. Alma 53:18-20
  3. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  4. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision)
  5. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision)
  6. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  7. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  8. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  9. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  10. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  11. Jeremy Runnells, "Letter to a CES Director" (October 2014 revision).
  12. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  13. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  14. "Tablet to Queen Victoria," Bahai Reference Library, http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/b/SLH/slh-8.html
  15. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  16. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  17. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  18. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  19. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  20. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  21. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  22. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  23. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  24. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/
  25. Chris Johnson, Duane Johnson, ""A Comparison of The Book of Mormon and The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain," http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

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