Last Update: 2/2014  

                      Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

Book of Mormon Origin 

If you have read the Book of Mormon pages preceding this Book of Mormon origin page (Translation Method, BOM Changes, and Inspired?) you might then be asking yourself if the Book of Mormon is not the inspired writing of God, then what are the origins of the Book of Mormon?  Or maybe you are one of the many that know there are some issues, but try to ignore them and tell yourself or others who question the Book of Mormon that there is no way Joseph Smith could have written it.  The LDS church has promoted what is known as the “Book of Mormon Challenge” to try and show there is no way a man could have created this work.  If this is something you believe please read the answers to this challenge from or

In this section I will cover some of the sources that show the Book of Mormon is not inspired writings of God, but the work of man. 

Author and Proprietor

Joseph Smith listed himself as the “Author and Proprietor” of the original 1830 Book of Mormon. The answer by the Mormon Apologists is that it was the requirement at the time for books published in that time period.  This made sense until you read in the testimony of the eight witnesses, which also stated Joseph Smith was the author and proprietor of the Book of Mormon. This has been changed in later editions to “Translated by Joseph Smith, Jun.”  I could understand why the title page of the Book of Mormon allegedly required the writer to be listed as “Author and Proprietor,” but there is no way that the testimony of the eight witnesses would have to state this as well.

Testimony of the Eight Witnesses

Just after the introduction within the Book of Mormon is a page titled "THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES."  This is evidence Mormon missionaries use to suggest that the eight witnesses each signed their names testifying that they had seen and held the gold plates.  The problem is this is all in print and you cannot see the signatures...until now.  At the Mormon-based website, you can see the actual handwritten testimony and signatures.  One the pictures below you will notice all eight are signed in the exact same handwriting, seemingly by the exact same person.  Evidence like this makes it look more as if someone is trying to deceive the people at the time rather than someone being honest and gathering eight different signatures.  

It is also important to note that all eight of the witnesses were related to Joseph Smith, which calls the objectivity into question.

Revelation to sell the Book of Mormon copyright

If this book was truly meant to be combined with the bible as holy scripture, why would Joseph Smith supposedly receive a revelation from God that the brethren were to go to Toronto, Canada to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon?

“Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon” (David Whitmer, Mormon apostle and Book of Mormon witness, An Address to all Believers in Christ, p. 31).

This shows the intention from the very beginning was to profit from the sale of the Book of Mormon and that it was never intended to be a new religious movement.

View of the Hebrews

In 1823, a pastor by the name of Ethan Smith from Poultney, Vermont wrote and published the first edition of the View of the Hebrews. Below is a long list of similarities between the View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon. One important thing to note is that Oliver Cowdery also lived in Poultney, Vermont and was a member of Pastor Ethan Smith’s congregation. This is important because Oliver Cowdery was an important figure in the bringing forth the Book of Mormon.

LDS church historian, General Authority (Seventy) and lifelong LDS member B.H. Roberts wrote three separate studies that covered the many issues with the Book of Mormon. These studies went unpublished until 1985 the manuscripts were published by the University of Illinois Press via the release of them by B.H. Roberts grandchildren. B.H. Roberts is an extremely well respected figure in LDS church history and is considered by past and current General Authorities to be one of the most intelligent and scholarly writers the church has ever seen.

Wikipedia says the following regarding B.H. Roberts and his studies on the Book of Mormon:

“Although Roberts continued to testify to the truth of The Book of Mormon, a foundational work of Mormonism, he also wrote three studies, unpublished until 1985, that wrestled with Book of Mormon problems. The first, "Book of Mormon Difficulties: A Study," was a 141-page manuscript written in response to a series of questions by an inquirer, referred to Roberts by Mormon president Heber Grant. When Roberts confessed that he had no answer for some of the difficulties, and the General Authorities chose to ignore them, Roberts produced "A Book of Mormon Study," a treatise of more than 400 pages. In this work he compared The Book of Mormon to the earlier-published View of the Hebrews, written by Ethan Smith, and found significant similarities between them. Finally, Roberts wrote "A Parallel," a condensed version of his larger study, which demonstrated eighteen points of similarity between the two books, and in which he reflected that the imaginative Joseph Smith might have written The Book of Mormon without divine assistance.”

Below is a summary of the striking similarities between Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon:


SimilarityView of the HebrewsBook of Mormon
Published1823, first edition
1825, second edition
1830, first edition

Poultney, Rutland County

Note: Oliver Cowdery, one of the

Book of Mormon witnesses, lived

in Poultney when View of the

Hebrews was published.

Sharon, Windsor County

Note: Windsor County

is adjacent to Rutland County.

The destruction of Jerusalem

The scattering of Israel

The restoration of the Ten Tribes

Hebrews leave the Old World for the New World

Religion a motivating factor

Migrations a long journey

Encounter "seas" of "many waters"

The Americas and uninhabited land

Settlers journey northward

Encounter a valley of a great river

A unity of race (Hebrew) settle the land and are the ancestral origin of American Indians

Hebrew origin of Indian language

Egyptian hieroglyphics

Lost Indian records

A set of "yellow leaves" buried in Indian hill. Roberts noted the "leaves" may be gold.

Joseph Smith claims the Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient Indian records from gold plates buried in a hill.

Breastplate, Urim & Thummin

Prophets, spiritually gifted men transmit generational records

The Gospel preached in the Americas

Quotes whole chapters of Isaiah

Messiah visits the Americas

Quetzalcoatl, the white bearded "Mexican Messiah"

Good and bad are a necessary opposition

Generosity encouraged and pride denounced

Polygamy denounced

Idolatry and human sacrifice

Sacred towers and high places

Hebrews divide into two classes, civilized and barbarous

Civilized thrive in art, written language, metallurgy, navigation

Government changes from monarchy to republic

Civil and ecclesiastical power is united in the same person

Long wars break out between the civilized and barbarous

Extensive military fortifications, observations, "watch towers"

Barbarous exterminate the civilized

Discusses the United States

Roberts noted: "Ethan is prominently connected with the recording of the matter in the one case, and Ether in the other."

Source: B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.240-242,324-344

Here are some interesting quotes from B.H. Roberts on the View of the Hebrews parallels with the Book of Mormon (emphasis mine):

“It is altogether probable that these two books—Priest's Wonders of Nature and Providence, 1824; and Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews 1st edition 1823, and the 2nd edition 1825—were either possessed by Joseph Smith or certainly known by him, for they were surely available to him” (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.153).

“Did Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews furnish structural material for Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon? It has been pointed out in these pages that there are many things in the former book that might well have suggested many major things in the other. Not a few things merely, one or two, or half dozen, but many; and it is this fact of many things of similarity and the cumulative force of them that makes them so serious a menace to Joseph Smith's story of the Book of Mormon's origin” (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.240).

“One other subject remains to be considered in this division... viz. – was Joseph Smith possessed of a sufficiently vivid and creative imagination as to produce such a work as the Book of Mormon from such materials as have been indicated in the proceeding chapters... That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question....In light of this evidence, there can be no doubt as to the possession of a vividly strong, creative imagination by Joseph Smith, the Prophet, an imagination, it could with reason be urged, which, given the suggestions that are found in the ‘common knowledge’ of accepted American antiquities of the times, supplemented by such a work as Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews [published in Palmyra in 1825], it would make it possible for him to create a book such as the Book of Mormon is” (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.243, 250).

“If from all that has gone before in Part 1, the view be taken that the Book of Mormon is merely of human origin... if it be assumed that he is the author of it, then it could be said there is much internal evidence in the book itself to sustain such a view…. In the first place there is a certain lack of perspective in the things the book relates as history that points quite clearly to an underdeveloped mind as their origin. The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency” (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.251).

“There were other Anti-Christs among the Nephites, but they were more military leaders than religious innovators... they are all of one breed and brand; so nearly alike that one mind is the author of them, and that a young and underdeveloped, but piously inclined mind. The evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator. It is difficult to believe that they are a product of history, that they came upon the scene separated by long periods of time, and among a race which was the ancestral race of the red man of America” (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.271).

“At his [B.H. Robert’s] request Pres. Grant called a meeting of the Twelve Apostles and Bro. Roberts presented the matter, told them frankly that he was stumped and ask[ed] for their aide [sic] in the explanation. In answer, they merely one by one stood up and bore testimony to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. George Albert Smith in tears testified that his faith in the Book had not been shaken by the question.... No answer was available. Bro[.] Roberts could not criticize them for not being able to answer it or to assist him, but said that in a church which claimed continuous revelation, a crisis had arisen where revelation was necessary. After the meeting he wrote Pres. Grant expressing his disappointment at the failure... It was mentioned at the meeting by Bro. Roberts that there were other Book of Mormon problems that needed special attention….

Richard Lyman spoke up and ask[ed] if there were things that would help our prestige and when Bro. Roberts answered no, he said then why discuss them. This attitude was too much for the historically minded Roberts...After this Bro. Roberts made a special Book of Mormon study; treated the problem systematically and historically and in a 400 type written page thesis set forth a revolutionary article on the origin of the Book of Mormon and sent it to Pres. Grant. It’s an article far too strong for the average Church member but for the intellectual group he considers it a contribution to assist in explaining Mormonism…

He swings to a psychological explanation of the Book of Mormon and shows that the plates were not objective but subjective with Joseph Smith, that his exceptional imagination qualified him psychologically for the experience which he had in presenting to the world the Book of Mormon and that the plates with the Urim and Thummim were not objective….He explained certain literary difficulties in the Book....

These are some of the things which has made Bro. Roberts shift his base on the Book of Mormon. Instead of regarding it as the strongest evidence we have of Church Divinity, he regards it as the one which needs the most bolstering. His greatest claim for the divinity of the Prophet Joseph Smith lies in the Doctrine and Covenants.”

- Private Journal of Wesley P. Lloyd, Aug. 7, 1933

Joseph Smith undoubtedly knew about the View of the Hebrews book as he quoted from it:

“If such may have been the fact, that a part of the Ten Tribes came over to America, in the way we have supposed, leaving the cold regions of Assareth behind them in quest of a milder climate, it would be natural to look for tokens of the presence of Jews of some sort, along countries adjacent to the Atlantic. In order to this, we shall here make an extract from an able work: written exclusively on the subject of the Ten Tribes having come from Asia by the way of Bherings Strait, by the Rev. Ethan Smith, Pultney, Vt., who relates as follows:... -Smith's view of the Hebrews. Pg. 220” (Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, 3:813-814).

For further objective detail on the comparison between Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon please visit

Actual Place Names vs. Book of Mormon Place Names
(Cities, Rivers, etc. in North East US and South East Canada)

                                                                   In Search of Book of Mormon Geography


                                                         Below is the modern Map of the area of Smith's Youth


“The Book of Mormon is supposed to be a history of real people living in a real place. For the first 150 years of Mormonism's existence, everyone thought it was a story about a people who left the Middle East and came to South or Central America, and who fought wars clear up into New York state where their history was hidden in a hillside, inscribed on gold plates. Joseph Smith, in 1830, translated those plates, he said, by "the gift and power of God," into 1611 English from "Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics." Or so the story goes.

However, one needs to look no further than New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to find the setting of the Book of Mormon. Whoever pieced the Book of Mormon together had a land in mind which was very similar to the Northeast United States and Southeast Canada.

The first map is the "proposed map," constructed from internal comparisons in the Book of Mormon.

Throughout the Book of Mormon we read of such features as "The Narrow Neck of Land" which was a days and a half's journey (roughly 30 miles) separating two great seas. We read much of the Hill Onidah, the Hill Ramah, and the city of the City of Angola—all place names in the land of Joseph Smith's youth. We read, in the Book of Mormon of the Land of Desolation named for a warrior named Teancum who helped General Moroni fight in the Land of Desolation. In Smith's era, an Indian Chief named Tecumseh fought and died near the narrow neck of land helping the British in the War of 1812. Today the Canadian city Techumseh (near the narrow neck of land) is named after him. We see the Book of Mormon city Kishkumen located near an area named, on modern maps, as Kiskiminetas. There are more than two dozen Book of Mormon names that are the same as or nearly the same as modern geographical locations. See below”

"Book of Mormon place names compared to actual Northeast US/Southeast Canada place names. Canadian locations are marked with an asterisk and appear in the Book of Mormon as lying in 'The Land Northward.'"

*Agathe, Saint
Alma, Valley Of
*Ephrem, Saint
Ephraim, Hill
Noah Lakes
Noah, Land Of
Oneida Castle
Onidah, Hill
*Ripple Lake
Ripliancum, Waters Of
Land Of Midian
Land Of Midian

Copyright 1989, 1992 by Vernal Holley
Further information on this subject

The evidence from B.B. Roberts writings on the View of the Hebrews parallels to the Book of Mormon and the actual place names of the region Joseph Smith grew up in vs. the Book of Mormon place names clearly point to the Book of Mormon being uninspired writings of a wonderful imagination heavily supplemented with other writings and beliefs at the time.

The KJV and the Book of Mormon

The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible was completed in 1611 and written in Elizabethan form English, which is an archaic language that was not around anymore in the early 1800's, and especially not in America.  How is it possible that the Book of Mormon, which was allegedly written over 1,000 years earlier, was written in the same Elizabethan for English that neither Joseph Smith nor the Nephites spoke or had access to?

During the seven year translation process of the KJV, words were added that did not appear in the original text to make the text flow and for readability into English.  These words were written in italics to denote they were not in the original manuscripts.  How could it be possible that these same italicized words, which were added in 1611, appear in the Book of Mormon as if Joseph Smith translated them directly from golden plates written over 1,000 years prior to the KJV Bible? For example, please compare Isaiah 53 to Mosiah 14.  

Furthermore, roughly 25% of the Book of Mormon contains almost a verbatim copy of the 1769 KJV of the Bible along with the exact same errors.  The 1769 version of the KJ Bible just happens to be the exact version that Joseph Smith owned.  Is this just a mere coincidence?  Is this really inspired from God and "the most correct book of any on earth" if the errors were not corrected by Joseph Smith?  

Other similarities between Book of Mormon and Bible 

There are a significant amount of similarities between the characters/stories in the bible vs. the Book of Mormon.  Here are several examples listed in Grant Palmer’s book An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.

In John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead which seems to serve as the source for Alma 19 where Lamoni was raised from the dead.  The biblical version occurs in 33AD, whereas the BOM version occurs in 90BC.

Alma the younger is modeled after the New Testament Apostle Paul.  Grant informs us of the following comparisons:

Both were wicked before their conversions (Mosiah 27:8; 1 Timothy 1:12-13).
Both traveled persecuting and seeking to destroy the church (Alma 36:6, 14; 1 Corinthians 15:9, Acts 22:4).
Both were persecuting the church when they saw a heavenly vision (Mosiah 27:10-11; Acts 26:11-13).
Their companions fell to the earth and were unable to understand the voice that spoke (Mosiah 27:12; Acts 22:9; 26:14).
Both were asked in vision why they persecuted the Lord (Mosiah 27:13; Acts 9:4; 22:7).
Both were struck dumb/blind, became helpless, and were assisted by their companions.  They went without food before converting (Mosiah 27:19, 23-24; Acts 9:8-9, 18).
Both preached the gospel and both performed the same miracle (Mosiah 27:32; Alma 15:11; Acts 9:20; 14:10).
While preaching, they supported themselves by their own labors (Alma 30:32; 1 Corinthians 4:12).
Both were put into prison.  After they prayed, an earthquake loosened their bands (Alma 14:22, 26-28; Acts 16:23, 25-26).
Both used the same phrases in their preaching (Alma 12-13 & Hebrews 3-4 and many others stating similar/same phrases on Faith, Hope and Charity.

(Grant Palmer, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, p. 50).

Mr. Palmer points out that similarities in concepts and themes to different people at different times can be expected, but can they be in identical sequences of ideas, phrases, and sentences?

Another example Mr. Palmer points that shows the Book of Mormon “recast[s] … biblical material” of Lehi’s and his family’s time and journey in the wilderness to the promised land.  He demonstrates through twenty motifs that this journey “closely parallels ten chapters in Exodus.”  I won’t list all the similarities for the sake of space, but even fine details of the Nephites actions, events and chronology are all strikingly similar to the Israelites.  After the comparison, Mr. Palmer says, “It is remarkable that many of the Nephite ideas and events occur at the same point in the chronology and at similar places as in the Israelite wilderness experience.  These twenty shared motifs suggest dependency on the biblical exodus story” (Ibid, pp. 74-78).

One final example is shown by the teachings of Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi. Here Mr. Palmer points out that a thesis written by Krister Stendahl, dean of the Harvard Divinity School, shows that “246 verses out of 490 (11:3–28:14), 50 percent, contain recognizable KJV quotations or phrases … Even more significantly, there are no original motifs in 3 Nephi that are not already found in the Gospels” (Ibid, pp. 81-82).  To pour a little fuel on the fire, Mr. Palmer also notes that “An LDS scholar’s article on 3 Nephi 12-14, the Sermon at the Temple, demonstrates that Joseph’s use of the KJV includes the modern errors which accumulated in the hand-written manuscripts and KJV over the centuries” (Ibid, p. 83).  This issue, as I have already alluded to, demonstrates that ancient records were not used in the translation process for this particular example or many other examples within the Book of Mormon.

19th Century Evangelical Protestantism in the Book of Mormon

The “burnt-over” district in New York, where the revivals were sweeping the land during the Second Great Awakening, was where young Joseph Smith grew fond of the Methodist denomination.  Interestingly, the same hot topics that were debated among the denominational ministers found their way into the Book of Mormon.  These topics include infant baptism, who may baptize, paid clergy, persecution of Deism and Universalism, Catholicism, secret combination of Masonry, the building of New Jerusalem in America, concerns over the correct name of the church, the nature of the godhead and the Methodist doctrine of an inherent sin nature of humanity.  What makes this even more interesting is that these were not the type of topics ripe for hot debate you would find among ancient civilizations, but were specifically unique to the early 19th Century. 

After reading Grant Palmer’s book An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, there are several issues Grant reveals that show the Book of Mormon is a 19th century creation combining the bible, 19th century evangelical Protestantism and Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews.

The Book of Mormon is not only permeated with biblical stories and verses that closely match the King James bible, but is also prolific with early 19th century evangelical Protestantism. 

Mr. Palmer suggests that “While biblical material is evident in 1, 2, and 3 Nephi and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, the inspiration for Jacob, Enos, Mosiah, and Alma seems to be partly drawn from Joseph Smith’s own spiritual odyssey.  Elements of his own life and experiences, his observations of circuit preachers and conversion in western New York, form a backdrop for the discourses and religious experiences of Abinidi, Alma, Ammon, Amulek, Benjamin, and others.  Reviews of the Book of Mormon in the 1830’s detected this coloring from Joseph’s own life. … Jason Whitman, editor of the Boston Unitarian, … reported that the book [Book of Mormon] followed (1) ‘the camp-meeting ground’ and (2) the evangelical ‘style of preaching,’ (3) ‘conversion,’ (4) and ‘dissent,’ and (5) that the ‘exhortations are strongly tinctured with the doctrines of modern [Protestant] Orthodoxy.

Evangelical meetings in western New York in the 1820s were characterized by (1) camp settings; (2) preaching that interlaced paraphrased biblical passages with revival terminology designed to produce a powerful emotional impact; (3) a conversion pattern characterized by a conviction of sin intense prayer for forgiveness, and a sweet calming assurance of being forgiven, often accompanied by trembling, tears, falling, and other physical manifestations; (4) denunciation of Deists, Unitarians, Universalists, and agnostics; and (5) vivid descriptions of the degenerate state of human beings.  While all five of these elements formed a pattern that was typical in Joseph Smith’s environment, one would not expect to find them packaged together in the discourses and experiences of ancient Americans” (Grant Palmer, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, p. 95-96). 

Mr. Palmer then provides many examples of how these Evangelical meetings are peppered throughout the Book of Mormon.  One is a Methodist camp meeting where a Methodist leader, Bishop M’Kendree, gave his farewell speech to the crowd.  The details of the speech, condition of the speaker and the actions and conversion of the crowd seem to provide the inspiration for the King Benjamin speech to the Zarahelmans in the Book of Mormon.  The details of this July 1826 speech are documented in various writings of the time (Ibid, p. 96-98). 

Mr. Palmer then goes on to describe comparisons of documented personal conversions during these camp settings comparing a list of close similarities to the conversion forms of the Book of Mormon characters Alma II, Zeezrom, Lamoni’s Court and Lamoni’s Father’s Court (Ibid, p. 99-105).  

Yet another close parallel Mr. Palmer points out and provides many examples of is the “Evangelical preaching approach,” “style,” “impact,” and “message” of the preachers of the time vs. the Book of Mormon.

Are we really to believe the Book of Mormon is inspired of God given it essentially recasts identical and chronological stories, events, and characters of the bible with only different names?  Even more, many the Book of Mormon verses contain the same errors that the Joseph Smith owned 1769 KJV of the bible contains.  I believe this is solid, factual evidence that proves Joseph Smith is just as the original 1830 BOM title page and testimony of the eight witnesses listed him as – “Author and Proprietor” and not “Translator” as it currently states.

The Gold Plates and Moroni Vision Source

One of the chapters in Grant Palmer's An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins is titled “Moroni and the Golden Pot.”  This chapter discusses the astounding parallels between an 1814 short story by E.T.A Hoffmann (1776-1822) called “The Golden Pot” and Joseph Smith’s purported visions and communications with the angel Moroni of how the golden plates came forth to become the Book of Mormon.  Mr. Palmer details that “the ideas and characters for Hoffmann’s tales, according to his biographers, came from popular beliefs of the time, readings in the paranormal, and from observing patients at Europe’s first psychiatric hospital founded by Hoffmann’s friend, Dr. Adalbert Marcus” (Ibid, p. 138).   The parallels of these two stories are drawn from the recitals of Joseph Smith, his family, friends and acquaintances documented accounts to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Golden Pot.”  The book provides a good paragraph or two of details surrounding the accounts, but I will only provide the high level summaries provided by Grant within each of the vigils. 

Vigil 1: The First Vision of the Evening
            He Meditates on his foibles.
            He receives a shock, a vision of angels, and a message.

Vigil 2: The Second Vision of the Evening
            He is called to translate ancient records.
            The next morning he walks to the appointed place.
            He thinks about riches.
            He encounters an evil force.
            The messenger harms him.

Vigil 3: The Third Vision of the Evening
            He receives a brief sketch of the ancients.
            The messenger is a descendant of his people’s founders.
            The messenger is a spirit prince.

Vigil 4: The Morning Vigil
            He sits under a tree by a green sward.
            The message is repeated and expanded.
            He is chastised for disobedience.

Vigil 5: Waiting for the Fall Equinox
            He has to wait one year.
            He will be accompanied by a woman.

Vigil 6: Another Visit to the Appointed Place
            The door opens automatically.
            He tours vast chambers.
            He sees illuminated treasures.
            He views Egyptian artifacts.
            He encounters the seeric device.
            The special treasures are kept separate from the library.
            He describes the general library.
            He enters a period of instruction.
            He understands the higher purpose of his work.

Vigil 7: The Final Test
            The fall equinox has significance.
            His companion prays against the howling spirits.
            He is wounded in a fight with the spirits.
            Midnight to dawn on the equinox.
            He receives the ancestral records on the equinox.

Vigil 8: Translating the History
            He describes the records.
            The characters are in an unknown language.
            He translates by inspiration.          
            He produces a most correct book.

(Ibid, pp. 147-170)

In conclusion, Mr. Palmer suggests the parallels between the two are “similar motifs, descriptions, and occasionally the same terminology in both the New York and ‘Golden Pot’ narratives.  Moreover, how could Joseph control the many detailed events and descriptions that are clearly beyond his power to duplicate and which are common to both narratives?  It would be a stretch to credulity to believe that this could be a coincidence, and I therefore think that a debt is owed to E.T.A. Hoffmann and the European traditions for at least some of the details that passed from the Smith family to neighbors and from there to outsiders.  Interestingly, it is only after the appearance of Carlyle’s translation in January-February 1827 that the first full narrative of the angel and gold plates was reported outside the Smith family.  Joseph Sr. related it in some detail to Willard Chase in June 1827.  The community began to hear the full report after 22 September 1827” (Ibid, p. 171).

When I read this comparison by Mr. Palmer it blew me away although at this point nothing really surprises me.  I wonder just how much of the Book of Mormon and the narratives surrounding its coming forth is not lifted from other sources or recast from biblical material.  

LDS Archaeologists on the Book of Mormon

LDS scholar and archaeologist Dee F. Green stated the following in regards to the existence of Book of Mormon archaeology, "The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. ... no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography. Biblical archaeology can be studied because we do know where Jerusalem and Jericho were and are, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful (nor any other location for that matter) were or are. It would seem then that a concentration on geography should be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty-handed" (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1969, pp. 76-78).

LDS archaeologist Thomas Ferguson who spent years searching for Book of Mormon archaeology from the funding of the LDS church came to this conclusion in 1975, “I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book-of-Mormon geography” (Written Symposium on Book-of-Mormon Geography: Response of Thomas S. Ferguson to the Norman & Sorenson Papers, p. 29).

Thomas Ferguson decided to remain somewhat quiet about his findings and conclusion with regards to the veracity of Mormonism, but in a personal letter (page 2) dated February 9, 1976, he wrote, “Mormonism is probably the best conceived myth-fraternity to which one can belong. … He [Joseph Smith] can also be refuted – but why bother … It would be like wiping out placebos in medicine, and that would make no sense when they do a lot of good. ... Perhaps you and I have been spoofed by Joseph Smith.  Now that we have the inside dope – why not spoof a little back and stay aboard?”

For more on Thomas Ferguson and his letters regarding the veracity of Mormonism and Book of Mormon archaeology please visit

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