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A Parallel Between the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith


the View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith

Introduction by Donna Morley , taken from A Christian Woman’s Guide to Understanding Mormonism (59-63):

Mormon scholar Hugh Nibley said, “There is no point at all to the question: Who wrote the Book of Mormon? It would have been quite as impossible for the most learned man alive in 1830 to have written the book as it was for Joseph Smith.” [Hugh Nibley, Lehi in the Desert, 123; quoted in Noel B. Reynolds, ed., Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997, pg. 163]

When Brigham Young (Smith’s predecessor) picked up the Book of Mormon for the first time, before reading “half a page, he declared ‘God or the Devil has had a hand in that book, for man never wrote it.’” [History of the Church, 2:470, footnotes]. Yet some wonder if Joseph had to have written the book because of what Lucy Smith said about Joseph’s imagination regarding the tales he frequently told of ancient peoples.

Lucy Smith shares in her biography these endearing words:

During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them. [Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith’s History by His Mother, photomechanical reprint of the original 1853 edition. Original titled, Biographical Sketches or Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Lighthouse Ministry), 85].

John Gilbert, the typesetter of the Book of Mormon, might have wondered if God really wrote the book because he found the manuscripts so “...imperfect...especially in regard to grammar....” When Gilbert explained this to Smith and his party, “he was given a limited discretion in correction....Many errors...nevertheless, escaped correction, as appeared in the first edition of the printed book.” [Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 2000), 3:115. Pomeroy Tucker Account, 1867.]

Some say that at least portions of the Book of Mormon actually came from Joseph’s grandfather’s book. Solomon Mack had published his own autobiography, writing about his participation in the French and Indian wars and the American Revolution, his long history of poverty and physical accidents, and his religious conversation. [Robert D. Anderson, Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1999), 17. A partial account is in Lucy Mack Smith’s, Joseph’s History by His Mother, 15-20].

 There are many who believe that Joseph Smith the Book of Mormon didn’t come from God, but that Joseph Smith wrote it himself. Some believe that it was the cultural and religious environment of Smith’s day that helped create the Book of Mormon. There were many controversies being discussed in that era, such as infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, church government and even freemasonry

Others say that the Book of Mormon plates actually come from Joseph’s grandfather’s book.