Talk:Origin of the Book of Mormon

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Church rebuttals to plagiarism[edit]

I moved the new text on church views of plagiarism into a dedicated section, because there are 4 sections on plagiarism, and since this is an important rebuttal (and apparently will grow in the future), it deserves its own named section. There is one issue that we should probably address: Does this rebuttal somehow need to be clarified to focus mostly on the KJV (and perhaps the Apocrypha)? Or does the rebuttal also encompass the View of the Hebrews, Wonders of Nature, and the Spaulding text? If the rebuttal arguments are mostly about the KJV, that fact should probably be noted, since there are five source documents under discussion. Noleander (talk) 20:40, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Anon's large addition[edit]

User: has made a large edited that I and others have reverted. The language is not encyclopedic and it is not supported by a reputable references. ANON, if you have questions on how to make edits that are more like to stay in an article, just ask and we would be happy to assist you. --Storm Rider (talk) 17:31, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Please tell me how my edits on this article can stay on wikipedia. (talk) 14:05, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
You have requested on my talk page to respond to you here; I will be brief and if more assistance is needed it should be handled on your own talk page. Let's look at the beginning of what you wrote:
Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (Psalm 85:11)
This verse is the psalmist's reference to the gold plates being buried in a hillside by the prophet, Moroni, in approximately 400 AD. In 1823, Moroni led Joseph Smith to where the plates were hidden. In 1827, Joseph was finally allowed to remove the plates. He translated them by the power of God into what is now known as the Book of Mormon - named after the prophet, Mormon. Truth literally and poetically sprung up from the earth.
Among other things Wikipedia would say this violates original research and synthesis policies. Wikipedia only report facts or expert opinion. To make this more acceptable you would provide a quote from a notable LDS apologist that interprets the scripture as you have stated. Leaving it this way makes wikipedia appear as if it is providing or supporting the position, which it can not do as an encyclopedia. Another way to look at it is asking who says the Psalmist is referencing gold plates in the verse that were buried? Who allowed Joseph to remove the plates?
Also, you have to be careful when making statements such as "He translated them by the power of God...". Who says it was the power of God. It is not necessary to preface each and every sentence with "LDS believe..." or equivalent qualifier; I think once a paragraph is adequate. Each statement that can be perceived as controversial by individuals of other faiths should be supported by a reference. You will see in articles little numbers that are tied to the notes at the bottom of the page; those are references from reputable sources that support what is being said. If what you are stating is opinion, find a reference for it or quote an expert that says something that supports your position. Let me know if this makes sense to you or if you have additional questions. BTW, I added a welcome message on your personal talk page that provides a great number of links to additional proper ways to edit and more policies of importance. --Storm Rider (talk) 18:01, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Sources of Plagiarism[edit]

This is kind of a minor thing but in the possible sources section, right before the list of this is written "Critics specifically cite four books that Joseph Smith could have used to obtain verses for the Book of Mormon, though they fail to tell us how Smith could have acquired them." I take exception to the "though they fail..." because it would seem that these books were widely available at that time in America. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rustytrombone32 (talkcontribs) 02:01, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

It would be better if it read: Circumstancial evidence suggests that Joseph Smith or oliver cowdery may have had acces to the sources. Evidence such as....... However it is impossible to prove or disprove if Joseph Smith was in possesion of or had previously read the cited texts. -- (talk) 19:52, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

The text reading, "'I will hiss for them' God is represented as hissing for a people. ... [To] behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people.... This standard of salvation." (p. 241-242) ,contains an incorrect reference. A person trying to locate this text in View of the Hebrews may have a difficult time given the current page numbers. The reference should read (p. 235,241-242). [1].Mvonnied (talk) 19:37, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

If you are certain that is correct, go ahead and fix it. --Noleander (talk) 19:40, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

The text reading "And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, together the remnant of his people" (View of the Hebrews, p. 56) is actually taken from Isaiah 11:11 (KJV), which reads, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people..." and shouldn't be cited as evidence of plagiarism from View of the Hebrews. Making this change now.-- (talk) 02:48, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Similarities of some segments to the King James Version[edit]

Apparently a reference to Lucifer was also mis-translated. Not sure how long a list of errors should be inlcuded, but four or five seems about right to me. Any thoughts? Jspice9000 (talk) 15:19, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Summary of Theories[edit]

Since when have movies become references? This topic deserves something a little more substantial. If someone can find a statement by an organized church to that effect I would appreciate it. I accept reality and dare not question it.--WaltFrost (talk) 05:19, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Can you save me some time? I can't seem to figure out which reference is a movie. Also, if it is a real documentary (not 'hate propaganda'), that should qualify as a legitimate reference.Jspice9000 (talk) 01:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Rationale needed for POV tag[edit]

Mbz1: There is a POV tag on this article, but those must be accompanied by an explanation on the Talk page explaining the issue. I looked on this Talk page and couldnt find any discussion of the POV tag. Maybe Im looking in the wrong place. Can you explain why the POV tag should stay? Thanks. --Noleander (talk) 22:31, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

I'll go ahead and remove the POV tag. If think it should be restored, that is okay, but the POV policy says there must be an explanation (on the Talk page) of reason for the POV. So you should either add an explanation, or point us to where the explanation is. --Noleander (talk) 23:51, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Need better sources for Warren's book[edit]

Regarding the new 5th possible source of the BOM: we need better sources if it is to be included here. It is only mentioned in one web site, and in one self-published book: "House of Faith House of Cards: One Man's Journey Through the World of Mormonism, Magic, and Murderers". If it is a source of the BOM, other analysts will have noted it in more reliable works. --Noleander (talk) 01:46, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

What is purpose of color highlighting?[edit]

Mvonied: what is your goal with the color highlighting? Also, you are adding additional text, true? What is the source you are using for that additional text? --Noleander (talk) 15:31, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

The color highlighting is the text that critics report was plagiarized. The additional text comes from the original sources that are being quoted. That is View of the Hebrews 1825 edition and the Book of Mormon 1830 edition. Note that the 1830 Book of Mormon does not have versus therefore i thought it more appropriate to reference this with page numbers.I would like to continue to add more text to give the references more context, without adding too much clutter to the section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

To further clarify. The highlighting is the text as quoted by David Persuitte as taken in the original context of View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mvonnied (talkcontribs) 18:40, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Color highlighting should be avoided as much as possible in Wikipedia because it cannot be read by software readers used by blind users. --Taivo (talk) 19:11, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
It may be possible to accomplish the same goal by using bold and italicized text.--Mvonnied (talk) 19:14, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Mvonnied: Can you, here - in the talk page - put the new tables that you want in the article. Just copy the text from the main article, change it the way you want it, and put it here as if they were in the article. Then we can see what you have in mind before it goes into the main article. As for bold/italic: I'll have to see what it looks like before I can render an opinion. The snippets of text (in the article) are fairly small, and it is obvious to any reader where the alleged plagiarism is, so I'm not sure if bold-ing is necessary. Do you also want to include more text? --Noleander (talk) 19:36, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Tables, David Persuitte, and Theory Revision[edit]

It would be beneficial to add more text from the original sources as quoted by critics. This may be accomplished by adding the text that David Persuitte quotes in italics and bold in the context of the surrounding paragraph of the original sources. Doing so would allow a reader to gain a better understanding of the alleged plagiarized texts. (Mvonnied (talk) 19:27, 28 October 2010 (UTC))

A proposed change is shown below. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mvonnied (talkcontribs) 22:25, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Critics claim that Smith based several passages and many thematic elements in The Book of Mormon on material he found in View of the Hebrews, published in 1823, with an expanded edition in 1825, by Ethan Smith.[2][3] Examples of verses as quoted by critics in the context of the refrenced sources is shown below with purported plagerism shown in bold:[4][5]

View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith (1825 edition) Book of Mormon (1830)
"Here we learn that those far distant savages have (as have all the other tribes) their Great Spirit, "who made every thing," though in their bewildered opinion he dwells in certain animals. On going to war, or returning, they must sacrifice; and for victory obtained, must have their religious dance." (p. 103) "And Ammon saith unto him again, Believest thou that this Great Spirit, which is God, created all things which is in Heaven and in the Earth? And he saith, Yea, I believe that he created all things which is in Heaven and in the Earth;but I do not know the Heavens. And Ammon saith unto him, The Heavens is a place where God dwells and all his holy angels." (p.  275)
"Ephraim and Judah are both restored, the one from his "dispersed," the other from his " outcast" state; and their mutual envies are forever healed.And the places from which they are recovered are noted; among which are " the isles of the sea ; or lands away over the sea, and " the four corners of the earth." Certainly then, from America ! This surely is one of the four corners of the earth." (p. 232-233) "[W]e have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land: for the Lord hath made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great is the promises of the Lord unto they which are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore, as it sayeth isles, there must needs be more than this;" (p.  85)
" 'I will hiss for them' God is represented as hissing for a people. only in two texts beside this; Isai. v. 26, and vii. 18 ; (p.  235) ... An apostrophe is made by the Most High to all nations, to stand and behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people .... This standard of salvation at that period, is a notable event in the prophets."(p. 241-242) "[M]y words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the House of Israel." (p.  115)
"In Isaiah xi... "And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, together the remnant of his people" " (p. 56) "Now I, Nephi, do speak somewhat concerning the words of Isaiah... [A]nd the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state" (p.  103-104)

--Mvonnied (talk) 22:23, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

The question must be asked what point Wikipedia is trying to illustrate with the tables. The question is not if the Passages of the Book of Mormon were directly copied from the View of the Hebrews; the question that is asked instead is if the ideas presented in View of the Hebrews was used to write the Book of Mormon. Persuitte in his book often quotes passages in the Book of Mormon that with allot of deletion and rearranging appear to match passages in the Book of Mormon. Row 3 in the table illustrates this as Persuitte takes the first part of a sentence on page 235 and combines that with part of a sentence on page 241 and a third sentence on page 242. In this manner of deletion and arranging a writer can give the appearance of direct copying of text. Furthermore text that matches up closely such as passages of Isaiah are quoted as being from Isaiah in both texts. View of the Hebrews quotes Isaiah and the Book of Mormon quotes the same passages from Isaiah. Passages such as that shown in row 4 where Isaiah is quoted as the author may not be an issue of plagiarism as both authors reference Isaiah as the author.

As a result the work of David Persuitte as a source of unbiased and accurate research may be brought into question. A significant amount of deletion and arrangement of words to give the appearance of direct transcription along with claims the Joseph smith plagiarized passages of Isaiah when the Book of Mormon references Isaiah as the author should cause us as writers of Origins of the Book of Mormon to question the use of Persuitte as a source of accurate information.

The real issue that should be highlighted with View of the Hebrews is if Joseph Smith read and copied the Ideas from View of the Hebrews. Readers of Origins of The Book of Mormon should be shown the ideas contained in View of the Hebrews as it relates to ideas contained in Book of Mormon. The current article propagates erroneous ideas of credible theories. The article should be rewritten to give an accurate feel of the Theory that Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery could have obtained a copy of View of the Hebrews and used the ideas to write the Book of Mormon. Circumstantial evidence may support this theory. Evidence such as: view of the Hebrews was written in 1825 and was available in the area that Joseph Smith lived, Also it is likely that Oliver Cowdery may have known about the book through a pastor. However, it is difficult if not impossible to prove that Joseph Smith had a copy of View of the Hebrews before 1830. --Mvonnied (talk) 19:29, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

I think the whole table needs to be deleted. Wikipedia is not the place for people to do research and decide whether X or Y point of view is accurate or not. Wikipedia is the place to get basic information. It is enough that some critics say that the BOM is partially plagiarized from the View of the Hebrews. That POV exists and needs to be documented. Wikipedia is not the place for a reader to decide whether or not X author or Y author is right or not. Wikipedia is a catalogue of views, of which the View of the Hebrews plagiarism is one. It is not Wikipedia's place to present every detail of every theory and present minute critiques of every element of each theory. I think the whole table is overkill. The article used to state, simply and elegantly, that some critics think Smith plagiarized from The View of the Hebrews. Then it moved on to the next topic without trying to convince the reader whether that was an accurate critique or not. We need to ditch the table and go back to the simple elegance that was there before. --Taivo (talk) 21:02, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Taivo: Sorry, but the sources use a table-like format to present the comparison between the BOM text and the other texts. Other formats would make it nearly impossible for readers to understand what the sources are saying. Certainly you are not suggesting that the quotes from the other texts be deleted from the article? Any concerns you have are better resolved by adding material that counter-balances the plagiarism allegations ... do you have any sources that could be used for that purpose? --Noleander (talk) 21:14, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Mvonnied: You ask "what is the point the tables are trying to make?". They are not making any point: they are simply conveying the identical information that several sources present (see the footnotes). Your proposed use of boldface is interesting, but unless the sources present the quotes in that fashion, we - as editors - should not add that highlighting. Do you have a source that highlights those particular words in a manner similar to what you are proposing? If not, we should stick with what the sources provide, unless there is a compelling reason to change it. Regarding your other points about Persuitte: certainly if Persuitte is biased or unreliable, that fact should be presented in the article (with sources, of course). However, he is not the only source that discusses the plagiarism issue: there are many, so any problem with Persuitte, by itself, doesnt really effect the over-all section. --Noleander (talk) 21:14, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Mvonnied: PS, please put new text at the bottom of the Talk page, not the top. Thanks. --Noleander (talk) 21:15, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
Actually, Noleander, I am saying exactly that the quotes and table are completely unnecessary. Wikipedia is not for "counter-balancing the plagiarism allegations", it is simply for presenting in summary what critics have said, and presenting in summary what apologists have said. It is not here to provide all the data necessary for our readers to come to a conclusion one way or the other. Saying that "Some critics have claimed that the BOM is partially plagiarized from View of the Hebrews. Apologists claim that the alleged plagiarism is X" is quite sufficient (with appropriate references inserted in situ, of course). These religious articles suffer when they become extensive back and forths with claims and counter-claims and an over-accumulation of detail, with every advocate fighting to get the last word in each paragraph, as if it will convince a neutral reader to land on their side of the issue. Yes, Noleander, I think the table is complete overkill on the issue. Just state the two positions and move on without filling the article with layer upon layer of fighting over every detail of every argument. Give a summary, provide the interested reader with references to find further information, and move on. That's the ultimate in the spirit of encyclopedic content and NPOV. --Taivo (talk) 23:25, 29 October 2010 (UTC)
You might have a point if the detail were in the Mormonism article, or even the Book of Mormon article. But this is a rather low-level article on the origin of the BOM, and so the quotes are not overly detailed, nor irrelevant. Articles in WP discussing religious texts frequently contain direct quotes of verses, and it is very common for analysts to compare the verses to other texts (e.g. comparing the various books of the Gospel; or comparing the Talmud to the Tosefta). --Noleander (talk) 01:03, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
The difference between those quotes and these is that those other quotes are not critical of the texts, but illustrative. There isn't an argument going on that distracts from the issue at hand. These quotes are purely for the purpose of argumentation and not illustration. One quote might be sufficient to illustrate the kinds of plagiarism arguments that are made, but a cherry-picked list will invariably reflect the editor's POV--either finding the most damning to show that the BOM is a fraud or the least damning to show that the charge of plagiarism is a false accusation. You can't cherry-pick quotes here and remain NPOV. That is why I consider NPOV to be better served by eliminating the quotes entirely and simply stating that critics charge plagiarism, but apologists say the similarities are few, and then moving on to the next topic. --Taivo (talk) 03:12, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
You are correct: editors cannot cherry-pick quotes. However, in this situation, the picking was done by Abanes, Tanners, et al. This article has to reflect what those sources said. --Noleander (talk) 14:52, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── A question that must be asked is "Are we and our sources accurately representing data that exists"? If a person were to go to the references listed in the table- 1825 edition of View of the Hebrews- will they find the phrase " 'I will hiss for them' God is represented as hissing for a people. ... [To] behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people.... This standard of salvation."? See View of the Hebrews 235,241,242 and Note how the phrase was constructed for Persuittes book.

The tables should be eliminated or altered to more accurately reflect the sources presented. 1.From wikipedias guide on sources. "[W]hen presented with a secondary or primary source the primary source should be used." We should be citing View of the Hebrews instead of David Persuittes quotations from View of the Hebrews.

2.Use Reliable sources. "How accepted, high-quality reliable sources use a given source provides evidence, positive or negative, for its reliability and reputation." It may be acceptable to list persuittes view as an opinion however placing his view in table format and presented as a fact is questionable. The table is currently set up to represent the phrases in View of the Hebrews when considerable alteration went into David Persuittes quotation of View of the Hebrews. --Mvonnied (talk) 14:24, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Can you look at the Abanes and Tanner sources and see how they present the quotes? --Noleander (talk) 14:52, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Purported Plagiarism-Alteration or Removal[edit]

The section Purported plagiarism cast’s doubt on the credibility of this article and the third party sources that were cited. Two problems exist in this section.

The problem of text fixing is highlighted in the construction of two quotes as shown below under Quote 1 and Quote 2 from The Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews respectively. In order to develop the quotes as found on Wikipedia large amounts of text were needed. In the case of quote 1 from the Book of Mormon over 400 pages of text were needed to make the quote. In the case of quote 2 7 pages of text were needed to develop the quote as shown on Wikipedia. Piecing together words out of texts hundreds of pages long is not a credible method to show plagiarism occurred. The second problem with the section is a problem with word finding. That is hundreds of pages of text were searched to find sentences that were similar in structure. Using this method almost any text could be shown to be plagiarized from other sources. The phrase I dreamed a dream for example is currently reported by Wikipedia to be plagiarism from the apocrypha, however this phrase also appears in many other sources and texts including the Matrix Reloaded, Les Misreables, and a blog called B'Sha'Ah. Likewise the phrase "from whence no traveller can return" reported to be plagerized from The Wonders of Nature can also be found in A Journal of Hospital Life in the Confederate Army,"from which no traveler returns." and Wikipedia's Time Travel article, "The Traveler...cannot return.".

This section highlights one of the primary problems Wikipedia faces. That is that any third party source can be quoted without the ability of the Wikipedia user to judge that sources credibility. The second problem is that of source misrepresentation. It is easy to quote a source and make a person say what you want them to say. Quotes should be representative of the third party source both in context and in quotation.

It is recommended that Wikipedia scrap all of the tables in this section. Written paragraphs describing third party authors' claims of plagerisim would be far more appropriate.

Quote 1. "I make an abridgement of the record ... after I have abridged the record.... I had made an abridgement from the plates of Nephi.... I write a small abridgement." (1 Nephi 1:17, Words of Mormon 3, 5:9)

And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account. But I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days. Behold, I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life. Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.…….140 pages of text…… And now I, Mormon, being about to deliver up the record which I have been making into the hands of my son Moroni, behold I have witnessed almost all the destruction of my people, the Nephites……And now, I speak somewhat concerning that which I have written; for after I had made an abridgment from the plates of Nephi, down to the reign of this king Benjamin, of whom Amaleki spake, I searched among the records which had been delivered into my hands, and I found these plates, which contained this small account of the prophets, from Jacob down to the reign of this king Benjamin, and also many of the words of Nephi.

….400 pages of text…. And also that a knowledge of these things must come unto the remnant of these people, and also unto the Gentiles, who the Lord hath said should scatter this people, and this people should be counted as naught among them—therefore I write a small abridgment, daring not to give a full account of the things which I have seen, because of the commandment which I have received, and also that ye might not have too great sorrow because of the wickedness of this people.

Quote 2. " 'I will hiss for them' God is represented as hissing for a people. ... [To] behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people.... This standard of salvation." View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith (1825 edition)

In Zech. x. 6—9, is the same event; and Ephraim is by name saved from " far countries." " And I will strengthen the house of Judah,- and will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercey' upon them ; and they shall be as though I had not cast them off; for I am the Lord their God, and will hear them. And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine; yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. I will hiss for them, and gather them; for If have redeemed them; and they shall increase as they have increased. And I will save them among the people; and they shall re- " member me in far countries; and they shail live with their children, and turn again." "I will hiss for -the ." God is represented as hissing for a people, only in two. texts beside this; Isai. v. 26, and vii. 18 ; in both of which passages, the hiss was to call distant heathen. God's hissing, in this passage then, to gather the children of Ephraim in the last days, seems to indicate his providentially calling them from a distant heathen s'lute! And it is a mode of calling which perfectly symbolizes with the calls of American natives, a shrill significant whistling. Such promises of the restoration of Israel from far Itountries, from the west or the going down of the sun, from the coasts of the earth, from the ends of the earth, from itles afar, tiieir being brought in ships from far, making their way in the sea, their path in the mighty waters; these expressions certainly well accord with the ten tribes being brought from America. And such passages imply an agency by which such a restoration shall be effected. Where shall such an agency be so naturally found, as among a great Christian people, providentially planted on the very ground occupied by the outcast tribes of Israel in their long exilement; andwho are so happily remote from the bloody scenes of Europe in the last clays, as to have leisure for the impoitant business assigned t ……..

…..5 pages of text…..

" Whose land the rivers have spoiled. Whose inheritance (in the Holy Laud) has been torn from them, and overrun by neighbouring hostile nations, often symbolized by rivers, even as the lands by the sides of the Nile often had their boundaries swept away by the overflowings of that river. Thus the Romans first, then the Persians, the Saracens, the Egyptians, and the Turks, have overflowed and possessed the Holy Land. But the line of divine promise will restore it to the Hebrews.* Go thou protecting people; shadow with thy wings my ancient family, as though the Most High should say. For thus it is written; " Surely the isles shall wait for me, (or lands away over sea from Palestine,) and the ships of Tarshish first, (a people expert in navigation,) to bring my sons from far." A far distant land over sea shall be engaged in this work. . Verse 3. " All ye inhabitants of the wmld, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifteth up the ensign on the mountains, andwhen he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.'* After the land shadowing with wings is under way in fulfilment of the divine requirement; an apostrophe is made by the Most High to all nations, to stand and behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people ; and to hear the great gospel trumpet, the blessed Jubilee, now to be blown for their collection and their freedom. The ancient silver trumpets in Israel collected their solemn assemblies. And the same trumpets, with joyful and peculiar blasts, ushered in the Jubilee morn, and loosed every bond slave of the Hebrews. And the antitype of the event shall now be accomplished.This standard of salvatien at that period, is a notable event in the prophets. See Isai. xi. 12, where God eets his hand a second time to gather his Hebrew family from all nations and regions beyond sea; doubtless from America, as well as other nations; and it is promised, " He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." If from the four corners of the earth, then surely from America ! In this passage are the descriptive situations from which the two great branches of the Hebrews are recovered ; Judah from being dispersed among the nations ; and Israel from being outcast from the nations ; thrown out of sight of the social world ; precisely as they have been in the wilds of America for more than two thousand years', provided our natives are of Israel. --Mvonnied (talk) 22:03, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

First, no one's going to read such a long detailed statement. Learn to summarize. Second, the tables are properly cited from the sources cited. That's all that matters. If you have a problem with the original tables, then I suggest you get with the authors of the works that they are cited from. --Taivo (talk) 00:23, 22 March 2011 (UTC)
The quotation existing in the third party source is not in question. What is in question is the reliability of the source cited. This can be summerized in a challenge to find the quote " 'I will hiss for them' God is represented as hissing for a people. ... [To] behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people.... This standard of salvation." (p. 235,241-242) In view of the Hebrews. This book is readily available on google books, ten minutes of easy research. If no-one can find this quote in view of the hebrews as it appears on our wikipedia article then the third party source can be shown to be unreliable. Mvonnied (talk) 04:31, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Speaking of plagiarism, should we really be lifting these entire tables directly from Abanes? At minimum, we should make it clear that these tables are copied straight from One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church, pages 68, 69, 71, and 72. Also, if we keep them, it would make more sense to incorporate them into their relevant sections rather than what we currently do, which is listing them all in a row, and then revisiting each one with prose afterwards. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:59, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
Mvonnied, it is not your place to determine whether X, Y or Z is wrong if it is quoted from a reliable source. If you have another source that says it's wrong, then we can cite it and mention the difference of opinion.
BFizz, knock yourself out at reorganizing. --Taivo (talk) 10:40, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
If the consensus is that everyone would like to keep the tables with the quotes than let it be. I was simply pointing out to the rest of the editors that the 3rd party source fabricated the quotes they used. My challenge remains to any other editors to see if they can find 'I will hiss for them' God is represented as hissing for a people... [To] behold the banner of salvation now erected for his ancient people... This standard of salvation." (p. 235,241-242) In view of the Hebrews. See google books for a copy of View of The Hebrews.Mvonnied (talk) 18:22, 17 April 2011 (UTC)
That's a fair challenge, but not really relevant here since it is original research. --Taivo (talk) 19:35, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

RS, bias and opinions[edit]

"Wikipedia articles are required to present a neutral point of view. However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective. Sometimes non-neutral sources are good sources for supporting information about the different viewpoints held on a subject."

"While a source may be biased, it may be reliable in the specific context. On the other hand, an opinion in a reliable source is still an opinion, rather than a fact."

"Some sources may be considered reliable for statements as to their author's opinion, but not for statements asserted as fact"

Sometimes biased sources have copies of non-biased sources: "A convenience link is a link to a copy of your source on a webpage provided by someone other than the original publisher or author"

Additionally, "There is no blanket ban on linking to YouTube or other user-submitted video sites through external links or when citing sources".

So, for example, it would be an error to cite bias in order to remove official LDS publications about the church's teachings on the Origin of the BOM. Yes, LDS church publications have a strong religious bias-- but no, this does not mean LDS church publications aren't Reliable Sources. LDS church publications are reliable sources, biased or not, in so far as they are reporting their own opinions, their own theories, and their own beliefs.

Of course, this same logic applies to the other major groups with strong beliefs on the subject, like apologetics and ex-mormons. They're not "neutral", but they're still RS for their own opinions.

This is especially applicable when both apologetic and apostate sources mention the same issue-- Yes, each side has bias but each side is still a RS for their opinions; Combined, they are sources demonstrating the existence of a note-worthy theological debate.--HectorMoffet (talk) 09:22, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Without your mentioning specific sources all I can say is that official LDS sources, properly attributed, are RS for their opionions. Blogs and videos are a different subject. Dougweller (talk) 13:42, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
@HectorMoffet - You're kind of missing my argument, albeit I could have been more specific. I do not claim that the sources I removed are not reliable sources because of bias, but because they fail the clear the threshold of WP:SPS for reliable/verifiable sources, specifically: "Anyone can create a personal web page or publish their own book, and also claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published media, such as books, patents, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, personal or group blogs (as distinguished from newsblogs, above), Internet forum postings, and tweets, are largely not acceptable as sources. Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." SPS's are appropriate in very rare instances, but usually only when providing information about the sources themselves, and even then only if it is not in support of an exceptional claim nor in support of claims about other entities (in this case, the BoM and JS).
So let me run down the sources I see as not appropriate (either not clearing this threshold or some other reason) and let's hear if there is a consensus among us editors:
  1. - mormonthink in general is an online SPS (essentially a self-published group blog) with as much a reliable source as the SPS For this article in question, it cannot be traced back to any person who qualifies as a reliable source.
  2. - this likely does clear the threshold for a RS, but it does not talk anything about the origin of the BoM so its current usage crosses over into OR/SYNTH for me.
  3. - essentially an online, self-published work, although the Tanners are notable critics of the LDS Church. Also, I think that the extended discussion of the BoC/D&C texts is far beyond the scope of this article.
  4. - mostly same as above, although this one is attributed to Grant H. Palmer, however it probably would be better to cite (and verify the material from) his published book "An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins".
  5. - self-published blog, and so fails WP:SPS.
  6. Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (2010). Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible in the Book of Mormon. UTLM. - To me it again looks like a self-published book by the Tanners, but I cannot verify if the information is even in this new edition (it was originally published in 1998) since it is behind a paywall (I know that isn't sufficient for exclusion, but it does make it difficult to verify and to assess if it could qualify as an RS).
  7. - again a self-published source/book making exceptional claims about third parties/events not directly related to the source.
  8. - self-published blog, albeit it can be traced to a noted Mormon apologist, but
  9. - self-published group wiki, which I'm sure we've discussed before in another place concerning its use as an RS.
  10. Chris Johnson (25 October 2013). How the Book of Mormon Destroyed Mormonism. Ex-Mormon Foundation. - the youtube video. While you are right there is no blanket ban on youtube videos, you must still establish that the uploader and the video meet the standards for a reliable source, which I do not think they are. Again, this is an example of a self-published source making exceptional claims about third parties/events not directly related to the source.
Self-published sources don't fail as RS's because of bias, but because they are characterized by the lack of independent reviewers (those without a conflict of interest) validating the reliability of contents. Remember, reliable sources are generally defined as reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. I don't think any (with the exception of maybe #2) meet that qualification. There are inklings of responses to some of these, particularly the "The Late War" claims, in something that is a RS, but that IMO isn't sufficient per WP:UNDUE. For example, we don't include the theories of Ivor Catt on any of the EM articles even though a few responses and coverage of such do appear in a couple RS's. Thoughts from others? --FyzixFighter (talk) 11:58, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
So, we can go case by case or we can talk about the general methodology. I think Jerald and Sandra Tanner and Grant H. Palmer qualify as RS, whether their words appear in print or on a UTLM/MT server. (Your objections #3,#4, & #6) Dan Peters is a notable apologist with ties to the Maxwell Institute (#8) and is only used to support the text "The 2008 work Mormon Parallels and a 2010 work have discussed possible similarities between the two works".
Technically, the Johnson lecture (#10) isn't self-published-- it was given it at a conference, was well received by his peers, and was included in the video proceedings of the conference.
But more to the point: What article text is that reference being used to support?.
Is it okay to cite the Johnson video to justify a statement of fact like "The book of mormon is false?" No. But is it okay to cite the video and multiple rebuttals (#9) to in order to justify the text "The Late War was the subject of discussion among both ex-mormons and mormon apologists."? Yes.
You can't take a url and look at it in isolation and decide if it's a RS. You have to ask , Is it a RS for the specific text it's helping to support?.
And to complicate matter further, not everything in a ref tag is a RS-- sometimes there are online quotations of material that was published offline (eg #7), sometimes the text is only citing a source about their own opinions, etc.
There are lots of reason for footnotes, RS being the primary but not the exclusive reason-- and more citations are almost always better than fewer.
The "big" issue we're dancing around is that NPOV kinda requires us to treat Non-mormon beliefs as equal to Mormon beliefs on the Origin of the Book of Mormon. Some of the best representatives of the Mormon beliefs are the LDS church, the Maxwell Institute, and the Fairmormon organization's publications. Some of the best sources for Non-mormon belief's are people like the Tanners, Palmer, Grunder, and Mormonthink.
On matters of fact, we have to treat both sources with skepticism. On statements of their own beliefs, they are reliable.
So, for purposes of focusing-- are there specific places in the article text where statements of fact are incorrect? We can debate the relative weight that should be given to opinions, but just in so far as the article text is concerned, are there any sentences you believe are factually untrue? That seems like the place to start. --HectorMoffet (talk) 13:25, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
There are two things being said here. First, FyzixFighter is talking about a global determination of what is and is not a RS. Second, HectorMoffet is talking about how each source is used to attribute what is in the article. While these questions are often complementary, there are times when extra care must be taken. If you write "The BOM was written by Joseph Smith" and use the Tanners as a reference, they are not a RS for that statement since they are self-published, not peer-reviewed, etc. But if you write "Critics say that the BOM was written by Joseph Smith", then the Tanners are a perfectly reliable source because they are critics and they do, indeed, say that. This is, I think, the point that HectorMoffet is making. --Taivo (talk) 20:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Split of article[edit]

I've reverted the edits after and including the split of the article, and turned [Purported sources for the Book of Mormon]] into a redirect back here. There was no discussion about this, not even a rationale given in an edit summary (which didn't even mention the article it was going to). On a technical point, there was no actual link back to this article in the edit summary for the new one and other requirements in WP:SPLIT were not met. Although WP:PROSPLIT says that editors can be WP:BOLD, it also says "If unsure, or with high profile or sensitive articles, start a "Split" discussion on the article talk page, and consider informing any associated WikiProject. Additionally, adding one of the templates below will display a notice on the article and list it at Category:Articles to be split. This will help bring it to the attention of editors who may assist in establishing consensus, in deciding if a split is appropriate, or in carrying out the split. Templates used without an accompanying rationale, and where there is no obvious reason for the split request, may be removed at any time.

Failure to reach a consensus, whether the result of a split discussion, or a bold split that was contested usually results in the article remaining whole. A contested bold split may be reverted, however it is not always appropriate to redirect the new article to the old as the new article may stand on its own even if the main article that it came from is not split."

I disagree with the split. The article is obviously not to big, and 'origins' is about sources - it's easier for editors to read one article than two. Dougweller (talk) 13:51, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

Oppose. I agree with Dougweller. --Taivo (talk) 19:44, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Dougweller's restoration of the split I made. A bold split is fine if its without objections-- but clearly, we lacked unanimous consent for a change of that magnitude. I don't have any strong feelings about whether to split, so given that it's controversial, I'm content leaving the article as it is, unsplit. --HectorMoffet (talk) 03:05, 2 January 2014 (UTC)

Claim of witnesses[edit]

The claim of witnesses in the first paragraph is too strong. If we can actually identify evidence that these witnesses made the claims that they LDS church says they made, then the evidence must be provided. If no evidence exists besides a church publication that does not actually bear their signatures, then these sentences must be omitted. Let me say that again: it is not sufficient to claim the supposed statements of the supposed witnesses as evidence. I am editing the section to show that these statements are disputed. Rscragun (talk) 21:59, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

This is already discussed at Book of Mormon witnesses, which is linked to in the very section you attempted to edit. Asterisk*Splat 23:15, 8 October 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ Joseph Smith and the origins of the Book of Mormon By David Persuitte pg 163
  2. ^ Abanes, Richard (2003). One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 69. ISBN 1568582838. 
  3. ^ Persuitte, David (2000). Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon (2nd Edition). McFarland & Company. pp. 155–172. ISBN 078640826X. 
  4. ^ Abanes, Richard (2003). One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 68. ISBN 1568582838. 
  5. ^ Persuitte, David (2000). Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon (2nd Edition). McFarland & Company. pp. 155–172. ISBN 078640826X.