Criticism of Mormon sacred texts
The Latter Day Saints believe that the Book of Mormon is a sacred text with the same divine authority as the Bible. Some Latter Day Saints also recognize the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants as scripture.
- 1 Book of Mormon
- 2 Book of Abraham
- 3 Doctrine and Covenants
- 4 Joseph Smith Translation and Book of Moses
- 5 King James Version
- 6 See also
- 7 Footnotes
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
Book of Mormon
There are several theories as to the actual origin of the Book of Mormon. Most adherents to the Latter Day Saint movement view the book as a work of inspired scripture. The most common theory accepted by adherents is that promoted by Joseph Smith, Jr., who said he translated the work from an ancient set of golden plates inscribed by prophets, which Smith discovered near his home in western New York in Palmyra, New York in the 1820s after being told to go there by the angel Moroni, a character from the Book of Mormon. Besides Smith himself, there are more than 11 witnesses who said they saw the plates physically (three claiming to have been visited by an angel as well) in 1829. There are also many other witnesses, some of them friendly to Smith and some hostile, who observed him dictating the text that eventually became the Book of Mormon.
Nevertheless, critics have explored a number of issues, including (1) whether Joseph Smith actually had golden plates, or whether the text of the Book of Mormon originated in his mind or through inspiration; (2) whether it was Smith himself who composed the book's text, or whether an associate of Smith's such as Oliver Cowdery or Sidney Rigdon could have composed the text; and (3) whether the book was based on a prior work such as the View of the Hebrews, the Spalding Manuscript, or the Bible.
Existence of golden plates
Two separate sets of witnesses, a set of three and a set of eight, testified as having seen the golden plates, the record from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Critics, including Jerald and Sandra Tanner, and the Institute for Religious Research note several pieces of evidence that they argue call into question the authenticity of the experience, including letters and affidavits in which Martin Harris stated that the Eight Witnesses never saw the plates, and that his own witness was more spiritual than physical. Additionally, each of the Three Witnesses (Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer) left the church during Joseph Smith's lifetime and considered Smith to have been a fallen prophet. Harris and Cowdery later returned to the church. However, the Institute for Religious Research disputes the sincerity of their conversion and return.
Apologists note that the witnesses in most cases affirmed their witness until their death, and claim that the aforementioned affidavits and letters are either fraudulent, or otherwise not reliable. In 1881 Whitmer, the one witness who never returned to the church, issued an affidavit reaffirming his testimony of the experience.
Abanes, the Tanners, et al. claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized the Book of Mormon, and that it is therefore not divinely inspired. Alleged sources include View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith (published 1823, seven years before the Book of Mormon); The Wonders of Nature by Josiah Priest (published in 1825, five years before the Book of Mormon); the Bible; and the Apocrypha. LDS church authorities Bruce R. McConkie and Spencer W. Kimball counter that repetition from previous texts validates the Book of Mormon because it shows God's consistency and equal revelation to all peoples and fulfills prophecy. Moreover, they argue that warnings need be repeated in the face of ageless problems.
The question of whether the Book of Mormon is an actual historical work or a work of fiction has long been a source of contention between members of the Latter Day Saint movement and non-members. For many Mormons, Book of Mormon historicity is a matter of faith. For non-members, on the other hand, its historicity is not accepted, and specific claims made in the Book of Mormon have been questioned from a number of different perspectives.
Most adherents of the LDS movement consider the Book of Mormon to be a historically accurate account. Critics of the historical and scientific claims of the Book of Mormon tend to focus on four main areas:
- The lack of correlation between locations described in the Book of Mormon and American archaeological sites.
- References to animals, plants, metals and technologies in the Book of Mormon that archaeological or scientific studies have found no evidence of in post-Pleistocene, pre-Columbian America, frequently referred to as anachronisms. Items typically listed include cattle, horses, asses, oxen, sheep, swine, goats, elephants, wheat, steel, brass, chains, iron, scimitars, and chariots.
- The lack of linguistic connection between any Native American languages and Near Eastern languages.
Within the LDS movement, there have been many apologetical counter claims attempting to reconcile these apparent discrepancies. Among those apologetic groups, a great deal of research has been done by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), and Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR), in an attempt to either prove the veracity of Book of Mormon claims, or to counter arguments critical to its historicity.
Since the introduction of the Book of Mormon in 1830, both Mormon and non-Mormon archaeologists have studied its claims in reference to known archaeological evidence. Latter Day Saints generally believe that the Book of Mormon describes historical events; however, the existence of the civilizations and people described in the Book of Mormon is not accepted by mainstream historians or archaeologists.
The Book of Mormon contains an account of peoples who, in succeeding groups between 2500 BC  and 600 BC, traveled from the Middle East and settled in the Americas. Evangelical lecturer and journalist Richard Abanes and author David Persuitte argue that aspects of the Book of Mormon narrative (such as the existence of horses, steel, and chariots in pre-Columbian America) are not supported by mainstream archaeology. Apologist Michael R. Ash, of FAIR, counters that obtaining archaeological evidence to prove or disprove specific ancient events is difficult. Dr. Joseph Allen along with other LDS scholars have found sites in Meso-America that they believe may represent ancient Book of Mormon cities. John L. Sorenson does not dispute that other peoples may have been present in the Americas concurrent with Book of Mormon peoples (see limited geography model).
A traditional Mormon hypothesis of the origin of Native Americans is that they are descended solely from Hebrews in Jerusalem. Scientist Yaakov Kleiman, Mormon anthropologist Thomas W. Murphy, and ex-Mormon molecular biologist Simon Southerton argue that this hypothesis is inconsistent with recent genetic findings, which show the genetic origins of Native Americans to be in Central Asia, possibly near the Altay Mountains. FARMS counters that testing and drawing generalizations from this hypothesis alone is an overly simplistic approach, and that the resulting conclusions would not stand up under peer review. In addition, the traditional Mormon hypothesis under test may itself be based on assumptions unsupported by the Book of Mormon narrative (see limited geography model).
Critics Jerald and Sandra Tanner and Marvin W. Cowan contend that the Book of Mormon's use of certain linguistic anachronisms (such as the Americanized name "Sam" and the French word "adieu") provide evidence that the book was fabricated by Joseph Smith, rather than divinely inspired.  In addition, Richard Abanes argues that because the first edition of the Book of Mormon contained hundreds of grammatical errors (removed in later editions), the book was therefore fabricated by J. Smith and not divinely inspired.
Book of Abraham
The Book of Abraham differs from the other Mormon sacred texts in that some of the original source material has been examined by independent experts.
The Institute for Religious Research and the Tanners claim that Joseph Smith fraudulently represented the Book of Abraham, part of the church's scriptural canon, as a divine document. Richard and Joan Ostling note that non-LDS scholars have concluded that translations of surviving papyri which they believe are portions of the source of the Book of Abraham are unrelated to the content of the book's text. Joseph Smith states he came into the possession of several Egyptian papyri, from which he claimed to translate the Book of Abraham, part of the modern Pearl of Great Price. The papyri were lost for many years, but in the late 1960s, portions of the papyri were discovered. The extant papyri, as well as the facsimiles preserved by Smith in the Pearl of Great Price, have been translated by modern Egyptologists, and have been conclusively shown to be common Egyptian funerary documents unrelated to the content of the Book of Abraham. Mormon scholars Michael D. Rhodes and John Gee came to the same conclusion, but argue that Smith may have been using the papyri as inspiration.
General statements by Egyptologists
Sometime in 1856, Theodule Deveria, an Egyptologist at the Louvre, had the opportunity to examine the facsimiles published as part of the Book of Abraham. His interpretation, juxtaposed with Smith's interpretation was published in T. B. H. Stenhouse's book The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons in 1873. Additionally, later in 1912, Reverend Franklin S. Spalding sent copies of the three facsimiles to eight Egyptologists and Semetists soliciting their interpretation of the facsimiles, the results of which were published in Spalding's work Joseph Smith, Jr. As a Translator. Deveria, and each of the eight scholars immediately recognized the facsimiles as portions of ordinary funerary documents, and some harshly condemned Joseph Smith's interpretation, as shown below:
Egyptologist Dr. James H. Breasted, of the University of Chicago noted:
"... these three facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization."
Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie of London University wrote:
"It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these explanations"
Dr. A.H. Sayce, Oxford professor of Egyptology,
“It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud.... Smith has turned the goddess [Isis in Facsimile No. 3] into a king and Osiris into Abraham.”
Doctrine and Covenants
Unlike the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, Book of Moses and JS-M, D&C does not purport to be an ancient manuscript, but instead revelations. There has been criticism of apparent revision, omission and addition of material in it.
In 1876, Sections 101 from the 1835 Edition (and subsequent printings) was removed. Section 101 was a Statement on Marriage as adopted by a conference of the church, and contained the following text:
|“||"Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again."||”|
It was superseded by section 132 of the modern LDS edition, which contains a revelation received by Joseph Smith on eternal marriage and teaches the doctrine of plural marriage.
In 1921, the LDS Church removed the "Lectures on Faith" portion of the book, with an explanation that the Lectures "were never presented to nor accepted by the Church as being otherwise than theological lectures or lessons". The Lectures contain theology concerning the Godhead and emphasize the importance of faith and works.
Until 1981, editions of the book used code names for certain people and places in those sections that dealt with the United Order. The 1981 LDS edition replaced these with the real names, relegating the code names to footnotes. The Community of Christ edition still uses the code names.
Some of the material in the Doctrine and Covenants relates to the production of the Book of Mormon, for which see above.
Joseph Smith Translation and Book of Moses
The church includes Joseph Smith—Matthew (an extract from Matthew) and the Book of Moses (an extract from Genesis) as part of the Pearl of Great Price. However, it has not canonized the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible in its entirety. Several critics and linguists have noted areas where the translation appears to have been faulty. The entire translation is, however, used by the Community of Christ (RLDS)
Smith's translation was a work in progress throughout his ministry. Some parts of the translation (parts of Genesis and the four Gospels) were dictated from beginning to end, including unchanged verses from the KJV; some parts were dictated more than once, and other parts were revised one verse at a time. The manuscripts were written, re-written, and in some cases, additional edits were written in the columns, pinned to the paper or otherwise attached. Smith relied on a version of the Bible that included the Apocrypha, and marked off the Bible as verses were examined (the Apocrypha was not translated). Skeptics view this nonlinearity as evidence that Smith's translation was not inspired; however, Latter Day Saints see Smith's translation as representing a gradual, developing inspiration.
King James Version
English-speaking church members tend to use the King James Version (also known the Authorised Version) of the Bible in an LDS Church-published edition. This includes LDS-oriented chapter headings, footnotes referencing books in the Standard Works, and select passages from the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. The church's First Presidency has stated that "[w]hile other Bible versions may be easier to read than the King James Version, in doctrinal matters latter-day revelation supports the King James Version in preference to other English translations." In Spanish speaking countries, church members have recently been using the "Santa Biblia: Reina-Valera 2009" (Holy Bible: Reina-Valera 2009). Latter-day Saints in other non-English speaking areas may use other versions of the Bible. Though the Bible is part of the LDS canon and members believe it to be the word of God, they believe that omissions and mistranslations are present in even the earliest known manuscripts. They claim that the errors in the Bible have led to incorrect interpretations of certain passages. Thus, as church founder Joseph Smith explained, the church believes the Bible to be the word of God "as far as it is translated correctly." The church teaches that "[t]he most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations".
The KJV is notably more Latinate than previous English versions, especially the Geneva Bible. This results in part from the academic stylistic preferences of a number of the translators – several of whom admitted to being more comfortable writing in Latin than in English – but was also, in part, a consequence of the royal proscription against explanatory notes. Hence, where the Geneva Bible might use a common English word – and gloss its particular application in a marginal note – the Authorized Version tends rather to prefer a technical term, frequently in Anglicised Latin. Consequently, although the King had instructed the translators to use the Bishops' Bible as a base text, the New Testament in particular owes much stylistically to the Catholic Rheims New Testament, whose translators had also been concerned to find English equivalents for Latin terminology. In addition, the translators of the New Testament books habitually quote Old Testament names in the renderings familiar from the Vulgate Latin, rather than in their Hebrew forms (e.g. "Elias", "Jeremias" for "Elijah", "Jeremiah").
While the Authorized Version remains among the most widely sold, modern critical New Testament translations differ substantially from it in a number of passages, primarily because they rely on source manuscripts not then accessible to (or not then highly regarded by) early 17th century biblical scholarship. In the Old Testament, there are also many differences from modern translations that are based not on manuscript differences, but on a different understanding of ancient Hebrew vocabulary or grammar by the translators. For example, in modern translations it is clear that Job 28: 1–11 is referring throughout to mining operations, which is not at all apparent from the text of the Authorized Version.
Although the Apocrypha was part of the 1611 edition of the KJV, the church does not currently use the Apocrypha as part of its canon. Joseph Smith taught that while the contemporary edition of the Apocrypha was not to be relied on for doctrine, it was potentially useful when read with a spirit of discernment.
- Millennial Star, 6 Feb. 1882, p. 87
- The Return of Oliver Cowdery - Maxwell Institute Papers
- Facts on the Book of Mormon Witnesses - Part 1: credibility and relevancy of witnesses to the Book of Mormon
- "An Address," 27, in EMD, 5: 194.
- Abanes 2003, pp. 67–75
- Tanner 1987, pp. 84–85
- Persuitte 2000, pp. 155–172
- McConkie, B.R. (1966). Mormon Doctrine. Deseret Book: Salt Lake City.
- Kimball, S.W. (Apr., 1976). Ensign, p. 6
- Kimball, S.W. (1981). President Kimball Speaks Out, p. 89.
- Citing the lack of specific New World geographic locations to search, Michael D. Coe, a prominent Mesoamerican archaeologist and Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Yale University, writes (in a 1973 volume of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought): "As far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing [the historicity of The Book of Mormon], and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group".
- Cecil H. Brown. 1999. Lexical Acculturation in Native American Languages. Oxford Studies in Anthropological Linguistics, 20. Oxford
Paul E. Minnis & Wayne J. Elisens, ed. 2001. Biodiversity and Native America. University of Oklahoma Press.
Gary Paul Nabhan. 2002. Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation. University of Arizona Press.
Stacy Kowtko. 2006. Nature and the Environment in Pre-Columbian American Life. Greenwood Press.
Douglas H. Ubelaker, ed. 2006. Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3, Environment, Origins, and Population. Smithsonian Institution.
Elizabeth P. Benson. 1979. Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of South America. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library.
R.C. West, ed. 1964. Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volume 1, Natural Environment & Early Cultures. University of Texas Press.
G.R. Willey, ed. 1965. Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volumes 2 & 3, Archeology of Southern Mesoamerica. University of Texas Press.
Gordon Ekholm & Ignacio Bernal, ed. 1971. Handbook of Middle American Indians, Volume 10 & 11, Archeology of Northern Mesoamerica. University of Texas Press.
- 1 Nephi 18:25
LDS scholars think that this may be a product of reassigning familiar labels to unfamiliar items. For example, the Delaware Indians named the cow after the deer, and the Miami Indians labeled sheep, when they were first seen, "looks-like-a cow."
John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 ), 294. ISBN 1-57345-157-6
- 1 Nephi 18:25
- "[H]orses became extinct in North America at the end of the Pleistocene..." (Donald K. Grayson. 2006. "Late Pleistocene Faunal Extinctions," Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3, Environment, Origins and Population. Smithsonian. Pages 208-221. quote on pg 211)
"The youngest dates on North American fossil horses are about 8150 years ago, although most of the horses were gone around 10,000 years ago" (Donald R. Prothero & Robert M. Schoch. 2002. Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Page 215.)
"During the Pleistocene both New World continents abounded in [horses] and then, some 8000 years ago, the last wild horses in the Americas became extinct..." (R.J.G. Savage & M.R. Long. 1986. Mammal Evolution: An Illustrated Guide. Facts on File Publications. Page 204.)
- Asses and horses are both in the genus Equus so see the footnote concerning horses.
- 1 Nephi 18:25
http://www.irr.org/mit/smithsonian.html paragraph 4
- Ether 9:19
- Donald K. Grayson. 2006. "Late Pleistocene Faunal Extinctions," Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3, Environment, Origins and Population. Smithsonian. Pages 208-221. The Pleistocene extinction of the two Proboscidea genera Mammut and Mammuthus are mentioned on pages 209 and 212-213.
"T[he] megafauna [of North America] then disappeared from the face of the earth between 12,000 and 9,000 years ago..." (Donald R. Prothero & Robert M. Schoch. 2002. Horns, Tusks, and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Page 176.)
"In North America three other proboscideans survived the end of the Ice Age--the tundra woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), the woodland American mastodont (Mammut americanum) and the grazing mammoth (Mammuthus jeffersoni). Hunting by early man is the most likely cause of the final extinction..." (R.J.G. Savage & M.R. Long. 1986. Mammal Evolution: An Illustrated Guide. Facts on File Publications. Page 157.)
"Mammut became extinct only about 10,000 years ago." (Dougal Dixon et al. 1988. The Macmillan Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. Collier Books. Page 244.)
"M[ammuthus] primigenius survived until about 10,000 years ago." (Dixon et al. 1988, page 245)
- 1 Nephi 4:9
- Alma 18:9
- Lyle Campbell. 1979. "Middle American languages," The Languages of Native America: Historical and Comparative Assessment. Ed. Lyle Campbell and Marianne Mithun. Austin: University of Texas Press. Pages 902-1000.
Lyle Campbell. 1997. American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America. Oxford University Press.
Jorge Súarez. 1983. The Mesoamerican Indian Languages. Cambridge University Press.
- The traditional view of the Book of Mormon suggests that Native Americans are principally the descendents of an Israelite migration around 600 BC. However, DNA evidence shows no Near Eastern component in the Native American genetic makeup. For example:
Simon G. Southerton. 2004. Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church. Signature Books. The entire book is devoted to the specific topic of DNA evidence and the Book of Mormon. "...[T]he DNA lineages of Central America resemble those of other Native American tribes throughout the two continents. Over 99 percent of the lineages found among native groups from this region are clearly of Asian descent. Modern and ancient DNA samples tested from among the Maya generally fall into the major founding lineage classes.... The Mayan Empire has been regarded by Mormons to be the closest to the people of the Book of Mormon because its people were literate and culturally sophisticated. However, leading New World anthropologists, including those specializing in the region, have found the Maya to be similarly related to Asians. Stephen L. Whittington...was not aware of any scientists 'in mainstream anthropology that are trying to prove a Hebrew origin of Native Americans....Archaeologists and physical anthropologists have not found any evidence of Hebrew origins for the people of North, South and Central America.'" (pg 191)
D. Andrew Merriwether. 2006. "Mitochondrial DNA," Handbook of North American Indians. Smithsonian Institution Press. Pg 817-830. "Kolman, Sambuughin, and Bermingham (1995) and Merriwether et al. (1996) used the presence of A, B, C, and D to argue for Mongolia as the location for the source population of the New World founders. More specifically perhaps, they argued that the present-day Mongolians and present-day Native Americans are both derived from the same ancestral population in Asia, presumably in the Mongolia-Southern Siberia-Lake Baikal region. T.G. Schurr and S.G. Sherry (2004) strongly favor a southern Siberian origin for the majority of lineages found in the New World." (pg 829)
Tatiana M. Karafet, Stephen L. Zegura, and Michael F. Hammer. 2006. "Y Chromosomes," Handbook of North American Indians. Smithsonian Institution. Pp. 831-839. "Zegura et al. (2004) have presented the following scenario for the early peopling of the Americas based on Y chromosome data: a migration of a single, polymorphic Asian population across Beringia with a potential common source for both North American founding lineages (Q and C) in the Altai Mountains of southwest Siberia. Since all their STR-based SNP lineage divergence dates between the Altai and North Asians versus Native Americans...ranged from 10,100 to 17,200 year ago, they favored a relatively late entry model." (pg. 839)
Defenders of the book's historicity suggest that the Book of Mormon does not disallow for other people groups to have contributed to the genetic makeup of Native Americans; nevertheless, this is a departure from the traditional view that Israelites are the primary ancestors of Native Americans, and therefore would be expected to present some genetic evidence of Near Eastern origins. A recently announced change in the Book of Mormon's introduction, however, allows for a greater diversity of ancestry of Native Americans. See, for example, the following Deseret News article published on November 9, 2007: Intro Change in Book of Mormon Spurs Discussion
- Sacred Sites: Searching for Book of Mormon Lands. by Joseph L. Allen Published: October 2003 p.8
- Abanes 2003, pp. 74–77
- Wolverton, Susan (2004), Having Visions: The Book of Mormon : Translated and Exposed in Plain English, Algora, pp. 84–85, ISBN 0-87586-310-8
- Persuitte 2000, pp. 102
- Ash, Michael R. "Archaeological Evidence and the Book of Mormon". www.fairlds.org. . Accessed 7 December 2007.
- Sacred Sites: Searching for Book of Mormon Lands. by Joseph L. Allen Published: October 2003
- John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and F.A.R.M.S., 1985).
- Kleiman, Yaakov (2004), DNA and Tradition: The Genetic Link to the Ancient Hebrews, Devora, p. 88, ISBN 1-932687-13-0
- Southerton, Simon G. (2004), Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church, Signature Books, ISBN 1-56085-181-3
- Murphy, Thomas W. "Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics." In Vogel, Dan and Brent Metcalfe, eds. American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon Salt Lake City: Signature, 2002: 47-77. ISBN 1-56085-151-1
- Whiting, Michael F (2003), DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, at 24–35.
- McClellan, David A., , Detecting Lehi's Genetic Signature: Possible, Probable, or Not? Farms Review, Volume 15, Issue 2, Pp. 35–90, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, 2003.
- 1 Nephi 2:5,17
- Jacob 7:27
- Beckwith, Francis (2002), The New Mormon Challenge, Zondervan, pp. 367–396, ISBN 0-310-23194-9
- Cowan, Marvin (1997), Mormon Claims Answered
- Abanes 2003, pp. 73
- Larson, Charles M. (1992), His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri, Institute for Religious Research, ISBN 0-8024-1234-3
- Tanner 1979, pp. 329–363
- Ostling, Richard and Joan Mormon America, pp.278-85
- Joseph Smith stated in his History of the Church, "...with W.W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc. — a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them..." History of the Church, Vol. 2, Ch. 17, p. 236.
- Smith additionally stated that he, "...was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients."History of the Church, Vol. 2, Ch. 17, p. 238
- Tanner 1979, pp. 329–362
- Michael D. Rhodes and John Gee, Interview on KSL Radio on January 29, 2006 and Michael D. Rhodes, "I Have a Question", Ensign, July 1988, pp. 52–53.
- Larson 1985, pp. 25
- Stenhouse 1878, pp. 510–519
- Spaulding n.d., pp. 26–27
- Spaulding n.d., p. 24
- Spaulding n.d., p. 23
- History of the Church, vol. 2, at 247 (August 1835)
- Messenger and Advocate (Aug 1835), at 163
- Doctrine and Covenants [1835 Edition] 101:4
- See Introduction, 1921 edition.
- Examples: 5 books published by the Lighthouse Ministry: Inspired Revision of the Bible, and Kevin Barney, The Joseph Smith Translation and Ancient Texts of the Bible, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19:3 (Fall, 1986): 85-102}
- LDS Publication of the Bible
- Ezra Taft Benson, Gordon B. Hinckley, and Thomas S. Monson, “First Presidency Statement on the King James Version of the Bible,” Ensign, August 1992, p. 80.
- Joseph Smith, Jr., Articles of Faith No. 8
- (Daniell 2003, p. 440)
- (Bobrick 2001, p. 229)
- (Bobrick 2001, p. 252)
- (Daniell 2003, p. 5)
- (Bruce 2002, p. 145)
- The Doctrine and Covenants: Section 91.
- Abanes, Richard (2003), One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church, Thunder's Mouth Press, ISBN 1-56858-283-8
- Beckwith, Francis (2002), The New Mormon Challenge, Zondervan, ISBN 0-310-23194-9
- Bennett, John C. (1842), The History of the Saints; or An Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism, Boston: Leland & Whiting, ISBN 978-0-252-02589-1.
- Brodie, Fawn M. (1995), No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, Vintage, ISBN 0-679-73054-0
- Howe, Eber D. (1834), Mormonism unvailed [sic] or, A faithful account of that singular imposition and delusion, from its rise to the present time Online copy
- Krakauer, Jon (2003), Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-50951-0
- Newell, Linda King (1994), Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (2nd ed.), University of Illinois Press, pp. 89, 132, ISBN 0-252-06291-4 (Online Copy)
- Ostling, Richard and Joan (1999), Mormon America, Harper Collins, ISBN 0-06-066371-5
- Persuitte, David (2000), Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon (2nd ed.), McFarland & Company, ISBN 0-7864-0826-X
- Smith, Andrew F. (1971), The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, p. 141, ISBN 978-0-252-02282-1.
- Stenhouse, T. B. H. (1878), The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons, New York: D. Appleton and Company.
- Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (1979), The Changing World of Mormonism, Moody Press, ISBN 0-8024-1234-3
- Tanner, Jerald and Sandra (1987), Mormonism - Shadow or Reality?, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, ISBN 99930-74-43-8
- Tucker, Pomeroy (1867), Origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism: biography of its founders and history of its church, Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library, ISBN 1-4255-3152-0
- Van Wagoner, Richard S. (1986), "Sarah Pratt: The Shaping of an Apostate", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (2): 69–99.
- Wolverton, Susan (2004), Having Visions: The Book of Mormon: Translated and Exposed in Plain English, Algora, ISBN 0-87586-310-8
- Wym, Wilhelm Ritter von et al. (1886), Joseph Smith, the Prophet, His Family, and His Friends: A Study Based on Facts and Documents, Salt Lake City, UT: Tribune Printing and Publishing Company, pp. 60–61 .
- LDS Standard Works
- English-language LDS Bible: complete text in PDF, including footnotes and chapter headings. Does not include other supplemental material.
- Book of Mormon
- Pearl of Great Price
- Apologetic websites
- Official site of the LDS Church
- Official informational site of the LDS Church
- BYU operated Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS)
- Church-unaffiliated Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR)
- Critical websites