Criticism of the Book of Mormon

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The origins, authenticity, and historicity of the Book of Mormon have been subject to considerable criticism from scholars and skeptics since it was first published in 1830. The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement, which adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD 421.[1][2] It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith as The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi, who said that it had been written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as "reformed Egyptian" engraved on golden plates that he personally transcribed.[3][4] Contemporary followers of the Latter Day Saint movement typically regard the text primarily as scripture, but also as a historical record of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.[5]

Mainstream scholarship does not conclude the Book of Mormon is of an ancient origin and consider the book a creation by Smith and possibly one or more others, drawing on material and ideas from the contemporary 19th-century environment rather than translating an ancient record. They argue that no evidence of a reformed Egyptian language has ever been discovered.[6][7][8] The content found within the book has also been questioned. Scholars have pointed out a number of anachronisms within the text, and general archaeological or genetic evidence has not supported the book's statements about the indigenous peoples of the Americas.[9][10] The text has also undergone many revisions with some significant changes, which critics argue have notably altered its meaning, and see as a rebuttal of its divine origins.[7][11][12]

Despite the many scholarly challenges to its authenticity, adherents and many Latter Day Saint scholars have repeatedly defended the book. The oldest, and most significant, defense of Smith's account of its origins comes from the testimonies of the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses, which are published in every copy of the book.[13][14] More contemporary adherents have also sought to rebut critical viewpoints. For instance, identification of reformed Egyptian with a known ancient Egyptian dialect has been proposed.[15] A few Latter Day Saint scholars have also proposed archaeological findings give credence to the book, although mainstream scholars disagree.[16][10]

Ancient origin[edit]

The evidence indicates that the Book of Mormon is in fact an amalgamation of ideas that were inspired by Joseph's own environment (new) and themes from the Bible (old).

Grant H. Palmer[17]

Mainstream scholars reject Joseph Smith's explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon. Smith said that the text contained within the Book of Mormon was derived from an ancient Native American record written on golden plates, and that God gave him and a few others the power to translate it into English.[18] Critics note that there has never been any physical proof of the existence of the golden plates; Smith said that the angel Moroni, who appeared to him and instructed him on how to recover the plates from where they were buried, reclaimed the plates once Smith had completed the translation. To provide support towards the existence of the plates, Smith included two statements in the Book of Mormon saying that several witnesses had been shown the plates, and their testimony is typically published at the beginning of the Book of Mormon. While none of these men ever retracted their statements, critics nevertheless discount these testimonies for varying reasons, one of which is because most of these men were closely interrelated. In later years Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, is recorded to have confessed that he saw the plates with a "spiritual eye" or "eye of faith."[19][20]

Most linguists, archaeologists, and historians do not regard the Book of Mormon to be of ancient origin. In 1834, a publication by Eber D. Howe claimed that Smith had plagiarized an unpublished manuscript written by Solomon Spalding.[21][22][23] Scholars today have varying theories about the true authorship of the Book of Mormon, but most conclude that Smith composed the book himself, possibly with the help of Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon, drawing from information and publications available in his time, including the King James Bible,[24][25] The Wonders of Nature,[26][27] and View of the Hebrews.[7][11][28]

Existence of golden plates[edit]

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. 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[29] and Cowdery[30] later returned to the church. The Institute for Religious Research disputes the sincerity of their conversion and return.[31]

Apologists note that the witnesses in most cases affirmed their testimonies until their death. In 1881, Whitmer, the one witness who never returned to the church, issued an affidavit reaffirming his testimony of the experience.[32]

Text and language[edit]

Joseph Smith provided a sample of "reformed Egyptian" characters. Egyptologists have described this language as Smith's invention.

Joseph Smith said he translated the Book of Mormon from a language called reformed Egyptian. Archaeologists and Egyptologists have found no evidence that this language ever existed.[8] Hugh Nibley, a Mormon apologist, argues that reformed Egyptian is actually Meroitic Egyptian.[15]

Furthermore, official LDS Church commentary on the Book of Mormon says that at least some ancestors of Native Americans came from the Jerusalem area; however, Native American linguistic specialists have not found any Native American language that appears to be related to languages of the ancient Near East.[33]

Supporters point out the interesting elements of the creation drama that turn up in temple, tomb, or coffin texts from ancient Egypt that is described in detail in the Book of Mormon as the coronation of King Mosiah long before these ancient texts were understood by Egyptologists.[34]

Supporters of the Book of Mormon say it uses chiasmus—a figure of speech utilizing inverted parallelism—and point to it as evidence supporting the book's ancient origin.[35] Critics such as Jerald and Sandra Tanner argue that chiasmus in the Book of Mormon is a characteristic of Joseph Smith's speech pattern and not evidence of antiquity. They cite the use of chiasmus in the Doctrine and Covenants, which was not translated from an ancient text, as evidence.[36]

Smith was known as a treasure-hunter long before he said he found the golden plates. Grant H. Palmer suggested that Smith borrowed the name "Cumorah" through his study of the treasure-hunting stories of Captain William Kidd,..[37]


Smith sitting on a wooden chair with his face in a hat
A depiction of Joseph Smith dictating the Book of Mormon by peering at a seer stone in a hat.

The only statement Joseph Smith ever made about the translation process was "through the medium of the urim and thummim I translated the record, by the gift and power of God."[38] Martin Harris, Smith's second scribe, and David Whitmer, who witnessed Smith dictating the translation of the plates to Oliver Cowdery, both describe the process as an exact word-for-word translation.[39]

Modern LDS scholars tend to fall into two schools regarding the nature of the translation process: tight control and loose control. Those who believe in the tight control interpretation argue that Smith had very little leeway in the words used in dictating the Book of Mormon, but was not restricted to an exact word-for-word translation. Those who believe in the loose control interpretation argue that "'ideas were revealed to Joseph Smith' and he put them 'into his own language.'"[40]

Biblical language[edit]

The Book of Mormon claims to be the original writings of Nephite leaders in ancient America, yet it contains extensive quotation of the 17th-century edition of the King James Bible (KJV) and the deuterocanonical books, which Joseph Smith's bible had as well. Furthermore, the language of the Book of Mormon closely mimics the Elizabethan English used in the KJV, with 19th-century English mixed into it.[41]

The Book of Mormon quotes 25,000 words from the KJV Old Testament and over 2,000 words from the KJV New Testament.[42]

There are numerous cases where the Nephite writers mimic wording from the New Testament, a document to which they would have had no access. Below are five examples out of a list of 400 examples created by Jerald and Sandra Tanner:[43]

Book of Mormon Text KJV Text
"the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world (2 Nephi 9:18) "the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34)
"he judgeth, and his judgment is just" (Mosiah 3:18) "I judge: and my judgment is just" (John 5:30)
"he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness" (Alma 7:21) "he which is filthy, let him be filthy still" (Revelation 22:11)
"that one man should perish than that a nation should ... perish in unbelief (1 Nephi 4:13) "that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not" (John 11:50)
"the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire" (3 Nephi 7:8) "the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:22)

Here are some parallels with the Deuterocanonical Books and the Book of Mormon. In particular, 2 Maccabees includes the name "Nephi".[44][45] Examples of purported parallels include:[26][45]

Deuterocanonical Book of Mormon (1830)
"We will assay to abridge in one volume ... labouring to follow the rules of an abridgment ... But to use brevity ... is to be granted to him that will make an abridgement." (2 Maccabees 2:25-31) "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)
"They commanded that this writing should be put in tables of brass, and that they should be set ... in a conspicuous place; Also that the copies thereof should be laid up in the treasury" (1 Maccabees 14:48-49) "And I commanded him ... that he should go with me into the treasury ... I also spake unto him that I should carry the engravings, which were upon the plates of brass" (1 Nephi 4:20,24)
"Then the king, in closing the place, made it holy ... many men call it Nephi". (2 Maccabees 1:34,36) "And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore we did call it Nephi". (2 Nephi 5:8)
"And it came to pass ... I dreamed a dream by night" (2 Esdras 13:1) "And it came to pass ... Behold, I have dreamed a dream" (1 Nephi 8:2)


Critics believe Joseph Smith came up with all the names in the Book of Mormon, noting that Joseph owned a King James Bible with a table listing all the names used in the Bible.[46][47] Many Book of Mormon names are either biblical, formed from a rhyming pattern, changed by a prefix or suffix, Hebrew, Egyptian, Sumerian, or Greek in etymology.[48][49][50] Furthermore, Jaredites and Nephites shared names despite the Jaradites being of a different place and language than the Nephites. Lastly, some people would occasionally name their sons after their fathers, something not practiced in antiquity.[51]

Views toward women[edit]

The Book of Mormon has been criticized for its lack of significant female characters in the narrative.[52] In the Old Testament, male pronouns "he" and "his" are mentioned 6.5 times more than female pronouns "she" and "her", but in the Book of Mormon, the ratio is 31 times more often, and in the small plates of Nephi, it is 46 times more often.[53] Only six female characters are explicitly named in the Book of Mormon (Sariah the wife of Lehi, Abish a Lamanitish woman, Isabel the harlot, Eve, Sarah, and Mary), compared to 188 in the Bible.[53] No woman, except perhaps the wife of King Lamoni, in the Book of Mormon is portrayed as having her own independent connection with heaven.[54][55]

Historical accuracy[edit]

Most, but not all, Mormons hold the book's connection to ancient American history as an article of their faith. However, this view finds little acceptance outside of Mormonism because "scholars realize that accepting the Book of Mormon’s antiquity also means coming to terms with LDS beliefs about Joseph Smith’s access to supernatural powers."[9] The theory that the Book of Mormon is an ancient American history is thus considered to fall outside academic credibility.[9] Mormon apologetics have proposed multiple theories tying Book of Mormon places to modern locations.


There are a number of words and phrases in the Book of Mormon that are anachronistic—their existence in the text of the Book of Mormon is at odds with known linguistic patterns, archaeological findings, or known historical events.

Each of the anachronisms is a word, phrase, artifact, or other concept that critics, historians, archaeologists, or linguists believe did not exist in the Americas during the time period in which the Book of Mormon was said to have been written.

Apologists offer varying responses and views at Anachronisms in the Book of Mormon.

Subject Reference Verse Problem Date
Cimeter (interpreted as Scimitar) Mosiah 9:16 And it came to pass that I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle. (See also Enos 1:20; Mosiah 10:8; Alma 2:12; 27:29; 43:18, 20, 37; 44:8; 60:2; Heaman 1:14) Scimitars (curved swords) did not exist until the 500s.[56] 200-187 B.C.
Elephants Ether 9:19 And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms. Elephants did not exist in America at the time of Ether.[57][58] About 2200-600 B.C.
Horses 1 Nephi 18:25 And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper. (Horses see 2 Nephi 12:7; 2 Nephi 15:28; Enos 1:21; Alma 18:9, 10,12; 20:6; 3 Nephi 3:22; 4:4; 6:1; 21:14; Ether 9:19; ) Horses on the American continent died out in the Pleistocene and were not reintroduced until the 16th century.[59][60] 590-589 B.C
Steel 1 Nephi 4:9 And I beheld his sword, and I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and I saw that the blade thereof was of the most precious steel. (See also 1 Neph 16:18; 2 Nephi 5:15; Jarom 1:8; Ether 7:9) While steel (carburized iron) was known in Israel as early as the time of king Josiah[61] there is no archaeological evidence of steel production in pre-Columbian America.

Apologists counter that the word "steel" may refer to another hardened metal such as the copper alloy that is translated "steel" in the KJV.[62]

600-592 B.C.
Silk Alma 4:6 And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel. There is little archaeological evidence of silk in pre-Columbian America. 86-83 B.C.
Wheat & Barley Mosiah 9:9 And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds: with seeds of corn and of wheat and of barley ... Wheat and barley were brought to America by Europeans. About 200–187 B.C.
Sheep Ether 9:18 and also all manner of cattle, of oxen and cows, and of sheep and of swine and of goats ... Europeans brought sheep to America. About 2200-600 B.C.
Goats 1 Ne. 18:25 both the cow and the ox and the ass and the horse and the goat and the wild goat ... Europeans introduced the first domesticated goats to America.
Cattle and Cows Ether 9:18 and also all manner of cattle, of oxen and cows, and of sheep and of swine and of goats ... There is no evidence that Old World cattle (members of the genus Bos) inhabited the New World prior to European contact in the 17th century AD.
Swine Ether 9:18 and also all manner of cattle, of oxen and cows, and of sheep and of swine and of goats ... Europeans brought the first swine to America.
Jeremiah in Prison 1 Ne. 7:14 ... and Jeremiah have they cast into prison ... The 1920 editors of the Book of Mormon indicate that Jeremiah was imprisoned sometime before the 8th year of the reign of Zedekiah.[63] However, the Bible does not mention Jeremiah being imprisoned before the 10th year of the reign of Zedekiah.[64]
Quoting of Second Isaiah 2 Ne. 7:1 Yea, for thus saith the Lord: Have I put thee away or have I cast thee off forever ... In general, modern scholars believe Isaiah chapters 40-66 were written during the Babylonian Captivity between 586 BC and 538 BC.[65] Lehi would not have had access to these chapters since he left for the New World around 600 B.C.
Apparent Quoting of the New Testament 1 Nephi 22:17 shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:15) Paul did not write this epistle for another 600 years after Nephi's death.
Discrepancy in time between Zedekiah and Jesus' birth 1 Nephi 1:4, 10:4, 19:8; 2 Nephi 25:19, 3 Nephi 1:1 "in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah"(1 Nephi 1:4)
"Now it came to pass that the ninety and first year had passed away and it was six hundred years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem;" (3 Nephi 1:1)
The first year of Zedekiah occurred in 597BC, and Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod, who died no later than the year 4BC, not adding up to the full 600 years accounted for in the Book of Mormon.[66]


Map showing the possible lands and sites of the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica (speculative)

Since the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, both Mormon and non-Mormon archaeologists have attempted to find archaeological evidence to support or criticize it. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement generally believe that the Book of Mormon describes ancient historical events in the Americas, but mainstream historians and archaeologists do not regard it as a work of ancient American history.

Some early 20th century researchers presented various archaeological findings such as place names, and ruins of the Inca, Maya, Olmec, and other ancient American and Old World civilizations as giving credence to the Book of Mormon record.[16] Others disagree with these conclusions, arguing that the Book of Mormon mentions several animals, plants, and technologies that are not substantiated by the archaeological record between 3100 BC to 400 AD in America.[10][67][68][69]

Native American genetics[edit]

Since the late 1990s pioneering work of Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and others, scientists have developed techniques that attempt to use genetic markers to indicate the ethnic background and history of individual people. The data developed by these mainstream scientists tell us that the Native Americans have very distinctive DNA markers, and that some of them are most similar, among old world populations, to the DNA of people anciently associated with the Altay Mountains area of central Asia. This conclusion from a genetic perspective supports a large amount of archaeological, anthropological, and linguistic evidence that Native American peoples' ancestors migrated from Asia at the latest 16,500–13,000 years ago. (See Settlement of the Americas and Genetic history of indigenous peoples of the Americas).

The mainstream scientific consensus about the origin of the ancient Americans and peoples is apparently at odds with the claims put forth in the Book of Mormon, although Mormon apologists have made efforts to reconcile these apparent contradictions.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints released an essay on their website titled "Book of Mormon and DNA Studies". The conclusion states, "Much as critics and defenders of the Book of Mormon would like to use DNA studies to support their views, the evidence is simply inconclusive."[70]

Population size and the Book of Mormon[edit]

Critics challenge the viability of the population size and growth of the Book of Mormon people using the parameter that there was no incorporation of existing populations. M. T. Lamb may have been the very first critic to suggest that the Book of Mormon has an unrealistic population growth rate.[71] Modern studies on population size and growth have been done by John Kunich[72] and FARMS writer James Smith.[73] Kunich's analysis agrees with Lamb's that the Book of Mormon presents an unrealistic growth rate for the population,[74] but Smith disagrees, and says that the growth rate is realistic.[75]

Textual revisions[edit]

Critics also challenge the divine origin of the Book of Mormon by noting the numerous revisions that have been made to the text.[7][11][76][77][78][79] Though most changes are small spelling and grammar corrections,[80] critics claim that even these are significant in light of Smith's claims of divine inspiration. Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was "the most correct of any book on earth," and Martin Harris said that the words which appeared on the seer stone would not disappear until they were correctly written;[81] Critics assert that some of these changes were systematic attempts to hide the book's flaws.[82][83]

Relation to the Book of Abraham[edit]

Egyptologists' translations of these fragments of the Joseph Smith Papyri do not coincide with Smith's translation.

Critics point out that Joseph Smith also translated the Book of Abraham. Unlike the Book of Mormon, fragments of the documents from which Smith translated the Book of Abraham are available for inspection; Egyptologists find no resemblance between the original text and Smith's translation.[84]

Supporters point out that the Church has never claimed that the fragments of papyri which include facsimile 1, 2, and 3 are where Joseph Smith obtained his material for the Book of Abraham. These fragments are from the Egyptian Book of the Dead which was just one of the scrolls from Egypt that Joseph Smith had in his possession. When these fragments were discovered in the Metropolitan Museum many years ago, Hugh Nibley wrote a book called The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri, An Ancient Egyptian Endowment showing how the fragments that had been discovered had nothing to do with the Book of Abraham but everything to do with Egyptian funeral texts from the Book of the Dead.

The translation of the papyri by both Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists does not match the text of the Book of Abraham as purportedly translated by Joseph Smith.[85] Indeed, the transliterated text from the recovered papyri and facsimiles published in the Book of Abraham contain no direct references, either historical or textual, to Abraham,[86][87][88] and Abraham's name does not appear anywhere in the papyri or the facsimiles. Edward Ashment notes, "The sign that Smith identified with Abraham ... is nothing more than the hieratic version of ... a 'w' in Egyptian. It has no phonetic or semantic relationship to [Smith's] 'Ah-broam.'"[87] University of Chicago Egyptologist Robert K. Ritner concluded in 2014 that the source of the Book of Abraham "is the 'Breathing Permit of Hôr,' misunderstood and mistranslated by Joseph Smith",[89] and that the other papyri are common Egyptian funerary documents like the Book of the Dead.[90]

Original manuscripts of the Book of Abraham, microfilmed in 1966 by Jerald Tanner, show portions of the Joseph Smith Papyri and their purported translations into the Book of Abraham. Ritner concludes, contrary to the LDS position, due to the microfilms being published prior to the rediscovery of the Joseph Smith Papyri, that "it is not true that 'no eyewitness account of the translation survives'", that the Book of Abraham is "confirmed as a perhaps well-meaning, but erroneous invention by Joseph Smith", and "despite its inauthenticity as a genuine historical narrative, the Book of Abraham remains a valuable witness to early American religious history and to the recourse to ancient texts as sources of modern religious faith and speculation".[89]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gordon B. Hinckley, "Praise to the Man" Archived 2012-06-08 at the Wayback Machine, 1979-11-04.
  2. ^ Church Educational System (1996, rev. ed.). Book of Mormon Student Manual (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), ch. 6.
  3. ^ Smith (1830, title page).
  4. ^ Mormon 9:32
  5. ^ "Introduction".
  6. ^ Tanner 1987, p. 91.
  7. ^ a b c d Brody, Fawn (1971), No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (2nd ed.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. [page needed]
  8. ^ a b Standard language references such as Peter T. Daniels and William Bright, eds., The World's Writing Systems (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996) (990 pages); David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language (Cambridge University Press, 1997); and Roger D. Woodard, ed., The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages (Cambridge University Press, 2004) (1162 pages) contain no reference to "reformed Egyptian." "Reformed Egyptian" is also ignored in Andrew Robinson, Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered Scripts (New York: McGraw Hill, 2002), although it is mentioned in Stephen Williams, Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991).
  9. ^ a b c Duffy 2004, p. 37
  10. ^ a b c Abanes 2003, pp. 74–77
  11. ^ a b c Krakauer, Jon (2003), Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, New York: Doubleday, p. [page needed]
  12. ^ Skousen, R. (2010). "The Book of Mormon: The earliest text" Appendix:Significant Textual Changes. New Haven: Yale University Press. page 739
  13. ^ Testimony of the Three Witnesses
  14. ^ Testimony of the Eight Witnesses
  15. ^ a b Nibley, Hugh. Teachings of the Book of Mormon. p. 13. ISBN 9781621081050. And at the very same time, the priests who used to be in the former royal court at Napata fled farther to Meroe. There they produced a new type of Egyptian at this time which was Meroitic (I've got a picture of it here). When you compare the Anthon transcripts with Meroitic, it's very impressive. In fact, Brother Bushman back at Brown University (which is one of the four universities in the country where Egyptian has always been a big thing), showed them the Anthon transcript, and Parker immediately recognized them as Meroitic. He said, "They're the closest thing you can get to Meroitic." ... This is the new Egyptian which was invented way up the Nile, way up in Meroe, which is even south of Napata. That's the Nubian kingdom. It's very interesting that so many Book of Mormon names come from way up there.
  16. ^ a b Priddis 1975; see RLDS D&C 110:20, were advanced by RLDS members: Hills 1917; Hills 1918; Hills 1924, and Gunsolley 1922
  17. ^ Palmer, Grant H. (2002). An insider's view of Mormon origins ([Nachdr.] ed.). Salt Lake City: Signature Books. ISBN 1560851570. The evidence indicates that the Book of Mormon is in fact an amalgamation of ideas that were inspired by Joseph's own environment (new) and themes from the Bible (old).
  18. ^ "Gospel Topics: Book of Mormon Translation",, LDS Church
  19. ^ Brodie, Fawn M. (1995). No man knows my history: the life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet (2. ed., rev.and enl., 1. Vintage books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. p. 78. ISBN 0679730540.
  20. ^ Wunderli, Earl M. (2013). An imperfect book : what the Book of Mormon tells us about itself. pp. 27–28. ISBN 9781560852308.
  21. ^ Howe, Eber D (1834), Mormonism Unvailed, Painesville, Ohio: Telegraph Press, p. [page needed]
  22. ^ Spaulding, Solomon (1996), Reeve, Rex C (ed.), Manuscript Found: The Complete Original "Spaulding" Manuscript, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, p. [page needed], ISBN 1570082979, OCLC 37469063
  23. ^ Roper, Matthew (2005), "The Mythical "Manuscript Found"", FARMS Review, Provo, Utah: Maxwell Institute, BYU, 17 (2): 7–140, archived from the original on 2014-01-15, retrieved 2014-01-13
  24. ^ Abanes 2003, p. 72
  25. ^ Tanner 1987, pp. 73–80
  26. ^ a b Abanes 2003, p. 68
  27. ^ Tanner 1987, pp. 84–85
  28. ^ Roberts, Brigham H. (1992) [1985], Madsen, Brigham D. (ed.), Studies of the Book of Mormon (2nd ed.), Salt Lake City: Signature Books, pp. 323–344, ISBN 1-56085-027-2, OCLC 26216024
  29. ^ Millennial Star, 6 Feb. 1882, p. 87
  30. ^ The Return of Oliver Cowdery - Maxwell Institute Papers Archived 2007-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Facts On The Book Of Mormon Witnesses — Part 1". 2011-07-08.
  32. ^ "An Address," 27, in EMD, 5: 194.
  33. ^ Roberts, Brigham H. (1992). Madsen, Brigham (ed.). Studies of the Book of Mormon (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City: Signature Books. pp. 63–94. ISBN 1560850272.
  34. ^ Nibley, Hugh; Rhodes, Michael D; Lyon, Michael P (2009), One Eternal Round, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, pp. 112–113, ISBN 9781606412374, OCLC 465330437
  35. ^ Edwards, Boyd F.; Edwards, W. Farrell (2004). "Does Chiasmus Appear in the Book of Mormon by Chance?". BYU Studies. 43:2: 103–130.
  36. ^ Edwards, Boyd F.; Edwards, W. Farrell (2004). "Does Chiasmus Appear in the Book of Mormon by Chance?". Brigham Young University Studies. 43 (2): 103–130. ISSN 0007-0106. JSTOR 43044379.
  37. ^ Palmer, Grant H. (2014). "Joseph Smith, Captain Kidd, Cumorah, and Moroni" (PDF). John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. 34 (1): 50–57. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  38. ^ Wunderli, Earl M. (2013). An imperfect book : what the Book of Mormon tells us about itself. Signature Books. p. 23. ISBN 9781560852308.
  39. ^ Wunderli, Earl M. (2013). An imperfect book : what the Book of Mormon tells us about itself. pp. 34–35. ISBN 9781560852308. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.
  40. ^ Wunderli, Earl M. (2013). An imperfect book : what the Book of Mormon tells us about itself. p. 37. ISBN 9781560852308.
  41. ^ Walters, Wesley (1990). The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon. Utah Lighthouse Ministry.
  42. ^ Brodie, Fawn M. (1995). No man knows my history : the life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet (2. ed., rev.and enl., 1. Vintage books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. p. 58. ISBN 0679730540.
  43. ^ Tanner, Jerald; Tanner, Sandra. The Case Against Mormonism. Utah Lighthouse Ministry. pp. 87–102.[full citation needed]
  44. ^ Abanes 2003, p. 71
  45. ^ a b Tanner 1987, pp. 72–73
  46. ^ Tanner 1987, pp. 95"It is interesting to note that when Joseph Smith purchased a Bible in the late 1820s, he picked one that contained "An alphabetical table of all the names of the Old and New Testaments with their significations"
  47. ^ Walters, Wesley. The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon. Utah Lighthouse Ministry. p. 18.
  48. ^ "Book of Mormon Onomasticon". Brigham Young University - The Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  49. ^ Gee, John; Tvedtnes, John A.; Roper, Matthew (2000). "Book of Mormon Names Attested in Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions". Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. 9 (1, Article 11.). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  50. ^ Gee, John (1992). "A Note on the Name Nephi". Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. 1 (1, Article 12). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  51. ^ Wunderli, Earl M. (2013). An imperfect book : what the Book of Mormon tells us about itself. p. 158. ISBN 9781560852308.
  52. ^ Rees, Robert A. “The Midrashic Imagination and the Book of Mormon.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 44, no. 3, 2011, pp. 44–66. JSTOR, Accessed 19 Apr. 2020.
  53. ^ a b Pearson, Carol Lynn Could Feminism Have Saved the Nephites Sunstone Magazine, March 1996 pp 32-40
  54. ^ Luffman, D. E. (2013). The Book of Mormons witness to its first readers. Independence, MO: Community of Christ Seminary Press. e-book location 3863 of 4274.
  55. ^ For a view that the wife of King Lamoni had an independent connection with heaven, see Christensen, Kevin and Christensen, Shauna (1998) "Nephite Feminism Revisited: Thoughts on Carol Lynn Pearson's View of Women in the Book of Mormon," Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1989–2011: Vol. 10 : No. 2 , Article 5. Available at:
  56. ^ B.H. Roberts noted: "The word [cimiter] is of oriental and uncertain origin and appears in various forms. How it came to be introduced into the speech and writings of the Nephites, and how not used in the other Hebrew literature at an earlier date, is so far as I know, unaccountable. The earliest use of the word I have found is in Gibbon, where referring to the alleged incident of finding the sword of Mars for Attila, he there calls that sword of Mars "cimiter"; but that was about 450 A.D." - from Roberts, B.H.; Studies of the Book of Mormon; Signature Books; Salt Lake City; Second Edition; 1992; page 112.
  57. ^ Diamond 1999
  58. ^ Sharon Levy, "Mammoth Mystery, Did Climate Changes Wipe Out North America's Giant Mammals, Or Did Our Stone Age Ancestors Hunt Them To Extinction?, Onearth, winter 2006, pp15-19
  59. ^ "The Surprising History of America's Wild Horses".
  60. ^ R. Dale Guthrie, New carbon dates link climatic change with human colonization and Pleistocene extinctions, Nature 441 (11 May 2006), 207-209.
  61. ^ Shanks, Hershall (July–August 1986). "Antiquities director confronts problems and controversies". Biblical Archaeology Review. 12 (4): 33, 35.
  62. ^ "Steel in the Book of Mormon - FairMormon". FairMormon. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  63. ^ Larson, Stan (September 1977). "Chronological dates are recorded at the bottom of the pages in the Book of Mormon. How reliable are these dates? Are there any that need to be corrected?". Ensign. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  64. ^ Jeremiah 32:1-2
  65. ^ Bergsma notes: "Ever since the publication of Duhm's influential Isaiah commentary, Isaiah 40-55 has generally been ascribed to an exilic Second Isaiah, while chapters 56-66 have been attributed to a post-exilic Third Isaiah. However, there has not been complete unanimity. Some conservative scholars have continued to defend the eighth-century prophet's authorship of the entire book." from - Bergsma, John Sietze (2007). The Jubilee from Leviticus to Qumran: A History of Interpretation (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Volume 115 ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Brill Leiden. p. 191. ISBN 978-90-04-15299-1.
  66. ^ Hardy, G. (2010). Understanding the Book of Mormon a readers guide. New York: Oxford University Press. Footnote 15 on page 103
  67. ^ Wolverton 2004, pp. 84–85
  68. ^ Persuitte 2000, p. 102
  69. ^ "Does Archaeology Support The Book Of Mormon?". Mormons in Transition web site. Institute for Religious Research. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
  70. ^ Saints, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day. "Book of Mormon and DNA Studies".
  71. ^ Metcalfe, Edited by Brent Lee (1993). New approaches to the Book of Mormon : explorations in critical methodology. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. p. 251. ISBN 1560850175.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  72. ^ Metcalfe, Brent (1993). New approaches to the Book of Mormon : explorations in critical methodology. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. pp. 231–267. ISBN 1560850175.
  73. ^ Reynolds, edited by Noel B. (1997). Book of Mormon authorship revisited : the evidence for ancient origins. Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. pp. 255–293. ISBN 093489325X.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  74. ^ Metcalfe, Edited by Brent Lee (1993). New approaches to the Book of Mormon : explorations in critical methodology. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. p. 259. ISBN 1560850175.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  75. ^ Reynolds, edited by Noel B. (1997). Book of Mormon authorship revisited : the evidence for ancient origins. Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. p. 287. ISBN 093489325X.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  76. ^ Abanes 2003, p. 73
  77. ^ Beckwith, Francis (2002), The New Mormon Challenge, Zondervan, pp. 367–396, ISBN 0-310-23194-9
  78. ^ Cowan, Marvin (1997), Mormon Claims Answered (2nd ed.), M.W. Cowan, ASIN B0006E7Z2G
  79. ^ There have been numerous changes to the text of the Book of Mormon between the 1830 edition and modern LDS editions, almost four thousand changes according to one count by Jerald and Sandra Tanner; see: Tanner 1996, Introduction.
  80. ^ The majority of these changes are spelling and grammar corrections; see: "All About Mormons: Changes to the Book of Mormon",, Russell Anderson.
  81. ^ see: Tanner 1980, p. 132.
  82. ^ Some critics claim that some revisions are systematic attempts to remove evidence that Joseph Smith fabricated the Book of Mormon, and other revisions were made to hide embarrassing aspects of the church's past; see: Abanes 2003, pp. 59–80.
  83. ^ Tanner 1987, pp. 50–96
  84. ^ Larson, Charles M. (1992). By his own hand upon papyrus : a new look at the joseph smith papyri (Rev. ed., 2. print ed.). [S.l.]: Inst For Religious. ISBN 0962096326.
  85. ^ Larson 1992, p. 61.
  86. ^ Reeve & Parshall 2010, p. 269.
  87. ^ a b Ashment 2000, p. 126.
  88. ^ Ritner 2013, p. 66.
  89. ^ a b Ritner, Robert K., A Response to 'Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham', Signature Books, archived from the original on October 22, 2016, retrieved January 19, 2016
  90. ^ Ritner 2013, p. 65.


Further reading[edit]