Talk:Criticism of the Book of Mormon

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This is a Summary Style article: not a place for details[edit]

This is a summary style article, so it should not contain any detailed info. All detailed info should go into the articles that this links to. If you would like to add rebutttal or apologetic information, please consider adding it into the more detailed articles: this is a Summary article, and so is not the best place to put details. If you feel that details really need to be added to this page, consider putting the details in footnote, rather than in the primary text.

Sections with out "main" articles to refer to[edit]

There are a couple of subsections that do not have "main" articles in this encyclopedia, so they need more work:

  • 1) Criticism related to word that may have originated Joseph Smith's New York background
  • 2) Criticism involving miscellaneous factual errors
  • 3) Criticism related to revisions to the Book of Mormon

For these we need to either:

  • a) Create an article for them
  • b) Create a section in an existing article


  • c) Add detail into this article.


  • d) Add detail into this article, but put it in footnotes, not the body text.

Option (c) is not great, because it makes this Summary Style article uneven. (a) is not quite right, since those 3 topics are relatively small. So perhaps (b) or (d) is the best way to go. --Noleander (talk) 14:08, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

I added detail to resolve (1) and (3) above, so the only remaining subsection with no cites or "main" template to support it is (2) the "Misc factual errors" subsection. --Noleander (talk) 17:54, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Existance of Reformed Eygpation[edit]

Do you have a source to back up that this is in question? --nn123645 (talk) 05:22, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Article needs reformatting[edit]

This article is written mostly in a list style, when it should be in summary style. Unless anyone strongly objects, I will gradually begin to flesh out and re-factor this article. ...comments? ~BFizz 16:12, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Couple of Qs: (1) can you provide a rough sketch of what your proposed new outline/Table of Contents would look like? (2) Are you proposing to remove any material (other than section titles)? Bear in mind that the reason this article exists is because the detailed information is spread throughout about 20 other articles in the encyclopedia. It was a nightmare for readyers trying to navigate and collate all that widespread info. --Noleander (talk) 15:30, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I do not propose to remove any material. Rather, I intent to combine the deepest level of section titles, and (slightly) expand on the material for each one.

For example, turn this:

Maybe a sentence here

===Subheader 1===
: Main article X
One sentence explanation of this point.

===Subheader 2===
: Main article X (same as Title 1)
One sentence explanation of this point.

===Subheader 3===
: Main article Y (different, but related to X)
One sentence explanation of this point.

Into this:

: Main articles X and Y

Points from subheaders one, two, and three explained here, in prose style,
with slightly more information than was conveyed in the previous version.

One or two short paragraphs.

In the new style, the paragraphs would generally start with a topic sentence, clarifying the name of the section header. The rest of the paragraph would mention the specific points, and attempt to flow smoothly from one to the next, giving a cohesive summary prose presentation, rather than a bullet list of points. The general structure of the article content, as it stands, looks fairly good, and I do not propose a complete rewrite of the flow of the article. Rather, I propose a rewrite of the layout in which the article information is presented, and slightly more detail. I recognize that the subarticles should maintain the intricate details, and that care must be taken to leave most of the details there rather than replicating them extensively in this article. ...comments? ~BFizz 04:03, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

See this edit for an example of what I mean. I intend to do something similar to the rest of the article. Regarding this particular edit: I removed the detail about the seer stones, since I couldn't find material on WP that elaborated on critical views of that detail. I framed this particular section into two paragraphs: 1) critics reject Smith's explanation (gold plates), and 2) critics generally reject the book's ancient origin. I added brief explanations of Smith's claims so that the criticism could be understood in its proper context. ...comments? ~BFizz 05:08, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Hmm. Well, that raises the question of what purpose this article is serving. I guess I was viewing it as more of a list-style article, that simply served as an index to the 15 other articles, as in:

If we convert it to prose, the "index" aspect will be lost. I suppose we could try to both, by keeping a list in a Summary section; or in the SeeAlso section (although the guideline is to not put links there if they are anywhere else). I guess I have no objection to going to a prose approach, as long as all the links are kept as "main" or "seeAlso" templates. We can always create a separate List article or Category. --Noleander (talk) 14:14, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

I was thinking the same thing. Basically, I think this article should be able to be read as a stand-alone summary of its subtopics. Then if the reader is interested in a particular section, he/she can follow the "Main article" link for further info. It wouldn't hurt to create another page, List of criticisms of the Book of Mormon, to serve as an "index". A category actually sounds like the best idea (Category:Criticism of the Book of Mormon), since that's what categories are for. In any event, I will keep all of the "main article" links, though I might merge some if they simply refer to different sections of the same article. All of my edits will, of course, be subject to review and approval of the community at large. ...comments? ~BFizz 14:55, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
To fill the list/index role, we may also consider creating a navigation template: I would suggest just using Template:Book of Mormon, since most BoM-related articles have a criticism section. If nobody jumps on that, then I'll try to whip up a template in the next few days, and ask for feedback from WP:LDSM. ...comments? ~BFizz 15:05, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Recent reformatting[edit]

I'm fairly satisfied with my reformatting of the article. Some sections need to be fleshed out just a little bit more, particularly, the "Unusual names that were available to Smith", and each subsection of the "Historical accuracy" section. The lede should also be fleshed out a little, so that it mentions each subtopic in a very general and brief summary style. Feedback on my recent changes is more than welcome. ...comments? ~BFizz 16:17, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

I've fleshed out everything now, except the geography section. The main article is a bit of a mess so it's hard for me to really grasp it and summarize it at the moment. I've made many changes today. Most notably:
  • I've removed the "misc factual errors" section, because the examples seemed redundant with other subsections
  • I've added apologetic perspective sparingly to a couple sections
From here, after revamping the geography section, we should work on references. We don't need a ton, since they mainly reside in the supporting articles, but a few copied here and there wouldn't hurt. The references in the lede can probably be removed; I don't think anyone disputes the fact that "critics say the BoM is a fabrication". We might instead consider adding a section to this article mentioning notable critics. ...comments? ~BFizz 01:49, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Evidence like ancient Hebrew artifacts which has been found on American soil surely supports the possibility that the Book of Mormon is a real ancient document. I feel this article is unbalanced and lacks objectivity, most likely written by a critic who would not be concerned with any relevant evidence. Also, men like Thor Heyerdahl, from their research, have suggested a possible Hittite link because many of the technologies found on the continent are not Asian in origin but Middle Eastern and North African, this includes the reed ships used on two continents, no Asian link. One can see the clear middle eastern link but even with these evidences some would suggest that the People who inhabited the land were Asian and that Middle Eastern folk never lived in the Americas. A percentage of Jewish dna has been found in the population, a fact ignored when this article was written and some North American tribes have customs not far off from ancient Judaic customs, including feasts.

Please rewrite this article because it promotes an unbalanced and dishonest view. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

First Sentence? Seriously?[edit]

The Book of Mormon, published in 1830 by American religious leader Joseph Smith (who claimed it to be a translation of an ancient Native American record), is the subject of criticism relating to its origin, text, and historical accuracy.

Sorry, but this is unacceptable. I have my own opinions and reservations about the Book of Mormon, but this goes WAY beyond what I find acceptable here. If anyone wants to argue in favor of keeping this extremely biased statement as the very 1st sentence in the article, then lets also make the first sentence of the Qu'ran something like " the subject of criticism relating to it's advocacy of killing and murdering jews and other non-believers..." If we are going to allow the 1st impression of someone's Holy Book be the criticisms of it's non-believers, then let's spread that policy around evenly. (talk) 03:36, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

But this is an article called "Criticism of the Book of Mormon." If this were the main or only article about the Book of Mormon itself, then a more neutral tone would be appropriate. But since this article is about the various lines of criticism, then the language "is the subject of criticism relating to its origin, text, and historical accuracy" is correct. (talk) 02:05, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

Critics say.............[edit]

Far too many paragraphs in this article begin with statements in the form "Critics say...." without giving any actual examples.

This is not encyclopedic. Provide a few examples or at least give links to accessible sources that contain examples. If you can't do this, delete the paragraphs. Wanderer57 (talk) 06:03, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Explanation of edit[edit]

The edit I just made to the lead section of this article is an attempt to give a reader new to the article a clearer idea of its nature. Wanderer57 (talk) 06:49, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Principle Ancestors[edit]

The current introduction to the LDS edition of the Book of Mormon states that people from Jerusalem were "among the ancestors of the American Indians." While it is clear from the text itself that they are intended to be ancestors to Native Americans, it isn't clear that they are the primary ancestors. While many Mormons believe this to be the case, the text can be interpreted in different ways. stvltvs (talk) 02:48, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Fallen/False Prophet[edit]

The distinction between a fallen prophet and a false prophet is important, and as far as I'm aware, the Three Witnesses never considered Joseph Smith a false prophet. Before a change is made to "false prophet", please include a source. stvltvs (talk) 18:35, 13 April 2015 (UTC)