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Possible 19th Century influences on Book of Mormon
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Possible 19th Century influences on Book of Mormon
Question: Was Bishop M'Kendree, a Methodist revivalist preacher, the model for King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon?
The parallels between the Methodist camp meeting at which M'Kendree appeared and King Benjamin's speech are general, sometimes manufactured, and likely coincidental
It is claimed by some who believe that Joseph Smith fabricated the Book of Mormon on his own, that Bishop M'Kendree—a Methodist revivalist preacher in Joseph Smith's era—was the model for "King Benjamin" in the Book of Mormon. An account by from Benjamin Paddock is usually cited in support of this claim. M'Kendree appeared at a Methodist camp meeting that was held one mile from Palmyra, New York, on 7 June 1826.
The parallels between the Methodist camp meeting and King Benjamin's speech are general, sometimes manufactured, and likely coincidental.
- There is no evidence that Joseph Smith was even in the area in which the conference occurred.
- The critics confuse and combine different events and do not accurately report those events.
- The critics misreport the events in ways that seem calculated to make them seem more like the Book of Mormon than they were.
- The matter for which the conference was talked about had nothing to do with the matter which the critics try to make the source for the Book of Mormon.
As with many of Grant Palmer's comparisons, once one takes the time to look at the comparison that he makes, and the actual sources he uses, one finds that the argument is not as compelling as Palmer believes it to be. This is not to say that there aren't some parallels, but let us first look at matters which Palmer must address before we can give much weight to his claim.
Historical background of the Methodist Camp meeting and M'Kendree's participation in it
Here is the historical background from Palmer:
Protestant concepts appear to abound in his discourses and experiences. For example, a Methodist camp meeting was held one mile from Palmyra, New York, on 7 June 1826 - a pivotal time in Joseph's life. Preparations for a camp meeting included leasing and consecrating the ground. Thus the "ground within the circle of the tents is considered sacred to the worship of God, and is our chapel." The Methodists referred to these "consecrated grounds" as their "House of God" or temple. The Palmyra camp meeting reportedly attracted over 10,000 people. Families came from all parts of the 100-mile conference district and pitched their tents facing the raised "stand" where the preachers were seated, including one named Benjamin G. Paddock (fig. 20). This large crowd heard the "valedictory" or farewell speech of their beloved "Bishop M'Kendree [who] made his appearance among us for the last time." He was the Methodist leader who "had presided" over the area for many years. The people had such reverence for this "sainted" man "that all were melted, and ... awed in his presence." In his emaciated and "feeble" condition, he spoke of his love for the people and then delivered a powerful message that covered "the whole process of personal salvation." Tremendous unity prevailed among the crowd, and "nearly every unconverted person on the ground" committed oneself to Christ. At the close of the meeting, the blessings and newly appointed "Stations of the Preachers" were made for the Ontario district.
We can see where he wants to put emphasis for our easy comparison. Palmer's primary source is the memoir of this Benjamin G. Paddock. This book is available on-line.
It is unlikely that Joseph would have made the trip back to Palmyra to attend this event
The material cited by Palmer is on pages 177–181. A complete copy of this text is available in the wiki here (so that readers can examine it easily in its original context). Palmer actually seems far more concerned about making his parallels than he is about accuracy. Perhaps he believed that using an obscure source would allow him to be a little loose with the details. Here are three major problems with this particular little bit of text written by Palmer:
- While Joseph Smith's home is in Palmyra in June of 1826, Joseph himself is boarding with his future Father-in-law Isaac Hales, in Harmony Pennsylvania in 1826. It seems unlikely that Joseph would have made the trip back to Palmyra to attend this event.
- Can be seen from reading the full text, there are two concurrent events: The first is a Conference (an annual Conference for this religious group, much like LDS General Conference). For that event, there is a stage set up, the leading preachers are up on the stage, and some of them speak. The second is the camp meeting, which is associated with this first event. The camp meeting was held at the same time as the Conference, but it wasn't the same thing—and as Benjamin Paddock's memoir relates, "A great camp-meeting was held in connection with it. The ground was only about a mile from the village, so that members of the Conference not immediately and specially employed could take part in its services. At that early day, and previously, meetings of the kind were not unfrequently held in the neighborhood of our Annual Conferences; but the present one was exceptionally large." In other words, there was a camp that was often set up near the conference, and those who weren't tied up with the conference itself would go and preach to the crowd at the camp-meeting. The reason why this is interesting is that the camp meeting wasn't the reason why Bishop M'Kendree was there. And there isn't any indication that Bishop M'Kendree attended the camp meeting.
- Palmer says that Bishop M'Kendree gives a farewell speech. The reports are conflicted. Paddock tells us (referring to the Conference) that: "He was too feeble to preside, and occupied the chair only once or twice, and then only for a few minutes at a time. Still, however, at the urgent request of Bishop Hedding and leading members of the Conference, he signed the Journals at the close of the session as one of its presiding officers. Brethren were anxious to secure at least his signature as a memorial of his visit." So, here, it isn't mentioned as a farewell speech, although he does get up once or twice it notes.
The other account comes from George Peck's 1860 book Early Methodism within the bounds of the old Genesee Conference from 1788 to 1828: or the first forty years of Wesleyan evangelism in northern Pennsylvania, central and western New York, and Canada on pages 509-510:
1826. The conference met at Palmyra, 7th of June. Bishops M'Kendree and Hedding were present.
This session of the conference is noticeable as the one in which Bishop M'Kendree made his appearance among us for the last time. He was at the first session and signed the journal. He had presided at the sessions up to the year 1816, inclusive, since which he had not paid us a visit. He came to take leave. He opened the first session, made an instructive address in the the form of an exposition upon the lesson read from the Scriptures, and finally gave us his valedictory. In the journal for Monday it is recorded that
Bishop M'Kendree delivered a very appropriate address to the members of this conference, which he supposed to be his valedictory." It did not prove to be, as he supposed, his valedictory! He appeared in the conference on the last day of the session, as the following record shows:
Bishop M'Kendree having addressed the conference on the importance of missionary exertions and Sunday schools, therefore,
Resolved, That this conference heartily concur in the sentiments expressed by the bishops, and pledge themselves to use their influence to promote the cause of missions and of Sunday schools throughout their respective circuits and stations."
So where does all of the stuff in Palmer's book come from about this farewell speech about "the whole process of personal salvation"?
So where does all of the stuff in Palmer come from about this farewell speech about "the whole process of personal salvation"? Well, that comes from Paddock's description of the camp meeting (not the conference) when on the Sabbath, five of the participants at the conference gave sermons at the camp meeting:
But the Sabbath was the great day of the feast. Beginning in the morning at eight o'clock, five sermons were preached before the services closed in the evning. Bishop Hedding and Dr. Bangs took the two appointments nearest the meridian of the day, and preached with even more than their ordinary freedom and power. At about five in the afternoon the stand was assigned to the Rev. Glezen Fillmore, then in the vigor of mature manhood, now - for he still lives, a blessing to the Church and the world - trembling on the extreme verge of time. The sermon was in his best stule - more carefully prepared and more effectively delivered than were his discourses generally. The latter part of it contemplated the whole process of personal salvation, from its incipiency to its consummation in the world of light."
So, according to the sources, it's not this Bishop M'Kendree who speaks on personal salvation, It is a Reverend Glezen Fillmore
So, it's not this Bishop M'Kendree who speaks on personal salvation, it's not even Benjamin Paddock (who it seems never addressed either the conference or the camp meeting - having only been in the ministry for two years at this point). It is a Reverend Glezen Fillmore, who wasn't feeble or old, but rather was in the prime of his life according to Paddock (he was actually 37 years old at the time), and he was preaching in Rochester in 1826 when he came to the conference.
Nowhere in either account is this man (Bishop M'Kendree) delivering a sermon on personal salvation
On top of all of this, Paddock describes an event at the conference which he calls remarkable:
The sermon was in his best style - more carefully prepared and more effectively delivered than were his discourses generally. The latter part of it contemplated the whole process of personal salvation, from its incipiency to its consummation in the world of light. Having traced the track of the believer, all along from the dawn of spiritual life till he had entered the land of Beulah, and was about to plume himself for his flight to the celestial city, the speaker paused as if struggling with irrepressible emotion, and, looking upward, exclaimed, "O God, hold thy servant together while for a moment he looks through the gates ajar into the New Jerusalem!"
To describe the effect would be quite impossible. A tide of emotion swept over the congregation that seemed to carry all before it. I was seated near Bishop Hedding, who, from fatigue, was reclining upon a bed under and a little to the rear of the stand. It had been noticed before that he was much affected by the sermon; but when the sentence given above was uttered, the tears almost literally spurted from his eyes, and his noble form shook as if under the resistless control of a galvanic battery. The Rev. Goodwin Stoddard exhorted, and invited seekers within the circle of prayer in front of the stand. Hundreds came forward; some said nearly every unconverted person on the ground. In the spring of 1828, when I was pastor in Rochester, the delegates from New England, on their way to the General Conference in Pittsburgh, called and spent the Sabbath with me. Almost the first thing they said after we met was, "Where is that brother that wanted God to hold him together while he looked into heaven a moment?" It seems that the good Bishop had reported the sermon in more circles than one, for others from the east made a similar inquiry.
This is the event for which this Conference with its camp-meeting was best remembered. So, nowhere in either account is this man (Bishop M'Kendree) delivering a sermon on personal salvation. His role in the community has been overstated by Palmer (he hasn't attended the previous seven conference between 1816 and 1826). Yes there are some similarities that can be drawn—but these are nothing but coincidental. Palmer is misrepresenting his sources to make the parallels seem much stronger (trying to make the platform stage of the conference resemble King Benjamin's tower, for example).
And, finally, this would have been more interesting if Joseph Smith had likely been present. But he probably wasn't, and what he would have heard about the conference might have been the remarkable event that Paddock refers to that was talked about for quite some time.
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize the History of Mexico to produce the Book of Ether?
The timing of its publication makes it impossible for Joseph Smith to have seen even the first volume prior to the submission of the Book of Mormon manuscript to publishers
It is claimed that a 16th century work by Fernando de Alva Ixtilxochitl, History of Mexico, provided source material for Joseph Smith's construction of the Book of Ether in the Book of Mormon.
The History of Mexico theory is yet another attempt to fit a secular origin to the Book of Mormon. The timing of its publication makes it impossible for Joseph Smith to have seen even the first volume prior to the submission of the Book of Mormon manuscript to publishers. Moreover, the relevant volume is volume nine, which was published many years after the Book of Mormon. The parallel between History of Mexico and The Book of Mormon, if anything, supports the claim that The Book of Mormon is a genuine historical record, although of course it would be overreaching to conclude that it proves the truth of The Book of Mormon.
Writing of History of Mexico
Fernando de Alva Ixtilxochitl was a Catholic priest of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry. He lived from approximately 1568 to 1647. He wrote several works of history, and is recognized by some historians as being particularly astute, partly because of his mixed ancestry that allowed him access to more knowledgeable people than he otherwise would have been able to learn from. Ixtilxochitl's works are often known under the Spanish titles Obras Historicas or Historica Chichimeca
Parallels between History of Mexico and the Book of Ether
Ixtilxochitl's history includes an account of the origin of the first settlers of Mexico. In the original Spanish, it reads: "Y como despues multiplicandose los hombres hicieron un zacualli muy alto y fuerte, que quiere decir la torre altisima, para guarecerse en el cuando se tornase a destruir el segundo mundo. Al mejor tiempo se les mudaron las lenguas, y no entendiendose unos a otros, se fueron a diversas partes del mundo; y los tultecas, que fueron hasta siete companeros con sus mujeres, que se entendian la lengua, se vinieron a estas partes, habiendo primero pasado grandes tierras y mares, viviendo en las cuevas y pasando grandes trabajos, hasta venir a esta tierra, que la hallaron buena y fertil para su habitacion."
In his 1989 book, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Allen translated the above passage to read as follows: "[After the flood, the people] built a Zacualli very high and strong, which means 'The Very High Tower,' to protect themselves against a second destruction of the world. As time elapsed, their language became confounded, such that they did not understand one another; and they were scattered to all parts of the earth. The Tultecas, consisting of seven men and their wives, were able to understand each other; and they came to this land, having first crossed many lands and waters, living in caves and passing through great trials and tribulations. Upon their arrival here, they discovered that it was a very good and fertile land."
This obviously parallels Ether 1 and LDS teaching, which recount how the Jaredite colony migrated from Babel, at the time of the Tower of Babel as also recorded in Genesis 11:1-9, to a "Promised Land" in the western hemisphere.
Translation of History of Mexico
The first known translation of Ixtilxochitl's history into English was in Edward King, Lord Kingsborough's book Antiquities of Mexico. This was a nine-volume work; the first volume was published in 1830 or 1831 and the ninth was not published until after Lord Kingsborough's death in 1837. Lord Kingsborough put his personal fortune on the line for the publication, which featured luxurious materials and hand-painted illustrations. He over-extended himself and was sent to debtors' prison. The extremely high quality of the printing, and the therefore extremely high price of the volumes, make it incredibly unlikely that Joseph Smith ever saw a copy of this work.
Impossibility of Joseph having used Ixtilxochitl as a source
Critics may give just enough information about History of Mexico--it was published in English in 1830, the same year as the Book of Mormon--to make it seem plausible that Joseph Smith used it as a source text for the Book of Mormon. However, this claim is completely demolished under closer scrutiny.
First, Joseph Smith did not know Spanish, and none of his close associates prior to 1830 were known to know Spanish. So Joseph's access to an English translation is crucial to the critic's argument.
Second, the Book of Mormon was published in 1830, but the handwritten manuscript was finished and submitted to printers the year before, in July 1829. Even if Joseph had somehow obtained a copy of Antiquities of Mexico, hot off the presses in England early in 1830, it would have already been far too late to work any of the knowledge gleaned into the Book of Mormon manuscript in time for printing. First edition Book of Mormons do contain the entire Book of Ether.
Third, Antiquities of Mexico was published in nine volumes, and Ixtilxochitl's writings comprise volume nine, which was not published until 1837 or later.
Question: Did Joseph Smith incorporate his father's dream of the tree of life into the Book of Mormon?
The details of Joseph's father's dream were written long after the Book of Mormon was published
Critics point to similarities between a dream Joseph Smith's father had and Lehi's dream of the tree of life as evidence that Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon based on his own experiences. Significantly, none of Joseph's family regarded the similarities as evidence that Joseph Jr. was engaging in a forgery.
The details of the dream were written long after the Book of Mormon was published. Lucy's account is (at the very least) influenced in its verbiage by the Book of Mormon. Either Joseph Sr. had a remarkably similar dream, or Lucy used the material in the Book of Mormon to either bolster her memory, or it unwittingly influenced her memory.
There are three potential explanations for the similarities
- Joseph Smith plagiarized Joseph Sr.'s dream when he wrote the Book of Mormon. This is the stance adopted by the critics.
- Joseph Sr. had a dream that was similar to the dream experienced by Lehi, and this was a sign to the Prophet's family that he was translating a real record that came from God. This is certainly possible, though it is impossible to prove or disprove by historical techniques, and so will not be elaborated on. It remains, however, a viable option.
- Lucy Mack Smith's account of the dream (which she recorded many years after the fact, when the Book of Mormon account was well-known and published) may have influenced how she remembered and/or recorded her account of Joseph Sr's dream.
Details of Joseph Smith, Sr.'s dream of the tree of life
According to Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith, Senior, the father of the Prophet, had the following dream in 1811 when the family was living in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Joseph Smith, Junior, would have been 5 years old at the time.
I thought...I was traveling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing, before I went any further. So I asked myself, "What motive can I have in traveling here, and what place can this be?" My guide, who was by my side, as before, said, "This is the desolate world; but travel on." The road was so broad and barren that I wondered why I should travel in it; for, said I to myself, "Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and straight is the gate that leads to everlasting' life, and few there be that go in there at."
Traveling a short distance farther, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream I could see neither the source nor yet the termination; but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, "I can not eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me." Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating, and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.
While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded.
I presently turned to my guide, and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it was the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him, and keep his commandments. He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. "No," he replied, "look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also." Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children, standing some distance off. I immediately went to them, and brought them to the tree; upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. The more we ate, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees, and scooped it up, eating it by double handfuls.
After feasting in this manner a short time, I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, "It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God because of their humility."
I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy.
There are many obvious connections between this dream and Lehi's vision of the tree of life
There are many obvious connections between this dream and Lehi's vision of the tree of life recorded in 1 Nephi 8:
- A desolate field representing the world (8:4).
- A narrow path (8:20).
- A river of water (8:13).
- A rope running along the bank of the river (similar in function to the rod of iron in 8:19, 24).
- A tree with dazzling white fruit (8:10–11).
- Joseph, Sr. desires that his family should partake of the fruit also (8:12).
- A spacious building filled with people who are mocking those who eat the fruit (8:26–27).
- Joseph, Sr. and his family ignore the mocking (8:33).
- The fruit represents the love of God (11:22).
- The building represents the world (11:36; 12:18).
The source of the dream is Lucy's manuscript for which she dictated in the winter of 1844–45, 15 years after the publication of the Book of Mormon
The source of the dream is Lucy's manuscript for Joseph Smith, The Prophet And His Progenitors For Many Generations, which she dictated to Martha Jane Coray in the winter of 1844–45. Note the date of Lucy's dictation: more than 15 years after Joseph Smith, Junior, dictated the Book of Mormon.
Dreams are notoriously ephemeral. It is difficult for most people to remember the details of a dream, and those details quickly fade in the first few minutes after awaking.
The amount of detail Lucy records and the second-hand nature and late date of her testimony have led many to the conclusion that Lucy's recollection was strongly influenced by what she read in the Book of Mormon. That is, it is difficult to establish how much Joseph Sr.'s original dream had in common with the Book of Mormon, since the details which we have are only available after the fact, when Lucy's memory would have been affected by what she learned in the more detailed Book of Mormon account (even as it stands, the Book of Mormon account is far more detailed and lengthy than the material from 1844-45).
Thus, it seems plausible that there is a relationship between the Book of Mormon and Lucy's text--but, we cannot know in what direction(s) that influence moved.
As further reading, we recommend that the reader go to the following websites that talk about the many convergences that Lehi's dream holds with antiquity:
- FairMormon Evidence Page on the Tree of Life
- Book of Mormon Central: Why Do Biblical Psalms of Lament Show Up in the Book of Mormon?
- Book of Mormon Central: Why Did Lehi Quote from a Psalm of Repentance In His Dream?
- Book of Mormon Central: What Fruit is White?
- Book of Mormon Central: Why We Still Have to Cling to the Iron Rod Even Though the Path is Strait
- Book of Mormon Central: What Does the Virgin Mary Have to Do with the Tree of Life?
- Book of Mormon Central: How Are Rod and Sword Connected to the Word of God?
- Book of Mormon Central: What Does an Ancient Book About Enoch Have to do with Lehi's Dream?
- Book of Mormon Central: What was the Great and Terrible Gulf in Lehi's Dream?
Question: Was the content of Alma Chapter 40 derived from a Presbyterian document called The Westminster Confession? Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize Josiah Priest's The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed?
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress?
Taken at this level, there isn’t a lot of difference between the story in Pilgrim’s Progress and any of the martyr accounts of the New Testament or the early Christian saints. Jesus’s story could be told in the same way
Did Joseph Smith rely on John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress for important elements in the Book of Mormon, In this article, including Lehi's original vision and the story of Abinadi? 
It’s easy to reduce stories to this over simplified telling. It’s really easy then to compare them and show how they are exactly alike. Taken at this level, there isn’t a lot of difference between the story in Pilgrim’s Progress and any of the martyr accounts of the New Testament or the early Christian saints. Jesus’s story could be told in the same way – he comes into the city (Jerusalem), raises a stir, is arrested (by the local leader), is questioned (not once but several times) by his henchmen (the Sanhedrin), refuses to speak evil of his abusers, is put on trial (before Pilate), is accused of stirring up contention (he isn’t accused of being mad – I think we would selectively edit that one out, right?), accused of slander (not the town leader in this case – who is Beelzebub the devil – but of that person’s counterpart – God), is scourged, and then killed. He seals his testimony with his blood. Jesus converts many who then depart from the city and follow him, and who enter into a covenant. You see, we have this problem when we get to this level of non-detail.
To say that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from Pilgrim’s Progress isn’t something that I would take very seriously. And from looking at it, this isn't anything other than the parallel hunting that Lindey was so critical of. In reading both books in this way, we get to see the trees but miss the forest. Both have a morality aspect that is completely lost. You would never know from reading this summary that both texts are about Christ and salvation. All of what Bunyan and the author of Mosiah felt were important has been stripped out. And this is very deceptive because we may think in reading Davis that we understand the texts - but what he is describing is nothing at all like what we see when we take the time to look at the sources
The problem with parallels
One of the major problems with using similarity (and parallels) between books as evidence of connection is that it usually doesn’t work very well. The main reason why it is misleading is that we don’t normally compare books in this way (and if we did, we would see those kinds of parallels everywhere). This is the reason why the vast majority of plagiarism lawsuits fail in the courts. It’s very easy to see plagiarism where none exists. We don’t see it a lot these days – but in the late 1800s and early 1900s, plagiarism charges were so rampant, one prominent author advocated for laws that would automatically force those making the charges to pay damages if they could not substantiate their claims legally. Nearly half of all successful plays in the 1920s and 1930s for example were sued at least once for plagiarism. And there was a prominent law firm who had a staff that was devoted to finding potential sources (no matter how obscure) for newly published works or plays and then contacting their authors to see if they would be interested in suing. To deal with this (and to get away from the problems that this approach created), the field of literary criticism went through a stage at the beginning of the twentieth century when it largely rejected this kind of appeal – although it continues to this day. In 1952, one of the first relatively comprehensive discussions about plagiarism was written by a lawyer named Alexander Lindey. He pays some significant attention to this issue, and comes up with a list of 9 “vices” of using parallels to discuss issues of plagiarism (Alexander Lindey, Plagiarism and Originality [Greenwood Press, 1952], 60–61.) Here is that list:
- Any method of comparison which lists and underscores similarities and suppresses or minimizes differences is necessarily misleading.
- Parallels are too readily susceptible of manipulation. Superficial resemblances may be made to appear as of the essence.
- Parallel-hunters do not, as a rule, set out to be truthful and impartial. They are hell-bent on proving a point.
- Parallel-hunting is predicated on the use of lowest common denominators. Virtually all literature, even the most original, can be reduced to such terms, and thereby shown to be unoriginal. So viewed, Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper plagiarizes Dickens’ David Copperfield. Both deal with England, both describe the slums of London, both see their hero exalted beyond his original station. To regard any two books in this light, however, is to ignore every factor that differentiates one man’s thoughts, reactions and literary expression from another’s.
- Parallel columns operate piecemeal. They wrench phrases and passages out of context. A product of the imagination is indivisible. It depends on totality of effect. To remove details from their setting is to falsify them.
- Parallels fail to indicate the proportion which the purportedly borrowed material bears to the sum total of the source, or to the whole of the new work. Without such information a just appraisal is impossible.
- The practitioners of the technique resort too often to sleight of hand. They employ language, not to record facts or to describe things accurately, but as props in a rhetorical hocus-pocus which, by describing different things in identical words, appears to make them magically alike.
- A double-column analysis is a dissection. An autopsy will reveal a great deal about a cadaver, but very little about the spirit of the man who once inhabited it.
- Most parallels rest on the assumption that if two successive things are similar, the second one was copied from the first. This assumption disregards all the other possible causes of similarity.
Whatever his vices or virtues, the parallel-hunter is a hardy species. He is destined, as someone had said, to persist until Judgment Day, when he will doubtless find resemblances in the very warrant that consigns him to the nether regions. “
The William Davis piece on the internet was actually a teaser for a book that he suggests he was planning on writing. Here are the two paragraphs:
“In Pilgrim’s Progress, Faithful and Christian journey to the wicked city of Vanity Fair on their way to the Celestial Kingdom. As the pilgrims enter the city, their presence causes a disturbance among the citizens, and the travel companions are 1) bound and thrown into prison. A town leader 2) assembles a group of associates to examine the pilgrims, and the prisoners 3) are “brought before” the town leaders and put on trial. They accuse Faithful 4) of being a “madman,” 5) of stirring up contention among the people, and 6) of slandering the town leaders. Faithful 7) speaks “boldly” in his defense, but to no avail. The trial leader 8) condemns Faithful to be “slain” and “put to […] death.” Faithful is then 9) “scourged,” and finally 10) burned at the stake. Thus, Faithful 11) “seals” his “testimony” with his “blood.” Faithful’s teachings and martyrdom 12) convert a witness, Hopeful, who becomes a major character in the story. 13) Other converts follow and depart from the city, 14) “entering into” a “covenant” to follow Christ.
In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Abinadi enters the now-wicked city of Lehi-Nephi and begins preaching to the people. His presence causes a great disturbance among the citizens, and Abinadi is 1) bound and thrown into prison. The leader of the city, King Noah, 2) assembles a group of false priests to examine Abinadi, and he 3) is “brought before” the leaders and put on trial. They accuse Abinadi 4) of being “mad,” 5) of stirring up contention among the people, and 6) of slandering the town leaders. Abinadi 7) speaks “boldly” in his defense, but to no avail. King Noah 8) condemns Abinadi to be “slain” and “put to death.” Abinadi is then 9) “scourged,” and finally 10) burned at the stake. Thus, Abinadi 11) “seals” his “testimony” with his “blood.” Abinadi’s teachings and martyrdom 12) convert a witness, Alma, who becomes a main character in the story. 13) Other converts follow and depart from the city, 14) “entering into” a “covenant” to follow Christ.”
We can see the list of 14 parallels. So let’s get started. I am using for my comparison an 1820 edition available here:
The link is provided more as a reference, so that I can use page numbers and you can look up the text that I quote (something Davis avoids doing – for reasons we will see). First though, I want to discuss a little of the introduction to the parallels. And as a quick side note, parallels themselves are only part of the story. You have to examine the differences. And you have to understand how these bits and pieces are used in the larger context in which they occur.
“In Pilgrim’s Progress, Faithful and Christian journey to the wicked city of Vanity Fair on their way to the Celestial Kingdom.”
The first challenge is this description. In Pilgrim’s Progress, we don’t have a “Celestial Kingdom”. What we do have is the very common notion of the “Celestial City” (p. 33 is where we first see it). This is an example of vice number 7. While the Celestial Kingdom isn’t mentioned in the Book of Mormon either (and certainly not in connection with Abinadi), it’s use here is to try and provide us with an interpretation that connects Joseph Smith to Bunyan’s work. If you do a search on books.google.com for “celestial city” (using the quote marks), and then set up a date limitation to only include books published prior to the Book of Mormon (I used 1/1/1830 for the end date – you can do this by using the search tools option and choosing a custom date), we find hundreds of examples of books talking about a “celestial city”. Many of them come back to Bunyan, but we also have Keyssler’s Travels (1757), Contemplations of the State of Man in this Life, And in Taht which is to come (1718), The Works of the Most Illustrious and Pious Armand de Bourbon Prince of Conti with A short Account of his Life (1711), A Vision of Judgement (1821), A Complete Christian Dictionary (1661), The Philosphical Principles of Natural and Revealed Religion (1749 - part 2), and many, many more.
Why the list? The issue is that “celestial city” isn’t terribly unusual in a text. There isn’t anything in that phrase that would point us to the idea of the Celestial Kingdom (which, we are quite confident, Joseph Smith derives from Paul in the New Testament). And yet, we have, as Lindey put it, this “sleight of hand”. Davis isn’t interested in recording “facts or to describe things accurately, but as props in a rhetorical hocus-pocus which, by describing different things in identical words, appears to make them magically alike.” And here, he wants us to see the “Celestial kingdom” of Mormon theology as stemming from Bunyan’s work. The only reason to include a phrase like this, which isn't found in either text (it isn't in the Book of Mormon either) is to create a hook for LDS members who use that term regularly.
As another side note, it’s pretty clear to us as readers that Bunyan's text is a parable. The entire sequence is described as a dream. And Christian and Faithful and even the city name Vanity Fair as well as the Celestial City are all names that are meant to be plays on words. But it doesn’t stop there. We successively encounter the following characters and places Evangelist, Obstinate, City of Destruction, Pliable, Slough of Despond, Worldly-wiseman, Carnal-policy, Legality, Morality, Good-will, Beelzebub, Deliverance, Interpreter, Passion, Patience, Simple, Sloth, Presumption, and so on. (We don't actually meet Faithful until page 74). At any rate, you get the idea.
So, it’s kind of hard to describe where the parallels are coming from. Without lots of space (literally quoting the whole thing), you don’t get the full impact of what is happening. You can look through the link I give above for the whole context. But I am going to give it a go.
- Bunyan: As the pilgrims enter the city, their presence causes a disturbance among the citizens, and the travel companions are 1) bound and thrown into prison.
- Abinadi: In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Abinadi enters the now-wicked city of Lehi-Nephi and begins preaching to the people. His presence causes a great disturbance among the citizens, and Abinadi is 1) bound and thrown into prison.
The Bunyan text he is referring to begins at around page 102. It ends at about page 115. While they enter into the town on page 102, they aren’t imprisoned until page 107, and when they are, they are placed in a cage (although we do have a reference to prison on page 115 – just before Christian leaves Vanity Fair). To try and capture the essence of what is going on, I am going to summarize the parallels (with page references and such) to show the major differences here. The primary text from the Book of Mormon is in the Book of Mosiah Chapters 11-17.
First, while Christian and Faithful are from another place and traveling through Vanity Fair on their way to the Celestial city, Abinadi is a local boy. This plays out in a couple of ways in the separate texts. First, Abinadi never leaves his city. He is originally one of them (Mosiah 11:20 – “And it came to pass that there was a man among them whose name was Abinadi; and he went forth among them, and began to prophesy, saying …” On the other hand, from page 104-5, we get this description of Christian and Faithful and their reasons for being in the city, and the reasons (which Bunyan lists) for the attention that they receive:
“Now these pilgrims, as I said, must needs go through this fair: well, so they did; but behold, even as they entered into the fair, all the people in the fair were moved, and the town itself as it were in a hubbub about them; and that for several reasons. For –
First, the pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people, therefore, of the fair made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools; some they were lunatics; and some they are outlandish men.
Secondly: and as they wondered at their apparel, so they did likewise at their speech; for few could understand what they said. They naturally spoke the language of Canaan; but they that kept the fair were the men of this world: so that from one end of the fair to the other, they seemed barbarians each to the other. … [omitted scripture quoted from 1 Cor. 2:7-8] Thirdly: but that which did not a little amuse the merchandisers was, that these pilgrims set very light by all their wares – they cared not so much as to look upon them; and if they called upon them to buy, they would put their fingers in their ears, and cry, "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;" and look upwards, signifying that their trade and traffic was in heaven.”
I’ll get back to this passage in a minute. But, it’s clear from Bunyan’s text that they are strangers to this town, and just passing through. Now, perhaps part of Davis’s confusion comes in Mosiah 12. At the end of Mosiah 11, the King has announced that Abinadi needs to go to prison. And so Abinadi goes into hiding. And in Chapter 12, we read this (vs. 1): “And it came to pass that after the space of two years that Abinadi came among them in disguise, that they knew him not, and began to prophesy among them, …” In his reading, Davis has confused this with the idea that Abinadi “enters the now-wicked city of Nephi-Lehi”. Abinadi lived there, presumably (since we aren’t told otherwise) his entire life. He dies there shortly. He isn’t entering the city in any way at all like Bunyan’s pilgrims. And while the fuss that is raised by Bunyan’s pilgrims is entirely related to their nature as a foreigners, the disturbance Abinadi raises comes for entirely different reasons (vss. 2-17). Abinadi delivers a prophecy he claims is from God in which he predicts the destruction of the people of Nephi-Lehi if they do not repent. Here are a couple of highlights (vss 8-10, 12-13, 17):
“And it shall come to pass that except they repent I [God] will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations. And many things did Abinadi prophesy against this people. And it came to pass that they were angry with him; and they took him and carried him bound before the king, and said unto the king: Behold, we have brought a man before thee who has prophesied evil concerning thy people, and saith that God will destroy them. And he also prophesieth evil concerning thy life, and saith that thy life shall be as a garment in a furnace of fire. … And he pretendeth the Lord hath spoken it. And he saith all this shall come upon thee except thou repent, and this because of thine iniquities. And now, O king, what great evil hast thou done, or what great sins have thy people committed, that we should be acondemned of God or judged of this man? … And it came to pass that king Noah caused that Abinadi should be cast into prison; and he commanded that the priests should gather themselves together that he might hold a council with them what he should do with him.”
Finally, we have in the bit I just quoted the statement where Abinadi is cast into prison. In Bunyan’s text it is a bit different. This is from pp. 106-7:
“Now was word presently brought to the great one of the fair, who quickly came down, and deputed some of his most trusty friends to take these men into examination, about whom the fair was almost overturned. So the men were brought to examination: and they that sat upon them, asked them whence they came; whither they went; and what they did there in such an unusual garb?
The men told them that they were pilgrims and strangers in the world; and that they were going to their own country, which was the heavenly Jerusalem ; … and that they had given none occasion to the men of the town, nor yet to the merchandisers, thus to abuse them, and to let them in their journey. Except it was, for that when one asked them what they would buy, they said they would buy the truth. But they that were appointed to examine them did not believe them to be any other than lunatics and mad, or else such as came to put all things into a confusion in the fair. Therefore they took them and beat them, and besmeared them with dirt; and then put them into the cage, that they might be made a spectacle to all the men of the fair. There, therefore, they lay for some time, and were made the objects of any man's sport, or malice, or revenge; the great one of the fair laughing still at all that befell them.”
Now, this isn’t a prison in the sort of sense that we see in the Mosiah text. It isn’t even called a prison. It is a cage – much like we might expect to see at a “Fair”. They are placed in there to become a side show – a spectacle like the bearded woman, or the two faced man, or a pair of conjoined twins. The freaks of the fair.
So, yes, both the pilgrims and Abinadi raise a commotion among the people, and they are all imprisoned per se. But they are very different commotions, for very different reasons, and very different sorts of prisons. And we see in this parallel Lindey’s vices 2, 5 and 7. What is clearly a secondary part of both stories (secondary because it doesn’t even occur in the one text and in the other it has little to do with the underlying morality tale we are reading – it is instead more of a mechanic of moving the story forward) – the entrance into the city becomes highlighted as being significant and important (and yet people have to come into cities where they have never been – and we have numerous such stories – more on that in a minute). And the pages of narrative describing on the one hand the reactions of the people of Vanity Fair to these outlandish strangers with their hard to understand language and their strange clothing, and even more distressing their unwillingness to shop and spend their money, and on the other the pages of prophecy on the part of Abinadi talking to his neighbors is reduced to a great disturbance and nothing more. The entire point of both narratives is hidden in the comparison.
In addition, I think that there is another story that we ought to consider, on which at least part of Bunyan’s story is based. Jesus, entering Jerusalem. This allusion is worked carefully into the text. Note the reference that Christian gives to their final destination – the heavenly Jerusalem. He creates un uproar in the community. And they imprison him.
- Bunyan: A town leader 2) assembles a group of associates to examine the pilgrims,
- Abinadi: The leader of the city, King Noah, 2) assembles a group of false priests to examine Abinadi,
This one is a bit shorter in terms of the text. The one major concern we have is that we are now getting these parallels out of order. In Bunyan, the examination occurs before the imprisonment. For Abinadi, its after.
From the texts:
- Bunyan (p. 107): “Now was word presently brought to the great one of the fair, who quickly came down, and deputed some of his most trusty friends to take these men into examination”
- Abinadi (vss 17-18): “and he commanded that the priests should gather themselves together that he might hold a council with them what he should do with him. And it came to pass that they said unto the king: Bring him hither that we may question him; and the king commanded that he should be brought before them.”
This is pretty straight forward. Other than using the language from Bunyan to describe what is going on for Abinadi (to reinforce an interpretation of the parallel), there isn’t much to see here. If you are going to have a trial of sorts (and there are several in both larger texts) then you have to have some sort of cross examination. Consider also, to continue my example, that we have Jesus being brought before the Jewish High Priest for his examination (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanhedrin_trial_of_Jesus ).
- Bunyan: and the prisoners 3) are “brought before” the town leaders and put on trial.
- Abinadi: and he 3) is “brought before” the leaders and put on trial.
I like how we finally get some actual quotes here. It makes it easy to bring up the exact context, right? But now we see a real problem. We don’t see the phrase in the bit from Bunyan that I quoted above. What happens instead is that during the period of time while Faithful and Christian are hanging out (pun intended) in the cage for everyone to watch and abuse, a fight starts between two groups of spectators. One group believes that what is happening is inappropriate and the other group who wants the spectacle to continue. Bunyan describes it like this (p. 107):
“But the men being patient, and not rendering railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing, and giving good words for bad, and kindness for injuries done, some men in the fair that were more observing and less prejudiced than the rest, began to check and blame the baser sort for their continual abuses done by them to the men. They, therefore, in angry manner, let fly at them again: counting them as bad as the men in the cage, and telling them that they seemed confederates, and should be made partakers of their misfortunes. The other replied, that for aught they could see, the men were quiet and sober, and intended nobody any harm; and that there were many that traded in their fair that were more worthy to be put into the cage, yea, and pillory too, than were the men that they had abused. Thus after divers words had passed on both sides – the men behaving themselves all the while very wisely and soberly before them, – they fell to some blows among themselves, and did harm one to another.
Then were these two poor men brought before their examiners again, and there charged as being guilty of the late hubbub that had been in the fair. So they beat them pitifully, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and down the fair for an example and a terror to others, lest any should further speak in their behalf, or join themselves unto them.”
We can see the part Davis is quoting here – not from the examination he just referred to, but from a second examination – this time to question their being the cause of the fighting that had broken out (although, as the narrator tells us – the man who is having this dream – the real purpose is to make the dissenters afraid of the “the great one of the Fair” – elsewhere identified as Beelzebub).
So, perhaps most visibly we see in this parallel vices number 5 and 6. This gets wrenched out of context. And while the Abinadi material seems to be relatively connected. The material in Bunyan is really jumping around. Not only do we reduce the Bunyan account to more generic descriptions to make the comparison work better, we have to chop out whole sections of it to make it fit more closely together. Moving on.
- They accuse Faithful 4) of being a “madman,”
- They accuse Abinadi 4) of being “mad,”
The first time we encounter the charge of madness in Bunyan’s text comes early on. And it’s about the clothes he is wearing (I already quoted this above):
“First, the pilgrims were clothed with such kind of raiment as was diverse from the raiment of any that traded in that fair. The people, therefore, of the fair made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools; some they were lunatics; and some they are outlandish men.”
Later, in the first examination we read:
“But they that were appointed to examine them did not believe them to be any other than lunatics and mad, or else such as came to put all things into a confusion in the fair.”
The real problem is that the word “madman” doesn’t occur in the Bunyan text. It simply isn’t there. (You can do the search yourself on the google books website). And they aren’t referred to as being mad in the second examination so again, we have this pulled out of order and out of context in the comparison. Abinadi on the other hand refutes his questioners (Mosiah Chapter 12), and faced with his refutation, the king (and not his examiners) decides to end his life (Mosiah 13:1):
“And now when the king had heard these words, he said unto his priests: Away with this fellow, and slay him; for what have we to do with him, for he is mad.”
So, yes, both are accused of being mad (although for very different reasons), and Bunyan’s account isn’t really much of a parallel beyond this simple statement.
Now, I don’t have the space or the time to go through the next 10 more sets of parallels. But I thought one would be interesting, and that is parallel 11:
- Bunyan: Thus, Faithful 11) “seals” his “testimony” with his “blood.” Faithful’s teachings and martyrdom
- Abinadi: Thus, Abinadi 11) “seals” his “testimony” with his “blood.” Abinadi’s teachings and martyrdom
Since Davis uses quote marks, I think it’s kind of fun to put it back into context. Prior to the entire narrative – before they even get to the city (page 102), Faithful and Christian encounter again the Evangelist. They are told this:
“My sons, you have heard in the words of the truth of the Gospel, that you must "through many tribulations enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." And again, that in every city bonds and afflictions abide on you; and therefore you cannot expect that you should go long on your pilgrimage without them, in some sort or other. You have found something of the truth of these testimonies upon you already, and more will immediately follow; for now, as you see, you are almost out of this wilderness, and therefore you will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you; and in that town you will be hardly beset with enemies, who will strain hard but they will kill you. And be you sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony which you hold with blood; but be you faithful unto death, and the King will give you a crown of life.”
From Mosiah 17:10 we read this:
“Yea, and I will suffer even until death, and I will not recall my words, and they shall stand as a testimony against you. And if ye slay me ye will shed innocent blood, and this shall also stand as a testimony against you at the last day.”
So there we have “testimony” and “blood” – where is the “seals”? That comes in verse 20.
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize John Walker’s "Key to Greek, Latin, and Scripture Proper Names"?
There is no evidence that Joseph saw this work.
As with most Book of Mormon plagiarism accusations, there is no evidence that Joseph saw this dictionary nor even knew of it. It is unlikely that he turned to such specific sections of the dictionary to rob names from it, even less likely that he was able to employ the names in ways that correspond to the ancient world. This will be discussed in our analysis.
The critic who proposes this theory uses a flawed methodology for the parallels.
Rick Grunder in his book attempts to show names that Joseph may have used when translating the Book of Mormon and restoring the Books of Moses by citing John Walker’s “A Key to Greek, Latin, and Scripture Proper Names”. Grunder cites his methodology as follows:
I have selected the following list of names and terms which I find similar to, resonant with, or identical to Book of Mormon names. On page 79 alone appear not only the three eldest male members of the leading Book of Mormon family (Lehi, ‘Lah’man’ and Lemuel), but the Book’s first villain as well (Laban), plus two notable Master Mahan/secret combination protagonists in Joseph Smith’s 1830 Book of Moses (chapter 5): Lamech and Irad. Walker’s Key also provides the unusual reference to the Apocryphal name Nephi, p. 81. Of additional interest is a pronunciation rule to which ‘Ne´ phi’ is here referenced, showing the same pronunciation that is used by Mormons today.In preparing this list, I have excluded a number of the most famous biblical names shared or recalled by Book of Mormon people, as well as the names of exclusively biblical locations referred to in the Book of Mormon (primarily in 2 Nephi). Names which I place in LARGE & SMALL CAPITAL LETTERS, (not followed by comparison names in parentheses) are identical to names in the Book of Mormon. Names which I signal with an asterisk (*) occur in Walker’s Key with added prominence by appearing first or last in a page column.
Most of the names associated with the Book of Mormon are verbatim from the Old and New Testament.
Grunder lists 1-5 names from Walker’s work and then associates them with names in the Book of Mormon that he cites to the right of the last name in each list. It should first be noted that most of the names come from the Old and New Testament as Walker informs us. Some names match up perfectly between the Old and New Testament such as the name “Boaz.” It need not be surprising to find these names in the Book of Mormon as the Book of Mormon claims to be the record of an Israelite people. We might expect to find names that come from the Old Testament—especially those that predate the Lehites departure from Jerusalem.
Some names are not found in the Old or New Testament because they are simply other Latin or Greek names
Walker also tells us in the title that we will find Latin and Greek Names in the dictionary, yet those that we do find do not correlate well with the Book of Mormon. These will be pointed out below.
There are two positions that we might take when viewing these names:
- As critics, we might assume that Joseph simply lifted the names that match verbatim from these names to fit into the Book of Mormon narrative, twisted the names that don’t correlate perfectly, and obtained the other names from other outside sources.
- As believers, that Joseph translated authentic names from an ancient record.
From this analysis, the second position seems more likely. Like the pendant names mentioned before, some names hold remarkable ancient parallels or follow very specific and fascinating patterns. These will be described below when a name does not come from either the Old or New Testament. For names that Grunder associates with Jaredite names, we cannot offer any such study on the names seeing that the language of the Jaredites is not known. Some names have been studied and offer some fascinating insights such as the name “Deseret” in Ether 2:3. For most others, we cannot offer any such study. For those name that are exact matches that occur in the Old or New Testament, we will likewise offer no such study as they are obviously Semitic names. The studies on these names come from the Book of Mormon Onomasticon project done by Brigham Young University and the FairMormon Book of Mormon Evidence page. Like many other Semitic and Egyptian evidence in the Book of Mormon, they are especially fascinating considering that, according to documented evidence, Joseph did not undertake any academic study of the any language until March 1835. He did not study Hebrew until 1836 under Joshua Seixas nor did he attempt to perform any study of the Egyptian language until after the completion of the Book of Abraham in 1842.
Nearly all of these names have authentic etymologies and were employed in the Book of Mormon in an authentic way. Some etymologies have still not been offered for a select few. We encourage the reader to visit the following pages to research these names and for positive evidence against this claim:
- The Book of Mormon Onomasticon Project (The most comprehensive and scholarly resource for studying all names in the Book of Mormon)
- the FairMormon Book of Mormon Evidence Page
- Book of Mormon Central
- A-bin´ a-dab (cf. Abinadi)—The name "Abinadab" occurs 11 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Abinadi" may be found here.
- 2 Samuel 6:3
- 1 Samuel 16:8
- 1 Chronicles 8:33
- 1 Samuel 7:1
- 1 Samuel 17:13
- A-bin´ o-am (cf. Abinadom)—The name "Abinoam" occurs 4 times in the Old Testament (Book of Judges).
- Judges 4:12
- Judges 5:1
- Judges 5:12
- Judges 4:6
- A-bish´ a-i (cf. Abish)—The name "Abishai" does not occur in the Bible. The name "Abish" is a great potential evidence for the Book of Mormon. See here for more information.
- A´ chish (cf. Akish)—The name "Achish" occurs 18 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Akish" may be found here.
- 1 Samuel 28:2
- 1 Samuel 21:10
- 1 Samuel 21:12
- 1 Samuel 21:14
- 1 Samuel 27:2
- 1 Samuel 27:6
- 1 Samuel 27:9
- 1 Samuel 27:12
- 1 Samuel 29:2
- 1 Samuel 28:1
- 1 Samuel 21:11
- 1 Samuel 27:3
- 1 Samuel 27:5
- 1 Samuel 27:10
- 1 Samuel 29:8
- 1 Samuel 29:9
- 1 Kings 2:39
- 1 Samuel 29:3
- Æ´ nos (cf. Enos)—the name “Enos” can be found 6 times within the Old Testament and 1 time in the New Testament. The use of the name "Enos" is a great potential evidence for the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon. More information on that may be found here.
- Genesis 4:26
- Genesis 5: 6
- Genesis 5:7
- Genesis 5:9
- Genesis 5:10
- Genesis 5:11
- Luke 3:38
- A´ HAZ – the name “Ahaz” occurs 41 times in the Old Testament. It occurs only in the Isaiah portions of the Book of Mormon
- 2 Kings 15: 38
- 2 Kings 16: 1,2,5,7,8,10,11 (twice), 15,16,17,19,20
- 2 Kings 17:1
- 2 Kings 18:1
- 2 Kings 20:11
- 2 Kings 23: 12
- 1 Chronicles 3:13
- 1 Chronicles 8: 35, 36
- 1 Chronicles 9:41, 42,
- 2 Chronicles 27:9
- 2 Chronicles 28: 1, 16, 19, 21, 22, 24, 27
- 2 Chronicles 29:19
- Isaiah 1:1
- Isaiah 7:1, 3, 10, 12
- Isaiah 14:28
- Al´ mon Dib-la-tha´ im [and,] – the name “Almon- diblathaim” occurs 2 in the Old Testament
- Numbers 33: 46,47
- Al´ na-than, - the name “Alnathan” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament
- Al´ pha, - the name “Alpha” occurs 4 times in the New Testament. This name is always used to describe the Savior in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon e.g. Alpha and Omega
- Revelation 1: 8, 11
- Revealtion 21: 6
- Revelation 22:13
- A´ mal, - the name “Amal” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- 1 Chronicles 7:35
- A-mal´ da (cf. Alma) – the name Amalda does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. The name "Alma" is a great potential evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. See here for more information regarding it.
- Am´ a-lek (cf. Amaleki) – the name “Amalek” can be found 25 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Amaleki" may be found here.
- Genesis 36: 12, 16,
- Exodus 17: 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16
- Numbers 24: 20 (twice)
- Deuteronomy 25: 17, 19
- Judges 3: 13
- Judges 5:14
- 1 Samuel 15: 2, 3, 5, 20
- 1 Samuel 28: 18
- 2 Samuel 8: 12
- 1 Chronicles 1: 36
- 1 Chronicles 18:11
- Psalm 83:7
- AM´ A-LEK-ITES – the tribal name “Amalikite[s]” can be found 29 times in the Old Testament.
- Genesis 14:7
- Numbers 13:29; 14:25, 43, 45
- Judges 6:3, 33; 7:12; 10:12; 12:15
- 1 Samuel 14:48; 27:8
- 2 Samuel 1: 1,8, 13,
- 1 Chronicles 4: 43
- A-MIN´ A-DAB – the name “Aminadab” occurs 3 times in the New Testament while recounting the Davidic genealogy. He is 33 generations separated from Jesus. The name "Amminadab" occurs 9 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Aminadab" may be found here.
- Exodus 6:23
- Numbers 1:7
- Numbers 2: 3
- Numbers 7:12
- Numbers 10:14
- Ruth 4:20
- 1 Chronicles 2:10 (twice)
- 1 Chronicles 6:22
- 1 Chronicles 15:10
- Matthew 1: 4 (twice)
- Luke 3:33
- AM´ MON – the name “Ammon” occurs 95 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Ammon" may be found here.
- Genesis 19:38
- Numbers 21: 24 (twice)
- Deuteronomy 2: 19 (twice), 37; 3:11, 16
- Joshua 12: 2; 13:10, 25
- Judges 3: 13; 10: 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 17, 18; 11: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 36,
- 1 Samuel 12:12; 14: 47
- 2 Samuel 8: 12; 10: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14 (twice), 19; 11:1; 12: 9, 26, 31; 17: 27
- 1 Kings 11: 7, 33
- 2 Kings 23: 13; 24: 2
- 1 Chronicles 18: 11; 19: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 19; 20: 1, 3;
- 2 Chronicles 20: 1, 10, 22, 23; 27: 5 (twice)
- Nehemiah 13: 23
- Psalms 83: 7
- Isaiah 11: 14
- Jeremiah 9: 26; 25: 21; 49: 6
- Daniel 11: 41
- Amos 1: 13
- Zephaniah 2: 8, 9
- AM´ MON-ITES – the tribal name “Ammonite[s]” occurs 35 times in the Old Testament. See under "Ammon" for links to additional information.
- Deuteronomy 2:20
- Deuteronomy 23: 3
- 1 Samuel 11: 1, 2, 11
- 2 Samuel 23: 37
- 1 Kings 11: 1, 5
- 1 Chronicles 11:39
- 2 Chronicles 20:1
- Am´ non (cf. Amnor) – the name “Amnon” occurs 28 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Amnor" may be found here.
- 2 Samuel 3: 2; 13: 1, 2 (twice), 3, 4, 6 (twice), 7, 8, 9, 10 (twice), 15 (twice), 20, 22 (twice), 26, 27, 28 (twice), 29, 32, 33, 39
- 1 Chronicles 3: 1; 4:20
- Am´ o-rites (cf. Amoron) the tribal name “Amorite[s]” occurs 92 times in the Old Testament. For more information on the name "Amoron" see this link and the other links found there.
- An-a-ni´ ah (cf. Ammonihah) – the name “Ananiah” can be found 2 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Ammonihah" may be found here.
- Nehemiah 3: 23; 11: 32
- An´ ti-och (cf. Antion) – the name “Antioch” occurs 19 times in the New Testament. More information on the name "Antion" may be found here.
- Acts 6: 5; 11: 19,20, 22, 26, 27,; 13: 1, 14; 19, 21, 26; 15: 22, 23, 30, 35; 18: 22
- Galatians 2: 11
- 2 Timothy 3: 11
- An-ti´ o-chus (cf. Antionum) – “Antiochus Epiphanes” is the name of a King of Syria who ruled between 175-164 B.C. at a time when Palestine was a Syrian province. His name does not occur in the Bible. More information on the name "Antionum" may be found here.
- AN´ TI-PAS – the name “Antipas” occurs 1 time in the New Testament. Since this is a greek name and occurs after the arrival of the Mulekites (who may have retained greek names), this shouldn't be a concern. More information on greek names and their plausibility in the Book of Mormon may be found here. More information on the name "Antipas" from the Book of Mormon Onomasticon (and a plausible Semitic etymology) may be found here.
- Revelation 2: 13
- An to´ ni-a (cf. Antionah) – The name “Antonia” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. The Castle Antonia was built in the stead of the temple at Jerusalem when taken by Herod under the Macabees. More information on the name "Antionah" may be found here.
- Ar-che-la´ us (cf. Archeantus) – the name “Archelaus” occurs 1 time in the New Testament. More information on the name "Archeantus" may be found here.
- BO´ AZ — the name "Boaz" occurs 24 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Boaz" may be found here.
- Ruth 2:1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 11, 14, 15, 19, 23.
- Ruth 3:2, 7
- Ruth 4:1 (twice), 5, 8, 9, 13, 21 (twice).
- 1 Kings 7:21
- 1 Chronicles 2:11,12
- 2 Chronicles 3:17
- Che´ mosh (cf. Chemish) – the name “Chemosh” occurs 8 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Chemish" may be found here.
- Numbers 21: 29
- Judges 11: 24
- 1 Kings 11: 7, 33
- 2 Kings 23: 13,
- Jeremiah 48: 7, 13, 46
- Che´ sed [and,] - the name “Chesed” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- Genesis 22: 22
- Che´ sil, - the name “Chesil” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament.
- Joshua 15: 30
- Che´ sud, - the name “Chesud” does not occur in the Old or New Testament.
- Che´ zib (cf. Shez) - the name “Chezib” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. The name “Shez” is a Jaredite name and no study of its etymology exists.
- Genesis 38: 5
- Con-o-ni´ ah (cf. Cumenihah) – the name “Cononiah” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. See here for more information on the name "Cumenihah".
- 2 Chronicles 31: 12,13
- Em´ mer [and,] - the name “Emmer” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament
- E´ mor (cf. Emer) – the name “Emor” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. More information on the name "Emer" may be found here.
- ES´ ROM – the name “Esrom” occurs 3 times in the New Testament. That name stems from the Old Testament "Hezron" which occurs 8 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Esron" and a plausible ancient etymology for it may be found here.
- Matthew 1: 3 (twice)
- Luke 3: 33
- E´ tham (cf. Ethem) – the name Etham occurs 4 times in the Old Testament. The name “Ethem” is a Jaredite name. No study of its etymology exists.
- Exodus 13: 20
- Numbers 33: 6
- E´ THER – the name “Ether” occurs 2 in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Ether" may be found here.
- Joshua 15: 42; 19:7
- E-ZI´ AS – the name “Ezias” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. There is, however, more to the story. See here for more information regarding this name.
- Ez´ ron (cf. Ezrom) – the name “Ezron” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. More information on the name "Ezrom" may be found here.
- Ga´ di (cf. Gad, Gadianton) – the name “Gadi” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Gad" may be found here. More information on the name "Gadianton" may be found here.
- 2 Kings 15: 14, 17
- Ga-ze´ ra [and,] – the name “Gazera” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament.
- Gaz´ zam (cf. Gazelem) – the name “Gazzam” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Gazelem" may be found here.
- Ezra 2: 48
- Nehemiah 7: 51
- Ger´ shon (cf. Jershon) – the name “Gershon” occurs 18 times in the Old Testament. The name "Jershon" is a great potential evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. See here for more information.
- Genesis 46: 11
- Exodus 6: 16, 17
- Numbers 3: 17, 18, 21, 25; 4: 22, 28,38, 41; 7: 7; 10:17; 26: 57
- Joshua 21: 6, 27
- 1 Chronicles 6: 1; 23: 6
- Gid-e-o´ ni (cf. Giddianhi) – the name “Gideoni” occurs 5 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Giddianhi" may be found here.
- Numbers 1: 11; 2: 22; 7: 60, 65; 10:24
- GIL´ E-AD – the name “Gilead” occurs 134 times in the Old Testament. References will not be listed for convenience. This is a Jaredite name and no study of an etymology exists. However, since this is listed so many times in the Old Testament and close to the time of the Jaredites (e.g. Genesis 31:21, 23) it is almost certain that this name could have been preserved with them.
- GIL´ GAL – the name “Gilgal” occurs 42 times in the Old Testament. References will not be listed for convenience. This name could have also been preserved by the Jaredites. See here for more information.
- GO-MOR´ RAH (cf. Cumorah, both sites of massive destruction of the wicked) – the name “Gomorrah” occurs 21 times in the Old Testament. The name "Cumorah" is a great potential evidence for the Book of Mormon. See here for more information.
- Hag´ gith (cf. Hagoth) – the name “Haggith” occurs 5 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Hagoth" as a potential evidence for the Book of Mormon's authenticity may be found here.
- 2 Samuel 3: 4
- 1 Kings 1: 5; 2: 13
- 1 Chronicles 3: 2
- HE´ LAM – the name “Helam” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Helam" may be found here.
- 2 Samuel 10:16
- He´ man (cf. Helaman) – the name “Heman” occurs 17 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Helaman" may be found here.
- Her´ mon-ites (cf. Hermounts) – the tribal name “Hermonite[s]” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Hermounts" may be found here.
- Psalms 42: 6
- Hesh´ bon [and,] – the name “Heshbon” occurs 38 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience.
- Hesh´ mon, - the name “Heshmon” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- Joshua 15: 27
- Heth´ lon (cf. Heshlon) – the name “Hethlon” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. The name “Heshlon” is Jaredite however, an etymology has been proposed. More information on the name "Heshlon" may be found here.
- Ezekiel 47: 15; 48: 1
- [I´ RAD - see Moses 5 (p. 79; - the name “Irad” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament and in the same context as the Book of Moses.
- Genesis 4: 18 (twice)
- ISH´ MA-EL, - the name “Ishmael” occurs 53 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience. More information on the name "Ishmael" may be found here.
- ISH´ MA-EL-ITES [p. 79] – the tribal name “Ishmaelite[s]” occurs 3 times in the Old Testament. See under "Ishmael" for more information regarding this name.
- Judges 8: 24
- 1 Chronicles 27: 30
- Psalms 83: 6
- Ja´ kim (cf. Jacom) – the name “Jakim” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Jacom" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 8: 19; 24: 12
- Ja´ num (cf. Jeneum) – the name “Janum” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. The name “Jeneum” appears to be a scribal misspelling of the name “Joneum”. More information on the name “Joneum” may be found here.
- Joshua 15: 53
- JA´RED – the name “Jared” occurs 5 times in the Old Testament and 1 time in the New Testament. More information on the name "Jared" may be found here.
- Genesis 5: 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
- Luke 3:37
- Ja´ shen (cf. Jashon) – the name “Jashen” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Jashon" may be found here.
- 2 Samuel 23: 32
- Jo´ tham (cf. Jothan) – the name “Jotham” occurs 26 times in the Old Testament. This appears to be a spelling mistake on the part of Grunder since the name “Jothan” does not occur in the Book of Mormon. The name “Jotham” occurs once in the Book of Mormon during the portions of Isaiah that are quoted.
- Kib´ roth Hat-ta´ a-vah (cf. Kib) – the name “Kibroth-hattaavah” occurs 15 times in the Old Testament. The name “Kib” is Jaredite. No etymology has been suggested.
- KISH – the name “Kish” occurs 22 times in the Old Testament. More information may be found here regarding the name.
- Ko´ rah [and,] – the name Korah occurs 38 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience.
- Ko´ rah-ites, - the tribal name “Korahite[s]” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament
- 1 Chronicles 9: 19, 31
- Ko´ rath-ites, - the tribal name “Korathite[s]” occurs 1 time in the Old Testamet
- Numbers 26: 58
- Kor´ hite, - the tribal name “Korhite[s]” occurs 4 times in the Old Testament
- Exodus 6: 24
- 1 Chronicles 12: 6; 26: 1
- 2 Chronicles 20: 19
- Kor´ hites, - see “Korhite”
- Kor´ ites – the tribal name “Korite[s]” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament
- Ko´ re (cf. Korihor, Corihor) – the name “Kore” occurs 4 times in the Old Testament. The name “Korihor” appears to be a Lehite adoption of the Jaredite name “Corihor”. More information may be found on the name "Korihor" at this link.
- 1 Chronicles 9: 19; 26: 1, 19
- 2 Chronicles 31:14
- LA´ BAN – the name “Laban” occurs 60 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience. More information on the name "Laban" may be found here.
- La-cu´ nus (cf. Lachoneus) – the name “Lacunus” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. For more information on the name "Lachoneus" see here.
- Lah´ man (cf. Laman) – the name “Lahman” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. More information on the name "Laman" may be found here.
- [LA´ MECH - see Moses 5] – the name “Lamech” occurs 12 times in the Old Testament
- Genesis 4: 18, 19, 23 (twice), 24; 5: 25, 26, 28, 30, 31
- LE´ HI * - the name “Lehi” occurs 4 times in the Old Testament. This name was primarily known as a place name. Evidence for the name “Lehi” as a personal name has only surfaced in recent years. See here for more information].
- Judges 15: 9, 14, 17 (“Rameth-lehi”), 19
- LEM´ U-EL * - the name “Lemuel” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. See here for more information regarding the name.
- Proverbs 31: 1, 4
- Lib´ nah (cf. Limnah) – the name “Libnah” occurs 18 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience. More information on the name "Limnah" may be found here.
- Lib´ ni [and,] – the name “Libni” occurs 5 times in the Old Testament
- Exodus 6: 17
- Numbers 3: 18
- 1 Chronicles 6: 17
- Lib´ nites, (cf. Lib) – the tribal name “Libnite[s]” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Lib" may be found here.
- Numbers 3: 21; 26: 58
- Ma´ ha-lah (cf. Mahah) – the name “Mahalah” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Mahah" be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 7: 18
- Ma´ ni (cf. Manti). According to the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Mani is a personal, Greek name: "MANI (PERSON) [Gk Mani]. The Gk reading in 1 Esr 9:30 fo the person the RSV harmonizes as Bani, based on the parallel text in Ezra 10:29. See BANI." A copy of the Apocrypha was not owned by Joseph Smith until the Book of Mormon went to print. More information on the name "Manti" may be found here.
- Me´ lech (cf. Melek) – the name “Melech” occurs 3 times in the Old Testament. It is combined with the name “Ebed” to form “Ebed-melech” 9 times in the Old Testament. The name "melek" is a strong potential evidence for the Book of Mormon. Information regarding it may be found here.
- 2 Kings 23: 11
- 1 Chronicles 8: 35; 9: 41
- MID´ I-AN – the name “Midian” occurs 40 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience. More information regarding the name may be found here.
- Mo´ lech [and,] – the name “Molech” occurs 8 times in the Old Testament
- Leviticus 18: 21; 20:2, 3, 4, 5
- 1 Kings 11: 7
- 2 Kings 23: 10
- Jeremiah 32: 35
- Mo ´ lek, - the name “Molek” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament
- Mo´ loch, - the name “Moloch” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament and 1 time in the New Testament.
- Amos 5: 26
- Acts 7: 43
- Mo ´ lok (cf. Mulek [italics in the original]) – the name Molok does not occur in the Old Testament or the New Testament. More information regarding the name "Mulek" may be found here.
- Mo-ri´ ah (cf. Orihah, Mosiah) – the name “Moriah” occurs 2 in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Orihah" may be found here. More information regarding the name "Mosiah" may be found "Mosiah" may be found here.
- Genesis 22: 2
- 2 Chronicles 3: 1
- Na´ ham (cf. Nahom) – the name “Naham” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. The name "Nahom" is a strong evidence for the Book of Mormon. More information regarding it may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 4: 19
- Na´ hor (cf. Nehor) – the name “Nahor” occurs 17 times in the Old Testament. References will not be produced for convenience. More information regarding the name "Nehor" may be found here.
- Na´ hum (cf. Nahom) – the name “Nahum” occurs 3 times in the Old Testament—all at the beginning of the Book of Nahum. The name "Nahom" is a strong evidence for the Book of Mormon. More information regarding it may be found here.
- Ne´ ah (cf. Neas) – the name “Neah” occurs in the 1 in the Old Testament. More information regarding the plant name "Neas" may be found here.
- Joshua 19: 13
- Ne´ cho (designated a Book of Abraham mummy; see MP 49, Belknap) – the name “Necho” occurs 4 times in the Old Testament. It was the name of an Egyptian king.
- 2 Chronicles 35: 20; 36:4
- Ne´ hum (cf. Neum) – the name “Nehum” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Neum" may be found here.
- Nehemiah 7: 7
- NE´ PHI * the name “Nephi” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. The name Nephi is a remarkable name in the Book of Mormon--a way that was unlikely for Joseph to have known about. See here for more information regarding it.
- NIM´ RAH – the name “Nimrah” occurs 3 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name may be found here.
- Numbers 32: 3, 36.
- O MER * - the name “Omer” occurs 6 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name may be found here.
- Exodus 16: 16, 18, 22, 32, 33, 36
- Om´ ri (cf. Omni) – the name “Omri” occurs 18 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Omni" may be found here.
- 1 Kings 16: 16, 17, 21, 22 (twice), 23, 25, 27, 28, 29 (twice), 30,
- 2 Kings 8: 26
- 1 Chronicles 7: 8; 9:4; 27: 18
- 2 Chronicles 22: 2
- Micah 6: 16
- Rab-bo´ ni (cf. Rabbanah) – the name “Rabboni” occurs 1 time in the New Testament. More information regarding the name "Rabbanah" may be found here.
- John 20: 16
- Ra´ ma, or RA´ MAH – the name “Rama” occurs 1 time in the New Testament. The name “Ramah” occurs 36 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Ramah" may be found here.
- Matthew 2:18
- Joshua 18: 24; 19:29
- Judges 4: 4; 19: 13
- 1 Samuel 1: 19; 2: 11; 7: 17; 8: 4; 15: 34; 16: 13; 19: 22; 20:1; 22: 6; 25: 1; 28: 3
- 1 Kings 15: 21
- 2 Kings 8: 29
- 2 Chronicles 16: 5; 22: 6
- Ezra 2: 26
- Nehemiah 7: 30; 11: 33
- Isaiah 10: 29
- Jeremiah 31: 15; 40:1
- Hosea: 5: 8
- Rib´ lah (cf. Riplah) – the name “Riblah” occurs 11 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Riplah" may be found here.
- Numbers 34: 11
- 2 Kings 23: 33; 25: 6, 20, 21
- Jeremiah 39: 5, 6; 52: 9, 10, 26, 27
- Sa´ mi (cf. Sam) – the name “Sami” does not occur in the Old or New Testament. More information regarding the name "Sam" may be found here.
- Sar-a-i´ ah (cf. Sariah) – the name “Saraiah” does not occur in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Sariah" may be found here.
- Se´ nir (cf. Senine) – the name “Senir” occurs 2 times in the Old or New Testament. More information regarding the monetary name "Senine" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 5: 23
- Ezekiel 27: 5
- Sha´ lem [and,] – the name “Shalem” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- Genesis 33: 18
- She´ bam (cf. Sheum) – the name “Shebam” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Sheum" may be found here.
- Numbers 32: 3
- She-re´ zer (cf. Shazer, Sherrizah) – the name “Sherezer” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Shazer" may be found here. More information regarding the name "Sherrizah" may be found here.
- Zechariah 7: 2
- Shib´ bo-leth (cf. Shiblom) – the name “Shibboleth” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Shiblom" may be found here.
- Judges 12: 6
- Shim´ hi [and,] – the name “Shimhi” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- 1 Chronicles 8: 21
- Shi´ mi, - the name “Shimi” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- Exodus 6: 17
- Shim´ ites (cf. Shim) – the tribal name “Shimite[s]” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Shim" may be found here.
- Numbers 3: 21
- Shi´ za (cf. Shiz) – the name “Shiza” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. The name "Shiz" is a Jaredite name for which no etymology has been suggested.
- 1 Chronicles 11: 42
- Shu´ lam-ite (cf. Shule) – the tribal name “Shulamite[s]” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Shule" may be found here.
- Song of Solomon 6: 13
- Shu´ math-ites (cf. Shum) – the tribal name “Shumathite[s]” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Shum" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 2: 53
- Si´ ba (cf. Sebus) – the name “Siba” does not occur in the Old Testament or New Testament. More information regarding the name "Sebus" may be found here.
- Sid´ dim (cf. Sidom) – the name “Siddim” occurs 3 times in the Old Testament
- Genesis 14: 3, 8, 10
- SI´ DON – the name “Sidon” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament and 12 times in the New Testament. More information regarding the name "Sidon" may be found here.
- Genesis 10: 15, 19
- Matthew 11: 21, 22; 15: 21
- Mark 3: 8; 7: 24, 31
- Luke 4: 26; 6: 17; 10: 13
- Acts 12: 20; 27: 3
- Sir´ i-on (cf. Siron) – the name “Sirion” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Siron" may be found here.
- Deuteronomy 3: 9
- Psalm 29: 6
- [THUM´ MIM - in Abraham 3:1, 4, and later applied, with URIM, to Book of Mormon interpreters; see MP 414 (Stanford)] – the names “Urim” and “Thummim” occur 10 times in the Old Testament
- Exodus 28: 30 (both)
- Leviticus 8: 8 (both)
- Deuteronomy 33: 8 (both)
- Ezra 2: 63 (both)
- Nehemiah 7: 65 (both)
- Tu´ bal Cain (cf. Tubaloth) – the name “Tubal-cain” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Tubaloth" may be found here.
- Genesis 4: 22 (twice)
- [U´ RIM - see THUMMIM, above] – see “Thummim” above.
- Zem-a-ra´ im [and,] - the name “Zemaraim” occurs 2 in the Old Testament
- Joshua 18: 22
- 2 Chronicles 13: 4
- Zem´ a-rite, - the tribal name “Zemarite” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament
- Genesis 10: 18
- 1 Chronicles 1: 16
- Ze-mi´ ra, - the name “Zemira” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- Zeph-a-ni´ ah, - the name “Zephaniah” occurs 11 times in the Old Testament. Once as the title of the Book of Zephaniah.
- 2 Kings 25: 16
- 1 Chronicles 6: 36
- Jeremiah 21: 1; 29: 25, 29; 37: 3; 52: 24
- Zephaniah 1: 1; 6: 10
- Zer-a-hi´ ah (cf. Zemnarihah) – the name “Zerahiah” occurs 5 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Zemnarihah" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 6: 6 (twice), 51
- Ezra 7: 4; 8: 4
- Ze´ nas (cf. Zenos) – the name “Zenas” occurs 1 time in the New Testament. More information regarding the name "Zenos" may be found here.
- Titus 3: 13
- Ze-or´ im [and,] – the name “Zeorim” does not occur in the Old Testament or the New Testament
- Ze´ rah (cf. Zeram, Zeezrom) – the name “Zerah” occurs 20 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Zeram" may be found here. More information regarding the name "Zeezrom" may be found here.
- Genesis 36: 13, 17, 33; 46: 12
- Numbers 26: 13, 20
- Joshua 7: 1, 18, 24; 22: 20
- 1 Chronicles 1: 37, 44; 2: 4, 6; 4: 24; 6: 21, 41; 9: 6
- 2 Chronicles 14: 9
- Nehemiah 11: 24
- Ze´ phi, or Ze´ pho (cf. Zenephi) – the name “Zephi” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. The name “Zepho” occurs 2 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Zenephi" may be found here.
- Zephi - The name "Zephi" occurs 1 time in the Old Testament.
1 Chronicles 1: 36
- Zepho – Genesis 36: 11, 15
- Ze´ rah (cf. Zeram) – the name “Zerah” occurs 20 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Zeram" may be found here.
- Genesis 36: 13, 17, 33; 46: 13
- Numbers 26: 13, 20
- Joshua 7: 1, 18, 24; 22: 20
- 1 Chronicles 1: 36; 2: 4; 6; 4: 24; 6: 21, 41; 9: 6
- 2 Chronicles 14: 9
- Nehemiah 11: 24
- Zer-a-hi´ ah (cf. Zarahemla) – the name “Zerahiah” occurs 5 times in the Old Testament. More information regarding the name "Zarahemla" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 6: 6 (twice), 51
- Ezra 7: 4; 8: 4
- Ze´ ri (cf. Zerin) – the name “Zeri” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Zerin" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 25: 3
- Ziph (cf. Ziff) – the name “Ziph” occurs 10 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name of the material denominated "Ziff" may be found here.
- Joshua 15: 24, 55
- 1 Samuel 23: 14, 15, 24; 26: 2 (twice)
- 1 Chronicles 2: 42; 4: 16
- 2 Chronicles 11: 8
- Zo´ rah (cf. Zoram) – the name occurs 8 times in the Old Testament. More information on the name "Zoram" may be found here.
- Joshua 19: 41
- Judges 13: 2, 25; 16: 31; 18: 2, 8, 11
- Zo´ rath-ites [and,] – the tribal name “Zorathite[s]” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament
- 1 Chronicles 4: 2
- Zo´ rites (cf. Zoramites) – the tribal name “Zorite[s]” occurs 1 time in the Old Testament. More information regarding the tribal name "Zoramites" may be found here.
- 1 Chronicles 2: 54
Additional reading and video content
Benjamin McGuire reviews the rest of Grunder's work in Mormon Parallels in these two articles published by Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.
- Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms Part One
- Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms Part Two
- Book of Mormon Central's evidence video regarding names in the Book of Mormon.
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize a book by Charles Anthon to provide names for the Book of Mormon?
There are a number of methodological problems to this that make the probability miniscule
A critic of the Church posted the following claim on his Facebook timeline:
PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ - AS SUCH IS FURTHER EVIDENCE OF JOSEPH SMITH'S PLAGARISM OF CONTEMPORARY SOURCESin 1827 Charles Anthon (yes the guy Martin Harris takes the
'caractors' to for authentication) published a dictionary about ancient names in the old world. strangely many of these names are duplicate or extremely similar to proper names in the Book of Mormon.
#1 what is the chance that a contemporary book published three years before the Book of Mormon would share such duplication/close proximities?
#2 What is the chance such a book of duplication/close proximities being published in 1827 and only a small distance away?
#3 What is the chance that the author of that book would be the very guy that Joseph would have Martin Harris return from visiting?
#4 What are the chance that this very guy (Anthon) is the guy who fulfills Isaiah's prophecy in the the Bible and Book of Mormon?
LIST OF SIMILARITIES Take a look:
(Most of these are not found in the Bible)
Mormon Memnon (p.454) -- A war hero who lead 10,000 men to battle in the Trojan war and won. He later died in a subsequent war. He was known as a writer and inventor of the alphabet.
Cumorah Cremera (p.214) -- 300 people died there in a battle, only one remained alive
Helorum Helorum (p.334) Zenos Zeno (p.335,884-887)
Sidon Sidon (p.763)
Alma Alma- / Almamon (p.n17)
Melek Melek (p.668)
Teancum Teanum (p.763)
Antion Antion (p.106)
Antionum Antium (p.106)
Coriantumr Corinthium-br (p.208)
Chemish Chemmis (p.577)
Mosiah Mosa (p.504)
Omni omnis (p.557)
Pahoran Pavorane (p.220)
Helaman Haliacmon (p.325) Zarahemla Zamora (p.883) Egyptus (PoGP) Egyptus (p.105)
Curelom Curium (p.219)
Irreantum Erythraeum (p.284) -- Both terms are referring to the Arabian Sea
Nephites Nepherites (p.520)
Antiparah Antiparos (p.63)
Lachoneus Laconia (p.377)
Enos Ænos (p.19) Ether Æther (p.282)
Neas Nea (p.516) Morianton Marmarion (p.460)
Gadianton Gaditanum (p.305)
Corom Coron (p.210,378)
https://archive.org/stream/1827classicaldic00lempuoft#page/n3/mode/2up There is also a lot of sections on Egyptian culture and Egyptian theology. Joseph Smith would by this book alone knew that the word Nephi was of Egyptian origin (page 520). This Charade is coming to an end with anyone who in the least degree wants to know the truth rather than hold comfortable beliefs.Parralellomania? I dont think so.
First, it is important to look at historical sources that show that Joseph had access to this book. There is no evidence that Joseph ever saw this work. An accusation of plagiarism is only as good as the historical documentation that can be produced to move the character (Joseph) towards the objectives (Anthon's book)
Second, it is important to examine the names as they are described in this book by Charles Anthon and how they are used under their headings (or in a few cases, in passing under other headings). The book is a 923 page (!) book with over 13,000 (!) entries and most of them are greek and roman names, not Egyptian nor Hebrew names.
Third, it is important to establish that the argument should not be distilled to simply what names exist in the Book of Mormon but how those names are used. The Book of Mormon offers us many ways in which the names above are used authentically that have been discovered and elaborated on with solid onomastic scholarship. So, the question is, could Joseph plagiarize something in an authentic way? See the Book of Mormon Onomasticon for the etymologies.
In answer to the critic's questions:
"1. what is the chance that a contemporary book published three years before the Book of Mormon would share such duplication/close proximities?"
We can’t answer that question, and we don’t think the critic has anyway to answer it either. He is only counting “hits,” and some of those hits (those in the “a stretch” column) are pretty questionable. But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and ignore the fact that 30% aren’t even name entries, over 93% aren’t Egyptian or Hebrew, and some of the matches are extremely strained.
Let’s be very generous and count all these as hits: 30 of them.
Anthon’s book is over 900 pages long. On the first page of names, we count 15 entries. The second page has 28 entries. The third has 19. Some others have only a few due to long entries (page 507 has 9; 885 has 1, for example) So, again, to be conservative let’s say there are only 10 entries per page on average. 900 pages x 10 entries per page = 9,000 entries (the critics’ “hits” make up around 0.3%). If you think that’s too generous, drop it to what you think reasonable, but even at 10 names/page we’re probably underestimating the total.
So, what are the odds that someone just making up names might match 30 out of 9,000? I think they are probably pretty good. It would be a virtual certainty, I suspect—especially if the “hits” are allowed to be as broad as these names. If we restrict it to the examples that are more plausible (the first two tables) then that’s 16 out of 9,000 entries (around 0.18%) : one of which is found in the Bible, and one (Egyptus) that takes hardly any imagination at all and isn’t in the Book of Mormon anyway.
But, let’s assume for the sake of argument that this is a significant bit of agreement. That really doesn’t help the critic unless we assume at the outset that Joseph is not translating an ancient record. If he is translating a record, then we might well expect a match to some ancient names. So, the critic’s argument is circular.
How many names does the Book of Mormon contain? This might be a more convincing argument if the Book of Mormon consisted only or mainly of names found in Anthon’s book. But, it doesn’t—Joseph produced a book with 337 proper names. Of these names, 188 are unique to the Book of Mormon, they are not found in the Bible. Thus, the critics are offering us the supposed source for at most 28 names (less than 15%). If we include only the more convincing matches (the first two table) that drops to 13 (less than 7%).
If Joseph can come up with dozens of names without the help of Anthon’s book (as the critics must argue that he does for those that he did not plagiarize) why do we posit that he required Anthon’s help to come up with the few that remain? We’re expected to believe that Joseph pored over this book of over 9,000 names, needed a bunch of names for his forgery project, and stole a few—almost all in the wrong languages. But, he didn’t steal 80–90% of them from it. Some he was smart enough to change around a bit, but others he was dumb enough to copy directly.
This is simply not a plausible reconstruction.
"#2 What is the chance such a book of duplication/close proximities being published in 1827 and only a small distance away?"
It's doubtful the author can answer this question. There were many books published in New York. But, the critic needs to demonstrate that Joseph had access to the book. We have absolutely no evidence of that.
"#3 What is the chance that the author of that book would be the very guy that Joseph would have Martin Harris return from visiting?"
Probably very good. (The critic assumes that Martin was sent by Joseph to Anthon—there is no evidence of this. Martin was trying to test Joseph; he would hardly pick people that Joseph had insisted he visit.)
Martin Harris wanted to verify the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, and so he chose people who were experts in that field of study. Anthon was one such expert. One does not expect a non-expert to write a book about ancient names. So, given that there were relatively few experts in New York in the late 1820s about ancient languages and cultures, the odds are excellent that we would have such an overlap.
But this raises another issue—Charles Anthon was not happy with his link to early Mormon history, and did everything he could to disassociate himself from it.
What are the odds (we might ask) that Anthon would not realize that the embarrassing Mormons and their fraudulent Book of Mormon was plagiarized from one of his works? If he didn’t complain, why is the critic so confident with two centuries’ hindsight that he’s found the smoking gun?
"#4 What are the chance that this very guy (Anthon) is the guy who fulfills Isaiah's prophecy in the the Bible and Book of Mormon?"
See above. The pool from which Martin Harris could draw was small. The pool of those who would write a book such as this was also small. A limited number of options means that the chance of a match when we select from that group at random would be high.
A comparison of the "matches".
Below we provide commentary for each of the supposed matches: Exact
|Name in Anthon Book||Name in Book of Mormon||Page number||Commentary|
|Helorum||Helorum||334||Town in Sicily—not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Sidon||Sidon||763||Also in the bible, so no need for Anthon’s book even if Joseph is creating the BoM himself.|
|Alma/Al-mamom||Alma||?||A Hebrew name. Wasn't known in Joseph Smith's day as a female Hebrew name.|
|Antion||Antion||106 (and||There is no entry for the name “Antion.” Instead, it is buried in another name’s definition (Astyäge)—so we’re to believe Joseph read the entire book and plucked this name out another name’s definition, rather? Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew.
From the first entry: “Astyiage, a daughter of Hypseus, who married Periphas, by whom, was Antion, the father of Ixion.” So a Greek name to describe a semitic unit of counting money?
|Aegyptus||Egyptus||15||Not Book of Mormon. Anthon’s book attributes the name to “Aegyptus brother to Danaus.” The Pearl of Great Price says it means “that which is forbidden.” Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew. Neither of the two mentions of Egyptus even comes close to what is described in the Book of Abraham. On page 387 we get ”/Egyptus Apollod” and for the other we get “—Apollod. 1, c, 2, &e.----A town of Greece, whose inhabitants went to the Trojan war. Homer. H. 2, v. 782----One of the daughters of Dannus, who married Ceotus, son of Egyptus.” See here for more information on Egyptus (or Zeptah. As an aside, the name Zeptah does not appear in this book).|
|Name in Anthon Book||Name in Book of Mormon||Page number||Commentary|
|Zeno||Zenos||335, 884-887||Another Greek name: if Joseph is trying to forge a Hebrew or Egyptian document, why resort to Greek when he has so many other options?|
|Teanum||Teancum||763||Latin town on Appian road, not Hebrew or Egyptian.|
|Corianthum||Coriantum||208||Again, this entry is not found as a name. It is a Latin form of the city name Corinthus. To find this version of the name, Joseph would have to read the entry, including a passage in Latin. No Hebrew or Egyptian link here.|
|Omnis||Omni||557||Not a name at all. It is an italicized Latin term meaning “all.” It seems unlikely Joseph would make the same mistake as the critic—mistaking a lower-case word for a name. Is also an English root from Latin, so hardly requires a book to “make up.”|
|Nepherites||Nephites||520||This isn’t really a match. Joseph’s word is clearly from Nephi, plus “ites” – meaning “belonging to the party of.” This name in Anthon’s book is a king of Egypt. So, we’re to believe that Joseph saw this name, picked it out, decided to keep the Nephi part so he could tack on “-ites” to it later? Parallelomania at its best.|
|Antiparos||Antiparah||63||Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew.|
|Aenos||Enos||19||Greek/Latin, not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Aether||Ether||282||Not an individual name entry, but buried in another name’s entry. Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew.|
|Nea||Neas||516||Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Coron||Corom||210, 378||The entry name is “Corone,” the rendering “Coron” is again only in the body of two different entries. Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew.|
|Morini||Moroni||313, 503||On p. 313, not an entry, but a name given a people in another name’s entry. On p. 503, identified as Celtic, not Egyptian or Hebrew.|
|Name in Anthon Book||Name in Book of Mormon||Page number||Commentary|
|Memnon||Mormon||477 [the critic says 454] and 848||Greek, not Hebrew or Egyptian.
Of the 10 or so citations that come up for this, none seem to mention that Memnon was a writer. The 10,000 claim is a lie. From pg. 848: “The king of Troy received assistance from the neighbouring princes in Asia Minor, and reckoned among his most active generals, Rhesus, king of Thrace, and Memnon, who entered the field with 20,000 Assyrians and Ethiopians.”
|Cremera||Cumorah||214||Latin, not Hebrew or Egyptian|
|Paphus||Pachus||578||Latin, not Hebrew or Egyptian|
|Antium||Antionum||106||Not listed as a name, is found in the body of another entry. Latin, not Hebrew or Egyptian.|
|Corinthium-br||Coriantumr||208||Not listed as a name, is in the middle of a Latin quotation. Latin, not Egyptian or Hebrew.|
|Chemmis||Chemish||577||Island in Egypt|
|Mosa||Mosiah||504||River in Gaul (Roman France). Not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Pavorane||Pahoran||220||Not listed as a name; this name is in the body of another entry. Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew.|
|Haliacmon||Helaman||325||Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Zamora||Zarahemla||883||Not an entry, is in the body of another entry. City from Roman history; not Hebrew or Egyptian|
|Curium||Curelom||219||Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Erythraeum [Mare] – the critic doesn’t include “Mare” [Latin for sea]. The Book of Mormon does not call its body of water “The Irreantum Sea” or anything like it, so this weakens the parallel further.||Irreantum||284||Greek/Latin—not Egyptian or Hebrew as Joseph claims the Book of Mormon is. Anthon’s book describes how the name means “red” [erythro- is red in Greek; red blood cells are called erythrocytes, for example]. The BoM says that Irreantum means “many waters” (1 Ne 17:5). So Joseph wants to appear ancient, so he distorts the name almost beyond recognition, and then gives a different meaning than the ancient meaning the scholarly book he’s cribbing from? This doesn’t make sense. If he’s trying to fake authentically ancient, why introduce an error? Also, notice the difference between the two. In the first we have ANT and the second we have TREE. Here’s something cool about that ANT:
"The element -ān is a common affix (a particle appended to a word) used in all the Semitic languages, including ancient South Semitic. It occurs especially in abstracts, meaning abstract nouns, similar to the use of the affix "-ship" in the English word "kingship." An abstraction from "watering" seems to fit the requirement here that IRREANTUM have something to do with "water."
|Marmarion||Morianton||460||Greek, not Egyptian or Hebrew|
|Gaditanum||Gadianton||305||Latin, not Egytpian or Hebrew|
ParallelomaniaThe critic seems to think that he has an iron-clad case:
Parralellomania? I dont think so.
This is, however, almost a textbook example of parallelomania. The critic knows very little, it seems, about how the dependence of one text on another is determined. He and interested readers should consult:
Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms Part One"Benjamin L. McGuire, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (2013)
Discovering parallels is inherently an act of comparison. Through comparison, parallels have been introduced frequently as proof (or evidence) of different issues within Mormon studies. Despite this frequency, very few investigations provide a theoretical or methodological framework by which the parallels themselves can be evaluated. This problem is not new to the field of Mormon studies but has in the past plagued literary studies more generally. In Part One, this review essay discusses present and past approaches dealing with the ways in which parallels have been used and valued in acts of literary comparison, uncovering the various difficulties associated with unsorted parallels as well as discussing the underlying motivations for these comparisons. In Part Two, a methodological framework is introduced and applied to examples from Grunder’s collection in Mormon Parallels. In using a consistent methodology to value these parallels, this essay suggests a way to address the historical concerns associated with using parallels to explain both texts and Mormonism as an historical religious movement.
Click here to view the complete article
Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, "Finding Parallels: Some Cautions and Criticisms Part Two"Benjamin L. McGuire, Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship, (2013)
Discovering parallels is inherently an act of comparison. Through comparison, parallels have been introduced frequently as proof (or evidence) of different issues within Mormon studies. Despite this frequency, very few investigations provide a theoretical or methodological framework by which the parallels themselves can be evaluated. This problem is not new to the field of Mormon studies but has in the past plagued literary studies more generally. In Part One, this review essay discusses present and past approaches dealing with the ways in which parallels have been used and valued in acts of literary comparison, uncovering the various difficulties associated with unsorted parallels as well as discussing the underlying motivations for these comparisons. In Part Two, a methodological framework is introduced and applied to examples from Grunder’s collection in Mormon Parallels. In using a consistent methodology to value these parallels, this essay suggests a way to address the historical concerns associated with using parallels to explain both texts and Mormonism as an historical religious movement.
Click here to view the complete article
This kind of game is an old one for critics, but mainstream scholarship rejected its validity and reliability a long time ago. But, anti-Mormon “scholarship” is usually several decades behind the times, so this shouldn’t surprise us.
Plus, what’s the good of stealing ancient names if someone doesn’t find out about it? Why didn’t Joseph (or anyone else) point someone to the book on the sly, even years later, to prove that he got it “right”? What good does this subterfuge do Joseph otherwise—he clearly doesn’t need the help coming up with names, and he gets no benefit from his “genuine ancient names,” while also opening himself up accusations of plagiarism and fraud from a man who is keen to remove any link between his scholarship and Mormonism.
The other side of the question
If we’re to assume that these “matches” are evidence of Joseph’s clear dependence on Anthon’s book, then why doesn’t Joseph get credit for all his other matches to ancient names? If these “matches” are evidence of the 19th century, why aren’t the many other names evidence of the ancient world, the only place they were recorded? There is a long list here, much longer (at least double, even if all the critics’ examples are included) than the ones our critics offer us from Anthon:
The critics can’t have it both ways. If Joseph “guessed right” and “got lucky” in matching all the ancient names, then the same argument holds for matching Anthon’s book.
This is another in a series of similar attacks on the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. Critics try to produce a huge list that seems very impressive and overwhelming at first glance. They count on readers not checking their examples, and not questioning their reasoning. As one textual critic cautioned:
The great feat of the amateur literary detective is to run up parallel columns, and this he can accomplish with the agility of an acrobat. When first invented, the setting of parallel passages side by side was a most ingenious device, deadly to an imposter or to a thief caught in the very act of literary larceny. But these parallel passages must be prepared with exceeding care, and with the utmost certainty. Unless the matter on the one side exactly balance the matter on the other side, like the packs on a donkey’s back, the burden is likely [Page 30]to fall about the donkey’s feet, and he may chance to break his neck. Parallel columns should be most sparingly used, and only in cases of absolute necessity. As they are employed now only too often, they are quite inconclusive; and it has been neatly remarked that they are perhaps like parallel lines, in that they would never meet, however far produced.
As so often happens, when we actually check the references and probe the parallels, the “amazing” matches elude the critics’ grasp, and fade into the mist.
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize an 1811 book of Marco Polo's travels?
In their book Book of Mormon: Book of Lies, researchers Meredith Sheets and Kendal Sheets claim that Joseph Smith plagiarized from an 1811 account of the travels of Marco Polo in his "composition" of the Book of Mormon. Their work has received devastating review from none other than the president of the Ex-Mormon Foundation, Richard Packham. This page will reproduce Packham’s review, published online at his website, for the convenience of readers. Links to FairMormon rebuttals will be posted to different works mentioned by Packham in his review.
Review by Richard Packham of Book of Mormon: Book of Lies
Almost since the moment that the Book of Mormon (hereafter "BoM") was published to the world in 1830, those unwilling to believe the wondrous story of its origin have tried to explain it without the miraculous events claimed by its "author and proprietor" Joseph Smith, Jr. Such reluctance may be understandable: Smith claimed that the book was a translation of an ancient record covering thousands of years of history of ancient American peoples, descended from Israelite immigrants, which he had obtained from an angel and translated by miraculous means from its original hitherto unknown language. The record had been inscribed in a book made of golden plates, which was subsequently taken away by the same angel. Following additional divine instructions, Smith founded a church, claiming to have "restored" the original church of Christ. Such a story invites skepticism. To provide some alternative explanation was not easy. The BoM was vast (588 pages in the 1830 edition), its many plots were complex, its cast of characters and its geographical locations varied, its themes intricate and appealing to an age looking for spiritual guidance. But the challenge found many takers.
One of the first critics of the book's miraculous claims was E. D. Howe, who published Mormonism Unvailed [sic] within four years of the new scripture's appearance. He claimed that Smith had plagiarized an unpublished novel of a deceased clergyman, Solomon Spalding (also spelled Spaulding), based on similarities of plot and names recognized by those familiar with Spalding's manuscript (by then missing). Later critics saw striking similarities with a popular 1825 theological work by another clergyman, Ethan Smith (no relation), A View of the Hebrews, which posited that the American Indians were actually Jewish (just as the BoM claimed). The latter view for many years was the more popular explanation of non-believers, and was even favorably analyzed by a high-ranking Mormon researcher, Brigham H. Roberts, in his posthumously published Studies in the Book of Mormon [That is actually not true]. The most recent proponent of the "View" theory was David Persuitte in his book Joseph Smith And The Origins of the Book of Mormon (2nd edition, 2000).
The Spalding theory was generally rejected by critics for many years, but was revived in recent years by Vernal Holly, Dale Broadhurst, and the extensive research of Arthur Vanick, Wayne L. Cowdrey and Howard A. Davis, published after decades of historical sleuthing in 2005 as Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon?: The Spalding Enigma. Craig Criddle has also written extensively in support of the Spalding explanation.
Even more sources for the BoM have been suggested. Former Mormon educator Grant Palmer claimed to find similarities to the BoM in the fanciful story "Der goldene Topf [The Gold Pot]" by German writer E. T. A. Hoffmann (Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, pp. 135-174, 2002). Thomas E. Donofrio has published his research in two articles claiming that the source for much of the patriotic language and military events was the writings of American patriots of the late 18th and early 19th century. And now we have a new entry into the controversy, quite different from anything hitherto seen. After the audacious title, we read on the back cover that this book, the result of 25 years' research, "will alter the course of global religion, finance, and politics." The authors claim that this book, "for the first time ever," shows how Mormonism and its scriptures were man-made, and not divine. Astonishing claims! How well do those claims stand up under examination?
The authors (father and son) became interested in Mormonism when Meredith Sheets (the father) was visited by Mormon missionaries in 1987 and given a copy of the BoM. As he read it, he thought he noticed themes, events, and even names that he recognized from a book he had read many times in his younger years, an account of the travels in Asia of the Italian explorer Marco Polo. He searched through his copy of Polo's book and did indeed find similarities. More remarkable, in his mind, was the fact that the Polo items were located in that book at about the same relative location as the BoM items were found in the BoM. Based on that discovery, the authors began a more methodical search for similarities, calculating down to a tenth of a percentage the location in each book. For example, if something in the BoM occurs 37.7% of the way into the 588 pages (of the 1830 edition), they would search the Polo book at around 37.7% of the way into that text. Amazingly, they claim to have found dozens of similarities, in very close proximity in each book, often within a few percentage points. Again and again.
Suspecting that other travel books to exotic lands might also have been sources for the BoM, the authors collected dozens of such accounts, all published in English in the early 19th century, before 1830. Again and again they believed that they found events, personalities, similar phrases, and even names that resembled those things in the BoM. Among the books examined were Bernal Diaz's account of the conquest of Mexico by Cortez, Pizarro's conquest of Peru, travel accounts in Arabia and among the Laplanders, and others.
Based on their discoveries, and the biography of Joseph Smith Jr. written by his mother Lucy Mack Smith, the authors developed a theory, a scenario of how the BoM came to be. They say that it was a joint effort of Joseph Smith Sr. and Joseph Smith Jr. Mrs. Smith reports that Smith Sr. began having religious experiences in 1811 (note the date!), when Joseph Jr. was only six years old. The authors suppose that the Smiths acquired copies of all these travel books, and carefully plagiarized them to produce their new scripture as a way of making money. The authors picture the Smiths spending years poring over the books and copying out their version of the events and personalities which they found in the travelogues.
The authors see the date 1811 as the beginning, since an early version of Marco Polo's travels appeared that year in English translation, the same year Smith Sr. "got religion." That date is so crucial that the authors self-publish their book from "1811 Press LLC" located at the same address as Kendal Sheets's law firm.
The most surprising discovery, the authors claim, was that Mrs. Smith's biography also shows extensive plagiarism from the same source books, and they suggest that it was Mother Smith's way of confessing the whole scheme and thus somehow clearing her conscience, since whoever discovered her copying would realize that she was trying to expose the true origin of the BoM. And Sheets and Sheets were clever enough to realize it.
Readers anxious to find any criticism of the LDS church or its sacred founding scripture, however far-fetched, will grab this book. But even the most ardent "anti-Mormons" should ask some fundamental questions about the authors' claims. How can any serious writer, writing on the origin of the BoM, spend 25 years on research in that area and be (apparently) completely unaware of what others have written? The Sheets seem to know nothing about other theories of its origin, even claiming that they are the "first" to present any evidence that it is not of divine origin. This is inexcusable. A knowledgeable reader is bound to expect an author to place his work in the context of other information available in the field.
Another obvious omission is the authors' apparent ignorance about a major event in the coming forth of the BoM: the loss of the first 116 pages of the manuscript by Martin Harris. Most scholars, Mormon and non-Mormon, who have examined the textual and historical evidence, say that the present first part of the BoM (replacing the lost pages) was written only after the last part had been completed. This fact alone would raise serious problems with the Sheets theory, which is based on the assumption that the BoM manuscript was started on page one and continued steadily onward.
Another part of the Sheets theory that seems unwarranted is that something appearing on page 266 of the 1830 BoM (that is, 266/588th of the way into the book) could be a copy of something 266/588th of the way into the Travels of Marco Polo. Such an assumption would require that the supposed plagiarists were being so methodical that they knew beforehand that their own manuscript would be 588 pages long, and they were measuring their own writing alongside the Polo book. Sorry, but that is quite unlikely. And plagiarists don't work that way.
But what about all the similarities that the authors actually found, using that percentage method? Those are quite impressive, although they do not prove that the method has any more validity than a simple random search. The similarity between the BoM and items in pre-1830 travelogues is indeed sometimes striking. The BoM description of the city Zarahemla is similar to Diaz's description of the Aztec capital city. The name of the divine compass which God gave Lehi (the "Liahona") is oddly similar to the Chinese words "li" (a unit of measure) and "huang-ching" (a compass), mentioned in an 1818 version of Polo. The BoM description of the Liahona is very similar to the description of an astrolabe, found in another pre-1830 travel book. The word "Irreantum" given by Lehi to the sea off the southern coast of Arabia may come from the phrase "Mare Erythraeum," a name for the Red Sea mentioned in an 1812 travel book about Arabia. But one still can be skeptical, just as we were skeptical about the recent book "The Bible Code," whose author found prophecies of present-day events in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament.
The authors see a resemblance between the tiny band of Christian Spaniards fighting the dark-skinned Aztecs with Cortez and the band of "stripling warriors," the "Sons of Helaman" where neither group lost a life in a fierce battle with a larger enemy. It is odd that they did not notice a striking similarity between the first paragraphs of the BoM, where Nephi introduces himself as born of good parents, and Diaz' first paragraph, where he does the same thing. (This was pointed out to me by Steven Powell, who wrote in the 1990s a still unpublished article proposing the Diaz history as a major source for many of the battle scenes in the BoM.) Many names are found in the travel books that the authors say must have been slightly altered and then used in the BoM. Not all are convincing: was the name Zoram really derived from Polo's first name "Marco"? Yes, it is indeed Marco, spelled backwards and changing a letter and its position. Were the Smiths so hard put to invent names? One must be extra cautious from drawing conclusions based on similarities of names - an error into which both defenders and opponents of the BoM have fallen. See my critique of Samuelson's "Lehi In The Pacific," for example.
One interesting find is what the authors claim as the source for the so-called "Anthon Transcript," a slip of paper on wh¬ich was copied "Caractors" [sic] from the gold plates so that Martin Harris could show them to scholars at Columbia University to check their genuineness before investing his money in publishing the Smith book. The evidence is conflicting on what the conversation was between Harris and Professor Anthon (Harris invested in the printing of the Book of Mormon, but Anthon says he told Harris it was a hoax) [though Harris walked away more convinced than ever that the Book of Mormon was true--mortgaging his farm to fund its printing. So the evidence lands squarely in favor of defenders]. The Sheets claim to have found an illustration in a pre-1830 book by a traveler to Lapland, showing a Lapp shaman beating on a ceremonial drum which is covered with strange characters. They have matched many of the characters in the drawing to characters in the Transcript. Unfortunately they seem to be unaware of the extensive research by Richard B. Stout, published in a six-part series (2001-2002), showing a more likely source which was known to be familiar to the Smith family: the so-called "Detroit Manuscript." The Sheets also mistakenly say that the Transcript is lost; it is actually in possession of the Community of Christ (which they would have discovered with a two-minute search on the Internet).
Many pages of the Sheets book consist of parallel columns, with items from the BoM text in one column and the alleged source of a travel book in the other. Other books on this topic have used the same method of presentation, notably Roberts and Persuitte. But often the items in the two columns are so different that one is hard-pressed to see any resemblance. Three or four words or phrases may be similar, the same number may appear in both, or the same compass direction.
Many examples of parallels between BoM civilizations and Polo's accounts of customs among the Tartars of eastern Asia are given. The authors explain this by citing one pre-1830 writer who theorized that the American Indians are descended from Tartar invaders who were blown off course during an attempt to invade Japan (a historical event) and landed in America. This justified the Smiths in putting features of Tartar civilization into the BoM, as they would be "authentic." The authors do not explain how this alleged idea of the Smiths would fit in with their premise in the BoM that the American Indians are descended from Israelites, not from Tartars.
Several other questions arise that put the basic premises of the authors in doubt. They must assume that the Smiths actually had access to these many travel books over a course of several years. This implies that they owned the books. All our evidence of the Smith family situation during that time is that they were rather poor. They lost their farm for failure to make payments. They fell behind even in their subscription to the local newspaper. How could they afford to accumulate a small library of esoteric books? The authors suggest that they could have traveled to larger cities to bookstores, or that a relative who made trips to London could get them. And then one must ask what eventually became of this library of travel books? They seem to have disappeared, like the golden plates and the 116 pages of manuscript.
The lost 116 pages raises another question. Clearly, from all accounts, Joseph Jr. was devastated when Harris confessed to having lost the manuscript. Why? If Sr. and Jr. had been working on the project since 1811, they had a manuscript already, which was written in their own handwriting. The 116 lost pages were not in the Smiths' handwriting, but had been written by scribes. Why were the Smiths so concerned? If, as the Sheets suggest, the Smiths had written the whole thing, without scribes, why didn't they simply go through the dictation process again, for the lost pages? And then we must also ask, where is the real original manuscript, in the Smiths' handwriting?
Another question: why do the Sheets make no mention of Alvin Smith, the oldest Smith child? He would have to have been involved in the scheme. But apparently he played no role at all in the book's production. The authors have indeed scoured many pre-1830 travel books for items that remind them of things mentioned in the BoM, too many to list here. They provide links to complete photo reproductions of all the source books on their website at http://bookofmormonbookoflies.com/theevidence.php. Perhaps their greatest contribution is to provide a rebuttal to the frequent argument in favor of the BoM: "Joseph Smith could not have know this fact about [blank], yet it is in the BoM!" Of course such material has already been available since 2008 in Rick Grunder's monumental (and therefore expensive, and therefore not easily available) Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographical Source. [Review of that work by Latter-day Saint scholar and apologist Benjamin McGuire at the link. The review includes a second part as well.]
The authors make frequent use of photocopies of crucial sources. The copies of such text is useful. The picture of the Lapp ceremonial drum has a clear purpose. But they also give us full-page photocopies of the title pages of many of their travel books. That serves no purpose that I can see, other that to prove that the books existed.
Unfortunately, to a skeptic on either side (pro-Mormon or anti-), the majority of the similarities which the authors see as proof of plagiarism are just coincidences, and nothing more. It does not prove plagiarism if the description of a ruler's residence in two different works includes words such as "palace," "magnificent," "gold," "throne," etc. Coincidences are common, and prove nothing. Actually, is it not quite a coincidence that there are so many similarities between the story of the production of the book under review and the authors' scenario about the production of the BoM?
• Both books were written by a father and son team; • Both were originally the idea of the father; • Both took decades to put together; • Both were self-published; • Both books were claimed by their authors that they would "alter the course of global religion," but did not; • Both books claimed to be new and unique, but were not; • Both books are the same length (Sheets: 590, BoM: 588); • The son took on the major role of promoting both books: Smith Jr. founded a church and sent missionaries out; Kendal Sheets does the promoting for his book, making frequent public appearances to promote it and has hired a public relations firm (DeHart & Company) for that purpose.
The endnotes are extensive and well arranged, numbered consecutively throughout the book, which makes them easy to find. There is no index, which makes the book difficult to use as a reference, nor is there a table of BoM citations, also a handicap. No list of the plates. Such useful tools belong in any work such as this, and their omission is a major fault. Minor mistakes crop up: the authors say that Smith's church was founded by five people in Seneca, New York, whereas there were six present, in Fayette (which is in Seneca county); they have Lehi traveling west to the Red Sea from Jerusalem, when he would have had to go south. In summary, there are too many problems with this book to recommend it, even to the BoM's most fervent critics.
Question: Did Joseph Smith believe that the Book of Mormon explained local legends associated with the "Mound Builders" of the Eastern United States?
When the Book of Mormon appeared, it was a natural assumption by many that the book was the story of the mysterious "Mound Builders"
Joseph Smith himself initially believed that the presence of the mounds supported the story related in the Book of Mormon. In fact, as Zion's Camp passed through southern Illinois, Heber C. Kimball and several other participants claimed that Joseph identified a set of bones discovered in one of these mounds as "Zelph", a "white Lamanite." In a letter that Joseph wrote to Emma the day after this discovery, he stated:
The whole of our journey, in the midst of so large a company of social honest and sincere men, wandering over the plains of the Nephites, recounting occasionally the history of the Book of Mormon, roving over the mounds of that once beloved people of the Lord, picking up their skulls & their bones, as a proof of its divine authenticity, and gazing upon a country the fertility, the splendour and the goodness so indescribable, all serves to pass away time unnoticed.
Statements made by Joseph Smith clearly indicate that his thinking regarding the actual location of Book of Mormon events evolved over time
Joseph felt that the presence of the mounds in North America and ruined cities in Central America supported the Book of Mormon. Since information about the ruined cities in Central America came to light after the publication of the Book of Mormon, it actually strengthens the theories and evidences which place the Book of Mormon in a Mesoamerican setting--Joseph was willing to consider a setting of which he apparently had no previous knowledge. The description of the ancestors of the American Indians as a highly civilized culture capable of building great cities was not a concept which would have been deduced from the contemporary beliefs regarding the Mound Builders.
The presence of numerous burial mounds in the eastern United States was the source of great speculation to those that settled there. The construction of such mounds was not considered to be within the ability of the Native Americans, who were considered to be savages. It was assumed that such sophisticated constructions constituted evidence of a long lost, highly civilized society which had long since vanished. Some even postulated the existence of separate civilized and a savage societies, with the highly civilized group eventually being destroyed by the savage one. After years of research, however, it was concluded that the mounds had indeed been constructed by the ancestors of the Indians that continued to live in the area.
Joseph clearly believed not only the region of the mounds to be part of Book of Mormon lands, but the entire continent, including Central America. The Book of Mormon itself, however, makes no mention of mounds.
In 1841, the Times and Seasons, of which Joseph was the editor at the time, commented on a popular book by John Lloyd Stephens called Incidents of travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan. This book described amazing ruined cities that had been found in Central America.
Joseph Smith himself, as editor of the Times and Seasons wrote and signed (as "ED[itor]") the following on July 15, 1842. Notice that he mentions both the mounds and the ruins in Guatemala as supporting the Book of Mormon:
If men, in their researches into the history of this country, in noticing the mounds, fortifications, statues, architecture, implements of war, of husbandry, and ornaments of silver, brass, &c.-were to examine the Book of Mormon, their conjectures would be removed, and their opinions altered; uncertainty and doubt would be changed into certainty and facts; and they would find that those things that they are anxiously prying into were matters of history, unfolded in that book. They would find their conjectures were more than realized-that a great and a mighty people had inhabited this continent-that the arts sciences and religion, had prevailed to a very great extent, and that there was as great and mighty cities on this continent as on the continent of Asia. Babylon, Ninevah, nor any of the ruins of the Levant could boast of more perfect sculpture, better architectural designs, and more imperishable ruins, than what are found on this continent. Stephens and Catherwood's researches in Central America abundantly testify of this thing. The stupendous ruins, the elegant sculpture, and the magnificence of the ruins of Guatamala [Guatemala], and other cities, corroborate this statement, and show that a great and mighty people-men of great minds, clear intellect, bright genius, and comprehensive designs inhabited this continent. Their ruins speak of their greatness; the Book of Mormen [Mormon} unfolds their history.-ED.
A later Times and Seasons article, published on October 1, 1842 under Joseph's editorial supervision (though not signed by Joseph Smith as editor) stated:
It would not be a bad plan to compare Mr. Stephens' ruined cities with those in the Book of Mormon: Light cleaves to light and facts are supported by facts. The truth injures no one....
If someone of that era were to attempt to write a book about a history of the North American Indians, they would not have written about advanced civilizations with advanced technology
One thing that critics do not consider is that if someone of that era were to attempt to write a book about a history of the North American Indians, he or she would not have written about advanced civilizations with advanced technology. The mysterious "Mound Builders" were not considered to be the ancestors of the current "savage" race that were inhabiting the land at that time.
Some of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon realized that there were going to be problems with this assumption after the publication of the Book of Mormon. In a interview, David Whitmer said:
When we [the Witnesses] were first told to publish our statement, we felt sure that the people would not believe it, for the Book told of a people who were refined and dwelt in large cities; but the Lord told us that He would make it known to the people, and people should discover evidence of the truth of what is written in the Book.
- Review of "Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon" by author Dan Vogel This link provides resouces that respond directly to environmentalist attempts to explain the Book of Mormon as a product of typical 19th century attitudes surrounding Indians and the origins in the Americas.
- Gee, John. "The Wrong Type of Book," Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon. Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002. This article provides a detailed analysis of how one would expect the Book of Mormon to appear if written according to 19th century stylistic conventions, cultural expectations, etc. The article demonstrates clearly that the Book of Mormon does not resemble these at all.
Question: Does the Book of Mormon’s reference to “slippery treasures” stem from Joseph Smith’s involvement in money digging and the occult?
Review of the Criticism
Some readers of the Book of Mormon and other critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have criticized the Book of Mormon’s reference to “slippery treasures”. This reference has been cited as evidence to them that the supposed “magic world view” of Joseph Smith and perhaps his associates influenced the composition of the Book of Mormon for those portions of the Book of Mormon that reference such "slippery treasures."
Book of Mormon Central: Why Did Samuel Say the Wealth of Some Nephites Would Become “Slippery”?
This charge/question has been examined in detail by Book of Mormon Central. Readers are invited to become acquainted with their material to address the question.
Book of Mormon Central:
Samuel the Lamanite’s famous prophetic warnings are found in Helaman 13–15. His pronouncement began with a massive rebuke of the pride, greed, iniquities, priestcrafts, ingratitude, and foolishness of wicked Nephites who were willing to embrace false prophets while utterly rejecting the righteous prophets (Helaman 13:25–29). Samuel pulled no punches. In this context, he used the word “slippery” three times, and the word “slipped” once (vv. 30–36).
Question: Do the conversion narratives of the Book of Mormon resemble a Methodist conversion narrative as would have been understood in Joseph Smith's time?
Introduction to Criticism
Critic Grant H. Palmer in his book Insider’s View of Mormon Origins alleges that many of the conversion narratives of figures in the Book of Mormon resemble those of Methodists of Joseph Smith’s day. Palmer quotes critic Brent Metcalfe:
While it may be true that elements of religious conversions in Joseph Smith’s environment derived from biblical predecessors, the congregation’s response to Benjamin’s homily follows an identical non-biblical form of spiritual regeneration developed in antebellum revivals. … This revivalistic conversion form can be illustrated from the Book of Mormon as follows:
- Revival Gathering (Mosiah 2:1): The Zarahemlans gather at “the temple (in tents) to hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them.”
- Guilt-Ridden Falling Exercise (Mosiah 4:1-2a): When “king Benjamin had made an end of speaking…he cast his eyes…on the multitide, and behold they had fallen to the earth … on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth … And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.”
- Petition for Spiritual Emancipation (Mosiah 4:2b): And “they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified…”
- Absolution and Emotional Ecstasy (Mosiah 4:3): After “they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ…
Palmer then cites and makes comparison between this model of the Methodist conversion narrative and the experiences of contemporaries of Joseph Smith including Lucy Stoddard, James Porter, Lorenzo Dow, Eleazar Sherman, Darius Williams, and Abel Thornton. Palmer also draws comparisons between the Methodist conversion narrative form and the conversions of Zeezrom, Lamoni’s Court, and Lamoni’s Father’s Court in the Book of Mormon. These comparisons seem to be meant to be similar enough to the Methodist conversion narrative model drawn out by Metcalfe to suggest that Joseph Smith used this model as a template for the conversion narratives in the Book of Mormon.
This article will respond to this allegation by drawing out similarities between this model and ancient conversion narratives. If similarity in conversion narratives can be drawn between the Methodist conversion narrative and ancient ones, then it will be demonstrated that the criticism relies on a false dilemma fallacy given that it may be possible that ancient writers existed that simply had similar sounding experiences to the Methodists but were actually acting in accordance with their own religious culture.
Response to Criticism
The first element of the model is that the figures are always at a revival gathering. This is quite a vague term. Lots of things could be considered a “revival gathering.” Revivals typically gather large quantities of people for series of public sermons delivered to the whole body of people for several days. Any gathering that takes place there could be considered a “revival gathering.” Doubtless the term is being used as vague as possible so as to be as broad of a term. Regardless there is ancient precedent for such “gatherings.” More can be learned about it by following the links to Book of Mormon Central to the right.
Guilt-Ridden Falling Exercise
“It is…possible that some of this process was part of a public pageant, one also known in the Old World.”
Latter-day Saint scholar and apologist Hugh Nibley wrote:
On the theme of eternity, the closing sound of every royal acclamatio, King Benjamin ended his address, which so overpowered the people that they “had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them” (Mosiah 4:1). This was the kind of proskynesis at which Benjamin aimed! The proskynesis was the falling to the earth (literally, “kissing the ground”) in the presence of the king by which all the human race on the day of the coronation demonstrated its submission to divine authority; it was an unfailing part of the Old World New Year’s rites as of any royal audience.
“Whether this rite would endure unchanged for more than 500 years and in two widely separated cultures is an unanswerable question. Nevertheless, it seems anthropologically sound that lowering oneself to the ground before a monarch communicates respect and humility in many cultures and contexts, whether it is specifically derived from the Old World or not.”
Terrence L. Szink and John W. Welch “connect their prostration with the ritual prostrations that accompanied the pronouncement of the Divine Name, YHWH, by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement:”
The response of the people to the pronouncement of the sacred name was singular. According to the Mishnah, each time the people at the temple in Jerusalem heard the sacred name they would fall prostrate on the ground. This can be compared with the reactions to King Benjamin's speech in Zarahemla .... It is possible that Benjamin's people would have fallen down in profound reverence and awe several times when Benjamin spoke the holy name of God, as the Israelites did on hearing the tetragram, according to the Mishnah.
It is clear that a plausible ancient context can be gathered for the “falling exercise.”
Petition for Spiritual Emancipation
As Szink and Welch observed, “[t]he idea of the New Year as a time of judgment is also found in Judaism. According to the Mishnah, it is the day when all mankind is judged. In the face of this judgment, God is ‘entreated to show mercy to his creatures,’ and confidence in the mercy of God is expressed. This is the only day on which modern Jews are permitted to ‘kneel and fall upon their faces.’ On this day, people in the Talmudic era wore white garments, and books of judgment were opened:
- The completely righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life. The completely wicked are immediately inscribed in the book of death. The average persons are kept in suspension from Rosh Hashanah to the Day of Atonement. If they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life, if they do not deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of death.
Furthermore, Gaster suggests that the symbolism of judgment by fire (compare Ezekiel 38:18–39:16) draws upon imagery pertinent to the fall festivals. Corresponding to the mood of the Mesopotamian New Year, the celebration of the Jewish New Year ‘has no traces of joy, for these are profoundly serious days, with a feeling of the heavy moral responsibility which life puts on all.’
Similarly, Benjamin’s people faced a day of judgment. In his speech, Benjamin lays bare the fate of those who remain and die in their sins—enemies to God (see Mosiah 2:37–38); he spells out the nature of God’s judgment, ‘for behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just’ (Mosiah 3:18); he makes it clear that all men are subject to this judgment (see Mosiah 3:17), except little children [this in stark contrast to Methodism] (see Mosiah 3:21); and he declares that these ceremonial words shall stand to judge the people (see Mosiah 3:24–25) ‘like an unquenchable re’ (Mosiah 2:38).
Just as the Mesopotamians and the Jews were awed by the seriousness of the day, so too were the people of Zarahemla when they heard Benjamin speak about the judgment: ‘Behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth’ (Mosiah 4:1–2). Yet in the face of this judgment, mercy was sought. Benjamin’s people cried out in unison, ‘O have mercy’ (Mosiah 4:2). Mercy is mentioned by Benjamin several other times (see Mosiah 2:39; 3:26; 5:15). There is also mention of cleansing of garments (see Mosiah 2:28) and of writing down the names of all the righteous who have entered into the covenant to keep God’s commandments (see Mosiah 6:1).
The later Jewish liturgy for this ‘Day of Awe’ provides further interesting points of comparison. Although this liturgy cannot be dated confidently before the time of the Crusades, some of its elements could, of course, have been drawn from the substantially older traditions…Schauss gives the following account; parallels to King Benjamin’s speech are italicized and referenced in brackets, with citations to earlier biblical precedents:
- The greatest and most exalted moment of the services comes when the Ark of the Torah is opened. . . . An unnatural fear grips the hearts of the worshipers [compare Mosiah 4:1; Exodus 3:6; Deuteronomy 28:58] [who]recite the words in a loud voice [Mosiah 4:2; Deuteronomy 27:14] with tears and sobs: ‘We will declare the greatness[Mosiah 4:11; Deuteronomy 5:24] and the holiness of this Day, forthereon, Thy kingdom is exalted, Thy throne established in mercy and Thou judgest in truth. It is true that Thou art the judge? [Mosiah 3:18; Genesis 31:53], Thou reprovest; Thou knowest all [Mosiah 4:9; 1 Samuel 2:3; 1 Chronicles 28:9], Thou bearest witness [Mosiah 3:24; Isaiah 55:4], recordest and sealest [Mosiah 6:1; 5:15; Isaiah 8:16]. Thou also rememberest all things that seem to be forgotten; and all that enter the world must pass before Thee [Mosiah 3:24], even as the shepherd [Mosiah 5:14; Psalms 23:1; 80:1] causes his sheep to pass under his rod. Thou numberest [Mosiah 6:1; Daniel 5:26] and countest, and visitest every living soul, appointest the limitations of all Thy creatures, and recordest [Mosiah 6:1; Deuteronomy 30:19] the sentence of their judgment.’ The moans die down and the congregation calms itself somewhat at the words: ‘But repentance [Mosiah 3:21; Proverbs 28:13; Jeremiah 35:15; Ezekiel 18:30], prayer, and charity [Mosiah 4:26; Leviticus 19:18] avert the evil decree.’:300n135
Moreover, the accompanying Jewish prayer does not end here but concludes with a sharp reminder of the shortness and impotence of man’s life, contrasted with the greatness of God, and expressed in ancient biblical idioms:
- How weak is man [Mosiah 2:25; Psalm 8:4]! He comes from the dust [Mosiah 2:25–26; Genesis 2:7] and returns to the dust; must toil [Mosiah 2:14; Genesis 3:19] for his sustenance; passes away like withered grass, a vanishing shadow, a fleeting dream. But Thou, O God, art eternal; Thou art King [Mosiah 2:19; Psalms 47:7; 89:18; Jeremiah 10:10] everlasting!"
Spiritual Absolution and Ecstasy
“In the OT ecstasy is sometimes indicated when it is said that the Spirit of the Lord came upon someone ([Numbers 11.25; 24.2; 1 Samuel 10.6, 10; 19.20; 2 Kings 3.15; Ezekiel 3.14; 11.24]), when Ezechiel is ‘led forth’ by the Spirit ([Ezekiel] 11.24; 37.1), and, in some cases, when an individual is said to ‘behave like a prophet’ (hitnabbē', as in Nm 11.25; 1 Sm 10.5–6, 10, 13; 19.20).”
Baptism as Salvific?
One lingering question that the conversion narrative brings up is why baptism wasn’t required for the salvation of individuals when modern Latter-day Saint theology and practice makes baptism necessary for salvation.
Book of Mormon scholar Brant Gardner addresses this :
According to contemporary [Latter-day Saint] theology, the remission of sins requires baptism. Perhaps we may assume that all of the people were already baptized. While this may have been the case, the text does not say so, and the historical context suggests that baptism may not have been a universal event in Nephite/Zarahemlaite life. As noted in the comments on 2 Nephi 31 where baptism is introduced to Nephi’s people, baptism performs a cleansing function, not the modern triple function of cleansing, accepting Christ by covenant, and becoming a member of his church. Baptism’s covenantal declaration of belief in Yahweh-Messiah does not become an explicit theme in the Book of Mormon until Alma1 begins baptizing in the Waters of Mormon.
Would all of the assembled people have been baptized? Certainly it is possible, but Mosiah1 (Benjamin’s father) would have had to institute it and require it of the entire people. The Zarahemlaites had forgotten Yahweh and lost most of the Mosaic law, but baptism prior to Christ’s earthly mission was known in the Old World only as a cleansing ritual. Only the Nephites, before Christ, associated that cleansing with the Messiah’s mission. Thus, the Zarahemlaites would have had no tradition of baptism connected with the Messiah’s mission, if that had any such rite at all. Mosiah might have imposed it upon the people through his authority as king, but this action would have violated the very nature of the ordinance, which requires repentance and a willing change of heart as prerequisites to accepting the Messiah. This process is inconsistent with a mandated ritual although the Old World certainly saw later examples of politically imposed baptisms.
The political and religious difficulties stemming from the clash of cultures that continued into Benjamin’s reign suggest that his people felt no universal agreement about the need for baptism as a signal of accepting Yahweh-Messiah. Although the message about the Messiah was not new to them, as we have seen, the Messianic of Benjamin’s speech and the particulars of their covenants suggest that this aspect is new to the people, at least on such a scale.
Nephi’s introduction of baptism reveals it as a new covenant, then, and one that had an ambiguous fit into known ritual. (See commentary on 2 Nephi 32:1.) When Benjamin declares the Messiah’s atonement, he says nothing about baptism as a requirement. Rather, he emphasizes the atonement itself and Christ as its provider. He implies that his people still understand the law of Moses as the means of atonement for sin. This information, combined with Alma’s new emphasis on baptism, suggests that, at this point in Nephite history, baptism is not widely practiced.When the Spirit descended upon the assembled population of the land of Zarahemla, the collective people’s sins were cleansed. Probably many among them were not baptized, yet their faith made the atonement efficacious. In this pre-Christian environment where the forward-looking rites mixed with current law of Moses, it appears that the communal function of the Day of Atonement sacrifice prevailed over the association between the individual acceptance of Christian baptism. For Benjamin’s people, their communal acceptance stood in place of the individual baptism. Speaking from their understanding about the remission of sin through the application of sacrificial blood, they plead with Yahweh to “apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of sins” (Mosiah 4:2).:3:165–66
Clearly it can be seen that a plausible ancient context can be developed for this phenomenon in the Book of Mormon and that each point of the theory rests on a false dilemma fallacy. Such weakness may be why Palmer had to rely on unpublished research from Metcalfe to make this argument.
- Matthew L. Bowen, “And Behold, They Had Fallen to the Earth: An Examination of Proskynesis in the Book of Mormon,” Studia Antiqua 4, no. 1 (April 2005). Examines each instance of "falling exercise" or proskynesis in the Book of Mormon against an ancient lens.
- Terrence L. Szink and John W. Welch, "An Ancient Israelite Festival Context," King Benjamin's Speech: That Ye May Learn Wisdom, ed. John W. Welch and Stephen D. Ricks (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998).
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize John Dee’s The Secret Book of Madoc for his creation of the Book of Mormon?
Introduction to Criticism
In a Google Group message board on 8 September 2003, former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and current member of the Bahá'í Faith) Darrick T. Evenson stated the following about the Book of Mormon:
In the Book of Mormon, Nephi writes:
"I Nephi, being born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;...there I make a record of the proceeding of my days". (1 Nephi 1:1)
In the Book of Madog, by John Dee:
"I, Madog, born of goodly parents, was taught somewhat in the learning of my father, nevertheless having seen many afflictions, therefore I make a record in my day as a vagabond upon the face of the earth." (Madog 3:1)Madog was a Welsh prince who purportedly sailed to America in the 12th century. They had wars with the Indians. The son of Madog was Mor Awnyry (pronounced "More-On-ih-rih").
Evenson repeated this argument in separate posts in the same forum on 30 October 2006, 19 December 2007, and 5 May 2008. He also has posted it on his website Order of Enoch. Ex-Mormons occupying the r/exmormon subreddit picked up on the argument and posted about it on 31 August 2015.
Evenson tells us that the source of his claim is a “self-published” book that he found in the Salt Lake City Public Library but that he couldn’t remember the name of.
After further research of this criticism, the source may have been Kerry Ross Boren and Lisa Lee Boren, Following the Ark of the Covenant: The Treasure of God (Springville, UT: Cedar Fort Publishing, 2000). The author has a copy in his possession. The book was not self-published by appears to be of that quality.
This article will seek to respond to the various theories that have been brought up with the appearance of Evenson’s claims by Evenson and those occupying the Ex-Mormon subreddit.
Response to Claim
Secret Book of Madog does not seem to Exist
It appears that there is no Secret Book of Madoc from which the language of the first verse of the Book of Mormon was derived. Neither the Ex-Mormons nor Evenson seemed to have found the exact source for this claim.
Another Ex-Mormon, drawing on the Borens, claimed that Dee transcribed the Secret Book of Madog from “gold plates.” Since the book from which this assertion was supposedly drawn doesn’t exist, we have to ask what the Borens were doing with their work. The assertion nonetheless remains without substantiation.
So also there is no substantiation for the name “Mor Awnyry” in any book authored by Dee.
John Dee as Scryer
One parallel between Joseph Smith and John Dee cited by the Ex-Mormons was that John Dee was a scryer. This appears to be true but suggests nothing more than coincidence. A more likely thing to occur is Joseph Smith picking up on scrying as a means of making money to provide for his father during financial crisis.
John Dee as Polygamist
One Ex-Mormon asserts that John Dee followed around an Edward Kelley that introduced plural marriage as commanded by the angels. The author can find substantiation for the assertion that Dee followed Kelly and that they practiced scrying, but not that Kelley introduced plural marriage. A more likely source for Joseph Smith’s inspiration for the introduction of plural marriage would be the Old Testament since he sought to give an inspired translation of it early in his prophetic career.
John Dee with a Counsel of Twelve
One Ex-Mormon asserts that John Dee had a counsel of twelve. The author can find no source to substantiate that assertion. A more likely source for Joseph’s inspiration to have a counsel of Twelve would be the New Testament.
John Dee with Connections to the Rosicrucian Order and Melchizedek
Evenson asserts that Dee had connections to The Rosicrucian Order and that they held the Melchizedek Priesthood. The author cannot find sources to substantiate this claim. A more likely source for Joseph’s inspiration about the priesthood would be the Book of Mormon and the Bible.
These esoteric claims about the Book of Mormon do not withstand even cursory scrutiny.
For further reading about how the first verse of the Book of Mormon actually fits better into the ancient world, see the following KnoWhys from Book of Mormon Central.
- KnoWhy #324: Why Is It Good to Seek Both Spiritual and Secular Learning?
- KnoWhy #445: What Is So Good about Nephi’s Name?
- KnoWhy #476: Why Does Nephi Begin by Saying “I, Nephi…”?
Question: Is the Book of Mormon's anti-universalism derived merely from Joseph Smith's contemporary religious culture?
Introduction to Criticism
Critics of the Book of Mormon allege that it contains anti-universalist rhetoric and that this rhetoric was derived from Joseph Smith’s contemporary religious culture.
This article will present evidence that this criticism is based on a false dilemma fallacy and that such appearance of universalism and concerns about it appear in the ancient world. If enough evidence of such a presence of universalism exists in the ancient world, then it can be used to demonstrate that there is a plausible religious context in which ideas like universalism can develop during Book of Mormon times and in which Book of Mormon prophets can respond to such ideas--thus showing that this presents no problem for a believing, orthodox Latter-day Saint's worldview that includes belief in the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon and the integrity and divine calling of its supposed translator, Joseph Smith.
Response to Criticism
Examples from the Ancient World of Universalism
There are many examples from the ancient world of universalism that can provide a context for the Book of Mormon’s words about universalism found in passages like Alma 1:3-4 and Alma 21: 6-9.
Early Church fathers Clement of Alexandria and Origen, as early as the second and third centuries respectively, “held the possibility of even Satan being restored.” "In the fourth century, Basil of Caesarea had 'to confess that most ordinary Christians have been beguiled by the Devil into believing…that there will be a time-limit' to suffering in hell. Two of these 'ordinary Christians' were 'Gregory of Nazianzus, who on occasion seems to wonder whether eternal punishment is altogether worthy of God, and Gregory of Nyssa, who sometimes indeed mentions eternal pains, but whose real teaching envisages the eventual purification of the wicked, the conquest and disappearance of evil, and the final restoration of all things, the Devil himself included.'”
Some of our earliest extant writings from the ancient world attest to the idea of universal salvation. Latter-day Saint scholar and apologist Martin S. Tanner discusses The Good Fortune of the Dead, “a text that sets forth the ancient Egyptian belief that, upon death, all find a fulfillment of the good things of this life. Regarding the peaceful place to which the Egyptians believed that the soul goes after death…we find it written, ‘All our kinsfolk rest in it since the first day of time. They who are to be, for millions of millions, will all have come to it. . . .There exists not one who fails to reach yon place. . . .Welcome safe and sound!”
Early Zoroastrianism espoused the idea of universal salvation.
“There are also Old Testament passages which have been interpreted as authority for the idea of universal salvation. These would have been familiar to Lehi and his descendants as part of the brass plates taken to the New World which were part of the Nephite culture (1 Nephi 19:21-23; Alma 37:3-4).”
Did the Anti-Universalist Bent Change After the Publication of the Book of Mormon?
A tangential criticism can be dealt with here. Gerald and Sandra Tanner in their book Mormonism: Shadow or Reality allege that Joseph Smith aligned himself with universalist doctrine subsequent to the publication of the Book of Mormon and thus contradicted The Book of Mormon's anti-universalist bent. Latter-day Saint apologist Barry Bickmore has soundly refuted them in this FairMormon publication.
Clearly there is enough historical evidence to demonstrate how this criticism relies on a false dilemma fallacy. Most accusations of plagiarism or the imputation of outside cultural influence to the Book of Mormon rest on such a fallacy. Critics and defenders will need to be aware of this moving forward as Book of Mormon scholarship advances.
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize Shakespeare's "Hamlet"?
Introduction to Criticism
The prophet Lehi in the Book of Mormon told his sons to "[a]wake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth."
In Act 3, Scene 1 of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet contemplates death and states "[t]hat patient merit of th' unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death, the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?"
Many critics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claim that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church and the believed translator of the Book of Mormon, stole this phrase from Shakespeare's work in his alleged creation of the text and story of the Book of Mormon.
This article seeks to refute this very common argument from critics.
Response to Criticism
Commonality of the Phrase
The phrase is contained within other works contemporary with Joseph Smith. The Book of Job in the Holy Bible contains similar ideas being expressed by the prophet Job. Lehi could have gotten his ideas from Job instead of Joseph Smith from Shakespeare. The argument then rests on an appeal to circular reasoning--believing that because a similar phrase exists between two works, the latter work must be dependent on the former for it's use. If a Latter-day Saint apologist can demonstrate that the existence of similar phraseology works within his/her own worldview, then the criticism's validity vanishes. Table 1 demonstrates the commonality of the phrase.
|Hamlet||Book of Mormon||Other similar phrases|
||"Awake! and arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return; a few more days and I go the way of all the earth. " (2 Nephi 1:14)||
Thus if we have sources that pre-date Lehi's departure from Jerusalem such as Job from which he could have plausibly drawn from for his homily to his sons, how can one validly claim that the only potential source for the similar verbiage would be Joseph Smith plagiarizing Shakespeare?
Other Ancient Literature That Has Conceptual Resemblance with Lehi
The claim becomes especially unworkable when many ancient sources evince conceptual resemblance to Lehi's words.
For example, Hugh Nibley wrote:
No passage in the Book of Mormon has been more often singled out for attack than Lehi's description of himself as one "whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return" (2 Nephi 1:14). This passage has inspired scathing descriptions of the Book of Mormon as a mass of stolen quotations "from Shakespeare and other English poets." Lehi does not quote Hamlet directly, to be sure, for he does not talk of "that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveler returns," but simply speaks of "the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return." In mentioning the grave, the eloquent old man cannot resist the inevitable "cold and silent" nor the equally inevitable tag about the traveler—a device that, with all respect to Shakespeare, Lehi's own contemporaries made constant use of. Long ago Friedrich Delitzsch wrote a classic work on ancient Oriental ideas about death and afterlife, and a fitting title of his book was Das Land ohne Heimkehr—"The Land of No Return." In the story of Ishtar's descent to the underworld, the lady goes to the irsit la tari, "the land of no return." She visits "the dark house from which no one ever comes out again" and travels along "the road on which there is no turning back." A recent study of Sumerian and Akkadian names for the world of the dead lists prominently "the hole, the earth, the land of no return, the path of no turning back, the road whose course never turns back, the distant land, etc." A recently discovered fragment speaks of the grave as "the house of Irkallu, where those who have come to it are without return. . . . A place whose dead are cast in the dust, in the direction of darkness . . . [going] to the place where they who came to it are without return."
This is a good deal closer to Lehi's language than Shakespeare is. The same sentiments are found in Egyptian literature, as in a popular song which tells how "the gods that were aforetime rest in their pyramids. . . . None cometh again from thence that he may tell of their state. . . . Lo, none may take his goods with him, and none that hath gone may come again." A literary text reports: "The mockers say, 'The house of the inhabitants of the Land of the West is deep and dark; it has no door and no window. . . . There the sun never rises but they lie forever in the dark.' "
Shakespeare should sue; but Lehi, a lover of poetic imagery and high-flown speech, can hardly be denied the luxury of speaking as he was supposed to speak. The ideas to which he here gives such familiar and conventional expression are actually not his own ideas about life after death—nor Nephi's nor Joseph Smith's, for that matter, but they are the ideas which any eloquent man of Lehi's day, with a sound literary education such as Lehi had, would be expected and required to use. And so the most popular and obvious charge of fraud against the Book of Mormon has backfired.
Latter-day Saint scholar and apologist Robert F. Smith has written that "the constellation of ideas and expressions found there (and in parallel texts) were available throughout the ancient Near East in Lehi's own time.” For example, Smith cites the Sumerian account of the Descent of Inanna (written ca. 1900 BC - 1600 BC) in which it is written “[w]hy, pray, have you come to the ‘Land of No Return,’ / On the road whose traveler returns never, / How has your heart led you?” Smith draws on other Israelite, Canaanite, Egyptian, and Babylonian sources to show that both Lehi and Shakespeare are really drawing on ancient thought of the afterlife.
Critics and detractors of the Church, assuming that that the Book of Mormon isn't divine prior to engaging with it, will likely not accept this rebuttal. However it has been clearly demonstrated that the existence of similar phraseology between the Book of Mormon and Shakespeare's Hamlet proves nothing threatening to a believing Latter-day Saint's worldview that includes belief in the Book of Mormon's historical authenticity and the integrity of its supposed translator.
Question: Did Joseph Smith plagiarize sources from the American Revolution?
Introduction to Question
Former member of the Church and critic Thomas Donofrio presented what he considers evidence that the Book of Mormon plagiarizes (or was “influenced by”) sources from the colonial era of American history. He presented these arguments at the 2012 ExMormon Foundation Conference in Salt Lake City, UT.
Response to Question
HeavyMetalMormon’s Debunking of Donofrio
Another Latter-day Saint pseudonymous blogger named Heavy Metal Mormon responded to Donofrio in depth. The blogger compares every phrase identified by Donofrio in Revolutionary sources to other ancient works written between the 9th century BCE and 500 CE and finds that they too have some of the same phrases contained in the Book of Mormon. The works compared include the following:
- “The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus” written between 78 and 93 A.D.; translated into English by William Whiston in 1737. Retrieved from: http://www.ultimatebiblereferencelibrary.com/Complete_Works_of_Josephus.pdf
- “The History of the Peloponnesian War” written by Thucydides between 431 and 400 B.C. and translated into English by Richard Crawley in 1874. Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Thucydides/pelopwar.mb.txt
- “The History of Herodotus” written by Herodotus in 440 B.C. and translated into English by George Rawlinson in 1910. Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Herodotus/history.mb.txt
- “The Dialogues of Plato” written by Plato who lived between 427 and 347 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett in 1871. Retrieved from: https://webs.ucm.es/info/diciex/gente/agf/plato/The_Dialogues_of_Plato_v0.1.pdf
- “Politics” written by Aristotle who lived between 384 and 322 B.C.; translated by Benjamin Jowett in 1885. Retrieved from: https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/aristotle/Politics.pdf
- “The Apostolic Fathers” which are early Christian documents believed to have been written in first and second century A.D.; translated by Joseph Barber Lightfoot and published in 1891. Retrieved from: https://www.ccel.org/l/lightfoot/fathers/cache/fathers.pdf
- “The Ante-Nicene Fathers” which are early Christian documents written before 325 A.D. Translated by multiple authors in 1885. Retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/AnteNiceneFathersVolume10BibliographicSynopsisGeneralIndex
- “The Gallic Wars” written by Julius Caesar before 46 B.C. and translated into English by W.A. MacDevitt and W.S. Bohn in 1869. Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Caesar/gallic.mb.txt
- “The Histories” written by Tacitus around 109 A.D. and translated into English by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb in 1876. Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/histories.mb.txt
- “The Odyssey” written by Homer in 800 B.C. and translated into English by Samuel Butler in 1900. Retrieved from: http://classics.mit.edu/Homer/odyssey.html
Heavy Metal Mormon found each of the phrases identified by Donofrio in these sources.
He has also posted a helpful YouTube video presenting his findings which you can find here.
In his own words: “Donofrio argues that this list of phrases should not be found in an English translation of an ancient document like the Book of Mormon. Nearly all of these phrases, however, can be found in 18th and 19th century English translations of ancient documents dating from 440 B.C. to 325 A.D. We therefore cannot accept that Donofrio’s list of parallels is evidence of the Book of Mormon being a work of fiction influenced by early American literature.”
- Bushman, Richard L. "The Book of Mormon and the American Revolution." In Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, 189–211. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1982.
- ↑ Grant H. Palmer, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002) 96-97. ( Index of claims )
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of Mexico, Volume IX. (San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft and Company, 1883), 139-140.
- ↑ Fernando Alva de Ixtilxochit,Obras historicas, 12.
- ↑ Joseph L. Allen, and Blake J. Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, (Orem, UT: S.A. Publishers, 1989), 62.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough, wikipedia retrieved March 30, 2011
- ↑ Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith, The Prophet And His Progenitors For Many Generations, chapter 14
- ↑ William L. Davis, "Who really wrote the Book of Mormon?,Salon (31 October 2012). http://www.salon.com/2012/10/31/who_really_wrote_the_book_of_mormon/
- ↑ David Noel Freedman, "Mani" in Anchor Bible Dictionary: Volume 4 K-N 6 vols. (New York City: Doubleday, 1992), 4:502.
- ↑  [Data from Largey, Book of Mormon Reference Companion, 580–81]
- ↑ (James) Brander Mathews, “The Ethics of Plagiarism,” in Pen and Ink (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902), 29–30; cited in McGuire, http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/finding-parallels-some-cautions-and-criticisms-part-one/#fn36-2771
- ↑ Richard Packham, “Book Review - Book of Mormon: Book of Lies” Association for Mormon Letters. <http://packham.n4m.org/sheets.htm>. Accessed November 5, 2019. © 2013 Richard Packham - Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included.
- ↑ Dean C. Jessee, The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, revised edition, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2002), 324.
- ↑ Joseph Smith (editor), "AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES.," Times and Seasons 3 no. 18 (July 15, 1842), 860, (emphasis added). off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- ↑ [Editor], "ZARAHEMLA.," Times and Seasons 3 no. 23 (Oct. 1, 1842), 927. off-site GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- ↑ Interview with James H. Hart, Richmond, Mo., Aug. 21, 1883, as recorded in Hart's notebook; reprinted in Lyndon Cook (editor), David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness (Orem, Utah: Grandin Books, 1991), 76.
- ↑ Robert N. Hullinger, Mormon Answer to Skepticism: Why Joseph Smith Wrote the Book of Mormon (St. Louis, MO: Clayton Publishing House, 1980), 105; D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1998), 61, 196–197.
- ↑ Grand H. Palmer, Insider’s View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002), 99–100. Citing Brent Lee Metcalfe, unpublished response to Blake T. Ostler, 1987, photocopy of typescript in Palmer’s possession; used with permission. See Blake T. Ostler, “The Book of Mormon as a Modern Expansion of an Ancient Source,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 20 (Spring 1987): 66–123.
- ↑ George Lane, “Letter from Rev. Geroge Lane,” 25 Jan. 1825, Methodist Magazine 8 (Apr. 1825): 159.
- ↑ James Porter, An Essay on Camp Meetings (New York: Lane and Scott, 1849), 37.
- ↑ Lorenzo Dow, The Dealings of God, Man and the Devil, As Exemplified in the Life, Experience, and Travels of Lorenzo Dow (Norwich, CT: Wm. Faulkner, 1833), 14–16.
- ↑ Eleazar Sherman, The Narrative of Eleazar Sherman (Providence, RI: H.H. Brown, 1830), 1:11-21.
- ↑ George Peck, The Life and Times or Rev. George Peck, D.D. (New York: Nelson & Phillips, 1874), 108–9.
- ↑ Abel Thornton, The Life of Elder Abel Thornton (Providence, RI: J. B. Yerrington, 1828), 17–18, 21.
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 Brant H. Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 3:163.
- ↑ Hugh Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1957), 264. Quoted in Gardner, Second Witness, 3:163. An important note from Gardner: “Although Nibley suggests that the theme of eternity marked the end of a coronation declaration, the coronation event is buried in the text, a simple declaration many verses earlier. Benjamin has not yet reached his climax—giving his people their new name.”
- ↑ Matthew L. Bowen, “And Behold, They Had Fallen to the Earth: An Examination of Proskynesis in the Book of Mormon,” Studia Antiqua 4, no. 1 (April 2005): 102.
- ↑ Terrence L. Szink and John W. Welch, "An Ancient Israelite Festival Context," King Benjamin's Speech: That Ye May Learn Wisdom, ed. John W. Welch and Stephen D. Ricks (Provo, UT: FARMS, 1998), 179. Cited in Bowen, “Fallen to the Earth,” 102.
- ↑ See M Rosh ha-Shanah, 1:2. “On New Year’s Day all that come into the world pass before him like legions of soldiers, for it is written, He that fashioneth the hearts of them all, that considereth all their works.”
- ↑ Leviticus Rabbah 29:4; see TY Rosh ha-Shanah, 1:3; Louis Jacobs, “Rosh ha-Shanah,” Encyclopedia Judaica, 14:307, 309.
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 T. H. Gaster, Festivals of the Jewish Year (New York: Morrow Quill, 1978), 121.
- ↑ TB Rosh ha-Shanah 16b; Jacobs, “Rosh ha-Shanah,” 307.
- ↑ See Gaster, Festivals of the Jewish Year, 93.
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 Schauss, Jewish Festivals, 112.
- ↑ This may be distantly connected with the ritual of throwing one’s sins into the sea (Micah 7:19), acted out in the Tashlich custom. See Schauss, Jewish Festivals, 148. The wearing of a long white cloak was customary and was a symbol of purity; Gaster, Festivals of the Jewish Year, 121.
- ↑ Ibid. See Szink and Welch, “An Ancient Israelite Festival Context,”
- ↑ “Ectasy (In The Bible),” <https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ecstasy-bible> (19 August 2020).
- ↑ Darrick T. Evenson, “Who REALLY TRULY Wrote the Book of Mormon???..,...," alt.religion.mormon Google Discussion Group, 8 September 2003.https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/alt.religion.mormon/darrick$20madoc/alt.religion.mormon/VnCSj_AvxTc/wrgleSmluX8J. (19 August 2020).
- ↑ Darrick T. Evenson, “The Angel Moroni Identified: Revealing the True Identity of the Ordinal Author of the Book of Mormon & Revealing Some of the Literary Sources of the Work,” <http://orderofenoch.angelfire.com/MADOC.html>. (19 August 2020).
- ↑ On Dee as scryer, see Frank Klaassen, "John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature," Canadian Journal of History 37, no. 2 (2002): 349–351.
- ↑ Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 47–52.
- ↑ Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7; Mosiah 18:17; Alma 4:20; 5:3; 13; 3 Nephi 11:25; 12:1.
- ↑ Gerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1972), 197. Dan Vogel, “Anti-Universalist Rhetoric in the Book of Mormon,” New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, ed. Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993), 21–52.
- ↑ Vogel, “Anti-Universalist Rhetoric,” 27n8.
- ↑ Barry R. Bickmore, "The Tanners on the Hereafter: A Case Study in 'Studied Ignorance'," <https://www.fairmormon.org/archive/publications/the-tanners-on-the-hereafter-a-case-study-in-studied-ignorance> (2 September 2020). Citing J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, rev. ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), 483–484.
- ↑ Martin S. Tanner, “Is There Nephite Anti-Universalist Rhetoric in the Book of Mormon?” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6, no. 1 (1994): 418–33. Citing "The Good Fortune of the Dead," in James B. Prichard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3d ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), 33–34; A. H. Gardiner, The Attitude of the Ancient Egyptians to Death and the Dead (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1935), 32.
- ↑ George A. Mather and Larry A. Nichols. "Unitarian-Universalist Association (UAA) History," Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religion and the Occult (Grand Rapids: Harper Collins, 1993), 286. Cited in Tanner, “Is There Nephite Anti-Universalist Rhetoric?” 433n29.
- ↑ Genesis 18:18; Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 9:26; 32:29; 21:8; Psalm 22: 25-29; 33:15; 65:2-4; 66:3-4; 72:18; 86:9 90:3; 130:8; 138:4; 145:9-10; Isaiah 2:2; 52:10; 43:1; 44:22; 45: 17, 23; all Israel to be redeemed; other passages have been interpreted to mean that all mankind will be saved (Isaiah 19:14-25; 25:6-8; 46:10 50:2; 52:3; Hosea 13:14; 1 Samuel 14:6; 1 Chronicles 16:23; Psalm 28:9; Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; Isaiah 25:9, 35:4; 45:8; 49:6); see also Paul Heinisch, Theology of the Old Testament (St. Paul: North Central Publishing, 1955), 12, God's covenant with Abraham did not involve Abraham only, or Israel only, but promoted the divine plan for universal salvation (emphasis added); James H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1983), 1:302, Israel, gentiles, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.
- ↑ Tanner, “Is There Nephite Anti-Universalist Rhetoric?” 433.
- ↑ 2 Nephi 1:14
- ↑ Polemical works that make this argument include: “Mormonism,” New York Weekly Messenger and Young Men’s Advocate (29 April 1835). Reprinted from The Pioneer (Rock Springs, Illinois), March 1835. off-site; Origen Bachelor, Mormonism Exposed Internally and Externally (New York: Privately Published, 1838), 11–12, 14–16. off-site; Alexander Campbell, Delusions (Boston: Benjamin H. Greene, 1832), 13, original on p. 93; originally published in Millennial Harbinger 2 (7 February 1831): 85–96. off-site O. Cowdery reply #1 #2 Full title; A Disciple, "[Reply to John E. Page,]" Morning Chronicle (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) (29 June 1842). off-site; La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 7 (17 February 1838). off-siteS. Williams, Mormonism Exposed (1838), 6. off-site; Z—a, “Mormonism: Scene in a Stage Coach,” Christian Watchman (Boston) 18, no. 18 (5 May 1837): 1. Reprinted from Buffalo Spectator, circa April 1837. off-site; Daniel H. Bartlett, The Mormons or Latter-Day Saints, Whence Came They? (London: Nisbet, 1911); Ernest Sutherland Bates, American Faith (New York: Norton, 1940), 341-58; James Black, New Forms of the Old Faith (London: Nelson, 1948). William Bond, The Early History of Mormonism, and the True Source Where the Aborigines of the Continent Came From (Portland: Schwab Brothers, 1890); Horton Davies, Christian Deviations: Essays in Defense of the Christian Faith (London: SCM Press, 1954); Edgar E. Folk, The Mormon Monster or the Story of Mormonism (Chicago: Revell, 1900); Joseph Johnson, The Great Mormon Fraud: or The Church of Latter-Day Saints (Manchester: Butterworth & Nodal Printers, 1885); William Alexander Linn, The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of Their Origin to the Year 1901 (New York: Macmillan, 1902); J. Roy H. Paterson, Meeting the Mormons: A Study of the Mormon Church in Scotland and Elsewhere (Edinburgh, Scotland: Constable, 1965); Leslie Rumble, The Mormons or Latter-day Saints (St. Paul, Minn: Radio Replies Press, 1950); James K. Swinburne, Beneath The Cloak of England’s Respectability (London: Skef�ington and Son, 1912); Alva A. Tanner, A Key to the Book of Mormon (Oakley, ID: self-published, 1916); Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? 4th ed. (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1987). One early critic of the Book of Mormon thought that the phrase came from Edward Young, Night Thoughts (London: T. Heptinstall, No. 304 Holborn, 1798). See La Roy Sunderland, “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman (New York) 3, no. 5 (3 February 1838). off-site
- ↑ This approach follows that made in Brigham H. Roberts, "A Brief Debate on the Book of Mormon," in Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (1907), 1:333. Vol 1 GL direct link Vol 2 GL direct link
- ↑ Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), 276–277.
- ↑ Robert F. Smith, “Evaluating the Sources of 2 Nephi 1:13–15: Shakespeare and the Book of Mormon,” Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture 22, no. 2 (2013): 101–102.
- ↑ “Debunking Thomas Donofrio’s 'Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon',” Heavy Metal Mormon, January 9, 2020, https://heavymetalmormon.com/2020/01/09/a-response-to-thomas-donofrios-early-american-influences-on-the-book-of-mormon/.