Book of Mormon/Authorship theories/Spalding manuscript/Difficult to explain before

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The rise of the Spalding theory of Book of Mormon authorship



The Mormon Bible.—The origin of this work which it has puzzled many to account for, evidently the production of a cultivated mind, yet found in the hands of exceedingly ignorant and illiterate persons is at length explained.

— “The Mormon Bible,” Trumpet and Universalist Magazine (Boston) 11, no. 48 (18 May 1839), n.p.. off-site

Initial critics of the Book of Mormon tended to take one of two stances—either:

  1. The Book of Mormon was a clumsy, obvious forgery upon which no intelligent person would waste time; and/or
  2. Joseph Smith was the Book of Mormon's obvious author.

Ironically, with the appearance of the Spalding theory, critics quickly began to claim that Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon, and attributed the Book of Mormon's writing to Spalding and (usually) Sidney Rigdon.

It is interesting to note the after-the-fact admission from critics that prior to the Spalding theory, the Book of Mormon was difficult to account for. Unfortunately for the modern critic, the collapse of the Spalding theory means that they are likewise ill-placed to attribute the Book of Mormon's text to Joseph Smith.

To see citations to the critical sources for these claims, click here