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

< Book of Mormon‎ | Authorship theories‎ | Spalding manuscript

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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

== Notes == None

Further reading

FairMormon Answers articles

Book of Mormon/Plagiarism accusations

FairMormon web site

Book of Mormon Authorship FairMormon web site
  • Daniel C. Peterson, "The Divine Source of the Book of Mormon in the Face of Alternative Theories Advocated by LDS Critics" FAIR link
  • Daniel C. Peterson, "The Protean Joseph Smith" FAIR link
  • Matthew B. Brown, "Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon" FAIR link
  • John K. Wise, "Clouds Without Water, Zeal Without Knowledge" FAIR link

External links

  • Online text of "Manuscript Found", the Spaulding document discovered in 1884 and published by the RLDS Church. off-site
  • “Considerable Excitement,” The Evening and the Morning Star (Kirtland, Ohio) 2, no. 19 (April 1834): 150. off-site
  • Anonymous, "A Summary," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 1 no. 5 (February 1835), 76–77. off-site
  • Bruce D. Blumell, "Would you respond to the theories that the Book of Mormon is based on the Spaulding manuscript or on Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews?," Ensign (September 1976), 83–87. off-site
  • Lester Bush, "The Spalding [sic] Theory Then and Now," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 10 no. 4 (Autumn 1977), 40–69. off-site
  • Orson Scott Card, "News of the Church: Spaulding Again?," Ensign 7 (September 1977), 94–95. off-site
  • Jeff Lindsay, "Plagiarism in the Book of Mormon: Is It Derived from Modern Writings?, (accessed 5 October 2005). off-site
  • L. Ara Norwood, "Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look (Review of Book of Mormon Authorship: A Closer Look by Vernal Holley)," FARMS Review of Books 1/1 (1989): 80–88. off-site
  • Gary F. Novak, "Naturalistic Assumptions and the Book of Mormon," Brigham Young University Studies 30 no. 3 (1990), 23–40. off-site
  • "Origins of the Spaulding Manuscript", by Professor A. S. Root, Oberlin College, 12 May 1927. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "The Mythical "Manuscript Found" (Review of: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 7–140. off-siteGL direct link (Key source)
  • President Joseph F. Smith, "The Manuscript Found," Improvement Era 33 no. 4 (February 1900), ? page. off-site
Book of Mormon authorship general links
  • Philip A. Allred, "Alma's Use of State in the Book of Mormon: Evidence of Multiple Authorship," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996). [140–146] link
  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, "The Modern-Text Theory (Review of "A Rhetorical Approach to the Book of Mormon: Rediscovering Nephite Sacramental Language" by Mark D. Thomas," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 379–419. off-site
  • Kevin L. Barney, "A More Responsible Critique (Review of: Does the Book of Mormon Reflect an Ancient Near Eastern Background?)," FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 97–146. off-site
  • Kevin Christensen, "Truth and Method: Reflections on Dan Vogel’s Approach to the Book of Mormon (Review of: Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon)," FARMS Review 16/1 (2004): 287–354. off-site
  • James E. Faulconer, "Takayama: Restoration Revelation as Poetry rather than Fraud," FARMS Review of Books 13/1 (2001): 127–132. off-site
  • Alan Goff, "Dan Vogel's Family Romance and the Book of Mormon as Smith Family Allegory (Review of: Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 321–400. [{{{url}}} off-site]
  • Garth L. Mangum, "The Economics of the Book of Mormon: Joseph Smith as Translator or Commentator," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/2 (1993). [78–89] link
  • Larry E. Morris, "'I Should Have an Eye Single to the Glory of God’: Joseph Smith’s Account of the Angel and the Plates (Review of: "From Captain Kidd’s Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni: Changing Dramatis Personae in Early Mormonism")," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 11–82. off-site
  • L. Ara Norwood, "Review of Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon by David Persuitte," FARMS Review of Books 2/1 (1990): 187–204. off-site
  • Gary F. Novak, "Examining the Environmental Explanation of the Book of Mormon (Review of Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism by Robert N. Hullinger)," FARMS Review of Books 7/1 (1995): 139–154. off-site
  • Daniel C. Peterson, "Editor's Introduction—Not So Easily Dismissed: Some Facts for Which Counterexplanations of the Book of Mormon Will Need to Account," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): xi–lxix. off-site
  • Noel B. Reynolds, "The Book of Mormon Today (Review of By the Hand of Mormon)," FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 5–17. off-site
  • Stephen D. Ricks, "Testaments: The Literary Riches of the Book of Mormon (Review of: Testaments: Links Between the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 55–58. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "The Mythical "Manuscript Found" (Review of: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 7–140. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "Myth, Memory, and "Manuscript Found"," FARMS Review 21/2 (2009): 179–223. off-site wiki
  • Sidney B. Sperry, "Literary Problems in the Book of Mormon involving 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and Other New Testament Books," off-site
  • John L. Sorenson, "A Rare Gem (Review of By the Hand of Mormon)," FARMS Review 15/1 (2003): 15–17. off-site
  • John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha: Shadow or Reality? (Review of Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha by Jerald and Sandra Tanner)," FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 326–372. off-site
  • Richard N. Williams, "The Spirit of Prophecy and the Spirit of Psychiatry: Restoration or Dissociation? (Review of The Sword of Laban: Joseph Smith Jr. and the Dissociated Mind)," FARMS Review of Books 12/1 (2000): 435–444. off-site

Printed material

Responses to the Spalding theory:
  • Matthew B. Brown, "The Spalding-Rigdon Theory," in Plates of Gold: The Book of Mormon Comes Forth (American Fork, UT: Covenant, 2003), 185–201. ISBN 1591563704.
  • Brigham H. Roberts, "Counter Theories of Origin," in New Witnesses for God, 3 Vols., (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909[1895, 1903]), 3, Chapter XLIV:347–406. ISBN 0962254541.GL direct link
  • Brigham H. Roberts, "A Brief Debate on the Book of Mormon," in Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (1907), 1:365. Vol 1 GL direct link Vol 2 GL direct linkGL direct link
  • Brigham H. Roberts, "The Origin of the Book of Mormon," in Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (1907), 2:95–229. Vol 1 GL direct link Vol 2 GL direct linkGL direct link
  • Benjamin Winchester, The Origin of the Spaulding Story, Concerning the Manuscript Found, (Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilfert, 1840).
  • Dean C. Jessee, 'Spalding theory' re-examined,' Church News (20 August 1977): 3–5.
Book of Mormon authorship—Printed material
  • Louis Midgley, "Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Critics and Their Theories," in Book of Mormon Authorship Revisited: The Evidence for Ancient Origins, edited by Noel B. Reynolds, (Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1997),101–139. ISBN 093489325X ISBN 0934893187 ISBN 0884944697. off-site GL direct link
  • John W. Welch, "Joseph Smith: Author and Proprietor," in Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992), 154–156.GL direct link

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