Book of Mormom Plagiarized?


In 1992, I had a copy of a book published prior to the Book of Mormon that had many of the same stories as the Book of Mormon in it. I can’t remember the name of the book nor the stories that are the same.

Can any of you help me?


Is this what you were thinking of?


I found it. It’s View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith, published in 1823 and reprinted in 1825. The Book of Mormon was written in 1830. Here is a link to the book:

Here is the plagiarism stuff regarding the above book:


I think it’s called ‘vision of the Hebrews’.

I recently purchased a replica 1830 edition Book of Mormon. :wink:


Wow. I’d heard that he copied from another source. But I didn’t realize it was quite that obvious.

I feel embarrassed for them. :o


Joseph Smith plagerized both the KJV, and the book about Hebrews coming to North America!:rotfl:


What most people don’t realize is that the view of the American Indians as Israelites was a huge fad during the time of Joseph Smith. Ethan Smith’s A View of the Hebrews and Josiah Spaulding’s Manuscript Lost were just two examples of fictional works that tried to capitalize on the zeitgeist of the 1820’s.

There were many traveling dispensationalist preachers who preached that the Indians were the lost tribes of Israel, that the American continent was a “choice land” reserved for righteous Christians, and that the American continent was the sight of the garden of Eden.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon (the true author of the BoM) just provided an “ancient scripture” that confirmed what people were already willing to believe. That’s con-man 101.



There were a lot of men running around in those days claiming to be a prophet, and restoring ‘the true’ gospel. Joseph Smith is just another one, who just happened to be more sucessful in drawing more people after him.


Interestingly, Ethan Smith was the pastor at the congregation which included Oliver Cowdrey’s mother and sisters. He may also have been an acquaintance of Solomon Spalding who many believe wrote a novel which Sidney Rigdon used to help Joseph and Oliver write the Book of Mormon.


It wasn’t just Joseph Smith, though. It was Brigham Young who held the religion together after Smith’s death, and took it to Salt Lake. Young was a great leader of people. It is very likely that the main body of LDS religion in Utah had a long series of very gifted leaders. Of course, people will follow blindly, and I reckon that helps.


Here’s some other plagiarism stuff from Father Harrison:

Perhaps the most irrefutable evidence for the fraudulent character of the Book of Mormon came to light in the mid-1970s through the research of three young Americans, Wayne Cowdrey, Howard Davis, and Donald Scales.

From a very early date, the relatives and acquaintances of a retired Congregationalist minister, Rev. Solomon Spalding, who died in 1816, had complained against the Latter-Day Saints that the Book of Mormon was really a plagiarized version of an unpublished novel, Manuscript Found, which the deceased clergyman had written and circulated among his friends. A number of affidavits were sworn to this effect, but their publication and propagation was sporadic and poorly organized. The LDS church launched a massive counterattack that capitalized on the fact that the original draft of Manuscript Found could not be produced to verify the affidavits.

Naturally, the Mormons claimed that these were malicious, satanically inspired falsehoods. All that remained was an earlier Spalding novel, Manuscript Story, which shows some definite stylistic similarities to the Book of Mormon but also some marked differences. Eventually, most anti-Mormon writers stopped appealing to the Spalding theory as an explanation for the Book of Mormon because the available evidence seemed incapable of being substantiated.

But Cowdrey, Davis, and Scales pieced together a long chain of events connecting Smith and Spalding. The chief link in the chain was an itinerant evangelist named Sidney Rigdon, who had a close friend who worked at the print shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from which Spalding’s second manuscript disappeared. A Dr. Winter later claimed to have been shown the manuscript by Rigdon in 1822.

Rigdon was eventually baptized into the Mormon Church in November 1830 and always claimed that he had known nothing of Smith or Mormonism until late that year. Cowdrey et al found at least ten people who testified that they had seen Smith and Rigdon together a number of times from 1827 onwards—the very period when Smith was preparing the Book of Mormon.

The climax came in 1976 when Cowdrey and his friends were examining some old manuscripts in an LDS church library. They came across a few pages from the Book of Mormon in handwriting no one had been able to identify. But before this the researchers had managed to track down some undisputed samples of Spalding’s handwriting at Oberlin College in Ohio, including a deed from January 1811 bearing his signature.

There, amid the quiet and rather dull surroundings of paper and bookshelves, the awesome truth dawned on them: These harmless-looking scraps of aging paper had the potential to shatter once and for all the myth of Joseph Smith the saint and prophet—a great, historic, American myth for which men and women had lived and died and suffered and killed; a myth that had pioneered part of the Wild West, built the state of Utah, and now ruled the hearts and lives and fortunes of millions round the world.

This extract from the Book of Mormon (“translated” from “golden plates” in 1828) was in the handwriting of Solomon Spalding (died 1816)! What the young men had stumbled on was part of the long-lost manuscript of Spalding’s second novel—crushing evidence of Smith’s plagiarism and deceit that had been preserved by the unsuspecting Mormons themselves.

The three men proceeded to write a book detailing the results of their research (Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? Vision House Publishers, 1977). The LDS Church issued denials of the identification and prohibited any further examination of the relevant manuscript. But the detailed testimonies of two independent handwriting experts, William Kaye and Henry Silver, are photographically reproduced for all to see: the unquestioned Spalding documents and the supposed Book of Mormon extract are judged professionally to be definitely in the same hand (Walter Martin, The Maze of Mormonism, pp.62–64).

Complete link:


Excellent link! :thumbsup:


Even Cowdrey, Davis and Scales now admit the handwriting in the Book of Mormon manuscript wasn’t Solomon Spalding’s. That doesn’t invalidate the Spalding theory, but the idea that Solomon Spalding’s handwriting is in the Book of Mormon manuscript has been disproven.


That’s an interesting claim. Since they are on the record in their book that the handwriting is Spalding’s, can you point us to a source where they repudiated their earlier claim?


They have a new edition of the same book which doesn’t include the claim. The issue is discussed in Issue 39 of the Salt Lake City Messenger (an anti-Mormon ministry). Here’s the link and then click on the link for Issue 39:


Thank you for the link. I too am convinced this claim is no longer valid. I will stop using it. I appreciate you setting me straight. Of course, the Book of Mormon is still plagiarized from other sources, including View of the Hebrews.


Here is some other interesting stuff I came across. The one I find most humorous is the use of horses in the Americas prior to Columbus.

Book of Mormon Crops:
There are 4 crops mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
*]Barley (Moses 7:22, 9:9, Alma 11:7, 15)
*]Figs (3 Nephi 14:16)
]Grapes (2 Nephi 15:2, 4, 3 Nephi 14:16)
]Wheat (Moses 9:9, 3 Nephi 18:18) [/LIST]There is no independent (non-Mormon) archeological evidence that Figs, Grapes, or Wheat existed in the area and time frame of the above references.
Book of Mormon Animals:
There are 16 animals and animal products mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

*]Goat (The Nephites claimed to have found the domestic goat.)
*]Horse (The horse plays a major role in the Nephite and Lamanite societies.)
*]Sheep (This was a major animal in the Book of Mormon.)
*]Swine [/LIST]There is no independent (non-Mormon) archeological evidence that any of these existed in the area and time frame of The Book of Mormon.

Book of Mormon Metals:
The following metals, metal products, or metal manufacturing are mentioned in the Book of Mormon record.
*]Breast Plates
*]Ore (mining)
*]Swords (metal)
*]Steel [/LIST]Independent (non-Mormon) archeological evidence shows that none of these were manufactured or used in the area and time frame of 2 Nephi 5. The Smithsonian Institution’s Dept. Of Anthropology declares the Americas did not have steel or horses before 1492. The Book of Mormon (600 B.C. to 421 A.D.) claims both steel (1 Nephi 4:9) and horses (Alma 18:9). Gordon H. Fraser, anthropologist and ethnologist, agrees with the Smithsonian Institution and adds that copper (Mosiah 8:10) was unknown at that early date as referred to in the Book of Mormon.


I think the Spalding-Rigdon theory is still valid – just not the claim about the handwriting. I suggest you consider this essay in support of the Spalding-Rigdon theory:

The Tanners never accepted the Spalding-Rigdon theory, but I think they are simply being stubborn. With the amount of research that is being done connecting Rigdon to the writing of the Book of Mormon, I think it is likely more evidence will come out which will substantiate that claim in the future.


Thanks for your input. What I no longer subscribe to is the Spalding handwriting theory. The Spalding-Ridgon theory is still in play. Thanks again for your help.


If I’m not mistaken, a court case officially named the reorganized LDS church as being the true Mormon church. There was a document in which Joseph Smith apparently had a revelation that his son was to take over his position in the church.

Anyone else hear this?

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