[quote="Jerusha, post:15, topic:223436"]
I very definitely disagree with this statement.
Recent research has validated an old theory. This theory states that a preacher by the name of Solomon Spalding wrote a story about a migration of Jews to the New World. He read it to his friends and neighbors and family. Their testimonies included a character by the name of Nephi, as well as other events and characters which occurred in the BoM. He sent it to a printing office, but the printer, by the name of Lambdin, wanted money up-front, which Spalding did not have. Another man by the name of Sidney Rigdon stole the manuscript.
After spending time from 1816 (when Spalding died) to 1828 reviewing and revising it, Rigdon, through one of his friends, found a con-man who would be willing to help revise it and take credit for it, by the name of :rolleyes: Joseph Smith. Rigdon could not do this, because Spalding's widow was hot on his tracks, suspecting that he was the person who had stolen the manuscript. He many have made a copy, and returned the original to Mrs Spalding.
Oliver Cowdery and Parley Pratt then probably relayed the manuscript between Rigdon's house and JS's house, where JS and his family and friends adapted it. One can see evidence of this in comparing the first half of the book with the second half. Martin Harris had taken the first 116 pages home and showed it to his wife. She got angry that he would be participating in such a blasphemy, and destroyed it. They then had to re-create the beginning of the book. Most of it was by memory, but Rigdon included huge chunks of Isaiah in II Nephi.
After the BoM was published, Rigdon appeared on the scene, and after minimal theatrical objection converted to the new religion, and quickly progressed in the organization.
When Spalding's friends and relatives heard of the book, they raised an unholy stink, because they could recognize it.
If you will read Mosiah and Alma, much of the texture is very similar to I and II Maccabees, and many details came from Fr. Francesco Clavigero's History of Mexico Spalding was very capable of integrating these multiple sources into a parody of the Bible (he was a private nonbeliever). He was very comfortable with writing military narrative, because he was a veteran of the Revolutionary war.
I come from the Nauvoo area. Many people with roots there had ancestors who had met JS. We have a strong tradition of laughing at the very idea that Joseph Smith was capable of writing the BoM. Two non-Mormon authors from that area, Arthur Deming and Thomas Gregg, wrote about this.
Now, there is an option that JS could have written the book with demonic assistance. Many Protestant groups subscribe to that idea. I don't buy it.
Recent word-print studies (search Jockers, Criddle, and Witten) have found plenty of evidence that Rigdon and Spalding made significant contributions to the book.
So, in conclusion, Spalding borrowed many names from the Bible, including the Deuterocanonical books. And Nephi is one of them. If you won't buy the Nephi in Maccabees, a shortened form of Nephilim (children of the gods) from Genesis will do quite well.
This is a wonderful story, but it is false. It has been refuted. I understand that the imaginations of our detractors have been working overtime to discredit the Book of Mormon since before it was published, but it does them no good to fabricate stories.