Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by SamBee » 30 Nov 2018, 07:57

DarkJedi wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 06:03
SamBee wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 14:14
It would have been extremely tough for JS to have written it. Yes, there are Biblical quotes in it, but for someone of his age and background... I was probably far more educated than Smith at the age he produced it. I'd still struggle to write anything like that today.
I'm an educator by trade. Education does not equal intelligence, nor does intelligence equal education. I have known some very smart uneducated people in my life and at the same time known educated people who can't find their ways out of a paper bag.
I'm well aware of this, but the only uneducated people who tend to produce this kind of thing are idiot savants, which Joseph Smith was clearly not.

If you have education it is far easier to produce work of this nature. The Book of Mormon, despite its detractors, includes literary forms and structure, and a large number of characters. Many professional novelists have to do a huge amount of planning to produce something considerably less complex.

Detractors have claimed that JS just plagiarised the Bible and other works. There is a lot of Biblical material in there, but also new material. There are story arcs which persist through large sections and so on. It doesn't match the forms of oral literature although there are elements in there.

The other matter is the length of time taken to produce it, which seems remarkably short.

Whichever way you look at it, it would have been hard to produce, especially given how much more expensive paper was. And most folk would struggle to produce anything like that today.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by DarkJedi » 30 Nov 2018, 10:19

SamBee wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 07:57
DarkJedi wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 06:03
SamBee wrote:
29 Nov 2018, 14:14
It would have been extremely tough for JS to have written it. Yes, there are Biblical quotes in it, but for someone of his age and background... I was probably far more educated than Smith at the age he produced it. I'd still struggle to write anything like that today.
I'm an educator by trade. Education does not equal intelligence, nor does intelligence equal education. I have known some very smart uneducated people in my life and at the same time known educated people who can't find their ways out of a paper bag.
I'm well aware of this, but the only uneducated people who tend to produce this kind of thing are idiot savants, which Joseph Smith was clearly not.

If you have education it is far easier to produce work of this nature. The Book of Mormon, despite its detractors, includes literary forms and structure, and a large number of characters. Many professional novelists have to do a huge amount of planning to produce something considerably less complex.

Detractors have claimed that JS just plagiarised the Bible and other works. There is a lot of Biblical material in there, but also new material. There are story arcs which persist through large sections and so on. It doesn't match the forms of oral literature although there are elements in there.

The other matter is the length of time taken to produce it, which seems remarkably short.

Whichever way you look at it, it would have been hard to produce, especially given how much more expensive paper was. And most folk would struggle to produce anything like that today.
I don't disagree it would have been hard, but not impossible. Education would make it easier, but in truth Joseph was probably of average education for the time/place maybe even a little above average. He could read and write, etc., but even if he couldn't he could still have the intellect to come up with the stuff and use others to write it down (which he clearly did - Oliver Cowdery was indeed a godsend, but he used others including Emma and Martin Harris and later generally used a scribe). And the whole time thing is smoke and mirrors quite frankly. Yes, probably only about 65 days of actual dictation/"translating" but those days were actually spread out in short bursts over about two years, not to mention the years prior to this when Joseph first mentioned the idea of the plates - that's a long time for someone with a great imagination to come up with stuff (keeping in mind there was no TV/radio, few books other than the Bible, and otherwise lots of time to just plain think). It is also notable that as an adult Joseph pursued education on his own and seems to have valued education.

I get the whole apologetic argument as to why Joseph couldn't have done it, there's just holes. I don't think either point of view (it was impossible or it was not impossible) should be dismissed out of hand.
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Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by SamBee » 30 Nov 2018, 13:34

It's interesting to do a comparison with the Koran.

* The Koran has a lot of wordplay which the BoM lacks, however the BoM has plotlines and characters to an extent the Koran doesn't.
* The BoM leans more heavily on the Bible, but the Koran differs far more from canonical material in the Bible.
* The BoM claims to have multiple authors and has a nesting of material not found in the Koran.
* Both texts mention Old World prophets apparently not mentioned in the Bible.
* Both were transcribed by people in remote areas.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

mfree6464
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by mfree6464 » 30 Nov 2018, 17:36

SamBee wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 07:57
If you have education it is far easier to produce work of this nature. The Book of Mormon, despite its detractors, includes literary forms and structure, and a large number of characters. Many professional novelists have to do a huge amount of planning to produce something considerably less complex.
Which brings me back to my original post and question: If it wasn't an uneducated JS then whom? How did someone born in the wilds of pre-Columbian North America write it?

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dande48
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by dande48 » 30 Nov 2018, 19:42

mfree6464 wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 17:36
Which brings me back to my original post and question: If it wasn't an uneducated JS then whom? How did someone born in the wilds of pre-Columbian North America write it?
I think the Church answer is, God added literary flourish, i.e. made "weak [writing] strong". In my opinion it was Joseph Smith's eloquence, tied in with some heavy influences of his time, including the JKV, Ethan Smith's "View of the Hebrews", Gilbert Hunt's "The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain", etc. Joseph Smith wasn't the first of his time, to have the idea that the Native Americans were a "branch of Israel". Nor was he the first with claims of seeing God and angels. Nor the first in his time to claimed to have translated writing into religious text, written in scriptural style English.
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by nibbler » 01 Dec 2018, 13:55

mfree6464 wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 17:36
Which brings me back to my original post and question: If it wasn't an uneducated JS then whom? How did someone born in the wilds of pre-Columbian North America write it?
Putting on my apologist hat - it's one thing to write down current events about contemporary public figures and another thing entirely to invent stories, cast them with fictional characters, and keep it all straight. How much education would it take for people to write down, "This is what happened today." over a hundred year period vs. sitting down and coming up with a story that spans a hundred year period.

- - - - -

I don't buy into the defense where the person holding the position that JS couldn't have written the BoM issues a challenge to others, "You try to write a book like that. You couldn't do it. Therefore JS couldn't have done it either." Different people have different aptitudes to do things. I knew a guy in college that after just a few weeks of studying Spanish was able to speak better Spanish than some seasoned missionaries that served Spanish speaking missions. Aptitude. Just because I couldn't write the BoM doesn't mean Joseph couldn't.

Look at Christopher Paolini. He wrote a book at a younger age than JS. His book(s) had lots of characters, a complex story, etc. There are some similarities between Eragon and the BoM. The publishing was paid for by family/friends. Both had imagination and had worked on their stories considerably before committing them to paper. Both books are extremely derivative of existing stories, so much so that they've both received criticism for plagiarizing.
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dande48
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by dande48 » 01 Dec 2018, 18:59

nibbler wrote:
01 Dec 2018, 13:55
Putting on my apologist hat - it's one thing to write down current events about contemporary public figures and another thing entirely to invent stories, cast them with fictional characters, and keep it all straight.
It helps if half your main characters are named "Nephi". ;)
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Heber13
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by Heber13 » 01 Dec 2018, 21:31

All I know is before Joseph Smith there was no book. Then there was a book

That book, however it came about, has impacted my life and my family greatly.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SamBee
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by SamBee » 03 Dec 2018, 13:27

dande48 wrote:
30 Nov 2018, 19:42
Joseph Smith wasn't the first of his time, to have the idea that the Native Americans were a "branch of Israel". Nor was he the first with claims of seeing God and angels. Nor the first in his time to claimed to have translated writing into religious text, written in scriptural style English.

These are basic things, not that complex. When the church put "another testament" onto the cover, they were right, it's a new New Testament in terms of scale.
including the JKV, Ethan Smith's "View of the Hebrews", Gilbert Hunt's "The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain", etc
KJV yes. However, the number of books it is claimed that Smith plagiarized is vast in itself, and I really don't believe he had access to such a library. Books weren't that common in the backwoods. I knew someone who grew up in a remote farming area in the mid 20th century and about the only book they had in the house growing up was the Bible and one or two other religious books. His family were peasants, but in a developed country. They had no local libraries for many miles, and in school, the teacher had the books and they learnt from them on slates off a blackboard. Books back in JS' day were often big. You could get some small editions but they were expensive. Many novels came out in several volumes.

The other problem with many anti-Mormon theories is that they can contradict one another. If he stole certain specific names off a map, for example, he can't have taken them from a certain unrelated book - it's one or the other.

No paperbacks either.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

IT_Veteran
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Re: Joseph Smith Could Not Have Written the Book of Mormon

Post by IT_Veteran » 03 Dec 2018, 14:59

SamBee wrote:
03 Dec 2018, 13:27

KJV yes. However, the number of books it is claimed that Smith plagiarized is vast in itself, and I really don't believe he had access to such a library. Books weren't that common in the backwoods. I knew someone who grew up in a remote farming area in the mid 20th century and about the only book they had in the house growing up was the Bible and one or two other religious books. His family were peasants, but in a developed country. They had no local libraries for many miles, and in school, the teacher had the books and they learnt from them on slates off a blackboard. Books back in JS' day were often big. You could get some small editions but they were expensive. Many novels came out in several volumes.

The other problem with many anti-Mormon theories is that they can contradict one another. If he stole certain specific names off a map, for example, he can't have taken them from a certain unrelated book - it's one or the other.
I don't think Joseph would have to read the other books or have possession of them to participate in the discussion of the ideas presented. We can't get around the fact that they existed, that the discussion about them was happening at least in the geographical area, and that the concepts made it into the BoM. Joseph may not have done a lot of reading, I don't know. I do know he didn't live in a vacuum though.

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