Book of Mormon Authorship

If Joseph Smith authored the Book of Mormon with an eighth grade education it is quite a feat. Although the book came out in his 20’s, who really knows what he learned or where. A history book issued in his school years when he was 12 obviously had some significant influence. Thanks to the computer age, 100,000 books published in Smith’s time extracted one stunning correlation. The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain by Gilbert Hunt, is a king James style history book used as a student reader about the war of 1812. The Book of Mormon contains over 100 4gram matches (please see this and scroll to the top after loading) to the The Late War. 4gram, or unique 4 word sentences typically will match one or two times per thousand books. It also contains many exact phrases and closely related ideas from The Late War, and the Book of Mormon itself is primarily about war, but then again, so are most other religious texts. Joseph Smith was 12 when the Book entered schools. It was a great success, and endorsed by reputable scholars. The same scholars joseph smith approached to validate the Book of Mormon.

But for myself, there are two other reasons I do not believe Joseph Smith Jr. authored the Book of Mormon, but I believe his father did, and with cooperation in the family business, Jr. was the front man. The tree of life vision of the Book of Mormon is an important piece in Mormon culture and the Book of Mormon. Everybody mormon knows the story. It was also a journal entry from Joseph Smith Sr’ wife, referring to the story told by her husband 19 years prior to the publishing of the Book of Mormon. He was an educated man and had been working on the story for decades, and is the ghost writer if I am right.

I asked my wife the other day when I stumbled across this journal entry, if one of our kids said they wanted us to join with them in a church, would we do it? It was an emphatic “no!” Jr’s parents and all his siblings joined the church and were part of its organizing day. All of them! Then I asked my wife if I wanted the family to join a church, would we all join? Her answer was probably. In fact, that’s what happened to us years ago. The entire family joined the LDS because I was LDS. Jr’s family were all a part of the scheme, as they were with other shady adventures including divining and other occult activities.

LDS apologetics is stating the vision by Sr. was to prepare him to know his son was a prophet. How surprised he must have been when he read the tree of life vision in the Book of Mormon for the first time. Uh, no, not surprised, because most likely he wrote it. Remember the simplest answer is most likely the best answer. Here is a short Mormon article about the vision. Read the comments too, as you can judge for yourself the depth of LDS faith in fiction.

As a side note, most LDS do not know about Sr’s account of the tree of life. Members need to do some digging because this is just another of many failing bilge pumps. The ship would sink pretty fast if anyone does any reading. I would love to hear some thoughts from members on this. What is the current thought on this?


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

38 thoughts on “Book of Mormon Authorship”

    1. Now that I do know a bit about. It’s either fascinating to try to track down the origins, or boring as all heck, depending on your point of view. The short answer is no one knows for sure who wrote most of it.

      Despite claims the first five books were written by Moses, analysis of the texts indicates that it had no single author or even single source. Moses would seem an unlikely author. While he was possibly a literate person with some education, he was wandering in the desert for 40 years with the Israelites and died before entering the promised land, so it would seem unlikely he had the time or the resources to write much of anything.

      It was a collection of fragments of text put together over many years (some say hundreds of years), along with heavy editing and additions by later writers to clean up inconsistencies, support the writers’ own beliefs, etc. The final version of the Pentateuch (except Deuteronomy) appears to have been written around 500 BC – 400 BC.

      Deuteronomy actually pre-dates the rest of the Pentateuch, probably around 600 BC or so. It was originally part of a history of Israel and was later added to the Pentateuch. It’s origins are believed to be with the Levite priests.

      Skipping ahead to the New Testament and the 4 gospels, no one knows who wrote them, really. Despite the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John being attached to them, there is no real evidence linking them to any specific person.

      Mark was probably written first. Maybe. It seems the authors of Matthew and Luke drew heavily on Mark as a source, and the so-called “Q Source”, allegedly a collection of the sayings of Jesus. Matthew and Luke both supposedly used this Q document. But that’s pure speculation because no such document has ever been found.

      John was apparently written last, and was derived from a source different from that used in the other three gospels.

      As far as the epistles go, the only ones where we are reasonably sure of the authorship are some (but not all) of the letters of Paul

      Revelation has been attributed to John, the apostle of Jesus, but there is no real proof of that, either. The exact identity of writer is unknown

      Liked by 3 people

  1. It’s also been told that they took alot of their ideas and ‘history’ from this book.

    View of the Hebrews is an 1823 book written by Ethan Smith, a United States Congregationalist minister, who argued that Native Americans were descended from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

    As well as just copying directly from the kjv

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I haven’t read the Book of Mormon since the early 1970s when I was in college studying philosophy (hey, what can I say, I was young and foolish) and from what I remember of it, I have no desire to try to make my way through it again. I must admit I did not know about connection to “The Late War” until now and that is a very interesting idea. Now that I’ve done a bit of digging it seems very likely that they were written by the same person. The phrasing, the sentence structures, the pacing… it’s just too similar to be a mere coincidence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There were a few key accusations of plagiarism but imo none of it really added up over the years. This however, was just a computer search to match rare 4 gram phrases. 100 in one book is unheard of. That coupled with matching ideas in the storyline are pretty convincing at least heavy influence from The Late War is in there, if not outright plagiarism of parts.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Jim! Thank you for this! I hadn’t heard/read of the glaring connections/plagiarism with The Late War. Fascinating! It seems the ancient traditions from the Fertile Crescent of “borrowing” (plagiarizing) from previous beliefs, ideologies, religions was still very much alive and covertly thriving in 19th century America too! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

        1. They called it the burned over district. Everyone was professing something new. A couple of them stuck. Surprising how much SDA and Mormon are alike. A lot of the same verbiage and culture as well.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW! Does this get into human psychology and neurology in a HUGE way!!! This is another example (out of thousands?) of just how malleable the human brain can be. Our own war veterans or active-duty combat soldiers are prime examples of training and/or extreme training of how to kill, how to defend, and how to attack. Those 3 components are essentially what years and years of incessant programming does — it becomes their entire life! If they DON’T excel in it, they die. Right?

    Does that make the “war” and the “tactics” right, true, fact? Does it even make yourself, as the trained soldier, right, true, factual? 🤔

    Why in civilian life has critical-analysis and the critical-thinking tools for any individuals over the last several centuries (millenia?) been steadily (constantly) undermined or ignored? Why do so many people want to take the Path-of-Least-Resistance just be TOLD what to do, what to say and just be a puppet!? 😩

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A brief thought on your remarks about the “training” for combat. My other half is a veteran and at various points, we have discussed how this training affects the psyche and is the reason why so many are affected by PTSD. I then point out the fact that many of the mass shooters are EX-Military. IOW, they have been so indoctrinated, they no longer see humans as “people.” Would you believe? He disagrees.
      Anyway … SORRY, Jim, for diverting the conversation.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think that is a critical and very significant “pattern” Nan! And I think that pattern crosses over into other domains as well, with some variations of course. But the basic premise/theme is essentially identical — the human brain is VERY malleable… in both extremes!

        Great point and addition Nan. Thank you. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ll find it. I just remember the “the moormans” being the only true church one. It was pretty funny although I was still attending at the time.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. This is what can happen with a solid plan and support. After the church was organized the operation became insulated. They kept moving away from disagreement and found isolation. Bury the facts in “inspiration”. Convince the New is a restoration of the old and prophecy trumps all good sense and tradition. He was actually very good, in the likes of all religious founders.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Never heard of this correlation. Very interesting analysis Jim. I think this is a good indication of how reliability and verification are easily overlooked in belief systems. By indication I mean your thoughtful analysis. Analysis is the impetus for true belief, not for afterthought.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I haven’t read War of 1812. The language in both books are similar in the passages that are excepted. If you look for a reason not to believe in The Book of Mormon or the things that started the church it is not hard to find. The schisms and excommunucations and questionable life of Joseph Smith are all excellent backing. As I see it my only reason is faith. It isn’t a faith in the leadership but faith in the words. I question whether or not it’s true a lot. That’s what Moroni challenges. Don’t just blindly believe. So for me yes the comparison is interesting, but it’s not enough. Most people that joined the church at that time were aware of that book and it didn’t hold enough similarities to The Book of Mormon at that time.
    What I wonder about was this the largest church organization to take place in the United States at that time? People must have been terrified. After the leaders were killed, there were at least five divisions and the largest was LDS. In fact there continues to be divisions.
    It only took 10 years to organize a church that has lasted over 100 years. Was that just a scam or was God a little involved? And if you’re a Christian then God is never just half involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are many reasons not to believe. Lasting a hundred years is not the hand of god. SDA and JWs have that claim as well. Interesting though, if I was forced to make a bet, JS sr had a bigger role that was revealed. His dreams and education, then lock step from the word go. A whole family joins a church because of the father, not the child.


        1. I’ve seen them as well. There was no real consensus so I did my own analysis. The tree of life story really gives me pause. Jo sr told the Dream to his wife years before. I know that believers always assign the most noble reasons to everything, but to me that is a red flag. If nothing else, pops was in on the whole game. I would wager on it. Occam would too.


  6. Interesting perspective. I had known JS, Jr. perpetuated the family business in a new and different direction after Alvin died, but had never thought about Sr. writing the BoM (or the basis for it, at least)! But it makes simple sense.

    It’s as good as any other explanation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I first read Sr’s wife’s journal entry on the tree of life I had an epiphany. It was from 20 years before the Book of Mormon. Mormons say the lord was preparing him to accept his sons story. Occam would disagree.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Also, I’ve never seen this theory before. I really think it’s worth an investigation. Tidbit about me…last year I took the Gallup Strengths Test for business and it pegged me at ideation. First skill listed was “taking seemingly disparate concepts or ideas and linking them together”. I thought, wow! They nailed it. It’s how my mind works.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting! I ought to take the same exam. In the technological arena, my skillset in troubleshooting software AND hardware issues has relied heavily on my ability to relate disparate symptoms. I’ve been rather successful as a technological troubleshooter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Additionally, this talent helped when reading Church publications (Journal of Discourses, History of the Church, A Comprehensive History of the Church, etc. – yes, I read them all).


        1. Funny how with all our skill sets, religion is the last thing we objectively scrutinize. My whole life I carved my own unique path and independent…except religion. That is what made me start to question.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Jim, well this really clears up the mystery of who wrote the BoM. The old man was a religious nut and Junior was the front man. There was a time when Junior was sick and had a problem with his leg. During that time, he spent a lot of time alone (maybe with dad) which gave him time to work on his story. In the book “Joseph Smith” by Robert V. Remini it talks about Joseph Sr. and his profound religious experiences. I have always been amazed at how those golden plates could just disappear and then reappear, what three times? What a scam. GROG

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joseph’s mother’s journal talks about him being quite the accomplished story teller as a boy, talking about the prior inhabitants of the area and what they looked like. The tree of life is in the old Joes journals from 20 years prior. I’m no investigative reporter, but I can connect a few simple dots. Nice to see you Grog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t it amazing that young Joe could mesmerize and scam those folks? My great great grand dad was one of them, joined in 1831. Oh, and he fought in the War of 1812. It is really interesting about that book. Thanks. GROG

        Liked by 1 person

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