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?