Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon

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Response to Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon

A FairMormon Analysis of: Who Wrote the Book of Mormon, a work by author: Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis, and Arthur Vanick
"...Mormon archivists have assembled a large amount of evidence -- some of it impressive -- to rebut the Spalding theory. They scored a coup of sorts when they discovered that a manuscript page from another Mormon book, Doctrine and Covenants, is apparently in the same handwriting as that of the Unidentified Scribe in the Book of Mormon manuscript. It is dated June, 1831 -- fifteen years after Spalding's death.... The average layman can readily note the striking dissimilarities between Spalding's specimens and the others...."

— Edward E. Plowman, Christianity Today (21 October 1977): 38-39).

Response to claims made in Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma by Wayne Cowdery, Howard Davis, and Donald Scales

Summary: This book attempted to revive the moribund Spalding manuscript theory for the Book of Mormon. Cowdery et al. claimed to have discovered Spalding's handwriting in the Book of Mormon original manuscript. In addition to the insurmountable historical problems with the Spalding theory, the supposed "Spalding" handwriting has likewise been found in documents produced in June 1831--fifteen years after Spalding's death.

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The Spalding Theory of Book of Mormon authorship

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Matthew Roper, "The Mythical "Manuscript Found""

Matthew Roper,  The FARMS Review, (2005)
In 1834, relying on testimony gathered by one Doctor Philastus Hurlbut (a former Mormon who had been excommunicated from the church for immoral behavior), E. D. Howe suggested that the Book of Mormon was based on an unpublished novel called "Manuscript Found," written by a former minister named Solomon Spalding. In statements collected by Hurlbut, eight former neighbors of Spalding said they remembered elements of his story that resembled the historical portions of the Book of Mormon. Some said they recalled names shared by Spalding's earlier tale and the Book of Mormon. Others claimed that the historical narrative of both stories was the same with the exception of the religious material in the Book of Mormon. Howe suggested that, by some means, Sidney Rigdon, a former Campbellite preacher in Ohio and Pennsylvania who had joined the church in November 1830, had obtained a copy of "Manuscript Found" years before and had used it as the basis for the Book of Mormon, to which he also added religious material. Rigdon, Howe argued, must have conspired with Joseph Smith to pass the Book of Mormon off as a divinely revealed book of ancient American scripture as part of a moneymaking scheme. Subsequent variants of this hypothesis have been published from time to time.

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  • Robert L. and Rosemary Brown, They Lie In Wait To Deceive, Vol. 2: The Amazing Story of How "Dr" Walter Martin, Wayne Cowdrey, Howard Davis, and Donald Scales, and Other Professional Anti-Mormons Work to Obstruct and Distort the Truth (Brownsworth Publishing Co. Inc., 1984).