Criticism of Mormonism/Websites/MormonThink/Could Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon/Source quotes without commentary

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Resources.png    MormonThink web page "Could Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon" content without commentary

This page simply displays all of the source quotes and citations used on the critical web page in the order that they appear. There are no "Critic's comment," "Apologetic response," or "Our Thoughts" sections. We make no attempt to explain, summarize or draw conclusions from these quotes. We will provide additional context by including additional text from these quotes when necessary. We also attempt to add sources and links to the full original text, rather than links to other websites which simply quote the text.

Source quotes

Critical website's source quote
The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James's translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel -- half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern -- which was about every sentence or two -- he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as "exceeding sore," "and it came to pass," etc., and made things satisfactory again. "And it came to pass" was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.

Critical website's source(s)

Mark Twain, Roughing It

  • Context:

All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the "elect" have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so "slow," so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle—keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.

The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James's translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel -- half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern -- which was about every sentence or two -- he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as "exceeding sore," "and it came to pass," etc., and made things satisfactory again. "And it came to pass" was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.

  • Source text: Mark Twain, Roughing It, (American Publishing Company: Hartford, Conn., 1873), 127-128. off-site (Google Books)

Critical website's source quote
[T]here is a certain lack of perspective in the things the book relates as history that points quite clearly to an undeveloped mind as their origin. The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency...

Is this all sober history ... or is it a wonder-tale of an immature mind, unconscious of what a test he is laying on human credulity when asking men to accept his narrative as solemn history.

Critical website's source(s)

B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon

  • We provide an additional quote from B.H. Roberts in Studies of the Book of Mormon:

Let me say once and for all, so as to avoid what might otherwise call for repeated explanation, that what is herein set forth does not represent any conclusions of mine. This report [is] ... for the information of those who ought to know everything about it pro and con, as well that which has been produced against it as that which may be produced against it. I am taking the position that our faith is not only unshaken but unshakeable in the Book of Mormon, and therefore we can look without fear upon all that can be said against it. (B. H. Roberts to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, March 1923. (See Studies of the Book of Mormon (1992), p. 58. On page 33, note 65, the editor of this work states that the date on this letter should be 1922 rather than 1923.))

Critical website's source quote
The principal surgeon, after a moment's conversation, ordered cords to be brought to bind Joseph fast to a bedstead; but to this Joseph objected. The doctor, however, insisted that he must be confined, upon which Joseph said very decidedly, "No, doctor, I will not be bound, for I can bear the operation much better if I have my liberty." "Then," said Dr. Stone, "will you have some brandy?"... "No," exclaimed Joseph, "I will not touch one particle of liquor, neither will I be tied down; but I will tell you what I will do-I will have my father sit on the bed and hold me in his arms, and then I will do whatever is necessary in order to have the bone taken out." Looking at me, he said, "Mother I want you to leave the room, for I know you cannot bear to suffer so; father can stand it, but you have carried me so much, and watched over me so long, you are almost worn out." Then looking up into my face, his eyes swimming in tears, he continued, "Now, mother, promise me that you will not stay, will you? The Lord will help me, and I shall get through with it."

Critical website's source(s)

Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith The Prophet

Critical website's source quote
I can take my Bible, and go into the woods, and learn more in two hours, than you can learn at meetings in two years, if you should go all the time.

Critical website's source(s)

Joseph Smith, quoted by Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith The Prophet, p. 90

Critical website's source quote
During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelings, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them.

Critical website's source(s)

Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith The Prophet

  • Context:

Now said he[,] Father and Mother the angel of the Lord says that we must be careful not to proclaim these things or to mention them abroad For we do not any of us know the wickedness of the world which is so sinful that when we get the plates they will want to kill us for the sake of the gold if they know we had <have> them...by sunset [we] were ready to be seated and give our atten undivided attention to Josephs recitals...From this time forth Joseph continued to receive instructions from time to time and every evening we gathered our children togather [together]...In the course of our evening conversations Joseph would give us some of the most ammusing [amusing] recitals which could be immagined [imagined]. he would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent their dress their man[n]er of traveling the animals which they rode The cities that were built by them the structure of their buildings with every particular of their mode of warfare their religious worship as particularly as though he had spent his life with them...The angel informed him at one time that he might make an effort to obtain the plates <on> the <22nd of the> ensueing september...

  • Source text: Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:296. citing Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for many Generations (Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1853) 36-173.)

Critical website's source quote
Chapter XIV

THE IMAGINATIVE MIND OF PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH: EVIDENCE OF ITS EXISTENCE-EXAMPLES OF ITS FORCE One other subject remains to be considered in this division of the "study" here conducted, viz.-was Joseph Smith possessed of a sufficiently vivid and creative imagination as to produce such a work as the Book Mormon from such materials as have been indicated in the preceding chapters-from such common knowledge as was extant in the communities where he lived in his boyhood and young manhood; from the Bible, and more especially from the View of the Hebrews, by Ethan Smith? That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question.
The fact of it is first established by the testimony of the mother who bore him, Lucy Smith. Speaking of the days immediately following the revelation making known the existence of the Book of Mormon to her son-the ever memorable 23rd day of September, 1823-Lucy Smith in her History of the Prophet Joseph Smith, recounts how in the evening of that day, the young prophet sat up late detailing to the family the wonderful conversations he had with the angel; until the elder brother, Alvin, noting how exhausted the youthful prophet was suggested an adjournment of the story being related until the following evening. And this was done. This seems to have been the inauguration of a long series of such evenings according to the History by "Mother Lucy Smith" for she writes:
"From this time forth, Joseph continued to receive instructions from the Lord, and we continued to get the children together every night evening, for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation of the same. I presume our family presented an aspect as singular as any that ever lived upon the face of the earth-all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons and daughters, and giving the most profound attention to a boy, eighteen years of age, who had never read the Bible through in his life; he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any of the rest of our children, but far more given to meditation and deep study..During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them." (History of the Prophet Joseph, 1901 edition, Salt Lake City, Utah. Published under the sanction and direction of the late President Joseph F. Smith).
It must be remembered that the above took place before the young prophet had received the plates of the Book of Mormon: these were the evenings immediately following the first interviews with Moroni. Whence came his knowledge for these recitals of "the dress," "the mode of the ancient inhabitants of America of traveling," "the animals on which they rode," "their cities," "their buildings," "their mode of warfare," "their religious worship"? And all this given "with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them"? Whence indeed, since all this happened before even the second interview with Moroni had taken place, and between three and four years before the translation of the Book of Mormon began.

And yet it must be from that book that he would get his knowledge of the ancient inhabitants of America, unless he has caught suggestions from such common knowledge, or that which was taken for "knowledge," as existed in the community concerning ancient American civilization, and built by imagination from this and possible contact with Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews his description of the ancient inhabitants of the land, their life, religion and customs. A year later he will be helped by Josiah Priest's book, The Wonders of Nature and Providence, published only twenty miles away, and it will have much to say about the Hebrew origin of the American Indian, and his advanced culture and civilization. Whence comes the young prophet's ability to give these descriptions "with as much ease as if he had spent his whole life" with these ancient inhabitants of America? Not from the Book of Mormon, which is, as yet, a sealed book to him; and surely not from Moroni, since he had had but one day and night of interviews with him, during which there had be several interviews, it is true, but these had been occupied with other subject matter than the things enumerated by Lucy Smith. These evening recitals could come from no other source than the vivid, constructive imagination of Joseph Smith, a remarkable power which attended him through all his life. It was as strong and varied as Shakespeare's and no more to be accounted for than the English Bard's.

Critical website's source(s)

B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, pp 243-244

Critical website's source quote
In light of this evidence, there can be no doubt as to the possession of a vividly strong, creative imagination by Joseph Smith, the Prophet. An imagination, it could with reason be urged, which, given the suggestions that are to be found in the 'common knowledge' of accepted American Antiquities of the times, supplemented [sic] by such a work as Ethan Smith's, View of the Hebrews, would make it possible for him to create a book such as the Book of Mormon is.

"... There is a certain lack of perspective in the things the book relates as history that points quite clearly to an undeveloped mind as their origin, The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency...
"Is this all sober history ... or is it a wonder-tale of an immature mind, unconscious of what a test he is laying on human credulity when asking men to accept his narrative as solemn history."

"... was Joseph Smith possessed of a sufficiently vivid and creative imagination as to produce such a work as the Book of Mormon from such materials as have been indicated in the preceding chapters ...? That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question.

Critical website's source(s)

B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon

Critical website's source quote
"I thought," said he, "I was traveling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing, before I went any further. So I asked myself, 'What motive can I have in traveling here, and what place can this be?' My guide, who was by my side, as before, said, 'This is the desolate world; but travel on.' The road was so broad and barren that I wondered why I should travel in it; for, said I to myself, 'Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and straight is the gate that leads to everlasting' life, and few there be that go in thereat.'

Traveling a short distance farther, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream I could see neither the source nor yet the termination; but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. As I was eating, I said in my heart, 'I can not eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.' Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating, and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.
While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded.
I presently turned to my guide, and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it was the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him, and keep his commandments. He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. 'No,' he replied, 'look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also.' Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children, standing some distance off. I immediately went to them, and brought them to the tree; upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. The more we ate, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees, and scooped it up, eating it by double handfuls.
After feasting in this manner a short time, I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, 'It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God because of their humility.'

I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy."

Critical website's source(s)

Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith The Prophet

Critical website's source quote
...all the brethren herein addressed becoming familiar with these Book of Mormon problems, and finding the answer for them, as it is a matter that will concern the faith of the Youth of the Church now as also in the future, as well as such casual inquirers as may come to us from the outside world.

Critical website's source(s)

B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon

Critical website's source quote
If such may have been the fact, that a part of the Ten Tribes came over to America, in the way we have supposed, leaving the cold regions of Assareth behind them in quest of a milder climate, it would be natural to look for tokens of the presence of Jews of some sort, along countries adjacent to the Atlantic. In order to this, we shall here make an extract from an able work: written exclusively on the subject of the Ten Tribes having come from Asia by the way of Bherings Strait, by the Rev. Ethan Smith, Pultney, Vt., who relates as follows: "Joseph Merrick, Esq., a highly respectable character in the church at Pittsfield, gave the following account: That in 1815, he was leveling some ground under and near an old wood shed, standing on a place of his, situated on (Indian Hill)...

Critical website's source(s)

Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons 3:813-815

Critical website's source quote
I was born in Palmyra, N.Y., near where old Jo Smith settled, January 4, 1807. I attended school with Prophet Jo. His father taught me to mow. I worked with old and young Jo at farming. I have frequently seen old Jo drunk. Young Jo had a forked witch-hazel rod with which he claimed he could locate buried money or hidden things. Later he had a peep-stone which he put into his hat and looked into it. I have seen both. Joshua Stafford, a good citizen, told me that young Jo Smith and himself dug for money in his orchard and elsewhere nights. All the money digging was done nights. I saw the holes in the orchard which were four or five feet square and three or four feet deep. Jo and others dug much about Palmyra and Manchester. I have seen many of the holes. The first thing he claimed to find was gold plates of the "Book of Mormon," which he kept in a pillowcase and would let people lift, but not see. I came to Ohio in 1818, and became acquainted with Sydney Rigdon in 1820. He preached my brother's funeral sermon in Auburn, O., in May, 1822. I returned to Palmyra twice and resided there about two years each time. Many persons whom I knew in New York joined the Mormons and came to Kirtland. They told me they saw Sidney Rigdon much with Jo Smith before they became Mormons, but did not know who he was until they came to Kirtland.

[Signed.] ISAAC BUTTS.

South Newbury, Geauga Co, O

Critical website's source(s)

Isaac Butts

  • Source text: Arthur B. Deming, Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 1888) off-site

Critical website's source quote
STATEMENT OF JAMES JEFFERY.

I know more about the Mormons than any man east of the Alleghenies, although I have given no attention to the matter for twenty-five years. I did not know I was in possession of any information concerning the Book of Mormon unknown to others. I supposed that as Rigdon was so open with me, he had told others the same things.

Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis. The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo, Ill. I had business transactions with them. Sidney Rigdon I knew very well. He was general manager of the affairs of the Mormons.

Rigdon, in hours of conversation told me a number of times there was in the printing office with which he was connected in Ohio, a manuscript of Rev. Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indian race from the lost tribes of Israel; that this manuscript was in the office for several years; that he was familiar with it; that Spaulding had wanted it printed, but had not the money to pay for the printing; that he (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over the manuscript and read it over Sundays.

Rigdon and Smith took the manuscript and said -- "I'll print it," and went off to Palmyra, N. Y.

I never knew the information was of any importance -- thought others were aware of these facts. I do not now think the matter is of any importance. It will not injure Mormonism. That is an "ism," and chimes in with the wishes of certain classes of people. Nothing will put it down but the strong arm of the law. Otherwise it will go on forever, like Tennyson's "Brook."

This is the substance of what I remember about the matter. JAMES JEFFERY. I hereby certify that I wrote the above paper at the dictation of Mr. James Jeffery, in the presence of Mrs. James Jeffery, and and Dr. John M. Finney. (Rev.) CALVIN D. WILSON.

Mrs. James Jeffery.

Critical website's source(s)

James Jeffrey

  • Source text: Presbyterian Banner, Vol. LXX, No. 25 (February 13, 1884) cited in The Saints Herald, Vol. 31, No. 21. (May 24, 1884). off-site

Critical website's source quote
Statement of Able D. Chase

PALMYRA, Wayne Co., N.Y. May 2, 1879.
I, Able D. Chase, now living in Palmyra, Wayne Co., N.Y., make the following statement regarding my early acquaintence with Joseph Smith and the incidents about the production of the so-called Mormon Bible. I was well acquainted with the Smith family, frequently visiting the Smith boys and they me. I was a youth at the time from twelve to thirteen years old, having been born Jan. 19, 1814, at Palmyra, N. Y. During some of my visits at the Smiths, I saw a STRANGER there WHO THEY SAID WAS MR. RIGDON. He was at Smith's several times, and it was in the year of 1827 when I first saw him there, as near as I can recollect. Some time after that tales were circulated that young Joe had found or dug from the earth a BOOK OF PLATES which the Smiths called the GOLDEN BIBLE. I don't think Smith had any such plates. He was mysterious in his actions. The PEEPSTONE, in which he was accustomed to look, he got of my elder brother Willard while at work for us digging a well. It was a singular looking stone and young Joe pretended he could discover hidden things in it

My brother Willard Chase died at Palmyra, N. Y., March 10, 1871. His affidavit, published in Howe's "History of Mormonism," is genuine. Peter Ingersoll, whose affidavit was published in the same book, is also dead. He moved West years ago and died about two years ago. Ingersoll had the reputation of being a man of his word, and I have no doubt his sworn statement regarding the Smiths and the Mormon Bible is genuine. I was also well acquainted with Thomas P. Baldwin, a lawyer and Notary Public, and Frederick Smith, a lawyer and magistrate, before whom Chase's and Ingersoll's depositions were made, and who were residents of this village at the time and for several years after.

ABEL D. CHASE.

Critical website's source(s)

Able Chase (brother of Willard Chase)

  • Source text: Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits Volume First: Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and Friends (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Co., 1886), 230-231. off-site

Critical website's source quote
Last evening I had about 15 minutes conversation with Mr. Lorenzo Saunders of Reading, Hillsdale Co., Mich. He has been gone about thirty years. He was born south of our village in 1811, and was a near neighbor of the Smith family -- knew them all well; was in the habit of visiting the Smith boys; says he knows that RIGDON was hanging around Smith's for EIGHTEEN MONTHS PRIOR TO THE PUBLISHING OF THE MORMON BIBLE.

Critical website's source(s)

J.H. Gilbert

  • Source text: Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits Volume First: Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and Friends (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Co., 1886), 231. off-site

Critical website's source quote
He 'found' Joe Smith and they had a great many talks together befores they brought out the plates. None of us ever doubted that they got the whole thing up; but father always maintained that grandfather helped get up the original Spaulding book. At any rate he got a copy very early and schemed on some way to make it useful. Although the family knew these facts, they refused to talk on the subject while grandfather lived. In fact, he and they took on a huge disgust at the whole subject.

Critical website's source(s)

Interview with Sidney Rigdon's Grandson - 1888, The Salt Lake Tribune, April 15, 1888

  • Context:

"Grandfather was a religious crank," says Mr. Rigdon, "till he lost money by it. He started in as a Baptist preacher, and had a very fine congregation for those days, in Pittsburg. There was no reason at all for his leaving, except that he got 'cracked.' At that time he had no ideas of making money. Indeed, while he was with the Mormons, his chances to make money were good enough for most men; but he came out of it about as poor as he went in."

B. -- "But how did he change first?"

"Well, he tried to understand the prophecies, and the man who does that is sure to go crazy. He studied the prophets and baptism, and of course he got 'rattled.' Daniel and Ezekiel and Revelations will 'rattle' any man who gives his whole mind to 'em -- at any rate they did him, and he joined Alexander Campbell. Campbell then believed that the end of the world was nigh --his Millennial Harginger shows that they 'rattled' all who listened to them in Ohio and other places; then grandfather got disgusted and decided on a new deal. He found Joe Smith and they had a great many talks together before they brought out the plates. None of us ever doubted that they got the whole thing up; but father always maintained that grandfather helped get up the original Spaulding book. At any rate he got a copy very early and schemed on some way to make it useful. Although the family knew these facts, they refused to talk on the subject while grandfather lived. In fact, he and they took on a huge disgust at the whole subject.

Grandfather died at Friendship, Alleghany County, N. Y. in 1876, over eighty years old. His son Sidney, my father, was born at Mentor in 1827 and remembers the stirring times of Mormonism. He lives where I do. Grandfather had preached to his old neighbors in Alleghany and taken converts to Nauvoo, so after the break up in 1844, he returned to live at Friendship. For a while he spoke of Mormonism as an attempt to improve Christianity; but the later phases of the thing in Utah were totally different from what he had taught. His daughter Nancy Rigdon is now Mrs Ellis of Pittsburg, and her husband is a journalist in that city. Her testimony against Joe Smith is very strong. The Prophet was no doubt a thoroughly bad man, etc."

  • Source text: THE "GOLDEN BIBLE," Salt Lake Tribune, April 15, 1888.

Critical website's source quote
NEAR the west Bank of the Coneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character situation & numbers of those people who far exceeded the present Indians in works of art and inginuety, I hapned to tread on a flat stone. This was at a small distance from the fort, it lay on the top of a great small mound of Earth exactly horizontal. The face of it had a singular appearance. I discovered a number of characters, which appeared to me to be letters, but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the stone. But you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends and sides rested on stones & that it was designed as a cover to an artificial Cave. I found by examining that its sides were lined with stones built in a connical form with down, & that it was about eight feet deep. Determined to investigate the design of this extraordinary work of antiquity, I prepared myself with the necessary requisites for that purpose and descended to the Bottom of the Cave. Observing one side to be perpendicular nearly three feet from the bottom, I began to inspect that part with accuracy. Here I noticed a big flat stone fixed in the form of a doar.



I immediately tore it down and lo, a cavity within the wall presented itself; it being about three feet in diameter from side to side and about two feet high. Within this cavity I found an earthen box with a cover which shut it perfectly tight. The box was two feet in length one and half in breadth and one and three inches in diameter. My mind filled with awful sensations which crowded fast upon me (( and )) would hardly permit my hands to remove this venerable deposit, but curiosity soon gained the ascendancy (( and )) the box was taken and raised to open (( its cover. )) When I had removed the cover I found that it contained twenty-eight (( rolls )) of parchment; and that when (( examined )) appeared to be manuscripts written in elegant hand with ROMAN letters and in the Latin Language. They were written on a variety of subjects. But the roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the author's life and that part of America which extends along the Great Lakes and the waters of the Mississippi. Extracts of the most interesting and important matters contained in this roll I take the liberty to publish. Gentle Reader, tread lightly on the ashes of the venerable dead. Thou must know that this country was once inhabited by great and powerful nations, considerably civilized and skilled in the arts of war; and that on ground where thou (( now )) treadest many a bloody battle hath been fought, and heroes by thousands have been made to bite the dust.

Critical website's source(s)

Solomon Spalding, Manuscript Found

  • Source text: The "Manuscript Found." Manuscript Story, by Rev. Solomon Spaulding (The Deseret News Company:Salt Lake City, Utah, 1886), 1-2. off-site (Google Books)

Critical website's source quote
Q. Could not father have dictated the Book of Mormon to you, Oliver Cowdery and the others who wrote for him, after having first written it, or having read it out of some book?

"A. Joseph Smith [and for the first time she used his name direct, having usually used the words, "your father," or "my husband"] could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictating a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, and was present during the translation of the plates, and had cognizance of things as they transpired, it is marvelous to me, "a marvel and a wonder," as much so as to any one else." ...
"Q. Mother, what is your belief about the authenticity, or origin of the Book of Mormon?

"A. My belief is that the Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity-I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would have been improbable that a learned man could do this; and, for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.

Critical website's source(s)

Emma Smith Bidamon Interview with Joseph Smith III, February 1879 Published as "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints' Herald 26 (1 October 1879): 289-90. Also published in Saints' Advocate 2 (October 1879): 49-52. as quoted in Early Mormon Documents Vol. 1, edited by Dan Vogel; Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1996; p. 542.]

Critical website's source quote
Q. What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?

A. There was no revelation on either polygamy, or spiritual wives. There were some rumors or something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was to it was that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, "Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not; and besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven." No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had, any knowledge of.
Q. Did he not have other wives than yourself?
A. He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.
Q. Did he not hold marital relation with women other than yourself?
A. He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.
Q. Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?

A. At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and should never be with his knowledge, or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise"

Critical website's source(s)

Emma Smith Bidamon Interview with Joseph Smith III, February 1879 Published as "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints' Herald 26 (1 October 1879): 289-90. Also published in Saints' Advocate 2 (October 1879): 49-52. as quoted in Early Mormon Documents Vol. 1, edited by Dan Vogel; Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1996; p. 542.]

Critical website's source quote
Harmony Oct. 22d 1829

Respected Sir
I would in form you that I arrived at home on sunday morning the 4th after having a prosperous Journey, and found all well the people are all friendly to <us> except a few who are in opposition to evry thing unless it is some thing that is exactly like themselves and two of our most formadable persacutors are now under censure and are cited to a tryal in the church for crimes which if true are worse than all the Gold Book business. we do not rejoice in the affliction of our enimies but we shall be glad to have truth prevail there begins to be a great call for our books in this country the minds of the people are very much excited when they find that there is a copy right obtained and that there is really book, about to be printed I have bought a horse of Mr. Stowell and want some one to come after it as soon as convenient Mr. Stowell has a prospect of getting five or six hundred dollars he does not know certain that he can get it but he is a going to try and if he can get the money he wants to pay it in immediately for books we want to hear from you and know how you prosper in the good work, give our best respects to Father & Mother and all our brothers and Sisters, to Mr. Harris and all the company concerned tell them that our prayers are put up daily for them that they may be prospered in evry, good word and work and that they may be preserved from sin here and from the consequence of sin hereafter and now dear brother be faithful in the discharge of evry duty looking for the reward of the righteous and now may God of his infinite mercy keep and preserve us spotless untill his coming and receive us all to rest with him in eternal repose through the attonement of Christ our Lord Amen
Joseph Smith Jr

Oliver H. Cowdery

Critical website's source(s)

Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery

  • Source text: Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery, 10.22.1829, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, p. 9, Ms., retained copy in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, LDS Church Archives.
  • Source text: Dean C. Jessee, "Joseph Smith Jr.— in His Own Words, Part 1," Ensign, Dec 1984, 22. off-site

Critical website's source quote
Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them.

Critical website's source(s)

Lucy Mack Smith

  • Context:

Now said he[,] Father and Mother the angel of the Lord says that we must be careful not to proclaim these things or to mention them abroad For we do not any of us know the wickedness of the world which is so sinful that when we get the plates they will want to kill us for the sake of the gold if they know we had <have> them...by sunset [we] were ready to be seated and give our atten undivided attention to Josephs recitals...From this time forth Joseph continued to receive instructions from time to time and every evening we gathered our children togather [together]...In the course of our evening conversations Joseph would give us some of the most ammusing [amusing] recitals which could be immagined [imagined]. he would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent their dress their man[n]er of traveling the animals which they rode The cities that were built by them the structure of their buildings with every particular of their mode of warfare their religious worship as particularly as though he had spent his life with them...The angel informed him at one time that he might make an effort to obtain the plates <on> the <22nd of the> ensueing september...

  • Source text: Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996–2003), 5 vols, 1:296. citing Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for many Generations (Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1853) 36-173.)

Critical website's source quote
The central miracle of Islam was, and remains the Quranic revelation. To this day no one has put forward a defensible explanation of how an unlettered caravan merchant of the early seventh century might have been able, by his own devices, to produce a text of such inimitable beauty, of such capacity to stir emotion, and which contained knowledge and wisdom which stood so far above ideas current among mankind at that time. The studies carried out in the West which try to determine the 'sources used by Muhammad', or to bring to light the psychological phenomenon which enabled him to draw inspiration from his 'subconcious', have demonstrated only one thing; the anti- Muslim prejudice of their authors.

Critical website's source(s)

Roger du Pasquier, Unveiling Islam, pg 53

Critical website's source quote
We are in receipt of a letter from Mr. O. P. Henry, an Astoria subscriber, who says, in reference to an article in the Oregonian of recent date concerning the origin of the Mormon Bible, that his mother, who is yet alive, lived in the family of Sidney Rigdon for several years prior to her marriage in 1827; that there was in the family what is now called a "writing medium," also several others in adjacent places, and the Mormon Bible was written by two or three different persons by an automatic power which they believed was inspiration direct from God, the same as produced the original Jewish Bible and Christian New Testament. Mr. H. believes that Sidney Rigdon furnished Joseph Smith with these manuscripts, and that the story of the "hieroglyphics" was a fabrication to make the credulous take hold of the mystery; that Rigdon, having learned, beyond a doubt, that the so-called dead could communicate to the living, considered himself duly authorized by Jehovah to found a new church, under a divine guidance similar to that of Confucius, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Swedenborg, Calvin, Luther or Wesley, all of whom believed in and taught the ministration of spirits. The New Northwest gives place to Mr. Henry's idea as a matter of general interest. The public will, of course, make its own comments and draw its own conclusions

Critical website's source(s)

letter to the editor of The New Northwest in an article entitled “The Mormon Bible”, published September 9, 1880