Question: Could Joseph Smith have utilized place names and locations from the region in which he lived to create the Book of Mormon?

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Question: Could Joseph Smith have utilized place names and locations from the region in which he lived to create the Book of Mormon?

It is claimed that Joseph borrowed names from the surrounding regions

It is claimed that Joseph Smith is clearly the author of the Book of Mormon because many Book of Mormon place names supposedly have clear evidence of "borrowing" from geographic locations in the United States and Canada.

Examples of this include:

Book of Mormon City Claimed Source Book of Mormon City Claimed Source
Teancum Tecumseh Ramah Rama
Moron Morin Ogath Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec
Morianton Moraviantown Angola Angola
Onidah Oneida Kishkumen Kiskiminetas
Jacobugath Jacobsburg Jerusalem Jerusalem
Alma Alma Land of Lehi-Nephi Lehigh
Shilom Shiloh Ripliancum Ripple Lake, Ontario

Many of the names and places didn't exist in the late 1820s, and they are in the wrong locations relative to one another

The original idea behind this proposal was that Joseph picked up these place names and locations from a map in order to create his Book of Mormon geography. However, once it becomes apparent that the locations are in the wrong place, critics who support this proposal then fall back to the claim that the locations of the names are actually unimportant.

After the geography is thrown out, we are simply left with a list of names that Joseph supposedly found on a 19th-century map. However, once it also becomes obvious that many of the place names that were allegedly located on a 19th century map did not exist at the time that Joseph was dictating the Book of Mormon, the entire theory falls apart. Of the few that actually did exist, some of these names represent extremely small, distant sites about which Joseph almost certainly could have had no knowledge.

So critics rely on names which are in the wrong place, which didn't exist during Joseph's time, and which were too small and distant for him to be aware of. The final blow to this theory is that they also overlook the Biblical source for their American "parallels," which are far more likely and plausible than giving Joseph an encyclopedic knowledge of North American place names. Even if critics insist that Joseph forged the Book of Mormon, isn't the Bible a far more likely source for these names than obscure hamlets hundreds of miles away, which did not appear on a map, and most of which didn't even exist with those names at that time?

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