Question: Was the beginning of the Book of Mormon derived from ''The First Book of Napoleon''?

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Question: Was the beginning of the Book of Mormon derived from The First Book of Napoleon?

Some critics of Mormonism postulate that the first part of the Book of Mormon was derived from The First Book of Napoleon, a 19th century book that was written in Biblical style

One individual makes the following claim, [1]

Another fascinating book published in 1809, The First Book of Napoleon, is shocking....The following are a side-by-side comparison of the beginning of The First Book of Napoleon with the beginning of the Book of Mormon: The First Book of Napoleon:

Condemn not the (writing)...an account...the First Book of Napoleon...upon the face of the earth...it came to pass...the land...their inheritances their gold and silver and...the commandments of the Lord...the foolish imaginations of their hearts...small in stature...Jerusalem...because of the perverse wickedness of the people.

Book of Mormon:

Condemn not the (writing)...an account...the First Book of Nephi...upon the face of the earth...it came to pass...the land...his inheritance and his gold and his silver and...the commandments of the Lord...the foolish imaginations of his heart...large in stature...Jerusalem...because of the wickedness of the people.

Note 1: The rendition above of phrases from the First Book of Napoleon is incorrect. The correct version follows:

The First Book of Napoleon:

Condemn not the (writing)...an account...the First Book of Napoleon...upon the face of the earth...it came to pass...the land...their inheritances, their gold and silver...the commandments of the Lord...the foolish imaginations of their hearts...small in stature...Jerusalem...the wickedness and perverseness of the people

Note 2: The first phrase in the Book of Mormon list is not referring to "writing" as indicated above. The phrase is:
Book of Mormon:

wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

Not so "shocking": In order to make these paragraphs look similar, you have to go through the first 25 pages of The First Book of Napoleon (extracted text is highlighted in blue)

The locations in the First Book of Napoleon from which the critics extract their text in an attempt to make it appear similar to the Book of Mormon

ELIAKIM’S ADDRESS TO HIS READERS.

Charitable and Gentle Reader! To thee the Author of this book has little to say, thy attributes being the godlike virtues of meekness and charity. Pious and Religious Reader! Let not thy feelings be offended, and withhold thy censure, until thou shalt find in these pages a single sentiment inconsistent with the spirit and principles of that holy religion which thou professes; and condemn not the feebly imitative manner of writing therein occasionally employed, until thou canst point out a language more impressive, or more appropriate, than that in imitation whereof these chapters are framed.

Readers in general! Take warning from the awful examples, and profit by the whole-

Some admonitions therein contained, and believe that they are truly intended for you good and welfare. Napoleon if, peradventure, this little volume should ever reach thee, may its truths sink deep into thine heart, and remember in the midst of the torrents of blood thy guilty ambition is shedding, and the ruin and desolation it is spreading far and wide, that thou are a mortal man; and one day, perhaps ere long, thy soul shall be required of thee, and an account of all thy deeds, by that omnipotent, unerring, and upright Being, who, as he made and governeth, so in like manner shall he judge the world.

King of the Albions! Of whom mention is made in thee pages, be assured, that the effusions of loyalty to thy person, and admiration of thy virtues, which they contain, are those not of the author only, but of a brave, affectionate, and dutiful people.

ELIAKIM

Contents of The First Book of Napoleon.

Chap. I

1. Appearance of an Evil Spirit on the face of the earth, being the forerunner of the Tyrant.-2. It seizeth upon the inhabitants of the land of Gaul.-3. Its progress.-4. The Idolatry of the Gauls.=5. Description and signs of the Beast, or Idol, which this people worshipped. Page 1

Chap. II.

1. The Evil Spirit increaseth.-2. The corrupt tree, and its fruits.-3. It is a cumberer of the ground, and doth not prosper therein; but is cast down, and destroyed. 14 Chap. III.

1. The birth-place of the Tyrant Napoleon.-2. He professeth himself to be a worshipper of the idol.-3. He goeth into the land of Egypt, wageth war, and sojourneth for sometime there.-4. He threateneth Palestine and Jerusalem.-5. He returneth suddenly from thence, destroyeth the first Idol, and putteth himself at the head of the armies of the Gauls.-6. He becometh a mighty Conqueror, powerful in war, and overwhelmeth many of the Kings and Princes of the earth.-7. He is a punishment unto the nations for the wickedness of their ways.-8.- The oppressed cry aloud unto the Lord for relief from the oppressor; but for a season he listeneth not unto them, and hardeneth the Tyrant’s heart, because fo the perverse wickedness of the people. Page 19

Chap. IV.

Character of Napoleon 26

Chap V.

1. Description of the land of Albion, and of the good king that reigneth over the same. – 2. His Throne.-3. Description also of the Tree which had grown and flourished in this Land for many generations, and of the goodly fruits thereof 32

Chap VI.

1. How the people of Albion resisted the temptations of the idol.-2. Are hated by the Gauls, and the tyrant Napoleon, who plotteth their destruction, and sweareth vengeance against them, and their good king Albanus 39

Chap VII.

1. The threats of the Gauls, and of the Tyrant, come to the ears of the Albions, who accordingly make mighty preparations to resist their foes.-2. The people of Albion cleave to their King and native land, and rise as one man to oppose the Tyrant and his hosts, who dread the sea, and the valour of the Albions, by sea and land 46

Chap VIII.

1. The ships of war which carried the army of the Gauls into Egypt, are destroyed in a dreadful battle, by a captain of the navy of King Albanus.-2. The armies of the Albions thereafter defeat those of the Gauls wheresoever they meet.-3. The Albions rescue the land of Egypt from from the Gauls.-4. The chief of the army of the Albions falls in battle.-5. The Gauls are afterwards defeated by the Albions in the land of Calabria 52

Chap. IX.

1. The dominion of the Tyrant extendeth itself upon the face of the earth.-2. He continueth to deceive the Kings and Princes thereof, and the people over whom they reigned.-3. Some are overthrown by open force, others soothed and beguiled, until a convenient season arriveth for their complete and final destruction 56

Chap. X.

1. Wise Counsellors, and mighty Captains of host and of ships, with whom it pleased the Lord to bless King Albanus.-2. He is deprived of some of them by death.-3. Lamentations for their loss Page 65

Chap. XI.

1. The oak Albion.-2. He claimeth the sovereignty of the Wood and of the Flood 72

Chap. XII.

1. The kings and Princes of the earth are warned of the craft and subtleties of the Tyrant.-2. Virtue is recommended as the only secure foundation of the kingdoms of this earth.-3 The solidity of the Empire of Almighty God ascribed, amongst other things, to the sense felt by created existence of the purity and holiness of the Great Governor of all things 75

Chap. XIII.

1. The People of Albion are told of their increasing wickedness and licentiousness, and are admonished accordingly.-2. Their manners are inveighed against, and they are summoned to repentance and amendment of life 82

Chap. XIV.

1. A mighty storm ariseth.-2. The vessel of the State is in danger of perishin.-3. A wise and good Counsellor pilots the vessel and weathers the storm.-4. The vessel is brought into a safe harbor; but the pilot therof dieth, through his endeavours to save the vessel Page 90

Chap. XV.

1. Mode of reforming the Commonwealth recommended.-2. Warnings against violent and dangerous changes.-3. Admonitions to the people of Albion in regard thereto 95

Chap. XV.

1. Mode of reforming the Commonwealth recommended.-2. Warnings against violent and dangerous changes.-3. Admonitions to the people of Albion in regard thereto 95

Chap. XVI.

1. The parable of the Bear and the Monkey.-2. The Monkey is suddenly changed into a Tyger, which devoureth the Bear, and scattereth his flesh and his bones to the winds of heaven 100

Chap. XVII.

The Vision of Eliakim 104

Chap. XVIII.

The Vision Continued 108

Chap. XIX.

The End of the Vision 115

Chap XX.

The warnings and admonitions which the Angle gave in commission, to be delivered unto the King of Albion, and to his first born, and to all the sons and daughter of the King.-2. As also unto the Rulers and Counsellors of the land, and the Judges thereof, and unto all the people who dwell therein Page 120

Chap. XXI.

Admonitions and Warnings to the Priests and Nobles of the land.-2. To the Representatives and Counsellors of the people.-3 To Judges and Magistrates 127

Chap. XXI.

Admonitions to the Matrons and Daughters of Albion. 134

Chap. XXIII.

General admonitions to the people of Albion 140

Conclusion 145

NAPOLEON THE TYRANT BOOK I.

CHAP. I.

1. Appearance of an Evil Spirit on the face of the earth, being the forerunner of the Tyrant-2. It seizeth upon the inhabitants of the land of Gaul.-3. Its progress.-4. The idolatry of the Gauls.-5. Descripton and signs of the Beast, or Idol, which this people worshipped. And behold it came to pass, in these latter days, that an evil spirit arose on the face of the earth, and greatly troubled the sons of men.

And this spirit seized upon, and spread amongst the people who dwell in the land of Gaul. Now, in this people the fear of the Lord had not been for many generations, and they had become a corrupt and perverse people; and their chief priests, and the nobles of the land, and the learned men thereof, had become wicked in the imaginations of their hearts, and in the practices of their lives. And the evil spirit went abroad amongst the people, and they raged like unto the heathen, and they rose up against their lawful king, and slew him, and his queen also, and the prince their son; yea, verily, with a cruel and bloody death.

And they moreover smote, with mighty wrath, the king’s guards, and banished the priests, and nobles of the land, and seized upon, and took unto themselves, their inheritances, their gold and silver, corn and oil, and whatsoever belonged unto them. Now it came to pass, that the nation of the Gauls continue to be sorely troubled and vexed, and the evil spirit whispered unto the people, even unto the meanest and vilest thereof, that all men being born equal, were free to act, each one according to the imaginations and devices of his own heart, without the fear of God, or the control of the lawful rulers of the land.

And lo! This foolish and wicked counsel of evil designing men, being seemly, and well-pleasing in the sight of the multitude, they raged furiously against all principalities and powers; and having slain the good king whom the Lord had appointed to rule over them, and to administer justice unto them; they moreover sought to overthrow and destroy the kings and rulers over the other nations of the earth, and made war upon them; and stirred up the people of those nations in like manner to wage war against the lawful rulers of the lands, wherein they had been appointed to dwell.

Now, it so happened, that the evil spirit stirred up every one to seek his own exaltation, by humbling and debasing those whom God had made superior to him, in mind, body, and estate.

And while this spirit raged in Gaul, the curse of God was upon the land, and bloodshed, murder, and rapine, and all manner of blasphemy, wickedness, and uncleanness, prevailed amongst the people thereof.

And they not only despised the commandments of the Lord, but also blasphemed the name of the only true and living God, and they made idols and false gods to themselves, and fell down and worshipped them.

And lo and behold, the chief idol, which this wicked and perverse people set up and worshipped, was like unto a beast, although made somewhat after the image of a man.

And out of the head of the beast there arose three horns, and upon each of the horns there were written these words, SEDITION, PRIVY CONSPIRACY, and REBELLION; and on the forehead of the beast, and under the horns, there were written, in letters of blood, the words TREASONS and CRIMES.

And from the eyes of the beast there proceeded flashes of devouring fire, and its jaws and throat were like unto the mouth of hell, and from its tongue there issued cursings and blasphemings.

And upon the breast of the beast, there were written these words, IRRELIGION, INFIDELITY, and TUMULT.

And in its right hand, it held an emblem of fire and sword, and in its left, an emblem of rapine and murder.

And upon the feet of the beast, there were brazen sandals, like unto those worn by men, and upon the sandal of the right foot, there was engraven, in letters of brass, TERROR and DISMAY; and upon the sandal of the left foot, BLOOD and FAMINE, signifying, that wheresoever the beast established itself, or trode, those direful evils would afflict the land.

And behold, the name of the idol was called LICENTIOUSNESS.

And lo! A loud and warning voice, proceeding as it were from the heavens on high, was heard upon the earth beneath, saying, “Beware, O man, of the exceeding great vileness and abominations of the beast or idol herein described, for upon the followers and worshippers thereof, there shall descend justice, and divers and direful judgments.”

CHAP. II

1. The evil spirit increaseth.-2. The corrupt tree, and its fruits.-3. It is a cumberer of the ground, and doth not prosper therein: but is cast down, and destroyed.

And the evil spirit continued to spread itself amonst the nations of the earth, and they were sorely afflicted, and troubled therewith.

And the idolatry of the beast in like manner prevailed among the sons of men, and it pleased the Lord to deliver the worshippers thereof into the hands of the Gauls.

Now the Gaul continued to rage as heretofore, with mighty ire, and waged war against all nations, people, and languages.

And the kings and ruler of the earth, beheld the raging of the storm, and combined together to quell the fury thereof.

But the power of the evil spirit, and of the multitude which it moved, was mighty great, and from amongst them there arose valiant captains, and men of war, and they overthrew those that waged war against them.

And lo! The tillers of the ground, and the labourers thereof, together with mechanics, artificers, and all manner of handicraftmen, left their sundry and peaceful occupations, and became lawmakers and lawgivers, and sought to rule over their superiors.

Now, it had pleased the Lord to darken the understandings of those foolish men; for they vainly imagined, that the laws and institutions may be forthwith made, like unto things of cunning device, or built in a season, or by models, like unto earthly habitations; whereas, they grow naturally and gradually after the manner of trees, and, like them, require to be trained and pruned by the wary hand of age and time.

Now, as good and wholesome laws and institutions, or, as they are called in these latter days, good constitutions, after the manner of trees, do not take root and grow but in good soils, and where they are well watered and sheltered; so, in like manner, as is known unto all husbandmen, the tree that springeth and flourisheth in one, and a good soil, decayeth and dieth in another, or bad soil.

As the dew of heaven, and the sun-beams thereof, water and cherish the earthly tree, so als, do the spirits of the departed patriots of a land, and the blood of the warriors thereof, foster and support the political tree, or constitution of the state.

But the Gauls were altogether a wicked and perverse people, and the tree which they had planted in the midst of them was a blasted tree, and lo and behold, it brought forth nothing but bad and forbidden fruit, and all manner of unrighteousness, such as pertaineth unto the idol of whom it is before-write, and whom they, in the foolish imaginations of their hearts, had vainly worshipped.

And this evil tree was planted in many and divers places; but the leaves and branches thereof decayed, and were blasted, and its roots rotted; because the sap which was in the tree, was poison, and all those who tasted of its fruit perished thereby; yea, even with a cruel and bloody death.

And behold the tree partook of the nature of the beast, of which it is before-written; for it had sprung from the rottenness and corruption thereof.

And when the Lord looked down from heaven, and beheld the perverse wickedness of the Gauls, he said, yea, verily, I will punish this people for the wickedness of their ways.

So the Lord spake by his prophets, and said unto the people of Gaul, O foolish people, ye have cast down and slain, with a cruel and ignominious death, the king whom I had appointed to rule over you, and whose fathers had reigned in the land for many generations; and ye have destroyed all principalities and powers, and have despised all holy things, and have imagined vain and wicked conceits, and have moreover troubled the peace of the world, and sworn enmity to the kings and rulers of the earth; but I will punish you, O people, for these evil doings; and lo and behold, a mean born stranger shall come from afar, and ye shall pay obeisance to him, and fear him, and lick the dust under his feet, and tremble under his crown, which, unto you, shall be a crown of iron. And lo! The prophecy of the Lord was fulfilled, as will be made manifest from what is hereafter written in this book.

CHAP. III

1. The Birth-place of the Tyrant Napoleon.-2. He professeth himself to be a worshipper of the idol.-3. He goeth into the land of Egypt, wageth war, and sojourneth for some time there.-4. He threateneth Palestine and Jerusalem.-5. He returneth suddenly from thence, and destroyeth the first Idol, and putteth himself at the head of the armies of the Gauls.-6. He becometh a mighty Conqueror, powerful in war, and overwhelmeth many of the kings and princes of the earth.-7. He is a punishment unto the nations for the wickedness of their ways.-8. The oppressed cry aloud unto the Lord for relief from the oppressor; but for a season he listeneth not unto them, and hardeneth the Tyrant’s heart, because of the perverse wickedness of the people.

Now, in the land called Corsica, which is an island in the sea, there was a man born, and his name was NAPOLEON.

And this man, though small in stature, was nevertheless vast in spirit, and he not only conceived unto himself, great and marvelous designs, but was moreover wicked, and cunning in council, mighty in deeds, and powerful in war.

And he professed himself to be a true worshipper of the idol, and yet he hated the idol in his heart, and had made unto himself another idol, of the nature whereof it is hereafter written.

And he declared himself to be an enemy unto all principalities and powers, and the friend of freedom and equality amongst the sons of men, and he was appointed Captain over the armies of the worshippers of the idol.

And he commanded the hosts thereof, and went forth against the lawful rulers of the earth, and overthrew them, together with the mighty high priest, who for many generations had commanded the fear and veneration of men.

And lo this man went into the land of Egypt, with many ships and a mighty army; and having conquered the inhabitants thereof, he proceeded against Palestine, and threatened the city of Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how are the mighty fallen, and how nearly hadst thou been conquered, yet a second time, by the arm of an infidel.

But behold the progress of this man, in the land of Egypt, was stopped by a captain of the navy of good King Albanus, the King of the Albions, the history of whom is herein after written.

Now, this man Napoleon, after sojourning for many days in the land of Egypt, suddenly took his departure from thence, and returned unto the county of the Gauls, and overthrew like a whirlwind the rulers thereof, and put himself at the head of the armies of the multitude, and declared himself to be the governor of the nation, which he began to rule with a rod of iron.

And this man being a mighty man of war, and a great captain, put himself at the head of the host of the Gauls, and thirsted for glory, dominion, and power.

And he waged war against the surrounding nations, and overthrew one people after another.

And his hosts were in number like unto the sands of the sea, and in power to the thunders of the skies; for his deeds resembled in quickness the lightning of heaven, and in might they were likened unto the thunderbolts thereof.

And lo, the people of Gaul forgot their former idol, which is described in the beginning of this book, and fell down and worshipped this strange and new idol, the nature whereof differed from the former in manner and in kind.

For upon the crown of this idol, which being a man, was altogether after the likeness thereof, there were written DOMINION, PRINCIPALITIES, and POWER; and under the crown, which was an iron crown, and on the forehead of the man there was written AMBITION; and on his breastplate there were also written, COUNSEL, PROMPTITUDE, and DECEIT.

And the man Napoleon held in his right hand a sword of steel, whereon were engraven DEATH, VICTORY, and CONQUEST, and in his left a roll of parchment, and in the roll was written the DOMINION of the WORLD, and under the same the names of the nations which he had conquered, yea all people within the reach of his power.

And on the sandal of his right foot there was engraven, in letter of brass, OPPRESSION, and on that of his left, SLAVERY.

And his throne, which reached unto the clouds, was raised on the backs of fallen nations, once great and glorious, but now prostrate and humbled in the dust.

For he had overthrown, like a whirlwind, and in the twinkling of an eye, the armies of many of the kings and rulers of the nations of the earth; because they had become vile and polluted in all manner of sinful corruption, and would not be warned by the voice of wisdom, and combine firmly together, nor be true and faithful on to another; but listened to the suggestions of the evil spirit and of the idol, which had darkened their understandings, and prepared them for downfall and ruin.

Now, the sway of this man pervaded many lands, and many of the kings and princes of the earth were made tributary to him, and the nations thereof groaned under his feet.

And he now compelled the tillers of the ground, and the labourers thereof, and the husbandmen, and the handicraftmen, who, under the first idol, had met together to commune concerning superiorities and powers, and to make laws unto themselves, to leave their peaceful homes, their wives, children, and kindred, and their lawful occupations, and to go into distant lands, and there endure cold and hunger, and suffer long marches, and mix in direful and bloody battles, all to fill up the measure of this man’s boundless ambition.

And it pleased the Lord, as a punishment for the wickedness and perverseness of the people, to deliver into the hands of this man the dominion over many lands, that they might be ruled as with a rod of iron, and chastened for the iniquity and wickedness of their ways, and brought back from the paths of sin and licentiousness, and the idolatry of the beast, to those of justice, moderation, and truth, and the fear of the only true and living God.

And the people of the land of Gaul, and all the nations whom it had pleased the Lord to deliver into the hands of this strange man, groaned heavily, and cried unto the Lord in their hearts for freedom, forgiveness, and mercy. But having forgot and despised the Lord their God, in the pride and wickedness of their hearts, he left them to reap the fruits of their evil ways, and for a season listened not unto them in their sufferings and distress.

Now behold, all the nations within the reach of this man Napoleon, groaned under the dominion of his power, and were sore afflicted in mind, body, and estate, for his ruled over them with a scepter of iron.

CHAP. IV.


Notes

  1. Jeremy Runnells, Letter to a CES Director (March 2015 revision).