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Source:Roper:The Mythical "Manuscript Found":Subsequent variants of this hypothesis have been published from time to time
Roper: "Subsequent variants of this hypothesis have been published from time to time"
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been excommunicated from the church for immoral behavior), E. D. Howe suggested that the Book of Mormon was based on an unpublished novel called "Manuscript Found," written by a former minister named Solomon Spalding.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.
- Matthew Roper, "The Mythical "Manuscript Found" (Review of: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma)," FARMS Review 17/2 (2005): 7–140. off-site