On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Authors Diary
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book aimed at the believer. My thoughts below, followed by notes on a number of portions of the book that struck me particularly. Truman Madsen here draws on a deep well of primary and other sources to bring the reader to know the prophet Joseph. I heard these tapes when I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in or and was deeply inspired.
But the stories were still powerful, so I obtained a copy of the book. The book starts from the assumption that Joseph Smith is a prophet and a good man. I found it very inspiring. It indeed led me to look beyond Joseph and the other early members to the Savior: their love for Him and for His work inspires me to seek to do and to be better. Just the idea of Martin constantly trying to identify Joseph in the Old Testament and Joseph batting him off tickled me. Walker — in the Church Archives, p Joseph listened powerfully. Defenders of Smith counter that any duplication of phrases between his Book of Mormon and contemporary sources are merely accidental anomalies generated through the permutation of a finite number of words.
If this be the case then the chiasmus and Hebraisms, often pointed to by many of Smith's defenders, must suffer the same fate. However, in the world of Book of Mormon apology, a faith-promoting parallel is taken as evidence of its divinity while more suspicious evidence of borrowing and plagiarism is considered insignificant.
Believers in the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham have every reason to move cautiously when citing parallels in support of their belief because the use of parallels is a two-edged sword. Critics of the Book of Mormon, for example, have long cited parallels between that book of scripture and Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews published before the Book of Mormon as evidence that Joseph Smith borrowed freely from Ethan Smith.
Similarly, Thomas E. A two edged sword indeed it is. However, we believe there was enough material available in Joseph Smith's environment to show that at the least, Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon was simply a product of his time, nicely fitting in with the many other contemporaneous works that used scriptural language and covered many of the same themes as the Book of Mormon.
This list is not exhaustive, but there is enough of a sample to show that the Book of Mormon is not unique to its time.
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It must be stressed that although there are often strong parallels in some cases, it is not necessarily every critic's belief that Joseph Smith directly plagiarized from any other source, but rather that he may have been influenced by these sources in some way. If nothing else, it demonstrates that it was possible to create a book like the Book of Mormon without any supernatural means. However, as noted above, it is not being completely ruled out that Joseph and Oliver may have had texts directly available in the place in which they penned the Book of Mormon.
There are some very interesting parallels that seem more than coincidental. See the results of the analysis. Some writing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, like the Book of Mormon, were purported by their authors to be translations of ancient work, such as:. Vol I and also Vol II. An easier-to-read text version. If you have trouble reading the "s" written as an "f" this copy might work better.
Additional titles written in the scriptural style links to the texts are available here :. Joseph Smith may simply have had help from someone else to write the Book of Mormon. Someone else may have written the Book of Mormon or most of it and Joseph was merely the one to deliver it to the world. There are many theories regarding this idea. The Spalding theory often does not get much attention these days, although some feel there is significant information that worthy of further study.
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It should be noted that most critics these days do not accept the theory as a source for the Book of mormon. The Spalding-Rigdon Theory proposes that the Book of Mormon is the product of a pious fraud orchestrated by Sidney Rigdon, a popular preacher in the 's Christian Restoration movement. More specifically, it proposes that Rigdon added Restoration doctrines and his own theology to the unpublished narratives of Spalding, then deceased, to create documents that were subsequently compiled and edited to produce the version of the Book of Mormon. In executing this plan, Rigdon understood that the Book of Mormon would only be accepted as divinely approved if it could be brought to light through means that would appear supernatural.
He was also well known for the theology that he had added to the Book of Mormon, and thus needed a way to reveal the book without exposing his own role in its creation. The answer came in the person of Joseph Smith, Jr. Smith's charm and ability to induce belief made him an excellent Revelator. For Smith, the "gold bible business" was a way to make money and to help his family escape poverty. For Rigdon it was the springboard to leadership of a religious movement. In carrying out this plan, however, Rigdon and Smith were concerned that their lack of education and "weakness in writing" would prevent timely completion of the book and its public acceptance.
So they secured the editorial assistance of Smith's distant cousin - Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher with editing experience.
On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary
It was an excellent presentation and attended by several MormonThink writers. Oxford Journal - Literary and Linguistic Computing. I was born in Palmyra, N. 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 , and became acquainted with Sydney Rigdon in He preached my brother's funeral sermon in Auburn, O. I returned to Palmyra twice and resided there about two years each time. 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.
Aside from those that claimed that Oliver Cowdery admitted that the Book of Mormon originated with Solomon Spalding's unpublished manuscript, there are also witnesses that testified that Sidney Rigdon personally told them the same thing. Here's one of them:.
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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. 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. 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. I hereby certify that I wrote the above paper at the dictation of Mr.
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James Jeffery, in the presence of Mrs. James Jeffery, and and Dr. John M. LXX No. Dale Broadhurst has amassed a collection of various s newspaper articles that report many accounts of those that support the Spalding Theory and witnesses that claimed Sidney Rigdon admitted his involvement in producing the Book of Mormon. Pennsylvania Newspapers Articles. I, Able D.
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Chase, now living in Palmyra, Wayne Co.