1945 response to Bales   |   Bales' 1958 book   |   1959 response to Bales   |   Broadhurst's index


Document #1:
1942 James Bales article
in: The Christian Soldier, Aug. 14, 1942.

Bales' list of textual parallels between Oberlin Spalding MS and Book of Mormon revises the lists of Schroeder, Shook and Arbaugh. Bales expanded the list 16 years later in his The Book of Mormon? Bales is wrong in asserting that the Oberlin MS bears the title: "Mansucript Story." It is actually an untitled story -- discovered by Lewis L. Rice in 1884, enclosed in a paper wrapper on which somebody had once written "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek."


 


Vol. IV No. 9               Paso Robles, Calif., Fri., Aug. 14, 1942.               $1.50 Per Year


BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  SPAULDING  MANUSCRIPTS

JAMES D. BALES


It has long been contended that there is a connection bteween the BM and one of Solomon Spaulding's historical romances. The Mormons, of course, deny such a connection. They also maintain that a manuscript found in Honolulu, which was written by Spaulding, proves that his work did not constitute the foundation of the BM.


I. THE POSITION OF THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS

(1) Spaulding could not have had any connection with the BM for he was a Presbyterian and the BM condemns certain tenets of the Presbyterian Faith.

"Solomon Spaulding, be it known, was a Presbyterian minister; but this fact has been carefully concealed by those who have advocated the theory that Mr. Spaulding was the author of the BM. Had they let this fact be known undoubtedly they would have aroused suspicion and greatly weakened their argument. For this reason: Presbyterian ministers do not write books condemning in strong terms certain tenets of their church. There is in the BM much that is at variance with doctrines taught by the Presbyterian church; indeed, there is very little in the BM that is compatible with Presbyterianism. There is not a Presbyterian church in the world that believes in the BM. On the contrary, Presbyterian ministers have been the loudest in condemning the book. A Presbyterian minister could not write the BM if he would, and he would not write it if he could."  (William A. Morton, Why I Believe the Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City, 1918, p. 6).


(a) To my knowledge no one has attempted to hide the fact that Spaulding was once a Presbyterian minister. However, he did not remain one for he became an infidel (Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, p. 62).

(b) It has never been contended that the Spaulding romance was a work on Presbyterianism. It was a historical novel concerning ancient America.

(c) It has not been maintained that all of the BM was written by Spaulding. Thus it has not been claimed that all of the theological portion[s] were put in by him. These portions bear the imprint of Smith and Sidney Rigdon (See the proof offered in Shook's The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, pp. 126--). It is maintained, however, that some things, including some Scripture, were added to one of Spaulding's manuscripts AND that his work was thus transformed into the BM (See the testimony of John Spaulding, Solomon's brother; Martha Spaulding, John's wife. They maintained that the historical po[r]tion of the BM was Spaulding's. E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unveiled, 1834, pp. 278--, Shook. The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, pp. 94--; Braden-Kelley).

(2) The Mormons contend that the discovery of one of Spaulding's manuscripts demonstrates that it was not the basis of the BM.

"I will here state that the Spaulding manuscript was discovered in 1884, and is at present in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio. On examination it was found to bear no resemblance whatever to the BM. The theory that Solomon Spaulding was the author of the BM should never be mentioned again -- outside a museum." (William A. Morton, op. cit., p. 6).


There are three errors in the above paragraph: viz. that Spaulding wrote but one manuscript; that the manuscript discovered in 1884 is the same one which non-Mormons have claimed constituted the basis of the BM, that the manuscript in Oberlin bears NO RESEMBLANCE WHATEVER TO THE BM.

(a) Spaulding wrote more than one manuscript. This was maintained by D. P. Hurlbut and Clark Braden before the Honolulu manuscript was found (Charles A. Shook, op. cit., p. 77); (Braden-Kelley Debate, p. 158). Spaulding's daughter also testified that her father had written "other romances." (Elder George Reynolds, The Myth of the "Manuscript Found," Utah, 1883, p. 104).

(b) The manuscript found in Honolulu was called A Manuscript Story and not The Manuscript Found. The Honolulu manuscript, The Manuscript Story, was in the hands of anti-Mormons in 1834. However, they did not claim that it was the manuscript which was the basis of the BM. It was claimed that another manuscript of Spaulding was the basis of the BM (Charles A. Shook, op. cit., p. 77, 15, 185, "The Manuscript Found" or "Manuscript Story" of the Late Rev. Solomon Spaulding, Lamoni, Iowa: Printed and Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1885, p. 10).

(c)Although the Manuscript Story has not been regarded as the Manuscript Found, which constituted the basis of the BM, there is a great deal of resemblance between the Manuscript Story and the BM. These points of similarity can be accounted for upon the basis that The Manuscript Story was the first, and rough, draft of one of Spaulding's work[s] which he reworked into the Manuscript Found.

Howe in 1834, published a fair synopsis of the Oberlin manuscript now at Oberlin (Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 288) and submitted the original to the witnesses who testified to the many points of identity between Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found' and the BM. These witnesses then (in 1834) recognized the manuscript secured by Hurlbut and now at Oberlin as being one of Spaulding's, but not the one which they asserted was similar to the BM. They further said that SPAULDING HAD TOLD THEM THAT HE HAD ALTERED HIS ORIGINAL PLAN OF WRITING BY GOING FARTHER BACK WITH HIS DATES AND WRITING IN THE OLD SCRIPTURE STYLE, in order that his story might appear more ancient, (Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 288); (Theodore Schroeder, The Origin of the BM Re-Examined in its Relation to Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found,' p. 5).

This testimony is borne out by the fact that there are many points of similarity between the manuscript in Oberlin College and the BM. The observant reader will discover the following similarities. Anyone who so desires may check on us by comparing the two themselves.


II. POINTS OF SIMILARITY BETWEEN THE OBERLIN COLLEGE MANUSCRIPT AND THE BOOK OF MORMON.

(1) Both found under a stone,
(2) Both stones had to be lifted by a lever.
(3) Both found in a box.
(4) Both represent the ancient inhabitants of this country as coming to it from across the waters.
(5) Both represent these inhabitants as great, powerful, civilized peoples.
(6) Both represent them as engaging in bloody battles.
(7) Both claimed to be a record of some of these peoples.
(8) Both were written a foreign language which had to be translated.
(9) Both had a "translator."
(10) Both set forth "history of lost tribes."
(11) Both mention "church."
(12) Both mention Jesus Christ.
(13) Both had people who believe in the religion of Jesus Christ.
(14) Both mentioned "ministers."
(15) The Manuscript Story mentioned the the Lord's day and devotional services on that day. The BM implies Lord's day services, for it maintains that there were Christians on this continent then; and Christians meet upon the first day of the week, the Lord's day.
(16) Both represent the people, who came across the ocean to this country, as encountering a great storm at sea.
(17) Both indicate that the storm subsided after prayer.
(18) Both refer to written records which were placed in a box so that future generations might discover them and thus learn of these people.
(19) Both referred to people who believed in the Great Spirit.
(20). Both believed in an evil spirit.
(21) Both referred to the motions of the earth.
(22) Both mention large animals which the people worked.
(23) Both mentioned the usage of cotton cloth.
(24) Both mention the horse.
(25) Both mention earthquakes.
(26) Both taught an eternal life with rewards and punishments
(27) Both recognized the Great Spirit as maker of Man.
(28) Both spoke of white people.
(29) Both referred to great cities.
(30) Both spoke of a great teacher who wrought wonders.
(31) Both spoke of a people who were able to write.
(32) Both represented them as having some scientific knowledge.
(33) Both knew something of mechanical arts.
(34) Both used iron.
(35) Both used coins.
(36) Both had high priests, priests, kings, princes, oracles, prophets.
(37) Both had seer stones, by means of which they could see many amazing things (Smith ysed a seer-stone, Whitmer's "Address," p. 12; Shook, op. cit., p. 164, footnote).
(38) Both referred to a war of extermination.
(39) Both believed in providence.
(40) Both speak of indescribable horrors as the result of war.
(41) Some people in both held property in common.
(42) Both indicated that burnt offerings were made for sins.
(43) Both referred to judges over the people.
(44) Both indicated that there were at least three different peoples in this country.
(45) Both said that "characters" were used to represent words
(46) Both kept sacred writings separate from the other records.
(47) Both spoke of the people as receiving the words of a certain man as divine.
(48) Both taught that some sinners would be saved after death.
(49)Both had counselors

There are too many points of similarity for them to be without significance. Thus the internal evidence, combined with the testimony of witnesses, as referred to by Schroeder, produces evidence to the effect that Spaulding revised and revamped the Manuscript Story and that the revision was known as the Manuscript Found and that this manuscript became the basis of the Book of Mormon in at least its historical parts; and that its religious references furnished the germs from which a part, at least, of the religious portion of the BM had its beginning. (1118 Colusa Ave., Berkeley, Calif.)




 


Document #2:
1945 "Book of Mormon" article
in: Consolation, XXVI:667 (April 11, 1945)

The anonymous author draws from Bales' 1942 list of Spalding-Book of Mormon parallels, adding a faulty rendition of the Spalding claims. In speaking of "Nephi and the Nephilim," the author claims that "fallen angels" from Noah's day "were called the "Nephilim" and that they "had much to do with the production of The Book of Mormon." The biblical "nephilim" were giants -- (which calls to mind Spalding's amazement over the huge human bones recovered from ancient Ohio mounds (see David Levin's "Giants in the Earth," William & Mary Quarterly XLV:4, Oct. 1988)


 


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The  Book  of  Mormon

In the town of New Salem, Ohio, there lived in the early years of the last century a clergyman, Solomon Spaulding by name. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College. He was a man of imaginative turn of mind and fond of history. Also, he was familiar at least with the language of Scripture, though there is some question as to his faith in the Word of God. As his health was poor, he had given up active service as a preacher of the "predestined to hell-fire" doctrine and devoted much of his time to reading.

In the vicinity of New Salem there were numerous mounds and forts, which were believed to have been the remains of dwellings and fortifications of an extinct race, who lived in America before the Indians. Tools and other articles found in and about the mounds showed that those who built them had attained a fair degree of civilization.

Mr. Spaulding was much interested in the mounds and their probable history, and, as time hung heavy on his hands, he began writing a sort of 'historical' novel around the ideas suggested by these relics of antiquity. He pictured a long-lost race as having inhabited the North American continent, and more particularly the neighborhood in which the relics were found. In writing of this "lost race" he adopted a style of English suggestive of their imagined antiquity, following, more or less the language of the Bible.

As the story grew under his imaginative treatment, he read the manuscript to friends and neighbors, who took a great interest in the imaginary "lost race". Mr. Spaulding had started off the story by picturing the discovery of a manuscript, recovered from the earth; so he called the tale "Manuscript Found". Neighbors came often and became
familiar with the characters, peoples and names in the story, Some of the names were plainly Scriptural, while others appeared to be combinations of various Scripture names. Biblical incidents were also more or less imitated in the story. The idea back of the tale was that a group of persons had traveled across the ocean at the time of the tower of Babel's confusion of languages, and another group about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Mr. Spaulding's original manuscript was later revised, but the original was not destroyed; so there were two different accounts circulated more or less among friends.

Not long after he completed the story Mr. Spaulding and family removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. where he made the acquaintance of a Mr. Patterson, editor of a newspaper. He learned of Mr. Spaulding's story and was much pleased with its imaginative treatment, borrowing the manuscript to look it over more at leisure. He subsequently suggested to Mr. Spaulding that if he would write a title page and preface it could be published and might prove profitable. This, Mr. Spaulding was unwilling to do, however. Not only Mr. Patterson, but those working in his printing plant, became acquainted with the manuscript. Among these was a Sidney Rigdon, who appears to have become interested in the story to the extent of making a copy of it. After quite a long time the manuscript was returned to the author, who later moved to Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816.


The Missionary
Some years pass, and there came to New Salem a missionary with a new revelation, which, nevertheless, claimed to be no new gospel, but, the recovery of the old. The missionary had a supply of "new Bibles", and the curious inhabitants





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The  Book  of  Mormon

of the town, not unlike the Athenians of old, eager to hear something new, came to the meeting. Lengthy extracts from the new "Bible" are read to them. It is called "The Book of Mormon". To their amazement, many recognize the names, the scenes and the incidents which they had heard with such interest from the lips of the retired minister. Mr. Spaulding's brother is among those present, and he is so disturbed by this development that he rises to his feet and exposes the hoax with tears. Great is the excitement! The missionary departs and a meeting is held by the townspeople. One of their number, Dr. P. Hurlbut, is deputed to visit Amity and obtain the manuscript from the former Mrs. Spaulding, now remarried. They make comparison with The Book of Mormon, a copy of which had been obtained. It was learned, too, that Sidney Rigdon was now connected with the new sect. The Book of Mormon was nothing other than the story by Mr. Spaulding, somewhat changed, but not improved, and combined with pious additions, in uncouth English, together with extracts from the King James Version of the Bible.


Similarities
Among the similarities, most curious, appeared the fiction that both the manuscript of the Spaulding story and the "Golden Plates"of the Mormon revelation were (1) found in a box, (2) under a stone, (3) which had to be moved by means of a lever. They both (4) represent the ancient people as having come across great waters (the Atlantic) , and (5) picture them as becoming great, powerful and civilized peoples. Both fiction and "revelation" represent the "civilized"people (6) as engaging in bloody battles ( which seems quite reasonable) , and both (7) claim to be a record of some of these peoples. Since both (8) were written in a dead language, they (9) had to be translated. Strangely, both the manuscript and the
book, contain a (10) history of "lost tribes", (11) mention the "church" and (12) Jesus Christ (who seems to have used the Greek form of his name in visiting Americans of those days, "from heaven") . Also, there were in both (13) people who believed in the "religion" of Jesus Christ, and both (14) mention "ministers" and (15) the Lord's day (Sunday). In both stories (16) the people who crossed the ocean encountered a great storm en route and (17) the storm ceased in response to prayer. In both accounts (18) the records were purposely placed in a box so that future generations might discover them. Both stories tell (19) of people who believe in "the Great Spirit" and also (20) an evil spirit. Marvelously, both records (21) refer to motions of the earth and (22) large animals used to do certain work. Both speak of (23) the use of cotton cloth, and mention (24) the horse, and (25) earthquakes. Also, both speak of (26) an eternal life with rewards and punishments ("immortality of the soul"), and both (27) speak of the "Great Spirit" as man's maker. Both (28) speak of white people and (29) great cities, as well as (30) a great teacher who wrought wonders. Both, too, speak (31) of people who can write and who (32) possess scientific knowledge and (33) know something of mechanics, (34) using iron and (35) coins. In both tales the people had (36) high priests, priests, kings, princes, oracles and prophets. They used (37) * seer stones", by which they could see wonders. In both accounts there is reference to (38) a war of extermination, and both (39) speak of the horrors of war. The people (40) believed in "providence". In both stories (41) some of the people held property in common, and both (42) indicate that burnt-offerings were made for sins. In both the people had (43) judges and (44) counselors. In each story there are (45) at least three nations or peoples. In both it is said that these peoples (46) used "characters"to represent words, and





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The  Book  of  Mormon

(47) kept "sacred writings" separate from other records. Both (48) tell of the peoples believing in the words of a certain man as divine and (49) that they believed that some sinners will be saved after death.

The striking similarities between Spaulding's manuscript and The Book of Mormon are but one of the evidences of the fraudulent nature of the latter. If Spaulding's imagination ran away with him, as seems to have been the case, the evidence is clear that somebody else ran away with the imagination, or its product. But there is more to The Book of Mormon.


Further Evidence
A striking curiosity about The Book of Mormon is the fact that this production "translated" by a not to literate young man "from Golden plates" contains word for word extracts from the King James translation of the Bible! Further, it attributes to men who lived many years before Christ, and in an unknown continent, words which Christ or John the Baptist spoke, according to the Scriptures. This is further evidence that the Book of Mormon is a fabrication, compiled from a variety of sources, but compounded chiefly from the vivid imagination of Spaulding, Joseph Smith and (probably) Sidney Rigdon.

As a result of its being drawn from various sources, The Book of Mormon presents a patchwork of styles. There is much excellent English, consisting of the work of Spaulding and copious quotations from the King James version of the Scriptures, with which, strangely, the lost inhabitants of America, who perished centuries before the production of that version, were perfectly familiar! Then, in the same book, supposedly from the same source, are uncouth and ungrammatical expressions, and a queer fondness for such expressions as "It came to pass" and "Behold" and "Yea", which are repeated ad nauseam, over
and over again, aimlessly and superfluously. In such portions, the effort to imitate Scriptural and old English expressions yields laughable results.

The Mormons themselves have had quite an interesting (?) time trying to unscramble the mixture of writings, and finally concluded that there was not merely one set of plates, but four, described briefly as follows:

1. The Plates of Nephi, of two kinds: (a) the larger and (b) the smaller, containing respectively the secular history of the ancient American peoples and the sacred records.

2. The Plates of Mormon, containing an abridgment of the foregoing, with additions, such as commentaries and more "history".

3. The Plates of Ether, "a history of the Jaredites," abridged by Moroni, with comments of his own, etc.

4. The Brass Plates of Laban, "brought from Jerusalem", containing Hebrew Scriptures, which as already observed, testify to the absolutely perfect work done by the King James translators, including commas and other punctuation! It is understood that Joseph Smith translated these selections from the plates, and did not so much as look at a Bible even once, of course.


Nephi and the Nephilim
It is curious that the first writer who comes to notice in The Book of Mormon is called "Nephi". This calls to mind the fact that the fallen angels who corrupted the earth in the days of Noah were called the "Nephilim". There is no doubt that these Nephilim had much to do with the production of The Book of Mormon, giving the movement the supernatural elements that have been claimed for it. There is no doubt, either, that Joseph Smith had visions and saw "angels" and other supernatural sights, but the source of these visions was not what he claimed or thought them to be. They were unquestionably the work of demons, "Nephilim", and the name "Nephi"





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The  Book  of  Mormon

attached to the first of the records is worthy of note.

Since The Book of Mormon contains some 500 pages of comparatively small type, there must have been quite a pile of golden and brass plates. No doubt, a large amount of "brass" went into the composition of the book. The messenger "from heaven" who told Joseph where to find the plates told Joseph the same things over and over again (for some reason that does not appear), visiting him four times in succession and telling him where he would find the "plates".

Joseph went at once and found the stone box under a rounded stone partially covered with earth, and saw the plates and everything, but he could not take them then, but must come there again next year, and again on four successive occasions, so that after three years he actually got the golden plates from the earth.

The three witnesses, however, who testified to having seen these same plates say that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid them before their eyes, and they beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings on thereon. And lo and behold, these witnesses also spoke in ancient English, more or less. Also eight witnesses gave testimony "unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people", saying, "And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken."

Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses, was favored not only with a look at the "Golden Plates", but also with the opportunity of giving of his money to Joseph Smith, so that the work of printing the book, etc., might be advanced. Joseph never had much money of his own and the angel who gave him the information about the "Golden Plates", after he had departed, returned as if he had just thought of something. He warned the youthful "prophet" against
trying to make money by means of the "Golden Plates", as there was nothing doing on that score. The angel wanted them, and many years later still had them (Joseph said ruefully), although now that the plates were translated into modern, ancient, colloquial and legal English, the plates would seem to be of slight use to the angel. It may be argued that the plates were to be "hid up"( a favorite expression in The Book of Mormon) to convince unbelievers at some future date. But no one has ever seen them since, and the witnesses who did see them, for the most part, turned away from Mormonism, although they never bothered to withdraw the testimony that they had seen the plates. And they doubtless thought they did, under the influence of "the angel". (See leading articles in Consolation Nos. 660 and 661.)

Another point bearing on this matter is the claim that The Book of Mormon, though purportedly written by Israelites and their descendants, was written on "Golden Plates" in what is called "Reformed Egyptian"; which seems a strange circumstance, for the Hebrews had their own style of writing. It is difficult to explain. Unlike the Scriptures, there are no early manuscripts of The Book of Mormon available, so that all that is known of what this "Reformed Egyptian" looked like is a line or two of characters that look far from "Egyptian", having the appearance rather of something that might have been invented by a schoolboy to mystify his schoolmates. The "Reformed Egyptian" looked peculiarly un-Egyptian.

Joseph did a good job on the translation, however, for he got together the five hundred and more pages, equaling more than a thousand manuscript leaves, in about three years. He had assistance in doing his work. The product of these arduous labors is The Book of Mormon, consisting largely of writings by Spaulding, Isaiah, and others, with copious additions by Smith.





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The  Book  of  Mormon

The relationship of The Book of Mormon to one of the Spaulding manuscripts has of course, been stoutly denied, and at least one well-known encyclopedia now gives the Mormon version of the matter, more or less.

The "history"of The Book of Mormon is completely at variance with what is actually known of the peoples that inhabited the American continents before the coming of Columbus and who were the ancestors of the North, Central,

and South American Indians. What vestiges remain of the culture these peoples developed is quite different from that ascribed to the people portrayed in the Spaulding manuscript and, subsequently, in The Book of Mormon. For a description of the ancient peoples of America articles on Mexico, Yucatan, etc., in back issues of Consolation, may be consulted. They make interesting reading in the light of the claims made for The Book of Mormon.
the remainder of this page was not transcribed




 


Document #3:
James D. Bales' comments
in: The Book of Mormon? (CA: 1958)

Bales first published his list of Oberlin MS-Book of Mormon parallels in an obscure 1942 newspaper. His 1958 list expands the 1942 list by 50%, but adds few significant parallels. Bales was rebutted by Mormon Elder Hugh Nibley in in 1959. His 1958 list drops a previous item: "both had high priests, priests, kings, princes, oracles, prophets." It adds to the stormy ocean crossing parallel: "both represent the people on the ship as being in despair." He does not mention the danger of "a watery grave" or a "watery tomb" -- nor that both sources paraphrase biblical passages, use the ocean peril for similar religious purposes, and have their shipboard characters pray to the biblical God.


Entire contents Copyright 1958, by John Allen Hudson.
Only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced on this web-page.

 




The Book of Mormon?




By

JAMES D. BALES, PhD.

Professor of Christian Doctrine
Harding College, Searcy, Arkanses







OLD  PATHS  BOOK  CLUB
Box V. • 8877 Mission Drive
ROSEMEAD,  CALIFORNIA




 

[ 7 ]




CHAPTER  ONE

THE KEY POSITION OF THE BOOK OF MORMON

If the Book of Mormon is not what it claims to be, Joseph Smith was a false prophet and the entire Latter-day Saint movement is based on a fraud. If it is what it claims to be, all should accept the prophetship of Joseph Smith. The Latter-day Saints recognize this key position of the Book of Mormon. What is said by Apostle Orson Pratt, who was identified with the Latter-day Saints during Smith's lifetime, and who went with Brigham Young when the movement split, will be endorsed in the main by all branches of the movement.

"The Book of Mormon claims to be a divinely inspired record, written by a succession of prophets who inhabited ancient America. It professes to be revealed to the present generation for the salvation of all who will receive it, and for the overthrow and damnation of all nations who reject it.

"This book must be either true or false. If true, it iY one of the most important messages ever sent from God to man, affecting both the temporal and eternal interests of every people under heaven to the same extent and in the same degree that the message of Noah affected the inhabitants of the old world. If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions who will sincerely receive it as the word of God, and will suppose themselves securely built upon the rock of truth until they are plunged with their families into hopeless despair.

"The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is


 


[ 8 ]


 
Copyright 1958, by John Allen Hudson.
Only limted, "fair use" excerpts provided here.
Pages 8-88 not transcribed


 


[ 89 ]




CHAPTER EIGHT

JOSEPH  SMITH  AS  A  TRANSLATOR  OF  PLATES

The plates of the Book of Mormon are not available so that scholars can check Smith's translation. This, of course, is not the reason that we reject the Book of Mormon, for if everything else indicated that it was of divine origin, we would not be bothered by the fact that we do not have the plates to check Smith's translation. There is, however, another set of plates in existence a portion of which he claimed to translate. At least there are photographs of these plates. Here we can check up on Smith's professed work as a translator of plates. Here we discover that the plates were fakes and yet he claimed to translate them. Since Smith is shown to be a deceiver in the place where we can check him as a translator, how can any thoughtful person trust Smith's "translating work" in those cases where we cannot check on him -- as in the case of the Book of Mormon. If he is false where we can check him, what reason is there to trust him where we cannot check him.

Smith deceived people with history concerning the plates upon which he contended that the Book of Mormon was written. He was deceived by some real plates which were dug up in Kinderhook, Illinois in 1843. The following account of their discovery was published in Times & Seasons (Nauvoo, Illinois) before the death of Smith and the division of his Church. It was also referred to in "The True LDS Herald" (Reorganized, August 15, 1864); the Millennial Star (Utah, Vol. 21, January 15, 1859); Kelley's (R) Presidency & Priesthood; and in "A Series of Pamphlets" by Orson Pratt (U) in Liverpool, 1851 (Arbaugh, Revelation in Mormonism: 121).


 


90                                THE  BOOK  OF  MORMON?                                


I -- The Kinderhook Plates

The following is found in Times & Seasons (IV:186-187, May 1, 1843). We quote it as we copied it from the Millennial Star.

"... On the 16th of April last, a respectable merchant, by the name of Robert Wiley, commenced digging in a large mound near this place; he excavated to the depth of ten feet and came to rock. About that time the rain began to fall, and he abandoned the work. On the 23d, he and quite a number of the citizens, with myself, reported [sic - repaired?] to the mound; and after making ample opening, we found plenty of rock, the most of which appeared as though it had been strongly burned; and after removing full two feet of said rock, we found plenty of charcoal and ashes; also human bones that appeared as though they had been burned; and near the eciphalon a bundle was found that consisted of six plates of brass, of a bell-shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all, and clasped with two clasps. The ring and clasps appeared to be of iron very much oxidated. The plates appeared first to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. It was agreed by the company that I should cleanse the plates. Accordingly I took them to my house, washed them with soap and water, and a woolen cloth; but finding them not yet cleansed, I treated them with dilute sulphuric acid, which made them perfectly clean, on which it appeared that they were completely covered with hieroglyphic[s]; that none as yet have been able to read. Wishing that the world might know the hidden things as fast as they come to light, I was induced to state the facts, hoping that you would give it an insertion in your excellent paper; for we all feel anxious to know the true meaning of the plates, and publishing the facts might lead to the true translation. They were found, I judged, more than twelve feet below the surface of

 


                JOSEPH  SMITH  AS  A  TRANSLATOR                  91


the top of the mound. I am, most respectfully, a citizen of Kinderhook.   W. P. Harris, M. D.

"We the citizens of Kinderhook, whose names are annexed, do certify and declare that on the 23d April, 1843, while excavating a large mound in this vicinity, Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound six brass plates of a bell-shape, covered with ancient characters. Said plates were very much oxidated. The bands and rings on said plates mouldered into dust on a slight pressure.... Robert Wiley, W. Longnecker, Geo. Deckenson, G. W. F. Ward, Ira S. Curtis, J. R. Sharp, Fayette Grubb, W. P. Harris, W. Fugate." (Millennial Star, Vol. 21, p. 44; John Hyde, Mormonism, 1857, p. 269. Thomas Gregg, Prophet of Palmyra, 1890). The plates are reproduced in the Millennial Star, (xxi: 41-43).

II -- How the Mormons Used the Plates

The editor of Times and Seasons, John Taylor, afterwards president and seer of the Church in Utah, made the following extract from the Quincy Whig.

"Some pretend to say, that Smith, the Mormon leader, has the ability to read them. If he has, he will confer a great favor on the public by removing the mystery which hangs over them. We learn there was a Mormon present when the plates were found, who it is said, leaped for joy at the discovery, and remarked that it would go to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon -- which it undoubtedly will...."

"The plates above alluded to, were exhibited in this city last week, and are now, we understand, in Nauvoo, subject to the inspection of the Mormon Prophet. The public curiosity is greatly excited, and if Smith can decipher the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent, than any man now living." (T & S, IV: 187).


 


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Taylor comments thus: "Circumstances are daily transpiring which give additional testimony to the authenticity of the BM." (Ibid: 185). He went on to say that the gentleman who owned the plates had taken them away but intended to return them "for translation; if so, we may be able yet to furnish our readers with it." (Ibid: 186). "We have no doubt however, but Mr. Smith will be able to translate them," (Ibid: 186).

H. Tate, in another issue asked: "Why does the circumstance of the plates recently found in a mound in Pike County, Ill., by Mr. Wiley, together with ethnology and a thousand other things, go to prove the Book of Mormon true? Ans. Because it is true." (V: 406). In the Improvement Era in 1904 the plates are cited as confirming the Book of Mormon (VII: 386-387).

The plates were taken to Smith who refused to translate them until they were presented to some learned societies "for translation." He was very cautious, to say the least. The plates were sent to one society and were sent back with the word that they could not be translated. (Dr. Wyl's Mormon Portraits, p. 211).

Smith proceeded to translate them. "I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike County, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. R. Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. (This seems to be Smith's addition to the account. J.D.B.) The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton, and were covered on both sides with ancient characters. I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of Heaven and earth."

 


                JOSEPH  SMITH  AS  A  TRANSLATOR                  93


(Millennial Star, XXI:41. Extract from Smith's diary, dated Monday, May 1, 1843).

"Apostle Kelley gives us a fac-simile of the twelve sides of these six plates in his Presidency and Priesthood, and also a long description of them copied from the Quincy Whig, and then adds: "There are characters on these plates that resemble letters in the Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Chaldaic, and Hebrew alphabets, and they are arranged in columns, resembling very much in form and arrangement, according to Professor Anthon, the ones that were submitted to him by Mr. Harris, as copied by Mr. Smith from the plates in his possession, from which he translated the 'BM'; yet none would be so audacious as to presume to say that they had been copied by some "bungling" hand, with the various ancient alphabets, as mentioned, before him, with a view to perpetrate a fraud." (Charles A. Shook, Cumorah Revisited: 548-9).

III -- The Plates Planted to Trap Smith

Wilbur Fugate -- one of the witnesses -- wrote James T. Cobb, of Salt Lake City, Utah, as follows:

Mound Station, Illinois,    
June 30, 1879.    
"Mr. Cobb:

I received your letter in regard to those plates, and will say in answer that they are a humbug, gotten up by Robert Wiley, Bridge Whitten [sic] and [myself. Whitton is dead. I do not know whether Wiley is or not. None of the] nine persons who signed the certificate knew the secret, except Wiley and I. We read in Pratt's prophecy that 'Truth is yet to spring up out of the earth." We concluded to prove the prophecy by way of a joke. We soon made our plans and executed them, Bridge Whitten cut them (the plates) out of some pieces of copper; Wiley and I made the hieroglyphics by making impressions on beeswax and filling them with acid and putting it on the plates. When they were finished, we


 


94                                THE  BOOK  OF  MORMON?                                


put them together with rust made of nitric acid, old iron and lead, and bound them with a piece of hoop iron, covering them completely with the rust. Our plans worked admirably. A certain Sunday was appointed for digging. The night before, Wiley went to the Mound where he had previously dug to the depth of about eight feet, there being a flat rock that sounded hollow beneath, and put them under it. On the following morning quite a number of citizens were there to assist in the search, there being two Mormon elders present -- Marsh a& Sharp. The rock was soon removed, but some time elapsed before the plates were discovered. I finally picked them up and exclaimed: 'A piece of pot metal!' Fayette Grubb snatched them from me and struck them against the rock and they fell to pieces. Dr. Harris examined them and said they had hieroglyphics on them. He took acid and removed the rust and they were soon out on exhibition. Under this rock (which?) was dome-like in appearance, about three feet in diameter, there was a few bones in the last stage of decomposition, also a few pieces of pottery and charcoal. There was no skeleton found. Sharp, the Mormon elder, leaped and shouted for joy, and said Satan had appeared to him and told him not to go (to the diggings), it was a hoax of Fugate and Wiley's, but at a later hour the Lord appeared and told him to go, the treasure was there.

The Mormons wanted to take the plates to Joe Smith, but we refused to let them go. Some time afterward a man assuming the name of Savage, of Quincy, borrowed the plates of Wiley to show to his literary friends there, and took them to Joe Smith. The same identical plates were returned to Wiley, who gave them to Professor McDowell, of St. Louis, for his Museum.   W. Fugate. State of Illinois, Brown County. W. Fugate, being first duly sworn, deposes and says that the above letter, containing

 


                JOSEPH  SMITH  AS  A  TRANSLATOR                  95


an account of the plates found near Kinderhook, is true and correct, to the best of his recollection. W. Fugate. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 30th day of June, 1879. Jay Brown, J. P." (Quoted by Shook, op. cit., pp. 549-550.

The plates are referred to in the Fourth Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, p. 247 as the work of a village blacksmith. F. S. Dellenbaugh referred to them as the work of an Illinois blacksmith and stated that they were a fraud (The North-Americans of Yesterday, p. 49). W. P. Harris later learned that they were frauds.

"Barry, Pike Co., Ill.    
April 25, 1855.    
"Mr. Flagg,

Dear Sir: Yours of the 4th of April came to hand on the 23rd. This thing is stale with me, although I have feelings and respect for the truth.

Some years since, I was present with a number at or near Kinderhook, and helped to dig at the time the plates were found that I think you allude to. Robert Wiley, then a merchant of that place, said that he had had a number of strange dreams (as I have learned) that there was something in the mounds near Kinderhook. If I recollect right, he began to dig on Saturday, and on Sunday the discovery was made. I was present with quite a crowd. The plates were found in the pit by Mr. Fayette Grubb. I washed and cleaned the plates and subsequently made an honest affidavit to the same.

But since that time, Bridge Whitten said to me that he cut and prepared the plates and he (B. Whitten) and R. Wiley engraved them themselves, and that there was nitric acid put upon them the night before that they were found to rust the iron ring and band. And that they were carried


 


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to the mound, rubbed in the dirt and carefully dropped into the pit where they were found.

Wilbourn Fugit appeared to be the chief, with R. Wiley and B. Whitten. Fugit lives at Kinderhook and B. Whitten at Alton, Illinois, to both of which you can refer.

Subsequently to my receiving your letter, I have seen Dr. P. M. Parker, M. D., that graduated at St. Louis, Mo., last winter. Dr. Parker says that R. Wiley graduated at the same place since the finding of the plates at the same school, and that Professor McDowell on Surgery has the plates at his office, and he (Dr. Parker) saw them there last winter.

If it would be any satisfaction you will write to Dr. P. M. Parker, to Wilbourn Fugit and Bridge Whitten. Esq. W. Murray said that he had wrote you on the subject. What Esq. Murray says you may rely upon.

I believe that I have stated all as far as I know that would be any satisfaction to you, so with much esteem I remain, Fraternally Yours, W. P. Harris.
  Mr. W. C. Flagg,

P. S. Mr. Fugit, Mr. Whitten and I are all of us belonging to one order that ought to bear witness to the truth. If anything should transpire that you would wish to hear from me again (an old man rising of sixty) please write me and I will cheerfully give you all the information that I can. It is a late hour and I have worked hard all day in my garden and my health is very poor. So I hope you will excuse. Yours Respectfully, W. P. H. (From the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1912, Vo. 5, No. 2, pp.271-273. Bales copied this from the journal).

The following is also in the same journal which contained the above letter.

"The following (above, J.D.B.) letter came into the possession of Hon. Geo. H. Wilson of Quincy recently, and was given by him to the editor of

 


                JOSEPH  SMITH  AS  A  TRANSLATOR                  97


this Journal." He said that "The letter was shown to an old resident who remembered the incident well, and who said: 'The plates referred to were in the possession of Dr. McDowell of McDowell's college in St. Louis. After the death of Dr. McDowell, it is supposed the plates were placed in the Mercantile library, or some other museum in St. Louis. I know personally most of the men named in the letter. W. C. Flagg lived at Munro, Illinois, when Mr. Harris sent the letter. There are a few Pike county citizens still living who knew Fayette Grubb, Bridge Whitten, A. R. Wiley. Wilbourn Fugit and Esq. Murray, who lived at and near Kinderhook, and a great many remember Dr. P. M. Parker when he resided in New Canton and Barry." (Journal, Vol. V, p. 271).

Dr. Wyle has this to say: "Now just hear what was told me by a Mormon elder, an eye and ear witness: 'A "Class of elders," eleven or twelve, of whom I was one, was assembled in the Endowment House in 1858. Apostle Orson Pratt told us that he had been reading a work in which an account was given of the Kinderhook Plates. An Archeological society had heard of the plates and they wanted to get a reliable account of them. They sent down to Kinderhook, Ill., two men to investigate the matter. These men had been there for two or three weeks without result. At last they learned the names of the parties concerned, and that the plates were made by a blacksmith; they were told so by the artist himself. Pratt told the "class" that he was well convinced that the plates were a fraud.'" (Mormon Portraits, p. 211. Salt Lake City, Tribune Printing and Publishing Company, 1880).

James H. Breasted, Orientalist, Historian, Egyptologist, and Professor of Egyptology in the University of Chicago -- from 1905 and a number of years thereafter -- stated in a letter to R. B. Neal, on April 20, 1914 that the "Kinderhook


 


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Plates are, of course, childish forgeries, as the scientific world has known for years." ...



Copyright 1958, by John Allen Hudson.
Only limted, "fair use" excerpts provided here.
Pages 96-137 not transcribed


 


[ 138 ]




CHAPTER ELEVEN

THE  BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  ONE  OF
SPAULDING'S  MANUSCRIPTS

It has long been contended that there is a connection between the Book of Mormon and one of Solomon Spaulding's historical romances. The Latter-day Saints, of course deny such a connection. They also maintain that a manuscript found in Honolulu, which was written by Spaulding, proves that his work did not constitute the framework of the Book of Mormon.

I. What If the Latter-day Saints Are Right?

What if the Latter-day Saints are right and there is no relationship between the Book of Mormon and Spaulding's writings? It simply means that those who so contend are wrong, but it proves nothing with reference to the question as to whether or not the Book of Mormon is of divine origin. One could be wrong as to what man, or men wrote the Book of Mormon, and still know that it was not written by men inspired of God. One can easily prove that the Book of Mormon is of human origin. And, after all, this is the main issue. The fundamental issue i[s] not what man or men wrote it, but whether it was written by men who were guided by God. We know that men wrote it, and that these men, whoever they were, did not have God's guidance.

This may be illustrated by Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures-- The textbook of Christian Science Churches. Mrs Eddy claims to have been its author, under God's direction. There are others who claim she re-worked and enlarged a manuscript of Mr. Quimby. The evidence seems to prove that such is the case. But what if those who so maintained failed to prove their case? Would that prove

 


                 BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  SPAULDING'S                  139


that it was inspired of God? Not at all. It would prove only that Qumiby's manuscript had nothing to do with it. But it would npt prove that some other uninspired being did not write it. Regardless of what human being or beings wrote Science and Health, it is of human, not divine, origin. Just so the Book of Mormon is of human origin and uninspired, even though it were impossible to prove what particular man wrote it.


I. Arguments of the Latter-day Saints

(1) Spaulding could not have had any connection with the Book of Mormon, for he was a Presbyterian and the Book of Mormon condemns certain tenets of the Presbyterian faith. Presbyterian Faith

"Solomon Spaulding, be it known, was a Presbyterian minister; but this fact has been carefully concealed by those who have advocated the theory that Mr. Spaulding was the author of the Book of Mormon. Had they let this fact be known undoubtedly they would have aroused suspicion and greatly weakened their argument. For this reason, Presbyterian ministers do not write books condemning in strong terms certain tenets of their church. There is in the Book of Mormon much that is at variance with doctrines taught by the Presbyterian church; indeed, there is very little in the Book of Mormon that is compatible with Presbyterianism. There is not a Presbyterian church in the world that believes the Book of Mormon. On the contrary, Presbyterian ministers have been the loudest in condemning the book. A Presbyterian minister could not write the Book of Mormon if he would, and he would not write the Book of Mormon if he could."  (William A. Morton, Why I Believe the Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City, 1918, p. 6).

(a) To my knowledge no one has attempted to hide the fact that Spaulding was once a Presbyterian minister. He did not remain one for he became an infidel for a time, at least. (Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, p. 62; Manuscript Story, 142-143).

 


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(b) It has never been contended that the Spaulding romance was a work of Presbyterianism. It was an historical novel concerning ancient America.

(c) It has not been maintained that all of the Book of Mormon was written by Spaulding. Thus, it has not been claimed that the theological portions were put in by him. These portions bear the imprint of Smith, Cowdery, and Sidney Rigdon (See the proof offered in Shook's The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, pp. 126--). It is maintained, however, that some things, including a great deal of Scripture, were added to one of Spaulding's manuscripts and that his work was thus transformed into the Book of Mormon (See the testimony of John Spaulding, Solomon's brother; Martha Spaulding, John's wife: They maintained that the historical portion was Spaulding's. E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unveiled, 1834, pp. 278--, Shook. The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, pp. 94--).

(2) The Mormons contend that the discovery of one of Spaulding's manuscripts demonstrates that it was not the basis of the the Book of Mormon.

"I will here state that the Spaulding manuscript was discovered in 1884, and is at present in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio. On examination it was found to bear no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon. The theory that Solomon Spaulding was the author of the Book of Mormon should never be mentioned again -- outside a museum." (William A. Morton, op. cit., p. 6).

There are three errors in the above paragraph: viz. that Spaulding wrote but one manuscript; that the manuscript discovered in 1884 is the same one which non-Mormons have claimed constituted the basis of the Book of Mormon; that the manuscript in Oberlin bears no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon.

 


                BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  SPAULDING'S                  141


(a) Spaulding wrote more than one manuscript. This was maintained by D. P. Hurlburt and Clark Braden before the Honolulu manuscript was found (Charles A. Shook, op. cit., p. 77). Spaulding's daughter also testified that her father had written "other romances." (Elder George Reynolds, The Myth of the 'Manuscript Found,' Utah, 1883, p. 104). The present manuscript story looks like a rough, unfinished, first draft.

(b) The manuscript found in Honolulu was called a "Manuscript Story" and not the "Manuscript Found." This Honolulu manuscript, The Manuscript Story, was in the hands of anti-Mormons in 1834. However, they did not claim that it was the manuscript which was the basis of the Book of Mormon. It was claimed that another manuscript of Spaulding was the basis of the Book of Mormon. (Charles A. Shook, op. cit., p. 77, 15, 185. "The 'Manuscript Found or Manuscript Story' of the Late Rev. Solomon Spaulding, Lamoni, Iowa: Printed and Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1885, p. 10).

(c)Although the Manuscript Story has not been regarded as the Manuscript Found, which constituted the basis of the Book of Mormon, there is a great deal of resemblance between the Manuscript Story and the Book of Mormon. These points of similarity can be accounted for upon the basis that The Manuscript Story was the first, and rough, draft of one of Spaulding's works which he reworked into the Manuscript Found.

"Howe in 1834, published a fair synopsis of the Oberlin manuscript now at Oberlin (Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 288) and submitted the original to the witnesses who testified to the many points of identity between Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found' and the Book of Mormon. These witnesses then (in 1834) recognized the manuscript secured by Hurlburt and now at Oberlin, as

 


142                               THE  BOOK  OF  MORMON                                


being one of Spaulding's, but not the one which they asserted was similar to the Book of Mormon. They further said that Spaulding had told them that he had altered his original plan of writing by going farthrt back with his dates and writing in the old scripture style, in order that his story might appear more ancient, (Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 288)" (Theodore Schroeder, The Origin of the BM Re-Examined in Its Relation to Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found,' p. 5).

This testimony is borne out by the fact that there are many points of similarity between the manuscript in Oberlin College and the Book of Mormon. The observant reader will discover the following similarities. Anyone who so desires may check on us by comparing the two themselves.


III. Points of Similarity Between the Oberlin College Manuscript and the Book of Mormon

The page references which do not have the name of the book by them are references to the Manuscript Story.

(1) Both found under a stone. (11-12; F. W. Kirkham, A New Witness For Christ In America, 58).
(2) Both stones had to be lifted with a lever. (II; Kirkham, 58).
(3) Both found in a box. (12; Kirkham, 58).
(4) Both represent some of the inhabitants of this country as coming to it from across the waters. (14).
(5) Both represent these inhabitants as great, powerful, civilized peoples. (14:50).
(6) Both represent them as engaging in bloody battles, (12:100).
(7) Both claim to be a record of some of these peoples. (13).
(8) Both were written in a foreign language which had to be translated. (12-13).
(9) Both had a "translator." (13).
(10) Both set forth "history of lost tribes."

 


                BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  SPAULDING'S                  143


(11) Both mention "church." (22, 1 Nephi 14:12, etc.)
(12) Both mention Jesus Christ. (19).
(13) Both had people who believe in the religion of Jesus Christ. (19).
(14) Both mentioned "ministers," (19).
(15) The Manuscript Story mentioned the the Lord's day and devotional services on that day. The Book of Mormon implies Lord's day services, for it maintained that there were Christians on this continent then; and Christians meet upon the first day of the week, the Lord's day. (19).
(16) Both represent the people, who came across the ocean to this country, as encountering a great storm at sea. (15; Nephi 18:13).
(17) Both indicate that the storm subsided after prayer. (15, I Nephi 18:21).
(18) Both refer to written records which were hidden so that future generations might discover them and thus learn of these people. (14).
(19) Both referred to a people who believed in an omnipotent, self existent, good and great Spirit. (42, 23: Alma 19:25; 18:2; 11, 5).
(20) Both believed in an evil spirit. (24).
(21) Both referred to the revolutions of the earth. (29).
(22) Both mention large animals which the people worked. (31; Ether 9:18-19).
(23) Both mentioned the use of cotton cloth. (34).
(24) Both mentioned the horse. (35, 85).
(25) Both mentioned earthquakes. (38).
(26) Both taught an eternal life with rewards and punishments. (61:43).
(27) Both recognized the Great Spirit as the Maker of Man. (23).
(28) Both spoke of white people. (47).
(29) Both referred to great cities. (30, 49).

 


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(30) Both spoke of a great teacher who wrought wonders. (47, 48, 51).
(31) Both spoke of people who were able to write. (39).
(32) Both represented them as having some scientific knowledge,
(33) Both knew something of mechanical arts.
(34) Both used iron. (36, 51).
(35) Both used coins. (61, 63).
(36) Both constructed fortifications. (66, 73, 74).
(37) Both had seer-stones, by means of which they could see many amazing things, (Smith used a seer-stone, Whitmer's Address, p. 12, Shook, op. cit., p. 52, 164, footnote) (98).
(38) Both referred to a war of extermination. (104, 109, 110, 111, 123).
(39) Both believed in providence. (114, 120).
(40) Both speak of indescribable horrors as the result of war. (118, 119, 120, 121, 123, 132, 135).
(41) some people in both held property in common. (20; 3 Nephi 26:19).
(42) Both indicated that burnt offerings were made for sins.
(43) Both referred to judges over the people.
(44) Both indicated that there were at least three different peoples in this country,
(45) Both said that "characters" were used to represent words. (39, 50; Mormon 9:32).
(46) Both kept sacred writings separate from the other records. (40; 1 Nephu 9).
(47) Both spoke of the people as receiving words of a certain man as divine. (46, 50, 51, 48).
(48) Both taught that some sinners would be saved after death. (43). At least modern Mormonism teaches it.
(49) Both had counselors. (63).
(50) Both purport to be the record of "people who far exceeded

 


                BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  SPAULDING'S                  145


the present Indians in works of art and ingenuity."
(51) Both present only a part of the total records.
(52) The Book of Mormon promises that more records will come forth and the Manuscript Story promised an additional publication contingent on the reception of this one.
(53) The Book of Mormon presents an "abridgement" of records and the Manuscript Story presents "extracts" and not a "translation of every particular mentioned by our author" of the particular record from which translations were made.
(54) Both attempt to get the reader to consider them in a certain frame of mind. (Moroni 10:4; MS 13).
(55) Both have authors in them who announced their intentions to write and deposit records concerning their people. (Mormon 8:4; MS 14).
(56) Both have authors who present extracts from other records. (Ether 1:2; MS 14).
(57) Both mention the number of days which the storm at sea lasted. (1 Nephi 18:14, 15, 21; MS 15).
(58) Both represent people on the ship as being in despai. (1 Nephi 18:14, 15, 21; MS 15).
(59) Both have an individual who seems to be in special favor with the Deity. (1 Nephi 19:21; MS 16).
(60) Both mention "Christians." (21; Alma 46:13).
(61) Both have a number of occasions when men arise and make addresses.
(62) Both teach that prosperity of a people depends on obedience and goodness. (24; 73, 74).
(63) Both pronounce woe unto the wicked mortals. (24).
(64) Both have solemn sacred expiatory sacrifices and burnt offerings of animals. (24; Mosiah 2:3).
(65) Both had people whose ancestors migrated from the west. (30).

 


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(66) Both use the term "elephant." (31; Ether 9:18).
(67) Both mention milk. (31; 2 Nephi 26:25).
(58) The Latter-day Saints and the Manuscript Story both teach that matter existed eternally. (42).
(59) Latter-day Saints and the Manuscript Story teach restorationism with reference to the wicked.
(70) Latter-day Saints and the Manuscript Story taught polygamy for when there was a larger number of women than men, those men who were able to support more than one wife were to have more than one wife at the permission of the king. The man was to spend his time equally with each one. (44).
(71) Adultery however, was a great crime (44).
(72) Both taught immortality of man or life beyond the grave. (62).
(73) Dancing, a leading form of amusement with both Latter-day Saints and Manuscript Story (66).
(74) Both represent this hemisphere as once supporting large populations. (73).
(75) Both speak of bands of robbers (31).

There are too many points of similarity for them to be without significance. Thus, the internal evidence, combined with the testimony of witnesses, as presented in Howe's book and reproduced in Shook's, show that Spaulding revised the Manuscript Story. The revision was known as the Manuscript Found, and it became the basis of the Book of Mormon in at least its historical parts. Also its religious references furnished in part the germs of the religious portions of the Book of Mormon.

For a detailed presentation of the evidence, taken from Howe's book, which links one of Spaulding's manuscripts with the Book of Mormon, see Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon. However, in ordinary conversation, and in public debate on the Book of Mormon,

 


                BOOK  OF  MORMON  AND  SPAULDING'S                  147


it is unnecessary to go into the question of who wrote the Book of Mormon. The really important issue is whether or not the Book of Mormon is of divine origin. There are some Mormons who seem to think that if they can prove that Spaulding's manuscript had nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, they have made great progress toward proving its divine origin. Such, however, is not the case. And one should show, from an appeal to the Bible, and to the Book of Mormon itself, that the Book of Mormon is not of divine origin.



Copyright 1958, by John Allen Hudson.
Only limted, "fair use" excerpts provided here.
Pages 148 -171 not transcribed



 



[ 172 ]





CHAPTER FIFTEEN

THE KNOWLEDGE OF AND INTEREST IN
AMERICAN ANTIQUITIES BEFORE 1830

It is our duty in this chapter to show that there was a great deal of interest in, and a considerable amount of information about, American antiquities before the Book of Mormon was copyrighted or published. Concerning this, Bishop R. C. Evans, at one time one of the three highest men in the Reorganized Church, said: "There is one other claim made for the Book of Mormon, one that has deceived thousands of people, which I wish to expose before I show the real true history of the Book of Mormon. It is this: that the Book of Mormon gave to the world the first account of the history of the early settlers of America, that the fact that America was once a civilized part of the world, and that the inhabitants built large cities and that all was unknown till revealed by God in the great revelation known as the Book of Mormon. This delusion has been circulated by their books and preachers all over the country, and it is false. That I once believed that and taught it and sent my sermons out by the thousands is quite true, but thank God, the darkness and superstition is fled away and I am disillusioned." (Forty Years in the Mormon Church and Why I Left It, 1920, p. 17).

I. Joseph Smith Knew Something of Ancient America
Before He Even Claimed to Have the Plates
Of The Book Of Mormon

Joseph Smith possessed some knowledge of the ancient Americans before he got the plates of the Book of Mormon. This is shown from a statement of his own mother. From her record quotations are now taken: "Furthermore, the

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    173


angel told him, at the interview mentioned last, that the time had not yet come for the plates to be brought forth to the world; that he could not take them from the place wherein they were deposited until he had learned to keep the commandments of God -- not only till he was willing, but able, to do it. The angel bade Joseph come to this place every year, at the same time of the year, and he would meet him there and give him further instructions." (Lucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for many Generations Plano, Illinois: Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1880, p. 86). He received from time to time additional instructions from the Lord (?) as to the work which he was appointed to do (Ibid., pp. 86-87). "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 with them." (Ibid., p. 87). These conversations took place between the time of September the twenty-second 1823 and September twenty-second 1824 (Ibid., pp. 80, 81, 87). This was before he had secured possession of and translated the Book of Mormon. Perhaps a Latter-day Saint will say that he received this knowledge by inspiration before he translated the plates. So far as the author has been able to find there is no proof that he claimed to have received this inspiration. And even if he made the claim this book discredits it for it shows that the Latterday Saint position concerning the Book of Mormon and American antiquities is wrong.

 


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II. A Great Deal of Information Was Available

In the first thorough work on the Book of Mormon and American antiquities, Charles A. Shook cited many books which were written before 1828 concerning American antiquities. "While it is not claimed that there was worldwide knowledge, using this term in its broadest sense, of the ruined cities of Central America in 1830 (and, we may add, other ruins and peoples, J.D.B.), it is claimed, and ean be proved, that there was enough known of them before that date to have enabled some one to get up just such a story as the Book of Mormon. The fact is that there were a considerable number of works on science, travel and adventure published in the English language before 1830, which contained descriptions of the ruined cities of Mexico, Central America and Peru. Some of these were translations of works in French and Spanish; others were works by English and American authors. The following are the names of a number of works in the English language which, before 1830, described the antiquities of Central America and Mexico. They are either quoted from or referred to in the writings of Bancroft, Prescott and other later writers:" (Cumorah Revisited Cincinnati, Ohio: The Standard Publishing Company, 1910, p. 131). Shook then cited a number of such works (Ibid., pp. 131-134). The author of this present work has seen even more than these in the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. "The lists of books just given," continued Shook, "prove that there was ample information before 1830 for some one to get up just such a story as the Book of Mormon. The fact is that Adair's 'American Indians,' Robertson's 'History of America' and Barton's 'Origin of the Tribes and Nations of America' would have furnished Solomon Spaulding, long before 1812, all the information necessary to write out its outline as claimed." Or anyone

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    175


else, for that matter. "Not only was there a considerable number of works on American antiquities extant before 1830, but the basic theories of the Book of Mormon were those held by their authors and were popular at that time." (Ibid., p. 134). Shook then listed a number of such theories (Ibid., pp. 134-137).

III. Tradition of a Lost Book

"It is claimed, in support of the Book of Mormon, that certain American tribes had traditions according to which after generations was hid in the earth... Boudinot is often quoted..." as, for example, E. Boudinot wrote: "It is said among their principal, or beloved men, that they (some Indian tribes) have it handed down from their ancestors, that the book which the white people have was once theirs." (A Star in the West Trenton, N. J., 1816, p. 110). Since this story identified their lost book with the one then in the white man's possession, it may be that the story was told in an effort to gain prestige with the white man by professing a common background with the white man. Solomon Spaulding wrote a historical novel before 1815 based on the idea of the finding of a lost book (Charles A. Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, p. 80). Peter Ingersoll testified that Joseph Smith had heard of some lost history having been discovered in Canada (Ibid., p. 21).

IV. A Transparent Stone

David Whitmer said that Joseph Smith, Jr., used a "seer stone" in translating the Book of Mormon (Address to All Believers in Christ, p. 12). Boudinot, who tried to prove that the Indians were of Jewish origin, related an Indian tradition of a transparent stone which "looks something like a tradition of the blazing stones of Urim and Thummim" (A Star in the West, p. 203). The stone which

 


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Copyright 1958, by John Allen Hudson.
Only limted, "fair use" excerpts provided here.
Pages 176-220 not transcribed



 


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descended all the nations of the earth; but how they came to be scattered and dispersed into countries so remote from one another they cannot tell. They believed their Supreme God to be a good Being, and paid a sort of acknowledgement to him for plenty, victory and other benefits." (Ibid., p. 161).

Edmund Burke stated that the American Indians held to the belief in the existence of the Supreme being, "eternal and incorruptible, who has power over all." "They have ceremonies too, that seem to show that they had once a more regular form of religious worship; for they make a sort of oblation of their first fruits; observe certain ceremonies at the full moon; and have in their festivals many things that very probably came from a religious origin, though they perform them as things handed down to them from their ancestors, without knowing or enquiring about the reason." (European Settlement in America, 1808, p. 131).

9. Priests

Burke refers to their priests (Ibid., p. 132). Various other writers refer to them and their work.
 

XV. Ancient Inhabitants of North America

1. It Was Contended, Before 1828, That the Mound
Builders Were Not the Same Race of People as
The Indians Who Inhabited Those Regions
At The Coming of the White Man

A writer in an article published in 1820 stated:

"The reader, after having become acquainted with many of our ancient works, naturally inquires, Who were their authors? Whence did they emigrate?

At what time did they arrive? How long did they continue to inhabit this country? To what place did they emigrate? and, Where shall we look for their descendants? These questions have OFTEN BEEN ASKED,


 


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within the last thirty years, and as often answered, but not satisfactorily, especially to those who, on all occasions, require proofs amounting to mathematical certainty." (Archaeologia Americana, pp. 194-195, "Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian society" 1820, Vol. I).

It is well to observe that these questions were considerably agitated in the time, and before of Joseph Smith. It is also well to notice that the Book of Mormon settles (?) these questions as it also settles (?) the religious questions which were being hotly debated by that generation.

The writer from whom we have made the above quotation contended that the author of the mounds were not the American Indians. He presented his reasons for this stand.

"Have our present race of Indians buried their dead in mounds ? Have they constructed such works as are described in the preceding pages? Were they acquainted with the use of silver, or IRON, or copper? ALL THESE, curiously wrought, were found in one mound at Marietta" (lbid., p. 208).

"The Book of Mormon was attacked upon the ground that the ancient Americans never at any time had iron, but not long afterward it was sustained by archaeology (Phillips, Book of Mormon Verified, p. 14).

"Did they manufacture vessels from calcareous breccia, equal to any now made in Italy? Did they ever make and worship an idol, representing the three principal gods of India? (Archaeologia American, Vol. I, p. 208).

"The skeletons found in our mounds never belonged to a people like our Indians. The latter are a tall, rather slender, strait limbed people; the former were short and thick." (Ibid., p. 209).

Some of them were worshippers of Idols -- one was found in Nashville, Tennessee. This writer thought that

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    223


their sacred places were located near rivers for ablution purposes (lbid., pp. 210, 213). He believed that they came in "an early age of the world" and lived "here for a long time" (lbid., pp. 215, 220).

2. Early Inhabitants of America Were a Civilized People

"Amidst the extensive plains of Upper Canada, in Florida, near the the Gulf of Mexico, and in the deserts bordered by the Orinoco, in Columbia, dykes of a considerable length, weapons of brass, and sculptured stones, are found, which are indications that those countries were formerly inhabited by industrious nations, which are now traversed only by tribes of savage hunters" -- quoting from Humboldt. (Priest's American Antiquities, p. 254. This edition of his book published in 1838. But Humboldt, from whom he quotes, had been translated into English before the publication of the Book of Mormon.)

3. State of the Arts Among the Early Inhabitants
Of Ohio River Valley

They manufactured very good bricks (Archaeologia Americana, 1820, p. 223). "Gold ornaments are said to have been found in several tumuli; but I have never seen any." (p. 223). "Silver, very well plated, has been found in several mounds," (223). "Copper... but generally not very well wrought." "The copper, belonging to the sword, found at Marietta, is wrought with the most art of any which I have seen." (224). "Pipe bowls of copper, hammered out, and not welded together, but lapped over," "Bracelet of copper." Arrow or spear heads of copper. "Circular medals of this metal, several inches in diameter, very thin and much injured by time, have often been found in the tumuli... Some of them were large enough to have answered for breast plates." (224). "IRON has been found in very few instances, having oxydized." (224). Swords and knives (224) (Check). Mirrors of isinglass,


 


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Fireplaces and ruins of chimneys (226). "Some have thought that they had discovered cellars, on the cites of ancient towns." (226). "The potter's ware is by far the most interesting of any of their manufactures" (226). Urn (227). Small vessel which might have been used as a crucible (228). "Some of their arrow and spear heads are brought to such fine longpoints, so perfectly regular, that it is difficult to ascertain how they were made, even with steel instruments." (230). Axe made of "a species of green stone, equal to Egyptian granite. It is polished in the neatest manner." (230). Pipe (230) Fishing nets fragments in nitrous caves of Kentucky (231). Mummies (231). "Thought that they had some few very well manufactured swords and knives of IRON, possibly of STEEL, yet they certainly used many stone axes, stone knives, arrow heads, etc., which are found in many of the tumuli." (232). He thought that the authors of the mounds had "some knowledge of astronomy'' (237). According to his way of thinking "perhaps a thousand years, has elapsed since these hearths were deserted" (226). He also thought that some, or all, of them were idolators (240).

4. State of the Arts Among the Early Inhabitants

Articles found in mounds where Cincinnati now stands. Pieces of jasper, rock crystal; a bone, ornamented with several carved lines, supposed to be hieroglyphtcal; mass of lead ore, lumps of which have been found in other tumuli; quantity of isinglass; small oval piece of sheet copper, with two perforations; a larger oblong piece of the same metal, with longitudinal grooves and ridges." "These articles are described in the fourth and fifth volumes of the American Philosophical Transactions by Governor Sargent and Judge Turner;" (Arch. Amer., 161). There were several copper articles "each consisting of two sets of CIRCULAR CONCAVO CONVEX PLATES." "They

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    225


all appear to consist of pure copper, covered with the green carbonate of that metal." (Ibid., p. 162). There were also human bones "sometimes enclosed in rude stone coffins" (162).

Mr. Clifford of Lexington, Ky., saw several mummies. "The mummies have generally been found enveloped in three coverings; first, in a coarse species of linen cloth." "The second enveloped of the mummies, in a kind of net work, of coarse threads... in which were fixed the fea. tures of various kinds of birds." "Third, leather sewed together" (Ibid., 213).

In the Grave Creek mound below Wheeling copper beads were found (187). "This lofty and venerable tumulus has been so far opened, to ascertain that it contains many thousands of human skeletons, but not farther." (187).

In the Ohio Valley in one mound was found "the handle either of a small sword or a large knife, made of an elk's horn"; "around the end where the blade had been inserted, was a ferule of silver," (178). "A plate of IRON, which had become anoxyde; but before it was disturbed by the spade, resembled a plate of cast iron." (178). Stone axes and knives (179). "In another mound, about a mile distance from this, was found a tool, almost exactly resembling one in use among shoemakers," (Arch. Amer., 1820, 180).

A communication from Dr. S. P. Hildreth of Marietta July 19, 1819. From one of the ancient mounds in one of their streets there was found a body and ornaments, etc. "Lying immediately over, or on the forehead of the body, were found three large circular bosses, or ornaments for a sword belt, or buckler; they are composed of copper, overlaid with a thick plate of silver... On the back side, opposite to the depressed portion, is a copper rivet or nail, around which are two separate plates, by which they were

 


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fastened to the leather." "Near the side of the body was found a plate of silver which appears to have been the upper part of a sword scabbard; it is six inches in length and two inches in breadth..." (169). The mound had been covered with trees; these trees were thought to be at least four or five hundred years old (171). He raises questions which the Book of Mormon later proposed to answer. "Of what language, or of what nation were the mighty race, that once inhabited the territory watered by the Ohio, remains yet a mystery, too great for the most learned to unravel." "But from what we see of their works, they must have had some acquaintance with the arts and sciences. They have left us perfect specimens of circles, squares, octagons, and parallel lines, on a grand and noble scale. And unless it can be proved that they had intercourse with Asia or Europe, we now see that they possessed the art of working in METALS" (Arch. Amer., pp. 171-172). The writer of the article tells us that he had personally examined both articles and spots and testifies that Hildreth's account is correct.

Hildreth writes, under date of 3rd Nov. 1819, Marietta, as follows: In addition to the articles found at Marietta, I have procured, from a mound on the Little Muskingum, about four miles from Marietta, some pieces of copper, which appear to have been the front part of a HELMET." (174). He tells us that he had been told that an ornament of pure gold had been found. An eye witness also told him that near Blackburgh in Virginia "there was found about half a STEEL BOW, which, when entire, would measure five or six feet" (176).

The writer also speaks of their "IDEAS OF PURIFICATION BY THE USE OF WATER, and of ATONEMENT BY SACRIFICE," (Archaeological Americana, 250).

 


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5. Extent of Their Population

"From the Rocky Mountains in the West, to the Alleghanies in the east, the country must have been more or less settled by them; and the number of the people after their settlements reached the Ohio river, must have been far greater than is generally supposed. To have erected such works, so numerous and large, must have required a great population." (Arch. Amer., 223). "I have never counted them, nor has any other person; but the state of Ohio was once much thicker settled, in all probability, than it now is, where it contains seven hundred thousand inhabitants." (222-223),

6. Mormon Apologists

The Mormons contend that the ancient mounds, as well as the ancient cities in the Americas, show a superior civilization to that of the aborgures who were found there (Phillips, p. 38, Velt, p. 89) also refers to this relapse and decay. However, it only proves that the composers of the Book of Mormon know of the remains of these civilizations as well as the rude state of civilization that existed among the American Indians and some of the inhabitants of South America at the time of the coming of the white man. However, it must also be remembered that a civilization flourished in Mexico at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards.

"A number of Mormon writers declare that the people known to us as the Mound Builders! were the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon." (Shook, Cumorah Revisited, p. 261).

They also advocate the idea that the Indians and the Mound Builders were two different people. "The mound builders were here centuries -- twelve centuries -- before the progenitors of the Indians came, according to the Book of Mormon (Presidency and Priesthood, Kelley, p. 263, quoted p. 261, Shook, Ibid). Stebbins tells us that "we, knowing that they came from the Tower of Babel, can understand

 


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why they were neither Hebrews nor like any other people in any land." (Lectures, p. 85, quoted by Shook, Ibid., p. 262). However, there are some of the LDS who think that "On entering the United States, the Nephites settled largely in the same sections inhabited by the Jaredites, the oldest mound builders, and their march to their final conflict was along the same lines." (Report of Committee on Archaeology, p. 65, quoted by Shook, Ibid., p. 262). Thus it seems that it was the territory into which hoth Jaredites and Nephites had lived.

Ether gives a description of Jaredites at a period of their greatest development (Quoted this from Shook, CR, p. 263). It was a picture that could be painted with the knowledge and theories of American antiquities that existed in 1828.

7. It Was Believed, Before 1828 and the Publication of
the BM, That There Was Some Connection Between the
Inhabitants of North America and Those of South America

"Thus we have traced the authors of our ancient works, from the North, and thence to South America." (Arch. Amer., 1820, p. 250).

"The following extracts from Humboldt's Views of the Cordilleras, etc., are subjoined, to show the correspondence which exists between Teocalli of the Mexicans, and the tumuli of the North Americans." (Ibid., p. 251).

8. Mexico and Mound Builders -- Connection

"The monuments and remains of their labours, which have resisted the hand of time, are chiefly found in the great valleys along the Ohio and Mississippi, in one of the most beautiful and fertile parts of America. The most striking of these antiquities are, the pyramids, the fortifications, and the mounds; which we shall briefly describe, and proceed to examine the question -- What people erected them?" (McCulloh, 1817, p. 201). Brackenridge speaks

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    229


of the ruins near St. Louis. "I was perfectly satisfied, that here once existed a city SIMILAR TO THOSE IN MEXICO, described by the first conquerors." (Ibid., p. 203).

9. Connection Between Central America and the U. S.

"In fine, these works are thickly scattered over the vast plain from the southern shore of Lake Erie, to the Mexican Gulf, increasing in number, size and grandeur as we proceed towards the south. They may be traced around the Gulf, across the province of Texas into New Mexico, and all the way into South America." (Arch. Amer., 1820, pp. 123-124).

"I am perfectly satisfied that cities, similar to those of ancient Mexico, of several thousand souls, have existed in this country." (Speaking of country in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois river section, etc. (p. 188). (Arch. Amer., 1820). "An observing eye can easily mark in these works, the progress of their authors, from the LAKES to the valley of the Mississippi; thence to the Gulph of Mexico, and round it, through Texas, into New Mexico, and into South America; their increased numbers, as they proceeded are evident; while the articles found in and near these works show also the progressive improvement of the arts among those who erected them." (Arch. Amer., 1820, pp. 189-190).

Priests quotes Humboldt "from which it appears the people inhabiting the vale of Mexico, at the time the Spaniards over run that country, were called Aztecks, or Aztekas; and were, as the Spanish history informs us, usurpers, having come from the north, from a country which they called Aztalan." (Amer. Antiquities, p. 195).

10. Wars Among Ancient Inhabitants of America

Priest again quotes from a work written prior to 1828.

 


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"We come to a knowledge of this tradition by the means of a Mr. William Walker, some time Indian agent for our government; who, it seems, from a pamphlet published, 1823, by Frederick Falley, of Sandusky giving Mr. Walker's account, that a great~many hundred years ago, the ancient inhabitants of America, who were the authors of the great works of the west, were driven away from their country and possessions by barbarous and savage hordes of warriors, who came from the north and northeast, before whose power and skill in war, they were compelled to flee, and went to the south." (Amer. Antiquities, p. 198).

In speaking of some of the Indian remains in the then western states, McCulloh wrote: "whilst the nation that raised these works, together with her patriots and her heroes, has disappeared, and has not left even a name behind, and the last and only resemblance of them which has reached our time, has been only preserved by a recollection of their ruin and extermination, and the terrible effusion of their blood." (McCulloh, 1817, 210).
 

XVI. White Men in Ancient America

1. Mormon Apologists

"The Nephites were an 'exceeding fair' people, while the Lamanites were cursed with darkness because of their iniquity. The Indians are their descendants according to the Book of Mormon account. The fact that a LIGHT-HAIRED RACE, entirely different from the Indians, did dwell here is clearly proven." (Phillips Book of Mormon Verified, pp. 2122). He quotes statements from the Antiquarian Journal and from Short's American Indian to substantiate this claim. He then says: "If the Book of Mormon contains not a grain of truth,' then Mr. Short's statements are also false; for what science was long in discovering, the Book

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    231


of Mormon presented years before to the world." (Ibid., p. 22). He adds "Short says on page 189 of Meneminees or 'White Indians': 'The peculiarity of the complexion of this people has been marked from the first time a European encountered them.' Evidencing the truth of the Book of Mormon statement of their ISRAELITISH ORIGIN, we now present the following from Bancroft:..." (Phillips, Ibid., pp. 22-23) .

"According to the statement of the Book of Mormon, that portion of Israel known as the Nephites and Lamanites came over to the Western Continent about 600 B. C." (Etzenhouser, The Book Unsealed, pp. 31-32).

Elder Stebbins says: "According to both the Book of Mormon and science, it was not the red man who built cities and erected palaces. It was a nobler race, and they remained FAIR until they amalgamated with the Lamanites and were brought under the same cursing." (Lectures, p. 177, quoted p. 140, Shook, Cumorah Revisited).

Stebbins also says: "Also traditions assure us that the first colonizers were civilized and were white men who wore beards." (Lectures, p. 174, quoted p. 151, CR, Shook).

If the Book of Mormon is right in insisting that there were white men in ancient America it does not prove that the Book of Mormon is inspired. It would prove no more than some of the traditions recorded in books prior to 1828 were correct.

It was long believed that white men had lived in America.

"...presently after there appeared to the southward a WHITE MAN of a large stature, and a venerable aspect, whose power was so great... "Temples were built to him. "They add that some time after, as they were told by their ancestors, another came like to the former, who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and that the people

 


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in the Province of Canas going about furiously to stone him to death, saw him on his knees, with his hands lifted up to heaven, imploring divine assistance, when a fire appeared in heaven, which put them into such a fright..." "After this, they say, he went away to the sea, and entering it on his mantle spread abroad, was never seen again." (Herrera, History of America, Vol. IV, pp. 284-285).

Peru may have been inhabited by ancient whites according to McCulloh. "I am induced to make these observations, among many other reasons, by finding that Garcilazo de la Vega relates -- enormous stone buildings, pyramids, and gigantick stone statues, are found on the frontiers of Peru -- whose founders or builders were unknown. Perhaps, it would be carrying our theory too far, to attribute these last works to the ANCIENT WHITES of America, or to the Toltecas; all that can be said, is, that such an opinion is not attended with impossible circumstances." (lbid., 1817, p. 220).

"The Abbe Molina observes, -- There is a tribe of Indians in the province of Baroa in Chili, whose complexions are of a clear WHITE and RED, without any intermixture of the copper colour" (McCulloh, 1817, p. 51). "Baron Humbolt says: -- In the forests of Guiana especially near the sources of the Orinoco, are several tribes of a WHITISH complexion, the Guiacas, Guajaribs, and Arigues..." (lbid., p. 52). He again quotes from Humbolt that "under 54 degrees10 minutes of N. Lat. at Cloak Bay... there is a tribe with large eyes, European features, and a skin less dark than that of our peasantry:" (Ibid., p. 52).

2. Wars to Extermination

The following quotation takes some of the glory away from the Book of Mormon. "Mr. Thomas Boedly was informed by Indians of different tribes, north west of Ohio, it had been a tradition among their several nations, that

 


                  AMERICAN  ANTIQUITIES  BEFORE  1830                    233


Kentucky has been settled by WHITES, and that they had been EXTERMINATED BY WAR. They were of opinion that the OLD FORTIFICATIONS now to be seen in Kentucky and Ohio, were the productions of those white inhabitants.

Wappockanita, a Shawnee chief, near a hundred and twenty years old, living on the Anglase river, confirmed the above tradition." (McCulloh, 1817, pp. 210-211). "An old Indian, in conversation with Colonel Jas. F. Moore, of Kentucky, informed him, that the western country, and particularly Kentucky, had once been inhabited by WHITE PEOPLE, but they were exterminated by INDIANS (The Lamanites of the Mormons? JDB). That the last battle was fought at the Falls of Ohio, and that the Indians succeeded in driving the Aborigines into a small island (Sandy Island) below the rapids, where the whole of them were cut to pieces." "The Indian chief called Tobacco, told Gen. Clark, of Louisville, that the battle of Sandy Island, decided finally the fall of Kentucky, with its ancient inhabitants." (Ibid., p. 211). Some of the ancient tribes of the Saca "stated also, that the people who inhabited this country were WHITES, and possessed such ARTS as were UNKNOWN TO THE INDIANS." (Ibid., p. 211). "Colonel M'Kee, who commanded on the Kenhawa when Cornstalk was inhumanly murdered, had frequent conversation with that chief, respecting the people who had constructed the ANCIENT FORTS. He stated, that it was a current and assured tradition among the Indians, that Ohio and Kentucky had been once settled by WHITE people; who were possessed of ARTS which the INDIANS DID NOT KNOW, and that after many sanguinary CONTESTS, they were EXTERMINATED." (McCulloh, 1817, p. 211-212).

McCulloh concluded that "From these traditions, and from the testimony of three South American nations, who

 


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ascribed their civilization and religion to three WHITE MEN, whom we shall presently notice, it appears very reasonable to believe, that a RACE OF WHITE MEN, imperfectly civilized, were the center from whence the civilization, observable in America, has emanated: -- and to THIS POPULATION MUST WE REFER THE PYRAMIDS AND FORTIFICATIONS OF THE WESTERN COUNTRY." (p. 212, 1817).

"A cruel and bloody WAR appears to have taken place between the rude and barbarious natives, perhaps under some Attilla or Genseric, and their more refined and civilized neighbours, which ended nearly in the total destruction of the latter. The few that survived this catastrophe, fled their country, and sought happier and more peaceful climes. The Toltecas and Mexicans, copper coloured people, who appear to owe the knowledge and refinement they possessed to these aboriginal whites, avoid a cruel fate in this manner, though they appear to have also suffered before leaving their original country." "The arguments supporting the opinion, that the Western States of the Union were the original countries of the Mexicans and Toltecas, may perhaps be plausibly demonstrated, and under the peculiar circumstances of the bloody war which we have just mentioned, may be found the reason that enforced their migration." (McCulloh, 1817, p. 213). In a footnote he adds "This is an old opinion, and has been supported by many writers" (Ibid., p. 213). The Mexicans said "they were forced to leave their original country Huehuetapallan, which they said was NORTH FROM MEXICO. They do not state why they were forced, or on what account; they simply say, they were banished" (Ibid., p. 213, 214).


The remainder of this copyrighted book
(pages 235 to 281) has not been transcribed.



 



Document #4:
Hugh Nibley's "The Comparative Method," in Improvement Era, Oct. 1959, p. 741ff; revised as chapter eight in: The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Vol. 8, 1989.

In Dr. Nibley's reponse to James D. Bales' 1958 compilation of Spalding/Book of Mormon parallels, Nibley is correct in saying that such compilations do not prove that the Book of Mormon depends upon Spalding's writings; but he ignores Bales' assertion that Mormons are wrong in saying the Oberlin MS bears "no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon." Nibley's rule for assessing literary parallelism is: "The closer the resemblance the closer the connection."


Entire contents Copyright 1959, 1989 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced on this web-page.

 


[p. 741]


The Comparative Method

by Hugh Nibley

The fundamental rule of the comparative method is, that if things resemble each other there must be some connection between them, and the closer the resemblance the closer the connection. For example, if anyone were to argue that the Book of Mormon was obviously stolen from Solomon Spaulding's Manuscript Story (the document now at Oberlin College) because the word "and" is found to occur frequently in both texts, we would simply laugh at him. If he brought forth as evidence the fact that kings are mentioned in both books, he might not appear quite so ridiculous. But if the Manuscript Story actually referred by name to "cureloms and comoms" we would be quite sure of a possible borrowing (though even then we would not have proven a direct borrowing). This hypothetical case illustrates the fact that there are degrees of significance in parallels.

Recently a Protestant minister pointed to 75 resemblances between the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Story. None of them alone is worth anything, but his position is that there are so many that, taken altogether, they must be significant. The trouble is that it would be very easy to find 75 equally good parallels between the Book of Mormon and any other book you can name. As an actual example, to prove that the Book of Mormon and the Manuscript Story are related, this investigator shrewdly notes that in both books "men arise and make addresses," both books pronounce woe unto wicked mortals, both mention milk, in both adultery was a crime, both had counselors," etc. What kind of parallels are these? Seventy-five or seven hundred fifty, its all the same -- such stuff adds up to nothing.

________
Transcriber's comments: In a note added to his 1989 revision of this article, Nibley refines his criticism of Bales somewhat, by saying that Bales has really not compiled such a massive list of textual parallels in Spalding's writings and the Book of Mormon after all:

Even to work out the small number of seventy-five parallels, Bales had to pad heavily. Thus, both the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding Manuscript talk about great civilizations, as what history does not? This parallel is broken down into such inevitable points of resemblance as "both [books] refer to great cities," 'both... represented as having some scientific knowledge," "both knew something of mechanical arts," "both used iron," "both used coins" (the words "coin" and "coins," however, are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon), "both constructed fortifications," "both exceeded the present Indians in works of art and ingenuity," etc. Now all these things are inevitable accompaniments of any civilization; they are not separate and distinct points of resemblance at all. One might as well argue that since both books mention people, both imply that people have hands, hands have fingers, etc., and thus accumulate "parallels" by the score.

Transcriber's comments: Here Nibley states the obvious -- that the length of any list of thematic parallels can always be extended (practically to an infinite degree) by defining and adding more sub-units of similarities within the basic categories of textual parallelism. This does not mean however, that all additions of sub-parallels are necessarily trivial or insignificant. What one should keep in mind when making and considering the possible significance of these kinds of textual parallels is whether or not additionally identified sets of similarities form discernable patterns of inter-relationship within and between the two works being examined.

For example, Nibley correctly points out the fact that the Book of Mormon does not use the word "coin" in speaking of Nephite money. However, it does describe metallic "pieces" minted by the government to pay public officials -- officials who are at risk of being corrupted by accumulating such monetary wealth. Spalding's Oberlin story contains practically the exact same set of thematic elements, calling the Ohians' metallic money "pieces," expressing concern over such money possibly corrupting public officials, etc., etc. Thus, Nibley's easy dismissal of Bales' coins parallel overlooks the abundance of sub-units of similarity within the basic category of government-minted metallic money -- respectively identifiable in both the texts. Several similar instances of clusters of parallels might also be cited here. It appears that this kind of pattern identification and analysis is exactly what Nibley hopes to avoid seeing LDS readers encounter when they browse through Spalding's writings.



 
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