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
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.
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)
[ 23 ]
The Book of Mormon
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.
The Book of Mormon?
JAMES D. BALES, PhD.
Professor of Christian Doctrine
Harding College, Searcy, Arkanses
OLD PATHS BOOK CLUB
Box V. 8877 Mission Drive
[ 7 ]
"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
[ 89 ]
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).
I -- The Kinderhook PlatesThe 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
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 PlatesThe 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).
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."
(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 SmithWilbur Fugate -- one of the witnesses -- wrote James T. Cobb, of Salt Lake City, Utah, as follows:
Mound Station, Illinois,"Mr. Cobb:
June 30, 1879.
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
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
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."Mr. Flagg,
April 25, 1855.
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
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
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
Plates are, of course, childish forgeries, as the scientific world has known for years." ...
[ 138 ]
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
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,
(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).
(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.
(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
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 MormonThe 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."
(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).
(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
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).
(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,
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.
I. Joseph Smith Knew Something of Ancient America
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.
II. A Great Deal of Information Was AvailableIn 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
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 StoneDavid 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
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. PriestsBurke refers to their priests (Ibid., p. 132). Various other writers refer to them and their work.
XV. Ancient Inhabitants of North America
"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,
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
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
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 InhabitantsArticles 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
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
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).
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 ApologistsThe 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
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 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
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 AmericaPriest again quotes from a work written prior to 1828.
"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
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
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 ExterminationThe 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
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
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).
(pages 235 to 281) has not been transcribed.
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."
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.