Post contributed by Chris Heimerdinger

Chris Heimerdinger

5 Women Who Are Witnesses of the Physical Golden Plates

March 2, 2018

Attacks against the Book of Mormon have experienced a kind of “mission creep” since its publication in 1830.[1] Critics began by labeling the book “bungling and stupid,”[2] Joe Smith a “perfect ignoramus,”[3] and they claimed “any blunderhead, with the Bible at his side, might have written [it] . . .”[4]

As Church membership mushroomed, and it became clear the Book of Mormon is pretty complex, a second theory necessarily emerged: namely a vast conspiracy with multiple authors nefariously re-working a plagiarized text.[5] This so-called Solomon Spalding-forgery theory flourished for decades, but lost favor in 1884 when the original Spalding manuscript (said to have been forged) was re-discovered. Spalding’s novella and the Book of Mormon were found to have as much in common as John’s Revelation and Don Quixote.[6]

More recently, critics have lauded Joseph Smith as a “religious genius”[7]evil genius to some[8]— whose book teems with “impressive literary, theological, psychological, and spiritual qualities,”[9] and whose delusionary motives for writing it are best explained by esoteric psychoanalysis.[10] Whether Joseph was an ignoramus, madman, or an evil religious genius, critics maintain that the Book of Mormon cannot be a historical record taken from golden plates.


Book of Mormon

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