Does the Book of Mormon exhibit evidence of divine/ancient origins or human/modern origins?
Book of Mormon5,000 Changes
Despite the claim that Joseph Smith's "translation" was by the gift and power of God, several thousand changes have been made to the Book of Mormon since its original printing.
The Book of Mormon narrative is full of absurdities that demonstrate it's a work of fiction.
- King James style
Despite the Book of Mormon being published in 1830, its narrative attempts to employ the antiquated English style of the Early Modern Era, as though to make it read more like the King James Version of the Bible published in 1611.
Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was his translation of an ancient book written upon gold plates. Its long-windedness is contrary to what we would expect given the size of the plates.
Animals and objects that appear throughout the Book of Mormon story confirm its 19th century origins, not the ancient history it purports to be.
Earlier works, like Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews, provide a working framework for the Book of Mormon's themes. Joseph also borrows extensively from the Bible.
The extensive quoting from the King James translation of the Book of Isaiah poses several problems for the Book of Mormon to be considered an authentic ancient record.
Did Joseph Smith author the Book of Mormon?
According to Joseph's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, he possessed a vivid imagination and was telling stories with Book of Mormon themes years before he allegedly found the gold plates.
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.
Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches, p.345
LDS historian and Seventy B.H. Roberts shares Lucy's view.
That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question.
B.H. Roberts - Mormon Seventy and LDS church historian
Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.243
- Joseph was listed as the Author and Proprietor in the first edition of the Book of Mormon. This was changed to Translator in subsequent editions.
Joseph intended to sell the Book of Mormon copyright.
Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon.
ConclusionThe evidence leads to one conclusion: Joseph Smith had the materials and the imagination to create the Book of Mormon story. We don't need to examine the gold plates to determine that it's narrative is a 19th century product and not an authentic ancient history.