Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon Hardcover – Jan 1 1985
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"invaluable for the vivid account it gives of Smiths background, his personality, and the turbulent first years of his church -the crispest, best-structured account -excellent"--Free Inquiry --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
David Persuitte is a technical editor living in Arnold, Maryland. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
All eight of the reviews of this book were written by people obviously antagonistic toward the Mormon church. The fact that 100% of the reviews were more interested in bashing the church than in reviewing the quality of the book, the fact that 100% of the reviews couldn't contain the gloating their authors felt, the fact that 100% of them rated the book the maximum number of stars--is a big red flag to me that 100% of the reviewers came to the book with a big hairy anti-Mormon bias.
Over and over again, my experience has been that people antagonistic toward the Mormon church are more interested in sensational bashing of the church than in legitimate cirticism. "The Godmakers" is a classic clinical study of this. It contained more twisted, distorted, and flagrant lying about the doctrine of the church than accurate information. As someone who has seen the church from the inside for over half a century, I'm telling you, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize the church--why resort to disingenuous sensationalism?
My question to the eight reviewers is, why didn't you at least pretend to have an objective viewpoint? Your gloating is obvious. You didn't even try to contain it.
As for the book itself... Joseph Smith lifted the Book of Mormon completely from "View of the Hebrews"? This is a theory that was debunked a long time ago. At most, "View" gave Smith an idea that he ran with and developed on his own. The similarities between the two books are too superficial for one to have been derived from the other.
This book offers insights into the origins of the Book of Mormon. David Persuitte is not writing to defend Christianity nor is he writing to tear down Mormonism but is writing a book about the Book of Mormon from an historical and literary point of view. His conclusion is much to what you would expect of the Book of Mormon, Smith utlizied his ability to tell strange tales about the American Indians, history of pre-Columbus America, and religious works of his day to write the Book of Mormon.
If you have never read the Book of Mormon I would encourage you to get a copy of it. Anyone with a decent knowledge of history and archeology will soon see that Smith's writing is not historical and his "truths" are nothing but lies.
For more information see also Fawn Brodie's excellent work NO MAN KNOWS MY HISTORY, Sandra Tanner's MORMONISM: SHADOW OR REALITY, and Stan Larson's THE QUEST FOR THE GOLDEN PLATES.
Persuitte's premise is that Smith had few original bones in his body. Of course, it is obvious that Smith knew how to plagiarize because about a fifth of the Book of Mormon is copied straight out of the King James Version Bible, including the errors made by the English translators. Anyone who is honest would have to admit that Smith really didn't translate these words from the Book of Mormon "plates." But Persuitte believes that Smith also stole his ideas from the sources available to him in his day, especially from Vermont minister Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews (first published in 1823), which had been published only a few years before. Using numerous side-by-side comparisons throughout much of the book and tying in other 19th century works and ideas, Persuitte is able to write, "Considered as a whole, this material makes it quite clear that The Book of Mormon was a product of the early nineteenth century rather than being a 'history' of ancient America" (p. 3).
All in all, this is a book fully worthy of reading and marking up before putting it back on the shelf for future reference. Persuitte has done a valuable service for all who want to show that Joseph Smith's story was not his own.
Most of the early chapters deal with Joseph before he conceived how to create THE BOOK. Here he is shown to be lazy, shiftless, unreliable; but he had the gift of a colorful storyteller and the ability to fool people; for example, he deceived many into thinking he could find buried treasure if they paid him a fee. Though illiterate, he tried with great persistence to produce a writing that would make himself wealthy;
and he was able to use several contemporary sources and the BIBLE to borrow many ideas and even words and phrases. Persuitte does a marvelous job of tracing the manner in which Joseph plagiarized concepts. He uses the newspapers, journals, letters, affidavits, and court records of Joseph's times to back up his conclusions. And although it is not his major thesis to attack Mormonism or ridicule current-day believers, by his thorough scholarship he (in effect) makes it clear that the foundation of the Mormon Church is based on a scoundrel who cheated on his own wife, cheated acquaintances out of their money, and died in prison at the hands of a public that could no longer tolerate the threats he made to society.
It's an account that is both fascinating and convincingly presented by Persuitte.
Most recent customer reviews
If Joseph Smith did not rely extensively (perhaps even exclusively) on Ethan Smith's "View of the Hebrews" in writing the Book of Mormon, then the two (unrelated) Smiths are... Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003 by Gnarly1
This book shows the author's extensive research in the subject. He has fully documented his material and presents it in a informative manner. Read morePublished on June 22 2003
Joseph Smith is one of the most important religious figures in the history of our country, yet he has been little studied. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2001 by Bradley P. Rich
... This sober analysis is essential to anyone who is interested in the TRUTH behind the LDS religion. It is well written, thorough, engaging, and ultimately quite fascinating. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2001
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