Who wrote the Book of Mormon?
Well, much of it was actually plagiarized out of context from the King James bible. No problems there – I’d personally have been happy if Smith had just told his followers “Read the King James Bible and decide for yourself if my doctrines can be found there.”
We’d have more Baptists and much less mormons that way!
Another source of the Book of Mormon was Solomon Spaulding. It’s a fact that Dr. Walter Martin, upon researching this issue, pronounced emphatically that the true author of the Book of Mormon was Spaulding. Spaulding wrote fiction stories, and there is an article on Recovery From Mormonism on this as well. The article does a great deal of connecting Ethan Smith, the Cowderys, Rigdon, and Masonic influences together to construct the Book of Mormon. THey also point out the many Whitmer witnesses, but point out that all of the Whitmer witnesses had left Mormonism by 1842, which definitely puts a great deal of question as to the veracity of their claims of witness.
Apparently Sydney Rigdon got a copy of one of Spaulding’s manuscripts from the print shop in Philadelphia around 1820 or so. After Rigdon was dismissed as a Baptist Pastor for teaching heresy, he moved to Kirtland, Ohio where he became a Campbellite Church of Christ minister. However, eyewitness accounts place him in the company of Joseph Smith prior to 1830, and even place him in Palmyra, New York. Recovery From Mormonism points out this would explain why Smith and his church relocated to Kirtland almost immediately after its founding.
Enough people have compared the BOM with Spaulding to show there was plagiarism.
We should mention that Oliver Cowdery’s family minister was Ethan Smith, author of “View of the Hebrews”, which appears to also have been a source for the BOM. All one had to do was substitute Native Americans into the place of the Jews, and you had a crucial step to creating the BOM.
In addition, the Tanners have shown there was plagiarism from the Apocrypha, or at least influence.
According to Charlie Campbell, the book The Wonders of Nature and Providence Displayed by Josiah Priest was also plagiarized.
Lastly, I’ve got to point out the well documented influences of Freemasonry and its legends being added to the Book of Mormon.
It took some skill to weave all of this together into a somewhat coherent book.
Was God the author of the Book of Mormon? You decide, but when we can spot word for word plagiarism, I’m going to say, “no”. The God of the Bible doesn’t need to steal from human authors. Maybe “Elohim”, the false god of Mormonism does, but the real Elohim, the God of the Bible whose name is YHVH, does not.