It’s the name that gives Mormon apologists sleepless nights.
his story, “The Manuscript Found in the Wilderness of Mormon”, written in 1812. I’ve read two accounts of this, one that he attempted to get it published and the printer never published it, where Sidney Rigdon found it. The other is that he published it, but it went nowhere, and Rigdon found the original manuscript in the print shop, and took it.
If we reduce the “wilderness of Mormon” to its plot, we see its identical to the Book of Mormon. The story Spaulding wrote is about two brothers, Lehi and Ishmael who left Jerusalem with their families and landed in America around 600 BC. Two of the sons, Lehi and Laman got into a fight, and the people took sides. God showed his displeasure with Laman and his followers by cursing them with dark skin. The Nephites migrated northward, where Jesus Christ appeared to them.
No kidding. This is the plot of Solomon Spaulding’s book. Does it sound familiar?
We’ve got two possible solutions – Either Solomon Spaulding had a series of visits from Moroni, finally dug up the golden plates, translated them… and sold them as fiction, and then reburied them, annoying Moroni greatly…
…Or the more likely story, that Sidney Rigdon found the manuscript in the print shop, took it, showed it to Joseph Smith, who then constructed a false religion out of it as a means of gaining wealth and control.
I’m saying this is the most likely explaination. Because if an angel had appeared to Rev. Spaulding, I’m pretty sure he’d have published the Book of Mormon if he was confident it was of God.
Brief sidebar – there’s been ZERO argument about my statements that men do not become Angels, either according to the Bible or by the Book of Mormon. Men are men, according to the Bible. Men are “gods”, according to the Book of Mormon. So Moroni was either a ghost or a god… or a demon, your choice. But he cannot have been a man, and then become an Angel.
So, here’s what happened. Joseph Smith took Spaulding’s fiction and copied it, combining it with paganism and with the King James Bible. Kind of an odd mix, I would say.
Smith’s doctrines are most definitely eclectic, and often contradictory. There are passages in the Book of Mormon which contradict others – pretty much what you’d expect if someone were inventing a fanciful religion.
Now, there’s a problem. There’s been almost 4,000 corrections to the Book of Mormon since it first was published. Uh… I thought the plates were taken to heaven? How did anyone look at them again to correct the errors? What about Smith’s statement the “book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth?” Which, by the way, means Smith is saying the BoM is more correct than the Bible. I’ve got major problems with that!
So, how were corrections done if the plates were taken back to heaven? and if the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth… why did it need correcting?
And (here’s the biggie) if Spaulding’s book is so similar to the Book of Mormon, does this mean it TOO is Scripture, and every Mormon needs to obtain a copy of it?
Now the official position of the LDS “Church” is that you cannot find a single identical sentence in the Book of Mormon and Spaulding’s work.
They’re right. You can’t find one.
You can find, according to extensive work by Dr. Walter Martin and his CRI in a radio epidose dating back to 1977, “not one but HUNDREDS” of identical sentences in the two.
As a matter of fact, Martin’s staffers even had Spaulding’s handwriting analyzed – and found that a manuscript by “An unknown Scribe” housed at the LDS church archives matched Spaulding’s handwriting. Twelve sheets of the original book of Mormon manuscript that were claimed to be by an “unknown Scribe” or “unidentifed scribe” were actually WRITTEN BY SPAULDING! This was confirmed by Mr. Henry Silver, a noted handwriting analyst expert (and recommended by the Library of Congress). The results were also shown to William Cabe, another handwriting expert certified by the Supreme Court of Canada and Scotland Yard, and Howard C. Dolder (who has worked with the US Treasury Department and severa law enforcement agencies).
Both experts confirmed it – Solomon Spaulding authored both works (the original 12 sheets of the Book of Mormon) and the original Spaluding manuscript.
Now, you can argue abotu handwriting experts, but hey – that Henry Silver was also the handwriting expert who the LDS church hired to confirm Howard Hughes’ will. So, you can’t argue with him on one effort and not on the other!
Now, let me quote from Walter Martin… “Jesus Christ loves Mormons. He died on the Cross for them.”
Don’t throw that away by chasing after a fraud, a false prophet, a con man, a profiteering man who connived, lied, cheated, and led millions astray.
Jesus Christ died so that you may have eternal life! The Jesus Christ of the Bible died for you. The false Jesus of the book of Mormon never lived, and his non-existent death cannot save.
PLEASE come to the Lord that you may be saved!