Information on the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and the Book of Mormon from an agnostic point of view
What this page is about - Why study Mormonism?
Sources of the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is one of the four standard works of the LDS church. According to official Mormon history, the book was translated, with Divine help, from a set of golden plates found by Joseph Smith, a New York farmboy who lived in the early part of the nineteenth century.
The Book deals with the ancient history of the American continent, and proposes that the Native Americans are descendants of a small band of Jews, who left Palestine at about the same time that the Babylonians conquered Judah.
While Mormon doctrine holds that the Book is a real translation of an unknown language, a close examination of the text itself reveals otherwise. It is evident that Joseph Smith was inspired by a number of contemporary sources, which, together with his own fertile imagination, resulted in the Book of Mormon.
View of the Hebrews
The Book of Mormon and the Bible
What about Solomon Spaulding?
The Annotated Book of Mormon
A skeptical commentary on the Book of Mormon. Your journey begins here.
The original book of Mormon was published in 1830. Another edition was released a few years later. Strangely, however, the original text had undergone some significant changes in the intervening years. Here is the original text of the Book of Mormon.
The 1830 Book of Mormon
The Book of Commandments was a collection of Divine revelations given to Joseph Smith. The book was reprinted some years later under the title 'Doctrine and Covenants', again with some significant changes. Here is the original Book of Commandments, with some changes noted.
Book of Commandments
The Book of Abraham
Although not a part of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham has a bearing on the translation of the Book of Mormon. In 1835, Joseph Smith acquired a collection of papyrus fragments from a travelling Egyptian show. He claimed to be able to translate these fragments, and the Book of Abraham is the result. Following the Prophet's death, the papyri were thought lost, until they turned up again in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1967. A retranslation of the papyri reveals that they are not connected to Abraham in any way at all. Since then, LDS apologists have been fighting a rearguard action to try to preserve Joseph Smith's status as a translator. This section will try to show that the papyri are indeed connected to the Book of Abraham, at least in the mind of Joseph Smith.
What was contained in Smith's collection?
This article shows that contemporary descriptions of Joseph Smith's papyrus collection matches that recovered from the Met.
Sources of the Book of Abraham
Although Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Abraham was translated from an Egyptian papyrus, critics have long noticed that there is very little that can be called Egyptian in the Book of Abraham, but a lot that can be traced to a knowledge of Hebrew. Might this have something to do with the fact that Smith was studying Hebrew at the time that he came into possession of the papyri?
Louis C. Zucker on Hebrew in the Book of Abraham
David Wright on Egyptology and the Book of Abraham
Names in the Book of Abraham
The Reorganized LDS (RLDS) church, a branch of the Mormon church that split off soon after Joseph's death, have a different perspective on the Book of Abraham. They were wise enough to know that the historicity of the book could not be defended, and relegated it to the category of "inspired fiction". (This article should not be considered to be the official RLDS position. It is, however, the opinion of an RLDS church member).
The RLDS view of the Book of Abraham
It has often been noted that the point of apologetics appears to be to reassure the faithful, not to persuade the unbeliever. Mormon apologetics is no exception. This section takes a look at some of the common 'proofs' that are put forward for the Book of Mormon by Church apologists.
Could Joseph Smith have written the Book of Mormon?
Deconstructing the Book of Mormon Challenge
What about Chiasmus?
The Gospel of Barnabas and the Book of Mormon
Honest Intellectual Inquiry Have a good look at the Book of
Recovery from Mormonism
Die Mormonen - German language resources for investigating Mormonism
Tietoa mormonismista suomeksi - Finnish Mormon resources
Mormons in Transition
Mormonism Research Ministry
Michael Marquardt's Mormon Origins - Information on Mormon history
LDS SitesScholarly & Historical Information Exchange for Latter-Day Saints (SHIELDS)