“In this long-overdue corrective, historian Hardy takes the Book of Mormon seriously as a complex, multivocal document by analyzing the contributions and perspectives of the three men who purport to be its primary narrators: Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni. Hardy teases out the unique voice of each narrator.”
Tower of Babel
Calendar from Middle East, 7 day weeks w/day of rest
Steel, metal work, smelting
Metal swords, breastplates, scimitars (cimiters)
No evidence of:
Millions dying at battle at Hill Cumorah
Plows, specialized farming techniques
Oceanic voyages, ship building, sails
Bow and arrow, not in use south of the arctic at that time
Periods of peace and prosperity after Christ’s time
Geography as described in BoM
Middle Eastern heritage (DNA)
Middle Eastern honey bees
Wheat, Barley (except an inedible weed variety)
Linen, silk, silk worms, flax
Donkey, cattle, oxen, horse, pig, elephants
Cumoms and cureloms
White skinned people in any significant numbers
Abrahamic type religion
God of Hebrews, bible, Churches
Gold plates as writing material
No evidence in BoM of following items in Ancient America:
Corn or maize – in many forms including tortillas
Tomatoes, squash, manioc, chile pepper, arrowroot, chiles
Chocolate, lima beans, potatoes, algarrobo, avocado, quinoa, achita, wild rice and canahua for grain substitutes
Domesticated turkeys and ducks
Mamey, white and black zapotes
Chirimoyas, guavas, and custard apples
Honey, mango, manioc opal cactus paddles, the fruit of the prickly pear, the Pitaya cactus, and the maguey agave, seeds of chia, amaranth
Crickets, frogs, other native wildlife and birds
Peccary, armadillo, llama, vicunas, sea mammals
Pemmican spices were very common, not limited to chenopodium, coriander, and sage
Vanilla, onion, milkweed, jerusalem artichoke, american lotus, pumpkin, cottonwood sprouts, breadroot, arrowleaf, bulrush teas from many many sources, sassafras many varieties of beans, berries, nuts not found anywhere else cranberries, peanuts, also in their art: sugars from several varieties of maple
Various fermented alcoholic drinks
Coca leaves chewed with calcium rich rocks to release the alkaloids since 6000 bc
Apostle Dallin Oaks (1993):
“Those who rely exclusively on scholarship reject revelation and fulfill Nephi’s prophecy that in the last days men “shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance” (2 Ne. 28:4). The practitioners of that approach typically focus on a limited number of issues, like geography or ‘horses’ or angelic delivery or nineteenth century language patterns. They ignore or gloss over the incredible complexity of the Book of Mormon record. Our side will settle for a draw, but those who deny the historicity of the Book of Mormon cannot settle for a draw. They must try to disprove its historicity–or they seem to feel a necessity to do this–and in this they are unsuccessful because even the secular evidence, viewed in its entirety, is too complex for that.”
Provo, Utah, 29 October 1993, entitled, “The Historicity of the Book of Mormon”. Talk for FARMS.
Mormon historian Richard Bushman:
“I don’t think you can make a case based on historical evidence that Joseph Smith could have written the book. It is entirely too complicated and produced with so little experience. In my opinion that does not allow you to jump immediately to the conclusion that the book was divine. I tell people it was either a work of genius or it was inspired. By genius we mean something that exceeds normal human capacities.”
“Granted that negative historical evidence would not destroy the faith of the faithful. For those blessed with it, spiritual experience is the most compelling data. Honesty requires that one remain true to it even in the face of other evidence to the contrary.”
“It is clear from the prophet’s diaries as well as the journals of the scribes that he often dictated to his assistants but it is equally clear that the scribes and clerks often composed and recorded information on their own… it is apparent that the scribes did much more than passively take dictation; they took an active role in the actual composition of the history….”
After writing the account given of the Savior’s ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, . . . it was as easily to be seen, that amid the great strife and noise concerning religion, none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the gospel. . . .and we only waited for the commandment to be given, “Arise and be baptized.” This was not long desired before it was realized. . . After we had called upon him in a fervent manner, . . .the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the gospel of repentance!–What joy! what wonder! what amazement! . . . Then his voice, though mild, pierced to the center, and his words, “I am thy fellow servant,” dispelled every fear. We listened–we gazed–we admired! ‘Twas the voice of the angel from glory–’twas a message from the Most High! and as we heard we rejoiced, while his love enkindled upon our souls, and we were rapt in the vision of the Almighty! Where was room for doubt? No where: uncertainty had fled, doubt had sunk, no more to rise, while fiction and deception had fled forever! What joy filled our hearts . . .when we received under his hand the holy priesthood, as he said, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer this priesthood and this authority, which shall remain upon earth, that the sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!”
Source: Patriarch Blessing Book, 2 Oct 1835, cit. Joseph F. Smith, “Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood,” Improvement Era 7 (October 1904):942. [This statement by Oliver Cowdery was recorded under the date 2 October 1835 in the patriarchal blessing book of Joseph Smith, Sen., following one of the blessings. Oliver Cowdery was at that time the recorder.]:
He [Joseph Smith] was ministered unto by the angel, and by his direction he obtained the records of the Nephites, and translated by the gift and power of God. He was ordained by the angel John, unto the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, in company with myself, in the town of Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, on Friday, the 15th day of May, 1829; after which we repaired to the water, even to the Susquehanna River, and were baptized; he first administering unto me, and after, I to him. But before baptism our souls were drawn out in mighty prayer, to know how we might obtain the blessings of baptism and of the Holy Spirit according to the order of God; and we diligently sought for the right of the fathers, and the authority of the holy priesthood, and the power to administer the same; for we desired to be followers of righteousness, and in the possession of greater knowledge, even the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Therefore we repaired to the woods, even as our father Joseph said we should, that is, to the bush, and called upon the name of the Lord, and he answered us out of the heavens. And while we were in the heavenly vision, the angel came down and bestowed upon us this priesthood; and then, as I have said, we repaired to the water and were baptized. After this, we received the high and holy priesthood; but an account of this will be given elsewhere, or in another place.
Quote in the figure is from Joseph Smith—History 1:71-72.
“I laid my hands upon [Oliver’s] head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded…The messenger who visited us . . . said that his name was John”
Here is the complete verse 72:
“The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this priesthood upon us said his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who hold the Priesthood of Melchisedek, which Priesthood he said should in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first elder and he the second. It was on the 15th day of 1829 that we were baptized, and ordained under the hand of the messenger.” JS-H 1:72
Nine close associates of Smith said the Melchizedek priesthood was not introduced into the Church until 1831, contradicting Cowdery’s 1834 claim that he and Smith received it in 1829. As noted by Van Wagoner (1994), p. 97:
“An array of Smith’s close associates testified that the higher Melchizedek Priesthood was not conferred until 3 June 1831. These include brothers Parley P. and Orson Pratt, Book of Mormon witnesses David and John Whitmer, plus Lyman Wight, William E. McLellin, John Corrill, J. C. Brewster, and Wiliam Smith, the prophet’s younger brother.”
Van Wagoner (1994) continues:
“Lyman Wight, later to become a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostels, recorded in his personal diary of this June conference: “here for the first time I saw the Melchizdek priesthood introduced into the Church of Jesus Christ, as anciently, whereunto I was ordained under the hands of Joseph Smith, and they ordained sixteen others, as they chose, unto the same priesthood.”
“Parley Pratt’s account is equally precise. He wrote that during the meeting, “Several were selected by revelation, through President Smith, and ordained to the High Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God, which is after the order of Melchizedek. This is the first occasion in which this priesthood had been revealed and conferred upon the Elders of this dispensation, although the office of an Elder is the same in a certain degree, but not in its fulness.”
“In September 1832, Smith received a revelation (D&C 84) which added significant detail to the understanding of priesthood authority. The high priesthood introduced in June 1831 had been associated with Melchizedek. In the new revelation, the office of the elder was linked for the firs time with the high priesthood. A “lesser priesthood” resembling that “confirmed” on Aaron, was mentioned (vv. 6-18). That office of elder was not originally included in the Melchizedek priesthood was pointed out by church president Brigham Young shortly before his death in 1877. In discussing the ordination of the original 1835 Quorum of Twelve Apostles he said that he and Heber C. Kimball “were elders”. The fact that we were not high priests and had never been ordained to the high priesthood was taken to Brother Joseph…[who said that] the apostleship holds all the keys of the priesthood upon the face of the earth. Elder Orson Pratt on 27 December 1847 had clarified that “there was a time when this Church was governed by the Lesser Priesthood.”
To his death, David Whitmer insisted the idea of a higher priesthood was an afterthought, an error introduced “at the instigation of S[i]dney [Rigdon]. “Authority is the word we used for the first two years of the church,” he added, “until S[i]dney Rigdon’s days in Ohio. This matter of the two orders of the priesthood in the Church of Christ, and lineal priesthood of the old law being in the church all originated in the mind of S[i]dney Rigdon. He explained these things to Brother Joseph in his way, out of the old Scriptures, and got Brother Joseph to inquitre, etc.”
From Wikipedia: The official church history, supervised or written by Smith, states that “the authority of the Melchizedek priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders” during a General Conference in early June 1831. When Smith’s official history was published in 1902, the compiler B.H. Roberts thought that this was a mistake, because it would not be consistent with the common Mormon belief that the priesthood had been conferred prior to the church’s founding in 1830. Some recent Mormon historians accept Smith’s history as correct and consistent with other historical records showing that other Mormons present at the conference dated the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood to 1831.
[Peter, James and John] held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, [John] said, would in due time be conferred on us” (History of the Church, 1:40).
“What do we hear . . . the voice of Peter, James, and John . . . declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times” (D&C 128:19-20)
“With Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles” (D&C 27:12). COMPARE TO BC 30 (NO MENTION OF PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN).
The Savior, Moses and [Elijah] gave the keys to Peter, James and John on the mount, when they were transfigured before him (see Matt.17:1–5). The Priesthood is everlasting—without beginning of days or end of years. . . . The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. . . . How have we come at the Priesthood in the latter days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them and they gave it to others.
History of the Church, 3:385–87.
“Missionaries in the early church before 1835 did not claim they held priesthood authority that was restored by the ancient apostles Peter, James and John.”
Source: Oliver Cowdery to Phineas Young, Tiffin, Ohio, 23 Mar 1846, Church Archives.
“I have been sensitive on this subject [his character], I admit; but I ought to be so–you would be, under the circumstances, had you stood in the presence of John, with our departed Joseph, to receive the Lesser Priesthood–and in the presence of Peter, to receive the Greater, and look down through time, and witness the effects these two must produce.–you would feel what you have never felt, were wicked men conspiring to lessen the effects of your testimony on man, after you should have gone to your long length rest.”
Oliver Cowdery’s Testimony Given at Kanesville, Iowa:
“Friends and Brethren-My name is Cowdery, Oliver Cowdery. In the early history of this Church I stood identified with her, and one in her councils. True it is that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance; not because I was better then the rest of mankind was I called; but to fulfil the purposes of God, He called me to a high and holy calling.
“I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, or, as it is called by that book, “holy interpreters”. I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands, the gold plates from which it was transcribed. I also saw with my eyes and handled with my hands the “holy interpreters”. That book is true. Sidney Rigdon did not write it; Mr. Spalding did not write it; I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the Prophet. It contains the Everlasting Gospel, and came forth to the children of men in fulfilment of the revelations of John, where he says he saw an angel come with the Everlasting Gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. It contains principles of salvation; and if you, my hearers, will walk by its light and obey its precepts, you will be saved with an everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God on high. Brother Hyde has just said that it is very important that we keep and walk in the true channel, in order to avoid the sandbars. This is true. The channel is here. The holy Priesthood is here.
“I was present with Joseph when an holy angel from God came down from heaven and conferred on us, or restored, the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood, and said to us, at the same time, that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands.
“I was also present with Joseph when the higher or Melchisedek Priesthood was conferred by holy angels from on high. This Priesthood we then conferred on each other, by the will and commandment of God. This Priesthood, as was then declared, is also to remain upon the earth until the last remnant of time. This holy Priesthood, or authority, we then conferred upon many, and is just as good and valid as though God had done it in person.
“I laid my hands upon that man-yes, I laid my right hand upon his head (pointing to Brother Hyde), and I conferred upon him this Priesthood, and he holds that Priesthood now. He was also called through me, by the prayer of faith, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992].
Book of Commandments Ch 24 states that Joseph Smith was called and ordained, and he then ordained Oliver Cowdery:
“The rise of the church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in the flesh; It being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April: Which commandments were given to Joseph, who was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of this church; And also to Oliver, who was called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of this church, and ordained under his hand: And this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and forever. Amen.”
Martin Harris said:
“I never saw the gold plates, only in a visionary or entranced state. In about three days I went into the woods to pray that I might see the plates. While praying I passed into a state of entrancement, and in that state I saw the angel and the plates. ” When Harris was asked, “Did you see the plates with your natural eyes, just as you see this pencil case in my hand? Now say yes or no.”, he answered: “Why I did not see them as I do that pencil case, I saw them with the eye of faith. I saw them just as distinctly as I see anything around me – though at the time they were covered over with a cloth.”
David Whitmer said:
“Of course we were in the spirit when we had the view, for no man can behold the face of an angel, except in a spiritual view.”
In D&C 6 Cowdery is told that God had given him a “gift” by which he (Oliver) would “assist in bringing to light” “those parts of the scriptures which have been hidden…” He is further told that his “gift” would allow him “to translate, even as my servant Joseph” and that he would receive no greater witness of the supposedly ancient record.
“During the monumental and exact year that began on April 7, 1829, when Joseph Smith began dictating the inspired text of the Book of Mormon, and ended on April 6, 1830, when the Church of Christ was organized, no one was more involved in the key events of the restoration than Oliver Cowdery. He was present for the translation of the Book of Mormon accomplished in an amazing ten weeks through the gift and power of God; he was with Joseph when John the Baptist and later Peter, James, and John appeared as resurrected personages and restored the priesthood through the literal laying on of hands (with Oliver becoming the first person baptized in this dispensation); and he was one of three witnesses called to see the angel and the plates and to testify of the truth of the book. Not only that, but he also prepared the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon and assisted with the printing at a time when Joseph was generally not present. Clearly, it is no exaggeration to call Oliver the cofounder of Mormonism.”
“On reading the name of Oliver Cowdry, in support of the divine authenticity of the work, whatever faith we might have been inspired with on reading the certificate, was banished, for we had known Cowdry some seven or eight years ago, when he was a dabbler in the art of Printing, and principally occupied in writing and printing pamphlets, with which, as a pedestrian Pedlar, he visited the towns and villages of western New York and Canada.”
“the book itself is without doubt a production of the Smith family, aided by Oliver Cowdery, who was school teacher on Stafford street, an intimate of the Smith family, and identified with the whole matter.”
[Seal.] Sworn and subscribed to before me this 21st day of July, A.D. 1887.
LINUS S. PARMELEE, Justice of the Peace of Reading, Mich.
Orsamus Turner Quote – 1831 The Lockport Balance – Oliver Cowdery was the one given sole ability to translate the Smith, also implicates Ms. Smith.
1. a, 2. after, 3. again, 4. against, 5. all, 6. among, 7. an, 8. and, 9. are, 10. as, 11. at, 12. away, 13. be, 14. because, 15. been, 16. before, 17. but, 18. by, 19. came, 20. children, 21. come, 22. day, 23. did, 24. do, 25. down, 26. earth, 27. even, 28. every, 29. father, 30. for. 31. forth, 32. from, 33. go, 34. great, 35. had, 36. hand, 37. have, 38. he, 39. her, 40. him, 41. his, 42. I, 43. if, 44. in, 45. into, 46. is, 47. it, 48. king, 49. know, 50. land, 51. made, 52. man, 53. many, 54. may, 55. me, 56. men, 57. might, 58. more, 59. my, 60. name, 61. no, 62. not, 63. now, 64. o, 65. of, 66. on, 67. one, 68. or, 69. our, 70. out, 71. over, 72. pass, 73. people, 74. power, 75. said, 76. say, 77. shall, 78. should, 79. so, 80. Son, 81. that, 82. the, 83. their, 84. them, 85. then, 86. there, 87. therefore, 88. these, 89. they, 90. things, 91. this, 92. those, 93. thus, 94. time, 95. to, 96. up, 97. upon, 98. us, 99. was, 100. we, 101. were, 102. when, 103. which, 104. who, 105. will, 106. with, 107. words, 108. would, 109. you, 110. your
108 Words Used in NSC Classification for the five-author case:
1. a, 2. after, 3. again, 4. against, 5. all, 6. among, 7. an, 8. and, 9. are, 10. as, 11. at, 12. away, 13. be, 14. because, 15. been, 16. before, 17. but, 18. by, 19. came, 20. children, 21. come, 22. day, 23. do, 24. down, 25. earth, 26. even, 27. every, 28. for, 29. forth, 30. from, 31. go, 32. great, 33. had, 34. hand, 35. have. 36. he, 37. her, 38. him, 39. his, 40. I, 41. if, 42. in, 43. into, 44. is, 45. it, 46. king, 47. know, 48. land, 49. made, 50. man, 51. many, 52. may, 53. me, 54. men, 55. might, 56. more, 57. my, 58. name, 59. no, 60. not, 61. now, 62. o, 63. of, 64. on, 65. one, 66. or, 67. our, 68. out, 69. over, 70. pass, 71. people, 72. power, 73. said, 74. say, 75. shall, 76. should, 77. so, 78. son, 79. that, 80. the, 81. their, 82. them, 83. then, 84. there, 85. therefore, 86. these, 87. they, 88. things, 89. this, 90. those, 91. thus, 92. time, 93. to, 94. up, 95. upon, 96. us, 97. was, 98. we, 99. were, 100. when, 101. which, 102. who, 103. will, 104. with, 105. words, 106. would, 107. you, 108. your