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Mormon Discussion: 375: Plagiarism In Joseph Smith’s Mormonism

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Critics accuse the Prophets Joseph Smith of plagiarizing multiple sources in order to create the standard works and Mormon Theology. Today we take a deep look into these accusations to see if there is any merit to their claims. You won’t want to miss this.  Below is the outline for the video podcast that covers in depth Joseph Smith’s Plagiarism of outside sources in order to create the standard works and Mormon Theology. This is best viewed by watching Mormon Discussion: 375: Plagiarism In Joseph Smith’s Mormonism on YouTube You would really benefit by the powerpoint due to me explaining and show powerful graphics that illustrate the points

A.) Books with Deep Similarities

  1. Late War   
    2. Prevalent in J.S.’s day 
    3. Book was prevalent and was appears to be the most widely read book on the war of 1812 and was written in KJV English to be used in schools 
    4. Cureloms as Mammoths? Orson Pratt said that a “curelom” was a “mammoth”: 
      1. “Now to prepare them against these contingencies, and that they might, have fresh air for the benefit of the elephants, cureloms or mammoths and many other animals, that perhaps were in them, as well as the human beings they contained, the Lord told them how to construct them in order to receive air, that when they were on the top of the water, whichever side up their vessels happened to be, it mattered not; they were so constructed that they could ride safely, though bottom upwards and they could open their air holes that happened to be uppermost” (Orson Pratt, JoD 12:340). 
    5. Chiasmus Slides 
    6. Scroll some of the url. 
  2. Manuscript Found 
    1. Show Slide with common themes 
  3. View of the Hebrews 
    1. Show Slide with common themes 
  4. First Book of Napoleon 
    1. Chris Johnson 
    2. The Closest book in terms of word usage to the Book of Mormon when excluding other works authored by Joseph Smith is the First Book of Napoleon  
    3. Show Chris Johnson Slide of all the books correspondences 
  5. Conclude that this is the Weakest of what we will be sharing with you today

B.) Joseph Smith Sr’s Vision Vs Lehi and Nephi’s Tree of Life

  1. Show Slide of Vision Comparison

C.) 1769 KJV Bible Errors Copied Over

  1. The errors themselves are problematic because it shows that Joseph Smith absolutely was working with the KJV bible directly. (Which none of his scribes mentioned.
    1. The scribes for the Inspired Bible Translation also don’t mention Smith’s source of Adam Clarke’s Commentary
    2. This leads us to make room that there may have been several books that Smith worked with in spite of scribes not mentioning such
  2. Wrestle with the idea that on one hand God is perfectly okay with the most correct book on Earth being permitted to have significant errors copied over (to save time?) while on the other hand Joseph is asked by God to redo the bible with his inspired Bible Translation because the bible was corrupted and said errors needed to be fixed (Significant amount of time spent)
  3. Show the two Slides
  4. Show how the Church frames such 

D.) 2nd & 3rd Isaiah


  1. The first Isaiah chapters are believed by scholars to be from 1-39, while the Deutero-Isaiah (or second Isaiah) cover chapters 40-55, and Trito-Isaiah (or third Isaiah) cover 56-66. Scholars believe, for reasons we will outline below, that the historical (first) Isaiah lived in the 8th and 7th century BCE while the Deutero-Isaiah material would not be written until after the exile into Babylon, which was 586 BCE.  Because the brass plates were taken from Laban at 600 BCE, this is problematic as the Book of Mormon cites extensively from the Deutero-Isaiah chapters, which were not composed until after the brass plates were taken from Laban. – LDS Discussions
    A good example is the presumption that Jerusalem has already been destroyed. 
  2. Lehi cites the Deutero-Isaiah material in 2 Nephi 1:13-14,23, and then Jacob reads the words of Deutero-Isaiah into the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi chapter 8. Not only does this Deutero-Isaiah material appear in the Book of Mormon, but it contains the exact King James Bible language that, as we have discussed in previous sections, includes mistranslations, italicized text, and, especially in this case, late additions. – LDS Discussions 
  3. Furthermore, the themes that come out of this Deutero-Isaiah influence the Book of Mormon beyond just the words of Lehi and Jacob. The following verses from 2 Nephi (8:24-25) are copied from the King James version of Isaiah 52 (52:1-2), which is identified in the Deutero-Isaiah chapters: ​ 24 Awake, awake, put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. 25 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. ​ This material is not limited to just 2 Nephi either, as much of Isaiah chapter 52 is spoken by Jesus Christ in 3 Nephi as well as Isaiah 52:24 being cited in Moroni 10:31. If this material was not composed prior to Lehi leaving, it presents another instance where the author of the Book of Mormon is using material that anachronistic to the Book of Mormon narrative, which dates the Book of Mormon not as an ancient text, but a 19th century book written by someone with access to the King James Bible. – LDS Discussions 
  4. These chapters could not historically be incorporated in the Book of Mormon since they could not have been on the plates that Lehi left with, which puts the inclusion of this material as a very problematic anachronism. Just as with the Book of Abraham issues, Joseph Smith did not have the foresight that in the years following his death we would have a much better understanding of biblical history, and did not realize he was including a late addition throughout the Book of Mormon. 
  5. Dr. David Bockovoy – ​ “One of the most insightful perspectives held by mainstream biblical scholars involves the historical development of the book of Isaiah. Since the 20th century, all mainstream scholars have held the position that chapters 40-66 were written after the Jewish exile into Babylon (c.a. 586 BCE). Scholars typically identify the exilic material in 40-55 by the title Deutero-Isaiah, and the post-exilic material in 56-66 by the title Trito-Isaiah (though these works may have been written by multiple authors). This means, of course, that the second half of the book of Isaiah was not written by the historical Isaiah, a prophet who lived in Jerusalem during the eighth century BCE. For Latter-day Saints, this presents a direct challenge for traditionally held paradigms concerning the Book of Mormon, since some of this material is not only attributed to Isaiah, it has had a significant impact upon the Book of Mormon. If mainstream scholars are correct then this material would not have been available to Lehi’s family as something they could have taken with them to America.”

E.) Joseph Smith Inspired Bible Translation

  1. BYU acknowledges research that imposes Joseph Smith plagiarized Adam Clark’s Commentary
    1. The BYU report reads: “recently, in conducting new research into the origins of Smith’s Bible translation, we uncovered evidence that Smith and his associates used a readily available Bible commentary while compiling a new Bible translation, or more properly a revision of the King James Bible. The commentary, Adam Clarke’s famous Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, was a mainstay for Methodist theologians and biblical scholars alike, and was one of the most widely available commentaries in the mid-1820s and 1830s in America.” and “Our research has revealed that the number of direct parallels between Smith’s translation and Adam Clarke’s biblical commentary are simply too numerous and explicit to posit happenstance or coincidental overlap.”

F.) Mormon Temple Endowment plagiarized from Masonry

  1. Show 2 slides and briefly mention (shoot down Solomen’s Temple Apologetics)
  2. Also explain that no informed apologist today denies this.

G.) Romans and Second Nephi

  1. 2nd Nephi 9:39 vs Romans 8:6

H.) Paul and Moroni Example 1

  1. 1 Corinthians 12:5-11  vs Moroni 10:8-14,16,17

I.) Paul and Moroni Example 2

  1. 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 vs Moroni 7:45

J.) Mark 16:17-18 vs Mormon 9:24

  1.  Most Biblical Scholars deeply believe the original manuscript for Mark ended at verse 8
  2. There are effectively just two Greek manuscripts that lack Mark 16:9–20. These are codices Sinaiticus (ℵ01) and Vaticanus (B03), two important manuscripts from the fourth century. It’s almost unimaginable that the copyists who made them were unaware of Mark 16:9–20, but at the end of the day, they left it out of their Bibles. Once we look beyond the question of ℵ01 and B03 against the other 1,600-plus Greek manuscripts of Mark, the picture becomes more complicated. At least 23 Greek manuscripts that include Mark 16:9–20 also have anomalies like extra endings or notes that express doubts concerning the authenticity of these verses.
  3. “[T]he accurate ones of the copies define the end of the history according to Mark [at 16:8] . . . in this way the ending of the Gospel according to Mark is defined in nearly all the copies.” – Eusebius (c. AD 265–339)
  4. Can you sense why this might be problematic?  First Mark is writing his gospel decades late (Most scholars believe Mark was written 70CE and was not a first hand witness to Jesus ministry

K.) Alma the Younger vs Paul (Their Conversion)

L.) Emanuel Swedenborg

  1. Emanuel Swedenborg’s teachings, discussed later in more detail, are startlingly recognizable to the student of LDS theology.
    1. he taught that there are three heavens
    2. the celestial being the most inward and refined. 
    3. There are three levels within the celestial glory 
    4. marriage for all eternity is an absolute requirement for entry into the highest of these heavens. 
    5. He witnessed a marriage in heaven and stated that the husband was arrayed in the priesthood robes of Aaron and the wife wore apparel suggestive of a queen with a crown on her head.
    6. The world of spirits is a place of preparation for either heaven or perdition
    7. There are angels who communicate between heavens
    8. Likens the celestial, spiritual (terrestrial?), and natural (telestial?) heaven to the sun, moon, and stars
    9. The church Christ established has passed from the earth (Apostasy) 
    10. The Lord will establish a New Church on the earth once more
    11. Little children who die, Christian or not, go directly to heaven
    12. Since God creates man in free will, God does not send man to heaven or perdition. Man makes this choice himself.
    13. “opposition in all things”
    14. Man is not saved by faith alone but must show works from a changed heart
    15. Swedenborg echoes concepts found in the LDS sacrament prayer
    16. One way to qualify for perdition is to know the truth and deny it
    17. Celestial beings incorporate the law of consecration into their lives
    18. The creation and the garden of Eden stories are allegories to our spiritual progress
    19. God is man

M.) Word of Wisdom

  1. 1806.”MEANS OF PRESERVING HEALTH, AND PREVENTING DISEASES”, Dr. Shadrach Ricketson, Printed by Collins, Perkins, and Co, New York, 1806
    1. quotes several well-known physicians of the time –  Percival, J. Fothergill, Leake, Willich, Cullen and Rush.

N.) Book of Moses vs Mathew and Luke

  1. Moses 1 is dependent on the structure and content of Matt. 4 in its construction of the temptation of Moses, transforming Moses into a messianic figure in the same way the author of Matthew transforms Jesus into a new Moses. The connections between Moses 1 and Matt. 4 can be summarized with the following: 

Moses 1:1=Matt. 4:8 (“up into an exceeding high mountain”); 

Moses 1:12=Matt. 4:9; 15:9; Mark 7:7; Luke 4:7 (satan says “worship me”); 

Moses 1:15=Matt. 4:9; Luke 4:7 (“Worship God for him only shalt thou serve”); 

Moses 1:17=Matt. 4:9 (“and worship me”); 

Moses 1:18=Matt. 4:9 (“Depart hence, Satan”); 

Moses 1:19=Matt. 4:9 (“worship me”); 

Moses 1:20=Matt. 4:10 (“Depart hence, Satan”); 

Moses 1:21=Matt. 4:10 (“Depart hence, Satan”). The rest of the chapter is sprinkled with language that is shared among the gospels, some that is unique to the gospel of John, and language from the rest of the NT and OT.


  1. I agree with Richard Bushman a renowned scholar, former stake president, Patriarch, and author of Rough Stone Rolling
    1. Joseph Smith’s Mormonism is full of 19th century material
    2. And his translation productions are pseudepigrapha 



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