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McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon / Edition 2

Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon / Edition 2

by David Persuitte


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786408269
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 09/01/2000
Edition description: REVISED
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

Technical writer and editor David Persuitte lives in Washington, D.C.

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Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very detailed in its historical research, its quotations from early 19th century sources--especially the newspapers of those times, its knowledge and excerpts of Mormon writings, and its tendency to support conclusions from reliable contemporary sources-- even the very writings of those persons who do not come off as honest, trustworthy individuals. The facts offered show without any doubt that Joseph Smith was a total phony and liar and old-time con artist both before and during his amazing claims for private revelations from God, from Jesus, from Gospel writers, from Old Testament characters, from angels and from whatever source was convenient to back up his at-hand needs. For example, when he tired of his wife Emma of many years and began cheating on her, he conveniently claimed he had a religious vision that permitted him to have plural wives. So, he seduced young women that had joined his congregation. The more powerful he became, the weirder his views became: he created a small army to fight off state authorities, he opened an unauthorized bank and ended up cheating many people out of their life savings, he had people who opposed him summarily excommunicated, he declared that he should be made a king, and he ended up dying in prison at the hands of a lynch mob. Most of the book is about his totally depraved life and how he wrote THE BOOK OF MORMON, which is obviously the product of many borrowings from books already available at the time-- including the BIBLE, about 10% of which is heisted in THE BOOK OF MORMON. The young Mormons I've met seem so sincere; but do they really know the true origins of the Mormon faith? This book should be read by anyone contemplating an attraction to that faith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First, let me say I concur on just about every detail in the review by Don Evans who seems to have given the book a careful reading. While it is true that Persuitte's main motive is not to heap abuse on current Mormon faithful or make cheap fun of their beliefs, he nevertheless marshalls a great number of historic documents ( personal letters, legal testimonies, court records, newspaper articles, contemporary affidavits, etc.) that can leave no doubt that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, was a constant liar, deceiver, con man, lazy scoundrel, lustful womanizer, polygamist (he had over 30 wives), and phony visionary who duped many unsophisticated and uneducated people during the frontier days of the 1820's and 1830's. But most of the book is about how he wrote The Book of Mormon which, in sizable measure, is a plagiarized series of items from several early 19th century sources and from the King James Bible. To say there are 'similarities' between The Book of Mormon and Smith's main plagiarized source, View of the Hebrews, is being generous beyond need. I taught college research writing for many years and what Smith did with his 'sources' was nothing less than widespread and rampant plagiarism. Persuitte does a remarkably detailed job of showing this-- and how Smith arrived at many other ideas which he took false credit for. His is the best book I've read so far on its subject. But read also MY FORTY YEARS IN THE MORMON CHURCH by Bishop R. C. Evans-- and you'll get the identical inside picture of Joseph Smith, the cheating scoundrel, from a man who attained the highest position in the Mormon Church in the late 19th century and who had access to all the Church's historical records on Smith.
Guest More than 1 year ago
David Persuitte provides an excellent introduction to the historical and literary issues raised by the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830. Using primary and secondary sources with skill he presents in detail the argument that the Book of Mormon is a work of creative literature that draws on and reflects in myriad details the cultural and literary milieu of its period. In doing so he reviews and confronts the claims of Joseph Smith and his defenders that the book was translated from buried plates containing the history of the descendants of a family of Jews who immigrated to America centuries before Christ. This is not, however, an anti-Mormon book, except insofar that any criticism of Mormon origins can be regarded as an attack. Persuitte has no interest in defaming Mormons or their founders, although he does not hesitate to point out the not infrequent troubles with the law they encountered (through shady financial dealings, not from ¿religious persecution¿ as Mormons usually claim). His point is to understand how the Book of Mormon came to be as a product of early nineteenth-century American creativity, and he marshals an overwhelming body of evidence showing how the book reflects early American culture, and notably fails to reflect anything which we have subsequently learned about pre-Columbian American history. While much of the book covers ground familiar from other critical works, Persuitte¿s traversal of the material can be recommended as lively, accessible, and very entertainingly written. He quotes frequently and at length from the primary sources which serve both to establish his argument and add a great deal of color to the narrative. His main ¿original¿ contribution to the topic is the most detailed discussion yet published of the similarities between Ethan Smith¿s View of the Hebrews (1823) and the Book of Mormon. But while the Smith book is given the most attention, Persuitte is also thorough in pointing out the many other literary and historical influences behind the Book of Mormon, including the King James Bible and numerous long-forgotten but once popular works of popular and speculative history. It¿s a fascinating detective story, well told, and with something both for the scholar and for the general reader curious about the origins of one of the world¿s fastest-growing religions. Highly recommended.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows the detailed and thorough research that the author has done. The background information he has presented on the early life of Joseph Smith is based on first-hand material and original sources. This material reveals a side to Joseph Smith that is hardly compatible with his supposed calling as a prophet of God. But where the author really shines is in the very extensive and convincing parallels he has developed between Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon. Those parallels, along with other material presented in the book, can lead an intellectually honest reader to only one conclusion: The Book of Mormon, rather than being a supernaturally revealed accurate history of ancient America, is actually a fanciful literary product of the early nineteenth century.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jesus Christ had parallel accusations made about him. The author also assumes that no other church has ever had scandals. It's like reading a newpaper article were the author has an axe to grind.