Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon?
by Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis, and Arthur Vanick
Paperback: 558 pages
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House (July 30, 2005)
Explore letters, personal testimonies, and historical documents to discover who really wrote The Book of Mormon. Was it given to Joseph Smith by an angel or created from a work of fiction originally written by Solomon Spalding, a former Congregationalist minister? As the evidence unfolds, the authors of Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma reveal a mystery that challenges the history of the Mormon church. Who was Solomon Spalding? Was his novel connected to Joseph Smith? Explore these questions and the conspiracy surrounding the Spalding manuscript and the origins of Mormonism.
except from the Introduction
In Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon? readers will become aware of a fascinating body of evidence that has continued to accumulate over the years and, despite efforts by pro-Mormon scholars to deny or dismiss it, has grown to such proportion that it now poses a significant challenge to history itself. At stake is nothing less than the Church’s most sacred text, The Book of Mormon. At issue is whether this long-revered book is actually a valuable, historical record of pre-Columbian North America or a deception of the first order, perpetrated upon the gullible and credulous by the very founder of the Church himself, Prophet Joseph Smith.
Not Just a Mere Book — It’s Like an Encyclopedia!
I just put down the book this afternoon and thought long and hard about how to write a worthwhile review; something that would showcase how exceptional this book is and what a valuable reference it is. Not only is it an essential tool for we Christian apologists who engage Mormons, it should also be required reading for Mormons, too, and anyone researching 19th century American literature for that matter. It isn’t just a book — it’s like an encyclopedia of Who’s Who at the core of the birth of Mormonism and the history of its deceptive “Bible”, The Book of Mormon. And since I’ve concluded that there’s no way I could write a concise review and relay all the important details of this fascinating record, I hope to at least spark your interest in it enough to make you want to buy it (see below).
558 Pages AND Concise
Even at a length of 558 pages, Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon? is concise. Yes, “concise”. The authors didn’t waste space on unsubstantiated opinions or rhetoric or anything else that might be construed as “anti-Mormon”, a tactic that more and more Mormons are using in place of honest inquiry or considerate answers. (And even at the rare times when the authors do venture into speculation, they are clear at labeling it as such.) They went to the trouble of referencing all sorts of records of varying levels of obscurity and even legibility — tax records, census records, family histories and so on — to reconstruct the events leading up to the initial 1830 printing of the Book of Mormon and a few years thereafter. The amount of references is just incredible. I mean that. And let me be perfectly clear: I’ve never actually read a book with such an abundance of references. All summed up, there are around 130 pages of notes and references alone! And the sad fact is that in all likelihood, the majority of Mormons would relegate this incredible work of research to the “anti-Mormon” bin without once putting a crease in a page.
Detail After Detail After Detail After — You Get the Point
The sheer amount of detail that forms the content of this book is to the extent that it makes the authors seem obsessive-compulsive — and that’s a compliment! It’s rich and fully referenced.
To give you an idea of the amount of detail in this book, take a look at the section labeled “A Chronology of Elder Sidney Rigdon’s Activities: 1822 ~ 1830” which begins on page 334. There, you will find a month-by-month record over an eight-year span of time listing the whereabouts of the infamous Sidney Rigdon. (This is important because Mormons claim that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith did not know each other until around 1830 or 1831.)
I’m really at a loss for a worthy enough compliment to give this book. It was a fascinating read that forced me to stay up many late nights because I just could not put it down. (And I mean that in the most literal sense.)
As I closed the final page of the appendix, I was actually sad that this literary journey that was the reading of this amazing piece of research had come to an end. The authors set out to demonstrate that, at the very least, The Book of Mormon is the mere product of a man. They not only succeeded, but, in my opinion, they went beyond that and gave ample evidence enough to show who that man might have been. It may very well have been Solomon Spalding and his manuscript, Manuscript Found. Sidney Rigdon had the opportunity to steal it, as he was accused of by Solomon Spalding himself before he died (!), and the twisted motive to do so. In Oliver Cowdery, he found a willing “scribe” who could copy out the text with Sidney’s “doctrines” input therein. And in Joseph Smith, he found a fall guy — or so he thought.
So very well done, Wayne, Howard, and Arthur!
Next up, I’ve finally gotten a replica of the 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon. I’m anxious to see this work of fiction in all its original “splendor”, since there are about 70,000 differences between it and the current version. How interesting that there on the first page is, “Joseph Smith, Author and Proprietor.” Telling indeed!
Get the book for HALF-OFF the cover price (just $9) at the Concordia Publishing House here: http://www.cph.org/p-443-who-really-wrote-the-book-of-mormon.aspx?SearchTerm=who%20really%20wrote%20the%20book%20of%20mormon
Or at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Who-Really-Wrote-Book-Mormon/dp/0758605277
Read a 14-page sample here: http://www.cph.org/pdf/124195.pdf