Solomon Spalding wrote an unpublished manuscript that Sidney Rigdon got a hold of before Spalding's death. A list of 70 parallels between this manuscript and the Book of Mormon is available.
Ethan Smith was Oliver Cowdrey's pastor and published a book just before the Book of Mormon which contained so many elements found in the Book of Mormon that church historian BH Roberts petitioned the Brethren for an explanation and got shut down. Elements included a Breastplate and Urim & Thummim, Isaiah quoted for 24 chapters, and Ancient Americans arriving from the Middle East.
Indian spiritual leader named Handsome Lake had a vision where he was visited by three ancient Indians (three Nephites) who told him to tell his people to embrace the white man and their language to preserve the Indian culture. Handsome Lake was a Seneca native, and lived near Joseph Smith.
The first professor of Dartmouth College, founded to bring Christianity to the American Indians, was John Smith--first cousin to Joseph Smith's father. While at Dartmouth, Professor John Smith taught noteworthy students Solomon Spalding and Ethan Smith about how ancient Indians traveled from Africa to settle the Americas. He also preached many fundamental concepts later incorporated into Mormonism. Hyrum Smith attended a Dartmouth prep-school from 1811-1814.
Mentor to Sidney Rigdon's ministry for 10 years, Alexander Campbell was a prominent minister who taught many concepts later incorporated into the Book of Mormon. Rigdon and Campbell disagreed on some topics, and Rigdon's position is favored in the Book of Mormon.
In 19th Century New England, a cold war existed between some Christian sects and the Masonic brotherhood. The Book of Mormon is filled with passages warning against "secret combinations." Martin Harris even declared the book the "anti-Masonic Bible."
Although Joseph Smith resisted Masonry at first, he eventually married the wife of the famous murdered mason William Morgan and then embraced the organization after the saints were kicked out of the State of Missouri. At that point he realized the great advantage it would bring his organization and he started cranking out Master Masons by the thousands.
Surrounding Masonic Lodges were upset at this and Joseph proceeded to plagiarize the Masonic Temple ceremony to create the Mormon Temple Ceremony. In the end it was a group of masons who were tried for Joseph's death. Although acquitted, the masons tried were all promptly promoted within their lodge.
The Book of Mormon was produced just 54 years after the Revolutionary War. A contemporary topic of 19th Century New England was whether a free state or a royal leadership structure was better for a country. The Book of Mormon carefully validates the American position with tales about ancient Native Americans who were forced to make the same decision.
The "Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost" formula was developed and made famous by the Mahoninng Baptist minister Walter Scott, around 1827. He was able to drastically increase baptism rates after sermons using this approach. Sidney Rigdon adopted this approach and converted 800 people during the next six months, in the Mentor, Painsville, Kirtland, Ohio region, which includes Harmony, PA. This formula appears in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 31-32, and 3 Nephi 27. Although present in the Book, Joseph Smith did not know to use it, only converting about 10 people outside of his immediate family within the first 10 months after publishing the book.
The allegory of the Tame and Wild Olive Trees was taken from two different sources in the Bible. Isaiah 5 (vineyard) and Romans 11 (Paul speaking to the Gentiles about olive trees). Unfortunately, the creator of the Book of Mormon didn't understand that vineyards grow grapes, not olives.
Joseph never told anybody about his First Vision experience until 15 years after it happened. The modern narrative the church has taught its members about Joseph praying, seeing personages in the woods, and then returning to tell his mother what happened is false. In addition, the original account written in Joseph's journal-with his own handwriting-which says there was only one personage was torn from his journal and hidden from the body of the church in a vault for decades. The various versions collected over the years have glaring inconsistencies.
(view versions here)
Joseph Smith's concept of God changed during early Mormonism. The original Book of Mormon described Jesus as the Eternal Father, which matched Joseph's original First Vision description of only seeing 1 personage. 15 years later the Book of Mormon was reprinted with some of the references changed to Jesus being the SON of the Eternal Father. This change corresponds with changes in the First Vision account over the years. Strangely, not every reference was changed, and some parts of the Book of Mormon still describe Jesus as the Eternal Father.
Due to lack of any credible DNA evidence supporting the Book of Mormon claims of the Native Americans being from the Middle East, the church changed the introduction of the Book of Mormon. What used to read "...they were the principal ancestors of the American Indians." now reads "...they are among the ancestors of the American Indians."
Thomas Stuart Ferguson: Lawyer, and an FBI agent, was responsible for getting BYU to start a Department of Archaeology (now Anthropology). As president of the New World Archaeology Foundation, in 1952, he was given funds by the LDS Church to study Ancient America and produce evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. In 1975 he wrote a 25 page paper stating he found no evidence and had wasted 25 years of his life.
Dr. David Bokovoy, one of the foremost scholars on the Old Testament, describes how claims about the Brass Plates, and Isaiah passages within the Book of Mormon are not credible.
(watch MormonStories interview)
"… there is phrasing everywhere–long phrases that if you google them you will find them in 19th century writings. The theology of the Book of Mormon is very much 19th century theology, and it reads like a 19th century understanding of the Hebrew Bible as an Old Testament.
The Book of Mormon has a lot of nineteenth-century Protestant material in it, both in terms of theology and of wording. I am looking for an explanation of how and why it is there."
In a Q&A session with a class, Richard Bushman, LDS Church Historian, explains to a student the dominate church narrative is false.
"The first myth that we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles on books full of archaeological half-truths, dilettante on the peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that Book of Mormon archaeology really exists."
"Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives," in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4 No.2 (Summer 1969) pp 77-78
"What I would say to you is there is no archaeological proof of the Book of Mormon. You can look all you want. And there’s been a lot of speculation about it. There have been books written by Mormon scholars saying that “this event took place here” or “this event took place here.” But that’s entirely speculative. There is absolutely no archaeological evidence that you can tie directly to events that took place."
Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock, Mike Licona, 1998, TruthQuest
"Now, I’m an archaeologist, and I work in Mexico where some people think that the events occurred. So a lot of Mormons ask me every week if I find any evidence. And I tell them, “No.” ... (T)he question of how to translate what the Book says in terms of real evidence that we can grab in our hands, archaeologically, is still a huge problem."
Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock, Mike Licona, 1998, TruthQuest
"The Archaeological Institute of America has never used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide in locating historic ruins on the Western Hemisphere ... Over the past 30 years The New World Archaeological Foundation, located at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has conducted numerous scientific excavations in Mesoamerica, originally with a view to confirming the claims in the Book of Mormon. They have discovered no evidence that supports the Book of Mormon in any way. Nonetheless, they have published in full detail the results of their excavations in Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation volumes 1-55, 1959 and following.... They are accepted by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of American Archaeologists as legitimate scientific investigations and the New World Archaeological Foundation is to be commended for publishing the results of their work that essentially refutes the basic beliefs of the Mormon Church on which the Foundation is based"
Reply Letter to Linda Hansen dated April 5, 1989
"[It appears that the Book of Mormon] had no place in the New World whatsoever. . . . [It] just doesn't seem to fit anything . . . in anthropology [or] history. . . . It seems misplaced."
". . . [After the opening seven chapters of the Book of Mormon relating to Lehi], it doesn't seem like a translation to me. . . . And the terminologies and the language used and the methods of explaining and putting things down are 19th century literary concepts and cultural experiences one would expect Joseph Smith and his colleagues would experience. And for that reason I call it transliteration, and I’d rather not call it a translation after the 7th chapter. And I have real difficulty in trying to relate these cultural concepts as I've briefly discussed here with archaeological findings that I'm aware of. . . . If I were doing this cold . . . , I would have to look for the place of the Book of Mormon events to have taken place in the Old World. It just doesn't seem to fit anything that . . . has been taught . . . . in my discipline in anthropology, And the terminologies and the language used and the methods of explaining and putting things down are 19th century literary concepts and cultural experiences one would expect Joseph Smith and his colleagues would experience. And for that reason I call it transliteration, and I’d rather not call it a translation after the 7th chapter. And I have real difficulty in trying to relate these cultural concepts as I've briefly discussed here with archaeological findings that I'm aware of." (Matheny, response at "Book of Mormon Archaeology" Sunstone Symposium, 25 August 1984, typed copy transcribed from tape recording, pp. 30-31)
--"The Book of Mormon talks about ferrous and non‑ferrous metallurgical industries. A ferrous industry is a whole system of doing something. It's just not an esoteric process that a few people are involved in, but ferrous industry.., means mining iron ores and then processing these ores and casting [them] into irons. . . . This is a process that's very complicated. . . . [I]t also calls for cultural backup to allow such an activity to take place. . . . In my recent reading of the Book of Mormon, I find that iron and steel are mentioned in sufficient context to suggest that there was a ferrous industry here. . . . You can't refine ore without leaving a bloom of some kind or impurities that blossom out and float to the top of the ore. . . . [A]nd also the flux of limestone or whatever is used to flux the material.. . . . [This] blooms off into silica's and indestructible new rock forms. In other words, when you have a ferrous metallurgical industry, you have these evidences of the detritus that is left over. You also have the fuels, you have the furnaces, you have whatever technologies that were there performing these tasks; they leave solid evidences. And they are indestructible things.. . . . No evidence has been found in the new world for a ferrous metallurgical industry dating to pre‑Colombian times. And so this is a king‑size kind of problem, it seems to me, for the so‑called Book of Mormon archaeology. This evidence is absent." (Matheny, speech at same Sunstone symposium, 25 August 1984)
--"While some people chose to make claims for the Book of Mormon through archaeological evidences, to me they are made prematurely, and without sufficient knowledge. I do not support the [Mormon-authored] books written on this subject including The Messiah in Ancient America, or any other. I believe that the authors are making cases out of too little evidences and do not adequately address the problems that archaeology and the Book of Mormon present. I would feel terribly embarrassed if anyone sent a copy of any book written on the subject to the National Museum of Natural History--Smithsonian Institution, or other authority, making claims that cannot as yet be substantiated. . . . [T]here are very severe problems in this field in trying to make correlations with the scriptures. Speculation, such as practiced so far by Mormon authors has not given church members credibility." (Matheny letter dated 17 December 1987)
"The criterion of sequence is based upon the idea of proximity. You have these clustering of phrases, and sometimes they’ll just
appear in random order, but other times the sequence of those
proximity phrases will follow the same sequence in both the New
Testament and in the Book of Mormon, which, again, suggests to
me that we have a conscious attempt to draw upon the language
of the New Testament in the Book of Mormon."
"One place you could look at is Alma 5. Alma’s discourse with the people in Zarahemla. It relies heavily upon the language of Matthew 3—Matthew’s story of the baptism of Jesus, in
particular, John the Baptist’s own speech. As you look in Alma 5, you’ll find that there are phrases taken from verses 3, verses 8, verse 10, verse 12, that in several places actually follow the same sequential order that they do in Alma 5 as they do in Matthew 3. You’ll see a phrase from verse 3, followed by a phrase from verse 8, followed by a phrase from verse 10."
(Read entire interview)
"Latter-day Saints sometimes brush such criticism [that the Book of Mormon pulls from deutero-Isaiah] aside, asserting that such interpretations are simply the work of academics who do not believe in prophecy, but this is clearly an inadequate (and inaccurate) response to a significant body of detailed historical and literary analysis.
Recent Isaiah scholarship has moved … in favor of seeing the book of Isaiah as the product of several centuries of intensive redaction and accretion. In other words, even Isaiah 2–14 would have looked very different in Nephi’s time than it did four hundred years later at the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, when it was quite similar to what we have today."
"Mark 16:8 is currently the earliest attested ending for Mark’s gospel (appearing in Codex Sinaiticus [א] and Codex Vaticanus [B] [the earliest complete manuscripts of Mark]), its abruptness is problematic …
… others [of the early Christian fathers] seem not to have known about them [Mark 16:9–20] or were unsure of their authenticity …"
Significance: Moroni states that Jesus spoke to the disciples in the New World using the exact verbiage from a section of Mark that is almost certainly a later addition to the book of Mark."
In 1988 the Smithsonian Institute responded to a letter asking for archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. They replied with eight separate statements refuting Book of Mormon claims about the Ancient Inhabitants.
In 1922 B.H. Roberts, the Mormon Church Historian, came across a book called View of the Hebrews which contained similar information and patterns found in the Book of Mormon, including references to a Urim and Thummim, and Isaiah quoted for 24 chapters. He prepared a 141 page report and submitted it to the First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles asking for an explanation, through revelation if necessary. He was shut down.
(You can read a summary of it here)
In a two part video interview, Dr. Thomas Murphy explains how there is no DNA evidence supporting the Book of Mormon.
(View part 1)
(View part 2)
Geneticist Simon Southerton wrote two books summarizing DNA evidence contradicting Book of Mormon claims.
Link to: Losing a Lost Tribe: DNA, Native Americans and the Mormon Church
Link to: The Sacred Curse: How Native American DNA Exposes Mormonism's Lamanite Myth
The Book of Mormon was a production engineered to unite the Christian sects by answering the religious questions of the 1800's, clearing up loose ends in the Bible, bringing Christianity to the Native Americans, validating the newly-independent American anti-Royalty philosophy, and addressing the issues with the growing concerns of secret Masonry alliances in New England. It is a masterful work of fiction.
(See how it was created here.)