A Very Strange Text

The Book of Mormon claims to be an ancient document, yet it contains scores of phrases, and even paragraphs, that appear to have been taken directly from the King James New Testament. It has entire chapters seemingly copied from the King James Old Testament, with frequent modifications around words printed in italics. It has many anachronisms and, in it’s earliest edition, was riddled with grammatical errors (by modern standards, anyway). At the same time, this enigmatic book contains eloquent examples of classical Hebrew literary structures (such as chiasms), plays on Hebrew words, Hebrew grammatical structures (Hebraisms), and other characteristics suggestive of an ancient origin. It is written in the language of the King James Bible but also contains examples of early modern English that are not found in the Bible. Wordprint analyses suggest it was written by multiple authors, none of which were the usual 19th Century suspects. Where did such a strange text come from and how was it created?

These strange characteristics of the Book of Mormon can be explained quite well if:

  1. The Book of Mormon was originally composed in an ancient Hebrew-like language.
  2. It was then translated into Early Modern English in a conventional manner, like the Bible, by someone who knew both languages.
  3. The English translation was then transmitted to Joseph Smith as a sort of text message through his seer stone, and slightly edited by him as he dictated it to his scribe.

There is increasing evidence for all three of these steps, as you will see by following the links on this page.

The result of this 3-step process is a book of scripture that, like the Bible, is imperfect, especially when judged by modern standards of authorship and composition. At the same time, it is a rich and varied historical, literary, and religious text, and the “most correct” book of scripture we have.