Book of Mormon Authorship


NOTE: This webpage taken entirely from mormonstudies

 

Book of Mormon Authorship

Spalding's Manuscript Story

The Ethan Smith Theory

Criticism of the Spalding Theory

Spalding's "Manuscript Story"

Lucy Smith's Dreams

Conclusion

Bibliography

Spalding's "Manuscript Story"

The critics cannot seem to decide whether there are any significant similarities between the Fabius story and the Book of Mormon. They do not want to admit that there are any specific parallels, but their theory of memory substitution requires at least a few general similarities between the two stories; otherwise, the witnesses would not have confused Fabius's narrative with the Book of Mormon. Initially, James Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, stated that he and L. L. Rice had compared the "Manuscript Story" with the Book of Mormon "and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail" (Davis 1959, 111). However, Fairchild later argued that the "general features" of the Fabius story "fulfills the requirements of the 'Manuscript Found'" (Bush 1977, 54). Other critics, like Fawn Brodie and Lester Bush, have admitted that there are at least a few "superficial" similarities between Spalding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon, although Bush insists that "there are virtually no similarities in episodes, characters, or themes" (Bush 1977, 42). But, in fact, the Fabius story has parallels not only with the Book of Mormon, but also with later Mormon doctrine.

An obvious parallel, usually conceded by the critics, including Bush, is the fact that both books claim to be based upon the discovery of buried documents. Spalding gave this account in his manuscript:

Near the west Bank of the Coneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character situation and numbers of those people who far exceeded the present race of Indians in works of art & inginuety I hapned to tread on a flat Stone. This was at a small distance from the fort: & it lay on the top of a small mound of Earth exactly horizontal -- The face of it had a singular appearance I discovered a number of characters which appeared to me to be letters -- but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the Stone -- But you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends and sides rested on Stones & that it was designed as a cover to an artificial cave. -- I found on examining that its Sides were lined with * * * built in a connical form with * * * down -- & that it was about eight feet deep . . . . Here I noticed a big flat Stone fixed in the form of a doar. I immediately tore it down & Lo a cavity within the wall presented itself . . . . Within this cavity I found an earthan Box with a cover which shut it perfectly tite -- The Box was two feet in length one & half in breadth & one and three inches in diameter. . . . When I had removed the cover I found that it contained twenty eight sheets of parchment . . . appeared to be manuscripts written in an eligant hand with Roman Letters & in the Latin Language. They were written on a variety of Subjects. But the Roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the authors life & that part of America which extends along the great Lakes & the waters of the Missisippy. (Spalding 1910, 1-2)

In his official history, Joseph Smith gave this description of the discovery of the plates:

Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth. Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. (JS-H 1:51-52)

Oliver Cowdery also said that the plates were found in a box made of stones cemented together, but gave a different description of the stones inside the box: "From the bottom of the box, or from the breast-plate, arose three small pillars composed of the same description of cement used on the edges; and upon these three pillars was placed the record . . . . I must not forget to say that this box, containing the record was covered with another stone, the bottom surface being flat and the upper, crowning. But those three pillars were not so lengthy as to cause the plates and the crowning stone to come in contact" (Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1835). Spalding's account may have said that the sides of the artificial cave were lined with "pillars" built in a conical form; if so, it could have been the source of Oliver's description of the pillars in the box.

Although neither Joseph nor Oliver publicly described a cave, later Mormon lore did allege the existence of a cave containing a great many records. In 1877 Brigham Young related the following story, which he said came from Oliver Cowdery:

When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun, or artificial light; but it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than, probably, many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there, the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again, it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it were written these words, 'This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God and His Christ.' (Smith and Sjodahl 1972, 47)

This tale bears a resemblance to the story of Beowulf. The mother of Grendel dragged Beowulf beneath the waters of a lake and into an underground chamber. Within the cave, Beowulf "saw fire-light, a white blaze brilliantly shining." Beowulf swung his sword at the creature, but it failed to wound her. Then Beowulf saw hanging on the wall a large, beautifully constructed sword, the work of giants. With this sword, Beowulf killed both Grendel and his mother, but the blade dissolved from the venomous blood of the creatures. Nonetheless, Beowulf gave the hilt of the sword to Hrothgar: "On it was written the source of the struggle of old, when the flood, the ocean breaking its bounds, struck down the race of giants. . . . On the sword-guards, it was also rightly engraved, set down and declared in runic letters of pure gold for whom that sword had first been made" (Beowulf 1963, 50).

The story also relates that there was in the land, unknown to anyone, another underground chamber, in which giants had placed gold and jewels. The crypt is described as a high-roofed chamber underneath a towering barrow of stone. The treasure had been guarded by soldiers, until the last one died. A dragon had then found the barrow and stood guard over the hoard. In the fiftieth year of Beowulf's reign, a man accidentally found his way into the chamber and carried off a gold flagon. The dragon was enraged and began to burn the countryside. Beowulf and another man named Wiglaf killed the dragon, but Beowulf was mortally wounded. Before he died, Beowulf caught a glimpse of the dragon's chamber and "saw how that hall of earth held within it arches of stone, firm on their stanchions." He ordered Wiglaf to enter the barrow. Above the hoard of treasure a banner of pure gold radiated so much light that Wiglaf could see the contents of the cave. With an armful of treasure, Wiglaf returned to Beowulf, who soon after died. Realizing that the treasure was cursed and would lead to enmity and murder, Wiglaf suggested that it be buried with Beowulf: "Then the twisted gold was loaded on a wagon, a mass beyond counting . . . ." A large barrow was built for Beowulf, and the treasure was placed inside: "They let earth keep the treasure of heroes, left the gold in the ground, where it lives on still to this day" (Beowulf 1963, 73, 82-83).

There are many points of similarity between Beowulf and Oliver Cowdery's story, as related by Brigham Young: an underground chamber, brilliantly lit; a sword hanging on the wall; the sword engraved with writing; a hoard of treasure, buried by ancient soldiers, large enough to fill a wagon. Another epic also relates that the treasure of the Nibelungen was hidden in a mountain and that a hundred wagons could not have carried it away.

Of course, the Arabian Nights also provided tales of hidden treasure, particularly the story of Aladdin. Aladdin was a rather idle boy, until in his fifteenth year, an African magician came to town and told Aladdin that he was his uncle. The magician led Aladdin to a valley between two mountains, where he pronounced some magic words. The earth shook and opened, uncovering a stone with a brass ring fixed in the middle. The magician told Aladdin that he was the only one permitted to lift the stone. When the stone was pulled up, a door appeared, with steps descending into a cave. Aladdin passed through two large chambers filled with gold and silver and then found another door leading into a third room, which contained trees laden with jewels. Again, there are resemblances between this tale and the "Manuscript Story."

In his 1838 history, Joseph said that just before his first vision, he was surrounded by thick darkness and felt a malevolent power. The first time that he visited the hill where the plates were buried, he made an attempt to take the plates, but was stopped by Moroni, who told him to return precisely one year from that date. Oliver Cowdery gave a different version of what occurred at the hill. He said that when Joseph tried to take the plates, he received a shock, which weakened him. After making two more attempts and receiving another shock, a vision opened before his eyes, in which he saw the prince of darkness, surrounded by his innumerable associates. Joseph was told that he could not take the plates at that time, because he had thoughts of obtaining wealth from them. Moroni instructed him to return in a year's time. According to Willard Chase's statement, in 1827 Joseph told him yet another story about his attempt to get the plates:

He repaired to the place of deposit and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. -- Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he enquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders. . . . come one year from this day . . . . (Howe 1834, 242)

These accounts resemble two other tales. The first is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Gawain had an encounter with the Green Knight in the court of King Arthur, in which it was agreed that Gawain would meet the knight at the Green Chapel one year from that day. Gawain traveled to a wild place with ragged rocks to look for the chapel. He saw a hollow barrow, which had a hole in each end and on each side. Wondering if this could be the Green Chapel, Gawain imagined that it looked more like the haunt of Satan. The Green Knight's command that Gawain meet him one year later parallels Moroni's instructions to Joseph, and the allusion to Satan recalls Joseph's encounter with the prince of darkness.

The second tale is a part of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. After having the story of Joseph of Arimathea related to him, Galahad was asked to accompany a monk to a tomb, which held within it a fiend: "Sir Galahad approached fearlessly and lifted the cover of the tomb. Dense smoke issued forth, and then the fiend leaped out. He was a terrifying figure, in the likeness of a man. Sir Galahad crossed himself, and the fiend spoke again: 'Sir Galahad, I see that you are encircled by angels and that I may not touch you!' Then Sir Galahad saw in the tomb the body of a man in full armor, with a sword by his side" (Malory 1962, 370). This tale suggests Moroni's visit to Joseph, giving him information about the plates, and Joseph's arrival at the place of deposit, where he encountered a spirit in the stone box, which assumed the appearance of a man. Inside the box, Joseph saw a breastplate.

Orson Pratt described the gold plates as "being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume" (Pratt 1840, 472). Joseph Smith followed this description in his Wentworth letter. The claim that the gold plates were not as thick as tin recalls an account given by Pausanius of a sacred record kept hidden by the Messenians. A man named Aristomenes took the record to Mount Ithome and buried it in a hole. Later an old man appeared to Epiteles: "The dream commanded him to find where a yew and a myrtle grew together on Mount Ithome, and to dig between them . . . . Next morning Epiteles came to the place that was described, and when he dug there he found a bronze jar, which he took to Epaminondas . . . . Inside he found a leaf of tin beaten to extreme fineness and rolled up like a scroll, and inscribed with the mystery of the Great goddesses: this was the thing Aristomenes had hidden" (Pausanius 1971, 2:163).

The "Manuscript Story" purports to be a history written by a Roman named Fabius. He states that he is making a record of the inhabitants of America for the benefit of future Europeans, who may one day live in that part of the world, and that he will deposit the record in a box. He says further that the information which he is providing about himself and his arrival in the New World is only an extract from a longer manuscript, which will be deposited with his history. The Book of Mormon also declares that it is an abridgment of a more detailed record and that it was written for future generations of Indians and Gentiles, and it too was deposited in a box.

Fabius was appointed as secretary to Constantine, and one day the emperor asked him to take an important message to the general of the army in Britain.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp.4-5] Preparation was made instantly and we sailed -- The vessel laden with provisions for the army -- cloathing, knives and other impliments for their use had now arived near the coasts of Britan when a tremendous storm arose & drove us into the midst of the boundless Ocean. Soon the whole crew became lost & bewildered -- They knew not the direction to the rising Sun or polar Star -- for the heavens were covered with clouds; & darkness had spread her sable mantle over the face of the raging deep. Their minds were filled with consternation & dispair -- What could we do? How be extrecated from the insatiable jaws of a watry tomb. Then it was that we felt our absolute dependence on that Almighty & gracious Being who holds the winds and storms in his hands -- From him alone could we expect deliverance. To him our most fervent desires ascended -- prostrate & on bended nees we poured forth incessant supplications . . . . After being driven five days with incridable velocity before the furious wind, the storm abated in its violance -- but still the wind blew strong in the same direction. . . . On the sixth day after, the storm wholly subsided, the sun rose clear & the heavens once more appeard to smile. . . . At length a Mariner stept forward in the midst and proclaimed. Attend O friends & listen to my words -- A voice from on high hath penetrated my soul & the inspiration of the Almighty hath bid me proclaim -- Let your sails be wide spread and the gentle winds will soon waft you into a safe harbor -- A country where you will find hospitality. . . . On the fifth day after this we came in sight of Land -- we entered a spacious River . . . . We anchored within a small distance from shore. [1 Nephi 18:8-23] And it came to pass after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land. And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry . . . . And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords . . . . And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea . . . . And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities . . . . Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long . . . . and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sickbeds. . . . yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave. . . . . wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me. And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land. And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Spalding's story also parallels the storm described in the Aeneid, as does the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, the Jaredite barges were propelled across the sea by strong, constant winds.

Lehi's ship once again resumed its course, after Nephi regained control of the Liahona, and in Spalding's story, a mariner is inspired by the Almighty to proclaim that "gentle winds will soon waft you into a safe harbor -- A country where you will find hospitality." After five more days of sailing, Fabius's ship came in sight of land, "entered a spacious River -- & continued sailing up the same many leages until we came in view of a Town" (Spalding 1910, 5). This is reminiscent of Bacon's New Atlantis, in which his ship is blown off course by strong winds, comes upon land, and enters "into a good haven, being the port of a fair city" (Bacon 1942, 246).

Fabius's group was received by the king, who ceded to them a tract of land. A plan was adopted to allow seven young women, who were passengers on the ship, to choose husbands, and they were paired with Fabius, the ship's captain and mate, and four other men. In the same way, the five daughters of Ishmael provided wives for Nephi, his three brothers, and Zoram. Fabius's group also settled on an economic policy: "The property was common stock -- what was produced by our labor was likewise to be common, all subject to the distribution of the judges who were to attend to each family & see that propper industry and econimy were practised by all" (Spalding 1910, 9). After Christ's appearance in the New World, the Nephites and Lamanites also had all things in common, and the common stock plan of Fabius's group is similar to the united order, which the Mormons tried to follow.

The captain recommended that the group remain a distinct people, "another Italy," and that they try to enlighten the "dark souls" of the natives. But one mariner said that he would select a lass from the "copper coulered tribe" and their children would become "as fair & nearly as white as your honors children" (Spalding 1910, 10). The Book of Mormon, of course, holds to the theory that the skin color of Indians can change from dark to fair. The words "fair" and "white" are used in combination in several passages in the Book of Mormon: "she was exceedingly fair and white" (1 Nephi 11:13), "I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful" (1 Nephi 13:15), "as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome" (2 Nephi 5:21), "their skin became white like unto the Nephites; and their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair" (3 Nephi 15-16), and "that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white" (Mormon 9:6).

The "Manuscript Story" describes two distinct groups of people. The natives who lived on the coast, called the Deliwans, were hunters and wore animal skins, much like the Lamanites.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[P. 11] To strangers they were hospitable . . . but to enimies, implacable cruel & barbarous in the extreme. -- Innumerable hords of this discription of people were scattered over an extensive country, who gained their living by hunting the elk, the dear & a great variety of other wild animals . . . . Shooting the arrow slinging stones . . . . Their cloathing consisted of skins dressed with the hair on -- but in warm weather, only the middle part of their bodies were incumbered with any covering -- The one half of the head of the men was shaved & painted with red -- & the one half of the face was painted with black. [Enos 1:20] . . . their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax.

[Alma 3:4-5] And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites. Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and their bows, and their arrows, and their stones, and their slings, and so forth.

[Mosiah 10:8] . . . men armed with bows, and with arrows, and with swords, and with cimeters, and with stones, and with slings; and they had their heads shaved that they were naked; and they were girded with a leathern girdle about their loins.

[3 Nephi 4:7] . . . and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had headplates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.

[P.84] Each man had a sword by his side and a spear in his hand, and on their breasts down to their hips and on their thighs they wore pieces of mamouth skins to guard them from arrows and the weapons of death. [Alma 49:6] [The Lamanites] had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.

Fabius became concerned that if his group continued to live among these people, they would lose what remnants of civilization they possessed and degenerate into savages. After some remarkable reflections on the nature of the solar system, reasoning that the sun was really at the center and that the earth was a globe, Fabius concluded that they would be able to reach their native land by traveling westward. He also learned that the natives had a tradition which said that their ancestors immigrated from the west, and he was told that about fifteen days' journey to the northwest, there was a civilized people living in great towns on the banks of a large river. Fabius, Crito, and a Delawan interpreter set out to find this land. After passing over a great mountain, they came to a river called Owaho: "Here was a large town or city inhabited by a distinct race of people from any we had seen before" (Spalding 1910, 18). Thus the "Manuscript Story" sets up a contrast between coastal, savage tribes and a more inland, civilized people, just as the Book of Mormon does. The people of Nephi had separated themselves from the wild Lamanites and had traveled northward to found a city. The Nephites also knew that it is the earth, and not the sun, which moves (Helaman 12:15).

Fabius informed the king of his intention to move to this new land, and the king provided him with four Mammoons: "These were an annimal of prodigious magnitude, even biger than the eliphant, which the natives had tamed & domesticated -- They were very segacious & docile & were employed in carying burthens and in drawing timber" (Spalding 1910, 18). This parallels Ether 9:19: "And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms."

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 19-20] Sacks were provided from Course Cloth to receive the most valuable part of our goods & furniture -- These were thrown across three of the Mammoons . . . . Thus having resided among the Deliwans two years -- & being prepared to take our departure . . . . We passed on -- No obsticles impeded our journey until we came to the great River Suscowah -- which runs between the Deliwah River and the great mountain -- The water being too deep for fording, we built a small boat and with this, at several times we conveyed the whole of the baggage & Company across . . . . We then proceeded on by slow marches, -- but in crossing the great mountain we had some difficulties to encounter . . . but finally arived safely at the great city Owhahon on the twenty fifth day after our departure from the Deliwan. [Ether 2:1,6,13] And it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families . . . went down into the valley which was northward . . . with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. . . . And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters . . . . the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents . . . and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.
     Fatigued with a long and difficult journey, . . . all were disposed to establish our residence here until further information could be obtained & further measures concerted to prosecute our journey to Europe The King and his principal officers . . . . assigned us . . . a number of houses on the bank of the river at a little distance from the City. [Compare 1 Nephi 16:19] and being much fatigued, because of their journeying . . .

Fabius's group journeyed northwest, built a small boat to cross a deep river, arrived at "the great city," and dwelled in houses on the bank of a river. The Jaredites traveled north to a valley, built barges to cross many waters, arrived at "the great sea," and dwelled in tents on the seashore. Fabius's group intended to continue their journey back to Europe, crossing what they hoped would be a sea of small extent between the continents. The Jaredites also continued their journey by building barges to cross the sea.

Fabius states that the customs, laws, government, and religion of the Ohons, as this people were called, "demonstrate that they must have originated from some other nation & have but a very distant affinity with their Savage neighbours" (Spalding 1910, 21). Thus Solomon's story does not derive all of the inhabitants of America from one group of people. Similarly, the Book of Mormon brings three groups of people to the New World.

Fabius notes that the Ohons had a light olive complexion, and that there were some persons "whose hair was of a redish hue," apparently referring to the Madoc theory of Welsh Indians. The Ohons wore clothing made of cloth and lived by cultivating the land and tending domesticated animals. Their method of manufacturing iron and lead was not quite as perfect as the European, but they could convert iron "nearly into the consistence of steal" (Spalding 1910, 23). The Nephites also tilled the land and raised domesticated animals. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon claims that the Nephites knew how to make steel (Jarom 1:8).

Concerning the Ohons' written language, Fabius states: "They had characters which represent words & all compound words had each part represented by its apropriate character. The variation of cases moods & tenses was designated by certain marks placed under the character" (Spalding 1910, 25). In July 1835 Joseph Smith acquired some Egyptian scrolls. He started translating one of these scrolls as the Book of Abraham. In conjunction with this work, he was also formulating an Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. In his grammar Joseph arranged characters in a column on the left-hand side of the page, and next to each character, he gave an interpretation. A character had a particular meaning, depending upon what "degree" it was in. There were five degrees, and apparently each degree had five parts. Meanings of characters varied according to their degree and part, and characters could be combined into compound symbols. According to Joseph's system, placing marks above or below a symbol either increased or decreased its signification. In some way, these marks were associated with connecting parts of speech, which Joseph listed as verbs, participles, prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs. Joseph also had names for various kinds of "connections," which included present, past, and future tenses for verbs. This parallel between the language of the Ohons and Joseph's Egyptian grammar is a very strong link between Spalding and the Book of Mormon. It is highly unlikely that Joseph Smith and Solomon Spalding would have produced independently, from their own imaginations, concepts of a system of language which are so similar. (For more parallels with the Alphabet and Grammar, see Spalding Notes)

In each large town, the Ohons had priests, into whose hands were committed copies of the sacred Roll, containing the tenets and ceremonies of their religion. Fabius quotes from the sacred Roll:

There is an intelligent omnipotent Being, who is self existant & infinitely good & benevolent -- Matter eternally existed -- He put forth his hand & formed it into such bodies as he pleased -- He presides over the universe & has a perfect knowledge of all things -- From his own spiritual substance he formed seven sons -- These are his principal agents to manage the affairs of his empire -- He formed the bodies of men from matter Into each body he infused a particle of his own spiritual substance, in consequence of which man in his first formation was inclined to benevolence & goodness. There is also another great inteligent Being who is self existent & possessed of great power but not of Omnipotence -- He is filled with infinite malice against the good Being & exerts all his subtlety & pow to ruin his works. . . . Death desolves the connection -- Etherial Bodies are prepared for the souls of the righteous -- These bodies can pass thro' any part of the universe & are invisable to mortal eyes. Their place of residence is on a vast plain which is beautified with magnificent Buildings -- with Trees, fruits & flowers. No immagination can paint the delights, the felicity of the Righteous. But the wicked are denied etherial bodies -- Their souls naked and incapable of seeing light, dwel in darkness & are tormented with the keenest anguish -- Ages roll away & the good being has compassion upon them -- He permits them to take possession of etherial bodies and they arise quick to the abodes of delight & glory. (Spalding 1910, 28-29)

These doctrines have obvious affinities with the later teachings of Joseph Smith. He taught that God and intelligence are self-existent, that matter is eternal, and that God merely formed matter into bodies. He said that there are three kinds of bodies and three kingdoms -- celestial, terrestrial, and telestial -- but that Satan and his followers are deprived of bodies and will suffer eternal punishment. Those who are to inherit the telestial world must abide in hell until Christ has completed his work (see D&C 76). Spalding's description of the celestial plain is evidently derived from Plato's Phaedo. Plato said that the souls of the virtuous dwell on the "true earth" amid the ether: "And in this fair earth the things that grow, the trees, and flowers and fruits, are correspondingly beautiful . . . . And they have sacred groves and temples of the gods . . . and in all other ways their blessedness is in accord with this" (Phaedo 110d-111c, Loeb translation). In his Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, Joseph Smith defined the character Beth as "The place appointed of God for the residence of Adam . . . great valley or plain given by promise; filled with fruit trees and precious flowers . . . place of happiness" (fifth degree, second part).

The eternity of matter is a Greek concept, but the beliefs of the Ohons also have similarities with Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Magi. Zoroastrianism held that a cosmic battle is being waged between two eternal spiritual beings, who represent good and evil. The leader of the hosts of light is Ahura Mazda, who is accompanied by six Amesha Spentas, acting as his agents. The spirit of darkness is Angra Mainyu, who counters the good works of Ahura Mazda with evil. At death, each individual's good and evil deeds are weighed, and he is sent either to heaven or hell, or to an intermediate place, if the good and bad balance each other. When Ahura Mazda triumphs at the end of the world struggle, there will be a purification by fire and the creation of a new heaven and earth, and Angra Mainyu will be banished to the realm of eternal darkness.

The practice of polygamy is described in a passage which Spalding apparently planned to remove from his manuscript or intended to revise: "Let thy citizens be numbered once in two years -- & if the young women, who are fit for marriage are more numerous than the young men -- then wealthy men, who are young & who have but one wife, shall have the priviledge, [with the permission of the King] to marry another until the numbers of the single young men & the single young women are made equal But he that hath two wives shall have a house provided for each -- & he shall spend his time equally with each one" (Spalding 1910, 29). It is apparent that Spalding did not find the idea of polygamy abhorrent, if conditions seemed to require it, although he limited it to the young. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, denounces polygamy, but sees that it might be necessary in limited circumstances: "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none . . . . For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" (Jacob 2:27, 30). Mormons often cited an imbalance in the sexes as justification for polygamy, although studies have shown that women did not outnumber men in Utah. Furthermore, men like Brigham Young and Orson Pratt strove to follow Spalding's advice to provide separate houses for their wives and to divide their time equally between their spouses. Brigham's wives were housed in the "White House," the Beehive House, the Lion House, Forest Farm, and houses in Provo and St. George. Orson housed his six wives in Salt Lake, Tooele, and Fillmore. Orson's first wife Sarah complained that Orson "intended to put these five women on an exact equality with me; that he should spend a week with one, a week with another . . . ." (New York Herald, 18 May 1877).

Critics have complained that Spalding did not write the Fabius story in a scriptural style and therefore could not have written the Book of Mormon. However, three pages of chapter seven, quoting from the sacred Roll, are written in imitation of the Bible. Here is a portion of this material:

Now O man attend to thy duty & thou shalt escape the portion of the wicked & enjoy the delights of the righteous Avoid all acts of cruelty to man and beast defraud not thy neighbour, nor suffer thy hands secretly to convey his property from him -- Preserve thy body from the contamination of lust -- & remember the seduction of thy neighbors wife would be a great Crime . . . . Be grateful for all favours & forsake not thy friend in adversity. Treat with kindness & reverence thy Parents . . . . Let rulers consult the welfare of the people and not agrandige themselves by oppression & base bribes . . . . Let Parents restrain the vices of their children & instruct their minds in useful knowledge . . . . Hold out the hand of kindness and friendship to thy neighbour -- consider him when reduced to indigence & distress. . . . Say not to thyself I will indulge in inactivity & idleness & lie upon the bed of sloth & slumber away the precious moments of time -- for in this thou art unwise . . . . (Spalding 1910, 29-30)

These admonitions are an obvious imitation of the Decalogue, Proverbs, and the Sermon on the Mount. Joseph Smith included similar material in a revelation dated 9 February 1831 (D&C 42), which covers the sins of murder, stealing, lying, lust, adultery, speaking evil, and idleness, and includes an admonition to consecrate property to be used for the poor.

There is other evidence that Spalding made use of scripture in his writing. For example, Fabius ponders his situation: "O that my head were waters & my eyes a fountain of tears -- then my intolerable burthen should be poured forth in a torrent & my soul set at liberty. But behold the light springs up & beams upon my soul. She brings in her train Hope -- that celestial Godes, that sure & strong anchor" (Spalding 1910, 16). The first part of this passage comes from Jeremiah 9:1: "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" The last part alludes to Hebrews 6:19: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast." This same passage from Hebrews appears to be the source for Ether 12:4, where Moroni quotes the words of Ether: "which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast."

The Book of Moses also provides a small but still significant stylistic parallel. Spalding wrote that priests instructed the Sciotans to subdue their passions "that they may secure happiness to themselves in this life - & imortal happiness beyond the grave" (Spalding 1910, 44). At Moses 6:59, the Lord instructs Adam to tell his children that they must repent that they might "enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory."

Chapter VIII of the "Manuscript Story" introduces the semi-mythical figure of Lobaska. He appeared in the city of Tolanga with his wife and four sons. It was he who gave to the Ohons their system of writing, the sacred Roll containing their religious tenets, and their political constitution. People believed that Lobaska conversed with celestial beings, and he pretended that the theology of the sacred roll "was revealed to him in several interviews which he had been permitted to have with the second son of the great & good Being" (Spalding 1910, 35). Spalding made it clear that he was drawing the character of Lobaska from history and myth, for he wrote: "If we can place any reliance on the dark annals of antient history, it is a certain fact that Letters are indebted for their existence to the inventive genius of certain extraordinary characters -- Egypt & Chaldea contended for the honour of being the first who invented letters" (Spalding 1910, 25). He was undoubtedly thinking of Thoth, the Egyptian inventor of letters, and of Oannes, who according to Berossus, appeared in Babylonia and gave men "an insight into letters and sciences, and arts of every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge" (Cory [1832] 1975, 19). Lobaska is also patterned after king Numa, who instituted many of the Roman religious rites, as well as their priesthood, and claimed that his knowledge was revealed to him by the Muses and the goddess Egeria, with whom he had many secret meetings. Other writers before Spalding had invented similar characters. Thomas More declared that a man named Utopos was responsible for transforming the ignorant savages of Sansculottia into the most civilized nation on earth, the imaginary state of Utopia. Francis Bacon claimed that the lawgiver of the island of Bensalem was a king named Solamona, who had lived 1,900 years earlier. The king instituted a society called Solomon's House, named after the wise Hebrew king, which was devoted to investigating the mysteries of nature and developing new inventions. A member of the society stated: "We imitate also flights of birds; we have some degrees of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for going under water and brooking the seas" (Bacon 1942, 298). Similarly, Spalding made Lobaska the inventor of a flying machine. And the barges of the Jaredites were of a peculiar design, which enabled them to move while submerged in the sea.

Both Lobaska and Nephi were founding figures, who dispensed both moral teachings and practical knowledge, including metallurgy.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp.22-23] The manufacturing of Iron & lead was understood but was not carried on to that extent & perfection as in Europe. A small quantity of Iron in proportion to the number of inhabitants served to supply them with all the impliments which custom had made necessary for their use -- By hammering & hardening their Iron they would convert it nearly into the consistence of steal & fit it for the purpose of edge tools.

[P.35] He still continued to associate among the people & was indefatigable in his labours to dispel their ignorance, correct their superstition & vices to excite their industry & to defuse a more accurate knowledge of the mechanical arts -- The manufacture of Iron in particular was not known: this he taught a number by showing them how to build a small furnace & to cast iron ware -- & then how to build a small forge & refine pigs and convert them into Iron -- He had resided among the Sciotans about three years & the happy effects of his Labors were visible to all observs -- A great reformation had taken place in the morals & manners of the people -- industry had encreased -- agriculture & the mechanical arts had received great improvement -- & houses were built on a more commodious & eligant construction.

[1 Nephi 17:11, 16] And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire. . . . And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.

[2 Nephi 5:15-17] And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon. . . and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.

[Compare also Mosiah 11:8-9] And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper; and he also built him a spacious palace . . . .

Lobaska educated his four sons: "they had all received an education from their father -- & even the youngest, who was but about eleven years old could read and write with great correctness & facility" (Spalding 1910, 34). King Benjamin was also concerned with the education of his three sons: "And it came to pass that he had three sons . . . . And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding" (Mosiah 1:2).

In the time of Lobaska, the Ohons were divided into two kingdoms, Sciota and Kentuck. When a war began between the two kingdoms, Lobaska advised the Sciotans to lay a trap for the Kentucks. To reach the city of Tolanga, the Kentucks had to pass by a hill or mountain, less than a mile from the great river Ohio.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 36-39] All were unanimously of opinion that to comply with the haughty demand of Bombal, by tearing the blue feathers from their caps would be degrading the honour of the nation and a relinquishment of their natural right -- they were likewise sensible that the most vigorous exertions were necessary to save the country from ruin. The opinion and advice of Lobaska, was requested. It is my opinion says he, that by using a little stratigem this war might be bro't to a conclusion which will be honourable to this kingdom. . . . the army was assembled and impliments provided with the utmost expidition -- & they marched down the river to a certain place where the army of the enimy must pass, in order to arrive at the City of Tolanga At this place the hill or mountain came within less than a mile of the River & flat or level Land intervened -- Here Lobaska directed that a Canal should be dug from the River to the Hill . . . . In the meantime Hadokam bro't into the field seven thousand and more of his warriors, men of brave hearts and valiant for the Battle -- The indignant King of the Kentucks by this time had assembled an army of thirty thousand men who were ready at the risk of their lives to vindicate the pre-eminance of their nation and the transcendent dignity of their king & his chiefs -- At the head of this army Bombal began his march to execut his threatned vengance on the Siotans . . . . Bombal halted and formed his men in two Ranks extending from the river to the hill -- He had a reserved core, who were placed in the rear of the main body -- Having thus arranged them for battle, he went from one wing to the other -- proclaiming aloud, we have been insulted, brave soldiers, by these cowardly Siotans -- They have assumed the blue Feather, the badge of our preeminance & exalted dignity -- Behold it flying in their Caps -- will your high born souls submit to behold such Dastards place themselves on equal ground with you -- No my valiant warriors, let us revenge the insult by the destruction of their puny army & the conflagration of their City -- Make a furious charge upon them -- & the victory is ours -- Let your motto be the blue Feather & you will fight like wolvs robed of their puppies. Hadoram had by this time formed his army in order of Battle close to the edge of the Canal & extended them only in one rank from the River to the Hill -- As the Kentucks approached within a small distance, the Sciotans gave back & began a retreat with apparent confusion, notwithstanding the pretended exertions of the King & his officers to prevent their retreating -- Bombal observing this commanded to rush forward on the full run but to keep their Ranks in order -- This they instantly obeyed as one man & as soon as their feet stept on the slender covering of the canal it gave way & they fell to the bottom, some in one position and some in another -- A disaster so novel & unexpected must have appalled the stoutest heart & filled their minds with amasement & terror. -- Nor did this complete the misfortune of the army of Bombal -- an ambush of the Sciotans, who lay on the side of the hill opposite to the reserved Corps of the Kentucks, rushed down upon them in an instant -- Surprise & terror prevented resistance -- they threw down their arms & surrendered -- The retreating army of Hadoram immediately returned with shouting to the edge of the Canal -- Their enimies, who but a moment before, tho't themselves invincible & certain of victory were now defenceless & wholly in their power -- Lobaska was present & saw the success of his stratigem his great soul disdained revenge on an helpless & prostrate Enimy -- he conjured the Siotans not to shed one drop of Blood -- but to be generous & merciful -- Bombal had now recovered from his surprise & seeing the deplorable situation of his army, his haughty soul felt the keenest anguish . . . . I now emplore your generosity & compassion for my army -- Spare their lives -- & then name your terms & if I can comply with them, without degrading the honor of my Crown, it shall be done. Your request says Hadoram is granted -- Surrender your arms & let your army return in peace -- As for your majesty, & the chiefs of your nation, who are present, you will . . . return to the city of Tolanga, & there we will excute a treaty of peace & amity that shall be advantageous & honourable to both nations. -- These terms were accepted & the Kentucks returned in peace to their own country [Alma 43:26-54] And he caused that all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together to battle against the Lamanites, to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties; therefore they were prepared against the time of the coming of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his army should be secreted in the valley which was near the bank of the river Sidon, which was on the west of the river Sidon in the wilderness. . . . he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take. Therefore, he divided his army and brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah; and the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon, and so down into the borders of the land Manti. . . . And as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon, the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear. And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about and began to contend with the army of Lehi. . . . And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee towards the river Sidon. And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon. . . . And it came to pass that Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley, on the other side of the river Sidon, and began to fall upon them and to slay them. . . . Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly . . . . And they were inspired . . . by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands . . . . Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion. And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts -- yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage. And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage. And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them, and they fled even to the waters of Sidon. . . . Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror. Now Moroni, when he saw their terror, commanded his men that they should stop shedding their blood.

[Alma 44:1-20] And it came to pass that they did stop and wthdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: . . . . I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us. . . . Now there were many . . . that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. . . . Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them. And it came to pass that Moroni caused that the work of death should cease again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a covenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.

Note that both the Kentucks and the Nephites fight to defend and preserve their "rights." Lobaska and Moroni both employ a "stratagem" to defeat their enemies. In both cases, these stratagems involve similar geographical locations, including a valley between a hill and river. Bombal exhorts his men to "fight like wolves," while Zerahemnah inspires his men to "fight like dragons," and Moroni inspires his men to fight for their liberty and freedom. The Kentucks are ambushed by a group of Sciotans, who rush upon them from the side of a hill, as the Lamanites are attacked by an army which is concealed on the south of a hill. Many of Zerahemnah's men are struck with fear and throw down their weapons, just as Bombal's men are filled with terror and throw down their weapons. Lobaska tells the Sciotans to be generous and refrain from shedding blood, and Hadoram, king of the Sciotans, demands that the Kentucks surrender their arms, just as Moroni commands his men to stop shedding the blood of the Lamanites and tells Zerahemnah's men to deliver up their weapons. Bombal pleads with Lobaska to spare the lives of his men, as Zerahemnah pleads with Moroni to spare the lives of his men. A treaty of peace is concluded, and the defeated armies are allowed to depart. How is it possible that Joseph Smith, who was translating an ancient Nephite record, would describe an incident with details and language so similar to a story written by Solomon Spalding?

As part of the treaty between the Sciotans and Kentucks, Lobaska demanded the right to establish schools in Kentuck and to appoint instructors. The Kentucks advanced in learning so rapidly that they began to excel the Sciotans, and they became industrious and prosperous. This recalls the Lamanite king, who in the days of Alma I, appointed Amulonites to be teachers in various parts of the land, to instruct the Lamanites in the language of Nephi and in keeping records. The Lamanites became wealthy traders.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 41-42] He returned back & sent his second son & three of the most forward scollars of the Sciotans to establish a school at Gamba. . . . These young men having imbibed the spirit & principles of the great preceptor, spared no exertions to instruct the scholars & to defuse useful knowledge among the people -- The happy effects of their labors were visible in a short time. The people embraced the religion of Lobaska & became more industrious & civilized. In their various improvements in agriculture, the mechanical arts and literature they even exsaled [excelled] the Sciotans & appeared to be as prosperous & flourishing. [Mosiah 24:1-7] And it came to pass that Amulon did gain favor in the eyes of the king of the Lamanites; therefore, the king of the Lamanites granted unto him and his brethren that they should be appointed teachers over his people . . . . And he appointed teachers of the brethren of Amulon in every land which was possessed by his people . . . . But they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another. And thus the Lamanites began to increase in riches, and began to trade one with another and wax great . . . .

Lobaska formed the people into two great empires, separated by the river Ohio. Labarmock, the eldest son of Lobaska, was appointed to the office of emperor of Sciota, while Lambon, the third son, became high priest, with four priests as assistants. Both offices of emperor and high priest were hereditary. Hamback, the second son of Lobaska, was chosen as emperor of Kentuck, and Kato, the youngest son, was ordained as high priest. The Nephites and Lamanites also lived in two different lands, separated by a strip of wilderness. The Nephites had two primary offices, the governor of the land and the high priest.

The inhabitants of Sciota and Kentuck experienced a period of peace and expansion, much like the people of Mosiah.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 53-54] As luxery & extravigance were scarcely known to exist, especially among the common people, [an happy equality was] hence there was a great similarity in their manner of living, their dress, their habits & manners. -- Pride was not bloated & puffed up with enormous wealth -- Nor had envy fewel to inflame her hatred & malice. . . . We can now trace the causes of their increase & prosperity. . . . to such an equality of property as to prevent the pride of wealth & the extravagance of luxury . . . . During this time their vilages & cities were greatly enlarged -- new settlements were formed in every part of the country which had not been inhabited -- & a vast number of towns were built -- which rivaled as to number of inhabitants, those which existed at the time their imperial governments were founded -- Their settlements extended the whole length of the great River Ohio to its confluence with the Mississippi, & over the whole country on both sides of the Ohio River, which are watered by streams which empty into it. -- And also along the great Lakes of Eri & Mishigan & even some settlements were formed in some part of the country which borders on Lake Ontario. -- Such was the vast extent of the country which they inhabited -- & such the fertility of the soil that many millions were easily fed & supported with such a plenty & competence of provision, as was necessary for their comfort and happiness. [Mosiah 27: 3-7] And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men; that they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support. . . . And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land. And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people.

Both of these texts begin with a discussion of pride and equality and then transition to a description of the building of large villages and cities. This appears to be beyond the realm of coincidence.

For 480 years, the two empires of Sciota and Kentuck existed in relative peace. Nonetheless, the people took the precaution of constructing fortifications.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 54-55] During the time of their rising greatness & tranquility their policy led them to fortify their country in every part, the interior as well as the frontiers -- this they did partly for their own safety, provided a war should take place & they should be invaded by an enimy -- & partly to keep alive & improve a warlike spirit & the knowlege of military Tacticks. Near every vilage or city they constructed forts or fortifications. Those were generally of an oval form & of different dimentions according to the number of inhabitants who lived in the town. -- The Ramparts or walls, were formed of dirt which was taken in front of the fort. A deep canal or trench would likewise be formed -- This would still encrease the difficulty of surmounting the walls in front. -- In addition to this they inserted a piece of Timber on the top of the Ramparts -- These pieces were about seven feet in length from the ground to top which was sharpned -- The distance between each piece was about six inches -- thro. which they could shoot their arrows against an Enimy. Some of their fortifications have two Ramparts, which run parallel with each other built in the same manner, with a distance between of about two or three perches -- Their Gates are strong & well constructed for defence -- Within these forts are likewise a number of small houses -- for the accomidation of the army & inhabitants in case of an invasion -- & likewise a storehouse for the reception of provision & arms. A country thus fortified -- containing so many milion of inhabitants, hardy & robust & with habits formed for war -- might well be supposed as able to defend themselves against an invading Enimy -- If they were beat from the frontier, they could still retreat back to the fortifications in the interior & their make a successful stand. [Alma 48:8] Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land.

[Alma 50:1-6] And now it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites; for he caused that his armies . . . should commence in digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities. And he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high. And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them. And they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof, according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should attempt to approach near the walls of the city. Thus Moroni did prepare strongholds against the coming of their enemies, round about every city in all the land.

In both the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon, husbands are enjoined to be faithful and to treat their wives and children with love and tenderness. Spalding wrote: "Being taught by their religion the social virtues they manifested a great regard for the rights of the other sex & always treated them with attention, civility & tenderness"; "Having been early taught to [restrain the] govern their passions & to regard the practice of virtue as their greatest good, it was generally the case, that love, friendship & harmony existed in families." (Spalding 1910, 48, 51-52) Jacob chatises his people: "For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people . . . because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands. . . . For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse . . . . Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them . . . . Behold, the Lamanites your brethren . . . are more righteous than you . . . . Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children" (Jacob 2:31-35; 3:5, 7).

The "Manuscript Story" launches into a tale of star-crossed lovers, reminiscent of Rivalin and Blancheflor, the parents of Tristan. Elseon, the son of Hamboon, Emperor of Kentuck, fell in love with Lamesa, daughter of Rambock, Emperor of Sciota. However, it was not the custom of the Sciotans and Kentucks to intermarry, and Elseon's request to take Lamesa as his wife was denied by Rambock, who wished Lamesa to marry Sambal. Elseon and Lamesa devised a scheme to leave Sciota and journeyed to the city of Gamba, where they were married by the emperor and empress of Kentuck. Sambal was infuriated at having lost Lamesa and urged the Sciotans to go to war.

Sambal enlisted the aid of a necromancer named Hamack to rouse the people's emotions.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 74-75] He had recourse to a class of men who were denominated prophets & conjurors to favour his disign. . . . As they pretended to have art of investigating the councils & designs of the heavenly Hierachy & to have a knowledge of future events . . . . Hamack then arose & in his hand he held a stone which he pronounced transparent -- tho' it was not transparent to common eyes. -- Thro' this he could view things present & things to come -- could behold the dark intrigues & cabals of foreign courts -- & discover hidden treasures, secluded from the eyes of other mortals. He could behold the galant & his mistress in their bed chamber & count all their moles warts & pimples. Such was the clearness of his sight when this transparent stone was placed before his eyes. [Alma 37: 22-23] For behold, the Lord saw that his people began to work in darkness, yea, work secret murders and abominations; therefore the Lord said, if they did not repent they should be destroyed from off the face of the earth. And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.

The transparent stone of Hamack also has obvious similarities to Joseph Smith's seer stones and the interpreters. In addition, this passage from the Spalding manuscript recalls Bennett's allegation that Joseph used a seer stone to decide if a man could have intercourse with one of the Chambered Sisters of Charity.

The "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon share another feature -- the "letter" motif. Elseon exchanges letters with the emperor of Sciota; Lamesa receives a letter from her father; Rambock sends a letter to Hamboon, who in turn dispatches an envoy with a letter to Rambock; Rambock then sends the envoy back with a declaration of war. In the Book of Mormon, Moroni sends a servant with an epistle to Ammoron, who replies with another epistle; Helaman sends a very long epistle, covering three chapters, to Moroni; Ammoron and Helaman also exchange epistles; Moroni writes two epistles to Pahoran, which brings an epistle in reply from Pahoran; Lachoneus receives an epistle from Giddianhi; the king of the Lamanites and Mormon exchange epistles, as do Coriantumr and Shiz; and Mormon writes two epistles to his son Moroni.

Furthermore, in both the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon, enmity between the two primary groups of people is attributed to robbery. The high priest of Sciota declares that "Elseon, the heir apparent to the imperial throne of Kentuck has been guilty of Robery & impiety within our dominions -- He has robed this empire of an invaluable treasure . . . ." Rambock also declares: "Ingratitude & perfedy, seduction, Robery & the most daring impiety against heaven have been perpetrated within our dominions -- The young prince of Kentuck is the monster, who has been guilty of these Crimes" (Spalding 1910, 79, 83). Similarly, in his letter to Moroni, Ammoron states: "your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged unto them" (Alma 54:17). The Lamanites also complained that Nephi "took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them. . . . therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi" (Mosiah 10:16-17).

Rambock issued an edict, declaring: "The Sciotans are required to exterminate, without distinction of age or sex all the inhabitants of the empire of Kentuck" (Spalding 1910, 80). The various kings of the region gathered their troops in support of their emperor, and the war of extermination began. At the great battle of Geheno, an immense slaughter ensued, covering the earth with the bodies of one hundred thousand men. A two-day armistice was declared to allow ten thousand men from each army to bury the dead. They dug mass graves, in which they deposited the bodies, and covered them with large heaps of earth. The chiefs who had been killed were also buried, and "over them they raised prodigious mounds of earth -- which will remain for ages, as monuments to commemorate the valiant feats of these heroes of the great Battle of Geheno" (Spalding 1910, 96). The Book of Mormon states that after the people of Ammonihah were destroyed by the Lamanites, "their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering" (Alma 16:11). Moreover, the battle of Geheno resembles the armistice and final war of extermination between the Nephites and Lamanites at the battle of Cumorah. The Spalding manuscript lists the kings and the number of men that each commanded, although the list is attenuated by the loss of two pages: Habelon, with fifteen thousand; Ulipoon, with eighteen thousand; Numapon, with sixteen thousand; and Ramuck, with ten thousand. The Book of Mormon also lists a number of men who each commanded ten thousand men: Gidgiddonah, Lamah, Gilgal, Limhah, Jeneum, Cumenihah, Moronihah, Antionum, Shiblom, Shem, and Josh. About one hundred and thirty thousand men were killed at Cumorah. The battle of Geheno also has parallels with the war which resulted in the extinction of the Jaredites at the hill Ramah.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[P.94] . . . both armies proceeded to make provision to refresh themselves, being nearly exhausted by the fatigues of a most bloody contest which had lasted nearly five hours. That day afforded them no time to bury their dead. . . . The warriors with their spears in their hands extended themselves upon the earth, & spent the night in rest and sleep -- Next morning they arose with renovated vigor. Their tho'ts were immediately turned to the sanguine field -- Many warriors say they lie there, pierced with mortal wounds & covered with blood. [Ether 15:23-27] And on the morrow they fought again; and when the night came they had all fallen by the sword save it were fifty and two of the people of Coriantumr, and sixty and nine of the people of Shiz. And it came to pass that they slept upon their swords that night . . . . And it came to pass that they ate and slept, and prepared for death on the morrow. . . . they fought for the space of three hours, and they fainted with the loss of blood.
[P. 97] As the Sciotans sallied out in parties to plunder & to ravage the country, these were pursued, overtaken or met by parties of the Kentucks -- Many bloody skirmishes ensued . . . . Wherever the Sciotans marched devastation attended their steps -- & all classes of people without distinction of age or sex, who fell into their hands became the victims of their infuriated malice -- The extermination of the Kentucks appeared to be their object, not considering that it might soon be their turn to have such horrid cruelties retaliated upon them with a three-fold vengence. [Ether 14:17-18] And it came to pass that Shiz pursued after Coriantumr, and he did overthrow many cities, and he did slay both women and children, and he did burn the cities. And there went a fear of Shiz throughout all the land; yea, a cry went forth throughout the land -- Who can stand before the army of Shiz? Behold, he sweepeth the earth before him!

The "Manuscript Story" relates the feats of two young Kentuck soldiers, who performed the bold and heroic act of stealing into the camp of the Sciotans, where they slew hundreds of sleeping men, before being discovered. The tale is obviously borrowed from the Aeneid's account of Euryalus and Nisus, who stole into the Rutulian camp. Like Euryalus and Nisus, the two Kentucks were pursued, one got far in advance, but the other was overtaken by the enemy. The first came back to defend his comrade, but both were killed. A similar fate awaited Teancum, when he entered Ammoron's camp at night to kill the king (Alma 62:36).

The Sciotans captured the city of Gamba, plundering and burning it, which recalls both the sack of Rome and the capture of the city of Zarahemla.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 100-101] Rambock marched his whole army towards the City of Gamba -- & such was the stillness of their movements that they were not perceived -- nor was it known by Hamboon that they had marched until the morning light. -- As soon as the Kentucks perceived that the Sciotans had abandoned the place of their encampment & found the direction they had gone, they immediately pursued them with the utmost expedition. -- But too late to prevent the intended slaughter & devastation. The Sciotans without delaying their march by attacking any forts in their way merely entered the vilages, killing the inhabitants who had not made their escape & burning their houses -- They arived before the City of Gamba -- Great indeed was the surprise, the consternation & terror of the Citizens -- Many fled to the fort -- A band of about three thousand resolute warriors seized their arms, determined to risk their lives in the defence of the City. . . . As soon as all resistance was over come & had subsided, the Sciotans lost no time -- but marched into the City and commenced a general plunder of all articles which could conveniently transported. [Helaman 1:19-20] But it came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth at the head of his numerous host, and came upon the inhabitants of the city, and their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies. Therefore Coriantumr did cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city.
[Pp 102-106] Hamboon & his army had arrived within five miles of the City. They beheld the flames beginning to assend. The idea was instantly realized that an indiscrimate slaughter had taken place. -- In addition to the distruction of all their property, they now had a reallizing annticipation of the massacre of the dearest friends & relation. . . . . He halted within about half a mile of the Sciotans -- & sent out a small party to reconoiter & discover their situation -- In the mean time he ordered Hanock to march with twelve thousand men round the Sciotan Army & lie in ambush in their rear in order to surprise them with an attack after the battle should commence. . . . [Ulipoon] repairs to Hambock & addressed him to this effect. . . . With your permission I will lead on my division & storm the fort of the Kentucks. . . . Having marched towards the fort until they had got beyond the view of the Sciotan army -- he then ordered them to turn their course towards the great River . . . . [Hanock] immediately dispach an express to Hamboon -- informing him that he should pursue them as their object probably was to ravage the country . . . . During the Night Hanock made his arangements -- he formed his men into four Divisions & surrounded the Enimy. . . . wherever they rushed forward in any direction they met the deadly spears of the Kentucks -- It is impossible to discribe the horror of the bloody scene . . . . But only three thousand made their escape. As for Ulipoon he was mortally wounded & laid prostrate on the field. . . . What says Rambock to his princes, is our wisest course to pursue? Sabamah, Rancoff & Nunapon advised him to retreat without losing a moment, for say them, we have taken ample revenge for the crime Elseon. -- To effect this we have thrown ourselves into the heart of their country -- have lost a large division of our army -- & are so weakened by our losses that we are in the utmost danger of being defeated & even anihilated. [Helaman 1:27-32] But behold, the Lamanites were not frightened according to his desire, but they had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla, and were marching through the most capital parts of the land, slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds. But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they should come to the land Bountiful. And thus he did; and he did head them before they came to the land Bountiful, and gave unto them battle, insomuch that they began to retreat back towards the land of Zarahemla. And it came to pass that Moronihah did head them in their retreat, and did give unto them battle, insomuch that it became an exceedingly bloody battle; yea, many were slain, and among the number who were slain Coriantumr was also found. And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites. And thus had Coriantumr plunged the Lamanites into the midst of the Nephites, insomuch that they were in the power of the Nephites, and he himself was slain, and the Lamanites did yield themsleves into the hands of the Nephites.

The Kentucks were not prepared for the Sciotan attack on Gamba, their capital city in "the heart of their country," just as Moronihah did not anticipate the Lamanite attack on Zarahemla in "the capital parts of the land." Both the Sciotans and Lamanites marched swiftly toward their targets, killed a few defenders, and took control of the city. After Gamba was taken, Ulipoon turned his army towards his own land, but Hanock "immediately" dispatched Hamboon to pursue them, as Moronihah "immediately" sent Lehi to prevent the Lamanites from reaching Bountiful. Hanock's men followed, and when Ulipoon's army was surrounded, a bloody battle ensued, in which Ulipoon was killed, just as the Lamanite army was surrounded by Moronihah, and Coriantumr was slain in a bloody battle.

Ulipoon's real intention "was to march with the utmost expedition to his own dominions & to carry with him his rich plunder" (Spalding 1910, 104). After he and many of his men were killed by Hanock, two thousand escaped to their own land, but about fifty fled to the army of Rambock. The story of Ulipoon has several parallels in the Book of Mormon. Amalickiah tried to lead his followers into the land of Nephi, but was pursued by Moroni; he escaped with a few men and sought the aid of the king of the Lamanites. Morianton and his people attempted to flee into the north country, but were intercepted by Teancum, who killed Morianton.

Descriptions of assaults on the cities of Gamba and Noah include similar battles with defenders at the entrances to the cities.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 100-101] A band of about three thousand resolute warriors seized their arms, determined to risk their lives in the defence of the City. The leader of this band was Lamock the eldest son of Labanko . . . . He posted his warriors in a narrow passage which led to the City. -- The Sciotan Emperor immediately formed his plan of attack. -- A large host selected from all the grand divisions of his army marched against them -- They were commanded by Moonrod -- He led them against this gallant & desparate band of Kentucks & made a most furious & violent charge upon them. But they were resisted with a boldness, which will forever do honour to their emmortal valour. -- Many hundreds of their Enimies they pierced with their deadly weapons & caused heaps of them to lie prostrate in the narrow passage. -- Such prodigious havock was made on the Sciotans by this small band of valiant Citizens, . . . that even Moonrod began to despair of forcing his march into the City, thro' this narrow passage. -- Being informed by a treacherous Kentuck of another passage, he immediately dispatched a party of about four thousand from his band to enter the City thro' that passage & to fall upon the rear of the Kentucks. . . . About seven hundred with their valiant leader thus made their escape, -- The remainder of the three thousand sold their lives in defence of their friends & their country. [Alma 49:20-22] Thus they were prepared, yea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance; and thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security; but behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter. Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight; but behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.

Sambal succeeded in breaking through the defenses of the Kentuck fort and sought out Lamesa. Heliza tried to stop him, but was killed by Sambal. After Elseon arrived with thirty thousand warriors, a fierce battle ensued, during which Sambal struck off the head of Helicon, the intimate friend of Elseon. After receiving the news, Elseon went in search of Sambal. The two champions fought, and Sambal was killed, in a scene which recalls the battle between Coriantumr and Shiz. When the Sciotans saw Sambal's huge, lifeless body, they fled in terror. Elseon pursued them, killing thousands, but then returned to the fort.

A Kentuck bard immortalized the love between Helicon and Heliza, who had both been killed in the war. The description of their union after death in a "delightful Bower" recalls the Cave of Love, in which Tristan was finally joined with the fair Isolde.

The armies of Rambock and Hamboon were still facing each other, but awaiting reinforcements. Elseon marched with twenty thousand men to Hamboon's camp. And here Spalding's manuscript suddenly ends, with the Kentucks preparing to battle Rambock's forces.

The "Manuscript Story" contains so many parallels with the Book of Mormon and with Mormon doctrine that it is impossible to believe that they are all merely the result of coincidence. The same factors which qualify Spalding as the author of the Book of Mormon are also evident in the "Manuscript Story." Solomon was obviously fascinated by the ancient earthen mounds and Indian forts, which were found in Ohio. He imagined the discovery of buried records, which also contained a story about a seer stone. He wanted to construct from his own imagination a history of the ancestors of the American Indians. He invented the details of their lives, their dress, houses, animals, their government, religion, and manner of warfare. He hypothesized the existence of two groups of people, one savage and the other more highly civilized. The civilized peoples were divided into two empires and embarked upon a fearful war of extermination. Solomon drew upon his knowledge of ancient history, Arthurian romances, Plato, Virgil's Aeneid and Bacon's New Atlantis. It is certainly not impossible to believe that Solomon set aside the "Manuscript Story" and decided to write an expanded version, covering a much longer period of history and incorporating some new thoughts about the origins of the inhabitants of the New World. Despite the denials of the critics, there are specific parallels between the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon. And other elements of Spalding's story, such as the theological doctrines and the system of writing of the Ohons, provide strong links between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spalding.

For more parallels between the Spalding manuscript and Joseph Smith's writings, see the Spalding Authorship Page, Recent Defenses of the Book of Mormon, and Another Spalding Fragment.

The Ethan Smith Theory

In 1832 a Mormon missionary read passages from the Book of Mormon at a public meeting in Conneaut, Ohio. Present at the meeting were the brother and friends of Solomon Spalding, who had lived in Conneaut between 1809 and 1812. Spalding had been educated at Dartmouth College and was ordained as a Congregational minister, but had retired from the ministry. Because of a failing business and ill health, he had turned to writing an historical romance about the origins of the American Indians, which he frequently read to acquaintances. Solomon's relatives and friends claimed that when they heard the Book of Mormon being read and later read the book themselves, they immediately recognized that the names and story were the same as those found in Solomon's manuscript.

In August 1833, Philastus Hurlbut, who had been excommunicated from the Mormon church in June, traveled to Conneaut and collected statements from eight people, testifying to similarities between Spalding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon. The people who made statements included John and Martha Spalding, the brother and sister-in-law of Solomon; Henry Lake, Solomon's business partner; John Miller, who was employed by Solomon and boarded at his home; Aaron Wright, the justice of the peace at Conneaut; Nahum Howard, the town doctor; Artemus Cunningham, a friend of Solomon; and Oliver Smith, with whom Solomon boarded when he first arrived in Conneaut. E. D. Howe obtained the statements from Hurlbut and published them in 1834 in his book Mormonism Unvailed. Over the years, other people were interviewed and added their recollections of Spalding's manuscript.

Hurlbut also visited Matilda Spalding Davison, Solomon's widow, and obtained her permission to search through Solomon's papers for his manuscript, which, according to the witnesses, was entitled "Manuscript Found." Hurlbut did find a manuscript, but when it was shown to the eight Conneaut witnesses, they said that it was not the story that they remembered. It proved to be an account narrated by a Roman named Fabius, whose ship had encountered a storm at sea and was blown to the coast of North America. The manuscript remained in the possession of E. D. Howe, who never made it public, although he did include a very brief summary in Mormonism Unvailed. In 1884 it was discovered by L. L. Rice, who succeeded Howe as editor of the Painesville Telegraph. On the cover of the manuscript, Rice wrote in ink "Solomon Spaulding's Writings." The words "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek" also appear in pencil, but Rice said that he did not add this title and that the words were already on the cover when he found the story. Rice gave the manuscript to James H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, who examined it and declared that he could find no resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon.

The testimony of the Conneaut witnesses now seemed to be discredited, and they were accused of having combined their dim recollections of the Fabius story with the Book of Mormon, producing in their minds a second book called "Manuscript Found." Memory substitution was one of the primary arguments used by Fawn Brodie against the Spalding theory in her biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History.

Brodie embraced another hypothesis, which had been proposed by Brigham H. Roberts, an official of the Mormon church. Roberts had recognized similarities between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews, published by Ethan Smith in 1823. Roberts argued that Joseph Smith had a sufficient amount of imagination and intelligence to use View of the Hebrews as the basis for the Book of Mormon. This also became the position of Fawn Brodie, and most other scholars have followed her opinion, without examining her reasons for accepting the hypothesis and rejecting the Spalding theory.

B. H. Roberts compiled a list of eighteen parallels between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews. The first three are not really parallels, but provide other circumstantial evidence. Ethan Smith was the minister of the Congregational Church in Poultney, Vermont, from 1821 to 1826. Roberts noted that the Smith family had lived in Sharon, Vermont, from 1805 to 1811 and that Sharon and Poultney were in adjoining counties. Further research has shown that Oliver Cowdery lived in Poultney until 1825 and that his stepmother and three sisters attended Ethan Smith's church. Roberts also noted that the first edition of View of the Hebrews was published in 1823 and that Joseph Smith claimed that Moroni first visited him and told him about the gold plates in 1823. Ethan Smith enlarged and reprinted his book in 1825, and Joseph Smith stated that he finally obtained the gold plates in 1827.

In his parallels, Roberts recorded similarities between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews. However, it is misleading to say that these similarities are parallels between the two books, because Ethan Smith's book is largely a compilation of material from the works of other writers, particularly James Adair and Elias Boudinot. James Adair's book History of the American Indians was published in 1775, nearly fifty years before View of the Hebrews, and Boudinot's book, printed in 1816, also made generous use of Adair's work. In his parallels, B. H. Roberts acknowledged at least three times that Adair was being cited. We should therefore view Roberts's fifteen parallels in relation to Adair's book.

Beginning with parallel number four, Roberts made the following comparisons between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews:

(4) Both books argue that the American Indians are descendants of the Hebrews. The Hebrew origin of the American Indians was also Adair's major thesis, and his book is devoted to citing evidence to support twenty-three arguments in favor of the theory.

(5) Both books relate the discovery of buried records. To illustrate this parallel, Roberts quoted three passages from Ethan Smith's book, which center around the discovery of the Pittsfield parchments. In 1815, a man named Joseph Merrick said that after ploughing some ground, he found what looked like a black strap. A closer examination revealed that it was pieces of thick rawhide sewed together, which contained four folded leaves of old parchment of a dark yellow color. The parchments were taken to Cambridge, where it was determined that the writing consisted of verses of Deuteronomy and Exodus in Hebrew characters. Roberts speculated that this account could have been the inspiration for Joseph Smith's discovery of the gold plates. However, Adair's book contains a much closer parallel. Adair relates reports which he heard of five copper and two brass plates in the possession of an Indian tribe, which were kept closely guarded and used only in ceremonial activities. An Indian named Old Bracket stated that "he was told by his forefathers that those plates were given to them by the man we call God; that there had been many more of other shapes, some as long as he could stretch with both his arms, and some had writing upon them which were buried with particular men; and that they had instructions given with them, viz. they must only be handled by particular people" (Adair [1775] 1986, 188).

(6 & 7) Both books refer to inspired prophets and describe objects resembling the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate of the Hebrew high priest. Roberts's evidence for these two parallels utilizes quotations from Adair's book.

(8) Both books refer to written characters similar to Egyptian hieroglyphs. Adair also suggests that some Indian words may have been derived from the Egyptians and refers to the conjectures of some people that Indian words are "hieroglyphical characters, in imitation of the ancient Egyptian manner of writing their chronicles." He also states that Choktah symbols seem "to argue, that the ancienter and thicker-settled countries of Peru and Mexico had formerly, at least, the use of hieroglyphic characters; and that they painted the real, or figurative images of things, to convey their ideas" (Adair [1775] 1986, 66, 83).

(9 & 17) Both books claim that the Indians were separated into civilized and barbarous cultures and that the civilized people were exterminated by the barbarous Indians. And both books attest to a high level of civilization in ancient America. It must be admitted that parallel nine is much more clearly stated by Ethan Smith than by Adair. Nonetheless, Adair does argue for the primacy of the highly developed cultures of Mexico and Peru, stating that the further people migrated from those centers, the more they degenerated. He also paraphrases the descriptions of the Spanish friar Hieronimo Roman of the temple complexes in Peru, as well as Acosta's reports of Mexican religious rites. One passage in Adair's book suggests protracted warfare and the extermination of one tribe by another: "The Muskoghe who have been at war, time out of mind, against the Indians of Cape-Florida, and at length reduced them to thirty men, who removed to the Havannah along with the Spaniards . . . the constant losses they suffered, might have highly provoked them to exceed their natural barbarity" (Adair [1775] 1986, 142).

(10, 11, 12 & 13) Both books emphasize the destruction of Jerusalem, refer to the scattering and restoration of Israel, quote frequently from Isaiah, and claim that American Gentiles are to play an important role in restoring the Indians back into the house of Israel. Adair was trying to prove the Hebrew origins of the Indians, but he had no particular religious purpose in advancing his theory. Ethan Smith, on the other had, was interested in the prophecies of Isaiah concerning the scattering and restoration of the lost tribes and the role of Gentiles in bringing the gospel to the Indians. These four parallels are therefore the strongest link between Ethan Smith's book and the Book of Mormon. Nonetheless, Ethan Smith's views were not unique, and there are some points which we should note about these parallels. View of the Hebrews discusses the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, while the Book of Mormon is concerned with the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century B.C. In addition, both B. H. Roberts and Fawn Brodie greatly overstated the Isaiah parallel. Roberts wrote: "Ethan Smith's 'View' quotes copiously and chiefly from Isaiah in relation to the scattering and gathering of Israel" (Roberts 1985, 335). Apparently relying upon Roberts, Brodie stated that "both quoted copiously and almost exclusively from Isaiah." She said further: "Thus about twenty-five thousand words in the Book of Mormon consisted of passages from the Old Testament -- chiefly those chapters from Isaiah mentioned in Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews . . . ." (Brodie 1971, 47, 58). This certainly is not true, however. Ethan Smith does quote Isaiah often, but most passages involve only a couple of verses. Ethan did not neglect the other prophets, however; he quotes verses from six chapters of Zechariah, six chapters of Jeremiah, five chapters of Ezekiel, and five chapters of Hosea, as well as verses from Amos, Zephaniah, Joel, and Micah. After compiling a list of verses quoted by Ethan Smith from nineteen chapters of Isaiah, I found that only five of those chapters were also quoted in the Book of Mormon, which reproduces chapter after chapter of Isaiah. Moreover, chapter four of Ethan Smith's book is largely a commentary on the seven verses of Isaiah 18, but Isaiah 18 is not one of the chapters found in the Book of Mormon, which would be a curious omission, if the Book of Mormon was inspired by Ethan Smith's book.

(14 &16) Both books condemn pride and seeking of riches, and both praise the virtues of the Indians. Adair again expresses the same views. Concerning the Indians, he wrote: "I have observed with much inward satisfaction, the community of goods that prevailed among them, after the patriarchal manner, and that of the primitive christians; especially with those of their own tribe. Though they are become exceedingly corrupt, in most of their ancient commendable qualities, yet they are so hospitable, kind-hearted, and free, that they would share with those of their own tribe, the last part of their provisions even to a single ear of corn . . . . An open generous temper is a standing virtue among them; to be narrow-hearted, especially to those in want, or to any of their own family, is accounted a great crime, and to reflect scandal on the rest of the tribe" (Adair [1775] 1986, 18).

(15) Both books condemn polygamy. Adair also refers to polygamy among the Indians, although he does not condemn it. However, his comments are of interest: "The grandeur of the Hebrews consisted pretty much in the multiplicity of their wives to attend them, as a showy retinue . . . . The Indians also are so fond of variety, that they ridicule the white people, as a tribe of narrow-hearted, and dull constitutioned animals, for having only one wife at a time . . . ." In another passage, he states: "By the Spanish authorities, the Peruvians and Mexicans were Polygamists, but they had one principal wife to whom they were married with certain solemnities" (Adair [1775] 1986, 145, 226).

(18) Both books describe the appearance of an important person on the American continent -- Christ and Quetzalcotl. However, Ethan Smith did not identify Quetzalcotl with Christ; he suggested instead that the legend of Quetzalcotl is a dim representation of the account of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. He probably would have rejected any implication that Christ personally appeared to the Indians. However, the visit of Christ to the American continent could have been suggested by a passage in Adair's book. Speaking of the French Canadians, Adair said: "Then they infected the credulous Indians with a firm belief, that God once sent his own beloved son to fix the red people in high places of power, over the rest of mankind; that he passed through various countries, to the universal joy of the inhabitants, in order to come to the beloved red people, and place them in a superior station of life to the rest of the American world; but when he was on the point of sailing to America, to execute his divine embassy, he was murdered by the bloody monopolizing English" (Adair [1775] 1986, 160). This also suggests, as does the Book of Mormon, that the Indians were to hold a special place among the Gentiles in America.

At most, we could grant Roberts that seven of his parallels argue for the influence of Ethan Smith on the Book of Mormon, but the other eleven could equally prove the influence of Adair. In fact, we should take note of two parallels between the Book of Mormon and Adair's book. The Book of Mormon is sometimes preoccupied with the changing skin color of the Indians; it says that the skins of the Lamanites turned dark because of their wickedness, but at a later date the skins of some righteous Lamanites turned white. Ethan Smith notes that Quetzalcotl was supposed to be a bearded white man, and he refers to another tradition which said that the ancestors of the Indians were white, but he does not attempt to explain the causes which produced a change in Indian skin color. At the outset of his book, Adair observes that some tribes of Indians are fairer than others and concludes that this variation is due to living habits: "Many incidents and observations lead me to believe, that the Indian colour is not natural; but that the external difference between them and the whites, proceeds entirely from their customs and method of living, and not from any inherent spring of nature . . . ." (Adair [1775] 1986, 3).

In addition, Ethan Smith discusses only one theory about the migration of people to the Americas. He holds that they took a northward journey across Asia to the Bering Strait and then spread southward. Adair mentions this theory once, but consistently argues that civilization originated in the New World in Central and South America and that people then migrated north and east across North America. Although the Book of Mormon covers all bases, Adair's theory seems to accord better with the landing site of Lehi's group in South America and the subsequent movement of people first into Central America and later into areas northward.

If Roberts's parallels applied uniquely and exclusively to Ethan Smith's book, we would have to believe that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, since View of the Hebrews was published after Spalding's death. But the parallels actually testify to the fact that the Book of Mormon agrees with many of the popular theories and speculation of the day.

David Persuitte has shown that some of the religious ideas and language of the Book of Mormon are similar to those of Ethan Smith, and he concludes that Joseph Smith used View of the Hebrews as a major source in writing the Book of Mormon. However, he also notes that there are differences in style and viewpoint between the two books, since the Book of Mormon was written as a Nephite bible, and that Joseph Smith would have had to invent characters and a story to supplement the basic framework supplied by Ethan Smith.

Persuitte portrays Joseph as not merely using material from Ethan's book, but as actually analyzing and musing over it, reaching conclusions which contradicted Ethan Smith on some key points. Persuitte traces rather intricate and sophisticated lines of reasoning by which Joseph might have arrived at these ideas. But he has not demonstrated that Joseph was knowledgeable and intelligent enough to reason in this manner. Furthermore, he finds it necessary to bring in other writers as sources, such as Francisco Clavigero, an eighteenth century Mexican historian. Finally, Persuitte claims that inconsistencies between the Book of Ether and the rest of the Book of Mormon demonstrate that the Jaredite history was an early version of the book, which Joseph later decided to revise. Thus although Persuitte argues that Joseph used Ethan's book as a major source, he attributes a great deal to Joseph, allowing him time not only to invent characters and events to flesh out Ethan's meager story line, but also to ponder theological points and to make major revisions of his book.

However, in an appendix, Persuitte admits that there may be something to the Spalding theory. He quotes an article, which appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (24 April 1887). The author of the article claims that he got his information from a grandson of Ethan Smith, who lived in Cleveland. This unnamed grandson stated that Ethan Smith had himself written a story about the migration of the Lost Tribes of Israel to Central America, where they established a great empire, which was destroyed through bloody wars, leaving the survivors to relapse into barbarism. He said further that Solomon Spalding and Ethan Smith were friends and that Ethan allowed Solomon to look at his manuscript, which Ethan did not intend to publish, fearing that it would injure his reputation. Spalding, it is theorized, used Ethan's story as the basis for his own book, which then fell into the hands of Joseph Smith. Persuitte notes that both Solomon Spalding and Ethan Smith attended Dartmouth College; Solomon graduated in 1785, and Ethan entered in 1786. Therefore, it is at least possible that the two men might have known each other. However, the story about Ethan Smith's historical romance is doubtful at best, and there is no other evidence to support it.

An anecdote related by Emma Smith suggests that Joseph did not use View of the Hebrews in writing the Book of Mormon. Newell and Avery relate the following: "The schoolteacher in Emma recognized Joseph's struggle with written English. 'He could not pronounce the word Sariah,' she said. Although Joseph's own reading of the scriptures had been sporadic at best, Emma knew the Bible well and read it often. Once, as he translated, the narrative mentioned the walls of Jerusalem. Joseph stopped. 'Emma,' he asked, 'did Jerusalem have walls surrounding it?' Emma told him it did. 'O, I thought I was deceived,' was his reply" (Newell and Avery 1984, 25-26). Joseph was probably "translating" 1 Nephi 4:4, in which Nephi says that his brothers "did follow me up until we came without the walls of Jerusalem." If, as the proponents of the Ethan Smith theory hold, Joseph was so impressed by View of the Hebrews that he resolved to write a book based upon it, he would have known that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls. On page fifteen of his book, Ethan Smith writes: "Most of this city was surrounded with three walls. In some places, where it was deemed inaccessible, it had only one. The wall first built was adorned and strengthened with sixty towers. Fourteen towers rested on the middle wall. The outside one, (most remarkable for its workmanship) was secured with ninety towers" (Ethan Smith 1825, 15). This description occurs in the chapter dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem, and both Roberts and Brodie stressed the destruction of Jerusalem as a parallel with the Book of Mormon. If Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon using Ethan Smith as a primary source, how could he have not known that Jerusalem was a walled city? Moreover, how could Joseph be questioning a passage from the Book of Mormon which he had written himself? It might be argued that Joseph was actually questioning Ethan's description, but this is not likely, if Joseph accepted Ethan as an authority.

Emma's anecdote raises another serious problem with the Ethan Smith theory. Both Roberts and Brodie asserted that Joseph Smith had the imagination and intelligence to write the Book of Mormon. Brodie rejected "the untenable assumption that Joseph Smith had neither the wit nor the learning to write the Book of Mormon . . . ." She also stated that the Book of Mormon was the product of "an audacious and original mind. Joseph Smith took the whole Western Hemisphere as the setting for his book and a thousand years of history for his plot. Never having written a line of fiction, he laid out for himself a task that would have given the most experienced novelist pause" (Brodie 1971, 442, 49). But if Emma's story is true, we must believe that Joseph was so ignorant of the Bible that he did not know that Jerusalem had walls. 1 Kings 3:1 states that Solomon built a wall around Jerusalem. 2 Kings 14:13 records that Jehoash "came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits." 2 Chronicles 36:19 states that the Babylonians "burnt the house of God and brake down the wall of Jerusalem . . . ." And Nehemiah says that the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity. How can we possibly believe that Joseph Smith was ignorant of these facts and yet possessed the wit, learning, and originality which would enable him to write the Book of Mormon?

Emma was not the only one to comment on Joseph's lack of education. According to M. T. Lamb, David Whitmer repeated Emma's story: "David Whitmer confesses that Joseph Smith was 'but little versed in Biblical lore . . . . did not even know that Jerusalem was a walled city" (Lamb 1887, 93). Emma said that Joseph did not know how to pronounce the word Sariah. David Whitmer stated in the Deseret Evening News: "In translating the characters Smith, who was illiterate, and but little versed in Biblical lore, was ofttimes compelled to spell the words out, not knowing the correct pronunciation . . . . Cowdry, however, being a school-teacher, rendered invaluable aid in pronouncing hard words, and giving them their proper definition" (Lamb 1887, 58). According to Anthony Metcalf, Martin Harris said, "I wrote a great deal of the Book of Mormon myself, as Joseph Smith translated or spelled the words out in English" (Tanner 1968, 2:40).

Hiram Page also stated that Joseph did not know how to pronounce the word Nephi (Hill 1977, 92). On another occasion, Emma told her son Joseph III that when Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon, he "could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well worded letter" (Bushman 1984, 96). Orson Pratt gave this appraisal of Joseph's abilities: "Now in regard to Joseph Smith's qualifications or attainments in learning, they were very ordinary. He had received a little education in the common country schools in the vicinity in which he had lived. He could read a little, and could write, but it was in such an ordinary hand that he did not venture to act as his own scribe" (Peterson 1987, 371). Lucy Smith said that in 1823, when Joseph was first visited by Moroni, he "had never read the Bible through in his life: he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any of the rest of our children, but far more given to meditation and deep study" (Lucy Smith 1880, 87).

The proponents of the Ethan Smith theory must also explain how it is possible that Joseph Smith did not know to pronounce names which he had himself invented.

Little evidence has been presented to demonstrate that Joseph Smith had the imagination and intelligence to write the book of Mormon. B. H. Roberts cited a passage from Lucy Smith's history, which he thought testified to Joseph's powers of imagination. Lucy said that following Moroni's first visit, Joseph continued to receive instructions from the Lord, which Joseph related to his family in the evenings: "During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them" (Lucy Smith 1880, 87). However, no one has ever pointed out that Lucy's account does not describe the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon tells us that the Lamanites went almost naked, except for skins girded around their loins, and that the Nephites wore armor into battle, but it says nothing about the everyday dress of the various groups of people who inhabited the Americas. The Book of Mormon refers several times to horses and chariots, but most of the people seem to travel on foot; no one is ever described as riding upon any animal. The Book of Mormon does not discuss the layout of cities, the types of buildings that people lived in, or their manner of construction. It does say that people who migrated into northern territories constructed their buildings of cement, because of a scarcity of timber, and one passage says that Nephi, the son of Helaman, had a tower in his garden. These unusual features would certainly have deserved further elaboration. The Book of Mormon gives us a few details about the temple in Lehi-Nephi and a Zoramite synagogue, but otherwise provides no information about the design of religious buildings. Aside from a few references to burnt offerings, the Book of Mormon does not describe religious ceremonies in temples and churches; baptisms sometimes occur outdoors. If the passage from Lucy's history is proof that Joseph's imagination was so highly developed that he could have written the Book of Mormon, why did he not include the information which he had related to his family?

Jerald and Sandra Tanner, who also reject the Spalding theory, have offered another document as proof that Joseph Smith had the ability to write the book of Mormon. They cite a history which Joseph began in 1832, claiming that if he could have written the history in 1832, he could have written the Book of Mormon in 1829. However, Joseph admits in his history that "we were deprived of the bennifit of an education suffice it to say I was mearly instructid in reading writing and the ground rules of Arithmatic which constuted by whole literary acquirements" (Joseph Smith 1984, 4). The whole history fills only five printed pages and covers a period only up to the appearance of Oliver Cowdery. The document is partly in the handwriting of Joseph Smith and partly in that of Frederick G. Williams. Obviously, this small history does not demonstrate that Joseph had the discipline to write a complex book, nearly six hundred pages in length. Furthermore, the Tanners do not consider the possibility that Joseph was adapting material written by someone else. This possibility is suggested by one long passage in the history which describes the majesty and sublimity of creation as proof for the existence of an omnipotent and omnipresent eternal Being. It is doubtful that this came from the mind of Joseph.

Granted that Joseph Smith could read and write imperfectly and had a vivid imagination, where is the proof that he had the intelligence, learning, and discipline to write the Book of Mormon? And even if we were to allow that Joseph had the ability to write the Book of Mormon, where is the evidence that he had any interest in theories about the Hebrew origins of the Indians or that he would have read Ethan Smith's book, if given the opportunity? The evidence that we have suggests that Joseph was primarily interested in convincing other people that he could locate buried treasure by gazing into his peep stone.

The proponents of the Ethan Smith theory seem to be drawn in two different directions. On the one hand, they stress Joseph's original and creative imagination. B. H. Roberts said that Joseph's imagination was "a remarkable power which attended him through all his life. It was as strong and varied as Shakespeare's and no more to be accounted for than the English Bard's" (Roberts 1985, 244). Fawn Brodie also said that the Book of Mormon is "not formless, aimless, or absurd. Its structure shows elaborate design, its narrative is spun coherently, and it demonstrates throughout a unity of purpose" (Brodie 1971, 69). On the other hand, after stating his case for Joseph's remarkable imagination, Roberts wrote: "In the first place there is a certain lack of perspective in the things the book relates as history that points quite clearly to an undeveloped mind as their origin. The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency" (Roberts 1985, 251). And this comment comes immediately after Roberts's comparison of Joseph Smith to Shakespeare! The fact is that the Book of Mormon seems to reveal two different minds at work: one is intelligent, learned, and imaginative; the other is young, undeveloped, and inconsistent. These contrary indications in the Book of Mormon can be reconciled if Joseph Smith did not write the Book of Mormon, but did make clumsy and inconsistent revisions of some other person's text.

The other studies in this series have demonstrated that the writings which have been attributed to Joseph Smith were written by someone who had a thorough knowledge of the Bible and Roman history. The author was familiar with such writers as Livy, Caesar, Plutarch, Cicero, Virgil, and Herodotus; he knew the philosophies of Plato, the Atomists, Philo, Descartes, and Rousseau; he not only had an intimate knowledge of the Bible, but also knew Jewish legends and was familiar with the works of Josephus, Eusebius, Augustine, Bede, and Geoffrey of Monmouth; he also knew Irish myths and the legends concerning the Lia Fail and the Holy Grail. In other words, the author had probably received an education in the classics, typical of programs offered in colleges of the day, and he obviously was interested in theories about the origins and history of the American Indians.

Joseph Smith certainly does not fit this profile of the author of the Mormon scriptures, but let us consider the testimony of Matilda Spalding Davison concerning Solomon's abilities and interests.

Rev. Solomon Spalding . . . was a graduate of Dartmouth college, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. . . . In the town of New Salem [Conneaut] there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. . . . Numerous implements were found, and other articles, evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spalding being an educated man and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity, and in order to beguile the hours of retirement and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would let him to write in the most ancient style; and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible. . . . . . . He was enabled from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history to introduce many singular names . . . . (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 43-44)

It is apparent that Solomon Spalding possessed all of the requirements to be the author of the Book of Mormon: he was a graduate of Dartmouth College, was acquainted with the classics and ancient history, had a lively interest in the curious mounds which were found near Conneaut, possessed a good knowledge of the Bible, and had the time to write a lengthy book.

Criticism of the Spalding Theory

The testimony which has been produced to support the Spalding theory has been severely criticized by such people as Fawn Brodie and Lester E. Bush, Jr. Brodie claimed that the statements of the eight Conneaut witnesses were suspect because of a uniformity of style and detail, which suggested that they had been written by Hurlbut. She accused Hurlbut of "judicious prompting" to aid the memories of the witnesses: "The very tightness with which Hurlbut here was implementing his theory rouses an immediate suspicion that he did a little judicious prompting" (Brodie 1971, 447). However, Brodie does not explain why we are required to believe that the alleged uniformity was due to Hurlbut's influence. It should be noted first that two of the witnesses, John and Martha Spalding, were husband and wife, and it is not surprising to find that their statements agree in many details, although there are also differences. All of the witnesses were acquainted with each other and undoubtedly discussed what they remembered. These facts alone are sufficient to explain any uniformity, without dragging in some hypothesis about a plot implemented by Hurlbut.

Furthermore, Hurlbut learned about the witnesses after they had made their accusations, and it is unreasonable to assume that they would have allowed Hurlbut to manipulate their testimonies or that they would sign statements which did not accord with what they remembered. Nonetheless, Brodie persists with her theory, claiming that it was "the frailty of memory" and "the pressure and suggestion of Hurlbut and Howe" which produced the statements of the witnesses (Brodie 1971, 449).

Lester Bush also complains about the uniformity of names mentioned by the witnesses: "Of some 300 potential names, Hurlbut's witnesses all used the same handful of specific examples" (Bush 1977, 44). Bush does not explain why he finds this suspicious. Isn't this what we would expect, that the witnesses would remember only the principal names? If they claimed to remember a host of specific names from the Book of Mormon, we would have reason to be suspicious. Here is how the supposed uniformity actually breaks down. Artemas Cunningham mentioned only the name Nephi, and particularly the repetition of the phrase "I, Nephi." The names Nephi and Lehi were remembered by four people (John and Martha Spalding, John Miller, and Oliver Smith). John and Martha Spalding added the names Nephites and Lamanites. John Miller was the only person to list the names Moroni and Zarahemla, while Henry Lake was the only one to name Laban. Aaron Wright did not mention any specific names, but made a general statement, saying that the names in the Book of Mormon were the same as those in Spalding's manuscript. Nahum Howard did not refer to any names. Thus we have seven names: Nephi, Lehi, Nephites, Lamanites, Moroni, Zarahemla, and Laban. Of these seven, three were mentioned by only one person. It is difficult to find any suspicious uniformity here. If Hurlbut was manipulating the witnesses, why didn't he succeed in getting the others to remember the names Moroni, Zarahemla, and Laban?

Here is another example of the use of innuendo by the opponents of the Spalding theory. John Miller made this statement: "When Spalding divested his history of its fabulous names, by a verbal explanation, he landed his people near the Straits of Darien, which I am very confident he called Zarahemla, they were marched about that country for a length of time, in which wars and great blood shed ensued, he brought them across North America in a north east direction" (Howe 1834, 283). Lester Bush comments: "One of Hurlbut's sources recalled the group landing near the 'Straits of Darien' (now Panama), reflecting an early interpretation of Book of Mormon geography shared by Eber D. Howe, among others. (Joseph Smith reportedly placed the landing near Valparaiso, Chile.)" (Bush 1977, 44). Bush will not allow us to believe that Miller might have actually received his information from Spalding. This would prove that Miller was not remembering the Fabius story, which takes place in North America. No, the idea must have been planted in Miller's mind by Howe, although Howe did not interview Miller, and Bush provides no evidence that Howe made any reference to the Straits of Darien prior to receiving Miller's statement from Hurlbut. John Miller must have been a very impressionable and imaginative man, if he not only accepted a hint from Howe and Hurlbut, but also invented an entire conversation with Spalding around this hint. If this is Bush's position, it is not believable. Two years after Mormonism Unvailed was published with Miller's statement and one reference to the Straits of Darien by Howe, Joseph Smith and Orson Pratt were toying with the idea that Lehi had landed near Valparaiso, Chile. If Miller knew in 1833 that Lehi landed near the Straits of Darien, why didn't Joseph Smith publish this information before 1842?

The critics have simply ignored the unique elements and personal anecdote in the statements of the witnesses. John Spalding said that Solomon's story was meant "to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of North and South America," which implies that the story dealt with more than just North America. Martha Spalding stated that some of the people in Solomon's story were "represented as being very large." Henry Lake said that he spent many hours listening to Spalding read from the "Manuscript Found," and he commented: "One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands there just as he read it to me then" (Howe 1834, 282). John Miller said that he perused the "Manuscript Found" as often as he had leisure, and he also related his conversation with Spalding, in which Solomon explained that Lehi landed near the Straits of Darien. Aaron Wright said that he had "frequent conversations" with Spalding about the history that he was writing, showing that the Indians were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Oliver Smith stated that he "read and heard read one hundred pages or more" of Spalding's manuscript. Nahum Howard stated that Spalding "frequently showed me his writings, which I read." Artemas Cunningham said that Spalding first outlined his story, and then they "sat down and spent a good share of the night, in reading them, and conversing upon them." But, we are required to believe that the Conneaut witnesses did not know what they were talking about and that they not only imagined that there was a second story called the "Manuscript Found," but also that they imagined having specific conversations with Spalding about this nonexistent manuscript.

Having convinced themselves that the eight Conneaut witnesses were confused, mindless sheep, who obediently followed Hurlbut's lead, the critics turn next to the testimony of Spalding's wife and daughter. Matilda Spalding Davison was interviewed in 1839 by a Mr. Austin, and her statement was published in the Boston Recorder in an article written by the Rev. John Storrs. Mrs. Davison was later interviewed again by Jesse Haven, a Mormon. When asked if she had sent a letter to Storrs, Mrs. Davison answered, no. Haven then asked her if she had signed the letter, and she again replied, no. Austin and Storrs admitted that this was correct, but insisted that Mrs. Davison had signed a statement of facts, based upon the notes which Austin took during the interview. When asked if the contents of the published statement were true, Mrs. Davison answered, "In the main." She did not object to any of the details of the statement.

Mrs. Davison has been accused by the critics of an enlargement of memory. This accusation is based upon Howe's account in Mormonism Unvailed of what Mrs. Davison reportedly told Hurlbut: "She states that Spalding had a great variety of manuscripts, and recollects that one was entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' but of its contents she has now no distinct knowledge" (Howe 1834, 287). In her 1839 statement, Mrs. Davison said that Solomon's story "claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth, and assumed the title of 'Manuscript Found'" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 44). She also said that Solomon imitated the style of the Old Testament and introduced many "singular names," and that the neighbors often came in to hear Spalding read his manuscript. This seems to be more than she told Hurlbut, although she did not provide a great many details. However, the accusation of an enlargement of memory rests on the fact that Howe did not publish a signed statement by Mrs. Davison, but gave only a brief, secondhand summary.

Mrs. Davison's daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, was interviewed in 1880 by Ellen Dickinson, and her statement was published in Scribner's Magazine (August 1880). She stated that as a young girl, she frequently heard her father read his manuscript to friends: "Some of the names that he mentioned while reading to these people I have never forgotten. They are as fresh to me today as though I heard them yesterday. They were Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite, Nephi" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 52). This too seems to be more information than was given to Hurlbut. However, Mrs. McKinstry also said: "My mother was careful to have me with her in all the conversations she had with Hurlburt, who spent a day at my house. She did not like his appearance and mistrusted his motives" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 54). Thus it appears that Spalding's wife and daughter simply did not want to volunteer any information to Hurlbut. Their lack of cooperation is demonstrated by Hurlbut's failure to obtain a statement from either woman, as he had done with the Conneaut witnesses. If Hurlbut had been such a powerful influence on the Conneaut witnesses, these two women should have been no match for his wiles. (See also Matilda Spalding Revisited)

Having done their best to undermine the testimonies of Spalding's wife and daughter, the critics perform a surprising turnabout, appealing to this same testimony to prove that the Spalding theory is false. Their argument is based upon statements made about what happened to Spalding's manuscript after it was taken to the printer. According to E. D. Howe, Mrs. Davison said: "While they lived in Pittsburgh, she thinks it was once taken to the printing office of Patterson & Lambdin; but whether it was ever brought back to the house again, she is quite uncertain: if it was, however, it was then with his other writings, in a trunk which she had left in Otsego county, N. Y." (Howe 1834, 287-88). In her 1839 statement, Mrs. Davison said that Mr. Patterson kept the manuscript for a long time "and informed Mr. S. that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it, and it would be a source of profit." For some reason, Spalding failed to accomplish this: "At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington County, Pa., where Mr. S. deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends."

In her 1880 interview, Mrs. McKinstry stated that, according to her mother, Patterson returned the "Manuscript Found" to Solomon and said, "'Polish it up, finish it, and you will make money out of it.'" After Solomon died, she and her mother moved to the home of her uncle, William H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, New York: "We carried all our personal effects with us, and one of these was an old trunk, in which my mother had placed all my father's writings which had been preserved." The contents of the trunk included sermons and other papers, including a story called "The Frogs of Wyndham" and the "Manuscript Found." Concerning the latter, Mrs. McKinstry said, "I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years of age at this time." She remained at Sabine's house while her mother went to her father's home, but her mother did not take the trunk with her. In 1820 her mother married Mr. Davison of Hartwicks, New York, and sent for the trunk. After marrying Mr. McKinstry in 1828, she was joined by her mother at Monson, Massachusetts, but the trunk was left in the care of Jerome Clark in Hartwicks, until it was inspected by Hurlbut. (See Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 44-45, 52-54) Thus the critics claim that Patterson returned Spalding's manuscript, which remained in the family trunk until it was removed by Hurlbut, who delivered it to Howe. And since the manuscript in Howe's possession was the Fabius story, there could not have been a second story called the "Manuscript Found."

Robert Patterson originally denied knowing anything about Spalding or his manuscript, but in 1842 he stated that Silas Engles, the foreman printer, "informed R. P. that a gentleman, from the East originally, had put into his hands a manuscript of a singular work, chiefly in the style of our English translation of the Bible." Patterson said that he read only a few pages, but "said to Engles, he might publish it, if the author furnished the funds for good security. He (the author) failing to comply with the terms, Mr. Engles returned the manuscript, as was supposed at that time, after it had been some weeks in his possession with other manuscripts in the office" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 66). The ambiguous wording of this statement leaves open the question of whether the manuscript was actually returned. It is also curious that the critics have not questioned Patterson's original lack of knowledge and subsequent enlargement of memory.

The critics have largely ignored the testimonies of Joseph Miller and Redick McKee, who give further information about what happened after the Spaldings moved to Amity. In an 1869 statement, Miller said that Spalding read portions of the "Manuscript Found" to him in Amity and that he specifically remembered that the Amalekites placed a red mark on their foreheads. In an 1879 statement published in the Pittsburgh Telegraph, Miller said that he heard Spalding read most of his manuscript to friends and had frequent conversations with him about it: "My recollection is that Mr. S. had left a transcript of the manuscript with Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburgh, Pa., for publication, that its publication was delayed until Mr. S. would write a preface . . . ." In another statement dated 20 January 1882, Miller said that Spalding "took his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, then engaged in a publishing house. Mr. Patterson told him if he would write a title page he would publish it. He left a copy and moved to Amity. He afterwards went back to have his MS. published, but it could not be found."

Miller repeated this information in another statement in February 1882. In 1886 Redick McKee stated that he had boarded with the Spaldings in Amity and that Solomon had told him that he "had prepared a copy of his manuscript for the printer and left it with Mr. Patterson for examination." However, Engles, the manager of the print shop, wanted Spalding to make a deposit, which Solomon was unable to do, and "the manuscript was laid aside in the office for further consultation." Spalding then moved to Amity: "While the question of printing was in abeyance Mr. S. wrote to Mr. P. that if the document was not already in the hands of the printer he wished it to be sent out to him in order that he might amend it by the addition of a chapter on the discovery of valuable relics in a mound recently opened near Conneaut. In reply Mr. P. wrote him that the manuscript could not then be found, but that further search would be made for it." In another statement, McKee said: "Mr. Spaulding told me that he had submitted the work to Mr. Patterson for publication, but for some reason it was not printed, and afterwards returned to him. I also understood he was then occasionally re-writing, correcting, and he thought improving some passages descriptive of his supposed battles." (See Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 67-85, 102) The statements of Miller and McKee do not contradict those of Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry. Before the Spaldings moved to Amity, Patterson returned the manuscript with instructions for Solomon to write a title page, or to polish it up and finish it. However, Miller says that Patterson had a copy of the manuscript at the same time that Spalding was reading the manuscript to friends in Amity. And McKee also says that Patterson had a copy, while Spalding was rewriting and adding material to the manuscript in Amity. Therefore, it seems obvious that the copy which Mrs. Davison preserved in the trunk was not the printer's copy.

Jerald and Sandra Tanner castigated Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey for suggesting that there were two copies of Spalding's manuscript: "We have a difficult time accepting that there was more than one manuscript . . . . We feel that it is much more reasonable to believe there was only one manuscript" (Tanner 1977, 30). How do the Tanners back up their position? They accuse Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey of deliberately omitting a portion of Redick McKee's 1886 statement, which "is very damaging to their argument that Rigdon actually stole and retained Spalding's manuscript." As quoted above, McKee stated that Spalding wrote to Patterson, requesting that the manuscript be returned to him, so that he could add a chapter: "In reply Mr. P. wrote him that the manuscript could not then be found, but that further search would be made for it. This excited Mr. Spaulding's suspicions that Rigdon had taken it home. . . ." The Tanners point out that the following passage was omitted: "In a week or two it was found in the place where it had originally been deposited, and sent out to him. The circumstances of this finding increased Mr. S's suspicions that Rigden had taken the manuscript and made a copy of it with a view to ultimately publishing the story as the product of his own brain" (Tanner 1977, 30). The Tanners claim that since the manuscript was returned to Spalding, Rigdon could not have stolen the original manuscript. But, of course, this does not prove anything. What happened after the manuscript was returned to Spalding? Presumably, Spalding would have made changes to the manuscript and then sent it back to Patterson. Wasn't that the whole point of Spalding's request? In a final twist of logic, the Tanners destroy their own argument by stating: "In any case, Mr. McKee's statement is probably not too reliable anyway" (Tanner 1977, 30).

If a copy of the manuscript remained in the trunk, why didn't Hurlbut find it? Ellen Dickinson interviewed George Clark and his wife in 1880, who claimed that Mrs. Davison gave Spalding's manuscript to Mrs. Clark to read in 1831. Mrs. Clark said that she found it dry reading, returned the manuscript to Mrs. Davison, and could not remember any of the contents of the story. Critics claim that this proves that the manuscript remained in the trunk. But what it actually proves, if it proves anything, is that the manuscript had been removed from the trunk. What happened to it after Mrs. Clark returned it? Did Mrs. Davison place it back in the trunk, or did she store it in another location? Did she take it with her to Monson? Did she give it to another friend to read? Or, was the manuscript either accidentally or intentionally thrown out? All that we know is that when Hurlbut spoke with Mrs. Davison, she was noncommittal, but gave him permission to look inside the trunk in Hartwicks. And Hurlbut claimed that the only manuscript he found was the Fabius story. Furthermore, if Mrs. Clark's story is true, it proves that Mrs. Davison had knowledge of her husband's manuscript just two years before Hurlbut arrived. Therefore, the critics have no sound reason to accuse her of an enlargement of memory.

Both Fawn Brodie and Lester Bush complained that none of the witnesses issued a signed statement affirming that Spalding had written two separate stories having different subjects. Technically, this is correct. However, after Hurlbut found the Fabius story, he wrote on the cover: "The Writings of Sollomon Spalding. Proved by Aron Wright Oliver Smith John Miller and others. The testimonies of the above Gentlemen are now in my possession." And Howe stated that the Fabius story "has been shown to several of the foregoing witnesses, who recognise it as Spalding's, he having told them that he had altered his first plan of writing, by going farther back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no resemblance to the 'Manuscript Found'" (Howe 1834, 288). Furthermore, several witnesses stated that they were aware that Spalding had written more than one manuscript. John Miller said that Spalding "had written two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects; but that which more particularly drew my attention, was one which he called the 'Manuscript Found.'" Aaron Wright said: "Spalding had many other manuscripts, which I expect to see when Smith translates his other plate" (Howe 1834, 283-84).

None of the Conneaut witnesses implicated Sidney Rigdon as an accomplice in the production of the Book of Mormon. But their statements carry us only to 1812, when the Spaldings moved to Pittsburgh. E. D. Howe was apparently the first person to make a public accusation concerning Rigdon. Howe noted that Rigdon had lived in Pittsburgh in 1823 or 1824: "We have been credibly informed that he was on terms of intimacy with Lambdin, being seen frequently in his shop" (Howe 1834, 289). He speculated that Lambdin had given Spalding's manuscript to Rigdon, who then altered it and handed it over to Joseph Smith. Mrs. Davison said that Rigdon "was at this time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as he is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spalding's manuscript, and to copy it if he chose." In his 1879 statement, Joseph Miller stated that Spalding's manuscript could not be found at the print shop: "Mr. S. told me that Sidney Rigdon had taken it, or that he was suspicioned for it. Recollect distinctly that Rigdon's name was used in that connection." Miller repeated this in his two 1882 statements. Redick McKee said in 1886: "Mr. Spaulding told me that while at Pittsburg he frequently met a young man named Sidney Rigdon at Mr. Patterson's bookstore and printing-office, and concluded that he was at least an occasional employee." When Spalding's manuscript could not be found at the print shop, Spalding suspected that Rigdon had taken it home, but it was later found. Ellen Dickinson interviewed Mrs. Ann Treadwell Redfield in 1880, who had been the principal of the Onandaga Valley Academy in 1818. She lodged with William Sabine and said that she frequently heard Mr. Sabine and Mrs. Spalding talk about Solomon's manuscript: "Mrs. Spaulding believed that Sidney Rogdon had copied the manuscript while it was in Patterson's printing office, in Pittsburgh. She spoke of it with regret. I never saw her after her marriage to Mr. Davison of Hartwick (1820)." (See Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 45, 71, 83, 86)

Mrs. William Eichbaum, who had worked as a clerk in the Pittsburgh post office from 1811 to 1816, stated: "I knew and distinctly remember Robert and Joseph Patterson, J Harrison Lambdin, Silas Engles, and Sidney Rigdon, I remember Rev. Mr. Spaulding, but simply as one who occasionally called to inquire for letters. I remember there was an evident intimacy between Lambdin and Rigdon. They very often came to the office together. . . . I do not know what position, if any, Rigdon filled in Patterson's store or printing office, but am well assured he was frequently, if not constantly, there for a large part of the time when I was clerk in the postoffice. I recall Mr. Engles saying that 'Rigdon was always hanging around the printing office.' He was connected with the tannery before he became a preacher, though he may have continued the business whilst preaching" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 96). Lambdin died in 1825, but his widow was contacted in 1879 by Robert Patterson. She was asked if she remembered Rigdon and some other people, but Mrs. Lambdin replied: "I am sorry to say I shall not be able to give you any information relative to the persons you name. They certainly could not have been friends of Mr. Lambdin" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 99). Fawn Brodie claimed that this proved that Mrs. Eichbaum's statement was false. However, Lambdin was only eighteen in 1816, when Spalding died, and probably was not yet married. In 1819 Rigdon left his family farm and resided with Rev. Andrew Clark in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He received his minister's license in March 1819 and went to Ohio in May, where he lived with Adamson Bentley. In 1821 he and Bentley traveled to Bethany, West Virginia, where they met with Alexander Campbell and discussed "the ancient order of things." Through Campbell's influence, Rigdon became pastor of a Baptist church in Pittsburgh in 1822. In 1824 the Baptist Communion was split between reformists and conservatives; Rigdon lost his position and obtained employment for two years as a tanner. He then moved to Ohio as a Campbellite preacher. Therefore, Mrs. Lambdin probably could not have known Rigdon while Spalding was alive, and her statement indicates that she did not even have any recollection of Rigdon as either a Baptist minister or as a tanner, when they were both living in the same city. Mrs. Eichbaum, on the other hand, did remember both Spalding and Rigdon and knew that Rigdon held positions as both a preacher and a tanner. Therefore, her memory seems to be much more reliable than Mrs. Lambdin's.

Peter Boyer, Rigdon's brother-in-law, stated that Sidney never lived in Pittsburgh before 1822, but this does not preclude the possibility that Sidney traveled to Pittsburgh, since the Rigdon farm was not more than fifteen miles from that city. Robert Du Bois stated that he began working at Pattterson and Lambdin's print shop in 1818, when he was twelve, and left in 1820. He said that he knew nothing of Spalding, or of his book, or of Rigdon. But, of course, Spalding was dead, and Rigdon was living elsewhere during this time period.

John Winter declared that when Rigdon was a minister in Pittsburgh, Sidney showed him Spalding's manuscript in the church office and stated: "A Presbyterian minister, Spalding, whose health had failed, brought this to the printers to see if it would pay to publish it. It is a romance of the Bible" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 105). Winter's daughter and stepson both stated that Winter related this information to them.

At least two years before the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith, Rigdon made a statement in the presence of Adamson Bentley and Alexander Campbell concerning the discovery of gold plates and a new book that was to be published. Bentley reported in 1841: "I know that Sidney Rigdon told me there was a book coming out (the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates) as much as two years before the Mormon book made its appearance in this country or had been heard of by me." Campbell said that Bentley's recollections "accorded with mine in every particular, except the year in which it occurred, he placing it in the summer of 1827, I in the summer of 1826, Rigdon at the same time observing that in the plates dug up in New York, there was an account, not only of the aborigines of this country, but also it was stated that the Christian religion had been preached in this country during the first century" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 110-12). Critics point out that Rigdon was on bad terms with both Bentley and Campbell. Furthermore, they claim that Campbell is involved in a contradiction, since in 1831 he had stated firmly that the Book of Mormon was the sole production of Joseph Smith, but now he was asserting that Rigdon was involved. However, if Bentley and Campbell were conspiring to malign Rigdon, why did they disagree about the year in which the conversation took place? This seems to be an honest admission that their memories differed on this one point. In addition, the statement attributed to Rigdon by Bentley and Campbell is neutral with regard to the authorship of the Book of Mormon. It does not claim that Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon, but only that Rigdon was aware that the book was going to be published several years before Sidney and Joseph supposedly met each other for the first time. Since Campbell accepted the Spalding theory, wouldn't he and Bentley have made up a conversation in which Rigdon clearly confessed his connection with Solomon's manuscript, if they were simply lying?

In 1885 Lorenzo Saunders, who had been a neighbor of the Smiths, stated: "I saw Sidney Rigdon in the Spring of 1827, about the middle of March. I went to Smiths to eat maple sugar, and I saw five or six men standing in a group and there was one among them better dressed than the rest and I asked Harrison Smith who he was and he said his name was Sidney Rigdon, a friend of Joseph's from Pennsylvania. I saw him in the Fall of 1827 on the road between where I lived and Palmyra, with Joseph. I was with a man by the name of Jugegsah, (sp.?) [Ingersoll]. They talked together and when he went on I asked Jugegsah (sp.?) who he was and he said it was Rigdon. Then in the summer of 1828 I saw him at Samuel Lawrence's just before harvest. I was cutting corn for Lawrence and went to dinner and he took dinner with us and when dinner was over they went into another room and I didn't see him again till he came to Palmyra to preach" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 128). Brodie and Bush complain that it took Saunders thirty years to recall this information. However, Rodger Anderson has demonstrated that the allegation that Saunders had to mull this question over in his mind, before he came to a decision, is a complete fabrication, and that in fact Saunders did not hesitate in affirming that he had seen Rigdon at the Smith residence (Anderson 1990, 78-89). [For more on this topic, see Solomon Spalding and Revisionist History.] Saunders's memories of the circumstances in which he saw Rigdon seem to be quite specific, and two other people made similar statements. In 1879 Abel Chase reported: "During some of my visits at the Smiths, I saw a stranger there who they said was Mr. Rigdon. He was at Smith's several times, and it was in the year of 1827 when I first saw him there, as near as I can recollect." Mrs. S. F. Anderick said that Joseph Smith "was from home much summers. Sometimes he said he had been to Broome County, New York, and Pennsylvania. Several times while I was visiting Sophronia Smith at old Jo's house, she told me that a stranger who I saw there several times in warm weather and several months apart, was Mr. Rigdon. At other times the Smith children told me that Mr. Rigdon was at their house when I did not see him" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 126, 134). In all three cases, these people did not claim that they had merely surmised that the stranger was Rigdon, but that they had been specifically informed by members of the Smith family that it was Ridgon.

It is doubtful that Rigdon had much influence on the revision of Spalding's manuscript, after giving it to Joseph Smith. Fawn Brodie published an itinerary, covering Rigdon's official duties as a minister between November 1826 and November 1830. However, the itinerary contains large gaps in the Spring and Fall of 1827 and the Summer of 1828, when Lorenzo Saunders said that he saw Sidney and Joseph together. Still, since Rigdon could not be there a large part of the time, he could have had little control over what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery did with the manuscript. Rigdon always denied any involvement with the Book of Mormon, but Oliver Cowdery seemed almost to take pride in emphasizing his role. Years after being excommunicated, Oliver stated at Council Bluffs, Iowa: "I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . . Sidney Rigdon did not write it; Mr. Spaulding did not write it. I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the Prophet" (Ludlow 1976, 26-27). It is as if Oliver were guardedly asserting that he was largely responsible for the final form of the Book of Mormon.

Jerald and Sandra Tanner ask "why the affidavits collected by Hurlbut in Palmyra in 1833 do not mention Rigdon being with Joseph Smith before the Book of Mromn appeared? Since these early affidavits by Joseph Smith's neighbors are silent regarding this, we can only conclude that they knew nothing about the matter. Any statements given at a later date, therefore, carry very little weight" (Tanner 1977, 28). Well, one obvious reason comes to mind to explain why Rigdon was not mentioned: Joseph and Sidney did not want anyone to know about Rigdon's involvement, because he could be connected with Spalding's manuscript. Apparently, however, the Smith children were not very guarded in giving information to their friends.

Fawn Brodie quoted the testimony of James Jeffries (or Jeffery) as an example of the faulty memory of witnesses who tried to link Rigdon with the Spalding manuscript. On 20 January 1884, Jeffries wrote: "Forty years ago I was in business in St. Louis. The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo. I had business transactions with them. I knew Sidney Rigdon. He told me several times that there was in the printing office with which he was connected, in Ohio, a manuscript of the Rev. Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indians from the lost tribes of Israel. This M.S. was in the office several years. He was familiar with it. Spaulding wanted it published, but had not the means to pay for the printing. He [Rigdon] and Joe Smith used to look over the M.S. and read it on Sundays. Rigdon said Smith took the MS. and said, 'I'll print it,' and went off to Palmyra, New York" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 104). Brodie objected: "Forty years previous to 1884 would have been the year of Smith's assassination. Rigdon never lived in St. Louis, nor did Joseph Smith ever visit Ohio before 1831" (Brodie 1971, 453). Lester Bush consigns Jeffries's testimony to a note and says that the conversation took place "about 1840," instead of 1844. Jeffries was obviously confused about the location of the print shop; it was in Pennsylvania, rather than Ohio, but Rigdon had been a preacher in Ohio. Brodie has no basis for saying that Joseph Smith never visited Ohio before 1831; the truth is that his whereabouts cannot be accounted for. For example, Richard Bushman states that Joseph was not listed as a resident at the Smith farm by the census taker in 1820, the same year in which Joseph had his first vision, "probably because he lived elsewhere during the growing season" (Bushman 1984, 59). In his statement, Jeffries does not assert that Rigdon lived in St. Louis, as Brodie implies; he says only that he talked with Rigdon in St. Louis in 1844. And there is good evidence that Rigdon was in St. Louis in 1844 and was in a frame of mind to reveal the true origins of the Book of Mormon.

After Joseph Smith's death in 1844, Rigdon attempted to assert his right to lead the church, but was rejected. On 3 September 1844 Rigdon told Brigham Young that he had more power and authority than the apostles. The apostles then demanded Rigdon's license; he refused to give it up and said that "he should come out and expose the secrets of the church" (Joseph Smith 1976, 7:267). Rigdon was excommunicated on 8 September 1844. Before returning to Pittsburgh on 15 October 1844, he went to St. Louis. Apparently, Rigdon also attempted to obtain the manuscript of Joseph's translation of the Bible from Emma Smith. Robert J. Matthews records this entry in the Journal History of the Church, citing a statement written by Orson Hyde in St. Louis on 12 September 1844: "He [Sidney Rigdon] said . . . that Emma came to him on the morning of his leaving [Nauvoo] and told him that it was her intention . . . that the new translation and other important and sacred things, she should deliver up to him" (Matthews 1975, 48). Since Rigdon's leadership had been rejected by the church and he was trying to obtain documents from Emma, he might very well have made the statement to Jeffries, fulfilling his threat to expose the secrets of the church. In order to discredit Jeffries, we must believe both that he was a friend of Rigdon and that forty years later, for no apparent reason, he made up a malicious lie about Rigdon's confession. It is significant that Rigdon did not allege that Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon, but confirmed that Spalding was the author and admitted his own role in obtaining the manuscript.

R. W. Alderman stated that, while snowbound in a hotel in Mentor, Ohio, in February 1852, he had a conversation with Martin Harris, who told him: "Rigdon had stolen a manuscript from a printing office in Pittsburgh, Pa., which Spaulding, who had written it in the early part of the century, had left there to be printed, but the printers refused to publish it, but Jo and Rigdon did, as the 'Book of Mormon'" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 145). John C. Bennett also wrote in his History of the Saints that he had been told "that the Book of Mormon was originally written by the Rev. Solomon Spalding . . . ." (Bennett 1842, 123).

Fawn Brodie offered a further objection to the Spalding theory: "Protagonists of the theory do not explain why, if Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon, he was content to let Joseph Smith found the Mormon Church and hold absolute dominion over it throughout the years, so secure in his position that he several times threatened Rigdon with excommunication when Rigdon opposed his policies" (Brodie 1971, 442). The founding of a church by Joseph may not have been part of the original intention of either Sidney or Joseph. But once Sidney had handed over Spalding's manuscript and Joseph had assumed the mantle of a prophet, there was little that Sidney could do, without revealing his own involvement. In any case there is evidence that Sidney did much more than oppose Joseph's policies. In 1842 Joseph accused Rigdon of secretly plotting with John C. Bennett and Governor Carlin to have Joseph arrested. Rigdon had in fact received a rather incriminating letter from Bennett, which Orson Pratt handed over to Joseph. Rigdon denied any involvement in the plot, and Carlin seemed to absolve him of any responsibility, but Rigdon was adamantly opposed to Joseph's introduction of the practice of polygamy. For various reasons, both Joseph and Sidney reached the conclusion that it was best for Rigdon to move his family to Pittsburgh, not long before Joseph's death. After Joseph's murder, Rigdon rushed back to Nauvoo to proclaim himself as guardian of the church. It is apparent that Rigdon wanted to head the church, but could not dislodge Joseph. And Brodie might well have asked, if Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon without Rigdon's involvement, why did he keep Rigdon at his side, even after accusing Sidney of treachery?

Brodie gave another reason for identifying Joseph Smith as the author of the Book of Mormon. She thought that the Gadianton band, with their secret oaths, revealed an anti-Masonic strain in the book. Since anti-Masonic feeling was aroused in 1827 by the disappearance of William Morgan, who was writing an exposé of Freemasonry, it seemed natural to assume that the Gadianton band was a caricature of Masonry. However, I have shown that the Gadianton band has other historical precedents, for example, the robber bands described by Josephus, such as the Sicarii and Zealots, as well as the conspiracy of Catiline. In any case, E. D. Howe also thought that he saw anti-Masonry in the Gadianton band and reported that Solomon's widow had said "that Mr. Spalding, while living, entertained a strong antipathy to the Masonic Institution, which may account for its being so frequently mentioned in the Book of Mormon" (Howe 1834, 288).

The testimony of the eight Conneaut witnesses does pose one problem. Five of the witnesses specifically said that they did not remember the religious matter contained in the Book of Mormon. For example, John Miller said, "I have recently examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solomon Spalding, from beginning to end, but mixed up with scripture and other religious matter, which I did not meet with in the 'Manuscript Found.' Many of the passages in the Mormon Book are verbatim from Spalding, and others in part" (Howe 1834, 283). Fawn Brodie believed that this proved that the witnesses were really remembering the "Manuscript Story," which according to Brodie "had no religious matter whatever" (Brodie 1971, 449). And if they were confused on this point, they were probably wrong in claiming that there was a second story called the "Manuscript Found."

E. D. Howe incorrectly stated that the Fabius story takes place "a short time previous to the Christian era" (Howe 1834, 288). Amazingly, Brodie repeats this error: "It was an adventure story of some Romans sailing to Britain before the Christian era" (Brodie 1971, 447). In his article, Lester Bush states twice that Howe's description of the "Manuscript Story" is "accurate" (Bush 1977, 46, 53). Apparently, neither Brodie nor Bush recognized Howe's blatant error. In reality, the story takes place in the reign of Constantine, and Fabius and his companions were already Christians. And the story does contain religious matter, contrary to Brodie's assertion that it "had no religious matter whatever." On page five, a mariner acting as a prophet, delivers a divine prediction, saying, "A voice from on high hath penetrated my soul & the inspiration of the Almighty hath bid me proclaim . . . ." On page eight, after landing in America, Fabius states, "As we all professed to believe in the religion of Jesus Christ we unanimously chose Trojanus the mate of the Ship, a pious good man, to be our minister, to lead our devotions morning & evening & on the Lords day." They also built a church. On page ten, a seaman vows to make an Indian maiden "as good hearted a christian as any of your white damsels." Chapter III states that a tribe called the Deliwans believed in "the great & good Spirit, who resides in the Sun, who is the father of all living creatures . . . ." They also believed in a great, malignant Spirit and in a dark, miry swamp, into which the wicked would be cast. In addition, the chapter describes a sacred Indian ceremony, in which a holy sacrifice involving black and white dogs symbolized the cleansing of sin. On page nineteen, a man named Crito says that the Delawans had been so kind and generous that they had "fulfilled the law of Christian charity." Chapter VII is wholly devoted to expounding the theology of the Ohons, which the narrator learned by reading their Sacred Roll. Page forty-four describes the institution of the hereditary office of high priest, with four assistant priests.

This is sufficient to prove that the "Manuscript Story" does contain religious matter. Therefore, if the witnesses were claiming that there was absolutely no religious matter in the "Manuscript Found," they could not have been thinking of the "Manuscript Story" instead. Henry Lake did not object to the religious matter in the Book of Mormon and specifically remembered the "tragic account of Laban." According to the Book of Mormon, Lehi was instructed by the Lord in a dream to send his sons back to Jerusalem to obtain from Laban the plates of brass, which contained a history of the Jews, prophecies, and genealogies. When Nephi found Laban, the Spirit told him to kill Laban. Thus, the account of Laban itself contains religious matter. Martha Spalding and Artemas Cunningham also did not object to the religious matter in the Book of Mormon, and all three of these witnesses asserted that Spalding wrote in a scriptural style.

Those witnesses who said that they did not remember the religious parts in the Book of Mormon probably did not mean to say that there was no religious matter at all in the "Manuscript Found," and it is difficult to believe that Spalding would have written a story with no religious content. The witnesses probably meant merely that they did not remember Solomon quoting chapter after chapter of Isaiah, as the Book of Mormon does. The chapters of Isaiah are found in the first part of the Book of Mormon, comprising the "small plates of Nephi," which was the last part of the book to be written. Joseph and Oliver had to revise the beginning, because Martin Harris had lost the first 116 pages of manuscript. Therefore, it is likely that the chapters of Isaiah were inserted as filler. John Miller acknowledged that Spalding's manuscript had been altered. Inserting scripture into the first section of the book could have been part of the revision. In addition, Solomon had a period of three or four years after moving from Conneaut to Pennsylvania, in which he could have added material to his manuscript, which people in Conneaut might not have known about. None of the witnesses who knew Spalding in Amity objected to the religious matter.

Critics of the Spalding theory have made misleading statements, suggesting that Spalding wrote the Fabius story, recovered by Hurlbut, in one distinct style and that since the Book of Mormon was written in a different style, Spalding was not the author. Brodie stated: "Spaulding was heir to all the florid sentiment and grandiose rhetoric of the English Gothic romance. He used all the stereotyped patterns -- villainy versus innocent maidenhood, thwarted love, and heroic valor -- thickly encrusted with the tradition of the noble savage" (Brodie 1971, 450). Certainly, this florid style is found in the "Manuscript Story," but it comprises only a fraction of the book. Many sections of the manuscript are written in a simple, straightforward style, in the manner of an observer recording the customs of a foreign culture. Spalding went into great detail, describing the physical traits of groups of people, the type of clothing they wore, the crops they cultivated, the animals they raised, their pottery, houses, writing, religion, government, military training, fortifications, athletic competition, games, and courtship and marriage customs. Consider the style of this passage, describing the houses of the Ohons:

Their houses were generally but one story high -- built of wood, being framed & covered with split clapboards or shingles & in the inside the walls were formed of clay, which was plastered over with a thin coat of lime. Their houses seldom consisted of more than three apartments. As to their chimnies, they construt a wall of stone about five feet hight against which they build their fire -- from the top of this wall they construct their chimney with thin pieces of split timber on the inside of which they plaister wet, dirt or clay -- which compleatly covers & adheres to the timber & prevents the fire from having any operation upon it. The inside of their houses, as the women generally practiss neetness makes a much better appearance than the outside. (Spalding 1910, 23-24)

There is nothing gothic or florid about the style of this description. But, of course, Spalding varied his style according to his subject matter. Some sections of his manuscript reproduce the speeches of military leaders in councils of war, much like the rhetorical speeches which Greek and Roman writers preserved in their histories. When recording the conversation of mariners, Spalding even imitates the salty language of seamen. Incidentally, it should be noted that Spalding's story fits more closely than does the Book of Mormon Lucy Smith's description of the information which Joseph related to his family about the customs of the Nephites. Spalding covered many of the topics which Lucy listed, which suggests that the Book of Mormon originally included such detailed accounts.

What Brodie identifies as Spalding's florid style is really only one of a number of different styles which Solomon used in the "Manuscript Story." Therefore, it is not impossible to believe that Spalding might have adopted a different style in writing the "Manuscript Found," upon which the Book of Mormon is based. After all, the "Manuscript Story" takes place in the time of Constantine in the fourth century A.D., and Spalding was not attempting to write a Nephite bible, in imitation of the Hebrew Bible. If Spalding used the very same style in writing both books, critics would be able to complain, but they should not object, if Spalding adapted his style to the story.

Witnesses testified that Solomon wrote the "Manuscript Found" in a scriptural style. John Spalding said, "I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon" (Howe 1834, 280). Henry Lake stated, "I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words 'And it came to pass,' 'Now it came to pass' rendered it ridiculous" (Howe 1834, 282). In 1880 Abner Jackson said that when the Book of Mormon "was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Esq. Wright heard it, and exclaimed, 'Old Come to Pass has come to life again'" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 64). In 1882 Joseph Miller wrote: "The words 'Moreover,' 'And it came to pass,' occurred so often that the boys about the village called him 'Old Came to Pass'" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 72). Since the Fabius story does not contain the repetition of "And it came to pass," it does not seem possible that these witnesses could have confused this story with the "Manuscript Found," written in a scriptural style. Therefore, the "Manuscript Found" must have been a separate and distinct book.

The argument from style is a two-edged sword. Here is an example of the florid style used by Spalding in his Fabius story:

Amazement & terror seized the minds of the whole multitude of citizens; [they] were unprepared to defend the fort against such a formidable force. Lamock however placed himself at the head of about one thousand warriors & attempted to beat them back from the walls & prevent their making a breach. But it was imposible with his small band to withstand the strength of such a mighty army -- They broke down part of the palasadoes & entered the fort thro' the break -- & immediately began the massacre of the defenceless multitude without regard to age or sex -- Sambal being anxious to find Lamesa rushed forward with a small band & surrounded a block house -- He then broke down the door & entered -- Here he beheld all the Ladies of the imperial family & many other Ladies of distinction -- He instantly sprang towards Lamesa in order to seize her -- but was prevented by Heliza who steped between them & falling upon her knees implored him to spare the life of Lamesa -- Scarce had she spoken when the cruel monster buried his sword in her bosom & she fell lifeless before the eyes of her dearest friend -- Lamesa gave a scream, & looking fiercely on Sambal she exclaimed. Thou monster of vilany and cruelty, could nothing saciate your revenge but the death of my dear friend, -- the amiable, the innocent Heliza Here is my heart -- I am prepared for your next victim. (Spalding 1910, 107)

Now let us compare a passage from Oliver Cowdery's history, which appeared in the Messenger and Advocate. Oliver is describing the scene of the great battle of Cumorah:

Here may be seen where once sunk to nought the pride and strength of two mighty nations; and here may be contemplated, in solitude, while nothing but the faithful record of Mormon and Moroni is now extant to inform us of the fact, scenes of misery and distress -- the aged, whose silver locks in other places and at other times would command reverence; the mother, who in other circumstances would be spared from violence; the infant, whose tender cries would be regarded and listened to with a feeling of compassion and tenderness; and the virgin, whose grace, beauty and modesty, would be esteemed and held inviolate by all good men and enlightened and civilized nations, alike disregarded and treated with scorn! -- In vain did the hoary head and man of gray hairs ask for mercy; in vain did the mother plead for compassion; in vain did the helpless and harmless infant weep for very anguish, and in vain did the virgin seek to escape the ruthless hand of revengeful foes and demons in human form -- all alike were trampled down by the feet of the strong, and crushed beneath the rage of battle and war! (Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, July 1835)

The ideas and sentiments in this passage and the style in which they are expressed are very similar to those of Spalding. Was Oliver utilizing material from Solomon's manuscript? The Book of Mormon is strangely sanitized of all but a few female characters, but there is one passage in one of Mormon's epistles which resembles the accounts given by Solomon and Oliver. Mormon is describing atrocities which occurred at the tower of Sherrizah and at the city of Moriantum: "For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue -- and after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death" (Moroni 9:9-10). After the battle of Cumorah, Mormon also laments: "And my soul was rent with anguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried: O ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you! Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I mourn your loss. O ye fair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have fallen! But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return" (Mormon 6:16-20). Such melodramatic sentiment could have been written by Spalding. And there are other passages which could be cited, such as the scenes of religious conversion in the Book of Mormon.

The "Manuscript Story" could not have been the book which Spalding took to Patterson's print shop, because it certainly was not ready to be published. For example, Spalding began chapter eight using Baska as the name of the mythical founder of the Ohons' religion and government. Baska is said to have two little sons. Spalding stopped in mid-sentence and started chapter eight over again, this time stating that the character's name was Lobaska and that he had four sons, the eldest being about eighteen years old. In fact Spalding frequently changed the spelling of names in his manuscript: Siota becomes Sciota, Hambock is changed to Rambock, Bombal becomes Bambo, Galanga is also called Talanga, Hamkien becomes Hamkoo, and Mammoons are designated as Mammouths. Furthermore, the "Manuscript Story" is unfinished, ending just before a confrontation between the Sciotan and Kentuck armies. Spalding could not have intended to print the "Manuscript Story" in this condition.

Lester Bush provided one new bit of evidence in the Spalding debate. He stated that Dean Jessee informed him that page 135 of Spalding's manuscript was written on the back of an unfinished letter which Solomon wrote to his parents, "referring to correspondence dated January 1812 -- almost certainly penned prior to the narrative text on the other side of the same sheet" (Bush 1977, 55). Since the manuscript continues for another thirty-six pages, Spalding must have still been working on his story after January 1812, but he had supposedly set it aside at least two years earlier to work on the "Manuscript Found." Unfortunately, Bush did not reproduce the text of the letter, and in fact did not even say that he saw it himself. The text of the letter has since been made public and reads as follows:

Fond Parents
I have receivd 2 letters [--] jun 1812. the last mentiond Mr Kings dismision from you -- wich no doubt is great trial to you -- Christian Minnister is great loss to any [to any] people -- teaches us the uncertainty of all Sublinary enjoyments & where to place our better trust & happiness
However, this only proves that Spalding had not discarded the Fabius story. Undoubtedly, he was still fond of the idea that a group of Romans had reached America before Columbus, and he may have contemplated using the story as a sequel to the "Manuscript Found." There is little overlap in time between the final destruction of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon and the arrival of Fabius and his group in the New World in the "Manuscript Story." The fact that Solomon wrote on the back of an unfinished letter also indicates that this could not have been the manuscript which he took to the printer. In addition, Bush does not mention that the manuscript leaves containing pages 133 to 134 and 143 to 144 are missing. Therefore, it really is not clear what Spalding was doing with this section of the manuscript.

A more recent discussion of the Spalding theory is Matthew Roper's article "The Mythical 'Manuscript Found.'" He endeavors to prove that Spalding's "Manuscript Story" and "Manuscript Found" are one and the same manuscript, not two different and distinct stories. Primarily, Roper tries to show that statements made about "Manuscript Found" apply to "Manuscript Story." The first issue is whether the manuscript that Spalding took to the printer was unfinished. This is relevant because "Manuscript Story" clearly is not finished. Roper discusses the statements by Spalding's wife and daughter and Redick McKee, who all said that when Spalding took his manuscript to the printer, he was told that he needed to polish it up, finish it, and make additions to the story, such as a title page, a preface, and perhaps two chapters describing the mounds in Ohio. Roper remarks that these statements indicate that "the manuscript in question was incomplete, not ready for publication, and in need of 'polish,' a descrition consistent with the state of the document recovered in 1884 known as 'Manuscript Found.'" However, this is not accurate. The statements under discussion refer to Patterson's instructions to Spalding. Patterson may have thought that Spalding's story needed more polish, a title page, a preface and maybe more material relating to Indian mounds, but this does not indicate that the story was in a rough draft state with material crossed out and the spelling of names changing from one page to another, or that it was incomplete or had no ending. "Manuscript Story," on the other hand, is clearly a rough draft and ends abruptly just before a major battle.

Roper's next effort is to prove his thesis that

the 1833 testimony about Spalding's manuscript is best explained as a compound of several factors. These include genuine but vague memories of "Manuscript Story," recalled after twenty years. Encrusted upon these memories, however, are popular and somewhat inaccurate ideas that some of Spalding's former neighbors had come to associate with the Book of Mormon, but that are not found in the Book of Mormon itself. Additional elements such as the names Nephi or Lehi and the structure of the statements themselves are largely due to coaching by Philastus Hurlbut ...."

Roper begins with Artemus Cunningham's recollection that Spalding's story was supposed to be a record found buried in the earth or in a cave, which matches "Manuscript Story." However, Roper does not discuss similarities with Joseph Smith's description of finding the gold plates buried in the earth or with Oliver Cowdery's account of a cave that contained many records. (On this topic, see the next page in this section.)

Roper next notes John Miller's reference to humorous passages in Spalding's story, which matches "Manuscript Story," but not the Book of Mormon. However, Miller does not say whether the humorous passages were deliberate humor on Spalding's part, or whether Miller simply found them to be humorous, even if Spalding did not intend them to be. One can certainly find passages in the Book of Mormon which seem to be ridiculous and perhaps even humorous.

Henry Lake said that he remembered "the tragic account of Laban." Roper says that there is nothing tragic about this episode and that Lake was most likely remembering the death of Labanko in "Manuscript Story." However, Lake may have been using the word "tragic" in the sense that the story had an element of tragedy. In any case, the story of Laban is very different from the account of Labanko. and there is no similarity in the characters or in the manner of their deaths. Laban was beheaded by Nephi at the urging of the Spirit while he was passed out drunk on the ground near his house. Labanko was killed in battle by a sword thrust into his side and was greatly lamented. It is difficult to see how Lake could have confused the two episodes or how he could declare concerning an inconsistency that he noted, "I find to my surprise that it stands there just as he [Spalding] read it to me then."

Roper also finds that the statements of John and Martha Spalding "have many elements that correspond well to the language and themes found in 'Manuscript Story.'" He lists references to contentions and bloody wars and battles, bodies buried in large heaps and mounds, separation into two nations, the arts and sciences of civilized people, and the large stature of some people. But, of course, Roper does not extend his comparison to include the Book of Mormon, which contains the same language and themes. The one exception to this is his acknowledgment that the Book of Mormon does parallel Joseph Miller's recollection that the Amlicites marked their foreheads with red.

Roper next tries to show that the 1833 Spalding testimonies reflect inaccurate, popularized perceptions of the Book of Mormon. A number of the witnesses described Spalding's manuscript as showing that the American Indians are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, while the Book of Mormon is about a small remnant of the tribe of Manasseh. However, since Manasseh was one of the lost tribes, it is not completely inaccurate to say that the Indians are descendants of the lost tribes. Moreover, "Manuscript Found" might have contained at least some account of the fate of the lost tribes. The Book of Mormon is not entirely without knowledge of the lost tribes, as the following passages indicate.

1 Nephi 19:10-12: according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel. For thus spake the prophet: The Lord God surely shall visit all the house of Israel at that day, some with his voice, because of their righteousness, unto their great joy and salvation, and others with the thunderings and the lightnings of his power, by tempest, by fire, and by smoke, and vapor of darkness, and by the opening of the earth, and by mountains which shall be carried up. And all these things must surely come, saith the prophet Zenos. And the rocks of the earth must rend; and because of the groanings of the earth, many of the kings of the isles of the sea shall be wrought upon by the Spirit of God, to exclaim: The God of nature suffers.

1 Nephi 22:4: And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away.

2 Nephi 10:20-21: nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren.

3 Nephi 17:4: But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them.

Although no specific information is provided, these passages indicate that according to the Book of Mormon the lost tribes were scattered upon the isles of the sea, and that Lehi's group was only a part of this larger dispersion.

Roper asserts that the witnesses' emphasis on fortifications, mounds, and antiquities is consistent with Spalding's story, but is "in a manner extraneous to the Book of Mormon text itself." I really don't know what Roper means by this. The Book of Mormon contains many passages that describe fortifications and the arts and sciences of civilization. For example, this description of the Jaredites proclaims:

And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work. And they did have silks, and fine-twined linen; and they did work all manner of cloth, that they might clothe themselves from their nakedness. And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash. And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts. And they did make all manner of weapons of war. And they did work all manner of work of exceedingly curious workmanship. (Ether 10:23-27)

John Miller stated that Spalding explained to him that his characters landed near the Straits of Darien and called their land Zarahemla. Roper maintains that Miller did not actually receive this information from Spalding, but got the idea from public descriptions of the Book of Mormon by missionaries who apparently followed the geographical views of Orson Pratt. Pratt did not publish his views until 1840, but Roper cites an 1832 newspaper article that recounts a missionary meeting held by Orson Pratt and Lyman Johnson, which states that the last battle in the Book of Mormon "commenced at the Isthmus of Darien and ended at Manchester." However, there are definite problems with Roper's thesis. Roper provides quotes from the 1832 and 1840 accounts that state that Lehi's group landed on the coast of South America, but he conveniently omits an important detail. Pratt never held that Lehi landed near the Straits of Darien. He placed Lehi's landing hundreds of miles south in Chile. In the quotes provided, there also is no reference to Zarahemla. In fact, Pratt held that the people of Zarahemla landed in North America and then moved into northern South America. Miller did not indicate whether Zarahemla was in South or Central America, but only that it was near the landing site near the Straits of Darien. Miller also used "Straits of Darien," while Pratt and the newspaper account used "Isthmus of Darien." Miller's statement, rather than reflecting a popularized version of Pratt's views, is quite different. It is also absurd to suggest that Miller picked up ideas and then claimed that he had a personal conversation with Spalding which never took place, during which Spalding revealed this information to him.

Roper also compares the 1832 and 1840 accounts of Pratt's views with the statements of John and Martha Spalding and claims that it "suggests the borrowing of themes and language from the former for the latter." These correspondences include references to Lehi, Jerusalem, landing in America, dividing into two nations, the names Nephites and Lamanites, the ancestry of the Indians, and bodies piled in large heaps. But, again there are problems. The 1832 account contains no parallels for the names Nephites and Lamanites or for bodies piled in large heaps. However, the Book of Mormon contains this description: "And the bodies of many thousands are laid low in the earth, while the bodies of many thousands are moldering in heaps upon the face of the earth" (Alma 28:11). This is very similar to the wording of "Manuscript Story": "Many hundreds of their enimies they pierced with their deadly weapons & caused heaps of them to lie prostrate in the narrow passage" (p. 100) Both the 1832 and 1840 accounts say that Lehi's landing site was in South America, but John and Martha Spalding say only that it was in America. The 1840 account says three times that the Indians are the "remnant of Joseph" or the "remnant of Israel," but the Spaldings said that they were the descendants of the lost tribes. The 1840 account contains these words: "separated themselves into two distinct nations." John Spalding's statement says: "separated into two distinct nations." However, the 1832 account has these words: "divided into two parties." The question then arises of who was borrowing from whom? It is at least possible that Pratt was influenced in his choice of words by John Spalding's statement. Moreover, if John and Martha Spalding had genuine memories of "Manuscript Story," why would they borrow the names Lehi, Nephites and Lamanites, and any reference to Jerusalem or lost tribes? Spalding's "Manuscript Story" contains none of these references and is silent on the origins of the various peoples in the story.

Roper devotes a great deal of space to examining the character of Hurlbut, but in a refreshing admission, he concedes: "While the evidence above paints an unflattering picture of Hurlbut, it does not prove that he invented the Spalding theory itself. As already noted, it appears that at least some of Spalding's former neighbors had already come to associate his unpublished tale with the Book of Mormon before Hurlbut arrived on the scene." However, Roper still thinks that Hurlbut exerted a strong influence on "the structure and language of the statements themselves, and in the choice of names and phrases attributed to 'Manuscripot Found.'" To prove this, Roper compares the wording of the two statements of John and Martha Spalding with the statements of the other witnesses and finds various parallels, which, he claims, shows the influence of Hurlbut. But, why does the comparison lead us to this conclusion? Doesn't it rather show the influence of John and Martha Spalding on the statements of the other witnesses? Roper admits that the Spaldings "were possibly the first to be interviewed" by Hurlbut. Isn't it possible that their statements were used as a sort of template, to which the other witnesses added their own recollections?

Three of the witnesses said that many of the names in the Book of Mormon were the same or nearly the same as those in Spalding's story. Roper asks, why then did all of the witnesses mention only seven specific names? Aaron Wright may have been exaggerating when he said, "the names of, and most of the historical part of the Book of Mormon, were as familiar to me before I read it, as most modern history." But, I think that the general intent of the witnesses' statements was to affirm that they had no doubts whatever about the seven names that they listed as being the same as those in Spalding's story, and that when they read the Book of Mormon, they were reminded of other names that Spalding had invented. If, as Roper claims, Hurlbut strongly influenced the selection of names, why wouldn't he have included more names such as Alma, Mosiah, Helaman, and Coriantumr?

Roper ridicules the testimony of Matilda Spalding McKinstry and her recollection of names, but on this subject see Matilda Spalding Revisited.

In an 1855 statement, Josiah Spalding, Solomon's brother, described the story that Solomon was writing. Roper declares, "Josiah Spalding also speaks only of one manuscript, which matches the content of 'Manuscript Story.' He also called it 'Manuscript Found.'" But, in fact, Josiah's description differs in many respects from "Manuscript Story." He stated that the story takes place "before the Christian Era," and that the characters landed "near the mouth of the Mississippi River." "Manuscript Story" takes place during the fourth century A.D., and the characters land on the east coast of North America. He also said that the main character "makes some lengthy remarks on astronomy and philosophy, which I should think would agree in sentiment and style with very ancient writings." Musings on these subjects do occur in "Manuscript Story," but they certainly are not written in an ancient style. "Manuscript Found," on the other hand, was said to be written in an ancient style. Most significantly, Josiah stated that the story was about a civilized nation at war with savages, and that the savages destroyed the civilized people. "Manuscript Story" does distinguish between savages and two empires of civilized people, but the wars are between the two empires and not between the civilized people and the savages. Nor is there any suggestion that the savages would destroy the civilized people. It appears that Josiah mixed together elements of both of Solomon's stories, thus providing evidence not of just one manuscript but of two different stories.

John Spalding said that he did not remember the religious matter in the Book of Mormon, and John Miller and Matilda Spalding declared that Solomon's story had been changed with the addition of scripture and other religious matter. The first part of the Book of Mormon contains whole chapters of Isaiah. Roper correctly points out that the entire Book of Mormon is permeated with religious language and themes, which could not have been merely tacked on to the historical narrative. But "Manuscript Story" is also permeated with religious material, so if the witnesses were not referring to scripture, what was their objection? In addition, there is evidence that the Book of Mormon contains passages that reflect Sidney Rigdon's theological views. On this latter topic, see Sidney Rigdon: Creating the Book of Mormon.

Despite Roper's efforts, there is no evidence that the testimony of the witnesses was manipulated by Hurlbut or that the witnesses "encrusted" their memories of "Manuscript Story" with popularized ideas about the Book of Mormon derived from someone like Orson Pratt. The real manipulators are people like Roper, who make their arguments by ignoring contrary evidence and by instilling suspicion in the minds of their readers.

The supporters of the Spalding theory have been criticized for proposing that there were two copies of the "Manuscript Found." The critics insist that there was only one copy, the copy which Hurlbut found, the Fabius story, which is clearly unfinished. But if the critics maintain that the Fabius story was the only one that Spalding wrote, they must also believe that he polished it up and provided it with an ending. It follows then that there must have been a second copy of the manuscript which Spalding took to the printer. However, since Hurlbut did not find the finished copy in the trunk, the printer must not have returned it to Spalding. Thus, by the logic of their own argument, the critics are forced to admit what they deny to the supporters of the Spalding theory.

Spalding's "Manuscript Story"

The critics cannot seem to decide whether there are any significant similarities between the Fabius story and the Book of Mormon. They do not want to admit that there are any specific parallels, but their theory of memory substitution requires at least a few general similarities between the two stories; otherwise, the witnesses would not have confused Fabius's narrative with the Book of Mormon. Initially, James Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, stated that he and L. L. Rice had compared the "Manuscript Story" with the Book of Mormon "and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail" (Davis 1959, 111). However, Fairchild later argued that the "general features" of the Fabius story "fulfills the requirements of the 'Manuscript Found'" (Bush 1977, 54). Other critics, like Fawn Brodie and Lester Bush, have admitted that there are at least a few "superficial" similarities between Spalding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon, although Bush insists that "there are virtually no similarities in episodes, characters, or themes" (Bush 1977, 42). But, in fact, the Fabius story has parallels not only with the Book of Mormon, but also with later Mormon doctrine.

An obvious parallel, usually conceded by the critics, including Bush, is the fact that both books claim to be based upon the discovery of buried documents. Spalding gave this account in his manuscript:

Near the west Bank of the Coneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character situation and numbers of those people who far exceeded the present race of Indians in works of art & inginuety I hapned to tread on a flat Stone. This was at a small distance from the fort: & it lay on the top of a small mound of Earth exactly horizontal -- The face of it had a singular appearance I discovered a number of characters which appeared to me to be letters -- but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the Stone -- But you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends and sides rested on Stones & that it was designed as a cover to an artificial cave. -- I found on examining that its Sides were lined with * * * built in a connical form with * * * down -- & that it was about eight feet deep . . . . Here I noticed a big flat Stone fixed in the form of a doar. I immediately tore it down & Lo a cavity within the wall presented itself . . . . Within this cavity I found an earthan Box with a cover which shut it perfectly tite -- The Box was two feet in length one & half in breadth & one and three inches in diameter. . . . When I had removed the cover I found that it contained twenty eight sheets of parchment . . . appeared to be manuscripts written in an eligant hand with Roman Letters & in the Latin Language. They were written on a variety of Subjects. But the Roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the authors life & that part of America which extends along the great Lakes & the waters of the Missisippy. (Spalding 1910, 1-2)

In his official history, Joseph Smith gave this description of the discovery of the plates:

Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth. Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. (JS-H 1:51-52)

Oliver Cowdery also said that the plates were found in a box made of stones cemented together, but gave a different description of the stones inside the box: "From the bottom of the box, or from the breast-plate, arose three small pillars composed of the same description of cement used on the edges; and upon these three pillars was placed the record . . . . I must not forget to say that this box, containing the record was covered with another stone, the bottom surface being flat and the upper, crowning. But those three pillars were not so lengthy as to cause the plates and the crowning stone to come in contact" (Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1835). Spalding's account may have said that the sides of the artificial cave were lined with "pillars" built in a conical form; if so, it could have been the source of Oliver's description of the pillars in the box.

Although neither Joseph nor Oliver publicly described a cave, later Mormon lore did allege the existence of a cave containing a great many records. In 1877 Brigham Young related the following story, which he said came from Oliver Cowdery:

When Joseph got the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah, which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light of the sun, or artificial light; but it was just as light as day. They laid the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there were altogether in this room more plates than, probably, many wagon loads; they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they went there, the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again, it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates; it was unsheathed, and on it were written these words, 'This sword will never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God and His Christ.' (Smith and Sjodahl 1972, 47)

This tale bears a resemblance to the story of Beowulf. The mother of Grendel dragged Beowulf beneath the waters of a lake and into an underground chamber. Within the cave, Beowulf "saw fire-light, a white blaze brilliantly shining." Beowulf swung his sword at the creature, but it failed to wound her. Then Beowulf saw hanging on the wall a large, beautifully constructed sword, the work of giants. With this sword, Beowulf killed both Grendel and his mother, but the blade dissolved from the venomous blood of the creatures. Nonetheless, Beowulf gave the hilt of the sword to Hrothgar: "On it was written the source of the struggle of old, when the flood, the ocean breaking its bounds, struck down the race of giants. . . . On the sword-guards, it was also rightly engraved, set down and declared in runic letters of pure gold for whom that sword had first been made" (Beowulf 1963, 50).

The story also relates that there was in the land, unknown to anyone, another underground chamber, in which giants had placed gold and jewels. The crypt is described as a high-roofed chamber underneath a towering barrow of stone. The treasure had been guarded by soldiers, until the last one died. A dragon had then found the barrow and stood guard over the hoard. In the fiftieth year of Beowulf's reign, a man accidentally found his way into the chamber and carried off a gold flagon. The dragon was enraged and began to burn the countryside. Beowulf and another man named Wiglaf killed the dragon, but Beowulf was mortally wounded. Before he died, Beowulf caught a glimpse of the dragon's chamber and "saw how that hall of earth held within it arches of stone, firm on their stanchions." He ordered Wiglaf to enter the barrow. Above the hoard of treasure a banner of pure gold radiated so much light that Wiglaf could see the contents of the cave. With an armful of treasure, Wiglaf returned to Beowulf, who soon after died. Realizing that the treasure was cursed and would lead to enmity and murder, Wiglaf suggested that it be buried with Beowulf: "Then the twisted gold was loaded on a wagon, a mass beyond counting . . . ." A large barrow was built for Beowulf, and the treasure was placed inside: "They let earth keep the treasure of heroes, left the gold in the ground, where it lives on still to this day" (Beowulf 1963, 73, 82-83).

There are many points of similarity between Beowulf and Oliver Cowdery's story, as related by Brigham Young: an underground chamber, brilliantly lit; a sword hanging on the wall; the sword engraved with writing; a hoard of treasure, buried by ancient soldiers, large enough to fill a wagon. Another epic also relates that the treasure of the Nibelungen was hidden in a mountain and that a hundred wagons could not have carried it away.

Of course, the Arabian Nights also provided tales of hidden treasure, particularly the story of Aladdin. Aladdin was a rather idle boy, until in his fifteenth year, an African magician came to town and told Aladdin that he was his uncle. The magician led Aladdin to a valley between two mountains, where he pronounced some magic words. The earth shook and opened, uncovering a stone with a brass ring fixed in the middle. The magician told Aladdin that he was the only one permitted to lift the stone. When the stone was pulled up, a door appeared, with steps descending into a cave. Aladdin passed through two large chambers filled with gold and silver and then found another door leading into a third room, which contained trees laden with jewels. Again, there are resemblances between this tale and the "Manuscript Story."

In his 1838 history, Joseph said that just before his first vision, he was surrounded by thick darkness and felt a malevolent power. The first time that he visited the hill where the plates were buried, he made an attempt to take the plates, but was stopped by Moroni, who told him to return precisely one year from that date. Oliver Cowdery gave a different version of what occurred at the hill. He said that when Joseph tried to take the plates, he received a shock, which weakened him. After making two more attempts and receiving another shock, a vision opened before his eyes, in which he saw the prince of darkness, surrounded by his innumerable associates. Joseph was told that he could not take the plates at that time, because he had thoughts of obtaining wealth from them. Moroni instructed him to return in a year's time. According to Willard Chase's statement, in 1827 Joseph told him yet another story about his attempt to get the plates:

He repaired to the place of deposit and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was no book in sight. He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. -- Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he enquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders. . . . come one year from this day . . . . (Howe 1834, 242)

These accounts resemble two other tales. The first is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Gawain had an encounter with the Green Knight in the court of King Arthur, in which it was agreed that Gawain would meet the knight at the Green Chapel one year from that day. Gawain traveled to a wild place with ragged rocks to look for the chapel. He saw a hollow barrow, which had a hole in each end and on each side. Wondering if this could be the Green Chapel, Gawain imagined that it looked more like the haunt of Satan. The Green Knight's command that Gawain meet him one year later parallels Moroni's instructions to Joseph, and the allusion to Satan recalls Joseph's encounter with the prince of darkness.

The second tale is a part of Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur. After having the story of Joseph of Arimathea related to him, Galahad was asked to accompany a monk to a tomb, which held within it a fiend: "Sir Galahad approached fearlessly and lifted the cover of the tomb. Dense smoke issued forth, and then the fiend leaped out. He was a terrifying figure, in the likeness of a man. Sir Galahad crossed himself, and the fiend spoke again: 'Sir Galahad, I see that you are encircled by angels and that I may not touch you!' Then Sir Galahad saw in the tomb the body of a man in full armor, with a sword by his side" (Malory 1962, 370). This tale suggests Moroni's visit to Joseph, giving him information about the plates, and Joseph's arrival at the place of deposit, where he encountered a spirit in the stone box, which assumed the appearance of a man. Inside the box, Joseph saw a breastplate.

Orson Pratt described the gold plates as "being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume" (Pratt 1840, 472). Joseph Smith followed this description in his Wentworth letter. The claim that the gold plates were not as thick as tin recalls an account given by Pausanius of a sacred record kept hidden by the Messenians. A man named Aristomenes took the record to Mount Ithome and buried it in a hole. Later an old man appeared to Epiteles: "The dream commanded him to find where a yew and a myrtle grew together on Mount Ithome, and to dig between them . . . . Next morning Epiteles came to the place that was described, and when he dug there he found a bronze jar, which he took to Epaminondas . . . . Inside he found a leaf of tin beaten to extreme fineness and rolled up like a scroll, and inscribed with the mystery of the Great goddesses: this was the thing Aristomenes had hidden" (Pausanius 1971, 2:163).

The "Manuscript Story" purports to be a history written by a Roman named Fabius. He states that he is making a record of the inhabitants of America for the benefit of future Europeans, who may one day live in that part of the world, and that he will deposit the record in a box. He says further that the information which he is providing about himself and his arrival in the New World is only an extract from a longer manuscript, which will be deposited with his history. The Book of Mormon also declares that it is an abridgment of a more detailed record and that it was written for future generations of Indians and Gentiles, and it too was deposited in a box.

Fabius was appointed as secretary to Constantine, and one day the emperor asked him to take an important message to the general of the army in Britain.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp.4-5] Preparation was made instantly and we sailed -- The vessel laden with provisions for the army -- cloathing, knives and other impliments for their use had now arived near the coasts of Britan when a tremendous storm arose & drove us into the midst of the boundless Ocean. Soon the whole crew became lost & bewildered -- They knew not the direction to the rising Sun or polar Star -- for the heavens were covered with clouds; & darkness had spread her sable mantle over the face of the raging deep. Their minds were filled with consternation & dispair -- What could we do? How be extrecated from the insatiable jaws of a watry tomb. Then it was that we felt our absolute dependence on that Almighty & gracious Being who holds the winds and storms in his hands -- From him alone could we expect deliverance. To him our most fervent desires ascended -- prostrate & on bended nees we poured forth incessant supplications . . . . After being driven five days with incridable velocity before the furious wind, the storm abated in its violance -- but still the wind blew strong in the same direction. . . . On the sixth day after, the storm wholly subsided, the sun rose clear & the heavens once more appeard to smile. . . . At length a Mariner stept forward in the midst and proclaimed. Attend O friends & listen to my words -- A voice from on high hath penetrated my soul & the inspiration of the Almighty hath bid me proclaim -- Let your sails be wide spread and the gentle winds will soon waft you into a safe harbor -- A country where you will find hospitality. . . . On the fifth day after this we came in sight of Land -- we entered a spacious River . . . . We anchored within a small distance from shore. [1 Nephi 18:8-23] And it came to pass after we had all gone down into the ship, and had taken with us our provisions and things which had been commanded us, we did put forth into the sea and were driven forth before the wind towards the promised land. And after we had been driven forth before the wind for the space of many days, behold, my brethren and the sons of Ishmael and also their wives began to make themselves merry . . . . And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords . . . . And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea . . . . And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities . . . . Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long . . . . and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sickbeds. . . . yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave. . . . . wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me. And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land. And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land.

Spalding's story also parallels the storm described in the Aeneid, as does the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, the Jaredite barges were propelled across the sea by strong, constant winds.

Lehi's ship once again resumed its course, after Nephi regained control of the Liahona, and in Spalding's story, a mariner is inspired by the Almighty to proclaim that "gentle winds will soon waft you into a safe harbor -- A country where you will find hospitality." After five more days of sailing, Fabius's ship came in sight of land, "entered a spacious River -- & continued sailing up the same many leages until we came in view of a Town" (Spalding 1910, 5). This is reminiscent of Bacon's New Atlantis, in which his ship is blown off course by strong winds, comes upon land, and enters "into a good haven, being the port of a fair city" (Bacon 1942, 246).

Fabius's group was received by the king, who ceded to them a tract of land. A plan was adopted to allow seven young women, who were passengers on the ship, to choose husbands, and they were paired with Fabius, the ship's captain and mate, and four other men. In the same way, the five daughters of Ishmael provided wives for Nephi, his three brothers, and Zoram. Fabius's group also settled on an economic policy: "The property was common stock -- what was produced by our labor was likewise to be common, all subject to the distribution of the judges who were to attend to each family & see that propper industry and econimy were practised by all" (Spalding 1910, 9). After Christ's appearance in the New World, the Nephites and Lamanites also had all things in common, and the common stock plan of Fabius's group is similar to the united order, which the Mormons tried to follow.

The captain recommended that the group remain a distinct people, "another Italy," and that they try to enlighten the "dark souls" of the natives. But one mariner said that he would select a lass from the "copper coulered tribe" and their children would become "as fair & nearly as white as your honors children" (Spalding 1910, 10). The Book of Mormon, of course, holds to the theory that the skin color of Indians can change from dark to fair. The words "fair" and "white" are used in combination in several passages in the Book of Mormon: "she was exceedingly fair and white" (1 Nephi 11:13), "I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful" (1 Nephi 13:15), "as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome" (2 Nephi 5:21), "their skin became white like unto the Nephites; and their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair" (3 Nephi 15-16), and "that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white" (Mormon 9:6).

The "Manuscript Story" describes two distinct groups of people. The natives who lived on the coast, called the Deliwans, were hunters and wore animal skins, much like the Lamanites.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[P. 11] To strangers they were hospitable . . . but to enimies, implacable cruel & barbarous in the extreme. -- Innumerable hords of this discription of people were scattered over an extensive country, who gained their living by hunting the elk, the dear & a great variety of other wild animals . . . . Shooting the arrow slinging stones . . . . Their cloathing consisted of skins dressed with the hair on -- but in warm weather, only the middle part of their bodies were incumbered with any covering -- The one half of the head of the men was shaved & painted with red -- & the one half of the face was painted with black. [Enos 1:20] . . . their hatred was fixed, and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people, full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents, and wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girdle about their loins and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow, and in the cimeter, and the ax.

[Alma 3:4-5] And the Amlicites were distinguished from the Nephites, for they had marked themselves with red in their foreheads after the manner of the Lamanites; nevertheless they had not shorn their heads like unto the Lamanites. Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and their bows, and their arrows, and their stones, and their slings, and so forth.

[Mosiah 10:8] . . . men armed with bows, and with arrows, and with swords, and with cimeters, and with stones, and with slings; and they had their heads shaved that they were naked; and they were girded with a leathern girdle about their loins.

[3 Nephi 4:7] . . . and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had headplates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.

[P.84] Each man had a sword by his side and a spear in his hand, and on their breasts down to their hips and on their thighs they wore pieces of mamouth skins to guard them from arrows and the weapons of death. [Alma 49:6] [The Lamanites] had also prepared themselves with shields, and with breastplates; and they had also prepared themselves with garments of skins, yea, very thick garments to cover their nakedness.

Fabius became concerned that if his group continued to live among these people, they would lose what remnants of civilization they possessed and degenerate into savages. After some remarkable reflections on the nature of the solar system, reasoning that the sun was really at the center and that the earth was a globe, Fabius concluded that they would be able to reach their native land by traveling westward. He also learned that the natives had a tradition which said that their ancestors immigrated from the west, and he was told that about fifteen days' journey to the northwest, there was a civilized people living in great towns on the banks of a large river. Fabius, Crito, and a Delawan interpreter set out to find this land. After passing over a great mountain, they came to a river called Owaho: "Here was a large town or city inhabited by a distinct race of people from any we had seen before" (Spalding 1910, 18). Thus the "Manuscript Story" sets up a contrast between coastal, savage tribes and a more inland, civilized people, just as the Book of Mormon does. The people of Nephi had separated themselves from the wild Lamanites and had traveled northward to found a city. The Nephites also knew that it is the earth, and not the sun, which moves (Helaman 12:15).

Fabius informed the king of his intention to move to this new land, and the king provided him with four Mammoons: "These were an annimal of prodigious magnitude, even biger than the eliphant, which the natives had tamed & domesticated -- They were very segacious & docile & were employed in carying burthens and in drawing timber" (Spalding 1910, 18). This parallels Ether 9:19: "And they also had horses, and asses, and there were elephants and cureloms and cumoms; all of which were useful unto man, and more especially the elephants and cureloms and cumoms."

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 19-20] Sacks were provided from Course Cloth to receive the most valuable part of our goods & furniture -- These were thrown across three of the Mammoons . . . . Thus having resided among the Deliwans two years -- & being prepared to take our departure . . . . We passed on -- No obsticles impeded our journey until we came to the great River Suscowah -- which runs between the Deliwah River and the great mountain -- The water being too deep for fording, we built a small boat and with this, at several times we conveyed the whole of the baggage & Company across . . . . We then proceeded on by slow marches, -- but in crossing the great mountain we had some difficulties to encounter . . . but finally arived safely at the great city Owhahon on the twenty fifth day after our departure from the Deliwan. [Ether 2:1,6,13] And it came to pass that Jared and his brother, and their families . . . went down into the valley which was northward . . . with their flocks which they had gathered together, male and female, of every kind. . . . And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters . . . . the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents . . . and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.
     Fatigued with a long and difficult journey, . . . all were disposed to establish our residence here until further information could be obtained & further measures concerted to prosecute our journey to Europe The King and his principal officers . . . . assigned us . . . a number of houses on the bank of the river at a little distance from the City. [Compare 1 Nephi 16:19] and being much fatigued, because of their journeying . . .

Fabius's group journeyed northwest, built a small boat to cross a deep river, arrived at "the great city," and dwelled in houses on the bank of a river. The Jaredites traveled north to a valley, built barges to cross many waters, arrived at "the great sea," and dwelled in tents on the seashore. Fabius's group intended to continue their journey back to Europe, crossing what they hoped would be a sea of small extent between the continents. The Jaredites also continued their journey by building barges to cross the sea.

Fabius states that the customs, laws, government, and religion of the Ohons, as this people were called, "demonstrate that they must have originated from some other nation & have but a very distant affinity with their Savage neighbours" (Spalding 1910, 21). Thus Solomon's story does not derive all of the inhabitants of America from one group of people. Similarly, the Book of Mormon brings three groups of people to the New World.

Fabius notes that the Ohons had a light olive complexion, and that there were some persons "whose hair was of a redish hue," apparently referring to the Madoc theory of Welsh Indians. The Ohons wore clothing made of cloth and lived by cultivating the land and tending domesticated animals. Their method of manufacturing iron and lead was not quite as perfect as the European, but they could convert iron "nearly into the consistence of steal" (Spalding 1910, 23). The Nephites also tilled the land and raised domesticated animals. Furthermore, the Book of Mormon claims that the Nephites knew how to make steel (Jarom 1:8).

Concerning the Ohons' written language, Fabius states: "They had characters which represent words & all compound words had each part represented by its apropriate character. The variation of cases moods & tenses was designated by certain marks placed under the character" (Spalding 1910, 25). In July 1835 Joseph Smith acquired some Egyptian scrolls. He started translating one of these scrolls as the Book of Abraham. In conjunction with this work, he was also formulating an Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar. In his grammar Joseph arranged characters in a column on the left-hand side of the page, and next to each character, he gave an interpretation. A character had a particular meaning, depending upon what "degree" it was in. There were five degrees, and apparently each degree had five parts. Meanings of characters varied according to their degree and part, and characters could be combined into compound symbols. According to Joseph's system, placing marks above or below a symbol either increased or decreased its signification. In some way, these marks were associated with connecting parts of speech, which Joseph listed as verbs, participles, prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs. Joseph also had names for various kinds of "connections," which included present, past, and future tenses for verbs. This parallel between the language of the Ohons and Joseph's Egyptian grammar is a very strong link between Spalding and the Book of Mormon. It is highly unlikely that Joseph Smith and Solomon Spalding would have produced independently, from their own imaginations, concepts of a system of language which are so similar. (For more parallels with the Alphabet and Grammar, see Spalding Notes)

In each large town, the Ohons had priests, into whose hands were committed copies of the sacred Roll, containing the tenets and ceremonies of their religion. Fabius quotes from the sacred Roll:

There is an intelligent omnipotent Being, who is self existant & infinitely good & benevolent -- Matter eternally existed -- He put forth his hand & formed it into such bodies as he pleased -- He presides over the universe & has a perfect knowledge of all things -- From his own spiritual substance he formed seven sons -- These are his principal agents to manage the affairs of his empire -- He formed the bodies of men from matter Into each body he infused a particle of his own spiritual substance, in consequence of which man in his first formation was inclined to benevolence & goodness. There is also another great inteligent Being who is self existent & possessed of great power but not of Omnipotence -- He is filled with infinite malice against the good Being & exerts all his subtlety & pow to ruin his works. . . . Death desolves the connection -- Etherial Bodies are prepared for the souls of the righteous -- These bodies can pass thro' any part of the universe & are invisable to mortal eyes. Their place of residence is on a vast plain which is beautified with magnificent Buildings -- with Trees, fruits & flowers. No immagination can paint the delights, the felicity of the Righteous. But the wicked are denied etherial bodies -- Their souls naked and incapable of seeing light, dwel in darkness & are tormented with the keenest anguish -- Ages roll away & the good being has compassion upon them -- He permits them to take possession of etherial bodies and they arise quick to the abodes of delight & glory. (Spalding 1910, 28-29)

These doctrines have obvious affinities with the later teachings of Joseph Smith. He taught that God and intelligence are self-existent, that matter is eternal, and that God merely formed matter into bodies. He said that there are three kinds of bodies and three kingdoms -- celestial, terrestrial, and telestial -- but that Satan and his followers are deprived of bodies and will suffer eternal punishment. Those who are to inherit the telestial world must abide in hell until Christ has completed his work (see D&C 76). Spalding's description of the celestial plain is evidently derived from Plato's Phaedo. Plato said that the souls of the virtuous dwell on the "true earth" amid the ether: "And in this fair earth the things that grow, the trees, and flowers and fruits, are correspondingly beautiful . . . . And they have sacred groves and temples of the gods . . . and in all other ways their blessedness is in accord with this" (Phaedo 110d-111c, Loeb translation). In his Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, Joseph Smith defined the character Beth as "The place appointed of God for the residence of Adam . . . great valley or plain given by promise; filled with fruit trees and precious flowers . . . place of happiness" (fifth degree, second part).

The eternity of matter is a Greek concept, but the beliefs of the Ohons also have similarities with Zoroastrianism, the religion of the Magi. Zoroastrianism held that a cosmic battle is being waged between two eternal spiritual beings, who represent good and evil. The leader of the hosts of light is Ahura Mazda, who is accompanied by six Amesha Spentas, acting as his agents. The spirit of darkness is Angra Mainyu, who counters the good works of Ahura Mazda with evil. At death, each individual's good and evil deeds are weighed, and he is sent either to heaven or hell, or to an intermediate place, if the good and bad balance each other. When Ahura Mazda triumphs at the end of the world struggle, there will be a purification by fire and the creation of a new heaven and earth, and Angra Mainyu will be banished to the realm of eternal darkness.

The practice of polygamy is described in a passage which Spalding apparently planned to remove from his manuscript or intended to revise: "Let thy citizens be numbered once in two years -- & if the young women, who are fit for marriage are more numerous than the young men -- then wealthy men, who are young & who have but one wife, shall have the priviledge, [with the permission of the King] to marry another until the numbers of the single young men & the single young women are made equal But he that hath two wives shall have a house provided for each -- & he shall spend his time equally with each one" (Spalding 1910, 29). It is apparent that Spalding did not find the idea of polygamy abhorrent, if conditions seemed to require it, although he limited it to the young. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, denounces polygamy, but sees that it might be necessary in limited circumstances: "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none . . . . For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" (Jacob 2:27, 30). Mormons often cited an imbalance in the sexes as justification for polygamy, although studies have shown that women did not outnumber men in Utah. Furthermore, men like Brigham Young and Orson Pratt strove to follow Spalding's advice to provide separate houses for their wives and to divide their time equally between their spouses. Brigham's wives were housed in the "White House," the Beehive House, the Lion House, Forest Farm, and houses in Provo and St. George. Orson housed his six wives in Salt Lake, Tooele, and Fillmore. Orson's first wife Sarah complained that Orson "intended to put these five women on an exact equality with me; that he should spend a week with one, a week with another . . . ." (New York Herald, 18 May 1877).

Critics have complained that Spalding did not write the Fabius story in a scriptural style and therefore could not have written the Book of Mormon. However, three pages of chapter seven, quoting from the sacred Roll, are written in imitation of the Bible. Here is a portion of this material: <

Now O man attend to thy duty & thou shalt escape the portion of the wicked & enjoy the delights of the righteous Avoid all acts of cruelty to man and beast defraud not thy neighbour, nor suffer thy hands secretly to convey his property from him -- Preserve thy body from the contamination of lust -- & remember the seduction of thy neighbors wife would be a great Crime . . . . Be grateful for all favours & forsake not thy friend in adversity. Treat with kindness & reverence thy Parents . . . . Let rulers consult the welfare of the people and not agrandige themselves by oppression & base bribes . . . . Let Parents restrain the vices of their children & instruct their minds in useful knowledge . . . . Hold out the hand of kindness and friendship to thy neighbour -- consider him when reduced to indigence & distress. . . . Say not to thyself I will indulge in inactivity & idleness & lie upon the bed of sloth & slumber away the precious moments of time -- for in this thou art unwise . . . . (Spalding 1910, 29-30)

These admonitions are an obvious imitation of the Decalogue, Proverbs, and the Sermon on the Mount. Joseph Smith included similar material in a revelation dated 9 February 1831 (D&C 42), which covers the sins of murder, stealing, lying, lust, adultery, speaking evil, and idleness, and includes an admonition to consecrate property to be used for the poor.

There is other evidence that Spalding made use of scripture in his writing. For example, Fabius ponders his situation: "O that my head were waters & my eyes a fountain of tears -- then my intolerable burthen should be poured forth in a torrent & my soul set at liberty. But behold the light springs up & beams upon my soul. She brings in her train Hope -- that celestial Godes, that sure & strong anchor" (Spalding 1910, 16). The first part of this passage comes from Jeremiah 9:1: "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!" The last part alludes to Hebrews 6:19: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast." This same passage from Hebrews appears to be the source for Ether 12:4, where Moroni quotes the words of Ether: "which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast."

The Book of Moses also provides a small but still significant stylistic parallel. Spalding wrote that priests instructed the Sciotans to subdue their passions "that they may secure happiness to themselves in this life - & imortal happiness beyond the grave" (Spalding 1910, 44). At Moses 6:59, the Lord instructs Adam to tell his children that they must repent that they might "enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory."

Chapter VIII of the "Manuscript Story" introduces the semi-mythical figure of Lobaska. He appeared in the city of Tolanga with his wife and four sons. It was he who gave to the Ohons their system of writing, the sacred Roll containing their religious tenets, and their political constitution. People believed that Lobaska conversed with celestial beings, and he pretended that the theology of the sacred roll "was revealed to him in several interviews which he had been permitted to have with the second son of the great & good Being" (Spalding 1910, 35). Spalding made it clear that he was drawing the character of Lobaska from history and myth, for he wrote: "If we can place any reliance on the dark annals of antient history, it is a certain fact that Letters are indebted for their existence to the inventive genius of certain extraordinary characters -- Egypt & Chaldea contended for the honour of being the first who invented letters" (Spalding 1910, 25). He was undoubtedly thinking of Thoth, the Egyptian inventor of letters, and of Oannes, who according to Berossus, appeared in Babylonia and gave men "an insight into letters and sciences, and arts of every kind. He taught them to construct cities, to found temples, to compile laws, and explained to them the principles of geometrical knowledge" (Cory [1832] 1975, 19). Lobaska is also patterned after king Numa, who instituted many of the Roman religious rites, as well as their priesthood, and claimed that his knowledge was revealed to him by the Muses and the goddess Egeria, with whom he had many secret meetings. Other writers before Spalding had invented similar characters. Thomas More declared that a man named Utopos was responsible for transforming the ignorant savages of Sansculottia into the most civilized nation on earth, the imaginary state of Utopia. Francis Bacon claimed that the lawgiver of the island of Bensalem was a king named Solamona, who had lived 1,900 years earlier. The king instituted a society called Solomon's House, named after the wise Hebrew king, which was devoted to investigating the mysteries of nature and developing new inventions. A member of the society stated: "We imitate also flights of birds; we have some degrees of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for going under water and brooking the seas" (Bacon 1942, 298). Similarly, Spalding made Lobaska the inventor of a flying machine. And the barges of the Jaredites were of a peculiar design, which enabled them to move while submerged in the sea.

Both Lobaska and Nephi were founding figures, who dispensed both moral teachings and practical knowledge, including metallurgy.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp.22-23] The manufacturing of Iron & lead was understood but was not carried on to that extent & perfection as in Europe. A small quantity of Iron in proportion to the number of inhabitants served to supply them with all the impliments which custom had made necessary for their use -- By hammering & hardening their Iron they would convert it nearly into the consistence of steal & fit it for the purpose of edge tools.

[P.35] He still continued to associate among the people & was indefatigable in his labours to dispel their ignorance, correct their superstition & vices to excite their industry & to defuse a more accurate knowledge of the mechanical arts -- The manufacture of Iron in particular was not known: this he taught a number by showing them how to build a small furnace & to cast iron ware -- & then how to build a small forge & refine pigs and convert them into Iron -- He had resided among the Sciotans about three years & the happy effects of his Labors were visible to all observs -- A great reformation had taken place in the morals & manners of the people -- industry had encreased -- agriculture & the mechanical arts had received great improvement -- & houses were built on a more commodious & eligant construction.

[1 Nephi 17:11, 16] And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did make a bellows wherewith to blow the fire, of the skins of beasts; and after I had made a bellows, that I might have wherewith to blow the fire, I did smite two stones together that I might make fire. . . . And it came to pass that I did make tools of the ore which I did molten out of the rock.

[2 Nephi 5:15-17] And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon. . . and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands.

[Compare also Mosiah 11:8-9] And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper; and he also built him a spacious palace . . . .

Lobaska educated his four sons: "they had all received an education from their father -- & even the youngest, who was but about eleven years old could read and write with great correctness & facility" (Spalding 1910, 34). King Benjamin was also concerned with the education of his three sons: "And it came to pass that he had three sons . . . . And he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding" (Mosiah 1:2).

In the time of Lobaska, the Ohons were divided into two kingdoms, Sciota and Kentuck. When a war began between the two kingdoms, Lobaska advised the Sciotans to lay a trap for the Kentucks. To reach the city of Tolanga, the Kentucks had to pass by a hill or mountain, less than a mile from the great river Ohio.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 36-39] All were unanimously of opinion that to comply with the haughty demand of Bombal, by tearing the blue feathers from their caps would be degrading the honour of the nation and a relinquishment of their natural right -- they were likewise sensible that the most vigorous exertions were necessary to save the country from ruin. The opinion and advice of Lobaska, was requested. It is my opinion says he, that by using a little stratigem this war might be bro't to a conclusion which will be honourable to this kingdom. . . . the army was assembled and impliments provided with the utmost expidition -- & they marched down the river to a certain place where the army of the enimy must pass, in order to arrive at the City of Tolanga At this place the hill or mountain came within less than a mile of the River & flat or level Land intervened -- Here Lobaska directed that a Canal should be dug from the River to the Hill . . . . In the meantime Hadokam bro't into the field seven thousand and more of his warriors, men of brave hearts and valiant for the Battle -- The indignant King of the Kentucks by this time had assembled an army of thirty thousand men who were ready at the risk of their lives to vindicate the pre-eminance of their nation and the transcendent dignity of their king & his chiefs -- At the head of this army Bombal began his march to execut his threatned vengance on the Siotans . . . . Bombal halted and formed his men in two Ranks extending from the river to the hill -- He had a reserved core, who were placed in the rear of the main body -- Having thus arranged them for battle, he went from one wing to the other -- proclaiming aloud, we have been insulted, brave soldiers, by these cowardly Siotans -- They have assumed the blue Feather, the badge of our preeminance & exalted dignity -- Behold it flying in their Caps -- will your high born souls submit to behold such Dastards place themselves on equal ground with you -- No my valiant warriors, let us revenge the insult by the destruction of their puny army & the conflagration of their City -- Make a furious charge upon them -- & the victory is ours -- Let your motto be the blue Feather & you will fight like wolvs robed of their puppies. Hadoram had by this time formed his army in order of Battle close to the edge of the Canal & extended them only in one rank from the River to the Hill -- As the Kentucks approached within a small distance, the Sciotans gave back & began a retreat with apparent confusion, notwithstanding the pretended exertions of the King & his officers to prevent their retreating -- Bombal observing this commanded to rush forward on the full run but to keep their Ranks in order -- This they instantly obeyed as one man & as soon as their feet stept on the slender covering of the canal it gave way & they fell to the bottom, some in one position and some in another -- A disaster so novel & unexpected must have appalled the stoutest heart & filled their minds with amasement & terror. -- Nor did this complete the misfortune of the army of Bombal -- an ambush of the Sciotans, who lay on the side of the hill opposite to the reserved Corps of the Kentucks, rushed down upon them in an instant -- Surprise & terror prevented resistance -- they threw down their arms & surrendered -- The retreating army of Hadoram immediately returned with shouting to the edge of the Canal -- Their enimies, who but a moment before, tho't themselves invincible & certain of victory were now defenceless & wholly in their power -- Lobaska was present & saw the success of his stratigem his great soul disdained revenge on an helpless & prostrate Enimy -- he conjured the Siotans not to shed one drop of Blood -- but to be generous & merciful -- Bombal had now recovered from his surprise & seeing the deplorable situation of his army, his haughty soul felt the keenest anguish . . . . I now emplore your generosity & compassion for my army -- Spare their lives -- & then name your terms & if I can comply with them, without degrading the honor of my Crown, it shall be done. Your request says Hadoram is granted -- Surrender your arms & let your army return in peace -- As for your majesty, & the chiefs of your nation, who are present, you will . . . return to the city of Tolanga, & there we will excute a treaty of peace & amity that shall be advantageous & honourable to both nations. -- These terms were accepted & the Kentucks returned in peace to their own country [Alma 43:26-54] And he caused that all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together to battle against the Lamanites, to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties; therefore they were prepared against the time of the coming of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his army should be secreted in the valley which was near the bank of the river Sidon, which was on the west of the river Sidon in the wilderness. . . . he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take. Therefore, he divided his army and brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah; and the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon, and so down into the borders of the land Manti. . . . And as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon, the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, which was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about on the east in their rear. And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about and began to contend with the army of Lehi. . . . And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee towards the river Sidon. And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon. . . . And it came to pass that Moroni and his army met the Lamanites in the valley, on the other side of the river Sidon, and began to fall upon them and to slay them. . . . Now in this case the Lamanites did fight exceedingly . . . . And they were inspired . . . by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands . . . . Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion. And it came to pass that when the men of Moroni saw the fierceness and the anger of the Lamanites, they were about to shrink and flee from them. And Moroni, perceiving their intent, sent forth and inspired their hearts with these thoughts -- yea, the thoughts of their lands, their liberty, yea, their freedom from bondage. And it came to pass that they turned upon the Lamanites, and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty and their freedom from bondage. And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them, and they fled even to the waters of Sidon. . . . Therefore when Zerahemnah saw the men of Lehi on the east of the river Sidon, and the armies of Moroni on the west of the river Sidon, that they were encircled about by the Nephites, they were struck with terror. Now Moroni, when he saw their terror, commanded his men that they should stop shedding their blood.

[Alma 44:1-20] And it came to pass that they did stop and wthdrew a pace from them. And Moroni said unto Zerahemnah: . . . . I command you by all the desires which ye have for life, that ye deliver up your weapons of war unto us, and we will seek not your blood, but we will spare your lives, if ye will go your way and come not again to war against us. . . . Now there were many . . . that were struck with fear; and many came forth and threw down their weapons of war at the feet of Moroni, and entered into a covenant of peace. . . . Now Zerahemnah, when he saw that they were all about to be destroyed, cried mightily unto Moroni, promising that he would covenant and also his people with them, if they would spare the remainder of their lives, that they never would come to war again against them. And it came to pass that Moroni caused that the work of death should cease again among the people. And he took the weapons of war from the Lamanites; and after they had entered into a covenant with him of peace they were suffered to depart into the wilderness.

Note that both the Kentucks and the Nephites fight to defend and preserve their "rights." Lobaska and Moroni both employ a "stratagem" to defeat their enemies. In both cases, these stratagems involve similar geographical locations, including a valley between a hill and river. Bombal exhorts his men to "fight like wolves," while Zerahemnah inspires his men to "fight like dragons," and Moroni inspires his men to fight for their liberty and freedom. The Kentucks are ambushed by a group of Sciotans, who rush upon them from the side of a hill, as the Lamanites are attacked by an army which is concealed on the south of a hill. Many of Zerahemnah's men are struck with fear and throw down their weapons, just as Bombal's men are filled with terror and throw down their weapons. Lobaska tells the Sciotans to be generous and refrain from shedding blood, and Hadoram, king of the Sciotans, demands that the Kentucks surrender their arms, just as Moroni commands his men to stop shedding the blood of the Lamanites and tells Zerahemnah's men to deliver up their weapons. Bombal pleads with Lobaska to spare the lives of his men, as Zerahemnah pleads with Moroni to spare the lives of his men. A treaty of peace is concluded, and the defeated armies are allowed to depart. How is it possible that Joseph Smith, who was translating an ancient Nephite record, would describe an incident with details and language so similar to a story written by Solomon Spalding?

As part of the treaty between the Sciotans and Kentucks, Lobaska demanded the right to establish schools in Kentuck and to appoint instructors. The Kentucks advanced in learning so rapidly that they began to excel the Sciotans, and they became industrious and prosperous. This recalls the Lamanite king, who in the days of Alma I, appointed Amulonites to be teachers in various parts of the land, to instruct the Lamanites in the language of Nephi and in keeping records. The Lamanites became wealthy traders.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 41-42] He returned back & sent his second son & three of the most forward scollars of the Sciotans to establish a school at Gamba. . . . These young men having imbibed the spirit & principles of the great preceptor, spared no exertions to instruct the scholars & to defuse useful knowledge among the people -- The happy effects of their labors were visible in a short time. The people embraced the religion of Lobaska & became more industrious & civilized. In their various improvements in agriculture, the mechanical arts and literature they even exsaled [excelled] the Sciotans & appeared to be as prosperous & flourishing. [Mosiah 24:1-7] And it came to pass that Amulon did gain favor in the eyes of the king of the Lamanites; therefore, the king of the Lamanites granted unto him and his brethren that they should be appointed teachers over his people . . . . And he appointed teachers of the brethren of Amulon in every land which was possessed by his people . . . . But they taught them that they should keep their record, and that they might write one to another. And thus the Lamanites began to increase in riches, and began to trade one with another and wax great . . . .

Lobaska formed the people into two great empires, separated by the river Ohio. Labarmock, the eldest son of Lobaska, was appointed to the office of emperor of Sciota, while Lambon, the third son, became high priest, with four priests as assistants. Both offices of emperor and high priest were hereditary. Hamback, the second son of Lobaska, was chosen as emperor of Kentuck, and Kato, the youngest son, was ordained as high priest. The Nephites and Lamanites also lived in two different lands, separated by a strip of wilderness. The Nephites had two primary offices, the governor of the land and the high priest.

The inhabitants of Sciota and Kentuck experienced a period of peace and expansion, much like the people of Mosiah.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 53-54] As luxery & extravigance were scarcely known to exist, especially among the common people, [an happy equality was] hence there was a great similarity in their manner of living, their dress, their habits & manners. -- Pride was not bloated & puffed up with enormous wealth -- Nor had envy fewel to inflame her hatred & malice. . . . We can now trace the causes of their increase & prosperity. . . . to such an equality of property as to prevent the pride of wealth & the extravagance of luxury . . . . During this time their vilages & cities were greatly enlarged -- new settlements were formed in every part of the country which had not been inhabited -- & a vast number of towns were built -- which rivaled as to number of inhabitants, those which existed at the time their imperial governments were founded -- Their settlements extended the whole length of the great River Ohio to its confluence with the Mississippi, & over the whole country on both sides of the Ohio River, which are watered by streams which empty into it. -- And also along the great Lakes of Eri & Mishigan & even some settlements were formed in some part of the country which borders on Lake Ontario. -- Such was the vast extent of the country which they inhabited -- & such the fertility of the soil that many millions were easily fed & supported with such a plenty & competence of provision, as was necessary for their comfort and happiness. [Mosiah 27: 3-7] And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be an equality among all men; that they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace; that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support. . . . And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land. And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people.

Both of these texts begin with a discussion of pride and equality and then transition to a description of the building of large villages and cities. This appears to be beyond the realm of coincidence.

For 480 years, the two empires of Sciota and Kentuck existed in relative peace. Nonetheless, the people took the precaution of constructing fortifications.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 54-55] During the time of their rising greatness & tranquility their policy led them to fortify their country in every part, the interior as well as the frontiers -- this they did partly for their own safety, provided a war should take place & they should be invaded by an enimy -- & partly to keep alive & improve a warlike spirit & the knowlege of military Tacticks. Near every vilage or city they constructed forts or fortifications. Those were generally of an oval form & of different dimentions according to the number of inhabitants who lived in the town. -- The Ramparts or walls, were formed of dirt which was taken in front of the fort. A deep canal or trench would likewise be formed -- This would still encrease the difficulty of surmounting the walls in front. -- In addition to this they inserted a piece of Timber on the top of the Ramparts -- These pieces were about seven feet in length from the ground to top which was sharpned -- The distance between each piece was about six inches -- thro. which they could shoot their arrows against an Enimy. Some of their fortifications have two Ramparts, which run parallel with each other built in the same manner, with a distance between of about two or three perches -- Their Gates are strong & well constructed for defence -- Within these forts are likewise a number of small houses -- for the accomidation of the army & inhabitants in case of an invasion -- & likewise a storehouse for the reception of provision & arms. A country thus fortified -- containing so many milion of inhabitants, hardy & robust & with habits formed for war -- might well be supposed as able to defend themselves against an invading Enimy -- If they were beat from the frontier, they could still retreat back to the fortifications in the interior & their make a successful stand. [Alma 48:8] Yea, he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort; throwing up banks of earth round about to enclose his armies, and also building walls of stone to encircle them about, round about their cities and the borders of their lands; yea, all round about the land.

[Alma 50:1-6] And now it came to pass that Moroni did not stop making preparations for war, or to defend his people against the Lamanites; for he caused that his armies . . . should commence in digging up heaps of earth round about all the cities, throughout all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And upon the top of these ridges of earth he caused that there should be timbers, yea, works of timbers built up to the height of a man, round about the cities. And he caused that upon those works of timbers there should be a frame of pickets built upon the timbers round about; and they were strong and high. And he caused towers to be erected that overlooked those works of pickets, and he caused places of security to be built upon those towers, that the stones and the arrows of the Lamanites could not hurt them. And they were prepared that they could cast stones from the top thereof, according to their pleasure and their strength, and slay him who should attempt to approach near the walls of the city. Thus Moroni did prepare strongholds against the coming of their enemies, round about every city in all the land.

In both the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon, husbands are enjoined to be faithful and to treat their wives and children with love and tenderness. Spalding wrote: "Being taught by their religion the social virtues they manifested a great regard for the rights of the other sex & always treated them with attention, civility & tenderness"; "Having been early taught to [restrain the] govern their passions & to regard the practice of virtue as their greatest good, it was generally the case, that love, friendship & harmony existed in families." (Spalding 1910, 48, 51-52) Jacob chatises his people: "For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people . . . because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands. . . . For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse . . . . Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them . . . . Behold, the Lamanites your brethren . . . are more righteous than you . . . . Behold, their husbands love their wives, and their wives love their husbands; and their husbands and their wives love their children" (Jacob 2:31-35; 3:5, 7).

The "Manuscript Story" launches into a tale of star-crossed lovers, reminiscent of Rivalin and Blancheflor, the parents of Tristan. Elseon, the son of Hamboon, Emperor of Kentuck, fell in love with Lamesa, daughter of Rambock, Emperor of Sciota. However, it was not the custom of the Sciotans and Kentucks to intermarry, and Elseon's request to take Lamesa as his wife was denied by Rambock, who wished Lamesa to marry Sambal. Elseon and Lamesa devised a scheme to leave Sciota and journeyed to the city of Gamba, where they were married by the emperor and empress of Kentuck. Sambal was infuriated at having lost Lamesa and urged the Sciotans to go to war.

Sambal enlisted the aid of a necromancer named Hamack to rouse the people's emotions.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 74-75] He had recourse to a class of men who were denominated prophets & conjurors to favour his disign. . . . As they pretended to have art of investigating the councils & designs of the heavenly Hierachy & to have a knowledge of future events . . . . Hamack then arose & in his hand he held a stone which he pronounced transparent -- tho' it was not transparent to common eyes. -- Thro' this he could view things present & things to come -- could behold the dark intrigues & cabals of foreign courts -- & discover hidden treasures, secluded from the eyes of other mortals. He could behold the galant & his mistress in their bed chamber & count all their moles warts & pimples. Such was the clearness of his sight when this transparent stone was placed before his eyes. [Alma 37: 22-23] For behold, the Lord saw that his people began to work in darkness, yea, work secret murders and abominations; therefore the Lord said, if they did not repent they should be destroyed from off the face of the earth. And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.

The transparent stone of Hamack also has obvious similarities to Joseph Smith's seer stones and the interpreters. In addition, this passage from the Spalding manuscript recalls Bennett's allegation that Joseph used a seer stone to decide if a man could have intercourse with one of the Chambered Sisters of Charity.

The "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon share another feature -- the "letter" motif. Elseon exchanges letters with the emperor of Sciota; Lamesa receives a letter from her father; Rambock sends a letter to Hamboon, who in turn dispatches an envoy with a letter to Rambock; Rambock then sends the envoy back with a declaration of war. In the Book of Mormon, Moroni sends a servant with an epistle to Ammoron, who replies with another epistle; Helaman sends a very long epistle, covering three chapters, to Moroni; Ammoron and Helaman also exchange epistles; Moroni writes two epistles to Pahoran, which brings an epistle in reply from Pahoran; Lachoneus receives an epistle from Giddianhi; the king of the Lamanites and Mormon exchange epistles, as do Coriantumr and Shiz; and Mormon writes two epistles to his son Moroni.

Furthermore, in both the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon, enmity between the two primary groups of people is attributed to robbery. The high priest of Sciota declares that "Elseon, the heir apparent to the imperial throne of Kentuck has been guilty of Robery & impiety within our dominions -- He has robed this empire of an invaluable treasure . . . ." Rambock also declares: "Ingratitude & perfedy, seduction, Robery & the most daring impiety against heaven have been perpetrated within our dominions -- The young prince of Kentuck is the monster, who has been guilty of these Crimes" (Spalding 1910, 79, 83). Similarly, in his letter to Moroni, Ammoron states: "your fathers did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged unto them" (Alma 54:17). The Lamanites also complained that Nephi "took the records which were engraven on the plates of brass, for they said that he robbed them. . . . therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi" (Mosiah 10:16-17).

Rambock issued an edict, declaring: "The Sciotans are required to exterminate, without distinction of age or sex all the inhabitants of the empire of Kentuck" (Spalding 1910, 80). The various kings of the region gathered their troops in support of their emperor, and the war of extermination began. At the great battle of Geheno, an immense slaughter ensued, covering the earth with the bodies of one hundred thousand men. A two-day armistice was declared to allow ten thousand men from each army to bury the dead. They dug mass graves, in which they deposited the bodies, and covered them with large heaps of earth. The chiefs who had been killed were also buried, and "over them they raised prodigious mounds of earth -- which will remain for ages, as monuments to commemorate the valiant feats of these heroes of the great Battle of Geheno" (Spalding 1910, 96). The Book of Mormon states that after the people of Ammonihah were destroyed by the Lamanites, "their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering" (Alma 16:11). Moreover, the battle of Geheno resembles the armistice and final war of extermination between the Nephites and Lamanites at the battle of Cumorah. The Spalding manuscript lists the kings and the number of men that each commanded, although the list is attenuated by the loss of two pages: Habelon, with fifteen thousand; Ulipoon, with eighteen thousand; Numapon, with sixteen thousand; and Ramuck, with ten thousand. The Book of Mormon also lists a number of men who each commanded ten thousand men: Gidgiddonah, Lamah, Gilgal, Limhah, Jeneum, Cumenihah, Moronihah, Antionum, Shiblom, Shem, and Josh. About one hundred and thirty thousand men were killed at Cumorah. The battle of Geheno also has parallels with the war which resulted in the extinction of the Jaredites at the hill Ramah.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[P.94] . . . both armies proceeded to make provision to refresh themselves, being nearly exhausted by the fatigues of a most bloody contest which had lasted nearly five hours. That day afforded them no time to bury their dead. . . . The warriors with their spears in their hands extended themselves upon the earth, & spent the night in rest and sleep -- Next morning they arose with renovated vigor. Their tho'ts were immediately turned to the sanguine field -- Many warriors say they lie there, pierced with mortal wounds & covered with blood. [Ether 15:23-27] And on the morrow they fought again; and when the night came they had all fallen by the sword save it were fifty and two of the people of Coriantumr, and sixty and nine of the people of Shiz. And it came to pass that they slept upon their swords that night . . . . And it came to pass that they ate and slept, and prepared for death on the morrow. . . . they fought for the space of three hours, and they fainted with the loss of blood.
[P. 97] As the Sciotans sallied out in parties to plunder & to ravage the country, these were pursued, overtaken or met by parties of the Kentucks -- Many bloody skirmishes ensued . . . . Wherever the Sciotans marched devastation attended their steps -- & all classes of people without distinction of age or sex, who fell into their hands became the victims of their infuriated malice -- The extermination of the Kentucks appeared to be their object, not considering that it might soon be their turn to have such horrid cruelties retaliated upon them with a three-fold vengence. [Ether 14:17-18] And it came to pass that Shiz pursued after Coriantumr, and he did overthrow many cities, and he did slay both women and children, and he did burn the cities. And there went a fear of Shiz throughout all the land; yea, a cry went forth throughout the land -- Who can stand before the army of Shiz? Behold, he sweepeth the earth before him!

The "Manuscript Story" relates the feats of two young Kentuck soldiers, who performed the bold and heroic act of stealing into the camp of the Sciotans, where they slew hundreds of sleeping men, before being discovered. The tale is obviously borrowed from the Aeneid's account of Euryalus and Nisus, who stole into the Rutulian camp. Like Euryalus and Nisus, the two Kentucks were pursued, one got far in advance, but the other was overtaken by the enemy. The first came back to defend his comrade, but both were killed. A similar fate awaited Teancum, when he entered Ammoron's camp at night to kill the king (Alma 62:36).

The Sciotans captured the city of Gamba, plundering and burning it, which recalls both the sack of Rome and the capture of the city of Zarahemla.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 100-101] Rambock marched his whole army towards the City of Gamba -- & such was the stillness of their movements that they were not perceived -- nor was it known by Hamboon that they had marched until the morning light. -- As soon as the Kentucks perceived that the Sciotans had abandoned the place of their encampment & found the direction they had gone, they immediately pursued them with the utmost expedition. -- But too late to prevent the intended slaughter & devastation. The Sciotans without delaying their march by attacking any forts in their way merely entered the vilages, killing the inhabitants who had not made their escape & burning their houses -- They arived before the City of Gamba -- Great indeed was the surprise, the consternation & terror of the Citizens -- Many fled to the fort -- A band of about three thousand resolute warriors seized their arms, determined to risk their lives in the defence of the City. . . . As soon as all resistance was over come & had subsided, the Sciotans lost no time -- but marched into the City and commenced a general plunder of all articles which could conveniently transported. [Helaman 1:19-20] But it came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth at the head of his numerous host, and came upon the inhabitants of the city, and their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies. Therefore Coriantumr did cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city.
[Pp 102-106] Hamboon & his army had arrived within five miles of the City. They beheld the flames beginning to assend. The idea was instantly realized that an indiscrimate slaughter had taken place. -- In addition to the distruction of all their property, they now had a reallizing annticipation of the massacre of the dearest friends & relation. . . . . He halted within about half a mile of the Sciotans -- & sent out a small party to reconoiter & discover their situation -- In the mean time he ordered Hanock to march with twelve thousand men round the Sciotan Army & lie in ambush in their rear in order to surprise them with an attack after the battle should commence. . . . [Ulipoon] repairs to Hambock & addressed him to this effect. . . . With your permission I will lead on my division & storm the fort of the Kentucks. . . . Having marched towards the fort until they had got beyond the view of the Sciotan army -- he then ordered them to turn their course towards the great River . . . . [Hanock] immediately dispach an express to Hamboon -- informing him that he should pursue them as their object probably was to ravage the country . . . . During the Night Hanock made his arangements -- he formed his men into four Divisions & surrounded the Enimy. . . . wherever they rushed forward in any direction they met the deadly spears of the Kentucks -- It is impossible to discribe the horror of the bloody scene . . . . But only three thousand made their escape. As for Ulipoon he was mortally wounded & laid prostrate on the field. . . . What says Rambock to his princes, is our wisest course to pursue? Sabamah, Rancoff & Nunapon advised him to retreat without losing a moment, for say them, we have taken ample revenge for the crime Elseon. -- To effect this we have thrown ourselves into the heart of their country -- have lost a large division of our army -- & are so weakened by our losses that we are in the utmost danger of being defeated & even anihilated. [Helaman 1:27-32] But behold, the Lamanites were not frightened according to his desire, but they had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla, and were marching through the most capital parts of the land, slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds. But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they should come to the land Bountiful. And thus he did; and he did head them before they came to the land Bountiful, and gave unto them battle, insomuch that they began to retreat back towards the land of Zarahemla. And it came to pass that Moronihah did head them in their retreat, and did give unto them battle, insomuch that it became an exceedingly bloody battle; yea, many were slain, and among the number who were slain Coriantumr was also found. And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites. And thus had Coriantumr plunged the Lamanites into the midst of the Nephites, insomuch that they were in the power of the Nephites, and he himself was slain, and the Lamanites did yield themsleves into the hands of the Nephites.

The Kentucks were not prepared for the Sciotan attack on Gamba, their capital city in "the heart of their country," just as Moronihah did not anticipate the Lamanite attack on Zarahemla in "the capital parts of the land." Both the Sciotans and Lamanites marched swiftly toward their targets, killed a few defenders, and took control of the city. After Gamba was taken, Ulipoon turned his army towards his own land, but Hanock "immediately" dispatched Hamboon to pursue them, as Moronihah "immediately" sent Lehi to prevent the Lamanites from reaching Bountiful. Hanock's men followed, and when Ulipoon's army was surrounded, a bloody battle ensued, in which Ulipoon was killed, just as the Lamanite army was surrounded by Moronihah, and Coriantumr was slain in a bloody battle.

Ulipoon's real intention "was to march with the utmost expedition to his own dominions & to carry with him his rich plunder" (Spalding 1910, 104). After he and many of his men were killed by Hanock, two thousand escaped to their own land, but about fifty fled to the army of Rambock. The story of Ulipoon has several parallels in the Book of Mormon. Amalickiah tried to lead his followers into the land of Nephi, but was pursued by Moroni; he escaped with a few men and sought the aid of the king of the Lamanites. Morianton and his people attempted to flee into the north country, but were intercepted by Teancum, who killed Morianton.

Descriptions of assaults on the cities of Gamba and Noah include similar battles with defenders at the entrances to the cities.

Spalding Manuscript Book of Mormon
[Pp. 100-101] A band of about three thousand resolute warriors seized their arms, determined to risk their lives in the defence of the City. The leader of this band was Lamock the eldest son of Labanko . . . . He posted his warriors in a narrow passage which led to the City. -- The Sciotan Emperor immediately formed his plan of attack. -- A large host selected from all the grand divisions of his army marched against them -- They were commanded by Moonrod -- He led them against this gallant & desparate band of Kentucks & made a most furious & violent charge upon them. But they were resisted with a boldness, which will forever do honour to their emmortal valour. -- Many hundreds of their Enimies they pierced with their deadly weapons & caused heaps of them to lie prostrate in the narrow passage. -- Such prodigious havock was made on the Sciotans by this small band of valiant Citizens, . . . that even Moonrod began to despair of forcing his march into the City, thro' this narrow passage. -- Being informed by a treacherous Kentuck of another passage, he immediately dispatched a party of about four thousand from his band to enter the City thro' that passage & to fall upon the rear of the Kentucks. . . . About seven hundred with their valiant leader thus made their escape, -- The remainder of the three thousand sold their lives in defence of their friends & their country. [Alma 49:20-22] Thus they were prepared, yea, a body of their strongest men, with their swords and their slings, to smite down all who should attempt to come into their place of security by the place of entrance; and thus were they prepared to defend themselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies before the place of entrance, and began to contend with the Nephites, to get into their place of security; but behold, they were driven back from time to time, insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter. Now when they found that they could not obtain power over the Nephites by the pass, they began to dig down their banks of earth that they might obtain a pass to their armies, that they might have an equal chance to fight; but behold, in these attempts they were swept off by the stones and arrows which were thrown at them; and instead of filling up their ditches by pulling down the banks of earth, they were filled up in a measure with their dead and wounded bodies.

Sambal succeeded in breaking through the defenses of the Kentuck fort and sought out Lamesa. Heliza tried to stop him, but was killed by Sambal. After Elseon arrived with thirty thousand warriors, a fierce battle ensued, during which Sambal struck off the head of Helicon, the intimate friend of Elseon. After receiving the news, Elseon went in search of Sambal. The two champions fought, and Sambal was killed, in a scene which recalls the battle between Coriantumr and Shiz. When the Sciotans saw Sambal's huge, lifeless body, they fled in terror. Elseon pursued them, killing thousands, but then returned to the fort.

A Kentuck bard immortalized the love between Helicon and Heliza, who had both been killed in the war. The description of their union after death in a "delightful Bower" recalls the Cave of Love, in which Tristan was finally joined with the fair Isolde.

The armies of Rambock and Hamboon were still facing each other, but awaiting reinforcements. Elseon marched with twenty thousand men to Hamboon's camp. And here Spalding's manuscript suddenly ends, with the Kentucks preparing to battle Rambock's forces.

The "Manuscript Story" contains so many parallels with the Book of Mormon and with Mormon doctrine that it is impossible to believe that they are all merely the result of coincidence. The same factors which qualify Spalding as the author of the Book of Mormon are also evident in the "Manuscript Story." Solomon was obviously fascinated by the ancient earthen mounds and Indian forts, which were found in Ohio. He imagined the discovery of buried records, which also contained a story about a seer stone. He wanted to construct from his own imagination a history of the ancestors of the American Indians. He invented the details of their lives, their dress, houses, animals, their government, religion, and manner of warfare. He hypothesized the existence of two groups of people, one savage and the other more highly civilized. The civilized peoples were divided into two empires and embarked upon a fearful war of extermination. Solomon drew upon his knowledge of ancient history, Arthurian romances, Plato, Virgil's Aeneid and Bacon's New Atlantis. It is certainly not impossible to believe that Solomon set aside the "Manuscript Story" and decided to write an expanded version, covering a much longer period of history and incorporating some new thoughts about the origins of the inhabitants of the New World. Despite the denials of the critics, there are specific parallels between the "Manuscript Story" and the Book of Mormon. And other elements of Spalding's story, such as the theological doctrines and the system of writing of the Ohons, provide strong links between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spalding.

For more parallels between the Spalding manuscript and Joseph Smith's writings, see the Spalding Authorship Page, Recent Defenses of the Book of Mormon, and Another Spalding Fragment.

Lucy Smith's Dreams

It appears that some of Spalding's material made its way even into Lucy Smith's family history. Lucy attributed five dreams to her husband, Joseph. The first of the visions of the elder Joseph runs thus:

"I seemed to be traveling in an open, barren field, and as I was traveling, I turned my eyes towards the east, the west, the north and the south, but could see nothing save dead, fallen timber. Not a vestige of life, either animal or vegetable, could be seen; besides, to render the scene still more dreary, the most death-like silence prevailed, no sound of anything animate could be heard in all the field. I was alone in this gloomy desert, with the exception of an attendant spirit, who kept constantly by my side. Of him I inquired the meaning of what I saw, and why I was thus traveling in such a dismal place. He answered thus: 'This field is the world, which now lieth inanimate and dumb, in regard to the true religion, or plan of salvation; but travel on, and by the wayside you will find on a certain log a box, the contents of which, if you eat thereof, will make you wise, and give unto you wisdom and understanding.' I carefully observed what was told me by my guide, and proceeding a short distance, I came to the box. I immediately took it up, and placed it under my left arm; then with eagerness I raised the lid, and began to taste of its contents; upon which all manner of beasts, horned cattle, and roaring animals, rose up on every side in the most threatening manner possible, tearing the earth, tossing their horns, and bellowing most terrifically all around me, and they finally came so close upon me, that I was compelled to drop the box and fly for my life." (Lucy Smith, 1880, 59-60)

The totally barren and lifeless landscape that is described in the vision recalls the desolation predicted by some of the prophets, for example, Ezekiel: "her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein. And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate" (Ezek. 12:19-20). The contents of the box, which conferred wisdom, also recalls Ezekiel's vision of a roll of a book: "Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. . . . cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness" (Ezek. 3:1-3). In Revelation, John also beholds a vision of an angel holding a book, who says, "Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey" (Rev. 10:9).

Lucy set this dream in 1811, when the Smiths were living in Sharon, Vermont. It was therefore nine years before the younger Joseph's first vision. But it clearly applies to the Book of Mormon, for the plates were found in a box, gave an account of the true religion, and produced wisdom and understanding, as well as severe opposition, symbolized by the animals.

Lucy said that her husband had a second dream, after they moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire, in 1811. This vision seems to be a continuation of the first dream; Joseph was again traveling through a desolate area and was accompanied by a guide.

"I thought," said he, "I was traveling in an open, desolate field, which appeared to be very barren. . . . My guide, who was by my side, as before, said, 'This is the desolate world; but travel on.' . . . Traveling a short distance farther, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water, which ran from the east to the west. . . . as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope running along the bank of it, about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low, but very pleasant valley, in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. . . . it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible, whiter. . . . I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description. . . . I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating, and praising God for his blessing. . . . While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded. I presently turned to my guide, and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it was the pure love of God . . . . He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. 'No,' he replied, 'look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also.' Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children, standing some distance off. I immediately went to them, and brought them to the tree, upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. . . . I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, 'It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God because of their humility.'" (Lucy Smith 1880, 60-61)

Fawn Brodie long ago pointed out that Joseph's dream is almost identical to Lehi's vision of the tree of life. Lehi saw himself being led by a man in a white robe through a dark and dreary waste into a spacious field, where he beheld a tree with fruit that was white and sweet. He saw Sariah, Sam, and Nephi standing at the head of a river, which ran near the tree, and called them to come and eat of the fruit. He also saw Laman and Lemuel, but they would not come. Lehi then beheld a rod of iron and a narrow path, which both extended along the bank of the river. On the other side of the river, he saw a spacious building, which stood high in the air, filled with people, who mocked and pointed their fingers at him. Brodie believed that Joseph Smith had incorporated his father's dream into the Book of Mormon, but I have shown that the vision is actually a combination of elements from Bede's history and Gulliver's Travels. Therefore, the truth seems to be that Lucy Smith adapted the same material that is found in the Book of Mormon and attributed the vision to her husband. But Lucy must not have realized that Lehi had the same vision. This suggests that she found material among Joseph's papers, which she decided to use, without recognizing that it already formed a part of the Book of Mormon.

After the Smiths moved to Palmyra in 1816, Joseph allegedly had a third dream, which runs in the same vein as the first two.

"I dreamed," said he, "that I was traveling on foot, and I was very sick, and so lame I could hardly walk. My guide, as usual, attended me. . . . He told me to travel on till I came to a certain garden. . . . . I finally reached the gate; and, on entering it, I saw the before-mentioned garden, which was beautiful beyond description, being filled with the most delicate flowers of every kind and color. . . . One of the walks ran from the gate through the centre of the garden; and on each side of this was a very richly carved seat, and on each seat were placed six wooden images, each of which was the size of a very large man. When I came to the first image on the right side, it arose and bowed to me with much deference. I then turned to the one which sat opposite me, on the left side, and it arose and bowed to me in the same manner as the first. I continued turning, first to the right and then to the left, until the whole twelve had made their obeisance, after which I was entirely healed." (Lucy Smith 1880, 73-74)

This vision is similar to the two dreams of Joseph, the son of Jacob. Joseph gave this account of his first dream to his brothers: "we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf" (Gen. 37:7). Joseph said that in his second dream, the sun, moon, and eleven stars made obeisance to him.

In 1818, Joseph had a fourth dream:

"I thought I was walking alone; I was much fatigued, nevertheless I continued traveling. It seemed to me that I was going to meeting, that it was the day of judgment, and that I was going to be judged.

"When I came in sight of the meeting-house, I saw multitudes of people coming from every direction, and pressing with great anxiety towards the door of this great building; but I thought I should get there in time, hence there was no need of being in a hurry. But, on arriving at the door, I found it shut; I knocked for admission and was informed by the porter that I had come too late. I felt exceedingly troubled, and prayed earnestly for admittance. Presently I found that my flesh was perishing. I continued to pray, still my flesh withered upon my bones. . . .

"It then occurred to me to call upon God, in the name of his son Jesus . . . . After which I felt considerably strengthened, and I began to amend. . . . .

"I was now made quite whole, and the door was opened . . . ." (Lucy Smith 1880, 74-75)

This dream resembles an incident in Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, when Christian comes to the house of the Interpreter:

I saw also that the Interpreter took him again by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was builded a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted; he saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walked, who were clothed all in gold. Then said Christian, "May we go in thither?" Then the Interpreter took him, and led him up toward the door of the palace; and behold, at the door, stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man, at a little distance from the door, at a table side with a book, and his inkhorn before him, to take the name of him that should enter therein. He saw also that in the doorway stood many men in armour to keep it, being resolved to do to the man that would enter what hurt and mischief they could. . . .

"Now," said Christian, "let me go hence." "Nay, stay," said the Interpreter, "till I have showed thee a little more . . . ." So he took him by the hand again and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage.

Now the man to look on seemed very sad. He sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together, and he sighed as if he would break his heart. (Bunyan 1981, 37-38)

The man in the cage had lost his right to enter the palace, because of his sins. The Interpreter then led Christian into another chamber, where he saw a man trembling. When asked why he was trembling, the man said that he had dreamed about judgment day and had seen many people carried away into the clouds, but he was left behind. Joseph's dream about being denied entrance to a great building on judgment day shares many of the same elements with Bunyan's story.

The Pilgrim's Progress was written in two parts. The first part, published in 1678, relates the journey of Christian to the Celestial City, after a man named Evangelist gave him a parchment roll, which instructed him to flee from the City of Destruction. His wife, Christiana, refused to accompany him, but in Part II, she regretted that she had hardened her heart and set out on a pilgrimage with her four sons -- Matthew, James, Samuel, and Joseph. Both parts of The Pilgrim's Progress were written "in the similitude of a dream." Joseph's four dreams are similar in tone and themselves constitute a sort of Pilgrim's Progress; in all probability, they are the visions of Lehi. Nephi stated that he was cutting short his account of Lehi's vision, and it may therefore have been much longer.

Before relating her husband's dreams, Lucy Smith had been careful to reserve one for herself. She supposedly had this dream while the Smiths were still living in Tunbridge, Vermont.

"I thought that I stood in a large and beautiful meadow . . . . The first thing that attracted my special attention in this magnificent meadow, was a very pure and clear stream of water, which ran through the midst of it; and as I traced this stream, I discovered two trees standing upon its margin, both of which were on the same side of the stream. These trees were very beautiful, they were well proportioned, and towered with majestic beauty to a great height. . . . I gazed upon them with wonder and admiration; and after beholding them a short time, I saw one of them was surrounded with a bright belt, that shone like burnished gold, but far more brilliantly. Presently, a gentle breeze passed by, and the tree encircled with this golden zone, bent gracefully before the wind, and waved its beautiful branches in the light air. . . . and even the stream that rolled beneath it, shared, apparently, every sensation felt by the tree . . . . The belt also partook of the same influence, and as it moved in unison with the motion of the stream and of the tree, it increased continually in refulgence and magnitude, until it became exceedingly glorious.

"I turned my eyes upon its fellow, which stood opposite; but it was not surrounded with the belt of light as the former, and it stood erect and fixed as a pillar of marble. No matter how strong the wind blew over it, not a leaf was stirred, not a bough was bent; but obstinately stiff it stood . . . .

"I wondered at what I saw, and said in my heart, What can be the meaning of all this? And the interpretation given me was, that these personated my husband and his oldest brother, Jesse Smith; that the stubborn and unyielding tree was like Jesse; that the other, more pliant and flexible, was like Joseph, my husband; that the breath of heaven, which passed over them, was the pure and undefiled gospel of the Son of God, which gospel Jesse would always resist, but which Joseph, when he was more advanced in life, would hear and receive with his whole heart, and rejoice therein; and unto him would be added intelligence, happiness, glory, and everlasting life." (Lucy Smith 1880, 57-58)

This vision is similar to an Old English poem called the Dream of the Rood, which concerns the tree upon which Jesus was crucified: "Listen, I will speak of the best of dreams, of what I dreamed at midnight when men and their voices were at rest. It seemed to me that I saw a most rare tree reach high aloft, wound in light, brightest of beams. All that beacon was covered with gold; gems stood fair where it met the ground, five were above about the crosspiece. . . . I saw the tree of glory shine splendidly, adorned with garments, decked with gold; jewels had worthily covered the Lord's tree. Yet through that gold I might perceive ancient agony of wretches, for now it began to bleed on the right side" (Dream of the Rood 1986, 23). The tree began to speak. When Jesus was placed upon the cross, the tree states repeatedly: "I dared not bow or break . . . . I stood fast . . . . I dared not bow to earth, fall to the ground's surface; but I must stand fast . . . . I dared not bend." But when men came to take Jesus down from the cross, the tree says: "yet I bowed to the men's hands, meekly, eagerly." Thus this tree, wound with a brilliant beacon of light and adorned with gold, seems to be Lucy's tree, surrounded with a brilliant belt, which shone like burnished gold. The tree first refused to bend, but then bowed meekly and eagerly, just as one of Lucy's trees stood erect and fixed, but the other bent gracefully before the wind. It is said that the Dream of the Rood was a vision given to Helena, the mother of Constantine, which inspired her to find the true cross.

Lucy's dream came at a very peculiar time. She stated that even before she married Joseph, she had spent much time reading the Bible and praying, feeling that none of the churches was right. Then in Tunbridge, she had started attending Methodist meetings and had tried to get Joseph to go with her, but apparently due to Jesse's influence, Joseph had stopped attending the meetings. Lucy wrote: "I retired to a grove not far distant, where I prayed to the Lord in behalf of my husband -- that the true Gospel might be presented to him . . . . After praying some time in this manner, I returned to the house, much depressed in spirit, which state of feeling continued until I retired to my bed. I soon fell asleep and had the following dream" (Lucy Smith 1880, 57). The dream assured Lucy that when Joseph was more advanced in life, he would hear and accept the "pure and undefiled gospel," but at this time Lucy evidently thought that the true gospel was Methodism. She clearly could not have seen anything in the dream that referred to the restoration of the true religion, because even after her son had his first vision and had been instructed by Moroni, she started attending another church. Again she persuaded her husband to accompany her several times, and again he abruptly stopped going. Therefore, Lucy's dream has no real connection with the rest of her narrative. It should act as a sign of what is to come; it should herald her husband's enthusiastic acceptance of young Joseph's revelation, but in fact, it does not. The elder Joseph had received his own series of dreams, which should have prepared him for the coming of some momentous event, but according to Lucy's account, he did not understand his dreams any more than she understood her own. The dreams merely hang there and are never explained in connection with the younger Joseph's visions and the discovery of the plates. Furthermore, Lucy's description of her anxiety about which church to join and her decision to retire to a grove to pray, followed by her dream, is so similar to her son's experience that it lacks credibility.

We have seen that the dreams related by Lucy Smith draw upon the Bible, including Genesis, Ezekiel, and Revelation, and upon such works as The Pilgrim's Progress and the Dream of the Rood. Furthermore, the second of Joseph's dreams is nearly identical to Lehi's vision, which incorporates elements of Bede's history and Gulliver's Travels. These facts indicate clearly that the dreams were part of the Spalding material.

Conclusion

I have demonstrated the weaknesses of the Ethan Smith theory, and critics have failed to produce one sound piece of testimony or evidence to disprove the Spalding theory. The critics would like us to believe that the Spalding theory began with E. D. Howe and Philastus Hurlbut, but it actually began with eight citizens of Conneaut, Ohio. The critics have attacked the testimony of witnesses, using innuendo, accusation, misinformation, and when all else fails, ridicule. Without providing evidence, they claim that the witnesses were influenced by Howe and Hurlbut or by some other interviewer; they were confused or too old to remember anything correctly; they were biased, or simply lied. They attack the witnesses, but fail to deal with the substance of what was said.

Roger Anderson has provided further information to support the statements published by E. D. Howe:

Besides these considerations, there is another which suggests that Hurlbut was not the unprincipled purveyor of false information . . . . Hurlbut was embroiled in legal difficulties with Joseph Smith which made Howe suspect Hurlbut's motives. The Mormons were also denouncing Hurlbut's statements as fabrications, a charge which Howe had no way of controverting without independently verifying Hurlbut's statements. Accordingly Howe decided upon a "spot check" of Hurlbut's affidavits, hoping thereby to determine their authenticity without having to reinterview every witness. He first wrote to Isaac Hale and received in reply a long notarized statement and an affidavit from Hale's son Alva testifying that the notarized statement was "correct and true." Howe then traveled to Conneaut, Ohio, to see if the statements Hurlbut had collected there accusing Smith of plagiarism in writing the Book of Mormon were authenic. While there he "saw most of the witnesses . . . and was satisfied they were not . . . mistaken in their statements." Apparently this was enough to satisfy Howe of the integrity of Hurlbut's reports. (Anderson 1990, 30)
The case against the Spalding theory is riddled with bias and faulty scholarship. Fawn Brodie's argument was based upon a number of errors: she stated that the Fabius story took place before the Christian era, contained no religious matter whatever, was written primarily in a florid, gothic style, and resembled the Book of Mormon in only a few general features. In fact Brodie made so many mistakes that we must seriously question whether she actually read Spalding's manuscript, or if she depended upon other people's accounts. Brodie rejected the testimony of James Jeffries, when, in fact, church documents support Jeffries statement. Brodie even undermined her own conspiracy theory, when she argued for accepting the affidavits which Hurlbut collected from neighbors of the Smiths in New York: "Hurlbut's affidavits can hardly be dismissed by the objective student" (Brodie 1971, 432). Lester Bush's review of the evidence is no more penetrating than that of Brodie, and he concludes his twenty-nine page article by admitting that he has not achieved very much: "However high the possibilities, no one has ever been able to 'prove' in any absolute sense that the Hurlbut affidavits were erroneous recollections, deliberate or otherwise" (Bush 1977, 62).

The argument of the critics involves a basic contradiction. They claim that the Book of Mormon differs so markedly in style and content from the Fabius story that Spalding could not have been its author. But their own theory of memory substitution claims that there are a sufficient number of similarities to account for the witnesses' assertions that the Book of Mormon contains Spalding's material. Then, of course, they refuse to acknowledge more than one or two of those similarities. In addition, scholars continue to demonstrate their ignorance of Spalding's manuscript. For example, Susan Curtis states: "Solomon Spaulding authored a 'Manuscript Story,' in which massive and destructive wars between his characters -- Indians and Romans -- helped explain to readers the vast number of dead found in the mounds of the Ohio River Valley" (Curtis 1990, 83). Spalding's "Manuscript Story" does not describe a single battle between Indians and Romans; in fact, there are only a handful of Romans in the tale, and they were treated well by the Indians. This statement appeared in both article and book form, apparently without anyone pointing out the error.

The critics have tried to settle the question of authorship without examining the Book of Mormon. The one question which they do not ask is: What can the Book of Mormon tell us about its author? What evidence does it provide for or against the Spalding theory? Failure to answer these questions would not be acceptable in any other field of scholarly research. Why then is it accepted in Book of Mormon studies? The Book of Mormon is surely one of the best witnesses in the Spalding debate, and the question of authorship cannot be decided without a meticulous analysis of the text.

We have traced the sources of the Book of Mormon, demonstrating that the author was intelligent, educated, imaginative, and well-versed in the Bible, the classics, Roman and Jewish history, and various myths and legends. Joseph Smith was poorly educated, could not even pronounce difficult words, and was ignorant of some basic biblical facts. Other evidence has been presented to prove that the Book of Mormon was written by someone other than Joseph Smith:

  • for many years, Joseph completely ignored the true geography of the Book of Mormon and allowed Orson Pratt to formulate his own incorrect interpretation;
  • it is probable that Joseph did not make the revisions of Isaiah that appear in the Book of Mormon, but copied them from another document;
  • the Book of Mormon was revised in a very hurried and unskillful manner, leaving many errors and inconsistencies, demonstrating that Joseph Smith did not have a good understanding of the text;
  • later writings, including the Book of Moses and revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants, provide information which is essential to understanding the Book of Mormon;
  • Joseph's Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar appears to have belonged originally to the Book of Mormon;
  • Joseph inserted his own namesake into the Book of Mormon as the son of Lehi and the recipient of great blessings, but then forgot to provide him and his posterity with a history;
  • Joseph slowly moved away from the Sabellianism of the Book of Mormon and eventually repudiated it completely;
  • initially, Joseph ignored the complex teachings of the Book of Mormon on the high priesthood, opting for a simpler ecclesiastical structure;
  • Joseph's doctrines on the plurality of gods, baptism for the dead, and polygamy are contrary to the teachings of the Book of Mormon, but were probably found in some form in the original manuscript.
In addition, we have seen that the "Manuscript Story" has many parallels not only with the Book of Mormon, but also with Joseph Smith's later teachings.

Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon in only three months; it would have required at least that many years to consult so many different sources, to skillfully blend material from various books, and to imaginatively construct the geography, history, and culture of several thousand years of ancient American civilization. The Ethan Smith hypothesis has never really had any evidence to support it. It is based upon the unsupported assertion that Joseph Smith had the ability to write the Book of Mormon, despite testimony to the contrary by people who knew Joseph best. Scholars embraced the hypothesis, because it conveniently relieved them of the necessity of having to defend what were perceived as the weaknesses of the Spalding theory. Best of all, the Ethan Smith explanation was itself proposed by B. H. Roberts, a Mormon official, and the church could not rebut the theory without embarrassing itself. By disposing of Solomon Spalding, scholars greatly crippled research into the Book of Mormon. If Joseph Smith wrote the book, there was no need to search for its sources; everything was ascribed to Joseph's imagination, with the help of Ethan Smith's book.

Joseph Smith did not have the education or ability to write the Book of Mormon. Solomon Spalding not only had the education and ability, but he had actually already begun writing a book dealing with the ancestors of the Indians. Furthermore, we have the testimony of many witnesses who recognized similarities between Spalding's second manuscript and the Book of Mormon. Scholars have merely swept aside this body of testimony, without performing the research necessary to prove its truth or falsity, and have replaced it with an hypothesis, which has no testimony to support it.

In recent years some Mormon scholars have shown an increased willingness to criticise the Book of Mormon. They seem to realize that there is no point in trying to defend the Book of Mormon as historically true in the face of mounting evidence against it. But there is reason to believe that they will never accept the Spalding theory. They want to say that the Book of Mormon is not literally true, but that it is true in some nebulous, mythological sense. This view is most clearly stated by Anthony Hutchinson, who has gone so far as to claim that "ultimately whether the Book of Mormon is ancient really does not matter" (Hutchinson 1993, 16). If Joseph Smith is responsible for the mythology of the Book of Mormon, he can still be called an inspired prophet. The Ethan Smith theory allows Joseph Smith a fair amount of creativity, but the Spalding theory denies him even this. If Joseph Smith merely appropriated Solomon Spalding's manuscript and passed it off as his own work, he can no longer be called a prophet in any sense of the term.

Mormon officials have always treated the memory of Solomon Spalding with contempt. The Messenger and Advocate referred to Spalding as an eccentric: "The Pioneer's 'friend of truth' has certainly got ahead of Mr. Campbell: He says that the 'true origin' of the writing composing the book of Mormon, is from the pen of an eccentric Spaulding, who carried the same to Pittsburgh, but died soon, and that since they have been altered a little, and now appear as the book of Mormon" (Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, April 1835). In 1839 Sidney Rigdon wrote an attack on the proponents of the Spalding theory, accusing Philastus Hurlbut and E. D. Howe of scandalous behavior and of manipulating Spalding's widow. With great sarcasm, Rigdon declared, "Hence their lies came signed by the pious wife of a pious deceased priest" (Davis, Scales, and Cowdrey 1977, 50). In their commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Hyrum Smith and Janne Sjodahl inexplicably felt compelled to brand Spalding as mentally feeble: "Sidney Rigdon, it has been said, was the real inspirer, if not author, of the Book of Mormon. The story is that a mentally feeble clergyman, named Spaulding, wrote a book which he called the Manuscript Found, and which was left with a printer in Pittsburgh, Mr. Patterson, who did not print it because he failed in business. Then, it is alleged, it fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, and he induced the Prophet to publish it as the Book of Mormon" (Smith and Sjodahl 1972, 188). During a symposium in November 1984, Bruce McConkie stated: "There is not much the world can do about the Book of Mormon. It is here and it is what it is. It cannot be modified or changed. Men have no choice but to believe or disbelieve it. If they disbelieve they can talk about Solomon Spaulding or any other figments of their imaginations that suits their fancies of the moment" (Nyman and Millet 1985, 12).

The Book of Mormon is what it is, and it provides many clues about the sources that were used in its composition and about the identity of its author. It is the fact that the book cannot be changed which makes it such a valuable witness. The Mormon church has tried to dismiss Solomon Spalding as a feeble-minded eccentric, while proclaiming an uneducated boy as a prophet and translator. But Spalding was not feeble-minded, and he was not the figment of anyone's imagination. He was the author of the original manuscript, which Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery reworked and published as the Book of Mormon.

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