Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon, 2d ed.


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About the Book

Just as a growing interest in millennialism at the turn of this century has rejuvenated religious debate and questions concerning the fate of the world, so did Mormonism develop from millennial enthusiasm early in the nineteenth century. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and a provocative, even controversial figure in history, declared that he had been given the authority to restore the true church in the latter days. The primary source of Smith’s latter-day revelation is The Book of Mormon, and to fully understand his role as the founder of the Mormon faith, one must also understand The Book of Mormon and how it came to be. Unfortunately, the literature about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon is permeated with contradiction and controversy.
In the first edition of this impressive work, David Persuitte provided a significant amount of revealing biographical information about Smith that resolved many of the controversies concerning his character. He also presented an extensive comparative analysis positing that the probable conceptual source for The Book of Mormon was a book entitled View of the Hebrews; or the Tribes of Israel in America, which was written by an early New England minister named Ethan Smith. Now in an expanded and revised second edition incorporating many new findings relating to the origin of The Book of Mormon, Mr. Persuitte’s book continues to shed much new light on the path Joseph Smith took toward founding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

About the Author(s)

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

Bibliographic Details

David Persuitte
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 336
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2000
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0826-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8403-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  v
List of Illustrations  ix
Preface to the Second Edition  1
Prologue  5

1. “A Romancer of the First Water”  11
2. Visions and Revivals   20
3. The Prophet in His Own Country   33
4. The 1826 “Trial”  40
5. A Record from the Earth?   54
6. “I Shall Proceed to Do a Marvelous Work”   64
7. The Gold Bible   76
8. “Send Them the Heralds of Salvation”   89

9. Ancient or Modern?   100
10. A Vermont Preacher’s Theory   106
11. The Idea and Its Development   120

12. To the Land of Promise   136
13. The Prophecies   147
14. The Division   165
15. The Wars   174
16. The Backsliding   184
17. The Arrival of Jesus    201
18. The Final Years    214
19. The Book of Ether    225

20. The Curse of Cain    232
21. Steppingstones to Disaster    241
Epilogue   251

A. The “Wood Scrape”    254
B. The Book of Mormon and Ancient America    259
C. The Spalding Theory    268
D. The Book of Abraham    281

Notes    298
Bibliography    313
Index    317

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Invaluable for the vivid account it gives of Smith’s background, his personality, and the turbulent first years of his church…the crispest, best-structured account…excellent”—Free Inquiry
  • “Carefully researched…thoughtfully presented”—The Journal of Mormon History
  • “Intriguing…copious…extensive bibliography…excellent…highly recommended”—Imagine
  • “Extremely worthwhile reading for any serious student of Joseph Smith and the religion he founded in 1830…a book fully worthy of reading…a valuable service”—Mormonism Research Ministry