An Insider's View of Mormon Origins

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Signature Books, 2002 - Religion - 281 pages
102 Reviews
"The author of this exceptionally clear & thoroughly documented book is an active, fourth-generation Mormon, a 34-year professional historian and Mormon-studies director at college-level religious institutes. From the Preface: 'I, along with colleagues, and drawing from years of research, find the evidence employed to support many traditional [official Mormon] claims about the [Mormon] church to be either nonexistent or problematic.' Chap. 1: (Joseph Smith as Translator/Revelator) concludes that Jos. Smith 'mistranslated a number of documents' including the Book of Abraham, used the King James Bible extensively in constructing the Book of Mormon, also weaving in many 19th century concerns, and that the Book of Mormon is of 'no value in trying to learn more about ancient America or the Middle East.' Chap. 2: (Authorship of the Book of Mormon) concludes that the Book of Mormon is most likely a 19th-century production pieced together from sources demonstrated to be available to Smith, and therefore not a translation from ancient metal plates which, in any case, were not used and often not even present during dictation to scribes, done by looking not at plates but into a hat with a stone placed in it, often separated from his scribe by a blanket hung between them. This chapter also mentions DNA evidence demonstrating that the origin of Native Americans is not as claimed in the Book of Mormon. Chap. 3: (The Bible in the Book of Mormon) demonstrates the King James Bible as source for numerous reworked Book of Mormon stories, many anachronisms and King James translators' errors copied in this erroneous form into the Book of Mormon. Quote: 'Why would God reveal to Joseph Smith a faulty [mistranslated] KJV text?' Chap 4: (Evangelical Protestantism in the Book of Mormon) concludes that numerous theological issues addressed in the Book of Mormon probably derived from Smith's Upstate New York religious environment than from the claimed ancient gold plates. Chap 5: (Moroni and the Golden Pot) examines a long list of parallels between a published story by E.T.A. Hoffmann, and Smith's account of the angel Moroni's visits. The chapter concludes, 'It would stretch credulity to believe that this [long list of parallels between Hoffmann's Golden Pot story and Smith's Moroni story] could be a coincidence, and I therefore think that a debt is owed to E.T.A. Hoffmann and the European traditions ... ' Chap. 6: (Witnesses to the Golden Plates) concludes that, despite the LDS Church's current claims, the evidence shows that none of the eleven witnesses claimed to have actually seen the physical gold plates, instead visualizing them 'with spiritual eyes' in a prayer-induced trance state. Chap. 7: (Priesthood Restoration) concludes that Smith's claim to have been personally ordained by John the Baptist, Peter, James and John as resurrected beings, was not at all what Smith originally claimed, but instead evolved over a number of years from the original claim that didn't involve any beings such as the above four New Testament figures. Chap. 8: (The First Vision) concludes that the LDS Church's official claim that Joseph Smith claimed to have been visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings 'is not supported by the historical evidence' either in the number of beings alleged seen or in the year and circumstances as now officially claimed"

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Review: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins

User Review  - Rich Mccue - Goodreads

A good overview of the foundational stories of Mormonism from an academic perspective. Read full review

Review: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins

User Review  - Aaron Shea - Goodreads

A confusing defense of a "religion." Read full review


Joseph Smith as a TranslatorRevelator
Authorship of the Book of Mormon
The Bible in the Book of Mormon

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About the author (2002)

 Grant H. Palmer (M.A., American history, Brigham Young University) is a three-time director of LDS Institutes of Religion in California and Utah, a former instructor at the Church College of New Zealand, and an LDS seminary teacher at two Utah locations. He has been active in the Mormon History Association and on the board of directors of the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. He is the author of An Insider's View of Mormon Origins and The Incomparable Jesus. Now retired, his hobby is pigeon fancying. He has four children and eight grandchildren. He and his wife live in Sandy, Utah.

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