1404: View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon – A Review by Radio Free Mormon
March 5, 2021
“View of the Hebrews” is a book first published in 1823 by Ethan Smith of Vermont. In “View of the Hebrews,” Ethan Smith argues (among other things) that the Native Americans were descended from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This book was so popular that it had a second printing in 1825.
Mormon General Authorities and apologists have feared “View of the Hebrews” for over a century, starting with B.H. Roberts in the early 1900s.
Why is “View of the Hebrews” potentially problematic for the Mormon church and the Book of Mormon? A few reasons:
Joseph Smith claimed to have come up with the idea for the Book of Mormon the VERY SAME YEAR (1823) that “View of the Hebrews” was first published. Coincidence?
Ethan Smith (the author of “View of the Hebrews”) was Oliver Cowdery’s pastor in Vermont PRIOR to his working with Joseph Smith as Book of Mormon “scribe,” and it is certain that Cowdery was familiar with the book. Coincidence?
Mormon General Authority and historian B.H. Roberts wrote hundreds of pages doing research on the disturbing similarities between View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon. Later, B.H. Roberts went on to lose his testimony in the historicity of the Book of Mormon. Coincidence?
Recently, the brilliant Radio Free Mormon decided to read “View of the Hebrews” from cover to cover to see what the “hubub” is all about.
Join us as we explore the following questions:
What is View of the Hebrews fundamentally about?
What are the important similarities and differences between View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon?
Was Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews” a source of inspiration for the Book of Mormon?
What cultural dynamics were at play in upstate New York in the early 1820s that could have influenced BOTH books?
Are there any direct connections between “View of the Hebrews” and Joseph Smith?
Why has “View of the Hebrews” caused so much concern for Mormon apologists, from B.H. Roberts to today? How have Mormon apologists responded to View of the Hebrews?
Does “View of the Hebrews” present significant, compelling problems for LDS Church and Book of Mormon truth claims?