Sources of Inspiration and Content

If an author typically exhibits low skill, then suddenly delivers an impressive work, odds are it was inspired from God, and/or possibly plagiarized. If there are no citations to previous works, and the work contains parallel themes and/or exact matches to other works, the possibility of plagiarism increases.

As described in the Cultural Context page of this website, there were ample contemporary works for Joseph to draw inspiration from. Authors of numerous denominations were elaborating upon the notion that American Indians were ancient Israelites. 

As far back as John Bunyan’s 1678 publication of The Pilgrim’s Progress, authors were producing works which bear strong resemblance to Smith’s narrative. The very first sentence of Bunyan’s book contains the phrase, “I dreamed a dream.” Bunyan went on to publish dozens of well known books, becoming one of the most prominent authors of the late 17th century. Even E.D. Howe commented on the similarities in his 1831 critique, Mormonism Unvailed.

It is important to clarify that the central assertion here is not that Joseph directly plagiarized word for word (King James Isaiah aside), but that it appears increasingly likely he orally synthesized various religious and secular ideas into something uniquely his own. 

View Of The Hebrews

Ethan Smith was a Minister in Poultney, Vermont, who published View of the Hebrews. The book expounds upon a commonly held view of the era, that the numerous and distinct American Indian tribes originated from Hebrew stock. The thesis became common knowledge in the region and enjoyed wide circulation in New England and New York, running through two editions in 1823 and 1825.

Ethan’s work reads nothing like the Book of Mormon, yet provides the entire framework and storyline. The book begins with the destruction of Jerusalem, while suggesting that the Ten Tribes came to America before dividing into two disparate groups, one barbarous, the other civilized. Ethan elaborates on robust military fortifications, forms of government, a hidden book revealed, prophets among ancient Americans, ancient Indians as highly civilized people, while offering copious quotes from King James version Isaiah.

Ethan Smith, and many other theologians of various denominations, suggested that it was America’s mission to gather the remnants of the House of Israel, reiterating the legend that the stick of Joseph and Ephraim would one day be united. His book describes copper breastplates taken from the mounds, with two white buckhorn buttons fastened to the outside of each plate – in resemblance to a Urim & Thummim. His book describes a prophet atop a wall in Jerusalem, exhorting, while the wicked unsuccessfully assail him with arrows.

Few Mormons today have ever heard of Ethan’s work, or how perfectly it fit into Joseph Smith’s 19th Century world view. Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith’s 3rd cousin and soon to be scribe of Joseph Smith, certainly knew, as he lived in Poultney, VT for 26 years. Oliver’s family attended Ethan’s congregation.

Upon completing his extensive study, faithful B. H. Roberts reported to the Apostles that there was “a great probability” that Joseph Smith had a close encounter with View of the Hebrews. (Studies of Book of the Mormon, p. 243, 271)

“In light of this evidence, there can be no doubt as to the possession of a vividly strong, creative imagination by Joseph Smith…an imagination it could with reason be urged…the common knowledge…supplemented by such a work as Ethan Smith’s View of Hebrews, would make it possible for him to create a book such as the Book of Mormon. …The evidence I sorrowfully submit points to Joseph Smith as their creator.”


Thesis Summary

The following excerpts are taken directly from View of the Hebrews, primarily in the order appearing in Ethan’s original book. Does it provide the 19th Century ideology and framework for the Book of Mormon story?

  • Rejection of Jesus Christ as our atoning Savior.
  • O Jerusalem! Thou that killest the prophets – destruction of Jerusalem.
  • A prophet  ascends the walls, in tremendous voice exclaimed, ‘Wo, wo to this city, this temple, and this people!’, while arrows shot at him.
  • The natives of our country are the outcasts of Israel – they have lost their way…bewildered in darkness.
  • The prophet Isaiah to be of deep interest to America.
  • American Indians derive their origin from a foreign stock.
  • Tools of iron not being found in these works, is no sign they did not possess them. For had they been there, they would, no doubt, long since have been dissolved by rust.
  • After they settled in America they became wholly separated from the hunting and savage tribes of their brethren…lost the knowledge of their having descended from the same family.
  • The more civilized part continued for many centuries; tremendous wars were frequent between them and their savage brethren, till the former became extinct.
  • The savage tribes prevailed…annihilated their more civilized brethren. This accounts for their loss of the knowledge of letters, of the art of navigation, and of the use of iron.
  • People of Israel who came into the western continent maintained some degree of civilization for a long time…finally became extinct, at least in North America, under the rage of their more numerous savage brethren.
  • This accounts for the ancient works…centuries before Columbus discovered America…and articles dug from old mounds in and near those fortified places.
  • Situated in the midst of savage tribes from their race…degenerated…intent on the destruction of this better part of their brethren…struggling to maintain their existence and to maintain their religious traditions, they would naturally form many of the very things above enumerated, walled towns, forts, temples, altars, habitations of chieftains, watch towers.
  • An old Indian informed him that his fathers in this country had…a book which they had for a long time preserved. But having lost the knowledge of reading it, they concluded it would be of no further use to them; and they buried it with an Indian Chief.
  • They would preserve these fragments of their better days with the utmost care. Wherever they went then, they would have these with them…keep them with diligence…most precious contents…fearing these precious leaves would get lost.
  • It was buried; and hence was providentially transmitted to us.
  • Some modern Jew left it there in the situation in which it was found…on Indian Hill underground.
  • The account of the old Indian, that his fathers had buried, not long ago, a book which they could not read.
  • The great and generous Christian people, who occupy much of the land of those natives, and who are on the ground of their continent, and hence are the best prepared to ameliorate their condition, and bring them to the knowledge and order of the God of Israel, must of course be the people to whom this work is assigned.
  • Found themselves involved in darkness…that they would take the book which the white people call the word of God, to throw light on their path.
  • They will be fulfilled only in the conversion of these ancient people of God to Christianity.
  • This address of heaven must be to our western continent; or to a hospitable people found here… the two great wings of North and South America meet.
  • Go thou nation highly distinguished in the last days (America), save the remnant of my people.

The purpose of introducing Ethan’s thesis is not to suggest that Joseph plagiarized the work itself; though many other works reflect Joseph’s “direct borrowing.” The point is to understand how prevalent such notions of Native Americans were in Joseph Smith’s day, and how others were mirroring scriptural language to express the story.

In June 1842, as Editor of the official Church periodical, Smith reprinted a section from Josiah Priest’s 1833 American Antiquities to support the notion that the Ten Tribes came over to America. Priest’s book, in turn, was quoting from and commenting on Ethan’s 1825 View of the Hebrews. (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p. 269)

What Did B.H. Conclude?

Brigham H. Roberts (B. H.) was President of The Seventy in the 1920s, took three polygamous wives and was a true believing LDS General Authority. At the request of Apostle James Talmage, B.H. conducted a thorough review of various difficulties and anachronisms within the Book of Mormon narrative. As a result, B. H. spent a great deal of time with Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews.

Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews as “structural material” for Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon? “It has been pointed out in these pages that there are many things in the former book that might well have suggested many major things in the other. Not a few things merely, one or two, or half dozen, but many; and it is this fact of many things of similarity and the cumulative force of them that makes them so serious a menace to Joseph Smith’s story of the Book of Mormon’s origin.” (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, p. 240)

Upon completing his extensive study, faithful B. H. Roberts reported to the Apostles that there was “a great probability” that Joseph Smith had a close encounter with View of the Hebrews. (Studies of the Book of Mormon, p. 243, 271)

The Late War Between U.S. and Great Britain  (1816)

This war narrative, written in scripture style and published in New York in 1816, furthers the notion that a righteous America is favored and protected by God. It is a manifesto of American exceptionalism so prevalent in the Book of Mormon and was required reading in local schools. It further demonstrates the ease with which works sounding like the Bible could be written and successfully marketed during the era.

The Late War is the source of the 2,000 stripling soldiers, the extremely unique term “curious workmanship,” the ubiquitous “it came to pass,” and hundreds of verses and phrases nearly perfectly mirrored in the Book of Mormon. The book mentions a “rod of iron,” elephants in America, and a cataclysmic earthquake followed by great darkness. Many argue that this work provided Joseph with style and theme queues.


The First Book of Napoleon (1809)

The First Book of Napoleon provides the phrasing, diction, imagery, linguistic style; there are hundreds of parallels to the Book of Mormon. Note that both The Late War and Napoleon were required reading in the New York school district where Smith lived. The first verse in the book is: “And behold it came to pass that in these latter days an evil spirit came…”

Tree of Life Dream

Even Joseph Smith Sr. reported at least seven significant visions, five of which Lucy Smith summarized in her memoirs. In 1 Nephi, two of his 1811 dreams are manifest in Lehi’s first dream and tree of life story. A number of other Smith family biographical facts were used by Joseph in the Book of Mormon.  Remarkably, in the Book of Mormon, it is also Nephi’s father who has the same vision.


1, 2 Nephi:  Bible passages dominate the text in these two books, as half of the chapters in 2 Nephi alone are from the Bible.

Jacob, Enos, Mosiah, Alma 1-42: These books are dominated by evangelical Methodist Camp Meeting, terms, practices, patterns and doctrines of which Smith was so familiar. The eleven main Book of Mormon preachers between Jacob and Alma II reflect in every way, what one would expect to find when studying the Second Great Awakening preachers of Smith’s era.

Alma 43-63: These war chapters mirror the strategies of the American Indian Wars and the War of 1812, especially British/Indian fighting strategies used against the American soldiers in the War of 1812. Smith heard his relatives and neighbors recount stories of these wars. (See Mercy Otis Warren’s  History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, 1805; and David Ramsey’s, History of the American Revolution, 1789)

Helaman; 3 Nephi 1-7: The text in these “Gadianton” chapters reveal strong influences of the anti- Masonic terms/rhetoric/methodology/practice/fears and general sentiment widely held during the presidential election of 1828-29. They flooded the newspapers (the Smith’s subscribed to a newspaper) and were common talk of the day. Andrew Jackson was a Freemason, and the papers had a field day speculating as to what Jackson would do to the Executive and Judicial branches of government if elected.

3 Nephi 11-28: Bible passages again dominate this section of the Book of Mormon, specifically the King James Version, including errors. Of the 490 verses in these chapters, 246, or 50% contain recognizable KJV quotations or phrases.

Ether: This book is Joseph Smith’s essay on the central message of the Book of Mormon. The first half of Ether describes what happens to the Jaredites when they follow Christ, while the second half explains what happens when they don’t. Ether is a miniature Book of Mormon synopsis, including the annihilation of both the Jaredites and Nephites down to the last man. Much has been written on the extreme mirroring of two supposedly distant and distinct civilizations.

  • 2% = It came to pass
  • 11%  = Straight from KJV Bible
  • Gadianton Robbers – Freemasonry, secret combinations
  • Nephi brothers are named Joseph and Samuel – just like Joseph Smith’s brothers
  • Lehi – see Judges 15:9, 14, 19
  • Nephi – see King James Version of the Apocrypha, II Maccabees 1:36
  • Enos – see Genesis 4:26.
  • Samuel on the Wall – see View of Hebrews, which describes a prophet standing on a wall in Jerusalem, exhorting, while the people shoot arrows at him.
  • Aminadi, like the Bible’s Daniel, deciphered handwriting on a wall. Alma was converted in the exact fashion of St. Paul. Daughters of Lamanites were abducted like daughters of Shiloh. Ammon, the American counterpart to David vs. Goliath, slew sheep-rustlers with his sling.
  • King Benjamin – see Pastor Benjamin’s camp revival (Insiders View p.95-98)
  • Smith is known to have read Dick’s work, Philosophy of a Future State, which proposes that matter is eternal and indestructible, stars were peopled by “various orders of intelligences…progressive beings” in various stages of evolution toward perfection.
  • Eidetic imagery –  (see Natural Born Seer p. 410)
  • Non-Uniqueness – (see Natural Born Seer p. 413)


King James Bible in Book of Mormon / D&C

The Book of Mormon contains unique scribal errors from the King James Bible – despite supposedly predating those translators by ten centuries. This is no small hurdle, as we are talking about branches of translation and oral tradition spanning many rewrites, over centuries. It is highly unlikely that the texts linguistically evolved to the same English translation through different branches of transcribing. Far more likely, Joseph copied these segments nearly word for word, errors and all.

It’s very evident in one of the earliest verses how much came straight from the Bible, and how Lehi’s journey mirrors Exodus. (See Insiders View p. 46-47 re: D&C 4. See p. 48-54, 74-75). “A quarto Bible now in this village, was borrowed and nearly worn out and defaced by their dirty handling. Some seven or eight of them spent many months in copying, Cowdery being principal scribe.” (Letter from Palmyra, N.Y., Mar 12, 1831)

Even the earliest critics as far back as Mormonism Unvailed in 1834 suggested it’s a “miserable attempt to imitate the style of KJV…that no one can be left in doubt in identifying the whole with one individual author…another miracle in choosing the exact language of King James’ translation, more than 2,000 years before it was arranged…a remarkable coincidence that the author of our book should be able to give us an exact copy of those two chapters (KJV Bible) reading them in a stone placed in a hat! We are truly inclined to accuse him of plagiarism.”

The official LDS Book of Mormon Translation Essay states that Joseph “read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument,” affirming that Joseph was reading English words directly from the stone. Does this not mean that any errors of the words (like the Kings James errors) in the Book of Mormon prove that either God erred or Joseph Smith made it up? Even if one suggests that the scribe may have misheard, how did Joseph replicate the exact same 16th Century King James errors if God was literally causing the English words to appear before him?



Deutero-Isaiah refers to the widely held belief that one man named Isaiah did not write the entire book of Isaiah, but rather multiple authors wrote various parts, later compiled into a single book with one name. The problem is particularly vexing to LDS doctrine because the Book of Mormon narrative depends upon there being a sole author; even as history and chronology work against the notion. As a result, many apologists refuse to acknowledge that a problem even exists.

Isaiah’s authorship is not a new theory or Mormon issue, as the problem dates back to 1100 A.D., when a Jewish commentator named Moses ben Samuel, Ibn-Gekatilla, denied that Isaiah was the author of certain chapters of the book of Isaiah. Later, in A.D. 1167, Ibn Ezra also questioned the authorship of certain sections of the book of Isaiah.

BYU Religious Studies acknowledges, “The majority of biblical scholars divide the book of Isaiah into multiple authorship.” The few still arguing against Deutero-Isaiah are often apologists who are compelled to defend theologies that require a single Isaiah. The Book of Isaiah did not exist in King James form until 515  B.C. The later author(s) would have been writing in 550-539 BC, long after Lehi departed with his brass plates in 600 B.C. Whether there is a third Isaiah or more is totally irrelevant, as a second Isaiah alone is sufficient to discredit the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon directly quotes no less than 425 verses and paraphrases many others from the book of Isaiah. How could Laban’s brass plates contain KJV Bible language from before the original was even written? A sampling of verses supposedly copied from the brass plates includes: Isaiah 48 = 1 Nephi 20 Isaiah 49 = 1 Nephi 21 Isaiah 53 = Mosiah 14 Isaiah 54 = 3 Nephi 22).

Chapters 40-46 clearly could not have been written before the Babylonian captivity, as the situations described do not reflect pre-captivity circumstances. The Persian King Cyrus – the same one who ordered the release of Israel in 539 – is actually named in Isaiah 44:28. The gold plates could not have included these post-exodus chapters.



One of the major “proofs” put forward by apologists of the Book of Mormon is that there is no eye witness of Joseph having any text available to him during the “translation.” They suggest that it would have been impossible for young Joseph to come up with the story under these conditions.

But then, apologists flip-flop in response to the awkward Isaiah problems, suggest that “Instead of translating Nephi’s quotations of Isaiah, Joseph, deferred to the KJV translation of those chapters. This may have been done to save time and to respect the quality of the KJV Bible. The chapters of Isaiah that we find in the Book of Mormon were taken largely by Joseph Smith from the KJV Bible, instead of being translated from Nephi’s version of that text. In other words, why reinvent the wheel when the work has already been done?”

So which was it; did Joseph borrow from contemporary literature of his day or not? This question matters greatly. If he copied portions the KJV Bible available to him, which seems evident, without any eyewitness seeing it, is it not equally likely that he borrowed from other contemporary texts available to him? If he indeed leveraged additional works, the theory that it could not have been transcribed in 60 days goes out the window? Never mind for a moment that Smith actually had years to devise the story. And what does “respect the quality of the KJV Bible” even mean, given that Smith promptly attempted to revise the KJV Bible?



“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….The whole atmosphere of the book is miracle!…Sometimes it takes on almost childish expression…” (Studies of Book of Mormon p. 263)

“Do we have here a great historical document, or only a wonder tale, told by an undeveloped mind, living in a period and in an environment where the miraculous in history is accepted without limitation and is supposed to account for all inconsistencies and lapses that challenge human credulity in the thought and in the easy philosophy that all things are possible with God?” (Studies of Book of Mormon p. 258)

“Nephi, together with sundry other prophets, had the whole Christian system developed to them, many centuries before the twelve apostles…and preaching it to a set of Jews.” (Mormonism Unvailed)

“There are the many contemporary insertions. Are we to believe that pre-Columbian American Indians struggled with infant baptisms (more aptly aligns with popular anti-Catholic sentiments of Josephs day). The Title of Liberty better fits late American patriotism. “Realities are no longer a subject worthy his attention…he is guided by the whims of his imagination.” (Mormonism Unvailed)

The unique term, curious workmanship, gained popularity and usage in the early 19th century, but remains totally unknown in any American Indian records.


The original Book of Mormon edition contained numerous passages which demonstrate awkward 1800s grammar usage. Do the verses read more like Joseph Smith telling a story, or the careful inscriptions of sophisticated Hebrew Indians?

  • Alma 10:7-8 – “As I was a journeying to see a very near kindred…, as I was a going thither…”
  • Mosiah 10:15 – “had arriven to the promised land”
  • Mosiah 2:12 – “have not sought gold nor silver, nor no manner of riches of you”
  • 1 Nephi 4:4 – “they was yet wroth”
  • 3 Nephi 3:5 – “I have wrote this epistle”
  • Alma 10:8 – “I was a going thither”
  • Helaman 7:8 and 13:37 – “in them days”
  • Ether 9:29 – “they done all these things”

It was this unmodified edition which prompted Mark Twain to declare Joseph’s work “chloroform in print.” Recognizing that such language conflicted with his assertion that each word carefully appeared through his peep stone, Joseph Smith corrected God’s text in the 1837 edition.

When attempting to reconcile things, LDS apologists merely compound the problem by suggesting, “What now seems bad grammar was once entirely acceptable English…” (Editing out the ‘bad grammar’ in the Book of Mormon, Dan Peterson) That’s the entire point…it was in fact just bad English rather than reformed Egyptian.


An anachronism is a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it is referenced.

1 Nephi 1:4: Nephi establishes a timeframe by giving us, “in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, King of Judah”, followed up by, “and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed.” Yet by the time Zedekiah became king, installed by the Babylonian conqueror Nebuchadnezzar, the city of Jerusalem had already been destroyed.

The Bible establishes that the Babylonians removed all the rich people into captivity: “none remained except the poorest people in the land.” It is problematic for the Book of Mormon to suggest that nobody believed the prophets foretelling a great destruction, despite it having just been sieged and conquered within the last year. Are we to contradict the Bible and historical records to believe that both Lehi and Laban’s wealth somehow bypassed the pillaging? Would Nephi not mention the recent sacking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians?  It’s as if Joseph did not realize that Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem twice (ten years apart) when he narrated the Book of Mormon story into his hat.

1 Nephi 22:20: “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.” How is it that Nephi was quoting in 580 B.C. the words of Peter (Acts 3:22-23) from around 60 A.D?

Alma 5:52: “…the ax is laid at the root of the tree; therefore every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire…” This verse in Alma, written around 83 BC, is quoting John the Baptist (Matthew 3:10) from around 30 A.D.

2 Nephi 9:39: “…to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.” Nephi, around 555 B.C., is quoting the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:6) from around 68 A.D.

Christ / Anti-Christ / Messiah

Needless to say, the Christian movement began with Jesus Christ. The word Christ is used 186 times in the Book of Mormon during the Old Testament era. Yet the word never appears in the Hebrew Old Testament, and the word Messiah is only used twice. The word anti-Christ is also used in the Book of Mormon, 76 years before the birth of Christ.

How is it that Book of Mormon peoples were calling themselves Christians when the very word Christ is the Greek equivalent of Messiah, and would not have been known to Nephi? Even Mormonism Unvailed recognized this problem in 1834, suggesting, “To give credit to the pretense that Nephi, living 600 years before the Christian era, could, or would, have had the name of Jesus and John revealed in preference to any other prophet, is repugnant to common sense…” (Mormonism Unvailed, ch. 3)

The Law of Moses burnt offerings


The Book of Mormon describes America’s first inhabitants as devout Jews, observing the Law of Moses as elaborated upon their brass plates. (1Nephi 1:2, 4:15, 5:9; Mosiah 1:1-4; Alma 26:15, 3 Nephi 1:24; Ether 1:33) Yet the book makes almost no reference to the observance of Mosaic law, or implies any accurate knowledge of it.

The Hebrew clan had scarcely disembarked from their remarkable sailing ship before talk of the Lamb of God and Protestant-style exhortations and 19th century Christian doctrines expanded. Recognition of the contradictions dates at least as far back as E.D. Howe’s 1834 exposé. “Our author being ignorant on this subject…offering sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord. And to cap the climax of absurdity, after preaching faith and repentance as the only way of salvation, from the very commencement of the campaign, Nephi tells us, ‘Notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the Law of Moses…’” (Mormonism Unveiled).

Although there is an account of Nephi’s small tribe somehow constructing a temple after the manner of Solomon (it too remains undiscovered), there are no subsequent references to animal sacrifices, ceremonies and national festivals so common in Hebrew culture. It appears that Jews in America were enjoying redemptive faith in Christ, before Christianity existed, while their brethren in the Old World were being chastised to obey the Law of Moses.

There are countless additional problems with the near total lack of Mosaic law observance, as it makes no sense to preach salvation through Christ while offering burnt animal sacrifices according to the old law. Nevertheless, Christ himself discontinues the practice in 3 Nephi 9:17-19.


Parallel: having the same distance continuously between them


The Book of Mormon presents the reader with strikingly parallel incidents and characteristics in the formation of the two separate colonies, their sea voyage, wilderness journey, battles, leaders, movements, migrations, conversion methods and 19th century thinking. “It supplies evidence that the Book of Mormon is the product of one mind, and that, a very limited mind, unconsciously reproducing with only slight variation its visitations.”

“I shall not apologize for giving the story at so great length. It is instructive. The two Anti-Christs, Sherem and Korihor, the stories of their unbelief and the treatment of them, how alike they are! In both the denial of the Christ; the charge against the ministry, mislead the people, that they could not know of things yet future; denial of Christ, and of the scriptures; the same method of attack by the prophets, same hesitancy on the part of anti-Christs, same demand for a sign, same hesitancy on part of prophet to invoke power of God. In both cases stricken, confession of being deceived by the devil, both vain repentance.”

“Does it not carry with it the proof that it is the work of a pious youth dealing with the very common place stock arguments clumsily put together for the belief in the existence of God.” (see Studies of Book of Mormon p. 259-308)

Douglas Salmon’s examination of Hugh Nibley’s “parallelomania” attempts to reconcile the astonishing parallels in Mormon scripture. (See Parallelomania and The Study of LDS Scripture)


Q: Why do Mormons so easily believe that ancient Indians wrote the Book of Mormon, yet refuse to consider how such a feat was well within the capabilities of a brilliant 19th Century evangelist, sourcing from well established documents of his day?

Q: Why are there hundreds of 17th Century KJV Bible phrases and scribal errors in the Book of Mormon “translation”?

Q: Are we to believe that Nephi’s people simultaneously observed the Law of Moses – which they appear not to have (brief Solomon temple building episode aside) – while preaching Christianity and Protestant salvation themes, interspersed with 19th century Methodist revival conversion dramas?

Q: It is suggested that Nephi needed to kill Laban to obtain the plates so that his people wouldn’t dwindle in unbelief. Didn’t his people promptly dwindle into unbelief anyway, eventually being completely exterminated?

Q: Why did Joseph so seldom, if ever, refer to the Book of Mormon in his many sermons and instruction?