A Mormon responds to Feb.29th show

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 4:49 pm    Post subject: A Mormon responds to Feb.29th show Reply with quote

I received (and responded to) the following email today:

Mr. Gregg-

I listened to your radio show for the first time yesterday when driving from Eugene to Portland. I must admit that I was surprised at some of the common sense interpretations you gave of Biblical issues especially compared to some of the harsh neo-Calvinistic interpretations I have heard from other so-called evangelical preachers.

However, you were grossly wrong in your statements about the Book of Mormon. I assume that you have simply not taken the time to get accurate information on the Book of Mormon but rather have relied on the "information" purveyed by anti-Mormon ministries. Such information is a mixture of little bit of truth and whole lot of lies. If you believe yourself to be a true disciple of Christ, you owe it to yourself to get accurate information so that you can give accurate information to your radio listeners. I am not saying you have to believe in the Book of Mormon, but you have to be accurate in what you state. A true disciple of Christ would not want to unwittingly be caught in bearing false witness about anything– including spreading false information about Mormons and their non-biblical scriptures. Don’t you agree?

First, you stated that there is strong evidence that Joseph Smith copied a manuscript by Solomon Spaulding to make the Book of Mormon. This was postulated as a theory to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon in the early 1830's, shortly after the book was published. Now, 170 years later, it still is postulated by many anti-Mormon ministries as the most plausible explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon.

However, there is absolutely no proof of that Joseph Smith had access to this manuscript when he produced the Book of Mormon. Moreover, there are almost no similarities between the two books. I have a copy of the Spaulding manuscript. I have reviewed it. It is a romance about some ancient people in the Americas. It is more like a Danielle Steele novel than the Book of Mormon. Any honest person who compares the two books must conclude that the Spaulding manuscript could not be the source document for the Book of Mormon. In fact, he would conclude that it is laughable to assert that this romance story is the source document for the Book of Mormon.

The Spaulding manuscript theory of the Book of Mormon was debunked shortly after it first appeared. Over the years, additional evidence has come forth to disprove this theory absolutely. Yet, it continues to live as a primary theory of the Book of Mormon’s origin by anti-Mormons. Why? Because they have no better theory and because they are intellectually and morally dishonest. They would prefer to continue to promulgate this theory– which some of them must know is false– than admit that they have pushed a theory that is so thoroughly refuted. These anti-Mormons start with a premise: Joseph Smith was a false prophet. From this premise flows the following logic: Because Joseph Smith was a false prophet, there has to be a human explanation for this Book. We have to give some explanation to our people for the origin of the Book of Mormon. After all, we cannot let them think that there is no viable nonhuman explanation for the Book of Mormon; that might cause them to wonder if it mig ht be divine. So, it matters not if the theory is true or not, it just has to be an explanation that sounds reasonable so the people will accept it. They will never bother to figure out if the theory is true or not; they just have to believe that there is an explanation. Besides if we repeat the theory often enough– say, for 180 years– the theory will gain legitimacy just because of its age and because it is still around. The veracity or falsity of the theory is immaterial. All that matters is that the theory be accepted as truth by our faithful.

That, my friend, is a short summary of the history of the Spaulding theory. It is interesting that you are living evidence of the proof of this history. I stated above that the Spaulding theory just has to be reasonable enough for people to accept it since they will not bother to investigate whether or not it is true. You certainly believe it to be true, but you obviously have never bothered to check it out. If you are an honest man and have made any honest attempt to check out this theory, you would come to only one conclusion– the Spaulding manuscript theory is hogwash.

Now, I did not say you would conclude that the Book of Mormon is true, only that this theory is false. I am sorry that you have been duped by anti-Mormons who do not care about the truthfulness of their anti-Mormon propaganda. Now, here is the next big questions: Are you intellectually and morally curious enough to get the "real" information about the Spaulding theory? And, after you review it, will you be intellectually and morally honest enough to admit that it is not correct?

(Note that I am not asking you to accept the Book of Mormon only that the anti-Mormons have from the beginning perpetuated a fraud with the Spaulding manuscript theory. How ironic that these so-called Christians perpetuate a fraud– the Spaulding theory– in an effort to prove the Book of Mormon to be a fraud.)

I have lots of information on the Spaulding theory. I would be glad to get copies and send it to you. Do you want it?

Other statements you made were that the :Book of Mormon" makes many false claims" and that "nothing about the Book of Mormon is true". Again, those statements demonstrate a deplorable lack of accurate information on your part. Again, I expect you have just accepted the false information promulgated by the Anti-Mormon groups without making any effort to figure out if it is true or not.

It would be accurate to say that there are some claims made in the Book of Mormon that have not yet been proven. But that is not what you said. You said the book makes false claims and that nothing about the book is true. In other words, Book of Mormon claims which are not yet proven are considered by you to be false. Interestingly, you do not apply the same standard to the Bible. Did you know that there is absolutely no external evidence of any kind about Moses and the exodus of Israel from Egypt? That was a mighty important event that occurred in an ancient land about which we know much more than the ancient civilizations of America. With all the ancient documents and public monuments recovered from ancient Egypt, one would think there would be at least one little mention of the Israelites and their escape from Egypt. Yet, the only evidence for the exodus is the biblical text. There is no external evidence.

If we applied the logic you apply to the Book of Mormon to the Bible, then we would have to say that the story of the exodus is false. You wouldn’t do that, would you?

So, why do you accept the application of that logic to the Book of Mormon? Just because other so-called Christians do it?

Moreover, there is strong evidence of many kinds for many non-spiritual things about the Book of Mormon. For example, in the book of First Nephi, the death of an Israelite man named Ishmael is reported. Ishmael and his family were on a journey with another Israelite man named Lehi and his family through the Arabian peninsula. Ishmael is buried at a place named Nahom. From the Book of Mormon text, it is clear that this is the historical name for this place. In 1830, when the Book of Mormon was published, there was no geographical information available to Joseph Smith about obscure ancient Arabian place names. Interestingly, in the last 15 years, absolute evidence has come forth of the ancient name "Nahom" for a place in the Arabian peninsula in the same area where it appears that it should be according to the Book of Mormon narrative. Is this something that the ant-Mormon ministries tell you about? Of course, not. They are not interested in truth; they are only interested in find ing effective scare tactics– to scare non-Mormons from making an honest investigation of the Book of Mormon.

I have lots of information which is evidence of the Book of Mormon as an authentic ancient document. Are you interested in any of it? Do you have the intellectual curiousity and integrity to study it?

You stated that the Book of Mormon states that "buildings covered the whole continent", meaning the American continent. You claim this is evidence of the falsity of the Book of Mormon since buildings did not, in fact, cover the whole continent. However, you have misquoted or taken out of context a statement in the Book of Mormon. There is a statement about buildings which "cover all the land". However, when you read the full statement, it is clear that the "land" referred to is a region, an area, a territory, etc., not the whole continent. In fact, there are many places in MesoAmerica that meet this description where all the territory is covered by buildings. Again, you have relied on Anti-Mormons who do not care about the truth, only about scaring away people.

Again, I ask you– do you want to get information about the Book of Mormon so you can give accurate information instead of passing on the lies promulgated by so-called evangelical Christians who knowingly perpetuate false witness? I am not asking you to believe the Book of Mormon, only to become honest enough to stop spreading lies.

Ponder this: As of this date, all the many so-called Christian anti-Mormons have never come up with a reasonable explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon. They have nothing. There is nothing. NADA! They just keep retreading the same old stuff– Spaulding theory or Ethan Smith theory. Or they latch on to Fawn Brodey. That’s it. That’s all they have.

Furthermore, all the non-Mormon anti-Book of Mormon stuff is on non-spiritual, non-religious stuff in the Book. None of these so-called devout disciples attempts to read the Book of Mormon with a half-way open mind to see what its TEACHINGS are all about. Yesterday, I heard you say that it is okay for Christians to read the Book of Mormon, but to do so with a CLOSED MIND. You did not use those words but that is what you meant. Why should someone have to have a closed mind? Why not just read the book to judge it honestly on the merits of its spiritual and moral teachings? What are you afraid of?

Let me know if you want to have accurate information about the Book of Mormon. I will gladly provide you with accurate information. Again, please note that I am not trying to convert you, only to get you accurate information so you can more function as an honest disciple of Christ who does not bear false witness.


Hi Tony,

Thanks for your lengthy correction. Of course, I would be happy to see any evidence that you have about external verification of the Book of Mormon. I am an open-minded man, and never advise anyone to read opposing material with a closed mind. Those who love the truth must consider all credible evidence before closing one's mind to new ideas.

I am surprised that you think anti-Mormons feel a need to find some fake story to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon, as if, in the absence of some literary antecedent, we would be under pressure to accept a supernatural theory of its origins. In my discussions with Mormons, whenever I have asked them to give me one reason to believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, they always say, "The Book of Mormon." They seem to be implying that the Book of Mormon itself bears the marks of supernatural origin. I have never understood this.

If the Book of Mormon's contents are such as would convince an intelligent man that the book must be inspired by God, then no theory of literary predecessors could help the anti-Mormon, because this would only mean that these divinely-impressive features were found in the earlier source document, suggesting that that one must have been inspired by God.

The only material in the book of Mormon that impresses me as being of divine origin is found in the chapters that Joseph Smith lifted directly from the King James Bible and copied verbatim into his book (Like the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5,6 & 7). The fact that Mr. Smith was naive enough to think that God speaks in King James English, and thus would "supernaturally" (by use of Urim and Thummim) translate "Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics" into a poor literary imitation King James-style English, only gives me more reason to question Smith's spiritual wisdom and credentials.

To me, the Book of Mormon could have been written by Joseph Smith (or any other clever fellow with access to a King James Version of the Bible) without postulating anything one way or another about divine inspiration. No one has shown me any reason to believe that the Book of Mormon contains any information or features that would require a conclusion that its author was inspired. I only repeated the Spaulding theory because I had heard it from people whose integrity and scholarship I trusted, and I believed it to be true. If, as you say, there is reason to distrust what these people said, I will be most happy to see the evidence, which I have not previously had occasion to examine.

My mention of the Spaulding theory had nothing to do with a need to find some literary antecedent to the Book of Mormon, for fear that, without such, I would be pressured to conclude that the book is inspired. I stated the theory without a vested interest in it, but only because I thought it to be correct. Again, I will gladly examine whatever evidence you may send to me.

As for my acceptance of the Exodus as historical, without archeologcal or historiographical confirmation, I have no problem accepting it, because Moses, who wrote the account, was unmistakably a genuine prophet of God. He was also an eye-witness and key-participant in the events recorded. Thus we have an impeccable historical authority for believing in the Exodus. That Jesus confirmed Moses' authorship of Exodus, and his authority as one sent from God, is enough for me.

The stories in the Book of Mormon, on the other hand, not only lack historical verification, but also lack the witness of a credible prophet or eye-witness (Joe Smith did not claim to have witnessed any of the stories he related in the book). There is no comparison of the basis for accepting the story of the Exodus, on one hand, and that of the Book of Mormon, on the other.

You asked, "Why not just read the book to judge it honestly on the merits of its spiritual and moral teachings? What are you afraid of?"

Fear has nothing to do with it. I do not argue that the Book of Mormon contains no reliable moral or spiritual truths. Nor would I deny the presence of such in the writings of Zoroaster, or Confucius, or the Buddha, or Mohammed, or in the Hindu Vedas. That is beside the point. The Book of Mormon's primary claim is not that you can find some good spiritual truths in its pages (my shelves are filled with non-divinely-inspired books that contain spiritual truths). The significant claim of the Book of Mormon is that it is the Word of God, in a similar sense to that in which the Bible is the Word of God. If this claim is not correct, it doesn't matter how many spiritual platitudes of a commendable sort the book contains. If it is not the inspired Word of God, then it is false in its primary claim—and thus is a fake.

Is it the Word of God? My points about its historical inaccuracy would be one indicator that it is not. The teachings about God and Christ, which contradict scripture, in Joseph Smith's other writings, further undermine his claim to being a true prophet (Deut.13:1-3). Joseph Smith's character and activities in the occult prior to his founding of the Mormon Church also do not encourage me to trust his (totally unverifiable) testimony.

Against all this, I have never seen (in dozens of lengthy conversations with Mormons) one shred of evidence that would indicate that the Book of Mormon is inspired. However, if there is such evidence, I am more than willing to examine it.

Thanks again for writing. I will be looking forward to seeing your materials.

Steve Gregg

Last edited by Steve on Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Truth? Psalms 90:2; Rev 4:8-9; Romans 1:22-23

Mormonism teaches there are many Gods: "In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it....In all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods." (Joseph Smith, Founder and First Prophet, History of the Church, Vol 6, pp. 308,474)

The Truth? Deuteronomy 6:4, 32:39; James 2:19; Isaiah 43:10-11, 44:6-8, 45:5-6,18-22

Mormonisn teaches that MAN may become God, the basis of all false religion starting with Satan's rebellion, and the deception of Adam and Eve: "Here then is eternal life...to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you...To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of God." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol 6, page 306.)

The Truth? Genesis 3:1-5; Heb 9:27; reference verses that describe the character of God.

Mormonism denies the virgin birth of Christ: "Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers...Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father." (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 547, 742.)

The Truth? Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:27, 34

Mormonism teaches that Jesus and Satan are brothers: "The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer; this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind." (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15.; Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-2)

The Truth? Colossians 1:15-20; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-13

The accuracy, finality, inerrancy and authority of God's Word is denied: "One of the great heresies of modern Christendom is the unfounded assumption that the Bible contains all of the inspired teachings now extant among men." (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 82,83).

The Truth? It's not an "assumption"; it's a provable fact; 2Timothy 3:16-17; 2Pet 1:3; Rev 22:19
These are specific and direct examples of why Mormonism is completely incompatible with Biblical Christianity. It doesn't even address the overwhelming problems with their other false teachings, the contradictions and inaccuracies of their "holy books", and the, quite frankly, bizarre rituals and practices that serious, knowledgeable Mormons engage in.

You'll hear these examples labeled as lies, misinterpretations, exaggerations, misunderstandings and "anti-Mormon" propaganda. The simple truth is that they are the official doctrines of the Mormon Church. This list is just a few of the basics but more than adequate to declare definitively, and without ambiguity, that Mormonism as officially taught and practiced by the Mormon Church is a false religion and wholly unChristian. Anyone who knows, believes and places their faith in these doctrines cannot be saved. For those Mormons who call themselves "Mormon" but are ignorant of these doctrines, that is for God to judge, not me.

When it is all boiled down, Mormonism is JUST LIKE ALL OTHER FALSE RELIGIONS. It starts with the lie from the Garden of Eden that "man can be like God" and that salvation can be earned.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In June, 1839, Alexander Campbell, who was well acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, published in the Millennial Harbinger the testimony of none other than the wife of Solomon Spaulding regarding the plagiarism by Joseph Smith.


THE Boston Recorder of last week contains the following singular development of the origin and history of the Mormon Bible. It accounts most satisfactorily for the existence of the book, a fact which heretofore it has been difficult to explain. It was difficult to imagine how a work containing so many indications of being the production of a cultivated mind, should be connected with a knavery so impudent and a superstition so gross as that which must have characterized the founders of this pretended religious sect. The present narrative, which, independently of the attestations annexed, appears to be by no means improbable, was procured from the writer by the Rev. Mr. Stow, of Holliston, who remarks that he has "had occasion to come in contact with Mormonism in its grossest forms." It was communicated by him for publication in the Recorder.

Boston Daily Advertiser.


As this book has excited much attention, and has been put, by a certain new sect, in the place of the sacred scriptures, I deem it a duty which I owe to the public, to state what I know touching its origin. That its claims to a divine origin are wholly unfounded, needs no proof to a mind unperverted by the grossest delusions. That any sane person should rank it higher than any other merely human composition, is a matter of the greatest astonishment; yet it is received as divine by some who dwell in enlightened New England, and even by those who have sustained the character of devoted Christians. Learning recently that Mormonism had found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some of its members with its gross delusions, so that excommunication has become necessary, I am determined to delay no longer doing what I can to strip the mask from this monster of sin, and to lay open this pit of abominations.

Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage, he resided in Cherry Valley, New York. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula county, Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated upon Conneaut creek. Shortly after our removal to this place, his health sunk, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found and other articles, evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding 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 a historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would lead 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. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them. It 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." The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. S. progressed in deciphering "the manuscript;" and when he had sufficient portion prepared he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with this work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it read.

From New Salem we removed to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Here Mr. S. found an acquaintance and friend in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. P., who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time, and informed Mr. S. that if he would make out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. S. refused to do for reasons which I cannot now state. Sidney Rigdon,* who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at this time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and to copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all who were connected with the printing establishment. 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. M'Kenstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the "Book of Mormon" came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence, and the very place where the "Manuscript Found" was written. A woman-preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears; and he arose on the spot, and expressed in the meeting his deep sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided in New Salem.

I am sure that nothing could grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to purposes of delusion. Thus a historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and its author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.


Rev. Solomon Spaulding was the first husband of the narrator of the above history. Since his decease she has been married to a second husband, by the name of Davison. She is now residing in this place; is a woman of irreproachable character, and an humble Christian, and her testimony is worthy of implicit confidence.

A. ELY, D. D., Pastor Cong. Church in Monson.
D. R. AUSTIN, Principal of Monson Academy.
Monson, (Mass.) April 1, 1839.

Note to Steve:
Can you inquire of Tony if he can send you his proof of the Spaulding claim being debunked? Perhaps he can participate in the forum (not holding breath); that should be interesting!
A Berean
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