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Solomon Spalding


mysteryman

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I searched to see if this had been discussed and had not found anything, which could be my poor computer search skills. I apologize if this has been mentioned before. A recent study coming from Stanford University using linguistics has determined that Solomon Spalding and Sidney Rigdon were the dominant authors of the Book of Mormon. The following is an abstract of the article: http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/4/465

I have not been able to download the complete article so I have not read it, but if people here had not seen it yet, I just thought ya all should know about it,

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Certain LDS scholars and statisticians are well aware of it, and a response has already been crafted. When and where it will appear has not yet been determined.

In the meantime, Matthew Roper offers a careful evaluation of the Spalding/Rigdon theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in "The Mythical 'Manuscript Found'" (FARMS Review 17/2 [2005]):

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=17&num=2&id=584

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Certain LDS scholars and statisticians are well aware of it, and a response has already been crafted. When and where it will appear has not yet been determined.

In the meantime, Matthew Roper offers a careful evaluation of the Spalding/Rigdon theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in "The Mythical 'Manuscript Found'" (FARMS Review 17/2 [2005]):

http://mi.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=17&num=2&id=584

I figured you guys at BYU knew about it, I just hadn't seen any discussion of it yet and just came aware of it myself today. Its incredible, every time I think this theory is dead someone re-invents it and re-launches it again.

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An interesting discussion on all aspects of the Spalding issues has been going on over on Dr Shades' board. Uncle Dale, a long time supporter of the theory has been jousting with McGuire, Wegland and other TBMs about the issue. One of the authors of the book Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon particpates there. When the BYU academics respond it should be an interesting debate. Of the three authors only Criddle is a former member. Matthew L. Jockers & Daniela M. Witten are not LDS.

I understand he and Uncle Dale plan to write something which will be a summary of the debate. It seems to hinge as to when Rigdon started his association with Smith. Dale seems to have an massive knowledge of what is in the respositories, newspapers etc.He uses something as mundane as letters listed in a newspaper as being held at the Post Office as proof that Rigdon was in the area. Mysteryman, you should try and get hold of a copy of the paper.The theory is not dead and maybe Brodie and Vogel's views will now be redundant in that they both have attacked the Spalding theory. Both believe Smith alone wrote the BOM using materials available to him. Dale,Criddle and Jockers seem to argue that he had some help from the work of Spalding, with insertion of the religious material by Rigdon.

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An interesting discussion on all aspects of the Spalding issues has been going on over on Dr Shades' board. Uncle Dale, a long time supporter of the theory has been jousting with McGuire, Wegland and other TBMs about the issue. One of the authors of the book Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon particpates there. When the BYU academics respond it should be an interesting debate. Of the three authors only Criddle is a former member. Matthew L. Jockers & Daniela M. Witten are not LDS.

I understand he and Uncle Dale plan to write something which will be a summary of the debate. It seems to hinge as to when Rigdon started his association with Smith. Dale seems to have an massive knowledge of what is in the respositories, newspapers etc.He uses something as mundane as letters listed in a newspaper as being held at the Post Office as proof that Rigdon was in the area. Mysteryman, you should try and get hold of a copy of the paper.The theory is not dead and maybe Brodie and Vogel's views will now be redundant in that they both have attacked the Spalding theory. Both believe Smith alone wrote the BOM using materials available to him. Dale,Criddle and Jockers seem to argue that he had some help from the work of Spalding, with insertion of the religious material by Rigdon.

I will try to get a copy of the paper, I'm sure it would be interesting. The hardest part of the theory I think will be to connect Smith with Rigdon that early and to establish why in the world a man such as Rigdon with many followers would allow himself to take a back seat to the likes of Smith. Richard Van Wagoner's biography of Rigdon makes it hard to believe he would have done so. Right now I lean toward the Brodie/Vogel position, but I am always willing to change my mind in light of any solid new evidence.

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This is my own speculative thought on the Spaulding/Rigdon Theory.

This comes from the Lost 116 Manuscripts that Martin Harris took possession of and ultimate lost.

Here is my line of reasoning:

Joseph Smith inquires of the Lord at the bequest of Martin Harris as to taking the already translated 116 pages of the Book of Mormon to show his wife. Upon this third bequest, Martin Harris is granted permission, but limited to who can see the pages with a cautionary warning.

Martin Harris takes the documents with him. Somehow, these documents end up leaving his position. Details are not accurate as to how and why, or as to whom stole the documents, but when Martin Harris confessed as to what happened, he lost the ability to continue on as a scribe for Joseph Smith.

Even more interesting is that the gift to translate was taken from Joseph Smith as well.

When the gift to translate was granted back to Joseph Smith, the Lord instructed Joseph Smith to not re-translate the lost 116 pages, but instead translate what we currently have in the Book of Mormon.

It is here my speculation takes off:

Joseph Smith was forbidden by the Lord to retranslate that part of the record previously translated because those who had stolen the manuscript planned to publish it in an altered form to discredit his ability to translate accurately (D&C 10:9-13). Instead, he was to translate the Small Plates of Nephi (1 Nephi-Omni) down to that which he had translated (D&C 10:41). Those plates covered approximately the same period as had the lost manuscript, or four centuries from Lehi to Benjamin. Mormon had been so impressed with the choice prophecies and sayings contained in the small plates that he had included them with his own abridgment of Nephite writings when told to by the Spirit for "a wise purpose" known only to the Lord (W of M 1:7).{From Light Planet - Jeff Lindsay, Lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon

Therefore, my speculation is that these 116 pages were taken and somehow were acquired by Spualding and that it was Spaulding, in an attempt to disprove Joseph Smith (as prophesied) embellished the written record he had acquired, change to suit his own style and voice, and then attempt to discredit the prophet's ability to translate. In this reasoning, the 116 manuscripts are quite possibly part of the Spaulding Manuscript.

What is even more surprising is that there are alot of problems of E.D. Howes Mormonism Unveiled. Much that was not known in 19th Century America is now scientific fact that is starting to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Why some critics hold to an out dated 19th century polemic against Mormonism is like someone trying to prove that the Earth is flat and not round.

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The hardest part of the theory I think will be to connect Smith with Rigdon that early and to establish why in the world a man such as Rigdon with many followers would allow himself to take a back seat to the likes of Smith. Richard Van Wagoner's biography of Rigdon makes it hard to believe he would have done so. Right now I lean toward the Brodie/Vogel position, but I am always willing to change my mind in light of any solid new evidence.

According to one Spalding theorist Sidney Rigdon was - Moroni.

One thing you need to bear in mind about Uncle Dale is that he freely admits he has no hard evidence, but lots and lots of "leads". His hope is that some future reseachers will finally uncover hard evidence. They've been at this for about 30 years now. Another important point to grasp is that Spalding theorists believe bad evidence (my term) which supports a naturalistic explanation is better than any evidence which supports a supernatural one. To use a term from A.N.Wilson, it's the "greatest wild goose chase in history".

Good luck in your search, anyway.

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This is my own speculative thought on the Spaulding/Rigdon Theory.

SNIP

It is here my speculation takes off:

Therefore, my speculation is that these 116 pages were taken and somehow were acquired by Spualding and that it was Spaulding, in an attempt to disprove Joseph Smith (as prophesied) embellished the written record he had acquired, change to suit his own style and voice, and then attempt to discredit the prophet's ability to translate. In this reasoning, the 116 manuscripts are quite possibly part of the Spaulding Manuscript.

Solomon Spalding (1761 â?? October 20, 1816)

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

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According to one Spalding theorist Sidney Rigdon was - Moroni.

One thing you need to bear in mind about Uncle Dale is that he freely admits he has no hard evidence, but lots and lots of "leads". His hope is that some future reseachers will finally uncover hard evidence. They've been at this for about 30 years now. Another important point to grasp is that Spalding theorists believe bad evidence (my term) which supports a naturalistic explanation is better than any evidence which supports a supernatural one. To use a term from A.N.Wilson, it's the "greatest wild goose chase in history".

Good luck in your search, anyway.

Uncle Dale is a good guy but he is filled with hypothetical illustrations that sound very convincing until one discovers that they are hypotheticals. I have told him that ifhe is the one to conclusively discover that mormonism is a fraud, I would be the first to thank him. No one should live a fraud. But so far...he hasn't discovered it to be a fraud.

Dealing with JS sticking his head in a hat if one believes that Ridgon wrote the book of mormon is a mind blower for sure. :P

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mysteryman:

That JS was some type of crazy pious fraud, or that he was just a pious fraud?

When I was talking about Brodie/Vogel I was only referring to their view on the Book of Mormon, that Smith may have been influenced by his enviroment and even "View of the Hebrews," but that Joseph Smith was main creator of it. I have never been pursuaded by arguments such as the Spalding theory that Smith stole the story else where. I have seen no reason to not think Smith was capable of doing it without stealing the story from other places.

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The whole idea that one can be a fraud and pious is problematic.

People decieve all the time with good intentions. Parents lie and decieve their children that Santa Clause exists, but its all with good intentions. In war, countries will try to decieve the enemy with the intent of saving their own peoples lives. Decieving for a greater good is not that uncommon of a thought process.

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The whole idea that one can be a fraud and pious is problematic.

Even a TBM could acknowledge that some of what the church does in coloring LDS history a certain way is a pious fraud. Such as the art with Joseph and Oliver translating with the gold plates on the table. Or the repeating of the Thomas Marsh milk cow story. Even teaching the Noah story in the primary manual as though it is meant to be literal.

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Solomon Spalding (1761 â?? October 20, 1816)

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Correction, I just read the following article "The Mythical Manuscript Found"

Re-reading my post, it is the proponents of this "Second manuscript" that are most likely falling upon the nature of the lost 116 pages of the document Martin Harris Lost. Not Spalding himself, but the proponents who were at that time identifying similiarities after the Manuscript story was discovered. The most likely culprit was Hulbert himself who may have read parts of it. Again pure speculation and based upon scant circumstantial evidence.

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The hardest part of the theory I think will be to connect Smith with Rigdon that early and to establish why in the world a man such as Rigdon with many followers would allow himself to take a back seat to the likes of Smith.

To me, the hardests parts of the Spalding theory are reconciling the conflicting witness statements (some diametrically opposed), following the paper trail (which leads to the extant manuscript), and the fact that much of the theory is conjectures built on conjectures built on conjectures (which may suffice in matters of religious faith, but not when purporting a naturalistic explanation).

I am excited to read the pending review of the Stanford study. But, in the interim, Roper's article is excellent, and Bens observations in the thread metnioned by Kevin are enlightening as well. If, however, that doesn't suffice, I would be happy to engage interested parties here in productive dialogue when I have the time. I have posted some of my research on the subject here:

http://www.scn.org/~bp760/enigma.htm

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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To me, the hardests parts of the Spalding theory are reconciling the conflicting witness statements (some diametrically opposed), following the paper trail (which leads to the extant manuscript), and the fact that much of the theory is conjectures built on conjectures built on conjectures (which may suffice in matters of religious faith, but not when purporting a naturalistic explanation).

I am excited to read the pending review of the Stanford study. But, in the interim, Roper's article is excellent, and Bens observations in the thread metnioned by Kevin are enlightening as well. If, however, that doesn't suffice, I would be happy to engage interested parties here in productive dialogue when I have the time. I have posted some of my research on the subject here:

http://www.scn.org/~bp760/enigma.htm

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Wade, do you have a PDF File for that article? I would love to read it more thoroughly as time allows...

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Wade, do you have a PDF File for that article? I would love to read it more thoroughly as time allows...

I wish I did, but I don't. There are multiple files in html format, and only thing I can suggest is doing a save-as to your computer or printing out each page--that, or reading it online at your leisure.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Ok, so they used Isaiah/Malachi, Cowdery, Rigdon, Pratt, Barlow, Spaulding etc. But why didn't they plug in Joseph Smith? Why didn't they plug in the guy with his face buried in a hat as Oliver wrote?

In the paper they said that the task of determining just what was Joseph's own writings or something dictated to a scribe or a third person account being turned into a first person account to be too daunting a task and thus excluded him.

After reading the article I see a couple of things that could be problematic, but I am going to hold my tongue, er keyboard, until I read the response by the LDS scholars to see if they cover those areas.

Glenn

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The brother of Solomon Spalding said

He [solomon] then told me had he been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the "Manuscript Found," of which he read to me many passages. -- It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of NEPHI AND LEHI. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various [280] parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprize I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c. as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with "and it came to pass," or "now it came to pass," the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. -- By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr. I am unable to determine.

JOHN SPALDING."

Is John Spalding lying, having problems with memory? Who added the religious matter?

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