“Was the Book of Mormon Plagiarized from Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’?”



It’s all over.


This may well be the death knell of Mormonism, the smoking gun that proves the Book of Mormon a forgery and a fraud, the final decisive proof that Joseph Smith was a con artist, the silver bullet that will end it all:




Will the last one out the door please turn off the lights?



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  • Sharee

    This was absolutely hilarious. A definite must-read!

    • Jeremy Alleman

      Brain bleach! I need brain bleach!
      Why didn’t anyone place a warning on that web page?

      “…plagerized a 9 year old…” “..Leaves of Brass…”?

      I pity the fool that has to point out all the obvious issues with Jeff’s analysis.

      A cursory glance at Wikipedia and I have to say: Joseph Smith must have been a real genius to take a 95 page booklet on sensual poetry (stolen from a nine year old in Long Island, New York no less), and turn it into a 500+ page book that still inspires people to this day.

      • Gregory L Smith

        Another worthwhile wikipedia article:


        • Jeremy Alleman

          You are correct. I made the above statements in haste because I was at work and didn’t take the time to look at other parts of his website.

          It is still an entertaining read. :-)

          Unfortunately, I have seen other sites that jump to such conclusions in a similar manner, which is why I made the assumption that I did, with predictable results.

          • DanielPeterson

            That’s why Jeff’s piece works as satire. Because it’s amusingly close to the reality.

          • Mil Lee

            Is true that Joseph Smith was schizophrenic?

          • DanielPeterson


  • ksmike

    I had trouble figuring it out–is he serious? Way too much time on his hands. Now, if his hypothesis is that Joseph Smith did this with a time travel machine–there’s a theory! I can buy into that one.

    • DanielPeterson

      Definitely not serious.

  • Bob Oliverio

    Seems like most desperate bloggers knows how to be ridiculous, silly or outrageous when they need hits/views to suck up to their sponsors!

    • DanielPeterson

      What in the world are you rambling about, Bob Oliverio?

      • Jeff Elhardt

        Just put the shoe on, Dr. P.

        • DanielPeterson

          I only wear two, Jeff Elhardt.

          Welcome to earth.

      • Bob Oliverio

        Just those bloggers who seem to have way too much time on their hands, feel guilty of being perceived of no real demanding job and don’t believe they get enough attention! Kind of like the “windshield wiper” Lindsay! That’s all.

        • DanielPeterson

          He’s a Ph.D, chemical engineer currently working, I believe, in China. I suspect that his job is at least as demanding as yours (if you’re employed).

  • rockyrd

    Talk about a biting satire! Love it!

  • RaymondSwenson

    is this akin to Hugh Nibley’s proof that the Lost Tribes were hiding on an island in Utah Lake?

  • EC Buck

    I think this guy needs to add a little more tinfoil to his hat.

  • David_Naas

    How absurd!
    Everyone knows that the source material for the BoM is _All Quiet on the Western Front_.
    What is Lindsay trying to pull here?
    (OK I can only sustain absurdity for so long. I would have suggested _Tom Sawyer_ as a “source”, but some poor damnfool would have taken it seriously.)
    But, isn’t Jeff Lindsay’s post rather old (in internet years)?

    • DanielPeterson

      Yes, it’s rather old (in internet years). But continuingly relevant. As shown, perhaps, by the number of hits this entry has received.

      • David_Naas

        :) Come now, sir. One would think you expect people to go about actually, you know, Checking Their Facts first or be exposed as ignorant idio… wait.

        Never mind. I think you just did. It Worked. Carry on.
        (What is it called when one goes seining for trolls?) :)

  • Beth

    As an LDS sister struggling with her face – these ‘mormon apologetics’ satirical pieces pitched against hard facts and research make me very uncomfortable and make the church look like a fraud. If all the church has to fall back on is to ignore/mock evidence produced showing that the Book of Mormon may have been a fraud – well, that’s 40 years of my life, time, talents, dedication, faith, sacrifice and committment you are mocking, along with my parents and grandparents. Does a person’s live and salvation not merit some serious research for rebutal or do you think we – LDS folk, struggling with our faith – deserve to be laughed at for critically thinking about obvious problems. I’m afraid that this is a sign that the church is one big fraud. If God is on our side, then surely the brethren can go to the only source of Truth and Knowledge. Or shall I just continue on between Mormonthink and The Joseph Smith Project papers. I mean, if LDS authorities can’t be trusted with answers to serious gospel questions, then why on earth would I consider continuing to consider myself under their ‘authority’? God does seem to be providing answers – but not through his designated priesthood authority. All they seem to be able to do is mock. (Ie: J. Holland ‘hyperventilate’ statement at last GC.) Utterly disgusted with an institution I trusted my eternal salvation. That trust cannot be redeemed by smarmy comments which treat seriously questioning mormon’s as if they are wholly so stupid that they do not merit any answer. Utterly disgusted.

    • DanielPeterson

      I’m sorry, Beth. I’m sincerely sorry that you’re having problems with your faith, and I’m sorry, frankly, that you imagine — despite Richard Anderson’s work on the Witnesses, and the scores of thousands of pages produced by FARMS and FAIR and Interpreter and BYU Studies, and despite Mark McConkie’s book on Joseph Smith, and despite Grant Hardy’s book on “Understanding Mormonism,” and despite Jack Welch’s book on “Opening the Heavens,” and despite dozens of other such relevant items — that Jeff Lindsay’s relatively brief satire, to which I linked above — is the only thing any believer has ever done to defend Mormonism against criticism.

      • RT

        I find it hard to believe that you cannot recognize this on your own, but simply telling someone who’s struggling with their faith that they’re a poor reader is hardly going to help them.

        • ClintonKing

          I guess Dan should have reposted the entire body of Mormon apologetic literature produced since BH Roberts in this comment thread.
          Those who regularly read this blog know that over the past year Dan has posted hundreds of links to serious apologetic writing.

        • IamMeWhoareYou

          RT – I see that you have shown your usual charity by providing Beth with help – wait no you didn’t – you took your usual jab at Bro Peterson and accused him of saying something he did not say.

        • DanielPeterson

          RT, where did I tell Beth that she’s a “poor reader”?

          The thought never crossed my mind.

          However, having written nothing of the kind, I’m tempted to say that you, who imagine yourself to have seen such a statement in my little post above, are indeed a poor reader.

    • IamMeWhoareYou

      I hope you can find comfort in President Uchtdorf’s talk Come join with us. You are loved and wanted in the Church. We all have questions and look for answers. I hope that you can find yours.

    • Ray Agostini

      “If all the church has to fall back on is to ignore/mock evidence
      produced showing that the Book of Mormon may have been a fraud – well,
      that’s 40 years of my life, time, talents, dedication, faith, sacrifice
      and committment you are mocking, along with my parents and grandparents.
      Does a person’s live and salvation not merit some serious research for
      rebutal or do you think we – LDS folk, struggling with our faith –
      deserve to be laughed at for critically thinking about obvious problems”

      Hello, Beth. The “serious research” you refer to has been done by the former Maxwell Institute since 1979, although it was not known as such in those days. Professor Peterson has been addressing these issues since 1989. And yes, he does owe your grandparents this. He owes it to them to expose the agenda of anti-Mormons. I’m not sure what your beef is? Is it against the Church, apologetics, or both? Seems like both to me. Beth, do you object to the vicious ex-Mormon commentary widely available on the Net, where some have even called for the death of Mormon leaders, at the extreme, or what Dan described as, “Secular Anti-Mormonism”?

      “But this doesn’t exhaust the pleasures of that message board. It is rife
      with personal abuse and bloodcurdling hostility, not uncommonly
      obscene, directed against people they don’t know and haven’t even
      met–against President Hinckley, Joseph Smith, the Brethren, the general
      membership of the Church, and even, somewhat obsessively, against one particular rather insignificant BYU professor. Ordinary members of the Church–Morgbots or Morons or Sheeple, in the jargon
      of the board–are routinely stereotyped as insane, tyrannical, cheap,
      bigoted, ill-mannered, irrational, sexually repressed, stupid, greedy,
      foolish, rude, poor tippers, sick, brain-dead, and uncultured. There was
      once even a thread–and I’m not making this up–devoted to discussing howMormons noisily slurp their soup in restaurants. Posts frequently
      lament the stupidity and gullibility of Church leaders, neighbors,
      parents, spouses, siblings, and even offspring–who may be wholly unaware of the anonymous poster’s secret double life of contemptuous disbelief. It is a splendid cyber illustration of the finger pointing and mocking found in the “great and spacious building” of 1 Nephi. Whenever the poisonous culture of the place is criticized, however, its defenders take refuge in the culture of victimhood, deploying a supposed need for therapeutic self-expression as their all-encompassing excuse.”


      And you have nothing to say about this? You expect Mormons to sit back and absorb blow after blow without defending themselves? Maybe, contrary to your view, your grandparents would welcome such defenses of the religion they cherished? Just a thought. Many seem to think that Mormons should just submit to verbal abuse after verbal abuse, and not respond. When they justifiably do – you call it “mocking” 40 years of your life? Colour me mystified.

    • RaymondSwenson

      Beth, I am 63 years old. When I was a teenager with the normal questions about the rationality of my church, I was fortunate that the local public library had several of the books written by Professor Hugh Nibley, a prodigious scholar of the ancient world who earned his PhD and then was drafted into the military intelligence corps in WW II because he became fluent in German when he served his mission there. He was in combat on D-Day and in Operation Market Garden (“A Bridge too Far”), and gained an appreciation for the no-nonsense military mind of Mormon, a general and the editor of his nation’s sacred records.

      Nibley demonstrated in books like Since Cumorah and Lehi in the Desert that the Book of Mormon was full of.unappreciated information about the ancient world, much of it correlating to the world of 600 BC Jerusalem where it begins. The main reason the information was unappreciated is that archeologists, historians and other scholars in our Western (Europe and US) civilization had just discovered those facts in the half century before Nibley wrote, well after the Book of Mormon was published in 1830. Joseph Smith could not have plagiarized those sources without a time machine, or at least what we would now call a time-jumping internet device. Somehow he appears to have had access to authentic information about the ancient world independent of the more retarded channels that the scholars had later used. The only rational explanation is that the Book of Mormon is, somehow, a real recird of real people who really came out of ancient Jewish civilization.

      In the decades since then, other scholars, many educated by Nibley, have carried on his work of finding these treasures in the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham, and Book of Moses. To recognize them, you needed to be familiar with the books, which mostly means being LDS because other people don’t want to invest the time to read them carefully, PLUS you have to learn state-of-the-art scholarship about the ancient Middle East, which more LDS have done under the influence of Nibley. Professor Peterson and his peers have devoted decades of their lives to extracting these gems in LDS scriptures and presenting them to us in the illumination of careful scholarship so the true brilliance of those gems, previously thought to be mere stones and stumblingblocks, can be appreciated by the less educated but faithful members of the Church like us. There is a great corpus of.this work, thousands of pages in dozens of books, that can be read for free on the Maxwell Institute web page at byu.edu. You cannot consider yourself to have really thought in a scholarly, intellectual way about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon if you have not thoughtfully engaged these books.

      Indeed, about a decade ago, two Evangelical Christian scholars pointed out that members of their own movement who critiqued the Book of Mormon had by and large failed to address this corpus of scholarship. The argument of Mosser and Owen could also be applied to LDS who claim to have been caught off guard by something they read on the internet, their testimonies destroyed. How much effort have they made to learn the scholarly arguments for Joseph Smith’s work as a seer? Claiming to harbor intellectual doubts about the Book of Mormon, while not having considered what Professor Peterson and his colleagues have compiled in decades of work, desplays a lack of sincerity. And we know from Moroni that only sincere questioners are answered by God.

      So I invite you to begin an exploration of those books and journal articles , and reread the Book of Mormon as you do so, and ask yourself how the Book of Mormon could be a fiction when it contains so many evidences of its authenticity, and such a profound appreciation for the atonement of Christ, of our power to choose between God and the Adversary, of the power of Christ’s mercy, of the ways we can open ourselves to faith that grows into certainty, and the tragedy of people who reject precious truths and descend into savagery because of their lack of humility. The Book of Mormon shows that mortal life is a tragedy if it is lived without the illumination and greater perspective that comes by revelation from our Heavenly Father.

  • brotheroflogan

    I love Lindsay’s piece. But it is a caution to believers as well as non-believers. We should not accept evidence in support of our view too lightly or we’ll look just as ridiculous. It can be a hard balance to strike.

    • DanielPeterson