The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Home Scripture CRITICISM Spaulding manuscript

Spaulding manuscript

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The spaulding document was one of the greatest charge against the book of Mormon at the beginning, since this manuscript was found it became a charge against the critics and a very good sample how they work against the truth:" By gossips, by assuming.
before to introduce "the View of the Hebrew" another charge against the Book of Mormon I'd like to explain better the story of the Spaulding.
Solomon Spaulding was born in Connecticut in 1761, he was ordained a Congregationalist minister. He wrote his novel, Manuscript found, in 1812, apparently in only one draft that was never revised for publication. This manuscript is a fictional historical romance which tells of a small group of Romans in the 4 century A.D. who on a voyage to Britain, were blown off course to the shores of North America. The narrator in the story finds the text hidden in a cave in Ohio and presents it as a translation from the original Latin. Spaulding died in 1816, and the story was not publish during his lifetime.
In 1834 Philastus Hurlbut, disaffect from the church of Jesus Christ lds, sought an explanation for the Book of Mormon, other than the one given by Joseph Smith. He announced that Joseph Smith had received the inspiration for the Book of Mormon's narrative from Spaulding's manuscript. While historians and most critics of the latter day saints faith have abandoned this "theory" some critics continue to believe it.
Like I wrote doctor Philastus Hurlbut seems to have been the first one to suggest this relationship between the 2 books. Hurlbut was excommunicated from the church, but after a while he came back to Kirtland in a professed spirit of repentance and he rejoined to the church. But on his way back to Pennsylvania he stopped in Thompson,Ohio, he was expelled from the church for attempting to seduce a lady. At this point he started his crusade against the church. He went to Springfield, Pennsylvania, he met a family who:"had been acquainted with the now widely known Mr Solomon Spaulding, and from them Hurlbut learned that this man had once written a romance and so on. He perceived that this romance could be used as a weapon against the hated church. Hurlbut returned to Kirtland and caused considerable excitement among anti Mormons with his theory and he wrote a book "Mormonism unveiled" in which he would reveal the secret. He contacted Spaulding's widow in Massachusetts and was able to locate the manuscript in a family trunk at the home of Jerome Clark in Hartwick, New York. Anyway he was disappointed and these are his words:"I obtained the manuscript which was reported to be the foundation of the Book of Mormon.....when upon examination I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject". Anyway, Hurlbut returned to Kirtland to finish his promised book. According to Benjamin Winchester, he" had not been there long, before he threatened to murder Joseph Smith Jun., for which he was bound over in the sum of 500 dollars, to keep the peace. While there, his best friends began to lose confidence in him, his reputation, waned rapidly, and the dark side of his character began to develop itself more fully....Those who where anxious that Mr. Hurlbut's work should come out, discovered it would not do to publish in his name, his reputation was so rotten; they advised him therefore, to sell it to Mr. E.D.Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, for 500 dollars. Mr. H. got the money, and gave up his manuscript, thus "Mormonism unveiled" became the adopted offspring of Mr. Howe.
Even though he had the physical possession of the original manuscript, Howe didn't publish it. He was so uninterested in it that it became lost among the papers in his office and was not rediscovered until it was found in Hawaii in 1884. Howe did, however, print testimonies purported to be from Sapulding's family and friends who claimed to have remembered reading the work many years later. It is not definitely known who gathered these testimonies, but since they have been shown to be false with the reappearance of the manuscript, it seem safe to assume that they were with the material Hurlbut sold Howe. The testimonies claimed that most of the main incidents in the Book of Mormon originated with Solomon Spaulding; that proper names found in the book of Mormon, such as Nephi, Lehi, Laban, Zarahemla and Moroni, were the exact names found in Solomon's manuscript. In 1834 the credibility of these testimonies was at best suspect. But the rediscovery of the original manuscript in 1884 proved them to be lies. Spaulding's characters were not Jews from Jerusalem, but Romans from Rome. There was not a single book of Mormon proper name in it. He never used the book of Mormon phrases "it come to pass" or "now it come to pass"
The discovery of the manuscript.
In 1884 L.L. Rice of Honolulu Hawaii, discovered the Spaulding manuscript between some old antislavery documents in his possession. In the 1830s Rice had purchased Howe's newspaper, the Painesville Telegraph, along with papers that had belonged to Howe. He apparently was unaware of the manuscript and its interest to the latter day saints and their henemies. Included with the manuscript was an affidavit written by Philastus Hurlbut, invoking the names of witnesses who knew the document to be the work of Spaulding. Rice donated the manuscript to James H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, to be included in the college's archival collection. It remains there today. In 1885 the Reorganized church published the Spaulding manuscript, based on a copy made after it arrived in Oberlin. The following year, the Church of Jesus Christ of lds published it also, based on a copy Rice transcribed himself while the manuscript was still in his possession in Hawaii.

Another charge was that Sidney Rigdon wrote the book of Mormon, or better somebody is willing to think that the Spaulding's manuscript was in his hands, to be embellished, altered, that was ridiculous for 2 reasons, the copyright: think about it if Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon, why he left Joseph to take to copyright? But still the greatest evidence of this wrong idea is the fact that Sidney Rigdon was baptized in the church one year after the publishing of the Book of Mormon. There was no connection between him and Joseph.
The main point in this discussion would have been if Joseph Smith had in his possession this manuscript but no one was able to prove it, but having found the original now it is very easy to show that in either cases, Joseph and Sidney Rigdon didn't have it, because this book is an entirely different story. If you want to take a look at this book you can find it in every Deseret book store the title is "Manuscript found" the complete original "Spaulding manuscript" edited by Kent P. Jackson.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 March 2011 13:07  

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