Naturalistic Explanations for the Origin of the Book of Mormon: 1829 to 2018

Even before it was published, alternate stories were issued to compete with Joseph Smith’s explanation of the Book of Mormon’s origin. Five will be introduced and tracked chronologically: 1. The original manuscript of the Book of Mormon was written by Solomon Spaulding. 2. Collaborators helped Joseph Smith create the text. 3. Joseph Smith’s mental illness enhanced his writing ability. 4. Automatic writing—Joseph function as a spirit-medium while dictating the Book of Mormon. 5. Joseph Smith, perhaps with help from his environment, the Bible, and other books, was capable of producing the Book of Mormon from his own intellect.

Brian C. Hales, Amylin Peterson