Poor Uneducated Farm Boy

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

Many wonder how I can believe that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon himself, or possibly had help writing it. I often get comments from people saying things like, “He was just a poor uneducated farm boy!” and they go on and on about how complex the Book of Mormon is. I disagree.

First of all, we need to remember that the first edition of the Book of Mormon (published in 1830) was written in paragraph form, like a novel is today. It wasn’t anything close to what we see now in our scriptures. There were no numbered chapters and verses… no cross referencing or footnotes. The first edition was also full of grammatical errors, and there have been those who claim that the Book of Mormon has been changed 3,913 times. So much for the “Most correct book on earth.”

Many authors of Joseph Smith’s time read the Book of Mormon and were not impressed. Mark Twain even claimed that the Book of Mormon was “chloroform in print.” Here is a piece from his review of the Mormon Scripture:

The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James's translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel -- half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern -- which was about every sentence or two -- he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as "exceeding sore," "and it came to pass," etc., and made things satisfactory again. "And it came to pass" was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet. Mark Twain, Roughing It.

There are plenty more reviews just like that one, but I won’t go on and on about them. Lets just say that the complete work of the Book of Mormon isn’t exactly the complex, flawless book that most Mormon’s insist… it’s more up to personal opinion.

Joseph Smith was born in 1805. The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. Why is it that people believe Joseph Smith was 14 when we talk about his age at the time of the translation? It simply isn’t so. He was a grown man, married. Many authors have written amazing works younger than Joseph Smith was when he supposedly translated the Book of Mormon, like Earnest Hemmingway.

Joseph Smith was also home taught by his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, and to quote her he was extensively home schooled in “reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic.” So much for the uneducated farm boy, huh? Most historians believe he was creative, articulate, and well read. While his formal education was limited, most people don’t realize that his father, Joseph Smith Sr., worked as a school teacher during the off season, his brother Hyrum also worked as a teacher. This wasn’t a family of illiterates. There is also proof that Joseph Smith was going to high school when he was 20 years old in Harmony, Pennsylvania with the Stowell children.

View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith was a very popular book that was published in New England in the late 1820’s which he said that the American Indians are really descended from Hebrews, and that they came to America separated into two groups, one good, one wild and bloodthirsty. They had wars, until finally one wiped out the other. Sound familiar? Here are some more things that are a little too familiar between these two books…

  • Origin of the inhabitants of the American continents
  • Destruction Of Jerusalem
  • Stories of a “Lost Book”
  • Breastplate and the Urim and Thummin
  • Egyptian Hieroglyphics
  • Barbarous and civilized people
  • Isaiah and the scattering of Isreal
  • Quetzalcoatl
  • The future gathering of Israel and restoration of the Ten Lost Tribes
  • The peopling of the New World from the Old via a long journey northward which encountered “seas” of “many waters”
  • A religious motive for the migration
  • The description of extensive military fortifications with military observatories or “watch towers” overlooking them.
  • A change from monarchy to republican forms of government
  • The preaching of the gospel in ancient America
  • Both tell of prophets in ancient America
  • Both Maintain that the purpose of America in the last days is to gather up the remnants of Israel, bringing them into Christianity, and bringing forth the millennium.

Many other people claim that Joseph Smith was simply the person chosen to deliver the Book of Mormon to the world, and that another person had written the actual text. Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Solomon Spalding have all been thrown around as original authors of the Book of Mormon.

There are plenty more reasons why I don’t believe the Book of Mormon to be directly from God, and I will probably post more about it another day. Until then, have a good night.


  1. Nicko Says:


    Quoting Twain?? thats laughable at best...

    As for the his commentary, the use of the term 'And it came to pass' is at best an insight into Hebrew Customs as it is..

    We are going to disagree here so I won't bother posting a reply. I think it funny however that you can honestly pick the BoM up and claim that it is not sophisticated....it is clearly written by a fairly skilled Author...not just thrown together out of the blue.

  1. Sydney Says:


    Why is quoting Mark Twain laughable at best? Say what you want about his personal beliefs, but you can't deny he knew how to tell a damn good story. He knew his literature.

    I can definitely pick up the Book of Mormon and claim it's not sophisticated. It's not very impressive in my book... pardon the unintentional pun.

    There are way too many things that point out the Book of Mormon isn't what Joseph Claims to be.

    Take these topics I mentioned in this article, and add the items mentioned in the BoM that didn't exist in the Americas at the time Joseph was describing, as well as the hundreds of corrections to the book.

    It doesn't add up. If you were on a jury deciding someone's fate, the evidence would be overwhelming. I understand you are a believer and I respect that, but my opinions are not laughable. They are honest. You have to look at things from a skeptics point of view or you will end up believing anything... right?

    There are way too many problems... the evidence speaks for itself.

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Rhetorical sophistication and skill: the Book of Mormon is lacking. Remove all the "and it came to passes" and "smote off his heads" and you'd have a book half its size. While it may have some nice messages in it, literary and well-written it ain't.

  1. Ten Bear Says:

    I'd go even farther and say that the BofM was a compilatin of many a documentation, books, pamphlets, flyers, journals and all writings that addressed "hot topics" of the day. Case in point: On the Website "Early American Influences", the author(s) have found many Revolutionary War stories that were published before the BofM was even thought of. When you read the War stories out of the BofM, they read almost word for word with older Revolutionary War stories and stories of George Washington and the hero he was.

    Ya, I can tell you whats laughable.

  1. Nicko Says:

    That is not even worth commenting on.....I'm sorry. The burden of proof that you claim to want all the time (you and the other posters in this thread) just won't amount to anything because your mind is made up to the point that you won't even slightly entertain the thought that JS could not have written the book. Plagirism has been used for so long now, it almost makes me yawn when I hear people using it....

  1. Sydney Says:

    We have definitely made up our mind because we see it for what it is and not for what Joseph Smith and the church WANTS us to see.

    Again and again I say this, but I will try one more time.

    If you want someone to believe something so fantastic, you should be willing to back it up with facts and evidence. If you can't, people won't believe you.

    You take this huge leap of faith to believe the church, yet you won't take a leap of faith to believe us? Check these things out for yourself if you don't agree.

    I guess you will understand why the Book of Mormon makes me yawn.