Did Joseph Smith invent the Book of Mormon?

An examination based on the work of Robert D. Anderson

In 1999, Signature Books published Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith--Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon by psychiatrist Robert D. Anderson.  In it, the author makes the case that Joseph Smith authored the Book of Mormon himself, and inadvertently used many occurrences and individuals from his own life history as prototypes for the events and characters in the Book of Mormon.

I predict that the issues he raises will gain more and more prominence as discussion of the origin of the Book of Mormon continues into the future.  Hence, in my opinion, they deserve to be made known to as broad an audience as possible, so I will provide a very general outline here.

The author's first point is that during the course of the Book of Mormon Joseph Smith recites his veiled autobiography four times:

BOOK OF MORMONFirst RecitationSecond RecitationThird RecitationFourth Recitation
I Nephi 
II Nephi
Words of Mormon
Alma 1-50
Alma 52-63 
III Nephi 
IV Nephi

Dr. Anderson describes each retelling with their various particulars and psychological implications in separate chapters, but he does not provide a single, comprehensive list of Book of Mormon events which corresponded to Smith's life from birth to the time of dictation.  The Book of Mormon events in some retellings are more easily correspondable to events in Joseph's life than others, so I will draw a partial list of the more notable parallels here.  The different text colors correspond to the retelling with the same color in the above table.

Events in Joseph Smith's lifeEvents in the Book of MormonScripture References
Joseph born fourth (living) childNephi born fourth childI Ne. 2:5
Joseph has a sibling named SamuelNephi has a sibling named SamI Ne. 2:5
One of the Smith children named JosephOne of Lehi's children named JosephI Ne. 18:7
Joseph taken South (to Palmyra) by his father at about age 11Mormon carried South (to Zarahemla) by his father at age 11Mormon 1:6
Joseph claims he is visited of the Lord in his 15th yearMormon claims he is visited of the Lord at age 15Mormon 1:15
Joseph begins searching for hidden treasures in the earthInhabitants begin hiding treasures in the earthMormon 1:19
Joseph begins using sorceries, magics, etc.Sorceries, magics, etc. wrought upon the landMormon 1:19
Joseph unsuccessful in retreiving treasuresTreasures slippery and cannot be held or retainedMormon 1:18
Only one of the Stowells believe Joseph's supernatural claims, while none of the Lewises (Emma's cousins) doOnly one of the Amalekites believe Aaron's supernatural claims, while none of the Amulonites doAlma 23:14
"Ethan" (Smith) is the author of a book resembling and preceding Joseph's translation of the Nephite records"Ether" is the author of a book resembling and preceding Mormon's abridgment of the Nephite recordsEther 1:6
Anti-Masonic sentiment gains sudden prominence in Joseph's home stateAnti-"secret combination" sentiment gains sudden prominence in the Book of MormonHelaman 1:11-12

Readers should note that the material here does not necessarily negate the possibility of Joseph Smith having used one or both of "Manuscript Story" or View of the Hebrews as source material for the Book of Mormon, since Joseph may have gotten a general outline of setting and scope from the prior works and filled in the details on his own, with the above results.

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