For six weeks in the summer of 2012, eight student scholars from all over the United States and from Europe met daily in the Maxwell Institute library to discuss and research the topic “The Cultural History of the Gold Plates.” This seminar was hosted by the Maxwell Institute and directed by Richard Bushman. The Summer Seminar Papers 2012 are the result of the research done by the students and were presented at a BYU symposium on June 23, 25, and 26, 2012.

The Other Plates: Deja Vu or Something New?
By Jeremy Talmage

On September 13th, 1845, four men armed with various implements of excavation made their way to a small hill overlooking the White River in southern Wisconsin. They had been instructed that there they would find an ancient artifact buried in the ground. Having been led to the site, they found an old oak tree marking the spot where they should begin digging. They commenced their work by removing the tree and top levels of soil, where about three feet down the men encountered an earthen encasement that crumbled under the force of their shovels. Probing a little deeper, they exhumed three tiny brass plates. The peculiar plates appeared to be thoroughly covered in a set of strange hieroglyphics in an unknown language. This discovery created rather large stir for the small Midwestern community and its fame quickly spread abroad after facsimiles of the plates were published.

Those four men who unearthed the plates would later testify that they were led to the spot by a certain James Strang. Strang claimed that only twelve days earlier an angel of the Lord appeared to him with an important message. In his own words he recounts that, "The angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, and the light shined above the brightness of the sun, and showed me the plates, of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the Urim and Thumim".[1] Accompanying this marvelous manifestation from heaven, Strang was entrusted with a mission. The angel commanded him to "Speak thou unto the Elders of my Church and say unto them: Hear my voice, and hearken unto my words, for they are true and faithful. Testify, testify unto him who has received my word and turned away."[2]

Five days after their discovery, Strang by means of the borrowed Urim and Thummim offered up a translation of the record. The short tale tells of the final struggle of an ancient people, written by a Native American named Rajah Manchou of Vorito. In the same way that the Book of Mormon was seen as a validation of the calling of Joseph Smith, Strang's plates acted as a testimony and witness that the mantel of prophet rightfully belonged to Strang alone.

Strang's story exhibited an uncanny number of parallels with the life of Joseph Smith. Like Smith, he had been raised in upstate New York, came from a family of struggling farmers, and was primarily self-educated. But beyond these superficial similarities, Strang's discovery of the brass plates closely mirrored the provenance of the Book of Mormon. In the accounts of both Joseph Smith and James Strang, an angel led them to a hill to find buried metal plates encrypted in unknown languages. Both men also used a curious object called the Urim and Thummim to translate a record which told of a prehistoric American race.

The similarities between the two were not lost on others and Strang was mockingly labeled the "latest Mormon humbug."[3] This however, only raises the question as to exact the relationship between Smith and Strang's plates. There are some unmistakable parallels, but exactly how important are these similarities and where do they end? This paper is an attempt to evaluate the imitators of the golden plates and make sense of both the commonalities and the differences between the two. As it turns out, James Strang would only be the first of many claiming to have discovered the Book of Mormon version 2.0.

It comes as no surprise that the Book of Mormon-like Strangite record received little attention from those outside the Mormon movement. When the media did pick up on his story, it was quickly dismissed as the product of a deluded mind.[4] Yet, within Mormon circles it created quite the controversy. Strang's tale was not so fantastic or outlandish that Mormons would not believe it. In fact, Strang presupposed some familiarity with the Book of Mormon and used it as a framework of Mormon lore to build around by translating the record of Rajah Manchou and later the eighteen brass plates of Laban mentioned in 1 Nephi. In the midst of the succession crisis that followed Joseph Smith's death, Strang uniquely claimed to fill Joseph's role as prophet, seer, revelator, and president of the church. He was even able to convince prominent church members of his appointment, including some members of the Smith family and Book of Mormon witnesses Martin Harris, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Hiram Page. Strang's plates set him apart from all others aspiring for the position of prophet and presented a unique and difficult challenge to the leadership of Brigham Young.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles publicly retaliated by censuring Strang in a letter they distributed in January 1846, announcing his excommunication and characterizing his revelations as a wicked forgery.[5] The Twelve it seemed would go to any lengths to put an end to this unrighteous usurper. The letter went on to say, "It is a lie ˗ a forgery ˗ a snare... we hope you will see your error and flee from it, and save yourselves from the snare of deception and the Devil."[6] Later that year in March, an incensed Apostle Orson Hyde would go one step further by printing and disseminating a revelation he received concerning Strang in the Millennial Star which read, "James J. Strang, successor of Sidney Rigdon, Judas Iscariot, Cain & Company, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of his most Gracious Majesty, Lucifer the I."[7] Hyde's comments went on to say in the Lord's voice that, "James J. Strang hath cursed my people by his own spirit and not by mine. Never, at any time have I appointed that wicked man to lead my people."[8]

This harsh condemnation from the leadership of the Church dissuaded most members from joining the Strangite sect of Mormons who had made their way to settle in Voree, Wisconsin. Yet, the callous reaction of the Twelve is in some ways paradoxical to the Mormon hierarchy's own perpetual pursuit of additional plates. Orson Pratt, one of the Twelve that vehemently dismissed Strang's discovery, anxiously awaited the time when more scripture would be revealed. In a private meeting with David Whitmer he pryingly inquired, "Have you any idea when the other records will be brought forth?"[9] Whitmer replied that judging by the signs of the times, they should be expected very soon. His answer was rather indicative of the perennial Mormon expectation that other plates would shortly be discovered.

Even before the official establishment of the church, Mormons anticipated the publication of other ancient records. The Book of Mormon was to be followed by "other books, which came forth by the power of the Lamb".[10] These other records include parts of the Book of Mormon that were sealed and revelations given to biblical authors hidden from the world.[11] The Book of Mormon also explicitly predicts the arrival of other unfamiliar narratives belonging to the lost tribes of Israel.[12] This expectation for other records has never completely disappeared from the Mormon leadership. From the pulpit at general conference on October 8, 1916, Apostle James E. Talmage prophesied that,

"I say unto you there are those now living - aye, some here present - who shall live to read the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel, which shall be made one with the record of the Jews, or the Holy Bible, and the record of the Nephites, or the Book of Mormon, even as the Lord hath predicted: and those records, which the tribes lost to man but yet to be found again shall bring, shall tell of the visit of the resurrected Christ to them, after He had manifested Himself to the Nephites upon this continent."[13]

This unique religious hope of Mormons to find other records of lost civilizations continues into the present.[14] At times, leaders of the church have expressed merely a casual desire to find plates that could validate the tenets of Mormonism, but at other moments they have actively engaged in a search for plates. One such incident occurred in the 1970's when one man's fantastic tale of discovery piqued the curiosity of some very prominent church officials.[15] Important discussions were held in the highest circles of church leadership and in 1976, Elder Mark E. Petersen and Howard W. Hunter made a special trip from Salt Lake City down to Manti, Utah to visit a man named Earl Brewer.[16]

Brewer claimed that over a decade earlier he was led by an acquaintance to a secret cave located directly behind the Manti Temple. His friend had found arrowheads in the cave and Brewer continued the process of excavation until eventually he stumbled upon an assortment of metal tablets. These tablets, Brewer years later said, told the story of the first band of Jaredites that landed on the American continent. Their leader was a man named Piron, a deputy commander and a previously unknown brother to Jared mentioned in the Book of Mormon. While a full translation of these plates does not exist, the account tells of their struggles, wars, technologies, and mundane affairs of everyday life.[17]

For whatever reason, Elder Petersen and Elder Hunter left the meeting unconvinced that these tablets were in any way related to the Book of Mormon and seemingly divorced themselves from the rising controversy surrounding their discovery. Shortly thereafter, a wave of reports began to be published by neighbors and scholars denouncing Brewer's artifacts as forgeries. Brewer stood by his claims. To combat the defamation of his reputation he decided to show the cave and the artifacts to a friend who published his testimony affirming their authenticity.[18]

The similarities between Brewer's plates found buried in a hill and its accompanying witness should resonate with those familiar with the genesis of the Book of Mormon. However, later discoveries of plates would parallel Joseph Smith's own discovery in a multitude of other ways. With the arrival of the new millennium came a flurry of imitators of the Book of Mormon. The first unearthing of plates related to the Book of Mormon came in Sanpete County, Utah where a group claims to have in their possession the records of the ancient Nemenhah people. Known as the Mentinah Archives, these records trace the history of the followers of Hagoth mentioned in Alma 63 through their journeys into the land northward. The account follows the travels of this break off Nephite faction and reveals the back-story of important Book of Mormon characters like Samuel the Lamanite, Captain Moroni, and the people of Ammon. These documents written on various materials including metal, stone, vellum, and paper were originally stashed in several locations throughout North and Central America, but are now strictly guarded in a library hidden deep within the mountains of Central Utah. Supposedly, a council of descendents of the ancient Nemenhah have undertaken the task to translate the records and first began to publish them in 2004.[19] Very little is known about the Nemenhah people. The Nemenhah are not a federally recognized tribe and the Mentinah Archives are widely believed to be the work of a single naturopathic medicine man named Philip R. Landis.[20]

Very shortly thereafter, Christopher Nemelka came forward claiming to have translated the entire sealed portion of the Book of Mormon. This prodigious project encompasses almost all of human history and answers nearly every Mormon ambiguity along the way. The audience is introduced to new characters and new doctrines, including the worship of heavenly goddesses and the forgotten tale of Eve's secret love child with Satan. The work begins by recounting an unrecorded vision given to Adam of both the preexistence and future, including his commentary and instruction to his posterity. Adam condemns the Latter-day Church for its pretentious enforcement of the health code and despicable temple work on behalf of the dead. The book as a whole appears to espouse eudemonistic tendencies throughout. Each individual is given different eternal laws so there is to be no judging and no collective accountability.

This work known as The Sealed Portion: The Final Testament of Jesus Christ was first published in 2005, though the story begins well before that. Nemelka claims that in 1987, while working as a security guard at the Salt Lake Temple, he found incriminating evidence proving that church leaders were intentionally misleading members. To his satisfaction he obtained proof that in the correspondence of church officials the organization had fallen out of favor with God. Then, on June 16, 1987, while snooping around in an upper room of the temple late at night, he was suddenly visited by two angelic guests.[21] To his surprise, the visitors were his own grandfather and Joseph Smith. Smith told him he had been chosen to translate the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon because church leaders were not worthy. Immediately before him appeared the gold plates and the Urim and Thummim that was to aid in the translation process. He at once took possession of these objects entrusted to him, yet the translation did not come about right away. Nemelka emphasizes that this was due to his constant need to conceal these artifacts and not for any lack of spiritual power on his part.[22] He claims to be assisted in this work by Joseph Smith, Moroni, the brother of Jared, the Three Nephites, and John the Beloved.[23] Nemelka alone is uniquely qualified for this project as the reincarnation of Hyrum Smith, who was assigned this important task shortly before his martyrdom in Carthage jail.

Nemelka generously supplements the account already contained within the Book of Mormon, putting an entirely new spin on familiar stories. Others who recently claimed to have found plates take a different approach by telling untold tales relating to Mormonism. In October 2006, Matthew Gill claims to have received an unexpected knock at the front door of his flat in Derbyshire, England. On his doorstep he found twenty-four brass plates in an ancient language that was called the Book of Jeraneck. He at once commenced the translation and in only three short months the task was complete. The story recounts the travels of a group that knows the brother of Jared from the Book of Mormon and lives near the tower of Babel. This party is separated from the brother of Jared and eventually makes their journey to settle and populate the British Isles. Fascinatingly, Gill proposes that Jeraneck's group built Stonehenge and used it for temple worship.[24]

Most recently, a group called the Council of Seers published a variety of books related to the Mormon tradition. Among them are the Book of Lehi, which contains the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Joseph the Son of Lehi, the Book of Zelph, the Second Book of Moroni, and the Writings of Moroni. This group of translators, lead by Samuel Warren Shaffer and Hava Pratt Bryant, claims that their prophetic mission started early in the spring of 2010 when Shaffer was awakened from a nap by an angel who introduced himself as Nephi from the Book of Third Nephi. After being taken on a heavenly ascent, Shaffer is instructed by the angel on how to use the Urim and Thummim and shown a multitude of records hidden within the Hill Cumorah. While this group does not purport to have physical possession of the plates, through the means of the Urim and Thummim they claim to have access to a plethora of ancient records.

Reaction to the various groups that profess to have translated plates is quite varied. The vast majority of orthodox Mormons have never heard of these groups on the periphery and those that do quickly dismiss them as impostors. Deeply instilled within most Mormons is the belief that if any records were to come forward, it would only be through the proper channels of church leadership. It is not the discovery itself that dissuades belief, but the means by which they are made public. Others within Mormonism take these claimants much more seriously. Apologists of the faith have devoted entire articles and websites to scientifically falsify their claims.[25] They are always on the lookout since Jesus warned of false prophets disguised in a cloak of sheep's skin seeking for any opportunity to infiltrate, deceive, and ultimately destroy the fold.[26]

Believers in the veracity of these other plates point out that those who unearth these records are merely following God's modus operandi. Joseph Smith's experience provided a pattern and other records are being revealed in exactly the same way. Many of those who have discovered ancient plates self identify with Joseph Smith and likewise proclaim that the canon of scripture cannot have human controls. They maintain that a prophet is never accepted among his own kin.[27] Both those who dismiss the plates and those who believe in them find ample support within the teachings of Mormonism.

Even Mormons who believe that these recent plates are the work of imitators conscientiously attempting to impersonate Joseph Smith must acknowledge the obvious resonances with his story. The tale is almost always the same, except for slight modifications to the standard saga. An angelic apparition leads the visionary to find a buried cache of metal plates. These plates are then nearly always translated by means of the Urim and Thummim and in every case tell of an ancient race. Even the lore surrounding these records echoes that of the Book of Mormon. The ever elusive plates are not publically displayed but to a select few who can be trusted to act as special witnesses to the world of their truthfulness. In some cases, certain women can only have the privilege of thumbing through the plates as they sit on the table covered by a thin cloth, just as Emma Smith did.[28] It is no real surprise then that these recent discoverers have commonly been treated as "just a 21st century version of Mormonism’s founding prophet."[29]

In a myriad of ways these imitators appear to mimic the story of Joseph Smith, but the more important question of how they relate to the Book of Mormon is still unanswered. Ostensibly, the modern plates are very much akin to the Book of Mormon. Even a cursory glance will reveal a great deal of similarities between the two. Critics of these recent records have found it sufficient to state that these books lack the sophistication and complexity of the Book of Mormon, but this naive literary criticism is entirely subjective and in no way contributes to our understandings of these writings. Their focus has always been on what these plates are not and little attention has been paid to what they are. My proposal is to take both the Book of Mormon and these recent plate discoveries seriously and attempt to classify them within known categories of Christian literature to better understand the relationship between the two.

To begin, one must first define what the Book of Mormon is. The question of genre is more difficult than it might seem, since the book is a complex compilation of visions, prophecies, historical commentary, didactic exhortation, sermons, and spiritual allegories. In that way, one might rightly call the book biblical. However, I believe the book is at best only quasi-biblical. Determining the Book of Mormon's true relationship with the Bible is crucial to our understanding of classification. While the Book of Mormon is full of biblical quotations and heavily employs biblical language, it resists being grouped with the Bible. This becomes explicitly clear when these books are interpreted in Second Nephi as autonomous witnesses for Christ.[30] There is no literary dependence from the Bible since the principle Book of Mormon peoples including the Nephites, Jaredites, and Mulekites are nowhere to be found in any biblical writings. Therefore, The Book of Mormon is not a variation on the Bible that attempts to supplement or supplant it, but acts to independently fortify the biblical text.

Going forward, I believe the most fruitful way to classify the Book of Mormon is as a Gospel. In broad terms it conveys the book's claim as being a new revelation from heaven. Like other Gospels, it follows a historical narrative of events. While this might seem to be an oversimplification, the only apparent difference between the Book of Mormon and the Gospels found in the New Testament is length.[31] This ostensible discrepancy in length only holds true if one measures by the number of verses and not overall scope. The Gospel of John begins "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God" harkening back to distant primordial times. Further, the Gospel of Matthew ends with the Jesus' promise that he will always be with his disciples, even until the end of the world. On close inspection, the canonical gospels encompass all of human history and beyond. Both the Gospels and the Book of Mormon can be understood as a composite collection of history, parables, stories, and teachings.[32]

The Book of Mormon, like the New Testament Gospels, purports to be a keystone scriptural text. In the same way the Gospels were written to support the historical and theological claims of the early Jesus movement, the Book of Mormon acts as the backbone of Mormonism. The Book of Mormon's authority does not come from the Bible, but from the voice of God declaring it to be his work.[33] However, this is not the case with all the other plates that have come forth after the Book of Mormon since they rely heavily on the Book of Mormon to prop up their own claims. Their narratives build on top of an already established foundation. In each case, they assume the Book of Mormon as a basis for belief and starting place for further development. Resting on the laurels of their predecessor, their tales evolve out of familiar Book of Mormon stories.

Therefore, we might classify the other plates as comprising a secondary strata of scripture. They act as a sequel to the Book of Mormon or often as a spinoff. Without the Book of Mormon they cannot exist. Thus, the other plates mirror another piece of Christian literature, the apocrypha, especially the publication of the apocryphal acts in the early Christian era. Volumes of literature were written concerning New Testament characters attempting to provide a greater portrait of their lives and missions. The ancient apocrypha took on a variety of shapes, but as a basic definition they attempted to rework the received Christian tradition and supplement the original text.[34] In general they did four things; they provided answers to the unexplained, told legendary adventures, shed detail on little known characters, and pushed for the reversal of fundamental theological notions.

The word apocrypha is Greek for "hidden away" and communicates that the contents of the books contain mysterious and secret teachings. Most of the time, this knowledge was deemed too profound to be communicated except to the initiated. One of the most prolific propagators of early Christian apocrypha was a group of Christians called the Gnostics. As their name implies in Greek, they purported to possess an abundance of secret knowledge. One such example of ancient apocrypha is the aptly named Apocryphon of John, which was part of the Gnostic Nag Hammadi collection. This book introduces Christians to secret teaching not contained in the extant New Testament. In this revelation, the apostle John learns of mysteries hidden from the world at large including a plethora of unfamiliar gods and goddesses.

In a similar vein Christopher Nemelka's The Sealed Portion: The Final Testament of Jesus Christ introduces the audience to a variety of heavenly goddesses that were worshipped anciently by Book of Mormon peoples. Referred to as Heavenly Mothers, they appear in abundance and some are even named. These goddesses are conspicuously absent in the Book of Mormon itself, but The Sealed Portion restores these characters to center stage.

Another prominent feature of the apocrypha is the telling of New Testament character's spectacular adventures. One such work is the Apocryphal Acts of Thomas that relates the fantastic tale of Thomas' missionary travels to India following Christ's resurrection. In this account, Thomas journeys to the distant reaches of the known world preaching Christianity and winning converts through miraculous means. As many Christians hope in Jesus' promise that the whole world will hear his gospel, this book pretends to tell the untold story of how that happened.

In a similar fashion, Mormons believe that other cultures besides those mentioned in the Book of Mormon had messianic expectations. Matthew Gill's Book of Jeraneck tells a story of an unknown people that did exactly that. Separated from the Jaredites, this group makes its way to Britain after harrowing trials and miraculous deliverance. The Book of Jeraneck conveniently fills the gap between Mormon expectations and understanding.

Another thing that the apocryphal acts often do is shed light on esoteric characters.[35] For example, almost nothing is known about the Apostle Thomas other than a short story recounting his refusal to accept hearsay concerning Christ's resurrection and his mention as a member of the Twelve Apostles. Our paucity of knowledge concerning Thomas ends here since he is never again mentioned in the New Testament. However, the Acts of Thomas tells us both Thomas' history as well as what happens to him after Jesus' ministry. As it turns out, Thomas is actually Jesus' identical twin. He initially refuses his brother's commandment to preach to India and is sold into slavery by Jesus himself. Eventually, after recounting his various missions to India the reader is informed how Thomas met the martyrs death.

The imitators of the Book of Mormon are also keen to elaborate on the little known figures in the Book of Mormon. The Mentinah Archives are a prime example as they tell the complicated travels of the people of Hagoth briefly mentioned in the Book of Alma. Mormons can only guess what happened to this small tribe that broke away from the Nephites, but the Mentinah Archives illuminates the adventures of this group and their descendents all the way down to the present day. This work also elucidates the history of certain characters that seem to come out of nowhere in the Book of Mormon, like Samuel the Lamanite and Captain Moroni.

The final thing that all apocryphal writings appear to do is push for a fundamental change in doctrine. This is accomplished by either making small corrective adjustments or introducing entirely new revelations. While on the surface these tales might appear to simply be the telling of an unfamiliar story, they are always paired with some theological agenda.[36] One of the most common tropes in the ancient apocrypha that occurs over and over is a call to asceticism, like in the Acts of Philip or the Acts of Peter. In these books, the Apostles appear to be preaching a strengthened code of morality. Other apocryphal works push for an extreme reversal in theological understanding. For example, the Acts of John has heavy docetic overtones describing Jesus at times as being completely immaterial with no physical body. This mystifying teaching is an attempt to illustrate how Jesus only seemed to suffer and die, but in reality was not present in our world at all.

In ancient Christianity, the apocryphal acts used the perceived authority of the Apostles to legitimatize certain positions against alleged heretics or apostates. It comes as little surprise then that we find the most common source for Mormon-like apocrypha among sects of the Latter-day Saint community claiming the church has entered into a state of full-fledged apostasy. Christopher Nemelka's work typifies the trend of pushing for doctrinal change. The Sealed Portion condemns current church moral codes and corrects what he sees as flaws in the LDS temple ordinances. As mentioned earlier, in his book Adam perceives vicarious temple work as a pointless endeavor and attempts to give a true interpretation of the temple rites. As is the case with the ancient apocrypha, the condemnation of certain practices or beliefs does not come as a novel revelation from God, but rather draws power from the lives and teachings of ancient authorities.

Still, the question remains what is behind the recent boom in stories purporting to be written on metal plates. The answer to this question is twofold. First, as seen with the early Christian apocrypha, there appears to be no temporal limits to the rise of apocryphal texts. Once the foundational documents are in place production can be done on demand. New Testament apocrypha came onto the scene shortly after the Gospel accounts and continued to be written well into the middle-ages.[37] The second reason why these stories begin to appear more frequently of late, which the ancient apocrypha cannot explain, is most likely related to the proliferation of the internet. Groups possessing apocryphal texts tend to exist on the margins of Mormon society and the internet allows them a opportune medium to reach out to a worldwide audience. It is entirely possible that many more supposed plate discoveries existed whose stories have simply disappeared without the internet's power to publicize these events.

The Book of Mormon is a unique foundational scripture for many Mormon groups. It professes to be an American Gospel, a new revelation telling of God's dealings with the people of the American continent. However, the imitators of the gold plates failed to replicate the audacity of the original. They depend on the Book of Mormon as framework for their own narratives and therefore can only exist as a secondary class of literature. They can never stand independently. Besides this subtle difference, their stories of discovery, concealment, and translation, closely mirror that of the Book of Mormon. Their form and content is also at times indistinguishable. This close relation between two books is not exceptional, but an example of a documented historical phenomenon. As the Book of Mormon has increasingly become accepted as scripture by many people, it is no surprise that we have seen what I have dubbed as the rise of the American Apocrypha. In conclusion, the relation between the Book of Mormon and the other plates is best summed up in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It's like deja vu, all over again!"

[1] Milo Quaife, The Kingdom of Saint James: A Narrative of the Mormons. (Kessinger Publishing, New York: 2004): 186.

[2] Ibid, 187.

[3] O. W. Riegel, Crown of Glory: The Life of James J. Strang, Moses of the Mormons. (Yale University Press, New Haven: 1935): 51.

[4] Roger Van Noord, Assassination of a Michigan King: The Life of James Jesse Strang. (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor: 1997): 36.

[5] January 24, 1846 letter addressed to the branches of the Church in the neighborhood of Ottawa, quoted in Milo Quaife, The Kingdom of Saint James: A Narrative of the Mormons. (Kessinger Publishing, New York: 2004): 22.

[6] Ibid.

[7] O. W. Riegel, Crown of Glory: The Life of James J. Strang, Moses of the Mormons. (Yale University Press, New Haven: 1935): 51.

[8] Ibid, 57.

[9] Orson Pratt/ Joseph F. Smith Interview 7-8 September 1878, Richmond, Missouri. Deseret News, 16 November 1878. Quoted in Lyndon W. Cook, David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness. (Grandin Book Company, Provo: 1991): 43.

[10] See 1 Nephi 13: 39.

[11] See Ether 4: 4-6, 16

[12] See 2 Nephi 29: 13.

[13] Quoted in James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City: 1977): 514.

[14] See Monte S. Nyman, “Other Ancient American Records Yet to Come Forth,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10 no. 1 (2001): 52-61.

[15] Letter from Elder Petersen to Paul Cheesman quoted in John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures. (Bonneville Books, Springville: 2001): 21.

[16] Ibid, 22.

[17] Assorted translations by John Brewer, June-December 1974, in MSS 2049, Box 24, Fd. 3, Paul R. Cheesman (1921-1991) Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

[18] John Heinerman, Hidden Treasures of Ancient American Cultures. (Bonneville Books, Springville: 2001): 22-23.

[19] Metinah: A History of the Ancient Nemenhah People. Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://mentinah.com/main/about-the-records/history/

[20] For treatment of the Nemenhah tribe see http://whistlingelk.blogspot.com/2009/05/sad-curious-tale-of-rampant-duplicity.html and http://provopulse.com/?q=node/1538

[21] The Sealed Portion: The Final Testament of Jesus Christ. (2008). P. 592-593 retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.thesealedportion.com/tsp/download/TSPSecured.pdf

[22] Ibid, p. 581.

[23] Dear Presidents Monson, Eyring and Uchtdorf: (2010). Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://chrisnemelka.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/cn-Letter_to_Office_of_the_First_Presidency_of_the_LDS_Ch.pdf

[24] The Book of Jeraneck Explained Part Two. (2008). Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc9vdynFm0o&feature=relmfu

[25] See Forgeries. (2010). Retrieved July 23, 2012 from http://fr.fairmormon.org/Forgeries.

[26] See Matthew 7: 15

[27] See Mark 6: 4

[28] The Book of Jeraneck Explained Part Two. (2008). Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc9vdynFm0o&feature=relmfu

[29] Bill McKeever, Christopher Nemelka- The Reincarnated Hyrum Smith? Retrieved July 20, 2012 from http://www.mrm.org/christopher-nemelka.

[30] See 2 Nephi 29: 3-8.

[31] Other Christian works exist that have been given the misnomer of Gospel and do not clearly reflect the qualities traditionally associated with a Gospel. For example, the Gospel of Truth is a homily and the Gospel of Thomas is simply a collection of sayings.

[32] Modern New Testament scholars maintain that the Gospels were mainly the work of redactors compiling various sources of material. Luke's introduction to his gospel seems to confirm this. This is another parallel with the Book of Mormon, since the majority of the book claims to be the work of one redactor named Mormon.

[33] See Doctrine and Covenants 33: 16

[34] Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha Vol. 1. (John Knox Press , Louisville: 1990): 61.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha Vol. 2. (John Knox Press , Louisville: 1990): 172.

[37] Wilhelm Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha Vol. 1. (John Knox Press , Louisville: 1990): 60.