This page has not received the official approval of any organization (in spite of several impressive awards), but simply provides my carefully researched findings that you can evaluate for yourself. Please consider my arguments carefully before jumping to conclusions! There is much to consider.
2004 Update: The conclusions on this page have received the ultimate compliment and stamp of academic approval by being incorporated into the script of a major dramatic production that may eventually become a major Hollywood video, or at least a new soul-saving video by the producers of The God Makers. The script, "One Day in the Life of Joseph Smith, Translator Extraordinaire of the Book of Mormon," shows exactly how Joseph Smith could have plagiarized from dozens of sources, including Leaves of Grass, in preparing the Book of Mormon. I urge you to read the script for yourself at www.jefflindsay.com/oneday.shtml.
|Buy Now and Save!|
(Mormon souls, that is!)
And so we, the objective inquirers into matters Mormon, have been impeded in our efforts to clarify Mormon thought and quench Mormon testimonies--impeded by technical challenges in trying to show what should be obvious to all but the most blind--yet it is the most blind who need our clarity of vision most. Like knowing the correct answer to a mathematical problem, but lacking the details of the proof, we have failed to score badly needed points--until now.
At last, the proof is in, the evidence has been solidified, and I am proud to announce that I have, at long last, found the best and strongest candidate from the nineteenth century for the text of the Book of Mormon. This candidate offers such rich and detailed parallels to so much of the Book of Mormon, that even the most testimony-saturated Mormon should be wakened from his or her blindness by the iron-clad case for plagiarism that can now be demonstrated "in spades."
The prime candidate, far richer in parallels and much more obviously a source for content of the Book of Mormon than ANY other source available in the nineteenth century, is a source renowned for its poetic language, its King James tone, its wide-ranging discussion of voyages, ships, battles, theology, Native Americans, the New World, commerce, and numerous other features found in the Book of Mormon, yet it has been overlooked as a potential Book of Mormon source by most scholars for decades. This source, the strongest candidate for plagiarism yet, is famous now, but was virtually unknown in Joseph Smith's day. I refer to Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, and an objective analysis, which I undertake below, will readily convince even the most skeptical that it is indeed a far better source than any scholar has proposed to date to account for the nefarious Book of Mormon.
The astute reader, upon hearing the first mention of Leaves of Grass as a candidate for Book of Mormon plagiarism, will immediately sense a tantalizing possibility. The very title itself suggests "Leaves of Brass"--and thus "Plates of Brass"--a Book of Mormon parallel from the get-go. Coincidence? Not when considered in light of the overwhelming evidence of plagiarism that I present below.
But why was this connection--with all its tantalizing possibilities--so long overlooked? Why am I, a lowly and humble writer with only a limited number of advanced academic degrees and only a few major honors from respected professional and scholarly organizations, the first one to make this important discovery? It is because previous scholars have been blinded by the "official" publication dates for Leaves of Grass, which was first printed in 1855, and which was printed again with additional text in 1891. These minute details of publication date offer the crafty Mormon apologist an easy out, a seemingly safe retreat from the battlefield of intelligent debate. We can readily anticipate their indignant calls: "But how could there be plagiarism if Whitman wrote his work AFTER the Book of Mormon was published in 1830??!!" And therein lies the Mormon lie: the date of publication has NOTHING to do with the date a text was written, except for one obvious fact: the date of writing MUST BE EARLIER than the date of publication.
Walt Whitman, born in 1819, lived in New York--the same state as Joseph Smith, and could easily have been a childhood friend of Joseph, or perhaps Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, or even Solomon Spalding. Undoubtedly, a young Walt Whitman must have prepared at least several critical parts of his text prior to 1830, parts which were obviously incorporated into the Book of Mormon. Yes, Walt may only have been eight or nine years old when the plagiarism occurred--but that makes him an ideal victim! Joseph Smith was not stupid. Which makes more sense--to plagiarize from a published source that anyone could spot, or to plagiarize from an as-yet-unpublished source belonging to a child who, for all Joseph knew, would never have the moxy to get his text into print? In fact, Joseph almost got away with his fraud, for it would be long after his death that Leaves of Grass would see the light of day, and well over a century before your humble author would sort through the miasma of scholarly confusion to finally pinpoint the smoking gun, the surest nineteenth century candidate available for the plagiarism of Joseph Smith.
Undoubtedly, Walt Whitman was a child prodigy. Some might wonder if even a child prodigy could produce such a profound text, wondering if perhaps Whitman himself stole his early text from yet another unknown writer--but for this we have no evidence, so let us dismiss such thoughts and move on.the electronic text the Leaves of Grass available from the Gutenberg Project. (2013 update: Project Gutenberg appears to be having trouble. Here is an archived link to the Project Gutenberg source of the text. A version of the text is also provided directly by Archive.org.) This is the complete and essentially final version of the text, as fully printed in 1891 and 1892. (But recall that at least parts of it could well have been written prior to 1830 by young Walt Whitman, perhaps a boyhood friend of Joseph Smith.) I suggest that you acquire the text yourself and do your own searching to verify what I have found. Some sentences or phrases are broken up by two carriage returns and four spaces between the split fragments of the line, so if you wish to search for strings longer than one word, you will get better results if you modify the text initially using your word processor (I prefer the shareware program TextPad from TextPad.com for working with large text files). The idea is to replace double character returns followed by 4 spaces with a single space. In TextPad, hit F8 and replace "\n\n " (four spaces follow the final "p") with " " (a single space), making sure that you have checked the "regular expression" box. In MicroSoft Word, enter control-H and replace "^p^p " (four spaces trailing) with " " (a single space).
The electronic text does not give the printed page number or line numbers, but all phrases are readily found with electronic searching. However, I have also employed printed manuscripts in my explorations as well, including Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition, ed. Malcolm Cowley, New York: The Viking Press, 1959 (hereafter 1855 Edition), and the Norton Critical Edition of Leaves of Grass, ed. Sculley Bradley and Harold W. Blodgett, New York: W.W. Norton and Comp., 1973 (hereafter Norton Critical Edition).
In fact, the scope of Whitman's text deals with most of the major themes and concepts in the Book of Mormon. He is fascinated with ships and ocean voyages and journeys to foreign lands, all important stories and symbols in the Book of Mormon. He deals with the state of the human soul, with themes of good and evil, life and death, peace and war, freedom and captivity, body and soul, time and eternity, kings and subjects, and so forth. He treats laws and courts, industry and commerce, records and writings, joy and sorrow, and so forth, and explores the meaning and purpose of life, as does the Book of Mormon. And as we shall see, the specifics of his text--the words and phrases and groupings of concepts--serve as clearly impressed fingerprints that show us the true source of the Book of Mormon: Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
While I could say much more of the broad themes, let us begin with the specifics.
|Words Used by Whitman||Plagiarized Book of Mormon Names|
|Ether||Ether (as I show below, Whitman's use of "ether" is in the context of an ocean voyage with barges, just as in the Book of Ether!)|
|Alamo||Alma (and as I show below, Whitman's "Alamo" section is in the context of wars and forts and valiant young men, just as in the Book of Alma!)|
|Lemonade||Lamanite||Paumanok||Pacumeni (a shift in the order of consonants has occurred-- this clumsy attempt to cover the plagiarist's tracks only strengthens the evidence of plagiarism!)|
|Kruman||Kumen, Corom, Cumeni?|
|Amorous, Amour||Ammoron, Amoron, Amnor|
|Koran||Corom, Corianton, Coriatumr, Korihor?|
|Shastas||Shiz, Shez--note that in Whitman, "Shastas" is preceded by the word "skull-cap"--presaging the decapitation of Shiz!|
|Kneph (pronounced "neph")||Nephi (Nephi could also come from the following syllables of these words in Whitman: personify, magnify, signify, or from the next Whitman word below)|
|Omnific||Omni + Nephi?|
|Omnes, omnibus, omnific, omnigenous, omnivorous||Omni, Omner, Himni, and possibly Enos? (by shifting the vowels in Omnes and deleting the unneeded "m")|
|Altamahaw||Mahah, Ahah, Aha|
|Lips, Lapp, Lybian||Lib|
|Mullein||Mulek, Amulon, Amulek?|
|Antipodes, antipedal||Antipas, Antipus, Antiparah|
|Amina||Amnah, Amnihu, Ammon|
|tO GATHer, Goths||Ogath|
I could mention several near-hits, such as Whitman's five-word phrase "the face of the sea" which is nearly identical to a related five-word phrase in Ether 6:5, "the face of the waters," where "the waters" clearly refers to "the sea." Changing "sea" to "waters" is precisely the kind of action a plagiarist undertakes to hide his crime, and actually strengthens the case for plagiarism. Or I could mention his five-word phrase in "all the righteous and the wicked," which is borrowed with a trivial change in word order in Alma 11:44: "both the wicked and the righteous."
Though slightly less impressive than the five-word hits, there are numerous examples of directly plagiarized four-word phrases in the Book of Mormon. For example, Whitman writes, "Out of the depths the storm's abysmic waves," while 3 Nephi 28:20 offers, "they were delivered out of the depths of the earth. In another parallel involving "depths," there is a four-word phrase found in two other lines of Whitman, "but in the depths of my heart" and "the old mad joy in the depths of my soul, . . ." Whitman's "in the depths of" occurs verbatim in Ether 6:6: "buried in the depths of the sea, . . ." Remarkably, this improbably four-word phrase occurs not just in Ether 6, but also in 1 Nephi 8:32; 1 Nephi 18:10,15,20; 2 Nephi 9:42; Mosiah 4:11; Mosiah 21:14; Alma 63:8; Ether 2:25; 3 Nephi 9:4,6,8; and 3 Nephi 10:13. Thus, Whitman's four-word phrase is completely reproduced an incredible FOURTEEN TIMES in the Book of Mormon! Other four-word phrases taken from Whitman (recently identified by Dr. Dr. Walter Reade, personal correspondence, Sept. 8, 2002) include "I am a man," "be of good cheer," "there is no God," "to sing the song," "to go to battle," "out of the land," out of my breast," "from time to time," "many hundred years hence," "the pains of hell" and "born of a woman." And there are even more that we will consider below.
The phrase "many hundred years hence" is particularly unusual--a phrase almost never used in typical English writings, yet its fingerprint on the Book of Mormon in Jacob 7:7 identifies Whitman as the source, who wrote: "A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them, . . ." Both Joseph Smith (writing as Jacob) and Whitman were discussing events that allegedly would happen in the future, and both use this unusual phrase in that context.
Any honest statistician will confirm that the odds of more than one four-word or especially more than one five-word passage accidentally occurring in identical form and order in another unrelated text is astronomically small. The arguments of those who disagree--Mormon apologists, no doubt--can be dismissed as utterly lacking credibility or intellectual honesty. Thus, the case for Whitman as the true source of the Book of Mormon is already certain. But there is a mountain of further ammunition to be used, especially if we are to drive Mormons from their intellectual foxholes and the delusion of "testimony." Naturally, our vigorous assault on their beliefs, however ludicrous, is motivated by nothing but genuine love for these dear but pathetically deceived cultists. And so, let us bring out the ammo.
2013 Update: Computerized Finds Fuel the Fury!
Many thanks to Ben McGuire, who at my request kindly applied his computerized tools to compare the Book of Mormon text with Leaves of Grass, revealing even more five-word parallels. Here is the list, which can no longer be thought of as merely a smoking gun--it's more like a smoking missile launcher that has score a devastating direct hit on the Book of Mormon.
Ben McGuire's List of Five Word ParallelsArmed with this kind of overwhelming evidence, it is not a trivial matter to see how Joseph Smith constructed the Book of Mormon. As he plodded along, randomly selecting themes from Whitman's Leaves of Grass for his text, he would frequently pause and flip open his early preview copy of Whitman's not-quite-published text, saying to himself, "I could really use four or five words now to complete this sentence." Then bingo, his eyes would fall upon a phrase such as "this is what i have" or "and i will make a" and then he's simply blurt that out for his scribe to write down. With the help of Whitman's text, writing another book became a trivial exercise. No wonder it only took a few weeks to "translate" so many pages.
all the inhabitants of the
all the land of the
all the lands of the
am i that i should
and all that in them
and i know that the
and i will make a
and in all these things
and in the name of
and that they are the
are the children of the
as he did in the
at the feet of the
at the head of the
born of a woman and
by day and by night
by the light of the
by the mouths of the
from the face of the
from the top of the
i am the son of
i do not deny the
i do not know what
i know not but the
i speak the word of
i will tell you what
if they are not the
in the midst of the
in the midst of you
men of that city and
of me i am the
of the body or the
of the earth all the
of the earth and i
of the earth and the
of the earth cannot be
of the first year of
of the justice of the
of the land and the
of the sea and the
of the souls of men
of the women and children
of the world and all
of the world for all
on the face of the
out of the earth and
out of the land and
out of the land of
see that the word of
some of the words of
son of god shall come
stand in the presence of
that there is no god
the beginning and the end
the face of the earth
the inhabitants of the earth
the lands of the earth
the meaning of all things
the men of that city
the midst of the sea
the rest of the earth
the righteous and the wicked
the three hundred and sixty
the west to the east
the world i do not
them and i will make
this is what i have
those who do not believe
thou hast given us a
to sing the song of
to stand in the presence
upon the hearts of the
we know not but that
who do not believe in
Of obedience, faith, adhesiveness;This line was sloppily plagiarized in Mormon 9:1:
As I stand aloof and look there is to me something profoundly affecting in large masses of men following the lead of those who do not believe in men.
And now, I speak also concerning those who do not believe in Christ.Exact five-word parallels are more than enough evidence to convict Joseph Smith of fraud, but here we have SIX WORDS lifted with NO CHANGE in order, grammar, spelling--an exact and surprising copy of the words as well as the themes of Whitman.
But it gets much worse. As we shall see below, there is a shameless SEVEN-WORD PARALLEL that Joseph boldly lifted from Whitman. Did he think we wouldn't notice??
After all that, I was rather shocked to find a full SEVEN-WORD parallel in the Book of Mormon, lifted straight from the Leaves of Grass, and even placed in the same context as Whitman's passage. So much of Joseph's work had been plagiarized with deftness, with signs of intelligent efforts to hide the crime. Then how could he have been so clumsy? If only Fawn Brodie were still with us (some days I think she is), she could no doubt look into Joseph's mind and tell us what was going on during his work, but without her skills, we can only speculate. Perhaps Joseph was overly tired, or perhaps he let the inexperienced Oliver Cowdery have a hand in the plagiarism in the middle of the Book of Alma. But whatever the source, we have an example of plagiarism in Alma 37:37 that should forever close the case against the Book of Mormon. Here is the offending passage:
Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.Compare this to the following passage from Whitman, in section 40 of his most famous poem, "Song of Myself" (p. 74 in the Norton Critical Edition):
Sleep--I and they keep guard all night,The SEVEN-WORD PHRASE (yes, seven!) "and when you rise in the morning" has only been changed microscopically in the Book of Mormon, replacing "you rise" with "thou risest" to give it a King James Version twang, but all will recognize that these are the same words. Thus, we have seven words lifted straight from Whitman--absolutely unaccountable except by BLATANT and SHAMELESS PLAGIARISM.
Not doubt, not decease shall dare to lay finger upon you,
I have embraced you, and henceforth possess you to myself,
And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so.
But there is more! Notice that Whitman's use of this unique phrase is in the context of sleep, and of being guarded and protected in sleep by one who loves and cares for the sleeper. This is exactly the case for Alma 37:37. Even the word "sleep" in that verse has been plagiarized from Whitman.
Ladies and gentlemen, my beloved Mormon brothers and sisters, honest people everywhere, look at the evidence! The case now is so strong, that the best descriptive words I can craft are these (feel free to quote me): "It is over. It is over. It is over." (No, Charles Larson did not come up with my phrase first.)
Of course, staunch apologists will argue that these are "just a few examples" of apparent plagiarism in "only a handful of sentences" that do nothing to account for the contents and stories of the Book of Mormon. To remove any foundation for such deceptive arguments, let us take a more sweeping look at the Book of Mormon, which shows evidence of plagiarism throughout.
Come, said my soul,From the opening verses of Whitman, we see themes that would be repeated throughout the Book of Mormon: the soul, the body, the writing of verses, unity and oneness, and returning (e.g., from the dead, or after being scattered). For example, the phrase "my soul" appears numerous times (1 Ne. 8:12; 15:25; 16:24; 17:47; 2 Ne. 1:15, 16, 21; 4:15, 17, 26-31; etc., etc.). The word "come" occurs in the same verse as the phrase "my soul" four times (2 Nephi 1:21, 2 Nephi 11:6, 2 Nephi 26:10, and Alma 31:31).
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should I after return, . . .
2 Nephi 11:1-2,6 contains the following parallels to the Epigraph's first two lines:
1 And now, Jacob spake [= said] many more things to my people at that time; nevertheless only these things have I caused to be written, for the things which I have written sufficeth me.Most of the concepts in Whitman's first two lines are found in the opening lines of 2 Nephi 11!
2 And now I, Nephi, write more of the words of Isaiah [=verses], for my soul delighteth in his words. For I will liken his words unto my people, and I will send them forth unto all my children, for he verily saw my Redeemer, even as I have seen him. . . .
6 And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.
1 Nephi 19:7: "of great worth, both to the body and soul. . . ."2 Nephi 20:18 is actually a remarkably strong parallel to Whitman, for the entire verse introduces several concepts from a single pair of Whitman's lines. Here is 2 Nephi 20:18:
2 Nephi 1:22: "the eternal destruction of both soul and body."
2 Nephi 20:18: "his fruitful field, both soul and body;"
And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth.And here is the related passage from Whitman:
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,Who would ever think of linking field, body, and soul? Whitman does, and so does Joseph Smith in 2 Nephi 20:18. Talk about finding fingerprints! (And as we shall see later, this passage from Whitman was also lifted in the story of Lehi's vision of the tree of life!)
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
Further, the basic Mormon teaching that the body is divine is lifted from the pages of Whitman as well:
"Behold, the body includes and is the meaning, the main concern and includes and is the soul;As a further examine of specific body and soul language common to Whitman and the Book of Mormon, compare Whitman's "O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only, but of the soul . . ." with Alma 40:18, "the reuniting of the soul with the body." Note that a three-word phrase closely joined with a two-word phrase has been borrowed, but Joseph has clumsily reversed the order of Whitman's phrases, a common technique used by plagiarists to cover their tracks.
"Whoever you are, how superb and how divine is your body, or any part of it! . . ."
"If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred, . . ."
An interesting grouping of words occurs seven times in the Book of Mormon: "the souls of men" (see in 1 Nephi 14:3; 1 Nephi 15:35; Alma 40:7; Alma 40:9; Helaman 8:28; 3 Nephi 28:9; Mormon 5:8; and Ether 12:4). This VERY PHRASE is found in Whitman, a four-word fingerprint exposing the plagiarism of Joseph Smith--and he uses this phrase in a religious discussion about eternal progress, so characteristic of Mormon theology! Here is an excerpt from Whitman:
. . . the procession of souls along the grand roads of the universe.But notice that Whitman doesn't just say "the souls of men"--he says "OF the souls of men." This FIVE-WORD PHRASE is used VERBATIM in both Alma 40:7 and Alma 40:9:
Of the progress of the souls of men and women along the grand roads of the universe, all other progress is the needed emblem and sustenance.
7 I would inquire what becometh of the souls of men from this time of death to the time appointed for...Previous scholars arguing for plagiarism in the Book of Mormon would have been on much stronger ground if they could have offered such examples as these, with exact five-word parallels common to the Book of Mormon and any other text (apart from the Old Testament, of course, which the Book of Mormon text makes a point of quoting--quotation with attribution is not plagiarism, if we are to be intellectually honest). The fact that I have found MULTIPLE five-word clusters from Whitman that are copied verbatim in the Book of Mormon--and even an amazing SEVEN-WORD parallel--is evidence of the highest order (seen so far, anyway) for plagiarism.
9 . . . space of time, what becometh of the souls of men is the thing which I have inquired
One more example on the theme of souls: Just as Whitman speaks of the souls of men and women, 3 Nephi 17:25 likewise speaks of "two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children." (And of course, this recalls the five-word parallel to Whitman found in Alma 14:10, "of the women and children.") One can only wonder if there's an original idea anywhere in the Book of Mormon?
"I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself,Alma 40:18 also speaks of "the reuniting of the soul with the body--one of many resurrection passages using words and concepts from Whitman. A very Whitmanesque passage on resurrection (the joining of soul and body) is found in Alma 11:44:
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)"
"Of him countless immortal lives with countless embodiments and enjoyments."
"But O the ship, the immortal ship! O ship aboard the ship!
"Ship of the body, ship of the soul, voyaging, voyaging, voyaging."
"Is it wonderful that I should be immortal? as every one is immortal; . . ."
"I swear I think there is nothing but immortality!"
Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, . . .This universal gift to all, including the bond and the free (e.g., masters and slaves, prisoners and others), is described in language similar to this passage from Whitman:
. . . all the masters with their slaves, Pioneers! O pioneers!We have previously noted the shameless FIVE-WORD PARALLEL, "the righteous and the wicked". Surely Whitman was Joseph's source. (Note that Whitman suggested and even praised the trek of pioneers long before the rise of another well-known copier, Brigham Young.)
All the hapless silent lovers,
All the prisoners in the prisons, all the righteous and the wicked,
All the joyous, all the sorrowing, all the living, all the dying, Pioneers! O pioneers!
I too with my soul and body, . . .
Concerning events after death, Whitman provides the phrase, "return in the body and the soul, / Indifferently before death and after death," with a suspiciously similar construction repeated in Alma 12:27: "it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment."
Mosiah 2:28 links the concepts of immortality and peace: ". . . that I might go down in peace, and my immortal spirit may join the choirs above. . . ." These concepts were first linked by Whitman: "Now I absorb immortality and peace." But to fully appreciate the significance of Mosiah 2:28 in the debate over plagiarism, we must consider its context in the Book of Mormon passage known as King Benjamin's speech.
I say unto you that I have caused that ye should assemble yourselves together that I might rid my garments of your blood, at this period of time when I am about to go down to my grave, that I might go down in peace, and my immortal spirit may join the choirs above in singing the praises of a just God.Compare these concepts with the context of Whitman's "immortality and peace" passage:
I stand and look at the stars, which I think now never realized before.But this is just the beginning of the parallels between Whitman and King Benjamin's speech. Whitman repeatedly states that he is no better than others, as does Benjamin in Mosiah 2:26 ("I . . . am no better than ye are").
Now I absorb immortality and peace,
I admire death and test propositions.
How plenteous! how spiritual! how resume!
The same old man and soul--the same old aspirations, and the same content.
Whitman speaks repeatedly of towers and towering structures (e.g., "lofty and dazzling towers"), explaining the use of a tower for King Benjamin's speech. Surprisingly, one of Whitman's occurrences of towers is mentioned with other common objects of the Book of Mormon: "With all the rest, visible, concrete [Helaman 3:7 gives "cement"--which is also found elsewhere in Whitman, as is the cement-like material "adobie"], temples [Alma 16:13 and others], towers [Alma 48:1 and 50:4] goods [Alma 31:24; 4 Nephi 1:25], machines [Jarom 1:8 mentions "machinery"] and ores [1 Nephi 17:9 and others], . . ." This is consistent with a general pattern, wherein Joseph appears to fixate of small portions of Whitman--neglecting the vast majority of the work--and to weave those key passages into significant portions of the Book of Mormon.
Starting from fish-shape Paumanok where I was born,To those familiar with the Book of Mormon, no explanation will be needed to grasp the audacity of such obvious plagiarism as is found in the books of Nephi. However, given the obfuscation of Mormon apologists that is sure to follow, let me point out a handful of the many parallels between the above passage of Whitman and the alleged words of Nephi:
Well-begotten, and rais'd by a perfect mother,
After roaming many lands, lover of populous pavements,
Dweller in Mannahatta my city, or on southern savannas,
Or a soldier camp'd or carrying my knapsack and gun, or a miner in California,
Or rude in my home in Dakota's woods, my diet meat, my drink from the spring,
Or withdrawn to muse and meditate in some deep recess,
Far from the clank of crowds intervals passing rapt and happy,
Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of mighty Niagara,
Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and strong-breasted bull,
Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rain, snow, my amaze,
Having studied the mocking-bird's tones and the flight of the mountain-hawk,
And heard at dawn the unrivall'd one, the hermit thrush from the swamp-cedars,
Solitary, singing in the West, I strike up for a New World.
Victory, union, faith, identity, time,
The indissoluble compacts, riches, mystery,
Eternal progress, the kosmos, and the modern reports.
This then is life,
Here is what has come to the surface after so many throes and convulsions.
How curious! how real!
Underfoot the divine soil, overhead the sun.
See revolving the globe,
The ancestor-continents away group'd together,
The present and future continents north and south, with the isthmus between.
As if that were not evidence enough, look at the further evidence of plagiarism in 1 Nephi 1:8,9, which indicates that Lehi's vision included a view of Christ and twelve beings whose brightness is compared to heavenly objects:
9 And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day.This passage is only slightly changed from Whitman's original text regarding a marvelous captain, of whom Whitman writes:
10 And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.
His eyes give more light to us than our battle-lanterns.And just as Whitman introduces these themes in the context of battle and surrender, so Lehi's vision deals with the pending battle for Jerusalem and the surrender of the Jews!
Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us.
The vision about the pending destruction of Jerusalem sets the stage for Lehi's departure from Jerusalem and his journey to the New World. This concept, too, comes from Whitman, who wrote, "You Jew journeying in your old age . . ."--a clear parallel to Lehi. But the parallels become even more numerous as we turn to the subsequent ocean voyages of Lehi and other key figures in the Book of Mormon.
"But wait," the hardened Mormon apologist might answer, "if there were plagiarism from Whitman in 1 Nephi 1, surely we should expect something more concrete that just thematic parallels, perhaps even something like a verbatim five-word parallel." An impossible demand? No! The hopes of the Mormon apologist are readily dashed by an appeal to fact: THERE IS ACTUALLY A SIX-WORD PARALLEL IN FIRST NEPHI CHAPTER ONE! 1 Nephi 1:14 shamelessly uses Whitman's complete six-word phrase, "all the inhabitants of the earth"! And in Whitman, this fingerprinted phrase occurs in the context of Whitman's vision of the world in the poem, "Salut au Monde!", just as 1 Nephi 1 discusses Lehi's vision. Such facts leave no refuge for benighted Mormon apologists! Who can deny the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon now?
In cabin'd ships at sea,The parallels to the Book of Mormon are remarkable. Ocean voyages, and the thoughts of voyagers, are essential elements of the Book of Mormon. Nephites, Jaredites, Mulekites--they all crossed the sea to the New World, joyous and full of faith, coming in ships for the Nephites and Mulekites, or barks as recorded in the Book of Ether (note how even the unusual name Ether is plagiarized?), enduring waves and winds, to come to a promised land. And further, the writings of Nephi provide reminiscences of his former land, recorded in a book that he hopes will fulfill its destiny (see, for example, 2 Nephi 27, 1 Nephi 6, etc.). And Nephi's very first verse refers to "mysteries," as does Whitman, and to his book or "record," as does Whitman, and of the "proceedings in my days," similar to the reminiscences of Whitman--again, Whitman explains 1 Nephi 1 without any doubt.
The boundless blue on every side expanding,
With whistling winds and music of the waves, the large imperious waves,
Or some lone bark buoy'd on the dense marine,
Where joyous full of faith, spreading white sails,
She cleaves the ether mid the sparkle and the foam of day, or under many a star at night,
By sailors young and old haply will I, a reminiscence of the land, be read,
In full rapport at last. Here are our thoughts, voyagers' thoughts,
Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them be said,
The sky o'erarches here, we feel the undulating deck beneath our feet,
We feel the long pulsation, ebb and flow of endless motion,
The tones of unseen mystery, the vague and vast suggestions of the briny world, the liquid-flowing syllables,
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy rhythm,
The boundless vista and the horizon far and dim are all here,
And this is ocean's poem.
Then falter not O book, fulfil your destiny,
You not a reminiscence of the land alone,
You too as a lone bark cleaving the ether, purpos'd I know not whither, yet ever full of faith,
Consort to every ship that sails, sail you!
Bear forth to them folded my love, (dear mariners, for you I fold it here in every leaf;)
Speed on my book! spread your white sails my little bark athwart the imperious waves,
Chant on, sail on, bear o'er the boundless blue from me to every sea,
This song for mariners and all their ships.
Three concepts from Whitman's single phrase, "spread your white sails my little bark athwart the imperious waves," are used on a single phrase of a verse in the Book of Mormon, Mormon 5:18: "as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor." And of course, the concept of "waves" per se is found in the Book of Ether, discussed more below, and in Nephi's writings (e.g., 2 Nephi 8:15, and implicitly in the great storm on the sea of 1 Nephi 18:13).
The Book of Ether deserves particular focus, for "ether" is mentioned twice in the above-quoted passage from Whitman--surely the source for the unusual name of the Book of Ether--a book which just happens to describe the ocean voyage by barges (barks) of the Jaredites. Whitman speaks of a "whistling winds," "large imperious waves," and twice mentions at least one "bark" [=barge] "cleaving the ether." Now examine Ether 2: 24,25:
24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.Pause for one stunning moment to realize that the FIVE-WORD phrase, "the midst of the sea," is lifted VERBATIM from Whitman. Now look Ether 6:4-7:
25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?
4 . . . and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges, and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God [=faith].Faith in God, crossing the sea, storms, imperious/ mountain waves, barks = barges or ark or vessels, and even the name of Ether--all these parallels to Whitman give away the true source of the Book of Mormon. What thinking person would ascribe these close, even intimate parallels, as the result of mere chance? Not I!
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
As always, there is more, much more. In a later passage, Whitman also uses the concepts of storms, ocean, and billowing waves:
I see them raised high with stones by the marge [probably suggestive of "barge" to Joseph Smith] of restless oceans,that the dead men's spirits when they wearied of their quiet graves might rise up through the mounds and gaze on the tossing billows, and be refresh'd by storms, immensity, liberty, action.And as we saw above, Ether 6:5,6 contains similar words: "face of the waters . . . tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind . . . mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests . . . . Even the phrase "mountain waves" in Ether may have been suggested by Whitman's combination of "stones" and "mound" in the context of waves and storms in his passage cited above, leaving precious little to Joseph Smith's ingenuity in creating the two verses above from Ether, or in creating the whole story of barges crossing the storm-tossed sea.
Incredibly, Whitman uses a five-word phrase, "the face of the sea," in a context involving waves, much as Joseph Smith does in Ether. Here is Whitman's passage:
. . . the face of the seaLook at the brazen similarity to a related five-word phrase in Ether 6:5
The boy ecstatic, with his bare feet the waves,
. . . the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, . . .and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.A five-word match followed by a sister two-word match should remove all doubt from those who would argue that the case for plagiarism is built on "random coincidences." Mormons, wake up!
But there is still more along these lines! Consider this passage, which speaks of sailing the ocean to come to a new continent (the New World), and, of course, Whitman's characteristic concepts of oceans, ominous waves and depths of the sea (concepts that Joseph could not resist borrowing):
In I myself, in all the world, these currents flowing,Even further, in his poem, "With Antecedents" in Leaves of Grass, Whitman further develops themes that would be incorporated into the Book of Mormon, themes of maritime journeys to new continents, of apostasy, religion, kings and kingdoms, prophets (oracles), and looking forward to great works many years in the future:
All, all toward the mystic ocean tending.
Currents for starting a continent new,
Overtures sent to the solid out of the liquid,
Fusion of ocean and land, tender and pensive waves,
(Not safe and peaceful only, waves rous'd and ominous too,
Out of the depths the storm's abysmic waves, who knows whence?
With antique maritime ventures, laws, artisanship, wars and journeys,The relationship of this passage to the Book of Mormon is so obvious--and so harmful to Mormon claims--that no further elaboration is needed.
With the poet, the skald, the saga, the myth, and the oracle,
With the sale of slaves, with enthusiasts, with the troubadour, the crusader, and the monk,
With those old continents whence we have come to this new continent,
With the fading kingdoms and kings over there,
With the fading religions and priests,
With the small shores we look back to from our own large and present shores,
With countless years drawing themselves onward and arrived at these years,
You and me arrived--America arrived and making this year,
This year! sending itself ahead countless years to come.
One unusual aspect of Nephi's voyage is the use of the compass-like round ball of brass that Lehi found outside his tent one morning. The name "Liahona" may be derived from the name "Lena" that appears in Whitman. In any case, this object is introduced in 1 Nephi 16:10 as a "round ball" and is not called a "compass" until 1 Nephi 18:12 and 1 Nephi 18:21, where it is used on the ship while Lehi's family is sailing to the New World. In other words, the Book of Mormon calls it ball, until they are on the ship, and then it is "the compass"--clearly a "mariner's compass." By now the reader may not be too surprised to learn that Whitman introduces this term--and does so in the context of sailing to the New World:
The plans, the voyages again, the expeditions;The Book of Mormon also refers to Nephi's ocean voyage as having a great purpose, one that led to the birth of the Nephite and Lamanite nations in the found land we now call the Americas, and the books also uses the word "probation" in the context Nephi's journey as well (1 Nephi 15:31,32). And this journey could not have succeeded without the miraculous "mariner's compass." There is no room for coincidence with parallels so strong and specific.
Again Vasco de Gama sails forth,
Again the knowledge gain'd, the mariner's compass,
Lands found and nations born, thou born America,
For purpose vast, man's long probation fill'd,
Thou rondure of the world at last accomplish'd.
I could rest my case here, but there are many other topics that bear the mark of plagiarism. I shall choose only a few to further illustrate the overwhelming nature of the case against the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
Whitman not only is the source for the fascination with records in general in the Book of Mormon, but also introduces the concept of engraved records and records associated with the Egyptian language--showing that the whole concept of "reformed Egyptian" was plagiarized as well. Look at this tell-tale passage:
I see Egypt and the Egyptians, I see the pyramids and obelisks."Engraved (chiselled) histories cut in slabs (plates)"--must we look any further to identify the true source of these concepts in the Book of Mormon?! And note that Whitman mentions such key Book of Mormon concepts as Jews, Hebrews, Egypt, Egyptian, the New World, America, all more or less in the context of "records."
I look on chisell'd histories, records of conquering kings, dynasties, cut in slabs of sand-stone, or on granite-blocks, . . .
To remove all doubt, let me point out that Whitman is also the source for the coming forth of buried records from the Hill Cumorah through the work of the "hero" Joseph Smith! First, the very name Cumorah is derived from a word used several times by Whitman, "Camerado." Now consider the following passage about ancient records and a hill:
As the Greek's signal flame, by antique records told,Joseph Smith, that "special veteran" and "hero" in his own mind, serving his land and people, so he claimed, allegedly brought forth the "antique records" that "rose" from the earth out of a "hill-top"--an act that he prophesied would bring the attention ("applause and glory") of the world. His name, he said, would be had for good or evil around the world--resulting in the "fame" Whitman speaks of. And is it not more than coincidence that the plates themselves were richly gold colored--virtually having a "rosy tinge"?
Rose from the hill-top, like applause and glory,
Welcoming in fame some special veteran, hero,
With rosy tinge reddening the land he'd served,
But there are even more references to records and recording information in Whitman:
"The gist of histories and statistics as far back as the records reach. . . ."Near the end of his discourse, Whitman speaks of records (apparently roll = scroll, but "recording" in general is mentioned) preserved for future years--a theme found in the Book of Mormon:
"Turn from lands retrospective recording proofs of the past, . . . "
"Not a mark, not a record remains--and yet all remains. . . ."
"All honest men baffled in strifes recorded or unrecorded, . . ."
A special verse for you . . .your mystic roll strangely gather'd here, . . .This sounds much like Mormon in his twilight discourse over the many unknown names who perished in the final war of the Nephites, yet whose story would be preserved--buried deep, deep in the earth--to come forth like a mystic scroll of heartfelt recording after many future years.
Henceforth to be, deep, deep within my heart recording, for many future year,
Your mystic roll entire of unknown names, or North or South,
Embalm'd with love in this twilight song.
In fact, Whitman appears to be the source for the specific story of Mormon, the great soldier, killed in battle, who nevertheless left us his story scrawled on golden tablets. Here is the relevant text from Whitman:
I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all could understand,)
The halt of a mid-day hour, when up! no time to lose--yet this sign left,
On a tablet scrawl'd . . .
More generally, we can say that Joseph Smith and the Mormons are not the only ones who have expressed an interest in the Hebrews, ancient records, engravings and writing on tablets, multiple "Bibles," genealogy, and the "truthfulness" of such things. In fact, such an interest must have been sparked by Joseph's study of Whitman's early text, for Whitman writes of "the Hebrews, the ancient of ancients," and, quoting parts of a brief three-line passage, says:
I respect . . . the Hebrews, . . .And so, no doubt, Joseph's fascination for these very topics was no act of religious creativity, but yet another expression of plagiarism! And of course, the words "Bible" (2 Nephi 29:3), "accounts" (3 Nephi 5:16, or "account ... of old" in Ether 8:9), "genealogy" (1 Nephi 3:3), etc., were apparently borrowed from Whitman.
I see that the old accounts, bibles, genealogies, are true, without exception, . . .
Here I say "apparently" borrowed, recognizing that we cannot determine with 100% certainty that EVERY instance of apparent plagiarism was due to actual plagiarism. To be intellectually honest and fair, as always, scholars such as I must recognize that chance parallels can occur sometimes, especially when only a single word or two is involved. But taken together, even a small subset of the parallels I present in this paper should provide conclusive evidence for Joseph Smith's heavy reliance on Whitman--and the parallels I provide only scratch the surface, for I based on the abundance that I have encountered in almost every place I search, there must be the thousands of parallels between Whitman and the Book of Mormon, far more than other scholars have found even after extensive digging in such ill-suited proposed sources as View of the Hebrews, Shakespeare, or the Apocrypha.
Turning to a peripheral point related to the topic of records, the Book of Mormon provides an impressive three-word match to Whitman in a discussion of records. From Mormon 9:33: "if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record." The three-word phrase originates in Whitman: "And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present, and can be none in the future, . . ."
Still not impressed? Then consider the Book of Mormon's unusual use of the term "treasury" with regard to the records of Jews. Mentioned in 1 Nephi 4:21, it was under the control of Nephi's relative and military commander, Laban, and contained the sacred brass plates that Nephi needed to take for their journey to the promised land. Other scholars have tried to suggest that this concept is related to the mention of records and a treasury in the Apocrypha, but Whitman is more compelling as the "apparent" source of this concept. Not only does Whitman speak extensively of records throughout his work, but he introduces the concept of a treasury in a way far too similar to the Book of Mormon to be a "chance" occurrence. Consider this passage:
It is not to be put in a book, it is not in this book, . . .Not only does Whitman speak books, reports, accounts and other records, but he explicitly links these concepts to an official treasury. Further, he does so in the context of major political and military leaders (e.g., the President, analogous to Laban in the Book of Mormon), who had authority over the treasury (as did Laban), and also does this in the context of written texts in various languages (analogous to the Hebrew and Egyptian writings apparently in Laban's treasury) and other valuable items--all clearly showing that Whitman is the source for the story of Laban's treasury and the plates of brass--or Leaves of Brass, if you will, almost as if Joseph subconsciously wanted to acknowledge his source!
You may read in many languages, yet read nothing about it,
You may read the President's message and read nothing about it there,
Nothing in the reports from the State department or Treasury department, or in the daily papers or weekly papers,
Or in the census or revenue returns, prices current, or any accounts of stock.
You Jew journeying in your old age . . .This presages Lehi, the prophet from Jerusalem wandering in his old age, looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, and teaching that Jews in all lands look to the coming of the Messiah. Further, note that the Book of Mormon plagiarizes a five-word phrase from Whitman on this very topic, identifying who this Messiah is: "the son of God shall come," a phrase repeated three times in the Book of Mormon, as previously noted (Alma 9:26, Alma 11:35, and Alma 21:7). But the evidence for plagiarism is much deeper than simply the incredible "coincidence" of five exact word being repeated in the exact order and with essentially the exact meaning found in the Book of Mormon. The evidence of plagiarism become overwhelming when one considers the context of Whitman's passage, which is rife with Book of Mormon themes. The context comes from a Whitman poem called "Passage to India," which immediately suggests the Book of Mormon theme of migration by boat between the Old and New Worlds. Now look at the actual paragraph from which Joseph Smith stole the phrase "[the] Son of God shall come":
You other Jews waiting in all lands for your Messiah!
After the seas are all cross'd, (as they seem already cross'd,)The themes of ocean crossing, justification, works and deeds, the healing of our pains, the work of the Godhead (Trinitas) being accomplished by the son of God--what more obvious source for Book of Mormon themes could there be? But compare the Whitman passage to the relevant passages in the Book of Mormon for even more surprising evidence of plagiarism! They also discuss salvation from sins and other themes in the above passage. I leave the details as an exercise for the reader.
After the great captains and engineers have accomplish'd their work,
After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
Finally shall come the poet worthy that name,
The true son of God shall come singing his songs.
Then not your deeds only O voyagers, O scientists and inventors, shall be justified,
All these hearts as of fretted children shall be sooth'd,
All affection shall be fully responded to, the secret shall be told,
All these separations and gaps shall be taken up and hook'd and link'd together,
The whole earth, this cold, impassive, voiceless earth, shall be completely Justified,
Trinitas divine shall be gloriously accomplish'd and compacted by the true son of God, the poet,
(He shall indeed pass the straits and conquer the mountains, . . .)
The Book of Mormon's focus on Christ (the Messiah) is also explained by other passages in Whitman, including:
"I hear the tale of the divine life and bloody death of the beautiful God the Christ, . . ."
"Foretold by prophets and poets in their most rapt prophecies and poems,
"From this side, lo! the Lord Christ gazes-"
". . . underneath Christ the divine I see . . ."
"I see Christ eating the bread of his last supper in the midst of youths and old persons,"
"Young man I think I know you--I think this face is the face of the Christ himself,
"Dead and divine and brother of all,"
Even the LDS concept of Christ as the "brother" of all mankind is found first in Whitman (though they may say Christ is nevertheless much more than "just" their elder brother).
The Book of Mormon gives specific prophecies about the crucifixion of Christ, and refers to his pierced hands and feet and side (3 Nephi 11:14,15). Whitman employs the same symbols:
This cross, thy livid face, thy pierced hands and feet,Whitman also uses the word "atonement," which is highly characteristic of the Book of Mormon.
The spear thrust in thy side.
Scholarly critics of Mormon religion have long understood that the Book of Mormon's persistent emphasis on Christ, coupled with the pivotal role of Christ in Mormon theology, as well as Mormon religious adoration of Christ, constant discussion and teaching regarding Christ as Savior and Messiah, and the seemingly sincere attempt/desire of faithful Mormons to emulate Christ, were all part of a sinister attempt by Joseph Smith to convince people--including members of his own church--that Mormons believed in Christ and were Christian. However, the source for Joseph's deception was unclear--until now. Walt Whitman was the inspiration for the Christ-centered theology of the Book of Mormon. And Whitman, an atheist, obviously did not believe in Christ in the least, yet felt moved to write eloquently of the true son of God. Whitman, the atheist, wrote deceptively about Christ, undoubtedly serving as a mentor and guide--whether he recognized it or not--for the essence of Book of Mormon, and as the direct source for so much of its contents. I could rest my case with this one section of my argument alone, and convince all but vilest of Mormon apologists. But with an eye to the salvation of their souls, I will provide even more devastating evidence of plagiarism, leaving the benighted apologists utterly without excuse if they still resist my logic.
Now I tell what I knew in Texas in my early youth,Here I shall highlight only a few of the military parallels that could be made to the fortifications described in the Book of Mormon, particularly in the Book of Alma/Alamo:
(I tell not the fall of Alamo,
Not one escaped to tell the fall of Alamo,
The hundred and fifty are dumb yet at Alamo,)
'Tis the tale of the murder in cold blood of four hundred and twelve young men.
Retreating they had form'd in a hollow square with their baggage for breastworks,
Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemies, nine times their number, was the price they took in advance,
Their colonel was wounded and their ammunition gone,
They treated for an honorable capitulation, receiv'd writing and seal, gave up their arms and march'd back prisoners of war.
They were the glory of the race of rangers,
Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship,
Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate,
Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters,
Not a single one over thirty years of age.
The Indian ambuscade, the craft, the fatal environment,
The cavalry companies fighting to the last in sternest heroism,
In the midst of their little circle, with their slaughter'd horses for breastworks,
The fall of Custer and all his officers and men.
Rude forts appear again, the old hoop'd guns are mounted,
I see the lines of rais'd earth stretching from river to bay . . .
The war resumes, again to my sense your shapes,
And again the advance of the armies.
Noiseless as mists and vapors,
From their graves in the trenches ascending, . . .
The brief truce after battle, with grim burial-squads, and the deep-fill'd trenches
Of gather'd from dead all America, North, South, East, West,
Whitman's Alamo/Alma passage also describes the marching of prisoners of war, an event also found in Alma 57: 13-16, in which Lamanite prisoners were sent under guard of Nephite soldiers to the land of Zarahemla, only to escape on the way, as described in Alma 57:28-33, where the specific word "marching" is used in verse 31.
Also note that Whitman's Alamo passage makes much of large numbers of enemies killed by small numbers of defenders, a theme common in the Book of Mormon and Alma in particular.
Importantly, Whitman's emphasis on the youth of the defenders at Alamo strongly parallels the account in Alma chapters 53 and 56 to 58, which tells of the 2000 valiant converted Lamanite young men from the people of Ammon, the "stripling warriors" or "sons of Helaman." Whitman uses a lesser number, "four hundred and twelve young men," but importantly, he uses a specific number of young soldiers, as does the Book of Mormon. These aren't ordinary soldiers, but, as Whitman explains,
They were the glory of the race of rangers,Compare these extreme accolades with those in Alma 53:20-21:
Matchless with horse, rifle, song, supper, courtship,
Large, turbulent, generous, handsome, proud, and affectionate,
Bearded, sunburnt, drest in the free costume of hunters,
Not a single one over thirty years of age.
20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all--they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.Can there be any doubt that the story of the 2000 "young men" and valiant soldiers of Alma 53 is derived from the "four hundred and twelve young men" of Whitman?
21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.
The drama of the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations,The evidence of plagiarism is simply overwhelming. Further, Whitman's use of the word "slaughter" is reflected over a dozen times in the Book of Mormon, typically in a military context involving the slaughter of enemies. For example, Mosiah 10:20 says, "we slew them with a great slaughter, even so many that we did not number them."
The setting out of the war-party, the long and stealthy march,
The single file, the swinging hatchets, the surprise and slaughter of enemies;
Other relevant war concepts in Whitman include the following:
"And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,Again, numerous Book of Mormon themes appear to have been first conceived by Whitman.
The making of perfect soldiers. . . .
" I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and retreat, victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I above all promote brave soldiers.
Be it so, then I answer'd,Likewise, Nephi saw this dream with guidance from a Shade = Spirit (1 Nephi 10:1-6), and Lehi saw a man in a white robe who appears to him in the dream (1 Nephi 8:5). Both Nephi and Lehi saw people moving toward eternal life and others falling away into darkness--the concept of "advance and retreat" or "victory . . . and wavering" or "life and death" from Whitman. And in 1 Nephi 8:20, Lehi saw "a spacious field, as if it had been the world," clearly lifting the linkage of field and world from Whitman. And in the very next verse, Lehi saw people "pressing forward" in parallel again with the term "advance" in this passage from Whitman.
I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and retreat, victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain, at the last,) the field the world,
For life and death, for the Body and for the eternal Soul,...
The dream also includes "mists of darkness" (1 Nephi 12:17), and in the very next verse, mentions that "the large and spacious building, which thy father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men" (1 Nephi 12:18). The arrogant people of this building laughed at those making their journey through the mists toward the tree of life (1 Nephi 8:27). Incredibly, these concepts also come from a single passage of Whitman:
But in darkness in mist on the ground under a chill rain,Mormons, I'm not making this stuff up! Check it out for yourselves.
Wearied that night we lay foil'd and sullen,
While scornfully laugh'd many an arrogant lord. . . .
Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,Notice that Whitman introduces his pair of four-word phrases in the context of "peace and knowledge," while twice using the phrase "I know" in typical "Mormon testimony" style. Is it any surprise that the Book of Mormon, as well as Mormon doctrine in general, so closely ties the concept of the Spirit of God to peace, knowledge, revelation, and testimony? Of the many examples that could be cited, consider these few Whitmanesque verses from the Book of Mormon:
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters. . . .
Alma 5:46: "Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God."Joseph must have written the book of Alma shortly after reading of the spirit of God in Whitman's text, for it is a consistent theme in Alma.
Alma 24:30 And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness,
Alma 38:6 Now, my son, I would not that ye should think that I know these things of myself, but it is the Spirit of God which is in me which maketh these things known unto me; for if I had not been born of God I should not have known these things.
Note the last example from Alma 38:6 uses nearly every word of Whitman's line, "And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own," including the phrase "I know" and "the spirit of God," as well as other words like "is," "that," and "the." Whitman's "my own" becomes "myself" in Alma 38:6, and "brother" becomes "son," and the trivial word "and" has been deleted, but these cosmetic changes fail to conceal the egregious theft of AN ENTIRE THIRTEEN-WORD PHRASE FROM A FOURTEEN-WORD LINE from the pages of Whitman. But to be conservative and fair to the utmost, we shall not claim this as a perfect thirteen-word parallel, though its impact on the validity of the Book of Mormon could hardly be greater if Joseph had not made those few trivial changes.
And what is the knowledge that Whitman's text links to the spirit of God? It is the knowledge that all men are brothers, a typical LDS theme. In fact, another verse in Alma likewise links Whitman's four-word phrase to the word "brethren":
Alma 7:5: "And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me, that I shall also have joy over you; nevertheless I do not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for the brethren at Zarahemla, . . .Having clearly established that Joseph plagiarized Whitman's unusual grouping of knowing or knowledge with the phrase "the spirit of God," one might naturally wonder if Joseph did the same for the sister phrase, "the hand of God," which is also introduced with the same language, "I know that." Of course, the answer is a resounding YES! Consider these examples:
Mosiah 27:36 "And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer."The last two verses are especially indicative of plagiarism. Alma 29:9 exactly follows Whitman's form: "I know that . . . the hands of God. . . ." This one verse alone should be enough to establish my hypothesis, but it is but one brick in a vast fortress of doom for the Book of Mormon.
Alma 17:9 ". . . an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct.
Alma 29:9 "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."
Mormon 5:23 "Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?"
By now, even the most skeptical reader will have detected a persistent pattern in this tale of plagiarism, pattern that we will continue to develop in the hopes of reaching, perhaps, one more soul.
I see the nomadic tribes with herds of oxen and cows,Compare the above to 1 Nephi 18:25:
I see the table-lands notch'd with ravines, I see the jungles and deserts,
I see the camel, the wild steed, the bustard, the fat-tail'd sheep,the antelope, and the burrowing wolf
I see the highlands of Abyssinia,
I see flocks of goats feeding, and see the fig-tree, tamarind, date,
And see fields of teff-wheat and places of verdure and gold.
I see the Brazilian vaquero,
I see the Bolivian ascending mount Sorata,
I see the Wacho crossing the plains, I see the incomparable rider of horses with his lasso on his arm,
I see over the pampas the pursuit of wild cattle for their hides.
And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.Or consider Ether 9:18:
And also all manner of cattle, of oxen, and cows, and of sheep, and of swine, and of goats, and also many other kinds of animals which were useful for the food of man.As for other species in Whitman, note that wolf is found in 2 Nephi 21: 6 and 30:12; Alma 5:59, and 3 Nephi 14:15. Horses are also mentioned in Enos 1:21 and elsewhere. Wheat is mentioned in Mosiah 9:9 and elsewhere. Figs are mentioned in 3 Nephi 14:16.
The Book of Mormon has long been criticized for the inclusion of the word "honey bee" in Ether 2:3 (though to be fair, it does not say that there were honey bees in the New World--they occur in an Old World context). But at least we can now recognize where Joseph Smith got this idea: from Whitman, who mentions "honey-bees" in the phrase, "Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon."
Scholars have long puzzled over the source of Joseph's seemingly novel introduction of elephants into the Book of Mormon (Ether 9:19). The mystery is now solved. Whitman writes, "In vain the mastodon retreats beneath its own powder'd bones, . . ." Whitman's mastodons undoubtedly inspired Joseph to add elephants to his work.
Turning to things arboreal, Whitman's use of the general term "tree" obviously inspires much of the Book of Mormon. For example, Whitman links soil and trees in the passage, "(Tallying Earth's soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)", much as trees and soil (i.e., the nurtured earth or the medium for planting) are linked repeatedly in the lengthy parable of the olive tree in Jacob 5. Whitman's phrases, "As some perennial tree out of its roots" and "Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree" both link trees and roots, as does Jacob 5 (e.g., verse 8, "the root of this tree will perish"), Alma 5: 52, and Alma 32: 37-41.
Whitman also mentions specific trees found in the Book of Mormon, such as the fir tree ("conical firs" in Whitman) that is mentioned in 2 Nephi 24:8; the oak tree in 2 Nephi 12:14 and 2 Nephi 16:13; the fig tree (discussed above); the olive tree ("You olive-grower tending your fruit on fields of Nazareth"--akin to Jacob 5); and the cedar in 2 Nephi 12:13, 2 Nephi 19:10, and 2 Nephi 24:8.
As for minerals, let us look at metals in particular, for virtually every reference to metals in the Book of Mormon can be traced to Whitman. Key metals in the Book of Mormon include brass (brass plates), gold (gold plates), silver, and steel (e.g., Laban's sword and Nephi's bow). Amazingly, all of these are mentioned in a single phrase of Whitman: "golden brass and silvery steel." Whitman also discusses iron, as does the Book of Mormon. Brass gets further emphasis from Whitman in the phrase "the great box bound with brass," suggestive of the box used to store the plate, or perhaps suggestive of the seal on the metal plates that Joseph Smith would receive. In passing, one can hardly fail to notice that Whitman is the source for the concept of sealed writing, for he offers this tell-tale phrase: "receiv'd writing and seal."
As in a waking vision,We have previously noted that the Book of Mormon contains a five-word phrase, "the face of the earth," taken from a classic Whitman passage on prophecy, freedom, and the reality of visions and the spiritual world--all themes at the core of the Book of Mormon. From Whitman:
E'en while I chant I see it rise, I scan and prophesy outside and in,
What else is so real as mine?Much could be said for many of the numerous verses that plagiarize from Whitman's passage above. As one typical example, consider 1 Nephi 22:2,3:
Libertad and the divine average, freedom to every slave on the face of the earth,
The rapt promises and lumine of seers, the spiritual world, these centuries-lasting songs,
And our visions, the visions of poets, the most solid announcements of any.
And I, Nephi, said unto them: Behold they were manifest unto the prophet by the voice of the Spirit; for by the Spirit are all things made known unto the prophets, which shall come upon the children of men according to the flesh.Nephi refers to the future captivity of the House of Israel and their scattering on all the face of the earth, as foretold by prophets and seers who wrote of the temporal and spiritual world in their songs centuries ago. The influence of Whitman in this passage goes far beyond the five or six words that are directly lifted.
3 Wherefore, the things of which I have read are things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual; for it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations.
Much more from Whitman could be quoted, showing the real inspiration that caused Joseph Smith to both serve as and write about prophets, seers, and men who have visions. Not surprisingly, Whitman's concept of the prophetic man includes the gift of translating! Recall that Joseph Smith made much of his alleged gift to translate ancient sacred writings--writings about heaven and hell, about the soul and the body, writings filled with poetry--into the new tongue of English. As we shall see, these themes are solidly Whitmanesque, for it was Whitman who wrote:
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,Another related passage from Whitman gives further insights into several Book of Mormon concepts:
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into new tongue.
Every existence has its idiom, every thing has an idiom and tongue,(Peripheral note: borrowing from Whitman's "bestow it upon", the Book of Mormon uses "bestow ... upon," and "bestow upon" or "bestoweth upon" at least 7 times!)
He resolves all tongues into his own and bestows it upon men, and any man translates, and any man translates himself also,
One part does not counteract another part, he is the joiner, he sees how they join.
Compare Whitman above to Mosiah 8:13, where we read of seers and their miraculous gift to translate ancient records and foreign tongues:
Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.In addition to Whitman serving as the source for translating ancient tongues, he also introduces the very concept of seers. In his poem "Eidolons," for example, he states, "I met a seer." Was he sarcastically referring to young Joseph Smith? Further, what did Whitman mean when he wrote, "Is it the prophet's thought I speak, or am I raving?" Most scholars who have studied Whitman in depth agree that this line was probably written AFTER 1830, so we may ask if Whitman here makes a veiled reference to the "prophetical" role he played for his boyhood friend, Joseph Smith. And one may even wonder if Whitman was perhaps in on the fraud himself--an issue which I cover in depth in my soul-saving book, The Fraud Makers (see the cover above, and get price information in the Summary section at the end of this page).
For example, the previously quoted passage above from Whitman (the one beginning with "Every existence" and mentioning parts that join rather than counteract) involves themes from 2 Nephi 2, such as the nature of "existence" (2 Nephi 2:25) and the joining of diverse parts in 2 Nephi 2:11: "there is an opposition in all things . . . all things must needs be a compound in one"). And many further passages of Whitman further develop these themes. For example, Whitman writes, "Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase," much like the themes of opposition leading to progress in 2 Nephi 2. And in Whitman's "uncollected manuscript fragments"--one of the poems he considered including in Leaves of Grass (see the Norton Critical Edition, op. cit., p. 691), he writes:
Divine is the person/ body - it is all - it is the soul alsoThis is a key theme of 2 Nephi 2 and other parts of the Book of Mormon, that death and the Fall of man were necessary to bring about eternal life and the resurrection.
How can there be immortality, except through mortality?
The discussion of Adam and the Garden of Eden (2 Nephi 2 and many other places in the Book of Mormon) is also found in Whitman's poem "To the Garden the World" in Book IV, "Children of Adam."
2 Nephi 2:20 contains a four-word phrase that is a dead give-away for its true source. The phrase is "of all the earth," referring to how Adam and Eve "have brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth." How can Mormon defenders explain the easily-confirmed fact that Whitman twice employs the very same four-word phrase, "of all the earth"? Here are our two examples:
"To-day a carrion dead and damn'd, the despised of all the earth, . . ."The second example offers a suspiciously close parallel to 2 Nephi 2:20, for in the five lines preceding Whitman's second usage of "of all the earth," we learn that the female antecedent of "her" is "an ancient sorrowful mother . . . mourning her shrouded hope and heir"--in parallel to Joseph Smith's mention of that ancient mother of all, Eve, and her heirs, the family of all the earth.
"Of all the earth her heart most full of sorrow because most full of love."
This single example from 2 Nephi 2:20 of an exact four-word phrase from Whitman in a context so similar to Whitman's should convince any intelligent reader that plagiarism has occurred. But this little finger left many prints. In fact, Whitman's exact four-word phrase, "of all the earth," is regurgitated no less than TWELVE TIMES in the Book of Mormon! See 1 Nephi 14:10-11,13,17; 1 Nephi 22:13; 2 Nephi 1:14; 2 Nephi 2:20 (already discussed); 2 Nephi 10:16; 2 Nephi 28:18; Mosiah 1:9; 28:17; and Alma 1:1. Tellingly, all four of the six occurrences of "of all the earth" in the books of Nephi refer to the worldly kingdom of Satan, the "whore of all the earth," and together describe her or its pending destruction and damnation, closely following Whitman's usage in the first example quoted above ("carrion dead and damn'd"). His second example links the four-word phrase to the female gender as well, following it with the word "her." Not only is the "whore of all the earth" a female symbol by definition, but 2 Nephi 10:16 contains the word "female" as well as "of all the earth." We're not talking about mere phrases that have been borrowed here and there, but a pattern of wholesale theft of the context as well.
P.S.--Even Whitman's phrases "full of sorrow" and "full of love" in the second quotation above have been plagiarized in the Book of Mormon! See Mosiah 3:19 and Alma 13:28 for "full of love," and Ether 9:15 for "full of sorrow." Thus, Whitman's single sentence, "Of all the earth her heart most full of sorrow because most full of love," provides a source of three- and four-word passages that have been placed directly into no less than 15 verses of the Book of Mormon! This is a highly characteristic feature of most plagiarists, using some portions of a source heavily while neglected many other portions. And it all but seals the case against the Book of Mormon on its own. But as always, there is more!
Ether 3:3--"suffer not that they shall go forth across this raging deep in darkness"Whitman describes some of the same phenomena, using similar language:
1 Nephi 12:4--"And it came to pass that I saw a mist of darkness on the face of the land of promise; and I saw lightnings, and I heard thunderings, and earthquakes, and all manner of tumultuous noises [e.g., storms and raging winds]; and I saw the earth and the rocks, that they rent; and I saw mountains tumbling into pieces; and I saw the plains of the earth, that they were broken up; and I saw many cities that they were sunk; and I saw many that they were burned with fire; and I saw many that did tumble to the earth, because of the quaking thereof.
3 Nephi 8:12--"But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth; . . ."
1 Nephi 12--"they were burned with fire"
Jacob 5:77--"burned with fire"
"(What is this that frees me so in storms?Much more could be said of the similarity of other passages of Whitman to the Book of Mormon on this topic, but I leave it to the reader to examine the many other nature-related and weather-related parallels.
What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds mean?)"
"I will therefore let flame from me the burning fires that were threatening to consume me,"
"rumbling like an earthquake"
"Thou born to match the gale, (thou art all wings,)
To cope with heaven and earth and sea and hurricane,"
". . . in horror and in pang,
In pouring flood and fire, and wholesale elemental crash"
"I will therefore let flame from me the burning fires that were threatening to consume me, . . ."Alma 14:8-10 also uses similar words and concepts, speaking of fires that consumed people as well as their books (records that contained scriptures):
"Books, art, religion, time, the visible and solid earth, and what was expected of heaven or fear'd of hell, are now consumed, . . ."
"Not heat flames up and consumes, . . ."
8 and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire.The derivation from Whitman is only clumsily disguised.
9 ... witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained;
Just as the Book of Mormon is filled with accounts of wars between the Nephites and Lamanites, so Whitman frequently mentions war between the white man and the Indians. He writes about the fall of Custer, for example, and also "the bow and arrow" of "savage types." He mentions "the scalp-dance enacted with painted faces and guttural exclamations" and other aspects of warfare involving Native Americans. He also discusses the original inhabitants of the island of Manhattan ("Manhatta"), suggestive again of the Lamanites and Nephites who considered themselves to be upon an "isle" of the sea.
Interestingly, Mormon scholars (as they call themselves) believe that the Book of Mormon is most closely tied to Mayan lands, the very lands that Joseph Smith alluded to as Book of Mormon territory after reading a book relating new discoveries in Mesoamerica. After all, Mesoamerica is the only place that could possibly fit the geographical requirements of the Book of Mormon, and so Mormons must at least be motivated to inquire into Mayan culture, as Joseph Smith appeared to do. Amazingly, the connection to Mayan lands and culture was apparently suggested to Joseph by Whitman:
"Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?"In addition to this reference to Mayan civilization, Whitman also suggested the connection between the Hebrews and the mound-builders as well as the ancient remains of Central America in the following passage:
. . .long ere the Greek,Note that the long-lasting buildings of Book of Mormon peoples are presaged here, including their temples, and the buildings that are (in the eyes of Mormon scholars) correlated with the ruins of Central America--all tied to Hebrews by Whitman! Could one possibly hope to find a more unambiguous source for the Book of Mormon?
Served in building the buildings that last longer than any,
Served the Hebrew, . . .
Served the mound-raiser on the Mississippi, served those whose relics remain in Central America,
Served Albic temples in woods or on plains, with unhewn pillars . . .
"Scattering it freely forever."These themes are stated early in the Book of Mormon:
"the dry-stalks are / scatter'd"
"I will scatter myself among men and women as I go"
"You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve"
"the scatter'd islands"
"Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,"
"he numerous camp-fires scatter'd near and far, some away up on the mountain"
"Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long"
1 Nephi 14:10: "And after the house of Israel should be scattered they should be gathered together again; or, in fine, after the Gentiles had received the fulness of the Gospel, the natural branches of the olive-tree, or the remnants of the house of Israel, should be grafted in, or come to the knowledge of the true Messiah, their Lord and their Redeemer."Significantly, Whitman's linking of scattering and islands is borrowed in 1 Nephi 22:4:
Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away.Whitman's phrase, "I will scatter myself among men and women as I go," is also reflected in 2 Nephi 10:6, which speaks of those who "shall be scattered among all nations."
The phrase "all nations" found so commonly in the Book of Mormon is also common in Whitman. More particularly, Whitman uses the three-word phrase "of all nations," as in "The flags of all nations," "the sailors of all nations," and "music of all nations. . . ." 2 Nephi 30:16 has "the things of all nations" while 1 Nephi 11:36 uses the same pattern in "the destruction of all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, . . ." The latter phrase from 2 Nephi is further indicted by its parallel to another "all nations" phrase from Whitman: "All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages," with virtually the same meaning. He also provides the line, "By history's cycles forwarded, by every nation, language, hither sent" and elsewhere has the phrase, "all tongues, all lands."
Whitman's phrase "all tongues, all lands" is paraphrased in 1 Nephi 19:17, "every nation, kindred, tongue and people" (a phrase shamelessly repeated many times in the Book of Mormon). The related phrase "every tongue" also occurs Mosiah 27:31 and 3 Nephi 22:17.
Whitman also writes of "many nations" in the line,
One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest the same,which is echoed in 1 Nephi 13:1,2 (and several other places, as well):
And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms.Whitman uses the phrase "the whole earth"--and this exact three-word phrase is found 16 times in the Book of Mormon! Further, Whitman follows his phrase with the word "and," a practice the is copied 6 times in the Book of Mormon (that's right--a precise four-word phrase is Whitman is repeated half-a-dozen times!):
And the angel said unto me: What beholdest thou? And I said: I behold many nations and kingdoms.
2 Nephi 24:26: ". . . purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand . . ."Four of these plagiarized occurrences are in close proximity in 3 Nephi, as if Joseph Smith had just been studying Whitman before working on that portion of his "translation." Folks, when you can find multiple four-word phrases in common, anyone relying on "chance" to explain this has absolutely no credibility. Even if we assumed Joseph Smith had a ridiculously low vocabulary of just 100 words, the odds of using 4 words in the exact same order as Whitman would be 1 in 100 x 100 x 100 x 100 = 1 in a hundred million! OK, you can put your faith in that 1-in-a-hundred-million chance that the Book of Mormon was not fabricated--but I choose to stick with objective facts and logic.
Alma 38:7-8: ". . . shook the whole earth. And it came to pass . . ."
3 Nephi 8:12-13: ". . . great quaking of the whole earth; And the highways . . ."
3 Nephi 11:14: "I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. . . ."
3 Nephi 16:10: ". . . above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings . . . "
3 Nephi 20:19: ". . . the Lord of the whole earth. And behold, I am he . . ."
But if the odds of a four-word parallel are vanishingly small, what shall we say of exact five-word parallels? In addition to those previously discussed, here is yet another. Five words from a line in Whitman, "My knowledge my live parts, it keeping tally with the meaning of all things," is parroted by Joseph Smith (writing as Nephi) in 1 Nephi 11:17: "I do not know the meaning of all things." Five words repeated in exactly the same order! Improbable? Astronomically so.
For example, faith and hope are strongly linked in the Book of Mormon, a theological perspective no doubt derived from Whitman, who offers such explicit passages as "Sing to my soul, renew its languishing faith and hope." The very phrase, "faith and hope," occurs twice in Moroni 7:43,44.
The concept of charity in Moroni 7, which "never faileth" (Moroni 7:46) and is said to be the only thing worth having ("if he have not charity he is nothing" in verse 47) is suspiciously similar to Whitman's views:
"Charity and personal force are the only investments worth any thing."
"But my charity has no death--my wisdom dies not, . . ."
But, the Mormon apologist may object, the Book of Mormon speaks of faith, hope, AND charity. Mormon defenders may admit that Whitman linked faith and hope, and acknowledge that he elsewhere spoke of charity, but they may refuse to be convinced of plagiarism unless there is further evidence that Whitman also established a link between the theological brothers, charity and hope. Surely their hopes will be dashed when the recognize that precisely such a link has been provided by that embryonic Mormon theologian, Walt Whitman, whose Leaves of Grass contains this passage:
"For I am affection, I am the cheer-bringing God, with hope and all-enclosing charity, . . ."And so, we see that the essence of Moroni 7 and many other sections in the Book of Mormon derive from Whitman's cogent text.
Turning to other examples, Whitman's phrase "all the things of the universe" is borrowed in part in 1 Nephi 6:3, "a full account of all the things of my father," giving another impressive four-word parallel. And the phrase "I say these things unto those who are rich" in Mosiah 4:23 has strong parallels to Whitman's line, "I do not say these things for a dollar."
The Book of Mormon frequently borrows Whitman's concepts of dreams and illusion (visions), arguably in the context of a pre-Mayan or early Mayan culture. Again, plagiarism runs rampant through the Book of Mormon. For example, Nephi wrote in 1 Nephi 1:16 that his father saw many things "in visions and dreams."
Eternal souls are mentioned in both Whitman ("eternal soul") and the Book of Mormon (e.g., "as eternal also as the life of the soul" in Alma 42:16).
The two-word phrase, "denies me" is used in Whitman,
"Whoever denies me it shall not trouble me,and in the Book of Mormon:
Whoever accepts me he or she shall be blessed and shall bless me."
2 Nephi 31:14: "After ye have repented of your sins, . . . and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me.The above passage from Whitman contains a three-word phrase, "shall be blessed," that is found in the Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 28:32: "they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them"
1 Nephi 19:17: "every nation, kindred, tongue and people shall be blessed."Whitman speaks of "a disembodied spirit," consistent with the discourse of disembodied spirits in Alma 42.
2 Nephi 1:7 "but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever."
2 Nephi 1:31: "thy seed shall be blessed with his seed"
The frequent use of the word "exceedingly" in the Book of Mormon is found also in Whitman, in the phrase "has done exceedingly well."
The Book of Mormon speaks often of thieves and robbers. Whitman also mentions thieves frequently, as well as outlaws, as in "thieves and outlaws of the land." This specific phrase is borrowed, with slight modification, in Mormon 2:10: "the thieves, and the robbers, and the murderers, and the magic art, and the witchcraft which was in the land." providing yet another rather specific instance of plagiarism.
Mosiah 12:23. "Break forth into joy; sing together . . ." echoes Whitman's phrase, "You too with joy I sing." Joy and sing are separated by a single character in both texts--a semicolon or the word "I"--both remarkably similar in form. Amazingly, "joy" followed by a single character and then "sing" is found in 3 other instances in the Book of Mormon: a comma in Mosiah 15:30 and 3 Nephi 16:19, and a dash in 3 Nephi 20:34.
A four-word phrase in Whitman, from "It may be you transpire..." is also found in Helaman 5:7, but slightly spaced out: "it may be said of you, and also written, . . ."
Whitman writes of diligently seeking:
Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it many a long year, . . .The Book of Mormon uses similar language:
1 Nephi 1:6: "thou hast sought me diligently"Whitman writes, "I hear the voice of my little captain," echoed in Alma 5:16: "that ye hear the voice of the Lord, . . ." This is another four-word parallel, further strengthened by the fact that both involve hearing the voice of an authority figure.
1 Nephi 10:17 "all those who diligently seek him"
1 Nephi 10:18: "he that diligently seeketh shall find"
Enos 1:20: "the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites"
Whitman speaks of "the thunder of the voice" while Nephi speaks of "the voice of thunder" of an angel in 1 NNephi 17:45. Again, the reversing of word order here is a common tool of plagiarists--one that only increases the strength of the evidence against the Book of Mormon.
Launching what would become a common theme in the Book of Mormon, Whitman writes of the economic prosperity that comes to cities on this land in times of peace:
In peace out of him speaks the spirit of peace, large, rich, thrifty, building populous towns, encouraging agriculture, arts, commerce, lighting the study of man, the soul, health, immortality, government, . . .
Whitman's phrase, "the elder and younger brothers," is adapted in 1 Nephi 7:8: "ye are mine elder brethren, and how is it that . . . I, your younger brother, . . ."
Alma 52:38, "and also commanded their men that they should do the same," has a three-word phrase from Whitman: "I would do the same to you."
The breaking up of rocks and changing of the face of the earth in 3 Nephi is anticipated by Whitman's line, "The earth remains jagged and broken. . . ." Other aspects of these destructions are further taken from Whitman:
Thy madly-whistled laughter, echoing, rumbling like an earthquake, rousing all, . . .
Thy trills of shrieks by rocks and hills return'd,
The concept of flags and banner, including the title of liberty and the "ensign" that would be lifted to the nations, is found in Whitman:
But do you reserve especially for yourself and for the soul of man one flag above all the rest,
A spiritual woven signal for all nations, emblem of man elate above death, . . .
Caring for the poor and needy, a common Book of Mormon theme, is found in Whitman. For example, he writes:
The sick cared for, the shoeless shod [i.e., clothing the naked], the orphan father'd and mother'd,This is quite similar to the words in Jacob 2:19:
The hungry fed, the houseless housed;
. . . to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.Whitman's socialist/ populist attitudes are further reflected in Mosiah 4:26:
. . . I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked [i.e., the shoeless], visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.These parallels are to strong and consistent to attribute to chance.
In "The Sleepers," Whitman writes, "I wander all night in my vision," obviously similar to several statements in the Book of Mormon, such as "a dream of a night vision" in 2 Nephi 27:3.
Whitman frequently uses the phrase "by day and by night," a five-word phrase found also in 3 Nephi 4:21: "safely by day or by night." Similar phrases occur several times in the Book of Mormon.
Ordination of men to the priesthood is a theme in the Book of Mormon (e.g., Alma 6:1, which uses the word "ordained"). Likewise, Whitman writes, "The deacons are ordain'd with cross'd hands at the altar."
Not only is the rite of ordination common to Whitman and the Book of Mormon, but so is baptism--both of children and converts. The theme of baptism runs from the writings of Nephi to Moroni, and baptism of children is dealt with at length in Mormon 8. One obvious source for these theme is Whitman's line: "The child is baptized, the convert is making his first professions, . . ." This phrase, like many other plagiarized concepts, appears in the 1855 Edition of Leaves of Grass. The word "profession" also appears in the Book of Mormon (e.g., Alma 16:11).
Secret combinations and oaths are a common theme in the Book of Mormon. Three times the words "oaths" and "darkness" occur in the same verse (Alma 37:27; Ether 8:16; Helaman 6:30). Likewise, Whitman offers a related concept with his phrase, "blackguard oaths." He also uses the word "combinations" several times. Most tellingly, he writes, "I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs, . . ."--the source for the secret signs used by those in secret combinations in the Book of Mormon to identify themselves to each other, allowing others to pick out members of the secret combination.
Both texts speak of building of houses, building, and cities, and speak of the importance of a "sure foundation." Whitman, for example, writes, "the edifice on sure foundations tied," while Helaman 5:12 speaks of "the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
In Whitman's line, "It is I let out in the morning and barr'd at night," we find a four-word phrase duplicated in 1 Nephi 16:10, "my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door," and again in 3 Nephi 10:9, "And it was in the morning, and the darkness dispersed. . . ." This verbatim four-word phrase apparently lifted from Whitman and employed twice, no less, to ease Joseph's burden. Joseph used another similar four-word phrase from Whitman's line, "And when you rise in the morning. . . ," plagiarized in 3 Nephi 1:19: "the sun did rise in the morning again," and 1 Nephi 16:10 again: "my father arose in the morning, . . ." and also in Alma 37:37: "when thou risest in the morning. . . ." Thus we have two different four-word phrases in Whitman each repeated verbatim multiple times in the Book of Mormon. Just try explaining that by chance. But there is still more to this theme! Whitman uses a related four-word phrase twice, "early in the morning," and this exact four-word phrase is used without any modification at all in 2 Nephi 15:11: "rise up early in the morning, that they may follow. . . ." Three different morning-related four-word phrases from Whitman are repeated many times in the Book of Mormon.
Whitman speaks of "vast desolated cities," calling to mind the Book of Mormon's Land of Desolation, the region of desolated cities after the great wars that destroyed the Jaredites (Alma 22:30). There was even a later Nephite city of this name, the "city Desolation" mentioned in Mormon 4:3.
The Book of Mormon describes temples and idols, both apparently derived from Whitman's line, "the temples with idols."
Some prior scholars have pointed to the prefix of the King James Bible as a source for Book of Mormon language about clouds of darkness being "dispelled." But the notion of dispelling clouds most likely was taken from Whitman, who wrote: "Finish'd the days, the clouds dispel'd." He uses forms of the verb "dispel" in several others places as well, and frequently discusses clouds, mists, darkness, and light--all concepts that would become standard fare in the Book of Mormon.
Mosiah 20:1-5 describes 24 Lamanite young women who were in the wilderness to sing and dance, who were then taken as wives by wicked priests (presumably 24 of them) who watched them. Whitman speaks of "The singing-girl and the dancing-girl," and elsewhere speaks of "twenty-eight young men." Reducing the count slightly has done little to cover Joseph's plagiaristic tracks.
Whitman speaks of "the still small voice vibrating," the obvious source for Book of Mormon references to the "still small voice" in 1 Nephi 17:45 (a three-word parallel), the "small voice" of 3 Nephi 11:3, and the "still voice" of Helaman 5:30.
The Book of Mormon refers to an eastern sea and a western sea. For example, in Alma 22:27, we read:
. . . who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore. . . .And Hel. 11:20 speaks of "the sea west to the sea east." (See also Alma 50:8; Hel. 3:8; Hel. 4:7) Similar words occur in more than one place in Whitman:
"As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea, . . ."
" . . . slopes drain'd by the Eastern and Western seas, . . ."
The phrase "O my heart" is found in both Whitman and 2 Nephi 4:28, and both occur in sections expressing pain and grief.
Whitman speaks of "three lusty angels," perhaps the source for the Book of Mormon myth of "the three Nephites"--special disciples given power over death--or the source of many references to angels in Joseph Smith's writings.
The concept of accountability for all that a person does, says and thinks, according to Alma 12:14 and other verses, is derived from Whitman, who wrote, "All that a person does, says, thinks, is of consequence, . . ."
The Book of Mormon speaks often of "pondering," as in the endlessly repeated passage Moroni 10:3-5, where people are urged to ponder the contents of the book. Whitman uses the word "ponder" in similar ways, and even named a poem, "As I Ponder'd in Silence"--a poem that even mentions "my book."
Both texts link sorrow and joy. Whitman, for example, offers, "For who but I should understand love with all its sorrow and joy?" Compare this to 2 Nephi 8:11: "they shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away."
The characteristic Mormon practice of "bearing testimony" probably derives from Whitman, who speaks of those who "bear testimony slumbering or awake"--an apt description of modern LDS testimony meetings.
The divine origin of humans is the subject of the testimonies referred to by Whitman. The faces of youth, he says, bear testimony to "show their descent from the Master himself." Mormon doctrine is based on this concept that humans are descended from God, being His sons and daughters.
"Duty to God" in Alma 7:22 is a phrase not unique to the Book of Mormon, but was previously crafted by Whitman: "They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God."
Whitman speaks of those in ancient times who "served the dead"--undoubtedly the source for Joseph Smith's belief that ancient Christians practiced "baptism for the dead."
Finally, one important parallel that we must keep in mind is that Walt Whitman was gay. A gay man as the source of the Book of Mormon fits in nicely with the theory of Dr. Michael Quinn (sorry, just one Ph.D.) about the important role homosexuality played in the early Mormon Church. Quinn's theories are no longer a matter of mere speculation from a gay activist, for my newly discovered connection between Whitman and the early Church provides the best and most solid evidence to date for homosexual influence in the early Church. I hope Dr. Quinn will acknowledge my discovery in his next book, which I will gladly co-author.
Elsewhere, Whitman's cogent phrase, "Farewell my brethren" is found in Jacob's infamous farewell in Jacob 7:27:
And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.That would be evidence enough of plagiarism, but there is more in this passage, for the closing farewell word, "Adieu," long criticized as being improperly borrowed from the French language (which did not even exist in Jacob's day), actually was not borrowed from French, but from Whitman! Whitman uses "adieu" several times, typically in the context of saying farewell (for example, "Adieu dear comrade") and even uses that word in the title of one of his poems, "Adieu to a Soldier." And naturally, it should now come as now surprise that soldiers are also a big theme in the Book of Mormon, but there's no need to flog that dead horse any more. Oh, and speaking of horses and the Book of Mormon, guess who mentions horses several times? Yep. So guess where young Joseph got that interesting but flawed idea? Right. It's all Whitman! The whole book pretty much is just lifted, one word or phrase at a time, from Whitman (with Daniel Webster's famous 1828 work being the source for plagiarizing most of the remaining words).
While I commend other distinguished and learned scholars for their prior efforts to convince errant Mormons of the plagiaristic fraud behind the Book of Mormon, their work--though undoubtedly inspired by the noblest of intentions--has lacked the credibility and merit that was needed for the battle against error. Now, at last, the tide has turned and the battle can be won.
But you must not be complacent, not now or ever, in the fight against cults and error. This lone Web page just scratches the surface. There is much more to understand and to do to be a true warrior for truth. Don't rely on this Web page alone--you should also buy my book, The Fraud-Makers and buy (for yourself or your church) my new videos, The Fraud-Makers and The Fraud-Makers II, available for just $95 each (bulk discounts available).
But don't stop there! The Adversary never stops, so why should you? You will definitely want to bring me in as your next keynote speaker or motivational speaker or guest minister for your congregation, all at surprisingly affordable rates (when calculated as dollars per word spoken, it's not much at all because I use lots and lots and lots of words). Plus your generous cash donations of as little as $100 can help me keep this vital ministry going forward (and ask about our automatic bank account deduction program). Please, without your cash, I will not be able to complete my next soul-saving project in which I demonstrate the actual source for the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants was not Joseph Smith, but Fawn Brodie. Until now, truly no man has known her history!
One Day in the Life of Joseph Smith, Translator Extraordinaire of the Book of Mormon--a dramatic script showing the practical details of what might have gone on during the translation of the Book of Mormon, based on the careful research of leading anti-Mormon scholars.
Introduction to the Book of Mormon--more of what I really think on this topic.
Boycott sites that plagiarize this page, such as MormonCult.org.