Pre-1830 Works that possibly influenced the Book of Mormon

A list of books available in Joseph Smith's time written about topics present in the Book of Mormon

Hope of Israel (1652)
by Ben Israel

Translated into English in 1652, this book is about the scattering of the 12 Tribes of Israel to the Americas, among other places. 

The History of the American Indians (1775)
by James Adair.

The author describes twenty-three parallels between American Indian and Jewish cultures: Circumcision, Animal Sacrifice, Jewish Sabbath, even that they spoke a corrupt from of Hebrew.  Fortifications of mounds and ditches are discusses, as well as darker and lighter skinned Indian races.

A Star in the West; or a Humble Attempt to Discover the Long Lost Tribes of Israel (1816)
by Elias Boudinot

Based on claims from James Adair's book above, Elias Boudinot further explores the idea that the Native American tribes were part of a lineage tracing back to the Isrealite tribes during Biblical times.

The Solomon Spalding Manuscript (1812)
by Solomon Spalding

This unpublished manuscript was a work of fiction created by a retired minister, Solomon Spalding who died in 1816 before being able to publish his work.  It is a story of Roman Soldiers becoming lost at sea and landing in the Americas to become the first settlers.  It has many uncanny parallels with the Book of Mormon that many think it was the foundation for the Book of Mormon. 

View of the Hebrews (1825) 
by Ethan Smith

This book, written by a minister named Ethan Smith, contained stories and information proposing that the first settlers of Ancient America were the lost ten tribes of Israel.  His book contained reports from missionaries and traders who lived among the Indians.

Ethan Smith's was not related to Joseph Smith.  However, he was Oliver Cowdery's minister from 1821 to 1826.

The Late War (1819)
by Gilbert J. Hunt

Although having nothing to do with ancient inhabitants in the Americas, this book was found via computer analysis to have many striking similar descriptions and word combinations with the Book of Mormon.

Many concepts from the Book of Mormon are present in this book notably 2000 stripling warriors, a Liahona-like description of a metal device, the Freeman movement, Rod of Iron, Standard of Liberty, Brass Plates, Cataclysmic earthquakes followed by great darkness, Chiasmus, and many, many more.

For a comprehensive analysis click here and

The First Book of Napoleon (1809) 
by Modeste Gruau

The First Book of Napoleon is another book discovered by computer analysis to have strikingly similar words to the Book of Mormon. Notibly the first part of the Book of Mormon

The Koran (1822 Edition) , and the Life of Muhammad

The 1822 Edition of the Koran was available in Jospeh Smith's area.

The Koran is replete with beautiful prose describing God (Allah, or Eloi.  Same root word.).  Some beautiful soliloquy's to God are written in the Book of Mormon and sound very similar to passages found in the Koran.

Joseph Smith studied the life of Muhammad, and thought of himself as the modern Muhammad.  We know this because of Ray County public meeting records, and a letter published in the Daily Missouri Republican dated Nov 13, 1838, which was published Nov 20, 1838.
Consider the following parallels:

• Both considered themselves the final prophet of God.
• Mohammad united the Arab tribes into a single unit. Joe was trying to unite the Christian sects into a single faith.
• Mohammad was visited multiple times by Angel Gabriel. Joe was visited by Moroni.
• Both practiced polygamy, including young brides.
• Both were persecuted by local faiths.
• Mohammad amassed 10,000 followers to overthrow Mecca. Joe was amassing soldiers and Indians to overthrow the US Government (Council of 50).
• Both claimed to receive ongoing revelation throughout their lives. Mohammad kept adding to the Koran. Joe the D&C.

No doubt Joe patterned some aspects of the Mormonites like unto Islam. The church will never acknowledge this connection because it diminishes their claim to divine origin.

The Golden Pot (1827) 
by E.T.A. Hoffmann

The 1827 Carlyle translation was available to Joseph Smith. This story is miraculously similar to the story Joseph Smith told of being visited by Angel Moroni many times while receiving the golden plates.  In The Golden Pot, Anselmous is seeking to be God's minister, and has a dazzling, light-filled experience with God, and is subsequently visited multiple-times by an angel who is a keeper of buried ancient records.  Anselmous, like Joseph, is finally given access to buried records which he must translate using the power of God. More Info...

Heaven and Hell (1785)
by Emanuel Swedenborg

Swedenborg was a scientist, theologian, and revelator who wrote about revelations he claimed to have received, including knowledge about life after death, marriage in heaven, the final judgement, and more. His works have been translated into German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Arabic, and Russian.
There are many similarities between Swedenborg' s writings and Joseph Smith's doctrines including:


The Lectures of Professor John Smith of Darmouth College

Solomon Splading and Ethan Smith, attend Dartmouth College during Professor John Smith's tenure there.  Hyrum Smith attended Moore's Academy in Hanover, a prep-school associated with Dartmouth.

Professor John Smith was also the local preacher in Hanover, the town 6 miles North of Joseph Smith's family's house.  He was the professor of Grammar, being expert in Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Chaldiac, and some other languages.  Being an expert in ancient languages, it's interesting to speculate the he may have been the source for teaching the authors of the Book or Mormon about chiasm patterns in ancient writings.

His writings still exists today, showing us the subjects of his preachings.  Here are links to his writings:

(1) Greek philosophy provided his concept of the Preexistence
(2) Atonement Covenant was made before the earth was
(3) Plan of Salvation was agreed to in the Preexistence
(4) Father, Son and sons of men were together in the Preexistence
(5) Spiritual death was man’s condition after the Fall
(6) Son’s Church would exist in all ages after the Fall
(7) Types and shadows of the covenant found in Scriptures
(8) Oaths and covenants serve as Deity’s legal structure
(9) Light, borrowed light and the light of reason would guide
(10) Melchizedek Priesthood is co-eternal with God
(11) The Priesthood is the source of the Son’s authority
(12) Aaronic Priesthood promised to Aaron’s descendants
(13) Free Agency and the right to choose is integral to plan
(14) Degrees of Glory is the structure of the Eternities
(15) Consecration to Christ is required for highest exaltation
(16) Revelation required to know ultimate nature of God
(17) Spirit is a simpler form of matter
(18) The prosperity cycle is the natural direction of history
(19) Millions of peopled worlds
(20) Father argues for justice and Son argues for mercy

Sydney Rigdon, Alexander Campbell and the Campbellites 
Sidney Rigdon was a Campbellite minister when he met Joseph Smith, and brought his entire congregation into the church in Kirtland.  The Cambellite congregations believed that a great apostacy had occurred after Christ's death and that they had reconstructed the gospel of Jesus Christ from the New Testament.  They also believed that the end of the world was nearing, and Jesus was going to come very soon and rule the Earth.

There are many clues suggesting that Sidney Rigdeon was involved in the creation of the Book of Mormon.  Besides the Campbellite doctrine becoming a main message in Mormonism,  Sidney was telling people about the Book of Mormon years before it was published.  He was also Joseph's counselor, and was a member of the original First Presidency for the entire Mormon life of Joseph Smith.  Rigdon also assisted in the creation of the Doctrine & Convenants, the Lectures on Faith, and the Book of Abraham.  When Joseph Smith ran for the presidency of the United States, he selected Sidney Rigdon as his running-mate. Ironically, Rigdon told his immediate family to regard Mormonism as a fraud.

Alexander Campbell was not a fan if the competing new Mormonite church, and published a scathing critique of the Book of Mormon.

The Walker Dictionary of Biblical Names 
In 1732 John Walker published a book called Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, listing hundreds of biblical-like names and how to pronounce them.  This book was available and advertised in Joseph Smith's neighborhood in 1823- 1826. One summary lists 137 names from the Book of Mormon that are found in this book.

Masonry was very popular in the early 1800's.  Joseph Smith Sr became a Grand Master Mason in May 1818.  Hyrum Smith was also a Mason.  Joseph became a Master Mason instantly when he joined the Masons in Nauvoo in 1842.  That same year the Mormon Temple Ceremony was unveiled, being an almost exact copy from the Masonic ceremony.   Early Mormon Temple Masons were told by Joseph Smith that the Masonic rituals were sourced from the Old Testiment Melzhizedek Priesthood but had become distorted., and that Mormon Temple ceremonies were pure.  Modern LDS scholars have dismissed Joseph Smith's claim about that the Masonic Temple ceremony is from the Old Testament.

For a side-by-side comparison of the Mormon Temple ceremony vs. the Masonic Temple ceremony, click here.  

The Indian Story of Handsome Lake (1735-1815) 
A New England indian half-brother to a Seneca war chief named Corn Planter had a vision where three ancient messengers (three Nephites)
 visited him and told his people to embrace the English language,
 and the White men, to preserve their culture. He developed a social
 code known today as the Code of Handsome Lake, or the
 Longhouse Religion.

A View of the Expected Christian Millennium 
Josiah Priest was a friend to Oliver Cowdery and published a book in 1827 called A View of the Expected Christian Millennium. It contained many Mormon fundamental ideas such as:
• Christ will return and reign for 1000 years.
• Followers will enjoy paradise during this time.
• After 1000 year Millennium there will be a final judgment.
• Jerusalem will be rebuilt before the 2nd coming of Christ.
• Signs of the times will come before the 2nd coming of Christ.
• Elijah the prophet will come before the 2nd coming of Christ.
• Promises God made to Abraham.
• Malachi: “...turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, 
 and the children to their fathers…”.

Priest published another book called The Wonders of Nature which contained phrasing found in the Book of Mormon:
• "Narrow Neck of Land"
• "Darkness which may be felt.... vapours ... so thick as to prevent the rays of the sun from penetrating an extraordinary thick mist. ... no artificial light could be procured ... vapours would prevent lamps, etc. from burning. ... [T]he darkness lasted for three days." (p. 524)" 

Memiors Of The Notorious Stephen Burroughs of New Hampshire Stephen Burroughs was a local favorite criminal in New England.  At age 33 he wrote an autobiography (which became a favorite read of Joseph Smith) describing his successful adventures at the following con-artist roles:
• Watermelon thief, town prankster
• Fake Physician, talked his way aboard a military vessel as the ships doctor, presecribed wine to everybody.
• Fake Minister, used office as a ploy for enlisting counterfeiters.
• Counterfeiter, created massive amounts of fake currency all over New England.  His counterfeit bills can be seen today in the Smithsonian Museum of American History
• Fake School teacher, accused of seducing his students.
• Later in life became a Catholic Minister, likely selling Papal pardons.
• Hid from the Law in Canada.
• Wrote his own autobiography at age 33 which became a bestseller: 
 “Memoirs Of The Notorious Stephen Burroughs of New Hampshire”

History of Mexico (Obras Historicas or Historica Chichimeca)
written by Fernando de Alva Lxtlilxochitl in 1600-1608.
Details the history of Mexico including a narrative that parallels the basic Jaredite storyline in the Book of Ether.  An account of people bulding a very high tower, their languages becoming confounded, and they become scattered across all parts of the Earth.  The Tultecas, a group who could all understand each other, landed in the Americas.


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