New theory connects a Native American prophet with Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon

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Peter Manseau, author of One Nation Under Gods

Peter Manseau, author of One Nation, Under Gods

Last week, Peter Manseau published a wonderfully engaging book on American religious history. One Nation, Under Gods is chock-full of “Aha!” moments, but for purposes of this blog I wanted to talk with Peter about his chapter on early Mormonism’s interplay with Native Americans.

In particular, I was intrigued by a theory about the origins of the Book of Mormon that I had not heard before. (As you can read below, Peter is eager to point out that he was not the first to make a connection between Joseph Smith and the Seneca prophet Handsome Lake, but it was certainly new to me.) — JKR

RNS: First off, you say in the book that Joseph Smith “came to look upon Native Americans not merely as an evangelical challenge but as a key to understanding the Christian scriptures . . . . Why did Smith alone see the New World as a missing piece in the story the Old World told about itself?” Great question. What do you think?

Peter Manseau: The biggest theological problem Europeans faced when they arrived in America was what to do with Native Americans, whose existence suggested God created a population that didn’t fit into their biblical worldview. This prompted questions: “Do they have souls?”, “Are they of the devil?” For Joseph Smth, it was “Are these people mentioned in the Bible after all?” If they were, it solved a theological puzzle.

RNS: So you see Joseph Smith as being interested in the Hebraic origins of Native Americans. What is the connection with Handsome Lake?

Manseau: Handsome Lake was of the Seneca people, the brother of a chief called Cornplanter, who became known in the late 18th century as someone who had welcomed the Quakers in his village. Handsome Lake meanwhile was known as a ne’er-do-well and a drunk. One winter, he became sick and it seemed like he was going to die. While he lay dying, he had a vision of several figures who came to him and told him to reform his life. They instructed him to write down the visions as a message that came to be known as the Code of Handsome Lake.

Handsome Lake’s vision blended Native American and Quaker religious ideas. It really took hold among the Seneca, the Iroquois. He became quite well known for it.

Handsome Lake’s revival might be considered the Native American outgrowth of the Second Great Awakening that began in the region. This of course is where we find Joseph Smith as well, who grows up very much interested in Native American culture and the lore that existed all around him. He, too, was interested in the general question: what do you do religiously with Native Americans as a people not accounted for in the original revelation? Whether through revelation or imagination, he proposed an alternate story that accounts for them.

What scholars now are beginning to do is investigate how Joseph Smith was influenced by Native American culture, and specifically by a movement such as Handsome Lake’s.

One Nation Under Gods ManseauRNS: Interesting. You note in the book that Handsome Lake’s nephew lectured in Palmyra just one month before Smith claimed to have found the golden plates.

Manseau: Handsome Lake’s nephew was another Iroquois leader named Red Jacket. He presented his ideas — not quite the Code of Handsome Lake, but something similar — when he was in Palmyra lecturing very shortly before Joseph Smith claimed to have discovered this new scripture that incorporated Native Americans into biblical history.

RNS: Did Joseph attend that lecture?

Manseau: It’s likely. It seems that given who he was at the time — a teenage boy very interested in Native Americans — the arrival of this renowned chief would have been a big deal. It was publicized in the Palmyra Gazette and other newspapers.

RNS: How did you first learn about this connection?

Manseau: I came across an unpublished dissertation by Lori Taylor, who wrote about the idea of Handsome Lake having potential influence on Joseph Smith. I had seen it referenced on Juvenile Instructor.

RNS: Bottom line: Was Joseph Smith influenced by Handsome Lake, even indirectly, in writing the Book of Mormon?

Manseau: Maybe. But the other side of the coin that apologetics would offer is that the Book of Mormon, being an ancient text, had influenced Native Americans from generation to generation so that there was already a remnant of Book of Mormon truth in Seneca culture. Then it becomes a question of in which direction influence might have moved.

 

 

 

 

  • There is no doubt in my mind that Joe Smith had picked up something from the spiritual movement from God that wants to bridge the continents and unite Old World Holy Land spiritual tradition with New World Native American spiritual traditions. Like I did in my religious revelations he too was getting the idea that the Godhead, although Holy One, is not a single beings but a Holy Family, an Elohim, with EL Elyon at its head. But I can’t take Smith for an honest prophet of God as number one, he wasn’t of the right prophesy bearing line which must be Jewish for savior and salvation spiritual knowledge and guidance, and number two, he seems to have been another one of the religious liars whose words cannot be trusted as truthful. Too many weird stuff going on with his new church enterprise to be taken seriously by believers. But critical review was never Pauline Christians strong point (or for that matter for any of the Abrahamic religions as they all ride on “faith” in ancient men’s tall tales) so Mormonism attracted its cult followers and still does.

    God does want to and has spiritually united Old and New World together now but it isn’t through Mormonism which is still another Old World religious tradition copying the New Testament type of Christianity but giving it another Gentile overcoat of wrong religious ideas as did “Paul(s)” and after Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and the other Gentile false prophets including the violent crazies of Jonestown and Waco.

    December 17th, 2014, marked the 70 months, 3 and a half years that the world’s first European-American Christian spiritual vision has been accepted into a very strong Native American spiritual tradition, the White Buffalo Calf Woman tradition with its centers in the tribes where Bear Butte is sacred and Her 7 sacred ceremonies are honored. Like the sacred Pipe Bundles and their Keepers keeping the tradition pure from White Buffalo Calf Woman there is now a new Bundle, the Josephine Bundle, with its Northern Cheyenne Keeper in Lame Deer, Montana. The Josephine Vision and Josephine Bundle mark the miracle of two strong Savior traditions melding spiritually into one. She is coming and She is bearing the Spirit of Christ with Her. Of course this spiritual news is not being publicly broadcast and actually very few Lakota or Northern Cheyenne know about it yet, but tribal leaders do in the Oglala and other tribes involved in the Vision of Josephine. This is how prophesy really works. Whenever prophesy come true, they always come true in ways believers least expected and now the world has a new spiritual center developing with Native Americans taking the lead aided now by the Spirit of Christ.

    Because news and news people only are interested in what government or established religious leaders are talking about this incredible miraculous spiritual development goes un-investigated and unreported like right here where you’d think someone from Religious News Service would be interested and call me up to verify the story with actual people, places and events seeing how no European has ever been allowed to introduce a Holy Land Christian vision directly into a Native American religious tradition before this happened spontaneously starting in 1984 when my daughter received the first Vision of Josephine and then again in 1998 when I received Her too. Now, 19 years later, there is a Josephine Bundle and Keeper in Lame Deer and a new expectation of a Savior coming again, this time Native American bearing the
    Spirit of Christ and bringing back the Divine Feminine face of the Godhead that has been so long forgotten in the Holy Land it must be recovered in the New World where She is expected.

  • samuel Johnston

    “This is how prophesy really works. Whenever prophesy come true, they always come true in ways believers least expected.”
    So what is the difference between prophesy and irony? I suggest it may be creative interpretation. It’s an old game, the Greeks were very good at it.
    “if King Croesus crosses the Halys River, a great empire will be destroyed.”

  • Don Bradley

    Fascinating. And good use of Lori Taylor’s work.

    I’m wondering, though, about the timing of Red Jacket’s speech in Palmyra. I see reference to one in 1822, but Joseph Smith first encounters the plates in 1823 and retrieves them in 1827. How was that speech ‘one week before’ he found the plates?

  • Stephen Lewis

    Ironical prophesy, now that’s an apt term as you unfortunately missed my point, sam, that if there’s no recognized big shots doing spiritual work and if nobody’s making big bucks off book sales or appearances, there is no news coming out of quiet but extremely powerful new spiritual revelation.

    I can’t afford to post RNS press releases but really, why aren’t they curious at all about the quite radically new Gnostic Christian comments I’ve posted or what I’ve posted about the Vision of Josephine that’s now accepted into the White Buffalo Calf Woman prophesy tradition? I’ll tell you why. No big name has come forth for them to recognize so they don’t see anything happening. Just like religious news in the West didn’t see anything happening at Easter in Nazareth, Israel in 2003 because it was all Arab Christians and who in the West cares about them? Unless the Pope does. Yet over 500 Nazarean Christians and Muslims too bore witness to a religious miracle, the Pentecostal power of the Sword of Peace, Christ’s Sword now revealed as Saif al Salam, brought to the Holy Land as Paxcalibur, Sword of Peace. No big names to alert the press in the West, no news comes out even though the event was captured by tv cameras in the Easter Procession and put on Nazarean TV stations. And again, the new gospel, unlike anything before because it gives the identity of God Itself out for years as the Gospel of Humanity and no word about this either or the recovery of the lost Celestial Torah which changes everything we know about the spiritual roots of Judeo-Christianity, yet no religious news of that ever comes out. Religious news protects established religions and their leaders from answering to either hard criticism or new revelation. That’s the only conclusion that fits the history or should I say non-history of religious news about my spiritual work recognized by religious and secular leaders involved but not the press who not seeing any recognizable big news names or religious credentials, don’t see any way to market this news.

    But RNS readers are welcome to learn how Christianity has completely changed direction through new Jewish Christian visions and revelations and God-guided research into the roots of Christian beliefs.

    http://biomystic.org/paxstory.htm

    http://biomystic.org/josephine1.htm

    http://biomystic.org/gospelofhumanity.htm

    http://biomystic.org/celestial_torah_christianity.htm

  • Bob Robertson

    This article was índex intriguing and I found it mostly well done, but I am still on the side that Joseph Smith in no way could have written a book so brilliantly crafted as the Book of Mormon. It is a work of art and a farm boy such as Joseph Smith couldn’t have written it so beautifully as we find it today. Below is a link to Day One of Joseph Smith’s journal (started several after publishing the Book of Mormon) and an excerpt from the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Although I revere him as a prophet, I do not believe that he could have written this book on his own. He was inspired of God to do it.

    https://learningsuite.byu.edu/plugins/Upload/fileDownload.php?fileId=ff93476c-eVvL-mggu-vq6F-P3f14e636b18

    I know that most of you don’t want to hear this from me, but I know that the Book of Mormon is a book inspired of by God. I have read it several times and every time I am more convinced that it was written with God’s help. I have prayed and asked my Father in Heaven if the Book is true and He has answered my prayers. I would invite everyone to read it and figure out for themselves if the Book be true or not.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Please, any book claiming to be “Christian” that includes aliens from other planets giving us spiritual instructions must be dumped as hogwash. I mean, Bob, get a clue, “Moroni”??, plural for morons in Italian? You, like so many Jews and Catholics, Urantia and Book of Miracles, mistake excessive religious verbiage for spiritual content. Joe Smith relied on our Jewish myths of origin that are flat out tall tales as much as his. This is proven archeological fact now so how do you derive any real spiritual authority from fables no matter how old or how dressed up in ancient scrolls with their keepers and buildings, etc, etc, its all man-made jimcrackery Wizard of Oz mesmerization of believers bunko.

    Joe, like Muhammad before him took those Jewish myths as reality so when they are exposed now as Jewish myths of origin, Judaism’s, Pauline Christianity’s spiritual authority resting upon believing “Abraham” existed or “Moses” or any of the major characters as does Muhammadism, then those religions are based on bullhockey being sold to believers as “truth”.

    This is not to say there isn’t any spiritual truth to be had in the ancient Scriptures, no, not saying that at all, that’s where God’s embedded the Celestial Torah information so it wasn’t lost completely although 2400 years without it is a long time. One of the lasting spiritual truths is the salvation is of the Jews as we know our stuff better than Gentiles, that fact seen in what happens when Gentiles take it into their heads like Muhammad did, that they can speak for the Jewish God Most High and the Messiah. Nope. And proof why is my role as returning Christianity to Jewish prophesy bearing after Gentiles have thoroughly abused it.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Since 2008, Jana Riess has been an acquisitions editor in the publishing industry, primarily acquiring in the areas of religion, history, popular culture, ethics, and biblical studies. From 1999 to 2008, she was the Religion Book Review Editor for Publishers Weekly, and continues to write freelance articles and reviews for PW as well as other publications.

    Look at this blogster’s credentials and she’s a religious news service editor: “She holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University. She speaks often to media about issues pertaining to religion in America, and has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Time, Newsweek, People, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsday, among other print publications, as well as “Voice of America,” the “Today” show, MSNBC, and NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Tell Me More,” and “Talk of the Nation.”

    Impressive, yet I have the most remarkable new Christian news in centuries and she isn’t interested at all. I can post and post brand new Christian information coming from a Jewish prophesy bearer, first time in a very long time, and there is no curiosity at all from her or RNS news editors. I can post this and they won’t ask what I mean when I can show no rabbis today know the true etymology of the word “Torah” which kinda destroys all their spiritual credibility since they claim everything rests on Torah knowledge. But I await the day when religious press people or organized religious leaders outside my spiritual work areas, ask me what has happened to change the face of Christianity in our times.

  • Debbie

    “Why did Smith alone see the New World as a missing piece in the story the Old World told about itself?”

    Smith alone? Uh, yeah, and the various people he plagarised to write the Book of Mormon. View of the Hebrews also has Native Americans as the descendants of Israelite migrants.

  • David

    Orson Scott Card incorporates aspects of Handsome Lake and Joseph Smith into his delightful Alvin Maker series. Most of the series was written back in the 1980s.

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  • Stephen Lewis

    Great, science fiction and science fiction. Hey, folks, this is the 21st Century and please, let’s not be spreading fables in place of science such as passing on easily debunked idea N.A.’s are from the “Lost Tribes” of Israel Jewish mythologies. We have dna testing now that shows actual human population migrations and not storybook ideas about such written to shore up failing religious beliefs or ethnic jealousies. If your religious visions cannot withstand public or science scrutiny, they don’t have God behind them most likely and that’s most of the Abrahamic religious beliefs– they cannot withstand historical or moral analysis, failing on both fronts by their historical records of abuse of human trust.

  • Stephen Lewis

    There is a spiritual connection, not material, between the Old World Judeo-Christian God Most High and the Lakota’s Wakan Tanka as both have been historically symbolized by the same type of animal, the White Bull. The white bull buffalo for Wakan Tanka in the New World and the white bull of heaven in the Old World as read in the Book of Enoch, special to Judeo-Christian beliefs. The connecting Vision of Josephine bearing the Spirit of Christ shows the culmination of the Spirit uniting Old and New Worlds together to help make the world whole and holy.

  • I am sure that Step Lew means well forgetting that Joseph Smith Jr. Was educated as far as six grade and had the first spiritual experience at the age of fourteen. It’s a little bit too late to say that Joseph is a fraud. With 15 million members world wide and 80 thousand active missionaries, you might as well join the Muslim faith. Good luck Step.

  • [Comment removed. Phil, it’s fine to disagree here on this blog, but not to insult. Stick with the issue, rather than personally criticizing the commenter you disagree with. — JKR]

  • I’ve always found the idea that “white” people didn’t know what to with the new “Indians” they found, religiously, odd. If the Gospel was sent to the Gentiles in the Book of Acts, then wouldn’t every non-Hebrew in the WORLD be a Gentile? One would imagine that any race that Christians found was God introducing them to new Gentiles to convert. I guess that’s too simple for “white” people that think Jesus looked just like them and not like a Jew.

  • Larry

    It is singularly pointless to point out factual claims once events have become enshrined into religious belief.

    1. Nobody adopts religious belief due to objective evidence and facts to begin with. It has no effect on the faithful.

    2.The most ardent fundamentalist always has an array of apologia and arguments to bring up when challenged. Any argument will be employed, consistency or methodology be damned as long as it confirms their faith.

    3. Those who are not so literal minded will invoke YAYPB. (Yes, and your point being?) Acknowledging the spurious claims as being wonky or possibly untrue but believing anyway because it works for them personally on some level.
    [Best demonstrated by the South Park Episode “All About Mormons”]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_About_Mormons

  • Larry

    “But I await the day when religious press people or organized religious leaders outside my spiritual work areas, ask me what has happened to change the face of Christianity in our times.”

    No we don’t want to join your little cult, Stevie. Many of us have cults of our own to attend to. 🙂

  • Elder Skywalker

    Mr Lewis, you complain about the lack of curiosity in your new found Native American visions and revelations but you fail to recognize that it is because of your ignorance towards others that no one wants to listen. I was interested in hearing what you had to say but once you started mocking other faiths I stopped listening.

    [Final two sentences removed by the editor. No personal insults here. — JKR]

  • Interesting. I enjoyed the first book in that series (_Seventh Son_) but I didn’t continue. I guess I should go back to it!

  • Stephen Lewis

    Oh bullhockey, Skywalker. If you ever bother to read how us Jewish prophets acted to rile and p.o. everyone’s ideas of what should be, you’d know why Jesus took his small whip to chase out the money-changers and blow his top at official Jewish religious leaders. A prophet must clear the Garden of weeds in order for the new crop to come up not strangled by bad seed of the past that produces evil fruit. Check the Abrahamic warfare body count through the centuries to tell the evil character inherent in Abrahamic religions that are based on believing in fairy tales and a hideous god who demands human child sacrifice, fathers killing their sons which was typical of Moloch, the Great Moloch (“Melech” “King” in Hebrew but spelled the same way) of War. Abrahamics are told that Abe’s willingness to fry his son is to be considered “Righteousness”!! when in fact if any Abrahamic believers tried to follow Abraham’s “righteousness” in our times they would be quickly locked up in prison for severe child abuse. Imagine God demanding you kill your children to appease this god which is not God but something man concocted to trick believers into obeying the priests of this terrible god by using fear. Muhammad is in tune with this human sacrifice god one notices and his religion too uses extreme threat or fear to make believers believe. They are told they will burn in torture in hell forever if they don’t follow the Moloch god of Abraham.

    “Melech”, “King” = “Moloch, the Great King of War. “Melchizedek” does not mean “king of Salem” but high priest, zadok, of Moloch. One can tell this by not only the root origins of his name but also by his act of honoring Abraham’s war victory, war victory eucharist celebration. I teach this information because none of the Abrahamic religions will tell you this stuff as they have their Scriptures to protect to shore up their Jewish, Pauline Christian or Muhammadan beliefs which otherwise cannot withstand historical discovery or ethical scrutiny.

    This is the perennial Job of the Jew, especially the Jewish prophesy bearer, to “make straight the Path to God” when it becomes so twisted and warped with man-made agendas nobody can make sense of it. I do my job as described in the literature and you complain? You should be happy I exist. It’s been a long while since Jewish prophesy bearing was alive and well.

  • homeschoolmom

    Hebrews 1:1- In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

    The need for prophecy no longer exists.

  • Elder Skywalker

    A wise man once said “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.” Cheers!

  • And happy hour to you too, skyguy. I see you lost the argument and do the typical slander routine to save face. But slander isn’t reasoned argument, is it..

    And homeschool mom, stop filling your kids heads with untruth. You must at some point obey Jesus’ instruction to know the truth about what you are believing in with blind faith. You and all Bible story believers must one day do your homework which is to find out why Israeli archeologists claim the writers of the Bible stories concocted big whoppers about people and events that never happened. If you pass on to the next generation of kids false history in order to shore up your own religious beliefs, what are you really doing for God?

    Please read the end of Matthew and see that AGE that Jesus Christ ruled alone has passed now as you and so many Pauline Christians are not aware of Christianity astro-theological roots in the Celestial Torah configurations changing through time as each Age needs its own special spiritual instructions. I’m here to restore confidence in God Most High and the Spirit of Christ because God is with me, otherwise the Christ Sword wouldn’t have been revealed to me and the world, and otherwise Her arrival wouldn’t be foretold to Holy Land believers. Nor would the Gospel of Humanity be here or the revealing of the lost Celestial Torah to replace the earthly fraudulent one now experiencing its End Times signaling the End Times of all Abrahamic religions. Only Gnostic Christianity was always free of Bible connection for spiritual authority and so only Gnostic forms of Christianity will ride out the demise of Bible linked religious beliefs. Blind faith in men’s words doesn’t do the job anymore if it ever did.

  • Scott W. Clark

    And a Jew looed like what 2,000 years ago? You got any pictures to show us?

  • BrotherofJared

    And if the story is correct, Jesus was only half Jewish. We know he was passable as a Jew, which I believe covered quite a variety of possibilities.

  • BrotherofJared

    And yet another author enters the guessing game of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. With all the guessing going on, is it not possible that it happened exactly as he said it did?

  • DanD

    Though in his youth Joseph was mostly a working farm boy in a family that moved around frequently, and though he was largely deprived of a formal education, he was “instructed in reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic” at home. The Bible was probably most often used for reading instruction. Basically, most historians would agree, a third grade level education at best.

  • “Whether through revelation or imagination, he (Joseph Smith) proposed an alternate story that accounts for them.”

    Since the Smithsonian says there is no archaeological proof supporting the claims of the Book of Mormon, the papyrus used to write the Book of Abraham was nothing more than a funerary text having nothing to do with Abraham, and Joseph Smith’s prophecies concerning the building of the temple in Independence, Missouri and that he would christen it and it not happening, and his prophecy that Jesus would return in 1891 not happening…I would suggest a majority of what Joseph Smith did was imagination.

  • Joel

    Once again, the premise the Book of Mormon is an ancient text has no historical validity whatsoever. The assumption early colonizers biggest theological question was ‘who were the Native Americans’ is again, false. Historical records show, unlike Mr. Manseau’s claims, that British missionaries bravely wandered into Indian country unaccompanied by military forces to proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Had the question of origins been as prevalent as Mr. Manseau suggests, Christian churches would not have sent out their members to risk their lives to evangelize Indians. If there is any truth to be taken from this book, it’s most likely that Joseph Smith plagiarized a lot of stories and texts.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    The second and fourth sentences are incoherent. Try again?

  • Joel

    Nope. It makes perfect sense contextually. Perhaps it’s that you disagree but can’t come up with a better response?

  • Brad

    Wow, this ought to be fun. Watching Mormons debate other kooks. Hold on while I pop some popcorn.

  • Stephen Lewis

    Bottom line is that Joe was a phony prophet like all the Gentile self-proclaimed prophets are, and I am very tempted to put the “Paul” into the Gentile camp and give him credit for utterly ruining Christianity by trying to water it down for Roman Empire tastes and for the horrible commandment Paul instituted of commanding Christians to obey their government leaders or face God’s condemnation to hell. That right there destroyed Jesus’ rebellion against unjust Authority which is the honor and duty of all who follow the Spirit of Christ. Jesus went so far as to give his life in rebellion against Roman and Sandhedrin authorities and yet few Christians follow that road but some do, thank God.

  • Larry

    Probably like most Jewish men of Sephardi descent as they stayed in the region for most of their history. Think of what your average male of Middle Eastern/North African descent looks like.

  • Joel

    I suppose everbody is entitled to their own opinion, even if it parts way from the line of the original post. I disagree with what the post is claiming, and I hope I haven’t strayed too far from the conversation nevertheless.

    Having said that, it appears that you aren’t interested in commenting on the article per se, but instead on advertising your own version of religion/spirituality. I’ll be honest. I don’t think anybody is “listening” to you. What you are writing is metaphorically “vomit lunch”. It purports to have a better way, more enlightened, correct interpretation, what have you but all I see is your personal opinion. A person struggling to put together sometimes contradictory doctrines into a “new vision” and all it comes out as is confusion and a spiritually confused person. If Mormons are confused about who Jesus Christ is, you are just confused all around.

  • Poqui

    @homeschoolmom

    If there is no need for prophecy after Jesus, then what about all the prophecy that took place AFTER the death of Christ that’s recorded in Acts-Revelation?

    Methinks you have not studied the New Testament on your own and looked for the patterns taught there. The main pattern is this:
    1. Problem
    2. Discussion among leaders
    3. Seek revelation from God
    4. Revelation comes to the Apostles
    5. Answer to problem taught to the members.

    This happens over and over again in the recorded New Testament. The idea that the church of Christ could exist or function without prophets is unheard of during the 1st Century. Only after the Apostles are killed and the church falls into disarray do we begin to hear such heresy.

    Thnk about it, the only example of a religion, in the New Testament, being led by a book without a prophet is that of the Jews. And they interpreted that book in so many different ways that they were leading the people astray without knowing it.

    Please study the Bible and discover this pattern. It will change the way you see Christianity.

  • Eli

    I actually think this information is just another small nugget that points to the Heartland model for Book of Mormon geography, rather than Mesoamerican (Where the Book of Mormon took place has never been as important to me than the fact that it did take place– it’s just been a fun hobby). I still think there is so much Joseph couldn’t have known as the book came forth that is really only coming to light now.

  • Joel

    How a book review about a historian conflating facts and speculations turns into a thread about you, Stephen, is beyond me, but once again everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    With historic Christianity, those who defend the Gospel never promote themselves but instead promote Jesus Christ, the God-Man and only representative of the one true Triune God. But you seem shape “any” divine message to be about you and centered around you, a mere mortal with speculative philosophies and twisted doctrines of Christianity. I don’t care what you say about other religions, but to claim you know something outside of Holy Writ is a “red flag” you are on a path driven by deceiving spirits. In fact, you claim others to be misled but you haven’t considered that perhaps you too are the one being led NOT by Jesus Christ (who deferred His own glory to the Father) but to the Deceiver. You aren’t just spewing false teachings, but you are deceived and being deceived by the enemy of God, and are own a path of spiritual destruction. God willing you will find your way out but if you insist on your convoluted visions, will end up spiritually desolate and overcome by the enemy of humanity.

  • steve Duncan

    You never read the Book of Revelations, nor Amos 3:7. Yes, your God has lost the power to speak and a give answer to prayer! AND OF COURSE YOU DENY THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT which is one way to identify the true Church of Jesus Christ today. Remember Alex campbell give the name to your church 1906, It is on the decrease in membership at this time. Sorry guy.

  • amishindian

    Deganawidah, the Iroquois prophet came to unite the various tribes of the Americas with his teachings on peace and the concept of separation of powers which later was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, Native Americans did not unite under the teachings of Deganwidah for various reasons but his spirit resides in America and in its form of government though obviously still fallible. Joseph Smith recognized that the U.S. Constitution was divinely inspired and it is interesting his associations with Iroquois tribes. Eventually Native Americans will recognize Deganawidah and his mission as well as Americans of all hues and really the whole world. As far as Joseph Smith seeing the Son of Man in 1890, that was the year the name of the Bahai prophet Bahaullah was first publicly mentioned in the U.S. at the World Exposition in Chicago. Bahais do have a great deal of interest in Native American prophecy and spirituality. I respect Joseph Smith and his relationship with Native Americans as a youth would be a great area for further research.

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  • Steve

    Interesting article but it still fails in disproving the BoM and Joseph Smith in several big ways. For example, The BoM is written in very poor English, but it is filled with Hebraisms, especially in the beginning. Chiasmus, omitted commas, double negatives, and even Semitic cultural terms are all over it. (Just think “river of water” vs. just “river,” a distinction common in Middle Eastern writing but redundant in English).
    On top of that, Joseph would have had to be familiar with very specific ancient Jewish explanations of prophetic words (See the 1st book of Nephi). Then there are the clear cultural differences that would have been unknown to Joseph but easily are visible in the text. Then there’s the fact NO other document at the time treated with the idea of a Native American Israeli diaspora to the level that the BoM has. View of the Hebrews, Spalding and other accounts that critics claim to be plagiarized don’t even contain enough content to cover half of the BoM…