Recently released on PG, The Myth of the Manuscript Found, published in 1883 as the eleventh book of the Faith-Promoting Series, was written to combat the theory that the Book of Mormon was based on a book called The Manuscript Found. This unpublished work was written around 1812 by Solomon Spaulding, a Congregationalist preacher. It was supposedly translated from a Latin parchment found in a cave and gives a history of the first settlers of America, using the names Mormon, Moroni, Nephi and Lamanite. Many anti-Mormon publications and lecturers in the mid-19th century claimed that the Manuscript Found was the foundation for the Book of Mormon. Author George Reynolds combats this claim through accounts of the discovery and translation of the plates from Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris. He also discusses the Book of Mormon’s historical accuracy and fulfilled prophecies, and exposes the discrepancies between the content of the Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon. At a little over 100 pages, it is a fairly quick but highly interesting read, demonstrating once again how well the Book of Mormon stands up to criticism.
A statement from Orson Pratt toward the end of the book sums up the Book of Mormon’s own evidences of its truthfulness:
“If we compare the historical, prophetical and doctrinal parts of the Book of Mormon with the great truths of science and nature, we find no contradictions, no absurdities, nothing unreasonable. The most perfect harmony therefore exists between the great truths revealed in the Book of Mormon and all known truths, whether religious, historical, or scientific.”
McKayla Hansen, one of our 2015 BYU history summer interns, proofread and produced Myth of the Manuscript Found and contributed to this blog post.