Not a Few Things


Excerpt from Studies of the Book of Mormon by B. H. Roberts, pg. 240: 1

“Did Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews furnish structural material for Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon? It has been pointed out in these pages that there are many things in the former book that might well have suggested many major things in the other. Not a few things merely, one or two, or half dozen, but many; and it is this fact of many things of similarity and the cumulative force of them that makes them so serious a menace to Joseph Smith’s story of the Book of Mormon’s origin.”


From the Wikipedia article, ‘Studies of the Book of Mormon’: 2

“Studies of the Book of Mormon is a collection of essays written at the beginning of the 20th century (though not published until 1985) by B. H. Roberts (1857–1933), a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which examine the validity of the Book of Mormon as a translation of an ancient American source.

In the early 1920s, Roberts was asked by the First Presidency of the LDS Church to develop an apologetic to explain difficulties in the Book of Mormon, such as the lack of Hebrew or Egyptian vestiges in the languages of the Native American peoples and such historical anachronisms in the Book of Mormon as mentions of horses, oxen, wheat, and steel swords in ancient America

Roberts also compared the Book of Mormon with Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews (1823), published five years before the Book of Mormon. Smith, a Vermont clergyman, drew on, what were at the time, commonplace ideas about the relationship of the Hebrews and the American Indians. Not only did Smith’s work go through many early editions, but Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith’s scribe and one of the Three Witnesses to the golden plates, grew up in the Vermont town where Ethan Smith pastored the church and where Cowdery’s mother and half-sisters were members. According to religion writer Richard Ostling, “it is probably safe to assume that Joseph Smith was familiar” with Ethan Smith’s book.”


Additional Study

View of the Hebrews, Ethan Smith (1823) –
B. H. Roberts’s Studies of the Book of Mormon, Brigham D. Madsen (Dialogue) –


1 Studies of the Book of Mormon, B. H. Roberts –
2 Studies of the Book of Mormon, Wikipedia –