MormonLeaks is a research project that seeks to reconstruct the authentic narrative of the origins of the Mormon canon by combining macro-analytic computing tools with contemporary historical evidence.
The historical records reveal a small pool of candidate authors collaborating in Western New York and Northern Ohio to create the Mormon scriptures. Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and Parley Pratt are implicated as responsible for the majority of the authorship. Writings in the style of the King James Bible attracted religious curiosity, and authors started using this “Style of Antiquity” to easily establish truth claims in a language that was both familiar and authoritative. Our team of candidate authors borrowed liberally from the Bible, as well as contemporary works such as View of the Hebrews, The Late War, The Pilgrim’s Progress, and many others.
The narrative complexity in the Book of Mormon involves multiple internal editors and more than two dozen prophet characters. We assume multiple contemporary authors were involved in writing and editing the texts. In addition, we address persistent reports of plagiarism, cover-ups, and fraud.
The forerunner to the Book of Mormon, “Manuscript Found”, was a story penned by Solomon Spalding. Witnesses described it as a Biblical-style fiction that traced the origin of Native Americans to migrations from the Middle East. Spalding submitted his manuscript to a Pittsburgh print shop for publication. Impoverished and unable to pay the printing costs, Spalding died with his manuscript unpublished and seemingly forgotten.
We present our investigation of this 19th century authorship mystery to you in slideshow fashion. The narrative has been divided into eight episodes similar to chapters in a book. Each episode assumes familiarity with the previous one, but of course you can skip around the episodes at your leisure.
We invite you to join us!