Welcome to MormonLeaks!
A Quick Note to Our Viewers:
We are a research team focused on reconstructing the historical narrative of how the Mormon scriptures were created. Many visitors to this site may have seen reference to “Mormon Leaks” in the news, involving the publication of internal documents and videos of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. The individuals behind this effort are in no way affiliated with us and we do not have an explicit opinion supporting or denouncing their efforts. Our web presence/domain name has no space between the word “Mormon” and the word “Leaks”.
We chose the domain name ‘MormonLeaks’ in 2010 because it described our goal of bringing to light for the first time the previously undisclosed narrative of the origins of the Mormon scriptural canon. However, today it has taken on a different meaning, and we want to make it clear that we are in no way associated or connected with the recently posted leaks from the LDS Church on Reddit, or the video series on YouTube that have been published under the same name.
Given our focus on Early Mormonism, we are generally interested in historical evidence from the 19th century and modern-day computing methods, so that we can recreate the narrative by analyzing relevant texts of that time, and then match the available evidence with the authors of passages of Mormon scripture. The recent leaks of videos and documents mostly involve modern-day business dealings of no concern to our interests.
We hope that through our efforts, we have sparked your interest in the colorful characters, diverse motives, and hidden sources that gave rise to the Mormon scriptures and ultimately to Mormonism as we know it today.
Thank you for your support.
Craig, Geoff, & Shelly
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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!