Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player

Sell Us Your Item
For a $2.84 Gift Card
Trade in
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Tell the Publisher!
I'd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?: The Spalding Enigma [Paperback]

by Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis, Arthur Vanick
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.

Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student

100 M&T
100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime
Looking for something good to read? Browse our picks for 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime, brought to you by the Amazon Book Editors.

Book Description

July 30, 2005 0758605277 978-0758605276
Was The Book of Mormon given to Joseph Smith by an angel or created from a work of fiction?

Who was Solomon Spalding and did he have a connection with Joseph Smith?

This book critically examines key historical documents, personal testimonies, and records of 19th-century Mormon history concluding that The Book of Mormon is an "adaptation of an obscure historical novel" written by Revolutionary War veteran Solomon Spalding during the War of 1812.

In twelve chapters, the authors lay out the evidence for the assertion that Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and Joseph Smith Jr. adapted and embellished the Spalding manuscript to create The Book of Mormon. Although based on public records and solid research, the book reads like "investigative history," demonstrating that Mormon claims to the "supernatural" revelation and transcription of The Book of Mormon are fraudulent.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 558 pages
  • Publisher: Concordia Publishing House (July 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758605277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758605276
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
174 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Let The Title Fool You March 26, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't let the title fool you. Even though it's called Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon? and it's published by a religious publisher, this is NOT a religious book; it's a book ABOUT a religious book. The historical mystery here makes for a fascinating tale, even for readers who have no interest in religious books and care nothing about Mormonism. Indeed, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself would have been hard-pressed to come up with a better detective story, or a more colorful set of characters to go with it.

As the story goes, on the night of the autumnal equinox in the year 1827, young Joseph Smith, Jr. encountered an angel. According to Smith, this angel, whose name was Moroni, gave him an ancient book written in strange hieroglyphics on sheets of gold. Later, after Smith had translated these hieroglyphics by miraculous means, and after this translation had been duly recorded by a carefully chosen scribe, the angel came again and took the original back. Smith's translation, which he called The Book of Mormon, was published in 1830 and shortly thereafter became the a cornerstone of a new religion. Today that religion is known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the Mormons--and Joseph Smith is the man they revere as their prophet. The inherently theocratic nature of Mormonism coupled with its obvious financial strength and political influence in today's world, explain why it might be useful to inquire further into the obscure historical origins of a faith which few, even those who are part of it, know much about.

Did Joseph Smith really get The Book of Mormon from an angel, or did it perhaps have some other, more mundane, origin?
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
146 of 170 people found the following review helpful
I have read *ahem* my share of books on Mormon history, and this is one of the very best, hands-down.

The authors examine tax records, census records, poll tax documents, county histories, family histories, etc.--seemingly no stone is left unturned as they carefully trace which key player in the Spalding-Rigdon controversy was where and was in a position to know what.

Most discussions of the Spalding-Rigdon theory center around the Conneaut Witnesses, the people who knew Solomon Spalding and identified his story when they heard the Book of Mormon preached to them. I was amazed to learn of the hundreds of additional witnesses whose statements had remained forgotten or undiscovered until now, especially a man to whom an embittered Rigdon "spilled the beans" after his loss to Brigham Young for the leadership of the church.

The authors painstakingly trace the Spalding Manuscript from its genesis to its final incarnation as the Book of Mormon, and all the twists and turns in between. They deal with every objection to the theory ever raised since the very beginning--such as the reliability of Hurlbut, the witnesses' accuracy, and the manuscript taken from Mrs. McKinstry's trunk, for example--and thoroughly analyze and disect them point-by-point using counterexamples, eyewitness accounts, and other sources.

Mormon apologists have long been challenging critics to a) come up with a more plausible account of the creation of the Book of Mormon than their official one, and b) come up with original material. This book succeeds masterfully at both.

I'd always had nagging questions about how the Book of Mormon came to be, but this book answered each one of them clearly and decisively. In my opinion, if you only read a single book on Mormon history, this is DEFINITELY the one. Highly recommended!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
65 of 75 people found the following review helpful
I finished the book tonight. I was enthralled with the subject matter, and I read it with enthusiasm. I am as much a product of mormonism as anyone. I challenge anyone to claim more pioneer ancestry than myself. I split with mormonism, for my own purposes, at the age of 19. I probably don't need to explain to most why I was compelled to make a decision at this point. Anyhow, I was most receptive to the material in this book. Yet, living with my parents, I hid the book in fear of sparking holy jihad if you know what I mean. To date, my doubts have mostly been gut feelings. With the reading of this book and "Losing a Lost Tribe" I am beginning a process of methodical analysis of evidence. To say that there is any fully unbiased view on this subject probably isn't realistic. Obviously, the name Cowdrey in the list of authors is a give away that perhaps at least one of these authors carries it in their blood.

To those who vehemently discredit this book, it is completely understandable and acceptable. Your right to your faith is respected by the authors of this book in the afterword. They accept that you won't be dissuaded from your beliefs, and I firmly believe that this isn't their intent.

I started this book with the full understanding that history is an imperfect science at best. With the recent explosion of multimedia access to historical information, one may deduce from study that very few things in history are known for certain. The authors concede that the challenges of mormon history, assuming a conspiracy, are daunting due to the fact that those involved wouldn't want their history known. This same type of dilemma dates even to the time of Julius Caesar.

My enthusiasm for this book is admittedly fueled by my background.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally bogus.
This book is pure unadultereated crap. It uses old 19th century arguments based on a document that Hurlburt and Howe hid in Howe's print shop and claimed to be lost. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Paul A. Burnham
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Documented
This is a very well documented book and that alone should serve as a recommendation for reading. Gives one pause to consider the alternatives.
Published 13 months ago by Austin Byers
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed Research
Good reseach for those truly interested in this type of thing. I was not that interested in it, though, to get that deep.
Published 15 months ago by susan james
5.0 out of 5 stars A big expansion of a previous book about early Mormonism
More than I ever expected to know about the early history of Mormonism. The level.of document ism is almost unbelievable. Simply fascinating.
Published 17 months ago by Paul Shipley
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about the creation of LDS x 10 . . .
An amazingly complete book in need of a really good editing - since the authors put everything they could find on the subject into the book - with not the greatest prioritization... Read more
Published 23 months ago by chiptex
2.0 out of 5 stars Smoke but no smoking gun
I am not a Mormon but a long time student of the religion and it's history. I found this book to be over-written and turgid. Read more
Published on March 20, 2012 by Mr. John Guerrasio
5.0 out of 5 stars Before joining the mormon chuch read this book
I am reading this book (Who Really Wrothe the Book of Mormon) about the origin of "The book of Mormon". Read more
Published on February 9, 2012 by Milesm
1.0 out of 5 stars Two Entirely Different Vocabularies
My own studying of Spalding's vocabulary in "Manuscript Found" and comparing it with the Book of Mormon vocabulary suggests that in order to have contributed anything of importance... Read more
Published on December 16, 2011 by Teryl Gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars This Answers the Question
If you're like me, you'll go to your grave asking "Why?" or "What is truth?" This book definitely tries to shed some light on "The Book of Mormon. Read more
Published on September 15, 2011 by railfan
4.0 out of 5 stars Think of the royalties Spaulding Heirs have coming!
First: I'm not LDS, nor ever was, so take that at face value.

A very interesting book, but the reviews that refer to it being as gripping as a courtroom drama are... Read more
Published on September 15, 2011 by Amazon Customer
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category