Review: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins
Mr. Palmer asserts with heavy clarity and sources that Mr. Smith authored the Book of Mormon. He cites several cases where Mr. Smith claimed to translate something, and the translation was later proven completely incorrect, including one encounter with a man who presented him with a Greek Psalter where Mr. Smith claimed it was reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics, and gave him its translation. The man happened to speak Greek, and knew right away that Mr. Smith had no gift of translation at all. To which, Willard Richards rationalized, 'Sometimes Joseph Smith speaks as a prophet, and sometimes he speaks as a man'
He moves logically through comparisons of Josephus and the Book of Abraham, Book of Mormon and several areas of the Bible, Methodist questions, current Protestant doctrines, etc.
Then moves into a compelling argument considering the spirit. The spiritual swelling in your heart is an unreliable means of proving truth. I.e. all religions claim these spiritual feelings verify the authenticity of their religions, but obviously, they can't all be true because they all teach such differing doctrines.
He asserts that the spirit merely urges souls towards God through Christ. (Personally I don't know how he can make that assertion since Muslims feel it too).
My personal feeling is that this feeling is probably something more evolutionary and biological in nature that instinctively moves humans (and other animals) to affect goodness to their fellow earth dwellers. My thoughts are that Human beings have a primal need to pack together, to form communities, stemming from the human evolution of trying to take over larger animals and make these personal connections, and whatever else. We must respect each other as Gods, for without each other, we would not exist. We would become depressed, violent and ultimately never even come together to reproduce, an instinctive trait present in all animal species.
I postulate we would live something more like Autistic lives, possessing the ability to carry on and reproduce, but without the desire.
After you have read this book, I am curious specifically about your thoughts on Joseph Smith. Did he author the Book of Mormon, in your point of view? Does it matter?
It matters to me. I think the truth should will out, and no matter how much Mr. Smiths 'works' draw people to Christ, they were built on complete falsehood. Like former President Bush was wrong to go into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein under false pretenses, even though Saddam was bad man, Mr. Smith was wrong to invent this wonderful fairy tale to bring people to Christ. Seems like a good goal, but completely unjustified.