On this day 182 years ago the Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi was published by Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York. According to Smith, an angel named Moroni had revealed to him in 1827 the location of a hill in New York where golden plates had been buried. Engraved on the plates in “reformed Egyptian” characters was the text of the Book of Mormon, which Smith translated into English.
Smith’s neighbour Martin Harris mortgaged his farm to pay the costs of printing the book, which was first sold at E.B. Grandin’s bookstore on 26th March 1830. The book describes an appearance by Jesus Christ in America shortly after his resurrection, and purports to contain a historical record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of America. The claimed editor of the book, Mormon, is said to have lived in the fourth century AD.
Historians doubt the authenticity of the book for a number of reasons. The locations described in the book do not match up with American archaeological sites. Metals, technologies, plants and animals referred to in the book do not match up with those which existed in America in ancient times. There is no evidence of DNA or linguistic links between Native Americans and people from the ancient Near East.