What’s This Mormonism All About?

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I quite like this explanatory video about The Book of Mormon. The creators are liberally borrowing from (or, less charitably, ripping off) Lee and Sachi’s excellent approach, but at least they’re executing well.

I’ve never really know much about this particularly unorthodox branch of Christianity–now I know a little more.


  1. Yes, “and sailed to the American continent.” From Yemen, basically, almost 3000 years ago. Simple, that. Sounds a bit like Steve Martin’s advice on becoming a millionaire: “First, get yourself a million dollars.”

    And of course, the original gold scripture book disappeared. Pity.

  2. Clever exposition in visual form, but the best take on Mormons is the four Joseph Smith segments on South Park Season 7: All about the Mormons.

    About 1970 a wonderful PhD thesis was published by a doctoral candidate in History who had remarkable access to Mormon archives. His conclusion was that The Book of Mormon was the first fantasy novel written in America by an unknown author who had only read the Bible and had no other literary model for storytelling. Joseph Smith found this document, and either recognized the basis of a great con, or not being familiar with fiction either, assumed, since it kinda read like the Bible, it must be a sequel.

    In the years following, all copies of the PhD thesis have vanished from the universities participating in the thesis exchange program. While there’s lots of evidence in historical records and archeology that validate events described in Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious books, no traces exist to support the Mormon myth earlier than Smith.

    1. A bit of history. The South Park show consists of the episode story with four embedded (highly ironic) South Park mini-documentaries on Joseph Smith. It complements this movie which delivers the pre-history of Mormonism.

  3. So what’s the 1970 thesis-writer’s name? Sounds like a perfect document for someone to dig up and post online. I don’t doubt that the Book of Mormon is a fantasy novel, whether written by Smith or someone else. 🙂

    1. Derek: I wish I could remember. I learned of it in sometime between 1969-1973 more or less. It was newly released. Among the research he reported was the discovery, apparently with the help of the Mormon archives, of what was clearly a first draft that preceded the one supposedly transcribed from the Tablets by Smith. While Christian lore abounds with drafts and translations that evolved into the “approved version” there’s no room in Mormon history for a first draft. However, all fiction develops this way. PhD theses (pre-Internet at least) were published in numbers of hundreds and subscribed university libraries would shelve them for further academic purposes. When I tried to locate the thesis a few years later, all copies had been lost from the shelves.

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