By Solomon Spalding
The connection between the "Manuscript Story" and the "Book of Mormon" has been a long one. There have been many accounts written that claimed that Joseph Smith used this story as one of the sources when he created the BOM. Whether he did or not, I'm not trying to prove with the re-publishing of the "Story" here. Mormon scholars think they have proven their point that there is no connection, but recent new evidence has turned up and the issue is far from over.
Update 1-12-01: I recently received an e-mail from Jeffery Hammel in which he stated:
Your second sentence, in my opinion is incorrect, and the issue is more complex than is often reported. I believe an accurate statement would be "There have been many accounts written claiming that a Solomon Spalding story which he called "Manuscript Found" was used as one of the sources in the creation of the BOM. These claims are very important because rather than suggesting that Spalding's work was simply consulted for ideas, the claims state that his story served as the historical framework for much or all of the BOM, including identical names such as Lehi, Nephi, and Lamanites. The Spalding manuscript now called "Manuscript Story" was first mentioned in E.D. Howe's "Mormonism Unvailed" in 1834, and after being set aside for many years, it was later rediscovered in 1885. Both the LDS and RLDS churches published the work shortly there after, and they and apologists today refer to this story as "Manuscript Found". However, believers in the Spalding claims believe that "Manuscript Story" and "Manuscript Found" are separate works. By showing the dissimilarities between "Manuscript Story" and the BOM, mormon scholars think they have sufficiently proven the Spalding claims to be false. Spalding theorists believe that the similarities which do exist between "Manuscript Story" and the BoM are suggestive of some degree of common authorship."
I just wanted to reprint that here for your consideration.
The version printed here is probably the easiest version to read that you can find. I have taken the copy published at BOOK OF MORMON STUDIES Web Site and ran it through a spell checker to make it easier to read for the non-scholar who just wants to read it for themselves. Even after doing that, I have to tell you that this story is a hard read. Some of the story couldn't be reprinted because the manuscript was worn out. As you'll see, the author was a horrible writer . To see how bad the original is just go to the link above and see the exact copy of the story.
To see a comprehensive collection of this subject, first go to THE SPALDING STUDIES LIBRARY and to read about the latest discoveries go to The Mormon Studies Homepage. My friend Dr. Shades has written a interesting look at the parallels between both books also.
The areas that are marked with "* * * *" are places in the manuscript that could not be read. The areas that are in brackets "" and in italics are areas the the author first wrote and later erased.
Table of Contents
An Epitome of the Authors life & of his arrival in America.
An account of the settlement of the Ships Company [and many particulars respecting the natives.]
Many particulars respecting the Natives.
A journey to the N W. & [removal.]
A description of the Ohioans, [& manner of procuring a living.]
Description of the Learning [Religion & customs of the Ohioans]
An Account of Baska.
Government & Money.
Military arrangements, Amusements, Customs, Extent of the Empire, & Forts.
An Account of Prince Elseon.
The End of Peace.
There is no Chapter XIII.