(March 24, 2015)
I love the little details that lend to the verisimilitude of the Book of Mormon – things that Joseph Smith could not have done as an author, but fit right in line with Joseph Smith as a translator.
As an example, we can try a simple experiment. Come up with a counter-argument from the Bible to the doctrine that Moses was a prophet. It is almost axiomatic to believe (correctly) that Moses was a prophet, and there only evidence of the counter position from the Bible would be wresting the scriptures. It would be hard to come up with something like that on short notice.
But see what is done here. The idea of the resurrection was similarly axiomatic during the religious fervor that surrounded Joseph Smith – he would not have encountered preachers that gave sermons against this doctrine. Yet Antionah steps forward with the perfect counter-example (wrested, of course) from the scriptures to argue against this basic doctrine.
This is something that we would not expect from a work of fiction – especially composed by someone with Joseph’s background and especially composed in the time that Joseph had.