Verifiable Evidence for the Book of Mormon (Hardcover | 252 pages | US$32.95 ISBN: 978-1-7779119-4-2, Distributed by IngramSpark) is the first book to provide testable proof that there is something unusual about the Book of Mormon. It should not exist. Subject matter experts know, with absolute certainty, that its creation process cannot produce its contents. But there it is.
Out of the millions of books in existence, the Book of Mormon is the only one produced by a static dictation process, where the 23-year-old Joseph Smith dictated the over 269,000-word manuscript to his scribes while looking at his seer stone in a hat between April 7 and July 1, 1829.
His output was phenomenal - his daily word count ranged from 4100 to 5000 words, two to three times higher than Stephen King and Mark Twain. But unlike the case with every other famous writer, after Smith's scribes wrote down the text, the structure was fixed and was never rearranged or rewritten. All subsequent edits were kept to the grammar, spelling, and mechanics realms, not content edits.
In other words, Joseph Smith's production of the Book of Mormon was structurally a "first draft is the final draft" process. We know this because we still have 28% of the Original Manuscript (the text the original scribes used to record Smith's words) and nearly 100% of the Printer's Manuscript. We can compare the modern edition of the Book of Mormon to the version that came from Smith's mouth and can confirm they are structurally identical.
If the dictation process occurred - as a dozen eyewitnesses claimed, and as seen by the surviving source material, then the book's contents should reflect the disorganized nature of dictating ideas off the top of one's head. The book should be filled with rambling and unfinished thoughts and replete with the errors indicative of the dictation method.
It does not. Instead, over one-third (34%) of the Book of Mormon is comprised of seventy-five structured essays - a type of literature that can only be created by deliberate design. Most notably, 21% of the book is made up of forty-six argumentative essays - a class of script comprised of a thesis statement, argument/evidence pairs, and conclusion that can only be formed by iterative writing, where a person repeatedly rewords and enhances text following a specific structure.
Anyone who has attended university knows from experience that it is not possible to create structured essays by the dictation process. How then did Joseph Smith do what millions know firsthand cannot be done? Not once, not twice, but seventy-five times?
This book contains two papers that break down five of the Book of Mormon's forty-six argumentative essays. They prove that these sections can only be created by deliberate design. One of these essays, Alma 36, is shown to have three complete facets impossible to be dictated in just a few hours - it is a persuasive essay, modified public speech, and thematic chiasmus rolled into one.
What explains these empirical impossibilities in a book that claims to have been written so that the world may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God (Title Page, 2 Nephi 26:12) and for the world to believe that the Holy Bible's teachings are true (1 Nephi 13:38-40; Mormon 7:9)?
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The Unique Book of Mormon
What the Book of Mormon Is and Isn't
PART 1: ARGUMENTATIVE AND PERSUASIVE ESSAYS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON
Evidence #1: 2 Nephi 2
Evidence #2: Alma 32
Evidence #3: Alma 33
Evidence #4: Alma 34
Part 1: Conclusion
Appendix 1: Glossary
Appendix 2: The Book of Mormon's Structured Essays Table
Appendix 3: Proposed Empirical Study
Appendix 4: Argumentative and Persuasive Essay Tools
PART 2: ALMA 36'S MULTIFACETED STRUCTURE
Facet 1: Alma 36 as a Persuasive Essay
Facet 2: Alma 36 as a Modified Public Speech
Facet 3: Alma 36 as a Thematic Chiasmus
Part 2: Conclusion
Take the 1200-Word Alma 36 Dictation Challenge
POSTSCRIPT: JOSEPH SMITH'S SEER STONE AND INTERPRETERS
What does a subject matter expert do when observing something they know from experience is an objective impossibility?
The first reaction is disbelief – there must be a trick or fraud – some things are known to be impossible.
What if experts can examine and test this objective thing using the best equipment only to see the “miracle” repeated again and again under controlled conditions?
The worldview changes – what was thought to be a “known-known” turns out to be a “known-unknown” (we know that we do not know) or perhaps even an “unknown-unknown” (we do not know what we do not know). One’s perception of reality is now suspect.
Suppose the producer of the miraculous object alleges that they created it as proof that they represent God. Wouldn’t their claim become credible? Shouldn’t the subject matter expert take the allegation seriously?
This is what we have with the Book of Mormon. It exists. Anyone can hold a physical copy in their hands and read it. The book claims to have been written so that the world may believe that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God” (Title Page, 2 Nephi 26:12) and for the world to believe that the Holy Bible’s teachings are true (1 Nephi 13:38-40; Mormon 7:9).
The causal logic is:
If the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God. If the Book of Mormon is likely true, then it is likely that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.
Speaking personally, my core competency is in structural linguistic semantics. I am a subject matter expert on qualitative documentation analytics and composition—the analysis, creation, and organization of complex documents—and have been doing so for more than three decades. I have created and overseen hundreds of proposals, RFP responses, project execution plans, procedures, and user manuals for dozens of clients.
What makes the Book of Mormon credible as an impossibility comparable to the abovementioned three examples? There are many, but this book only delves into my area of expertise, which includes using a Formalism-Structuralism approach to analyzing a document’s:
Conducting a qualitative document analysis of the Book of Mormon’s internal structure and concept development shows the text’s layout was purposely set. Whoever created it wrote down the text, edited it, rearranged its sentences, and rewrote it, in some places, multiple times.
The Book of Mormon’s internal evidence shows deliberate design. Thought modules are coordinated, in many cases, three-dimensionally, and lack the meandering, disorganized nature of dictated writings.
Every rational book follows the same iterative creation process.
This observation is important because, unlike every other rational book, the Book of Mormon’s creation was unique—it was a “dictation” process, where Joseph Smith dictated the entire text to his scribes without the aid of a written source.
Suppose when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969 that they discovered a book in a depression a slight distance from the Lunar Module. The book was written in English, and its cover contained a message: “This is written to convince both Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”
They reported the discovery to the world, only to be met by skepticism and disbelief. But regardless of the mockery and dismissal, they insisted that they found the book precisely as they reported. And all evidence points to it being a genuine discovery.
Although the moon book’s contents may be unexceptional compared to the millions of others on Earth, it, nonetheless, would be unique. Its existence demands a rational explanation because it should not exist. But it does. What explains it, and should its raison d'être be taken seriously?
People lose sight of what makes the Book of Mormon exceptional. Out of the millions of books in existence, it is the only one produced by a static dictation process. Joseph Smith dictated the entire 269,318-word manuscript to his scribes without making any substantial changes to the text after the words from his mouth were first written down.
We know this not just from the eyewitness accounts but because we still have 28% of the Original Manuscript (the text written by the scribes from Joseph’s lips) and nearly 100% of the Printer’s Manuscript (the version mainly used by the printer of the 1830 first edition). They show no layout changes or resequencing. No paragraphs were inserted or moved elsewhere. No sentences were reworded or had their primary thought changed.
In short, the version of the Book of Mormon today, with its complex contents, is virtually identical to the version straight from the dictation process, save for non-structural changes (mostly spelling, grammar, and mechanics).
This feat may not seem like much to the non-writer, but to those with a lot of experience in structured non-prose and non-poetry writing, this “dictated first draft is the final draft” is an accomplishment none of us can equal. We all need to revise our first draft to correct errors and omissions and improve it. And for an uneducated 23-year-old man in 1829 to produce a 269,318-page work that did not need structural and layout enhancement on his first attempt at writing is something none of us can comprehend.
 Skousen, R. p. 4 “Witnesses of the translation said that Joseph Smith would obscure the light in the room, and, looking into the interpreters or the seer stone, would dictate the English translation to a scribe nearby. These witnesses claimed that
(1) Joseph Smith would dictate for hours in plain sight and without the use of notes or books;
(2) He would often spell out the strange names that the scribe was unable to spell; and
(3) In beginning a new dictating session, Joseph Smith did not have to be reminded of where to start.”
 Royal Skousen gave this author the 1830 Edition word count. He received it from Stanford Carmack, who used WordCruncher.
 Skousen, R. p. 6 “Evidence from scribal anticipations (caused by the scribe accidentally skipping ahead while writing down dictation) suggests that Joseph Smith sometimes dictated up to thirty words at a time. In general, there are very few signs of any editing or Joseph changing his mind about the translation.”
 Ibid. p. 7.
 Ibid. p. 6 “For nearly one-sixth of the current Book of Mormon text (from somewhere between verses 7 and 18 in Helaman 13 to the end of Mormon), the original manuscript rather than the printer’s manuscript was taken to the printer’s shop and used to set the type for the 1830 edition.”
A dozen eyewitnesses observed Joseph Smith dictate the Book of Mormon to his scribes. Most of this occurred while he looked at his seer stone in a hat. So well-known is this dictation translation process that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been condemned for it for nearly two centuries. Even the animated comedy, South Park, ridiculed the process in the episode “All About the Mormons.”
Argumentative and persuasive essays such as legal briefs, patent applications, scientific papers, critical reviews, hermeneutics, apologetics, and structured debates are types of literature that require a three-dimensional logical structure to maintain coherence. They need warranted argument/evidence pairs and a conclusion that supports a thesis statement. These types of literature cannot be dictated outside a classroom environment within confined parameters or by someone without decades of experience in creating them. Everyone who has had to do them knows this firsthand. What then explains their presence in over 21% of the Book of Mormon?
This paper identifies the Book of Mormon’s argumentative and persuasive essays and details their characteristics. It breaks down four of these essays to demonstrate that they are valid three-dimensional structures, where the argument-evidence pairs and conclusion support a thesis statement.
Given that these structured essays objectively exist in the Book of Mormon – a book that claims to have been written so that the world may believe that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God,” what is the most likely explanation for their presence?
The creation of persuasive and argumentative essays, especially those following the Toulmin model of argument, is common in Western universities since they are proven tools to help students develop their reasoning ability. This usage stems from the need to think “three-dimensionally,” whereby they must determine a thesis statement and develop logical foundations such as argument/evidence pairs and a conclusion supporting the thesis. These types of essays are architecturally distinct from prose, such as a novel, which aims to tell a story, or a newspaper article that merely conveys information. These essays' structure is also unlike poetry’s lateral construction, with its façade’s ordered aesthetic and rhythm. Prose and poetry do not need the logical support of a thesis statement to be successful, making them two-dimensional literature. This does not mean one is better than the other. A three-dimensional sculpture is not “better” than a two-dimensional painting; they are just different.
An argumentative or persuasive essay’s stylistic quality is generally irrelevant. These essays effectively convince their audience when their argument-evidence pairs and conclusion support the thesis statement using a sound warrant. Conversely, they fail when the thesis collapses from a lack of viable support. Legal briefs, patent applications, scientific papers, critical reviews, hermeneutics, apologetics, and structured debates are examples of argumentative or persuasive essays.
Just as one can be a great novelist but a mediocre poet or a legendary poet but a lousy novelist, a person can be a superb storyteller while at the same time be incapable of creating coherent argumentative essays. And the reason for this is that all forms are different types of literature. They require an understanding of their unique rules and have the literature written accordingly.
Argumentative and persuasive essays are worldview-centric – their credibility is based on what the participants accept as fact. In our case, the scientific method with modern logic, but other eras and cultures would have had different worldviews. Some examples would be the:
Assuming that the Book of Mormon people were real, they would have had their own worldview, and it would have been derived from the Brass Plates with clerical logic. This worldview would have been similar to the medieval Rabbinic Jewish practice of having their religious leaders interpret the Torah and Oral Torah on behalf of the people. The historical events detailed in the Brass Plates would have been accepted as actual events. Its mention of the coming Son of God would be sufficient to convince the people as if a deductive argument were executed.
Because the Book of Mormon people possessed a unique worldview, their reasoning process will not perfectly align with our modern Western worldview's logic, just as a Muslim with an Islamic worldview will not align with it either. Referencing authoritative religious texts like the Brass Plates or Koran to justify a belief or practice falls outside the scientific process and modern logic.
What is important from an analytical perspective is the structure of the Book of Mormon’s reasoning process – its internal consistency and harmony with our own. Although the worldview is different, the logical process closely follows the three-part layout for argumentative and persuasive essays found in all reputable Western schools:
These essays can be visualized as follows:
The argument’s frame always includes at least one persuasion strategy, while the conclusion may or may not contain one.
Despite a tendency to interchange “argumentative” and “persuasive,” there is a distinction between the two: the argumentative essay includes a counterargument/rebuttal while the persuasive essay does not.
The argumentative essay is a more effective convincing tool than the persuasive essay since the inclusion of a counterargument/rebuttal shows the audience that potential objections were already considered and rejected.
 E.g., Skousen, R. (2009), p. xiii: [Emma Smith] “I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.” Also, [Michael Morse] (who never joined the Church), “The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph’s placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating, word after word, while the scribe – Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other, wrote it down.”
 See Part 1: Argumentative and Persuasive Essays, Appendix 2: The Book of Mormon’s Structured Essays Table.
 See Toulmin, S. E.
 See Part 1: Argumentative and Persuasive Essays, Appendix 1: Glossary.
 See Part 1: Argumentative and Persuasive Essays, Appendix 4: Argumentative and Persuasive Essay Tools.
The Book of Mormon’s Alma 36 is famous for its complex chiasmus as an example of why the Book of Mormon is probably authentic since the paired concept elements within a writing style likely unknown to Joseph Smith are obvious. But the precise chiastic model is uncertain since it is possible to produce anywhere from an eight-element model to a seventeen-element model, depending on the modeler's preferences and on how many word or phrase concepts are excluded to make the model appear viable.
However, the presence of chiasmus is not the only reason why this chapter is so remarkable. Alma 36 displays a layout of not one but three complete structures, each of which requires a lengthy creation process that contradicts the way it was written down, where Joseph Smith dictated to his scribe while looking at his seer stone.
This paper examines these three facets of Alma 36 that demonstrate deliberate design in a manner that cannot be done by dictation in a few hours.
First, this paper argues that Alma 36 is a persuasive essay – a type of literature that requires a three-dimensional logical structure to be coherent.
Second, this paper points out that Alma 36 is structurally a persuasive public speech that appears to be modified for Helaman as a sacred keepsake. If so, then the personalization process was quick and only required changing one word six times and adding nine words to one sentence.
Finally, this paper contends that Alma 36 is a seven-element thematic chiasm instead of a chiasmus based on word or phrase elements. Each theme contains one to three paired concept elements that do not need to be within a chiastic structure themselves, only within the chiastic theme.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“the Church”) believes the Book of Mormon is Scripture and equal to the Holy Bible. As an object that objectively exists – anyone can hold a copy in their hands and read it – the book functions as the “Gordian Knot Cutter” of Christianity by quickly narrowing down the possible candidates for the “True Church” out of the tens of thousands of Christian denominations that currently exist. In simplistic terms, if the Book of Mormon is true, then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is likely the True Church based on the number of people who believe the book is true.
Without the Book of Mormon, one will need to evaluate the beliefs and practices of tens of thousands of denominations to determine which one to join since each one justifies its existence with biblical interpretation and authority claims. But no other objective standard exists that allows a denomination to justify why their interpretation and authority claims are credible compared to other denominations. The Holy Bible cannot be used as an evaluation criterion since they all hold it to be their scripture. Given that people can have different opinions about the same object (e.g., “Is President Trump ‘good’ or ‘bad’?”), one perspective cannot be validated without one or more external fixed references.
With the Book of Mormon, the search for the True Church becomes very easy instead of very hard. One merely needs to find out whether the Book of Mormon is true. If a conclusion of credibility is obtained, then one can be confident to have found the True Church. But if it is demonstrably not true, then one still has the problem of determining which denomination to join.
While receiving a personal answered prayer from God is always preferred (since nothing beats an actual communication from God), it is possible to objectively assess the Book of Mormon’s credibility to a high probability. And though Hebraisms, linguistics, chiasmus, archaeology, and other empirical realms are all valid fields in which to assess the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, this paper focuses on an area that does not require the readers to have specialized knowledge – only the ability to process ideas rationally, within an organized structure.
Alma 36 is the ideal exhibit to use to determine the Book of Mormon’s objective credibility since, at a little over 1200 words, it is small enough that anyone can take the time to read it and study its structure, layout, and contents. Moreover, it is one of the surviving portions of the Original Manuscript – the version that came directly from Joseph Smith’s lips that his scribe wrote down. We can see that the structure of the current edition of Alma 36 is identical to what was dictated in 1829.
This paper examines three facets of Alma 36 that show objective evidence that it was deliberately designed:
Any of these items means it is not possible for Joseph Smith to dictate this chapter to his scribe in a few hours around April 24, 1829, while he was looking at his seer stone. This creation problem becomes exponentially truer when examining all three facets as a whole.
Alma 36 can be duplicated. There is nothing impossible about its contents that prevents anyone from trying to create a 1229-word persuasive essay that is also a thematic chiasm with paired concept elements.
But creating one requires an organized approach, where the persuasive essay components are developed and mapped to ensure the essay is coherent. When the logic is finished, the theme blocks are outlined in chiasmus, paired words and phrases are associated with the themes, the entire document is resequenced, and text is added or deleted to complete the new layout while ensuring the essay remains coherent despite the modifications. Finally, the text is polished as a persuasive public speech.
None of this is easy, and only those familiar with specific structural writing procedures would even succeed. But even they will need to know beforehand what they are expected to write and have a detailed process to follow to create the multifaceted essay.
If Alma 36 is conclusively shown to be a deliberately designed product, then verifiable evidence exists that Joseph Smith did the impossible: he dictated a coherent, persuasive modified public speech essay in a thematic chiastic form.
What this objective impossibility means is left to the reader. But it is a sobering reminder that one cannot dismiss the Book of Mormon without thought. It exists whether we like it or not.
 Barrett, et. al. identified over 33,000 Christian denominations. Each denomination claims they are the True Church or are part of it and justify its independence from the others using biblical interpretation and authority claims. The problem lies in how they can show their interpretation is correct while the interpretations of tens of thousands of other Christian denominations are wrong.
 Skousen, R. p. 319-325.
 Welch, J. (2018). p. 42.
 This paper is primarily concerned with deliberate design as an objective standard instead of chiasmus since chiasmus is only an outcome of deliberate design. The empirical confirmation of deliberate design must explain how a product of deliberate design was dictated in just a few hours by Joseph Smith to Oliver Cowdery.
Either Alma 36 was a product of a dictation process – which is what twelve eyewitnesses saw, and what the Church has been attacked on for nearly two centuries with Joseph Smith looking at his seer stone, or it was a product of deliberate design that was merely copied over.
Experience is the best teacher, and it is always better to try something than keep it within the realm of theoretical when the benefits outweigh the risks.
And in the case of proving deliberate design in a known dictated book, the benefits are enormous: Verifiable evidence of the supernatural that validates the Christian faith, likely identification of the True Church out of over 30,000 candidates, and recognition within one’s bones that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God for doing something that you know from experience cannot be done.
A path in life suddenly gets illuminated that not only provides intellectual satisfaction but, most importantly, allows you to live a life of meaning and contentment, where you learn to love God, love your neighbor, love yourself, and keep God’s commandments.
The Alma 36 challenge only requires two people, where you dictate ideas off the top of your head to someone who will write them down. It should last no more than two hours, which is more than the length of time Joseph Smith needed to dictate 1200 words.
Your challenge is to imitate Joseph Smith’s creation of the tiny Alma 36 essay with its three facets following his dictation process.
Of course, you cannot replicate all the circumstances of the translation process since he was only a 23-year-old farmer with a third-grade education who lacked access to libraries and instructional material. There was no internet back in 1829, nor computers, electric lighting, and books that detail how to create argumentative essays and thematic chiasm.
You also have additional advantages that he did not have. Thanks to this book:
We cannot change your advantages over Joseph Smith but will just have to work with it. But even then, there is no need for a handicap since the process itself is challenging enough.
Here are the conditions:
a. Be a coherent persuasive essay using an expository content style.
b. Be a personalized public speech.
c. Employ a thematic chiastic model of seven themes and fourteen paired concept elements.
That’s it! So, grab your wife or buddy, promise them dinner if they are willing to act as your scribe for two hours, give them a pen and some paper, and have them sit at a table while you start dictating while staring at a stone.
Think of a topic, come up with a thesis statement, craft several arguments that support the thesis, and provide multiple pieces of evidence for each argument. Do not forget to create a conclusion that restates your thesis, issues a call to action, and attempts to modify the audience’s worldview.
While you are trying to keep all of that in your head, ensure that the essay is a modified public speech and especially make sure that it is a thematic chiasm with fourteen paired concept elements.
So, please try it and examine the results afterward. You will quickly realize that you cannot do it. Although you possess vast advantages over Joseph Smith, you will not be able to duplicate Alma 36’s complexity using the same dictation process, especially when using the “first draft is the final draft” methodology.
Conducting this exercise drives home the impossibility of Joseph Smith’s accomplishment. When one attempts to imitate his translation process, even the most skilled and educated person faces an overwhelming sense of inadequacy because our brains are not wired to dictate structured essays.
It does not matter what you think about him—a true prophet of God or an immoral con man—he did something that none of us can do: dictate highly complex structured essays like Alma 36.
What explains this empirical impossibility in a book that claims it was written to convince the world that “Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God”?
 Some examples of topics that are worth exploring are: “NBA basketball” with a “Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time” thesis statement; “food” with a “Bacon is the greatest meal partner” thesis statement; “nation-state” with a “The USA is the greatest nation in history” thesis statement.