Did ‘The First Book Of Napoleon’ Influence The Book Of Mormon?

“Another fascinating book published in 1809, The First Book of Napoleon, is shocking… It’s like reading from the Book of Mormon. When I first read this along with other passages from The First Book of Napoleon, I was floored. Here we have two early 19th century contemporary books written at least a decade before the Book of Mormon that not only read and sound like the Book of Mormon but which also carry so many of its parallels and themes as well.”

The First Book of Napoleon is a totally different book than the Book of Mormon. Totally different. Anti-Mormons cherry-pick a handful of common phrases, such as “upon the face of the land” and “an account,” which happen to exist in both books, and arranges them out of order into a sentence with a bunch of ellipses (the three dots that are commonly used to paraphrase a quote) to make them appear more similar.

You can do this with almost any book in existence. There are tens of thousands of 19th century books that share a handful or more of short phrases with the Book of Mormon.

MisquotedCES Letter snips short phrases and words totally out of context, and arranges them completely out of order. This is misquoting. When using ellipses to paraphrase certain parts of a quote, the phrases should be in the same order which they originally appear. It is a misquote–a fake quote–to pick out small parts and rearrange them differently.

Book of Mormon(per CES Letter): Book of Mormon (correct quote):

“Condemn not the (writing)…an account…the First Book of Nephi…upon the face of the earth…it came to pass…the land…his inheritance and his gold and his silver and…the commandments of the Lord…the foolish imaginations of his heart…large in stature…Jerusalem…because of the wickedness of the people.” “…condemn not the things of God (misquote)…The First Book of Nephi (misquote & wrong location)…his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and(misquote & wrong location)…large in stature (wrong location)…an account (21 mentions)…upon the face of the earth (26 mentions)…it came to pass (1,297 mentions)…the land (786 mentions)…the commandments of the Lord (27 mentions)…the foolish imaginations of his heart…Jerusalem (150 mentions)…because of the wickedness of the people (7 mentions)…”
First Book of Napoleon, (per CES Letter): First Book of Napoleon (correct quote):

“Condemn not the (writing)…an account…the First Book of Napoleon…upon the face of the earth…it came to pass…the land…their inheritances their gold and silver and…the commandments of the Lord…the foolish imaginations of their hearts…small in stature…Jerusalem…because of the perverse wickedness of the people.” “…condemn not the feebly imitative manner of writing…the First Book of Napoleon…upon the face of the earth (2 mentions)…it came to pass(13 mentions)…their inheritances, their gold and silver (misquote & wrong location)…the land…the commandments of the Lord(2 mentions)…the foolish imaginations of their hearts(1 mention)…because of the perverse wickedness (wrong location, 2 mentions)…small in stature…Jerusalem (5 mentions).”

Frequent Phrases – Most of these words and short phrases are mentioned hundreds or thousands of times throughout the Book of Mormon. This is the same game CES Letter‘s source played in their previous argument, where they cherry-picked phrases which showed up many times throughout the chapters they were analyzing and claimed that it was symmetrical. There is no logical pattern in cherry-picking a few very common words.

A simple Google search shows how common these words and phrases are in their library of popular 19th century books:

Parallel Phrase: Number Of 19th Century Books That Contain This Phrase:

“Condemn not the” 
“The First Book of” 
“Upon the face of the earth” 
“It came to pass” 
“The land” 
Inheritance… gold and… silver and 
“the commandments of the Lord” 
“foolish imaginations of”… heart 
“in stature” 
“because of the”… wickedness 

The phrase “it came to pass” shows up 1,297 times within the Book of Mormon and 1.5 million times in other 19th century books. You are really going to try to frame that as a parallel? There is only one true parallel: “The foolish imaginations of his/their heart(s).” This only shows up 386 times in Google’s collection of 19th century books, though that does not include books from the 18th century or older, or more obscure books. You are really going to claim based on one tiny parallel phrase that this book reads and sounds like the Book of Mormon, with the same parallels and themes?

Different ContextsCES Letter picks from The First Book of Napoleon: “their inheritances their gold and silver and.” But this is a phony quote. That’s not what it says. Here is what the book actually says, in context:

“And they moreover smote, with mighty wrath, the king’s guards, and banished the priests, and nobles of the land, and seized upon, and took unto themselves, their inheritances, their gold and silver, corn and oil, and whatsoever belonged unto them.”

Compare this with the Book of Mormon:

“And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.”

Completely different contexts, language, and themes. Notice how CES Letter added the word “and” to the end, after “silver,” then erased all the commas, and snipped it completely out of context, to make it sound more similar to the Book of Mormon quote. Truth is, they are totally different quotes.

Why Would Joseph Smith Do This? – Why would someone creating a hoax book of scripture steal short, common phrases from some random book printed in London, with totally different contexts but in the same order? Did Joseph Smith note down a handful of common words and phrases that he thought was cool and then ensure he included them in the Book of Mormon in the same order? How and why would he do that?

Joseph Smith Never Saw This Book – How did he come across this book printed in a different continent 3,500 miles away? This is a goofy and nonsensical narrative for how the Book of Mormon was created. The First Book of Napoleon was a random book that was published in London. There is no evidence Joseph Smith ever came across it, or that it made its way to New York at all.

CES Letter Logical Fallacies

Falsehood Almost all of the alleged parallels are false quotes, misplaced, or common phrases within the book. CES Letter misquotes both the Book of Mormon and the First Book of Napoleon, and presents them completely out of context alongside each other, with both words and punctuation altered to appear more similar. They also present the phrases and words in incorrect order.

CES Letter does not give the full title of the book: The First Book of Napoleon, the Tyrant of the Earth: Written in the 5813th Year of the World, and 1809th Year of the Christian Era. They want it to sound more similar to The Book of Mormon: The First Book of Napoleon.

Shifting Goalposts In their previous argument, CES Letter portrayed an association between Joseph Smith and the author of the book; it was printed kinda close to where he lived. Flimsy as this is, they suggested this means Joseph Smith copied the book. This time, CES Letter doesn’t even try to imply an association. That’s because it was printed in London 3,500 miles away, and it almost certainly never made its way to Joseph Smith.

The study where CES Letter took this narrative from found that the Spaulding Manuscript is no more similar to the Book of Mormon than any random book. Yet CES Letter used a map from Vernal Holley’s book that pushes this phony narrative for a previous argument.

Cherry-picking Anyone can cherry-pick a few idiosyncrasies that were common 200 years ago and draw a conspiracy theory relationship between the two random books. In a study, Jeff Lindsay found many striking parallels between the book Leaves of Grass and the Book of Mormon. Only problem? The Book of Mormon was published 20 years earlier.
Confirmation Bias All of the alleged parallels are in wildly different contexts, and many exist because both books happen to reference the bible.

CES Letter quotes the first chapter of First Book of Napoleon and says it is “fascinating” and “shocking” how similar it sounds to the Book of Mormon. That’s because it uses older language from the 19th century. Lots of books did.

Dramatic Language CES Letter uses dramatic phraseology to boost their credibility: “I was floored,” “shocking,” “fascinated.”
Non-sequiter CES Letter claims their quotes “read and sound like the Book of Mormon but which also carry so many of its parallels and themes as well.” It is debatable whether a handful of short, common phrases from totally different context qualify as such. But CES Letter certainly never shows parallel themes.
Repetition “Read and sound” are redundant
Etymology Fallacy CES Letter includes verse numbers in the quote from First Book of Napoleon and says it sounds like the Book of Mormon. But the first printing of the Book of Mormon did not have verse numbers.
Big Lie Tactic – Like previous arguments, the narrative is hokey and unbelievable, but the audience is not supposed to actually believe it. The reader thinks, “Maybe Jospeh Smith read this book and it influenced him, maybe not. Who knows?” The point of this argument is not to convince us that Joseph Smith ripped off the themes for the Book of Mormon, but to associate Joseph Smith with “tyrant of the earth” Napoleon Bonaparte. That is what really makes this argument effective. Even if you walk away shaking your heads at the claim that Joseph Smith stole themes, you still associate him now with supremacist violence. Thus, CES Letter pushes their Big Lie about Mormons are bigots. Take a closer look at the first chapter that they quote and claim sounds like the Book of Mormon:

4. And the evil spirit went abroad amongst the people, and they raged like unto the heathen, and they rose up against their lawful king, and slew him, and his queen also, and the prince their son; yea, verily, with a cruel and bloody death.
5. And they moreover smote, with mighty wrath, the king’s guards, and banished the priests, and nobles of the land, and seized upon, and took unto themselves, their inheritances, their gold and silver, corn and oil, and whatsoever belonged unto them.

CES Letter remarks, “It’s like reading from the Book of Mormon.” Now, why did CES Letter choose this book to compare to the Book of Mormon, rather than the tens of thousands of other 19th century books that happen into include common phrases from the Book of Mormon? Think about it. They just got done doing the same thing with a book about the American Revolution, and they cherry-picked a bunch of phony parallels that made the Book of Mormon sound racist and colonial-minded. They are continuing this same frame here, with a quote about people raging against a “lawful king” and stealing their property. They say this sounds like the Book of Mormon. Raging like the heathen against a lawful king? Where does that happen in the Book of Mormon?

This argument is really about establishing the Book of Mormon as a socially bankrupt book of morals. This argument is about propping Marxism as the correct social order. How terrible of this book, which is suspiciously similar to the Book of Mormon, to condemn the people rising up against a king! We hate kings! The gold, silver, and inheritances belong to the people, not the bourgeois! That is what this argument is really about.

Fake Science – Here’s what happened: In 2014, some anti-Mormons “analyzed 110,000 books” to find “phrases matched with the Book of Mormon.” They found a bunch of matches in a random book called “the First Book of Napoleon.”

The problem with this approach is that books share random phrases all the time, especially if they are both based on bible language, which these two books are. Pick any random phrase from the Book of Mormon; for example, Alma 32:16- “blessed are they who humble themselves.” Google search this exact phrase for 19th century books. The result is at least three non-Mormon books: The Divine Word Opened. Sermons. (Third Edition.), The Family Fire-side Book: Or, Monuments of Temperance, The American Temperance Magazine, and Sons of Temperance. Does that mean Joseph Smith stole this phrase from one of these books?

So, this approach only looks for coincidences and does nothing to show how one book might be related to the other.

Contradiction Strategy – Yet the only parallels are a handful of common phrases like “an account” and “it came to pass.” Pretty sad. CES Letter risks this clownish argument because it is so necessary for them to set a negative narrative for how Joseph Smith fabricated the Book of Mormon. The surrounding arguments attack faith and promote fake science, and they only work if the reader gets an explanation for how Joseph Smith fabricated it, as flimsy as this explanation is.

The human mind is trained to find patterns and dissimilarities. It is easy–lazy really–to cherry-pick a few vague similarities between two random books, dress up the language to sound more similar, and build a narrative that one book derived from the other. This is the same argument that Leftists use against the bible. They say it was ripped off Babylonian, Sumerian, and Egyptian legends. The human brain is trained to look for discrepancies and patterns, so this trick is common. Pareidolia is why people see the Virgin Mary in breakfast cereal and figures on Mars. It is confirmation bias.

When it comes to history, there is so much we don’t know and will never know. All we have are some fragments of bones in the ground and some texts that claim to be ancient. Fools jump to conclusions. Followers of Satan are easily tricked when it comes to pareidolia and history, because they are lazy and do not care to use critical thought. If there is vague evidence for something but we mostly don’t know what really happened because it is ancient history, followers of Satan will jump to lazy conclusions, whatever narrative is hyped on the History Channel and dressed up in emotional language.

It is easy to manipulate Satan’s followers when it comes to history because they rely only on what they can see and put no true faith in anything.

What does CES Letter believe in? What tenant of faith do hold that we can verify or discredit with these kinds of comparisons? Global warming? Human evolution? Give us something! Why don’t anti-Mormons discuss their alternative belief to the beliefs of the Book of Mormon and bible, and talk about physical evidences? Instead, they nit-pick and tear down an entire belief system with unscientific appeals to fake science.

This Marxist propaganda technique is especially insidious as it defines Mormons in a constrained and unfair frame, and it rallies non-Mormons or anybody who was sitting on the fence in solidarity against Mormons and their beliefs.

  • Cliff Crosland

    How is the CES Letter Marxist?