The lost pages of the Book of Mormon are known as the lost 116 pages. Historian Don Bradley thinks the actual number of pages lost could be two to three times that amount! How does he come to that conclusion? He’ll answer that question in our next conversation.
Don: So one of my sources on the length of these pages, is the ancestor of one of our living apostles. At a stake conference in Provo, on April 6, 1856, a man named Emer Harris spoke about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and he talked about the lost 116 pages. He says explicitly some of what was in those pages, which is in my chapter 14, on the story of Mosiah and the Mulekites. He talks more about Mulekites and he also says something about the length of the lost manuscript. He says–oh, and the living apostle is Dallin Harris Oaks. Most people don’t know that’s what the H stands for. But it is. He’s, I believe, a great, great, great grandson of Emer Harris.
GT: So how’s Emer related to Martin?
Don: Oh, did I not mention it? He’s his brother.
Don: As historians, we create models of the past, and the model that can explain the most data in the simplest way is the best model. So what I’m doing here in describing the evidence for the manuscript length, and I end up arguing, but it’s like over 200, and maybe even up to around 300, well actually possibly more, but maybe nearly 300 pages, maybe 250.
As you can see from our previous conversations, Mark had a tangled web of interactions. In this next conversation with forensics expert George Throckmorton, we’ll talk more about Mark’s dealings with church leaders. What got Mark in hot water with church officials?
GT: He had an appointment with, I believe it was Elder Oaks, Elder Pinnock. I don’t remember who all.
George: Elder Pinnock was the one that was dealing with him quite a bit.
GT: Yeah. And so, so can you a little bit about what was the relationship between Mark Hofmann and Elder Pinnock?
George: Business. Elder Pinnock had a history. In fact, I’ve known him. He was my wife’s bishop when we got married and so I’ve known him. I knew him for a long time before this and he was, you know, as much a victim as anybody.
It turns out this Mark Hofmann was trying to give more credence to the Spaulding Theory, which states that Sidney Rigdon got a copy of the Spaulding Manuscript, gave it to Joseph Smith, and Joseph plagiarized the Book of Mormon from Solomon Spaulding. The problem has been, there has never been any connection between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spaulding. However, Mark tried to solve that problem with a forgery with a new collection known as the McLellin Collection.
George: There’s an old theory called a Solomon Spaulding theory. Are you aware that?
GT: I am aware of that.
George: Okay. But one of the problems, it’s never been given much credibility. They think that Solomon Spalding wrote it.
GT: Wrote the Book of Mormon.
George: And Martin just copied the Book of Mormon, but there was really no relationship between Solomon Spalding and Joseph Smith that could be found. So, it’s not given a whole lot of credit. I mean there’s always people that bring it up, but my opinion is not given credit because they never met until too late, until this land deed showed up. And it’s a land deed that was signed by Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris. So, it showed there was a relationship between Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris and the date was appropriate. And this is the document that Mark Hofmann showed Hugh Pinnock and Al Rust and some others, and he says this is part of the McLellin Collection.
Check out our conversation….and don’t forget our other episodes with George!