American Holiday discovered in The Book of Mormon

American Holiday discovered in The Book of Mormon

Duane and I made a presentation last October discussing our Big Data research on The Book of Mormon, and how it lead us to the discovery of an almost forgotten text by Gilbert J Hunt, The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain. The book was first published in New York in 1816 and appears to have been used as a school textbook. In our analysis, it rose to the top of over 100,000 pre-1830 books, due to having the highest number of rare (& non-biblical) four word phrases connecting it to “The Book of Mormon”.

Since then the work has continued to progress, with a number of new discoveries.

One of the more interesting finds we came across recently while manually looking over the data, was the discovery of an American Holiday likely transmitted from The Late War to The Book of Mormon:

the fourth day of the seventh month, which is the birth day of Columbian Liberty and Independence, (The Late War, 1816)

the fourth day of this seventh month, which is in the tenth year of the reign of the judges. (The Book of Mormon, 1830)

Not only are the two phrases nearly identical, but they also connect the Fourth of July to the beginning of a new form of kingless government that replaces their previous monarchy.

What are your thoughts?

Update:

I’ve noticed two themes in the comments that I would like to address: (1) Significance and (2) The Reign of the Judges.

(1) Significance

Not all books mention dates, but when they do they can be expressed in various formats:

  • Fourth/4th of July
  • July (the) 4th/fourth
  • Fourth day of July
  • 4th day of July
  • 7/4/1830 etc…

While it may seem odd that both books mention the same date, expressed in the same format, it’s not impossible for this to show up by chance. For example the 4-gram phrase “of the seventh month” shows up numerous times in the bible which disqualified it from our initial search algorithm. However, the 4-gram, “seventh month, which is” turns out to be many times more rare than the actual date match itself. The fact that this rare 4-gram is accompanied by the exact same date makes it even more rare. This was manually discovered long after the computer algorithm had already established that The Late War was significantly connected to The Book of Mormon. Here are some of our favorite matches so far, but there are hundreds more:

Emphasized parallels between The Late War and The Book of Mormon

(2) The Reign of the Judges

The Reign of the Judges was a government system based on Judges that supplanted the Reign of the Kings in The Book of Mormon.

Freemen support the new kingless government

This change in the Nephite government was apparently devastating to those of high birth, because they later plotted to overthrow the free government and bring back the old system of Monarchy:

“… king-men, … were desirous … to overthrow the free government, and to establish a king over the land. And those who were desirous that Pahoran should remain Chief Judge over the land, took upon them the name of freemen; and thus was the division among them: for the freemen had sworn or covenanted to maintain their rights, and privileges of their religion, by a free government.”

Notice that the free government is the Nephite system of judges, which is supported by the freemen? The dynamics are similar in The Late War, where we find freemen fighting to maintain a free government in the Second War for American Independence against the servants of the King:

“…they were ready and well prepared to meet the servants of the king. Nevertheless, it was so that the freemen who came to the defence of the city, built strong holds and forts, and raised up fortifications…”

Counting the years of freedom from kings

It is also interesting to note that both The Book of Mormon and The Late War not only replaced the monarchy with a free government, but also used the transition as a date marker. Both books count how many years had passed since the new government had started. Notice that the wording is very similar in both books:

The Late War:

NOW it came to pass … in the thirty and sixth year after the people of the provinces of Columbia had declared themselves independent of all the kingdoms of the earth;

 

in the thirty and seventh year of the independence of the people of Columbia…

 

AND it came to pass, on the fourth day of the seventh month, which is the birth day of Columbian Liberty and Independence…

 

Now on the twenty-sixth day of the ninth month, being in the thirty and ninth year of Columbian Independence,
It came to pass, that a certain…

 

The Book of Mormon:

And now it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year of the reign of the Judges

 

And it came to pass in the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the Judges

 

Behold, now it came to pass in the sixty and ninth year of the reign of the Judges over the people of the Nephites…

 

And it came to pass that in the eightieth year of the reign of the Judges over the people of Nephi, there was a certain…

43 thoughts on “American Holiday discovered in The Book of Mormon

  1. Laugh, my, backside, off.
    Shows no one ever really reads the book of Mormon too.
    That’s one nail in the sure place if ever there was one

  2. To me, this just proves the veracity of the Book of Mormon, because even the Nephites knew that one day our nation would be made free. And…they chose that day…to…be…free?

    #tendermercies

  3. This is just as much of a coincidence as all the anecdotal claims the Mormons make to support the historicity of the book. So many wasted electrons.

  4. I read the BoM verse in context, and while damagingly similar, the verse is not about freedom or independence. I don’t think it’s the death knell of the BoM.

  5. Wow, so startling!! Sounds like you two need to get a life. Do you really think you discovered something earth shattering? This is one of the most humorous arguments trying to discredit the Book of Mormon I have ever heard.

    I think if God himself came down from Heaven and told you face to face the Book of Mormon was inspired by him, you would probably pull out you research and try to prove him wrong.

    Why not spend all of this wasted effort in feeding the poor, giving aide to natural disaster victims….oh wait that is the job of the LDS Church. Critisize that.

    • I will critisize that the church spent 1.8 billion on city creek mall. More than they have put toward humanitarian aid over the last 20 years. They are also building a high rise condo in philidelphia right now. So ya the church does help but they are realy looking out for numbe one. A for this find in the bom, maybe not a slam dunk on its own but put it with all the other pledgarism and it is another good find.

    • There are many more obvious and simple examples that discredit the BoM, like horses, steel, swords, elephants, chariots, DNA, the Tower of Babel myth, lying about doctrine… I can go on for days. Have you not been paying attention?

      Oh wait, that’s the point. That’s why people spend time picking it apart. They hope that one day TBMs like you might finally let go an embrace the truth.

    • Oh yeah, sure. Absolutely. God can appear to me and I just shrug him off. Happens all the time. Tell Me. Is that how you reconcile an indefensible religion or have you got something with a little bit of substance?.

    • Personally, I’m motivated by the pursuit of truth. I know I don’t have it all, but being able to contribute to research that opens doors and sheds light on the context of the Book of Mormon is very enlightening to me.

    • how much money have they spent helping the poor compared to building very expensive buildings like visitors centers and temples and billion dollar shopping malls and high rise buildings in the middle of large cities (like Philly).

      show me the data where you can prove your point that all the “humanitarian” stuff isn’t just PR.

      your problem is that you cannot. you cannot quantify anything.

  6. Keep in mind our present Calendar, the Gregorian Calendar wasn’t adopted until 1582 as a correction to the Julian Calendar, which was introduced in 46 BC. The mental gymnastics required for an apologistic defense of this are uncanny.

  7. Also, I am curious. Many apologists point to the styles of different books in the B of M as having different writting styles. Have you noticed the matches to “The Late War” tending to show mostly in certain books of the B of M or are they evenly dispersed throughout it? If the matches are evenly dispersed, one could say that Joseph was influenced by the 18th century vernacular and being educated by that “The Late War” it would be natural for him to use that language, but if the matches are more concentrated then it would point to more of a random didadic plagerism.

    • It looks like Alma is a bit heavier in The Late War parallels. If I remember correctly, the BOM author used a bit more from the Beginning and end of The Late War, rather than the middle. This fits well with the primacy and recency effects, first and last things are more memorable.

  8. “The fourth day of the seventh month in the year kencho 4 (1242), during the reign of Emperor Gofukakusa” (note the last 3 letters are USA, no coincidence it’s Independence Day, I’m absolutely certain this proves Joseph Smith was not stealing from Gilbert Hunt’s The late War, but from his translating ancient Japanese text! I did all this on google in Big Data research in about 3 minutes. Let’s make decisions of eternal consequence based on this highly scientific research.

    Zen Sanctuary of Purple Robes: Japan’s Tokeiji Convent Since 1285
    By Sachiko Kaneko Morrell, Robert E. Morrell

    • Joe, I think it is very wise that you are willing to test the information presented here. I encourage you to keep up the questioning and testing to see where the evidence points you when Duane and Chris release their algorithms to the public and allow anyone to make tests on their own. I think your finding would be a great book to test, to see if it has the same kind of significance as the Late War, although I am going to make a prediction based on the current findings, that the
      “Zen Sanctuary of Purple Robes” will show up as an average book completely unrelated to the Book of Mormon, compared to The Late War which has an incredibly high frequency rate of rare 4-word phrases connecting it to The Book of Mormon. Take a look at the parallels if you haven’t had a chance yet:

      http://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

    • Just to clarify, “the fourth day of the seventh month” did not contain a rare 4-gram. The rare 4-gram was: “seventh month, which is”. This phrase occurs less than once per 90 Million books. But we have found hundreds of other rare phrases connecting these two books. To put this into perspective, “The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain” contains more rare connections to the Book of Mormon than 99.999% of the books published before 1830. (Excluding the Bible)

  9. From what I can tell in the referenced scripture, it doesn’t seem to speak of any relevance to the date. Just a date. No reason to have mentioned it. No clue what the “reign of the judges” is supposed to reference. I would guess that they would have started out using the Hebrew calendar if they left Jerusalem. They conveniently never reference it though and only reference their local story from what I can tell. If I traveled across the ocean, I think I would always keep things in reference to what the dates were in the place I grew up. They seem to have used a standardized calendar for a while before this so I’m not sure why they would conveniently stop using that calendar just because they left. It wasn’t a foreign concept to the people, yet I don’t believe there is ever a reference to an actual time table we can track. I’m no expert though.

    It does seem very convenient to have the BOM follow many parallels to books Joseph had access to in the region. All the standard anti stuff. Names of towns, locations in reference to where Joseph was happen to correlate with where they were in the BOM. King James mistakes in the BOM. A few local books writing styles and content are in the BOM. Word for word verses in the King James version also in the BOM when he supposedly didn’t have a Bible to reference. None of it adds up. It is an interesting find to note all the similarities of books he had access to happen to find that style written into the BOM. It is too much coincidence for me to believe it could possibly be real, but doesn’t seem to convince people of faith.

    • I forgot to mention the holiday part. It would seem interesting that the date relates to a holiday today, but using the calendars they used then or their own non distinct calendar, it would not likely reference our 4th of July. Using the Hebrew calendar, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the 4th of July as they did not start their years in January. To me, it would just be a date that happens to also be a date today. I see nothing in the chapter that relates that mentioned date back to an era free of a kingly rule.

      • In The Book of Mormon, “the reign of the judges” is the government that replaces the reign of kings over the Nephites. So the reign of the judges is equivalent to American Independence, an era free of kingly rule.

        Also the rarity of the phrase “the fourth day of __ seventh month, which is __ the __ of …” can be measured, and is an extremely rare phrase occurring only once per 200 Million books.

        Because so many rare phrases are shared between The Book of Mormon and The Late War, this is could be a significant find.

      • missing the point . . . what is the likelihood of a phrase like that being almost identical from a book written in the early 19th century compared to an “ancient” text from the 3rd or 4th century?

        also I find it interesting to consider how well the “nephites” were versed in the language of King James. Is King James english Gods english? if not why all the king James style if it was an ancient american indian translated text. Its not even ancient hebrew stylistically.

  10. “Not only are the two phrases nearly identical, but they also connect the Fourth of July to the beginning of an era now free from kingly rule.” It’s annoying when you don’t give chapter and verse, but it is in Alma 10:6, which is the 10th year of the reign of the judges and has nothing to do with the beginning of anything let alone free from kingly rule. The BOM is not opposed to righteous kings, only wicked ones. The 10th year of the judges is roughly 82 B.C.E., but King Mosiah relinquished the crown and set up judges about 92 B.C.E. (Mosiah 29).

    • …the reign of the judges has nothing to do with the beginning of anything let alone free from kingly rule?

      What other era in the Book of Mormon signifies the end of kings and the beginning of a kingless government? The kingless era started with “the reign of the judges”.

  11. Correlation does not prove causation. What you need is evidence of actual plagiarism, not simple phraseology, which can be attributed to the confluence of similar writing style (that is, imitation scripture) and subject matter (war). Many of the parallels are forced and unconvincing to other critics like me, let alone Mormon apologists.

    • We are not indicating plagiarism. 100% of all known books were written by a human, and their ideas came from imagination which was fed by their environment, so we are naturally looking for those ideas in the environment of Joseph Smith. It is not a very unreasonable hypothesis in my opinion.

      It is very likely that if someone in an isolated environment read this:

      “it came to pass, in the same year, that the people of Columbia …”
      (The Late War)

      Could come up with this:

      “it came to pass that in the same year that the people of Nephi …”
      (The Book of Mormon)

  12. Given the confluence of the same style and subject, I don’t find similar wording very compelling. In fact, I expect it. When you are working in a target rich environment, there is danger of committing the fallacy of the enumeration of favorable circumstances. You need something more than a common phrase.

    • I agree, one of the biggest weaknesses in our study is that I can’t tell you that The Late War is significantly more connected to The Book of Mormon than some of the less legible OCR texts which were also written in scriptural style. Also I want to see a semantic analysis done that looks past the words, and finds the possible transmission of meaning between books or cultures. We have much more research ahead of us, and I’m happy to see where this takes us. You’re welcome to come join us in our quest for truth.

      • No, I think he just likes sounding intelligent. What was it….henny penny? You cook it, I’ll eat and then criticise it? Yeah, that

    • Dan, are you the Dan Vogel that wrote the book “Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet”? If so, is there any way that you could put your book in e-book form on Amazon or Google Play Books? I would really love it.

  13. Was Gilbert J. Hunt a member of the Society of Friends? I’m a Hicksite Quaker myself, and we still exclusively use ordinal numbers when giving dates, rather than using the pagan names of days and months: i.e. the fourth day of the seventh month.

    • This is a common biblical format for expressing dates, but the weight of evidence seems a bit heavy when all the similarities are taken into consideration.

  14. I alluded to this earlier, and am sure you are already taking it into account, but I think a real key to unravelling this lies in comparing the various books of the B of M, individually, to available source material. Which books are weighted toward the Koran? Which books are weighted to the Old Testament? Which books are weighted towards New Testament? Which books are weighted towards the Late War? etc.

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  16. From what I gather you are doing something similar to a 4 bar moving average in stocks, but only looking at significant words, so in essence normalizing the data. Have you considered looking at groups of 4,5,6 and greater sequences where a match would be 75 percent of the words no matter what the sequence/order? So it would be similar to taking an average of the series and looking for a 75 percent correlation in the sequence.

    There are also ways to take all of the words from all of your texts, assign each unique one an ordered number and for example you could then compare words that have a typo or slight variation of spelling and still get a valid sequence.

    If interested email me and I can explain the process better.

    Thanks for your efforts and your good work!

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  18. Thank you so much for this Chris and Duane. I am also in the quest for truth. I love how Grant Palmer put it: Truth should be a value held higher than a comforting tradition.

  19. Probability estimates are only as good as the null distribution used to model the frequencey of such events.

    The author(s) in the comment section refers to the possibility of matching against *any* book before 1830, but that implies an outrageously imprecise null. A much better null would be this: What’s the probability that two books, both written in the early 1800′s, in a King James-ish scriptural register, would share so many similarities by chance.

    For specific kinds of phrases, we should be asking the question even more precisely. For instance, for month/day phrases there are only so many viable month / day combinations, so we need to consider that when we are dealing with two books that mention lots of dates. We have prior information that should be informing our posterior estimation.

  20. > The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain” contains more rare connections to the Book of Mormon than 99.999% of the books published before 1830. (Excluding the Bible)

    So, what’s the probability of two books having more rare connections than 99.999% of books published before 1830 being independently authored?

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