I have received several emails from Latter-day Saints who were troubled by my attempt at anti-Mormon parody, not recognizing my work as a spoof. The parody is “Was the Book of Mormon Plagiarized from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass?” I thought I had plenty of clues that this was a spoof, but some people don’t get it and think it’s serious scholarly work. How can I improve it without destroying the parody? The article begins with an admission that Whitman’s work came 25 years after the Book of Mormon, yet suggests that Joseph might have been boyhood friends with a nine-year-old Walt Whitman, from whom he surely gleaned the major themes of the Book of Mormon. The fascinating thing is that an examination of Whitman’s work and the Book of Mormon has provided more powerful and convincing parallels than anything I’ve seen in anti-Mormon works trying to pinpoint the sources of Joseph’s alleged plagiarism. The point, however, is that if an impossible source can appear more plausible as a source for the Book of Mormon due to mere chance, then why should the occasional scattered parallels offered by the critics be a cause for concern? If I can find six- and seven-word parallels in Whitman, and many other powerful common elements, why should a random four-word parallel of remote similarity bother me?
But the way I’ve written it, some people think it’s serious. One lest active member trying to come back said it was creating significant doubts for her, and wondered if I was leaving the Church now. Any suggestions?
(More information on the issue of plagiarsim is on an LDSFAQ page.)