On Verifying Wordprint Studies

Book of Mormon Authorship



The need for rigorous, legitimate wordprint measurements is obvious in attempting to settle some of the most prominent controversies surrounding the Book of Mormon: Are the word patterns of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, or Solomon Spaulding measurable in the Book of Mormon? Can wordprinting show that different sections of the Book of Mormon were written by different authors? Does Joseph Smith’s role as translator obfuscate patterns unique to ancient authors? Fortunately the Book of Mormon is a near-ideal document for such objective wordprint studies, provided the measurement is made correctly.

Of course, wordprint analysis, while it can measure certain facts objectively, cannot prove the holiness of the Book of Mormon. The understanding that the Book of Mormon has a divine origin is obtainable only by developing faith. Thus, while valid and objective wordprinting is no substitute for faith, wordprinting can, nevertheless, bolster the establishment of faith by rigorously demonstrating factual information about the book.

Wordprinting is a developing science, notwithstanding that the first written suggestions that something like wordprinting might be useful in objectively identifying authors appeared at least as early as 1851. Yet, because of the complexity of the measurements, the first credible studies had to await the availability of modern computers with their precise counting accuracy and high-speed computation. Therefore, wordprinting has undergone almost all of its significant development during the last thirty years.


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