Religion: Mormon Mystery

The huge and prosperous empire of Mormonism is all built upon a single rock: the claim that Joseph Smith Jr. was a prophet of God who miraculously discovered and translated long-lost holy scriptures. Ever since the Book of Mormon was published in 1830 it has been embraced by his Latter-Day Saints (current worldwide membership: 3.8 million) and scoffed at by outsiders. Now four California researchers, relying on the sometimes shaky science of handwriting analysis, say they have evidence that the book is a hoax.

Smith, a youthful farmhand, reported that an angel named...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!