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...

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