The First Book of Napoleon

CES Letter Core Question

Did Joseph Smith plagiarize content from The First Book of Napoleon in the Book of Mormon?

Alleging a connection between The First Book of Napoleon and the Book of Mormon requires valid evidence. Correlation is not causation or even influence. 

Without any supportive historical data, the author of The CES Letter assumes that Joseph was aware of The First Book of Napoleon and constructed the Book of Mormon by using structural elements from it.

There is no attempt to explain how Joseph Smith might have implemented his alleged knowledge of The First Book of Napoleon into the documented process that brought forth the Book of Mormon.

The computer program used to identify The First Book of Napoleon as being similar to the Book of Mormon compared it to over 135,000 books. The First Book of Napoleon was singled out as being more similar than other books, but an  assessment of genuine similarities and their possible importance was not sought or provided. 

Comparing The First Book of Napoleon written by Michael Linning in 1809 to the Book of Mormon demonstrates several differences:


Education Age at publication Book Year published Pages Words
Michael Linning Graduate of Glasgow College 1793 35 The First Book of Napoleon 1809 146


Joseph Smith

One year frontier schooling 24 Book of Mormon 1830 588


The First Book of Napoleon is less than a tenth the length of the Book of Mormon. Linning was a college graduate, which greatly contrasts the much younger Joseph Smith's meager frontier education

Additional Resources:

FairMormon: Was the beginning of the Book of Mormon derived from The First Book of Napoleon?

See Also:

Scriptural Style in Early Nineteenth Century American Literature (including The Late War by Gilbert J. Hunt) by Matt Roper and Paul Fields

“The Late War Against the Book of Mormon”, by Benjamin L., McGuire

New Computer Study Purports to Detect Literary Influences on the Book of Mormon by Christopher Smith