The Tanners argue that the Book of Mormon reflects 19th-century money digging culture.

Jerald Tanner

Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? 5th ed. (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1987), 44, 45-46

Utah Lighthouse Ministry
Sandra Tanner, Jerald Tanner
Reading Public

Relationship to the Book of Mormon

A careful examination of the whole story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and even the text of the book itself reveals that it originated in the mind of someone who was familiar with the practice of money-digging.

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The Book of Mormon makes these statements concerning hidden treasures:

And behold, if a man hide up a treasure in the earth, and the Lord shall say—Let it be accursed, because of the iniquity of him who hath hid it up—behold, it shall be accursed. And if the Lord shall say—Be thou accursed, that no man shall find thee from this time henceforth and forever—behold, no man getteth it henceforth and forever. (Book of Mormon, Helaman 12:18‑19)

. . . whoso shall hide up treasures in the earth shall find them again no more, because of the great curse of the land, save he be a righteous man and shall hide it up unto the Lord. For I will, saith the Lord, that they shall hide up their treasures unto me; and cursed be they who hide not up their treasures unto me; for none hideth up their treasures unto me save it be the righteous; and he that hideth not up his treasures unto me, cursed is he, and also the treasure, and none shall redeem it because of the curse of the land. (Book of Mormon, Helaman 13:18-19)

The reader will remember that Brigham Young told of a “chest of money” that moved by itself “into the bank,” and that Martin Harris told of a “stone box” which “slipped back into the hill.” In Joseph Smith’s 1826 trial, Jonathan Thompson testified that “on account of an enchantment the trunk kept settling away from under them when digging; . . .” This idea of treasures slipping into the earth seems to be reflected in the Book of Mormon:

Behold, we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our swords are taken from us in the day we have sought them for battle. Yea, we have hid up our treasures and they have slipped away from us, because of the curse of the land. O that we had repented in the day that the word of the Lord came unto us; for behold the land is cursed, and all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them. (Book of Mormon, Helaman 13:34- 36)

In Mormon 1:18 we read that the people “began to hide up their treasures in the earth; and they became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land, that they could not hold them, nor retain them again.”

From the evidence we have presented it becomes clear that the Book of Mormon had its origin among a people who believed in “seer stones” and money-digging.

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
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