Center for Inquiry


The Secret Origins of the Book of Mormon

                  A 21st Century Prosecutor Investigates

a 19th Century Conspiracy 

Book of Mormon.jpg

Sundays, September 3, 17, & 24

6:00-8:00 pm

Center for Inquiry Indiana, 350 Canal
Walk, Suite A, Indianapolis

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, builds the edifice of its beliefs upon the Book of Mormon.  That book is claimed by the Mormons to be a historically accurate and divinely inspired record of ancient Jews who traveled to America and created wondrous and powerful empires and civilizations.  They even claim that Jesus physically appeared in America to these ancient people after his purported resurrection in Jerusalem.

The Mormons further claim that the divine nature of the Book of Mormon is established by the story of the Prophet Joseph Smith. According to Mormon teaching, God chose young Joseph Smith, a western New York farm boy, to be the one to receive and translate the ancient “Golden Plates” buried in a hillside. Smith’s authority and power, and ultimately that of the Mormon Church today, flows from this claim to religious revelation.

     The modern Mormon Church is therefore built upon the claims of Joseph Smith, which are in turn based on the alleged origins of the Book of Mormon.  But what is the historical reality of the origins of the Book of Mormon?  Is it an ancient text written by divine inspiration?  Or is it in fact a product of mere mortals and therefore constitutes one of the most successful religious hoaxes in modern history?

     Hal Johnston is a former prosecuting attorney and police officer who in his 25-year career investigated, solved and prosecuted numerous cold murder cases and major violent felonies.  Hal also holds degrees in History and Political Science from Indiana University.  Approaching the question of the origins of Mormonism as he would a murder case, Hal will present the evidence, name the suspects, and expose a conspiracy beginning on the frontiers of Ohio and New York in the 1820’s and continuing to this day.

     Join Hal Johnston and CFI as the question of who wrote the Book of Mormon is explored in three evening presentations.  It is a fascinating story of credulity, religious excess, personalities, ambition, power and conspiracy.


September 3 6:00 PM

The Scene of the Crime

A murder case begins with the crime scene and the autopsy.  In this first presentation, Hal will take you through an “autopsy” of the Book of Mormon for clues to the motive and identity of the real authors.

September 17 6:00 PM

The Suspects

In the overwhelming majority of murder cases the victim knows the killer.  In this presentation Hal will build on clues from the Book of Mormon and the early history of the Mormon Church to identify the men who had motive and opportunity to write the Book of Mormon.

September24 6:00 PM

The Conspiracy

In this final presentation Hal will outline the conspiracy and present the case for the real authors of the Book of Mormon.  Learn how an Ohio preacher and religious fanatic teamed up with a charismatic and convicted New York con-man to create one of the most successful religious frauds in modern American history.

powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software