Book of Mormon Internal Evidence (24): Hugh Nibley’s “Parable of the Diamond” and Ultimate Conclusion

 Professor Hugh Nibley, the “Patron Saint” of Book of Mormon scholarship, left us an insightful “Parable of the Diamond,” which summaries how people address the issue of Book of Mormon authenticity.

A young man once long ago claimed he had found a large diamond in his field as he was ploughing. He put the stone on display to the public free of charge, and everyone took sides.

“A psychologist showed, by citing some famous case studies, that the young man was suffering from a well‑known form of delusion.

“An historian showed that other men have also claimed to have found diamonds in fields and been deceived.

“A geologist proved that there were no diamonds in the area but only quartz: the young man had been fooled by a quartz. When asked to inspect the stone itself, the geologist declined with a weary, tolerant smile and a kindly shake of the head.

“An English professor showed that the young man in describing his stone used the very same language that others had used in describing uncut diamonds: he was, therefore, simply speaking the common language of his time.

“A sociologist showed that only three out of 177 florists’ assistants in four major cities believed the stone was genuine.

“A clergyman wrote a book to show that it was not the young man but someone else who had found the stone.

 “Finally an indigent jeweler named Snite pointed out that since the stone was still available for examination the answer to the question of whether it was a diamond or not had absolutely nothing to do with who found it, or whether the finder was honest or sane, or who believed him, or whether he would know a diamond from a brick, or whether diamonds had ever been found in fields, or whether people had ever been fooled by quartz or glass, but was to be answered simply and solely by putting the stone to certain well‑known tests for diamonds.

Experts on diamonds were called in. Some of them declared it genuine. The others made nervous jokes about it and declared that they could not very well jeopardize their dignity and reputations by appearing to take the thing too seriously.

“To hide the bad impression thus made, someone came out with the theory that the stone was really a synthetic diamond, very skillfully made, but a fake just the same.

“The objection to this is that the production of a good synthetic diamond [190] years ago would have been an even more remarkable feat than the finding of a real one.”

Ultimate Conclusion

It is much more reasonable to believe the Book of Mormon was an inspired translation from an ancient religious history than a work of fiction.  It is more logical to believe that Joseph Smith discovered the diamond than to believe that he fabricated it.

To believe that Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon, you would have to take into account all of the following.

-Joseph Smith was a semi-illiterate uneducated farm boy. He had never written a poem or even a short story, let alone a 500-page book.  He orally dictated the marvelous book in 60+ days.

The Conditions – there were:

  • no notes
  • no charts
  • no outlines
  • no rough drafts
  • no read backs
  • no re-writes
  • no re-dos
  • no major corrections

The Contents – the book contains:

  1. dozens of consistent previously unknown geographical locations
  2. complicated overlapping large group migrations and small group journeys
  3. numerous consistent and complex and overlapping chronological systems
  4. scores of foreshadowing, fulfillment, and flashbacks
  5. dozens of wonderful memorable entertaining insightful inspiring stories
  6. accounts of battles and wars with realistic tactics and strategies
  7. detailed descriptions of realistic political theory and different types of government
  8. scores of characters that are unique, consistent, and realistic
  9. diverse and varied different writing styles
  10. sophisticated poetry sprinkled throughout
  11. multitude of literary imagery
  12. plethora of ancient Hebrew literary devices like parallelisms and  chiasmus
  13. scores of editorial comments inserted in the abridgment
  14. innumerable memorable verses with profound truths and rich doctrines
  15. memorable speeches and discourses
  16. several complicated and detailed allegories
  17. multitude of recurring doctrinal themes
  18. innumerable theological and spiritual insights


The overlapping, interweaving, complexity, consistency, and realism of the Book of Mormon are overwhelming for a work of fiction.   No one could have fabricated this book in the early 1800’s, especially not the uneducated Joseph Smith.


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