By Rod Johnson

Rodric believes Moroni included special instruction for Modern times and wants to share his unique perspective the same way Moroni shared in The Book of Mormon.

Shakespeare Has Nothing on Lehi!

Reading in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, I came across a passage of scripture, which many people claim proves that The Book of Mormon is a farce because Joseph Smith Junior must have plagiarized Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Lehi in despair over the souls of his children because at least two, Laman and Lemuel, did not express a sentiment to follow the commandments of God, feared for the salvation of their souls because he was shown in vision what things would befall his descendants. Due to the eventual wickedness of all of his sons' offspring, they would dwindle or languish in unbelief. According to Lehi, it all occurred because of the willful attitudes of  Laman and Lemuel. He besought them to believe in God.

"Awake," implored Lehi in the energy of his soul at the plight of his sons and their future offspring! "And arise from the dust, and hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return." This portion of the verse is where Joseph Smith is purported to have quoted Hamlet therefore proving the entire record of the Nephites a fraud and fiction! Poppycock! (2 Nephi 1:14) 

This is what Shakespeare wrote as the character Hamlet giving an interpretive exposition on the meaning of life:

"Who would fardels bear," Hamlet questions speaking of the culmination of events or bundle of events called life, "To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?" (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, page 4)

The modern text makes this more familiar to us as it reads, "Who would choose to grunt and sweat through an exhausting life, unless they were afraid of something dreadful after death, the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns, which we wonder about without getting any answers from and which makes us stick to the evils we know rather than rush off to seek the ones we don’t?"(Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1, page 4)

This part, "The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns.." is supposed to birth the words of Lehi which are, "...lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveler can return...."

Three word are similar, the words "no," "traveler," and "return." How does that prove Joseph Smith plagiarized Hamlet? Lehi  was to lay down in a grave from which no traveler can return as an end-of-life event. Hamlet expressed that when people die they will not return.

Just because they expressed similar sentiments does not mean that Joseph Smith must have invented the Book of Mormon making it, therefore, false! That is ludicrous.

Also, the words of Lehi are more melodious and beautiful than those expressed by Shakespeare in the fake character of Hamlet. There is no comparison between the Book of Mormon and Hamlet. Shakespeare wishes he could have written as well as what Joseph Smith translated.

I suppose I am not impartial in this comparison. I enjoy Shakespeare's writings and the many works that are based on them. The Book of Mormon actually changed my life and continues to do so daily. I am sure Shakespeare would have appreciated the life-altering effect the words of the prophets from that book of scripture has on millions.

AND, even if Joseph Smith did use a sentiment from Hamlet during translation it was three words. How is that quoting Hamlet? He basically said, when you die you don't come back! No one comes back. At the time Lehi expressed that sentiment for the majority of mankind it was true! There were exceptions that were raised from the dead, but it was uncommon. Just like if you fall from an airplane in our day with no parachute you die. There have been exceptions, but the rule for such an occurrence is death!

I digress. Hamlet is not quoted in The Book of Mormon.