Let’s say that Joseph Smith Jr. Published the Book of Mormon today, with Google’s search capability, the blogsphere, and plagiarism techniques and standards. What might have happened? What might have happened when he published the Book of Commandments or the Book of Moses?
Well, we have a proxy. Margaret Wente is a pretty good approximation. She attacked the individuals who claimed she borrowed from other texts, she didn’t produce any counter evidence, and when caught a second time, she went silent.
In fact, looking up her name takes you to a wikipedia page on Plagiarism. And not without reason.
She lifts entire sentences from other people’s works without attribution,she copies formats of writing, including starting with reminiscing about her grandmother, quoting a line or two, and then ending with the same conclusion as a blog post. She takes key thoughts or phrases unique to other sites and uses them without attribution. This is not just possibly plagiarism this is to a level that the Globe has had to apologize and pull the articles.
Now review the number of sources that appear in the Book of Mormon, the Articles of Faith, the D&C or the Pearl of Great Price that are using the same techniques that Margaret Wente abused:
It seems clear that Joseph’s works abuse other sources in a very similar method as Margaret Wente. It should be easily declared that his works were contemporary and not ancient, or apologists should, perhaps lend their skills to defending Mrs. Wente as Joseph’s mistakes and clear abuse of other people’s works are no different than hers except in scope and impact on the world.