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George Washington used language strikingly similar to Captain Moroni’s “Title of Liberty” in a 1775 proclamation. He defined the cause of the American Revolutionary War in a letter stating,

We have taken up Arms in defence of our Liberty, our Property; our Wives and our Children. We are determined to preserve them or die. 1

A convention of representatives of the state of New York in 1776 used the same words and order, “…liberties, property, wives and children…”. 2

The United States Congress expressed gratitude to General George Washington in 1783 for defending the “standard of liberty”. 3 The Book of Mormon describes Captain Moroni as “[planting] the standard of liberty among the Nephites.” (Alma 46:36)

Thomas E. Donofrio, a critic of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, accused Joseph Smith of plagiarism by listing comparisons between Moroni and other patriots in the Book of Mormon with George Washington and other defenders of liberty from the American Revolutionary War period. What if, instead, George Washington (and other American patriots) and Captain Moroni employed similar language and even comparable battle strategies because they were driven by:

  • the same cause,
  • the same inspiration,
  • the same loyalty,
  • the same prophecy
  • and the same covenant.
George Washington Captain Moroni
“We have taken up Arms in defense of our Liberty, our Property; our Wives and our Children.” (George Washington4)

“. . . liberties, property, wives and children . . .” (David Ramsey5)

D&C 134:2 ” . . . secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

Alma 48:10 “. . . their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children . . .”

“standard of liberty” (Congress to George Washington6, David Ramsey7) Alma 46:36 “standard of liberty” 
“spirit of freedom” (David Ramsey8, Samuel Adams9)

“. . . that manly spirit of freedom . . .” (Mercy Otis Warren10)

Alma 60:25 “. . . show unto me a true spirit of freedom . . .”
“. . . the determination of the Americans, carefully to avoid every thing that had the appearance of beginning hostilities on their part . . .” (Mercy Otis Warren11) Alma 48:14 “. . . they were also taught never to give an offense . . .”
“…the embarrassments which cramped the operations of Washington . . .”

“In a letter to congress he expressed his embarrassment . . .” (David Ramsey12)

Alma 58:9 “. . . the cause of these our embarrassments . . .”
“. . . the Americans severely felt the scarcity of provisions. Their murmurs became audible. . .“ (David Ramsey13) Alma 60:4 “. . . were this all we had suffered we would not murmur . . .

“We are determined to preserve them or die. . .” (George Washington14)

“We have therefore to resolve to conquer or to die.”  (David Ramsey15)

Alma 53:17 “. . . protect the land unto the laying down of their lives . . .” 

Alma 56:47 “. . . they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives;”

Alma 56:17 “. . . to conquer in this place or die . . . 

Mercy Otis Warren, History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution Captain Moroni
pg. 24 “. . . the cause of liberty . . .” (Alma 51:17) “. . . the cause of liberty . . .
pg. 146 “. . . the cause of freedom . . .” (Alma 46:35) “. . . the cause of freedom . . . 
pg. 163 “. . . the cause of their country . . .” (Alma 56:11) “. . . the cause of their country . . .”
pg. 48 “…their rights and privileges…” (Alma 30:27) “. . . their rights and privileges . . .”
pg. 337 “…to maintain their rights . . .” (Alma 51:6) “. . . to maintain their rights . . .”
pg.648 “…welfare and happiness… “ (Helaman 12:2) “. . . welfare and happiness . . .”
pg.332 “…deprive them of rights…” (Alma 2:4) “…deprive them of their rights…”
pg. 90 “. . . to take up arms in defense of their rights. . .” (Alma 51:20) “. . . to take up arms in defense of their country . . .”
pg. 208 “. . . supplies of provisions. . .” (Alma 55:34) “. . . supplies of provisions . . .”
pg. 300 “. . . a council of war . . .” (Alma 52:19) “. . . a council of war . . .”
pg. 191 “. . . the prisoners who fell into his hands . . .” (Alma 52:8) “. . . the prisoners who fell into his hands . . .”
pg. 182 “. . . surrender themselves prisoners of war . . .” (Alma 57:14) “. . . surrendered themselves prisoners of war . . .”
pg. 191 “. . . with a part of his army . . .” (Alma 56:33) “. . . with a part of his army . . . “
pg. 398 “. . . chief commander . . .” (Alma 46:11) “. . . chief commander . . .”
pg. 224 “After two days wandering in the wilderness. . .” (Mosiah 9:4) “. . . after many days’ wandering in the wilderness . . .”
pg. 204 “. . . took possession of the capitol . . .” (Alma 51:23) “. . . took possession of the city . . .”
pg. 144 “. . . hunger and fatigue (Alma 60:3) “. . . hunger, thirst, and fatigue . . .”
pg. 143 “. . . this little band . . .” (Alma 56:19) “. . . my little band. . . “
pg. 144 “. . . supply of provisions . . .” (Alma 57:6) “. . . supply of provisions . . .”
pg. 109 “. . . a consciousness of their own guilt . . .” (Alma 14:6) “. . . a consciousness of his own guilt. . .”
pg. 33 “. . . a free people . . .” (Alma 21:21) “. . . a free people . . .”
pg. 65 “. . . a free government . . .” (Alma 46:35) “. . . a free government . . .”
pg. 270 “. . . the art of war . . .” (Ether 13:16) “. . . the arts of war . . .”

David Ramsey, The History of the American Revolution Captain Moroni
pg. 90 “. . . the cause of liberty . . .” (Alma 51:17) “. . . the cause of liberty . . .”
pg. 460 “. . . in the cause of their country . . .” Alma 56:11 “. . . in the cause of their country . . .”
pg. 178 “. . . died in the cause of liberty . . .” Alma 56:11 “. . . died in the cause of their country . . .”
pg. 401 “. . . rights and privileges . . .” (Mosiah 29:32) “. . . rights and privileges . . .”
pg. 232 “. . . to maintain their rights and privileges . . .” (Alma 51:6) “. . . to maintain their rights and the privileges . . .”
pg. 232 “. . . their rights and liberties . . .” (Alma 43:26) “. . . their rights and their liberties . . .”
pg. 634 “. . . in defense of their liberties . . .” (3 Nephi 3:2) “. . . in the defense of your liberty . . .”
pg. 398 “. . . safety and welfare . . .” (Alma 48:12) “. . . welfare and safety . . .”

Discover additional striking parallels between the Book of Mormon and George Washington, as well as other notable Founding Fathers, by visiting,

  1. George Washington, Address to the Inhabitants of Canada, 14 September 1775
  2. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Berthold Fernow, pg. 116
  3. Journals of the Continental Congress, Volume 25, pg. 838
  4. Address to the Inhabitants of Canada, 14 September 1775
  5. The History of the American Revolution, 1789, p. 277
  6. Journals of the Continental Congress, Volume 25, pg. 838
  7. The History of the American Revolution, 1789, p. 646
  8. The History of the American Revolution, 1789, p. 156
  9. American Independence speech, State House in Philadelphia, August 1, 1776
  10. History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, pg. 31
  11. History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, pg. 168
  12. Life of George Washington, chapter 7
  13. The History of the American Revolution, 1789, p. 488
  14. Address to the Inhabitants of Canada, 14 September 1775
  15. Life of George Washington, chapter 3
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  1. I may be missing something here, but doesn’t this prove the point of a young impressionable 19th century boy plagiarizing popular text and quotes from the “heroes” of the day.
    George Washington
    View of the Hebrews
    Emanuel Swedenberg
    Joseph Smith Sr. Vision and Lehi’s Vision
    Norris Sterns Vision
    The Bible
    The Book of Abraham (which is a sticking point for this LDS brain)
    Masonic Rituals, symbols, theology and clothing
    I come to this site, to help me find logical and spiritual answers. Unfortunately, this question and countless others are answered so poorly, that it raises more questions in my mind. If Joseph found influence from inspired people of the day, then say it! More of us are leaving every day, confused and angry, because apologists fall so flat.
    I apologize for being blunt, but this is a big deal.

  2. No, I don’t see it that way. I can understand why you do though and why others would. The difference may be because with every fiber of by being I know the Book of Mormon is TRUE. I know that a young boy trying to decide which church was true, and which one he should join knelt in a grove of trees and prayed to his Heavenly Father for help. Two personages appeared to him, Our Heavenly Father introducing his beloved son, Jesus Christ, and they spoke to him and gave him instructions. They told him not to join any church and that they were all wrong, so he didn’t. A few years later the angel Moroni appeared to him giving him instructions concerning a record written on golden plates of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as give by the Savior himself to the ancient people who inhabited the American Continents. No matter if these facts are told exactly 100% as they happened, with no deviation or if there are errors in the retelling of it, I believe without any doubt the incidents took place and that they are true. I believe, that young man was led to those plates and the other items found with them, including the “Urim and Thummim” which is the device used to translate the plates, by an angel of the Lord, he translate the plates with the help of the Lord, and that they are a true account of the people on this continent and a second witness of our Savior Jesus Christ. I can say all of this and with such certainty because I have done the work necessary to gain my “own” witness of it’s truthfulness. This by no means is not saying that I have not read things too and had to go “hummm” and really think about it or do some more research, or that doubts haven’t crept into my head. Then I have to remember that Satan is a PRO and wants more than anything in this Universe than for me to question what I know to be true. He wants me to be just as unhappy as he is. He does not want me to have what he will NEVER have because he lost his opportunity. I have to tell myself that there will ALWAYS be things out there that don’t make sense, or don’t quite add up, but the simply fact is I know the First Vision story IS TRUE, and that the Book of Mormon IS TRUE. I KNOW there is a Prophet at the head of this church, The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints, The Savior’s church, who will never lead us astray. The Savior will not allow it and if I follow him I will be ok. I may not understand things sometimes but I know I will eventually, and I know that if I have any doubt I know how to get the peaceful feeling or confirmation I am looking for. I just need to fast, pray, and read my scriptures and if I do so with a sincere heart and real intent for a sincere answer I will get it.
    If you are having doubts about the things you have read or questioning what you’ve been brought up on or been taught I just have a few suggestions if you really want to know the truth. Really ponder what you truly are looking for, then consider all of the information your sources are from and how reliable they really are, and then pray long, hard, and very sincerely about it. Not just a quick pray, hoping for a quick response, that won’t get you anywhere. Then read the Book of Mormon again and read Moroni 10:4-5 and then pray again, and I guarantee that you will receive your own answer again, If you already haven’t many times over while you were reading.
    In response to the things above, when I read the Book of Mormon and I read or see things in it like the title of liberty, mentions of our founding fathers, talking about the discovery of America, or even Joseph Smith and the restoration of church, what I see is prophecies being fulfilled, and I get chills and tears run down my cheeks because I can see the hand of the Lord in it, and the Holy Ghost has just testified to me once again of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not see in it, another place where an uneducated young boy/man was able to write a historical book with tons of facts and quotes, and symbols and rituals and the list goes on is just a few short months just to deceive, and what for…that’s the part I don’t understand.
    You don’t have to apologize at all for being blunt, you are entitled to your opinion just the same as I am and I will not apologize at all because I would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, give up my life before I would ever deny the fact that I know what I have testified to in this statement is TRUE.

    • Annette, a wonderful reply. This is what is missing from most Christianity today, everything is closed, they have all they need, and Jesus Christ is not the same, yesterday, today, and forever, to the naysayers. They just hate and want to tear everyone who disagrees with them down. They do not want our Savior involved in our lives today. They are really not Christians.

  3. You realize that many Catholic Orders are also involved with the free masons. The full name of the Knights Templar is literally, “The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.”

    Also take into account the fact that he was a poor farmer with poor education. Or the woman of which he healed in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, which panicked a disbelieving women into thinking he was Satanic/Occult (flashback to Jesus being called the devil, and Jesus replied, “How can Satan cast out Satan? For a kingdom divided against itself shall fall.”) Or the fact he wrote in Hebraisms, finished the book in 60 days, knew of an Altar with NHM (Nahom?) inscribed on it that wasn’t discovered until 1970 around the same region described in the B.O.M. Or the land of Bountiful [Sadi Wayq] discovered with all of the matching details described in the B.O.M. I could go on.

    So essentially, as a person who never knew anything about Mormons until recently after leaving my church, the Catholics, (I ironically prayed the same prayer as Joseph Smith and didn’t know about it until my missionary friend from LDS made that connection). Yet somehow, if Joseph Smith lied he’d have to have:
    – Went to Saudi Arabia, found the undiscovered NHM alter (or successfully guessed it.)
    – Went to Southern Saudi Arabia, discovered an oasis (or successfully guessed it.)
    – Go from 5th grade reading level, to Hebrew Scholar and write a book in 60 days in the presence of others.
    – Knew about the Phoenician Expedition far before it’s discovery/theory.
    – Made a lucky guess that South Carolina would fire the first shot, and Britain would get involved (20 years after his death) which came true.
    – The first sentence of the 3 Witnesses and the Angel Moroni sounding similar to Revelation 14:6.
    – Was nearly killed by 3 robbers for his gold plates.
    – Used the phrase, “Land of Jerusalem” about 40 times in the Book of Mormon, which originally skeptics attacked saying it wasn’t Hebraic whatsoever; until the discovery of the Amarna Letters (discovered in 1887) found in an Egyptian tomb, dating to about 1300 BC which refer to the “land of Jerusalem.” 1887 was 46 years after the death of Joseph Smith, and was written in the ancient Akkadian language.
    – Was willing to die, and have his family persecuted, and his kids, and friends, for what…a book? Fame? Money? They suffered so much death, yet he was persistent, for what? If he wanted money, he could have been a robber like all of the outlaws back then. If he wanted women, he could have paid for a bunch of prostitutes (which were legal and cheap back then), if he wanted fame, you’d think being a politician would be easier than being imprisoned and shot at regularly.


    “14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” Nehemiah 4.

    The problem with saying one person copied from another’s culture is that this other culture may have copied from yet an older culture, and then you realize how the initial persons ideas were actually from the older culture. Quite common considering old America was very Biblical. I am sure Nehemiah got the idea from others before him, etc.., etc…

    This 2-nd level idea is as old as time itself. I see it a lot in scripture and culture.

    The other surprise is how few people actually see these correlations.

  5. Also need to realize that if BoM was translated to English, then it is using english meanings instead of another language. It would not be possible to be literal.

    Therefore, likewise it can be concluded that it is not just words that are translated to express ideas, but phrases and concepts, so this would include common English phrases in use at the time. What better way to ensure relevance than to communicate with concepts that were well understood at that time. Could you imagine the opposite?

    Besides, here is a random example of how Irving Washington used the same phrase in 1850:

    So, did Irving copy the BoM, or Washington, or someone else?

    This also exposes the problem with trying to prove BoM is not real because such will always result in evidence that supports the hypothesis, even though much more evidence may exist to disprove it, but no one searches for it. It is far too broad of a subject to try to nail it down that way.

  6. Plagiarize? As someone who has taught hundreds of public seminars and training classes over the years, why wouldn’t I prepare beforehand what I was going to say? And having found a way to say it just the way I wanted it said, why would I change it? Yes, in fact, many of my classes and presentations told the same stories, lessons and points over and over using the same words. Just like they do in Hollywood, I suppose. But, if Jesus delivered the perfect sermon in Galilee, saying it just the way He wanted to, why would He change it in America? And if great men are speaking under the influence of the Holy Ghost, why would the Spirit use different words or language or interpretation to make the same point He wants to make? Isn’t God the same yesterday, today and forever? Don’t we read that His ways are “one eternal round” doing and saying the same things over and over, just as a physician makes his rounds at the hospital each morning ministering to his patients? And in several places in both the Book of Mormon and in the Bible we are told that the books could not contain one-hundredth of all He taught them, so where do we think Paul got his sermon on charity in 1 Corinthians 13 and Moroni got his similar, but not identical, sermon in Moroni 7? And there are numerous other examples of this. And don’t we read that the Holy Ghost “will bring all things to your remembrance”? (John 14:26) And doesn’t this explain how the Apostles remembered so many details and words spoken by Jesus, even if slight variations? Who hasn’t experienced these things themselves on an almost daily basis? Why do we attribute so much mysticism to their words? Or to the Spirit’s inspiration to them? Why would we expect the Spirit to inspire them with something different every time? When the problems they were facing were virtually identical? Aren’t the principles the Spirit was speaking to them the same identical principles? Why would we expect God to change when He tells us Himself He is the same? Why would we expect something new when it is reiterating the truths that matter? Why would we think God cannot inspire people to remember things they have heard before? Once I met a man for a mere hour and never had any cause to recall his name or mention him again for 25 years – never thought of him, but when I needed to, someone I had long since forgotten, his first and last names came to me just as clearly as could be. Isn’t 25 years long enough to forget? Not if the Spirit is helping you. God bless you.