One interesting story I read was about The Golden Pot. It is a possible story that could have influenced Joseph Smith's writing the Book of Mormon.
Have you ever read E. T. A. Hoffman’s “The Golden Pot”? This German novella, published in 1814, recounts the story of a boy named Anselmus in Germany who magically meets an ancient and mystical archivist from the lost civilization of Atlantis named “Lindhorst”. Lindhorst tells Anselmus that Anselmus has been specially chosen to interpret and translate some special Atlantean documents recapping Lindhorst’s ancestral lineage.There was also a book written about this subject by an ex-mormon Grant Palmer. For a more thorough explanation you can see this article.
Published well before Joseph Smiths own accounts of how he found the Golden Plates and met the angel Moroni, “The Golden Pot” has some amazing similarities to Joseph Smith’s accounts, a few of which are:
• Anselmus is given a shock of bright and blinding light when Lindhorst first appears to him, as is Joseph Smith when Moroni appears to him. Later that same night, Anselmus receives a second vision, and so does Joseph Smith.
• Both are given a special message of where they can find a hidden cache of special ancient archives.
• Eventually, a holy artifact made of solid gold is revealed to Anselmus, and he is asked to decipher the writing on it. Similarly, the Golden Plates are revealed to Joseph Smith, and he too is tasked with deciphering mystical writing.
And the similarities don’t stop there and are too numerous to mention here. In fact, the story of “The Golden Pot” so closely mirrors Joseph Smith’s account of how he met Moroni and found the golden plates, it seems to be almost unbelievable that Smith’s account was original. Finally, as a side note, an advertisement of a literary magazine’s review of Hoffman’s “The Golden Pot” appeared in the local newspaper (The Wayne Sentinel, 30 November 1827) in Joseph Smith’s town of Palmyra. So, Smith not only knew the story existed, but is seems very possible that he may have even owned a copy. (Source)
A quote from the article:
The magical worldview of the Smith family and the mystical world of the "The Golden Pot" story are remarkably similar. Archivarius (meaning archivist) Lindhorst is the principle guardian of the treasures at his "ancient residence," just as Moroni is the primary guardian of Cumorah's treasures. Young Anselmus has a working relationship with Lindhorst that centers around his house. Joseph Smith has a recurring relationship with Moroni at the latter's cave headquarters. Anselmus and Joseph Smith can conveniently walk to their nearby house and cave in a short time. The house and cave both open upon their approach. Anselmus is greeted by Lindhorst and Smith is greeted by Moroni. Both of these beings are the last archivists of their respective civilizations.10 They are in charge of vast treasures including numerous "rolls of parchment"11 and from the destroyed civilization of Atlantis on one hand and plates of precious metal from the Jaredites and Nephites on the other hand.What I find incredibly unbelievable about Mormonism verses Christianity is that people base their beliefs on the "vision" of one man - Joseph Smith. Oh sure they will say that they believe the Bible is a Holy book but they base their main source of beliefs on the Book of Mormon. Is it just me or is it kind of ironic that the last author of the Book of Mormon is name Moroni? And since Moroni told Joseph Smith where the "Golden Plates" were - I want to know - where are they now? At least with the Bible we have lots of different manuscripts found years apart with the same words written on them.
I did read somewhere that Joseph Smith returned the Golden Plates to Moroni. How kind of him.
I have another question - I wonder if there are any direct descendents of Joseph Smith in the Mormon church now. Anyone know?
There are a lot more interesting topics out there regarding Mormonism and I intend to touch on as many as I can. Another interesting topic I would like to explore - are there Mormon themes in the Twilight series (Yes there are!). I will explore that next time. And I hope not to offend any Mormon or Vampire readers out there.