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How was Joseph Smith so educated on Israelite law and justice in the case of Seantum’s confession?

In the story of Seantum in the Book of Mormon, his confession appears to be enough to convict him even though there were no witnesses. This seems to go against Biblical tradition in which two witnesses were required. If Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, why would he include a case like this which seems obviously untrue?

John Welch explains:

Thus one can conclude with reasonable confidence that, in the biblical period, the two-witness rule could be overridden in the case of a self-incriminating confession, but not easily, and only if (1) the confession occurred outside the court or the will of God was evidenced in the detection of the offender, and (2) corroborating physical evidence was produced proving who committed the crime. Quite remarkably, Seantum’s self-incriminating confession was precisely such a case on all counts, and thus his execution would not have been legally problematic. His confession was spontaneous and occurred outside of court. The evidence of God’s will was supplied through Nephi’s prophecy. The tangible evidence was present in the blood found on Seantum’s cloak. The combination of these circumstances would have overridden the normal concerns in biblical jurisprudence about using self-incriminating confessions to obtain a conviction.

The Trial of Seantum – John W. Welch

How would Joseph Smith have known this exception? Where did he learn the intricacies of Biblical law?


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