When the Book of Mormon was translated, Joseph Smith was not only 23 years old with limited education, but also a first time author.
Is the Book of Mormon what we would expect from a first time author? The fact that the Book of Mormon appears to be Joseph’s first output of any significant length is remarkable.
Scholar Robert A. Rees said:
Where are the “try works” of the Book of Mormon? There are none that we know of or evidence that there might have been. In other words — and this is important — whereas we see copious journal entries, essays, letters, lectures, and other writings revealing Emerson working out his mature expressions in poetry and prose; whereas we see Hawthorne’s significant volume of early fiction (short and long forms), journals, and other writings leading up to and illuminating the writing of The Scarlet Letter; whereas we see Thoreau’s copious journals, notebooks, essays, lectures, fields notes, and other writings as preludes to Walden; whereas we see Melville’s many novels, stories, and other writings preparing him to write Moby-Dick; and whereas as we see Whitman’s journalistic writings, poetry, and numerous drafts of his major poem Leaves of Grass, we have practically nothing of Joseph Smith’s mind or writing to suggest that he was capable of authoring a book like the Book of Mormon, a book that is much more substantial, complex, and varied than his critics have been able to see or willing to admit. We need to remember that the Book of Mormon is considered one of the most influential books in American history and one that has occupied the serious consideration of scholars for over a century– Robert A. Rees – Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the American Renaissance: An Update
Why would Joseph stand out from his peers in this regard? Why would Joseph be able to accomplish such a feat as a first-time author?