by Ron Smith
What follows is an (*updated and simplified) Presentation in which a careful comparison of characters from various sources claiming to show characters from the plates (*of the true Book of Mormon). They are:
1) The document known in church history as the Anthon Transcript which came to the church from the Whitmer family.
2) A 19th century photograph of this document taken by Jacob Hicks and posted on the web in 2009.
3) Three lines of characters printed in 1844 in the newspaper "the Prophet".
4) Three lines of characters printed in 1844 on an advertisement for the Book of Mormon called "the Stick of Joseph".
5) The forgery created in 1980 by Mark Hofmann.
6) The last plate from Brazil (*the Berger forgery).
I refer to these as (1) Whitmer, (2) Hicks, (3) Prophet, ( 4) Stick of Joseph, (5) Hofmann, and (6) Berger, respectively.
There are a number of interesting things, but the ones of most interest to many are the following:
a) The Prophet and the Stick of Joseph characters were copied from Whitmer.
b) The Prophet and the Stick of Joseph characters were printed using the exact same plates, except that one was (accidentally) rotated 180 degrees, so there is a sequence on the Stick of Joseph that is upside down and backwards from the corresponding characters in the Prophet and Whitmer.
c) Hofmann's forgery contains both sequences of characters: straightforward and rotated, although in columns instead of rows.
d) Berger contains both sequences of characters, oriented in the same way as Hofmann.
I believe this shows that the characters on the Berger plate were copied from Hofmann, and not the other way around.
* editors note