Date: January 27, 2020 07:45PM
It took me a lot longer that most of you - I was a very good Mormon boy.
It was after I graduated from BYU and married in the temple. I was trying to study up on Mormonism during graduate school (it was not my official major, of course) at Northwestern University in Illinois. They had a fabulous library, and since the Mormons had played a role in Illinois history, they also had a lots of material on Mormonism.
In the library I found a biography of James J. Strang, whom I had never heard of during my Mormon upbringing. It told about how he had claimed to be the successor of Joseph Smith, and had won over a lot of Smith's follwers. He had found and translated ancient plates, seen by witnesses, and had revelations, just like Smith.
Then I discovered in the library a religious book "Oahspe" which was produced by John Newbrough, who claimed it had been produced by divine help through automatic writing.https://www.sacred-texts.com/oah/index.htm
The story of its writing was as astonishiing as Joseph Smith's story.
I couldn't escape noticing the similarities. Joseph Smith was obviously not the only person who could claim to be a prophet assisted by God.