If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone

 

Accounts of Translation of Book of Mormon - Could Smith have really translated but given a doctored one to his secretaries who wrote down his "translation"?

When writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.


Emma Smith Bidamon Interview with Joseph Smith III, February 1879, cited in Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 1. p. 541.

 

I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.

 

David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ (Richmond, MO: n.p., 1887), 12.

 

I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation... . He did not use the plates in the translation.

 

David Whitmer, Kansas City Journal, June 5, 1881, reprinted in Millennial Star Vol. 43, p. 423.

 

Martin Harris related an incident that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin and when finished he would say "Written," and if correctly written that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.

 

Edward Stevenson, The Salt Lake Herald, September 3, [1870]

 

By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say 'written;' and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.

 

Martin Harris, quoted by B.H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church 1:29

 

The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with a stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods

 

Isaac Hale, quoted by Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 1834

 

When Joseph was translating the Book of Mormon [I] had occasion more than once to go into his immediate presence, and saw him engaged at his work of translation. The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating word after word, while the scribes - Emma, John Whitmer, O. Cowdery, or some other wrote it down.

 

Michael Morse, Emma Smith's brother-in-law, published in an 1879 article in the RLDS publication Saint's Herald

 

Now the way he translated was he put the urim and thummim into his hat and darkened his eyes then he would take a sentence and it would appear in bright roman letters then he would tell the writer and he would write it then that would go away the next sentence would come and so on. But if it was not spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous. Thus was the hol [whole] translated.

Joseph Knight, Sr,

 

Source text: “Joseph Knight Sr., Reminiscence, Circa 1835-1847” in Early Mormon Documents, ed. Dan Vogel, (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 2002), 4, 17-18.

 

These were days never to be forgotten - to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated, with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, 'Interpreters,' the history, or record, called 'The book of Mormon."

 

Oliver Cowdery, Latter Day Saint's Messenger and Advocate, Vol. 1 No. 1

 

 

The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by the power of God
 

“William Smith, On Mormonism, 1883” in Early Mormon Documents, ed. Dan Vogel, (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1996), 1:497.
it was not expedient for him to tell more than had already been told about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and it was not well that any greater details be provided.

 

Conference of the Church in October 1831, in Orange, Ohio
 
Warrant issued upon written complaint upon oath of Peter G. Bridgeman, who informed that one Joseph Smith of Bainbridge was a disorderly person and an imposter. Prisoner brought before Court March 20, 1826. Prisoner examined: says that he came from the town of Palmyra, and had been at the house of Josiah Stowel in Bainbridge most of time since; had small part of time been employed in looking for mines, but the major part had been employed by said Stowel on his farm, and going to school. That he had a certain stone which he had occasionally look at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were at a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and had informed him where he could find these treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them. That at Palmyra he pretended to tell by looking at this stone where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania and while at Palmyra had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account of its injuring his health, especially his eyes, making them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always declined having anything to do with this business.

Josiah Stowel sworn: says that prisoner had been at his house something like five months; had been employed by him to work on farm part of time; that he pretended to have skill of telling where hidden treasures in the earth were by means of looking through a certain stone; that prisoner had looked for him sometimes; once to tell him about money buried in Bend Mountain in Pennsylvania, once for gold on Monument Hill, and once for a salt spring; and that he positively knew that the prisoner could tell, and did possess the art of seeing those valuable treasures through the medium of said stone; that he found the [word illegible] at Bend and Monument Hill as prisoner represented it; that prisoner had looked through said stone for Deacon Attleton for a mine, did not exactly find it but got a p- [word unfinished] of ore which resembled gold, he thinks; that prisoner had told by means of this stone where a Mr. Bacon had buried money; that he and prisoner had been in search of it; that prisoner had said it was in a certain root of a stump five feet from the surface of the earth, and with it would be found a tail feather; that said Stowel and prisoner thereupon commenced digging, found a tail feather, but money was gone; that he supposed the money moved down. That prisoner did offer his services; that he never deceived him; that prisoner looked through stone and described Josiah Stowel's house and outhouses, while at Palmyra at Simpson Stowel's, correctly; that he had told about a painted tree, with a man's head painted upon it, by means of said stone. That he had been in company with prisoner digging for gold, and had the most implicit faith in prisoner's skill.

Arad Stowel sworn: says that he went to see whether prisoner could convince him that he possessed the skill he professed to have, upon which prisoner laid a book upon a white cloth, and proposed looking through another stone which was white and transparent, hold the stone to the candle, turn his head to look, and read. The deception appeared so palpable that witness went off disgusted. McMaster sworn: says he went with Arad Stowel, and likewise came away disgusted. Prisoner pretended to him that he could discover objects at a distance by holding this white stone to the sun or candle; that prisoner rather declined looking into a hat at his dark colored stone, as he said that it hurt his eyes.

Jonathon Thompson: says that prisoner was requested to look for chest of money; did look, and pretended to know where it was; and prisoner, Thompson and Yeomans went in search of it; that Smith arrived at spot first; was at night; that Smith looked in hat while there, and when very dark, and told how the chest was situated. After digging several feet, struck something sounding like a board or plant. Prisoner would not look again, pretending that he was alarmed on account of the circumstances relating to the trunk being buried [which] came all fresh to his mind. That the last time he looked he discovered distinctly the two Indians who buried the trunk, that a quarrel ensued between them, and that one of said Indians was killed by the other, and thrown into the hold beside the trunk, to guard it, as he supposed. Thompson says that he believes in the prisoner's professed skill; that the board he struck his spade upon was probably the chest, but on account of an enchantment the trunk kept settling away from under them when digging; that notwithstanding they continued constantly removing the dirt, yet the trunk kept about the same distance from them. Says prisoner said that it appeared to him that salt might be found at Bainbridge, and that he is certain that prisoner can divine things by means of said stone. That as evidence of the fact prisoner looked into his hat to tell him about some money witness lost sixteen years ago, and that he described the man the witness supposed had taken it, and the disposition of the money: And therefore the Court find the Defendant guilty.

 

Joseph Smith's 1826 court transcript

 

... he used a stone called a "Seers stone," the "Interpreters" having been taken away from him because of transgression. The "Interpreters" were taken from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript] of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on and translate by use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original character appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in English.

 

David Whitmer, quoted by Zenas H. Gurley, RLDS Saints' Herald 1885

 

The sum of the whole matter, then, concerning the manner of translating the sacred record of the Nephites, according to the testimony of the only witnesses competent to testify in the matter is: With the Nephite record was deposited a curious instrument, consisting of two transparent stones, set in the rim of a bow, somewhat resembling spectacles, but larger, called by the ancient Hebrews 'Urim and Thummim,' but by the Nephites 'Interpreters.' In addition to these 'Interpreters' the Prophet Joseph had a 'Seer Stone,' possessed of similar qualities to the Urim and Thummim; that the prophet sometimes used one and sometimes the other of these sacred instruments in the work of translation; that whether the 'Interpreters' or the 'Seer Stone' was used the Nephite characters with the English interpretation appeared in the sacred instrument; that the Prophet would pronounce the English translation to his scribe, which when correctly written would disappear and the other characters with their interpretation take their place, and so on until the work was completed

B.H. Roberts, The Seventy's Course in Theology, First Year, p.111

 

Mr. Harris says: "Joseph Smith, jr., found at Palmyra, N. Y., on the 22d day of September, 1827, the plates of gold upon which was recorded in Arabic, Chaldaic, Syriac, and Egyptian, the Book of Life, or the Book of Mormon. I was not with him at the time, but I had a revelation the summer before, that God had a work for me to do. These plates were found at the north point of a hill two miles north of Manchester village. Joseph had a stone which was dug from the well of Mason Chase, twenty-four feet from the surface. In this stone he could see many thing to my certain knowledge. It was by means of this stone he first discovered these plates.

 

Martin Harris, (August 1859) Mormonism—No. II, Tiffany's Monthly, 5(4), Joel Tiffany, ed., pp. 163–170

 

We were waiting on Martin Harris who was doing his best to sell a part of his farm, in order to raise the necessary funds. After a time Hyrum Smith and others began to get impatient, thinking that Martin Harris was too slow and under transgression for not selling his land at once, even if at a great sacrifice. Brother Hyrum thought they should not wait any longer on Martin Harris, and that the money should be raised in some other way. Brother Hyrum was vexed with Brother Martin, and thought they should get the money by some means outside of him, and not let him have anything to do with the publication of the Book, or receiving any of the profits thereof if any profits should accrue. He was wrong in thus judging Bro. Martin, because he was doing all he could toward selling his land. Brother Hyrum said it had been suggested to him that some of the brethren might go to Toronto, Canada, and sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon for considerable money: and he persuaded Joseph to inquire of the Lord about it. Joseph concluded to do so. He had not yet given up the stone. Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copy-right of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copy-right, returning without any money. Joseph was at my father's house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada. Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil." So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copy-right was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man. When a man enquires of the Lord concerning a matter, if he is deceived by his own carnal desires, and is in error, he will receive an answer according to his erring heart, but it will not be a revelation from the Lord.
David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, p.30 - p.31
 
at Peter Whitmer Sr’s residence he [Orson Pratt] asked Joseph whether he could not ascertain what his mission was, and Joseph answered him that he would see, & asked Pratt and John Whitmer to go upstairs with him, and on arriving there Joseph produced a small stone called a seer stone, and putting it into a Hat soon commenced speaking and asked Elder P[ratt]. to write as he would speak, but being too young and timid and feeling his unworthiness he asked whether Bro. John W[hitmer]. could not write it, and the Prophet said that he could: Then came the revelation to the Three named given Nov. 4th 1830.


Source text: James R. B. Vancleave to Joseph Smith III, 29 Sept. 1878, “Miscellaneous Letters and Papers,” Library-Archives, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Independence, Missouri. See also Lyndon W. Cook, ed., David Whitmer Interviews: A Restoration Witness (Orem, UT: Grandin Book Co., 1991), 239-40. Quoted in H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley P. Walters, Inventing Mormonism. (19
 
Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he had obtained certain "revelations" concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the Church, etc., all of which were entirely at variance with the order of God's house, as laid down in the New Testament, as well as in our late revelations. As a conference meeting had been appointed for the 26th 3 day of September, I thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, until the conference should meet. Finding, however, that many, especially the Whitmer family and Oliver Cowdery, were believing much in the things set forth by this stone, we thought best to inquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter; and before conference convened...

 

Source text: History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, 1:109-10.

 

OBSERVATIONS - Nobody ever saw the translators - the Urim and Thummim. Smith realised he needed witnesses for the plates. But why not the translators? That's odd. And the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon were involved in the production of the text before they saw the plates. They were biased. They had suffered for their involvement. No wonder they might have known there were no plates and no wonder they would have been determined to keep the real truth to themselves. They lied that there were plates. When Smith was a money digger, he was able to say a lot of things with his face stuck in a hat. Thus he could have written the Book of Mormon and memorised the text so that he could recite it to those who wrote down what he dictated. We have only Smith's word for it that visions could be seen on the stone in the hat. None of this is enough to justify establishing a religion on. It could be thought that if Smith really had the power to use the Urim and Thummim to translate, then the translation was correct only when he used them. But as he also used the seer stone he might have got a false translation as well. If so, then the Book of Mormon is only right where the Urim and Thummim were used. God would not have chosen such a useless prophet. 

 

CASE FOR AN INVENTED TRANSLATION

 

If Smith had gold plates then this is the case against his being unable to translate.

 

Nobody ever saw the glass spectacles Smith used to translate or saw him using them. God supposedly put them with the plates for translation.  Smith's claims are lies for how can you trust the translation when you cannot see what was provided to accomplish it?  Even worse Smith used a common stone as a seer stone - an occult device!  The Book of Mormon is a claimed occult translation rather than a religious one.

 

Despite the method being perfect - eg visions of the translated text given by God to Smith in a seer stone - the Book of Mormon needed a lot of fixing.  It is not perfect.  Smith himself did a lot of editing and revising even after publication.

 

Smith said his firstborn son would be the translator.  That baby died.

 

Smith got false revelations through his seer stone - eg when he got a prediction that the Book of Mormon copyright would be sold.  He admitted some of his revelations were from the devil.

 

Oliver Cowdery did some translating but it was more like imagination that was really at work.  He showed no evidence of significant prophetic ability.  Smith didn't show it either but that is not the point.  Smith tried to predict the future etc.  God supposedly told Oliver through Smith “Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time.” None of this inspires confidence in the Book of Mormon.  It was alleged that Oliver could not understand the method given as follows, "You must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you."  More likely it was the case that the technique failed!

 

Smith was blocked from translating by sin - and even when he said he was able to translate he was sinning worse than ever!

 

Smith failed to restore the Book of Lehi after much hard translating work.  116 pages were accomplished but lost and Smith lamely argued that God told him to use a different part of the plates instead.  It could be argued that if he really translated Lehi then what he replaced it with could be his own invention  Maybe God banned him from translating after that?

 

Smith's attempt to get Charles Anthon to verify his translation failed.  Anton wrote that it was rubbish.

 

 

 

THE WEB
 
FULFILLED PROPHECIES OF JOSEPH SMITH
www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_prophecies.shtml

THE BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES
www.exmormon.org/file9.htm
Excellent refutation of the claims of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon
 
JOSEPH SMITH AS A PROPHET by Richard Packham
www.exmormon.org/prophet.htm
Refutes the Mormon claim that Smith was a real prophet of God. The Mormons accept the validity of Ezekiel 12:21-28 which says that if a prophecy is too long in being fulfilled then it is a false prophecy. A prophecy will come true by chance given long enough. Smith made many prophecies that have not come true yet so he was a false prophet. By the same criteria, the Old Testament prophets failed and the Christian claim that they predicted Jesus and his life by the power of God is false for even if the prophecies did come true it was not God that was behind it. Doctrine and Covenants 1:37 pledges that every word prophesised by Smith will come true for God has spoken. On January 4th 1833 Smith predicted by the authority of Jesus that there were people then living who would see the twelve tribes of Israel gathered to Missouri. This never happened. Slaves did not rise up and cause a war as he predicted in Doctrine and Covenants 87. God told Smith that the communism practiced by his Church would never be done away and would still be done when he comes again (Doctrine and Covenants 104). The Mormon Church dropped the communism causing minor schisms on the basis that the Church could no longer be the true Church for doing that.
 
JERALD AND SANDRA TANNER’S DISTORTED VIEW OF MORMONISM: A RESPONSE TO MORMONISM, SHADOW OR REALITY?
www.xmission.com/~country/reason/ldshist1.htm This page shows plainly the harm that the Christian Church in general is doing with its rotten Bible for the evil commanded by God in the Bible is defended on the basis that it has a purpose known to God and this is used to justify the terrible doctrines such as polygamy that the Mormons used to live out. The page does what all apologists for religion does, ignore the major problems and nitpicks on rather minor errors in the hope of showing the critics to be not worth listening to. For example, the Tanners believed that Joseph Smith copied his father’s story of a dream he had in 1811 into the Book of Mormon as the dream of Lehi because Joseph’s mother Lucy wrote about the dream in 1845 and the two were identical in all serious points. The page says that Lucy Smith simply filled in her memory of her husband’s dream subconsciously from the Book of Mormon. But she had family and friends to help her remember. The page says that since the Book of Mormon was written first and she was writing 15 years later it is wrong to say that the author of the Book of Mormon was the one doing the copying. But how do you know? It is still most probable that the Tanners are right. If it is not then we still have no reason to take one side or the other. Anyway, what about the more serious objections to the Book of Mormon that the Tanners made? He’s nitpicking. The page says that since the Temple ceremony of the Mormons has many elements in it like Masonry that Smith did not borrow from Masonry for Masonry might have been partly divinely inspired. This denies Occam’s Razor, stick to the simplest explanation and that is that Smith stole Masonic rites. With the logic of the page you could say the book or song you got caught plagiarising was not copied on purpose but somebody must have telepathically put the words of an existing song and the music into your unsuspecting mind.

BY HIS OWN HAND ON PAPYRUS, Charles Larson
At Mormons in Transition Website www.irr.org
 
MORE PROBLEMS WITH THE FIRST VISION, ANSWERING DR CLANDESTINE, Jerald and Sandra Tanner
www.xmission.com/~country/reason/clndst10.htm

PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS WITH THE MORMON CONCEPT OF GOD, Francis J Beckwith,
www.equip.org/free/DM410.htm

Barry R Bickmore
www.geocities.com/Athens/parthenon/2671/EC.html
 
MORMON SCHOLARSHIP, APOLOGETICS AND EVANGELICAL NEGLECT, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen,
 www.gospelcom.net/apologeticsindex/cpoint10-2.html#mosserowen

BOOK OF MORMON QUESTIONS
www.lds-mormon.com/bookofmormonquestions.shtml

MORMONISM UNVAILED: MORE EVIDENCE THAT IT IS TRUE. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
 www.carm.org/lds/unveiled_defended.htm

THE ABRIDGEMENT OF D&C 137
 www.saintsalive./com/mormonism/falseprophetjs/htm

THE BOOK OF MORMON: ONE TOO MANY M’S Stephen Van Eck
 www.infidels.org/library/modern/stephen_eck/toomany.html
 
EGYPTIAN CHARACTERS
www.mormonstudies.com/seer2.htm
This shows that when Smith translated the book of Abraham he invented hieroglyphics where there was a piece missing from the papyri. The characters Smith added make no sense to translators. Yet he translated these imaginary hieroglyphics! His mother and close associate David Whitmer spoke of Joseph copying characters of the gold plates of the Book of Mormon before he translated and that like the Book of Abraham Smith often produced two lines in the manuscript with the translation of a single character which shows that the whole Book of Mormon thing was a hoax.
 
MORMON FARMS
www.xmission.com~country/reason/farms_1.htm
by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Gathers evidence that indicates that it was possible that Smith was insane and had manic depression.
 
DR CHARLES ANTHON RE AUTHENTICITY OF WRITING SAMPLES ALLEGEDLY COPIED FROM THE GOLDEN PLATES
www.mormonism-web.com/anthon.htm

INTERVIEW OF MARTIN HARRIS
www.xmission.com/~research/about/docum4.htm

COMMENTS ON THE BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES: A RESPONSE TO JERALD AND SANDRA TANNER
www.mormons.org/response/bom/witnesses_Roper.htm
A ridiculous rebuttal that has been taken into account for this book and refuted.

FACTS ON THE BOOK OF MORMON WITNESSES, PART 1
 
www.irr.org/mit/bomwit1.html
Excellent refutation of the reliability of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon
 
THE STOLEN MANUSCRIPT
www.utlm.org/onlineresources/bom_early_problems/goldenbible_stolenmanuscript.htm Print Friendly and PDF