If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
WAS THE BOOK OF MORMON TRANSLATED CORRECTLY?
THE PLATES AND THE WITNESSES
Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the Mormon founder, claimed to have had golden plates given to him by an angel. To back up this extraordinary claim, he had to have witnesses to silence people who thought that the plates never existed. He chose three witnesses who said they saw the plates as an angel turned the leaves for them to have a look. They testified also that Smith's miraculous translation of the plates was correct. Then he chose eight witnesses who said that they saw the plates close up. This testimony led to the foundation of the Church of Christ which later became the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The translation is called the Book of Mormon.
Professor Charles Anthon revealed in 1834 that one of the three witnesses, Martin Harris, told him that Smith wore magic glasses and that "Whoever examined the plates through the spectacles, was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning." Anthon supposedly wrote a certificate to say that he had seen a piece of paper on which characters from the plates were transcribed and translated and that it was all authentic. He reportedly tore it up. In his letters, he denied that he authenticated the translation and he wrote it was a hoax. Mormons call him a liar and then claim that he authenticated their holy book! Some authentication! They say that the characters formed an unknown language Reformed Egyptian so how could he authenticate the translation?
THE THREE WITNESSES
The three witnesses, Martin Harris, David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, of the gold plates gave a testimony which is printed at the start of the Book of Mormon. It reads that a voice from Heaven told them that the record of the Nephites and Lamanites and the Jaredites, in other words the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. No proof is given that this voice was not a trick or from God. Sometimes people can be overcome with emotion and be led to misinterpret what was said to them.
No proof is given that though the plates may have been translated right that the Book of Mormon was not altered afterwards by Smith or that the manuscript given to the printer was the real translation. No details are given that would convince us leaving all our questions unanswered. They just state that they heard the voice and we have no details to rule out deception.
God might have proven the existence of the plates to them but might have let the translation be ruined intending for the plates to be translated again.
The testimony of the three is useless. The Book of Mormon said it needed the witnesses but when they proved useless that proves that the Book of Mormon is a forgery. The witnesses nullified their testimony when they let Joseph Smith make changes in the Book of Mormon that were not allowed in the original manuscripts later on. The Salt Lake City Church has made thousands of alterations apart from grammatical ones since. The witnesses already believed in Smith’s work to start with so if only one heard a voice they would say they all heard the voice meaning that one heard it audibly and the others heard it spiritually and inaudibly.
We must remember that the Mormon Church says that anybody who asks God if the Book of Mormon is true will know for sure that it is for the Book of Mormon promises that (Moroni 10:4) so anybody who gets a testimony and a feeling from God that the book is true is as much a witness as those who saw and touched the gold plates. That means that the three and the eight witnesses who came along later were hellbent on declaring the book true just because a feeling said it was true. That is going very far and is preferring fiction to fact. People who would go that far are perfectly capable of visualising the Book of Mormon plates and then persuading themselves that what they pictured was real and a vision from God.
The three said that God said that the translation was done properly but we are not told that God said he meant the Book of Mormon as it was to be published. Perhaps Smith and his scribes reworked the translation and corrupted it. Perhaps they knew what was really on the plates in their heads and it was that that God was talking about.
Fraudulent apparitions like Medjugorje and Fatima and countless others have used the sun to induce visions in their victims. The shock to the system of looking directly at the sun and the excitement has caused visions. The Smith visionaries needed only to see the angel and the plates for a few seconds which makes a natural explanation easy. The accounts stress the brightness from Heaven may indicate that Smith got them to gaze at the sun. There is no proof of this. Mormons will respond that there is no evidence that Smith did this so the apparition was a miracle. But you are only supposed to believe in miracles when no natural explanation is possible. The sun not being mentioned is not evidence that that it was not deployed to cause the vision.
THE TESTIMONY OF THE EIGHT
The later testimony of the eight says nothing about the translation being right but only testifies to the existence of the plates and significantly says they have the appearance of gold as if they were not sure what they were made of which supports the theory that Smith may have used wood carved to look like a book and covered in gold paint. It was dishonest of them to say they knew the engravings were ancient and genuine for they knew nothing about ancient languages and alphabets. What else did they lie about? The translation was the most important thing and they said nothing about it making their testimony rather useless - it only means they said they saw gold plates. We are left with no reason to believe in the translation.
These problems show that God could not have let them see any plates for the time was not right. One wonders what kind of God would go to this trouble and not make sure that characters were copied off the plates for the academic world to examine. What kind of God would let them see some plates and expect us to be satisfied with that?
The blunders and problems of the Book of Mormon might indicate that it was not a correct translation at all or that it was never a translation but just a forgery.
THE MAGIC GLASSES
Smith when he first translated the Book of Mormon used magic glasses, two clear stones called Urim and Thummim set in bows that were worn like spectacles. Sometimes Smith called them the Interpreters. We read in the Book of Mormon that these Interpreters were used about 121 BC and we are told that God had forbidden any man to look into them without authority for he might look for what he was not supposed to look for and perish (Mosiah 8:13). That means then the stones could work on their own even when God didn’t want them to. What kind of God is this? Could he simply not let the stones fail to work unless the right person was looking in them? The Book of Mormon itself implies that its translation is not to be trusted. Perhaps Smith used the stones to dictate a fictitious book, a pretended translation of the plates?
The angel Moroni took away the translators the Urim and Thummim. After that Smith translated with the magic stone with which he used to do money digging. The Urim and Thummim were removed after Smith gave out 116 pages of the Book of Mormon that were lost and never recovered as a punishment from God. Strange punishment!
Smith only made all this up because it was necessary to explain why nobody saw this Urim and Thummim and they were a problem for they were supposed to be diamonds in silver frames and where was he going to get diamonds or even good cut glass?
When Smith used his own stone instead of the Urim and Thummim how do we know that the translation was correct? Perhaps he lost the power to translate and used it instead to fake. When God told Smith through the same stone that he would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon and the prophecy proved false Smith said it was a revelation from the Devil (page 41, An Address to All Believers in Christ). What else was the Devil telling him? Was he telling it when he translated the Book of Mormon? Obviously, Joseph did not know the difference. David Whitmer stated that the revelations given through the stone which was used to translate the Book of Mormon though reliable are not as authorative as the Bible and the Book of Mormon (page 68, An Address to all Believers in Christ). He had no reason to say this and every reason not to so his evidence is very strong that the Book of Mormon translation is iffy though that is not what he meant to say but he certainly accidentally made it clear that it had to be. A stone that gives revelations from God that do not have full divine authority cannot give out a translation of a holy book that is fully reliable. Even if the Book of Mormon is regarded as reliable one cannot stake too much on it so it cannot be made scripture and people can reject it if they want while they are obliged by their duty to God to uphold real scripture. Deuteronomy 18 forbids depending on prophets that are not exercising full divine authority in their statements that they say God is inspiring and who are not totally right in these statements for God makes no mistakes. Joseph Smith used a stone that functioned itself as a prophet and which admitted that it was not fully trustworthy like God would be.
COWDERY DENIES BOOK OF MORMON
In the Mormon newspaper, Times and Seasons, Vol 2, page 482), there was a poem written about 1841 that said Oliver Cowdery denied the Book of Mormon in such a way that he attacked its status as being the word of God. This would mean he denied the existence of the plates or that the Book of Mormon was a true translation or both. We don’t know which but we do know if the plates did exist then the translation still was not a true one. But it does seem that if you deny the Book of Mormon you are denying that it is a divine translation. Denying the plates would not amount to denying the book of Mormon but would only mean he lied that he had a vision in which he saw the plates.
The Mormon Church tries to make out that Oliver never said he disbelieved in the Book of Mormon but denied it by his actions in the sense that he contradicted it by living in a forbidden way. But Oliver, like the rest, had often denied the Book this way so the poem was about something else. It gives the impression of being about a verbal denial. The Church then says that Oliver denied the Book of Mormon the way Peter did Jesus. Peter believed in Jesus and denied him without denying his belief. It was a moment of weakness and Cowdery like Peter did not mean what he said according to them and they give no evidence whatsoever that this was the case and Oliver would have apologised if he had denied it that way. The poem states that the Book of Mormon is not proved to be fake scripture by Oliver’s denial indicating that he was denying that it was God’s word.
Another tactic used is to dismiss what was said about Oliver as hearsay. So when the Mormon Church does not want to believe a testimony it is always hearsay. That this is more than an impression is shown by the fact that the Book of Mormon was singled out. If Cowdery had been denying the book any way apart from saying it was not inspired it would follow he was denying the Doctrine and Covenants and all the revelations given to Smith so singling out the Book of Mormon would make no sense and the Mormons would not have singled it out for it looks bad to do that unless it really was publicly renounced by Cowdery.
Would the persecuted Mormon Church of 1841 publish a poem based on gossip about one of its main figures? Joel H Johnson wrote the poem and the Church says he did not hear Cowdery deny the book for he was in Kirtland while Cowdery was Missouri. But what evidence has the Church for saying that? There is no reason to think that Johnson thought that Cowdery said it when the two were far apart. This is typical of how Christians and Mormons twist things. Johnson could have heard Cowdery which means that we cannot admit Cowdery as a witness to the Book of Mormon. If it made a mistake would it not correct this in the next edition? Where was the uproar among Oliver and his associates if the poem was wrong? Would the persecuted Mormon Church of 1841 that needed all the evidence it could get accuse Oliver of denying the Book of Mormon and fail to make it clear that it was just a weakness and that he was truly sorry for it? Why did Oliver not correct his weakness?
PROOF OF SPELLING ERRORS IN THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT
"he pitched his tent in a vally beside a river of water & it came to pass that he built an altar of stones & he made an offering unto the Lord & gave thanks unto the Lord our God & it came to pass that he called the name of the River Laman & it empted into the Read Sea & the vally was in the borders near the mouth thereof & when my father saw that the waters of the River empted into the fountain of the Red sea he spake unto Laman saying O that thou mightest be like unto this River continually"
None of this stopped people involved in this imposture lying that it was the most perfect book on earth and that God prevented errors during translation. The errors speak loudly against the witnesses. They are hard evidence against mere testimony.
ERRORS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON
Whitmer stated that Smith used his stone to translate and that a character from the plates and its interpretation or translation would appear and remain visible until the scribe Smith was dictating to wrote it down correctly. Harris also said that the translation remained on the stone until it was written down correctly. They were taking Smith's word for this. But it was a lie as we shall see.
Joseph Smith told his scribe to write Benjamin in Mosiah 21:28 which says that this man had a gift from God to translate though it should have been Mosiah for King Benjamin had been dead. This error was corrected in the second edition of the Book of Mormon. What else did Joseph change from what he saw in the Urim and Thummim?
The way the witnesses were keen to adopt heretical doctrines that were not in the Book of Mormon shows they knew the Book of Mormon was a revision of what was on the Plates or that it was not supernatural. Why? Because only people who do not sincerely believe in a revelation from God suffer it to be altered. The Mormon Church came to deny that there was only one God though the Book of Mormon stresses that there is no God but one and even goes as far as to deny that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three persons and says they are one person. Its monotheism is stricter than Christian monotheism - assuming Christians have a right to be called monotheists.
SMITH NEVER USED THE PLATES
There is the problem that Smith never used the Plates to translate from. He just used the seer stone and it is certain that that the plates were hardly ever there (God’s Word Final Infallible and Forever, Book 3, page 89). They were covered with a cloth when they were allegedly present. Smith was supposedly taking great care of these plates to prevent them being stolen so what were they doing in the room when they were not needed? The only thing that lay under the cloth was perhaps just an ordinary book.
Smith did not use the Plates much when he translated. He just focused on his magic stone. This would suggest that he had little interest in what was on the Plates. He was going to write his own word of God. Smith sometimes had the Plates present but covered with a cloth which shows he knew he should use them if he was planning to make an honest translation.
WAS SATAN DOING THE TRANSLATING?
If the Devil led Smith to find the Plates and decipher some of them it would follow that God would prevent Smith from translating them all. This is what could have happened for two thirds of the Plates could not be opened (page 39, An Address to All Believers in Christ). God did not trust Smith. This claim that he had only access to one third of the book is supposed to be an indication of Smith’s sincerity. But Smith might have made up the story and not seen the sealing this way. Smith had always said that if he showed the plates to anybody God did not approve of they would be struck dead. That was his excuse for saying the book was not to be seen which was odd for it was only a set of gold plates with inscription on them. Smith’s purpose was to write the rest of the Book of Mormon later on in life if the first part came to be accepted as scripture by a good number of people. There is no way anybody could translate the long and tedious Book of Mormon from the third which shows that if Smith did translate the plates that he must have reworked what was on them into a longer book.
It is suspicious that the Book of Mormon has a sealed portion according to 2 Nephi 27 and the witnesses said the book had a locked up section that nobody could get into. It is as if God had to physically lock a portion of the book to keep Smith from reading it. That clearly suggests that Smith was claiming that it was not almighty God that was giving him the power to translate for once Smith had the power he could do what he liked with it. Who gave it to him then? Satan? Smith having satanic powers would mean he could use them to make the witnesses hallucinate visions of the plates.
The devil and God both gave Joseph Smith the power to dictate the Book of Mormon. Smith admitted once that he mistook a revelation he got from the seer stone, which he used to translate the Book of Mormon, from the Devil that he would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon for one from God (page 41, An Address to All Believers in Christ). He had to say this for his prophecy proved false. He did not know how to distinguish between the revelations of God and the Devil.
In Doctrine and Covenants 129, Smith, we are told, received a revelation in 1843 which disclosed that if anybody has a vision they must ask it to let them shake its hand. If it tries and you feel nothing then it is the Devil. If you feel a hand in yours then it is from God. There is no evidence that this test was employed when the angel allegedly appeared with the golden plates. The Church did not teach that God had a body in the first few years which proves that it was not used. Smith did not check out the Father and the Son when they appeared to him. Smith never shook Moroni’s hand or the hands of the Father and the Son when they allegedly appeared. The three witnesses did not shake the hand of the angel who showed them the Plates. Smith could not even be consistent with his own religion. The test was more than a bit late. The revelation admits that the Devil can appear as an angel of light. Anybody who does not know that there should be a body if the being is heavenly will be fooled. This is admitted. Smith was refuted by his own revelations. Philosophically speaking, the Devil should be able to make you think you can feel his hand by sending a telepathic transmission to your mind so Smith’s test is worthless. What gets even worse is that Smith said that a message from God might be delivered by a man who has not been resurrected yet and he cannot shake hands with you. That gives Satan an excuse for not shaking hands with you so that you won’t know who is from him or not. Yet God calls this handshake test a key to which you can know if an administration is from God. When Smith did not state that the test was used when the angel appeared with the golden plates to the three witnesses it is clear that he accidentally gave us the right to disbelieve.
PLATES WOULD STILL BE WITH US
If the translation is so great why were the plates taken back to Heaven by Moroni? Now the translation cannot be checked. Why show the plates to some and not all? Mormons say the plates would only have been used to make money if they had remained. So what? Much of the wealth in the world came from sales of the Bible. If the Book of Mormon had been true God would have proven it by letting the Plates stay. God did not trust Joseph Smith to keep them or trust himself to be able to guard them.
There is no evidence that the Book of Mormon is correctly translated.
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