Book of Mormon Translation

03 March

BoMLast year the Church “quietly” began rewriting and giving new definitions to several doctrinal subjects in the Gospel Topics section of their website as well as releasing some very controversial historical documents they’ve kept from prying eyes for over a century.

Since that time the Church’s activities have left quite a few raised eyebrows in its wake.

The first time we talked about this was in November 2013 when LDS apostle Christofferson told members not to be dismayed when outsiders start questioning the Church. He also reminded members of their duty not to question authority.   Man, is that scary or what?!

Today we’re taking a look at part of their rewrites and how they’re trying to make excuses for Joseph Smith’s translation process of the BoM.  For those who already know the truth it’s an impossible pill to swallow. If you’re LDS I would imagine it’s made even worse because your entire identity is still dependent upon what the Church tells you to believe.

Let’s take a look at the key elements of their latest version and compare them with reality.

Gospel Topics, BoM Translation, By the Gift and Power of God;

“…The angel charged Joseph Smith to translate the book from the ancient language in which it was written. The young man, however, had very little formal education and was incapable of writing a book on his own, let alone translating an ancient book written from an unknown language, known in the Book of Mormon as “reformed Egyptian”…

…Joseph began translating again in 1829, and almost all of the present Book of Mormon text was translated during a three-month period between April and June of that year. His scribe during these months was Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher from Vermont who learned about the Book of Mormon while boarding with Joseph’s parents in Palmyra…”…

First of all no one needs an education to know how to lie because sin is a part of human nature.

Secondly, as Christians we need to look at information provided by anyone and compare those things with what the word of God says. The Apostle Paul warned us that if anyone presents another gospel then we must reject it – Galatians 1:6-9.

Thirdly, the coincidences of what happened in Smith’s life are far too coincidental to have happened by chance. Let’s take a look at the sequence of events in the history of Smith’s life.

One of Smith’s scribes and witnesses to the BoM was none other than Oliver Cowdery. Oliver was a member of the church where Ethan Smith was a minister.(Ethan Smith was an American Congregationalist minister and no relation to Joseph Smith). He wrote View of the Hebrews in 1823 which argued that Native Americans were from the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. This theory was very popular in the early nineteenth century American landscape. Also noteworthy is that Cowdery and Smith were actually cousins. 

Smith and Cowdery met each other for the first time on April 5, 1829. They began working on the translation for the BoM just two days later, April 7, 1829. See Chronology of Oliver Cowdery

Even the noted LDS historian BH Roberts admitted that many portions of the BoM came from View of the Hebrews.

Studies of the Book of Mormon, pp.153, 240; “It is altogether probable that these two books—Priest’s Wonders of Nature and Providence, 1824; and Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews 1st edition 1823, and the 2nd edition 1825—were either possessed by Joseph Smith or certainly known by him, for they were surely available to him…

240 Did Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews furnish structural material for Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon? It has been pointed out in these pages that there are many things in the former book that might well have suggested many major things in the other. Not a few things merely, one or two, or half dozen, but many; and it is this fact of many things of similarity and the cumulative force of them that makes them so serious a menace to Joseph Smith’s story of the Book of Mormon’s origin.” – B.H. Roberts, Mormon Seventy and LDS church historian

If their historian rejected the story of Smith’s translation process shouldn’t that give us pause? The Church went on to discuss the tools Smith used during the translation;

Translation Instruments

…The other instrument, which Joseph Smith discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, was a small oval stone, or “seer stone.” As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure…Apparently for convenience, Joseph often translated with the single seer stone rather than the two stones bound together to form the interpreters…

American folk religion was all the rage back in the days of Joseph Smith and yes, many people participated in this nefarious form of so-called Christianity.  The other side of this story is that many Christians shunned it because it entailed witchcraft, voodoo-ism, and divining rods; treasure seeking, crystal gazing, ancestor worship, family traditions and fortune telling.

The Mechanics of Translation

In the preface to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith wrote: “I would inform you that I translated [the book], by the gift and power of God.” When pressed for specifics about the process of translation, Joseph repeated on several occasions that it had been done “by the gift and power of God” and once added, “It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon.”

Why wouldn’t people be interested in “the particulars” of how this history took place?

Why wasn’t it intended for details to be public?

Is there something to hide?

…She [Emma] described Joseph “sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us.” According to Emma, the plates “often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen table cloth.” When asked if Joseph had dictated from the Bible or from a manuscript he had prepared earlier, Emma flatly denied those possibilities: “He had neither manuscript nor book to read from.”

Were those plates in that hat of his?

Why didn’t Joseph have plates or manuscripts to read from?

How did Smith know what the records said if he didn’t have them in front of him?

When people translate something from one language to another they always use the original document!

We’re praying the Mormon people would really stop and think about this. The leaders of the Church have always said that without the BoM they have no religion so this needs to be examined.

Please know that if you’re LDS we’re praying for you and want you to know we’re not publishing these things out of animosity or to bash the Mormon people.  Our concern for the Mormons is that they’ve been tricked into believing a false Christ and you deserve to know the truth.

With Love in Christ;

Michelle

1 Cor 1:18

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