6+ Versions of Translating the Golden Plates
Today we’re looking at a vitally important piece of Mormon history – the translation process of the so-called golden plates.
The other day I got to thinking about all the different stories I’ve read about Smith’s method of translation, and of course I wondered if my mother knows about them. Based on experience when discussing Mormonism with her, I can only surmise she isn’t aware.
Trying to piece together how Smith translated the golden plates has been as taxing as it was when we investigated the 11 different versions of his first vision. One thing is abundantly clear in Mormonism.
Nothing is simple.
There’s always a back story to whatever subject matter you’re investigating, and just when you think you’ve found all there is, you’ll find out you’re wrong. For every account one discovers, rest assure, there’s another waiting in the wings. For now in our simple study, we’re providing some of the events listed by their beloved Mormon historian, BH Roberts.
You can read more than a half dozen varying accounts of how this took place in Roberts’ book, In Defense of the Faith and the Saints, Vol. 1. Scroll down to PART II. and click on their link to read the numerous excuses Mr. Roberts supplied for the haphazard translation method.
As a warning, Mr. Roberts’ article is quite detailed so we’re not listing it here. However, a synopsis of each 5 remaining references he provided is listed below, along with the hyperlink if you want to see it for yourself.
Also keep in mind that during all this translating stuff going on, there was a curtain separating Smith and his transcriber, or as noted, Smith had his face buried in a hat to keep out all light and distractions.
How does someone translate something when they’re not looking at it??? …
Please, don’t forget to pray for those who read this false gospel and spiritually adjoin themselves to it!
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18
1.Seer Stone in Hat. Smith would bury his face in a hat, and a piece of parchment paper would appear, showing one character at a time that was on the plates. Along with the BoM character showing up, an English translation for it would be there as well. An Address to All Believers in Christ, by David Whitmer, 1887, p. 12
2.By use of Seer Stones sentence would appear, then disappear after Martin read back to Smith what he said. Myth of the Manuscript Found, Juvenile Instructor Office, 1883 edition, page 91
3.Translation appeared sentence by sentence on Urim & Thummim.
(Note: this is where it gets even weirder…the Urim and Thummim were sometimes referred to as the special glasses Smith found in the box with the plates. Other times, the Urim and Thummim were referred to as the special stones Smith dug out of the ground while treasure hunting. These stones are at Church Headquarters.) Myth of the Manuscript Found, 1883 edition, page 71
4.Words appeared on the Urim and Thummim (small stones). An Analysis of the Accounts Relating Joseph Smith’s Early Visions, A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of Graduate Studies in Religious Instruction, Brigham Young University, May, 1965, by Paul R. Cheesman, page 167
5.Words appeared on Seer Stones…(Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, p. 168 of typed copy at Utah State Historical Society)
Journal of Oliver B. Huntington, pp. 102-103 (Note: Many sites give the reference of p. 168 of typed copy… I could only find the handwritten journal, thus my inclusion of it here. Also note the page numbers differ from each other.)
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