|Joseph Smith's magic seer stone|
October issue of Ensign Magazine, the mormon church's main periodical, would make even the most experienced carnival ride aficionado barf in dizziness but it is a huge deal that they are finally being honest with the way that the "Book of Mormon" was alleged to be translated. It is quite a difference from the way it has always been portrayed in mormon literature. For example, the picture on the left shows (from the official mormon website) how it has often been portrayed. Notice that Smith and Oliver Cowdery (the scribe) are sitting at a table. Cowdery can clearly see the plates even though the evidence suggests that neither Cowdery or anyone else actually saw the plates. There are no physical aids to translation, like a magic stone in a hat, rather it looks like Smith is reading directly from the plates and Cowdery is writing what Smith "translated". Other renditions are different, some with the curtain, some with Smith wearing the breastplate and "Urim and Thummim". As Smith moved west and his following grew, his accounts of critical events changed quite dramatically.
I don't know about you but if I was visited by angelic visitors I would remember who they were and how many there were. Likewise if I translated a book claiming to be "another testament of Jesus Christ" and the most important event in the history of Christianity since the crucifixion, I would recall if I was reading it directly or via a stone in a hat to get the "revelation". Young Joseph Smith possessed a vivid imagination and the account of the first vision and the translation of the "Book of Mormon" bear all the marks of someone making it up as he went, in much the same way that he claimed to translate papyri that were later shown to say nothing at all what Smith claimed.
The easily debunked claims of virtually all of early mormonism are not really the point to this. What is the point is that the mormon leadership is finally admitting in public to issues like Joseph Smith "marrying" dozens of women, including some already married and others as young as 14 as well as his use of pagan and folk magic devices like the "seer stone" in a hat and the alleged "Urim and Thummim". This rare show of honesty in public is a stark contrast to the normally secretive mormon elite that hides most information very closely, only permitting carefully vetted documents out in public, and might be a sign of waving the white flag after realizing that in this day and age any inquisitive mormon or prospective convert can find plenty of evidence of shenanigans with the historical record. When the opening lines of thousands of young missionaries is shown to be malarkey, it is no wonder that mormons are leaving the church or becoming "inactive" in huge numbers.
Hopefully the foundations of this cultic religion will continue to crumble but as always my sincere and prayerful desire is that Christians are there to catch people when the house of cards that is mormonism collapses. As I have said on many occasions, it is not enough to prove mormonism false, a fairly easy task. It is critical that we also show them the real Jesus Christ. An active mormon, a mormon apostate or an atheist all have the same need for the redeeming power of the true Gospel.
For my testimony of being saved out of mormonism please see Our Journey Out Of Mormonism: Saved By Sovereign Grace.
For other, older blog posts from me on mormonism see The Fo-Mo Chronicles
Other valuable sources of information
Utah Lighthouse Ministry Sandra Tanner and her late husband Jerald, one of the originals and a vast repository of knowledge and research!
Mormonism Research Ministry Another treasure trove!
God Never Sinned
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