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April 26, 2021 9:35 pm
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Mormonism 101 pertains by Mormonism research ministries. Johnson addresses basic LDS doctrine while answering important questions such as, is it okay to date my woman friend. This book will help you better understand what can otherwise be a complicated religion. Mormonism 101 pertains available at the Utah lighthouse bookstore in Salt Lake City or purchase online and MRM.org .1 Mormonism examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.
And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism. Why was the seer stone considered a potentially controversial subject. Welcome to this edition viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we are looking at a book titled the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement and includes chapters written by various authors that critique the gospel topics essays that were produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints during the years 2013 up until 2015 today we are going to continue looking at chapter 4 the book of Mormon translation essay in historical context written by a man by the name of John Charles Duffy and yesterday show we had introduced what were called the spectacles like pair of stones called the your home and thumb, which were buried with the gold plates and that Smith allegedly used to translate the reformed Egyptian on the gold plates into English, which eventually became the modern book of Mormon, but now were going to go on were going to mention the German Thummim again, but then move on to the seer stone. What does Duffy have to say Eric, the airmen Thummim would have already been familiar to LDS readers of the gospel topics essay since it is discussed in the canonical account of the book of Mormon's translation found in the pearl of great price.
One of the LDS volumes of Scripture, the seer stone.
By contrast, was a potentially controversial subject. That's an interesting way of putting it a potentially controversy you subject. Why would the seer stone such as the one that Joseph Smith owned and as we mentioned yesterday. He found this particular seer stone while digging a well with his brother Hiram. He uses this stone to look for buried treasure. And then he uses this same stone by putting it into a hat he could read characters off of this stone, and a scribe would write down what it said on the stone and then eventually as I mentioned, it would come to be found in the book of Mormon. But why was it potentially controversial.
You would think Eric the fact that he's reading characters off a rock in it darken hat that's controversy ill enough, but I would say part of the controversy. Of course would be the fact that you had for instance, the 10th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Joseph Fielding Smith. He denied that the seer stone was even used it all in the translation.
He doesn't deny that Joseph Smith had one, but he denies that it was used in the translation that brought forth the book of Mormon. This can be found in the doctrines of salvation, volume 3, page 225 what a Joseph Fielding Smith say while the statement has been made by some writers at the Prophet Joseph Smith uses seer stone part of the time in his translating of the record and information points to the fact that he did have in his possession.
Such a stone.
Yet there is no authentic statement in the history of the church, which states that the use of such a stone was made in that translation. The information is all hearsay and personally I do not believe that this stone was used for this purpose. Now let's analyze with Joseph Fielding Smith says he admits that he had one. He denies that it was used in the translation process but he says the information is all hearsay, but yet we know that David Witmer who was one of the three witnesses in 1887 in his booklet and addressed to all believers in Christ, he explains how the seer stone was used and the way it was used he claims is what gives that this supernatural ability leads to it being translated by the gift and power of God will now you have Joseph Fielding Smith the 10th president denying this then you also have Joseph Smith's first wife. She also testified that he used the seer stone Martin Harris testified that he used the seer stone.
So here you have all these various accounts and I find it fascinating that Joseph Fielding Smith would call it all hearsay. The information is all hearsay and personally he said, I do not believe that this stone was used for this purpose will if you were raised in the church and you were alive when Joseph Fielding Smith's writings were popular. You might wonder well now the church is admitting that he did use a seer stone. You could see why that would be problematic for you or even if you weren't alive during that time. If you've read Joseph Fielding Smith three volume set doctrines of salvation you would obviously know that he denied it as well. And now with this coming out at the end of 2013. This essay says just the opposite, so that alone would I think make it a potentially controversial subject.
Duffy continues and rights. Although attested in 19th-century sources. The seer stone's role in producing the book of Mormon faded from LDS narrations during the 20th century until it was re-publicized in the 1980s as a result of controversies that force LDS to confront evidence of their founders involvement in folk magical practices, so let me stop you there Eric because when it says that it faded from LDS narrations during the 20th century, Russell M. Nelson, the 17th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints while he was an apostle mentions the David Witmer account in a talk that he gave and that was published in the July 1993 & on page 61 that we've talked about this before on this show.
But I think it's important because of the contacts that were trying to understand from this book. It's important to read what Nelson said and what's fascinating is he refers to Witmer ethically word for word, which shows that he's giving credence to what David Witmer said. And remember, we would assume that this would be part of the hearsay that Joseph Fielding Smith was talking about.
But what did Russell and Nelson say in a talk that he gave titled a treasured Testament that was published in the unsigned magazine in July 1993. The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known and we do have a few precious insights David Witmer wrote and now he's quoting for the rest of the time from David Witmer. 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 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 Calgary 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 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, it seems to me that the description that David Witmer gave in which Russell M. Nelson cited shows very clearly. If it's not by any power of man, we would be in error to assume that what we have in the book of Mormon is anything that came from the mind or imagination of Joseph Smith that this is what is called in this chapter.
The read translation of the book of Mormon and that becomes important in what Duffy is going to talk about in the forthcoming pages, but he mentions what happened in the 1980s when the LDS were forced to confront evidence of their founders involvement in folk magical practices. This is a reference of course to Mark Hoffman, who knew the dubious history of the LDS church and because he knew what I guess you could say his customers would probably be interested in. If something came up that supported some of that dubious history, they would be eager to buy and that's what made Mark Hoffman the forger during the 1980s, a genius in my opinion, because he knew what the church would want to cover up any knew that they would be quick to buy whatever he had and that's why Hoffman came up with a lot of controversy old documents that he had forged.
Let me just read part of the footnote that he has. Here he says in the early 1980s documents dealer Mark Hoffman foraged what was supposed to be in 1830 letter in which Martin Harris described Jesse Smith discovering the golden plates, not as in the canonical account through the angelic vision, but by use of a seer stone so he was able to use the seer stone which wasn't really being talked about much before the 1980s and he knew though as you said, the audience, and he knew that the LDS church understood the seer stone and pretty much for the most part kept it secret did not publicize that much.
And here he has Joseph Smith getting an angelic vision through the use of the seer stone which is brand-new news and what goes on in the footnote to say is that because a lot of LDS scholars to start doing more research and so a lot more information is coming up on what the seer stone is all about. We know that Mark Hoffman becomes popular with the leadership of the LDS church in the mid-1980s than this statement by Russell and Nelson comes out not quite 10 years later. Do you think that Russell and Nelson would've brought this up before the Hoffman episode in the 1980s.
Well, let's just be honest we don't see a whole lot of this year. Stone being talked about before the 1980s. So that actually is kind of new and in fact a lot of Latter Day Saints as we were talking about yesterday were surprised by the information coming out the gospel topics essays Joseph Smith used a seer stone that was news for many Duffy goes on page 98 to mention South Park. The South Park episode came out in 2003. I remember when that was aired and I finally got a chance to look at because I'm not really a South Park fan but that, of course, caught my interest. I was amazed at how accurate a lot of what that episode had to say when it came to the historical events in early Mormonism, one of which would be the seer stone after he gets done talking about South Park. Duffy goes on page 99 and says the gospel topics essay helps LDS readers make sense of this potentially startling information by asserting that quote as Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling. He learned that he could use this stone" not only to search for buried treasure, but also quote for the higher purpose of translating Scripture." It's interesting that that is the take that Duffy insert serum P's 99 whether or not Duffy really believes that it's a whole mother matter to me it sounds like Joseph Smith just furthering the con got away with it. In this one area.
Why not try and get away with it. In this other area tomorrow were going to continue looking at chapter 4 in the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement. The title of this chapter is the book of Mormon translation essay in historical context. Thank you for listening you would like more information we guarding him in his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the Latter Day Saints helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics.
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