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June 20, 2021 9:41 pm
Given your own words a collection of Mormon quotations compiled his research ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic and pick up your copy of the Utah lighthouse bookstore or MRM.org .1 as it examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism 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 were the three witnesses. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at M. R.
M. The three witnesses to the authenticity of the book of Mormon. Apparently, their role in the coming forth of the book of Mormon is certainly seen as something very important to many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, so much so that a film was released on June 4, 2021, titled witnesses, this film by the interpreters foundation, whose president is Dr. Daniel C. Peterson, a BYU professor and a man who pleases a lot of emphasis in the testimony of the three witnesses when it comes to the authenticity of the book of Mormon will. Eric and I went to see this film and I don't know Eric if if you were a non-member of the church and invited by someone to go see that by a member. Do you think it would've persuaded you that the story of the three witnesses was something that you should place your eternal destiny in if I were just to see that without having a background understanding of what most of the film was about. I would've been a little confused in a lot of areas and I think one of the confusing things is the very beginning of the movie where it said it was based on a true story. I mean, is this a true story or is it based on a true story because if it's just the abasing you would you think there's a lot of fictional details I think for the most part there was a lot of truth in the movie but they didn't always give you all the details and stuff your to do more research. I think it would've raised more questions and provide answers to address your first concern. There was at the end of the film. An explanation that there was some theatrical license taken and they did add some things in order to make it.
I guess more interesting to the viewership, but you're right.
Over all, many of the accounts that were in the film really did happen, but I agree with you if you did not know the history behind some of the things that were quickly being referenced.
You really wouldn't have an understanding of what's happening here and I could see how that could be very confusing, but of course the strong emphasis of the film had to do with the gold plates did in fact these three witnesses see these gold plates and if they did in fact see these gold plates. What do you do with that account. At face value. I would think that would probably be a pretty strong argument. If in fact the three witnesses saw tangible gold plates, but there were a number of things that the film and I have to say Eric, I think Daniel Peterson's a smart guy and I think he knows what a lot of the arguments are because before this film came out.
He cannot put out a call for papers if you will, wanting people to send him some of the criticisms that they were aware of and you responded to Dr. Peterson and gave him links to some articles that we have it MRM.org and also an article that MRM associate Sharon Lynn Bloom wrote regarding that and I don't recall seeing in the film some strong rebuttals to some of the things that we have produced and believe me, folks. A lot of what we produce is not all that original. These are things that have been around for years because you know our habit is to cite sources that a Mormon would probably respect. And so we are not giving just our opinion we are citing the opinion of other experts. Historians that should be respected by members of the LDS church. Somebody might be wondering what are the articles that I sent over to Dr. Peterson and so I give you the addresses you can look at it for yourself. The first was your article as you mentioned, Bill called did the 11 witnesses actually see the goal plates will be talking about that this week during this series, you can see that article it MRM.org/11 spelled out 11 witnesses with the hyphen between 11 and witnesses and then Sharon Lynn Bloom wrote an excellent article back in 2017. It's titled two sets of official book of Mormon witnesses, and that is firstname.lastname@example.org/and us along one, two sets of official book of Mormon witnesses and hyphens between that too is spelled out two sets of official book of Mormon witnesses. I encourage anybody who wants to learn more about what were going be talking about this week to check those articles out and just so you know Dr. Peterson did respond and thanked me for sending those links and he put in parentheses.
Sincerely, so it seem like he really did appreciate that he wanted to see what others were saying, including critics like us and hopefully he did have a chance to look through them I was kind of anticipating what this film was going to show regarding the way to the goal plates naturally because I've been talking about that for years and taking my replica goal plates down the Mormon miracle pageant for many years and I find that that story is one that can really be used to get many thinking Latter Day Saints to just stop and reassess quit telling people to go to Moron I 10 four and merely pray about the book of Mormon because I would have many Latter Day Saints do that well what about Moron I 10 for what I would often tell the Ms. look, you're making me go clear to the end here. I want to talk about the beginning if the story of the goal plates is not believable. If this did not happen the way Joseph Smith claimed and the way he is. Witnesses explain it. There is no Moron. I 10 for and I think that needs to be stressed were having this conversation with earliest friends. If the details that have been given to the LDS people did not happen the way they are led to believe.
Then we have a problem with Moron I 10 for I'm not saying that it's not a part of the current book of Mormon. But if the gold plates story is not to be believed.
Folks, there is no Moron. I 10 for there is no Moron. I there is no Nephi the story is a fabrication it's safe fiction that Dr. Peterson certainly doesn't believe that, nor do a great many of the Latter Day Saints they do believe the story is authentic.
That's why I was very curious to see how the stories were going to be pretrade.
We have to understand as a historical story. If the book of Mormon is not then Mormonism to be rejected. In fact, apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said it a general conference. This is recorded in the inside magazine November 2009, page 90.
He says if he or she leaves this church, it must be done by crawling over under or around the book of Mormon to make that exit. If somebody is found out that the book of Mormon is not true that if the facts like you're talking about as far as the way to the place which will be talking about this week. If this is not in accordance with what the information we have, then the book of Mormon doesn't matter no matter how much you might want to cite Moron I 10, four and five are other verses if it's not a historical book, then who cares that even called it a sudden-death proposition. Either the book of Mormon is what the prophet Joseph said it is or this church and its founder are false. A deception from the first instance onward and he said that in the December 2002 article in the inside magazine pretty much the same kind of challenge that Gordon B.
Hinckley, another president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints laid down for people that if there was no first vision we are involved in a great blasphemy. So, Jeffrey R.
Holland, the man you just cited and Gordon B. Hinckley, you might say have really thrown down the gauntlet if you can prove us wrong in these two areas.
You have a point, and you probably shouldn't be a member of the LDS church.
We thank Jeffrey Holland for that comment. We thank Gordon B. Hinckley for that comment as well because I think what they do is they show just how serious these two stories are when it comes to the validity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If you can poke holes in these two stories. One the first vision which the film really doesn't deal a lot with it doesn't really talk about that, but it does spend a lot of time on the goal plates how Joseph Smith retrieve them. What he did after you retrieve them.
How he was received, how they were translated, it spends a lot of time dealing with those subjects, but very quickly in the time that we have remaining much of the film deals with one of the three witnesses. A man by the name of Martin Harris. Now you would think that if you were going to trust the testimony of these three witnesses, including Martin Harris, you would want to have some kind of an idea as to what is the character of Martin Harris. What is the character of Oliver Cowdrey. What is the character of David Witmer.
All three of these men are featured quite prominently in this film as we would expect because the film is called witnesses it doesn't deal so much with the testimony of the eight witnesses that it deals more with the testimony of the three witnesses, and these testimonies are found in the front of every edition of the book of Mormon.
In fact, let me very quickly. Just read to you what it says. According to the testimony of the three witnesses and I'm not. I don't have time to read it all, but this is the pertinent part, this is signed by Oliver Cowdrey, David Witmer, Martin Harris, the three primary characters in this film and we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven and he brought and laid before our eyes and we beheld and Saul plates and the engravings there on and we know that it is by the grace of God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bear record that these things are true, and the question that has to be answered. Did they in fact see what they claim to have seen. I think the main question is and I don't think the film really really made the case did they see tangible gold plates and one thing for sure, it was clearly stated gold plates. I'm glad they didn't fool around with that silly time blog argument that we hear so much by Mormon apologists and Mormons on the street that dealt with the issue of gold plates.
Though the phrase gold then was used in the film, but most of the time we are given the impression that the plates were made of gold that becomes important. If in fact the plates were made of gold. Now we need to talk about the weight earlier.
You asked if I were somebody to watch that film having been brought in by maybe some LDS friends. But what I have thought of the movie and I'm going to suggest from what you just read there that they saw the plates I don't see that in the movie right they show this glow in their faces and you get the impression will be seen something, but they don't really show the plates and I was kind of curious, are they going to show this angel in kind of an ethereal type of a manner, and with the plates look the same as the angel itself or with the angel appear just as solid as the other characters that are in that particular scene.
It doesn't do that. It doesn't show you the plates at that particular moment tomorrow are going to look a little more closely at this film called witnesses. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information is research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request our free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is