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Review of Witnesses movie Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2021 9:46 pm

Review of Witnesses movie Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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June 21, 2021 9:46 pm

This week Bill and Eric go to the movies, taking a look at a Mormon-produced film titled Witnesses. Some things the film gets right, but other things leave the wrong impression. See whether or not the two from MRM give their thumbs up or down.

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.1 is the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints viewpoint 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. So glad you could be with us for this edition of a viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM.

The film witnesses that was released into theaters on June 4, 2021, and it highlights the important role that three-man Martin Harris Oliver Cowdrey and David Witmer played in the coming forth of the book of Mormon this film that was produced by the interpreters foundation. Of course, is meant to be a faith promoting film and we are talking about some of the things that Eric and I saw when we went to go view the film for ourselves. Not one of the things that we were talking about yesterday has to do with the credibility of the witnesses.

If in fact the three men are not reliable sources. How important is their testimony.

Of course, the film brings out that it's important because they allegedly saw actual gold plates. Even though the film itself doesn't show you that it does have them saying things like that that they saw the plates but did they really see tangible plates will let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's back up a little bit. Let's look at the character of the witnesses. If you have some condemning statements in your scripture regarding at least one of the witnesses and the one I'm thinking about is Martin Harris, who is portrayed in the film as kind of an easily pliable buffoon really in some parts easily manipulated by his wife Lucy doesn't believe in what he's doing with Joseph Smith regarding the plates and actually takes him to court and there's a court seen in their you have to ask yourself is Martin Harris someone that you want to trust will the doctrine and covenants talks about Martin Harris and not in a very flattering way, what is it say in the subheading regarding doctrine and covenants section 3 and then what is it say specifically about Martin Harris.

It says revelation given to Jesse Smith the Prophet at Harmony, Pennsylvania July 1828 relating to the loss of 116 pages of manuscript translated from the first part of the book of Mormon which was called the book of Lehigh, the prophet had reluctantly allowed those pages to pass from his custody to that of Martin Harris, who had served for a brief period as described in the translation of the book of Mormon. The revelation was given through the urine and Thummim in the German problem with BD spectacles that were allegedly buried with the goal plates and the stone box and Smith would look through these glass pipes, spectacles, and the reformed Egyptian on the goal plates would miraculously turn in the English that he would read to a scribe who would write them down that he didn't use them all the time. From what we understand.

In fact, the film doesn't even bring out your room. Thummim.

The spectacles you do see a lot regarding the seer stone in the hat but you don't see the your room and Thummim. But what is it say in doctrine and covenants three verses 12 and 13 that speak specifically of Martin Harris and when thou deliver us to up that which God had given the site and power to translate thou deliver us up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man who has set at naught the counsels of God and has broken the most sacred promises which were made before God and has depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom, no doctrine and covenants section 10 also speaks of Martin Harris in the same manner when it says the hands of the wicked man that's a direct reference to Martin Harris. Because this revelation is being given supposedly by God to Joseph Smith while in D&C section 10 verses six and seven. This is what it has to say, behold, they have sought to destroy you. Yeah, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you, and for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted and he has also sought to destroy your gift there when the film after Martin Harris loses this manuscript. Joseph Smith claims that he can no longer translate because the Lord is punishing him and this seems to impress the character of Martin Harris in the film that God would do that but what does that say about the credibility of Martin Harris 20s twice referenced as a wicked man, someone you would think should not be trusted, and yet I got the impression from the film that Martin Harris was quite repentant of his foolishness in taking the manuscript to his wife who obviously did not have the same kind of faith as her husband, Martin Harris. Eventually they would be divorced over this whole issue. There's another reference to Martin Harris in a book titled new witnesses for God that was written by BH Roberts, who was a 70 in the LDS church and also a Mormon historian.

The addition that I happen to have is a 1920 addition and it has this interesting story to tell about Martin Harris and the reason why it's worth bringing up is because this story is also brought up in the film. On page 109 BH Roberts writes on one occasion, Harris sought to test the genuineness of the profits procedure in the manner of translation that would be the translation of the book of Mormon as follows and it says Martin said that after continued translation they would become weary and would go down to the river and exercise and throwing stones out on the river, etc. while so doing. On one occasion, Martin found the stone very much resembling the one used for translating and on resuming their labors a translation Martin put in place of the seer stone. The stone that he had found. He said that the prophet remains silent unusually long and intently, gazing in darkness. No trace of the usual sentence appearing much surprised Joseph explained Martin what is the matter all as dark as Egypt Martin, his countenance betrayed him and the prophet asked Martin why he had done so Martin said to stop the mouths of fools who had told him that the prophet had learned these senses and was merely repeating them know this scene as I said is in the film, but I don't get the impression that Martin was really being wicked in this particular case, he was merely trying to prove to himself that Joseph Smith was in fact a profit so that he could buy his own experience relate that to those who were trying to discredit Joseph Smith. My personal problem with this account lies with the seer stone itself, Martin Harris changes the rock with one that he finds. And yet Smith doesn't seem to recognize that this rock doesn't look exactly the same as the original seer stone that he had been using all along to me that sounds pretty curious when he gets the hundred 16 pages and he takes them back home. It's obvious in the movie and ends obvious in history that Lucy was not happy with that and when he loses them. I don't think he really loses them. It appears that Lucy steals them.

Now, whether she destroys the manuscript or whether she hides them somewhere.

Either way, Joseph Smith is in a predicament.

What is he going to do now that these pages are lost, and he decides he's not going to translate the book of Lehigh that wouldn't you think that would tend to expose Joseph Smith is a con man because if he's really getting the translation from the goal plates given to him through the means of this seer stone or even the year and Thummim the spectacles. Why couldn't he just duplicate them but he doesn't.

He seems to be as you say in quite a predicament. He's going to have to come up with this and you would think since the way the translation was done characters at a time and they wouldn't go on to the next set of characters, until it was read back correctly.

There's no margin for error so he's going to have to replace what Martin Harris lost with an exact duplicate if in fact that's the way the translation process is going.

This is why in real history, he responds. All is lost, all is lost. What Saul lost the translation that he had done these hundred 16 pages and he could not bet that Lucy did not keep them, and so if he were to try to re-translate them all. Lucy would've had to do is pull that out and say obviously Joe Smith is a fraud.

He does not know how to translate because here is what he did the first time. And here is what he does. The second time will Joseph Smith also takes umbrage with over Cowdrey and David Witmer. The two other witnesses to the authenticity of the book of Mormon, the film does bring this out, but what it doesn't bring out is a letter that Joseph Smith wrote from liberty jail that was written on December 16, 1838 in this letter Smith is inventing as to how he has been betrayed by those who were close to him.

In this letter in its pretty lengthy really is found in the documentary history of the church, volume 3, and it begins on page 226, but on page 232. Joseph Smith lists a number of man that he felt have betrayed them. Listen to what he says here he speaks of a man named George Hinkle. I don't know if that's pronounced Hinckley. I'd I don't know.

Quite honestly, but he also mentions core real CORRI LL Phelps. This would be W. W. Phelps. And then there's Al Ford read Patrick Clements and and various others who are so very ignorant that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized society and whose eyes are full of adultery and cannot cease from sin. Listen to the such characters as McClellan, that would be William McClellan, John Witmer, the brother of David Witmer was mentioned next all over Cowdrey and Martin Harris are two main to mention and we had liked to have forgotten them. Notice the three men featured in the film David Witmer all over Cowdrey and Martin Harris Joseph Smith speaks of them as being too mean to mention for the way he feels that they have betrayed Joseph Smith that if you read that letter written from liberty jail December 16, 1838 letter from Joseph Smith.

He is not at all very flattering and is not too happy about how he felt he was betrayed by these men who were close to them effect on page 228 it says that William McClellan who comes up to us as one of Job's comforters, God suffered such kind of beings to afflict Job, but it never entered into their hearts, that Job would get out of it all. This poor man who professes to be much of a profit has no other dumb ass to ride David Witmer and there's a footnote on this page in order to appreciate the illusions here made to David Witmer. It will be necessary to remember that William E. McClellan claimed that Pres. Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet and himself sought to bring into existence a reorganized church with David Witmer as the president there of. These are the man that we as viewers of this film are supposed to put our trust in because ultimately they seem to be repentant and never really denied their testimony in the book of Mormon. Tomorrow were going to look at what this film has to say regarding these three witnesses.

Thank you for listening.

If you would like more information regarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is


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