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June 24, 2021 6:49 pm
The book sharing the good news with Mormons edited by Shawn McDonald and limit his research ministries.
Eric Johnson offers practical witnessing strategies by a number of Christian missionaries and scholars and pastors sharing the good news with Mormons is published by harvest House and is available at your favorite online bookstore or order it directly from MRM.org. If you're looking for practical strategies for getting the conversation started. Be sure to check out sharing the good news with Mormons .1 Mormonism program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a respected viewpoint. One more minute 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. The three witnesses see tangible goal plates welcome to this additional 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 on June 4, 2021. The new film was released by the interpreter foundation. It's a faith promoting film that recounts the story of the three witnesses that are mentioned in every edition of the book of Mormon. Their testimony is found at the front in which these witnesses testified and declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven and he brought and laid before our eyes that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings there on. Of course there. Speaking of the gold plates that Joseph Smith claimed he received from the angel Moron I and eventually translated into what is known as the book of Mormon. There is a very important scene and it's repeated both at the beginning and at the end of the film where these three witnesses, including Joseph Smith are waiting for the presence of an angel to show them the gold plates. This account is taken. I have to assume right from the documentary history of the church, volume 1, page 52 to 55 and on page 52 it says and this is not all spelled out in the film, but I'm giving you the background of this it says in the course of the work of translation. We ascertained that three special witnesses were to be provided by the Lord, to whom he would grant that they should see the plates from which this work. The book of Mormon should be translated. It goes on to say that it occurred to Oliver Cowdrey, David Witmer and the aforementioned Martin Harris that they would have me inquire of the Lord to know if they might not obtain. Of him the privilege to be these three special witnesses and finally they became so very solicitous and urged me so much to inquire that at length. I complied and through the euro men, him I obtained of the Lord for them.
The following that the human problem in this case would be the spectacles that Joseph Smith found with the goal plates buried in a stone box that had a breastplate that fastened to the eyeglasses of some sort, by which he could translate the reformed Egyptian into English, and I want to reiterate, as we talked about earlier this week that the German Thummim are not shown in the movie that were talking about. We only see the seer stone will what Joseph Smith gets through the human poem he goes on to point out is really nothing more than doctrine and covenants section 17 verse two of section 17 says, and it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, them being the plates, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old Eric when you read that in section 17. You have to ask yourself this question, and I brought this up to many Latter Day Saints when I'm out on the streets with my replica set of goal plates. Why is it that D&C 17 tells these witnesses that it's by their faith. They're going to obtain a view of the plates and that by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.
Why would you need faith to see tangible goal plates and pass this up many Latter Day Saints I say did you have to have faith to see my replica plates will know why not. The reason why you don't need faith is because minor real the real you can see that you can touch them.
You can handle them very real. Why would you need faith, why would these three witnesses need faith to see something that's tangible that's that's always bothered me, but then eventually we come to the scene where the three witnesses are standing there with Joseph Smith and this brings us up to page 54 in volume 1 of the history of the church. It says not many days after the above commandment was given.
We for Martin Harris David Witmer Oliver Cowdrey and myself agreed to retire into the woods and try to obtain by fervent and humble prayer. The fulfillment of the promises given in the above revelation that they should have a view of the plates. We accordingly made a choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr. Witmer's house to which we retired and having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith, Almighty God, to bestow upon us a realization of these promises. It mentioned specifically, Mr. Witmer's house that would be Peter Witmer, the father of David Witmer.
Why are they leaving David Witmer's house where the translation was going on, go out into the woods. It would seem to me that if the three men want to really see the goal plates they should go back to the Witmer farm and go into the cabin and there's a replica cabin to this day you can visit that you can see the table. At least that's the way it with this is the way it was set up when I visited there. There was a table with a curtain and this is how Joseph Smith was doing the translation while leaving the Witmer house to go out into the woods to go see the place that you would assume would be back in the Witmer house. I don't understand.
That makes no sense to me it seems like that would be much more prudent way of seeing these plates continues on page 54. We did not at the first trial, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of divine favor in our behalf.
We again observed the same order prayer each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with the same result as before. Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris propose that he should withdraw himself from us believing as he expressed himself that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wish for.
He accordingly withdrew from us and we knelt down again and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer when presently we beheld the light above us in the air of exceeding brightness and, behold, an angel stood before us in his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of Mount let me stop you there because I was hoping the film might show us how this may have looked to the three witnesses.
I was expecting. Perhaps like in that scene in Star Wars when Princess Leia is shown bending down saying help me Obi-Wan Kenobi.
You're my only hope. Of course it's all fuzzy. Looks like a hologram and I was wondering is that the way they're going to betray the angel and the plates or the angel going to look kinda fuzzy as a spirit being in the plates look very solid as the characters in that scene. They don't show you the angel they don't show you the plates in this film you have to just imagine what they might be seen and though I commend the filmmakers for I guess a bit of honesty regarding that by not taking aside are not holding to a certain position. It didn't really answer my question. And yet I know most Latter Day Saints believe that the plates were real and tangible, so they're just going to use their minds.
I to assume there seem real and tangible plates so that that scene didn't really help me. But as this account goes on page 55. After this angel appears and tells them that this translation is true. Joseph Smith says I now left David and Oliver and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance fervently engaged in prayer.
He soon told me however that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just received.
We accordingly joined in prayer and ultimately obtained our desires for before we had yet finished. And here's the kicker folks the same vision was open to our view. At least it was again open to me and I once more beheld, and heard the same things will stood at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy quoting is enough to say enough mine eyes have beheld mine eyes have beheld, and jumping up, he shouted, hosanna, blessing God and otherwise rejoice exceedingly, what did they encounter a vision. Maybe this is why the film doesn't show us the angel doesn't show us the goal plates being held by the angel, how would the producers of the film have done that would have been, as I said before a more ethereal view of an angel, one that you could possibly see through would have been a solid character standing there holding solid plates.
I wish they would've given us some kind of a hit, but the producers of the film chose not to do that we have to understand these three witnesses are vital to the story of the book of Mormon there always being referenced by the missionaries who come to your door and say, well, these men are testifying to the truthfulness of the saw and I do agree with you Bill. I'm glad that they did not bring out any other way that these that witnesses saw the place except through this vision but it certainly takes away from the testimony of the three witnesses that you brought out on Monday.
I want to read read this again because I think this is important for most of us, we think that they literally saw the plates themselves. This is what they wrote in the beginning of the book of Mormon that we through the grace of God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ have seen the plates which contain this record which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also the Lamanites.
It goes on and it says we also testified that we have seen the engravings are which are upon the plates and they have been shown onto us by the power of God and not a man. Well, how does that all come about goes on and says we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven and he brought and laid before our eyes that we beheld and saw the place and the engravings there on and we know that is by the grace of God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bear record that these things are true. I think you have brought out an excellent case your bill. How are we supposed to believe something that was not physically seen. They could've gone to the Witmer home, they could have seen the place Joseph Smith could've shown them if they were real, but why doesn't just dismiss.
Show them the real plates because they're not real and what's also interesting to me. Eric is clearly it seems that this scene in the film witnesses is taken from these pages that we have just read and that is from page 52 to 55 of volume 1 of the documentary history of the church.
The word vision is not brought out in the film.
You're right yet the word vision is found on page 55. We accordingly joined in prayer and ultimately obtained our desires for before we had yet finished the same vision was open to our view.
At least it was again open to meeting again, this is Joseph Smith speaking and so when he says the same vision was open to our view of the same vision refers to what happened to Oliver Cowdrey and David Witmer earlier men. Martin Harris had walked away.
Thank you for listening.
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