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Saints: The Standard of Truth, Part 7, The Gold Plates Translation

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2020 8:14 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth, Part 7, The Gold Plates Translation

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 10, 2020 8:14 pm

Bill and Eric take a closer look at the translation of the Book of Mormon via the Gold Plates in this second week of a 6-week series.

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Viewpoint is to examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a viewpoint when 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 so glad to be with us for 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 we been going through the book Saints. The standard of truth.

This book is now I guess you could say Eric the new definitive history that the church wants its members to read and so were going through this, not necessarily chapter by chapter. But there are a lot of things in here that we think need to be discussed in yesterday's show we were discussing again the story of Joseph Smith and the gold plates and how Smith allegedly retrieve the gold plates and eventually got them to his house. Now he's going to translate these plates from what we understand to be the reformed Egyptian into English. And so now we are in page 43 it's chapter 5, all is lost where it talks about after Joseph Smith got the plates to the house that curious neighbors stop by the house and begged him to show them the record not remember Joseph Smith has been commanded not to show anybody. The goal plates but regarding these curious neighbors. It says at the bottom of page 43 that these disruptions often kept him from examining the plates and learning more about the your room and formal. He knew the interpreters were supposed to help him translate the plates, but he had never used Sears stones to read an ancient language. Now let's explain what is being said here uses the word interpreters that's a word that is found in the book of Mormon.

It's found in Mosiah 813 now the church came out with a history gospel topics essay titled Sears stones and you can find this on the church of Jesus Christ.org website and it talks about that in Joseph Smith's day. Some individuals claimed that they had a gift to quote unquote see or receive divine or supernatural messages through Sears stones. These beliefs came from the Bible and from European cultural traditions brought to early America by immigrants. What would you say about that, and Eric.

These beliefs came from the Bible. Can you think of an example where individuals claimed that they had the gift to see, or receive divine or supernatural messages through Sears stones.

The only thing I can think of would be the urine problem right that was attached to the priest breastplate right in the Old Testament, but never do we hear of those stones being used for translation nemesis never at all, though that was not the purpose of those stones and in fact what we do know about the urine problem in the Old Testament is very vague but apparently they existed, but Smith is going to try and say that what he has is similar to that goes on to say in the gospel topics essay Sears stones. When Joseph Smith received the golden plates. In 1827 he also received a translation instrument with them to stones in silver bows used by quote Sears in ancient or former times, this instrument was referred to in the book of Mormon as the interpreters I gave you one of the references out of Mosiah chapter 8 verse 13 during the translation of the book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith apparently used both of these instruments.

The interpreters and his seer stone which happens to be mentioned in the book Saints at the bottom of page 43 where it says, but he had never used Sears stones to read an ancient language will affect his folksy he never use this alleged German poem either.

So both of them are going to be unfamiliar to Joseph Smith.

But here's what's fascinating when it comes to this seer stone issue. 10th Pres. Joseph Fielding Smith who was the church historian for about half a century. He didn't even believe that Joseph Smith use the seer stone to translate the book of Mormon and you have a lot of modern Latter Day Saints, one in particular would be Rod Meldrum who holds to a heartland model for the book of Mormon lands that would mean that he believes that the book of Mormon lands were in the United States area of the Western Hemisphere. He also calls at prattle. He doesn't believe that he used the seer stone either.

Here's the church admitting that he did use the seer stone.

Here is a gospel topics essay admitting that he used the seer stone and if you were to go to the history Museum in downtown Salt Lake City. You would finally have a big display that speaks of the seer stone. They don't have the stone itself on display, but they do say that he used his seer stone in translating the book of Mormon did use it all the time. No, but he did use it in the church is come to admit this and in fact, according to the standard of truth on page 50 it said that Joseph was growing into his divine role as a seer and rebel later and then looking into the interpreters or another seer stone. He was able to translate whether the plates were in front of him are wrapped in one of Emma's linen closet on their table, no Bill, I don't think a lot of Latter Day Saints 10 years ago knew this.

In fact, it was just a few years ago.

I think it was 2015, when the church had a big press conference and displayed the seer stone so this stone is today very much known by Latter Day Saints yes, but it wasn't always that way. No, but it talks about Martin Harris on page 44. Martin Harris was one of Joseph Smith describes it says that Joseph let Martin heft the plates in the lock box. This is where he put the place was in this box. I don't understand how that makes it more secure because if you can pick up the plate. You can obviously pick up the plates in a lockbox.

It was like his lockbox was too heavy to carry him here we have Martin Harris lifting it, Martin could tell something heavy was there but he was not convinced it was a set of goal plates. That's an interesting phrase if that's what Martin Harris really thought, but Martin Harris needs to believe this. He says you must not blame me for not taking your word. He told Joseph when Martin got home after midnight, he crept into his bedroom and prayed promising God to give all he had.

If he could know that Joseph was doing divine work.

This is how Martin Harris comes to believe that Joseph Smith has goal plates. What is it say at the bottom of page 44.

As he prayed. Martin felt the still small voice speak to us so he knew then that the plates were from God, and he knew he had to help Joseph share their message. So he gets the answers through a subjective feeling in this case his prayers. But as we go on in this book are going to find that even that encounter doesn't tend to settle it in Martin Harris's mind. He still has doubts later on.

Even though page 44 says that he prayed about it and let me just ask you this question is Martin Harris, a good witness because he's somebody who later on change his faith. One writer says that he changed his faith, probably around 13 different times during his lifetime, so he's not a credible witness. You would think he would not be buddies old Joseph Smith really has at this point Joseph Smith is going to get some mileage out of his friend Martin Harris goes on to talk about how during the translation process with Emma because Emma was of course one of his scribes as well. On page 49 it goes on to say that one day while he translated Joseph suddenly grew pale, did Jerusalem have a wall around it. He asked yes, she said, recalling descriptions of it in the Bible. Oh Joseph said with relief. I was afraid I had been deceived that this is a story we often hear Latter Day Saints tell us that Smith apparently was so ignorant of the Bible. He didn't even know there was a wall around Jerusalem but yet at other times. Joseph Smith gives the impression that he was in fact the student of the Bible. So you have to ask yourself. How does he miss this.

How does he not know that there is a wall around Jerusalem that the word wall was mentioned on numerous occasions throughout the New Testament because it's not, but it does mention gates and why do you have gates if there are not walls all certainly and in the Old Testament, we have lots of examples including Nehemiah going back to Jerusalem to do what to build walls in the whole book of Nehemiah is about that and the families who participated in that. I find it interesting though that Emma, without having to look it up. She knew exactly yes. She recalled descriptions of it in the Bible well again as you mentioned is Joseph Smith so ignorant of the Bible that he wouldn't have known that.

Is this possibly a ruse to get his wife to buy into his story.

And if Joseph Smith could lie to Emma about the existence of actual goal plates and never allow his own wife to see these plates. I have no problem thinking that he could lie about this, and act as if he was ignorant about this. That standard of truth goes on page 49 and it said that Emma marveled that her husband's lack of knowledge and history in Scripture did not hinder the translation. Joseph could hardly write a coherent letter here.

This book is trying to make it look like he so ignorant he can't even write a letter but we have something called the Joseph Smith papers that show us very clearly.

Joseph Smith not only had good penmanship. Yes, he wasn't perfect in spelling and other things like that he somebody who knew how to communicate on paper.

Yeah, I would question that statement by Emma. I don't know why she said that but the fact is, it finds its way into this book. Now were going to look at page 52, 53, this chapter ends, but on page 52.

It tells us this, we find that Joseph allows Martin Harris to take some of the handwritten manuscript that they have been working on, he allows him to take the manuscript home with him and then Martin Harris comes back later on looking all depressed and what is it say on page 52 where it talks about the family watched as Martin picked up his utensils as if ready-to-eat then drop them is that I have lost my soul. He cried pressing his hands on his temples. I have lost my soul. Joseph jumped up Martin.

Have you lost that manuscript yes Martin said it is gone and I know not where and then Joseph groaned, oh my God, my God, clenching his fist. All is lost that language intrigues me. Eric I know that they been working for a long time on this translation process. As the story goes, but if Joseph Smith is really translating the book of Mormon view of these interpreters of this seer stone and he still has the plates with him. He still has the interpreters.

He still has the seer stone. Why does he say all is lost, all would be lost if he lost the goal plates. He has those we've all lost documents on the computer where we been trying to write out an article or maybe a book or whatever else will save it properly, we lose everything. I don't know if I've ever said all is lost.

I get frustrated, but that does seem to be very interesting language to say that everything is lost and this is why I asked that folks sure you lost some time, but there's no deadline to get this done at a precise time but to say all is lost.

Why do you think he says that I'll give you my interpretation of this. I think the reason he says it is because he knows he's perpetrating a fraud. He's not going to be able to re-create what he had already written.

He's not going to be able with his finite memory to reconstruct what he had said previously, this is my opinion as to why he said all is lost. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding his research ministry.

We encourage you to visit our website at www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is as with most Christian organizations is a research ministry depends on the generous financial support of friends like you. If you like what we do and how we do it, would you consider helping MRM meet its financial obligations really go to my website MRM.org the right you'll see in only click there and follow the instructions. MRM is a Christian nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and your gifts are tax-deductible, only that they are greatly appreciated.

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