I would hate to be truly negatively critical of Jospeh Smith and how he recieved
the things he was taught since from what I know it was only Joseph Smith and God
in the classroom which would place me at odds with God and that is not where I
want to be or am willing to go. To speak against the prophet is one thing but to
speak against God is not and never will be a good thing.
For me, this book is very timely, much appreciated and will make a critical
contribution to my own research project. As the article mentions, analytical
facts and narrative style, I believe is a good combination and writing format
for a book. However, can a single book about the journey of the BOM truly be
regarded as 'complete'.
@USMCer - I never claimed that it was my belief that the other texts were the
genesis of the BoM. My question was about the book referenced in the article and
to what depths they actually trace the "history" of the BoM. The title
is "How We Got The Book of Mormon" so I wondered if this was simply a
treatise in the printing of the work or if there was an account of where the
book came from. The Lucy Harris account would seem appropriate.I
have not read the works I asked about nor do I intend to. I'm not out to
"disprove" the BoM. I have read the BoM and prayed with sincere
heart...I got back nothing. Every fiber of my being tells me that it is fiction.
At the same time, I know that LDS members believe sincerely not unlike the
believers in Scientology, Catholicism, Jehovah Witnesses, Islam, Buddhism, 7th
Day Adventists and other faiths. I don't think any have nefarious intention. I
just don't agree with them.I didn't find the BoM to be great
literature or overly complex. Harry Potter was a great book series but I don't
believe in wizards.
Sorry folks. A little course correction please.JS was indeed highly
intelligent, and was certainly uneducated. the two are vastly different.
But,...He did not need either in order to translate the BM. Moroni, gave him the
plates and they were translated by the power of God. You, or I could do the
same, (by the power of God, if He wanted us to) with as much education because
that is not what it took. What was needed was devotion, testimony, bravery,
perseverance, love, faith and most importantly, as it would be with us trying
the same thing, direct and personal inspiration from God. Every word he spoke
as he translated was given to him by the spirit of God and it was not necessary
to rely on intelligence or education to do it.As the years passed, he
learned an immesurable amount of information about everything else as a result
of this inspiration. His intelligence helped him to understand it all and teach
the world about it, the gospel, the universe, the eternities, the nature of God,
Restoring the Gospel would have been impossible, The Gospel( Euangelion,2098)
was never lost. Bill in Nebraska: It is not true that we do not
possess the original text of the Bible. What we do not possess are the original
manuscripts. We have accurate well- preserved copies of the original text.
There are some 5,700 early N.T. MS, and they contain all or nearly all of the
original text . The original text can be reconstructed 99% accuracy. There is a
distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we have 99% of
the original text, 100 % of the truth comes through. Lower criticism refutes
JS.Over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the disciples of the apostles and early
church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 8 verses. Example, If the original
triangle was burned in a museum we have enough copies to reconstruct it.
Will advertising Deseret Book items as news stories become more and more common
here at deseretnews.com? Perhaps they should make a tab of stories to sell
products. I don't have a problem with making money, I just hope that a main
source of news doesn't become what Deseret Book is selling next.
Thanks Bill. You raise several good points. I can buy that JS's stories to his
family of ancient America was a preparatory process for what he would later see
on the plates. Similarly, I can buy that his use of the seer stone in helping
others look for treasure was preparatory for using it in translating. I think it
is interesting that the Church tends to shy away from those facts as they can be
flipped as negatives but there is no doubt they could be considered preparatory
things. You know I am big on the idea that the Church shying away from certain
facts has only hurt in the long run.I also agree that a more
unlearned person would likely be more receptive to a restoration than someone
more learned particularly in religion and the Bible. I guess the typical LDS
response that Joseph was "just an uneducated farm boy" actually
minimizes the very high level of intelligence and creativity that he did
possess. I am not saying JS wrote the BofM. But to say he couldn't
have greatly minimizes the gifts he actually possessed regardless of level of
What would you have done? Would you have kept them quiet or would you have told
your family? Knowing the facts of the story is that Joseph Smith told his
family what he saw. It gave him a great incite into what, how and where these
people lived. It gave him a much greater power of interpreting the writings on
the Plates. If he couldn't write a paragraph or even concoct a story line then
even more so the miracle of the Book of Mormon. Remember he never had anyone
read where he left off or even gave him hints of where this started or ended.
Also, to correct the critics if I started to read something that sounded
familiar or was contained in the Bible would I go and read it also out of the
Bible? The answer is of course I would. Remember he didn't translate word for
word but probably thought to thought. For four years he was taught of the
Saviours ministry, the anguish of the people and the revelations given to them.
He finally was given the plates to translate and so he did in the language the
Lord wanted it done.
Idaho Coug: You bring up a valid point but lets take what Lucy Mack said about
her son. She basically said and I paraphrase in that he was a somber child who
didn't take to reading as the other children. If he didn't take to reading then
he probably was not as well versed in the Bible as many suspect. Why is being
unlearned important? It is because he was open to being taught by the Lord
himself. Do you really feel that any of the priests, popes, ministers of the
time would have been open to what was needed? The answer is no. This is
evident in those involved in the Reformation, i.e. Martin Luther, Calvin and
others. They were so well taught that the sought to reform instead of
restore.Secondly, with the religious persecution of Europe and other
places restoring the Gospel would have been impossible.You bring up
the question of Joseph Smith telling stories of the Nephites and Lamanites. To
some this is proof of the fraud Joseph Smith put forth. However, if you are in
the midst of an angel and opens your mind to those people of which the plates
I agree with USMCer. Men have tried to discount and discredit the BOM for over
180 years and without any success. It is a book of faith that requires the
reader to ponder its teachings and to decide for themselves if it is true.
History is something that men argue over and even re-write for their own
purposes. None of us were alive back then so we are not first-hand witnesses.
However, my witness if the Spirit that testifies to me of the truth of it. I am
not concerned with conflicting historical accounts and all that because it won't
change my faith or testimony. This is not blind faith but faith built on years
of reading and witnesses from the Holy Ghost.I am sorry that speed66
needs to rely on questionable accounts from the past to determine his/her
beliefs. Good luck with that...
UCMCer - it has always bothered me a bit when members highlight Joseph Smith's
lack of education because I honestly do not think it is relevant. It is without
question that JS was VERY intelligent and creative. It is also documented that
he told stories to his family of ancient inhabitants in the Americas long before
translating the BofM. As I re-read the BofM it strikes me that, while there are
many wonderful teachings and concepts in it, it is not an overly complex book as
many members argue. Many themes and plots are repeated over and over. There is
no question that it contains much from the KJV of the Bible. Also, JS did not
write one word of the BofM text in my understanding so he certainly did not need
to be educated in terms of writing ability. He had very educated individuals
assisting him with that part.I am not saying JS made up the BofM. I
am simply saying that he only needed to have intelligence, creativity, a good
memory and a knowledge of the Bible to write it. A formal education was not at
all needed and has not been for many writers.
@speed66: Anyone who comes up with your argument has never read View of the
hebrews or even the Spaulding manuscript. This argument has been hashed and
re-hashed for decades and has been debunked everytime. I would love for someone
to make your claim and tell me how he could have first: gotten hold of the
texts, and second: used those texts to compile the BOM. AND be the uneducated
farmer that he was. I'm a pretty well-educated guy and I'll bet I've written
more papers than Smith ever did, but as far as me writing a Book of Mormon with
the content and depth that is contained, I surely don't have that talent. And I
suspect Smith didn't either. But, you try it sometime and tell me how it works
out for you. I'll be the first to buy your book and compare.
Speaking of the Book of Mormon, does anyone know if Mike Ash is planning on
continuing his series of articles? His articles had generated a lot of interest
and enlightening comments.
User41 said - "It often amazes me how much uninformed slander and hateful
bias is directed toward the Book of Mormon without ever placing in the balance
any of the truly astonishing things that it contains."I agree
with User41 that those who are critical of the Book of Mormon should read and
ponder it carefully in order to be fair and knowledgeable in their critiques. I
know many who post critically here indicate they have done that several time.I have several questions about the Book of Mormon. But I have committed
to re-read it as I work through those questions. I am on schedule to finish it
today and plan to start again and try to make it through twice before then end
of the summer. Doing so has helped me fully consider and balance the comments I
read here.This book does sound very interesting.
User41 - I assume by "honest scholars" you are referring to people who
will tell the story you want told. Anyone who would have unflattering things to
say would be "dishonest scholars" regardless of the facts?I've not yet read the book and probably won't. I don't have a need to have
feel-good resources at my side.I wonder if the book chronicles the
various changes that have occurred in god's translation of truth? Does it tell
the story of Lucy Harris or compare and contrast the text with "The Wonders
of Nature", "View of the Hebrews", or the manuscript written by
Solomon Spalding?None of that is relevant if all you want to tell is
about the production of the book but my guess is that the book goes beyond that.
Much thanks to these gentlemen and all the other honest scholars that have and
are putting so much effort into making this historical information easily
available. It often amazes me how much uninformed slander and hateful bias is
directed toward the Book of Mormon without ever placing in the balance any of
the truly astonishing things that it contains. I've been a member of the LDS
faith all my life & believed in its teachings, but only recently have
developed a sincere interest in the history and details of the restoration.
Thanks to people like these men & organizations like FARMS & FAIR for
putting quality information withing our reach!
I purchased this book last week, and I was glad I did. It was a wonderful book
tracing the history and development of the Book of Mormon from 1830 to the
current time. I would recommend it highly to all.
i will probably buy this book, and read it