'Joseph Smith Captured': Elder Dallin H. Oaks to speak on the LDS president's legal battles

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  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 12, 2013 5:15 p.m.


    Mr. Whitmer said further, "I heard the voice of the angel, and saw the engravings on the plates, just as stated in the Book of Mormon. And we were demanded to bear record of these things and that the book was translated by the gift and power of God." "You see that small table by the wall," he remarked.
    "Yes," I replied.
    "Well there was a table about that size, and the heavenly messenger brought the several plates and laid them on the table before our eyes, and we saw them, and bore testimony of them, and our testimony is true. And if these things are not true then there is no truth, and if there is no truth there is no God, and if there is no God there is no existence. But I know there is a God for I have heard his voice and witnessed the manifestations of his power."

    (David Whitmer Interviewed By
    James H. Hart, 21 August 1883 Source: JH, 23 Aug 1883, p. 3.

  • teeoh Anytown, KY
    Sept. 12, 2013 11:39 a.m.


    I read what you wrote. You are spot on.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    Figures, nobody even read what I wrote

  • Semi-Strong Louisville, KY
    Sept. 11, 2013 3:29 p.m.


    Twin Lights here.

    I think it is reasonable that some were simply shown the plates by Joseph but that others received a greater witness via an accompanying divine manifestation. Most of Christ's apostles walked with him daily. Peter, James, and John went to the Mount of Transfiguration.

    If religion were always about what makes sense to man, Christ would not have been crucified, Moses would have annihilated the Egyptian in Egypt, the peoples in Palestine would have moved or been killed off via pestilence in anticipation of the return of the 12 tribes, etc., etc.

    Is your beef is with religion generally or just with the LDS? If the latter, then is there (really) something I can do to help you understand or do you just want to rail against us?

    I am willing to do what I can but you need to let me know if you have questions or just answers.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:39 p.m.

    Twin Lights

    So let me recap what you said. The eight witnesses could just walk up and look at the plates normally, but the three witnesses had to see them in a field in a vision. If that was the case it makes no sense that one group would have to see them by vision and the other could view them normally. It doesn't come close to making sense.

    Furthermore, Joseph was already in posession of the plates when they were in the field and claimed they were shown them by Moroni. So Moroni went to Joseph's house to get them, brought them to show to the 3 witnesses, then took them back and dropped them off at Josephs house. Is this the most likely scenario to you? Or is it more likely that it didn't happen at all?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:16 p.m.

    Twin Lights

    So to reacap what you said... The three witnesses had to see the physical metal plates by vision, but the eight witnesses could just walk up and look at them? And you think that is reasonable?

    Also, Joseph was in posession of the plates when the three witnesses went out in a field to pray to see them. Why then did Moroni have to show them in a vision? So Moroni went into Joseph's house to get the plates, then bring them to a field to show the three witnesses, then bring them back to his house and put them back? And you don't see a problem with that? Do you find that a more likely explanation then the explanation that it didn't happen?

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 1:03 p.m.

    There are a lot of things that are hard to swallow besides having faith to see a physical object.

    Many people wanted to steal these golden plates, right? There is a famous story of Joseph running through the woods with the plates and "evil" men are trying to see/steal the plates. Joseph had to constantly hide them so no one would see/steal them.

    When he would be at home he could leave them on a table with nothing but a loin cloth over them and tell his family that if any of them look or touch them that God would strike them dead.

    The thing that puzzles me is why does Joseph worry about theifs stealing the plates if they will just be striked dead if they see or touch the plates. Why is it that only his loved ones who trust him the most will be striked dead. How do you make sense of this?

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    Whose Life R U Living,

    Please read the heading of Section 17. It specifically refers to the "three special witnesses" who would later see the plates by divine manifestation. Of course they would need faith for such a manifestation.

    Note this is different from the eight witnesses for which there was no specific divine manifestation accompanying their witness.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 11, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    But, behold, faith cometh not by signs, but signs follow those that believe.
    Yea, signs come by faith, not by the will of men, nor as they please, but by the will of God.
    Yea, signs come by faith, unto mighty works, for without faith no man pleaseth God; and with whom God is angry he is not well pleased; wherefore, unto such he showeth no signs, only in wrath unto their condemnation.
    Wherefore, I, the Lord, am not pleased with those among you who have sought after signs and wonders for faith, and not for the good of men unto my glory.
    (D&C 63:9-12)

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Sept. 11, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    Dear fellow LDS members,

    It is by faith that these witnesses were able to "see" the plates. Read D&C 17 v2 And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

    In order to reveal the plates they had to pray first. This is not an ordinary procedure when showing someone else a physical object.

    Having faith to see a physical object does not add up.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Sept. 11, 2013 2:50 a.m.

    We all comment in Blogs to affirm truth as we know it. Believers and non-believers are no different in desiring to correct what they believe are false perceptions. Yet, do Blogs grow the seeds of faith or promote doubt?

    It’s amazing how many baseless anti-Mormon opinions exist. Why since Joseph Smith's day have so many been adamant about spreading rumors they only heard from others, or made up themselves? These are not ingrained in fact but other rumors from a period long past.

    As Jesus said, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.". Those who persecute and revile the Saints of God shall always be in greater number. This pattern was true in the Bible and it ever has been so.

    Those who oppose God's true works get hung up insignificant details that diminish their capacity to acquire His truths by firsthand immersion and revelation. Instead, they seek it from the world as justification. They persecute God's Church, people, and truths, but know it not.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    "If I wrote down a pre-written message for 11 of my family members and friends to sign saying they saw it would you believe me? If I then said an angel came back and took it away from me would you believe it?? These are the reasons that people don't believe the stories. When you take it all into account it is just too far fetched to be believed."

    There are over 5800 complete or fragmented handwritten copies of the Bible (Greek) in existence today that date as far back as 124 AD. Of those 5800+ copies, how many do you think are exact copies word for word?

    None...no two copies agree completely throughout. There has been an estimate of 400,000 variations among all these manuscripts (from the 2nd to 15th century) which is more than there are words in the New Testament.

    Is that a reason to not believe in the Bible? That many variations makes it seem pretty farfetched don't you think? yet, despite that many people still have faith and believe it to be the Word of God.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 8:09 p.m.


    "He told people there were gold plates, that is why they came after him. That in no way means they existed"

    another hilarious discussion. Joseph has been painted as a charlatan and a fraud yet history shows that there were numerous people who believed that he did have gold plates and tried to steal them. Everyone's trying to steal them and yet you still wonder why the Angel Moroni wanted to take them back to Heaven?

    That's like the other stories we hear where Joseph was lazy, shiftless and a no-good layabout yet in the same sentence critics say he spent vast quantities of hours hiking across the country digging for treasure. Hiking and digging, that's a lot of hard work. But we also read in the historical record that he and his brothers hired out to help clear farm land (fell trees, pull stumps, till earth, dig out rocks, etc). That is a lot of hard work.

    Hmmm...which accounts paint the truth? The one told by the haters? Doesn't appear to be so, they even contradict themselves.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 7:48 p.m.

    This is a hilarious discussion. It sounds like Brahmabull thinks it far-fetched that an angel could take a physical object with him to heaven, is that because we're all supposed to believe that angels live in the clouds and he'd have no place to set the Gold Plates down?! Lol!

    Did you ever read the old testament? For 40 yrs the Lord sent Manna down from Heaven to feed the Hebrews until they reached the promised land.

    Also, Elijah was caught away to Heaven in a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire. Obviously there must be a barn of fire up in the clouds to keep the horses of fire in, right?

    you said: "Why weren't the dead sea scrolls or any other ancient inspired documents taken back by an angel after they had been translated?"

    I haven't read where the Dead Sea Scrolls have been canonized by anyone as "inspired." Experts can't even agree on what group wrote them. Were they Jewish, Christian, Sadducean, or some other sect? Titus Flavius Josephus wrote "Antiquities of the Jews" which gives us significant historical insight into early Christianity. That doesn't make it inspired.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 10, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find. The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father...; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been." Joseph Smith said, "I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations." The miracle of God's hand in the history and destiny of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is understood only through the lens of spiritual inquiry. President Ezra Taft Benson said, "Every [person] eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there... must make his stand."

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 10, 2013 6:09 p.m.

    Let me share some of what Elder Neil L. Andersen has to say: (in two parts, because of the word limit) "Here is another trial. There have always been a few who want to discredit the Church and to destroy faith. Today they use the Internet. Some of the information about the Church, no matter how convincing, is just not true. In 1985, I remember a colleague walking into my business office in Florida. He had a Time magazine article entitled “Challenging Mormonism’s Roots.” It spoke of a recently discovered letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, that conflicted with Joseph Smith’s account of finding the Book of Mormon plates. My colleague asked if this new information would destroy the Mormon Church. The article quoted a man who said he was leaving the Church over the document. Later, others reportedly left the Church. I’m sure it was a trial of their faith. A few months later, experts discovered (and the forger confessed) that the letter was a complete fraud. I remember really hoping that those who had left the Church because of this deception would find their way back.

  • michael.jensen369 Lethbridge, 00
    Sept. 10, 2013 6:07 p.m.

    I would just point out that although "evidences" and "accounts" may be disputed, no one has actually been able to refute the comments that deal with faith. If you would denigrate Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and living prophets, then surely our church would produce less than stalwart people. Surely the members of our church would exhibit corruption, lasciviousness, intemperance, and bigotry on all accounts. Because what you are describing is a (using the New Testament allegory) rotten tree. A totally rotten tree, with rotten roots, so it must produce rotten fruit. You would denigrate the real change that millions of members of this church have experienced, myself included. You would denigrate the strong emphasis on self-discipline, on charity, on long-suffering, and on trying to live a holy life. If the tree is so rotten, why is so much of the fruit good? Why is so much of the fruit sweet, even a great source of positive change? Why are you trying to discredit this tree, that produces such good fruit? I have seen people's lives TRANSFORMED by the message of this church, and no doctrinal mudfight can change what I've seen and experienced.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 10, 2013 6:00 p.m.


    "P.S. It wasn't done in 10 months, just F.Y.I. He had the plates, according to him, from Sept 1827 to June 1829. That is more then 10 months. And my guess is he was working on this project before 1827"

    On the 5th day of April, 1829, Oliver Cowdery came to my house, until which time I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where my father resided, and my father being one of those who sent to the school, he went to board for a season at his house, and while there the family related to him the circumstances of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had come to make inquiries of me.

    Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me.
    (JS-H 1:66-67)

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 10, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    The Book of Mormon as a translation of an ancient record from an unknown language would be nothing short of a miracle. As a creative work, it would be no amazing feat. I doubt that Joseph Smith translated anything in his life. But he was a man of boundless energy who was gifted in some highly unusual ways.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    @Don Bugg
    "So what's the problem?"

    The problem is that if it were all made up one would expect Joseph Smith to conveniently make the plates go away in exactly the manner that happened.

    Why did Joseph's first manuscript that was lost differ from the second one? The account is that the first one was lost, God was upset, and there was concern over the lost manuscript being held by enemies who would alter it and use that as evidence that Joseph Smith was a liar when the second one came out different so Joseph used the plates of Nephi instead of Lehi for the second one. Okay... but alternatively one could believe that this is all a made up excuse for the two versions being different, not due to anyone altering it, but due to Smith being inconsistent.

    Even if Joseph Smith is completely truthful on these things... it's still very easy to get a point of "that's exactly what a liar would have done in this situation" and that leaves doubt.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Sept. 10, 2013 1:38 p.m.


    Yes I think anybody could come up with a book that copies many pages word for word from the bible, talks of animals that didn't exist in the area at the time and uses names from surrounding areas of where I grew up. That would be easy.

    P.S. It wasn't done in 10 months, just F.Y.I.

    He had the plates, according to him, from Sept 1827 to June 1829. That is more then 10 months. And my guess is he was working on this project before 1827.

  • kattawn ,
    Sept. 10, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Will this be streamed live? Hope so.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    RE: Twin Lights, Reference Matthew 16. The NIV notes that “evil” (vs. “evil one”) is an alternate translation. Wrong, i.e.. The force[good or evil?] be with you.

    Or from evil; some “late manuscripts one”. * for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

    *Mt 6:13 KJV and 3Nephi 13:13 Both have the doxology, For thine is he Kingdom and power and the glory forever amen. The KJV is based on 9th to 12th century texts. “Earlier and better manuscripts” do not contain the doxology. Only One example.

    Stan Larson, The MS discoveries since the KJV have provided a much better understanding of the Sermon on the Mount. Greek MS 200 A.D. thru Latin, Syriac, Coptic and patristic early support, which leads to the original text. These are earlier and better texts of Matthews Sermon on the Mount. There is unanimity support by modern scholars, but The BoM never takes us to a verifiable text in antiquity..”

    The KJV/3 Nephi Sermon on the Mount. LDS Scholar Dr. Larson finds 12 examples where JS copied the 1769 KJV errors.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 10, 2013 10:21 a.m.


    Nephi vs. Moroni. See FairMormon. Too long to go into it all myself.

    Reference the doxology. Is the Bible then the word of God as far as it is translated (or at least transcribed) correctly?

    Reference Matthew 16. Other modern translators disagree. The NIV notes that “evil” (vs. “evil one”) is an alternate translation.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    God uses particular individuals to fulfill certain missions and one of Joseph's missions was to translate.

    Moroni could have translated the plates, but he didn't. The Prophet Joseph did. On a side note, Christ did not prove to all the world he resurrected from the dead. He showed himself to particular individuals or groups, and then they testified of the resurrection. It should not matter the plates are not with us now. We also don't have the original writings for the Bible -- we have copies of copies. Why demand the BOM plates then? The inspired translation is sufficient.

    There are also many strong internal evidences within the Book of Mormon itself to attest that Joseph actually had an ancient record and was translated (as opposed to written).

    To name a few examples, the original BOM translation manuscripts had if/and clauses. This isn't proper English (English uses if/then). This strongly shows the Prophet Joseph translated an ancient record and language. The BOM is also full of Hebraisms like "river of water", "rod of iron", etc. as opposed to "water river" or "iron rod" like in English.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    RE: Twin Lights, In August, 1842, The angel’s name was “Nephi” (see Millennial Star, Vol. 3, p. 53). On page 71 of the same volume we read that the “…message of the angel Nephi[not Moroni]…opened a new dispensation to man…”

    RE: EternalPerspective, .. visions and were later led away by temptation because ‘evil’ overpowered them. For when God enlightens someone, ‘evil’ is well aware and tries to counter attack. Hence, the parable of the sower in the N.T..

    In 3 Nephi 13:12, (Jesus)“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from ”Evil”(abstract).
    LDS scholar William Hamblin. The evil one [ho poneros]. (John 17:15). This phrase is often understood by modern Christians as a prayer for protection from evil in an Abstract sense. But in its first century context, (ho poneros) meant the Evil One=Satan.

    Poor KJV translation of Mt 6:13, The correct translation is “ deliver us from the evil one”(Satan). Also verse 13,the doxology in Nephi is not found in earlier and better manuscripts of the (Mt 6:13.NIV).

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 10, 2013 9:20 a.m.


    "Blogs are fascinating animals because they provide an anonymous way to challenge the beliefs and opinions of others without fear of reprisal or disclosure of identity."

    Oh please. Those who express a different view than yours are no more anonymous than you are in here. Believers and non-believers share a common playing field.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 8:34 a.m.


    *If there really were no gold plates, why did people in Palmyra try everything they could to try to steal them from Joseph Smith and his family?*

    Life was simpler, people are gullible, and look to take the easy way out.

    re: Cinci Man

    What about those who go along with the Status quo and accept the party line. Hmmmm!?

    {When everybody thinks alike, everyone is likely to be wrong. - Humphrey B. Neill}

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    Sept. 10, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    atl134 suggests that the account of Moroni taking the plates back after the translation was finished is too "convenient" to take seriously. I really don't see why. Consider that the plates were protected from public disclosure, first by being hidden in a stone box, and then by numerous means found necessary to keep them from being stolen while Joseph had them. Consider that the plates contained additional content to be translated at a future time, which would presumably require further protection until the time comes to bring them forth. Why WOULDN'T Moroni take possession of them? Joseph didn't say, by the way, that Moroni took them "into heaven." He just said he took them back from Joseph. So what's the problem? Having Moroni take them back is the the most sensible course of action I can imagine.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Sept. 10, 2013 4:25 a.m.

    Blogs are fascinating animals because they provide an anonymous way to challenge the beliefs and opinions of others without fear of reprisal or disclosure of identity. Faith does not come by arguing, but personal investment to prove all things for truth.

    What is acquired by physical senses alone with worldly beliefs in the philosophies and science of man is not the same as receiving divine communication through revelation. Both have their place and usage in our vastly changing modern world.

    God proves all people throughout the course of their lives to exercise faith with sincerity, humility, and purity of intent to not only listen to Him, but follow what is given line by line. This is how God teaches people so they are not overcome by evil from receiving too much revelation at once. Not many are given grand visions written in the scriptures for this reason.

    Scripture tells a sad story of people who saw great visions and were later led away by temptation because evil overpowered them. For when God enlightens someone, evil is well aware and tries to counter attack. Hence, the parable of the sower in the New Testament...

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2013 2:33 a.m.

    @Don Bugg
    " I'm also wondering why he thinks the belief that Moroni could take physical plates back into his possession is somehow a difficult one. He seems to imply that idea is ridiculous, but I don't understand why."

    Because IF it were a hoax (I'm just being hypothetical here) wouldn't that be a nice little way of dealing with that issue? Same thing as for that lost manuscript instance where Joseph was then told to translate off the plates of Nephi instead of the plates of Lehi after the first manuscript was lost so the second version would be a bit different. IF it were a hoax... doesn't that just seem like a convenient excuse for there being two different manuscripts?

    So there's the issue, while Joseph Smith could indeed be entirely correct, there's a plausible enough case against it that it leaves a lot of skepticism.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 9, 2013 11:09 p.m.


    You are cherry picking. From the Poulson interview with David Whitmer:

    I—Did you handle the plates with your hands? He—I did so! I—Then they were a material substance? He—Yes, as material as anything can be. I—They were heavy to lift? He—Yes, and you know gold is a heavy metal, they were very heavy. I—How big were the leaves? He—So far as I recollect, 8 by 6 or 7 inches. I—Were the leaves thick? He—Yes, just so thick, that characters could be engraven on both sides. I—How were the leaves joined together? He—In three rings, each one in the shape of a D with the straight line towards the centre. . . . . I—Did you see them covered with a cloth? He—No. He handed them uncovered into our hands, and we turned the leaves sufficient to satisfy us.

    Reference the golden plates vs. the dead sea scrolls, I won't quibble over direction vs. delivery. I think you get the point.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Sept. 9, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    I think the comment about how it would all be typed now hits the nail on the head. Putting someone's name down means they support it, and none of the witnesses ever claimed that the statements their names were connected to were false. The 8 witnesses clearly affirmed the physical reality of the plates.

    That said, that is not even at issue with the article. The article mentions that Elder Oaks and others will be speaking about 1842 events. There is more than enough interesting and exciting legal issues being brought up there, there is zero reason for Elder Oaks to delve into earlier issues. The fact that Joseph Smith went to and won at the Illinois Supreme Court undermines the narrative of his trying to establish a separate state.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Sept. 9, 2013 4:55 p.m.

    "....Although many eventually left the Church, no single witness never recanted their testimony of the Book of Mormon...."

    I wouldn't expect them to.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Sept. 9, 2013 4:38 p.m.


    "These are the reasons that people don't believe the stories. When you take it all into account it is just too far fetched to be believed"

    You are welcome to gather the best religious scholars and book authors and write a book comparable to the BOM. If you succeed you have a point that the BOM is a fabrication. If not…

    Actually that challenge has been open for quite some time but as yet there have been no takers. Here are some pointers. Be sure you have a Jewish scholar that is an expert in writing allegories otherwise you are going run into problems when you get to The sixth chapter of Jacob. You might also think about having a military expert on the team seeing as how the last part of the book of Alma deals with wars and military strategies. I never could understand how Smith wrote that part as he probably did not know anyone who was a West Point graduate that could assist him.

    After the writing begins is should be ready for publication in ten months. Plan for 522 pages.

  • Northern Lights Arco, ID
    Sept. 9, 2013 4:12 p.m.


    I assume you are referencing the original document containing the testimony of the three and eight witnesses found in the Joseph Smith Papers? I don't believe that was meant to be a legal document, rather it appears to be a manuscript prepared for the printing of the Book of Mormon. Personally, I am not concerned that there are no authentic signatures on this particular document. I suspect if the PC had been available in the early 1800s, we would all be viewing these signatures in Times New Roman.

    Regardless of how it was recorded, all 11 witnesses consented to the statement associated with their names. Although many eventually left the Church, no single witness never recanted their testimony of the Book of Mormon.

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    Sept. 9, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    Twin -

    There are numerous statements about how they were shown the plates. I am not overstating anything. These are their own statements - not mine. Some were allowed to touch them, but only while covered as stated below.

    "I did not see them uncovered, but I handled them and hefted them while wrapped in a tow frock and judged them to have weighed about sixty pounds. ... Father and my brother Samuel saw them as I did while in the frock. So did Hyrum and others of the familyWhen the interviewer asked if he didn't want to remove the cloth and see the bare plates, William replied:

    "No, for father had just asked if he might not be permitted to do so, and Joseph, putting his hand on them said; 'No, I am instructed not to show them to any one. If I do, I will transgress and lose them again.' Besides, we did not care to have him break the commandment and suffer as he did before. (Zion's Ensign, p. 6, January 13, 1894, cited in Church of Christ broadside.)

    David Whitmer said he saw them by a supernatural power.

    Oh and the plates weren't delivered by an angel either.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 9, 2013 3:44 p.m.

    @Silver Prospector,

    Don't confuse the terms "opened a vision" or "saw with our spiritual eyes" to mean it is in someone's dream or imagination. These merely mean that someone saw the plates after being prepared spiritually to see them. When you are communicating something of great importance or sensitivity to someone, you do things like prefacing your remarks to get them into the right frame to receive and understand what you want to communicate, like taking your girlfriend to a romantic spot with dinner and candlelight before proposing marriage. If you do it over the phone or when you arrive at the door, it kind of spoils the moment.

    I don't know what you believe, but we don't have a lot of the original text of the Bible. Yet we can believe it is true by other spiritual means. Paul said the things of God are foolishness unto men. It sounds like you are in this vein regarding the Book of Mormon. I invite you to really read what the book says e.g. the second chapter of of 2nd Nephi, and then tell me if it reads and sounds like scripture.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 9, 2013 3:36 p.m.

    Whoa there Mr. Silver prospector, I'd like some references for all these new stories you're introducin' here. Pre-prepared? Who said? One person had to write each witness statement. Would it be more satisfactory if you had 8 different kinds of handwriting? For the 3 witnesses it appears to be in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery but we don't know if he read it off another text, was dictated to or wrote it himself. Many of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants were scribed by someone and dictated by Joseph Smith.

    The bigger question is what you believe. Do you believe in God, that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was resurrected and that his life set a pattern to follow? What will you do with your time here and what is your purpose. You could research all your life and never know for certain the answer to your questions as we all must live by faith. Even much of science is accepted by faith as we can't see or measure the exact elements in space, etc. But we live by its principles and our lives are affected and constrained by laws of physics.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 9, 2013 3:19 p.m.


    I think you are way overstating the case reference the witnesses spiritual vs. physical manifestation. Note that Paul couldn’t seem to figure it out either.

    Reference the plate, of course Moses HAD tablets written on by the finger of God himself but he broke them by throwing them down the mountain in a fit of anger . . .

    Why weren't the dead sea scrolls taken back by an angel? First, they were not delivered by an angel. Nor were they translated by anyone claiming divine power to do so.

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    Sept. 9, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    Don Bugg

    Why weren't the dead sea scrolls or any other ancient inspired documents taken back by an angel after they had been translated?? Answer: they haven't. The documents are still here to be examined for their authenticity. It would be easy to say "I translated an ancient book and I would prove it to you, but an angel repossessed them". It is too convenient.

  • Silverprospector SAN ANTONIO, TX
    Sept. 9, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    Don Bugg

    It appears as if you don't know your history. The witnesses didn't testify of seeing and handling the plates. It was a pre-prepared statement. But here is the kicker - the original document wasn't even signed by the witnesses. It was signed by.. get this... Oliver Cowdery. He signed all of the names. Several of them testified later that they viewed them spiritually, or in a vision. Why would anybody have to view metal plates in a vision. I also think it is not possible for Moroni to take the plates - it makes no sense. If I told you I found a golden calf in the mountains and I brought them into my possession would you believe me? If I wrote down a pre-written message for 11 of my family members and friends to sign saying they saw it would you believe me? If I then said an angel came back and took it away from me would you believe it?? These are the reasons that people don't believe the stories. When you take it all into account it is just too far fetched to be believed.

  • Eliot Genola, UT
    Sept. 9, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    Mary Whitmer also testified that Moroni appeared to her and showed her the plates. I believe Joseph returned the plates to Moroni but whether or not he took them up to heaven I do not know.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 9, 2013 2:00 p.m.


    I'm not sure which "he" you are referring to - Joseph Smith of Dallin Oaks? Oaks' book has plenty of references if you want to check out the sources of his statements.

    As for the angel and the gold plates, NO one knows for sure whether he came and took the plates or whether the plates existed. You and I both DON'T know. We have to assume based on what other things we know about the story. I choose to believe for my reasons and you choose not to for yours. I think it must be somewhat intriguing for you as I see you on a lot of "Faith" story blogs. If you are open to discussion, I suggest you find a friend whose opinion you trust and talk to them. Much easier than finding answers from strangers on a blog.

    BTW- Angels who are resurrected beings could carry physical objects. If you believe in an afterlife, that's not a stretch. If you don't, then it would be.

  • Don Bugg Prince Frederick, MD
    Sept. 9, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    It appears that Brahmabull has never bothered to read the actual testimony of the Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses, all of whom swore they had both seen and handled the plates. I'm also wondering why he thinks the belief that Moroni could take physical plates back into his possession is somehow a difficult one. He seems to imply that idea is ridiculous, but I don't understand why.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Sept. 9, 2013 12:36 p.m.


    You are implying that because he said it then it must be true. Do you believe everything you hear? He told people there were gold plates, that is why they came after him. That in no way means they existed. People may have believed him. But in my opinion they didn't exist. Nobody saw them. The witnesses saw them in 'spirit' and in visions. If he had the gold plates where did they disappear to?? Do you believe that an angel took physical gold plates up to heaven never to be seen again?

  • wer South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 9, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    It's very interesting that the hearing took place in the same building as Abraham Lincoln's law office. Also, Mary Todd Lincoln was in attendance.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Sept. 9, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    This should be most interesting. There are who always want to change the subject, isn't there? They refuse to read things in perspective. They refuse to 'experiment on the word'. They refuse to develop and nurture faith (God's prescribed way). They refuse to seek the Spirit. Their thinking mirrors the Sadducees and Pharisees. We know how Jesus dealt with them. You cannot help them.

    Thanks Elder Oaks. I look forward to you remarks.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 9, 2013 10:57 a.m.


    I love the monikers people use who try to debunk religion e.g. A Scientist, Thinkman (as if the rest of us don''t think or don't accept Science). Elder Oaks HAS written and spoken on other legal battles including the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor - see "Carthage Conspiracy".

    Come out here and study American History with us. Lots of people in the early 1800's were engaged in various ways of making money (life was hard back then and people worked many jobs). The Smith boys were hired out a lot in the 1820's as their family had lost their savings.

    I have a question for you: If there really were no gold plates, why did people in Palmyra try everything they could to try to steal them from Joseph Smith and his family? Seems the idea of "treasure" was on a lot of people's minds back then.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Sept. 9, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    Will Dallin also talk about the legal battles that Joseph Smith faced in NY in the late 1820s and early 1830s with his treasure seeking?

    I'd be very interested in that.

    I would also like Dallin to shed light on what exactly was the justification of Joseph Smith ordering the destruction of the printing press that William Law legally established and used to tell another side of the story of Joseph Smith.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 9, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    Elder Oaks extensive research on this subject is refreshing and will clarify misinformation that has surrounded this segment of LDS history. His legal scholarship and knowledge of this time period is unequaled.