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Mormonism and Eternal Truth

Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
(Henri-Frederic Amiel)

THE BOOK OF MORMON
DECEPTION

THE GOLD PLATES

Joseph Smith’s story is that an angel named Moroni had shown him the whereabouts of some buried gold plates. They had supposedly been inscribed with the historical account of two groups of early inhabitants of the Americas, spanning the period 600 BC to 400 AD.

“He [the angel Moroni] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.” (History of Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price 1:34)

Moroni’s message was that Joseph had been chosen to translate the engravings on the gold plates by the power of God. His translation became known as The Book of Mormon. He claimed that it was the most accurate book on earth, that it contained the fullness of the everlasting gospel, was another witness of Jesus Christ, and was the keystone of the Mormon religion.

The logical way to determine the legitimacy of a claim of this magnitude would be firstly to establish whether or not Joseph Smith was a man of integrity. Then we would need to verify that the content of the Book of Mormon is actually what it is alleged to be. And because he had claimed that the Christian church was apostate and that the Bible had been corrupted, we would need to be vigilant about the possibility of spiritual deception.

SMITH’S PRIOR HISTORY

Mormonism only came into being in 1830. So it hasn’t been too difficult to piece together the sequence of events that led to the Book of Mormon’s existence. And in so doing we have discovered the following:

  1. There is consistent evidence that Joseph Smith had been deeply involved in spiritism, the occult and necromancy since his youth. Neighbours testified to his participation in occultic animal sacrifice and communication with the dead.

    LDS seminary teacher Grant Palmer recorded the Smith family’s occultic beliefs and practices in his book, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins (SLC, Signature Books, 2002, pages 175 to 195). And Ed Howe mentioned in Mormonism Unvailed that sixty-two residents of Palmyra, New York had signed affidavits that portrayed the Smiths in a bad light.

  2. Records reveal that Joseph Smith was well practiced in the art of deception. Prior to his LDS days he had earned his living as a confidence trickster. On the 20th March, 1826 he was arrested, brought before a judge, and charged under the Vagrant Act with being a disorderly person and a glass-looker (a con artiste who claimed to be able to see into the future or locate buried treasure through gazing into a piece of glass or a stone).

    On page 74 of Inventing Mormonism, (Signature Books Inc., Salt Lake City) H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters indicate that after hearing Joseph Smith’s case Justice Neely determined that there was sufficient evidence to prove his guilt and ordered the case to go to trial. Although the court found him guilty, because of his age at the time (he was twenty) and his being a first time offender, he was released with a caution.

  3. Joseph had a vivid and seemingly boundless imagination, which made him an exceptionally good story teller. In her book, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations, published by Orson Pratt in Liverpool in 1853, his mother, Lucy Mack Smith, recalled how Joseph would spend hours on end regaling the family with stories about the imaginary early inhabitants of the Americas:

    “He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them.” [c/f Page 243, Studies of the Book of Mormon, by B. H. Roberts; Dan Vogel (editor), Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1996-2003), 5 vols., 1:296.]

    This raises grave doubts about the validity of his later claim that the Book of Mormon was a true, historical record of these same early inhabitants of the Americas.

    In line with the LDS’s practice of covering up evidence that shows their church in a bad light, their second President, Brigham Young, recalled all the available copies of the abovementioned book. After editing it the LDS released a new, sanitized version that omitted the above section.

  4. In pages 58 to 59 of the same book, Joseph’s mother mentions a dream had by his father. And in 1 Nephi chapter 8 of the Book of Mormon, Joseph relates a vision of Lehi that is identical to his father’s dream.

  5. Joseph Smith’s scribes testified that not once had he ever looked at the supposed gold plates during his entire “translation.” No one else was allowed to see them either. The so-called witnesses he called upon to testify of their existence had to see them in a vision, by faith. And they were always hidden away whilst he dictated the Book of Mormon from words that he said were emanating from his occultic stone. So he was lying when he said he had translated the book from engravings on gold plates.

  6. Still on the subject of his integrity, we must not forget the nine contradictory versions of his supposed first vision. (A link to an article on this subject is provided at the end of the page.)

We can only conclude that Joseph Smith was a well practiced deceiver whose word could not be trusted. And his involvement in both the occult and spiritism indicates that his basic belief system differed from that of the Bible.

The LDS maintains that he had repented of his past before he established the Mormon church. But evidence reveals that he had carried right on with his lies and deception. He never gave up his occultic practices either. After his death an occultic talisman coin was found in his pocket. His mother asked if she could keep it in remembrance of him, as he had always carried it on his person.

In the Bible the occult and spiritism are placed in the same category as witchcraft and idolatry, as they all have spiritual powers behind them that oppose the purposes of God. And an occultic stone isn’t the means God uses to communicate with His prophets.

THE COPYRIGHT

In his book, Quest for Refuge, Marvin S. Hill comments:

“The economic situation of the Smith families was so desperate at this time that Joseph tried to sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page wrote with bitterness years later that the prophet heard he could sell the copyright of any useful book in Canada and that he then received a revelation that this would be a good opportunity to get a handsome sum. Page explained that once expenses were met the profits were to be for the exclusive benefit of the Smith family and was to be at the disposal of Joseph. Page indicated that they hoped to get $8,000 for the copyright and that they traveled to Canada covertly to prevent Martin Harris from sharing in the dividend. Smith evidently believed that Harris was well enough off while his own family was destitute. When Page, Cowdery, and Knight arrived at Kingston, Ontario, they found no buyer. Martin Harris apparently learned of what was done, and Joseph guaranteed him in writing that he would share in any profits made from the subsequent sales of the book. In the spring of 1830 Harris walked the streets of Palmyra, trying to sell as many copies of the new scripture as he could. Shortly after Joseph Smith and Jesse Knight saw him in the road with books in his hand, he told them “the books will not sell for nobody wants them.” (Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge, pages 20-21).

Joseph Smith was named as the author in the first (1830) printing of the Book of Mormon. But a translator has no right to call himself the author. (His name was left off of subsequent editions.)

The first link below leads to an article that discusses different versions of Joseph Smith’s claimed first vision. The second reveals that the Book of Mormon is fictitious, apart from sections that were copied directly out of the KJV of the Bible. The third link discusses how scientific genetic tests have disproved the Book of Mormon claim that the American Indians are descendents of Jews who had migrated from Israel.

Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.

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