Saturday, May 24, 2008

Was Joseph Smith Nearsighted?

Translation of the Book of Mormon

In a previous post, I talked about the method that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon. Any reputable historian on the subject LDS or non-LDS will tell you that Joseph Smith did not use the gold plates, or the urim and thummim for the translation of the Book of Mormon. Instead, he used a seer stone that he found in the ground while digging a well in 1822, a year before the angel Moroni ever appeared to him. For the majority of the translation of the Book of Mormon, he would put the seer stone into a hat and put his head into the hat and dictate the words that would appear to him.

This is a very odd, but historically more accurate depiction of the method that gave us the Book of Mormon. A question has been raised, and I believe it is a good question; Was Joseph Smith incredibly near-sighted, or did he make himself go cross-eyed for the entire translation process?

Disillusioned Mormon


Anonymous said...

That is a silly question. Of course Joseph would have the seer stones right next to his eyes, the stone was probably physically touching his face.

People look through reading glasses and the glasses are right next to their eyes, but you don't say that they are looking cross-eyed.

mediocre mormon said...

I took your question facetiously and with a smile on my face. I am no longer a mediocre Mormon, I am downright apostate, however, mediocre Mormon has a nice ring to it, so I keep it. In the author's remarks section of Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven, he says that his book was originally going to be about, "How does one sustain belief when confronted with facts that appear to refute it?". I would still like him to write that book. I remember being there, in the place where only my faith mattered and any statements against the church was only Satan's attempts to tear it down. I live in Salt Lake City and thoroughly enjoy your blog. Thanks.

Zelph said...

Anonymous, forgive me, but I can not tell if you are being serious or sarcastic. I admit that my post lies somewhere in between.

If you are in fact suggesting what I think you are suggesting, you would agree with me that he didn't actually "see" anything with his physical eyes, right? If you are suggesting that Joseph Smith looked 'through' the seer stone like someone would look through glasses, there was nothing but his hat on the other side, so you would have to admit that he was not actually looking at anything with his physical eyes. This would actually give credence to the idea that the Book of Mormon is not a physical translation of real physical plates, but a spiritual translation. If you would elaborate, that would be helpful.

Mediocre Mormon- glad you like my blog. You are welcome to comment anytime.

tatabug said...

If Joseph didn't need to see the plates, or even have them in the same room with him, as some have suggested, and didn't even need the Urim and Thummim for the translation, then why wasn't he able to translate the Book of Mormon during the time that the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from him as a result of the lost 116 pages? I mean, if all he needed was the seer stone, and he still had that in his possession, then why was he unable to continue with translation?

Also, if all Joseph had to do was to dictate the words as they appeared to him on the stone, then why wasn't Oliver successful in his attempt to translate?

Reputable historians or not, there have been a whole lot of assumptions made based off of hearsay and questionable testimony that don't accord with all of the information available.

Zelph said...

Tatabug- Thank you for your comments as it is always appreciated.

You draw excellent questions.

"why wasn't he able to translate the Book of Mormon during the time that the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from him as a result of the lost 116 pages?"

He was able to and he did. Look at this timeline:

June 1828-He lost the 116 page manuscript.

July 1828-Joseph's gift of translation is taken from him for a season

September 1828- Joseph starts translating the Book of Mosiah with Emma, his wife, as scribe.

Winter 1828-Joseph forgets about the whole thing

April 1829- Joseph goes back to translating Book of Mormon with Oliver Cowdery as scribe.

May 1829- Joseph receives revelation that his gift of translation is "NOW" restored to him. This is when he 'translates' the first Books in the Book of Mormon, namely 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni and Words of Mormon.

Sorry, Tata, but the church has changed the date of the May 1829 revelation to the Summer of 1828.

"if all Joseph had to do was to dictate the words as they appeared to him on the stone, then why wasn't Oliver successful in his attempt to translate?"

Probably because Oliver looked at the stone and didn't see anything. Maybe we should ask God why he granted Oliver the gift of translation in a revelation in section 8, then after a failed attempt, God changed his mind in section 9. (I know, I know, it is because Oliver didn't have enough faith)

If you are still unconvinced about the seer stone and the hat thing, I would suggest reading the September 1977 Ensign article on the subject.

Cr@ig said...

When confronted with the realty of Joseph's so called translation process, Mormon apologist state...that it doesn't matter HOW it was done, just as long as it was done through the gift and power of God.

To which I say...well if it doesn't matter how it was done, then why isn’t the Mormon Church honest with its membership. Why doesn’t the church share this so-called God gifted translation method with its prospective converts. Why not broadcast God's great translation method as a testimony to the power of God. Why not teach it to its children in Jr. Sunday School and to the adult members in Gospel Doctrine class. Why HIDE it and distort it by having false translation depictions printed. The church should be proud of the method for the translation of the Book of Mormon...that is, unless they are in fact embarrassed by it.

tatabug said...

I am aware of the whole date-change thing.

So we know that the 116 pages were lost. I will assume that 116 pages was all that was translated to that point, though I don't know for sure.

If you read verse 3 of chapter 10, the Lord stated that the power to translate "is now restored." But when you read verse 41, it refers to the translation of the rest of the Book of Mormon (Mosiah through Moroni) in past tense.

So, it appears that the revelation was given in 1828 with some additions made to it in 1829, in which case either date would be correct.

Thank you for the link. The article was very interesting. However, the reference to the hat and stone come from David Whitmer, and the article itself lends reasons to doubt his testimony, at least regarding some details. But there are other reasons to doubt David Whitmer's testimony.

First of all, he never looked into the Urim and Thummim or translated anything.

Secondly, some seventy recorded testimonies about the translation of the Book of Mormon claim David Whitmer as their source. There are many inconsistencies with these reports, but he was repeatedly reported as having said that after the loss of the 116 pages, the Lord took the plates and the Urim and Thummim, never to be returned. In place of the Urim and Thummim, David Whitmer maintained that the prophet used an oval-shaped chocolate-colored seer stone which he would place in a hat and bury his head to close out the light. Then, supposedly an oblong piece of parchment would appear with the hieroglyphics, and the translation below in English.

Such an explanation is, in my opinion, simply fiction created for the purpose of demeaning Joseph Smith and to undermine the validity of the revelations he received after translating the Book of Mormon.

Consider the following:

For more than fifty years David Whitmer forthrightly rejected Joseph Smith, declaring him to be a fallen prophet. Though he never denied his testimony of the Book of Mormon, he rejected virtually everything else associated with the ministry of Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel.

Second, according to David Whitmer's account of how the Book of Mormon was translated, Joseph Smith was the instrument of transmission, while translation rested solely with the Lord. This is simply a reflection of the notion of divine dictation, which holds that every word of scripture comes from God himself. If David Whitmer's account is to be accepted, revelation also includes spelling and punctuation. This notion is at odds with the explanation found in Doctrine and Covenants 8 and 9, which details how revelation comes.

David Whitmer repeatedly said that if a word was mispelled, the translator would not be able to go on until it had been corrected. This hardly allows for the 3,913 changes that have been made between the first edition of the Book of Mormon and the edition presently in use.

Third, David Whitmer gave inconsistent accounts of the instrument used to translate. Thomas Wood Smith, in a published response about an interview he had with David Whitmer, who told him that Joseph Smtih used the Urim and Thummim in translating the Book of Mormon, wrote, 'When I first read Mr. Traughber's paper in the Herald of November 15th, I thought that I would not notice his attack at all, as I supposed that I was believed by the Church to be fair and truthful in my statements of other men's views, when I have occasion to use them, and I shall make this reply only: That unless my interview with David Whitmer in January 1876, was only a dream, or I failed to understand plain English, I believed then, and since, and now, that he said that Joseph possessed, and used the Urim and Thummim in the translation of the inscriptions referred to, and I remember of being much pleased with that statement as I had heard of the "Seer stone" being used. And unless I dreamed the interview, or very soon after failed to recollect the occasion, he described the form and size of the said Urim and Thummim. The nearest approach to a retraction of my testimony is given...publicly in many places from the stand from January, 1876, till now, is, that unless I altogether misunderstood "Father Whitmer" on this point, he said the translation was done by the aid of the Urim and Thummim. If he says he did not intend to convey such an impression to my mind, then I say I regret that I misunderstood him, and unintentionally have misrepresented him. But that I understood him as represented by me frequently I still affirm.'

Finally, the testimony of David Whitmer simply does not accord with the divine pattern. If Joseph Smith translated everything that is now in the Book of Mormon without using the gold plates, why were the plates necessary in the first place. Remember that possession of the plates placed the Smith family in consideralbe danger, causing them a host of difficulties. If the plates were not part of the translation process, this would not have been the case. It also makes me wonder why the Lord directed the writers of the Book of Mormon to make a duplicate record of the plates of Lehi. This provision--which compensated for the loss of the 116 pages--would have served no purpose either. Further, why was it necessary for Moroni to instruct Joseph each year for four years before he was entrusted with the plates. I also wonder why it was so important for Moroni to show the plates to the three witnesses, including David Whitmer. And why did the Lord have the Prophet show the plates to the eight witnesses? Why all this flap and fuss if the Prophet didn't really have the plates and if they were not used in the process of translation? What David Whitmer is asking us to believe is that the Lord had Moroni seal up the plates and the means by which they were to be translated hundreds of years before they would come into Joseph Smith's possession and then decided to have the Prophet use a seer stone found while digging a well so that none of these things would be necessary after all.

Zelph said...

Tata- Thank you for your insights, and believe me when I say that I take everything very seriously and into consideration, even if I have a sarcastic tone at times.

tatabug said...

Thank you, but is that primarily an avoidance of further discussion on the issue?

Zelph said...

Not at all, I want you to know that you are not talking to a wall.

However, I do not believe that this was a 2-part revelation. I believe that this 'revelation' in section 10 was recorded by Joseph Smith in full in May 1829.

I believe that Joseph Smith tried to pass off that he did not lose all of the manuscripts when he lost the 116 pages. I think it makes sense that he would try to get away with people thinking that he had already translated portions of the book of Mosiah before he lost the Lehi manuscripts, and that is why it says "until you have come to that which you have translate, which you have retained". However, therein lies the problem because that is not what the historical records tell us, and that is why the date change. I think that the church would have us believe that Joseph had retained a portion of the translation before he lost the manuscripts and had his gift of translation from him, and that is why they changed the date of the revelation, but that is just not how I see that it happened.

tatabug said...

What evidence is there that the Church would have us believe that Joseph retained some of the translated pages? Where has Joseph tried to convince us that he did not lose all of the manuscripts at the time of the 116 pages incident? Everything I've seen of the historical record shows that Joseph had only translated 116 pages, and I have never seen any attempt to alter that fact.

In "History of the Church," Joseph clearly states that the plates and the Urim and Thummim were returned only a few days after they were taken in July 1828.

Because Martin Harris was unable to continue the work as scribe, the translation ceased or was at least sporadic, until April of 1829 when Oliver Cowdery became scribe.

Now why would Joseph be so careless as to make it clear that translation started up in full swing again in April 1829 (see HC by Joseph Smith and JS-History), but then received a revelation dated May 1829 stating that his gift was "now" restored to him? It would seem that he went through all the trouble of making up a punishment for himself, having the plates and interpreters taken from him, and then forgot to reinstate them until after the work of translation had officially been started up again, and then was so "honest" that he kept the date that he received the "fake" revelation, reinstating his gift. Surely he would have realized that such a blunder would indict him at some point. And surely if he was as much of a liar and fraud as he's been made out to be, he would be sure to do it right. Why be honest then? Why not just make the dates match up? Why even impose a punishment in the first place?

It makes perfect sense, however, when you look at the historical record and realize that the only way everything adds up is if the revelation was received and added to on at least two separate occasions. Perhaps the original date of 1829 was given because that was when the revelation was deemed completed, but because of the fact that the historical record shows Joseph as having the plates and Urim and Thummim returned to him in 1828, it made more sense that the revelation would have been received in 1828, when in reality, it was added to at a later date.

questioninglds said...

Wow-I was not aware of this. I don't know a whole heck of alot about how he translated-I thought it was just wit the urim and thummim. I need to read more about this! Thanks for the great post.

Zelph said...

Tata- This is the way I interpret the passage in D&C 10:.41 and the fact that the church leadership changed the date of the revelation to reflect a time before September 1828.

You bring up an excellent point about the Urim and Thummim and the plates being taken away. Does the history of the church provide a specific date when they were returned to him, because as I said, he did in fact do a bit of translating in September of 1828. If in fact they were returned to him after September, then this would demonstrate what I have been saying and that is that they were not even necessary for the translation process, nor did he use either. I find it troubling that he used the same seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon that he used to con people out of money by telling them he could help them find buried treasure by looking at the seer stone utilizing the same head in the hat method.

Maybe I will look into the history of the church volumes and see if it says anything about exactly when the plates and the urim and thummim were brought back, because I don't recall. He did have his seer stone with him the whole time, which remember he found a year before his initial contact with Moroni.

Zelph said...


The best site I can recommend is

I am glad to help you discover the information that is out there that I have discovered. I was even surprised to see my own blog referenced on the page.

Tata, after doing a bit of research, After the angel took the plates and the Urim and Thummim, he only returned the gold plates to Joseph and not the Urim and Thummim. Although, I have not found a specific date when the plates were returned to Joseph, it still doesn't make any sense to me why the Urim and Thummim were so important if they were only used for the Book of Lehi, which was never published as part of the Book of Mormon. Hmm. I will have to think about this and do a little more research.

Jeremy said...

There is a lot of information that both sides of the argument has been throwing out. I find it interesting that it's convenient to one side to easily dismiss one of the key witnesses in the translation other than Joe himself.

Additionally we have to rethink who were the actually witnesses to the plates. If you recall at some point in seminary or Sunday school you should have been taught that all the witnesses to the plates saw with their "Spiritual Eyes" and not their physical eyes.

On top of that the entire process of the translation has been depicted in illustrations that the church publishes of Joe physically touching and reading from a large stack of gold plates while one of the scribes sits across from him writing down what he reads off. Clearly this is what the church wants you to think, how the leadership feels you should learn it when in fact this is not the way it was done. Ask a church historian and they will tell you the same thing Zelph has, stone in the hat.

Anonymous said...

Joe Smith was nothing but a horny pedophile and a known con man that bamboozled people out of their money and his whole family was well known for being deeply involved in the occult. The books of mormon is unbiblical and the bible even says that you shouldn't add to it because it is God's word and perfect just the way it is. I know all about the mormons.

Bishop Rick said...


Your "...nothing should be added..." statement shows that you know less than you think. Revelation wasn't event the last book written and the Bible didn't exist at the time Revelation was written, so the statement could not have possibly meant that you can't add to the Bible.

Regarding all the inconsistencies with the translation methods, dates, etc., all I can say is:

What a tangled web we weave...

Bishop Rick said...

Hi Tata

Anonymous said...

If your books of mormon was supposed to be scripture, God would have put it in the bible.

Apart from adding to the bible, don't you think that if the books of mormon was from God that he would have included it in the bible? Think about it.

The Apostle Paul warned in the strongest possible terms about the attitude of God toward those who would pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can understand this, as it cost God his only son, and Jesus a horrible death by crucifixion. He stated:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:8, 9

See that? It says it right there in the bible, even if an angel from heaven teaches another gospel let him be acursed.

Bishop Rick said...


You crack me up. Do you even know who said that, and under what context? And do you think that God wrote the Bible? The Bible is nothing more than a compilation of writings, letters and stories that were gathered together hundreds of years after the death of Jesus. For every book that is in the KJV of the Bible, there are 2 that were left out. Note also that different versions of the Bible contain different books. How do you explain this? How also do you explain all the different Christian sects preaching different gospels than what was taught in Galatians? They are still Christian, but they teach different things. How is this different from Mormon teachings? isn't any different. You have several Christian sects teaching that Christ is the way back to God (including Mormons) and they all do it in a different way, but you are only singling out the Mormons. That seems silly to me.

If you are going to single out the Mormons, do so with something that can't be applied to every other Christ-based religion.

I personally don't think the Book of Mormon is the word of God, but I have no problem with its plausibility.

Jeremy said...


you said: "If your books of mormon was supposed to be scripture, God would have put it in the bible."

Okay, I don't think the BoM is scripture either BUT I don't agree with your logic either. You have to remember that the "Bible" isn't the same across the board among existing bibles today. Translations are different and books within vary from version to version.

Also your famous scripture you are talking about how you can't add anything more to these words (paraphrased of course) appears twice (not word for word the same but is understood to mean the same) once at the end of the Old Testament and once at the end of the New Testament. If it in fact referred to the "bible" as you know it today that would certainly mean that everything in the NT could not possibly be from God because it was written AFTER that verse in the OT. So how could we possible trust what the NT says if there can not be any more word of good in the bible? Well at least according to your logic...

Jeremy said...

Looks like you beat me to the publish button BR.

Zelph said...

You guys both beat me to it, and messages are sent to my email.

Anonymous, I don't mean to come down on you or disrespect you, but you sound very young to me. It sounds like you are "parroting" things that have been told to you probably by your minister. My advice would be to learn what the Bible is, when the Books were written and by whom. Just looking at your comment, it appears that you have simply copied and pasted that whole paragraph. So, following my suspicion, I did a Google search of the phrase "The Apostle Paul warned in the strongest possible terms about the attitude of God" and sure enough, the first thing that came up was your exact paragraph word-for-word followed by the exact same scripture reference by someone named David Rowley.

I don't mean to come down on you, but I am trying to help you by saying please try harder next time.

tatabug said...

It almost brings tears to my eyes to see you guys defending the Book of Mormon, or at least its plausibility and the possibility of revelation beyond the Bible.

But back to the date-change thing. Zelph, here is what "History of the Church" says:

After I had received the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again; but in a few days they were returned unto me, when I inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said thus unto me:"

Then it continues with the revelation contained in D&C 10. B.H. Roberts' version is virtually identical. Notice that it says "both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken...but in a few days they were returned." The word "they" signifies that both items were returned, not just the plates.

While there are no exact dates, HC has the items being taken and returned sometime within the month of July 1828.

Something else I found interesting that I hadn't noticed before, was that as a result of Joseph wearying the Lord over giving the manuscript to Martin Harris, the Urim and Thummim was taken from him even before the 116 pages had been lost. Here is what it says:

In the meantime, while Martin Harris was gone with the writings, I went to visit my father's family at Manchester. I continued there for a short season, and then returned to my place in Pennsylvania. Immediately after my return home, I was walking out a little distance, when, behold, the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again--for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings, which he lost by transgression--and I inquired of the Lord through it, and obtained the following:"

Then came the revelation for D&C 3. Immediately after this revelation, the plates and Urim and Thummim were taken but then returned after a few days.

So it appears that the Urim and Thummim were more important than it would seem they've been given credit for.


Please don't forget that one of the key witnesses was Oliver Cowdery and much of what David Whitmer has said is in conflict with what Oliver Cowdery has said as well. So, it wasn't just Joseph with whom David's testimony conflicted, and Joseph and Oliver were the most intimately involved and familiar with the translation process of any other witnesses.

Never in all my years of seminary and Church was I taught that the witnesses saw the plates with their "spiritual eyes" rather than their physical eyes.

As far as the pictures depicting the translation process goes, have you seen the Urim and Thummim depicted in any pictures used by the Church? After all, doesn't the Church teach that the translation was done using the Urim and Thummim? Why doesn't the Church try to portray that since they obviously aren't trying to hide it?

Also, I think you may be referring to Deuteronomy 4:2 when you referenced a scripture in the Old Testament talking about not adding to the word of God. This would not be at the end of the OT, but would be very near the beginning, making most of the Bible invalid if we follow Anonymous's line of reasoning. But if you do know of a scripture at the end of the OT, let me know, because I couldn't find one.

Zelph said...

Tata- I applaud you for your research. So according to the history of the church, the plates and the Urim and Thummim were returned a few days after they were taken.

My personal experience growing up I was always taught that Joseph only used the U&T for the beginning and by the time he started the re-translation process he no longer needed the U&T. The U&T were like "training wheels". However, there was never any mention of a seer stone in his hat.

tatabug said...

According to Joseph, it was returned in only a few days, but according to Emma, it was returned on September 22, 1828. Either way, it was returned before any further translation was done.

There is overwhelming testimony that Joseph used a stone and a hat for not only translating, but also for other reasons as well. There is also evidence that he had a number of seer stones and he referred to them as Urim and Thummim also.

I think the reason it hasn't been taught in the Church is because most, if not all of the information comes from unofficial sources, or rather, testimony from individuals, some of which is suspect. So how do you know which testimony is reliable? As I'm sure you know, the official teachings of the Church are for the most part limited to what is found in the scriptures and what comes from prophets and other Church officials.

Whether you agree with it or not, it is the wisest approach because once you open the door and start including all testimony, controversial or not, things get muddy and conflicting testimony comes in, leading to confusion.

But as you're aware from the link to the Ensign article you provided earlier, there has been an attempt to inform the membership, which I think provides evidence that there hasn't been an attempt at cover-up.

tatabug said...

In addition, regarding the re-translation process, here is a quote regarding the use of the Urim and Thummim during it. This information comes from "Revelations of the Restoration" by Joseph Fielding McConkie and Craig J. Ostler:

In this respect the testimony of Lorenzo Brown about the preparation the Prophet made for his translation of the Bible may be instructive. He record the Prophet as saying: 'After I got through translating the Book of Mormon, I took up the Bible to read with the Urim and Thummim. I read the first chapter of Genesis and I saw the things as they were done. I turned over the next and the next, and the whole passed before me like a grand panorama; and so on chapter after chapter until I read the whole of it. I saw it all!'

I've also read that there came a time that he didn't need to use the U&T, so I don't know if that is true or not.

Zelph said...

Tata- Good references. So according to the history of the church, the plates and the U&T were returned only a few days after they were taken, and according to Emma, they were given back a few months later. Very interesting indeed. It seems that there are different versions for almost everything.

Regarding the translation of the Bible, that opens up a whole new can of worms, because it was my understanding that Joseph Smith did not use the seer stone or the U&T for the translation of the Bible.

I am not convinced that the church is 'covering' anything up, but it seems that they are purposefully making it difficult for people to learn about many of these issues. Maybe it is just my personal experience and observation. I can not speak for the entire church.

Anonymous said...

The bible was written by God. There is only one bible and only one author of the bible. God may have inspired men to write the bible, but he is the author. The bible is inspired by God, it says so in the bible. All the other books that claim to be scripture are not real scripture, otherwise God would have put them in the bible.

Bishop Rick said...


I guess you know this because God told you?

Joshua said...

I know because it is in the bible.


Bishop Rick said...


How do you know the Bible contains all truth?

mormon heretic said...


Did God write these passages found in the Bible? Please feel free to check your bible to make sure I'm not misquoting.

Song of Solomon Chapter 7

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs [are] like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

Sgs 7:2 Thy navel [is like] a round goblet, [which] wanteth not liquor: thy belly [is like] an heap of wheat set about with lilies.

Sgs 7:3 Thy two breasts [are] like two young roes [that are] twins....

Sgs 7:6 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!

Sgs 7:7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters [of grapes].

Sgs 7:8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;

Seems pretty close to Biblical porn to me.... I'm sure I could find some other disturbing scriptures, such as Noah getting drunk and sleeping with his daughter, Joshua committing genocide in Jericho, Abraham sending his wife Hagar and son Ishmael out in the wilderness to die....

Are you sure God wrote every word? How do you explain these misdeeds, and juicy scriptures?

Bishop Rick said...


There are many reputable people that testify of the stone and hat translation method, and after 1833, the seer stone and U&T were used interchangeably so references to the U&T do not necessarily mean that which was sealed up with the plates.

Witnesses to the stone/hat method include:

Emma Smith
David Whitmer
Martin Harris
Isaac Hale
Michael Morse
Joseph Knight Sr.
Oliver Cowdery
William Smith

Also, I'm not following how your quote signifies that the plates and U&T were taken prior to the lost pages. When I read your quote I don't come away with that impression. I can see where you might make that determination, but it is definitely not clear.

Bishop Rick said...

I forgot to include BH Roberts in the list of those supporting the stone/hat method. BH states that both methods were used after the power of translation was restored. He is the only person I can find that states both methods were used after. All other references were one method or the other, but as I previously stated, the U&T was a common reference for the seer stone after 1833 when most references were made.

Bishop Rick said...

Me again.

Here is an article in the Deseret News April 11, 2008 quoting Daniel C. Peterson (BYU Professor) stating clearly that the stone/hat method was the actual method of translation.

Zelph said...

Hi, Mormon Heretic.

Have you seen Zeitgeist The movie?

I found it interesting, but I found a lot of things that I would like to investigate further. Part one deals with an astrological basis for the mythology in the Bible. The other parts deal more with big conspiracy theories.

I wanted to get your opinion on the astrological theory. Without watching the whole 2 hours, these are the parts that deal with astrology and the Bible. I don't know nearly enough on the subject to write a blog about it, but I wanted to get your opinion because I know you probably know a bit about it.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I found many of the claims intriguing and worth investigating further, but add that to the long list of things to look into and I wouldn't even know where to begin.

Mormon Heretic said...

Zelph, you're the second person who's recommended Zeitgeist to me, so I'll have to watch it this weekend. I've got 2 hours. If I can download it, perhaps I can watch during Sunday School.... :)

I'm not real expert on astrology, but I will say that the 3 Wise Men were astrologers. When you really understand this point, the whole "star in the east" story after Jesus birth is kind of like a psychic proclaiming Thomas Monson as the prophet. Does that build testimony in the prophet? Maybe for some, but it's a little unsettling at the same time...

For the record, the Wise Men visiting Jesus is just a weird story to me. The Wise men were not Jews, and were astrologers. But no manger scene is complete without them....

Some Biblical scholars have said this shows that Christ was born to save both Jews and Gentiles, but I still find this story odd...

Sorry, tangent police are coming--I thought this post was about seer stones...

tatabug said...


The quote did not signify that the plates were taken before the 116 pages were lost. It did however say that as a consequence of Joseph wearying the Lord to allow Martin Harris the priviledge of taking the pages to show to others, the Urim and Thummim was taken. It was returned when an angel visited him and he received the revelation contained in D&C 3. It was taken back again along with the plates as the angel left as a consequence of the loss of the 116 pages.

And yes, I am fully aware of the abundant testimony surrounding Joseph using the seer stone and hat during the translation. While I am convinced that he used a hat, I am not so thoroughly convinced at this time that a seer stone was used. At one time, I fully believed and accepted it, but having read other evidence, I am not as convinced. I don't deny that there is a very good possiblity that he used a seer stone for the translation, and I am fine with it if he did, I'm just saying that at this point, I am a skeptic...:)

I will check out the article you linked to later when I have more time. Thanks.

Elder Joseph said...

What I find strange and pretty disturbing about the whole mormon religion is that they claim to have

12 Apostles of Jesus Christ, supposedly ‘Special Witnesses’

The Prophet of God on the earth, supposedly in communication with Deity,

And two councillors which makes up what they call 'The First Presidency'

And yet non of them having anything to say publicly or in Sunday School classes about the Translation process or any other more truthful aspects of church history, meanwhile members are leaving the church over this (plus all the other accumulative problems)and families are being torn apart as a result of one or more family members discovering the deceptive nature of the church, its teaching methods and phoney historical events.

Yet these 'men' remain silent over this and everything else and instead continue in absolute arrogance to just play the part of supposed 'Special Witnesses Of Christ',whilst ordinary members like Tata are busting their asses off trying to rationalise,explain,play apologist etc and stem the growing tide of disaffection , resignations and inactivity.

No one speaks for the church, not even its leaders on these matters……….

These so called inspired men are more preoccupied just looking in the mirror at themselves and seeing if they look the part of Inspired Apostle….. I can see Baby Eyring looking in the mirror practicing his breakdowns and tears , Holy Holland rehearsing his ‘ well I guess I can tell you about this particular experience at least ‘( intimating, wanting us to believe that he can’t tell us about when he spoke face to face with Jesus Christ etc because its too scared)……. They are just a bunch of Actors and should be ashamed of themselves…..

I’m glad I won’t be in this church when revelation arrives that ‘ the Book Of Mormon is just Fiction , but that it was necessary to present it as real history for the sake of gathering Zion.’, in the same we had to spin an urim and thummim for the face and stone in the hat otherwise who would join the church ?

When I mentioned the hat and stone to my first missionary a 37 year old faithful member of 18 years and and she said that she never heard that before!?!? I was disgusted….. She has lost close meaningful family relationships over being duped into this church as a youth and what for??

A stone and a hat, the same one used for phoney treasure hunting scams…….

Meanwhile LDS missionaries are going round telling us all about the Urim and Thummim !What a farce

Elder Joseph said...

I meant 'sacred' ,not 'scared' for Holy Holland.. !

The real truth is he has never had any sacred event above what anyone else has had and would call sacred and justify his title of Apostle and Special Witness Of Christ.Neither is he an Apostle of, or a Special Witness of Christ...NON of them are.

Zelph said...

Hi, EJ!!

I know we spoke on youtube, but can you give people a recap on where you are?

Elder Joseph said...

Hi Zelph,

If you mean location ? I'm in the UK.

If you mean where I am in terms of LDS ?

Well I'm more sure than ever before its originated from a conman just like the JW one.

I'm considering getting more pro active and visiting all the recent converts(missionary enforced baptisms)in my ward with a fact file on the church and include a resignation letter for them.Many of them think they are not members anymore, not realising that they are being counted in the Annual membership Figures and that they have effectively given the church Ecclesiastical authority to treat them as just Inactives.

Around 80-90% of them don't come to church anyway and were simply love bombed and duped by the highly pressured but I guess well meaning missionaries.

I've also been watching Born Again Mormon Shawn McCraney on the Internet ! :) lol

Zelph said...

Tata- of all people, I can appreciate your skepticism ;) However, as I indicated, ask a historian LDS or non-LDS they will tell you head in the hat and seer stone.

EJ- That is a good idea, as most churches remove names of people from their roll when they stop attending, but the LDS church is the only one that keeps the names even when people surveyed they don't even consider themselves "Mormon". I believe that it would be a good idea to draw awareness to people that if they want to resign membership how to do it.

tatabug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tatabug said...

Sorry, messed up.


Historians don't have a monopoly on historical truth. Historians don't have all the answers. They just have to go off of what historical evidence is available whether it is reliable or not.

Regarding removing names from the records of the Church, I believe that the best thing to do is for members to request having their name removed if that is their desire. Suppose that the Church just started removing names simply because someone stops coming to Church. A person's Church record is not merely their name listed as a member. It includes their baptism and all other ordinances they've received. If they are removed, then so are those ordinances removed from them. It is a BIG thing for someone to be stripped of those ordinances, particularly if it is done without their consent. I know of many people who, after years of inactivity, returned to activity. How would they feel, knowing that they had been removed without knowledge or without their consent, and then have to have all of that ordinance work redone? Not to mention, wouldn't that send a message, that because of their inactivity, they are not counted among us? Now not everyone would care, but what about those who do, or those who eventually will?

Other Churches may not make membership such a big deal as we do. To me, that says membership in such a Church has little meaning, and I am little more than a warm body and a check in the collection plate. "Lost Sheep" are not counted or sought after.

Hi EJ! Good to hear from you again.

Elder Joseph said...

Hi Tata ,

You are one of my fave Mormons :)

I agree with you about the name removal and that it should only be for those who are sure they don't believe in the church or feel they were rushed into baptism and are not just 'inactive' believers.

I believe that would still amount to a few million people though.

Resignation is only possible because a church member (Norman Hancock LDS - Google his name for details) took legal action against LDS inc because they would not accept his resignation and instead insisted he was excommunicated.But he hadn't do any wrong which warranted that definition.

Prior to that, to get out of the church officially it was only possible to be excommunicated and that was a slur and injustice on good peoples names who simply wanted out of the church.

As far as membership statistics go ,its well known about the church's past baptismal abuses from using dead peoples names, mentally ill people,poor people etc back in the Latin American missions to baseball baptisms of kids in Europe to todays High Pressure and Manipulation tactics used by the Highly stressed and pressured sales led missionaries.

The church is clearly is using its baptism figures to give the impression of healthy growth for PR reasons whilst underlying there is real discent in the church from what I can find out.

Greg Dodge in charge of resignations and membership processing will not divulge any information about the true state of statistics.

I believe Mormonism has reached a critical moment where there is a real chance in the future of writing off the Book Of Mormon as Literal True and Real History of Real people, together with the POGP.

That will also cause a mass exodus ... And until then the church will continue loosing members because of it.

They loose either way,simply because the foundation is built on lies and deception.

Here is the link to the Latin American mission abuses as admitted by current temple President in the Santiago Chile LDS Temple and ex Mission President Ted Lyon.

Bishop Rick said...

Oh sure, EJ gets a "nice to hear from you again" but I get nothing. Even after a "Hi Tata" comment. I am losing my testimony of Tata :)

Zelph said...


"I believe that the best thing to do is for members to request having their name removed if that is their desire."

I agree.

"It is a BIG thing for someone to be stripped of those ordinances, particularly if it is done without their consent"

I understand your concern and agree with you. I just feel it is important to draw awareness. There are many inactive members of the church that would have their names removed if they knew how or even knew they could. I am just about drawing awareness for those that might want to do that. I haven't reached that point, but only because of my family.

tatabug said...

I'm so sorry Bishop Rick. I could've sworn that I did say hi to you earlier in the comment thread, but after going over it again, I couldn't find it, so I guess I didn't.

Well, after having responded to you previously, I will now give you an official, "HI, BR!" It is very good to hear from you again as well. I hope this is a step forward in resolving any issues regarding your testimony.


Well, so many can be thankful that resignation is possible.

Bishop Rick said...

Let it be known that my faith in Tata has been restored.

Jake said...

That picture is fiction! Joseph translated the Book of Mormon from the Plates. NOT A HAT!!!

Anonymous said...

From Elder Joseph to Jake

The only thing thing fictional here are The Plates and Your Imagination.

Jake said...

That clip was fiction, man! It was YOUR IMAGINATION!!

Jake said...

I found a false quiz in the video. HERE'S THE REAL QUIZ!!!

1. Joseph Smith- Prophet or Fraud? Prophet!!!!
2. Did he really Study the Gold Plates like the Mormon Church wants us to believe? YES!!!
4. Working Diligently and True? YES!!!
5. Does the church understand how the Process of translation went? YES!!!
6. Is he really a translator? YES!!!
7. And for the Ensign's Magazine photo: HE IS A TRANSLATOR!!!
8. Does the Church lie to us? NO!!!
9. What about a Hat? FALSE!!
10. What about the Gold Plates? TRUE!!!
11. No he did not use a hat, he used the Gold Plates!!
12. Did he use a stone? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!
14. Did he even read any Gold Plates by translating? YES!!
15. Did all his Scribes and Witnesses see him translating from plates? Yes!!
16. They saw him translating from a Hat? NO!!
17. David Whitmer said, ''... The Translation went on alright.... He is Humble and Faithful.''
18. Emma Hale Smith said, ''A learned man could do this.''
19. All 3 and 8 witnesses of The Book of Mormon saw THE PLATES!!!
20. NO HAT!!
21. NO STONE!!
22. The Church wants us to know all things!
23. The Church hides NOTHING and there WAS A URIM AND THUMMIM!!!
27. What else are YOU lying about? THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH OF GOD!!