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The founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, claimed an angel named Moroni visited him in September of 1823. This heavenly messenger is reported to have told him about gold plates that contained a record of "former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang." The plates were said to contain "the fulness of the everlasting Gospel" as it was "delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants." In order to translate the language contained on the plates (a language called "Reformed Egyptian"), two stones in silver bows, called the Urim and Thummim, were included with the plates (Joseph Smith History 1:34,35). According to Smith's testimony, four more years went by before the angel allowed him to retrieve the gold plates.
Joseph Smith said, "each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed" (History of the Church 4:537).
The question at hand, then, is whether or not Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon plates is true. If Smith truly was a prophet with the ability to decipher plates of an unknown language which were said to contain the story of Jesus' appearance in the Americas, then this man should be revered and his translation of this ancient work heralded as God's word to mankind. On the other hand, if the translation has no basis in fact, but instead is based on fraud, then it should be exposed and the man's teachings about God and faith should be debunked. This is the difference between the way Mormons and critics of the LDS Church view Mormonism's first prophet. What is the evidence?
The method in which Joseph Smith "translated" the gold plates has been a source of interest to many people who have studied the origins of the LDS movement. While many paintings and pictures used in Mormon visitor's centers and books depict a prayerful Smith leaning over the plates, many contemporaries of Smith admit that he used a hat and a seer stone as a means of bringing about this "divine" record.
In his Comprehensive History of the Church (CHC), LDS historian and Seventy Brigham H. Roberts quotes Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses whose name is found in every edition of the Book of Mormon since its original edition. Harris said that the seer stone Smith possessed was a "chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum." Harris went on to say it was by using this stone that "Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates" (CHC 1:129).
Martin Harris was one of the scribes Joseph Smith used to record the writing on the plates. This enabled him to give a first-hand account of how Smith performed this translation. Harris noted, "By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say 'written;' and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used" (CHC 1:29).
Harris' description concurs with that of David Whitmer, another one of the three witnesses whose testimony appears at the front of the Book of Mormon. Whitmer details exactly how the stone produced the English interpretation. On page 12 of his book An Address to All Believers in Christ, Whitmer wrote, "I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."
Robert N. Hullinger, in his book: Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism, cites a personal interview Emma Smith-Bidamon gave to a committee of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1879. He notes on pages 9-10: "Smith's wife Emma supported Harris's and Whitmer's versions of the story in recalling that her husband buried his face in his hat while she was serving as his scribe."
Dan Vogel also mentions Emma's 1879 interview on pages 98-99 of his book, The Word of God. "Smith's wife, Emma Smith Bidamon, was interviewed late in her life by her son Joseph Smith III about her knowledge of the early [p.99] church. This interview took place in February 1879 in the presence of Lewis C. Bidamon, her husband. At one point Emma stated the following: ‘In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us... .'"
In volume two of "A New Witness for Christ in America," LDS writerFrancis Kirkham notes that Joseph Smith's brother Williamalso confirmed the use of the hat and seer stone. His account is also similar to the accounts given by Harris and Whitmer although he refers to the seer stone as the "Urim and Thummim." He stated, "The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by the power of God" (2:417). William's account leads us to wonder why Smith went through the bother of digging up the alleged plates if he didn't even have to look at them during the "translation."
Martin Harris, David Whitmer, and William Smith all agree that Joseph Smith used a seer stone and a hat in the translation process. Interestingly enough, an article in the January 1997 LDS Church publication Ensign leaves out any mention of the hat and deemphasizes the seer stone. In fact, LDS Apostle Neal Maxwell, who authored the article, quotes Apostle Orson Pratt from 1874 as saying that Smith relied less and less upon the seer stones the more he learned how to translate (pg. 39). It seems odd that God would provide these instruments and then allow the translator to have more freedom as the translation went on. And it seems extremely curious that Maxwell makes no reference to the hat. In fact, a picture on page 38 shows the dutiful Oliver Cowdery writing down the English translation while Smith appears to be translating. In this picture there is no sign of the so-called seer stones or the hat. What could be the reason for leaving these items out of a publicity painting except to distance the translation from the ocultic practices that really characterized the Book of Mormon translation! The use of similar types of seer stones, or peep stones as they were also called, was quite common among believers in folk magic during the time of Joseph Smith. There is plenty of evidence to show that Smith, the one whom Mormons claim God used to restore the "true" church, was quite fascinated with the occult, as were members of his immediate family.
There is also evidence to demonstrate that the seer stone Smith used to translate the gold plates was the same stone which got him into trouble with the law in 1826. According to a court record dated March 20, 1826, Smith was brought up on charges of "glass-looking," a common scam in which the glass looker claimed to have the ability to find buried treasure (for a fee, of course). Obviously, many Mormons have tried to deny that Smith had anything to do with glass looking or money digging. Joseph F. Smith, Mormonism's sixth president, concluded that such a title was used by enemies to injure the prophet's credibility. He wrote: "He was called a 'money digger,' and many other contemptuous things. If you will look at his history, and at the character of his parents, and surroundings, and consider the object of his life, you can discover how much consistency there was in the charges brought against him. All this was done to injure him. He was neither old nor a 'money digger,' nor an impostor, nor in any manner deserving of the epithets which they applied to him." The problem with Smith's conclusion is that Joseph Smith admitted to being a money digger in an interview printed in the "Elders' Journal" (v.1, num.2, pp.28,29). (See also The Documentary History of the Church 3:29, and the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg.120.)
It seems apparent that the Book of Mormon was, in fact, brought about using an occultic method. If so many witnesses testify to Smith's use of a hat and a magical rock, why don't Mormon books and periodicals, for the sake of accuracy, emphasize the fact? Why do the pictures of Smith translating from the plates--as shown in the January 1997 Ensign--have him deep in thought rather than looking into a hat?
In our opinion, the answer to these questions stems from the fact that the earlier accounts are embarrassing to the LDS Church, so a better, more "faith-promoting" account has been proposed. Despite the early documentation, as provided by some of the witnesses of the actual translation, history has been revised to restore credibility to the original creation of the LDS Church. For instance, tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith, who previously served as an LDS Church historian for 50 years, denied Joseph Smith's use of the seer stone. He wrote: "While the statement has been made by some writers that the Prophet Joseph Smith used a seer stone part of the time in his translating of the record, and information points to the fact that he did have in his possession such a stone, yet there is no authentic statement in the history of the Church which states that the use of such a stone was made in that translation" (Doctrines of Salvation 3:225-226).
Apostle Maxwell says the translation process should strengthen the faith of the faithful Mormon. He writes: "Our primary focus in studying the Book of Mormon should be on the principles of the gospel anyway, not on the process by which the book came forth. Yet because its coming so amply fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy of a `marvelous work and a wonder,' we may find strengthened faith in considering how marvelous and wondrous the translation was" (Ensign, January 1997, pg. 39). If this process should strengthen the believer's testimony, then why isn't the true process being told?
But Maxwell goes on. Although allowing for the possibility that seer stones could have been used by Smith, Maxwell says this did not mean Smith was translating letter by letter as the earlier witnesses suggest he did. If he was using these "divine instrumentalities" to translate the language into English, "he was not necessarily and constantly scrutinizing the characters on the plates--the usual translation process of going back and forth between pondering an ancient text and providing a modern rendering...While the use of divine instrumentalities might also account for the rapid rate of translation, the Prophet sometimes may have used a less mechanical procedure. We simply do not know the details" (pg. 39). What is interesting in this assertion is that Smith, whom Maxwell admits did not know any ancient languages and was said to be ignorant of the facts in his Bible, could have improved his translation abilities without becoming proficient in the language he was translating! It also goes against the explanations of the earlier witnesses.
Maxwell also makes it a point to concur with Emma Smith’s account that there was probably no blanket or curtain hung between Joseph Smith and his various scribes during this process. Maxwell feels that a curtain/separator was used only to partition off the living area to keep the translator and scribe from the eyes of visitors. Again the LDS Church seems to be revising its history. When Bill McKeever visited the restored Peter Whitmer cabin at Fayette (NY) in April of 1990, a curtain was hanging between two tables where the translation supposedly took place. In the adjacent visitor's center a painting of Smith "translating" the plates also showed a curtain separating Smith and his scribe. Page 29 of the book, Meet the Mormons (1965 ed.), also shows a curtain separating Smith from his scribe Oliver Cowdery.
In conclusion, we feel that the move away from the actual facts of the translation process of the Book of Mormon demonstrates a lack of credibility on the part of LDS leaders. No doubt they understand that most people would balk in accepting the Book of Mormon if it was known to have been "translated" by using a magical rock and a hat. Eyewitness accounts clearly conflict with the image the LDS Church is currently attempting to portray. We pray that both the LDS people, and those investigating the LDS Church, will take a closer look at how this supposedly "sacred" book came about.
Paramount in the story of the Latter-day Saints is the account given by Joseph Smith of a visitation he received from the angel Moroni on September 21, 1823. He stated that after he retired to bed, his room became filled with light. At his bedside stood an angel who called Smith by name and told him that God had a work for the young boy to do. Smith claimed to have been told how, "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" (Joseph Smith – History 1:34).
Smith claims that he was not allowed to retrieve the buried plates for another four years. In verse 54 of his testimony, he related that the day he was allowed to dig up the record came on September 22, 1827. Mormon historian Leonard Arrington notes that, "Sometime after midnight in the early morning hours of September 22, Joseph and Emma drove to the hill, obtained the plates and hid them in an old birch log about three miles from the Smith home. With neighboring ruffians seeking the plates, thinking they were of great monetary worth, Joseph changed the hiding place several times and managed to keep them from being discovered and stolen" (Mormonism: From Its New York Beginnings, Dialogue, Vol.13, No.3, p.122). Eventually Joseph Smith would bring the plates home to be translated. His mother, Lucy Mack Smith, remembered the day this way:
"The plates were secreted about three miles from home... Joseph, on coming to them, took them from their secret place, and, wrapping them in his linen frock, placed them under his arm and started for home."
After proceeding a short distance, he thought it would be more safe to leave the road and go through the woods. Traveling some distance after he left the road, he came to a large windfall, and as he was jumping over a log, a man sprang up from behind it, and gave him a heavy blow with a gun. Joseph turned around and knocked him down, then ran at the top of his speed. About half a mile further he was attacked again in the same manner as before; he knocked this man down in like manner as the former, and ran on again; and before he reached home he was assaulted the third time. In striking the last one he dislocated his thumb, which, however, he did not notice until he came within sight of the house, when he threw himself down in the corner of the fence in order to recover his breath. As soon as he was able, he arose and came to the house. lie was still altogether speechless from fright and the fatigue of running" (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Smith, pp.107-108).
Smith stated, "These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed" (History of the Church 4:537)
Numerous LDS leaders and historians have concurred with Smith's description. As to the size and thickness of the plates there seems to be no dispute.
Paintings of Smith show him receiving the plates with outstretched arms or resting on his knee. Although these are just an artist's perception, these descriptions do cause us to ask, "If they really existed, just how heavy would those plates have been given the size and description by Smith?"
The answer to this question is varied. We do know that gold weighs about 1200 pounds per cubic foot. Given the dimensions by Smith, some have concluded that the plates could have weighed as much as 234 pounds to as little as 100 pounds. The heavier weight is based on what would probably be the total weight of a solid block of gold measuring the size of Smith's plates. This weight would tend to be unlikely given the fact that engravings on a thin plate of soft metal such as gold would probably not lay perfectly flat. If such indentions did tend to cause the plate to "bulge," it would also seem likely that the engravings would have been difficult to read.
Mormon metallurgist Reed Putnam estimates that if the plates were made of pure gold, they would have probably weighed around 100 pounds. In perspective, that would be like carrying a bag of Portland cement under one's arm.
The possibility of the plates being too heavy for Smith to carry has not escaped the notice of LDS apologists. To credit their founder with the ability to carry such a weight while running at "the top of his speed" would seem to conclude that Smith had no idea how heavy gold really was, thus making it appear that he fabricated this story.
Researchers for the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) have attempted to come to Smith's rescue. In a bulletin cover (number F-15) they provide an explanation for this anomaly. Entitled "Where the Gold Plates Gold?" it theorized that the plates were not made of pure gold at all. Rather, they theorize, that they were composed of an alloy called tumbaga. This Central American alloy, the article states, is made up of 8K gold and copper. In other words, the plates would have been primarily composed of 66% copper and only 33% gold.
The article debunks the notion that the plates could have been made of pure gold since "pure gold would be too soft to make useful plates." However, this argument overlooks Mosiah 8:9 in the Book of Mormon that mentions 24 Jaredite plates that were "filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold."
This argument also fails to take into account a photograph in earlier editions of the Book of Mormon that showed a "gold tablet found in Persia in 1961, dating to the time of Darius II (Fourth century B.C.), covered with cuneiform engravings." The caption went on to say, "This tablet is about the size of the gold plates of the Book of Mormon." In his book entitled An Approach to the Book of Mormon, Dr. Hugh Nibley also mentioned this parallel as evidence to the fact that Smith had plates of gold. If the plates deposited by Moroni were really an alloy made primarily of copper, why go to such lengths?
The FARMS' article supports the tumbaga theory by referring to William Smith, Joseph's brother, who was quoted in the Saints Herald (31, 1884, p. 644) as stating that the plates were a mixture of gold and copper. One can only imagine how William arrived at such a conclusion since there is no evidence to suggest that the plates were ever analyzed. Making William's statement even less credible is the fact that he admitted to having never seen the plates. He claimed, "I was permitted to lift them as they laid in a pillow-case; but not to see them, as was contrary to the commands he had received. They weighed about sixty pounds according to the best of my judgment" (A New Witness for Christ in America 2:417). FARMS insists that tumbaga plates would have weighed only about 53 pounds. In other words, it would be like carrying a sack of redi-mix concrete.
Despite the effort from FARMS to change LDS history, it appears that the tumbaga theory is not being taken too seriously. As recently as May 15, 1999, the LDS Church News ran an article entitled "Hands-on opportunity." Speaking of Joseph Smith, it read, "He had also been instructed by an angel, Moroni, who had met with him each year for four years. On his last visit, he was entrusted with plates of solid gold, which he had been translating by the power of the Spirit."
Keep this in mind the next time you stop at a hardware store. Pick up a bag of cement, tuck it under your arm, and imagine yourself carrying it for a distance of three miles running as fast as you can at least part of the way. For added effect you could jump over a display or two.
According to the Documentary History of the Church (DHC) 2:235, it was on July 3, 1835 when Michael Chandler "came to Kirtland (OH) to exhibit some Egyptian mummies." According to the record, "There were four human figures, together with some two or more rolls of papyrus covered with hieroglyphic figures and devices." Chandler's display so intrigued the Mormons living in Kirtland that they told the traveling showman how their prophet, Joseph Smith, had the ability to translate the papyri.
When Smith was shown the ancient writing, he claimed that he could translate them and proceeded to give Chandler a brief interpretation. Page 235 states that, for this service, Chandler gave Smith a "certificate" which said in part:
This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., in deciphering the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic characters in my possession, which I have, in many eminent cities, showed to the most learned; and, from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I find that of Mr. Joseph Smith, Jun., to correspond in the most minute matters.
How Chandler could make such a statement is a mystery since he was not an expert in this field. The fact is, there was nobody in the United States who at this time could claim to have expertise in the translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. The Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in allowing scholars to decipher the hieroglyphics, had only been recently found (1799) and whatever few "experts" there were in the Egyptian language resided in Europe.
In a way, Smith's bravado demonstrates his gift as a confidence man. Without any Egyptian linguists, he knew how difficult it would be to prove any of his so-called translations untrue. Since he had gotten away with this ploy for five years by claiming that the Book of Mormon was written in "Reformed Egyptian," why shouldn't this ruse work again? Smith seemed to use the limited expertise of his time to full advantage.
After obtaining the papyri, Smith "commenced the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics." In doing so, Smith proclaimed "that one of the roles contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt" (Documentary History of the Church (DHC) 2:236). According to the preface to the Book of Abraham, Smith believed his document was actually written by Abraham's "own hand written upon papyrus."
Imagine for a moment what a find this would be if, in fact, Smith had really discovered the writings of Abraham and Joseph. They would be priceless for they would be the oldest manuscripts available written by someone mentioned in the Bible. In fact, they would be the only autograph manuscripts available. To say the papyri obtained by Smith were written by both Abraham and Joseph would predate the Christian era by about 2,000 years!
For a sum of $2400, Smith's followers were able to convince Chandler to part with his exhibit, thus enabling their beloved prophet to continue "translating" the text. Smith would continue with this project, but he would not be able to finish it. Eventually he would be killed in a gun battle at Carthage, Illinois, and the papyri would be lost. Many believed it was destroyed in the great Chicago fire, never to be recovered.
In 1880 the Mormon Church canonized the Book of Abraham and it became part of the Pearl of Great Price. Standing side by side with the Bible, Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, this was included as part of Mormonism's "Standard Works."
In time more and more men would become familiar with the Egyptian language. In 1912 Smith's translation would be called into serious question by an Episcopalian Bishop named F.S. Spaulding. Spaulding published a 31-page booklet entitled "Joseph Smith, Jun., As a Translator." In it he included the findings of eight scholars who had examined the "facsimiles" or drawings which are found in the Book of Abraham. All concluded that Smith's translation was erroneous. The Mormons responded by soliciting the services of a man named J.C. Homans who wrote under the assumed name of "Dr. Robert C. Webb, Ph.D." Homans was neither an Egyptologist nor did he hold a doctorate degree. Although his arguments failed to convince the learned, they were enough to appease the faithful Latter-day Saint, so "testimony" once again reigned over fact.
In 1967 interest in the Book of Abraham again surfaced when the papyri Smith used in 1835 were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. They were eventually given back to the LDS Church. One would think that, if Joseph Smith were indeed a prophet who was inspired by God to translate the Book of Abraham, this would have been the perfect opportunity to have proved it. However, this was not to be the case. Experts once again proved Smith's translation was incorrect. Not only was Smith's translation bogus, but he completely missed the time period in which the papyri were written. Smith claimed his papyri were written by Abraham around 4,000 years ago; however, experts agree that the papyri go back only as far as the time of Christ.
Whereas Smith claimed his papyri told the story of Abraham's adventures in Egypt, the experts concur that what Smith had in his possession was nothing more than a portion of a funerary text known as the Book of Breathings, a condensed version of the Book of Dead.
Accompanying the written portion of the Book of Abraham were three illustrations or "facsimiles." Facsimile No. 1 shows one figure standing and the other lying on a lion-headed table. An examination of the Smith papyri shows that portions were torn and missing. Because of the torn condition of Smith's original, there is neither head nor hand on the standing figure, and the torso of the figure in the lying down position is missing as well (from just below the waist and up to the neck). This, however, did not prevent Smith from improvising. It is easy to notice that a human head has been pencilled in on the standing figure while a hand holding what appears to be a knife has also been inserted. Smith claimed this standing figure represents the "idolatrous priest of Elkenah attempting to offer up Abraham [the figure lying down on what Smith claimed was an "altar"] as a sacrifice." Above the head of "Abraham" is the figure of a bird Smith calls "the angel of the Lord."
Below the "altar" are figures which Smith said represented the idolatrous gods of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah, and Korash. Below these figures is the drawing of a crocodile; Smith labels this "The idolatrous god of Pharaoh."
As previously mentioned, this facsimile depicts nothing more than a portion of Egyptian mythology. Click here to see Smith's facsimile as well as an explanation from Dr. Richard Parker, Professor of Egyptology at Brown University.
Despite the fact that Smith's "translation" has been found to be incorrect in every detail, the LDS Church stubbornly continues to include Smith's pretended "Book of Abraham" as part of its scripture. Because many Latter-day Saints are encouraged not to question the authority of their founder, few delve into the facts which expose him for the fraud he is.
Creepy, but true. These are the secret handshakes done by Mormons in their temples. The first token of the Aaronic Priesthood, the second token of the Aaronic Priesthood, the first token of the Melchizedek Priesthood (sure sign of the nail) and the second token of Melchizedek Priesthood (the patriarchal grip).
These are the signs and tokens that Mormons must know in order to get into heaven.
Don't you feel more holy now?
A Believing Mormon Intellectual, Parts 1 And 2 Thursday, Mar 13, 2008, at 07:42 AM Original Author(s): Mormonstories Topic:VIDEOS-Link To MC Article-
BYU Professor Dr. Ted Lyon has served as an LDS (Mormon) mission president in Chile. He has also served as the president of the Chile Missionary Training Center. He is currently serving as Temple President in the Santiago Chile LDS Temple. In this interveiw, Dr. Lyon discusses some of the painful lessons learned from LDS missionary work in Latin America in the 20th century.
A former mission president to the Chile mission, BYU Professor Dr. Ted Lyon, has gone on camera and quite candidly talked about the completely dishonest practices of the church in that mission.
He admits that the activity rate there is 10-11%!!!!!
He talks about when he arrived as mission president that they had what they called "2 hour baptisms" and they were proud of it, and "made up baptisms" where they would simply make up names of baptized converts.
He also said there was 210,000 members that the church could not locate, and this puzzled him and he suggests that perhaps the names were made up..
This whole thing is sooo troubling on so many fronts. He even admits that the 13 million number was misleading as there is probably only 4 million active members.
I would like to ask him WHY the records department HAS NOT removed all of those membership records that he knew was obtained with dishonest means.
Later, completely unrelated, he rambles on about his first self induced emotional epiphany when he was 16 or 17 and how he always goes back to that experience when his faith faced challenges. Odd that a full grown educated man would trust his immature feelings...
Annnd later on he talks about why there is so much CONTROL over what is said by the leaders and how and IF it is disseminated.
OH oh oh "Rough Stone Rolling" is mentioned and they talk about "INOCULATION" for the members and tell the truth and whole truth of mormon history.. because like his own father taught, they don't want a 30 year old member finding out something odd about mormon history that WOULD CAUSE THEM TO LEAVE THE CHURCH.
Watch the whole thing.. amazingly open and VERY telling.
Visually Illustrating Joseph Smith's Wives To Provoke Thought And Start Evangelistic Conversations At The Manti Miracle Pageant Monday, Jun 16, 2008, at 08:27 AM Original Author(s): Aaron Shafovaloff Topic:VIDEOS-Link To MC Article-
Thirty Four women representing the wives of Joseph Smith got together in Manti Utah to show that Joseph Smith was indeed a polygamist.
Joseph Smith's Representative Wives Line Up at Manti:
On Friday there were 34 women represented. On Saturday it looks like there were only 27 women represented. For more pictures from evangelism at the 2008 “Manti Miracle Pageant”, scheduled to continue from next Tuesday till Saturday, see here.
For those of you new to the issue, I welcome you to check out the list on WivesOfJosephSmith.org.
Update: This is understandably odd and crazy to some of you folks, especially those who didn’t attend the pageant and see it for yourself. I’d be really careful not to pass quick judgment on the sweet women who put this together, and really careful not to make unfair comparisons from your own experiences from other contexts and venues. These are sweet gals who had patient, loving, delicate conversations with those who came up to them. I remember walking up to one Christian (dressed up as a “wife”) yesterday who had tears in her eyes. I asked her what the matter was and she simply said she was overwhelmed with sorrow over all the Mormon people at the pageant who were deceived by the Mormon religion. All around us were very cordial, very outstanding interactions going on.
Remember, they’re dealing with normal, regular Mormons, many of whom don’t even know Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. Some of them are reaching their friends, neighbors, schoolmates, and coworkers. I didn’t personally hear of complaints of the display being called offensive (although I’m sure I’ll hear them soon enough; it’s not fun for Mormons to have to explain to their fellow members the history represented by this), but I heard stories of Mormons expressing disbelief. For them this was the first time learning that Smith not only married over 30 women, but married over 9 who were simultaneously married to living husbands.
If one wanted to judge the event based off how effectively it educated and started good conversations, it was an extraordinary success. I fully support the women who had the evangelistic fervor and creativity to put this together.
Mormon Defense And Offense Pattern Wednesday, Oct 1, 2008, at 11:02 AM Original Author(s): Ulisscupple Topic:VIDEOS-Link To MC Article-
From the Ex-Mormon Foundation, Presentation about the Spalding-Rigdon Theory and the authorship of the Book of Mormon. Presented by Robert Hancock of the Southern Utah Post Mormon Association, Dec. 7, 2008.
Why bother doing actual research when you can just make shit up?
Debunking the idea that the macuahuitl presents a plausible candidate for the Book of Mormon sword. This case represents a typical line of reasoning that apologetics will employ when defending their beliefs:
1) Search for a plausible scenario in favor of my faith
2) Neglect to scrutinize the scenario for holes or fallacies
3) Thump chest in victory over the mean and nasty critics
4) Live in ignorance forever
Bias Bingo: How Cognitive Bias Generates Belief Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at 07:46 AM Original Author(s): Anticitizenx Topic:VIDEOS-Link To MC Article-
This video presents a case study of a typical (in fact, randomly selected) talk from the LDS General Conference. Throughout the talk, we pick out textbook bases of psychological manipulation, and show how they are used to instill ill-founded beliefs into the audience.
This demonstration represents how virtually all religious beliefs are generated. Basic human cognitive bias is brazenly exploited, while objective skepticism is frowned upon or ignored. Because the entire process is inherently manipulative and dishonest, such activity only serves as evidence against the integrity of religious beliefs.
My Name Is Chad Hardy, And I'm An (ex)Mormon Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010, at 01:06 PM Original Author(s): Chad Hardy Topic:VIDEOS-Link To MC Article-
"Disciples" explores the lives of three openly-gay ex-Mormons who all left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in pursuit of equality, sometimes at great personal cost. The film documents the unique experiences and challenges that gay men face in a religion that places a premium on so-called "traditional marriage." The Mormon church, through it's staunch support of Proposition 8 -- California's gay marriage ban -- has demonstrated its inability to help gay mormons bridge the gap between their sexual identity and their belief system.
The fact that sexual abuse is all too familiar to people both inside and outside of the Mormon Church was a major factor for me deciding to share my experience about sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, my story is many times brighter than that of many abused Latter-Day Saints. After coming to terms with the abuse and my feelings toward it I have been able to have open dialogues with my parents and friends.
Let me be clear, I was not told directly that I was to blame, I was not counseled by a bishop to believe that I had committed a terrible sin. Those judgements were based on my perception of god that I had learned through my experience in the Mormon Church and events in my life.
Many members of the Mormon Church who have experienced abuse, with its many faces, HAVE been told that they are sinners. For some, as it was for me, healing begins with and is sustained through self-love, and love from others.. For others, healing begins with the very retelling of the event. It is critical that there exists a space in which people feel safe to share the experiences of their lives.
If that safe, loving space is not found within the religious community a person is a part of, there is an obvious problem with the doctrine that is directing the leaders and members of said community.
In my experience, there is a problem with the directing doctrine of the Mormon Church where a person risks losing support of their loved ones when an individual makes an educated, heartfelt decision regarding their personal life.
I must clarify that, while I realize that certain situations with men make me uncomfortable based on my history, I am not, in any way suggesting that my queerness started with my sexual abuse.
Becoming skeptical about my belief in god opened my mind beyond the “laws of god” that I had been led to believe and had been taught that adhering to were my only option for “true” happiness.
I feel clean, I am happy, and most of all I am empowered. My eyes and heart are open to people, to their individual struggles, to their victories. We all deserve to feel and experience love and support.
While in the LGBT community formal rights are vastly important, the greater struggle is toward a literal rewriting of “social laws” to include and respect people of all sexual and gender minorities. As I mentioned, I am part of a campaign at Utah Valley University named “It’s Safe OUT Here” to move forward with the struggle to promote respect and include people of all sexual and gender minorities.
It’s Safe Out Here is calling for all LGBT and allied folks throughout Utah County and attending Utah Valley University to “come out of the closet” and share themselves and their stories with their associates, friends and families.
My personal goal is that through this campaign at UVU and in Utah County we can begin the deconstruction of homophobia, repeal negative consequences of stereotypes and pejoratives as well as build a healthy, open group of LGBT and allied peoples amongst, and hopefully someday with, Mormons.
My name is Emily Lacock and I’m an Ex Mormon.
My name is Pamela McCreary and I'm an Ex Mormon Monday, Aug 8, 2011, at 07:41 AM Original Author(s): Iamanexmormon Topic:VIDEOS-Link To MC Article-
I have posted a new video. In this two-part video, I will discuss (in the present video) Joseph Smith’s treasure-seeking activities in the Palmyra/Manchester area, and (in the next video) at various locations along the Susquehanna River running through Harmony, Pennsylvania, and the southern New York counties of Chenango and Broome. The purpose of this video is to explore some specific locations claimed for Joseph Smith’s treasure quests.