Can I get a Witness to the book of Mormon Translated?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has published many pictures of Joseph Smith dictating the Book of Mormon. These illustrations show Joseph, carefully examining the gold plates which are in front of him while seated at a table. The first impression given is that the dictation process involved Joseph looking at the gold plates in front of him, but this is not so.
Brigham Young related a story from the life of Oliver Cowdery in which Cowdery claimed that he and Joseph Smith walked right into the Hill Cumorah with the gold plates of the Book of Mormon and put them back on a table. In this huge cave were piles of gold plates and a sword with writing on it (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 38.).
The testimony of those who were eyewitnesses to Joseph Smith's dictating the Book of Mormon contradict this scene. These witnesses include all three official Witnesses of the Book of Mormon (the same individuals whose testimony appears in the front of every copy of the Book of Mormon), as well as Joseph Smiths wife, Emma Hale Smith. They tell a similar story of Joseph dropping a magical seer stone into his hat, then burying his face in the hat and proceeding to dictate the Book of Mormon. Joseph claimed to see in the darkened hat the words he dictated. Several of the witnesses noticed that the gold plates were sometimes not even in sight when Joseph dictated the Book of Mormon to his scribes.
David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon, tells us that Joseph Smith placed the 'seer stone' into a hat to translate the Book of Mormon: I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph 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 on that appeared the writing.. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English." Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man." (An Address To All Believers In Christ, by David Whitmer, Richmond, Missouri, 1887, p. 12)
According to Joseph Smith's own father-in-law, Isaac Hale, Joseph translated the Book of Mormon by the same means that he used to search for buried treasures: "I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called 'money -diggers;' and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face.... The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods!" (The Susquehanna Register, May 1, 1834)
Four years before the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph Smith was arrested, jailed, and brought into court in Bainbridge, New York on the charge of being "a disorderly person and an impostor" in connection with his use of a peep stone to search for buried treasure. While the evidence indicates he was found guilty of this charge, the young Joseph was apparently released on the condition that he leave the area .( Quinn, pp. 44ff.; and H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters, Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record (Salt Lake City: Smith Research Associates, 1994), pp. 70ff.)
The original court record of these charges were discovered in 1971. Mormon apologist Hugh Nibley, of Brigham Young University, wrote, "if this court record is authentic, it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith."( Hugh W. Nibley, The Myth Makers, p. 14, 1961) This is from 1826 Bill of Justice Albert Neely. (Courtesy Clerk of the Board of Supervisors Chenango County Office Building, Norwich, New York.)
It was this same stone that he used to translate the plates into the Book of Mormon. This shows that Smiths involvement with a counterfeit supernatural means was used to translate a book that contradicts the bible.
"I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation" (Interview given to Kansas City Journal, June 5, 1881, reprinted in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Journal of History, vol. 8, (1910), pp. 299-300.)
While the Mormon church wants to distance themselves from the occult connection there can be no other explanation but clairvoyance in the manner of which this translation occurred.
The Testimony of Three Witnesses
BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens.. And the honor be to the Father, & to the Son, & to the Holy Ghost, which is One God. Amen.'
Signed: Oliver Cowdery & David Whitmer & Martin Harris
This appears in the front of every book of Mormon even today but without their signatures! 2 Nephi 27:12-13 in the Book of Mormon had predicted, "Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that the three witnesses shall behold it by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered. And there is none other which shall view it. save it be a few according to the will of God." Notice the absolute statement "none shall behold it save it be the three witnesses" yet there were going to be a' few others afterwards!
1.Notice they state they were eyewitnesses to an angel delivering the plates
2. they saw the plates
3.they heard from God to bear witness and their witness is true
While Joseph was still "translating" the Book of Mormon., the Lord told him to have the three witnesses sign "Me Testimony of Three Witnesses" in the front of the Book of Mormon. (D.H.C Vol.I, pp.57 and 59, D and C I7:5-6). It says the witnesses saw the plates, and "we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God." They declared, "We know" because "his (God's) voice hath declared it unto us." As witnesses they could not read nor check the translation, but only repeat what they were told happened. They testified ..an angel" showed them the plates "by the power of God," and God's voice told them the translation was true.
"I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation"( Interview given to Kansas City Journal, June 5, 1881, reprinted in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Journal of History, vol. 8, (1910), pp. 299-300.)
What happened to the three main witnesses?
David Whitmer said in 1887: "If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to 'separate myself from among the Latter-day Saints...'" (Address to all believers in Christ, p.27, 1887) this voice he heard not being around J. Smith
William McClellin gained support of the three main witnesses.He previously served as one of the Church's twelve apostles, but departed from the Church believing that Joseph was a fallen prophet. He convinced David Whitmer to take charge of the new church, and Whitmer began to receive revelations in support of its new teachings. Nothing much became of this movement, and David Whitmer later formed his own church, based on the Book of Mormon, but not without teaching that Joseph Smith had led the Mormons deeply into error.
David Whitmer also testified that the entire Book of Mormon text came through Joseph's seer stone. This is the same stone he used for buried treasure with his dad and was found guilty of glass looking.
Was excommunicated from the Mormon church and afterward joined the Methodist church..In 1841 the Mormons published a poem which stated "Or Book of Mormon not his word, because denied by Oliver".( Seasons and Times, Vol 2, p 482) ..The Mormon church then accused Cowdery of Adultery claiming he had joined "a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, and blacklegs". .Joseph Smith listed Cowdery as among those, "too mean to mention" Before Cowdery died he said that the book of Doctrines & Covenants must be abandoned. Cowdery died, not in Utah, but at the home of fellow witness David Whitmer, who had also left the Mormon church. Whitmer makes it clear that Cowdery "died believing as I do to-day," which included a belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet, and that the Doctrine and Covenants contained false revelations (An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, pp. 1-2).
Was known for being very unstable religiously. Over his whole life he changed his affiliation over 13 times. He signed his name to a statement: "Testimony of three witnesses: We Cheerfully certify...The Lord has made it known to me that David Witmer is the man. David was then called forward, and Joseph and his counselors laid hands upon him, and ordained him to his station, to succeed him...He will be prophet, seer, Revelator and Translator before God." Signed Martin Harris, Leonard Rich, Calvin Beebe. This never really came to pass as Brigham Young became Joseph Smith's successor.
An early Mormon convert, Stephen Burnett sent a letter in which he explains why he decided to leave the Church:
...but when I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision and imagination, neither Oliver nor David & also that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it, the last pedestal gave away...I therefore three weeks since in the Stone Chapel...the reasons why I took the course which I was resolved to do, and renounced the Book of Mormon.
The Mormons stated of Martin Harris and a few other men within the pages of the church's official newspaper at the time, "a lying deceptive spirit attend them...they are of their father, the devil...The very countenance of Harris will show to every spiritual-minded person who sees him, that the wrath of God is upon him." (Latter-Day Saint's, Millennial Star, Vol. 8 pp124-128.)After being excommunicated from the Mormon church he mother Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers. Phineas Young, brother of future prophet Brigham Young, had stated that Martin Harris claimed his testimony for the Shaker faith was stronger than his testimony for the Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith himself question the integrity of at least four of the eleven witnesses Such characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them." (History of the Church, vol. 3:232 ) eventually almost All of these men are accused of lying, stealing, no integrity, apostasy, and dishonest business activities.
But Apostle John A. Widtsoe does not agrees with their founder. Despite clear instability on these witnesses and certainly fertile imaginations, Apostle John A. Widtsoe states The Book of Mormon plates were seen and handled, at different times, by eleven competent men, of independent minds and spotless reputations, who published a formal statement of their experience. (Joseph Smith, Seeker After Truth, p. 338)
What about The Testimony Of Eight Witnesses
"BE IT KNOWN unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold ; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Signed: Christian Whitmer & Hiram Page & Jacob Whitmer & Joseph Smith, Sen. Peter Whitmer, Jun. & Hyrum Smith & John Whitmer & Samuel H. Smith
While the most perfect book states only three witnesses eight more men are able to give their testimony in the Book of Mormon, found directly under the "Testimony of Three Witnesses." This is the changing mind of the God of Mormonism (or of Joseph smith) Doctrine and Covenants 5:11,13-15 states there are to be "only" three witnesses ,
"And in addition to your testimony (Joseph), the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things.... And unto none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation, .... And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word." Smith must have felt it necessary to prove this by an additional eight since he may have seen some doubt in the first three.
"we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man." (Book of Mormon, Ether 5:3,4 also says three witnesses shall be shown "by the power of God.") this power of God was in vision not by the natural eyes.
Martin Harris was asked, "Did you see the plates with your natural eyes, just as you see this pencil case in my hand? Now say yes or no." He answered, "Why I did not see them as I do that pencil case, I saw them with the eye of faith. I saw them just as distinctly as I see anything around me - though at the time they were covered over with a cloth."
When Joseph showed plates to the eight witnesses he had them sign a testimonial. Apparently, showing the plates to his father and brothers did not require the power of God, but supernatural power was needed for showing them to the three witnesses.What makes this interesting is that All of the witnesses (except Martin Harris) were related to Joseph Smith or David Whitmer?
By 1847 not a single one of the surviving eleven witnesses were part of the Mormon church. Five of these witnesses joined The Church of Christ started by William McLellin, and Oliver Cowdery indicated he was supportive of this group, though he never joined. (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy - Origins of Power, p. 188, Signature Books, 1994)
Yet Joseph Smith in May 1844 proclaimed this: "I have more to boast of than any man ever had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a church together since the days of Adam. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I." But his friends and relatives all apostatized.
Smith couldn't even keep his own witnesses together. When Jesus rose from the dead and the apostle Paul said to ask some of the 500 witnesses about the accuracy of his testimony (1Cor.15) do you think it would have had any weight if they all had a different story contradicting Paul?
Think about it, not only has there been no archeological proof of anything in their book, the original plates are gone, the earliest manuscript has been altered and all the ones that the book mentions as witnesses departed.
There's only one hope for a Mormon or anyone else to stand on the tried and true word of the Bible, this alone is GOD'S WORD.