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How the Book of Mormon was Found and Translated

Joseph Smith at the age of 16 ( maybe 14,15 or 17) was led to the site of the plates by the angel Moroni, Joseph was instructed not to remove the items until he was given permission. He visited the location each year for four years, until he was told that the time had come for these scriptures to be translated. Joseph Smith said of his visitation: "He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang." (Joseph Smith History, verses 33-34)

From these plates came the Book of Mormon, translated by Joseph Smith from "Reformed" Egyptian characters, inscribed on the gold plates. Or is it?

Orson Pratt an early Mormon apostle said," this book must be either true or false, if false it is one of the most cunning wicked bold deeplayed impositions ever pawned upon the world. Calculated to deceive and ruin millions who will really receive it as the word of God and suppose themselves securely built upon the rock of truth, until they are plunged with their families into hopeless despair. The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such if true no one can possibly be saved and rejected. If false no one can possibly be saved and receive it. If after a rigid examination it be found an imposition it should be extensively published to the world as such the evidences and arguments upon which the imposter was detected should be clearly and logically stated. So that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived may perceive the nature of the deception and be reclaimed. And that those who continue to publish the delusion may be exposed and silenced by evidences adduced from scripture and reason." (the Divine authority of the book of Mormon)"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publishes many pictures of Joseph Smith dictating the Book of Mormon. The illustrations show Joseph carefully examining the gold plates in front of him while he is seated at a table. The impression given is that a careful translation and dictation was involved. That Joseph was looking at the gold plates in front of him, then spoke out what he saw on the plates to his scribe. But this is not the actual way it transpired.  

This is an intentional misleading on their part, and they know it.

How did he really translate this reformed Egyptian into the English language? David Wittmer one of the three witnesses of the book of Mormon writes in his book addressed to all believers In Christ telling us how 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 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 on that appeared the writing one character a time would and under was an 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)

The writing would appear one character at a time Joseph would read it off to Oliver Crowley his principle scribe (Emma his wife and Martin Harris were also scribes. When Oliver wrote it down, he would then repeat it back to Joseph to see if it was correct. If correct it would then disappear then another character with the interpretation would appear in the seer stone. Interestingly the plates that he was supposedly were translating from were not nearby. They were well off to the side covered up.

Others bear witness to this as the means of translation. "'Martin explained the translation as follows: 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, that 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.'" (Myth of the Manuscript Found, Juvenile Instructor Office, 1883 edition, page 91)

According to Joseph Smith's own father-in-law, Isaac Hale, the young Joseph translated the Book of Mormon with the same stone 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)

The testimony of those who were eyewitnesses to Joseph Smith's dictating the Book of Mormon contradict his using the plates. These witnesses include all three of the Three 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 Smith’s wife, Emma Hale Smith. They all tell similar stories of Joseph dropping a magical seer stone into his hat, then burying his face in the hat in complete darkness and saw the words he dictated and proceeding to dictate the Book of Mormon. 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.

This is crucial to understand what is actually taking place. For years Joseph daily went into the woods with his father searching for buried treasure. A peep stone was used to lead them to the booty. It should be noted they never found treasure, but the angel Moroni supposedly found Joseph. It was during this time period (1823-1827) that Joseph had yearly visitations from the angel Moroni who lead him to find the Book of Mormon plates. This is the same period he used the stone (Urim and Thumim) to seek treasure. He had made a transition from the occult practice of the stone for treasure to a spiritual revelation of translating the gold plates.

4 years before the publication of the Book of Mormon, Joseph was arrested, jailed, and examined in 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.)

"'People of State of New York vs. Joseph Smith. Warrant issued upon oath of Peter G. Bridgman, who informed that one Joseph Smith of Bainbridge was a disorderly person and an impostor. Prisoner brought into court March 20 (1826). Prisoner examined. Says that he came from town of Palmyra, and had been at the house of Josiah Stowell in Bainbridge most of time since; had small part of time been employed in looking for mines, but the major part had been employed by said Stowel on his farm, and going to school; that he had a certain stone, which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold-mines were a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and informed him where he could find those treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them: that at Palmyra he pretended to tell, by looking at this stone, where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra he had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was, of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account its injuring his health, especially his eyes--made them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having any thing to do with this business," (New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. 2, p. 1576) (Fraser's Magazine, Feb. 1973, p. 229)

Joseph Smith, being the Lord's chosen instrument, became the prophet of the Mormon church, holding the office of Seer. According to the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 8:13, A Seer can translate records that are untranslatable. Joseph Smith was a seer able to translate the golden plates into the Book of Mormon by his Seer abilities not by the plates themselves. This whole concept of finding the book of Mormon on plates is a sham. One can only wonder why he had to wait for Moroni to reveal the plates, when he could have used his seer abilities to accomplish it all along. And then the plates are conveniently gone so no one can see them today is also an excuse for the proof of how this all happened.

"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.)

Joseph's wife Emma Hale Smith was the first person to serve as his scribe. Here is what she recounted to her son Joseph Smith III: "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." ( History of the RLDS Church, 8 vols. (Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1951), "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," 3:356.

. . . 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.

So why have the revealing of the plates if they were not used in the process?

This what is called clairvoyance, It is the power of discerning objects not present to the senses. It certainly is not Gods power

The eyewitnesses to the translation of the Book of Mormon describe a different method than the one depicted by the LDS Church. Furthermore No prophet used any object like this to translate parchments or hear from God.


In 1823 an angel told him about two stones in silver bows - and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim - deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted 'seers' in ancient and former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book." (J. Smith History 1:35).

Joseph was to be the one to translate the plates with the help of the Urim and thumim. These objects were necessary for the translating process, but where were the plates?

Because Moroni taught that the "Urim and Thummim" were prepared by God "... for the purpose of translating the book," members of the Church of Jesus Christ accept that the entire Book of Mormon was translated by the use of the "Urim and Thummim." Church leaders continue to give this impression: But the eyewitnesses and participants of the dictation of the Book of Mormon describe a very different method than the one presented by Gods only true Church the LDS.

"But at the outset it must be recollected that the translation was accomplished by no common method, by no ordinary means. It was done by divine aid. There were no delays over obscure passages, no difficulties over the choice of words, no stoppages from the ignorance of the translator; no time was wasted in investigation or argument over the value, intent or meaning of certain characters, and there were no references to authorities. These difficulties to human work were removed. All was as simple as when a clerk writes from dictation. The translation of the characters appeared on the Urim and Thummim, sentence by sentence, and as soon as one was correctly transcribed the next would appear." (Myth of the Manuscript Found, 1883 edition, page 71)

Mormonism states "It was through the use of the Urim and Thummim that Joseph Smith was able to translate into English, from the gold plates, the Book of Mormon, consisting of over five hundred printed pages." " the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone." Convenience or necessity?

But he used the same stone he had to look for buried treasure. Isaac Hale, the father of Emma Hale Smiths wife, in an 1834 affidavit stated: "The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with a stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods." (Affidavit dated March 20, 1834, cited in Rodger I. Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New York Reputation Reexamined, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990), pp. 126-128).

Its amazing that no one in the NT period used the Urim and Thummim, there was no need for it, neither do we find any historical reason that it existed then.

The Apostle Orson Hyde claimed that the words appeared on the Urim and Thummim. He wrote a pamphlet in the German language entitled, A Cry From the Wilderness, A Voice From the Dust of the Earth. This pamphlet was translated into the English language by Justus Ernst of the Church Historian's office, and is reproduced in a thesis by Paul R. Cheesman. In this record the following appears:

"These were used in the following manner: These two stones, called Urim and Thummim, in diameter the size of an English crown (coin) only a little thicker, were placed where all light was excluded. The persons using these offered their prayers to the Lord, and the answer became visible, written in letters of light on the Urim and Thummim, but disappeared again soon after. Thus: 'The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.' In this manner the sacred records were translated into English." (An Analysis of the Accounts Relating Joseph Smith's Early Visions, A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of Graduate Studies in Religious Instruction, Brigham Young University, May, 1965, by Paul R. Cheesman, page 167)

This quote should be noted, that it is found in Jn.1 and it speaks about the person of Christ incarnating on earth. Not about translating a book through sticking ones head in a dark hat and seeing words pass by on a stone.

Also in Doctrines and Covenants 9:7-10 they were to "study it out in your mind," and if the translation was correct, "your bosom shall burn," otherwise "you shall have stupor of thought." Through the experience of burning gave a testimony. Seducing Spirits bear witness to lies, they work well through occult methods. To have a stupor of thought is not beneficial in any manner, this means one is dependent on their feelings the very thing that can deceive us.

Biblically, What is the term "Urim and Thummim"? It is mentioned seven times in the Old Testament (Exodus 28:30; Leviticus 8:8; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65; Deuteronomy 33:8; Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 28:6 — in the latter two passages "Urim" is used by itself.). In these passages the Urim and Thummim are presented as a means of divine revelation, and are frequently associated with the garments of the High Priest, the ephod and breastplate. The Bible gives no description of the object(s) that constituted the Urim and Thummim, nor of the manner of their use.

Lev. 8:8-10  "Then he put the breastplate on him, and he put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastplate.9And he put the turban on his head. Also on the turban, on its front, he put the golden plate, the holy crown, as the LORD had commanded Moses.10Then Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. This was uniquely tied to the tabernacle notice he was also to have the breastplate. This was the emblem of the priests' office. It was made to be worn on the chest of the high priest ONLY.

Exod 28:35-36 "And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die."You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD." This was for the priest to enter the tabernacle. Smith had no tabernacle, since it was a temporary dwelling for Israel in the wilderness. And what he is proposing is that the Lamanites had taken the Urim and Thummim to America from Israel. Not only is this not mentioned but it is absurd since it is not being used in Ezra.2:63 and Neh 7:65 (450 BC)the time period after they had left. But I would not expect the Mormons to know this since they are students of the bible.

The Hebrew meaning of Urim and Thummim, means lights and perfections. It was a means by which God revealed His will to men. So the Urim and the Thummim was used for determining God's will. It had limited use in that it would ONLY answer yes and no questions. The very word "light" shows in what way it would answer. If the answer was yes, it would light up; if the answer was no, it would not light up. Nowhere is this Tabernacle exclusive element used to translate words but to inquire from the Lord on things that may not have been written.

Mormons claim that the servants of God who were allowed to use the Urim and Thummim have been known as seers (Mosiah 8:13). Among them were Abraham, Moses, the brother of Jared, Mosiah 2, Alma1, Helaman1, Moroni 2. Here's the problem. Neither Abraham used them since they were given first to the high priest in tabernacle and Moses certainly did not use it, since he was not a high priest. As far as the rest of the list, does it matter?   If they couldn't even get the bibles record right they certainly can invent a string of people that did not exist to use it as well!

Five examples where the Urim and Thummim are used in action are Joshua 7:14-18 (in determining Achan's sin), I Samuel 14:37-38, 22:20 in comparison with 23:6-12, 30:7-8, and II Samuel 2:1. When Joshua succeeded Moses, he was to have answers from the Urim through Eleazar the priest Num. 27:21. It is next mentioned in Moses' dying blessing upon Levi, It became the possession of the tribe of Levi and stayed in their possession exclusively. Deut. 33:8.

It provided no answer for Saul when he inquired of the Urim and the Thummim (I Samuel 28:6). Ezra 2:63. states that it was one not in use in the second temple Nehemiah 7:65 states the same point as well. It no longer was used of God after the temple was built. Some think the Urim and Thummim is identical with the twelve stones on the breastplate. Josephus (Ant. 3.8.9) identifies them with the sardonyxes on the shoulders of the ephod and says that they were bright before a victory or when the sacrifice was acceptable, dark when any disaster was impending. "

It was used exclusively for the tabernacle in the wilderness not in the temple .The Urim and Thummin are not found in use after the time of David (about 1,000 BC.) This was used for the high priest in the tabernacle in the wilderness. Since the tabernacle is gone and Jesus is now the eternal high priest all this is inoperative for any preisthood. Joseph Smith because of his lack of biblical understanding is promoting a lie.

As a high priest which must come from the tribe of Levi ONLY (Smith claimed to come from the tribe of Benjamin, again bible illiterate). He would be killed approaching the tabernacle and certainly has no authority to use these elements.

The term "Urim and Thummin" is not found in the Book of Mormon and was never used by Joseph Smith in referring to produce the Book of Mormon until after the year1833. In its original form as Chapter 9 of the 1833 Book of Commandments, the revelation makes no mention of the Urim and Thummim. The mention of the Urim and Thummim in Doctrine and Covenants 10:1, dated "summer of 1828," was written back into this revelation afterwards at a later date. It first appears in the 1835 edition of Doctrine and Covenants (commandments) 10:1, found in Section 36.

When Joseph first announced the discovery of gold plates with strange engravings, he also claimed there were special spectacles called "Interpreters" that were with the plates. Joseph said these were to help in the translation process.

Joseph Smith and others would refer to the seer stone both as "Interpreters" and as the "Urim and Thummim." Just because he called them this, does not mean they actually were that. Considering all the stories and exaggerations of Smith we can rightly assume it was not. How?  Because of the testimonies of the witnesses.

David Whitmer one of the three witnesses gives testimony that the entire Book of Mormon text came through Joseph's seer stone in a hat. This is the same stone he used for buried treasure with his dad and was found guilty of glass looking. This is what we can assume Joseph considered the Urim and thummim the same object he used in his occult practices.

W.W. Phelps, speculated that the ancient Nephite interpreters mentioned in the Book of Mormon and by Joseph Smith might be the Urim and Thummim of the Old Testament. Phelps wrote in the LDS publication The Evening and Morning Star (Jan. 1833) that the Book of Mormon had been translated, "through the aid of a pair of Interpreters, or spectacles — (known perhaps, in ancient days as Teraphim, or Urim and Thummim) W.W. Phelps, Evening and Morning Star, vol. 1, no. 8, p. 2)

"Martin Harris related an incident that occurred during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: 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 that 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."( Edward Stevenson, "One of the Three Witnesses," reprinted from Deseret News, 30 Nov. 1881 in Millennial Star, 44 (Feb. 6, 1882): 86-87)

The dead speak

Mormonism from its inception has been engrossed in trafficking with the dead. Spirits of the dead visit Smith and others. This continues even today in their temple ceremony. Joseph Smith said, "The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 7).

The Mormon Apostle Orson Hyde claimed that the words appeared on the Urim and Thummim. He wrote a pamphlet in the German language entitled, A Cry From the Wilderness, A Voice From the Dust of the Earth. This pamphlet was translated into the English language by Justus Ernst of the Church Historian's office, and is reproduced in a thesis by Paul R. Cheesman. In this account the following appears:

Their continuing occult connections is described by LeGrand Richards, in his famous missionary book, A Marvelous Work and Wonder. He describes the biblical prophesies fulfilled by the Book of Mormon. He uses Isaiah 29:4 as the proof text of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon: "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust."

Richards comments, "Now, obviously, the only way a dead people could speak "out of the ground" or "out of the dust" would be by the written word and this was done through the Book of Mormon. Truly, it has a familiar spirit, for it contains the words of the prophets of the God of Israel."

This does not help their case for Book of Mormon scholarship, the Hebrew word for "familiar spirit" in Isaiah means necromancer, contacting the dead or a spirit of witchcraft. There are 15 Old Testament references to familiar spirits and all of them deal with witchcraft. The word for whisper here also means "chirp or peep", in the same context. This practice is forbidden in the bible but is claimed to be inspirational in the book of Mormon.

Mormons who use his words as evidence that the Book of Mormon has this same "familiar spirit," are bearing witness to witchcraft, sorcery which God forbids. At least the One God of the bible.

 When Joseph Smith "translated" Isaiah 8:19 into the Book of Mormon, the words were purposely changed to read, "And when they shall say unto you: Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutte - should not a people seek unto their God for the living to hear from the dead?" (2 Nephi 18:19 ) Notice how the two questions merged. Instead of the prophet admonishing the people to choose between God's way and the pagan tradition, Smith gave a stamp of approval on the practice of necromancy. There should be a period after the first quote ending with peep and mutter. Further the author states in v.20 to the law and the testimony, if they do not speak according to THIS WORD, it is because there is no light in them." What word? The bibles, which condemns what Smith is trying to promote.

The Bible addresses this term elsewhere in Lev.19:31,20:6, 27 and Deut.18:9-12. Those references obviously show that anyone or anything which has a familiar spirit is an abomination before God. A person with a familiar spirit is a medium one who is on friendly terms with demons. Isaiah uses the phrase identically in Is. 8:19 and 19:3, so it is clear he fully understands what a familiar spirit is.

The stone or stones were used for many things in the church. In Deut. 18 it tells not to be an enchanter or sorcerer. This is a familiar practice of using stones for healing and seeing the future or communicating to what people think is God. The Urim and thummim were not used for man to communicate to God but God communicating to man, with a yes or no answer. It was for Israel only through the high priest and it was rarely used even in the wilderness.

Hiram Page was a early convert who left the Mormon Church in 1838, "Hiram Page Born in Vermont 1800; baptized April 11, 1830; withdrew from the Church, 1838; died in Ray Co., Missouri, August 12, 1852." (The Articles of Faith, James E. Talmage, page 503)

Page had a vision in 1830 about the location of Zion and the New Jerusalem "Early speculation as to the site of New Jerusalem. When it was made known that the New Jerusalem was to be built in America, the saints began to wonder where the city would be. Hiram Page, one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, secured a "peep stone" by means of which he claimed to receive revelation for the Church. Among the things he attempted to make known was where this city was to be built, Considerable commotion naturally prevailed, and even Oliver Cowdery was deceived into accepting what Hiram Page had given. The Prophet Joseph Smith had some difficulty in correcting this evil and composing the minds of the members of the Church." (Doctrines of Salvation, Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 3:75)

"To our great grief, however, we soon found that Satan had been lying in wait to deceive, and seeking whom he might devour. Brother Hiram Page had in his possession a certain stone, by which he had obtained certain revelations concerning the upbuilding of Zion, the order of the Church ,..." History of the Church, 1:109-110).

"And again, thou shalt take thy brother, Hiram Page, between him and thee alone, and tell him that those things which he hath written from that stone are not of me and that Satan deceiveth him;" (also note the historical heading - Sept. 1830, Doctrine and Covenants 28:11; History of the Church, 1:111) It seems only Joseph was allowed to use this occult stone, had Hiram stayed with the Church they may not have blamed Satan as the inspiration through the stone , but approved instead.

As there own proclamation states, Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and divinely commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground, if Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement the scriptures." (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, page 188 by Joseph Fielding Smith.)

After looking at just a small portion of the evidence of how the plates were translated. Since there is no Biblical validation for this. What is your judgment? Is it the power of God or the power of the occult?



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