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Brodie reproduces the Reflector articles, as linked below: Article Number IV, February 14, Article Number V, February 28, July 7, Lucy Harris Joseph Capron. Only limited "fair use" excerpts presented here. Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, D. Brodie in to prove The Book of Mormon man-made. Everybody knew him when Manual 7 Title Page Chapter 7 excerpt Transcriber's comments. New Witnesses for God. Relative to the manner of translating the Book of Mormon the prophet himself has said but little. Of the Urim and Thummim he says: After describing the means the prophet employed to exclude the light from the "Seer Stone," he says: 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. History of the Church Vol. It was first published in the Deseret News of April 13, Bishop Reuben Miller, who was present at the meeting, reported Cowdery's remarks. He said that the Prophet possessed a "Seer Stone," by which.

He did not see the plates in translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be parchment on which would appear the characters of the plates in a line at the top, and immediately below would appear the translation in English, which Smith would read to his scribe, who wrote it down exactly as it fell from his lips.

The scribe would then read the sentence written, and if any mistakes had been made, the characters would remain visible to Smith until corrected, when they would fade from sight to be replaced by another line. Whitmer said of the Seer Stone and Urim and Thummim. If he meant to describe the Urim and Thummim or "Interpreters" given to Joseph Smith with the plates -- as seems to be the case -- then the reporter is wrong in saying that they were chocolate color and not transparent; for the "Interpreters" given to the Prophet with the plates, as we have seen by his own description, were "two transparent stones.

Martin Harris's description of the manner of translating while he was the amanuensis of the Prophet is as follows: Martin said that after continued translation they would become weary and would go down to the river and exercise in throwing stones out on the river, etc. While so doing on one occasion, Martin found a stone very much resembling the one used for translating, and on resuming their labors of translation Martin put in place [of the Seer Stone] the stone that he had found.

He said that the Prophet remained silent unusually and intently gazing in darkness, no trace of the usual sentence appearing. Much surprised Joseph exclaimed: Martin said, to stop the mouths of fools, who had told him that the Prophet had learned those sentences and was merely repeating them.

With the Nephite record was deposited a curious instrument, consisting of two transparent stones, set in the rim of a bow, somewhat resembling spectacles, but larger, called by the ancient Hebrews "Urim and Thummim," but by the Nephites "Interpreters. It should not be supposed, however, that this translation, though accomplished by means of the "Interpreters" and "Seer Stone," as stated above, was merely a mechanical procedure; that no faith, or mental or spiritual effort was required on the prophet's part; that the instruments did all, while he who used them did nothing but look and repeat mechanically what he saw there reflected.

Much has been written upon this manner of translating the Nephite record, by those who have opposed the Book of Mormon, and chiefly in a sneering way. I repeat, then, that the translation of the Book of Mormon by means of the "Interpreters" and "Seer Stone," was not merely a mechanical process, but required the utmost concentration of mental and spiritual force possessed by the prophet, in order to exercise the gift of translation through the means of the sacred instruments provided for that work.

Fortunately we have the most perfect evidence of the fact, though it could be inferred from the general truth that God sets no premium upon mental or spiritual laziness; for whatever means God may have provided to assist man to arrive at the truth, He has always made it necessary for man to couple with those means his utmost endeavor of mind and heart. So much in the way of reflection; now as to the facts referred to.

He told us that his mind dwelt too much on earthly things, and various causes would make him incapable of proceeding with the translation. When in this condition he would go out and pray, and when he became sufficiently humble before God, lie could then proceed with the translation.

Now we see how very strict the Lord is, and how he requires the heart of man to be just right in his sight before he can receive revelation from him.

Blakeslee, of Gallen, Michigan, under date of September 15th, , David Whitmer said of Joseph Smith and the necessity of his humility and faithfulness while translating the Book of Mormon: He was a religious and straight-forward man. He had to be; for he was illiterate and he could do nothing himself. He had to trust in God. He could not translate unless He was humble and possessed the right feelings towards everyone.

To illustrate so you can see: One morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I went up stairs and Joseph came up soon after to continue the translation, but he could not do anything.

He could not translate a single syllable. He went down stairs, out into the orchard, and made supplication to the Lord; was gone about an hour -- came back to the house, and asked Emma's forgiveness and then came up stairs where we were and then the translation went on all right. He could do nothing save he was humble and faithful. The above debate took place in , several years before the death of David Whitmer, and the statement from which the above is taken was quoted in full.

But we have more important evidence to consider on this subject of translation than these statements of David Whitmer. In the course of the work of translation Oliver Cowdery desired the gift of translation to be conferred upon him, and God promised to grant it to him in the following terms: Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell In your heart.

Now, behold, this is the Spirit of revelation; behold this is the Spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground. That is, the Prophet Joseph Smith looked into the "Interpreters" or "Seer Stone," saw there by the power of God and the gift of God to him, the ancient Nephite characters, and by bending every power of his mind to know the meaning thereof, the interpretation wrought out in his mind by this effort -- by studying it out in his mind, to use the Lord's phrase -- was reflected in the sacred instrument, there to remain until correctly written by the scribe By the probability of Joseph Smith's story, I mean, of course, the probability of the truth of his story concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon -- of Moroni revealing its existence to him -- of Moroni delivering to him the plates and Urim and Thummim -- of his translating the record by the gift and power of God, by means of the Urim and Thummim -- of his returning the plates to Moroni, who to this day, doubtless, has them in charge.

According to that word there have been ministrations of angels in times past; and there will be such ministrations to the last day of recorded time. As to the ministration of angels in the past, according to holy scripture, the reader will call to mind the circumstance of angels together with the Lord, visiting Abraham at his tent-home in the plains of Mamre, and partaking of his hospitality; of the appearance of angels to direct the flight of Lot from one of the doomed cities of the plain; of Jacob's physical contact with the angel with whom he wrestled until the breaking of the day; of the angel who went before the camp of Israel in its march from bondage, and scores of other instances recorded in the Old Testament where heavenly personages co-operated with men on earth to bring to pass the holy purposes of God.

Of instances in the New Testament, the reader will recall the ministration of the angel Gabriel to Zacharias, announcing the future birth of John the Baptist; of the angel who appeared to Mary to make known the high honor bestowed upon her in becoming the mother of our Lord Jesus; of the appearance of Moses and Elias to the Savior and three of his disciples, to whom they ministered; of the angel who rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, and announced the resurrection of the Savior; of the men in white angels who were present at the ascension of Jesus from the midst of his disciples, and announced the fact that the time would come when that same Jesus should come again to the earth in like manner as they had seen him go into heaven; of the angel who delivered Peter from prison, and a dozen other instances where angels co-operated with men in bringing to pass the purposes of God in the dispensation of the meridian of time.

With reference to the angels who in ages future from that in which the apostles lived ministering to men and co-operating to bring to pass future purposes of God, the reader will recall the saying of the Savior concerning the gathering together of the elect in the hour of God's judgment: Introduction; also "New Witneseep," vol. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit. Mormon by means of Urim and Thummim, or "Interpreters," as they were called by the Nephites, surely believers in the Bible cannot regard such a claim as impossible or improbable, since it is matter of common knowledge that the High Priest in ancient Israel possessed Urim and Thummim, and by means of them received divine communications.

I am not unmindful of the fact that a diversity of opinion obtains respecting Urim and Thummim of the scriptures, of what they consisted, and the exact use of them, but this I think may be set down as ascertained fact; they were placed in the breast-plate of the High Priest, and were a means through which God communicated to him divine knowledge -- the divine will.

He will also find an excellent article on the subject in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Hackett edition vol. Josephus' description of Urim and Thummim is as follows: And he was willing this should be known, not to the Hebrews only, but to those foreigners also who were there. But as to these stones, which we told you before the high priest bore on his shoulders, which were sardonyxs, and I think it needless to describe their nature, they being known to everybody: This has appeared a wonderful thing to such as have not so far indulged themselves in philosophy, as to despise divine revelation.

Yet will I mention what is still more wonderful than this: So also respecting Joseph Smith's claim to having found what he called a "Seer Stone," by means of which he could translate. That cannot be regarded as an impossibility or even an improbability by those who believe the Bible; for, in addition to the Hebrew literature giving an account of Urim and Thummim in the breastplate of the high priest, it is well known that other means were used by inspired men of Israel for obtaining the word of the Lord.

That most excellent of Bible characters, Joseph, the son of Jacob, blessed in his boyhood with prophetic dreams, and possessed of the divine gift of interpreting dreams, the savior of Israel in times of famine, and a wise ruler for a time of Egypt's destiny, used such media.

When the cup was found in the mouth of Benjamin's sack, Joseph's steward said to him: Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine? Now this breastplate and this sardonyx left off shining two hundred years before I composed this book, God having been displeased at the transgression of his laws Antiquities of the Jews, bk.

It is a reality sustained by Bible authority that there exists media through which divine revelation may be obtained, and hence to the Bible believers the claim of Joseph Smith concerning "Urim and Thummim," and the "Seer Stone," by means of which, through the inspiration of God, he translated the record of the Nephites, is not impossible nor even improbable.

But what shall we say to that very large number of people who do not believe the Bible? How shall we so appeal to them as to secure their attention in these matters? Addressing himself to those who questioned at least the likelihood of the resurrection, Paul asked: Or why should it be thought a thing incredible with them that media should exist through the aid of which inspired men may be assisted in translating records not otherwise translatable.

They live in the midst of ascertained facts respecting the universe, that such a thing as communication between the inhabited worlds of that universe ought to be looked upon as a thing so rational that to doubt its probability would be esteemed as folly.

They live in the midst of such achievements of man's ingenuity, and in the daily use of such marvelous instruments invented by men for the ascertainment of truth, that surely they ought not to stumble at accepting at least as possible, and even as probable, the existence of media possessed of the qualities ascribed by Joseph to the transparent stones he found with the Nephite plates, -- Urim and Thummim -- and the "Seer Stone," which he sometimes used in translating.

A word as to the first proposition -- viz. Of the change of view respecting our own earth and its relations in the universe, I have already spoken. The ascertained existence of millions of other suns than ours, evidently the centres of planetary systems being granted, the view that these planets are the habitation of sentient beings seems a concomitant fact, so probable that one is astonished, if not a little provoked, at that conservatism which hesitates to accept a hypothesis so reasonable in itself, and so well sustained by the analogy of the existence of sentient beings on our own planet.

The astronomers tell us some of these fixed stars -- these suns that are probably the centre of planetary systems -- have existed for hundreds of thousands of years, for so distant are they from us in space that it would require that period of time for their light to reach our earth, hence they must have existed all that time.

It is evident, then, that they are many times older than our earth; so, too, are the planets that encircle them. From this conclusion to the one that the sentient beings that doubtless dwell upon these planets are far in advance of the inhabitants of our earth, intellectually, morally, spiritually and in everything that makes for higher development and more perfect civilization, is but a little step, which rests on strong probability.

From these conclusions, again, to the conceived likelihood of the presiding intelligence of some of these worlds to which our earth may sustain peculiar relations of order or affinity -- having both the power and the inclination to communicate from time to time by personal messengers, or other means, to chosen men of our own race, -- but for the benefit or good of all, -- is but another step, not so large as the others, by which we have been led to this point, and one that rests also upon a base of strong probability.

And this is the phenomena of the visitation of angels and revelation testified of in the scriptures. Such phenomena are mistakenly considered supernatural and uncanny. They are not so really. In view of these reflections, why, I ask, should it be thought a thing incredible with scientific men that there should be such phenomena as the visitation of angels, or other means of communication, among the many planets and planetary systems which make up the universe?

Surely it will not be argued that it is impossible for sentient beings to pass from world to world, because man in his present state is bound to earth by the force of gravitation, and that the same force would doubtless operate upon the inhabitants of other worlds, and bind them to their local habitation as we are bound to ours.

The beings whom we call angels, though of the same race and nature with ourselves, may pass, and doubtless have passed, through such physical changes as to render them quite independent of the clogging force called gravitation.

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Joseph Smith: Nineteenth Century Con Man? Historical Sources

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