Select Page


“[Martin Harris] told Joseph about his interviews with the professors and reasoned that if some of the most educated men in America could not translate the book, Joseph had to do it. “I cannot,” Joseph said, overwhelmed by the task, “for I am not learned.” But he knew the Lord had prepared the interpreters so he could translate the plates.”

Saints – Volume 1: The Standard of Truth 1815-1846 (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 2018),48.

Having been told he was up against a hoax didn’t seem to dissuade Martin Harris. Perhaps the fact that Joseph had succeeded in writing down a few authentic characters from a variety of cultures, mixed with gibberish, was enough to convince this rube that God was in the picture. If he was at all, it was in the warnings he received from Dr. Anthon to steer clear the scheme.

“Saints” leads us down a dangerous duel path in a single paragraph; the second listed above. Why the doublespeak and attempt at false humility by prefacing the fact that Joseph knew all along “he could translate the plates” while telling Martin “I cannot?”

The book us to believe that the ‘Urim and Thummim” were expressly designed for translation, but the ‘Seer Stone’ was for treasure hunting. Yet, as we will soon see, if the Urim and Thummim was used at all, it was only during the 116 pages written by Martin Harris’ quill, and not for a single word of the Book of Mormon as we have it today.

For some strange reason, the Lord went to all the work to supply the boy Prophet with the Urim and Thummim and Golden Plates, only for Joseph to realize that neither were essential to have present to compose his centerpiece.

RE-rewrite: “Undaunted by the poor reception he received, Martin told Joseph the translation process was up to him. Though Joseph felt he could do it by the power of God, he told Martin, “I cannot, for I am not learned.”