S A I N T S: “PLATES – SERVING NO PURPOSE”
“Joseph was growing into his divine role as a seer and revelator. Looking into the interpreters or another seer stone, he was able to translate whether the plates were in front of him or wrapped in one of Emma’s linen cloths on the table.”
Saints – Volume 1: The Standard of Truth 1815-1846 (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 2018), 50.
Could there be any better reason to discredit the LDS religion than the simple paragraph above? Let’s examine the evidence…
The Urim and Thummim: It was only used during the translation of the 116 lost pages. This strange device was evidently so sacred that it needed to be returned to the angel. Oddly, it wasn’t sacred enough, or even required for the translation of the Book of Mormon, since not a single word we have comes through its power. Also baffling, is the fact that it was carefully preserved for hundreds of years for no purpose whatsoever. Add to this, the Sword of Laban, the Stone Box, and the Liahona…never used and not shown to a single soul.
The Seer Stone: Held in a bull scrotum and carried with Joseph Smith wherever he went. This ordinary rock resides in downtown Salt Lake City, and it does not seem to possess any supernatural power, yet the church claims it was used for the translation of the entire Book of Mormon.
The Golden Plates: As with the Urim and Thummim, it became obvious they were inconsequential. As stated above, “he was able to translate whether the plates were in front of him or wrapped in one of Emma’s linen cloths on the table.” We can also add Isaac Hale’s statement to this…
“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 in the woods!”
Isaac Hale (Emma’s Father) Affidavit, “Mormonism,” Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian 9 (May 1, 1834):1, Montrose, Pa. Reprinted in The New York Baptist Register (Utica, New York) 11 (June 13, 1834); and E[ber]. D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville [Ohio]: Author, 1834), 262-66.
Evidently, for hundreds of years, the painstaking efforts of prophets to write, preserve, and edit records was of little value since Joseph Smith didn’t even need them in the room to translate the book!
Faithful Mormons become indignant when an accusation of “magic” enters the conversation. Unfortunately, there are too few options to otherwise consider. The matter is embarrassingly simplistic and the “Saints” narrative could only inspire the most credulous in our midst.
RE-rewrite: “Because of his treasure hunting capers in persuading the gullible to believe he had supernatural abilities, Joseph was eager to prove his newly-found and self-imagined gift as a seer and revelator. Looking into the interpreters or another seer stone, he was able to translate whether the plates were in front of him, wrapped in one of Emma’s linen cloths on the table, or even while they were hidden in the woods.”