S A I N T S: “FAITH OVER EVIDENCE”…
“Martin pushed Joseph to give him more evidence that the plates were real. He wanted to tell the court all about the translation, but he worried people would not believe him. Lucy [Harris], after all, had searched the Smiths’ house and never found the record. And though he had served as Joseph’s scribe for two months, Martin had never seen the plates either and could not testify that he had.
“Joseph took the question to the Lord and received an answer for his friend. The Lord would not tell Martin what to say in court, nor would He provide him any more evidence until Martin chose to be humble and exercise faith. “If they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph,” He said, “if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you.”
~Saints: The Standard of Truth 1815-1846, 1:6:57~
Why do we call them the “Lost” 116-pages? Wouldn’t “missing” be more accurate? Joseph’s panic in the 1830 edition ‘preface’ of the Book of Mormon (https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/book-of-mormon-1830/9), and his constant reference(s) to it in the early chapters of Nephi, lead the reader to feel there was some underhanded, even devious plot by Satan to trick people with a “bait and switch” technique which amounts to nothing more than paranoia. It’s no small wonder that this bizarre ‘preface’ rant was only included in the first edition.
What might be more fitting would be the “destroyed” 116-pages. It’s likely that Lucy Harris burned the manuscript in their fireplace.
Martin persisted in his attempt to see the plates. Joseph assured him that if he was faithful, he could be one of the three special witnesses. Ironically, of the twelve ‘witnesses’ to the Golden Plates, there is no documented evidence that any one of them, apart from Joseph, had ever seen them naturally, with the naked eye. All later testimonials included seeing them supernaturally.
With such flimsy testimony, one is left to wonder if even Joseph himself ever saw the Golden Plates.
Martin continued badgering Joseph, and ultimately the young Prophet acquiesced by presenting him with a revelation; now part of the Doctrine and Covenants.
In this vision, Joseph exclaims a notion that seems to be a commonly held misconception today: Believing is better than seeing…
“[T]hey would not believe you,” it states, even “if it were possible that you should show them.”
~D & C 5:7~
This type of evasion fits in well with Joseph’s previous occupation in juggling/magic and con-artistry. It also nestles in nicely with religious adoration. Indeed, this type of thinking ultimately gave us the famous LDS couplet “Faith Precedes the Miracle.” A dangerous way to find answers.
Think about it. Joseph Smith now has 21st Century canonized LDS scripture proclaiming that no one would believe him, even if they SAW the Golden Plates! In a way, I might agree with him, particularly if they were (instead) a brick; as was seen in one case, or a crudely constructed set of tin pages.