“What does it all add up to? Does it merely mean that one of the ‘finds’ which the Latter-day Saints believed supported the Book of Mormon does not support it, and that there is no real blow dealt to the prophetship of Joseph Smith? Not at all, for as Charles A. Shook well observed – in a personal letter to the author – ‘Only a bogus prophet translates bogus [Kinderhook] plates.’
“Where we can check up on Smith as a translator of plates, he is found guilty of deception. How can we trust him with reference to his claims about the Book of Mormon? If we cannot trust him where we can check him, we cannot trust him where we cannot check his translations … Smith tried to deceive people into thinking that he had translated some of the plates. The plates had no such message as Smith claimed that they had. Smith is thus shown to be willing to deceive people into thinking that he had power to do something that could not be done.”
James D. Bales, The Book of Mormon? (Fort Worth 14, TX: The Manney Company, 1958), 98-99.