The Book of Mormon itself is a weighty, complex piece of evidence that Joseph
Smith was a prophet. He accounts for more pages of scripture than Moses, Paul,
Peter and John combined. He could have gone to FAR less trouble to establish
himself as others have done in founding a religion. The Book of Mormon reads
like a historical work with many characters, changing narrative and lengthy
timeline. All with a powerful testimony of Christ as the common thread.The reaction to Joseph Smith has been very similar to reaction to Christ and
His Apostles. The religious establishment considered Christ and Paul to be
"devils", Christianity was a "cult". Non believers took them
to be mad. Both groups persecuted them to death. The Reformers and others sought
for a Restoration (see Roger Williams' statement) and each church has sought to
restore one aspect or several (eg. Baptism, direct reading of Scripture). Each
offshoot of Protestantism has been persecuted and then become persecutor as
subsequent religions were founded. I wish all those who despise
Mormonism and Joseph Smith would take Gamaliel's advice.
I'm sorry but many of the historical moments you're cherishing as faith
promoting and actual "history" just are not factual. You can love
Joseph all you want but at least make it based on facts, not fantasy.
As one whose family tree includes many of those actors in the early church, I am
often discouraged by the constant white washing of our own history in this
church. The men were just that, just men. They were not "saints",
but people doing the best they knew how, and capable of mistakes, and poor
judgement.Claiming that any accounts that put any of these men in a
negative light have been deemed inaccurate is a total misrepresentation of fact.
Each and every one of them had failings, as do we. But the sum was much
greater then the individual failings each had. One of the most
dishonest things we do to our youth is the impression that those that came
before us were somehow able to live perfect lives, setting an unrealistic bar.
We would do them much more favor if we showed our youth that these men had their
own issues, but worked and fought to over come those. It is a message of hope
and repentance.But so long as we have historians who present tainted
images of the past, only harm can come when the full and accurate story is
Dr. Peterson: Another excellent article and, as always, based on logic, reason
and reality. Thanks for your efforts.
This article points out one important thing to me. It says that if the whole
thing was a fraud and many people were in on it so it wouldn't have worked
because over time their motives change and they would have gone separate ways.
Well, from what I see that is exactly what happened. Martin Harris went his own
way. David Whitmer went his own way. Most of the eleven witnesses went their own
ways. So strong was their visions of the plates and of god and of the seer
stones that they left the church. Not one or two of them, but nearly all of
them. That is a glaring fact.
"...he must have been either dishonest or delusional, or some hybrid of the
two."I have an extremely difficult time giving him the
benefit-of-the-doubt with respect to the Book of Abraham. His
"translation" of the three facsimiles are such a gross misrepresention
that any Egyptian scholar involved in a similar blatant distortion would be
exposed as a fraud and ostracized from the academic community. Understanding of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics during Joseph's time allowed
the perpetuation of his translation to go unchallenged. As a result, I believe
he felt he had nothing to fear regarding a credible challenge. As a result, it's
simply too hard for me to believe that he wasnt either "dishonest or
delusional" when it comes to this specific issue.
UtahBlueDevil, I share your disgust at seeing Peterson argue that Joseph Smith
and the other early Mormons were perfect, white-washing them to pretend that
they were without any flaws or errors. I simply can't believe that
he claims that! And when he goes on to maintain that they were all
seven-foot-tall blonde Asians, I'm left literally SPEECHLESS.Come
on, friend. He never made any such arguments.
"...he must have been either dishonest or delusional, or some hybrid of the
two."Why is it that the DN censors every post that mentions
Emma not knowing about Joseph's other wives. Is there a story here, please tell
us DN. Is it that the DN is still harboring the past church feelings of Emma as
pariah. I understand that Emma is now accepted as an elect lady. So why the
"But mere subjective delusion within Joseph's mind cannot explain the
material objects the sword of Laban, the Liahona, the plates, the breastplate
and the "interpreters"." Yeah, but if you really
believe what the witnesses said, then you believe that these objects are now in
a cave in the Hill Cumorah, a cave with apparently magical power that opens up
to allow people to enter. So why don't we go to the hill and verify whether or
not there is a cave full of "material objects"?The answer
is that not even Mormon scholars believe that those objects are there, or they
believe that some supernatural power prevents their discovery, in which case I'm
not sure we can call them "material objects."
All of the non believers are having fun. Peterson did not say Joseph Smith was
perfect. He said that the evidence does not reveal a scam artist. Nor does it
reveal a delusional fool. He was a prophet and he was a man who made
mistakes.Some of the witnesses may have left the church, but none of
them ever recanted their testimonies.
Thank you DN for finally allowing me to post my question and concern about
Joseph deceiving Emma with his involvment in plural marriages. My question is
the same as many of todays concerns of how can you trust or believe someone who
lies and cheats on their spouse: the person who is their best friend and who
they have sworn to honor and obey, etc. If their spouse can't believe or trust
them, then how can anyone else be expected to. It is a simple honest question
that I would like Mr. Petersen to answer.
Joseph Smith, was a magnanimous man, whose heart and soul sparkled excitingly
and he was attuned to the Will of God. As a leader he was far ahead in his
thinking and his ideas exceeded the boundaries of his time. He was searching
for tolerance of all men, whatever their station. He was a man immersed in the
restoration of Ancient Covenants. His followers struggled to establish their
freedom to worship God as they were taught and had exhausted all legal and
rational resources seeking redress from a State out to exterminate them. His
efforts met with failure. He was appalled by the lack of executive direction
and felt that under the US Constitutional provisions, a man or a people, who are
able to protect themselves can get along well enough; but those who have the
misfortune to be weak or unpopular are left to the merciless rage of powerful
"All of the non believers are having fun. Peterson did not say Joseph Smith
was perfect. He said that the evidence does not reveal a scam artist. Nor does
it reveal a delusional fool. He was a prophet and he was a man who made
mistakes.Some of the witnesses may have left the church, but none of
them ever recanted their testimonies."The evidence??? What
evidence are you referring to? Joseph Smith claims to have had gold plate, and a
sword from a person mentioned in those plate, but that he had to give them back
to an angel. Is that your evidence?The witnesses never maintained
consistent testimonies, to the point that even today many are confused by
exactly what the witnesses bore witness of.
BobP - So the witnesses leaving the church has no bearing on what you believe?
You must admit that them leaving the church is something that speaks volumes.
How could so many men - believers and followers of Joseph Smith and witnesses to
the supposed restoration later leave the very organization they knew to be true?
It doesn't make sense. It is not like one or two left. Most of them did. That is
not a coincidence. So they saw the plates, and the angel, had a testimony strong
enough to testify of it to others, then all of the sudden decided it wasn't for
them? That is something that must be taken into consideration. That and Moroni
couldn't deliver the plates to Joseph - yet was able to take them up to heaven.
Oh and another thing, the plates were too sacred to be seen by others, but not
too sacred to be stolen? That makes no sense either. If these are the facts you
are putting your belief in then so be it - but remember they are facts.
@Weber State Grad:What about the main text of the Book of Abraham -
what do you think about that? It's an amazing piece of doctrine and narrative as
well as the Book of Moses and all these texts bridge the Old and New Testaments
and place Christ clearly at the center of all the Dispensations. Maybe the
source doesn't line up but what about the end result?We have the
Rosetta Stone which tells us what the Egyptians were saying. Are we certain that
these heiroglyphics, which are some 4,000 years old, really make no reference to
the things Joseph Smith was talking about? If you can believe in God and that He
has been communicating since the beginning of time, why wouldn't we find earlier
content that speaks of God and Christ?For me it's not that cut and
dry...I've lived in several countries and have travelled in the Middle East. I
see things that both confirm and don't confirm my belief. So for me, I see
enough connection to make me think there is some substance to Jos. Smith's
Although the intent was to show the quality of the man [Joseph Smith], the
article has once again opened door by a member of the church to non members that
the church history may not be all that credible. Some quotes from the
article can provide fuel for the professional anti authors to write new books.
The 700 club and others will have a field day broadcasting around the
world this kind of message.The Book of Mormon musical > Damage
control Dr Peterson Article > Damage Control With
this kind of message the Missionaries work may just get harder.I
love the spirit of Christ in the Church; but just not very happy at the moment.
"And I am a Mormon"
It appears we have a lot of doubters (from across the US) who still read the D
News. Some of you haven't quite left the church apparently. I don't see the
connection between what Peterson wrote and what many of you are saying or the
anger in which you seem to be expressing it. Peterson's article
contains one paragraph about artifacts people claimed to see and the rest is
about journal entries. Nothing about non-factual things or white-washing. You
all seem to want to weigh in just to complain. What have you done
with your lives? Are you trying to build others up and improve situations in the
world? How are you lifting your spouses and families?? I suggest you do less to
tear down and find some productive things to do. In my view Joseph
Smith was a religious humanist who believed in the unlimited power and potential
of the human soul - that EVERYONE has a potential for great things. I don't
understand those who waste their days - either in his time or now - trying to
tear those ideals down. Take a good look at your motives...
skeptic - You can't get answers in this type of forum--not enough space or time!
If you're sincere, go to the FAIR site. This is from there:"The
facts seem to be that Emma became aware of the marriage at some point, probably
involved Oliver and perhaps other church leaders, and was upset enough to
eventually insist that Fanny leave her home. Todd Compton argues that these
accounts can be harmonized since regardless of whether Emma saw her husband in
the barn or discovered evidence of Fannys pregnancy, her reaction was the same.
This stance glosses over a key pointit may well be that both the Webbs and
McLellin are either mistaken or lying. That Emma was upset is certain. But the
contradictions and problems with these two hostile accounts give us no reason to
conclude that the truth must be that Emma discovered either Joseph and Fanny in
the barn or a pregnancy. ...ones attitude toward Joseph, the church, and plural
marriage will influence how such contradictory and biased testimony is
skeptic - continued from FAIR:"Emma would later give her permission
for Joseph to marry two sisters who also lived in the Smith homeEmily and Eliza
Partridge. Yet Emma was soon to change her mind and eventually compelled these
wives to leave her home. It is thus consistent with her later behavior for her
to have agreed (if only reluctantly) to a marriage with Fanny only to have
second thoughts later."
@eastcoastcoug, Perhaps you may find the answer to your question, in that while
many find comfort at the table of good natured fairy tales they also have a
hunger for the truth. The search for truth has never been a bad motive. As a
matter of fact is there not something in the LDS church doctrine that counsels
one to seek out the truth. In most believers thoughts, is god not truth. Is
wanting to know god (truth) then a waste of time. To doubt is to discover, (
Most of the Witnesses of the Book of Mormon etc. left the church after Jospeh
died.I believe Whitmer said he didn't leave the church the church
EastCoast CougarI don't sense anger in any of the comments. Here's a
few questions for you: Is Satan the father of all Lies?Would God ever have anyone Lie?Have our leaders of our church ever
lied including Joseph Smith?Is preparing and article as Mr. Peterson
has done with half truths (example- we know that the witnesses of the book or
mormon never really saw the plates with their physical eye's but with their
spiritual eye's)Could it be that you might looking at things with emotion
and not sound reasoning? From my experience-Everything that Mr. Peterson claims
there is ALWAYS another side to the story.
@eastcoastcoug"What about the main text of the Book of Abraham
- what do you think about that? It's an amazing piece of doctrine and narrative
as well as the Book of Moses and all these texts bridge the Old and New
Testaments and place Christ clearly at the center of all the Dispensations.
Maybe the source doesn't line up but what about the end result?"If the end result does not match up with the original source then that
suggests a few things...1. That the end result is not truth.2. If
Joseph Smith is capable of making up those books (which is kinda necessarily the
case since it's something entirely new if it doesn't match up with the original
source) then that enhances the claim that Joseph Smith would be capable of
having done the same with the Book of Mormon.3. It can still be a good,
spiritual, and inspiring story... but if it doesn't match up with the original
then it's just good religious fiction.
I'm LDS. A lot of things in christianity are hard to believe: Walking on water,
water to wine, rising after three days...angel moroni? Religions are not black
and white, these things rely on faith and gaining a testimony. Why are some
religious teachings harder to accept than others? I don't know.I do
however tire of apologetic writings, white washing of histories, and
half-truths. If full disclosure of an event is a problem, then don't bring it up
to begin with. Yes the church had bars, yes they had tobacco fields, yes we
practiced polygamy...own it...live with it...why apologize? it is what it is.
By any measure, Joseph Smith was an extraordinary individual. The movement he
began has done much good in the world and has had an impressive staying
power.As Dr. Peterson has said before (in a different forum), there
have always been reasons to believe, and there have always been reasons to
disbelieve.As I've gotten older the sheer quantity of credible
reasons to doubt has been magnified many times over. JS's behavior around early
polygamy, the Book of Abraham translated in the 1960s, multiple versions of the
first vision, Immanuel Swedenborg writing about the 3 kingdoms & Celestial
Kingdom a hundred years before JS was born... the catalog of troubling issues
is staggering.But as an organization & a people, the movement
Joseph started is impressive. I don't wish to destroy anyone's faith, and just
as I have respect for the religious stories of Native Americans or African
tribes or Hindus in India, I respect the LDS ideology, though I don't believe,
and admire the results.
Great comments one and all! My hunch is that almost all those who
are critical or doubtful in their comments either are or were LDS. It can be a
very difficult process when you learn that you supported, loved and lived
something that at a minimum had several different versions to the story you
learned your whole life. I know many who are in that situation. I think members
need to show empathy for that even toward those who seem to be reacting almost
in anger toward the Church.I want the Church to be true as much as
anyone. It has been my life for over 40 years. But many things about our
doctrine and particularly about the early origins of the Church plain and simply
are difficult. At a minimum the Lord must have wanted his people to really
practice their faith because almost every aspect of the early origins (JS
through BY) have some troubling aspects. It was not a seemless, simple
restoration as I think we tend to be taught as we grow up in the Church. Even
the most faithful member has to acknowledge that.
A lot of poor logic applied to some of the comments. secondly a lot of people
stating as fact something that isn't fact.Would someone show one
verified quote from any of the 11 witness, where they refuted what they said?
Svoboda - No one said the witnesses refuted what they said. Only that they left
the church. Whitmer said:"If you believe my testimony to the
Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own
voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own
voice from the heavens, and told me to 'separate myself from among the
Latter-day Saints" [An Address to all believers in Christ, p27, 1887.]So this statement is that if you believe that god spoke to him as a
witness with his own voice, that you must believe god also told him in 1838 to
separate himself from the church. So either he had both voices from god, first
telling him to join the church and then later a voice that told him to leave and
both were true... Or he had neither. You can't give credit to the first one he
had but simply dismiss the second one. Also - it doesn't matter that the
witnesses left after Joseph died - that actually proves further that they had an
attachment to Joseph - not to the gospel he claimed to restore.
I don't have the exact information on each of the eleven witnesses. But many
left and were excommunicated or were excommunicated and then left while JS was
still alive. The witnesses are like most things relating to the origins of the
Church - a mixed bag.On one hand there was probably financial
incentive for them to deny their story and yet they did not. And yet on the
other hand there is a lot that calls into question aspects of the story
including some statements that they were pressured to sign or only saw with
their spiritual eyes. It is an example of at least two-sides of the story as it
is with almost all aspects of early Mormonism.I used to only focus
on the faith promoting side of the story. But I am at a place where I have to
honestly review my testimony given all the information. I appreciate those who
assist in that here.
Wow, in two pages of comment, the thread has gone quickly from Petersen's idea
that, though flawed, Joseph Smith was neither a con man nor delusional, to
"I don't believe the Book of Abraham," "polygamy had a messy
beginning," "the 11 witnesses said something that I don't
like."The more I learn about Joseph Smith, the more I am
certain of two things: 1. He was a fallible man, subject to many things that
might embarrass a 21st Century American. 2. He was a prophet of God. Latter-day Saint culture has the same tendency to deify leaders that the
broader culture does. Each generation has to be set straight. The early
generations saw Joseph's faults up close and personal, and they accepted his
prophetic calling. We learn about his faults through the voluminous records the
Church keeps. I do not believe we "whitewash" our history, but I
acknowledge that we sometimes need to step back and see things as they really
were.By the way, I think the journals in Joseph's own handwriting
are a magnificent witness of what he was really like without the influence of
the Spirit--an uneducated backwoods country boy. With a limp.
"On one hand there was probably financial incentive for them to deny their
story and yet they did not." From who? Who was willing to pay
any of the witnesses substantial sums that could compensate for the otherwise
character suicide? Quite to the contrary, none of the witnesses would have been
benefited for admitting complicity in a religious fraud. Sorry, but it just
doesn't make sense regardless of how many times we say it.
Jeff - I think you have a great outlook for a member of the Church who seems to
know all the difficulties of history and doctrine. You don't seem to sugarcoat
or dismiss but rather try to implement the reality of things into your
testimony. I'm not sure how close to your's my testimony will eventually end up
but I do appreciate and respect your comments.
Joseph Smith gave the King Follett Discourse, in which you will find this text-
which can only be as accurate as the 4 men who transcribed it. However 4 men
writing his words as opposed to one critic... I'll trust that this is fairly
close to what came out of Joseph Smith's mouth."No man is
authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all
laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man
has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false
prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of
God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious
ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold
the keys of Gods kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false
teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood."continued...
To argue or verbally fight people on their beliefs is simply absurd.Government is by the people to protect the people. If people want to argue
about which doctrines or which beliefs make up that government then fine... do
so. We all have an equal right to vote and influence the body which is the
creation of all of us. But to argue with a man about his private affairs when
they are unwelcome is wrong.The LDS Church does not support going to
websites of different beliefs, whether they be Jewish, Gay rights, or any other
doctrine- and fight with people. The LDS Church states it's belief and offers
assistance to those who want it. What someone does in their own home is their
right. They may belief as they will without interference. The Church does not
interfere with the private beliefs of others, only internally and that which is
of the community, in which it resides.With that, I claim that those
who come here to fight the LDS Church or its members on their beliefs are wrong
for doing so and I personally believe such unwelcome contention as provoking and
With that I will conclude this with one final point.Building upon
beliefs is not only a peaceful doctrine but an enjoyable one. Those seeking
contention have every opportunity to seek others with the same goal in mind...
but to try to arouse it in others is wrong and has no benefit.Build
upon each other, edify, help each other... these are good. Fighting each other
and contending with each other only breeds intolerance, fighting, and hatred
amongst each other.We all have a simple choice before us. Be bold
and stand for the true principle of peace or take the cowardly way out, the easy
way, the way of fighting.Just because Joseph Smith, or Mormon, or
any other label is in front of you... doesn't justify destroying what you don't
like. Otherwise we all have just as much claim to fight each other, destroy all
beliefs (right or wrong), and in the end we would self-annihilate.
@Brahmabull "So either (Whitmer) had both voices from god,
first telling him to join the church and then later a voice that told him to
leave and both were true..."In a pamphlet called "An
Address to All Believers in Christ", Whitmer mentions that he was told by
God to "separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints". What is
often left out by critics, is that in that pamphlet Whitmer strongly reiterates
his testimony of the Book of Mormon and his experience seeing the angel as one
of the three witnesses.Whitmer was instructed to leave Far West
AFTER he was already excommunicated from the Church. He had some disagreements
with the Church and leaders, and was excommunicated for it. Having a
disagreement doesn't by any means prove the Church false. But, to
"separate" from the saints is NOT a commandment to recant his
testimony. It simply meant to physically locate elsewhere. This was arguably a
wise choice since there were threats of violence. Whitmer remained true to his
testimony of being a witness.
For a critic wanting to reject Joseph's own account, there are, broadly
speaking, only two logical alternatives for explaining him:We have
imagined and supposed that God was from all eternity. I will refute that idea a
take away the veil, so that you may see. (Teachings of the Prophet JS ,345.) He just refuted Moroni 8:18, For I know that God is not a partial God,
neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all
eternity. ...He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever . Amen...we know there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from
everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God,(D&C 20:12 and 17). .from everlasting to everlasting thou art God. (Psalm 90:2)
Possibility #3. He was very forgetful.
To Brahma BullThe implication was that they by leaving they also
rejected their early witness.Several witnesses left before Joseph
died. Oliver Cowdery, for example. So your statement about how they were tied
to Joseph is incorrect.
I wonder if Brother Peterson enjoys baiting you anti's? I suspect so.
When defending the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, I love the thought of
knowing that Joseph Smith had little education and he translated the golden
plates. I'm sure that any other person would need to have many years of
translation in order to even try to translate it, and it wouldn't be possible
unless that person was the prophet.
Really good comments all around especially enjoyed portions of the King Follett
discourse. The church is the way God wants it to be and because as is stated by
Mormon as he abridges the record "I was about to write them... but the lord
forbade it saying I will try the faith of my people" so also is the history
of the church. Without the flaws there would be no reason to have faith. That
record speaks for itself. Too those who mock at it read 2nd Nephi33:10-15. Thanks all.
Praise to the man - no apologies!
Mormoncowboy - I really enjoy most of the things you say on here. Thanks.To answer your question about whether or not the witnesses could
financially benefit by recanting - it is just my hunch that they could. My
reasoning is that there were many factions at that time that were going to any
length to tear down or discredit the Church. I think it is reasonable that any
number of people, church's, and even state governments would have paid
handsomely for a hand written denial by one of the 11 witnesses.But
you are right that would have to be balanced against the fact that they would
then be branded liars for the rest of their lives. And most of them were very
pious, religious men who probably held their reputations in high regard.At the end of the day we only have the facts regarding the witnesses.
They did not deny. They did make statements that muddied the waters and most did
leave the Church or were excommunicated. Many top leaders left the Church or
were excommunicated back then. The early Church was anything but a smooth ride
How about this DN censors?There are fascinating books out there that
document the lives of Joseph Smith's plural wives. Their accouts give
interesting insight into Joseph Smith's character. I hope that's benign enough
I am with Utes Fan,I have visited Whitmer's grave on a hill in
Missouri and have seen with my own eyes David Whitmer's testimony of the Book of
Mormon and the gold plates, as I recall, on his headstone. He may have had
issues with people in the church and whether they be his fault or others or both
are immaterial. David Whitmer went to his grave never denying the authenticity
of the plates or the Book of Mormon.Joseph was a prophet. He may have had faults, but he was a prophet and all those who rail against
him or the church will break themselves against it. Picking out faults of
people, real or imagined, will not change the fact that he was a prophet. Now,
go and clean up your own lives and quit using the weakness of others, again real
or imagined, to prop up your own weakness and sin.
% New Yorker 7:06 You write "I wonder if Brother Peterson enjoys baiting
you anti's? I suspect so"I have different opinions than Mr
Petersen, but I respect him as a good and honest man; and I doubt he plays games
with sincere people as you imply. Also, I do not consider myself as an Anti, but
rather some one who cares and likes Mormons enought to have an interest in them
and to want to understand them and their believes and merits.
The editing of comment has to do with unbecoming and harsh or vulgur language
with that word possibly not allowing this comment to be posted. It is computer
generated and the reply comes in less than a minute from post. Illuminating for
all the spelling errors in the prophets journals in his early twenties at the
time the Book of Mormon was published. No person alive would ever be capable of
writing such a book much less the uneducated Joseph Smith. How can any educated
look at the complexities of this book not recognize the only plausible
explanation being it had to be a translation. The veracity however can only be
found through the process of Mor 10:4,5.
As has been mentioned above about the three witnesses one of the things that
must be noted is that David Whitmer did say that he could have been a vary rich
man several times over if he had denied his testimony.Three
Witnesses -Oliver Cowdery - excommunicated - rejoined the Church and
died as a memberDavid Whitmer - excommunicated - Died still testifying of
the Book of MormonMartin Harris - excommunicated - rebaptized and died as
a member8 Witnesses -Christian Whitmer - died a member
of the ChurchJacob Whitmer - died a member of the ChurchPeter
Whitmer - died a member of the ChurchJohn Whitmer - excommunicated - never
denied testimonyHiram Page - excommunicated - never denied testimonyJoseph Smith Sr - died a member of the ChurchHryum Smith - assassinated
with the Prophet Joseph SmithSamuel Smith - died a member of the ChurchSo where is the truth that most of the eleven left the church. Only
David Whitmer, John Whitmer and Hyrum Page would never return to the Church. So
once again the critics caught in a lie.Oliver Cowdery and Martin
Harris died before David Whitmer. Martin Harris is buried in Utah. Oliver
Cowdery and David Whitmer buried in Richmond, Missouri.
I had a comment early on today, where I stated on how people who disagree with
LDS Church use bits and pieces from Church history or articles to support their
negative views. They are entitled to their opinions. But the people they
are so critical about are dead and can't defend themselves. Most of the
comments are just going around in circles or trying to impress others with their
education. I since there is no Holy Spirit here, just mankind opinions.What happened to the thought God just might in controlWhat
happened to our faith in Christ What happened to the Spirit of Holy
GhostVery few have mentioned how great the Church is. It started
small and has grown to a world wide Mission for Christ.Proud to be LDS
% skeptic | 9:02 p.m.I appreciate your position better from your
comment. Unfortunately, intermittent chatter in these forums cannot help you or
others really understand LDS beliefs. The original news article on which the
comments are made remind me of the impressions the different blind men got by
feeling an elephant. Latter-day Saints have unique definitions for many common
religious words. Everything ties back to the foundational event of the first
vision. Either there is a real tangible God who talks to men in all ages--or
not. The LDS foundation is on the mantic, not the sophic. The Book of Mormon
itself, not where the plates are or what the witnesses said and did is offered
as an opportunity to have your personal mantic experience (Moroni 10). If you
move ahead sincerely, you can know. If you keep pecking sophically at a detail
here and there, your not understanding at all what Mormons are. If you have
mantic knowledge that the BOM is not true, then bless you to go your own way.
LDS believe you'll still go to a glorious resurrection through the Redeemer.
I have a close relative who is a devoted LDS church member. He has served a
mission, married in the temple, had 8 kids and a successful career. He served
in church leadership positions with great fervor. He is often
verbally and sometimes physically abusive to his family members and often speaks
evil of other church leaders. He often claims he is guided "the
spirit." He diligently keeps a journal and bears his testimony often in
church meetings. Several of his family and friends see through his
schizophrenic ways. He is very smart and a quick study and knows history and
has a technical degree. He is often the center of attention in small and even in
medium sized groups. Many people who used to believe he was pure as the wind
driven snow now see he is anything but that!I see many similarities
between him and Joseph Smith. Smith was smart, very cunning and an intelligent
and charismatic leader. He was very creative and dynamic. He was very
persuasive. It is clear after close scrutiny and seeing both sides of the story
that Smith wasn't "called of God." It makes reason stare that he was.
Idaho Coug: Thank you for your kind words.
Great article, yawn yawn on the anti-Mormons pretending to be everything but
anti-Mormons, yet repeating the same old claims rebutted thousands of
times....The Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham etc are proven
miraculous, as are Joseph's other works...why try to stop us from knowing the
truth ya'll haters that I love : ) Lift, enlighten, or at least let us
explore the truths of Mormonism without darkening with repeats.... still luv
ya though : )
"By their fruits, ye shall know them." How can any church,
organization or religion that encourages its members or participants to live
better lives, strive for better families and give immense amounts of
humanitarian aid be perceived as ill intended, or full of malice and fraud?
Opposition in all things eh?
Think of it this way... If it was indeed a conscious scam Joseph Smith sure did
go above and beyond to "pull it all off" He was tarred and feathered,
He and Emma lost a child because of it. His wife, family, and friends were
persecuted non stop because of it. Early church members were killed. He sent
off missionaries making them leave their families and friends for years. He
convinced his parents to be "in on it." If it was a scam and early
members were part of it you would think at some point someone would have said
enough is enough. None of the Eight Witnesses ever denied what they had seen,
or the church itself, and Emma had a chance after her husbands death to make the
record clear or at least to her sons in private, but as we all know Joseph Smith
the third became the leader of the reorganized church. I doubt she would have
let that happen if she was sick of everything, even if only to protect her son
from also being killed. No Emma truly believed in it. She sacrificed way too
Boy did the haters come out.. and for what purpose? Methinks it is to justify
their own hatred towards men of faith. I am a firm believer that
Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He had his faults and weaknesses as all men
do. But he was an instrument in the hands of God and served his master well.
God bless you brother Joseph.If these haters had lived in the days
of Moses they wouldn't have seen the truth until the waters of the Red Sea swept
over them, and even then would have denied the facts that were all around them.
To Thinkman: I see no similarities between your relative and Joseph Smith. He
was a man and was given a prophetic calling. You don't have to believe it nor
do you have to believe your relative either. The fact is the Lord gives each
man weaknesses to humble them before him. If we can recognize our faults and
bring them to the Lord he will begin to make them strengths. Before trying to
destroy your relative why don't you look at the good of the man/woman and then
see what is right or wrong.You've already been his judge and jury,
just as many of the critics here have already been the judge and jury of
MORMONISM. Those who have left the church have always returned to admonish it
members and to try to destroy it. This is because the HOLY GHOST no longer
resides with them. They have become the pawns of Satan, whether they want to
recognize it or not doesn't matter. You have told a story that is not uncommon
but the person you talk about has no defense.
The only way to KNOW if Joseph Smith was a prophet is through the testimony one
receives through sincerely reading, studying, and praying for an answer from the
Holy Ghost. All other methods to prove or disprove Joseph a
prophet will forever fall short. As they will to prove Jesus Christ the savior,
Peter and Paul as the Saviors apostles etc. There will never be
absolute proof of spiritual facts without going through the proven facts of
sincerely reading, studying and praying to know the truth and receiving an
answer from the Holy Ghost.Those who are not willing to follow the
above steps to KNOW the truth will forever be the blind leading the blind.
Dear Thinkman,Please see my comments above.
Why is it that if a person disagree's with comments or disagree's with this
article that they are labeled "Anti" or "Apostate"? I would
prefer that you just call us "Educated Mormons" for now on. There are
an estimated 100,000 members a year leaving the church because they have read no
not "anti-mormon" literature, but real church history. The church for
many years through general conference, the Ensign, and local meetings was the
source of all information for the Saints. With the internet and Church
historians with integrity, there is another side that is being shown.The church
to their credit has put committees and focus groups together to address how
things have been presented to the members and are trying to figure out how to
handle it. They know this is a problem. Those who are slamming comments that
disagree with your own, please try to take the emotion out of it.
I agree that a correlated Joseph Smith certainly comes across like a real
Kurt Matthia:Thank you for clarifying that:"LDS
foundation is on the mantic, not the sophic."I couldn't have
said it better. The LDS paradigm is to dismiss what can be rationally observed
and probabilistically deduced, and instead favor an epistemology allegedly
derived through clairvoyant communications. We should not demand empirical
substantiation of The Book of Mormon by trying to observe the plates or verify
the archaeology, rather we should just read the book and declare "there's
no way Joseph Smith wrote this" (as though such a thing were obvious. I
could likewise argue that Lord of the Rings was too intricate for mortal
contrivance - it's a far better book(s)!) and then seek for the
"sprit" to tell you. A ghost from the unseen world? This is the basis
of Mormon thought, and cannot be understood "sophically", as you say.
I agree with everything you have stated here. I don't believe in
ghosts or clairvoyance, and so I disbelieve Mormon claims, which as you say, can
only be verified according to your superstitious methods. Now we are
beginning to understand each other. You accept mantic knowledge as superior to
sophic knowledge, and I reject your premise.
Bill - haha pawns of satan huh?? So anybody with an opposing view of yours who
questions certain parts of mormonism is a pawn of satan? Wow, if that type of
reasoning is what the church teaches then I am glad not to be a part of 21st
century mormonism. Of course any church who claims to be the only true church on
the face of the earth will have to defend its claims. Of course people have
questions, some are bold and honest enough to share them despite being called
apostate and anti mormon. Others hold in their questions, afraid of showing
doubt in front of family, friends, associates etc. This type of mormon will die
a mormon, but will have no answers to their questions. If you don't have any
questions about the mormon church being the one true church then you haven't
done the research. That is my opinion of course, as your posts are yours. I
respect your opinion, I don't hold it against you. When people claim I, among
others am a pawn of satan for sharing my opinion on the facts I have a problem
Idaho Coug:I'm okay with that. Suggesting that it seems unlikely for
the witnesses to persist in their "testimony" following their
dissaffection from Mormonism, is a reasonable question. Saying that it proves
they were honest however, is far more than what is warranted. The
counter-argument that each maintained risk against their personal credibility
for volunteering their involvement in religious fraud, likewise fails to
satisfactorily "prove" anything other than there are several possible
explanation for the witnesses documented behavior, that have yet to be
reasonably deduced. I'm also okay with the argument that none of the
men ever "denied" their testimony, so long as we qualify that they did
"muddy" the water, as you say. Their ongoing statements, while
thematically consistent, seem to get very confusing in the details, begging the
question of what really was the alleged nature of the experience. Obviously
arguing that each man shared in a collective vision is less compelling than
arguing they were each participants in literal/physical experience.To all:David Whitmers didn't just leave the Church, but alleged
Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet - and that is why his leaving is so important,
and why you can't selectively parse his comments/actions.
I don't what else to do to get past the censors. If Joseph's own words are too
inappropriate to be published, then I guess that speaks for itself. In response to the article's assertion that Joseph's private communications
show him to be honest and sincere. A Handwritten letter from Joseph Smith:"... the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma
comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most
perfect safty. ... Only be careful to escape observation, as much as possible, I
know it is a heroick undertakeing; but so much the greater friendship, and the
more Joy, when I see you I will tell you all my plans, I cannot write them on
paper, burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your
breasts, my life depends upon it. ... I close my letter, I think Emma wont come
tonight if she dont, dont fail to come to night, I subscribe myself your most
obedient, and affectionate, companion, and friend. Joseph Smith."
I have read many books on Church history and discovered all sorts of
"new" information about the church that isn't necessarily taught in
Sunday School. I am not certain that I fully understand the context of events
or all the aspects that went on back then as the church was formed.It is amazing that Joseph Smith was so strong as he persevered through all the
trials he faced. I would like to think that I would have stood by him.All the information I have has not scared me away from the Church. I don't
find fault with the facts. I accept them and wonder what the rest of the story
was and move on.The greatest chance for happiness in this life is
embracing the Gospel and following the Prophet.Good luck to you if
you think there is a better path, but time has proven that the
"fruits" of the Church are Awesome!!!
Bill in Nebraska said,the HOLY GHOST(Spirit) no longer resides with them.JS taught, that there was a difference, The Holy Ghost is a personage in the
Godhead. The Holy Spirit is an influence from the Father and not personal.
Wrong,Dont you know that yourselves are Gods temple and that Gods Spirit
lives in you(1Cor 3:16 NIV). And, Do you not know that your body is a temple of
the Holy Spirit(Ghost), who is in you, whom you have received from God.(1Cor
6:19 NIV) . Holy Ghost(Pneuma 4151, Spirit) the same word in Greek. JS was
unlearned in Greek.He was right about the communion service with the
blessing of the wine and the bread though, See (D&C 17:22,23). I have the
pre-edited D&C, do you?
Bring on the nasty haters. Its so inspiring to see the negative commemts. It
shows people care.
@Bill"Those who have left the church have always returned to admonish
it members and to try to destroy it. This is because the HOLY GHOST no longer
resides with them. They have become the pawns of Satan,"You
know, I left the church not because I have a grudge against it, or because I
have something against the members in it, but only because I just don't believe
it and felt it'd be dishonest for me to be listed as someone with a covenant
that I just cannot agree to. I was born into a Catholic family that converted to
Methodism then drifted into inactivity then only myself ended up joining the LDS
church. I don't have anything against my previous churches either. Apparently
though you believe that I'm a pawn of Satan (or you mistyped and don't really
mean that to describe everyone who left). I'm going to go out on a limb and say
that attitude is part of what causes anger in some who have left the church. As
for me... well my LDS friends don't think like you do, so I'm not going to hold
your views against the church or its membership.
Alt134 and Brahmabull: Maybe you don't agree with my comments or my attitude.
That is fine but I stand by what I have said. The scriptures and especially the
Book of Mormon is very clear and justifies what I have said. Don't agree then
you should actually read and study it more. Mormoncowboy is really much closer
to Kohor than he will ever imagine. If my words offend then it is for you to
decide where you stand. If you are here to belittle the membership then yes you
are pawns. That is the bottom line.My opinion is mine and I know
many of my own friends would never come here to belittle the membership just
because they don't agree. You'll never find me saying this against a Catholic
or a protestant but one who leaves the Church can never leave it alone fits
exactly what I have said. Sharrona is a great example as are both of you.
The definition of the prefix "anti-" means "against."
Certainly, it is possible to leave the Church without going "against"
the Church. It's also possible to have questions or even doubts about the
Church without going against it. What makes an honest doubter or questioner
seem like an "anti-Mormon" is often the tone of the questions or
remarks. To speak of the honest beliefs of any religion as a fairy tale, or a
ghost story, or the delusion of clairvoyants would classify as being against
that. To speak condescendingly, which is offensive, could classify as being
"against" something. To assume or declare that believers are
uneducated or ignorant, or that they just don't know their own history or
beliefs is certainly offensive and "anti." To imply or even declare
that believers are either deluded or liars is "anti."Related to tone is the constant repetition of the same doubts and questions.
This repetition suggests antagonism rather than honest inquiry. We believe what
we believe; we don't need someone to restate it ad absurdum or continue to tell
us that our beliefs are wrong.Leaving any Church is appropriately
labeled "apostacy." Constant declaration of one's apostacy betokens
antagonism and self-justification.
During a visit to the Hill Cumorah Pageant some years ago, a friend went up to
the Anti-Mormons standing across the street from the pageant. He said,
"I've come a long way to attend this. I am a member of the LDS Church and
it represents everything that is dear to me. I am willing to listen to what you
have to say if you can offer anything better." The Anti-Mormons immediately
launched into a tirade, cutting down anything and everything about the Church.
My friend said, "I will give you one more chance; tell me what you can
offer that is better." Well, as we all know, there is nothing they can
offer. They were only there to tear down. They could not offer anything better
because there is nothing better. Personally, I searched for years. I read the
Bhagavadgita, the I-Ching, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and more. It was not
until I read the Book of Mormon that I found what I was looking for. Personally,
I would like to thank Joseph Smith for helping to bring it to me.
@Bill"one who leaves the Church can never leave it alone fits exactly
what I have said."I left 12 days ago... most people in my life
don't even know I've left. Funny thing is, I probably will still show up to my
ward on occasion. One might ask why would I show up if I don't believe in it. I
don't believe any church is 100% true, but I believe in God, and Christ. I
believe spirituality (or some sort of introspection) is important to an
individual's growth, and I like the social aspect of worshiping with others even
despite differences in view. Should I never go to church because I don't believe
any are 100% accurate? I don't think so. After all, Mormons are Christian; it's
still worshiping the same God. If I believe (like the church does) that there's
good in all churches, that means there's still good in the LDS church. I removed
my name to be honest with myself about not believing what is required of members
in the baptism interview. I mean no antagonism, heck I cried in the stake
president's office because I didn't want to make his day disappointing.
Jeff,Thank you. Yours is the first definition of
"anti-mormon" that I've seen here, and it's well thought out. What I
don't see is the inference of deceit that I sense many posters attach to it.
That is what I find offensive when I hear the term. There are parts of you
definition that I would question. You say "repetition suggests antagonism
rather than honest inquiry." This definitely goes both ways; often neither
side feels that their point was adequately rebutted to warrant a change of
opinion. Case in point, "The Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham etc are proven
miraculous, as are Joseph's other works. (JM)" If it had been proven, there
would be no argument, so we keep addressing these issues "ad
absurdum.""Constant declaration of one's apostacy betokens
antagonism and self-justification." What frequency is "constant?"
You and other posters contribute to these discussions as much as any critic. How
are you not antagonizing and self-justifying to them?The last point
is to other posters wanting to shoo away critics. When did the Deseret News
become a Mormon-only newspaper? Comments are open to all who abide the rules.
This comment thread is a microcosm of one of the more profound statements made
by Joseph Smith. "He called me by name, and said unto me that
he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was
Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for
good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be
both good and evil spoken of among all people." Joseph Smith History
1:33On a larger scale, the DNews published an article a few months
back concerning the Top Ten most controversial topics on Wikipedia. Of the tens
of millions of topics that site contains, spanning every imaginable subject on
planet earth, what was THE most controversial topic of all? Joseph
Smith. All of you who have commented for and against Joseph Smith's
character can feel a sense of accomplishment in that you're part of a
fulfillment of prophecy.
@ Searching: Thanks for your questions.The inference of deceit, I
think, comes often from people's web names. Some people label themselves as
members of the Church or sympathetic to the Church, then wax negative about
it.This is a newslink devoted to Latter-day Saints who want to read
articles related to their faith. One would expect faith-affirming repetition
from the site and those who support it. For someone to seek out the site and
immediately begin to criticize its content and those who read it smacks of
antagonism. When the repeatedly goes to the site and repeatedly attempts to
address the same criticism in multiple contexts, there can be no doubt. That's
what I meant by "criticism," and why I do not believe it applies to
those for whom the site was designed in the first place.I agree that
all should be welcome to contribute, but those who are "anti" need not
be defensive when they are discovered.I was once invited by a friend
to an online event supporting a cause I disagreed with. One poster on the site
vocally objected to the site's politics and the supporters said pretty much what
I'm saying here.
Anti-mormon certainly is a pejorative term. I mean, anti-mormon has the prefix
"anti" right in it! I don't have a problem with the label but with the
connotation that what you are saying is misleading or untrue. Commenting is
funnest when people stick defending or presenting arguements rather than
resorting to name calling.
@rpjense, you gave the clearest and insightful comment on this post. I read all
these people tearing down the religion and have nothing better in its place.
What Joseph brought forth expands and increases the faith of Christians and
helps them become more Christ like. If they would spend more time reading the
Book of Mormon and less time on dubious accounts of history, they would grow
closer to Christ.
@rpjenseWhile I, like others, don't understand why some early LDS
Church leaders did and said the things they did I really appreciate your
comment. While I do believe it is important for each of us to use our God given
brains this world definitely needs more positive voices.
Thank you for this article. Praise to the Man.
I don't believe there is enough evidence left after 150 years to say either way
what kind of man Joseph Smith was. Brother Peterson's article did nothing but
express his own opinion and "testimony". Many active LDS continue to
desperately seek answers and understanding and will "know" he was a
prophet. Many of us will still look at all the evidence remaining and still
feel very uncomfortable with early church history and "know" in our
hearts that something is amiss. Faith, prayer, and humble seeking may actually
make those feelings more intense. I realize now that I am not alone. This does
not make me a pawn of satan, nor does it make me anti-mormon or all that is
insinuated with that. I have a strong sense of integrity, and I have answered
honestly during the temple recommend interview how I feel about Joseph Smith.
Apostate? In-active? Anti-Mormon? Excommunicated? How about, I
was raised Mormon and I have a deep respect for many of them and how they live
their lives, but I do not share their doctrinal beliefs. There is no hatred or
antagoinism in that kind of honest and humble statement.
"Joseph Smith"Well let me take you through the experiences
that I had, whilst reading Dr.Peterson's Column."Joseph does
Not talk like this!"I hold a Complete set of the "History
of the Church", and have read it Twice - From Cover to Cover!It
is indeed the Recollections of Events of Joseph, as he Noted in his Journal.So, I have taken the time to study the "Online" copies of
Joseph's Papers (From where Dr.Peterson extracted the Quotations), and indeed
they are written in Joseph's Hand, and are as Printed!!BUT, there
are many Pages with a Line Scribed from Top Left to Bottom Right - Something has
gone-on here!So, I looked to the Other Online Record, under the
Title "RLDS History of the Church", "Please, Please
Read For Yourselves, and you should see quite clearly what I am concerned
about".Joseph does NOT continually repeat words such as "O
Lord listen to thy Servant", and, "Lord God bless me in my Thoughts,
for Christ's Sake!", etc.. (He was Receiving Direct
Revelations almost Daily, he knew that Our Lord Jesus was with him, ALWAYS!)With Kindest Regards,Joseph Peter Sheehan."PENTACONE"
Bill in Nebraska.JSwe have waded through an ocean of tribulation and mean
abuse, practiced upon us by the ill bred and the ignorant, such as Hinkle,
Corrill, Phelps, Avard, Reed Peck, Cleminson, and various others, who are so
very ignorant that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized
society, and whose eyes are full of Adultery, and cannot cease from Sin. Such
characters as McLellin, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin
Harris, are too mean to mention; and we had liked to have forgotten them. Marsh
and another, whose hearts are full of corruption, whose cloak of hypocrisy was
not sufficient to shield them or to hold them up in the hour of trouble (History
of the Church, 3:232)The three Book of Mormon witnesses ,The
question is: Were they reliable witnesses.
I'm LDS. Not born and raised, not perfect. I've got some pretty serious personal
issues that I like to think I'm dealing with fairly well. I also have a very
sturdy personal conviction/relationship with God. I feel his guidance, and I
feel my own struggles against that guidance at times. He continues to guide as I
continue to repent and correct course. I'm OK with the pattern because I feel
like I'm progressing. If I can be guided by God in my own imperfections, why
should I expect others should be perfect in order to be guided by God? JS was
not perfect. Early members of the church were real human beings, including the
witnesses of the Book of Mormon. I've been part of a founding organization
before. All voices do not always agree. Sometimes to the point of separation.
That's real life and that's OK. We all have our own path to walk in this world
and should be sensitive to God's guidance. By our fruits we shall be known, and
yet we'll always make mistakes. God's people will always be persecuted, not
persecutors (Paul?). Repent, correct course. Maintain hope. Easy. :)
Joseph Smith was, and is, a true prophet of God.What more that is
true can be said?Nothing.
Krissy, thank you for your post. It was the one dissenting post I remember as
being respectful.Brahmabull and Mormoncowboy, this is your moment to
shine. Someday we will all kneel before our Creator to be judged. He will see
inside us, whether we were sincere or otherwise in our actions, even our posts
here. I leave it to Him to judge each of us, as He surely shall. And to all who
read this, I have read the Book of Mormon and I know it is true. I know Joseph
Smith was a prophet. I am most grateful. to him for bringing this book to my
knowledge. Most of all, I am grateful for the knowledge given me by Joseph
Smith, of the nature of my Savior. That I may be a recipient of His greatest
gift (eternal life with Him and my Health enly Father) is my greatest desire.
Enola, how do you know for sure your quote is true, and not just fabrication?
"In my view Joseph Smith was a religious humanist who believed in the
unlimited power and potential of the human soul - that EVERYONE has a potential
for great things. I don't understand those who waste their days - either in his
time or now - trying to tear those ideals down. Take a good look at your
motives..."There is a big difference between having perfect
ideals, and being a perfect person. Joseph was a mediocre business man at best,
but that doesn't mean his ideals weren't solid. We just tent to try to paint
this image of Joseph was all one way, or all another, and the truth is that he
was a man.... not perfect, that was good at some things, and others, not as
much. The fact we acknowledge that he did some things wrong - like
loose some sacred manuscripts - proof his own judgement got the best of him -
doesn't diminish his significance. We just need to keep the story honest and
accurate. The author tries to make it one way or another. No humans are all
one way or another - none.