Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How the Lost 116 Pages Prove Joseph Smith Did Not Translate the Book of Mormon

We all know the story, right? But for those who might not, I'll quickly retell it.

Joseph Smith and Martin Harris had been busy working on the translation of the golden plates. When the Book of Lehi was completed, the translated document had 116 pages. Harris was working with Smith, and even financially contributing, very much against the will of his wife. Because his wife was against the whole idea, Harris wanted to take the Book of Lehi to her and convince her that it was all true.

Harris asked Smith if he could take the document to show his wife. Smith inquired of the lord and was told a firm "no". Not satisfied with this answer, Harris asked again. Smith inquired of the lord again and still the answer was "no". Harris asked a third time and this time the lord gave the hesitant okay.

Harris took the document and that was the last time Smith ever saw it.

No one knows for sure what happened to it. What most likely happened was that Harris' wife took it and hid it, stating that if the work was really true, then Smith could just re-translate the Book of Lehi and the second translation would be word-for-word with the first one.

Most likely, Joseph Smith realized this and knew that he was in a world of shit. Obviously, he couldn't reproduce the document word-for-word if he was making it all up! Perplexed with what to do, he stopped translation claiming that because of his unwillingness to obey the lord, his translating ability was temporarily taken away. Naturally, Smith needed some time to figure out what the hell to do with out coming out in the end looking like a huge jackass.

What to do? What to do? Smith, no doubt, had many a sleepless night trying to figure out how to get out of this situation. Finally he had an idea: a revelation!

From the heading of section 10 of the Doctrine and Covenants:

Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Harmony, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1828. Herein the Lord informs Joseph of alterations made by wicked men in the 116 manuscript pages from the translation of the “Book of Lehi,” in the Book of Mormon. These manuscript pages had been lost from the possession of Martin Harris, to whom the sheets had been temporarily entrusted. The evil design was to await the expected retranslation of the matter covered by the stolen pages, and then to discredit the translator by showing discrepancies created by the alterations. That this wicked purpose had been conceived by the evil one, and was known to the Lord even while Mormon, the ancient Nephite historian, was making his abridgment of the accumulated plates, is shown in the Book of Mormon (The Words of Mormon 1: 3–7).

Joseph, of course, claimed that he could indeed retranslate the Book of Lehi. But the evil and conspiring men would have changed his document and then shown the two translations to be different. So what does Joseph Smith do? He just continues on from where he left off and added into the Book of Mormon later that this whole scheme was known by god thousands of years before it happened and that he had commanded his prophets to include an abridged version of the Book of Lehi. That way the material could still be included but since it was abridged, it would not be word-for-word.

Sneaky Joe! His convenient excuse for not retranslating was because the evil men would have changed his original text (stupid) and would show the discrepancies. That's stupid, of course, because that was not their intention at all. They simply wanted to see him actually retranslate and come up with the same text. Since he was making it all up, he couldn't do that.

The very fact that Joseph was unable to simply retranslate the Book of Lehi shows that he had no golden plates from which to translate. If he would have been able to produce a word-for-word retranslation, then that would have given his story much credibility. But since he knew it was impossible, he had to think of a convenient excuse as to why he couldn't retranslate.

This proves he was making it all up. If his enemies had tried to alter his original document, it would have been obvious. They wouldn't have been able to pull it off. Their plan instead, was to test Smith. If he really was translating an ancient document, then a retranslation would have been no problem. In fact, it would have been amazing evidence that his story was true! He failed the test miserably.

If the lord had known in advance that this was Satans plan, then he would have warned Joseph beforehand and instructed Smith to not let the 116 pages out of his sight. And even if the pages did still manage to disappear, couldn't the lord simply tell Joseph who had them and where they were?

It seems that both Smith and the lord were entirely duped in this experience. A fast thinking Smith pulled it off somehow, but in the end, it proves he was a fraud, unable to simply retranslate the Book of Lehi and show the world that he was telling the truth.

Smith couldn't reproduce it word-for-word. Even if I tried, without looking, to reproduce this article word-for-word, just minutes after I have written it, I couldn't. It would have the same general message, but there is no way it would be an exact copy. I can't do it. A true prophet of god couldn't do it.


Anonymous said...

Gone Apostate and still bearing your testimony in a sense my friend. lol. I enjoyed your conjecture, it was amusing.

Mormon411 said...

I'm not sure I follow what you're saying. Would you mind expounding? Where, exactly, have I borne any testimony?

brad said...

I'm curious to know your thoughts on Abraham. What do you think of him? Prophet?

Mormon411 said...

Fictional character, in a nutshell.

JoJo said...

When Mary mother of Christ had sex before marriage and didn't want her new husband to be disappointed (punish her) she made up a story about god coming down and making her pregnant with no sex.
I don't believe in the above but this is the same as your argument (a logical view with no religious faith).

Long Ben Avery said...

I'll never forget when I first found out about Joseph Smith and his golden book that disappeared. I thought what great conman. The more I found out about Joseph and the roots of Mormonism, the more I believed he made the whole thing up to get laid a lot and raise loads of money. So he really is a kind of prophet, seeing as how The LDS makes so much money!

Mormon411 said...

Follow the profit! That's what I always say!

William Covington said...

Hasn't anyone worked out that Joseph Smith cherry picked parts of the Old Testament that he could use to get his way; ( 1 ) 'Sex'- Smith read that the ancient Kings and Patriarchs as recorded in the Old Testament like lots of wives and concubines. So, Smith who had an eye for the ladies, decided that God revealed to him that polygamy was for Joseph and so Joseph had a revelation from God that he could have sex with young girls and other men's wives. What Smith ignored is that plural marriage has never been a commandment of God. Plural marriage anciently, was a cultural norm. Did Smith really believe that Abraham married Hagar the Egyptian, a woman descended through the loins of Ham and therefore not of the covenant! I know the Bible says that Abraham took Hagar to wife, but, not literally married by the priesthood ordinance; ( 2 ) 'Tithing' - Joseph Smith loved money, and don't we all! Because Smith was always scheming 'Get Rich Quick' projects he knew the story about the gift of tithes in Genesis and the law of tithes in Hebrews and so Smith decided to resurrect the practice of paying to be a member of his church and had a revelation from God that anyone who wants to be in Smith's church must pay a tithe because Smith didn't fancy working for a living and besides, he had another revelation from God that Smith was to have a new house built for him ( see D&C 41:7 ); ( 3 ) 'Magic' - Smith loved magic. Smith and his mates messed about with 'Rods' for divining; 'Stones' for looking for lost things, which stones Smith never used to locate the lost 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. 'Sex' 'Money' and 'Magic' three essential elements for a successful religion.