|Fantasy map: the seed of fiction|
The seeds of the fiction narrative have already been planted in the minds of the youth.
It seems unlikely, to say the least, that the fiction narrative will produce the fruit of strong testimonies and conviction.
After all, do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
From the time a handful of scholars persuaded so many LDS to disbelieve the teachings of the prophets about the New York Cumorah, the fiction narrative became inevitable.
IOW, the M2C narrative leads directly to the fiction narrative. Looking for Book of Mormon events in Mesoamerica is like looking for Biblical sites in eastern China because there are ancient cities there. If one tried hard enough, one could find "correspondences" between those ancient cities and the descriptions in the Bible, applying the same circular reasoning that the M2C advocates apply to "see" the Book of Mormon in Mesoamerica.
Some people find it impossible to believe that the fiction narrative would ever become mainstream in the Church.
But the seed of fiction cannot produce the fruit of divine authenticity.
Think about the fruit another seed has produced.
Twenty years ago, members of the Church would have said it was impossible that someday, LDS scholars would teach that Joseph Smith didn't really translate the Book of Mormon, that he didn't use the Urim and Thummim that came with the plates, and that he didn't even use the plates themselves.
After all, Joseph and Oliver consistently and persistently taught that Joseph translated the engravings on the plates with the Urim and Thummim. The revelations in the D&C teach the same thing. The prophets have reaffirmed their testimony innumerable times over the years.
And yet, here we are today.
The ideas that Joseph didn't use the plates, didn't use the Urim and Thummim, and didn't translate anything is completely mainstream.
|Scene from Church film that teaches the|
stone-in-a-hat theory of translation
The script for this film was adapted from a passage in the 1834 book, Mormonism Unvailed.
Here is the passage.
now playing at a
The screenwriters could have chosen instead to use the scriptures for a text, but the scholars and film producers claim the scriptures are, at best, misleading. They prefer Mormonism Unvailed over the scriptures.
Actually, they could have used another passage from Mormonism Unvailed:
Another account they give of the transaction, is, that it was performed with the big spectacles before mentioned, and which were in fact, the identical Urim and Thumim mentioned in Exodus 28 — 30...
Of course, the second version is the one Joseph and Oliver testified was true. Right in the Pearl of Great Price, where everyone can read it, we have their testimony:
Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger. ... immediately after my arrival [in Pennsylvania] I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them... Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery (being the 7th of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon, and he began to write for me.
(Joseph Smith—History 1:52, 62, 67)
(Joseph Smith—History, Note, 1)
That's how they rationalize using Mormonism Unvailed instead of the scriptures to explain Church history and the origins of the Book of Mormon.
You can read it right in the Saints book, volume 1.
Buried with the plates, Moroni said, were two seer stones, which Joseph later called the Urim and Thummim, or interpreters. The Lord had prepared these stones to help Joseph translate the record.... Sometimes Joseph translated by looking through the interpreters and reading in English the characters on the plates. Often he found a single seer stone to be more convenient. He would put the seer stone in his hat, place his face into the hat to block out the light, and peer at the stone. Light from the stone would shine in the darkness, revealing words that Joseph dictated as Oliver rapidly copied them down.
Saints, Volume 1, pp. 22, 61, available here:
Saints teaches revisionist history that directly contradicts the scriptures quoted above and everything that Joseph and Oliver said about the translation. For example, here's what Joseph actually said about the Urim and Thummim:
He said unto me I am a Messenger sent from God, be faithful and keep his commandments in all things. He told me also of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold. I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited. He said to me the Indians were the literal decendants of Abraham. He explained many of the prophecies to me; one of which I will mention, which is in Malachi 4 chapter. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh <(&c> He also informed me that the Urim & Thummim was hid up with the record, and that God would give me power to translate it with the assistance of this instrument;
It's undoubtedly true that several people testified they saw Joseph put a stone in a hat and dictate words. What they never testify to, however, is that Joseph said he was translating the Book of Mormon. They never relate what words he dictated. All the evidence indicates Joseph was demonstrating the process, not translating the Book of Mormon in front of an audience.
After all, Moroni (and the Lord) had told Joseph he could not show the plates or Urim and Thummim to anyone until the translation was complete. He couldn't possibly have translated the plates in public view without violating that prohibition.
With the peep stone in the hat narrative as precedent, do you still think it's impossible that the seed of the fiction narrative will bear fruit?
I posted some comments about the faith crisis here: