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Home Scripture CRITICISM Joseph Smith on trial

Joseph Smith on trial

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Many anti-Mormons have written me and asked that I take a hard, honest look at my beliefs, having an open mind, free of bias or prejudice. Their theory is that if I were to do this, I would easily see the many flaws and fallacies that they seem to think are abundant in my religion.
Since I have put a lot of effort into studying the Bible, I have written them back that I am very comfortable doing what they ask of me. More than that, I have prayed to God with all my heart to have Him show me the truth as I do this. What I find rather interesting is that these very same people who want me to closely examine my beliefs with an uncritical and unbiased attitude, are not willing to follow their own advice when it comes to the things they believe in. They, too, are biased in their own beliefs, but they are not willing to admit it, nor are they willing to serious consider anything that challenges their cherished ideas.

Many of these people claim that praying to God to show them the truth is not the way to find out what the Bible really teaches. They say we should use common sense and historical evidence to prove the truth, as you would in a court of law. Therefore, using their own logic, let's take a look at what Mormons believe from a rational, logical standpoint, using evidence to corroborate our beliefs, much as a detective would do when trying to unravel a mystery.

When it comes to determining whether Joseph Smith was who he claimed to be - a prophet of God - this should be easy to disprove, if he was, indeed, a fake man of God, a fraudulent prophet, a religions charlatan, and a spiritual imposter as most anti-Mormons claim. Let's take an honest, close, unbiased look at his claims. Let's put him on trial, so to speak, to see if he was merely a con-artist who went about deceiving people for his own enrichment, or whether he spoke the truth when he said God had called him to restored the gospel of Jesus Christ back to earth once more.

The first thing we know about Joseph, which even his critics acknowledge, is that he was unlearned. In fact, this is one of the things they use against him as proof that he couldn't be who he said he was. They argue that with very little formal education, he couldn't possibly have the intellect to understand the deep mysteries of the Bible. In fact, they point out that when he wrote the Book of Mormon, he had so little education that he couldn't even write the book himself, but instead had to use others to act as his scribes while he fabricated and invented his fictitious story.

I should have the whole idea of the book, just on my mind, I should one day show the plates to have witnesses, I should build an Urim and Thummim, I should provide an angel and many other troubles that we will discover further. So my wife would have been my choice, but I should talk to her and convince her of everything, make sense?

But there is a serious problem with such an accusation. First of all, the Book of Mormon is well written. Even Joseph's critics admit that it doesn't read as though it was written by someone with a third-grade education. In fact, in some parts, it is quite literary in its composition and style, on a par with some of the best literature in the world. It is at least every bit as flowing as the Bible.
If Joseph had indeed made this story up out of his own imagination, as the critics claim, then he would have known from the beginning that it was a make-believe story. Since he needed someone else to write the words down on paper for him, they too would likewise would have known the story was made-up. Therefore, the choice of who would be his scribe would have been extremely important, because that person could have exposed Joseph's fraudulent claims and revealed him as an imposter. To reduce the risk of being discovered, it is only logical that Joseph would have used just one trusted person to be his scribe, not two or three or more.
The most logical person for him to choose would have been his wife, Emma. There are several reasons for this. First, she stood to gain as much as Joseph did if his scheme became financially successful. Second, she was in love with him, and would have been more supportive and protective of him than anyone else. Thirdly, no one outside of their home would know what went on behind those closed doors. The secret would have been confined to his own family.
But there was more to it than simply just writing a phone story and passing it off as authentic history. He also claimed to have translated this story of an ancient civilization from gold plates, that he used a Urim and Thummim to aid him in making this translation, and that an angel appeared to him to show him where the plates were hidden. Whoever was to be his scribe would also have had to go along with all of these other tall tales as well.
Although Emma was his scribe for a while, there were several others who also wrote for him. One in particular was Oliver Cowdery, a school teacher, who happened to wander by and visited with Joseph. After Joseph told Oliver about the gold plates from which he was translating the Book of Mormon, and mentioning that he needed a scribe, Oliver not only volunteered but Joseph gladly accepted his services. At this point in time, Oliver was virtually a total stranger to Joseph. It makes no logical sense for Joseph to trust a total stranger to keep secret a fake story that he planned on using to gain wealth and fame.
It could be argued that this shows how uneducated and ignorant a person Joseph really was that he didn't think of this before accepting Oliver Cowdery's offer. But if that's the case, then it should make it that much easier to prove what an imposter he really was.

Surely going to provide a fake he should be aware that he should have some plates to show because he had the bad idea to write in his book that several witnesses should be provided, but best of all he needed to provide an angel to show the plates, if he was able to do just these two things I should say that Mr Houdini is nobody compared to him. Consider that he should have built an Urim and Thummim, too. Golden plates

The Book of Mormon is 522 printed pages long, yet, Joseph Smith dictated the entire contents of the book in only 45 working days. That is a matter of historical fact. It's true that these were not consecutive days. They occurred off and on from September 22, 1827 when Joseph first received the plates from an angel, until twenty-two months later, in June of 1829, when he had finally finished dictating the Book of Mormon. But even if he had worked on that book every day for twenty-two months, that would still be a great accomplishment for any writer to complete a book of that length and complexity today using a modern word processor. More than that, Joseph dictated every word of this book without making any significant changes. As every writer knows, before the final product is ready to be sent to the printer, it must first have gone through numerous drafts and revisions. This was not so with the Book of Mormon, and it has remained virtually unchanged for nearly 200 years since it was first published.
If this book was the invention of a young, unlearned boy, who imagined the whole story up from the fertile imagination of his mind, it would be extremely easy for men of great education, applying scholarly research to quickly prove that this was the case. Yet, for nearly 200 years no one have been able to adequately do disprove Joseph's claim. In fact, scholars who have studied and analyzed the Book of Mormon have come to gain a greater understanding and a deeper appreciation for the things found in the Bible. And all of this from a young unlearned man of twenty-three years of age
But what did Joseph Smith do with the Book of Mormon once he had it published? Did he sell it for great sums of money to unsuspecting people, like a snake-oil doctor selling his cure-all elixir from the back of a traveling wagon? No! He GAVE the book away, for nothing! Even today this book is given away for free as a gift to others, even though there is much cost associated with printing it. If we look at this from a logical standpoint, why would Joseph Smith go through so much persecution and ridicule to fabricate a totally make-believe story, claiming that it was a true account of an ancient civilization only to GIVE the book away without making any money from it?

Furthermore, why would all the several scribes who worked so hard transcribing his words still continue the fraudulent scheme if they got nothing of value from it? In fact, they got less than money. They were greeted with ridicule, scorn, and anger for defending Joseph's claims. In some cases, they even risked their lives. If Joseph was an ignorant, unschooled farm boy, Oliver Cowdery certainly wasn't. Then why did he willing support Joseph if he knew the whole book was a fake, a phony, and a hoax when there was nothing to be gained by perpetrating such a fraud?

Before the publication and after it the prophet and all his followers were strongly persecuted, sometime tarred and feathered, sometime beated up, many times in prison and sometimes threatened to be exterminated. So after a while he was supposed to realize that his fake instead to make him rich ( but it seems that this was not his purpose) produced a lot of troubles, sincerely if I were him considering all of this, I should say: It would be better to give up on this.

So from a rational point of view I cannot find a rational explanation, on my opinion this is because the book of Mormon's story is history of pure faith and rationality has anything to do with it. Even the critics didn't find a rational answer so they said that Joseph copied his story from the Spaulding manuscript and after that from View of the Hebrews

I will proceed to think rationally to the work of the book of Mormon done in 45 days, not only Joseph Smith was an unlearned man, but he couldn't know the Bible very well, he was not a preacher, he was young, maybe he didn't have the opportunity to read the whole Bible. I read the Bible like an whole when I was 27 years old. I would live aside that the book he was going to translate or write, according to our critics, was just fulfilling many Biblical prophecies see The Bible and the Book of Mormon concerning the house of Joseph and the writings of the Hebrew scattered everywhere in the world, but what it is more fascinating to me is the timing, the perfect timing of many interesting facts. For instance the Urim and Thummim is declared in the Book of Mormon that the first person who had it was the brother of Jared. You could ask why this is perfect timing. It is perfect timing because the Urim and Thummim  was extremely necessary after the confusion of the languages, no one so far had pointed this out. It is interesting to take a note that the Urim and Thummim mentioned in the Bible at a certain point was lost. We may presume with some confidence that the Urim and Thummim were handed down successively to the worthy chief priests of the tribe of Levi, or to seers of whatever tribe. However, the only direct mention of the Urim and Thummim in pre exilic times after the age of Moses and Aaron is to be found in I Samuel 28:6

1 Samuel 28:6
6 And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets.

In post exilic times the Old Testament plainly indicates that the Urim and Thummim had been lost to the tribe of Levi

Ezra 2:63
63 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim.

Nehemiah 7:65
65 And the Tirshatha said unto them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood [up] a priest with Urim and Thummim.

It is interesting to note that the Babylonian Talmud, Sota, 48, a, states that the Urim and Thummim were lost at the time of the destruction of the temple, 589 B.C.. However, Maimonides (died A.D. 1204), great Jewish philosopher, speaks of  Urim and Thummim having existed to complete the garments of the high priest, though they were not consulted:

They made in the Second temple (built about 515 B.C.) Urim and Thummim, in order to complete the eight garment, although they were not consulted by them. (Yadh Hachazaqah, Warsaw, 1181. The Book of Mormon gives us the probably key to the loss of the Urim and Thummim to the Jews in post exilic times. In Chapter eight of Mosiah we discover that in or about the year 121 B.C. the Nephites were in possession of the sacred instrument or "interpreters", as they were known by that people. There seem to be suggestions to the same effect in the Book of Omni, for in the verses 20-25 the historian Amaleki refers to the "gift of interpreting languages", which statement has significance when viewed in the light of Mosiah 8, especially verse 13. Verse 20 suggests  that Mosiah actually used the instrument to translate engravings. How did the Nephites come into possession of the interpreters?

It is quite natural to suppose that they were handed down to Mosiah by his father, King Benjamin when the latter gave him "charge concerning ALL the affairs of the kingdom" Mosiah 1:15 but verse 16 is more specific on this.

Mosiah 1:16
16 And moreover, he also gave him charge concerning the records which were engraven on the plates of brass; and also the plates of Nephi; and also, the sword of Laban, and the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by the hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him.

This scripture says nothing about the "interpreters even though we might well expect it to do so if they came into Mosiah's possession at that time. It is a point worthy of notice that before the time of Mosiah the younger, the Book of Mormon makes no reference to the transmission of the "interpreters" from one seer or prophet to another, but that after that time there are plenty of references. ( Mosiah 28:20 Alma 37:2,23,24 Alama 63:1

Does it follow that Mosiah was the first Nephite to come into possession of the Urim and Thummim?

I don't think so for the following reasons

1) The reference in Mosiah 8 to the King's possession of them is so casual and takes them so much for granted that it would appear probable that Mosiah came into possession of them from his father Benjamin, who got them in turn from the elder Mosiah.

2) There are examples we can point to, even after the days of Mosiah, in which no special mention is made of their transmission to others. (4 Nephi 19-21, 47,48; Mormon 4:23; 6:6

On reflection it would be appear quite possible, even probable, that the Urim and Thummim were handed down from one Nephite Seer to another one even from the days of Nephi. Did Lehi and Nephi bring the Urim and Thummim with them from Jerusalem prior to the destruction of the temple? Did Nephi and his brethren obtain the Urim and Thummim at the same time that they took the Brass Plates from Laban's treasury? (1 Nephi 4:20-24) It is tempting to answer to these questions affirmatively. There is a passage of scripture in 3 Nephi, which, though not decisive, points in the direction indicated by our questions.


3 Nephi 1:2
2 And Nephi, the son of Helaman, had departed out of the land of Zarahemla, giving charge unto his son Nephi, who was his eldest son, concerning the plates of brass, and all the records which had been kept, and all those things which had been kept sacred from the departure of Lehi out of Jerusalem.  cf. Alma 37:1,2,24

Although we have not proved beyond doubt that the Nephites brought the Urim and Thummim from Jerusalem, we can at least say that the Book of Mormon gives a reasonable solution to the problem as to why the post exilic Jews were denied access to the Urim and Thummim

Another interesting thing to note it is that this sacred device remained hidden from the eyes of men for 1402 years (the sum is seven) from A.D. 421 (the sum is seven) until 1823 (the sum is 14 two times seven) to have a better understanding why I am writing this sums please read the meaning of seven in Key for numbers

When Jesus came to preach the Gospel in this continent said

3 Nephi 24:1
1 AND it came to pass that he commanded them that they should write the words which the Father had given unto Malachi, which he should tell unto them. And it came to pass that after they were written he expounded them

another perfect timing. When they left Jerusalem they had just the scriptures until about 600 B.C. and Malachi came after that so they didn't have these scriptures

In the same Book Third Nephi we have another interesting story

3 Nephi 28:3
3 And he said unto them: Blessed are ye because ye desired this thing of me; therefore, after that ye are seventy and two years old ye shall come unto me in my kingdom; and with me ye shall find rest.

3 Nephi 28:4
4 And when he had spoken unto them, he turned himself unto the three, and said unto them: What will ye that I should do unto you, when I am gone unto the Father?

3 Nephi 28:5
5 And they sorrowed in their hearts, for they durst not speak unto him the thing which they desired.

3 Nephi 28:6
6 And he said unto them: Behold, I know your thoughts, and ye have desired the thing which John, my beloved, who was with me in my ministry, before that I was lifted up by the Jews, desired of me.

This is interesting because no one believe in a doctrine like this one, but the Bible is very clear on this.

Matthew 16:28
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

What about the parable of the olive tree and its branches given from Jacob but known even from Nephi?

1 Nephi 15:7
7 And they said: Behold, we cannot understand the words which our father hath spoken concerning the natural branches of the olive-tree, and also concerning the Gentiles.
consider that Nephi inserted all the prophecy of Isaiah to explain the fate of his people and after Jacob explained the parable in question perfectly. So Joseph in 45 days was able to dictate the whole story regarding the olive tree giving an announcement in Nephi, quoting Isaiah to support the idea and finally in Jacob the parable is clearly defined and best of all this parable was surely known to Paul because in the Bible Paul is clearly referring to the same prophecy

Romans 11:13
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 

Romans 11:14
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation [them which are] my flesh, and might save some of them. 

Romans 11:15
15 For if the casting away of them [be] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the receiving [of them be], but life from the dead? 

Romans 11:16
16 For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches. 

Romans 11:17
17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 

Romans 11:18
18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 

Romans 11:19
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 
Romans 11:20
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 

Romans 11:21
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. 

Romans 11:22
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 

Romans 11:23
23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 

Romans 11:24
24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree? 

Romans 11:25
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 

Romans 11:26
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

compare Jacob 5

What a perfection in explanation and timing.

Third Nephi, the visit of Jesus Christ on this continent. When Joseph published the Book of Mormon very few people were aware about the tradition of a white and bearded God and above all that the Bible prophesied this clearly

Isaiah 52:10
10 The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

I don't want to discuss the doctrinal points contained in the most correct book on earth

but clearly let me say that another perfect timing in the book of Mormon is last final chapter Moroni 10

Moroni 10:3
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down unto the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

Moroni 10:4
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Moroni 10:5
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

there was no best thing to sealed a sacred record and always in perfect accord to the Bible please read The Prayer The Holy Ghost and the Revelation

Those who are anti-Mormons don't want to honestly look at these questions. Instead, they want to repeat mindless, unsubstantiated charges, such as, "The Book of Mormon is of the devil" and expect people to seriously belief such non-sense. Of course, that is the same charge the Pharisees made against Jesus (Matthew 12:24). But let's take a closer, honest look at this accusation. Near the end of the Book of Mormon, we read, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Moroni 10:4).
If the devil is the real author of the Book of Mormon, why would he tell people to pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ? Wouldn't it make more sense for the devil to tell people NOT to pray to God? Of course it would, because Satan doesn't want people going to God. He wants people to pray to him, not God. Satan does all in his power to take people away from God, not encourage them to get closer to God.
It was Jesus who taught, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall this his kingdom stand?" (Matthew 24:25,26). If Satan is the author of the Book of Mormon yet in this book he encourages people to pray to God and believe in Jesus Christ, Satan is indeed casting out Satan. Logic dictates that, if this is the case, he must be working against himself. That is the only sensible, reasonable, and rational conclusion we can come to. But we know that can't be, so it makes no logical sense to say that the Book of Mormon is of the devil.
Interestingly, it is the anti-Mormons who do all in their power to convince people that we shouldn't pray to God to find out if the Book of Mormon is true or not. It is they who ridicule those who believe in the divine origin of the Book of Mormon. It is they who want Mormons to seriously consider the anti-Mormon arguments, but they don't want to take an honest look at the illogic of their own arguments, because if they did, using rationality and common sense, they would see that their accusations would disappear like the night when the sun begins to shine.

to read Prophesies in the Book of mormon

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