The Book of Mormon in Context

“The possibility of finding buried treasure fascinated many in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century America. Reports of searching for such riches were widespread in the Palmyra [New York] area, and extant accounts show that treasure was generally sought through supernatural means. Locations for buried wealth and lost Spanish mines were sometimes located through dreams. Treasures could also be located by using divining rods, often made from ‘witch hazel,’ or by looking in special stones or crystals. Sometimes when a stone was used, a person would place the stone in a hat and then conjure the guardian treasure spirit. After finding a spot where the cache was supposedly hidden, the seekers would draw a magic circle on the ground around the hidden treasure. Sometimes they would maintain absolute silence, but other times they would recite magical charms or religious verses used as charms. Whatever the means, money-diggers needed to overcome the guardian spirit who had enchanted the treasure, otherwise the treasure would slip back into the earth.” (H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley P. Walters, Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record, page 63)

This is the trouble had by Joseph Smith in 1826. A money-digger by occupation and reputation, Joseph got into trouble when the treasure he had been hired to find continually eluded the treasure hunters. Here’s what happened.

Josiah Stowell was a well-to-do farmer in Bainbridge, New York. Believing Spaniards had once hidden a mine in northern Pennsylvania, Mr. Stowell decided to try to find it. Because of the Smith family’s reputation for having the ability to locate buried treasure, Mr. Stowell sought their help late in 1825. According to Mr. Stowell’s testimony, while still in New York, Joseph looked into his peep stone and said he could see the treasure Mr. Stowell was looking for; it could be found in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Therefore, Mr. Stowell hired 19-year-old Joseph to find the buried treasure.

After several months of unsuccessful digging, Mr. Stowell’s nephew, Peter Bridgman, became concerned that his uncle was being swindled. Peter brought a formal charge against Joseph Smith, resulting in Joseph’s arrest. As part of his own defense, Joseph made a statement, which said:

“Prisoner examined: says…That he had a certain stone which he occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were a distance underground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel[l] several times,… That at Palmyra he pretended to tell by looking at this stone where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account of its injuring his health, especially his eyes, made them sore;…” (Inventing Mormonism, page 72)

Court records from Chenango County, New York show that Joseph Smith appeared before Justice Albert Neely for examination (a pre-trial hearing) on March 20th, 1826. After hearing testimony by witnesses and the defendant himself, according to Marquardt and Walters,

“the court concluded that there was enough evidence to indicate that the prisoner, Joseph Smith the Glass Looker, had claimed to have the skill to discover lost goods, a misdemeanor under the Vagrant Act, and had not actually found anything. Neely wrote in his court record, ‘And therefore the Court find the defendant [Joseph Smith] guilty.'” (page 74)

No further action appears to have been taken. Joseph was not sentenced to any penalty. There is some evidence to suggest that, due to Joseph’s young age, the court decided not to pursue the case any further.

The following year, 1827, Joseph claimed he found gold plates in the earth. According to his story, he brought the plates home and translated the text engraved on them into what would become the Book of Mormon. Early in the history of the LDS Church Mormons understood that Joseph located the gold plates by gazing into his seer stone, and used the stone in the Book of Mormon “translation” process (Inventing Mormonism, page 75).

To recap: Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration, admitted to using a peep stone to find buried treasure and other lost items. He confessed that he sometimes pretended to see treasure while looking at his stone. He was known and sought after as a money-digger/glass-looker. It was in this context that Joseph Smith announced he had found ancient plates of gold buried in the earth which contained the very words of God.

Ten years ago, then LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley was puzzled. He said, “I can’t understand why those of other faiths cannot accept the Book of Mormon.” Perhaps Joseph Smith’s reputation as a glass-looking money-digger could be understood as one reason non-Mormons question the authenticity of the book Joseph and his seer stone produced.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Mormon History. Bookmark the permalink.

142 Responses to The Book of Mormon in Context

  1. falcon says:

    From our Mormon friend Ralph, we learned that for Mormons the spirit world is full of unborn people and dead people. There’s a thin veil between us and them and under certain circumstances living humans get to peek into this world. Mediums have been treating themsleves and others to this phenomonon for countless centuries. For a few bucks you can visit with Captain Kid or your long dead great grandmother. The problem is that the good Captain and your dead grandmother aren’t really them at all. As it turns out, the spirit world has all sorts of treats out there for people seeking “spiritual” experiences. Demonic forces are more than willing to invite people into their world and if some folks are willing, they’ll even take up residence inside their body. Fancy that! What a marvelous spiritual experience.
    Now our buddy Ralph declined to go into it, because he didn’t want to argue with me, but he was going to defend “scrying”. You can read my description above, but briefly it has to do with using a medium not a person in this case but an object like what? Yes, ladies and gentleman, like a magic rock that our friend Joseph Smith was so fond of for treasure hunting and finding things like buried gold plates and as a means of translating this ancient record of the Jews in America who of course became Indians. He even had a visitor from one of the tribes that revealed all kinds of “wisdom” to him. This was better than say Captain Kid and the treasure was much more valuable then the stuff the Captain could share.
    So our Mormon friends are moral, upstanding and all around nice people who just happen to follow a guy who liked to dabble in the occult. His teachings take people away from the Jesus of the Bible to this other Jesus. I imagine there’s a spirit running around out there in the spirit world that calls himself Jesus.
    Satan is prefectly capable of making his world and his demons look good and reasonable and most of all “spiritual”. It “feels” so good

  2. DJBrown says:

    I in no way intend to declare my own righteousness. I am no better than anybody else. Rather I am trying to convey the fruits of the Book of Mormon I have witnessed in my own life.

    I think we may be going a little overboard on the deception theory. Remember the story of the crowds claiming Jesus cast out devils by the power of Beelzebub? Also remember his response, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.
    If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? (Luke 11:17-18).

    Please understand I am not attempting to tell any of you that you are wrong- I do not doubt your faith or your religion. My experiences and testimony in no way exclude your faith and experiences.

    Still no real answer as to how you know the bible is true.

  3. Michael P says:


    I think you miss the point: you claim to know the BOM is true because it changed your life around so much. Just in this thread, we have seen several examples of how a changed life can lead to very different results in belief, even those that reject the BOM. If your theory was correct, that a changed life proved the BOM, then all would look at it with the same reverence you do. But that’s not what we see happening, and that’s why we cannot accept your evidence for its veracity.

    A little overboard on the deception theory? I think not. I think it is quote apt, and the verses you quote have nothing to do with Satan’s methods of deception. Have you ever read CS Lewis’ ScrewTape Letters? If so, you know how Satan can deceive. It doesn’t take much to get one off on the wrong path.

    Your experiences and testimony do exclude ours, because both cannot be right. If your’s is right, then ours is wrong. It is exclusionary, unless you want to go relatism on us.

    How do I know the Bible is true? I look at what is says about the past and what we know about the past. I look at what it says about itself. I look at its prophecy. I look at the consistency with which it maintains through thousands of years and multiple authors. I look at that and know that it is true. My prayers confirm it, but I can reach this conclusion apart from prayer.

    Have you ever read any of the Case for Christ books by Lee Stroebel? How about More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell?

  4. falcon says:

    I think the refrain in the song goes “How can it be wrong when it “feels” so right?” and the final line goes “You light-up my life.” I think that one of the biggest things for Mormons to come to grips with (once the thread of doubt in Mormonism gets pulled and the garment begins to unravel) is “What about my testimony? I prayed and got this spiritual confirmation….this burning in the bosom that JS was a prophet, that the BoM is true, that the Mormon church is God’s restored church.”
    But the prepondence of evidence to contradict these claims just becomes to emmence for the testimonial experience to contain. The notion that God spoke directly to “me” is the religious candy Moemons are fed. It tastes so good but it’s spiritual nutritional value is zero. We’re told that this spiritual feeling is different from just regular feelings. That is until you talk to exMos and they all tell us that there wasn’t any real difference between their feelings regarding their testimonny and all the other good feelings they experienced in their lives.
    The “burning in the bosom” comcept comes right out of 19th century protestant revivalism. Charles Finney, Charles Spurgeon and John Wesley all described spiritual feelings as a result of their coming to Christ. Now here’s the deal, a person is saved by faith regardless of whether they get any accompanying feelings. The Rev. Moses Hoge’s description of a 19th century camp meeting is enlightening: “The careless fall down, cry out, tremble, and not infrequently are affected with convulsive twitchings….Nothing that imagination can paint, can make a stronger impression upon the mind, than one of those scenes. Sinners dropping down on every hand, shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsed; professors praying, agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress, for sinners or in raptures of joy!” This was in response to the traditional Biblical message of salvation, so that makes it true, right?

  5. germit says:

    DJB: reconsider how the devil would want to work, debauchery or religious moralism, it’s all the same to him, the second might be even more useful. My JW friend here at work has a testimony remarkably like yours. He is so glad to be part of ‘God’s organisation’,and off drugs and booze. IF his gospel is false, and I sure think it is, is he really better off than he was drinking and drugging?? Maybe not. Food for thought. GRC: while reading thru parts of 1st cor and couldn’t help but notice the many times POWER is connected with Paul’s MESSAGE (which to US, today, would be part of the Bible) From ch2; v4; my message and my preaching were…of power; v13 which things we those (words) taught by the spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words; true, sometimes religous words can be devoid of power, and hence ‘arrogant’, ch4:v18-20, but the force of verse 20 is that the kingdom of God does not consist of words, alone, Paul’s preaching, teaching, and evangelism were all demonstrations of the Holy Spirit power, and God kept those intact for future believers. “without it (HS) the spripture cannot be understood correctly..” Perhaps, but the reverse is just as true: without the scripture telling us what is of God and what is not, how do we know that ‘holy ghost experience’ is REALLY the holy ghost?? God’s character, HIS word, and HIS power are enmeshed, they are an organic whole, how strange to try and extract one of them. thanks for your posts, what happened to DOF??

  6. Berean says:

    How do I know the Bible is true? There are many reasons. First, I didn’t pray about it and ask God if it was true. Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to pray about the Bible to see if it’s true. By the way, the passage in James 1 when read in context is dealing with asking for wisdom in overcoming temptations (verses 2-5) – not asking for wisdom to know if what God has already revealed is true. To not take God seriously at what He has already said is truth will only lead to dire consequences (2 Thes 2:10-11). We are told to test the scriptures. I have done that and the Bible has met the test repeatedly.

    Second, the claims and historical accounts of the Bible can be verified today. I can get on a plane and fly to the Middle East and see the places that are talked about in the Old and New Testament. It’s all there. For Mormons, they can’t do this with the Book of Mormon. Mormons can travel around the U.S. and see Mormon historical sites relating to the LDS history from the 1800’s, but nothing past that time frame.

    Third, the Bible consists of 66 books written by numerous men all inspired by the Holy Ghost over a period of 1500 years. All of them give the same account on who God is, His nature and the same message. Many of the prophecies in the Old Testament have come to pass in the New Testament. We are still waiting for some Old & New Testament prophecies to take place which also makes the Bible relevant today and trumps the Mormon claims that we need more revelation.

    DJBrown, I’ll give you one example of prophecy in the Bible that came to pass. In the Old Testament in the book of Micah 5:2 it’s prophesied that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem. Several hundred years later that took place in Matthew 2:1. The Book of Mormon couldn’t even get this right when in Alma 7:10 it states that Jesus was born in Jerusalem! Where are the prophecies in the Book of Mormon that have come to pass today?

  7. Jeffrey says:

    Well, I was going to answer DJ’s question on how I know the Bible is true but since Berean’s is practically exactly like mine, I will just say, Ditto.

    Almost every Sunday, when the speaker talks of God, the scriptures, and shares a very beautiful message, I get tingles all over and I have to try my hardest to hold back tears. A Mormon would say without a doubt that that is the Holy Ghost confirming the truth of a faith. While I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit can manifest that feeling of joy, peace, and everything under the sun, I’m not an emotionless robot experiences those feelings for the first time. I’ve had many experiences like that. When I prayed to God about the truth of the Bible, I felt it, when my two baby girls were born, I felt it. When I watch a really heart-warming movie, I feel it.

    Thankfully, I see the weakness of human emotions and God does too. So he gives us his Word, speaks and offers evidence of its credibility, and offers it as a guide to come unto Him.

    Then you have some guy in the 1800’s, claiming a lost church, but being found time and time again to be false. False Prophecies, inconsistency’s in the BoM, JST, Book of Abraham. Practically all of his “scripture” has some serious issues with it, that modern LDS dismiss, because as Cluff so eloquently put it.. “With it (Holy Ghost), the Scriptures are not even necessary.”

    The problem with that is you will have so many people who believe that the “Holy Spirit” is talking to them, and there would be a million more different religions out there today founded on “pray about it” then if you have some sort of standard like we do today (The Bible).

  8. Andrea says:

    Regarding “burning in the bosom”: When I was saved and knew that Jesus and entered my heart and I was forgiven of my sins, I didn’t feel any “burning in my bosom”. It felt as though a huge burden had been lifted -more exactly, it felt as if a huge ocean wave had crashed down and washed over me, then lifted me up on its crest and I was higher than I’d ever been before. And everytime I listen to what God is telling me and I make a decision that falls in line with His will, I again feel a burden lightened. It’s as though He has put His arms around me and lifted the load from my shoulders…sometimes I forget to lay it at Jesus’ feet and He has to come take it. 🙂

  9. DJBrown says:

    Implicit in most comments here is the suggestion that the Bible clearly answers all questions and is perfectly consistent. I am sure there are many different churches represented by the people posting here. I am also quite sure that there are very many differences in opinion concerning various doctrines and interpretations of the bible among you. If I am wrong and my religion is completely false, how do you know among yourselves who is wright? WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY? And saying that the Bible has the authority does not work considering the different interpretations.

    Another point- one of the most consistent sins among ancient Israel was rejecting a living prophet while claiming loyalty to previous prophets. It seemed to happen in every generation. It is so much easier to believe in a dead prophet than one who is living. ANY person can be made to look bad by focusing only on unfavorable “facts” and recreating a caricature of the real person. George Washington has been painted in a negative light as a slave owner. Abraham Lincoln too has been caricaturized. The Pharisees and others did this to Christ and led many away from Him. Saying this does not prove Joseph Smith was a prophet. But I believe his life is one where this applies.

    Also, many of you claim that mormons do not use their brains or intellect when searching for truth and learning doctrine. About ten years ago a study concluded that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the only church to which the following rule did not apply: the more educated a person is the less likely they are to be active in their church. It found that the more education a LDS person had obtained, the more likely they were to be active in the church.

    The principle process in finding truth in the LDS church is studying diligently, pondering and contemplation, and THEN sincerely pray and rely on the Lord.

  10. Michael P says:

    DJ, Still not addressing the point.

    You can add whatever you wish as distractions, which is what the above is. But you are not addressing the issues presented before you.

    So, to review the basic problem with your initial defense was that it changed your life so it must be true. Do you still think this is the case given the numerous other examples of changed lives rejecting the BoM?

    You can ask how we know the Bible is true, you can say that it is easy to reject a living prophet, you can cite statistics about activism in the church all day long, but these are still not addressing YOUR truth claim which has been debunked.

  11. Rick B says:


  12. DJBrown says:

    I appealed to Christ’s own words to try to explain a principle He taught powerfully- that is “by their fruits ye shall know them,” or “a corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit” and “If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?” These are words from Jesus’ own lips. I believe this principle. Anything that influences a person to accept Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation and follow Him is a good thing. Anything that inspires a person to love God and live a godly life is good. This is why I can have my beliefs yet not dismiss your beliefs as evil or of the devil. I do not have to agree with you about everything to accept the fact that you guys have found Jesus Christ and love Him. This is a great thing, and I would never mock or belittle those influences that have brought you to this point in your lives. I recognize my limited view of the world and other people’s hearts. I am unqualified to judge your hearts. In relating my story, I was responding to claims that the Book of Mormon is of the devil.

    Berean: “To not take God seriously at what He has already said is truth will only lead to dire consequences”. Where did God say the Bible is true? Answer- those claims are in the bible itself. From a purely empirical standpoint this proves nothing. The Book of Mormon also claims to be true. “We are told to test the scriptures. I have done that and the Bible has met the test repeatedly.” I do not know what test you have applied and that is what I am asking.

    The fact that the Bible contains prophecies that have been fulfilled is true and valid. The Book of Mormon also has many prophecies that have been fulfilled. I have little room so I will outline a few tomorrow.


  13. Arthur Sido says:


    “Please understand I am not attempting to tell any of you that you are wrong- I do not doubt your faith or your religion. My experiences and testimony in no way exclude your faith and experiences.”

    But they do because they are mutually exclusive. One of us is following a false religion.

    As far as the Bible, it is a book about people who lived, in places that exist, that has manuscripts that can be translated and verified, that has served as the authority for Christians for two thousand years. The BoM describes people who never existed, written in a language that never existedm in places that no one can find, and is the product of a vivid imagination of a frontier shyster. I know which one I put my trust in.

  14. Jeffrey says:

    I don’t think I suggested the Bible answers ALL questions. It answers many, but especially answers the most important question, Who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Having faith in him lets you receive the Grace of God. What really important questions do you have that you think the BoM answers that the Bible doesn’t? Heres a challenge, list out 10, or at least 5.We will see if you can do it.

    Is the Bible consistent? Yes, I would say so. You seem to not think so.. Heres a challenge, list out a few examples.

    If you seem to be rather knowledgeable on the differences between Christian denominations who’s foundation is God’s Word, then tell me them. I am only interested in the ones that pertain to the nature of God, Jesus Christ, and Salvation. All other minor doctrine like Rick B. mentioned is of no use to mention (like are women allowed to be teachers/pastors in church). Does that really have any effect on ones salvation?..

    It’s rather obvious to me that you really grasped the whole First Vision, or should I say 8th vision? When it said all Church’s were an abomination in God’s sight. Did you ever take time to personally seek out those differences or just take the mishie’s words for it?

    Where’s this study? got a reference? It sounds like study talked about educated as in book smart, not necessarily educated about their own church’s history/doctrine. Because I have heard many accounts of postmo’s that started to question their faith the more deeper they got into the doctrine and the history, and the blatant errors in the BOM.

    The principle process in finding truth in the LDS church is not how you say. Do missionaries come to your door telling you about your doctrine? Milk before meat right? No, they give a whitewashed history lesson and then ask you to pray about it. Do they tell people God was once a man? Do they tell people about D&C 132 and how those who deny polygamy will be damned? Do they tell people about the curse of cain? About Adam/God?

  15. falcon says:

    OK fellow Mormon Coffee Contributors:

    The Falcon is pulling rank! I think I may have longevity here on the blog (Maybe Rick “The Hammer” my nickname for him) has been here longer, but I want to suggest that we discuss the topic at hand which deals with Joseph Smith’s “translation” of the BoM. D.J. Brown I’m truly glad you’re here, but you’re doing the Mormon two-step here with us. That typically involves the Mormon visitor getting a question answered and then jumping to another topic. We call it the “duck and dodge” move. I know my Christian home boys here on the blog and any of us would even be willing to correspond with you off-line via e mail or some other form of communication if you’d like to do the hit parade of Mormon topics.
    Now look, I understand that things have gotten hot and pointed here regarding the occult connection of Mormonism through Joseph Smith. He used scrying to “translate” the BoM. He was tapping into the world of magic arts long before he started the Mormon religion. Now this is serious stuff. I am concerned about your soul DJ and eternal destiny.

  16. Arthur Sido says:

    Jeffrey, quite true. We may disagree on ancillary issues, but when it comes to the nature of man, the nature of sin, the nature of God, the deity of Christ and justification by faith alone we all agree. Our worship services look different, we do things in different ways but on the essentials: i.e. how is a sinner made right with God, every Christian agrees that it is by faith alone, through grace alone, in Christ alone, revelead in the Bible alone, to God alone be the glory.

  17. Rick B says:

    Falcon, I like the nick name, and not that it matters, but yes I have been here before their was a blog, I answered all but 2 questions in the Q/A section, then the blog started and I was here for the very first post. Your brother in Christ and God Tool in the tool box, Rick B AKA the Hammer. LOL.

  18. GRCluff says:


    What would you do if you were born before the Bible existed? Or in a land where no Bible could be found? (Like the Americas before Columbus) What would you use to justify your beliefs then? The Bible can be used to justify any number of different beliefs– how many Christian churches use it? I’m sorry but it is NOT the rock solid foundation we all need. That foundation is the gift of the HG. The Word of God is the word of revelation– written AND unwritten.

  19. Berean says:

    Falcon, I know we talked earlier today and I conceed to your “pulling rank” because we have strayed off topic as usual. I beg your indulgence as I respond to questions that were asked of me directly.


    Where did God say the Bible is true? The Bible, meaning “scriptures” or the written word of God before it was assembled into the Bible we have today (Dead Sea Scrolls for one example), has God telling us that His Word is true in Proverbs 30:5; John 17:17; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20; That is a short list. Are you accusing me of circular reasoning? If so, then read again my earlier post especially my third reason. The claims of the Bible have been found to be true. The BoM is a work of religious fiction that cannot be validated by anyone anywhere outside of Mormon circles and their adherents testimony and burning of the bosom.

    I’m sure you don’t know what tests I am speaking of. Look up these verses regarding testing: John 5:39; 1 Thes 5:21; 1 John 4:1; Acts 17:11 (My personal favorite since I go by “Berean”. Now you know why. They searched the scriptures daily to see whether those things that were being said were true. Paul admonishes the Bereans for doing this). We are to test – not pray – to find out whether something that claims to be from God is or not. You would would be well advised to do this with the BoM instead of following a cunning idea as lined out in Moroni 10:3-5. That is why I said the consequences are dire in 2 Thes 2:10-11. For those that do not receive truth as already revealed, therefore God will send a spirit of delusion so they will believe a lie and will give over to fables (2 Tim 4:4).

    I outlined my tests/proofs of the truthfulness of the Bible in my earlier post. I could say more. I haven’t said anything yet as to the major life change that I have experienced after having been radically redeemed by the Savior. I also have a testimony, “doctor”. Which testimony is valid? Ah yes, we should test.

  20. Berean says:


    After reading your post yesterday where you said that we don’t need the scriptures I find it very hard to even try to reason with you. I can only reason with you from the scriptures (Acts 17:2). Mormons, like yourself and Ralph (who said he would rob and kill if Joseph Smith told him to), I generally just hand over to God in prayer because you have stepped so far outside of the realm that only something powerful from the God of the Bible can bring you back. Nothing I say is going to get through to you despite my efforts to say things that are Spirit led.

    Nevertheless, I will answer your question even though this courtesy is rarely returned by our Mormon friends on here. What would I do if I were born before the Bible existed? I would stand firm on what God says in Romans 1:20 on what has been revealed to mankind from the beginning. This means before there was a Bible. God is a righteous judge. I would be judged on that basis.

    The Bible can be used to justify anything by false prophets and people that follow them. You should know that from the Mormons running wild with 1 Cor 15:29. I still wonder when yall are going to fulfill Mark 16:18? God gets blamed for a lot of things He has nothing to do with.

    The Bible is the Word of God alone, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the true church today, Joseph Smith was not a propeht of God and Thomas Monson is not a prophet today. I say that in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  21. germit says:

    Back to the article: So JS spends the better part of 3 yrs, looking into the hat and ‘scrying’ so often he is loosing his eye sight. He finds a big fat nothing, but perhaps is paid now and again by the unsuspecting like Mr.Stowell. So for years he has established the habit of lying to himself, and others, about where buried Spanish treasure lay hidden, then shortly thereafter has a tale about buried gold plates sent from heaven. And my LDS friends and posters want to tell me that CONTEXT means precisely nothing in all this. The problem here is not intelligence, DJ, the problem is gullibility. I do like your posts, by the way, you are doing all a mormon apologist can do. GERMIT

  22. Berean says:

    EMMA SMITH: “In writing for your father, I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us…he had neither manuscript nor book to read from.” (“The Saints Herald”, Vol.26, No.19, October 1, 1879)

    RICHARD BUSHMAN (“Rough Stone Rolling”): “Joseph looked backward toward folk beliefs in divine power communicated through stones, visions, dreams, and angels.” (Page57)

    “After 1828, Joseph could no longer see that magic might have prepared him to believe in a revelation of gold plates and translation with a stone. It did not occur to him that without magic his family might have scoffed at his story of Moroni, as did the minister who rejected the First Vision. Magic had played its part and now could be set aside.” (Page 69)

    “When Martin Harris had taken dictation from Joseph, they first hung a blanket between them to prevent Harris from inadvertently catching a glimpse of the plates, which were open on a table in the room. By the time Cowdery arrived, translator and scribe were no longer separated. Emma said she sat at the same table with Joseph, writing as he dictated, with nothing between them, and the plates wrapped in a linen cloth on the table. When Cowdery took up the job of scribe, he and Joseph translated in the same room where Emma was working. Joseph looked in the seerstone, and the plates lay covered on the table…Joseph did not pretend to look at the ‘reformed Egyptian’ words, the language on the plates, according to the book’s own description. The plates lay covered on the table, while Joseph’s head was in a hat looking at the seerstone, which by this time had replaced the interpreters.” (Pages 71-72)

  23. falcon says:

    Excellent post directly from LDS sources. Our Mormon friends that visit us here have, by their silence on this matter, conceded that Joseoph Smith used a magic rock as an aid to create the BoM. This along with his plagerism of the KJV of the Bible and the repeating of tales that were common in the environment in which he lived. He rolled it all up with 19th century protestant revivalism.
    It’s a scam from beginning to end which he sold with the aplumb of a snake oil salesman. His most perfect book has had to have thousands of corrections, not only in grammar but also significant changes in content by the sanitizers in the LDS hierarchy.
    His involvement in the occult laid the foundation for his religion; the results and practices are still with the group today. Interestingly enough, the prophet had a traditional view of the nature of God “revealed” in the BoM. He changed his doctrine later. So much for directly revelation from God in the BoM.

  24. Berean says:

    Like Martin Harris, David Whitmer later testified that he did not see the plates literally with his fleshly eyes: he saw the plates “by the eye of faith” handled by an angel. (“Palmyra Reflector”, March 19, 1831)

    March 25, 1838: Martin Harris, in the Kirtland Temple, states that none of the witnesses had physically seen or handled the plates, that they had not seen the plates with their “natural eyes” but rather their “spiritual eyes”. (Joseph Smith Letterbook, Vol.2:64-66, LDS Archives, Dan Vogel, “Early Mormon Documents”, 2:291)

    David Whitmer said that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by putting his head in a hat and looking through a peep stone (“An Address to All Believers”). Mormon Apostle Russell Nelson said the same thing (Ensign, July 1993).

    Joseph Smith attended Methodist meetings with Emma to placate her family and enrolled in one of the Sunday school classes. (I thought Heavenly Father told him that he should not join any of those churches? [JS History 1:18-19]). He was confronted by the Methodist Church for being a practicing necromancer and was removed from the church. (Richard Bushman, “Rough Stone Rolling” page 69).

    Deuteronomy 18:10-12: “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination (magic), or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”

    To our Mormon friends, the Bible is very clear. What Joseph Smith dabbled in is not from God. The evidence of Joseph’s involvement in magic is overwhelming. The historical record speaks for itself. You will be judged by God and sent to outer darkness where Joseph Smith is if you continue to follow this false prophet. You will have no excuses and nobody to blame but you.

  25. germit says:

    DJ: here goes post #3,and before noon. You honesty and efforts are appreciated here,though we christians can get cranky: thanks for your dialogue. Have you seen or heard from DOF, I liked that guy, he is missed. This would be a good time to show us that our portrayal of JS is indeed “caricature”. If you gave me a distorted picture of anyone from the bible, I think we could get it all sorted out in short fashion. Let’s assume we’ve done this with your prophet. Please show us where (and this is not a condescending ‘you-will-never-be-able-to-do-this offer’) we have gone hugely awry. I would have to say that accepting him FIRST as prophet and then all the details will work themselves out is probably not a winning course, but I’ll leave that to you: keep in mind that not even Jesus Himself followed that way: He established His credentials in many and diverse ways, but I’ll let you talk for yourself. As an aside: I’ve NEVER said that LDS are not intelligent , they sure seem to be brighter and more accomplished than most (they are the best employees where I work), only that the LDS approach is ‘love-hate’ with rationality and scholarship: that’s why discussions that hinge on those things only go so far and then tail off into ‘I have a testimony’ or “the Holy Ghost told me….” or something like that. Your SYSTEM can’t handle the heat: it’s not a matter of intelligence or using your brains. If you want to see smart people fooled, by the way, google “eckhart tolle interviews” and read what many, many thousands are saying about a ‘prophet’, ET, who couldn’t babble his way out of a wet paper bag, but his books have sold in the millions to very smart, not discerning, sheep.

  26. Rick B says:

    GRCluff said

    The Bible can be used to justify any number of different beliefs– how many Christian churches use it? I’m sorry but it is NOT the rock solid foundation we all need. That foundation is the gift of the HG. The Word of God is the word of revelation– written AND unwritten.

    You are wrong about the HS, Jesus said, Not Rick, or Falcon, or Berean, ETC, Search the Scriptures for they (the scriptures) Testify of me.

    John 5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.

    John 5:38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

    John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

    John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

    I choose to believe Jesus over you. Then more evidence of the truthfullness for the Bible is, Jesus and the apostles quoted from the OT And trusted it when they quoted from it, again they never quoted from the BoM or Mormon Prophets.

    Then I could say back to you (The BoM can be used to justify any number of different beliefs– how many LDS churches use it? I’m sorry but it is NOT the another testament we all need.) Again How many Off shoots to the LDS church do we have that cannot agree? Rick b

  27. GRCluff says:

    Rick B:

    I don’t mind if you choose Jesus over me. Just don’t be selective in what teachings you follow.

    Matt 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
    8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

    By seeking to search the scriptures you are avoiding the primary directive. No, you are NOT expected to knock on the cover of your Bible. You are expected to pray as part of your seeking activities.

  28. Arthur Sido says:

    GRCluff, without the Bible you have no idea who you are praying to, because you have no idea who Christ is. Take away the Scripture and you invariably, as Smith did, remake Christ into an idol of your own imagination. Who are you praying to? Why are you praying to Him? Why do you have any faith at all that your prayers would be answered? Only because of reading about the God who has revealed Himself and His Son Jesus Christ in the pages of Scripture, penned by men under the inspiration of the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

    Certainly you are supposed to pray, but you are also supposed to search the Scripture in conjunction with that. You have apparently abandoned any reliance on the Scriptures at all, and I would hazard a guess that you would find that is frowned upon even by your false prophet in Salt Lake. I will repeat myself and refer to John 4, God seeks those who worship Him in spirit AND in truth. Outside of the Scriptures there is no truth, only the lies of self-deception that come from the sinners heart.

  29. germit says:

    To All: Arthur, that is one excellent post, I’ll make this brief, not much to add to that. Was it DJB who asked in caps WHERE IS THE AUTHORITY? That is a very important question, and for those who’ve either wandered or bolted from orthodoxy the answer is: something other than the bible (although nearly all of these groups would rather eat shredded glass than admit that) and so you end up with 1)some kind of extra biblical writing 2)an exalted office or position (the title ‘faithful and discreet slave’ cracks me up for the JW but I can’t argue, they are certainly both discreet and slaves) 3)and the necessary tale about how the bible WAS a great book until….(and the details are always left out of that story, because real history says something else. DISCREDIT the bible (and faint praise is probably worse than no praise at all), and replace it with RESTORED PROPHETIC AUTHORITY, or some such product: note to the lDS readers: this is not at all unique to your church, it happens in lots of ‘renegade’ christian churches, with predictable results. Mr.Cluff: anything good can be abused, and anything GREAT can be (moral free agency) REALLY abused. God has always worked that way: so we are left with many people ‘lighting their own torches, and walking by that light…if I remember Isaiah right, they ‘lie down in torment’. I know of more peaceful accommodations. GERMIT ps: GRC: where did you ever get the odd idea that we don’t pray??

  30. GRCluff says:


    It’s not an idea of praying or not praying, or studying the Bible or not. Mormons DO study the Bible, just like mainstream Christians pray. The discussion is one of balance. I would say Rick B. is skewed towards scripture and scriptural context, just like many here have insisted that Mormons are skewed towards personal revelation and the answers we recieve to prayer. Where is our foundation when the discussion turns to points of conflict?

    Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

    Why a foundation of apostles and prophets? Because they are the ones authorized to recieve revelation on doctrinal issues. Improper interpretation of the Bible is no foundation at all.

  31. GRCluff says:


    I first learned about the “stone in the hat” method of translation in a D&C class at BYU. Sorry, the shock effect you employ to shake my testimony is wasted on me.

    The same professor taught about the salamader letters in the same historical context. That document was shown to be a clever fake. That has me asking the question. How many other “historical” documents that you routinely use to discredit Mormons and Mormon history should fall into the same category? (that of clever fake documents).

  32. germit says:

    GRC: and so we agree on some things: Jesus Christ is our foundation, He can be known through prayer and the study of His word (which we have both honestly and sincerely done) and here we are, you and I, with different gospels…hmmmm: now what?? you are telling me that I need the help of the LDS offices and hierarchy to make ‘proper interpretation’. The Roman Catholic church calls this the ‘magisterium of the church’: literally TEACHING AUTHORITY. Did you know, as an aside that you have quite a lot in common with the Roman Catholic church?, but I’ll pull on that thread later. I wasn’t real keen on handing over the keys of interpretation, wholesale, to a third party (ask Berean how he feels about that), and neither was the guy you pretend to like, Martin Luther. Do we need these “special offices/positions to come up with a PROPER INTERPRETATION? Maybe I should have stayed an altar boy, but I think not: the christian position works the other way round: the BOOK judges the proper use of the position/office, not the other way around. I’ve said it before, but your “many denominations” argument is thin: you have 100plus groups as offshoots in less than 200 years: do the math, that will be 1000plus groups when you are as old as orthodoxy, at the current rate. So big deal. THe NT makes MUCH of Jesus as Cornerstone, High priest, foundation of our faith, and LITTLE of any other office/position IN COMPARISON. Blessings: Germit

  33. Rick B says:


  34. Arthur Sido says:

    Oh Cluff,

    “Why a foundation of apostles and prophets? Because they are the ones authorized to recieve revelation on doctrinal issues. Improper interpretation of the Bible is no foundation at all.” True, they WERE. Man used to receive revelation from prophets. But here is a pesky verse:

    “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

    Notice the tense “he has spoken”. Christ has spoken and His word needs no additions to be more complete. We no longer need prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah because the final revelations have been revealed to us in the person, work and cross of Christ. Monson and before him Hinckley never made a prophetic utterances. They were not and are not prophets, they are CEO’s and P.R. guys. Not every guy that comes along and claims he is a prophet should be taken at face value (i.e. David Koresh), and what Smith, Young and their successors taught fails at every turn to be authentic prophetic witness because it contradicts the Bible. There needs to be balance, scripture and prayer both but what you are balancing is the truth and a lie.

  35. Berean says:


    I don’t know how old you are, but if you were around when Carter and Reagan were having their presidential debates then you remember Reagan stating to Carter: “There you go again”. Guess what? That is what I say to you. This is starting to become a habit of yours in once again violating Artcile #8 in not translating the Bible correctly. I see you dismissed Acts 2:38 after it was explained to you in context. Let’s now look at Ephesisans 2:20.

    What is a foundation? It’s something that is laid at the beginning. What was the foundation that was laid that this verse is talking about? The teachings of Christ – the gospel. He was the chief corner stone. The apostles and prophets have already laid the foundation/beginning. What is going on today? Christians are building upon that foundation, the church, by basing our beliefs on their inspired words. See Matt 16:18. The “rock” is the foundation. The church is built upon it. For example, if one is building a skyscraper a foundation is made at the beginning of the building project. As the builders go upwards is their a foundation laid at each story/floor? No. The Mormon view/slant of this verse is skewed and offbase when compared with other texts that validate this such as what is said in Hebrews 1:1-2.

    The next problem for our Mormon friends if they want to use this verse as a drum-beater is that they are not looking closely at the order in which the groups are mentioned. If we are going to take the Mormon view on this verse then the apostles would come before the prophet. Uh oh, that can’t happen because the First Presidency/Prophet comes before the Quorum of the Twelve, right – problem!

    I’m amazed that your D&C professor removed all your worries about Joseph Smith’s involvement with magic. Maybe you should worry about what Heavenly Father said in Deut 18:10-12 where He said that divination (magic) practitioners are an abomination.

  36. germit says:

    Mr.Cluff: thanks for bringing back your FDr. friend, what do we owe you?? Falcon is paying…. You\’re starting to catch on: wondering about OTHER fake documents are you?? That\’s great: how were the salamander letters shown to be false, by the way. Small hint, not prayer, not revelation, not the prophet-seer-revelator (did he have that week off ??) No, it was someone, or several someones, who used their God given brains and bodies and did some research. Doesn’t sound very spiritual, but jeenkees, a clue, it worked!!! If you suspect we’ve pulled a ‘salamander’ on you , be my guest and use the same strategy to catch another rat. Not only will this be educational and fun, your credibility (and by extension, the credibility of the LDS position) will spike. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?? Or would that just damage your faith?? Never did hear back from other LDS on the “evidence working AGAINST faith” thing, which I find too bizarre for words. PS: and about Heb 1:1-2 We
    certainly believe that the Father, through His Son, is STILL talking to us today, and answering prayer, today. God is ALWAYS talking, revealing, and of course the same yesterday, today, and FOREVER. GERMIT

  37. DJBrown says:

    As the tone of this blog has become downright caustic and disrespectful, I expected not to return. But I said I would post some prophecies from the Book of Mormon.

    A person who claims to know the Book of Mormon from statements of ex-mormons and selected passages is like a Muslim extremist claiming to understand the United States from statements from Jane Fonda and Michael Moore and Al Jazeera Broadcasts. A person really has little understanding of the book who has not read it several times all the way through.

    The following is a list of prophecies in the Book of Mormon I identified while flipping through the book in just 90 minutes. There are thousands more. These are my observations skimming the book in one sitting. Each is specific to the Book of Mormon and has been fulfilled at least in part since 1830.

    Understand that the Book of Mormon claims to be Another testament of Jesus Christ and the tool by which Christ would prepare a people for His second coming. We are told it was prepared for our day-the themes and examples among those ancient people were included so we could recognize similar patterns in our day.

    I believe a person cannot begin to understand or even recognize these prophecies in his first, second, third, etc. reading of the book. You will recognize the significant number of prophecies relating to Israel and America. For Joseph Smith to come up with these prophecies 1830 is hard to imagine. Many within the church including myself believe the Nephite civilization was in Mexico/ Yucatan.

    Each of the following can be expounded upon at length. I have included only one reference for each although most are found in many passages. By the way- remember what Christ said about sign seekers! (“An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” Matt 12:39; “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” John 4:48)

    Continued in next comment:

  38. DJBrown says:


    1. The record (BofM) should go forth unto all nations (2 Ne 25:22)
    2. People of America to be lifted up above all other nations (1 Ne 18:30, 1 Ne 22:7)
    3. Descendents of Lehi to accept the B of M (1 Ne 15:14)
    4. Additional books of scripture to follow the B of M (1 Ne 13:39)
    5. America never to be brought into captivity (2 Ne 1:7
    6. Israel and descendents of Lehi to be nursed by gentiles (1 Ne 22:6)
    7. B of M to convince descendents of Lehi to repent (2 Ne 3:21)
    8. America to be land of liberty without kings (2 Ne 10:11)
    9. Remnant of Lehi to rise up against gentiles in the Americas before the second coming (3 Ne 20:15-17)
    (? Events and population movement along our sourthern border)
    10. Gentiles and JEWS to be lifted up in America (2 Ne 27:1)
    11. Gentiles and JEWS in America to be drunken with iniquity (2 Ne 27:1)
    12. Charles Anthen transcript fortold (2 Ne 27:9, 15-20)
    13. False churches in America to fight each other and deny the power of the Holy Ghost (2 Ne 28:3-4)
    14. Hearts of children of men to rage against that which is good (2 Ne 28:20)
    15. Many in last days would accept the teaching that there was no devil or evil (2 Ne 28:22)
    16. Some would claim that “we need no more bible, God has done His work” (2 Ne 29:3)
    17. Role of corrupt lawyers in disintegration of society/government (Alma 10-14)
    18. Forshadowing of sweeping teaching that every person succeeded according the management of the creature–survival of the fittest/atheism (Alma 10:17).
    19. Forshadowing of atheism explaining religious experiences away due to a “frenzied mind”- physiology or chemical reactions in the brain (Alma 10:17).
    20. God would restore the knowledge of His ancient covenants to Israel and descendents of Lehi (3 Ne 5:24-26).
    21. Jews to be hated and scourged in the latter days (3 Ne 16:9)
    22. Gospel to be shared by gentiles with remnant of Israel and descendents of Lehi (3 Ne 21:6)
    23. Joseph Smith to be marred (martyred) (3 Ne 21:10)

  39. DJBrown says:


    24. Prophesy from Moroni that Joseph Smith’s 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’s Testimony in introduction.
    25. Many among the gentiles would mock the words of the Book of Mormon (Ether 12:23-26)
    26. Words of the Jews and Nephits to grow together (2 Ne 29:10-14)

  40. Cluff wrote

    “The Bible as it is today didn’t exist until the 3rd or 4th century after Christ. Just as many writings were rejected as were included, and revelation was not part of the equation. That is a serious manipulation, in my opinion”

    I honestly don’t get it. Article 8 of the LDS Articles of Faith states “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” An honest reading of this is that LDS believe that the Bible is, not “was”, the Word of God. So, it does not matter if it was changed (an allegation that I doubt); according to LDS, it is the Word of God today, in the present time.

    If LDS want to throw doubts on the origins of the Bible, let them do so. However, let them first revoke the offending statement from their articles of faith.

  41. Berean says:


    You did a great job of compiling these self-fulfilling prophecies contained in the BoM. I’m always impressed at the efforts that FARMS and FAIR will go to in validating the BoM despite its many problems (plagiarism of the Bible, no historical proof, no archaeology, etc.). Like you, each point you raised could be talked about in detail. To that I say, what is the point? I think you need to scroll up and look at the roots with magic/occultic ties that the BoM came into existence. That is the biggest hurdle I can’t get by. How am I supposed to take seriously a book claiming to be from Heavenly Father when it’s well documented that Joseph Smith used occultic tools in bringing it into existence? Joseph was a practicing necromancer and used divination (magic) in violation of scripture. The evidence against Joseph Smith and his involvement in these practices is overwhelming.

    Those that practice the occult/magic arts do have special powers. They can know certain events in the future, but it many times won’t be specific. For example, a witch walking down the street approached my fiance’, who is now my wife, in her home country and told her that she knew me by specifically stating to her that “he is a Christian” and told her some things what her life would be like here in the U.S. It was vague, but she knew I was a follower of Christ for sure – her enemy.

    Joseph Smith made many false prophecies. The list is extensive. However, if Joseph got 99 out of 100 correct and just one of them was false that still makes him a false prophet (Deut 18:18-22).

  42. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Berean, Thanks for bringing this thread back to its original topic. The discussion has gone far afield, so I think now is the time to close comments on this one. Thanks to all who have contributed!

Comments are closed.