Skip to comments.Single Word Change in Book of Mormon Speaks Volumes
Posted on 11/08/2007 5:23:05 PM PST by Colofornian
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21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
This was to ONE man only; not to the world in general.
Elsie, here’s a little bit of LDS doctrine to help you sleep better tonight.
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
Great verse. That falls under #3. perhaps you missed that one.
So THIS must be why there is no COMMAND to do the things that are done in your Temples found in your scriptures!
I will be sleeping better tonight; since it's now 5 minutes into Wednesday.
Nyuk nyuk nyuk!
Looks like all kinds of threads are getting pulled. Canticle of Deborah was also banned for posting Fred videos.
But I would be interested in your comments on this if you do care to discuss them without changing the subject or other tactics.
You don't tug on Superman's cape
You don't spit into the wind
You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim, da do da do...
Did you read the conversation when Deborah got zapped? Looked to me like she messed around with JIM!
Start at #39
Don't play the victim card for HER!
Because he asked: "What do I need to do?"
The thief on the cross wasn't baptised, so, using your logic, none of us need to be baptised either.
Why is he getting a pass from the Savior and not the rest of us?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.Revelations 20:12-13
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.James 2:14-26
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?Let me try shouting to be heard above your apparent preconcieved ideas about what we believe, ahem
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
“We tried that, anti Mormons want to (pardon the bad pun) crucify us for being “Diverse” Christians.”
Ah yes, the martyr syndrome. “We are just soooo good that everyone hates us!”
Oh? Why is that; given THIS?
You are not (a) god yet, and I REALLY doubt you will EVER be a god; but keep up the Good Works if you think that someday you will be a god.
What about: [Genesis 1:26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. and :[1 John 3:1] Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
Doesn't this show both testaments indicating we are of the family of God?
[Genesis 17:1] And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. and [Colossians 1:28] Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.
Does this indicate to you that we will be perfect....someday?
[Job 14:14] If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. and [1 Corinthians 15:51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
Would this be an indication to you that we will undergo some type of transformation?
[Psalm 17:15] As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. and [1 John 3:2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
According to scripture....will we look like God?
[Psalm 8:5] For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. and [Hebrews 2:7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.
Do both testaments indicate here that we are presently a little lower than the Angels?
[Malachi 3:17] And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. and [Romans 8:14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Does the Lord indicate here that we will be his sons?
Psalm 82:6] I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. and [John 10:34-36] Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
What are we being referred to here....in both testaments?
I'm not a Morman....I'm just asking questions!
In Psalm 82 the ‘gods’ reference is offered not so much as a blessing on the ones but as a slur on those who thought of themselves too highly.
You're correct in that some folks read it that way. I'm just not sure....especially when taking it with the other verses I've offered.
they. That is, the judges know not." These are they that are referred to as 'gods'. Not exactly a praise-worthy designation, eh?
The family of God is an interesting concept. I think the bible is fairly clear that are and will be children of God.
The question is what does that form take? If we ARE literally children of God then it only makes sense that we will be LIKE God. As Diego pointed out in this scripture:
1Jn 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
If we are to be like God, in the family of God, then it makes sense that we will be of the same substance, the same stuff.
I'm not sure what the Mormon stance is on this, but I think the problem most Christians have with this concept is that they believe that when people become "like God" that they are somehow "other gods". I don't see it that way. I see it that we ARE part of God's family, children of God. We do his will, we fulfill what he wants fulfilled. We have tremendous power, but only to do his will. I think that's what Jesus was indicating here:
Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
I think Paul also summed up the future of Christ's servants:
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rom 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
I don't believe we are "gods" separate from God. We ARE part of God, joined in perfect love and unity.
Well spoken by someone who is a member of an organization that has a Living Prophet® to channel GOD's words to the members.
What happened at 372 & 373???
Anyway, in a previous post, I said: Sandwiched in between can be a passage like 2 Nephi 25:23. That is what I mean by "slipping" something in.
Your response: Ah but it's not sandwiched in, and all you have to do is look at the chapter to see that.
What I thought was quite funny was that your own LDS friend, Sevenback, then chipped in with post #325 to confirm half of what I saying. Yes, indeed, Delf, "all you have to do is look at the chapter to see that."
How many people just gloss over Isaiah? The Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah, and then explains it, in pure and simple language.
And of course, Sevenbak put in bold faced exactly where among the Nephite sources we find the words of Isaiah. Right where I said they were...same chapter as 2 Nephi 25:23...2 Nephi 25:4-8 (Sevenback also highlighted 3 Nephite 23:1-2).
Of course, Sevenbak could have gone on to mention (and didn't) that 2 Nephi 24:12-32 is an exact copy job of Isaiah 14:12-32.
Well, that's mighty interesting. Wanna explain why v. 12 of 2 Nephi 24 EXACTLY matches v. 12 of 2 Nephi 24? Wanna explain why v. 13 matches v. 13? (and on down the line) But you still don't get it, do you?
As I know you know, the Bible was not originally written as it presents itself to us. (It was written as straight text and only divided for us so we could reference it...Thruout history, various methods were used to divvy it up chapter verse...with the method now used based upon Stephen Langton's work...I guess LDS would call Langton "Langton the apostate"...from the University of Paris between 1205 and 1227).
Well, the Jews FIRST used the Langton system for the OT divvying up of verses in 1330 in a manuscript followed by a 1516 printed edition. (Oh & BTW, Hebrew straight text was much harder to divide than Greek text because of much fewer "natural" breaks in the thought structure). Now you wanna tell us all what year again 2 Nephi was etched in gold plates? (It wasn't after 1205 AD, was it?)
Please explain how it was for the Nephite author to know exactly what verse Langton would come to designate as Isaiah 14:12, 14:13, on through 14:32? And why you're at it, please explain how it is he would use Elizabethen English in citing parts of Isaiah. (You would think that if he was EXACTLY quoting Isaiah, that his "translation" would be a wee bit different than what the 17th century KJV translators would come up with...so that even if the content matched thought for thought, the words wouldn't be mimeographed.) This is 100% proof that Joe had a KJV Bible tucked away in his hat...didn't need a "seer stone" for that dictation portion!!!
Here, Click on this link to see the whole chapter with this scripture highlighted, what the heck, I'll copy a few scriptures over so people don't have to click...There goes the Moment, there is nothing "from the Gospels" in the BOM. Have you ever translated anything from one language to another?
Well, thank you for supplying 2 Nephi 25, but what I originally meant as "sandwiched" was not simply what was in one mere chapter. I meant what was in the latter part of 2 Nephi. (And in fact, since folks are use to reading 2 Cor after 1 Cor...same w/Peter, Thess., Timothy...some readers will temporarily bypass half of the BoM to get to 3 Nephi & then 4 Nephi...and so even those books come into play)
So let me reiterate my original premise: Joseph copied portions of Isaiah into the Book of Mormon text (2 Nephi 24 and early portions of chptr 25). He then inserted a works-oriented verse--2 Nephi 25:23--and then smatterings of the gospels appeared in places like 2 Nephi 31. Result? A newby reader to the BoM who just happened upon those 8 chapters would say, "Boy this sure rings true!!!"
Allow me to break this down:
Step One: A reader comes along & reads it..."Boy, this is the Word of God...leaves a burning in my bosom." (and of course, reading 2 Nephi 24 is just like reading Isaiah 14. So then that becomes a "set up.")
Step Two: The reader continues on to where 2 Nephi 25:4-8 also references Isaiah. Then to 2 Nephi 25:12 where "wars and rumors of wars" (oh, yeah, that's no borrowed phrase from Matthew 24) & then to 2 Nephi 25:13, which is a short summary of the gospels. The reader continues on to 2 Nephi 25:23: "You are saved by grace AFTER ALL YOU can DO."
Step Three: Despite your assurances that "there is nothing in the gospels from the BoM," what do we find?
In 2 Nephi 31:8, we find a phrased referenced to Matt. 3:16.
In 2 Nephi 31:9,18, we find a phrased referenced to Matt. 7:13-14.
In 2 Nephi 31:21, we find a phrased referenced to both Acts 4:12 and John 7:16.
Now for those orderly readers who think that 3 follows 2 instead of Jacob following 2--those who jump on over to 3 Nephi, what do we find just in the first 11 chapters?
In 3 Nephi 9:17, we find a phrased referenced to John 1:12.
In 3 Nephi 11:11, we find a phrased reference to John 8:12. And in v. 14, a reference to John 20:27.
All kinds of references of the gospels DO make their way into the BoM. Of course, allow me to pre-empt what you'll counter with: "Shock! Surprise! The Scriptures are consistent! Jesus happened to say what he said in the Americas as he did in the Middle East!"
But this goes back to the need for you to act like a detective as you compare 2 Nephi 24 to Isaiah 14 (and other plagarisms from Isaiah), elsewise, if you are as you say, a "certified teacher"...then you'll never recognize plagiarism by any of the submissions of your students. You'll be a deceived teacher.
Just as the assignment of verses to Isaiah in the 13th century dooms 2 Nephi 24 as being of previous origin, think about Matthew, Mark and Luke for a moment. Do they match? In large part, yes. But the fact that MANY distinctions exist actually adds to the authentic reliability. Some word structures are changed. Some contexts are changed. Some order of phrasing is changed. Much more unity than distinctiveness is there, unifying the three; but the distinctiveness of the phrasing & wording tells us one thing: It wasn't just one major "copy" job. Luke wasn't "plagiarising" Matthew.
Now look at the borrowed phrases from the gospels in the BoM. Oh sure, the order & context is jumbled. But what stands out to me as a plagiarism hunter is the exact same King James rendering.
You said, "Apparently you don't understand Elizabethen English very well," well I understand this: Early 19th century folks didn't speak KJ English in everyday language. Key portions were partially archaic then just as it's 1/2 to 3/4 archaic now.
The BoM should have either been a tightly worded concise history with God's actions and words mixed in, reflecting its supposed purpose (tight for gold etching purposes), or if it was going to "free flow" as it wound up being (and quite repetitively I might add), then we would expect more modern words and phrases. If God was going to "customize" it for 19th and 20th and 21st century readers, He wouldn't address us in British colloquialisms under King James' rulership.
Yeah....I've been down that trail and pretty much ignore all organized religion at this point in my life. Still "gotta" lot of questions.....but.....sure found a "lotta" answers as well.
Dunno! Got to the party late!
To BOTH parts of this sentence!!
It was in the month of February, 1833, when I a boy, not quite sixteen years of age, living with my parents in Elk Creek township, Erie county Pennsylvania, that two Mormon Elders came into our neighborhood. Their names were John Boyington and E[v]en Green. Like many other sensational proselyters they created a great deal of interest upon the subject of religion and succeeded in making a considerable number of converts there, among whom were my parents and myself and several relatives. In November of the same year I left my parents and went to Kirtland, Ohio, which place at that time had been designated as the rendezvous of the Saints. Soon after my arrival there I made my home with Sidney Rigdon. Following that time and prior to the beginning of May, 1834, the Mormons organized what they termed “Zion’s camp.” This organization was effected with the understanding that they were to fight their way, if deemed necessary to redeem Zion. More than 200 left, then, I among them, on that expedition to Missouri, During that trip, Joseph Smith who was of course at the head, had a number of revelations, all beginning with his stereotyped formula, “thus saith the Lord,” and the belief he imparted to the company was that the Lord would protect us all, and if necessary to gain a crossing of the Missouri River, it would open its waters and let us over, even as the Red Sea was reputed to have opened in ancient times. When we reached Clay county, Missouri, Joseph stated to me that he had received another revelation that this Zion’s camp programme was simply a matter of the Lord’s will
TO TRY THE FAITH
Of the Saints and that it was not the Lord’s will that they should go into Jackson county then but that He had expected this offering as a tribute to their faith and the Zion’s camp expedition was then abandoned. Joseph said at that time that the keys of the kingdom had been given to him through the angels, Peter, James and John, and that he himself had finished his work so far as a complete organization of the church was concerned. He then, in a conference ordained David Whitmer to be his successor in case of accident to himself. Whitmer, by the way, as the world knows, repudiated Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the polygamous doctrine that came after this time. Directly after the majority of us returned to Kirtland the best way we could get there — it was a good deal like “every fellow for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” When I returned to Kirtland the temple was nearly completed, and during that winter — 1835 and 1836 — its dedication occurred. That ceremony ended in a drunken frolic — one of the worst I ever saw. Joseph Smith
BECAME BEASTLY INTOXICATED
And his father and brother, Hyrum, begged that the wine should be taken away, so that the carousal might be stopped as soon as possible. I did not know Joseph to be what is termed a “common sot,” but that was not the last time I saw him intoxicated.
After that dedication the Mormons organized what they termed “the school of prophets.” A revelation prior to that time had given Oliver Cowdery the privilege of nominating the twelve apostles of the Church. About the time of this organization there was a good deal of scandal prevalent among a number of the Saints concerning Joseph’s licentious conduct, this more especially among the women. Joseph’s name was then connected with scandalous relations with two or three families. Apparently to counteract this he came out and made a statement in the Temple, before a general congregation that he was authorized by God Almighty to establish His Kingdom — that he was God’s prophet and God’s agent, and that he could do whatever he should choose to do, therefore the Church had
NO RIGHT TO CALL INTO QUESTION
Anything he did, or to censure him, for the reason that he was responsible to God Almighty only. This promulgation created a great sensation — a schism occurred and a large portion of the first membership, including the best talent of the Church, at once withdrew from it. This was during the summer of 1836.
In the autumn of 1837 Joseph received a revelation especially concerning Kirtland. It was to be the great center of the world. Kings and queens were to come there from foreign lands to pay homage to the Saints. It was to be the great commercial point of the universe, and on the strength of this revelation the famous bank there was started. A boom of huge proportions was then inaugurated, and it became so great that a large number of Gentiles in the surrounding country were attracted, and they came by scores and hundreds, and depleted their savings, taking receipts or checks, as we would call them now. I have seen men come there with large quantities of Mexican dollars, even in the night, and they would wake up Sidney Rigdon, the
SMOOTH, URBANE CASHIER,
For the purpose of making deposits, seemingly with the belief that there was a big thing in it. Joseph was president, and Rigdon was cashier of the concern. This went on until the bank had absorbed a large proportion of the money in that section of the country, and a considerable number of people began to find out that they had some need of some of their deposits. When the demands for redemption began to accumulate the deposits were paid in the paper of an almost defunct bank at Monroe, Michigan, which the schemers had bought. Of course the depositors soon became uneasy after finding that their checks were paid in worthless bank notes of the bank of Monroe, and when the prospect of mob violence became apparent, Smith, Rigdon, and a man named Boyd of New York, connected with the first two in the swindle, decamped between sunset and sunrise. The trio had the money and the people had their experience. Soon afterwards came the collapse of Kirtland.
Among the visionary schemes at Kirtland which I well remember was the canal scheme. This was a project to connect Kirtland with
A SHIP CANAL
From Lake Erie at the mouth of a small river some five miles away. It is almost needless to say that Joseph’s name was first and foremost in this proposed enterprise.
After the collapse at Kirtland, to which I have referred, all of the so-called witnesses to the Book of Mormon, with the exception of the members of the Smith family, left the fold and were never afterwards identified with it at Nauvoo under Joseph Smith, or in Utah under Brigham Young, and two-thirds of the best talent of the Church then left, and never after had any connection with the concern at either place above named.
During this period I will say in extenuation for myself, that I was young, and, like most other youthful religious enthusiasts, I was fanatical as well as credulous. I was induced to believe that many things which seemed to me wrong and absurd would come out right, and with many misgivings about what seemed to be foolish and absurd, I kept on hoping that the outcome would justify the faith I had reposed in the concern.
Still strong in the faith, I was ordained as an elder and started out to preach what I believed to be the first, and pure principles of the Gospel of Christ, and during two or three years of service in that capacity I made more converts than any half dozen of the leading elders of the entire Church.
When, as I have stated, Joseph fled from Kirtland in the night, he, with his brother Hiram, and Sidney Rigdon, went to Missouri. Not long after their arrival there they were driven out by a mob and came to Nauvoo, Illinois, which became a common rendezvous for the Saints from Kirtland, from Missouri and from every other place in which they had gathered in any considerable number. In the winter of 1839 and 1840 Smith, in company with Rigdon and with Porter Rockwell, acting as a sort of body guard,
FLED FROM THE OFFICIALS
That were after them, acting for the State of Ohio, on the charge of criminal practice at Kirtland, and they came to Philadelphia where I was stationed and where I was stake president. There they remained with me in the best degree of secrecy that could be maintained. Smith and I slept in the same bed and Porter Rockwell occupied a bed near the foot of our couch in the capacity of a body guard for the “prophet.” It was there and at that time that I had a good opportunity to study the character of the “prophet.” It then began to be apparent to me that he was tyrannical by nature, a libertine, in short a gross, sensual, corrupt man, but I was then still young and hopeful and it remained for events in a few brief years thereafter to fully open my eyes to the gigantic delusion I had been drawn into.
During the time of Smith’s sojourn with me in Philadelphia we visited quite a number of members of the Church there. Among them was a Mrs. Smith, foreman or forewoman of a glove factory, and some eight or ten girls were working in that factory who were, like Mrs. Smith, members of the Church. Smith, after several silly flirtations with the girls which I witnessed and which created
A GOOD DEAL OF SCANDAL
And caused me some trouble, finally became enamored with Mrs. Smith and induced her and two girls to leave there and go to Nauvoo. I subsequently met Mrs. Smith at Nauvoo, when she told me that she had lent Joseph all of her money and he had gotten her married to a man by the name of Debble — that through the “prophet” she had lost her all and was reduced to a condition of abject poverty. But to repeat all I heard at Nauvoo in the way of complaints of poor people who had been
“TAKEN IN AND DONE FOR”
In the same way by the prophet would take a great deal of your time and mine.
Up to the year 1843 “spiritual marriage” or polygamy had never been preached or inculcated as a doctrine of the church. Prior to that year my experience had been that the church was fully as strict and as pure with respect to virtue and morality as any other religious organization. In the autumn of 1843 I moved my family to Nauvoo and I there became fully conscious of the new departure of the prophet in regard to the polygamous doctrine which he sought to ingraft into the church. In the preceding year John C. Bennett, a sleek plausible man, came to Nauvoo. An adept in flattery, he soon became intimate and influential with the “prophet.” He developed into a noted libertine and this characteristic eventually bore fruit as his connection with his friend Joseph Smith, for the polygamy doctrine was not long after promulgated. That winter there was a great deal of excitement in Nauvoo over the doctrine of “spiritual marriage,” as it was then called, but which was really polygamy. In our social gatherings many were opposed to it while a considerable number favored it. Hyrum Smith, the elder brother of Joseph, had always been a particular friend of mine. He came to see me when I was convalescing after illness and said he had been strenuously opposed to polygamy until he had become convinced that it was the will of the Lord, and advised me to cease my opposition to it. I told him I could not do it for the reason that a very strong point of the ‘Latter Day Saints’ doctrine was in condemnation of it and the Book of Mormon emphatically condemned it and that it was a violation of nature’s laws. In a conversation with Hyrum subsequently, when I spoke to him about the numerical equality of the male and the female sexes he explained that that difficulty could in time be surmounted
BY MAKING EUNUCHS
Of surplus men who should be “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” and that the church dignitaries and the more worthy brethren would be left the choice of plenty of women. Subsequently Joseph Smith sent for me and explained it in as plausible a manner as he could and requested me to take a mission and go to Southern cities saying that it was the command of the Lord. At this time Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney Rigdon and some other officials of the Church imparted to me their theory of just what they intended to do and that was to get out from under the authority of the Government of the United States so that they might be able to establish a kingdom and government of their own where they could have the power and privileges of practicing the doctrine of polygamy with no authority to interfere or molest them.
It was a subject of common talk among many good people in Nauvoo that many of the elders were sent off on missions merely to get them out of the way, and that Joseph Smith, John C. Bennett and other prominent Church lights had illicit intercourse with the wives of a number of the missionaries, and that the revelation on spiritual marriage, i.e. polygamy, was gotten up to protect themselves from scandal. Of the open scandal concerning
THE ILLICIT RELATIONS
With married women by Joseph Smith, Bennett and others I forbear to speak, for those women have, I believe passed away and some of their descendants now live in this city and Territory.
Joseph was very bitter in some of his public discourses relative to the talk among people about his lewdness, especially the women gossipers. On one occasion he said these women deserved to be threshed. One of the brethren, Badlam by name, took his suggestion in a literal sense: he went home from the meeting and gave his wife a severe whipping, which circumstance became the talk of the town.
The Book of Mormon was written up about the time of the excitement upon the subject of Free Masonry in Western New York. I think any one who has read that book will agree with me that it condemns Masonry, for it certainly condemns secret societies. About the time that the polygamy revelation was received, Smith and Bennett, in connection with old Dr. Modesa, secured a charter from the Grand Masonic Lodge of Illinois and started a lodge in Nauvoo. They got nearly all the leading men into the lodge and then began to admit indiscriminately, taking in boys even. Their lodge work became so scandalous that the Grand Lodge revoked their charter, but they continued to run their local organization just the same. In this connection I will say that I have more than once heard the statement made that Joseph was shot at the instigation of enraged members of the Masonic order, but I do not personally know of this.
Thus it was in nearly everything as it was in this Masonic business; inconsistency following upon inconsistency in rapid succession. The doctrines and practice of one day were set aside for something new and contradictory on the next day. From almost the very beginning of the church up to the time of Smith’s death the word of the Lord today became half-forgotten history on the morrow.
THE “LITERARY WORK”
In regard to Joseph’s literary work — his “translations” — I well remember some of it at Kirtland. They had there in the temple some Egyptian mummies, four of them I am positive. From one of them Joseph had taken a scroll lettered over with what purported to be Egyptian characters. It was kept on exhibition in a glass case. To this scroll Joseph applied his peep-stone or “Urim-Thummim” and made out a translation purporting to be a vision of Abraham in which the modern theory that the world is round and that it revolves was sustained against the ancient theory prior to the time of Galileo. It also purported to enlarge upon the Biblical account of the creation of the world and to make clear the solar system. I am not sure whether this work was ever published or not.
I observe that THE TRIBUNE has made mention of some of my literary work. Many Mormons in Salt Lake doubtless remember about my publications, some of which are still in use among the Josephites. I was on the Times and Seasons at Nauvoo only for a brief time after the death of Carlos Smith, brother of Joseph. John Taylor afterwards took hold of that publication.
THE SMITH FAMILY
I knew the Smith family well and was on very intimate terms with its members. Joseph’s parents were good people. The mother’s great weakness was her faith in Joseph and her ambition for the success of his work which has wrought but little good and an infinite amount of mischief and misery. Hyrum, the eldest brother, I always had a high regard for, and I deeply regretted when he went off into the advocacy of polygamy, swayed as he was by his brother Joseph’s unhallowed ambition. The other members of the family were Samuel H., William, Carlos, Lucy, and one or two more daughters. Lucy was a bright-looking girl and a true woman — the youngest of the family. Joseph did all in his power to make her accept the polygamous doctrine, promising her that she would be chief among the women of the church, offering to raise her in the dignity of priestess, but all to no purpose, she would have none of it. She married a man by the name of Milliken, I believe. and the last I heard of her, some years ago, she was living in Harrison county, Iowa. It is full forty-five years since she repudiated the so-called religion of her brother. The brothers, Samuel H., and Carlos, I always regarded as good men, Joseph and William were the two black sheep of the flock. The widow of Carlos repudiated Mormonism away back in the forties. She was a most estimable woman.
Joseph Smith had a fair degree of dramatic talent by nature and he was cut out by nature for a writer of fiction. Although not an educated man he had a wonderful capacity for weaving and unraveling plots. I believe that the Book of Mormon was mainly the production of the brains of himself and Cowdery, and by chain of events and reasoning, I say most emphatically that I do not believe that the Spaulding manuscript was utilized in any way in making up that book. Joseph was away behind Brigham Young in executive ability; he could not hold his adherents together as did Brigham and he was almost constantly in trouble over dissensions and frequent schisms in the Church. His pictures, which I see in windows and cabinets here, flatter him very much. The photographs do not show the peculiar shape of his head, especially the retreating forehead which any observer of the man in life could not fail to notice. He was possessed with an inordinate degree of vanity and was quite susceptible to flattery. He was a perfect adept in the use of abusive and obscene language.
Referring to myself, I left the Church in 1844 and went into business in Pittsburg, Pa., where I remained for something over nine years. In 1854 I removed to Council Bluffs, Iowa, which city has ever since been my home. My parents came to Utah with the Mormons in 1848, and they both died here. My only surviving brother, living in this country with his family, repudiated Mormonism several years ago. I am not altogether a stranger in this locality, having been here in comparatively early days. I was here last about sixteen years ago.
A PROPHECY FULFILLED
If I may be pardoned for digression I will remark here that Joseph Smith, once in the presence of my mother at Nauvoo, when walking across the room with his hands clasped behind him as was his habit when in deep meditation, broke out in a tirade against Brigham Young and he wound up with this expression, “If Brigham Young ever gets control of the church he’ll run it to the devil.” It was the only prophecy Joseph ever made which has come anywhere near literal fulfillment.
The Mormon organization is the most artfully devised system in modern times for enriching the few from the result of the toil and privation of the many, and a most deplorable feature of it is that the system paralyses free thought and free agency.
HOPE FOR THE FUTURE
I am well advanced in years, being now seventy-two, but I hope to live to see the offensive features of Mormonism completely removed — its one man political power completely broken. I hope the younger Mormons, at least, will soon realize the folly and fraud to which they are environed, and come out boldly as free men to the end that they may become worthy citizens of this great republic. To me it is as clear as the light of the noonday sun that no adherent of this Mormon Church can be worthy of the privileges of an American freeman, for by adherence to the power of the priesthood and to the obligations a member of the Church must assume, he is clearly in a position that is utterly and wholly antagonistic to the institutions and government of our common country.
First of all, in my humble opinion, the word “Lamanite” used in the Book of Mormon could be a very generalized term to be those not Nephite. Laman and Lemuel were rebellious brothers who became so opposed to what Nephi and his family followed that they could easily have slipped away from the village into the jungle, mixed in with the other people who inhabited the area and drifted away from any semblance of the beliefs they had originally carried with them from ancient Israel. This could describe the darkness that came upon them, assuming the peoples they integrated with were of Asian Indian background, darker than the white Israeli appearance. They would have appeared wild and war-like stemming from the jealousies that could have carried over to their offspring.
Naturally there would be wars, turf wars so to speak that culminated in one final battle at a Hill Cumorrah where they all basically lived. They are still uncovering ancient cities previously unknown to archeologists, burried by the jungle and time. If there was a survivor or small group of survivors that fled that bloody battlefield, they could have fled north to where the eventual plates were found by Joseph Smith under the direction of Moroni, the ancient warrior leader, and the Hill by Joseph Smith’s home could have been called Cumorrah after the place where there was the last battle of the Nephites who also could have inner bred with people of their geographical area. Or the Lord could have transported them there where Joseph could find them. Joseph said that the angel Moroni took them back from him after their translation. We all want to place human limitations on God. What is remarkable is that Joseph Smith, bright as he may have been, if he wanted to start a new religion which so many other preacher-types were successful at doing, why would he go to all the trouble to make up a huge fib about golden plates which nevertheless wittnesses testified to seeing and handling and would not change their story even after some had a falling out with Joseph, and write a complex Book of Mormon so easily a target and subject of controversy and scruitiny, when it would have been easy to do without it. When you read the detailed accounts, new names, visit by Christ himself, details of geography, and incredibly spiritual principals that in themselves were unique and deep and applicable to us all, its hard to attribute it to just the meanderings and imagination of an uneducated young man with nothing else to do.
Most phony ministers and originators of religions based on lies, deceptions, and falsehoods fall flat on their face and they don’t evolve into the fourth largest organized religion in the United States, with so many distinguished, successful, spiritual, kind and wonderful people who are respected world-wide. It makes no sense, is not logical. These attacks on the validity of the Book of Mormon are childs play as far as causing members of the LDS Church to leave the Church compared to the persecutions the early Saints had to endure, including the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum. That is when most people split!
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