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Archive for the ‘Mormonism or LDS’ Category

Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates…Hoax!

Posted by Scott on March 30, 2008

Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates
Overview and Current Perspectives
Copyright © 2003 Institute for Religious Research


On April 23, 1843, six bell-shaped brass plates, covered with undecipherable engravings were unearthed near Kinderhook, Illinois, 70 miles south of Nauvoo. These plates have come to be known as the Kinderhook Plates.  A Latter-day Saint was present when the plates were discovered, so news traveled quickly back to the Mormon community in Nauvoo about the discovery of a new set of metal plates with writing on them. Initial LDS reactions were positive and reflected an expectation that these plates would support the ancient origin of the Book of Mormon. Soon after their discovery the Kinderhook Plates were taken to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith so he could examine them.

On Wednesday, May 1, 1843 in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, the editor of the Mormon Church publication TIMES AND SEASONS published an article on this discovery.

The article stated:  “Circumstances are daily transpiring which give additional testimony to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.” 

The article went on to say:

The following letter and certificate, will perhaps have a tendency to convince the skeptical, that…even the obnoxious Book of Mormon, may be true; and…that there may have been such [gold] plates as those from which the Book of Mormon was translated.

Mr. Smith has had those [Kinderhook] plates, what his opinion concerning them is, we have not yet ascertained. The gentleman that owns them has taken them away, or we should have given a fac similie of the plates and characters in this number. We are informed however, that he purposes returning with them for translation; if so, we may be able yet to furnish our readers with it (TIMES AND SEASONS, vol. 4, pp. 185-87).

The bell-shaped plates were later returned to Joseph Smith and according to historical sources, both Mormon and non-Mormon, he began a translation of the engravings and identified the skeletal remains found with the Kinderhook Plates.   

For example, Joseph’s private secretary William Clayton, recorded the following journal entry for May 1, 1843:

I have seen 6 brass plates which were found in Adams County . . . President Joseph has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found & he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven & earth (An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, ed. George D. Smith, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1991, p. 100; emphasis added).

For many years, this entry in Clayton’s journal was attributed to Joseph Smith as a first person statement.  This is because it was cited as such in the official History of the Church, May 1, 1843, which reads:

I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike County, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.

I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 372; emphasis added).

For 130 years this statement was accepted as unquestionably accurate.  Joseph Smith claimed to have seen the Kinderhook Plates, he identified them as ancient artifacts, and translated part of them.  However, since 1980 some LDS scholars and apologists have argued that these statements did not originate with Smith, but rather Clayton himself invented them or merely recorded hearsay.

This raises some interesting questions.

How plausible is this argument raised by some LDS writers? Was it unusual for accounts recorded by Joseph’s scribes to be entered as Joseph’s own words? Who was William Clayton? Was he in a position to accurately know and record Joseph’s words?  Was Clayton considered a reliable scribe and a dependable person?  Are there other entries in his journals that are accepted without question as the words of Joseph Smith?

Clayton: Intimate Confidante of Joseph Smith

From his conversion to the Mormon Church at age 23 in Preston, England in 1837, to his death in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1879, William Clayton is described as “never swerving in his belief in the church and its leaders” by George D. Smith, editor of An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton (p. xvii).  In his fifty page introduction to Clayton’s life and journals, George D. Smith includes descriptions of Clayton from close associates and family members who uniformly remember him as a serious, meticulous and dependable person. His daughter spoke of him as “methodical, always sitting in his own armchair, having a certain place at the table … his person was clean and tidy; his hands small and dimpled” (p. liii).  G.D. Smith writes:

Long after his death, Clayton was remembered as “the soul of punctuality”; his daughter remembering his “love for order, which he believed was the first law of heaven … he would not carry a watch that was not accurate” (p. xvi).

Mormon leaders recognized Clayton’s gifts and abilities early on, for after being a member of the LDS Church for less than six months he was named second counselor to the president of the British Mission (p. xvi), and later became the first branch president of Manchester (BYU Studies, 27:1, p. 47).

At Clayton’s death, Joseph F. Smith, who would become the sixth President of the LDS Church, noted Clayton’s achievements:

He was a friend and companion of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and it is to his pen to a very great extent that we are indebted for the history of the Church … during his acquaintance with him and the time he acted for him as his private secretary, in the days of Nauvoo (p. lx).

LDS scholars who have studied Clayton’s life have noted his “meticulous detail that was the hallmark of his writing” (p. xx), and also that,

Beginning early in 1842, William Clayton found himself involved in nearly every important activity of Nauvoo, but especially the private concerns of the prophet. For two and a half years, until Joseph’s death in 1844, they were in each other’s company almost daily.

[James B.] Allen [who wrote a biography of Clayton], explains that Clayton was not only Smith’s trusted employee and associate but also his personal friend and confidante. He wrote letters for the prophet, recorded his revelations, ran his errands, and helped prepare the official history of the church (pp. xxii-xxiii).

There would appear to be nothing or no one to detract from Clayton’s ability to accurately record the words of Joseph Smith, and every reason to believe he did so accurately and reliably.

Therefore, one can understand why the leaders of the LDS Church when compiling an authoritative history of the life of Joseph Smith and the Church, would accept without question the accuracy of Clayton’s journal entry for May 1, 1843 that stated:

I have seen 6 brass plates which were found in Adams County . . . President Joseph has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found & he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharoah king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven & earth (Intimate Chronicle, p. 100, emphasis added).

As LDS leaders constructed a history of Joseph’s life with words recorded by him and others, it would have been easy to justify modifying Clayton’s May 1, 1843 entry so it read as follows when incorporated into the History of the Church:

I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike County, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and other, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.

I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 372) 

If one does not accept Clayton’s journal entry at face value, about the only alternative is to imply that Clayton did not hear Smith make these statements, but instead was willing and capable of inserting speculative and unsubstantiated ideas and falsely attributing them to Joseph Smith.  While this can be granted as a possibility, it certainly seems improbable and highly implausible given what we know of Clayton’s life and character and the high level of confidence placed in him by Joseph Smith and subsequent LDS leaders and scholars.

Corroborating Evidence

Equally important in assessing the accuracy of Clayton’s journal entry is the existence of corroborating historical evidence related to Clayton, Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates. For example:

  • The Mormons  published facsimiles of the plates in a broadside titled “Discovery of the Brass Plates,” published at Nauvoo, Illinois, 24 June 1843.  This broadside stated in part:

    The contents of the Plates, together with a Fac-Simile of the same, will be published in the “Times & Seasons,” as soon as the translation is completed (LDS Archives – reproduced in Stanley B. Kimball, “Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax,” Ensign 11 [August 1981]:72). 

  • Joseph Smith hired Clayton specifically to record what he did and said, and “beginning in early 1842, William Clayton found himself involved in nearly every important activity of Nauvoo, but especially the private concerns of the prophet. For two and a half years, until Joseph’s death in 1844, they were in each other’s company almost daily” (Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, George D. Smith, ed., pp. xxii-xxiii). 

  • Clayton was with Joseph Smith on the day he records Joseph rendering his verdict on the plates (Intimate Chronicle, p. 100). 
  • Church Historian George A. Smith affirmed in 1858 that there was an accurate system in place so that the recorded history would be “strictly correct.”  The historians and clerks engaged in the work were “eye and ear witnesses of nearly all the transactions recorded in this history, most of which were reported as they transpired, and, where they were not personally present, they have had access to those who were” (Edward Ashment, unpublished article on file, Institute for Religious Research, Appendix A, p. 2) 
  • The history of Joseph Smith that contains the Kinderhook Plate statement was approved by Brigham Young, who himself was at Joseph Smith’s house and saw the plates there.   Young even includes a sketch of one of the plates he saw at Joseph’s house in his diary (Ashment, p. 2).

Thus, numerous historical sources indicate Clayton’s May 1, 1843 journal entry is accurate, and that Joseph considered the Kinderhook Plates ancient artifacts and began a translation of them. This historical evidence, coupled with a complete lack of any evidence to the contrary, was sufficiently convincing that for over 130 years no Mormon seems to have questioned or contested the authenticity of these bell-shaped brass plates.

LDS writer Stanley B. Kimball summarized the extent of LDS acceptance of the Plates as follows:

Over the decades, through the pages of the Times and Seasons, the Nauvoo Neighbor, The Prophet, missionary pamphlets, the Millennial Star, the Desert News, the University Archaeological Newsletter, the Improvement Era,  [in]  BYU Symposia  [and in Visitors’ Centers, and]  in books and unpublished reports, LDS scholars and laymen (and at least two RLDS writers) have affirmed and striven to prove the story of the Kinderhook plate incident and tried to make them vouch for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and to defend Joseph’s alleged translation of them (Stanley B. Kimball, “New Light on the Old Kinderhook Plates Problem,” based on a paper read at the 16th annual Mormon History Meeting, Ricks College, May 1-3, 1981, p. 3).

Challenges and Mormon Defense

Due to the historical evidence and the testimony of Joseph Smith, the Mormon community accepted and defended the Kinderhook Plates as genuine artifacts of ancient origin. Non-Mormons, however, at times challenged the LDS view that the plates were ancient artifacts. One such challenge came from Wilbur Fugate who participated in the 1843 discovery of the plates. He gave testimony in an 1879 letter to James T. Cobb that he had been involved in a hoax along with two other men. He claimed that together they had cut out thin pieces of metal and etched markings on them with beeswax and acid.  Then they had aged and secretly buried the plates and faked their discovery, inviting a Mormon to be present so word would get back to Joseph Smith (Welby W. Ricks, The Improvement ERA, vol., 65, 1962, pp. 656, 658).

However, Mormon defenders rejected this testimony and even had a surviving original plate examined in June of 1953 by Stanley B. Hill and Edward Pwiiski, two non-LDS engravers, to determine whether it was etched with a sharp object, or engraved with acid.  While this testing was not conclusive, there seemed to be evidence the plate was engraved rather than etched. This led Mormon scholar Welby W. Ricks to write:

The plates are now back in their original category of genuine. What scholars may learn from this ancient record in future years or what may be translated by divine power is an exciting thought to contemplate. This much remains. Joseph Smith, Jun., stands as a true prophet and translator of ancient records by divine means and all the world is invited to investigate the truth which has sprung out of the earth not only of the Kinderhook Plates, but of the Book of Mormon as well (Ibid. p. 660).

For over 130 years, from the discovery of these bell-shaped plates in 1843, the consensus Mormon position based on historical evidence was:

1.   The Kinderhook Plates appeared to be authentic, ancient artifacts.

2.   Joseph Smith saw the plates and had facsimiles made of them.

3.   Smith accepted them as authentic, evidenced by his claim to have translated them sufficiently to have determined their origin.

A Sudden Twist in the Trail

000aaaa_kinderhookcolor-crop-sh.jpg  All this changed radically in 1980.  In that year LDS history professor, Stanley B. Kimball, secured permission from the Chicago Historical Society to do a new series of highly technical tests, including use of a scanning electron microscope and an X-ray fluorescence analysis.  These were performed by Professor D. Lynn Johnson of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. The tests were conclusive: this was indeed one of the original plates presented to Joseph Smith in 1843.  However, it was not of ancient origin, but rather a modern brass alloy produced in the 19th century. The Kinderhook Plates were just what Fugate had claimed in 1879, “a humbug”. (Stanley B. Kimball, “Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax,” Ensign 11 [August 1981]:69-70).

Suddenly, the Kinderhook Plates did not support Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, but instead raised serious questions about Joseph’s prophetic claims to be able to translate ancient languages.

LDS Scholars Revisit the Issue and Respond

LDS scholar Stanley B. Kimball, who initiated the conclusive testing on a surviving Kinderhook Plate in 1980, also provided the principle Mormon response to these results in an article he wrote for the official Mormon Church magazine, the Ensign. Kimball’s article reported the test results and then sketched out a survey of the historical evidence related to the Kinderhook Plates. Kimball’s conclusions (which have become the most common line of response given by other LDS apologists) can be summarized as follows.

  • Joseph was never fooled to begin with. The Kinderhook Plates were a frontier prank that Joseph was exposed to but he did not fall for it.

  • Joseph neither claimed to make a translation, nor did he even start a translation.

  • Joseph’s statement found in History of the Church that he had translated a portion of the Plates should be attributed to Clayton’s speculation.

  • Where Clayton got such an idea is unknown, but it is most likely he was reporting hearsay and then attributed it to Joseph Smith.

Stanley B. Kimball in his article for the Ensign magazine in August 1981, wrote:

Where the ideas written by William Clayton originated is unknown. However, as will be pointed out later, speculation about the plates and their possible content was apparently quite unrestrained in Nauvoo when the plates first appeared. … Whether or not he [Clayton] was present when Joseph Smith saw the plates is unknown (Ensign, August 1981, p. 67, 71).

Origination of William Clayton’s Ideas Unknown

It is notable that Kimball’s conclusions constitute a complete reversal of the previous Mormon position on the Kinderhook Plates. For over 130 years both LDS leaders and the Mormon community accepted them as authentic, ancient records, and as such they were used to support Joseph’s claims to be a true prophet, seer and translator.

Kimball’s article attempts to absolve Joseph Smith by claiming that the contemporary testimony of Clayton and others were based on “hearsay stories circulating in Nauvoo” (Ensign, August 1981, p. 73).

However, at least one other LDS historian has found serious problems with Kimball’s attempts to reinterpret Mormon history, and especially his attack on the reliability of William Clayton’s journal as a source for what Joseph Smith said.  Noted LDS scholar and writer Edward H. Ashment took exception to Kimball’s attempts to defuse the Kinderhook Plates issue.  Ashment first outlined the compelling historical evidence that closely linked Clayton to Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates (cited earlier in this article).  Then, he detailed numerous serious flaws in both Kimball’s arguments and methodology as found in the Ensign article, and concluded with the following:

Kimball argues from the standpoint of argumentum ad opinabilem, in which the argument proceeds from prior belief to empirical conclusion. In this fallacy, the “prior belief” constitutes the categorical premise upon which the conclusion is based. In other words, because Kimball assumes that Smith was a prophet, Smith therefore would not have incorrectly identified and interpreted the Kinderhook Plates.  This explains his specious attempt to exculpate Smith by claiming that Clayton’s and others’ contemporary testimonies were based on “hearsay stories circulating in Nauvoo” (1981, 73).

Kimball’s article is an example of religious apologia presented as though it were history. Facts which are not congenial to increased faith in a given dogma are discredited (as Kimball has attempted to do with the 1 May 1843 entry), distorted or excised (Ashment, p. 2).

Kimball appears to impugn Clayton’s reliability to accurately record Joseph Smith’s words only when these now cast shadows on Joseph’s character and claims.

The question facing the investigator today regards the legitimacy of this post-1980 response. When we encounter objective evidence that overturns previous beliefs or at least calls them into question, is it honest or reasonable to then reassess and reinterpret the historical facts so the belief can stand, or is it time to reassess our beliefs and assumptions? The Kinderhook Plates are a known hoax.  Joseph Smith identified them as ancient artifacts and claimed to translate a portion of them. An honest wrestling with the issues seems necessary where there is a commitment to spiritual and intellectual integrity.

Glenn Evans
Joel B. Groat

Copyright © 2003 Institute for Religious Research. All rights reserved.

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Honest Questions for LDS!

Posted by Scott on March 27, 2008

I have just run across these different ideas, rituals, stories and such as I have been studying on the LDS Church.  Now, admittedly I can hear all kinds of answers from non-LDS members and some former LDS members, but I do not know if they are correct.  Everyone has an opinion and some make a great case, but I want to hear from LDS members and what you think about these things.  I mean they are a part of LDS, so you must have an opinion or understanding on them.  Please, answer honestly and I will post what you answer.  If a further question arises from your answers I will post in another posting, but questions may not come up. 

Here are several questions to things I just do not understand:

1. Why does the Mormon church use Satanic symbols on the Temples?  The pentagram (satanic goat head) for instance is across the top of the Temple in Illinois 6 times?  Then you have the Sun God Baal underneath it 6 times and then towards the bottom is the moon god 6 times.  What is that all about?

2. Where did the planet Kolob come from in LDS?  I have read and watched documentaries on this and what is that all about?  God and other gods coming from a planet Kolob where a counsel once met to determine which one of God’s sons would be the redeemer and Jesus was chosen which made Lucifer mad and he talked a 1/3 of the angels to go with him or their skin turned black as a curse.  I don’t know that this is the belief across the board, but I have seen it in a few video presentations and also read a couple of articles that described it similiarly.  It tells us in John that Jesus was God’s one and only Son, so I am not sure where Lucifer comes in as being Jesus brother.  I have always heard this, but could not reconcile it.  I was just wondering what this is all about.

3. What was the stone for that Joseph Smith wore around his neck and Brigham Young wore one as well…so hhas been  reported.  I cannot remember what it was called….something like a Jupiter Stone or something like that.  The stones have been said to have occultic symbols on them of course I have never seen one or heard of one to know. 

4. I have heard two different accounts of this and I have read two different accounts.  One says that 13 witnesses actually testified to seeing the Golden Plates with their owns eyes.  Then the other account is that these 13 testified they only saw the Golden Plates spiritually..through spiritual eyes, but not physically…only Joseph Smith saw the actual Golden Plates with his own eyes.  I was just curious as to which one seems to be the actual doctrine of LDS on this.  I do not have an opinion on it…but when you hear or read two differing accounts one gets curious as to which it is.

5.  I read yesterday about the Kinbrook Plates.  These were bell shaped plates that were golden.  A group of men reportedly unearthed these plates that were stamped with symbols on them and took them to Joseph Smith.  It was told that Joseph begin to interpret these plates and symbols and when half way through found out that the plates were a hoax by these men and that the symbols meant nothing.  Do you have further information on this?  I only heard and read briefly on this, but wondered if anyone has actually seen any transcript as to what Joseph Smith was writing down as that the symbols meant?  The folks doing the documentary may not have known the truth about this either.  I was shocked to even hear about them as I had never heard about them until I was reading online about golden plates and then found a video that was talking about them as well.  Curious to know what else is known about them.

Remember, I am simply curious to know answers to these questions.  I get alot of questions about different things like this and I also want to be able to set people straight when they are misquoting as well.  If anyone can speak on some or all of these questions that would great.  If you simply do not have an answer that is understandable as well.



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LDS Members: You Have Met My Goal!

Posted by Scott on March 27, 2008

OK, you have answered the questions raised yesterday…thank you one and all.  I appreciate the great responses…some were very good responses and some just the same old stuff, but that is how it goes with any question no matter what the faith.  Some comments were somewhat harsh and I did not post them as my intent was not to create that kind of dialogue.  Any character assassins on me or my source is not allowed…sorry!  Just make the case for you personally and your faith and leave at that…I think we can all get along with that.

The overall goal was to create some dialogue here.  It seems if I ask sweet little questions in my post to the LDS they will not respond, however, when I post some questions that really are meaningless in the overall scheme of things you pounced like a cat on a flicker of light.  I would encourage you to just make your cases without all the snotty comments in between.   Some of you obviously have either had these questions before or really got to researching on it which is terrific.  We all must know why we believe what we believe and how to defend it.  I had a few that said you guys would not respond to the post and it would go no where and I thought they were crazy and you would respond and defend and you certainly have.  Great!  I am not saying here you convinced me otherwise, but that was not the goal intended.

Now, be looking for other questions in the future that really are a puzzle to me and I really do want the answers…I do not have any preconceived ideas on many of the future questions.  If I do I will tell you I do.  I would not be asking the questions if not looking for the answers.  Do not mistaken my questions as looking for truth…I am looking for some clarification on puzzling ideas, practices and questions.  I will make this very clear, I know where the truth is and it is found in my Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word, the Savior, the King of Kings and sets at the right  hand of my heavenly Father.  All the snotty remarks in the world will not change my mind about my Jesus.  I know how big my sovereign God is…far bigger than most will give Him credit for.  So, do not approach answering my questions as if to bring me into LDS…that will not happen…I want to be frank about that and it is not a slam against the LDS for me to say this.  However, I want to improve upon what I know about LDS from you…not from pamphlets and hear-say, which usually are distorted somewhat.  I have a few LDS missionaries that come over from time to time, but they really do not know very much about the deeper details of the LDS faith.  These 6 questions I asked stumped them, so I am not about to embarrass them with further questions like this….that is not my goal at all.  I care deeply for these young elders of the LDS and do not intend to embarrass them or argue with them either.

I like each of you that are civilized and even some that are spunky and I guess even those of you that did not get your comments posted, change your language and I will let you through:-)  Just realize I do not fear you or the LDS…there is nothing to fear, so I really do not understand why other Christians are so afraid of you either.  You may not think so, but it is true that I care deeply about each of you and where you will spend eternity.  In a strange way, though, I want to know everything I can about your faith.  This helps me to be able to understand where you are coming from.  If all I have are distorted ideas from what others say or what I read from those that may not know anything, then how can I understand you.  That goes both ways I know.  I will post a video I have found from time to time and ask you to help me understand what they are saying, so do not take the video as me trying to convince you of something or embarrass you…that is not the intent.  I want you to watch the same thing I am and shed some light on the content.  Many thousands of others will see the same thing.

So, do not turn your ears and eyes off, please.  I have watched more video productions, read more information (some good and some not so good), had personal conversations with Mormons, have clients that are Mormons or bel and even read a good portion of the Book of Mormon, so do not think I am clueless on everything.  Yet, I do not have an answer for many strange things you do or believe in…I say “strange” because it is too me.  Thanks for reading and listening to me and I look forward to some of you coming back to assist with answers and comments to my bizarre questions.  Just bare with any questions that may seem stupid…I do not see any questions as stupid you might ask no matter how simple.  Lets learn about each other.

Pressing on in Christ my Lord,


Galatians 1:6-9 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17  

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Could Joseph Smith have been a great story teller..or a true prophet?

Posted by Scott on March 26, 2008

Interesting video.  Sandra Tanner in this video is the great great grand daughter of Brigham Young.   Can you tell me your thoughts on the contents of this video?  I am not stating a support of it, just want your opinion of what it is claiming.  I mean for most people to think about someone putting their face inside a hat looking at a stone and having God’s word revealed to them is just amazing to me.  So, I just want some LDS comments on this.  Watch with openness of heart and mind.


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Free Masonry, the Occult and Joseph Smith! What are the connections?

Posted by Scott on March 26, 2008

Please watch and if you can address the issues this video raises I would greatly appreciate it.  I have read and researched most of this and it all seems to be true, but I wanted the opinion of someone from the LDS to address the issues.  I could not have presented it better than this video, so i just posted it to save time.  This is in no way condemning LDS…it just creates questions for the non-LDS person out here and we would like to know that someone from the LDS address it rather than us listening and watching and reading.


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Can Any Mormon or LDS Member Answer A Few Questions? Christian Comments Welcome!

Posted by Scott on March 26, 2008

Posted by Scott Baileyhave never found anyone within the Mormon faith that can answer these few simple questions which all raise other questions, so I pose these here to see if someone within the Mormon faith can answer them for me and everyone else…we really would like to know the answers.  For other great discussion questions go here:

1. If the American Indians were suppose to all be descendants of Lehi as is told, why was there so much diversity in the language and yet there was no indication of Hebrew in any of the Indian languages?2. Lehi as the Book of Mormon states that he found horses when he arrives in America.  Yet the horse described as well as many other domesticated animals did not even exist in America until the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors.  So, how could Lehi have found horses several hundreds of years before they were even in America?
3. Nephi says that he had a “bow of steel”.  It is well known that Jews did not have steel at the time Nephi states this nor were there any iron or steel smelted on this continent until many hundreds of years later after the Spaniard Conquest.  How did Nephi have a “bow of steel” hundreds of years before steel was even known?

4. In The Book of Mormon we frequently see mentioned “swords and sci-meters (scimitars).”  This is interesting again because “sci-meters or scimitars” were unknown until the rise of the Muslim faith well after 600 A.D.  How could this be?

5. We know according to scholars and historians that silk did not exist in America during the pre-Colombian times.  Yet, The Book of Mormon says the Nephites possessed silk.  How did they get silk when silk was not around and was unknown during this time?

6. Joseph Smith describes in The Book of Mormon the Mayan Cliffs and high mountain peaks.  Where are these actually located?  Much of the geography of The Book of Mormon was thought by B.H. Roberts, Mormon General Authority and considered an expert on The Book of Mormon in the early 1900’s, to be alot like the landscape in and around the New England area.  B.H. Roberts began to question the authority of The Book of Mormon in his latter days to the point and I quote “Joseph Smith wrote The Book of Mormon himself and that there was no golden plates“. This comes after years of devotion to the Mormon faith and he was an apologist and expert on Mormonism besides the fact that he served on the Mormon Church’s First Council of the Seventy.  All I ask is that where are the Mayan Cliffs and other geographical places mentioned located geographically..not speaking of the only one location in New York that was an easy find?

I would also challenge anyone to research B.H. Roberts work he did before his death in 1933, but was not published until after his death.  A comprehensive study of these documents were published in 1985 as Studies of the Book of Mormon by the University of Illinois.  These were also edited by two Mormon scholars, Brigham Madsen and Sterling McMurrin.  Further interesting facts is that B.H. Roberts, expert in the Mormon faith he was a part of to his death, he wrote an open letter to then President Heber Grant, his counselors, the twelve apostles, and First Council of Seventy requesting an emergency meeting with them concerning these many questions.  However, upon the conclusion of this meeting they had resolved nothing, many did not take these questions serious, and most only testified to what they believed without knowing or researching any of the facts raised in these questions.  B.H. Roberts concluded Joseph Smith was merely caught up in spiritual excesses to which he imagined prophecies and manifestations.  “His revelations become merely human productions…Morbid imaginations, Morbid expression of emotions (were) likely to find there way into the knowledge of Joseph Smith and influence his conceptions of spiritual things.”  Roberts also concluded that the “golden plates” did not really exist, but were “psychological”.  Finally, Roberts was convinced that it was very clear that The Book of Mormon was taken from the ground work of Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews that came out prior to The Book of Mormon and was published near where Joseph Smith lived at the time…in B.H. Roberts own conclusion was that Joseph Smith was a plagiarist.

So, in conclusion, I am simply asking if anyone out there claiming to be of the true Mormon faith or The Church Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can answer these puzzling questions for me.  If they can, we can put years of unanswered questioning to rest and thousands upon thousands of new believers will be added to the faith.




If you or someone you know would like more information on becoming a born again Christian, please, contact us via email Guys @ scott@dadsdevoted.com or Ladies @ dana@livingstones4moms.com !  We would be glad to spend time with you through email to answer any questions you may have and help you in placing your loyal trust in Jesus Christ as your savior today!  If you are only interested in debating theology, doctrine, religion or anything else, please, do that through the comment forum provided at the end of this post.


Researched from James R. Spencer, former Mormon Elder, from www.mazeministry.com

Update:  3-30-2010  I know many LDS members have commented here and on other sites claiming to have answered all these questions long ago. However, I have found only speculation in each answer given, nothing truthfully documented.  So, these questions still remain today as they did when first published. 

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