|"Experience Church History
like never before"
If not for one editorial decision that permeates the book, I would highly recommend it. Actually, I do highly recommend Saints so long as readers are aware of one problem.
The problem: Saints is agenda-driven revisionist history that is teaching people to disbelieve the prophets about an important topic.
The heading on the bookmark is deeply ironic. This book will definitely let people "experience Church history like never before" because it is changing Church history.
Saints is revisionist history, designed to provide a framework to support the Mesoamerican/two-Cumorahs theory of Book of Mormon geography.
So far, the released chapters of Saints have:
- edited out all references in early Church history that show Moroni himself taught Joseph that the hill Cumorah is in New York.
- replaced the actual sources who said the plates were "written and deposited" not far from Joseph's home, that it described the origins of the "aboriginal inhabitants of this country," etc., with the misleading assertion that Moroni told Joseph the plates related the account of people who lived "in the Americas." That term appears nowhere in the original documents. It's a concoction of the M2C intellectuals and the Church historians who are collaborating with them.
- promoted the narrative that Joseph Smith didn't really use the plates for the translation. Instead of translating the engravings on the plates, as the revelations and Oliver Cowdery said, Saints portrays Joseph as reading the stone in the hat while the plates stayed covered by a cloth on the table (or in the woods).
This last point deserves more explanation. The "no need for plates" narrative helps promote M2C because it suppresses the importance of the two sets of plates.
The two sets of plates are:
(i) the Harmony plates that Joseph obtained from Moroni's stone box on the hill Cumorah. Joseph translated all of these (except the sealed portion) in Harmony, including the Title Page which was the last leaf of the plates. These plates are "this record" that the Lord referred to in D&C 9:1. These are the plates described in the Title Page (which does not mention any original plates). Joseph returned the Harmony plates to the messenger before leaving Harmony (JS-History, 1:60).
(ii) the Fayette plates that Joseph received from the messenger who brought them to Fayette from the depository in the hill Cumorah. These are the unabridged "plates of Nephi" the Lord told him to translate, which he didn't have in Harmony (D&C 10). They were not listed on the Title Page because they were not in Moroni's stone box. These are the "other records" the Lord promised Oliver Cowdery that he would assist to translate (D&C 9:2). These are the plates that Joseph returned to the depository in the hill Cumorah, as explained by Brigham Young. They are the ones he showed to the Eight Witnesses, which we know because Lucy Mack Smith said Joseph got those plates from one of the Three Nephites; i.e., the messenger on the road to Fayette.
You can see the schematic of this here: http://bookofmormonwars.blogspot.com/p/the-two-sets-of-plates-schematic.html
It is important to realize that Joseph actually translated the engravings on the plates because otherwise, the entire effort to transport, preserve, and abridge the Nephite records was a colossal waste of time and effort.
And yet, because of M2C, this is what some LDS intellectuals, and the Church History Department, want people to believe.
Already, the M2C intellectuals cannot explain why the messenger on the road to Fayette was taking the Harmony plates to the hill Cumorah. This is the account that John W. (Jack) Welch deliberately suppressed in his detailed account of the translation timeline.
Although at least one of the M2C advocates has proposed that the messenger was magically going to southern Mexico, most of them explain away the encounter with the messenger by saying that David Whitmer had a faulty recollection, or conflated different ideas, etc. This is part of their pattern of undermining the credibility and reliability of the Three Witnesses.
Here's the key: if the messenger was actually taking the Harmony plates to the hill Cumorah near Palmyra, NY, then that means Letter VII and all the prophets and apostles who have affirmed the New York location were correct.
If that's the case, then M2C implodes.
Instead, the M2C intellectuals and their collaborators in the Church History department want people to think Joseph never actually used the plates.
I'll post more on this later.