long ago ideas

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago." - Friedrich Nietzsche. Long ago, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery conquered false claims that the Book of Mormon was fiction or that it came through a stone in a hat. But these old claims have resurfaced in recent years. To conquer them again, we have to return to what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The inside mole working on Saints

Recently I pointed out the work of the mole at the Ensign, who managed to get an article by Elder Mark E. Petersen into the September Ensign. That was awesome work, albeit subtle, but at least it gives people who read carefully a chance to learn what the prophets have actually said about the New York Cumorah. Elder Petersen was the last Apostle to declare, in General Conference, that Cumorah is in New York. That was in 1978, 40 years ago.

Now I'm happy to report there's also a mole working on the Saints book.

We've seen how the authors and editors of Saints have deliberately censored and revised Church history to eliminate any mention of the New York Cumorah. They have written Saints to accommodate the M2C intellectuals who insist the prophets are wrong. Of course, that's an inexcusable tragedy, in my opinion as well as in the opinion of thousands of readers.

But there is a mole working from the inside to alert careful readers to what is going on. 

I don't know who the person is, but I'm very grateful for his/her work. (Hopefully this post doesn't case him/her any problems. Also, I hope the editors of Saints don't undo the work of the mole, so don't tell any of the editors about this post.)

I've written before about the disastrous version of the Mary Whitmer story in Saints. I infer there was an internal debate that went something like this:

Ensign illustration of "Moroni"
showing the plates to Mary
Editor 1: We need to include the Mary Whitmer story. Everyone loves the unofficial witness of the plates, especially because she's female. We'll even illustrate it in the Ensign. The question is, do we use the phony story that it was Moroni who showed her the plates, or do we stick with the authentic story that it was one of the three Nephites?

Editor 2 (the mole): Don't we want to keep the history accurate?

Editor 3: Yes, to a point. But we all realize the implications of the authentic story.

Editor 1: You mean, we don't want to get into the Three Nephites?

Editor 3: For sure, but even more important, we have to avoid the Cumorah problem. We've got Jack Welch and the other M2C scholars at BYU and CES breathing down our necks on this.

Editor 2 (the mole): How does Mary Whitmer involve Cumorah?

Editor 3: David said the messenger who showed the plates to his mother was the same one who took the Harmony plates to Cumorah.

Editor 1: The messenger that Joseph identified as one of the Nephites...

Mary Whitmer and "Moroni"
by Robert T. Pack
Editor 3: Exactly. That story has been banned by the Correlation Department. Jack censored it from Opening the Heavens and replaced it with the narrative that it was Moroni who carried the plates directly from Harmony to Fayette. The Church films on Harmony and Fayette censored the story.

Editor 2 (the mole): The films being shown in the Visitors Centers?

Editor 1: Yes. Book of Mormon Central even commissioned a painting to cement Jack's narrative about Moroni by imprinting it on the minds of Church members.

Editor 3: We have to play along.

Editor 2 (the mole): Wait a minute. You're saying we're going to deliberately insert a false story into Saints just to accommodate the M2C scholars?

Editor 1: We've been doing it all along. Why are you objecting now?

Editor 2 (the mole): Censoring the New York Cumorah is one thing, but using a false story is a step too far.

Editor 3: It's not a big deal. Look. It's mostly true. More importantly, the Correlation Department will never approve the actual history because of M2C, so why try?

Editor 2 (the mole): Maybe we should let the Brethren decide. Present them with the true account and the false one and let them...

Editor 3: Absolutely not. They've hired us to guide the Church about these things. They don't have time to micromanage this project.

Editor 1: Okay, done deal. We go with the phony Moroni story. Next issue?

Editor 2 (the mole), thinking: We'll see about this.

Fortunately for Latter-day Saints everywhere, the mole took matters into his/her own hands.

This is a thing of beauty worth checking out.

Go to Saints. Look at footnote 17 in Chapter 7.  Here it is in context:

Saints, Chapter 7, Kindle version
Saints, note 17

If you're reading an electronic version of Saints, click on the link. If you're reading a print version, you can click the link here:


It goes to this page in the Church History Library:

Here's where the mole did everyone in the world an enormous favor.

At first, you might think, why did they link to a handwritten document that is difficult to read? Certainly non-English speakers will get nothing out of this.

Plus, it's in cursive. Many young people can't read cursive.

This link is opaque to both groups. There are printed versions of this same account that are easy to read and translate, but Saints did not link to them.

At first, I thought this was an effort to obscure the original source. Or maybe it was just a mistaken link.

But now I think it's the work of the mole.

Here's why.

The image here is #44.

This page has nothing to do with the paragraph that cites it!

The actual page of the original document that relates to the paragraph about Mary and her hard work is image #46.

So why do we get a link to image #44?

I think the mole linked to image #44 so people could read the entire account.

IOW, people who go to the link start reading image #44 and realize there's nothing there about Mary Whitmer. Naturally, they keep reading.

When they read image #45, they get the actual history that the editors of Saints censored.

I also think the mole didn't link to a printed version because then his/her work would be too obvious. Whoever did the copy editing probably clicked on the link, saw it was a handwritten document, and figured it was all good. No need to read it to make sure it actually related to the paragraph that cited it.

The mole counted on this.

Below is the printed version of the handwritten document. The excerpt starts at the bottom of image #44 (the link from note 17) and ends with the top of image #47.

You see that image # 46 is the one Note 17 should link to, based on the content of the paragraph in Saints. But instead, the mole linked to #44 so careful readers will discover what is on image #45. 

When you read this, you see why the M2C intellectuals have worked so hard to censor this account. They don't want people to know about the New York Cumorah or the two sets of plates, and the editors of Saints are collaborating with them to make sure no one learns about this.

Also, notice how David's description of the messenger contradicts the description of Moroni that we have from Joseph and Oliver.

Plus, be sure to read at the end of this post how Joseph identified the messenger as one of the Nephites. Mary Whitmer herself said the messenger identified himself as "Brother Nephi." The Three Nephites were among the 12 disciples that Christ chose, one of whom was named Nephi.

Mary was telling the truth. Saints is not.

We can all be grateful to the mole!

Printed version:*

[Bottom of image #44]
When I was returning to Fayette with Joseph and Oliver, all of us riding in the wagon, Oliver and I on an old fashioned 
[image #45]
wooden spring seat and Joseph behind us, we were suddenly approached by a very pleasant, nice looking old man in a clear open place, who saluted us with 'Good morning, it is very warm,' at the same instant wiping his face or forehead with his hand. We returned the salutation and by a sign from Joseph I invited him to ride if he was going our way, but he said very pleasantly, 'No, I am going to Cumorah.' This was something new to me, I did not know what Cumorah meant, and as I looked enquiringly at Joseph, the old man instantly disappeared so that I did not see him again." 

Joseph F. Smith: "Did you notice his appearance?" 

David Whitmer: "I should think I did. He was, I should think, about 5 feet 9 or 10 inches and heavy set, about such a man as James Vancleave, there, but heavier. His face was as large. He was dressed in a suit of brown, woolen clothes; his hair and beard were white, about like Brother Pratt's, but his beard was not so heavy. I also remember that he had a sort of knapsack on his back, and something was in it which was shaped like a book. It was the messenger who had the plates. 

    "Soon after our arrival home, 
[image #46, the one note 17 should have linked to]
I saw something which led me to the belief that the plates were placed or concealed in my father's barn. I frankly asked Joseph if my supposition was right, and he told me it was. 

"Sometime after this my mother was going to milk the cows when she was met out near the barn by this same old man, (as I suppose from her description of him) who said to her `you have been very faithful and diligent in your labours but you are tried because of the increase of your toil, it is proper therefore that you should receive a witness, that your faith may be strengthened' and thereupon he showed her the plates. My Father and Mother had a large family of their own. The addition to it therefore of Joseph, Emma and Oliver very greatly increased the toil and anxiety of my mother and altho she had never complained she had sometimes felt that her labor was too much or at least she was beginning to feel so. This circumstance however completely removed all such feelings and nerved her up for her increased responsibilities." 

Orson Pratt: "Have you any idea when the records will be brought forth?" 

David Whitmer: "When we see things in the Spirit and by the power of God they seem to be right here present. The signs of the times indicate the near approach of the coming forth of the other plates, but when it will be, I cannot tell. 

[image #47]
The Three Nephites are at work among the lost tribes and elsewhere. John the Revelator is at work, and I believe the time will come suddenly, before we are prepared for it." 

David Whitmer related this account several times, as I've discussed before on this blog. On one occasion, he was interviewed by Edward Stevenson.

I obtained a copy of Stevenson's journal and here's what his entry says:
Page from Stevenson journal
"I wish to mention an Item of conversation with David Whitmer in regard to Seeing one of the Nephites, Zina Young, Desired me to ask about it. David Said, Oliver, & The Prophet, & I were riding in a wagon, & an aged man about 5 feet 10, heavey Set & on his back, an old fashioned Armey knapsack Straped over his Shoulders & Something Square in it, & he walked alongside of the Wagon & Wiped the Sweat off his face, Smileing very Pleasant David asked him to ride and he replied I am going across to the hill Cumorah. Soon after they Passed they felt Strangeley and Stoped, but could see nothing of him all around was clean and they asked the Lord about it. He Said that the Prophet Looked as White as a Sheet & Said that it was one of the Nephites & that he had the plates."**


Edward Stevenson was a general authority (one of the seven presidents of the Seventy). He was a well-known missionary (one of the MTC buildings is named after him). There's no reason to doubt the credibility of his interview with David Whitmer.

What I find fascinating is that Zina Young asked Stevenson to ask David Whitmer about seeing one of the Nephites. That was the focus of the interview, not the Cumorah question.

* You can google a phrase from the account and find lots of printed versions. One I like is here:
Just go to the page and in your browser, search for "suddenly approached."

**You can find printed versions of this account in these references, although not transcribed exactly: "Edward Stevenson Interview (1) 22-23 December 1877, Richmond, Missouri Diary of Edward Stevenson," LDS Church Archives, Lyndon W. Cook, ed., David Whitmer Interviews, 1993, p. 13; also Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents, 2003, vol. v, p. 30.

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