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.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

John Whitmer and SITH

By now, readers here are familiar with the way the M2C citation cartel perpetuates M2C by censoring alternative interpretations, teaching that the prophets were wrong about the New York Cumorah, and doubling down on the logical fallacies that M2C depends on. And that's all fine. People can believe and teach whatever they want.

But those who want to make informed decisions cannot rely on the M2C citation cartel.

When we read the work of the M2C intellectuals, their employees and followers, we never learn that there is an alternative narrative that supports what the prophets have taught about the New York Cumorah.

Similar tactics are being employed to promote SITH. For example, the Gospel Topics Essay on Book of Mormon Translation deliberately censors every statement by Joseph Smith when he said he translated the plates with the Urim and Thummim that came with the plates. We discussed that here:


So many LDS intellectuals have embraced SITH that we now read about it in the Ensign as if it is a fact. We discussed this development here, looking at the article that quotes David Whitmer's booklet, "An Address to all Believers in Christ."


When we read the work of the SITH promoters, we never learn that there is an alternative narrative that supports what Joseph and Oliver taught.

Actually, it wasn't just Joseph and Oliver. From Brigham Young forward, the prophets and apostles consistently taught that Joseph translated the plates with the Urim and Thummim--until 2007. Since then, the teachings of the SITH scholars have taken over.

Below is an account from John Whitmer that you probably haven't seen. Can anyone make an informed decision about the translation without knowing all the facts?

You might ask yourself, why is it that we read only about SITH lately? Especially when John Whitmer explained, as plainly as words can be, that Joseph used the Urim and Thummim in Fayette?

[Don't worry. I have an awesome answer we'll discuss soon.]

John Whitmer was one of the Fayette scribes. His handwriting is on the Original Manuscript in 1 Nephi. You can see an example here:


Here's how John described the translation process. This is a report of a sermon given by Zenas H. Gurley who had interviewed John Whitmer.

The speaker visited John Whitmer at Far West a few years ago. He is now dead; was then seventy years old. [John Whitmer died at Far West, Mo., on July 11, 1878.] He had seen the plates; and it was his especial pride and joy that he had written sixty [sixteen?] pages of the Book of Mormon. His neighbors all gave him a good character. He left the Church in 1837 or 1838, because of tendencies he could not approve; but had always remained true to the faith. When the work of translation was going on he sat at one table with his writing material and Joseph at another with the breast-plate and Urim and Thummim. The latter were attached to the breast-plate and were two crystals or glasses, into which he looked and saw the words of the book. The words remained in sight till correctly written, and mistakes of the scribe in spelling the names were corrected by the seer without diverting his gaze from the Urim and Thummim. Whitmer, at the time of the visit was receiving many letters from strangers, far and near. His characteristic answer to one of them was, “My testimony was true, is true, and will remain forever.”[1]

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