Tomorrow we'll discuss the impact of SITH on the rising generation. Today let's look at one way the Interpreter teaches SITH.
Last year the Interpreter produced and released the Witnesses movie. It grossed around $900,000 in as many as 90 theaters. https://www.boxofficemojo.com/title/tt13820428/?ref_=bo_se_r_1
The Interpreter helpfully extracted parts of the Witnesses movie and put them on tiktok. Today we'll look at a clip of "Translating the Book of Mormon."
If you didn't see the movie, you have to see this excerpt to believe it. You can see it on tiktok, here:
The comments on tiktok provide a useful survey of how people are dealing with SITH.
The title here announces that we're going to get to see Joseph and Oliver "translating the Book of Mormon."
But instead of the translation, they show Joseph reading words out of a hat!
No historians have produced a single historical account to support this depiction. There is no Martin Harris, David Whitmer, or Emma Smith witnessing this event. Joseph and Oliver both explained that, contrary to this depiction, Joseph translated the plates with the Urim and Thummim.
This scene is pure fiction. But, because it comes from the SITH sayers at the Interpreter, it is presented not only as fact, but as the only acceptable fact.
No wonder the rising generation is so confused.
Let's look at the comments. It's fascinating to see how thoroughly the SITH narrative has taken hold despite the obvious problems with SITH. The SITH sayers state as facts the philosophies of the scholars.
Original in blue, my comments in red.
Why is he looking at his hat? Where’s the Urim and Thummim? This doesn’t look accurate.
Everyone who watched this movie should have asked the same question. The movie shows the SITH (stone-in-the-hat) narrative, not the Urim and Thummim narrative that Joseph and Oliver related.
Joseph used the Urim and Thummin in the beginning, but found them uncomfortable, so he used his personal seer stone. He put the stone in a hat to help
This is the current narrative promoted by LDS apologists without any support from Joseph Smith or Oliver Cowdery. We're supposed to believe that God prepared the Urim and Thummim, and that Moroni deposited them with the plates and instructed Joseph to use them, but both God and Moroni didn't realize that they would be so "uncomfortable" for Joseph that he would discard them and instead use the stone he found in a well years before.
No. The U&T was returned. D&C Sections 14,15,16,17 where received through the U&T. Section 17 was a revelation on who should be the Three Witnesses.
Finally, someone refers to the scriptures. On top of this, Lucy Mack Smith reported that Joseph had the Urim and Thummim when she visited him in Harmony and that he applied them to his eyes to look on the plates, but you won't know that reading what the SITH apologists write.
U&T also referred to the seer stone. Names were interchangeable.
This is the narrative that our SITH apologists are promoting, but it is historically indefensible. Even the 1834 book Mormonism Unvailed noted that there were two separate stories about the translation: the "peep stone" and the Urim and Thummim. No one conflated the two terms.
The SITH apologists claim that Wilford Woodruff later conflated the terms, but even then, he couldn't have been referring to the stone Joseph supposedly used to produce the Book of Mormon because Joseph had given that stone to Oliver Cowdery, who was not present in Nauvoo when Woodruff claimed he saw the Urim and Thummim.
block out the light and make it easier to read the stone.
This explanation is not credible. If the MIST (mysterious incognito supernatural translator) could make words appear on an ordinary stone found in a well, why couldn't the MIST make the words appear bright enough to be legible? It's not like these 19th century cabins were brightly lit in the first place, with their small windows. If the light was too bright, people could draw the curtain. An alternative explanation is that no words were appearing on the stone and that Joseph was merely conducting a demonstration. Recall that the depiction in this clip from the movie is pure fiction in the first place, since neither Joseph nor Oliver said anything like this actually happened.
This is new.
Depicting SITH as fact is definitely new, particularly because it contradicts what Joseph and Oliver always said.
It’s been in the church history volumes for years. In the past memebers we’re uncomfortable with the idea that Joseph used a stone he found, vs U&T.
Members were "uncomfortable" with it because SITH not only contradicted what Joseph, Oliver, and the scriptures teach, but what the prophets have taught for decades. "Uncomfortable" is an apologetic euphemism. Many current Latter-day Saints are not merely "uncomfortable" with SITH, but reject it because they still believe what the prophets have taught.
However, current church leadership wants a more accurate portrayal of past events. Saints talked a good deal about the stone.
This brings up a good point. If Saints provides a "more accurate portrayal," why does it omit and edit the original sources? It's good and healthy to relate the SITH accounts and their sources, but only when accompanied by the full historical record, which Saints fails to do.
Genuine question: why is his face not in the hat?
Great question. The SITH accounts all say Joseph put his face in the hat. But this depiction isn't based on any actual historical sources anyway, so why not show Joseph with his face not in the hat?
what's the point of the plates then and all he and the 'prophets' had to go though to get the plates?
The SITH apologists claim the plates served as a sort of talisman that somehow inspired the MIST to display the words on the stone. But the entire SITH narrative, which contradicts what Joseph said about the translation, also contradicts the narrative about the origins and purposes of the plates in the first place.
Where is the urim and thummim and why is the gold plates covered.
The Interpreter teaches SITH instead of what Joseph and Oliver taught. They want their followers to believe Joseph didn't use the Urim and Thummim or the plates because they want people to believe Joseph didn't really translate anything.
I was wondering the same thing. So he didn’t need the plates or the Urim and Thumim buried with them. Why did this change?? I’m confused.
You are only confused if you believe the teachings of the SITH scholars instead of the teachings of the prophets, starting with Joseph and Oliver.
Joseph only used the urim and thummin for a little bit, but they were uncomfortable so he switched to his personal seer stone.
We discussed the "uncomfortable" narrative above.
That’s not right. He lost the ability to use them after the 116 pages were lost. So he used the seer stone.
That directly contradicts what Joseph said.
Oh interesting I never heard that part do you have a source?
The Saints Volume 1
Voila! Now we see how the Saints book has replaced the original historical sources and the teachings of the prophets.
I assume you're asking me. In Dirkmaat's book he wrote, "Martin Harris further explained that at one point during the translation, in order to make
Dirkmaat is one of the historians who writes his own theories as fact.
the mechanics of translation easier, Joseph stopped using the spectacles. He had already stopped using the cumbersome breastplate, and the apparently
More theory presented as fact.
large and unwieldy spectacles were also making the long hours of translating more difficult." - From Darkness Unto Light, ch 5
From Darkness Unto Light is a premiere example of the philosophies of men, mingled with actual sources.
I heard once he found a stone that he tried to find buried treasure with. Was it this stone?
By some accounts, it was the same stone, but that's not certain.
Just looked it up. He found the stone when digging, then used the stone to sell services of finding buried treasures to others- no success. Same stone
And this is not the stone he showed to the Twelve in Nauvoo, the one Woodruff supposedly called the Urim and Thummim.
Fun to see an interpretation of history declared to be "true."
Serious question, How is this a translation when on many occasions the plates were not present as Joseph peered into a hat and dictated to his scribe?
SITH is not a translation in any ordinary sense of the word. That's why the SITH apologists started referring to the Book of Mormon as a "revelation" instead of a "translation."
He always had the plates there while translating… it’s a bit of a misnomer he didn’t really translate, he was shown the words in a stone read them
Good summary of SITH: a "misnomer"
It said he put his face in the hat to block out all the light. This is looking into a hat and not at all representative of what we are now told.
Forget what you're "told" by the apologists and critics. Read the original sources for yourself.
In the gospel topic essays as well as the video of President Nelson covering the subject.
Watch that video again. President Nelson did a demonstration. He didn't translate anything in that video. That's exactly what Joseph Smith did with the stone in the hat--a mere demonstration. Joseph had been forbidden to display the plates or the Urim and Thummim.
As for the Gospel Topics essays, they are supposed to encourage readers to consult the original sources. They are not scripture. They were written by a committee, published anonymously, are subject to revision at any time without notice, and omit/edit original sources.
Lol it’s not that far off.
Wasn’t their a curtain between them?
There are no sources regarding whether there was a curtain between Joseph and Oliver or shielding Joseph and Oliver from outside viewers.
There was when he had the plates out but at this point with the seer stone it wasn’t needed.
Because Joseph was commanded not to display the plates, he had to prevent people from seeing them when he was actually translating them. Because he wasn't translating anything with SITH, he wouldn't need a blanket; in fact, the point of the demonstration was to have several people present.
I was in this film! What a great time!
Really?? That’s so cool? Can you do a video talking about it? Did it begin everyday with prayer, who made sure it was accurate?
Maybe I will do a video on it. I’ve done a few things. It was a great experience. Oddly, some of the actors didn’t even know about the Church.
That doesn't seem odd. What is odd is anyone who is familiar with Church history who wrote the SITH part of the script or read the lines with a straight face.
Scribe was like “what is happening?”
Exactly. That's the only plausible part of this clip, when Oliver doesn't write anything because he can't believe what he's seeing.
I’m not a Mormon: but I love to learn more about Mormonism and other religions!
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