Gentle Awakening Part 2: Foundational Problems

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Part 2: Introduction

Continue to Gentle Awakening Presentation Series.

Presentation Outline

PART 2 of 5:
The objectives are not to:
Convince you of anything
Get you to stop attending church
There is much good, this is just so that you are better informed of the full story (like reading the “fine print”)
The objectives are to:
To present the truth in the kindest, gentlest way possible
To provide a summary of the problems in a direct, comprehensible way

“Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise.” 
(William Shakespeare)

“No persons are more frequently wrong, 
than those who will not admit they are wrong.” 
(François de La Rochefoucauld)

“In a time of universal deceit, 
telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” 
(George Orwell)

Historical Credibility & 
Foundational Issues
Line of Authority
If Joseph Smith was not a true prophet, then we have no authority

Book of Mormon “Tight” Translation
“By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say ‘written;’ and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.” 

Comprehensive History of the Church 1:129
Summary of 
Book of Mormon Problems
Historical anachronisms
Misconstructions of history
Archaeological problems
Linguistic problems
DNA problems
Source materials identified
Witnesses did not see plates with “natural eyes”
Doctrinal problems such as racism, emphasis on obedience to churches, etc.
Historical Anachronisms
Historical Anachronisms
The Book of Mormon mentions many animals, plants, and technologies that are not substantiated by the archaeological record between 3100 BC to 400 AD in America 
domesticated sheep
Apologists (people who attempt to defend the faith) try to account for these anachronisms with all sorts of excuses.
Historian Hampton Sides pointed out a “tendency among Mormon theorists like Sorenson to keep the discussion trained on all sorts of extraneous subtopics… while avoiding what is most obvious: that Joseph Smith probably meant horse when he wrote down the word horse.”
Joseph Smith grew up on a farm and would not have confused these many animals and plants.
Joseph Smith said he received the Book of Mormon word-for-word from the seer stone.
Furthermore, tapirs wouldn’t be very good for pulling chariots!
Historical Anachronisms
The animals, plants, and metal are out of place, but they fit perfectly if they came from the mind of an American or European Colonist since Europeans were fully aware of wheat, horses, and steel. 
Missing are all the armadillos, buffalos, and llamas in the Book of Mormon. The animals that are there shouldn't be, and the animals that aren't there should have been.
Not only were the animals out of place, but also the method of explaining them away linguistically is inconsistent with the text. The explanation that “horse meant tapir,” “wheat meant barley,” etc, is inconsistent with how the text deals with other non-English words such as cureloms, neas, sheum, or ziff. 
It is even more problematic if we consider that the translation was claimed to have been done by the aid of an omniscient, perfect, divine Being. To some, it may may not make sense than an all-knowing God, with infinite foreknowledge, would make sure that the most important book in all of the earth’s history translates in such a way that the book would look precisely like a fraud, whereas the claim was made that the book was “the most correct book on earth.”
Anthon Transcript
The Nephite people are described as possessing a language and writing with roots in Hebrew and Egyptian, and writing the original text of the Book of Mormon in this unknown language, called Reformed Egyptian. A transcript of some of the characters of this language has been preserved in the Anthon Transcript.
Archaeological evidence shows that the only people known to have developed written languages in America were the Olmecs and Maya, whose written languages have no resemblance to Hebrew or Egyptian hieroglyphs. Additionally, professional linguists and Egyptologists do not consider the Anthon Transcript document to contain any legitimate ancient writing, and there are no Middle Eastern roots to any Native American languages.
Klaus Baer, Egyptologist at the University of Chicago, called the characters of the transcript nothing but “doodlings.”
Book of Mormon Archaeology
Book of Mormon Archaeology
Book of Mormon DNA
The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and Modern Prophets Have All Said that the Native Americans Came from the Lamanites
Joseph Smith said: “He [the angel Moroni] told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the Indians were the literal descendants of Abraham.” 
(An American Prophet’s Record, The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith, November 9, 1835, 51).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “Holy scripture records that ‘after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof.’ (Ether 13:2.) Such a special place needed now to be kept apart from other regions, free from the indiscriminate traveler as well as the soldier of fortune. To guarantee such sanctity the very surface of the earth was rent. In response to God’s decree, the great continents separated and the ocean rushed in to surround them. The promised place was set apart. Without habitation it waited for the fulfillment of God’s special purposes. With care and selectivity, the Lord began almost at once to repeople the promised land. The Jaredites came first, with stories of the great flood fresh in their memories and the Lord’s solemn declaration ringing in their ears: ‘Whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them.’ (Ether 2:8.)” (“A Promised Land,” Ensign, June 1976.)
“And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.” (2 Nephi 1:8)
“Everything’s a Remix”
King James Bible
King James Bible
Isaiah from the Brass Plates
There is ample evidence that the Book of Isaiah was composed during Babylonian exile, 585 B.C., and later.
The Book of Isaiah in its KJV Bible form did not exist until around 515 B.C.
Lehi and his family left around 600 B.C.
The Biblical form does not match the original Isaiah texts.
Why, then, would the “brass plates” contain Isaiah in the KJV Biblical form, before the original form was even written?
King James Bible
King James Bible
Example: King Benjamin Quotes Paul
Several Top Influencers of the Book of Mormon
Literary Influence
Nephi, Ammon, Ammonites, Laban, and many other familiar characters
Brass plates, the treasury where the plates are kept, and abridgments being made
Faith-promoting nature of many of the stories, with a ring of truth to them, even though they are widely known to be fictitious
View of the Hebrews (1823)
Israelites arrived in the New World
Separated into warring factions
Barbarous and civilized groups
The more savage of which prevailed after annihilating their more civilized brethren until all were left in a savage state
Refers to “Altered Egyptian”
Lost book made of old parchment
Native American prophets

View of the Hebrews (1823)
The Wonders of Nature (1826)
Claims that Native Americans are of Hebrew origin
Ancient Native American traditions
Calamities in the early Americas
“Proofs that the Indians of North America were lineally descended from the ancient Hebrews.”
The Wonders of Nature (1826)
A View of the American Indians (1828)
Quotes Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews but adds additional information
Claims that the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim arrived in America 
Describes a “lost book of God”
Quotes Ezekiel 37, which has now been found to have nothing to do with scrolls or books, but is instead referring to the unification of nations
Quotes generously from Isaiah, and speaks of “promises which have not yet been fulfilled, a restoration in the latter days. They are called Ephraim…” 
Describes “a land where no man dwelt” (p. 180; compare to Ether 2:5) where the people had stone crosses and therefore would have believed in Christ
Discusses the Urim and Thummim: ". . . their knowledge of the blazing stones of the urim and thummim . . . ,” “a transparent stone of supposed great power” (p. 49, 80-81; cf. Ether 3:1-4, 6:2-3)
“… They had once a holy book,” Worsley concludes, “which while they kept, things went well with them; they lost it, and in consequence of the loss fell under the displeasure of the Great Spirit; but they believe they shall one day regain it - they are looking for and expecting some one to come and teach them the right way.” (p. 182)

The Late War (1816)
Devices of “curious workmanship” in relation to boats and weapons.
A “stripling” soldier and “two thousand hardy men, who were called volunteers, because they fought freely for their country … were … men of dauntless courage.“
Fortifications, “the people began to fortify themselves and entrench the high Places round about the city“
Objects made “partly of brass and partly of iron, and were cunningly contrived with curious works, like unto a clock ; and as it were a large ball”
Three Native American Prophets
A mention of “elephants” in relation to ancient America (an anachronism)

The Late War (1816)
The Late War (1816)
Koran (1806)
Non-Biblical Matches
the words which he shall speak
before god at the last day
comprehendeth all things
covenanted with abraham
the covenant which he hath made with
unto them there is no god
created the heavens and the earth and
the true believers
to drive them out of the land
things which are pleasing unto god
put it into the hearts of
by the hair of the head and
(hundreds more)
Koran Parallels
“Joseph Smith was an uneducated boy, and yet he produced the Book of Mormon in a few short months. It is a complex portrayal of a thousand-year history of an ancient people. He cannot possibly have made it up. Therefore, he must have had divine aid, as he claims.”
First we must remember that the above claim is untrue, as it took around 3 years total.
Strangely enough, the very same challenge is made in the Koran, as "proof" that the Koran is inspired, Sura 10:38-39:
"This Koran could not have been forged apart from God; but it is a confirmation of what is before it, and a distinguishing of the Book, wherein is no doubt, from the Lord of all Being. Or do they say, 'Why, he has forged it'? Say: 'Then produce a sura [scripture] like it, and call on whom you can, apart from God, if you speak truly.'"
19th Century Notions in the 
Book of Mormon
As for 19th century issues, the famous Ohio preacher, Alexander Campbell described the Book of Mormon as containing “every error and almost every truth discussed in New York for the last ten years.” He went on to say that Joseph “decides all the great controversies - infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the question of free masonry, republican government, and the rights of man.”
Alexander Campbell, Delusions: An Analysis of the Book of Mormon (Boston, 1832), p. 13.
19th Century Controversial Issues in the Book of Mormon
Great and abominable church
1 Nephi 10-15
“It is also to the Book of Mormon to which we turn for the plainest description of the Catholic Church as the great and abominable church.”
Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 130 (1958).
Infant Baptism (Mormon 8)
Christian Positivism/Revivalism
Which church is right?
Anti-Masonry (Gadianton Robbers)
Revival Conference & 
King Benjamin’s Speech
June 1826, Palmyra, NY
Methodist Preacher
Speaker upon tower, with tents pitched round about
Feeble condition
Powerful farewell discourse
Expresses love for the people
The people fall to the ground and commit to Christ
(Memoir of Rev. Benjamin G. Paddock, 177-81; et al.)
Translated ca. late 1828, Palmyra, NY
King Benjamin (Mosiah 2-5)
Speaker upon tower, with tents pitched round about (2:5-7)
Feeble condition (2:30)
Powerful farewell discourse (2:28-29)
Expresses love for the people (2:12)
The people fall to the ground and commit to Christ (4:1)

Book of Mormon Wordiness
Romans & Nephites
Their stories cover a similar stretch of ancient history
Both peoples are descended from a small party of emigrants escaping the destruction of a royal city.
Both people's founding ancestors were led by deity to a new land: Aeneas by Venus and Apollo; Lehi by Jehovah.
Both people's founding ancestors came to their new homeland by ship.
Both peoples took their name from one of a pair of brothers from whom they descended.
Both peoples spread out eventually to occupy very large territories.
At about the same time in their history, a two-century period of peace reigned among them.
Both periods of peace began about the time of the appearance of Jesus Christ in their land.
Both cultures knew coins, shipbuilding, agriculture based on wheat, barley, cattle, goats, sheep and "flocks." 
Both waged war with similar weapons and armor (steel swords, bow and arrow, spears, body armor, chariots and horses).

If there is anything that this comparison proves, it is the one tremendous difference between the two stories, a difference which casts huge doubt upon the accuracy of the Nephite story. And that difference can be seen in museums and archaeological sites all over Europe: The Romans left behind millions of artifacts, from everyday coins, kitchen utensils and pots to glorious art and architecture. Their historical record is also confirmed by hundreds of independent contemporary written records.
But the Nephites? Nothing even vaguely similar. Nothing. No museum has any Nephite artifact. No art. No architecture. No records (other than the Book of Mormon) which are accepted as history by a single non-Mormon historian.
Why not? One would think that the archaeological and historical record of two great ancient peoples, contemporaries, spanning a thousand years, would leave similar signs of their existence behind. No one doubts the existence of the Romans for that thousand years, or the essential accuracy of their history. Everyone but the Mormons themselves disbelieves the story of the Nephites.

Lehi’s Vision
Joseph’s father recounted his recurring dreams to his family of being in a vast field surrounded by darkness, a river, a great and spacious building with people scorning the saints of God, and ending at a glorious tree with fruit of “dazzling whiteness” that made him so “exceedingly happy” that he calls for his family to come and partake
Nephi’s father has this same vision
“Everything’s a Remix”
Jaredites and Tower of Babel
The Book of Mormon asserts the confounding of languages at the Tower of Babel
This has since been shown by scholars to be untrue—languages were derived over thousands of years in many different geographic locations and time periods—not from a single event
Book of Mormon Racism
“. . . wherefore, as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.” (2 Nephi 5:21)
“And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because at their transgression.” (Alma 3:6)
“…for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us.” (Mormon 5:15)
Many more…
Book of Mormon Theology:
A Violent Christ?
As a thought exercise, consider the following questions:

Would Christ ask His prophets to murder, steal, or lie? Would Christ curse people, strike them dumb for not believing, sink their cities, threaten people, or murder them in creative ways? All of this without providing proper treatments, solutions, or doctrines of love and kindness?
Would Christ direct that when someone believes differently they should be tied up, such as the example of Korihor? Should we teach our children that they should make an example of people that believe differently? Strike them dumb, and have them trampled to death as an object lesson?
Would Christ curse people for sinning with dark skin, which affects millions of their future posterity? 
Because missionary work is important and we must change other people’s beliefs, would Christ direct Ammon to chop off arms to convince others that God is backing him up? 
Would Christ compound these problems by adding more fear and confusion to an already fallen people, giving them a system that produces pride and corruption, providing poor advice, and helping people slaughter one another, rather than finding diplomatic solutions?
Do these examples sound like the gentle Christ?

Book of Mormon Translation
Treasure Hunting
From about 14 years old, Smith regularly practiced scrying, a form of divination in which a “seer” looked into a seer stone to receive supernatural knowledge.
Early 1800s common to speculate regarding scrying and the Biblical “Urim & Thummim”
Smith claimed that “he could discern things invisible to the natural eye.” 
Used stones to see “hidden treasures” and “guardian spirits.” 
However, “No record that they ever found anything.”
Taken to court for fraudulence. "…was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending, by means of a certain stone, or glass, which he put in a hat, to be able to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, &c.... At length the public,... had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of Justice.”
Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate, April 9, 1831, p. 120.
“Joseph wept and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones.”
Joseph used the same stone he used to charge people for treasure hunting to translate the Book of Mormon.

Superstitious Belief of Divining Rods
in D&C
D&C 8:6-11 to Oliver Cowdery:
6.  Now this is not all they gift; for you have another gift, which is the gift of Aaron [the gift of working with the rod]; behold, it has told you many things;
7. Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron [this rod of nature] to be with you.
8. Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.
9. And, therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that I will grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it.
10. Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith.  Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.
11. Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
[red text from 1835 edition of D&C]
“Second Sight”
“While praying I passed into a state of entrancement, and in that state I saw the angel and the plates.”
Martin Harris, (Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast, n.d., microfilm copy, p. 70-71)
“I never saw the gold plates, only in a visionary or entranced state.”
EMD 2:346-47
“He only saw the plates with a spiritual eye” 
Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1, 1958
“As shown in the vision” 
Zenas H. Gurley, Jr., Interview with David Whitmer on January 14, 1885
“Never saw the plates with his natural eyes but only in vision or imagination”
Letter from Stephen Burnett to “Br. Johnson,” April 15, 1838, in Joseph Smith Letter Book, p. 2
“I did not see them uncovered, but I handled them and hefted them while wrapped in a tow frock.”
EMD 1:497
“They were shown to me by a supernatural power”
History of the Church Vol. 3, Ch. 21, p. 307-308
“…when I came to hear Martin Harris state in public that he never saw the plates with his natural eyes only in vision or imagination, neither Oliver nor David & also that the eight witnesses never saw them & hesitated to sign that instrument for that reason, but were persuaded to do it.
Letter from Stephen Burnett to “Br. Johnson,” April 15, 1838, in Joseph Smith Letter Book, p. 2
The foreman in the Palmyra printing office that produced the first Book of Mormon said that Harris “used to practice a good deal of his characteristic jargon and ‘seeing with the spiritual eye,’ and the like.” 
Mormonism:  Its Origin, Rise, and Progress, p.71
Two other Palmyra residents said that Harris told them that he had seen the plates with “the eye of faith” or “spiritual eyes”
EMD 2:270 and 3:22
John H. Gilbert, the typesetter for most of the Book of Mormon, said that he had asked Harris, “Martin, did you see those plates with your naked eyes?”  According to Gilbert, Harris “looked down for an instant, raised his eyes up, and said, ‘No, I saw them with a spiritual eye.”
EMD 2:548
Book of Mormon Changes
Joseph worked on the Book of Mormon between 1828-1830 (three years)
Used scribes for around 60 days total (not consecutive)
Made many changes between and after dictation sessions
Many changes made after 1830 edition and 1837 edition (thousands)

Mi’kmaq Hieroglyph Writings
Derived from a pictograph and petroglyph tradition
Being dug up in New York area
Resembling “Reformed Egyptian”
Not truly derived from Egyptian
Urim & Thummim
Meaning = “lights and perfections”
Divination tools
Widely speculated in early 19th century
Joseph Smith
Seer stones
All-seeing eye (Masonic)

Meaning = “cursed or faultless” or “guilty or innocent”
Similar to flipping a coin, rolling dice, or using a Magic 8 ball
Used to make yes/no decisions
1 Samuel 14:41 —an attempt to identify a sinner via divination, by repeatedly splitting the people into two groups and identifying which group contains the sinner.
Saul and Jonathan being separated from the rest of the people, and lots being cast between them; that Urim would indicate Saul and Jonathan, while Thummim would indicate the people. 
Urim and Thummim were the names of the objects being cast.
Urim & Thummim
First Vision Problems
“The First re-Vision”—Joseph’s accounts change over time and become more and more grandiose
Joseph Smith's First Vision was not unique to his day
LDS historian Richard Bushman has identified over 33 visionary tales published between 1783 and 1815 (“The Visionary World of Joseph Smith”)
Many elements of these familiar publications are found in Joseph’s accounts
First Vision Tale Improves Over Time
First Vision Source Material
First Vision Source Material
First Vision Source Material
First Vision Source Material
First Vision Source Material
First Vision Source Material
First Vision Source Material
The Golden Pot (1827)
1. Anselmus and Joseph are both seeking to be God’s minister.
2. Both are meditating upon their shortcomings when they have a vision.
3. Both have their vision on a special day (Ascension Day and the Equinox).
4. Both encounter great brightness like the sun before seeing the messenger.
5. Both receive a shock before seeing the messenger.
6. Both see several beings in the vision.
7. Both don’t fully comprehend the message during the first vision, but do later.
8. Both have three visions in one evening, also a morning vision.
9. Both are thought to be crazy by those among their religious friends.
10. Both are called to “translate” documents in their visions.
11. Both are promised a seeric device in the visions.
12. Both receive a brief sketch of their ancient inhabitants in their visions.
13. Both learn their messengers are direct descendants of their people’s founders.
14. Both learn the messengers are the archivists of their civilizations.
15. Both messengers are called, “Prince of the Spirits.”
16. Both are under a tree by a green meadow during their fourth or morning vision.
17. Both messages are repeated, expanded and clarified in these visions.
18. Both are told to come the next day and commence their work.
19. Both walk to the nearby appointed place.
20. Both wear black clothing when visiting their messengers the first time.
21. Both think about the financial rewards on the way to visit their messengers.
22. Both encounter an evil power and are told they will fail in their assignment.
23. Both are harmed by their messengers upon arriving at their appointed place.
24. Both are chastised for not being serious enough about their special assignment.
25. Both are to wait one year to see if they will be allowed to receive their special records.

26. Both follow strict instruction when visiting the appointed place.
27. Both say when visiting the appointed place that the door simply swings open.
28. Both are met by their messengers after entering the appointed place.
29. Both are taken on a tour of the vast chambers.
30. Both see many treasures and fine furniture.
31. Both see by a dazzling light but its source is unknown. There are no “windows.”
32. Both see a tripod and Egyptian artifacts.
33. Both are enthralled when seeing their seeric device.
34. Both describe the general library similarly.
35. Both of their special records, breastplates, and seeric devices are not kept in the library.
36. Both are placed on probation by their messengers for a season.
37. Both messengers bring them one manuscript at a time during the probation period.
38. Both get more excited about the work than getting rich.
39. Both of their special women undertake an adventure on the fall equinox.
40. Both women pray against the howling spirits on the equinox.
41. Both women are out from midnight to dawn on the equinox.
42. Both men are injured by evil spirits on the equinox, but are rescued by their envoys.
43. Both pass their final test and get access to their records on the fall equinox.
44. Both begin to translate their records a few days later.
45. Both special records are written in characters of an unknown language.
46. Both translate their records by inspiration.
47. Both translate from pieces of parchment.
48. Both after a while don’t need the parchments while translating.
49. Both do their work rapidly and correctly.
50. Both experience the majestic, nice old man, and frightful forms of their messengers.

Book of Abraham
When a traveling salesman sold the papyri to Joseph Smith, Smith was elated and announced that these were the writings of Abraham himself.
He translated the papyri into the Book of Abraham, and it became “lost.”
Found in a New York museum in 1967. The church now has these papyri, and according to the February 1967 Improvement Era (half a century ago), there was “an unprecedented amount of interest generated throughout the church by the recovery of 11 pieces of papyri that were once the property of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
Analyzed by Egyptologists, and the Book of Abraham has nothing to do with the actual papyri text or facsimiles.
There are also historical anachronisms in Joseph’s translations, as well as source material identified in readily available books in the early 19th century.
Joseph said: ”… with W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery as scribes, I commence the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, etc. – a more full account of which will appear in its place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly we can say, the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 236). 
Wilford Woodruff also wrote: ”Joseph the Seer has presented us some of the Book of Abraham which was written by his own hand but hid from the knowledge of man for the last four thousand years but has now come to light through the mercy of God.” (Diary of Wilford Woodruff, entry of February 19, 1842, LDS archives).
Book of Abraham
Resurrection Vignettes
Historical Anachronisms and Misconstructions

Book of Abraham Source Materials
Abraham 1 = Josephus
Abraham 2,4-5 = KJV Bible
Abraham 3 = Philosophy of a Future State
Facsimiles derived from the Theology of Plato (translated by Thomas Taylor)
Hebrew names come from Joseph Seixas, whom Joseph hired to give him Hebrew words in 1836
Nephi or Moroni? 
Part of the Ever-Changing Stories of Joseph Smith
“When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi. That God has a work for me to do... He said there was a book deposited written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.”
Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon. 
Printed in 1851 Pearl of Great Price
Millennial Star, vol. 3, page 71: "...message of the angel Nephi ... opened a new dispensation to man.”
In 1853, Joseph's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, also said the angel's name was Nephi (Biographical Sketches, p. 79).
in 1888 J. C. Whitmer made this statement: "I have heard my grandmother (Mary M. Whitmer) say on several occasions that she was shown the plates of the Book of Mormon by an holy angel, whom she always called Brother Nephi". [It should be noted that a majority of the Book of Mormon is alleged to have been translated in the Whitmer home).

Restoration of Priesthood
Like the First Vision story, none of the members of the Church or Joseph Smith’s family had ever heard prior to 1834 about a priesthood restoration from John the Baptist or Peter, James, and John.  Although the priesthood is now taught to have been restored in 1829, Joseph and Oliver made no such claim until 1834. Why did it take five years for Joseph or Oliver to tell members of the Church about the priesthood?
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery did not teach anyone or record anything prior to 1834 that men ordained to offices in the Church were receiving “priesthood authority”.
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery changed the wording of earlier revelations when they compiled the 1835 Doctrine & Covenants, adding verses about the appearances of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John as if those appearances were mentioned in the earlier revelations in the Book of Commandments, which they weren’t.
It wasn’t until the 1835 edition Doctrine & Covenants that Joseph and Oliver backdated and retrofitted Priesthood restoration events to an 1829-30 time period – none of which existed in any previous Church records; including Doctrine & Covenants’ precursor, The Book of Commandments, nor the original Church history as published in “The Evening and Morning Star”.
David Whitmer, one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, had this to say about the Priesthood restoration:“I never heard that an Angel had ordained Joseph and Oliver to the Aaronic Priesthood until the year 1834[,] [183]5, or [183]6 – in Ohio…I do not believe that John the Baptist ever ordained Joseph and Oliver…” (Early Mormon Documents, 5:137)

No Death Before Adam
The Church teaches that there was no death before the fall of Adam and Eve approximately 6,000 years ago. 
“Two kinds of death are spoken of in the scriptures. One is the death of the body, which is caused by the separation of the body from the spirit. The other is spiritual death, which is to die as pertaining to, or to be separated from, righteousness. … Both of these deaths were introduced into the world by the fall of Adam. … Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall.” 
These teachings are also emphasized in the Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price in 2 Nephi 2:22 and Moses 6:48. 
Also, the Church’s current Institute manual, used to teach 18-30 year olds, confirms this teaching where it states: “There was no death in the earth before the fall of Adam.”
Whereas the Biblical book of Genesis does not specify any dates, the Church teaches that this Fall took place 6,000 years ago, and that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri. These beliefs come from D&C 77 and teachings of Joseph Smith and many succeeding prophets, seers, and revelators of the Church. 
6,000-Year-Old Earth
Location of Garden of Eden
Adam & Eve
What does this say about Cain?
Reconstruction of first human fossil found in Africa 
First humans were black for thousands of years
Lighter skins gradually emerged over thousands of years as humans moved northward and interbred with Neanderthals
Modern whites have an average of 4% Neanderthal genetics
Swedenborg Parallels Found in D&C 76
Description of “The Celestial Kingdom”
After death, all people go to a waiting place called “The Spirit World” divided into a “Spirit Prison” for the unbaptized and a “Paradise” for the baptized.
Angels from the Celestial Kingdom are naked except for a white robe/garment given to them by “The Lord” which shines and glimmers.
Spirits and angels are in human form and one can converse with them “as one man to another.” 
No singing, wings, or halos.
The “spirit world” is this earth, but we cannot see the spirits because of “the veil.”
Marriage exists only in the highest Celestial Kingdom.
Character of Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith’s “Anti-Bank”
Joseph’s Polygamy and Polyandry
Unfortunate Facts:
Joseph Smith practiced polygamy with many women.
Some of these women were already married to other men and stayed married to them.
Joseph Smith tried to keep his additional wives a secret from their husbands and his wife.
Some of these women were young teenagers while Joseph was in his late years.
The polygamous wives were pressured to accept or God would do bad things to them.
Joseph Smith lied on many occasions, denying his polygamous practices.

Statements Made by Joseph Smith While Already Secretly Practicing Polygamy
“Tuesday, 8 [1838].--I spent the day with Elder Rigdon in visiting Elder Cahoon at the place he had selected for his residence, and in attending to some of our private, personal affairs; also in the afternoon I answered the questions which were frequently asked me, while on my last journey but one from Kirtland to Missouri, as printed in the Elders’ Journal, vol. I, Number II, pages 28 and 29, as follows: [skipping over questions 1 to 6] Seventh—“Do the Mormons believe in having more wives than one?” “No, not at the same time. But they believe that if their companion dies, they have a right to marry again.” (History of the Church, vol. 3, p. 28)

“Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” (D&C [1835 Edition] 101:4)

“But if she will not abide this commandment she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her if she abide not in my law.” (D&C 132:54)

“As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan. This is to notify him and the Church in general, that he has been cut off from the church, for his iniquity; and he is further notified to appear at the Special Conference, on the 6th of April next, to make answer to these charges.
Presidents of said Church.” (Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 423)

“[William Law] has gone to Carthage and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery. … Why, a man dares not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this. …What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one.” (History of the Church, vol. 6:410-411)
After Being Exposed, Joseph Smith Excuses His Polygamous Practices and Public Denials by Saying 
It Was Commanded of God
“The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on … plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it, and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth.”

(Joseph Smith, Contributor, Vol. 5, p. 259.)
Polygamy Commanded by God 
Through His Holy Angel
Example of Love Letter from Joseph Smith to Sarah Ann Whitney
“ feelings are so strong for you since what has passed lately between seems, as if I could not live long in this way; …come and see me ... it would afford me great relief ... I know it is the will of God that you should comfort me now in this time of affliction ... the only thing to be careful of; is to find out when Emma comes then you cannot be safe, but when she is not here, there is the most perfect safty ... burn this letter as soon as you read it; keep all locked up in your breasts ... You will pardon me for my earnestness on this subject when you consider how lonesome I must be ... I think emma wont come tonight if she dont dont fail to come tonight ...”
Joseph Smith’s Developing 
Struggle with Polygamy
Jacob 2:24 “Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” 
Jacob 1:15 "And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his on.”
D&C 132:39, “David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power ...” 
If it was wicked to God for David and Solomon to have wives (plural) and concubines and was abominable, why would God suddenly say “they were given unto them by me?”
Joseph Smith Hiring Hit Men
Orrin Porter Rockwell killed 17 people “for the Lord.” He shot and wounded Missouri Governer Boggs on orders from Joseph Smith (details in next slide).
Joseph Smith also shot people. The actual gun Joseph Smith used was the Pepperbox Pistol (upper gun), which is acknowledged by Church historians.
The Church has taught that Hyrum and Joseph Smith died because they would not deny their testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It is now known that their deaths were actually the result of angering the people because of deceptive polygamous practices, Joseph making himself mayor of the city, destroying a printing press that was publishing true information about him, his revealing the Masonic rituals against a sworn oath of loyalty, and convictions of fraudulence.

Why William & Jane Law Left
William Law was a member of the First Presidency
1. Joseph wanted those who opposed him killed.
On June 27, 1844, the day Joseph Smith was killed, William Law recorded in his diary: "He [Smith] was unscrupulous; no man's life was safe if he was disposed to hate him. He set the laws of God and men at defiance.” Law is referring here to both the attempted murder to himself and others. For example, the Laws believed that Joseph Smith played a vital role in the attempted assassination of Lilburn W. Boggs.
On May 6, 1842, a gunman shot the ex-governor of Missouri, Lilburn W. Boggs, through a window at his residence in Independence, Missouri. Two bullets penetrated his head and a third lodged in his body; miraculously, he lived. Almost immediately, suspicion fell upon Joseph Smith being involved. The governor of Illinois, Thomas Carlin, wrote Joseph Smith a letter saying that it was common knowledge that he, "had prophesized that Boggs should die a violent death.” 
John C. Bennett, an assistant to the first presidency of the church at the time, also wrote: “In 1841, Jo[s]e[ph] predicted or prophesied in a public congregation in Nauvoo, that Lilburn W. Boggs, ex-Governor of Missouri, should die by violent hands within one year.” George M. Hinkle, in a June letter to Smith added, “Denying your having prophesied the violent death of Boggs wont do, too many people have heard you[,] myself among the rest.”
2. Joseph was practicing plural marriage in secret.
Joseph had already married more than 20 women in secret when Emma found out and was heartbroken. Joseph told her that she could choose an additional husband, and she chose William Law, but he refused. Thus he received the following “revelation”:
“That she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham .... Let my handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph .... I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her.” (D&C 132:51-52,54)
3. Joseph was having himself crowned king.
April 11, 1844, meeting that Joseph Smith was not only anointed a king over the earth but that he was, "A god to this generation." Brigham Young also taught that Smith is our "Prophet Seer Revelator & God.” Young delineated some of Smith's responsibilities as a god, and declared that if you “ever pass into the heavenly courts, it will be by the consent of the Prophet Joseph. If you ever pass through the gates into the Holy City, you will do so upon his certificate that you are worthy to pass.”

King of the World and 
God of This Generation
“The great aim of Joseph Smith was evidently to clothe himself with the most unlimited power, civil, military and ecclesiastical over all who became members of his society.... [He stated] that God had revealed to him, that the Indians and Latter Day Saints, under Jo[s]e[ph] as their King and Ruler, were to conquer the Gentiles, and that their subjection to this authority was to be obtained by the sword! From this revelation, he enforced upon them that it was necessary he should be crowned King, and ... was accordingly CROWNED KING under God, over, the immediate house of Israel. This ceremony was performed in 1842 [1844], by a council of fifty…. [That] the whole earth was to become under subjection to him…. accordingly Jo[s]e[ph] swore them all to present secrecy, under the penalty of death.”
Geo. T. M. Davis, An Authentic Account of the Massacre of Joseph Smith, (St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1844), 7-8, emphasis retained.
Joseph Smith’s plan and method for overthrowing the United States, and 
eventually all world governments, caused apprehension within the United States. 
Had Smith lived a few more years, his actions most likely would have convicted him of treason, or something along those lines in a court of law.
Nauvoo Expositor
Made two main claims:
1) Joseph and a select few were practicing plural marriage whilst publicly denying these accusations, and
2) Joseph had himself crowned king over all the earth and God to this generation at his secret meetings with the Council of Fifty. 
These claims have now been verified by historians to be true. LDS historians are in agreement that this is true.
Inhabitants on the Moon
Joseph Smith taught: “The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker style and are quite general in the style or the one fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally, near a thousand years.”
The History of Oliver B. Huntington, p. 10, typed copy, Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Pictured left: Account of patriarchal blessing from “The inhabitants of the moon,” Young Woman's Journal 3:263-264; 

Second Coming in 1891
“ was the will of God that those who went Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.”
History of the Church 2:182
In February 1835, fifty-six years in the future was February 1891. This would be shortly after Joseph’s 85th birthday (he was born 23 December 1805).
“I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.”
D&C 130:14-15
Why would God make an event conditional on another event He knew would never happen?
Joseph Smith prophesied that "there of those of the rising generation who shall not taste death till Christ comes." 
He also prophesied “in the name of the Lord God - let it be written: that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens till I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890.”
Journal Entry, April 6, 1843 and HC 5:336. The official historians have deleted the last phrase, beginning with "48 years" from the church history, but it is contained in the original diary.
Line of Authority
If Joseph Smith was not a true prophet, then we have no authority
If he was truly called of God, it still doesn’t necessarily follow that we have authority (Brigham Young)
The New & Improved Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith Becomes Romanticized 
Joseph Smith Preaching
Heroicized Joseph Smith
By the 21st century, Joseph Smith has evolved into a Hollywood hero.

“Death cannot conquer the hero again.”

(“Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27.)
Semi-Deification of Joseph Smith
Claiming Authority from Christ,
But Only When Expedient
“Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.”

History of the Church, Vol. 6:408-409
Masonic Temple Origins
In the early 1800s it was commonly believed by many Masons, particularly the less educated members, that the origins of Masonry are thousands of years old and came from Solomon's time.
Joseph therefore joined the Masons and “stole” their rituals for our temples.
It is now known that the Masonic rituals are derived from the Middle Ages (the “Great Apostasy”) and have no ties whatsoever to ancient temple practices
Death Penalties
Prior to 1989, the endowment ceremony included death penalties
This was a way to keep secrecy and prevent followers from speaking anything negative regarding church leaders (“the Lord’s anointed”)
A way to ensure “covenants” are kept (loyalty to the church organization, leaders, and “eternal companions” of plural wives, etc)

Other Disturbing Early Practices Changed Over Time
“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, 'Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed.'” (Ensign, August 2002, p 22)
“[Christ] set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them.”
Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol.4, p. 208
"As temple work progresses, some members wonder if the ordinances can be changed or adjusted. These ordinances have been provided by revelation … Thus, the temple is protected from tampering.”
W. Grant Bangerter, executive director of the Temple Department and a member of the First Quorum of Seventy, Deseret News, Church Section, January 16, 1982.
“We explained briefly the Apostasy and the Restoration: that there is vast evidence and history of an apostasy from the doctrine taught by Jesus and his Apostles, that the organization of the original Church became corrupted, and sacred ordinances were changed to suit the convenience of men”
Elder David B. Haight, "Joseph Smith the Prophet," Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 22.
Anti-Catholicism, anti-Protestantism, and condemnation of all other creeds
Private touching and nakedness in the temple
Swearing to “avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation” (anti-patriotism)
Teaching children this vengeance
Death penalties part of covenants
The old temple endowment video included a scene illustrating the creation of the earth from the Disney film “Fantasia.”

Baptism for the Dead
1800s, common debate as to the meaning of 1 Cor 15:29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”
Greek translation 
baptizein = “ritual washing” 
Documented in Halakhah Tractate Yadayim and Dead Sea Scrolls
Jesus said: “He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:27)
Continue to Part 3…

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