I can understand where you are coming James; at least I think I can. But you must understand james that there are two sides to this issue. For example, the defenders of the bofa have put up a good agrument...not just for the BofA but also for the rest of the pearl of great price. And their points are rather strong.
They're not proving strong or persuasive to the number of people who read them and then use them specifically as the reason why they leave the Church. You need to google the exit stories of people who leave the LDS Church. Among the most frequently mentioned reasons why they leave are the failure of FARMS and the other apologists in their eyes to defend the BoM and the BofA. In fact, these exiting LDS say FARMS' arguments convinced them of just the opposite. Many say they were active, TBMs who went to FARMS for amunition with which to shoot down critics, only to find, to their horror, that the FARMS arguments are a bunch of, in their words, "Whooey."
You see James, I have a difficult time in assuming that Joseph made it all up:the bofm, book of moses, book of abraham and his many revelations. And I find Uncle Dale's idea hard to see clear. Joseph the dupe, going with good ol' sidney about the book of mormon for the whole 100 yards, losing his own children through mob violence etc. It just doesn't make sense....common sense.
I'm not sure you have common sense on your side. Let's say that this afternoon, a guy down the street from you knocks at your door and says, "Neighbor, I've got the greatest news. God came to me and told me none of the existing churches are true and that I'm to restore God's Only True Church. And he gave me some golden plates I've translated and it's a story about some Hebrews who left Jerusalem 600 years before Christ and they came to America." You ask, "Could I see these golden plates?" He says, "No because an angel took them back. You're just supposed to believe me. Anyway, because I've restored God's Only True Church, you're supposed to give me 10% of your annual income and God told me to marry your wife while you're still married to her. Oh, and by the way, God also told me to take your 14 year-old daughter as a wife, too."
"Wait, a minute," you say. "You're copying my religion, I'm LDS. Joseph Smith did all the stuff you're claiming."
"Even your church," responds your neighbor, "says a living prophet's word trumps dead prophets' words. Smith is dead. I'm alive. Fork over your tithing, your wife, and your daughter. God says you're supposed to give them to me."
So you say, "Well, you must be right. It's only common sense that you'd make these claims. It's only common sense that god would give you golden plates to translate and then take them back so no one can verify your story. It's only common sense that God would command you to take money from me. It's only common sense that God would command you to ask for my wife and daughter and it's only common sense that I would hand them over."
Well, it may be common sense to you, but to me such blind obedience in the face of common sense is how people get defrauded.
Besides, Joseph Smith's not the only guy to claim all this. If you believe his claims on the basis of common sense, how about the claims of the others? Please point your browser to
Claim to be the head of God's Only True Church, just like Joseph Smith. Check.
Claim to have translated metallic plates, just like Joseph Smith. Check.
Claim to have God-authorized polygamy, just like Joseph Smith. Check.
Claim to have sacred temple ceremonies, just like Joseph Smith. Check.
Claim to the name, The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, just like Joseph Smith except for the hyphen. Check
Claim that Strang was persecuted to his death, just like Joseph Smith. Check.
And the website even plays the hymn "The Spirit of God like a Fire is Burning."
As far as I can see, these are identical claims. Based on your discussion of common sense, my guess is that common sense is going to leave you with no choice but to accept Strang's claims with equal validity to the identical claims from Smith.
James Clifford Miller