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Mteal Plates? Did Joseph Belive He Had Them?


Olavarria

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Ok, let say the BoM is ahistorical. Lets say that there never was or ever will be an angel Moroni and that this being didnt deliver the gold plates to Joseph Smith. Lets say that there was no such thing as a nephite.

Ok, now depistie the non "existance" of these things, the fact remains that Joseph went to a place and claimed to recieve plates, family members tell stories of him hiding them, others, the witnesses, talk about seeing them etc.

My questian to all the non-mo's and ex-mo's is:

If Joseph really didnt have an ancient book engraved on metal plates, did he believe he did? Or, did he knowingly lie to everyone?

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Ok, let say the BoM is ahistorical. Lets say that there never was or ever will be an angel Moroni and that this being didnt deliver the gold plates to Joseph Smith. Lets say that there was no such thing as a nephite.

Ok, now depistie the non "existance" of these things, the fact remains that Joseph went to a place and claimed to recieve plates, family members tell stories of him hiding them, others, the witnesses, talk about seeing them etc.

My questian to all the non-mo's and ex-mo's is:

If Joseph really didnt have an ancient book engraved on metal plates, did he believe he did? Or, did he knowingly lie to everyone?

What does Vogel say? Did he just not have the plates and then made some out of tin or something like that at the last minute when it was necessary to show them to the witnesses? Or did he always have the fake tin ones? If so, when did he make them? Did he make them in secret? To what detail did he make them? Meaning, what about when Emma felt them under the cloth? Was that supposed to be before or after the witnesses? And does her description fit the fake plates? What about when the plates were carried when Emma was near on the initial retrieval of them? Did Joseph make the fake ones before then, or was he faking it then? What about when they were hidden in the barrel of beans? Did he put the fake ones in there, too, or did he fake putting in nothing?

I guess there are many legitimate questions to ask if one does not believe in the real metal plates.

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Ok, let say the BoM is ahistorical. Lets say that there never was or ever will be an angel Moroni and that this being didnt deliver the gold plates to Joseph Smith. Lets say that there was no such thing as a nephite.

Ok, now depistie the non "existance" of these things, the fact remains that Joseph went to a place and claimed to recieve plates, family members tell stories of him hiding them, others, the witnesses, talk about seeing them etc.

My questian to all the non-mo's and ex-mo's is:

If Joseph really didnt have an ancient book engraved on metal plates, did he believe he did? Or, did he knowingly lie to everyone?

I don't think anyone's self delusion or "pious fraud" could be taken to the point of rationalizing as an honest belief, the fact that they did in fact posess golden plates, that they actually were visited by resurrected angels...when they actually were not and did not.

Joseph knew with extreme clarity and full conscious awareness that he did not have authentic ancient goldent plates. However, that doesn't diminish that fact that he had very good wrastlin' skills.

I do like your ability to go outside the paradigm of established belief Her amun, to at least try to understand competing theories about the origins of the BoM. That is much more than many members can or ever will do.

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Ok, let say the BoM is ahistorical. Lets say that there never was or ever will be an angel Moroni and that this being didnt deliver the gold plates to Joseph Smith. Lets say that there was no such thing as a nephite.

Ok, now depistie the non "existance" of these things, the fact remains that Joseph went to a place and claimed to recieve plates, family members tell stories of him hiding them, others, the witnesses, talk about seeing them etc.

My questian to all the non-mo's and ex-mo's is:

If Joseph really didnt have an ancient book engraved on metal plates, did he believe he did? Or, did he knowingly lie to everyone?

Let's look at some possibilities here --

When JS was a young man, real metal plates were being dug up along the path of the Erie Canal,

which was then being constructed westward past Palmyra:

DISCOVERIES ON THE CANAL.

The operations on the eastern section of the grand canal have advanced to Schenectady flats,

within about two miles of the city. The work is progressing with remarkable spirit, and promises

completion much sooner than its warmest friends had originally expected.

At a point 11 miles west of Schenectady, in the town of Florida, several curious things have

been discovered; partly aboriginal and partly European... Under the latter head may be classed

certain other things recently found, such as.

1. The blade of a large knife.

2. A stout nail whose point is bent up as it by driving against a hard and resisting body.

3. Several plates of brass, which probably belonged to cartouch boxes...

These disclosures of the materials that are concealed under ground, furnish the Antiquarian

and the naturalist, interesting materials for speculation as to the operations of art and of nature

in past time.

http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/NY/miscNYSg.htm#091921

If JS or his early associates had spoken of loose metal plates with a golden color, we might

at least guess that they were something really dug out of the ground. Such things were real.

But JS goes much farther than just talking about some metal plates thus dug up in New York ---

He reported his metal plates to have been collected into a sort of book, bound with other

metal rings, and engraven on both sides of each bound plate in some unknown writing system.

He says that the front page of the written record was on the bottom of the stack, and that the

contents read as an ancient narrative from that first page to the last.

So, I think that either he knew the "book of plates" story to be at least partly false, or else he

actually recovered such a treasure, more or less in the manner he himself reported.

In other words, JS was so specific about his metal plates that they could not have been

simply a bunch of loose artifacts of the War of 1812, such as were then being found along the

Erie Canal -- (see my notes at the end of the 1821 newspaper article).

Uncle Dale

.

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I don't think anyone's self delusion or "pious fraud" could be taken to the point of rationalizing as an honest belief, the fact that they did in fact posess golden plates, that they actually were visited by resurrected angels...when they actually were not and did not.

Joseph knew with extreme clarity and full conscious awareness that he did not have authentic ancient goldent plates. However, that doesn't diminish that fact that he had very good wrastlin' skills.

I do like your ability to go outside the paradigm of established belief Her amun, to at least try to understand competing theories about the origins of the BoM. That is much more than many members can or ever will do.

Amen. And I'm not talk about only the Mormons on the board.

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What does Vogel say? Did he just not have the plates and then made some out of tin or something like that at the last minute when it was necessary to show them to the witnesses? Or did he always have the fake tin ones? If so, when did he make them? Did he make them in secret? To what detail did he make them? Meaning, what about when Emma felt them under the cloth?

A better question is why did Emma have to just feel them under a cloth? This just reeks!

Did Joseph not think his prop was convincing enough yet? Was it like one of those halloween childrens games when they get to to feel ordinary things (like food items) in the dark and tell you that they are eyeballs or worms or something? Hey they do feel like eyeballs!

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I am a TBM but I will answer.

Joseph Smith not only believed he had them, he knew he had them, and he knew that God knew....

Her Amun you almost always get me thinking and rushing to the scriptures (not a bad thing, the rushing to the scriptures part). I will even say eleven other men knew he had them too. :P

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Did Joseph not think his prop was convincing enough...?

This line of reasoning assumes that there was indeed "a prop." Joseph's father was a cooper, who made

wooden barrels, held together with thin metal strips -- so it is not impossible that the young man had

access to some sheets of tin or other metal suitable for constructing "a prop."

But just our saying that constructing such a prop was "not impossible," does not make it so. If Joseph

and/or one of his early associates fabricated such a set of plates, just as described in the early accounts,

it would have been an expensive, difficult, time-consuming task, resulting in somethlng less than

convincing to anybody who gave the prop a really close and careful inspection.

However, the construction of, say, half a dozen such metal plates, laid atop a stack of something else,

kept covered by a cloth, would have been a much easier task. Some of the witnesses testified that

they had looked over as many different plates as Joseph had "translated" up until that time -- but how

those early witnesses would have known how many pages thus to inspect (or what the count was) we

are not informed.

Here are two published items of interest, when we speak of "props." --

The probability is that Smith, who had been a book-peddler, and was frequently

about printing establishments, had procured some old copper plates for engravings,

which he showed for his golden plates. It is pretended that the "Book of Mormon,"

was translated by Joe Smith from these plates.

Of the falsehood of this, the book itself contains the most unquestionable evidence.

On the truth or falsity of Smith's pretended inspiration, and of the character of this

"Book of Mormon," rests the whole scheme. If the Book in general is a fable -- with

the extravagant stories, then Joe Smith Junior, is a base impostor...

http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/IL/miscill1.htm#030035

Of course there is no reliable evidence that Joseph himself was "a book-peddler," other than

the fact that his family members peddled copies of the BoM after it was first published in 1830.

Joseph Smith, Sr. is called a Yankee peddler in some early accounts, but there is no specific

allegation that he peddled books. The more probable book peddler was Oliver Cowdery, who

was so identified before Rev. John M. Peck's "Friend of Truth" submitted this idea of Joseph

having procured some "old copper plates for engravings." For more on an Oliver connection,

see the second item, below:

THE FOOLS' GOLD BIBLE.

Visitors to Palmyra, N.Y. are advised to seek out the site of the old Sherman Carriage Co. at what is now the corner of Prospect and Main in downtown Palmyra. The Carriage building burned down in 1868 but its blacksmith shop remained standing until after the turn of the century. The original Sherman wagon shop and its smithy were built in the 1820s by Rhodes Sherman, Sr. Sherman's son Alson was a contemporary of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery and it seems that he was privy to some details about various secret activities carried on by those two in his father's shop in about 1828. Oliver Cowdery was then a part-time coppermith who possessed considerable skill in preparing copper engraving plates for the old-fashoned hand printing presses of that period.

He had most recently found some employment in this line of work and related tasks in Canadaigua, but, following the untimely death of his employer, young Cowdery lodged first with his brother and then with his cousins (the Joe Smith family of Manchester) and there became a sometime participant in the infamous "Gold Bible Company."

After Joseph Smith, Jr. had his dream about the angel, it was decided in private midnight consultations that the contrived appearance of real metallic plates would be of especial use to the Bible Company. Oliver was dispatched to the Sherman smithy with orders to fabricate a book of plates, held together with rings. Making use of various bits of scrap copper, Cowdery first attempted to forge the necessary production out behind the wagon shop. When that process proved too tedious for his taste, the coppersmith instead beat some worn-out engraving plates into serviceable "ancient sheets," nearly as thin as paper. According to onlooker Sherman, a half-dozen such plates were manufactured, but for what purpose he was never told.

Burnished to a gleaming finish with brass polish, the copper plates had the look and feel of pure gold to the credulous farmers of that region. Still, they were so few and so unlike gold in weight that the Bible Company made slight use of their wondrous treasure. Once Mr. Harris and the Whitmers had been adequately fooled Cowdery and Smith exchanged the copper "treasure" for new hats and a couple of plugs of tobacco in Macedon and all were happy with the trade.

http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/CA/na....htm#120088-4a5

Uncle Dale

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If the copper plates were traded... where are they? I'm sure there are those who would pay through the nose to obtain such plates. A block of brass or copper plates or sheets isn't some that would be passed over in book stores or family junk disposal. I believe if it were a hoax and such plates did exist we would have them today, as we do not, I find this story less credible the Joseph's first vision.

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If the copper plates were traded... where are they? I'm sure there are those who would pay through the nose to obtain such plates. A block of brass or copper plates or sheets isn't some that would be passed over in book stores or family junk disposal. I believe if it were a hoax and such plates did exist we would have them today, as we do not, I find this story less credible the Joseph's first vision.

Many reports appear to be "less credible th[an] Joseph's first vision" at first glance. Does that mean that

we should all constantly ignore them, and never investigate to see if there is any additional evidence?

Why should a handful of page-sized copper plates, traded for something of value at a dry goods store

back in 1829 still be around today? If such plates had been polished clean of their "engravings," then

they would simply be scrap copper of the sort common in those days -- any printing office had such

stuff about, as did coppersmiths, etc.

How many of the original "Kinderhook plates" still exist? -- and they DID have their engravings preserved

on their metal surface when they went into a museum during the 1840s or 1850s.

How many of James J. Strang's "Voree plates" still exist? -- and they presumably also retained their

engraved characters, when Strang died during the 1850s.

Answer -- out of all of those supposedly "ancient metal plates" containing "curious chracters," but a

single specimen is today extant, and its preservation seems to have been more by accident than by

conscious design. Those plates had characters on them -- the alleged Smith plates, disposed of in

Macedon in 1829 or 1830, are not purported to have borne any characters when traded off.

The Smith plates story, related by Alson Sherman, may indeed be a falsehood -- or, maybe not.

My question is -- should it be investigated for any possible confirming evidence?

UD

.

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Investigated, sure... but basis for factual reference to dispute the first vision, no.

I enjoyed Geraldo's opening of Al Capone’s secret vault...!?!?! :P

A good, thoughtful reply -- had I received even that much encouragement from my Reorganized

LDS superiors, back when I was doing Mormon history research full time, I might not have been so

frustrated then -- (nor so outspoken as I am today).

The LDS always were better about looking into these sorts of historical matters.

UD

.

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Many reports appear to be "less credible th[an] Joseph's first vision" at first glance. Does that mean that

we should all constantly ignore them, and never investigate to see if there is any additional evidence?

Why should a handful of page-sized copper plates, traded for something of value at a dry goods store

back in 1829 still be around today? If such plates had been polished clean of their "engravings," then

they would simply be scrap copper of the sort common in those days -- any printing office had such

stuff about, as did coppersmiths, etc.

How many of the original "Kinderhook plates" still exist? -- and they DID have their engravings preserved

on their metal surface when they went into a museum during the 1840s or 1850s.

How many of James J. Strang's "Voree plates" still exist? -- and they presumably also retained their

engraved characters, when Strang died during the 1850s.

Answer -- out of all of those supposedly "ancient metal plates" containing "curious chracters," but a

single specimen is today extant, and its preservation seems to have been more by accident than by

conscious design. Those plates had characters on them -- the alleged Smith plates, disposed of in

Macedon in 1829 or 1830, are not purported to have borne any characters when traded off.

The Smith plates story, related by Alson Sherman, may indeed be a falsehood -- or, maybe not.

My question is -- should it be investigated for any possible confirming evidence?

UD

.

There is no evidence about the whereabouts of the plates Joseph said he had in all of the above.

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