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Translation process


Devin

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For clarification from other threads, and from an LDS perspective, how did the translation of the Book Of Mormon come about? Could anyone who knows go into detail, and number the steps in chronological order? (From Moroni to completion of the printings). We all know the general steps, so please go into detail. Thanks

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Guest Just Curious

There are accounts by the different scribes as well as Emma on how Joseph did the translation. Of course some LDS say those accounts are not reliable because they are of a witness and not the actual person doing the translation. So in their view we simply don't know the exact process...

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"The "Interpreters" were taken from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript] of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on and translate by use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original character appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in English." (David Whitmer)

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The seer stone, first off, we can talk about. It seems to have been originally found by Joseph, and his brother Alvin, when they were working on Mason Chase's property in 1822 and is described, by one of the witnesses, as about the size of a small hen's egg, in the shape of a high instepped shoe. It was composed of layers of different colors passing diagonally through it. It was very hard and smooth, perhaps from being carried in the pocket. Most of the other descriptions that we have of it say much the same thing concerning it as well.

Interesting, but also disturbing that you can find a stone and then use it to translate something by God. Umm...just does not sound like Jesus's way.

It is an interesting thing to note that the seer stone that Joseph had was passed on, following the translation of the Book of Mormon, to Oliver. Oliver maintained it in his possession until his death. It then passed to his wife, Elizabeth Ann Whitmer Cowdery, who gave it to Phineas Young, who was the brother of Brigham Young, who came out to Missouri where Elizabeth was at that time. Phineas took it back to Utah with him and gave it to his brother, Brigham, who then maintained it, retained it for the First Presidency; and, with the exception of a brief hiatus when it was purchased by someone else, it has remained in the possession of the First Presidency since that time and is still a part of the First Presidency's possessions

Is the above true? Why dont they show everyone? Ahh I understand....they dont belive it themselves...

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"The "Interpreters" were taken from Joseph after he allowed Martin Harris to carry away the 116 pages of Ms [manuscript] of the Book of Mormon as a punishment, but he was allowed to go on and translate by use of a "Seers stone" which he had, and which he placed in a hat into which he buried his face, stating to me and others that the original character appeared upon parchment and under it the translation in English." (David Whitmer)

Now this is a problem for me. Could someone please explain . . .

Ether 4:5

Wherefore the Lord hath commanded me to write them; and I have written them. And he commanded me that I should seal them up; and he also hath commanded that I should seal up the interpretation thereof; wherefore I have sealed up the interpreters, according to the commandment of the Lord.

As far as I'm concerned, the interpreters were to be sealed up with the plates. If your quote from David Whitmer is cited correctly, then either Whitmer is wrong, or the Lord decided that the two could be separated, right?

Someone help me make sense of this.

Until . . .

Lux

edit: changed scripture passage from Ether 3 to Ether 4

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Guest Just Curious

Here ya go lux...

Emma Hale Smith, Joseph's wife, was the first person to serve as his scribe. Here is her testimony as recounted to her son Joseph Smith III:

"In writing for your father I frequently wrote day after day, often sitting at the table close by him, he sitting with his face buried in his hat, with the stone in it, and dictating hour after hour with nothing between us."

David Whitmer was one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. The majority of the translation work took place in the Whitmer home.

"I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."

"I, as well as all of my father's family, Smith's wife, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. . . . He [Joseph Smith] did not use the plates in translation"
Martin Harris related an incident that occured during the time that he wrote that portion of the translation of the Book of Mormon which he was favored to write direct from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He said that the Prophet possessed a seer stone, by which he was enabled to translate as well as from the Urim and Thummim, and for convenience he then used the seer stone, Martin explained the translation as follows: 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 that 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."
"These were days never to be forgotten
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Just Curious,

I would be a fool to write off the accounts of Emma, Martin, and Oliver, as they were directly involved with the process. The others don't hold much weight for me.

Now, I'm not denying the whole hat thing. Sounds strange, but apparently it happened. When they say that the Lord works in mysterious ways . . . well, He sure does.

Oh, my "sealed up" question stil remains. Did the U&T (two stones, not one) stay "sealed" with the plates (as they must remain with the sealed Jaredite portion)?

Until . . .

Lux

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Guest Son of Zelph

Martin Harris's account of the translation process described smith looking into his hat which contained a magic stone. Ok...as soon as you're done laughing we can continue. Thank you. Now, Harris went into detail regarding the exact manner of translation. He claimed that as Smith peered into his hat (no snickering, now) sentences in English would float up out of the darkness and he (smith) would read them off. Smith would then have Harris read the sentence back. If it was correct Smith would move on to the next sentence.

We also know from several accounts that the gold plates were in no way involved in the process. Most of the time they were burried in the woods or under the floorboards while smith was "translating" them.

This is all well and good except for one minor glitch. Well...a couple glitches. Bad grammar. Linguistic anachronisms. Revisions. If Smith was just reading sentences sent by God directly to his hat (heh), it doesn't make much sense for God to make these mistakes. All of these can be explain away, but the explanations contradict Harris's account.

Which calls into question the reliability of Harris as a credible witness. Which invalidates his testimony as one of the three witnesses of book of mormon fame. It's a catch 22. Harris was either credible, which causes problems for translation, or he was not credible, which casts doubt on his witness of the plates.

Quite a dilemma. But then, cognative dissonance is a way of life for the truly brainwashed.

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Is there any reason to assume that the observations (quotes) by some regarding the translation process can and should be liberally applied to the entire translation?

Could it be possible that at least some of observations (quotes) fall into the category of observations made by those without clue to translation (in general and by the power of God) but who nonetheless considered that they were experts what they were observing (i.e., those who observe the sun going up and down each day and then hastily conclude that it is the sun that revolves around earth)?

Could it be that some of these observations (quotes) are drenched in the view of scriptural inerrancy that was perhaps a tad ubiquitous at the time?

Could it be that some of the opinions formulated on some of these observations (quotes) are not aware of the inherent problems related to using quotations in general (i.e., see http://www.tartarus.org/~martin/essays/burkequote.html )?

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Guest Just Curious
Is there any reason to assume that the observations (quotes) by some regarding the translation process can and should be liberally applied to the entire translation?

Could it be possible that at least some of observations (quotes) fall into the category of observations made by those without clue to translation (in general and by the power of God) but who nonetheless considered that they were experts what they were observing (i.e., those who observe the sun going up and down each day and then hastily conclude that it is the sun that revolves around earth)?

Could it be that some of these observations (quotes) are drenched in the view of scriptural inerrancy that was perhaps a tad ubiquitous at the time?

Could it be that some of the opinions formulated on some of these observations (quotes) are not aware of the inherent problems related to using quotations in general (i.e., see

It's quite a shame you can't apply these same standards to everything in the BoM, JoD, D&C etc...then maybe you would realize how biased you have been and how you have been unfair in applying standards to what to accept and what not to accept. That Psuedo is the difference between and apologetic and someone who is objective...application of fair and equal standards in all instances!

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It's quite a shame you can't apply these same standards to everything in the BoM, JoD, D&C etc...then maybe you would realize how biased you have been and how you have been unfair in applying standards to what to accept and what not to accept.

What specifically do you know about me to support your assertion? For example, let's take my approach to the Book of Mormon. Consider

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I have read your posts for months and it is plain to anyone with half a brain that you do not apply the same standards !!!  Sorry, just call em like I see em...  if the truth hurts then you either have to deal with it or change.

Oh, I see, the old plain-to-see-to-anyone-with-half-a-brain-just-calling-it-as-I-see-it argument. Perhaps you could be so kind as to indulge the skeptics of such argumentation, and share with us a specific example in regard to my approach to the Book of Mormon (that is self-evidently in conflict with my questions above) that you managed to observe during your months of observation.

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1. Who told Joseph Smith to put the seer stone in the hat and that would be the translation process? Morni, or another angel?

2. Does this process make the hat sacred too?

3. Do you think the first preidency has the hat and try it on? Maybe to recieve insperation??

Reminds me of that Star Trek episode where that girl stole Spocks Brain. She put on this device on her head and she would gain instant knowledge. Maybe the hat could do the same thing?

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Or maybe JS just came up with it on his own as the most easy thing to block out the light making the stone more visible as well as increasing his ability to concentrate by removing distractions.

Other options may have been tried at other times, but for an easy and effective practice, such is hard to beat. It's only those who are too concerned with their personal dignity that seem to have a hard time accepting it.

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