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The Gold Plates


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On 9/8/2022 at 11:36 PM, Rivers said:

This is a question for the non-believers.  Do you think Joseph Smith had tangible metal plates of some kind or something that looked like metal plates?  Or do you think the plates were completely imaginary?  
 

I’m curious to know if there is any consensus among critics on this matter.

My concern with your core question is that you equate non-believers with critics. I reject that completely. There is no equivalency between a non-believer and a critic.

Edited by Navidad
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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

My concern with your core question is that you equate non-believers with critics. I reject that completely. There is no equivalency between a non-believer and a critic.

It was not intentional to equate the two. The question was addressed to anyone without a believing perspective.  

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13 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Joseph Smith's possession of a seemingly ancient artifact which he claimed to have been directed to by an angel, and which he was unlikely to have been able to produce on his own (both due to a lack of financial means and metallurgical know how), adds credibility to his story about the artifact's historical origins and divine preservation. On its own, the eye-witness testimonies to the reality of the plates only moves the plausibility meter so far, but it can't be denied that it substantially helps Joseph Smith's overall case. 

So where are the plates?

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

So where are the plates?

Why in the world would God allow unbelievers to see the plates when the vast majority of them would reason them away as clever fakes, and then condemn themselves even further after witnessing the sign they always clamored to see and rejecting it out of hand without a second thought? Why not try applying a little common sense?

Edited by teddyaware
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On 9/10/2022 at 10:43 AM, Tacenda said:

As I was watering my strawberries yesterday that are planted in a wine barrel my husband found online, I touched the metal rings on them, I have 6 of them, the metal ring is way too thick to be used for the plates, so he'd have to have done some handy work for them to be thinner.

But as I posted earlier, Dan Vogel said back in the day, they had very thin tin shingles for a roof in the right shape that JS could have ordered and used. But all of it is anyone's guess. 

I found this conversation from googling. https://www.reddit.com/r/mormon/comments/kfx6a5/tin_plates_based_on_dan_vogels_theory/

From the Reddit thread…

Quote

LeadingWorldly

OP· 2 yr. ago
 

I made a model from Dan Vogel’s theory that Joseph Smith made plates from tin. These plates are made from scrap galvanized sheet metal using tools that were available in the 1820s. Tin plate available at the time is not used often and is hard to find but I was able to match the weight and thickness of tin plate. The stack of plates are 6 inches wide and 8 inches long roughly matching descriptions of witnesses. There are discrepancies of the witness on the height of the plates ranging from 4 to 6 inches. This stack is roughly 4 inches tall and weighs 37.9 lbs. Witness describe the weight of the plates between 40 and 60 lbs. People who handle these plates estimate the weight to be 50 to 60 lbs. Obviously the color is not gold but I am experimenting with ways to tint the metal using materials available in the early 1800s….

I used edging wire for the rings and I bent them by hand. I didn’t include pictures of the rings. I am struggling with how they attach together. The rings are just bent around the stack. It is possible to injure your hand just by handling the stack. My sheet metal shop has been around since the 1920s and I have tin patterns from the 19th century. I measured those patterns and cross referenced them with gauge tables of English tin from the period. Tin was shipped from England to America in 100 lbs boxes. The sheets were roughly 2 foot by 3 foot. I used period tin snips and a hammer and punch. I also have a compound punch available at the time which would have sped the process up

 

F1140DA2-A4B2-4266-8CDA-C388F8B337A3.jpeg

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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

Why in the world would God allow unbelievers to see the plates when the vast majority of them would reason them away as clever fakes, and then condemn themselves even further after witnessing the sign they always clamored to see and rejecting it out of hand without a second thought? Why not try applying a little common sense?

Then why in the world would God provide witnesses? The vast majority would reason them away as duped stooges, and then condemn themselves even further after hearing testimony they were clamoring for and then they reject it without a second thought? Why not try applying a little common sense?
 

In fact why reveal the gospel at all? Every one gets a chance in the spirit world? Being exposed to it here just seems to increase peoples condemnation. 
 

Your God has issues, FYI. 

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:
15 hours ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Joseph Smith's possession of a seemingly ancient artifact which he claimed to have been directed to by an angel, and which he was unlikely to have been able to produce on his own (both due to a lack of financial means and metallurgical know how), adds credibility to his story about the artifact's historical origins and divine preservation. On its own, the eye-witness testimonies to the reality of the plates only moves the plausibility meter so far, but it can't be denied that it substantially helps Joseph Smith's overall case. 

So where are the plates?

Probably right where they should be. The testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses--along with a very large and diverse body of additional evidences, including my own personal spiritual experiences--are sufficient for me. I actually think the evidentiary landscape is just right the way it is (at least for now). And I'm personally glad that Moroni retrieved the plates, just as I'm glad that Jesus ascended into heaven so that we must rely on the testimonies of his disciples. I like the adventure of discovery and the reward of diligently seeking and finding. For me, that struggle has produced spiritual and intellectual growth that I probably couldn't have attained otherwise. It also allows others plenty of room to exercise their agency and dismiss the available evidence. Which I think you can probably attest to. Looks like we are all okay with the plates being absent (whether because God is selective about what types of evidence he provides, or because the plates never existed in the first place, or some other option). 

Either way, Joseph Smith's claims are unquestionably strengthened by the testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses. The existence of ancient Nephites seems more plausible, not less, in light of such testimonies. 

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Why in the world would God allow unbelievers to see the plates when the vast majority of them would reason them away as clever fakes, and then condemn themselves even further after witnessing the sign they always clamored to see and rejecting it out of hand without a second thought? Why not try applying a little common sense?

Common sense?  Practice what you preach dude.😂

 

Common sense would say if it is not a con the plates would be available to be examined and be proof that the document is ancient and that at some point the translation is accurate.  Most people, even those of faith, are happy to find texts that substantiate what is had in their sacred texts.  To not let anyone see the alleged plates but a select few then make the claim they were taken by the angel back to heaven is a quite convenient and totally speaks to it being a fraud.  That is what common sense would lead most people to.

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26 minutes ago, Ryan Dahle said:

Either way, Joseph Smith's claims are unquestionably strengthened by the testimonies of the Three and Eight Witnesses. The existence of ancient Nephites seems more plausible, not less, in light of such testimonies. 

I think this is correct. Though I will say that if God was looking to provide more than comfort for the believers, the witnesses would have been chosen more objectively, been able to see the plates in a less controlled environment and been encouraged to leave an individual contemporaneous record of their experience rather than the ghost written ones found in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. 

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Common sense?  Practice what you preach dude.😂

 

Common sense would say if it is not a con the plates would be available to be examined and be proof that the document is ancient and that at some point the translation is accurate.  Most people, even those of faith, are happy to find texts that substantiate what is had in their sacred texts.  To not let anyone see the alleged plates but a select few then make the claim they were taken by the angel back to heaven is a quite convenient and totally speaks to it being a fraud.  That is what common sense would lead most people to.

Are you saying that if you were shown the plates by President Russell, and he assured you that they are the very same plates revealed to Joseph Smith by the prophet Moroni, that you wouldn’t be very doubtful as to their authenticity and not extremely suspicious that they are nothing more than an elaborate hoax? In other words, are you saying that if your sign seeking impulses were indulged in this manner that you would believe the plates are real — if they appeared plausibly authentic — and that thereafter you would become an active, testimony bearing member of the Church?

Edited by teddyaware
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On 9/12/2022 at 1:01 PM, smac97 said:

Fair enough.  I think there is some value as to the "claimed provenance," which is that Joseph had discovered an ancient artifact.  The Eight Witnesses attest to the existence of an artifact, though they were not situated to ascertain whether it was "ancient," or that Joseph found it under the circumstances he claimed.

That there was an actual, physical, tangible artifact, however, remains a fairly important point.  If anything, their testimony contravenes many of the various theories that posit mass delusion, conspiratorial fraud, etc.

Well one signifocant sing of fraud was the tight control under which the alleged plates were handled as well as they were nowhere to be found after the alleged translation.  Story is the angle told Joseph not to show them to anyone other than a few the n took them back. That is all pretty convenient.

On 9/12/2022 at 1:01 PM, smac97 said:

The artifact, the gold plates, existed, their their existence needs to be addressed and accounted for.  This article, from Doctrine & Covenants Central, sums it up well:

Something existed. Whether they were ancient plates or not cannot be determined nor was it ever.

On 9/12/2022 at 1:01 PM, smac97 said:

Daniel Peterson's presentation on this is, in my view, pretty good: The Logic Tree of Life, or, Why I Can’t Manage to Disbelieve

The witness statements are, in my view, a pretty formidable piece of evidence.  They need to be addressed.

I won't argue they do help the cause to some extent. Formidable?  Maybe.  Maybe now.

On 9/12/2022 at 1:01 PM, smac97 said:

 

There are, broadly speaking, three theories as to the origins of the Book of Mormon: 

  • Theory 1: Fraud
  • Theory 2: Delusion / Hallucination
  • Theory 3: Joseph Smith's narrative

Theory 2 seems heavily predicated on the absence of a physical, tangible artifact.  As DCP puts it: "Joseph had no plates. This is what most critics say; there were none."

Yes and to me this seems pretty formidable as you put it, of potential fraud.

On 9/12/2022 at 1:01 PM, smac97 said:

Theory 2 is heavily contravened by the witness statements.  Do you concur?

I would not say heavily.  They could have been deceived and deluded, etc.  Or they could be in on the fraud.

On 9/12/2022 at 1:01 PM, smac97 said:

Largely, yes.  I think they have a bit more to go on than that.  

Did Joseph have the skills (working with metal to create the plates, giving the plates "the appearance of gold," fabricating "engravings" on each "leaf" so as to give the artifact "the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship")?  It seems not.

Did Joseph have the resources (a smithy, for example) to fabricate the artifact?  It seems not.  I am not aware of any evidence for such a proposition.

Did Joseph have the financial means (to purchase the raw materials, presumably copper plus some) to fabricate the artifact?  Again, it seems not (since according to Martin Harris, "Joseph had not credit enough to buy so much lead," it would seem purchasing 60 or so pounds of copper  and/or other metals would be just as expensive or more so).

Not sure about that.  From FAIR:

Thanks,

-Smac

Joseph did not have to be the one to produce the fake plates. Someone else could have as well.  And back to the question, where are the plates?

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4 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Are you saying that if you were shown the plates by President Russell, and he assured you that they are the very same plates revealed to Joseph Smith by the prophet Moroni, that you wouldn’t be very doubtful as to their authenticity and not extremely suspicious that they are nothing more than an elaborate hoax? In other words, are you saying that if your sign seeking impulses were indulged in this manner that you would believe the plates are real — if they appeared plausibly authentic — and that thereafter you would become an active, testimony bearing member of the Church?

I see the point goes right past your overly pious head.  If the plates were available they could be examined and shown to be authentic, or not, by experts.  See simple. Should not be to tough to comprehend.  I am not sign seeker.  But fantastic claims require fantastic evidence and you don't have it.  Burden of proof is on the one making the fantastic claim.

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44 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Are you saying that if you were shown the plates by President Russell, and he assured you that they are the very same plates revealed to Joseph Smith by the prophet Moroni, that you wouldn’t be very doubtful as to their authenticity and not extremely suspicious that they are nothing more than an elaborate hoax? In other words, are you saying that if your sign seeking impulses were indulged in this manner that you would believe the plates are real — if they appeared plausibly authentic — and that thereafter you would become an active, testimony bearing member of the Church?

If indeed they are proven authentic I would be more convinced. I might worry it was a Mark Hoffman fake though. 

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3 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

From the Reddit thread…

 

F1140DA2-A4B2-4266-8CDA-C388F8B337A3.jpeg

Which goes to show you its a possibility to replicate and convince.https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/artist-re-creates-the-golden-plates-for-museum-display-from-written-descriptions?lang=eng

Could JS have wanted change in the world so much that he did this and God was ok with it?

 

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Well one signifocant sing of fraud was the tight control under which the alleged plates were handled

How is that a significant sign of fraud?  Consider JS-H 1:

Quote

59 At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them; that if I should let them go carelessly, or through any neglect of mine, I should be cut off; but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.

60 I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight.

If you were living in 19th-century rustic America, and if you had been severely persecuted because of your religious beliefs, and if word got out that you had in your possession a large quantity of gold (or some other very valuable thing), and if you had faced all sorts of literal attempts by other people to violently deprive you of that gold or valuable thing, then wouldn't you take reasonable precautions?

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

as well as they were nowhere to be found after the alleged translation. 

From v. 60 above: "When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge..."

How is this evidence of "fraud?"

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Story is the angle told Joseph not to show them to anyone other than a few the n took them back. That is all pretty convenient.

I concede there is room for reasonable skepticism about Joseph's claims.  Sure.  But I question whether this is evidence of "fraud."

1 hour ago, Teancum said:
Quote

The artifact, the gold plates, existed, their their existence needs to be addressed and accounted for.  This article, from Doctrine & Covenants Central, sums it up well:

Something existed.

Agreed.  The witness statements are evidence that "something existed."  One of the principal (perhaps the principal) alternative explanations for the Book of Mormon is hallucination / delusion / drugs.  That "something existed" militates against this.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Whether they were ancient plates or not cannot be determined nor was it ever.

I'm not sure about that.  We have the text.  It needs to accounted for as much, if not more, than the physical reality of the plates.

It is a fair question to ask of how the text came to be.  The options here seem to be (A) a translation of an ancient record, or (B) a fabrication.  But (B) is substantially impaired by a number of salient factors, including Joseph Smith's limited education, the generalized lack of information about the ancient Americas during the translation period, the speed of the translation period, the clues and indicators in the Original Manuscript, the plausible connections between the text and the ancient Americas (tumbaga, Bountiful/Nahom, Valley of Lemuel, Mulek, cement, barley, etc.), and so on.

This normally leads to suggestions of collusion/conspiracy.  That's a fair question, but the evidence for it seems pretty poor.  

1 hour ago, Teancum said:
Quote

 

Daniel Peterson's presentation on this is, in my view, pretty good: The Logic Tree of Life, or, Why I Can’t Manage to Disbelieve

The witness statements are, in my view, a pretty formidable piece of evidence.  They need to be addressed.

 

I won't argue they do help the cause to some extent. Formidable?  Maybe.  Maybe now.

Fair enough.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:
Quote

 

There are, broadly speaking, three theories as to the origins of the Book of Mormon: 

  • Theory 1: Fraud
  • Theory 2: Delusion / Hallucination
  • Theory 3: Joseph Smith's narrative

Theory 2 seems heavily predicated on the absence of a physical, tangible artifact.  As DCP puts it: "Joseph had no plates. This is what most critics say; there were none."

 

Yes and to me this seems pretty formidable as you put it, of potential fraud.

Well, I'm certainly willing to hear the case for fraud.  

1 hour ago, Teancum said:
Quote

Theory 2 is heavily contravened by the witness statements.  Do you concur?

I would not say heavily.  They could have been deceived and deluded, etc.  Or they could be in on the fraud.

"Could have been" and "could be" are, to me, too conclusory, too speculative, too devoid of evidence, and too sidestepping the substantive evidence.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Joseph did not have to be the one to produce the fake plates. Someone else could have as well. 

Okay.  And who was this "someone?"  Is there any evidence of a conspiracy?  Who were the participants?  When did they decide to conspire together?

Daniel Peterson addresses this point here:

Quote

All right, let’s assume that Joseph had plates. One possibility is he made them. Let’s assume, again, that he was a cynical fraud. Who made them? Joseph? Where’d he get the gold? Do you realize how much gold that would have taken, to produce even gold alloy that weighed 60 pounds? A lot of gold. Some people have suggested – Joseph showed no metallurgical skills – that Oliver Cowdery was the metallurgist who did this – a blacksmith. Look at the picture of Oliver Cowdery. This is an authentic picture of Oliver Cowdery, the massive man who died of tuberculosis just after 50. He was a very small, and not overly healthy, man. He was not Longfellow’s blacksmith with, you know, the sinewy arms and all that sort of thing, nothing like that. There’s no reason to believe that anybody in the early Latter-day Saint community had access to 40 pounds of gold or 20 pounds of gold, whatever it would have taken to have made this alloy. There’s nobody recording smoke belching out of the secret furnace just to the south of Palmyra or anything like that as they’re producing not only the plates, but the Liahona, the Urim and Thummim, a whole array of specialty metal objects, right? These guys are good. They’re really good and nobody knows that they can do it. Nobody sees the wagonloads of gold going into the Smith home. Remember, they’re subsistence farmers. Where’d they get all this stuff from, and where does it go afterwards? Poof, it’s just gone. They could’ve been incredibly wealthy. We’re talking about millions of dollars’ worth of metal here. There’s no sign of it. There’s no sign that Joseph made the plates, OK?

Possibility 2 –he received them from somebody else. Well, you have a lot of problems with the idea he received them from a contemporary. Who was it, and with what motives, and where did they go? What happens to this enormously impressive metallurgical object with lots of gold in it? Again, just not plausible; there’s no historical evidence for anything like this.

So, some people have posited an invisible group. One guy actually told me how they were so good, they vanished. There’s not a trace of them in history. They’re like the Illuminati, right? They’re so good that they just … they don’t show up anywhere. And their motives? I asked him. He said, “unknown.” Well, you know, you can do that sort of thing all day, like the invisible rabbit in Harvey. Only he had more evidence behind him, actually.

And here:

Quote

All right, so the alternative is: Joseph had plates. He didn’t have no plates, he had plates. And here are the possibilities as I see them:

Maybe he made them. Well, all right, yeah, he made them.

All right, now you have to come up with evidence that Joseph was able to make plates. What evidence is there that he was a metallurgist or a blacksmith or anything of the kind that he could make plates? Well, there is no evidence and so there was a time when people were arguing that it was actually Oliver Cowdery who had blacksmithing experience. Now if you’ve read Longfellow’s old poem[3] about the blacksmith with broad and sinewy arms, you know, his mighty massive chest and all this sort of thing, that’s not Oliver Cowdery. He was a very slight man and he died very young of something like tuberculosis. He was not a powerful, muscled guy. And there is no evidence whatsoever that he was a blacksmith.

But trying to invoke him as a blacksmith is already an admission that Joseph Smith making the plates doesn’t really work; it doesn’t really hold up.

Now there are people who have still suggested it. Dan Vogel has suggested recently or relatively recently, and a lot of people have picked up on this. There’s no evidence for it. Where do you get that much gold? Do you realize how much gold that would be? We’re talking about thousands and thousands of dollars, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gold in today’s prices. I don’t know what gold is today; I haven’t looked. But the plates are generally estimated at about 60 pounds. Even if they’re gold alloy, that’s a lot of gold. How many of you have that, you know?

And then it disappears, right? The family had this enormously valuable artifact and then they lost it or something? And they continued to live in poverty? It’s really rather strange.

Where did the Smiths get the money to get that much gold? There’s a line from Martin Harris that I’ve quoted before, I really enjoy it, where at one point before he’s an official witness Martin actually sits with the little wooden box that the plates were in on his lap and he was struck by how heavy it was, because it was heavier than a rock would have been or if it had been filled with dirt. You know how gold is unusually heavy, gold and lead both. And so Martin Harris’s remark afterward is that it was heavy enough that he knew it had to be either gold or lead and he knew that Joseph had not enough credit to buy so much lead. I don’t know if he meant that to be funny or not, but I think it’s funny. Because, well, if it’s not lead then obviously Joseph went out and got the cheaper stuff, gold.

But he has a material object of considerable heft and it’s difficult to explain that and it’s difficult to imagine that he made plates that would gull the yokels. You have to imagine this. Again, I go back to Jeff Lindsay, who, I think it’s Jeff Lindsay. Or maybe I’ve written on this, I can’t remember. Maybe I’m losing my mind. But the idea that you have this sort of specialty forge to the south of Palmyra where gold is coming in pound after pound after pound and Joseph and Oliver are there pounding out these plates and creating … remember there are other artifacts – the Liahona, the breastplate, the sword of Laban, all this sort of stuff. They’re absolutely first-rate metalworkers. And nobody in Palmyra notices the smoke belching out of this place and the daily deliveries of gold ore? A little strange. There were no secrets in a place like that and so it’s hard to imagine that.

...

Now, years ago I had a fellow who was arguing for a thesis of an unknown conspiracy that had created the plates … the Book of Mormon, rather, not the plates; he didn’t think there were any plates. But this group had created the Book of Mormon at some time. I asked him if he could specify the time. No he couldn’t; it could have been any time within the previous three hundred years. Was there any particular place that they had done it? No he didn’t know that. I said, well, you know, of course you don’t because there’s no evidence for this. You’re just making this up. I called them the Illuminati. Because it’s the idea that there is a conspiracy out there that is so secret that there is no evidence for it at all. We don’t who they are. We don’t know when they did it. We don’t know why they did it. We don’t know how they did it, why they chose Joseph Smith, nothing. You just assume they’re out there. This is a case of being thesis-driven to the point of absurdity, that you need somebody else to do it because you know Joseph Smith didn’t do it, so some mythical person did it, or persons. How many? He didn’t know.

...

If it were just Joseph Smith imagining that he saw God, or something like that, that would be one thing, but in the case of the Book of Mormon, you have a tangible object. In fact, in the early 19th Century you had a very heavy tangible object – the plates – which demands an explanation. And I don’t see any good alternative explanations on display anywhere. And so if someone wanted to ask me, what are the best arguments for the Book of Mormon, I would say one of them is simply that you guys can’t come up with a good counter-explanation.

You can’t explain it. You might be able to explain hypothetically, this or that aspect of it. But you can’t explain the whole thing, and parts of it are simply beyond your power to explain. So the standard response to the witnesses is to dismiss them. The standard response now is to say, well, they never actually saw anything. But they did and, you know, I’m repeating myself because it needs to be repeated. I’m hearing more and more often people who just say, well, they never actually claimed to touch any solid object. Oh yes they did. You’re just ignoring what they say.

...

Then I close with a comment from a good friend of mine years ago who left the church, years ago. But he said to me at one point, well, Joseph didn’t even claim necessarily to translate when the plates were there. So what’s the purpose of the plates? And I said, well, they’re an absolutely indigestible lump in the throat of people like you. That’s what they’re there for. Because you can’t explain them away. And they should give you pause. You ought to think about this and what it implies. Whatever else you may think about Mormon theology or our stance on gay marriage or the families of gays or our views of patriarchy and so on, there were plates. Where did they come from?

To be clear, I am totally fine with someone declining to investigate and explore the origins of the Book of Mormon.  I understand.  Life is short, we are all busy.

I'm even generally okay with people not accepting Joseph's narrative about the Book of Mormon without having an alternative explanation for the plates and the text.

1 hour ago, Teancum said:

And back to the question, where are the plates?

With Moroni.

Not sure what this has to do with the discussion.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

Edited by smac97
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37 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

If indeed they are proven authentic I would be more convinced. I might worry it was a Mark Hoffman fake though. 

Many of Jesus’ disciples witnessed with their own eyes many of his greatest miracles, yet there came a time when seeing miracle upon miracle wasn’t enough, and “they walked no more with him.” As the Book of Mormon teaches, true conversion is only made possible by the revelations of the Spirit. If you were to see the plates in your present state of mind, it’s very likely your “reconversion’ would last about a week and you’d go right back to thinking as you do now.

13 They (the seed that fell) on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. (Luke chapter eight)

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2 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

I think this is correct. Though I will say that if God was looking to provide more than comfort for the believers, the witnesses would have been chosen more objectively, been able to see the plates in a less controlled environment and been encouraged to leave an individual contemporaneous record of their experience rather than the ghost written ones found in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. 

All sound points.

But we can second-guess in this way about pretty much everything God does.

"{I}f God was looking to provide more than comfort for the believers, He would send angels to descend from heaven and declare the Restored Gospel, with miracles and undeniable evidences aplenty."

I think, that God was looking to do more than "provide ... comfort."  Central to the Plan of Salvation is Jesus Christ.  And central to a decision to accept Jesus Christ is agency.  And agency cannot be exercised where the object is indisputably before us, where no faith is required, where there is no "choice" because the only and indisputably correct option is served up to us on a silver platter.

The Book of Mormon was given to us to "try {our} faith."  From 3 Nephi 26:

Quote

7 But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which he taught the people.
8 And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things which he taught the people; and I have written them to the intent that they may be brought again unto this people, from the Gentiles, according to the words which Jesus hath spoken.
9 And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them.
10 And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation.

Having the plates would undermine this.  If the plates were at hand, they could be verified as anciently authentic via scientific/forensic means.  And the result of that would be either A) a loss of agency, or B) intransigence and hard hearts.

We have been given both blessings and challenges.  "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."  (Mosiah 23:21.)  

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Which goes to show you its a possibility to replicate and convince.https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/artist-re-creates-the-golden-plates-for-museum-display-from-written-descriptions?lang=eng

Could JS have wanted change in the world so much that he did this and God was ok with it?

 

Please read my previos reasons why it fails. Wrong color, wrong feel, hard to inscribe, punched or perforated rather than engraved, could not afford this much tin and more.

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

If indeed they are proven authentic I would be more convinced. I might worry it was a Mark Hoffman fake though. 

It would be so easy to prove they were a Hoffman fake.

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21 minutes ago, Teancum said:
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Not sure what this has to do with the discussion.

It has everything to do with the discussion. All to convenient.

Not sure what you mean by "convenient."  As I see it, the Plates were part of the plan, but not in the way you suggest.

I made some comments about the Plates being available today as undermining agency (and, hence, the Plan of Salvation).

"Convenience" doesn't really figure into things.

Thanks,

-Smac

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28 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:
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I think this is correct. Though I will say that if God was looking to provide more than comfort for the believers, the witnesses would have been chosen more objectively, been able to see the plates in a less controlled environment and been encouraged to leave an individual contemporaneous record of their experience rather than the ghost written ones found in the beginning of the Book of Mormon. 

But we can second-guess in this way about pretty much everything God does.

Been there and done that. No longer believe in God. 

That had been my understanding.  Nevertheless, you are positing certain things about what you think God "would" do.  Your statement only potentially has meaning if you presuppose God exists.

Thanks,

-Smac

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3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

That had been my understanding.  Nevertheless, you are positing certain things about what you think God "would" do.  Your statement only potentially has meaning if you presuppose God exists.

Thanks,

-Smac

Well certainly. We are told to imagine God as a loving, supremely wise, father figure. Examining the world as I see it (including things like BoM witnesses) does not support that hypothesis. You see things differently. <shrug>

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