Last week, two American Mormons knocked on my door wanting to talk about “what makes you happy”. As I began to answer that my family make me happy, that the sound of running water makes me happy, that I like to read and that my friends make me happy, they interrupted me to let me know that “all the happiness you’ll ever need, is right here” whilst pointing to the Book of Mormon.
One of the two informed me that God visits him every night to reassure him that the Book of Mormon is the truth, and that Joseph Smith was a great Prophet. I asked him why a God who had made half the planet inhospitable to human life, decides to allow human life to grow in those places, amidst suffering and poverty, yet feels the need to come to him on a nightly basis? He nodded along, as a man does, when he hasn’t read or listened to any arguments against his dogmatic position before. After forty five minutes, one of them said, regarding their own religion “Yeah, I don’t really know much about this“. They agreed to come back next week to have a deeper discussion once i’d read their book; a book they assured me would provide me with philosophical truths, the likes of which I’d never come across ever again. Well, next week is today, they haven’t came back, and after reading half of their book, I have come to the conclusion that the only reason I’m unlikely to come across the ‘philosophy’ (and I use that term in its weakest possible form) again, is because it is incomparably senseless. I had a list of issues prepared to hit them with, when they came back. I’ll run you through a few now.
Leaving aside the fact that up until the 1950s, being black meant that you were Satan’s representatives on Earth according to the Mormon Church. Leaving aside the 2nd President of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young saying of mixed race marriages:
“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain” (Black people were considered the descendants of Cain), “the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so”
Leaving aside the fact that Young had asked the US Government to formally create a State of Deseret across California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. Deseret is the word in the Book of Mormon for “honeybee”. Now, given that there were no bees in the Americas until the 1600s, when European Colonialists brought over A. m. mellifera (the dark bee), it suggests the book of Mormon wasn’t written when originally claimed; 1100 years before the Colonialists reached America. The bee however DID exist when Joseph Smith was claiming to have found the golden plates with scripture written on it. An entire State named after a massively stupid lie? (I believe Israel is similar).
Leaving aside all of that, what did Joseph Smith actually find and transcribe two centuries ago?
The story from the Mormons, is that Joseph Smith began having visions from an angel called Moroni, who informed him that golden plates, with lost scripture, were located in a hill side in…… upstate New York. I suppose it makes a change from illiterate people from warring tribes in the Middle East claiming a monopoly on truth. He then transcribed the writing from reformed Egyptian, to English and published the book of Mormon in 1830. The golden plates were left in the hillside, by a lost tribe of Israel, who traveled to America, and are the ancestors of Native Americans.
On the surface of it, the story is pure lunacy. Underneath the surface, pure lunacy becomes a massive understatement. It is shear insanity. The trustworthiness of Joseph Smith is definitely worth investigating further. So here you go.
Joseph Smith did not allow anyone else to see the golden tablets, because apparently they’d instantly drop dead if they laid eyes upon them. Only he was allowed to see them. He allowed several “witnesses” to feel the heavy box they sat in, but never to see the plates themselves. Because Smith was illiterate, he had scribes to write down as he translated. He put a sheet between himself and the scribe, so the scribe could never see the plates. One of his scribes, Martin Harris, had mortgaged his home and moved in with Smith to help him transcribe the text. Martin Harris’ wife took exception to this, and stole the transcribed texts and told Joseph, that if he truly had the plates, he’d be able to reproduce them word for word. Cunningly, and conveniently, Smith told her that he had another revelation, in which he was told he would not have to reproduce the original plates because they might now be tainted by the devil. He was then apparently given new plates, with similar transcription; just not word for word.
The way Smith transcribed the text on the plates, seems to render them useless. According to David Whitmer (one of the three original ‘witnesses’, though his witness testimony differs every time he was asked about it) this is how Smith transcribed the texts:
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.
– You read it right. Joseph Smith would put a hat on his face, and look at a stone, in darkness. Is no one questioning this nonsense? Why on Earth would Smith need the plates? He isn’t reading from the plates. He’s reading from an illuminated stone in a hat. The plates are pointless. It isn’t like he needs them to prove their authenticity to other people, given that no one else is allowed to see them. And wouldn’t the hat need to be substantially deep, for Smith to be able to focus on it fully? If I put an egg sized stone in a hat from around that time period, and put my face in it so as to completely black out the light, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to focus on the stone for the hours needed to translate hundreds of thousands of words. I’m guessing the hat must have been huge.
Whitmer goes on to say:
The characters I speak of are the engravings on the golden plates from which the book was translated. They were engraved thereon by the hand of a holy prophet of God whose name was Mormon, who lived upon this land four hundred years after Christ. Mormon’s son, Moroni, after witnessing the destruction of his brethren, the Nephites, who were a white race — they being destroyed by the Lamanites (ancestors of Indians) — deposited the golden plates in the ground, according to a command of God. An angel of the Lord directed Brother Joseph to them. The language of the Nephites is called the reformed Egyptian language.
– So, according to Mormonism, Nephites were ancestors of Native American Indians. According to the book, Nephites themselves were descended from a man named Nephi, who happened to leave Jerusalem around 600AD and landed in America. The Nephites were God’s favourite race in America (having white skin) whilst the dark skinned Lamanites – cursed with dark skin, by God – were the hated foes, also descended from the Middle East. Lovely little racist story, with no ounce of truth whatsoever. We know for a fact through modern DNA analysis, that the Native American population had absolutely no genetic relationship to the Middle East at all. The genetic work of Cavalli-Sforza tells us beyond doubt, that Native American Indians have distinct DNA, that is most similar (if we are comparing) to people living in the Altai Mountain range in the middle of Asia (Mongolia, Russia). It confirms what science already knew; people migrated from the area around the Altai Mountains in Asia to America, around 16,000 years ago. It is clear; there is no Hebrew blood in pre-Colombian America.
One of the big mistakes in the Book of Mormon, is that it supposedly originates from the 6th century, yet its English (given from God in Joseph Smith’s hat) is eerily familiar to that of the King James Bible, which became available in 1611; 1000 years after the writing of the book. The problem here is that the King James Bible, that the Book of Mormon quotes, has a few errors, that then found their way into the Book of Mormon. God appears to have made the exact same mistake twice. Isiah 9:1 uses the word “honour”. The translation here from original hebrew is wrong, as has been proven since. The phrase should be “grievously afflict”. The mistake can also be found in the Book of Mormon. It would seem to even the least skeptic of minds, that Joseph Smith merely copied passages from a Bible that was freely available at the time, full of errors that were not to be corrected for decades.
The word ‘manifestation’ is only used in the King James version of I Corinthians 12:7. It also appears in the book of Moroni 10:8. The only time the word “intents” is used in the St James Bible is in Hebrews 4:12, in a quote: “thoughts and intents of the heart”, coincidentally, the exact same phrase in the Book of Mormon used several times.
The language is something that needs to be looked at. The writing on the ‘plates’ that no one else has ever seen, was apparently “reformed Egyptian”. The Nephites wrote it in ‘reformed Egyptian because according to the leader of the Nephites Mormon (who eventually lead the Nephites into complete destruction in an ill conceived battle with the Lemanites):
“And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also…”
– Why had they insisted on passing down the language of their slave holders for generations? Why not just make bigger plates? Not only that, but why is there no example anywhere, of this “reformed Egyptian” language? Given that the Nephites were so widespread:
“The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea” Mormon 1:7
– why is there no other example of their language anywhere? They apparently had quite an advanced civilisation; laws, elections of judges, Kings, currency; and yet absolutely no archaeological evidence exists at all. Remember, until the 1500s, no European had been to America to wipe out any historical evidence for the Nephites. And why would they? An entire civilisation does not just disappear without leaving evidence for its existence. We know that Jerusalem existed. We even know that Alexandria existed. Bountiful (a Nephite city) did not exist. Simple.
The pre-Columbian archaeological expert Michael Coe, sums up the evidence for a Nephite civilisation in Mesoamerica pretty well:
“Mormon archaeologists over the years have almost unanimously accepted the Book of Mormon as an accurate, historical account of the New World peoples…. Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group….
“The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has even shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere.”
Joseph Smith was a fraud. A con artist. A brilliant story teller, but ultimately, a liar and an awful historian. His cult should not be taken seriously, should have no power over the world, and should not be knocking on my door unless they’re willing to answer the most fundamental questions about their cult without finishing with “yeah, I don’t know much about this”. The Book of Mormon though, is no more or less ridiculous or and more or less a work of fantasy, than the Bible, the Koran, the Torah and every other “Holy” dogmatic fairy tale the World has had to endure, books that for centuries demanded the suspension of reason on pain of death. The Book of Mormon simply amplifies and emphasises the stupidity and dangerous dogma of all organised religion.