Studies In Mormonism (Five)

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It is written:

Luke 24:39-Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”

John 20:27-Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”

Acts 1:3-to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

1 John 1:1-That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—

The Bible here tells us of the accuracy of the apostolic testimony regarding Jesus. Notice that the Apostles of Christ were able to see Jesus, hear Him, tough Him, eat with Him, observe Him carefully, converse with Him, and fellowship with Him over several days of time.

Our Mormon friends claim that there were witnesses to the golden plates of the book of Mormon.

“That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record…for his voice hath declared it unto us….And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man….and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon;” (The a book Of Mormon, The Testimony Of The Three)

Let me share with you that testimony of a man named Grant Palmer.

“For thirty-four years I was primarily an Institute director for the Church Educational System (CES) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Grant H. Palmer, An Insider’s View Of Mormon Origins, 52 (Kindle Edition); Salt Lake City, Utah; Signature Books)

“I am a fourth-generation Mormon, and I want to address this discussion to other second-, third-, and fourth-generation Mormons who will better understand where I am coming from.” (Grant H. Palmer, An Insider’s View Of Mormon Origins, 99 (Kindle Edition); Salt Lake City, Utah; Signature Books)

When Palmer investigated the claims of the three witnesses of the plates, what did he find?

“James H. Moyle, a young LDS attorney, interviewed David Whitmer for two and one-half hours in 1885 and wrote that Whitmer “was somewhat spiritual in his explanations. He was not as materialistic in his descriptions as I wished.” [58] Zenas H. Gurley, an RLDS apostle, also interviewed Whitmer and asked, “Do you know the plates seen with the angel on the table were real metal, [and] did you touch them? [Whitmer:] We did not touch nor handle the plates. [Gurley:] Was the table literal wood? or was the whole a vision such as often occurs in dreams &c? [Whitmer:] The table had the appearance of literal wood as shown in the vision, in the glory of God … I [also] saw the ‘interpreters’ in the holy vision.” [59]…In his own pamphlet, An Address to All Believers in Christ, and elsewhere, Whitmer referred to this experience as a “vision.” [61] Harris testified to Anthony Metcalf of Elk Horn, Idaho, that “I never saw the golden plates, only in a visionary or entranced state … While praying I passed into a state of entrancement, and in that state I saw the angel and the plates.” [62] Another person asked Harris, “Did you see the plates and the engraving on them with your bodily eyes? … [Harris:] I did not see them as I do that pencil case, yet I saw them with the eye of faith.” [63] John H. Gilbert, Jesse Townsend, and Reuben T. Harmon all independently recalled that Harris said he saw the records with his “spiritual eyes” only. Harmon announced: “I am well acquainted with Martin Harris, who was often at my house … He never claimed to have seen them [the plates] with his natural eyes, only [in a] spiritual vision.” [64] According to the authorized testimony, the witnesses saw the plates but did not handle them. …Recall that when asked by Gurley if the three witnesses actually did “touch” the “real metal,” Whitmer responded, “We did not.” [71] In other words, if they handled them, it was in vision rather than in plain sight. Moyle said that Whitmer “repeated to me that he did see and handle the plates; that he did see and hear the angel” [72] in a vision, but that he “did not handle the plates” physically. [73]”. ( Grant H. Palmer, An Insider’s View Of Mormon Origins, 4053-4117 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.); Salt Lake City, Utah; Signature Books)

The witnesses of Mormonism did not truly witness anything: they experienced a vision or hallucination. Unlike the Apostles of Christ, their testimony is invalid.

When we consider the facts about Solomon Spalding on this matter, we see another piece of the puzzle.

Solomon Spalding (1761-1816) wrote a manuscript entitled “Manuscript Found” in 1812. His widow declared that this manuscript was delivered to Patterson & Lambdin, a publishing company. Sydney Rigdon was friends with Lambdin. A few years after Spalding’s death, the Book of Mormon was published. Witnesses testify that the Book of Mormon is in key points identical to “Manuscript Found.”

(The Following References Are From: Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A faithful account of that singular imposition and delusion from its rise to the present time, 228-234 (Kindle Edition); Reader’s Digital)

“He then told me had he been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the “Manuscript Found,” of which he read to me many passages.—It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of NEPHI and LEHI. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprise I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c. as they were in my brother’s writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with “and it came to pass,” or “now it came to pass,” the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon w rote, with the exception of the religious matter.—By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr. I am unable to determine. JOHN SPALDING.”

“I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought fresh to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spalding; and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it, is the same that I read and heard read, more than 20 years ago. The old, obsolete style, and the phrases of “and it came to pass,” &c. are the same.” Martha Spalding

“This book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes, gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars, which were many and great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands there just as he read it to me then…“She had not read 20 minutes till I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spalding had read to me more than twenty years before, from his “Manuscript Found.” Since that, I have more fully examined the said Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of it is principally, if not wholly taken from the “Manuscript Found.” I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words “And it came to pass,” “Now it came to pass,” rendered it ridiculous. Spalding left here in 1812, and I furnished him the means to carry him to Pittsburgh, where he said he would get the book printed, and pay me.” Henry Lake

I have recently examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solomon Spalding, from beginning to end, but mixed up with scripture and other religious matter, which I did not meet with in the “Manuscript Found.” Many of the passages in the Mormon Book are verbatim from Spalding, and others in part. The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, and in fact all the principal names, are bro’t fresh to my recollection, by the Gold Bible.” John Miller

“The historical part of the Book of Mormon, I know to be the same as I read and heard read from the writings of Spalding, more than twenty years ago; the names more especially are the same without any alteration….“Spalding had many other manuscripts, which I expect to see when Smith translates his other plate. In conclusion, I will observe, that the names of, and most of the historical part of the Book of Mormon, were as familiar to me before I read it, as most modern history. If it is not Spalding’s writing, it is the same as he wrote; and if Smith was inspired, I think it was by the same spirit that Spalding was, which he confessed to be the love of money.” Aaron Wright

“When I heard the historical part of it related, I at once said it was the writings of old Solomon Spalding. Soon after, I obtained the book, and on reading it, found much of it the same as Spalding had written, more than twenty years before.” Oliver Smith

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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