Saturday, October 23, 2010

Introduction and Testimonies

Title Page
The title page inspired little reaction in me, besides the fact that it boldly states that Joseph Smith, Jr. translated the Book of Mormon.

This was certainly interesting.  Not surprising, because many religious groups claim all sorts of things concerning the ancient past, and there is a great number of stories about Jesus Christ outside the Bible.  Some of this explanation was not very helpful, because the language seems pretty specific to Mormon doctrine.  At the end, the book makes clear its intention to convert you, which is fine.  At least it's honest.

Testimonies of the Witnesses
The testimony of the three witnesses did not particularly move me, it had a lot of stuff about being spoken to by God and whatnot, which is a pretty typical kind of claim.  Poetic, but nothing striking.
Oddly enough, the testimony of the eight witnesses was far more intruiging to me.  Here we have eight men who swear that they have seen and handled the plates.  Sure, they are pretty obscure names, and most of them seem to belong to just a couple of families.  But still, it gave me pause to imagine these people hefting and handling the golden plates.  Maybe there really were plates.

Testimony of Joseph Smith
The first thing I have to say about this is it's a great story.  Compelling.  Smith's frank descriptions are easy to read, for sure, and his interactions with the angel have a sort of awe written into them.  It did seem a little suspect that Smith had multiple episode of seeing this angel after just having been unconscious, particularly when he collapsed outdoors and the angel came back.  Sounds a little like episodes of some kind involving hallucinations.  The account of him digging up the plates is fine, interesting to read.  I paused for a moment and mused on the likelihood of a rough stone box remaining empty when buried in nothing but soil for hundreds of years... wouldn't erosion expose it, or silt fill it?  But, okay, benefit of the doubt.

Brief Explanation
Mildly interesting.  It didn't strike me as particularly different from a description of any apocryphal work; lots of unfamiliar names and places with brief histories built in for context.  And okay, there were two major sets of plates that made it into the golden plates.  At least all this introductory material makes me itchy to find out what kind of things are written on these alleged plates.

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever thought about finding the stone that covered the box that held the golden plates, sword of Laban, and urim and thummim? I'd help look!