[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Theos-World Re: The Book of Mormon hoax

Nov 07, 2002 05:45 AM
by Larry F Kolts

Dear Brian and Steve,

I don't know why Mormonism keeps popping up on this site, but to me,
there are very significant parallels between the LDS and Theosophy,
including the enormous amount of negitive press they have been given over
the years, all the energies people have put into discounting them. To me
that says that both have been a significant movement and both have been a
threat in certain quarters. And the "anti" hype of both movements shares
certain characteristics . These allegations pointed out are typical of
that energy.

On Wed, 06 Nov 2002 21:19:51 -0000 "Steve Stubbs" <>

> Here is the relevant text:
> "Joseph Smith states that he received the record from the Angel 
> Moroni in September, 1827. It was, he alleges, engraved upon 
> metallic 
> plates having the appearance of gold and each a little thinner than 
> ordinary tin, the whole forming a book about six inches long, six 
> inches wide, and six inches thick, bound together by rings. ... The 
> result was the "Book of Mormon"; ... in the preface eleven 
> witnesses, 
> exclusive of Joseph Smith, the translator, claim to have seen the 
> plates from which it was taken. On renouncing Mormonism 
> subsequently, 
> Cowdery, Whitmer, and Harris - the three principal witnesses - 
> declared this testimony false. 
> What is interesting about this is that Cowdery, who proclaimed 
> himself to be a bare faced liar of the lowest possible order when he 
> said he saw the golden plates, was not just a witness but Smith's co 
> author of the BOM. That is a pretty worrisome defection. It is 
> almost as bad as if Smith himself had 'fessed up and just about as 
> significant as to the truthfulness of te angel Moron story.

Now let's look at the rest of the story. All the Three witnesses were
excommunicated during the 1837-38 period. At that time, hurt, shamed and
angered, they made statements out of character for themselves, lashing
out whereever they could at those they felt had severely wronged them
(including Joseph). 

Martin Harris returned to Mormonism during the Utah period. He was
brought to Utah by Brigham Young and spent his last years there. He was
interviewed a number of times including on his deathbed and to the last
testified that he had indeed seen the angel and the plates. Harris had
mortgaged his farm (for which his wife left him) to get the monies needed
to publish the Book of Mormon. Never high in the Church leadership and
often a thorn in Joseph's side, he never the less died in full faith in
the Church.

Oliver Cowdery was a school teacher who served as scribe in the B of M
project. He was a joint witness to many events with Joseph and was made
the Assistant Church President, the number two man and Joseph's
successor. During the severe persecutions of 1837-38, Oliver sold
properties he held in Missouri against the counsel of Joseph and spent
more time in the practice of law than in his Church duties. Called before
a church tribunal, he didn't show and was thus excommunicated. Almost
every modern scholar agrees that never shown have happened and had he
come to the Church court and argued his case, would have be vindicated.
During his separation, after the claims that he had denied his testimony.
he stated boldly when challanged in court that he had never denied what
he saw, that those claims were lies. As the Church was staging to go to
Utah, Oliver came to "Winter Quarters" Nebraska and laid his claim before
the Apostles present. He was allowed to address the congregation, where
he reafirmed his testimony and begged to be allowed to come back. He was
rebaptized and returned to home to settle his affairs and migrate to
Utah but died brfore he could do so. He was consumtive. On his deathbed,
he again reaffirmed his testimony. Oliver Cowdery is held in high esteem
by Mormons today.

David Whitmer had his own vision for how Mormonism was suppose to develop
and that vision differed sharply with Joseph's. He was also very close to
Oliver, in fact Oliver married David's sister Elizabeth. The rift between
David and Joseph was not unlike that between William Q. Judge and Annie
Besant. So David was also excommunicated. He never returned to the Church
but tried to form a new organization based on his vision. That never
really happened, but the Church oh Christ Temple Lot has a lot of
Whitmerite understandings in their organization. When the reports came
out that David had denied his testimony, he wrote an open letter denying
that he had done so. This letter is a mixed bag for Utah Mormons, for
while it reafirms Davis's belief in Mormonisn in general, it is also
highly critical of the path Joseph took and Brigham Young continued.

So these reports are like the political assertions that mondale was ahead
in his senatorial race and was already being offered a place in the inner
circle. The end of the story is that he lost. These reports only go as
far as they would like people to go and omit the conclusion.

> Cowdery was also accused of enlisting Sidney Rigdon and ripping off 
> a 
> novel by a fellow named Spaulding. The premise is that as a writer 
> he was as unimaginative as he was untalented and untruthful. The 
> article says of this:
> "Six months after its inception, the Mormon Church sent its first 
> mission to the American Indians. ... Oliver Cowdery was placed at 
> the 
> head of this mission, which also included Parley P. Pratt, a former 
> preacher of the Reformed Baptists, or Campbellites. The missionaries 
> proceeded to northern Ohio, then almost a wilderness, where Elder 
> Pratt presented to his former pastor, Sidney Rigdon, a copy of 
> the "Book of Mormon", published several months before. Up to that 
> time Rigdon had never seen the book, which he was accused of helping 
> Smith to write. The Mormons are equally emphatic in their denial of 
> the identity of the "Book of Mormon" with Spaulding's "Manuscript 
> Story", now in Oberlin College; they quote in this connection James 
> H. Fairchild that institution, who, in a communication to the "New 
> York Observer" (5 February, 1885), states that Mr. L.L., Rice and 
> he, 
> after comparing the "Book of Mormon" and the Spaulding 
> romance, "could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or 
> Maybe so, but I don't buy it.

There is really very little similarity betweem the Book of Mormon and
Spaulding's narritive. Only the general theme is the same. This is like
saying that anyone who write a fantasy which includes orcs and elves is
plagiarizing Tolkein. A better senario is that Joseph had between
1820-1827 to dream up the contents of the Book of Mormon and dictated
them to Oliver. And as said in earlier posts, while the B of M is indeed
dry (cloroform in print) it is also very sublime in it's theology. Who
know's what prompted Joseph. Was he a "misguided mystic" as Jerome
Wheeler once shared with me? The fact is, that the Book of Mormon is
ultimately little different from the Bible, the Koran, and perhaps other
scriptures. All are ultimately the works of men, yet all do contain
certain eternal truths. 

Larry Kolts 
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to 

Sign Up for Juno Platinum Internet Access Today
Only $9.95 per month!

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application