Wednesday, January 23, 2013


“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. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.”
--David Whitmer (An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)

Most of my opportunities to listen to Mormon apologists in person have been in BYU religion classes. Most of them were pleasant people and tried really really hard to reconcile difficult points of doctrine with history and science. They were true-blue believers and were essentially forced to accept practically any answer in place of no answer. As a result, many of their hypotheses were either incredibly complicated and on par with some rather "out-there" conspiracy theories about Area 51 and 9/11, or they were so weak and feeble that they would brush over their explanations as though they were embarrassed by saying them aloud. But in spite of their compartmentalization and constant need to spin new information in a favorable light for the Church, I only ever disliked one of them.

I don't recall this professor's name, and I don't feel sufficiently compelled to go through my transcripts to find it, but he was the sort of person who was so enamored of the idea of being liked and humble and Christ-like, etc., that I could never tell if he was being genuine. Although, I do recall him dismissing the now common knowledge that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by placing into a hat a "seer stone" (magic rock), which he had used to unsuccessfully search for buried treasure, and reading whatever words mysteriously appeared on the stone's surface.

His justification for such dismissal was that there were too few first hand accounts to verify the rather sketchy and eyebrow-raising practice; therefore, the Church's "milk before meat" version (that Smith had used the Urim and Thummim (seer stones attached to a breast-plate for no apparent reason) provided by the Angel Moroni while reading the Golden Plates directly) was clearly correct and true and not the least bit watered-down for easy consumption.

I find this particularly interesting since the Church is now rather open about the use of the seer stone in a hat. Yet, despite this belated admission (that the facts are correct) Mormon apologists still spin their wheels to say that the Church was open and honest about the practice all along...

The following is a video deconstruction of a talk by Mormon apologist Scott Gordon, president of one of the two leading Mormon apologetic organizations, As this YouTuber, layperson and ex-Mormon clearly shows, Mr Gordon is not only dismissive of criticism, but is dishonest in his responses and presents misleading information in such an authoritative way that most members of the Church will likely just take his word for it. Again, a poor answer is often preferable to no answer for the intellectually lazy.

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