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The TRANSLATION process

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  • The TRANSLATION process

    So, which was it?

    Urim and Thummim?
    Seer Stones?
    Face in a hat?
    Lighted letters, and character by character comparison / checks and balances?

    This is the way Mormons like to portray the process on their website and in various publications:

    translating.jpg

    But this may be a more accurate portrayal, by other accounts:

    face in hat.jpg

    I remember on "old Tweb" having a discussion with one of the Tweb Mormons who got pretty upset that I posted the picture of Smith with "face in hat", because he apparently didn't know that was one of the ACTUAL accounts in Mormon History. He thought I made that up just to be disrespectful to Smith.

    So, which was it? What was the REAL "translation" method of the alleged golden plates?
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

  • #2
    The first picture looks like Mitt Romney helping one of his sons with his homework.
    βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι᾿ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
    ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην.

    אָכֵ֕ן אַתָּ֖ה אֵ֣ל מִסְתַּתֵּ֑ר אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by robrecht View Post
      The first picture looks like Mitt Romney helping one of his sons with his homework.
      Yes, very 'respectable' depiction of the process.

      There's another depiction of Smith allegedly wearing the Urim and Thummim where he looks like Chevy Chase wearing goofy glasses.

      trans3.jpg
      Last edited by Cow Poke; 04-29-2014, 08:51 AM.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        In his Comprehensive History of the Church (CHC), LDS historian and Seventy Brigham H. Roberts quotes Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses whose name is found in every edition of the Book of Mormon since its original edition. Harris said that the seer stone Smith possessed was a "chocolate-colored, somewhat egg-shaped stone which the Prophet found while digging a well in company with his brother Hyrum." Harris went on to say it was by using this stone that "Joseph was able to translate the characters engraven on the plates" (CHC 1:129). Harris noted, "By aid of the Seer Stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say 'written;' and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used" (CHC 1:29).

        Harris' description concurs with that of David Whitmer, another one of the three witnesses whose testimony appears at the front of the Book of Mormon. Whitmer details exactly how the stone produced the English interpretation. On page 12 of his book An Address to All Believers in Christ, Whitmer wrote, "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 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."

        In volume two of "A New Witness for Christ in America," LDS writer Francis Kirkham notes that Joseph Smith's brother William also confirmed the use of the hat and seer stone. His account is also similar to the accounts given by Harris and Whitmer although he refers to the seer stone as the "Urim and Thummim." He stated, "The manner in which this was done was by looking into the Urim and Thummim, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light, (the plates lying near by covered up), and reading off the translation, which appeared in the stone by the power of God" (2:417). William's account leads us to wonder why Smith went through the bother of digging up the alleged plates if he didn't even have to look at them during the "translation."

        http://www.mrm.org/translation
        That's what
        - She

        Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
        - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

        I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
        Stephen R. Donaldson

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          Lighted letters, and character by character comparison / checks and balances?
          How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon:
          Evidence from the Original Manuscript
          Royal Skousen
          Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998): 22–31.


          Joseph Knight (autograph [between 1833 and 1847]):

          But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous.

          Emma Smith (Edmund Briggs interview, 1856):

          When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made a mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling, although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time.

          Martin Harris (Edward Stevenson's 1881 account):

          By aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, "Written," and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear and another appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.

          David Whitmer (Eri Mullin interview, 1874):

          . . . the words would appear, and if he failed to spell the word right, it would stay till it was spelled right, then pass away; another come, and so on.
          That's what
          - She

          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
          Stephen R. Donaldson

          Comment


          • #6
            David Whitmer (Eri Mullin interview, 1874):

            . . . the words would appear, and if he failed to spell the word right, it would stay till it was spelled right, then pass away; another come, and so on.



            - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - -- - -

            Here is the problem. People like David Whitmer never actually looked through the Urim and Thummim. So, how would they know that this is how it worked? The only person who attempted, other than Joseph, was Oliver Cowdery who stumbled and could not continue.

            The people scribing make it sound like it took no effort on Joseph's part, but that is not what Joseph said and that is not what Oliver Cowdery found out:

            "You must study it out in your mind," the Lord told him, "then [that is after having arrived at your own best determination as to what the proper meaning is] you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me" (D&C 9:8-9).

            It should not be inferred that God Himself was translating the Book of Mormon. The "gift and power" of God refers to the instruments and the preservation of the plates, etc.

            Quite frankly, if God Himself was providing the text word for word, letter for letter without Joseph even having to look at the plates and without having to "study it out in his mind" or put forth any effort, or render the translation, then why bother with the plates at all?

            The words and spelling had to come through Joseph's mind, how he would spell them and how he understood the words. Once it was written down in the way that Joseph had rendered the translation, then they would move on.

            So, I think all of you are presenting another straw man here.

            -7up

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by seven7up View Post
              David Whitmer (Eri Mullin interview, 1874):

              . . . the words would appear, and if he failed to spell the word right, it would stay till it was spelled right, then pass away; another come, and so on.



              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - -- - -

              Here is the problem. People like David Whitmer never actually looked through the Urim and Thummim.
              No, HERE's the problem....

              Why in the world God provide the Urim and Thummim if Smith was just going to use the same seer stone he used for scamming neighbors? OR, why would Smith use the same process he did for "glass looking" when God supposedly provided the Urim and Thummim.

              That dog don't hunt!
              Last edited by Cow Poke; 05-02-2014, 07:53 AM.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                No, HERE's the problem....

                Why in the world God provide the Urim and Thummim if Smith was just going to use the same seer stone he used for scamming neighbors? OR, why would Smith use the same process he did for "glass looking" when God supposedly provided the Urim and Thummim.

                That dog don't hunt!
                His brother said they were the same thing.
                That's what
                - She

                Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                Stephen R. Donaldson

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seven7up View Post
                  David Whitmer (Eri Mullin interview, 1874):

                  . . . the words would appear, and if he failed to spell the word right, it would stay till it was spelled right, then pass away; another come, and so on.



                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - -- - -

                  Here is the problem. People like David Whitmer never actually looked through the Urim and Thummim. So, how would they know that this is how it worked? The only person who attempted, other than Joseph, was Oliver Cowdery who stumbled and could not continue.

                  The people scribing make it sound like it took no effort on Joseph's part, but that is not what Joseph said and that is not what Oliver Cowdery found out:

                  "You must study it out in your mind," the Lord told him, "then [that is after having arrived at your own best determination as to what the proper meaning is] you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me" (D&C 9:8-9).

                  It should not be inferred that God Himself was translating the Book of Mormon. The "gift and power" of God refers to the instruments and the preservation of the plates, etc.

                  Quite frankly, if God Himself was providing the text word for word, letter for letter without Joseph even having to look at the plates and without having to "study it out in his mind" or put forth any effort, or render the translation, then why bother with the plates at all?

                  The words and spelling had to come through Joseph's mind, how he would spell them and how he understood the words. Once it was written down in the way that Joseph had rendered the translation, then they would move on.

                  So, I think all of you are presenting another straw man here.

                  -7up
                  So, you ignore the quote from Emma, wife who actually WAS a scribe, on what was happening in favor of your own opinion which is held to save Joseph Smith's bacon?
                  That's what
                  - She

                  Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                  - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                  I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                  Stephen R. Donaldson

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                    So, you ignore the quote from Emma, wife who actually WAS a scribe, on what was happening in favor of your own opinion which is held to save Joseph Smith's bacon?
                    It's MUCH easier that way. Doesn't require any intellectual honesty.
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      So, which was it?

                      Urim and Thummim?
                      Seer Stones?
                      Face in a hat?
                      Lighted letters, and character by character comparison / checks and balances?

                      This is the way Mormons like to portray the process on their website and in various publications:

                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]499[/ATTACH]

                      But this may be a more accurate portrayal, by other accounts:

                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]500[/ATTACH]

                      I remember on "old Tweb" having a discussion with one of the Tweb Mormons who got pretty upset that I posted the picture of Smith with "face in hat", because he apparently didn't know that was one of the ACTUAL accounts in Mormon History. He thought I made that up just to be disrespectful to Smith.

                      So, which was it? What was the REAL "translation" method of the alleged golden plates?
                      What exactly is the problem? Are you upset that an artist made a picture of one moment in time over a translation process and did not draw a picture of something else? Its well documented in LDS sources that Joseph used the Nephite intepreters before the loss of the 116 pages and used the seer stone afterwards with the hat. Does it bother me that Joseph put his face in a hat? No. I am worried more about the product than the little details of how the product came to pass. Plus it adds to the narrative. How exactly could Joseph Smith dictate from a KJV when his face is in a hat?
                      Last edited by carbon dioxide; 05-11-2014, 07:33 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by carbon dioxide View Post
                        What exactly is the problem? Are you upset that an artist made a picture of one moment in time over a translation process and did not draw a picture of something else?
                        4 completely different depictions of the supposed same event lends heavily to it being a lie.
                        That's what
                        - She

                        Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                        - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                        I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                        Stephen R. Donaldson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Keep in mind that what is called the "Urim and Thummin" by LDS in the translation process is NOT the Old Testament Urim and Thummin but is called such because it is similar in some ways. The Book of Mormon speaks of a Nephite version of a seer stone

                          Alma 37:23-25: "And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations. And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying: I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land."

                          The text speaks of a second item called Nephite interpreters.

                          Mosiah 8:13-14, 28:13-16: "Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer. And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.... And now he translated them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow. Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages; And they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land the iniquities and abominations of his people; And whosoever has these things is called seer, after the manner of old times."

                          What is called Gazelem was not with the plates but the Nephite interpreters were. Martin Harris described them as follows:

                          "...about two inches in diameter, perfectly round, and about five-eighths of an inch thick at the centre ... They were joined by a round bar of diver, about three-eights of an inch in diameter, and about four inches long, which with the two stones, would make eight inches" (Joel Tiffany, Tiffany's Monthly (June 1859): p. 165–166).

                          LDS often refer to the translation of the Book of Mormon by the "Urim and Thummin" and this term was used for BOTH. Joseph Smith mother called the seer stone as the Urim and Thummin when speaking of Joseph carrying it in his pocket. The Nephite interpreters were too big to be carried in a pocket so it would have to have reference to the seer stone. The size of the Nephite interpreters made it difficult for him to use.

                          Following the loss of the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon by Martin Harris, Joseph Smith lost the Nephite Interpreters as discussed in D&C 10:1-4. When Joseph Smith was allowed to start the translation of the Book of Mormon again following the loss of the 116 pages, apparently he did not get the Nephite Intepreters back but used the seer stone instead. David Whitmer who became involved with the translation of the Book of Mormon after the loss of the 116 pages held the view of the following:

                          "With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by his authority, I now state that he does not say that Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim; but by means of one dark colored, opaque stone, called a 'Seer Stone,' which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph put his face, so as to exclude the external light. Then, a spiritual light would shine forth, and parchment would appear before Joseph, upon which was a line of characters from the plates, and under it, the translation in English; at least, so Joseph said." (Saints' Herald 26 (15 November 1879): p. 341)

                          This statement is generally correct from David Whitmer's perspective in terms of the device used was well as the use of the hat though I disagree with this statement on the methodology of how the translation occurred. David Whitmer was not around at the time Joseph used the Nephite interpreters so he was not a witness to it. Once the Nephite interpreters where taken away with the loss of the 116 pages, Joseph used the seer stone exclusively.

                          So both artist depictions can be correct especially if they are from different time periods.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by carbon dioxide View Post
                            Keep in mind that what is called the "Urim and Thummin" by LDS in the translation process is NOT the Old Testament Urim and Thummin but is called such because it is similar in some ways. The Book of Mormon speaks of a Nephite version of a seer stone

                            Alma 37:23-25: "And the Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations. And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying: I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land."

                            The text speaks of a second item called Nephite interpreters.

                            Mosiah 8:13-14, 28:13-16: "Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer. And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.... And now he translated them by the means of those two stones which were fastened into the two rims of a bow. Now these things were prepared from the beginning, and were handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages; And they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord, that he should discover to every creature who should possess the land the iniquities and abominations of his people; And whosoever has these things is called seer, after the manner of old times."

                            What is called Gazelem was not with the plates but the Nephite interpreters were. Martin Harris described them as follows:

                            "...about two inches in diameter, perfectly round, and about five-eighths of an inch thick at the centre ... They were joined by a round bar of diver, about three-eights of an inch in diameter, and about four inches long, which with the two stones, would make eight inches" (Joel Tiffany, Tiffany's Monthly (June 1859): p. 165–166).

                            LDS often refer to the translation of the Book of Mormon by the "Urim and Thummin" and this term was used for BOTH. Joseph Smith mother called the seer stone as the Urim and Thummin when speaking of Joseph carrying it in his pocket. The Nephite interpreters were too big to be carried in a pocket so it would have to have reference to the seer stone. The size of the Nephite interpreters made it difficult for him to use.

                            Following the loss of the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon by Martin Harris, Joseph Smith lost the Nephite Interpreters as discussed in D&C 10:1-4. When Joseph Smith was allowed to start the translation of the Book of Mormon again following the loss of the 116 pages, apparently he did not get the Nephite Intepreters back but used the seer stone instead. David Whitmer who became involved with the translation of the Book of Mormon after the loss of the 116 pages held the view of the following:

                            "With the sanction of David Whitmer, and by his authority, I now state that he does not say that Joseph Smith ever translated in his presence by aid of Urim and Thummim; but by means of one dark colored, opaque stone, called a 'Seer Stone,' which was placed in the crown of a hat, into which Joseph put his face, so as to exclude the external light. Then, a spiritual light would shine forth, and parchment would appear before Joseph, upon which was a line of characters from the plates, and under it, the translation in English; at least, so Joseph said." (Saints' Herald 26 (15 November 1879): p. 341)

                            This statement is generally correct from David Whitmer's perspective in terms of the device used was well as the use of the hat though I disagree with this statement on the methodology of how the translation occurred. David Whitmer was not around at the time Joseph used the Nephite interpreters so he was not a witness to it. Once the Nephite interpreters where taken away with the loss of the 116 pages, Joseph used the seer stone exclusively.

                            So both artist depictions can be correct especially if they are from different time periods.
                            That's one of the stories. There are 3 more. And they contradict these statements.
                            That's what
                            - She

                            Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                            - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                            I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                            Stephen R. Donaldson

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by carbon dioxide View Post
                              Keep in mind that what is called the "Urim and Thummin" by LDS in the translation process is NOT the Old Testament Urim and Thummin but is called such because it is similar in some ways. The Book of Mormon speaks of a Nephite version of a seer stone.
                              As with many other things, Smith made it up as he went along, and I think he forgot what he told to some, then other stories conflicted. It's not just about the "translation process" -- it's about MANY aspects of Smith's "prophetage".
                              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                              Comment

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