Book of Mormon Translation

The Book of Mormon was apparently translated by Joseph Smith using a “seer stone.” He would place the stone in a hat, put his face in the hat and then words would appear on the stone and he would read it to his scribe (usually Oliver Cowdery), who would write it down. This is the same stone he used back in his treasure-hunting days, when he would claim to be able to find treasure for people using the stone (note: Joseph Smith was actually convicted of fraud in a court of law for doing this and defrauding people out of money).

Despite this being the method of translation, the church more often teaches that he translated the Book of Mormon from the gold plates. In fact, I did not learn about this head-in-a-hat thing until I was 28 years old and read it in the comment section of a news article. I assumed it was an “anti-Mormon” lie because it sounded so silly and ridiculous.

All the pictures you see at church about this are of Joseph Smith with the gold plates on the table. The church knowingly shows pictures of the translation process that are not accurate. This is misleading and deceptive.

On a less scholarly note, putting your head in a hat is just weird, and a strange way of translating a supposedly sacred and ancient record. It doesn’t seem like a legit method that God would use. In addition, why were the gold plates even necessary if he didn’t even need or use them to translate the Book of Mormon? According to the Book of Mormon, a lot of care and trouble went into not only writing the gold plates but preserving them as well. Why all the trouble if they weren’t needed or used anyway?

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