Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Credibility of the Book of Mormon Translators

Richard Lloyd Anderson wrote an excellent article titled "The Credibility of the Book of Mormon Translators" that was a chapter in Book of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1982), 213–37.

You can find the article and book online here:

I highly recommend the article, which explains why Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery deserve to be believed. It concludes with this:

A secular society hardly recognizes that decisions can be made in terms of future accountability. But the Prophet reveals this perspective in adjusting a conflict with the intense comment, “I would be willing to be weighed in the scale of truth today in this matter, and risk it in the day of judgment.” [61] The Prophet and Cowdery kept journals with periodic and profound introspection. Thus Cowdery’s editorial farewell rings true in saying that he had well counted the cost of trying to “persuade others to believe as myself,” and he willingly faced the “judgment seat of Christ,” who would see “the integrity of my heart.” [62] The names of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery led the rest in certifying the truth of the events and teachings of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, the first book to name the messengers restoring both the Book of Mormon and the two priesthoods. [63] The preface, stamped with Oliver Cowdery’s phraseology, expresses their solemn view of eternal responsibility: “We do not present this little volume with any other expectation than that we are to be called to answer to every principle advanced, in that day when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed, and the reward of every man’s labor be given him.”

But there is some tremendous irony here. First, the article doesn't mention Oliver's 8 letters about Church history, including Letter VII. Was that an intentional omission, an oversight, or an intervention by an editor who rejects Letter VII and its implications?

Second, the book containing this article was edited by Noel Reynolds, who, I'm informed, is a staunch Mesoamerican proponent who insists Cumorah is not in New York. IOW, he believes Joseph and Oliver were ignorant speculators who misled the Church about the New York Cumorah.

In my ongoing effort to understand why LDS scholars and educators reject Letter VII, this article demonstrates the major problem of the Mesomaniacs who want us to believe Joseph and Oliver were credible and reliable about literally everything except Letter VII.

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