The Latter Day Saint Movement and Plates

Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, claimed to have received the Golden Plates, which revealed to him the Book of Mormon.

Later, James Strang, a follower of Smith’s, claimed to have received the Voree Plates, which he put forth as the Book of the Law of the Lord.

My question: Did any other members of the Latter Day Saint movement claim to have found or received Plates (or similar revealed relics)? And if so, did they break off to form their own denominations as Strang did? Did they publish them?

(I hope I worded this properly, with appropriate terminology and hyphens and capitals or lack of them! I’m looking for facts, not debates about which sects got it right or wrong. :wink: )

Well, there was the case of the Kinderhook Plates, which were ultimately revealed as a forgery. As the Wikipedia article shows, some say that Joseph Smioth accepted these as the real thing, and others that the acceptance comes not from Smith, but from the journal of William Clayton:

By the way, the “Anthon Transcript” with copies of characters from the Book of Mormon plates is in the keeping of the Refomed LDS Church. The existing transcript, however, doesn’t match the description given ogf it by either Anthon or Harris. When Hoffman produced his forged version of it, one of the clever touches was that it DID rsemble Anthon’s description, and in such a way that it made the RLDS version look like a bad copy of the forgery.

Thanks, Cal. That’s an interesting read.

But so far it still looks like that the only one of the other sects in the LDS movement that claimed to have other plates giving them divine revelation was the Strangite sect.

Actually, there is this new guy from England, Matthew Gill, who claims to have some plate-derived scriptures called “The Book of Jeraneck”. His blog is Here.

The “Golden Plates” are probably the most difficult to explain (for LDS apologists). Why and how they were found is a mystery-Joe Smith could have received the revelations direct. in any case, nothing about the story adds up:
-the plates were not seen by anyone except Smith
-none of the “reformed egyptian” characters could be verified 9as egyptian) by anyone
-the plates were removed, as soon as Smith “translated” them
Surely, a civilization which numbered over 50 million inhabitants, would have left behind some other writings? I mean, candy wrappers, draft notices, obituaries, etc.-where is it?
This professor Anthon (Columbia University): was he an expert in any semitic languages? his account of the “reformed egyptian” “cracters” is most instructive:he thought it was a hoax.

Technically, it’s not correct to say that no one else saw the plates. Every Book of Mormon opens with the Testimony of Three Witnesses:

Bolding mine

Not to mention the Testimony of Eight Witnesses , also in each edition:

I’m not LDS myself, and have issues with Mormon claims, but they certainly have these two testimonies on their side.

Either it’s a miracle, or it’s not. There isn’t a lot of middle ground. Take your pick: silly hoax or actual truth. If Joseph Smith really had any plates, the nitpicking isn’t very important. If he didn’t, then–it isn’t very important.

IIRC somewhere in the Book of Mormon it says that they didn’t use the writing system for anything but the records they kept, and not many of them knew how to do it. So it was a writing system used only for specific religious purposes. (It wasn’t Egyptian–it was a derivative of Hebrew that used a derivative of some form of Egyptian writing for the characters.) There are some essays and so on about this–if you’re really interested, PM me and I’ll do some research and find something for you to read. But since we don’t actually have a specific location for the civilizations in question (somewhere in Central America, probably), it’s pretty hard to pin it down anyhow. What would you do if you dug up a city filled with such inscriptions? From the LDS POV, it’s a bit irrelevant, though interesting.

I’ve read a bit about him, but don’t recall it now. Let me know if you’re really interested, and I’ll go digging.

As opposed to the completely imaginary/fabricated original plates?

Sounds like a case of “my imaginary plates can beat up your imaginary plates.”

Sorry… but when an 18 year old kid wandering in the desert starts seeing visions, my first (and second and third and fourth) response is, “The kid’s crazy.” As opposed to, “Let’s drop everything and start a new religion based on the freakazoid.” :smack:

I have my own opinions about whether such findings actually represent divine revelations (and if you’ve read my postings in GD in the past on religious topics, you can probably guess what those opinions are) but I’ve refrained from sharing those here in this GQ thread.

Why? Because I am seeking some specific factual information about the LDS movement and plates, and whether or not said plates are truly ‘divine’ or not doesn’t enter into the answer.

Consecutive thread titles to my own personal amusement…

The Latter Day Saints Movement and Plates
Two Weird Questions About Poopin’

Who are you referring to?

Confruntational? Nahhhh!

One of the Kinderhook Plates was found again several decades ago and subjected to careful analysis that proved it fraudulent. Joseph Smith’s plates were never subjected to any outside testing and, as far as I know, no one but him and the witnesses cited above ever claimed to have seen them.

Odd statement. Joseph Smith lived in rural Manchester, New York when he had his visions and said he found the plates. It’s about as far from a desert as you can imagine (I don’t think Smith ever saw a desert in his life – he started out in Vermont and worked his way west to Missouri and Illinois). People DID say he was crazy. Say or believe what you will about him, he did work at his cause – people didn’t just drop everything and start a new religion. Read one of the biographies about him. Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows my History is one by a non-believing non-Mormon.

The true Word, of course, is to be found only in the Voynich Manuscript.

was a professor at Columbia College (now Columbia University). He was shown the famouns transcription (of the “book of Mormon”, written in the “reformed egyptian caracters”-as transcribed by Josph Smith.
As far as i can tell, Prof. Anthon was not a linguist-he was a classical scholar, and fluent in ancient latin and greek. I have no indication that Anthon knew how to read ancient hebrew (or any semitic language).
But was he right to denounce the sheet of writing (that he was shown) as gibberish? I ould say so-none of these symbols bears resemblance to any known language.

That is not the point of this thread.

Those wanting to debate whether or not there is any merit to the LDS Movement claims about divine revelation via unearthed plates are invited to take said discussion to GD where it belongs.

And if you do start such a discussion in GD, perhaps you could clarify what do you mean by “ould”, anyway? Would? Could? Should? Or did you mis-spell “loud”?

The script was supposed to be “reformed Egyptian”. At the time, Young hadn’t gotten very far in his published work on hieroglyphics, and Champollion hadn’t published (or perhaps had just published) his work on hieroglyphics. In any event, someone at Columbia would not have been in a position to evaluate any translation of hieroglyphics one way or the other at that time.

In any event, QtM, as originator of this thread has rightly pointed out that this is not supposed to be on proving or disproving the truth of events from the origin of the Mormon Church.

Consider the impact of ancient egyptian artifacts turning up in upstate NY. This professor Anthon would have been eager to confirm the find-had he any belief that the artifacts were geniune, he probably would have travelled to the site.
The fact that such a (potentially momentous) discovery was ignored (by an extremely capable classical scholar (and professor at Columbia)), indicates that most likely, these “plates” did not exist-except in the minds of a few people. :confused:

The Characters Martin Harris brought didn’t look at all like hieroglyphic or hieratic – they didn’t look like anything seen anywhere else. (I don’t think even LDS boosters have ever come up with anything else that has Book of Mormon characters on it, aside from the Anthon Transcript and an old ad for the BoM) So Anthon wouldn’t have gone rushing anywhere. He wouldn’t have thought that the figures brought to him suggested an Egyptian-American connection. my point is that there’s no way he could have said either that the characters were translated correctly or that they were translated incorrectly.

And again, FWIW, I’m not LDS, and do not myself think that the characters Harris showed Anthon were a sample of ancient writing.