95 Questions

The following are ninety-five questions that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not honestly address or rectify. These questions demonstrate why people are leaving the Church in droves. If answers can be provided for these questions that are consistent with what we are taught in the Church, it will be means of rescuing many lost souls. If these questions cannot be answered, the thought must be considered that the Church is not what it claims to be. Just as any good Mormon should, we only care for truth, wherever it might lead.

  1. Why did Joseph Smith write four First Vision accounts with significantly different details about why he prayed, who he saw, and what was told to him?
  2. Why did Joseph never mention the First Vision until 12 years after it happened?
  3. Why do we use the account of the First Vision in the Pearl of Great Price, even though it was recorded nearly 20 years after the fact and is not the record that was written closest to the actual event?
  4. Why were we taught that Joseph Smith used the Urim and Thummim attached to a breastplate to translate the gold plates when most historians agree that he actually used a stone in a hat, often without ever looking at the plates?
  5. How trustworthy was Joseph’s seer stone if it had proven unsuccessful in treasure digging ventures?
  6. Why was Joseph Smith brought to trial for fraudulent glass-looking?
  7. Emma Smith said that when Joseph looked into the seer stone, God would show him “word for word” what he should write when translating the Book of Mormon. If he was shown word for word what to write, why did the Book of Mormon have significant doctrinal changes in the 1837 edition from the 1830 edition?
  8. Why did the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants forbid polygamy and teach that monogamy was the law of God, while Joseph was practicing polygamy in secret?
  9. Why did Joseph marry a 16 year old in secret? (Especially when D&C 132 says that you must have the first wife’s permission to marry a plural wife.)
  10. Why did Oliver Cowdery call Joseph’s “transaction” in the barn with Fanny Alger a “dirty, nasty, filthy affair?”
  11. Why did Joseph tell a 14 year old girl that his life and her family’s salvation depended on her marrying him?
  12. Why did Joseph Smith marry other men’s wives?
  13. Why did Joseph send men on missions, then marry their wives while they were gone?
  14. Why did Joseph Smith and Brigham Young break each of the rules laid out for polygamy in D&C 132, that a man should only espouse a virgin, and that he should ask the permission of his first wife before marrying another?
  15. Why did Joseph have over 30 of his close friends sign an affidavit that said he was not practicing polygamy then publish it in the Church’s Times and Seasons newspaper despite the fact that he and several of those friends knew that this was a lie?
  16. Why did Joseph destroy the Nauvoo Expositor and set in motion the chain of events that took him to Carthage when the paper told the truth about Joseph’s polygamy?
  17. Why did Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery say nothing about the restoration of the priesthood until 5 years after the supposed event, right in the middle of a credibility crisis in 1834?
  18. Why did Joseph Smith begin to translate the Kinderhook plates and claim they contained the record of a descendant of Ham when the plates were actually a forgery?
  19. Why did Joseph receive a revelation to sell the Canadian copyright of the Book of Mormon and then fail to do so?
  20. Why did Joseph Smith have himself anointed king of the world, as well as run for president of the United States when Jesus taught that his kingdom was not of this world?
  21. Why are we taught that Joseph went like “a lamb to the slaughter” to Carthage jail when in actuality he managed to sneak in a pistol, with which he shot three members of the mob?
  22. Why were Joseph’s last words a Masonic cry for help?
  23. Joseph Smith claimed that a body that was found during Zion’s Camp was the body of Zelph, a mighty white Lamanite warrior who was allied with the Nephites. In light of scientific evidence showing that Nephites and Lamanites did not exist there or anywhere near Missouri, should we believe Joseph was receiving revelation?
  24. Why did Joseph first say in official Church accounts that he was visited by the angel Nephi, then later change his story to the angel Moroni? (This also goes along with edits to the Book of Mormon re: Nephi and Moroni.)
  25. If the Word of Wisdom was not given “by way of commandment,” why is it now a requirement for members of the church, despite no revelation making it such?
  26. Why is beer prohibited when the Word of Wisdom prescribes its use (mild barley drinks)?
  27. Why are members punished for drinking beer, but aren’t punished for eating meat excessively?
  28. Why does the church use water for the sacrament when Christ specifically instituted the ordinance with wine?
  29. Why did Joseph ask that those that accompanied him to Carthage jail remove their garments, when we are told that they are meant to be a protection?
  30. Why is there no archaeological evidence of chariots, steel, brass, iron, or coinage during the Book of Mormon time period?
  31. Why is there no archeological evidence of horses, elephants, goats, honey bees, cattle, silk, in the New World during the Book of Mormon timeframe?
  32. Why is there no archaeological evidence of wars, including swords, cimeters, millions of dead bodies (including those that should be around the Hill Cumorah) that took place during the Book of Mormon time period?
  33. Why is there no genetic trace of a group of Israelites undertaking a transoceanic migration to the Americas circa 600 BC?
  34. Why did Church change the introduction of the Book of Mormon to say that its characters “were destroyed, except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians” to “are among the ancestors of the American Indians”?
  35. Why does the Book of Mormon quote passages from Isaiah that Bible scholars agree did not exist until after Lehi arrived in the New World?
  36. Why do The Late War, published in 1816, and The Book of Mormon, published in 1830, share extremely unique phraseology?
  37. Why does View of the Hebrews, published in 1823 by Oliver Cowdery’s religious minister, have almost the same plotline as the Book of Mormon?
  38. Why is the Vision of the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi almost the same vision that Joseph Smith Sr. had in 1811?
  39. Why does the Book of Mormon quote incorrectly translated passages of the King James Bible?
  40. Why are passages in the Bible corrected by the Joseph Smith Translation, but left incorrect in the Book of Mormon, the most correct book on earth?
  41. Why does the Book of Mormon include the story of languages changing at the tower of Babel when linguistics and anthropology do not support such a narrative?
  42. Why does the Book of Mormon talk about windows being dashed to pieces in the Jaredite barges when such windows were not invented until thousands of years later?
  43. Why did the Church in 1981 change the Book of Mormon, the most correct book on earth, to say (referring to the appearance of the Lamanites) “they shall be a white and a delightsome people” to “they shall be a pure and a delightsome people”?
  44. Why were the blacks not allowed the priesthood, despite teachings in the Book of Mormon and Bible that all men are equal before God (2nd Nephi 26:33)?
  45. Why do missionaries teach that the Book of Mormon proves the LDS church is true when there are many latter-day sects that also believe in the Book of Mormon and trace their authority to Joseph Smith?
  46. Why does every non-LDS Egyptologist affirm that Joseph’s translations of the Book of Abraham facsimiles are absolutely incorrect?
  47. Why does the Book of Mormon teach that there was no death before the Fall when we know that dinosaurs died out long before the first humans existed?
  48. Why couldn’t Joseph retranslate the lost 116 pages? Wouldn’t that have proved he really translated the Book of Mormon?
  49. Why did Martin Harris say that the Book of Mormon was as true as any Quaker book?
  50. Why did most of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon say they didn’t see the plates or angel with physical eyes, but spiritual ones?
  51. Why were blacks not allowed to go to the temple and be sealed as families?
  52. Why were interracial marriages banned?
  53. Why did Brigham Young and other leaders teach the doctrine of Blood Atonement, that some sins were so serious that only the shedding of one’s own blood could bring forgiveness?
  54. Why did Brigham Young teach that the creation of mixed race children was a sin serious enough to require death?
  55. How did the priesthood continue in the church after Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff prophesied that the church would lose the priesthood if it ever abandoned polygamy?
  56. Church leaders taught polygamy was essential to enter the celestial kingdom and receive exaltation. Why did God, whose doctrine is eternal and unchanging, change His mind?
  57. Why does the temple endowment involve signs, tokens, and penalties IDENTICAL to Masonic rites?
  58. How did the priesthood continue in the church when Heber J. Grant stopped conferring it for 20 years?
  59. Why did Joseph F. Smith testify in court that there hadn’t been a revelation in the church for over 20 years after the Manifesto?
  60. If Joseph Smith said that the ordinances were not supposed to change, why were certain elements of the temple endowment changed after the Church conducted a survey about how people felt about it, including penalties and vengeance oaths?
  61. Why has the garment changed so much after church leaders taught that it could not be changed?
  62. Satan told Cain to swear by his throat, and that if he revealed his oath he would die. Why did the Church require members to do the same thing in the temple endowment until 1990?
  63. Why does the Church currently not allow historians access to historical documents in the First Presidency’s vault and Granite Mountain Records Vault?
  64. Why does the Church keep its financial records hidden, despite President Hinckley implying members have a right to that information?
  65. Why does the Church have a secret group that monitors what members of the Church say online called the Strengthening Church Members Committee?
  66. Why has tithing changed from being based on surplus to being on increase?
  67. Why did tithing change from being only required of members with means to being required of every member, no matter how poor?
  68. Why are Church leaders given large stipends and housing (plus “expenses” paid for like gardeners and cooks and gifts for spouses if you’re a mission president) while poor members receive limited and strict help from the Church?
  69. Why do Church leaders not follow the example of King Benjamin and live off their own work and income, not money and housing provided by the Church?
  70. Why did the requirement for apostles to be eyewitnesses of Christ change to simply being witnesses of the name of Christ?
  71. Why do prophets, seers, and revelators depend on apologists to provide answers for difficult questions rather than obtaining answers directly from God?
  72. Where does the money from the sales of books written by General Authorities go?
  73. Did the Savior really ask the President of the Church to build the 1.5 billion dollar City Creek Mall?
  74. Did the Savior really ask the President of the Church to build a 500,000 home community in Florida? How is this not serving God and Mammon?
  75. How are the church councils that determine doctrine and policy any different than the Catholic councils of Nicea, Worms, etc?
  76. Why are members of the church excommunicated for being rebaptized like the early Saints when the practice has never been formally discontinued by the church?
  77. Why are members excommunicated for publicly disagreeing with the brethren with the scriptures teach to not “trust in the arm of the flesh”?
  78. Why do we claim that Brigham Young was the second prophet of the church when he denied being a prophet or Joseph Smith’s successor?
  79. Why did Brigham Young and other leaders teach that Adam is God the Father and even incorporate that doctrine into the temple endowment?
  80. Why can Joseph Fielding Smith falsely prophesy that “we will never get a man into space. This earth is man’s sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it” but still be considered a prophet?
  81. Why do Muslims, Hindus, other Christians, and polygamous FLDS members all receive the same spiritual witness that their faith is true that we receive?
  82. Uranium-lead dating demonstrates that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Why does the Doctrine and Covenants teach that it is only a few thousand years old?
  83. Why do we learn that Brigham Young was transfigured to look and sound like Joseph Smith when no contemporary records give such an account?
  84. Why are the brethren sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators when they don’t prophesy or give any other revelations directly from God?
  85. Why does the Church heavily edit conference talks (which are considered scripture) after the fact, like President Packer’s talk in 2010 or Elder Poelman’s talk in 1984?
  86. Why does the Church push political agendas, like Prop 8 or opposing the ERA, when D&C 134 teaches “do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government”?
  87. The Book of Mormon teaches that the Church of Christ should carry his name. Why did Joseph change the name of the Church in 1834 to “The Church of the Latter-day Saints?”
  88. Why do we learn that Joseph prophesied that the Saints would come to the Rocky Mountains when that prophecy was added after the Saints arrived in Utah?
  89. Why did the brethren believe the forgeries of Mark Hoffman, purchase them, and then seek to conceal them from the church membership?
  90. Why is the Quorum of the Twelve apostles so influential when the revelations declare that it does not have jurisdiction except in the missions of the church?
  91. Why does the Church continue to do polygamous sealings for members of the Church whose spouse has died (including two current Apostles), even though President Hinckley said polygamy is not doctrinal?
  92. Why did Gordon B. Hinckley say in a television interview that “we don’t need a lot of continuing revelation?”
  93. Why are marriages and temple sealings paired together in the temple when it was originally taught that these were to be separate with marriages public?
  94. Why did Joseph Smith and his contemporaries teach women should/will receive the priesthood but current Church leadership will excommunicate members for supporting such a belief?
  95. Many of those who have left the Church have doubted their doubts before they have doubted their faith. At what point should one consider that what they have been taught may be false?

Further Reading and Sources:


Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until he was excommunicated for adultery. During his disciplinary court, Elder Carrington tried to argue that he had only committed "a little folly in Israel!", but the current brethren couldn't be bothered to give him a break. Learn more about Elder Carrington here.
  • WordKing

    The answer to all 95 questions is the same: Mormonism is a fraud.

    I have some more brutal questions you can add to your list if you would like…

  • sylvia

    I read every question. I believe I could give you an answer to every one. I have studied these things but from the perspective of defending the church. I have in fact strengthened my belief. God uses imperfect men….mostly I look at the beautiful teachings – I love it. Joseph Smith opened the heavens for me. The God he taught is the most merciful and liberal in all of Christendom. I believe. It is a choice and I have felt God’s love and comfort and He has spoken to my mind and heart.

    • Malachi

      What you have to do is approach them empirically from a (as much as possible) unbiased perspective. Anyone asking these questions can’t come at them from a “The church is true no matter what” perspective. For you it is a choice, for many it is not. I would be interested to hear your answers!

      • sylvia

        Choose one! 🙂

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #1 – Joseph smith having several different accounts to the first vision…

    Answers – the answers here are reasonable and seeminly obvious…. have you ever told the same story about a dramatic event to 4 different people over several years… did you tell it exactly the same way, or perhaps to the person who is an enemy you made it more general, and to what you think is your close friend more detailed. when you remember what happened on a specific day and event as your telling it, some things will come to your recall now and others you will remember and wish you had mentioned…. an example.

    Conversation 1 – To a stranger – one morning a friend was in the hospital and the administration called me and said I needed to come urgently. so I got into my car and went. on the way I noticed flames coming from under a barn wall, I stopped and woke the owner alerted him to the fire and then hurried on my way to the hospital.

    Conversation 2 – to a friend of the woman in the hospital – my friend was dying in the hospital and I was the personal representative, the hospital called one morning early and said she had coded and was entubated and I needed to come in to make some decisions, it was 4 or 5 in the morning very early… so I rushed out the door and hurried to the hospital, by the time I got there she was ok and we could pull out the tubes.

    Conversation 3 – To the woman in the hospital – hey, they called me early this morning said you had coded. sorry it took me so long, that horse ranch on the corner was on fire and I knew how much you loved horses so I knew you wouldn’t mind that I stopped and alerted the owners.

    Conversation 4 – to my mom – my friend was dying in the hospital and I was the personal representative, the hospital called one morning early and said she had coded and was entubated and I needed to come in to make some decisions, it was 4 or 5 in the morning very early… so I rushed out the door and hurried to the hospital, I left my oldest daughter in charge while I was gone… on the way I noticed a horse ranch on the corner had fire coming up from below the barn walls, I was really panicked about making it to the hospital and almost didn’t stop. but I decided to stop and honk but no one came out so I ran up the steps and pounded on the door and hollered to get someone to wake up, a man came to the window and asked what was going on, and I told him his barn with his farm equipment next to the horses is on fire. but that I needed to go and my cell phone wasnt working yet so he needed to call 911. as I was leaving another passerby blocked me in, I asked him to make sure the guy got help and explained I needed to go to the hospital and he let me out and I continued into town. on the way I finally recieved cell services and I called the fire department to let them know there were tractors in the barn and probably fuel. when I got to the hospital I told my friend what had happened, and how much she loved horses so I figured she wouldn’t mind. thankfully she was ok when I got there and was able to have the tubes out right away. the whole nurses station watched on the news with me the fire at the barn.

    do you see the VERY different information.. all of it true. but explained differently to different people. not hide anything or to change the stories. just because that is how stories are told of things that happened… this example is true. and so are the conversations true as they were discussed with different people…

    now consider also. that only the written testimony of Joseph smith is a 1st hand account. the others are second hand accounts and thus are likely to change by the person who heard his story. either intentionally changed, or simply as a natural result of how stories are repeated

    his 4 different stories do not conflict with each other. and it is reasonable and understandable WHY there are several different accounts the church does not need to make these common sense answers announced from the pulpit to defend themselves…..

    • Zelph on the Shelf

      Except in some accounts he mentions things that just don’t even happen in the “official” version, which wasn’t even used while he was alive. Oh, and he just HAPPENS to leave out God and Christ is one other version. Minor detail changes, right?

      • Maryanne Schiller

        in my examples above, in #2 I don’t mention the fire at all. the story changes a smidge depending on who and why I’m talking. its not a lie to leave out the fire. it just wasn’t relevant, or perhaps I didn’t feel like mentioning it that day… so lets look at the 4 acounts

        1832 account written ny JS own hand,
        therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderne ss and while in attitude of calling upon the Lord a piller of fire light above the brightness of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I was filled with the spirit of god and the opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord16 and he spake unto me saying Joseph thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy walk in my statutes and keep my commandments behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not commandments they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them acording to thir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which been spoken by the mouth of the prophe ts and Ap[o]stles17 behold and lo I come quickly as it [is?] wr itten of me in the cloud in the glory of my Father

        1835 – the account was told to a visitor by JS. the account was written down, by whom it is unclear, as it is not in JS handwriting. and Warren Parish Later included it into JS journals. Therefore this account is not a first hand account nor can it be considered 100% reliable. being a writing of a telling added later… but as such it is not unreasonably different considering the circumstances… further Warren Parish is known to have edited even this account in a history he chose to write later.

        I retired to the silent grove and bowd down before the Lord, under a realising sense that he had said (if the bible be true) ask and you shall receive knock and it shall be opened seek and you shall find and again, if any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men libar ally and upbradeth not;68 information was what I most desired at this time, and with a fixed determination I to obtain it, I called upon the Lord for the first time, in the place above stated or in other words I made a fruitless attempt to pray, my toung seemed to be swolen in my mouth, so that I could not utter,69 I heard a noise behind me like some person walking towards me, strove again to pray, but could not, the noise of walking seem ed to draw nearer, I sprung up on my feet, and [p. 23]and looked around, but saw no person or thing that was calculated to produce the noise of wal king, I kneeled again my mouth was opened and my toung liberated, and I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon my head, and filled me with joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the midst, of this pillar of flame which was spread all around, and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven thee, he testifyed unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God;70 I was about 14. years old when I received this first communication;

        this next account was dicated by JS for the History he wanted written – Now if you consider the two the journal vs the history. when one writes in their journal of what is in the heart to write, you write quickly and do not verify the information with much thought. it took me quite some remembering to put things into proper times and places to realize the age in which I was when I ran away from home. when I looked back and wrote in my journals sometimes I would say I was 15 sometimes 16. but after much consideration of where I lived, who I knew etc. I can pinpoint it down to nov of when I had just turned 15. so I know that what is written in two different versions.. the historical version is given much more consideration. for accuracy and complete detail….

        I was one day reading the Epistle of James, First Chapter and fifth verse which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.[”] Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man that this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did, for how to act I did not know and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had [I] would never know, for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same [p. 2]passage of Scripture so differently as destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion or else I must do as James directs, that is, Ask of God. I at last came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally and not upbraid, I might venture. So in accordance with this my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day early in the spring of Eightteen hundred and twenty.9 It was the first time in my life that I had such an attempt, for amidst all anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

        After I had retired into the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God, I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was upon by some power which entirely overcame me and such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction. But exerting all my powers to call upon God to de liver me out of the power of this enemy which had siezed upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, not to an im aginary ruin but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being. Just at this moment of great alarm I saw a pillar light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gracefully gradually untill it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two personages (whose brightness and glory defy all description) standing above me in the air. One of spake unto me calling me by name and said (pointing to the other) “This is my beloved Son, Hear him.”
        My object in going to enquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner therefore did I get possession of myself so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right, (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong) and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the Personage who addressed me said that all their Creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt, that “they draw near to me to with their lips but their hearts are far from me, They teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness but they deny the power thereof.”10 He again forbade me to join with any of them and many other thing[s]11 did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time

        Notice in this version also, while you are upset it was not officially used until after JS had died, he had this work commissioned to be a lasting testimony. where as his others were not. so it is right that this one become the official version, as that was his wish. though the other versions were never hid.

        the last version – commonly known as the wentworth letter. was written in the hand of Orson PRatt though signed by JS.

        Be lieving the word of God I had confidence in the declaration of James; “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giv eth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him,”3 I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord, while fervently en gaged in supplication my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a [p. 706]heavenly vision and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features, and likeness, surround ed with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day.4 They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And I was expressly com manded to “go not after them,”5 at the same time receiving a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.

        look at the accounts carefully. see why they were written and to whom. and ask youself if there really is a problem.

        To address your specific concerns… is God or Christ mentioned in each one? are there different events that happened in one and not in another, and is it significant? I have already addressed why the version we use is the right one…

        who is seen in the visions –
        in # 1 “the Lord” is seen. and he forgives his sins. Generically Lord is considered to be Jesus. Father is not mentioned to be seen in this account, though his existence is mentioned.
        #2 There are 2 personages, one of whom forgave his sins, and the two looked exactly like the other. seeing as his official verson includes “many other things” that cannot be written. saying that there were additional angels, is maybe the person writing it, adding information he had heard somewhere, or JS telling a small portion of that which cannot be written.
        #3 there are two personages, and one introduced the other as the son of the first.
        #4 there are two personages who looked identical

        looks to me like though in his first account he mentions the lord, in non of them does he say God or Jesus they are described in each except the first as personages, brilliant glorious in a pillar of light or fire, so I really don’t see a problem here…

        the only passage in all of the accounts that gives me even a moments pause is that of the person walking behind him which is not in the other accounts. the “evil that is real” is described in the official version. and his toungue being bound by this force is described in both. remembering this version was written after the fact by another person who heard the account, I can see how someone might add some details that perhaps rationalizes the evil aspect. but this can not be found to be the fault of JS. as it is not clear if he said it, or it was added to by the person writing it. the entire account seems to be a bit of rationalizing for the day

        • Lori B.

          Your ability to rationalize notwithstanding, I agree with Zelphontheshelf. You’re not talking about adding flair to a story- you’re talking about someone who can’t keep their story straight. Let ME give YOU an example-

          I ask my tenant why I haven’t received their rent check yet.
          Answer 1: Oh I sent it, but I found out that the post office had a bomb threat and they evacuated, so all the mail has been delayed as a result

          Answer 2: I was about to send it, but I found out that the post office was closed and having issues so I’ve waited.

          Answer 3: I sent it, so you should be getting it

          Answer 4: I lost my checkbook so I’m waiting for the bank to print me more checks so I can send it

          THAT is how different Smith’s answers are for the content of his “vision”.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #2 why it took him a long time to write down his account.

    ok another obvious answer really… he was rather illiterate as a kid… HE WAS A KID… how many teenage boys in the 1800’s kept a journal or wrote their experiences down? he did tell people. and he was ostracized for it as a teenager. what did you expect him to do? publish it in a newspaper… if it wasn’t for the varied stories going about of his accounts he may not have ever written it down. but he did.. not to publish it for himself, but to set the story right. think about the day it was written. he would not have tweeted it or posted it to facebook… it should simply be no surprise he didn’t write it…

    • Justin

      Not true. The church is very careful how they word things in their essays to say that he had little “formal” education. However, he actually had quite a bit of education – especially in the bible. His 1832 account of the first vision makes it clear that he studied deeply and pondered deeply about the bible. He also had read the Apocrypha. There’s a lot more to it, but here is a good place to learn more about his education:

      Additionally, the first vision wasn’t even told to members in the early days of the church. Most of the membership of the church didn’t hear of it until it was published in 1842. No version of the story had been told to anyone prior to 1832. In fact, the very earliest claim to any angelic visitation wasn’t even made until 1827 when Joseph claimed to have been visited in 1823 (not even getting in to the major timeline issues with that claim). The fact is, it’s all revisionist history. There is no indication that Joseph had any such spiritual experiences or made any claims to such prior to 1827 – and even then, it wasn’t the first vision with any form of a visitation from a God.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #3 why do we use the particular account that we use…

    look at my story examples in #1 which one would you pick to put into my life history journal and why? and there you will have your simple answer as to why we use one account vs another. it was more specific about the important parts, and short enough to include in the small space in the introduction.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    # 4 why are we taught the way we are about the urim and thumim and the rock in a hat…

    while I do agree how things are taught to children can be frustrating.. the idea of milk before meat comes to mind… teach them the basic idea that it was translated by power of God… but ALSO teach them the whole story….
    as you can see below.. it was never hid. if parents read to their children the ensign or let their kids read the friend. everyone would know the whole story… its the parents fault for not teaching the whole story… not the church…. they told us….

    1974… Joseph also used an egg-shaped, brown rock for translating called a seer stone. Martin Harris said that on the seer stone “sentences would appear and were read by the Prophet and written by [the one writing them down] and when finished [that person] would say ‘written;’ and if correctly written, the sentence would disappear and another take its place; but if not written correctly it remained until corrected
    “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.

    “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.

    includes a great explanation on the seerstones among other things.

    As you can see…. the church NEVER lied or hid the truth about joseph smith using the seer stone, in a hat… it was in the ensign semi regularly and the friend

    before the 70’s this information was in the church history books published by the church and written by bhroberts.

    so as the church has taught us… read the WHOLE story in the history books, and don’t just stop at the beginning.

    • Malachi

      The idea of milk before meat doesn’t seem to apply here, in my opinion. Telling someone that Joseph translated a record he dug out of a hill by the gift and power of God is NOT milk. That is straight up meat. It’s tough, stringy, chewy meat that can be hard to digest. As America has moved away from mysticism and magic, the story of the stone is even harder to digest, so it seems obvious why they would leave that part out.

      As for saying it was never hidden…I suppose you could claim they didn’t completely cover it up, but you have to admit at the very least that they put the seer stone memo at the very bottom of the stack. I was raised in the church and never taught about the seer stone. They didn’t completely bury the truth, they just left it out of the correlated church materials. You know, the stuff that the majority of members learn church history from.

      You can’t edit church history without telling people what you’ve left out and then expect all members to slog through church history to piece together the real story.

      • Maryanne Schiller

        you are welcome to your opinion… and considering in your opinion the idea that JS translated a record by the power of God is hard to swallow meat, to add to that the idea that he did it with a rock in a hat, would turn your meat into stone… it is the very epitome of the idea of milk before meat…

        that being said… just because your group of adults in the church didn’t know or teach about the rock does not mean that the organization of the church hid it… as I showed above it was in the friend and ensign. so it was not necessary for them to slog through church history to find the whole story…. but yes they should read the whole history, each individual is responsible for kinow the history and doctrine of the church they claim to have faith in…. if the individual people of the church, would read their materials in whole and do some research into the books published by the church parents could teach their children the whole stories.

        I don’t always like the way the primary teaches my children. they feed them sour milk sometimes… but that is the individuals of the church, and not the church as a whole…. this is the false traditions of the fathers being passed down to the children… it doesn’t make the church iteself doing anything bad. it is necessary to make distinctions between the flaws of the people and the teachings of the church. it is my job as their mother to ask the children what they were taught every sunday and to discuss with them the whole stories if I feel they are ready for it….

        these partial stories taught in all christian churches make some things difficult for thinkers to digest as they get older. like, cain & able being the first children, then where did Nod come from, the flood was 40 days, but they don’t teach that it took 13 months to get off the boat. No one ever teaches about the talking ass in the Old testament.. and does that make it church false because no one brings it up? are they hiding the truth because its on in the lesson plan? no… its just not the most important part of the scriptures. its interesting but not vital. and if someone wants to really know.. its there for them to find out on their own time…

        does it matter if it was translated with a special set of glasses or a rock in a hat…. seems to me like either one would be just as amazing a story to hear…. the truth is he did both. and according to his own journals, he found it more convenient to use the rock in a hat…

        have you read the description of how it worked… its fascinating considering current technologies… that he placed the stone in a hat, excluded as much light as possible, and a page would appear in the darkness with words on it, and when he read the words correctly and then they were read back to him correctly a new line would appear… this sort of technology was not even thought of in scifi books then, let alone pretended to be used. is it truly so impossible that God used some small rock of technology to give Jospeh Smith the words to write?

        I am very sure that if the church knew how many people would be upset because they had never heard about the rock in the hat, they would have made it a bigger deal. perhaps. but like you not everyone is ready to hear the whole story and it may be great wisdom that they do not place all information infront of everyone at all times, but allow them to work out the information themselves line upon line….here a little, there a little.

        • Lori B.

          milk before meat is just another way to mask deception. it means you’re not being open and honest up front (in this case because you know it sounds batshit crazy)

        • Bob Smith

          “Just because… doesn’t mean the church hid it”…

          Maybe not, but this certainly does: … we got it right from the horse’s mouth.

          It also explains all too well why a group of adults (who grew up in the church) didn’t know about the rock! Or is there a better explanation I’m not aware of?

          • Maryanne Schiller

            because they didn’t bother to read their own church materials. people choosing to be ignorant is not proof that the church never taught things… – I guess the children’s ensign is not church publications.. and this is only one example of this rock being talked about…. maybe not everyone who went to church grew up int he church. there is a difference.

          • Joshua Wellborn

            Yeah, they didn’t go find that one article in the friend from 40 years ago. They were lazy! Victim blaming here.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #5 seer stone used to find treasure…

    while it may have been unreliable. most accounts say that it was successful in finding lost horses and other such things. God has always been against free money. and his misuse of the seer stone to treasure hunt is typical error of a human… who sees a thing as having a power and wants to know if he can use it to get gain… I mean… wouldn’t you…. but it didn’t work for that…. it did work as a translator… as equally well as the urim and thumim.

    while you may still like to doubt the reliablity of the stone based on not finding treasure… all you must do is read the book of mormon and decide if it is true. based on the holy spirit to answer your prayers… it may be a stumbling block for some. but only those who do not honestly read it and pray about it… the church has addressed this issue on MANY occasions.

    According to Martin Harris, an angel commanded Joseph Smith to stop these activities, which he did by 1826. (See Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 64–76; and Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The Mature Joseph Smith and Treasure Searching,” BYU Studies 24, no. 4 [Fall 1984]: 489–560.) Joseph did not hide his well-known early involvement in treasure seeking. In 1838, he published responses to questions frequently asked of him. “Was not Jo Smith a money digger,” one question read. “Yes,” Joseph answered, “but it was never a very profitable job to him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.” (Selections from Elders’ Journal, July 1838,

    • Joshua Wellborn

      “most accounts say that it was successful in finding lost horses and other such things.” [citation needed]

      I think you are missing something obvious here. How was JS able to find lost horses but not silver or treasure. The horses actually existed.

      ” most accounts say that it was successful in finding lost horses and other such things. God has always been against free money.”

      What is the difference between finding a silver mine or treasure or lost horses for pay?

      “who sees a thing as having a power and wants to know if he can use it to get gain… I mean… wouldn’t you….”

      I wouldn’t, at least not for petty monetary/ social gain.

      “it did work as a translator… as equally well as the urim and thumim.”

      Then why didn’t he re-translate the original 117 pages?
      It didn’t work as a translator (see the BoA and kinderhook plates and the total lack of nephite archaeology that could support his translation.

      “but it was never a very profitable job to him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.”

      That’s funny. Its clear now that you’re just trolling us.

      • Maryanne Schiller

        lol, I’m trolling.. kettles and pots…

        difference between finding a horse and money. if you don’t know you don’t understand gods love for the living.

        you lie to yourself and the world if you think you could hold a “magic rock” in your hand and you wouldn’t see how it worked to see if you could get gain. easy to say I wouldn’t when its not you. be honest with yourself.

        he was commanded not to retranslate the 117 pages. because people like you exist and would change the original and then call him a fraud. there could be no faith whatsoever that the original would not have been tampered with.

        total lack of nephite archaeology… silly I guess the mounds builders, the hopewell tradition. they mean nothing. I suggest you research Wayne MAy – here is a starting point.

        • Joshua Wellborn

          Ha ha, wayne may.

          “difference between finding a horse and money. if you don’t know you don’t understand gods love for the living.”

          Which is why he killed everyone on the planet except for a few people once, or had laben killed, or killed the people of sodom and gamorah, etc…

          I don’t think you think before you type.

        • Joshua Wellborn

          “he was commanded not to retranslate the 117 pages. because people like you exist and would change the original and then call him a fraud. there could be no faith whatsoever that the original would not have been tampered with.”

          How would they not be an easily recognizable fraud?
          Why would I have any interest in creating a fraud version of the 117 pages?
          People already call JS a fraud because of the kinderhook plates and BoA.

        • Joshua Wellborn

          “you lie to yourself and the world if you think you could hold a “magic rock” in your hand and you wouldn’t see how it worked to see if you could get gain. easy to say I wouldn’t when its not you. be honest with yourself.”

          Its not magical, the rock still exists and it has no magical properties.
          I think I care enough about humanity as a whole to not use it for personal gain but communal gain for the entire species. I can say that because I have most of the things in life that I want; Good friends, a few material possessions, intelligence, and a loving family.
          If JS was tempted into using it for personal gain, why aren’t the Q15 who currently posses it? …because its not magical.

    • Tom Marsh

      Did it work as a translator? The breatplate and seer stones were only used for the lost 116 pages. The entire BoM was written “using” the well-rock in a hat. Considering all the actual doctrinal changes from the original manuscript to the modern and the incorrect “translations” in the Isaiah chapters (quoting the King James version which has been found to have translation errors), did it really really work that well…?

      • Maryanne Schiller

        again with the different versions of the bom… go get a parallel of the first 4 editions. and see what changes were made and why. compare to the orignal manuscript which is available much of it. and then compare tot he 1964 and 81 editions. and you will see for yourself.

        did it work as a translator – I do not know if it ever actually translated anything I know that he put the rock in a dark place and words appeard in light which he read out loud and his transcribers wrote down. could have been anything and had nothing to do with the plates he held. its a matter of faith and simple minds. God could have used anything for js to hold to understand he would be “translating” but for arguments sake. I believe it was translating. we don’t know how much was translated using which method. there is a theory that when the angel took the plates after 117 that it does not say he returned the urim and thummim it also does not say that he did not return them. and it is reported that JS used either in exchange for the other and that the rock was more convienant.

        translation errors in the KJV. this is one of those points that while science currently accepts these translation errors. they may change their mind in the future. as is often the case as they battle themselves. one archelogist said the pots found outside a burial in egypt were from 400bc another said 1300 bc, andother came back and “proved” the 400bc. and so it will go with everyone having different opinions…

        however the James Moffatt 1st edition translation which was done by an athesit with no religious connections agreed with JS translations. the subsequent editions were changed according to his preface by the pressuring of the “church” 1926 I believe could have been 36…

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #5 – glass looking –

    Joseph Smith appeared at a pre-trial court hearing in 1826 for “glasslooking”

    In 1825 Josiah Stowel sought out the young Joseph Smith, who had a reputation for being able to use his seer stone to locate lost objects, to help him to locate an ancient silver mine. After a few weeks of work, Joseph persuaded Stowel to give up the effort. In 1826, some of Stowel’s relatives brought Joseph to court and accused him of “glasslooking” and being a “disorderly person.” Several witnesses testified at the hearing.

    Joseph was released without being fined or otherwise punished – there was no verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty” because this was only a hearing rather than a trial

    Joseph was ultimately released without being fined and had no punishment imposed upon him. Years later, a bill from the judge was discovered which billed for court services.

    Gordon Madsen summarized:

    “The evidence thus far available about the 1826 trial before Justice Neely leads to the inescapable conclusion that Joseph Smith was acquitted.” [1]

    A review of all the relevant documents demonstrates that:

    The court hearing of 1826 was not a trial, it was an examination

    The hearing was likely initiated from religious concerns; i.e. people objected to Joseph’s religious claims.

    There were seven witnesses.

    The witnesses’ testimonies have not all been transmitted faithfully.

    Most witnesses testified that Joseph did possess a gift of sight

    The court hearing was likely initiated by Stowel’s relatives as a concern that he was having too much influence on Stowel

    It was likely that the court hearing was initiated not so much from a concern about Joseph being a money digger, as concern that Joseph was having an influence on Josiah Stowel. Josiah Stowel was one of the first believers in Joseph Smith. His nephew was probably very concerned about that and was anxious to disrupt their relationship if possible. He did not succeed. The court hearing failed in its purpose, and was only resurrected decades later to accuse Joseph Smith of different crimes to a different people and culture.

    Understanding the context of the case removes any threat it may have posed to Joseph’s prophetic integrity.

    again this is NOT information that was hidden, or that the church refuses to answer or talk about… quite the oopsite is true… its in the history books. and online… go and read and don’t be mad because you weren’t taught something… learn it now and be happy.

    • Joshua Wellborn

      It was a misdemeanor and he was fined for it.

      “There were seven witnesses.
      The witnesses’ testimonies have not all been transmitted faithfully.
      Most witnesses testified that Joseph did possess a gift of sight”

      Wait, what? the witnesses’ testimonies have not been been transmitted faithfully except for the ones that say he did posses the gift of sight. What a fantastic world you must live in.

      “again this is NOT information that was hidden”

      Yeah, no.

      “While the statement has been made by some writers that the Prophet Joseph Smith used a seer stone part of the time in his translating of the record, and information points to the fact that he did have in his possession such a stone, yet there is no authentic statement in the history of the Church which states that the use of such a stone was made in that translation. The information is all hearsay, and personally, I do not believe that this stone was used for this purpose. The reason I give for this conclusion is found in the statement of the Lord to the Brother of Jared as recorded in Ether 3:22-24” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, edited by Bruce R. McConkie, 3:, p.225).

      • Maryanne Schiller

        prove he was fined for you. you can say anything you want but it doesn’t make it true. it does not say that any portion was faithfully transmitted. it says they are unrelaible.

        Joseph F Smith is allowed to have his opinions. even as prophet. the information was not hidden it was talked about. as you just quoted it from a book that obviously talks about it. and he states his opinion that he does not believe it. SO WHAT. its not hidden…. it was even taught to the children in the church childrens publications – and that is only one example…

        again information is not being hidden. prove he was fined and convicted for glass looking. and even if he was SO WHAT. we know he did look into stones to find horses or etc. what does it change? Moses was a murderer. I guess we shouldn’t trust people who make bad choices should we?

        • Joshua Wellborn

          Yeah, one obscure reference in a 1970s friend = not hidden. Are you kidding?

          “Joseph F Smith is allowed to have his opinions.”

          This isn’t an opinion or did you not read his statement? he said he didn’t believe it because there was no statement of it in church history and then he supports that with scripture.

          I did prove it or did you not see the link? Its the court document.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #6 – the 4 different versions of the Book of Mormon

    I have a quad parallel of the 4 different versions. first of all the differences are minute.. you can get a copy cheap online and see for yourself.

    however the history of the 4 versions goes something like this..
    JS translation is finished gives the transcript to person A to take to the printer. person A makes a few changes to the printers copy and it is printed without JS final approval… JS is mad about the changes and immediately begins raising funds for a correct copy to be printed. takes a few years and again send it to the printer. this time printer makes a few changes either intentionally or as errors… JS again asks for a correction to be made. but this time person B is in possession of the original transcript and JS must use the printers copy to print a run for the brittish copy which is what we were using until the 80’s JS had made most of the changes to that copy he could find. but did not have the original to compare.. in the final copy he himself approved the final draft for the printer with the original transcripts in hand to compare to. when we realized this we switched to the latter edition… again the changes were minute. in any case. and truly there were no doctrinal issues in the different ediitons… you should get a parralel and compare for yourself.

    • Justin

      There are significant doctrinal changes. Not the least of which is the change from a trinitarian God to the separate beings the church teaches today. Although, he missed a few spots so there are still several places in today’s Book of Mormon that teach a trinitarian God (such as when Abinadi gives his sermon). See here for more on the changes:

      • Maryanne Schiller

        again I invite you to go and get the parrallel and see for yourself.

        yes I know there is LOTS of grammer and punctuation chages that were made in the 60’s so what. when it was written there were no commas, or paragraphs. so the majority of your 3000+ changes are of such. and the remainder were not changed in the 60’s they were changed in the 1830-40’s as JS got frustrated with the printer taking liberties with his transcript. there was a time that we thought the england’s copy was the last change. but then it was discovered that after the england copy was printed JS once again had gotten frustrated with the liberties being taken by the printer and went and oversaw the final printing. that is the edition we now use. we also have parts of the original manuscript to compare it to about 30% and the current edition matches that which was hand written by scribes.

        The book of mormon does not teach a trinitarian god any more than the bible does. only people who do not understand how a father is also a son would think that to be a father and son the person must be the same body. but if so, then Justin you and your father are one. – though the bible teaches that the father and son are one the same way the followers are to be one. not one in physcial body. but one in purpose and faith.

        so many people don’t understand that there is only one God. just as there is only one US Government. there are many branches in the government. just as there are more than one branch of the heavenly governement called “God” Jesus is divine, he speaks of his father as king, having a kingdom, it is clear that Father is the King and Jesus is the prince. both being royalty and hence “gods” just as there are many people who make up the US Government and yet there is only one. doesn’t need to be complicated we need to use common sense to understand that words have meaning beyond what we might want to apply to them. there are lots of singular plural words that can be used as such an example.

        There is only one human family. well what does that mean? you have to put it in context. does it mean that if I said I have a family and you have a family I must be lying because there is only one family? – no of course not. because we know in our context I would be speaking of a human species and not the sub families we each divide into. so learn the context of the words being used.

        find clues. did Jesus lie? or did he pray to his father? does the bible lie? or did Father send a son? why not just say. For God so loved the world that he came down that who soever believth in him would not perish… why would Jesus beg his father to take this from him. but if not that Jesus would do the will of his father, if it was himself he was praying to and himself whose will he was fullfilling… this not a twist on truth. this is plain and simple truth. Jesus was the SON of God the Father. period. there is only one divine government of heaven aka GOD.

        “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,” – is that not true of humans. don’t our children do only what they see us doing… so then what does that tell us about what the father has been doing in the past?

        common sense, plain and simple thinking. those who come unto christ as a child with plain meekness have ears to hear.

        • Justin

          There were large chunks of text added and countless more changed _from the original manuscript_ in the 1837 edition. Did you look at that link? It’s long but it covers a lot of it in detail. Nobody gives a shit about the grammatical changes. It’s the textual and doctrinal changes that matter. And for that matter, why were D&C “revelations” changed in significant ways years after they were published? It’s all revisionist history. That is such a huge indicator of fraud.

          Anyway, you obviously have your beliefs and want to keep them so discussion is pointless. The moment you study the church’s history with the question, “Is it true?” rather than the conclusion “It is true” there is almost nothing that can stop it from shattering your testimony. As long as the conclusion is beyond question discussion is a waste.

    • Joshua Wellborn

      “first of all the differences are minute..”

      Laughable; the who, when, and why all change in these visions.

      In JS’ 1832 handwritten account he claims that he already came to the conclusion that none of the churches were correct. In the 1838 version he asks the lord which one was right.

      In the some accounts it is just an angel(s) that visit JS, in another its just Jesus, in the official its Jesus/ God. How consistent is that?

      Was he 14 or 15? I don’t know about you but I seem to be able to remember how old I was at a variety of important events in my life.

      • Maryanne Schiller

        Joshua – I want you to write down a dream you had last year. I want you to remember every detail the first time you write it or tell it. and if you think about it and remember more details. well then you must be a liar. and if you tell it to your parents or trusting friend would you give more or less details as you would to a stranger? so of course there are differences. it would naturally depend on who you are talking to and how detailed you felt like getting. also you have to remember who is writing this down. if he tells the story to a stranger in his house who goes home and writes it, as is one of the cases. would that story be as reliable as his own written account?

        yes I agree there is some descrepency as to wether he had already decided the churches were wrong or if god told him that and he hadn’t thought of it yet. but again. this is a human. a man recalling things from years past. it is expected and normal for their to be some slight variations. if there were none. then it would be rehearsed and not truthful. even police investigators know that if a person tells the story the exact same way 4 times, its a lie. everyone sees and remembers things differently and with time, the remembrances change. and it can be very hard to remember what exactly happened, especially when one is trying to remember what they had considered before or after an event.

        how old was he. well if someone says in the 15th year. how old are they? 14 or 15? think about it

        and timing of things can be hard sometimes… I was born in 1980 I started the 10th grade in my 14th year, in 1995 I came to Oregon and entered college. how old was I when I entered the 10th grade or went to college? without stopping to think about it I might say I was 14 when I went to the 10th grade. and I might say I was 16 when I Went to college. was that correct. its close enough for general conversations. but when I am actually going to put some thought into it and do my best to get it right. I would say I was 13 when I entered into the 10th grade still my 14th year. and I was 15 when I started college but only for a short time. JS finally stopped and wrote it down himself making an effort for posterity to make it as correct as he remembered it. and that is the one I think should count.

        • Joshua Wellborn

          This isn’t even worth responding to. Think of some real arguments before you try to dismiss mine with what amounts to ‘JS was really stoopid’.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #8 – polygamy forbidden i that edition…

    its forbidden in all editions. jacob 2:27 – For there shall not any aman among you have save it be bone cwife; and concubines he shall have none; ……..

    but it also says that if God wants to command it, he will –

    Jacob 2:30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up aseed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

    its important to read the whole chapter or subject within a chapter and not cherry pick part out.

    • csteve

      unless of course you run LDSCorp – then you can cherry pick all you want.

    • jeanbodie

      But possibly you and certainly the apologists have been claiming for years that the reason they ‘know’ that Joseph did NOT practice polygamy is that there was no ‘righteous seed raised up’.
      Once the truth was out, the apologists and certainly you Maryanne, fell back on the old Jacob verses. This merely complicates the problem further.
      Did God know that Joseph was not going to produce righteous seed? If so then why command him?
      If God didn’t know, a) he is not God or b) Joseph fibbed about it and should have been jailed for breaking the law of Missouri and Illinois. Polygamy was illegal.

      • Maryanne Schiller

        we don’t deny joseph practiced polygamy. we know he did. and it was prohepsied about in the bible In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace!”

        during the time of JS there were women leaving their families and joining the LDS movement in a time when they could not own land. they needed a man’s name. and certainly many who did practice polygamy did have seed, even if JS did not. it was a necessary thing to do and those women had more rights than the rest of the women of the US. when we left to Utah. it was not a part of the US and so we were not violating any laws and the women could vote, they could hold title to lands. and when the US took over Utah, the women had to give up those rights and had to break up their families to keep from a war. the womens sufferage movement in the US began with the LDS women.

        and as to polygamy being illegal. it was not illegal until 1862 and such laws were entered in to directly to attack the mormons.

        • jeanbodie

          Not so Maryanne Schiller:
          The Illinois Anti-bigamy Law, enacted February 12th, 1833, clearly stated that polygamy was illegal. It reads:

          “Sec 121. Bigamy consists in the having of two wives
          or two husbands at one and the same time, knowing that the former husband or wife is still alive. If any person or persons within this State, being married, or who shall hereafter marry, do at any time marry any person or persons, the former husband or wife being alive, the person so offending shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine,
          not exceeding one thousand dollars, and imprisoned in the penitentiary, not exceeding two years. It shall not be necessary to prove either of the said marriages by the register or certificate thereof, or other record evidence; but the same may be proved by such evidence as is
          admissible to prove a marriage in other cases, and when such second marriage shall have taken place without this state, cohabitation in this state after such second marriage shall be deemed the commission of the crime of bigamy, and the trial in such case may take place in the county
          where such cohabitation shall have occurred.”

          You seem to be speaking of Utah polygamy – Joseph Smith never lived in Utah and he was the orginator of Mormon polygamy and polyandry.

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #9 secret wife alger –

    could not have been so very secret……

    According to George D. Smith, Alger’s relationship with Smith was attested to by several people, including Emma Smith, Warren Parish, Oliver Cowdery, and Heber C. Kimball.[18] Compton cites Mosiah Hancock’s handwritten report of his father Levi’s account of the marriage ceremony of Smith and Alger, and records his father’s account of negotiations between Levi and Smith in procuring their respective wives.

    like the marriage or not… it was not a secret …..

    #10 – a dirty filthy affair –

    The best statement Smith could obtain from Cowdery was an affirmation that Smith had never acknowledged himself to have been guilty of adultery. “That,” wrote Bushman, “was all Joseph wanted: an admission that he had not termed the Alger affair adulterous.” After Smith’s death, when Alger’s brother asked her about her relationship with Smith, she replied, “That is all a matter of my own. And I have nothing to communicate.”[22]

  • Maryanne Schiller

    #12 – kimball

    Fortunately, the plural wife who probably stirs the strongest modern reactions is also perhaps the best documented. Helen Mar Kimball Whitney (1828–96) not only penned reminiscences of her Nauvoo experiences for the Relief Society’s Woman’s Exponent (1880–86), she also authored a candid autobiographical sketch for her family in 1881, published two extended defenses of polygamy, and left a memorable diary of her later years.[5] Her words offer an unmatched view of Nauvoo plural marriage and her own spiritual and emotional path,

    Adding to her bewilderment, not long thereafter she learned from her father that her close friend Sarah Ann Whitney had been sealed to the Prophet months before.

    Readers concerned about whether or not the marriage was consummated are left without conclusive evidence for or against. In all her reminiscing, Helen neither confirmed nor denied a physical relationship.

    her reminiscences convey little social interaction with Joseph Smith after the marriage, let alone an intimate physical relationship. In a retrospective poem written to convey her feelings about her youthful sealing, Helen described nothing of a close bond—she even wrote that the “step” she took was “for eternity alone,” convincing some historians that the marriage was unconsummated.

    I do believe that there were spiritual only marriages with JS like this one, and others were not. it was something they all struggled with at the time, it was new, like with the rest of the church…

    I for one am not against polygamy. so all of these polygamy questions do not really bother me. again you need to look at the whole history. why was polygamy necessary in that day. even if it is a sin and a big error of the day (which I don’t belive, but let suppose) did not Adam the prophet fall from the presence of God and sin against the first commandment… did not moses murder, and be prideful in smiting the rock? does not Paul teach in the bible that women should not talk in church… all christian prophets have made mistakes. and some of them are huge mistakes. even if this were a mistake made by Joseph Smith. it does not change the truth of the book of Mormon. or the eternal nature of the sealings in the temple or the need for the endowment.

    there are too many to answer at one go.. but I will keep working on it… though most of your answers can be easily found at the enfair wiki. the church history books, and simple common sense.

    • csteve

      why is it ok just because “oh btw, Helen’s father proposed the marriage”??
      SO WHAT? That doesn’t make it ok or absolve Smith. As well, the quote you provided even points out that the Prophet (Joseph Smith) told Helen how these events unfolded.
      You think her father just came up with the idea? Give me a break…
      Why was the “marriage” necessary at all? Newsflash – it absolutely was not. It was wrong then and would be wrong now, you cannot justify it in any way whatsoever.

      In total, 13 faithful Latter-day Saint women who were married to Joseph Smith swore court affidavits that they had sexual relations with him. There is more evidence to suggest that Joseph Smith had sex with his wives than there is that he saw God and Jesus in 1820.

      Common sense indeed.

      • Maryanne Schiller

        I never said he didn’t have relations with any of his multiple wives.. his having relations good or bad does not negate his prophethood. even IF, IF IF IF he was a sinner in having multiple wives… how many poor choices have biblical prophets made? his marrying multiple wives was prophesied Isiah 4:1 1For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach!”

        there is no evidence that anyone ever saw God, only personal testimonies…

        why was it necessary.. in this world it was not. but you do not have an eternal perspective. you see only through a little peephole and deem yourself more wise than one who has seen the whole picture. through the theology of LDS eternal marriage, one who is married in the temple is guaranteed a celestial glory. its normal for people to want to be attached to what in their minds is greatness, and that is part of why she accepted… she had choice she could have said no. but she didn’t. she agreed to it. sure she had her whole life ahead of her to find a righteous husband.. but even today often women do not find acceptable righteous husbands. and in those days there were fewer men than women in the church. hence the need for polygamy in general. and why men were not all upset about it. if there were equal numbers it would not have worked so well.

        it was NOT wrong in those days to be a 28 yr old man and marry a 14 yr old girl… legal marrying age even today is only 12 in several states. it wasn’t that long ago that Jerry lee lewis married his 13 yr old cousin while he was only 40 or so… and americans didn’t have a problem with it… just because you don’t think the marriage was a good idea… it was not your choice to be making it was ok with the parents, and the people involved in the marriage… seems to me that its ok today to want to marry whomever you want… and its wrong to judge them, but its still ok to judge past relationships you had nothing to do with…

        polygamy may be beyond your understanding. you may consider it to be wrong or bad.. but there are still plenty of countries that allow polygamy. it may come back to America. plenty of women today would be ok with it. I would be.

        • Malachi

          Plenty of women today would be okay with it? That seems to be a preposterous claim. What are you basing that on? Most women I’ve talked about polygamy with (including many active believing members) are absolutely disgusted by the idea, regardless of whether it was sanctioned by God or not.

          Take a look at modern polygamous communities in the U.S. Everything I’ve read about them has painted a pretty horrific picture of the way they function and what many of the women go through, and it is really hard for me to believe that it is desirable in any way.

          You know, Emma Smith wasn’t too keen on polygamy.

          • Maryanne Schiller

            I base it on the many women in america who do practice again church policy. see sister wives. I base it on my own views. and those of other faiths. I know emma was not keen on polygamy it would be a hard thing to have thrown at you if you didn’t already agree with it. the sickness of the cult groups which force women to do, and prevent outside influence, who rape children. this is not the same thing. look into the journals of the wives in Utah during BY’s leadership. they were happy women. who had rights, who voted. who had families they loved. and a community of friendship. you won’t find LDS journals of women who lived in those days describe anything like what you imagine today.

        • Tom Marsh

          Without realizing it, you have just defended Warren Jeffs. Put yourself and/or your hypothetical daughter in the shoes of the young girls JS coerced into bed… if you still can’t find your way to reality, you are suffering the most severe cognitive dissonance and there is no help for you. If the Polygamy switch were suddenly, by “revelation”, turned back on, would you sign off on your daughters marrying your regional rep in the quorum of the seventy?

          • Maryanne Schiller

            no one was coerced into bed with someone. they were married off. and in those days women were marrying age at 13. and in some states still are able to be married at 14. you are judging a group by today’s standards if you are to do that, then you must not be christian at all and must condemn the entire bible. and therefore God. while I will have a hard time when my daughter is married. its not the age that will make it hard. if it were societies way that 13yr olds were being married off still instead of 18 then I would be proud of my daughter to find a suitable husband. she is a good girl and will make a great mom and wife one day. and if polygamy is reinstated one day. and is the choice she makes I will be happy for her, if she is happy…

            right now we say a man should be able to do what he wants to be happy. go marry a man if your a man. dress like a woman, chop your pedo off and become a woman. whatever makes you happy. and that right now is socially acceptable. it was not at all just a few years ago. and people who felt against it are now called bigots. is it not the same for those who want to have polygamous marriage? I would share my husband with another woman if 1 it made him happy, 2 we got along, and 3 she helped in the chores etc. for most of the history of humans families consisted of multiple women raising the families. either they were aunts grandmas concubines, or wives. and now women are expected to do it all and all by themselves. I think they are nuts

          • Jordan Hansen

            Whats a pedo?

  • Gregory Bowen

    My attempt at answers:

    1. No one knows. Perhaps it was a failure of memory, as the mind is well known to add in details to our memories as we retrieve them. It may have been unconscious embellishment in the retellings. Or he may have consciously felt the need to make the experience seem more impressive, or to reinforce his position at the time of retelling.
    2. Maybe it didn’t actually happen, and he just made it up later. Or maybe it didn’t seem that important at the time (especially if it was something like his original account, where it was mainly just a personal forgiveness of sins rather than a full-on prophetic calling).
    3. Probably because that one includes all the details that best reinforce Joseph’s role and calling as prophet of the restoration.
    4. Well, it would have seemed pretty silly to mention them being included with the plates for the purpose of translating them if he didn’t actually use them, wouldn’t it? And I understand he is supposed to have used
    them some at first, before falling back on his trusty stone.
    5. Probably not very trustworthy. But then, neither are modern mediums, or horoscopes. Plenty of people are willing to trust untrustworthy things.
    6. Because not everyone was into the more superstitious side of folk religion, and some of his neighbors must have thought Joseph’s intent was to defraud.
    7. I presume Emma was wrong. Either she misunderstood the process, or she was lied to. Joseph certainly didn’t consider the original text sacrosanct.
    8. Polygamy was not compatible with the moral views of the time, and would have gotten Joseph in trouble with his neighbors. Also, it was condemned in his earlier Book of Mormon revelation. On the other hand, sexual urges are hard to resist, especially when one’s position provides so much opportunity. A little cognitive dissonance and/or hypocrisy is ample explanation.
    9. Because the power of boners is strong.
    10. Because Oliver’s sense of morality was stronger than his affection for Joseph.
    11. See #9.
    12. See #9.
    13. See #9.
    14. See #9.
    15. See #8.
    16. Probably hubris. Also, see #8.
    17. See #2.
    18. Because it’s easy to provide miraculous translations of texts in languages no one understands, since no one can check your work. Joseph was deceived into thinking the plates were an actual ancient record (which probably didn’t take much), and saw an opportunity. He was a little too gullible to think he might be getting conned.
    19. Because he was in desperate need of money, but unfortunately for him, the book wasn’t of any value to the publishers who could have bought it from him.
    20. Hubris.
    21. Because John Taylor claimed he said as much, and because it makes his martyrdom seem more like a martyrdom (and reinforces the desired parallels with Jesus).
    22. Perhaps they were misreported or misunderstood. Or perhaps he hoped there were masons among the mob, who might decide to help him in the end. People can make desperate decisions when faced with imminent death, and a slim chance of help is better than none.
    23. No, we probably shouldn’t.
    24. He probably hadn’t got all the details of the story worked out the first time around, and needed to retcon a few things.
    25. Probably because the temperance movement continued to gain steam nationally following Joseph’s life, culminating in the 18th amendment in 1919.
    26. Possibly a matter of interpretation, possibly a case of simplifying things after the fact, or perhaps attitudes against beer weren’t very strong in Joseph’s day but changed later.
    27. Because we’ve decided to only pay lip service to the parts of the Word of Wisdom that aren’t about drugs, and interpret it essentially as a no-drug manifesto instead of an overall temperance plea.
    28. I think it heard it had to do with Sidney Rigdon’s extreme approach to teetotalling. No need to upset the guy who holds sway over so much of the church membership over such a little thing as that.
    29. I know nothing about that episode, sorry. Perhaps he didn’t want garments to fall into enemies’ hands?
    30. Because the Book of Mormon narrative was based on the Old World cultures of the Bible rather than actual New World history.
    31. See #30.
    32. Because the wars were a story that Joseph told rather than actual history.
    33. Because the migration was a story that Joseph told rather than actual history.
    34. Because the newly-studied genetic information made the previous claim untenable. The change allows a greater retention of credibility.
    35. Because the Book of Mormon text is based on Joseph’s modern reading of the Bible rather than actual history.
    36. Perhaps Joseph had read The Late War and been impressed by its style.
    37. Because Joseph was likely inspired by it to write the Book of Mormon.
    38. Because Joseph was likely impressed by his father’s account and found it an easy plot point to incorporate into the Book of Mormon. This had the added bonus of lending more weight to his father’s visionary experience: the dream was definitely a gift from God, and was even shared with an ancient Jewish prophet!
    39. Because it is based on the modern version of the text available in Joseph’s day rather than on archaic original texts brought to the Americas.
    40. Because the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible postdated the translation of the Book of Mormon, so those passages in the Book of Mormon were already established as canon, and the explanation of wicked men altering plain and precious parts wouldn’t work for the Book of Mormon. Nonetheless, Joseph seems to have considered it important to have an explanation for the apparent inconsistencies in the Bible, even if the result was inconsistencies with the Book of Mormon (perhaps he had forgotten that some of those passages had been copied into the Book of Mormon?).
    41. Because it’s based on the Biblical account rather than actual history.
    42. Because the narrative is based on Joseph’s imagination rather than actual history, and windows were certainly a thing by his time.
    43. Because the church’s uncomfortable relationship with racism had been brought into painful focus not long prior, and it was best to tone down the racist imagery in the Book of Mormon.
    44. Because most white people at the time considered blacks to be of lower station, and the hostility of the church’s Missouri neighbors in particular had encouraged anti-black rhetoric in an attempt at conciliation.
    45. They probably haven’t even thought about that. Ultimately, the important issue for most missionaries probably isn’t whether the arguments they give are sound and valid, but whether they are convincing. Assuming they believe the conclusion to be true, they may be willing to lie or at least bullshit in service to the good cause of conversion.
    46. Because it is incorrect.
    47. Because the story is based on the Biblical narrative rather than actual history.
    48. Because he didn’t have what he had dictated thus far memorized, and would probably have come up with a result that was notably different. If the original translation still existed, it could be compared with the second attempt, and could discredit him. Even if Mrs. Harris had already destroyed the original, some of Joseph’s believing collaborators might have remembered enough to be concerned at noticed differences in the second attempt.
    49. I don’t know about that event. Perhaps he was a big fan of Quaker writings, and saw this as a solid compliment to the veracity of the Book of Mormon?
    50. Because they didn’t see the plates or angel with their physical eyes, just in a shared vision.
    51. Because racism.
    52. See #51.
    53. Because Brigham Young was hardcore. And probably not very inspired.
    54. See #51.
    55. Perhaps it never had the priesthood to begin with. Perhaps Brigham, Heber, John, and Wilford were wrong, and/or just using their prophecies as a means of reinforcing an often unpopular status quo. See #9 also.
    56. Because, as in the formulation of the question itself, it was a doctrine taught by church leaders, not by God. Church leaders changed their minds.
    57. Because Joseph had just been initiated to Masonry, and was very impressed with their secret ceremonies.
    58. I don’t know anything about that episode, sorry. Perhaps it wasn’t there to begin with.
    59. Perhaps a courtroom setting made him afraid of accusations of perjury, where in normal discourse it’s at least easy to at least imply constant revelation.
    60. A rigid policy of maintaining those elements that were increasingly dissonant with the current culture could have had a serious deleterious effect on church membership growth and retention.
    61. They were presumably wrong. See also #60.
    62. It probably seemed like a good way to instill sufficient fear to keep the odd rituals secret.
    63. The documents presumably give an inconsistent or at least uncomfortably nuanced account of church history, while church leaders would prefer to keep church history accounts simple, consistent, and faith-affirming.
    64. Perhaps they worry that if members knew how much money the church took in each year, they would feel less urgency in the payment of their tithing. Or perhaps there is some uncomfortable information in the church’s finances that they would prefer to keep private.
    65. Because paranoia.
    66. You can take in more money that way. Plus it’s a lot easier to keep consistent, since surplus is so dependent on individual members’ spending decisions. If you don’t want to pay so much tithing, you can just convert more of your resources into goods that you’ll use rather than liquid assets, and then justify keeping more.
    67. You can take in more money that way.
    68. Because it’s good to be high in the pecking order. Also, those poor members presumably benefit more from the trial of their faith than those whose faith is already so sure.
    69. Because libertarian ideals can sometimes be very inspiring but not particularly practical.
    70. Perhaps the question of what kind of revelation apostles are supposed to be getting got uncomfortable enough that a lower public standard seemed desirable. Similar to the motivations at play in #59.
    71. They may not be as clever at coming up with convincing explanations. Crowd-sourcing allows a lot more minds to focus on an issue than keeping it within a small set of 15 who are likely accustomed to thinking alike on many issues. Also, it has the benefit of allowing more plausible deniability of an apologist explanation is found wanting. Such cases discredit only the apologist, rather than the institution or the idea of revelation itself.
    72. Probably to General Authorities (and eventually to their heirs).
    73. Probably not.
    74. Probably not.
    75. They probably aren’t.
    76. Good question. Perhaps just an anal-retentive mentality when it comes to record-keeping?
    77. To maintain authority and try to discredit disruptive members who might otherwise harm retention efforts.
    78. It fits the desired myth of church history much better.
    79. Maybe they thought it was true. Or maybe they didn’t care about truth so much, but it at least seemed like a cool idea.
    80. Because most members are willing to disregard many little inconsistencies if it allows their worldview to remain intact. And the rather vague doctrine of leadership fallibility allows a relatively easy combination of having and eating cake. Prophecies that are demonstrably false or old and really weird are indications of their human weakness, while all others are presumed true and are binding on members’ actions.
    81. Because the spiritual witness is really just a predictable emotional response rather than an actual means of communicating with the supernatural world.
    82. Because Joseph was working from the understanding of science available in his time and place, and didn’t have access to knowledge gained in the time since.
    83. Because it provides divine sanction for his claim of succession, which is important since the succession was not at all established, and we need support for our desired origin myth.
    84. Because tradition.
    85. Because uncomfortable content can result from a live speaking situation, and after-the-fact editing better allows enforcing a consistent narrative.
    86. Because some political issues are judged to be particularly important to the Church’s interests, and separation of church and state, whether encouraged by law or by doctrine, is viewed more as a guideline, as they would say in Pirates of the Caribbean.
    87. Who knows. Change of priorities in his thinking, I expect. Ultimately he managed to resolve the two into one, so good for him.
    88. Post-dating prophecies to before they were fulfilled makes them considerably more impressive. It’s easy to prophesy the past, much harder to prophesy the future.
    89. Because they were very convincing forgeries, and Joseph had written enough weird stuff to not make their content sufficiently incredible.
    90. Because of the succession crisis. The quorum’s role changed after Joseph’s death when it took control of the church leadership.
    91. President Hinckley said a lot of doctrinally-questionable but PR-friendly things in his interviews.
    92. Perhaps because so many outside of the church are uncomfortable with the idea of continuing revelation, so it might aid in interfaith relations. Or perhaps as an explanation for why so little continuing revelation is provided to the membership today.
    93. Perhaps because it grants the church leadership more control over members’ lives? Marriage is a very basic social event. If members can’t enter into a socially desirable marriage unless they meet temple worthiness requirements, there’s a lot more motivation to do so.
    94. Probably a status quo issue. Doctrinally, it seems entirely unproblematic and even expected that the priesthood should be extended to women, but ideas of church gender roles have become very deeply ingrained.
    95. For church leadership and faithful members, I doubt there is such a point. I think ultimately it must be up to individual judgment, but the faithful will probably always assert that the doubter jumped the shark before ever reaching such a point. After all, if the message is true, as faithful members generally believe, then the doubts are unjustified, and an honest exploration of the issues should ultimately lead the doubter back into the fold stronger than ever. If the doubter becomes convinced of their doubts, they must have done something wrong.

  • sylvia

    If you are looking to tear something down you will find it. The opposite is true also. In a court of law when you first learn of something you are appalled and sure of something’s fallacy until you hear the other side and you then can make a fair decision and you find out that the thing you thought was so appalling had good reason and was not bad at all.

  • Kevin Henson

    You still have to explain the Book of Mormon. Joseph didn’t write it. Despite all the objections and dust you can throw in the air, you still have to explain it.

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