Golden Plates

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A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia article "Golden plates"

Witnesses to the existence of the gold plates

    • What was the character of the witnesses?
      Brief Summary: Critics charge that the witnesses cannot be trusted, or are unreliable, because they were unstable personalities, prone to enthusiasm and exaggeration. Evidence amply demonstrates that the formal witnesses of the Book of Mormon were men of good character and reputation, and were recognized as such by contemporary non-Mormons. (Click here for full article)
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    • Did the Book of Mormon witnesses ever recant?
      Brief Summary: Critics have tried to argue that some or all of the Witnesses recanted concerning their testimony. They were all faithful to their testimonies to the end of their lives, even though many of them had personal disagreements with Joseph Smith that caused them to leave the Church. (Click here for full article)
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    • Did Joseph hypnotize the Book of Mormon witnesses?
      Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Book of Mormon witnesses may have been sincere in their testimony, but were actually the victims of 'hallucination' or 'hypnosis' induced in them by Joseph Smith. The accusation that Joseph Smith was somehow able to hypnotize the witnesses—not individually, but en mass—is simply too preposterous to be true. This accusation vastly overstates the nature of hypnotism and the abilities of those able to practice it. (Click here for full article)
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    • Did God tell David Whitmer to leave the Church?
      Brief Summary: David Whitmer, one of the Book of Mormon's Three Witnesses, said "If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice, then I tell you that in June, 1838, God spake to me again by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to "separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, should it be done unto them." Critics argues that if members accept Whitmer's witness of the Book of Mormon, then they must also accept that God wanted David to repudiate the Church as false. Critics distort the historical record to make it appear that David Whitmer left the Church because he was told to, when it fact he was excommunicated prior to claiming any revelation to do so. The command to leave, if it was a true revelation, involved David's physical safety and not his membership in the Church, which he had already renounced. (Click here for full article)
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    • Eight witnesses
      Brief Summary: Critics have tried to argue that the Eight witnesses only claimed a 'spiritual' or 'visionary' view of the plates, not a literal, physical one. The witnesses left concrete statements regarding the physical nature of the plates. There were others besides the eleven who saw and felt the plates, and testified that they were real. (Click here for full article)
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    • "Eye of Faith" and "Spiritual Eye" statements by Martin Harris
      Brief Summary: Martin Harris frequently told people that he did not see the golden plates and the angel with his natural eyes but rather with “spiritual eyes” or the “eye of faith.” (Click here for full article)
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    • Other Book of Mormon witnesses
      Brief Summary: Are there any other witnesses to the Book of Mormon plates besides the Three and Eight witnesses? (Click here for full article)
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    • Strangite parallels
      Brief Summary: It is claimed that break-off sects like James Strang's produced eyewitnesses of buried records, so Joseph's ability to do so is neither surprising nor persuasive. The Strangite witnesses were not all faithful, and some recanted and described the nature of the fraud perpetuated by Strang. (Click here for full article)
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    • Were the experiences of the witnesses spiritual or literal?
      Brief Summary: Some critics suggest that the witnesses’ encounter with the angel and the plates took place solely in their minds. They claim that witnesses saw the angel in a “vision” and equate “vision” with imagination. (Click here for full article)
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    • Was it true the viewing the gold plates would result in death?
      Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith said that the penalty for viewing the gold plates was death, and that this was just a way for Joseph to hide the fact that the plates didn't actually exist. (Click here for full article)
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    • Oliver Cowdery joined the Methodists after leaving the Church
      Brief Summary: Why did Oliver Cowdery join the Methodists if all other churches had been "condemned of God"? (Click here for full article)
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    • All were "interested" since they followed Joseph Smith
      Brief Summary: It is claimed that because the witnesses are "interested"—i.e., they were members of the Church and believers in Joseph's mission—they are therefore not reliable, since they cannot be "neutral" or "disinterested." (Click here for full article)
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