Mormonism stands or falls on two questions. Was Joseph Smith a genuine prophet of God? Was the revelation he received sent by the Lord Almighty?
The answers are no and no. Joseph Smith was a treasure-seeking fraud. Therefore Mormonism is a grand deception. The tale of how the Book of Mormon came into existence is an elaborate hoax.
According to Smith’s account, and also according to the book’s narrative [i], the Book of Mormon was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as “reformed Egyptian” engraved on golden plates. If the ancient Nephites and Lamanites were in fact Hebrews who settled in America, why then did they refuse to write their stories in their own language? The pagan language of Egypt – Israel’s arch enemy – is chosen as the preferred tongue to chronicle their histories. Strange it is that the ancient “Hebrews” wrote sacred scriptures in “reformed Egyptian” but not in their own language.
In March 1830 Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon after he translated the words from golden plates using magical stones. It is quite amazing that an uneducated man – a former treasure hunter – would be granted the ability to translate “reformed Egyptian” into the linguistic style of King James English prose; yet, it is more astonishing that the Lord would refuse to grant this Mormon prophet the ability to translate the Bible from its original languages.
It is, therefore, not an extraordinary achievement that Smith had translated the “reformed Egyptian” Book of Mormon to the outdated King James English, which, by the way, was not even the colloquial speech of his time [ii] — it is assumed Smith borrowed King James terminology in order to add weight to his own work. It would have been truly remarkable had Smith translated the Hebrew and Greek texts into the so-called “proper translation” he had always yearned for, but never achieved. “Proper translation” is meant to indicate that the Bible would be changed to agree with Joseph Smith’s newly invented religion. But reading the original manuscripts in their given language would have given Smith the credibility and edge he needed, that is to say he would have attained the credentials, such as the Apostle Paul had, to debate the clergy by arguing his points from Hebrew and Greek texts. But Smith cleverly chose to use “reformed Egyptian” to make his claims, a language apparently known only to him. Smith had a fool-proof translation method: he used the bottom of his hat gazing at special stones. If this sounds like demonic activity, it is.
From June 1830 to July 1833, Joseph Smith embarked on his next mission: translate the Bible into English using, ironically, an English King James Bible! Think about this: Smith translated the English Bible into English. Why not use the original languages? Apparently Hebrew and Greek texts were available in New York and other areas he had lived and visited. Smith could have obtained Hebrew and Greek Bibles from the many clergy he encountered during his travels. But Smith was not interested in translation precision. His goal was to distort the Bible by changing its meaning in order to harmonize the Holy Scripture with the false doctrines he was inventing at the time.
Alas! Smith died in a gunfight before he could finish his English-to-English Bible “translation.” Although he considered the Joseph Smith Translation the “branch of his calling,” the Lord had other things in mind for him – such as death! Joseph Smith, inventor of Mormonism, lived by the gun and he died by the gun.
[i] The Book of Mormon / Mormon 9:32: “… And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech…”
[ii] A question that has not been discussed at great length is why Smith would choose King James English instead of American English.