According to Joseph Smith, inventor of Mormonism (c. 1830), and also according to the book’s narrative, the Book of Mormon was originally written in characters referred to as “reformed Egyptian.” Smith claimed that the last prophet to have a say in the book was Moroni, who buried it in a hill in present-day New York and then returned to earth in 1827 as an angel. The man-turned-angel-of-light then revealed the precise location of the book to Joseph Smith and instructed him to translate and disseminate it as evidence of the restoration of Christ’s true church (Mormonism). Hence, we are asked by the Salt Lake church bosses to believe that there was no Christian church from the time that Jesus established it until eighteen centuries later when Joseph arrived on the scene to rebuild it. According to LDS teaching all non-Mormon churches that existed since the time of Christ were and are churches of Satan.

Joseph Smith dictating the Book of Mormon by reading reflections in a seer stone at the bottom of his hat

Joseph Smith, who had previously made his way in life as a money-digging treasure seeker, had conveniently possessed all the tools of the trade necessary for translating this mysterious writing into language: the very same chocolate-colored egg-shaped “seer stone” that he found years earlier while digging a well for the Chase family. These stones would now come in handy as a translation device.

David Whitmer, who would eventually become a key figure in early Mormonism, described the translation process:

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…. Under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated.

What happened to Smith’s seer stones? They are now in Salt Lake City, in a secret vault in the president’s office of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Access is denied to all but a few high-ranking Mormons. Whether or not these stones are still being used by today’s Mormon president, who like Smith is considered a “Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” remains a mystery.  Perhaps Mitt Romney will have access to the seer stones when he becomes President (stranger things have happened!).

That the Book of Mormon was originally written in reformed Egyptian characters on plates of “ore” by prophets living in the Western Hemisphere from as early as 2600 BC until as late as 421 AD is a preposterous claim, and is therefore impossible to defend. Scholarly reference works on languages do not acknowledge the existence of either a “reformed Egyptian” language or “reformed Egyptian” script as it has been described in Mormon folklore. No archaeological, linguistic, or other evidence of the use of Egyptian writing in ancient America has ever been discovered. Furthermore, reputable scholars have for decades declared that there is no such language as “reformed Egyptian.”

If we (for sake of argument only) grant the Mormons that their religious book was written in so-called “reformed Egyptian” the first question that comes to mind is why the book was not disclosed to, um …., the Egyptians?  Oddly enough, the man-turned-angel-of-light Moroni led an American treasure-seeker to the gold plates. I suppose the case could be made that God used Joseph Smith’s worldly experience as a peep-stone treasure hunter, equipped with all the tools of the trade, to be the most likely or most convenient person, possessing the ideal skills, to disclose the hiding place of the gold plates.  He did, after all, have experience digging for such things.

There exists within Mormon folklore another implicit irony: if we are asked to believe that Joseph Smith was endowed with the skills necessary to translate “reformed Egyptian,” why was he not also gifted by the Almighty to translate the Bible from its original languages (Hebrew and Greek) at the same time? Joseph Smith did attempt to re-translate the Bible, but he had to use an English translation to create, well …, an English translation of the English Bible!

Was the Book of Mormon written with Egyptians in mind?  If so, why are Egyptians unaware of it?

Mormonism is not Christian …



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