A puzzling feature of the description of the gold-colored metal plates, on which the Book of Mormon text was written, was the thickness of the sealed portion. The unsealed plates could be turned like the pages of a book, but the sealed plates were bound together by some means (which was never actually described by witnesses) whereby the individual leaves could not be separated from each other and read. David Whitmer, one of the witnesses privileged to actually see the plates, estimated the sealed portion to constitute about one half of the total number of leaves, while Orson Pratt, who did not personally see the plates but wrote about what eyewitnesses had told him, estimated the sealed portion to be two thirds of the total.1 The overall thickness of the sealed and unsealed portions together was estimated as ranging from four (Martin Harris’ version) to six inches (Orson Pratt’s version).2 The unsealed portion produced what is now 531 pages of text in the Book of Mormon, so presumably, the sealed portion, if translated, would produce approximately that same amount or more.
This short essay suggests a possible explanation for why the sealed portion of the ancient plates was as thick as reported by witnesses, and what other texts might have been contained within that portion in addition to that which is already known.
In most of the articles on this website, I have stressed the point that The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter “LDS,” “Church” or “LDS church”) teaches myriad ideas which run contrary to the unambiguous teachings of the Book of Mormon. Most LDS church members are surprised and/or upset by this assertion and skeptical of its accuracy. But to prove its truth, I urge readers to ask themselves if, during the April 2020 LDS general conference, they noticed any point in any talk where a scripture was quoted by a general authority which was at odds with the version of the same scripture in the Book of Mormon. It absolutely did happen, as we shall see. Continue reading
Introduction and a Word of Caution
I’ve written two previous essays on this website analyzing whether the First Vision account is authentic history, and whether the doctrinal pronouncements contained within it are from the Lord. One of those addressed the historical evidence in depth, while the latter dealt solely with whether it’s doctrinally correct to assume the Lord appears to, and speaks face to face with, us Gentiles living in these latter days. On both occasions when I announced the essays were being posted, I encouraged readers NOT to read them if they believed the Pearl of Great Price’s First Vision account was true and didn’t desire to read material that would threaten that belief. I assumed then, and still assume now, that most readers of this website will be hostile to the assertions of those two essays, and this one. Since I’ve previously delved deeply into the specifics of several of the First Vision’s major evidentiary issues, I won’t repeat that exercise in this shorter essay. However, because I WILL be discussing herein the degree to which I think the Church is misrepresenting the facts of one of those issues, I once again urge readers to not proceed beyond the end of this paragraph if they fall into the category described above. (I’ve provided the link to the previous essays in the next paragraph to prevent you from prematurely linking to them and later regretting it.) I don’t judge you, hostile or not. I was in that category myself until about 27 years ago, and my intentions were just as pure then as they were later when I affirmatively sought to expose myself to ideas and evidence I’d previously avoided. If you believe the First Vision account taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereineafter “the Church”) is true, you should read no further unless you’re willing to risk those beliefs being altered.
Identifying the False Prophet of the Book of Revelation
The phrase “false prophet” is mentioned three times in the Book of Revelation (see 16:13, 19:20 and 20:10). The phrase draws particular attention to itself because its singular form distinguishes it from the plural phrase “false prophets” which Jesus warned against and which is found in six different New Testament passages. Since John himself refers to the “many false prophets” in 1 John 4:1, his use of the singular term in Revelation, preceded by the word “the,” suggests he is referring to one man who is the most famous and dangerous of all false prophets who would threaten Christianity. John appears to expect the reader will naturally identify one false prophet among many anonymous and generic ones because of the former’s superior notoriety.
My interpretation of certain key verses of Revelation 9 is based on these assumptions: First, John is aware that his audience readers extends beyond the seven churches he names in Chapters 1, 2 and 3. He’s aware that the Lord has chosen him to fulfill the role that the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi prophesied he would fulfill, as I set forth in Part 1 of this essay. He knows that prior to the Millennium, his revelation will be the world’s only available scripture describing Earth’s entire history. Therefore, the events set forth in his narrative won’t be trivial or obscure ones; rather, they’ll be momentous, enormously consequential ones which can be identified after they’ve occurred.
In the latter part of this essay, I will propose that certain words written by John in the ninth chapter of the Book of Revelation refer to Hitler’s rise, Hitler’s conquest of Europe and the Normandy Invasion in which the forces of good combined to liberate the Jewish and Christian world from tyranny and destruction. I’ve never heard anyone express most of the views contained below, but I have heard and read a great number of views reaching different conclusions. For proof of this, one might visit biblehub.com and read the various interpretations of Revelation Chapter 9 from a host of biblical scholars. The uniqueness of my interpretations, and especially the fact that I interpret scriptures the LDS Church has declined to interpret, motivate me to explain why I presume to venture into this doctrinal territory.
I ended Part 1 by quoting a statement from the Old Testament book of Malachi, Chapter 2, verse 3, in which the speaker promises to spread dung (excrement) on the face of those to whom he’s speaking. The quoted words are those of Jehovah himself, and he’s talking to his priests.
I have a long history of loving and hating vulgarity. Like most devout Christians, I’ve been disgusted at how vulgarity now dominates everyday speech, and how our crass, dumbed-down society seems incapable of expressing anything without resorting to it. And many movies, plays and TV shows with compelling stories and acting are made unwatchable by writers whose profanity-laced dialogues are harder to endure than a long swim in a cesspool.
But perhaps I’m as devout a hypocrite as I am a Christian, and because of that, I also enjoy some forms of vulgarity. Continue reading
In recent essays on this website, I have discussed two critical Book of Mormon scriptures (2 Nephi 4 and Jacob 2 and 3). The exegesis of those verses by the LDS Church (hereafter also referred to as “the Church”) has been woefully inadequate and misleading. I’ve hypothesized that these two scriptures contain troubling messages which contradict current LDS teachings, thus motivating the Church to ignore, downplay, confuse or misrepresent their messages. In this short essay, however, I will discuss a scriptural passage that’s not only extremely important to all students of the Bible and/or the Book of Mormon, but should be crowned the most overlooked scripture in the entire LDS canon. It’s 3 Nephi 15:22-23 (when considered in connection with 3 Nephi 16:4).
Before proceeding any further, I encourage readers to read 3 Nephi 15:22-23 in context from the excerpt following this paragraph and ask themselves two questions: First, do you remember ever in your lifetime hearing any lesson in Sunday School, Relief Society, Priesthood meeting, seminary, Institute or college religion classes, or any talk in general conference, stake conference or sacrament meeting which discussed these two verses? Continue reading
In Part 1 of this essay I included the excerpt below from the LDS Church’s Teacher Manual for seminary (i.e., high school aged) students. This excerpt is taken from the Book of Mormon lesson wherein the content of Jacob 2 and 3 is addressed. Readers may wonder why I didn’t include material from the lesson covering Jacob 2 and 3 in the Church’s Book of Mormon Teacher Manual for Institute (i.e., college aged) students. (I truly do hope readers wondered that. It would mean the reader is intellectually engaged in the discussion of this topic, for one thing, and that question naturally inheres in a discussion about how the LDS Church teaches difficult subjects. But in this case, the question also leads to a very interesting answer.) Continue reading