(A Discussion of the text by B. Mildred Smith)
When one is considering material designed to save one’s soul, he/she expects it to be accurate in at least most of its information. In this material, I find that is not the case. In this text inaccuracies and untruths prevail In spite of the fact that in many cases truth is readily available.
With the proper selection of “evidence” from publications of their respective times, anyone can easily prove that the Kirtland Temple was burned to the ground on the day it was dedicated or that Thomas E. Dewey was elected President of the United States in 1948. It is this type of selective “evidence” that makes all quackery hard to refute whether related to health of body, mind or spirit.
I agree that the author must have been a member of a cult from 1966 until she removed herself from following a false leader; but that cult was not the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I am also very much aware that sincere people, such as Carol Hodges Hansen appears to have been, often give heed to deceiving and seducing spirits, as she declares she did while a member of the cult. Unfortunately, she may still be doing it if the untruths in this book are representative of her true convictions.
Paul warned us (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) that before Christ’s return, Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause,” Paul continues, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
This author gives a skewed and inaccurate brief history of the church, but I pass that by as attributable to ignorance of the facts and proceed to answer some of the questions she raises.
Some Answers to Questions Asked in the Text
P.17-19 - Whether the revival described by Joseph actually took place is disputed by Ms. Hansen. For support for her disputation, she refers her readers to two sources. One is a study made by a Presbyterian historian named Wesley Walters who made a study of the records of several denominations in Palmyra and concluded there was no great revival there in 1820. It is of interest to note that the Smith family was living in Manchester in 1820 (RLDS Church History Vol. 1: p. 6), and the revival Joseph described occurred in the vicinity of Manchester, not Palmyra.
Her second reference is the Messenger and Advocate, Vol.1, p. 92, which she gives when she returns to the subject in question 28. In it she claims that a Rev. Lane and Rev. Stockton, who were reported to have been involved in a revival in which Joseph Smith was interested, were not assigned to the Palmyra area until 1824. Therefore, she says, the claim that they were involved in the revival of 1820 was not valid. The reference, however, does not support her contention! Rev. Stockton is not even mentioned in the article and Rev. Lane is said to have visited the area, not having been assigned there. As previously noted, however, the revival was in the vicinity of Manchester, not Palmyra.
Whether the Smiths were in Manchester in 1820 is disputed, apparently because there are no tax and assessment records concerning them until 1822. I understand there would be no such record unless and until the Smiths had purchased their farm. Ms. Hansen declares that since Joseph said his “grove experience” occurred two years after moving to Manchester, that would have to make it and the revival occurring in 1824. Joseph said they happened in his 15th year. That would be sometime in or near 1820.
However, when Joseph Smith’s own story is consulted, it is apparent that the only firm dates given are the dates of his birth on December 23,1805, the date of the visit of the angel Moroni on September 21,1823, the date on which he was allowed to take the plates and the accompanying artifacts, September 22, 1827 and April 6, 1830, the date on which the church was organized. All other dates are given as approximations. These firm dates are the significant ones to be considered.
Page19 continued on page 22 presents a good example of the deception Ms. Hansen perpetrates, perhaps inadvertently, on her readers. Under the topic, “Occult Connection” she announces that Joseph was “well known in his community for his magic arts and divinations. He claimed he could find buried treasures through the use of a “peep stone” which he would put in a hat and then look into it. He thus became known as a glass looker or money digger (RLDS Church History, Vol. 1: Ch. 2, p.17) ... .” She then proceeds to declare that Emma confirms that Joseph used “peep stones” with which to translate the Book of Mormon.
The obvious intent of this statement is to convince the reader that the RLDS Church History validates her assertion of Joseph’s connection with “magic arts and divinations and “peep stones””. What the reference actually does is to refute that claim. In the Church History, Joseph is explaining that he, with others, was hired by Josiah Stoal to dig for a purported silvermine. When they were unsuccessful, he writes, “Finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.”
The propaganda technique Ms. Hansen uses here is one of the oldest such tricks ever invented. An author cites a valid reference as supporting his/her statements but he/she does not expect the reader ever to check on the reference given. When the reference is consulted, a very different story comes to light.
There is absolutely nothing in the “Church History” citation about Joseph’s “magic arts” or “divinations” or “peep stones”. Instead, there is an explanation of how one of the false accusations came into being. Rather than confirming Ms. Hansen’s claims, the reference refutes them.
While the prophet’s wife’s statement concerning the use of a stone in translating the Book of Mormon may be correct, there is no valid evidence that the stone was other than the Urim and Thummim with which Joseph said he did translate the work. (See Delbert D. Smith, How The Plates of the Book of Mormon Were Translated, Paragon Publications, Mt. Ayr, IA 50584, 1996. Also available from the School of the Saints, Price Publishing or the Book of Mormon Foundation, Independence, Mo.)
Page 23 contains another flagrant effort to deceive by means of the same propaganda method just described. A church history reference is given in which Joseph relates an experience in which he was arrested “on charge of being a disorderly person; of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, etc. etc.”. In an effort to turn the court against him, he says, the prosecutor brought up the story that he had been a “money digger”. A Mr. Reed and Mr. Davidson spoke on Joseph’s behalf and he was judged innocent.
As soon as he was released, the constable of another county arrested him, and he was forced to again undergo trial. Again the “money digger” story was not a part of the charge but was brought up in an effort to prejudice the court. Again Mr. Reed and Mr. Davidson defended him and again he was acquitted. In each of the two cases cited, the arresting constable ended up protecting Joseph from the mob that had incited the arrest.
Ms. Hansen then says positively, “This account proved to be false.” To substantiate her assertion, she puts into evidence a copy of some court document that is supposed to refute the story. When one studies the court document, however, one discovers that it does not qualify as evidence. First, Hansen’s document predates the church history event. The Church History reference given is to events that occurred in 1830. This date is very well established by the fact that Emma Smith was baptized on a Monday morning during the ordeal being described. The church was not organized until April 6, 1830, and Emma was not baptized until after the church was organized. The court document that was supposed to show Joseph’s report is untrue is dated March 20, 1826. That is four years earlier than the event described in church history. It is more than a year prior to Joseph even possessing the plates for the Book of Mormon and more than four years earlier than the organization of the church !
Interestingly, the court of record is identified by Ms. Hansen as that of Justice Albert Neely. In the church history reference she hopes to discredit, however, Mr. Joseph Reed, one of Joseph’s defenders (never a member of the church) testified that it was Mr. Joseph Chamberlain who was the justice of the peace who heard that case. (See RLDS Church History, Vol. 1, pp. 101-102). That Joseph was exonerated is verified by Mr. Reed’s later testimony. The gentleman is recorded as having recounted the events saying of the first trial, “Yes sir, let me say to you that not one blemish nor spot was found against his character. He came from that trial, notwithstanding the mighty efforts that were made to convict him of crime by his vigilant persecutors, with his character unstained by even the appearance of guilt.” Of the second he said “There was not one particle of testimony against the prisoner. No sir, he came out like the three children from the fiery furnace without the smell of fire on his garments.” (Read the entire story from Church History, Vol.1, pp. 94-103.) There is no connection between the real event recorded in church history and attested to by at least two witnesses and the questionable event of at least four years previous.
There is no evidence the court document which Ms. Hansen shows had any relationship at any time with the Joseph Smith, Jr. who translated the Book of Mormon . There is no location for the court shown. It could be a document from anywhere. There are and have been many Joseph Smiths in the world. The one in question could be any of them. Still, Ms. Hansen blatantly declares that the statement of the prophet was proved false by her selected court document. What a travesty on truth!
Page 23 - The reference given from the Book of Commandments concerning Oliver’s blessing cannot be verified in the Doctrine and Covenants. The publication of the Book of Commandments was interrupted by the destruction of the printing press on which it was being printed, and its publication was never completed. The revelations that were to have been contained in it, however, were compared with the originals, corrected and printed in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Of the errors in the part of the Book of Commandments that was printed, Oliver Cowdery wrote in the Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, p.16, “On the revelations we merely say, that we were not a little surprised to find the previous print so different from the original.---- it was our unceasing endeavor to have them correspond with the copy furnished us. We believe they are now correct*. If not in every word, at least in principle.” (*Correct as printed in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants - See a letter from historian Heman C. Smith. Saints’ Herald, May 8,1907. ) The revelation under discussion, as given to Oliver Cowdery and recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 8 does not mention a “rod”. It emphasizes the gift of and necessity of exercising faith.
Page 25 - Of the talisman that someone is supposed to have said Joseph Smith had at his death, I have no information. Judging from the misinformation that Ms. Hansen has deduced from other references, there is no justification for giving this tale any credence. Even if there might be an affidavit from Emma Smith’s foster son concerning some subject, in view of Ms. Hansen’s documented misrepresentations noted previously, her insertion of the word (talisman) cannot be considered an accurate representation of the subject of the affidavit.
Even if there was such an object in Joseph’s possession, would that prove that Joseph was involved in the occult? A talisman is simply an object that some (not necessarily the owners) believe gives protection or supernatural powers to its possessor. How many of you have carried a rabbit’s foot on your key chain? Did that mean that you were involved in the occult? How many St. Christopher medals are being worn by perfectly wonderful, God fearing people in the world today? We have a Hawaiian tiki on the shelf of our study. Does that mean that we worship those old Hawaiian gods? Actually it means just the opposite. If we felt the object had any supernatural powers at all, we would be afraid to have it in our study!
Page 25 - The statement that “The RLDS church is a breeding ground for extremist groups, because of its roots in occultism.” is libelous. It would be interesting to see the subject in court!
Page 25 - The Book of Abraham has never been considered scripture by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and there is no reliable evidence that Joseph Smith considered it so. It contradicts all of the scriptures for which Joseph Smith was responsible in the Inspired Version of the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon. Whoever wrote in the Latter Day Saint Millennial Star in 1842 that it was translated by the use of the Urim and Thummim had to be mistaken. The Urim and Thummim were returned to the heavenly messenger along with the plates when the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed in 1829. (See Times and Seasons, Vol. 13, p 772). The papyrus from which the Book of Abraham originated was not acquired until 1835, some six years after Joseph no longer had the Urim and Thummim available.
To the question of why Joseph Smith did not correct the statement if it was not true, one can easily understand that in 1842 Joseph Smith had more important things to do than to try to correct an error that may have been inadvertent in a publication that was very far from home. The Millennial Star was published in England. See the discussion of the unreliability of its published materials in the discussion of the introduction of the idea of plural gods.
Page 28-33- Ms. Hansen pronounces a number of Joseph Smith’s prophecies to be false:
1. The 1832 prophecy of a temple to be built in “this generation” is judged to be false because, again, she has erroneously inserted the word “Independence” into the text. Even the introduction to Section 83, in which it is now contained, informs the reader that the prophecy was given in Kirtland, Ohio. The Kirtland Temple was built and dedicated in about four years following the prophecy.
2. The prophecy concerning the Nauvoo House was contained in section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants. That section was removed from the body of the Doctrine and Covenants by action of the RLDS World Conference of 1970. However, the Nauvoo House still stands, it is still owned by the church and is still used to house and feed strangers. Just try to reserve a spot there next summer if you want to find out how busy a place it is!
3. Ms. Hansen finds a false prophecy in David Whitmer’s An Address to All Believers in Christ, Pages 30-31. In my copy of that work there is a portion of a quotation from the Book of Mormon, (3 Nephi 9:58 to 10:8; Ether 2:3-5; 3 Nephi 14:1-3.), that begins on page 29 and finishes on page 33. There is no “false prophecy” that Ms. Hansen professes to have found there.
4. I do not have access to The Millennial Star to check an alleged prophecy there. If, however, the reference proves to be as inaccurate as others have been, there is nothing there to concern us.
5. The Civil War prophecy is open to various interpretations. It is certain that there was a war between the states that began with the rebellion of South Carolina, that slavery became an issue, that many slaves did participate as soldiers and that war resulted in the death of many souls. If the “Boston Daily Advertiser” predicted that it would begin immediately after December 10, 1832, it was certainly mistaken by some twenty eight years. Joseph did not make that mistake.
Page 32 - Ms. Hansen states unequivocally that paragraphs 2 and 3 of the “Civil War Prophecy”, quote, “did not materialize. England did not become involved in war against the United States.”
Apparently Ms. Hansen did not consult a history of that war before making that statement. The Encyclopedia Americana, International Edition, 1992 tells a different story. Not only did Great Britain become involved in that war, but United States claims against her for her assistance to the South resulted in negotiations that were not settled until 1872 when Great Britain was instructed by a tribunal of arbitration to pay the USA fifteen million five hundred thousand dollars in indemnity.
Great Britain’s efforts, along with those of France, to get the Confederacy declared an independent nation as early as 1862, her protests of Northern activity on the high seas, and other matters make for interesting reading in Volume 6 of the above named encyclopedia. Even some of her troops accompanied those of France and Spain as they entered Mexico during this period of time. Canada, also a part of the British Empire, perpetrated wartime activities against the North. Only the settlement of claims against Great Britain prevented the USA asking Canada to pay claims against them for those activities.
It is true, also, that there have been two “world wars” since that date and, according to former President Carter, there are more than thirty wars in progress at this time with continual threats of more to break out at any time. We know that there has been famine that would have killed many more than it did if Herbert Hoover had not headed up a rescue operation that saved millions of lives. We know there is still famine in many lands of which many are dying today. We know that the plague of the flu that swept the world during 1918 killed millions. We know that the plague of AIDS is presently killing millions throughout the world and threatening millions more.
There is no reason to believe that the prophecy should have been completely fulfilled by now. Those who judge that it has failed because it has not yet fully come to pass, just do not understand the nature of prophecy! There are Biblical prophecies of centuries ago that are yet to be fulfilled.
6. The “Reed Peck Manuscript”, whatever it may be, has no validity as scripture. No supposed prophecy it contains can be given any credence at all.
Ms. Hansen says, “Joseph Smith clearly did not pass the Biblical test of a prophet. --- He was assassinated in June of 1844”. Surely the violent death of a man at the hands of his accusers does not show him to be a false prophet. Jesus Christ, the greatest prophet that has ever lived, even the Son of God who was God, was also assassinated, as were Peter (to be crucified upside down, was his request), Stephen stoned to death, John the Baptist beheaded, and others.
Pages 34-41 contain forty three questions which Ms. Hansen calls “Some Provocative Questions Every Person Should Consider Before Accepting Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God”. Here are some sincere answers to most of those questions.
1. The statements that Joseph Smith made concerning his first vision were not contradictory. They varied in detail just as any one will emphasize different parts of their story as they meet different time constraints, different audiences with varying interests, etc. The statements of others are only hearsay and of no consequence in determining the truth.
2. Ms. Hansen cites two issues of the “Amboy Journal” of 1879 as evidence that Joseph Smith tried “to join the Methodist church in 1828”.
The report of a newspaper 35 years after any person’s death and fifty one years after the supposed event could hardly qualify as evidence of any person’s actions, let alone of their intent. Joseph Smith did say that he felt some desire to join the Methodists in his fifteenth year, before he had his first vision. The erroneous report cited by Ms. Hansen may have had its genesis from that statement, but she offers no evidence but that of a newspaper’s account fifty-one years after the supposed event, and thirty five years after Joseph’s death. What credence do you want given to a newspaper account of your present thoughts fifty years from now and after you have been dead for thirty five years?
3. Why did a part of Joseph Smith’s family remain active in the Presbyterian church until 1828?
Joseph Smith’s family had no church, other than the one of which they had been a part until after 1828. The church in which Joseph had a part was not organized until 1830. The family, therefore, had no opportunity to participate as members in any church other than the one to which they belonged until after 1828. If they stopped their participation in the Presbyterian church in 1828, that may have some connection with their new found beliefs. Their belief in his work has abundant evidence in historical records, but such belief or disbelief would not validate or discredit his experience.
4. Why were changes made in the Book of Mormon after its translation was declared correct by an angel?
The Book of Mormon translation was correct. The hand written manuscript, however, had to have punctuation marks, sentence divisions, paragraphing, etc. inserted. Most of this was done by the printer. There were also inadvertent omissions, spelling errors, typographical errors that had to be corrected. This is typical of all printed materials, especially of those copied from works handwritten from dictation. Most of the changes in the second edition of the book were grammatical and stylistic, according to Richard Howard. (See Richard P. Howard, Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development, Herald House, 1969, pp 41-52 as reproduced as Resource 7 of Temple School course SS200B.)
5. Why weren’t the three witnesses shown the plates instead of being shown them only in “vision?
The three witnesses did not say they saw them in “vision”, as Ms. Hansen declares. They said they actually saw the plates. The three Witnesses testified “---that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon, ---; and it is marvelous in our eyes, ----”.
Why does the author concern herself only with the testimony of the three witnesses to whom the plates of the Book of Mormon were shown by an angel? If she wants to be truthful, why doesn’t she call attention to the experience of the eight witnesses to the Book of Mormon who did see with their eyes, and handle with their hands every plate that had been translated. They bear witness that “---said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken.---”. The testimony of the three witnesses and the testimony of the eight witnesses are both in every Book of Mormon I have ever seen in print. If Ms. Hansen had wanted to tell the truth, why should she have picked out one of them and then give misinformation about it?
6. Ms. Hansen questions how the Urim and Thummim could have been in the Americas while they were still in use in the Jerusalem in 458 BC.
The Bible record does not support the idea that the Urim and Thummim were being used in Jerusalem in 458 BC, and Ms. Hansen gives no evidence that they were. The last Biblical reference to even the possibility of their being in use was back more than one thousand years before Christ when there was no answer to Saul’s dilemma by any means, even “by Urim” (1 Samuel 28:6). Ezra 2:63 and Nehemiah 7:65 both record that at about 445-444 BC certain holy things should not be eaten until “there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim.” There is no mention in the Scripture that such a priest was ever found.
7. Ms. Hansen says that the Urim and Thummim were only to be used for making decisions, not for translating languages.
Anyone who has ever translated knows that such a task is replete with decision making! The Hebrew meaning of Urim is light, and the meaning of Thummim is an emblem of complete truth, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. There is no evidence that they were designed just for making decisions about people. The instruction to Aaron was to use them in judgment.
8. Ether’s story of Shiz rising on his hands after his head was cut off gives Ms. Hansen reason to doubt the Book of Mormon.
Have you ever seen a chicken that has just had its head removed? Or a person? The body of an untethered chicken covers a lot of territory before it quits flopping. The one person I know who saw a Japanese guard decapitated by his abused captives during World War Two testified that the body of the decapitated man staggered, much as does the chicken with its head cut off, before it became immobilized. It is well known that victims of the guillotine during the French Revolution had their hands tied behind them so their bodies could not be propelled about after decapitation. Perhaps the effect of decapitation on a body should be researched more fully by the author before the account of Shiz is rejected.
9. A review of the first issue of The True Latter Day Saint’s Herald, page 9 will reveal that the word “polygamy” is not there. Ms. Hansen has again inserted her interpretation of the mind of the author in an apparent effort to make her supposition appear to have been in the text.
Isaac Sheen, Editor of the “Herald”, wrote two very powerful articles showing that polygamy was not the doctrine of the true church. His assertions concerning any possible association Joseph Smith might have had with the doctrine came years after Joseph’s death and were clearly hearsay; but they also represented Joseph as being strongly opposed to the doctrine.
10. Joseph’s report of Moroni returning as an angel causes Ms. Hansen to accuse him of necromancy, which she defines as contact with the spirits of the dead. She says such contact “is strictly forbidden by the Lord”. What of those who, after their graves were opened at the time of the crucifixion, came into the city and were seen by many (Matthew 27:52-53)?
If contact with spirits of the dead is strictly forbidden by the Lord, please explain to me why Jesus took Peter, James and John to the Mount of Transfiguration with him to meet Moses and Elias, as is recorded in Matthew 17:2 and Mark, 9:2. And how did Mary, the Apostles, the disciples on the road to Emmaus and others of the early Saints know that Jesus was alive after his crucifixion?
Actually, necromancy is the art that professes to conjure up and commune with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future. In neither the case on the Mount of Transfiguration nor in Joseph Smith’s bedroom was there any of this sort of black magic or sorcery performed.
11. The author wonders how Joseph Smith could see the face of God and live before he had the Priesthood. Joseph said that he saw the Father and the Son in vision in 1820. There is a difference!
12. Ms. Hansen questions the right of the Book of Mormon peoples to offer burnt offerings. She says only the Levites had that right.
The Bible does not teach that only the tribe of Levi can offer up sacrifices. Abraham was instructed to offer sacrifices long before Levi, or any of his brothers, was born. The tribe of Levi was to assist the Priest in the offering, too, not to carry it out alone.
13. Only Oliver and Joseph know why they did not mention the vision of 1820 in their history of the church.
14. Genesis 11:6 IV does not say that the Lord “confounded all the languages of the earth”, as the author reports. The correct quote is that the Lord “did there confound the language of all the earth.” The correct quote is consistent with Ether account.
15. The question concerns the use of the word “Christian” in the Book of Mormon.
Neither Christ nor his Apostles called the followers of Christ “Christian.” Both in the promised land and in the Holy Land it was the non-believers who dubbed Christ’s followers “Christian”. Christ and his Apostles addressed them as “Saints” only referring to the derisive name applied to them by their enemies as one they should not reject because in its use, they were being persecuted for the Lord’s sake. (See Acts 26:28 for Agrippa’s use of the term and 1 Peter 4:16 for Peter’s consolation of the Saints to whom the appellation was applied.) The Saints of the promised land knew and believed the prophecies of the coming Christ and worshipped him even before his birth. Truly, he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world as is recorded in Revelation 13:8.
16. The question is about the use of a French word in the Book of Mormon.
“Adieu” was used because it was the word most familiar to English speaking people that expressed the thought of the passage, a commendation to the care of God. “Adieu” had been adopted into the English language before the Book of Mormon was translated, as is apparent by consulting the 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. For further elucidation of the subject, see Angela M. Crowell, “Adieu: The Right Word After All”. Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 2, Articles From the Zarahemla Record, 1992, Zarahemla Research Foundation, Independence, Missouri. Incidentally, a lot more French words are used in the French translation of the book!
17. This question concerns baptism for the dead mentioned in some editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Section 110 was removed from the body of the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants because it was not a revelation. It was a letter setting forth speculations on the part of its author. It was never specifically accepted as the word of the Lord by the people of the church. See further discussion of the subject in Russell Ralston, Fundamental Differences or Aleah Koury, The Truth and the Evidence.
18. How could Professor Anthon pronounce the translation of the plates correct if no other people knew the language in which it was written?
Epigraphers now recognize that the characters on the “Anthon transcript” are very similar to one form of ancient Egyptian. Professor Anthon may have recognized some of the characters as such and his pride may have made him declare that the translation was correct. For his real reason, however, your guess is as good as mine.
19. How could Moses have been on the Mount of Transfiguration if murder is an unpardonable sin?
I cannot account for the language of D&C 42:6 in view of the scripture’s clear teaching that the only sin for which there is no forgiveness is the sin against the Holy Ghost. Clearly, there is a difference between deliberately planned murder and accidental killing.
20. This one deals with the death of Joseph Smith. The author questions that he died a martyr because he did not “willingly lay down his life for his beliefs”. He tried to defend himself. She uses an obscure reference to say that he killed in the process.
The definition of a martyr is one who chooses to suffer death rather than to renounce a religious principle or one who makes great sacrifice for a cause or a principle. Joseph Smith did just that! All of the persecution, both social and physical, that he had received because of his beliefs, even the many threats of death, did not cause him to recant his testimony or to vary from his determination to do what he believed the Lord asked him to do.
No one in that Carthage jail gave Joseph the choice to renounce his beliefs and live! He was attacked there by a mob intent on killing him because of his beliefs. He was also in the company of other men for whose lives he felt responsible. The charge that he killed someone in the process, so far as I have been able to determine, is another fabrication. No such claim was made at the time of the altercation nor was there any such charge made by officials involved in the investigation of the murders.
21. Why does the Book of Mormon say that Adam and Eve could not have had children if Adam had not fallen?
Eve had sinned and was banished from the garden. Paul says that Adam was not deceived (1 Tim. 2:14). He made the deliberate choice to follow her example so they would be together. If Eve had been in the garden and Adam outside, they would have had no children!
22. The question concerns the fact that many subjects attributed to Joseph Smith are not included in the Book of Mormon. How can this be if the Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the Gospel?
The fullness of the Gospel is that Christ is the Savior of all of the world and has a plan of salvation that applies to all people. The specifics of that plan are dependent upon the truth in all of the Scriptures. Many of the subjects noted in the question have no place in the plan of salvation or in valid scriptures. Others are valid principles for life but do not determine one’s salvation.
Failure to follow the Word of Wisdom, for example, will not catapult one into hell. It is just what it says it is, a word of wisdom, good counsel about the care and feeding of our bodies, the principles of which are largely known by scientists today but which could only have been known by revelation in 1833.
23. The acceptance of the spurious Joseph Smith blessing was due to the fact that the consideration of the missive was not by prophetic inquiry but by dependence upon the defective scholarship of the church’s history department. That department and its head have left many marks of poor scholarship on the materials they have offered during the past years.
24. This is the perennial question of how Joseph could have run with the heavy plates or how Emma could have moved them about. This estimate given by Ms. Hansen is that they weighed 230 pounds.
Scholarly inquiry has determined that the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated weighed approximately 60 (sixty) pounds, just the weight that those who handled them while they were in Joseph Smith’s possession estimated for them. The documented information may be obtained by consulting the The Master’s Touch II by Mildred Nelson Smith, the chapter titled “A Colossal Error in Mathematics.”. (The book is deposited in the library of the RLDS Temple, Independence, Mo. and at the Book of Mormon Center in Lamoni, Iowa. It is almost out of print, but a few copies may still be purchased from Price Publishing, Independence, Missouri.)
25. A “Reed Peck Manuscript” report of a sermon by Sidney Rigdon, said to have been confirmed in part by Joseph Smith, is quoted to show that the doctrine of blood atonement was taught in Far West.
Any report of what another said about disputed issues is always suspect. Even in our day of electronic recording of speech and action, dramatically differing interpretations are often placed on the same material. The “Reed Peck Manuscript”, whatever that may be, could only be one person’s interpretation of what he may or may not have heard and cannot be used as evidence of a principle that is in direct opposition to all that the speaker who is being reported has written in sacred or secular literature.
26. How could the Brother of Jared have been redeemed from the fall in 2200 BC if, as Ms. Hansen says the Bible states that no one was redeemed until Christ’s blood was shed on the cross. She references Hebrews. 9:24-28.
Christ is “The lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). The idea, all too prevalent in religious circles, that no one was redeemed from the fall until Christ was crucified on the cross comes from a misinterpretation of the Hebrew letter. Actually, the Hebrew letter refers to John’s characterization of the blood of Christ as having been effective for all responsive people since the beginning of time.
27. Does the RLDS church believe that all of Christendom other than the RLDS church is the church of the devil?
The answer is, “NO”.
28. Ms. Hansen claims that a Rev. Lane and Rev. Stockton were not assigned to the Palmyra area until 1824. Therefore the claim that they were involved in the revival of 1820 was not valid.
See page 1, the first question addressed in this response, for the detailed answer to this question. As is usual, her references are not supportive of her contention! The author of one reference researched the wrong town. In the “Messenger and Advocate”,V.1, pg. 92 Rev. Stockton is not even mentioned and Rev. Lane is said to have visited the area, not having been assigned there.
29. The author seems to mistakenly believe that Joseph Smith’s assertion that Adam and Eve lived at Adam-Ondi-Ahman contradicts his recognition of the location of the Garden of Eden in the mid-east.
There is no contradiction. Adam and Eve were evicted from the
Garden of Eden centuries before their deaths. Joseph Smith only said that Adam was at Adam-Ondi-Ahman sometime before his death. There is not even a hint that he thought Adam-Ondi-Ahman was the Garden of Eden.
30. Why do the RLDS not partake of the Lord’s Supper with other Christians?
The Bible teaches that the Lord’s supper should be given only to those who “discern the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:28-30). Others will be condemned by partaking of it. Real ministers for the Christ do not want to bring condemnation upon anyone! (Read also 1 Corinthians chapters 10 and 12.)
31. The question asks why some of the writings of Joseph Smith that she lists are not included in current RLDS scriptures.
The writings of Joseph Smith are not all scripture. Neither are all those listed by the author excluded from RLDS scripture, as she erroneously states.
The Book of Abraham is not scripture. See Aleah G. Koury, The Truth and the Evidence, p. 22-25 for a brief exposition of the book and its history.
The “Book of Moses” is a title that has been given by the Latter-day Saint church (Mormon) to most of the first five books of the Inspired Version of the Bible. They are a very significant part of the RLDS scripture.
The “Lectures on Faith” are not scripture. They were only attached to the Doctrine and Covenants as a convenient way to have them available for study. They are still studied by RLDS members and the good ideas they present are cherished.
Those sections of the Doctrine and Covenants that were placed in the appendix in 1970, and the appendix subsequently removed from the book, incidentally, were not “revelations”. See response to previous questions on the subject.
32. How could a record written in Egyptian help Jewish people preserve their language?
Egyptian was not the language of the people. Egyptian was the language Lehi had been taught that enabled him to read the brass plates giving them the law and much of their personal and ecclesiastical history. (See Mosiah 1:6). It was the language of the learned that continued to be taught for the purpose of keeping certain records.
The original language of the people was Hebrew. When Mormon was completing his record, (Mormon 4:99) he apologized for some problems that there might be with some of the translated language because they had to use a language less familiar to them than the Hebrew because of the necessity of engraving the work on plates. He says, “If the plates had been sufficiently large, we should have written in the Hebrew; ----- If we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfections in our record.”
33. Why are there two names given for the angelic visitor to Joseph?
The error may have been Joseph misspeaking himself, as I am sure you have done if you ever tried to relate a story that was dear to you, or it may have been a misunderstanding on the part of a scribe. I believe that generally Moroni, the name given under inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the revelation recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, has been considered the correct one.
34. A question is raised concerning the church history report of the ordination of the first High Priests. The author contends that it contradicts earlier information.
One only needs to read half a page of the Church History reference she gives to understand the delineation between the office of Elder, already in place, and High Priest, revealed for the first time. Both are of the Melchisedec Priesthood but have different responsibilities. Again the confusion comes from Ms. Hansen’s having inserted the word Melchizedek into the text where it was not and where it does not belong.
35. The question concerns Joseph and others joining the Masons.
In my opinion, it was a terrible mistake for Joseph Smith or any of his successors to embrace Masonry, but they were all men, and men make mistakes. Even Peter made mistakes, several of which drew him reprimands from the Lord himself and at least one of which was called into question by Paul (Galatians 2:11-14). Paul said, “I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.”
36. The use of the word “synagogues” in the Book of Mormon is called into question on the assertion that Jewish synagogues were not developed until after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem.
Both Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible agree that “synagogue” was a good Hebrew word that technically meant the congregation but by extension meant a place of meeting where people met at appointed times and for designated purposes. It was in use by Hebrew peoples for that purpose long before the exile. Psalms 74:8 says “---they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.” The song is attributed to Asaph, whom King David appointed to be in charge of his music. Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible says that Asaph served at about 1040 BC. Lehi and his family left Jerusalem some 400 years later, about 600 BC.
37. The question concerns the loss of “many plain and precious things” from the Scriptures which Ms. Hansen says the Book of Mormon teaches were removed by the Catholic church.
The Book of Mormon does not mention the Catholic church. It speaks of a great and abominable church. Satan had been abroad doing his work long before the Catholic church came into being.
38. Ms. Hansen asks whether the source of the Book of Mormon story of Lehi’s dream was not really an 1811 dream of Joseph’s father.
For the answer to the source of Lehi’s dream, ask God as instructed in Moroni 10:4-5.
39. This question concerns the restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood by Peter, James and John instead of by John and one of the Three Nephites.
God’s ways are past finding out! (Romans 11:33). So far as I know, He has not told us why he used Peter, James and John to restore the Melchisedec Priesthood instead of sending one or more of the surviving Nephites to assist John in conferring that Priesthood on Joseph Smith and others.
40. Ms. Hansen contends that there is no record of any laying on of hands for ordination in the Bible and questions why the RLDS use the ordinance for that purpose.
Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor,Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas were all set before the apostles, “and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” Acts 6:6, King James.
The Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them, and when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands upon them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit departed.” Then follows the description of their missionary journeys. (Acts 13:2-4, King James).
Don’t these instances sound like ordination by the laying on of hands to you? There probably are others. I have not exhausted the search of the Scriptures for them.
41. Ms. Hansen questions the method God used to restore the Aaronic Priesthood.
Again, the ways of the Lord are past finding out. It seems proper that we should be content to let Him determine how His work is to be done. It is interesting, though, that Jesus Christ prophesied that Elias, whom he identified to his Apostles as John the Baptist, would come at a future time “to restore all things”. (Matthew 17:11-13, King James). It was John the Baptist who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood in fulfillment of this prophecy of Jesus Christ.
42. Ms. Hansen wonders why some RLDS believe the name of Quetzalcoatl refers to the Christ when the Aztec religion applies it to one of many pagan gods.
Quetzalcoatl was a term applied to a cultural hero who existed, taught and ministered to the people of Mexico long before the Aztec civilization appeared. Christ appeared in the Americas about 33-34 AD. The Aztec civilization was not developed until about twelve hundred years after Christ came to this land.
The Aztecs did apply the name to their decadent deity and culture hero, but that did not negate the fact that there had not been a real hero who first bore the title. See Diego Riveria’s mural in the Presidential Palace of Mexico City to see the real hero depicted. Riveria painted a “white”, bearded man who taught the people - some dark skinned and some light (white) skinned - all kinds of pertinent life skills, then departed through the sky, promising to return. It was this promise, according to historians, that caused the native Americans to welcome the Spanish conquerors who betrayed them.
43. Ms. Hansen wonders what we would do if a fourteen year old boy appeared at our door with the story Joseph told about his first vision.
Joseph Smith at age fourteen did not go around trying to convince people of his calling. He confided in his father and in the minister of one of the churches. His father believed him and encouraged him to follow the directions of the Lord. The minister deprecated him saying that God did not speak any more and that the experience had come from the devil.
I hope I would be more open than the minister to trying the information, as I have done with that contained in this book. If it proved to be true, I would hope that I would wait on the Lord. If it proved spurious, as the information in this book has proved to be, I would hope I would have the good grace to refuse it and try to help the youth learn the truth. For that reason I have spent many hours researching the questions raised in this publication. I hope the answers will help some, perhaps the author herself, to take a closer look at the false information included and to seek for the truth.
The section on “Non Biblical Source of Authority” uses the same deceptive tactics as the preceding portions of the book. The Inspired Version of the Bible is her first target:
1. The author attempts to prove that there was no spiritual creation before the natural by using 1 Cor. 15:46:
1 Corinthians 15:46, used to negate the Genesis explanation of the creation, is extracted from Paul’s explanation of the difference between Adam and Christ. It has nothing to do with the creation of mankind. If there was no spiritual life before life in the body, how was Christ instrumental in creating the world millennia before his birth?
2. Ms. Hansen accuses the IV as teaching Hindu philosophy by its teaching of a spiritual creation.
Genesis 2:4 and 5 , King James version, records that when the Lord created the earth and the heavens, he created “every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew---”. How was this done if it was not a spiritual creation?
3. The question concerning the assertion that Adam and Eve would not have had children if Adam had not fallen was answered previously. See the answer to question 21. See also Gen. 3:12. Adam emphasizes that the woman whom the Lord had given to be with him gave him the fruit, and he ate. Had he not chosen to eat, as Paul informs us, she would no longer have been with him, and they would have had no children.
4. The assumption that the scripture concerning the priesthood was added to give authority to Joseph Smith’s priesthood system is just that, an assumption adopted to validate Ms. Hansen’s effort to discredit the scripture. There is no factual or scriptural evidence supporting it.
5. Ms. Hansen asserts that Joseph Smith taught that God had a body like man’s and criticizes that teaching.
Genesis 1:26 (King James) has God saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:---” What is meant by “our likeness”? When Christ came to the earth, He was God incarnate. He took on a human body just like all of mankind whom He had made.
When the scriptures speak of God making man male and female after the likeness of His own body, they are speaking of the human body in which Jesus Christ performed His earthly ministry. This is made crystal clear in the experience of the Brother of Jared with the Christ, whom he calls “God of truth”, related in the book of Ether 1:68-81. The encounter closes with the words of Christ, “behold this body , which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee in the spirit, will I appear unto my people in the flesh.”
6. The author says that the Inspired Version equates blackness with wickedness and whiteness with righteousness while the King James version of the Bible makes no such distinction.
Genesis 7:27&30 (Inspired Version) says nothing about blackness representing wickedness. Genesis 4:15-16 of the King James Version says that the Lord “set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him. And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” Both scriptures merely tell us that Cain was separated from the rest of the children of Adam with a mark set upon him for his protection.
7. Ms. Hansen says that the Lord made a covenant with Noah, not with Enoch as the IV states, Genesis 7:57-58.
The assertion that the covenant under consideration was made only with Noah is again a product of Ms. Hansen’s apparent failure to understand the nature of prophecy. Enoch was talking with God in vision and was being shown what was coming on the earth. In that prophetic vision, he saw the destruction of the flood and was appalled. God explained why it had to be, how much grief it gave Him to have to destroy the people because of their wickedness and His determination to yet have a people of righteousness on the earth. It was then that he told Enoch of the covenant that He would make with Noah after the flood. Enoch was given the covenant in prophecy. Noah was given it in the flesh.
8. Ms. Hansen asserts that the Bible teaches that Zion will only be Jerusalem of the Middle East.
When Christ told of His return, He said it would be like the lightening that is seen from the east to the west. All the peoples of the earth will see Him together. (Read all of Matthew 24 and 25.)
Zion of the Bible is often used to designate Jerusalem or a mountain in Jerusalem; but in its larger meaning, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible identifies it as a monumental or guiding pillar (one occupying a central or responsible position), a sign, a title or a waymark (conspicuous solitary place).
I find no place in the King James version of the Bible in which Christ said He would return to Jerusalem. In fact, I find no place in that scripture where He ever even mentions Zion. Joel 3:16 does prophecy that, “The Lord also shall roar out of Zion and utter his voice from Jerusalem: “ indicating that there are two places involved in establishing the whereabouts of Zion.
Micah also verifies the existence of two places involved in the fulfillment of the Lord’s purpose for the earth. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: For the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4:1-2). Isaiah 2:2-3 uses almost the same words but is more specific when he says, “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
What Christ does say is that He will return where His people are gathered together. In fact, he says, He will even send the angels to gather those who have not been able to gather in a place of righteousness to prepare for His coming. It is Matt. 24:31 which reads, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Nothing that Joseph Smith has written about Zion in any way contradicts what the Master said about His coming or what the prophets predict in relation to that event.
9. Ms. Hansen questions the use of the name of Jesus Christ before His birth. She wonders why Noah was baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ in the “Old Covenant”, and wants to know of what Noah was repenting in Gen. 8:11-15. She also asserts that the Holy Spirit was not given until Pentecost.
Again, Christ was “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” Rev. 13:8. If God could tell Isaiah to prophecy that a virgin would conceive and bear a son whose name would be called “Immanuel”(Isaiah 7:14), “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The prince of peace.” (Isa, 9:6) isn’t it reasonable that God could tell Noah by what other name he would be called? God surely knows Greek as well as He knows Hebrew or English.
Noah was not baptized in the “Old Covenant”. It is apparent from many scriptures that the “Old Covenant” was established with Moses long after Noah was dead, only about fifteen centuries before Christ. Paul explains repeatedly that the Mosaic Law was a school master to bring the Israelites to Christ. In Noah’s time, it was the covenant that Jesus Christ made from the beginning that prevailed. It was the disobedience of the people that caused them to abandon that covenant and become subjected to the Law of Moses.
The passage in question clearly says that Noah was sorry that the Lord had made man to live on the earth because they had become so wicked and had put the lives of themselves as well as of Noah and his family in jeopardy.
If the Holy Spirit was not given until the day of Pentecost, what spirit was it that moved upon the face of the earth to create it? Genesis 1:2 says “---And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. “Genesis 31:3 and 35:31 both record that God said, “I have filled him with the Spirit of God ---”. Numbers 11 tells of a time when the spirit rested upon certain men and they prophesied. When Moses was informed of it, he said, among other things, “would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” There are numerous examples throughout the Old Testament of the Lord’s Spirit being active among the children of men.
I have no way of knowing why there is no record of a Pentecostal baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament as we have it. Certainly, as the people lived in wickedness, that Spirit was not bestowed on them in the power needed to fulfill the Lord’s commission. By the time of Christ’s coming, that Spirit was not greatly evidenced in any of the religions of the day; but Christ promised it to those of his followers who would live in The Way, His Way. Peter even identified the spirit by which they preached on Pentecost as the Spirit of God poured out upon them as promised in the prophecies of Joel (Acts 2:16-17).
10. The author questions Genesis 50:26 and 30-33 and interprets it to substitute Joseph Smith’s work for the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The reference given does not contradict the shedding of Jesus’ blood as the source of salvation. It merely says that the work that God will perform at the prophet’s hand will bring the people unto salvation. That work will bring the people to the Christ who is their salvation.
11. Hebrews 6:1 (IV) is brought into question because it says not leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ we should go on to perfection whereas the King James version says, “leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ let us go on unto perfection”.
Does the author propose that one should not continue in faith? Is repentance so elemental that it should not be a part of everyday life? How else can one go on to perfection except by the exercise of faith and the other principles of the Gospel?
12. Ms. Hansen insists that the words appearing in Isaiah 29 in the Inspired Version of the Bible that are not in the King James were inserted by Joseph to justify the Book of Mormon.
Isaiah 29 of the King James Bible describes a book that will tell of a time when Ariel (Jerusalem) will have been brought low with destruction and distress of various kinds, when the “prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed:
“And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, ----I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid”.
When the Lord shall perform this “wonderful work and a wonder” which neither the learned nor the unlearned can perform, when Ariel shall “speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the ground as one speaking from the dust . ----Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field will be esteemed as a forest?
“And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes shall see out of obscurity and darkness. ---”.
It is a well known fact that after centuries of barrenness, the latter rains began to fall on Lebanon sometime during the mid eighteen hundreds, and Lebanon is now a “fruitful field” “esteemed as a forest”. This was to happen, so said the prophet Isaiah, a little while after the book was available by God’s power, even to the deaf and the blind, that “They that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”
Where is the book of which the prophet Isaiah spoke? It is too late for such a book to be found now, for Lebanon has long ago fulfilled its part of the prophecy. Lebanon has become a fruitful field and is esteemed as a forest. That was to happen a little while after the book had been made available by the power of God performing His marvelous work and a wonder, making the words of the book intelligible and available that they who erred might come to understanding and those who murmured might learn doctrine. If the Book of Mormon is not that book, where is the book?
The words that were inserted in the Inspired Version of Isaiah, chapter 29, did not change the message of the text. Those who criticize must still explain what other book tells of a people from Jerusalem that was buried in the ground for centuries, the words of which were not able to be read by either the learned or the unlearned but which book the Lord made available by His mighty power to fulfill His purposes among mankind.
13. Ms. Hansen questions how Joseph Smith justifies the changes in the book of “Revelation” in view of the book’s warning against any man adding to or taking from the words of the book.
The warning of Revelation 22:18 is to any man who shall add to or take away from the things written in the book. God did not say that He could not have the book translated into other languages or have the translation of the book corrected if and when he chooses.
Example one -Rev. 1:1- Why would God have to give a revelation to Jesus Christ when Christ was already returned to the Father and had received again all the power and glory of His first estate with the Father. To say that he still had to have a revelation of what is to come is to deprecate the place of Jesus Christ as God or even as a member of the Godhead. It makes Christ one of God’s servants instead of the God He really is. This misconception of God was corrected through inspiration in the Inspired Version of the Bible.
Example two and three - Rev. 1:5 and 5:6- What is this about Seven Spirits of God? Everywhere else in the Scriptures that I know of, God has only one spirit, that Holy Spirit which enlightens every man who comes into the world and is granted in power to those who believe. There are spirits of men and spirits of the evil one and angels are made spirits, but there is only one Spirit of God. This misconception needed correction, and God caused the correction to be made. Incidentally, John, as a faithful witness, identifies the Christ as the source of his witness, and gives glory to Him.
Example four - Rev. 2:27- Surely the rule of the Lord is not with punishment and coercion. It is with His Word, as Isaiah 11:4 tells us in describing what it will be like when Christ will reign on the earth. The Rod of Iron with which Christ will rule is His Word. Saying it plainly instead of with a Hebraic idiom makes it more clear, at least to us who speak English.
Example five - Rev. 22:18 - It has already been noted that the Lord has the privilege of adding to or correcting the errors man has made in communicating His word as and when He chooses. None of the changes in the book of Revelation introduces material contrary to Christ’s way or teaching. They simply clarify understandings or correct errors.
The Book of Mormon is the second target in the author’s attempt to prove “Non Biblical Source of Authority” in the RLDS faith. There have already been answers to many of the questions now raised by Ms. Hansen concerning this Scripture. Please refer to those previous answers.
Information about the translation of the Book of Mormon may be obtained by reading Delbert D. Smith, How The Plates of The Book of Mormon Were Translated already referenced and available from Price Publishing, The Book of Mormon Foundation, The School of the Saints. In Delbert’s publication you will find evaluations of some of the supposed references and “testimonies” used by Ms. Hansen. To repeat that information would be a waste of time since the publication is available to all those really interested in knowing the truth.
The copy of a letter from the Smithsonian Institution that is included in this publication is not dated. Whether it was written in 1846 when the Institution was first established or at any date since that time cannot be deduced from the information given. Actually it was written in 1982 and could not possibly contain facts concerning the vast number of archeological discoveries since then and up to the present time. If one is sincerely interested in knowing those facts, he/she need only to contact the Book of Mormon Foundation, Zarahemla Research, or the Pre-Columbian Studies Institute (P.O. Box 477), all of Independence, Missouri, to learn that the letter is no longer appropriate.
To further apprise oneself of the truth, one should take a tour of Book of Mormon lands, (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, etc.) with a knowledgeable guide. Pre-Columbian Studies Institute frequently sponsors such tours, and there are independent guides available from time to time. I have taken such a tour more than once and have seen for myself, as well as having heard from local guides in the area, much that confirms the information contained in the Book of Mormon. Anyone who persists in saying such confirmation does not exist is deliberately closing their eyes and ears to the truth.
Many of the objections brought up in page fifty and those pages following in Ms. Hansen’s book have already been addressed. To repeat the answers would be redundant. Anyone who really wants to know the truth must surely by now know that the truth about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon or the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints cannot be found in Ms. Hansen’s book.
There are some new assertions to which I want to respond, however:
Page 60- There is criticism saying the Book of Mormon teaches that Jesus was born at Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. There is an easy answer!
When Lehi and his people left Jerusalem about six hundred BC, their scriptures did not carry the prophecies of Micah which told that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. The only prophecies of place they had was that he would be born “at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers” (Alma 5:19). It was this understanding that caused the Wise Men to go to Jerusalem to inquire where the Christ child had been born. The people of the Americas knew that He would be born in the land from which they had come, but they did not know in what city. You will note that the reference does not say he was born in Jerusalem. It says he was born in the land of Jerusalem, the same country from which their forefathers had come. (See also, B. Mildred Smith, “Who Were the Wise Men”, The Witness, Winter 1990, P. 11-14, available at the Book of Mormon Foundation, Independence, Mo. Presentations are available on request for persons or groups by B. Mildred Smith, 315 Zion’s Ridge, Lamoni, Iowa 50140.)
Page 60 - Ms. Hansen says that III Nephi 4:4 claims “the whole earth became dark for three days at Christ’s crucifixion.” Ms. Hansen must have misread or misunderstood this passage. The passage actually says that the people were looking for the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days, over the face of the land.” (Underscoring in both passages is mine.)
The passage refers only to that which would happen in the land of the Nephites and Lamanites, not the whole earth. Just a few verses past the reference Ms. Hansen gives, III Nephi 4:16-17, is the information that the storm that occurred at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion “did last for about the space of three hours.” It was the aftermath of the storms that caused darkness to prevail over the face of the Book of Mormon lands for three days.
When we lived in Hawaii, there were days following a volcanic eruption that the sun was obscured by flying debris. Our family in Missouri did not experience any of the aftermath of the eruptions. With the violence of the storms in this land during the crucifixion of the Christ, it is not surprising to those of us who have experienced even a comparatively gentle Hawaiian volcanic eruption that there was darkness in the land for an extended period of time. Since those living in the Holy Land did not experience that aftermath, they naturally would not record it.
Page 60 - Response to II Nephi 1:115 concerning Adam’s fall is already given. See answer to question 21. Paul writing to Timothy, 1 Timothy 2:14, says plainly that Adam was not deceived. He deliberately chose to join Eve in eating the forbidden fruit. Had he not done so, Eve would have been outside the garden and Adam inside. In that situation they could not have had children - men, as we know them, would not have been born.
The fact that Adam chose to follow Eve’s example does not mean that he did not sin. That the fall of Adam was clearly sin is taught plainly in each of the three books that the RLDS accept as scripture. Examples are Genesis 6:55-63 and Roman’s 5:14 of the Inspired Version, II Nephi 1:111 and Mosiah 1:107-119 of the Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants 28:11.
Page 60 - The author questions the Book of Mormon story of Lehi’s family camping beside the Red Sea.
The assertion that no rivers do or have ever emptied into the Red Sea is an invalid assertion. It assumes that the Red Sea is limited to the body of water now named the Red Sea. Josephus, the Hebrew historian, says it covered much more territory than that which now bears the name.
A careful study of the travels of Lehi’s family indicates that they were probably camped near the upper end of the Gulf of Aquaba, an extension of the Red Sea, at the end of the first leg of their journey. There one will find a large wadi, a big valley with a stream that is dry part of the time but at other times is a large and flowing river. Even if they were at another part of the Red Sea, they could easily have been camped by a flowing wadi or by one of the many smaller streams that empty into the sea which could have been swollen at the time it was being viewed.
Page 61 - Ms. Hansen sarcastically says that “Joseph Smith did not know that the Phoenicians had not yet invented glass (2200 B.C.)” hence he made the mistake of having God tell the Jaredites that they should have no windows in their sea going vessels.
Ms. Hansen apparently is not aware that there were windows long before the Phoenicians invented glass. Even Noah was instructed to put a window in the ark. (Genesis 6:16). If Noah could have a window in his boat, surely Jared could have known what a window was.
Windows are not necessarily glass. Even in my young life, many windows in both houses and vehicles were filled with isinglass. One form of isinglass is mica, any member of a group of minerals that separate readily into thin, tough, often transparent and usually elastic laminae. Since it comes straight from a rock, Jared and company could well have been accustomed to using it in windows, but could not use it in windows on their barges because it would not hold up against the storms at sea.
Page 61- MS. Hansen is unable to believe Jared and company could have put all of the things they were to gather before they left their homeland in the boats they built for transport across the sea.
The provision of beasts, seeds etc. to which Ms. Hansen refers was made for a trip across the wilderness, which trip lasted for many years before Jared and company ever reached the sea. There is no evidence that they took everything of that first provision with them into the barges. As to the length of the journey, I know of no one who knows their route, but we do know that there are ocean currents that do take wind driven objects from the east coast of Asia to the west coast of the Americas in about one year. The Jaredite barges were wind driven vesssels.
It is interesting to note that there are fishing boats in Hawaii today which are constructed with some of the features of the barges Jared and company made for their journey. Having a hole in the top and a hole in the bottom permits them to have fresh air pumped in by the waves on good days and to shut out the storms on not so good days. The hole in the bottom, surrounded by walls that reach up past the water line, provide for them a place to discard waste and to catch fresh food. Even the peaking of the ends make it so the boats remain stable in times of rough seas.
Page 62- The accusation of plagiarism is not well founded. The Book of Mormon people had the first five books of the Old Testament plus many words of the prophets up to and including Isaiah on the brass plates which they brought with them. When large passages are quoted from Isaiah, for example, those using the quotation explain where it comes from, why they are using it and frequently tell what it means. When credit is given to the author of a literary work, using it is not plagiarism.
When Jesus teaches on this land, he teaches the same Gospel that he taught in Palestine, hence the stories and the words are frequently similar or the same. If Joseph had been copying from the King James Bible, he surely would at least have used the same words for the Lord’s prayer. Instead, that prayer prayed for the people on this continent is very different from any one of those recorded in the King James Bible.
Page 67 - In every place in the Bible in which the term, “familiar spirit” is used, with the exception of Isaiah 29, the context is that a person has or is seeking a “familiar spirit” for divining the future or to receive advice or counsel. Such usage is forbidden.
In Isaiah 29, the Lord is telling the prophet that the voice of the people of Jerusalem whose story will be in the book will sound familiar to those who read it, and will come out of the ground in a manner that they have often considered ghostly. The Hebrew word translated “familiar” means safe, happy, friendly. In Hebrew idiom it means to be at peace or to be well.
Please see earlier discussion of Isaiah 29 to discover how inadequate Ms. Hansen’s explanation of the chapter is. That discussion also explains that neither the learned or the unlearned could read the engraved characters. The translation had to be the marvelous work and a wonder performed by the Lord himself.
Page 68 - Ms. Hansen explains that the two sticks spoken of in Ezekiel 37:16-20 speak only of the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel again becoming one nation.
It is common knowledge that the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel were not united while they did exist. Now they are long since gone, and the nine and a half tribes of Israel are known as the lost tribes because Judah no longer has knowledge of them or their whereabouts.
In promising to reunite all Israel, the Lord has the prophet Ezekiel explain that there will be one record for those of Judah and those children of Israel of his companions that are known and another record for Joseph and those of the lost tribes who are his companions. One of these records will be in the hand of Judah. It is the record of the Jews, the Bible. The other record will tell of Joseph’s people, who are among the lost tribes. It will be in the hand of Ephraim, the son of Joseph to whom Israel, Joseph’s father, insisted on giving the greater blessing even though Manasseh was the firstborn. (Genesis 48).
The Book of Mormon tells of a portion of the tribe of Manasseh that came to the new land to live. When the book was brought into being by the Lord, however, He placed it in the hands of one who is of the tribe of Ephraim. Scholars, I understand, believe that the tribe of Ephraim is numbered among the English and northern European peoples. Joseph Smith is one of those who believed his lineage was of Ephraim.
These records, the Lord promises, will be used by God to bring all of Israel together in a time to come. A stated purpose of the Book of Mormon is to bear such witness of the Lord Jesus Christ that even the Jews will be convinced of His Messiahship.
Page 68 - The author believes that Christ’s “other sheep” are the Gentiles.
John 10:16 refers to “other sheep” that He shall bring into the fold who shall hear his voice. This could hardly be the gentiles when one considers Christ’s statement that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt. 15:24). Also, we have no record of Christ having gone into any Gentile country to preach. He sent others as Paul and Barnabas and Timothy, but he did not go himself. The Gentiles as a people did not hear His voice. The people of the Americas did.
Page 68-69- Ms. Hansen equates all of the restored gospel with the theology of the Book of Mormon.
To limit the “restored Gospel” to the Book of Mormon is to show a woeful paucity of understanding both of the Gospel and of the work of Joseph Smith.
Page 70 - The errors in the Book of Commandments and its history related to the Doctrine and Covenants has already been addressed. There is now extant a publication authored by Joseph Smith 3, Israel A. Smith and Delbert D. Smith, giving documented evidence of the history of the Book of Commandments. It is available from the Conference of Restoration Elders, Independence, Mo. or Delbert D. Smith, 315 Zion’s Ridge, Lamoni, Iowa 50140. It is distributed through such independent congregations as the Waldo or South Crysler Restoration branches of the church.
Page 71 - Ms. Hansen declares that the church could never have been taken from the earth because Jesus Christ is the foundation of it and Christ promised that the gates of hell could not prevail against it.
Of course Jesus Christ is the foundation of His church. Paul said clearly, (I Corinthians 3:10-11), “I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. --- For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.” In exactly the same way Joseph Smith said that he had power to lay the foundation of the church of Jesus Christ in these Latter Days, but there is no foundation other than Jesus Christ.
The fact that the gates of hell shall never prevail against the church puzzles many people. If the gates of hell are not to prevail against the church of Jesus Christ, that surely means that hell cannot keep it out. For what other purpose would the gates be used against the church? Christ’s church will be able to go into the worst situations that Satan can devise here on the earth and through hell’s gates even into hell itself to preach to those confined there. This Jesus did, as Peter testifies (I Peter 3:18-20).
It does not mean that the church could never have been lost to the peoples of the earth. There are many warnings of apostasy to come after Christ’s ascension into heaven. Paul warned the people of the church not to be deceived for Christ would not return until after there was a falling away first (II Thessalonians 2:3). The books of Daniel and the book of Revelation show clearly that the church did go “into the wilderness” for an extensive period of time.
Pages 71 to the end of Ms. Hansen’s book she continues to bring up accusations of belief garnered from her misunderstanding of the scriptures and teachings of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To pursue them all would require a text too lengthy for me to attempt at this time. There are a few to which I do wish to respond.
Page 80-81- The King Follett sermon is used to prove that Joseph Smith taught the doctrine of plural Gods, and his diary is used to prove that he instigated the doctrine of plural wives and sealing for eternity. Neither of these is correct.
The King Follett Sermon was reported by men from memory and printed months after Joseph was dead. It contradicts all that Joseph taught or wrote concerning God. James Whitehead, Joseph’s private secretary from 1842 until his death, swore under oath in court that he heard the King Follett Sermon and Joseph did not teach the plurality of gods in it. (See “Abstracts of Evidence” given in the Circuit Court of the United States, Western Division, at Kansas City, Missouri, 1893, Page 37. “Abstracts of Evidence” was printed by Herald House, Lamoni, Iowa in 1896.) See also Aleah G. Koury, “The truth and the Evidence”, Pages 27-29 for more information.
James Whitehead also testified at the court proceedings noted above that he was directed by the administrator of Joseph to turn over to the Twelve, of whom Brigham Young was the president, all the papers and records that he had. (Ibid. Pg. 35). Whitehead’s testimony was that he found so many changes in the doctrines and practices of the church after Joseph died that he could not tolerate them and so left the church and waited for the legitimate successor of Joseph Smith, Jr. to take leadership in the church as it once was under the first Joseph. (Ibid. Pg. 35).
One can easily see what Brigham Young and his associates did to Joseph’s words by comparing the LDS (Mormon) Doctrine and Covenants section 121 with the original letter from which it was taken. Two letters were written by Joseph and those imprisoned with him in Liberty, Missouri, jail. These letters were printed in the “Times and Season”, Nauvoo, Illinois, Vol. 1, number 7, pages 99-104 in May 1840 and number 9, pages 131-134 in July 1840. At the time, Joseph Smith was living in Nauvoo and his brother, Don Carlos was one of the editors of that publication.
More than ten years after Joseph’s death, the Utah church supposedly reprinted the first letter in the Millennial Star, Liverpool, England, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pg. 52-56, but the letter was deliberately altered to include the doctrine of plural gods. From this altered form they then selected portions that were called “Prayers and Prophecies, written by Joseph Smith the Prophet”. Large portions of the letter (over two thousand words) were removed from the original and over two hundred words were inserted. In the insertions is the concept of plural gods. There is nothing to even resemble that doctrine in the originals. (See Koury, The Truth and the Evidence , Pg. 25-27. Also compare the original letters from the Times and Seasons with the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants section 121).
With this clear evidence of the perfidy of Brigham Young and his associates, nothing that is supposedly written in Joseph Smith’s diary, in the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants or even in the Millennial Star can be considered reliable evidence of Joseph’s true teachings or actions.
Page 85- Of course the doctrine of polygamy was known in Nauvoo. Joseph and Hyrum were very active in putting it down. Even during the last few weeks of their lives they were putting men out of the church for teaching it. For one interested in knowing the truth, there are many sources. Two that I recommend are Koury as noted above and Russell F. Ralston, Fundamental Differences, Herald House 1963. Another more recent publication answering more recent accusations of Joseph and polygamy is Richard Price, The Polygamy Conspiracies, 1984, Cumorah Books, Inc, Independence, Mo. and/or Richard and Pamela Price’s more recent and more thoroughly documented Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, Vol. 1, Price Publishing Co. available at The Restoration Book Store in Independence, Mo.
Pg. 96-97 - Ms. Hansen alleges that the RLDS preach another Jesus. She tries, by association, to infer that the Jesus preached is that of just a “good man”, a “prophet”, the “higher self”, “a god”, the “Son of God” (as a separate being) or the “Christ presence” who lives within us all. All one has to do is to read the Scriptures that she treats with such disdain to learn of her gross misunderstanding or deliberate effort to again deceive.
Of course Jesus is spoken of as the “Son of God, the only begotten of the Father”, in the Inspired Version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, just as he is in the King James Bible. But there is no firmer testimony of Christ as God, the eternal Father of Heaven and Earth than is found in the Book of Mormon. From the first writer of the book to the last, the testimony is the same. Here are only a few samples of the way the Book of Mormon bears witness that Jesus is God, much more clearly than does the King James Bible.
In II Nephi 11:78 Nephi bears his testimony of the Christ, then says that it is necessary that both the Gentiles and the Jews become convinced “that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God;” Mosiah 55:43-45 tells of a prophet who was slain by the unbelievers because he taught that “Christ was the God, the Father of all ---.” Mosiah 8:30 explains how it is that Christ is both the Father and the Son. Alma 19:97 explains that God, himself atoned for our sins. In III Nephi 5:14 Christ has the people of this Land thrust their hands into his side and feel the prints of the nails in his hands and feet so that “ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” In Mormon 1:88, Mormon says that he wrote the history of his people so that the Jews and others of the covenant peoples should have another witness that “that Jesus whom they slew, was the very Christ, and the very God;”.
For anyone who is really interested in knowing the truth, I recommend that you read the references given by Ms. Hansen in their context and ask the Lord to help you understand. The answers already given in this paper will give you a clue as to how little Ms. Hansen’s information can be trusted.
A few of the author’s references have not been consulted because they have not been readily available to me. Because they have not been examined, the purported facts or ideas attributed to those references have not received comment. To comment without examining them would not be wise in view of the fact that so much of that which has been available for research has proved to be misquoted, misused, and misinterpreted by Ms. Hansen. I see no reason to expect that information not readily available for comparison would prove the author’s statements concerning them either accurate or truthful.
I pray God will guide and enlighten those who prayerfully read this response to Carol Hodges Hansen’s efforts to discredit Joseph Smith and his work. God has promised that His Spirit will lead to all truth, and it is the truth that makes us free.