Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

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Shulem
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Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Shulem »

Don,

I've read your paper entitled Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates and am prepared to give some thoughts on the subject matter. Rather than start at the beginning or pick apart elements within your presentation, I elect to go straight to your conclusion and bullet a few key points which seems to sum the matter up from your point of view.

  • Taken together, these sources indicate that Joseph Smith was attempting to translate the Kinderhook plates by ordinary methods of traditional translation.
  • However, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith believed he had experienced a revealed translation or that he led others to believe he had.
  • Yet a closer examination of the relevant historical sources reveals Joseph Smith acting neither as an inspired prophet nor as a fraudulent imposter. Instead, it reveals an enthusiastic, yet amateur, linguist.

Don, your well written article weighs and interprets various evidences and testimonies from two opposing points of view in which the faithful must save/defend Smith's actions and the critics use reason to determine Smith committed fraud:

Faithful vs. Critical

You conclude with suppositional reasoning that seems to go either way depending on how one looks at things and where one’s allegiances may lie: For or against!

Don Bradley and Mark Ashurst-McGee wrote:Many arguments for and against Joseph Smith’s prophetic claims, upon closer examination, turn out to be much more complex than originally framed, or simply fall apart, because they are based on assumptions that turn out to be incorrect. A careful and historically grounded approach is best in evaluating such arguments.

Therefore, I feel impressed to comment on your article in a manner you least expect and will take you on a ride. To do this, we must define things according to the definitions and mindset of Joseph Smith. We have to get into the mind of Joseph Smith and understand how he thought! Okay? So, I need to collect my thoughts. There is no rush. We have all the time in the world. I think you and I can have a wonderful discussion and explore this subject in a new way. But as I say, there is no rush.

Welcome to the Celestial Forum!

:)
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Philo Sofee »

I'm looking very forward to this discussion with Don. Don, just so you know, I also have re-read your article with Marc today as well as your wonderful interviews with Times & Seasons, the Juvenile Instructor, your FAIR presentation, etc. Man cowboy you get around! All fun stuff!

I just happen to be wrapping up my "Semester" on "Getting Clear on the Joseph Smith Papyri" Live sessions tomorrow night at Mormon Discussion Inc. and will be talking about your materials as well. I am astonished I have done 15 + episodes on the papyri already! My the time flies when yer havin fun! :lol: After I do a final wrap, I am going to talk to the chat and see what they are in the mood for next, should be more fun times for all...
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

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The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants are the standard by which we can delve into Smith’s inspired mind and determine what is meant by “translate” and how it’s applied through direct revelation given to the head of the Church through the founding prophet, SEER, revelator, and translator. The act of translating scripture and ancient records is a gift in which Smith claimed that God gave him. Other accounts or teaching given by successors of Joseph Smith are completely irrelevant. We only need examine Joseph Smith and the standard he set through his direct revelations. Therefore, I provide the following list to serve as authoritative reference to Smith’s definition and purpose of how translating was part of his prophetic calling. For Joseph Smith, translating ancient records was ALWAYS a spiritual experience and without the Spirit to assist him the gift could not manifest and the mind would darken. *That* is the standard by which Smith always translated! There are no exceptions to this rule. None!

TRANSLATE:

Mosiah 8 wrote:9 . . . twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold . . .

11 . . . there is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates.

12 . . . I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language . . .

13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.

14 And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.

15 And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.

16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.
Ether 5 wrote:1 And now I, Moroni, have written the words which were commanded me, according to my memory; and I have told you the things which I have sealed up; therefore touch them not in order that ye may translate; for that thing is forbidden you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God.
D&C 1 wrote:29 And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.
D&C 5 wrote:4 And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.
D&C 6 wrote:25 And, behold, I grant unto you [Oliver Cowdery] a gift, if you desire of me, to translate, even as my servant Joseph.

26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people;

27 And now I command you, that if you have good desires—a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven—then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.

28 And now, behold, I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
D&C 8 wrote:10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.

11 Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
D&C 9 wrote:2 And then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you [Oliver Cowdery] power that you may assist to translate.

8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

10 Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.
D&C 10 wrote:4 Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.
D&C 41 wrote:7 And again, it is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate.
D&C 45 wrote:60 And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;

61 Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
D&C 73 wrote:3 Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again;
D&C 91 wrote:1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;

2 There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.

3 Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.

4 Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;

5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;

6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.
D&C 93 wrote:53 And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Shulem »

Philo Sofee wrote:
Sun May 15, 2022 4:06 am
I'm looking very forward to this discussion with Don.

Glad you are on board, Philo Chewy. You’ll recall that very recently I lectured you about using care with absolutes when having a critical discussion:

Shulem wrote:
Tue May 10, 2022 1:34 pm
Be careful about using absolutes.

Remember, they can still throw the Four Sons of Horus at you with regard to cardinal directions and thus lesson the overall impact of your argument by showing how you made a small or technical error and thus they throw your whole argument out. Always use the absolutes in a very careful way and be conservative about it. I think RFM has mastered that as he mentioned in his last critcal thinking podcast. So have I. When using the absolutes correctly you really strengthen your argument in a powerful way. Smith got absolutely nothing right about Facsimile No. 3. All of his Explanations are false. See how that works?

And yet, my post above uses an absolute in a very powerful way and sets the foundation. Watch and learn from a Jedi master!

;)

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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Shulem »

Shulem wrote:
Sun May 15, 2022 3:42 pm

TRANSLATE:

Mosiah 8 wrote:9 . . . twenty-four plates which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold . . .

11 . . . there is no one in the land that is able to interpret the language or the engravings that are on the plates.

12 . . . I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language . . .

13 Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.

14 And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.

15 And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.

16 And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.
Ether 5 wrote:1 And now I, Moroni, have written the words which were commanded me, according to my memory; and I have told you the things which I have sealed up; therefore touch them not in order that ye may translate; for that thing is forbidden you, except by and by it shall be wisdom in God.

Hereby, I present articles of faith established by the teachings of the Book of Mormon as a foundation for our study:

  • WE believe that ancient writings of a language unknown to man may be interpreted and translated by a prophet and seer of God.
  • WE believe that a seer is greater than a prophet and no man can possess this power except it be given him from God.
  • WE believe that ancient records may be interpreted and translated by a seer who looks into interpreters by the gift and power of God *when* commanded to do so.
  • WE believe that a seer may know things of the past, present, and future and that nothing is hidden that cannot be manifest and made known by the power of God.
  • WE believe that when a seer translates an unknown language it is through his faith by which the miracle is wrought.
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Shulem »

Shulem wrote:
Sun May 15, 2022 3:42 pm
TRANSLATE:
D&C 1 wrote:29 And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.
D&C 5 wrote:4 And you have a gift to translate the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you; and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.
D&C 6 wrote:25 And, behold, I grant unto you [Oliver Cowdery] a gift, if you desire of me, to translate, even as my servant Joseph.

26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people;

27 And now I command you, that if you have good desires—a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven—then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.

28 And now, behold, I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
D&C 8 wrote:10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.

11 Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
D&C 9 wrote:2 And then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you [Oliver Cowdery] power that you may assist to translate.

8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

10 Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.
D&C 10 wrote:4 Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.
D&C 41 wrote:7 And again, it is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate.
D&C 45 wrote:60 And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;

61 Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
D&C 73 wrote:3 Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again;
D&C 91 wrote:1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you concerning the Apocrypha—There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;

2 There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men.

3 Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated.

4 Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth;

5 And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;

6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.
D&C 93 wrote:53 And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.

Or in other words:
  • The first gift given by God to Joseph Smith was to translate the Book of Mormon by the power of God.
  • The gift to translate the Book of Mormon was the only spiritual gift Smith would receive until the translation of the Book of Mormon was complete.
  • On a certain occasion, Oliver was granted the gift of seership and could have translated even as Joseph.
  • The gift of translation and the restoration of lost scripture is given through faith and not to be trifled with lightly but expressed through an utmost sacred devotion.
  • Translation through revelation coupled with a burning in the bosom given by the *Holy Spirit* are requisite in order to accomplish God’s design.
  • A year after the Book of Mormon was published, God commanded that Joseph have a house built wherein he could live and translate or in other words continue the process of translation.
  • The translation of the New Testament was given as a continual gift of translation in which Joseph Smith originally possessed as his first gift. The Lord would make it known when to translate or conversely, when not to.
  • God commanded Joseph to not translate the Apocrypha but to admonish readers to seek truth therein through inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
  • God proclaimed that Joseph Smith would continue to translate scripture for the benefit of mankind.
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Shulem »

Don Bradley wrote:
  • Taken together, these sources indicate that Joseph Smith was attempting to translate the Kinderhook plates by ordinary methods of traditional translation.

So, you suggest those sources indicate that Smith set aside the first gift he was given from God in order to try his hand in translating by uninspired means? When did Joseph Smith ever indicate he translated anything outside the bounds of inspiration of the Spirit? When did Joseph ever say he was not acting as a seer while translating?

Don Bradley wrote:
  • However, there is no evidence that Joseph Smith believed he had experienced a revealed translation or that he led others to believe he had.

This is highly debatable. Further examination may show otherwise. Nonetheless, may I pose your question from another point of view? What evidence is there that Joseph Smith believed he had not experienced a revealed translation or that he led others to believe the same?

Don Bradley wrote:
  • Yet a closer examination of the relevant historical sources reveals Joseph Smith acting neither as an inspired prophet nor as a fraudulent imposter. Instead, it reveals an enthusiastic, yet amateur, linguist.

I can’t image Joseph Smith ever claiming to translate an UNKNOWN language as an uninspired prophet. I can’t imagine Joseph Smith attempting to translate an UNKNOWN language under the guise of being an ordinary person trying his hand as an amateur linguist attempting to reveal or uncover the mystery of an UNKNOWN language outside bounds and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Everything I know about Joseph Smith suggests the opposite. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants makes it clear that a seer’s responsibility is to utilize the gift in which he has been blessed, look into interpreters, and feel the bosom burn with the Holy Spirit.
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Don Bradley »

Hey Philo!

I just watched your episode and began writing out some thoughts. I may not have time to complete them for a few days, or even till next week, but will post them then!

Hello Shulem!

I just noticed this thread. I look forward to discussing this with you, though my part of the discussion will have to wait a bit--no later than next week.

One note I'll make now is that my paper with Mark is primarily a work of historical scholarship in which apologetic implications are noted. The goal is to understand how Joseph Smith viewed the Kinderhook plates and what, concretely, he did with them. So approaching it primarily as work of apologetics would miss the core of the paper.

Talk with you more soon.

Regards,

Don
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Don Bradley »

Oh, by the way, Shulem, one question I have for you. With all the Book of Abraham research you've done, I'm assuming you've done something like what Philo has done in terms of identifying where the characters from various parts of the papyrus ended up in Joseph Smith's different Book of Abraham-related documents.

It seems like you made some comments on this in response to the Mormonism Live episode, and I'd be interested in seeing what you've done in that regard.

Philo's summary document on this in his latest video was fascinating. (In fact, Philo, I would dearly love to get a copy!!!)

And if you've also done work on this, I'd appreciate if you could point me to that.

Thanks!

Don
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Re: Kinderhook Plates and Don Bradley

Post by Shulem »

Don Bradley wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 10:58 am
Hello Shulem!

I just noticed this thread. I look forward to discussing this with you, though my part of the discussion will have to wait a bit--no later than next week.

One note I'll make now is that my paper with Mark is primarily a work of historical scholarship in which apologetic implications are noted. The goal is to understand how Joseph Smith viewed the Kinderhook plates and what, concretely, he did with them. So approaching it primarily as work of apologetics would miss the core of the paper.

Talk with you more soon.

Regards,

Don

Not a problem. Take all the time you need. I recognize that the paper is not really an apologetic work and concludes with an open-ended viewpoint although it leans in favor of the apologetic conclusion.

Let’s apply Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon story to real life circumstances, shall we? This is something we might expect Smith would happily oblige because the Book of Mormon was said to be the keystone of his religion and expresses the patterns of Smith’s own mindset.

Just for fun:

:)

:D

;)

Mosiah 8 wrote:9 And for a testimony that the things that they had said are true they have brought twenty-four plates six bell-shaped pieces of brass which are filled with engravings, and they are of pure gold brass.

12 And I (Robert Wiley) say unto thee again: Knowest thou of any one that can translate? For I am desirous that these records should be translated into our language; for, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of a remnant of the people who have been destroyed, from whence these records came; or, perhaps, they will give us a knowledge of this very people who have been destroyed; and I am desirous to know the cause of their destruction.

13 Now Ammon William Clayton said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king Mr. Wiley, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.

14 And behold, the king prophet & seer of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla Nauvoo is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.

15 And the king Mr. Wiley said that a seer is greater than a prophet.

16 And Ammon William Clayton said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.

17 But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.

18 Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings.
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