Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

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Shulem
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Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by Shulem »

INTRODUCTION

Joseph Smith translated (dictated/narrated) the “book of Lehi” in 1828 to Martin Harris who subsequently lost the 116-page manuscript. Revelation given to the prophet (D&C 10) provides clues about the lost manuscript and how to accept that loss and continue with Book of Mormon production by translating data from another account that is engraved in the records. We are informed that the lost “book of Lehi” will be replaced with writings on the plates that offer “a more particular account” and is called the “record of Nephi.” The explanation from God is that the replacement “is more particular” in that it will provide “greater views” of the gospel of the Nephite religion. In other words, the latter provides more value than the first! So, Smith is commissioned to accept the loss of the “book of Lehi” and begin anew with Nephi’s account which parallels Lehi’s version within the 116-page manuscript beginning from Jerusalem and the voyage to the land of promise; thereafter follows Nephi’s personal ministry and the accounts leading all the way down to the reign of king Benjamin.

I now explain my understanding of how the Book of Lehi and the lost 116-page manuscript is different from the account that was later produced through Smith and Cowdery. All of this, of course, is my speculation and viewpoint. I ask YOU to please consider it and weigh the possibilities based on my presentation within this thread. Please understand the main theme of the Book of Mormon was a premeditated or existing story in Joseph Smith’s mind before he ever dictated a single word to Martin Harris. It is a work of pure fiction in which he devised from his own wit and intelligent design. Smith originally planned to present the Book of Mormon story using the direct narrative of Lehi, the patriarch and prophet of a family who was destined to leave Jerusalem and inherit a land of promise in the New World. We may reason that the first verse of the Book of Lehi was similar in nature to the first verse later crafted in 1 Nephi:

(Theoretical) Book of Lehi 1:1 wrote:I, Lehi, having been called of God as a prophet in Israel, therefore I was commanded in all the things of my God; and having seen many visions in the course of my days and having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge through dreams of the mysteries of God, therefore I, Lehi, make a record of my proceedings in my days.

I believe it was Smith’s original plan to begin his imagined story of the Book of Mormon through the eyes and mouth of the patriarch Lehi. Thus, the narrative of Lehi’s ministry in Jerusalem was explained in his own words, written by his own hand. The eight year journey in the wilderness leading up to Bountiful on the Arabian coast was based on the narrative given from the mouth of Lehi. In addition, the account of Lehi featured details of the voyage from Arabia to America and all the happenings that occurred on that voyage were recorded by Lehi. Lehi presided over all who inherited the promised land. Details of his ministry, prophecies, dreams, and circumstances were given through his voice and by his pen. After the death of Lehi and Sariah in the promised land, the narrative switched to his faithful son Nephi. The ministry of Nephi and historical circumstances between the Nephites and Lamanites leading up to king Benjamin were expressly given through the eyes of those who possessed the plates.

So, in a nutshell, the Book of Lehi was a record written by Lehi and was passed down to Nephi and others all the way down to the reign of king Benjamin when the record for the first translation comes to an end. The translation Smith gave to Harris of Lehi’s account was similar to the one given to Cowdery of Nephi’s version but made it possible to express the same story in different ways. Smith knew it was not possible to reproduce the same story given to Harris but he could improvise and come up with a similar story covering the same theme and circumstances through the eyes of another character within the original story. This is how Smith managed to save the Book of Mormon! He would simply retell the story from another point of view! It was a brilliant means to salvage the manuscript that was lost and resurrect the original story and continue from there.

The main difference in narrative between the lost manuscript and the replacement that constitutes our current version of the Book of Mormon is that father Lehi was the narrator of the first translation and Nephi was the narrator of the second. Smith knew there was no way he could reproduce or retranslate the exact same story. His memory was not perfect and he knew it was an impossible task. There would have been serious differences and contradictions in the details that would have been detected and called out by those who possessed the stolen manuscript. The outcome of this problem is pretty much self-explanatory but Smith ranted on about how his so-called enemies under the influence of Satan would simply alter the words and falsely accuse him of making changes. That really was a ridiculous excuse on Joseph’s part. But all they would need to do is show the manuscript and point out the obvious differences. Smith knew that and so he accepted the loss of Lehi’s account and came up with the idea to retell the story from Nephi’s perspective. It was a brilliant plan and it worked almost flawlessly.

The first point I wish to bring up about how we can discern Smith tripping up in retelling the story with a different narrator is the voyage to the promised land and the fact that the number of days for that voyage is not recorded in the text. I have discussed this in detail on this board and will include some clips of that discussion. I will also introduce new information and perspective to strengthen my case which shows Smith was simply retelling the story to the best of his ability using Nephi as his eyes and ears. Poor Lehi lost the helm and took a backseat because Martin Harris lost the manuscript! I will demonstrate how seemingly Captain Lehi was demoted to that of a feeble ship’s hand, like a stowaway who was about to die of old age. The retelling makes Nephi the ship’s captain and master of the Liahona as he usurps his father’s authority in what could be construed as a mutiny from Bountiful to the land of promise.

The second point I wish to disclose through my personal conjecture will prove utterly fascinating! Hold on to your seats because I am going to take you on ride into the mystery of Book of Mormon coverups and expose them.

TO BE CONTINUED
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by Gadianton »

that father Lehi was the narrator of the first translation and Nephi was the narrator of the second
Will be interesting to see what you come up with for Nephi keeping his ship away from the shore, so to speak, so that he doesn't contradict Lehi too much.

But how does he Become the main character and Lehi demoted, if the concern is that there will be contradictions if the lost account is ever found?
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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Hey, Shulem. What’s your gut feeling with regard to the 116 pages? Do you think they still exist somewhere (say tucked between some rocks in an old foundation), or did Lucy Harris destroy them?

I could see Lucy, after a particularly bad beating by Martin Harris, burning them as revenge. What say you?

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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by Shulem »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 9:40 pm
Hey, Shulem. What’s your gut feeling with regard to the 116 pages? Do you think they still exist somewhere (say tucked between some rocks in an old foundation), or did Lucy Harris destroy them?

I could see Lucy, after a particularly bad beating by Martin Harris, burning them as revenge. What say you?

- Doc

My gut feeling and natural conclusion to what seems most probable is that Lucy ritualistically burned the manuscript in a fit of rage. But did she burn it quickly or hold on to it for many years? THAT is the question! An early burning would indicate her desire to put an end to Smith’s work without challenging him to try and reproduce it again in order to compare the two works. A later burning would indicate that she held out for as long as she could stand and the fact that Smith still managed to publish a version very much like the original caused her to lose interest and simply burn the manuscript out of spite.

However, it’s possible the manuscript still exists and will someday surface. But even if it does it won’t devastate the current work because Smith took that all into consideration when he rewrote it under the auspice of Nephi offering his viewpoint of what happened. Smith did his homework, I grant that! He was genius. But I am on to him! You know that. ;)
Last edited by Shulem on Sun Mar 05, 2023 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by Shulem »

Gadianton wrote:
Sat Mar 04, 2023 9:34 pm
that father Lehi was the narrator of the first translation and Nephi was the narrator of the second
Will be interesting to see what you come up with for Nephi keeping his ship away from the shore, so to speak, so that he doesn't contradict Lehi too much.

But how does he Become the main character and Lehi demoted, if the concern is that there will be contradictions if the lost account is ever found?

I will be discussing the voyage and include clips from previous threads on this subject. Differences of the voyage written by Lehi and Nephi were something Smith was highly cognizant of when he rewrote the story by dictating to Cowdery. Smith was very careful and had a sharp memory. He was very confident in what he was doing. Telling a story from the viewpoint of two different people allows for some variation and natural differences because everyone sees things in their own way and describes things as they see fit. But the marked difference that really stands out is how I presume Lehi surely recorded how many days it took to sail to the promised land and Nephi simply says, “space of many days.”

Smith couldn’t recall how many days Lehi recorded in his journal while at sea and that number was surely in the 116-page manuscript. So, Nephi was forced to simply say, “space of many days.” The entire record is quite clear that they paid particular mind to the calendar and counted the days, weeks, and years -- meticulously and rather religiously.

And then there is the temple. Wait till I reveal that! :idea:
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Re: Previous Statements

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This post serves to reference prior statements made in other threads about the missing number of days in which Lehi sailed to the promised land. This will help frame the point I am making in this thread about Smith’s memory loss while translating Nephi’s account about the voyage. The purpose of this post is to document my thoughts of that anomaly in this thread and strengthen my case in showing how the 116-page manuscript was inseparably tied to Smith’s ability to recreate the story and his failure to maintain a vital detail that proves consistency in the narratives.

Here are two posts that feature this anomaly in a Celestial Forum thread about Book of Mormon chronology which I highly recommend:


Other points covered earlier are as follows:

2 Nephi 5:7,8 wrote: And we did take our tents and whatsoever things were possible for us, and did journey in the wilderness for the space of many days. And after we had journeyed for the space of many days we did pitch our tents.

And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.

HOLES IN THE SCRIPT:

Nephi and his followers collected everything they could carry and took off into the wilderness to flee. This was a separation from the Lamanites as they fled in order to maintain a safe existence separate or away from their enemies. The account should not have said “for the space of many days,” but should have noted the days traveled in order to calculate distance and location to maintain a strategic and tactical reference in order to protect themselves from their enemy. Failure to keep track of distance and time is a telltale indicator that the story isn’t being told by a real person facing real circumstances. It’s a make-believe story being told by someone (Joseph Smith) who failed to account for surroundings and circumstances regarding location and proximity simply because he forgot the number.

The same can be said for the transoceanic crossings in which Nephi neglects/fails to record the number of days for the voyage from Bountiful to the promised land. Smith couldn't remember what he originally dictated in the 116 lost pages! All of this is a no-brainer in showing Smith could not remember the number!
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

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In the Lost Pages, do you hypothesize that Lehi murdered Laban while he was unconscious?
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by honorentheos »

Fundamentally I don't think Smith being the principle author holds up given the general differences in production time and content prior to Cowdery compared to after Cowdery arrived. The theory that best accounts for the evidence as a whole of church history includes the Whitmers and Cowdery being knowing participants in the fraud of the Book of Mormon. And the production of the book we have being largely workshopped as it was presented in the open at the Whitmers farmhouse with Smith and Cowdery collaborating as it was being written. Sure Smith could have been the main teller while Cowdery wrote. But it was a screen writers room, not the work of a single masterful fraudster.
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

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Moksha wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:46 am
In the Lost Pages, do you hypothesize that Lehi murdered Laban while he was unconscious?
According to Fayette Lapham's interview with Joseph Smith Sr. at some point in the year previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon, Laban was "dead drunk".

"After traveling three days, [Lehi] remembered that he had left some papers, in the office where he had been an officer, which he thought would be of use to him in his journeyings. He sent his son back to the city to get them; and when his son arrived in the city, it was night, and he found the citizens had been having a great feast, and were all drunk. When he went to the office to get his father's papers he was told that the chief clerk was not in, and he must find [him] before he could have the papers. He then went into the street in search of him; but every body being drunk, he could get but little information of his whereabouts, but, after searching a long time, he found him lying in the street, dead drunk, clothed in his official habiliments, his sword having a gold hilt and chain, lying by his side—and this is the same that was found with the gold plates. Finding that he could do nothing with him in that situation, he drew the sword, cut off the officer's head, cast off this own outer garments, and, assuming those of the officer, returned to the office where the papers were readily obtained, with which he returned to where his father was waiting for him."

Don Bradley, in his book The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Book of Mormon's Missing Stories, makes the case that Joseph Sr was telling Lapham what he knew from the Book of Lehi
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Re: Book of Lehi and the 116-page Manuscript

Post by Shulem »

Zosimus wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 5:36 am
Moksha wrote:
Mon Mar 06, 2023 12:46 am
In the Lost Pages, do you hypothesize that Lehi murdered Laban while he was unconscious?
According to Fayette Lapham's interview with Joseph Smith Sr. at some point in the year previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon, Laban was "dead drunk".

"After traveling three days, [Lehi] remembered that he had left some papers, in the office where he had been an officer, which he thought would be of use to him in his journeyings. He sent his son back to the city to get them; and when his son arrived in the city, it was night, and he found the citizens had been having a great feast, and were all drunk. When he went to the office to get his father's papers he was told that the chief clerk was not in, and he must find [him] before he could have the papers. He then went into the street in search of him; but every body being drunk, he could get but little information of his whereabouts, but, after searching a long time, he found him lying in the street, dead drunk, clothed in his official habiliments, his sword having a gold hilt and chain, lying by his side—and this is the same that was found with the gold plates. Finding that he could do nothing with him in that situation, he drew the sword, cut off the officer's head, cast off this own outer garments, and, assuming those of the officer, returned to the office where the papers were readily obtained, with which he returned to where his father was waiting for him."

Don Bradley, in his book The Lost 116 Pages: Reconstructing the Book of Mormon's Missing Stories, makes the case that Joseph Sr was telling Lapham what he knew from the Book of Lehi

Very, interesting and in line with the kind of thinking I was formulating in my own head about what could have been expressed in the lost manuscript. There are a lot of things I don’t know and need to reach out with my hand and pluck some fruit. I will need to purchase Bradley’s book, TODAY! :D

My response to Moksha’s query was going to be that we cannot be sure that Laban is even mentioned in the lost pages. But we would have learned something about how brass plates or records of Moses and the prophets were secured and taken with them into the wilderness.

The slaying of Laban or the officer in question is an incident of cold-blooded murder. There is no justification or excuse for Nephi running a drunken man through. It’s a violation of law in the civilized world and is a crime. There is no justification for murdering a man in his sleep or while drunk which is what seems is contained in both accounts. Joseph Smith allowed the darker side of his inner self emerge in expressing how he views God as a Being of retribution and punishment. It frightens me just a little to think what kind of devious acts the prophet Joseph Smith would have committed had he lived to continue his ministry in which he was determined that Jesus was going to return and come to Zion. There was a dark side to Joseph Smith that never played out!

Thank you, Zosimus, for that contribution! I love the Celestial Forum!
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