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Radio Free Mormon: 129: Lost in Translation Part 4

RFM concludes his 4-part miniseries on Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon with a bang!  If you like what RFM is presenting, please donate today at!  Your contribution keeps Radio Free Mormon broadcasting behind enemy lines!


8 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 129: Lost in Translation Part 4”

  1. I think it’s correct that Joseph did all of his “translating” by means of the rock in the hat, but what are we to make of all these eye witness accounts of the spectacles/breastplate interpreters? If true, then there were several people who saw a supposed ancient, sacred Nephite/Jaredite object. This amazes me and it seems like this is overlooked. Even if Joseph never used them, it seems like they existed. Witnesses didn’t need to be shown the interpreters by means of an angel or with “spiritual eyes”. They weren’t gathered together at some pre-appointed time to be shown the interpreters, like with the plates. They didn’t sign a statement saying the witnessed seeing the interpreters. The witness accounts all describe seeing them as one would observe any other object. They weren’t warned that they would be struck dead if they saw the interpreters. Joseph’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith said she held them. What’s the naturalistic explanation for these? Did Joseph make them, then quickly realized he made them too big and unwieldy, so he quickly switched to using his trusty brown rock? Maybe he had some notes in his hat he needed to consult? Otherwise, it would seem just as easy to dictate a book with the spectacles then with looking in a hat. What is the explanation for the existence of the spectacles/breastplate, either from a faithful or non-faithful perspective?

    This pro-Mormon website I googled gives a lot fo references to witnesses who claim to have seen and handled the spectacles:

  2. 1st….I tried to donate. It didn’t take it. I won’t give up.
    2nd….you touched a bit on the real reason a man like Mckonkie would pick on Whitmer. ( I knew Mckonkie personally and……not a fan) Whitmer spoke to a charismatic priesthood not one needing a god power ordination. He has to be discredited but carefully as he’s a ” witness” to angels and plates.
    3rd….I’m disappointed with the idea that other podcasters hold as to the recent temple changes are a step forward for women and ignoring that instead of becoming queens to their husbands, women now become queens to the NEW and EVERLASTING covenant. There is only ONE everlasting covenant and that’s plurality of wives.
    I know there is so much focus on racism in mormon doctrine right now. But everyone forgets the woman was designed by god according to mormonism to NEVER be anything other than a servant for a man, forever. This nobility of woman LDS apostles throw out is so hollow. At least the black man stood in line. However terrible the idea that they were cursed, a curse can be removed.
    Being a mormon woman was so incredibly damaging to my progression to be a healthy person mentally and spiritually.
    My life has skyrocketed to a level I didn’t think possible upon discovery of the lie that is mormonism. Not enough women in the podcast world who can speak for someone like me.
    Thank you for all you do.

  3. Loved these “Lost in Translation” episodes. I think they’re some of your best work yet. Proud to say I donate to the RFM podcast.

  4. Great podcast RFM! I wondered though, my thoughts always on this issue of Lucy Harris and her cohorts ‘altering’ has always conjured up in my mind the image of them re-copying (using the same type of paper), and tracing over the words so that it would look like the same handwriting, but then making some changes ‘here and there’. Nobody has ever addressed that. I listened to a podcast by Bill Reel as well, where he didn’t seem to think of this as a possibility. Obviously everyone knows that there were no computers, word processors, etc., but i was just surprised nobody else thought of that. Whenever i used to copy my mom’s handwriting for a note to my teacher :), that is how i would do it. Anyway, just thought you might want to bring that up because that is always how i envisioned it might happen. thanks

  5. I’ve looked around, but I’m not able to find accounts of JS wearing or hauling the breast place. We’ve heard accounts of JS carrying and hiding the golden plates, but never the breast plates. Wouldn’t he need to be carrying both?

  6. RFM, this Lost in Translation series is like a doctoral dissertation. You’re brilliant! Thank you so much for your very important work.

    1. Thank you so much, Julie!

      After the weekend, I had already forgotten my plans to reformat it and submit it for publication!

      My goal is to get that done before the week is over.

      Thanks for the reminder!


  7. Great podcast as usual. I find it interesting that the LDS church now presents the idea that the peep stone Joseph Smith used for treasure digging/scrying prepared him to be able to use the stone to translate the Book of Mormon. Given the things he claimed to have seen such as lost treasure and guardian spirits, it makes me wonder if the church leadership and apologists believe that he actually saw those things or didn’t see anything. Either one is problematic. If he didn’t see anything, it would suggest that he was lying and a fraud. If he did see something, then a faithful believer would have to make room in their belief system that lost objects, treasure and guardian spirits can be seen through the use of magic and seer stones. If I were to say that reading and interpreting tarot cards prepared me to better study and understand the scriptures or playing with a Ouija board helped enhance my ability to feel and recognize the spirit, most LDS members would strongly take issue and say that occult practices are not compatible with the gospel. Why then is a magic peep stone accepted as an approved device for connecting with God and receiving inspiration and instruction from him? Is there really much difference between the two?

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