The Continuing Saga of J.K. Rowling versus the Mormons
This article is an opinion piece from Bill Lockwood. Catch American Liberty with Bill Lockwood weekly at 11 a.m. Saturdays on NewsTalk 1290.
J.K. Rowling, famous British author of the Harry Potter books, has been recently entangled with both defenders of transgenderism and defenders of Mormonism. An odd coupling of opponents. How did this occur?
Although she supports “transgender persons” she does not believe that a person’s sex can be changed since it is a biological fact. Transgenderism is therefore in the imagination. Biology is clear. Rowling tweeted these things, and the transgenders became angry.
That transgenderism is in the imagination only she likened to “Joseph Smith” who supposedly found “golden plates and nobody else was allowed to look at them”—implying, of course, that they did not really exist.
So she tweeted in response to the transgenders. Joseph Smith was the founder of Mormonism, who published the Book of Mormon in Palmyra, NY in March of 1830.
Now, the twitter world erupts as many Mormons come forward to defend Joseph Smith while the Deseret News published an article to set the “historical record” straight, defending Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Rowling followed up some of her tweets with this: “I’m now being told that lots of people saw the golden plates. I’m genuinely fascinated: how many people?”
She later “looked it up” and found that “Eleven people claimed to have seen the plates, some of them related to Smith.” Rowling was right to be skeptical to begin with. Not that Rowling needs any help, but consider what some of those “witnesses” have subsequently stated.
The Three Original Witnesses
The three original “witnesses” to the golden plates from which Joseph Smith supposedly translated the Book of Mormon out of “reformed Egyptian” were Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris. “The three witnesses were, according to their own accounts, shown the Book of Mormon plates by an angel” writes the Deseret News.
Joseph Smith’s family had a long history of digging for money and buried treasure, practicing “witching” with a hazel rod, which Smith claimed was a gift from God. He frequently used a “peep stone” that he would put into his hat to find hidden treasure. The witch-hazel sticks were said to “keep off evil spirits.” Affidavit’s signed by his acquaintances, neighbors, and co-workers testify at length to his entire family’s practice of these things.
Some of these witnesses include Peter Ingersoll, Willard Chase, William Stafford, Isaac Hale and numerous residents of Palmyra, NY. I wonder why these witnesses are discarded by modern LDS defenders?
According to David Whitmer, one of the three, Smith translated the “discovered plates” in the following fashion: “Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear; and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principle scribe …”
The obvious question here is that if the characters were “interpreted” for Smith upon the seer-stone, how would that make him a translator? That is not translation at all.
Oliver Cowdery later disavowed Mormonism and joined the Methodist Church. In a signed statement of 1839, Cowdery published a lengthy confession entitled “Defense in a Rehearsal of My Grounds for Separating Myself from the Latter Day Saints.” In it he says “I fear I may have been deceived, and especially so fear since knowing that Satan has led his [Smith’s] mind astray.” He goes on to accuse Smith of “blasphemy” since he frequently predicted that he would tarry on earth till Christ “come in glory.”
Not only that, but Cowdery states plainly that during this “translation” process he did not see the plates at all and he “did seriously wonder whether the prophet and I were men in our sober senses.” Interesting that the Deseret News left this out.
Martin Harris supposedly saw the plates but he told John Gilbert that he saw the plates only “with spiritual eyes” (Quoted in The Deseret News, Aug. 15, 1942). Harris told his wife, Lucy, that Joseph could “see in his stone anything he wished” and that if she would just leave him alone he would be “able to make money” out of it, as this was his primary object.
So, J.K. Rowling is correct. These witnesses are not witnesses at all, and one only had a “spiritual vision.”
David Whitmer, the third principal witness, in a public address years later referred to his seeing the golden plates as “the vision of the Angels, as recorded in the fore part of the Book of Mormon.”
But Whitmer, like Cowdery, later separated from the LDS church. He did so in 1838. In An Address to All Believers in Christ, published in Richmond, Missouri in 1887, Whitmer stated that God gave Smith the revelation on polygamy (p. 38, 39, 44) and that he separated from Smith and the Latter-Day Saints so that he himself (Whitmer) might hold the authority.
“I was called out to hold the authority that God gave to me” (28, 29). He claimed “since 1847, that I have been shown all the errors into which I had followed the heads of the church” and that it was not God’s will to have a “one-man leader in the church.”
Will the Latter-Day-Saints accept the word of their own witnesses that God called on Whitmer to separate himself from the LDS and hold the authority?
Regarding the other “witnesses” that Deseret News mentions, besides these three, consider the fact that Smith is called “the author” in the testimony of the eight witnesses in the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The title page and the Preface of the first edition also called him “the author.” However, in later editions the testimony of the eight witnesses is changed to “translator.”
Why did the Latter-Day-Saints change the testimony of the witnesses? They are admitting that the witnesses made a mistake in their testimony (see James D. Bales, Latter-Day-Saints??, p. 135).
There is a reason that LDS defenders are all online. No “deep dive” can be made in Twitter battles or even in article-writing. The LDS “apologists” have given up a public format years ago as it was disadvantageous to their cause. It is J.K. Rowling who, odd as might seem, is pulling back the curtains.