Mormonism’s Golden Plates

When contemplating the credibility of Joseph Smith’s claims concerning the golden plates there are several insurmountable obstacles which makes this story unbelievable.

To begin with according to Lucy Mack Smith, who is Joseph’s mother, and LDS historians; Joseph Smith traveled 3 miles home from the secret place with these plates tucked underneath his arm while defending off several marauders, jumping over a log and running home despite his limp he incurred from a childhood surgery.

What makes this story that much more implausible is when you factor in the cumbersome weight of this additional baggage. If the plates he was toting were made of pure gold or even downgraded to jewelry grade material with a 10% air gap then this six inch thick book would have still weighed somewhere between 117 to 200 pounds. This calculation is based upon the dimensions which Joseph Smith provided stating that this volume was six inches wide and eight inches long containing pages that are comparable in thickness to common tin.

This may be a feat suitable for Samson but for the normal person or even a  strong man competition it is unthinkable how that Joseph Smith or anybody else could of just scurried off with this heavy load especially since there is no record of him being divinely enabled to handle such weight. To help establish this point a replica has been made  out of lead and is on display at the Utah Lighthouse Book Store in Salt Lake City to simulate the size and the weight of this object of which many found it difficult to lift and so can you imagine what it must of been like to handle this mass over a 3 mile trek?

Additionally the testimony of two of the three witnesses Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer along with Lucy Mack Smith claimed that these plates were made of pure gold. This is consistent with other Mormon lore such as the engravings of the pure gold Jaredite plates as found in the book of Mormon “Mosiah 8:9” and which makes up the book of Ether. However, these witnesses and others probably never really saw these golden plates to begin with and it appears that it was only through prayer that they were able to receive a vision of them even though they were in the visible possession of Smith himself, Doctrine and Covenants 17:2.

Also the likelihood of this supposed text being engraved out of pure gold is doubtful because the material is too soft to work with and would also deform or distort over time once compressed underneath its own weight. Not only that but pure gold makes the burden of the weight that much more heavier due to the pages being pressed together which reduces any air pockets thus making it a solid block of gold.

Anyway I’ll let you be the judge but it appears that according to the testimonies of these witnesses that they were either misled or misleading in their assessment of the gold plates.

Moreover the tension of this story is also recognized among Mormon apologists as they have tried to lighten Joseph’s load in coming up with another solution or alibi. One theory they have postulated was that these plates according to Mormon metallurgist Read Putnam could of been made out of an alloy of gold and copper known as Tumbaga. Trick to this stuff is that if you use too much copper to reduce the weight then this causes electrolysis and brittleness which basically destroys the alloy. So to get the poundage down not only does the gold have to be impure but the air gap has to be adjusted to about 50% which lowers the weight of this codex to about 50 to 85 pounds which would still make it an arduous task in toting this parcel under ones arm.

Another difficulty to overcome is the discrepancy to deciphering these plates which according to Smith were translated into English by using some form of spectacles which reminds me of the fictitious storyline of National Treasure.

Yet according to the eyewitness accounts of Emma Smith who was Joseph’s wife and scribe along with David Whitmer, whose story was recounted by Mormon Apostle Russell M. Nelson, they claimed he observed an egg shaped seer stone that was placed in a hat in order to translate this mysterious language. So I am wondering what is the purpose of the engravings on the golden tablets to begin with if you have to use an intermediary source to interpret the script?

In conclusion many people headed out west for the gold rush and to proliferate the Mormon culture but I am wondering if the treasure they thought they found in moving to Utah was really only “Fools Gold” to begin with.

Furthermore how many of these dear and precious people have ever seriously or critically thought about the sketchy details of this organizations beliefs and practices? If you are interested I would offer you the challenge to read some more of my other posts which I have written on the subject of Mormonism which will perhaps decode and debunk this whole shenanigans .



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Copyright permission granted by Bill McKeever of the Mormonism Research Ministry

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