Connie, there are many more unanswered questions about the entire restoration efforts of dear Brother Joseph than just the one you raised. Modern translations of the surviving particles of the papyrus purportedly used by Joseph to provide us with the information shared in the Book Of Abraham suggest that they were completely unrelated to the content displayed in our Pearl of Great Price, or PGP. Similarly, the content of the Book of Moses in our PGP was given by revelation with no recourse to other material except what is currently contained in our King James Version. To me, that is pure revelation.
I can "see" in my mind how dear Joseph must have strained to get to the point where he could many times set aside the actual plates and depend entirely on the Holy Ghost to record what He, the Holy Ghost, and Mormon had prepared for us so long ago. Not having the luxury of a separate room or even a secluded "office nook" to where he could retire to perform his translation, it is quite easy for me to again see Joseph doing what he needed to do, even burying his face in a hat, to produce the knowledge required of him "lest he be destroyed".
Overriding all of this is the counsel to "never assign a temporal reason to a divine action" - it is too big, even infinite in size. To translate from preserved documents or to sit knee to knee with the Holy Ghost to work out what the Lord would have us know is entirely up to Jesus Christ for His eternal purposes. It's big! I know that Joseph took the writings of a number of ancient prophets, preserved on gold plates, converted or translated them to English and his efforts have brought me closer to Jesus Christ. Thank you, Brother Joseph.
I recently read the essay from the church about the translation of the Book of Mormon. I hadn't realized that the translation of the Book of Mormon occurred by Joseph placing is face into a hat and reading from a seer stone. In fact church historians have found that all of the translation of what is now the Book of Mormon was done by this method and the plates were not in the room with Joseph. I am wondering why the trouble of preserving the plates if they were not used to produce the Book of Mormon. Any thoughts?
What a great and uplifting article. I love it when leading with faith ends up being validated by scientific discoveries. The enemies of the church have no more legs to stand on. This whole time they've been telling us that Joseph Smith made it all up. Now they will try to say that an uneducated farm boy in the 1800's independently came up with primitive techniques for keeping things dry. Yeah, ok sure. I'm sticking with the brethren. The church is true!
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