The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Friday, August 11, 2017

Suggestions for Church curriculum - structure of the Book of Mormon

Church curriculum is awesome, well adapted for various age groups and interests.

There's a graphic on this page that depicts the common understanding of the structure of the Book of Mormon and how it was translated:

Here is the graphic:

The graphic has these problems:

1. It doesn't explain where the source plates were; i.e., in Mormon's depository in the Hill Cumorah (Mormon 6:6).

2. It suggests that somehow the "small plates" were inserted into the abridgment. This explanation has never made sense because (i) the Title Page, on the last leaf of the plates Joseph got from Moroni's stone box, does not mention any original plates; (ii) Joseph translated all of the plates in Harmony, including the Title Page on the last leaf; (iii) when he got to the end of this set of plates, Joseph wondered if he should retranslate from the beginning to replace the lost 116 pages; (iv) in D&C 10, the Lord told Joseph he'd have to translate the plates of Nephi, but he didn't have the plates of Nephi when he was in Harmony.

3. The diagram doesn't show how Joseph got the plates of Nephi directly from the depository in the Hill Cumorah after he moved to Fayette, NY. He didn't get them from Moroni's stone box.

I suggest replacing that graphic with this one which more clearly explains what plates Joseph translated and where. 

All of the source plates were in Mormon's depository in the Hill Cumorah in New York (Mormon 6:6). Mormon gave the abridgment to his son Moroni, who added to them and then deposited them in the stone box he built on the Hill Cumorah. 

Joseph Smith got the abridged plates with Moroni's additions, as shown in the Title Page. He translated these in Harmony, PA. When he reached the end, the Lord told him not to re-translate the first part (which was on the 116 pages that Martin Harris lost). Instead, he needed to translate part of the plates of Nephi to replace the 116 pages.

Joseph gave the plates to a divine messenger before he left Harmony. The messenger took them to the depository in the Hill Cumorah, picked up the small plates of Nephi, took them to Fayette, and gave them to Joseph. Joseph translated them in the Whitmer home in Fayette.

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