By Dennis B. Horne
As Joseph Smith was dictating the translation of the Book of Mormon to Oliver Cowdery, they learned that the gold plates were to “be hid from the eyes of the world” in general. Nevertheless “three witnesses” would be enabled to view the book or plates “by the power of God” in addition to Joseph—“him to whom the book shall be delivered.” These three witnesses would then “testify to the truth of the book and the things therein” (2 Nephi 27:12; see also Ether 5:2-4 and D&C 5:11, 15).
It is well known that Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris were granted the privilege of becoming these three designated special witnesses (see D&C 17, including section introduction). Their signed statement of solemn testimony has been printed with each edition of the Book of Mormon. Continue reading
By Dennis B. Horne
In a thoughtful and well-reasoned presentation engaging the question of the historicity of the Book of Mormon, Elder Dallin H. Oaks stated: “It is our position that secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.”1 While most Latter-day Saints would probably quickly agree with the idea that secular evidence cannot disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, they may be less eager to embrace the other side of the equation—that secular external evidence cannot prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Continue reading
By Bruce E. Dale
For me, one of the strong evidences that Joseph Smith was a true prophet is that the scriptures given through him and the church restored through him make very hard, very challenging demands on me. These demands and requirements are just as specific, detailed and difficult as those Jesus has always asked of his followers.
For example, after teaching his disciples in a parable that foreshadowed the Last Supper and the Sacrament (John 6: 48-59) we find many of his disciples responding: “This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” Jesus then asks if they are offended, and, instead of toning down his message, he gives them yet another difficult teaching regarding the resurrection. Continue reading
Finding Laban drunk in the streets of Jerusalem, Nephi “beheld his sword, and [he] I drew it forth from the sheath thereof; and the hilt thereof was of pure gold, and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine, and . . . the blade thereof was of the most precious steel” (1 Nephi 4:9).1 This description is so precise that one is tempted to look for similar weapons from the ancient world in which Laban lived. Comparisons have been made with a long dagger found in the tomb of the fourteenth-century BC Egyptian king Tutankhamun, with its iron blade and hilt of gold, uncovered in 1922 by British archaeologist Howard Carter (see Fig. A).2 This comparison is valid insofar as the workmanship is concerned, for Laban’s sword had a steel blade and a gold hilt. But the Egyptian weapon would not have been long enough for Nephi to strike off Laban’s head (1 Nephi 4:18).3 Continue reading