Orson Pratt Unanswered Questions - 1878
The Salt Lake Daily Tribune – October 20, 1878
For Elder Orson Pratt, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Book of Mormon is corroborated by three witnesses and by eight witnesses. The
three witnesses testify, "That we have seen the engravings which are upon the
plates, and they have been shown unto us by the power of God and not of man."
Query: How came it that it took the power of God to show them these plates, when two out of the three witnesses, viz. Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery, were scribes to Joseph Smith, and he could have shown them the plates by merely drawing aside the blanket which screened him from his scribes?
The eight witnesses declare "Joseph Smith showed us the plates and as many of the leaves as said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands." In the one case it took the power of God to show them to those who had for weeks been sitting within arm's reach of them, in the other case Joseph Smith simply showed them, and they had to take his word as to how many he had translated.
Elder Orson Pratt in his tracts on the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, says, "I bear my testimony that the Book of Mormon is a Divine revelation, for the voice of the Lord as declared it unto me."
Are we to understand [that Elder Pratt heard] the voice of the Lord himself, or was it in the Jesuitical sense spoken of in the revelation to J. Smith in June, 1829. "These words are not of man, but of me, wherefore ye shall testify, they are of me and not of man, for it is my voice which speaketh them unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another, and save it were by my power, you could not have them. Wherefore you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words."
Elder Pratt declares in another place "IF the Book of Mormon is true, none can reject it and be saved, if false, all who receive it will be damned." Is he prepared to stand by this testimony if the book is proved to be a man made book, written "To establish certain views of Bible doctrines," by men in our own time?
Sidney Rigdon, come into court.
Salt Lake, Oct. 19, 1878.
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