The Beaver Skin Hat: How Joseph Interpreted the Plates

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Popular styles of beaver hats circa 1830

[In homage to Bruce Nielson, I am dictating this post using Dragon dictation.]

Don Bradley wrote an intriguing paper titled Piercing the Veil: Temple Worship in the Lost 116 Pages. In the final section, Bradley discusses a lost story about how the interpreters, or Urim and Thummim, were found.

According to Fayette Lapham, Joseph Smith related some of the stories that were contained in the book of Mormon prior to publication. In one of these stories, the Liahona led the travelers to a curious set of implements. Unable to determine what these implements were, the man who found them (presumably the high priest of that time), took them into the tabernacle and present them to the Lord. The Lord tells the man  to cover his head with skins. Once he had done so, the high priest was able to see the spiritual. And according to the story, after this point Liahona stopped working. Continue reading

Conservative Oklahoma politician wants to end government marriage licenses

This story reports about a conservative Oklahoma politician, an Assemblies of God pastor, who has introduced a bill that would end government marriage licenses. Marriages certificates would be signed by a religious official and then filed with the county clerk. For nonreligious marriages, people would file affidavits of common law marriage.

Here are more details:

The Cordell Republican says he wants to protect court clerks from having to issue licenses to same-sex couples. He doesn’t want these workers put in the position of having to condone or facilitate same-sex marriage.

Under his plan, a religious official would sign a couple’s marriage certificate, which would then be filed with the clerk. Marriages would no longer be performed by judges. If a couple did not have a religious official to preside over their wedding, they could file an affidavit of common law marriage.

“Marriages are not supposed to be a government thing anyway,” he said Wednesday.

Russ, a credentialed Assemblies of God minister, is upset with rulings that have supported same-sex marriage.

“There’s a lot of constituents and people across the state who are not through pushing back on the federal government for the slam down they’ve given us with Supreme Court rulings,” he said.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Oklahoma in October. That’s when the high court declined to review a federal court decision striking down a voter-approved ban on the practice.

My quick thoughts: this proposal does not “get government out of the marriage business.” Marriages must still be filed with the government. Would this plan help protect marriage as an institution or not? I don’t know if it would have much effect at all except on county clerks.

Any thoughts from M* readers?

Well, I tried…

My shoulder became so painful yesterday I couldn’t even do my job. Very scary. I’m going to see a surgeon now. But  I think my BCC experiment is on hold, unfortunately. I need to concentrate on using my arm as little as possible for now, which means I have to cut out blogging again. *Sigh*

The Mystery of the Kinderhook Plates, Solved!

Kinderhook plate

Kinderhook plate

In April 1843, in the small village of Kinderhook, Illinois, Robert Wiley dug a deep shaft into the center of a nearby Indian mound ( to read the previous post about mounds click here). Wiley claimed to have had dreams in which valuable treasure was hidden in the mound. At first, Wiley dug the hole alone, but after a few days, Wilbur Fugate, Bridge Whitten, WP Harris, and few other men came to assist him. Soon after the men commenced digging they “found” six small bell shaped plates of copper held together by a ring. Also unearthed was a skeleton of a nine foot man.  WP Harris took the plates home to wash them with sulphuric acid. Once the plates were cleaned, strange markings were revealed which appeared to be Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Continue reading

BCC Watch: Why do Mormons that Lose Their Faith Become Atheists?

I read an interesting article at BCC today by Brad Masters. He gives his views (within the context of a Sunday School New Testament style lesson) as to why Mormons that lose their faith also seem to lose their faith in Jesus Christ.

A few thoughts. First, I suspect he’s right that Mormons tend to lose their faith in Jesus Christ when they lose their faith in Mormonism, but do we actually have any statistics to back this assumption up? Continue reading