Saturday, December 13, 2008

Study of the LDS Church - 6.1 The Gold Plates

Okay, so I have completed the overview of the tenets of the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From this point forward, I will review some of the bigger problems I have in developing any faith in their set of religious beliefs. This overview will obviously be one-sided and straight-forward.

Let’s first look at one huge problem starting with the beginning of the story of the Mormon faith: the gold plates.

Let me bore you with a little scientific evidence that is a bit mind-numbing, but has a lot of bearing in my argument against the LDS church. Pure gold has a density of 19.3 g/cm^3, which equates to 1204.7 lbs per cubic foot. If the plates were approximately 7” x 8” x 6” (as described in Articles of Faith, page 262, 34th ed.), this would put the plates weighing approximately 230 pounds. Giving the LDS members some leeway, you may estimate that this was not a solid gold brick and there was some air space between the pages, as they were uneven (although with the softness of gold, they would likely flatten out). You may then assume that the plates weighed approximately as “little” as 100 pounds.

There have also been arguments by LDS apologists that the plates possibly were not pure gold, but instead some type of alloy, such as copper and gold. Although this would make the plates lighter, it does not agree with the Book of Mormon, which states that the plates were “filled with engravings and they are of pure gold.” (Mosiah 8:9)

Now, please take into account the story given by Joseph Smith’s mother, Lucy, about his obtaining the plates:

"The plates were secreted about three miles from home... Joseph, on coming to them, took them from their secret place, and, wrapping them in his linen frock, placed them under his arm and started for home.

"After proceeding a short distance, he thought it would be more safe to leave the road and go through the woods. Traveling some distance after he left the road, he came to a large windfall, and as he was jumping over a log, a man sprang up from behind it, and gave him a heavy blow with a gun. Joseph turned around and knocked him down, then ran at the top of his speed. About half a mile further he was attacked again in the same manner as before; he knocked this man down in like manner as the former, and ran on again; and before he reached home he was assaulted the third time. In striking the last one he dislocated his thumb, which, however, he did not notice until he came within sight of the house, when he threw himself down in the corner of the fence in order to recover his breath. As soon as he was able, he arose and came to the house. He was still altogether speechless from fright and the fatigue of running" (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Smith, pp.107-108).

Now I will gladly admit that farming families are strong, tough individuals, but I dare say that young Joseph could have tucked them under his arm or in a linen frock and proceeded to jump logs or run “at his top speed” if they even weighed the minimal estimate of 100 pounds.

To further emphasize this point, please watch the following video, courtesy of the Mormon Research Ministry.

It is interesting to note that when those people attempted to pick up the lead plates in the bookstore, the density of lead is only 11.3 g/cm^3, compared to gold’s 19.3 That’s right…just over ½ of the density. Therefore, Joseph’s gold plates would have weighed almost twice as much as those plates that the people in the bookstore were attempting to lift.

No questions for now. Just ponder these scientific facts and compare them to the story of the origins of the LDS church. You can draw up your own set of questions if you feel it necessary.

Study of the LDS Church - 6.2 Archaeology


MyKidsMom said...

Speaking strictly my own opinion here: this story is a bit ludicrous from any standpoint. Honestly, if you weren't telling it to me, I wouldn't believe it was the basis of a religion.

However, I suppose some would find the feeding of 5000 with five loaves and two fishes hard to believe. But then we are straightforward that it was a miracle done by God, and not simply a man. Which seems to make a big difference don't you think?

Kaye said...

You know, in Christianty, all of the miracles are directly credited toward God. I have no doubt that God could have even made Joseph strong enough to lift the plates, but would he have been so winded or have dislocated his thumb or been beaten so badly? Wouldn't he have just credited God for getting him through the sitaution. However, he did not (at least not for the record).

The feeding of the 5000 was a very public event and impossible to have pulled off a hoax with that many witnesses I would think. I agree, it was all to glorify God from the beginning and never hidden or brushed off.