Handled and hefted means they touched them. Do you understand that?<quoted text>So, regarding the witnesses to the golden plates, did any of them literally see the plates? Up close? Touch them? Where are the plates now?
Ok, so the internet is literally LOADED with LDS apologists desperately trying to argue the validity of these witnesses. You can't Google this stuff without getting dozens and dozens of Mormon websites. Very few people outside the LDS even cares about the topic. Most don't even know about it. The only reason I know about it is because a lot of my favorite podcasts are from former LDS members and this is something they know a lot about.
For my money this is really the crux of it:
1) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That's sort of the essence of Occam's Razor, and I think it is a very good standard. So if I said "I ate Fruit Loops for breakfast" you could assume I'm telling the truth. It's not a very weird claim to make. But if I said "Aliens fed me Fruit Loops for breakfast" suddenly you're going to need a LOT of evidence to believe me.
2) The claims of Joseph Smith and many of the early LDS church members are extraordinary. Hell, having an angel visit you and lead you to some treasure is by itself a claim that is going to require a metric f*ckton of evidence for me to buy it. Let alone all the other sorcery and magic junk that goes along with it. So for me to buy that Smith had these golden plates he got from an Angel is going to take a lot more than the testimony of a few witnesses.
3) Eyewitness testimony is among the worst evidence you can have. Human memory and perception is notoriously fallible. People do not remember things very accurately. Consider this article on how we twist and mangle memory due to social pressures:
There are many other reasons to reject the witnesses as reliable sources. When you look at the history of the LDS it is like the history of Bigfoot. Believers claim to have seen him or at least strongly believe in him, but he's always just out of reach. Never quite in focus.
Same with Smith's miracle church. There just isn't anything to go by except what they wrote down. And for pete's sake we can write anything we want.
You can believe it all you want. I don't care. But if we're going to debate it, then show me the evidence strong enough to support your extraordinary claims. Otherwise it's just something you believe and something I do not.
What type of evidence do you expect from 1820, if other eyewitnesses aren't credible, would you prefer video footage?
We can talk about all sorts of things that make people scratch their heads when contemplating the validity of Joseph's story. I have nothing in front of me now, but I will get to my computer at some point soon. One that comes to mind is: suppose Joseph made up the BOM. How could a man with a 6th grade equivalent education write something like that in about 3 months' time?
One interesting thing is how they talk about horses in the BOM. For 150 years people said the BOM couldn't be true because there was no evidence of horse remains pre-Columbus. Until recently, they found some remains of horses that pre-date Columbus. How would he know that?
More to follow