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2006-08-24

Mormon History

Here is a snipped down version of the "historical" sequences from the "All About Mormons" episode of Southpark.



What errors exist in this "telling" of the story? I know of one offhand: Joseph's seer stones are pictured on the screen but they are referred to verbally as the Urim and Thummim. Joseph's stones were actually separate and independent of the Urim and Thummim.

3 comments:

Jettboy said...

I found more than a few mistakes and misrepresentations.

He wasn't called of God as a prophet at the time of the First Vision. Instead, he was asked to wait for more information. He was also asked not to join any religions currently in existance. His calling as prophet came several years later, perhaps at the time he was given the plates.

The message left by Moroni was different than this presented. Although later on in the visitations such things could have been told him, that night was not one of them. The other half of the speech about the plates was more or less correct.


There were several problems with the digging up of the Gold plates. First, according to his testimony the stone box was found under a large Rock and not digging(although they show a rock to the side). The finding of seer stones, as you said, was very wrong. According to Joseph Smith the box contained the Urum and Thummum with Breastplate, possibly the sword of Laban, and the Gold Plates. The Seer stone was found long before the digging up of the Gold Plates.

The Hat episode is true, to a point. However, eventually he used the urum and thummum (with no mention of the hat. In fact, they were more like glasses) and at times nothing at all, other than the plates.

Another problem is that Martin Harris LOST the pages. Joseph gave them to him because God said it was permissable, if unwise. Martin also lost the chance to continue helping according to a commandment of God. For a time Emma Smith helped write the translations down. Eventually, Oliver Cowdery took over and wrote down most of the rest, although Emma and at least one of her brothers helped.

Probably the biggest problem of the history, and the one the "Joke" seems based on, is ignoring Witnesses. There was never any mention of the Three Witnesses or the Eight Witnesses (or the secondary witnesses who may not have actually seen them, but did handle them) the whole time. It is a convenient error and omission.

I am not at all surprised by the innacuracies, as even Mormons don't know many of the details. However, leaving out the Witnesses makes for a troubling presentation. It becomes less funny as the lack of witnesses is the main joke and criticism. No Mormon would ever end the story without mentioning them.

Roy W. Wright said...

I found it amusing how closely the creators matched the appearance of Joseph's experiences (particularly the First Vision and the messsage from Moroni) to well-known paintings of those experiences.

Jeff said...

Roy, I rather enjoyed that... in fact, deep down it made me long for a really good cartoon version of Church history with no holds barred. :)