F.E.M. claims that Joseph was reported to find plates and spectacles, but delayed the translation due to memorizing NT chapters.

May 1834
News (traditional)
F. E. M.

"Mormonism," New England Review, c. May 1834 in Protestant Sentinel [Schenectady, New York] 5, no. 1 (June 4, 1834): 4

Protestant Sentinel
F. E. M., Joseph Smith, Jr.
Reading Public

In the year 1828, one Joseph Smith, an illiterate young man, unable to read his own name, of Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, was reported to have found several golden plates, together with a pair of spectacles, relics of high antiquity. The spectacles were designed to aid mental vision, under rather peculiar circumstances. They were to be adjusted, and the visage thrust into a close hat. This done Smith could interpret the sacred mysteries of the plates, in which lay, by the hypothesis, in the top of the hat! But what gives Smith peculiar claims to the title of Prophet and Divine Messenger, among his followers, is the fact that no other eye than his have been able, as yet, to see the plates. For, by an attempt to exhibit one of them, he once incurred six months of "spiritual darkness;" which circumstance serves effectually to quiet the inquisitive. Hence he enjoys his indisputable claims to supremacy, without fear of rivalry. Previous to his "spiritual darkenss," he gained the credulity of one Harris, a simple, but rich farmer.—During this period, he was assisted in committing to memory several chapters from the New Testament.—He was also informed of the most common words, printed in italics, as not being found in the Greek original. At length "after much humiliation, frequent and fervent prayer," his lost powers of vision were restored. Now in order to establish more firmly his claims to divinity, he would put on his glasses, draw over his hat, and refer his hearers to some chapter—then commence the rehersal, observing to omit all words which have been inserted by translators. If, however, by failure of memory or otherwise, he chanced to differ from the commonly received text, he always claims a prerogative—pleading error of translation.—By these and like means, he imposed upon the credulity of many well meaning persons. Of these, however, Harris was the favorite, not only as being the first to embrace Mormonism, but also for being unwavering in the faith of Smith's mission from the Almighty to "publish hidden mysteries." Consequently, he so far gained the confidence of Smith as to be commissioned by him to act as amanuensis in recording an interpretation of the "golden plates." Whilst this work was progressing, Smith received intimation, "miraculously," of the propriety of publishing it. This was well calculated to test Harris' zeal—for all the expense of publication must inevitably fall on him. The terms of the printers, as at first proposed well nigh subverted his faith; but at length the parties agreed, and the "Book of Mormon" was published.

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