How many plates?

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Hagoth
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How many plates?

Post by Hagoth » Sun Sep 24, 2023 10:30 am

How many gold plates contained the Book of Mormon? Let's see.

Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer all claimed the bound stack of plates was about 6 inches thick and that approximately 2/3 of them were sealed. Martin Harris said they were about 4 inches thick and half were sealed. So, all agree the unsealed portion was about 2 inches thick. We'll go with the majority on the total thickness (sorry, Martin).

So what was on the sealed portion? The Book of Mormon itself and official church sources all agree that the sealed portion consisted of the 24 plates of Ether (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... t?lang=eng), https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... s?lang=eng

So, that means the entire stack that Joseph Smith pulled out of the ground contained about 36 plates, with 1/3 of that making up the unsealed portion, or about 12 plates.

The modern English Book of Mormon is a little more than 500 pages. To see how that fits on the gold plates you just divide 500 by 24 (12 plates, front & back). That's about 21 modern paper pages per gold page. Imagine carving text 1/20th the size of the printed text on a metal plate.

But wait! It wasn't written in English (even though, for some bizarre reason, it perfectly translates to King James English, with all of its idioms, idiosyncrasies and word-for-word Bible quotes). If it was written in Hebrew it would have required less room, like maybe only 15 modern pages per gold page. But it was written in Egyptian to make it even smaller, right? The problem here, of course, is that Egyptian is very verbose compared to Hebrew, and translating it from Hebrew to Egyptian would have made it much longer than English, and the characters would have been much harder to draw at that several-words-per-pinhead size. It would have been a technological feat that defies modern science and the interpreters would have been a high-powered microscope.

The only way it would possibly work was if Egyptian worked like Joseph Smith said it does, that each individual character contains as much as an entire paragraph of modern English. But it doesn't work that way, it could not possibly work that way, and the only time anyone ever imagined it might work that way was for a short period around the time of Joseph Smith. Oops.
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RubinHighlander
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Re: How many plates?

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Sep 25, 2023 7:59 am

Thus, the plates were not really needed. Back to the catalyst theory. We don't need not stinking plates, just a gastrolith in a hat.
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jfro18
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Re: How many plates?

Post by jfro18 » Mon Sep 25, 2023 8:27 am

What's even crazier is to see apologists cite nonsense like the Prygi Tablets are proof of records on gold plates, not addressing that those three plates hold only TWO HUNDRED WORDS.

In other words, the Book of Mormon would need like 1,000 plates just for the unsealed portion...

It's so absurd that at some point I just can't even respect people who defend it anymore.

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Red Ryder
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Re: How many plates?

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Sep 25, 2023 9:51 am

The church article is interesting in that it spends 7/8 of the article describing all the details. Then ends with “Does It Really Matter What the Book of Mormon Plates Looked Like?” And sums up with “nobody will get a testimony by looking at the plates. You have to actually read the book.

Regardless, I’m convinced the BoM could have been engraved on the plates with the right tools. I just don’t believe they had the right tools at the time it was allegedly written.

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jfro18
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Re: How many plates?

Post by jfro18 » Mon Sep 25, 2023 10:12 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2023 9:51 am
Regardless, I’m convinced the BoM could have been engraved on the plates with the right tools. I just don’t believe they had the right tools at the time it was allegedly written.
I'm not even sure you could because of what Hagoth said regarding the dimensions. I think apologists need to expand the number of plates which I've seen some try to do recently by saying they were super thin.

The problem is that if they're super thin it would be really easy for them to get damaged as you tried to engrave on them and no way you could do both sides without screwing up the other side.

I'd love to see a church video of someone engraving plates in 2023 even with semi-modern tools in a way that would fit the dimensions we have... they'll never do it for the same reason they won't show videos of Joseph reading glowing words off a rock in a hat, but I'd love to see it.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: How many plates?

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Sep 25, 2023 12:52 pm

When I was teaching YM back in the TBM daze, I would sometimes try to make lessons more interesting and real. For one of the correlated narrative lessons on the JS BOM origin story, I did some weight calculations based on current descriptions of the plates. I found a quartzite boulder in my yard that was roughly equivalent (obviously bigger than the reported size of the plates, based on density) and wrapped it in a towel, tied up with some rope. I had some of them heft it around and had them imagine with it was like to run from a mob and try to hide them.

The size and weight of that rock (about 50-60lbs) proved to be pretty unreasonable to heft around for even the stronger 16-18 years old boys. I can't remember if I had them go outside and try to run with it, with the other chasing them. But looking back I see the silliness of the exercise as reflected in the silliness of the truth claim.
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Gatorbait
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Re: How many plates?

Post by Gatorbait » Wed Oct 25, 2023 4:38 am

Good post and responses. Enjoyed them all.

Safe to say that we have all wondered how the folks lifted, and handled gold plates that weighed- at least- 40-50 pounds, as recorded by one of the "witnesses". Try that on for size sometime. Go to a gym and just try to pick up a 40 or 50 pound weight, with a handle on it. Not easy, and not something you pass around. Maybe the angel was helping with it some of the weight, holding it so they can see and feel and so on and so forth so they wouldn't drop them on a toe. Now that would be a story worth reading. "The plates slipped out of the angels hands and landed on my toe! Almost lost the toe- black and blue for a month". Oh, and by the way, most of these witnesses were relatives or friends and most left the church.

Sorry. Angel comes down, glowing brighter than the noon-day sun, which is the brightest thing anyone in that day and age had ever seen, so now there is something brighter still. Sure thing. Difficult to gaze as the noon-day sun, but something brighter than that is not so hard to stare at. But later on, you stop believing in the prophet JS- but "never deny" seeing the plates, and the angel and who knows what else? Get the story straight folks.
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Just This Guy
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Re: How many plates?

Post by Just This Guy » Thu Oct 26, 2023 5:27 am

Hagoth wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2023 10:30 am
So what was on the sealed portion? The Book of Mormon itself and official church sources all agree that the sealed portion consisted of the 24 plates of Ether (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... t?lang=eng).

So, that means the entire stack that Joseph Smith pulled out of the ground contained about 36 plates, with 1/3 of that making up the unsealed portion, or about 12 plates.

Hagoth, you missed something that makes makes things even worse.

Out of the 12 plates that contain the current BOM, part of that was the Book of Lehi that the lost 116 pages was translated from. This is in addition to the plates of Nephi that the rest of the BOM came from.

So the manuscript that was given to the printer was about 500 pages, containing 269,528 words. That works out to about 536 words per page. Using that, the lost 116 pages contained about another 62,500 words of text or about 23% more. This means that 2 of those 12 plates were the Book of Lehi and the remaining 10 contain we have today.
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Hagoth
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Re: How many plates?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Oct 26, 2023 5:34 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2023 5:27 am
Hagoth, you missed something that makes makes things even worse.

Out of the 12 plates that contain the current BOM, part of that was the Book of Lehi that the lost 116 pages was translated from. This is in addition to the plates of Nephi that the rest of the BOM came from.

So the manuscript that was given to the printer was about 500 pages, containing 269,528 words. That works out to about 536 words per page. Using that, the lost 116 pages contained about another 62,500 words of text or about 23% more. This means that 2 of those 12 plates were the Book of Lehi and the remaining 10 contain we have today.
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Hagoth
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Re: How many plates?

Post by Hagoth » Thu Oct 26, 2023 5:41 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2023 9:51 am
“nobody will get a testimony by looking at the plates. You have to actually read the book.
At this point I would have to say the exact opposite is true for me.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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