I want to remind you that the Interpreter Foundation’s new feature film Witnesses will open in selected theaters within slightly less than a month, and that tickets are already on sale for it. You can order tickets by going to the film’s official website. Look in the upper left corner of the website for the button that is marked, rather enigmatically and mysteriously, Get Tickets. If your favorite theater doesn’t yet appear on the list of theaters for opening night, don’t despair. Simply look toward the right across from the Get Tickets button, and find the button marked Bring Witnesses to Your City This Summer. Click on it, and it will tell you what to do.
In connection with the project that has produced this film and recently launched a (stlll growing) new website and that will shortly complete a substantial related documentary and a small flotilla of brief items for use on the internet, back at the very beginning and at my request, Professors Thomas G. Alexander, James B. Allen, Richard Lloyd Anderson, and Richard L. Bushman provided the following endorsements of the importance of the Book of Mormon witnesses. They are still important and worthy of reflection:
Imagine the publication and distribution of the Book of Mormon without the testimony of the witnesses. If there were none, Joseph Smith would have had to reply on his own word that he translated the plates. Many, perhaps most, people would probably have rejected the word of an uneducated farm boy. Joseph had enough difficulty even with the witnesses convincing others of the truthfulness of his story. Other people including the eight witnesses saw the plates, but only the three witnesses saw them in the possession of the heavenly messenger who delivered them to Joseph. The Lord asked them to testify to the truthfulness of Joseph’s ministry, which they did. Most important, during their lifetimes all three witnesses left the church. Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris returned to the fold, but David Whitmer remained in Richmond, Missouri, estranged from Mormonism throughout the remainder of his life. Nevertheless, in spite of rumors to the contrary, all three continued to insist on the truth of their witness.
Thomas G. Alexander (Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley), Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Western History, Brigham Young University; former president of the Mormon History Association
The testimonies of the three witnesses is the closest we come to rational evidence for Mormon belief. Three men attest to a sensory encounter with the gold plates and a divine being. In an age of skepticism, when all religious belief is under attack, their statement becomes more relevant every day.
Richard L. Bushman (Ph.D., Harvard University), Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University; former Howard W. Hunter Visiting Professor in Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University; former president of the Mormon History Association
The testimonies of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon make Joseph Smith’s account much harder to dismiss than it would otherwise be. Plainly, since others announced that they, too, had seen and “hefted” and heard, this means that, whatever else it was, Joseph’s account must reflect more than merely private imagination or simple personal dishonesty. If the witnesses are judged to be reliable men of good character, their declarations pose a serious challenge to anyone who considers the claims of the Restoration.
James B. Allen (Ph.D., University of Southern California), Lemuel Hardison Redd Jr. Professor Emeritus of Western History, Brigham Young University; former Assistant Church Historian, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; former president of the Mormon History Association
Thousands of authorized copies of the Book of Mormon have reprinted the signed experience of the eleven Book of Mormon witnesses, Three who described that an angel held and turned the individual plates of an ancient New World Bible and Eight who narrated how they were given an ordinary experience of “hefting” the record and examining the carefully crafted characters on it. About 200 reported interviews with these eleven are collected, which report the constant affirmation of these witnesses of seeing and lifting this historic, prophetic record, with its independent account of Christ visiting America.
Richard Lloyd Anderson [1926-2018] (J.D., Harvard University; Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley), Professor Emeritus of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University
Two new items were posted today on the website of the Interpreter Foundation:
The 4 April 2021 Interpreter Radio Roundtable focused upon Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 20, “That Which Is of God Is Light” on D&C 49-50. The panelists for the roundtable were Neal Rappleye, Jasmin Rappleye, and Hales Swift. Their roundtable has now been extracted from the extended 4 April 2021 broadcast of the Interpreter Radio Show. The complete show may be heard at https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreter-radio-show-april-4-2021/. The Interpreter Radio Show can be regularly heard onSunday evenings from 7 to 9 PM (MDT), on K-TALK, AM 1640, or you can listen live on the Internet at ktalkmedia.com.
And another generous contribution from Jonn Claybaugh:
On a quite different note, I’m very pleased to see this news:
“Man charged in San Gabriel Mission blaze that destroyed rooftop of historic church: John David Corey faces two felony counts of arson of an inhabited structure and one count each of arson during a state of emergency, first-degree residential burglary and possession of flammable material, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office says.”
Having grown up in San Gabriel and having, therefore, seen this building nearly every day of my life until I left for college — for one thing, it stands very near my high school — the horrific fire that nearly destroyed it was a terrible and even rather personal shock to me.
Posted from Ka’anapali, Maui, Hawai’i