What portion of the Restoration (RLDS, LDS, Remnant, etc.) is “sponsoring” the Second Invitation?
Neither this site nor the events transpiring are sponsored by any particular portion of the Restoration. While the eight witnesses have a heritage among the RLDS and Church of Christ, Temple Lot, it is strongly believed that what the Lord intends is to bring the Saints together from all portions of the Restoration and they together as a united people will build the the temple in Zion in preparation for the coming of our Lord.
Is Joseph F. Smith a descendant of Joseph Smith Jr.?
Yes, Joseph F. Smith is the great-grandson of Joseph Smith Jr. Joseph F. Smith is the son of Arthur Smith, who is the son of Alexander Hale Smith, who is the son of Joseph Smith Jr. More information about Joseph can be found here.
Some pictures of the plates and sword are circulating through various channels. Are there more pictures that can be shared?
Martin Harris “desired a witness” that the plates that Joseph Smith Jr. had “testified and borne record” of were true. Joseph Smith Jr. received a revelation that asserted that the Book of Mormon’s authenticity would be validated by its message, not by seeing the plates. ” … if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these things which I have committed unto you.” RLDS D&C Section 5:2c (LDS 5:7) The primary evidence of the translated portion of the sealed portion will be its words. Moroni’s advice regarding the Book of Mormon applies: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:4-5 (RLDS) 10:4 (LDS)
A few pictures are now circulating that are being used to both try to prove as well as try to disprove the authenticity of the plates. With all of the technology that is available today, it will become increasingly difficult to know which pictures are authentic and which have been intentionally altered. So for now, it is believed that making more pictures available online, is not wise.
We pray that all will exercise Moroni’s admonition. Read what will come and pray with real intent, having faith in Christ, that by the power of the Holy Ghost, the truth will be known.
The Second Invitation
What is the “Second Invitation”, and how does it relate to what is going on right now?
It was felt that a site was needed to provide information to anyone interested as quickly as and practicable as possible so we quickly chose a blog style (wordpress) website. But it was felt that it should not identify or be tied to any particular portion of the restoration. The “Second Invitation” name comes from an understanding of the parable of the marriage supper as told by Jesus in Matthew 22. There are clearly two invitations to the marriage supper. The second invitation is in verse 9 “Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.” It is believed that the coming forth of the sealed portion is the catalyst for this second invitation. Additionally, the Book of Mormon indicates in 3 Nephi that in the latter day truth would come to the Gentiles. (RLDS 3 Nephi 7:31) This is the first invitation. But the Gentiles would reject it. (RLDS 3 Nephi 7:34) After that rejection the Lord would remember his covenant and bring the gospel to the house of Israel. (3 Nephi 7:36) This is the second invitation. The time of the Gentiles has come to an end. We are in the time of the second invitation.
According to the three Nephites’ explanation of the three time periods contained in the twelfth chapter of Daniel, the second invitation began on April 6, 2007. It is an interesting fact that 2007 is 40 years after 1967, the year of the 6-Day Israeli-Arab War in which the Jews regained Jerusalem, an event that marks when the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled according to Jesus (Luke 21:23 IV). The coming forth of the sealed portion is the ensign of the second invitation.
It has been claimed that the plates are a forgery that were based on the forged Anthon Transcript made by Mark Hofmann. Is this true?
The Hofmann transcript does not match the entire back plate of the golden plates that we examined. We compared the two and testify that some portions are the same and some are very different. Since the Hofmann transcript agrees with only a portion of the back plate, it does not prove that the golden plates of which we testify are forged. A comparison can be found at the link below. Note, that the seal at the bottom right looks the same but is significantly different than the seal on the back plate.
Joseph stated that the characters on the plates feel smooth. According to the accounts of Joseph Smith Jr. and the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, they are “engraved”. Why the discrepancy?
Bob further describes the characters as being “etched”–“composed of tiny parallel lines”–but of a very small depth. Since this method of engraving very shallow lines was quite common in the 1800s, it would be reasonable for the witnesses to use the word “engraved” to describe such etchings.
What are the plates made of that Joseph and Bob held?
The exact chemical makeup of the plates is unknown, but it is reasonable to presume that the plates are made of some type of gold alloy. We know they are non-magnetic. Joseph has commented that what is most important is not what they are made of but what they contain!
What are the dimensions of the plates Joseph and Bob held?
In the Q&A session, Joseph and Bob estimated that the plates are about 6” x 8”, and that the whole set is roughly 4.5” thick. In his sermon, Joseph estimated that the plates weigh around 50-60 lbs.
Both Brothers Bob and Joseph have indicated that the interpreters were broken. Why was this allowed to happen? How can the plates be translated without interpreters? Will a seer stone be used?
A close friend of Mauricio, the man who has the interpreters and is appointed to translate part of the sealed portion, became angry with him for not ordaining him to the Melchizedek priesthood. Mauricio had not yet received that priesthood and could not ordain him. This friend began to accuse Mauricio of being led by the devil, which caused Mauricio to doubt. He said that all the artifacts were of the devil. At the time, Mauricio was using the interpreters to read the beginning of the Book of Mormon plates, which is the Book of Lehi and part of the 116 pages that were lost. The doubt that was growing in his mind gave the devil to access to his mind. He saw things from the evil one along with the interpretation of the characters. His mind grew confused and darkened. In a moment of despair, Mauricio said that his doubt caused him to believe it was all of the devil. He hammered on the interpreters and broke them.
After Mauricio repented and fully applied himself, Moroni showed him how to make new stones, which he did. He gave them to Moroni the last time he saw him so Moroni could put the inscriptions on them. The inscriptions allow the stones to work. When Moroni appears again, he will give the new interpreters to Mauricio.
The Book of Mormon says that whoever uses the interpreters is called a seer and that a seer is greater than a prophet but is also a revelator and prophet. (Mosiah 5:73-79 RLDS, Mos. 8:15-16 LDS) Because Mauricio will be using the interpreters to translate the sealed portion does this mean that he is a prophet, seer and revelator?
The scriptures also state, “Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer; for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer” (1 Sam 9:9).
In their testimonies, Joseph and Bob stated that the saints would come together and build “the temple”. What temple is this, and where will it be?
“The temple” is the first temple in Zion that the church was commanded to build. See Section 94 of the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants. (LDS Section 97) It will be located on the original spot for the temple that was revealed to Joseph Smith Jr. in March 1831.
What will the temple look like?
The temple will follow the description given to Joseph Smith Jr. on June 25th, 1833. It will resemble the Kirtland Temple, but it will have several changes. You can read the description of the temple here.
How and when will the temple be built?
The exact details and timeline of the construction of the temple are still unknown.