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universes, creations, that our eye could never see by the aid of any tele.scope. It sees longer: That which we cannot succeed in seeing in a few seconds of observation we shall never see. The photographic eye has but to look long enough in order to see; at the end of half an hour it distinguishes what was before invisible to it; at the end of an hour it will see better still, and the longer it remains directed towards the unknown object, the better and more distinctly it will see it—and this without fatigue. And it retains on the retinal plate all that it has seen.*


This photographic eye, used in what is called the kinetograph, photographs the spokes of the sulky driven at full speed,—which cannot be discerned at all by the human eye-as if standing still. The bullet discharged from the most powerful gun of modern invention, which the human eye cannot follow in its flight, this instrument seems to arrest in mid-air. The ripple waves on the surface of murcury, which no human eye has ever seen-even when assisted by the most powerful microscopes-it faithfully registers, and by its testimony alone we know of their existence. This instrument register's on sensitized tin foil, birds in their flight, express trains at full speed, moving throngs on crowded streets, athletes at their sports, the restless waves of ocean, the tempest's progress, the lightning's flash-all of which by means of another instrument called the kinetoscope are reproduced to the life, though the actors in the scenes represented be dead, and rotting in their graves. As these named instruments photograph and reproduce actions, so the phonograph registers the intonations, inflections, and all the peculiarities of voice entrusted to it, and as faithfully reproduces them, once, twice, or a thousand times, so that friends may recognize the intonations and all the peculiarities of inflection and voice, though he who thus speaks has long since been dead or removed to other lands. What more shall I say? Is not enough here presented concerning the instruments of man's invention to justify the probability of the existence of media that can accomplish all that is ascribed to Urim and Thummim and Seer Stone by Joseph Smith? Will the reader say no, because to Urim and Thummin or Seer Stone there seems to have been ascribed by some almost intellectual qualities-the power to take the characters of

*The Cosmopolitan Magazine for September, 1896.

an unknown language and present the interpretation of them in intelligible English; while to all these other instruments, to which reference is made, there seems to be ascribed only a mechanical quality-the power merely to extend the vision of the human eye -to magnify to human vision the smaller objects in nature-to register movements too rapid or too minute for the unaided human eye to see to conduct sounds to greater distance to send out into space and receive vibrations that convey intelligence?

But may not this objection, if such it can be considered, rest upon false premises? Those who advance it ascribe to Urim and Thummim and the Seer Stone qualities not claimed for it by Joseph Smith. I have already called attention to the fact that the instruments used by the Prophet Joseph in translation were not everything and the Prophet nothing: that the primary factor in the work of translation was the mind of the Prophet enlightened by the Spirit of God; that the instruments he used were merely aids in the work not the primary factors. In Urim and Thummim or Seer Stone appeared, according to the testimony of Martin Harris and David Whitmer, the Nephite characters, and underneath them an interpretation in English; but it was the inspired mind of the Prophet, not any quality in Urim and Thummim or Seer Stone, that wrought out the translation. The translation was thought out in the mind of the Prophet, and confirmed by the Holy Spirit;+ which, in the work of translation, as in all things else of a divine nature, is God's witness for the truth. The Urim and Thummim and Seer Stone possessed the quality of reflecting the Nephite characters, and for the time reflecting also the translation of them wrought out in the inspired mind of the Prophet, and held them before his vision until faithfully recorded; and when this fragment of translation was dismissed from the mind of the Prophet, it disappeared also from Urim and Thummim.

* See M. I. A. Manual for 1903-4, chapter vii.

†See Doc. and Cov., sections viii, ix. Also chapter vii of Manual 1903-4. I do not think I can too strongly urge upon the reader's attention the statements in the revelations of God found in sections viii and ix of the Doctrine and Covenants, for there we have God's description of how the gift of translation is to be exercised, and His word upon the subject is to be taken, before any human words spoken or any human theory advanced.

If it should still be objected that even this view of Urim and Thummim and Seer Stone leaves those instruments many more times wonderful than any instrument of man's invention, it should be remembered that they were instruments prepared or selected by divine intelligence, and as that intelligence far exceeds the intelligence of man, so may it be expected that the instruments of his devising or selection will excel, in quality and power, anything which man could invent. Meantime those instruments which man has contrived to aid him in his search and ascertainment of truth, make belief possible in the existence and use of the more wonderful instruments of God's devising.

The question is often asked-and it bears upon the probability of Joseph Smith's statements respecting the Book of Mormon, because the answer that has to be made gives rise to doubts, and sometimes to sneers on the part of those receiving it-the question is asked, I repeat, "What became of the gold plates from which Joseph Smith claims to have translated the Book of Mormon, can they be seen now? Is the Church in possession of them?" The answer is, "No; the Prophet returned them to the angel Moroni, and he, doubtless, now has possession of them, and is their guardian."* As remarked, this answer is declared to be unsatisfactory, and is often ridiculed; for worldly wisdom fancies that the Prophet had a most direct means of establishing the truth as to the existence and character of the plates, if only he had retained them in his possession, or deposited them in some state or national

* I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe, and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible. But by the wisdom of God, they remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When, according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him; and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight (Church History, vol. I., pp. 18, 19).

institution of learning or archæology. Joseph Smith acted under the direction of Moroni in the matter of the plates of the Book of Mormon; why he was not permitted to keep the book of plates is not, perhaps, positively known. Part of the record was sealed, as the Prophet himself informs us;* and as the time had not come for that part of it to be translated, it may be that that was one reason why it should be still kept in the custody of the angel. Moreover, in this life we are required by divine wisdom to walk by faith, not by sight. It is part of our education that we learn to act with reference to sacred things on probabilities. A vail of oblivion is stretched over our past spirit-existence. The future is hidden largely from our view, and we are required to perform this life's journey from the cradle to the grave in the midst of uncertainties, except as we increase our faith and establish assurance by the development of spiritual strength from within. Why this should be so may not always seem clear to us;, but of the no doubt. Nor can there be any doubt as to the wisdom of it, and the benefit of it to mankind, since our Father-God, has so ordained it. Nor is it in "Mormonism" alone that certain direct material evidences are denied to men concerning divine things. Infidels refer to the opportunities which they think the impudent challengers of the persecutors of the Son of God afforded Him to demonstrate his divine power, and prove the truth of his mission, when they said, "If thou be the son of God, come down from the cross. *** “If he be the King of Israel, let the cross, and we will believe him." afforded him here to respond to their

fact of it there is

him now come down from What an opportunity was challenges and cover them

eight inches long, and not filled with engravings, in volume as the leaves of a

* These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and quite so thick as common tin. They were Egyptian characters, and bound together in a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters of the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, and much skill in the art of engraving. (Mill. Star, vol. xix, p. 118.) † Matt. xxvii : 40, 42.

with confusion and fear. But the Son of God heeded them not, and infidels everywhere run away with the opinion that he missed the opportunity of his career if, indeed, he was the Son of Godthe Lord of Life-the Master of Death.

Moses gave out the statement that the Law of Israel, the Ten Commandments, were written by the finger of God on tables of stone. These, in his anger, Moses broke to pieces in their presence, when he found that during his brief absence in the Mount, obtaining the law, Israel had turned to the folly of idolatry. But a second set of tables was prepared, and again on these God carved with his own hands the Ten Commandments. Moses placed them in the ark of shittim wood, which by divine appointment he provided, and this constituted the "Ark of the Covenant."+

Again, when the children of Israel were disposed to rebel against the priesthood of God's appointment, under divine direction, Moses called upon each of the twelve princes of the house of Israel to present before the Lord a rod with the name of his tribe upon it. Among these was Aaron's rod, representing the tribe of Levi. All were placed in the "Tabernacle of Witness" before the Lord. On the morrow when Moses went into the "Tabernacle of Witness"-"Behold the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, was budded, brought forth buds, and yielded almonds": and all this in a single night! Thus the Lord gave a palpable evidence to Israel of his choosing the house of Aaron and the tribe of Levi to stand before him in the priest's office; and the Lord said unto Moses, "Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels."

The unbelieving world to whom Israel's message was afterwards sent, might demand that the tables of stone and Aaron's rod that budded should be displayed for their inspection that faith might take hold of the unbelieving; but there is no record that these sacred things were ever exhibited for such a purpose.

The infidels of our own day frequently remark that the prayer of Dives to Abraham ought to have been graciously granted, and

*Deut. ix: 8-11.

† Deut. x: 1-5.

Numbers xvii.

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