Post Author: Bill Pratt
In part 1, we started looking at Rob Bowman’s online exposition of how the witnesses of Jesus’s resurrection and the witnesses of Joseph Smith’s golden plates compare to each other. We pick up where we left off.
Bowman next looks at the “contrast between the makeup of the collection of publicly identified witnesses to the Resurrection and the publicly identified witnesses to the gold plates.”
The witnesses to the Resurrection included at least five women (with Mary Magdalene as the first such witness); the witnesses to the gold plates included no women.
The witnesses to the Resurrection identified as family members of Jesus actually consisted only of, perhaps, two such family members, James and Cleopas (if, as some scholars think, he was the man by that name elsewhere identified as a family member). An appearance to Jude may be implied, and it isn’t unreasonable to speculate that Jesus also appeared to other family members such as Mary. Still, the named individuals who functioned as public witnesses to the Resurrection included only one or two family members of Jesus. The rest of the named witnesses were drawn from a dozen or more families, with at most two individuals from any one family (such as Simon Peter and Andrew, or James and John the sons of Zebedee).
By contrast, the witnesses to the gold plates were drawn almost entirely from two families, the Smith family and the Whitmer family. Hiram Page married into the Whitmer family, which means that all of the “eight witnesses” were from the Whitmer and Smith families. Oliver Cowdery was Joseph Smith’s second or third cousin. David Whitmer was one of the “three witnesses.” Thus, ten of the eleven witnesses were relatives of either Joseph Smith or David Whitmer!
Think about this. Jesus’s resurrection was witnessed by numerous people who were not related to Jesus. In the case of the golden plates, the witnesses mostly came from two families, one being Smith’s own – hardly a diverse group. This puts into question the overall credibility of the golden plate witnesses, and certainly cannot compare to the diversity of the resurrection witnesses.
Bowman next looks at, perhaps, the most interesting comparison of the witnesses – their credibility after their experience. In part 3 , we will look at the lives of the resurrection witnesses and the lives of the golden plate witnesses. The contrast is glaring, to say the least. See you then.