Doesn't Isaiah 29:11-12 prophesy of the Book of Mormon?


"And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned" (Isaiah 29:11-12).


The Anthon Transcript
The Anthon Transcript
Mormons use this passage as a proof-text for the coming of the Book of Mormon.  They take it as a prophecy of Martin Harris, the unlearned, taking a page of copied Reformed Egyptian characters (Mormon 9:32) that Joseph Smith gave him from the alleged gold plates to the Egyptologist Dr. Charles Anthon, the learned, in 1828.  According to the LDS account, Anthon validated the characters as being Egyptian as well as their translation by Smith.  When Harris told Anthon that an angel revealed the plates to Smith, Anthon reportedly took back his written validation.  Anthon, however, claimed in a 1834 letter to E. D. Howe that the whole thing was a scheme to cheat the poor farmer Harris out of his money he used to subsidize the publishing of the Book of Mormon.


LDS beg the question that Isa. 29 refers to Harris and Anthon rather than a prophecy against the city of Ariel as the context clearly says (cf. vss. 1 and 7).  In addition to what the passage says in who it is addressed to, there is a problem with another LDS assumption.  Accordingly, the learned, Dr. Anthon, was able to read it, and depending on what account one holds, either affirmed or rejected Smith’s translation.  Yet the biblical passage clearly says that the learned wasn’t able to read what was offered to him.  Another problem is that there is no translation of Smith on the manuscript to validate Anthon even if he did agree with Smith.  Finally, Anthon could not have affirmed the translation anyway, since the alleged Reformed Egyptian language was a dead language that has never been discovered and needed the supernatural power of Smith primarily sticking his seer stone in his hat to translate.


R. M. Sivulka

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