Christian: My objection to the claims of Joseph Smith center on the details of his supposed revelation, not on the mere fact that it *was* a revelation. That would have to be the case since I believe that divine revelation is possible. As I said, the problem in his case is the long delay between the events that supposedly occurred and the time when he claimed to learn of them. This problem could be overcome if it was shown that Joseph Smith really did know things that he could not have learned through natural means at the time. If subsequent archaeological investigations corroborated his claims, it would be evidence of the supernatural. As far as I am aware, this has not happened.
” As I said, the problem in his [Joseph Smith’s] case is the long delay between the events that supposedly occurred and the time when he claimed to learn of them.”
But how is that any different from the authors of the Gospels claiming that God, or an angel, or something had revealed to them that passages in the Hebrew Bible, which no Jew had ever considered to be prophecies about a virgin-born, dying-then-resurrecting messiah, were about Jesus of Nazareth, born hundreds of years later? For instance, what evidence do we have that confirms Matthew’s claim that Isaiah 7 was talking about the birth of Jesus when a reading of the entire chapter clearly indicates the author was discussing events in the lifetimes of Isaiah and King Hezekiah? You cannot prove that Matthew didn’t just “shoehorn” Jesus into this OT passage. Neither can you prove that Matthew didn’t invent his Birth Narrative about Jesus, lock, stock, and barrel. It appears to me that it is possible that both Joseph Smith and the authors of the Gospels invented their prophecies.
And what claims or predictions of Jesus can be verified? Can we verify that he was born of a virgin? Can Christians prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus wasn’t just an ordinary human being like the rest of us? No. Did Jesus fulfill the core messianic prophecies to bring peace to the entire earth and restore the throne of David in Jerusalem? No. Has Jesus returned as he promised? No. Christians are still waiting for the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecies after almost 2,000 years! So it may be true that we cannot verify Joseph Smith’s prophecies but neither can we verify with certainty Jesus’ prophecies.
As I see it, so far the evidence for the supernatural claims of Christianity and Mormonism is equal.
Let’s proceed to the next type of evidence: eyewitness testimony. Mormonism has eleven signed affidavits by persons whose historicity is not disputed who attest to the veracity of the supernatural claims of Joseph Smith. Christianity has nothing comparable. Christians have zero undisputed eyewitness testimony from any of the persons listed in the Early Creed of First Corinthians chapter 15…except that of Paul. But Paul tells us nothing about what he saw. When it comes to eyewitness testimony, Mormonism appears to win hands down, don’t you think?
End of post.