The CES Letter


The CES Letter was written by Jeremy Runnells to the Church in his attempt to get some honest answers to questions he had.

Here are 4 of the questions he asked with some of our references that we hope will answer them for you.

Question: Why did Joseph Smith use a seer stone to translate the Book of Mormon?

Supporters: Believe that Joseph Smith utilized a seer stone as a tool for receiving divine revelation, consistent with his understanding of revelation and previous translation practices.

Skeptics: View the use of a seer stone as unconventional or unfamiliar, but acknowledge its alignment with Joseph Smith’s cultural context and consider it as part of his translation process.

Urim and Thummin: Joseph Smith and Seer Stones – Third Hour

Did the Church Try to Hide Joseph’s Use of a Seer Stone to Translate the Book of Mormon? – Third Hour

Seer Stones and Manuscripts: The Church Just Handed You an Armload of Gifts – Third Hour

LDS Perspectives: Joseph’s Seer Stones – Third Hour

Church History: When Martin Harris Secretly Replaced the Seer Stone – Third Hour

What happened to Joseph Smith’s seer stone? – Ask Gramps

At what point did Joseph Smith’s peep stones become the Urim and Thummin? – Ask Gramps

What the Heck are Seer Stones? – Saints Unscripted

Question: Why are there multiple accounts of the First Vision with differing details?

Supporters: Emphasize that the core message of the First Vision remains consistent across different accounts, highlighting Joseph Smith’s visionary experience and encounter with God and Jesus Christ.

Critics: Point out variations in details as evidence of inconsistencies or embellishments, suggesting that evolving narratives may result from retrospective reinterpretation or adaptation to different audiences.

Why Are There Differences Between Joseph Smith’s 4 First Vision Accounts? – Third Hour

Why are there contradicting accounts of the First Vision by Joseph Smith? – Ask Gramps

Are Joseph Smith’s Multiple First Vision Accounts Contradictory? – Saints Unscripted

Question: Why did the Book of Abraham translation not match with Egyptologists’ understanding?

Supporters: Acknowledge the discrepancy between the Book of Abraham translation and Egyptologists’ interpretations. They propose alternative theories, such as Joseph Smith receiving revelation beyond traditional translation methods.

Skeptics: Highlight the dating of the papyri fragments used for translation and their alignment with common Egyptian funerary texts, questioning the Book of Abraham’s authenticity as a translation.

5 Testimony-Affirming Similarities Between The Book of Abraham and The Apocalypse of Abraham – Third Hour

Church Releases Essay on Origins and Translation of The Book of Abraham – Third Hour

What is the final disposition of the original papyrus that the Book of Abraham was translated from? – Ask Gramps

Was the Book of Abraham correctly translated? – Ask Gramps

Are there deficiencies in the Book of Abraham? – Ask Gramps

Do Surviving Egyptian Papyri Prove Joseph Smith Made Up the Book of Abraham? – Saints Unscripted

Joseph Smith’s Interpretations of the Book of Abraham Facsimiles Were Wrong?! – Saints Unscripted

Question: Why does the Church teach that Native Americans are descendants of Lamanites when DNA evidence suggests otherwise?

Supporters: Recognize that Church teachings on Native American ancestry have evolved. They emphasize the spiritual message of the Book of Mormon and the connection between indigenous peoples and the Lamanites while acknowledging the complexities of genetic studies.

Critics: Highlight DNA evidence indicating diverse genetic origins for Native Americans, including migration from Asia, which contradicts the traditional understanding of exclusive descent from Book of Mormon Lamanites.

DNA and the Book of Mormon – Saints Unscripted

Pam is currently the Visual Layout Director for Public Square Magazine and for Third Hour. She loves anything to do with road trips and history. She currently lives in San Antonio, TX.