Monday, October 1, 2012

Judge Makes Ruling in TMM Trial

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Latest News from the TMM Tribune: 

   A judge in southern Texas has ruled that missionaries may continue to teach that the Book of Mormon is a volume of sacred scripture once written upon plates by ancient inhabitants of the Americas. The Honorable Judge, Sandy C. Trayner, recently ruled that missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may continue to teach that these plates were brought forth to Mr. Joseph Smith by a heavenly messenger who also showed them and allowed them to be seen and touched by at least three others. 
   Through the month of September, 2012, a trial was held during zone conferences in four cities of Southern Texas (Corpus Christi, McAllen, Harlingen, and Laredo) where the claims of Mr. Oliver Cowdery, Mr. Martin Harris, and Mr. David Whitmer were examined. These three men claimed to have seen and touched plates made of gold with inscriptions on them that are said to have been translated into the Book of Mormon. In addition to their testimonies to having touched the plates, their unusual and compelling testimonies that they also beheld an angel was questioned in the trial.  During the trial, each man took the stand and explained his relationship with Joseph Smith, Jr. They each explained how they eventually all left the Latter-day Saint faith (to different degrees), yet, even to the end of their lives, they stayed true to their witness that the Book of Mormon was shown to them by an angel and that they each handled the golden plates.

   At one point during the trial, Mr. Oliver Cowdery stated:
"I must admit to you that I am the very Oliver Cowdery whose name is attached to the testimony, with others, as to the appearance of the Angel Moroni; and let me tell you that it is not because of my good deeds that I am here, away from the body of the Mormon Church, but because I have broken the covenants I once made, and I was cut off from the Church, but, gentlemen of the jury, I have never denied my testimony, which is attached to the Book of Mormon, and I declare to you here that these eyes saw the angel, and these ears of mine heard the voice of the angel... that the book was true... " (The Restored Church, 7th ed., p. 74-75. See also, Oliver Cowdery and His Testimony:An Address Delivered by Judge C.M. Nielsen in the Twenty-fourth Ward Meeting House, SLC, UT, Feb 20, 1910)
Mr. Martin Harris, while being questioned by the prosecutor, Mr. Stephen J. Trayner, held up his hand to the jury and said:

"Gentlemen, do you see that hand? Are you sure you see it? Or are your eyes playing you a trick or something? No. Well, as sure as you see my hand so sure did I see the angel and the plates."("How Joseph Smith Translated the Book of Mormon:Evidence from the Original Manuscript," Journal of book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 7 Issue 1, pp. 22-31)
Mr. David Whitmer, the last of the witnesses and the only of the three to not eventually return to the church, testified that he wrote these words published in the Richmond newspaper:
"It having been represented by one John Murphy... that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once and for all to make this public statement; That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that Book, as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best, will know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all of my statements, as then made and published. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear; it was no delusion!" 
   Near the end of the trial, a surprise witness was called to the stand, Mrs. Mary Whitmer.  She claimed that a great deal of the translating of the Book of Mormon from the golden plates was done at her family's farm in Fayette, New York. The extra people staying in her home was at times a burden for her, even unbearable to her. Then, she told the jury:
"One evening, when (after having done my day's work in the house), I went to the barn to milk the cows, I met a stranger carrying something on his back that looked like a knapsack. At first I was a little afraid of him, but when he spoke... in a kind, friendly tone and began to explain to me the nature of the work which was going on in my house, I was filled with inexpressible joy and satisfaction. He then untied his knapsack and showed me a bundle of plates, which in size and appearance corresponded with the description subsequently given by the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. This strange person turned the leaves of the book of plates over, leaf after leaf, and also showed me the engravings upon them; after which he told me to be patient and faithful in bearing my burden a little longer, promising that if I would do so, I should be blessed; and my reward would be sure, if I proved faithful to the end. The personage then suddenly vanished with the plates, and where he went, I could not tell. ...From that moment I was enabled to perform my household duties with comparative ease, and I felt no more inclination to murmur because my lot was hard." (Deseret News, 27 Nov. 1878, p. 674.)
  Testimony at the trial proved to be so convincing that the judge's ruling allows all missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the southernmost areas of Texas to freely teach about the truths of the Book of Mormon. The missionaries are free to teach that the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture, like the Bible, that was originally written upon plates by ancient inhabitants of the Americas. The testimonies of the three witnesses during the trial proved beyond a doubt that the same claims that Joseph Smith, Jr. testified of are true. Although Mr. Trayner offered to have eight more witnesses testify, Judge Sandy indicated that the case was so well established that it would not be necessary to call additional witnesses at that time. 
   Missionaries serving in the Texas McAllen Mission now indicate that they will continue their search to find those who are willing to learn more about the book. These missionaries promise that those who read the book with an open heart and pray with real intent for an answer from God, will receive an affirmation in their hearts that the Book of Mormon is true.

Pictures from the Conference:
Brownsville Zone

Corpus Christi Zone

Edinburg Zone

Harlingen Zone

Hidalgo Zone (and Assistants)

McAllen Zone

Mission Zone

Sinton Zone

Laredo Zone




















who's that???






Fun and games with Scripture Jeopardy:









Zone Conferences= Clean cars!!!
The perfect car! YES... it really was...







"Hijole Elder!"



Yes- Clean engines count!
Other assorted pictures from September:
Good-bye to Elder Payne!  We will miss you!

Elder Payne signing our horns

Area Mission President's Seminar in Dallas- where we met up with our son and his family!

Our son, his wife and two of our grand kids... love them to pieces!

Training for New District Leaders and Trainers at the mission home
We didn't plan this... but I think she has great taste!
Elder Trayner is set apart to serve in the Chile, Vina del Mar Mission!
One more thing- I got to celebrate my birthday!  Here is one of the "best??" renditions of the happy birthday song that I have ever heard, led (of course) by President Trayner:
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...whew....what a month...!