90 years ago today - Aug 7, 1933

Wesley P. Lloyd, later dean of BYU graduate school, writes in his journal of a three-and-a-half-hour conversation with his former Mission President B. H. Roberts: "The conversation then drifted to the Book of Mormon and this surprising story he related to me.... a Logan man by the name of Riter persuaded a scholarly friend who was a student in Washington to read thru and to criticize the Book of Mormon.... Riter sent the letter to Dr Talmage who studied it over and during a trip east ask Brother Roberts to make a careful investigation and study and to get an answer for the letter. "Roberts went to work and investigated it from every angle but could not answer it satisfactorily to himself. At his request Pres. Grant called a meeting of the Twelve Apostles and Bro. Roberts presented the matter, told them frankly that he was stumped and ask for their aide in the explanation. In answer, they merely one by one stood up and bore testimony to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. George Albert Smith in tears testified that his faith in the Book had not been shaken by the question.... No answer was available. Bro Roberts could not criticize them for not being able to answer it or to assist him, but said that in a Church which claimed continuous revelation, a crisis had arisen where revelation was necessary. After the meeting he wrote Pres. Grant expressing his disappointment at the failure... It was mentioned at the meeting by Bro Roberts that there were other Book of Mormon problems that needed special attention. "Richard R. Lyman spoke up and ask if they were things that would help our prestige and when Bro Roberts answered no, he said then why discuss them. This attitude was too much for the historically minded Roberts... "After this Bro Roberts made a special Book of Mormon study. Treated the problem systematically and historically and in a 400 type written page thesis set forth a revolutionary article on the origin of the Book of Mormon and sent it to Pres Grant. Its an article far too strong for the average Church member but for the intellectual group he considers it a contribution to assist in explaining Mormonism. "He swings to a psychological explanation of the Book of Mormon and shows that the plates were not objective but subjective with Joseph Smith, that his exceptional imagination qualified him psychologically for the experience which he had in presenting to the word the Book of Mormon and that the plates with the Urim and Thummim were not objective. "He explained certain literary difficulties in the Book... "These are some of the things which has made Bro Roberts shift his base on the Book of Mormon. Instead of regarding it as the strongest evidence we have of Church Divinity, he regards it as the one which needs the most bolstering."

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]

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