South Park Mormon: Book of Mormon Lost Pages
1. Martin Harris took some of the manuscript pages home – TRUE
Even though Martin’s wife, Lucy, had donated some of her own money early in the process to help fund the translation of the plates, she later became particularly skeptical of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon record. As a result, Martin Harris plead with Joseph Smith to let him take the 116 pages of the manuscript that they had finished to show his wife. When Joseph Smith took it to the Lord in prayer, he was denied twice; finally, after asking a third time, he said that God granted Martin Harris to show the manuscript to his wife and four other named family members.
When Harris took the manuscript home, he broke his oath and showed it to many friends and visitors. Shortly thereafter, the pages disappeared.
2. Lucy Harris hid the plates to ‘test’ Joseph Smith – FALSE
After a period of time had passed, Joseph Smith got nervous and went to visit Martin Harris. When Harris shared the news, both he and Joseph Smith were devastated. Joseph exclaimed, “Oh, my God!…All is lost! all is lost! What shall I do? I have sinned—it is I who tempted the wrath of God.”
Later, Joseph Smith received a revelation from God who explained what had happened to the manuscript:
“And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands.
And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;
And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work.
For he hath put into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.” [Doctrine & Covenants 10:10-13]
Though it is not known exactly who had the manuscript, their intentions were made clear through this revelation. If Joseph translated the same portion of the plates identically as he had before, his enemies would bring forth the original manuscript which they had altered in order to discredit him and the Book of Mormon.
However, the Lord had prepared a way for the work to continue. The ancient records contained the book of Lehi (which was translated in the lost pages) and the book of Nephi, which was an account of the same events by another author. This approach is not uncommon in scripture–consider the 4 Gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
After a period of time, the Lord allowed Joseph Smith to continue in the translation, starting with the book of Nephi, but Martin Harris was no longer a scribe.
CONCLUSION: This is an area where South Park again leaves out critical context to the story. With South Park’s portrayal, it’s easy to understand why people could misunderstood the events that occurred. Click here for a more accurate and complete description of the lost 116 pages.