The Mormon Pageant in Manti has thrown up some interesting encounters and conversations this year. Some of the most interesting involved Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry who explained the above picture thus:Our Manti outreach began last week. Once again I've been using my "gold plates" as an illustration. When a Mormon tells me they believe Joseph Smith had gold plates I challenge them to lift my plates (10, ten-pound barbell weights). Most can, but then I explain that my 100 pound plates are only half of what Smith carried if they were gold. The responses are priceless.
So many insist that Joseph Smith was a "strong" farm boy and could have carried the plates. I find myself repeating the phrase " Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime couldn't carry 200 pounds under his arm for a distance of three miles." I have yet to have any Mormon offer proof that God gave Smith supernatural strength (a popular argument), although many see how that excuse doesn't work well after I explain how the likes of FARMS and FAIR are trying so hard to get the weight of the plates down to a reasonable level.Tumbaga anyone?
Mormons seem to be prepared to go to any lengths to lend credibility to the incredible story of the fabled “Gold Plates”. The latest theory is that they were not made of pure gold but of tumbaga, a non-specific alloy of gold and copper used in pre-Columbian America and discovered by the Spaniards.