Joe Geisner wrote:
From my reading, I believe Skousen has completely remove the three witnesses from the testimony, he completely removes them from the words that were supposed to be authored by them. His findings and evidence show that they had no part in this testimony.
He assumes the Book of Mormon was revealed by God to Smith, therefore God also revealed the 3 witness testimony to Smith. His finding is that the writer of the Book of Mormon had a hand in writing the 3 witness testimony..therefore for both the writer is God.
It seems to me you are saying if one takes God out of the picture..based on Skousen's findings..it means all that's left is the assumption Smith must have written the 3 witness testimony. But actually if we take God out of the picture..that doesn't leave using Skousen's findings... with a reasoned conclusion that therefore Smith must have written the 3 witness testimony. Once we take out the assumption of "revealed text" which Skousen used to eliminate Cowdery as a potential writer of the testimony...then Cowdery is back into being a probable candidate. And it's possible even Whitmer had a hand. So Skousen's finding and evidence..don't lead to Smith only, his findings lead to a writer/writers of the Book of Mormon..or contributors to the Book of Mormon..likely wrote the 3 witness testimony. The most likely candidates are Smith and Cowdery but possibly others helped.
I recognize that Skousen claims Smith received every word from God through the seer stone and each word was found on the gold plates. He is also claiming that the testimony came the same way. But these are still Smith's words, whether they came from God or came from his mind, they are Smith's words, not Cowdery, Whitmer nor Harris.
That is your assumption, that Smith is the only candidate using Skousen's findings. But as I said, take out the assumption of "God/revealed text" used by him to eliminate Cowdery..and Cowdery is back as a probable candidate..because that was the only thing he used to eliminate Cowdery.
As for how Joseph Smith wrote in this time period, I think Smith didn't know how to write any other way but in Biblize. Consider his epistle, introducing young Orson Pratt to the Colesville Saints in 1830. Or consider the preface to the Book of Mormon (removed in later editions) written in 1829 Joseph uses the phrase, "that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written . . ." Immediately after he quotes the Lord (Who also happens to speaks in the Elizabethan or "King James Bible" form), Joseph finishes the preface in his own words, which now include the phrases, "that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing," and "the plates of which hath been spoken . . ." (Rick Grunder was kind enough to point this out to me)
Joe you are assuming Smith is the sole author of the Book of Mormon. Really what Skousen's evidence indicates is that the writer/writers of the 3 witness testimony contributed to the writing of the Book of Mormon. Likely candidates include Smith, Cowdery, Whitmer. Harris doesn't appear to be a likely candidate. That's what the evidence leads to as opposed to Skousen's conclusion which invokes God..an unnecessary and extraordinary assumption.