pan wrote:To summarize: We have no first-hand accounts from Oliver Cowdery about the cave event (i.e., accounts written in his own hand). The first accounts of the story we have are third-hand (Hyrum Smith told W.W. Phelps who told William Horne Dame), written at least twenty-five years after the event took place. The first secondhand account (Oliver Cowdery told David Whitmer) doesn’t come until at least forty-seven years after the event...
https://www.nevillenevilleland.com/2019 ... ormon.html
In conclusion, Pan recommends being cautious with such stories, considering that such stories may not be completely true:
pan wrote:With all of this in mind, it should be clear to the reader that the Book of Mormon Central KnoWhy was responsibly cautious with the source material, claiming that “it is possible that the sword of Laban had words engraved on it,” and that Joseph and Oliver “once saw a large room which contained many plates,” but that “it is hard to know” if the experience “was a somewhat symbolic vision, a vision of a real location with real items, or an actual cave.”
Peterson recommends this site and particularly Pan's advice to Neville regarding the Heartland theories, but there is clearly also room for Peterson to improve! For example, in a recent blog entry praising Pan for excoriating Neville, DP referred to a column he had published in the Deseret News, about a story of Mary Whitmer seeing the gold plates around June 1829. Based on his column and an article in the Interpreter, it seems the story is based on second-hand accounts, told by her grandson and son, the earliest published in 1878, approximately 49 years after the supposed event.
In spite of admitting his story is based on second hand sources, published almost 50 years after the event, Peterson writes this:
DP, in Deseret News, wrote:John C. Whitmer, her grandson, reported that he himself had heard his grandmother tell of this event several times. He summarized her experience as follows....
According to Jesus, “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). Plainly the Lord stilt follows this pattern, and Mary Whitmer can justly be counted the 12th witness to the Book of Mormon.
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865 ... ormon.html
Note that Peterson seems to think that having two second hand sources works, but given that they are from father and son, both apparently written down in 1878 according to Skousen, it seems a stretch to think that having two clearly dependent and intertwined, very late statements overcomes the "late, second-hand" nature.
For example, Pan, at Neville-Neville land, clearly disagrees with Peterson on this:
pan, at Neville-Neville Land site, wrote:Competent historians (of which Jonathan Neville is not one) treat late, second- and third-hand accounts like these carefully, aware that stories often change over time as memory becomes less reliable and people expand on what they originally heard...
In light of what was published in the Deseret News, and especially with the Witnesses movie being filmed, Peterson clearly needs to heed Pan from Neville-Neville Land's advice. Counting Mary Whitmer as a 12th Witness is clearly an over-reach, as I'm sure Pan would agree. Or at least that's the advice Pan gives Neville about his references, which Peterson clearly supports.