A REFERENCE TO THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Rosetta Stone discovered.
Marin Harris claims that Prof. Charles Anthon certified the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s translation of Egyptian characters. Prof. Anthon denies.
Book of Mormon published.
English translation of Rosetta Stone completed.
In February 1828, Joseph Smith claimed he copied characters from the Book of Mormon’s gold plates and gave them to Martin Harris, so he could have them inspected by Professor Charles Anthon, a respected classical scholar at Columbia College in New York.
Sometime in this month of February, the aforementioned Mr. Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates, and started with them to the city of New York.
— Joseph Smith
I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.
The whole story about my having pronounced the Mormonite inscription to be "reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics" is perfectly false.
— Martin Harris
Book of Mormon witness
— Charles Anthon
1844 broadside in the LDS newspaper The Prophet promoting the Book of Mormon characters shown to Professor Charles Anthon. The newspapers’ editors include Mormon apostles William Smith and Parley P. Pratt.
Martin Harris, who financed the first printing of the Book of Mormon, had a personal interest in its success. Meanwhile, Joseph Smith needed to establish that his book was a genuine ancient record to support his claim of being divinely chosen—to translate and ultimately restore Christianity. The fact that Joseph’s church promoted the story of Professor Anthon’s alleged endorsement exposes how unscrupulous the founders of the LDS church were.