The following is from The Keystone of Mormonism, Early Visions of the Prophet Joseph Smith by Paul R. Cheesman. On page 71 Cheesman cites David’s description of how the Book of Mormon was “translated.” He also cited his description from the Kansas City Journal:
He (meaning Joseph Smith) had two small stones of a chocolate color, nearly egg-shaped…(Kansas City Journal, June 5, 1881)
On p. 76, Cheesman details yet another account and then says thus:
This is a report by David Whitmer, and yet it should be noted that nowhere in history does it indicate that David Whitmer was present when any translating was done.
That’s not ture. It was clearly stated yet Cheesman chose to leave it out! Quoting from the same Kansas City Journal that Cheesman used above, here is what he left out:
I (David Whitmer), as well as all of my father’s family, Smith’s wife [Emma], Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, were present during the translation. [I did not wish to be understood as saying that those referred to as being present were all the time in the immediate presence of the translator, but were at the place and saw how the translation was conducted.] The translation was by [Joseph] Smith, [Jr.] and the manner as follows: He had two small stones of a chocolate color, nearly egg-shape… (Kansas City Journal, 5 June 1881, reprinted in “Mormonism,” Millennial Star 43 (4 July 1881): p. 423)
Continuing with Cheesman, on page 76 he quotes David saying that he was present:
To illustrate so you can see: one morning when he was getting ready to continue the translation, something went wrong about the house and he was put out about it. Something that Emma, his wife, had done. Oliver and I (David Whitmer) went upstairs and Joseph came up soon after TO CONTINUE THE TRANSLATION but he could not do anything, he could not translate a single syllable. (Braden-Kelley Debate in CHC 1:131)
On page 78, Cheesman concludes with the following disparagement:
Conclusion: Secondary sources giving various theories concerning the method of translating the sacred record have been cited. Other ideas have also been presented. Confirmation of the truth of any of the hypotheses can be secured only from another prophet of God who used the same instrument or from a writing yet unfound from Joseph Smith himself. The actual detailed method of the translation of the Book of Mormon is unknown at the present time.
He refuses to accept the words of David Whitmer, which were:
I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the SEER STONE into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the SPIRITUAL LIGHT would shine. A piece of something resembling PARCHMENT would appear, and on that appeared the writing. ONE CHARACTER AT A TIME would appear, and under it was the interpretation in ENGLISH.
Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and REPEATED TO BROTHER JOSEPH to see if it was correct, THEN IT WOULD DISAPPEAR, and another character with the interpretation would appear.
THUS THE BOOK OF MORMON WAS TRANLSATED BY THE GIFT AND POWER OF GOD, AND NOT BY ANY POWER OF MAN. (David Whitmer, An Address to all Believers in Christ, p. 12)