Mormonism teaches to investigators and followers alike that the correct interpretation of this passage is that, the sticks are really scrolls, the ‘stick of Judah’ is the Bible, the ‘stick of Joseph’ is the Book of Mormon, the joining of these sticks mean the joining of the two writings, the Bible and the Book of Mormon.
In the Hebrew the word pronounced ‘ets’ means wood, tree or stick and was translated in the KJV Bible as ‘stick’ (e.g. Numbers 15:32, 1 Kings 17:10, Lamentations 4:8, 2 Kings 6:6).
In Hebrew the word pronounced ‘sepher’ means scroll or book and was translated as ‘scroll’ in Isaiah 34:4.
The Hebrew words pronounced ‘dabar,’ and translated ‘siph-rah,’ mean and are translated in various passages, word, book or writing.
In verse 15 the LORD told Ezekiel precisely what to write on the two sticks, and it was not ‘the Bible’ and ‘the Book of Mormon.’ He was told to write, “For Judah, and for the children of Israel, his companions’ then take another stick, and write upon it, for Joseph the stick of Ephriam, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.” That was it; nothing more was to be written upon the sticks. As you study Old Testament history, you will find that many times sticks, rods, and staffs were used by the children of Israel to write their tribes and genealogy upon.
The Bible speaks of ‘books’ (‘sepher’) in many verses, such as Isaiah 30:8; Jeremiah 36:2; Ezekiel 2:9; Daniel 12:1; Malachi 3:16, and Joshua 1:8.
The Bible also speaks of ‘sticks’ (‘ets’) in verses such as Numbers 15:32-33; 1 Kings 17:10-12; 2 Kings 6:6 and Lamentations 4:8.
But God never interchanges these words. The people even asked Ezekiel what he meant by what he said and did in verse 18. We as God’s children often need to be shown by visual aids what God is trying to convey to us. The same was true in OT times as we see here in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel.
In the next few verses, the Lord declared the two kingdoms of Israel would be brought together as one nation and with one King again. In fact, the entire chapter deals with the restoration of Israel to her own land. At this time in history, the two kingdoms were divided. God never wants His children against each other.
Furthermore, it was not Ezekiel who wrote either the whole Bible or the Book of Mormon. Besides, the Book of Mormon was written on “gold plates” and not sticks or scrolls. Obviously, the LDS interpretation does not fit the context of this passage.
This is another passage of Scripture that the Mormon says substantiates the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
Quoting from Mormon Apostle LeGrand Richards in his book, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, page 69:
“Now, obviously, the only way a dead people could speak ‘out of the ground’ or ‘low out of the dust’ would be by the written word, and this the people did through the Book of Mormon. Truly it has a familiar spirit, for it contains the words of the prophets of the God of Israel.”
The Hebrew word pronounced ‘OV’ or ‘OB’, means a necromancer and is translated in the Bible as ‘familiar spirit.’
The Hebrew pronounced ‘DORASH’, means to ‘inquire or to follow after.’ One time in Deuteronomy 18:11 it is used with ‘the dead’ as the direct object. To follow after the dead is translated as ‘necromancer,’ which is communication with demons.
All of these definitions put together with a word or two from the dictionary and we have witchcraft — that is the conjuring up of the spirits of the dead!
Quoting from a LDS publication Mormon Doctrine, Plain and Simple, or Leaves From the Tree of Life, Charles W. Penrose, 1888:
“The temple where the ordinances can be administered for the dead, is the place to hear from the dead. The Priesthood in the flesh, when it is necessary, will receive communications from the Priesthood behind the veil. Most holy conversations on all things pertaining to the redemption of the race, belong in the places prepared in the temples.”
That is the occultic practice of spiritism!
There are at least 15 Old Testament references to ‘familiar spirit’, and all of them deal with witchcraft. See Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27; 1 Samuel 28:3-9; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24; Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; 29:4. In the LDS publication “Missionary Pal” page 170, the author tells us, “Spiritualism” not of God!
If the members of the LDS Church believe that the Book of Mormon has a ‘familiar spirit,’ they are identifying it with witchcraft! So be it.
Mormonism teaches this passage was fulfilled when Joseph Smith received the ‘Gold Plates’ and Martin Harris took a copy of some of the ‘caractors’ to Professor Anthon. A portion of this event is recorded in the Pearl of Great Price, JS 2:63-65.
These events do not fit Isaiah 29:11-12 because the text shows 1) this is a parable and the subject is a vision and not a book, 2) the vision of the prophets of that day had become as meaningless to the people as the words of a book that was sealed. Isaiah was referring to the condition of the people at that time and not a book of some ‘future time,’ 3)according to Harris, the professor said the translation was correct. Anthon could have said this only if he read it. But Isaiah said the learned man could not read the book because it was sealed! The only way the professor knew the plates were ‘sealed’ was because Harris, “Told him they were.” In our passage of Scripture, in Isaiah, the Book went to the learned man first–then to the unlearned. But the Mormon story has the book of gold delivered first to the “unlearned” Smith who copied some of the ‘caractors’ of his translation on a piece of paper which was taken to the “learned” Anthon. In Isaiah the same sealed book was taken to both the learned man and the unlearned man. But Anthon did not receive any book–sealed or unsealed, and in Isaiah the book was delivered to the unlearned and he simply said, “I am not learned,” and he made no effort to read or translate it. But Smith claimed he (Smith) did read the book, even though unlearned.
The Mormon Apostle LeGrand Richards said, “Professor Anthon did not realize that he was literally fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah.” (op. cit., p.50) But the professor didn’t believe he was fulfilling Mormon prophecy, because in a letter to E.D. Howe, a Painsville, Ohio newspaper editor, he (Anthon) relates the events as a hoax and a scheme to ‘cheat’ the farmer (Harris) out of money. Instead of fulfilling prophecy he (Anthon) became somewhat of a prophet himself, in that Harris actually did lose money.
Let no one tell you what a passage or portion of Scripture says without checking it yourself with what the Holy Spirit says to your heart. And when you do read a Scripture, read all of the passage in context. Remember – “A text taken from its context, becomes a pretext.”