(Newspapers of   Ohio   Missouri   Illinois   England   Utah)

Misc. LDS Newspapers
1900-1999 Articles
(Rigdon, Spalding, Hurlbut, &c.)

1833-1869   |   1870-1899   |   1900-1999

Improvement Era
1900:  Feb  Mar  Apr
1901:  Jun  Jul

Elders Journal
1905:  Aug 15 Sep 15

1908:  June 6 Jun 13 Oct 17
1910:  Apr 9
1911:  Mar 7
1921:  Mar 29

Millennial Star
1908:  June 4   July 9
Juvenile Instructor
Oct. 1915

Deseret News
May 26 '00   July 19 '00
Mar 23 '01   Apr 10 '01
May 14 '01   June 19 '01
Feb 24 '02   May 24 '02
Apr 05 '04   Aug 25 '05
Mar 28 '08   Aug 25 '34
Nov 14 '36   Jun 12 '37

Return to: Old Newspaper Articles Index

[ 241 ]


Vol. III.                                   FEBRUARY, 1900.                                   No. 4.



In January, 1885, under the somewhat peculiar circumstances of the times, I was sent on a mission to the Sandwich Islands. I sailed from San Francisco on the steamship Mariposa on the 2nd day of February following, remaining upon this mission until July, 1887. Not long after my arrival on the islands, I received a communication from Elder George Reynolds, enclosing the following letter over the signature of James H. Fairchild, at that time President of the Oberlin College, Ohio, the same being a clipping from the New York Observer of February 5, 1885, which had also been copied into Frank Leslie's Illustrated Sunday Magazine. Brother Reynolds suggested that I call upon Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, with the view of inquiring more particularly into this matter, which I did at the first opportunity. I subsequently narrated the circumstances of my interviews with that gentleman in a communication which was published in the Deseret News, over the nom de plume "Islander," which gives a detailed account of a

242                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                 .

subject which I think still possesses sufficient interest to be presented to the readers of the ERA.

The following is Mr. Fairchild's letter:


The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. That manuscript is doubtless now in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, formerly an anti-slavery editor in Ohio, and for many years state printer of Columbus. During a recent visit to Honolulu, I suggested to Mr. Rice that he might have valuable anti-slavery documents in his possession which he would be willing to contribute to the rich collection already in the Oberlin College Library. In pursuance of this suggestion, Mr. Rice began looking over his old pamphlets and papers, and at length came upon an old, worn and faded manuscript of about 175 pages, small quarto, purporting to be a history of the migration and conflicts of the ancient Indian tribes which occupied the territory now belonging to the States of New York, Ohio and Kentucky. On the last page of this manuscript is a certificate and signature giving the names of several persons known to the signer, who have assured him that to their personal knowledge the manuscript was the writing of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Rice has no recollection how or when this manuscript came into his possession. It was enveloped in a coarse piece of wrapping paper, and endorsed in Mr. Rice's handwriting, "A manuscript story."

There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long lost story. Mr. Rice, myself and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or detail. There seems to be no name nor incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon, in imitation of the English scriptures, does not appear in the manuscript. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of the lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required.


The letter to the News, under date of Honolulu, Sandwich Islands, June 24, 1885, follows:

On the morning of the 16th of April, my companion and I made our way to Punahou, about two miles from Honolulu, to the residence of Mr.

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           243

J. M. Whitney, son-in-law of Mr. L. L. Rice, with whom the latter is at present living.

On going to the house we met a very aged, but intelligent-looking man at the rear of the dwelling, whom we found to be Mr. Rice. After introducing ourselves, I informed him that I had seen an article, published in the paper by Mr. James H. Fairchild, relative to Mr. Spaulding's romance, from which it was alleged the Book of Mormon was derived, and that interest and curiosity had led us to call on him, in the hopes of seeing it, and of having some conversation with him on the subject. He invited us into the parlor, and when we were seated he asked,

"Are you Mormons?"

Of course to this we had but one unequivocal answer. He then enquired how long we had been in the country, our business, etc., to all of which we gave appropriate answers, so that he seemed satisfied that we had come no great distance for the special object of our visit. He then began to talk about as follows, to the best of my recollection:

"I have no objection to showing you the manuscript; you shall see it, but it is of no value to anybody. I have, with others, compared it with the Book of Mormon, and I undertook to copy it, but ran out of paper before I got it finished and so discontinued it. There is not one word or sentence in it in common with the Book of Mormon. The only possible resemblance is: they both purpose to give an account of American Indians. This manuscript is nothing but a simple story about the tribes of Indians supposed to have inhabited the country in the vicinity of Conneaut, Ohio, where some ancient mounds existed, and it is a very poor story at that. It came into my possession in 183--, when Mr. Winchester and I bought out the printing establishment formerly owned by Mr. E. D. Howe in Painsville, Ohio, in connection with a large number of old papers found in the place and turned over to us with it. I have had it ever since in my possession. I have looked at it scores of times, and often thought I would look into it to see what it was, but never did until a year ago, on the occasion of President Fairchild's visit. Since then I have often wondered that I did not long ago destroy it with other worthless papers. I have recently had letters from several parties making inquiries about this manuscript, and all desiring to obtain possession of it. Mr. Howe thinks he has a claim upon it, but I have told them all they cannot have it. When I get through with it, I shall most likely deposit it in the Oberlin College Library, as I have promised President Fairchild."

I remarked: "There is no use disguising the fact that we would like to obtain it, or a copy of it," to which he very emphatically replied: "Well, sir, you can't have it."

244                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                 .

He went into another part of the house and soon returned with a parcel wrapped in a piece of old, brown wrapping paper, and fastened with an old, tow string. I judge the manuscript to be six and a half inches wide and eight inches long, and about an inch in thickness. Holding the parcel before my eyes, he said: "This is just as I received it, and as it has been in my possession for over forty years, tied with that same string. You see that pencil writing? That was written there before it came into my hands."

This writing in pencil, quite legible, was "Manuscript Story." "But," continued he, "this writing in ink I foolishly wrote there myself very recently; I suppose I ought not to have done it, but with that exception it is just as it came into my hands, and as it has remained for over forty years."

This writing in ink was as follows: "Writings of Solomon Spaulding," and was inscribed partly over the "Manuscript Story" written in pencil. Mr. Rice then untied the tow string and took off the wrapper, when we saw a time-worn, dingy, somewhat dilapidated old manuscript. I glanced over a portion of the preface, which set forth that in consequence of the existence of large mounds in the vicinity of Conneaut, indicating the former occupation of the country by a numerous people, etc., the author had been induced to write, etc., etc. I do not pretend to give the text, but merely the sense as I gathered it from a hasty glance. Mr. Rice called our attention to the certificate on the last page, which was referred to by Mr. Fairchild in his article published in the New York Observer of February 5, 1885. This certificate gave the names of several persons, known to the writer and signer of the same, who had made affidavits, which the certificate says were "on file in this office," to the effect that they "personally know this manuscript to be the writing of Solomon Spaulding." The certificate and the signature are in the same handwriting, and are those of Doctor Philastus Hurlburt, or rather, the signature is plain, "D. P. Hurlburt."

Mr. Rice is now about 84 years of age, but he is in good mental and physical condition. He chatted freely relative to his early recollections and acquaintances, not forgetting to give us his mind respecting plural marriage. He said: "I was well acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, both before and after he became a 'Mormon,' and I have heard him preach as a Campbellite and as a 'Mormon.' He was a very smart man, but I never knew the cause of his leaving your Church, or whether he ever denounced 'Mormonism' and the Book of Mormon or not."

I said: "One cause of his leaving the Church was that he assumed to be the guardian and leader of the Church after the death of the

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           245

Prophet Joseph, while that authority had been conferred through Joseph Smith upon the Twelve Apostles; and that to my knowledge, Mr. Rigdon had never at any time denied or denounced either 'Mormonism' or the Book of Mormon."

He said: "I was very well acquainted with Joseph Smith in Kirtland, and I saw him once in Nauvoo." He was also quite well acquainted with Sister E. R. Snow Smith: he said she used to write poetry for his paper, and he always thought her "a very nice, intelligent young lady," and wanted to know if she was still living. As he had refused so emphatically to part with the manuscript or allow it to be copied, I asked him if he would part with the copy he had made, so far as he had gone, for reasonable compensation for his time and labor. At first he refused, but after some talk on the subject, he promised to write Mr. Fairchild by the next mail, and if he made no objection he would perhaps do so.

There is no doubt that this is the identical, much-talked-of, long-lost, much-believed, but very innocent "Manuscript Found." The facts already demonstrated beyond contradiction stamp its identity with unmistakable certainty. In 1834, it was obtained by Hurlburt from Jerome Clark, at Hardwicks, New York, upon an order from Mrs. Davidson, the widow of Solomon Spaulding, certified to as being the writing of Solomon Spaulding by several persons personally knowing the fact, and subscribed to by D. P. Hurlburt himself, by whom it was taken to the printing establishment of Mr. E. D. Howe, the reputed author of "Mormonism Unveiled," and transferred to Mr. L. L. Rice on his purchasing the printing establishment, and by Mr. Rice preserved until now, without even knowing what it was, for some forty years. It seems that the hand of Providence is plainly visible, for some wise purpose, in the whole affair. And now it has been carefully examined and compared with the Book of Mormon by Mr. L. L. Rice, Mr.James H. Fairchild, President of the Oberlin College Library, Ohio, and by others, and by them declared without similarity in name, incident, purpose or fact with the Book of Mormon. Mr. L. L. Rice declared to Brother Farr and myself that he "believed it to be the only romance of the kind ever written by Mr. Spaulding; and", said he, "somehow I feel that this is a fact.

From this remark we inferred that it was his belief that the reason it was not published by Mr. Spaulding himself was because it was not worth publishing, "For," said he, "it is only a very simple story, and a very poor one at that."

Taking this statement as the unreserved judgment of an old editor and a newspaper man, who has not only carefully read it and compared it with the Book of Mormon, but with his own hand copied about two-thirds

246                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                 .

of it, his opinion must be accepted as of great weight; and it corresponds with the alleged message sent by Mr. Patterson with the Manuscript, when it is said he returned it to Spaulding, "declining to print it," and said, "Polish it up, finish it, and you will make money out of it." It no doubt needed, and still needs, a great deal of "polish."

On the first instant, (May 1st, 1885,) Brother Farr and I called again on Mr. Rice, when he allowed us to examine the "Manuscript Found." We read the preface and two chapters of the manuscript, which we found what I would call rather a far-fetched story about the discovery of some "twenty-eight sheets of parchment" in an "artificial cave" about "eight feet deep," situated in a mound on the "west side of the Conneaut River." With this parchment, which was "plainly written upon with Roman letters in the Latin language," was a "roll of parchment containing the biography of the writer."

The first two chapters which we read purport to be a translation of this biography, which sets forth that the writer's name was Fabias, that he was "born in Rome, and received his education under the tuition of a very learned master, at the time that Constantine entered Rome, and was firmly seated as Emperor," to whom Fabias was introduced and was appointed by him one of his secretaries.

Soon after this, Fabias was sent by Constantine "with an important message to a certain general in England." On the voyage the heavens gathered blackness, obscuring the sun and stars, and a terrific storm arose which continued unabated for five days, when it lulled, but the darkness continued. They were lost at sea. They began to pray "with great lamentations," etc., when a voice came telling them not to be afraid, and they would be taken to a "safe harbor." For five days more they were swiftly driven before the wind and found themselves in the mouth of a very "large river" up which they sailed "for many days," when they came to a village and cast anchor. The natives were alarmed, held a council, and finally extended towards them the hand of friendship, made a great feast for them, sold them a large tract of land for "fifty pieces of scarlet calico and fifty knives," and established with them a covenant of perpetual peace.

Not daring to venture the dangers and uncertainties of the unknown deep over which they had been so mysteriously driven, they concluded it better to remain than attempt to return to Rome, etc., etc. The ship's company consisted of twenty souls, seven of whom were young women who had embarked at Rome to visit their relatives in England. Luian or Lucian was the name of the captain of the vessel, and Trojenous was the name of his first mate; one of the sailors is called Droll Tom

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           247

another Crito. There were three ladies of rank among the women. On motion of one of the sailors the women chose their husbands; Lucian, Fabias and Trojenous were of course selected by the three ladies of rank, but six poor fellows had to go without wives, or marry the natives, etc.

This is about the thread of the story so far as we have read.

Among those who had written to Mr. Rice for the manuscript were Eber D. Howe, of Painsville, Ohio, (since which Mr. Rice informs me he had a stroke, and was supposed to be on his death-bed); Mr. A. B. Demming, also of Painsville; Albert D. Hagar, librarian of the Chicago Historical Society, Chicago; and Mrs. Ellen S. Dickenson of Boston, grandniece of Solomon Spaulding. Mrs. Dickenson demanded that the manuscript be sent forthwith to her or to Mrs. McInstry, from whose mother it had been "stolen by D. P. Hurlburt." She also asserted that she is writing a book against the "Mormons," and desired the manuscript from which to make extracts, provided it is the one that Hurlburt stole "which she scarcely thinks is the one." Mr. Demming says he does "not think it is the Manuscript Found," for it is rumored that Hurlburt sold it to the "Mormons," and they destroyed it, which he says, "I believe to be true." He was nevertheless clamorous to have this manuscript sent to him immediately, for, writes he, "I desire to make extracts from it as I am writing a book, to be entitled "The Death-blow to Mormonism."' Joseph Smith of the Reorganized church did not ask for the manuscript for himself, but that it might be sent to the Chicago Historical Society, 140 and 142 Dearborn St., Chicago, for preservation. Mr. Hagar, secretary or librarian of said society, desired it also sent there, and promised to defray the postage or expressage, and to have it neatly bound, etc., etc. But Mr. E. D. Howe laid claim to it on the ground that when he sold his printing establishment to his brother, from whom it was turned over to Messrs. Rice & Winchester, in 1839, the manuscript was inadvertently turned over to them with the office. He further states in his letter that the manuscript was left in his office by D. P. Hurlburt, pending efforts to obtain evidence against the Book of Mormon. Mr. Rice showed all these letters which we carefully read and noted. Mr. Demming, who is a reverend gentleman, wrote two letters, both of which seemed to savor of a spirit smarting under the sting of conscious imbecility, and reeking with venom and the bitterness of gall.

Mr. Rice informed us that his friends, among them the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop, of Honolulu, had advised him not to allow the "Mormons" to get hold of a copy of the manuscript. When I asked them for what reason, he replied, "What, indeed?" The old gentleman had a son in the States who is a minister, (to whom Mr. Demming's letters were addressed,) and

248                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                 .

he wrote him to make enquiry respecting the existence of Messrs. Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith and John N. Miller, who testified to the identity of the manuscript as Spaulding's writings, and he found them to have been "veritable persons, but they are now all dead." This was the statement which Mr. Rice made to us. Here is a copy of the certificate:
"The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession. D. P. Hurlburt." (The signature is written as here given.)
I made another visit to Mr. Rice a few weeks ago, and read several more chapters of the manuscript.

We again took a good look at the manuscript, which had been returned to him by Mr. Hide, a minister to whom it had been loaned for a time, and by whom I suspect it was copied, although I do not know. We counted the pages and found 169 numbered pages and one and two-thirds pages not numbered, and two loose sheets not apparently belonging to the manuscript, which made in all 175; less pages 133 and 134 which are missing.

Mr. Rice said that when he was publishing a newspaper, the Republican Monitor, at Cazenovia, New York, he published a very interesting story entitled, "Manuscript Found," and some ten or fifteen years later, while editing the Ohio Star, at Ravenna, Ohio, he republished this story, which was a romance predicated upon some incidents of the Revolutionary War. He was of the opinion that the name of this story by some means had been confounded with Spaulding's manuscript or writings, and that this is the only novel that Spaulding ever wrote.

I also read another letter from Mr. A. B. Demming, fairly clamoring for the possession of the manuscript. He said he had called on E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlburt, and spent several days with one and the other of them on the subject of the manuscript, and urged that it be sent at once to Mr. Rice's son, in Painesville, Ohio, with instructions to let no one know of the fact but Mr. Demming.

On June 15th, 1885, I called upon Mr. Rice again in company with a couple of the brethren, to read a little more of the manuscript. He informed us that he had that day forwarded the original to the Oberlin College Library in care of a lady who was going there, and then made us the following proposition: to let me have the copy he had now finished provided I would have it printed verbatim, complete with erasures, or crossed out parts in italics, and explanation in preface: and after printing, to send fifty copies to Oberlin, twenty-five copies and the manuscript back

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           249

to him. I accepted the proposition, and he was to draw up a paper setting forth these terms, and he would deliver the copy of the manuscript and a copy of the agreement into my hands at 6 p. m.

When I returned at the appointed hour, he took me to his room and said: "Mrs. and Mr. Whitney (his daughter and son-in-law) have protested against my letting you have the manuscript until I get the consent of President Fairchild. Now, in view of my promise to you, this places me in a very embarrassing position, for I want to please them, and I regret having to fail in my promise to you; but I think it best to postpone the matter for two or three weeks until I can hear from President Fairchild."

"What reason," I asked, "do they give for their objection? We agree to your proposition; it is all your own way. The original is beyond our reach, and we could have no other than the most honest motives, with all the expense on our part, in carrying out your proposition."

The only answer was: "They are not as liberal as I am." I do not know whether this meant that they wanted something more for it, or that they were not as liberal in their sentiments or feelings towards us. I took the last meaning.

I then said, "Well, Mr. Rice, my curiosity leads me to desire to read it, and I would be pleased if you would lend it to me to read." To this he consented, provided I would return it when I got through. So I brought it home with me, and had it from the evening of the 15th to the morning of the 21st, when I sent it back. I got home with the manuscript on the evening of the 16th.

We read it. It is a shallow, unfinished story, but withall somewhat interesting in parts, as containing some ideas which the author must have gathered from the traditions of the Indians.  *  *  *  Mr. Rice claims that his copy is verbatim et literatim copy, with scratches, crosses and bad spelling all thrown in. The names "Sambol," "Hamboon," "Labaska," "Labona," "Lamesa," "Mammoona," occur in the story, which might easily be changed. Mammoths were the author's beasts of burden. The two principal tribes of Indians were "Ohions" and "Kentucks," with numerous adjacent tribes --"Sciotams," "Ohons," etc.

Notes: see April issue notes


[ 377 ]


Vol. III.                                       MARCH, 1900.                                       No. 5.



When I obtained Mr. Rice's verbatim copy of the "Manuscript Found," I had only little faith that he would receive the consent of either Mr. Fairchild or of his daughter and son-in-law, Mr. Whitney, to allow me to publish it. Mr. Whitney was a son of one of the early Calvinist missionaries who, in an early day, was sent by the American Missionary Board to the Sandwich Islands to convert the heathens. He was deeply imbued with strong prejudices against the Latter-day Saints, such as his pious missionary father possessed. His wife entertained similar bias, and I had reason to believe that they would do all in their power to prevent me from obtaining possession of the manuscript for publication, as I desired. Mr. Rice himself was also very determined in his spirit of opposition to The Church, when I first met him, but this feeling gradually softened, and was greatly modified by my repeated interviews with him, and by means of a correspondence which sprang up between us by letter, and continued, at short intervals, up to the time of his last sickness. I was so strongly impressed with this idea as expressed above, or that they would not consent for me to publish it, that I determined to make a copy of the manuscript while it was in my hands. On reaching Laie, I laid the matter before my fellow-missionaries and associates who unanimously concurred with me. We therefore set to work, and in a few days completed an exact copy.

Contrary, however, to my expectations, when I returned the original manuscript to Mr. Rice, I found his feelings considerably changed. He had received word from Mr. Fairchild, giving his

378                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                 .

consent to my proposition of publishing the work, which had also caused the reconciliation of his son-in-law and daughter to the idea of letting me publish it. We, therefore, concluded our arrangements, and each signed the agreement, in accordance with the terms first mentioned by him; and so, the manuscript was committed into my hands. I immediately forwarded the same to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, together with the terms of the agreement, to have the same published and issued in book form. After considerable delay on the part of the News in completing the work, the manuscript was published, and ready for distribution to the world. In strict accord with the agreement between myself and Mr. Rice, his manuscript, together with twenty-five copies of the printed pamphlet, were sent to me. Meanwhile, Mr. Rice had passed suddenly to the great beyond, and I surrendered the manuscript, with the printed copies accompanying it, to his son-in-law, Mr. Whitney, thereby fulfilling to the letter the agreement which I had entered into with Mr. Rice.

Thus the Spaulding Story, variously called "The Manuscript Found," "Manuscript Story," etc., was at length brought to light from its long hiding place and made public! What a disappointment the discovery and publication of this long lost manuscript must have been, and is, to all those who have predicated the authorship of the Book of Mormon upon it!. It is now made to appear, in a way that can never be denied, that all such claims, statements and representations of authorship are false. They are brought to nought, and it is definitely, openly and irrevocably determined that such claims of authorship are without even the shadow of a foundation.

It will now be interesting to review, as briefly as possible, some of the desperate efforts which have been made by anti-"Mormons" to connect the origin of the Book of Mormon with this now found, printed and exposed, Solomon Spaulding's manuscript.

In a book entitled, "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?" by Robert Patterson, of Pittsburg, which is perhaps the strongest effort ever put forth with such end in view, we find the following statement:

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           379

In this discussion there are manifestly but two points to be considered. The first is to establish the fact that the historical portions of the Book of Mormon are certainly derived from Spaulding's Manuscript Found; and the second, to show, if practicable, in what way and by whom the plagiarism was probably effected. Of these, the first is the only vitally important one. If the identity can be determined, imposture will be proved, even though it may not be possible to demonstrate absolutely how the fraud was perpetrated.
I have conclusively proved -- the printed book itself is the proof, -- that the first and only point is not established or sustained, and that the historical portions of the Book of Mormon, are not derived from Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." Hence, there should be nothing further required in this discussion. But the author proceeds to quote the statements of various witnesses, to some of whom I desire to refer, because, notwithstanding the truth is told irrevocably exposing them as falsehoods, they are constantly being used and quoted against the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The testimonies are taken from his book:

John Spaulding, a brother of Solomon, visited the latter at Conneaut just before his removal, and states as follows:

"He then told me he had been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country.  *  *  *  I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and, to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'And it came to pass,' or 'Now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the the exception of the religious matter."

380                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                

Mrs. Martha Spaulding, wife of John Spaulding, states in regard to Solomon Spaulding and his writings as follows:

"I was personally acquainted with Solomon Spaulding about twenty years ago. The lapse of time which has intervened prevents my recollecting but few of the incidents of his writings, but the names of Lehi and Nephi are yet fresh in my memory as being the principal heroes of his tale. They were officers of the company which first came off from Jerusalem. He gave a particular account of their journey by land and sea till they arrived in America, after which disputes arose between the chiefs, which caused them to separate into different bands, one of which was called Lamanites and the other Nephites. Between these were recounted tremendous battles, which frequently covered the ground with the slain; and these being buried in large heaps was the cause of the numerous mounds in the country.  *  *  *  I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought fresh to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spaulding; and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it is the same that I read and heard read more than twenty years ago. The old, obsolete style, and the phrases of 'And it came to pass,' are the same."
Henry Lake, the partner of Spaulding in building the forge, writes from Conneaut, in September, 1833, as follows:

"He (Spaulding) very frequently read to me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' and which he represented as being found in this town. I spent many hours in hearing him read said writings, and became well acquainted with their contents. He wished me to assist him in getting his production printed, alleging that a book of that kind would meet with rapid sale. I designed doing so, but the forge not meeting our anticipations, we failed in business, when I declined having anything to do with the publication of the book. This book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes, gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars, which were many and great. One time when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon I find, to my surprise, that it stands there just as he read it to me then. Some months ago I borrowed the Golden Bible, put it into my pocket, carried it home, and thought no more of it. About a week after, my wife found the book in my coat pocket as it hung up, and commenced reading it aloud as I lay upon the bed. She had not read twenty minutes till I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spaulding had read to me more than

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           381

twenty years before from his 'Manuscript Found.' Since that I have more fully examined the said Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of it is principally if not wholly taken from the 'Manuscript Found.' I well recollect telling Mr. Spaulding that the so frequent use of the words 'And it came to pass,' 'Now it came to pass,' rendered it ridiculous."

The author of the book in question comments on the above testimony as follows:

It should be stated in explanation of the above that the Book of Mormon, at the time of its publication, was frequently spoken of as the "Golden Bible." Also that an incongruity occurs in the story of Laban, in the First Book of Nephi, where Nephi says they "did speak many hard words unto us, their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod." Whereupon an angel appears and says, "Why do you smite your younger brother with a rod?" Consistency would require that the number, whether singular or plural should be the same in both sentences. The oversight is in itself a trifle, but it's occurrence in both the Spaulding Manuscript and the Book of Mormon is an unanswerable proof of identity.

John N. Miller testifies as follows:

"In the year 1811, I was in the employ of Henry Lake and Solomon Spaulding, at Conneaut, engaged in rebuilding a forge. While there I boarded and lodged in the family of said Spaulding for several months. I was soon introduced to the Manuscript of Spaulding, and perused it as often as I had leisure. He had written two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects, but that which more particularly drew my attention was one which he called the 'Manuscript Found.'  *  *  *  It purported to be the history of the first settlement of America before discovered by Columbus. He brought them off from Jerusalem under their leaders, detailing their travels by land and water, their manners, customs, laws, wars, etc. He said that he designed it as an historical novel, and that in after years it would be believed by many people as much as the history of England.  *  *  *  I have recently examined the Book of Mormon and find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious matter which I did not meet with in the 'Manuscript Found.' Many of the passages of the Mormon book are verbatim from Spaulding, and others in part. The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, and in fact all the principal names are brought fresh to my recollection by the Golden Bible. When Spaulding divested his history of its fabulous names by a

382                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                 .

verbal explanation, he landed his people near the straits of Darien, which I am very confident he called Zarahemla. They were marched about that country for a length of time, in which wars and great bloodshed ensued. He brought them across North America in a north-east direction."

Aaron Wright, a former neighbor of Spaulding, writes at Conneaut, Aug., 1833, as follows:

"I first became acquainted with Solomon Spaulding in 1808 or 1809 when he commenced building a forge on Conneaut Creek. When at his house one day he showed and read a history he was writing of the lost tribes of Israel, purporting that they were the first settlers of America, and that the Indians were their descendants, as it is given in the Book of Mormon, excepting the religious matter. The historical part of the Book of Mormon I knew to be the same as I read and heard read from the writings of Spaulding more than twenty years ago: the names more especially are the same without any alteration. He told me his object was to account for all the fortifications, etc., to be found in this country, and said that in time it would be fully believed by all except learned men and historians. I once anticipated reading his writings in print, but little expected to see them in a new Bible.  *  *  *  In conclusion, I will observe that the names and most of the historical part of the Book of Mormon were as familiar to me before I read it as most modern history.

Oliver Smith, another old neighbor of Spaulding wrote at Conneaut, Aug., 1833:

"When Solomon Spaulding first came to this place, he purchased a tract of land, surveyed it out, and commenced selling it. While engaged in this business he boarded at my house, in all nearly six months. All his leisure hours were occupied in writing an historical novel founded upon the first settlers of this country. He said he intended to trace their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till their arrival in America; give an account of their arts, sciences, civilization, wars and contentions. In this way he would give a satisfactory account of all the old mounds so common to this country. During the time he was at my house I read and heard read one hundred pages or more. Nephi and Lehi were by him represented as leading characters when they first started for America.  *  *  *  

(Mr. Smith narrates his last interview with Spaulding, when the latter was about starting for Pittsburg and solicited Smith's leniency, as one of his creditors, not to prevent his going. Mr. Smith then closes as follows:)

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           383

This was the last I heard of Spaulding or his book until the Book of Mormon came into the neighborhood. When I heard the historical part of it related, I at once said it was the writing of old Solomon Spaulding. Soon after I obtained the book, and on reading it found much of it the same as Spaulding had written more than twenty years before."

In another paper, I will present a few comments on these cunningly devised, and seemingly explicit statements, and briefly review some of the unscrupulous falsehoods in the testimony of these and other witnesses who conspired to deceive the world, and to destroy the Book of Mormon.

Notes: see April issue notes


[ 451 ]


Vol. III.                                       APRIL, 1900.                                       No. 6.



Note how carefully the foregoing statements are drawn; see how minute and explicit they are in every particular to prove that the Book of Mormon is identical with the "Manuscript Found." It will readily be seen how forceful and weighty such statements must of necessity be, coming as they do (supposedly) from so-called credible witnesses, and especially from the brother of Solomon Spaulding the author of the very innocent, but much magnified "Manuscript Found." How difficult it would be to disprove such positive and detailed statements, coming from such apparently authentic sources! Had the "Manuscript Found" remained unfound, had it been destroyed, so that the truth or falsity of these statements never could have been proven by comparison with the Book of Mormon itself, one could scarcely blame the unthinking, uninspired world of mankind for their unbelief in, and rejection of, that sacred book.

But, in the merciful providence of God, it was not ordained that the world should be left in such ignorance; and now that the long-lost "Manuscript Story" has come to light, there is no longer the least shadow of excuse for such unbelief, on the grounds so strongly set forth by the relentless opponents of the Book of Mormon.

The long concealment of this silly "Manuscript Story" seems to have been designed by Providence for the express purpose of emphasizing this point; and for the further purpose of permitting the more perfect development of the deep-laid schemes of wicked

452                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                

men, inspired by the great enemy of all truth, in their vain attempts to overthrow the work of God and if possible to destroy it; and at last, to reveal to the world the true character of those who have engaged in the despicable undertaking of deceiving mankind, together with their slanderous and villainous methods of compassing their pernicious ends.

There are other statements of other persons, but all are of the same purport and almost the same language. If one of these statements could be proven true, then all would be so proven. On the contrary, if one were shown to be false, then all must fall, for they all testify, almost word for word, to the same alleged facts.

Nothing further should be necessary to prove the falsity of the affidavits than to refer the reader to the published "Manuscript Found," but as many may not have access to the "Story," it will be in order to point out a few inaccuracies, misstatements, errors and downright falsehoods contained in the foregoing affidavits. This will be done by the statement of facts, and by quoting witnesses that cannot be impeached.

No sooner did Mr. Fairchild publish his letter, announcing the discovery of the "Spaulding Manuscript," and make the startling declaration that "some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required," than the friends of the "Spaulding Story," and the determined enemies of the Book of Mormon, cried out: "Oh, he is mistaken -- it is not 'The Manuscript Found."' In this way they sought to bolster up their pet theories and deep-laid schemes to deceive the world. But their craft was doomed.

Mr. Fairchild himself was thoroughly convinced that it was the veritable Spaulding romance which had been made to do such duty in the herculean effort to destroy the Book of Mormon, and "Mormonism." He says: "There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice and myself and others compared it with the Book of Mormon and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or detail. There seems to be no name nor incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon in imitation of the English scriptures does not appear in the 'Manuscript."'

The foregoing shows that Mr. James H. Fairchild, president of

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           453

the Oberlin College, had originally been convinced that the "Manuscript Story" was indeed the origin of the Book of Mormon, and while, perhaps, as eager as anybody to demonstrate that fact, was greatly , as was also Mr. L. L. Rice (and the others referred to as having compared it with the Book of Mormon,) to find that there was "no resemblance between the two in general or detail."

It also shows how little foundation there is, or ever has been, for the presumption or claim that it was the foundation or source of the Book of Mormon. Mr. L. L. Rice, himself an old editor, literary man and well-read in the history of the Latter-day Saints, and possessor of the "Manuscript Story," as he repeatedly told me, firmly believed it to be the only writings of Solomon Spaulding, and the veritable "Manuscript Found" from which it had been (and surprising to say, still is,) claimed the Book of Mormon was derived. The manner in which this "Manuscript" came into Mr. Rice's hands has been related in the fore-part of this sketch. D. P. Hurlburt obtained the "Manuscript" in 1834, from Mr. Jerome Clark, then residing at Hardwicks, New York, in whose care the "Manuscript" had been left by Mrs. Davison, the widow of Solomon Spaulding, upon an order given by her to Hurlburt for that purpose. At this time, there was no other manuscript writings of Solomon Spaulding in existence.

When D. P. Hurlburt obtained the "Manuscript," he very naturally proceeded to have it identified by living witnesses, and in his handwriting the following inscription is found thereon:
"The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession. D. P. Hurlburt."
Hurlburt delivered the "Manuscript" to E. D. Howe & Co., printers, in Painesville, Ohio.

Mr. L. L. Rice made the following statement to me in the presence of Elder Enoch Farr, in Honolulu, in 1885:

"This manuscript came into my possession when Mr. Winchester and I bought out the printing establishment of Mr. E. D. Howe, in Painesville, Ohio, in connection with a large amount of old papers found in the place and turned over to us with it. I have had it ever since in my possession."

It is curious to note that the names of Aaron Wright, Oliver

454                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                

Smith and John N. Miller, who, with others, identified the "Manuscript Story" delivered to D. P. Hurlburt, as the veritable "writings of Solomon Spaulding," are atttached to some of the foregoing statements, taken from the work entitled, "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?" and said to be copied from "Mormonism Unveiled," which purports to have been written by E. D. Howe, but is really the production of that corrupt apostate D. P. Hurlburt.

In the light of facts developed by the discovery of the "Spaulding Story," it would be charitable to believe those statements had been forged, and their names attached to them after they were dead, by some unscrupulous fanatic whose conscienceless soul would shrink from no crime in order to accomplish his purpose.

Those men, "and others," as stated by Hurlburt, without doubt knew, in 1834, when they gave their testimony respecting the writings of Solomon Spaulding, what they were doing -- simply this, and nothing more: -- That the "Manuscript Story," delivered to D. P. Hurlburt by Jerome Clark, on the order of Mrs Davison, Spaulding's widow, was nothing more or less than the "writtings of Solomon Spaulding." This is sufficient to identify the same for all time. The history of the "Manuscript" and the endorsements upon it, with the opinions of such men as Mr. L. L. Rice, President James H. Fairchild and others attest that fact.

Mr. R. Patterson, author of "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon," sets forth that Messrs. Wright, Smith and Miller made the statements over their names, in 1833. If this were true, then those men could never have heard Spaulding read his "Manuscript Story," which they certify as being his writings, for there is not one word in the "Manuscript," bearing any similarity or likeness to the Book of Mormon; nor could they have read the "Manuscript Story" themselves and then have made such statements, without knowing they were deliberately lying. The affidavits themselves, as proven by the now open contents of the "Manuscript Story," are deliberate, unqualified falsehoods, without a scintilla of truth in them. It is scarcely possible to think that a number of otherwise reputable men would combine to put forth such base statements. It is more probable that some fanatical opponent of The Church, an enemy to the truth, without conscience or scruple, concocted those statements,

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           455

after those men were dead, and put the falsehoods into their speechless mouths.

Mr. Robert Patterson, author of "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon," in the outset of his attempt to prove it to have been a plagiarism from "Spaulding's Story," says:

In our enquiries upon the first point, a merited tribute should be paid to the value of Mr. E. D. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," issued by its author at Painesville, Ohio, in 1835, only five years after the publication at Palmyra, New York, of the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith. Mr. Howe's was the pioneer upon this subject, and, though long out of print, the few copies extant are still the storehouse from which successive investigators derive their most important facts. It contains the statement of eight witnesses whose testimonials were obtained in 1833, twenty-one years after Mr. Spaulding left Connecticut, seventeen years after his death, and three years after the appearance of the Book of Mormon. Their authenticity has never been impeached.

It will readily be seen what credence may be placed in these "eight testimonials" when the fact is known that D. P. Hurlburt, a corrupt and malignant apostate, cut off from The Church for immoral conduct, is the real author of E. D. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," and that while he was concocting the "testimonials" and by and with the aid of Mr. E. D. Howe, was preparing his infamous book, "Mormonism Unveiled" for publication, the "Manuscript Found," the "Manuscript Story," "the writings of Solomon Spaulding," were all in their hands in Mr. E. D. Howe's printing establishment at Painesville; and were brought there about one year before this book was published, by D. P. Hurlburt, for the express purpose of being used, if possible, to prove the plagiarism which Mr. Patterson in his work was so anxious to prove. But it was found that the only way the "Spaulding Story" could be made available was to suppress it, to treat it as lost, as "sold to the Mormons and destroyed by them," as the story runs; then draw upon the cunning resources of the author or authors of "Mormonism Unveiled," and conjure up the "testimonials" of "old neighbors of Spaulding" to prove that Solomon Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon, intending to destroy the "writings of Solomon Spaulding" which were in their hands, thereby obliterating all possible evidence which

456                                 IMPROVEMENT  ERA.                                

those writing might contain, of their deep-laid schemes to deceive the world and escape exposure.

But Cowper is right. "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform," and so "Spaulding's writings" escaped the destruction intended for them by Hurlburt, Howe & Co., and by all other schemers, in this cunningly-devised plot to defeat the divine purpose, and in due time they were again brought forth to show how crafty, how vile, how unscrupulous, desperate and damnable are the ways of those who oppose the truth.

Let us review the statement of one of these pretended witnesses. We will take the testimony of John Spaulding, brother of Solomon. He says:

It was a historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeaving to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews or the lost tribes.
The fact is, there is not one word in the "Manuscript Story" about the Indians having descended from the Jews. Indeed, after having read it, and copied a large part of it with my own hand, I cannot recall a single reference to the Jews in the whole story. Again:

It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi.
This is made out of whole cloth. "Spaulding's Story" begins at Rome, not at Jerusalem. The words Nephi, Lehi, Nephites and Lamanites do not occur at all in "Spaulding's Story," nor are there any names remotely resembling them, as the "Manuscript" itself attests. Then Mr. John Spaulding is made to say:

I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings.
How very differently Messrs. Fairchild and Rice viewed this same matter when they compared his "brother's writings" with the Book of Mormon! They saw "no resemblance between the two, in general or detail." Again, Mr. J. Spaulding is made to say:

I well remember that he (Solomon) wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with, "And it came to pass," or, "Now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, etc."

                          THE  MANUSCRIPT  FOUND.                           457

How very unfortunate it is for the author of the foregoing, whether he was John Spaulding or Robert Patterson, or some other person who may have put such cunning words into his mouth, that the phrases, "And it came to pass," or, "Now it came to pass" do not occur anywhere in the "Manuscript Found," much less "commencing about every sentence."

And thus every testimony of these alleged credible witnesses might be controverted, but this one is enough to show the falsity of all, owing to their similarity. The example suffices to disprove the great point which Mr. Patterson desired to establish; namely, that the historical portions of the Book of Mormon were certainly derived from the Spaulding manuscript. The foregoing clearly and forever proves that his point is not sustained, and that the historical portions of the Book of Mormon are not derived from Spaulding's writings.

I have proved that the story in possession of Mr. Rice was the self-same document that Mr. Spaulding wrote; that this story is now in print and may be read by all; that it contains neither names nor subject matter that resemble anything within the pages of the Book of Mormon; that the testimonies given in the book of Mr. Patterson are self-evidently false and contradictory, being based not upon what the witnesses themselves knew, but rather upon the cunningly devised conspiracy and lies of men who combined to destroy the value of the Book of Mormon, but who were thwarted in their designs by the mysterious providences of God.

There remains nothing further to do than to add my testimony, which I do, that the Book of Mormon is of divine origin; that it was revealed to Joseph the Prophet by an angel of God; and translated from the plates by the power of God, and is given to the world for the benefit and salvation of mankind.

Notes: As mentioned in his first article (above) Elder Joseph F. Smith was the first LDS leader to learn of the 1884 Honolulu manuscript discovery. He quickly afterwards reported the happy news to the Saints in Utah that the only extant Solomon Spalding manuscript story had been "carefully examined and compared with the Book of Mormon... declared without similarity in name, incident, purpose or fact with the Book of Mormon... The only possible resemblance is: they both purport to give an account of American Indians."

Fifteen years later this nephew of Joseph Smith, jr. was an even more honored and respected member of the Salt Lake City Mormon establishment. It is safe to say that once the LDS members read his 1900 articles on Spalding in the official church magazine, all debate upon the subject among the Saints immediately ceased. At that point there would have no doubt in any loyal Mormon's mind that the bothersome "Spalding issue" had finally been fully solved and that whatever fiction the old clergyman might have once scripted, it certainly had nothing to do with the coming forth of the "Nephite record."

When Joseph F. Smith wrote and published his 1900 articles in the official LDS Improvement Era, he had already long been both the leading member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and a Counselor to then aged and infirm Lorenzo Snow, President of the Church. Having been for so many years in the top leadership of the LDS Church -- and having more recently greatly assisted George Q. Cannon in taking over many of the duties of its President (who would die within a few months, making Smith himself the new LDS top leader) -- all faithful Mormons would have naturally expected that Elder Joseph F. Smith would have possessed a much greater measure of spiritual discernment and divine inspiration than the lesser-ranked Mormon apologists of his day. So, when Smith made it his task to deal directly with the old testimony of the eight "Conneaut witnesses" (as given in 1833 and published in 1834), the LDS readers no doubt accepted his pronouncements on these matters with a much higher degree of trust and respect than they would have, say perhaps, the opinions expressed on the topic by contemporary Mormon writers like George Reynolds and Brigham H. Roberts. In fact, Elder George Reynolds had broached the subject of the "Conneaut witnesses" in the pages of an official LDS publication in 1882, saying: "the story that certain old inhabitants of New Salem, who, it is said, recognized the Book of Mormon, either never made such a statement, or they let their imagination run away with their memory into the endorsement of an impossible falsehood. Either way there is a lie... the falsehood is with those who, in their hatred to modern revelations, have invented their testimony." Joseph F. Smith's 1900 articles expand and elucidate the assertions Reynolds first made for the Church in 1882.

President Joseph F. Smith's declarations regarding the character and truthfulness of the eight "Conneaut witnesses," building upon the previous assertions published by Reynolds, still stand as the ultimate authoritative LDS statement on this matter. In a nutshell, Smith's 1900 statement says that either those witnesses fabricated their testimony wholesale, or that they allowed D. Philastus Hurlbut to do the same for them. In either case, they could have been nothing more than the tools of Satan in a great "conspiracy" to attack the LDS Church and its sacred scriptures. Their respective statements, then, could hold no truth whatsoever, at least insomuch as the origin of the Book of Mormon was concerned.

Following Joseph F. Smith's elevation to the LDS Presidency in 1901, there is no record of his revising or expanding his 1900 pronouncements regarding the Spalding authorship claims and the character of the eight witnesses. Assuming that Smith's continuing service thereafter, as the top-most Mormon leader, would have brought him into even higher realms of spiritual discernment and divine inspiration, it is perhaps especially significant that he never subsequently altered the content of his 1900 declarations regarding Book of Mormon authorship claims. Short of a "living prophet-president" of the Church prefixing his announcement on this subject with a "Thus saith the Lord...", Smith's 1900 statments probably stand as the highest and most definitive LDS response to those claims yet offered within Mormonism.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LI.                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  May 26, 1900.                     No. 161.



A few months ago, while traveling on the train, I entered into a conversation with a professional minister of the Gospel. At first only general topics were the subjects of our conversation, but it was not long until we were talking about the faith of the Latter-day Saints. He did not ask me my religious belief, neither did I ask him what church he represented: so each of us was ignorant as to the faith of the other. The gentleman referred to the Book of Mormon, whereupon I immediately asked him what he knew of that book? He then told me the following story:


"A man by the name of Spaulding wrote a novel concerning the origin and history of the Americans. It was known as the Spaulding writings or the Spaulding Manuscript. He was not able to have his story published, and it fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, who became acquainted with Joseph Smith, and they conceived the idea of passing the story off onto the public as a sacred record that had been revealed unto them in a heavenly vision. Subsequently they had the book published and called it the Book of Mormon. Naturally, to conceal from the public this gross deception, they either destroyed the original Spaulding manuscript, or else it is still carefully hidden away by the Mormon people, but it has never been heard of since its publication by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon."


This minister told his story so nicely that I must admit I was somewhat confused to know just how to answer him. All I knew about the Spaulding writings was what I had learned from others. I had heard that these writings were found several years ago in Honolulu and had been deposited in the Oberlin College, but I had no positive proofs, and I made a firm resolution to investigate the matter at once.

I submit this article to the readers of the Deseret News with the hope that it may benefit some young man who may be brought to face this lie that has been so cunningly devised and resorted to by those who oppose the sacred Book of Mormon.

I do not wish to say that the minister who related the above to me is dishonest, for he may be ignorant concerning the subject, but I do say, and that most emphatically, that his well-told story is a falsehood from beginning to end.


First I wish to say a few words concerning the latter part of his story. The Book of Mormon was published early in the spring of the year 1830, and it was not until the December following that Sidney Rigdon became acquainted with Joseph Smith, hence the utter impossibility for Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith to have "conceived the idea of passing the Spaulding writings upon the public as a sacred record," even if Mr. Rigdon had gained possession of these writings, which, however, is not true. Before he met Joseph Smith five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon had been already distributed among the people.

As to the history of the Spaulding manuscript, its disappearance from the public, and its unexpected discovery again, let me persuade every one who has followed me this far, to carefully read President Joseph F. Smith's excellent articles on the subject that have lately appeared in the Mutual Improvement Era. (See "The Manuscript Found," Era Nos. 4, 5 and 6 of the current volume).

I shall not here attempt to give a detailed history of the manuscript, but only a few important points, and then I shall speak more fully concerning its present condition and whereabouts.


In the first decade of 1800 Solomon Spaulding endeavored to have his story published. He died before accomplishing this desire.

His manuscript passed through the hands of several publishers, none of them deeming it worth the printing. About the year 1830 Mr. L. L. Rice and Mr. Winchester bought the publishing establishment of Mr. E. B. Howe, in Painesville, Ohio. The Spaulding Manuscript was among the books and papers and with them was taken by Mr. Rice to Honolulu, where it lay lost to the world until the year 1885, when Mr. Rice unexpectedly found it. Later he presented it to James H. Fairchild, then president of the Oberlin college, to be kept in the library of that institution, and there it is today, open to the investigation of the public.


Onerlin, the county seat of Lorain county, Ohio, is a beautiful village with a population of about five thousand inhabitants. Very few towns in the East so much resemble our beautiful garden cities in Utah as does Oberlin. The streets are wide, cross at right angles, and are well shaded by trees. The town is clean and quiet and it is an ideal students' home. Many retired business people have taken up their homes in this town of handsome residences. The college authorities are somewhat opposed to the students living together in large boarding houses, they are therefore distributed among the residents of the town, which makes their surroundings more like those of real home life. There is a very good railway and street car service between Cleveland and Oberlin, a distance of about thirty-five miles. Trains on the Lake Shore and Michegan Southern railway make very quick time, but the electric railway has an hour service between Cleveland and Oberlin and is much more convenient. The cars go direct to the college grounds.


The college campus is a fifteen acre square immediately in the center of the town. Grass plots, flower beds, and well shaded walks make the grounds indeed beautiful. Most of the college buildings, about fifteen in number, are located here. Oberlin college is now one of the leading educational institutions in the country. It has a membership of over fourteen hundred students. I do not know of another school that has such an interesting history connected with its founding as has this one.

In the year 1832 two young men, Philo P. Stewart and John J. Shipard, neither of them having any money, determined to unite their efforts in doing something to benefit the world. They were not satisfied with the prospect of spending their lives for their own welfare alone, but desired to do something for the benefit of others. One day they went several miles into the dense forest that then covered almost entire northern Ohio; they knelt down under the historic elm that still stands on the college grounds, and in humility prayed God to assist them in their most praiseworthy determination. It was then, that they chose for their motto: "The colony and the college." They named the place Oberlin after John Frederick Oberlin, a German, who had devoted his entire life for the benefit of mankind. Though their object was a most noble one, yet how were they to accomplish it? J. J. England, the younger of the colonists, rode on horseback to New England, and there was successful in making arrangements to buy a portion of the land they had chosen for their colony and college, and soon returned with a few hardy New Englanders as colonists who cleared the ground, built a small log cabin, and there, April 19, 1833, founded the Oberlin College. The college grew with remarkable rapidity. In 1835, through a somewhat peculiar circumstance, the theological department of the Lane Seminary in Cincinnati left that institution in a body and joined the Oberlin College which had already grown to large proportions, and was now attracting attention from all the surrounding country. It was during this and the following year that my father, President Lorenzo Snow, was a student at the Oberlin College, his studies being theology and the dead languages.


Rev. Asa Mahan and Rev. Chas G. Finney were the first two presidents of Oberlin College, and then, in the year 1866, Prof. Jas. H. Fairchild became president, which office he held until his resignation in 1889. However, he is still closely connected with the college. It is President Fairchild to whom the world is partially indebted for the discovery of the Spaulding Manuscript, and into whose charge it was given by Mr. Rice. Wm. C. Ballantine, next filled the high office, and just last year Rev. John Henry Barrows, D. D., whose picture accompanies this article, was made president. After a rehearsal of these names it is not surprising that the Oberlin College has had such a wonderful growth. Not only is the college distinguished because of the high entrance requirements and the thoroughness of the instruction given in its several departments, but also because of the broad scope of its courses. There are ninety members, both men and women, in the general faculty. The institution comprises: the college, the theological seminary, the academy, the conservatory of music, the normal course in physical training for women, and the school of drawing and painting.

The buildings and equipment are very fine. There are two large buildings now in course of erection that are to be used for the chemical and physical laboratories. The museum space is entirely inadequate for the large collection of rare specimens. A large building will soon be erected for that purpose. No college possesses a more beautiful concert hall. But one of the most handsome edifices connected with the college is the library building. The library has about fifty thousand bound volumes and over half as many pamphlets. As can be seen from the accompanying cut, it is an imposing stone building.

The Cross Between the Front Corner Windows Indicates the Office of Librarian
A. S. Root, in Whose Safe Reposes the Spaulding Manuscript.


While in the East a few weeks ago I spent two days in Oberlin, accompanied by my sister. Most of the time was devoted to the college. After visiting several of the buildings I went to the library. The librarian's office is on the second floor. On entering the room I was received with a hearty welcome -- he had already been informed by the secretary of the college that I was to visit the library. The man who occupies the important position of librarian of the Oberlin college library is Professor Azariah Smith Root, he is also professor of bibliography. He has a fine presence and is one of the most congenial gentlemen I have ever met. As soon as I entered his office he put aside his work and kindly offered to spend as much time with me as I desired. He at once asked about my father and said he had read and heard so much of him that he was deeply interested in the present President of the "Mormon" Church.


After taking me through the building and showing me the extent of the large library, several well equipped private offices, and the commodious reading room. Professor Root took me back to his office.

"I have an old manuscript here," said Mr. Root, "which will, no doubt, interest you very much."

He then stepped to the library safe and took out a book which was carefully wrapped up in tissue paper. As he unwrapped it he said:

"This is the Spaulding Manuscript. I think a great deal of it, and as some of the leaves were pretty badly worn, I have lately had it carefully bound to preserve it, and these leaves as you see," continued the professor, turning to the first pages of the book, "I have had pasted between silk and the entire book is now in bery good condition."


Professor Root then handed me the book and told me I might sit down and spend as much time looking it over as I might wish. It is now beautifully bound in red morocco, the title is in gilt lettering. Inside this beautiful cover is the faded old manuscript of less than two hundred pages. I turned over the leaves one after the other, reading a little here and there as I glanced over the pages. There is hardly a line without a misspelled word, a correction, or an erasure. After a short time Professor Root returned and I could see he was desirous that I should say something about the manuscript, for I had not even shown the least interest in it, which perhaps surprised him. But I still remained silent, as I was even more eager that he should speak first. Finally he did so, and these were his words.


"Mr. Snow, it is all humbug to say that the Book of Mormon has any connection whatever with the Spaulding Manuscript. I have read and compared them both very carefully and am fully convinced that they are not in any way connected with each other. There is not a proper name or an incident in one that resembles a name or incident in the other, and not only is there no resemblance in the reading matter, but the styles used in the two books are also entirely different."

This, as might be supposed, afforded me much satisfaction. It is as strong a testimony as any one could wish for, and it came from an honest man, and that too from one who is not in any way in sympathy with our people or our faith. Yet it is not at all surprising that he should make such a statement. We have an exact copy of the Manuscript, it is known as the Manuscript Story and can be had at the Deseret News. Anyone who will read the beautiful teachings and interesting history in the Book of Mormon and compare the same with the silly contents of the Spaulding Story will not hesitate to make a like statement.


Professor Root told me that he received several letters every week inquiring about the manuscript. In fact, he read two letters to me that he had just received. The writer of one of them asked about the owner of the manuscript and how much the writings could be purchased for. In the other letter was an inquiry as to the genuineness of the manuscript. To such questions the professor said he always answered emphatically that no price would buy the manuscript, that there was no doubt whatever about it being the original Spaulding writings, and that it bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon. He said to me further:

"Now, Mr. Snow, I don't suppose you people would care to possess this manuscript, for it certainly will do you more good where it is now than if one of your institutions or any institution connected with your people possessed it."

And he is right, for where would be a more proper place for it than the great educational institution in Oberlin, and whose statement would be accepted more readilly or with more confidence then that of the librarian of that institution? This is surely the best place for it. And then Professor Root is so pleasant that it is a pleasure to ralk with him, and I know he would only be too glad to show the manuscript to anyone who might be interested in seeing it.


In conclusion, I wish to give just a very brief synopsis of the contents of the Spaulding writings: this is not done in the spirit of ridicule, for simple and ridiculous as the story is, I do not wish [------ ----- -----] ever. My object, therefore, in refering directly to the contents of the manuscript, is to point out more clearly the subject with which it deals, the names that are used, and a few of the incidents therein contained, that those who do not read the manuscript themselves may not be entirely ignorant as to the matter it contains, and thus better understand the endless between the Spaulding writings and the Book of Mormon.

I here give all the important proper names that occur in the manuscript:

Fabius, a Roman; Captain Luian; Sailors Tom, Crito and Trojanus; Emperors Labarmack and Rambock; Kings Brombal, Hadokam, Bambo, Sambal, Chiango, Ulipoon, Numapon and Ramuck; Pribces Moonrod and Elseon; Princess Lamesa and her friend, Helicon; Drafolick, a prophet; Hamack the seer; High Priests Lambon, Kato, and Lakoon; the wise man, Baska, or, Lobaska; the emperor's counselors, Hamul and Taboon. There are also the names Ramoff, Thelford, Hamkien, Boakim, and Labanko.

The following rivers are mentioned: Suscowah, Deliwah, Sciota and the Ohio. Three large cities are given names: Owhahon, Tolonga and Gamba. The principal nations of American natives are: The Deliwares, or Deliwans, the Michegans, the Siotans, or Sciotans, and the Kentucks.


The manuscript contains 172 pages and the narrative, though in no wise a continued story, may be divided into three parts. First, an account of the arrival in America of a crew of twenty Roman citizens. This account occupies the first half dozen pages of the Manuscript. Second, an amusing and ridiculous description of the rites, ceremonies, manners and customs, and amusements of the natives of America. This completes the first half of the Manuscript, or about eighty-five pages. The third part, which occupies the entire second half of the manuscript, relates a romantic love affair, with which the story ends.

After giving an account of himself, the writer tells of one Fabius, a learned Roman, who was on his way to England. The vessel was lost at sea, and after several weeks landed in America. The passengers and crew, about twenty in number, were kindly received by the natives, who are described as having a brown complexion, with one half the face painted red and the other half black. Their traditions told that their ancestors had come from the west. They used as a domestic animal the mammoon, or mommouth, a huge creature much larger than an elephant. It [------ ------- ---- -----] wolly hair, from which rough cloth was made. The people lived in frame buildings with shingled roofs, their writing was from tp to bottom and from right to left.


Very little is said of their religion; enough, however, to confuse the reader, for it would be difficult to understand how the natives could be so far advanced in some lines and yet so unreasonable in their religious belief. One instance will suffice: The remission of sins was obtained by gazing intently upon the carcasses of two black dogs while they were being sacrificed by burning. The eighth day was held sacred for rest and worship. Baska, afterwards spelled Lobaska, was their wise man. He introduced a system of writing. It seems that he taught disbelief in miracles.

We have now finished one-half of the book. The remainder deals with an interesting love affair.


There were two great nations, the Kentucks, with Hamboon as their emperor, and the Sciotans, their emperor was Rambock, who had a beautiful daughter, Lamesa. According to the constitution of government, the princess could not marry outside her father's empire. Her father's house was visited by Prince Elseon, son of the emperor of the Kentucks. It was Emperor Rambock's wish that his daughter should marry King Sambal, against whom she entertained the must repulsive feelings, and further, a deep love had grown up between her and the visiting prince, Elseon, who, not being able to obtain from Lamesa's father the permission of marriage, eloped with her to his father's empire. Here they were happily wedded. Emperor Rambock and his subjects became so angry that nothing but bloodshed would satisfy their revenge. Great preparations were made on both sides, a terrible conflict followed, known as the "great battle of Geheno," in which over three hundred thousand soldiers took part, nearly one-half of whom were killed. During the battle young Prince Elseon met his savage opponent, King Sambal. A terrible hand to hand combat followed, the king was slain, the happy prince returned to his young wife, and peace was declared. Thus ends the story of the Spaulding Manuscript.

What sane person would believe that the beautiful teachings in the Book of Mormon could have found their origin in this ridiculous story? I answer no one. It is only those who are ignorant who will continue to [------] this [story ----- ----- ----- ---].

Note 1: Exactly what events incited the conspicuous 1900 LDS media blitz against the Spalding claims remains a mystery. Mormon President Snow apparently set both his First Counselor in the LDS First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith) and his own son (La Roi Snow) to work investigating the problem and producing faith-promoting polemics in support of the Church's position on the origin of the Book of Mormon. The renewed LDS interest in refuting the Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship continued through 1901 and into 1902, with representatives of the Church producing at least enine different articles, featured in the Church's main publications, during this period. The prominence the topic was given in the LDS media was probably a major factor in A. Theodore Schroeder's decision to produce an important non-Mormon recital of the Spalding claims in 1901.

Note 2: Elder Snow errs in making several statements concerning the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and the Spalding authorship claims. 1. He unjustifiably asserts that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith could not possibly have been acquainted and worked together before December of 1830. In fact, Rigdon almost certainly knew who Smith was, well before that date. 2. He assumes that it is the same "Manuscript Found" as was spoken of by Solomon Spalding's old neighbors and relatives -- the same as does President Joseph F. Smith in his Era series of articles bearing that same name. In fact, the Oberlin story is not the Spalding manuscript claimed by early witnesses as bearing a similarity to the text of the Book of Mormon. 3. Elder Snow may have quoted Oberlin professor Root correctly, in having him say that the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding manuscript at that college were "not in any way connected with each other," but that is a practically meaningless assertion. Supporters of the Spalding authorship claims were not then saying that the Oberlin document was closely "connected" with the Book of Mormon, nor that it was the basis for the latter book. 4. Snow is mistaken in referring to the Spalding story's ancient civilizations saying that "Very little is said of their religion." In fact, the example he gives is not even taken from the account of the civilized people in that story. Spalding's entire plot hinges on a religious reformation gone wrong. His primary character, the religious reformer Lobaska may not have personally believed in "miracles," but he was happy to palm off his oracles as divine revelations and found a religion well infused with the miraculous. 5. Finally, Snow misstates the facts in saying that the Oberlin story comes to a peaceful conclusion. This we might indeed expect of an account made ready for the printer -- but the Oberlin story ends in the middle of a war, with no conclusion, and obviously was and is unfit for publication as a complete story.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LI.                     Salt Lake City,  Thursday,  July 19, 1900.                     No. ?


The Pioneer Press, published at St. Paul, Minnesota, is in many respects a good paper. But it has on its editorial staff a pronounced anti-"Mormon" of the old, bigoted brand, impervious to the force of the most palpable facts of history, and oblivious to the developments and evidences of later times. The shattered remnants of early romances about "Mormon" leaders are gathered up occasionally and revamped for editorials in the Pioneer Press, and the silliest stories and most absurd burlesques of "Mormon" doctrine find a place in its columns, stamping it as a back number in the lists of modern journalism.

The latest effort of that paper to give "information" to its readers on "Mormonism" is put forth in some answers to correspondents in reply to the question, "How did the Book of Mormon originate?" The Press proceeds to relate in detail, the particulars of the defunct and decayed old Spaulding story, so familiar to a former generation, and which found its way into all the terrible tales about the "Mormons" for half a century.

It is not surprising that certain sectarian preachers repeat the absurd story, to account for a book which puzzles them because they will not yield to the evidences of its authenticity. But we confess to some amazement that a newspaper claiming to be up to date, will persist in publishing so palpable a falsehood as that the Spaulding myth was the origin of the Book of Mormon.

It was always a matter of conjecture, suspicion and contradictory assertion, refuted by well known facts and without [anything substantial for] a basis. But the discovery of the manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding and its deposit in the library at Oberlin College, Ohio, particulars of which ought to be known to editors who read and are acquainted with the news of the world, has so completely demolished the theory once relied upon by superficial minds that the Book of Mormon was concocted from that manuscript that it has been entirely abandoned by all opponents of "Mormonism" except the densely ignorant or unscrupulously dishonest.

For the benefit of the Pioneer Press, supposing it [retains] its reputation for ordinary sense if not for extraordinary veracity, we will briefly state the facts about "The Mabuscript." That was the title of a story purporting to give an account of the landing in America of a shipwrecked party of Romans, who found here [hospitable] barbarians whose origin is not stated. Early in the first part of the nineteenth century Spaulding endeavored to have his story published. He died before accomplishing this desire.

An apostate "Mormon" named Hurlburt, who had been expelled from the church for unchastity, hearing about the manuscript, sought out Mr. Spaulding's widow and by promises of reward if it suited his purpose, obtained it for publication by E. D. Howe, who issued an anti-"Mormon" pamphlet; but the manuscript, not being what was expected. was lost sight of, and Mrs. Davidson, Spaulding's widow, never received anything, not even the return of the manuscript.

Some time after this Mr. L. L. Rice and Mr. Winchester bought the publishing establishment of E. B. Howe in Painesville, Ohio. The Spalding Manuscript was among the books and papers and with them was taken by Mr. Rice to Honolulu, where it lay lost to the world until the year 1885, when Mr. Rice came across it when looking over old papers. Later he presented it to James H. Fairchild, then president of the Oberlin College, who was on a visit to Honolulu, to be kept in the library of that institution, and there it is today, open to the investigation of the public.

In a recent visit to that college, Mr. Le Roi Snow of this city was shown the manuscript by President John Henry Borrows, D. D., who said to him:

"Mr. Snow, it is all humbug to say that the Book of Mormon has any connection whatever with the Spaulding Manuscript. I have read and compared them both very carefully and am fully convinced that they are not in any way connected with each other. There is not a proper name or an incident in one that resembles a name or incident in the other, and not only is there no resemblance in the reading matter, but the styles used in the two books are also entirely different."

"The manuscript contains 172 pages and the narrative, though in no wise a continued story, may be divided into three parts. First, an account of the arrival in America of a crew of twenty Roman citizens. This account occupies the first half dozen pages of the Manuscript. Second, an amusing and ridiculous description of the rites, ceremonies, manners and customs, and amusements of the natives of America. This completes the first half of the Manuscript, or about eighty-five pages. The third part, which occupies the entire second half of the manuscript, relates a romantic love affair, with which the story ends."

It was alleged when the story was first started, that neighbors of Mr. Spaulding who heard his work read and afterwards learned about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, recognized the same names in both. They were mistaken. Here are the important proper names that appear in the manuscript, none of which are found in the Book of Mormon:

Fabius, a Roman; Captain Luian; Sailors Tom, Crito and Trojanus; Emperors Labarmack and Rambock; Kings Brombal, Hadokam, Bambo, Sambal, Chiango, Ulipoon, Numapon and Ramuck; Pribces Moonrod and Elseon; Princess Lamesa and her friend, Helicon; Drafolick, a prophet; Hamack the seer; High Priests Lambon, Kato, and Lakoon; the wise man, Baska, or, Lobaska; the emperor's counselors, Hamul and Taboon. There are also the names Ramoff, Thelford, Hamkien, Boakim, and Labanko.

The following rivers are mentioned: Suscowah, Deliwah, Sciota and the Ohio. Three large cities are given names: Owhahon, Tolonga and Gamba. The principal nations of American natives are: The Deliwares, or Deliwans, the Michegans, the Siotans, or Sciotans, and the Kentucks.

If the editor of the Pioneer Press wants to satisfy himself on this subject, and to give real information to inquirers, he can obtain a printed verbatium copy of The Manuscript Found by sending twenty-five cents to the Deseret News office. He ca then compare it with the Book of Mormon, and he will find no resemblance whatever, but will learn the fact that it would be as reasonable to believe that the Bible was made up from Gulliver's Travels as that the Book of Mormon was concocted from The Manuscript Found.

People who desire to arrive at the truth concerning the only accurate account of the origin of the American Indians, and the builders of the cities and temples and mounds that amaze the archaeologists and explorers of the present day, will have to give attention and credence to the testimony of witnesses to the divine origin of the Book of Mormon, and its translation into the English language by the gift and power of God.

But if they cannot bring their minds to accept modern revelation and inspiration, they can at least yield to the force of the indisputable evidence, that demolishes entirely the stupid Spaulding story to account for the origin of that remarkable book. And just writers for the public, when they perceive their error, will acknowledge it frankly, if not for the public good at least for the sake of their own reputation.

Note: Both A. Theodore Schroeder and James E. Mahaffey were quick to seize upon the Deseret News assrtion, saying that "the discovery of the manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding and its deposit in the library at Oberlin College, Ohio, particulars of which ought to be known to editors who read and are acquainted with the news of the world, has so completely demolished the theory once relied upon by superficial minds that the Book of Mormon was concocted from that manuscript that it has been entirely abandoned by all opponents of 'Mormonism' except the densely ignorant or unscrupulously dishonest." Schroeder reprinted an excerpt from that daring allegation on the front cover of his 1901 pamphlet and Mahaffey took the News reporter to task on page 52 of his 1902 booklet, for the same reason.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LI.                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  March 23, 1901.                     No. ?


The Kalamazoo Daily Telegraph of the 8th of this month, gives a report of the opening remarks of a prayer meeting by Rev. S. F. Porter, who is in that city, it seems, to take up "missionary" work in the northwest. The remarks were made on "Origin of the Book of Mormon," and the gentleman told his hearers that that much discussed volume is but another version of the Spaulding manuscript.

Elder Hyrum Stevenson, in a later issue of the Telegraph, refutes this statement. He tells of the discovery of that manuscript by President James H. Fairchild of the Oberlin College, Ohio, and quotes what this impartial witness has to say in the New York Observer of February 5, 1885, as follows

"The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. * * * Mr. Rice, myself and others compared it (the Spaulding manuscript) with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, * * * Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required. "

The Spaulding myth did service, as long as the manuscript was hidden, but to use it now, is to display ignorance or a willful misrepresentation of facts. Rev. Porter is welcome to either of these horns of a dilemma. He cannot escape one or the other. He is too far behind his time.

It is remarkable that "Mormonism" cannot be assailed except by falsehoods and misrepresentation. Those who have most experience in the inglorious crusade against that religious system, are best aware of that fact. As long as they keep within truth, they are in full harmony with that which they would fain destroy; hence their skill is exercised in inventing stories about the origin of "Mormonism" and the character of its originators; in misrepresenting the teachings and the acts of the "Mormon" people, and in impugning their motives. It all comes from one source -- hatred of the light that has been sent to the world. "Mormonism," however, is no more affected by such means, than is the sun by the passing clouds that temporarily darken the valley. Storms come and go, but the heavenly luminary continues to send out his effulgent rays to the furthermost parts of the universe.

Note: xxx


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LI.                     Salt Lake City,  Wednesday,  April 10, 1901.                     No. ?


It seems surprising to people who know anything of the history of "Mormonism," that the old fables concerning it which obtained credence at its inception, although thoroughly exploded by the force of irresistible facts, are still held and clung to by preachers and editors, who ought to be susceptable to the influence of reason and to the light of recent events and developments. Their failure to perceive palpable truth, so easy of access, and their readiness to repeat refuted errors for indisputed verities, would be comical if they were not so pitiful.

A few weeks ago we made some comments on the efforts of the Troy, N. Y. Press to enlighten the world, by the publication of a lot of stories told in a book made up of absurd anti-"Mormon" fabrications, printed half a century ago, but mixd with a few quotations from authentic works. That paper imagined it was giving to the public something choice and novel about an unpopular faith, but in reality was simply repeating ancient gossip and dead romances. Among them was the stupid Spaulding story, which every well-informed journalist ought to know has been completely exposed and settled.

Now comes the same fiction, copied into many country newspapers, from no less an authority than the New York Tribune. In an article headed "The Mormon Bible," that paper has once more told the tale of the "Manuscript Found," which was the chief reliance of the religious opponents of "Mormonism" for many years, and found its way into encyclopedias and historical narratives, and was the only way by which the preachers and editors could account for the production of the Book of Mormon. Here is the way the New York Tribune, at this late date, related the story:

"According to the opponents of Mormonism, from investigations made soon after the Book of Mormon appeared, the fact is fully established that the real author of the work was Solomon Spaulding, who was born at Ashford, Conn., in 1761, and after engaging in business in various States, died at Cherry Valley, N. Y., in 1816. During his residence in Ohio in 1810-12, he wrote a romance to account for the peopling of America by deriving the American Indians from the Hebrews, in accordance with a prevalent notion that the Indians were descended from the lost tribes of Israel. The book, under the title of "Manuscript Found," was, as early as 1813, announced in the newspapers as forthcoming, and to contain a translation of the 'Book of Mormon.' His widow published a statement in the Boston Journal in May, 1839, declaring that in 1812 he placed his manuscript in a printing office in Pittsburgh, where it was copied by Sidney Rigdon, who, about 1829, became associated with Mr. Joseph Smith. Immediately after the publication of the 'Book of Mormon'in 1830, it was recognized not only by Spaulding's widow, but by many of his friends, as his long lost work."

There are a few inaccuracies in this version, deviations from the original narration, but they are not very important. The so-called "fact" was NOT "fully established," but was merely a groundless suspicion. The "Manuscript Found" was not "announced as early as 1813," or at any time previous to the concoction of the charge against Joseph Smith, as that it was "a translation of the Book of Mormon." The widow of Solomon Spalding did not state that it was "copied by Sidney Rigdon," nor did she recognize the Book of Mormon as her husband's long lost work." Nor did Sidney Rigdon become associated with Joseph Smith in 1829; he never saw him till long after the Book of Mormon was published.

The first notion that the Spaulding manuscript might have had something to do with the Book of Mormon, was put forward by an apostate "Mormon" named Hurlburt, who was cut off the Church for unvirtuous conduct. In 1836 he wrote a book called "Mormonism Unveiled," which was published by E. D. Howe, a printer, of Painesville, Ohio. Hurlbut obtained the "Manuscript Found," bt false representations, from Solomon Spaulding's widow, but did not publish it because it did not answer his purpose, being found totally unlike the Book of Mormon, nor did he return the manuscript to the owner. For many years it was a manuscript lost.

But the main story: The alleged connection between Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon, continued to serve a purpose of its inventors and repeators for many years, notwithstanding the mass of evidence against it. But in 1884, President James H. Fairchild of Oberlin college, Ohio, was visiting his friend, Mr. L. L. Rice, then residing at Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, who was formerly associated in business with E. D. Howe in Ohio. He had in his possession a number of old papers received from his partner when he purchased the business. Searching among them for some anti-slavery documents, a package was discovered marked "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut, Ohio." Examination showed that it was the long lost Spaulding story, obtained from the clergyman's widow by Hurlburt forty-eight years before.

Here was the opportunity to explode the Book of Mormon, if the account given by its opponents concerning its origin was correct. Mr. Rice presented the manuscript to Oberlin College, first copying it verbatim with all the original blunders in spelling, punctuation and composition intact. It is there now. The copy has been published. It can be had at this office for twenty-five cents. It is no more like the Book of Mormon than Jules Verne's journey to the moon is like the Hebrew Bible. This discovery put an end to the Spaulding story as accounting for the Book of Mormon in the mind of every honest person informed as to these facts. They are placed beyond intelligent question.

We have repeated this matter of recent history, once more for the benefit of some of our contemporaries who still linger in the darkness of the past, and in response to the request of some of our friends who want the particulars for their own use. We do not expect to stop the mouths of those very pious preachers who hate to acknowledge the truth, and want to account for the Book of Mormon in some way different to its claims as a divine record.

It is not the "Mormon Bible," as so often asserted by anti-Mormon writers. The "Mormon" Bible is the regularly accepted King James version of the Holy Scriptures. The Book of Mormon, though in harmony with the Bible, is a record of the dealings of the Almighty with the former inhabitants of the American hemisphere, and was revealed to Joseph Smith and translated by him through the gift and power of God. It is true and of inestimable value both as a disclosure of the origin of the American Indians, and of the building of the cities and temples, the ruins of which are found upon this land, and as a revelation of the word and will of the Lord and of the manifestations of Jesus Christ on this continent after His resurrection from the dead.

The editors of the religious and secular papers of the country may disbelieve the divine character and worth of the book, but they have no right or excuse to continue in deceiving the public as to its alleged connection with Solomon Spaulding or his legendary story. By persisting in this course they either expose their ignorance to well informed people, or exhibit their unreliability as authorities on maters of present information. Why not tell the truth, no matter if it does upset old theories and popular fiction?

Note: xxx


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LI.                     Salt Lake City,  Tuesday,  May 14, 1901.                     No. ?


Ever since the Book of Mormon was published to the world, there have been strenuous efforts on the part of disbelievers in its divine origin to account for its production. Numerous theories have been invented for the purpose of discrediting its authenticity. The most popular of these fictions is the Solomon Spaulding story, which has found its way into nearly all the anti-"Mormon" works that have been circulated, and also in a number of encyclopedias.

The story has been completely overturned by the discovery of the Spaulding production entitled "The Manuscript Found." This has been in print for several years, and the original writing is deposited in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio, where it was placed by Prof. Fairchild, who obtained it from Mr. Rice, the former partner of E. D. Howe, an Ohio printer and publisher, who came into its possession in 1835, when it was hoped some similarity could be found between it and the "Book of Mormon." That there is nothing in common between them, that they are totally unlike in every particular, and that one could not be evolved out of the other, must be admitted by every person who has compared them. It is only the densely ignorant, the totally depraved, and the clergymen of different denominations afflicted with anti-"Mormon" rabies who still use the Spaulding story to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon.

There are, however, many honest disbelievers in the Book of Mormon, some of them because of deeply seated prejudice, others from an imperfect acquaintance with the volume, and still others because of the style and language and other peculiarities which do not comport with their ideas of divine record. Their objections are such as may be overcome by a closer acquaintance with the work, calm investigation and a sincere desire to find out the facts concerning its origin and the purpose and spirit of the [book]. Many earnest inquirers have obtained for themselves a divine testimony of the truth by inquiring of the Lord [--- --- --} expecting that their prayers would be answered.

One objection raised [against the] Book of Mormon by a [----- ----- ---] which has been expressed by [those] who have given some attention to the work is that [it] [----- ---- ---] of being the [production of a] [------] and not a person of very great literary ability. The [diff----- ---- of] the volume called the Bible [though] bearing a similar spirit [---- --- ---tions] that they were written by different individuals at different periods. The conclusion jumped at is that the Book of Mormon cannot be a collection of writings by different persons and therefore must be rejected.

Those critics who use this argument seem to forget that the book is an abridgment of the writings of several persons by one compiler, namely "Mormon," by whose name the book is called. The title page states that it is "An account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi." And further that it is "An abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi and also of the Lamanites." Also, "An abridgment taken from the book of Ether." These announcements at the very beginning of the volume should be a guide to all who read it and should furnish a sufficient answer to the criticism which we here notice. The compiler also admits the imperfection of his language and deplores it.

But a careful critic who closely examines the Book of Ether, and compares it with the writings of the first Nephi, will discover a great difference between them in diction and will see that the former bears marks of greater antiquity than the latter. And taking into consideration the fact that in each case an abridgement only is given, the objection we have noticed is really a bit of clear evidence in favor of the authenticity of the volume.

Another objection from the same source, or sources, is that the book contains modern expressions and language peculiar to latter times, and also passages exavtly identical with some Bible texts. This is easily explained by the fact that the translation was made by one individual whose English would naturally be that of the period in which he wrote, and who may have been permitted to convey the ideas of the original writers in phrases and sentences which would be familiar to the ordinary readers of the translation.

Believers in the Bible must be aware that the same ideas were conveyed by inspiration, to different Prophets very frequently and were sometimes couched in the same words. The spirit of the Lord is one and does not change. Truth is also immutable. "The word of the Lord endureth forever." The lapse of ages does not affect it and the difference in language does not impair it. The idea is more than the verbage which conveys it. The mind which is eager for truth does not halt or stumble over verbal imperfections of such little straws as those which seem to trip up some of the professedly learned and hypercritical of the present age.

Take the Book of Mormon for what it purports to be, and study it with a sincere desire to learn the divine truths which it contains and obtain the knowledge which it imparts concerning the ancient history and inhabitants of this continent and the small difficulties will entirely disappear in the flood of light which is shed by that invaluable record for the benefit of mankind and the glory of God.

Notes: (forthcoming)


[ 608 ]


Vol. IV.                                       JUNE, 1901.                                       No. 8.



* A lecture delivered by invitation at the University of Michigan, at Cornell University, and elsewhere.

First, permit me to express the mingled satisfaction, pleasure, and encouragement, which the present opportunity affords. I rejoice in the thought that a people, who, because notoriously unpopular, have been so generally maligned that even the passing vagrant has considered it his privilege to throw a stone or hurl a clod at them, may now be heard at the nation's seats of learning, and by those whose profession it is to seek, because they love, the truth.

To me, an assembly of students, as pupils and professors alike are, is a distinguished gathering, before which any speaker may feel honored in appearing. Students are philosophers-lovers of wisdom by profession and in fact. In this august brotherhood, I am proud to claim some rights of fellowship, however unworthy a member I may be; and whenever I meet others of the fraternity, I feel within my soul the swelling impulses that tell of kinship. Before such a gathering the speaker is bound, by more than ordinary obligations, to present his best and most mature thought as to the truth on which he treats. Our present theme is fitting to such an assembly, dealing, as it does, with living topics of profound importance.

In the minds of many, perhaps of the majority of people, the scene of the "Mormon" drama is laid almost entirely in Utah; indeed, the terms "Mormon' question," and "Utah question" are often used interchangeably. True it is, that the development of "Mormonism" is closely associated with the history of the long-time Territory and present State of Utah; but the origin of the system must be sought in regions far distant from the present gathering-place of the Latter-day Saints, and at a period ante-dating the acquisition of Utah as a part of our national domain.

I have here used the term "origin" in its commonest application,-that of the first stages apparent to ordinary observation,-the visible birth of the system. But a long, long period of preparation led to this physical coming forth of the "Mormon" religion,-a period marked by a multitude of historical events, some of them preceding by centuries the earthly establishment of this modern system of prophetic trust. The "Mormon" people regard the establishment of their Church as the culmination of a long series of notable events. To them it is the result of causes unnumbered that have been operating through ages of human history, and they see in it the cause of many developments yet to appear. This to them establishes an intimate relationship between the events of their own history, and the prophecies of ancient times.

In reading the earliest pages of "Mormon" history, we are introduced to a man whose name will ever be prominent in the story of The Church-the founder of the organization by a common usage of the term; the head of the system as an earthly establishment;-one who is accepted by The Church as an embassador specially commissioned of God, to be the first prophet of the latter-day dispensation-Joseph Smith. Rarely indeed does history present an organization, religious, social, or political, in which an individual holds as conspicuous and in all ways as important a place as does this man in the development of "Mormonism." The earnest investigator, the sincere truth-seeker, can ignore neither the man nor his work; for The Church under consideration has risen from the testimony solemnly set forth, and the startling declarations made by this person, who, at the time of his earliest announcements, was a farmer's boy in the first half of his teens. If his claims to ordination under the hands of divinely commissioned messengers be fallacious, forming as such claims do the foundation of The Church organization, the superstructure cannot stand; if, on the other hand, such declarations be true, then indeed is there little cause to wonder at the phenomenally rapid rise and the surprising stability of the edifice so begun.

This man was born at Sharon, Vermont, in December, 1805. He was the son of industrious parents who possessed strong religious tendencies and tolerant natures. For generations his ancestors had been laborers, by occupation tillers of the soil; and though comfortable circumstances had generally been their lot, reverses and losses in the father's house had rendered the family almost abjectly poor; so that from his earliest days, the lad Joseph was made acquainted with the pleasures and pains of hard work. He is described as being more than ordinarily studious for his years; and when that powerful wave of religious agitation and sectarian revival which characterized the first quarter of the last century, reached the home of the Smiths, Joseph with others of the family were profoundly affected. The household became somewhat divided on the subject of religion, and some of the members identified themselves with the most popular sects; but Joseph, while having a favorable feeling for the Methodist sect in comparison with others, confesses that his soul was sorely troubled over the contemplation of the strife and tumult existing among the religious bodies; and he hesitated. He tried in vain to solve the mystery presented to him in the warring factions of what professed to be the church of Christ. Surely, thought he, these several churches, opposed as they are to one another on what appear to be the vital points, cannot all be right. While puzzling over this anomaly he chanced upon this verse of the epistle of St. James:

"If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

In common with so many others, the earnest youth found here within the scriptures, admonition and counsel as directly applicable to his case and circumstances as if the lines had been addressed with his own name in the superscription. A brief period of hesitation, in which he shrank from the thought that a mortal like himself, weak, youthful, and unlearned, should approach the Creator with a personal request, was followed by a humble and contrite resolve to act upon the counsel of the ancient apostle. The result, to which he bore solemn record, (at first with the simplicity and enthusiasm of youth, afterward confirming the same with increasing. powers of manhood, and finally voluntarily sealing the testimony with his life's blood), proved most startling to the sectarian world-a world in which according to popular belief no new revelation of truth is possible. For while growth, progress, advancement, development of known truths, and the acquisition of new ones, characterize every living science, the churches of the world have declared that nothing new must be expected from the fountain-head of wisdom.

The testimony of this lad is, that in response to his supplication, drawn forth by the sacred admonitions of an inspired apostle, he received a divine ministration; heavenly beings manifested themselves to him,-two, clothed in purity, and alike in form and feature. Pointing to the other, one said, "This is my beloved Son, hear him." In answer to the lad's prayer, the heavenly personage so designated informed Joseph that the Spirit of God dwelt not with warring sects, which, while professing a form of godliness, denied the power thereof, and that the authority of the heavenly priesthood would yet be restored to the earth. Overjoyed at the glorious manifestation thus granted unto him, he withheld not the tidings of the heavenly vision from relatives and acquaintances. From the ministers, who had been so energetic in their efforts to convert the boy, he received, to his surprise, the greatest abuse and the utmost ridicule. "Visions and manifestations from God," said they, "are of the past, and all such things ceased with the apostles of old; the canon of scriptures is full; religion of men has reached its perfection in plan; and this, unlike all other systems contrived or accepted by human kind, is incapable of extension. It is true God lives, but he cares not for his children of modern times, as he did for those of ancient days; he has shut himself away from the people, closed the windows of heaven, and has suspended all direct communication with those of earth." The persecution thus originating with those who called themselves ministers of Christ, spread throughout the community; and the sects that before could not agree nor abide in peace for a day, were united in their efforts to oppose the youth who thus testified of facts, which though denied vehemently, produced an effect that alarmed them the more. And such a spectacle has ofttimes presented itself before the world-men who cannot tolerate one another in peace, swear fidelity and support in strife with a common opponent. However, the importance of this alleged revelation from the heavens to the earth is such as to warrant comment and discussion. If a fact, it is a full contradiction of the vague theories that had been increasing and accumulating for centuries, denying personality and parts to Deity.

In 1820, there lived one person who knew that the word of the Creator, "Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness," had a meaning more than in metaphor. But this wonderful vision was not the only manifestation of heavenly power and personality made to the young man; nor the only incident of the kind destined to bring upon him the unmitigated fury of persecution. Sometime after this visitation, which constituted him a living witness of God unto men, and which demonstrated the great fact that humanity is the child of Deity, he was visited by an immortal personage who told him of an ancient record hidden where it had been placed of old in a certain hill near his home. This record, said the messenger, was engraved on plates of gold, and had been deposited by the ancestors of the natives of this land, who were at one time a white and delightsome people. He testifies that he was told that if he remained faithful to his trust and the confidence reposed in him, he would some day receive the record into his keeping, and be commissioned and empowered to translate it. The record proved to be an account of certain colonies of immigrants to this hemisphere from the east, several centuries before the Christian era. The principal company was led by one Lehi, described as a personage of some importance and wealth, who had formerly lived at Jerusalem in the reign of Zedekiah, and who left his eastern home about 600 B. C. The book told of the journeyings across the water, in vessels constructed according to revealed plan, of the people's landing on the western shores of South America near the spot now marked by the city of Valparaiso; of their prosperity and rapid growth amid the bounteous elements of the new world; of the increase of pride and consequent dissension with the accumulation of material wealth, and of the division of the people into factions which became later two great nations with deadly enmity between them. One part following Nephi, the youngest but most gifted son of Lehi, designated themselves Nephites; the other faction, led by the elder and wicked brother of Nephi, whose name was Laman, were known as Lamanites.

The Nephites lived in cities, some of which attained great size and were distinguished by singular architectural beauty. Continually advancing northward, these people soon occupied the greater part of the valleys of the Orinoco, the Amazon, and the Magdalena. Indeed, during the one thousand years covered by this remarkable record, the Nephites had crossed the Isthmus, which is graphically described as a neck of land but a day's journey from sea to sea, and had occupied successively extensive tracts in what is now Mexico, the valley of the Mississippi, and the Eastern States. It is not to be supposed that these vast regions were all populated at one time by the Nephites; they were continually moving to escape the depredations of their hereditary foes, the Lamanites: and they deserted in turn all their cities established along the course of migration. The unprejudiced student sees in the discoveries of the ancient and now forest-covered cities of Mexico, Central America, Yucatan, and the northern regions of South America, a verification of this history.

Before their more powerful foes, the Nephites dwindled and fled; until about the year 400 A. D., they were entirely annihilated after a series of decisive battles, the last of which was fought near the very hill, called Cumorah, in the State of New York, where the hidden record was subsequently revealed to Joseph Smith. The Lamanites led a roving, aggressive life; kept few or no records, and soon lost the art of history writing. They lived on the results of the chase, and by plunder, degenerating in habit until they became typical progenitors of the dark-skinned race, afterward discovered by Columbus and named Indians.

The last writer in the ancient record was Moroni -- the same personage who appeared as a resurrected being, a divinely appointed herald, to reveal the depository of the sacred documents; but the greater part of the plates since translated had been engraved by the father of Moroni, the Nephite prophet, Mormon. This man, at once warrior, prophet and historian, had made a transcript and compilation of the heterogeneous records that had accumulated during the troubled history of the Nephite nation; this compilation was named on the plates "The Book of Mormon," which name has been given to the modern translation,-a work that has already made its way over most of the civilized world. The translation and publication of the Book of Mormon were marked by many scenes of trouble and contention, but success attended the undertaking, and the first edition of the work appeared in print in 1830.

The question, what is the Book of Mormon? -- a very pertinent one on the part of every earnest student and investigator of this phase of American history,-has been partly answered already. The work has been derisively called the "Mormon Bible," a name that carries with it the misrepresentation that in the faith of this people the book takes the place of the scriptural volume which is universally accepted by Christian sects. No designation could be more misleading, and in every way more untruthful. The Latter-day Saints have but one "Bible" and that the Bible. They place it foremost among the standard works of The Church; they accept its admonitions, its doctrines, and accord to them a literal significance; it is to them, and ever has been, the word of God, a compilation made by human agency of works by various inspired writers; they accept its teachings in fullness, modifying the meaning in no-wise, except in the rare cases of undoubted mistranslation, concerning which Biblical scholars of all faiths differ and criticise; and even in such cases, their reverence for the sacred letter renders them even more cautious than the majority of Bible commentators and critics in placing free construction upon the text. The historical part of the Jewish scriptures tells of the divine dealings with the people of the eastern hemisphere; the Book of Mormon recounts the mercies and judgments of God, the inspired teachings of his prophets, the rise and fall of his people as organized communities on the western world.

(To be continued.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LI.                     Salt Lake City,  Wednesday,  June 19, 1901.                     No. ?


We have received several clippings from newspapers in the east, which contain reports of anti-"Mormon" disclosures, chiefly rehashes of old slanders that have been dished up in similar forms for forty years or more. Friends who send us these extracts wish the Deseret News to refute the falsehoods which they contain. If we were to notice them all, our editorial page would be made up of well-worn arguments, and statements of facts that have been many times presented to the public in reply to the inventions of the enemies of the Latter-day Saints

We have now before us a synopsis from the Brooklyn Times of a "Sensational address on Mormonism" made by a person of very unsavory reputation indeed, who is making a business of attacking the Church and relating the oft-refuted tales that have formed the substance of pamphlets and sermons directed against "Mormonism." We shall not take up the statements of that individual for, in the first place, they are scarcely worthy of the attention of intelligent persons, and in the next place the Rev. (?) scandalmonger is thirsting for notoriety, and would like the Deseret News to aid in his achievement of the object of his ambition. We advise our Elders in the missionary field to let such creatures alone, and pay no more attention to them than they would to the yelping of a yellow dog.

It is remarkable that any newspaper up to the times on general subjects, should not be aware of the Spaulding story, related as an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon, has been demonstrated beyond question to be utterly untrue and unworthy of consideration. The Spaulding manuscript, which preachers and leacturers of the stripe we have here alluded to still hold forth in their harangues, as the story from which the Book of Mormon was fabricated, is now in the library at Oberlin College in Ohio, and a letter to Prof. Fairchild or to the librarian of the college, will elicit genuine information about it which will settle the matter in the mind of any reasonable person. There is no similarity or connection or association in any way, shape, or form, between that manuscript and the Book of Mormon. It would be just as reasonable to say that the Bible was founded upon the "Arabian Nights" as to avow that the Book of Mormon originated with the Spaulding "Manuscript Found."

The designing public speakers and writers who continue to deceive the public, by pretending to trace the Book of Mormon to the miserable romance written by an obscure preacher in the early years of the nineteenth century, know that they are uttering untruths when they make the despicable effort. Particularly is this the case with men who have lived in Utah, and are familiar with the particulars of the discovery of that manuscript by Prof. Fairchild. It is strange that so many editors of modern newspapers have not themselves become acquainted with the facts in this case.

Another thing that causes surprise to people acquainted with the present situation in the great State of Utah, is that there is still lack of truthful information concerning the attitude of the "Mormon" people on the marriage question. This confounding of the terms "Mormonism" and "polygamy" is astonishing to well posted people.

"Mormonism" is a system of religion that is eminently and essentially Christian, both in form and in spirit. Plural marriage was for some years practiced by a small portion of the "Mormon" people. They believed it to be consonant with the mind and will if the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, of Moses and Gideon, of David and Solomon, of the prophets and priests of Israel, of Jesus of Nazareth and his progenitors, who is the same yesterday, today and forever. But since the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality of the laws forbidding that practice, it has ceased among the Latter-day Saints...

Notes: (forthcoming)


[ 693 ]


Vol. IV.                                       JULY, 1901.                                       No. 9.



(Continued from page 614.)

The Latter-day Saints believe the coming forth of the Book of Mormon to be foretold in the Bible, as its destiny is prophesied of within its own lids; it is to the people the true, "stick of Joseph" which Ezekiel declared should become one with the "stick of Judah" -- or the Bible. The people challenge the most critical comparison between the record of the occident and the holy scriptures of the east, feeling confident that no discrepancy exists in letter or spirit. As to the original characters in which the record was engraved, copies were shown to learned linguists of the day, and pronounced by them as closely resembling the Reformed Egyptian writing.

The Book of Mormon was before the world; The Church circulated the work as freely as possible. The true account of its origin was rejected by the general public, who thus assumed the responsibility of explaining in some plausible way the source of the record. Among the many vague theories propounded, perhaps the most famous is the so-called Spaulding story. Solomon Spaulding, a clergyman of Amity, Pennsylvania, died in 1816. He wrote a romance to which no name other than "Manuscript Story" was given, and which, but for the unauthorized use of the writer's name and the misrepresentation of his motives, would never have been published. Twenty years after the author's death, one Hurlburt, an apostate "Mormon," announced a resemblance between the story and the Book of Mormon, and expressed a belief that the work brought forward by Joseph Smith was nothing but the Spaulding story revised and amplified. The apparent credibility of the statement was increased by various signed declarations to the effect that the two were alike, instead of by extracts from both works. But the manuscript was lost for a time, and in the absence of proof to the contrary, stories of the parallelism between the two works multiplied. But by a fortunate circumstance, in 1884, President James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College, and a literary friend of his -- one Mr. Rice, in examining a heterogeneous collection of old papers which had been purchased by Mr. Rice, found the original story.

After a careful perusal and comparison with the Book of Mormon, President Fairchild declared in an article in the New York Observer, February 5, 1885:

The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. * * * Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it (the Spaulding manuscript) with the Book of Mormon and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name nor incident common to the two. The solemn style of the Book of Mormon in imitation of the English scriptures does not appear in the manuscript. * * * Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found if any explanation is required.

The manuscript was deposited in the library of Oberlin College where it now reposes. Still, the theory of the "Manuscript Found," as Spaulding's story has come to be known, is occasionally pressed into service in the cause of anti-"Mormon" zeal, by some whom we will charitably believe to be ignorant of the facts set forth by President Fairchild. A letter of more recent date, written by that honorable gentleman in reply to an enquiring correspondent, was published in the Millennial Star, Liverpool, November 3, 1898, and is as follows:

October 17, 1895.   

J. R. Hindley, Esq.,
DEAR SIR: -- We have in our college library an original manuscript of Solomon Spaulding -- unquestionably genuine.

I found it in 1884 in the hands of Hon. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands. He was formerly state printer at Columbus, Ohio, and before that, publisher of a paper in Painesville, whose preceding publisher had visited Mrs. Spaulding and obtained the manuscript from her. It had lain among his old papers forty years or more, and was brought out by my asking him to look up anti-slavery documents among his papers.

The manuscript has upon it the signatures of several men of Conneaught, Ohio, who had heard Spaulding read it and knew it to be his. No one can see it and question its genuineness. The manuscript has been printed twice at least-once by the "Mormons" of Salt Lake City, and once by the "Josephite Mormons" of Iowa. The Utah "Mormons" obtained the copy of Mr. Rice, at Honolulu,, and the "Josephites" got it of me after it came into my possession.

This manuscript is not the original of the Book of Mormon.

             Yours very truly,
                                      JAMES H. FAIRCHILD.

The story has now been published in full, and comparisons between the same and the Book of Mormon may be made by anyone who has a mind to investigate the subject.

But we have anticipated the current of events. With the publication of the Book of Mormon, opposition grew more intense toward the people who professed a belief in the testimony of Joseph Smith. On the 6th of April, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized and thus took on a legal existence. The scene of this organization was Fayette, New York, and but six persons were directly concerned as participants. At that time there may have been and probably were many times that number who had professed adherence to the newly restored faith; but as the requirements of the law governing the formation of religious societies were satisfied by the application of six, only the specified number legally took part. Such was the beginning of The Church, soon to be so universally maligned. Its origin was small-a germ, an insignificant seed; little calculated to arouse hostility. What is there to fear in the voluntary association of six men, avowedly founded for peaceful pursuits and benevolent purposes? Yet the storm of persecution raged from the earliest day. At first but a family affair, opposition to the work has involved successively the town, the county, the state, the country, and today the "Mormon" question has been accorded extended consideration at the hands of the national government, and indeed most civilized nations have been forced to take cognizance of the same.

Let us observe the contrast between the beginning and the present proportions of The Church. Instead of but six regularly affiliated members, and at most two score of adherents, The Church numbers today more than a quarter of a million souls already assembled in the valleys of the Rocky mountains, and a multitude more in the foreign branches of The Church. In place of a simple hamlet, in the smallest corner of which the Saints could have congregated, there are now over five hundred organized wards each with its full complement of officers and quorums of the priesthood. The practice of gathering its proselytes into one place prevents the building up and strengthening of foreign branches; and inasmuch as extensive and strong organizations are seldom met with abroad, very erroneous ideas exist concerning the strength of The Church. But the mustard seed, among the smallest of all seeds, has attained the proportions of a tree, and the birds of the air are nesting in its branches; the acorn is now an oak offering protection and the sweets of satisfaction to every earnest pilgrim journeying its way for truth.

I spoke of the "quorums of the priesthood" to be found in every organized ward. Allow me to digress long enough to say that the word "quorum" has a special significance in Latter-day Saint history and theology. Instead of signifiying simply a majority of an organized body, such as is regularly constituted to transact business of the organization, the term signifies the organization itself. Thus the people speak of a quorum of high priests, of elders, of deacons, and of the quorum of the First Presidency of The Church, signifying in the last instance the three presidents, and not simply two or a majority of that body. From the organization of The Church the spirit of emigration rested upon the people. Their eyes were from the first turned in anticipation toward the evening sun; not merely that the work of proselyting should be carried on in the west, but that the headquarters of The Church should be there established. The Book of Mormon had taught the people the true origin of, and had shown them indeed part of the destiny of, the Indians, and to this dark-skinned remnant of a once mighty people, the missionaries of "Mormonism" early turned their eyes, and with their eyes went their hopes and their hearts.

Within three months from the beginning, The Church had missionaries among the Lamanites. It is notable that the Indian tribes have always regarded the religion of the Latter-day Saints with favor, seeing in the Book of Mormon striking agreement with their own traditions.

The first fully established seat of The Church was in the pretty little town of Kirtland, Ohio, almost within sight of Lake Erie; and here soon rose the first temple of modern times. Among their many other peculiarities, the Latter-day Saints are characterized as a temple-building people; as they say history proves the Israel of ancient times to have been. And in the days of their infancy as a Church, while in the thrall of poverty, and amidst the persecution and direful threats of lawless hordes, they laid the cornerstone, and in less than three years thereafter they celebrated the dedication of the Kirtland temple, a structure at once beautiful and imposing. But even before this time, populous settlements of the Saints had been made in Jackson County, Missouri; and in the town of Independence a site for the great temple had been selected and purchased, but though the ground has been dedicated and the corner-stone laid, the people have not as yet been permitted to build thereon.

Within two years from the time of its dedication, the temple in Kirtland was abandoned by the people, who were compelled to flee for their lives before the rage of mobocrats; but a second temple, larger and more beautiful than the first, soon reared its spires from the city of Nauvoo, Illinois. This structure was destroyed by fire, but the temple-building spirit was not to be quenched, and in the vales of Utah today are four magnificent temple edifices. The last completed, which was the first begun, is situated in Salt Lake City, and is one of the wonders and beauties of that city by the great salt sea.

To the fervent Latter-day Saint, a temple is not simply a church building, a house for religious assembly. Indeed, the "Mormon" temples are rarely used as places of general gatherings. They are in one sense educational institutions, regular courses of lectures and instruction being maintained in some of them; but they are specifically for baptisms and ordinations, for sanctifying prayer, and for the most sacred ceremonies and rites of The Church, particularly in the vicarious work for the dead which is a characteristic of "Mormon" faith. And who that has gazed upon these palaces of praise can say that the people who can do so much in poverty and tribulation are insincere? Bigoted they may seem to those who believe not as they do; fanatics they may be to multitudes who like one of old thank God they are not as these, but insincere they cannot be even to their bitterest foe, if he be a creature of reason.

The clouds of persecution thickened in Ohio as the intolerant zeal of mobs found frequent expression; numerous charges trivial and serious, were made against the leaders of The Church, and they were repeatedly before the courts only to be liberated on the usual finding of no cause for action. And the march to the west was maintained. Soon thousands of converts had rented or purchased homes in Missouri,-Independence, Jackson County, being their centre; but from the first, they were unpopular among the Missourians. Their system of equal rights with their marked disapproval of every species of aristocratic separation and self aggrandizement was declared to be a species of communism, dangerous to the state. An inoffensive journalistic organ, The Star, published for the purpose of properly presenting the religious tenets of the people, was made the particular object of the mob's hate; the house of its publisher was brought to the ground, the press and type confiscated, and the editor and family maltreated. An absurd story was circulated and took firm hold of the masses, that the Book of Mormon promised the western lands to the people of The Church, and that they intended to take possession of these regions by force. Throughout the book of revelations, regarded by the people as law specially directed to them, they are told to save their riches that they may purchase the inheritance promised them of God. Everywhere are they told to maintain peace; the sword is never offered as their symbol of conquest. Their gathering is to be like that of the Jews at Jerusalem-a pacific one, and in their taking possession of what they regard as a land of promise, no one previously located there shall be denied his rights.

A spirit of fierce persecution raged in Jackson and surrounding counties of Missouri. An appeal was made to the executive of the state, but little encouragement was returned. The lieutenant governor, Lilburn W. Boggs, afterward governor, was a pronounced "Mormon"-hater, and throughout the period of the troubles, he manifested sympathy with the persecutors.

One of the circuit judges who was asked to issue a peace warrant refused to do so, but advised the "Mormons" to arm themselves and meet the force of the outlaws with organized resistance. This advice was not pleasing to the Saints whose religion enjoined tolerance and peace: but they so far heeded it as to arm a small force; and when the outlaws came upon them, the people were not entirely unprepared. A "Mormon" rebellion was now heralded; the people had been goaded to desperation. The militia was ordered out, and the "Mormons" were disarmed. The mob took revenge. The "Mormons" engaged able lawyers to institute and maintain legal procedure against their foes, and this step, the right to which we would think could be denied no American citizen, called forth such an explosion of popular wrath as to affect almost the entire state.

It was winter; but the inclemency of the year only suited the better the purpose of the oppressor. Homes were destroyed, men torn from their families were brutally beaten, tarred and feathered; women with babes in their arms were forced to flee half-clad into the solitude of the prairie to escape the rapine and murder then prevalent. Their sufferings have never yet been chronicled by human scribe. Making their way across the river, most of the refugees found shelter among the more hospitable people of Clay County, and afterward established themselves in Caldwell County, therein founding the city of Far West. County and state judges, the governor, and even the president of the United States, were appealed to in turn for redress. The national executive, Andrew Jackson, while expressing sympathy for the persecuted people deplored his lack of power to interfere with the administration or nonadministration of state laws; the national officials could do nothing; the state officials would do naught.

(To be continued.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LII.                     Salt Lake City,  Monday,  February 24, 1902.                     No. ?


Our attention has been directed by a prominent educator in this State, to a work called "Edwin Emerson's History of the Nineteenth Century." which is being vigorously pushed in Utah by the P. F. Collier Piblishing company, of New York and obtaining many subscribers, yet it contains some serious marks of ignorance or wilful untruth. For instance on page 766 it is stated:

"A book of singular fruition was Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon, a corrupted version of Spaulding's 'The Manuscript Found.'"

A writer of history who does not know better than to copy so notorious an error as that, cannot be looked upon as a reliable authority on any public question. That old attempt to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon has been so thoroughly exposed, that no writer who aims to be authentic would repeat it or give to it any countenance. Under the year 1838 the following is given:

"The members of the new Sect of Mormon were driven from their homes to Nauvoo in western Missouri * * * and settled near the Great Salt Lake of Utah," -- p. 897.

That a member of the American Historical society can be so ignorant as to place Nauvoo in Missouri, and call the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Sect of Mormon, is really surprising. It is evident from the two citations we have made, that the gentleman is totally ignorant of "Mormon" history and "Mormon affairs," to say nothing of American geography. He may regard them as unimportant and not worthy of very close investigation. But if they are of sufficient importance to be mentioned in a history of the Nineteenth Century, they are certainly worthy of sufficient inquiry to be truthfully presented.

If the rest of the volume is no more reliable than these scraps of alleged "Mormon" history, it is not worth reading and the paper and binding are much waste material. We thank our correspondent for calling attention to these flagrant blunders, and hope that the public will not be very widely deceived by them. It is perhaps useless to expect that they will be corrected by the writer or the publisher.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LII.                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  May 24, 1902.                     No. ?


By letter from Elder Ammon N. Tenney, who is now located in Mexico, we learn that the success of the Elders in that land, as is common in other parts of the world, has stirred up clerical opposition, and that the tongue of slander and the pen of misrepresentation are being directed against the work in that country. A circular forwarded to us contains articles translated into Spanish from Scribner's Magazine, purporting to give the history of the origin of the Book of Mormon. Of course it is the old Solomon Spaulding fabrication, which has been so many times exploded, but which appears to please so greatly the preachers and editors who fight "Mormonism," that it is still told and retold as though it were established truth.

The fact that the original Spaulding "Manuscript Found" now reposes in the library at Oberlin College, Ohio, and that it has been compared with the Book of Mormon and found to bear no resemblance to it in style, matter, subject, purpose, or anything else, seems to be entirely ignored by the reverend gentlemen and sapient journalists who pretend to be anxious to enlighten the public, but who thus proclaim themselves either woefully ignorant or wilfully mendacious.

Our friends in Mexico should take courage by these efforts to hedge up their way, because they will doubtless have a similar effect in that country to the results in other parts of the world. They will create interest, excite curiosity and stimulate inquiry. These all aid in the development and reception of the truth. Investigation is what "Mormonism" asks for. Indifference is the greatest obstacle in the way of its dissemination. If the Elders are as active in presenting the truth as its enemies are in circulating falsehood, and we believe they are, for they are preaching, baptizing, healing the sick and stirring up Satan, the success that has heretofore attended their labors will become greatly increased, and they will have joy and satisfaction in reaping a harvest where they have sowed amidst toil and difficulty.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LIV.                     Salt Lake City,  Tuesday,  April 5, 1904.                     No. ?


The old Spaulding story of the manuscript... revived... being published by the Louisville Courier-Journal...

(incomplete clipping -- remainder under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. LIV.                     Salt Lake City,  Tuesday,  August 25, 1905.                     No. ?


Formerly, when the opponents of the Church were pressed for an explanation concerning the existence of the Book of Mormon, they invaribly told the story of the Spaulding manuscript. They all seemed to agree at the time it appeared. And so they found a plausible explanation in the Spaulding myth. But this romance was shattered with incontestible historic proofs, and lately it has not been heard so frequently. It is therefore rather strange to find the old story in a somewhat new form in an article in the Los Angeles Express of August 12. It has, however, the usual weakness. It cannot stand the test of scrutiny.

In the article referred to, one Major Jonas Olmstead, of Los Angeles, is quoted as follows: "Joe Smith, the original founder of the Mormon Church and the so-called Prophet, said his Bible, the Book of Mormon, was a revelation from God. His statement was unqualifiedly false. I saw the Mormon Bible before Joe Smith did. I saw Charles Spalding writing it. I knew both Spalding and Smith, and am thoroughly familiar with the Prophet's pedigree."

Asked for further explanation, Mr. Olmstead stated that he was born eighty-seven years ago, or 1818, In 1819, he says, his father moved to Meredith, Delaware County, in the State of New York, and lived, as he says, about five miles from "Joe Smith's house." As a boy, Mr. Olmstead says, he attended a school and had at that time a teacher named Charles Spalding. This teacher is described as a large and fine appearing man, and a scholar, who could delight his pupils by reading to them stories by French, Latin and other authors. We are told that this scholarly teacher, at 4 o'clock every afternoon, would pull his old table near to the fireplace and sit there for hours and write. It was, presumably, during these hours that Olmstead thinks he "saw" him compose the Book of Mormon. Mr. Olmstead claims that Mr. Spalding went to "Joseph Smith's house" to board, shortly before he tok sick and died, and that is how the manuscript came into the possession of Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

Now, there are several points in this romance that should be noticed, as they reveal just what it is. The Mr. Spalding who has formerly always been connected with the Book of Mormon, was Solomon Spaulding, while Mr. Olmstead's story centers around one Charles Spalding. But let that pass.

Mr. Olmstead claims that he saw Mr. Spaulding writing the Book of Mormon. He, Olmstead, was born in 1818, and since the writing was going on while he attended school, he cannot have been less than six years we presume, when he saw Mr. Spalding compose that book. That would bring us at least to the year 1824. But the probability is that he was more than six years. So that he must have seen Mr. Spalding writing the book a rather short time before the Prophet Joseph had commenced the work of translation from the original plates.

Mr. Olmstead says the manuscript was written in Meredith, Delaware county, but at the time he assigns for the work, Joseph Smith lived with his father's family in Manchester, Ontario county, a considerable distance from Meredith. And it is absolutely certain that "Joe" Smith as Mr. Olmstead calls him, at that time had no house of his own in which Mr. Spalding, as alleged, could take sick and die. Spalding, if we are not mistaken, at that time lived in Conneaut, in the State of Ohio, and not in the State of New York.

But there is still more confusion in the new version of the Spaulding story. According to all accounts the Spaulding manuscript was already completed in the year 1812. According to his own brother, Mr. Spaulding, in the year 1809, resided in Conneaut, Ohio, where he failed and contracted considerable debt. Three years afterwards told his brother that he had been writing a book and that he hoped to be able to square everything with the proceeds, as soon as the book could be printed. That was The Manuscript Found, (Mormonism Exposed, by William Kirby, page 413). Now, if this account is true, Mr. Olmstead must have seen that book written twelve years before Mr. Spaulding penned it, and at least six years before he was born! What reliability can be claimed for a witness with so confused ideas of the subject of which he presumes to testify?

It is beyond doubt that Mr. Olmstead is mistaken. He may have had a teacher named Charles Spalding, and this gentleman may have been a scholar and somewhat of an author, but when Olmstead connects him with the Spaulding manuscript, or the Book of Mormon, he is either wilfully misrepresenting the case, or suffering from a lapse of memory.

Mr. Spaulding's story in manuscript fell into the hands of an apostate who was gathering material for a work against the Church, but he discovered that that manuscript, if published, would refute the story that had connected it with the Book of Mormon, and therefore he suppressed it. It was entirely lost sight of until the year 1884, when it was found at Honolulu among a collection of miscellaneous papers. It was then presented to the Oberlin College, after an exact copy of it had been made, which has been published and can be had by any one interested in the subject. Solomon Spaulding's manuscript is in itself an irrefutable proof of the story that it suggested the Book of Mormon.

Note 1: For a somewhat similar (and seemingly equally anachronistic) story see Rudolph Etzenhouser's 1894 book, From Palmyra to Independences, page 265.

Note 2: Jonas Reed Olmsted, son of Harry and Hannah, may be the person referred to in the article. Some records show his birth in Vermont in 1818, other records show 1826. He died in 1903. Meredith township is located just south of Oneonta and Otego townships of Otsego county, NY. Beginning with "Harvy Olmsted" in 1810 and "Darius Olmsted" in 1820, early 19th century Census reports show several different Olmstead head of households living in the northwest corner of Delaware county, very near Chenango county's Bainbridge and Afton townships (where Joseph Smith, Jr. was known to have temporarily resided ) F. G. Mather places Joseph Smith, Jr. briefly in the Sidney-Otego area (upriver from Afton and Bainbridge), during the mid-1820s: "Three miles above Nineveh lies Afton, just on the edge of Chenango county, and a short distance above are Sidney, in Delaware County, and Otego, in Otsego county. Smithand his followers operated with the peek-stone in this part of the valley, where he was a comparative stranger."

Late in 1905 Elder B. H. Roberts' "The Book of Mormon Part III"
appeared in: YMMIA Manual No. 9.

T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. ?                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  March 28, 1908.                     No. ?


There are some signs that the opponents of the Gospel of Jesus are endeavoring to revive the old exploded myth, that the Spaulding manuscript, as revised by Sidney Rigdon, was the basis of the Book of Mormon. We find this theory again set forth in an article in the Chicago Daily News, paid for by a clergyman, as an advertisement; and also in the Greely Tribune.

We do not wonder that the world falls back upon this supposition, though it has been proced without foundation. The Book of Mormon is a fact. How can it be accounted for? The unlettered boy, Joseph, could not have written it. That seems to be conceded by all. Where did he obtain it? Either it was brought forth by the power of the Almighty, or some man, better informed than Joseph wrote it. But who? The sceptics who refuse to believe in divine intervention, must answer that question, and they generally say Spaulding. But, in order to connect the Prophet Joseph with Spaulding, they are forced to introduce Sidney Rigdon as the connecting link. Rigdon, they say, had lived in Pittsburg and became acquainted with the manuscript written by Spaulding. To this manuscript added som Scriptural interpolations, and the manuscript so amended, became the Book of Mormon.

This hypothesis was exploded when Spaulding's manuscript was found and published, and for some time the opponents were dumfounded. If the Book of Mormon is not the work of Spaulding and Sidney Rigdon, who wrote it? Under the pressure of this question, they have reverted back to the Spaulding myth. They admit that the Book of Mormon cannot be an elaboration of the Manuscript found, but, they say, there was another Spaulding manuscript that has not been found, and that this is the one upon which the book is elaborated.

That is a rather convenient argument. It virtually says that although it has been proved that the Book of Mormon was not an edition of the Spaulding manuscript that is known to exist, yet it remains to be proved that it is not founded on a Spaulding manuscript that is not known to exist, or to have had any existence. That is "higher criticism" with a vengeance.

Fortunately, Sidney Rigdon's testimony on this subject has been preserved, and that is conclusive. Sidney Rigdon disconnected with the Church, and we fancy any statement from him concerning fraud in the bringing forth of the sacred volume would have been worth a fortune to him. But what is his testimony?

John Rigdon, his son, has on more than one occasion told publicly that in 1863 he paid his father a visit determined to learn the truth from him, regarding the origin of that work. John Rigdon did not at that time believe in the book. He laid the question before his father."You are an old man." he said, "and you will soon pass away, and I wish to know if Joseph Smith, in your intimacy with him for fourteen years, has not said something to you that led you to believe he obtained that book in some other way than what he had told you." To this appeal by the son, Sidney Rigdon replied:

"My, son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of that book was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all of my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but the one story, and that was that he found it engraved upon gold plates in a hill near Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him and directed him where to find it; and I have never, to you or to any one else, told but the one story, and that I now repeat to you."

Sidney Rigdon, although at that time he had been disconnected with the Church for about 20 years, added that Mormonism is true, and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and "that this world would find it out some day."

This testimony of Sidney Rigdon as to the knowledge of the origin of the Book of Mormon, settles any Spaulding myth and forces the opponents of Mormonism to attempt some other solution of the vexed problem. But what other conclusion is there, than this, that the book is genuine and that it was translated through the Holy Spirit?

"There is no other reasonable answer to the question: Who wrote that book?" Internal evidence, as well as external, points to that conclusion. Joseph, at the time of the coming forth of that book, knew nothing of ruined cities and buried civilizations on these continents. And yet the Book of Mormon accounts for some of them. Joseph knew nothing of the ancient languages, and yet many of the proper names in the Book of Mormon, found nowhere else, are clearly related to the Hebrew. Joseph knew nothing of Biblical chronology, and yet in the Book of Mormon Lehi is commanded to depart from Jerusalem at a time when Jeremiah and Baruch were compelled to go into concealment and the king destroyed the manuscript upon which the prophet had written the Word of God. Such facts cannot be set aside by the earnest inquirer after truth.

The Book of Mormon is, as President B. H. Roberts has so well expressed it, a "new witness for god," It was given at a time when such a witness was very much needed. For the last century was the century of the attack upon the old "witness for God," Higher criticism is in vain directed against the new witness. The manner of its preservation and translation of the Bible, precluded that form of attack. It stands unassailable as a witness for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and is therefore, invaluable to the cause of religious truth. It invites investigation. It promises the testimony of the Spirit.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                                 August 15, 1905.                                 No. 24.

The claim of the Reorganized Church for recognition as the rightful successor in the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has received quite a set-back. It may be remembered that about the end of last month the news was flashed from Salt Lake City that Frederick M. Smith, a grandson of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was in Utah and had issued an appeal to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to leave that religious body and get into the fold of the Reorganizers, asserting that the Prophet, before his death, blessed to become as his successor his eldest son, father to Frederick M. Smith; further asserting that "after years of waiting, the Prophet's son, the present Joseph Smith (father to Frederick) went to the church, being called thereto by a revelation commanding him, and as prophet, seer and revelator of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he has administered in his office, obeying the revelation, and fulfilling the destiny pronounced upon his head by his father, which succession has been unbroken."

In the following affidavit of John W. Rigdon, it will be seen that this claim of the Reorganizers is entirely shattered, and that no such ceremony as the Prophet Joseph Smith ordaining the present head of the Reorganizers to succeed him ever took place:

County of Salt Lake.} ss.

John W. Rigdon, being duly sworn, says: "I am the son of Sidney Rigdon, deceased. Was born at Mentor, in the state of Ohio, in the year of 1830, and am now over 75 years of age. My father, Sidney Rigdon, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that year, and was in 1833 ordained to be Joseph Smith's first counselor, which position he held up to the time Joseph the Prophet was killed at Carthage jail, in 1844. That Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon moved from Kirtland, with their families, to the state of Missouri. during the winter of 1837, but Rigdon did not reach Far West, in the state of Missouri, until the 1st of April, 1838. That during the troubles in Missouri, in the year 1838, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith his brother, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and others, whose names I do not now remember, were arrested and imprisoned in Liberty jail, about 40 miles from the village of Far West, in Caldwell county, Missouri, where they all remained incarcerated for several months. That while said Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight and others were prisoners in said Liberty jail, as aforesaid, I, with my mother, wife of Sidney Rigdon, Emma Smith, wife of said Joseph Smith, and Joseph Smith, son of Joseph and Emma Smith, went to see the said prisoner, during the latter part of the winter of 1838. We all went together in the same carriage and came home together. We stayed at Liberty jail with the prisoners three days and then left for home. The story that is being told by some of the members of the Reorganized Church at Lamoni, that young Joseph Smith, now president of the said Reorganized church, was ordained by his father, Joseph Smith, to be the leader of the said Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after his father's death, is not true, for I know that no such ordination took place while we were at Liberty jail; that if any such ordination had taken place I most certainly should have known it and remembered it, as I was with young Joseph, the Prophet's son, all the time we were there. If Joseph Smith had ordained his son Joseph to be leader of the Church at his death, be would have done so in a manner that there could have been no doubt about it. Both of his counselors were then in prison with him, namely, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, and it would have been in order for the Prophet to have called upon them to assist him in such an ordination had it taken place, and a record of the same made in the Church books, so that all members of the Church might have known that such an ordination had taken place. But nothing of the kind appears in the Church books. My father and mother lived a good many years after the incarceration at Liberty jail and I who lived near my father, never heard my father or my mother mention that such an ordination ever took place in Liberty jail; and as I know myself that no such ordination took place at Liberty jail, and inasmuch as it is not claimed that an ordination of this character was bestowed at any other place, therefore I deny it as an untruth and a story gotten up by the Reorganized church for effect.

Besides all this, if Joseph Smith, the president of the Reorganized church was ordained while in Liberty jail, why did he, 14 years after his father's death receive an ordination under the hands of William Marks, William W. Blair, and Zenos H. Gurley? Would it not seem that one ordination, and that, too, said to have been by his own father, the President of the Church, should have been sufficient? But, further, William Marks, William W. Blair and Zenos H. Gurley had all been excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before they "ordained" young Joseph Smith to he president of the Reorganized church, and therefore they did not have the authority to ordain him. The whole story of his being ordained by anyone having authority to do so is too preposterous to be entertained for a single moment, and should be rejected by all who hear such a story mentioned.
                                   JOHN W. RlGDON

Sworn to before me this 28th day of July, 1905
JAMES JACK, Notary Public, Salt Lake County Utah.

Commenting on the situation the Deseret News says: We publish today in another part of this paper a statement made under oath by John W. Rigdon, the son of Sidney Rigdon, who was at one time a counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was held in high esteem as a theological speaker and writer of great ability. He was falsely charged with being a party to the manipulation of The Manuscript Found of Solomon Spaulding, and its fabrication into the Book of Mormon. The stupid story found its way into numerous anti-'Mormon' publications, and notwithstanding its complete refutation, leaving not a shadow of doubt as to its falsehood, is still proclaimed from numerous sectarian pulpits and repeated in newspaper articles and religious pamphlets. The affidavit which we publish bears directly on this matter, and also on a story which has about as much foundation as the Spaulding romance, to the effect that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, ordained and appointed his son Joseph to succeed him as President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the promulgators of this idle tale are pressed for proofs, and also for a statement of the time and place when the alleged incident occurred, the answer is that it was at the time when the Prophet Joseph was incarcerated in Liberty jail, Missouri. There were other "Mormon" prisoners with him, and none of them has ever confirmed the story, but all have denied it so far as their knowledge extended. Now comes John W. Rigdon and gives most positive evidence explosive of the tale that has been told, and clears away the smoke and fog of the falsehood that surrounded it on its inception. Read Mr. Rigdon's statement. It will be found thorough, direct and satisfactory. This gives occasion for some remarks on the principle involved in the succession to the President of the Church, as revealed through the Prophet Joseph and established in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                                 September 15, 1905.                                 No. 2.

In the issue of the Journal for August 15 we published the affidavit of John W. Rigdon concerning the falsity of the statement now made by the Reorganizers that the Prophet Joseph Smith ordained young Joseph to be his successor. The following additional information will therefore be of interest:

Bunkerville, Lincoln Co., Nev., Aug. 4, 1905. -- Seeing the testimony of J W. Rigdon in the Semi-Weekly News of July 31, and being much interested in the subject, and knowing that there lived in this place a man that was quite familiar with the early scenes of Church history, especially those in and about Far West, Missouri, and having heard him say that he had many times visited his father and the Prophet Joseph, while they were incarcerated in Liberty jail, I went an interviewed Orange L. Wight (eldest son of former Apostle Lyman Wight), who is now 82 years old and resides with his daughter, Sister Harriet M. Earl. Brother Wight is quite feeble in body, but his mind seems to be as bright as ever.

I found Brother Wight in his usual good humor, and seemed quite willing to talk, in fact, was pleased to do so. "Elder Wight," said I, "are you willing to make a statement for publication in regard to what you know about Joseph Smith, son of the Prophet Joseph, being ordained while in Liberty jail to lead the Church?" 'Certainly I am!" "Then," said I, "just write me out a brief statement covering those points and I will give it in your own words." Following is Brother Wight's statement:

"In regard to the statement of John W. Rigdon, I endorse it in every point. Brother John W. Rigdon speaks of being in Liberty prison when the Prophet Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, and others, were there (the others were Caleb Baldwin and Alexander McRae). I also visited the prisoners at or about the same time, and slept with them many times at different periods, and I can not recollect of ever hearing the subject of an ordination mentioned.

My father, Lyman Wight, nor my mother, never alluded to it during their lifetime in my presence, so I take it for granted that Joseph, the son of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was not ordained to fill the place of his father, in the Liberty jail. I was born in the state of New York Nov. 29, 1823, hence am about seven years older than Brother John W. Rigdon. And if an ordination of young Joseph had occurred in the prison, I would likely have heard of it. and would certainly recollect it.

Previous to this, while I was several years younger, the Twelve Apostles were organized and commissioned to assist in leading and governing the Church. I can recollect every detail distinctly. My acquaintance with the Prophet was from the year 1830 to this martyrdom, and I can truly say he was a Prophet of God and was appointed to the divine mission to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in this last dispensation.

As to the Prophet's believing and practising polygamy, I have as near a certain knowledge of the fact, I may say, as any man living: I was well acquainted with most or all of his wives, and talked with them on the subject, at the same time my wife also talked with them.

If there is anything further that is necessary for me to communicate in regard to my recollection, I will willingly do so. Respectfully,
                                      ORANGE L. WIGHT."

Further talk with Brother Wight brought out the following facts: He was baptized into the Church in the spring of 1832, was with the Church through all their troubles in the state of Missouri. Brother Wight filled a thirteen months' mission to the state of Virginia in company with Jedediah M. Grant and others, was in Nauvoo at the time the Prophet was captured at Dixon, Ill., and was one of the crew that went up the Illinois river on the steamer Maid of Iowa to assist in rescuing the Prophet.     JOSEPH I. EARL.


The following interesting and instructive letter was received from the undersigned a few days ago. It is another convincing testimony against the fabrication so dearly mouthed by a certain class of people, that the Book of Mormon originated in the Spaulding story.

Elder A. W. Karchner and myself made a recent trip to Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, for the purpose of viewing the old original Spalding manuscript.

We spent several hours in the college library, reading the now famous writing of Solomon Spalding, which has been so universally referred to by the enemies of Mormonism as the origin of the Book of Mormon. We can truthfully say that Prof. Fairchild made no mistake when, after diligently comparing the two, he said, "There is no similarity between them." If those men who are so certain the Book of Mormon found its origin in this writing would but read both with honest hearts, we are positive they would be wise enough never to rehash that dried up argument again. Their theory of accounting for the divine record of the Nephites, which God has given this people through the instrumentality of the Prophet Joseph Smith, has long since been exploded and it is only those who are woefully ignorant or willfully malicious who persist in using it to reproach the character of the Prophet Joseph Smith and to destroy the church of Christ which he was instrumental in establishing, by the power of God.

The Manuscript is handsomely bound in gilt morocco, and is never allowed to be taken from the building, so highly is it prized. However, it can be seen and read in the library by all who desire to do so. The greatest degree of kindness was shown us by those in attendance at the college, and as soon as it became known that we were from Utah, representing the Mormon church, great interest was taken in us. The principal features of the college were shown and explained. And during our conversation with one young gentleman we learned that some of our Utah boys had attended school there during the past year. Praise for their good behavior and gentlemanly conduct was highly sounded, and we rejoiced that some parts of the world had become aware of the fact that "some good could come out of Utah."

In a neighboring village we sold a number of books, one man, a lawyer, and the most influential man of the town, purchased three. He seemed hungry for the message, and we are led to believe this will be the means of opening up a way for future work in that place.     J. W. AHLSTROM.

Notes: (forthcoming)


"Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that
sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." --
ST. JOHN vii, 16, 17.

Vol. LXX.                                   Liverpool,  June 4, 1908.                                   No. 23.


Some of the clergy in these parts are circulating an article from an encyclopedia giving purported particulars of the origin of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Mormons" as the term is popularly used, and prominent in the sketch is the oft-repeated, but thoroughly-refuted "fairy tale" about the Book of Mormon

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 5. No. 51.                          Independence, Mo., June 6, 1908.                          $1.00 a year.

There is no reason for supposing that Rev. Solomon Spaulding was other than a worthy and conscientious Christian. He was the author of a story which was harmless in itself, and was in his grave years before harm was made out of it by alleging that it was the material out of which the Book of Mormon was constructed. Providentially the original manuscript of his story, fully and positively identified, was discovered and published after the opponents of the Nephite Record had been making this use of it for near half a century; and the fact that it bears not the slightest resemblance to the Book of Mormon has compelled them to seek for some other origin for that wonderful volume.

In the controversial literature that has grown up around this book the name of Solomon Spaulding is used so frequently and prominently, though with no discredit to him, that it is sure to be preserved for all time; and it will be a matter of interest to many thousands of Latter-day Saints to learn that his nearest living descendant, a granddaughter, has embraced the gospel as taught by them. The particulars of this conversion are given in a recent communication to Liahona The Elders' Journal from President John G. McQuarrie of the Eastern States mission, which is subjoined:

Saturday, May the 16th, at Boston, Mass., Mrs. Louie Elizabeth Brittain, the grand-daughter and nearest living relative of Solomon Spaulding, in connection with three others, was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She had heard her parents talk about the manuscript story written by her grandfather, and its alleged connection with the Book of Mormon. Hence, when the elder called at her home and referred to this book, she was curious to know something about this volume of Western Scripture and the strange religion which she supposed had sprung out of it.

Through carefully reading the book and studying the principles of the gospel as they are taught by the "Mormon missionaries," she soon became converted to a belief in the divine authenticity of both.

It is quite probable that her husband and son will also follow her into the fold, as they are quite favorably impressed with the teachings.

Had it not been for the vain effort to account in some way for the Book of Mormon, it is safe to say that this unpublished story would have long since been forgotten, even by the members of the Spaulding family. Had it not been that her curiosity was excited by this much talked of myth, it is probable that Mrs. Brittain would never have invited into her home the man who brought with him the gospel message which will no doubt result in the salvation of this worthy family.

By embracing the religion of the Latter-day Saints Sister Brittain aroused the usual opposition among her friends. It seems that a Miss Belden wrote to her mother regarding her change of church membership, and seeking to dissuade her from persisting in it. But Miss Belden, in turn, was given something to think about, Sister Brittain proves herself abundantly qualified to give a reason for her new faith, and to meet the strictures of her and her mother's friend, which she does in a letter that breathes a beautiful spirit while it shows true literary merit. We have been furnished a copy of this letter by Elder M. B. Rae, now laboring in Boston, and here append it:

Dear Miss Belden:
Mamma has shown me a letter from you in which you speak of me, and of the news which you have heard concerning me. Yes, dear Miss Belden, it is true that I believe that God has made known His holy will to man in these days, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and others. You speak of dropping my name from the church of which I have been a member for over twenty years; you also say I can not hope for eternal joy or call myself a Christian.

May I ask what constitutes a Christian? Are not all who follow our blessed Lord Jesus Christ Christians? As for eternal joy -- there you and I differ again. I believe Christ came, suffered and died, that all might be saved. You say "I have forsaken God and that I am following man." Dear Miss Belden you have turned it right around, as I have forsaken man's ways and am determined to follow Christ's ways.

I truly realize that you have done what you think is right. I can truly say I am thankful to you for taking into your own hands to do what I should have felt it right to do soon, withdraw my name from an organization I have no faith in.

The church I have so long been a member of will always have my love and prayers. I ask to have my name dropped from the Newington Congregational church record, as I have already united myself for life and death to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

That our blessed Father who knows all of our hearts, may lead and guide us in the ways of salvation and bring us all to a common faith, is the prayer of

Your friend,            
           Louie E. Brittain.

Notes: See Oct. 17th notes


Vol. 5. No. 52.                           Independence, Mo., June 13, 1908.                          $1.00 a year.

For about half a century opponents of the Book of Mormon persisted in asserting that it, or the manuscript which formed of it, was originally written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a native of Ashford, Conn., said to have graduated from Dartmouth college, New Hampshire, who followed different vocations at different times and was for some years a minister. He resided in various places in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, always bore a good reputation so far as appears, and died in the latter state in 1816. The manner in which a romance written by him became the source of the Book of Mormon, has been told in several different ways by as many writers who have given to the world the conflicting versions of the famous "Spaulding story;" but this story, in all its forms and editions, was refuted as effectively as any piece of fiction possibly could be, by the discovery of the original Spaulding manuscript, and its absolute identification, some twenty odd years ago. It was published immediately after being found by the Deseret News, of Salt Lake City, Utah, under the title, "The Myth of the Manuscript Found."

Any person may now take the romance written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, accompanied by incontestable proof that it is the identical work so long and so persistently held to be the original of the Book of Mormon, and compare the two. A few moments thus spent will convince the most zealous believer in the "Spaulding story" that it is utterly destitute of foundation in fact or reason. Notwithstanding the proofs in the premises, an echo of the old fable is occasionally repeated by opponents of the Nephite Record; but these echoes come mostly from backwoods regions where the standard of general intelligence is not very high.

But the "Spaulding story" has lately received another refutation almost as conclusive in its peculiar force and logic as was the discovery of the clergyman's manuscript. As was announced in the last issue of Liahona the Elders' Journal, Mrs. Louie Elizabeth Brittain, of Boston, Mass., the granddaughter and nearest surviving relative of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, was on May 16, baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had heard much of the romance written by her grandfather and its alleged connection with the Book of Mormon, but until recently had never interested herself enough to make a personal investigation of the subject. Some months ago she met a "Mormon" elder and in consequence became interested in the Book of Mormon, which she read carefully and conscientiously. She became profoundly convinced that her grandfather could not possibly have had anything to do with the authorship of that wonderful record, but that it is just what it purports to be, a true history of ancient America written by divinely inspired prophets who succeeded each other on the western hemisphere during a period of about one thousand years, ending about 420 A. D.

That this lady is not so lacking in intelligence or education as to be easily made the victim of a religious imposture, and that she is deeply in earnest in becoming a Latter-day Saint, are facts which were sufficiently proved by a letter by her in defense of her new faith, which we published last week. And thus, in the wise and inscrutable providence of the Almighty, error is dissipated and the truth is made to triumph gloriously.

Notes: See Oct. 17th notes


"Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that
sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." --
ST. JOHN vii, 16, 17.

Vol. LXX.                                   Liverpool,  July 9, 1908.                                   No. 28.


In spite of all that has been published in refutation of the Spaulding story, which has obtained such wide circulation, it still figures with the British preachers as the only means of accounting fot the origin of the Book of Mormon. Notwithstanding that "The MNanuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding, has been deposited in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio, and that it has been copied and published for many years so that it may be compared with the Book of Mormon, which has also been published since early in the year 1830, religious ministers still talk about it as though it were a settled fact that the Book of Mormon was concocted from that silly tale. Their folly is only excelled by their ignorance or their perversity. We refer to this matter now simply to state that on May 16th, 1908, at Boston Mass., the nearest living relative of Solomon Spaulding was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President John G. McQuarrie of the Eastern States Mission, in a letter to Liahona, The Elders' Journal, gave particulars of the conversion of this lady. Her name is Mrs. Louie Elizabeth Brittain, and she is the granddaughter of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding. She heard her parents talk about the "Manuscript Story" which he wrote, and when recently a Book of Mormon was shown to her she became interested in reading it. This was followed by inquiring into the whole matter, and she became convinced of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the doctrines it contains. The old story, which still is used by reverend gentlemen in this country for the purpose we have mentioned, has no weight with anybody acquainted with the truth, and the fact that Mrs. Brittain is now a member of the Church and a devout believer in the Book of Mormon, ought to be another nail in the coffin wherein that old myth so loved by English ministers now reposes. The granddaughter of Solomon Spaulding records a fervent testimony in the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith in a letter recently published in Liahona.
C. W. P.    

Note: The modern reader can only wonder about the possible "ignorance or perversity" of Elder Charles W. Penrose, (a member of the LDS First Presidency) in his offering the above announcement for publication. Advocates of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon have never professed that the short, unfinished manuscript now on file at Oberlin College formed the basis for the LDS holy writ. Rather, from the very beginning of the publication of those claims (from 1834 onward) Spalding claims advocates have cited the contents of an entirely different, larger, and ready-for-publication work by that same writer, as greatly resembling the "Nephite Record." It seems doubtful that Mrs. Brittain was aware of this distinction when she reportedly joined the LDS in 1908. However, the lady may have eventually learned more about the matter and left the Mormons rather quickly -- no record of her continued Mormon affiliation has yet been uncovered in the old LDS members' files.

Beginning in July, 1910, the American Historical Magazine featured B. H. Roberts'
multi-article series on the ""Origin of the Book of Mormon."

Vol. 6. No. 18.                        Independence, Mo., Oct. 17, 1908.                        $1.00 a year.

The ways of Providence are indeed wonderful, and the Almighty finds means of vindicating His word and work in a manner that may well fill with awe and amazement His enemies. The Book of Mormon was a terrible rebuke to the false teachers and the upholders of the false systems of the day in which it came forth; and although it bore upon its every page its own evidence of its divine origin, the foes of truth determined to find some means of preventing its general acceptance as a revelation from God. Obviously the simplest and most effective way to do this was to brand it as an imposture, and give it the appearance of having originated in fraud.

A conspiracy to carry out this wicked purpose was formed and executed. It was known that a minister of the gospel named Solomon Spaulding, who had resided not far from where the Book of Mormon was first heard of, had written a romance dealing with imaginary incidents of history in Ancient America. Witnesses were living who would testify that they had heard portions of this story read, and that it resembled the Book of Mormon narrative. The manuscript was lost and the author was dead. The conspirators therefore had neither fear nor scruple to use the "Spaulding Story" for their infamous design..

Joseph Smith, as was widely known, did not possess sufficient education to write a romance even, prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon. But Sidney Rigdon, one of his early associates did. Furthermore Sidney Rigdon had long been a resident if Pittsburg, Pa., just south of the town in which the Book of Mormon was published. [?] It was easy to say that the Spaulding manuscript had been left at a printing office in Pittsburg, that Sidney Rigdon had obtained possession of it, and, in collaboration with Joseph Smith, had produced from it the Book of Mormon.

Preachers and editors were alert and eager to find some plausible basis on which to oppose the claims of the Nephite Record, and the "Spaulding story" spread like wildfire. In vain did hundreds of witnesses testify that the Book of Mormon was in print long before Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon ever met. The preachers and editors preferred fiction to fact, and their version of the origin of the scriptures of Ancient America became generally accepted, both in this country and Europe.

About half a century after the "Spaulding story" was fabricated, the original manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding was found, identified beyond the possibility of question published verbatim et literatim, and deposited in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio, where it, together with incontestable proofs of its genuineness, is being carefully preserved. The discovery and publication of this manuscript did not altogether stop the circulation of the "Spaulding story," as might well be supposed, and its repetition still continues in uniformed circles.

A few months ago there occurred an event which amounts to another absolutely conclusive refutation of the "Spaulding story;" the logic of it has a peculiar force which it is impossible to resist. This event was nothing less than the baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of the great granddaughter and nearest living relative of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a resident of Boston, Mass. The lady's name is Mrs. Louie E. Brittain. She recently forwarded for publication in Liahona The Elders' Journal the following testimony of the truth of the gospel as taught by the Church of her recent adoption:

I want to say that I am proud that I am a "Mormon," proud that Father thought me worthy to hear and accept the gospel. I know that it is the true gospel of a living God, and I thank Father for sending me the calm, happy assurance that He has indeed revealed Himself again in these the latter days, and established His true Church on earth again.

I thank Him for sending us our dearly loved Prophet Joseph Smith, for the Book of Mormon, and for other holy inspired writings.

I ask the prayers of the Saints, that I may press on toward the marl of the high calling in Christ Jesus, and that I may always, as I do now, feel that I can say from my heart that I know whate'er befalls me, Father doeth all things well; and that I may always realize what a privilege it is to serve Him and keep His commandments.

I have been not yet four months a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but I can truly say they have been the happiest days of all my life. And I want the true Spirit living within me, that I may show in my daily life among my family and friends what a joy and satisfaction the gospel has brought to me. I ask Father to accept this testimony in the name of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ.

Sonie [sic] E. Brittain, Boston, Mass.

Accompanying the above testimony was a note to the editor of a semi-personal nature, but as it forms part of the record it is here appended:

Editor Liahona: -- I want to tell you what a help to me, during the time I was investigating and also since I have entered the door, this dear little messenger of "more light" has been. I almost feel like saying that but for the help I got from the Liahona and the convincing testimonies its pages contained, I would not have been convinced of the truth as soon as I was. I pray that this dear little paper may bring "more light" to many a darkened life, as it did to mine; when Elder Rae first presented the gospel to me I was indeed in darkness, but now I thank God I have come into the light -- the brightness, warmth and joy of Christ's gospel.

Louie E. Brittain, Boston, Mass.

On receipt of the above testimony and note to the editor, we wrote to Sister Brittain saying that we should like to publish, in connection with her testimony, a statement of her relationship to the Rev. Solomon Spaulding if agreeable to her. She responded as follows:

Your kind letter with the questions concerning my relationship to Solomon Spaulding is received, and I gladly answer them. I spent the greater part of my early life in the family of my uncle and aunt, Dr. John A. McKinstry and wife. My uncle's mother was the adopted daughter of Solomon Spalding. As a child I well remember hearing my grandmother McKinstry tell of the manuscript that Grandpa Spalding had written, when she was a small child, and have heard her say that she had often sat and listened to grandpa read extracts from his book. As I was always particularly pleased to listen to the life stories of my ancestors, it was a well known fact (?) to me that some bad people had stolen grandpa's book and made it their bible; and I, while a little child, was often fond of saying: "Some day when I'm a woman, I'll get even with those wicked people who robbed our family of grandpa's book."

So it was with a heart swelling with revenge and bitter hatred that I first met at the door of my house one of those "horrid Mormons." I had always intended, but still neglected, to purchase and read a copy of "grandpa's book." This same "Mormon," I had to admit, struck my mind with great force as being a man, and something about him made me feel that whatever the "Mormons" in general were, this one was an honorable, Christ-like person. He asked me to read the Book of Mormon carefully through, and I did so, not only once, but three times.

After I had finished reading it over once, something told me there was a mistake. I couldn't believe that my grandfather had had anything to do with the writing of this wonderful book. I decided to ask God Himself to show me the truth. And, oh, my brother, as I read the second and third time through our wonderful Book of Mormon, my heart was continually sending up a prayer to Father for light.

Some of the kind eiders who had often called on me, but who had said very little to me on the doctrine of the "Mormon" religion began leaving with me your dear little paper, the Liahona. I would read every word in it; and in less than two months after I met the first "Mormon" that came into my life, I was fully convinced that the Book of Mormon was a divine record, and that the old family belief that Grandpa Spalding wrote the Book of Mormon was false.

My family, all of whom for generations back have been much interested in all religious subjects, but were very set in their ways, were all shocked at my saying that we as a family had been mistaken as to the origin of the Book of Mormon. And when I mentioned the fact one day that I intended to visit the "Mormon" church and invite some of the elders to talk with me about their religion, they held up their hands in horror.

To tell the truth, God would not let me rest easy. I seemed to be continually asking Father for light, and He seemed to be sending it to me so fast it almost blinded me. The very first time I heard the elders talk, I knew that they were true servants of God. Principle after principle of the gospel, as they were presented to me by the elders, seemed so clear, so true, and so real, just like something I knew years ago and had for a time forgotten.

Of course, as soon as I was convinced of the divinity of the Book of Mormon it would have been impossible for me not to have believed that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of a living God. The Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, of course I accepted as coming from the same source, God Himself. Here were commands that my very heart told me I wanted to obey. True, I did not then, and do not now, understand but a very little, but I felt that our Father had wonderfully blessed me in sending this beautiful ray of revealed knowledge into my life. It was such a privilege to be allowed to do Father's will, and, oh! it was such a comfort to feel that Father thought me worthy to hear and accept!

All my friends felt that I had done a dreadful thing, and they would not forgive me for the disgrace I brought on my family by saying that I believed that the Book of Mormon was a divine record, and that Joseph Smith was a true servant of the living God.

I believed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the only true church on earth at the present time, and that when I had been let in at the door of baptism by immersion by those authorized of God, and would know that I was a "Mormon," it would be the proudest day of my life. I was determined to do my duty as I saw it. My husband voluntarily gave his consent to Elder Rae and Elder Tibbitts to my being baptized.

This is the story of how the great-grand-daughter of Solomon Spaulding (by adoption and marriage) became a "Mormon;" it may be of interest to you. Since I have joined our Church I have become more and more convinced of the wonderful truth of revealed knowledge and power. My people are totally opposed to our Church, and sometimes it seems to me that I cannot stand firm for truth. Only this morning my husband, after reading aloud the enclosed clipping from a Boston paper of yesterday, said it would have to be, give up him, my home, my friends, or give up my Church.

I cannot deny the truth. If I cannot by love and careful living win my family to a willingness for me to live my religion in my own home, I shall surely never deny the truth of our blessed gospel. It has become such a part of my very being that nothing as long as I live will ever tempt me, but, oh! I need the prayers of all the Saints, for it is so hard to be so cruelly misjudged, scoffed at and insulted as we "Mormons" here in Boston have been lately,

May God give me strength to do His holy will.

Your sister in the gospel.

              Louie E. Brittain.

Any person who reads the foregoing communications and after doing so professes to retain one single vestige of faith in any version of the "Spaulding story," of the origin of the Book of Mormon, deserves to be classed as a remarkable specimen [of --- ] dullness.

Note 1: Matilda "Spalding" was born of unknown parents in New York state on Jan. 17, 1805. When she was still a young child Matilda was adopted by Solomon and Matilda Sabin Spalding and raised in their family. In 1828 Matilda married Dr. Oliver W. McKinstry, presumably at or near his home in Hampden county, MA. He was born July 14, 1791 and died March 25, 1852, leaving Matilda a young widow with at least four children: John Alexander, born in 1831; Elizabeth Ann, born c. 1833; Mary M., born c. 1834, and Frances W., born c. 1836. Matilda was a long time member of the Congregational Church of Monson, joining that group in 1829. She died in Longmeadow, Hampden co., Massachusetts on Sept. 17, 1891.

Note 2: It is possible that "Louie Elizabeth" was actually the child of Mary M. McKinstry and that she was born in Washington, D. C. during the late 1860s. It seems that Mary was living (along with her sister Frances, her brother John, and his wife Elizabeth) in the nation's capital just after the Civil War. John was employed there as a medical examiner in the U. S. Pension Bureau, where Charles William Seaton, Frances' husband, also worked. But, since Louie herself says that she was a "great-grand-daughter of Solomon Spaulding" through "adoption and marriage," she may have not been a blood relation of the McKinstries at all. Regardless of who her parents were, Louie Elizabeth no doubt moved to Massachusetts with her childless uncle John and aunt Elizabeth when they relocated there in about 1873. Elizabeth Douglass McKinstry died in Longmeadow, MA during the summer of 1893, leaving John a widower, and it is possible that Louie Elizabeth left the McKinstry home at about the same time. Presumably Louie Elizabeth was married to Mr. Brittain in Massachusetts some time before the turn of the century.

Note 3: Mrs. Brittain says in her final letter published in the Liahona, "my husband... said it would have to be, give up him, my home, my friends, or give up my Church." Although she expresses a deep commitment to the Mormon faith, it appears that Louie E. Brittain soon left that religious group. She is not mentioned in LDS publications after the fall of 1908 and there is no known record of her (under her married name, at least) in LDS family group sheets or temple records on file in Salt Lake City.

Note 4: On pages 248, 455, and 456 of their 1984 book They Lie in Wait to Deceive II, Robert and Rosemary Brown take notice of Mrs. Brittain, calling her "Sonie." The two LDS writers identify Mrs. Brittain as being "Solomon Spaulding's granddaughter," when, in fact, she claimed to be the grand-daughter of Matilda Spalding McKinstry (who was herself adopted into Rev. Solomon Spalding's family). Thus, Mrs. Brittain was neither precisely the "grand-child" of Solomon Spalding by blood nor by generational count. It is ironic that the Browns would provide their readers with such a hazy and inaccurate genealogical report, when they themselves take Wayne L. Cowdrey to task (on pages 51-52 of their book) for the "use of false genealogy to establish credibility or trust." In fact, former Mormon Wayne L. Cowdrey has made the statement that he himself has never claimed in print to be a literal descendant of Oliver Cowdery (just as Mrs. Brittain never claimed to be a literal descendant of Solomon Spalding). It was left for other people, in both of these cases, to make inaccurate genealogical claims for the respective LDS converts. Both converts, however, ceased to be active members of the LDS Church not long after their respective baptisms, a point that the Browns fail to mention in the instance of Mrs. Brittain.

In 1910 The Deseret News reprinted the LDS Church's
1886 edition of the Oberlin Spalding Manuscript.

Vol. 7. No. 42.                        Independence, Mo., Apr. 9, 1910.                        $1.00 a year.

"Where there is so much smoke, there must be some fire."

The speaker was one of those inconsistent persons who say they believe in the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith and the great Latter-day work which the Lord through him began in the earth, but claim that at the death of the Prophet the Church went "all to smash." He was well versed in the "terrible tales of Utah Mormonism," having, he said, a number of books which told of the evil deeds of Brigham Young and his followers. According to his opinion the present authorities of the Church were bad men in many ways. In fact, as I heard the man talk, I marvelled that one who looked honest and good-hearted enough could entertain such a fund of vileness, slander, and misinformation.

After an hour's quiet reasoning, the man's spirit softened somewhat, and he acknowledged that some of the things he had heard about the "Mormons" might not be true. Then he told of a peculiar incident in the history of the Book of Mormon. "Do you know," he said, "in a book which I have there are eight statements in affidavit form to the effect that persons who heard Solomon Spaulding read his story well remembered that there were in it such names as Nephi, Lehi, Mormon, Lamanite, etc., therefore, this was conclusive evidence that the Book of Mormon was nothing more than a revamped form of the Spaulding story."

"Yes," I replied, "I have seen the same rash statement in connection with much other anti-Mormon literature."

"But," continued the man, "when the Spaulding romance was found, as you remember it was in Honolulu, it was soon discovered that these names were not in the story at all; in fact this Spaulding story could have had no connection whatever with the Book of Mormon."

"These eight statements, even though they were in affidavit form were pure fiction then?"

"Why, certainly. They --"

"But, friend," I said, looking steadily into his face, "there was a lot of smoke about those affidavits. How about the fire?"

Note: The writer's point is not well made in the above piece. No doubt the staff of the Liahona were resting a bit uneasily in Independence, Missouri, at that time -- that being the headquarters of both the Reorganized LDS Church and the Church of Christ, Temple Lot. The general differences in viewpoint, existing between the RLDS and LDS might well account for the writer's "friend" being willing to allow for some "fire" in historical events, wherein the "Utah Mormon" could only see "smoke." Apologists for both Latter Day Saint churches prided themselves in having "exploded" the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, by publishing and publicizing the Oberlin Spalding manuscript. Their reduction of the Spalding claims' "fire" to mere "smoke" depends upon the Oberlin document being the same one that the "eight statements" referred to were speaking of -- a untenable notion, to say the least.


Vol. 8. No. 38.                        Independence, Mo., March 7, 1911.                        $1.00 a year.


By Nephi Jensen.
The Book of Mormon is the great western enigma. For eighty years theologians and philosophers have glanced at it and turned away bewildered and baffled. Others have searched, criticised and theorized, but the read secret of the origin of the Book of Mormon still eludes their grasp. They have been driven from theory to theory, and from subterfuge to subterfuge. At first they said Joseph Smith wrote the book. It was not long before they were driven from this position by conclusive evidence that Joseph Smith's ability alone was not equal to the task. Then they said Sidney Rigdon collaborated with Joseph Smith in the production of the book. Unfortunately for this theory it was incontestably proven that Sidney Rigdon did not meet Joseph Smith until after the Book of Mormon was printed. In 1834 E. D. Howe published a book in which he advocated the theory that the Book of Mormon was Solomon Spaulding's manuscript revamped. The opponents of the Book of Mormon were completely routed from this theory in 1886 [sic], when Spaulding's manuscript was found on the Sandwich Islands in the possession of L. L. Rice; and President Jas. E. Fairchild of Oberlin College, who now has the manuscript, compared it with the Book of Mormon and then made this statement:

"I should as soon think that the book of revelation was written by the author of Don Quixote as that the writer of this (Spaulding's) manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon." The opponents of the Book of Mormon now commenced to cast about for another solution of the greatest theological problem of modern times. I. Woodbridge Riley, a psychologist, came to their rescue in 1902. In a four hundred page work, entitled, "The Founder of Mormonism," he spins out fine arguments to prove that Joseph Smith was an epileptic; that by reason of this affliction his mind was, at times, greatly overwrought, and that while his mind was thus agitated he wrote the Book of Mormon. Wonderful explanation og the origin of a Book which half a million people accept as direct revelation from God! Of all the theories yet advanced this is the most nonsensical....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. L.                                               OCTOBER, 1915.                                                 No. 10.

The Spaulding Manuscript.
By Howard R. Driggs.
Some years ago considerable stir was made among the opponents of the Latter-day Saints by the announcement that the source of the Book of Mormon had been discovered in a certain manuscript written by one Solomon Spaulding, of Conneaut, Ohio.

The manuscript contained a story remotely suggestive, in a few details, of the Book of Mormon story. It was said to have been discovered in a cave in Ohio. It was written in the Latin language, and translated by Mr. Spaulding into English. Some people jumped to the conclusion that from this story Joseph Smith got his story told in the Book of Mormon. This hasty conclusion has been proved absurd by students not only within but without our Church. The stories are so utterly unlike in most respects as to have little in common, so we need spend no time controverting the claim already amply disproved. But we are naturally interested in this old Spaulding manuscript because of the notoriety thus thrust upon it.

A few years since I visited Oberlin, Ohio, and there I found in the Oberlin College library the Spaulding manuscript. Having a kodak, I took the pictures herein reproduced of it. The manuscript has been covered with a substantial binding to preserve its worn and discolored leaves. The faded writing may still be read, and Solomon Spaulding's signature, in bold hand-writing, is in it.

I sat for an hour or more threading my way through the story, and copied from it the following excerpts, which, with the inserted explanations, will give our readers an idea of the style and story of the manuscript.


"Near the west Bank of the Conneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character, situation, and numbers of those people who far exceeded the present Indians in works of art & inginuety, -- I hapned to tread on a flat Stone. This was at a small distance from the fort: & it lay on the top of a small mound of Earth exactly horizontal -- the face of it had a singular appearance I discovered a number of characters which appeared to me to be letters but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the Stone, But you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends and sides rested on Stones & that it was designed as a cover to an artificial cave. * * * Determined to investigate   design of this extraordinary work of antiquity -- I prepared myself with necessary requisites for that purpose and decended to the bottom of the cave -- Observing one side to be perpendicular nearly three feet from the bottom, I began to inspect that part with accuracy. Here I noticed a big flat Stone fixed in the form of a doar, I immediately tore it down & Lo, a cavity within the wall presented itself -- it being about three feet in diameter from side to side and about two feet high. Within this cavity I found an earthen Box with a cover which shut it perfectly tite -- the Box was two feet in length one & half in breadth & one and three inches in diameter. My mind filled with awful sensations which crowded fast upon me would hardly permit my hands to remove this venerable deposit but curiosity soon gained the ascendancy, & the box was taken & raised to open * * * When I had removed the cover I found that it contained twenty-eight sheets of parchment. & that when * * * * * appeared to be manuscripts written in eligant hand with Roman Letters & in the Latin Language."

They were written on a variety of Subjects. But the Roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the author's life & that part of America which extends along the great Lakes and the waters of the Mississippy.

Extracts of the most interesting & Important matters contained in this roll I take the liberty to publish." --- --

"Gentle Reader, tread lightly on the ashes of the venerable dead. -- Thou must know that this country was once inhabited by great & powerful nations considerably civilized & skilled in the arts of war, and on ground where thou now treadest many a bloody battle hath been faught, heroes by the thousands (have been) made to bite the dust."

Mr. Spaulding says he cannot publish all he finds; it would be "too expensice for general class of readers," etc. But if the first extracts are approved he will be "happy to gratify the more inquisitive & learnd by a more minute publication." Skeptical will find entertainment. Reader entreated "to peruse volume with a clear head & a pure heart & a candid mind."

An Epitomy of the Author's life & of his arrival in America --

"As it is possible that in some future age this part of the Earth will be inhabited by Europeans & a history of its present inhabitants will be a valuable acquisition, I propose to write one & deposit it in a box secured * * * so that the ravages of time will have effect upon it. That you may know the Author I will give a succinct account of his life & of the cause of his arival -- which I have extracted from a manuscript which will be deposited with this history:

"The family name I sustain is Fabius, being descended from the illustrious General of that name. -- I was born at Rome & received my education under the tuition of a very learned Master."

Constantine gives him position -- sends him to Britain with message. Vessel ladem with provisions, clothing, knives, and other implements for their use. Near Britain storm comes up, drives them into midocean. Crew bewildered.

"For the heavens were covered with clouds; & darkness had spread her sable mantle over the face of the raging deep." Driven five days with "incredible velocity before the furious wind." On the sixth day storm wholly subsides. Find themselves far out in ocean, no prospect of returning. "No pen can paint the dolorous cries & lamentations. At length a Mariner step forward in the midst & proclaimed: 'Attend O Friends, & listen to my words -- A voice from on high hath penetrated my soul & the inspiration of the Almighty hath bid me proclaim -- Let your sails be wide spread and the gentle winds will soon waft you into a safe harbor -- A country where you will find hospitality." -- Hymn of thanksgiving spontaneously bust forth, in full confidence that the divine prediction would be accomplished. On fifth day after this we came in sight of land. Sail up to it. Natives run "with signs of surprise." Afterward receive wanderers with "signs of friendship."

Led by chiefs to feast of fish, boiled beans & soup under wide spreading Oak, in wooden dishes. "A more delicious repast we never enjoyed."

War dance next; one thousand natives. Guests get into ring and a song is begun "with such discordant & hedeous modification of sounds & such frantic jesticulations of body that it seemed that chaos had bro't her furies to set the world in an uproar."

"Whole company fell to shouting, whooping, & screaming, then dancing, jumping and tumbling. In fact they appeared more like a company of devils than human beings.

Tribe disbands with "three most tremendous whoops."


Account of the settlement of ship's company. Buy lands for cloth & knives. Had seven ladies on board, three of rank, "the rest were healthy buxom lasses. These had been passengers to Britain.

A mariner arose "called droll Tom" arises and says: "Hark ye shipmates," says he, Whilst tossed on the foaming billows what brave son of neptune had any more regard for a woman than a sturgeon? But now we are all safely anchored on Terra Firma, -- our sails furled & ship keeled up, I have a huge longing for some of those rosy dames -- But willing to take my chance with my shipmates -- I propose that they should make their chose of husbands. The plan was instantly adopted." Droll Tom was rewarded for his benevolence proposal with one of the most sprightly rosy dames in the company.

The three young Ladies of rank fixed their choice on the Captain, the Mate and myself (the author). The young lady who chose me was possessed of every attraction, charm both of body & mind."

The Capt. & myself, attended with our fair Partners & two mariners repaired to a new habitation which consisted of two convenient apartments. After having partook of an elligant Dinner & drank a bottle of excellent wine our spirits were exhilarated & the deep gloom which beclouded our minds evaporated. The Capt. assuming his wonted cheerfulness made the following address 'My sweet good solid fellows we have now commenced a new voige -- not such as brot us over mountain billows to this butt end of the world -- No, no, our voyage is on dry land -- & now we must take care that we have sufficient ballast for the riging -- every hand on board this ship must clasp hands & condecend to each other's humour, this will [provide] good cheer and smooth the raging billows of life. Surrounded by innumerable hords of human beings, who resemble in manners the Ourang Outang -- let us keep aloof from them & not embark in the same matrimonial ship [with them] -- At the same time we will treat them with good cheer, & inlighten their dark souls with good instruction -- By continuing a distinct people & preserving our customs manners, religion & arts and sciences another Italy will grow up in this wilderness & we shall be celebrated as the fathers of a great & happy nation."

"'May God bless your soul,' says one of the mariners, 'what would you have us do who have had the woful luck not to get mates to cheer our poor souls?'"

The mariner given permission to get a native wife.

The story then goes on to tell of the fortunes of the new colony.

Whatever remote resemblance there is to the Book of Mormon is to be found in the parts quoted here. The reader may readily judge what inspiration for that wonderful story could come from this crude tale.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 18. No. 661                        Independence, Mo., March 29, 1921.                        $1.00 a year.

Book of Mormon Unimpeached as a Sacred Record.

The Spaulding Theory Refuted -- Testimony of Three Witnesses.

By President Charles W. Penrose.

Some of the clergy in these parts are circulating an article from an encyclopedia giving purported particulars of the origin of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or "Mormons" as the term is popularly used, and prominent in the sketch is the oft-repeated, but thoroughly refuted "fairy tale" about the Book of Mormon having been copied from a religious romance written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding, but never published. The theory set forth was that Spaulding's tale, called "The Manuscript Found," was submitted in 1814 to a Pittsburg publisher by the name of Patterson, that it passed into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, and in some manner unexplained was obtained by the young man, Joseph Smith, born December 23, 1805, who palmed it upon the world as a revelation from God.

The connection between Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith entirely failed, except that after the Book of Mormon had been printed and published and the Church had been organized, two of the elders traveling in Ohio met with Sidney Rigdon and showed him a copy of the book, and he subsequently joined the Church and became one of its leading ministers. The connection between Patterson, the printer, and Sidney Rigdon, was also a matter of conjecture, but it was stated that Rigdon was a printer in Patterson's office. That, however, fell to the ground, because Rigdon was not a printer and never worked in the Patterson office. That he knew nothing concerning the Book of Mormon or the Spaulding Story has been demonstrated in the clearest and most positive manner, by affidavits which have been published over and over again, but this seems to have no weight with the reverend gentlemen who circulate the falsehoods, as they need some theory to account for the Book of Mormon other than the truth, and the Spaulding myth seems to suit them better than anything else that could be concocted for that purpose.

The discovery of the original "Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding, ought to have put a quietus on the widely circulated claim that it was in any way a foundation for the Book of Mormon. The discovery was made by Professor James H. Fairchild of Oberlin College, Ohio, U. S. A., and on comparison with the Book of Mormon it was found to be totally different in every particular from that work, and it is now kept in the library of that institution, and has been copied and printed and is offered for sale wherever the Book of Mormon is published. All this has been threshed out so often as to have become monotonous to many people, and we apologize to our readers for referring to the subject, but its recent revival gives reason for this reference.

As is well known to everybody who has seen the Book of Mormon, it has for a preface the Testimony of Three Witnesses that the plates from which it was translated were shown to them by an angel of God, and of Eight Witnesses that they had seen and handled the plates by natural means, and had inspected the hieroglyphics engraven thereupon, In the puerile attempt to attack this testimony, it is sometimes stated that the Three Witnesses spoken of left the "Mormon" Church and denied their former statement. It is for the purpose of showing the utter falsity of this fabrication that we take up the matter again. Here is the Testimony of the Three Witnesses as it appeared in every issue of the Book of Mormon from the opening of the year 1830 to the present time:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvellous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God.   Amen.


It is true that all three of these affirmants were afterwards excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but it is not true that they or either of them ever denied the testimony we have copied above. On the contrary, each of them maintained it to their last moments on earth. Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, after being out of the Church for several years, repented of their revellion and stubbornness and vain ambition, and returned with tears to the Church and sought and were given re-admission. Oliver Cowdery did this when the Church was in one of its bitterest trials, the Saints having been driven from the State of Illinois, and the fugutives were on their way through the wilderness to find a home in the Rocky Mountains. Even when he was at discord with the Church authorities, he always stood by his former testimony. At a meeting held in Kanesville, Iowa, U. S. A., October 21st, 1848, he rose before a large congregation, gave his name and made this statement:

I wrote, with my own pen, the entire Book of Mormon (save a few pages) as it fell from the lips of the Prophet Joseph, as he translated it by the gift and power of God, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, or as it is called by the book, Holy Interpreters. I beheld with my eyes, and handled with my hands, the gold plates from which it was transcribed. I also saw with my eyes and handled with my hands the Holy Interpreters. That book is true. Sidney Rigdon did not write it. Mr. Spalding did not write it. I wrote it myself as it fell from the lips of the Prophet. It contains the everlasting gospel, and came forth to the children of men in fulfillment of the revelations of John, where he says he saw an angel come with the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Martin Harris also continued to bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and as stated, returned to the Church, but it was after its establishment in the Rocky Mountains. He there repeated in public and in private what he had avowed in his published statement, and he died in Clarkston, Utah, July 10, 1875, after expressing his joy at the news conveyed to him that the Book of Mormon had been translated into the Spanish language.

David Whitmer did not return to the Church, but after being excommunicated in 1838 repeatedly reiterated his published testimony until his latest breath, having lived until he was over eighty years of age at Richmond, Mo., U. S. A., where he died January 25, 1888. Here is a statement among the many that he made to newspaper reporters and visitors from different points, who, thinking he would recant, urged him to tell the truth concerning the Book of Mormon:
The fact is, it was just as though Joseph, Oliver, and I were sitting just here on a log, when we were overshadowed by a light. It was not like the light of the sun, nor like that of a fire, but more glorious and beautiful. It extended away around us, I cannot tell how far, but in the midst of this light about as far off as he sits (pointing to John C. Whitmer, sitting a few feet from him) there appeared as it were a table, with many records and plates upon it, besides the plates of the Book of Mormon, also the sword of Laban, the directors, and the interpreters. I saw them as plain as I see this bed [striking the bed beside him with his hand] and I heard the voice of the Lord just as distinctly as I ever heard anything in my life, declaring that the records of the Book of Mormon "were translated by the gift and power of God."

The story having been circulated that David Whitmer denied his former testimony, he became much exercised over the falsehood, and he had a leaflet printed and distributed in March, 1821, from which we take the annexed paragraphs:
It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell County, Missouri, that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon; o the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then; and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement:

That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book, as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best, well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all of my statements, as then made and published.

To this affirmation was appended the signatures of twenty-two of the most prominent citizens of Richmond, Ray Co., certifying that "David Whitmer had resided there since the year 1831, and they were intimately acquainted with him and knew him to be a man of the highest veracity." They consisted of generals, judges, bank presidents, attorneys, merchants, etc., all non-Mormons. Later on David Whitmer, having learned of the falsehood published in certain encyclopedias, published a further affirmation, which is here inserted
It is recorded in the American Cyclopedia and the Encyclopedia Britannica, that I, David Whitmer, have denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the divinity of the Book of Mormon; and that the other two witnesses, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, denied their testimony to that book. I will say once more to all mankind, that I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof. I also testify to the world, that neither Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. They both died reaffirming the truth of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon. I was present at the death bed of Oliver Cowdery, and his last words were, "Brother David, be true to your testimony to the Book of Mormon." He died here in Richmond, Missouri, on March 3, 1850. Many witnesses yet live in Richmond, who will testify to the truth of these facts, as well as to the good character of Oliver Cowdery. The very powers of darkness have combined against the Book of Mormon, to go to prove to men of spiritual understanding that the Book is true.

Three days before his death, David Whitmer called his family and relatives together and with the gates of eternity opening to his view, he there in the most solemn and fervent manner testified to the truth of his statement as published...   -- Millennial Star, Vol. 70.

Notes: (forthcoming)


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. ?                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  August 25, 1934.                     No. ?

The Rigdon-Spaulding Theory Re-Examined



Visiting Utah on a Rockefeller Foundation scholarship in economic research, Prof. J. H. Bousquet, professor of economics in the faculty of law, University of Algiers, North Africa, came to the Church Historian's office in Salt Lake and spent nearly two months studying the religious and economic life of the Latter-day Saints.

He expressed a keen interest in the doctrines of and historical documents pertaining to Mormonism, and made as thorough a study of source material as possible in the time at his disposal, with regard to the origin of the Latter-day Saint sacred books. He was sincere in his praise of the commonwealth established here in the west by the pioneer leaders, and expressed his admiration for Brigham Young for the staunch faith of the "Mormon" people in their doctrines and in their leaders from the beginning up to today.

The following article is an extract from one of his writings which is to appear in the French "Revue d'Histoire de Religions," at an warly date, in the professor's own words:


The author of this paper wants first of all to state very clearly that he does not belong to the Church of the Latter-day Saints, and that, although he has been received in his historical researches at the Church offices with the utmost kindness, still he disagrees with the Church on many fundamental points of "Mormon" theology, and reserves the right to publish with complete liberty what he may deem good to write upon such topics.

He feels, however, no hesitation in stating that at least on one point he is in full accord with the Church, namely, as to the so-called Rigdon-Spaulding story of the origin of the Book of Mormon. He believes that the Latter-day Saints justly can state that the Book of Mormon is not a literary product shaped under the influence of the writings of Solomon Spaulding.

Studies Statements

Every one knows that as early as 1834, in a book called "Mormonism Unveiled," E. D. Howe published numerous affidavits purporting to come from people who had some acquaintances with the Book of Mormon." In these affidavits they state that the original of the Book of Mormon was nothing else than a story written by Mr. Solomon Spaulding (born 1761, died 1816); that the same nams, Nephi, Lehi, Lamanites, appeared in Spaulding's story and that the style was the same with even the same peculiar stylistic forms, like, "It came to pass," appearing in Spaulding's Manuscript Found, as well as in the sacred book of the "Mormons." The majority of the Gentile authors have followed this theory, especially Linn.

It is obvious that if those affidavits expressed the truth, the forgery would be evident. But let us now go somewhat deeper in the study of the statements of those witnesses. Two things must here be considered. On the one hand we may see in their testimony that S. Spaulding had written (and not published) a story in which some foreign people disembarked in America in past centuries -- this is perfectly true. But on the other hand, is it believeable that after a lapse of 20 years, one can remember all the pecularities of a novel, the names of its heroes and the style of the narrative? If it were a printed book that one may read many and many times, this would be possible, but it is at least highly improbable in the case of a novel heard only once or twice. For myself, I have but a vague remembrance of the stories I have been told in the year 1914, and doubt that other people are different in this respect.

In Agreement

Furthermore most of Howe's witnesses agree upon an important matter (See affidavits of Aaron Wright, O. Smith, Nahum Howard), namely that no religious matter appeared in Spaulding's story. But as a matter of fact, the Book of Mormon deals with practically nothing but religion; so far, one does not understand exactly what kind of plagiarist Joseph Smith should have been.

Finally, Howe (p. 288) alludes to a manuscript of Spaulding's which, shown to the witnesses, was said by them not to be the story they had heard so many years ago. Howe concludes therefore that another manuscript relating another story of the same kind (strangers disembarking in America) must have been written by Spaulding. Now, half a century later, the manuscript which does not expose the "Mormons" has been found and published. It bears no resemblance with their sacred book. but the other one, the alleged original of their sacred book, has never come to light. Then one may conclude from this that it never did exist.

Goes Further

Therefore it would be necessary to prove why and how the "Manuscript Found" did come in the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr. According to the believers of the Rigdon-Spaulding theory, Sidney Rigdon must have been the link between the dead Spaulding and the false prophet. In reality, we have no explanation of the fact, and even Linn is compelled to write (Story of the Mormons, p. 66) "How did the Spaulding manuscript become incorporated in the Mormons' Bible... It can only be said that definite proof is lacking." It has never been clearly established that Rigdon had knowledge of the manuscript left by Spaulding and on the other hand, the "Mormon" Church has not been able to prove that there is an absolute impossibility of Rigdon having known the "Manuscript Found" (See Riley The Founder of Mormonism.) In order to reach more definite conclusions, it is therefore necessary to go farther in our inquiry.

What, for me, makes the whole theory so highly improbable that it must appear to every unbiased scholar as false, is the fact that, in the case of such a wicked plot the early history of the Church becomes psychologically absurd, and contradictory. But if we assume that Joseph Smith did really dictate his own sacred text to those who believed in him, all becomes clear and evident.

One thing however, has never been pointed out, so far as I know, and could raise some doubts: I can not well understand how so long a text as the Book of Mormon (plus 116 pages of the manuscript) could have been written down in but a few months. On the other hand I am fully aware that what makes me suspicious would be according to the Church, the best proof of the divine authenticity of the text.

Draws Conclusions

With some scorn Linn speaks (page 85) of "Smith's original partners in the Bible usiness. It seems to me that their whole attitude shows that the Rigdon-Spaulding theory is false.

(a) In the Doctrine and Covenants (Sec. 8 and 9) two revelations are directed to Oliver Cowdery, granting him the gift of translation and then withdrawing from him this gift. Whatever opinion one may have, as to the Prophet's divine inspiration, we must consider those texts as entirely historical. Their authenticity has never been attacked and they prove abundantly that Cowdery knew how the Prophet did translate the Book of Mormon. Had the Prophet been an imposter, there would have been no need for him to forge a revelation directed to his accomplice. Furthermore, he could have been easily exposed by this accomplice after his departure from the Church.

Testimony True

(b) On the contrary, Cowdery with David Whitmer and Martin Harris are known as the "Three Witnesses" of the Book of Mormon. The other two men also must have known somewhat about the Book's real origin, being "original partners in the Bible business." Here again, whatever may be the theological value of their testimony, it is for me, beyond every possible doubt, that they were of absolute good faith and that their testimony is true. The fact that later all three of them apostatized and did not withdraw their testimony is for the Church a triumphant proof that none of them has ever been the author or the accomplice, or the witness of a forgery.

(c) We have now the testimony of the eight witnesses. On this point I made myself a special inquiry for the following reason. A German agnostic author, Ed. Meyer, who accepts the three witnesses, expresses doubts as to the veracity of the eight. According to him, their testimony must have been written for the books at the moment of its being published, and therefore, when the plates had already been given back to the angel, and he states that a scientific inquiry of the fact is lacking. According to me, nothing here seems suspicious. It is true, first, that in the Sacred Books themselves, we find allusions some time to three witnesses only (Ether, V. 3-4, and especially Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 5, verse 14) and some time to more of them (II Nephi XI, 3, and XXVIII, 13) which is not so easy to be explained. Secondly, it is true also that we have two different accounts concerning those testimonies (but they agree together against Ed Meyer.) Joseph Smith himself writes (Hist. of the Church, 1, p. 57): "Soon after these things {the testimony of the three} the following additional testimony was obtained.... Meantime we continued to translate at intervals." Writes Mother Smith (J. Smith, the Prophet, chap. 31, p. 13): "As soon as the Book of Mormon was translated." Jodseph dispatched a messenger to Mrs. Smith bearing intelligence of the compilation of the work"... Two days later (p. 139) the testimony of the three is obtained. "A few days later" (page 140) occurs the testimony of the eight, and the same evening (p. 141) Joseph delivers the plates to the angel.

Whether the second testimony was obtained after the completion of the Book or not, is difficult to state, for it bears no date, and we do not know when exactly the book was finished. But the discrepancies between Joseph's statement and that of his mother does not indicate any fraud. It can easily be explained by the fact that the latter wrote many years after those events, when an aged woman. The only positive result of my personal inquiry has been that among the eight, Jacob and John Whitmer and also Hiram Page... apostatized nevertheless, but did not withdraw their testimony. One must say that here again no better witnesses can be dreamed of.

(d) As to Rigdon we find in Doctrine and Covenants many revelations where he appears as the servant, and Joseph Smith as the prophet of the Lord. (Sec. 35, 36, 37.) According to the Rigdon-Spaulding theory, Smith should have been only an instrument in the hands of Rigdon. Nothing of the kind is true. And once more; Rigdon, like so many others we have spoken of, did apostatize. He undoubtedly should have known all about the alleged plot and therefore could easily have exposed the Prophet, but he did nothing of the kind.

A Further Explanation

Last but not least, if such a plot had existed, some reason must explain it. It could have been that of acquiring power and wealth.

As to Rigdon, he could later have made money by revealing the plot, and he did not. Now as to the Prophet, what has been his earthly reward? He was persecuted, thrashed, put in prison, and finally died a martyr. How can one explain this if he had been a wilful imposter? No one who studies with impartiality the life of Joseph Smith can fail to recognize that he himself had never any dount, as to his prophetic mession. His life and death dhow this beyond reasonable doubt.

For all these reasons, if I were a member of a jury, before which the Prophet were indicted for fraud, I should certainly vote "not guilty: and I firmly believe that this verdict must also be that of scientific history.

          (Signed)  J. H. BOUSQUET,
     Professor at the University of Algiers.

Note 1: In his argument against the Rigdon-Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship, Professor Bousquet says that it is "highly improbable in the case of a novel heard only once or twice" that its auditors would remember much of the story, and particularly so "after a lapse of 20 years." In making this statement Professor Bosquet fails to understand the impact that Solomon Spalding's stories tended to have upon their readers and auditors. Spalding wrote his imaginative fiction in an era when few frontier Americans read fictional novels of any kind, much less stories about their own region of the country written by local authors. Solomon Spalding's brother, Josiah Spalding, recalled one of Solomon's manuscript stories in considerable detail, after the passage of more than forty years. At least some of Solomon Spalding's neighbors had the experience of hearing his fictional writings read aloud, as episodes, in a group setting. In such a series of readings, it would have been only natural for the author to go back, at the beginning of each reading session, and summarize the story's events to date. Add to this the fact that Spalding was providing what must have been some of the only social entertainment available in and around his home in frontier Ohio, and its is not especially remarkable that his auditors tended to recall the contents of his verbal serializations. After all, Solomon Spalding was narrating a supposed explanation how the mounds and Indian artifacts found in his listeners' own backyards helped define a lost epic of ancient American history. In such a unique setting and literary environment Spalding's old friends and neighbors were not merely recalling the vague contents of a certain obscure novel "heard only once or twice" "after a lapse of 20 years."

Note 2: After making several statements that almost seem to anticipate the later conclusions of Fawn M. Brodie, Professor Bousquet says "I can not well understand how so long a text as the Book of Mormon... could have been written down in but a few months." Here, perhaps, he supposes that the composition of the book began in 1827-28, at about the same time that Martin Harris began his work as Joseph Smith's first scribe. Surely Bousquet is correct in his suspicion on this point. Whatever its source may have been, the contents of the book were not initially composed so late as 1828 -- or even 1827. Fawn Brodie would later ignore this problem and assume that the youthful Joseph Smith, Jr. had both the inclination and ability to begin writing the book himself, at a very early age. While Brodie and later writers have assumed that Smith, working as the sole author, might have copied ideas from previous authors (like Ethan Smith and Josiah Priest), none of these modern writers have well explained how Smith could have produced so lengthy and complex a text as the Book of Mormon, without incorporating into it one or more pre-existing texts.

Note 3: The writer says that Sidney Rigdon "undoubtedly should have known all about the alleged plot and therefore could easily have exposed the Prophet, but he did nothing of the kind." Perhaps Professor Bousquet did not take the trouble to consult the letters of Orson Hyde, on file in the same Church Historian's office in which he did so much research. On Sept. 16, 1844 Elder Hyde (while following the recently excommunicated Rigdon from Nauvoo to St. Louis) wrote to Brigham Young, saying that Rigdon claimed in St. Louis to be "in possession of facts and power [sufficient] to have hurled Joseph from his station long ago." Soon after this the official LDS organ in New York City, The Prophet, reported: "that while in Missouri" (i. e. in St. Louis, after having left Nauvoo), the excommunicated Sidney Rigdon "stood up and cursed God to his face and pronounced Mormonism to be a delusion." In confirmation of this, a St. Louis business aquaintance of Rigdon's, said: "Forty years ago [in 1844] I was in business in St. Louis... Sidney Rigdon I knew very well... Rigdon, in hours of conversation told me a number of times there was... a manuscript of Rev. Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indian race from the lost tribes of Israel... that he (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over the manuscript and read it over... Smith took the manuscript and said -- 'I'll print it.'"


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. ?                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  November 14, 1936.                     No. ?



Recently the Church Historian's office secured from the Oberlin College at Oberlin, Ohio, a photostat copy of the famous Solomon Spaulding manuscript.

Attached to this manuscript is the above statement signed by P. H. [sic] Hulbert which reads:

"The writings of Solomon Spaulding proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John M. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession."

Here is evidence that this is a Spaulding Manuscript secured by Mr. Hulbert from the widow of Solomon Spaulding about three years after the Book of Mormon was published. (Solomon Spaulding died in 1816). It is also evidence, that this is a manuscript known to the above named persons and others.

Of what particular significance are the above facts?

In November 1834 at Painesville, Ohio, only nine miles from Kirtland, Ohio, a famous anti-Mormon book, called "Mormonism Unveiled," was published. P. H. [sic] Hulbert was the author, although it was printed by Eber D. Howe, owner of the Painesville Telegraph.

Two Explanations

Prior to this time, no explanation had been given of the origin of the Book of Mormon, except that Joseph Smith had written its contents. Joseph Smith proclaimed it had been achieved by divine aid, those denying its divine origin, still said it was by Joseph Smith, to them, however, by a poor, ignorant, deluded deceiver.

Within three brief years of its printing, this strange book had been carried to many states and into Canada. Thousands had accepted the testimony of the witnesses of its divinity, among them sincere and devout scholars of the scriptures. To them this book could not be the product of Joseph Smith, an honest youth, it was from God.

Thus, a different explanation of its origin was timely. It was P. H. Hulbert, once a pretended convert, now an apostate, because of immoral conduct, who proclaimed the book was the product of two men, Joseph Smith, the ignorant deceiver, and Sidney Rigdon, the trained divine. "The originator of the whole Mormon Scheme," who together had for their help a manuscript written by one Solomon Spaulding.

For fifty years, this book was quoted by every anti-Mormon writer. Here was a sufficient explanation of the Book of Mormon. Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others all declared under oath that they had read the Spaulding manuscript and the Book of Mormon and they knew the "historical parts" of the Book of Mormon were taken from the Spaulding manuscript and declared that Rigdon wrote the "religious part." They were positive because they remembered names and places that were identical in both.

Manuscript Found

Mormon writers announced the declaration false and challenged Hylbert and Howe to print the Spaulding manuscript. This was not done.

Then in 1885 the manuscript was found and is now at Oberlin College, Ohio. It is printed. There is no similarity in names or contents. One is a novel, one a religious book; one speaks of the House of Israel, one of Roman immigrants, etc.

Again another explanation becomes necessary. The affidavits in "Mormonism Unveiled" are true, affirms the new writers, as to the manuscript by Solomon Spaulding.

The one found and now at Oberlin is a genuine writing by Spaulding, they declare, but it is not the one from which the Book of Mormon is taken.

Thus the significance of the declaration by Hulbert as quoted above.

Is it reasonable to suppose that Hulbert had two Spaulding manuscripts in his possession? That he certifies the one that is of no value to him for his purpose as genuine and that, too, by the very men who are willing to sign affidavits, he no dount prepared? To the writer, such a situation is absurd. It is a far fetched argument indeed. So far as the writer is aware, no one has claimed that Hulbert had two Spaulding manuscripts, and surely no one would assert that the three men and others who certified to ONE manuscript also vouched in a similar manner for a SECOND manuscript.

Settles Question

In this valuable photostat copy of this famous manuscript the above signed statement by P. H. Hulbert is on the last page of the copy, then follows a three page written statement by Solomon Spaulding, which, in the opinion of the writer, settles definitely the question, "Could Solomon Spaulding, the writer of the one genuine manuscript, now at Oberlin, be the author of a second writing supposedly once in the possession of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon from which the Book of Mormon was taken?" Mr. Spaulding declares himself in the following quotation, "An unbeliever in the Bible, a man who accepts reason as his guide." How could such a man have any part in writing the Book of Mormon, the very purpose of which is to convince the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God? Surely the writer of the manuscript at Oberlin College could not have had a part in producing the contents of the Book of Mormon. How could an unbeliever, with such literary ability write the American scripture containing such sublime spiritual truths as the words of Nephi, Alma and others, even the fullness of the Gospel by the Master himself? ...

Following is Mr. Spaulding's statement:

"It is true that I never have had the leisure nor patience to read any [sic] part of it with critical attention. Or to study the metaphysical Jargon of Divines in its vindications. It is enough for me to know that propositions which are in contradiction to each other, cannot both be true. And that doctrine and facts which represent the supreme being as a barbarous and cruel tyrant can never be dictated by infinite wisdom.

"Whatever the clergy say on the contrary can have no effect in altering my sentiments. I know as well as they that 2 and 2 make 4, and 3 angles of a triangle are equal to 2 right angles. But, notwithstanding I disavow any belief in the divinity of the Bible, and consider it as a mere human production designed to inrich and aggrandize its authors and to enable them to manage the multitude -- yet casting aside a considerable mass of rubbish and fanatical rant.

"I find that it contains a system of ethics or morals which cannot be excelled on account of their tendency to ameliorate the condition of man. To promote individual. social and public happiness. [...] But having every reason to place the highest confidence in your friendship and prudence, I have no reluctance in complying with your request. in giving you my sentiments of the Christian religion -- and so far from considering the freedom you take in making the request impertinence, I view it as a mark of your affectionate solicitude for my happiness. In giving you my sentiments of the Christian religion you will perceive that I do not believe certain facts [sic] and certain propositions to be true merely because that my ancestors believed them -- and because they are popular. In forming my creed I bring everything to the standard of reason. This is an unerring, sure guide in all matters of faith and practice. Having divested myself, therefore [sic] of traditionary and vulgar prejudice and submitting to the guidance of reason, it is impossible for me to have the same sentiments of the Christian religion which its advocates consider as orthodox. It is in my view a mass of contradictions and a heterogeneous mixture of wisdom and folly. Nor can I [...] think that in every [sic] instance it represents the Almighty as possessing attributes worthy of trancendent character.

"Having a view therefore to those parts of the Bible which are truly good and excellent, I sometimes speak of it in terms of high comments [sic], and indeed I am inclined to believe that notwithstanding the miseries [sic] which have been produced by the bigoted zeal of fanatics and interested priests. I think that such evils are more than counterbalanced in a Christian land by the benefits which result to the great mass of the people by their believing that the Bible is of divine origin and that it contains a revelation from God., such being my view of the subject I make no exertions to dissipate their happy delusions.

(Mistakes in spelling and punctuation have been corrected.)
In "New Witness for God," by B. H. Roberts, Vol. III, page 377, the author writes:

"After a careful examination of it, (The Solomon Spaulding Manuscript) I think everybody will come to the same conclusion that Pres. Fairchild (of Oberlin College) did, namely, that there is 'no resemblance between the two, in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two.' * * * "
Mr. Rice, in whose possession in Honolulu the manuscript was found, is even more emphatic. He says:

"I should as soon think the Book of Revelation was written by the author of 'Don Quixote' as that the writer of this manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon. * * *

"It is unlikely that anyone who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other."
This famous manuscript has been printed with mistakes in spelling, punctuation, etc. just as it appears in written form.

Note 1: Elder Kirkham later produced a two volume work, entitled, A New Witness for Christ in America, in which he offered further refutations of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon.

Note 2: Elder Kirkham says: "surely no one would assert that the three men and others who certified to ONE manuscript also vouched in a similar manner for a SECOND manuscript." Here he obviously overlooks the Dec. 1833 words of Conneaut witness Aaron Wright, who says: "this is therefore to inform you that... Hurlbut is now at my store -- I have examined the writings which he has obtained from said [Solomon] Spalding's widow -- I recognise them to be the writings handwriting of said Spalding but not the manuscript I had reference to in my statement before alluded to -- as he informed me he... altered his plan and commenced writing a history of the first settlement of America the particulars you will find in my testimony dated September 1833." the LDS researcher Wade England recently called the veracity of Wright's Dec. 1833 statement into question, by asking: "Is it coincidental that Aron Wright makes no mention in his first [Sept. 1833] statement to Hurlbut, of Spalding having altered his plans about the story-line of the manuscript, though he does so in his second [Dec. 1833] statement to Hurlbut, and this after Hurlbut had obtained the manuscript from Spalding's wife and shown it to Wright, and both had learned that the manuscript was nothing like what had been described earlier about it?" Questions like these are well worth asking by any serious student of the Spalding claims. Elder Kirkham would have done well to have researched his subject matter more deeply and to have asked just such questions himself, back in 1936, before writing this paltry report for the Deseret News.

Note 3: Elder Kirkham asks how "An unbeliever in the Bible, a man who accepts reason as his guide... could such a man have any part in writing the Book of Mormon"? The question might just as well be phrased thusly: " Who other than an unbeliever in the Bible could have written the fictional mariner's prophesy, found in the opening pages of the Oberlin manuscript? -- or the pseudo-scriptures (the "Sacred Roll") set forth in the Oberlin manuscript? -- or the pseudo-Christophany supposedly recorded in the book of 3rd Nephi? Assuming that all three of these examples are fictional in their content, could a "believer" ever have penned such blasphemous texts? Obviously Spaulding was the kind of person who thought of long-accepted scriptures as being merely human writings, contrived "to manage the multitude" and "to ameliorate the condition of man," as he himself says. A person like Solomon Spalding (who by several witnesses said to have written n the "biblical style) might almost be expected to create his own presudo-history and pseudo-scriptures for the same manipulative purposes. And, such contrived writings, secretly fallen into the hands of a mentally unbalanced religious fanatic like Sidney Rigdon, could have very well been expanded by him into a work like the Book of Mormon.

Note 4: Elder Kirkham, in providing quotes from James H. Fairchild and Lewis L. Rice (quotations supportive of Kirkham's own views on the subject), neglects to reproduce the later comments of these two men -- both Fairchild and Rice subsequently backed significantly away from their initial, unstudied reflections upon the the probable relationship of the Oberlin manuscript to other fictional writings of Solomon Spalding.


T R U T H   A N D   L I B E R T Y.
Vol. ?                     Salt Lake City,  Saturday,  June 12, 1937.                     No. ?


By Archibald F. Bennett
Secretary, Genealogical Society of Utah.
Tabernacle Address
Sunday, May 30, 1937.

The whole nation today pays tribute to its honored dead... It is altogether appropriate today that we who are assembled should pay tribute to Oliver Cowdery, because he is one of our honored dead, and he is, to a very real extent, a relative of many of us.

On such a rainy day as this, on Nov. 22, 1911, there met in the opera house in Richmond, Mo., a great gathering of the townspeople of that city to pay honor to Oliver Cowdery, who died in their midst, March 3, 1850. The Salt Lake Tabernacle Choir, just returning from an extended tour of the East and New York, was there and sang at these ceremonies. Elder Heber J. Grant, then a member of the Council of the Twelve, was present, representing the general authorities of the Church, and offered the dedicatory prayer.

The ocasion for this gathering was to unveil and dedicate a monument to Oliver Cowdery to perpetuate his memory. Upon this granite shaft was inscribed a beautiful message telling the world of the life and ministry of this man. The Testimony of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon was given in full, and this tribute was added: "Over a million converts throughout the world have accepted their testimony and Rejoice in their Fidelity." "A happy and prosperous commonwealth of half that number," it was said at the services, "have taken this occasion to testify of their love and respect gor his memory."...

Type of Man

It may be of interest to recall the manner of man Oliver Cowdery was...

(under construction)

Cowdery Records Presented to Genealogical Society Officials
Elder Joseph Christenson... Elder John F. Parish...

The work named by Bishop Christenson was an outgrowth of the lesson given by Brother Bennett, of the Genealogical Society of Utah, some two and a half or three years ago. In discussing the founders of the faith the name of this second Elder of the Church was there considered, and it was found, upon investigation and research, that the temple work pertaining to him and his predecessors, had not been performed in the temples. As a result, the Ensign Stake organization offered its services, which were accepted by the Church authorities, that we should proceed with this work, and accordingly a member of our Board, Sister Gertrude Baird, was assigned to direct this work, being associated with the Genealogical Society Library.

As a result of that research there have been some nine thousand, one hundred and and ten names sought out from the records of the Genealogical Office of this Church, and placed upon the records as belonging to this family. There were, of this number some two thousand and thirty-three families; family group sheets that entered into this work and became a part of this record. Thirty-six pedigree charts were included in the findings of Sister Baird and her associates in respect to this founder of the faith.

There has been recorded, in one of the volumes forty-one pages of history relating to the hand-dealings of the Lord to the Prophet of Lord and his associate, Oliver Cowdery.

You will recall that Oliver Cowdery was closely associated with the early history of the Church. It was his pen and his hand that recorded most of the Book of Mormon. He was associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith when the Testimony of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon was given to the world. He has always been first among them...

In this research work we have discovered this great truth, which is very gratifying, that Oliver Cowdery was related to the Prophet Joseph Smith, a fact not known to themselves in their day...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Back to top of this page.

Articles Home Page    |    Articles Index    |    History Vault
Oliver's Bookshelf    |    Spalding Library    |    Mormon Classics

last updated: Jan. 1, 2006