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Vol. 61.                 Brooklyn,  New York,  Friday,  June 28, 1901.                 No. 178.


Hostility to Mormons Largely Due to the Belief That
the Early Settlers of Utah Were Guilty of Great
Cruelties and Murders -- The Editor of the
Deseret News Gives the Latter-Day
Saints' Version of the Terrible
Mountain Meadows Massacre.
Bloody Deeds Recalled.


Hostility to the Mormons Is largely due to the belief that they are members of a church widely believed to have sanctioned, and even ordered, the perpetration of great cruelties, several murders, and, in one Instance, the wholesale massacre of 150 emigrants, men and women. The trial and execution of John D. Lee, a former Mormon priest, for ordering and participating in the slaughter of an emigrant train camping at Mountain Meadows, Utah, in the month of September, 1857, the confession by Lee that he simply carried out the orders of his ecclesiastical superiors; the fact that he was subsequently honored by the Mormon hierarchy for several years until the United States authorities secured proof of his guilt; and the further fact that he was not repudiated by his church until the proof of his criminal acts was secured by Gentiles thirteen years after the commission of his crime -- all tended to the creation of a deep seated prejudice against the Latter-Day Saints which is entertained throughout the United States even to this day, although more than forty years have passed since the massacre.

While it is unhesitatingly admitted by the Mormons of to-day that Lee, and a former stake president of their church were responsible for the Mountain Meadows massacre, it is but fair to state they very positively assert that the church condemned the crime and never had any sympathy with the murderers; that the slaughter was committed without the approval or knowledge of Brigham Young, who was head of the Mormon Church at the time of the massacre. The Mormon story of that great tragedy is therefore submitted to my readers for the purpose of enabling them to learn if there is any reason why the Latter-Day Saints, as an organization, should be held guiltless of a crime which shocked the civilized world.

In the course of a conversation between Elder Charles W. Penrose, editor of the Deseret News, and the writer of these lines, the former said:

"Our church has long been reproached for its alleged sanctioning of the Mountain Meadows massacre. The charge is infamous and absolutely without justification. I have shown conclusively that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is innocent of the awful charge brought against it."

Mr. Penrose seemed to be very much in earnest, and as an evidence of his good faith gave to the writer his version of the Mountain Meadows slaughter. The statement in question is too long to reproduce in full in the columns of a daily newspaper, but the more important parts of Elder Penrose's narrative and argument read as follows:

"Whenever our elders have gone abroad to preach the gospel of Christ they have met with the statement, that the 'Mormon' Church, with Brigham Young at it's head, is a bloody church; that It not only teaches but practices the doctrine of shedding human blood for apostasy; that there Is an organization in the midst of the people called 'Danites' or 'Destroying Angels,' whose business it is to kill every one who attempts to escape from Utah, or any obnoxious 'Mormon' or 'Gentile,' who may come in the midst of the people. This has been denied frequently, and those who have made these statements have been challenged to the proof. The proof, of course, has not been forthcoming, because the charge Is a falsehood.

"Still, wherever our elders go they meet with a statement of this kind, and particularly Is the cry of 'the Mountain Meadows Massacre' raised against them. It is claimed that that awful tragedy was performed by the 'Mormon' Church, or that the 'Mormon' Church Is responsible for it; that it was perpetrated at the command of Brigham Young as the leader of the Church, and that it was in accordance with the doctrines of the Church.

"This untruth has been repeated so many times that the world, who are not acquainted with our principles and our acts, have come to believe In a great measure that it is true. It has been proclaimed by the press repeatedly. Over and over again the Mountain Meadows massacre has been charged to the 'Mormon' Church, and particularly to its former president. Ministers in the pulpit have found this a convenient weapon wherewith to oppose the elders of the church in the preaching of the gospel. They could not refute the arguments which they brought forth, they could not overturn the doctrines which they preached, and so stories like those I have mentioned have been told from the pulpit, over and over again, to prejudice the public mind against the elders of the church. Wherever the servants of God have gone to preach the gospel, the Mountain Meadows massacre has been thrown in their teeth."

"I will endeavor to give a brief account of this terrible occurrence, and then, if possible, to trace up the responsibility for it, show who perpetrated it, who were the guilty parties, so far as I can, and to see whether the 'Mormon' Church is responsible or not for that terrible deed; whether Brigham Young was or was not an accessory before the fact or an accessory after fact.

"In the summer of 1857 a company of emigrants, composed of two parties, one from Missouri, the other from Arkansas, came into Salt Lake City. They were on the way to California. They were advised to take the northern route by way of Bear River. They went as far as Bear River, but returned and continued to take the southern route. On the way south they became very impertinent and abusive. At that time news had been received here (Salt Lake City) of the approach of President Buchanan's army, supposed to be coming here to destroy the Latter-day Saints, to endeavor to break up 'Mormonism' and to execute the atrocious threats which had been made by the soldiery in their camps on the plains, news of which had been brought here by runners.

"These emigrants boasted to the people as they passed through the settlements that they were going to California, where they intended to get up a company and return and attack our people in the South when the army arrived in Salt Lake City. It is related that on the way, when going through small settlements -- it was a large company, 120 to 150 persons, differently estimated -- they would rob hen-roosts, and passing through the streets would flip off the heads of chickens with their whip-thongs. At one place, it is related, they poisoned the springs, so that the people who partook of the water died in consequence thereof. Still further, it is said that they poisoned beef and gave it to the Indians, and several Indians died from its effects, and at another place they caught an Indian, tied him up to a wagon wheel and whipped him severely. These are the stories which were told concerning these emigrants; whether they are true or false I am unable to say, but these were the stories told concerning them, and the people believed them.

"The Indians became very much enraged and as this company traveled further and further south the rage of the Indians increased. On the way they met Jacob Hamblin and asked him -- as a resident of this territory, a man well acquainted with the country, who had been among the Indians a great deal -- which was the best place to camp in a certain region, and he told them the Mountain Meadows, at the north part of which he had a ranch. They went on and camped at the Mountain Meadows. But, as I told you, all the way down they were committing these depredations, by which not only were the settlers very much aggrieved, but the Indians were aroused to the greatest Indignation and fury. When they arrived at Mountain Meadows they were attacked by Indians, but they entrenched themselves; they threw up earthworks to the level of the hubs of their wagon wheels and prepared to defend themselves as in a state of siege. According to the evidence presented, it appears that John D. Lee was at that time a member of the church -- not a bishop, by the way, I understand he never was a bishop, but was a member of the church -- and looked after the interests of a great number of Indians in that part of the country as Indian farmer. It is stated that John D. Lee led the first attack of the Indians against those emigrants.

"About this time a council was held at Cedar City, at which were present Isaac C. Haight, Philip Klingensmith, who was acting bishop, and a man by the name of Laban Morill, and some others. These persons at this council took into consideration the depredations which had been made by this party of emigrants.

"There was a great deal of excitement at this time, and this body of emigrants having made threats, cursing Brigham Young, declaring that 'old Joe Smith ought to have been killed before be was,' naturally aroused the anger of the people. This council was held in Cedar City to determine what was best to be done, whether or not to intercept them and prevent the emigrants from going further south. Some person present on that occasion advocated their interception and destruction. Laban Morill and some others were of a different mind, stating that the proper thing to do was to send a messenger to Governor Young to find out what his advice was concerning the matter and to desist from doing anything of a hostile, nature truth word was received from Governor Young.

"A messenger was dispatched on September 7, 1857. His name was James Haslam. He came to Salt Lake City, saw President Young. delivered his message and a letter from Isaac C. Haight, and received a dispatch from President Young to take back and he was told to 'spare no horse flesh,' to go 'with all speed.'

"That dispatch was delivered to Isaac C. Haight at Cedar City on the following Sunday. Isaac C. Haight's answer was 'It is too late.'

"It appears that a number of men had been called by Phillip Klingensmith, the acting bishop, and John M. Higbee, who claimed to be acting under orders of Isaac C. Haight and John D. Lee, to go to the Mountain Meadows. These men had not the least idea that they were going to Mountain Meadows to perform any deed of blood or commit any wrong. They expected to be gone two or three days. some of the emigrants had been killed by the Indians, and they expected they were going to help bury, the dead. When they arrived there, according to their testimony given at the trial of John D. Lee, a man was sent down into the camp of the emigrants with a white flag, or a flag of truce. Afterward John D. Lee went down and had some conversation with the emigrants, and they were induced to give up their arms, which were placed on wagons and they were all drawn out of the camp. When they had passed a considerable distance away, the Indians, and it is said some of the whites, fired upon the emigrants and they were all butchered, men and woman, and none were saved but about seventeen small children, the oldest 7 years of age.

"It is related that John D. Lee assisted in the slaughtering of the wounded emigrants who were in the wagons; those who were able to walk marching without arms, were set upon by the Indians, and as stated, some white men fired among them. But it appears that John D. Lee assisted in the killing of the wounded persons, so that all the men and the women and the older children were slain; there were none left but the seventeen little children who were taken up and distributed around among the people, until Forney, the Indian agent, some time afterwards came and gathered them up and took them away."
The remainder of Elder Penrose's statement will be given in another letter.

(To be continued.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 61.                 Brooklyn,  New York,  Saturday,  June 29, 1901.                 No. 179.


The Mormon Version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre
-- Brigham Young Is Said to Have Shed Tears Over
the Butchery, Yet in a Written report He
Intimated That the Butchered Were
Visited With "Condign Punishment"
for Their crimes --


In the previous letter the writer submitted that portion of Elder Penrose's Mormon version of the Mountain Meadows massacre which dealt with the facts leading up to the tragedy -- the emigrants besieged by Indians under the eyes of the Mormons Lee and Haight, the sending of a messenger to Brigham Young asking for instructions, the sending of an answer by Young to Haight, and the latter's remark "It is too late," the butchery of the emigrants having been consummated.

Elder Penrose continues:

"They were murdered. No one can palliate the crime. No circumstance that existed at that time could, in my mind, palliate that dreadful deed. Now, this horrible crime is laid at the door of the church because certain individuals, who were then members of the church, were engaged in this horrible massacre. This has always appeared to me to be very unjust. Why should the 'Mormon' Church, the Church of Jesus Chrlst of Latter-Day Saints, be held responsible for the crimes of a few of its members any more than other churches for the crimes of a few of their members?"
Elder Penrose quoted from the Mormon Book of Doctrine and Covenants the command

"Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.

"Now, then, that being the doctrine of the church, how could the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints authorize the wholesale destruction of men, women and children? It could not be. Such an act would be contrary to the doctrines of the church, contrary to the revelations believed by its members to be the word of God, believed by the people to be binding upon them, their faith being that if they commit such crimes they cannot be forgiven either in this world or In the world to come.

"It should be understood that at that time the southern settlements were few and far between and the country was sparsely settled. The place where the massacre took place was 350 miles or thereabouts south and west of Salt Lake City. There were no railroads in the country at that time; there were no telegraphs here at that time, and the United States mails bad been stopped. It was a long time before the bad tidings reached the North, and when it did it was supposed that the crime had been perpetrated by Indians, and then a feeling of horror pervaded the entire community, and It was deplored and condemned in toto."
When Brigham Young gave his testimony concerning the Mountain Meadows massacre, he declared that the letter sent to him by Haight and brought by James Haslam had been lost. But Haslam testified that Young told him to go back to Haight with all speed and say:

"The emigrants must not be meddled with if it takes all the Iron County to prevent It. They must go free and unmolested."
The emigrants were all slaughtered forty-eight hours in advance of the messenger's return to Haight. It appears from Elder Penrose's statement that he, in the year 1884, several years after Lee's trial, found a copy of the written message. which he asserts was sent by Brigham Young to Haight. The Elder says:

"We have been tantalized a great deal in regard to the dispatch or letter sent by President Young by this messenger Haslam. As I had never seen it published I supposed it could not be found. I had learned from President Young's testimony that the letter sent to him from Haight by Haslam was lost. But the evidence is clear that he sent a dispatch in reply to Haight at that time, and since President Young usually kept a copy of his correspondence, I supposed that this dispatch or a copy of it was in existence. The Tribune of this city, over and over again, has challenged the 'Mormons' to produce a copy of the dispatch or letter that Brigham Young sent by Haslam. The latter testified he delivered the dispatch to Haight, but Haight said it was too late. But it is objected, 'Why won't you produce the dispatch?' Now, I have taken pains to hunt this matter up, and succeeded in getting the letter book in which the correspondence of President Young at that period was copied, and found this identical dispatch in its order of date. I read the letter myself in the copying book, from August 20, 1851, to January 6, 1858, filed away in the president's office; I have obtained a certified copy of it and I know that it Is correct."
Elder Penrose's copy of Brigham's letter reads in part as follows, unitalicized:

"In regard to the emigrant trains passing through our settlements, we must not to interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians we expect will do as they please, but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. All is well with us. May the Lord bless you and all the saints forever. Your brother in the gospel of Christ,   BRIGHAM YOUNG.

In the confession which the murderer Lee left with his counsel, as alleged by the latter, there appears the following account of Lee's visit to Brigham Young:

"According to the orders of Isaac C. Haight, I started for Salt Lake City to report the whole facts connected with the massacre to Brigham Young. I started about a week or ten days after the massacre and I was on the way about ten days. When I arrived in the city I went to the president's house and gave to Brigham Young a full, detailed statement of the whole affair, from first to last -- only I took rather more on myself than I had done.

"He asked me if I had brought a letter from Haight, with his report of the affair. I said:

"No; Haight wished me to make a verbal report of it, as I was an eye witness to much of it.'

"I then went over the whole affair and gave him as full a statement as it was possible for me to give. I described everything about it. I told him of the orders Haight first gave me. I told him everything."
Commenting upon the foregoing, Elder Penrose said:

"That is the statement of John D. Lee, published after his death. Whether he said that or not I am not prepared to state; but it is published, and we have to take it for what it is worth. We have seen a good many conflicting confessions of John D. Lee,' and that is one of them. Suppose it is true -- although there is a doubt in my mind that he claimed to have told President Young everything. This is the testimony of a being who is said to have brained a woman; who, it is proved cut a man's throat, shot wounded emigrants, whom he had decoyed out of their camp with a flag of truce. That is his testimony. Now, let us take the testimony of a man whose evidence is worthy of credence -- a statement made to me by President Wilford Woodruff, to which I got him to certify."

The statement referred to by Elder Penrose is in the form of an affidavit made by the late President Woodruff, in which he declared that he was present When Lee called upon Brigham Young and informed the latter of the massacre:

"John D. Lee remarked, 'There was not a drop of innocent blood In the camp.'

"Governor Young asked Indignantly, 'What do you call the blood of women and children?'

"Lee was silent. Lee did not intimate by a single word that any white man had anything to do with the massacre. He laid the whole thing to the Indians, and claimed that he had done his best to prevent the occurrence.

"In the fall of 1870 I was with President Brigham Young on a tour of the southern sAettlements. Erastus Snow who was then In charge of those settlements, informed President Young, as I then learned, that there were evidences of a strong character showing that John D. Lee was personally implicated in the Mountain Meadows massacre. President Young was very much surprised and declared that if it was true, John D. Lee had lied to him. When the President and company returned to Salt Lake City, he called a council of the President and the Twelve Apostles, when the matter was investigated, Elder Erastus Snow assisting in presenting the evidence; and the council unanimously voted to excommunicate John D. Lee for assisting in the murders at Mountain Meadows, and Isaac C. Haight, who was then President of the Stake in which Lee resided, for not restraining and preventing his participation in the crime. It was not until this occurrence last related that President Young and his immediate associates fully realized the facts of Lee's guilt. Some had heard rumors of this, but the facts had not been brotight to the President."

To reinforce this affidavit, Elder Penrose presented a copy of an entry made in the late President Woodruff's Journal under date of September 29, 1857. and reading as follows:

"We have another express in this morning, saying that the army are rapidly marching toward us; will soon be at Bridger, and wish men immediately sent out. John D. Lee also arrived from Harmony with an express and an awful tale of blood. A company of California emigrants, of about 150 men, women and children. Many of them belonged to the mobbers of Missouri and Illinois. They had many cattle and horses with them, and they traveled along south. They went damning Brigham Young. Heber C. Kimball and the heads of the church; saying that Joseph Smith ought to have been shot a long time before he was. They wanted to do all the evil they could, so they poisoned beef and gave it to the Indians, and some of them died; they poisoned the springs of water, and several of the Saints died.

"The Indians became enraged at their conduct and they surrounded them on the prairie and the emigrants formed a bulwark of their wagons, and dug an entrenchment up to the the hubs of their wagons, but the Indians fought them five days until they had killed all the men, about sixty in number. They then rushed into the corral and cut the throats of the women and children, except some eight or ten children, which they brought and sold to the whites. They stripped the men and women naked and left them stinking on the sun. When Brother Lee found it out he took some men and went and buried their bodies. It was a horrid, awful job. The whole air was filled with an awful stench. The Indians obtained all the cattle and horses and property, guns, etc. There was another large company of emigrants who had 1,000 head of cattle, who was also damning both the Indians and the 'Mormons.' They were afraid of sharing the same fate. Brother Lee had to send interpreters with them to the Indians to help save their lives, While at the same time they trying to kill us. I spent most of the day in trying to get the brethren ready to go to the mountains.

"Brother Brigham, while Lee was speaking of the cutting of the throats of women and children by the Indians down South, said it was heartrending; that emigration must stop, as he had said before. Brother Lee said he did not think there was a drop of innocent blood in the camp, for he had two of the children in his house and he could not get but one to kneel down at prayer time and the other would laugh at her for doing it and they would swear like pirates."
Elder Penrose's version of the Mountain Meadows massacre, summed up, is to the efrect that Brigham Young sent a message to the Mormon Haight that the Indians must be kept from harming the emigrants at all costs; that his message arrived too late to save Lee's victims; that Lee never informed Young that white men were concerned in the massacre; that thirteen years after the butchery President Young learned for the first time that Lee had lied about the massacre; whereupon a council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church was called, Young being present; and they unanimously agreed to expel John D. Lee and Isaac C. Haight; that the Mormon Church could not have sanctioned the massacre because the shedding of innocent blood is considered an unpardonable sin by Latter-Day Saints; that Brigham Young was always a tender hearted man who regarded the shedding of blood as a great crime; that he shed tears when informed by Lee that women and children had been killed.

There are no traces of tears or sorrow, however, in the report made by Brigham Young to the Hon. James W. Denver, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, under date of January 6, 1858, a report exhumed by Elder Penrose and submitted as evidence that Young performed his duty in reporting the massacre to the Federal Government. In this report Young plainly intimates that John D. Lee's victims were visited with "condign punishment" for their "crimes." Here is the report in part as presented by Elder Penrose:

"Office of Superintendent of Indian Affairs.    

"G. S. L. City, January 6, 1858.    
"Hon. James W. Denver, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Washington City, D. C.:

"Sir -- On or about the middle of last September a company of emigrants traveling the southern route to California, poisoned the meat of in ox that died and gave it to the Indians to eat, causing the immediate death of four of their tribe, and poisoning several others. This company also poisoned the water where they were encamped. This occurred at Corn Creek, fifteen miles south of Fillmore City. This conduct so enraged the Indians, that they immediately took measures for revenge. I quote from a letter written to me by John D. Lee, farmer to the Indains on Iron and Washington counties: 'About the 22nd of September Captain Fancher & Co. fell victims to the Indians' wrath near Mountain Meadows. Their cattle and horses were shot down in every direction: their wagons and property mostly committed to the flamies.'

"Lamentable as this case truly is, it is only the natural consequence of that fatal policy which treated the Indians like wolves, or other ferocious beasts. I have vainly remonstrated for years with travelers against pursuing so suicidal a policy, and repeatedly advised the government of its fatal tendency. It is not always upon the heads of the individuals who commit such crimes that such condign punishment is visited, but more frequently the next company that follows in their fatal path become the unsuspecting victims, though, peradventure, perfectly innocent."

According to Elder Penrose's statement, thirteen years elapsed before Brigham Young obtained evidence that Mormons had instigated and aided in the slaying of a large band of emigrants. The expulsion of Lee and Haight was not ordered before United States officials announced that they had secured evidence neccesary to convict the chief instigator of the massacre. Lee claimed that he was excommunicated by his church that suspicion might not attach to Brigham Young, the Prophet, Seer and Revelator, who "sealed" him to three wives a few years after the massacre at Mountain Meadows. The Prophet's failure to learn earlier than he did Lee's of guilt seems odd when Young's boast, made in the Tabernacle, October 6, 1851, is recalled:

"It is a hard matter for a man to hide himself from me in this territory: the birds of the air, they say, carry news, andif they do not I have plenty of sources of information."

Brigham Young may have been the tender hearted man Elder Penrose believes him to have been, yet there were times when Young talked as a man who would not be adverse to the killing of men. For instance, in the Mormon Journal of Discourses. Vol. 11, Brigham is reported as sayin, in the course of a sermon delivered in the Salt Lake City Tabernacle, July 5. 1855, two years before the Mountain Meadows slaughter:

"I was asked this morning how we could obtain redress for our wrongs; I will tell you how it could be done, we could take the same law they have taken -- viz., mobocracy -- and if any miserable scoundrels come here cut their throats. (All the people said Amen.)

"This would be meteing out that treatment to wicked men which they had measured to innocent persons.

"Suppose I should follow the example they have shown us, and say, 'Latter-Day Saints do ye likewise and bid defiance to the whole clan of such men.' Some who are timid might say 'O! our property will be destroyed and we shall be killed.' If any man here is a coward, there are fine mountain retreats for those who feel their hearts beating at every little hue and cry of the wicked, as though they would break their ribs.

"I have never yet talked as rough in these mountains as I did in the United States when they killed Joseph. I there said boldly and aloud, 'If ever a man should lay his hand on me and say, on account of my religion, "Thou art my prisoner," the Lord Almighty helping me, I would send that man to hell across lots.' I feel so now."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                 Brooklyn,  New York,  Wednesday,  Sept. 25, 1901.                 No. ?


A Correspondent Recalls a Comical Ending to Joe Smith's Attempt
to Demonstrate That He Possessed Supernatural Powers -- The
Memory of a Long Time Dead Professor of Languages in
Columbia College Defended From Mormon Aspersions --
An Effort at Imposture Which Failed.

The Mormon effort to make converts in Japan seems to have met with a discouraging set-back, recent advices from that country being to the effect that Heber J. Grant, the rich missionary from Salt Lake City, was informed by the Japanese authorities that they had no use for his religion. The Latter-Day Saints are cheered, however, by the reports which come into them from Maine, for they are steadily gaining fresh accessions to their ranks in that state. On one day last week thirty Maine converts to Mirmonism, "mostly spinsters," so the dispatch states, left their late homes under the charge of a Mormon elder, bound for Salt Lake City. It is proposed to erect a Mormon temple in the East. Boston having the call for the ediface. In New Hampshire there is a lively rivalry between the Mormon elders and the apostles of Christian Science. In Brooklyn the Mormons are looking about for a permanent place to worship.

The following letter from a Connrcticut clergyman will prove of interest to those who have read the Mormon leaflets concerning Joseph Smith which have been liberally circulated in this community:

To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle:

The readers of the Eagle have been deeply interested by the articles of your correspondent, "Mul" about the Mormon. He has shown up this false system almost as thoroughly as he did the delusions of Christian Science. We have no doubt he will be the firts to welcome any correction in a matter of detail, or any further information about Joseph Smith.

In "Mul's" second article, in your issue of June [13], he adopts, though he does not mention, the Mormon version of the visit to Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia College, N. Y., as follows:

"At Harmony Joseph copied some of the characters from the golden record and wrote below them the translation he had made by the aid of the angelic spectacles, Urim and Thummim. In February, 1828, Martin Harris took a copy of the characters and translation to New York City.

He showed them first to Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia College. Mr Anthin examined them carefully and said that the translation was correct and the best he had ever seen of Egyptian characters. He wrote a certificate to this effect and gave it to Martin. He asked how the young man [happened to] find the plates, ad when Martin said that an angel had shown him where the lay, he asked for the certificate again. Martin returned it and Mr. Anthon tore it to shreds, saying that there was no such thing as the ministering of angels.

Although Mr. Anthon was too cowardly to let his name go before the public connected with what an angel was said to have revealed, yet he would have liked to obtain worldly praise for translating the record himself, and asked Martin to bring it to him. When told that this could not be done and that part of it was sealed, he replied, "I cannot read a sealed book."

Now, Professor Anthon used to tell the story of this visit of Martin Harris to his classes. If my memory is correct, after the lapse of more than fifty years, it was this -- Harris sgowed him a lot of written characters, and asked the professor what language it was. That great master of languages saw at a glance that these disconnected characters could be no langauge whatever. The man said he had the golden plates in a trunk and Professor Anthon asked him to show them to him. He replied "he dared not open the trunk as the curse of God would rest upon him if he did so," but he added "If any man will tell me to open it, the curse would fall upon him."

Professor Anthon replied, "Yes go and open it and I will take the risk of the curse."

The professor plainly saw he was dealing with an ignorant man who was under some delusion. As for Joseph Smith, he was well known in his earlier days, in the valley of the upper Susquehanna, as a sort of vagrant who persuaded people to dig for treasure.

My wife's father was justice of the peace in the village of South Bainbridge (now Afton), New York. On one occasion Smith offered to walk on the water of the river. It was discovered, however, that he had adroitly placed boards under the surface and was [about] accomplishing his miracle by this fraud. He was brought up before the justice's court and found guilty. If such a fellow was indeed a prophet of the God of truth and righteousness, he must have experienced a very genuine and thorough conversion, but there is no record of it.   W. A. J.
Middletown, Conn., September 23, 1901.

In an old history of Chenango County, N. Y., there appears the following reference to one of the incidents to which "W. A. J." directs attention:

"To convince the unbelievers that he did possess supernatural powers he (josepj Smith) announced that he would walk upon the water. The performance was to take place in the evening, and to the astonishment of unbelievers, he did walk upon the water where it was known to be several feet deep, only sinking a few inches below the surface.

"This proving a success, a second trial was announced which bid fair to be as successful as the first, but when he had proceeded some distance into the river he suddenly went down, greatly to the disgust of himself and proselytes, but to the great amusement of the unbelievers."

"It appeared on examination that planks were laid in the river a few inches below the surface, and some wicked boys had removed a plank which caused the prophet to go down like any other mortal.

"After pretending to heal the sick, cast out devils, etc. Smith gained quite a number of followers, but at length came to grief by being prosecuted as an impostor. He was tried before Joseph P. Chamberlain, a justice of the peace. Two pettifoggers, by the name of John S. Reed and James Davidson, volunteered to defend him. Three witnesses were examined on the occasion, all of whom testified that they had seen him cast out devils.

"They saw a devil as large as a woodchuck leave the man and run across the floor; one of them saw a devil leave the man and run off like a yellow dog."

As all of the up-to-date Mormon literature misrepresents Professor Charles Anthon's real views concerning the characters brought to him for translation, justice to the memory of this long time dead master of langauges and teacher in Columbia College warrants the reproduction of an extract from a letter which he wrote February 17, 1834, to E. D. Howe, of Painesville, O. The letter, in part, reads as follows:

"Dear Sir -- I received this morning your favor of the 9th, and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormon inscriptions to be 'Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics' is perfectly false. Some years ago a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer came to me with a note from Dr. Mitchell of our city, now dead, requesting me to decipher, if possible, a paper which the farmer would hand me. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick, perhaps a hoax.

"When I asked the person, who brought it how he obtained the writing, he gave me the following account: 'A gold book consisting of a number of plates fastened together by wire of the same material had been dug up in the northern part of the State of New York and along with it an enormous pair of spectacles. These spectacles were so large that if any person attempted to look through them his two eyes would look through one glass only; the spectacles in question being altogether too large for the human face.

"Whoever,he said. examined the plates through the glasses, was enabled not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning. All this knowledge, however, was confined to a young man who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain in the garret of a farm house, and, being thus concealed from view, put on the spectacles occasionally -- or rather, looked through one of the glasses -- deciphered the characters in the book, and, having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain, to those outside.

"Not a word was said about their having been deciphered by the gift of God. Everything in this way was effected by the spectacles.

"This paper handed to me was, in fact, a singular scroll [sic - scrawl?]. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calendar given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source from which it was derived.

"I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends upon the subject since the Mormon excitement began and well remember that the paper contained any thing else but Egyptian hieroglyphics.

"Publish this letter immediately should you find my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics."


Note: For further discussion of the stories about Joseph Smith walking on the water, see the comments accompanying the article in the Sept. 5, 1829 issue of the New Lisbon, Ohio, Western Palladium.


Whole No. 4,900               New-York, Thursday, January 19, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 03

  [p. 88]

Editorial Letter

The Mormons and Mormonism

The Utah Branch of Mormons, including those in the surrounding states and elsewhere that acknowledge President [Joseph F.] Smith as the head of the Church, comprises 300,000 members and the Reorganized branch consists of 43,250, making a total of 343,250. A few years ago Brigham H. Roberts, a member of the House of Representatives, duly elected, was not allowed to sit because he was proved to be a practical polygamist. At the present time, Reed Smoot, duly elected senator, and not a polygamist, is a member of the Senate, and proceedings are being taken to decide whether he shall be unseated. For several months, at intervals, evidence has been in course of presentation to the Senate Committee of Privileges and Elections, with a view to the unseating of Senator Smoot. The presidemt of the Mormon Church and various apostles and officials have been summoned by those who propose to eject the Mormon senator, and their testimony has astonished the country. A few days ago the defense was begun, and if it is as protracted as the prosecution it will continue through the year 1905; but so many things have been admitted by both sides that probably the defense will require less time.

Mormon preachers came to the section where much of my childhood was spent, and later I taught a school near a settlement of them; and as soon as it was convenient to make the tour (about thirty-four years ago) I visited Salt Lake City. In this way I became acquainted with a considerable number of Mormons and a much larger number of Gentiles, including our missionaries and ministers residing in Utah and in the other states where Mormons are numerous; and, further, having visited Salt Lake City twice within the last five years, wholly because of interest in this subject, and having received many inquiries which show that the younger part of the population, and some of the older, are confused, both about the history and the doctrines of Mormonism, I propose some letters on the perplexing subject, which is also a problem for Church and State.

Much literature on the subject is accessible in the libraries of New York. I have accumulated considerable and consulted all accessible books and pamphlets of importance. But by far the most valuable is The Story of the Mormons from the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901, published by the Macmillan Company, of London and New York, the author being William Alexanfer Linn, who wrote his work of more than six hundred pages because "many books on the subject were written under the auspices of the (Mormon) Church, and therefore hopelessly biased," and "more trustworthy works covered only certain periods" and "exposures by former members of the Church" are attacked by the Mormons as untruthful. The new cyclopedias, such as The International and the Encyclopedia Americana, etc., have given considerable attention to the subject, and by comparing them many interesting details may be placed in a proper setting; but this book is more valuable -- as affording the reader something upon everything, and everything upon many things about Mormonism -- than any other, and perhaps than all the rest combined. I shall not mention authorities except where the author is expressing his own opinions or conclusions, or where the language is so clear and forcible that I think best to quote it. The founder of Mormonism was not, as many seem to think, Brigham Young, but Joseph Smith, Jr.


Joseph Smith, Sr., settled in Ontario County, N. Y., in 1816. He had a wife and nine children. Joseph Smith, Jr., was the fourth child. The father of Mrs. Smith was a native of Lyme, Conn. His name was Solomon Mack, and in his later life he rode about the country selling his autobiography. His daughter Lucy, who married Joseph Smith, Sr., was a native of Cheshire, N. H. She was born four days after the Declaration of Independence. Her father was in the campaigns against the French and Indians in northern New York, and in the Revolutionary War. In that he was a teamster, sutler, and privateer. His autobiography describes these things, and also his being converted in his seventy-sixth year, when he heard a voice and saw a bright light in the dark night. Mrs Smith's brother was a "Seeker," a member of a sect that believed in faith cures and the possibility of having all the gifts of the ancient apostles. One of her sisters, after being sick two years, went to the world of spirits, as she and her family supposed, saw the Saviour, and brought back a message. Mrs. Smith herself "heard voices," prayed in a grove for her husband, and saw his coming conversion in a vision. They were married in 1796. Smith moved from place to place in Vermont five times in a short period, and after losing most of the money he had, by investing in ginseng to be sold in China, and being without success in farming, he moved to New York. Judge Woodward, of Windsor, Vt., testifies that while in that state Smith hunted for Captain Kidd's treasure, and was implicated with a man named Downing in counterfeiting money, but turned state's evidence and so escaped imprisonment. In early life he was a Universalist, but afterward became a Methodist.

Joseph Smith, Jr., was born in Sharon, WindsorCounty, Vt., Dec. 23, 1805. The first place in which the family lived in the State of New York was Palmyra. Joseph Smith, Sr., put up a sign, "Cake and Beer Shop," and he and his children did such odd jobs as they could get to do, such as working on farms and digging wells, and Mrs. Smith "helped out" by painting oilcloth table covers. They were wretchedly poor. Later they took possession of a piece of land two miles away, without any title to it, but as the owners were minors and lived in another part of the country they were not disturbed.

All the testimony seems to show that they were regarded as shiftless and untrustworthy. They sold wood, vegetables, and homemade brooms, and when any [crowd] was in the village they peddled maple sugar. It is not generally admitted that Joseph Smith, Sr., could not read, and neither could several of his boys. Orson Pratt confesses that Joseph Smith, Jr., knew very little of arithmetic, and could write but a very poor hand, but says that he could read without difficulty. That "Joe Smith" was the most ragged, lazy fellow in the place was a proposition no one would dispute. Full descriptions of him are given by competent witnesses. He was prevaricating and exaggerated greatly when he did speak; but he was characteristically tacitern, seldom speaking to anyone but his intimate associates, unless first addressed. "He could utter the most palpable exaggeration or marvelous absurdity with the utmost gravity," and seemed to be meditating on schemes of low cunning.

In 1833 a declaraction was signed by eleven of the most prominent citizens of Manchester, near Palmyra, said: "We the undersigned, being personally acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., * * * state that they were not only a lazy, indolent set of men, but also intemperate and their word was not to be depended upon; and that we are truly glad to dispense with their society." ...

(under construction)

Note 1: The above "Editorial Letter" was the first in a series of nine communications on Mormonism, written by the Rev. James Monroe Buckley, DD (1836-1920), the editor, during the first three months of 1905. Rev. Buckley became the paper's editor in 1881; prior to that he was a settled pastor in a Methodist congregation in Connecticut.

Note 2: In reference to the recollection of "Judge Woodward," that Joseph Smith, Sr. "hunted for Captain Kidd's treasure, and was implicated with a man named Downing in counterfeiting money," see Joel King Noble's 1842 letter to Professor Jonathan B. Turner, in which Judge Noble states: "Jo. Smith Senior Lived in Vermont connected with a band of counterfeiters - ran - came to Mohawk river - eloped (Seduced a marr[i]ed woman to Can[ady] came to Palmyra in [this] State..." It is not fully clear, from this brief quotation, whether Judge Noble was referring to the large Mohawk River of eastern New York, or to some smaller stream of the same name in the Susquehanna River country of Pennsylvania.


Whole No. 4,901               New-York, Thursday, January 26, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 04

  [p. 127]

Editorial Letter


The Mormons and Mormonism


(under construction)


Notes: (forthcoming)


Whole No. 4,902               New-York, Thursday, February 2, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 05

  [p. 168]

Editorial Letter

The Mormons and Mormonism


(under construction)


Notes: (forthcoming)


Whole No. 4,903               New-York, Thursday, February 9, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 06

  [p. 208]

Editorial Letter

The Mormons and Mormonism


Concerning the character and characteristics of Joseph Smith, Jr., I am able to present some testimony never before published and some that has been published but in a very limited way. The series of letters which this is the fourth has elicited several communications, two of which are very pertinent and striking. The first is from the Rev. Nelson Moon:


                                                    LAKE CITY, MINN., Jan. 23, 1905.
To the Editor of The Christian Advocate --

Dear Brother: Your editorial letter on Mormonism brought to my mind what my mother told me about the Smith family.

My mother was an honored member of the Presbyterian church in Palmyra, N. Y. She was left a widow with four little boys to bring up, and had very limited means.

At one time she lived in the same house with the Smith family.

Seventy years ago I left my mother at Palmyra, being then about eighteen years of age, and removed to Ohio. On my departure she warned me against everything bad, and finally said, "You know enough about Mormonism to avoid it entirely."

In speaking of the Smith family, illustrating their laziness, she said that she had known the girls to live a number of days on water gruel rather than to go out to work, and that the man who owned the house, in order to get them out of the house, made arrangements with her to move in when they were all out of the house, and thus take possession and hold it, which she did.

She informed me that the Smith family moved three or four miles south of town, and she (my mother) finally moved a half a mile south, on the same road, and supported the family by weaving. On a certain Saturday night she had a piece in the loom of about twenty yards woven. On Sunday the family went to church as usual. When they returned the woven part was cut out and gone. The next morning Joe Smith came along and mother told him of her loss, and Joe took out his peep-stone, and put it into his hat, and of course saw the man and described him, and the way he went from the house. To cut the story short, the talk in the neighborhood was that Joe Smith knew all about it before looking into his peep-stone. Excuse any errors and my writing, as I am past eighty-seven years old.
Your brother in Christ,                     Nelson Moon.

This letter reflects light upon the character, circumstances, and reputation in the community of Joe Smith, Jr., and the family at that time.

The second letter, equally interesting, relates to other circumstances:


                                                        HANCOCK, MASS., Jan. 25, 1905.
The Rev. J. M. Buckley -- Dear Brother: I have just read with great interest your first chapter on Mormonism. I have been pastor and presiding elder in the East Genesee and the Genesee Conferences and am now a superannuated member of the last-named Conference. Nearly fifty years ago Bishop Simpson stationed me at Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y. One of my members owned the farm that included Mormon Hill, where Joseph Smith dug and pretended to find his book of revelation.

I took time to inquire of the oldest and most reliable families in regard to Joseph Smith, and by comparing what they told me found all you have written fully corroborated. Smith and his family were poor, lazy, and thirftless. No confidence was placed in the veracity of the Smith family.

Mormon Hill was located in the northwest corner of Manchester, but a short distance from Palmyra on the north and Farmington on the west. In both of the last-named towns I made the same inquiry, and received the same reply as was given in Manchester. No stir, nor converts of any standing did Smith make in all these towns. The families gave the Smith history and smiled upon the people at a distance who were being humbugged by a man of the ignorance of Joseph Smith. In the town and surrounding country where this fraud began they have no converts, no saints, no place of worship.   Sincerely yours,   A. F. Morey.

At Manchester Joseph Smith, Jr., kived after the family removed from Palmyra, and there he took his wife, Emma, under the circumstances detailed in the first letter.


In the autumn of 1903 I had some correspondence with Mr. John Bills. He is a cousin of the late Dr. James E. Bills, one of the best known of our ministers in western New York. Mr. John D. Bills informed me that he was then in his eighty-seventh year. After writing me a letter of considerable length he referred me to Dr. Charles W. Winchester, a friend of his, now president of Taylor University at Upland, Ind., to whom he had dictated his Reminiscences; and from that dictation, which was printed in a paper of limited circulation, of which Dr. Winchester was then editor, and which under his successor went out of existence, we reprint the following:

I was born in Groton, New London County, Conn., Nov. 2. 1817, and came to Palmyra in 1825. I came up in the first canal boat which ever made a trip on the Erie Canal. It ran only as far as Rochester that year, I lived with my grandfather and uncle at Palmyra. My father was a sailor. I first met Joe Smith on the farm of Martin Harris, where he came to work. I was between ten and twelve years old at that time. Martin Harris's farm joined my grandfather's farm * * * He worked for Martin Harris, off and on, for about two years. He never worked long at one place. He had very little education.

Of Martin Harris, he says: "He was naturally an intelligent man, but had very little education. His farm was just north of Palmyra village; my grandfather's farm joined it on the north."

When I used to be at Harris's I heard Harris, Sidney Rigdon, and Joe Smith talking about the new bible they pretended they had found. They said they found a lot of gold plates in the ground in a hill on the road to Canandaigua. Admiral Sampson afterward bought the ground where they pretended to dig those plates of gold. His nrother's widow owns it now. Martin Harris used to come to my grandfather's and tell about the gold plates they had found, and I heard a great deal about them. They kept those pretended gold plates in a chest bound with iron and locked with a padlock. I knew the man that made the chest and I saw the chest when it was being made. The padlock was bought of my cousin, Johnnie Haven, who at that time was a dealer in hardware.

He decsribed the publication by Grandin, who owned the printing office, and Gilbert, who did the printing and then proceeds:

[p. 209]
I knew Major Gilbert well. I saw the manuscript in Martin Harris's house in a clothespress. I took the manuscript out of the chest myself. I went to Harris's house one night to play games, and one of the daughters (there were three children, two daughters and one son) said shee would show me something if I would promise never to tell. She took me upstairs to this closet and there was the chest. Smith had gone away in a great hurry that day and in locking the chest he did not push the padlock in far enough; so when he turned the key it did not lock. So we opened it, and found this manuscript of the Mormon book. There were several bundles. They were written on old-fashioned foolscap paper. Holes were made through the sheets of paper and tied with black tape. They were written with a goose-quill pen and the paper was ruled by hand with a piece of lead, They were written in a very heavy hand, John Hancock style. My grandfather had a copy of the first edition of the printed book in his house for years. My grandfather's niece had the book after his death. She was offered one hundred dollars for it, but would not accept it.

Mr. Bills says that at the time when he "first saw Joseph Smith, Jr., he was a fine looking man, about thirty years of age." In that recollection he must be wrong, as the manuscript was off the press in June, 1829, and at that time he was about twenty-four years old.

He states that "the manuscript of the book was written in such a way that Mr. Gilbert, the printer, had to punctuate it, set the type, and read the proof, thereby making the expense much greater than they expected; and it took the whole value of the farm to pay the bill, except six hundred dollars." Mr. Bills states that he heard Joseph Smith say a great many times that he read the gold plates by going into a dark place and putting them in his hat, and then holding the hat close to his face. He states also that the second edition of the book contained many changes.


Abigail Harris, a sister-in-law of Martin Harris, a member of the Society of Friends, and universally respected, states that early in the winter of 1828 she "made a visit to Martin Harris, and was joined in company by Joseph Smith, Sr., and his wife. They had a long conversation about the golden plates," and old Mrs. Smith said that "after the book was translated the plates were to be publicly exhibited, admission twenty-five cents." "She calculated it would bring in annually an enormous sum of money, and they had been commanded to obtain all the money they could borrow and repay with gold." The old lady took her into another room, and after closing the door said, "Have you four or five dollars of money that you can lend me until our business shall be brought to a close?" "The Spirit says you shall receive four-fold." Abigail Harris told her that when she gave she "did not expect to receive it again; and as for money, she had none to lend." She stated further that the following month Martin Harris and Lucy Harris, his wife, were at her house. "In conversation about the Mormonites, Lucy Harris observed that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it all false and a delusion," to which, says Abigail Harris, "I heard Mr. Harris reply, 'What if it is? If you will let me alone I will make money out of it.'" Mrs. Martin Harris herself made an affidavit to the statement that she heard what Abigail Harris declares was said to her.

Before I reach the strange scenes and events which followed the publication of the book, there is one question to be answered, if possible. That is, Where did the materials of the Book of Mormon originate?

The problem is, if Joseph Smith, Jr., was an ignorant as ALL THE FACTS SHOW THAT HE WAS, whence came the contents of the Book of Mormon? He could not write it. It would have been impossible for him to conceive this history. To show the impossibility of it, as far as the alleged historical parts are concerned, no argument is needed. But it was quite possible for him to add some of the matter, consisting of long exhortations, visions, parables, and religious meditations which are in the style of the preachers of various denominations which Smith had heard from his youth, and to be the author of many of the grammatical errors. Much of the lurid exhortations of the Millerites and of the more excitable and less educated Methodists, Baptists, and others are introduced, repetitious and ungrammatical.

But after this is allowed, it is necessary to account for the history, the systematic character of the different books, and the amount of invention which they contain. To do this two theories have been brought forth, which by the more astute have been connected. I fully agree with the statement made by Linn (and in substance by many others), that the most careful student of the career of Joseph Smith, Jr., and of his family and associates up to the year 1827, will fail to find any ground for the belief that he alone or simply with their assistance was capable of composing the Book of Mormon, crude in every sense as that work is. I cannot go as far as he does, however, when he says, "We must therefore accept, as do the Mormons, the statement that the text was divinely revealed to Smith, or must look for some directing hand behind the scene, which supplied the historical part and applied the theological." I do agree that there was a directing hand behind the scene as respects the historical part, and also another with respect to certain other portions. But the theological part, with a few exceptions, was at that time practically the orthodox evangelical view.


An unpublished manuscript was found, known in this controversy as the Spaulding manuscript. It is necessary to know who Spaulding was and how he was connected with this subject.

No one pretends that he ever heard of Mormonism, and all admit that Mormonism did not rise until long after he died. Solomon Spaulding, a native of Ashford, Conn., was born in 1761, and was a student in Dartmouth College of the Class of 1785, and afterwards for some years had charge of a church. Later he gave up preaching, and conducted an academy at Cherry Valley, N. Y. Still later he moved to Conneaut, O., and in 1809 he and Henry Lake built and conducted a forge at Salem (former name of Conneaut), and it was there he began to write with a view to publication. I condense all the facts and theories until the crucial point is reached.

Spaulding was not successful in business and was overwhelmed with debts. While at Conneaut his attention was directed to the mounds in that vicinity, from which had been exhumed some human bones that were portions of gigantic skeletons, and also various relics. He concluded to write a fanciful history of the anciemt races of this country, and wrote a work called The Manuscript Found. This work, with the partiality of a parent, he considered to be of great literary merit. He "counted on being able to pay his debts from the proceeds of the sale," and frequently read to his neighbors selections from his manuscript. He diligently tried to find a publisher, and in order to do so took his family to Pittsburg. There a printer by the name of Patterson spoke well of it, but he never succeeded in finding anyone willing to publish it. After this he settled in Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816. Joseph Smith, Jr., being at that time only eleven years of age. The next point is that his widow and their only child, a daughter, went to live with Mrs. Spaulding's brother, Mr. W. H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, N. Y., and moved all their effects there.

In 1834 more than four years after the first appearance of the Book of Mormon, the theory that it was a plagiarism from an unpublished novel of Solomon Spaulding was broached. In the next letter I shall introduce testimonies in the plagiarism.     J. M. B.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Whole No. 4,904               New-York, Thursday, February 16, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 07

  [p. 248]

Editorial Letter

The Real Author of the Book of Mormon


To answer inquiries I state that the first of these letters appeared in THE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE for Jan. 19 and is an account of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s parents and their family, of his marriage and the "peek-stone" with which he claimed to discover "ores, "buried treasure," etc., and his idle, shiftless, prevaricating character and habits, with testimony to the same.

The second letter describes the "Golden Bible" he claimed to find, gives instances of his perfidity, the account of his discovery and interviews with angels, and the submission of alleged facsimiles and translations of the plates to the celebrated Professor Charles Anthon, of Columbia College, this city. It contains a long letter in which Professor Anthon brands the "Bible" as a fraud, and unanswerable proofs of the truth of his conclusion. After various "revelations to Smith" are detailed the letter gives an account of the publication of the Book of Mormon.

The third letter summarizes the contents of the Book of Mormon and analyzes the testimony of the three men who claimed to have seen the plates. Also the testimony of "Mother" Smith.

The letter of last week gives the testimony of Nelson Moon (now living) to his mother's communications to him of her life in the same house with the Smiths; the testimony of the Rev. A. F. Morey (now living) to his residence in these scenes as a minister fifty years ago, and his inquiries of the survivors of those towns where Smith spent his youth and where he lived when he "set up for a prophet;" also the testimony of John D. Bills, with whom I corresponded within a few years, who knew Smith well and saw the translation, the testimony of the sister-in-law of Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, and closed with an account of SOLOMON SPAULDING, alleged to be the author of a manuscript which Smith plagiarized, altered, and added to, the result being the Book of Mormon.


The last letter left the widow Spaulding and their only child, a daughter, living with Mrs. Spaulding's brother, Mr. William H. Sabine, of Onondaga Valley, N. Y.

1. Later Mrs. Spaulding went to her father's house. There in 1820 she married a Mr. Davison, and the old trunk was sent to her new home at Hartwick, Otsego County, N. Y. The daughter was married to Mr. McKinstry in 1828, and after leaving Hartwicj Mrs. Spaulding made her home with her daughter at Monson, Mass., the greater part of the time until her death in 1844.

2. When the Mormon Bible began to be talked about in Ohio there were declarations in Spaulding's old neighborhood of the striking similarity between the Bible story and that which Spaulding used to read. Eight of Spaulding's acquaintances in Ohio gave under affidavit their recollections of the Manuscript Found. Spaulding's brother John testified that he had heard many passages of the manuscript read, and in describing it said:

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. *  *  *  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 exception of the religious matter.

Mrs. John Spaulding testified to the same effect.

Mr. Spaulding's business partner, Henry Lake, testified that Spaulding read the manuscript to him many hours. Lake said:

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. *  *  *  I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words "and it came to pass," etc. rendered it ridiculous.

John N. Miller, an employee of Spaulding and a boarder in his family for several months, testified that Spaulding had written more than one book or pamphlet, that he had often heard him read The Manuscript Found, and testifies thus: "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."

Joseph Miller of Amity, Pa., a man of standing in that community, made a statement, published in the Pittsburg Telegraph, Feb. 6, 1879. He said that he heard Spaulding read to him most of The Manuscript Found, and had read the Mormon Bible in late years to compare the two: also he remembered perfectly the account of the battle described in the Book of Alma, in which the soldiers of one army had placed a red mark on their foreheads to distinguish them from their enemies. Redick McKee, who lived in Amity, in a letter to the Washington (Pa) Reporter, April 21, 1869, stated that he heard him read from his manuscript.

The Rev. Abner Judson [sic - Jackson?], of Canton, O., wrote for the Washington County (Pa) Historical Society, under date of Dec. 20, 1880, an account of his recollections of the Spaulding manuscript, and it was printed in the Washington Reporter of the following January. He testifies that Spaulding read a large part of his manuscript to Mr. Judson's [sic] father, before the author moved to Pittsburg, and he (the son), being confined to the house with a lameness, heard the reading and the accompanying conversations. This was written in Bible style; "and it came to pass" occurred so often that some called him (Spaulding) "Old Come-to-pass." When the Book of Mormon was brought to Conneaut and read there in the pulpit, old Squire Wright heard it and exclaimed, "'Old Come-to-pass' has come to life again."


About twenty years ago the Mormons published a statement that the original manuscript of Spaulding's Manuscript Found had been discovered in the Sandwich Islands and brought to this country, and that its narrative bore no resemnlance to the (Joe Smith) Bible.

The history of this is that E. D. Howe, who had a printing establishment at Painesville, O., and had this manuscript, sold the establishment to L. L. Rice, who was an antislavery editor there for many years. Rice afterward moved to the Sandwich Islands. While Rice was there President Fairchild, of Oberlin, asked him to look over his old papers to see if he could not find some antislavery matter that would be of value to the Oberlin College Library. There he found an old manuscript, having these words written upon it: "The Writings of Solomon Dpaulding, Proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller, and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession."

President Fairchild said in the New York Observer of Feb, 5, 1885, that "the theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished

[p. 249]
* * * Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two in general detail. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if an explanation is required."
This gave the Mormons great joy.

What happened to dininish that joy is the next strand of the tangled skein which we are to straighten.

The manuscript at Oberlin, as described by President Fairchild, is "A romance purporting to have been translated from the Latin found on twenty-four rolls of parchment in a cave on the banks of Conneaut Creek, but written in a modern style and giving a fabulous account of a ship's being driven upon the American coast while proceeding from Rome to Britain a short time previous to the Christian era, this country then being inhabited by the Indians."

It is certain that in Pittsburg Spaulding submitted his manuscript, which was a simple blocking out of a story rather than a full story, to Robert Patterson, then engaged in the publishing business in Pittsburg. He returned the manuscript to Spaulding, with the advice to "polish it up and finish it," and that if he so did he would make money out of it.

After living in Pittsburg two years, as previously stated, the Spauldings moved to Amity, Washington County, Pa. Here the story was "polished and finished," and Spaulding again went to Pittsburg in the hope of securing the publication.


Spaulding's widow and daughter asserted that at one time Patterson advised Spaulding "to make out a title-page and a preface." Mrs. Spaulding states that "this request was never complied with, but for reasons which were unknown to her." Aaron Wright also testified to long conversations with Spaulding and to listening to him while reading from his manuscript. Oliver Smith stated that Spaulding boarded with him for six months in Conneaut, and that all his liesure hours were occupied in writing an historical novel founded upon the first settlers of this country. That he read and heard more than one hundred pages, but as he recollected there was no religious matter introduced. Nahum Howard testified that he often conversed with him in his own house, and also at the house of Spaulding; that once in conversation he (Howard) expressed surprise at not having any account of the inhabitants once in this country who erected the old forts and mines [sic - mounds?]; whereupon Spaulding told him that he was writing a history of that race of people, and afterward showed him his writings, from which he read. Atremas Cunningham testified that in the month of October 1811, he went to Conneaut to secure a debt due him from Solomon Spaulding. He proceeds:

I tarried with him nearly two days, for the purpose of accomplishing my object, which I was finally unable to do. I found him destitute of the means of paying his debts. His only hope of ever paying his debts appeared to be upon the sale of a book which he had been writing. He endeavored to convince me from the nature and character of the work that it would meet with a ready sale. Before showing me his manuscripts, he went into a verbal relation of its outlines, saying that it was a fabulous or romantic history of the first settlement of this country, and as it purported to have been a record found buried in the earth, or in a cave, he had adopted the ancient or Scripture style of writing.

Cunningham. testifying concerning the Mormon Bible, says:

I have partially examined the Mormon Bible, and am fully of the opinion that Solomon Spaulding had written its outlines before he left Conneaut.

Several of these witnesses compared the Book of Mormon with the second manuscript, the rewriting of which was done by Spaulding after he left Conneaut. The story , rewritten and entitled, The Manuscript Found, was by Spaulding a second time left with the publisher, and this manuscript is the one from which the Book of Mormon was largely made up.

The old manuscript was shown to several of the foregoing witnesses, who recognized it as Spaulding's, he having told them that he altered his first lan of writing by going farther back with dates and writing in the old Scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no resemblance to The Manuscript Found.

President Fairchild, of Oberlin, who had given the Mormons such satisfaction by stating that there was no resemblance between the two in general detail, ten years later certified only that the Oberlin manuscript is not the original of the Book of Mormon; and still later wrote the following:

With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the library of Oberlin College, I have never stated and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is certainly the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this MS. does not prove that there may not have been another, which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me as implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted.

The foregoing selections from the testimony of different witnesses are sufficient to prove that there were two manuscripts; that the first manuscript was sufficient to give some persons who heard of the Book of Mormon the idea that there was an identity between the Book of Mormon and Spaulding's first manuscript, but that upon the whole it could not be considered to be like it; and that certain [persons?] who saw only that that manuscript heard remarks from Mr. Spaulding as to his further plans, and doubtless mingled their recollections of the first manuscript with their recollections of his remarks and explanations. They are also sufficient to prove beyond doubt that there was a second manuscript and that second fully written out manuscript was the basis of the Book of Mormon.

In later years Spaulding's only daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, previously mentioned, stated that when she was living with W. H. Sabine the effects which they had taken there "included an old trunk, in which my mother had placed all my father's writings which had been preserved. I perfectly remember the appearance of this trunk, and of looking at its contents. There were sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript, about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father had written for me, one of which he called 'The Frogs of Wyndham.' On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, 'Manuscript Found.' I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends."

If that was the first manuscript it is clear that Mrs. McKinstry was mistaken, for she thought it was the second; and her mother supported her in that view, for she says that before leaving Pittsburg for Amity her husband's manuscript was returned by the publishers; but she did not appear to remember that it was submitted a second time, and speaks of it thus: "The manuscript then, after Mr. Spaulding's death in 1816, fell into my hands, and was preserved carefully. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends." The only things that appear to be settled by the testimony of Mrs. McKinstry -- who was only eleven years of age when with her mother she went off to live with her uncle, W. H. Sabine, taking the old trunk, and who gave her final testimony when she was about seventy-four years of age -- and that of her mother, and the weight of the other testimony, are that there were two manuscripts, and that the second, greatly enlarged and improved, was the basis of the Book of Mormon.     J. M. B.

Note: While the writer of the above article knew of Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild's developed views on the Spalding authorship question, he was evidently unaware that Lewis L. Rice (the friend of Fairchild's in whose possession the Oberlin manuscript rested for so many years), also became more mature in his opinions regarding the Spalding authorship claims. For Mr. Rice's final conclsuions on the subject, see his letter of March 4, 1886, as published in the Honolulu Daily Bulletin of Mar. 11, 1886.


Whole No. 4,905               New-York, Thursday, February 23, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 08

  [p. 287]

Editorial Letter

How Did Spaulding's Manuscript Reach Joseph Smith, Jr.?


The Rev. J. J. Jackson, a minister in good standing in the East Ohio Conference, writes us under date of Feb. 11, from Cambridge, O., as follows:

Concerning the Solomon Spaulding authorship of a large part of the Book of Mormon I have had opportunity to know something. I once heard my father say more than once that he had heard Solomon Spaulding read from The Manuscript Found in his own father's house. I was on the Pine River Circuit of the Washington District of the Pittsburg Conference, West Elizabeth, Allegheny, Pa., and I was placed in charge of that work in 1864-66. My father came for a rather longer visit than usual. There was a small body of local Mormons in that place. While my father was with us I borrowed a copy of the Book of Mormon for him to compare it with his remembrance fully, as he wished to do; and he said that the Book of Mormon, with some alterations, and those by no means material, was identical with what he heard Mr. Spaulding read.

Mr. Jackson informs us that his father became a minister of the Pittsburg Conference only two years after the Book of Mormon was published.

It has been variously stated that Joseph Smith, Jr., stole this manuscript from the trunk that was at the house of William H. Sabine when he worked there, and that Sidney Rigdon stole it from Patterson's printing office. The latter presumption is much the stronger. The probability is very strong -- in fact, the testimony is almost conclusive -- that Sidney Rigdon had that manuscript in his possession for a long time.

Sidney Rigdon was born Feb. 19, 1793, in Piney Fork of Peters Creek, Saint Clair Township, Allegheny County, Pa. There is no doubt about this, as both the contemporary opponents of Mormonism and the sketch of Rigdon presented in Smith's autobiography agree. According to one Mormon account, Rigdon was licensed as a Baptist preacher fourteen years before becoming a Mormon. This would make the date 1816 [sic], which would coincide with the year in which Spaulding died, and Rigdon's own twenty-fourth year. Another account represents him as joining the Baptist Church May 31, 1817. This account states that he began to talk in public on religion soon after his admission to the Church, probably at first at his own instance, as there is no account of his being licensed.

In 1818 Rigdon took up his residence and began the study of divinity with the Rev. Andrew Clark, or Sharon, Pa., and the next year, in March, he was licensed as a Baptist preacher. In 1819 he moved to Warren, Trumbull County, O., and in July of that year took up his residence with the Rev. Adamson Bentley, and was there ordained a regular Baptist preacher. While there he met and in June, 1820, married the sister of Mrs. Bentley.

For some time he did not have a regular charge, but in November, 1821, he received a call from the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, which he accepted, commencing his active duties there in 1822.

According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Rigdon's pastorate ended in August, 1824, when he was expelled for doctrinal error. Another account fixes the date of his being deposed as Oct. 11, 1823; but there is no question anywhere as to the ground of his being deposed.


Twenty years before the publication of the Mormon Bible, namely, in 1809, Thomas Campbell, a native of the northern part of Ireland, a Presbyterian minister, published a declaration and address which was indorsed by his son, Alexander Campbell, who later became the leader of the movement which was practically the beginning of the now rapidly growing Church of the Disciples. They founded their first congregation in Washington County, Pa. As is well known, they were great orators and powerful debaters. Among their first important allies was a Scotchman named Walter Scott, a musician and school-teacher, who assisted in their publications and became a powerful evangelist. During a visit to Pittsburg in 1823 Scott made Rigdon's acquaintance, and a little later the congregation that Scott drew, or ministered to for a short time, was united with that of Rigdon, and very soon Rigdon was deposed. In Smith's autobiography in the sketch of Rigdon (probably written by himself) it is stated that "Rigdon was for some time much perplexed with the idea that the doctrines maintained by the First Baptist Church, Pittsburg, were not

[p. 288]
altogether in accordance with the Scriptures." He was much troubled, for he "could see no Church with which he could associate," consequently if he were to disavow the doctrine of the Church he would have no other way of making a living, except by manual labor, and he had a wife and three children to support." In point of fact, after he left the First Baptist Church he did work in Pittsburg for two years with his brother-in-law, Mr. Brooks, as a journeyman tanner. During that time he became entirely affiliated with Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott. The Church was organized, and Rigdon, while working as a journeyman tanner, secured the courthouse in Pittsburg in which to preach.

In 1826 he retired to Bainbridge, O., and threr preached as an undenominational exhorter, "but following the general views of the Campbells," advising his hearers to reject their creeds and rest their belief solely on the Bible. Later Rigdon received a call to the Baptist church at Mentor, O., but also preached about in different places and was in excellent repute with Thomas Campbell and his son Alexander. Several years before this the latter had called Rigdon "the great orator of the Mahoning Association." In 1828 he visited Scott, became thoroughly confirmed in the Disciples' faith, associated himself with his brother-in-law Bentley, and at once began revival work at Mentor, where fifty were converted; his reputation grew and in all parts of Ohio vast crowds followed him.

But it was impossible for him to keep the peace, At a convention in Warren, O., in 1828 [sic - 1830?], Rigdon advocated a community of goods. Alexander Campbell, who was present, answered him and carried the meeting, and Rigdon left the assemblage. A person who traveled with him, [a] citizen of Warren, said that Rigdon remarked in his anger, "I have done as much in this reformation as Campbell or Scott, and yet they get all the honor of it." Whether or not that was said, in Smith's autobiography the claim is made that he was as much the founder of the Church of the Disciples as the other two.

It is there stated that they were called Campbellites because of Mr. Campbell's periodical, it being the means through which they communicated their sentiments to the world. "Other than this Mr. Campbell was no more the originator of the sect than Elder Rigdon."

In that day quite a number of the Disciples were fanatical to such an extent that Alexander Campbell had to rebuke them, which he did in the paper he published known as the Millennial Harbinger.


Dr. Winters, in the course of an historical notice of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, says: "When Holland Sumner dealt with Rigdon for his bad teachings, and said to him, 'Brother Rigdon, you never got into a Baptist church without relating your Christian experiences,' Rigdon replied, 'When I joined the church at Peters Creek, I knew I would not be admitted without an experience, so I made up one to suit the purpose.' * * * This I have just copied," says Dr. Winter, "from an old memorandum as taken from Sumner's himself." This would seem to agree with what the Rev. Samuel Williams says in his Mormonism Exposed, that Rigdon "professed to experience a change of heart when a young man and proposed to join the church under the care of Elder David Phillips, but there was so much miracle about his conversion and so much parade about his profession that the pious and discerning pastor entertained serious doubts at the time in regard yo the genuineness of the work." However, they did accept him and he soon began to endeavor to supplant the minister. Father Phillips in that early day, owing to Rigdon's duplicity, "declared his belief that as long as he (Sidney Rigdon) should live he would be a curse to the Church of Christ."


1. John Miller, who knew Spaulding at Amity, bailed him out of jail when he was confined for debt, and when he died made his coffin for him and helped to lay him in his grave, states that "Spaulding told him there was a man named Sidney Rigdon about the office (of Patterson, etc.), and they thought he had stolen it," that is, the manuscript.

2. In the History of Washington County, Pa., written by Patterson [sic], under the caption, "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?" it is stated that as early as 1832, when Mormonism was attracting general public attention, and two years previous to the publication of Howe's Mormonism Unveiled (in which Mr. Spaulding's story was first made known), the Rev. Cephus Dodd, a Presbyterian minister of Amity and a practicing physician of that place as well, took Mr. George M. French, a respectable citizen of Amity, to Spaulding's grave, and there "expressed a positive belief that Sidney Rigdon was the agent who had transformed Spaulding's manuscript into the Book of Mormon." Mr. French, who is the witness on this point, fixes the date by its proximity to his removal to Amity. In a discussion of this subject by A. T. Schroeder, a lawyer of Salt Lake City, who has collated much of the evidence, it is considered very important because of its implications, which are that Dodd had an opportunity to compare Spaulding's literary production and the Book of Mormon, and his conclusion is that Rigdon was the connecting link in the plagiarism.

3. Proceeding with the evidence I find that the Rev. John Winter, M. D., survived until 1878. The circumstances under which Rigdon showed him the manuscript are these: During the year 1722-23, while Dr. Winter was in Pittsburg as a school teacher, on one occasion he was in Rigdon's study when the latter took from his desk a large manuscript and said in substance that a Presbyterian minister named Spaulding, whose health had failed, brought it to a printer to see if it would not pay to publish it. Said Rigdon, "It is a romance of the Bible,"

Dr. Winter did not read the manuscript nor give the matter any further thought until the Book of Mormon appeared.

The first authority for Dr. Winter's statement is the Rev. A. G. Kirk, to whom Dr. Winter communicated it in conversation at New Brighton, Pa., in 1870-71. The second authority is the Rev. J. A. Bonsall, a son-in-law of Dr. Winter, and at one time pastor of the Baptist Church at Rochester, Pa. The third authority is Mrs. Mary W. Irvine, a daughter of Dr. Winter. She was living in 1881 at Sharon, Pa., and her statement is this: "I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon having Spaulding's manuscript, and that he had gotten it from the printers to read it as a curiosity." This is found in the work entitled Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?

Rigdon denied that he ever had anything to do with Patterson's printing office, and wrote, "If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding and his hopeful wife until Dr. P. Hurlburt wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves." Rigdon's denials were: fist, the story about Spaulding's writings being in the hands of Patterson; second, that during his residence in Pittsburg there was a man named Patterson who had a printing office; and third, that he was in any way connected with Patterson's printing establishment.

4. But the business mutations of Patterson have been thoroughly looked up. In 1812 he was in the book business in the firm of Patterson and Hopkins. In their employment there was a boy fourteen years of age named J. Harrison Lambdin. On Jan 1, 1818, when this boy had become twenty years of age, he became a partner in the firm of Patterson & Lambdin. Patterson had in his employ Silas Engles as foreman printer and superintendent

[p. 289]
of the printing business. The latter decided on the propriety or otherwise of publishing manuscripts. Patterson & Lambdin had under their control the bookstore on Fourth Street, a book bindery, and printing office (not newspaper, but job office under the name of Bulter & Lambdin), and a steam paper mill on the Allegheny under the name of R. &. J. Patterson. Paterson & Lambdin continued in business until 1823. Lambdin died Aug. 1, 1825, in his twenty-seventh year. Engles died July 17, 1827, in his forty-sixth year. In some cases Rigdon's statements were denials of certain erroneous statements of his oponents, but the evidence that he was extremely intimate with Lambdin is conclusive.

5. The following evidence shows in what way people are recording their transactions without knowing it. About twenty-five years ago Mrs. R. J. Eichbaum gave the following testimony:

"My father, John Johnston, was postmaster of Pittsburg for about eighteen years, from 1804 to 1822. My husband, William Eichbaum, succeeded him, and was postmaster for about eleven years, from 1822 to 1833. I was born Aug. 25, 1792, and when I became old enough I assisted my father in attending to the post-office, and became familiar with its duties. From 1811 to 1816 I was the regular clerk in the office, assorting, making up, dispatching, opening, and distributing the mails. Pittsburg was then a small town, and I was well acquainted with all the stated visitors at the office who called regularly for their mails. So meager at that time were the mails that I could generally tell without looking whether or not there was anything for such persons, though I would usually look in order to satisfy them. I was married in 1815, and the next year my connection with the office ceased, except during the absences of my husband. I knew and distinctly remember Robert and Joseph Patterson, J. Harrison Lambdin, Silas Engles, and Sidney Rigdon. I remember Rev. Mr. Spaulding, but simply as one who occasionally called to inquire for letters. I remember there was an evident intimacy between Lambdin and Rigdon. They very often came to the office together. I particularly remember that they would thus come during the hour on Sabbath afternoon when the office was required to be open, and I remember feeling sure that Rev. Mr. Patterson knew nothing of this, or he would have put a stop to it. I do not know what position, if any, Rigdon filled in Patterson's store or printing-office, but am well assured he was frequently, if not constantly, there for a large part of the time when I was clerk in the post-office. I recall Mr. Engles saying that "Rigdon was always hanging around the printing-office." He was connected with the tannery before he became a preacher, though he may have continued the business whilst preaching.

This shows clearly that Rigdon had access to the manuscript.


6. The Rev. Adamson Bentley, as previously stated in this letter, a brother-in-law of Sidney Rigdon, Jan. 22, 1842, wrote to Walter Scott, who was the man who led Rigdon into the Church of the Disciples, "I know that Sidney told me that there was a book coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates, as much as two years before the Mormon Book made its appearance or had been heard of by me." This statement was published in the Millennial Harbinger for 1844, with the following editorial note from the Rev. Alexander Campbell:

The conversation alluded to in brother Bentley's letter of 1841, was in my presence as well as in his, and my recollection of it led me some two or three years ago to interrogate brother Bentley touching his recollections of it, which accord with mine in every particular, except the year in which it occurred -- he placing it in the summer of 1827 -- I, in the summer of 1826 -- Rigdon at the time observing that in the plates dug up in New York there was an account not only of the Aborigines of this country but also it was stated that the Christian religion had been preached in this country during the first century just as we were preaching it on the Western Reserve.

These statements were published thirty-two years before Rigdon's death and were not publicly denied by him.

7. Mrs. Amos Dunlap, a niece of Mrs. Rigdon, in December, 1879, furnished this testimony:

When I was quite a child I visited Mr. Rigdon's family. He married my aunt. They at that time lived in Bainbridge, O. (1826-27) During my visit Mr. Rigdon went to his bedroom and took from a trunk which he kept locked a certain manuscript. He came out into the other room and seated himself by the fireplace and commenced reading it. His wife at that moment came into the room and exclaimed, "What! you're studying that thing again?" or something to that effect. She then added, "I mean to burn that paper." He said, "No, indeed, you will not. This will be a great thing some day!" Whenever he was reading this he was so completely occupied that he seemed entirely unconscious of anything passing around him

8. Testimony of the Rev. D. Atwater, made three years before Rigdon's death:

Soon after this the great Mormon defection came on us (the Disciples). Sidney Rigdon preached for us, and notwithstanding his extravagantly wild freaks he was held in high repute by many. For a few months before his professed conversion to Mormonism, it was noticed that his wild, extravagant propensities had been more marked. That he knew before of the coming of the Book of Mormon is to me certain from what he said (during) the first of his visits at my father's some years before. He gave a wonderful description of the mounds and other antiquities found in some parts of America, and said that they must have been made by the aborigines. He said there was a book to be published containing an account of those things. He spoke of these, in his eloquent, enthusiastic style, as being a thing most extraordinary. Though a youth then, I took him to task for expending so much enthusiasm on such a subject, instead of things of the gospel.

9. Dr. S. Rosa, under date of Painesville, O., June 3, 1841, wrote:

In the early part of the year 1830, when the Book of Mormon appeared (and in November of which year Rigdon was converted, A. T. S.), either in May or June, I was in company with Sidney Rigdon, and rode with him on horseback a few miles. Our conversation was principally upon the subject of religion, as he was at that time a very popular preacher of the denomination calling themselves "Disciples" or Campbellites.

He remarked to me that it was time for a new religion to spring up; that mankind were all rife and ready for it. I thought he alluded to the Campbellite doctrine.

He said it would not be long before something would make its appearance; he also said that he thought of leaving for Pennsylvania, and should be absent for some months. I asked him how long. He said it would depend upon circumstances. I began to think a little strange of his remarks, as he was a minister of the gospel.

I left Ohio that fall and went to the state of New York, to visit my friends who lived in Waterloo, not far from the mine of golden Bibles. In November I was informed that my old neighbor, E. Partridge, and the Rev. Sidney Rigdon were in Waterloo, and that they both had become the dupes of Joe Smith's necromancies. It then occurred to me that Rigdon's new religion had made its appearance, and when I became informed of the Spaulding manuscript, I was confirmed in the opinion that Rigdon was at least accessory, if not the principal, in getting up this farce.

The foregoing was published in book form thirty-four years before Rigdon's death.

It is also charged that Rigdon during the incubaton period of Mormonism between 1827 and 1830 preached new matters of doctrine, which were afterward found to be inculcated in the Mormon Bible.

10. In following the ramifications of this labyrinth we come upon names widely known at this day. Scribner's Magazine for 1881 contains an article by Mrs. Ellen E. Dickenson, in which she reports a conversation with General and Mrs, Garfield, at Mentor, O., in 1889, in which Mrs. Garfield says her father told her that Rigdon in his youth lived in that neighborhood and made mysterious journeys to Pittsburg. She also quotes a statement by Mrs. Garfield's father, Z. Rudolph, that "during the winter previous to the appearance of the Book of Mormon Rigdon was in the habit of spending weeks away from his home, going no one knew where.     J. M. B.

Note 1: The Rev. John Jay Jackson, whose letter appears at the beginning of the above article, was the son of the same Rev. Abner Jackson whom the article writer calls "Abner Judson," in his article of Feb. 16th. John Jay Jackson was born Aug. 27, 1827 in Erie Co., Pennsylvania. However, since the Erie courthouse burned down twice in the early decades of the 19th century, official records of his birth are missing and John's name has not always been included in genealogical compilations of the extended family of his grandfather, Lyman Jackson. See Rev. J. J. Jackson's memorial, written by J. M. Carr and published on pp. 415-16 of the 1911 issue of the Official Record: East Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Rev. Jackson passed away, at the home of his son, Prof. Homer W. Jackson, of State College, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1911.

Note 2: John's recollection of having heard his father (ABner Jackson) state that "he had heard Solomon Spaulding read from The Manuscript Found in his own father's house," is an important piece of evidence. It is perhaps the earliest dateable reference to a member of Lyman Jackson's family having acknowledged Lyman's old neighbor and friend, Solomon Spalding, visiting in the Jackson home (in what is now Albion, Erie Co., Pennsylvania), and during that visit reading from a manuscript of Spalding's own fictional writings. Abner Jackson's first known statement on this matter was not published until Jan. 7, 1881. In that printed account, Abner Jackson says: "Spaulding... about the beginning of the year 1812, commenced to write his famous romance called by him 'The Manuscript Found.' This romance, Mr. Spaulding brought with him on a visit to my father, a short time before he moved from Conneaut to Pittsburgh."

Note 3: John also says, that while he was living in "West Elizabeth, Allegheny, Pa.," during the mid-1860s, his father (Abner) came for a visit, and at that time consulted the Book of Mormon, "to compare it with his remembrance" of the fictional writings which Solomon Spalding had shared with the Lyman Jackson family in 1812. According to John, his father then stated "that the Book of Mormon, with some alterations, and those by no means material, was identical with what he heard Mr. Spaulding read." This account essentially corresponds with what Abner Jackson said in his published statement: "The most singular part of the whole matter is, that it [the Book of Mormon] follows the Romance so closely, with this difference: the first claims to be a romance; the second claims to be a revelation of God, a new Bible!" Abner Jackson, of course, was directing his attention to the textual similarities he observed in Spalding's writings and in the Book of Mormon -- he apparently did not state exactly what the differences were that he observed, or in what portions of the Mormon holy book such ostensible "alterations" might be found -- or who might have inserted the changes. Thus, for example, Abner may have seen "singular" parallels in every part of the Book of Mormon, save for the II Nephi section, or the Ether section. Without the incorporation of this sort of detail, it is difficult for the modern reader to ascertain just what Rev. Jackson meant, when he said that the "alterations" were "by no means material." Various other reports indicate that Solomon Spalding continued to revise or re-write his pseudo-history of the ancient Americans, even after he relocated in Pennsylvania near the end of 1812. Thus, what he had prepared for the press prior to his death in Pennsylvania, in 1816, may have contained substantial "alterations" of the material he shared with the Jackson family, late in 1812.


Whole No. 4,906               New-York, Thursday, March 2, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 09

  [p. 327]

Editorial Letter

Further Evidence Concerning Rigdon and the Mormon Bible


In order to break the force of the collective proofs that Sidney Rigdon was acquainted with Spaulding's manuscript, that before the Mormon Bible appeared he predicted that a new religion would arise and a new book would appear of the nature of the Golden Bible, the Mormons have insisted that no possible connection between Rigdon and Smith has ever been known to exist prior to 1830, and as the Golden Bible was in existence at that time, Smith never could have gotten it by means of Rigdon. The facts referred to, especially as neither

[p. 328]
Smith nor any of his associates or early converts (except Rigdon) would have been capable of the work, would raise a powerful presumption that Rigdon was his chief assistant. Oliver Cowdery, though a school-teacher, could not compare with Rigdon.


But some remarkable facts have been collated, arranged, and the authorities given by Albert T. Schroeder, and in such of the authorities as I have been able to see I find the quotations confirmed.

It is necessary to introduce at this point Parley Parker Pratt. Pratt was born in 1807, in Otsego County, N. Y. In his sixth year he went to live with his aunt, named Van Cott, a name which will appear frequently in Mormon history. In 1826 he spent a few months with an uncle in Wayne (formerly Ontario) County, N. Y. This is the county in which Joseph Smith, Je., was then frequently spoken of in the newspapers as the "peep-stone money-digger." Mention of him was made in the papers published in other counties in southern New York and in northern Pennsylvania. At this time Pratt was a peddler, and had a reputation of knowing almost everybody in western New York. Ontario County then took in all the territory of several counties as now bounded. In October of that year Pratt went to Ohio and located at Amherst, thirty miles west of Cleveland. In his autobiography he said that he "wished to get to a country where there was no law to sweep away all the hard earnings of years to pay a small debt." In that same year Rigdon went for a second time to live in Ohio, where he traveled up and down, preaching at Bainbridge, Mantua, Kirtland, Mentor, Warren, and other places as an itinerant Disciple preacher. Pratt says that as he was on his way to his future Ohio home he stopped at a cottage and there, "while asleep, a messenger of mild and intelligent countenance suddenly stood before me, arrayed in robes of dazzling splendor." The messenger introduced himself as the "Angel of the Praries." It is believed that Rigdon was the messenger. Here were the facts concerning the manuscript. Lambdin died the year before. On July 17, 1827, Engles, Patterson's foreman, died. Patterson knew nothing personally of the contents of the manuscript, which fact Rigdon probably well knew. All those having any intimate knoweldge of the Manuscript Found were thus dead. In 1827 Pratt went back to New York to be married, and in his autobiography he states that he opened to his future wife his religious views and the desire he sometimes had to try teach the red man Three years later he was converted to Mormonism, and in October, 1830, not a month after his professed conversion to Mormonism, a revelation was professedly received through Joseph Smith, directing him to carry out this very design. It is in these words:

And now concerning my servant Parley P. Pratt, behold, I say unto him, that as I live I will that he shall declare my gospel and learn of me, and be meek and lowly of heart;

And that which I have appointed unto him is, that he shall go with my servants Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.

According to the Book of Mormon the Lamanites were the Indians. Among the Mormon angels are men. "God's angels and men are all of one species, one race, one great family."

A mysterious stranger appeared at Smith's residence and held private interviews with the famous money-digger. It was observed by some of the neighbors that his visits were frequently repeated. About this time Rigdon was away from his Ohio home, according to previous testimony, on several long visits.


Abel Chase, a near neighbor of the Smiths, testifies, "I saw Rigdon at Smith's at different times with considerable intervals between." Lorenzo Saunders testifies, "I saw Rigdon at Smith's several times, and the first visit was more than two years before the book appeared." J. H. McCauley, in his History of Franjlin County, Pa., records that, "as a matter too well known to need argument, Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and Sidney Rigdon were acquainted for a considerable time before Mormonism was first heard of."

I will now introduce some testimony of the existence of which I was not aware until these letters began. It was published at length in the Evening Star, of Washington, D. C., Saturday, Jan. 28, [1905]. It is from the manuscript of Mr. Daniel Hendrix, who lived in Palmyra, N. Y., in his early life and spent his declining years in San Jacinto, at the home of his son. The senior Hendrix preserved a few proof sheets of the original Mormon Bible, printed by Major John Gilbert, in Palmyra. With the assistance of his niece Mr. Hendrix wrote out an account of the early history of Mormonism in the form of a reminiscence, which was seen and read recently by a person on a visit in San Jacinto from Washington. He describes Smith very much as the other witnesses have done, but in addition he testifies that Joseph Smith went about the village of Palmyra giving an account of the golden tablets; "with tears in his eyes and the most earnest expression" he affirmed that he had found the gold plates. For the first month or two he did not say that the plates were any new revelation. Mr. Hendrix said:

It is difficult to understand what Joe expected to accomplish, but he soon began to exhibit what he claimed to be copies of the characters engraved on the plates, though the irreverent were disposed to think they were the characters found on China tea-chests and in histories of the Egyptians and Babylonians rather than any plates he had dug up near Palmyra. But before long a new party appeared on the scene in the person on one Sidney Rigdon, and thenceforward a new aspect was out on the whole matter. I remember Rigdon as a man of about forty years, smooth, sleek, and with some means. * * * He and Joe Smith fell in with one another and were cronies for several months. It was after Rigdon and Smith were so intimate that the divine part of the finding of the golden plates began to be spread abroad. * * * Rigdon, who was regarded as the brains of the movement, seemed satisfied to be the power behind the throne. Pretended copies of the engraved plates exhibited, and also whole chapters of what were called translations were shown.

Mr. Hendrix says that the printing office where the book was published was on an upper floor, and that he often helped to read on many pages of the book, and at odd times set some of the type. He recalls the halt that was made by the destruction of the notes that Martin Harris had. He testifies that Rigdon was on hand at the time, and that he (Mr. Hendrix) went frequently out on Sunday for a walk to the place where the translation was going on.

John D. Bills, with whom I corresponded and from a question has been made in these letters, says positively, "When I used to be at Martin Harris's I heard Harris, Sidney Rigdon, and Joe Smith talking about the new Bible they pretended they had found." Mr. Bills thinks that Rigdon and Joe Smith became acquainted in the town of Manchester.

But one denial of Rigdon's acquaintance with Smith prior to the appearance of the Book of Mormon exists. That denial comes from Katherine Salisbury, a sister of the Prophet Joseph, and is dated April 15, 1881, when she was about sixty-eight years of age. She states that to her knowledge nobody by the name of Rigdon was ever known by her family or any member thereof until the last part of the year 1830 or the first part of 1831, and that the first time Sidney Rigdon came to her father's place was after the family had moved to Kirtland, O., in 1831.

That Rigdon did visit at the Smiths in New York State December, 1830, is admitted by all concerned. Mrs.

[p. 329]
Salisbury does not remember this, but in the same statement she declares that her brother Joseph Smith, Jr., lived in the family of her father in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y., and that he had all of his life to this time made his home with the family. She does not appear to recall the fact that Joseph Smith spent the greater part of his time in 1828 and 1829 at Harmony, Pa.

I find in the official book of Covenants and Commandments, Section 3, a revelation was given through Joseph Smith in Harmony, July, 1828, about the manuscripts which had been taken from the possession of Martin Harris; and again in April, 1829, and another in April, 1829, and another, and another; and another in May, 1829, and a second, and a third, and a fourth; and then more in June, 1829.

Katherine Salisbury was only fourteen or fifteen years old at the time when Rigdon was there; her memory is evidently at fault, and she affirms a negative which she could not know if true


In the summer [sic - spring?] of 1830 the Book of Mormon came from the press. Pratt gives a singular account of the matter, as though he had heard of it for the first time. He had left his wife on account of the Spirit telling him that he would have to part from her for a season; that she must go to visit her friends: how soon he would appear he could not tell, as the Spirit had not revealed it. He left her upon the boat and started on foot early in the morning, and stopped with a man named Wells. In those times many preachers were traveling through the country on foot, imitating Lorenzi Dow and others. They stopped where night overtook them and generally offered to preach. According to his statement he there fell in with an old Baptist deacon named Hamblin, who told him about a wonderful book. The next day, the book having been procured, for the first time his eyes beheld the Book of Mormon, and he declares that as he read the Spirit of the Lord was upon him and he knew and comprehended that the book was true as plainly and as manidestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists. He went as soon as he could see Smith, who had not returned from Pennsylvania. Hyrum Smith (father of the present President Joseph [F.] Smith of the Mormon Church) welcomed him. Pratt went back to fill his appointment to preach the doctrine of Alexander Campbell. Hyrum Smith presented him with a copy of the [Mormon] Bible. That night and the following one he returned to Smith's house, after preaching.

On the next Sabbath he went to a Mormon meeting and preached a Mormon sermon. In his book Pratt declartes he was converted before completing the reading of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith, in his autobiography, puts the time of conversion later, and alleges that Pratt was not converted until after listening to the testimony of the witnesses

The Prophet's mother, however, subsequently declared that after her husband had come home Parley Pratt came in much fatigued. She says that "he had heard of us at some considerable distance, and had traveled very fast in order to get there by meeting time, as he wished to hear what we had to say, that he might be prepared to show us our error. But when Joseph had finished his discourse, Mr. Pratt arose and expressed his hearty concurrence in every sentiment advanced." But in two different places Pratt contradicted what Joseph Smith's mother and Joseph Smith himself declared to be true.

Mother Smith's book, after being published by the Utah Mormons, was condemned as containing wrrors, but the Josephite sect republished it. So much for the conversion of Pratt. This was in October, 1830. In accordance with the revelation previously mentioned, directing Pratt to go preach to the Lamanites (the American Indians), Pratt began a journey of three hundred and seventy miles on foot. Rigdon was then preaching in Mentor, O. Pratt appeared, and at their first interview presented the Mormon Bible. Pratt refers to this meeting as follows: "We called on Mr. Rigdon, my former friend and instructor in the Reformed Baptist Society. He received us cordially and entertained us with hospitality." Pratt having presented to Rigdon a copy of the Mormon Bible, as above stated, what followed is detailed, so far as it suits his purpose, by Joseph Smith, Jr., in his autiobiography, a large part of which was written or corrected by Rigdon, as follows:

This being the first time he had ever heard of or seen the Book of Mormon, he felt very much prejudiced at the assertion, and replied that, "he had one Bible which he believed was a revelation from God, and with which he pretended to have some acquaintance; but with respect to the book they had presented him, he must say that he had considerable doubt." Upon which they expressed a desire to investigate the subject, and argue the matter; but he replied, "No, young gentlemen, you must not argue with me on the subject. But I will read your book, and see what claim it has upon my faith, and will endeavor to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God or not." After some further conversation on the subject, they expressed a desire to lay the subject before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in Elder Rigdon's church, to which he readily consented. The appointment was accordingly published, and a large and respectable congregation assembled. Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt severally addressed the meeting. At the conclusion, Elder Rigdon arose and stated to the congregation that the information they had that evening received, was of an extraordinary character, and certainly demanded their most serious consideration: and as the apostle advised his brethren to "prove all things, and hold fast that which is good," so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and give the matter a careful investigation; and not turn against it, without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest they should, possibly resist the truth.

The italicizing of parts of the foregoing is done by Linn in The Story of the Mormons, and he makes a powerful use of those passages:

"Here we find a clergyman who was a fellow worker with men like Campbell and Scott expressing only 'considerable doubt' of the inspiration of a book presented to him as a new Bible, 'readily consenting' to the use of his church by the sponsors for this bookm and at the close of their arguments, warning his people against rejecting it too readily 'lest they resist the truth!'"

There is a probability that some of the aged persons who have testified to the events of long ago have been to some extent led astray by the fallibility of the human memory. For example, I am surprised that Mr. Hendrix makes no definite reference to Oliver Cowdery. The Rev. Mr. Bays, who was long connected with the Mormons, affirms that Cowdery was the man who invented the greater part of the Book of Mormon, and denies that there is any proof that the Spaulding manuscript had anything to do with it. But he offers no proof.

I am of the opinion that the evidence is sufficient to prove that the Spaulding manuscript was in large part the basis of the Book of Mormon. As to the case of Sidney Rigdon, I am obliged to believe that he knew all about the Spaulding manuscript; also that there is a strong presumption that he knew about the golden Bible before Pratt came to see him; that he was prepared for his arrival and prepared to announce his conversion; but I think Linn is perhaps right when he says that "it can only be said that definite proof as to how the Spaulding manuscript became incorporated in the Mormon Bible is lacking." There are reasonable presumptions, but positive evidence does not exist. I agree with him, however, in stating that in an historical inquiry of this kind it is more important to establish the fact that a certain thing was done than to prove just how or when it was done.     J. M. B.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Whole No. 4,907               New-York, Thursday, March 9, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 10

  [p. 367]

Editorial Letter

The Mormons and Mormonism


Before taking leave of the origin of the Mormon Bible it is interesting to note that a few years previous to the origin of the Spaulding manuscript many were speculating upon the character of the civilization of the mound builders and the origin of those ancient peoples. Josiah Priest, in a book published by him in 1824, entitled Wonders of Nature and Providence, quotes over forty authors, half of whom are Americans, and all of whom prior to 1824 advocated an Israelitish origin of the American Indians. Some of these dated as far back as Clavigaro, a Roman Catholic priest in the seventeenth century. I state this on the authority of Schroeder's book on the Origin of the Book of Mormon Reexamined in its Relation to Spaulding's Manuscript Found.


Oliver Cowdery, through Joseph the Seer, in Harmony, Pa., April, 1829, was rebuked for wishing to do some of the translating himself, and God is represented as saying to him:

4. Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph;

5. And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.

6. Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.

7. Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8. But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right:

9. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.

10. Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.

Hyrum Smith wanted to preach, and Joseph the Seer received a revelation:

[p. 368]
15. Behold, I command you that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called:

16. Wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine.

21. Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

22. But now hold your peace, study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men, and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men, or that which is now translating, yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation, and then shall all things be added thereto.

The philosophy of this was that Joseph Smith did not order the people. He simply had a revelation against any man who dis not please him, which put that man before the rest of the saints, not as resisting Smith, but God Almighty!

In this respect Joseph Smith, Jr., and John Alexander Dowie might pass for twin brothers. If Dowie had set out to imitate Smith in the matter of making his will appear to be that of the Almighty, he could not have been more successful than he has been in resembling him.


"As no person openly connected with Smith in the work of translation had been a clergyman." according to Joseph Smith's account, while he and Cowdery were still at the work of translation, May 15, 1829, they went into the woods to ask the Lord for further information about the baptism mentioned in the plates. Joseph Smith in his autobiography avers that John (the Baptist) appeared to them "in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands on us he ordained us." This in the Book of Covenants and Commandments is entitled "Words of the Angel, John, (the Baptist,) spoken to Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery, as he (the angel) laid his hands upon their heads and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood, in Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pa., May 15, 1829." This remarkable ordination ritual I quote from the Book of Covenants and Commandments:

"Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of Angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in Righteousness."

Most of the revelations begin in the same way: "A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men."


In March, 1830, a terrible but very cunning revelation was received through Joseph the Seer for Martin Harris. Some passages are extraordinary:

5. Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand;

6. Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.

7. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name's glory.

8. Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.

9. I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.

10. For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name: wherefore --

11. Eternal punishment is God's punishment.

12. Endless punishment is God's punishment.

13. Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., in my name;

25. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife; nor seek thy neighbor's life.

26. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God.

34. Impart a portion of thy property, yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family.

35. Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage.

A special revelation was received by Smith that the Book of Mormon should not be sold for less than $1.25. (Mrs. Eddy doubled this on Science and Health, and will not allow hers to be sold for less than $2.50). This revelation is to be explained by the fact that by the original agreement Harris was to have the exclusive control of the sale of the book, but it did not sell. The printer demanded pay as the work went on. Then came this revelation, and Harris sold his share of the farm to pay the printer.


According to Joseph Smith, John the Baptist informed them that the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost would be conferred on them later through Peter, James, and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchizedec; at the same time, according to Joseph Smith, he was directed to baptize Cowdery, and Cowdery then performed the same office for Smith. These things were carried out.

The account given by Linn, which is confirmed by the authorities he gives, says that Smith and Cowdery at once began telling people of the power conferred upon them. They gave their relatives and friends an opportunity to become members of the new Church. The first convert was Samuel Smith, the brother of the Prophet, and Cowdery baptized him. The next convert was Hyrum Smith. There was a special revelation to each of these as they were baptized. Hyrum Smith, and David and Peter Whitmer were baptized in Seneca Lake.

By April 6, 1830 branches had been established at Fayette, Manchester, and Colesville, N. Y. It is claimed there were then seventy members in all. On April 6 they adopted a form which would give the Church a standing as a legal body. Smith was the first elder, and irdained Cowdery, and Cowdery subsequently ordained Smith.

The revelation known as Section XX gives an account of the Church. The first thirty-six verses give the general doctrines of repentance and faith, etc. Then comes a description of the duties of elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the Church of Christ. "An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize, and to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, abd deacons." The elders were to meet in conference once in three months. Presiding elders, traveling bishops, High Counselors, High Priests, and elders are described. To begin with, Joseph Smith did not claim the power that he did afterward.


(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Whole No. 4,908               New-York, Thursday, March 16, 1905.               Vol. LXXX. No. 11

Editorial Letter


(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                 Brooklyn,  New York,  Wednesday,  April 3, 1907.                 No. ?


We Are Still More or Less in the Thrall
of the Old Mystic Beliefs.

It hasn't been a century since, rural dwellers in North Carolina were surreptitiously placing Bibles under the heads of their sleeping children to charm away the same witches that dwellers in old Salem and Boston had fried and burned a hundred years before when caught in human shape, says Frederic J. Haskin, in the Louisville Courier-Journal....

Thirteen will always be a hoodoo number. It has survived centuries of reform and progress, dating back, it is said, to the Lord's supper, when Judas betrayed his Master. Men are even more uneasy over this numbor than women, often refusing to sit at a table where there are thirteen, and declining point-blank to occupy rooms in a hotel that bear the cabalistic sign. This superstitlon is so general that up-to-date hotels and steamers have no rooms, numbered thirteen. The divining rod is still to be found in this country, though people have laughed time and again over the superstition of the day of the father of Prophet Joseph Smith, when that worthy went seeking; for buried-treasure, or for good locations for wells, with his hazel wand....

Notes: (forthcoming)

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