Hubert H. Bancroft (1832-1918) comments
Bancroft's Works 26 (1889)
Chapter 1 (under construction)
Chapter 2 (under construction)
Chapter 4 (under construction)
Chapter 5 (under construction)
HUBERT HOWE BANCROFT
H I S T O R Y O F U T A H
1540 - 1886
THE HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
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There is only one example in the annals of America of the organization of a commonwealth upon principles of pure theocracy. There is here one example only where the founding of a state grew out of the founding of a new religion. Other instances there have been of the occupation of wild tracts on this continent by people flying before persecution, or desirous
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of greater religious liberty; there were the quakers, the huguenots, and the pilgrim fathers, though their spiritual interests were so soon subordinated to political necessities; religion has often played a conspicuous part in the settlement of the New World, and there has at times been present in some degree the theocratic, if not indeed the hierarchal, idea; but it has been long since the world, the old continent or the new, has witnessed anything like a new religion successfully established and set in prosperous running order upon the fullest and combined principles of theocracy, hierarchy, and patriarchy.
With this new series of phenomena, a new series of difficulties arises in attempting their elucidation: not alone the perplexities always attending unexplored fields, but formidable embarrassments which render the task at once delicate and dangerous.
If the writer is fortunate enough to escape the many pitfalls of fallacy and illusion which beset his way; if he is wise and successful enough to find and follow the exact line of equity which should be drawn between the hotly contending factions; in a word, if he is honest and capable, and speaks honestly and openly in the treatment of such a subject, he is pretty sure to offend, and bring upon himself condemnation from all parties. But where there are palpable faults on both sides of a case, the judge who unites equity with due discrimination may be sure he is not in the main far from right if he succeeds in offending both sides. Therefore, amidst the multiformity of conflicting ideas and evidence, having abandoned all hope of satisfying others, I fall back upon the next most reasonable proposition left -- that of satisfying myself.
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In regard to the quality of evidence I here encounter, I will say that never before has it been my lot to meet with such a mass of mendacity. The attempts of almost all who have written upon the subject seem to have been to make out a case rather than to state the facts. Of course, by any religious sect dealing largely in the supernatural, fancying itself under the direct guidance of God, its daily doings a standing miracle, commingling in all the ordinary affairs of life prophecies, special interpositions, and revelations with agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, we must expect to find much written which none but that sect can accept as true.
And in relation to opposing evidence, almost every book that has been put forth respecting the people of Utah by one not a Mormon is full of calumny, each author apparently endeavoring to surpass his predecessor in the libertinism of abuse. Most of these are written in a sensational style, and for the purpose of deriving profit by pandering to a vitiated public taste, and are wholly unreliable as to facts. Some few, more especially among those first appearing, whose data were gathered by men upon the spot, and for the purpose of destroying what they regarded as a sacrilegious and pernicious fanaticism, though as vehement in their opposition as any, make some pretensions to honesty and sincerity, and are more worthy of credit. There is much in government reports, and in the writings of the later residents in Utah, dictated by honest patriotism, and to which the historian should give careful attention. In using my authorities, I distinguish between these classes, as it is not profitable either to pass by anything illustrating principles or affecting progress, or
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to print pages of pure invention, palpable lies, even for the purpose of proving them such. Every work upon the subject, however, receives proper bibliographical notice.
The materials for Mormon church history are exceptionally full. Early in his career the first president appointed a historiographer, whose office has been continuous ever since. To his people he himself gave their early history, both the inner and intangible and the outer and material portions of it. Then missionaries to different posts were instructed to make a record of all pertinent doings, and lodge the same in the church archives. A sacred obligation seems to have been implied in this respect from the beginning, the Book of Mormon itself being largely descriptive of such migrations and actions as usually constitute the history of a people. And save in the matters of spiritual manifestations, which the merely secular historian cannot follow, and in speaking of their enemies, whose treatment we must admit in too many instances has been severe, the church records are truthful and reliable. In addition to this, concerning the settlement of the country, I have here, as in other sections of my historical field, visited the people in person, and gathered from them no inconsiderable stores of original and interesting information.
Upon due consideration, and with the problem fairly before me, three methods of treatment presented themselves from which to choose: first, to follow the beaten track of calumny and vituperation, heaping upon the Mormons every species of abuse, from the lofty sarcasm employed by some to the vulgar scurrility applied by others; second, to espouse
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the cause of the Mormons as the weaker party, and defend them from the seeming injustice to which from the first they have been subjected; third, in a spirit of equity to present both sides, leaving the reader to draw his own conclusions. The first course, however popular, would be beyond my power to follow; the second method, likewise, is not to be considered; I therefore adopt the third course, and while giving the new sect a full and respectful hearing, withhold nothing that their most violent opposers have to say against them.
Anything written at the present day which may properly be called a history of Utah must be largely a history of the Mormons, these being the first white people to settle in the country, and at present largely occupying it. As others with opposing interests and influences appear, they and the great principles thereby brought to an issue receive the most careful consideration. And I have deemed it but fair, in presenting the early history of the church, to give respectful consideration to and a sober recital of Mormon faith and experiences, common and miraculous. The story of Mormonism, therefore, beginning with chapter iii., as told in the text, .is from the Mormon standpoint, and based entirely on Mormon authorities; while in the notes, and running side by side with the subject-matter in the text, I give in full all anti-Mormon arguments and counter-statements, thus enabling the reader to carry along both sides at once, instead of having to consider first all that is to be said on one side, and then all that is to be said on the other.
In following this plan, I only apply to the history of Utah the same principles employed in all my historical efforts, namely, to give all the facts on every
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side pertinent to the subject. In giving the history of the invasion and occupation of the several sections of the Pacific States from Panamá to Alaska, I have been obliged to treat of the idiosyncrasies, motives, and actions of Roman catholics, methodists, presbyterians, episcopalians, and members of the Greek church: not of the nature or validity of their respective creeds, but of their doings, praising or blaming as praise or blame were due, judged purely from a standpoint of morals and humanity according to the highest standards of the foremost civilization of the world. It was not necessary -- it was wholly outside the province of the historian, and contrary to my method as practised elsewhere -- to discuss the truth or falsity of their convictions, any more than when writing the history of Mexico, California, or Oregon to advance my opinions regarding the inspiration of the scriptures, the divinity of Christ, prophecies, miracles, or the immaculate conception. On all these questions, as on the doctrines of the Mormons and of other sects, I have of course my opinions, which it were not only out of place but odious to be constantly thrusting upon the attention of the reader, who is seeking for facts only.
In one respect only I deem it necessary to go a little further here: inasmuch as doctrines and beliefs enter more influentially than elsewhere into the origin and evolution of this society, I give the history of the rise and progress of those doctrines. Theirs was not an old faith, the tenets of which have been fought for and discussed for centuries, but professedly a new revelation, whose principles are for the most part unknown to the outside world, where their purity is severely questioned. The settlement of this section sprung
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primarily from the evolution of a new religion, with all its attendant trials and persecutions. To give their actions without their motives would leave the work obviously imperfect; to give their motives without the origin and nature of their belief would be impossible.
I will say that those who desire a knowledge of people and events impartially viewed, a statement of facts fairly and dispassionately presented, I am confident will find them here as elsewhere in my writings.
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Francisco Vazquez De Coronado at Cibola -- Expedition of Pedro De Tobar and Father Juan De Padilla -- They Hear of a Large River -- Garcia Lopez De Cardenas Sent in Search of It -- The First Europeans to Approach Utah -- Route of Cardenas -- Mythical Maps -- Part of the Northern Mystery -- Journey of Dominguez and Escalante -- the Course They Followed -- The Rivers They Crossed -- the Comanches -- Region of the Great Lakes -- Rivers Timpanogos, San Buenaventura, and Others -- the Country of the Yutas -- Route From Santa Fe to Monterey -- the Friars Talk of the Lake Country -- Return of the Spaniards to Zuni and March to Santa Fe
AS Francisco Vazquez de Coronado was journeying from Culiacan to the north and east in 1540, he rested at Ci;bola, that is to say Zuni, and while waiting for the main army to come forward, expeditions were sent out in various directions. One of these, consisting of twenty men under Pedro de Tobar, and attended by Father Juan de Padilla, proceeded north-westward, and after five days reached Tusayan, or the Moqui villages, which were quickly captured. Among other matters of interest, information was here given of a large river yet farther north, the people who lived upon its banks being likewise very large.
Returning to Cibola, Tobar reported what had been said concerning this river; whereupon Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardenas was sent with twelve men to explore it, Pedro de Sotomayor accompanying to
chronicle the expedition. Obtaining at Tusayan, where he was well received, guides and carriers, with an ample supply of provisions, Crdenas marched for twenty days, probably in a north-westerly direction, 1
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Invasion By Fur Hunters -- Baron La Hontan and His Fables -- the Popular Geographic Idea -- Discovery of the Great Salt Lake -- James Bridger Deciding a Bet -- He Determines the Course of Bear River and Comes Upon the Great Lake -- Henry, Ashley, Green, and Beckwourth on the Ground -- Fort Built at Utah Lake -- Peter Skeen Ogden -- Journey of Jedediah S. Smith -- a Strange Country -- Pegleg Smith -- Wolfskill, Yount, and Burton Traverse the Country -- Walker's Visit to California -- Some Old Maps -- the Bartleson Company -- Statements of Bidwell and Belden Compared -- Whitman and Lovejoy -- Frmont -- Pacific Coast Immigrations of 1845 and 1846 -- Origin of the Name Utah.
HALF a century passes, and we find United States fur hunters standing on the border of the Great Salt Lake, tasting its brackish waters, and wondering if it is an arm of the sea. 1
1 There are those who soberly refer to the Baron la Hontan and his prodigious falsehoods of 1689 for the first information of Great Salt Lake. Because among the many fabulous wonders reported he somewhere on the western side of the continent placed a body of bad-tasting water, Stansbury, Exped., 151, does not hesitate to affirm 'that the existence of a large lake of salt water somewhere amid the wilds west of the Rocky Mountains seems to have been known vaguely as long as 150 years since.' Perhaps it was salt, and not silver that the Winnebagoes reported to Carver, Travels, 33-6, as coming down in caravans from the mountains lying near the heads of the Colorado River.' Warren, in Pacific Railroad Report, xi. 34, repeats and refutes the La Hontan myth. He says, 'the story of La Hontan excited much speculation, and received various additions in his day; and the lake finally became represented on the published English maps'. Long before this date, however, reliable information had been received by the Spaniards, and the same may have come to English trappers; so that by 1826 reports of the existence of such a sheet may have reached civilization. It is needless to say that neither La Hontan nor Carver ever received information from the natives, or elsewhere, sufficient to justify map-makers in placing a large lake in that vicinity. In Gordon's Historical and Geographical Memoir of the North American Continent, published in Dublin in 1820, it is written: 'Concerning the lakes and rivers of this as yet imperfectly explored region we have little to say. Of the former
First among these, confining ourselves to authentic records, was James Bridger, to whom belongs the honor of discovery. It happened in this wise. During the winter of 1824-5 a party of trappers, who had ascended the Missouri with Henry and Ashley, found...
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A Glance Eastward -- the Middle States Sixty Years Ago -- Birth and Parentage of Joseph Smith -- Spiritual Manifestations -- Joseph Tells His Vision -- and is Reviled -- Moroni Appears -- Persecutions -- Copying the Plates -- Martin Harris -- Oliver Cowdery -- Translation -- the Book of Mormon -- Aaronic Priesthood Conferred -- Conversions -- the Whitmer Family -- the Witnesses -- Spaulding Theory -- Printing of the Book -- Melchisedec Priesthood Conferred -- Duties of Elders and Others -- Church of Latter-Day Saints Organized -- First Miracle -- First Conference -- Oliver Cowdery Ordered to the West.
LET us turn now to the east, where have been evolving these several years a new phase of society and a new religion, destined presently to enter in and take possession of this far-away primeval wilderness. For it is not alone by the power of things material that the land of the Yutas is to be subdued; that mysterious agency, working under pressure of high enthusiasm in the souls of men, defying exposure, cold, and hunger, defying ignominy, death, and the destruction of all corporeal things in the hope of heaven's favors and a happy immortality, a puissance whose very breath of life is persecution, and whose highest glory is martyrdom -- it is through this subtile and incomprehensible spiritual instrumentality, rather than from a desire for riches or any tangible advantage that the new Israel is to arise, the new exodus to be conducted, the new Canaan to be attained.
Sixty years ago western New York was essentially a new country, Ohio and Illinois were for the most
part a wilderness, and Missouri was the United States limit, the lands beyond being held by the aborigines. There were some settlements between Lake Erie and the Mississippi River, but they were recent and rude, and the region was less civilized than savage. The people, though practically shrewd and of bright intellect, were ignorant; though having within them the elements of wealth, they were poor. There was among them much true religion, whatever that may be, yet they were all superstitious -- baptists, methodists, and presbyterians; there was little to choose between them. Each sect was an abomination to the others; the others were of the devil, doomed to eternal torments, and deservedly so. The bible was accepted literally by all, every word of it, prophecies, miracles, and revelations; the same God and the same Christ satisfied all; an infidel was a thing woful and unclean. All the people reasoned. How they racked their brains in secret, and poured forth loud logic in public, not over problems involving intellectual liberty, human rights and reason, and other like insignificant matters appertaining to this world, but concerning the world to come, and more particularly such momentous questions as election, justification, baptism, and infant damnation. Then of signs and seasons, God's ways and Satan's ways; likewise concerning promises and prayer, and all the rest, there was a credulity most refreshing. In the old time there were prophets and apostles, there were visions and miracles; why should it not be so during these latter days? It was time for Christ to come again, time for the millennial season, and should the power of the almighty be limited? There was the arch-fanatic Miller, and his followers, predicting the end and planning accordingly. "The idea that revelation from God was unattainable in this age, or that the ancient gifts of the gospel had ceased forever, never entered my head," writes a young quaker; and a methodist of that epoch says: "We believed in the gathering of Israel, and in the restoration
he ten tribes; we believed that Jesus would come to reign personally on the earth; we believed that there ought to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, as in former days, and that the gifts of healing and the power of God ought to be associated with the church." These ideas, of course, were not held by all; in many respects the strictly orthodox evangelical churches taught the contrary; but there was enough of this literal interpretation and license of thought among the people to enable them to accept in all honesty and sincerity any doctrine in harmony with these views.
Such were the people and the place, such the atmosphere and conditions under which was to spring up the germ of a new theocracy, destined in its development to accomplish the first settlement of Utah -- a people and an atmosphere already sufficiently charged, one would think, with doctrines and dogmas, with vulgar folly and stupid fanaticism, with unchristian hate and disputation over the commands of God and the charity of Christ. All this must be taken into account in estimating character, and in passing judgment on credulity; men of one time and place cannot with justice be measured by the standard of other times and places.
Before entering upon the history of Mormonism, I would here remark, as I have before said in the preface to this volume, that it is my purpose to treat the subject historically, not as a social, political, or religious partisan, but historically to deal with the sect organized under the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as I would deal with any other body of people, thus carrying over Utah the same quality of work which I have applied to my entire field, whether in Alaska, California, or Central America. Whatever they may be, howsoever righteous or wicked, they are entitled at the hand of those desirous of knowing the truth to a dispassionate and
respectful hearing, which they have never had. As a matter of course, where there is such warmth of feeling, such bitterness and animosity as is here displayed on both sides, we must expect to encounter in our evidence much exaggeration, and many untruthful statements. Most that has been written on either side is partisan -- bitterly so; many of the books that have been published are full of vile and licentious abuse -- disgustingly so. Some of the more palpable lies, some of the grosser scurrility and more blasphemous vulgarity, I shall omit altogether.
Again, the history of the Mormons, which is the early history of Utah, is entitled in its treatment to this consideration, as differing from that of other sections of my work, and to this only -- that whereas in speaking of other and older sects, as of the catholics in Mexico and California, and of the methodists and presbyterians in Oregon, whose tenets having long been established, are well known, and have no immediate bearing aside from the general influence of religion upon the subjugation of the country, any analysis of doctrines would be out of place, such analysis in the present instance is of primary importance. Ordinarily, I say, as I have said before, that with the religious beliefs of the settlers on new lands, or of the builders of empire in any of its several phases, social and political, the historian has nothing to do, except in so far as belief influences actions and events. As to attempting to determine the truth or falsity of any creed, it is wholly outside of his province.
Since the settlement of Utah grew immediately out of the persecution of the Mormons, and since their persecutions grew out of the doctrines which they promulgated, it seems to me essential that the origin and nature of their religion should be given. And as they are supposed to know better than others what they believe and how they came so to believe, I shall let them tell their own story of the rise and progress of their religion, carrying along with it the commentaries
that is, giving in the text the narrative proper, and in the notes further information, elucidation, and counter-statements, according to my custom. All this by no means implies, here or elsewhere in my work, that when a Mormon elder, a catholic priest, or a baptist preacher says he had a vision, felt within him some supernatural influence, or said a prayer which produced a certain result, it is proper or relevant for me to stop and dispute with him whether he really did see, feel, or experience as alleged.
As to the material facts connected with the story of Mormonism, there is but little difference between the Mormons and their opposers; but in the reception and interpretation of acts and incidents, particularly in the acceptation of miraculous assertions and spiritual manifestations, they are as widely apart as the two poles, as my text and notes clearly demonstrate. And finally, I would have it clearly understood that it is my purpose, here as elsewhere in all my historical efforts, to impart information rather than attempt to solve problems.
In Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 23d of December, 1805, was born Joseph Smith junior, presently to be called translator, revelator, seer, prophet, and founder of a latter-day dispensation. When the boy was ten years old, his father, who was a farmer, moved with his family to Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, and four years afterward took up his abode some six miles south, at Manchester, Ontario county. Six sons and three daughters comprised the family of Joseph and Lucy Smith, namely, Alvin, Hyrum, Joseph junior, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos, Sophronia, Catharine, and Lucy. 1
1 Much has been said by the enemies of Mormonism against the Smith family. 'All who became intimate with them during this period [1820 to 1830] unite in representing the general character of old Joseph and wife, the parents of the pretended prophet, as lazy, indolent, ignorant, and superstitious,
There was much excitement over the subject of religion in this section at the time, with no small discussion of doctrines, methodist, baptist, and the rest; and about a year later, the mother and four of the children joined the presbyterians.
But young Joseph was not satisfied with any of the current theologies, and he was greatly troubled what to do. Reading his bible one day, he came upon the passage, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." He retired to the woods and threw himself upon his knees. It was his first attempt at prayer.
While thus engaged a vision fell upon him. Suddenly he was seized by some supernatural power of evil import, which bound him body and soul. He could not think; he could not speak; thick darkness gathered round. Presently there appeared above his head a pillar of light, which slowly descended and enveloped him. Immediately he was delivered from the enemy; and in the sky he saw two bright personages, one of whom said, pointing to the other, "This is my beloved son; hear him." Then he asked what he should do; to which sect he should unite himself.
having a firm belief in ghosts and witches; the telling of fortunes; pretending to believe that the earth was filled with hidden treasures, buried there by Kid or the Spaniards. Being miserably poor, and not much disposed to obtain an honest livelihood by labor, the energies of their minds seemed to be mostly directed toward finding where these treasures were concealed, and the best mode of acquiring their possession.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled,11. In the towns of Palmyra and Manchester, in 1833, documents defamatory to the family were circulated for signature, one receiving 11 and another 51 names. Given with signatures in Howe's Mormonism Unveiled,251-2, and in Kidder's Mormonism,20-1. See also Olshausen, Gesch. d. Morm., 9-14, 103-10, 200-1; Gazette of Utah, 1874, 17; Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor.,11-20. In one of these documents, signed and sworn to by Peter Ingersoll, he said that the Smith family employed most of their time in gold-digging. At one time Joseph Smith senior told Ingersoll to hold a mineral rod in his hand, a piece of witch-hazel, and selected a place to stand where he was to whisper directions to the rod; Smith stood apart, throwing himself into various shapes, but was unable to produce the desired effect. Again he took a stone that Ingersoll had picked up and exclaimed that it was invaluable; looking at it earnestly, he said it revealed to him chests of gold and silver at the back of his house; and putting it into his hat, threw himself into various attitudes, and soon appeared exhausted; then in a faint voice, said, 'If you only knew what I had seen you would believe.' Some time before Joseph's discovery of the gold plates, the elder Smith told Ingersoll that a book had been found in Canada in a hollow tree which treated of the discovery of this continent.
And he was told to join none of them, that all were corrupt, all were abomination in the eyes of the Lord. When he came to himself he was still gazing earnestly up into heaven. This was in the spring of 1820, and Joseph was yet scarcely fifteen.
When the young prophet began to proclaim his vision, the wise men and preachers of the several sects laughed at him; called him a silly boy, and told him that if his mind had really been disturbed. it was the devil's doing. "Signs and revelations," said they, "are of by-gone times; it ill befits one so young to lie before God and in the presence of his people." "Nevertheless," replied Joseph, "I have had a vision." Then they reviled him, and the boy became disheartened and was entangled again in the vanities of the world, under the heavy hand of their oppression.
But the spirit of the Lord could not thus be quenched. The young man repented, and sought and found forgiveness. Retiring to his bed, midst prayer and supplication, on the night of September 21, 1823, presently the room grew light, and a figure robed in exceeding whiteness stood by the bedside, the feet not touching the floor. And a voice was heard, saying, "I am Moroni, and am come to you, Joseph, as a messenger from God." Then the angel told the youth that the Lord had for him a great work to do, that his name should be known to all people, and of him should be spoken both good and evil. He told him of a book written on plates of gold, and containing an account of the early inhabitants of this continent, and the gospel as delivered to them by Christ. He said that deposited with those plates were two stones in silver bows, which, fastened to a breastplate, constituted the Urim and Thummim; and that now as in ancient times the possession and use of the stones constituted a seer, and that through them the book might be translated. After offering many scriptural quotations from both the old and the new testament, and charging the young man that when the book and the breastplate were delivered
to him he should show them to no one, under pain of death and destruction -- the place where the plates were deposited meanwhile being clearly revealed to his mental vision -- the light in the room grew dim, as Moroni ascended along a pathway of glory into heaven, and finally darkness was there as before. The visit was made three times, the last ending with the dawn, when Joseph arose greatly exhausted and went into the field to work.
His father, observing his condition, sent him home; but on the way Joseph fell in a state of unconsciousness to the ground. Soon, however, the voice of Moroni was heard, commanding him to return to his father, and tell him all that he had seen and heard. The young man obeyed. The father answered that it was of God; the son should do as the messenger had said. Then Joseph, knowing from the vision where the plates were bidden, went to the west side of a hill, called the hill Cumorah, near the town of Manchester, and beneath a large stone, part of whose top appeared above the ground, in a stone box, 2 he found the plates, 3 the urim and
2 Oliver Cowdery stated that he visited the spot, and that 'at the bottom of this [hole] lay a stone of suitable size, the upper surface being smooth. At each edge was placed a large quantity of cement and into this cement at the four edges of this stone were placed erect four others, their lower edges resting in the cement at the outer edges of the first stone. The four last named when placed erect formed a box, the corners, or where the edges of the four came in contact, were also cemented so firmly that the moisture from without was prevented from entering. It is to be observed also that the inner surfaces of the four erect or side stones were smooth. The box was sufficiently large to admit a breastplate. From the bottom of the box or from the breastplate arose three small pillars, composed of the same description of cement as that used on the edges; and upon these three pillars were placed the records. The box containing the records was covered with another stone, the lower surface being flat and the upper crowning.' Mackay's The Mormons,20.
3 Orson Pratt thus describes the plates, Visions, 14: 'These records were engraved on plates which had the appearance of gold. Each plate was not far from seven by eight inches in width and length, being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book, and fastened at one edge with three rings running through the whole. This volume was about six inches in thickness, and a part of it was sealed. the characters or letters upon the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, as well
thummim, 4 and the breastplate. 5 But when he was about to take them out Moroni stood beside him and said, "Not yet; meet me here at this time each year for four years, and I will tell you what to do." Joseph obeyed.
The elder Smith was poor, and the boys were sometimes obliged to hire themselves out as laborers. It was on the 22d of September, 1823, that the plates were found. The following year Alvin died, and in October 1825 Joseph went to work for Josiah Steal, in Chenango county. This man had what he supposed to be a silver mine at Harmony, Pennsylvania, said to have been once worked by Spaniards. Thither Joseph went with the other men to dig for silver, 6
as much skill in the art of engraving.' In the introduction to the Book of Mormon (New York ed.), viii., is given essentially the same description. See also Bonwick's Mormons and Silver Mines,61; Bertrand, Mem. d'un Mor.,25; Olshausen, Gesch. d. Morm.,12-29; Stenhouse, Les Mormons,i.-vii.; Ferris' Utah and The Mormons,58; Mackay's The Mormons,15-22; Smucker's Hist. Mormons,13-28. For facsimile of writing on golden plates, see Beadle's Life in Utah,25. For illustrations of the hill, finding the plates, etc., see Mackay's The Mormons,15; Smucker's Hist. Mormons,24; Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor.,frontispiece. When sceptics ask, Why are not the plates forthcoming? believers ask in turn, Why are not forthcoming the stone tables of Moses? And yet the ten commandments are to-day accepted.
4 'With the book were found the urim and thummim, two transparent crystals set in the rims of a bow. These pebbles were the seer's instrument whereby the mystery of hidden things was to be revealed!' Introduction to Book of Mormon (New York ed.), viii. 'The best attainable definition of the ancient urim and thummim is quite vague and indistinct. An accepted biblical lexicographer gives the meaning as "light and perfection," or the "shining and the perfect." The following is quoted from Butterworth's Concordance: "There are various conjectures about the urim and thummim, whether they were the stones in the high-priest's breastplate, or something distinct from them; which it is not worth our while to inquire into, since God has left it a secret. It is evident that the urim and thummim were appointed to inquire of God by, on momentous occasions, and continued in use, as some think, only till the building of Solomon's temple, and all conclude that this was never restored after its destruction."' Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor.,32.
5 'A breastplate such as was used by the ancients to defend the chest from the arrows and weapons of their enemy.' Mackay's The Mormons,20.
6 'Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.' Hist. Joseph Smith, in Times and Seasons, May 2, 1842. It seems from this, or some other cause, that the followers of Smith have never regarded mining with favor, although some of them at times have engaged in that occupation. Upon the discovery of gold in California, the Mormons were among the first in the field, at Coloma, at Mormon Bar, and elsewhere. Left there a little longer, they would soon have gathered barrels of the precious dust; but promptly upon the call they dropped their tools, abandoned their brilliant prospects, and crossing the Sierra, began to build homes among their people in the untenanted desert.
house of Isaac Hale. After a month's fruitless effort Stoal was induced by Joseph to abandon the undertaking; but meanwhile the youth had fallen in love with Hale's pretty daughter, Emma, and wished to marry her. Hale objected, owing to his continued assertions that he had seen visions, and the resulting persecutions; so Joseph took Emma to the house of Squire Tarbill, at South Bainbridge, where they were married the 18th of January, 1827, and thence returned to his father's farm, where he worked during the following season. 7
Every year went Joseph to the hill Cumorah to hold communion with the heavenly messenger, and on the 22d of September, 1827, Moroni delivered to him the plates, 8 and the urim and thummim with which to translate them, charging him on pain of dire disaster
7 Among the many charges of wrong-doing ascribed to Smith from first to last, was that of having stolen Hale's daughter. In answer it is said that the young woman was of age, and had the right to marry whom and as she chose.
8 'When the appointed hour came, the prophet, assuming his practised air of mystery, took in hand his money-digging spade and a large napkin, and went off in silence and alone in the solitude of the forest, and after an absence of some three hours, returned, apparently with his sacred charge concealed within the folds of the napkin. Reminding the (Smith) family of the original "command" as revealed to him, strict injunction of non-intervention and non-inspection was given to them, under the same terrible penalty as before denounced for its violation. Conflicting stories were afterwards told in regard to the manner of keeping the book in concealment and safety, which are not worth repeating further than to mention that the first place of secretion was said to be under a heavy hearthstone in the Smith family mansion. Smith told a frightful story of the display of celestial pyrotechnics on the exposure to his view of the sacred book -- the angel who had led him to the discovery again appearing as his guide and protector, and confronting ten thousand devils gathered there, with their menacing sulphurous flame and smoke, to deter him from his purpose! This story was repeated and magnified by the believers, and no doubt aided the experiment upon superstitious minds which eventuated so successfully.' Tucker's Orig. and Prog. Mor.,30-31. 'A great variety of contradictory stories were related by the Smith family before they had any fixed plan of operation, respecting the finding of the plates from which their book was translated. One is, that after the plates were taken from their hiding-place by Jo he again laid them down, looked into the hole, where he saw a toad, which immediately transformed itself into a spirit and gave him a tremendous blow. Another is, that after he had got the plates, a spirit assaulted him with the intention of getting them from his possession, and actually jerked them out of his hands. Jo, nothing daunted, seized them again, and started to run, when his Satanic majesty, or the spirit, applied his foot to the prophet's seat of honor which raised three or four feet from the ground.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled,275-6. The excavation was at the time said to be 160 feet in extent, though that is probably an exaggeration.
to guard them well until he should call for them. Persecutions increased when it was known that Joseph had in his possession the plates of gold, and every art that Satan could devise or put in force through the agency of wicked men was employed to
It had a substantial door of two-inch plank, and a secure lock. Lapse of time and other causes have almost effaced its existence. Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor.,48. 'In 1843, near Kinderhook, Illinois, in excavating a large mound, six brass plates were discovered of a bell-shape four inches in length and covered with ancient characters. They were fastened together with two iron wires almost entirely corroded, and were found along with charcoal, ashes, and human bones, more than twelve feet below the surface of a mound of the sugar-loaf form, common in the Mississippi Valley. Large trees growing upon these artificial mounds attest their great antiquityÉNo key has yet been discovered for the interpretation of the engravings upon these brass plates, or of the strange gylphs upon the ruins of Otolum in Mexico.' Daniel Wedderburn, in Popular Science Monthly, Dec. 1876; see also Times and Seasons, iv. 186-7, and engraved cuts in Taylor's Discussions, and in Mackay's The Mormons, 26-7. On the authority of Kidder, Mormonism, 23-6, Willard Chase, a carpenter, said: 'In the fore part of September (I believe) 1827, the prophet requested me to make him a chest, informing me that he designed to move back to Pennsylvania, and expecting soon to get his gold book, he wanted a chest to lock it up, giving me to understand, at the same time, that if I would make the chest he would give me a share in the book. I told him my business was such that I could not make it; but if he would bring the book to me, I would lock it up for him. He said that would not do, as he was commanded to keep it two years without letting it come to the eye of any one but himself. This commandment, however, he did not keep, for in less than two years twelve men said they had seen it. I told him to get it and convince me of its existence, and I would make him a chest; but he said that would not do; as he must have a chest to lock the book in as soon as he took it out of the ground. I saw him a fews days after, when he told me I must make the chest. I told him plainly that I could not, upon which he told me that I could have no share in the hook. A few weeks after this conversation he came to my house and related the following story: That on the 22d of September he arose early in the morning and took a one-horse wagon of some one that had stayed over night at their house, without leave or license; and, together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the book. He left his wife in the wagon, by the road, and went alone to the hill, a distance of thirty or forty rods from the road; he said he then took the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree-top and returned home. He then went to the town of Macedon to work. After about ten days, it having been suggested that some one had got his book, his wife went utter him; he hired a horse, and went home in the afternoon, stayed long enough to drink one cup of tea, and then went for his book, found it safe, took off his frock, wrapt it round it, put it under his arm, and ran all the way home, a distance of about two miles. He said he should think it would weigh sixty pounds, and was sure it would weigh forty. On his return home he said he was attacked by two men in the woods, and knocked them both down and made his escape, arrived safe, and secured his treasure. He then observed that if it had not been for that stone (which he acknowledged belonged to me) he would not have obtained the book. A few days afterward he told one of my neighbors that he had not got any such book, and never had; but that he told the story to deceive the damned fool (meaning me), to get him to make a chest.' Others give other accounts, but it seems to me not worth while to follow them further.
wrest them from him. But almighty power and wisdom prevailed, and the sacred relies were safely kept till the day the messenger called for them, when they were delivered into his hands, Joseph meanwhile haying accomplished by them all that was required of him.
And now so fierce becomes the fiery malevolence of the enemy that Joseph is obliged to fly. 9 He is very poor, having absolutely nothing, until a farmer named Martin Harris has pity on him and gives him fifty dollars, 10 with which he is enabled to go with his wife to her old home in Pennsylvania. 11 Immediately after his arrival there in December, he begins copying the
9 'Soon the news of his discoveries spread abroad throughout all those partsÉThe house was frequently beset by mobs and evil-designing persons. Several times he was shot at, and very narrowly escaped. Every device was used to get the plates away from him. And being continually in danger of his life from a gang of abandoned wretches, he at length concluded to leave the place, and go to Pennsylvania; and accordingly packed up his goods, putting the plates into a barrel of beans, and proceeded upon his journey. He had not gone far before he was overtaken by an officer with a search-warrant, who flattered himself with the idea that he should surely obtain the plates; after searching very diligently, he was sadly disappointed at not finding them. Mr Smith then drove on, but before he got to his journey's end he was again overtaken by an officer on the same business, and after ransacking the wagon very carefully, he went his way as much chagrined as the first at not being able to discover the object of his research. Without any further molestation, he pursued his journey until he came to the northern part of Pennsylvania, near the Susquehanna River, in which part his father-in-law resided.' Pratt's Visions, 15.
10 'In the neighborhood (of Smith's old home) there lived a farmer possessed of some money and more credulity. Every wind of doctrine affected him. tie had been in turn a quaker, a Wesleyan, a baptist, a presbyterian. His heterogeneous and unsettled-views admirably qualified him for discipleship where novelty was paramount, and concrete things were invested with the enchantment of mystery. He was enraptured with the young prophet, and offered him fifty dollars to aid in the publication of his new bible.' Tayldler's Mormons, xxviii.-ix.
11 'Soon after Smith's arrival at Harmony, Isaac Hale (Smith's father-in-law) heard he had brought a wonderful box of plates with him. Hale "was shown a box in which it is said they were contained, which had to all appearances been used as a glass box of the common window-glass. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to understand that the book of plates was then in the box -- into which, however, I was not allowed to look. I inquired of Joseph Smith, Jr., who was to be the first who would be allowed to see the book of plates. He said it was a young child. After this I became dissatisfied, and informed him that if there was anything in my house of that description, which I could not be allowed to see, he must take it away; if he did not, I was determined to see it. After that the plates were said to be hid in the woods."' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled,264.
characters on the plates, Martin Harris coming to his assistance, and by means of the urim and thummim manages to translate some of them, which work is continued till February 1828. Harris' wife is exceedingly curious about the matter, and finally obtains possession through her husband of a portion of the manuscript. 12 About this time Harris takes a copy
12 Martin Harris 'says he wrote a considerable part of the book as Smith dictated; and at one time the presence of the Lord was so great that a screen was hung up between him and the prophet; at oilier times the prophet would sit in a different room, or up stairs, while the Lord was communicating to him the contents of the plates. He does not pretend that he ever saw the wonderful plates but once, although he and Smith were engaged for months in deciphering their contents.' Mormonism Unveiled,14. 'Harris rendered Smith valuable assistance by transcribing for him, since he could not write himself. Poor Martin was unfortunately gifted with a troublesome wife. Her inquisitive and domineering nature made him dread unpleasant results from his present engagement. His manuscript had reached 116 pages, and he therefore begged permission to read it to her "with the hope that it might have a salutary effect upon her feelings." His request was at length granted; but through carelessness or perfidy, while in his house, the precious document was irrecoverably lost. Joseph suffered greatly in consequence of this hinderance, but more from the anger of heaven which was manifested against him. As soon as possible, he resumed his task, having secured the services of another scribe, Oliver Cowdery, a school-master in the neighborhood. Martin Harris, earnest as he was, had never yet been favored with a sight of the golden plates. He had not attained to sufficient purity of mind; but a copy of a small portion of their contents was placed in his hands, and this he was told he might show to any scholar in the world, if he wished to be satisfied. Accordingly he started for New York, sought Professor Anthon (Charles Anthon, LL.D., then adjunct professor of ancient languages in Columbia College), and requested his opinion.' Taylder's Mormons, xxxviii.-ix. 'She (Harris's wife) contrived in her husband's sleep to steal from him the particular source of her disturbance, and burned the manuscript to ashes. For years she kept this incendiarism a profound secret to herself, even until after the book was published. Smith and Harris held her accountable for the theft, but supposed she had handed the manuscript to some "evil-designing persons," to be used somehow in injuring their cause. A feud was thus produced between husband and wife which was never reconciled. Great consternation now pervaded the Mormon circles. The reappearance of the mysterious stranger (who had before visited the Smiths) was again the subject of inquiry and conjecture by observers, from whom was withheld all explanation of his identity or purpose. It was not at first an easy task to convince the prophet of the entire innocency of his trusted friend Harris in the matter of tills calamitous event, though mutual confidence and friendship were ultimately restored.' Tucker's Orig. and Prog. Mor.,46. Of this lost manuscript Smith afterward wrote: 'Some time after Mr Harris had begun to write for me he began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and show them, and desired of me that I would inquire of the Lord through the urim and thummim if he might not do so.' To two inquiries the reply was no, but a third application resulted in permission being granted under certain restrictions, which were, that Harris might show the papers to his brother, his wife, her sister, his father and mother, and to no one else. Accordingly Smith required Harris to bind himself in a covenant to him in the most solemn manner that he would not do otherwise than had been directed. 'He
of some of the characters to New York city, where he submits them to the examination of Professor Anthon and Dr Mitchell, who pronounce them to be Egyptian, Syriac, Chaldaic, and Arabic. 13 Then
did so,' says Smith. 'He bound himself as I required of him, took the writings, and went his way. NotwithstandingÉhe did show them to others, and by stratagem they got them away from him.' Smith, in Times and Seasons, iii. 785-6.
13 In a letter to E. D. Howe, printed in his book, and in the introduction to the New York edition of the Book of Mormon, Prof. Anthon, among other statements, denies that he ever gave a certificate. The letter reads as follows:
'NEW YORK, February 17, 1834.
'DEAR SIR: I received your letter of the 9th, and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormon inscription to be reformed Egyptian hierogylphies is perfectly false. Some years ago, a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer called on me with a note from Dr Mitchell, of our city, now dead, requesting me to decipher, if possible, the 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 wires 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 a garret in a farm-house, and being thus concealed from view, he 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 who stood outsideá Not a word was said about their being deciphered by the gift of God. Everything in this way was effected by the large pair of spectacle. The farmer added that he had been requested to contribute a sum of money toward the publication of the golden book, the contents of which would, as he was told, produce an entire change in the world, and save it from ruin. So urgent had been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm and giving the amount to those who wished to publish the plates. As a last precautionary step, he had resolved to come to New York, and obtain the opinion of the learned about the meaning of the paper which he brought with him, and which had been given him as part of the contents of the book, although no translation had at that time been made by the young man with spectacles. On hearing this odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and instead of viewing it any longer as a hoax, I began to regard it as part of a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money, and I communicated my suspicions to him, warning him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from me in writing, which, of course, I declined to give, and he then took his leave, taking his paper with him. This paper in question was, in fact. a singular scroll. It consisted of all kinds of singular 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 and placed in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into
Joseph buys of his wife's father a small farm and goes to work on it. In February 1829 he receives a visit from his own father, at which time a revelation comes to Joseph Smith senior, through the son, calling him to faith and good works. The month following Martin Harris asks for and receives a revelation, by the mouth of the latter, regarding the plates, wherein the said Harris is told that Joseph has in his possession the plates which he claims to have, that they were delivered to him by the Lord God, who likewise gave him power to translate them, and that he, Harris, should bear witness of the same. Three months later, Harris having meanwhile acted as his scribe, Joseph is commanded to rest for a season in his work of translating until directed to take it up again.
various compartments, arched 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 whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with friends on the subject since the Mormon excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else but Egyptian hieroglyphics. Some time after, the farmer paid me a second visit. He brought with him the gold book in print, and offered it to me for sale. I declined purchasing. He then asked permission to leave the book with me for examination. I declined receiving it, although his manner was strangely urgent. I adverted once more to the roguery which, in my opinion, had been practised upon him, and asked him what had become of the gold plates. He informed me they were in a trunk with the spectacles. I advised him to go to a magistrate and have the trunk examined. He said the curse of God would come upon him if he did. On my pressing him, however, to go to a magistrate, he told me he would open the trunk if I would take the curse of God upon myself. I replied I would do so with the greatest willingness, and would incur every risk of that nature, provided I could only extricate him from the grasp of the rogues. He then left me. I have given you a full statement of all that I know respecting the origin of Mormonism, and must beg of you, as a personal favor, to publish this letter immediately, should you find my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics.
It is but fair to state that Smith never claimed that the characters were the ordinary Greek or Hebrew, but were what he called Reformed Egyptian. Harris says: 'He gave me a certificate which I took and put into my pocket, and was just leaving the house when Mr Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said unto me, Let me see that certificate. I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them; he replied, "I cannot read a sealed book." I left him and went to Dr Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.' Pearl of Great Price, xiii. 54.
The tenor of the book of Mormon 14 is in this wise: Following the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel, the peoples of the earth were scattered abroad, one colony being led by the Lord across the ocean to America. Fifteen hundred years after, or six hundred years before Christ, they were destroyed for their wickedness. Of the original number was Jared, among whose descendants was the prophet Ether, who was their historian. Ether lived to witness the extinction of his nation, and under divine direction he deposited his history in a locality where it was found by a second colony, Israelites of the tribe of Joseph, who came from Jerusalem about the time of the destruction of the first colony, namely, six hundred years before Christ. Thus was America repeopled; the second colony occupied the site of the first, multiplied and became rich, and in time divided into two nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites, so called from their respective founders, Nephi and Laman. The former advanced in civilization, but the Lamanites lapsed into barbarism, and were the immediate progenitors of the American aboriginals.
The Nephites were the beloved of the Lord. To them were given visions and angels' visits; to them the Christ appeared with gifts of gospel and prophecy. It was, indeed, the golden age of a favored people; but in a time of temptation, some three or four centuries after Christ, they fell, and were destroyed by
14 'The word "Mormon," the name given to his book, is the English termination of the Greek word mormoo, which we find defined in an old, obsolete dictionary to mean bugbear, hobgoblin, raw head, and bloody bones.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 21. 'The word "Mormon" is neither Greek nor derived from the Greek, but from the "reformed Egyptian."' Bell's Reply to Theobald, 2. In Times and Seasons, Mr Smith writes as follows with regard to the meaning of the word 'Mormon:' 'We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, good; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction mor, we have the word "Mormon," which means, literally more good.' 'Joseph Smith, annoyed at the profane wit which could derive the word "Mormon" from the Greek mormo, a bugbear, wrote an epistle on the subject, concluding with an elaborate display of his philological talent such as he was accustomed to make on every possible occasion.' Taylder's Mormon's Own Book, xxxiv., xxxv.
the wicked Lamanites. The greatest prophet of the Nephites, in the period of their declension, was Mormon, their historian, who after having completed his abridgment of the records of his nation, committed it to his son Moroni, and he, that they might not fall into the hands of the Lamanites, deposited them in the hill of Cumorah, where they were found by Joseph Smith.
On the 5th of April, 1829, there comes to Joseph Smith a school-teacher, Oliver Cowdery by name, to whom the Lord had revealed himself at the house of the elder Smith, where the teacher had been boarding. Inquiring of the Lord, Joseph is told that to Oliver shall be given the same power to translate the book of Mormon, 15 by which term the writing on
15 The Book of Mormon; an account written by The Hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi. Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the girl and power of God unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of God. An abridgment take~ from the Book of Ether also; which is a record of the people of Jared; who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to heaven; which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not east off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ. By Joseph Smith, Jun., Author and Proprietor. (Printed by E. B. Grandin, for the author, Palmyra, New York, 1830.) Several editions followed. This first edition has 588 pages, and is prefaced among other things by an account of 117 pages, which Mrs Harris burned. This preface is omitted in subsequent editions. The testimony of three witnesses, and also of eight witnesses which in subsequent editions is placed at the beginning, is here at the end. The testimony of witnesses affirms that the signers saw the plates and the engravings thereon, having been shown them by an angel from heaven; they knew of the translation, that it had been done by the gift and power of God, and was therefore true. The book was reprinted at Nauvoo, at New York, at Salt Lake City, and in Europe. An edition printed by Jas O. Wright & Co., evidently by way of speculation, contains eight pages of introduction, and an advertisement asserting that it is a reprint from the third American edition, and that the work was originally published at Nauvoo, which latter statement is incorrect. The publishers further claim that at the time of this printing, 1848, the book was out of print, notwithstanding the several preceding
editions. The edition at present in common use was printed at Salt Lake City, at the Deseret News office, and entered according to act of congress in 1879, by Joseph F. Smith. It is divided into chapters and verses, with references by Orson Pratt, senior. The arrangement is as follows.
The first book of Nephi, his reign and ministry, 22 chapters; the second book of Nephi, 33 chapters; the book of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, 7 chapters; the book of Enos, 1 chapter; the book of Jarom, 1 chapter; the book of Omni, 1 chapter; the words of Mormon, 1 chapter; the book of Mosiah, 29 chapters; the book of Alma, the son of Alma, 63 chapters; the book of Helaman, 16 chapters; the book of Nephi, the son of Nephi, who was the son of Helaman, 30 chapters; the book of Nephi, who is the son of Nephi, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ, 1 chapter; book of Mormon, 9 chapters; book of Ether, 15 chapters; the book of Moroni, 10 chapters. In all 239 chapters.
I give herewith the contents of the several books. The style, like that of the revelations, is biblical.
'First Book of Nephi. Language of the record; Nephi's abridgment; Lehi's dream; Lehi departs into the wilderness; Nephi slayeth Laban; Sariah complains of Lehi's vision; contents of the brass plates; Ishmael goes with Nephi; Nephi's brethren rebel, and bind him; Lehi's dream of the tree, rod, etc.; Messiah and John prophesied of; olive branches broken off; Nephi's vision of Mary; of the crucifixion of Christ; of darkness and earthquake; great abominable church; discovery of the promised land; bible spoken of; book of Mormon and holy ghost promised; other books come forth; bible and book of Mormon one; promises to the gentiles; two churches; the work of the Father to commence; a man in white robes (John); Nephites come to knowledge; rod of iron; the sons of Lehi take wives; director found (ball); Nephi breaks his bow; directors work by faith; Ishmael died; Lehi and Nephi threatened; Nephi commanded to build a ship; Nephi about to be worshipped by his brethren; ship finished and entered; dancing in the ship; Nephi bound; ship driven back; arrived on the promised land; plates of ore made; Zenos, Neum, and Zenock; Isaiah's writing; holy one of Israel.
'Second Book of Nephi. Lehi to his sons; opposition in all things; Adam fell that man might be; Joseph saw our day; a choice seer; writings grow together; prophet promised to the Lamanites; Joseph's prophecy on brass plates; Lehi buried; Nephi's life sought; Nephi separated from Laman; temple built; skin of blackness; priests, etc., consecrated; make other plates; Isaiah's words by Jacob; angels to a devil; spirits and bodies reunited; baptism; no kings upon this land; Isaiah prophesieth; rod of the stem of Jesse; seed of Joseph perisheth not; law of Moses kept; Christ shall shew himself; signs of Christ, birth and death; whisper from the dust; book sealed up; priestcraft forbidden; sealed book to be brought forth; three witnesses behold the book; the words (read this; I pray thee); seal up the book again; their priests shall contend; teach with their learning, and deny the holy ghost; rob the poor; a bible, a bible; men judged of the books; white and a delightsome people; work commences among all people; lamb of God baptized; baptism by water and holy ghost.
'Book of Jacob. Nephi anointeth a king; Nephi dies; Nephites and Lamanites; a righteous branch from Joseph; Lamanites shall scourge you; more than one wife forbidden; trees, waves, and mountains obey us; Jews look beyond the mark; tame olive tree; nethermost part of the vineyard; fruit laid up against the season; another branch; wild fruit had overcome; lord of the vineyard weeps; branches overcome the roots; wild branches plucked off; Sherein, the anti-Christ; a sign, Sherem smitten; Enos takes the plates from his father.
'The Book of Enos. Enos, thy sins are forgiven; records threatened by Lamanites; Lamanites eat raw meat.
'The Book of Jarom. Nephites wax strong; Lamanites drink blood; fortify cities; plates delivered to Omni.
'The Book of Omni. Plates given to Amaron; plates given to Chemish;
Mosiah warned to flee; Zarahemla discovered; engravings on a stone; Coriantumr discovered; his parents come from the tower; plates delivered to King Benjamin.
'The words of Mormon. False Christs and prophets.
'Book of Mosiah. Mosiah made king; the plates of brass, sword, and director; King Benjamin teacheth the people; their tent doors toward the temple; coming of Christ foretold; beggars not denied; sons and daughters; Mosiah began to reign; Ammon, etc., bound and imprisoned; Limhi's proclamation; twenty-four plates of gold; seer and translator.
'Record of Zeniff. A battle fought; King Laman died; Noah made king; Abinadi the prophet; resurrection; Alma believed Abinadi; Abinadi cast into prison and scourged with fagots; waters of Mormon; the daughters of the Lamanites stolen by King Noah's priests; records on plates of ore; last tribute of wine; Lamanites' deep sleep; King Limhi baptized; priests and teachers labor; Alma saw an angel; Alma fell (dumb); King Mosiah's sons preach to the Lamanites; translation of records; plates delivered by Limhi; translated by two stones; people back to the Tower; records given to Alma; judges appointed; King Mosiah died; Alma died; Kings of Nephi ended.
'The Book of Alma. Nehor slew Gideon; Amlici made king; Amlici slain in battle; Amlicites painted red; Alma baptized in Sidon; Alma's preaching; Alma ordained elders; commanded to meet often; Alma saw an angel; Amulek saw an angel; lawyers questioning Amulek; coins named; Zeesrom the lawyer; Zeesrom trembles; election spoken of; Melchizedek priesthood; Zeesrom stoned; records burned; prison rent; Zeesrom healed and baptized; Nehor's desolation; Lamanites converted; flocks scattered at Sebus; Ammon smote off arms; Ammon and King Lamoni; King Lamoni fell; Ammon and the queen; king and queen prostrate; Aaron, etc., delivered; Jerusalem built; preaching in Jerusalem; Lamoni's father converted; land desolation and bountiful; anti-Nephi-Lehies; general council; swords buried; 1,005 massacred; Lamanites perish by fire; slavery forbidden; anti-Nephi-Lehies removed to Jershon, called Ammonites; tremendous battle; anti-Christ, Korihor; Korihor struck dumb; the devil in the form of an angel; Korihor trodden down; Alma's mission to Zoramites; Rameumptom (holy stand); Alma on hill Onidah; Alma on faith; prophecy of Zenos; prophecy of Zenock; Amulek's knowledge of Christ; charity recommended; same spirit possess your body; believers cast out; Alma to Helaman; plates given to Helaman; twenty-four plates; Gazelem, a stone (secret); Liahona, or compass; Alma to Shiblon; Alma to Corianton; unpardonable sin; resurrection; restoration; justice in punishment; if, Adam, took, tree, life; mercy rob justice; Moroni's stratagem; slaughter of Lamanites; Moroni's speech to Zerahamnah; prophecy of a soldier; Lamanites' covenant of peace; Alma's prophecy 400 years after Christ; dwindle in unbelief; Alma's strange departure; Amalickiah leadeth away the people destroyeth the church; standard of Moroni; Joseph's coat rent; Jacob's prophecy of Joseph's seed; fevers in the land, plants and roots for diseases; Amalickiah's plot; the king stabbed; Amalickiah marries the queen, and is acknowledged king; fortifications by Moroni; ditches filled with dead bodies; Amalickiah's oath; Pahoran appointed judge; army against king-men; Amalickiah slain; Ammoron made king; Bountiful fortified; dissensions; 2,000 young men; Moroni's epistle to Ammoron; Ammoron's answer; Lamanites made drunk; Moroni's stratagem; Helaman's epistle to Moroni; Helaman's stratagem; mothers taught faith; Lamanites surrendered; city of Antiparah taken; city of Cumeni taken; 200 of the 2,000 fainted; prisoners rebel, slain; Manti taken by stratagem; Moroni to the governor; governor's answer; King Pachus slain; cords and ladders prepared; Nephihah taken; Teancum's stratagem, slain; peace established; Moronihah made commander; Helaman died; sacred things, Shiblon; Moroni died; 5,400 emigrated north; ships built by Hagoth; sacred things committed to Helaman; Shiblon died.
'The Book of Helaman. Pahoran died; Pahoran appointed judge; Kishkumen slays Pahoran; Pacumeni appointed judge; Zarahemla taken; Pacumeni
killed; Coriantumr slain; Lamanites surrendered; Helaman appointed judge; secret signs discovered and Kishkumen stabbed; Gadianton fled; emigration northward; cement houses; many books and records; Helaman died; Nephi made judge; Nephites become wicked; Nephi gave the judgment-seat to Cezoram; Nephi and Lehi preached to the Lamanites; 8,000 baptized; Alma and Nephi surrounded with fire; angels administer; Cezoram and son murdered; Gadianton robbers; Gadianton robbers destroyed; Nephi's prophecy; Gadianton robbers are judges; chief judge slain; Seantum detected; keys of the kingdom; Nephi taken away by the spirit; famine in the land; Gladianton band destroyed; famine rendered; Samuel's prophecy; tools lost; two days and a night, light; sign of the crucifixion; Samuel stoned, etc.; angels appeared.
'Third Book of Nephi. Lachoneus chief judge; Nephi receives the records; Nephi's strange departure; no darkness at night; Lamanites become white; Giddianhi to Lachoneus; Gidgiddoni chief judge; Giddianhi slain; Zemnarihah hanged; robbers surrendered; Mormon abridges the records; church begins to be broken up; government of the land destroyed; chief judge murdered; divided into tribes; Nephi raises the dead; sign of the crucifixion; cities destroyed, earthquakes, darkness, etc.; law of Moses fulfilled; Christ appears to Nephites; print of the nails; Nephi and others called; baptism commanded; doctrine of Christ; Christ the end of the law; other sheep spoken of; blessed are the Gentiles; Gentile wickedness on the land. of Joseph; Isaiah's words fulfilled; Jesus heals the sick; Christ blesses children; little ones encircled with fire; Christ administers the sacrament; Christ teaches his disciples; names of the twelve; the twelve teach the multitude; baptism, holy ghost, and fire; disciples made white; faith great; Christ breaks bread again; miracle, bread and wine; Gentiles destroyed (Isaiah); Zion established; from Gentiles, to your seed; sign, Father's work commenced; he shall be marred; Gentiles destroyed (Isaiah); New Jerusalem built; work commence among all the tribes; Isaiah's words; saints did arise; Malachi's prophecy; faith tried by the book of Mormon; children's tongues loosed; the dead raised; baptism and holy ghost; all things common; Christ appears again; Moses, church; three Nephites tarry; the twelve caught up; change upon their bodies.
'Book of Nephi, son of Nephi. Disciples raise the dead; Zarahemia rebuilt; other disciples are ordained in their stead; Nephi dies; Amos keeps the records in his stead; Amos dies, and his son Amos keeps the records; prisons rent by the three; secret combinations; Ammaron hides the records.
'Book of Mormon. Three disciples taken away; Mormon forbidden to preach; Mormon appointed leader; Samuel's prophecy fulfilled; Mormon makes a record; lands divided; the twelve shall judge; desolation taken; women and children sacrificed; Mormon takes the records hidden in Shim; Mormon repents of his oath and takes command; coming forth of records; records hid in Cumorah; 230,000 Nephites slain; shall not get gain by the plates; these things shall come forth out of the earth; the state of the world; miracles cease, unbelief; disciples go into all the world and preach; language of the book.
'Book of Ether. Twenty-four plates found; Jared cries unto the Lord; Jared goes down to the valley of Nimrod; Deseret, honey-bee; barges built; decree of God, choice land; free from bondage; four years in tents at Moriancumer; Lord talks three hours; barges like a dish; eight vessels, sixteen stones; Lord touches the stones; finger of the Lord seen; Jared's brother sees the Lord; two stones given; stones sealed up; goes aboard of vessels; furious wind blowsi 344 days' passage; Orihah anointed king; King Shule taken captive; Shule's sons slay Noah; Jared carries his father away captive; the daughters of Jared dance; Jared anointed king by the hand of wickedness; Jared murdered and Akish reigns in his stead; names of animals; poisonous serpents; Riplakish's cruel reign; Morianton anointed king; poisonous serpents destroyed; many wicked kings; Moroni on faith; miracles by faith; Moroni sees Jesus; New Jerusalen spoken of; Ether cast out; records finished
in the cavity of a rock; secret combinations; war in all the land; King Gilead murdered by his high priest; the high priest murdered by Lib; Lib slain by Coriantumr; dead bodies cover the land and none to bury them; 2,000,000 men slain; hill Ramah; cries rend the air; sleep on their swords; Coriantumor slays Shiz; Shiz falls to the earth; records hidden by Ether.
'Book of Moroni. Christ's words to the twelve; manner of ordination; order of sacrament; order of baptism; faith, hope and charity; baptism of little children; women fed on their husbands' flesh; daughters murdered and eaten; sufferings of women and children; cannot recommend them to God; Moroni to the Lamanites; 420 years since the sign; records sealed up (Moroni); gifts of the spirits; God's word shall hiss forth.'
From a manuscript furnished at my request by Franklin D. Richards, entitled The Book of Mormon, I epitomize as follows: Several families retaining similar forms of speech were directed by God to America, where they became numerous and prosperous. They lived righteously at first, but afterward became sinful, and about 600 B.C. broke up as a nation, leaving records by their most eminent historian Ether. During the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, two men, Lehi and Mulek, were warned of God of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and were directed how they and their families could make their escape, and were led to this land where they found the records of the former people. Lehi landed at Chili. His people spread to North America, became numerous and wealthy, lived under the law of Moses which they had brought with them, and had their judges, kings, prophets, and temples. Looking confidently for the coming of Christ in the flesh, in due time he came, and afar his crucifixion organized the church in America as he had done in Judea, an account of which, together with their general history, was preserved on metallic plates in the language of the times. An abridgment was made on gold plates about A. D. 400 by a prophet named Mormon, from all the historical plates that had come down to him. Thus were given not only the histories of the Nephites and Lamanites -- his own people -- but of the Jaredites, who had occupied the land before them, and his book was called the Book of Mormon. Destruction coming upon the people, Mormon's son, Moroni, was directed of God where to deposit the plates, the urim and thummim being deposited with them so that the finder might be able to read them. And as Moroni had left them so were they found by Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon was translated in 1851 into Italian, under the auspices of Lorenzo Snow, and into Danish under the direction of Erastus Snow; in 1852 John Taylor directed its translation into French and German, and Franklin D. Richards into Welsh. In 1855 George Q. Cannon brought out an edition in the Hawaiian language at San Francisco; in 1878 N. C. Flygare supervised its publication in the Swedish, and Moses Thatcher in 1884 in the Spanish language.
In December 1874, Orson Pratt, at that time church historian, prepared an article for insertion in the Universal Cyclopedia, a portion of which is as follows: 'The first edition of this wonderful book was published early in 1830. It has since been translated and published in the Welsh, Danish, German, French, and Italian languages of the east, and in the language of the Sandwich Islands of the west. It is a volume about one third as large as the bible, consisting of sixteen sacred booksÉ One of the founders of the Jaredite nation, a great prophet, saw in vision all things from the foundation of the world to the end thereof, which were written, a copy of which was engraved by Moroni on the plates of Mormon, and then sealed up. It was this portion which the prophet, Joseph Smith, was forbidden to translate or to unloose the seal. In due time this also will be revealed, together with all the sacred records kept by the ancient nations of this continent, preparatory to the time when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep.' Deseret News, Sept. 27, 1876. Orson Pratt afterward stated that the book of Mormon had been translated into ten different languages. Deseret News, Oct. 9, 1878. See also Taylder's Mormons, 10. For further criticisms on the book of Mormon, see Millennial Star, xix., index v.;
the golden plates is hereafter known, and that he also shall bear witness to the truth.
Two days after the arrival of Oliver, 16 Joseph and he begin the work systematically, the former translating while the latter writes; 17 for Oliver has a vision, meanwhile,
Times and Seasons, ii. 305-6; Pratt's Pamphlets, i. to vi. 1-96; Hyde's Mormonism, 210-83; Olshausen Gesch. der Mormen, 15-29; Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 17-123; Salt Lake City Tribune, Apr. 11, June 5 and 6, and Nov. 5, 1879; Juvenile Instructor, xiv. 2-3; Reynolds' Myth of the Manuscript Found, passim; Lee's Mormonism, 119-26; Clements' Roughing It, 127-35; Pop. Science Monthly, lvi. 165-73; Bennett's Mormonism Exposed, 103-40. See letter from Thurlow Weed, also statement by Mrs Matilda Spaulding McKinstry in Scribner's Mag., Aug. 1880, 613-16.
16 Oliver Cowdery 'is a blacksmith by trade, and sustained a fair reputation until his intimacy commenced with the money digger. He was one of the many in the world who always find time to study out ways and means to live without work. He accordingly quit the blacksmithing business, and is now the editor of a small monthly publication issued under the directions of the prophet, and principally filled with accounts of the spread of Mormonism, their persecutions, and the fabled visions and commands of Smith.' He was 'chief scribe to the prophet, while transcribing, after Martin had lost 116 pages of the precious document by interference of the devil. An angel also has shown him the plates from which the book of Mormon proceeded, as he says.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 15, 265; see also Pearl of Great Price, xiii. 54; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 28; Taylder's Mormons, xxxii.
17 'Instead of looking at the characters inscribed upon the plates, the prophet was obliged to resort to the old peep-stone which he formerly used in money digging. This he placed in a hat, or box, into which he also thrust his faceÉAnother account they give of the transaction is, that it was performed with the big spectacles,' which enabled 'Smith to translate the plates without looking at them.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 17-18. 'These were days never to be forgotten,' Oliver remarks, 'to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the urim and thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, "interpreters," the history or record called the "Book of Mormon,"' Pearl of Great Price, 55. See also Mackay's The Mormons, 30-31; Millennial Star, iii. 148; Smucker's Hist. Mormons, 35; Pratt's Pamphlets, iv. 58-9; Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 61-2. In relation to the peep-stone alluded to, Williard Chase says in his sworn testimony that he discovered a singular stone while digging a well in the year 1822. Joseph Smith was assisting him, and borrowed the stone from him, alleging that he could see into it. After he obtained the stone Smith published abroad the wonders that he could see in the stone, and made much disturbance among the credulous members of the community. See Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 241. 'This stone attracted particular notice on account of its peculiar shape, resembling that of a child's foot. It was of a whitish, glassy appearance, though opaque, resembling quartzÉ He (Joseph Jr) manifested a special fancy for this geological curiosity; and he carried it home with him, though this act of plunder was against the strenuous protestations of Mr Chase's children, who claimed to be its rightful owners. Joseph kept this stone, and ever afterward refused its restoration to the claimants Very soon the pretension transpired that he could see wonderful things by its aid. The idea was rapidly enlarged upon from day to day and in a short time his spiritual endowment was so developed that he asserted the gift and power (with the stone at his eyes) of revealing both things existing and things to come.' Tucker's Mormonism, 19-20.
telling him not to exercise his gift of translating at present, but simply to write at Joseph's dictation. Continuing thus, on the 15th of May the two men go into the woods to ask God concerning baptism, found mentioned in the plates. Presently a messenger descends from heaven in a cloud of light. It is John the Baptist. And he ordains them, saying, "Upon you, my fellow-servants, in the name of messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron." Baptism by immersion is directed; the power of laying-on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost is promised, but not now bestowed; then they are commanded to be baptized, each one baptizing the other, which is done, each in turn laying his hands upon the head of the other, and ordaining him to the Aaronic priesthood. As they come up out of the water the holy ghost falls upon them, and they prophesy.
Persecutions continue; brethren of Christ threaten to mob them, but Joseph's wife's father promises protection. Samuel Smith comes, and is converted, receiving baptism and obtaining revelations; and later Joseph's father and mother, Martin Harris, and others. Food is several times charitably brought to the translators by Joseph Knight, senior, of Colesville, New York, concerning whom is given a revelation. In June comes David Whitmer with a request from his father, Peter Whitmer, of Fayette, New York, that the translators should occupy his house thenceforth until the completion of their work, and brings with him a two-horse wagon to carry them and their effects. Not only is their board to be free, but one of the brothers Whitmer, of whom there are David, John, and Peter junior, will assist in the writing. Thither they go, and find all as promised; David and Peter Whitmer and Hyrum Smith are baptized, and receive revelations through Joseph, who inquires of the Lord for them by means of the urim and thummim. The people thereabout being friendly, meetings are held, and the new revelation taught, many believing,
certain priests and others disputing. Three special witnesses are provided by Christ, namely, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, 18 to whom the plates are shown by an angel after much prayer and meditation in the woods. These are the three witnesses. And there are further eight witnesses, namely, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer junior, John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith senior, Hyrum Smith, and Samuel H. Smith, who testify that the plates were shown to them by Joseph Smith junior, that they handled them with their hands, and saw the characters engraven thereon. 19
18 The objections raised against this testimony are, first, there is no date nor place; second, there are not three separate affidavits, but one testimony signed by three men; third, compare with Smith's revelation Doctrine and Covenants, p. 173, and it appears that this testimony is drawn up by Smith himself. But who are these witnesses? Sidney Rigdon, at Independence, Missouri, in 1838, charged Cowdery and Whitmer with 'being connected with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars, blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive and defraud the saints.' Joseph Smith (Times and Seasons, vol. i. pp. 81, 83-4) charges Cowdery and Whitmer with being busy in stirring up strife and turmoil among the brethren in 1838 in Missouri; and he demands, 'Are they not murderers then at the heart? Are not their consciences seared as with a hot iron?' These men were consequently cut off from the church. In 1837 Smith prints this language about his coadjutor and witness: 'There are negroes who have white skins as well as black ones -- Granny Parish and others, who acted as lackeys, such as Martin Harris! But they are so far beneath my contempt that to notice any of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make.' Hyde's Mormonism, 252-5. Of David Whitmer, Mr Howe says: 'He is one of five of the same name and family who have been used as witnesses to establish the imposition, and who are now head men and leaders in the Mormonite camp. They were noted in their neighborhood for credulity and a general belief in witches, and perhaps were fit subjects for the juggling arts of Smith. David relates that he was led by Smith into an open field, on his father's farm, where they found the book of plates lying upon the ground. Smith took it up and requested him to examine it, which he did for the space of half an hour or more, when he returned it to Smith, who placed it in its former position, alleging that it was in the custody of an angel. He describes the plates as being about eight inches square, the leaves being metal of a whitish yellow color, and of the thickness of tin plates.' Mormonism Unveiled,16. See also Kidder's Mormons, 49-51; Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor.,69-71; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 29-30; Bertrand's Memoires d'un Mormon, 29-31.
19 'It will be seen that the witnesses of this truth were principally of the two families of Whitmer and Smith. The Smiths were the father and brothers of Joseph. Who the Whitmers were is not clear, and all clew to their character and proceedings since this date, though probably known to the Mormons themselves, is undiscoverable by the profane vulgar.' Mackay's The Mormons, 23.
The theory commonly accepted at present by those not of the Mormon faith, in regard to the origin of the Book of Mormon, is thus given in the introduction
to the New York edition of the Book of Mormon, essentially the same as that advanced previously by E. D. Howe, and subsequently elaborated by others: 'About the year 1809, the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a clergy-man who had graduated from Dartmouth college, and settled in the town of Cherry Valley, in the State of New York, removed from that place to New Salem (Conneaut). Ashtubula county, Ohio. Mr Spaulding was an enthusiastic archaeologist. The region to which he removed was rich in American antiquities. The mounds and fortifications which have puzzled the brains of many patient explorers attracted his attention, and he accepted the theory that the American continent was peopled by a colony of the ancient Israelites. The ample material by which he was surrounded, full of mythical interest and legendary suggestiveness, led him to the conception of a curious literary project. He set himself the task of writing a fictitious history of the race which had built the mounds. The work was commenced and progressed slowly for some time. Portions of it were read by Mr Spaulding's friends, as its different sections were completed, and after three years' labor, the volume was sent to the press, bearing the title of The Manuscript Found. Mr Spaulding had removed to Pittsburgh, Pa., before his book received the final revision, and it was in the hands of a printer named Patterson, in that city, that the manuscript was placed with a view to publication. This was in the year 1812. The printing, however, was delayed in consequence of a difficulty about the contract, until Mr Spaulding left Pittsburgh, and went to Amity, Washington county, New York, where in 1816 he died. The manuscript seems to have lain unused during this interval. But in the employ of the printer Patterson was a versatile genius, one Sidney Rigdon, to whom no trade came amiss, and who happened at the time to be a journeyman at work with Patterson. Disputations on questions of theology were the peculiar delight of Rigdon, and the probable solution of the mystery of the book of Mormon is found in the fact that, by this man's agency, information of the existence of the fictitious record was first communicated to Joseph Smith. Smith's family settled in Palmyra, New York, about the year 1815, and removed subsequently to Ontario county, where Joseph became noted for supreme cunning and general shiftlessness. Chance threw him in the company of Rigdon soon after Spaulding's manuscript fell under the eye of the erratic journeyman, and it is probable that the plan of founding a new system of religious imposture was concocted by these two shrewd and unscrupulous parties. The fact that the style of the book of Mormon so closely imitates that of the received version of the bible -- a point which seems to have been constantly kept in view by Mr Spaulding, probably in order to invest the fiction with a stronger character of reality -- answered admirably for the purposes of Rigdon and Smith.' Mr Howe testifies that 'an opinion has prevailed to a considerable extent that Rigdon has been the Iago, the prime mover of the whole conspiracy. Of this, however, we have no positive proof.' Mormonism Unveiled,100.
To prove the foregoing, witnesses are brought forward. John Spaulding, brother of Solomon, testifies: 'He then told me that he had been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled The Manuscript Found, of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America,' etc. He goes on to speak of Nephi and Lehi as names familiar, as does also Martha Spaulding, John's wife. Henry Lake, formerly Solomen's partner, testifies to the same effect; also John N. Miller, who worked for Lake and Spaulding in building their forge; also Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and Nahum Howard, neighbors; also Artemas Cunningham, to whom Spaulding owed money. To these men Solomon Spaulding used to talk about and read from his Manuscript Found, which was an account of the ten lost tribes in America, which he wanted to publish and with the profits pay his debts. After the book of Mormon was printed, and they saw it, or heard it read, they were sure it was the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found. Id., 278-87.
Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? is the title of a "4to" pamphlet of 16 pages by Robert Patterson of Pittsburgh. Reprinted from the illustrated history of Washington county, Philadelphia, 1882. This Patterson is the son of printer Patterson, to whose office the Spaulding MS. is said to have been sent. Little new information is brought out by this inquisition. First he extracts passages from Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, quoting at secondhand from Kidder's Mormonism and the Mormons, in the absence of the original, stating erroneously that Howe's book was first printed in 1835. I give elsewhere an epitome of the contents of Howe's work. Ballantyne in his Reply to a Tract, by T. Richards, What is Mormonism? wherein is advanced the Spaulding theory, asserts in answer that Spaulding's manuscript was not known to Smith or Rigdon until after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and that the two were not the same, the latter being about three times larger than the former. 'Dr Hurlburt,' he says, 'and certain other noted enemies of this cause, having heard that such a manuscript existed, determined to publish it to the world in order to destroy the book of Mormon, but after examining it, found that it did not read as they expected, consequently declined its publication.' The Spaulding theory is advanced and supported by the following, in addition to the eight witnesses whose testimony was given by Howe in his Mormonism Unveiled. Mrs Matilda Spaulding Davidson, once wife of Solomon Spaulding, said to Rev. D. R. Austin, who had the statement printed in the Boston Recorder, May 1839, that Spaulding was in the habit of reading portions of his romance to his friends and neighbors. When John Spaulding heard read for the first time passages from the book of Mormon he 'recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot and expressed to the meeting his sorrow and regret that the writings of his deceased brother should be uses for a purpose so vile and shocking. Statements to the same effect are given as coming from Mrs McKinstry, daughter of Spaulding, printed in Scribner's Monthly, August 1880; W. H. Sabine, brother of Mrs Spaulding; Joseph Miller, whose statements were printed in the Pittsburgh Telegraph, Feb. 6, 1879; Redick McKee in the Washington Reporter, April 21, 1869; Rev. Abner Jackson in a communication to the Washington County Historical Society, printed in the Washington Reporter, Jan. 7, 1881, and others. See also Kidder's Mormonism, 37-49; California -- Its Past History, 198-9; Ferris' Utah and Mormons, 50-1; Gunnison's Mormons, 93-7; Bertrand's Mmoires d'un Mormon, 33-44; Hist. of Mormons, 41-50; Bennett's Mormonism,115-24; Howe's Mormonism,289-90.
Robert Patterson, in his pamphlet entitled Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? thus discusses the case of Sidney Rigdon: 'It was satisfactorily proven that Spaulding was the author of the book of Mormon; but how did Joseph Smith obtain a copy of it? The theory hitherto most widely published,' says Patterson, 'and perhaps' generally accepted, has been that Rigdon was a printer in Patterson's printing-office when the Spaulding manuscript was brought there in 1812-14, and that he either copied or purloined it. Having it thus in his possession, the use made of it was an after thought suggested by circumstances many years later. More recently another theory has been advanced, that Rigdon obtained possession of the Spaulding manuscript during his pastorate of the first baptist church or soon thereafter, 1822-4, without any necessary impropriety on his part, but rather through the courtesy of some friend, in whose possession it remained unclaimed, and who regarded it as a literary curiosity. The friends of Rigdon, in response to the first charge, deny that he ever resided in Pittsburgh previous to 1822, or that he ever was a printer, and in general answer to both charges affirm that he never at any time had access to Spaulding's manuscript.' Rigdon denies emphatically that he ever worked in Patterson's printing-office or knew of such an establishment; and the testimony, produced by Patterson of Carvil Rigdon, Sidney's brother, Peter Boyer, his brother-in-law, Isaac King, Samuel Cooper, Robert Dubois, and Mrs Lambdin points in the same direction. On
the other hand, Mrs Davidson, Joseph Miller, Redick McKee, Rev. Cephas Dodd, and Mrs Eichbaum are quite positive that either Rigdon worked in the printing office, or had access to the manuscript. 'These witnesses,' continues Patterson, 'are all whom we can find, after inquiries extending through some three years, who can testify at all to Rigdon's residence in Pittsburgh before 1816, and to his possible employment in Patterson's printing-office or bindery. Of this employment none of them speak from personal knowledge. In making inquiries among two or three score of the oldest residents of Pittsburgh and vicinity, those who had any opinion on the subject invariably, so far as now remembered, repeated the story of Rigdon's employment in Patterson's office as if it were a well known and admitted fact; they could tell all about it, but when pressed as to their personal knowledge of it or their authority for the conviction, they had none.' Nevertheless he concludes, 'after an impartial consideration of the preceding testimony, that Rigdon as early as 1823 certainly had possession of Spaulding's manuscript; how he obtained it is unimportant for the present purpose; that during his career as a minister of the Disciples church in Ohio, he carefully preserved under lock and key this document, and devoted an absorbed attention to it; that he was aware of the forthcoming book of Mormon and of its contents long before its appearance; that the said contents were largely Spaulding's romance, and partly such modifications as Rigdon had introduced; and that, during the preparation of the book of Mormon, Rigdon had repeated and long interviews with Smith, thus easily supplying him with fresh instalments of the pretended revelation.' In a letter to the editors of the Boston Journal, dated May 27, 1839, Rigdon says: 'There was no man by the name of Patterson during my residence at Pittsburgh who had a printing-office; what might have been before I lived there I know not. Mr Robert Patterson, I was told, had owned a printing-office before I lived in that city, but had been unfortunate in business, and failed before my residence there. This Mr Patterson, who was a presbyterian preacher, I had a very slight acquaintance with during my residence in Pittsburgh. He was then acting under an agency in the book and stationery business, and was the owner of no property of any kind, printing-office or anything else, during the time I resided in the city.' Smucker's Mormons, 45-8.
In Philadelphia, in 1840, was published The Origin of the Spaulding Story, concerning the Manuscript Found; with a short biography of Dr P. Hulbert, the originator of the same; and some testimony adduced, showing it to be a sheer fabrication so far as its connection with the Book of Mormon is concerned. By B. Winchester, minister of the Gospel. The author goes on to say that Hulbert, a methodist preacher at Jamestown, N. Y., joined the Mormons in 1833, and was expelled for immoral conduct, whereupon he swore vengeance and concocted the Spaulding story. Hearing of a work written by Solomon Spaulding entitled The Manuscript Found, he sought to prove to those about him that the book of Mormon was derived from it, 'not that any of these persons had the most distant idea that this novel had ever been converted into the book of Mormon, or that there was any connection between them. Indeed Mr Jackson, who had read both the book of Mormon and Spaulding's manuscript, told Mr H. when he came to get his signature to a writing testifying to the probability that Mr S.'s manuscript had been converted into the book of Mormon, that there was no agreement between them; for, said he, Mr S.'s manuscript was a very small work, in the form of a novel, saying not one word about the children of Israel, but professed to give an account of a race of people who originated from the Romans, which Mr S. said he had translated from a Latin parchment that he had found.' Winchester states further that Hurlburt, or Hulbert, wrote Mormonism Unveiled and sold it to Howe for $500.
The Myth of the Manuscript Found; or the absurdities of the Spaulding story; By Elder George Reynolds, was published at Salt Lake City in 1883. It is a 12mo vol. of 104 pages, and gives first the history of the Spaulding manuscript and names Hurlburt as the originator of the story. Chap. iii. is entitled 'the bogus affidavit,' referring to the alleged sworn statement of Mrs
The translation of the book of Mormon being finished, Smith and Cowdery go to Palmyra, secure the copyright, and agree with Egbert B. Grandin to print five thousand copies for three thousand dollars. Meanwhile, a revelation comes to Martin Harris, at Manchester, in March, commanding him to pay for the printing of the book of Mormon, under penalty of destruction of himself and property. 20 The title-page
Davison, the widow of Spaulding, published by Storrs, but denied by Mrs Davison. Rigdon's connection, or rather lack of connection with the manuscript is next discussed. Then is answered an article in Scribner's Magazine by Mrs Dickenson, grand niece of Mr Spaulding, and probably the most shallow treatment of the subject yet presented on either side. Further discussions on the book are followed by an analysis of the life of Joseph, and finally internal evidences and prophecies are considered. 'It is evident,' Mr Reynolds concludes, 'that if Mr Spaulding's story was what its friends claim, then it never could have formed the ground-work of the book of Mormon; for the whole historical narrative is different from beginning to end. And further, the story that certain old inhabitants of New Salem, who, it is said, recognized the book of Mormon, either never made such a statement, or they let their imagination run away with their memory into the endorsement of a falsehood and an impossibility.'
20 Speaking of Martin Harris, E. D. Howe says: 'Before his acquaintance with the Smith family he was considered an honest, industrious citizen by his neighbors. His residence was in the town of Palmyra, where he had accumulated a handsome property. He was naturally of a very visionary turn of mind on the subject of religion, holding one sentiment but a short time.' Mortgaged his farm for $3,000, and printed the Book of Mormon, as he said, to make money. The price first was $1.75, then $1.25, afterward whatever they could get. 'Since that time the frequent demands on Martin's purse have reduced it to a very low state. He seems to have been the soul and body of the whole imposition, and now carries the most incontestable proofs of a religious maniacÉ Martin is an exceedingly fast talker. He frequently gathers a crowd around in bar-rooms and in the streets. Here he appears to be in his element, answering and explaining all manner of dark and abstruse theological questionsÉHe is the source of much trouble and perplexity to the honest portion of his brethren, and would undoubtedly long since have been cast off by Smith were it not for his money, and the fact that he is one of the main pillars of the Mormon fabric.' Mormonism Unveiled,13-15. 'The wife of Martin Harris instituted a lawsuit against him [Joseph Smith, Jr], and stated in her affidavit that she believed the chief object he had in view was to defraud her husband of all his property. the trial took place at New York, and the facts, as related even by the mother of the prophet, are strongly condemnatory of his conductÉHarris denied in solemn terms that Smith had ever, in any manner, attempted to get possession of his money, and ended by assuring the gentlemen of the court that, if they did not believe in the existence of the plates, and continued to resist the truth, it would one day be the means of damning their souls.' Taylder's Mormons, xxxi.-ii. 'In the beginning of the printing the Mormons professed to hold their manuscripts as sacred, and insisted upon maintaining, constant vigilance for their safety during the progress of the work, each morning carrying to the printing-office the instalment required for the day, and withdrawing the same at evening. No alteration from copy in any manner was to be made. These things were "strictly commanded," as they said. Mr
is not a modern production, but a literal translation from the last leaf of the plates, on the left-hand side, and running like all Hebrew writing.
And now in a chamber of Whitmer's house Smith, Cowdery, and David Whitmer meet, and earnestly ask God to make good his promise, and confer on them the Melchisedec priesthood, which authorizes the laying-on of hands for the gift of the holy ghost. Their prayer is answered; for presently the word of the Lord comes to them, commanding that Joseph Smith should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an elder in the church of Jesus Christ, and Oliver in like manner should so ordain Joseph, and the two should ordain others as from time to time the will of the Lord should be made known to them. 21 But this ordination must not take place until the baptized brethren assemble and give to this act their sanction, and accept the ordained as spiritual teachers, and then only after the blessing and partaking of bread and wine. It is next revealed that twelve shall be called to be the disciples of Christ, the twelve apostles of these last days, who shall go into all the world preaching and baptizing.
John H. Gilbert, as printer, had the chief operative trust of the type-setting and press-work of the job. After the first day's trial he found the manuscripts in so very imperfect a condition, especially in regard to grammar. that he became unwilling further to obey the "command," and so announced to Smith and his party; when finally, upon much friendly expostulation, he was given a limited discretion in correcting, which was exercised in the particulars of syntax, orthography, punctuation, capitalizing, paragraphing, etc. Many errors under these heads, nevertheless, escaped correction, as appear in the first edition of the printed book. Very soon, too -- after some ten days -- the constant vigilance by the Mormons over the manuscripts was relaxed by reason of the confidence they came to repose in the printers. Mr Gilbert has now (1867) in his possession a complete copy of the book in the original sheets, as laid off by him from the press in workingÉ Meanwhile, Harris and his wife had separated by mutual arrangement, on account of her persistent unbelief in Mormonism and refusal to be a party to the mortgage. The family estate was divided, Harris giving her about eighty acres of the farm, with a comfortable house and other property, as her share of the assets; and she occupied this property until the time of her death.' Tucker's Origin and Prog. Mor., 50-7.
21 Speaking of the manner in which Smith delivered these revelations, Howe says: 'In this operation he abandoned his spectacles, or peep-stone, and merely delivered it with his eyes shut. In this manner he governs his followers, by asking the Lord, as he says, from day to day.' Mormonism Unveiled,102.
By the spirit of prophecy and revelation it is done. The rise of the church of Jesus Christ in these last days is on the 6th of April, 1830, at which date the church was organized under the provisions of the statutes of the state of New York by Joseph Smith junior, Hyrum Smith, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Samuel H. Smith, and Peter Whitmer. Joseph Smith, ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, is made by the commandment of God the first elder of this church, and Oliver Cowdery, likewise an apostle, is made the second elder. Again the first elder falls into worldly entanglements, but upon repentance and self-humbling he is delivered by an angel.
The duties of elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members are as follow: All who desire it, with honesty and humility, may be baptized into the church; old covenants are at an end, all must be baptized anew. An apostle is an elder; he shall baptize, ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, administer bread and wine, emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ; he shall confirm, teach, expound, exhort, taking the lead at meetings, and conducting them as he is taught by the holy ghost. The priest's duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, baptize, administer the sacrament, and visit and pray with members; he may also ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons, giving a certificate of ordination, and lead in meetings when no elder is present. The teacher's duty is to watch over and strengthen the members, preventing evil speaking and all iniquity, to see that the meetings are regularly held, and to take the lead in them in the absence of elder or priest. The deacon's duty is to assist the teacher; teacher and deacon may warn, expound, exhort, but neither of them shall baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands. The elders are to meet in council for the transaction of church business every three months, or oftener should meetings be called. Subordinate officers will receive from the elders a license defining their authority; elders will
receive their license from other elders by vote of church or conference. There shall be presidents, bishops, high counsellors, and high priests; the presiding elder shall be president of the high priesthood, and he, as well as bishops, high counsellors, and high priests, will be ordained by high council or general conference. The duty of members is to walk in holiness before the Lord according to the scriptures, to bring their children to the elders, who will lay their hands on them and bless them in the name of Jesus Christ. The bible, that is to say, the scriptures of the old and new testaments, is accepted wholly, save such corruptions as have crept in through the great and abominable church; the book of Mormon is a later revelation, supplementary thereto. Thus is organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 22 in accordance with special revelations and commandments, and after the manner set forth in the new testament.
The first public discourse, following the meetings held in Whitmer's house, was preached on Sunday, the 11th of April, 1830, by Oliver Cowdery, who the
22 The church was not at that time so called, nor indeed until after the 4th of May, 1834. See chap. iv., note 50; also Millennial Star, iv. 115; Burton's City of the Saints, 671-2. Kidder, Mormonism, 68, affirms that this name was not adopted till some years later. Mather is only a year and a day astray when he says, 'The conference of elders on May 3, 1833, repudiated the name of "Mormons" and adopted that of "Latter-Day Saints."' Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880. The term 'Mormons,' as first applied by their enemies to members of the church of Latter-Day Saints, was quite offensive to them, though later they became somewhat more reconciled to it. As at present popularly employed, it is by no means a term of reproach, though among themselves they still adhere to the appellation 'Saints,' just as quakers speak of themselves as the 'Society of Friends.' The term 'Mormon' seems to me quite fitting for general use, fully as much so as presbyterian, reformed Dutch, universalist, and others, few of which were of their own choosing. 'Mormon was the name of a certain man, and also of a particular locality upon the American continent; but was never intended to signify a body of people. The name by which we desire to be known and to walk worthy of is Saints. Bell's Reply to Theobald, 2. At the time of the riots in Missouri, in addressing communications to the governor, and in many other instances, they designate themselves as members of the church of Christ, vulgarly called Mormons.' See also De Smet's Western Missions, 393; Mackay's The Mormons, 41-2. The term 'gentile' was generally applied to unbelievers of the white race. The Indians, originally, were denominated 'of the house of Israel,' 'of the house of Joseph,' or 'of the house of Jacob,' also the Lamanites.
same day baptized in Seneca Lake several persons, among whom were Hyrum and Katherine Page, some of the Whitmers, and the Jolly family. The first miracle likewise occurred during the same month, Joseph Smith casting out a devil from Newel Knight, son of Joseph Knight, who with his family had been universalists. Newel had been a constant attendant at the meetings, and was much interested; but when he attempted to pray the devil prevented him, writhing his limbs into divers distortions, and hurling him about the room. "I know that you can deliver me from this evil spirit," cried Newel. Whereupon Joseph rebuked the devil in the name of Jesus Christ, and the evil spirit departed from the young man. Seeing this, others came forward and expressed their belief in the new faith, and a church was established at Colesville.
On the 1st of June the first conference as an organized church was held, there being thirty members. The meeting was opened by singing and prayer, after which they partook of the sacrament, which was followed by confirmations and further ordinations to the several offices of the priesthood. The exercises were attended by the outpouring of the holy ghost, and many prophesied, to the infinite joy and gratification of the elders. Some time after, on a Saturday previous to an appointed sabbath on which baptism was to be performed, the brethren constructed, across a stream of water, a dam, which was torn away by a mob during the night. The meeting was held, however, though amid the sneers and insults of the rabble, Oliver preaching. Present among others was Emily Coburn, Newel Knight's wife's sister, formerly a presbyterian. Her pastor, the Rev. Mr Shearer, arrived, and tried to persuade her to return to her father. Failing in this, he obtained from her father a power of attorney, and bore her off by force; but Emily returned. The dam was repaired, and baptism administered to some thirteen persons the following morning; whereupon fifty
men surrounded Mr Knight's house, threatening violence. The same night Joseph was arrested by a constable on a charge of disorderly conduct, and for preaching the book of Mormon. It was the purpose of the populace to capture Joseph from the constable and use him roughly, but by hard driving he escaped. At the trial which followed, an attempt was made to prove certain charges, namely, that he obtained a horse from Josiah Stoal, and a yoke of oxen from Jonathan Thompson, by saying that in a revelation he was told that he was to have them; also as touching his conduct toward two daughters of Mr Stoal; but all testified in his favor, and he was acquitted. As he was leaving the court-room, he was again arrested on a warrant from Broome county, and taken midst insults and buffetings to Colesville for trial. The old charges were renewed, and new ones preferred. Newel Knight was made to testify regarding the miracle wrought in his behalf, and a story that the prisoner had been a money digger was advanced by the prosecution. Again he was acquitted, and again escaped from the crowd outside the court-house, whose purpose it was to tar and feather him, and ride him on a rail. These persecutions were instigated, it was said, chiefly by presbyterians.
While Joseph rested at his home at Harmony further stories were circulated, damaging to his character, this time by the methodists. One went to his father-in-law with falsehoods, and so turned him and his family against Joseph and his friends that he would no longer afford them protection or receive their doctrine. This was a heavy blow; but proceeding in August to Colesville, Joseph and Hyrum Smith and John and David Whitmer continued the work of prayer and confirmation. Fearing their old enemies, who lay in wait to attack them on their way back, they prayed that their eyes might be blinded; and so it came to pass. Then they held service and returned safely, although five dollars reward had been offered
for notification of their arrival. Removing his family to Fayette, Joseph encountered further persecutions, to which was added a fresh grief. Hiram Page was going astray over a stone which he had found, and by means of which he had obtained revelations at variance with Joseph's revelations and the rules of the new testament. It was thought best not to agitate the subject unnecessarily, before the meeting of the conference to be held on the 1st of September; but the Whitmer family and Oliver Cowdery seeming to be too greatly impressed over the things set forth by the rival stone, it was resolved to inquire of the Lord concerning the matter; whereupon a revelation came to Oliver Cowdery, forbidding such practice; and he was to say privately to Hiram Page that Satan had deceived him, and that the things which he had written from the stone were not of God. Oliver was further commanded to go and preach the gospel to the Lamanites, 23 the remnants of the house of Joseph living in the west, 24 where he was to establish
23 'The Lamanites originally were a remnant of Joseph, and in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, King of Judah, were led in a miraculous manner from Jerusalem to the eastern borders of the Red Sea, thence for some time along its borders in a nearly south-east direction, after which they altered their course nearly eastward, until they came to the great waters, where by the command of God they built a vessel in which they were safely brought across the great Pacific Ocean, and landed upon the western coast of South America. The original party included also the Nephites, their leader being a prophet called Nephi; but soon after landing they separated, because the Lamanites, whose leader was a wicked man called Laman, persecuted the others. After the partition the Nephites, who had brought with them the old testament down to the time of Jeremiah, engraved on plates of brass, in the Egyptain language, prospered and built large cities. But the bold, bad Lamanites, originally white, became dark and dirty, though still retaining a national existence. They became wild, savage, and ferocious, seeking by every means the destruction of the prosperous Nephites, against whom they many times arrayed their hosts in battle; but were repulsed and driven back to their own territories, generally with great loss to both sides. The slain, frequently amounting to tens of thousands, were piled together in great heaps and overspread with a thin covering of earth, which will satisfactorily account for those ancient mounds filled with human bones, so numerous at the present day, both in North and South America.' Pratt (Orson), Series of Pamphlets, vi. 7-8; Pratt (P. P.), Voice of Warning,81-117.
24 'The attention of the little band was directed, from the very commencement of their organization, to the policy and expediency of fixing their headquarters in the far west, in the thinly settled and but partially explored territories belonging to the United States, where they might squat upon or purchase good lands at a cheap rate, and clear the primeval wilderness.
a church and build 25 at a point to be designated later.
Behold, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be given unto thee that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever thou shalt teach them by the comforter concerning. the revelations and commandments which I have given. But behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church, excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jr, for he receiveth them even as Moses; and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations with power and authority unto the church. And if thou art led at any time by the comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; and thou shalt not command him who is at thy head and at the head of the church; for I have given him the keys of the mysteries and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead."
They required elbow-room, and rightly judged that a rural population would be more favorable than an urban one to the reception of their doctrine.' Mackay's The Mor., 63.
25 The most ancient prophecy which the saints are now in possession of relating to the New Jerusalem was one delivered by Enoch, the seventh from Adam. This was revealed anew to Joseph Smith in December 1830. In it the Lord is represented as purposing 'to gather out mine own elect from the four quarters of the earth unto a place which I shall prepare... But this revelation does not tell in what part of the earth the New Jerusalem should be located. The book of Mormon, which the Lord has brought out of the earth, informs us that this holy city is to be built upon the continent of America, but it does not inform us upon what part of that vast country it should be built.' Pratt's Series of Pamphlets, vii. 4; Pratt's Interesting Account, 16-25; First Book of Nephi in Book of Mormon
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Parley Pratt's Conversion -- Mission to the Lamanites -- the Missionaries at Kirtland -- Conversion of Sidney Rigdon -- Mormon Success at Kirtland -- the Missionaries in Missouri -- Rigdon Visits Smith Edward Partridge -- the Melchisedec Priesthood Given -- Smith and Rigdon Journey to Missouri Bible Translation Smith's Second Visit to Missouri -- Unexampled Prosperity -- Causes of Persecutions -- Mobocracy -- the Saints Are Driven From Jackson County -- Treachery of Boggs -- Military Organization at Kirtland -- the Name Latter-Day Saints -- March to Missouri.
ONE evening as Hyrum Smith was driving cows along the road toward his father's house, he was overtaken by a stranger, who inquired for Joseph Smith, translator of the book of Mormon. "He is now residing in Pennsylvania, a hundred miles away," was the reply.
"And the father of Joseph?"
"He also is absent on a journey. That is his house yonder, and I am his son.'
The stranger then said that he was a preacher of the word; that he had just seen for the first time a copy of the wonderful book; that once it was in his hands he could not lay it down until he had devoured it, for the spirit of the Lord was upon him as he read, and he knew that it was true; the spirit of the Lord had directed him thither, and his heart was full of joy.
Hyrum gazed at him in amazement; for converts of this quality, and after this fashion, were not common in those days of poverty and sore trial. He was little more than a boy, being but twenty-three,
and of that fresh, fair innocence which sits only on a youthful face beaming with high enthusiasm. But it was more than a boy's soul that was seen through those eyes of deep and solemn earnestness; it was more than a boy's strength of endurance that was indicated by the broad chest and comely, compact limbs; and more than a boy's intelligence and powers of reasoning' that the massive brow betokened.
Hyrum took the stranger to the house, and they passed the night in discourse, sleeping little. The convert's name was Parley P. Pratt. He was a native of Burlington, New York, and born April 12, 1807. His father was a farmer of limited means and education, and though not a member of any religious society, had a respect for all. the boy had a passion for books; the bible especially he read over and over again with deep interest and enthusiasm. He early manifested strong religious feeling; mind and soul seemed all on fire as he read of the patriarchs and kings of the old testament, and of Christ and his apostles of the new. In winter at. school, and in summer at work, his life passed until he was sixteen, when he went west with his father William, some two hundred miles on foot, to Oswego, two miles from which town they bargained for a thickly wooded tract of seventy acres, at four dollars an acre, paying some seventy dollars in cash. After a summer's work for wages back near the old home, and a winter's work clearing the forest farm, the place was lost through failure to meet the remaining payments. Another attempt to make a forest home, this time in Ohio, thirty miles west of Cleveland, was more successful; and after much tell and many hardships, he found himself; in 1827, comfortably established there, with Thankful Halsey as his wife.
Meanwhile religion ran riot through his brain. His mind, however, was of a reasoning, logical caste. "Why this difference," he argued, "between the ancient and modern Christians, their doctrines and their
practice? Had I lived and believed in the days of the apostles, and had so desired, they would have said, 'Repent, be baptized, and receive the holy ghost.' The scriptures are the same now as then; why should not results be the same?" In the absence of anything better, he joined the baptists, and was immersed; but he was not satisfied. In 1829 Sidney Rigdon, of whom more hereafter, preached in his neighborhood; he heard him and was refreshed. It was the ancient gospel revived -- repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost. And yet there was something lacking -- the authority to minister; the power which should accompany the form of apostleship. At length he and others, who had heard Rigdon, organized a society on the basis of his teachings, and Parley began to preach. The spirit working in him finally compelled him to abandon his farm and go forth to meet his destiny, he knew not whither. In this frame of mind he wandered eastward, and while his family were visiting friends, he came upon the book of Mormon and Hyrum Smith. Now did his soul find rest. Here was inspiration and revelation as of old; here was a new dispensation with attendant signs and miracles.
As he left Smith's house the following morning, having an appointment to preach some thirty miles distant, Hyrum gave him a copy of the sacred book. Travelling on foot, and stopping now and then to rest, he read at intervals, and found to his great joy that soon after his ascension Christ had appeared in his glorified body to the remnant of the tribe of Joseph in America, that he had administered in person to the ten lost tribes, that the gospel had been revealed and written among nations unknown to the apostles, and that thus preserved it had escaped the corruptions of the great and abominable church.
Returning to Smith's house, Parley demanded of Hyrum baptism. They went to Whitmer's, where they were warmly welcomed by a little branch of the church there assembled. The new convert was baptized
by Cowdery, and was ordained an elder. He continued to preach in those parts with great power. Congregations were moved to tears, and many heads of families came forward and accepted the faith. Then he went to his old home. His father, mother, and some of the neighbors believed only in part; but his brother Orson, nineteen years of age, embraced with eagerness the new religion, and preached it from that time forth. Returning to Manchester, Parley for the first time met Joseph Smith, who received him warmly, and asked him to preach on Sunday, which he did, Joseph following with a discourse.
Revelations continued, now in the way of command, and now in the spirit of prophecy. In Harmony, to the first elder it was spoken: "Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the churches which are in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall support thee; and I will bless them, both spiritually and temporally; but if they receive thee not, I will send on them a cursing instead of a blessing, and thou shalt shake the dust off thy feet against them as a testimony, and wipe thy feet by the wayside." And to Cowdery, thus: "Oliver shall continue in bearing lily name before the world, and also to the church; and he shall take neither purse nor scrip, neither staves nor even two coats." To Emma, wife of Joseph: "Thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called; and thou shalt comfort thy husband, my servant Joseph, and shalt go with him, and be unto him as a scribe in the absence of my servant Oliver, and he shall support thee." Emma was also further directed to make a selection of hymns to be used in church. 1
1 The hymn-book of Emma Smith does not appear to have been published, but a little book containing hymns selected by Brigham Young passed through eight editions up to 1849, the eighth being published in Liverpool in that year. Smucker's Hist. of Mor., 57-61; Millenial Star, iv. 150-1. The preface to the first edition was signed by Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John
the presence of six elders, at Fayette, in September 1880, came the voice of Jesus Christ, promising them every blessing, while the wicked should be destroyed. The millennium should come; but first dire destruction should fall upon the earth, and the great and abominable church should be cast down. Hiram Page renounced his stone. David Whitmer was ordered to his father's house, there to await further instructions. Peter Whitmer junior, Parley P. Pratt, and Ziba Peterson were directed to go with Oliver and assist him in preaching the gospel to the Lamanites, that is to say, to the Indians in the west, the remnant of the tribe of Joseph. Thomas B. Marsh was promised that he should begin to preach. Miracles were limited to casting out devils and healing the sick. Wine for sacramental purposes must not be bought, but made at home. 2
Taking with them a copy of the revelation assigning to them this work, these first appointed missionaries set out, and continued their journey, preaching in the villages through which they passed, and stopping at Buffalo to instruct the Indians as to their ancestry, until they came to Kirtland, Ohio. There they remained some time, as many came forward and embraced their faith, among others Sidney Rigdon, a preaching elder in the reformed baptist church, who presided over a congregation there, a large portion of whom likewise became interested in the latter-day church. 3
Taylor. The preface to the ninth edition, published at Liverpool and London in 1851, is by Franklin D. Richards, who states that 54,000 copies of the several editions have been sold in the European missions alone within eleven years. Several editions have since been published in Europe and America.
2 Smith says: 'In order to prepare for this (confirmation) I set out to go to procure some wine for the occasion, but had gone only a short distance when I was met by a heavenly messenger, and received the revelation.' Millennial Star, iv. 151; Times and Seasons, iv. 117-18.
3 At the town of Kirtland, two miles from Rigdon's residence, was a number of the members of his church who lived together, and had all things in common, from which circumstance, Smith says, the idea arose that this was the case with the Mormon believers. To these people the missionaries repaired and preached with some success, gathering in seventeen on the first occasion. Rigdon after spending some time in the study of the book of Mormon
Rigdon was a native of Pennsylvania, and was now thirty-seven years of age. He worked on his father's farm until he was twenty-six, when he went to live with the Rev. Andrew Clark, and the same year, 1819, was licensed to preach. Thence he went to Warren, Ohio, and married; and after preaching for a time he was called to take charge of a church at Pittsburgh, where he met with success, and soon became very popular. But his mind was perplexed over the doctrines he was required to promulgate, and in 1824 he retired from his ministry. There were two friends who had likewise withdrawn from their respective churches, and with whom he conferred freely, Alexander Campbell, of his own congregation, and one Walter Scott, of the Scandinavian church of that city. Campbell had formerly lived at Bethany, Virginia, where was issued under his auspices a monthly journal called the Christian Baptist. Out of this friendship and association arose a new church, called the Campbellites, its doctrines having been published by Campbell in his paper. During the next two years Rigdon was obliged to work in a tannery to support his family; then he removed to Bainbridge, Ohio, where he again began to preach, confining himself to no creed, but leaning toward that of the Campbellites. Crowds flocked to hear him, and a church was established in a neighboring town through his instrumentality. After a year of this work he accepted a call to Mentor, thirty miles distant. Slanderous reports followed him, and a storm of persecution set in against him; but by his surpassing eloquence and deep reasoning it was not only soon allayed, but greater multitudes than ever waited on his ministrations.
concluded to accept its doctrines, and together with his wife was baptized into the church, which now numbered about twenty in this section. Millennial Star, iv. 181-4; v. 4-7, 17; Times and Seasons, iv. 177, 193-4. Rigdon had for nearly three years already taught the literal interpretation of scripture prophecies, the gathering of the Israelites to receive the second coming, the literal reign of the saints on earth, and the use of miraculous gifts in the church. Gunnison's Mormons, 101.
Rigdon was a cogent speaker of imposing mien and impassioned address. As a man, however, his character seems to have had a tinge of insincerity. He was fickle, now and then petulant, irascible, and sometimes domineering. Later, Joseph Smith took occasion more than once to rebuke him sharply, fearing that he might assume the supremacy.
Upon hearing the arguments of Pratt and Cowdery, and investigating the book of Mormon, Rigdon was convinced that he had not been legally ordained, and that his present; ministry was without the divine authority. In regard to the revival of the old dispensation, he argued thus: "If we have not familiarity enough with our creator to ask of him a sign, we are no Christians; if God will not give his creatures one, he is no better than Juggernaut." The result was, that he and others accepted the book and its teachings, 4 received baptism and the gift of the holy ghost, and were ordained to preach.
On one occasion Cowdery preached, followed by Rigdon. After service they went to the Chagrin River to baptize. Rigdon stood in the stream and poured forth his exhortations with eloquent fervor. One after another stepped forward until thirty had been baptized. Present upon the bank was a hard-headed lawyer, Varnem J. Card, who as he listened grew pale with emotion. Suddenly he seized the arm of a friend and whispered, Quick, take me away, or in a moment more I shall be in that water!" One hundred and twenty-seven converts at once, the number
4 Howe intimates that Rigdon knew more of the book and the people than he pretended. Of the proselytes made in his church he says: 'Near the residence of Rigdon, in Kirtland, there had been for some time previous a few families belonging to his congregation, who had formed themselves into a common stock society, and had become considerably fanatical, and were daily looking for some wonderful event to take place in the world. Their minds had become fully prepared to embrace Mormonism, or any other mysteriousism that should first, present itself. Seventeen in number of these persons readily believed the whole story of Cowdery about the finding of the golden plates and the spectacles. They were all reimmersed in one night by Cowdery.' Mormonism Unveiled,103.
afterward increasing to a thousand, were here gathered into the fold. 5
After adding to their number one Frederic G. Williams, the missionaries continued on their way, arriving first at Sandusky, where they gave instructions to the Indians in regard to their forefathers, as they had done at Buffalo, and thence proceeded to Cincinnati and St Louis. In passing by his old forest home, Pratt was arrested on some trivial charge, but made his escape. The winter was very severe, and it was some time before they could continue their journey. At length they set out again, wading in snow knee-deep, carrying their few effects on their backs, and having to eat corn bread and frozen raw pork; and after travelling in all fifteen hundred miles, most of the way on foot, preaching to tens of thousands by the way, and organizing hundreds into churches, they reached Independence, Missouri, in the early part of 1831. There Whitmer and Peterson went to work as tailors, while Pratt and Cowdery passed over the
5 Speaking of the doings at Kirtland after the departure of the Lamanite mission, Mr Howe says: 'Scenes of the most wild, frantic, and horrible fanaticism ensued. They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all those who embraced the new faith, and commenced communicating the holy spirit by laying their hands upon the heads of the converts, which operation at first produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time apparently lifeless. They thus continued these enthusiastic exhibitions for several weeks. The fits usually came on during or after their prayer meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground, go through with all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, ripping open and tearing out the bowels. At other times they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water and perform all the ceremony of baptizing, etc. Many would have fits of speaking all the different Indian dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night the young men might be seen running over the fields and hills in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, light, etc., which they saw moving through the atmosphere... On the arrival of Smith in Kirtland he appeared astonished at the wild enthusiasm and scalping performances of his proselytes there. He told them that he had inquired of the Lord concerning the matter, and had been informed that it was all the work of the devil, as heretofore related. The disturbance therefore ceased.' Mormonism Unveiled,104, 116.
border, crossed the Kansas River, and began their work among the Lamanites, or Indians, thereabout.
The chief of the Delawares was sachem of ten tribes. He received the missionaries with courtesy, and set food before them. When they asked him to call a council before which they might expound their doctrines, he at first declined, then assented; whereupon Cowdery gave them an account of their ancestors, as contained in the wonderful book, a copy of which he left with the chief on taking his departure, which soon occurred; for when it was known upon the border settlements what the missionaries were doing, they were ordered out of the Indian country as disturbers of the peace. 6 After preaching a short time in Missouri, the five brethren thought it best that one of their number should return east and report. The choice fell on Pratt. Starting out on foot, he reached St Louis, three hundred miles distant, in nine days. Thence he proceeded by steamer to Cincinnati, and from that point journeyed on foot to Strongville, forty miles from Kirtland. Overcome by fatigue and illness, he was forced to remain at this place some ten days, when he continued his journey on horseback. He was welcomed at Kirtland by hundreds of the saints, Joseph Smith himself being present.
In December 1830 comes Sidney Rigdon to Joseph Smith at Manchester, and with him Edward Partridge, to inquire of the Lord; and they are told what they shall do; they shall preach thereabout, and also on the Ohio. 7
6 'One of their leading articles of faith is, that the Indians of North America, in a very few years, will be converted to Mormonism, and through rivers of blood will again take possession of their ancient inheritance.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled,145.
7 'We before had Moses and Aaron in the persons of Smith and Cowdery, and we now have John the Baptist, in the person of Sidney Rigdon. Their plans of deception appear to have been more fully matured and developed after the meeting of Smith and Rigdon. The latter being found very intimate with the scriptures, a close reasoner, and as fully competent to make
The year 1831 opens with flattering prospects. On the 2d of January a conference is held at Fayette, attended by revelations and prophecy. James Colville, a baptist minister, accepts the faith, but shortly recants, being tempted of Satan, and in fear of persecution. 8 Smith and his wife go with Rigdon and
white appear black and black white as any other man; and at all times prepared to establish, to the satisfaction of great numbers of people, the negative or affirmative of any and every question from scripture, he was forthwith appointed to promulgate all the absurdities and ridiculous pretensions of Mormonism, and call on the holy prophets to prove all the words of Smith. But the miraculous powers conferred upon him we do not learn have yet been put in requisition. It seems that the spirit had not, before the arrival of Rigdon, told Smith anything about the promised land, or his removal to Ohio. It is therefore very questionable what manner of spirit it was which dictated most of the after movements of the prophet. The spirit of Rigdon, it must be presumed, however, generally held sway; for a revelation was soon had that Kirtland, the residence of Rigdon and his brethren, was to be the eastern border of the promised land, and from thence to the Pacific Oceaná On this land the New Jerusalem, the city of refuge, was to be built. Upon it all true Mormons were to assemble, to escape the destruction of the world which was so soon to take place.' Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, 109-10.
Tucker, Origin and Prog. Mor., 76-8, thus speaks of the first appearance of this first regular Mormon preacher before a Palmyra congregation: 'Rigdon introduced himself as the messenger of God, declaring that he was commanded from above to proclaim the Mormon revelation. After going through with a ceremonious form of prayer, in which he expressed his grateful sense of the blessings of the glorious gospel dispensation now opening to the world, and the miraculous light from heaven to be displayed through the instrumentality of the chosen revelator, Joseph Smith Jr,... he announced his text as follows: First book of Nephi, chapter iv. -- "And the angel spoke unto me, saying, These last records which thou hast seen among the gentiles shall establish the truth of the first, which is of the twelve apostles of the lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people that the lamb of God is the son of the eternal father and saviour of the world; and that all men must come unto him or they cannot be saved." The preacher assumed to establish the theory that the book of Mormon and the old bible were one in inspiration and importance, and that the precious things now revealed had for wise purposes been withheld from the book first promulgated to the world, and were necessary to establish its truth. In the course of his argument he applied various quotations from the two books to prove his position. Holding the book of Mormon in his right hand, and the bible in his left hand, he brought them together in a manner corresponding to the emphatic declaration made by him, that they were both equally the word of God; that neither was perfect without the other; and that they were inseparably necessary to complete the everlasting gospel of the saviour Jesus Christ.' It is said that Rigdon, after his return to Kirtland from his visit to Smith, in one of his eloquent discourses on the new faith, 'gave a challenge to the world to disprove the new bible, and the pretensions of its authors.' Rigdon's old friend, Thomas Campbell, hearing of it, wrote him from Mentor accepting, at the same time enclosing an outline of what his line of argument would be. There the matter dropped.
8 See Millennial Star, v. 33-5; Times and Seasons, iv. 352-4. Mather, in Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880, states that to escape persecution sixty believers
The remainder of Chapter IV has not been transcribed.
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President Smith at Kirtland -- First Quorum of Twelve Apostles -- the Kirtland Temple Completed -- Kirtland Safety Society Bank -- in Zion Again -- the Saints in Missouri -- Apostasy -- Zeal and Indiscretion -- Military Organization -- the War Opens -- Depredations on Both Sides -- Movements of Atchison, Parks, and Doniphan -- Attitude of Boggs -- Wight and Gilliam -- Death of Patten -- Danite Organization -- Order Lodge -- Haun Mill Tragedy -- Mobs and Militia -- the Tables Turned -- Boggs' Exterminating Order -- Lucas and Clark at Far West -- Surrender of the Mormon's -- Prisoners -- Petitions and Memorials -- Expulsion -- Gathering at Quincy -- Opinions.
MEANWHILE, although the frontier of Zion was receiving such large accessions, the main body of the church was still at Kirtland, where President Smith remained for some time.
On the 14th of February, 1835, twelve apostles were chosen at Kirtland, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and Heber C. Kimball being of the number; likewise a little later Parley P. Pratt. Thence, the following summer, they took their departure for the east, holding conferences and ordaining and instructing elders in the churches throughout New York and New England, and the organization of the first quorum of seventies was begun. Classes for instruction, and a school of prophets were commenced, and Sidney Rigdon delivered six lectures on faith, of which Joseph Smith was author. 1 Preaching on the steps of a
1 They were printed and bound in Doctrine and Covenants. See Hyde's Momonism, 202; Remy's Journey, 504; Pratt's Auobiography, 139. Mather, in Lippincott's Mag., Aug. 1880, states that the twelve apostles started in May.
Campbellite church at Mentor, Parley P. Pratt was mobbed midst music and rotten eggs.
The temple at Kirtland being finished, was dedicated on the 27th of March, 1836, and on the 3d of April Joseph and Oliver had interviews with the messiah, Moses, Elias, and Elijah, and received from them the several keys of priesthood, which insured to their possessors power unlimited in things temporal and spiritual for the accomplishment of the labors assigned by them for him to perform. 2 The building of this structure by a few hundred persons, who, during the period between 1832 and 1836, contributed voluntarily of their money, material, or labor, the women knitting and spinning and making garments for the men who worked on the temple, was regarded with wonder throughout all northern Ohio. It was 60 by 80 feet, occupied a commanding position, and cost $40,000.
During its erection the saints incurred heavy debts for material and labor. They bought farms at high prices, making part payments, and afterward forfeiting them. They engaged in mercantile pursuits,
The remainder of Chapter V has not been transcribed.
H. H. Bancroft's research team assembled a prodigious stack of sources for the compilation of his 26th volume of "works": History of Utah: 1540-1886. Bancroft solicited a great deal of information from sources in Utah Territory, both from Mormons and non-Mormons. Vocal opponents of the Church, like James T. Cobb, submitted their versions of Mormon history to the San Francisco writer, but the non-Mormon contribution to the project was dwarfed by the sheer volume of source material made available to Bancroft by the LDS Church. And, once that Church-supplied raw data had been woven into the manuscript for Bancroft's history, a prominent Mormon helped him edit and proofread the final draft. Given this close cooperation between Bancroft and the LDS scholars and historians, it comes as no surprise that the California-based writer depended upon his Utah literary allies in order to come to some final conclusions regarding the origin of Mormonism and its holy writ.
Bancroft's research was concluded too soon for him to include any reference to the Spalding manuscript discovered in Honolulu in 1884. The state of development in the documentation of the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship, during the period of Bancroft's compilation of History of Utah is embodied in Elder George Reynolds' 1883 Myth of the Manuscript Found, which Bancroft (or his Utah proxy editors) seems to have relied upon rather heavily. By the end of Bancroft's examination of the Spalding claims, it is the message promulgated by Reynolds that is left ringing in the reader's mind -- the testimony and reporting of Robert Patterson, Jr., James T. Cobb, and Ellen E. Dickinson all fall by the wayside.
In realms of research outside the limits of the origin of the Book of Mormon, Bancroft freely passes on the opinions of earlier non-Mormon writers like Eber D. Howe and Pomeroy Tucker. The reader of History of Utah comes away with the feeling that Bancroft felt that some of these old writers' reporting was reliable, some was not, and that the historian would leave it to others to sort out the jumble of testimony, allegations, and speculation. At least Bancroft must have realized that a goodly number of his readers would depend more upon the popularized views of past writers like Howe and Tucker than they would upon the Utah Church for a believable account of early Mormonism.
The continual popularization of Howe's sarcastic comments and Tucker's alleged memorial musings is well illustrated in Hubert Howe Bancroft's quote (on pp. 79-80) from Howe, saying: "...we now have John the Baptist, in the person of Sidney Rigdon. Their plans of deception appear to have been more fully matured and developed after the meeting of Smith and Rigdon..." Bancroft directly follows this quotation with a mention of Tucker's comments concerning Sidney Rigdon's activities in New York as "the messenger of God." Surely these two quotations, placed side-by-side, produce a most bothersome effect on the mind of the reader who is neither a committed Mormon nor a decided anti-Mormon. If Sidney Rigdon truly did meet and cooperate with Joseph Smith, prior to 1830, and functioned in the role of a latter day "John the Baptist," is it not plausible that Rigdon "the messenger" was also the much honored and mysterious "angelic messenger" who reportedly appeared to Smith during that same pre-1830 period?